Statement of Kendall Harmon on Resolution D025

Posted by The_Elves

Note from the elves: this was written and published on July 15th, when TitusOneNine was having technical difficulties. It was posted to the backup blog and also at Stand Firm, and released to various other news outlets. Since not all TitusOneNine readers will have seen it, we are reposting it today, as well as posting it in proper chronological order with all the other entries for July 15th that we are importing from the backup blog.

Statement of Kendall Harmon on Resolution D025

The passage of Resolution D025 by the General Convention of 2009 is a repudiation of Holy Scripture as the church has received and understood it ecumenically in the East and West. It is also a clear rejection of the mutual responsibility and interdependence to which we are called as Anglicans. That it is also a snub to the Archbishop of Canterbury this week while General Synod is occurring in York only adds insult to injury.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the BBC, the New York Times and Integrity all see what is being done here. There are now some participants in the 76th General Convention who are trying to pretend that a yes to D025 is NOT a no to B033. Jesus’ statement about letting your yes be yes and your no be no is apt here. These types of attempted obfuscations are utterly unconvincing. The Bishop of Arizona rightly noted in his blog that D025 was "a defacto repudiation of" B033.

The presuppositions of Resolution D025 are revealing. For a whole series of recent General Conventions resolutions have been passed which are thought to be descriptive by some, but understood to be prescriptive by others. The 2007 Primates Communique spoke to this tendency when they stated “they deeply regret a lack of clarity”on the part of the 75th General Convention.

What is particularly noteworthy, however, is that Episcopal Church Resolutions and claimed stances said to be descriptive at one time are more and more interpreted to be prescriptive thereafter. Now, in Resolution D025, the descriptive and the prescriptive have merged. You could hear this clearly in the floor debates in the two Houses where speakers insisted “This is who we are!”

Those involved in pastoral care know that when a relationship is deeply frayed when one or other party insists “this is who I am” the outcome will be disastrous. The same will be the case with D025, both inside the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

D025 is the proud assertion of a church of self-authentication and radical autonomy.

It is a particularly ugly sight.

--The Rev. Dr. Kendall S. Harmon is Canon Theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention * By Kendall

12 Comments
Posted July 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/24426/



1. frdarin wrote:

Well said, as usual, Dr. Harmon+.

These are the ramblings of an organization and leadership for whom the notion of obedience to anything/anyone other than the institutional “self” is beyond understanding.  Submission to Gospel or Mutual Christian Love is an anomaly.  Rather, the statement “this is who we are” is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.  There is no opportunity, neither any desire, to be challenged or corrected.

Meanwhile, as Frank Lockwood has documented, the ASSEMBLIES OF GOD have now eclipsed TEC in membership and - yes, it’s true, attendance on WEEKDAYS vs. SUNDAY MORNINGS.

http://biblebeltblogger.com/index.php/religion/assemblies-of-god-eclipses-episcopal-church

Darin+

Darin+

July 23, 3:04 pm | [comment link]
2. Ed McNeill wrote:

I think I read this when it first came out, at least I must give a nod of appreciation for making me think of the difference between descriptive and pre or proscriptive.  I wrote an article for http://www.NewAnglicanChurch.com about the Ten Moratoria and the Covenant that makes the point that Moratoria do not exist in a vacuum. They must be seen within the covenant they refer to. When they are separated the cost of not keeping them is hidden and the heartache of broken relationships is ignored. Moratoria like the Commandments can be approached as intended as descriptive of relationship or they can be approached proscriptively thus revelaing the true brokenness of the relationship for all to see.

http://www.newanglicanchurch.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=42

July 23, 3:23 pm | [comment link]
3. Allen Lewis wrote:

I guess that Exodus 20 contains the Ten Descriptions according to the latest Episcopal Church scholarship.

How anyone can justify saying “We love the Anglican Communion and wish to remain a part of it” while then continuing to say, “But we insist that we will do things our way, despite any protest from other Anglican Communion members,” is beyond me. But then I never went to seminary or took a course in Anglican Hair-Splitting.

July 23, 3:59 pm | [comment link]
4. Jeffersonian wrote:

Interesting datum in your link, Fr. Darin:

The Assemblies of God had average Sunday morning attendance of 1.8 million (and another 443,000 attending Sunday night services) in 2008. In the Episcopal Church, total average Sunday attendance dropped to 727,822 in 2007 (the latest year that figures are available).

I’d be willing to bet that TEC’s ASA includes all Sunday services, not just Sunday morning attendance.  That means roughly 2.2 million of the AoG’s 2.9 million members (76%) attend services each Sunday while only about one-third of TEC’s do.  Talk about getting passed…

TEC delenda est!

July 23, 4:16 pm | [comment link]
5. frdarin wrote:

Jeffersonian,

Lapped.

Darin+

July 23, 4:20 pm | [comment link]
6. frdarin wrote:

And, figure the drops in TEC over 2008-2009 will increase substantially (departures of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, and Quincy).  Could it be that ASA for TEC will drop below 700,000 once 2009 is factored in?

Darin+

July 23, 4:22 pm | [comment link]
7. Br. Michael wrote:

Has the ABC responded yet?

July 23, 4:24 pm | [comment link]
8. frdarin wrote:

Br. Michael,

Is the Pope a member of church that has no future (since, of course, they don’t ordain openly gay people or women)?

Darin+

July 23, 4:25 pm | [comment link]
9. stabill wrote:

The passage of Resolution D025 by the General Convention of 2009 is a repudiation of Holy Scripture as the church has received and understood it ecumenically in the East and West. ...

Since none of the resolves of D025 explicitly repudiates Scripture, the alleged repudiation must be inferred.  My guess is that it is inferred from mention of the fact that the discernment process is open to all of the baptized.  If that is so, then the fault lies with Canon III.1.2, and so all who have sworn the Oath of Conformity since the mid 90’s must be complicit.

July 23, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
10. Jeffersonian wrote:

Touche’, Fr. Darin, touche’.

TEC delenda est!

July 23, 4:49 pm | [comment link]
11. Jeffersonian wrote:

And, figure the drops in TEC over 2008-2009 will increase substantially (departures of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, and Quincy).  Could it be that ASA for TEC will drop below 700,000 once 2009 is factored in?

ASA in TEC has been dropping at a typical 23,500 per annum since 2003, with some indiction that the decline has been accelerating lately.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see them under 700,000 when 2008’s numbers are published.

TEC delenda est!

July 23, 4:52 pm | [comment link]
12. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

I welcome the reposting of this admirable statement by Kendall that sums up the matter concisely and aptly.

FWIW, let me share an anecdote that illustrates the difference between the trend lines of TEC and the AoG.  I was a regular worshipper in the Assemblies of God for about ten years, the first five as a member of the AoG before I joined TEC, and the latter five while I was pursuing my doctorate as a fulltime grad student.  At that time, my wife and I had two children at home (they’re now grown) who were either teens or pre-teens, and in the Richmond suburb where we lived, the church with the best youth ministry in town was the local, thriving AG church.

So here’s my personal experience.  The AG church I attended when I was a student at Wheaton College had an ASA of around 300-400 when I first went there (in the mid 1970s).  By the time I graduated it was up to about 500.  Today, it’s a super-church (Calvary Church, Naperville, IL) with an ASA of about 4,000.  About twice the size of St. Martin’s, Houston (the largest parish in TEC).

When we moved to Chester, VA during my grad school days, we discovered that the local TEC church had an ASA roughly similar to that of the local AG church; both attracted about 150 worshippers at the time (1992).  But the AG church had a fulltime youth pastor and the best youth ministry in the area, so that’s where we went, for the sake of our kids.

Now here’s the interesting part.  The suburban area around Chester has exploded with growth since then, pracitcally tripling in population in the last 17 years.  And what has happened with those two churches?  Well, the TEC church has inched up in ASA to about 200.  But the AG church has shot up to about 800 in ASA, with an annual budget of over $1 million.

Therein you can perhaps see in microcosm the vastly different trajectories of TEC and the AG.

And when comparing stats, it should be remembered that the AG doesn’t count children among its members, since it doesn’t practice infant baptism.  So the 2.9 mil figure for the AG should be at least doubled to provide a fair comparison with TEC in terms of membership.  So, hmmm.  which one should be considered a major, “mainline” denomination, and which one a mainline wannabe?

David Handy+

July 23, 6:22 pm | [comment link]


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