Saturday, April 23, 2016

AuGAFCONthentically Anglican?

"Authentic" might be the new cool word for Anglicans in 2016.

The GAFCON Primates have just met, and have issued a communique, with an appendix covering the recently concluded ACC-16 meeting.

The communique includes this sentence,

"We are a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion."

See yesterday's post for the use of the word "authentic" at the conclusion of the FCANZ (i.e. branch of GAFCON) meeting in Auckland.

[This paragraph updated slightly in light of Malcolm Falloon's comment below]. The communique is interesting as it tells is that there are ten provinces represented at the meeting and two branches mentioned (Australia and, now, NZ) [but see comment by Malcolm Falloon below re how many branches there are]. That is GAFCON represents about a third of all members of the Anglican Communion. What would be more interesting would be GAFCON drawing in further members, from the Middle East and from Asia. On the whole, GAFCON looks like it represents the more conservative end of the Anglican spectrum and thus cannot (yet) claim to be the broad future of global Anglicanism.

The appendix is interesting because it claims what TEC claims for itself (see David Ould, here), that it defied the Primates' January 2016 exhortation for TEC not to vote on doctrinal and polity matters at meetings such as ACC. This tells us that American arrogance has put at risk the unity (or, if you are critical of the Primates' Meeting, "unity") of the Communion at this time.The question TEC was invited to consider was not whether it understood the technical law of relationships between the Instruments of Unity but whether it understands the importance of mutual respect and gracious consideration of each Instrument in order to deepen our fragile walking together. Just as GAFCON Primates meeting together and making statements bit by bit sets up an alternative "Anglican Communion" and de-constructs the present Communion, so TEC is destructing the Communion bit by bit as it imposes its understanding of "authentic" Anglicanism on the rest of us, an understanding that is at once legalistic and insular ("you can't tell us what to do").

Here is the thing: in the long run of Anglican history, authentic Anglican life has been the broad life of the moderate middle, considerately drawing along with it the more conservative and more liberal Anglican movements. Yes, all can claim to be "authentic" Anglicans as GAFCON has done and as I am sure TEC does too, but not all Anglicans can claim to be fostering a vision for the largest, most inclusive authentic Anglicanism.

Right now we cannot say "what the future of the Anglican Communion needs is such and such a vision of authentic Anglicanism" because the Anglican Communion today may have no future as an entity of some 38 provinces. The future may consist of two or more communions/federations.

I sincerely hope that ++Justin Welby understands that despite his best efforts, the Primates Meeting in January and now ACC-16 in Lusaka may be the calm before the storm and not the calm after the storm.


50 comments:

Malcolm Falloon said...

Hi Peter,

Are you counting nine African provinces represented at the GAFCON Primates meeting? I could only count seven? Where do Myanmar and South America fit into your reckoning?

Also, I presume from the communique that there are now three branches of FCA: United Kingdom and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Though, is there not also a branch in South Africa?

Malcolm

Father Ron Smith said...

"We are a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion."

The implication here might well be that majority of Anglican Provincial Churches - outside of GAFCON (37 provinces out of 44) - are considered by GAFCON to un-AUTHENTIC Anglican Churches. Such hubris! This is a case of the tail trying to wag the dog.

I don't suppose though that if FoCA in New Zealand and Australia were to officially align themselves with GAFCON, that they would add up to anything like a separate province, so No Worries about that then. They might think they are more authentically Anglican, but that may just be a case of 'Self delusion' - based on a uni-ocular view.

Christ is still risen, Alleluia!

Sarah Behan said...

"Self-delusion" - Ron, after our previous conversation, I wish you weren't so harsh. I had hoped you would see that we - that is, conservatives - are not the Pharisaical people-hating thugs you seem to think we are. We have hearts, you know. And, more than that, we're genuinely just trying to search out God's truth. Whether we're right or wrong, only God can and will judge that, extending grace with kind words, even if you completely oppose us theologically, is surely the most basic Christ-like thing to do {eg. "love thy enemy"}. I would love to be able to stand side by side with you and know that, even if we're not exactly on the same page, you mean good by me and not harm.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Malcolm
Yes, in haste I got that analysis incorrect. I will correct t in the post itself soon.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Sarah is correct to call you out re "self-delusion" because that is an ad hominem comment.

Father Ron Smith said...

Sorry, Sarah, I do not mean to offend you, personally. Your online conversation has been quite civil. I just get angry at the thought of people going to the lengths of setting up an organisation that openly embraces the cult of schismatic severance in our Church of ACANZP.

Latimer's and FOCANZ's alignment with Gafcon and an ex-ACANZP parish in Hamilton, N.Z. can hardly be considered less than an act of disloyalty to the Church from which that Hamilton parish has severed itself. This is not merely a union of interest but a new situation that could cause distress to the amjority of ACANZP's loyal membership.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I object strongly to your use of the word "disloyal" in respect of Latimer and FCA extending fellowship and solidarity to WHCC.
There has been a principled disagreement between WHCC and this church, as a result of which WHCC is in the place it is in (and how it got there is, in itself, as a narrative, one of dispute). On the matter of that principled disagreement, many members of this church who remain in this church have profound sympathy for WHCC, have great desire to see WHCC re-included in this church, and have no desire to see this church become a church from which further such secessions take place.
It is appropriate for those organisations in our church to make clear to both this church and to WHCC that they have no wish to cut off fellowship with WHCC. That is not disloyalty to our church but a continuing reminder that we are in a time of tension and unresolved difficulties.

tachesterton said...

'an act of disloyalty'.

At times there are competing loyalties. When I was ordained I promised to 'be loyal to the doctrine and discipline of Christ as this Church has received it'. The doctrine and discipline of Christ as this Church received them included a traditional understanding of marriage.

When my church sanctions same-sex marriage, I will then feel the tension between the two loyalties I have pledged. So please, Ron, let's have no more simplistic charges of disloyalty. The world is not that black and white (as is clear by the fact that sometimes you and I are on the same page, and sometimes we're not!).

Tim C.

Father Ron Smith said...

" many members of this church who remain in this church have profound sympathy for WHCC, have great desire to see WHCC re-included in this church, and have no desire to see this church become a church from which further such secessions take place." - Dr. Peter Carrell -

Then why, Peter, the intentional desire to affiliate with overseas entities like GAFCON and FOCA? That speaks of at least a like-mindedness with those in the Anglican Communion who have 'stepped apart' with their own definition of what it means to be an Anglican.

The desire to stand out as a self-defined 'authentic Anglican Church' against the tide of a more progressive and liberating openness to changes that, like the attitude of Jesus, Himself 'Friend of Sinners, is inclusive of ALL sinners in the Church seems, to me, and to many others in our Church as divisive.

Anglicanism has got over many crises in the past, where 'live and let live' has been the outcome of serious differences. What is it about homosexuality that sets it so radically apart from divorce and re-marriage (accepted now by the majority) and the elevation of women in the Church as equal citizens and co-ministers of the Gospel?

Jesus had a lot to say about puritanical hypocrisy, but nothing pejorative about 'eunuchs from their mother's womb' defined by many authentic modern Christians as, possibly, his only reference to homosexuals. "Christ came into this world to save Sinners". That's all of us. "Judge not that ye be not judged yourselves" - Jesus.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
You ask a fair question about why FCA needed to be formed here in NZ when other ways of standing in solidarity with WHCC are available (including the way, also noticed here, of the already existing Latimer Fellowship offering solidarity).

I myself, as a member of Latimer, am not completely clear what the key/essential differences between Latimer and FCA are in respect of support for WHCC.

What I do understand is that the formation of FCA here includes a desire to clearly and publicly connect to the larger global movement and fellowship of conservative Anglicans at this time of various political machinations within Anglican provinces and within the Communion as a whole.

I think FCA members here would not at all agree with your characterisation of their views on human sexuality. Not least that would be because there is nothing inherently lacking in Christian charity and compassion when Christians assert the right to publicly defend the traditional understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman. Such understanding, do I need to remind you, your beloved Francis himself upheld in his most recent published document. Frankly I would be surprised to find you going into print and calling Francis a puritanical hypocrite. So, why then do you use such language of fellow Anglicans?

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, thank you for your speedy response to mine of this am. Having just presided at the 8am Maas at SMAA, I was struck, this morning by the Readings. The passage form Acts 15:1-2 shows the Jews protesting at Gentiles being alloowed to enter the Church. They saw Gentiles as 'unclean' because of their mom-circumcision. In Revelation 21:1-6, we read of John's vison ofthe New Jerusalem coming down from heaven as 'a bride adroned for her husband" - an entirely new definition of what marriage might be - unrelated to binary relationship. In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples "By this, everyone will know you are my disciples, IF YOU HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER". That seems quite specific

Also, above, you ask me what I think of the current stance of Pope Francis. He has already, on verious occasions reported in the Press, spoken of his loving attitude towards Gay people. His official stance can be none other than that espoused by his Church. In comparison, the stance taken by FOCANZ and the Hamilton parish are diametrically opposite to that taken by ACANZP with its eirenic work on Motion 30.

God is unrelenting Love and Christ is risen, Alleluia

Anonymous said...

It both intrigues and perplexes me, Peter, that those who believe that there is such a thing as "Anglicanism"-- as opposed to, say, "Paleo-Orthodox Reformation, English Branch"-- find it worthwhile to fight over whether the treasured word should denote a dogmatic deposit (eg 39A, 39A + BCP, 39A + BCP + Ordinal, etc) or a methodology (eg Scripture + Tradition + Reason as in Hooker as interpreted by Ritualists). Both definitions are anachronisms.

The 39A etc are a wonderful expression of reforming Tudor theology, but they were never meant to stand over against all other Protestant doctrinal statements in a way that can carry the weight of a distinct theological identity. And we know why this is the case. The warm relations between the Church of England and the Lutherans, the active involvement of CoE divines in the drafting of such Continental Reformed confessions (eg Second Helvetic Confession, canons of the Synod of Dort), and the serious expectation of some CoE reformers that it would reunite with the Orthodox show that English churchmen never intended for their anti-papal Erastianism to sever them from the international, non-papal Church. The CoE found herself going it alone only because Lutherans could not agree with the other Reformed churches, whilst the Reformed drifted away from the CoE toward *double predestination*, *limited atonement*, *precisianism*, *presbyterian polity*, and the *regulative principle of worship*. The CoE did not set out to define a tradition over against others, as eg the Lutherans were to do in the Book of Concord, but rather became one of the last churches to adhere to a catholic yet reformed position that other churches abandoned.

Which is why the reformed Richard Hooker is misunderstood when he is seen as the founder or exemplar of a *methodology* of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason that is distinctly Anglican. Hooker was the most illustrious of the several Reformed Thomists in Northern Europe at the time. He defended Tradition largely on Reformed criteria acceptable to his Puritan opponents, while employing Reason in an Aristotelian or Thomist way that was congenial to Reformed Thomists elsewhere in Europe. He is rightly known as "the judicious Hooker", but in his masterful polemic, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, he employs a conception of Reason that cannot be construed in the later Kantian way as a *methodology*.

No authenticity, Anglican or otherwise, can be based on either anachronism. And voices grounding their own authenticity on either anachronism cannot be altogether credible guides to our true identity.

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Fair enough, Bowman, but what then would be key to your understanding of non-anachronistic authentic Anglicanism?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I don't see how opposition to Motion 30 in itself leads to justifying use of epithets about puritanical hypocrisy.
One could be opposed to Motion 30, for instance, because despite its attempt to be eirenical it attempts to achieve the impossible.
Or one might be opposed to Motion 30 because it upholds a traditional understanding of marriage which (some might argue) means institutional prejudice against homosexuals is also upheld. But I don't imagine in that instance that you would have a harsh epithet to apply to such opponents.
As for love, I have never heard any NZ proponent of FCA say anything about not loving homosexuals. It would be a pretty weird situation if love for homosexuals meant that we had to change what the church has always taught. As you yourself admit, even Francis has not done that. Why should Anglicans be charged with hatred and not also Catholics, when their only crime is love for the teaching of their faith?

Father Ron Smith said...

I Think Peter, without preempting what new thoughts Bowman might have regarding this matter, that a direct answer to your question of him at 12.31 might well be: "ACANZP".

As for my answer to your last question of me - "Why should Anglicans be charged with hatred and not also Catholics? - I was not in my post talking about hatred, rather, about Anglicans setting themselves apart on a 'holier than thou' basis; regarding gay relationships as less holy than (their) heterosexual ones.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
Then my question is why single out conservative Anglicans as setting themselves apart on a "holier than thou" basis re gay relationships when all Catholics, all Orthodox, most Protestants do that because Catholic, Orthodox and most Protestant teaching has not changed one bit in regarding gay relationships as sinful but marriage between a man and a woman as holy. Nor is it likely to! Yet because conservative Anglicans side with the vast present Christian majority, and the whole of ancient Christian teaching through time, you castigate us! "Puritanical hypocrisy". What is it that drives you to think so poorly of fellow Christians that you see virtually all Christians past and present as subject to Jesus' castigation?

Anonymous said...

Smithsm peut-ĂȘtre?

Nick

Father Ron Smith said...

Congratuations, Peter. That must be very satisfying for you, to believe thathat you are at one with 'Christians' who believe that gay people are more sinful than their heterosexual counterparts.

Perry Butler said...

Hope Bowman will tell us more...it has always seemed t me that as an ism Anglicanism has always been contested..its pre Reformation structure begab to exercise a fascination from the 1590s 1662 made it irrevocably Episcopalian, the Evangelical movement reinvigorated moderate Calvinism, Tractarianism was a game changer jumping over the Reformers to the Primitive Church...and Anglo Catholicism taking much from contemporary Romanism....with Essays and reviews enter the liberals...in various mutations down to the present...When it was shipped abroad it took on various hues...not all easily compatible with each other!! Despite the diversity( mess?) people seem to want to stick with it, even join it from nothing or other traditions......but its not clear to me where it's heading or how wise it is to try and firm up the communion model( which is pretty sui generis ecclesiologically) or seek something looser. Perry Butler Canterbury UK

Anonymous said...

One Creator, one creation; one Church, one episcopate. In modern terms, a merely national communion embodies the mere tribalism of henotheism or polytheism rather than monotheism in Christ, and so cannot be the Church. In the C16, both Rome and the Reformers saw this clearly, and so neither would have regarded either an isolated Church of England (or ACANZP or TEC) or a rump Roman Church abandoned by all but Italy and Spain as credible. In the East, the idea of a one nation church is usually described as the heresy of Phyletism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyletism

Nevertheless, things fell out that way for Anglicans. This happened partly because of Continental power politics in the Age of Absolutism, and partly because the Lutheran-Reformed disagreement on the right interpretation of Act V of the Council of Chalcedon inhibited intercommunion among Protestants. Later on, the paleo-orthodoxy of the early reformers faded among all later Reformed but the Germans (eg Mercersburg Theology) and the episcopalian Britons. Had the Church of England taken the Lutheran view of Chalcedon and the *manducatio impiorum*, things would have been very different.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercersburg_Theology

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manducatio_impiorum

For the moment, the urgent application is that 1/38 + 1/38... = 1 but 10 + 1 + 1 + 1... = 2

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

Once we abandon the anachronisms, Peter, we also abandon the wedge that they have driven between Reformation faith and Catholic tradition and practise. Without the spurious poles-- which need each other to make sense-- the true centre is again recognisable. More important, it is pastorally and theologically defensible in a way that the rival parties we know today are not.

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Perry and Bowman
The true centre, it is.
Though I imagine the search for it among the anachronisms etc feels sometimes like a search for the needle in the haystack (if not the eye of the needle ...).
I wonder if our concern for the anachronisms is nevertheless a sign of an Anglican need for something "solid" (as in Rome has its magisterium but we have the 39A as sure and certain hope of securing correct hermeneutics in fast changing world).
That is, does authentic Anglicanism in the 21st century nevertheless need something whether it is a new Hooker, a new set of articles, a new common liturgy, some combo thereof, or something not yet thought of which helps steer our good boat through both choppy seas (and sees!?) and between the 39A, BCP, etc, while never losing sight of them?
But I like your thoughts, and note, Perry, your thought that Anglicanism is unique ecclesiologically.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Perry, for your interest in my comment.

The Reformation in England was indeed contentious, but none of our present parties are descended from it, and none would really return to a C16 position. Today's liberal Anglo-Catholics reflect Vatican III rather than Lateran IV, just as today's conservative evangelicals are Reformed in a presbyterian way rather than in the patristic way of the Caroline divines, or for that matter, the classic theologians of Lutheran orthodoxy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheran_orthodoxy

Richard Hooker has many admirers, but few legitimate heirs today. Likewise, Lancelot Andrewes was staunchly Reformed, but by the C19 was being claimed as an Anglo-Catholic. Obviously the words in his oeuvre had not changed. Rather, the *Reformed* identity had become so radically anti-sacramental that the C19 Anglo-Catholics turned away from Protestant sacramental theology to that of Rome.

Anglicans who follow the mainstream of believing biblical scholarship will find themselves tugged away from these extremes toward a centre still to be defined. Everything that people actually like about Anglican churches can be found on that ecumenically accessible ground. Obviously, I think that the *open evangelicalism* of Fulcrum shows promise. The stage is set for an ecumenical and Anglican systematic theology that articulates it. Michael Bird's Evangelical Theology comes close-- theology for "gospel people" that nevertheless affirms a robust sacramental theology.

Meanwhile, a communion of 38 discordant churches, each ruling independently, and assuming its own infallibility would be absurd on the face of it. Justin Welby makes a reasonable case for an Anglican Communion that enables discernment among churches without subordinating them all to any single central authority. But alas, the task forces that shape working theology in the several churches all ignore each other. ACANZP's AWF ignored everybody-- TEC, ACC, CoE, GAFCON, the Primates, everybody. "I believe in one God..." Do they? If so...

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
Your comment at 9.44 pm above is entirely objectionable if not actionable.
I give you due warning that if you continue to misrepresent what I or other commenters say here, then you will be asked to publicly withdraw and to apologise or face a ban on commenting.

In your 9.44 pm comment above you say, "That must be very satisfying for you, to believe that you are at one with 'Christians' who believe that gay people are more sinful than their heterosexual counterparts."

I ask you to cite where I have said any such thing.

I assume you are, in fact responding to this comment by me,

"... Catholic, Orthodox and most Protestant teaching has not changed one bit in regarding gay relationships as sinful but marriage between a man and a woman as holy."

Nowhere in that comment have I said or implied that gay people are more sinful than their homosexual counterparts.

What I have said is a simple state of fact about the character of Catholic, Orthodox and most Protestant teaching about sexual relationships, that some relationships are sinful and some are not. If you demur from that teaching, that is your right, but it is not your right to jump from that observation to the one you libelously charge me with.

For the record: all people are sinners in God's sight, all are equally in need of salvation through Christ.

Peter Carrell said...

The following is a comment from Zane Elliott who was not able to post it in the ordinary way. I have moderated a couple of words and made a tiny correction of fact.

"'I just get angry at the thought of people going to the lengths of setting up an organisation that openly embraces the cult of schismatic severance in our Church of ACANZP.' Fr Ron. Smith

Fr. Ron, I am amazed at how poor your memory is. Do you not remember your recent Church History? The way you worship is a relatively new innovation in Anglicanism. It's not unfair to say that the Oxford Movement was deeply divisive when it was founded by those who wanted to break away from a strongly reformed Anglicanism. You seem to think your own position is the enduring and right one, the true essence of Anglicanism. What shall we say of article 28 and how the Lord's Supper is lifted and reserved in the parish where you worship?

Your [movement] pioneered a new understanding of what it meant to be Anglican in so much as how we dressed for Divine Worship, what the high point of Divine Worship was, and even what we called Divine Worship (Mass?!) have changed, not universally, for which I give thanks to God, but largely.

Until the 1950's Anglican Bishops rarely wore a mitre or cope, and if my memory serves me rightly [a vicar] of Kaiapoi was brought before a church tribunal in the [1880's] for elevating the bread at the Lord's Supper. The Oxford Movement has changed the face of Anglicanism, why may the GAFCON movement not now do the same?

I have seen no hate driving the GAFCON movement, FCANZ, Latimer or AFFIRM. I have seen a desire to be faithful to the teaching of Holy Scripture and the foundations of the Anglican way of doing Christianity.
"

Anonymous said...

Peter, is there somewhere that Fr Ron says what he believes? I do not understand how he seems to believe in the real presence, but not mortal sin. He seems to believe in apostolic succession, but not the apostolic teaching of Constantinople or Rome. He seems to like Francis, but not popes. Fr Ron says he is Anglican, but calls the 39As artefacts. I'm starting to think that Rome and Istanbul aren't at one with Fr Ron (and he seems to disagree with you a lot) so who does he have communion with? Please Fr Ron, am I wrong when I referred to Smithism?
Nick

Peter Carrell said...

It is for Ron to offer his own account of his beliefs, Nick, but I do not see his belief system as "Smithism". As far as I can tell there are plenty of "liberal Catholics" within the Anglican Communion, many of whom are in fervent disagreement with me, but few comment here apart from Ron!
:)

Father Ron Smith said...

Nick, my beliefs may be differebt frm yours - in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Redeemer of All humanity, not just Roman Catholics.

Father Ron Smith said...

Zane, I think that, because of your comparitively recent experience of Anglican(ism), your education in it claims to catholicity - especially in chuyrches other than ACANZP - could be somewhat sketchy. Don't be fooled by local Calvinist propaganda that would rid the 'Mother Church' if England of its earlier heritage, which was not completely abandoned with the advent of the 39 Artifacts. My personal journey began with Baptism in a church that was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the ancient English diocese of Coventry before the compilation of the Domesday Book. What is your provenance?

Perry Butler said...

Peter...where do the 39 arts figure legally in ACANCP? In the C of E assent to the Articles was significantly modified in 1865 and reduced to almost nothing in 1975 ..the present declaration of assent required of the clergy simply speaks of bearing witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies.Of course assent to the 39 articles was only ever required of the clergy and some schoolmasters /Oxf and Cam graduates.. Not the laity. . in fact they weren't bound into the BCP until the middle of the 18c
Whilst the Oxf Movt did initiate a significant re orientation Calvinism was pretty rare in the C of E between 1662 and the 1830s and the predominant churchmanships pre Tractarianism were Latitudinarian and Old Fashioned High Church
Perry

Perry Butler said...

PS my thoughts on the ecclesiological uniqueness of the Anglican Communion can be found in the introduction of my essay in Sykes and Booty " The Study of Anglicanism" ......though I've always cherished Cheslyn Jones definition of the C of E in the 70s Report " Christan Believing. " an unstable theological amalgam held together in an Erastian framework ".

Perry

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Perry
Office-holders are required to assent to the constitution which includes the formulary that we believe in the Sacraments and Doctrine of Christ as explained in the BCP, Ordinals, 39A, Te Rawiri (BCP in Maori) and NZPB (our modern prayer book).

So (in my view) the legal force of the 39A is that teaching which (a) contradicted the 39A, without (b) balancing support from one of the other "explained in" documents could be dodgy! But it would be a smart theological lawyer who argued that the Revd X was a heretic because of disputing one of the 39A.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Perry
Re your PS
"Erastian framework" may not be so useful outside of England!

tachesterton said...

Ron, I think Zane's point would serve to illustrate that what defines 'catholic' and 'anglican' has been somewhat fluid over the years. Most controversialists seem to seize on one point in history as their defining point (pre-reformation catholicism, Cranmer, Hooker, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral etc. etc.), but the grounds on which they choose their defining point seem to depend very much on the definition they want to arrive at! In other words, it's very subjective.

Personally I'm entirely happy to be part of a church that honours Newman, Pusey and Michael Ramsey as well as Cranmer, John Newton and Donald Coggan. I appreciate very much the contribution that catholic spirituality has made to the Anglican tradition, and some of my best friends through the years have been nourished in that tradition.

I could wish, however, that you would occasionally show a similar appreciation for the contribution the evangelical tradition has made to our church.

I like C.S. Lewis' wise words in 'Screwtape', to the effect that if modern Anglicans really took to heart what 'that pestilent fellow Paul' taught about meat offered to idols, the low churchman would be bowing and crossing himself so as not to tempt his high church brother into irreverence, and the high churchman would refrain from doing so, so as not to tempt his low church brother into idolatry! (Lewis used the male-oriented language of his day, of course!).

Tim C.

Anonymous said...

Peter and Fr Ron, I suspect that I am not going to get an easy answer on what progressives believe (there might be 1000 versions for all I know). I would have thought that some agreement existed (perhaps secular cultural notions of justice). It's hard to work out whether there is an integrity when the basis is obscure (at least to someone outside your church). Obviously you cannot help your lack of a big catechism, but something written would be helpful. Otherwise, it's herding cats, isn't it?

Nick

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, re your conversation with Pery, above, you make reference to the '39 Articles' in this statement:

"Office-holders are required to assent to the constitution which includes the formulary that we believe in the Sacraments and Doctrine of Christ as explained in the BCP, Ordinals, 39A, Te Rawiri (BCP in Maori) and NZPB (our modern prayer book)."

You must have a different edition of our NZPB from mine - in which their is no mention of the 'Thirty-Nine articles" that you say we N.Z Clergy have to aassent to in the Constitution. I was nover told about this when I was ordained Deacon in 180 and priest in 1981.

What is m entioned in the Ordination rite are these words"

"Do you hold to the doctrines of the faith as this church understands them?"

As far as I am aware, my faith is that of our Church - to which I testified - and gave an affirmative answer to - is found in the Nicene Creed which I and my fellow ordinees were required to recite beforehand. This faith is no different from that of the laity - a faith we hold in common in our Church.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
Let me cite from our constitution, the authority of which you have signed up to, assuming you continue to have a PTO:

"PART A ... THE FUNDAMENTAL [Ed. oops, that word :) ] PROVISIONS
1. This Branch of the United Church of England and Ireland in New Zealand doth hold and maintain the Doctrine and Sacraments of CHRIST as the LORD hath commanded in His Holy Word,and as the United Church of England and Ireland hath received and explained the same in the Book of Common Prayer, in the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops,Priests, and Deacons, and in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. And ..."

FURTHER PROVISIONS PART B says much the same but includes Te Rawiri and A New Zealand Prayer Book - He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa.

So, Ron, what you continually deprecate as the "Artifacts" actually have a live and living status in our church as one of the key documents which explain the Sacraments and Doctrine of Christ.

Peter Carrell said...

A comment for Nick from Fr Ron but moderated, Ron, because YOU CANNOT AND MUST NOT USE AD HOMINEMS, CERTAINLY NOT THOSE WHICH PUT DOWN A WHOLE CHURCH AND ITS THEOLOGICAL TRADITION OF LEARNING AND TEACHING!

"Nick, you seem unable to comprehend any form of Christianity that is not tied up with the rules of the Roman Catholic Church - which include the exclusion of women from the ordained ministry, the necessity to avoid anything other than 'natural' contraception and the inviolability of marriage - with no dismantling except with a costly annulment from Rome. Apart from the latter situation, which might seem dependent on the subject parties ability to pay; there seems to be no biblical reason for your Church's rules.

Anglicanism, on the other hand, relies quite a lot on the indiviudal's conscience, to determine whether, or not, they can live with any restrictions they detect in Church discipline that do not comply with their own informed understanding of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. This allows the individual child of God to work out their own response to the Gospel, rather than be [expected to follow] dogmatic theses that have little or no reference to the lives of ordinary people in today's world, which is vastly different from the first century C.E.

I admire Pope Francis, because he seems tio have already overcome the inertia that had the Vatican mired in an out-dated dogmatic view of human flourishing.
"

EDITOR: Ron, I heartily disagree with you open argument, that Nick cannot comprehend Christianity outside his own tradition. I think Nick understands Anglicanism very well (save for those occasions when he humbly asks for clarification) and does an excellent job of simultaneously defending Christianity as understood and taught by Rome while highlighting weaknesses in the Anglican way of understanding. We do have a very thin catechism ...!

And, from memory, Nick recognises that "annulment" has generated its own follies.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter, yes I do comprehend Christianity outside Rome and annulment is not without problems; though I think the NZ tribunal is free at least. I find evangelicals very easy to follow. That might be because of the place of scripture in evangelical thought. Plus there are documents like the Westminster Confesssion (not a C of E document I know) which help crystalise Protestant thought in its growth. My questions to Fr Ron are certainly not an attack on anglo-catholics, but show my inability to understand Fr Ron's framework. If it is conscience, as he indicates it might be, then we share the great thinker Newman (an Anglican then a Catholic), but I detect that Fr Ron might be closer to Newman's subjective end of the conscience spectrum.

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

A comment from Zane Elliott:

Hi Fr. Ron,
Unsurprisingly you have failed to answer my question and have now moved to the tangential! I have only ever been Anglican, now for some 18 years, over half my life. What that has to do with provenance I can't quite fathom unless you're going to try and assert that I'm not authentically Anglican.

So, please, help me understand - why can GAFCON not have an influence on the shape and expression of Anglicanism but the Oxford Movement can?

Father Ron Smith said...

" My questions to Fr Ron are certainly not an attack on anglo-catholics, but show my inability to understand Fr Ron's framework. If it is conscience, as he indicates it might be, then we share the great thinker Newman (an Anglican then a Catholic), but I detect that Fr Ron might be closer to Newman's subjective end of the conscience spectrum.

- Nick -

Nick, I am an admirer of Newman, both as an Anglican and a convert to Rome. One of the interesting facts about his life is that, in death, he insisted on being buried next to his long-time male partner. There can be little doubt that his conversion was brought about by his dissatisfaction with the more Calvinistis tendency in the C. of E, at the time.

I am not anti-Rome, Nick. After all, it is the largest denominational Christian Church in the world, founded on the lives of the Apostles, Prophets and Martyrs of the early Church. I just have a problems with some of its more questionable theses.

Father Ron Smith said...

" YOU CANNOT AND MUST NOT USE AD HOMINEMS, CERTAINLY NOT THOSE WHICH PUT DOWN A WHOLE CHURCH AND ITS THEOLOGICAL TRADITION OF LEARNING AND TEACHING!" - Dr. Peter Carrell -

Which is precisely what some of the early Reformers of the Church of England did. In fact, some fundamentalist 'Anglicans' continue to regard Rome as the 'Scarlet Woman'. Why, even the precious 39 A's., Peter - which you embrace, lionise and want to force upon me - has this proscription:"As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Cermonies, but also in matters of Faith" - ad hominem. Peter, or not? Can you see why I have problems assenting to such ad hominem? (I hope you pint this, Peter, in fairness to me)

Father Ron Smith said...

"So, please, help me understand - why can GAFCON not have an influence on the shape and expression of Anglicanism but the Oxford Movement can?" - Zane Elliot -

Because, Zane, the Fathers of the Oxford Movement did not set up their own equivalent to the 'Jerusalem Declaration', declaring themselves an entity outside of the accepted constitutional Anglican Framework of polity and governance. In other words, they did not incite schism by supporting schismatic breakaway churches like ACNA and AMiE.

What the Oxford Movement did, to their credit, was revive the original catholic ethos of the primitive Church in England.

Perhaps, Zane, I was unfairly comparing your 18 years of experience of being Anglican, with that of myself: 86 years, and still counting - 3 years as a Franciscan Brother and 35 of those years as a priest. in ACANZP

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Yes, I see your point. Though I don't agree that that is an "ad hominem" since it refers to objective matters of assessment around "error." I would hope it was not an ad hominem for you to point out my errors!
In anycase, your point re the 39A in no way changes my judgment that (a) I will not print the phrase in the comment which I moderated; (b) I continue to ask that you think twice before writing certain things since it is time-consuming for me to moderate them!

tachesterton said...

Thank you Peter for all you do; it's much appreciated.

Tim C.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
You have an interesting and optimistically sanguine view of the trouble the Oxford Movement caused in the life of the Church of England and in other burgeoning Anglican churches in the 19th century!

Let's recall that the Oxford Movement got up the noses of many bishops (especially when those bishops would not endorse a movement that started with a rebellion against the English parliament in favour of a return to "apostolicity.")

Let's recall that the Oxford Movement printed many controversial documents, viz. the Tracts, many of which argued against the significance and importance of the Reformation as shape and centre of the Church of England, including Newman's notorious Tract 90 which tried to argue a "reverse" understanding of what the 39A really meant. (And when he realised he had not made the case he ... departed).

Let's recall that the Oxford Movement got embroiled in court cases.

Finally, will you ever accept that the largest part of the motivation of the FCA and associated GAFCON endeavours is to faithfully call the existing Anglican churches to renewal. But, wait, that is what the Oxford Movement thought it was doing ...

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, Peter. And here I was thinking that the Jesuits were the only party guilty of casuistry (I hope that's not ad haminem; but if it is; against whom?). Agape.

"The great Love of God is revealed in The Son"

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, I don't know if you were around when, In England, very soon after the end of WW2, the 'Parish Eucharist' Movement (inspired by the earlier 'Oxford Movement') brought into being the idea that the principal Service of worship in the Church - at least every Sunday - should be the celebration of the Eucharist, not the usual Morning and Evening Prayer Services (although they were often continued as well as the Eucharist in most parish churches). The helped restore the balance, with the only worship ritual instituted by Jesus, himself.

This was a great step forward, that restored the primitive Church theology - of the intended place of Eucharistic worship back into the Church of England - in a way that has strengthened and informed the Christian understanding of Christ's sacrifical death and Resurrection being commemorated in perpetuity in the Church.

Sadly, there has been a tendency, in some parts of our Church, to jettison that Eucharistic praxis, where another congregational form of worship is substituted - without the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist - which I see as the neglect of 'The Bread of Life' that Jesus provided for his followers around the altar in fellowship.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I most certainly was not alive at the end of the Second World War:)
However I do appreciate the restoration of weekly communion in the life of the church!

tachesterton said...

Evangelicals may actually deserve more credit for weekly communion than they often get.

'John Wesley received Holy Communion on average twice a week; the sacrament was celebrated daily in the Countess of Huntingdon's private chapel when she was in residence. By the first quarter of the nineteenth century several Evangelical incumbents had introduced a weekly communion and regular weekday services, another innovation which has been incorrectly attributed to the Oxford Movement. At Islington Daniel Wilson had three full services on Sundays and major festivals, services on three week days and additional ones on Holy Days, and communion at eight and noon each Sunday'...Whereas Tractarians held communion services early in the morning to enable the sacrament to be received fasting, Evangelicals began to hold communion services in the evening at a time suited to the needs of working people. By 1869, 65 churches in London had evening communion and it took place at a hundred of the 291 churches in the diocese of Rochester in 1881'.
- Nigel Yates, 'Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain, 1830-1910, p.54.

Tim C.