Henry Orombi: Those who violate biblical teaching must show repentance and regret to heal Anglicans
We in the Global South believed the Primates' Meeting had this authority - the 1988 Lambeth Conference urged the Primates' Meeting to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” and the 1998 Lambeth Conference reaffirmed this.
So, it was appropriate, after the American decision in 2003, that the Archbishop of Canterbury convened an emergency meeting of the primates to address the biblical and ecclesiastical crisis into which the Americans had plunged the Anglican Communion. The primates, including the American primate, unanimously advised that the consecration should not proceed. Nonetheless, two weeks later, the primate in America presided at the consecration as bishop of a man living in a same-sex relationship. This was a deep betrayal.
Since that meeting there have been numerous other “betrayals” to the extent that it is now hard to believe that the leadership in the American Church means what it says. They say that they are not authorising blessings of same-sex unions, yet we read newspaper reports of them. Two American bishops have even presided at such services of blessings. Bishops have written diocesan policies on the blessings of same-sex unions. It is simply untrue to say they have not been authorised.
That such blessings continue and seem to be increasing hardly demonstrates “regret”, let alone repentance, on the part of the American Church. So, when the Archbishop of Canterbury invited these American bishops to participate in the Lambeth Conference, against the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates' Meeting, and in the face of the unrelenting commitment of the American Church to bless sinful behaviour, we were stunned. Further betrayal.
It was clear to me and to our House of Bishops that the Instruments of Communion had utterly failed us.
1. Harry Edmon wrote:
Gee, I guess it is possible to be Anglican and yet direct and to the point!
July 31, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
2. Kendall Harmon wrote:
Please keep the comments on the subject of Archbishop Orombi’s argument. Thank you.
July 31, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
3. Harry Edmon wrote:
Okay Kendall - I think Orombi has done the best job yet of explaining the history of what has happened since 1998, and why he and others are not a Lambeth. And he has told the truth in love, and we are all called to do.
July 31, 5:17 pm | [comment link]
4. mugsie wrote:
Kendall, I believe my comments which you just deleted were quite fair. Bishop Orombi’s whole point is about how far from the TRUTH the AC has gone, and how DISGRACEFUL it has become. He has felt BETRAYAL by both TEC and RW. Those are very strong points. My comments addressed that in my own words. What is happening at Lambeth right now, as I wrote, is very strong evidence of what Abp Orombi is concerned about and why his province and others have not been able to consider themselves in communion with TEC and have chosen not to attend Lambeth. That’s what I shared and I truly don’t understand why you deleted my comment.
This is not a thread about the indaba groups….—ed
July 31, 5:18 pm | [comment link]
5. Harry Edmon wrote:
As for Pitcher’s comments, he seems to be unwilling or unable to understand where Archbishop Orombi is coming from. Why not comment on the content of the article instead of the strategy?
July 31, 5:21 pm | [comment link]
6. David Hein wrote:
“Anglicans may say there are four ‘Instruments of Communion,’ (the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Lambeth Conference; the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting). But de facto, there is only one - the Archbishop of Canterbury.”
An interesting point—and probably the way most Anglicans think of the Instruments: Who is in communion with Canterbury? Who calls for, plans, and issues invitations to the decennial Lambeth Conference?
“The peculiar thing is that this one man, who is at the centre of the communion’s structures, is not even elected by his peers. Even the Pope is elected by his peers, but what Anglicans have is a man appointed by a secular government. Over the past five years, we have come to see this as a remnant of British colonialism, and it is not serving us well. The spiritual leadership of a global communion of independent and autonomous provinces should not be reduced to one man appointed by a secular government.”
Well, why not take the bull by the horns and reform the system? Have a good, honest debate? Why not let this Lambeth Conference go down in history as the one where the bishops decided to change the process: Have the Primates (or all the bishops with sees) elect their Primus inter Pares. Other church organizations have gone thru similar changes. Talk about it, argue the pros and cons, vote on it; the proposal is certainly worthy of consideration. And it would be good if something constructive and substantive came out of this meeting.
July 31, 5:21 pm | [comment link]
7. teatime wrote:
+Orombi seems to forget that Our Lord Jesus ate with sinners, traveled with sinners and corrected sinners. He didn’t withdraw from them until they got their act together. As for his “absence speaking more than words,” he doesn’t seem to be short of words, either. But they should be spoken at Lambeth, not from the sidelines.
July 31, 5:21 pm | [comment link]
8. rugbyplayingpriest wrote:
#7- Of course Jesus ate with sinners - he was ministering to them. He did so with twelve apostles who had submitted to his authority. Now if one of the apostles had subsequently left his wife and later moved in with his gay lover, taken a civil partnership and faught for gay rights….Jesus might have had a similar situation to sort out as we do today.
July 31, 5:30 pm | [comment link]
9. Jeffersonian wrote:
“Betrayal” is the perfect word for this on-going catastrophe. It was conceived, organized, executed and prolonged by those who were entrusted with the safeguarding of the Church. Had an external foe made such an attack, overtly, on the AC, we would have coalesced and driven him off. The perfidy is in the mitres, treason in purple tunics.
July 31, 5:40 pm | [comment link]
10. dwstroudmd+ wrote:
Let him who has ears unstop them. Uganda merely states the precise sequence of events and their meaning. There is no Anglican Communion when the Instruments of Unity are ignored and undermined by the ABC. This little inadabdavida Lame-beth is purposefully designed to prevent discipline of the errant churches and preserve the colonial structures to allow postEnlightenment postModern Global North types to continue the pretences. The ABC has gone so far as to equate the traditional and “not so traditional” in such a fashion as to undercut the Scripture, the Church Tradition, the protestations of the Global South, and all views other than his own claimed in The Body’s Grace. He has consistently failed to live by the prior Lambeth Conferences whilst attempting a facade of support for them.
Orombi merely states reality.
GAFCON drew the same line that has been proclaimed by Anglicans as the truth for centuries of missionary work. The Road to Lambeth was clear. GAFCON was clear. Lambeth 1988 and 1998 was clear.
The behaviour of those who would subvert all - Scripture, the Lambeth Resolutions, the Primates Meetings, the Anglican Communion - is likewise clear. Whenever their mouths move, they are lying. What they do counts. The ABC subverted the Primates Meeting just as clearly as Frank Griswold did. The difference of 5 years merely advanced the errors and enabled their surer emplacement.
Even the Romans and the Orthodox point it out. Too bad Orombi and the adherents to Anglicanism keep such company. But it explains why they won’t pretend to the farce that is the current Lame-beth. Now you know why, period.
July 31, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
11. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
I respectfully and forcefully disagree. Actions often speak louder than words. The bishops of numerous provinces have said that the unilateral and unbiblical actions of TEC can’t be tolerated, and that a state of “broken communion” exists. It is entirely proper that they then act in accordance with those strong words and refuse to give even the appearance of being in communion with the heretical leaders of TEC who were scandalously invited to Lambeth (improperly and wrongly) by the Archbishop of Canterbury. I fully support their decision.
This splendid statement by ++Henry Orombi is as clear and compelling as can be. I hope it gets wide circulation (which of course means that we on the orthodox side will have to do it). It makes me prouder than ever to have as my home church (Eternity Anglican in Richmond, VA) a brand new church affiliated with Uganda.
Let me call attention particularly to the crucial point that ++Orombi the Bold makes with regard to the “colonialism” displayed by the ABoC. He is quite right. The decisive actions (and non-actions or things “left undone”) of ++Rowan Williams are indeed a sign and symptom of futile attempts by western elites to control the direction and outcome of events in the AC. But the era when such colonialism will be tolerated is over.
The Archbishop of Kampala is absolutely right, as usual. It is simply unacceptable that the chief Instrument of Unity in the AC is not elected by his peers and is appointed by a secular, increasingly anti-Christian government. The current Instruments of Unity have failed us, in part due to the subversive influence of ++Rowan Williams who aborted the Primates’ Plan formed at Dar es Salaam etc. But the real problem is systemic, and not merely personal. The whole current system of international polity has to be radically reformed.
As another great bishop (and future primate), +Bob Duncan the Lion-Hearted, has said so aptly and so eloquently: The “Reformation (or Elizabethan) Settlement” is obsolete and has failed us. A new settlement will hae to take its place. And in this bold clarion call of the leader of the great, flourishing Ugandan church we see it already beginning to arise. What +Duncan called a Global (Post-Colonial) Settlement is necessary and is already beginning to spring up in the movement represented by GAFCON. Thanks be to God.
July 31, 5:50 pm | [comment link]
Passionate advocate of high commitment, post-Christendom style Anglicanism of a radically post-Colonial, post-English flavor.
12. tired wrote:
The argument about the devaluation of the instruments of unity is an argument that has not met its match.
The problem is that the instruments were created and the provinces established precedent with them over time. The ABC was out of order when he acted inconsistently with the PM’s actions on the DES Communique. By doing so, he called into question the authority and value not just of the other three instruments, but of all the instruments.
(It is worth pointing out that his actions in appointing the Windsor Continuation Group are independent of all the other instruments, and therefore its “observations” are not binding on any of the other deliberative bodies. Similarly, the final statement of the Lambeth Conference will be just that: a mere statement.)
These problems are structural, legal, and procedural.
July 31, 5:50 pm | [comment link]
13. mugsie wrote:
#7, Yes, Jesus did eat with sinners. However, they were sinners who left their sinful lives to follow him. They took the road of repentance. Abp. Orombi knows this. He also knows that TEC is not the least interested in repentance. His concerns are quite valid. His feeling of being betrayed is also quite valid. He trusted the instruments of communion, especially RW, to carry out the demands laid out in Scripture for Christian behaviour. RW did not do this. TEC went against what has been known for 2000 years to be Biblicly accepted behaviour. They decided to start calling what the Bible clearly calls sinful behaviour something to be blessed and “of God”. That, in my eyes too, is very blasphemous to God. Abp Orombi knows that. He knows the Bible clearly states not to eat with sinners who insist on remaining sinners, but to bring them to “repentance”. 10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Matt9:12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Jesus was bringing souls to repentance. Abp Orombi and his peers have tried for TEN YEARS to being TEC to repentance. They are not going to repent and in his column he makes this clear.
July 31, 5:51 pm | [comment link]
14. jamesw wrote:
A few thoughts on this statement:
1) On being absent but being “heard”. Orombi writes:
For more than ten years we have been speaking and have not been heard. So maybe our absence will speak louder than our words.
Sometimes it is best to just be quiet and let the attention go to your opponents. It seems to me that this may have worked at this year’s Lambeth Conference, what with the condescending nature of TEC’s bishops, the heavy Integrity/Changing Attitudes/Robinson propaganda machine, etc. I don’t think that Orombi is being “heard” by his absence. But perhaps Orombi’s and Akinola’s absences are allowing the TEC liberals to be “heard” and that might not be such a bad things.
2) On colonialism. Orombi writes:
But de facto, there is only one - the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The peculiar thing is that this one man, who is at the centre of the communion’s structures, is not even elected by his peers. Even the Pope is elected by his peers, but what Anglicans have is a man appointed by a secular government. Over the past five years, we have come to see this as a remnant of British colonialism, and it is not serving us well. The spiritual leadership of a global communion of independent and autonomous provinces should not be reduced to one man appointed by a secular government.
I have noted that over the past 5 years of this crisis, Rowan Williams has often justified his non-action by saying that it must be a “Communion decision” and that he cannot act like an “Anglican pope.” However, when you look at Williams’ actual responses, you will see that all the responses he has pushed - Windsor Report, Covenant Design Group, Windsor Continuation Group - are all groups appointed exclusively by him. He sidetracked the primates’ meeting after Dar Es Salaam, and he has effectively neutered the 2008 Lambeth Conference (any observer can discern very quickly that the REAL action at Lambeth is coming from the WCG and how Rowan Williams will or will not implement the WCG plan). Both the WCG Plan and the Covenant both grant heightened powers to the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint various and sundry bodies who will then resolve disputes.
So in a very real sense, Rowan Williams seems to be aggregating an awful lot of power to the ABC, yet he refuses to use any of the power he currently has to enforce the Communion-consensus discipline on TEC.
The question is, of course, why does Rowan Williams have this power? Colonialism. That’s an inescapable fact. Does it ever occur to anyone living in the USA (it certainly has to me, having moved from Canada to the USA) and attending an Episcopal Church that the Queen of England is in a certain sense, the Supreme Governor of the Episcopal Church? Colonialism.
Over the last year, Rowan Williams seems to have stepped up his drive to draw the Communion’s power to himself. He could have, but hasn’t, called for a more diffused disciplinary power. So I can very much understand Orombi’s frustration in this regard.
July 31, 6:05 pm | [comment link]
15. teatime wrote:
+Orombi hasn’t said anything new in this piece. But I find it ironic that he AGAIN says why he didn’t attend Lambeth while obviously wanting to be heard while Lambeth is going on. If he wanted to be heard, which obviously he does, then he should have attended the conference and made his case forcefully, as the Bishop of Sudan did. Otherwise, making proclamations from the sidelines says, IMO, I want EVERYONE to listen to me but I don’t want to hear anything, in return. More importantly, he isn’t there fighting for what he believes.
Furthermore, I don’t know why he is comparing the pope with the ABC. If our ABC had any real power, I’m sure his selection would be quite different. (Even so, has Rome ever had an African pope? A Latin American pope? Why, this system he lauds nearly always chooses Italians!) To cry “colonialism” against the AC and yet hold up another Church that is also based in Europe seems strange. But how on Earth could any church divest some of its power to the Third World when these countries are far less than stable and its leaders often collude with despots? I’m not saying that the West is perfect—far from it. But at least we have stable structures.
July 31, 6:15 pm | [comment link]
16. Harry Edmon wrote:
teatime - Orombi spent 10 years fighting for what he believes, and nothing happened. Seems to be a reasonable approach to express himself with his physical absence and this fine article.
Your comments about the Third World shows that Orombi’s comments about colonialism are spot on. And I would not call TEC a stable structure. The COE seems to be going down the same path.
July 31, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
17. Jeffersonian wrote:
#15, if ++Orombi had something to say to the assembled bishops, I can see your point. However, it’s clear the “listening process” within the Church is a sad farce. He’s not talking to the bishops here, but Anglicans.
July 31, 6:28 pm | [comment link]
18. A Floridian wrote:
Teatime, your heart may be tender and kind, but inclusiveness in the fellowship of believers is for the repentant and not the willful sinner…...here are a few of the many Scriptures to that effect:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
II Corinthians 6:14
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
July 31, 6:28 pm | [comment link]
19. A Floridian wrote:
Dear Teatime, Rowan Williams was forewarned, and is alone instrumental and responsible for who is at his teaparty. By his cunning obdurance and intentional misuse and misdirections of the instruments of unity and most importantly - by his betrayal of the truth of Holy Scripture. He is, as Orombi says, a betrayer of Christianity, of Jesus Christ. He has made his bed with evil.
July 31, 6:33 pm | [comment link]
20. teatime wrote:
Um, last I checked, I live in a former colony but I’ve never resented Europe. I simply find it very odd that +Orombi holds up the ancient See of Rome but decries the ancient See of Canterbury. Eurocentrism is Eurocentrism, no?
Furthermore, the Orthodox representatives are at Lambeth; so are Roman and Eastern Catholics. They’re speaking their piece and engaging with our disagreements even though they’re not Anglican. So, how can ANGLICANS refuse to engage and then cry foul from afar?
July 31, 6:33 pm | [comment link]
21. Philip Snyder wrote:
It seems that prophetic action escapes you. By his absence, +Orombi is clearly saying that the Anglican Communion is a communion any more and it needs to be less based in Canterbury than based on the historical Anglican theology and praxis. To understand prophetic action, please read Ezekiel.
The selection of a Primus by the primates themselves is actaully a great idea. So is basing the ACC membership on Average Sunday Attendence by each province.
July 31, 6:34 pm | [comment link]
22. tired wrote:
“So, how can ANGLICANS refuse to engage and then cry foul from afar?”
If, as here, the objection is to abuse or manipulation of process, then it becomes quite easy.
July 31, 6:37 pm | [comment link]
23. dwstroudmd+ wrote:
Because they have been marginalized by the power elite, teatime. Have you no history or even grasp of what has been said. The ABC and Frank Griswold have a great deal in common when it comes to daying one thing and doing another (or in the ABC’s case mostly not-doing so as to allow).
July 31, 6:37 pm | [comment link]
24. teatime wrote:
There is no need to insult me. I’m not stupid, lacking in “history,” etc. Call +++Rowan “evil,” call +Orombi “godly” (as far as I’m concerned that’s an adverb that should be attributed to no human), but none of this helps the present situation. As I’ve stated before, if the RCC and OC care enough about the Anglican Communion to spend the time and effort at Lambeth, it is very telling when our own archbishops are dismissive. Or are the cardinals and metropolitans being “un-Biblical” and “evil,” too?
July 31, 6:50 pm | [comment link]
25. Harry Edmon wrote:
teatime - but Orombi and others were very clear that they would stay away unless the AC followed through with their promises. Promises were broken, and Orombi as a man of his word stayed away to make the point. I see no problem with him reminding everyone at Lambeth why he is staying away.
July 31, 7:25 pm | [comment link]
As far as Rome, well I’m Lutheran - so I am not used to defending them, but at least some of the people choosing the Bishop of Rome are from the Third World. Not true of Cantebury.
26. badman wrote:
Archbishop Orombi writes: “It is important that our decision not to attend this Lambeth Conference is not misunderstood as withdrawing from the Anglican Communion.”
Why is that important?
July 31, 7:31 pm | [comment link]
27. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
teatime (#15 & 24),
I’m sorry if you’re feeling picked on here. Maybe it’s unfair to pile on yet another comment critical of what you’ve said above, but I don’t intend it as a personal attack. You are voicing an opinion that is fairly common and which I don’t simply dismiss or take lightly.
Let me concentrate on ++Orombi’s astute comments about the role played in this crisis by Canterbury and what it symbolizes. As to the comparison with the papacy, I think it’s fairly clear that the Archbishop of Kampala’s main point was that the Pope is ELECTED by his peers, while the Archbishop of Canterbury is not. No doubt there are elements of colonialism in the Roman Catholic system too, but at least the Roman Church isn’t beholden to a secular and increasingly indifferent or even hostile government for the selection of its leaders.
In the end, the real problem isn’t a personal one, i.e., the individual weaknesses or failings of ++Rowan Williams. It’s the whole obsolete Christendom-based, Anglo-centric system that is the problem. The bottom line is that Anglicanism as a worldwide fellowship has outgrown its English, Christendom roots, but it’s still locked into a broken system that is a huge obstacle to fulfilling its divine mission.
It’s high time for the Anglo-Saxon Captivity of Anglicanism to come to an end. Nigeria helped blaze the trail forward when it revised its Church Constitution and redefined itself as Anglican without reference to Canterbury, but instead of the basis of faithfulness to the classic Anglican formularies. This doctrinally-based, as opposed to polity-based, definition of Anglicanism is a major advance and a necessary step in the rise of a truly Global (Post-Colonial) Settlement that can replace the old, outdated Erastian Settlement that is withering and dying.
July 31, 7:32 pm | [comment link]
Enthusiastic advocate of high commitment, post-Christendom style Anglicanism that is also post-colonial and post-English.
28. badman wrote:
I take it you guys do know how the Archbishop of Canterbury was appointed? He was chosen by the Prime Minister from two names put forward by a Commission consisting of four (elected) members representing the Diocese of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, a bishop elected by the bishops to take the place of the retiring Archbishop and three clergy and three lay members elected by General Synod as standing members. Only the Chair of the Commission is appointed by the Prime Minister, and both the Commission’s choices must command a two thirds majority among them.
July 31, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
29. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
A further response. I don’t think you’re stupid at all, and you have plenty of company; many people wonder why so many bishops are refusing to participate in this Lambeth Conference. That’s why ++Orombi wrote this fine letter, to explain and defend the decision by the Ugandan HoB to attend GAFCON but not Lambeth.
As for why this is justified when the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches are represented at this important assembly, may I respectfully suggest that the decisive factor is precisely that they are there as ecumenical guests? The crucial difference is that their official role in the proceedings is primarily to be observers or ecclesiastical ambassadors and to represent their own churches and traditions. They are NOT sharing communion with the Anglican bishops. That makes a huge difference.
I don’t know if the Roman and Orthodox representatives are actively shunning the heretical western bishops or not. I would hope so.
Let me put it another way. Probably we all know the AA definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and over again, but expecting that somehow the results will be different this time. It’s clear that the bishops of Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and some other isolated bishops (including the Sydney bishops, or +Michael Nazir-Ali and +Wallace Benn in England, or +James Adams of W. KS in the US) have decided that it’s just “insane” to keep trusting the same old bureacratic process of working “within the system” that has utterly failed for the last decade. It has failed over and over; so why keep trying the same old method?
It’s time for a fresh approach, and GAFCON and the CCP represent the beginnings of it. New wineskins will arise. Hallelujah. Thanks be to God.
July 31, 7:58 pm | [comment link]
Passionate advocate of Post-Anglo Anglicanism
30. Micky wrote:
There appears to be ignorance as to how the ABC is chosen - who is, first and foremost, a diocesan bishop of the CoE. The Prime Minister does not merely appoint whomever he wishes with no consultation. The process is as follows (adapted from the clear outline on Wikipedia):
When the Archbishop of Canterbury dies or retires, the process of replacing him involves several stages. The first of these involves the diocesan Vacancy-in-See Committee, composed of:
* The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral
* Two Archdeacons
* The Diocese’s representative members of the General Synod of the Church of England
* Members of the diocesan House of Bishops
* The Chairman and two other members of the Diocesan House of Clergy
* The Chairman and two other members of the Diocesan House of Laity
* Other Members approved by the Bishop’s Council
The Committee produces a Statement of Needs assessing the needs of the diocese. It then sends this statement to the Crown Nominations Commission, which consists of:
* The Archbishops of York and one other bishop elected by the House of Bishops
* Three members elected by the General Synod’s House of Clergy from within itself
* Three members elected by the General Synod’s House of Laity from itself
* Six members elected ad hoc by the Vacancy-in-See Committee from itself
Beyond these fourteen voting members, the Prime Minister’s appointments secretary and the Archbishops’ appointments secretary meet with the commission and help supply it with information on possible candidates. The commission is chaired by a fifteenth voting member, who must be an “actual communicant lay member of the Church of England”. He or she is appointed by the Prime Minister.
The commission meets several times in secret. The Commission then forwards two names to the Prime Minister, who chooses one of them, or (exceptionally) requests additional names from the Commission. If the chosen individual accepts the office, the Prime Minister advises the Sovereign, who then formally nominates the Prime Minister’s choice.
Therefore bishops, clergy and laity, both from the diocese and the wider CoE, have a say in the appointment. Under currently proposed reforms, the choice would be left entirely to the Crown Nominations Commission - they would forward one name to the PM, who would automatically send it to the Queen for formal nomination.
The process by which ++Orombi became Primate, on the other hand, is one which smacks of medieval ecclesiastical authoritarianism - which is perhaps why he looks so admiringly to Rome.
Communion with Canterbury is entirely voluntary. If ++Orombi doesn’t like it he’s perfectly free to leave - except he appears unable to let go of the apron strings. You can’t have your cake and eat it.
July 31, 8:09 pm | [comment link]
31. Brien wrote:
And in the end, badman, the Archbishop is chosen by a secular government official with a nod from Her Majesty. This may work just fine for an established church. But, when it comes to a worldwide communion, if it looks like colonialism, and quacks like colonialism….
July 31, 8:12 pm | [comment link]
32. Brien wrote:
You too Micky. It still is a localized process, perhaps appropriate in a particular national church, but it is colonialism to sustain it across the pluralism that is the Anglican Communion. Pluriform truth, after all, was one of Frank Griswold’s favorite concepts! The Anglican Communion doesn’t want to be the Commonwealth anymore!
July 31, 8:16 pm | [comment link]
33. tired wrote:
... and how many other provinces had a say in the appointment of this increasingly powerful instrument of ‘unity?’
July 31, 8:16 pm | [comment link]
34. Brien wrote:
Or at least, the largest parts of the Anglican Communion don’t want to be the Commonwealth anymore.
July 31, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
35. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
badman (#26 & 28),
Yes, many of us are aware of how senior appointments are made in the C of E, as strange as it seems to us Americans, though I’m glad you reminded us of the convoluted process. Yes, the Church has a lot of influence over the selection, but the ultimate choice remains, inappropriately, in secular hands. And that is simply unacceptable to many of us. But besides all that, there are still two great looming difficulties with the current structures of international Anglicanism that underline how intolerably colonial the whole system remains.
First, the C of E remains ultimately under the control of Parliament (even though 26 bishops sit in the unelected House of Lords and thus have a chance to influence the outcome of legislation), and this is bad enough for the English Church. Remember the debacle of Parliament voting down the proposed 1928 BCP? It’s ridiculous for the mother church to remain in bondage under the control of an increasingly indifferent or even hostile secular government. I know the historical roots, but the whole system is ludicrous, and just absurd.
Secondly, as bad as the established nature of the C of E is for Anglicans in England itself, it’s even worse that this sort of outside, secular control is foisted upon the rest of the worldwide Communion. It simply makes no sense for Anglicanism to continue to define itself with reference to Canterbury, a great historic See to be sure, but one that is tied to a dying Church under the control of an increasingly hostile government. That is a lingering vestige of colonialism, i.e., of an attempt at maintaining western control over a worldwide church that has outgrown its historical roots in England.
So going back to badman’s question in #26, why is it important to recognize that the decision not to attend the Lambeth Conference does NOT equal a decision to withdraw from the Anglican Communion? To put it simply, because we (I’m part of a Ugandan church here in the US, so I say “we” intentionally), we aren’t withdrawing from the Communion, we are redefining it. We aren’t abandoning the Communion. We are taking it over and bending it to our collective will.
July 31, 8:21 pm | [comment link]
Earnest advocate of disestablishing the C of E, and totally overhauling the whole system of Anglican polity in a genuinely post-colonial, post-Christendom, and even post-English way.
36. teatime wrote:
To put it simply, because we (I’m part of a Ugandan church here in the US, so I say “we” intentionally), we aren’t withdrawing from the Communion, we are redefining it. We aren’t abandoning the Communion. We are taking it over and bending it to our collective will.
In short, you’re doing the same thing as TEC, politically speaking. And those of us who eschew what TEC has done but who have absolutely no desire to “go to Africa” will have some very serious decisions to make.
July 31, 8:33 pm | [comment link]
37. Ad Orientem wrote:
You note the presence of the Orthodox (and the Romans) at Lambeth. This is true (regrettably). However it is important to note that they are not there are co-religionists. The critical distinction is that there is no participation on our (Orthodox) part in prayer or communion. We are not in communion with the AC. Our representatives have come to deliver a message., one that I don’t think the CofE or TEC want to hear.
Orombi is not present because for him to be there would be to imply he is a co-religionist of TEC. He is not His church has severed communion with TEC and it would be scandalous for him to participate in the sacraments with TEC or the Canadian Church given their overt heresy. Becuae he is still in communion (for now at least) with Canterbury it would be near impossible for him to attend while refraining from communication in sacris with the heretical N. American bishops.
July 31, 10:32 pm | [comment link]
38. Ad Orientem wrote:
Wow! I butchered the above post. Sorry about that…
July 31, 10:34 pm | [comment link]
39. jamesw wrote:
There is of course a middle ground between the view that Anglicanism requires us to follow Rowan Williams’ lead come hell or highwater and the view that Anglicanism should seperate itself from the See of Canterbury.
The fact is that the current set up reeks of colonialism. But it is unlikely that that will change anytime soon, and it is (I think) important to remain grounded with a historic See. But the ABC, despite being a colonialist appointment, could still act to minimize this. And that is my problem with Rowan Williams.
As any good student of British government knows (and is true even for the ABC’s appointment itself), the person making the official decision isn’t necessarily the person making the actual decision. The Queen appoints the ABC, but, no, it is really the PM who puts the name forward, but, no, it is really the Appointments Commission that gives him two names, etc., etc.
So why couldn’t the ABC do the same? Why couldn’t the ABC retain the formal power of invitation to Lambeth, but act on the advice of an Anglican panel selected by the Primates (or some other procedure that the ABC does not control)?
As I pointed out in my post #14 above, Rowan’s actions have been to consolidate power to himself and his hand-picked committees, while undercutting the power of the primates meetings and the Lambeth Conference. In short, instead of diffusing power, he is aggregating it to himself (even in the Covenant, the ABC takes on increased powers).
This increased consolidation of real power in the hands of a British gov’t appointed official does stink of colonialism. But one can oppose this direction without calling for the seperation of Anglicanism from Canterbury. With a little inventiveness, it would be very possible for the See of Canterbury to retain its primacy but for the Anglican Communion to move away from the current colonialist power structure.
July 31, 11:02 pm | [comment link]
40. physician without health wrote:
I am coming late to this discussion. Orombi is right on target here. I defend his decision not to attend Lambeth, an expensive marathon which, had he attended, would not have reflected good stewardship of the resources with which he has been entrusted. As we approach revisionists, I think it is important to focus on the Cross front and center. If they cannot come to terms with what Christ accomplished at Calvary, all of these other conversations are futile.
July 31, 11:16 pm | [comment link]
41. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
I welcome your typically thoughtful and incisive comment, as well as your very perceptive and illuminating earlier #14. And I largely agree with you. As usual, we may not actually be as far apart as it probably seems at first sight.
Thus, for example, GAFCON clearly refrained from calling for a separation from Canterbury, even while at the same time it stressed that Anglicanism shouldn’t be defined merely in terms of being “in communion with Canterbury.” I’m sorry if what I’ve written above made it seem as if I was advocating something other than that. I do tend to engage in occasional flights of hyperbole, using extremely provocative language.
You accurately point out that ++Rowan Williams has ACTED consistently in ways that augment his very limited powers, even while he keeps SAYING that he has no power to force anyone to do anything (which is true enough). I don’t perceive ++Rowan as power hungry or egotistical; I just see him as desperate to find some way to keep stalling and to prevent the Primates’ or Lambeth from making decisive moves that would (in his opinion, of course!) prematurely foreclose the options and drive the progressives from the table. But ironically, over the last several years ++Rowan Williams has in fact been losing respect and thus influence. For instance, his silly remarks about the inevitability of Sharia law playing a part in English law in the future, his inability to convince his fellow English bishops to provide some safeguards for diehard opponents of women bishops, and so on attests that his actual ability to persuade very many people to follow him is waning and declining precipitously.
I think that ++Rowan Williams refusal to get out in front and lead has left a temporary and intolerable vacuum at the heart of international Anglicanism. So into that vacuum, others are stepping, including both the American PB and the GAFCON primates. And the ironic result is that while the official mechanisms of the AC remain at this point under his formal influence by virtue of his office, he himself is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the course of events as others take the initiative and provide the leadership that he refuses to give. And that shows once again, if any further evidence be needed, that the whole system is breaking down.
The Canterbury-dependent process is doomed. The multiplying of groups appointed solely by the ABoC isn’t helping to resolve anything. The Windsor Report solved nothing. Neither did the Panel of Reference. Neither will the Covenant, nor the Windsor Continuation Group. It’s all just a sham, providing the APPEARANCE of dealing with the crisis, but without actually resolving anything. Because the fundamental reality is that the ABoC doesn’t really want any resolution at this time, for then the side he himself inwardly favors would lose. So he continues to play his delaying game, buying time in the desperate hope that the continuing liberalization of western societies and the spread of western culture even in the GS will eventually turn the tide and that “a new consensus will emerge.”
But I’m convinced that this hope is both forlorn and naive. The AC will break up before that. And rightly so. Rightly so, I say. For doctrine trumps polity, not vice versa.
GAFCON was quite right to stress that point implicitly. And by consistently acting in the opposite fashion, as if polity trumped doctrine, ++Rowan Williams has made himself more and more irrelevant by squandering what little respect and moral influence he has left among the orthodox majority of the Communion.
August 1, 12:12 am | [comment link]
42. RazorbackPadre wrote:
Teatime, Mickey, et al,
You have made your points. Some of us would agree that it might have been a more effective - if perhaps less biblical - strategy for Uganda to attend Lambeth. But could you please move on to address the salient points which concern the deep and obvious betrayals suffered at the hands of the Americans and the ABC? (Even ++Orambi’s comment regarding the appointment of the ABC is merely an attempt to understand the betrayal.)
Our Ugandan brother is expressing the pain caused by the betrayal he suffered at the hands of entire segments of the communion and by the breakdown of all the communion structures. Where is the concern, empathy, love, care, or mercy for this brother and the millions of Anglicans he represents, all of whom have been marginalized by the brazen deceptions and bitter betrayals that come from their American “friends” aided by none other than the ABC.
That is how they experienced these last few years. Their experience is real. Please, finally, listen.
August 1, 5:48 am | [comment link]
43. Larry Morse wrote:
Let us try this simple truth: Not ALL things are unutterably difficult, byzantine, nuanced and the usual. The bishop makes a simple, straightforward case of the sort: Those who are not with us are against us. Which side are you on? Faced with this declaration, we make up our minds. Deal me in or throw in my cards. You want TEC et al? Join them, and say no more. Of please, please, SAY NO MORE.
You want to be betrayed again? Leave TEC as your bedmate. We should cite to TEC the old cliche: You made your bed, now lie about it. So we make up out minds, we breathe freely again or we will all be sufferKated. Larry
August 1, 8:35 am | [comment link]
44. FrKimel wrote:
It’s the whole obsolete Christendom-based, Anglo-centric system that is the problem. The bottom line is that Anglicanism as a worldwide fellowship has outgrown its English, Christendom roots, but it’s still locked into a broken system that is a huge obstacle to fulfilling its divine mission.
as bad as the established nature of the C of E is for Anglicans in England itself, it’s even worse that this sort of outside, secular control is foisted upon the rest of the worldwide Communion. It simply makes no sense for Anglicanism to continue to define itself with reference to Canterbury, a great historic See to be sure, but one that is tied to a dying Church under the control of an increasingly hostile government. That is a lingering vestige of colonialism, i.e., of an attempt at maintaining western control over a worldwide church that has outgrown its historical roots in England.
I acknowledge the rhetorical power in invoking “colonialism” to explain the present crisis, yet I do not find it persuasive as an explanation of the crisis. If Rowan Williams had been elected, e.g., by the priests of the Archdiocese of Canterbury, would anything be different? No, you would still be stuck in the same crisis. I also acknowledge the excitement that attends proposals for revolutionary change, yet surely history teaches us that revolutions almost always disappoint and things never work out as the revolutionaries hope.
That the Archbishop of Canterbury is a pivotal figure in the Anglican Communion is of course an accident of history, but accidents of history always fall within the providence of God. Might it be that God has given the Anglican Communion this “office of unity” precisely to inhibit its fall into total Protestant denominationalism. That it is a British office may rankle Anglicans outside of Britain, but this rankling is inherent to any office of unity grounded in an episcopal see. As already noted, Popes are usually Italian.
It seems to me that during this crisis Anglicans have been crying out for a true office of unity that is empowered to exercise magisterial authority and resolve doctrinal dispute, and at the same time have been resisting with all their might any movement in this direction. Is this not to be expected. Are Anglicans really ready for a real trans-national structure of authority? Are Anglicans really ready to embrace such a structure? I doubt it. Few will be willing to surrender their autonomy to the degree that is required. And perhaps they are right not to do so. Catholics embrace the Bishop of Rome as supreme pontiff because they believe that he is the divinely-chosen successor Peter and wields the keys of heaven. They believe that the office is divinely instituted. One does not create a divinely-instituted office; one receives it. Whatever special role the Archbishop of Canterbury may enjoy and should enjoy—and I do believe he has a special role by the providence of God—it cannot be that of teaching office. Cardinal Kasper’s address to the Lambeth bishops needs to be read very carefully. It really is a remarkable and insightful address.
August 1, 9:32 am | [comment link]
45. jamesw wrote:
Doug Handy: I agree with you that Rowan Williams is aggregating the power to act to himself, yet is rufusing to use that power. I think he is grabbing the power in the vain hope that doing nothing will “keep everyone together.” I think Rowan distrusts a more diffused power structure.
August 1, 2:07 pm | [comment link]
46. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
Fr. Kimel (#44),
I’m glad that you chose to make one of your relatively rare appearances at T10 on this thread. Your comments are always illuminating and stimulating, and this one is no exception.
Let me concentrate my response on the dilemma we Anglicans face that you rightly highlight. That is, this vexing debate and profound institutional crisis has revealed how desperately we need something like the papacy or the patriarchates of the eastern churches in order to resolve our bitter and intractable conflicts, and yet there is intense and stubborn resistance to creating any such magisterium. And you also rightly point out that Catholics willingly submit to the Pope as the successor to Peter, believing that this office is a precious divine gift.
However, I would have to modify your strong statement: “One does not create a divinely instituted office: one receives it.” I find that dichotomy a little too simplistic. Take the three-fold ordering of the ordained ministry. I firmly believe that this is a gift of God to the Church and that it is canonical, normative, and binding. But was this way of structuring the ministerial offices something “created” or “received?” Personally, I think the only credible answer is “it was both.” It gradually evolved, under the guidance and supervision of the Holy Spirit, but it was also in part a creative response by the leaders of the second century Church to the challenges they faced, not least the rise of full-blown Gnosticism and Montanism.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we will HAVE to create new Instruments of Unity, and that these will of necessity exercise transprovincial powers that are binding and juridical. For months now, I’ve been calling for the creation of what I call an Anglican Supreme Court, an international judicial branch that can authoritatively declare legislative decisions of provincial synods null and void when they contravene Scripture and are thus ruled out since they are “unconstitutional.” And I’ll add here that I’m also sure that we’ll need a true international Synod, a genuine Council, that can likewise make actual decisions that are binding on the provinces, and not merely advisory in nature like the Lambeth Conference.
You ask if Anglicans are ready for this sort of centralization of power that will drastically limit the autonomy of the provinces. You are rightly skeptical that this will ever be acceptable to all Anglicans. And of course, it won’t. But I do continue to hope and trust that some such new order will in the end be recognized as not only necessary, but even as desirable in the post-Christendom world we are now living in.
The era of national churches is coming to an end, along with colonialism. Anglicanism is being driven willy-nilly, whether we like it or not (and most do not) in the direction of international centralization. And I, for one, welcome that development.
We will either devolve into the Protestant “federation” of independent Anglican churches that so many fear (especially the noble leaders of the ACI), or we will move the other direction (as I hope) and evolve into a single worldwide Anglican Church, rather than continuing to try to get by as a family of mostly autonomous national churches. The breakdown of the relationship between the various Anglican bodies and the national governments and cultures to which they were formerly so closely tied, that breakdown frees us to rework the relationship between church and state, between Anglicanism and the surrounding culture, in quite new and radical ways.
Is that a far-fetched, impossible dream? Perhaps. Time will tell.
Of course, you are right, Fr. Kimel, that revolutions, and reformations, seldom turn out as their leaders intended. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t warranted. Not at all. Sometimes they simply have to be attempted, and then you deal with the unintended consequences as they arise. Not knowing exactly how everything will turn out is part of the thrill of the adventure! For we walk by faith, and not by sight.
August 1, 9:22 pm | [comment link]
47. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
I guess we can all speculate endlessly on what ++Rowan Williams wants or intends without all of us coming to any agreement. After all, he gives off lots of mixed messages verbally. But his actions have been remarkably consistent, and in a troubling way for those of us on the orthodox side. For he has consistently undermined any real discipline of TEC or the ACoC. He has constantly sought to delay, delay, delay resolution of this crisis, creating new institutional processes on a regular basis.
Your interpretation of his behavior is a plausible one. But I remain convinced that ++Rowan Williams is not really interested in “aggregating” more power to himself or his office. Now the American PB is doing that big time, as her outrageous abuse of the canons in seeking to depose Bp. Cox and Bp. Schofield shows all too plainly. Fortunately, however, I really don’t see ++Williams acting power hungry like that. He is in fact quite reluctant to use the powers already his in any positive way. Rather, he merely seeks to thwart the orthodox attempt to impose even a modicum of discipline on the progressive party. As long as the other Instruments of the Communion LET HIM get away with appointing various groups all by himself (the Windsor Commission on Communion, the Panel of Reference, the Covenant Design Group, the Windsor Continuation Group, and who know what next), he will continue to create such diversionary processes that consume huge amounts of time and effort, but resolve nothing. But there is absolutely no reason why the AC has to continue to let him get away with that.
In other words, I don’t see him trying to magnify the powers of his office. I just see him desperately trying in every way possible to hold the institutional structures of Anglicanism together and prevent a massive breakup of the AC. I may be wrong, but I’m not cynical enough to see him being sinisterly Machiavellian (as the American PB definitely is). Instead, I see him being sincerely torn between his private support of the “gay is OK” delusion and his public role as the focus of unity for the whole AC, and especially for the C of E.
Have you read ++Rowan Williams’ major book on Arius and the whole, protracted Arian struggle of the 4th century? One of his chief points is that there was a profound, complex struggle for power in the Church going on along with the fierce theological debate. And the same is clearly true in our time.
There is a huge power struggle going on between the reappraiser dominated western provinces and the orthodox Global South provinces. And though Cantaur likes to APPEAR as if he were a neutral, disinterested peacemaker and mediator in that bitter fight, the reality is, of course, that he is very much a covert supporter of the western elites.
In the end, ++Orombi is right. This is indeed an ecclesiastical form of lingering “colonialism,” or the futile attempt to preserve the advantages and control formerly enjoyed by the western elites in the AC. But that era is rapidly coming to an end. GAFCON is a very clear sign of the arrival of a new day in world Anglicanism, where the west can no longer call all the shots, but the GS leaders are rightly taking over the initiative.
The New Anglicanism that will result from this radical New Reformation will be not only post-colonial, it will be significantly post-English and post-western. Thanks be to God.
David (not Doug) Handy+
August 1, 10:07 pm | [comment link]