Friday, June 18, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury asks Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop to stay out of key Anglican meetings

It is all over the Anglican blogosphere, having been discovered by religion reporter George Conger. You can read about it here, here, and here.

Basically, the Archbishop has asked the Episcopal rep to stay away from prominent gatherings of worldwide Anglican leaders, since the American denomination keeps doing the opposite of whatever agreements the global Communion works out.

The Episcopalian position grows more incoherent by the day - yesterday's denomination of intergalactic peace 'n' justice now crows about American exceptionalism and independence from foreigners. The "inclusive" church now dismisses the objections of "a few Africans."

The fragmentation of the Anglican Communion seems inevitable. The Episcopal Church has plenty of old money to cobble together an international "communion" of its own, built around gay (albeit closeted, in many cases) clergy in subsidized state churches of the Northern Hemisphere and small clusters of LGBT activists in the Southern. Won't be much in terms of congregations or Christian faith, but will get plenty of press as it issues proclamations and hangs its name on causes - especially those favored by opponents of Christianity.

Meanwhile, less moneyed but growing and spiritually vital Anglican Provinces have formed networks based on traditional Christian faith and appear ready to ignore the historic Canterbury connection altogether.

This isn't mere symbolism or reorganization. As Fr. Dan Martins points out,

...the church of Canterbury is a church that is not just old, but was itself established by a church that was founded by not one, but two, apostles: Ss Peter and Paul. Canterbury is the token of the apostolicity of my particular church. Being tied to Canterbury is not magic. It guarantees nothing in and of itself. But, as part of a system of connections and reference points, it is invaluable, and ought not to be tossed aside, even for reasons that, in the thick of present but ultimately passing conflict, appear weighty.


Anglicanism was an experiment in global Christianity based less on uniformity than on "bonds of affection" among people of Christian faith. But even bonds of affection can snap if the parties pull too hard in opposing directions.

Personally, it is at once heartbreaking and disgusting to have invested decades of ministry in a denomination that now betrays both Christian faith and the Anglican effort at global Christian fellowship and witness.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let's look at the bright side. You have spent decades in ministry leading people to Jesus. That ain't all bad. God is in charge of sorting out the weeds from the harvest and the sheep from the goats.

The Underground Pewster said...

"Bonds of affection" can quickly become "too many cooks in the kitchen" can't they? This is one kitchen nightmare that will reap no profit until the owner comes and cleans house.

The Archer of the Forest said...

Sadly, I feel once the dominoes start actually falling, it ain't gonna pretty. Pretty much the Protestant Reformation writ small.

Sadly, everyone seems to be heeding what the Great Commandment of the Satanic Bible is: "To thine own self be true."

Keith said...

The funny thing about TEC's going it alone mentality is it doesn't have the leadership to pull it off. If they try to expand outside of the US it will be a failure, because they haven't been able to expand IN the US.

TLF+ said...

Keith - I don't think they care about expansion. I think they are fine with having a bunch of money for a one generation orgy of self-satisfaction by a very, very, very small group of people.

David Handy+ said...

Tim,

I share your sense of dismay and sadness at knowing that we've both invested many years in trying to serve Christ and build up his Church in a denomination that has betrayed him. Grief-stricken laments are in order, as in Psalm 137 or the Book of Lamentations. How can we go on singing the LORD's songs as exiles among the desolate ruins of Anglicanism in North America?

TEC is not only a church under divine judgment; it's increasingly coming under human judgment as well, as even ++RW reluctantly acknowledges that TEC is stubbornly going its own way, far from God and the vast majority of the Anglican world.

Archer,
There is more than one way of looking at this fateful time in terms of the Reformation analogy. Yes, any breakup of the institutional Church is deeply regrettable and harmful. But it's also sometimes necessary nonetheless, as I think it was in the 16th century.

And I think it's at least as necessary in our time. And it may prove just as life-giving. Personally, as my chosen moniker of New Reformation Advocate suggests, I think the emerging New Reformation will prove to be more of a blessing than a curse.