Resetting LLF: Whose unity? Which doctrine?

Jun 11, 2024 by

by Andrew Goddard, Psephizo:

A new article by the Lead Bishop for LLF, Martyn Snow, offers some promising signals as to how the LLF “reset” is progressing, particularly in relation to the importance of doctrine and its relationship to the form of our unity, but it also leaves major questions unanswered.

The following article explores six issues raised by this development, in particular:

  1. The rejection of a simple “binary” choice and the need to consider distinct spaces within the one church which opens up conversations with Communion and ecumenical theology.
  2. A three-fold categorisation of our differences which merits further exploration particularly in relation to (i) the change in approach this represents, (ii) how proposed practical changes relate to doctrine and (iii) may therefore require a case for development of doctrine, (iv) the widespread indecision and confusion about developments telling against further rapid implementation, and (v) the surprising location of bishops within this categorisation.
  3. The need to establish three boundaried but related spaces within one church and the challenge of combining clear and firm definition of these with flexibility and ongoing relationships.
  4. The aim of protecting conscience being necessary but not sufficient in relation to these spaces and needing to set conscience in the wider context of consensus in the church concerning its confession.
  5. A suggestion that when it comes to filling out the three spaces they might take form by maintaining current diocesan structures working with where we have reached in the LLF/PLF process and establishing two “opt in” mission orders or societies for the other two spaces identified: those clearly committed to current doctrine and those clearly committed to changes. These would relate to the default structures and in certain situations episcopal oversight would be transferred to them.
  6. The need to progress standalone PLF services by means of B2 if there is a genuine concern for unity and respect for “the processes of the Church for collective discernment” and to work on different pastoral guidance for each of the three areas.

It concludes by stressing the need to develop this “reset” and its concerns about doctrine and unity carefully, drawing attention to the importance of ecclesiological reflection (quoting Hooker), and highlighting some of the practical dangers and risks.

Read here



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