“Catholics” Do Not Dither

May 2, 2008 by

By Matt Kennedy, Stand Firm When a church or province presumes to violate the plain teaching of God’s Word and established doctrine and refuses to repent, there is little need for "consultation" or study. The only council that is necessary is the council that meets to issue the formal anathema and excommunication. The substance of the matter has already been decided. Commentary on Dr. Philip Turner’s essay: "A Self-Defining Moment for the Anglican Communion" – read HERE. Dr. Harmon highlights this phrase by Dr. Turner in particular: "The basic issue before the Communion as it struggles to adopt a covenant is that of the identity of the Anglican Communion as an expression of catholic Christianity." I agree. The fundamental problem, however, with Dr. Turner’s paper–as with almost everything produced by the Anglican Communion Institute, Fulcrum and others from among that circle–is that he seems to be working with a novel and strange view of "catholicity" that has been reduced to a simple sort of conciliarity. It is in no way "catholic" to tolerate a church or province that has officially embraced a soul-destroying behavior condemned plainly by both scripture and the tradition of the church until the "community" comes to a final decision. When a province or church presumes to bless and promote behavior that God condemns and the Church has always forbidden, then that church or province is no longer part of the Church whether the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates, the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council say so or not. Dr. Turner objects to what he calls the "confessional" position, arguing that to agree to a common set of doctrines prior to articulating a covenant does not help to escape the problem of contextualizing those doctrines. To agree, for example, that the bible holds primary authority in the Church does not necessarily mean that that primacy will be applied/understood in the same way in every province nor does such an agreement help to determine whether or not a particular provincial action violates or is consistent with that proposition. Contextualization is certainly a problem. And yet not every doctrine is subject to the process of contextualization. There are some very plain teachings and doctrines that transcend both culture and context. The Trinity, the dual natures of Christ, the sole mediatorial role of Christ, the inspiration and primary authority of God’s Word, the necessity of faith, the right employment of the dominical sacraments…all of these are necessary doctrines, professions, and acts and while perhaps the language used to articulate them may change from culture to culture, the content and substance cannot and must not. When a church or province presumes to violate the plain teaching of God’s Word and established doctrine and refuses to repent, there is little need for "consultation" or study. The only council that is necessary is the council that meets to issue the formal anathema and excommunication. The substance of the matter has already been decided. In our present circumstances, "Do not lie...

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Venables predicts end of Anglican Communion

May 1, 2008 by

By Anne Fletcher for the Anglican Journal The South American primate who has welcomed dissenting Canadian Anglican parishes into his province says he sees the beginning of the end of the world-wide Anglican Communion. “I believe we’re in the early stages of divorce,” Archbishop Gregory Venables, presiding (national) bishop of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, told a news conference during a meeting of the Anglican Network in Canada from April 25 to 26. “I think there comes a point when a marriage is no longer a marriage and you have to recognize it,” he said. But Archbishop Venables suggested that Anglican churches could still stay together in some form. “Maybe we can have an Anglican federation,” he said. In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Archbishop Venables noted that air travel and the Internet have radically re-structured international networks. “We’re no longer living in a world where everything is done locally,” Archbishop Venables said. “The church is a little late in coming to that.” Instead of insisting on geographical church provinces, “hopefully, this will be resolved so we can realign or restructure so everyone can follow their concerns.” Meanwhile, a former Canadian Anglican bishop who is now licensed by the Southern Cone said that the network contacted other foreign primates as possible leaders but aligned itself with the British-born Archbishop Venables because of his background. “We did talk to a couple of primates of different colours,” said Bishop Donald Harvey, formerly of the diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, in an interview. But Archbishop Venables was willing to take on the job, is well respected by other primates, and brings few cultural barriers and no language limitations, he said. (Some Episcopal church parishes in the U.S. have aligned themselves with churches in Africa.) Bishop Harvey, who is moderator of the network, told the conference that Archbishop Venables’ offer of primatial oversight meant the network would be “part of the world-wide Anglican Communion,” and, “without being under his wing, we would simply be a breakaway group,” he said. “Thank you, God,” Bishop Harvey added, to loud applause. “You have freed us from the bondage that has been holding us back …We are free at last.” The conference was attended by about 340 delegates. Network membership includes 15 churches, 10 of which have left the Anglican Church of Canada over theological issues, including the blessing of same-sex unions. The delegates also heard from theologian Rev. James Packer, who focused on the need for deeper Bible understanding; Bishop Albert Vun of Malaysia; youth minister Ken Moser of St. John’s Shaughnessy church in Vancouver and Bishop Bill Atwood of Kenya. Mr. Packer called Archbishop Venables’ presence a “watershed,” telling delegates the “principle of geographical exclusiveness has been breached and I think it has been breached in such a way that it cannot be restored.” Addressing the question of whether the network should encourage more breakaway parishes, Bishop Harvey said, “that is categorically wrong.” He added that the network “has always gone...

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Windsor compliance: From the Bishop of Durham's talk to the Fulcrum Conference

Apr 14, 2008 by

From BabyBlue Here’s what Tom Wright said yesterday: When the Archbishop issued his invitations, he made it clear as I said that their basis was Windsor and the Covenant as the tools to shape our future common life. That invitation was issued only three months after the remarkable joint statement from the Primates issued in Tanzania in February 2007. After a summer and autumn of various tangled and unsatisfactory events, the Archbishop then wrote an Advent pastoral letter in which he reiterated the terms of his initial invitation and declared that he would be writing to those bishops who might be thought particularly unsympathetic to Windsor and the Covenant to ask them whether they were really prepared to build on this dual foundation. Those letters, I understand, are in the post as we speak, written with apostolic pain and heart-searching but also with apostolic necessity. I am well aware that many will say this is far too little, far too late – just as many others will be livid to think that the Archbishop, having already not invited Gene Robinson to Lambeth, should be suggesting that some others might absent themselves as well. But this is what he promised he would do, and he is doing it. If I know anything about anything, I know that he deserves our prayers at this most difficult and fraught moment in the run-up to Lambeth itself. So, the Archbishop of Canterbury has written letters to bishops he’s identified as being "particularly unsympathetic to Windsor and the Covenant" and that his letter will ask those bishops whether they are really prepared to "build on this dual foundation."   Read the whole article...

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The failure of the 'quiet, non-confrontational' approach: Anglican Essentials Canada

Apr 13, 2008 by

Letter to members from Federation leadership – An important call to action April 2, 2008 To our dear members and friends – As leaders of Anglican Essentials Federation, we understand that a majority of our constituency are moderate in their views and, like us, have been praying for an amicable way through the present crisis in our Church. Together we have been praying fervently that God would turn the tide and that He would cause repentance, revival and renewal. We all long for the Anglican Church of Canada to, once again, become the church envisioned when the Solemn Declaration of 1893 was penned. Our approach, within Federation, to effecting this change has been to quietly, faithfully, persistently work within our congregations, dioceses and synods to build God’s Kingdom. As your leadership, however, we sense that the time has come to change our approach. The “quiet” approach has simply not been working. The “faith once received” has been so altered as to be unrecognizable in many parts of our Church. While same sex blessings are only one barometer of this fundamental shift in Church teaching, it is the most visible indication of a Church that is abandoning Biblical Christian doctrine and historic Anglican practice. In 2003, the Diocese of New Westminster forged ahead with same sex blessings, disregarding the repeated admonitions of the global Anglican Communion leaders and propelling our Communion into our current crisis. Now, despite years of the Windsor process and continued appeals from global Primates, last fall, three more dioceses – Ottawa, Montreal and Niagara – voted to approve same sex blessings. Not only did these diocesan votes demonstrate disdain for the unity for our Communion, but also for the decision of the 2007 General Synod of our Church which voted to not authorize such blessings at this time. In other dioceses, we have seen bishops using “strong arm” tactics to ensure loyalty or to force faithful Anglicans out of their church buildings. Our “quiet”, non-confrontational approach has simply not stemmed the tide. The policy of the Anglican Essentials Federation is not that we will “stay” but that we will “stand”. As leaders of Federation, we have determined that it is now time to chart a new course. You will see this unfold over the next weeks and months as we take a higher profile, unequivocal stand. We, as leaders of Federation will publicly take a stand. We expect Bishops committed to orthodox Christian teaching, historic Anglican practice, and our position within the Anglican Communion to take a stand, particularly in the House of Bishops’ meeting next month. Now we call on you, and all those within the Anglican Church of Canada who are committed to orthodox Anglican teaching, to join us in taking this stand. We know that there are many, many people who are deeply distressed by the actions of the church they love and are feeling increasingly isolated in a church that claims to be inclusive. If we stand together we can make a...

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More on the inhibition of Bishop MacBurney

Apr 9, 2008 by

Forward in Faith North America reacts to the inhibition of Bishop MacBurney “It is a sad day when godly bishops are no longer free to provide pastoral care for those beyond our formal institutional boundaries.” FiF NA President Today the Right Reverend Edward MacBurney, the bishop retired of the Diocese of Quincy (Episcopal) received a Letter of Inhibition from Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the USA (TEC). The Inhibition forbids MacBurney from functioning as a bishop of TEC. Last year MacBurney was invited by the Presiding Bishop & Primate of the Southern Cone, the Most Reverend Gregory Venables, to make a pastoral visit to a Southern Cone parish in San Diego, California, on his behalf. In a spirit of Anglican unity and Christian generosity, Bishop MacBurney agreed to respond to the pastoral needs of those outside TEC with whom TEC claims fellowship. “This is an alarming move against a godly man who, without publicity, rightly helped a brother bishop provide care for his people,” said the Right Reverend Keith Ackerman, President of Forward in Faith NA and current TEC Bishop of Quincy (IL). This move against Bishop MacBurney is a clear warning that the leadership of TEC is endeavouring to bring the days of the biblically orthodox within TEC to a close. “Schori clearly has no intention to ‘live in tension with people who don’t agree with you about everything’ as she was quoted in Saturday’s interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, Sandi Dolbee. “While Schori extolled the imperative to worship together, her Inhibition is to prevent others from worshipping with Bishop MacBurney,” said Father Keith Acker who was also interviewed by Dolbee on Schori’s weekend visit to San Diego. Internationally this is an attack upon the many world leaders of Anglican Churches (Primates) who have responded to the “burning house” of the ever increasingly post-Christian theology of TEC and its abandonment of the Bible as the Word of God in any meaningful sense. Bishop MacBurney welcomes the opportunity to defend his actions from the scandalous neglect of Christian charity led by Katharine Jefferts Schori and the leadership of TEC. Bishop MacBurney will have 90 days to respond to the charges. The Right Revd Keith L. Ackerman President of Forward in Faith North America...

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The Road towards or away from Lambeth 2008?

Jun 4, 2007 by

July-August 1998, Lambeth: Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which rejects ‘homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’ and cannot advise ‘the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.’ October 2003, Primates Meeting:  ‘If his (Robinson’s) consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy. In this case, the ministry of this one bishop will not be recognised by most of the Anglican world, and many provinces are likely to consider themselves to be out of Communion with the Episcopal Church (USA).This will tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level (our emphasis ed.), and may lead to further division on this and further issues as provinces have to decide in consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church (USA). Similar considerations apply to the situation pertaining in the Diocese of New Westminster.’ November 2003, Gay Bishop: Ordination of Victoria Eugenia (baptismal name) Gene Robinson, first openly gay priest to the bishopric of New Hampshire October 2004, Windsor Report:  ‘Actions to move towards the authorisation of such rites (of blessing same-sex unions) in the face of opposition from the wider Anglican Communion constitutes a denial of the bonds of Communion. In order for these bonds to be properly acknowledged and addressed, the churches proposing to take action must be able, as a beginning, to demonstrate to the rest of the Communion why their proposal meets the criteria of scripture, tradition and reason.’ February 2005, Primates Meeting Dromantine: Twelve primates do not take Communion with Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.  ‘We request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference. During that period we request that both churches respond through their relevant constitutional bodies to the questions specifically addressed to them in the Windsor Report as they consider their place within the Anglican Communion.’ September 2006, Kigali: ˜Road to Lambeth’ published for Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). ‘We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution are also invited as participants or observers.’ November 2006, Changing Attitude notes official same-sex blessing policies in the US: Dioceses in the states of Arkansas, California, Delaware, Long Island, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington now have written guidelines on the performance of same-gender blessings. December 2006, Changing Attitude publishes UK Civil Partnership survey: 46 couples are presently in civil partnerships, including 36 ordained gay men, 2 ordained lesbians, 31 lay gay men and 6 lay lesbians. February 2007, Tanzania: Eight primates do not take Communion with Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.  ‘The Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of...

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