Michael Poon asks some questions on ‘The Global Anglican Future Conference’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Has the Global South Anglican Primates Steering Committee endorsed this Statement? So far, it has remained silent on the matter. It is important to note that the authority of the Global South Anglican “movement” and of the Steering Committee arise from the South-South Encounter and most recently the Kigali Meeting in 2006. The Global South represents a broad spectrum of Anglican churches that hold onto the historic faith and ecclesiology informed by the historic formularies. It does not answer to the dictates of the radical evangelical wings within the Communion. It is regrettable that Asia, West Indies, and Middle East are glaring omissions among the “conveners” of the proposed Conference. Have they been consulted? Have they rejected the proposal? In their place, we find names of colleagues (with due respect) from a particular strand in the Northern churches. Why was this Statement issued with such haste? And without broader representation?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & Primates

138 Comments
Posted December 29, 2007 at 2:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Graham Kings wrote:

Michael Poon is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia, Trinity Theological College, Singapore, and convenor of the Global South Anglican theological formation and education task force.

When the leading theologian of the Global South Anglican site raises a series of serious questions about GAFCON then their significance is worth noting.

For more on Michael Poon’s context, see:

http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=178


There seems to have been:

1. a misuse of the name ‘Global Anglican’ in the title of the Conference, which is (deliberately?) close to Global South Anglican.

2. no consultation with the Global South Anglican steering committee, including John Chew the Primate of South East Asia who is the secretary, and Mouneer Anis, the Primate of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, who is the treasurer.

3. no consultation with the local bishop Suheil Dawani, the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem nor with Mouneer Anis, the local Primate.

BTW, the GAFCON announcement was published on Stand Firm on the holy day of Christmas with the notice:

‘Friends, we’re delighted to bring you this announcement in conjunction with Anglican Mainstream. Hope it brings a lot of Christmas cheer!!!’

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/8595/

Is it really appropriate to make such a decidedly divisively church political announcement on such a day?

Many other sites, including TitusOneNine, restricted themselves to items concerning the Birth of Christ.

December 29, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
2. Sarah1 wrote:

I was going to bustle right on over and point out just how eerily similar the “questioning” “confused” tone is to Fulcrum pieces, when basically the writer seems to merely be saying that he doesn’t want Primates and bishops [apparently] who don’t intend to attend Lambeth to be able to hang out together and fellowship with those with whom they are in fellowship.

And when I clicked on this link here . . . I see that the eery similarity has a reason.  ; > )

Never mind.

December 29, 4:16 pm | [comment link]
3. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Hope it brings a lot of Christmas cheer!!!’”

And by the looks of the comment section over at SF, it certainly did!

But just to take on the “questioning,” “puzzled,” and “confused” tone here . . . why would it be a bad divisive thing for folks who want to meet together to announce such a meeting?

I’m sure that people who don’t want to meet together . . . won’t be coming.  And those who do wish to meet together, will do all in their power to meet together.

Sadly, with Lambeth statements being non-binding anyway, and so many folks being there from ECUSA that other members of the Anglican Communion are not in communion with, or able to share Eucharist with, Lambeth itself might be called “divisive” thanks to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s determined ignoring of the facts of those provinces who are not in communion with other provinces.

It’s all very sad—but thank God that those who won’t be able to attend Lambeth will enjoy a wonderful meeting together with those who are able to attend, but also in communion with those not able to attend.

December 29, 4:24 pm | [comment link]
4. Graham Kings wrote:

Thanks, Sarah. In your comment:

And when I clicked on this link here . . . I see that the eery similarity has a reason.  ; > )

what is the reason?

December 29, 4:32 pm | [comment link]
5. Sarah1 wrote:

Graham—I’ll let commenters think it through and struggle to come up with something or other.

December 29, 4:37 pm | [comment link]
6. azusa wrote:

Graham:
1. ‘Global South’ is more a misuse of English (or a solecism) than ‘Global Anglican’ (I’ve never understood how something could be ‘Global South/Central/whatever - global is global).
2. But it isn’t a ‘Global South’ meeting - it’s for all orthodox Anglican leaders.
3. Is Suheil Dawani a Prince Bishop like you used to have in England? Do you need his permission to enter Jerusalem? This will be news to the thousands of clerics who vist Jerusalem every year - and minister there to their parties.
To be honest, I’ve often perused the ‘Fulcrum’ website and can’t for the life of me see how you can fairly claim to be ‘the evangelical center’. So many of your contributors seem to accept gay relationships and you constantly attack conservative evangelicals. Isn’t this just liberal pique that you can’t control these ex-colonials?

December 29, 4:41 pm | [comment link]
7. francis wrote:

Problems in never-never land.  Neither Toon nor Poon were consulted.  The issue is that even if Bishops attend Lambeth they will not be able to worship together.  And they will want to do other things besides the one-sided agenda of LISTENING (did you hear me) that is surely to fill up their waking hours.  And with all the political tricks played at the last Lambeth and the cost, why would they attend?  The Communion has been advised of this situation for the past few years.  The light may be on, but no one is at home.  The tone of #1 is uncharitable.

December 29, 4:45 pm | [comment link]
8. wildfire wrote:

I value Michael Poon’s thinking and am disturbed to read his criticisms.  They should be taken seriously.  Another thing that should be taken seriously is the point made by the organizers of the conference that they represent well over half of the Anglican Communion.  The lion’s share of the communion cannot be dismissed with glee whether they have the support of Abp. Chew and Bp. Mouneer or not.

December 29, 4:55 pm | [comment link]
9. Graham Kings wrote:

Thanks, Sarah, but I am, at least, still not clear what you are implying.

On another point, I was surprised by your casual phrase,

with Lambeth statements being non-binding anyway

Is it not the case that:

1. a whole range of people who are conservative on issues of sexuality, including Fulcrum authors, have claimed the importance for the Anglican Communion of Lambeth 1.10

2. the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Advent Letter stated:

While argument continues about exactly how much force is possessed by a Resolution of the Lambeth Conference such as the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution on sexuality, it is true, as I have repeatedly said, that the 1998 Resolution is the only point of reference clearly agreed by the overwhelming majority of the Communion.  This is the point where our common reading of Scripture stands, along with the common reading of the majority within the Christian churches worldwide and through the centuries.

It does not seem to me to be wise for the conservative cause concerning sexuality to downplay the significance of the Lambeth Conference resolutions - or to ignore the major importance of the Advent Letter (as the GAFCON organisers have done) - just at this time.

December 29, 5:00 pm | [comment link]
10. seitz wrote:

“The Global South represents a broad spectrum of Anglican churches that hold onto the historic faith and ecclesiology informed by the historic formularies. It does not answer to the dictates of the radical evangelical wings within the Communion. It is regrettable that Asia, West Indies, and Middle East are glaring omissions among the “conveners” of the proposed Conference. Have they been consulted?”—This is a serious charge, and it has been around a long time if anyone is familiar with the GS. To speak of this as a pique of one man is again seriously to expose how disproportionate and increasingly out of touch blogdom on the conservative right is becoming. I fear that For some who comment on them SF and T19 may simply become a kind of social activity of the like-minded with not a lot else to do. Numbered jokes at the old folks home. Perhaps this will be a wake-up call, but somehow I doubt it…sadly.

Edited slightly-ed..

December 29, 5:00 pm | [comment link]
11. francis wrote:

Let’s see. Advent letter more important than Windsor or Dromantine or DES or….............  Maybe the Advent letter is different than New Orleans report or Primates sub-group report at DES.  Not much consistency out there.  Will the real AC please stand up?

December 29, 5:06 pm | [comment link]
12. seitz wrote:

Here we go again: no serious assessment of the role of SE Asia, WI, Egypt and Middle East; no real concern about whether things like Gafcon divide the conservative primates; etc. Instead, arch comments from professional bloggers at the level of personal sniping. This is just making reading blogs tiresome, playground banter, etc. May 2008 find us with more robust means of serious discussion and debate. I concur with Richard Kew that this is no way to make any progress. I speak as one whose name is on Anglican Mainstream’s Steering Committee. We must find a way to do better than this.

December 29, 5:10 pm | [comment link]
13. francis wrote:

Great question.  Where is SE Asia, really?  They have been instrumental in the formation of AMiA.  Yong is present at all CCP meetings.  But Chew has not supported any of this.  Is this the direction of the Province or one man.  A change in the direction of SE Asia.  Can someone explain?

December 29, 5:28 pm | [comment link]
14. Graham Kings wrote:

Thanks, Matt.

However, I still think you have missed the significance of the Advent Letter. John Richardson of Anglican Mainstream saw it and wrote: ‘Leadership and Lambeth - Dr Williams’ Advent challenge to the Communion’

http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/8603

I don’t think this was posted on Stand Firm, but it really is worth reading.

In the Advent Letter, the Archbishop has clearly opted for the Communion Conservative position including reiterating Lambeth 1.10: ‘This is the point where our common reading of Scripture stands, along with the common reading of the majority within the Christian churches worldwide and through the centuries’.

Now, as a Federal Conservative, you may not be fully happy with the Advent Letter, but at least see its significance.

December 29, 5:38 pm | [comment link]
15. okifan18 wrote:

How could there have been no consultation with Mouneer Anis if the Conference is being held in Jerusalem? is #1 saying this out of knowledge and if so what knowledge?

December 29, 5:48 pm | [comment link]
16. Br. Michael wrote:

Graham Kings when the Advent letter results in something substantive then we can talk.  Otherwise it resides in the past 5 years of meaningless blather.

December 29, 5:50 pm | [comment link]
17. Graham Kings wrote:

Thanks, Matt.

How about posting the John Richardson article about the Advent Letter and the Michael Poon questions about GAFCON on Stand Firm?

December 29, 5:54 pm | [comment link]
18. Kendall Harmon wrote:

I would be grateful, please, if the comments could focus on the substance of Michael Poon’s questions.

December 29, 6:01 pm | [comment link]
19. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Matt Kennedy [#14], the reason no binding resolutions come out of Lambeth, and that there is no ‘discipline’ in the Anglican Communion, is that the AC simply isn’t a church and never has been; it’s a fellowship of national churches.

December 29, 6:02 pm | [comment link]
20. Graham Kings wrote:

Concerning Michael Poon’s question # 4, Matt Kennedy - in his comments accompanying his posting of the questions on Stand Firm - says:

until and unless the Bishop of Jerusalem or the Primate say otherwise, I think it safe to assume that this meeting is being held with their approval.

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/8772/

Does anyone agree with Matt’s assumption?

December 29, 6:33 pm | [comment link]
21. Ephraim Radner wrote:

Graham, #24, I frankly haven’t a clue what anybody is thinking or permitting any longer.  Why anybody “assumes” that people in the Anglican Communion who might be affected are “approving” of this or that declaration or meeting or manifesto or announcment anymore is beyond me.  If Poon’s questions mean anything, they at least indicate a fraying mutual-trust even within the “Global South”.  Yes, that should be a wake-up call.

December 29, 6:44 pm | [comment link]
22. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Thanks, Sarah, but I am, at least, still not clear what you are implying.”

And I’m okay with that, Graham Kings.

On another note, you are very correct that lots of great Anglicans think that Lambeth 1.10 is fantastic.  . . . Not binding . . . but fantastic.  And it’s very very true as the ABC says that “the overwhelming majority of the Communion” thinks that Lambeth 1.10 is fantastic.  . . . Not binding . . . but fantastic.

But, sadly, as the ABC has chosen not to enforce Lambeth 1.10 nor the Windsor Report nor the Dar communique by not extending invitations to those who do not adhere to those various communications, Lambeth resolutions are as I said, “non-binding.”

I also do not think that anyone has ignored the “major importance of the Advent Letter”—not even the GAFCON organisers.  Indeed I believe that it was deeply important—I would go so far as to say devastatingly significant—that the ABC chose not to exercise the only authority that he holds, which is to withold invitations to Lambeth.

In fact, the GAFCON organisers so recognize how devastatingly significant the ABC’s Advent letter was . . . that it seems that they recognize the need to move forward to gather a meeting for those Anglicans who will be unable to gather in communion at Lambeth.

Of course . . . none of this is a surprise to anyone who has read the rather crystal clear communications of various Global South primates.

The ABC called their bluff, I suppose, and the consequences of that decision will be immense, as I’ve written about now for two or more years.

December 29, 7:40 pm | [comment link]
23. Graham Kings wrote:

Thanks, Matt. You have stated in several comments on Stand Firm that you are hoping for, and are committed to, the formation of a non-Canterbury Communion.

Concerning your hoped for outcome of GAFCON, you elucidated your
recent analogy of the ‘sinking island’:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/8727/ 

as:

The boat is not the CCP, it is whatever emerges from GAFCON. CCP is at best a room on the boat. The sinking Island is not TEC. TEC has, I believe, already sunk. The sinking island is Canterbury based Anglicanism.

Perhaps the unannounced plans for the outcomes of GAFCON may be wider than the announced plans.

December 29, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
24. BabyBlue wrote:

I think we can be pretty darn sure that Mouneer Anis knows exactly what is going on.

Do you remember the game we played (at least here in the States) called
Stratego?  My brother and I used to play it a lot when we were growing up. 

Here’s Wiki’s page on Stratego in case you need a refresher.

Now how many theologians knew or know how to play Stratego?  And how many of us who have been elected to the councils of the Church (at any level) know how the game is played?

There is this sort of “false shock” like suddenly discovering how sausage is really made.

Well, politics is like that.  Every so often some will wake up, usually for strategic reasons, really, and begin the “shocked” routine of how politics in the Church is done.  It would be lovely if we all sat around the room as though we were in a Quaker Meeting waiting for the Spirit to move.  And in cases of really excellent leaders, there is much of that sort of thing done.  But that isn’t all of it.  God put brains in men and women’s heads for a reason.  And sometimes it’s like a game of Stratego.

There are reasons why some are silent, and there are reasons why others - like a game of Stratego - want to find out who is behind the “40 pieces.”  This can be done straightforward (i.e., get out the cell phone and make the call) or it can be done covertly (writing pieces and waiting to see what explodes - or doesn’t explode no matter how hard you try, as in Fresno lately).  Even then, it takes discernment with what to do with what you know, or don’t know.  Prayer is key.

But let us not feign “shock and dismay” (it is so familiar on this side of the pond by our progressives friends who seem to be in a constant state of “shock and dismay” whenever something goes awry from their best laid plans).  We are all grown up now.  Let’s not engage in temper tantrums, no matter how educated we all might be.

Actually, Kendall is one of the very few who has demonstrated that he knows how to think theologically and plan strategically.  It is rare.  And that’s why people listen to him.

bb

December 29, 7:51 pm | [comment link]
25. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “. . . no serious assessment of the role of SE Asia, WI, Egypt and Middle East;”

Right—hard to do when mere fishing questions are put out there with zero facts.  And . . . obviously . . . to the great distress of some . . . certain Primates and Provinces are moving on with their plans.

Sad that it’s going to be that way, but as the ABC is doing the same thing—moving forward with his own plans—and ECUSA and Canada is doing the same thing—moving forward with their own plans—guess it’s all the provinces for themselves—all moving forward with their plans.

RE: “no real concern about whether things like Gafcon divide the conservative primates . . . “

Certainly it’s sad that conservative Primates are divided, but as with ECUSA, actions and events merely reveal division that already exists and has been papered over.  The conservative Primates—as with the ComCons and FedCons in ECUSA in the Network—have been divided since Day One and I’m just glad that the divisions are apparent rather than hidden.

RE: “Instead, arch comments from professional bloggers at the level of personal sniping.” 

LOL.  Commenters at T19 are “professional bloggers”?  ; > )  Where on earth are they getting the funding to pay their salaries?

RE: “This is just making reading blogs tiresome, playground banter, etc. May 2008 find us with more robust means of serious discussion and debate.”

I agree—blogs are just tiresome.  It’s a wonder that anyone of sense blogs at all or comments on them.  If I were you, I’d ban blogs entirely.  Just boycott all blogs—don’t visit them anymore and maybe spend some time offering various venues of “more robust means of serious discussion and debate” where you can be in charge and invite whom you like.

. . . You know . . . sort of like the GAFCON folks.

December 29, 7:52 pm | [comment link]
26. Tom Roberts wrote:

#30 I was wondering who was going to say “that emperor has no clothes”.

December 29, 8:04 pm | [comment link]
27. seitz wrote:

#30—excellent making of the point.

December 29, 8:16 pm | [comment link]
28. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Sarah writes:

Lambeth 1.10 is fantastic.  . . . Not binding . . . but fantastic

And Matt writes:

the ABC has chosen not to enforce Lambeth 1.10…

This reminds me of my situation this past Monday through Wednesday. I arrived in Ambridge, PA late Christmas Eve and needed to park my “big rig” (minivan pulling an 8 foot Uhaul), but there were no legal parking spaces available. However, there was a whole street right next to where I would be staying that had plenty of curb space: but it was marked every 200 feet with prominent signs that declared “2 Hour Parking Only.”

My friend directed me into that space. I said, “Won’t I get a parking ticket?” He said, “Oh, no. Don’t worry about it.” If you ask any Ambridge resident, they will tell you, “It’s illegal to leave your car there.” But they leave it there anyway.

You see, there is a law against parking there . . . Not binding . . . but still a law. That’s because the local authorities have chosen not to enforce the law.

In other words, the 2 hour parking regulation (and the signs) are meaningless. Just as Sarah and Matt have pointed out: Lambeth 1.10 is meaningless.

(on leave from the Briar Patch),

December 29, 8:20 pm | [comment link]
29. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “There are reasons why some are silent, and there are reasons why others - like a game of Stratego - want to find out who is behind the “40 pieces.” This can be done straightforward (i.e., get out the cell phone and make the call) or it can be done covertly (writing pieces and waiting to see what explodes - or doesn’t explode no matter how hard you try, as in Fresno lately).”

Good point—the writing of pieces with questions is a classic attempt to covertly find out “who is behind the ‘40 pieces’” . . .

December 29, 8:23 pm | [comment link]
30. Sarah1 wrote:

#32—excellent making of my point.

December 29, 8:48 pm | [comment link]
31. The_Elves wrote:

Let’s return to discussing Kendall’s post, please.

December 29, 8:53 pm | [comment link]
32. BabyBlue wrote:

How do we have “more robust means of serious discussion and debate”?

1. Academically - we have theological and liberal arts colleges that promote robust discussions and debate and
2. Government - we have elected councils of the church that engage in robust discussions and debate.
3. Media - We have electronic and paper periodicals that engage in robust discussions and debate.

Now - some of us have engaged in robust discussions and debates and now what? Do we debate for debate’s sake - or do we do something about it?

Some of us may offer solutions that will be rejected?  Do we wax lyrical at our windmills or do we remain engaged as participants?

Again, this is where theologians and philosophers may depart from those who engage in building or rebuilding.  We have Engineers and Physicists, and then we Architects, and then we have the Builders themselves, the Construction Workers, the ones who actually do the rebuilding.

Again, it is rare for philosophers and theologians to be the ones who are the construction workers.  It may be that plans are all ready laid out, the engineers, the physicists, and architects have labored to prepare something to build.  And it could be there are those who don’t like what it going to be built.  So they want to go back to the Drawing Stage, a perpetual stage in any college or university - or church.  We do love to discuss what is possible, but it is quite something else to design something that will be built - and then build it.  Decisions are made.  Heads go on the block.

When we have been on the outside of the councils of the church for so long, we lack the skills to know how to be in councils.  In fact, we discover - as our forefathers did during the American Revolution - that some councils are designed to keep others out.  So it’s not merely getting oneself on to a council, it’s recognizing that the council is designed to perpetuate a certain point of view - including keeping you out.

Academics again - with some exceptions - are not the ones who are usually elected to office (unless the current administration wants to keep a token representative around, knowing academic lacks political skills to organize - seen that too).  Even bishops are not always the ones who do the building (though that is the model in Africa where bishops are church planters in hostile territories, not a bad way to learn political skills). 

I think it behoove the academics among us to think through strategically how to be heard, rather than to lament not being heard. Builders who do not listen to those who have the expertise - and that could very well be some of those have posted on this thread and feel that they are not being heard - those builders find that the very thing they are trying to build is torn down before it gets off the ground.  Smart builders build very deep foundations - and that may be the stage we are in right now.  We must be sure that what ever is built, is not built on a shallow foundation, but on one that goes deep.

Temporary structures do not need such depth.  But at some point, the structures that need to last and yet be flexible in their use, must be built.

It seems to me that Jerusalem 2008 is essential to building for the future.  The foundations of Lambeth are crumbling.  Building on a cracking foundation will not support a robust community, but will fall into ruin. 

There are those who may believe that Lambeth is not crumbling, but even TEC recognizes this is happening and are poised to take full advantage of that weakness this July.  I listened to the strategic planning while in New Orleans.  We Americans (whatever our political persuasion) can make some spectacular and very public blunders, but we have a history of learning from those blunders, one way or another.  While there continues to be an acute blindness on some strategic fronts of TEC, in others they seem to be clearly fixed.  And Lambeth is one one of them.

There are many parts to building a deep and secure foundation - and snipping in public is not how you build a building (believe me, I’m learning the hard way).  We should consider how to rebuild the cracked foundations, rather than engage in temper tantrums disguised as public discourse. 

Unless perhaps the real goal is to blow up the building.

bb

December 29, 9:09 pm | [comment link]
33. Rosemary Behan wrote:

I understand a little I hope,  the sheer frustration that some feel ..  that nothing is being done.  But from this little Kiwi corner of our world, I admit to some sadness that this conference has been called at this particular time,  because the ABC’s Advent Letter HAD given me some hope that we could ‘get it together.’  That there would be no need to separate,  even that those who have already done so might find a way back.  Whatever else,  this does feel like further fragmentation ..  a certain lack of ability to ‘give and take.’  I do hope I’m wrong.

December 29, 9:11 pm | [comment link]
34. Mick wrote:

In the Press Release the GAFCON organisers state:

“Orthodox Primates with other leading bishops from across the globe are to invite fellow Bishops…”

The implication being that the ‘orthodox Primates’ and ‘leading bishops’ will be inviting fellow ‘orthodox’ bishops. Yet in the newspaper Kent News one of the GAFCON organisers, Canon Chris Sugden, is quoted as saying

GAFCON spokesman Canon Chris Sugden would not be drawn on whether or not Dr Williams would be invited to the rival conference. He said: “Of course, the Archbishop will be preoccupied with the Lambeth Conference, but no decisions have been made yet.”

Is it implied here that the GAFCON organisers must ‘decide’ as to whether the ABC is ‘orthodox’ enough to invite? On what other basis might it be decided NOT to invite the ABC (irrespective of his ability to attend)?

December 29, 9:21 pm | [comment link]
35. francis wrote:

There is no approval needed from either the Province or the Diocese to hold a neutral meeting in their geographical territory.  None of the participants will be ministering or dealing with those folks.  Kind of like a book signing for Spong in Dallas/Fort Worth.  People do not need permission to pass through a city.  What is the big fuss?

December 29, 9:28 pm | [comment link]
36. Rosemary Behan wrote:

Francis ..  I think my mother always referred to it as ‘being polite.’ 

Instead of asking who has what right to invite or disinvite;  instead of putting so much emphasis on autonomy ..  MY right ..  isn’t it time we remembered that this is Christ’s church,  as the ABC reminded us,  and that it’s worldwide.  And while I recognise that some members of the body are suffering,  and pray for them,  defend them,  hopefully succour them in some way,  I need always remember that the whole body needs to stay together.  A body doesn’t function correctly without ALL it’s constituent parts.

December 29, 9:36 pm | [comment link]
37. francis wrote:

Another issue.  After an Anglican meeting has happened and it has been reported on, its like it never existed.  Its archived.  It has no authority.  That is the way the Primates meetings were controlled before 2001.  All meetings post Windsor have REstarted at ZERO.  Ipso facto, there is no discussion.  TEC just ignores and moves forward.  Africa is tired of playing the game.  I am also.  Aren’t you?

December 29, 9:37 pm | [comment link]
38. francis wrote:

This body (AC) needs a straight jacket.

December 29, 9:40 pm | [comment link]
39. Rosemary Behan wrote:

44 ..Chuckle ..  I think you’re right!!  Sigh,  I think we ‘re all tired,  but this is the ‘Stand Firm’ site.  Perseverance is our middle name.  Even if we keep having to start again ..  if that’s what is called for ..  then let’s do it with joy in our hearts.  I’m a huge supporter of Global South,  they’re my brothers and sisters in Christ,  but I’m not sure this GAFCON thing is the right way to go ..  that’s all.

December 29, 9:47 pm | [comment link]
40. Ephraim Radner wrote:

As I have said, I really have no idea about “who represents whom” anymore in the Communion, certainly not among those who are “applying pressure”, which seems to be a favorite justification for just about anything. 

Dr.  Poon’s remarks could be without significance.  Still, I doubt it.  He is close to many in the Global South, has played important roles in the organizing of the South-South Encounters, been an independent thinker vis a vis Western “party lines” (which are numerous) and offered counsel to many in the churches of Asia and South-East Asia.  I suppose a good question, that few people here seem to want to address,  would be “why is he upset and what does this say about the Global South ‘movement’ within Anglicanism?”  I doubt that simply dismissing his concerns is really a very responsible approach from anybody, of any orientation, within the current struggles. 

From my perspective, I read him as raising a concrete worry over whether the Global South movement for traditional Christian Anglicanism, within the specific contours of the changing world church, has been hijacked by narrower interests and commitments.  This seems to be particularly the case because key people—I am presuming those in South-East Asia, for instance, who have been central leaders in all of this—have not been consulted in the GAFCON planning.  Does he know more about what is behind this than we do?  I would guess he does, given his location.  But even if he doesn’t, this lack of consultation appears to strike Dr. Poon as deeply problematic and potentially destructive.  Why might that be the case?

What observers (both those who support and those who oppose the goals, apparent and hidden, of GAFCON) should consider is whether Dr. Poon’s public concerns augur any shift in the dynamics of our common life.  Apart from South Africa—which, we know, is a special case—I am not aware of any public criticism of ‘Global South’ policy from within before.  This fact alone merits some attention.

December 29, 9:56 pm | [comment link]
41. bluenarrative wrote:

Personally, I think Ephraim Radner’s comments are worthy of everybody’s attention. I think he makes some rather good points. Of course, a lot of his concerns—and a lot of the concerns of Dr. Poon, as well, could be resolved with a few short phone calls.

What has me baffled—actually, has me VERY baffled—is why nobody (who has the ability to make these phone calls) has done so already. Yes, yes, yes—I know, we are Anglicans and we seem to have a constitutional inability to ever do anything in a simple and straighforward manner. But people get spooked easily these days. There have been a lot of awful things going on that have very direct bearing on people’s lives. It seems to me that Bishop Bob Duncan—a man that I admire and respect—has a PASTORAL RESPONSIBILITY to make a few phone calls and clarify things a bit. If he’s too busy, I can think of a few other people who are in a position to make these phone calls.

Reading between the lines of the GAFCON press release and/or parsing the accompanying FAQ and/or writing-off Dr. Poon’s concerns will simply NOT DO, at this stage of the game. Too much is at stake. If nothing else, people on the orthodox side of the fence need to be a bit more transparent than they have been up to now. It is simply NOT FAIR to the people on the FRONT LINES to keep them in the dark about these things. Nor does it serve any overall strategic purpose to be arcane and oblique.

Responding to Dr. Poon’s questions and/or paying attention to Ephraim Radner’s concerns will in no way provide our adversaries with some “strategic advantage,” as far as I can see.

December 29, 10:15 pm | [comment link]
42. Sarah1 wrote:

Dr. Radner—I very much appreciate your clarification of what Michael Poon’s questions might be all about.

If indeed there are key Primates in the Global South who “have not been consulted” then it certainly means that there is a difference of opinion about how to proceed in the light of the ABC’s Advent Letter.  But why would that imply “the Global South movement” being “hijacked”.  To me it simply implies that those Primates of the Global South who believe that Canterbury’s Advent letter is of deeply catastrophic significance, rather than the positive significance that others believe, are moving forward in response to their commitments, goals, values, and beliefs. 

I’m assuming that those Primates of the Global South who believe that Canterbury’s Advent letter is of deeply positive significance will also move forward with that belief in mind.

But . . . how those groups who believe that Canterbury’s Advent letter is of deeply catastrophic significance, and those groups who believe that Canterbury’s Advent letter is of deeply positive significance would somehow be taking the same actions is beyond me.  Again—that doesn’t seem to me to be a “hijacking” but merely the consequences of viewing the ABC and his actions in polar opposite perspectives and the two viewpoints moving onward.

December 29, 10:23 pm | [comment link]
43. Craig Uffman wrote:

I applaud Rev. Dr. Poon’s probing questions about the circumstances surrounding the GAFFCON event.  He asks important questions that I believe should be answered if we are to understand exactly what the dynamics are that are driving this conference.  The questions are very much the right questions that a theologian whose focus is on the integrity of the global Communion ought to ask.  Those who claim to be “the orthodox” and claim the right to speak and act on behalf of ‘the orthodox’ would no doubt agree that those who do so are, by virtue of their claims and actions, accountable for the leadership they offer to the Church, and thus would find Dr. Poon’s questions in keeping with the principles of self-criticism that Tillich called “the Protestant Principle.”  Perhaps “mutual subjection in Christ” is another way of saying the same thing.  Surely they will welcome his questions and provide satisfactory answers in the spirit of fellowship that animates their cause.

With respect to these claims of ‘orthodoxy’, Dr. Poon calls to our attention, as any good theologian would, Canon A5 “Doctrine of the Church of England” and C15 “On the Preface to the Declaration of Assent” of the Church of England,” which, as he notes, form the basis of the proposed Covenant.  If this is not the basis of “right thinking” by which ‘the orthodox’ seek to demarcate themselves and exclude “wrong thinkers”, then what is the basis?  And is that the right basis upon which we ought to build a firm foundation, as BabyBlue reminds us to do above?

He asks, “What should our discipleship be at this stage?  Primates are pledged to uphold the unity and the faith of the church, and not their private judgments and personalities—even their interpretation of orthodoxy.”  I can’t imagine a better question.  What does discipleship demand in this moment?  Calvin, whose teachings influence many evangelicals in the Communion,  warns us to “beware of the overzealous” and enjoins “the godly [to] study to provide themselves with [the weapons of merciful correction and patient lamentation and mourning], lest, while they deem themselves strenuous and ardent defenders of righteousness, they revolt from the kingdom of heaven, which is the only kingdom of righteousness” (Institutes, 4.1.16]  So Dr. Poon’s questions are indeed pertinent questions for which evangelicals rightly ought to seek answers. 

It does not take a genius to see that the teachings of Ephraim Radner and Chris Seitz on this point echo those of Calvin. Patience, merciful correction, lamentation, and mourning in recognition of our brokenness: these mark the path of true ‘right thinking.” Such compassionate grief is the mark of a truly prophetic witness, and illuminates the only path to joy.  If we don’t see such marks in those who would be prophets, then we best heed Calvin’s caution and beware.

I welcome Dr. Poon’s thoughtful exercise of discipleship by reminding of these questions, and I lament the efforts of some to dismiss the questions as “stratego”.  Such spinning is the work of public relations experts and, as when we encounter such strategies in ‘secular’ politics, we ought to be wary.  Rev. Dr. Graham Kings helpfully reminds us that such efforts above to set aside Dr. Poon’s important questions - rather than accepting accountability from their fellow evangelicals -  are from a group actively seeking “the formation of a non-Canterbury Communion.” Surely they ought to welcome Dr. Poon’s questions and seek satisfactory answers in the spirit of fellowship that animates their cause.

December 29, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
44. francis wrote:

Wow. It is difficult to weed through all of this tonight.  Some may just think, as I do, that the US church hides behind the fog of the AC without a care.  I know this to be true for forty years.  My home diocese had no relation to Anglican theology, except some weird idea of comprehensiveness.  So what does the AC stand for?  Can’t we just all get along?  And then conservatives are blamed for not just getting along.  Pretty unbelievable.  I think it (AC) will not work any longer.

December 29, 10:50 pm | [comment link]
45. Craig Uffman wrote:

Matt,
Thanks for sharing more from Calvin.  I am delighted to confirm that his importance to the current debate is something upon which we agree.  However, I don’t think we’ll advance the Church by trading quotes from Calvin in this thread and, so I urge you to respond seriously and respectfully to Dr. Poon’s questions rather than redirecting the discussion to an intramural match between us that would interest no one.  Surely all of us evangelicals ought to welcome Dr. Poon’s questions and seek satisfactory answers in the spirit of fellowship that animates our cause.

December 29, 11:10 pm | [comment link]
46. robroy wrote:

Michael Poon asks, Who declared the participants to be orthodox?” My questions for him: Does any argue that the group of signatories are not? Does he question that a group of like minded conservatives can’t get together and have a conference? Really quite preposterous. As for ecclesiastical decorum, that is a matter between the participants and host.

Michael Poon (as well as members of ACI) has long been critical of all things Akinola, Orombi, etc. I question whether he should be offering up criticisms such as timing of meetings or invitation lists.

December 29, 11:31 pm | [comment link]
47. Ephraim Radner wrote:

Sarah, you are right, of course:  the fact that people have different viewpoints usually results in different lines of action.  This is natural.  But there are at least two elements here that may create a less than positive sense of matters in this potential disagreement between “Global South” Anglican leaders.  The first is, that there has always been both a stated desire for and an claim regarding “common witness”, based on the supposition of a common faith and a common sense of need.  It would indeed be a disappointment, to say the least, if this desire and claim were to founder for lack of consultation and attempted agreement.  Secondly, those who seem to be promoting GAFCON claim a certain representativeness for their conference, vis a vis “orthodox” Anglicans engaged in the mission and so on.  Given the past context in which these folks have spoken and worked, it is would appear that this “representativeness” might have something to do with common “Global South” Anglican concerns.  On both counts, however, Dr. Poon appears to be raising the question of whether we should accept the claims of the promoters (commonality and representation).  My point is that it behooves us all to ask ourselves why he would raise these questions.  Does he, in fact, think that a once “common cause” among Global South Anglicans has been broken up, and that this kind of phrase is now no longer accurately applied to the Global South Anglicans as a whole, but only to one small grouping within it?  And if so, is such an application being pursued without guile?  And again, if this is so, why does he think this? 

Finally, I do not think that, though “natural” enough, different Primates with different views doing different (perhaps opposite!) things is a reality imbued with a particularly acceptable Christian spirit.  Whatever happened to Philippians 2:1ff.?  Speaking personally, it is the seeming obscuring of such a calling as there given by Paul that Dr. Poon is perhaps now lamenting.

December 29, 11:32 pm | [comment link]
48. bluenarrative wrote:

If nothing else, I think that the quality of Dr. Poon’s questions—and the manner in which these questions are now being discussed among the faithful orthodox of the blogosphere—suggests to me that God is starting to do something really big…

I have very mixed feelings about Lambeth. The basic idea that the GAFCON event seems—and, at this point, I would underscore that it only seems—to represent, is quite attractive to me. But I hesitate to see Lambeth/GAFCON as an either/or proposition. It seems to me that they are about two different things entirely. And, at this stage of the game, I do not see them as being mutually exclusive or contradictory. I know the arguments against Lambeth. And I think that these can be answered fairly easily. Dr. Poon has raised some very legitimate concerns about GAFCON. I am waiting to see if any of the key players in the GAFCON event are going to step forward to answer Dr. Poon’s questions. I can imagine all sorts of satisfactory replies to Dr. Poon. But it is not for ME to offer such explanations—it is for the organizers of GAFCON to offer them. And to do so quickly. There are a LOT of people—like ME—who are sort of stuck in the middle; poised halfway between Canterbury and the Holy Land. Don’t our orthodox Bishops—those who have initiated GAFCON—have a responsibility to allay our concerns?

December 29, 11:33 pm | [comment link]
49. Frances Scott wrote:

Can’t see what all the fuss is about.  If ALL of the GLOBAL SOUTH and ALL of the ORTHODOX Bishops were on the planning committee or were consulted, who would remain that could be “invited”?  Is it not possible that some of those who are not mentioned in the announcement were simply too busy doing what Bishops do to participate in the planning phase.  Is “absence of evidence” indeed “evidence of absence”?

December 29, 11:36 pm | [comment link]
50. Craig Uffman wrote:

Matt,
Of course I read all the comments above before commenting.  In my reading, I did not see any substantive engagement of Dr. Poon’s questions by your organization, but only an effort to minimize them or to deflect attention elsewhere or other persons (like me). Certainly, as Dr. Poon suggests, such an extraordinary action, as this conference appears to be given its position relative to Lambeth and its claims for representing ‘the orthodox’, must stand publicly -  in the light of day -before fellow Anglicans?

December 29, 11:38 pm | [comment link]
51. Craig Uffman wrote:

Matt,
I fear this approach to responding to legitimate questions from fellow evangelicals about this conference - such as those raised above by Dr. Poon, Dr. Radner, Canon Kings, and myself - will not engender confidence that its purpose is to strengthen our unity in Christ.  I worry that this approach will harm the cause of evangelical Anglicans like us.  I worry that such an approach will be seen as a “strategy” too much like what we witness in the U.S. political campaigns, and hardly like what we expect of those committed to mutual subjection in Christ. I worry that many will interpret this approach as “We don’t want to be accountable and we are not accountable to our fellow evangelical Anglicans for strengthening our unity in Christ, and therefore we will deflect all questions by proclaiming them to be “hostile” and thereby refusing to answer them.”  Perhaps I am wrong and the approach edifies in some way I can’t see.  Dr. Poon’s questions are indeed the questions any Anglican theologian should ask and are substantive.

December 30, 12:15 am | [comment link]
52. bluenarrative wrote:

Father Kennedy,  With all due respect, I think that Craig is correct in saying that you have not SUBSTANTIALLY ENGAGED any of Dr. Poon’s questions. Your one “for example” hardly addresses the substance of Dr. Poon’s concerns. Nor, for that matter, did it address any of my own personal concerns. And I say this speaking as one who, overall, largely agrees with you that Lambeth is probably going to be an exercise in futility. Phrases such as “a hostile misrepresentation of the text” sound rather weak to me. I am not an academic, nor am I priest, nor am I anybody of consequence in this debate. I am a simple Christian, desperately trying to discern the Lord’s will in the midst of this awful crisis. And I do not think that I should have to rely on careful exegesis of a press release, or meticulous scrutiny of GAFCON’s accompanying FAQ in order to determine the Lord’s will in this matter. Maybe I am wrong, but I see NOTHING out of line or particularly “hostile” in Dr. Poon’s questions. On the contrary, he has articulated some of my own concerns rather well, I thought. And—again, let me say it—I am speaking as somebody who is, for the most part, VERY ENTHUSIASTIC about GAFCON and VERY DUBIOUS about the idea of accomplishing anything of substance at Lambeth. But, having said that, I also have to say that I believe that I would be seriously remiss in my Christian responsibilities if I did not grapple with some of the issues that Dr. Poon raised… I think Dr. Poon has raised issues that should give pause to anybody who has any sense at all of there being one holy catholic Church. But maybe I am wrong about all of this. If so, please enlighten me.

December 30, 12:27 am | [comment link]
53. francis wrote:

Craig, So why do you go on?  I am sure that the people who wanted to be at the meeting were there.  Maybe some were on vacation.  I think #1 is way off base and is pouting his own agenda.  And yes I doubt it will aid in any substantial discussion.  I disagree with you that these questions at this point are substantial.  Hot air!

December 30, 12:30 am | [comment link]
54. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Patience, merciful correction, lamentation, and mourning in recognition of our brokenness: these mark the path of true ‘right thinking.” Such compassionate grief is the mark of a truly prophetic witness, and illuminates the only path to joy.”

A nice idea—and I’m sure that the Primates in question have all of those “marks” and will continue to take what actions they deem to be appropriate.  Why “Patience, merciful correction, lamentation, and mourning” should preclude folks taking actions they deem to be good and right is anybody’s guess . . . other than that the ones enjoining these displays are ones who actually don’t like the actions that these certain Primates deem to be good and right.

Every bit of such comments including Michael Poon’s article—when shucked right down to the cob—essentially are about “we don’t like what these folks are doing, so please stop it.”

RE: “Rev. Dr. Graham Kings helpfully reminds us that such efforts above to set aside Dr. Poon’s important questions - rather than accepting accountability from their fellow evangelicals - are from a group actively seeking “the formation of a non-Canterbury Communion.”

Actually Graham Kings reminded everyone that specifically Matt Kennedy is the one who desires “the formation of a non-Canterbury Communion” and what “organization” Craig Uffman is referring to which is “actively seeking” such a thing I’ve no idea.

December 30, 12:42 am | [comment link]
55. Craig Uffman wrote:

Why Matt, as a result of my training by Stanley Hauerwas, you will never find me suggesting that anything is apolitical!  My concern is not at all about whether this strategy of responding to fellow evangelicals is political, but rather whether or not it represents the politics of Jesus.  It is not clear to me that it does.

I maintain that a strategy which refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of questions from one of Southeast Asia’s most reputable theologians - and especially of a theologian whose special focus is Anglican ecclesiology in the context of a postcolonial global Communion - will backfire.  It will be seen for what it is.  As a fellow evangelical, I pray that we Anglicans will instead opt for what our proposed Covenant commits us to: accountability in the form of mutual subjection in Christ.

That’s my tuppence.  I won’t try your patience further on this.  Thanks for the sharing your perspective in response to my concerns.

December 30, 12:53 am | [comment link]
56. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “I fear this approach to responding to legitimate questions from fellow evangelicals about this conference - such as those raised above by Dr. Poon, Dr. Radner, Canon Kings, and myself - will not engender confidence that its purpose is to strengthen our unity in Christ.”

Yeh, probably not for folks like Kings and Uffman . . . since their definition of actions that will “strengthen our unity in Christ” do not seem to be the definitions of others, whom they apparently wish ardently to control.  So I agree.  The response to Uffman and Poon will not “engender confidence” in Uffman and Poon that the actions that Uffman and Poon themselves deem to “strengthen our unity in Christ” will in fact be taken.

The sad thing about this thread is that some folks are announcing an action that other folks don’t like one bit, and wish for them to stop doing—and that dislike is then couched in words like “patience”, “merciful correction”, and “lamentation”, coupled with quotes from Calvin.

This same embarrassingly self-serving tone is also carried out in Poons article, and nobody seems to be able to make up their mind as to whether he actually knows the answers to his “questions” and is keeping them a dread dark secret, or indeed does not know the answers to his questions.  If the latter, then it sure would have been nice of him to ask the questions and get the answers directly from the source.  If the former, then it sure would have been nice of him to simply state the facts and his objections to those facts.

I’m with Matt—I expect that half of the questions are real “fishing” questions, trying to determine which Primates have “gone over to the dark side”, and the other half are Poons “questions” to which he already knows the answers—sort of “throw away” lines.

December 30, 12:57 am | [comment link]
57. Tom Roberts wrote:

In re 66. “It will be seen for what it is. ” is indeed the point. I found 66 to be the consumate ‘argument on the basis of authority’, in that case Poon’s authority as ‘a theologian whose special focus is Anglican ecclesiology in the context of a postcolonial global Communion”.

Unfortunately, for someone in the context of the constantly imploding US church, that authority’s legitimacy is next to nil, and arguments based on it are next to worthless. If this thread means anything to readers in the US, it is that questions are being mooted by Poon which have nearly no relevance to the US situation. This irrelevance of the Communion to ecusa’s polity and policies has been consistently the position of 815, and now I can see how Poon et al are essentially shoring up 815’s position by undermining any positive calling of the US province to account.

December 30, 1:09 am | [comment link]
58. Sarah1 wrote:

Dr. Radner, I appreciate the clarity of your response, not gussied up with manipulative pietistic euphemisms to obscure what you really wish for and believe. 

I do agree that it is a very sad thing—although to be expected I suppose—if the desire and claim of the Global South’s common witness “were to founder for lack of consultation and attempted agreement.”  I see the parallel between that and the divide that always existed in ECUSA between the FedCons and the ComCons and my only philosophical response to that exhibition of an already existent divide is that “time is passing” and inevitably, time moves on and certain groups decide that they will be now heading down the path in another direction.  In light of Canterbury’s Advent Letter—which I deem to be catastrophically significant rather than positively significant—I certainly understand that decision by certain of the GS Primates—if such a decision has occurred, since we are all, in theory,  still speculating.

Your second point I found interesting.  I have seen no such claims of representativeness or commonality at all.  In fact, the announcement of the GAFCON conference seemed from the beginning to NOT be claiming any sort of representatives of any larger group.  It was striking for its lack of such claims, as for instance the various “Trumpets” of the Global South have been striking in those claims.  So you and I see something very very different in the GAFCON announcement.  I see some folks saying “hey—some of the orthodox Primates are going to be getting together a great event and we’ll be sending out invitations soon, so keep an eye out.”  That is a far far cry from the official statements of Global South Steering Committees and such.  So again, I don’t see where the claims of “representativeness” are occurring.

RE: “Finally, I do not think that, though “natural” enough, different Primates with different views doing different (perhaps opposite!) things is a reality imbued with a particularly acceptable Christian spirit.”

Well—you could be right, although I had always thought that Paul and Barnabas did “different things” after they disagreed about the significance of the actions of their traveling companion.

But given this line of reasoning it appears that you are calling for them to stop doing their “different things” in the spirit of unity.  But why not you stop doing your “different thing” in the spirit of unity?  Why must it be those doing GAFCON that have to stop taking their “different action” in the spirit of unity?  Why not the non-involved GS primates join the GAFCON in their actions?

I’m not certain that when you have two groups with two different perspectives on Rowan’s Advent letter, both deciding to take differing actions, that one of the groups has the right to call out “you there—in the spirit of unity, come join us in our proposed action and drop yours.”

Again . . . I’ve appreciated the exchange.  I do have a bit more of a grasp, I hope, on your disagreements.

December 30, 1:17 am | [comment link]
59. Bill Cool wrote:

If Michael Poon were merely seeking answers to some questions for which he did not know the answers, he did not use an effective means to do so. A few phone calls to the conference organizers would have answered some or all of his questions - no need for posing them world-wide for all of us who know next to nothing about such details to masticate upon them. Thus, one can reasonably conclude that he disagrees with some of the answers he knows (if he knows any of the answers) or disagrees with what he guesses may be the answers. The variety of target topics at which he aims his questions seems to indicated that he opposes GAFCON. I would have felt more comfortable with his public comments if he merely said that he thought the conference was a bad idea and why. Instead, he uses the “unanswered question” technique, apparently to raise negative “answers” in the minds of us as readers.

My personal response to GAFCON, as a lay person, is favorable, but I would have found comments from Dr. Poon more easily considered if he had provided reasoned comments against the suitability of the conference rather that the content he did provide. I think it is essential that Anglicans come together to discus and actually plan operationally, something which will be excluded from Lambeth, at which, also, some have said they cannot attend and some are not invited. GAFCON provides a useful gathering for them. That being said, a straightforward argument against GAFCON by Dr. Poon would have been an easier communication for me to take seriously.

December 30, 1:38 am | [comment link]
60. Passing By wrote:

Ah, eating each other while the demons laugh…is this a productive Anglican example? 

As someone deep in the thick of the theology and politics of the Global South, Dr. Poon has every right to ask whatever questions he likes. 

Personally I’d submit that this GAFCON announcement might be no more than a shot across +++Williams’s bow. 

I completely disagree with any “alternate Lambeths” and/or any boycotting of Lambeth—how quickly everyone forgets that Lambeth 1.10 was largely a result of the Global South’s powerful and correct muscle, executed not long after Spong shot off his huge, delusional mouth regarding clergymen from the GS not being much more than “animists”...

Without Lambeth 1.10 we might be in an even bigger pickle than we are now.

If Lambeth is boycotted by ANY traditional, it will become a huge case of all the mice starting to play while the big cats are away.  It’s playing right into revisionist hands, and it’s exactly what the revisionists want. 

Traditionals should show up at Lambeth en masse, regardless of anything +++RW does, and spearhead the theology/legislation, just as was done with Lambeth 1.10. 

What’s the point?  Well, screaming children, the point is that the AC is still Canterbury-based, and EVERY CONSTITUENT BISHOP(excepting Robinson; no invite) has a sacred responsibility to attend it and represent his flock.

It’s a prime opportunity to do away with a lot of revisionist thought and theology—any bishop who sits at home or goes somewhere else in a temper is wasting an extraordinarily valuable opportunity.

December 30, 1:38 am | [comment link]
61. bluenarrative wrote:

Sarah,  You are probably much more “in the know” than I am. I know very little about Craig Uffman’s background, affiliations, or positions. I have never paid much attention to him before, and I did not really scutinize any of his comments prior to this particular thread. It never occured to me that he might have any desire to “control” me, or anybody else, for that matter.

Just like you, and just like most of the orthodox people in the blogosphere, I am just a simple Christian trying to figure out how to react in the midst of this current crisis in the Anglican fold. I have had my Church hijacked by a gang of outrageously sub-christian pansexual gnostics. Literally, I have been driven out of my Church by these people. And now, I am simply trying to discern the Lord’s will, as to how He would have me conduct myself; how He would have me respond to this hijacking.

I have a pretty good sense of who Dr. Michael Poons is. Though I may be relatively new to the blogosphere, I’ve been around the Church long enough. I spent many, many, many years on the front lines of this “church war,” trying to live out my Christian faith in a branch of the Church that I genuinely believed the Lord called me into. When I was in the Diocese of New York (with Paul Moore as my bishop!), Dr. Michael Poons was a source of great comfort and strength to those of us who were orthodox and who were undergoing incredible and outrageous persecution from a gnostic bishop who was every bit as patently anti-Christian as John Shelby Spong.

I am an Anglican. And, as such, I am also a catholic. It seems to me, that it is not possible for an authentic catholic to simply set up shop, so to speak, completely independent of those who are in legitimate authority.

I am now in the AMiA. I cannot move my family to Rwanda, and so this is the best that I can do, for now. I don’t think that I am ever going to see the pansexual gnostics evicted from 815 in my lifetime—or in my children’s lifetimes; or in their children’s lifetimes. It would be nice to see the AMiA acknowledged as an legitimate branch of the catholic Church. That’s about all I can realistically hope for, right now.

I know who Dr. Poons is. And I have no doubts at all that he already knows the answers to some of his questions. Which is precisely why they are so troubling to me. When I first saw the press release about GAFCON, I was deeply troubled by short list of names officially convening this event. I am, basically, very enthusiastic about the stated goals and aims of GAFCON. But I would seriously hesitate before I affiliated myself with any group of people who were going to simply set up shop completely independent of those in legitimate authority. I am NOT a schismatic. I am a catholic. And so a LOT of the same questions that Dr. Poons posed were in my mind long before I saw what he had to say. I think that these are very legitimate questions for any catholic to ask. I see nothing sinister about them at all. I can envision many ways in which his concerned could easily be addressed by those who are convening GAFCON.

I simply wish that they would do so. Quickly.

I keep my ear to my own private grapevine, so to speak. I am on pretty friendly terms with a lot of the big players on the orthodox side; I count more than a few orthodox bishops and archbishops as close personal friends. NOBODY THAT I KNOW OF is worried that ANY Primate has “gone over to the dark side.” But many of us, for very good reasons, are concerned that the orthodox maintain good catholic order while arraying ourselves against the enemy.

I am not your enemy, Sarah. I cannot speak for Craig Uffman, but I am more than reasonably sure that Michael Poons is not your enemy either. KJS and her sub-christian homosexual cohorts are your enemy.

December 30, 1:46 am | [comment link]
62. Katherine wrote:

I thank Sarah for her last comment, #69.  It seems to me that the announcement of this conference very specifically said that it is NOT intended as an anti-Lambeth and that some who attend GAFCON will also attend Lambeth.  GAFCON as announced has a different purpose, which I take to be the encouragement of and enabling of evangelism.  If this is the case, then I fail to see what the fuss is about.

December 30, 1:49 am | [comment link]
63. bluenarrative wrote:

Katherine,

the fuss is about the fact that it is NOT at all entirely clear that GAFCON is just about encouraging and enabling evangelism. The fuss is all about the fact that a lot of very reasonable and intelligent people on the orthodox side have varying degrees of concern that GAFCON might represent something entirely different—the beginning of a breach of catholic order. Personally, I doubt that this is the case. But these are legitimate concerns. And, it seems to me, the people who are convening GAFCON can and should address these concerns—quickly.

December 30, 1:58 am | [comment link]
64. Dale Rye wrote:

A perfect example of a major reason why there are so many fewer Anglicans (whether of the TEC or non-TEC variety) in North America now than a decade or two ago:

This same embarrassingly self-serving tone is also carried out in Poons article, and nobody seems to be able to make up their mind as to whether he actually knows the answers to his “questions” and is keeping them a dread dark secret, or indeed does not know the answers to his questions.  If the latter, then it sure would have been nice of him to ask the questions and get the answers directly from the source.  If the former, then it sure would have been nice of him to simply state the facts and his objections to those facts.

I’m with Matt—I expect that half of the questions are real “fishing” questions, trying to determine which Primates have “gone over to the dark side”, and the other half are Poons “questions” to which he already knows the answers—sort of “throw away” lines.

A decade or two ago, biblically orthodox Anglicans avoided using this sort of language to describe one another. They assumed that when somebody (particularly somebody who headed the Global South theological education task force) asked a question he was interested in hearing an answer. They typically answered questions for that reason, rather than avoiding a substantive response to the question by making an ad hominem attack on the questioner’s motives.

Even a triennium or so ago, only the most hardened reasserters and reappraisers dodged substantive discussion by turning every difference of opinion into a personal and political quarrel. Today, to open your mouth is to open yourself, your motives, and probably your mother’s reputation for chastity to attack by people who actually share 95% of your own positions.

St. Teresa of Avila famously prayed to God, “If You treat Your friends like this, no wonder You have so few of them.” When Anglicans treat one another like this, no wonder there are so few of us. I cannot imagine any reasonable person joining (or inviting their friends to join) an organization whose existing members are so openly and bitterly hostile to one another. The early Church grew, we are told, because outsiders saw “how these Christians love one another.” Could anybody today say, “See how these Anglicans love one another” without ironic or satirical intent?

December 30, 3:32 am | [comment link]
65. azusa wrote:

# 75: Really, Dale, you are talking nonsense, even on stilts. The reasons why the number of Episcopalians has declined so much are well known.
1. Because Episcopalians have largely ceased having babies (while encouraging abortion, another cause dear to the heart of Louie Crewe).
2. Because Episcopalians don’t know how to retain the young people they do have in an increasingly secular or hostile climate.
3. Because the gross apostasy of its leadership has driven out or turned off many of the most committed catholics and evangelicals.
I don’t think you’re a stranger to these facts.

December 30, 5:05 am | [comment link]
66. robroy wrote:

Again, to use the jargon, this is the comm-cons critiquing the fed-cons on when and how they conduct meetings. Who determined who went to the ACI meeting in London last summer? Did the primates, bishops, priests act on their personal capacity or as representatives of their provinces, dioceses, and parishes? Was official permission from the bishop of London sought and obtained?

GAFCon is simply a meeting of orthodox. I actually think it would be great if the commiest of comm-cons asked to participate so that their view could be heard.

It is no small wonder that the orthodox have fared so poorly in the past in the past when simply coming together and talking is criticized.

December 30, 6:58 am | [comment link]
67. Katherine wrote:

bluenarrative, my position is that I am simply tired of all the statement-parsing and attributing nuanced intentions to people based upon ambiguous phrases or alleged intentions.  I am from now on assuming that people mean what they say, and don’t mean what they don’t say unless the allusion is very clear.  Thus, the Archbishop’s Advent letter, taken at face value, is clear that he intends Lambeth to include as many bishops as he can get there, and his statement about talking to some bishops about their intentions is left very vague, and I don’t have any way to know whether he intends to change any already-issued invitations.  He also, in his published statements, say he intends Lambeth to be a fellowship event and not a council.  The GAFCON announcement says specifically that it is not intended to be a replacement for a church council.  Won’t life be simpler if we start taking language at face value?  If GAFCON turns into an alternate council, that will be the time to praise or criticize.  Show me the evidence.

December 30, 8:07 am | [comment link]
68. Mick wrote:

Dr Poon has written further on the Global South Anglican site, this time in response to +Jensen.

December 30, 8:42 am | [comment link]
69. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

From #55 (Radner)

...those who seem to be promoting GAFCON claim a certain representativeness for their conference, vis a vis “orthodox” Anglicans engaged in the mission and so on.

(emphasis added)

The idea that a “claim” to representativeness of the orthodox world is being put forth has been ably refuted above, as it has no basis whatever in the text of the public announcements for this meeting.

But, those who “seem” to be promoting “their conference”???

I hope that if I should ever gather together with a large group of people, publicly announce a massive meeting, issue a press release, and post a website with FAQ’s, that I don’t then have a critic such as Dr. Radner comment that I “seem” to be promoting a meeting.

Dr. Radner: This may appear like a small complaint, but the above rhetoric is yet more evidence of efforts to cast doubt on the inherent trustworthiness of certain Anglican leaders. If you doubt their trustworthiness, then say so directly. If, on the other hand, you doubt the wisdom of their actions, then engage the actions themselves and tell us why you think they are unwise.

“Seem” to be promoting?

Really.

December 30, 9:36 am | [comment link]
70. D. C. Toedt wrote:

The Gordian [#76], Dale Rye [#75] didn’t say that internal strife in the AC was THE reason for declining numbers (which is common to all mainline Protestant denominations), but simply a MAIN reason.  In declaring that he’s talking nonsense on stilts, you’ve provided him with still more evidence to support his thesis.

December 30, 9:53 am | [comment link]
71. seitz wrote:

#72—thank you for the substance and the tone of your contribution.

December 30, 9:59 am | [comment link]
72. Ephraim Radner wrote:

It does seem as if personal feelings are clouding straightforward discussion. 

To clarify my own views about GAFCON, since there are many people here who seem to know what they are (wrongly), and have no trouble sharing their ignorance.  First, I doubt it’s a great idea if one is interested in healing the Anglican Communion as a whole.  But if that is not one’s hope, then it surely makes some kind of sense.  I am not “hostile” to GAFCON in the least.  I am not asking that it be canceled.  I am not telling anybody “what they should do”.  People can meet as they choose.  The main thing that saddens me—and here is where I think Dr. Poon’s article, simply in its being sent, is noteworthy—is that the fissures within the Global South, that have always been there in a way, are perhaps beginning to grow into public differences.  Some have long warned us about this, and the dynamics that might promote such developing divergences.  Dr. Poon’s recent letter to Abp. Jensen, noted above, underlines some of these concerns as well, in a fairly uncomplicated way, mainly on the basis of a worry over “party” politics creating wedges (which goes to his earlier concern over definitions of “orthodoxy”).  Still, let people meet.  Sarah is mistaken in supposing that I have “asked them to stop doing what they are doing”.  None of the conveners asked my opinion, I will surely not be invited (!), and I have never claimed to be “orthodox”.  (Mr Br’er thinks I am being coy or some such thing in using the term “seem” with respect to the conference’s promotion.  But that is not the case:  as some here have pointed out, it is possible to be on the governing Board of groups like Mainstream, but not know anything about this conference until it is announced.  And we are well aware that communiques and announcements in the past from around the Communion have had names attached that turned out not to be accurately put there.  Nowadays, we are all uncertain as to who is really being “represented” by announced gatherings.  I merely wanted to be fair.  Alas, fairness is now taken as a slur.)

Second, the issue of “representativeness” is indeed a live one.  The “Nairobi Consultation” was about “Global” mission within Anglicanism, the central motivating group is the “Global South”, and the conference is designed to have people from “all 38 Provinces” of the Communion.  Please.  If Dr. Poon worries about how this fits into previous attempts by the Global South to address these matters, he has every reasonable right to do so.  Sounds like some people here want him to “stop doing what he’s doing”.

Third, how about leaving the ACI out of this?  Dr. Rob and others seem eager to drag us in, pointlessly and tendentiously.  But ACI has nothing to do with Dr. Poon.  I have never met him.  He seemingly doesn’t like things I write (based on his public responses to them in the past).  Nor, conversely, does it seem fair to tar the good Dr. Poon with other people’s hatred of ACI.  He has, in the past, been a defender of Nigeria’s actions, in the face of our own criticism.  It appears that people are so bent on uncovering party-lines that simple observation has gone out the window.  Calm down folks:  there is no conspiracy of the ComCons going on here!  (A historical clarification for Dr. Rob:  ACI co-sponsored an event in Oxford during the summer, not London;  the guest-list was put together by Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, whose Principal is a rather sturdy Mainstream type.  Appropriate permissions were acquired. Relax.)

December 30, 10:20 am | [comment link]
73. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

And we are well aware that communiques and announcements in the past from around the Communion have had names attached that turned out not to be accurately put there.

Ah, thank you, Dr. Radner. I now understand your concern. I had thought you were casting aspersions on the sincerity of the “promoting” being done by the invitors, which I found incredible. Instead, you were merely casting aspersions on the credibility of the list of purported invitors. I still disagree with your aspersion, but I understand now its source.

December 30, 10:46 am | [comment link]
74. Ephraim Radner wrote:

Dear Mr. Rabbit,

I am not casting “aspersions” on anybody.  You are perhaps projecting.  I am merely saying that I have learned to be cautious about assuming that everyone associated with this or that group agrees with what this or that group’s representatives are doing in their name.  I don’t mean to say that there is anything deceitful happening in the least;  only that it is hard to make precise distinctions these days (even after the “dust settles”, because there is very little settling going on, what with the rapid pace of new initiatives) and therefore the use of the verb “seem” is a reasonable way of speaking to appearences without making further claims about representativeness.  I am puzzled that you find this approach offensive to those being referred to, since its purpose is quite the opposite.

December 30, 12:34 pm | [comment link]
75. Graham Kings wrote:

There is a very important editorial note by Terry Wong, editor of the Global South Anglican site and vicar of St James’s Church, Singapore, on Michael Poon’s second article on GAFCON which questions to Archbishop Peter Jensen.

It is easy to miss, because it is on the Global South Anglican home page index and not on the article itself. It is very significant indeed.

Editorial note:
Both Dr Michael Poon and Archbishop Jensen have articles featured on this site regularly. It will be in the interest of our readers and Anglican faithful that we continue some open conversations on the nature and direction that our Communion is taking. This is a critical time for our Communion and churches. If we are just fighting for biblical orthodoxy and nothing else, we might as well splinter into independent churches. Even ‘mission’ is not a good enough reason to be together - for we are working quite well across denominational boundaries. If it is both biblical orthodoxy AND the catholic order of our Church with our identity/mission as an ecclesial family, then it calls for careful, deeper reflection, longterm vision and clarity in our strategy - that the 2003 crisis and our subsequent responses may not tear the fabric of our Communion even further.

http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/index.php

December 30, 1:02 pm | [comment link]
76. robroy wrote:

I have written against the knee-jerk criticisms of ACI which is unfortunate and uncharitable. Members of ACI have more than earned the right to give input to these discussions without suffering those slings and arrows.

My point of bringing up the conference last summer was simply that no fed-cons criticized the invitation list nor their right to meet. (Nor whether they followed proper decorum in the location which I have been corrected was Oxford.) It would have been silly of Martin Minns, say, to ask about these issues.

Now, a group from the other side of the orthodox spectrum calls a meeting and someone questions their intentions and many jump on that bandwagon. Questioning of intentions does seem the main issue, not invitation list or ecclesiastical decorum. In particular, Ephraim writes,

First, I doubt it’s a great idea if one is interested in healing the Anglican Communion as a whole.  But if that is not one’s hope, then it surely makes some kind of sense.

It is hard not to read that as unbecoming. Of course, the signatories to the announcement are interested in healing the Communion as a whole. The “as a whole” is of course, the question. There needs to be movement to a place where some members do not want to go. That is acknowledged by all. Even a near toothless covenant will be rejected by some.

Then there is the criticism that meeting of like minded drives wedges in the Global South. Taking that criticism to its logical conclusion, the ACI shouldn’t have met last summer. Let’s not have any meetings whatsoever for fear of accentuating differences.

Healing involves movement. Determining the destination needs discussion. As I said before, I hope that GAFCon meeting does not involve only like minded but have some opposing viewpoints represented. Consensus can be an unwanted idol as witnessed by the abysmal performance of the CA bishops in New Orleans.

December 30, 1:10 pm | [comment link]
77. Ephraim Radner wrote:

My point regarding healing the Communion “as a whole” was directed to Sarah’s sense that we should all just “agree to disagree” among conservatives—that different view points will inevitably demand different strategies for fulfilling them, and we shouldn’t be telling each other what to do, just letting them happen even if we personally disagree.  My own view, however, is that if one is interested, as I am, in the healing of the Communion “as a whole”, then it does indeed matter what other Anglicans do, and I am obliged to criticize actions by Anglicans that seem to undermine such “wholeness”.  Do the organizers of GAFCON all seek the “healing of the Communion as a whole”?  Some do;  but I know that some do not, because they have said so.  Some in fact believe that the Communion as it is currently constituted needs to be “realigned” so that some parts of it that are now members are no longer members in some future Communion. They are, furthermore, willing to risk having others—possibly “orthoodox” believers in somebody’s current scheme—not join the “new” Communion because of their unwillingness to follow in the path of “realignment” that is taking shape.  That is their opinion, of course;  they are certainly free to hold it. But it an opinion (and a set of opinion-generated actions)with which I disagree, and because I disagree with it, I will continue to point out that there are actions that some Anglicans are taking—including TEC, by the way, and they lead the pack!—that are not leading to the healing of the “whole”, but rather to fragmentation, including the fragmentation of previously coherent witnesses like that of the “Global South”.  Maybe I am wrong about my evaluations here.  It wouldn’t be the first time!  But it is hardly “unbecoming” to share these evaluations, since they are based on public statements, actions, and a host of supporting individuals (many of whom blog).  It comes down to different views, as Sarah rightly says, and to disagreements about these views.  It also comes down to different actions that have consequences that touch a great many people outside of our personal purviews.  So we debate and are held accountable by future events and by God.

December 30, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
78. Sarah1 wrote:

Bill Cool—thanks for your comment #70 which details in a very clear way the issue that I have with Michael Poon’s series of questions. 

“If Michael Poon were merely seeking answers to some questions for which he did not know the answers, he did not use an effective means to do so. A few phone calls to the conference organizers would have answered some or all of his questions - no need for posing them world-wide for all of us who know next to nothing about such details to masticate upon them. Thus, one can reasonably conclude that he disagrees with some of the answers he knows (if he knows any of the answers) or disagrees with what he guesses may be the answers. The variety of target topics at which he aims his questions seems to indicated that he opposes GAFCON. I would have felt more comfortable with his public comments if he merely said that he thought the conference was a bad idea and why.”

I particularly liked the last sentence above.  I am just fine with people disagreeing with doing GAFCON.  I’d prefer an article writing out what exactly they disagree with rather than launching “questions” off, with none of us have a clue as to which “questions” are already-answered and known, and which not.

December 30, 1:38 pm | [comment link]
79. seitz wrote:

For the record, Dr Roy, ACI did not ‘meet last summer.’ It co-hosted, with Wycliffe Hall, a conference attended by +Nazir-Ali, +Winchester, +Canterbury, +Kaduna, and lots of GS people—especially a contingent from Australia and NZ which did not understand in the least why the US and its problems were being given centre stage. They thought this arrogant and ill-considered.

ACI has not met and hosted a conference for quite some time, given the work we are doing with individuals in the Communion.

I suspect I have read more and taught more John Calvin than anyone on this blog, including those who presume to speak for him. I also suspect this blog exchange would have turned his stomach.  (Sorry if that is a comment from an ‘academic’).

I recall a moment of some clarity when, in the midst of a rancorous debate at Yale Divinity School, my ‘calvinist’ colleague Brevard Childs fielded a question from an angry ‘opponent.’ Before he tried to answer it, he paused and said something like: ‘I appreciate the question. I know it to be heartfelt. When the level of trust disappears amongst Christian people, questions and answers to them often misfire entirely. That is because trust and mutual respect are imperative if any answer I would give would have any purchase or lead to any progress between us. When these are lacking, we are in a dire situation, and that is where we find ourselves.’ He said that about a so-called ‘liberal.’ What he would say about the exchanges here I could not begin to fathom, but I suspect the diagnosis is applicable. Trust and mutual regard are crucial for any meaningful exchange, and instead of that, mostly this is about seeing things at a great distance and choosing up sides and taking shots based upon partial evidence and the joy of declaring opinion and half-truth to be fact. Any effort to find better footing is met with charges of academic irrelevance, anecdote parading as knowledge, or just crude dismissal and funny comment. It is hard to know what kind of progress can be made in such a forum, if indeed that is to be desired at all.

December 30, 1:39 pm | [comment link]
80. Sarah1 wrote:

Hi Bluenarrative, #72—I want to assure you that I am not “in the know” except with just my attempts to look at written communications and analyze what they say and what they do not say.

Further, Michael Poon and Craig Uffman are certainly not “my enemy” and I am unsure as to why that would be assumed.  Is it my critique of their manner of speaking?  Surely Christian believers can critique others.  You have just critiqued my actions, for instance, and I have no doubt that we are fellow Christians and that you are certainly not my enemy.

With that being settled, I noted one of your sentences in particular: “But I would seriously hesitate before I affiliated myself with any group of people who were going to simply set up shop completely independent of those in legitimate authority.”

I had not realized that there was any need of “affiliation” with GAFCON—it’s a meeting.  And . . . if the Primates involved in the GAFCON meeting were going to “set up shop completely independent of those in legitimate authority” how is that any different from the AMiA setting up shop with its Primate, under what it believed to be a dire necessity, of which you also are a part?

December 30, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
81. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “A perfect example of a major reason why there are so many fewer Anglicans (whether of the TEC or non-TEC variety) in North America now than a decade or two ago . . . “

A perfect example of the massive level of denial that moderates in ECUSA are still experiencing about why people are leaving Anglicanism forever in the US—myself most likely being one of them in the next decade or so.

RE: “A decade or two ago, biblically orthodox Anglicans avoided using this sort of language to describe one another.”

Dale Rye, please quote to me the language that I used about Michael Poons himself [and not his article, for which I used the words “embarrassingly self-serving tone”.

RE: “They assumed that when somebody (particularly somebody who headed the Global South theological education task force) asked a question he was interested in hearing an answer.”

Really?  Because Ephraim Radner seems to think that Poons actually knows the answers to at least some of his questions. It appears that Ephraim Radner himself, now, is a part of the “common hordes of Anglicans” that have so ruined Anglicanism for you, Dale Rye.

Here is what Dr. Radner said above:

“This seems to be particularly the case because key people—I am presuming those in South-East Asia, for instance, who have been central leaders in all of this—have not been consulted in the GAFCON planning.  Does he know more about what is behind this than we do?  I would guess he does, given his location.”

Others on this very thread have implied quite the opposite.  So yes, Dale Rye, there appears to be some real question as to which questions are actually “real questions to which Dr. Poon does not have the answers” and which are merely “rhetorical questions” to which Dr. Poon does have the answer.

I await with interest to see which is which.

December 30, 1:55 pm | [comment link]
82. Sarah1 wrote:

Br_er Rabbit, I think you may be misinterpreting Ephraim Radner’s use of the word “seems” . . . I often use that word when I am trying to navigage my way through sentences and note that I am not personally factually aware of details about something.  That is what I attributed his word “seems” to . . . a cautious and careful word.

December 30, 2:02 pm | [comment link]
83. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Sarah is mistaken in supposing that I have “asked them to stop doing what they are doing”.”

Well, Dr. Radner, I did use the word “appears” as in “But given this line of reasoning it appears that you are calling for them to stop doing their “different things” in the spirit of unity”.  Appears is just as cautious a word as “seems” . . . ; > )

Thank you for the clarification. 

With regard to “representativeness” you said this: “The “Nairobi Consultation” was about “Global” mission within Anglicanism, the central motivating group is the “Global South”, and the conference is designed to have people from “all 38 Provinces” of the Communion.”

I still don’t see how GAFCON is making any claim of “representativeness” other than in saying that it’s going to invite other “orthodox” Anglicans, which I don’t see as a “claim of representiveness”.  The fact that the event organizers are in part made up of some Global South primates does not appear to be a “claim of representativeness.” 

What I had said earlier was this: “In fact, the announcement of the GAFCON conference seemed from the beginning to NOT be claiming any sort of representatives of any larger group.”

Do you mean by “representativeness” the claim of inviting “orthodox” Anglicans?

December 30, 2:12 pm | [comment link]
84. seitz wrote:

Dear Matt—It would not surprise me in the least if my teaching and scholarly study were unknown to you—why should they be? Calvin would not find this discourse edifying, in large measure because he was both an intellectual of serious renown, and because his pastoral humility would require him to work only at projects with the prospect of building up the faithful. Yours warmly in Christ.

December 30, 2:36 pm | [comment link]
85. Sarah1 wrote:

Working my way through the comments, I appreciate the point that RobRoy made above:

“Then there is the criticism that meeting of like minded drives wedges in the Global South. Taking that criticism to its logical conclusion, the ACI shouldn’t have met last summer. Let’s not have any meetings whatsoever for fear of accentuating differences.”

I also want to put on the record again that if anything I said in the above comments somehow cast aspersions on the ACI I am unaware of it and did not mean to—I am uncertain as to whom Dr. Radner’s comments about the ACI above are directed.  I like the ACI—that organization appears to me to be the only organization [of integrity, that is] that is still fighting for an orthodox Anglican Communion [as currently defined], and though I often critique various communications and strategies of the ACI I certainly wish it well.  It’s “the only game in town” in my opinion, internal to the Communion now.

But just as I was glad that the Wycliffe meeting took place—and I assume that various Anglicans were not invited who were also “orthodox” I am glad that GAFCON is taking place, thus far, unless something new and horrid is revealed about them.

To Ephraim Radner’s point here: “My point regarding healing the Communion “as a whole” was directed to Sarah’s sense that we should all just “agree to disagree” among conservatives—that different view points will inevitably demand different strategies for fulfilling them, and we shouldn’t be telling each other what to do, just letting them happen even if we personally disagree.”

I certainly wish that everyone would do precisely as I think they ought to do.  I would certainly rather that everyone did not simply “agree to disagree” but would rather “agree with Sarah”.

If that were to happen, lots of my friends wouldn’t have left ECUSA.  Lots of them wouldn’t have joined other Christian churches.  Lots of them would have engaged in the political battle across dioceses in ECUSA.  Lots of them would have cared about their bishop elections and organized better and connected with others.  Lots of them wouldn’t have tried to mash terribly disparate Anglican bodies together in haste and in one large “glop” without years of work and ecumenical dialogue.  Lots of them wouldn’t have consecrated loads of bishops for so far non-existent congregations.  Lots of them wouldn’t have started Networks of in-ECUSA dioceses and then gradually morphed them into a non-ECUSA body.  Lots of them wouldn’t have served as the errand boys of an Archbishop of Canterbury who used them shamelessly to appear as if he were “on the orthodox side of things and means for Communion discipline to occur” while in the meantime betraying every principle of leadership with integrity.  Lots of them would have taken clear actions of differentiation at important meetings, rather than being entirely overrun by those who know Roberts Rules much much better, it seems. 

Lots of things, in short, would be nearly perfect in every way, were all people to “agree with Sarah” rather than “agree to disagree.”

What troubles me whenever there are outcries about the actions of various groups of orthodox Anglicans—from the ACI to Common Cause—is that it appears to me that the outcries are outcries of surprise, shock, and amazement, coupled with outrage that the various groups do exactly as they say they will do and in keeping with the values, goals, and priorities which they have clearly stated over and over and over in a public manner. 

It’s as if nobody believes what anyone says they will do and indeed believe, and what values, goals, and priorities are guiding their behavior.

So on the one hand, we hear various members of Common Cause saying “oh boy, now that this latest outrage by KJS has occurred, surely flocks of ComCons and participants in the ACI will now give up on a Lambeth centered Communion” and on the other hand we hear various members of Communion-centered parties saying “oh my, members of Common Cause have just had a meeting—I hope they didn’t actually do anything that would imply that they have not seen the true marvel of Rowan Williams’s Advent Letter to the Primates.”

And I am left wondering if anyone amongst FedCons and ComCons has actually read a think on the other side, or understood just how firmly the other is committed to their clearly stated goals, values, and priorities.

To return to what Ephraim Radner commented on above—I do believe that “different view points [along with clearly stated different goals, values, and priorities] will inevitably demand different strategies”.

Maybe that’s the fundamental place where we are disagreeing.  I do think that the actions that both the ComCons and the FedCons are taking are inevitable [again, barring miraculous intervention by God].  Sad . . . but inevitable.

Otherwise, there would be no human or active consequences for indeed believing different things, for having “different view points,” goals, values, or priorities.  And everything that I see about human beings is that there really are human and active consequences for people believing different things, even those human beings who are gospel-believing Anglicans.

December 30, 3:04 pm | [comment link]
86. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Who “on this blog” presumed to speak for him?”

Matt—Seitz, in the comment immediately below your question. 

Perhaps now, you should choose up a scholar which you really like a lot and say “[Insert dead scholar here] would find this discourse wonderfully edifying and instructive, in large measure because he was both an intellectual of serious renown, and because his pastoral humility would require him to work only at projects with the prospect of building up the faithful.”

December 30, 3:09 pm | [comment link]
87. bluenarrative wrote:

This thread just gets better and better… I think ALL of us are being to compelled to grapple with some very substantial and foundational issues here. And that is a very good thing, as far as I am concerned. I also like the way most of us have humbly accepted to criticism of others along with graciously accepting the call to conduct this discussion in a spirit of Christian charity.

Sarah,  You and I both know perfectly well that for some time there are all sorts of major players on the orthodox side who have been advocating what amounts to a schismatic rift. You can term this sort of thing anything that you want—a “non-Canterbury centered Communion” or whatever. Some of the language used to describe this sort of response to the current crisis in Anglicanism is rather benign-sounding. Some of the language used to describe this sort of response is a bit more alarming. But no matter how it is described, the fact of the matter is this: there are a number of prominent orthodox leaders who have been advocating what I would term, “a serious breach of catholic order.” Some people, obviously, think that this is the way to go. And—unlike the ACI—I am not going to argue with them. What do I know? Maybe they are right. But that is not the direction that I think that we should be moving in. I am an Anglican. And, by definition, that means that I am catholic. It seems to me that anybody willing to completely disregard catholic order might as well go off and join the Presbyterians—they did away with catholic order long ago.

People talk about the “Anglican diaspora,” but very rarely do they flesh out their discussion of this phenomenon with vivid descriptions of what this “diaspora” actually entails. I now live in North Carolina. Here in the South, the landscape is littered with “continuing Anglican churches.”

Within 20 miles of where I live there are THREE bodies of perfectly ridiculous “continuing Anglican churches.” These three local continuing churches vary in size, from 20 to maybe as many as a hundred members. All three of them have self-appointed “bishops.” They each claim status as a “province.” Two of them use the old 1928 prayer book. The third one has written their own prayer book.

They are cranky and prickly congregations of OLD reactionaries—not only do they not make any serious effort to preach the Gospel or to save the unconverted, but they are each wildly hostile to the other two, as well as wildly hostile towards ANYBODY else making claims to be “Anglican.” I see very little Christianity being promoted by these entities. They are absurd. I want no part of them.

If the CCP can bring some of these people into the larger church—the one holy catholic Church—then I applaud the efforts of the CCP. But, personally, I am not going to join any church—no matter how large it might be; no matter where their priests were ordained; no matter who consecrated their bishops—that is prepared to flaunt a catholic order that was hammered out in the earliest days of the Church. THAT is my personal concern.

For some people, catholic order means very little. And maybe they are correct. What do I know? I am neither a priest, nor a theologian. But, to me, it means a great deal.

The AMiA is NOT a “continuing church.” Nor is it a body that has acted unilaterally. It is a constituent part of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. SOME members of the Anglican Communion have grave concerns about the AMiA and how they have conducted their mission in North America. But NOBODY that I am aware of has ever suggested that Archbishop Kolini’s consecration was somehow invalid, or that the Anglican Church of Rwanda is not an authentic branch of the catholic Church. While there has been criticism of the actions taken by the AMiA, nobody that I know of—and I happen to know a LOT of people who are currently sitting at desks in 815—would even begin to suggest that the AMiA has intentionally severed its connection with the catholic Church. KJS may not LIKE bishops of the AMiA very much. But even KJS is constrained to acknowledge that Chuck Murphy, John Rodgers, Thad Barnum, etc. are all AUTHENTIC BISHOPS. When talking to them or writing to them, she does NOT neglect to acknowledge their office. Her letters to Chuck Murphy, for instance, are addressed to “the Rt. Rev. Charles Murphy”—she does not call him “Mr. Murphy,” either to his face or when addressing correspondence to him. This is NOT a small thing, in my view.

The AMiA did NOT “set up shop completely independent” of legitimate catholic authority. Even our most adamant enemies concede as much. What 815 wants is to see the catholic authority of the AMiA revoked or withdrawn. What I want is to see that desire thwarted.

December 30, 3:40 pm | [comment link]
88. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Dr. Radner,

I do not find your caution about the list of signatories to be offensive. Your caution is born of past experience. What I had found offensive, not knowing what you were referring to in your statement, “those who seem to be promoting GAFCON claim a certain representativeness”, which appeared to me to cast doubt on the sincerity of “those… promoting.” Apparently, that was my inference rather than your implication.

And I apologize for the use of the term “casting aspersions.” Webster indicates that this is very close to alleging slander, which I did not intend. Rather, I would say that you were casting doubt on the reliability of the list of “those… promoting.”

Now I will have to go back above and see what others have said to (or about) me, since I seem to have cast a firecracker into the room.

(on leave from the Briar Patch),

December 30, 3:57 pm | [comment link]
89. Sarah1 wrote:

Hi BlueNarrative, I am uncertain of the purpose of most of your comments regarding the validity of orders of the AMiA or catholicity or “authentic bishops” none of which I questioned at all.  Nor do I understand the purpose of the side trail comments which are rather uncharitable concerning the size or makeup of various Continuing Anglican churches, which I am sure are trying to behave as Anglicans in the best way that they know how, nor did I claim that the AMiA was a Continuing body.

I merely stated that if you are going to state that several [it appears, five or six] Primates having the GAFCON meeting independent of Canterbury is somehow setting “up shop completely independent of those in legitimate authority” than one can state the exact same thing about the AMiA which had two Primates [now one] which began an entity entirely separate from the Archbishop of Canterbury and indeed against his direct request and that of numerous orthodox Primates themselves, of which you are a member.

My exact quote was “how is that any different from the AMiA setting up shop with its Primate, under what it believed to be a dire necessity, of which you also are a part?”

Please note that I am not at all the one who has implied that GAFCON was “independent of those in legitimate authority” nor did I imply that about the AMiA.

December 30, 4:06 pm | [comment link]
90. seitz wrote:

Sarah—a nice primer for Calvin and his own position as a theologian, pastor, and scholar is the preface to his Psalm Commentary. Let him speak for himself. I believe he may have a word of testimony appropriate for even you! God bless—how you spend so much time at this I will never know! I hope it blesses you richly.

December 30, 4:20 pm | [comment link]
91. bluenarrative wrote:

Father Kennedy,  With all due respect, I am not accusing any of the people who are convening GAFCON of telling lies of commision. But there is the APPEARANCE of certain crucial ommisions in the GAFCON press release—and, as we are admonished by WScripture to avoid even the appearance of sin—I think that this should be addressed in a frank and candid manner by the people convening GAFCON. Again, let me repeat—I am VERY ENTHUSIASTIC about GAFCON. I count some of the people who are putting this thing together as close personal friends. Personally, I do not doubt the intentions or aims of this meeting, nor do I question the integrity of the people behind it.

But, at the same time, I have immense respect for Dr. Michael Poon. While he is not a personal friend, I consider him to be one of the truly great heroes of orthodoxy in our time. And his questions just happened to echo some of my own concerns. I do not think that you can dismiss his concerns as being either irrelevant or, in some way, partisan.

I know that you, personally, favor a boycott of Lambeth—and that you think that the time has come to simply establish a non-Canterbury centered Communion. I respect your position. And I also think that a non-Canterbury centered Communion is almost an inevitable thing, given what is going on right now. But some of us on the orthodox side think that the BEST way to get to this non-Canterbury centered Communion is THROUGH Lambeth. A lot of us think that maintaining catholic order is essential, when arraying our forces against the enemy. For all that I know, you may be right that the best thing to do is to boycott Lambeth. But I have not yet been convinced. And part of the reason that I have not yet been convinced is that none of the advocates of a boycott have sunstantially addressed the issue in terms of maintaining catholic order. To simply disregard catholic order is, in my humble opinion, to create something that is not essentially Anglican at all. Such a course of action would, in my opinion, simply create a schismatic body—yet another “continuing church” that derives its legitimacy and authority from self-appointed leaders. It does not matter how big this new church might be; nor does it matter how many bishops sign onto it. In my opinion, for whatever it is worth, it will still be nothing more than a schismatic body that has unilaterally rendered the fabric of the catholic Church. This is not a small matter, from my point of view. And I do not think that I am alone in having these reservations.

My ONLY concern with GAFCON, so far, is that their press release and the accompanying FAQ do not frankly and candidly address the underlying concerns of many, many, many people on the orthodox side. I can envision all sorts of ways that these concerns could be satisfied by the people convening GAFCON. I am just more than a little surprised that they have not yet made any attempt to do so.

To simply refer back to the text of the press release is not good enough. Dr. Poon can read. So can I. So can LOTS of people that I know who have concerns about this thing.

As I have said before, it is perfectly obvious that Dr. Poon already knows the answers to some of his questions. That is what is so troubling. He KNOWS these people—VERY WELL. He has worked with them closely for YEARS and YEARS now. I am sure that when he first read the press release he picked up his telephone and called some of these folks and asked them his questions. And I suspect—though here I am venturing into the realm o9f pure speculation—that the answers that he received did NOT satisfy him; hence, his rhetorical questions released publicly. It seems to me that his questions were rather irenic—and that they were posed as questions precisely in order to give the people convening GAFCON an opportunity to think long and hard about what they were doing, and to then respond accordingly.

You have gone on record as saying that you believe that there should be a boycott of Lambeth. More importantly, you have gone on record as saying that you believe that the orthodox should just get on with the business of setting up their own communion, apart from Canterbury. Bishop Bob Duncan has NOT gone on record as saying this. Neither has Archbishop Peter Akinola. Both have them have strontgly suggested—on many occasions—that this is an option that they are considering. But neither of them has made a public commitment to do so. Many, many, many people on the orthodox side would have serious problems with any coalition of bishops and archbishops setting up a “new communion” without any sort of reference to the old Canterbury-centered Communion. It does not matter how many bishops or archbishops might participate in this self-defined “new communion.” Nor does it matter how large the new entity is. It would still be a schismatic body that has self-consciously separated itself from the catholic Church. And THAT gives pause to many, many, many orthodox Anglicans—be they Anglo-Catholics, or Charismatics, or low-church types.

You may disagree with me, but I think that it is essential that the orthodox maintain catholic order while arraying our forces against the enemy. Many others take this view also. GAFCON does not, in and of itseolf, represent a breach of catholic order. But the way that this thing has been presented suggests that it may—possibly—be a very small first step in this direction. And THAT troubles people. If it does not represent this, then it should be easy enough for Bishop Bob Duncan or somebody in a similarly important position to allay these concerns. THAT is ALL that I am asking for.

December 30, 4:33 pm | [comment link]
92. bluenarrative wrote:

Sarah,  There is NOTHING to suggest that GAFCON is some sort of a conspiracy—with the ultimate purpose of establishing a new communion. But, in my humble opinion, the press release, as written—and the FAQ that accompanied it—raise questions that can and should be addressed. The list of people convening this event is NOT insignificant. Anybody with half a brain can see that this thing has been put together by people who have been dropping strong hints for some time that they are seriously considering a simple and complete breach catholic order—people who have gone on record as saying that they are contemplating the idea of simply forming a “new communion” without any reference to the old Canterbury-centered Communion. All that I am saying is that THIS idea gives many people pause. And such concerns should not be disregarded as irrelevant.

If I sounded harsh about some of the “continuing churches” in my area, it is only because I see these people withdrawing into a comfortable small space while some of us move up to the front lines, to take on the enemy.  And, yes, I think that self-appointed “bishops” are an inherently bad thing. I am sure that they are doing the best that they know how. But I am also pretty sure that their “best” is not good enough, given what is going on in the world today. Maybe it is not for me to make that sort of judgement. But it looks that way to me.

December 30, 4:44 pm | [comment link]
93. paulo uk wrote:

Michael Poon is member of the Fulcrum( Affirming the Evangelicalism), so he is any thing AKINOLIAN.
 

Comment edited by elf for an ad hominem attack on the Bishop of Jerusalem.

December 30, 4:56 pm | [comment link]
94. Terry Wong wrote:

Graham #3
This is rather late and I am interacting with Graham Kings (#1) and hopefully various other concerns raised here.

It is “not quite’ because the Gafcon is not a Global South event, though some GS Primates and leaders are involved. This is clear in the Gafcon Q & A.

We should not read too much into the use of the word ‘global anglican’ either as it is a straightforward description of the nature of the event and participants expected.

Gafcon is not a GSA initiative as the leadership of this conf, unlike that of previous GSA initiatives, will involved those outside of the GSA bloc. In past GSA events, participants may come from the non-GSA areas but the leadership of the Conf is GSA. (This can help clarify #3 of the Q & A)

While some may read the Gafcon initiative as a move which bypasses GSA, it can also be read as one which seeks to allow more space, especially at the leadership and organisers’ level, for other primates or leaders to participate. Thus, Archbishop Peter Jensen could act as the spokesman of the event and we have some from UK assisting in the organisation.

As to be expected, there will be ‘family disagreements’. It is obvious that not every GS Primate is comfortable or agreeable with everything GSA is doing (or doing with their friends) . However, the bonds of friendship and common conviction is such that they are not easily broken. GSA is also premised on a wider platform which allows for orthodox Anglicans to work together without tripping over issues which so easily divides folks into various camps.

It is not that GSA has a special constitution. Isn’t this the very nature and strength of the Anglican family herself? As long as GS Primates and the Provinces they represent are working together, this natural strength will work itself out.

The crisis has created situations where unilateral actions by some Primates or Provinces seems to be needed to address urgent pastoral needs on the ground. There are also anxiety in some quarters for ‘legit’ covering or support for their causes. We can expect individual Primates/Provinces to give priority to different needs.

However, if we ignore or fail to appreciate the inherent strength in the life and nature of our global communion and behave as if we are quasi-family or independent churches, we will only weaken the Church further. A more adequate ecclesiology and better perspective of global Anglican realities may be needed.

As for accusations of Gafcon being ‘divisive’ and plotting post-conf actions of setting up new leadership structures, past GSA events have received similar accusations. But ‘good Anglicans’ don’t need to ‘move anywhere’ and beyond discussing practical pastoral and mission issues or ways to respond to revisionist trends, I see no reason why Gafcon will work at setting up a new ecclesiastical structure.

December 30, 5:38 pm | [comment link]
95. Ephraim Radner wrote:

Well, we are clear on what is at stake in this “discussion”.  There are some, like Matt and Sarah, who believe Dr.  Poon’s open letter to be “embarrassingly self-serving”, and based on “false” and “uncharitable assumptions”, or so lodged in the “unknown” as to be without interest.  There are others, like myself, who believe that Dr. Poon’s letter—whatever its “tone” or the nature of its questions (rhetorical or quizzical)—- deserves attention because it comes from someone very close to key leaders of the Global South within the Communion, and as such, probably indicates some shared concerns that go beyond the personal and the marginal.

There is, of course, no way at this stage to confirm the judgment of either group of observers.  Time will tell. 

As for Matt’s prickly response above—“full throttle” “pushing” of “dead and dying horses”, and then retiring into the “vapors” after having accused others of “sin” for only doing their job—I am at a loss.  It only goes to show that observation is indeed subject-based.

December 30, 5:52 pm | [comment link]
96. Graham Kings wrote:

Thanks, Paulo UK #108.

1. I think you have confused Fulcrum with another organisation called Affirming Evangelicalism. The two are very different: the former is conservative on issues of sexuality and the latter is liberal on issues of sexuality.

2. Michael Poon is not a member of the leadership team of Fulcrum, but we have published articles by him.

December 30, 6:01 pm | [comment link]
97. bluenarrative wrote:

Father Kennedy,  I am sorry, but my language was rather imprecise. Let me try to clarify it. Bishop Duncan and Archbishop Akinola have both, on various occasions, made strong suggestions that it MAY (possibly) eventually be necessary for them to simply withdraw from the Canterbury-centered Communion and form a “new communion.” This has only been floated as a sort of vague POSSIBILITY. And, obviously, discussing these ideas publicly has been intended by both men as a strategic ploy. They have openly admitted as much—and have said that they are simply putting the Archbishop of Canterbury on notice that many on the orthodox side do not have infinite patience. However, if nothing else, their ability to even suggest this as a possible future move implies some kind of a willingness to sacrifice catholic order for what they consider to be something more important. Please understand that I have a LOT of respect for these men—and I am NOT necessarily criticizing what they have said thus far in the face of outrageous behavior on the part of 815.

SO FAR, they (and others closely allied to them) have NOT gone so far as to say that they have reached the point where they are actually willing to take these actions. At least, not publicly or “on the record.”

As I have said many times, I think such a move would be a grave mistake. Right now, I am willing to take my “marching orders,” as it were, from these men, precisely because THEY HAVE NOT YET COMMITTED THEMSELVES TO THIS COURSE OF ACTION.

But I admit to being a bit anxious that they MIGHT take such actions. And I am anxious because such a shift in strategies would mean that I would, personally, have to move in another direction—and take my “marching orders” from others. And this is something that I do NOT want to do. I like these guys—a LOT. I have immense respect for them. I think that they are genuine Christian heroes. I want, very much, to be closely allied with them.

But I am NOT prepared to sacrifice catholic order. Nor am I prepared to follow them in a direction that I think would be wrong.

I think that there are a LOT of people who feel, more or less, as I do. Dr. Michael Poon appears to also think as I do.

What I meant to say—what I have been trying to say throughout this thread—is that I do not want to see these men moving in this direction. That’s all.

December 30, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
98. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “There are some, like Matt and Sarah, who believe Dr.  Poon’s open letter to be “embarrassingly self-serving”, and based on “false” and “uncharitable assumptions”, or so lodged in the “unknown” as to be without interest.  There are others, like myself, who believe that Dr. Poon’s letter—whatever its “tone” or the nature of its questions (rhetorical or quizzical)—- deserves attention because it comes from someone very close to key leaders of the Global South within the Communion, and as such, probably indicates some shared concerns that go beyond the personal and the marginal.”

Not certain why the two views are mutually exclusive or inherently contradictory.

One may certainly see, for instance, Michael Poon’s article as embarrassingly self-serving—an article with lots of “questions” based largely on the idea, it appears, that Poon and others don’t want various Primates and bishops to gather together prior to Lambeth—and yet see the article as something that “deserves attention.”

Certainly when people don’t think something is deserving of attention they are well able to ignore it.  I’ve ignored dozens of articles and letters that I don’t think worthy of attention, and I can hardly characterize anyone on this thread as ignoring Poon’s letter as not worthy of attention.

December 30, 6:30 pm | [comment link]
99. Mick wrote:

Comment edited by elf. Sends the reader to another site.

December 30, 6:34 pm | [comment link]
100. Br. Michael wrote:

I guess I see.  On to Lambeth 2018 to enforce what, if anything, Lambeth 2008 decides.  But at least catholicity will be preserved.

December 30, 6:48 pm | [comment link]
101. Graham Kings wrote:

Thanks, Terry for replying on the Global South Anglican site (to my comment #3 there) and copying it on this site (to my comment #1 here).

I think part of the concern expressed by various people above relates to comments in at least two published articles which concern 1. a ‘non-Canterbury Communion’ and 2. ‘GAFCON seeking to plan for the future’.

In his article ‘Not Schism but Revolution’, in Evangelicals Now (September 2007), Chris Sugden stated, after a quotation from Bishop Bob Duncan:

In other words, since the Archbishop of Canterbury has not provided for the safe oversight of the orthodox in the United States, he has forfeited his role as the one who gathers the Communion.

http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/index.php/2007/08/30/not-schism-but-revolution/

In my critique of this categorical statement, I went on to say:

The consequential question resulting from Chris Sugden’s view concerning the Archbishop of Canterbury is: ‘Then who does gather the Communion?’ His view leaves a vacuum. It also means that the Primates’ Meeting can’t be gathered, since Canterbury presides at those meetings. It also means the Lambeth Conference can’t meet. Of the Four Instruments of Communion, that leaves only the Anglican Consultative Council and that is not seen as respresentative by him.

http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/8002

When people notice that

1.  the author of that article is now one of the key organisers of GAFCON - and in fact registered that domain name and runs the website and

2. the Archbishop of Sydney mentions in his article on SydneyAnglicansNet,

[GAFCON] therefore seeks to plan for a future in which Anglican Christians world-wide will increasingly be pressured to depart from the biblical norms of behaviour and belief.

http://www.gafcon.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7&Itemid=1

then is it surprising that people raise questions about what has been announced and what has not been announced and wonder about plans being discussed at GAFCON for a ‘non-Canterbury based Communion?’ These plans are openly being discussed on Stand Firm and TitusOneNine already.

There is nothing on GAFCON’s site about the Windsor Report and the Covenant. Why not? Is it because the whole direction of GAFCON is away from the Windsor Report and the Covenant process?


Thanks, Terry, also for your editorial noted added to Michael Poon’s second article, which I copied above #88 :

http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/8764/#164413

No one yet has commented on your note. It really sums up the essence of the current situation very well.

Editorial note:

Both Dr Michael Poon and Archbishop Jensen have articles featured on this site regularly. It will be in the interest of our readers and Anglican faithful that we continue some open conversations on the nature and direction that our Communion is taking. This is a critical time for our Communion and churches. If we are just fighting for biblical orthodoxy and nothing else, we might as well splinter into independent churches. Even ‘mission’ is not a good enough reason to be together - for we are working quite well across denominational boundaries. If it is both biblical orthodoxy AND the catholic order of our Church with our identity/mission as an ecclesial family, then it calls for careful, deeper reflection, longterm vision and clarity in our strategy - that the 2003 crisis and our subsequent responses may not tear the fabric of our Communion even further.

http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/index.php

I also note that ‘Mick’ (on the thread concerning Michael Poon’s second article) has spotted a report that Mouneer Anis has written to Peter Akinola asking him to reconsider the timing and venue of GAFCON.

http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/8792/#164514

Just a suggestion, but maybe this discussion could move into the next room of that thread.

December 30, 6:50 pm | [comment link]
102. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

The link that Mick posted above clarifies some of Dr. Poon’s questions, if not the answers themselves.

(on leave from the Briar Patch),

December 30, 7:16 pm | [comment link]
103. Sarah1 wrote:

Graham Kings—I appreciate your well-researched comment above.

You mention something that interests me: “I think part of the concern expressed by various people above relates to comments in at least two published articles which concern 1. a ‘non-Canterbury Communion’ and 2. ‘GAFCON seeking to plan for the future’.”

Okay.  Let’s suppose that over the next 20 years, we endure three more Lambeth Meetings.  At each, great resolutions are passed, and ECUSA continues to ignore each one, and have its own General Conventions every three years, steadily instituting practice after practice after practice defying those great resolutions.  As ECUSA is on a train that will not stop, each convention some fresh new horror of an action is approved.

ECUSA is steadily invited to Lambeth. No Communion discipline ever occurs.  Floods more of individuals and parishes continue to leave ECUSA.  At each of the three Lambeths, various Primates and bishops now hold alternate Eucharistic services, as they are no longer in Communion with ECUSA.  But all of them come, and each time they continue to pass fantastic Lambeth resolutions. 

In the 2008 Lambeth, an excellent covenant is approved. 

ECUSA does not approve it ever.  ECUSA continues to come to Lambeth, receiving its invitations with triumphant shouts.

Would you say, then, in 2028, that an alternate “non-Canterbury Communion” might be a good idea?  Or 2038?  Or would you continue steadfastly maintaining that no, every Lambeth meeting will be “the definitive one” that will finally establish order and thus there need be no non-Canterbury communion.

I do not ask the above questions with sarcasm.  I am sincerely interested in your answers.

December 30, 7:34 pm | [comment link]
104. Mick wrote:

My deleted post, #116, concerns a report on another site (you’ll have to find it yourself I’m afraid!) that +Anis has written to +Akinola asking him to reconsider the timing and venue of GAFCON. +Akinola has said no.

December 30, 7:46 pm | [comment link]
105. Craig Goodrich wrote:

Matt #109—I for one don’t see the inconsistency in bluenarrative’s post.  It’s pretty obvious to anyone who has been following all this (for what seems like several centuries…) that ++Akinola and a very few others have made strong statements to the effect that if it became absolutely necessary, they would place the truth of the Gospel above communion with Canterbury—which is I think a sentiment we all share, though our judgments of the threshold of such necessity would differ widely—while they have been careful to emphasize that they are still working for reform within the Communion.  This is what I read in the statements you quote.
—————————

Dr+ Radner in #25 has put his finger on the crucial point that should concern us all: “a fraying mutual-trust even within the Global South.”  It is utterly fruitless and unproductive at this point to criticize either the conveners of GAFCon or Dr. Poon; what is necessary is to institute some fence-mending and confidence-building on all sides.  Purely from a political point of view, the orthodox side of this conflict is not so overwhelmingly strong within the Communion that it can afford the luxury of internal division and bickering over personalities.  It is disappointing to see this thread largely taken up by rhetorical tit-for-tat insect bites when the ostensible topic is such a central issue.  If anything, we are displaying “a fraying mutual-trust within the Orthodox Anglican Blogosphere.”  [Sigh…]

December 30, 7:50 pm | [comment link]
106. Sarah1 wrote:

Craig Goodrich, although there are some commenters here whose general style of commenting [across the board] I dislike, I do not have less trust for folks like you and Dr. Radner, and others here.

I may disagree and articulate my disagreements, but that does not mean that I don’t trust you as a Christian brother.

December 30, 7:59 pm | [comment link]
107. Br. Michael wrote:

Except Sarah, they will never, ever act.  I don’t distrust them, but I know that I can never count on them.

December 30, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
108. Bill Cool wrote:

I agree that this thread has grappling with foundational ideas.

bluenarrative -
You cite catholic order a number of times in your comments. You also say that there are “all sorts of major players on the orthodox side who have been advocating what amounts to a schismatic rift”.

I am only a pew-sitting non-theologian, so I really cannot defend an alternative view that I have seen on SF and T19, but some, as I recall, have spoken about catholic order being founded necessarily upon catholic unity of faith and practice - that which has been believed and practiced everywhere always. If that commonality of catholic faith and practice is seriously torn, then these commenters, as I recall, have said that, by definition, schism has already occurred. If a serious rupture of catholic unity of faith and practice occurred in 2003 (or perhaps some other even earlier date), then we all are functioning in an Anglican Communion that has already had schism thrust upon it. That is perhaps why Kendall’s recent comments about Jeremiah, the exile and its resulting confusion resonated so well with many.

As many commenters appear to, I agree that Anglicans from around the world should not feel constrained about meeting to discuss the future of Anglicanism, that severing ties to Canterbury would be an extreme measure, but that that such an extreme measure may at some time be required if Canterbury refuses to disentangle itself from TEC and other apostasy.

I, for one, however, find that catholic order has already been shattered by TEC’S stated beliefs (or refusals to state any core beliefs) and the practices of TEC, the Anglican Church of Canada, and some of the other provinces. It would seem that encouraging catholic unity of faith and practice is of an even higher priority than maintaining a supposed catholic order, which in many parts of the communion has a hollowness to it due to the lack of catholic unity of faith and practice.

December 30, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
109. Graham Kings wrote:

Thanks, Sarah for #121.

I really think that your scenario is unlikely - and the reason is the Anglican Covenant.

Here is my suggested alternative scenario, which follows the trajectory of the Windsor Report, Covenant process and Advent Letter 2007.

I do not think that TEC will be able to continue as a full ‘constituent member’ of the Anglican Communion if TEC, as seems likely at this stage, at the General Convention in 2009, backtracks on resolution B033 and agrees to consecrate someone as a bishop who is in a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Now, the reason I don’t think that TEC will still be a ‘constituent member’ of the Anglican Communion (though TEC may still be an ‘associate member’) is that the Lambeth Conference 2008 will come up with a text for an Anglican Covenant - and it will be stronger the more Global South Anglican bishops are present.

That text of the Covenant will later be agreed or not agreed by the various Provinces.  If not agreed in a particular Province, then I think that Province will be demoted to ‘associate status’.

Now sure, this will take time, and from current estimates it may take till 2011 or 2012. In the light of this time frame, some interim measures in North America for those who are conservative on issues of sexuality need putting in place. The Advent Letter sets out the process for this and I agree with the Anglican Communion Institute’s response to it, especially the following paragraph near the end:

The clear implication of the Advent Letter and the Dar es Salaam Communiqué is that a solution to the issue of differentiation internal to TEC is the proper way forward. It is urgent that an American solution to an American problem be found. It is our hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishops of TEC and the leaders of the Windsor Bishops will devote their energies to this issue and find a mutually acceptable solution with all deliberate speed. We fear that if no such action is taken both TEC and the Communion as a whole will be faced with a battle between opposing forces that may well simply tear fabric of our communion apart.

http://anglicancommunioninstitute.com/content/view/126/1/

Hope this gives you some indication of my suggested scenario.

Of course, this could all be thrown off course, and the Covenant be watered down, if - and this is where we return to the theme of this thread:

1. those who long for, and are planning for, a ‘non-Canterbury Communion’ succeed in setting one up and

2. those who try to persuade bishops in Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya not to attend Lambeth 2008 - while still planning to set up stalls in the Lambeth 2008 market place for their organisations - succeed in doing so.

December 30, 8:53 pm | [comment link]
110. Graham Kings wrote:

Sarah, I notice that you ‘cross-posted’ (hopefully not ‘crossly-posted’) your question to me above #121 on to Stand Firm:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/8772/#164566

Would you mind ‘cross-posting’ my reply above? Thanks.

December 30, 9:10 pm | [comment link]
111. seitz wrote:

106—I have for ten years taught PhD seminars in the reception of the Bible in the history of the church (OT and NT), Justin, Irenaeus, Origen, Theodore, Augustine, Theodoret, Cappadocians, Aquinas, Rashi, Luther, Calvin, and post-reformation ‘moderns.’ Calvin’s commentaries are central resources. I have directed dissertations on Calvin and Bucer. I am Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Wycliffe and am writing a commentary on Colossians for Brazos, and a technical work on Antiochene Interpretation, as well as my usual OT work. I have worked through much of Calvin’s commentaries, and had read the Institutes in the course of things. Barth’s small print exegetical work is a good standard of ambition and Calvin’s best commitments…

December 30, 9:58 pm | [comment link]
112. Dale Rye wrote:

In #123, Craig Goodrich moves

Dr+ Radner in #25 has put his finger on the crucial point that should concern us all: “a fraying mutual-trust even within the Global South.” It is utterly fruitless and unproductive at this point to criticize either the conveners of GAFCon or Dr. Poon; what is necessary is to institute some fence-mending and confidence-building on all sides.  Purely from a political point of view, the orthodox side of this conflict is not so overwhelmingly strong within the Communion that it can afford the luxury of internal division and bickering over personalities.  It is disappointing to see this thread largely taken up by rhetorical tit-for-tat insect bites when the ostensible topic is such a central issue.  If anything, we are displaying “a fraying mutual-trust within the Orthodox Anglican Blogosphere.” (Sigh…)

I second the motion. I think it is a good thing to be talking about fundamental issues of ecclesiology. However, I think it is a bad thing to do so in a manner that an outsider would interpret as uncharitable.

Whether one calls oneself an Evangelical or not, I think all of us value evangelism as a basic task of the Church (right up there with worship). My point above was that the tone of many recent discussions among reasserters is not attractive, and is far more likely to drive people away than to bring them to the Good News of God in Christ. All of us have been getting increasingly sloppy about criticizing other positions—-including positions that are essentially allied with ours against heterodoxy—-in such a way as to imply that those who hold those positions are stupid, crazy, or malevolent.

This bitterness is certainly causing considerable damage in terms of Anglican attendance and missionary budgets. Worse, I suspect that it poses a threat to the eternal salvation of certain souls who would have been predisposed to hear the Gospel as Anglicans have received it, but did not hear it because we were too busy fighting to clearly proclaim our distinctive form of the message for their consideration.

December 31, 1:30 am | [comment link]
113. bluenarrative wrote:

I have said both here on T19 and on SF, this “fraying mutual trust” could be repaired in a few moments with a few simple phone calls. I have been saying it since yesterday. Even allowing for differences in times zones, etc. it is very disturbing to me—and to a lot of other people on the orthodox side—that Archbishop Akinola and/or Archbishop Jensen have not YET seen fit to substantially respond to Dr. Poons.

As Christians, we are called upon to speak frankly and candidly—both among ourselves, and when addressing those outside of the Church. If ever there was a moment that called for some frank and candid conversation, THIS IS IT…

December 31, 1:39 am | [comment link]
114. paulo uk wrote:

Graham King I was compering Fulcrum with Affirming Catholicism.

December 31, 11:27 am | [comment link]
115. Sarah1 wrote:

Graham Kings,

I have had time to consider your alternate scenario.

In the spirit of my hashing this out in my own mind, here is another alternate scenario.

—The Lambeth Conference 2008 comes up with a text for an Anglican Covenant that is strong, due to GS provinces being there; also, lots of great resolutions are passed [just throwing that one in]

—ECUSA considers the text of the Covenant at GC 2009, and they pass a resolution agreeing to study it further over the next three years as well as a nice resolution stating that they “affirm the spirit of “covenant” and “receive ‘covenant’” in a spirit of communal love for the Anglican Communion, of which they are constituent members; the HOB meets and states that it cannot act for the whole church; the Executive Council states that it has reservations about the Covenant and that it violates the polity and canons of the church, but offers an amended form of the covenant, which it approves

—The Anglican Communion Primates meet and ask ECUSA to clarify whether they have actually affirmed the covenant or not.

—[insert exact mirror of past four years here, including Lambeth Commission, Windsor Report, Primates Communiques, HOB meetings, Joint Standing Committee reports of approval, sub-group reports, and mini-committees to help Rowan Williams make up his mind as to what actually happened]; also ECUSA makes strong case that it has not had time to “consider” the covenant; decision to hasty.

—four more years pass

—it is finally agreed that ECUSA did not actually formally approve the covenant

—whatever enforcement mechanisms are in the covenant now kick in in 2012; ECUSA Primate is, incidentally, on the main adjudicatory body, leading to a further rivened Communion—multiple meetings and adjudications occur with the enforcement mechanisms that issue a ruling that no, ECUSA did not approve covenant—ECUSA now an “associate member” of Communion which meaning has mistakenly never been spelled out in the covenant

—2016—much buzz begins occurring; will ECUSA be invited to Lambeth?  If so, what status?  This in part due to nobody having a clue as to what associate status means.  Further—ECUSA now claims that whatever associate status means—the key word is “membership”—*associate membership* is the important thing, and thus ECUSA is still a “member” even if only “associate” which they could care less about; GS Primates begin announcing alternate meetings after Rowan refuses to make anything clear about invitations; outraged responses from Fulcrum/ACI/other to announced alternate meetings; Craig Goodrich tells Sarah that she is being hasty in her decision making

—2017—the final Lambeth meeting preparations begin taking place under Rowan’s watch;

—2017—Rowan invites ECUSA.

Now what?

December 31, 12:14 pm | [comment link]
116. Sarah1 wrote:

As an addendum to my just posted comment, while I recognize that parts of it are [inadvertantly] humorous, I do indeed intend it to be a possible - indeed, as our experience of the past four years proves—highly probable scenario which I would sincerely seek a response to.  If Rowan has proven anything in the past four years he has proven that he can not only do all the delaying that we had always thought he would do, but also in a blatantly ham-handed fashion control and repudiate any voices that he does not wish to hear.  I believe that Rowan has provided ample evidence over the past four years that he will do exactly what he wishes to do.

In addition, I need to add that the continued complete meltdown in ECUSA of course would continue over that 10 year further saga.  The likelihood of “America solving America’s problems” regarding the Dear Leaders of ECUSA offering anything remotely protective of the reasserters is less than the likelihood that the entire Global South will show up en masse at the 2008 Lambeth.  Indeed, I can hardly imagine or state the minusculity of the likelihood of 815 offering anything other than a teensy fig leaf as “protection”.

Further, when you mention “interim measures in North America”—those were the ones laboriously and painfully agreed to in the Dar communique and they were promptly stamped upon by the HOB, Executive Council and 815, ground into a fine powder, and thrown into a nice drink for the reasserters who drank it all.

Finally, just in case I haven’t been clear over the past several years, I have no “longing for” or interest in a “non-Canterbury Communion”.  None.  Zip.  Zero interest.  In fact, as ECUSA continues to radically melt down over the coming 10 years, most people like me will leave ECUSA, and thus [since we don’t have interest in a non-Canterbury Communion] Anglicanism entirely.

I am stating this so that my scenarios are seen for what they are—my honest [even if wrong] impression of how things work and will work—and not a plan to have a non-Canterbury Communion.

December 31, 12:51 pm | [comment link]
117. WilliamS wrote:

“...I have no “longing for” or interest in a “non-Canterbury Communion”.  None.  Zip.  Zero interest.” Amen and Amen, Sarah. My sentiments exactly. There’s just one problem for me: What if, in God’s economy, His plan is for a non-Canterbury Communion—even for a ‘short’ time?

Scripture and history tell us that God allowed his own temple to be destroyed twice. Out of death comes resurrection. Perhaps ‘Jerusalem’ will be a haunt for jackals for a time. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but if God has called any of us to the Anglican Way, I suspect that he wants to use us there.

Just some rambling thoughts from a sympathizer who would hate to lose you and others like you.

Thanks.

December 31, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
118. robroy wrote:

I am interested in a non-Rowan Williams centered communion! How about ABp Sentanamu, for example?

If relations between orthodox are strained, let us remember the root cause. No, it is not the revisionists. It is Rowan Williams, himself, that has actively subverted the unanimous will of the primates.

December 31, 2:36 pm | [comment link]
119. William S wrote:

In addition to everything Sarah wrote earlier on, another difficulty with seeing Lambeth as authoritative is that not all Primates do.

I think of Archbishop Barry Morgan, who has consistently criticised Lambeth 98. Most of the people posting on this site see Lambeth 98 as the settled view of the Communion and maybe a good example of how the Lambeth Conference can really make a difference.

But Archbishop Morgan sees Lambeth 1.10 as the result of bullying and political threats. Far from being the baseline we work from, it was a terrible mistake which has to be undone.  When he spoke on this at a recent Governing Body meeting (equivalent of CofE Synod) he added an aside which wasn’t in the official record to this effect ‘Lambeth 1.10 was the result of the debate at Lambeth 98 - if you can call it a debate’.

That’s the way to evade any decisions - question the process. Suppose all the GS bishops turned up at Lambeth in the summer and pushed through some good resolutions. That wouldn’t be the end of it. ‘Revisionist’ bishops would simply start on unpicking what was decided because of flaws in the process, bullying tactics by their opponents etc, etc.

If a bishop wants to dissent from a Lambeth resolution, he (she) will always find some way of evading the thrust of it.

By the way - this is William S (with a space) . . . . a completely different person from WilliamS (no space)!

January 1, 12:41 pm | [comment link]
120. seitz wrote:

#136—the chief problem would be that +Sentamu would be opposed to it, and strenously. He is not remotely anti-Canterbury but a major defender. The stories of his ripostes to select fellow-Africans at Dar are almost legendary. You’ll have to find another candidate I fear.

January 1, 1:30 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): Episcopal Diocese of San Diego convention information

Previous entry (below): Modesto Bee: Bishop Schofield removes Episcopal vicar from Atwater post

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)