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Bishops’ Report - Word File and PDF Scans

Friday, September 14, 2007 • 1:15 pm

Here’s a Word version of the report. PLEASE NOTE that it comes from an OCR scan, so there are a lot of small errors, but the major ones have been corrected. If you have questions as to the accuracy of the text in the Word file, please refer to the PDF scans as authoritative.

(Also, if anyone is willing to conform the Word file to the PDF’s, be my guest, and email

the corrected file to me).

Please note that the following documents are scans only - they are not in editable text format. In five parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

123 Comments • Print-friendlyPrint-friendly w/commentsShare on Facebook

Ok, just digging in. But I was totally brought up short and reduced to gasping fits of laughing by the first sentence of the Statement in the Summary. (page 3 of the doc, page 10 of this PDF scan).

We do not want the Anglican Communion to become defined by juridical ecclesiology.

Guffaw.  This by those who have turned ECUSA into the “General Convention ‘Church’” aka, “it’s all about polity stupid,” who while decrying theological “fundamentalism” practice harsh canonical fundamentalism.

This first line is going to make it darn hard to take a single word of this document seriously, I’m afraid!

[1] Posted by Karen B. on 09-14-2007 at 01:29 PM • top

IMHO, all you really need to read is the conclusion to Part 5:

“The fundamental issue in the current conflict, the most important and lasting reality, is not the matter of theological innovation, but the proposals and actions that would revolutionize the Anglican Constitution.”

[2] Posted by Jeff in VA on 09-14-2007 at 01:30 PM • top

How about a one-paragraph summary?

[3] Posted by Chazzy on 09-14-2007 at 01:31 PM • top

Chazzy, how about one sentence?  “Keeping polity the same is more important than keeping theology the same.” 

The unspoken parenthetical: “(and never you mind that keeping polity the same allows us to keeping changing theology)”

[4] Posted by Jeff in VA on 09-14-2007 at 01:36 PM • top

Oh. I see. Stupid me.

It’s a Constitutional Crisis, not a spiritual or theological one. How could I have been so dumb?

And gee… After reading about the 2 parties involved, I clearly see that the side I’m on is the only side that has problems and has acted in bad faith. Why couldn’t I have been on the other side where they’ve done nothing wrong and, one presumes, are worthy of righteousness. My bad. Guess I’ll have to spend eternity in Hell. I guess that’s the fashionable place for homophobic, white, middle-aged male mysogenists to be.

I only have one question worthy of asking about the report. On or around page 3, there’s a lead-in dicussing sexual orientation, women, children, gays and lesbians participating (I guess) in the clergy or worship services.

Children? What children? Do we have child priests now? Did I miss something?

[5] Posted by Antique on 09-14-2007 at 01:37 PM • top

The product of bishops elected by diocesan convention delegates elected by parish/mission annual meetings.
We all need to beat our breasts this Sunday as we hear Israel tell Aaron, “Come, make gods for us…”  (be sure to read the omitted verses, where Aaron says, “OK, give me the gold…”
Nothing new under the sun.

[6] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 09-14-2007 at 01:37 PM • top

He who frames the question frames the discussion. The report moves the discussion from the theological to the legal.

[7] Posted by Jeff Thimsen on 09-14-2007 at 01:44 PM • top

Oh, another really really rich quote:

We believe the most accurate way to summarize the basis of this reform [by the reappraisers] is to say that the early church’s baptismal theology has been rediscovered

[i.e. a theology of full inclusion for all]

page 13 of the scan.

So, they’re claiming the authority of the Apostles and Fathers for their innovations.  yeah right. 

But they’re right in one thing that everything DOES go back to ECUSA’s deficient theology of baptism.  Baptism is the be all end all.  Once baptized noone can be denied any position of leadership.  Moral transformation and sanctification doesn’t matter.

[8] Posted by Karen B. on 09-14-2007 at 01:44 PM • top

This document would seem to affirm the wisdom of Bishop Duncan in setting up the Common Cause College of Bishop’s Meeting.

[9] Posted by Anglican Observer on 09-14-2007 at 01:46 PM • top

I think the subject of this post should be “Today’s palette cleanser”.

[10] Posted by Randy Muller on 09-14-2007 at 01:47 PM • top

I have only read the first section. (Not sure how much more my stomach can take—I haven’t eaten lunch yet). So far my impression is that this is some of the most amazing and preposterous propaganda/spin ever to be foisted upon the Episcopal Church—and a rather condescending denigration of many faithful Anglicans. (They don’t seem to credit us with any intelligence or critical faculties at all.) In my opinion it belongs in the same file as Spong’s letter of last week to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

[11] Posted by notworthyofthename on 09-14-2007 at 01:47 PM • top

After just a quick read throught the introduction, this paper seems to miss the boat completely.  The Anglican “constitution” they identify is not based in fact or history, but merely on what American liberals wish Anglican to be.  The rest of the paper flows out of this.

The unwritten Anglican constitution has always held the two basic principles of Anglicanism to be (1) interdependence and (2) provincial autonomy.  The first principle holds that important doctrinal and theological decisions must not be carried out unilaterally; and the second principle holds that national churches should organize the Christian and Anglican faith in the way that best suits their local situation.  In other words, essential doctrinal, theological and disciplinary issues were to be decided by the Communion as a whole; while secondary and adiaphora issues were to be decided upon by the national churches.

Note also their stated 5th article - that the DIOCESE is the foundational unit of the Church.  Yes, Bishop Sauls, and how exactly does this relate to your rhetoric against the “problem” dioceses???

[12] Posted by jamesw on 09-14-2007 at 01:50 PM • top

cross posted from T19-

The six Bishops style this as

The Constitutional Crisis, 2007
A Statement to
The House of Bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury, & Honored Visitors
Legally Trained Members of the House

I’d probably refer to it as the Tennis Statement, after the first named author Cabell Tennis (although it was undoubtedly written by Booth Beers).

When all is said and done, this is the gist of their argument:

But they [the orthodox Primates] are the ones separating themselves. They may choose to withdraw in any number of ways, but the Episcopal Church will not. We trust that our statement clarifies that under the existing articles of agreement, written and unwritten, member Provinces cannot be expelled or restricted from full participation.

- Page 12 (page 19 of the first .pdf section).

[13] Posted by William P. Sulik on 09-14-2007 at 01:50 PM • top

See how the two “movements” - Christianity and Epicopalianism - are defined (purely in the “spirit of genuine dialogue” and “profound respect,” mind you).  The Christian view is “patently un-Anglican,” has a sinister air and seeks domination and “rigidity.”  It “claims” (as it must, in reality, be darkly misleading us) it is only trying to reverse what it “considers” a liberal agenda - through “demands” and “threats.”  Why, we’re practically dealing with La Cosa Nostra.

But, Episcopalianism is simply “happy” to have a Communion as we’ve always had it: “united by the love of Christ for purposes of mission”!  My goodness, this pure-as-the-driven-snow movement has done nothing less than “rediscover” “the early church’s [sic-actually, maybe not] baptismal theology.”  Call the Pope!  Call the Ecumenical Patriarch!  General Convention had been doing hard scholarship, not practicing bare-knuckle politics after all!

What’s more, Episcopalianism is the “traditional position!”  And it finds support in - swallow if you’re drinking - Lambeth 1998.

I offer these excerpts as a service to a busy Rowan Williams, who might otherwise misunderstand this report to be a dispassionate contribution to the discussion.

[14] Posted by Phil on 09-14-2007 at 01:51 PM • top

International Constitutional Law? We have been smoking the wacky weed again. There is no such animal. International Law itself is a dubious proposition, but an appeal to the constitutive law of the planet is meaningless at best.

[15] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 09-14-2007 at 01:55 PM • top

I believe the references to baptism and children are a nod to the largely undiscussed, but profound change in practice which allows baptized children to partake of the eucharist - without ever requiring any confirmation / personal affirmation / adoption / profession of faith on their part.

That this should have occurred within all of the mainline denominations without much discussion at all continues to astonish me. It is symptomatic of the trivial significance we now attach to the sacramental.


[16] Posted by RedHatRob on 09-14-2007 at 01:55 PM • top

Karen B:  “But they’re right in one thing that everything DOES go back to ECUSA’s deficient theology of baptism.  Baptism is the be all end all.  Once baptized noone can be denied any position of leadership.  Moral transformation and sanctification doesn’t matter.”

One thing this new Episcopal Religion has done is force me to reconsider “paedo-baptism” (infant baptism) versus “credo-baptism” (baptism only of professed believers).  Although I’m not about to leave my present church, I have to say I’m now squarely in the Baptist camp on this one.

The fact is that ECUSA teaches that getting baptized is like getting a polio vaccination, that’s all you have to do to be a card-carrying Christian and you’re guaranteed to go to heaven no matter what you do or believe, because “God wuvs you just as you are.”  How many people have gone to Hell because of those false assurances?

[17] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 09-14-2007 at 01:59 PM • top

I always like the bottom line up front. That way I can decide if I need to read any further. Thankfully, they put the conclusion up front as well as in the last paragraph of the document.

I did read from conclusion to conclusion which can be summed up fairly quickly. The bishops conclude that this is a constitutional crisis rather than a theological crisis. The authors then ‘reject’ a ‘covenant’ as ‘out of order’ unless the Anglican Constitution (which the authors agree is unwritten and unenforceable) is amended.

The body of the report then makes it clear that TEC has not left the Church but that those who disagree with them have created or wish to create a ‘different church.’ So the HoB is going to proceed to plead its case on ‘constitutional’ grounds.

Exactly what TEC and the Anglican Communion need: a bunch of lawyers dealing with a crisis of theological issues (honest, some of my best friends are lawyers smile ). May the Saints preserve us.

[18] Posted by Fisherman on 09-14-2007 at 02:02 PM • top


Having sat through too many of these discussions locally, I disagree with you slightly here.  In my mind what this does is reinforce the need for adult confirmation. 


[19] Posted by Stu Howe on 09-14-2007 at 02:03 PM • top

Sorry, I am not going to read it.  All I had to do was look at the names of the writers to know it would be worthless.

[20] Posted by Ann Castro on 09-14-2007 at 02:03 PM • top

Dear Lord, they brought up Schillebeeckx as an example of a “leading Roman Catholic sacramental theologian”.  What a crock!!

[21] Posted by Chris Molter on 09-14-2007 at 02:05 PM • top

Jim the Puritan,

I don’t want to go massively OT on this thread, but I think it’s important to point out that the ‘79 BCP completely conflates two distinct (and in my mind, equally defensible) baptismal practices: “covenant” paedo-baptism and “believer’s” adult baptism.  The problem, I would suggest, lies in that conflation rather than in paedo-baptism itself.  If TEC’s paedo-baptism was done without the extremely “salvific” language now in the rite, and accompanied by a rigorous catechism process preceding confirmation and communion, I think we would now be in a very different place.

[22] Posted by Jeff in VA on 09-14-2007 at 02:06 PM • top

I have not had the opportunity to read and evaluate this document and therefore offer no comment on its intrinsic merits. I am struck, however, by the foolishness of the authors holding themselves out as lawyers. Just because one might have attended law school and passed the bar, and even worked as a lawyer for a couple of years, does not enable one, many years later, to offer a “lawyerly” opinion. Someone in that position knows just enough law to be dangerous. And the authors’ failure to recognize this deficiency is evidence of poor judgment.

[23] Posted by S. C. Price on 09-14-2007 at 02:06 PM • top

I’d probably refer to it as the Tennis Statement, after the first named author Cabell Tennis (although it was undoubtedly written by Booth Beers).

You’re absolutely right, if this in fact was written by Tennis, why does he misspell his own name on the first page of the report!  Actually I did a double-take because I went to school with “Cabby” Tennis.  Then I realized it must have been the son I was at college with.

[24] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 09-14-2007 at 02:09 PM • top

Executive Summary

The status quo suffices in terms of structure (or lack thereof). There is no need for any theology whatsoever. Don’t create competing structures, parishes or dioceses. All the foreigners need to go home.


Did anyone find it persuasive? I’m no expert on the theology, but the history was a bit glib, the philosophy expressed was trite and the law unpersuasive. The eliding of international custom (modes of operation normally adhered to by nations) into an international constitution (a set of laws that supersede all other laws) I found strained. The then statement that there is an unwritten ‘Anglican constitution’ is also nonsense.

They are trying to analogize the current state of affairs with the pre-modern view of British law that Great Britain has an ‘unwritten Constitution. The last four Prime Ministers have shown that for the utter rubbish that it is. Such constitutional law as the United Kingdom has is the work of Parliament as well as the European Union.

I wish I had time to fisk the document, but I was chewing one Tums per page and I don’t have nearly enough antacid to tear it apart as it deserves.

[25] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 09-14-2007 at 02:09 PM • top

“What a crock” - I think Chris Molter wrote what should have been the up-front conclusion of the report.

[26] Posted by Phil on 09-14-2007 at 02:09 PM • top

<blockquote>Within a generation the reach of the movement has encompased a gay bishop who lives with a partner in a life long commitment, the reception of communion prior to confirmation by a majority of baptized children, and a female Presiding Bishop.</blockquote.

And they’re PROUD of this??!!

In a future century, this will be the summary of the key signs that the TEC crisis of the 21st century produced rank heresy and corrupt practice.


[27] Posted by RedHatRob on 09-14-2007 at 02:12 PM • top

The Episcopal Church Foundation, hardly a partisan body, called the denomination’s leadership “incoherent.” 
Here we have another example.

[28] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 09-14-2007 at 02:14 PM • top

I believe someone on another thread commented that Dorsey Henderson was ‘thoroughly Orthodox’ in response to his name being floated for PV.  After reading this report, penned in part by him, I hope that that laughable notion is now put to rest.

[29] Posted by anglicanhopeful on 09-14-2007 at 02:14 PM • top

Stu and Jeff—I actually agree with you.  If baptized children were actually raised in the “fear and admonition of the Lord,” something that the congregation and godparents as well as parents are supposed to guarantee, it might not be so much a problem.  But that has all been jettisoned by the New Episcopal Religion.  And it is the abysmal lack of education and ignorance of what real Christianity is about, among both the laity and clergy, that has gotten us into this mess, in that wolves, false prophets and false teachers can take over the flock and there are very few who can discern it is going on.

[30] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 09-14-2007 at 02:17 PM • top

The first pages remind me of the response to Windsor in that is completely misses the mark in a spiritual way and in a manner of honoring communion agreement. For those that want a three sentence summary (my words): There’s many ways to read (s)cripture, and if you don’t take it (or agreements) literally, then there is room for innovation on many levels. Legally, the communion can’t tell us what to do and if they did it’s not really binding on us. We have a god (or goddess) given right to do what we damn well please, if they don’t agree sue ‘em, and then sue ‘em some more!

[31] Posted by Festivus on 09-14-2007 at 02:18 PM • top

I have had a bit more time to read through this document, and I have to shake my head.

1. Why is this sort of rationale coming out at the eleventh hour leading up to the most critical time in the Anglican Communion’s history?  My guess is because there isn’t time for anyone to prepare a response.  I would think that had this tripe been presented even a month ago, the ACI or other scholars could and would have published a devasting rebuttal.

2. This paper is an extremely poorly thought out, poorly argued, unsubstantiated bunch of blather dressed up in legalese to make the more impressionable moderate bishops think that TEC actually has a substantive argument to do what it wants to do.

3. I am shocked that these bishops expect this to be taken seriously once it is subjected to the light of day.  I work as a legal reference librarian, I have two law degrees, a theology degree and a librarian degree.  I know when I see fluff dressed up in legalese and this is fluff dressed up in legalese.  Very often, the more legal jargon that is used (“The Balance of Credible Contrarieties in terms of Costs and Benefits”, anyone?!?!?), the poorer the actual underlying argument.  I think that this paper is intended to look impressive by claiming credentialed authors, using a good deal of legal jargon that most ordinary bishops won’t have the ability or desire to understand, without having any substance to it.

4. Nowhere does this paper actually seriously address the current structure of the Anglican Communion in terms of the Instruments of Unity, and how precedent can lead to the development of an unwritten constitution.  In short, this paper isn’t dealing in reality.

5. This paper suggests that confessionalism is anti-Anglicanism, but if one looks at the purported Anglican “constitution” they suggest, it is simply THEIR kind of confessionalism.

6. It seems to me that one of the possible purposes of this paper is so that whenand if the Anglican Communion finally does discipline those TEC bishops and dioceses unwilling to live under the REAL Anglican Constitution, the handful of TEC liberal ideologues can comfort themselves by saying to each other, “well, we are the real Anglicans because everything that has been done to us is ultra-vires.”

[32] Posted by jamesw on 09-14-2007 at 02:23 PM • top

Jamesw.  Excellent points.  And remember with regards to your point No.1, the only reason this rationale is even coming out now is because someone leaked these documents to SF in advance of the meeting.  They didn’t intend for us to have ANY opportunity to review and comment.

[33] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 09-14-2007 at 02:31 PM • top


Please note that I’ve uploaded a Word version. Check the main post.

[34] Posted by Greg Griffith on 09-14-2007 at 02:31 PM • top

Upon quick read:

This thing is not what I thought. It is a kind of quasi-erudite/theological apology for New Theology of TEC, traceable to some allegedly special baptismal thinking of TEC in the 70s/80s. I think it will have practically no persuasive effect on +RDW at all. The NT has the opposite sense of hypostasis as the creedal meaning; the bible is a sort of resource or grab-bag upon which churchly wisdom has (sometimes) drawn. I did not realize Henderson was so solidly linked to the natural/creation argument for Gays, but how anyone thinks this will win him a role as PV is totally beyond me. This entire document is not, as I had thought, a legal argument with obfuscating potential. It is a kind of manifesto for TEC’s unique standing as an Anglican entity. Well, maybe TEC is unique, and does think like no others. If not careful, one might use a document like this to thank TEC revisionists for being so clear and up front about how different it is from the Anglicanism that exists elsewhere in the Communion.

[35] Posted by zebra on 09-14-2007 at 02:34 PM • top

Within a generation the reach of the movement has encompased a gay bishop who lives with a partner in a life long commitment, the reception of communion prior to confirmation by a majority of baptized children, and a female Presiding Bishop. -p24/25

And they’re PROUD of this??!!

In a future century, this will be the summary of the key signs that the TEC crisis of the 21st century produced rank heresy and corrupt practice.

-RedHatRob [I hate manual html formatting!!]

[36] Posted by RedHatRob on 09-14-2007 at 02:42 PM • top

It looks like the flavor of the month at Aunt Sally’s Pralines in the French Market is going to be New and Improved Episcopal Fudge Pralines.

Fudge Pralines? What a revolting thought.

the snarkster

[37] Posted by the snarkster on 09-14-2007 at 02:45 PM • top

I haven’t seen you around before this week, but so far, I’ve agreed with everything you written.  Keep up the good work!

[38] Posted by evan miller on 09-14-2007 at 02:46 PM • top

From a deeply reflected theological viewpoint, it may be fair to summarise their position as,  “Maybes are better than surelies, ‘cause surelies can be wrong but maybes can’t so maybes are always right and anybody that says surely is a closed-minded doodoohead for saying surely ‘cause surely is a meany word but we’re all nice people cause we just say maybe and maybe is nice and maybe can’t be wrong so maybe is always right.  Yes, surely!” 

Groan.  Back to the books!


[39] Posted by Robert Easter on 09-14-2007 at 02:52 PM • top

Two comments:

First, there is little critical analysis of “Baptismal Ecclesiology.”  This is much needed, since our understanding of the early church is not locked in the 1970’s.  Indeed, scholarly techniques, when applied to crucial related documents, notably Hippolytus, reveal a great deal more complexity and diversity in 3rd-4th c. practice than is portrayed here.  In short, this is a very “Modern” (in the 1970’s sense of the word) view of the subject.

Second, a general comment in terms of overall writing.  I would encourage you all to read this, and then read the ARCIC statement just posted on the Anglican Communion website.  An interesting contrast, to say the least.

[40] Posted by BCP28 on 09-14-2007 at 02:53 PM • top
[41] Posted by Robert Easter on 09-14-2007 at 02:56 PM • top

Jamesw said:

...the handful of TEC liberal ideologues can comfort themselves by saying to each other, “well, we are the real Anglicans…

I have seen quite a few of these semantic moves in the last few months, as TEC prepares itself to morph into TWEC, The Worldwide Episcopal Communion, with its various adherents and boundary incursions around the globe. They are preparing in advance (unsuccessfully, I think) the rationale as to why they are correct in their actions even after being repudiated by the Anglican Communion.

I hope nobody is cutting down trees so that multiple copies of this can be distributed to every bishop and their staff’s. The trees are actually useful.

from the Briar Patch,

[42] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-14-2007 at 02:56 PM • top

Although I disagree with the overall thought of the Bishops’ Report, I believe they are actually correct to call this a constitutional crisis.  This, of course, in no way means it isn’t also a theological crisis or spiritual crisis as well.  The sad truth is that from the beginning the Anglican Communion has chosen to define itself in very vague terms and has refused itself any true conciliar, juridical authority.  In my opinion, this was essential because the Anglican Communion needed some ecclesiastical authority at the top to truly have a communion and not just loose federation, which is what the Anglican Communion as now constituted is.  When Anglicanism was transformed from being the state-sponsored Church of England to a federation of national churches with no clear authority, the seeds were sown for the current crisis.

The Lambeth Conferences have repeatedly upheld the principle of provincial autonomy while offering only vague platitudes (such as interdependence and the bonds of communion) as checks and balances.  In reality, dioceses and provinces can and do innovate, such as with Prayer Books, women’s ordination, and consecrating homosexual bishops, and the Anglican Communion has no authority to prevent such innovations that is equal to or greater than the authority of provinces and dioceses. 

Theologically, the Anglican Communion is also ill-defined, especially since the 39 Articles are an optional formulary for provinces and since there is no longer a common Prayer Book which, as Bp. Duncan correctly noted recently, is the magisterium for Anglicans. 

Both the constitutional and theological crises must be resolved together.

[43] Posted by Charles Erlandson on 09-14-2007 at 03:02 PM • top

Greg et al:

Please feel free to delete this if you find it unhelpful to the discussion of the referenced document. 

First, let me state that given the time constraints I’m under today, I do not have the time to read through the entire document.  I just quickly scanned the first and fifth sections, looking for a summary of the document.  Also I posted my earlier comment as a stand alone comment regarding Christian formation, which this document clearly shows the need for.

I have three initial thoughts as I consider the parts of this document I have quickly read.  I preface my comment this way, in the hope that with a slower more complete reading I will find passages, which I missed on the initial review that will recast this into a better light.  However, as initial thoughts what a target rich environment, this passes To Set Our Hopes in Christ to set a new low in Episcopal writing and reasoning and can they really say this with a straight face, all come to mind. 

In the initial reading the authors (and I will assume it’s a committee) are not presenting supported thoughts defending any of the TEC current actions.  In many ways what I read came across as a five-year saying “I didn’t start it”.  Then in what I would have assumed to be the concluding pages there are several weak arguments being presented to reinforce a thought, which seems to be “we were right all along.”  Overall the sections I have looked it are crafted very poorly and do not present a convincing argument for the authors’ point of view.  Let alone one which would cause me to believe they represent the correct point in this discussion.

Stu Howe

[44] Posted by Stu Howe on 09-14-2007 at 03:05 PM • top

Well, I thought it was excellent fiction.

[45] Posted by B. Hunter on 09-14-2007 at 03:09 PM • top

I just keep coming back to the fact that this report represents the best and the brightest TCGC has to offer.  It is simply embarrassing that they have managed to keep the rest buffaloed for so long.

[46] Posted by APB on 09-14-2007 at 03:11 PM • top

I could have so much fun laughing as this. Admittedly I’ve only read a small portion, but so far it is almost as amusing (unintentionally) as “To set our hope on Christ,” and just as easy to pull to pieces.

One small section near the start:

One movement claims that its purpose is to draw the line on and reverse what it considers a liberal agenda for change. Actually, it is itself an agent for change in that it wants to redefine the Anglican Communion.

This from the house of Bishops that gave us the 1979 Prayer Book, the matter which I cannot mention without being shunted off by Matt onto another thread and banned, etc., who of course have made no attemps whatsover to redefine the Anglican communion. But in what way are we redefining it by insisting on some standards of doctrine? There was a time, not to long ago, when every priest in the Church of England was required to subscribe to the 39 articles - a minimal statement of doctrine. The church has always subscribed to the creeds; the first 4 ecumenical councils, the doctrine contained in the BCP etc. The Church has always held to the Biblical moral standards. Not to mention the Chicago - Lambeth quadrilateral. In other words, a whole regiment of pieces of paper to which we are called to subscribe: and the Anglican covenant as presently drafted, adds nothing new to what is already established (and in my view leaves out quite a bit). So, by trying to hold the Church accountable to a standard, are we trying to redefine it, or pull it back to its original principles?

This is a revolutionary movement in the name of conservative values.

As opposed to the revolutionary movement in the name of liberal values.

It would base affiliation on confessional compliance as interpreted and enforced by entirely novel institutions and structures—

novel, i.e. the ACC and primates meeting which have been established since the 1960s and 1970s, the Lambeth conference which has been going for 140 years, the Archbishop of Canterbury which has been around since the 7th century, and the idea of global councils affording discipline and doctrine in the church which has been around since 325 AD or possibly 49 AD. If this is novel, what would you accept as well-established?

monolithic, juridical, and hierarchically dominated.

These guys are intelligent, so how can they miss the irony of this statement in the church of the General convention and Dennis Cannon?

It regrets, according to one report, “the chaos” of the Anglican way of defining what makes a person or a church a member of the Communion, or relating to one another, and of allowing for theological differences that arise from the necessary dialogue between each provincial church and its particular culture.

So we now get our theology from our particular culture, do we (otherwise what relevance can our dialogue with the culture have on our theology: our presentation of the theology - yes, that depends on the culture. The central message, no)? At Baptism, I was urged to “fight valiantly against sin, the world, and the devil, and continue as His faithful servant and soldier to the end of your life.” Has that now changed to “dialogue valiantly with sin, the world and the devil?” What happened to Romans 12:2, among others? Good thing the early church didn’t define its theology through its dialogue with paganism, or we would all be gnostics.

It assumes that we need a written constitution and thus supports the novel

There’s that word again. Keep saying it, and it might become true (Lambeth-Chicago anyone?)

idea of a covenant to fill that void, not because what we have is unwritten or chaotic, but because it is dissastisfied with the principles and accords by which we have lived up to now.

Or are we simply trying to preserve the principles and accords by which we have lived up to now?

This movement wants the whole Communion to conform to one of the “parties” or “wings” within Anglicanism.

And by asking us to accept Gene Robinson, and indeed reject the covenant, the liberal wing isn’t trying to get the rest of the Communion to conform to their principles, such as the principle that there are no theological boundaries in the Anglican Church that necessitate discipline. (Or else why the objection to the rather tame covenant, and aversion to the discipline of people such as Spong who has so clearly gone way beyond the boundaries by anybodies definition?) 

Once called the “Evangelical Party” this wing of the Anglican Communion, given the rise of global fundamentalism,

Fundamentalist: Another word designed to scare rather than actually mean anything.  In reality (at least as the liberals use the word), somebody who actually stands for the doctrines that Christians have always stood for.

might be more accurately defined as the “Conservative Evangelical/Anglo-Catholic Party” or “The Traditionalists” as its American adherents prefer.

Hurrah! The Anglo-Catholics are actually Conservative Evangelicals in disguise. Justification by faith alone all round!

And instance of the fact that this party’s adherents aim not at mere preservation or conservation can be seen in their desire to undo the Anglican tradition regarding the use of reason in interpretation of scripture.

Time for another Stand Firm Poll: Which of us here is opposed to the use of reason in interpreting scripture? Which of us here thinks that the liberal interpretation is reasonable? I am fully in favour of using my brain when reading scripture; and I frequently find great inspiration from all of Evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox writings. I have yet to read a liberal article or book that didn’t have me bursting out laughing from the numerous fallacies, logical inconsistencies, false assumptions or speculation accepted as fact, neglect of inconvenient data, invalid arguments, false analogies from which too much is drawn, irrelevant details, and just plain erroneous statements. This document is a good example. I am all for reason in interpreting scripture. I just wish that I could say the same for the Episcopal House of Bishops.

For more than a century and a half there has existed a consensus

A century and a half? That would take us back to, say, the Tübingen School in Germany? Baur and his ilk? Or maybe Harnack? If so, the consensus has only been among liberal scholars. No evangelical or Catholic has ever come close to accepting their arguments, and they have long been discredited.

that finds values in the richness of interpreting scripture in different evangelistic circumstances without having, insisting upon, or enforcing any single doctrine of inspiration and hermeneutics.

Note the fallacy in the argument here. The writer is trying to use the claim that there is more than one way of hermeneutics (which I can’t dispute too much since there are differences between Catholic and evangelical hermeneutics, and legitimate differences within those traditions) to justify the point that any doctrine of inspiration and hermeneutics is acceptable. No attempt to define bounds on what is acceptable; no attempt to analyse the various Catholic and Protestant hermeneutics and doctrines of inspiration used throughout history, to discover what they have in common, and what might be legitimate and illegitimate differences, and what methods are true to Anglicanism and what are alien invaders. While there is certainly a difference between the Protestant and Catholic views on hermeneutics, is there a difference between our doctrine of inspiration? Hasn’t the Church’s view of the inspiration of scripture been constant, throughout history and across all traditions (save Marcion and other heretics of his type), until the liberals first challenged it a century and a half ago? The authors seem to have joined together two separate issues here, and are treating them as one. The doctrine of inspiration is the important point, and what separates reasserters and reappraisers. The liberal hermeneutic follows from their (false) doctrine of inspiration, and other assumptions which neither protestants or Catholics accept, such as a need to remove any sign of the miraculous from scripture. 

continued ...

[47] Posted by Boring Bloke on 09-14-2007 at 03:13 PM • top

This tradition includes a number of strong and helpful statements fromn Lambeth Conference (see for example, Resolution II.1 of “The Official Report of the Lambeth Conference 1998 and the whole section III report in which statement after statement expresses the tradition, sometimes with different nuances but always with stark clarity.) The party’s desire to rid the church of “Chaos” leads directly to a new rigidity in theology and structure that is patently un-Anglican and would require radical change.

“patently un-Anglican?” As I said, I see the covenant as a natural development of the various covenants, documents and confessions we already have. The 39 articles, the BCP, the 3 orders of ministry: while we may consider more to be adiaphoria than other denominations (and rightly so), taht does not mean that we have no bounds: we have always had a backbone of rigid theology and structure which should not be breached, but which TEC has long since breached. It is TEC’s desire to go beyond the bounds set historically by the communion, by the rest of the communion today, to abandon sound and basic biblical doctrine and 2000 years of theology and bind itself to a “scholarship” that owes far more to atheist assumptions and secular values than the spirit of God, to set no bounds on radical theology and “progress”; that is what is patently un-Anglican.

And the use of the phrase “radical change” as an insult to try to prevent an instrument only necessary because of the Episcopal Church’s own attempts at radical change is laughable.

But, as I said, I could have fun tearing this document apart. Fortunately, the Archbishop of Canterbury is far too intelligent to take any of this seriously.

Sorry, that was a rather long comment.

[48] Posted by Boring Bloke on 09-14-2007 at 03:13 PM • top

I just finished going through listening to all the audio parts.  I know that liberals love to ignore parts of written constitutions when it suits them - such as the “and bear” clause of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, as well as the 9th (e.g. protecting “free exercise” of religion actually means nobody is allowed to practice religion in a public-sponsored forum) and 10th Amendments (e.g. Congress has omnibus powers, regardless of specific Constitutional enumeration) - or to flat out fabricate constitutional provisions out of thin air by dictate when it fits their agenda (e.g. abortion rights).

I think though that this is the first time I think I’ve seen liberals insist that a constitution is completely sacrosanct - especially when by their own admission the “Anglican Constitution” is merely a hypothetical construct of their own analysis and/or inference of tradition!

I can’t wait to hear or read what any of the GS primates say about this.  What an absolute crock!

[49] Posted by Allan Bourdius on 09-14-2007 at 03:19 PM • top

I think it is often overlooked that the liberals did an “end around” by electing Gene Robinson in the first place.  They TRIED to make homosexuality legitimate through the legislative process, which is WHY we have the 1998 statement regarding sexuality in the first place, remember?  But they failed - the most the Anglican Communion would do is “listen”.  So they elected a homosexual bishop anyway - sometimes it’s just easier to ask for forgiveness (which, of course, they will never do).  So they don’t need to be pointing fingers at the conservatives, that we are somehow trying to “change” everything…please.

The lawyers that wrote this document weren’t even the least bit subtle in their bias.

[50] Posted by B. Hunter on 09-14-2007 at 03:23 PM • top

“This statement is an effort to redefine the issues…” Summary, p. 3

Good thing I wouldn’t think of taking anything out of context…

[51] Posted by southernvirginia1 on 09-14-2007 at 03:29 PM • top

Charles Erlandson makes an excellent point.  This paper is correct that this is a constitutional crisis (although the authors here have totally missed the boat as to what the constitution is), and that this crisis must be resolved in addition to the theological crisis.

[52] Posted by jamesw on 09-14-2007 at 03:32 PM • top

And whoda thought it was the Second Vatican Council and World Council of Churches that have been so helpful…Summary p. 6
And Eames, Virginia and Lambeth 1998 are all in agreement that justice (not yet defined) trumps all…Summary p. 8 (Didn’t Fr. Kennedy just write up something about justice? Did these people copy from him? Hmmmm.)
And let’s face it, as bad as I am, I always behave on foreign ground. I don’t necessarily wanna be put in front of one of these international law courts…

Okay,, back to normal Friday activities…

[53] Posted by southernvirginia1 on 09-14-2007 at 03:38 PM • top

What exactly is the point of basing your appeal on International Law and an Anglican Constitution and then stating emphatically that both are not only unwritten but that do not under any circumstances wish that they have any force or be enforced? Worse is this constant reiteration of the fact they are lawyers and legal trained.
Are these six supposed to pass as some kind of canon lawyers?
This is the best TEC has?
This would be laughed out of any university in England or Rome.
I have to think there are some English Theologians who are going to have a lot of laughs tonight with this and a bottle of gin.

[54] Posted by Rocks on 09-14-2007 at 03:40 PM • top

It is impossible to respond to this sad piece, except to say that is so filled with error, special (and false) pleading, misreading and misunderstanding, pretence and posturing, perversion and malice, as to defy coherent reply. 

The section on “Original Intent”, for instance, refers (as earlier) to the authority of Hooker and his views regarding to relative authority of the “positive” laws of Scripture.  Hooker may be right or wrong, but the authors here (as elsewhere) appear to have no idea of what they are talking about.

From Hooker’s “Laws”, I.12.if.

“When supernatural duties are necessarily exacted,
natural are not rejected as needless. The law of God there
fore is, though principally delivered for instruction in the
one, yet fraught with precepts of the other also. The
Scripture is fraught even with laws of Nature ; insomuch
that Gratian l defining Natural Right, (whereby is meant the
right which exacteth those general duties that concern men
naturally even as they are men,) termeth “Natural Right,
that which the Books of the Law and the Gospel do
contain.” Neither is it vain that the Scripture aboundeth
with so great store of laws in this kind : for they are either
such as we of ourselves could not easily have found out, and
then the benefit is not small to have them readily set down
to our hands ; or if they be so clear and manifest that no
man endued with reason can lightly be ignorant of them, yet
the Spirit as it were borrowing them from the school of
Nature, as serving to prove things less manifest, and to
induce a persuasion of somewhat which were in itself more
hard and dark, unless it should in such sort be cleared, the
very applying of them unto cases particular is not without
most singular use and profit many ways for men’s instruction.
Besides, be they plain of themselves or obscure, the evidence
of God’s own testimony added to the natural assent of reason
concerning the certainty of them, doth not a little comfort
and confirm the same.

[2.] Wherefore inasmuch as our actions are conversant
about things beset with many circumstances, which cause
men of sundry wits to be also of sundry judgment concerning
that which ought to be done ; requisite it cannot but seem,
the rule of divine law should herein help our imbecility, that
we might the more infallibly understand what is good and
what evil. The first principles of the Law of Nature are
easy ; hard it were to find men ignorant of them. But
concerning the duty which Nature’s law doth require at the
hands of men in a number of things particular, so far hath
the natural understanding even of sundry whole nations been
darkened, that they have not discerned no not gross iniquity
to be sin. 2 Again, being so prone as we are to fawn upon
ourselves, and to be ignorant as much as may be of our own
deformities, without the feeling sense whereof we are most
wretched ; even so much the more, because not knowing
them we cannot so much as desire to have them taken
away ; how should our festered sores be cured, but that God
hath delivered a law as sharp as the two-edged sword,
piercing the very closest and most unsearchable corners of
the heart,  which the Law of Nature can hardly, human laws
by no means possible, reach unto ? Hereby we know even
secret concupiscence to be sin, and are made fearful to offend
though it be but in a wandering cogitation. Finally, of
those things which are for direction of all the parts of our
life needful, and not impossible to be discerned by the light
of Nature Jtself ; are there not many which few men’s
natural capacity, and some which no man’s, hath been able
to find out? They are, saith St. Augustine,  but a few, and
they endued with great ripeness of wit and judgment, free
from all such affairs as might trouble their meditations,
instructed in the sharpest and the subtilest points of learning,
who have, and that very hardly, been able to find out but
only the immortality of the soul. The resurrection of the
flesh what man did ever at any time dream of, having not
heard it otherwise than from the school of Nature ? Where
by it appeareth how much we are bound to yield unto our
Creator the Father of all mercy eternal thanks, for that he
hath delivered his law unto the world, a law wherein so many
things are laid open, clear, and manifest, as a light which
otherwise would have been buried in darkness, not without
the hazard, or rather not with the hazard but with the certain
loss, of infinite thousands of souls most undoubtedly now

Will any one, in the days ahead, pay attention to the sorry production of these miguided bishops? I pray God that they will not.

[55] Posted by Ephraim Radner on 09-14-2007 at 03:48 PM • top

Good grief.  Part V is about as insulting as it can get.  I would literally sooner identify with a same-sex blessing theology than with the specious, insulting thinking embodied in Part V.  The authors can’t be serious.  This whole debate boils down to Donatism-style fallacies and clericalism?

What would these bishops do if they were asked to be in communion with Muslims?  Wait, don’t answer that.

[56] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 09-14-2007 at 03:49 PM • top

It is hilarious to me that we are finding out today, for the very first time, that we have a constitution.  And then on top of that, to be told in the same long winded breath, that our constitution is “in crisis.”

And then on top of that, it’s amusing that they use the word “crisis” when for the past I-don’t-know-how-many-years the official line has been that there is no problem.  We’re all fine.  Nothing big going on at all.  Etc. Etc. Etc.  But now, it’s a CRISIS!

[57] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 09-14-2007 at 03:49 PM • top

How interesting(?) in parts. How pathetic in others. What a waste of talent, words, and electrons. When I get to heaven I’ve got to ask about this ‘free will’ for the creature stuff…

[58] Posted by DaveB in VT on 09-14-2007 at 03:53 PM • top

Hooray for Boring Bloke (above).
He has thoroughly and incisively skewered this report, and by implication, its authors.
They will have a hard time living this down.

from the Briar Patch,

[59] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-14-2007 at 03:55 PM • top

All that needs to be said about this putrid document has been said and if not it will be said by others more able than I.  So to prayer.  God bless all who defend and love the faith.  Christ be your guide.

[60] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 09-14-2007 at 04:16 PM • top

And how is this different than the disgraced Doss’ article on the imaginary Anglican Constitution posted some time back on the Episcopal majority website?  That article was so ridiculous it was ignored.

[61] Posted by pendennis88 on 09-14-2007 at 04:18 PM • top

You know, what is completely embarrassing is that there are going to be bishops in the HOB that buy this load of road apples.  My personal opinion is that the homosexual agenda is very unwise but at least understandable if pretty misguided and unscriptural.  This document is just a joke.

But make no mistake about it, there are going to be quite a few old purple shirts that read it and think, hmmm, Stacey Sauls makes some really great points!  Just out of principle, one hopes someone is able to draft a rebuttal of this document before they start the meeting.

[62] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 09-14-2007 at 04:19 PM • top

Based on all the comments, it sounds like somebody ought to get this in the hands of Mark Levin at Landmark Legal Foundation in DC.  He would tear this to shreads.

[63] Posted by bigjimintx on 09-14-2007 at 04:33 PM • top

Thank you to Boring Bloke! I copied off your comments to read carefully. You are very much appreciated.

[64] Posted by Deja Vu on 09-14-2007 at 04:37 PM • top

I didn’t read all this report, and probably won’t. It won’t change anything. The scriptures tell us everything we need to know. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks.

One of the biggest problems with the church is that they just try to play too much with words. (report after report) (meeting after meeting). Instead we need to just rely solely on the authority of scripture. It’s all there plain and simple. Anyone who is TRULY a follower of Christ won’t be concerned about all this political garbage, but will follow the scriptures. Just have faith. If God wants this church to stay unified, it will happen. Speak up in defense of Christ, but only quote his Word in scripture. Don’t play with words like KJS and her group are trying to do. That’s Satan’s game; not ours.

Let’s all just really pray for God’s will here. Let’s not try to predict what will happen. Only God knows that. Instead, let’s just pray and have faith in Him.

May He bless you all who truly follow Him.

[65] Posted by mugsie on 09-14-2007 at 05:04 PM • top

Say what?  “We believe the most accurate way to summarize the basis of this reform [by the reappraisers] is to say that the early church’s baptismal theology has been rediscovered…”

They didn’t really say that, did they?  Are these the same people who use the 1979 prayer book?

A comparison of the 1979 baptismal rite with the rites of 1549 and 1928 reveals that the Standing Liturgical Committee was not fond of the term “spiritual regeneration.” This term is used four times in the 1549 rite and four times in the 1928 rite, but not once in the 1979 rite. Consider the following chart showing the frequency of terms in the three Books.

The terms “regeneration or “spiritual regeneration”
1549 - used 4 times
1929 - used 4 times
1979 - not used

The terms “born again” or “born anew”
1549 - used once
1928 - used 4 times
1979 - used once

The term “reborn”
1549 – not used
1928 – not used
1979 – used once

[66] Posted by Alice Linsley on 09-14-2007 at 05:28 PM • top

I give them full marks for openness.  On page 3 we read

This statement is an effort to redefine the issues,...

It seems that the Wndsor Report and subsequent Primates Meetings got it all wrong.
I do think that looking at a problem from a new angle is often helpful, but only if the insight gained helps solve the problem.  I don’t think that this document actually attempts to do this.  It is a clear attempt to reframe the issues.  If this wasn’t clear in the above quote, it becomes abundantly clear is their characterization of conservatives as people wanting to do away with reason, as in “Scripture, Reason, and Tradition”.  I admire the boldness but deplore the lack of intellectual integrity beneath this characterization.  But perhaps I’m being too harsh, perhaps they really haven’t been listening.

[67] Posted by Ed McNeill on 09-14-2007 at 05:29 PM • top

All these bishops must be Ph.Ds ‘cause they sure are good at Piling it Higher and Deeper.

Unbeleeevable.  Sheesh.  tongue laugh

[68] Posted by Connie Sandlin on 09-14-2007 at 05:33 PM • top

Well, Dr. Seitz and Dr. Radner wrote in as PhD’s and their responses are surely not “piled high and deep”; plus, they’re all I need to know about this slipshod, grasping document. 



[69] Posted by Passing By on 09-14-2007 at 07:21 PM • top

It is impossible to respond to this sad piece, except to say that is so filled with error, special (and false) pleading, misreading and misunderstanding, pretence and posturing, perversion and malice, as to defy coherent reply.


Dr. Radner’s response reminds me of that scene in Billy Madison:

“What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

[70] Posted by Greg Griffith on 09-14-2007 at 07:29 PM • top

I’ve fixed the Word link, btw.

[71] Posted by Greg Griffith on 09-14-2007 at 07:48 PM • top

I, for one, would very much appreciate an ACI Paper on this; the Seitz and Radner posts tonight are very much appreciated.

[72] Posted by Brien on 09-14-2007 at 08:19 PM • top

Just adding my thanks to Brien’s for the posts from Dr. Seitz and Dr. Radner. And wishing we would hear more from them.

[73] Posted by oscewicee on 09-14-2007 at 08:22 PM • top

I’m sure there ACI will get a response out on this quickly, along with ACN, etc.  Based on the quality of the scholarship in this paper Dr. Radner should be able to come up with something better in his sleep.
Once he gets over the shock of it of course.

[74] Posted by Rocks on 09-14-2007 at 08:28 PM • top

Well, it’s now quite clear why these one-time lawyers decided to pursue a different profession.  The Episcopal Church’s loss was the legal profession’s great gain.

[75] Posted by VaAnglican on 09-14-2007 at 08:37 PM • top

Now I can rest well…I had thought they failed to mention polygamy…but, continuing my painful read through, my faith is restored.  I was wrong.  It is there! No need to check the Microsoft Word tags on this one…it is, alas, the real thing.

[76] Posted by Brien on 09-14-2007 at 08:45 PM • top

It is impossible to respond to this sad piece, except to say that is so filled with error, special (and false) pleading, misreading and misunderstanding, pretence and posturing, perversion and malice, as to defy coherent reply.

Cicero or John Cleese would be proud of that one.

[77] Posted by tjmcmahon on 09-14-2007 at 08:51 PM • top

At first I thought it was a spoof.  Then I felt embarrassed that such an extraordinary document would be proudly presented by bishops. Then I wondered in horror whether some of the rest of our bishops would regard it as a genuine work of scholarship, legal or theological. I can’t imagine what +Rowan will make of it. It only confirms widespread suspicions about the state of theological learning in TEC. The authors certainly don’t understand the present suggestions in the Covenant language, obviously have never read Hooker, do read Father Jake, seldom offer citations for their claims, waddle from high sounding principles to anecdote without stumbling and base everything on the theory that a Constiution exists which no one has seen and until now no one has noticed. Oh dear me! Can one imagine being asked to grade such a paper?

[78] Posted by wvparson on 09-14-2007 at 09:07 PM • top

Jim the Puritan :

Re: Infant Baptism

That is really a good point of which I had not considered.  I have never agreed to infant baptism b/c I feel it sets a dangerous precedent - but I suppose this really IS the end result of that doctrine.

As Baptists we just put it this way, “Oh, you can’t get to Heaven (oh, you can’t get to heaven) By baptism, (by baptism) Oh, you can’t get to Heaven (oh you can’t get to heaven) by baptismmm… oh, you can’t get to Heaven by Baptism - you aren’t a Christian by just one swim…”  Which is much funner to sing and has the same point.

[79] Posted by Eclipse on 09-14-2007 at 09:22 PM • top

Can one imagine being asked to grade such a paper?

Only after a run to the store to buy more red ink.

from the Briar Patch,

[80] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-14-2007 at 09:25 PM • top

For pure enjoyment I highly recommend randomly clicking on a few audio tracks. You will be pleasantly entertained (and they are just about the right length, too: not too long or too short.)

Thanks Greg!

(Are you absolutely sure this is not a spoof?)

[81] Posted by Janis on 09-14-2007 at 09:30 PM • top


LOL!  It sounds like gibberish… I like the up lift at the end.  Anyone who can interpret ONE Track on the first hearing PLEASE raise your right hand!

[82] Posted by Eclipse on 09-14-2007 at 09:35 PM • top

We look to Archbishop Williams’s aspiration and endorse it as our own: “My aim,” he said . . .”

I couldn’t resist wanting to define what the writers meant by aspiration.  In medical terminology aspiration means (a) the act of removing fluid such as pus or serum from the body by syringe, or (b) the act of inhaling fluid or a foreign body into the bronchi and lungs, often after vomiting. 
My mind created all kinds of senarios for Archbishop Rowan.  I do hope emergency medical personnel are present when he reads this nauseating document! :o)

[83] Posted by lambswool on 09-14-2007 at 09:52 PM • top

Eclipse - Glad you got a chuckle out of it, too. I also noticed it is read by someone who may not be very well acquainted with theology/ church history. For instance, “apostolic” pronounced as “apo-LIST-ic.”
Great Fun!
(Track 28, by the way.)

[84] Posted by Janis on 09-14-2007 at 10:16 PM • top

That’s ok, I get many phone calls for the ‘angelican’ mission priest.

My take on this travesty, in a word, “Nuts!”, and my former TCGC bishop is one of the perpetrators.

Kyrie eleison.

[85] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 09-14-2007 at 10:26 PM • top

Janis: Exceedingly angry bishops go apolistic, especially if you mess with their polity.

[86] Posted by Irenaeus on 09-14-2007 at 11:04 PM • top

Yeah, angelican mission priests have been known to go apolistic too, although they’re not capable of doing as much damage.

[87] Posted by Enough on 09-14-2007 at 11:11 PM • top

For this multi-lawyered document, a bedtime snack of timely objections from rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure:
—- Insufficiency of process
—- Failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted

[88] Posted by Irenaeus on 09-14-2007 at 11:20 PM • top

Wasn’t going to comment. but then…

From page 10

‘Please note that we do not all agree about the issues of human sexuality and the participation of women, children, and gay and lesbian persons in the church that have excited conflict’

I struggle to keep up with the innovations of TEC, did I miss a move to consecrate children as bishops? Is it true that we traditionalists who claim to follow the words of Scripture are wilfully excluding those of whom our Lord said ‘let them come to me’ through denying children full participation in the life and orders of ministry of the church?

Guess because I am not ‘legally trained’ I don’t understand.

[89] Posted by Anselmic on 09-15-2007 at 08:26 AM • top

I commend to you the analysis of rschllnbrg posted at babyblue, especially:

What was amazing though, was the creation, ex nihilo, of an Anglican Constitution. Who knew we had one? But there it is.

from the Briar Patch,

[90] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-15-2007 at 08:46 AM • top

You know, Bonnnie Anderson must be up in arms over this paper.  After all, 5 bishops (discounting +Henderson) have gone out and defined and shaped to their liking, the Anglican Communion’s Constitution.  We all know very well that they have no authority to do this.  Only the General Convention of the Episcopal Church may alter or interpret the Anglican Communion’s Constitution.

[91] Posted by tjmcmahon on 09-15-2007 at 08:53 AM • top

LOL. They really do seem to be tripping all over their inconsistencies on this one, don’t they?

[92] Posted by oscewicee on 09-15-2007 at 09:04 AM • top

Were this written by laity it would be sad.  The misguided, ill-informed delusion of the authors is so extreme.

The fact that it is the product of bishops brings my thoughts directly to:

Mark 9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

These bishops are the product of US episcopalianism, its seminary training, its version of discipleship, its lack of discipline, and its development of clergy.  It is tragic how badly the US episcopalianism has failed them.  The thing that calls itself E"c"USA has risked the salvation of these bishops and all who are in their charge.  The damage is grevious, and we must all prayerfully repent of our complicity in it - even if our complicity was merely the result of a period of silence and lack of opposition.

[93] Posted by R. Scott Purdy on 09-15-2007 at 09:04 AM • top

Well said, Scott.

from the Briar Patch,

[94] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-15-2007 at 09:06 AM • top

These bishops are the product of US episcopalianism, its seminary training, its version of discipleship, its lack of discipline, and its development of clergy.

I keep coming back to this. It’s downright sad and scary. God help us all.

[95] Posted by oscewicee on 09-15-2007 at 09:13 AM • top

“It is that same baptismal theology that led just as inexorably to today’s crisis over the place of gay and lesbian persons in the Body of Christ, The American Church could not ignore the challenge to include children, women, and gay and lesbian persons in the full life of the church due to its own theological logic. This pressure for reform welled up from within its own internal life. It is important to realize that the reforms of inclusion were not conjured up for the sake of conformity to society or for any other instrument of imagination, but they came from the inexorable logic of re-forming and con-forming our theology and practice to what the Episcopal Church considered generative for the Christian Church.

Thereafter, in 1982, the landmark ecumenical and ecclesiastical text Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry was produced under the auspices of the World Council of Church’s Faith and Order council. It represented participation by theologians from traditions along a spectrum from Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist, Baptist, to Pentecostal. The accord exhibits the thorough-going baptismal ecclesiology of the North American Books of Common Prayer in which Christians find saving identity in Christ and the church is realized in the eucharistic celebration of word and sacrament, led by an ordained ministry exercising its service always in three inter-related aspects: the personal, the collegial, and the communal. We may take backward steps from time to time but we can remain confident that the overall movement, ecumenically and within each of the adopting traditions, will be steadily forward behind this common charter and standard.”

“We’re not following social and intellectual trends at all.  We’re responding to a new theological awareness of something that has been there from the beginning (because traditional Christian theology has always been really important to us)  that’s really like a new reformation”.  Fantasy or revisionism, kool-aid or spin, lie or big lie, it is truly disturbing, and almost unbelievable.
I find the best analogy to be that great episode from the Twilght Zone that tells the story of the business executive who has grown weary of his careerist, country club, social climber life (read mid-20th century episcopalian subculture). While taking his daily ride home on the commuter train, he finds himself napping, and each time he naps having a vivid dream about getting off the train at a small town called Willoughby that’s stuck, pleasantly, gloriously, in a simpler time.  He becomes obsessed with the dream, and the place, and finally, gets off the train in the middle of the dream at that stop for Willoughby that doesn’t exist.  He dies, of course, as he plunges off the train, but his soul is simply “translated” to Willoughby.  It’s not quite heaven, but then he was never really expecting to get to heaven.  The only difference between our main character and the TEC/usa upper-echelon is that the Willoughby of our consciousness-raised, pluriform, post-modern, experimental religionist, re-imagining, ever open-minded, non-juridical, oppression-resisting episcopoprogressivists is a space-age, high tech, United Nations, truly gay-friendly version of Woodstock - and amazingly, in their constant giving each other plenty of space to be the individuals that they really are, they all seem to have the same dream, night after night.

[96] Posted by young joe from old oc on 09-15-2007 at 09:35 AM • top
[97] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-15-2007 at 09:42 AM • top

oops. the link above is an unintentional non sequiter.

from the Briar Patch,

[98] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-15-2007 at 09:44 AM • top

So much to fisk, so little time—-especially when working on an urgent deadline myself. But here are some initial thoughts.

I’m most struck by the extent to which the authors unwittingly use language that indicts themselves and their revisionist allies.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Here is the MONEY QUOTE: “We do not want the Anglican Communion to become defined by JURIDICAL ECCLESIOLOGY. This is not the Anglican way. Our history has survived efforts to put ALL-CONTROLLING structures in place, each time at the call of a MOVEMENT that had its day and then became PASSE.”

The General Convention Church, with its glorious canons, is all about juridical ecclesiology. Even more fundamentally, it is all about CONTROL. It is also ridden with secular TRENDINESS that is already on its way to becoming PASSE.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“The most important factor in any scrutiny is the correct identification and definition of the issues… If the issues are identified and defined correctly, then all else can and should follow to the proper result.”

But only if you’re operating within a framework of truth and sound reason. Properly defining issues accomplishes little if you’ve already imprisoned yourself in secularism. (Indeed, if you’ve marooned yourself in secularism, you’ll think you have identified the issues correctly when you have not.)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“This is a revolutionary movement…. It would base affiliation on confessional compliance as interpreted and enforced by entirely novel institutions and structures—monolithic, juridical, and hierarchically dominated.”

Think General Convention. Think Executive Committee. Think Constitution and Canons. Think ecclesiastical kangaroo courts. Think David Booth Beers.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“For more than a century and a half there has existed a consensus that finds values in the richness of interpreting scripture in different evangelistic circumstances without having, insisting upon, or enforcing any single doctrine of inspiration and hermeneutics.”

The Golden Age ushered in by Schleiermacher?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“Anglicanism as it was delivered”

The report actually uses these words without irony.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“Reform will take time and unfold largely in the dialogue between church and society.”

The church takes its agenda from the world: a staple of revisionist theology. (Think about all those shining movements that have their day and become passe.)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“The early church’s baptismal theology has been rediscovered.”

In Nag Hammadi, perhaps.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“Within Anglicanism this baptismal ecclesiology has led the North American Provinces toward the inclusion of all baptized people in the full life of the church without exclusion of any single category of persons.”

The Revisionist_Dictionary repeatedly emphasizes the centrality of the revisionists’ “Baptismal Covenant” theology, a theology of cheap grace on stilts.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“One way of accomplishing this goal may necessitate the removal of the parts of the church that act in accord with the purposes of the other movement, if they refuse to recant and conform.”

Exactly as the General Convention Church has been doing.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“The other movement wishes to leave Anglicanism the way it is. Specifically addressing the controversial issue of [sanctifying homosexual conduct], this movement would wish to continue the established principle of open reception to theological innovation.”

Yes, these are the learned bishops who purport to speak for “Anglicanism as it was delivered” and who brand their orthodox opponents radical revolutionaries.

BTW, if this is “Anglicanism the way it is,” why do the overwhelming majority of the world’s churchgoing Anglicans reject it? Why would even the General Convention Church have rejected it as recently as the 1970s?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“If bishops are increasingly used in the church as a sign of division, or of conformity, rather than a sign of unity, it will be a different church.”

But this is exactly what revisionists have done to ECUSA’s episcopacy—-making it heavy-handed and controlling in a way it historically was not.

Consider the Revisionist_Dictionary’s definition of BISHOP:
“(1) If Orthodox, kindly figurehead; pastor to diocesan clergy; first among clerical equals.
“(2) If Progressive, God’s Vice-Regent; S/he Who Must Be Obeyed.”

[99] Posted by Irenaeus on 09-15-2007 at 10:12 AM • top

wonderful joe from oc, just wonderful: ” their constant giving each other plenty of
space to be the individuals that they really are, they all seem to have the
same dream, night after night.”
a perverse Ground Hog Day because it’s actually happening

[100] Posted by southernvirginia1 on 09-15-2007 at 10:34 AM • top

The report refers to the doleful practice of using bishops “as a sign of division, or of conformity, rather than a sign of unity.”

Two bishops exemplify the difference between the style of episcopacy long practiced in ECUSA and the new, heavy-handed revisionist pattern: Steven Jecko and Jane Holmes Dixon.

[101] Posted by Irenaeus on 09-15-2007 at 10:41 AM • top

Dean Griswold of Harvard Law School once addressed the newly admitted class as follows: “If you think that you can think about something that is inextricably intertwined with something else, without thinking at the same time about that with which it is inextricably intertwined, then you have the makings of a lawyer.”  This report evidences all too well the kernel of truth in that statement.  The actions of TEC are inextricably intertwined with the fate of the Anglican Communion, so paint a “constitutional” crisis in the latter to focus everyone’s attention away from the causal role of the former.

It also employs a time-tested lawyer’s technique: namely, begin by setting up the playing field to your specifications, define the rules of the game, and then arrive at the pre-programmed result with the appearance of studied impartiality: “We are not the problem; you are the problem.”

[102] Posted by Chancellor on 09-15-2007 at 11:13 AM • top

Back to the Titanic (Interesting word studies on that name, by the way.): by the way.

From the fo’csle:  “Iceberg off the port bow!”
From the bridge:  “This ship is the greatest ship England has built.  An iceberg is just water.  Ask any scientist!”
“We’ve hit!  We’re taking on water!”
“How dare you criticise your ship so!  This is the Titanic- the product of hundreds of years of British genius!  She has history behind her, boy!  She’s invincible!”
“She’s going down!”
“Of course she is!  It’s the destiny of every good ship to become one with the sea!  If we’re going down more quickly, it just shows that we’re better than the rest!”
“Abandon ship!  Release the lifeboats!”
“Anybody that leaves this ship is showing they are not worthy of this ship!  All lifeboats stay with the ship to preserve her capital value!”
“Ahoy, Titanic!  Are you in distress?”
“Ahoy, this is the Titanic.  Everything is under control.  Do not, I repeat, do not interfere with those swimmers.  They are attempting to steal my oil slick!”
“Nearer, My God, to Thee…”


[103] Posted by Robert Easter on 09-15-2007 at 11:40 AM • top

From: The Captain
To: Passengers and crew

I continue to be disturbed by the continuing scuttlebutt and scurrilous gossip that the Titanic has struck an iceberg. That is simply not true. We simply attempted to occupy the same space as a sub-32 degree mass of water in its solid state. We are not taking on water from the gash that is not in our hull from the imaginary iceberg that we did not hit.

[104] Posted by the snarkster on 09-15-2007 at 11:55 AM • top

In simplest terms, some think TEC and the AC are defined by their structure, and that theology is adiaphora.  Others think TEC (as it used to be) and the AC are defined by their theology, and that the structure is adiaphora.

The fact that the current structure allows ‘theological innovations’ is called good by these authors and is called bad by those willing to change the structure.

The authors do provide clarity now by labeling their changes as ‘theological innovations.’

[105] Posted by Marcia on 09-15-2007 at 12:47 PM • top

I’m cross-posting a comment I just posted at T19]

I’m indebted to one of the commenters over at BabyBlue for pulling this quote from the document which is just beyond belief.  I’d missed this in my fairly quick read-through last night:

“Indeed another way to say this is to clarify that we want to keep our unwritten and unenforceable but long recognized and respected Anglican Constitution the way it is. We do not want to radically change it or replace it.” [p. 20]

Just beyond parody, really.  Or to put it another way:  “We can’t allow ANY changes to our unwritten constitution.  None!  No, the Constitution’s not written, but we promise you we know a change when we see it.  We are the sole arbiters of what the Anglican Constitution says, don’t you know?!”

I think our bishops have been reading too much Lewis Carroll lately.  “The Constitution says just what we want it to say, and ONLY what we want it to say.”

[106] Posted by Karen B. on 09-15-2007 at 12:52 PM • top

oops, sorry.  I mistakenly cut off the link to the original comment on BabyBlue which I was referencing, which I consider must reading.

The comment is by RSchllnbrg.  It’s the first comment here:

[107] Posted by Karen B. on 09-15-2007 at 12:54 PM • top

the snarkster :


Or in Harry Potter - ism

From the Daily Prophetess:

“The reports that Voldemort is back is simply untrue.  Things at the ministry have never been better.  Those who are trying to tell you there is any danger out there are simply unhinged.  The reports of missing people are exaggerated and are not supported by the ministry.  Citizens are reminded that there is NOTHING to worry about.”  said unknown ministry officials yesterday.

[108] Posted by Eclipse on 09-15-2007 at 01:01 PM • top

Karen, Lewis Carroll also wanted his readers to recognize that there is potential for profound meaning if we can get past our big heads to our hearts.  I refer you to my recently posted essay “Pen Pecked Dreamers” which you can read at

Best wishes, Alice

[109] Posted by Alice Linsley on 09-15-2007 at 01:13 PM • top

Among the many rich ironies of this large document is the fact that those elated over our rediscovery of true baptismal theology are the very same persons loathe to require those receiving Communion to be, in fact, baptized.  This is baptismal theology without the baptism!  It takes real discipline not to watch this train wreck with some relish.

[110] Posted by Doug Taylor-Weiss on 09-15-2007 at 01:15 PM • top

This is baptismal theology without the baptism!

LOL. I’m beginning to think that at 98 pages they hoped no one would actually *read* it but simply assume, based on its heft, that it was full of weighty perceptions.

[111] Posted by oscewicee on 09-15-2007 at 01:21 PM • top

Oscewicee, I did that, once. I produced a 98-page report for the aerospace firm I was working for, asking for $10 million dollars to fund an ambitious automation project. Nobody ever read past the executive summary on the cover page. And they only gave me $5 million dollars. I always felt that the document, as printed, produced the $5 million dollars because it weighed the right amount.

from the Briar Patch,

[112] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-15-2007 at 01:58 PM • top

Karen B. shares this quote from the report:  “Indeed another way to say this is to clarify that we want to keep our unwritten and unenforceable but long recognized and respected Anglican Constitution the way it is. We do not want to radically change it or replace it.” [p. 20].    [?]  I truly am speechless. (And for those of you who are familiar with my postings to this most noble blogsite, I think you’d have to agree that thats’ saying something!)

[113] Posted by Bob K. on 09-15-2007 at 02:25 PM • top

Fr. Doug wrote:

“...those elated over our rediscovery of true baptismal theology are the very same persons loathe to require those receiving Communion to be, in fact, baptized.” 

The reason for this is that they view baptism as the ultimate sacrament. The eucharist is merely a “fellowship table”, a form of liturgical coffee hour.

In its modernist, diluted, quasi-evangelical role, all are invited to the “fellowship table” and if you like it, and want to join in commitment to advance select “social justice” issues (like the ill-named “free choice”) largly effected through the blessed MDG’s, then you can decide of your own will to choose the ultimate step of being sprinkled.

[114] Posted by R. Scott Purdy on 09-15-2007 at 03:17 PM • top

Guys, I read this obscure deluded attempt at not saying anything of worth and I am NOT sad my parish left TEC.

These guys are NOT the blind leading the blind into the ditch - they are more like traffic cops who are choosing to lead people into the ditches - ruts - or pits of a more diabolical and heated character.

Baptism without being baptized… even for a former Baptist that’s a NOVEL concept.

[115] Posted by Eclipse on 09-15-2007 at 03:25 PM • top

Two particularly fine phrases:

—- “This is baptismal theology without the baptism”—-Fr. Doug

—- These guys are not the blind leading the blind into a ditch; they’re more like traffic cops guiding people into a ditch —-Eclipse

[116] Posted by Irenaeus on 09-15-2007 at 04:56 PM • top

I am reminded of something Father Al Kimel wrote in 2004. Here is waht he wrote: “I’m still reading the Bible as an Anglican. I’m reading it through the lens of a tradition that is ambivalent, if not darn right equivocal, on the nature of Eucharist and the ministerial priesthood and which, until very recently, was not even sure if Eucharist needed to be celebrated weekly. I’m reading it through a tradition that objects to the high status given to the Virgin Mary in both Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I’m reading it through a tradition that defines itself over against the alleged sacramental magic and idolatry of Western Catholicism. I’m reading it, in other words, as a Protestant. Consequently, I cannot read Scripture in the way that Catholic and Orthodox believers do. And therefore I cannot experience female priests as the violation of Eucharist that Catholics and Orthodox perceive them to be. “Our doctrine is in accordance with the Eucharist,” St Irenaeus wrote, “and the Eucharist in turn establishes our doctrine.”

For those interested, I have posted 4 essays on the Priesthood at

[117] Posted by Alice Linsley on 09-15-2007 at 05:38 PM • top

I’m reminded of another comment from Dean Griswold of Harvard Law to an entering class (fall of 1960) - if you act as your own lawyer, you’ll have a fool for a client. No one can see an issue that affects them personally with enough objectivity to be able to plead their own case effectively.  The howlers noted above confirm the truth of this.

[118] Posted by ct layperson on 09-16-2007 at 01:11 PM • top

I am confused is this the Bishop’s Report or the translation of the long lost, but apparently recently rediscovered, letter to Paul from the elders of the Church at Corinth?

[119] Posted by withasword on 09-16-2007 at 02:22 PM • top

It’s the free paraphrase translation, withasword.

from the Briar Patch,

[120] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-16-2007 at 02:59 PM • top

The good bishops seem to be claiming that “because of the precedent set by a secular ‘International Constitution’ (unwritten, and which thus has never been seen), there must therefore also be an ‘Anglican Constitution’ (equally unwritten and unseen), and since the (unwritten and unseen) ‘Anglican Constitution’ contains no visible means of excluding anyone, therefore no one may be excluded”.

Beyond the obvious (and above-fisked) problems with the details of their statement, there remains the single biggest flaw—the comparison itself.  Unlike a group of secular nations, whose agreements amongst themselves have to do solely with matters of commerce and faith between such nations, and not their internal, national affairs, we are a Church.  Our primary focus within the Anglican Communion is not the relations between the various Provinces, but the Gospel, and as such, what happens within individual Provinces is very much a matter of great import to the Communion as a whole.  We are not a group of individual countries whose internal practices are their own business, but the Body of Christ, and as such the faith of individual members within each and every Province—each of them our brothers and sisters in Christ—is important to each and every one of us.

These lawyer-bishops’ attempt to tell us that we have no more right to respond to what happens within individual Provinces than one nation has to object to another’s local laws is a false and dangerous analogy, indicative of the degree to which the secular mindset has taken over the Church.

[121] Posted by Conego on 09-18-2007 at 01:46 AM • top

Creighton probably only signed this.  I know the man.  He couldn’t construct a home using Lincoln Logs.

[122] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 09-19-2007 at 08:49 AM • top

I didn’t type that (above).  How did the pirate words get in there????

[123] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 09-19-2007 at 08:50 AM • top

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