Andrew Goddard: The Anglican Covenant

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Communion has grown and developed through the missionary vision and labours of, among others, Evangelical Anglicans in the Church of England. Evangelicals have never understood the Church of England as simply the national church of the English people but part of the worldwide church of Christ sharing in his mission. We should have a vision for a global communion committed to mission and to partnership together in mission with other provinces. The covenant process provides a means of developing structures for such a missional vision. It also offers the hope of being able (in a theologically rich and biblically based form of a covenant) to express biblical and creedal faith and to develop the structures of a distinctive global Anglicanism which is both Catholic and Reformed and which will help us work for the unity among all his disciples for which Christ prayed.

There are no solid reasons - either in principle or pragmatically in the current political context - for evangelicals or anyone else to object to Synod making a commitment to positive participation in the covenant process. There are many reasons - theological and political - why evangelicals and others who share our commitments to world mission, to learning from Anglicans around the globe, to safeguarding biblical faith and to facilitating harmony among Anglicans should wish the Church of England wholeheartedly to support the covenant process. Indeed, in terms of our life together as a Communion, the covenant process is - like the Windsor Report in which it originated - now 'the only poker game in town'. If the Communion is to have a future together then the form of this will be discerned in and through this covenant process. For the Church of England to abandon that process through non-participation, or destructive participation, would therefore be for the eye to say to the hand 'I don't need you' and for us as a province to embrace a vision of Anglicanism in which every one does what is right in their own eyes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican CovenantAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

Posted June 27, 2007 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Stuart Smith wrote:

Andrew Goddard makes some good points.
The Anglican Communion has always enjoyed and suffered the liberty and the chaos that ensues from a “catholic” polity that has no true equivalent of catholic headship…i.e. a bishop to all the bishops who can exercise real and direct authority over heretical prelates in the Church.  On balance, it is a beautiful thing to have catholic theology without the danger of tyranny which has marred the Roman Church’s witness in times past.  However, we in the AC have no room to be smug!  Think of all the times when, because the RC had the authority to discipline heretics, those who were distressing the Church with false teaching were effectively removed from their positions (eg. the heretical teachings of RC university professors).  Now, think of all the times in the past 30 years when- because we do not have an equivalent way to discipline heretics- the ECUSA has accepted and promoted heretical and divisive theologies!  Imagine how different things would be if the men and women who have gained power in the ECUSA in the past 30 years had been screened OUT of seminary and never allowed to become “wolves in sheep clothing”!

Somehow, the AC needs a mechanism to safe-guard basic orthodox belief and moral theology.  If not by the Anglican Covenant…then, by what?

June 27, 11:05 am | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

“The only poker game in town” - yes, that’s about right.
The Covenant process is taking on a life of its own.

June 27, 5:07 pm | [comment link]
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