Reuters: California diocese leaves Episcopal Church in historic split

Posted by Kendall Harmon

NOTE: We're making this entry "sticky" -- it will stay at the top of the blog for awhile. Look for new entries below. We will use this post as a "roundup" of links for the news on the San Joaquin vote.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno in central California, voted to leave the church, which has been in significant upheaval since 2003 when U.S. Episcopals consecrated the first openly gay bishop in the church's more than four centuries of history.

The vote was 173 lay and clergy convention delegates in favor, with 22 against.

Read it all.

Update: A Fresno Bee story is there also.

The unofficial vote tally is here.

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Update 2: The ENS article is here. Here's the opening. But DO read it all.

Delegates attending the 48th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday, December 8, overwhelmingly voted to leave the Episcopal Church and to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield asked for a moment of silence in deference to those who opposed the change, reminding the gathering that he "knows what it feels like to be a minority" before the vote tallies were read. The results, by orders were: 70-12 clergy and 103-10 vote in the lay order to effectively remove all references to the Episcopal Church from its constitution and describe the diocese as "a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and in full communion with the See of Canterbury."

"The Episcopal Church receives with sadness the news that some members of this church have made a decision to leave this church," said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. "We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness. We wish them to know of our prayers for them and their journey. The Episcopal Church will continue in the Diocese of San Joaquin, albeit with new leadership."


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Update 3 The stories are now flying fast & furious.

New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/us/09episcopal.html?hp
Episcopal Diocese Votes to Secede, By NEELA BANERJEE
[also carried by the International Herald Tribune: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/08/america/09episcopal.php ]

FRESNO, Calif., Dec. 8 — The Diocese of San Joaquin voted on Saturday to cut ties with the Episcopal Church, the first time in the church’s history a diocese has done so over theological issues and the biggest leap so far by dissident Episcopalians hoping to form a rival national church in the United States.

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The Associated Press: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jDZX3K59yZ25znkruveYwlCs3VmgD8TDFV502
Diocese Breaks With Episcopal Church, By JORDAN ROBERTSON

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP) — An Episcopal diocese in central California voted Saturday to split with the national denomination over disagreements about the role of gays and lesbians in the church.

Clergy and lay members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin voted 173-22 at their annual convention to remove all references to the national church from the diocese's constitution, according to spokeswoman Joan Gladstone.

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BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7134835.stm
US Church splits over gay rights

A Californian diocese has voted to become the first to break away from the US Episcopal Church in protest at its support for gays in the Church.

Delegates of the San Joaquin diocese in Fresno voted 173-22 to secede. It follows years of disagreement with Church authorities triggered by the consecration of a gay bishop in 2003.

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Radio New Zealand: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/latest/200712090956/california_diocese_leaves_episcopal_church_over_gay_rights
An entire California diocese has voted to leave the American Episcopal Church in an historic split over the church's expanding support for gay and women's rights.

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KCBS, San Francisco: http://www.kcbs.com/Rift-in-California-Episcopal-Church/1306022
SAN JOAQUIN, Calif. (KCBS) -- An historic religious vote took place in the Central Valley today, where the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has voted to remove all references to the national church from the diocese's constitution.

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Christianity Today: http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2007/12/entire_diocese.html
Entire diocese jumps out of Episcopal Church, by Ted Olsen

Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin votes 173-22 to remove all references to the national body from its constitution.

Dozens of churches and groups have left the Episcopal Church in recent years. Today is the first time that an entire diocese has voted to officially split from the national body. The votes weren't close: the clergy in California's Diocese of San Joaquin voted 70-12 to withdraw, and laity voted 103-10.

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Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-episcopal9dec09,1,1604034.story?coll=la-headlines-california
Episcopal diocese secedes in rift over gays

The Diocese of San Joaquin in Central California is the first to break from the U.S. church over its relatively liberal views on homosexuality and biblical authority.
By Rebecca Trounson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

FRESNO -- The Central California Diocese of San Joaquin today became the first in the nation to secede from the Episcopal Church, taking the historic, risky step as part of a years-long struggle within the church and global Anglican Communion over homosexuality and biblical authority.

Delegates to San Joaquin's annual convention then also formally accepted an invitation to align the largely rural 14-county diocese with a conservative Anglican leader overseas, Archbishop Gregory James Venables of Argentina.

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I'm sure there will be MANY more stories. Stay tuned!

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UPDATE 4 (11:30 p.m. Eastern) This will be our final update for the night. In the morning, we will unsticky this post and it will drop way down the blog. It might be worth bookmarking if you want to continue to follow the discussion here. There are now two new SJ-related threads below this one as well. --elfgirl

Here are some of the most important new links:

Press Release from "Remain Episcopal" (the Via Media chapter in San Joaquin). Note: Posted as a separate entry below.

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The Living Church: Presiding Bishop Eyes New Leadership for Diocese of San Joaquin (also posted as a separate entry below)

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The Telegraph (UK)

Diocese splits from Church in gay row
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones

The Archbishop of Canterbury's hopes of averting a schism have been left in tatters following a historic split in the Anglican Communion in its row over homosexuality.

A diocese yesterday voted to break away from the US Episcopal Church following years of disagreement over the church's support for gay clergy.

It is the first diocese in the Anglican Church to take such drastic action and the move seriously dents the attempts of Dr Rowan Williams to keep the communion together.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Episcopal fold loses 1st diocese - in valley
Ellen Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

The Diocese of San Joaquin, a conservative fold that serves California's Central Valley and has long chafed under what it considers the increasing liberalism of its fellow Episcopals, on Saturday became the first in the nation to separate from the U.S. Episcopal Church, voting overwhelmingly to take a strong and definitive stance against how the church deals with homosexuality and other controversial issues.

The diocese, which serves nearly 9,000 parishioners in an area stretching from Lodi to Bakersfield, has effectively seceded from the American wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and has placed itself in the hands of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of America, which oversees the dioceses in six South American nations.

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Bakersfield Californian

Diocese votes to split from church
Decades-long rift caused by national sect's liberal views

The central California Episcopal diocese voted Saturday to split with the national denomination over disagreements of interpretation of Scripture, most recently regarding homosexuality.

Clergy and lay members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin voted 173-22 at their annual convention in Fresno to remove all references to the national church from the diocese's constitution, according to the Rev. Van McCalister, a diocesan spokesman.

In a later vote, it accepted an invitation to join a conservative South American congregation of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the U.S. member.

The Fresno-based unit is the first full diocese to secede because of a conservative-liberal rift that began decades ago over the interpretation of core Christian beliefs, McCalister said. Recently, that divide has widened over differences of opinion of what the Bible says about homosexuality.

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And last but not least, Get Religion's Terry Mattingly has a brief blog entry here where he touches on some of the early coverage.

More tomorrow. Twelve hours of blogging is enough for one day!

OOPS: Forgot to mention, somehow we'd not had a "TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin" category (don't know how on earth we missed that one!). We've rectified our category lapse. You can now find all the recent San Joaquin stories going back to September here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils


Posted December 8, 2007 at 2:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



Comments are closed.
1. Brian from T19 wrote:

Is this effective immediately or do they have to wait another year like Fort Worth?  If it is immediate, what is the distinction?

December 8, 3:20 pm | [comment link]
2. The_Elves wrote:

Brian, this is the second reading, so our understanding is it is effective immediately.

December 8, 3:24 pm | [comment link]
3. robroy wrote:

Brian, this was voting for the second reading. Hence it is official. And btw, Fort Worth needs to vote on a second reading in 2008 but it does not need to be 12 mos apart.

December 8, 3:25 pm | [comment link]
4. teatime wrote:

Oh, cool, robroy! So, could Ft. Worth call a special meeting early in the year?

December 8, 3:37 pm | [comment link]
5. Ad Orientem wrote:

Te Deum Laudamus!

December 8, 3:37 pm | [comment link]
6. robroy wrote:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

December 8, 3:37 pm | [comment link]
7. ElaineF. wrote:

LAUS DEO!

December 8, 3:47 pm | [comment link]
8. Conchúr wrote:

Après nous, le déluge

December 8, 3:48 pm | [comment link]
9. athan-asi-us wrote:

The Holy Spirit has led them out of the pit.

December 8, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
10. KevinBabb wrote:

Any word from the _primus inter pares_ across the Pond?

December 8, 3:51 pm | [comment link]
11. Terwilliger+ wrote:

Praise God for faithful leaders.  Leadership starts with example and we have been given that today.

December 8, 3:53 pm | [comment link]
12. The_Elves wrote:

By the way, please feel free to post links you find to news stories on the San Joaquin vote, or blog commentary on the story.  We’re trying to keep monitoring the blog and web this afternoon, but are multi-tasking and could miss stuff.

—elfgirl

December 8, 4:00 pm | [comment link]
13. Brian from T19 wrote:

Thanks for the info.

This is sad for the Diocese as they will undoubtedly have to go through alot from 815.  No doubt +Schofield will be deposed.  Then he will have the status with ++Canterbury that +Minns, et al have - basically non-existent.  But at least they are going with their conscience, even though it will make them martyrs.  Good for them!

December 8, 4:02 pm | [comment link]
14. Randy Muller wrote:

I could be wrong, but I don’t think any split has occurred yet.  This was not a secession change, but only a change that enables secession.

I think a move to secede will probably be made sooner or later.

December 8, 4:06 pm | [comment link]
15. Ad Orientem wrote:

Randy,
I believe you are mistaken.  I believe they seceded today.  And unless I am misinformed they also just voted to join the Southern Cone.

December 8, 4:07 pm | [comment link]
16. KevinBabb wrote:

Since the invitations for Lambeth have already gone out, +++Rowan will have to decide if he is going to let +John-David’s invitation stand, or withdraw it, to conform to the status of the Southern Cone’s other extra-territorial Bishop, +Robinson Cavalcante. Either move with anger some people, but he has to make some decision on the issue.

Do I understand correctly that, by virtue of this vote, all clergy of DioSanJoaquin, including +John-David, have automatically become clergy in the Southern Cone?

December 8, 4:08 pm | [comment link]
17. KevinBabb wrote:

that’s “will anger”, by the way.

December 8, 4:09 pm | [comment link]
18. DonGander wrote:

Eze 34:11   ‘For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.
Eze 34:12   “As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.
Eze 34:13   “And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.
Eze 34:14   “I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
Eze 34:15   “I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD.
Eze 34:16   “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Amen.

December 8, 4:11 pm | [comment link]
19. Ross wrote:

Well, it’s a definitive moment to be sure, but the vote hardly comes as a surprise.

Technically, if I recall, the vote was to remove the accession clause from their constitution, yes?  I’m not sure that actually equates to secession from TEC, at least, not yet.  But I presume that nobody doubts that will come soon.

“Interesting times,” indeed.

December 8, 4:16 pm | [comment link]
20. Capn Jack Sparrow wrote:

Well, you know, actually the diocese didn’t leave. It was just a tiny, tiny group of clergy and laity in the diocese. These radical exclusionists purported to take over the office of bishop and the various committees, as well as the buildings, and then pretended to vote the diocese out of TEC.

Since a diocese can’t leave, only people can, TEC will be sending out some people to fill the offices of the diocese and occupy the properties, especially. This will be done to supply the faithful Episcopalians who are still carrying on ministry to the poor, the gay, etc, unlike those exclusionists who left.

Nothing has changed here. It’s just some malcontents who temporarily took over some offices and held a press conference.

December 8, 4:25 pm | [comment link]
21. The_Elves wrote:

Capn Jack, how funny.  We’d just been over at Episcopal Cafe, and Jim Naughton has a blog entry based on the Reuters story Kendall has posted. 
http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/san_joaquin_head_south.html

Here’s how Jim Naughton closes his commentary.  Capn Jack just about nailed it:

But the fact is that dioceses can’t leave the Church because it is the Church which creates dioceses, and not dioceses which create the Church. What happened today is that somewhere in the vicinity of 7,500 members decided to leave the 2.2 million member Episcopal Church. That they chose to make their decision collectively does not alter the fact that they leave as individuals. At least five congregations remain, and it will be up to the Church to reconstitute the diocese.

December 8, 4:30 pm | [comment link]
22. Fisherman wrote:

Seems they are out according to the AP - See paragraph 4: http://tinyurl.com/yors6v

I’d call that secession. Prayers go with Bishop John-David and the DoSJ.

December 8, 4:31 pm | [comment link]
23. RoyIII wrote:

Gentlemen, good luck with your “diocese can’t leave theory.”  I think you have just seen one leave.

RobRoy, we assume Capn Jack was posting sarcastically.  But Jim Naughton, we fear, was all too serious in his blog commentary.  Elfgirl

December 8, 4:34 pm | [comment link]
24. Grandmother wrote:

Kevin, #16, you are correct.  The “laity” put forth the amendment to accept the invitation of the Southern Cone.  Also, +Schofield told all clergy, that if they didn’t want to be “members” of the Southern Cone,  they could opt out. 
Also, there were some “abstainers”, and those could opt in, after a period of decernment, as could NAY voters.

They still have much to accomplish, but I’m so very proud of +Schofield and his diocese, Praise God for men such as he.

Gloria in SC (that’s South Carolina lol)

December 8, 4:35 pm | [comment link]
25. physician without health wrote:

Thanks be to God for the bold witness and leadership of Bishop Schofield!  May this diocese continue to be a light in a sea of darkness.

December 8, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
26. Intercessor wrote:

Is it possible to find a more uninforming article?
It is about breech of scriptural values. Our bishop and his office have only said this 1,000 times! I guess we will hear from Perez Hilton next.

December 8, 4:39 pm | [comment link]
27. jamesw wrote:

Brian:  It will be interesting to see what Rowan does with this one.  The one significant difference between the DSJ and Recife situations is that in Brazil Cavalcanti was “deposed” prior to being accepted by the Southern Cone, while now, Schofield transferred to the Southern Cone intact.  The other key difference is Rowan’s letter last month to John Howe.

If Rowan disinvites Schofield, he will almost certainly guarantee the Anglican split, but he will also further undermine his own credibility to virtually nil.  For him to disinvite Schofield is to repudiate the letter he wrote to Howe, and would completely undermine the ACI/Comm Con arguments regarding the primacy of dioceses.

However, if Rowan does maintain the Schofield invite, and also invites KJS’s lacky bishop, he is recognizing that it is very possible to have dual Anglican jurisdictions in the US and thereby would fatally undermine TEC.

Lastly, if Rowan maintains Schofield’s invitation but does not invite TEC’s lacky replacement, he can maintain his credibility, but it would be a severe and fatal blow to TEC’s claim to be the only legitimate Anglican jurisdiction in the US.

We shall indeed see.  The only response Rowan can offer which would not have major policy implications would be to postpone Lambeth, which he has indicated he will not do.

December 8, 4:40 pm | [comment link]
28. Intercessor wrote:

As our Bishop said in response to the question of succession in our diocese…ECUSA may depose me but we do not recognize their authority as we are members of the Southern Cone. My wife saw the certifcates that +Frank Lyons brought. The Bishop will sign and notorize today. It is done.
Intercessor

December 8, 4:44 pm | [comment link]
29. Brian from T19 wrote:

Here is the ENS/ELO Article:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_92524_ENG_HTM.htm

If Schofield is considered to have abandoned the communion of the church, he would have two months to recant his position. Failing to do so, the matter would be referred to the full House of Bishops. If the House were to concur, the Presiding Bishop would depose the bishops and declare the episcopates of those dioceses vacant. Those remaining in the Episcopal Church would be gathered to organize a new diocesan convention and elect a replacement Standing Committee, if necessary.

An assisting bishop would be appointed to provide episcopal ministry until a new diocesan bishop search process could be initiated and a new bishop elected and consecrated.

A lawsuit would be filed against the departed leadership and a representative sample of departing congregations if they attempted to retain Episcopal Church property.

And that’s how Nancy Key and other “loyalists” intend to proceed, she said. The group, “Remain Episcopal” will convene immediately after the close of San Joaquin’s convention to strategize.

“We are prepared to work with the Episcopal Church to reconstitute our diocese,” she said. “I feel this is what we are called to do. I am so convinced of this.”

December 8, 4:49 pm | [comment link]
30. Connie Sandlin wrote:

Let’s give a standing ovation to Kevin Kallsen for enabling us to be witnesses to these historic events! 

Kevin also needs our financial support to get to Orlando to cover the next step the Common Cause Partners will be taking December 18th. He needs $500 this week, according to the graphic at AnglicanTV.org.  To make a donation, go to http://www.anglicantv.org/blog/index.cfm .

December 8, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
31. The_Elves wrote:

Thanks Brian.  We’ll post that link above, and perhaps as a separate entry as well, since it’s important for folks to read TEC’s perspective and planned actions as a result of this vote.

December 8, 4:59 pm | [comment link]
32. w.w. wrote:

Quick, somebody, send news of this action to the judge in Fairfax County, Va., who is still pondering whether there is a “division” in the Episcopal Church.  The evidence can’t get much stronger.

Bring on the lawsuits, 815. But be forewarned. Fresno is home to the appeals court that issued the landmark St. Luke’s Methodist ruling that left the hierarchicalists holding an empty bag.

w.w.

December 8, 5:02 pm | [comment link]
33. jamesw wrote:

Brian:  What’s that?  TEC’s ruling heirarchy refuses to accept an overwhelming decision made by a dioceses’s lay and clergy delegates?  Seems to run counter to TEC polity, eh what?

The Remain Episcopal crowd will be financially nonviable as a diocese.  One of the main revisionist parishes, St. John’s in Lodi is neck deep in debt for their new building but is unable to grow (wonder why?).

December 8, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
34. Passing By wrote:

jamesw, I like the way you think.  I swear, you remind me of Octavian in HBO’s “Rome” production, just more ethical. 

grin

December 8, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
35. Brian from T19 wrote:

jamesw

Trust me when I tell you that TEC will pour untold amounts of money into keeping property.  They will keep empty buildings and leave them empty rather than let San Joaquin have them.  Yes, it will be a pyrrhic victory, but that is still a victory.

December 8, 5:13 pm | [comment link]
36. GrandpaDino wrote:

Dr. Schori: “We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness.”

What in the world does THAT mean?

December 8, 5:14 pm | [comment link]
37. Connie Sandlin wrote:

I just went through the registration process to post comments at Episcopal Cafe.  I asked Jim Naughton “Where does it say in TEc’s Constitutions or Canons that a diocese can’t leave?”.  Time will tell whether Jim decides 1) to post my question and 2) if/how he will try to answer it.

December 8, 5:22 pm | [comment link]
38. Ed the Roman wrote:

Te Deum Laudamus!

Te Dominum deprecemur.

December 8, 5:26 pm | [comment link]
39. Connie Sandlin wrote:

Associate press headline: “Diocese breaks with Episcopal Church” 

Of course, the lead says the split is over disagreement about the role of gays and lesbians in the church, which it is not.

link to article

December 8, 5:29 pm | [comment link]
40. LTN wrote:

For the liberals who think that TEC will have victory when suing the Diocese of San Joaquin in the 5th District Court of Appeal of California, you will only be correct if the California Supreme Court affirms the decision in the Episcopal Church Cases of the 4th District in about two years.

Until then, TEC, if they bring a lawsuit against the DSJ, they will 100% lose at both the trial court level and the 5th District Court of Appeal—the same district that w.w. indicated ruled for the St. Luke’s decision.

The more money TEC pours into a losing case, the sweeter the victory for the orthodox in about 2 years.

December 8, 5:33 pm | [comment link]
41. Barry wrote:

I can see the news reels now….....TEC has requested that the court order worshipers to be arrested as they attend services….escorting them to the precinct to be booked for trepass violations.

What a PR nightmare for Katie!!!!!

December 8, 5:34 pm | [comment link]
42. VaAnglican wrote:

It will be very difficult to maintain the fiction that the diocese hasn’t left the Episcopal Church.  Note the following from the official statement of the Episcopal Church via ENS: “Although the move makes San Joaquin the first diocese in the nation to separate from the Episcopal Church . . . . ”  That is 815 in a statement that surely they were most careful with, acknowledging what they know to be the truth: the diocese is gone.  Those were ENS’s words, not Bishop Schofield’s.  Moreover, the use of the word “first” is tacit admission that others are going to follow. 

I am still patiently waiting for the statement from 815 about the democratic nature of our polity.

December 8, 5:36 pm | [comment link]
43. Jeffersonian wrote:

Indeed, DioSJ’s See is vacant.  It has no Bishop, no employees, no parishes…they have all left for the Southern Cone.  TEC is perfectly free to appoint a new leader.  (S)he just won’t have anyone to oversee.

December 8, 5:45 pm | [comment link]
44. The_Elves wrote:

The Living Church has a brief article posted now:
http://www.livingchurch.org/news/news-updates/2007/12/8/san-joaquin-joins-the-southern-cone

It includes this section:
Afterward [After the vote to join the Southern Cone] a lay delegate from Holy Family, Fresno, rose on a point of personal privilege to ask who the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese would be if Bishop Schofield were to be inhibited. One of the two diocesan chancellors responded that since the convention no longer recognized the authority of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Schofield could only be inhibited by the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

December 8, 5:47 pm | [comment link]
45. robroy wrote:

Brian writes (emphasis mine),

This is sad for the Diocese as they will undoubtedly have to go through alot from 815. 

Jim Naughton writes,

But the fact is that dioceses can’t leave the Church because it is the Church which creates dioceses, and not dioceses which create the Church.

The TEC can form dioceses from splitting two dioceses into two. However, the for a diocese to be created de novo, the text reads from Article V (emphasis mine):

After consent of the General Convention, when a certified copy of the duly adopted Constitution of the new Diocese, including an unqualified accession to the Constitution and Canons of this Church, shall have been filed with the Secretary of the General Convention and approved by the Executive Council of this Church, such new Diocese shall thereupon be in union with the General Convention.

Since the diocese of SJ has removed unqualified accession the proper recourse of the TEC by its polity (because the diocese no longer satisfies the requirements for a constituent member) is to kick out the DoSJ. Wouldn’t that hurt their feelings!

December 8, 5:47 pm | [comment link]
46. jamesw wrote:

Brian:  I have no doubt whatsoever that TEC will pour untold amounts of money into lawsuits against the Diocese of San Joaquin and its bishop.  It has no other choice.  TEC has painted itself into a legal corner as a result of its litigious choices.  Where you are wrong is in your prediction of quick TEC success.

As LTN and others have pointed out, there is only one way that TEC can actually win in court, and that is if the Supreme Court of California affirms the LA appellate court’s decision regarding church property.  That is no sure thing.  And even if it does so, that won’t be for a year or so, and it would likely be appealed to the USSC given that a federal constitutional issue is at stake.  Until there is a final ruling from on high, the California appellate district covering Fresno has a precdent unfavorable to TEC.  I would suggest to you also that with the higher level defections from TEC, TEC’s legal position weakens.  A plain reading of TEC’s constitution does not support the liberal position vis a vis dioceses.

So TEC will be pouring in lots of money to fund lawsuits and prop up a tiny rump, both with very questionable chances for success.

And let’s not forget that time is not on TEC’s side vis-a-vis the Anglican Communion.  Conservatives complain that things are not moving fast enough, but the trend is towards TEC’s being disciplined, expelled or voluntarily leaving the Anglican Communion, all of which will further compromise TEC’s legal position.

Also time is not on TEC’s side with regard to financial viability.  Remember that their hold over the Anglican Communion is very much tied to TEC’s wealth.  But TEC is also a church in serious decline with a lot of older members.  Many dioceses are in deep trouble financially.  If TEC needs to fund multiple law suits against dioceses and prop up financially nonviable rump groups, their funds will dry up.

All in all, I think that TEC would have been much smarter to have pursued a “live and let live” strategy.  As it is, all of their eggs are now in one basket and there is a large boulder precariously hanging over it with a fraying rope.

December 8, 5:54 pm | [comment link]
47. Br. Michael wrote:

What is so sad is that TEC has the power to lay the groundwork for eventual true reconciliation and a re-constitution of a unified Anglancanism in the future.  They will not do so!  They will lay a foundation of bitterness that will take many years, if ever, to overcome.

As it is, we will come back into communion with the REC and other Anglican partners.  In the meantime “Jesus is Lord” and a blessed Advent to all.

December 8, 5:54 pm | [comment link]
48. Jeffersonian wrote:

Afterward [After the vote to join the Southern Cone] a lay delegate from Holy Family, Fresno, rose on a point of personal privilege to ask who the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese would be if Bishop Schofield were to be inhibited. One of the two diocesan chancellors responded that since the convention no longer recognized the authority of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Schofield could only be inhibited by the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

Precisely.  He’s not in TEC any longer, so their rules no longer apply.  QED

December 8, 5:54 pm | [comment link]
49. BillS wrote:

However, there is no division within TEC, because only General Convention can declare a division.

Looks like like General Convention just lost part of his army, an entire division at that.

December 8, 5:55 pm | [comment link]
50. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Does anyone know if +Schofield will be present at Mark Lawrence’s consecration?

December 8, 5:58 pm | [comment link]
51. jamesw wrote:

RobRoy:  Your interpretation of TEC’s constitution is, I believe, the correct one.  The national church does NOT create dioceses, it merely admits them into union.  This from the very words of the constitution.  History supports this, as the original Church of England dioceses of the East Coast states essentially transferred their membership from the CofE to form TEC after the American Revolution.

Jeffersonian - for the above reason, you are incorrect.  The Diocese of San Joaquin has left TEC.  There is currently no TEC Diocese of San Joaquin in existence.  TEC can encourage the rump group to form a new diocese and recognize it, but there is currently no such TEC diocese.

December 8, 6:00 pm | [comment link]
52. Kendall Harmon wrote:

Anyone else find it ironic how many reappraisers tell others what they can and cannot do from their own vantage points, but when it comes to what scripture tells the church to do they repudiate it.  So what scripture tells us to do can be overturned, but what they interpret our history tells us to do is to be carefully obeyed.

Generous, liberal, and comprehensive this is not. It is also not consistent.

There were all sorts of other options open to the national leadership to avoid going down this path.  Tragically, they consistently did not take them.

December 8, 6:00 pm | [comment link]
53. The_Elves wrote:

In checking the Dio SJ website to see if there are any stories or convention details posted their yet, we discovered the text from Bp. Schofield’s address from yesterday is posted in full.  We’ve posted it below.
http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/8231/

December 8, 6:06 pm | [comment link]
54. robroy wrote:

Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Does anyone know if +Schofield will be present at Mark Lawrence’s consecration?

Legal proceedings against +Schofield cannot begin for two months. Thus, he is a bishop in good standing with the TEC for at least two months. Besides, if a bishop from Southern Cone wants to be present for a consecration in South Carolina, I don’t see the problem with that.

Health may be an issue. The desire to avoid bring the conflict on Lawrence’s head may be another.  Most likely, Schofield will graciously yield to Mark Lawrence.

December 8, 6:11 pm | [comment link]
55. athan-asi-us wrote:

TEC has sowed its seed and now is going to reap the bitter harvest. The Southern Cone is helping to separate the wheat from the tares.

December 8, 6:17 pm | [comment link]
56. Ross wrote:

Re: “the diocese cannot leave.”

The “diocese” meaning “the portion of TEC that covers the geographical area in question” indeed cannot leave TEC, by definition.  It has simply become suddenly less populated and most of its offices are vacant.

The “diocese” meaning “the ecclesial structure centered around Bp. Schofield and the clergy joining him” has indeed left TEC.  Although I would have thought that if affiliation with TEC were in the diocesan constitution (but no longer), then it would also take a constitutional amendment, rather than a resolution, to affiliate with Southern Cone.  But that is, perhaps, quibbling.

In any event, formerly the two “dioceses” overlapped and so people could speak of them as one; but now these two constructions of the word “diocese” no longer refer to the same entity, hence the category confusion.

The question remaining to be settled is which construct owns the property.  I can see arguments either way, and I have no doubt that all those arguments and more will be aired in court in due course.

December 8, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
57. Jeffersonian wrote:

Jeffersonian - for the above reason, you are incorrect.  The Diocese of San Joaquin has left TEC.  There is currently no TEC Diocese of San Joaquin in existence.  TEC can encourage the rump group to form a new diocese and recognize it, but there is currently no such TEC diocese.

An interesting distinction and, as I think about it, you are correct.  Thank you for setting me straight.

December 8, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
58. Kendall Harmon wrote:

Both the ENS headline and the secular news headline recognize that what has happened is what a number of Episcopal leaders have said can’t happen.

Curioser and curioser.

December 8, 6:28 pm | [comment link]
59. Jeffersonian wrote:

Anyone else find it ironic how many reappraisers tell others what they can and cannot do from their own vantage points, but when it comes to what scripture tells the church to do they repudiate it.  So what scripture tells us to do can be overturned, but what they interpret our history tells us to do is to be carefully obeyed.

Generous, liberal, and comprehensive this is not. It is also not consistent.

Not to dispute your assertion, Canon Harmon, but it’s only inconsistent when viewed from a perspective of faithful and historic Christian belief and practice.  It is entirely consistent from the perspective of secular power politics.  Given that TEC’s worldview is now informed almost exclusively by the secular culture, it’s not unexpected that its actions would follow.

December 8, 6:37 pm | [comment link]
60. The_Elves wrote:

Kendall, yes, I noted that too.  For the record (in case folks at ENS notice the discrepancy and try to change it), the headline currently reads:
San Joaquin votes to leave Episcopal Church, realign with Southern Cone

And there is a section of the article (as commenters have already noted) which reads:
Although the move makes San Joaquin the first diocese in the nation to separate from the Episcopal Church, Schofield predicted that more dioceses will follow.

Note carefully that the “first diocese in the nation to to separate” line is not a direct quote of anyone.  It was written by the ENS reporter, even though it completely contradicts what +KJS is quoted as saying about only members leaving, not the diocese.

December 8, 6:38 pm | [comment link]
61. The_Elves wrote:

Again, continuing the roundup of links, in the interest of following the opinion of all who are commenting on this story, Fr. Jake has a blog entry posted.  He is not buying the “diocese didn’t leave” line for what it’s worth.  Here’s his title and lede:

Leaders of San Joaquin Abandon the Episcopal Church

Some of you have joined me in monitoring the actions of the former Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin. I think those of you following the events would agree that this has been an historical moment in the life of the Episcopal Church. It may be wise for us all to remember, however, that this is but one scene; it is certainly not the final act of this particular drama.

His entry is here:
http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/2007/12/leaders-of-san-joaquin-abandon.html

December 8, 6:42 pm | [comment link]
62. GrandpaDino wrote:

Nancy Key, a co-founder of ‘Remain Episcopal,’ said those who wished to remain in the Episcopal Church have felt marginalized and maligned.

“It feels like spiritual violence,” said Key, a parishioner at Holy Family Church in Fresno, which has chosen to remain within the Episcopal Church. “All we want to do is be in the Episcopal Church that actively ordains women and is inclusive,” she said.

Wow!

December 8, 6:54 pm | [comment link]
63. Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) wrote:

#52,

Obviously you haven’t received the memo. The Denis Canon, as well as mandatory assessments and the unwavering obedience of the faithful to the National church are well in accord with the Word of God, tradition as received from the Apostles and their successors and Reason. Any form of closed communion or restriction upon the sexuality of those about to be consecrated or belief in the Trinity are merely local, pastoral practices that can be altered by the movings of a spirit.

Or so I’ve heard…..

December 8, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
64. Jeffersonian wrote:

There’s good news for Ms. Key: Unlike the authoritarian tyrants now running 815, Ms. Key’s parish will have the option of remaining within TEC in exchange for nothing more than a resolution of outstanding debts and a godspeed.

December 8, 7:00 pm | [comment link]
65. robroy wrote:

I found this interesting: Bp Schofield predicts in GC09 “Canon laws will be introduced to make it impossible for dioceses and persons to leave.” Time to get while the getting’s good. And South Carolina says…?

December 8, 7:00 pm | [comment link]
66. Kendall Harmon wrote:

I have to say, and not for the first time, that this is no cause for rejoicing, but a source of sadness.  We are all losers in this mess and I hope all blog readers will pray for all who were present at the Convention in San Joaquin today.

December 8, 7:02 pm | [comment link]
67. robroy wrote:

I meant what says South Carolina to a GC09 resolution that says that all property is held for the national church and that no diocese can leave.

December 8, 7:07 pm | [comment link]
68. The_Elves wrote:

The NY Times now has an article posted by Neela Bannerjee, which has been picked up by the International Herald Tribune:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/08/america/09episcopal.php

It begins as follows:

U.S. diocese votes to secede from Episcopal Church
By Neela Banerjee
Saturday, December 8, 2007

FRESNO, California: The Diocese of San Joaquin voted on Saturday to cut ties with the Episcopal Church, the first time in the church’s history a diocese has done so over theological issues and the biggest leap so far by dissident Episcopalians hoping to form a rival national church in the United States.

Fissures have moved through the Episcopal Church, the American arm of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members, and through the Communion itself since the church ordained V. Gene Robinson, a gay man in a long-term relationship, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

Traditionalists at home and abroad assert that the Bible describes homosexuality as an abomination, and they consider the Episcopal Church’s ordination of Bishop Robinson as the latest and most galling proof of its rejection of biblical authority.

——————
Also, Christianity Today has picked up the news, with a short article by Ted Olsen,
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2007/12/entire_diocese.html
which begins:

Entire diocese jumps out of Episcopal Church

Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin votes 173-22 to remove all references to the national body from its constitution.

Ted Olsen

Dozens of churches and groups have left the Episcopal Church in recent years. Today is the first time that an entire diocese has voted to officially split from the national body. The votes weren’t close: the clergy in California’s Diocese of San Joaquin voted 70-12 to withdraw, and laity voted 103-10.

“We have leadership in the Episcopal Church that has drastically and radically changed directions,” diocesan spokesman Van McCalister told the Associated Press. “They have pulled the rug out from under us. They’ve started teaching something very different, something very new and novel, and it’s impossible for us to follow a leadership that has so drastically reinvented itself.”

The diocese, which has 47 parishes, 48 church buildings (including its headquarters), and 8,800 members, will affiliate with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, headquartered in Buenos Aires. As it removed all references to the national Episcopal Church body in its constitution, the diocese added a clause describing itself as “a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and in full communion with the See of Canterbury.”

December 8, 7:12 pm | [comment link]
69. Brian from T19 wrote:

Anyone else find it ironic how many reappraisers tell others what they can and cannot do from their own vantage points, but when it comes to what scripture tells the church to do they repudiate it.  So what scripture tells us to do can be overturned, but what they interpret our history tells us to do is to be carefully obeyed.

Generous, liberal, and comprehensive this is not. It is also not consistent.

No.  I don’t.  To compare agreed upon codes of conduct and well-defined canon law to your personal interpretation of an ancient document of questionable historical value is simply a false comparison.

In addition, no one, reasserter or reappraiser, knows what is actually going to happen.  We do know the following

1. The official position of TEC is that there is no interpretation of the Constitution and Canons that allows for a Diocese to secede
2.  The official view of the secessionists is that there is indeed a legitimate interpretation and, even if there is not, then they must answer to a higher calling.  This, they argue, is required by their ordination vows.
3. Secular law is currently ambiguous, even within individual States.
4. There is no precedent for a Diocese leaving in these court cases
5. TEC will sue even if they know they will lose, draining resources from both sides.
6. The ABC has issued no credible ‘official’ position from himself.

The lines have been drawn in the sand and the showdown has begun.  Each individual, parish, Diocese, Bishop and Province will be forced to choose.

December 8, 7:12 pm | [comment link]
70. Jeffersonian wrote:

I meant what says South Carolina to a GC09 resolution that says that all property is held for the national church and that no diocese can leave.

Expect that resolution to be kept in a deep, dark place and surrounded by the Presiding Plaintiff’s Praetorian Protectorate until the very last moment, whereupon it will be rammed through every committee and house before anyone can object.  The mere hint of such a resolution before the proper moment would have parishes and dioceses sprinting for the exits.

December 8, 7:12 pm | [comment link]
71. The_Elves wrote:

Evangelical Presbyterian Pastor and blogger David Fischler has a post on the story, mostly rounding up the news coverage and commenting on the ENS article:
http://reformedpastor.wordpress.com/2007/12/08/diocese-bolts-in-unprecedented-more/

December 8, 7:14 pm | [comment link]
72. Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) wrote:

As far as South Carolina goes, here is their Constitution. The relevant Article is Article XII.

December 8, 7:15 pm | [comment link]
73. Jeffersonian wrote:

No.  I don’t.  To compare agreed upon codes of conduct and well-defined canon law to your personal interpretation of an ancient document of questionable historical value is simply a false comparison.

W. C. Fields, a lifetime agnostic, was discovered reading a Bible on his deathbed. “I’m looking for a loop-hole,” he explained.

December 8, 7:18 pm | [comment link]
74. Frances Scott wrote:

With all due respect, Kendall, I think it is a mixed bag of rejoicing and sadness just as birth and death are mixed.  We rejoice when a child is born, but there is an underlay of sadness because the child is born into a fallen world and we know that many troubles and much sadness lie ahead.  There is great sadness at the death of a loved one but there is also much to rejoice over because, for that one, the trials of this life are over and there is the blessed hope of the resurrection.  I do indeed pray for the folks in San Jaoquin, both thanksgiving for what they have had the courage to do and that God will strengthen them for the troubles that lie ahead for them.

December 8, 7:19 pm | [comment link]
75. Larry Morse wrote:

It is correct then? That this is the first diocese to leave TEC?

Whether a diocese can or cannot leave is merely an academic question. The truth is that the heart and soul of a diocese has left TEC of its own free will because TEC has placed itself outside the Law. The diocese is then like a kidnapped child who has broken away from its kidnappers and returned home. This metaphor is, I think,  accurate.

  7500 people - is that the number in the diocese? - is small in comparison to 2,000,000, so Schori can shrug and say that a minority of troublemakers has left, but numbers here mean more than this. Now, how many will move with the Bishop we cannot actually know, but the number is large. The point is, however, that it is coherent, articulate,  and is commensurate with all the other parishes that have left. I wonder if this is actually like watching a heavy rain erode a river bank: First, small runoffs etch pathways through the bank, mere local erosions, until these runoffs form a stream which sooner or later eats at the bank in its entire length.

  Schori must have thought of this. How can she not be panicked as the water level rises?  Can she really believe that the erosion is somehow self-limiting, that the soft spots are few and far between and that when these are washed away, the ledge will remain untouched, cleansed of its mud? After all, she is not the rock, she is the rain. I wonder. What can she be thinking? Larry

December 8, 7:22 pm | [comment link]
76. The_Elves wrote:

Update 3 has now been added to the post above with MANY new links.  New York Times, Associated Press, Christianity Today, BBC, Los Angeles Times, etc etc.

December 8, 7:28 pm | [comment link]
77. West Coast Cleric wrote:

Re: #66: Dr. Harmon, how can it be that “we are all losers in this mess” when the result is that the purveyors of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Dio. of San Joaquin are finally free from the bondage of spiritual tyranny that is TEC?  They have made a stand, not for “polity” but for truth.  They have lifted up Christ as the way, the truth and the life—yes, at the expense of “unity” with the abomination that brings desolation, and at no small personal cost, to wit: the advent of lawsuits pouring from the bowels of TEC and ridicule in its house organs and the secular press.  But Jesus has said that when He is lifted up, all men shall be drawn to Him.  That is what we are about, and that is what faithful Anglican Christians in the Diocese of San Joaquin are now free to do—to lift up the One in whom all things hold together, without having to explain that, while they are “Episcopal” they are not really like the “Episcopal” that the world sees.  They no longer have to expend energy explaining away their polity.

I have immense respect for you, Dr. Harmon, but I believe in this you are in error.  Truth trumps polity.  This is, indeed, cause for rejoicing.

December 8, 7:32 pm | [comment link]
78. wamark wrote:

Dear #77 from a very supportive ELCA pastor…AMEN!  If your looking for a place to start a mission for your diocese in Seattle contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

December 8, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
79. wamark wrote:

#77 sorry thats .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

December 8, 7:49 pm | [comment link]
80. Adam 12 wrote:

#78 I think we all became losers when reappraiser advocates made changes to the sacraments of ordination and baptism and matrimony. That was when things moved from the talking stage to thrusting a knife in the heart of the communion. Through disunity we are all losers. There is joy in light however, the resplendent light of God’s Word.

December 8, 7:54 pm | [comment link]
81. Jim the Puritan wrote:

What Schori says:

“The Episcopal Church receives with sadness the news that some members of this church have made a decision to leave this church,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness.

The actual “historical Anglican understanding”:

“XX. Of the Authority of the Church.
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.” 

(From the Anglican Articles of Religion, as adopted by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States in 1801. Presently ignored by TEC.)

December 8, 8:00 pm | [comment link]
82. The_Elves wrote:

Chris Johnson at MCJ has weighed in:
http://themcj.com/3528

December 8, 8:06 pm | [comment link]
83. Fred wrote:

Kendall is soooo right…..this is very sad. Not because these lemmings are leaving….but because people like me don’t care anymore that they are leaving. We don’t want to be in the same church with them any longer. We have had it with their prejudices supposedly justified by the word of God. We have had it with their thirst for power justified by unChristian behavior and practice. We have simply had enough. This is no loss. It’s a relief!

December 8, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
84. gdb in central Texas wrote:

Fred said:

We have had it with their thirst for power justified by unChristian behavior and practice.

Now repairing cut to chin after contact with keyboard following reading of Fred’s take.

December 8, 8:23 pm | [comment link]
85. DonGander wrote:

Fred, I care that you have the attitude that you indicate that you have. God has the answer for it. God still speaks - He loves you. He gave us His word on it. Just love that Word more than you love polity, for all good polity must rise from that Word.

December 8, 8:24 pm | [comment link]
86. Kendall Harmon wrote:

The reason we are all losers is because of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 and the scandalous witness of public disunity that this is.

December 8, 8:30 pm | [comment link]
87. Kendall Harmon wrote:

Brian from t19 writes:

To compare agreed upon codes of conduct and well-defined canon law to your personal interpretation of an ancient document of questionable historical value is simply a false comparison

This is quite a statement, Brian.  You caricature the first position, as it is not my interpretation but that of the church and the church is the one who reads and interprets the given word. You place yourself over scipture in a way that typifies sadly so many in TEC this days, denigrating the book the Christians have always understood to have great value.

Then you turn around and claim a clarity in the canons that even a distinguished authority like the former chancellor of Long Island, Bob Royce, cannot give. A diocese has never taken an action like this before, and the questions abound since it was never envisioned.

So the church’s interpetation of Scripture which has been clear is caricatured, and the interpretation of canons is given a claimed clarity which key authorities say it doesn’t have.

Houston, we have a problem.

December 8, 8:34 pm | [comment link]
88. Jeffersonian wrote:

We have apparently blasphemed the Holy Canons.  That Bible thing, though…eh.

December 8, 8:36 pm | [comment link]
89. DonGander wrote:

While some might be saddened at the apparent failure to honor our Lord’s prayer for unity, I am overjoyed that some are obedient - some have decided to lead to green pastures. They are undershepherds who love the sheep to the loss of their own lives and fortunes. They do not eat the sheep, but feed and love them.

Unity follows obedience. Take joy!

December 8, 8:44 pm | [comment link]
90. edistobeachwalker wrote:

Fred in #83 is a reappraiser who frequents the comments section of the blog in order to stir up reasserters.  Do not be drawn in.

December 8, 8:44 pm | [comment link]
91. The_Elves wrote:

On the reappraising side of the aisle, Tobias Haller has posted a blog entry tonight which begins:

The Immaculate Deception and the Vacant See
By Tobias Haller

Well, it seems the leadership of the Diocese of San Joaquin have gone and done it. That is, the Bishop and a majority of the clergy and laity have voted to change the diocesan constitution and to realign themselves, their souls and bodies, with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Souls and bodies they may have charge of; it remains to be seen what becomes of the real property and assets, and the loyal Episcopalians (clergy and lay) who remain.

Now, of course, this is a deception; a baseless fantasy movement. Dioceses cannot so realign themselves motu proprio, on their own, any more than a man can divorce his wife or a wife her husband by saying thrice, “I divorce thee!” The church is governed by laws, and this lack of a capacity to divorce is all the more clear, constitutionally speaking, in cases such as that of San Joaquin, which began its life as a missionary diocese and was only granted full status in the 1960s. Contrary to the imaginings of former Bishop of San Joaquin John-David Schofield, the canonical silence on the subject of how dioceses become independent does not signify consent, but inconceivability. Anyone familiar with the history of The Episcopal Church should know that, and numerous canons make it clear: the territorial limits of the United States play a definitive role in determining the relationship of a domestic diocese with the only legitimately constituted Anglican presence in our portion of North America, which is to say, The Episcopal Church.

Full link here
http://jintoku.blogspot.com/2007/12/immaculate-deception-and-vacant-see.html

December 8, 8:48 pm | [comment link]
92. DonGander wrote:

“Dioceses cannot so realign themselves motu proprio…”

“No controlling legal authority.”

Aside from God…

December 8, 9:00 pm | [comment link]
93. Chris wrote:

aren’t ++Kate and Beers forced to litigate this?  Otherwise Fort Worth, Quincy, Pittsburgh and others may be headed for the exits too…

December 8, 9:02 pm | [comment link]
94. Stu Howe wrote:

Just a quick update, KCRA ch. 3 had this as the third story on the 5 p. m. new show, including a short clip of an interview with Bishop Duncan.  However, I don’t see anything on the their website yet.

December 8, 9:16 pm | [comment link]
95. DonGander wrote:

I would like to put my above posts within a very personal context. May that context provide insight into my attempts at communicating my views.

In about 1965 I had already been a Christian for ten years and I was of an age when our congregation urges membership. I was reluctant, though I much wanted to obey God in those things. I had read and heard much of those in old times from St. Stephen to Martin Luther, all those who had to hold allegience of God above their duties to the Church. I knew the very great cost to those men. Should I place myself where I might need to make such a decision? At 16 years of age I was reluctant to join the Church but told no one of my reasons. There was a wise old pastor at that time who took me aside to discover my reluctance and though I don’t remember telling him my reasons, he took me to one of the 39 Articles,

“The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another…..”

This kind old pastor showed me that in joining the Church I had but ONE loyalty - to God and Holy Scripture.

I joined.

There are two groups of ideas in this current contest, first, those that feel that a break in polity is a cardianal breach of Christianity, and second, those who feel that there is but ONE cardianal loyalty.

Out of error or truth, I have little sympathy for those who feel that polity trumps Holy Scripture; little sympathy and no agreement.

December 8, 9:29 pm | [comment link]
96. Philip Snyder wrote:

Can someone show me where the Consitution or Canons describe the geographical boundries for each diocese?  I don’t believe that I read where GC divided up the USA in to dioceses.  In fact, dioceses existed long before PECUSA/ECUSA/TEC did.  Dioceses existed before there was the Church of or in England.  The fundamental unit of the Church is the diocese, not a national provincial structure.  So, to say that the dioceses is the creation of the national structure is a false statement.  The national structure is the creation of dioceses.  Now, in the case of the Diocese of San Joaquin, there are two entities.  The first is the geographical region (probably divided along county lines) that is defined as the diocese of San Joaquin.  The second is the non-profit corporation chartered in the State of California (and, thus, a creature of the state) that is titled the Diocese of San Joachin.  These two entities were, until today, the same thing.  Now, the question comes down to who owns the property titled to the corporation?  Does the non-profit corporation own it (their name is on the titles, I would guess) or does the geographical region own it?  TEC’s position is that TEC owns it.  I suspect that the courts will side with whose name is on the title to the property.

I agree with Kendall that this is a sad day and not one for rejoicing.  The body of Christ has been sundered yet again and it has been sundered, not by the diocese of San Joaquin, but by 815 and General Convention and their insistence on doing things their way and not following the way of the Church.  I weep for the brokenness and anger and rancor that has followed this “new thing.”  This anger and pain are, to me, very clear signs that the “new thing” is not of the Holy Spirit.  If it were from the Holy Spirit, then there would be more peace and less piecemeal.  There would be more love and less hatred.  There would be more gentleness and less hardball.  There would be more self-control and less self-agrandizement.

May God have mercy on us all.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

December 8, 9:44 pm | [comment link]
97. plainsheretic wrote:

Not that it matters much. But a little history from the diocese own site:

In the Episcopal Church, as in the Roman Catholic Church, a diocese is easiest understood as a geographical designation of area. More specifically, a diocese is a collection of congregations under episcopal authority within a certain geographical area. From denomination to denomination, or from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, those boundaries may overlap.

The Diocese of San Joaquin, a diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, is one of now 6 Episcopal dioceses within the state of California.

Its northern boundary is just south of Sacramento (HQ for Dio. of Northern California), and its southern border is south of Bakersfield. The eastern border, on the other side of the Sierra’s is the Nevada border; on the west the border is west of Interstate 5. The diocesan office is located in Fresno, which, except for the congregations on the east side of the Sierra’s, is the “driving-time” center of the diocese.

As with all dioceses in the state of California, the diocese of San Joaquin was carved out of the original Diocese of California. Bishop Kip had taken a couple of trips through the San Joaquin Valley, with stops for baptisms, marriages, and Holy Communion, in the 1870’s. The Rev. D.O.Kelly was very active and visible in the beginnings of quite a few congregations south of Fresno. In 1911, the new diocese was given it’s official charter as a “Missionary Diocese”, dependent upon the General Convention budget for its fiscal well being. Bishop Louis Sanford guided the missionary diocese of San Joaquin through its early years, giving it a firm foundation. Bishop Sumner Walters further expanded the number of congregations in the valley; Bp. Victor Rivera, formerly rector of St. Paul’s, Visalia, saw the diocese drop its “missionary” status and become fiscally independent. Bp. Rivera also helped keep the diocese biblically and traditionally “orthodox” through years of great upheaval in the Episcopal Church with the struggle of civil rights (including the area’s implosion concerning the rights of field workers), the ordination of women to the priesthood, and a change in the official Book of Common Prayer. The Rev. David Schofield, formerly rector of St. Columba’s, Inverness, Dio. of California, became the 4th bishop of San Joaquin in 1989 as Bishop John-David Schofield, continuing the diocese’s scriptural, liturgical and theological heritage.

So let’s recap:

The diocese was started by a Bishop form the Diocese of California. (ECUSA)

The General Convetion then created the Missionary Diocese carved from the territory of the diocese of california and Funded it for a looong time.

Then the Missionary Diocese became finicially independent- and the Genereal Convention made it a self-supporing diocese 40 years ago.

So who started the diocese? Who helped pay for it? WHo sent missionaries? Oh, yea, ECUSA. But never mind.

December 8, 10:01 pm | [comment link]
98. Terwilliger+ wrote:

66. Kendall Harmon wrote:
“I have to say, and not for the first time, that this is no cause for rejoicing, but a source of sadness.  We are all losers in this mess and I hope all blog readers will pray for all who were present at the Convention in San Joaquin today.”
Kendall,
I agree that there is an aspect of this that is sad but I also think there should be rejoicing that Christ is being exalted in that part of the Anglican Communion - something I hardly see in much of TEC.  I see this move of San Joaquin as a repairing and re-joining of fellowship with like believers between San Joaquin and the Southern Cone.  TEC is in impaired or out of communion with many Provinces of the Communion and San Joaquin re-tethered itself to true apostolic fellowship - something sorely lacking through the agencies of Ms. Schori and 815.
It is sad that it had to come to this but the schism started with TEC’s high-handed rebellion against Christ and the historic witness of the Church.

December 8, 10:08 pm | [comment link]
99. sanjuan wrote:

If TEc so dislikes whirlwind, it ought not sow wind. Unfortunately, it seems unable to understand the cause/effect principle.

December 8, 10:09 pm | [comment link]
100. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re 87,
Kendall,
I am not going to get into the nitty gritty of ancient canons but they clearly prohibit communication in sacris with heretics.  On this point the canons and the consensus patris leave no doubt.

“Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he has permitted them to perform any service as clergymen, let him be deposed.” Apostolic Canon 45.

“Some have suffered final shipwreck with regard to the faith. Others, though they have not drowned in their thoughts, are nevertheless perishing through communion with heresy.” St. Theodore the Studite.

December 8, 10:13 pm | [comment link]
101. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Kendall is soooo right…..this is very sad. Not because these lemmings are leaving….but because people like me don’t care anymore that they are leaving.”

Why is it “very sad” that people like Fred don’t care that people are leaving?

Who cares?

I don’t.  Fred has longed for those who oppose his agenda to leave anyway.  Why any of us should expect Fred to be sad—or why any of us should be remotely sad that Fred doesn’t care is beyond me.

The dislike of a person like Fred is an honor.  It is a joy.  It should cause the heart to be glad if one is not liked by Fred.  It means that things are going well.  One never hopes to gain a person like Fred’s good will.

December 8, 10:14 pm | [comment link]
102. plainsheretic wrote:

Sarah,

I’m sad about this. Very sad. I spent some time in prayer today for those whose voices we won’t hear. Whenever a lose-lose situation arises- people will get hurt. I live near a church that left a while back. There is a lot of pain. People went and dug up thier loved ones from the colombarium. One good freind- who had been a member for 40 years and who contributed time, talent and treasure to build up the church was “kicked” out. People don’t talk to each other anymore. Hundreds and thousands of people left both that church and the episcopal church. I pray for those who we won’t hear from.

THis is very sad. But then again- you don’t care.

December 8, 10:23 pm | [comment link]
103. Timothy Fountain wrote:

This anger and pain are, to me, very clear signs that the “new thing” is not of the Holy Spirit.  If it were from the Holy Spirit, then there would be more peace and less piecemeal.  There would be more love and less hatred.  There would be more gentleness and less hardball.  There would be more self-control and less self-agrandizement.

Awesome, Phil.  Thank you for an amazingly concise, Biblically grounded and just plain true refutation of the “new thing of the Spirit” deception.

December 8, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
104. The_Elves wrote:

Given the frequent attempts of Fred to distract threads, we were concerned to see Sarah’s #101.  We were inclined to delete it, but Plainsheretic has already responded in #102.  So, we’ll leave it, but ask NO FURTHER replies to #101 or #102  Sarah & Plains, if you are so inclined you can continue any discussion offline.  We will NOT hesitate to delete further personal comments aimed at/about other commenters.

December 8, 10:28 pm | [comment link]
105. The_Elves wrote:

Thanks to a commenter who e-mailed us, links to the coverage by several San Joaquin area TV stations:

CBS13
News10Net
Fox40 Sacramento

December 8, 10:34 pm | [comment link]
106. Gator wrote:

Kendall—You know as well as anyone that TEC will not turn back from its course. You were at GC; you took in all the evidence; you are smart. Today—this day—people need to hear the true good news of Jesus Christ from a true Anglican standpoint. Neil Young has a song (Paul Zahl knows it)—Comes a time. The Diocese of SJ, no doubt with much soul-searching, has perceived that this is such a time when the prayer of Jesus for unity must yield to the prayer of Jesus (same chapter) that his followers would be protected by the truth. If our brothers and sisters in SJ are feeling the sadness you mentioned, but are finally profoundly joyful, let’s take their lead.

December 8, 10:41 pm | [comment link]
107. frreed wrote:

I cannot bring myself to sadness over this.  The disunity argument is a non-starter.  If DSJ had left to be an “independent” Anglican body, that would indeed be a sorrowful event.  They have not done anything to breed disunity.  If anything they have made it possible for greater unity in the future.  To remove themselves from a body that is the source of the fractured nature of the Anglican Communion and move to place where they, and many others may return to a greater unity that bears a faithful witness to the Gospel.  High fives and champagne are not in order, but certainly the satisfaction and attendent joy that comes with knowing victory has been found in one battle of a very long and difficult war.

December 8, 10:45 pm | [comment link]
108. selah wrote:

frreed wrote:

knowing victory has been found in one battle of a very long and difficult war.

That’s one of the reasons for sadness, frreed.  This is just one battle, and the war is still ongoing.  There is still a lot of suffering ahead, both for those inside DSJ and those outside of it.

I’m sure that we’ve all been praying for DSJ this weekend, but I have a feeling that they’ll need our prayers on Monday even more than they needed today.  And they’ll need our prayers in June even more…

December 8, 10:55 pm | [comment link]
109. Susan Russell wrote:

It is indeed a sad day—on that score I agree with Kendall. But the crocodile tears from those who have prayed, worked, schemed and finally brought about their Long Expected Schism are a bit much. When we look back at the history of the “renting of the fabric of the Anglican Communion” the date will not be July 29, 1974 or February 11, 1989 or even November 2, 2003 ... it will be December 8, 2007 and the responsibillty for the rip will lay at the feed of those who today have walked away from historic Anglicanism and embraced hysteric Schmaticism.

December 8, 11:00 pm | [comment link]
110. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re: 107 & 108
“The next worse thing to a battle lost, is a battle won.”
-The Duke of Wellington

December 8, 11:00 pm | [comment link]
111. slcj wrote:

I’m beginning to see why there was so much violence in the wars of religion.  I went over to Fr. Jake’s site, and they are MAD.  It’s like the vote of the Diocese was a personal attack to some of them.

The more I read and reflect on this, the more I realize how immature and how hasty the leadership of ECUSA was in the period leading up to 2003. 

I still think that the ABC would rather be on their side than on Schofield’s, but they’ve made it impossible.

God works in mysterious ways, and perhaps the ordination of +Robinson may have been a felix culpa, a triggering event leading to the revitalization of the Anglican Communion, if not of TEC.

December 8, 11:02 pm | [comment link]
112. Jeffersonian wrote:

When we look back at the history of the “renting of the fabric of the Anglican Communion” the date will not be July 29, 1974 or February 11, 1989 or even November 2, 2003 ... it will be December 8, 2007 and the responsibillty for the rip will lay at the feed of those who today have walked away from historic Anglicanism and embraced hysteric Schmaticism.

Bizarre.  Only in TEC can one be accused is schism by just standing still.  In case it had escaped your gimlet-eyed gaze, Susan, DioSJ hasn’t left Anglicanism, it’s rejoined it.

December 8, 11:11 pm | [comment link]
113. Jeffersonian wrote:

Sorry, that should read “of schism”

December 8, 11:12 pm | [comment link]
114. Gator wrote:

Susan—You are excited! You don’t usually have so many typos. But I did like “Schmaticism.” I don’t know how to use it, but I’m sure it is useable (is that a word?)

December 8, 11:15 pm | [comment link]
115. Paul Powers wrote:

Robroy: (re message #3) Fort Worth cannot have its second reading early this year. Under the diocesan constitution, the second reading must be at an annual meeting (not a specially called meeting) of the convention, and the annual meeting must take place in November. I believe the 2008 meeting is set for November 14-15.

December 8, 11:19 pm | [comment link]
116. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re 112
SLCJ,
As an outsider looking in I tend to agree with your pov.  I think that VGR was in many ways a pyrrhic victory.  He was the proverbial “bridge too far.”  Conservative Episcopalians had been making idle threats for decades over the creeping heterodoxy in TEC and so it was not surprising that the clear warnings issued before VGR’s consecration were ignored and even mocked by the heretics now running TEC. 

What they apparently did not realize (and I confess I was skeptical myself) was that yes, it was actually possible to drive the orthodox (small ‘o’) remnant out the door.  VGR is not the issue.  The issue is mass heresy bordering in some cases on outright apostasy.  But VGR was what stripped the blinders from the eyes of the faithful and made at least a large number realize that TEC is lost to the Christian faith.  With this sudden reality check, which has come in fits and starts and with lots of deeply felt sadness,  has come the realization that the only real course open is to shake the dust from their sandals and move on.  Some still refuse to see this.  And I think that for the most part they are beyond help.  But one can always pray for them.

In the mean time the heretics now realize what they have done.  And while they may gnash their teeth and scream or write vitriol, the fact remains that a large scale movement is now underway towards the exit doors in TEC.  And I think that is the least of their worries.  I believe that within a couple of years TEC will either be gone from the Anglican Communion or the AC will be reduced to a shadow of its present self by the mass secession of most its member churches.

All in all it is not a day for rejoicing.  But it is cause for deep satisfaction that what needed to be done for too long has at last been done.  The exits are clearly marked and the path now shown by the DofSJ.

December 8, 11:22 pm | [comment link]
117. Ad Orientem wrote:

My previous should be re #111.  Sorry…

December 8, 11:24 pm | [comment link]
118. Cennydd wrote:

No amount of denial is going to change the fact that our diocese has left TEC.  I was there as a delegate from St Alban’s Church in Los Banos, and I voted again for the resolution removing all mention of The Episcopal Church from our constitution.  I also voted to accept Archbishop Venables’ offer to take us under his wing.  There was no hand-wringing, there were no recriminations, and there was only sadness that our actions were forced upon us.  We didn’t want this to happen, but we were left with no choice except to leave or remain in an apostate state.  We were not prepared to do that.

December 8, 11:27 pm | [comment link]
119. The_Elves wrote:

We’ll be adding a 4th update with new links shortly.  A couple of them include:
the Telegraph (UK)

San Francisco Chronicle

The Bakersfield Californian

Get Religion

Etc etc.
Please do post and e-mail us any other interesting links we’ve not posted!

December 8, 11:49 pm | [comment link]
120. Susan Russell wrote:

114—It is now.

December 8, 11:54 pm | [comment link]
121. Stephen Noll wrote:

Susan Russell writes:

When we look back at the history of the “renting of the fabric of the Anglican Communion” the date will not be July 29, 1974 or February 11, 1989 or even November 2, 2003 ... it will be December 8, 2007…

This is an interesting observation, even beyond the Freudian slip about “renting” the fabric of the Anglican Communion. Russell gives a number of specific dates over the past 30+ years which some might identify as points of departure in the history of Episcopal Church from historic, biblical Christianity. Surely one could come up with earlier ones, like the Bayne Committee whitewash of Bishop Pike.

If Bishop Schofield and Jim Packer are correct that heresy is schism (see the interesting comment of St. Paul at 1 Cor 11:18-20), then many of us who have been in leadership in the Episcopal Church must ask ourselves, “Why did we not come to this point much earlier?” Thus to the extent that there is sadness over the rending of the visible Body of Christ on December 8, 2007, there must also be regret over the many sheep of Christ’s flock who have left our churches over the years or worse yet have been led astray by the “heresies and schisms” of Anglicanism in North America.

Susan Russell’s highlighting of the historic dimension of the decision calls to mind another historic battleground, as reported by Shakespeare’s Henry V:

From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Too bad the decision had to fall on a feria day. One day earlier and it could be “St. Ambrose Day” or alternatively “The Day that will live in infamy.” At least there may now be room in the calendar of the new Anglican Church in North America for St. John-David’s Day.

December 9, 12:07 am | [comment link]
122. Sherri wrote:

When we look back at the history of the “renting of the fabric of the Anglican Communion” the date will not be July 29, 1974 or February 11, 1989 or even November 2, 2003 ...

Only an amnesiac could say this. Yes, indeed, the tear began in 1974. My church was literally split in half. What we are seeing is the widening of the tear, but the tear was made long ago and torn and torn again.

December 9, 12:12 am | [comment link]
123. The_Elves wrote:

After a very short entry earlier, the Living Church now has a very detailed article posted.  I think it deserves a separate discussion thread and will be posting it below shortly.  In the meantime, here’s the link:

Presiding Bishop Eyes New Leadership for Diocese of San Joaquin

By the way, the Living Church now accepts comments on its articles at its new website…

December 9, 12:17 am | [comment link]
124. Don Armstrong wrote:

Apparently Radner, whose latest writings can hardly be considered conservative, and who abandoned his parish and ran to Canada, is now determining that everyone else’s witness is faulty and not to be understood as Christian—down here we call that theology cerebral narcissism…

December 9, 12:20 am | [comment link]
125. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Kendall, in the world of Anglicanism there can be only an illusion of unity because we are heirs to a 450 year old schism from Rome. The Church of England broke for the sake of truth. TEC is breaking even further for the sake of lies and damnation. To break from this does no further damage to the unity of the church, for TEC has done all the damage it can do already. We have no unity because we are Protestants. Now, in TEC, there is no truth. Breaking from that is like breaking from company with a madman just before he leads us to destruction.

Yes, there is pain, because our false illusion of unity that we comfort ourselve with as we pretend to be the church is being shattered. It deserves to be shattered. We need to be honest, with ourselves and with our history. There can be no faithfulness to Jesus’ prayer for unity until we heal the breach we helped make those centuries ago. Separating from apostacy here may be the first necessary step toward a truer unity.

In that we should rejoice.

December 9, 12:20 am | [comment link]
126. John316 wrote:

Remain Episcopal has thispress release

If Bishop Schofield does quit the church, the 14-county Episcopal diocese in central California will continue. It will have the support of the national church, surrounding dioceses and those individuals, parishes and groups that remain with the church.

Thanks VERY much John316, we were wondering when that would come out.  We’ve posted the text in full as a separate entry below.

December 9, 12:23 am | [comment link]
127. robroy wrote:

A lesbian female priest complaining of others “walking away from historic Anglicanism.” Wow, that takes cajones.

December 9, 12:24 am | [comment link]
128. Stephen Noll wrote:

Quick addendum to my own comment (#121) about regret for the lost sheep of the Episcopal Church. It is not only regret for those who have left or been led astray over these years, but for the thousands who have not been reached with the Gospel both in North America and among the unreached peoples of the earth by a church that had many resources, material and theological, to offer. The failure to evangelize is a burden that all of us bear, but the current state of the Episcopal Church has made the missionary task impossible within its walls.

December 9, 12:26 am | [comment link]
129. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “and the responsibillty for the rip will lay at the feed of those who today have walked away from historic Anglicanism . . . “

Well—history will certainly be the judge of whether Susan Russell is correct.  I rather doubt it, but maybe we’ll all live long enough to find out.

December 9, 12:34 am | [comment link]
130. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “I went over to Fr. Jake’s site, and they are MAD.  It’s like the vote of the Diocese was a personal attack to some of them.”

I used to wonder why progressives activists are just so angry all the time, especially when they really have won the institution in ECUSA.  And I do see that they take it as a personal affront when people do not agree with their agenda, and act upon that disagreement.

For the longest, they just hadn’t seen a whole lot of action against their agenda . . . . . and when it starts happening . . . and escalating . . . it seems to really irritate.

December 9, 12:36 am | [comment link]
131. teatime wrote:

And just why are the reappraisers “mad?” Goodness, if I had a quarter for every time I read “why don’t they just go already?” on their blogs, I could have a nice vacation home somewhere fun, paid in quarters. It’s happening—actually, it’s BEEN happening but with sad, resigned individuals and families and no votes or fanfare—so why are they now irate?!

Sorry, but few have spared thoughts these past four years for those who have had to find new church homes or those who remain unchurched waiting hopefully for a nurturing place to call their spiritual home. Finally, with the bravery of San Joaquin and the generosity of the Southern Cone, there is some hope. I intend to cling to it.

The reappraisers don’t want us but they want us, is that it? Kinda like when a couple of bad apples keep a law-abiding, respectful person around for an alibi or some glimmer of credibility? No, let them stand on their own and fully implement their “new thing.” I’m sure the church of the now has lots of plans up their sleeves to keep things from getting boring or, Heaven forbid, traditional. But pray that when the Red Sea comes crashing down, God’s people have made it to the other shore safely.

December 9, 12:37 am | [comment link]
132. Jeffersonian wrote:

I wonder if ++Rowan is thinking that he may have been a trifle negligent in forestalling this sort of thing about now.  Like maybe turning a screw back in ‘03?

December 9, 12:39 am | [comment link]
133. Susan Russell wrote:

P.S.—Sorry about the typos on #109 ... that’s what I get for trying to keep up on “affairs Anglican” and get dinner on the table at the same time!

December 9, 12:44 am | [comment link]
134. palagious wrote:

Anglicans just don’t understand the polity of TEC.  In the matter of SSB, The PB can’t compel her bishops, and the bishops have no control over the actions of their clergy.  In the matter of “Church Property” it all belongs to TEC and the PB has absolute control and can tell Bishops what to do and when to do it.  What hypocracy.

Oh well, better to run away from “Historic Anglicanism” and its shoddy American and English remnants that to walk away from Christ himself.  I have never and will never worship a denomination.

December 9, 12:46 am | [comment link]
135. robroy wrote:

I read the NYT article. They interviewed four people besides quoting from other sources. One was Ephraim Radner who decried the action of the diocese and the other three were part of Remain Episcopal. So much for objectivity.

One church mentioned above is St John’s Lodi has quite a bit of debt from a big building project. I am sure the national church will step up and bail them out. Its stats are found up and down and now down attendance. It was the site of a Bonnie Anderson foray last February.

Another church mentioned in the NYT article is Church of the Saviour Parish, Hanford. It’s stat’s are here. ASA is down, down, down but curiously membership is up, up, up.

The other church mentioned in the article is Church of the Holy Family, Fresno who is doing quite well.

December 9, 12:52 am | [comment link]
136. robroy wrote:

I did a google search on Rick Matters, rector of St. John’s, Lodi who is in “Remain Episcopal” and it turned up minutes from a Via Media meeting where he was in attendance. Listed as strategy bullets:

  * Have ready blank presentments for abandonment of the communion.
  * Have already drafted request stating that the see is vacant and requesting appointment of interim bishop. Need to coordinate with PB on these appointments.
  * Have request for special convention ready to give to interim bishop so that vacant spots in diocesan government can be filled (trustees, council, standing committee, commission on ministry, etc.)
  * Be ready to take legal action on property identify who will serve as litigants, what property needs to be covered.
  * Have plan for locations and personnel to provide worshipping communities and “safe havens” for the faithful remnants. Identify retired priests and deacons, lay leadership. 2.

There you have it, friends. Conspiring against his bishop two years ago to depose and sue him. Nice. I must have missed Jesus’ asking us to do that.

December 9, 1:02 am | [comment link]
137. Larry Morse wrote:

I read SusanRussell’s entry and had to laugh. I want to repeat what I said before. The case at hand is one of a kidnapped child who has broken from of his kidnappers and run safely home. A sad day for us all? No indeed, for the child in danger is home safe. This is not schism, it’s an escape but the bad guys.
 
  Unity is not a virtue. It is a mere expediency, or it is a by-blow. Holding and sharing a common belief is a great virtue, and its effect may well be unity,but since TEC has put itself outside this common belief, unity is undesirable because it is a delusion. What’s to be sad about? Why would you want to keep Typhoid Mary selling crumpets to her neighborhood? LM

December 9, 1:03 am | [comment link]
138. The_Elves wrote:

Ok.  As you can see, I’ve just posted Update 4 with various new links.  As noted there, this thread will remain sticky until sometime tomorrow morning.  When we unsticky it, it will drop way down the blog page (something like 15-20 articles will be above it), so it may be worth bookmarking for those who want to continue to follow the discussion here.

Having posted that update, we’ve also just read the last 20-25 comments.  A few concern us greatly.  The personal attacks on Ephraim Radner and Susan Russell need to stop.  Cite their statements about today’s actions and refute those if you are so inclined.  But attacks or comments about them as individuals are out of line.  We are probably signing off very soon so please respect this request.  We will not be happy elves if we come back in the morning and find this thread has become a mess of personal attacks and off-topic discussion.

—elfgirl

December 9, 1:04 am | [comment link]
139. The_Elves wrote:

Thanks RobRoy for the links and info.  Interesting stuff.

December 9, 1:06 am | [comment link]
140. Jeffersonian wrote:

There you have it, friends. Conspiring against his bishop two years ago to depose and sue him. Nice. I must have missed Jesus’ asking us to do that.

When revisionists do that, it’s strategizing.  When reasserters do it, it’s conspiracy.

December 9, 1:09 am | [comment link]
141. teatime wrote:

If they’re looking for retired clergy to fill some spots, Spong is probably available!

December 9, 1:13 am | [comment link]
142. Fred wrote:

In response to the Elves’ (#104) reference to my “frequent attempts to distract thread,” may I just say that while my dissenting perspective frequently distracts your readers into personal attack-mode, the intent is not to elicit distraction but to offer diversity. And my comment was, in point of fact, heartfelt. It DOES sadden me that I no longer care that brother and sister Christians are walking away rather than working through differences. I used to think we actually could “talk across the divide.” It looks like I was wrong.

Thanks Fred.  I apologize for misconstruing your intent.  I wasn’t actually thinking your comment on this thread was intended as a distraction as much as thinking of certain past threads where your comments had seemed to be designed to provoke and stir up folks, and thus concerned that folks would overreact out of habit.

December 9, 1:16 am | [comment link]
143. Brian from T19 wrote:

Kendall+

This is quite a statement, Brian.  You caricature the first position, as it is not my interpretation but that of the church and the church is the one who reads and interprets the given word.

That’s an easy out because you claim to be following the Church.  However, you and I are members of the same church (TEC) and I am the one who agrees with the church on its reading and interpretation of the given Word.  You may counter that the vast majority of Christians don’t agree (or even the vast majority of worldwide bishops) yet you are not a member of their church.  You are a member of TEC.  TEC has read and interpreted the given WORD to mean something very different than your view.

You place yourself over scipture in a way that typifies sadly so many in TEC this days, denigrating the book the Christians have always understood to have great value.

Now this is the caricature.  I believe that the Scriptures are the revelation of God to His people.  I believe them to be the Word of God.  I simply place reason alongside the Scriptures.  The ultimate revelation of God to us was when He became incarnate as Jesus.  The historical record of that and the reality of it are not necessarily the same.  This doesn’t denigrate the Word, but rescues it from becoming the weapon that fundamentalists and literalists have made it.

Then you turn around and claim a clarity in the canons that even a distinguished authority like the former chancellor of Long Island, Bob Royce, cannot give. A diocese has never taken an action like this before, and the questions abound since it was never envisioned.

I claimed no such clarity.  I simply said that we know the historical facts surrounding the canons.  If you read on, I state explicitly:

<blockquote>1. The official position of TEC is that there is no interpretation of the Constitution and Canons that allows for a Diocese to secede
2.  The official view of the secessionists is that there is indeed a legitimate interpretation and, even if there is not, then they must answer to a higher calling.  This, they argue, is required by their ordination vows.
3. Secular law is currently ambiguous, even within individual States.
4. There is no precedent for a Diocese leaving in these court cases<blockquote>

This not only specifies that there is no clarity (#s 3 & 4) but also that there is a difference of opinion on the canons (#s 1 & 2)

So the church’s interpetation of Scripture which has been clear is caricatured, and the interpretation of canons is given a claimed clarity which key authorities say it doesn’t have.

So, no - that is incorrect.

December 9, 1:19 am | [comment link]
144. Susan Russell wrote:

Re: the conversation on canons, here’s what +Stacy Sauls had to say at the Chicago Consultation this week: “… the alternative to the rule of law on this side of the kingdom of heaven is not grace, but the rule of men (and I use the gender-exclusive term quite intentionally); men who equate their prejudices with God’s word, their ambitions with God’s will and their agendas with the tradition of God’s church. Polity and canon law are the security of God’s people against the wrongful exercise of power.”

December 9, 1:23 am | [comment link]
145. Brian from T19 wrote:

    This anger and pain are, to me, very clear signs that the “new thing” is not of the Holy Spirit.  If it were from the Holy Spirit, then there would be more peace and less piecemeal.  There would be more love and less hatred.  There would be more gentleness and less hardball.  There would be more self-control and less self-agrandizement.

Awesome, Phil.  Thank you for an amazingly concise, Biblically grounded and just plain true refutation of the “new thing of the Spirit” deception.

Ummm…more peace?  Are you all serious?  Look at how the Holy Spirit moves - it is never easy to follow Jesus.

December 9, 1:28 am | [comment link]
146. DonGander wrote:

“Polity and canon law are the security of God’s people against the wrongful exercise of power.”

I buy that. So what is the security of God’s people against the wrongful use of polity and canon law?

I believe that a logical problem exists here. We agree that “the wrongful exercise of power” is a bad thing but what if that “the wrongful exercise of power” exists within the polity and canon law?

A problem, no?

December 9, 1:31 am | [comment link]
147. Jeffersonian wrote:

Polity and canon law are the security of God’s people against the wrongful exercise of power

Like how women’s ordination came about in TEC?  Like that?

December 9, 1:34 am | [comment link]
148. robroy wrote:

A bit off topic. I think my credibility as a new Anglican reformer is pretty good (somewhere below Father Handy’s). I applaud Bp’s Schofield, Duncan, and Iker. I love ABp Orombi and cheer ABp Akinola and Venables. I have disagreed frequently with ACI. Having laid this out…

As a member of Ephraim’s former church, I do not feel that he abandoned us. It was crazy that we had someone of his erudition, compassion, humility, charity in our dinky parish in our dinky town. He was given a wonderful opportunity to serve in a much more appropriate position for someone of his caliber. I know of no one in our parish that faults him for taking that position. The timing was unfortunate for us, but that makes it seem all the more a “God-thing” for our parish.

Disagree with Ephraim’s ideas. Trust me, he has no problems with that. But don’t attack the man.

Now, let’s get back to San Joaquin! I disagree with both Kendall and Ephraim. It seems both feel that it could and should have been avoided. The situation is similar to when the allies invaded Normandy.  Then and now, the battle is entered after months of preparation with some smaller and some larger skirmishes. Then and now, it was much anticipated with relief that the die is finally cast. Then and now, it was and is so very necessary.

December 9, 1:40 am | [comment link]
149. Brian from T19 wrote:

Sarah

I used to wonder why progressives activists are just so angry all the time, especially when they really have won the institution in ECUSA.  And I do see that they take it as a personal affront when people do not agree with their agenda, and act upon that disagreement.

For the longest, they just hadn’t seen a whole lot of action against their agenda . . . . . and when it starts happening . . . and escalating . . . it seems to really irritate.

It appears that you have gone from thoughtful comments to pithy quips.  Everybody’s angry - simple reductionism.  However, I do think that you are right about the anger over this particular event, although completely wrong about what irritates us. (although I am sure you don’t care or it makes you happy or some other cutesy quip).

You see, it is one thing for you and I to disagree.  We can talk about it, write letters to the editor, vote, engage in activism.  All of these are legitimate.  It’s when you break into my house and steal all of my belongings and say “Jesus made me do it because Susan+ doesn’t read the Book the same way as me” that you lose any credibility or sympathy.

December 9, 1:45 am | [comment link]
150. Brian from T19 wrote:

Oh and Sarah,

Before you beat me to the punch - I know that it makes you happy and that real Christians should be upset when they agree with me.wink

December 9, 1:47 am | [comment link]
151. The_Elves wrote:

In follow-up to Rob Roy’s comment #148 , I think at this point with folks discussing Dr. Radner’s comments in the NYT article in the abstract and making assumptions about what he said or meant, it’s probably now important to put the actual words here.  So:

I have now reread the NYT article carefully.  Here are the two places Dr. Radner is mentioned.  One is a direct quote:

And on the local level, the church would probably file suit against the diocese over property, lay people and clergy on various sides said.

  “It will be a huge, huge legal battle,” said the Rev. Ephraim Radner, a leading Episcopal conservative and professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto. “The costs involved will bleed the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Episcopal Church, and it will lead only to bad press. You have to wonder why people are wasting money doing this and yet claiming to be Christians.”

In context, I think it would be possible to take that quote as focusing primarily on those who would sue others.  I don’t see an attack of any kind on San Joaquin.

The second mention of Radner in the NYT article is:

The split also threatens to draw in the rest of the Communion and the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, the Communion’s spiritual leader. The diocese accepted an invitation from the archbishop of the Anglican province of the Southern Cone in South America to join his region temporarily. Bishop Frank Lyons of the diocese of Bolivia, in the Southern Cone, said that Archbishop Williams had told his archbishop the arrangement “was a sensible way forward.”

But Mr. Radner said the Southern Cone’s invitation showed the willingness of some provinces in Africa, Asia and Latin America to create an alternative Communion structure, bypassing the Episcopal Church and the archbishop of Canterbury himself. That could eventually create a new church.

Anyway, those are the exact words, in the first instance a direct quote, in the second, the summary of the reporter.  It seemed fair to put those words into the record here.  But PLEASE remember our exhortation.  This is not a thread about Dr. Radner.

December 9, 1:54 am | [comment link]
152. Jeffersonian wrote:

It’s when you break into my house and steal all of my belongings and say “Jesus made me do it because Susan+ doesn’t read the Book the same way as me” that you lose any credibility or sympathy.

But when I’ve paid for those belongings and the house they’re in, I’m not really stealing it, am I?  Indeed, the thief is really the one who lays claim to what he has not paid for.

December 9, 2:05 am | [comment link]
153. Irenaeus wrote:

If the documents giving the diocese legal existence (e.g., certificate of incorporation) give ECUSA no hold on the diocese, then I suspect the Diocese of San Joaquin would be in a strong position if the California courts follow the reasoning of the Fresno Methodist case. Note that the diocese probably needs to file these amendments with the secretary of state before they take effect.

December 9, 2:15 am | [comment link]
154. Irenaeus wrote:

The orthodox have not burglarized their own churches or anyone else’s. But the radical reappraisers have been busy at their work of desecration and idol-raising.

“For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths”—-2 Timothy 4:3-4

December 9, 2:24 am | [comment link]
155. Ed the Roman wrote:

#149,
I’m not angry.  Or overjoyed.  Surprise.  But this:

I can do no other - The excuse of every secessionist Bishop in the Anglican Communion

is, from my chair, the excuse of all Anglican bishops since 1532 or so, so it does make me chuckle a bit.

December 9, 2:34 am | [comment link]
156. Irenaeus wrote:

“I can do no other”

The cry of faithful Christian hearts throughout the ages.

December 9, 2:37 am | [comment link]
157. Brian from T19 wrote:

Jeffersonian

But when I’ve paid for those belongings and the house they’re in, I’m not really stealing it, am I?  Indeed, the thief is really the one who lays claim to what he has not paid for.

I refer you to plainsheretic’s #97.

December 9, 2:42 am | [comment link]
158. Brian from T19 wrote:

Here is an AOL version of the NYT story.  Interesting only for its 8 photo picture gallery.

http://news.aol.com/story/_a/episcopal-diocese-secedes-from-church/20071208173309990001?ncid=NWS00010000000001

December 9, 2:47 am | [comment link]
159. robroy wrote:

Susan Russell on her blog writes,

Read the rest here ... and give thanks for the strong leadership and clear voice of our Presiding Bishop during this “time of trial.”

Of course, Brian, Susan, Fred, etc., ignore large swaths of the Bible must also ignore:

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

December 9, 3:36 am | [comment link]
160. alfonso wrote:

Radner view: Ultimately making a decision that others would litigate, and that you would defend in the courts, is hypocritical for self-identified Christians. And likewise, this way in which Central California has stood up for the Faith is a waste.

Citation: “You have to wonder why people are wasting money doing this and yet claiming to be Christians.”

In my opinion, if he is being quoted fairly, Radner is shamefully joining forces against the righteous and oppressed. He has made a selected perfect ideal the enemy of the good, and in my opinion, abandoned the call to speak truth in love.

Further, Howe and others should be supporting and following this lead of S. Jqn.

December 9, 7:10 am | [comment link]
161. small "c" catholic wrote:

I’m a reasserter, but some of this junior-high-locker-room snarkiness is making me wish I could side with the reappraisers.

We agree the snarkiness is disturbing, we’re removing those comments now.  Even elves need to sleep.  Those comments were after we’d signed off last night, and we didn’t get back online before church this morning.

December 9, 7:33 am | [comment link]
162. Gator wrote:

Oops Alfonso—timemark 5:10 a.m. You must be hoping the elves are still sleeping. According to the movie Elf that I watched with my grandchildren over the weekend, elves only require 40 minutes sleep daily.

You started okay with analysis of a news article, but lapsed into attack—“shamefully joining forces against the righteous.” You better let us argue out the quote first (if that is to be permitted). Of course Prof. Radner enters the fray here occasionally. This would be a good time.

December 9, 7:37 am | [comment link]
163. Dan Crawford wrote:

Dr. Radner’s views continue to astonish me. Though he denounces lawsuits, he says nothing about the initiators of the lawsuits. Though he criticizes the Global South Primates for their actions, he apparently has little awareness of (or deliberately refuses to acknowledge) the egregious actions which have caused the divisions in the Anglican world.

For several years, ACI and its representatives have had ample opportunity to suggest a way forward - instead, they have delivered themselves of obfuscatory papers noted for their convoluted arguments and their unwillingness to engage directly the actions of the Presiding Bishop, the House of Bishops, and all the other Bishops and Dioceses which have marched in lock-step with the anti-biblical and pro-gay agenda in the church. Radner’s comment in the NYTimes implies (and was meant to) that the anti-Christians are the conservatives who have acted with courage and integrity to resist what they understand as the Gospel-destroying antics of the Episcopal Church. Meanwhile, the good professor and his allies in the ACI continue to offer up . . . Well, they can at least be quoted in the NYTimes to show how seriously they wring their hands.

I note that in so many of the media articles, the views of the so-called Via Media and blatant reappraisers are given more space than the views of the reasserters. Those who caused the problem now want us to weep over their status as “victims”. Perhaps now they will finally admit that “RECONCILIATION” and “DIALOGUE” and “GRACEFUL CONVERSATIONS” were actually what some suspected they always were - rhetorical ruses meant to beat down resistance and finally coerce resisters to surrender to the inevitable triumph of the reappraisers. Thank God, the strategy failed in some instances.

God bless the faithful in San Joaquin and God bless Bishop Schofield. We could have used such courage thirty years ago from other bishops who decided the preservation of the club was more important than fidelity to Christ.

December 9, 8:21 am | [comment link]
164. slcj wrote:

Is the reason some of these folks are mad is because they see this as a repudiation of their identity, and a stumbling block on the road to universal (at least on human terms) acceptance?

I wonder if they realize that they come across as greedy, materialistic, self-centered, grasping, petty, and vicious?

Surely, this cannot be their intent.

December 9, 8:39 am | [comment link]
165. slcj wrote:

At least now the Diocese of SJ is a place you can take your kids to again.

December 9, 8:40 am | [comment link]
166. Kate S wrote:

#165 Could not have put it better myself.

note: two comments have been removed now, so the numbers are off by two.

December 9, 9:18 am | [comment link]
167. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “It appears that you have gone from thoughtful comments to pithy quips.”

I’m just devastated  that you no longer find my comments thoughtful.

RE: “. . . that you lose any credibility or sympathy.”

And I’m just devastated that I’ve lost credibility or sympathy from you.  How shall I go on?

RE: “. . . and that real Christians should be upset when they agree with me.”

Nonsense.  I hope that Christians are merely indifferent Brian.  But you seem to be needing some attention on this thread.

There.

I’ve given it to you.

December 9, 9:24 am | [comment link]
168. John Boyland wrote:

Re #165: Don’t assume the NY Times quoted everything Dr. Radner said. 

Due to the removal of 3 comments the numbers may now be off

December 9, 9:29 am | [comment link]
169. Philip Snyder wrote:

Brian (#145) - you seem to forget that peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit.  “But the furit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law”
If this “new thing” is of the Holy Spirit, then there would be patience and patience would increase.  Love would increase, peace would increase, faithfulness would increase, kindness would increase, self-control would increase.  All across the world, I see (because of this new thing) lack of patience (on both sides), lack of love, gentleness, self-control, and (above all) a sever lack of faithfulness.  The “New Thing” is not faithful to God, to the Holy Scriptures, or to our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.  From these obeservations and from the teaching of the Church and the teaching of the ECUSA’s catechism as well as from the force of my baptismal covenant and ordination vows, I cannot see that the “New Thing” is of the Holy Spirit - which “spirit” it comes from, I hesitate to say.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

December 9, 9:42 am | [comment link]
170. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

I am so very grateful for the Diocese of San Joaquin’s actions.  It gives me hope for my mother and her Church [one of the CT Six].  From “Ground Zero” here in CT, I can tell you that the reappraisers have lied and used nothing but strong arm tactics.  I won’t give the bullies any more “glory” than that. 

It is my prayer that TEC implodes like the wicked witch in Oz after Dorothy threw water on her.  The witch may bitterly complain about the world bieing cruel while she melts away and I will not shed a tear.  I will rejoice for all those in her kingdom that will become free from her evil spell and with all those outside her kingdom that were persecuted by her wickedness. 

O Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer,
    who shields my head in the day of battle-
  do not grant the wicked their desires, O LORD;
    do not let their plans succeed,
    or they will become proud.
    Selah

Discernment isn’t a three legged stool, it is a tricycle with Scripture being the large wheel pulling the other two.  The genuine catholic Church will always be lead by the revealed Word of God and that will never contradict the Scriptures.  He came to fulfill the Scriptures…every jot and tittle.

It is the Lord who brings one up and another down.  May His will be done.  [And, may my will conform to His rather than my own and may He give me wisdom and grace to hear His voice and obey.]

December 9, 10:07 am | [comment link]
171. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

From the Telegraph article above:

With 2.4 million members, the 400-year-old Episcopal Church represents a tiny percentage of the US population, yet its members have a disproportionate influence on American political and social life.

Reporter Jonathan Wynn-Jones needs to spend some time over on this side of the pond. While the Episcopal Church had a huge influence in the formative years of these United States, and once was known as “The Republican Party at Prayer,” its current influence on American political and social life is inconsequential at best.

December 9, 10:12 am | [comment link]
172. Brian from T19 wrote:

Of course, Brian, Susan, Fred, etc., ignore large swaths of the Bible must also ignore:

  The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

Robroy

Since we ignore the Scripture, why don’t you follow it?  Stop the lawsuits by giving us back our property.  Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?  I suppose it is simply Pride that comes before the fall.

December 9, 10:23 am | [comment link]
173. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

Proverbs 1:22-32
Why should reasserters mourn the Diocese of San Joaquin’s actions?
I think that reasserters should join our Lord and conform our attitude to His concerning those who reject Him.  V. 26 “I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you-”

Tis the season to be jolly…

December 9, 10:25 am | [comment link]
174. Brian from T19 wrote:

Phil

Again, I say look at the history of movements universally recognized to be movements of the Spirit-just as an example, the work of William Wilberforce to end slavery in Britain.  What did that increase?

December 9, 10:27 am | [comment link]
175. Tom Roberts wrote:

176. “Stop the lawsuits by giving us back our property. “
Depending on how you interpret the CA legal situation, DoSJ already has.  I’m not sure that this thread is going to dispose of that substantial legal question, but your assertion begs the question of whether the property title is clear, and convinces nobody.

4 comments have been removed this morning.  The numbers may be off

December 9, 10:44 am | [comment link]
176. Jeffersonian wrote:

I refer you to plainsheretic’s #97.

I saw that, but yours is a one-size-fits-all excuse.  Truro, Falls Church, etc. were never financial burdens on the diocese or TEC, yet the mandarins still lay claim to those properties.  If TEC had never put a penny into DioSJ, would we the Presiding Plainiff just waving farewell today?  Answer when you stop laughing.

Very well, let’s throw the initial investment into the lawsuit and figure out what DioSJ has to pay to compensate TEC for the loss of same.  Of course, let’s also offset that investment with what DioSJ has remitted to TEC over the decades and, if TEC was paid more (in constant dollars, of course) than it invested, TEC will get to pay +Schofield.  Deal?

December 9, 10:46 am | [comment link]
177. robroy wrote:

Thanks, Sarah, for #172.

Brian, Paul’s injunction was against bringing suits against fellow Christians, “If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?” It was not an injunction for getting sued. This should be obvious, but alas, perhaps not…

4 comments have been removed The numbers may be off

December 9, 10:51 am | [comment link]
178. Jeffersonian wrote:

Stop the lawsuits by giving us back our property.

We bought it, we built it, we maintained it, we expanded it and we paid you all the while.  And now you own it.  Is this what I’m tom understand you are saying, Brian?

December 9, 10:55 am | [comment link]
179. MJD_NV wrote:

“Stop the lawsuits by giving us back our property.”

Sorry, the canons of the ECUSA say the property belongs to the diocese.  One can use this argument only when it comes to an individual parish wanting to leave.  815 has no claim to Dio SJ’s property. 

Besides, I really don’t think the, “MOOOOM!  he made me hit him!” excuse is going to play in the larger scheme of things.

December 9, 11:01 am | [comment link]
180. MJD_NV wrote:

For anyone on the convention floor, I’m curious.  I have heard definite reports that KJS’s letter rallied waivering troops in Dio PGH, and heard some rumblings that it did the same in Ft. Worth.  Did it have any effect on the vote in Dio SJ?  I’d heard that the vote was supposed to be much closer than it actually was.

December 9, 11:04 am | [comment link]
181. Irenaeus wrote:

Note that the flagship “Via Media” parish in the Diocese of San Joaquin is named “Holy Family.”

December 9, 11:15 am | [comment link]
182. John B. Chilton wrote:

Sorrry, #183. Whatever J-D S leads it is no longer the diocese. End of story.
http://jintoku.blogspot.com/2007/12/immaculate-deception-and-vacant-see.html

Note: 4 comments have been removed, so the numbers towards the end of the thread are incorrect.

December 9, 11:35 am | [comment link]
183. azusa wrote:

# 121 - ‘Too bad the decision had to fall on a feria day.’

But it was the Catholic Feast of the Immaculate Conception ....

December 9, 11:37 am | [comment link]
184. Violent Papist wrote:

The Conception of the V.M. is on the calender of the 1662 BCP.  Or, if you like, Mary, under her title of the Immaculate Conception, is the Catholic Patroness of the United States.

Knowing some of the San Joaquin Diocese’s catholic sympathies, perhaps the date isn’t totally a coincidence?

December 9, 11:42 am | [comment link]
185. Susan Russell wrote:

A few comments before heading off to church for the day:

#127—Because the Elves have let that one stand, I just want to note, in the interest of anatomical accuracy what it actually takes for a lesbian female priest to challenge the church’s systemic sexism and homophobia are not “cajones” but ovaries.

#128—Stephen, I could not possibly agree more with your grief “for the thousands who have not been reached with the Gospel both in North America and among the unreached peoples of the earth by a church that had many resources, material and theological, to offer. The failure to evangelize is a burden that all of us bear, but the current state of the Episcopal Church has made the missionary task impossible within its walls.”

And the responsibility for the current state of the Episcopal Church is at the feet of those who have chosen their own narrow agenda of exclusivism and schismaticism over the Good News of God in Christ Jesus available to all people—have spent these last years working to keep women and the LGBT baptized from the table rather than working to invite all God’s beloved TO the table.

Imagine where we’d be if all the energy that went into the Chapman Memo had gone into an Evangelism Memo instead.

December 9, 11:43 am | [comment link]
186. Jeffersonian wrote:

#186 - Exactly which canons prohibit a diocese from changing its alignment?

And I love the snarling threats about deposing the clergy in the ex-TEC diocese.  It’s like watching old East German apparatchiks hissing that they’ll revoke the ration cards from those who made it over the Wall.  Priceless.

December 9, 11:46 am | [comment link]
187. LTN wrote:

Just a surface response to the comments quoted in #151—assuming it was quoted in proper context. It seems to indicate that local parishes will sue i.e., the Diocese of San Joaquin over property and perhaps the alleged right to disaffiliate. While the article goes into other areas, I think that Ephraim Radner oversteps his analytical expertise with the legal issues with regards to the DSJ.

While there may be some costs to litigate and defend between TEC and the Diocese of San Joaquin, with the matter of the liberal parishes suing the Diocese, such lawsuits, if they occur, will likely be dismissed quite quickly—thus, the cost will be minimal. First, the parish does not have a cause of action when the DSJ has stated that it can leave with its properties so long as they assume their debts. Second, the parish questionably lacks standing to bring suit against the DSJ. Even if it had standing to enforce a questional trust clause (which is not recognized in the California 5th District wherein the Diocese lies), their position would be no different than TEC’s—thus, the suit will be consolidated into the one that TEC will likely bring, not making the cost to defend that issue any greater just because that parish joins in the suit with TEC.

The cost for the DSJ to defend potential litigation in the light of the pending review by the California Supreme Court in the Episcopal Church Cases is overly exaggerated. The DSJ and other parishes disaffiliating in California at this time have a tremendous benefit in the cases that went before them. Because the litigation machine and foundation has already been laid, I predict that the cost for the DSJ to defend itself until the California Supreme Court renders its decision will be quite low compared to the other parishes that had to take the lead.

December 9, 12:27 pm | [comment link]
188. rorymccorkle wrote:

As I grieved last night over this news, a not too infrequent occurance nowadays in this church, I took to meditating on the book at the center of this whole issue: Sacra Scriptura. I cannot help but believe that Christ has not taken joy in any step in this issue created by man, including this latest development. May we continue to seek out fulfillment of Jesus’s prayer before he gave himself for us: that we all may be one, just as the Father and he are one.

John 17:11
I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.

Psalm 133:1
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!

Ephesians 4:1-6
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

December 9, 12:28 pm | [comment link]
189. robroy wrote:

Susan lays the blame the good and godly laity of San Joaquin at “the feed [sic] of those who today have walked away from historic Anglicanism and embraced hysteric Schmaticism [sic].” I am relieved that she has dropped her ludicrous reference to “historic Anglicanism.” Unfortunately, KJS persists in the silliness with her “historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness”, whatever that means. However, I am not sure what either hysteric* Schmaticism or schismaticism are. Merely following the game book of labeling those that disagree with her with an -ism term, I suppose. Hey, that’s labelism, Susan. Oops, I did it myself.

Interesting that she mentions the Chapman memo which is absolutely tame in comparison to the Via Media meeting minutes (see #136) which Rick Matters, rector of St. John’s, Lodi conspires to depose his bishop, initiate lawsuits and appoint usurping replacements a full two years ago.

* I try not to use the sexist term hysteric.

December 9, 12:34 pm | [comment link]
190. azusa wrote:

Yes, they really are freaked out and depressed about this at Jake’s place - as if they think there’s no way they can roll this one back or (more important) get their hands on the property. And if 815 bankrolls the debt-ridden Lodi church (tho’ I think that would be very hard to justify on fiduciary grounds) so it can leave, they would be legitimizing the break.
The critical question - as they recognize at Jake’s place - is: when will Prince Williams the Silent speak up? I suspect this may be a tipping point for RW too - support and goodwill for him is rapidly evaporating.

December 9, 12:41 pm | [comment link]
191. Chazaq wrote:

the scandalous witness of public disunity that this is

Not so.

This is a witness to unity in Christ; the kind of unity Jesus prayed for, the kind of unity where the Father is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Father, and the Christians in San Joaquin are in the Father and the Son rather than in the Episcopal Church.

Contrast this to unity in the Constitution and Canons, United Nations Millenium Development Goals, Clown Masses, Buddhist Mandalas, Muslim Priests, Fetal Human Sacrifice, Male June Brides, Lawsuits, and whatever else unites Episcopalians.

December 9, 12:59 pm | [comment link]
192. Ephraim Radner wrote:

My comment in the NY Times, accurately quoted, was aimed at all parties.  I have no problem stating that outright.  Once Christians go down the litigation road within the church, we’ve lost our way. Wake up.

I am more than willing to place the initial and weighty blame for this fiasco on the leadership of TEC, its Executive Council, its PB’s, its General Convention, its inbending advocacy groups and so on.  They have much to answer for, before God and before the larger church.  But that doesn’t let their opponents within the church off the hook for not embodying some simple prudence and more substantive wisdom.  If we are dealing with people who are bent on having their way, come hell or high water, to the destruction of common life in Christ—and so, I agree it seems with respect to aspects of the TEC’s leadership—then pursuing actions that can predictably draw them on in their destructive paths is neither prudent nor wise.  And this is what is going on in the litigations that are unfolding, and in the engagement of communon forces (e.g. extras-provincial interventions) that are bound to further fray the fragile fabric of our larger Anglican body. 

I have every sympathy for the basic motives of those in San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Northern Virginia, Common Cause, AMiA, Network and so on.  But they have passed the bounds of prudence and wisdom in the responsive choices they have made.  It’s now become like someone going to Vegas to gamble in hopes of raising money fior the poor.  Things are going down the tubes, whatever the motives, because the methods now are turning against the Gospel and the witness of the Body of Christ as a whole before the world’s eyes.

Anybody who thinks that this unfolding drama is an inspiration to most Anglicans, let alone unbelieving onlookers, had better think again.  There are plenty of other Christian churches, traditions and denominations out there, “evangelical”, “reformed”, “liturgical”, “catholic”, and the rest—who are not driving themselves into the courtroom, sowing seeds of antagonism around the world, and filling the blogs with mutual hatred, no matter what their first motivations might be.  Don’t kid yourselves:  this is not Athanasius contra mundum, however exiting the struggle may appear in the midst of the fray;  it is the embrace of ecclesial irrelevance.

December 9, 1:08 pm | [comment link]
193. azusa wrote:

“Don’t kid yourselves:  this is not Athanasius contra mundum, however exiting the struggle may appear in the midst of the fray; it is the embrace of ecclesial irrelevance.”
Embrace? Hosea 5.17.

December 9, 1:17 pm | [comment link]
194. robroy wrote:

I would hope that all other parties see our poor state and be repelled. Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, look upon us and do not allow it to happen to your church.

December 9, 1:18 pm | [comment link]
195. azusa wrote:

Um, make that 4.17.

December 9, 1:18 pm | [comment link]
196. RoyIII wrote:

#198:  Who are the plaintiffs?

four comments have been removed this morning, the numbering sequence may be off

December 9, 1:41 pm | [comment link]
197. RoyIII wrote:

I’m sorry, that should be Radner, #196.  I think that action in following Christ is admirable.  If the pharises at 815 want to file lawsuits, then so what.

December 9, 1:46 pm | [comment link]
198. wvparson wrote:

I think I do understand the desperation and the tiredness which has driven this action. Yet I cannot rejoice to see the church rent a sunder and distressed. My reader may fill in the content of that verse.

Thus I have a heavy heart as I anticipate from my own experience what may come next and pray from my own experience that something better emerges. And I also hope and pray that this tragic decision may be used by God to enable our part of the church to revival in the midst of the years.

In many ways I think we are entering into a “vacuum” period. A new generation emerges which did not experience the heady cultural “conversions” of the 60s in the form and shape of the Civil Rights Movement. Our church is still led by those sort of people and their immediate disciples, for our leadership represents, according to our own statistics, a rather aging and elderly lot. Inevitably what comes next will be different; a different liberalism and a different conservatism. Perhaps this is illustrated in the shifts and developments in the present election cycle in secular politics.

The only thing we can be sure of is that those who lead us, whether we are liberals or conservatives, like the generals in war, will propose and use the solutions to the last war rather than this one!

December 9, 2:18 pm | [comment link]
199. Oldman wrote:

I agree with the good Doctor Radner that this spectacle is harming our Christly vision of the church’s true mission which is to bring Christ into the world by example and deed.

I would ask the good Doctor for advice, like which he has previously given often and so well and which we should take to heart.  What should we, especially us mere parishioners, do when the TEC has sunk deeply in heresy and apostasy. I personally have been forbearing from 2003 (and maybe before with the BCP revision that nearly destroyed for me the common link I have with Anglicans all over the world, which I have also been a part of when living in the Mideast and Southeast Asia.)

Should we as individuals, especially old coots like me who are in the last quarter of our lives, just take it on the chin, keep paying, stop going and being shocked and upset at happenings in my beloved parish church?  My fairly large church is now the “Gay Church” in my town. What I have found in my church is exclusion for many of us by my parish in order to claim inclusion for others unlike me.

I cry over Dio SJ’s need to leave as well as parishes who cannot stay in the DioGa and DioVa and their parishes are being sued. I need desperately for theologians of Dr. Radner’s statue to give good practical advise to us pewsitters who don’t want to leave and cannot stay.  In the past few days, I have wished my bishop would be as forthright as Bishop John-David, but Dr. Radner says that is not the way to go.  Then please tell us what is the way!

December 9, 2:31 pm | [comment link]
200. Irenaeus wrote:

Bp. Schofield has provided magnificent leadership: godly, gentle, and brave. I wish we more like him.

December 9, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
201. Dan Crawford wrote:

For all of Dr. Radner’s assertions about the inappropriate responses of those he dislikes in Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, and Fort Worth, he still gives us nothing - except to wait in silence and continue to be abused. That was not the response of those who formed the Creeds we claim we live by. We’re still waiting - perhaps we will hear something different from him. So far Dr. Radner’s strategy hasn’t worked in the 20 or so years we did what he advises and found ourselves even deeper in the pit. We want to believe that his analysis accurately reflects the situation we are in - unfortunately, his statements provide more and more evidence that an accurate analysis seem elusive.

[portion of the comment edited]

December 9, 3:01 pm | [comment link]
202. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Agreed, Dan. I had trouble previously with his long and ethereal analyses of the situation and frequently came away thinking, “Is there anything useful here?” Now that his comments are terse and to the point, I still question, “Is there anything useful here?” In sum, analysis without pragmatism is useless.

December 9, 3:14 pm | [comment link]
203. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

“stop the lawsuits”

Brian, since the property is now in the possession of our side why would we need to do anything to keep them. Logically your side must initiate some action to gain control of it. Thus the lawsuits are your actions. We need not and hence do not initiate them.

Besides, Paul’s injunction about lawsuits was when it involved brethren in communion with one another. Since the presenting issue is a decided break in communion the lawsuits do not present the scandal they would if we called ourselves your brothers and still fought you in court.

For my part I acknowledge no brotherhood with heretics. But if you acknowledge a brotherhood with me and still drag me into court then you are violating that Scriptural command….as if violating Scriptural commands mattered..ha!

December 9, 3:20 pm | [comment link]
204. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “But they have passed the bounds of prudence and wisdom in the responsive choices they have made.”

I honestly have no clue as to what this statement by Dr. Radner means.

The diocese of San Joaquin no longer wishes to be a part of the grossly heretical Episcopal church.

I understand this.

It seems simple.

I don’t understand why individuals, parishes, and dioceses who take action to no longer belong to a church led by Louie Crew, KJS, the Executive Committee, the vast vast majority of the House of Bishops, and the deputies of the General Convention are doing things that pass “the bounds of prudence and wisdom.”

How does departing the Episcopal church when one believes that that church is grossly heretical at its topmost leadership pass the bounds of “prudence and wisdom” whether one is a layperson, parish, or diocese?

I understand Dr. Radner 1) not believing that the Episcopal church is grossly heretical at its national level, 2) denying that the Executive Council, Louie Crew, KJS, the vast majority of the House of Bishops, and the deputies of General Convention actually represent individuals, parishes and diocese of the Episcopal church, and 3) believing that at some point or other over the coming decade the ABC will actually do something that restores order, discipline, and integrity to the Anglican Communion.

But what I do not understand is, when individuals and parishes and diocese do believe the opposite of those three things above, how it is possibly imprudent or unwise to leave the Episcopal church.

December 9, 3:21 pm | [comment link]
205. Jeffersonian wrote:

If memory serves me, this is the same Dr. Radner that just a few scant months ago penned an essay that said it was clear there was no longer any safe harbor within TEC for reasserters.  Now we are chided for leaving a place where there was no safe harbor by this same Dr. Radner.  I think the intellectual disconnect is obvious enough to forego comment.

The train is leaving the station, Dr. Radner.  You can be on it and I, for one, will rejoice had having such a fine mind on the same journey.  Or you can stay [...].  To not decide is to decide.

[portion edited]

December 9, 3:33 pm | [comment link]
206. Larry Morse wrote:

Dr. Radner is fundamentally wrong . What the rest of the churches now see is that, against the presently overwhelming forces of political correctness, there are some who are filling to fight, to bring the heat and take it as well. Against PCness, precious few have had the courage to fight back because the social sigma for such an active defense is so painful and so thoroughly sanctioned by the Cultural Elite whose attitude is that no punishment is too extreme for those who dissent.
 
  The homophile agenda has swallowed an entire ethos; but suddenly, even an entire diocese, which has plenty to lose, has decided to stand up. Plenty of pious utterances on both sides, as mealymouthed as can be, but now the rest of the dioceses - and esp those in TEC - can see that courage is, as Aristotle said, the father of all the virtues.  Why should we be sad? Every instance of courage shines in the darkness like a great light. LMorse

December 9, 3:36 pm | [comment link]
207. The_Elves wrote:

Let’s stop discussing the statements of ONE INDIVIDUAL and
return to discussing the whole post.

-Elf Lady

Elf Lady beat me to the punch.  I was about to add my own warning about the heavy focus on Dr. Radner that’s developing here.  Since Dr. Radner chose to chime in, which we greatly appreciate, responding to him is within bounds, however, we ask you to focus on specific arguments and statements he has made, not make broad based personal statements about his character or motivations, etc.  We are going to review some of the recent comments and delete them or edit out inappropriate sections. —elfgirl

December 9, 4:23 pm | [comment link]
208. Ephraim Radner wrote:

#204:  There’s nothing imprudent or unwise about leaving the Episcopal Church, in and of itself.  If you think a church is “apostate” and you can’t stand it anymore, by all means leave.  People have been leaving churches for such reasons for hundreds of years.  They can even do it now in a way that keeps them out of jail and away from the stake.  It’s a wonderful country.

As a Christian, however, it is imprudent to leave in a way that will get you into a lawsuit with other Christians (with anybody, for that matter) and end up costing lots of people hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, expend energy and focus, and bring scandal to the church’s public image.  There are lots of ways to “leave”.  The “lawsuit” way is only one of them, and a not very prudent way, once you realize this is what is going to happen.  It is unwise in Christian sense to leave in a way that further troubles, fractures, and weakens the Communion of which you claim to be a part and to which you claim to be committed, in this case by engaging other jurisdictions in arrangements that one knows are not only controversial, but actually discouraged by the Communions’ councils, and unacceptable to many in the Communion. 

This is not particularly hard to “understand”, even if you don’t agree with it.  As we have repeatedly heard the Communion affirm:  actions that affect the larger church should be decided by the larger church.  This is a case in point, and I do not accept the notion that I am somehow morally bound quietly to let San Joaquin do what it wants to do without raising objections on the basis of our common life, just because the bishop and the diocese as a whole are “conservative”.  (Not that my objections carry particular weight, I realize.)  It matters not whether I am a pointed-headed academic or a “real person in the pew” (whatever that is): if people think Gene Robinson made the Episcopal Church a laughing stock, be assured that the present slide—admittedly already well on its way before yesterday—into legal wrangling is not going right the boat. 

What to do?  If you are a member of TEC but can’t stand anything that taints you with its tinge, join another church (I would suggest the Roman Catholics).  If you want to stay an Anglican, work with the mechanisms of the larger Communion, willingly, energetically, and charitably, and grit your teeth over the rest and all the time it seems to be taking.  The Anglican Communion, and whatever gifts it actually has to contribute to the purposes of God, is a long-term project.  The choices in between the two recommendations I have just made will only make it longer.

December 9, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
209. Jeffersonian wrote:

Well, there we have it, don’t we?  You reasserters might have established your parishes, you might have sacrificed to build them, maintain them, expand them, update them, fill them, see your children married in them, bury your loved ones in their cemeteries.  But when you’re under siege from leaders some of whom bless sodomy, are indifferent to paganism in their midst, deny the foundations of Christianity, smilingly ride amidst leather boys in posteriorless chaps, mock the eucharist in clown costumes….well, just walk away.  We don’t want anything to look bad, you understand, like someone filing a lawsuit.  Check out the Catholics.

Marie Antoinette couldn’t counsel better.

December 9, 5:34 pm | [comment link]
210. LTN wrote:

Why are conservative Anglicans presented mainly with the choice of leaving for the i.e. Roman Catholic Church if they find that their national body is in major heresy, if not apostacy? Why can’t they leave with their properties according the laws of their civil jurisdiction as did the Church of England when they disaffiliated from Rome?

If what the orthodox Anglicans are doing is causing such a “scandal” to the greater body of Christ, let the Church of England lead by example and return all the properties back to Rome, wherein they took.

Property law, even religious property, is not under the jurisdiction of the Church. Obeying God, if one could say that, in the area of property law is dependent on the laws of the jurisdiction wherein the parish or diocese resides. If that jurisdiction states that the ownership of the land belongs to the title holder and those who contributed to its building, why should the owner(s) of that church have to give up their legal rights? When that church is sued, why is it “scandalous” to defend itself? The ones causing the scandal are those who sue the church when they know what they are going is against the laws of that jurisdiction.

Even if the laws of a particular jurisdiction is unsettled, it very likely that God can allow a number of test cases to determine how that law should be fairly applied. Once the law is settled, this helps guide other churches in similar situations from having to wonder how to resolve these issues. If Christians are expected to passively run away from important issues of their day, legal rights such as civil and constitutional protection should apply to everyone else but Christians? After all, Christians should just give up if they are sued or ignore their civil rights because they are admonished not to resort to the civil courts? This is a gross misinterpretation of Paul’s admonition as he himself relied on his civil rights as a Roman citizen in defending himself.

I believe that it is not only imperative to defend oneself when sued but it can very well be within God’s permissive will to litigate an unsettled area of the law to help future generations know their rights.

December 9, 6:05 pm | [comment link]
211. Susan Russell wrote:

Ephraim Radner—a voice crying in the wilderness! Bravo and Amen!

December 9, 6:06 pm | [comment link]
212. Kendall Harmon wrote:

All right, now that there are over 200 comments could I please remind commenters to stay civil and on topic in terms of the main focus of the blog entry above.

December 9, 6:12 pm | [comment link]
213. teatime wrote:

“If you want to stay an Anglican, work with the mechanisms of the larger Communion, willingly, energetically, and charitably, and grit your teeth over the rest and all the time it seems to be taking.”

How do we do that, Dr. Radner? I’m not being sarcastic; I really do want to know. What mechanisms of the larger Communion exist here in the States with which/whom we can work? And if we should try to work with such mechanisms (whatever they might be), won’t TEC reps. STILL swoop in, insist that they are the ONLY legitimate AC expression here, and still threaten us with lawsuits?

In other words, how are the mechanisms of the larger Communion protecting us and our interests?

December 9, 6:16 pm | [comment link]
214. Tom Roberts wrote:

In re: “How do we do that, Dr. Radner?”
Put another way, how do the sheep lay down with the wolves? Reliance upon the wolves being sated at this moment is not a prudent course. At issue of course is the near total absence of any competent shepherds, also known as clergy in the ecclesiatical sense. This absence is felt all the more deeply as former leaders have chosen either to remove themselves from diocesan or parochial life, or have swum the Tiber. It is in this context that I support the clergy of DoSJ’s stand, as they have not left their flocks during this dark night.

December 9, 6:27 pm | [comment link]
215. robroy wrote:

No one here expects the “boat to be righted.” The TEC deserves all the scandal and ignominy it has coming to it. The lawsuits reveal the ugly side what few have had the “privilege” of seeing, say at GC03 or any of the executive council meetings. The pew potatoes need to be shaken out of their slumber and told to stop enabling the usurpers, but also to make for the life boats. It is pastorally irresponsible to say, “Wait for the navy (AC), when the coast guard (CCP) is here” especially when there are no signs that the navy is coming. In fact, the signs all point to the navy arriving well after the poop deck has slid beneath the surface. The acceleration of the exodus was all to predictable. It will be increasingly ugly for the decreasing orthodox remnant in the TEC. There will be no tolerance for them.

Does anyone not expect a Hotel California resolution at GC 09 (“You can check in but you can never leave.”)?

The TEC is on death’s door. The AC, as a whole, is obviously not well in that it allowed the cancer to grow; it is seriously immunologically compromised. There would have been no counter-reformation if not for the reformation. ABp Orombi stated that the time of British hegemony is over in the AC. I don’t think that is true yet, but it will be when the smoke clears. The joy of birth is preceded by the anguish of birth pangs.

Slightly edited by elf.

December 9, 6:32 pm | [comment link]
216. Ross wrote:

Br_er Rabbit says above, in what is comment #171 at the moment but with elves prowling about who knows what it will be by the time you read this:

Reporter Jonathan Wynn-Jones needs to spend some time over on this side of the pond. While the Episcopal Church had a huge influence in the formative years of these United States, and once was known as “The Republican Party at Prayer,” its current influence on American political and social life is inconsequential at best.

The original article described the Episcopal Church as having “disproportionate” influence, and I think that’s still accurate.  For instance, Episcopalians are maybe 1% of the total population—if that—but according to this page currently 9% of the Senate and around 7% of the House.  I would call that “disproportionate.”

And for that matter, as the sheer number of news links up at the top of this whole mess suggests, the actions of a small diocese in the sparsely-populated stretches of central California, and part of a church that barely one in a hundred people in the U.S. even claims membership in… are getting a whole lot of press.

December 9, 6:51 pm | [comment link]
217. Gator wrote:

E.Radner—The Diocese of SJ is approaching the time of the bishop’s retirement. They have not ordained women, but it is now uncanonical for them to call a new bishop who maintains that position. How could they have taken the very long term approach you advocate?

December 9, 7:52 pm | [comment link]
218. Gator wrote:

E.Radner—Susan Russell, the President of the group pushing relentlessly for gay marriage in TEC really, really likes your approach. Doesn’t that give you pause? a little?

December 9, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
219. AndrewA wrote:

I think it interesting that this has come almost exactly 3 decades after the Afirmation of St Louis, and that +Duncan is now counted among the conservative.  It really makes you wonder what things will be like 30 years from now, when Susan Russell and company find themselves as the conservative reactionaries trying to argue against groups that are not yet fadish getting full inclusion.  Oh, that will never happen, they say now, but who in GC1976 would have predicted GC2003 and GC2006? 

Some other ironies:  How is a church that is three times removed (Revolution, Reformation, Great Schisim) from the Undivided Church possibly complain about other people moving from one part of the Communion to another?  They never left the Anglican Communion, so it isn’t even schisim, and if it is, what’s one more schisim among Protestants?  What’s with all this sudden interest in pre-1054 ecclessiology?  If division is a sin trumping all others, get ye to Rome (or New Rome).

How can a church unwilling to say that Christianity is the only true religion able to claim that its own organization is the only true Anglicanism?  How can Episcopalians possibly claim that to leave TEC is to leave “The Church”, is if TEC or even the Anglican Communion consistutes the entirety of Christianity or the Church Catholic?

December 9, 8:16 pm | [comment link]
220. Ken Peck wrote:

185. Susan Russell wrote:

A few comments before heading off to church for the day:

The failure to evangelize is a burden that all of us bear, but the current state of the Episcopal Church has made the missionary task impossible within its walls.”

To the best of my knowledge, the missionary task of the Church happens outside the walls.

And, the “current state of the Episcopal Church” is why my parish left for the Southern Cone nearly a year ago—precisely so it could once again exercise the missionary task of Christ’s Church.

December 9, 8:33 pm | [comment link]
221. Jeffersonian wrote:

Indeed, Andrew, particularly since the “via media” has been effectively corrupted from its original meaning of charting a path between Rome and Protestantism into a duty for the Church to move to a position between today’s orthodoxy and whatever trendy saltlick the ‘progressive’ herd has stampeded to.  I’m kind of looking forward to today’s progressives getting an earful from the zoophiles, coprophiles, necrophiles and others when they fail to be sufficiently ‘prophetic.’

December 9, 8:40 pm | [comment link]
222. robroy wrote:

I have to say the enjoinder “go join the Roman Catholics” is a little hard to take. It is sad that I have to repeat what I said to Brian, St Paul said that it is the bringing suit against fellow Christians that bring shame not being the being the target of such suits. To carry Ephraim+‘s logic to its natural conclusion, we shouldn’t expose Andrus with his participation in pornographic parades, the lies of Bruno, the heresy of Jefferts-Shori. All these bring shame to the church. Let us not stir the pot at all and put on airs of false unity. Perhaps, we could all join Susan Russell for her open communion next weekend? We don’t choose our actions so that there scandal is minimized.

Though my comment was edited, I questioned whether Ephraim would have been Erasmus fighting against Luther. Well, we would all be buying indulgences if not for Luther prevailing over Erasmus. This is not via media but via Catholica supra omnis.

To abandon the property to likes of Lee, Bruno, and Andrus so the can convert it to capital to carry on their battle against faithful Christians is greater sin.

Will the Anglican Communion be radically changed? Yes. The realignment is not just the orthodox Americans to the Global South but also the moving the epicenter of Anglicanism moving south as well. This is necessary. This is good. This is proper. Frankly, I believe that it could not happen without this crisis. The good Lord knows what He is doing.

December 9, 9:48 pm | [comment link]
223. Didymus wrote:

I think something particularly telling came out in #35 that was missed in the following responses: 

“They will keep empty buildings and leave them empty rather than let San Joaquin have them.  Yes, it will be a pyrrhic victory, but that is still a victory.”

An interesting attitude for a Church, of any denomination, to maintain.  What use is an empty building to the Church?  What use is property, or the money to be gained from the property to the “mission of the Church” when there is no one to maintain either property or money?  Eventually, when all the property is gone and the congregations have dwindled, where will the Church be?  What will the Church be?  Best case scenario: the Church will be a funny dress-up club of bishops and priests running around gathering money for charity, akin to the Shriners, complete with silly little rituals of which all true meaning has been lost. 

This “win at all cost” attitude would be far more appropriately directed to bringing people into your more “vital” form of Christianity.  People, not properties, are the mission of the Church, to believe otherwise is to fall prey to vain materialism and atrophy of the spirit.  If your way is better, prove it on the battlefield of the souls, not of the courts.

But I fear this falls on the deaf ears of those whom have finally evolved.

All hail the trousered apes.

December 9, 10:13 pm | [comment link]
224. Newbie Anglican wrote:

The 2nd Lesson I read for Morning Prayer at my REC parish today was 2 Timothy 3.  The end of verse 5, the end of a long catalogue of apostates and their behavior says it all:

. . . from such turn away.

San Joaquin is doing the right thing.  God bless them.

December 9, 10:57 pm | [comment link]
225. nwlayman wrote:

Poor KJS, First her mother leaves ECUSA, then whole parishes, Bishops leave ECUSA for Rome, now a diocese or two….Rough year.  Shoulda stuck with marine invertebrates.  When she runs into creatures with spines she’s at a loss.

December 9, 11:13 pm | [comment link]
226. Sarah1 wrote:

Given Dr. Radner’s further explication of his comments that a diocese which leaves ECUSA has “passed the bounds of prudence and wisdom” I think I now understand what he believes.

It appears that it is not necessarily “imprudent or unwise” for an individual—a single individual or at most a family—to leave ECUSA.

It appears—if I have understood correctly—that what is imprudent and unwise from Dr. Radner’s perspective is for a group of individuals—either a group that all belonged formerly to a single Episcopal parish, or a group that all belonged formerly to a single diocese—to 1) depart together as a group, 2) establish parishes or larger groups that engage in Anglican practice and theology, and 3) ask for oversight from an existing Anglican Communion province.

I of course, disagree.  I do not think it imprudent for 1) a group of Anglicans to leave ECUSA together, or 2) a group of Anglicans who have left to establish a parish or larger entity that engages in Anglican practice and theology, or 3) a group of Anglicans who have left to ask for oversight from an existing Anglican province.

And . . . of course . . . if a group of Anglicans who has left together happens to believe that they have property that they wish to keep, I do not at all believe it is imprudent to appeal to the law of the country to establish the societal order that is necessary for people to be able to keep their private property.  Some of those groups of departing Episcopalians have carefully calculated whether it would be worth it to expend energy, focus, and thousands of dollars to appeal to the law about what they believe to be their private property—and they have decided that it is worthwhile to do so.

In regards to bringing “scandal to the church’s public image” . . . if by scandal, Dr. Radner means that the public and media notices the rather ridiculous and vicious [both!] actions of the Episcopal church and notes the horrific consequences of those actions then may such “scandal” continue en masse!

That’s one of the wonderful aspects of blogs.  The Episcopal church can no longer perform vicious and ridiculous actions and experience the horrific consequences of those actions in any private or discreet way.  It’s all out there, all public, all utterly disgraceful.

Of course, it would be best for the Episcopal church to not take ridiculous and vicious actions and then there would be no horrific consequences.  But if the Episcopal church insists on taking those ridiculous and vicious actions, then by all means let there be the public display that there indeed is—full display for the watching and grossed-out world.

Should I ever leave ECUSA it will [God willing] be for a different non-Anglican church.  But that will be solely because I do not believe that an alternate Anglican entity will ultimately either be successful or worthy, not at all because I think that such an attempt is a cause of “scandal” to the already quite ludicrous Episcopal church. 

But for those who do have a hope that an alternate Anglican entity will be both successful and worthy, I certainly wish them well.

December 9, 11:24 pm | [comment link]
227. slcj wrote:

If +KJS had assumed the higher ground and let the alienated parishes go, she would actually be in a much stronger moral position vis-a-vis the larger Communion as a whole than she is now.  By not honoring her word at Dar es Salaam, allowing the lawsuits to go forward, actually saying that selling church property to a saloon or another denomination would be preferable to letting it fall under the authority of another bishop in the Communion, she has fundamentally diminished the moral stature of TEC, and the casuistry of the arguments of TEC supporters has not helped them in the slightest.  They cannot argue for creative license with regard to their theological interpretation and assert absolute temporal authority at the same time—the moral reversal and the logical inconsistency have to be alienating their erstwhile co-religionists around the world.  If I were giving political advice to 815, it would be to change course, because the current strategies are likely to dramatically diminish not only the physical footprint of the TEC, but its moral and political stature within the Communion and within the spiritual architecture of the United States as well.

December 9, 11:30 pm | [comment link]
228. Jeffersonian wrote:

What use is property, or the money to be gained from the property to the “mission of the Church” when there is no one to maintain either property or money?


The same use a burned field, slaughtered cattle and poisoned water have to an army: Denying them to an enemy.

December 9, 11:43 pm | [comment link]
229. Susan Russell wrote:

#227—What “word” would at Dar es Salaam has the Presiding Bishop “not honored?” She’s on record as having agreed only to bring the Communique back to TEC ... which she did.

December 10, 12:12 am | [comment link]
230. robroy wrote:

Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

His next illustration was the real shock. He explained that at the recent Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Archbishop of Canterbury had broken the usual precedent of decision by consensus and required each of the Primates to stand and declare whether or not he (or she) agreed to the text of a Communique that contained the Primates’ shared commitments for the future. Each of the 34 Primates said “yes” to the Communique. The American Primate, The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, said “Yes, but I’ll have trouble selling it” to her fellow American bishops.

The point is, as Archbishop Gomez stressed, she said “Yes.” She could have, but did not, issue a minority report. When she returned, and when the House of Bishops Convened in March, Jefferts Schori claimed she had only consented to present the text of the Communique to her bishops. She took no responsibility for agreeing to it. One of the conference participants recalled she had claimed that “she never signed it.” Archbishop Gomez cut in: “None of the Primates signed it.” The Primates’ Communiques are never signed. Their verbal responses are taken at face value. The Presiding Bishop’s public statement that she hadn’t signed it would appear to be a deliberate misrepresentation of the process.

One of the diocesan clergy stood in stunned amazement, and fluttering with emotion said he didn’t realize the extent to which we had been lied to. Bishop Howe stood, and with equal emotion insisted that the Presiding Bishop may very well have believed that she was agreeing to deliver the message and not that she was agreeing to the content itself, and that we should be very careful not to infer that she was lying.

Archbishop Gomez interrupted the Bishop: “Sir, that was not the question she was asked by the Archbishop.”

December 10, 12:33 am | [comment link]
231. The Common Anglican wrote:

# - 229,

What “word” would at Dar es Salaam has the Presiding Bishop “not honored?” She’s on record as having agreed only to bring the Communique back to TEC ... which she did.

You of all people actually believe this? Maybe I’m not remembering correctly, but wasn’t Integrity not pleased with her for assenting to the Dar Communique?

December 10, 12:48 am | [comment link]
232. jamesw wrote:

While I have previously respected the comments of Dr. Radner, I feel that he is plain wrong now.  He is ignoring historical precedent, Anglican polity and Episcopal polity in criticizing the DSJ’s actions, he is advocating passivity in the face of bullying, he seems deluded about the current state of the Anglican “Communion”, and following his counsel now would HARM the Anglican Communion.

First, historical precedence suggests that the Diocese of San Joaquin has every right to change its Provinical affiliation.  The very origin of Anglicanism lies in English dioceses leaving the oversight of Rome and coming under the new “Church of England”.  Similarly, the origin of TEC lies in American parishes leaving the CofE and forming anew into TEC.

Second, Anglican polity holds that the diocese is the foundational unit of the church.  Rowan Williams most recently made this point in his letter to John Howe.

Third, Episcopal polity - according to a plain reading of TEC’s constituiton - holds that the General Convention only considers an existing body (proto-diocese) that adopts into its constitution an acceptance of TEC’s constitution and canons for membership.  Once the proto-diocese meets these conditions it is accepted into unity.  There is no provision that forbids a diocese once in union with the GC from changing its constitution and leaving that union.

Fourth, it is no Christian virtue to allow yourself paralyzed into inaction out of fear of bullying or intimidation.  Yet this is exactly what Radner calls for.  If I threaten to sue Radner unless he turns over his car to me, will he do so?  I doubt it.  The first three points above demonstrate that according to Anglican precedence and polity, the DSJ had every Anglican right to do what it did.  So TEC threatens lawsuits based on completely unsupported reading of its constitution.  All we can do in life is take the right actions and let others respond.  If they choose to respond irrationally or irresponsibly, that is their problem, not ours.  In any case, Radner conveniently “forgets” that the northern Virginia churches DID negotiate in good faith with Peter Lee and a cooperative agreement had been worked out and they were following that process until 815 intervened in the middle of the process.  It wasn’t until 815 interfered that the scandal of litigation arose.  I am sorry, Dr. Radner, but you are WAY OFF BASE in your suggestion that we should cower in the corner out of fear of bullies.  Jesus Christ never counselled such a course of action.

Fifth, as Radner should well know, Rowan Williams dithering and derailing the disciplinary process is the real reason why the Anglican Communion is now in a serious constitutional crisis.  It has become quite apparent to anyone who has not self-deluded themselves that Rowan Williams is unable and unwilling to resolve the crisis facing Anglicanism.  Doing nothing and letting the revisionist have a free hand will not help the Communion, it will not prevent scandal.

Sixth, it has become abundantly clear that the only way Rowan Williams might be cajoled into taking the action he needs to take to save a unified, disciplined Anglican Communion is for Provinces or groups of Provinces to take targetted, measured actions calculated to force Rowan Williams into making decisions.  I do not agree with some of the actions taken to date by the conservatives, but I believe that the action taken by the DSJ and the Southern Cone represent a sound and prudent course of action.  They are acting well within Anglican precedent and polity and their actions FORCE Rowan Williams to get his hind-quarters off the fence and make a decision.

December 10, 1:03 am | [comment link]
233. robroy wrote:

“Jesus Christ never counseled such a course of action.”

But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39

December 10, 1:15 am | [comment link]
234. robroy wrote:

But I would add:

And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Mark 13:10-12

I wonder if the ADV lawyers rehearse what will be said in court?

December 10, 1:31 am | [comment link]
235. The_Elves wrote:

From Dr. William Tighe - sent by e-mail to the elves while we work out the software glitches.
—-

“Why can’t they leave with their properties according the laws of
their civil jurisdiction as did the Church of England when they disaffiliated from Rome?”

I wasn’t aware that the Church of England (as a church and as an
institution) ever “disaffiliated” from Rome, given the response of the
Convocation of Canterbury and of (unanimously) the English Bishops in the House of Lords in 1559 to the legislation that effected the break with Rome.  It was the “civil jurisdiction” that hijacked the Church of England in 1559, against the will of that church as expressed by its bishops and by its principal organ of self-expression.

Re: #217,
Rem acutissime tetegisti.

WJT

December 10, 1:32 am | [comment link]
236. not1email wrote:

There is a possible understanding I’ve not noticed here:

ABofC (14 October 2007, Letter to Bishop John Howe):

...any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury…

The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such.

...regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church’.

So, each diocese that is in communion with Canterbury is the legitimate expression of the Anglican communion in its defined area.  The DioSJ is Windsor compliant, therefore remains in communion with Canterbury.  Therefore the DioSJ is the legitimate expression of Anglicanism within its defined area.  (Accession to a convention of dioceses, or a provincial grouping (abstractions, not authorities) is for the benefit of the diocese by association.)

If TEC sets up another bishop in the DioSJ, then TEC is making an incursion in to a legitimate Anglican jurisdiction.

December 10, 1:35 am | [comment link]
237. MJD_NV wrote:

John Chilton, (#182) it is Tobias who has the delusions, not John David.  There is missionary territory between Los Angeles and Northern CA for the ECUSA, not a diocese.  By their own canons, for heaven’s sake. Legally, the diocese is the corporation & officers on the books with the state of CA. 

Susan Russel, Katharine Schori has gone on record in a civil court of law stating that she had lied at Dar es Salaam.  Why do you defend her?

Dr. Radner, the ABC has given tacit approval to this measure.  Why do you say that what Dio SJ did was outside the structure of the communion?

December 10, 1:38 am | [comment link]
238. LTN wrote:

#235…That statement was generically conveyed utilizing the language of today—not in the precise terms of what happened during the political upheaval of that time period.

When the majority of the English bishops chose to stay with the state (England) rather than being loyal to Rome and step down from the newly constituted Church of England, I would say that there was a disaffiliation or seccession de facto by the bishops themselves.

December 10, 2:06 am | [comment link]
239. LTN wrote:

#238 sic “Secession”

#234…Robroy…allow me to explore that verse a little further.

How far do you allow an evil person to harm you? Do you apply it to all situations or does it stop as the violence escalates beyond the slap? What about domestic violence, mutilation, rape, etc.? Does Christ truly intend that one cower by not resisting an evil person in those situations also?

Do you believe that allowing someone to take your “coat” is very different than allowing them to take your house without a challenge?

December 10, 2:12 am | [comment link]
240. episcoanglican wrote:

Hmmm… Let him have my car, my church, do not resist an evil person… Turn the other cheek. Humility. Meekness. I think of Jesus’ interogation before the people by Pontius Pilot. This is the position I once heard Bp. Minns advocate in a debate at my seminary with Bp. Rodgers of AMIA.

I have a parishioner whose landlord is trying to wrongly evict her and another who is being wrongfully sued. Do I tell them “go”, “give them the money,” you are a Christian? The gift of civil law is there to serve justice I believe, not be thrown out.

But these are church matters not civil ones. There is a real tension here.

Now I am thinking of Jesus taking the whip to the money changers in the temple. What to do.

Ephraim (whom I respect and am prayerfully listening to) seems to say either allow yourself to slowly die (the logical consequence to ‘stay quietly and wait on Canterbury/Communion instruments’) or leave. There is no other option, no dissassociating, no recourse to civil law to protect in the face of selective deployment of canons.

Somehow I don’t think there is a one shoe fits all answer but I don’t know. Maybe the only way to conduct oneself in holiness is to meekly wait on the Lord or walk away. I do think the problem with resisting evil is the ease with which we can commit evil in return. But could allowing the Lord to defend and deliver sometimes mean responding in civil courts? I think of the flood victim who declines the boat and later helicopter offers of aid… The flood victim perhaps had a responsiblilty to not live in the flood prone area…

Then of course, there is the principle that if we are willing to suffer and persevere, rightly handling the word of truth that God will bless and multiply us, maybe even grow orthodoxy in the Church so that we overcome the shrinking revisionist side of the church. But the advent of gay bishops seems to drive Christians out to Rome and other places faster than we can create them, four bishops even.

I don’t really like the cowboy approach but Ephraim’s advice seems to fall short as well. Of all the distressing separations, that of an entire diocese seems more palatable. And if it were clearly sin, couldn’t the Lord have simply told John-David in one of his presumably many times of prayer, “STOP”? Somehow, I think the good bishop has ears to hear. To say otherwise seems to judge what one doesn’t have a right to judge.

My former bishop retired and went to Rome. He had the ability to lead us out, but didn’t. Now we are meekly waiting (and I sense slowly crumbling.) What to do.

Yet I sense where our Diocese is, is where the Lord would have us. I have no reason to doubt the same about San Joachin. Times are messy. It would be nice to have neat clean answers.

—my 1:20am stream of consciousness

December 10, 2:21 am | [comment link]
241. episcoanglican wrote:

my jibe - so many here seem to have them. Peace.

December 10, 2:25 am | [comment link]
242. robroy wrote:

LTN, I was responding to jamesw who wrongly stated that we should “stand up to bullies” and Jesus never counseled otherwise. That being said, what got Jesus really hot under the collar and made him act in a most un-Anglican fashion? The trashing of the temple.

It is a sad day. Susan Russell has posted Ephraim’s response word for word on her “integrity” blog.

December 10, 2:29 am | [comment link]
243. robroy wrote:

I reject the false dichotomy: A Christian orthodox must skulk meekly within the church or skulk meekly away so that we avoid at all costs giving the revisionists excuse to sue for that would bring shame on the church. For Pete’s sake, there was a church in Connecticut recently that left and left the property and they stilled got sued!

An interesting thought: It appears that the ABC is giving his tacit approval to this move of San Joaquin (another good reason to reject Ephraim’s rejection). Now if the TEc tries to move in on the geographical territory, it will be guilty of border crossings. Oh, let us not forget the obscure and sacrosanct “ancient traditions.”

December 10, 3:54 am | [comment link]
244. LTN wrote:

#235…I am concerned that my response to you does disservice to the faithful Roman bishops during certain “English Reformation” periods. As you know (probably better than I, as I am not an expert in this period), the break with Rome was a progression with both political (more so) and religious complexities, spanning many years.

There were periods that I perceived the established clergy as siding with the state (England) to what amounted as secession de facto as seen through (for example) the See of Rome Act of 1536, which required all religious and secular officers, including those taking Holy Orders, to renounce jurisdiction with Rome and acknowledge Royal Supremacy.

As you know, the upheaval during that time period was like a pendulum. During the period leading up to 1559, when Mary reinstituted communion with Rome and then Elizabeth severed it, there were many faithful bishops to Rome who were replaced against their will. It is in these periods that I do not want to do a disservice to the many faithful bishops who stood up to the state at the loss of their own positions.

At the same time, there were other periods, earlier and later than 1559, where the majority of the bishops sided with the state with acts that tantamounted to secession (disafilliation) from Rome. I think that the Roman Church would view the Church of England (however that may have constituted over that period) as having seceded from its authority.

Just because there were periods, particularly under Mary, where ties and loyalty to Rome were reconstituted, doesn’t mean that in practice, there was not a secession or to use the modern term, disaffiliation/disassociation from the Roman Church in the overall span of events.

Perhaps your position is that the state was the responsible party and not the Church in England. I would agree with that for the most part, however, I don’t think it is fair to let the religious establishment off the hook either—for ultimately, the Church in England (however we want to define that) sided with the state, when perhaps more of the clergy and people could have gone underground and remained loyal to Rome. The result of the majority clergy (be they lackey appointments or not) was in essense and by their actions, a disaffiliation from the Roman Church.

December 10, 3:54 am | [comment link]
245. Brian from T19 wrote:

Sarah #226

Glad to see some more substance.  Sad to see that it is so intentionally misleading. Your analogy about a “group of Anglicans” is, as you are of course aware, false.  You see, it is neither ridiculous nor vicious to protect your rights.  But you know that.  You just want to draw attention away from the basic fallacy of your analogy.

This supposed “group of Anglicans” is a Diocese.  The same applies for a parish, actually.  Here is the correct analogy.  A Diocese attempting to secede from TEC is like a State trying to secede from the US and say it is now a part of England.  You can leave and move to England, but you can’t take the State with you.  The same applies to a parish…it is like a city trying to leave a State and move to England with all the land-can’t be done.

December 10, 4:11 am | [comment link]
246. Ross wrote:

#243 robroy says:

An interesting thought: It appears that the ABC is giving his tacit approval to this move of San Joaquin (another good reason to reject Ephraim’s rejection).

Did I miss a statement from +++Rowan?  Or are you referring to the +Howe letter?  If the latter, I’m not certain he meant it to be interpreted in that way.

December 10, 4:56 am | [comment link]
247. Gator wrote:

Re: S.Russell has posted Radner’s response on her blog. Let’s hope Prof. Radner steps up to the plate and faces this pitcher. Someone please notify us when he engages that readership (I can’t bring myself to see it displayed there).

December 10, 8:36 am | [comment link]
248. Larry Morse wrote:

The issue of “turn the other cheek,” has always baffled me. This case is no different. Christ’s message seems to be that one should never fight back, that, perhaps, the greater courage is standing still while one is despoiled. The connected is the"meekness” issue. T his is supposed to be a standard of comportment… and yet Jesus himself was never meek. I complained of this earlier, praising the courage that results in action, and got an email from Kendall citing the turn the other cheek declaration. Do we do the Ghandi thing, just sit there and spin? When the pickpocket takes my only few buck, do I say, “Be my guest” and forgive him immediately, however much harm he does me (and anyone else who relies on my few bucks and my drivers license and the like)? Shall we stand still and let TEC do as it wants, regardless of their various trespasses? Shall we let the homosphile agenda rule our church?
 
  I certainly would be glad of a clear answer because the turn the other cheek rule doesn’t work in this world, if taken literally. LM

December 10, 9:04 am | [comment link]
249. robroy wrote:

Dear Ross, there was the letter to Bp Howe that said the diocese is the fundamental building block of Anglicanism (sort of like a quark!) but also this..

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/7491

December 10, 9:30 am | [comment link]
250. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Sad to see that it is so intentionally misleading.”

[extraneous filler chatter with no argument—no need to respond]

RE: “Your analogy about a “group of Anglicans” is, as you are of course aware, false.”

[extraneous filler chatter with no argument—no need to respond]

RE: “You see, it is neither ridiculous nor vicious to protect your rights.” 

Right—I was referring to all the viscious and ridiculous actions of TEC prior to the lawsuits and depositions.  ; > )

RE: “But you know that.  You just want to draw attention away from the basic fallacy of your analogy.”

[extraneous filler chatter with no argument—no need to respond]

RE: “This supposed “group of Anglicans” is a Diocese.  The same applies for a parish, actually.”

You are precisely right.  Dr. Radner is not opposed, in theory, to an individual Episcopalian leaving with his family.  He is opposed to groups of departing Episcopalians leaving en masse and together.

What that has to do with much of anything else you said I don’t know, but at least I was able to carve out the kernel of something coherent.

December 10, 9:42 am | [comment link]
251. John B. Chilton wrote:

Archbishop of Canterbury has not endorsed Venables’ actions:
http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/archbishop_of_canterbury/abc_did_not_endorse_actions_of.html

December 10, 9:54 am | [comment link]
252. robroy wrote:

Let’s all keep sufi swirling and chanting “All is well” and “Dioceses can’t leave”.  Where exactly in canon law is the later? Umm, that would be nowhere. In fact, the two statements have the same credibility. But if said enough, while really dizzy from swirling, one probably can make oneself believe both. What is clear, if you read article V of the canons, is that the diocese of San Joaquin does not satisfy the canonical requirements for membership in the TEC and the GC is canonically required to expel them. Now, I know that would break all the hearts of the members of the Diócesis de San Joaquin de la Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de las Americas. If the TEC then tries to have churches in the diócesis, it will be guilty of border crossing and will have violated sacrosanct ancient traditions.

December 10, 9:56 am | [comment link]
253. robroy wrote:

John Chilton, who is the “unknown spokesman”? I would bet it was the credibility deficient Canon Kearon.

December 10, 9:59 am | [comment link]
254. wildfire wrote:

Is Rowan Williams the successor to Augustine of Canterbury?  If he is, +Schofield remains the bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin.

December 10, 10:06 am | [comment link]
255. MJD_NV wrote:

Well, gee, John Chilton, that’s convincing. /sarcasm

Some of us will take prior reporting from more credible sources until +Cantur speaks for himself, thank-you.

Mark McCall - indeed!

December 10, 10:12 am | [comment link]
256. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

#248:

Jesus himself was never meek.

No, Jesus himself never allowed himself to be arrested in the Garden. Jesus himself never told his apostles not to fight back against the officers of the high priest. Jesus himself never kept silent when he was accused in his trials. Jesus himself never stretched out his arms to offer his hands to the nails on the cross. Jesus himself never meekly laid down his life for you and I. No, Jesus himself was never meek.

(!) I often wonder what “bible” people are reading that they can come up with this stuff.

...still in the Briar Patch,

December 10, 10:12 am | [comment link]
257. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

A Diocese attempting to secede from TEC is like a State trying to secede from the US and say it is now a part of England.  You can leave and move to England, but you can’t take the State with you.

Where in the U.S. Constitution is this prohibition found? Since the colonies “left” Britain by an act of declaration, never of course changing their geographical location (an absurd point), why could not a colony or state reverse that decision and “return” to Britain? After all, under the Articles of Confederation we did invite Quebec to “leave” Britain and join us.

As for Christians not making use of legal protection to defend their rights for the purpose of the Gospel, might I remind those saying it is imprudent or scandalous of the case of Saint Paul’s invoking his right as a Roman citizen not to be flogged? How many times did Paul play the legal cards available to him? And did not Christ tell us to be wise as serpents while being innocent as doves.

I reiterate: Paul’s injunction about brothers suing each other is because it shows division within the body. But where one group is deliberately separating from another such a point is moot. The division is proclaimed and lawsuits cannot make it any greater. They simply reaffirm the division that has already been made.

I wonder if Radner wants us to leave quietly so that the world will not know there are any Anglicans denying the faithfulness of TEC. That would be like the family of an alcoholic not wanting any of the children to embarrass the family by revealing the father’s drunkenness. But that is absurd. He has not been that shy about decrying the apostasy of TEC. Does he imagine that the scandal of people calling themselves Christian suing each other or not preventing themselves being sued is greater than that of people calling themselves Christian and blessing sins, sins that made God destroy two cites wiping them off the face of the earth? Does he think the public division of brothers suing each other is worse than the conflicted message of brothers breaking bread with and calling Christian those who bless those city destroying sins?

I’m trying to understand what Radner understands about a witness to the world. Does he think the world will look at us and say, “Those Christians breaking from others over the acceptance of sin and the rejection of Biblical teaching don’t appeal to me. But those Christians dwelling together and calling each other brothers even though some believe the Bible is fallible and that homosexual acts are blessed by God and others believe that the Bible is God’s faithful Word and that homosexual acts are hated by God and that the Bible says they are acts that will cause those who do them to be cast outside in the darkness at the end of the age, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, those Christian overlooking those differences for fellowship’s sake appeal to me, a sincere non-Christian looking to know what the Truth is and how to please God and be saved”?

Yeah….that makes sense to me.

December 10, 11:11 am | [comment link]
258. seitz wrote:

For the record and for avoidance of doubt.

ACI has worked consistently for 1) a manner of identification for the conservative dioceses and parishes which has communion linkage, consistent with the spirit of the Instruments’ work, which in turn enables those involved to find a distinctive vocation within the present season of judgment on TEC; 2) I have described a version of this in my remarks to the Wycliffe College students; it involves Primatial association and the imprimatur of Canterbury; 3) it avoids legal entanglements and seeks to work within the latitude that exists already within the polity of TEC, which gives very little authority to an office of ‘Primate’ within our historical framework, in spite of whatever may now be said; the issue should be joined precisely to contest this. We judge Archbishop Rowan’s statements about the authority of dioceses and bishops to be consistent with this. It is not that ACI does not have a theological plan with a practical outworking. It is that ACI can only encourage such a thing, and work for its prosecution. ACI is neither a Bishop nor an Archbishop. It appreciates the dilemma of dioceses which do not wish to ordain women and has said repeatedly that failure to supply, minimally, a PEV scheme, such as exists elsewhere, creates a distinct, real, and unavoidable problem for several dioceses. This understanding of the way forward remains either unclear, for some, or undesirable, unworkable, or just wrong, for others. It should be obvious that its success requires factors out of ACI’s direct control. But we will continue to work and pray for adjudication of problem areas in discrete regions by the widest evaluation possible. We are in the book of the Judges. That means that any ‘success’ is now measurable within and constrained by a much larger set of problems. These need address and, as at the time of the Judges, require a real act of God himself. 

I am saying nothing here we have not said before, and so I have nothing further to add. We are not unsympathetic to the dilemma of our good friend Bishop Scofield, with whom we have worked. Everyone will do what appears ‘right in his own eyes’ at a time like this, and we will continue to work and pray for wide communion adjudication, until such time that this is just impossible and proven to be so by the tragic unravelling of the global reality of communion anglicanism. We pray that does not happen but judge the matter to be in God’s hands. There are several matters that need still to play out, and we will work as we have before to see an outcome consistent with the communion’s own hopes for itself. I hope this note does not stir up more enmity. Grace and peace.

December 10, 12:02 pm | [comment link]
259. Charley wrote:

Dr. Radner has been proclaiming that the theatre is on fire and now it seems he’d rather us not make use of the exits - at least not in numbers that matter.

Dr. Radner, one can’t un-ring a bell.

December 10, 12:24 pm | [comment link]
260. Stuart Smith wrote:

#258 All depends upon an honorable TEC, HoB and GC agreeing to work with the ABC to provide a way forward.  None of those acronym’ed personages have demonstrated consistent honor (ahem…massive English understatement just delivered!), so the call to wait on “the Instruments” in clear disconnect from the clarion call of the Primates representing a huge majority of BiPs of the AC is naive in the extreme.  I believe Bp. Duncan’s description of a new Reformation is much more believable than all this “chalk talk” about implausible consultations rendering decisions which no one believes they ever will!

December 10, 12:30 pm | [comment link]
261. Charley wrote:

.... the world famous “listening process” perhaps?

December 10, 12:35 pm | [comment link]
262. The_Elves wrote:

Please make your comments a ‘real’ comment rather than a one-liner or shot across the bow.

—Elf Lady

December 10, 12:37 pm | [comment link]
263. seitz wrote:

260. And that is why you are entirely entitled to your own opinion of the matter. If wider adjudication does NOT happen, the communion will unravel and we will all have to make difficult choices. I can however assure you this is not chalk talk, but hard work underway. Of course it could all fail! Some have judged it a failure already and are excited about that. ‘New Reformation’ presumably belongs within that sort of climate, though such language is or ought always to be sober (so it was for the augustinian monk Luther).

The point is, if a ‘new reformation’ leads to a communion whose instruments are bid goodbye, and gladly so, new schemes for adjudication will have to emerge anyway. And we are off to the races again, now with new challenges. Some find this prospect exciting, and an improvement. That is not my view. But we are all in a period of judgement.

December 10, 12:40 pm | [comment link]
264. KAR wrote:

#262 How about a complement?

#258—Thank you and Dr. Radner for wading into sometimes unfriendly territory to make your point. I confess that I disagree with much of what the ACI has publish recently, but I admire you for presenting your case when we can react in an aggressive manners (I’m guilty of that too).

December 10, 12:42 pm | [comment link]
265. C. Wingate wrote:

re the many complaints against Radner’s remarks: It could hardly seem more obvious that the flight of a diocese from one polity to another is going to have to be dealt with at Lambeth, regardless of ECUSA’s fate as part of the communion. It also seems obvious that there are alternatives to precipitous action at this time—like, for instance, putting the matter before Lambeth. The “burning theater” analogy is hyperbole.

December 10, 1:07 pm | [comment link]
266. Brian from T19 wrote:

And here we have it reasserters (Elves or Kendall+ may want to post:

“Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has not in any way endorsed the actions of the Primate of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables, in his welcoming of dioceses, such as San Joaquin in the Episcopal Church, to become part of his province in South America,” a spokesman for the Anglican Communion said.
(Via email from The Rev. Canon Dr. James M. Rosenthal, Anglican Communion Office, Director of Communications.)

Apparently Archbishop Venables may soon issue a clarifiction of his own saying htat he was never under the impression that he had the Archbishop of Canterbury’s blessing to act as he did.

Slightly edited by elf.

December 10, 1:17 pm | [comment link]
267. Brian from T19 wrote:

sorry, here is the url for the info:

http://tinyurl.com/2rg9my

December 10, 1:19 pm | [comment link]
268. C. Wingate wrote:

Well, if I were ABC I wouldn’t just up and endorse it either. The Lambeth Conference is going to be stuck dealiing with the issue, as is meet and right so to be done.

December 10, 1:26 pm | [comment link]
269. Stuart Smith wrote:

#263:  Yes, I agree…the language of Reformation is a sober (and sobering) reference.  Many of us have been pleading the serious nature of TEC’s disobedience to the Gospel for 2 to 3 decades, decrying TEC’s innovations, and joining with many in grieving that the Anglican Way of being Christian depends (ultimately) upon faithful and honorable “episcopos” rightly handling the Word of God and bending the knee to Christ and the Faith of the Fathers.  It strains credibility to believe that the denomination known as TEC should be tolerated while ‘un-sober’ devotees of a sub-Christian leadership move the denomination ever further away from Christ:  all in the name of an appeal to “Instruments”...unknown as such prior to the last several years.  It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Lord would rather have faithful dioceses/parishes praying and living faithfully outside an academic “unity” comprised of theoretical constructs about Anglicanism (such as “instruments’), than to have the door still open to pursuing a paper unity.
“The Anglican Covenant”- a voluntary, and highly suspect possibility, given what I wrote in #260 above- may appeal to you as a refuge.  Okay.  God bless you with that (No sarcasm intended).  What appeals to me is manly (Luther-like) honesty about the real state of the AC, and an honest way forward outside TEC.

December 10, 1:27 pm | [comment link]
270. Brian from T19 wrote:

The Lambeth Conference is going to be stuck dealiing with the issue

Not really.  Only the ABC decides who he is in communion with.  If he doesn’t want opinions, then he can just not put it in the agenda.

December 10, 1:29 pm | [comment link]
271. Stuart Smith wrote:

#267 & 268:  Take a deep breath!  Please spare us the magisterial dismissal of the bishop of the DSJ.  Hyperbole and your snap judgment aside, I never read a word from either Venables or Schofield claiming “approval” by the ABC.  Breath again!

December 10, 1:30 pm | [comment link]
272. Stuart Smith wrote:

Sorry…I meant #266 & 267.

The elf deleted one comment mixing up the numbering. I’ll try to react faster.

December 10, 1:32 pm | [comment link]
273. C. Wingate wrote:

RW has said over and over that he isn’t going to take unilateral action. And it would be supremely stupid for him to do so.

December 10, 1:32 pm | [comment link]
274. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

It could hardly seem more obvious that the flight of a diocese from one polity to another is going to have to be dealt with at Lambeth, regardless of ECUSA’s fate as part of the communion.
point 1.

It also seems obvious that there are alternatives to precipitous action at this time—like, for instance, putting the matter before Lambeth.
point 2.

Now, does not point 1 directly invalidate point 2? How is the matter to be put before Lambeth if not by such actions. The liberals have been doing this for decades. It is called “putting facts on the ground”. Anyone who thinks the ABC and the ACC is going to discuss this at Lambeth if there is anyway to punt it to another undertermined meeting needs to get aquainted with a thing called “reality”.

Jesus had a way of putting facts on the ground that demanded a decision. For Him it was entering Jerusalem. The religious leaders couldn’t ignore Him. They either had to accept Him as Messiah or get rid of Him.

Rowan has a choice now. He’s not going to like it, but I don’t see how he can avoid it. boo hoo.

December 10, 1:42 pm | [comment link]
275. Brian from T19 wrote:

Stuart

++Venables said that he had spoken with the ABC and that he was in favor of the plan.

December 10, 1:54 pm | [comment link]
276. C. Wingate wrote:

re 274: Um, the matter would have come before Lambeth anyway, as soon as ECUSA got chucked out. (I can hardly imagine that they won’t be.) When that happened, certainly some US bishops would have said, “We choose to stay in the communion.” As it stands, 815 now has many months to make legal trouble and otherwise muddy the waters further.

And you speak of “creating facts on the ground” as if it were a good thing. RW, it seems to me, has been pointing in the direction of allowing the communion to tell him what to do. The more problem positions he gets put in, the more likely he is going to forced to act adversely to the reasserter cause. Why put him in the position of having to decide which bishop of San Joachin gets invited to Lambeth?

December 10, 1:59 pm | [comment link]
277. Ken Peck wrote:

The Lambeth Conference is going to be stuck dealiing with the issue.

Actually, not. The Lambeth Conference can’t deal with the issue. The Lambeth Conference is merely advisory. The several provinces are each independent and autonomous. A province can do whatever it it jolly well pleases to do. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. That has been and still is the position of the PECUSA. So if another province wishes to create missionary parishes and dioceses in the U.S. or receive parishes and dioceses from the U.S. and to ordain bishops, priests and deacons to serve it is at liberty to do so. Just as The General Convention Church is at liberty to consecrate orangatans bishops if they so choose.

December 10, 2:02 pm | [comment link]
278. Stuart Smith wrote:

#275:  Quibble your words anyway ye will, Venables did NOT quote the ABC as approving, and you know that.

December 10, 2:04 pm | [comment link]
279. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

RW, it seems to me, has been pointing in the direction of allowing the communion to tell him what to do.

How? When? What decison has Rowan ever made? How will the communion ever “tell him what to do”? He won’t decide unless he is forced to decide. Besides, have not the Primates been telling us that we should not expect them to come in and rescue the day? It is up to us to create the facts on the ground that must be dealt with higher up. And, yes, that’s a good thing.

The more problem positions he gets put in, the more likely he is going to forced to act adversely to the reasserter cause.

Perhaps that is because he really is a reappraiser in his heart. But we knew that already. It was only the huge opposition of the rest of the Communion that caused him to pull back a little from his pro-gay theological position. Now he is dithering. He needs to be faced with a choice.

Why put him in the position of having to decide which bishop of San Joachin gets invited to Lambeth?

Maybe because leadership requires making such choices. Why in God’s name is he the titular head of the Communion if he isn’t going to lead? Is he there just for the tea and crumpets?

I seem to recall a number of places in the Bible where people have been called upon to decide. You know..“choose this day” kind of stuff: God or Baal, life or death. I think God often works that way. So why shouldn’t we?

December 10, 2:21 pm | [comment link]
280. jamesw wrote:

Robroy:  Regarding my comment about Jesus and responding to bullies.  My actual statement was: “I am sorry, Dr. Radner, but you are WAY OFF BASE in your suggestion that we should cower in the corner out of fear of bullies.  Jesus Christ never counselled such a course of action.”  There is a big difference between:
1) cowering in the corner out of fear of bullies vs.
2) standing firm in the faith in light of threats of bullies to harm you vs.
3) actively attacking bullies who are in the process of harming you.

I believe that Jesus did not call Christians to whimper pathetically in the corner if bullies threaten you.  Neither did he call for Christians to respond in like kind.

Rather Jesus told us to be as wise as serpents, yet as innocent as doves.  Jesus also commanded his disciples to take actions which would cause them to run afoul of the civil authorities despite also telling them to obey civil authority.

I fear that Radner is counselling option 1.  I am suggesting that option 2 is not “unChristian” but is probably more in line with the teaching of Jesus Christ then is option 1.

December 10, 2:40 pm | [comment link]
281. Ed the Roman wrote:

Just as The General Convention Church is at liberty to consecrate orangatans bishops if they so choose.

Stop giving them ideas.

December 10, 3:03 pm | [comment link]
282. Violent Papist wrote:

In defense of Radner, from my observation, he has been opposed to an institutional split for years, and so nothing he has said now is really new.  I think people who are screaming “treason!” or “betrayed!” including one or two former clerical friends of his need to get a grip. 

That said, while Radner is right that church institutions are indeed worth preserving, they aren’t worth preserving at all costs.  In any event, it seems to me that the Anglican Communion is too far gone to be saved at this stage of the game.  Radner may think he can help unscramble the egg, but in the final analysis, I think it is a fool’s errand.

December 10, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
283. John B. Chilton wrote:

More has been added to the link to Episcopal Cafe which I provided above:
An update: Apparently Archbishop Venables may soon issue a clarification of his own saying that he was never under the impression that he had the Archbishop of Canterbury’s blessing to act as he did.

It isn’t clear where that leaves the claims of Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London and Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia, both of whom have said that Williams characterized Venables’ actions as “sensible.”

Ruth Gledhill wrote she got her information from an “impeccible source.” I wouldn’t know.

December 10, 3:56 pm | [comment link]
284. C. Wingate wrote:

re 279: Perhaps I am insufficiently clear, but it seems to me baldly obvious that on one level a situation in which Schofield would unquestionably be invited (as the ordinary of the diocese) is preferable to a situation in which RW has to decide to invite him even though his status is in question.

December 10, 4:11 pm | [comment link]
285. robroy wrote:

Archbishop Venables stated that he discussed the plan with the ABC and the ABC said that it “makes sense to him.”

Now we have the statement from the bureaucrats in ACO saying that he didn’t “approve it.”

Of course, both can be true. But I would add that if I say that “something makes sense” then I am giving tacit if not formal approval. (It is pretty pathetic that we are discussing how to interpret the ABC’s tea leaves.)

(jamesw, I agree!)

December 10, 4:24 pm | [comment link]
286. Br. Michael wrote:

Or it may be that the ABC has tendancy to tell the last person to speak to him what he thinks they want to hear.  He is not the first preson in history to do this and it usually winds up in disaster.  And Robroy it is indeed pathetic.

December 10, 4:33 pm | [comment link]
287. Ken Peck wrote:

285. robroy wrote:

Archbishop Venables stated that he discussed the plan with the ABC and the ABC said that it “makes sense to him.”

Now we have the statement from the bureaucrats in ACO saying that he didn’t “approve it.”

Of course, both can be true. But I would add that if I say that “something makes sense” then I am giving tacit if not formal approval. (It is pretty pathetic that we are discussing how to interpret the ABC’s tea leaves.)

Hey guys, think California! It’s like Bruno—“SSB don’t take place in my diocese; not with my permission” as Susan Russell performs a SSB in his diocese without his permission.

December 10, 5:03 pm | [comment link]
288. Jeffersonian wrote:

There was a point in time that I trusted ++Rowan, his judgement and his intellect.  I thought that he had mapped out in his mind the progression of this controversy and had, like some Anglican Hari Seldon, a systematic mechanism to deal with it in a manner that would seem just, orthodox and wise to all but the most strident of either side. 

It is now apparent that I was a fool for believing this.  ++Rowan has proven himself to be an incompetent bumbler who midwifes catastrophe through delay, inaction and betrayal.  It’s difficult to conceive of a leader less apt for his position and time.

December 10, 5:09 pm | [comment link]
289. Ross wrote:

I always wondered a bit about that “sensible plan” comment that the ABC supposedly made.  It seemed inconsistent with his previous position, which has been to be highly unenthusiastic about any kind of alternate province or realignment scheme that wasn’t mutually entered into by TEC.  Even his letter to +Howe, as I recall it, made the point about dioceses being the basic unit of the church in the context of saying, “Windsor dioceses are in communion with Canterbury just fine regardless of what the national church does, so there’s no need to do anything drastic like leave TEC.”

Now, if the ABC understood that what was under discussion with ++Venables was some kind of ad hoc “alternate primatial oversight,” whereby the diocese of San Joaquin would still clearly be a member of TEC but ++Venables would be shouldering the primatial visits and so forth, then I could see him thinking that was a “sensible plan.”  It would be consistent with what he’s said in the past, at least.

Of course many reasserters have given up caring what the ABC thinks.

December 10, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
290. Jeffersonian wrote:

Hey guys, think California! It’s like Bruno—“SSB don’t take place in my diocese; not with my permission” as Susan Russell performs a SSB in his diocese without his permission.

Thus proving himself to be either a serial prevaricator or an administrator who makes Henry Blake of the 4077th MASH unit look like H. Ross Perot.

December 10, 5:12 pm | [comment link]
291. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

C. Wingate, why is it preferable for Schofield to be invited to Lambeth if such an invitation does nothing to speak on the situation? Should we be concerned about a cloud on the validity of +Schofield’s invitation? Nonsense! Such games are beside the point, Rather, they are the problem.

Being invited to Lambeth is not the goal. Forcing a decision on the heresy gripping the Communion is the goal. Rowan and everyone else must be made to choose: If you have to pick between the orthodox and the heterodox, where will you stand? To not decide only serves one side, for heresy and orthodoxy do not thrive equally.

In a Christian body heresy thrives by being tolerated while orthodoxy perishes by being tolerated. See Chesterton on that. The toleration of orthodoxy is only advantageous when it is within a heterodox body and orthodoxy is seeking to take it over. Is the Communion a heterodox, or a non-Christian body? If so we should be open about it.

Of the possible invitations that Rowan could make:
1. suppose he invites +Schofield and dismisses the TEC pretender: an invaluable decision, and much of the value will come from the fact that it will cost him to make it. I do not know how likely it is, but tat is not the point.
2. suppose he does the reverse: That will be a harder outcome but still valuable because it will confront the Communion with the need to respond to that clear declaration of loyalty to TEC.
3. suppose he was not confronted with a diocese that had left TEC and could invite +Schofield without any difficulty: utterly valueless. It would cost him nothing to make this decision, thus it would say nothing.

This is not about presence and representation at Lambeth. It is about what it says to the church and what the church says in response. It is about taking a stand and shaking the fences so that our “leaders” can’t sit on them any longer.

December 10, 5:24 pm | [comment link]
292. Br. Michael wrote:

Ross, I agree.  Pax.

December 10, 5:39 pm | [comment link]
293. MJD_NV wrote:

But, Ross, +Cantur has also met with the conservative bishops enough to know where things were headed.  it’s not like this came out of the blue.  Thus, for him to make a comment which says, in effect, he’s not thrilled but ++ Southern cone’s plan would “have to do to be getting on with” actually makes perfect sense.  Yet at the same time, it is true that he did not “approve” such a move - merely acknowledged its necessity.

Also, please notice, after close of business for the day he has not decried the situation.  That, in itself, speaks loudly.

December 10, 6:12 pm | [comment link]
294. C. Wingate wrote:

re 291: If the strategy is to force a decision, it would seem to be preferable to use tactics which would lead to a favorable decision.  And I do not think that your option 2 is favorable. Well, not favorable to anyone whose church is going to be something other than the rump outpost of the Africans. I think it would betray most dioceses in the US to the revisionists and quite possibly destroy the C of E utterly. Oh, not immediately, but soon enough.

That the third option would “say nothing” presupposes that something has to be said now. I do not agree, as it is abundantly clear that if Lambeth occurs, plenty will there be said. This is of course my own reading of the signs, and being not the most political person in the world, I don’t guarantee my intuitions.

If “forcing a decision on the heresy gripping the Communion is the goal,” the obvious issues are Which heresy? and Which decision? If getting to groups which take Catholic positions is the goal—they already exist, not forgetting the Roman Catholic Church itself. There’s neither need nor reason to pry anything loose from ECUSA other than yourself. Schofield may lay his crosier aside for the nonce, kneel before his local Roman bishop, and perhaps it may be that he will be ordained and consecrated there.

That’s the problem with talking about heresy here: where does it stop? I’m given to guessing that you hold me a heretic, and therefore do not care whether I come along with you. I on the other hand, though seeing limits to comprehensiveness, still hold to it, and therefore I am concerned to take away as much of the church as possible in a split, save the intractible.

December 10, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
295. Larry Morse wrote:

#256: But your examples do not answer my question. Jesus allowing himself to be arrested is not an example of meekness. Check the dictionary for a definition thereof. He allowed himself to be arrested because he knew this was foreordained. Nor was it meekness that caused him to give up his life on the cross. It was obedience, quite a different matter. Did he meekly put his hands up to be nailed to the cross? You haven’t the faintest idea (and neither do I) what he did. When he cried out why he was being forsaken - was that meekness? And when he said he came to bring a sword, or he drove out the moneychangers, or asked his mother what he had to do with her? Not what most of us would call meekness.

  In any case, you haven’t answered my question. In the real world, TEC has attacked us and continues to do so. Here in Maine, the Portland School Committee is indeed giving out contraceptives to eleven year olds. So I ask again: Do we fight TEC or let it ride over us? Do we fight people who give contraceptives to eleven year olds or do we bow our heads and say, “If that is your will, let it be done.”
This is a real world question, not a mere theoretical query. What do YOU do? Larry
As I said, you really need to check the definition again. A

December 10, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
296. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

C. Wingate, I was assuming you weren’t a heretic and was in disagreement about what was the best tactic to ensure the orthodoxy of the church. If in fact you stand with Schori et al on the doctrinal and moral issues that are ripping our church apart then this entire argument has been pointless as we have vastly different goals in mind.

So, what is it that you would prefer Lambeth to say? And do you think you can effect that outcome by some judicious engeneering? For myself I do not trust such engeneering, nor those who trust in it, for , even if it worked, by chance, it would by of little value because it wouldn’t be genuine. I want people to say what they believe, not what they’ve been made to find advantageous to say.

Lying lips that say the creeds while the heart disbelieves is what has been killing us.

December 10, 7:23 pm | [comment link]
297. Brian from T19 wrote:

The sides are lining up and the choices are being made.  We truly have to look at this action as the defining moment.

I think Kendall+‘s statement about everybody losing does ring true.  My big concern is for those who wanted to remain members of the Anglican Communion (not just Anglicans) and were (however unintentionally) given incorrect info.

I raised this with the ADV and CANA.  There I think that the misrepresentation was intentional.  However, in this instance I believe that ++Venables and +Schofield truly believed what they were saying about remaining full members of the AC.

Here’s the rub - it has become apparent that TEC will not be disciplined by the AC.  That eliminated what many saw as the last, best hope for mankind (wazzup Battlestar Galactica fans!)  With the communion either unwilling or unable to discipline within its structure, that left some pretty bad choices for those determined to find a way out.  This action, at least to me, seems to be the only option left.  But Canterbury is now standing with ++Katharine.  Fortunatel, individuals and parishes can ‘opt out’ of DioSJ’s decision.  Hopefully +Schofield decides to recant.  But either way, the paths are clear.

December 10, 8:03 pm | [comment link]
298. robroy wrote:

Ross writes ““Windsor dioceses are in communion with Canterbury just fine regardless of what the national church does, so there’s no need to do anything drastic like leave TEC.” Actually, the ABC was talking about parishes in Windsor dioceses, not the dioceses, themselves. The overarching reason for orthodox dioceses to leave is that there will never be another orthodox bishop consecrated. South Carolina had to put their left cajone on the block and now even offering both cajones won’t get an orthodox replacement in Central Florida, Western Louisiana, etc. It’s now or never.

And Brother Michael (#286), the ACI is working for a plan that will have the “imprimatur” of the ABC (see #258). How in the world can anyone expect this ABC to do anything so definitive such as putting a stamp of approval on a specific plan? Is there any precedence for such “bold” action from Rowan Williams? I think not. See the oft-mentioned definition of insanity. Thus, one can wait till hell freezes over or you can take the “I think that sounds sensible” and run with it.

December 10, 8:10 pm | [comment link]
299. Brian from T19 wrote:

Sarah

Could you elaborate on what acts you consider ‘vicious’ and ‘ridiculous?’

I am assuming you are talking about the letters to +Duncan, +Iker and +Schofield prior to their conventions.  But maybe it is more than that.

If it is the letters sent to the bishops then I am not sure how they were either.  The letters were certainly not vicious because they provided clarity in the different options and the consequences for each one.  They are certainly not ridiculous because, as we are seeing, they can and will be done.

If it is the lawsuits, you yourself have stated that stabdibg up for yourself in secular courts is appropriate - so neither vicious or ridiculous.

If it is the depositions of those who abandoned communion - again, neither vicious nor ridiculous. 

The last thing I can think of are the ecclesiastical trials and charges against priests and bishops.  Again, neither vicious nor ridiculous.

December 10, 8:11 pm | [comment link]
300. Brian from T19 wrote:

Sorry, I just liked the idea of bringing the thread to 300 wink

December 10, 8:19 pm | [comment link]
301. Brian from T19 wrote:

Comment deleted by elf. This is Kendall’s blog. He decides which story to post.

December 10, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
302. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

LM, I had no intention of addressing your question. I was addressing the preposterous notion that Jesus could not be regarded as meek.

Perhaps you have a Charlton Heston image of Jesus: well, Cecil B. DeMille was wrong about that,

Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

just as you are wrong about Jesus.

The Bible holds up meekness as an ideal; especially in the book of Psalms, which was Jesus’ Book of Common Prayer.

Psalm 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

Psalm 147:6 The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.

Psalm 149:4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

Zephaniah 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.

And as Jesus is teaching, he quotes directly from his prayer book:

Psalm 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

When he enters Jerusalem, he intentionally acts out meekness:

Matthew 21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

And moreover, he even describes himself as meek.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

His apostle Peter finally learned that lesson, and he teaches it to us today:

1 Peter 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

You can quote all the dictionaries you like; but I for one am not going to call Jesus a liar when he describes himself as meek.

But since you asked: What would I do? First, I would fight for righteousness; not from a position of power but from meekness. No heresy need go unchallenged; no falsehood about the Bible need go uncontradicted; no persecution of the orthodox need go unanswered.

Concerning property, I would follow Jesus’ advice and count the cost. How much will it cost to fight 815? What are the chances of winning? How much will it drain away our resources and distract us from our mission of discipling all peoples? It’s only property; it’s only worth so much.

Not so truth. Truth is everything. Truth once compromised takes us down the wrong path and leads only to the pit. The truth is, Jesus was meek; and he calls upon us to be meek.

December 10, 8:51 pm | [comment link]
303. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Could you elaborate on what acts you consider ‘vicious’ and ‘ridiculous?’”

Hi Brian—your suggestions were much too limited.  I refer to much of the past four years, but in the context of my remark could refer to the past 10 years, since technically speaking I suppose that the rudiments of blogdom were around as early as 1997 [ah, I love referring to Internet history!].

Here is the context of my remark again:

“In regards to bringing “scandal to the church’s public image” . . . if by scandal, Dr. Radner means that the public and media notices the rather ridiculous and vicious [both!] actions of the Episcopal church and notes the horrific consequences of those actions then may such “scandal” continue en masse!

That’s one of the wonderful aspects of blogs.  The Episcopal church can no longer perform vicious and ridiculous actions and experience the horrific consequences of those actions in any private or discreet way.  It’s all out there, all public, all utterly disgraceful.

Of course, it would be best for the Episcopal church to not take ridiculous and vicious actions and then there would be no horrific consequences.  But if the Episcopal church insists on taking those ridiculous and vicious actions, then by all means let there be the public display that there indeed is—full display for the watching and grossed-out world.”

It was in response to what I thought the rather odd concerns of Dr. Radner about departing groups of Anglicans who leave together to practice Anglicanism under the oversight of an Anglican Communion primate to be the cause of “scandal” to the Episcopal church.

Rather like a respectable middle-class accountant fearing to approach Brittany Spears for a date out of a fear of “causing her embarrassment” to be seen with him. 

; > )

December 10, 8:54 pm | [comment link]
304. robroy wrote:

Brian quotes Kearon:

I would be surprised to hear that the Archbishop would formally support such a development which is contrary to the Windsor Report

I was wondering when Kearon would chime in. When he finally does, he does so very weakly. And your and Kearon’s point is? Kearon does not say that the ABC did or did not support the plan. Rather he gives this non-statement. Whether or not Kearon is surprised is not of much importance.

Is a “sensible way forward” equivalent to approval, perhaps only tacitly. Does it signal that there is not disapproval? Yes.  Seems to me, the ABC would have personally disavowed the plan if he disapproved. “Qui ne dit mot consent.”

December 10, 8:57 pm | [comment link]
305. Ephraim Radner wrote:

Some folk here seem to think I am worried about the “bad image” brought to the Episcopal Church in the USA.  That problem, I’m afraid, is long out of the bag, as most of us know.  Actually, my concern is about the scandal to the Christian faith we—conservatives and liberals both, Global South and West together, the Anglican Communion as a whole—are bringing through our descent into public invective and civil litigation.  None of this represents “letting our light shine before men”, so that they can “see our good works” and thereby “praise” God.  Obviously, there is great rejoicing on this or that side of the battle already joined, depending on who seems to be on the ropes.  But that is hardly a “witness” to the Gospel before the eyes of unbelievers.  Of course, I may have missed how all this is an ensign to the Nations.

Meanwhile, few seem to have wanted to address my main point:  actions which affect the whole church should be decided by the whole church.  Either what TEC and SJ and SCone have done (along with many others) does not affect the whole church—in which case, why the fuss here and elsewhere, and why all the talk of “forcing” Canterbury’s hand or starting a new movement or “taking back Anglicanism”—or it does affect us all, in which case these kinds of actions and reactions demand the counsel and decision of the representatives of the Communion as a whole. 

Some say, of course, that “we have no common Communion mechanisms” to take counsel and decide;  these are only steps towards that, filled with inevitable confusion and chaos, but steps in the process. Gotta break a few eggs to make the omelette.  I would answer negatively on both counts:  we DO have such mechanisms (hence the driving power of Lambeth I.10), but they are being ignored or subverted, increasingly by all “sides”;  and second, the affirmation of confusion and chaos is a step in the wrong direction, in large measure because it is contributing to a dynamic that is destroying that which is purportedly of value, a Communion of common-minded servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, by setting disciples one against another and by driving otherwise common-committed partners away from each other.

As for encouraging good Christians to “cower before bullies”, I would prefer to emphasize the witness of the Apostle, in e.g. 2 Cor. 4:7ff; 6:3ff; and 11:23ff..  These are the marks of his apostleship.  Is it of ours?

December 10, 9:36 pm | [comment link]
306. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Comment edited as a personal attack.

December 10, 10:11 pm | [comment link]
307. Irenaeus wrote:

“These kinds of actions and reactions demand the counsel and decision of the representatives of the Communion as a whole”

Fr. Radner: Many of us agreed. Then we saw Lambeth Palace take actions like the following:

—1- Preventing the Primates from taking strong, timely action regarding ECUSA at their emergency meeting in October 2003 (the “gotta take communion with Griswold” meeting). Not to speak of having let John Peterson, then secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council, work with ECUSA officials to deveop the VTS “inaction plan” for that meeting.

—2- Letting Peterson’s Anglican Secretariat successors come up with a similar plan for the Primates’ meeting at Dromantine. Remember the calendar full of busywork?

—3- Subverting the Panel of Reference by taking 17 months to appoint it and then selecting Abp. Carnley as its leader. Remember how Carnley declared his minimalist view of the panel’s role on the very day he was appointed? No to speak of all the delays in referring cases (including, as I recall, Brazil, Connecticut, and Florida) to the panel.

—4- Letting Kenneth Kearon work with ECUSA leaders in New Orleans to come up with just enough verbiage so that the joint standing committee could declare ECUSA in compliance with the Primates’ demands.

—5- Deciding that the next Lambeth Gathering would depart from the traditional deliberative format.

Yes, current controversies “demand the counsel and decision of the representatives of the Communion as a whole.” But Lambeth Palace seems to stand as the single greatest impediment to taking such counsel and decision.

You’re now an insider. You have relationships people like Abp. Williams and his staff that the rest of us do not. You can form first-hand judgments that the rest of us cannot. If these bases of knowledge offer reason for confidence in Canterbury and the processes it metes out, I’m delighted. But few of us have such knowledge. We need to go by what we see and hear, much of which is dishearting—-and some of which carries a whiff of betrayal.

December 10, 10:21 pm | [comment link]
308. Irenaeus wrote:

Christopher Hathaway (9:11 pm): For many reasons, Fr. Radner deserves better than the intemperate language of your comment.

December 10, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
309. slcj wrote:

It seems appropriate to re-cap a few observations:

1) There is a core theological ambiguity at the heart of Anglicanism which the TEC has exploited, and which an Anglican Reformation will have to correct
2) The Archbishop of Canterbury is torn between his liberal impulses and the fact that he is the conservator of a faith which the majority of the communion still interprets in a Biblically-centric way.  He is not going to lead the Anglican Reformation.  Whether he will be led by it is an open question.
3) TEC leadership has chosen to pursue a “political” course in pursuing its agenda, rather than a “moral” (i.e. Gandhian or MLK)  one.  As a result, it has surrendered any claim to the moral high ground.  At the same time, it is making up its new theology, canons, and institutional relations as it goes along.
4) We are therefore in a messy, transitional stage in which the institutional structures of the new Anglican Reformation are being invented as we go along at the same time as the new church embodied by ECUSA is inventing itself—not just within the U.S., but throughout the Communion and in the relationship of the Primates with each other.

So, rather than call each other names, let’s see if we can’t form a mutual support group across the theological divide—“christians dealing with our respective institutional birth pains.”

December 10, 10:28 pm | [comment link]
310. Ephraim Radner wrote:

Actually, Christopher, we DID have such a Communion, perhaps not as self-consciously as is now required, but we had it—I have worked within it over the years in AFrica, in Haiti, in the Philippines, in the inner-city of Cleveland and New Haven, and in various parts of the US.  And all this, not long ago, and even now, in many respects.  It isn’t dead yet, even if we are doing much to kill it off.  And, furthermore, as people like Benjamin Twinamaani have argued on this site, the world DOES care about what Anglicanism is and does and where it is going as an integral Communion.  The odd thing about many people on this blog is that they are more defeatist than the people they decry as capitulating.

Irenaeus:  I am hardly an “insider” in any of this, although it is true that I, along with many others, have contacts here and there relating to Lambeth and other parts of the Anglican Communion.  (Although, I might add that people are talking to each other less and less—even among “friends”;  in large measure because secrecy is now seen as a better defence against public attack and preemptive strategies.)  I know that many people here feel betrayed by Williams.  Just as many liberals have felt betrayed for a long time by him.  I do not think, however, that he is untrustworthy.  Rather, he has a theology and spirituality of “exposure” for the sake of “getting out of the way” before God’s judgment and grace, and so he thinks that “taking sides” in a intra-Christian dispute is self-asserting.  I think that he has made some grave prudential errors as a result—but not out of a lack of integrity.  Finally, he is now caught in a lose-lose dilemma—or so it seems—with respect to the Communion’s future functioning:  whatever he does, the fight is ratcheted up, not resolved. 

It is partly seeing this dilemma takes its toll on someone of such intelligence and prayerful vision who otherwise should have been a gift to our common life—the dilemma, that is, is real and now inescapable—that makes me wish desperately that all of us could step back from the rushing pressures we are exerting on one another.  We are squandering our trusts.  I do not doubt the value of the struggle.  But we should take stock:  is it not possible that we have chosen the wrong path by which to oppose error?

December 10, 10:38 pm | [comment link]
311. Irenaeus wrote:

On the positive side of current developments in the San Joaquin valley, note that ECUSA evidently let the sun set without filing a lawsuit. Time will tell why.

December 10, 10:44 pm | [comment link]
312. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Irenaeus: perhaps because their lawyers know that the Dennis Canon won’t hold water in California?

...still in the Briar Patch,

December 10, 10:51 pm | [comment link]
313. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Comment edited Directed toward another commenter

December 10, 11:03 pm | [comment link]
314. Brian from T19 wrote:

robroy

The quote from Canon Kearon was part of an ENS article and not sometyhing that I was trying to assert as fact.

You see, elfgirl solicited our help in posting stories related to the DioSJ and here are byt a few comments from the elfs regarding the round-up of info:

We will use this post as a “roundup” of links for the news on the San Joaquin vote.

and in comment 12 elfgirl says By the way, please feel free to post links you find to news stories on the San Joaquin vote, or blog commentary on the story.  We’re trying to keep monitoring the blog and web this afternoon, but are multi-tasking and could miss stuff.

—elfgirl

Slightly edited to delete rant against Elf Lady.

 

December 10, 11:20 pm | [comment link]
315. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Dr. Radner (#305), and Dr. Seitz (#263),

I admire your courage in seemingly venturing into the Lion’s Den on this blog.  And I have long admired your dedication and brillaince in defending the orthodox cause and working tirelessly to promote a Communion-wide solution.  Certainly, the basic principle that “actions that affect the whole church ought to be decided by the whole church” is sound and highly desirable.  They represent the ideal.  But historically, this is rarely how significant major new developments come about in the Christian Church.

To cite an obvious example, Peter didn’t wait for his fellow apostles to approve the highy controversial step of baptizing Cornelius and his Gentile household, and the even more divisive step of accepting their hospitality and eating with them.  Nor did Paul and Barnabas wait to plant new churches among the Gentiles until after the Jerusalem Council described in Acts 15.  Rather, it was the very reality of those new “facts on the ground” that led to that incredibly significant Council.  ‘Twas ever so.

Even though it may sound presumptuous of me (and perhaps it really is, if so I apologize in advance), and it may well come across as more than slightly “unctious,” I would have to say that the continued wait to see if the four current Instruments of Unity/Communion can and will adjudicate this severe crisis successfully (as ACI continues to urge) is simply unrealistic and increasingly appears naive, or perhaps rather it amounts to a counsel of desperation and a lack of imagination.

The last four years have increasingly manifested the FATAL flaws in the current international structures that help bind the AC together.  As others have pointed out above, the current Instruments are simply unequal to the task, since they are merely advisory or consultative (in the case of the Lambeth Conference, the ACC, and the Primates’ Meeting), and also because two of them (the ABC and the ACC) reflect a strong liberal orientation.

It is simply unrealistic to expect a consensus type solution to this crisis.  Ain’t gonna happen.  That’s at least something that we all should be able to agree on.  And that is, in the end, why both the Windsor Process and the Covenant Process have been doomed from the start.  Both of them are predicated on the assumption that the chief goal we should be pursuing is the “impossible dream” of maintaining “the highest degree of communion possible.”  Well, pardon me, but who says so?  The ABC!  (I’m tempted to say here, Q.E.D., i.e., the old saying when a geometrical problem has been solved, quod erat demonstratum, “thus it has been proven or demonstrated”).

That is, I claim that adopting that goal as the CHIEF goal is already to bias the kind of search we undertake as Anglicans as we seek to try to handle this crisis.  The problem is the impolicit assumption built into the ques for some elusive way to find that Holy Grail of some way to maintain “the highest degree of communion possible,” when it’s tacitly understood that “possible” here means without excluding a large number of liberal dioceses and provinces in the AC.  But that is to beg the question, and to assume from the start the very matter really under debate: i.e., SHOULD we stay in communion?  All I’ll say here, is that I am firmly and sadly convinced that the Global South primates who refuse to share communion with PB Schori are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!  She is a heretic, plain and simple.

It’s time to bite the bullet, take the bull by the horns, and face reality.  We in fact AREN’T a true worldwide communion, because we don’t share a common faith anymore.  Tis terribly sad, but it’s true.  The Windsor Report relied heavily on Ephesians 4, arguably the NT chapter that harps most strongly and eloquently on the necessity for eagerly seeking to maintain the unity that comes from the Holy Spirit in peace.  But while it celebrates the fact that there is only one Lord and one baptism, one God and Father of all; it also insists that there is also just ONE FAITH.

The problem is NOT that we lack the willingness to speak candidly in love.  There is ample evidence of a tremendous longing for harmony on all sides.  Rather, what is killing us is that some among us are “speaking FALSEHOODS in love,” with the very best of intentions, vainly imagining that they are being “prophetic” in so doing.  The fact of the matter is that the claim that “gay is OK” is a Satanic lie from the pit of Hell.  And as such, it simply can’t be tolerated.  Now or ever.

While I agree with Prof. Seitz that to develop new and more adquate Instruments of Unity/Communion will indeed be difficult and messy, I am not nearly a pessimistic as he is, because I recognize that trying to keep all 38 current provinces within one communion is simply impossible.  Indeed, I contend that it’s even undesirable, given the rampant heresy within the eight western provinces.  As I have said before, we are dealing with stage 4 malignant cancer here.  And you don’t wait endlessly trying to decide how to deal with such a deadly, advanced cancer.  You attack and destroy it, by whatever means possible.  Will the chemo kill the patient?  Well, time will tell.  Lord, have mercy upon us all.

David Handy+
Advocate of the emerging (and tragic) New Reformation

December 10, 11:22 pm | [comment link]
316. Larry Morse wrote:

#302. How can one fight from a position of meekness. Begging your pardon, but the expression does not make sense. This is why I suggested a dictionary. Certainly Jesus’ behavior was not that of a meek man. What this word means in Greek, I do not know, but I suspect it does not mean quite what it means in American. (Does anyone know? My Greek isn’t up to this). To say that such a one is meek is precisely to say that he will not fight. And how does one fight TEC meekly? And how should I do battle meekly with the social jackasses who think it is good sense to give contraceptives to children? I am particularly anxious to discover how you will fight the Amazons of TEC with meekness. Slay them with the jawbone of a bunny? (Sorry, elves.) 

  Am I the only one baffled by the turn-the-other-cheek and be meek and mild thing? Faced with Satan, He certainly didn’t turn the other cheek, now did He? He did not say, “I hate to be offensive and overly aggressive, but would it be too much to ask you to get behind me, just a favor to me, you understand?”  Larry

December 10, 11:35 pm | [comment link]
317. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “For many reasons, Fr. Radner deserves better than the intemperate language of your comment.”

I so agree.  Not to mention that the florid rhetoric denigrates what ideas the comment contained.

December 10, 11:43 pm | [comment link]
318. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “By the way, please feel free to post links you find to news stories on . . . “

Wow—Brian does not know the difference between a link and a copy/paste of masses of words.

RE: “Please help by posting stories as long as they present an opinion that agrees personally with Elf Lady’s agenda.”

And even more insulting, Brian thinks that the Remain Episcopal link “agrees personally with Elf Lady’s agenda.”

That’s cause for elf-outrage if I ever saw it.

December 10, 11:47 pm | [comment link]
319. Sarah1 wrote:

Thanks for clarifying, Ephraim Radner, about what you meant by scandal to the church—I sincerely thought you were referring to the public embarrassment of the Episcopal church and not the church universal.

I suppose that from my perspective the scandal of uncorrected and gross public heretical teaching is far worse than the admitted scandal of public invective and civil litigation.

I actually think that the public succession of so many parishes and now one diocese goes a long way to aiding the church, as it demonstrates in a public manner that the Christian church rejects gross heresy such as that taught by ECUSA.  The same thing goes for the definite chilling trend by the Roman Catholics towards the national structure of the Episcopal church, something that is now being noted in the secular media.  These are good witnesses, from my perspective; it is important to publicly reject the false teaching of the Episcopal church—important for the pagans and seekers particularly.

December 10, 11:59 pm | [comment link]
320. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Sarah, you have a good point there. The best I’ve been able to say in defense of my lifetime denomination is that the faithful people are coming out of it in droves, demonstrating that they are not all apostate.

...still in the Briar Patch,

December 11, 12:21 am | [comment link]
321. robroy wrote:

Evil has entered the house. There simply is no way to root it out that will be irenic and blissful. The reformation was ugly. Could it have been done differently? The renaissance church was corrupt to the core. Likewise for the TEC. Would Ephraim have opposed Luther and his 95 theses? By all his reasonings, it is fairly clear that he would have. We would all be buying indulgences now to shorten our stays in purgatory.

The problem is that we are presently in a group (AC or TEC) that is not common-minded. How to separate, which begs the question of how big a tent does the ACI want? Is Susan Russell or Jefferts-Shori common minded enough to be part of the team? And no, it will not be an amicable parting because one side is hell bent on making it as terrible as possible. So be it. I think of Bp Iker in his wonderful speech at the Ft Worth Convention, though they sue us, they kick us out of our churches, though they depose our bishops,...do all things in love.

And the whole church did speak unanimously. That voice was then subverted by the Archbishop himself. Dar is dead and its death is being made irrelevant, again by machinations of the ABC. The farce of polling the response of the primates and the ACC to the response of the JSC to the response of the HoB makes it abundantly clear that clarity is the last thing the ABC wants. He opposed the clarity of Dar and won’t allow such clarity to raise its head again. One can engage in fanciful thinking, but no primates meeting will be called.

Can clarity come at Lambeth 08 as ACI hopes? The ABC holds a trump card: Many of the GS have pledged that they will not attend if Gene Robinson. “Unfortunately,” these are people of their word. The early invitations were really a disinvitation to the GS by inviting those that participated in the ordination. Now, suppose a significant number of orthodox bishops still announce they will hold their nose and come. The ABC can then invite VGR as a guest. Still too many orthodox come? Change VGRs status to full participant. Thus, he can precisely control the numbers of orthodox. There will be nothing analogous to Lambeth 1.10.

The irony is that there is plenty of clarity but some won’t see it.

In particular, the APV scheme of DeS was clearly rejected by the TEC. Clearly, only piecemeal solutions will come to the the orthodox. And clearly, there will not be a single lifeboat coming to the rescue all the orthodox but rather lifeboats, to San Joaquin, to Virginia, to Pittsburgh, etc. To tarry on the deck of the sinking TEC will be fatal to the orthodox and those that counsel this are being pastorally irresponsible (e.g., the last orthodox remnant will be forced to accept homosexual clergy). And clearly there is only one hope to reunify these disparate groups, one common bay of refuge to steer our lifeboats towards: an alternative orthodox province of North America.

December 11, 12:32 am | [comment link]
322. Dallasite wrote:

The problem is that we are presently in a group (AC or TEC) that is not common-minded. How to separate, which begs the question of how big a tent does the ACI want? Is Susan Russell or Jefferts-Shori common minded enough to be part of the team? And no, it will not be an amicable parting because one side is hell bent on making it as terrible as possible. So be it. I think of Bp Iker in his wonderful speech at the Ft Worth Convention, though they sue us, they kick us out of our churches, though they depose our bishops,...do all things in love.


Actually, I think BOTH sides are hell bent on making this terrible. If I were to judge the Diocese of San Joaquin, or whatever it’s going to be now, by the postings of the supposedly Christian commenters on this page, I would flee.  Go back and read your rants.  If this is what you have to offer, show me the nearest Starbucks and I’ll go there.  I see very little love here. I certainly wouldn’t go to San Joaquin.  That’s the tragedy of all of this; the love has flown out the window and, to Quote Don McLean (American Pie) Satan is laughing in delight at all of this.

December 11, 1:11 am | [comment link]
323. Dallasite wrote:

The second paragraph of my posting at #322 shouldn’t be in italics.  The first part should be and should be in quotes.

December 11, 1:13 am | [comment link]
324. robroy wrote:

Dallasite, see #148.

December 11, 1:20 am | [comment link]
325. jamesw wrote:

Dallasite:  Please judge the Diocese of San Joaquin by what Bishop John-David has said.  He has told those priests and parishes that wish to remain with TEC, that they may do so without penalty, provided that they don’t leave the Diocese saddled with their debt.  That is fair, gracious, loving and respectful of choice and conscience.

In contrast, TEC and the Remain Episcopal folk are determined to use litigation to sue everyone who disagrees with THEIR course out of their buildings and pensions.  They use scorched earth tactics to force everyone else to follow their path.  To do so is neither fair, nor gracious, nor loving, nor respectful of conscience.

There is a clear difference between the two sides, rhetoric on blogs notwithstanding.  The reasserters consistently come down on the side that respects conscience, avoids litigation, and takes a “live and let live” approach.  On the other hand 815 and the TEC heirarchy consistently come down on the side that does not respect conscience, that pursues litigation as a coercive weapon, that threatens and harasses clergy and laypersons, that takes a scorched earth policy.

December 11, 2:58 am | [comment link]
326. azusa wrote:

Now the Diocese of Recife has officially applied to be accepted within the Province of the Southern Cone:
http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/

December 11, 3:45 am | [comment link]
327. Br. Michael wrote:

I too had hope in a communion wide solution, but I finally came to realize after the sub-group report, in which the ABC was heavily involved, that the ABC would not, for whatever reason, allow the AC to act as a whole.  He was in fact engaged in a tactic of kicking the can down the road.

It was at that point that I realized I might have to leave the AC.  That the AC itself was part of the problem and that only the intervention of individual bishops was helpful.  I now have as much distrust for the official AC and the ABC as I do for TEC.  I can no longer share in the hopes and asperations of the ACI because, while perhaps noble, the AC has proved in the event to be as corrupt and unreliable as the TEC.

December 11, 7:21 am | [comment link]
328. Charley wrote:

Goodness Me…. am I the only one who thinks that wealthy Renaissance families buying indulgences seems mild by comparison to all this?

December 11, 7:55 am | [comment link]
329. Larry Morse wrote:

What did you expect SanJ to do?  Stay where they were aliens? Move to the position that there need be no standards so that all can be included? How does one leave TEC “lovingly”? Esp. when you are quite sure that they are misusing scripture in clear and incontrovertible ways? What in the real world were SanJ’s choices? TEC has said it will hunt them down. Shall SanJ accept that meekly? Shouldn’t they - or Savannah - fight to the bitter end if they are certain that their real estate is in all justice theirs? Or should they give it all up meekly? Can push come to shove meekly? If you do not wish push to come to shove, but your opponent chooses shove and shove some more until resisted, what DOES one do, if not fight to protect your church and your congregation?

  All identities are bought with blood, literally and/or symbolically, one way or another, and this is true of Christianity, both originally and now; and in Christianity’s case, it was clearly literal. If one is not prepared for the sacrifice of blood, it is no sacrifice, as Abraham and Isaac demonstrated. There are no exceptions to this hard rule.           
Larry

December 11, 8:33 am | [comment link]
330. Kendall Harmon wrote:

There are a lot of things that bother me about the thread after reading through it this morning.  Let me mention two.

First, there is simply too much sarcasm.  This is a serious moment, and I would beg people please to realize that sarcasm will not contribute to an already very difficult environment.

Second, I know people are furstrated, angry, and hurt, etc., but it will not do to get the facts wrong. Please if people could try to state things accurately.

December 11, 9:01 am | [comment link]
331. Kendall Harmon wrote:

“What did you expect SanJ to do?  Stay where they were aliens?”
Larry I realize you may not have intended this, but do you have any idea how absurd it sounds.

According to 1 Peter, we are aliens and exiles as Christians here on earth.

Also, by your criterion, the exiles should not have stayed in Babylon during the captivity.

HOW one lives in exile is difficult and needs a lot more prayerful reflection.  San Joaquin felt thay had no choice—that is why they did what they did. One of the reasons they felt that is they saw no examples of life giving exilic “staying” whatever that fully means.

December 11, 9:07 am | [comment link]
332. robroy wrote:

Hmm, perhaps Dallasite equates inclusivity with being loving. I would like to be part of a loving Christian church that excludes muslims, buddhists, druids and wiccans. Being “exclusive” is not to be hateful to these groups. Similarly, it is my (and many others) contention that the position of ABp Duncan, say, and Susan Russell are not common minded enough to exist under one roof. They simply represent two different religions…irreconcilable differences. That is not hateful exclusion.

So “divorce” is required. One side says, “I want the houses, cars, and the incredibly huge bank account.” What in the world for? The endowment of the Episcopal Church is mind boggling, and its membership is plummeting, yet it wants empty buildings as well and cast its “ex” into the streets for spite?? How about all the cries of precious justice??? In contrast, despite the actions of the one spouse, the other insists leaving with blessing the other, no matter the outcome. Again, I point to Bp Iker’s speech found here. “Let all that you do be done in love.”

Yes, emotions run high. Of course they do. So people will “rant” or vent or primal scream. But there is clearly not equivalency.

December 11, 9:30 am | [comment link]
333. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

“What did you expect SanJ to do?  Stay where they were aliens?”
Larry I realize you may not have intended this, but do you have any idea how absurd it sounds.

According to 1 Peter, we are aliens and exiles as Christians here on earth.

Kendall, have you no understanding of the differenece between our relationship to the world and our relatiuonship to each other in the church? Larry is saying that we should not be aliens within the chutrch, and he is perfectly right in this. Of course we will always be aliens in the world but it is in the church where we should, where we MUST enjoy the fellowship of true believers.

That you look back to the exile in Babylon tells me that you are buying in to Radners false hermeneutic. It is always a mistake to look at the Old Testament for models unless you see it confirmed in the New. The age of the Law and of Israel has passed. Since Christ has come and the Spirit has benn given we are in the age of the Church. It is to the New Testament and to the witness of the early church that you should look for models to justify the novel theory that Christians should be content to worship with heretics and blasphemers. But you shall find scant evidence there.

The parables of the wheat and the tares have often been misinterpreted. I is descriptive not prescriptive. It is meant to tells us that evil and falsehood will always be among us in the chutrch and we can never be sure who is truly of the Lord and who isn’t. There is no way to keep evil out, for it dwells within all of us. Yet we in the church are more than just crops. We are also workers. And though tares may come, that does not justify our planting them. We have workers in the field actively planting false crops. It is no mystery, then, that the filed will become more weeds than wheat. God instituted leadership in His church for a reason. That leadership guards the church.

We are NOT meant to live as EXILES. The very idea of this makes me furious. We are meant to be the church against which the walls of Hades cannot even stand. We have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling with us with Christ’s promise that He is with us to the end of the age. Is THAT the life of an exile? We are CONQUERORS, or are meant to be, on alien soil, the Devil’s territory, kicking buts and taking names and despoiling him of his ill-gotten gains.

I WILL NOT take these lemons in the form of heretics persecuting the faithful from within the church and make some kind of lemonade. That would be to deny God’s call to us. I will take those lemons and shove them down the blasphemers’ throats and say “Suck on those! WE have GRAPES from the Lord’s vinyard and we drink WINE.”

December 11, 10:15 am | [comment link]
334. Bill Cool wrote:

Some on this thread have contended with the use of the word “meek”. I do, too, if it is being used in its customary “become a doormat” secular meaning. But that is not how it is used on the NT.

I remember a description a long time ago by one of our pastors about how a war horse was “meeked”. It would be trained so well that a flaming torch could be passed under it or around it and it would remain standing calmly waiting for a command. That is the kind of “meek” we need to be.

We need to be calm, under the power of the Holy Spirit, and ready to respond to trustworthy orders. This seems to fit DSJ and their bishop. We need that same calm, power-filled, under orders behavior.

This meaning is well explained here (There may be other web explanations - this was merely a quick Google hit):

1. Greek word [I]praus[/I]

a. Used to describe a soothing medicine.
b. Used by sailors to describe a gentle breeze.
c. Used by farmers to describe a broken colt.
2. What do all these definitions have in common? They all describe great power under control.

A. W. Tozer once wrote, “The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto.

December 11, 10:16 am | [comment link]
335. seitz wrote:

So much for Martin Luther’s ‘The Babylonian Captivity of the Church’ and the consistent use of the OT by the early church fathers. But this is off thread and not worth time to correct. What Hathaway provides is a modern evangelical caricature of the catholic church’s consistent appeal to the OT as figure, type, moral exhortation. Radner did not dream up the use of the OT to help interpret the church in judgment—the history of biblical interpretation on this theme spans centuries, especially at the Reformation, but also earlier. Let’s get back on topic and not drift off onto false trails. Thanks, Kendall, for your exhortation to careful argument.

December 11, 10:24 am | [comment link]
336. Ed the Roman wrote:

Goodness Me…. am I the only one who thinks that wealthy Renaissance families buying indulgences seems mild by comparison to all this?

Well, no you’re not, but I WOULD think that, wouldn’t I?

December 11, 10:50 am | [comment link]
337. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Seitz, you might want to (well maybe you don’t) look to what I actually said. You should not use the OT as a model for the church withoutCONFIRMATION IN THE NT OR THE EARLY CHURCH. To do otherwise justifies a kind of rootles allegory which can justify any interpretation.

Besides, since you brought up Luther, did not he see the Babylonioan captivity as a BAD THING? Was his model not descriptive rather than prescriptive? Furthermore, he broke from the church. Your application would have had him remain, as an exile. Yet that is not how he interpreted his model. Either he was wrong, which rather invalidates his authority (so why bring him up?) or you are wrong in interpreting him.

But why do I expect logic? You will not be ruled by the New Testament in your reading of the Old (you are your own prophet, I’m sure) so why should I expect you to be ruled by how the Reformers actually behaved when you use them for your argument? I guess I’m just gullible.

December 11, 11:10 am | [comment link]
338. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

#328 Charley, and #336, Ed the Roman,

I also agree.  If Jarosalv Pelikan was right that the Protestant Reformation was “a tragic necessity,” (and unlike Ed the Roman I do firmly believe it was sadly justified), then I am confident that this 21st century New Reformation is ever more clearly necessary.

After all, even with all the horrendous abuses in the medieval church that cried out for correction, there was nothing like the disgusting sight we see today of clergy, including bishops, publicly denying key doctrines found in the Creeds.  There was superstition born of ignorance, yes, lots of that (as seen in the out of control veneration of relics etc.).  But not the kind of outright flagrant denial of biblical teaching that we see today.

Whatever else may be said, the departure of San Joaquin and its incorporation into the Province of the Southern Cone shows that Anglicanism will never be the same.  For better or worse, we are entering a whole new era in our history.  But I, for one, firmly believe that in the end, it will be very much for the better.

A fateful Rubicon has been crossed.  I would say it was crossed already back in August, 2003.  Some might choose other dates.  That doesn’t matter now.  The fact is, Pandora’s Box has been opened.  The barn doors have been flung open and the more free-spirited horses have bolted and won’t soon be enticed back in.  The toothpaste is out of the tube.

The noble Dr. Seitz has invited comparison with Luther’s magnificent programmatic essay of 1520, “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church.”  I second the notion.  But I also agree with Charley’s implicit point in his terse question posed above (#328).  The kind of blatant heresy we are up against today makes the errors of medieval Catholicism look mild.

“Let goods and kindred go…”

David Handy+
Passionate supporter of the (still tragic) New Reformation

December 11, 11:12 am | [comment link]
339. Charley wrote:

If Luther had to pick between one or the other, given what we now have, My God he’d be an uber Catholic (of the Roman variety). 

How does one put the two dots over the U?

December 11, 11:26 am | [comment link]
340. Ephraim Radner wrote:

There’s been a good bit of comment here about what I said to Neela Banerjee of the NY Times, and on the character of the coverage of this weekend’s events in San Joaquin.  Just to let readers on this thread know that others have commented about this as well, see below the remarks of Jim Naughton of EpiscopaCafe, as well as my response (we shall see if he posts it).  The point here being that, although I don’t like being sniped at (a euphemism), the engagement on this blog is better than in many places.  Furthermore, it’s also good to try to avoid playing the same rhetorical games as one’s opponents.  Something that I believe Kendall has been very responsible in helping us all do.

Here’s Naughton’s comment:
“Folks, if you are a faithful Episcopalian and you see Neela Banerjee of the New York Times coming, run. She’s been hyping schism ever since she started covering this story, and today’s piece is just the latest example.

She casts Ephraim Radner as the reader’s unbaised guide to this story and never points out he is a member of the board of directors of the IRD, which is funded by conservative foundations, staffed by members of Peter Akinola’s Church of Nigeria and dedicated to taking apart the mainline Protestant denominations.

She quotes Bishop Schofield, hardly an unbiased source, on the number of diocese that might follow his lead. He exaggerates the number by about half.

Worst of all, she passes on thirdhand and unverified, the notion that Rowan Williams thinks this is a “sensible” solution. This seems highly unlikely, as the last time something like this happened (in the Diocese of Recife in Brazil) the Communion recognized the new bishop appointed by the Church of Brazil, and not the bishop who led the schism. Neither was the schismatic bishop invited to the Lambeth Conference.

Throughout her coverage of this story she’s had a knack for presenting the nightmare scenario as the thing most likely to happen next. That probably gets her stories better play, because her editors aren’t in a position to understand how gravely she is misleading them. But our Church pays a price for this career boosting kind of coverage. So reader, if Neela Banerjee calls you, be aware that it won’t end well.”

Posted by Jim Naughton | December 9, 2007 10:23 AM

My response:

“Not sure why Banerjee called me up—surely not because I am “unbiased”—who is?—but because I represent some place on the spectrum that is viewed as interesting (“conservative”);  and she somehow got my phone number.  Even if Naughton doesn’t consider me a “faithful Episcopalian”, there are those who do (I’m still a member of the Episcopal Church, by the way, am in good standing, and am paying a pledge to an Episcopal parish)—and I didn’t “run”.  In fact, I’m willing to talk to most people.  I gather Naughton thinks of himself as a journalist—I’m even willing to talk to him, should he wish at some point to get beyond characterizing people like me on the basis if his uninformed prejudices as opposed to actual knowledge that comes from the effort of engagement.  Indeed, he might learn a thing or two from Banerjee. ”

December 11, 11:35 am | [comment link]
341. C. Wingate wrote:

re 296: Well, I do not reject the ordination of women; Schofield, I am reliably informed, does. So, if separation from heresy is the point, should he and I be placed on different sides of the cut?

re 340: Naughton’s campaign against IRD is a bit too conspiracy theoretical for me to swallow, but in any case he is an officer of the Diocese of Washington—hardly a neutral party in the matter.

December 11, 12:06 pm | [comment link]
342. Brian from T19 wrote:

She quotes Bishop Schofield, hardly an unbiased source, on the number of diocese that might follow his lead. He exaggerates the number by about half.

This is a serious concern.  As Kendall+ noted above, “it will not do to get the facts wrong.”

So far we have the spiritual leaders of many people misrepresenting (although I do not believe intentionally) the facts.  +schofield, ++Venables and +Lyons all claimed support from ++Rowan.  How many people making the decision to secede relied on this misrepresentation?

December 11, 1:00 pm | [comment link]
343. Ross wrote:

#339 Charley says:

How does one put the two dots over the U?

If you type ü it will get translated into ü.  At least, that works in the Preview view; let’s see if it survives submitting.

On a slightly more on-topic note, since many people are invoking Luther… Luther of course did not set out intending to create a new church, but that is what happened and it changed the religious landscape of the west.  If what we’re seeing here is indeed a “New Reformation”—with the action of DioSJ marking a seminal moment—then how do you see this producing a fundamental transformation of the religious landscape, instead of just another Protestant denomination?

I’m not trying to be hostile; I’m genuinely curious to see where the advocates of this New Reformation hope this is going.

December 11, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
344. John B. Chilton wrote:

Naughton’s response to Radner @#340 can be found here,
http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/episcopal_church/faithful_remnant.html#comment-11377

December 11, 1:11 pm | [comment link]
345. Ross wrote:

...and it didn’t survive submitting; Charley, what I was trying to say was that if you type an ampersand, followed by the letters uuml, followed by a semicolon, it will get translated into a u with an umlaut.  But my attempt to demonstrate that string by escaping the ampersand, although it worked in the preview view, got too-cleverly interpreted by something in the posting process.  Alas.

December 11, 1:11 pm | [comment link]
346. Br. Michael wrote:

Well, Bryan the ABC approved the formation of the Network.  It may be that the lack of clarity and the apparant approval of both sides is a tactic that the ABC is deliberately using in order to make each side think that he is on their side.  If this is the case then it is the ABC who is deliberately sowing confusion.

Quite frankly the ABC owes it to both sides to be crystal clear where he stands.  He has not done so.  I don’t know why and I makes me think less of him.

December 11, 1:13 pm | [comment link]
347. Ross wrote:

#346 Br. Michael… I don’t think the ABC is deliberately sowing confusion, although that is certainly what’s been happening.  I think he’s in the unfortunate position of having every remark that comes from his lips zealously over-interpreted by both sides, to the point that I wonder he dares to say anything at all.

For instance, way back when he wrote that letter discussing the possibility of an Anglican Covenant, he observed that if such a thing were to come to pass, then there would be a good chance that some provinces wouldn’t sign it, or would sign it only with caveats, and that might possibly lead to some sort of hypothetical two-tier membership status in the Anglican Communion.  This was immediately taken up as though he had advocated the two-tier idea as a Good Idea and the Way Forward, rather than just observing that it was a likely outcome.

With the Network, it would be completely in character for +++Rowan to suggest that a group of like-minded dioceses get together for mutual support and internal advocacy in TEC.  I strongly doubt he intended anything like the Network becoming an alternate (or replacement) Anglican province in the U.S., but that is what he was widely taken to mean.  At least by the Network.

I think what the ABC wants to do is make mild suggestions in favor of compromise solutions; but he can’t do that because no matter how mildly he speaks it’s taken as bold advocacy of a much stronger action.  He could fix this by actually making bold advocations of strong actions, but… that’s really not his style.

December 11, 1:32 pm | [comment link]
348. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

#316 Larry

Am I the only one baffled by the turn-the-other-cheek and be meek and mild thing?


Now I’m with you, Larry. I’m sorry that I snapped off so curtly in my overstatement of my case in #256, reacting to your overstatement of your case in #248.

If we were to take an ethic of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) we need to look at the whole message of what Jesus actually did. When he overturned the tables in the temple, and drove out people with a whip made out of cords, he was certainly not acting as we would consider a meek person to act. Therefore, there must be times to behave meekly and times to behave otherwise.

#334 Bill, your input is really helpful in its view on what it really means to be meek. Following that example is a real challenge for most of us.

So what remains is the question: Is it time to behave meeky, or to behave otherwise? If, say, we are members of a parish led by a noncelibate homosexual or lesbian, and that person conducts a church ceremony (that looks exactly like a wedding) blessing a noncelibate same-sex relationship, what should we do? Should we accept the leadership that we have been given, pray for God to change its direction, and support one another in our faithful beliefs? Or should we (figuratively) make a whip out of cords, overturn the profaned practices, and attempt to drive these practitioners out of the church?

The same dilemma can be taken to the next three levels: If we are a parish caught in an apostate diocese, should we accept our episcopal leadership and wait for God to change it? If we are a diocese in an apostate province, should we accept our communal leadership and wait for God to change it? If we are a province in a communion with apostate members, should we remain in communion with them and wait for God (or the instruments of unity) to call them to repentance?

For many, the answers to these questions are self-evident—even (perhaps) self-evident to both sides: “Yes” for some, “No” for others.

The ACI position (if I may be so bold to characterize it) is that, even though TEC has proven itself apostate, the instruments of communion (in the aggregate) have not yet proven themselves to be apostate, and it is time to be meek and work for change from within the AC, even though that means submitting to apostate bishops in the interim. Put another way, It is not time to overturn the polity tables by creating a new Anglican province on the North American Continent, without the consent of the instruments of unity.

Along with many on this thread, I believe that ACI has seriously misread WWJD in our particular situation.

...still in the Briar Patch,

December 11, 1:33 pm | [comment link]
349. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

#339 Charley:

To put two dots over the u (at least on a PC-type computer rather than a Mac-type), launch the “Character Map” accessory, click on the “ü” block in the window, click on “Select”, then click on “Copy”. Then return to click inside the “Add your comment here” window on the blog, and hold down the “Ctrl” key while you press “V” (Ctrl-V).

Über easy!

...still in the Briar Patch,

December 11, 1:44 pm | [comment link]
350. Br. Michael wrote:

Ross, I would like to agree with you, but I cannot.  What is happening is too distructive to be accidental.  It’s like a traffic cop at an intersection either waiving all the traffic through at the same time or giving half hearted signals that can be interpreted by all the traffic as either being stop or go.  What you get is a gigantic car crash.  I simply cannot believe that anyone is that inept or incompetant.

December 11, 2:42 pm | [comment link]
351. Brian from T19 wrote:

Br Michael #346

I agree entirely.  One thing that separates a leader from a manager is the ability to take action.  Like it or not, Primates on all sides have taken actions.  TEC and Canada took actions.  Most of the Global South took actions.  Even those that did not take actions have made their positions clear.  The ABC is drowning.  He wants consensus when the time for consensus has passed.  He wants unity when we have moved irreparably apart.  If he has planned this inaction, it is a bad plan.

December 11, 2:58 pm | [comment link]
352. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

re 296: Well, I do not reject the ordination of women; Schofield, I am reliably informed, does. So, if separation from heresy is the point, should he and I be placed on different sides of the cut?

Mr. Wingate, I should say it is a less serious heresy than that of those who would overturn centuries of moral teaching, repudiate the authority of Scripture and call into question the sole salvation of our Lord. You are where many are here on this blog aruing for the same cause as I. I recognize their common cause with mine and, though I believe they are misreading Scripture rather baltantly I do not lump them in with the homosexualists. There are gradations of heresy, and some of the differences are important. All we Protestants are heretics to Rome, but I am confident Rome makes a difference between a Lutheran and a Unitarian. I do too.

And, remember, it was you who first assumed I would classify you as a heretic. We were merely arguing ecclesiology, which is not for me on the sam level as sexual morality and Christology.

But here’s a question: What if a cut came and the only side clearly supporting WO was with Schori and her crowd. Would you choose to side with them for the sake of WO or would you sacrifice your belief in WO for the sake of standing with the orthodox on the other issues?

December 11, 3:07 pm | [comment link]
353. Brian from T19 wrote:

I think what the ABC wants to do is make mild suggestions in favor of compromise solutions; but he can’t do that because no matter how mildly he speaks it’s taken as bold advocacy of a much stronger action.  He could fix this by actually making bold advocations of strong actions, but… that’s really not his style.

Ross

That is really the problem-his style.  He’s acting as if actions have not occured.  He seems to want to try to balance ideas.  But TEC and New Westminster did not offer a discussion, they did what they said they would do.  CANA, Uganda, Kenya, Southern Cone have gone beyond positioning and into action.  ++Rowan doesn’t need to be a Pope, but he needs to declare (and I say this with a full sense of the irony) “Here I stand.  I can do no other.”

December 11, 3:08 pm | [comment link]
354. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

That is really the problem-his style.  He’s acting as if actions have not occured.

I have often said that our opponents see more clearly than many of us do. Brian, you prove me right. Spot on! There have been so many actions and he responds with dithering, as if this situation was a hypthetical dilemma.

One can theorize what to do when the flood comes until the water starts lapping at the door. Then it’s time for action. Wait any longer and it will all be theoretical again, about what you should have done.

I can tell you that San Joaquin is not willing to have their ecclesiastical position be a postmortem review.

December 11, 4:01 pm | [comment link]
355. Dallasite wrote:

#332: RobRoy, I shall end your speculation:  I do believe that being inclusive is being loving.  I would hope to show the Wiccans, Muslims, Buddhists and the rest that you list why I choose to follow Christ, and to invite them to join me.  I don’t think that by keeping them on the outside and excluding them from my life or my worship I would be able to do that.  I also don’t think that, by shoving lemonade down their throats, as Mr. Hathaway says he would do, that I would win over anybody. 

If, by “inclusive” you mean that I should include their worship in my life or convert to their faith, then no, I’m not inclusive in that sense.  Christ went out to the world, and I think that He calls us to do the same.

December 11, 4:11 pm | [comment link]
356. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Dallasite, quote me accurately, if you please. I said I would shove the lemons down the heretics’ throats (metaphoriaclly, of course). There is a clear distinction between a heretic and a admitted non-Christian.

December 11, 4:20 pm | [comment link]
357. Craig Goodrich wrote:

It seems to me that many here are misunderstanding—or oversimplifying—what Dr+ R is saying to parishes and dioceses, which is simply Hang on for yet a bit to allow the Communion to take action.  He is not saying “stay indefinitely regardless.”  He is not saying “TEC’s apostasy is something we must support out of loyalty to the Church”, or anything of the kind. 

From a purely tactical point of view—since I am monumentally unqualified to say anything at all about ecclesiology—this appears to be excellent advice, though there are doubtless special situations where action now is the best course (e.g. San Joaquin’s concern about episcopal succession and the immanent and specific threats from 815).

** If the Communion effectively expels TEC, as well it might, TEC’s legal position with respect to Windsor dioceses (and individual parishes) would be greatly weakened, since it would then be in violation of its own Constitution.

** Once word of TEC’s expulsion reaches the pews—as news of 815’s activity is finally beginning to already—there will be a mad rush for the exit all over the country.  (815 knows this; that’s why their pronouncements are growing increasingly vicious and desperate.)  This will lead many more parishes and dioceses to initiate canonical separation in accordance with whatever structure the Communion may establish (probably a variation on DeS), spreading 815’s resources hopelessly thin.

So from the point of view of minimizing the cost (or indeed likelihood) of litigation, there would not seem to be much to lose by waiting a little longer.

And Communion action has to come fairly soon; the Primates, ++Rowan, and even the panicked ACO seem to understand that Lambeth will be far too late.  And any parish or diocese planning to leave TEC better be sure they can be completely out from under before GC09, which will doubtless pass a number of Emergency Measures to Defend the Reich.

So if you can possibly hold out a little longer, do so.  After all, it’s been nearly two generations already, and the Thirty Years’ War took, umm, lemme see, thirty years…

December 11, 4:55 pm | [comment link]
358. Br. Michael wrote:

Greg you write: “And Communion action has to come fairly soon;”  I don’t think this is true.  The ABC and the AC have shown that they intend to do nothing for the long term.  Only individual Primates and Bishops are acting.  The AC will do nothing.

December 11, 5:15 pm | [comment link]
359. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Craig, advice is all well and good. But Radner wasn’t offering advice, he was pronouncing judgment, and by imlication putting himself above the squabling parties, which is the galling part. And what is the basis for his judgment that San Joaquin has gone beyond prudence and wisdom and is damaging the witness to the faith? It is that they have not let the “Anglican process” ork itself out.

But what is this process? Where can it be found? When was it established?

The simple fact is that there is no process. It is being invented as we speak. The Anglican Communion as a comprehensive body is still an idea. It doesn’t really exist yet. I wish someday it does come into being and would like to help to get there because I still believe in Anglicanism, but as it doesn’t yet exist and is still very much in the stage of theory we have no clear idea what steps will move us faster toward that reality.

If you argue that the Anglican process does exist I would ask you to point to me when it has ever been established by use, for use is the only real establishment of any disciplinary process. You cannot point to the Colenso affair of more than a century ago, for he was appointed by the Crown and still under the authority of the CofE. When has any Province ever been disciplined by the collective Communion?

There are many processes at work within the Communion. There is the process run by the Anglican Communion Office. We know what that is like: death by a thousand commissions. There is the process of Primates in the South asking foir committments and the PB spinning them along. There is the process of the Global South coming to the realization that TEC isn’t going to repent. Then there is the process of unilateral action on our side, which seems to be the only time any action gets done on our side. TEC and the ACofC have their own unilateral actions. These actuions seem to be the most effective at moving the collective process along to some conclusion. Who is Radner to say that the decision of an orthodox diocese to seceede from TEC and affiliate with the Southern Cone is not part of the ultimate Anglican process that actually produces the desired result?

Let Radner do what he does and stay where he is. I have never criticized anyone for the path they have taken, for I have many friends and familiy on the path he is on. But I take great umbrage at his presuming to criticize others for following a path that doesn’t conform to his ideal and impugning their faithfullness to the Gospel. We are in new territory and he is not God’s annointed to tell us which way is right. No one here has that authority. I do not mind his making argumnets, but let him point to principles that are tried and true and not of his own interpretation.

December 11, 5:47 pm | [comment link]
360. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

(#343) Ross,

You and others have asked for some indications as to what kind of reforms the advocates of this putative New Reformation foresee or dream of achieving.  That is an entirely reasonable question. 

I can speak for no one but myself.  I have no official position within the ACN or the CCP.  I seem to be developing a little online fan club, but believe me, I don’t have any GS primate on the speed dial setting of my cell phone because we talk so often.

Nonetheless, I am an earnest advocate for the New (21st century) Reformation.  A satisfactory answer to your question, Ross, would exceed the length possible for a post here, so I’ll just list a few illustrative sample points, without trying to argue the case for them.  If that sparks further discussion, I can elaborate at that point.

1. First and foremost, the New Anglicanism will be clearly and amphatically committed to the supreme authority of Holy Scripture as the Word of God and the ultimate rule of faith and practice, just as the Lambeth Quadrilateral declares.  Perhaps it will reaffirm something like Article 20 of the old 39 Articles just to drive the point home. In this way, the New Reformation resembles the Old 16th century one.

2. Second, the New Anglicanism will be committed to the truth of the ancient ecumenical Creeds, and will treat them as authoritative or binding on clergy (and seminary professors) today, not as mere “historical documents” and museum pieces.  Again, this simply means returning to the essentials of the Lambeth Quadrilateral, but actually enforcing the doctrinal limits they provide.  Back in the 16th century, the magisterial Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Melancthon, Bucer etc.) had no complaints that Rome had betrayed the ancient Creeds.  Alas, that is not true today.  We have to fight to restore their authority, at least in practical terms.  For as Philip Turner has so often rightly said, the “working theology” of TEC is an utterly different religion.

3. Third, and this is where things get dicey and highly controversial, that inevitably means evolving some new Instrument of Unity or Communion that is capable of doing the enforcing of the two points above.  As I have argued repeatedly, we simply HAVE TO CREATE the theological equivalent of an Anglican Supreme Court, with trans-provincial power to declare the actions of semi-autonomous provinces null and void when they are in effect “unconstitutional” because they are contrary to Holy Scripture, which is the true and living Constitution of any Christian Church worthy of the name.  I think the proposed Anglican Covenant is a clear case of “too little, too late.”  We need something much clearer, and much more enforceable.  We simply must have some mechanism for DEPOSING and EXCOMMUNICATING wayward, heretical bishops at the international level.  Until then, we are left in the impossible position mentioned by Dr. Seitz above, where we live as in the days of the last Judges, “when every man (and woman) does what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

4. But perhaps most important of all, there must be a radical re-inventing of Anglicanism in order to transition into the radically new social context we face in the western world, and which is already impinging on the Global South.  Namely, we must come to terms with the daunting reality that the whole western world is now in a Post-Christendom social setting (even in England, where a state church still exists de jure, but has long ceased to exist de jure).  That is a momentous change, of very far-reaching proportions.  The more I think about it, the more radical and far-reaching I realize that those ramifications will be.  And we’ve only begun to face that incredible challenge.  It effectively means, coming up with a completely different style or system of Christianity than we’ve been used to in the West for about 1500 years.  It means relearning how to be “in the world, but not of the world,” and even how to confidently and even aggressively stand “against the world, for the sake of the world.”  Our brave brothers and sisters in the Global South can teach us much about that, enriched as they are by the blood of the martyrs in many cases.  But so can the early patristic church that took on the mighty Roman Empire, and miraculously won.  By the grace of God, we can too!

There’s much, much more that could be said.  But that’s at least a start.  But remember, I’m only a self-identified “New Reformation Advocate.”  I have no official standing to speak for anyone.

David Handy+
Advocate of High Commitment, Post-Christendom style Anglicanism
Passionate Supporter of the New Refomration

December 11, 6:05 pm | [comment link]
361. Ed the Roman wrote:

Who can expel TEC?  Williams, I guess, since isn’t the Communion defined as “in communion with Canterbury?”

So, does Williams want to expel TEC?  If not now, what does anybody think is going to happen that would make him want to?

I’m really curious: it’s not at all obvious to me that he’ll ever feel like he “has to” take action.  He does NOT have to act as long as the people who want him to act continue in their assumption that he will and therefore wait upon him.  Until they are about to do something he likes less than having to expel TEC, he does not have to expel TEC.  They will wait forever, unless they stop waiting.

December 11, 6:16 pm | [comment link]
362. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Alas, I submitted the above too soon, without proofreading it well enough.  Among other things, in my fourth point, I meant to say that even in England they face a Post-Christendom situation now, DE FACTO, if not de jure.  Everywhere in the west, committed Christians are a distinct minority.  And we must relearn how to not only survive, but thrive, as a conscious dissenting minority group with a radically counter-cultural way of life.  That is, we must again be an alternative community in open and unabashed conflict with the powers that be.

Or as I like to put it on my more mischievious days.  The only thing worse than a state church is an ex-state church that still pretends to be a state church!  Or an ex-state church that simply knows no other way to think and act.  So many of our problems come from that fundamental issue.  Among other things, that means transforming ourselves from a “church” type organization to a “sect” type one (and getting over our obsolete hangups about all forms of “sectarianism” being so very, very bad).  It means becoming a church of the “twice-born,” instead of mainly the “once-born.”  And not least, it means pulling off the miraculous stunt (by God’s grace alone, of course) of remaking Anglicanism into a very “high commitment” form of religion, instead of the minimal commitment kind we presently are due to our state church heritage.  If such an unlikely miracle happens, it will truly amount to nothing less than a New Reformation.  Amen.  So be it!

David Handy+

December 11, 6:20 pm | [comment link]
363. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

#354 Christopher: I’ve got lots of theories on the best way to wrestle alligators. Sometimes I wish I could remember them when I’m up to my neck in the swamp.

...still in the Briar Patch,

December 11, 6:24 pm | [comment link]
364. seitz wrote:

Though I teach and publish in the area of OT-NT, early church exegesis, etc, I confess I do not understand this sentence, and to untangle it would be a difficult enterprise.

“You should not use the OT as a model for the church withoutCONFIRMATION IN THE NT OR THE EARLY CHURCH. To do otherwise justifies a kind of rootles allegory which can justify any interpretation.”

For an assessment of ‘rootles allegory’ you might have a look at basic resources like von Campenhausen’s account of the OT in the early church (a classic by a hugely influential scholar of early church) or F Young’s recent Biblical Exegesis and the Emergence of Christian Culture. Most scholars accept that a major distinction between ‘allegorical excess’ and ‘sober literalism’ (a la Antioch) is fraught with problems.

But I thought the point had to do with the deployment of OT figures, like ‘babylonian captivity,’ full stop—a practice all reformers and their opponents followed.

Fortunately, none of this is germane to the topic at hand. We are under judgement. NT authors use the OT to interpret matters in their day (so last week’s Rom 15 text) and the church’s practice followed their lead…

December 11, 6:37 pm | [comment link]
365. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Dr. Seitz (#364),

Since I’ve made some critical remarks above with regard to the whole ACI approach (and the whole Windsor and Covenant Process too), let me hasten to offer here my compliments and gratitutde for your outstanding work as an OT scholar.  Your exegetical work and your ventures into biblical theology have enriched the entire Christian Church, not least by helping to restore interest in the ancient patristic manner of engaging in “figurative” interpretation of Holy Scripture.  In particular, of course, your outstanding work on Isaiah is a marvelous blending of scholarly excellence with deep theological and pastoral concerns.

And Advent is a time of year when we hear and read a lot of Isaiah.  So let me urge all readers of T19 with any interest in such matters to take a look at Dr. Seitz’ tremendous commentaries on Isaiah 1-39 in the expository Interpretation series (associated with my alma mater, Union-PSCE in Richmond) and especially his admirable commentary on Isaiah 40-66 in the New Interpreter’s Bible (edited by Leander Keck of our mutual alma mater, Yale).

It must be very discouraging and perhaps intimidating to our Worthy Opponents that the pre-eminent biblical scholars in the whole Anglican Communion, Chris Seitz in Old Testament and Tom Wright in the New, are both on our side (the orthodox side).  Thanks be to God!

David Handy+
Passionately committed to moderate biblical scholarship
(along with the New Reformation)

December 11, 7:08 pm | [comment link]
366. seitz wrote:

Odd thing is, David, I doubt ‘worthy opponents’ care in the least that several major interpreters (who write books, work hard at understanding the character of the bible and its reception both) disagree with them, and that is because once one turns the bible into something captive to opinions and ‘takes’ everyone is on the same level and the idea of a text that constrains and configures is out the window. The other challenge is developmentalism, however, which is an instinct of left and right both, and the loss of the OT as Christian Scripture is the price to be paid for that. Blessings on your work.
But you know all this.

December 11, 7:15 pm | [comment link]
367. Don Armstrong wrote:

I recommend Professor Seitz new book: Prophecy and Hermeneutics: Toward a New Introduction to the Prophets as a good way inform oneself along these lines—not mention Dr. Seitz book; Figured Out.

December 11, 7:28 pm | [comment link]
368. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

#366, Dr. Seitz,

You do sound an aweful lot like beloved old Brevard Childs when you speak of “the loss of the OT as Christian Scripture.”  Haven’t you heard?  The only acceptable phrase now is “the Hebrew Scriptures.”  The whole idea of the OT as a Christian book is so very imperialistic and out-of-date, you know.

But seriously, you have put your finger on a major problem.  Under the influence of post-modernism and its denial of any such thing as objective, universal truth, the Bible is easily turned into a mere series of ink blots.  And anyone can interpret them any way they like, just as people imagine they see things when they gaze up at the clouds.  Thus the sense that the Bible is primarily “the Church’s book,” and is properly a text subject to the communal interpretation of the Church as its intended audience and guardian is obscured or even lost altogether. 

The Enlightenment amancipation of biblical interpretation from the dogmatic control of the Church has ended up as a mixed blessing, to be sure.  On the one hand it’s given us the likes of the infamous Jesus Seminar, and deceptively disguised wolves in sheep’s clothing like Marcus Borg.  On the other hand, it’s given us outstandingly creative and responsible exegetes like you and Tom Wright.  May your tribe increase!  Blessings on your work too.

David Handy

December 11, 8:20 pm | [comment link]
369. Ross wrote:

#366 Seitz-ACI says:

Odd thing is, David, I doubt ‘worthy opponents’ care in the least that several major interpreters (who write books, work hard at understanding the character of the bible and its reception both) disagree with them, and that is because once one turns the bible into something captive to opinions and ‘takes’ everyone is on the same level and the idea of a text that constrains and configures is out the window.

As one of the “worthy opponents”—at least I hope to be a “worthy” opponent—I would perhaps put it a little differently.  When it comes to figuring out what the Bible says or how it has been understood by people throughout history, then I willingly defer to anyone whose scholarly credentials are better than mine—which is a great many people, including many of the commenters here.

But the other question is what the Bible is, what authority it has over me and my soul, and that is a faith decision that the most learned scholar in the world is no more qualified to make than I am because it’s not a question of scholarship.

It’s like the question, “Is there a God?”  There are scholarly and logical arguments to be made, but when you get down to it they’re all beside the point; either you know in your bones that God is real, or you don’t.  “Is this book the very living Word of God?” is the same kind of question… and my bones don’t tell me that.  And that necessarily means that I use all the tools for understanding Scripture—or all the tools that my meager learning can provide—in different ways and for different ends than you do.

December 11, 8:50 pm | [comment link]
370. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Though I teach and publish in the area of OT-NT, early church exegesis, etc, I confess I do not understand this sentence, and to untangle it would be a difficult enterprise.

“You should not use the OT as a model for the church withoutCONFIRMATION IN THE NT OR THE EARLY CHURCH. To do otherwise justifies a kind of rootles allegory which can justify any interpretation.”

Well I’m not sure I can help you if you can’t see the obvious. The principle that the OT is a model for the NT is clear, but how exactly does that work? This principle is not a liscence for any and every idea that appeals to you. Shall I take the command to the Levites to kill the brother Israelites after the sin of the Golden Calf as a model for the Church? How about the book of Judges. The “rootless allegory” to which I refer is best exemplified in Origen. Much of his exegesis was directed by the Christian faith but soem was directed by his Platonism, and most of this was filtered through his own interpretation. I quote from my own thesis:

Origen often prefers a non-historical typology even where Scripture has already indicated a connection with a historical event such as the Passion of Christ. After interpreting the “squared planks”, which the LXX reads in Gen. 6.14, to be faithful teachers and Apostles because elsewhere trees are representative of rational beings, or men, as when God refers to Pharaoh as a cypress Ez. 31.1-5, Origen then strangely ventures a possible reading of Dt. 21.23:

Consider if perhaps that also which is written, “Everyone who hangs on a tree is accursed of God”, ought not to be so understood even as also that which is said elsewhere: “Cursed be the man who has hope in man”. (Jer 17.5)  For we ought to depend on God alone and on no other.

 

Of course I do not oppose this with a “sober literalism” for Colin Gunton has well demonstarted that there is no simple literal understanding as all language is built upon metaphor and gradations of symbolism is in all human, and consequently divine, communication. Yet there must be a hermeneutic which holds as the primary rule in guiding all other metaphorical and symbolical/typological etc. understandings the minimally literal and historical so that imagination does not run away from itself. Eisogesis is all very well for private devotions but there can be no authority in it. Who could point to a passage and tell others that this is a model for understanding other passages unless there was some authority beyond the interpreter, like in the Bible itself or in the broader consistent witness of the church, to confirm that reading?

With what can we confront the heretics “spiritual” reading of the Bible? With our own spiritual reading? Should we not move the argument to higher ground and point to the witness of the church, or at least to clear examples in the Bible of interpretation n related texts?

The Lord has given me a gift. I have a natural ability to create metaphorical illustrations. It helps me in my teaching and preaching. But this gisft can be abused. I can easily make false metaphorical connections, unless I submit myself to a guide in making and applying these metaphors. It is at the very least, the Rule of Faith. More expansively, it is the history of the church’s tecahing and witness.

December 11, 9:13 pm | [comment link]
371. seitz wrote:

Thanks, did not and does not seem obvious.

May God bless your ‘gifts’ properly chastened. I have spent much profitable time with Colin Gunton and work with many of his students (A Torrance, Murray Rae, S Holmes). In the matter of typology-allegory-Origen please consult F Young, von Campenhausen, Torjeson’s nice work on Origen and literal sense, etc.

And O how we need a better treatment of regula fidei in the ante-Nicene fathers! That is a project I am presently hard at work on.

Do you teach and publish anywhere I should be aware of? I did not know you studied with Colin Gunton. I counted him a good friend and his death was quite a blow, at such a young age. Best wishes.

December 11, 9:31 pm | [comment link]
372. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

If it does not seem obviuous, by what or with what do you guide your use of the OT as a model to understand the church? Surely not just your own reason and scholarship.

I studied under Colin Gunton for my PhD until he died. He was a great theologian with not a trace of arrogance or pomposity, a feat.

I teach in a church. I do not publish, yet.

December 11, 9:54 pm | [comment link]
373. Larry Morse wrote:

#334. I do appreciate your explication. #48, a thoughtful response and instructive. I suspected that NT Greek “meek” was not the present “meek,” but I had no way of determining. “Meek” as the self-disciplining of the self, if I may put it that way, iis a very different matter: To stand humbly before a power vastly greater than yourself and STILL to act! Do I read you correctly 334? So Abraham with his knife in his hand can properly be called meek because he had brought his fears for Isaac under control, and all the other fears that you and I would have under the same circumstances?  Do I read your explication correctly? For me, this is important to understand. We may therefore fight TEC tooth and nail provided this is not ego fighting ego, pride fighting pride?

  Yes, I meant an exile inside the church. For this is what TEC has done, for all practical purposes, is attempt to make SanJ an exile. It is not merely literal that they wish to drive SanJ (and all the others), out of their home. Attempt, I say, but it cannot succeed because SanJ has in fact returned home and will be an exile no more. This is the case, isn’t it? At last, TEc will be the exile, is this not so?

  I will add this, for Kendall’s remark, we are not exiles in this world either. We are here because evolution put us here, and unlike the mice and the gorillas and the whales, we are responsible for the world to which we belong. This is our home, not Satan’s,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              God gave it to us, assigned it to us. Satan is the exile here, as elsewhere. He is the Rootless One, the one with no identity.  There is no evil in the natural universe because it has no power to choose.
If we die of the plague, this is a misfortune, not an evil. Evil lies wholly in the choice. SanJ has chosen well; TEC has chosen ill and will join the Rootless One. Can we say correctly that SanJ has chosen meekly? Larry

December 11, 10:23 pm | [comment link]
374. Irenaeus wrote:

Jim Naughton’s rant about Neela Banerjee [quoted in #340] reminds me of the old political adage, “Never fight with anyone who buys ink by the ton.”

The more Naughton rants, the more reason other good reporters will have to discern the skull beneath the skill of ECUSA’s ruthless revisionist rulers.

December 11, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
375. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Quibble: ink is sold by the barrel.

December 11, 10:29 pm | [comment link]
376. robroy wrote:

It is interesting that Prof Seitz brought up Luther’s, “A Prelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church”. Was it simply because Luther used the analogy of Israel’s exile for his circumstances as people use it for our present situation? As an anti-ecclesiastical “screed” or “rant” to use our current vernacular, the essay would never get past the elves of this blog. It apparently was his first work where he referred to the pope as the anti-Christ. Indeed, the language was so severe that it was responsible for pushing Erasmus back into the arms of Rome. In particular, the section rejecting ordination as a sacrament is most enlightening (entire text found here):

They have sought by this device (ordination) to set up a nursery of implacable discord, whereby clerics and laymen should be separated from each other farther than heaven from earth, to the incredible injury of the grace of baptism and the confusion of our fellowship in the Gospel. Here, indeed, are the roots of that detestable tyranny of the clergy over the laity; trusting in the external anointing by which their hands are consecrated, in the tonsure and in vestments, they not only exalt themselves above lay Christians, who are only anointed with the Holy Spirit, but regard them almost as dogs and unworthy to be included with them in the Church.

Luther was the complete anti-thesis of Ephraim’s “if it affects the whole communion, it needs to be addressed by the whole communion.” He, alone, mounted the steps in Wittenberg and affixed his theses on the church door. Luther obviously felt that the Catholic church was so corrupt that it could not or would not (or both) reform itself. As Father Handy, despite the systemic corruption of the renaissance Catholic church (sales of indulgences, nepotism involving bastard children, poisoning of rivals, Papal schism, etc), one did not hear then the outrageous heresy that is preached from the pulpits of the TEC on a weekly basis.

The TEC brings condemnation on itself. But, too, the AC condemns itself for not being able to pass judgment and discipline on its heretical member. From individuals, like Bill Boniface, to parishes, like Christ Church, Savannah, to now whole dioceses, people and groups are reacting to the AC’s organizational impotency.

Ephraim and the ACI condemn the collective reaction, basically echoing and reinforcing the reprehensible “individuals can go but parishes or dioceses can’t”. Why?
1. It brings controversy and ill-repute to the church. Actually, the stirred pot is not a bad thing, in that many other denominations are considering our foolish course, and hopefully our travails give them pause. Indeed, I have heard this is the case with ELCA, Methodists, and Presbyterians to some degree.
2. If it affects the communion, it must be addressed by the whole communion. Implicit in this is the false equivalency: the ordination of Gene Robinson and SSUB’s of New Westminster were damnable unilateralism and the conservatives are equally damnably unilateralistic. The TEC (and diocese of NW) dared the AC to condemn them, and the AC condemned themselves as above. But what are the consequences of the action of the diocese of San Joaquin? Locally, it save a large group of people from sinking with the TEC. But more globally, it notches up the intensity yet again and this is a very good thing. The “kick the can down the road till I retire” avoidance of the crisis is toxic and worst thing that one can do in the current situation. Does it tell the old ditherer, “We simply must act”? It does, indeed.
3. It will destroy the Communion. I would agree that it pushes the AC towards formalizing separation what is already true informally. The term itself, Anglican Communion, is more of an oxymoron than army intelligence. This diocese isn’t recognized by that province. Those priests can’t perform sacraments in that diocese. What a travesty. Denying reality, fantastical thinking are not helpful. Decide to decide to separate. I happen to think that as Father Handy, does, the liberal element is a parasitic cancer and when cut loose it will thrive as well as, say, the Lutheran church of Sweden. (As surgeon, Father Handy, I would say that it hopefully is not stage IV which by definition is not operable.) And when free of this cancer the Anglican church will thrive and be light and salt.

December 12, 8:07 am | [comment link]
377. seitz wrote:

I did not ‘bring up Martin Luther’ on the terms of your discussion at all. The issue was stated forthrightly by a commentator: ‘exile’ was a false image for present reflection. My very simple point was, I thought, clear: at the time of the reformation, ‘captivity’ and especially the Old Testament’s figural sense, came to the fore. Or, the reformer’s (on all sides) returned to a robust hearing of the OT as had held sway in much of the former history of interpretation.

(Much of my own published work entails the figural sense of scripture and how this was lost in the 17th century and on by a preoccupation with ‘secular history’ and developmentalism (Lessing becoming a prime example). That was the context of my reaction—blogs probably not the best place to register complex historical issues).

The question of the place of Martin Luther in the present struggle of anglicans is an interesting one, but also one that needs care. Luther did not a have geographical notion of catholic integrity as anglicanism sought to claim, but looked to the reform of the Roman Church, at which time his own project would end. This is precisely why so many former lutherans in our day (Robert Wilken, RJ Neuhaus, R Huetter, B Marshall, et al) have become Roman Catholics: they have declared the captivity over. Anglicans can look on with interest, concern or joy, but ‘look on’ they do, because Anglicans did not gather a self-understanding in the same terms as Lutherans.

Your categories are intriguing, but ACI has no interest in ‘collective action’ per se. It has an interest in letting the self-definition of anglicanism, defined by and for anglicans in council, be what anglicans follow. It wishes anglicans to be anglicans, in communion, for its own sake and because following uncharted paths will surely just create uncharted problems. One can be excited about the potential. One can dictate that the instruments are kaput. Now. End of story. Or one can work to see to their good functioning before all goes into free fall. That is our tack. It may fail. Others regard such a tack wrong in all events.

I cannot speak for all ACI leaders, but I am not keen on watching something God has preserved over centuries, seeing provinces which have gathered strength precisely because the communion was a communion brother, etc be held hostage to the excitement of creating a New Federal Anglicanism. I’d prefer we try to preserve what is best of what we have, and not clean the decks and try to do something new. I happened to look in on SF’s reactions to a recent Minns statement. One does recall the worry of Luther about what he had wrought, especially with the hoards of ‘enthusiasts’ he looked on with horror. But many Lutherans believe that they have at last returned home because the captivity is over, and because Luther did what was necessary and the RC church corrected her errors. Others disagree. I don’t think anglicanism has reflected on her fate, given the global character of her life and her catholic claims, in the same way, though some of course will see in lutheran exile vis-a-vis the RC church a mirror of their own anglican identity. That has not been the tendency of ACI.

You might take a look at the Theological Exegesis volume I edited some years ago; the essay by Radner there is a very clear statement of what anglicanism has thought of its fate vis-a-vis lutheranism and RC identity.

December 12, 8:46 am | [comment link]
378. seitz wrote:

#372. You are right about Colin. Active church leader and proud of being what he called ‘non conformist.’ But very tough in debate and not someone to trifle with intellectually. I believe I remember him asking me once if I knew who you were, but may have forgotten that over the years. We lectured together at Noth Park Seminary in Chicago. Sadly, when Colin died, the programme at Kings went into receivership and has not recovered. These stories need to be recorded. It is very hard to get a critical mass in any single institution anymore. I have watched several falter and not recover, after having produced some great students. Sorry, off topic. But the theological battle is there to be taken up. Why not produce a list of 20 basic questions—non combative, basics—and send them to +KJS via public forum? Some time people end up playing ‘away games’ when the home stadium is where the spirals fly better…

December 12, 9:44 am | [comment link]
379. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

#376, Robroy,

Well, it’s finally happened.  We’ve found a point where we disagree.  Alas, it was inevitable. 

Actually, I’m joking.  I admit that speaking of “stage 4” cancer may have been hyperbole.  I too hope that the malignant tumor can be surgically removed, at least from the AC as a whole.  TEC is another story.  I fear the cancer has metastsized and spread to so many places that TEC is beyond saving (as a national entity).  But who knows?  God has a record of pulling off big surprises that no one expects.

BTW, there is obviously a word left out in a sentence above where you endorse and amplify my claim that the kind of blatant, in-your-face denials of core doctrines we are facing today are much worse than anything the original Reformers faced (see my post #338).  I’m pretty sure you meant something like, “As Father Handy NOTED, despite the systemic corruption of the renaissance Catholic church…one did not hear then the outrageous heresy that is preached from the pulpits of the TEC on a weekly basis.” 

Well said, robroy.  You’ve just earned another raise as President of the NRAFC (NRA Fan Club).

David Handy+

December 12, 10:25 am | [comment link]
380. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Rev Seitz, you are misrepresenting the issue of how “exile” was brought up and how you brought up Martin Luther. To Summarize:

in omment 329 Larry said this: “What did you expect SanJ to do?  Stay where they were aliens[in the church]?”
Kendal responded, #331: “Larry I realize you may not have intended this, but do you have any idea how absurd it sounds. According to 1 Peter, we are aliens and exiles as Christians here on earth.”

I responded to Kendall, #333: “have you no understanding of the differenece between our relationship to the world and our relationship to each other in the church? Larry is saying that we should not be aliens within the chutrch, and he is perfectly right in this. Of course we will always be aliens in the world but it is in the church where we should, where we MUST enjoy the fellowship of true believers.”

My whole point is that the alien and stranger motief is proper for our relationship to the world but that within the church such a concept has no biblical foundation and is quite alien to the teaching of the NewTestament. Then I said:

“That you look back to the exile in Babylon tells me that you are buying in to Radner’s false hermeneutic. It is always a mistake to look at the Old Testament for models unless you see it confirmed in the New. The age of the Law and of Israel has passed. Since Christ has come and the Spirit has been given we are in the age of the Church. It is to the New Testament and to the witness of the early church that you should look for models to justify the novel theory that Christians should be content to worship with heretics and blasphemers. But you shall find scant evidence there. “

“That you look back to the exile in Babylon tells me that you are buying in to Radners false hermeneutic. It is always a mistake to look at the Old Testament for models unless you see it confirmed in the New. The age of the Law and of Israel has passed. Since Christ has come and the Spirit has benn given we are in the age of the Church. It is to the New Testament and to the witness of the early church that you should look for models to justify the novel theory that Christians should be content to worship with heretics and blasphemers. But you shall find scant evidence there.

My point about it “mistake to look at the Old Testament for models unless you see it confirmed in the New” should be obvious: that if you think an OT passage gives an image of what is normative for the Church you need to make sure that idea is confirmed by the clearer teaching of the New Testament, or in the witness of the early church. That the OT reveals the church in shadow and typology is well taught in Scripture, but it is not just the Reformers but also the great classical doctors of the church who proclaimed that what is taught in shadow is also proclaimed in the light. Radner is using the image of the exile to justify an ecclesiastical approach not justified in the Scriptures writen in the age of the church.

You, in comment 335 said this: “So much for Martin Luther’s ‘The Babylonian Captivity of the Church’ and the consistent use of the OT by the early church fathers. But this is off thread and not worth time to correct. What Hathaway provides is a modern evangelical caricature of the catholic church’s consistent appeal to the OT as figure, type, moral exhortation. Radner did not dream up the use of the OT to help interpret the church in judgment—the history of biblical interpretation on this theme spans centuries, especially at the Reformation, but also earlier.”

No first note, YOU brought up Martin Luther. You also falsely insinuate that I deny the use of the OT in the eraly church. I did no such thing. I claimed such use must be guided by the New. Does the Phrase “reading the Old Testament through the New” mean anything. The New Testament, the Gospel come in clarity, must be the lenz through which the Gospel in shadow, the old Testament, is read.

Now what Luther or the Reforemers did is hardly germaine to what is permissiable. They themselves would say that long practice and a bad hermeneutic is no justification, since many of them were railing against so much ungoverned allegory of the Scholstic age. Is that my “modern evangelical caricature of the catholic church’s consistent appeal to the OT as figure, type, moral exhortation”?

Furthermore, your bringing up Luther was a real stumble on your part, as his image runs completetly counter to Radner’s use of it and rather backs up my point that exile and captivity are undesirable circumstances and not God’s will for us. Robroy reiterating at greater length my reply to this point now makes you backtrack and spin.
Let’s be more honest, shall we?

December 12, 10:40 am | [comment link]
381. seitz wrote:

Thanks, Christopher. I brought Luther up because he used the notion of exile, and I apparently wrongly thought that you said exile was a bogus idea. Shows how fragile communication via a blog can be. I am glad that you were able to have Colin Gunton before he died. A truly sharp mind and a theologian who worried about scripture as well. I am off to work. Blessings to you.

December 12, 10:48 am | [comment link]
382. ElaineF. wrote:

This thread has been a like a little webinar [web seminar] for me…I intend to read more of Luther’s writings…

December 12, 11:20 am | [comment link]
383. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Back to #369 for a moment.  Ross,

You confessed that you don’t share the same faith that the Bible is the Word of God in the same way that some of the rest of us do.  Unfortunately, your comment was so brief that I’m unsure exactly what you meant, and you may rest assured that I’m not trying to force any clarification on your part.  But I wholeheartedly agree that ultimately this is a matter of faith, and the traditional claim that the Sacred Page is indeed God’s holy Word is not subject to empirical verification, but rather is spiritually discerned.

But since so much of this bitter conflict in Anglicanism has to do with the authority of Holy Scripture and how it’s applied to complex, controversial matters like homosexual behavior, I’ll make a confession of my own.  Back when I was an undergraduate student at Wheaton College, that bastion of conservative evangelical Protestantism, I subscribed to the notion of biblical inerrancy and believed it was a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith.  Then I went to seminary at Yale Div. School and was soon presented with incontrovertible evidence that what I’d been taught at Wheaton just wasn’t true (at least, in that one specific area, inerrancy).  But fortunately, I had wonderful teachers like Brevard Childs (in OT) and Luke Timothy Johnson (in NT) who modeled a firm and ardent faith in Jesus Christ and who fervently upheld the classic doctrines of the Christian faith while participating fully in the ongoing enterprise of modern biblical scholarship. 

I often joke that Wheaton taught me to LOVE the Bible, whereas Yale and Union taught me how to really STUDY it.  But there was something else that Wheaton taught me, much better than YDS or Union-PSCE did, and that was this absolutely vital truth:
“in order to understand the Bible, you must be willing to stand under it.”  That is, you must be willing to submit to it, especially at the times when you’re not sure you agree with some of its hard sayings or its strong claims on our obedience.  And as always, it was a lesson more caught than directly taught, as I watched professors and my fellow evangelical students struggling to live as fully obedient disciples of Jesus Christ.

Now as something of a wanna be biblical scholar myself, I continue to draw inspiration from the example of my mentors, including Jack Dean Kingsbury and Paul Achtemeier at Union in Richmond.  They managed somehow to combine creative but responsible scholarship of the highest order with an uncompromising faith in the God to whom the Scriptures bear witness so marvelously.  As I’ve already indicated, Chris Seitz and +Tom Wright are similar hero figures to me.

I just wish that more of our Worthy Opponents were as frank and candid on this score as you are (and by this you’ve demonstrated yourself to be among the worthier ones).  As I’m sure you know, every Anglican priest since the Reformation has publicly sworn a solemn oath at their ordination that they believe the Scriptures “to be the Word of God.”  And in almost every TEC church in the country every Sunday, after the Scripture readings are proclaimed by a lector, the reader will say: “the Word of the Lord.”  And everyone responds, “Thanks be to God.” 

And yet, obviously this means very different things to a whole lot of people.  This is again one of those crucial ways that the “working theology” of so many leaders in TEC (lay and ordained) is sharply at odds with historic Anglican doctrine.  For the undeniable fact is that a great many TEC clergy no longer believe the Bible to be God’s Word in any meaningful sense anymore.  Tis sad, but true.

And that’s one of the main reasons why we need this New Reformation.  The Bible isn’t inerrant, and it’s not our only authority (no “sola Scriptura” for us Anglicans), but it is, and always must remain, the supreme and primary authority for any true Anglican.
In so many ways, that really is what this whole fight is about.

David Handy+
Lover of the Sacred Page

December 12, 11:23 am | [comment link]
384. Ephraim Radner wrote:

#380:  Where in the Bible does it say that the only figural readings of the Old Testament permitted are those “confirmed in the New”?  Where in the early Church is this said?  Where in the dogmatic teaching of East and West is this said?  The first time this claim was made with any normative pretence (I leave aside the debated question of a “school at Antioch”) was in the late Reformation (and even the early Reformers did not go so far, although they criticized what they saw as irresponsible allegorization—still what are we to make of Bale and others of his ilk?).  Whitaker, for instance, devotes a good deal of space to this question, on your terms, and becomes very influential in English Protestantism.  In fact, though, the early Church Fathers would never have made such a claim.  And the 39 Articles, as we know, step back from making it, settling for “non-repugnance” between Scriptural texts, especially between Old and New Testaments, rather than some kind of “positive” confirmation.  By the 17th-century, both Protestant and Catholic exegetes had re-adapted a certain kind of figuralist reading, sometimes with a vengeance ( e.g. Jurieu, Basnage, a host of RC readers).  This included Puritans (cf. Andrew Willet as a scholarly example; but many, many others, like Mather) and the political agitators of the Commonwealth and their more radical confreres. 

Of course, it all depends on what you mean exactly by “confirmation”.  For Whitaker and those like him, it meant that only just such figural readings as actually appear written in the NT are permissable, and any others are not.  This strict rule, however, was never followed, even by those who claimed to do so:  how read Revelation?  What to do with the Psalms (cf. Ps. 38 in today’s Office:  is it wrong to hear vv. 13f. as the voice of Israel?  of Christ?  of the Church?  And if so, why?  And if not, there is a rather large area of theological gold to be mined in this—in any case, most readers made these connections)?  Even when specifically ecclesial figuration was eliminated (as you seem to insist it must be), individual moral allegory was rampant, and historical allegory, especially when it furthered a particular polemic, was always happily at hand (how else call the Pope the “anti-Christ”; or the Turk, or Napoleon?)  The notion of “rootless allegory” is not a helpful locution, I think, because first, allegory is used by virtually all Christian exegetes, even when they try hard not to (at the very least, moral allegory, where we use personages from the past as figures for our own lives), and second, it is never “rootless” because it is, at the least, always governed by a theology (sometimes an ideology)that is testable, Scripturally and otherwise. 

Most readers, even self-proclaimed “anti-allegorists”, have taken something like Hebrews’ assertion that the Law acts as a “shadow” of good things to come (10:1) as a call to interpretation, with all of its challenges, but also its open-endedness of study.  Are only parts of the Law shadows?  And if not, are we forbidden to follow the direction of their true forms except in a few cases?  Only recently has any Christian read, e.g. Exodus in such a limited way.  Rather, through the historical and legal material, they have sought to see Christ and His Church, not only in the abstract, but in time.  This has been a noble calling, purused by Jesus, Paul, and the Church since that then, providing an inexhaustible wealth of understanding and beauty and wonder.  Some of it has probably been “wrong”, and that has been the burden of other students to sort out, on the basis of, yes the New Testament, but also the Church’s various teachings and even historical experiences (e.g. the fate of the Jewish people, both in general and at the hands of Christians, has altered the way certain traditional figural readings are evaluated—rightly, in my mind).  It is a kind of ragged process, but a consistent one, with most of the Church behind it.

As for considering “exile” to be an appropriate figure for the Church of Christ, even in her historical experience, the case against it is hardly as obvious as you seem to think.  There are a great many elements that come into this.  Kendall mentions 1 Peter 1:1:  indeed, that is clearly more than a contrast between “the world” and “heaven”, for the figure is given in terms of the “dispersion”, and indicates a geographical reality (emphasized by the areas mentioned in Asia), that is surely tied to the image of Israel.  What are they “exiled” from here?  And what is their relation, one to another?  If to Israel, who is Babylon and who has taken them captive, and where, and why?  INterestingly, Paul speaks of his abandonment by “everyone” in “Asia” (2 Tim. 1:15)—shall we make a connection to the “exiles” of Asia?  Why?  Why not?  Are “abandonment” and exile related?  What about Hebrews 11, and the kind of “wandering” on the earth to which the saints are given, and which is later tied to Jesus’ being “driven from the camp”, perhaps like the scape-goat (or like an exile, for that matter), to which Christians themselves are called?  What of the wandering in the desert, then, that Israel herself experienced, and that Paul, in 1 Cor., relates to the Corinthians, both in terms of positive and negative effects, judgment and mercy?  When the Christian Church is literally divided, so that some who “leave” one group for negative reasons can find a “home” in another, how shall we describe this in terms of what we know about Israel’s exile?  Should we?  Should we avoid such thinking?  Is it related at all to Zech. 13:6, where one’s “friends” have struck one (13:7 is certainly drawn to Jesus in the NT), and which seems to describe not only Israel but the Christian church in many respects (not happily, of course). 

Obvioulsy, this is a kind of rambling—but not “rootless” at all;  rather a search for the glorious interconnections of the Word and its formative power in history, as it comes to shed light on our lives and calling through the body of Jesus impressed upon the world. Figural applications gain their authority through historical testing.  The figure “exile” for the Church is not a central application, to be sure;  but it has a real pedigree within the Church’s tradition (I can trace it back consistently through the Middle Ages, at least, and the e. Church used it here and there in this respect)—its real embrace has actually been post-Reformation, at a time of ecclesial fragmentation.  Is this an accident?  Is this misleading? 

When the Puritans were expelled from their churches at the Restoration, it was called an “exile” (as well as an “ejection”!) and read through the eyes of the Old Testament;  and so too when, at various points, did the New England settlers struggle with their own calling in the midst of hardship.  Not “rootless” at all;  but a search for the roots God has planted through His living Scriptures.

December 12, 1:40 pm | [comment link]
385. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

I’d love to see more discussion of some key issues that good Prof. Seitz raised with his post #377.  That one started out with a reminder from him that the invoking of Luther in our present debate needs to be done with sophistication, care, and nuance.  I agree.  But although Dr. Seitz knows some of the Lutheran scholars who’ve “swum the Tiber” personally (especially the Pro Ecclesia crowd of “Evangelical Catholics”), and I don’t enjoy such friendships, I think there is much more going on among the Lutherans and ex-Lutherans that is relevant to our situation than just a sense that the “Babylonian Captivity” may finally be over.  For besides the positive attractions that post-Vatican II Rome has to offer, there is also very clearly a negative factor propelling this growing exodus of some of Lutheranism’s best and brightest theologians.  Many of them have stated that they were driven by a sense of betrayal and despair about what has become of American Lutheranism. i.e., it has been assimilated into “mainline” liberal Protestantism and lost its saltiness as a truly Lutheran movement.  And that rings true in our case as well.  Authentic Anglicanism has been jettisoned by the leaders of TEC, just as authentic confessional Lutheranism has been largely if not entirely lost in the ELCA.  Liberalism, as an ism or ideology, has swallowed up and corrupted the leaders of both denominations.

But I’m interested in seeing some energetic discussion of some related issues that Dr. Seitz just alludes to in passing.  One of those is when he tosses out the idea that “following uncharted waters will surely…create uncharted problems” (toward the middle of #377).  And I assume that by this rather cryptic statement he’s referring to the sort of call for developing new and more adequate Instruments of Unity/Communion that I have harped on repeatedly (such as my call for the creation of an international Anglican equivalent of the Supreme Court).  But did anyone else notice the important and revealing word that I’ve left out in the quote?  I certainly would have to agree that daring to venture out on such uncharted waters will most assuredly create unexpected problems.  But what I take exception to is the little word “just” that appears in his objection to that whole idea, i.e., I do NOT agree that embarking on such a bold voyage in uncharted waters “will JUST create uncharted problems” (my emphasis).  Of course, there will be unanticipated problems.  But that doesn’t mean that only bad things will result.  I continue to think that the experiment is well worth the risks.

Secondly, and I’ll stop with this second point (although there’s much more that’s worth discussing in #377), Dr. Seitz has pointed to the probelmatic nature of the long and sometimes far from irenic discussion of Women’s Ordination (WO) that’s gone on over at SF the last couple of days (I’ve contributed a few posts there myself).  Returning to the question of the relevance of Luther to our own modern struggles, Prof. Seitz has highlighted the fact that Luther was appalled by the way some of his followers took his ideas to extremes that he never intended and that he bitterly opposed.  For instance, Luther’s colleague on the theological faculty at Wittenberg, Carlstadt, went far beyond Luther in calling for the people to rise up and eradicate all traces of idolatry in town, leading to a Puritan-like defacing of church statues and art that horrified Luther.  It caused him to rush back to Wittenberg (at great risk) from his safe hideout at Wartburg Castle in order to put down this ultra-Protestant revolt.  I am well aware of these kind of dangers.  Radical reforms always unleash even more radical attempts at reform. ‘Twas ever thus.  But that doesn’t mean that all Reformations are unwise in principle and should therefore be avoided.

At least I don’t think so (though Dr. Radner may well tend to disagree). 

The fact is that the late medieval Papacy had stubbornly refused to reform itself, despite numerous attempts by reforming Councils that all came to naught.  And that, in the end, made something like the Reformation simply inevitable.  Even if Luther had never lived, someone else would have launched a similar movement.  And only then did the papacy finally relent and call the reforming Council of Trent and back its reforms.  But by then, it was a case of “too little, too late.”

In a similar way, I believe the ABC and many leaders of the AC will only be willing to take the radical steps necessary to deal with the truly serious problems we face once it has become clear that there is going to be a major schism and that nothing can stop it from happening.  Trent would not have happened without Luther and the Protestant Reformation.  And I feel confident that likewise nothing of real importance will happen to reform Anglicanism worldwide until stubborn resisters (such as certain western primates or the liberals who run the Anglican Communion Office) are forced to confront the fact that the most influential GS leaders really do mean business and will continue to intervene in North America as long as necessary.

Maybe the noble leaders of ACI will still be around in TEC (or the ACoC) to help guide the North American equivalent of Trent as a reforming council within the old structures.  Fine.  We must each do as we feel called.  I wish them well.

But I for one am simply unwilling to wait so long.  And yes, I do find the prospects of developing a “New Federal Anglicanism” (the phrase is that of Dr. Seitz, not mine) so thrilling and so attractive that I’m willing to cast my lot in that direction already.  The future of the AC really depends on the Global South, not on the current Instruments of Unity/Communion.  I myself wouldn’t say that they are “kaput” (again, Seitz’ phrasing), but I do forthrightly assert that they are plainly inadequate to deal with this severe a crisis and even fatally flawed.  I don’t claim that they must be scrapped and replaced.  But they must be radically transformed and augmented as true “federal” or trans-provincial authorities so that our beloved Anglican “Communion” can finally come of age and grow into a TRUE worldwide COMMUNION.  The real danger is not over-centralization, but rather anarchy (see Judges 21:25 again).

Any takers in discussing those sorts of profound issues?  The departure of San Jaoquin signals the start of a whole new era in Anglicanism.  And who knows where it will lead or how it will end?  All that’s certain is that Anglicanism will never be the same.

David Handy+
Bold Advocate of that New Reformation (and lover of Luther)

December 12, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
386. robroy wrote:

I did not object to the allusion to the exile period as an allegory for our present situation. As I said I was surprised that Prof Seitz brought up the very anti-ecclesiology work of Luther. I guess this shows that the analogy is imprecise certainly. Who/where is Babylon? What does the old Testament exile tell us what to do in the present? I would say that what is certain is that we are in a time of judgment, and there is a tremendous need for humility and repentance. Also, the temple may be destroyed but that we can rebuild it.

What I take from Luther’s lead is that we need to follow integrity’s path, ““Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir. Amen.” San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Christ Church - Savannah, Bishop Steenson, John Doe in the diocese of Newark, etc., could no longer stay in the TEC and maintain integrity.

It is my contention that the actions of the people, parishes and dioceses are a good thing because they continue to pressure for resolution. It is clear that the ABC would love for it to be 2018 and that he had safely retired and kicked the can down the road and successfully avoided the hard decisions. Time is not on the side of the orthodox. Whether critical mass is still present so that orthodox Anglicanism is not lost from North America permanantly is debatable. Of course, time is really not on the side of the revisionists but they refuse to see this. Again, these actions push inertia laden structures towards resolution.

December 12, 8:09 pm | [comment link]
387. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

I am baffled Mr. Radner, by the lack of any clear rules in your discussion of non-literal interpretation. You ask where is there a rule that an symbolic interpretation of the OT must be confirmed in the NT. Well, there is this principle of “two witnesses”. You need something to validate your theory. And then there is the principle of Scripture interpreting Scripture. You may claim that that is no earlier than the Reformation but I will point to the same early witnesses who also say that symbolic interpretations must be confirmed by literal passages of Scripture.

Chrysostom says: “Nowhere does Scripture depart from this rule. It always supplies the key for the allegories it employs, wishing in this way to prevent minds that are keen on such figures from straying off at random and without purpose, from letting their imaginations go wild.”

Augustine is equally cautious about figurative interpretations being guided by literal interpretations:
“For among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are to be found all matters that concern faith and the manner of life,-to wit, hope and love, of which I have spoken in the previous book. After this, when we have made ourselves to a certain extent familiar with the language of Scripture, we may proceed to open up and investigate the obscure passages, and in doing so draw examples from the plainer expressions to throw light upon the more obscure, and use the evidence of passages about which there is no doubt to remove all hesitation in regard to the doubtful passages.” and
“Now anyone is entitled to say something else, so long as what he says is in harmony with the rule of faith”

Thomas Aquinas helped to revive the appreciation for the literal by making it foundational for the allegorical:
“In Holy Writ no confusion results, for all senses are founded on one-the literal- from which alone can any argument be drawn, and not from those intended in allegory”

The reason for these rules are obvious; symbolical interpretation can of themselves prove nothing. As Luther says: “Allegories are fine ornaments, but not of proof”

Please show me a church father or a Reformation father that said that the use of figurative interpretation justified seeing figures in Scripture however you pleased. Even Origen would not defend that principle, though he often seemed to operate by it and has been rightly criticized within the church for excessive allegorizing. If you want to show a symbolic prefiguring of the church in the exile of Israel then you have to demonstrate that that interpretation is valid. You can’t simply postulate it and call it an argument. There is a simple reason why proofs must come in literal interpretations: the literal has set rules. It has a level of objectivity that symbolism will never have.

So, your license to allegorize or interpret figuratively is not unlimited. You have to prove your figures with facts drawn from clearer exegesis. Now, as to why these should come from the New Testament, it stands to reason that you will not likely find in the Old a precise explanation of how examples in the Old are prefigurations of something, the church, which didn’t exist yet. But if there happens to be a clear prophetic explanation that this and that action represent what the life of the people of God would be after the Messiah came, and it would have to be that clear to be any kind of proof, then you would have a case. But how could you explain such a clear proof in the Old not then being cited in the New? That would indeed be strange, wouldn’t it?

Absent of Scriptural proof a second best option would be some pedigree in the church that this or that figurative reading is a normative Christian one. But it is insufficient to point vaguely to certain ideas or themes without being specific about how they are applied.Your use of the idea of exile to describe and prescribe the church disregards the very specific use that your examples in church history make of that term. Many Puritans may have called their expulsion from the CofE an exile but that was not interpreted as a judgment upon them. Moreover, the example correlates in exactly the opposite way to the situation in which you want to apply it. They were being cast out of a persecuting church. How can their use of the term exile be used to say a similar group should suffer staying and being persecuted? The two actions are not the same. This is just the same confusion of application that was used when Luther’s image of the Babylonian captivity was raised. It is insufficient merely to cite the use of the image of captivity in relationship to the church without clearly identifying how that image was being used. Who is doing the captivating? Is the captivity something God means to be stopped or continued? Should the church accept captivity as the natural course of things? Did breaking from the bishop of Rome increase of decrease the captivity? Asking and aswering such questions gives precision and stability to one’s use of figuration, that is presuming that such qualities are desired.

What is the point, Ephraim, of defending your rather harsh criticism of the actions of San Joaquin not to suffer exile in their own church by appealing to a figurative interpretation of the exile of Israel which you refuse to demonstrate to have been used in that way either in Scripture by any father? Are you proposing that you possess an authoritative spirit of interpretation? Do you have the charism of the apostles? Are you not, in fact proposing merely a fancy, and holding it as authoritative, and this against arguments pointing to both the literal meaning of New Testament passages saying we shouldn’t even eat with immoral Christians and the repeated practice of the church in breaking from heretics without waiting for a general council?

I can’t see how your rather elastic “principles” of exegesis could not be used for much more unorthodox purposes without any strain.

December 13, 10:05 am | [comment link]
388. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Christopher, apart from your application to Ephraim’s point, your last entry seems to hold some valuable insights into (re-)interpretation of OT scripture.

My own starting point is Gordon Fee, who claims that the present meaning of Scripture is the meaning that it held originally, to the writer and the intended audience. When faced with the Gospel of Matthew’s clear re-interpretation of certain passages, my professor said, “Well, Matthew can do that, but you can’t.”

I’ve been looking for something deeper than that. Your comment above had a few markers on which a theology (or, if you will, epistemology?) of re-interpretation could possibly be built.

December 13, 10:23 am | [comment link]
389. Ephraim Radner wrote:

First of all, #387, some historical points:  many Puritans did in fact see their “exile” as a form of divine judgment upon themselves.  Over and over.  Just as many Anglicans saw their loss of standing during the Commonwealth as a judgment from God upon their own failures in faith.  You are quite wrong on your facts.  “‘Tis indeed Gods usual method to leave the Church to extremity before he doth command help”, and persecutions stem from “our own turnings aside from the Lord,” and “times of extremity make us more humble, and humility like the Plow, lifts us for the see of mercy” (Charnock and Flavel).  It was kind of obvious to them. 

That did not mean that they saw their opponents as right;  only as being tools in the hands of God.  And this seemed rather parallel to Israel vis a vis Assyria and Babylon.  This was Augustine’s and Salvian’s understanding of the judgment of God upon the Roman Christians at the hands of the Goths and others. (You may look this up, in e.g. Salvian’s “On the Government of God”,  if the historical allusion here seems too “vague” for your taste.  I am happy to supply you with references.) 

Nor did I ever say or imply that figural exegesis is appropriate “however you pleased”.  Why you make such sweeping statements is mysterious.  I said it was “open-ended”, based on the interplay of a number of basic orientations by both Old and New Testament texts, their first interpreters (including Jesus and the Apostles), and the practice of the church.  I might add also:  a major theological foundation to the open-ended figural exegesis of the Old and New Testaments is the ontological character of Christ himself, as the “fulfilment” of Israel’s Law, its promised Messiah (“search the Scriptures”, he says, referring to Moses:  “they speak of me”), and the Second Adam, in whom all humanity is taken up. Strict rules are neither discernible nor desirable;  historical testing, both in terms of theological, exegetical, and providential coherence is.  It is appropriate to criticize figural applications, just as you are doing;  but not on the basis of some pre-ordered set of rules.  The rules, for instance, that Augustine lays out in “On Christian Doctrine” provide wide latitude to the discernment of OT figuration, and they are meant to, for they are designed to maintain both the clarity of the text, but also the illumination of Jesus Christ and the charity He both embodies and provides, and necessarily speaks through His Word.  Your citation of Augustine at all in the context of your argument is odd, because his own interpretive practices (e.g. in any single example from his Expositions of the Psalms) go so counter to your sense of tightly-ordered and lmitedly precedented figural readings. 

You clearly do not believe that, in judging the Episcopal Church—and now the entire Anglican Communion— God is also judging conservative members of it, and thereby driving them, not to escape that judgment but to receive it and grow under its weight.  The entire direction of the Holy Bible, as far as I can see, demonstrates, however, that this is exactly how God’s judgment works (it is, as Charnock says, His “method”):  it “begins” with God’s own very “house”, that is, the Church.  If I saw the spirit of repentance within the confused and contradictory movements of conservative Anglicanism in response to the present turmoil, that would be one thing.  But I do not, and few people do.  This, in fact, is the burden of what little I have said about San Joachin:  we see anger, accusation, recrimination, lawsuits, and the spreading of the disease of ecclesial disorder around the globe.  Where today do we hear among the conservatives prayers such as Nalton’s at the Great Ejection:
“Oh let thy strength be manifested in our weakness; look upon us with the favour thou bearest to thy children. Enter not into judgment with thy servants, for we cannot answer thee one of a thousand, not one thought of a thousand thoughts, nor one word of a thousand words; most of our actions have been reproveable, and the best of our services have been unprofitable: our omissions, commissions, and presumptions {} have been multiplied intolerably. Oh! how often have we taken thy Name in vain, while we have been confessing our sins: how often have we run from confessing our sins, to the committing of sins? and from committing sins, to the confessing sin again, as if we had but mocked thy sacred Majesty. Though we know thy Favour is better than life, we have parted with it upon easy terms. Oh the pride and stubbornness that is in our hearts: All the mercies thou hast bestowed upon us, have not melted us into tears for our unkindness, and all those blows that have fallen upon our backs, have not beat folly out of our hearts. We have been unprofitable all our days; some have done thee more service in one year, than we in all our time: We have forgotten thee in the day of prosperity, and sung a lullaby to our own Souls: Oh that we could speak these things with broken and bleeding hearts! But as in the time of our ignorance we could sin without reluctancy, so now we can sin without repentance. Oh that thou wouldst smite the rock, that there might flow out tears.”  No:  these are not the words of New Reformation, but of a spirit that is, in fact, being vilified as “collaborationist”, “cowardly”, “betraying”, “naive”, “flatulent”, “narcissistic”, and the rest.  You have spoken of the need for “respect” for different choices.  There has been no respect in this church for years, no matter what the diocese and no matter towards whom.  That is in part why God is judging us. 


Clearly you do not recognize this as an accurate picture of what is going on, and you therefore have little need to try to understand it Scripturally.  That is your business.  But it is a business that, I believe, in the long run does us no good.

December 13, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
390. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

If I saw the spirit of repentance within the confused and contradictory movements of conservative Anglicanism in response to the present turmoil, that would be one thing.  But I do not, and few people do.


I would disagree, especially with Ephraim’s coda to the latter sentence. But I would agree that the spirit of repentance is not at the forefront. I consider myself fully at fault for the shape that TEC is in currently—not by active participation in heresy, but by passively standing by as the heresy began to permeate the church. We orthodox spend too little time in repentance; whether or not we feel called to stay or leave.

December 13, 2:09 pm | [comment link]
391. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

#389, Dr. Radner,

Though I’m tempted to enter into the fray and interact with both you and Christopher Hathaway (#387) on the complex subject of the limits of valid figural interpretation, I’ll pass on that for the time being, and concentrate on a very important charge you level at almost all of us on the conservative side of this titanic struggle.  Namely, you accuse us of lack of a proper attitude of humility and repentance, and an unwillingness to accept the discipline inherent in being a church under divine judgment.

Alas, I’m afraid you are right about that.  Once again, I can’t speak for anyone but myself, however, I’m willing to admit that all too much stubbornness and self-righteousness remains in my own heart and mind.  And Advent is an especially good time to (in the words of the collect for this week) heed the call of the prophets to repentance and to forsake our sins.

But you still seem very one-sided in your analysis to me.  Your call to endless patient endurance borders on quietism and passivity.  As others have objected before, you seem, if I may be so bold, fixated on a call to a martyr-like role.  Well, if so (and I might be wrong), I would commend you for standing steadfast and faithful to the bitter end as a martyr within the current structures of the AC.

But not all are called to martyrdom.  All are called to humility and repentance, yes, of course, and all are likewise called to sacrifice and suffering, no doubt.  But that does not equate with a universal vocation to passive endurance and martyrdom.  You seem more troubled by some kinds of sin than others, and you seem to recoil in horror especially from the sins of arrogance and self-righteousness.  And yet you direct your call to repentance more toward “the good guys in the white hats” than to “the bad guys.”

Now, calm down.  I deliberately used that provocative language for a reason.  Yes, I’d be the first to admit that there is more than enough blame to go around.  And the idea that judgment begins with the household of God is certainly biblical (1 Peter 4:17).  But like many others here, it does seem to me that you are engaging in some “friendly fire” that targets people on our side when the enemy is attacking and close at hand.  Please train your theological artillery on the bad guys.  They are the TRULY arrogant and self-righteous ones. 

Pardon me for beng so bold and presumptuous, but you seem committed to a form of what might be called “theological pacifism.”  Again, I may be wrong, but all too often you sound at least like a CO (conscientious objector) who refuses to go to war against our adversaries.  Mind you, I’m not accusing you of compromising theologically, or siding with our foes, not in the least.  I admire and commend you for the forthrightness with which you have constantly upheld the correctness of the orthodox position.  In that area, you are absolutely exemplary.

But you refuse to wage theological warfare against our foes.  And we ARE in a “just war” here, where all-out, highly aggressive theological warfare is indeed appropriate (in my judgment).  And I do mean the kind that aims to grind our opponents into the dirt in the name of Jesus Christ.

That at least is the kind of call I sense.  You may have a different one.  But turning the other cheek is NOT the universal call in times of a just war, when our families, friends, and all we hold dear are at risk.  To fail to wage relentless war against our opponents in this case seems to me, at least, to be a failure to love those we are primarily called to serve, our neighbors (as all of us fathers would like to protect our families), even though there does indeed remain the call to love our enemies as well (even as we hew them down with our rhetorical swords).  After the unconditional surrender of our foes, there will be time enough for soul searching and repentance.  But this is the time for waging war, not making peace!

Elves, I don’t mean that really as a personal attack.  Good Dr. Radner simply represents many faithful clergy on the orthodox side who choose to abstain from the kind of aggressive defense that I think is called for in these dark days.

David Handy+
Modern Crusader

December 13, 2:53 pm | [comment link]
392. Ephraim Radner wrote:

Dear David,

You have stated your case clearly and in a way that, while disagreeing in the strongest terms, does not denigrate my own views.  I am grateful for that.  Indeed, you have phrased things so clearly, from your perspective (I might have quibbles with how you have characterized my own, but no great complaints) that I think people are in a good place to take stock of what they are hearing.  Thanks for that. 

Meanwhile, I think this thread has begun to drift into the Sheol of the blog.  I will now bid it adieu.  Thanks for all the intriguing discussion.

December 13, 3:11 pm | [comment link]
393. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Yes, Dr. Radner, it is getting very long indeed.  And perhaps I just helped it descend into the depths in other ways as well.  But I’m grateful that you took no offense.  For none was intended.

And as you hinted, some readers will doubtless be shocked at my rather intemperate (and violent) language.  So be it.  But I am still grateful for your kind and gracious response (even if, by having just signed off, you don’t see this).

David Handy
Given to occasional hyperbole

December 13, 3:58 pm | [comment link]
394. Christopher Hathaway wrote:

Mr. Radner, I am well aware of Augustine’s use of allegorical interpretation. It is a principle focus of my PhD thesis. However, Augustine’s point, as well as Luther’s was that you could not prove new ideas by them, let alone contradict established New Testament principles. Augustine used allegory not to prove his theology but to prove the divine status of Scriptures that without a spiritual exegesis might seem opaque, at least. Allegory serves the authority of darker texts. It does not serve ideas that cannot be proved by clearer exegesis. You cannot read Christ or the church into the text in a way that runs counter to what the Christian faith says explicitly about Christ and the church. And that faith is known first through clear natural exegesis of the literal meaning of the New Testament. Perhaps this represents the “Strict rules” which you think “are neither discernible nor desirable” but without them we would be left to the subjective judgment of the exegetes. And I notice that your judgment seems to put little store in New Testament texts that don’t fit you theory and in argument you present me with a subjective figurative interpretation of the Old Testament.

The Church is called to separate from heretics and the immoral, 1 Cor. 5:11-13 and 2 Cor. 6:14. Nothing I have seen you write in response deals with this clear teaching in the New Testament and the common application of it in the history of the church. Cyrpian did not wait for a General Council to exercise his judgment against heretics and schismatics. Athanasius did not wait for the 2nd Council to validate his episcopacy. Paul of Samosata, heretic bishop of Antioch was deposed by a local council of bishops but had to be driven out by the emperor when the people of Antioch petitioned the emperor (sounds like they went to court). What do you make of this history and the biblical commands that they express? Do you just prefer to ignore it?

As for Puritans’ use of exile imagery. You may be right. Some may have seen their sufferings under the established church as a form of exile and a judgment from God a la Nebuchadnessar, but I wonder if they considered their suffering to be coming from the church or from the world usurping the authority of the church. I’m not a Puritan or a Puritan scholar so I’m not sure of their ecclesiology here. Are you advocating their Puritan ecclesiology? I rather thought you were claiming a more catholic ecclesiology for your argument? I also wonder if they were accepting this “judgment from God” out of a real spirit of martyrdom or because there was not much they could do about it.

Wait a minute. Wasn’t there a Civil War in which the Puritans killed the Archbishop of Canterbury and King Charles I and outlawed the BCP and bishops? Wow, I seem to remember reading about that. Maybe they weren’t the precious martyrs we were thinking but rather when opportunity came to purify the church they took it with a vengeance. Maybe they thought that martyrdom was something which came at the hands of the world and not at the hands of fellow Christians. I mean, doesn’t that sort of make sense? If Christians are suffering martyrdom for the faith, the ones persecuting them must not be of the faith.

I know, that’s logic again, and so very limiting to open ended exegesis.

Do you have any other models in church history which might work better for your little theory?

December 13, 4:06 pm | [comment link]
395. seitz wrote:

#394—Could I ask please what you refer to with the descriptor ‘your little theory’? Don’t you think that is a bit rich? Giving all due allowance to the grand things that blogs can do, here is a place where I must object that, unless we can read and see the larger arguments to which you advert—which requires you publishing them—the idea that Radner has a ‘little theory’ and you, perhaps, a ‘big theory’ is frankly absurd. Radner has published several detailed books on the ideas he is trying to distill on a blog (sheol bound is indeed their fate). You, on the other hand, speak about your PhD thesis. That is just fine, and I appreciate all the hard work that must have done into that. But I have directed over 20 PhD dissertations and quite a few have been published. If I had a student who was where you are in your career, I would counsel him or her to be more careful with dismissive talk like ‘your little theory’ when speaking with someone who has published 5 monographs. I am always astonished at the graciousness of someone like Radner who not only engages in serious discussion on a blog, but also does so with generosity, patience and care. I believe this warrants something more than language like ‘your little theory.’ I was on the PhD committee at Yale when Radner’s dissertation was reviewed, and the senior philosopher of religion there (Louis Dupre) declared it the best piece of thesis writing he had ever read—it was on figural reading and Jansenism. That does not make Radner immune from error or exempt from challenge. But I would rather think that it meant that the exchange could be cordial if not humble, from someone who has yet to do the kind of serious publishing and peer review Radner has had to face.

I suspect everyone has packed up and gone away. The lights have gone down and the push-brooms are out. We are nearing comment 400 on a thread I cannot find, but whose contents continue to be forwarded to me, and a couple of bleary eyed others. That being said, I can assure you that Colin Gunton would counsel you to take better care, and speak with more humility and grace, given the place at which you find yourself, when it comes to academic exchange. That does not mean you would listen to him, but I hope that indeed you would. For your own career’s sake, if you should seek to pursue that more formally.

December 13, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
396. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Christopher, I too was startled by the “little theory” comment, and thought it ungracious at the least.

However, I hesitated to say anything, because I am not anxious for anyone to go through my history of blog posts and point out to me every time I have been ungracious.

...still in the Briar Patch,


This elf has just returned from Christmas shopping and it appears that after this
comment the thread begins to tank. I will edit and I may need to give some warnings
that more attacks will lead to moderation.

December 13, 7:10 pm | [comment link]
397. Truth Unites... and Divides wrote:

I suspect everyone has packed up and gone away. The lights have gone down and the push-brooms are out.

Well, I’m still here.  And I applaud Christopher Hathaway, RobRoy, and David Handy for engaging the ACI scholar-theologians.

Much of the comment deleted by elf. Consider yourself warned.

December 13, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
398. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

#397, Truth…

I don’t know you, but I must admit that I found your post extremely rude and offensive.  Christopher Hathaway was pushing the envelope, but calling a distinguished leader on our side “trash” is totally inappropriate.  If the Elves were still monitoring this thread, I feel confident that they’d delete your comment.

As you’ve seen, I have my disagreements with Dr. Radner and Dr. Seitz, but I have nothing but the greatest respect for both of them.  I hope that indeed everyone else has finally stopped paying attention to this thread anymore.  I’m signing off too.  It was instructive.  Thanks to all.
David Handy+

December 13, 8:20 pm | [comment link]
399. Truth Unites... and Divides wrote:

TUAD has been banned.

December 13, 8:23 pm | [comment link]
400. seitz wrote:

Truth. I’m pulling academic rank ZIP. If one wants to claim some kind of academic rank, then one must adopt a posture befitting the discourse. Saying ‘your little theory’ is called: rude. Basic stuff. No PhD required to assess that. One cannot have it both ways. If Mr Hathaway calls attention to his academic training, then I will treat him precisely as befits this. If he did this under my training he would get an earfull. Blog posturing is blog posturing. Fair enough. But once one claims academic training and skill, one must live by the rules there. I am impressing people ZIP in this context, and don’t care to. I have a career and an active publication queue. But rudeness is rudeness. Blog or PhD zone. End of story. Trash? Now the discourse is going downhill fast. I have had my say. Radner did not resort to this kind of talk, and neither had Roy or David Handy.

December 13, 8:23 pm | [comment link]
401. Truth Unites... and Divides wrote:

This commenter has been banned.

December 13, 8:27 pm | [comment link]
402. Truth Unites... and Divides wrote:

Commenter has been banned.

December 13, 8:39 pm | [comment link]
403. seitz wrote:

What a bizarre universe. I fight my Yale colleague Marilyn McCord Adams straight up and with success for several years, through publications, faculty meetings, public fora, and with clarity and not rudeness—only to have my remarks and those of Dr Radner—also her opponent in major matters at Yale—lumped together by an anonymous ‘Truth’ on a blog. Why? In the name of defending his logic of a PhD’s capacity to write ‘trash.’  What a sad thing to find so-called ‘conservatives’ better at a blog fighting others under assumed names than in recognising actual fighting that has made a real difference.

December 13, 8:46 pm | [comment link]
404. Dave Sims wrote:

A trashy argument by a Ph.D is still a trashy argument. See the difference?

TUAD, you did not say this. You said

even if it’s trash with a Ph.D, it’s still trash.

Arguments don’t have PhDs. People do. Whether your meant it to be or not your comment was extremely insulting and inflammatory. Your restatement hardly redresses this.

December 13, 8:48 pm | [comment link]
405. Truth Unites... and Divides wrote:

Commenter has been banned.

December 13, 8:52 pm | [comment link]
406. robroy wrote:

Comment edited by elf.

December 13, 8:53 pm | [comment link]
407. Dave Sims wrote:

Dr. Seitz: indeed. Blogs give off a false sense of egalitarianism, and when you, Dr. Radner, and Dr. Harmon graciously deign to engage lay folk and casual observers in a way that would otherwise hardly be available to even your parishioners or students, some, like TUAD, forget themselves. But the privilege is not lost on a number of us, and I for one remain extremely grateful for your ongoing contributions to these discussions. You have educated me and changed my thinking on numerous issues, and as a lay leader in my parish I hope and do believe that some of that has had a practical effect.

Thanks again.

December 13, 8:55 pm | [comment link]
408. Dave Sims wrote:

For the love of peace, TUAD, let it go.

December 13, 9:02 pm | [comment link]
409. seitz wrote:

Academic boasting? I have no need of that in the least. Condescension? I have directed lots of PhDs and would not put up with the rudeness of people properly trained, such as is manifested here. I am frankly sick of the personal attacks on me by people with blog names. I have fought hard and long for orthodoxy, with lots of scars to show for it. I am glad that I have been priviledged to work in higher academic realms with talented people like David Handy, but I have worked at every level of church life and mission. The arrogance and disdain I encounter here is staggering. Condescension?  Famous theologians with burdens that God dismisses? Caught up in their useless tasks, the saints laughing? I can’t get into the blocks before people like you have lapped me.

December 13, 9:06 pm | [comment link]
410. seitz wrote:

And I forgive you for your rudeness, ignorance, and blog cant and condescension as well.

December 13, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
411. The_Elves wrote:

THIS THREAD IS CLOSED

December 13, 9:45 pm | [comment link]
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