Monday, January 22, 2018

The Final Report: can we live with the accommodation it offers? (Part 1)

The Final Report of the Motion 29 Working Group is reported on here.
You can see the report for yourself by clicking the link there or directly downloading the PDF by clicking here.

The changes the WG has made to the Interim Report demonstrate that the WG has listened to the feedback it has received. In some cases agreeing with the feedback. In other cases, not so.

The essence of the accommodation proposed in the Interim Report remains: it recommends that we do not change our doctrine of marriage but do make possible, in certain circumstances, the blessing of same sex relationships.

The differences from the Interim Report (as I see) are the following (in no particular order of importance):

- civil marriage is not a prerequisite for an SSB to take place
- a clearer pathway for those “Christian Communities” who are like-minded in the coherency of their theology and wish to stick together (by "clearer" I mean that the proposal does not confusingly mix this in with otherwise already existing "religious orders")
- recognition that some matters are currently in the too hard basket and GS needs to offer further and future guidelines (notably on the question of ordination)
- careful consideration of the possibility of "alternative episcopal oversight" (AEO) (commended for certain situations) but reasoned refusal to recommend "extra provincial diocese" (EPDio) (a challenge to create because it is not solely a decision of our General Synod)
- also, on a matter often mentioned on this site, some careful discussion of the constitutional implications of the proposal.

In sum: I see needed, helpful improvements to the Interim Report and its recommendations. I also see careful consideration of challenging matters which are desired by some but may not be possible or may need General Synod to decide to commission further work on.

For the Interim Report I argued here, controversially as it turned out, that it was a "beautiful accommodation." 

I am not going to do that with the Final Report. Instead I ask, can we live with the accommodation it offers?

I will also ask, of those who say "I/we cannot," what alternative do you propose?

I ask both questions on the understanding that we are a church with such diversity of viewpoint (on many things, on GLBT things) that we are not a church of coherent theology and we are not a church of one mind on GLBT matters.

If we think of our church as somewhat incoherently schizophrenic in its theology, especially on sexuality, then it is fair to ask whether (a) the WG appropriately has represented that mess? (b) whether we could reasonably expect the WG to come up with a proposal other than what it has come up with? (!)

The one thing we should never have expected of either GS or the WG is that they would press the church they represented into a mould that the church was not going to be pressed into; indeed, given our varied state of mind, could not be pressed into.(Yes, I know, resonances with Romans 12:1-2!!).

The best we could expect is that the WG would interim-ly propose a way forward which accommodated the two or more views, then listen to the feedback, assess the feedback, and then finally propose a way forward which continued to accommodate. 

We do not find the WG pressing for the status quo to remain. Presumably that is because there was no strong feedback that we should try to be a church which outwardly professed to believe one view (status quo) while inwardly believing a variety of viewpoints (reality). Rather, the WG continues to discern that as a church some accommodating change is required.

My view remains that the accommodation offered here bends over backwards towards accommodating those who are conservative on the matter of SSB. I also understand - only too well! - that the accommodation offered may not be satisfactory to a number of my conservative colleagues and friends. 

Where to from here?

Episcopal units have opportunity to consider the report and its recommendations before their reps go to GS in May. (The Diocese of Christchurch meets for a synod on Saturday 3 March 2018).

Any member of the church, any ministry unit of our church may consider the report now it is in the public domain. Some ministry units will be having discussions about it or about the prospects for the church should it be agreed to. (I am engaged to participate in such a discussion in a few weeks time.)

You can discuss it here!

This is "Part 1" of my response. "Part 2" will focus on the matter of the Christian Communities and the strength or otherwise of this proposal in comparison to the soft support for AEO and the lack of support for an EPDio.

Other posts that I am aware of

Bosco Peters begins a series of responses here. His Part 2 is here.

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82 comments:

James said...

Hi Peter

First of all, my theological conviction from the Bible is that a Christian Church should not bless same sex couples in conducting what is clear (to me) to be a sinful relationship.

However, the point of the WG is (as very clearly stated) not to reconcile the differing theological convictions, but to establish a structure that allows the spectrum of convictions to be held.

My reservation about this is that whilst in theory this sounds possible, in practice I fear that the differing convictions will not be able to be held concurrently within the church. I refer to the example of the Church of England where in theory it is possible to hold the theological conviction that does not allow for the ordination of Women Priests and Bishops, but in practice only those that affirm the liberal interpretation are being elevated to the House of Bishops, while those with differing views are campaigned against and maligned.

I think it is clear from the feedback given to the WG and the rework of the Christian Communities section that the Orders of Consecrated Life, to be recognised or not by the House of Bishops, is aimed at those with a conservative theological conviction. I am yet to understand how the proposed construct is viable in reality - given that a "Bishop of this Church" (ie NZ) is to be the Visitor or Protector of a / the "Christian Community", does that mean that there must at all times be ordained at least one bishop of NZ / Aotearoa who has conservative convictions? Is it even possible to maintain that permanently? Will individual parishes aligning with this Christian Community cease episcopal oversight in their current diocese - what happens to church property?

I am hesitant to be comfortable about the proposed structural changes, given the hostility between both sides of this issue (as regrettable and un-Christian as it is), which has been played out in the Christchurch Diocese and the 'respectful conversation' forced on all parishes - it was anything but respectful of conservative viewpoints, and it is clear that our divided house will not stand. I do not think that allowing our house to be continuously divided is a wise or biblical move.

I think a wiser structural change will be for the Anglican Church of NZ / Aotearoa to go one way or the other in terms of the theology, and respectfully allow those with a different viewpoint to seperate, along with their property. The question might be why seperate over this issue, and not other theological differences such as contraception, marriage of divorced people, women priests and women bishops - I think the answer must be that this is the straw that breaks the camel's back.

The question then should be who leaves - the liberals changing the rules and constitution, or the conservatives who seek to uphold them?

Peter Carrell said...

Dear James
First, thank you for a respectful, clearly reasoned comment: it sets a great standard for further comments here!

A possible, and I hope plausible response is for all unhappy with the proposal (conservatives and progressives) to give it a go, that is, to see whether conservatism and progressivism can flourish in what is proposed. Departure only when flourishing is, say, curtailed.

Incidentally, concern for whether or not there is a conservative bishop in our church can be matched by a progressive concern about whether there will always be at least one progressive bishop. (A separate historical argument, but I think it possible we currently have, on 23 January 2018, the most conservative House of Bishops since the 60s and 70s (when it became clear that we were electing bishops of a progressive theological character).)

A challenge to think through re your diagnosis and prognosis is this: clearly some parishes are close to 100% united against SSB and potentially could leave according to your prognosis, able to "resume" as an intact worshipping fellowship in a different structure after departure. Most parishes across the episcopal units of our church are not close to 100%. Any post-proposal departures would (a) diminish existing parishes; (b) lead to choices for the departed (find another (now new structure) parish, if one is nearby; join another denomination; etc). It would not be surprising if some Anglicans unhappy with the proposal determined to stay rather than go, albeit less than happily. (I imagine a pertinent question might be this:) Is the proposal something that can be lived with, or does it necessarily mean one who disagrees must, according to conscience, leave?

My own view, is that it is possible to stay ...

James said...

Thanks Peter

Having further reflected on the report (and my own comment!), I am tending more towards exactly what you advise - that it is probably wisest for conservatives to remain and take the 'win' (such as it is) with the to-be-established Christian Communities and the degree of oversight and protection that they will provide. A 'wait and see' approach will avoid the trauma that you astutely predict amongst the parishes, which can only detract from our worship and fellowship.

Furthermore, as it is becoming apparent worldwide (https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/04/liberal-churches-are-dying-but-conservative-churches-are-thriving/?utm_term=.d99aff08a850), and combined with your observation that actually the NZ House of Bishops is becoming more conservative, maybe conservatives are best-advised to remain fully in the Anglican Church of NZ / Aotearoa as it potentially becomes more conservative? Certainly, if the conservatives depart en mass (such as the Anglican Church of North America has / was forced to from TEC), it will irrevocably destroy the diversity of our church, turning it into a homogenous (and liberal) church, which is the very thing that neither 'side' actually wants.

So yes, I think I agree with you, it appears possible (advisable even!) for conservatives to stay, as it looks like the conservative conviction will be accommodated and protected. In fact, I envisage that accommodation and protection to be strongest in the dioceses of Christchurch and Nelson, but I do wonder about the strength of the conservative position in the North Island and Dunedin?

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

The report of the WG. is, sadly a lamentable waste of time and energy.Why???
Because it is totally unconstitutional,and who can give Bishops and Priests protection to do what the Constitution 1857 states they can't. General Synod certainly can't; they are legally and duty bound to uphold the Doctrine of the Constitution 1857 Fundamental Clause 1. In their Ordination ,Bishops also vow to uphold that Doctrine and Constitution. Fundamental Clause 1 defines the legal Doctrine of the ACANZP as:"The word of God and the Sacraments as they have been received and explained in the Book of Common Prayer,The Ordinals and the 39 Articles".This Doctrine cannot be "altered or diminished".

Art 20:"The Church hath power to decree Rites and Ceremonies,and authority in Controversies of Faith.And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it expound one place of Scripture,that it be repugnant to another." Is not the Bishop allowing a service to bless SSM; decreeing a Rite or Ceremony? and is that Rite or Ceremony not repugnant to God's Word as defined by Fundamental Clause 1.

Art 35 Homily 18 [Marriage]: "Marriage was instituted of God so that man and woman may lie together lawfully." This Article, together with the Book of Common Prayer quite clearly places human sexuality in and only in,marriage between one man and one woman. The working group has effectively discounted this and recognizes that God blessed sex can now occur in Same Sex Marriage.
This is unconstitutional, because it diminishes the Legal Doctrine of the ACANZP, as received and explained in Art 35 Hom.18 and the Book of Common Prayer.

Anonymous said...

Peter, policy choices are wagers on the probabilities of outcomes, and I have no way of gauging those from here up yonder. Will chartered *christian communities* enable eccentrics left, center, and right to survive and thrive in ACANZP? I cannot guess. I do wish that the proposal balanced the centrifugal force of the christian communities with a centripetal force of inquiry into the history of their disagreements, upstream of That Topic, on God, scripture, etc.

BW





Glen Young said...


Hi Bowman,

For some reason Peter has not put up my blog explaining that the proposal of the Working Group is completely outside of the Constitution 1857, of the ACANZP and should not even legally be allowed to be tabled at General Synod; let alone spoken to. It is contravention of Art 20,Art 35 homily 18 and the Book of Common Prayer. But no doubt, those pushing this heresy, will foist it on the average Anglican Communicant.

Anonymous said...

Glen, your comment is probably up by now; about 10% of my comments are diverted by demons, found by Peter, and eventually presented to perplexed readers.

James, the difference between the two main sides-- there are centrists too, but I am talking about the extremes-- is that one side is trying hard to keep head and heart together and try to use the Bible to do that, whilst the other has concluded, either that head and heart cannot be satisfactorily reconciled at all, or else that it cannot be done with the Bible. The case for splitting is that these two ways of navigating modernity and its aftermath have not coexisted well at close range, and more space would enable both to flourish. The case for not splitting is that neither side has a conclusive case that Jesus made their preferred method a necessary precondition of saving allegiance to him.

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Glen
(1) Apologies for late posting of your comment. Sometimes when I travel I do not "see" all the notifications of comments and end up posting the latest rather than all that have appeared while I have been travelling. It is very rare that I don't post a comment and the reason would be that it was ad hominem rather than "ad constitutionem" :)
(2) If I understand the report correctly, it acknowledges that SSB is held by some in our church to be unconstitutional; but it proposes that to refrain from imposing discipline re SSBs [I am simplifying the wording!] is possible, under the constitution.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bowman
It is a fascinating question what shape and what impact the Christian Communities will have.
That this church might also reflect theologically and with some depth on these matters and how we have gotten to this point is about as likely as Trump being impeached by the end of March 2018!

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

No problem. Say what you may, this Report is just a "backroom deal" to try and circumvent the Constitution and all that the legitimate Doctrine of the ACANZP stands for. It is fundamentally a lie; because, for all of it's guarantees that it does not change Holy Matrimony, it does. Marriage between man and woman is no longer seen as the only God ordained place for human sexuality. It also changes Title "D" Canon 1 -10.4."Chasity is the right ordering of sexual relationships". Any Bishop who writes or allows a SSB service, is saying that s/he considers any sexual act in that relationship to be "chaste".This then opens the door to Ordination.So,the Liberals have effectively stolen the ACANZP by stealth.

Jean said...

Yep I can live with it for now. I like that they haven’t altered the necessary requirements for ordination. I like that the formulary will be considered a non-authorised one. I like that it hasn’t been linked to civil marriage making it clear that it is independent from marriage. Ultimately, from my perspective the responsibility is to fall on Vicars/Minister’s and their own convictions under God. A congregation or it’s members will get an opportunity to speak up if they disagree or agree and this therefore is their responsibility under God. Despite all the regulations and constitutions of the Anglican Church God is the answerable to authority and therefore with this in mind we need to all work out our own salvation with ‘fear and trembling’.

I have met Ministers who have no issue with same sex couples and I can accept this even if I might voice my own opinion, and it is their wrestling to do. If they were a minister and did bless a couple outside of a regular church service I could live with it. If they taught it was theologically sound in a sermon, or I found it was being practiced regularly in a service I would find this difficult.

Splitting may work for many churches, however, a number hold people with varying viewpoints and it would be a sad thing for a congregation to be forced into ‘choosing’ a side when their church or minister may never even be called upon to perform a blessing. People change their minds, with teaching, hearing from the Holy Spirit and at different points in time on many theological controversies so room needs to also exist to allow this. For example a Gen Y may have grown up with homosexuality as a norm so it may take some time once joining the church, for them to understand the under-girding scriptural teaching on such matters, the approach/es, and then to discern and integrate, and form their own opinions.

Cheers
Jean

Peter Carrell said...

Dear gLen
You are more than entitled to raise questions about the constitution and this proposal, indeed about the gospel and this proposal.
What I do not think you are entitled to do is to talk the language of "stealth."
Everything here is in plain sight.
Everything here has taken numerous hermeneutical and theological hui, working groups and, significantly, at least two General Synods to get to this point.
Along the way various other proposals have been thrown out, or quietly forgotten.
What is being proposed represents a considered and considerable effort in time and energy on the part of people devoted to our church (from all parts, not just "liberal") in order to present a view that represents the views of the whole church.
There is no stealth here and I think it most unfortunate that you have used that language.

Jean said...

Just to clarify my second paragraph above, I was meaning to refer to a Minister/Vicar in my own Church (e.g. I will not leave attending an Anglican Church just because this motion passes but this choice could become harder if blessings were taught has theologically sound or practiced in regular church life in my current congregation). It would have been my option to wait on addressing this issue formally until there was a sense of clear theological understanding and a definite sense of leading by the Holy Spirit regarding the issue at hand, however, the world thankfully does not always operate on my agenda so it is a matter now of choosing how to respond to what is.

In all this I am supportive of more open pastoral care and discussion regarding matters of sexuality, and the room for people to express how such matters impact them personally. Hence, although I know it would sound contradictory to many given my prior comments, I believe all people are welcome to be in church, where else can we all with our multiple and varied human weaknesses walk with other people as we learn of God’s word and encounter his Spirit. After all Jesus did not come for those who had it all together.

Finally, I am concerned all this focus on one topic serves to pay attention mostly to what ‘the Church’ stands against. While upholding truth and speaking the truth in love is of utmost importance in any circumstance, there is much to be gained by focusing attention on what ‘the Church’ stands for especially for those who are yet to believe. If for example an individual church was defined primarily by being against women preaching, against divorce, and against homosexuality (even if this was coined in nice language) the importance of proclaiming the message of Jesus being the way the truth and the life may in an ironic way begins to take second place. It was a hard leant lesson of mine that the best way to witness to someone whose viewpoints were contrary to what the gospel proclaims was not to argue with every point they made, but instead to be open about what I believed and why I believed it and allow the Holy Spirit to be the one who in His time convicts.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Jean
Your comment chimes in with my concerns (and/or questions):
- if I can live within the life of ACANZP if this proposal goes ahead, can I also live with my own local parish offering SSB (or, at the least, the local vicar offering them)?
- an advantage to staying together is that we can keep conversations alive;
- we are IMHO in great danger of becoming defined by aspects of life which we are against, rather than by the gospel.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

The "stealth" to which I am referring to, is the statements that Holy Matrimony,the Formularies and the Canons have not been changed; when in both "fact and Practice", they have been. The written words may not have been changed or altered but the accepted interpretation and usage of them have. Thus, the legitimate Doctrine of the ACANZP has been unconstitutionally "diminished"; which breaches the Constitution.

Put simply,sexual acts within same sex relationships are either "right ordered" or not "right ordered"; if they can be blessed by the ACANZP,then surely, they are considered "right ordered", and the relationship is not an impediment to Ordination. Can you tell me Peter,where these "down stream"
repercussions have been clearly laid before the laity.

My blogs of:Jan 23 @ 12.47 PM 8.14 PM and Jan 24 @ 5.31 PM spell out the case against the Working Group's proposals and their non compliance with the
Constitution.

Anonymous said...

There was a viral outbreak in two remote villages in the mountains of Parador, where medications of any kind are scarce. As the reader will know, the increase of cases in an epidemic is an exponential curve-- small in the first hours but doubling in shorter and shorter intervals of time thereafter. And so the physicians in the villages had to make a hard choice.

In one village, the clinic director required that persons be quarantined to receive the medication, trying not to waste drugs on those who would just get themselves reinfected. Mostly untreated, the epidemic spread outside the clinic to devastate the population. But because all of those quarantined did recover and none were reinfected, the director grimly concluded that he had done the right thing to save the lives he did.

In the other, the director begged all those infected to hurry to the clinic for treatment, even if they had clumsily gotten reinfected. He had the drugs to quash the outbreak if he moved fast, but not enough to treat a whole epidemic. Quickly treated, the outbreak quickly subsided, although a few people for whom there were no drugs did die. Because an epidemic killing thousands was averted, the director concluded that, despite the deaths of a few, he had done the right thing.

At a conference later, they both presented papers on how to handle a viral outbreak. Understandably, their learned hearers were perplexed.

"Dr Quarantine, how can you be sure that you were right to hold back the drugs when thousands died in an unchecked epidemic?"

"It was essential that people take responsibility for their actions. Those who did survived. The disease and death of the others are regrettable, of course, but not our fault."

"Dr Easydrugs, you took a terrible risk. How could you be so reckless in giving out drugs when the likelihood of running out of drugs and leaving at least a few cases untreated was so obvious?"

"It was not a moment to teach people about moral responsibility. It was a moment for us to save their lives, as many as possible. And we did-- look at the numbers."

Dr Quarantine's eyes grew cold. "In the face of danger, frightened people want a clear path to safety from those in authority. I gave them one, and those who took it are alive to tell you that today. Easydrugs did not."

"Today, so that Quarantine can feel like a paragon of virtue, moral most of his village is six feet under and will never say anything again," retorted Easydrugs. "God spare us any more of such heroism."

BW



Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
We can engage those concerns without making the charge of "stealth."
1. Concern for intended and unintended consequences, for predictable and unpredictable ramifications have been discussed openly (e.g. on this site).
2. The Final Report clearly signals areas of concern, some of which they are putting back to GS for further work.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, one has to force a smile at the continuing attempts by some of your correspondents to claim that S/S/ blessings would make an unprecedented departure from the canons and constitution of our Church in ACANZP.

One glaring instance of a seeming departure from the teaching of Jesus about Christian Marriage was that of ACANZP's permission given to clergy to openly Solemnize the second Marriage of Divorced (heterosexual) persons. This state has now existed for decades in our Church without threats of schism.

How is it that such license to disobey the Constitution can be lived with by the Sola scriptura members of the Church; while yet causing scandal to the same people when the possibility arises - on similar grounds - but with NO protest recorded in Scripture from Jesus - about S/S relationships being Blessed?. Is it that the protesters think that Jesus might be more against blessing the relationships of Gay people, than the blessing of promiscuous heterosexual relationship?

If this is the case then no wonder people like Donald Trump can still retain respectability in the eyes of his Pentecostal Supporters. After all, his sexual shenanigans were heterosexual and therefore, more easily forgivable?

Promiscuous sex is sinful - but then, so is homophobia and sexism. Can God not recognise faithfulness in the life of every couple - no matter their gender/sexual orientation? What is the Church to do about human sexuality?
Condemn it? Or Bless is where it faithfully monogamous and upbuilding?

Father Ron Smith said...

"Dr Quarantine's eyes grew cold. "In the face of danger, frightened people want a clear path to safety from those in authority. I gave them one, and those who took it are alive to tell you that today. Easydrugs did not."

"Today, so that Quarantine can feel like a paragon of virtue, moral most of his village is six feet under and will never say anything again," retorted Easydrugs. "God spare us any more of such heroism." - BW -

Thank you Bowman, for your usual Common Sense on this issue.

I will always remember the father of one of my highly-educated female friends once said of his daughter" "She has every sense but common sense". She had lots of advice about 'everything under the sun' - but little true understanding of our common humanity.

Too often, we humans are more ready to judge than to seek further understanding. Our limited capacity for Mercy denies our inheritance of the Divine Image and Likeness - Pope Francis' favourite charism; God's Mercy.

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

Why is the adaption of SSB, an unprecedented departure from the Constitution and Canons of the ACANZP? Because,unlike the remarriage of divorced hetero-sexual couples; SSB re-defines the right ordering of sexual acts.Jesus said:
"For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh".Matt 19/5. This now reads:"....shall cleave to their faithfully monogamous uplifting partner".

The meaning of Holy Matrimony has now been re-defined and diminished, which breeches the Constitution 1857. After all time and money, which has gone into trying to find a method of circumventing the insuperable barriers which stop this motion from reaching fruition; their only solution is to say:"Go ahead and we won't discipline the Bishops who write or allow the blessings or the Priests who perform them. One of the problems is that writing such a blessing contravenes Art 20:"The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies,and authority in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful
for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's Word written".General Synod is required to uphold Art 20 and so can not give Bishops permission to breech it.

Anonymous said...

Peter; I have some considerable sympathy for Fr Ron’s complaint that heterosexual irregular relationships seem to be theologised into legitimacy, but homosexual ones are not. On the other hand, appeals to mercy don’t bolster Fr Ron’s arguments. If same-sex committed relationships can be blessed, mercy isn’t necessary.

Nick

David Wilson said...

To my mind the most curious point in the report is this:

- civil marriage is not a prerequisite for an SSB to take place.

What, precisely, is being blessed if it is not the public commitment expressed in the vows exchanged in the civil marriage?

If this is the case, should there not also be some service of blessing for heterosexual couples who are not married but are in some kind of committed relationship?

Anonymous said...

There is an easy solution, and it involves a variation in terms. Continue with holy matrimony, and introduce a new term called ....unholy matrimony!

Peter Carrell said...

Dear David (7.27am)
I interpret the lack of requirement for civil marriage in the FR (compared to the IR) to be due to the WG listening to concerns that if (a) we require civil marriage before a Blessing; (b) refuse to conduct a civil SSM in a church; (c) do perform an SSB in a church, then we raise a hornet's nest of questions about why we do not simply conduct SSMs in church.
That is, the FR recommending that an SSB may be performed for a committed relationship which is not a civil marriage allows our church to say to itself, we distinguish (or, with a greater degree of clarity distinguish) between marriage and a blessed relationship.
(It also allows, incidentally, for a same sex couple who believe that marriage is for a man and a woman only, to nevertheless have their relationship blessed.)
Yes, the question is raised about blessing any committed relationship but I cannot see that the church making a pastoral provision for couples who cannot enter in (heterosexual) marriage [as understood by the church] necessarily requires that the church makes pastoral provision for couples who can enter into marriage.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Nick
Might mercy (on the part of conservatives) be a contribution to the life of the church, the mercy that acknowledges differing viewpoints?
(I keep finding Pope Francis offering a way forward along such lines!)

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Glen,
I take your point (in my words) that the FR offers a way to understand how we might (so to speak) get around the constitution (as constitution) but it does not necessarily offer the same way around Article 20.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
Welcome back!

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

The point I am trying to make,[perhaps not so clearly], is that Art 20 explains the right given by Christ, to the Apostles, as the custodians of His Church Matt 18/18 & 16/19. To "bind and to "loose" meant in current Jewish speech to "declare forbidden" and to "declare allowed". Christ was bestowing on the new Israel the same authority that existed in the old Matt 23/2-3.

So, clearly Art 20 is stating that the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church must have Scriptural authority.Hence,"And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's Word written". Therefore if the SSB is a Rite or Ceremony of the Church, we have effectively said that blessing SSR is allowed in heaven. That is why SSB can only be allowed to proceed with good Scriptural authority.

If we have "loosened" the blessing of SSR on earth, we have bound God by that decision. Peter, are you going to be the one who tells God that He can not discipline anyone for blessing SSRs?

It clearly is beyond the authority of G.S. to this consent to Bishops and Clergy.It is essential for G.S. to step back from this momentous decision and act in the spirit of Bishop Selwyn's address to the First G.S. in 1859.

Anonymous said...

Peter; if SSBs are theologically and biblically correct, mercy is otiose. As an aside, Francis’s understanding of mercy is (shall we say) novel, but irrelevant if SSB is justifiable.

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
Yes, but might we be merciful to those who argue something we disagree with, who argue that X is justifiable when we do not think it is so? That is merciful in permitting that difference of view within the church rather than either expelling them or ourselves leaving them behind as we separate from them? (Romans 14-15!)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
Within the church we have had disagreements over what we might "bind" and "loose" on God's behalf.
The question before us, which, on our behalf the WG has engaged with, is how we work out our disagreement on a matter such as SSB.
Those in favour of SSB clearly think that God does bless stable, permanent, loving relationships between two people of the same gender and they clearly think that such relationships are not proscribed by Scripture, and thus Article 20 is not contradicted. Others differ. What are we to do?
Now, it could be that a legal challenge yields the outcome that SSB is contradicted by Article 20 etc, that the church may not so permit, and the constitution thus on legal and theological grounds prohibits SSB.
But can you rule out in advance that a legal challenge might yield the opposite outcome, that SSB is legally and theologically permitted?
Not least, those ruling on such a legal challenge might take up Bosco Peters' point, that the constitution of our church has not prohibited remarriage of divorcees as a reasonable pastoral provision for parishioners, despite, on the face of it, it being a contradiction of Scripture; and thus our church has a precedent for finding pastoral provision for those seeking the support of the church for domestic relationships otherwise at variance with the tradition of Christianity.

Liturgy said...

Can I nuance Peter's expression of my point slightly:
the formularies in Anglicanism can give a particular interpretation of the scriptures (eg. re the Trinity, Incarnation, who may be baptised, how we baptise,...) and they do so in relation to marriage. The formularies form a particular lens through which we read the scriptures.
The formularies in relation to marriage have been summarised as being between a man and a woman, life-long, and monogamous.
The Canon of Marriage, however, allows for it not to be life-long without any repercussion in the life of our Church.
The summary of the formularies might be open to dispute, and the wisdom of explicitly allowing a particular contradicting of the formularies as understood without any discipline might be open to dispute.
But that is where we have been for many decades now without controversy
when it comes to heterosexuals.

Blessings

Bosco

Glen Young said...


Hi peter and Bosco,

++Richardson and +Bray gave evidence before the Human Rights Tribunal and acknowledged that some people who did not meet the criteria of Title "D" Canon 1 [10.4] had been ordained but that simply meant that decisions inconsistent with that Canon had been made and did not establish any precedent.

If the re-marriage of heterosexual people is offensive, have G.S. correct the matter; but don't use it as justification of making more wrong decisions.

Anonymous said...

Peter, *mercy* has two senses.

Juridical-- Mercy is the remission of a deserved penalty.

Judaic-- Mercy is God's intervention to achieve his ultimate ends in a less destructive way.

This becomes confusing in a discussion of canon law, which is properly juridical in nature but constrained by the character of the Creator God of the Jews.

When Nick says, "if SSBs are theologically and biblically correct, mercy is otiose," *mercy* seems to be used in the Juridical sense. For *mercy* in the Judaic sense is clearly not otiose where by *dispensation* (Catholic) or *economy* (Orthodox) or *accommodation* (Anglican) God's ultimate ends are being achieved in another way through the power of the keys.

Nuancing Bosco's expression of Peter's expression of Bosco's expression, "explicitly allowing a *particular contradicting* of the *formularies as understood* without any discipline" can be taken in either sense. It could mean that eg *those who commit the crime of divorce* deserve retribution, but may not receive it. Or it could mean that God's ultimate will for those whose marriages fail is served by an extraordinary second chance that is usually precluded. This ambiguity is confusing.

Our distinction in past threads between *contractual* and *covenantal* understandings of salvation is very relevant to what one means by *mercy*.

BW

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

Let's see the conclusive evidence, from those who favour SSBs that this "truth" has always been present but latent in the teachings of the Church Fathers {ubique,semper,ab ominbus].

This Controversy of Faith should have been sorted by proper Judicial Process before any Authoritive action was taken.

Anonymous said...

In earnest consideration of Glens's constant proclamation of God's Judgement upon others, I am minded to remember the lovely words of Jesus, on 'compassion and generosity', which appear in Luke's Gospel Chapter 6, verses 36 - 38:

"Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon and you will be pardoned. Gove, and there will be gifts for you, pressed down shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap; BECAUSE THE AMOUNT - judgement or forgiveness - YOU MEASURE OUT IS THE AMOUNT YOU WILL BE GIVEN BACK".

This makes perfect sense of two other occasions when Jesus warned those making judgement over others: (1) from the story of the Womkan Caught in the Act of Adultery - where Jesus invited her judges, if they are without sin, to throw the first stone (in a situation where the Law demanded retribution. And (2) from the story of the Publican and the Pharisee - where Jesus asked: "Who went away justified?" - the sinner or the Upholder of the Law?

Mercy can be considered to be God's 'overlooking of one's sins' in the interest of exercising God's prerogative of MERCY. Only God has this particular charism which requires unmerited Love and Forgiveness.

"Where Love and Charity are; there is God" (Holy Thursday Abntiphon)

"O happy fault", without which redemption would have been neither necessary nor made available by God to humanity through the Love of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bowman and Peter, this is the type of mercy I was referring to:

“Let us confess our sins.

Merciful God,
we have sinned
in what we have thought and said,
in the wrong we have done
and in the good we have not done.
We have sinned in ignorance:
we have sinned in weakness:
we have sinned through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry.
We repent and turn to you.
Forgive us, for our Saviour Christ’s sake,
and renew our lives to the glory of your name. Amen.”
New Zealand Prayer Book.

This follows the “Kyrie Eleison” but I hesitate to call it juridic or Judaic; possibly both.

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Glen, Bowman, Nick and Anonymous at 2.20 pm,
It may be unhelpful to pursue the question of whether mercy is at stake in resolving a way forward on this particular matter of division, since once we start asking ourselves which kind of mercy and who may exercise it, etc, we are heading off into a series of discussions the outcome of which may not resolve the starting discussion!

What may be helpful is to take Glen's point about the church living by truth which has everywhere and always and by everyone been believed.

That could focus our minds on the following questions:
(1) is marriage a remedy for fornication (a la 1 Cor 7:9)?
(2) what remedy does the church consider is available for those unable to marry (i.e. gay men and lesbian women) but tempted to fornicate?
(3) if the answer to (2) is celibacy, does the possibility of civil marriage and/or general social acceptance of same sex partnerships akin to marriage make any difference to that answer?
(4) if the answer to (3) is, No, does that mean the church considers such permanently bound, faithfully loving couples to be in a continuing state of sexual sinfulness?
The answer to (4) could well be Yes (noting that that is the same answer the Roman church gives to those who remarry after divorce (i.e. without receiving the judgement that the previous marriage is annulled).
But if the answer is Yes in a church which remarries divorcees/accepts remarriage after divorce without requiring an annulment (i.e. accepts such a state is not a continuing state of sexual sinfulness), then question (5) is:
(5) if the church may provide a remedy for fornication for the divorced (i.e. remarriage) contrary to the Scriptures and to what the church once taught all, everywhere, why may it not do so for gay and lesbian persons?
Note that the underlying point to (5) is not that one wrong deserves another, but that the church as a matter of fairness should be consistent in pastoral provision.

Peter Carrell said...

And, for Nick,
(6) When a German Catholic bishop recently raised the question of the possibility of SSB, was he sacked immediately?
(7) If the answer to (6) is No, does that mean that consideration of SSB is lively in the minds of some contemporary Catholic authorities, even if sotto voce?

Anonymous said...

Peter; it’s obviously at least sotto voce all over the West. The German church doesn’t have any members though, so their Cardinals can screech fortissimo until they’re hoarse; no one cares. Perhaps the mercy approach is simply flawed anyway. I think it’s more credible to say that “we agree on most things, not this, but we have decided to stay together”.

Nick

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

I feel that anonymous has fallen foul of the mistake of not distinguishing the argument from the person. I have not, let alone constantly proclaimed God's Judgement on anyone. My argument is simply that I do not believe that homosexual acts do not fall within God's right ordering of human sexuality and therefore can not be blessed by the ACANZP.

In response to your Q 1.: Perhaps the Church Fathers would point out to you that marriage [including sexuality] was ordained and instituted of God before Adam had a chance lust after any body else. It seems to me to be a very low ranking cab to put marriage into; and all sex you refer to are in cabs a further back.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Glen; a conundrum arises from your statment here, which characterises the use of many forceful, but highly suspect, double-negatives:

"I do not beleve that homosexual acts do not fall within God's right orderng of human sexuality and therefore can not be blessed by the ACANZP"

If indeed, then, you DO believe that homosexual acts DO fall withn God's right ordering of human sexuality (another way of expressug your stated belief); then what are you arguing about. (By the way, Glen, have you ever heard the story of Jesus' healing of the Patrician's servant (paede)?

Jonathan said...

"It is fair to ask whether
(a) the WG appropriately has represented that mess?" Yes.
"(b) whether we could reasonably expect the WG to come up with a proposal other than what it has come up with?" No

"Has the Final Report got the options re structure (a) right, and (b) well reasoned?"
Yes if AEO is taken on board.

"If you prefer EPDio, do you think the rest of the Communion would agree to it?" I don't prefer it personally but envisage many will. More than likely a substantial portion of the worldwide communion would embrace it; and a substantial portion would not. In other words, it could happen without universal acceptance.

"If you lean towards AEO, is that a personal preference or also a preference of your ministry unit?"
I can't speak for anyone but myself, but given the presence of AEO in England on the matter of women's ordination, and the more or less global nature of the current divergence, I think it would unwise to neglect this as an instrument of as-much-unity-as-possible. That's not to say AEO is my preference - having assumed for the last several decades that the only way to be faithful to scripture is to accept (what could currently be called the) Vaughan Roberts / Ed Shaw exemplars, I have my work cut out for the forseeable future endeavouring to understand the reasoning behind other views.


"Are you interested (might your ministry unit be interested) in forming a Christian Community?"
The parish I am most involved with is (without having any way of knowing accurately) probably a microcosm of the ACANZP and issues of EPDio, AEO, would probably be a point of tension no matter which way we headed. The advantage of a Christian Community is that 45% of a parish could join one and 55% could decline. The consequences of a parish deciding to seek (or to not seek) to be part of an EPDio or AEO Entity on a 45/55 split would probably mean having to merge with other like-minded parishes. Different if 90% of a parish agrees...

With respect to Article 20, "It is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it expound one place of Scripture,that it be repugnant to another," I think that most accept there are some apparent contradictions in the ways we apply scripture which reflect differences in the way we attempt to faithfully understand and live by them (thinking of three issues already mentioned: womens' ordination, remarriage of those divorced,and SSM.)

Jonathan.

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you Jonathan for a sober and reasonable estimate of the way things are!

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
Take care please.
Such an approach to a comment is heading towards "ad hominem" territory.
It is quite reasonable when reading a comment from a frequent commenter to make some allowance for an errant word - misspelled, omitted, accidentally added in, etc.
Thus it is unreasonable of you to take up Glen's comment in the way you do.
He clearly and consistently understands that homosexual acts do not fall within God's right ordering etc.
Lets keep the quality of debate in this thread to the high standard each commenter has been maintaining.

Liturgy said...

Peter, I am still trying to get my head around the point of the "Christian Communities" and how they work in practice. You commended Jonathan's comment. So is his understanding correct:

"The advantage of a Christian Community is that 45% of a parish could join one and 55% could decline."

If it is - I'm even more confused...

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bosco
On p. 13, the report talks about "individuals, families and other groupings" being able to coalesce into communities; also that "Ministry Units would be able to affiliate (and disaffiliate) to a Christian Community by a vote at a general meeting of parishioners (or equivalent)."

I take this to mean that:
- if 45% of a parish chose to affiliate as individuals with a CC, then, although that parish as a ministry unit was not affiliated, those 45% would be sending a very strong signal to vicar and bishop that this was a parish not to be pushed in a direction against whatever that CC stood for;
- if 45% of a parish are inclined to want to have a specific bond of affection in respect of belief X, then a CC offers a means of organising support around X. By contrast AEO would not help those 45% (because the parish would not have a majority with which to resolve to ask the bishop for AEO; and clearly the parish would not have a sufficient majority to leave for an EPDio.)

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Nick
When you write, "I think it’s more credible to say that “we agree on most things, not this, but we have decided to stay together”.", I think you are right!

Anonymous said...

Nick (and Peter and Glen), the Bible's big story about the creation is either that God is restoring a once-perfect clockwork universe, or else that God is gradually regenerating his creation to be the temple of his own presence. And the Bible's big morality is either that God has set up a code of behaviour as an end in itself, or else that he uses the ethos of the kingdom to restore his image and likeness in souls.

Everyone likes Psalm 119/118. But some insist that God's mercy is always in itself compliant with a transcendent law or justice, as if the conservation of explicit moral order was slightly more important to God than saving souls. You may recall Brendan's insistence on the eternal applicability of Leviticus. Not very different are those who see God as merciful in that he has inexplicably chosen to tweak his own law for the sake of sinners. For Father Ron, I think, it is the arbitrary unreasonableness-- the paradox even-- of what he has done for us that seems so merciful. Meanwhile, for still others it is God's own characteristic self-investment in his ongoing creative project that seems so merciful. To my own mind-- St Paul's mind in Romans 12:2-- God laid down law from time to time, not as an end in itself, but rather mercifully using his precepts and providence to transform souls misinformed and malformed by the world. God's mercy for us is not the end of our responsibility to him.

So, three views of That Topic. For some, the scandal of homosexuality/SSB is that a soul/church would do anything outside the safety of an explicit commandment from God, let alone something in evident tension with the text. For others, there is confidence that, although the scriptures remain a lamp to one's feet and a light on one's path, just because God's mercy is paradoxical, homosexuals need not conform to a legal reading of the biblical text. For myself, SSB is difficult: it tacitly confirms a popular but decadent understanding (cf the Western distortion of mariology) of MWM severed from procreation (eg Peter's argument to Glen), and it is unclear how a practise of SSB so freighted with mere social affirmation could assist the merciful transformation of souls that is the Church's proper business.

BW

Glen Young said...


Hi Bowman,

A most interesting read. Peter hits the nail on the head, when he speaks of the "broad Church" and the lack of consistent Theology. Most,if not all the sermons I have sat through,were based on the belief that the Gospel could be reduced to a methodology for behavioral improvement. This seductive false gospel of moralism, falls far short of the "merciful transformation" of souls; which as you say, is the Church's proper business. The POWER of His Gospel has been lost. There is no talk of: "For the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God for, the pulling down the strong holds;casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ". What about putting on the full "armour of God"? What about equipping the saints for the priesthood?

Anonymous said...

Bowman, I find mercy intellectually unsatisfactory because I view mercy as a breathing space before repentance. I am not a theologian, so I accept that my view might be narrow. The repentance then requires amendment of life and that seems out of place at this stage of discussion. Peter’s mercy (accepting that other Christians have different sincere views) isn’t quite how I see mercy either, but this could be hair-splitting on my part. I’d much prefer to state the facts ie “we agree on most things, not this, but we are staying together”. I don’t believe in SSB at all, but there must be some confidence that there were no other obvious solutions to the WG. I think we all agree that schism is particularly grave. So, where does that leave mercy? You and Peter may very well be using the word correctly; it’s simply a word I personally would avoid in this context. As an aside, Ross Douthat seems to have been particularly merciful with Austen Ivereigh of late :)
Nick

Anonymous said...

Postscript-- Glen, you may want some unpacking of the last sentence of my last comment.

In brief, SSB proposes that homosexuals pairbond *as if* they were doing so for procreation. This *as if* relationship is modeled on the prior *as if* relationship in which even heterosexuals, aided by birth control, pairbonded without any necessary commitment to procreation *as if* they were. The latter was not what the Bible knew as marriage, but C20 churches, with more social sensitivity than pastoral prudence, allowed it to pass as marriage anyway. ACANZP is among those churches, and the legitimacy of that polite fiction has been accepted for generations now.

The challenge to you from Father Ron and Peter is clear: if allowing gay couples to pass *as if* married is not legitimate under the Formularies, then how can it have been legitimate for child-optional straight couples for several decades? Either you accept the past decisions of the church to which you belong, they imply, or else you belong to a new church of one, for nobody in your church will give up a fiction that has become socially indispensible. They may be right about that.

But nothing in the canon of scripture affirms sexual relationships apart from procreation and childrearing. And the Holy Spirit's own ruthless preference appears to be for a truthful Body without fig leaves. If there is a Creator who cares about the hearts of human beings, then his revealed sexual guidance demonstrably and practicably fits the creatures he made. If we do not believe that, then we do not believe anything. Full stop. Especially in a postmodern world, we cannot invite others to worship the Creator with us when we will not ourselves live in harmony with his creation as it is. A growing church will be converting souls to the wise Creator, not to our fig leaves for solving our social problems.

No fig leaves? No *as if* marriages at all, either for homosexuals or heterosexuals, and instead a new pastoral approach to fornication, pairbonding, and procreation that is better grounded in the congruence of scriptural basics with contemporary science, and Church experience. At least to our eyes, the most central texts in the canon make straightforward scientific sense after Darwin. As Millennials today well know, the natural processes of procreation and childrearing can hypothetically account for every difference between the sexes. Now even secular psychotherapy tries to help persons somewhat with some distortions of sexual desire, which after two millennia of cultivated celibacy should not surprise Christians. It would be odd if the rest of humanity gradually went back to nature as created whilst the Christians of all people were still living in human inventions *as if*, *as if*, *as if*...

BW

Anonymous said...

Dallas Willard https://youtu.be/VwIsp67Lg1E?t=4m50s

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bowman
At 6.05 pm I am with you in questioning whether we can proceed with SSB with confidence that this, ultimately, in the long run is helpful, hopeful and spiritually healthy.

At 2.18 am I am less with you. Yes, if, in some general, broad way, we develop a Christian theology or secular philosophy of marriage which divorces it from purposive procreation then much of what you say follows, especially if such "marriage" is more or less a social strategy for celebrating romance. But Scripture allows for remarriage after death and without qualification so, presumably, the possibility of marriage without hope of procreation (at least for older folks!) is entertained. Why might that be?

That (also presumably, because not spelled out) is because marriage in ancient understanding - Genesis 2 - is also about companionship. Cf. BCP "Thirdly". And recognition of that, in your 2.19 am comment, seems to me to be singularly missing.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Glen 6.11 pm 28 Jan
Marriage as a remedy for fornication, for "such persons as have not the gift of continency" is the "Secondly" of the purposes of marriage in the BCP service.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
I am not happy with your just posted comment - its final words are not helpful to anyone in their resonance. This is my amended version:

"In as much as the Anglican Church requires a political mandate to accommodate sexual sin, the WG report is a political solution."

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
The Anglican church is a broad church made up of several (or even many) groups with varying viewpoints. In a sense, it is a coalition of interests happy to share a common liturgy (and even then, some of the groups do not use the liturgy much!). Thus, since politics is about the organising of the life of the "city", to offer a way forward for the coalition is about how the organised church of Anglicans can be organised in a manner broadly acceptable to all, or, if not all, as many as possible.
So, yes, a "political mandate" is the necessary solution at this time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Peter, for the inevitable question-- yes, Genesis 1:28, but what about Genesis 2:18?

Normally, procreation and subsequent childrearing require both the differentiation of the sexes, and a relationship across it. In compliance with their natures created for procreation, men and women will normally seek each other's companionship, even if they turn out not to be fertile. There is no sin in living as far as one can in accord with the created order.

A common error in the C20 debate on contraception was an exclusive focus on the physiology of reproduction that failed to recognise the contributions of childrearing to procreation, of companionship to childrearing, and of physical intimacy to companionship. Today's deeper understanding of developmental neurobiology corrects it.

BW

Brendan McNeill said...

Peter, the Anglican church may agree upon a political accommodation, but the wages of sin is still death.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Brendan
Is that why we should be offering daily masses for the soul of Henry VIII? Possibly also Cranmer for his exegetical role in justifying Henry's first divorce!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
No one can dispute that Selwyn said such and such, nor that the constitution in its wording emphasises written documents such as the BCP and the 39A, but there is the reality of what our church has become: a broad church.

In doing so it is remarkably like that broad (mother) church, the Church of England, and (say) like our neighbour the Anglican Church of Australia (notwithstanding the fact that within both churches there are strong voices and exemplars of a narrower vision of being Anglican).

That is, I am not sure how far an appeal to Selwyn and the constitution of 1857 takes us in respect of trying to void ourselves of a "political" solution to a problem of current division. Could we argue in our own tribunal that (a) we do not want to be what we have become; (b) that we should not be what we are because other, comparable Western Anglican churches have shown the way to avoid being a broad church ... when they have not!?

In any case, you must be aware that the combination of Selwyn (and the churchmanship he represented) and the CMS low church evangelicalism of 1814 onwards meant the 1857 church was already broad enough to include two strands of being Anglican which were already in some tension with each other. Before long the 1857 constituted church was also in tension with the Anglo-Catholic movement and lines of (then, 19th century) "modernist" theology ...

Anonymous said...

Nick, *mercy* is a word I normally avoid, just because different people load it with different sorts of freight and then argue at the unloading dock about what is, or ought to have been, on the truck.

Like Jesus, St Paul counseled everyone that lust is a disease of the heart to be overcome. One can make progress against lust no matter what one's sexual orientation or marital status.

Whatever we think of SSB, persons already in civil SSM will still come to Christ, often with partners who are not quite believers. I am far from convinced that requiring a church ritual beyond the state one solves any real problem either for them or for their churches. But some array of pastoral approaches does need to be worked out by those who will be using them.

It may be best to view the latest recommendations as an exercise in risk management. On one hand, it gives pastors a degree of safety and flexibility; on the other hand, it gives others a space for strengthening traditional teaching and practise.

BW

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

We most certainly can argue in our tribunal, that we don't want to be what we have become. It is called "confession" and "repentance".The Church does not stand above and beyond committing adultery; as the nation of Israel did: "And I had put her away ,and given her a bill of divorce.".... "And yet for all this,her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with all her heart,but feignedly,saith the Lord." Jer. 3/8 & 10. If the ACANZP wishes to be the Church of Christ; it has some serious questions to ask of itself.

"And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience,when your own obedience is fulfilled." 2 Cor.10/6. Why do Bishops vow to uphold the Constitution and the Doctrine, if they believe in the broad Church?

The ACANZP should be saying daily confessions for it's own sin and not worry about Henry or Cranmer.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
I imagine our bishops would say that they understand the constitution etc to support a broader view of being Anglican than your understanding does.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

By the looks of it,they will have their chance to defend their broad views in the High Court on the given day.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Glen
I think I have a game of cricket to watch that day :)

Jonathan said...

Glen, I take it that Selwyn was responding to what he saw as an 1859 threat to marriage - am wondering what that was? Jonathan.

Liturgy said...

"No one can dispute that Selwyn said such and such..."

OK, Peter, I'll take up your challenge!
I'll dispute that Selwyn said such and such.
Certainly, he didn't say such and such in his Address at the First General Synod of New Zealand on August 10, 1859.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jonathan and Bosco and, hopefully, Glen!

Glen, if you have misquoted Selwyn (e.g. by putting the closing speech marks in the wrong place) please amend!

Bosco: I don't think Selwyn did say that exactly - though I am sure he said something about doctrine. (I couldn't find his full speech on the net: have you done so?)

Liturgy said...

Peter

Nothing like that quote (wherever you put the speech marks) is to be found in
http://anglicanhistory.org/nz/selwyn/synod1859.html

In a web search, there is only one website that gives anything like the words above attributed to Selwyn: yours.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Case closed, Bosco!

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Glen and recent commenters above.
Yesterday I published a comment from Glen, referred to above in recent comments. Glen's comment included in speech marks some words attributed to Bishop Selwyn which cannot be verified (e.g. see the link Bosco gives immediately above). I append Glen's comment below but with a specific declaration about it.

THE FOLLOWING IMPLIES SOMETHING BISHOP SELWYN ONCE SAID BUT WHICH IS NOT VERIFIED. IF IT CAN BE VERIFIED I WILL REPUBLISH THE CITED SPEECH WITHOUT CONSTRAINING COMMENT SUCH AS THIS. IN ORDER TO DISSOCIATE BISHOP SELWYN'S NAME FROM THE FOLLOWING WORDS, I HAVE EDITED THEM SLIGHTLY.

AS PUBLISHED YESTERDAY:
START: Hi Peter,

Your reply to Brendan is muddled to say the least; as you appear to interchange the words "Anglican church" with "the ACANZP". What "this" broad Anglican church made up of several [or even many] groups with varying viewpoints is or isn't is of no relevance to this discussion. The ACANZP is only as "broad" as the legitimate Doctrine, as defined in the Constitution 1857 allows.

[] made this perfectly clear in his address to the first General Synod in 1859; where he explained that the establishment of the Constitution had been: "On the basis of mutual and voluntary compact.No one has to subscribe to it. No one has to belong.But if we choose to be members of this Province of the Anglican Church,we agree to the Constitution and what it declares to be foundational truths.If we reject those beliefs we are free to find another Church which better fits our beliefs.We believe that the doctrine of marriage as explained in the Book of Common Prayer is part of that Doctrine of the Church, to which all who receive a Bishop's Licence pledge their allegiance.We do not see how that allegiance is consistent with affirming views which are clearly contrary to that Doctrine of marriage. If one party persistently and actively takes measures to walk away from that Doctrine we fail to see a away in which we can walk together."

Does not sound like a "broad Church" to me.


January 30, 2018 at 10:29 AM FINISH
GLEN: MIGHT WE ASSUME THAT WHAT YOU IMPLY BISHOP SELWYN SAID IS IN FACT YOUR INFERENCE AS TO THE EXTENDED MEANING OF SOMETHING HE DID SAY ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION?

Anonymous said...

From here up yonder, this whole discussion seems unreal.

Who, given the choice between obeying God to save his soul, and obeying Bishop Selwyn to keep a lot of church property from angry litigants, is planning to disobey God?

And who, mindful that there is no heaven in the world to come for those who hate their brothers in this world, is planning to seize property or money so that others cannot have it to baptise the nations in the Name, thank God with bread and cup, study and teach the holy word, etc?

I strongly concur with Glen's basic insistence on the continuity of church teaching. I can understand how militant futurism in others could make one resile into originalism. But the idea that the doughty Christians down under, whether right or wrong, can be intimidated into living forever in 1859 seems as unrealistic as the Way Forward notion that they can be bafflegabbed into living in a fantasy of 2059.

BW

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

Selwyn's words:"These and many more reasons of the like kind, induced the Conference which had assembled in Auckland in 1857, to concur in the founding of our Church Constitution on the basis of mutual and voluntary compact."

"No one has to belong. ..................... we fail to see a way in which we can walk together." from a Theological Report to advise the Ma Whea Commission. All together in the Report.

Hi Bowman,

Agreed, but I don't ask anybody to forever in 1859; but it does seem very realistic to me to live in 33 AD.; when Christ ascended to heaven to sit on the Right Hand of His and our Father. If we reflect back to those times, "Hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church", might be more than a mantra. If you want a good read of some prophetic words go to "Bishop Selwyn's address to the General Synod 1859."

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Glen
Thanks for responding but is it possible to give a bit more precision to your reference? Is it in the Ma Whea Report itself or its appendices? (I couldn't see it there.) Or is it in a report you are aware of, which was submitted to the Commission, but which needs further referencing by you if we are to find it?

Father Ron Smith said...

"Anonymous - (Nick)

Anonymous said...
"Bowman, I find mercy intellectually unsatisfactory because I view mercy as a breathing space before repentance. I am not a theologian, so I accept that my view might be narrow"

Even William Shakespeare understood that: "The quality of Mercy if not strained - it falleth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the earth beneath - it is thrice blessed".

One might even speculate upon the nature of the 'thrice-Blessed-ness ' as being of (and from) The Trinity of Persons in the GodHead.

If indeed, God's mercy were limited - as Nick suggests - to the repentant only; then why would Jesus' Last Words from the Cross have included these: - "Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do"?

God's mercy means that much more than any human understanding of the word. This, I suggest, is why Good Pope Francis keeps evoking its exercise in The Body of Christ, the Church. It is our supreme vocation in a sinners' world.

Anonymous said...

Fr Ron; Portia says “twice blest” not thrice, so any connection to the Trinity would seem most unlikely. Furthermore, Portia’s appreciation of mercy is rather undermined when she (within a matter of lines) agrees with the mob that Shylock should lose a large portion of his wealth and face forced conversion to Christianity. Shakespeare aside, I didn’t say that God’s mercy was limited, rather that mercy is unhelpful in this SSB context. People who want an SSB presumably do not feel they need mercy from disapproving evangelicals or Catholics. Peter considers that there is a wider mercy in agreeing to disagree. I wouldn’t call this mercy myself, but I accepted above that this might be my preference with language. We all choose not to use certain words in certain ways.

Nick

Glen Young said...



Hi Peter,

It was a committee on Theological Issues, to advise the Ma Whea Commission which was chaired by +Jim White. From memory, my quote comes from the `responses of the conservative members who wrote part of the Report.

I have given my copy away with all my other material to people who wish to stay and challenge the Working Parties proposals. However,after much consideration,I have decided to "shake the sand off my shoes" and move on.

I feel that any conservative, who thinks that they can form meaningful communities within the ACANZP and be anything other than the poor country relations; are deluding themselves. If the Bishops, Clergy and Laity have
the numbers to win this vote, they have effectively come in through the back door and gained control of the ACANZP. If there was any legitimacy to their claim, to be a valid stream of the ACANZP; they would have been able to justify their theology through the standard processes, and not have to try and circumvent the Constitution and Canons and sneak in the back door.My shoes will never darken the door step of an ACANZXP church again.

Father Ron Smith said...

Goodbye, Glen. May God grant you what your soul desires. and may it do you good and make you happy! Blessings, Fr.Ron

Thanks, Nick, for your literary correction. I've played the part of Caesar in Shakespeare but not Portia, so can't be expected to be word perfect in that part. However, you obviously got the drift.

Remember, Nick, it is not the advocates (such as myself) who feel that MERCY is required towards SSB Couples - except in that they are fellow human beings. Rather I am trying to explain that God's mercy requires us to be merciful in our perception of other people and what we suspect are their sins (even though, in this case, they may not actually be sins).

What I would like you to understand is my firm belief that Love can cover 'a multitude of sins' IF that is what you consider to be the status of the love of committed gay couples. Your scruples are not necessarily the same as those of committed Christian Same-Sex couples.

As a Roman Catholic, you might be more charitably concerned for those who have recourse to artificial contraception - a practice your church still considers sinful, but which is practised my many married catholics.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Glen
Thanks for the update re the background to what you have said above re Selwyn.

I am sorry to hear that you are going and, to be honest, even sorrier that you are citing something I do not think is a fair take on our church and its life. No one has snuck in the back door on these matters.

Nevertheless I cannot, and I do not think anyone can, guarantee for you that if the proposals are agreed to, including formation of Christian Communities, then conservatives are going to feel well treated - I think the practical outcomes of this will vary from Diocese to Diocese and hui amorangi to hui amorangi. Thus you may be best to depart and so I wish you well. I would be most pleased if you felt like continuing to comment here.

Blessings
Peter

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

Thanks for your thoughts. I used the phrase:"snucked in the back door"; to illustrate that the "front door processes", by which such changes ought to be effected, were not used.These processes are laid out in the Church of England Empowering Act 1928 sec 4. Why were these powers not used? Did sec 7 of that Act influence the decision?

So, instead, we have a "back door" solution of agreeing not to discipline Bishops and Clergy who carry out SSBs No one knows what the content of these blessings will be and in what circumstances they will be permitted.If they are able to bless a same sex relationship where no civil marriage has occurred, why can't heterosexual de facto relationships be blessed. In that case, what is the relevance of marriage?

I believe that no one has produced a cogent argument as to why this issue should have been permitted to influence Church dynamics to the extent it will; especially when it can not be shown to have any validity in terms of the legitimate Doctrine of the ACANZP.

I, for one would not subject my FAITH to the ignominy of seeking permission from a Bishop,[who is prepared to deal with the back door boys]; to establish a Community of Faith, based on the legal and legitimate Doctrine of the ACANZP. What a turn around! Doing an Oliver and begging some more daily nourishment from the Mr Bumble,who is charged with "feeding me". And we know of Bumble's demise,don't we.

Peter Carrell said...

HI Glen
OK - I see what you mean re snuck in.
In that case we are dealing with the way the church has been working (muddling along?) for quite a few decades now; around, if I may say it, some sensitive pastoral questions.

You make an excellent point re Christian Communities and the tragic irony (to use a phrase of Bryden Black's) that they may be formed in order to guard what the church has always believed.