A meeting of around 400 evangelicals at one of London's biggest churches went largely unnoticed last week.
Hardly surprising really, given that nothing was achieved and nothing agreed.
But actually, the fractious, ill-tempered gathering could be scene as a significant tipping point in years to come.
Talk of division and schism in the Anglican communion has been discussed for years, but is normally viewed as a battle between the liberals and evangelicals.
1. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
As an American, I wasn’t there at the NEAC meeting, but Pageanmaster was, and I hope he’ll weigh in here. And perhaps others from the English side of the Pond too.
But this article seems very partisan to me, totally on the side of Fulcrum. It seems to bash both Richard Turnbull, who is accused of being an inept leader, and even Chris Sugden, who is accused of being “intransigent.” This all seems very one-sided to me.
November 30, 9:24 am | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster [KJS to Coventry] wrote:
#1 Rev Handy
“Squabbling Evangelicals” - well, there’s a thing!
If it helps my view was contained in this comment:
I attended the NEAC meeting yesterday. It was a great day with some excellent speakers and a really good atmosphere. A body which should be developed and expanded and a real pleasure to meet many people who I had only come across by reading or conversing with on the blogs.
Although no motion was passed [for procedural problems of short notice] I must tell you that great concern was shown for the position of conservatives in the US and Canada and a real desire to have a longer debate on what can be done to help. It was not that there was an unwillingness to pass a motion of support, we never got around to debating that motion, there were diffences in whether evangelicals should support solely the Gafcon approach in support of Common Cause or also support the Lambeth provision idea of the Covenant and also the efforts for the Communion Partners idea.
That was my sense fwiw. I am glad I went and there were inspiring speeches by +Nazir Ali, +Sinclair, and +Broadbent and by the Reverends Mike Ovey, Paul Perkin, Christina Baxter and Chris Sugden and a final inspiring vision by Richard Turnbull.
Very positive, but I suspect that something more concrete was limited by time but there is most certainly support and a desire to do something.
I hope that there will be the chance for something longer on the same lines to develop, perhaps more regularly.
That remains my view, that NEAC was a positive and useful meeting. However, there are considerable pressures in the Church of England to take positions. I also attended the All Soul’s event to hear from various Gafcon leaders on events in Jerusalem. They all made it very clear that the position in England is very different, and we in England had to find our own solutions to issues.
People are getting agitated and want to do something. We run the risk of fragmentation if we get caught up in this and the sense of NEAC was of wanting to take careful and considered counsel together before becoming fragmented. At the other end of the spectrum we are seeing the same pressures in the recent meeting of the Modern Churchpeoples’ Union.
My own view fwiw is that this is a time for us in England to maintain an even keel and I don’t think it is a good idea for us to bring battle to our church; it does not help us, and it certainly will not help others.
I also think that one has to remember that all the individuals at NEAC are committed Christians and often ministers. This is true of Rev. Richard Turnbull, Bishop Nazir-Ali, Bishop Broadbent, Bishop Sinclair, Canon Kings, and all the others who we are lucky to have to guide us. If people are taking positions it is because of their desire to witness as best as they are able and to guide our church in service to the King. I wish everyone would remember this when they write and speak.
That said it bears repeating that the meeting at NEAC very much wanted to express support for people in their situations in North America and I very much hope that some common sense will prevail; the unedifying comments cease [much as I do in the CP and CCP positions] and we get the opportunity to send a very necessary message of support.
November 30, 10:38 am | [comment link]
3. Irenaeus wrote:
Quite a word-chooser, this Wynne-Jones:
“nothing was achieved”
“the fractious, ill-tempered gathering”
“reduced to bickering and squabbling”
“heckled by a group led by Graham Kings”
“the people skills of a dalek”
“riven with division and discord”
“[Sugden spoke] as one of the over-represented of course”
“The clearest, most uniting vision has come from Fulcrum, who stand for traditional teaching, but without the tub-thumping and the belligerence. Instead of the reactionism and arrogance that seems to be displayed by many of the conservatives, Fulcrum appears more interested in dialogue.”
Like Fr. Handy, I’m eager to hear the responses of those close to the scene.
November 30, 10:51 am | [comment link]
4. Graham Kings wrote:
At NEAC 2008, following the passing of the procedural motion that the original motion ‘be not put’, there were many people who questioned out loud what the Chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council said in response: some were conservative evangelicals, others were from Fulcrum.
One of the conservative evangelicals, a member of St Ebbes’ Oxford, was quoted by Pat Ashworth in her Church Times report.
Rodney Curtis, a management consultant who worships at St Ebbe’s, Oxford, likened attending the meeting to “watching a car crash in slow motion” ... “The management of the day was so amateur that I felt embarrassed,” he said. “We were being bounced into supporting GAFCON at the say-so of Richard Turnbull.”
He described Dr Turnbull as having been “publicly humiliated”, and GAFCON as having been made to look like “a bullying, manipulative movement”...
Mr Curtis called for Dr Turnbull to “do the decent thing and step down”. He described his own position on Tuesday as someone “both conservative and Charismatic”, “a friend of Wycliffe Hall”, and someone who respects the Revd Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe’s, Oxford, whose gentle account of the GAFCON meeting he had warmed to.
He said: “We were expected to act like clones. When I read ‘no amendments’, I thought: ‘This is a set-up job.’” He had shouted out at one point: “You can’t do this.”
Wim Houtman, the religion editor of Nederlands Dagblad, the evangelical daily newspaper in the Netherlands, was present throughout and has written, ‘NEAC 2008: an Evangelical Dutch Report’.
The Global South Anglican site has recently linked into two post-NEAC 2008 articles on Fulcrum:
‘The Restoration of Evangelicalism: Differences without Division’
‘Allusions and Illusions: Advent Reflections’.
November 30, 11:17 am | [comment link]
5. dwstroudmd+ wrote:
Too bad they didn’t inadabadaveeeeeeeeeda like Lame-beth! Then there would have been nothing for naughty journalists to report. Of course, the tissue paper covering the wall-cracks wouldn’t have been exposed like this. But nontheless they at least went down with no action but no lack of differences being aired. I do wish that level of clarity had been obtainable at Lame-beth. It would have been unsightly but at least intelligible.
November 30, 4:26 pm | [comment link]
6. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
Thanks to both Pageantmaster (#2), and Graham Kings+ (#4). I’m glad you both have chimed in here.
I did recall your quite positive assessment, Pageantmaster, and I’m happy that you’ve reaffirmed it here. It helps offset the extremely negative tone of the writer of the article/editorial/rant above, Jonathan Wynne-Jones.
And Canon Kings, I’m also grateful for all the links you kindly provided for us. That’s very helpful.
If I may, let me suggest a possible analogy, FWIW. Back in both WWI and WWII, the USA held back for a long time and tried to avoid getting drawn into the middle of those terrible wars. But in the end, it proved impossible, and America did eventually and almost inevitably come to the aid of England and other allies against the powerful onslaught of German aggression.
May I suggest that the same thing is virtually doomed to happen in reverse in this Anglican civil war? The C of E has good reason to try to “keep an even keel” as long as it can. Wars are horrible things. But in today’s interconnected “flat” world, I think it will prove impossible for the English to stay isolated and above the fray. And personally, as a North American, I hope that the mighty evangelical wing of the C of E chooses to abandon any pretense of neutrality and comes to the aid of us beleagured orthodox Anglicans in North America sooner, rather than later.
So who will play the role of Woodrow Wilson or FDR in leading the English evangelicls to enter the war on the side of their vastly outnumbered American counterparts?
December 1, 7:53 am | [comment link]
7. Pageantmaster [KJS to Coventry] wrote:
Rev Handy - thanks for your response.
“I hope that the mighty evangelical wing of the C of E chooses to abandon any pretense of neutrality and comes to the aid of us beleagured orthodox Anglicans in North America sooner, rather than later.”
As I hope I made clear across the NEAC meeting there was clear outrage expressed at the treatment of conservatives in the US - by bishops, clergy and laity. However, you are divided, to your detriment, in how you see the future, Some of common cause favour a new province; others seek to support the communion partners inside strategy.
The issue for us at NEAC on the day was would we solely endorse the GAFCON approach; or leave the door open on the Communion Partners initiative and the efforts of the Windsor Covenant? In effect we could have taken sides in an argument between American Conservatives. The effect of what happened was to remit this for further consideration and reflection. I would hope that we will still be able to come up with something that will express our support rather than encourage division.
Perhaps a better analogy than the world wars would have been the early 19thC and the events that let to the US civil war. In 1807 slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire through the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act; later in the same year the Royal Navy began patrols of African coast to arrest slaving vessels and the West Africa Squadron established almost solely for this purpose sso that by 1865, nearly 150,000 people had been freed by anti-slavery operations.
In the American Civil War, Britain supported the Confederate States, something we were not forgiven for for many years.
Would it really be helpful for us to take sides in the debate US conservatives are having [frankly the rancour of which to me appears self-destructive] or as I believe we should do, give all of you our support - those of you who will be establishing an new Anglican body in two days time, those of you who are seeking to establish Communion Partnerships and those of you who still support the Windsor Covenant?
December 1, 8:32 am | [comment link]
8. Pageantmaster [KJS to Coventry] wrote:
I would add that I also believe that we should encourage TEC to reflect on the divisive, and in my estimation, un-Christian path they have taken, their litigation, their persecution, their unilateralism and the destructive approach taken to the Communion - but I am not holding my breath on that one - I have no wish to see TEC on the outside in their own little bubble.
December 1, 8:46 am | [comment link]
9. Pageantmaster [KJS to Coventry] wrote:
Perhaps one more thought. As more than one of the speakers at NEAC made clear, Gafcon and the non-attendance of so many at Lambeth became inevitable following the failure to follow through with Dar and the invitations to Lambeth to all and sundry. The new Anglican entity, perhaps province followed, as night follows day. It seems to me that there are considerable efforts being put into dividing US conservatives, and to isolate Gafcon.
What may have changed all this is the unlawful attempted deposition of Bishop Duncan, conducted in such outrageous breach of canons and process that there have been protests across the Communion. My suspicion is that, notwithstanding all the institutional efforts to the contrary, a new entity will be supported not only by the Gafcon Primates and provinces but by others who are insensed. It will be interesting to see. For this the Presiding Bishop can probably be thanked.
So for me there is a certain inevitability to things now. What will be will be and I am probably with Gamaliel, who I have always thought was a good bloke.
December 1, 9:11 am | [comment link]
10. Pageantmaster [KJS to Coventry] wrote:
Perhaps the question I should be asking is how do you think that we can help?
December 1, 10:01 am | [comment link]
11. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
Thanks for your kind words, and further reflections, which I welcome. Assuming that your last post was directed toward me, here is my initial answer to your question about how English evangelicals (or orthodox Anglo-Catholics for that matter) can help their orthodox comrades on this side of the Atlantic.
First, we all need to take responsibility for getting our own house in order. The reform of the AC starts with each of us taking our proper responsibility for doing what we can to make amends for past mistakes, and to repent of the areas where we may still be more part of the problem than part of the solution. The “inside” and “outside” track people on both sides of the Pond need to get their own internal act together, before we can hope to work well together. And by that I mean dealing severely with the continuing sin and emotional unhealthiness within our own hearts and our own ranks as groups. We have been far too casual and tolerant of sinful, unhealthy patterns of behavior; and that applies across the board theologically and tactically.
But I wasn’t asking for the CEEC or Fulcrum or Reform to publicly endorse the CCP and FCA movement, much less for the orthodox people in the C of E to take sides in a partisan way against the CP/ACI wing of orthodox Anglicans in North America. What I did have in mind, however, was for MUCH more pressure to be applied on Canterbury and General Synod to change course and to cease and desist in furthering the “gay is OK” delusion and the theological and moral relativism that it represents. It is high time to start treating our heretical foes not as part of the “loyal opposition” (like the minority party in Parliament), but as outright enemies. Enemies of Christ, and enemies of the authentic gospel.
Now yes, we are most assuredly also called to love our enemies and to pray for them. But let’s start calling a spade a spade, and start publicly treating those false Christians, those wolves in sheep’s clothing, who are currently hiding behind a mask of Christian language that they’ve utterly twisted and perverted, as the enemies that they are. Reprehensible, utter enemies, with whom we cannot and will not share common or any common life.
Let us together wage relentless and all-out theological warfare against liberalism within Anglicanism, in the name of the Prince of Peace.
December 1, 11:26 am | [comment link]
12. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
Oops, in my zeal and an outburst of passion, I let a bad typo stand. Toward the end of that “call to war,” I meant, let us treat our heretical foes as the spiritual enemies that they are, and publicly act as if we can’t and won’t share COMMUNION with them, or recognize that they have any valid place in our common life.
And I DO mean that literally. This IS war, spiritual and theological warfare. Let’s stop pretending otherwise.
That does NOT mean adopting a “take no prisoners” approach. It must still be honorably fought as a JUST war. But let us also be clear that no negotiated settlements will do. This is a war until our foes are FORCED into nothing less than UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, where we orthodox Christians can DICTATE the terms of peace that our defeated enemies will be COMPELLED to accept.
I can only speak for myself. But that, and nothing less, is what I’m fighting for.
And if it splits the AC permanently (or seemingly so anyway), well so be it. That is what Reformations do.
December 1, 11:35 am | [comment link]
13. Pageantmaster [KJS to Coventry] wrote:
#11/12 Rev Handy
Thanks for your reply - yes it was a question for you and anybody else, arising out of the thought that perhaps we were not approaching the question of what American Conservatives need from us in the right way and perhaps we should be asking you all the question.
But that seems to have been a general problem in the Communion’s response, not just ours. So yes I am interested in your and others’ views on what we may do to assist.
December 1, 11:56 am | [comment link]
14. Irenaeus wrote:
In the American Civil War, Britain supported the Confederate States, something we were not forgiven for for many years. —-Pageantmaster [#7]
Anti-British sentiment in the United States had more to do with the events of 1775-83 and 1812-15 (notably the burning of Washington in 1814) plus upper-class English disdain for their rustic cousins.
Hard to see how British evangelicals would be in danger of eliciting similar resentment. Americans genuinely like Brits. Tyranny resides at 815 Second Ave., New York City.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
PS to Fellow Americans: Never forget Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s role in supporting the Union cause and helping to keep Britain neutral during the American Civil War.
December 1, 12:15 pm | [comment link]
15. seitz wrote:
Could I thank David+ for stating it so clearly:
December 1, 7:51 pm | [comment link]
“But I wasn’t asking for the CEEC or Fulcrum or Reform to publicly endorse the CCP and FCA movement, much less for the orthodox people in the C of E to take sides in a partisan way against the CP/ACI wing of orthodox Anglicans in North America.”
The reports we have seen make it clear that this was what was being sought. As you put it, this is not a good way to address problems that NA must deal with, but it also bespeaks an effort to foreclose on serious engagement with facts on the ground—something even Reform bristled at, from what we read. The best way for evangelicals of all stripe to support beleagured conservatives in the US and Canada is to understand the character of our situation. In Canada, Essentials has become ‘federation’ and ‘network.’ In US, ‘Network’ became Common Cause for some Bishops (4 at present), whilst others opted for mutual encouragement and/or Communion Partners. Evangelicals in the UK, in my sense of the matter having lived there, are like evangelicals in Tanzania, W Africa, Congo, Central Africa, Suden and Nigeria (+Josiah was with us in Toronto last week): on a steep discernment curve, just as we are, as to how the LORD is leading all of us who do not accept a moral/theological position of many within TEC, as against where the bulk of the Communion is. grace and peace.
16. Ross wrote:
#12 New Reformation Advocate says:
This is a war until our foes are FORCED into nothing less than UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, where we orthodox Christians can DICTATE the terms of peace that our defeated enemies will be COMPELLED to accept.
Well, then, Fr. Handy, I guess I’ll be seeing you on the seas and oceans, in the air, on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets, and in the hills. I wouldn’t waste too much time planning those “terms of peace” you wish to dictate to us; if you win, it will be because there are none of us left.
December 1, 10:37 pm | [comment link]
17. Sarah1 wrote:
RE: “Well, then, Fr. Handy, I guess I’ll be seeing you on the seas and oceans, in the air, on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets, and in the hills. I wouldn’t waste too much time planning those “terms of peace” you wish to dictate to us; if you win, it will be because there are none of us left.”
Right—but that’s no different than the last five years, so no need to worry about anything new.
; > )
December 2, 9:57 am | [comment link]
18. Ken Brown wrote:
I wasn’t at NEAC but I am a bit of a pedant and Britain did NOT support the South during the US Civil War. The government was strictly neutral, big business in favour of free trade (and therefore tended to come into opposition to the Union blockade) but public opinion was largely in favour of the North, mainly because of slavery.
If your school teacher told you that Britain supported the Confederates she was telling little porky pies.
December 2, 12:33 pm | [comment link]
19. Pageantmaster [KJS to Coventry] wrote:
#18 Ken Brown
December 2, 6:44 pm | [comment link]
“I’m a bit of a pedant”
Never mind - it’s not a problem for me. But as for support, I do understand [and not necessarily from my gluttinous school mistress] that we supplied the Southern navy with warships, our ships ran the Northern blocade into the South, we sent 13,000 invasion troops to Canada and came close to invading after the Trent affair - but you are correct, we were officially neutral - which is no doubt what Elizabeth I told the Spanish ambassador as Drake was pillaging galleons.
20. Pageantmaster [KJS to Coventry] wrote:
#11/12 Rev Handy
I can’t guarantee that English Evangelicals will be willing or able to undertake the extensive Blitzkrieg you call for first, but in due course some statement of support might well be more possible. Tomorrow is another day as they say.
Thanks to you and Professor Seitz for your feedback.
December 2, 6:56 pm | [comment link]