Ken Briggs: Anglicans who answer pope’s call must abandon key principles

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To call this a product of ecumenical good will and theological progress is utter nonsense. It is, rather, a repudiation of it, a return to an attitude that expects capitulation rather than mutual consensus. Benedict put his stamp on this stand recently in a document called ''Dominus Jesu.'' It states flatly that his is the only ''true church,'' indeed that no other Christian organization even deserves the name, and that all other Christian movements are deeply flawed. How's that for an equal partnership at the table?

Basically the pope insists on surrender. The Anglicans will be cut some slack, but presumably only in Rome's terms.

Other Protestant churches engaged in long talks with Catholics following the Second Vatican Council can justifiably feel demeaned. Indirectly, they're being told that if they want a greater degree of unity with Catholics, they'd better be ready to sacrifice because Rome won't and their own traditions won't be treated with respect.

As for the Episcopalians who aren't going anywhere, I believe they will be better off without the obstructionists and nay-sayers. Free of those detractors, the church can devote itself to being what it is, with a lot to offer.

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Episcopal Church (TEC)* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

Posted October 29, 2009 at 9:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. David Keller wrote:

What principles do I have to give up to stay?

October 29, 9:44 am | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

As for the Episcopalians who aren’t going anywhere, I believe they will be better off without the obstructionists and nay-sayers. Free of those detractors, the church can devote itself to being what it is, with a lot to offer.

By accepting women and homosexuals as priests and bishops, the church has undergone a long and careful discernment to determine God’s will. Unlike the rebellious Anglicans and the Vatican, the Episcopalians have moved in this direction because they believe God is guiding them to do so. The church has had some hard years, but I believe it has the resources and sensibilities to grow.

Well, he makes the Pope’s point.

October 29, 10:08 am | [comment link]
3. CBH wrote:

Mr. Briggs’ reasoning tests my charity and patience beyond words.  This is a perfect example of why it is almost useless to talk anymore - why the bride and groom reside at different ends of the house.  His photograph is one of such self satisfaction.

October 29, 11:19 am | [comment link]
4. CBH wrote:

p.s.  In visiting our soup kitchen there is a table of homeless ladies.  They meekly say their blessing before their meal and speak to one another with such kindness.  I would prefer their company.  Now, I will try to get into a better humor.

October 29, 11:23 am | [comment link]
5. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Hmm, who was that sabatoged ARCIC?  I know it wasn’t those naughty Roman Catholics who actually believe stuff.  Wait, could it have been the “anglican franchise” in America, the one whose then PB had to step down to yield any kind of credibility to the joint statement on Mary because he had undermined the whole affair over the ordination of a gay “bishop” in an active homosexual relationship aborting 20 centuries of Christian teaching?  Frankly, it was so and his name was Frank Griswold.

The American “Anglicans” aborted the ecumenical process with the Romans and the Orthodox.  To aver it was the other way round is to publish one’s vaunting ignorance of history.  Of course, the Anglicans and the vexed issue of women’s ordination had nothing to do with it at all!  See CoE Synod this year for the non-action.  It’s easily avaliable on line.  The issue of whose doing what is rather easily untangled with google, if one can be bothered to fact check.

October 29, 11:28 am | [comment link]
6. Sherri2 wrote:

Unlike the rebellious Anglicans and the Vatican, the Episcopalians have moved in this direction because they believe God is guiding them to do so

Well, I can’t argue with that. The “rebellious” Anglicans and the Vatican sincerely do not believe that God is guiding them to do so. Quite the contrary.

October 29, 11:39 am | [comment link]
7. Dan Crawford wrote:

Briggs’ rant may just cause me to think more positively of what Benedict did than I had originally.

October 29, 12:03 pm | [comment link]
8. Chris Molter wrote:

Unlike the rebellious Anglicans and the Vatican, the Episcopalians have moved in this direction because they believe God is guiding them to do so

Exactly.  And the Anglicans and Catholics who AREN’T moved in that direction do so because God is guiding them to do so.  So either God’s a schizophrenic, or it’s NOT God telling one side what to do.

October 29, 12:04 pm | [comment link]
9. DTerwilliger wrote:

Benedict’s charity or Brigg’s anger…. Gosh what a hard decision.

October 29, 12:47 pm | [comment link]
10. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Well, since no one has expressed a positive opinion yet about this little rant, I suppose I hardly need to add a further comment along the lines of those already made above.  But it seems to me that this kind of very blatant venting of anger against orthodox Christianity, especially as represented by Roman Catholicism, does serve a useful purpose.  Namely, to use one of Kendall’s favorite words, differentiation.

What we’re dealing with is the inevitable clash between two mutually exclusive worldviews and religious cultures.  And personally, I’d rather deal with an unapologetic foe like Ken Briggs than with so many people I know in TEC who are still futilely trying to straddle the fence.

David Handy+

October 29, 3:24 pm | [comment link]
11. rugbyplayingpriest wrote:

I often wonder with people like this, they believe God calls them to ordain women and that God calls them to affirm homosexual lifestyles..fine. But why do so many also support abortion….?
The answer fascinates me as it would say something truly, truly horrid about the god whose voice they follow and might reveal an awful lot…

October 29, 3:30 pm | [comment link]
12. David Keller wrote:

#11—When you leave the barn door open, you don’t let just one cow out of the barn.

October 29, 4:16 pm | [comment link]
13. archangelica wrote:

He does make one point that I think is accurate. TEC, I think, is not unhappy that Evangelicals are leaving to start the ACNA and that now Anglo-Catholics can be gotten rid of with Rome’s generous offer. Anglican comprehensiveness is dead. What is left is primarily the Broad Church folk and with most of the Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics leaving/gone, TEC will have far less obstruction in morphing into the Liturgical Unitarians they seem hell bent on becoming.
I’ve written a letter to the Presiding Bishop expressing my distress and my complete opposition, as a supporter of inclusion, at the “weak as water” theology and rejection of historic Christianity that more and more describes TEC.
This Liberal Christian has now transferred my membership to a local inclusive but orthodox ELCA parish (as is provided for in our full communion agreement) and am in study and discernment regarding becoming Lutheran by reception and profession of Faith.
The confessional nature of Lutheranism allows it to be much more grounded and attached to historic/authentic Christianity.
The ELCA has launched a wonderful church-wide ministry called The Book of Faith Initiative whose purpose is to “increase biblical literacy and fluency for the sake of the world.”
Something like this would never happen in TEC because they have no real interest in increasing biblical literacy and fluency in any meaningful way. Instead TEC promotes EFM which, even to this liberal, is a heterodox deconstruction of the Bible which casts doubt over everything and fails in every way to deepen faith and discipleship.
I was talking with a fellow “Reappraiser” who is a woman priest and she too agrees that inclusion without creedal orthodoxy is too high a price to pay. She too is looking at joining either the ELCA or the new Anglican option with Rome and she is a lesbian willing to lay down her priesthood rather than be yoked to a toxic church.
I can’t believe we are the only two progressives in TEC who feel this way but it sure feels that way.
How sad that many LGBT people come to TEC because she welcomes them and then feeds them spiritual poison which they digest in ignorance.
How sad too that Reappraisers didn’t do a better job of reaching out to them in love and offering them the Gospel.
We need inclusion AND orthodoxy not either or. These “other sheep” have been betrayed by Reasserters and Reappraisers.
Christ have mercy.

October 29, 4:32 pm | [comment link]
14. Ad Orientem wrote:

What planet has this man been living on?  How could he seriously have believed Rome ever had any intentions of compromising on their doctrine?  He affects astonishment and pain at discovering that ” they’re being told that if they want a greater degree of unity with Catholics, they’d better be ready to sacrifice because Rome won’t and their own traditions won’t be treated with respect.

Is he for real?

When has Rome ever suggested to anyone that their dogmas were in any way shape manner or form negotiable?  I am no longer Roman Catholic, but I respect their consistency.  With Rome you always know where you stand. That this man claims he did not is not a very favorable reflection on his intellect (or perhaps his veracity?).


October 29, 4:46 pm | [comment link]
15. Clueless wrote:

“Benedict put his stamp on this stand recently in a document called ‘‘Dominus Jesu.’’ It states flatly that his is the only ‘‘true church,’’ indeed that no other Christian organization even deserves the name, and that all other Christian movements are deeply flawed. How’s that for an equal partnership at the table?”

And his point is?

October 29, 5:06 pm | [comment link]
16. Cennydd wrote:

Sorry, but no takers here!  And besides, I’m too old a rooster to fly the Anglican coop for the Roman coop!

October 29, 5:17 pm | [comment link]
17. Old Soldier wrote:

Bet I am older the you and I have gone to Rome.  Orthodoxy
is not age or nonage related.

October 29, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
18. driver8 wrote:

1. I respect Ken Briggs honest and clear statement of his views and their implications. There is more virtue in such attempts at clarity than the equivocation or even deceit that are such a powerful part of the current disagreements.

2. Nevertheless, the views themselves fill me with sorrow: that he evidently (I take it) interprets the views of historic christian faith and those communities that hold to them, as heretical (in other words, rightly ejected). I regret too that anti catholicism which is such a tragic part of the Anglican heritage so effortlessly rises to the surface in this piece.

3. Finally, it’s not quite true to say that Rome simply views all other churches as holding utterly false views that must be rejected. Huge amounts of hard work in ecumenical dialogue (such as ARCIC) has been done carefully identifying commonalities, precisely delineating difference and holding open matters for further discussion and prayer. ARCIC began with a desire for visible unity - for such is our Lord’s prayer. That we are not united, means that such work and prayer must continue - despite the great difficulties - surely not with recrimination, but with a patient prayerfulness, a truthful dialogue, and most of all a heartfelt desire to be one (which was lamentably lacking in Mr. Briggs’ piece).

October 30, 2:34 am | [comment link]
19. RichardKew wrote:

Actually, Ken Briggs focuses on the wrong issues. While I do not condone much of what has happened in the Episcopal Church, there are fundamental doctrinal issues at stake here that would be difficult for someone like me to digest—beginning with the whole theology that focuses upon the authority of the Papacy itself. Martyn Minns was quoted a few days ago in the NY Times that there was a Reformation which differentiated us. While I would love a closer working relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, I do not see that Rome has yet addressed substantial issues that led to the divide in Western Christianity a half millennium ago. The Episcopal Church might be broken, but the Roman Catholic Church has hardly mended itself (something admitted to me by a leading Roman Catholic layperson just a couple of days ago).

October 30, 4:42 am | [comment link]
20. palmettostatethoughts wrote:

You and your friend are not the only two progressives bothered by this movement toward unitarianism and univsersalism.  As they said on Seinfeld “not that there’s anything wrong with that” but if I wanted to be a unitarian, I’d just go ahead and be one.  I’m very liberal on most social issues, but I’m very conservative/orthodox when it comes to theology and I’ve found it hard to find a place to reconcile those two things.  In fact, I’ve become so desperate that an old liberal like me is thinking of going to Rome.  How’s that for proving that the Lord works in mysterious ways?  smile

October 30, 2:19 pm | [comment link]
21. archangelica wrote:

Praise the Lord! So nice to read your post and not feel like such a misfit all the time. I would encourage you, as didi I albeit with no response, to write KJS and let her know your feelings. I think she needs to hear from more folk like us and to realize it’s not only the reasserters who are unhappy with the theological direction of TEC. Even if she never responds to my letter it did my conscience good to write it.
Now back to reading The Book of Concord!

October 30, 2:28 pm | [comment link]
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