Global South Statement In Response To The Pilling Report
The Global South considers forward movement on the Pilling Report’s recommendations as equal to what the North American churches did ten years ago which caused much confusion in the Communion.
After more than 10 years of listening and conversation, we do not see a value of endless conversations and indabas.
We are clear on what the Bible teaches about sexual relationships outside of the marriage of one man and one woman, and the need for pastoral care for those who find themselves in relationships outside of this. The dissenting view written by the Bishop of Birkenhead captures well our position. For us in the Global South, his view is the majority view, and we hope the Church of England Bishops will recognize this. The Church of England needs to be cautious in taking decisions that will compromise faith and the position of the Church of England within the Anglican Communion as well as the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury
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The Global South of the Anglican Communion
Telephone: + 686 5158 Facsimile: + 6971096
12 December 2013
A STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE PILLING REPORT
We are writing to express our serious concerns in regard to the Pilling Report. We know that the House of Bishops of the Church of England will be discussing this and we would like to assure them of our prayers so that the Holy Spirit would guide them to the right decisions.
First, we would like to say that we believe that the church of Christ should not in any way be homophobic or have any kind of phobia. We should follow in the steps of Jesus Christ who embraced all the marginalized of his society; having said that, we must say that we did not read of any homophobic statement from any bishop or clergy in the Church of England. It is sad that anyone who does not support the ministry of gay and lesbians, as well as same-sex marriages, is considered homophobic. Obviously there is a big difference between those who refuse to recognize the presence of homosexuals in the church, i.e. homophobic, and those who do support Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 and do not support the ministry and ordination of non-celibate gay and lesbians, as well as same-sex marriages.
The Pilling Report raises an important question which requires an answer: will the Church of England conform to its context, i.e. will the Church of England allow the society to shape its faith and practice in such a way in order to be acceptable by the society, or will the Church of England recognize that its distinctive mission is to transform the society?
The Pilling Report suggests, that while the Church of England should not change its teaching, it should give a space to provide pastoral care to gay and lesbians such as doing same-sex blessing with unauthorized liturgies. It is similar to what some churches in North America called “a local option” and now has become a standard practice in these churches. In the pretext of providing pastoral care, the suggestion in a very subtle way, encourages the turning of a blind eye to a major alteration of the teaching of the church. This suggestion, of a local option, likewise ignores an historic Anglican approach to doctrine, namely lex orandi, lex credendi – what we pray is what we believe. A pastoral provision, while not officially changing the church’s teaching, does, in practice and in fact, change the church’s teaching. The Global South are resolutely opposed to this.
The Global South considers forward movement on the Pilling Report’s recommendations as equal to what the North American churches did ten years ago which caused much confusion in the Communion. This reminds us of Eli the High Priest who turned a blind eye to the wrongdoings of his sons which led to a period of spiritual dryness when the Spirit of God departed from the midst of His people (Ichabod).
The Church of England should not worry about the gap, or the principled tension, between the church and society, especially after the House of Lords and House of Commons accepted same-sex marriages. The Church should not allow the state to put pressure on it. Indeed, the Church needs to respond to the demands of the society, but not at the expense of its faith, practice, and unity. In fact, the Church needs to be the conscious of the society, providing spiritual leadership and guidance. A faithful church will always have a principled tension between her and the society. This gap makes the church distinct as salt and light. Especially at this season of Advent, we need to repent and call people to repentance in order to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was never “politically correct.” He never compromised the message he came to deliver. He risked, and even lost his life, to stay true to this message.
The Pilling Report correctly recognizes that the Church of England is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It therefore obligates the Church of England to humbly consult and seek the counsel of sister Provinces on such a grave matter, in light of the spirit of the Windsor Report. There is an implication of this fact which is: if the Church of England wants to keep such unity, there must be wider consultation in order to avoid divisive decisions. Whatever decisions the Church of England will take will have an impact on its relation with the wider Anglican Communion, especially the Global South, and also the relation with its ecumenical partners and interfaith dialogues with other religions. It would be difficult to comprehend how we affirm our faith by saying the words of the Nicene Creed, “we believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church,” when we take unilateral actions that disrupt this oneness. Our hope and prayer is that the House of Bishops would give serious attention to the relation between the Church of England and the wider Communion, as well as other churches and other faith communities.
The Pilling Report recognizes that this issue is a divisive issue. It is astonishing that the Report makes the Church of England’s observations and recommendations without reference to the same practices by the North American churches in 2002 and 2003 that tore the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level, and continue to do so. It would be very sad, indeed, for the Church of England to follow in the steps of those in North America whose similar unilateral decisions led to further division and tore the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level.
Surely, after all the Primates meetings that have discussed the divisions in the Communion and provided ways forward, the Windsor Report, the absence of one-third of the Bishops at the 2008 Lambeth Conference and the absence of many Primates from 2011 Primates meetings, the Pilling Report does not acknowledge that extensive consultations in the Communion have already been done. We regret that greater attention to these reports and Primates statements did not provide more guidance in the recommendations of the Pilling Report as representing recent, existing consultations. Most of us in the Global South have already participated in the Listening Process. After more than 10 years of listening and conversation, we do not see a value of endless conversations and indabas.
We are clear on what the Bible teaches about sexual relationships outside of the marriage of one man and one woman, and the need for pastoral care for those who find themselves in relationships outside of this. The dissenting view written by the Bishop of Birkenhead captures well our position. For us in the Global South, his view is the majority view, and we hope the Church of England Bishops will recognize this. The Church of England needs to be cautious in taking decisions that will compromise faith and the position of the Church of England within the Anglican Communion as well as the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury who tries hard to heal the torn fabric of the Communion.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
May the Lord bless you!
Yours in Christ,
The Most Revd Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Chairman of the Global South
of the Anglican Communion
The Most Revd Ian Ernest
Honorable General Secretary of the Global South
of the Anglican Communion
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal
Church of England (CoE)
Posted December 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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1. Ad Orientem wrote:
I believe this is called a shot across the bow.
December 12, 5:17 pm | [comment link]
2. Katherine wrote:
Outstanding statement. May those who have ears listen.
December 12, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
3. Jill Woodliff wrote:
The Pilling Report also failed to mention the 2010 resignations of President Bishop Mouneer Anis, Archbishop Henry Orombi, his alternate Archbishop Justice Akrofi, and Bishop of Iran, Azad Marshall from the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. President Bishop Anis came to the “sad realization that there is no desire within the ACC and the SCAC to follow through on the recommendations that have been taken by the other Instruments of Communion to sort out the problems which face the Anglican Communion and which are tearing its fabric apart.” Bishop Marshall said, “Indeed it became abundantly clear to me that the Anglican Communion had ceased to be a representative body of non-Western churches. Its main concern was how to maintain a relationship with TEC and other churches…who have repeatedly defied the communion’s stand on human sexuality.”
December 12, 10:42 pm | [comment link]
4. Jill Woodliff wrote:
Prayers for the Church of England may be found here.
December 12, 10:47 pm | [comment link]
5. Pageantmaster ن [Pray for +John Ellison] wrote:
Thank you and God bless you Bishop Mouneer, Archbishop Ian and Global South Primates for your clear guidance and prayers.
I am sorry to say though that it is clear now that our bishops have not been following the Holy Spirit [who never contradicts scripture] at their meeting and they have been embargoed from admitting it.
#4 Jill - Thank you for posting prayers; it is so important to keep praying at this time of danger and deception when the lion is raging through the Church of England seeking whom he may devour.
Who do we say that Jesus is?
December 12, 11:05 pm | [comment link]
We say He is the Christ and the Son of God and the Lord of our lives.
6. Publius wrote:
Wow. A superb statement.
I understand that the CofE House of Bishops has been meeting to discuss the PR. The silence, as #5 noted, is ominous.
December 13, 11:07 am | [comment link]
7. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
Ditto, all the above.
I particularly value the laser beam focus on the core issue: will the CoE choose to go with the flow of an increasingly unChristian culture, or will its leaders dare to defy its godless and immoral drift and remain faithful to the gospel? Will the leadership of the CoE (and the ACO) choose to align themselves with the majority of an increasingly unChristian population, or with the majority of the Christian world? It really is an Either/Or. There is no possibility of a Both/And solution here.
That is the fundamental dilemma the Church faces everywhere in the Global North (GN), where authentic Christians are now a minority in an increasingly pluaralistic, cynical, and even hostile cultural environment. And that poses an immense challenge to all formerly “mainstream” Christian traditions, especially those like the Anglican tradition that have a long history of being favored by the powers that be in society. Now that those fickle worldly powers have implicitly (and sometimes even explicitly) turned against the Church and its historic teachings, we are increasingly forced into an adversarial, confrontational stance toward the new cultural mainstream that has become ideologically relativistic and morally antinomian.
We faced a similar crisis in the mid 18th century with the rise of Deism in the English world. The difference was that back then, the “enlightened” skeptics were an elite few, the Thomas Hobbes, Edward Gibbons, Thomas Jefferson types who represented the pinacle of the social pyramid. Today, the mass media and the educational system have diffused that same sort of skeptical humanism so widely that it pervades GN culture, infecting all the social strata from top to bottom.
Back in 1736, one of our greatest theologians ever, Bishop Joseph Butler published a massive, learned refutation of Deism in his justly famous Analogy of Religion (the full title is The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature). The brilliant +Butler (bishop of Bristol and then Durham) defended the essential congruity between biblical truth and natural law, including the moral law written into the universe by the Creator. We desperately need bishops who will stand up for the true gospel and fight a similar battle in our time, when the stakes are even higher, since so many more people have fallen for the deceitful lies of Satan: “Hath God really said that sex outside marriage is wrong??”
Faithful bishops Mouneer Anis and Ian Ernest are among the many godly bishops of the Global South who are willing to fight for the truth. I thank God for them. But how many in the CoE will listen?
December 13, 11:28 am | [comment link]
8. tjmcmahon wrote:
A very good and profound statement. For those who are bishops of the CoE, please read the statement, as this is the sort of thing written by actual bishops of the Church founded by Jesus Christ. Those same CoE bishops might also want to take a class in theology from the Bishop of Birkenhead, who seems to be one of the very few real bishops left in the CoE.
December 13, 2:57 pm | [comment link]
I would also point out to the bishops of the CoE that their supposition that the moderates of the GS, such as ++Anis and ++Earnest, would be much more accommodating than the GAFCON primates has turned out to be overly optimistic. 10 years of facilitated conversations and listening process was apparently enough for the 60 million Anglicans of the GS to realize that the 5 million revisionists in the Americas, England, New Zealand and Australia were not actually listening to them.
9. Marie Blocher wrote:
A carefully worded cautionary statement.
December 14, 12:37 pm | [comment link]
Not yet a threat, but I would not be surprised if some in the ACO see it as that.
And indeed, if the Pilling report is accepted and acted upon, there could and should be genuine consequences of the action.
10. CSeitz-ACI wrote:
“...to the bishops of the CoE that their supposition that the moderates of the GS, such as ++Anis and ++Earnest, would be much more accommodating than the GAFCON primates.” I’d be surprised if this was ever the case. SE Asia, Middle East, Indian Ocean, et al may not be a part of the Gafcon contingent, but I doubt anyone thought they’d be in favor of something like Pilling.
December 14, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
11. tjmcmahon wrote:
December 14, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
I suppose I was responding more to the common TEC point of view- “its only a few Gafcon primates…” It is, indeed, a majority of the primates, and, of course, more than 3/4 of all Anglicans, who oppose what TEC and the CoE are doing.
“The Church of England needs to be cautious in taking decisions that will compromise faith and the position of the Church of England within the Anglican Communion as well as the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury who tries hard to heal the torn fabric of the Communion.”
I think that is stronger language from the moderate elements in the Communion than the CoE bishops were anticipating. I rather think that last reference to the ABoC was a courtesy. He certainly has yet to take any steps, other than hand wringing, to address the TEC inspired schism (“tear in the fabric”). Until his yes is yes, and his no is no, there will be no healing of the schism. Indeed, if he doesn’t get his act together before the next Synod, he may well find himself no longer able to have one foot on each side of the chasm.
The GS recognizes that the last HoB meeting, which should have rejected this report outright as incompatible with Scripture and as including specific violations of Lambeth 1.10 (and several previous Lambeth resolutions), failed in its responsibilities.
12. CSeitz-ACI wrote:
The difference between Gafcon group and the GS of the AC is not to my mind a matter of ‘moderate’ and something else. Is +Mouneer a ‘moderate’ and +Eliud Wabakalu something to the ‘more orthodox’ side of that? I doubt either of them would say that or think it. It may be that what you are describing is the mis-characterization of TEC vis-a-vis the majority of the AC.
December 14, 7:30 pm | [comment link]
My point was that I do not believe anyone in the CofE was surprised that the GS would respond to Pilling as they did.
13. Katherine wrote:
I certainly agree that +Mouneer is not less “orthodox” than +Wabakalu. As to whether the CofE leadership has been able to convince itself that the non-GAFCON GS would accept the Pilling report, who can say? If they did, they were in error. It may be that they know perfectly well this will not be accepted and they don’t care.
December 14, 10:11 pm | [comment link]
14. Luke wrote:
Going in a slightly different direction, as we move through to June, I can see where all of this can affect the selection of ACNA’s successor to ++Duncan.
December 15, 4:41 am | [comment link]
15. CSeitz-ACI wrote:
#13 I would agree it is a well-known fact that the CofE struggles to think of itself as connected to a wide Communion of accountability.
December 15, 10:14 am | [comment link]
16. tjmcmahon wrote:
December 15, 12:03 pm | [comment link]
I do not mean to imply a degree of orthodoxy when I refer to bishops such as +Mouneer Anis as “moderates.” The distinction between Gafcon and the rest of the GS is essentially political (hence use of liberal-moderate-conservative, rather than reivisionist-orthodox). Which is to say, Gafcon is essentially a political response to the attempt by Western Churches to use political means to enforce their will on the Communion.
While there may be some provinces in the GS that have been infected by Western thinking, and have been “facilitated” into a position of going along with the wishes of ACO and TEC, the vast majority of the GS is every bit as orthodox theologically as Gafcon (and for that matter, there are elements within Gafcon that are not orthodox, unless you see the desire for lay presidency as orthodox). I think that Bishop Mouneer is probably the best representative of the “mind of the Communion”. He has done all in his power to maintain orthodox Christianity within the Communion while at the same time trying to hold it together. I recall his reminder to the GS elements that were suggesting a division, that “we are the Anglican Communion” (“we” being the GS, whose leadership he was addressing at the time). Would that he were Archbishop of Canterbury.
17. CSeitz-ACI wrote:
I had four days with GS, Gafcon, CAPA leaders in Toronto, including +Eliud (a Wycliffe grad) and +Mouneer, and others. TCI co-sponsored the event and I issued the invitations. I am not convinced the distinctions you are attempting work all the way down, but I accept they are rough-and-ready. More tight-knit groupings can be easier to administrate (Gafcon). The wider the effort at collaboration, the more difficult to issue statements and gather the ‘mind of the group.’ Our hope at TCI/ACI and Wycliffe, if I may say so, is the widest possible Communion representation. That is consistent with our desire to preserve the Communion on terms of its own catholic and evangelical witness, as world-wide missionary movement.
December 15, 12:20 pm | [comment link]
18. pendennis88 wrote:
I think that the signers meant what they said. That acceptance of the Pilling report by the CoE would compromise the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury - as the symbolic head, the primus inter pares, the convener of Lambeth, and one of the “instruments of unity” of the Anglican Communion. I would suggest that that is British understatement. It has already been compromised; I tend to think what is being alluded to will be something more like a quiet slip into cessation. I’m also not sure anyone is unaware of this; I think a large part of TEC would prefer to see a shrinking of the communion into a smaller club of like-minded revisionist elites than have to put up with the global south demanding a role, and perhaps there is such a component in the CoE as well.
December 16, 12:54 pm | [comment link]
19. SC blu cat lady wrote:
GAFCON and FCA already represent a majority of those who consider themselves Anglican. I think it is time to give the heave ho, ho, ho to the heretics! HO, HO, HO!
Let the heretics call themselves whatever they want. I still don’t understand the appeal of using a word, “Anglican”, that describes something they no longer believe in nor want to be *in communion* with its representatives. Truly odd!
December 17, 12:09 pm | [comment link]
20. CSeitz-ACI wrote:
I suspect many who reflect on Anglican Communion mission and life think in terms of the basic communion units of Primates/Provinces. A ‘majority’ of provinces would be 20 (out of 38). Of course some are larger than others (Nigeria and Uganda, e.g.). What would be most useful and effective would be the widest Anglican Communion collaboration at the provincial level. The Pilling Report may occasion that, a ‘rod of Assyria.’
December 17, 12:21 pm | [comment link]
21. MichaelA wrote:
In many ways Gafcon comprises those provinces who are willing to get closely and practically involved with intervention in the west. Provinces like South East Asia have a different focus (especially the Chinese diaspora) and other provinces like Indian Ocean do not have the resources to become involved with Gafcon.
But as others have pointed out, that doesn’t mean there is any real difference between these provinces on the important doctrinal issues. The Primates of South East Asia and Indian Ocean will stand together with the Gafcon primates as a witness to the truth, even if they aren’t directly involved in mission in Britain, for instance.
December 20, 4:05 am | [comment link]
22. CSeitz-ACI wrote:
Most of the 25 total GS Provinces hold the same doctrinal positions as Middle East, SE Asia, Indian Ocean, Burundi, and others, including those who identify with the Gafcon movement. This is by far the largest conservative Anglican bloc in the Communion. How many of the 25 GS Provinces would find the position of Pilling congenial? I’d guess no more than a handful.
December 20, 11:23 am | [comment link]