Not schism but revolution

Aug 30, 2007 by

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by Chris Sugden in Evangelicals Now, September 2007

Revolution in common parlance is an overthrow of the existing order. But when a wheel has completed one revolution, a point on its circumference has returned to its point of origin. And a revolution is a return to the beginning, a restoration.

What we are in the middle of now in the Anglican Communion is not schism or separation, but a revolution. In the last decades, the Communion has been increasingly under the dominance of leadership which is over-influenced by the assumptions of western intellectual culture through the dominant role of the Church of England and ECUSA. People are now saying publicly that this unrepresentative dominance must end.

Archbishop Orombi of Uganda has said “However we come to understand the current crisis in Anglicanism, this much is apparent: The younger churches of Anglican Christianity will shape what it means to be Anglican. The long season of British hegemony is over.

“The reason there is a global Anglicanism today is that Anglicans were compelled by the Word of God to share the gospel throughout the expanding British Empire and beyond. In the absence today of such a convenient infrastructure, the future of the Anglican Communion is found in embracing the key Reformation and evangelical principles that have had such an impact in Uganda. Without a commitment to the authority of the Word of God, a confidence in a God who acts in the world, and a conviction of the necessity of repentance and of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will be hard-pressed as a communion to revive and advance our apostolic and missionary calling as a church.” [Read here->]

In other words, the future is to be found in returning to the key Reformation and evangelical principles that are the strength and core of the Anglican expression of Christian faith.

Bishop Duncan said publicly in July: “Never, ever has he (the Archbishop of Canterbury) spoken publicly in defense of the orthodox in the United States,” adding that “the cost is his office”. “To lose that historic office is a cost of such magnitude that God must be doing a new thing,” he said.

In other words, since the Archbishop of Canterbury has not provided for the safe oversight of the orthodox in the United States, he has forfeited his role as the one who gathers the Communion. This has become further obvious with the refusal of the invitation to the Lambeth Conference by the leaders of over half the Anglicans in the world and the questioning by some English bishops as to whether they will attend.

So are we seeing a schism or a revolution? A long overdue development is taking place, namely that significant and meaningful leadership is now being given in the Anglican Communion by Christians from Africa and Asia. This is being expressed in the very practical issues of first determining to stand by the teaching of the Communion; secondly refusing to attend a dumbed-down Lambeth Conference which will not address this issue decisively and which will include those who have deliberately defied that teaching; and thirdly by providing the orthodox oversight that orthodox Anglicans are requesting.

One facet of many revolutions is that the old leadership gets increasingly out of touch with reality. The Archbishop of York noted recently about the Episcopal Church. “…I haven’t found that in Ecusa (sic) or in Canada, where I was recently, they have any doubts in their understanding of God which is very different from anybody. What they have quarreled about is the nature of sexual ethics.”

David Anderson has responded [Read here->]

“John Sentamu hasn’t looked or listened hard enough. The battle, at least in North America, is over core doctrine and belief: who Jesus is and what authority Holy Scripture has.”

We are seeing before our eyes a revolution in leadership. The Communion will remain, but the form and the leadership will change just as the 13 American colonies remained, but their form and leadership changed.

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