Ephraim Radner—Left Behind? The Church of England and the Covenant

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One should be clear that objections to the Covenant that have been articulated in the past weeks represent entrenched strategic interests, not without principled motivation, but nonetheless driven by worries over maintaining particular stakes in the church’s decision-making process. The fact that objectors openly admit that the text of the Covenant itself is irrelevant to their concerns – they rarely cite its actual words or argue on their basis – disclose the nature of their anxieties as lying elsewhere. The Covenant has become a symbol. But if so, a symbol of what? Onto its screen has been projected the ideologies of one after another group.

But the Synod needs to do its own projecting. What can it see? If it cannot see an image of the Church of England’s own life and calling in the Covenant’s discussion of Christian communion, common commitments, and mutual deference and accountabilities – a discussion derived from several hundred years of shared ministry and a rich ecumenical service and desire – then the Church of England will indeed have chosen to stand still, as other Anglicans move forward with a life that promises to go far deeper and more vibrantly into Christ’s purposes than what is left behind.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican CovenantAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* TheologyEcclesiology

12 Comments
Posted November 24, 2010 at 4:24 pm

To comment on this article: Go to Article View

The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/33414/



1. wvparson wrote:

As General Synod adopted the Covenant in its first reading by such a convincing majority there’s no real concern that the CofE will not finally back the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Covenant. 

What is of concern is GAFCON’s obviously political grasp for power in its Oxford Statement today which translates that the backlash of conservatives towards TEC continues to poison international Anglicanism. Certainly traditionalists have to deal with the fact that they lost TEC and have been losing it for years with much blame for the loss to be shared. Certainly this loss creates a frightful dilemma for traditionalists in the US. That this dilemma translates into a movement to weaken the whole Communion with the American disease is sinister.

November 24, 6:48 pm | [comment link]
2. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

wv, do you mean TEc’s and ACanada’s insidious weakening of the whole communion by their increasingly boisterious and overweening autonomous implementation of the NEW THANG GOZPEL (c) throughout the Kommunion, aided and abetted by the ArchDitherer of Canterbury, and the infiltration of the CoE by themselves and proxies is sinister, too, or merely the opposition to such is sinister.  In the Latin, sinister would clearly indicate the TEc and ACA and their allies in the CoE.  That such is opposed by faithful adherents to the Gospel worldwide is dexter, hence, ortho.

November 24, 7:16 pm | [comment link]
3. Sarah wrote:

RE: “What is of concern is GAFCON’s obviously political grasp for power in its Oxford Statement today which translates that the backlash of conservatives towards TEC continues to poison international Anglicanism.”

Huh?

Like the ABC and TECusa and Communion Partners and ACNA, etc, etc, aren’t engaging in “obviously political grasp for power”???

Like somehow “political grasp for power” is inherently wrong—when attempted by the six Gafcon Primates—but not when attempted by the ABC??? 

Personally I don’t think there’s a “political grasp for power”—after all, what do they have to gain by being six Primates out there who won’t be signing the Covenant?  I think it’s just precisely what they said—the present text of the Covenant is deeply and fatally flawed.  It was a nice try, but the final product is too flawed to commit to.  That sounds perfectly straightforward to me—and I think it is accurate as well.

RE: “That this dilemma translates into a movement to weaken the whole Communion with the American disease is sinister.”

That’s just silly.  The six Primates rightly recognizing how ineffective and harmful in its delay the current text of the Covenant is is not some kind of “movement to weaken the whole Communion with the American disease” any more than Rowan William’s ham-handed failures are some kind of “movement to weaken the whole Communion with the waffling-weak-leadership disease.”

November 25, 3:06 am | [comment link]
4. Br. Michael wrote:

It’s always good tactics to accuse others of doing what you yourself are doing.  TEC’s actions are nothing if not political, both in and out of the AC with one aim in mind—to have its own way.  From WO to same sex TEC placed “facts on the ground” first without authority and then dared some one to do something about it.

In the case of the AC they knew their opponent well.  The AC has done absolutely nothing effective to stop TEC’s steady march.  Lambeth 1.10 remains the Communion standard and unenforced.  All efforts in that direction have been thwarted by the ABC.  And there is no reason to expect anything different in the future.

November 25, 7:25 am | [comment link]
5. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

political grasp for power

I have no idea what you are talking about. Mostly because I stopped reading right there.

November 25, 9:39 am | [comment link]
6. cseitz wrote:

Is it held that the text is wrong or the Standing Committee/politics? I suspect W Africa, Tanzania, Kenya object to the politics and Standing Committee. There may be some Gafcon leaders who want a different text, for we hear that position held by some publicly. This needs to be worked through. Sarah is against politics of RDW and Standing Committee. It does not sound like she is against the text itself, in the first instance. So, this would be a position that finds the covenant adequate/unobjectionable but not the attending political power plays. It would be helpful to get these two concerns differentiated or prioritized.

November 25, 9:40 am | [comment link]
7. Sarah wrote:

RE: “So, this would be a position that finds the covenant adequate/unobjectionable but not the attending political power plays. It would be helpful to get these two concerns differentiated or prioritized.”

I agree it would be good to get the concerns prioritized and differentiated—but the text unfortunately enshrines the Standing Committee.

The Ridley Draft did not do so.

I believe that had the Ridley text been adopted that *even* the Gafcon six would have adopted it, though perhaps grumbling.  But the *text* changed, and enshrined the Standing Committee.

I’m not opposed to a Covenant in general.  I don’t think even the Gafcon 6 are [although of course they’ll always hold out a flag for their Jerusalem document].

November 25, 11:02 am | [comment link]
8. cseitz wrote:

That it enshrines ‘a SC’ does not mean that it follows that the present SC serves that purpose. There is something to be fought for here. The power is with the GS, if they would deploy it.
But the main point is that SOME object to section four because they want confessional adjustments, and these are substantive in character. Others object to the political machinations that led to the creation of a SC not envisaged by the Covenant Design team. These groups are not the same. A bigger bloc of the GS could form in opposition to the latter objection, but it seems more difficult to get them organised around substantive content changes. Besides, that is not what is objectionable to them: they are opposed to the means for the covenant’s deployment, not the covenant as such.

November 25, 1:06 pm | [comment link]
9. jamesw wrote:

Excellent points Dr. Seitz, however I wonder if the reason that the GAFCON primates are throwing in the towel on the Covenant is because they realize that they will never win the political game of replacing Rowan’s liberal SC with a Covenant-based SC.  Regardless, I do agree that it would have been smarter to have passed the Covenant with the ACI-recommended condition, instead of opting out completely.

November 25, 4:27 pm | [comment link]
10. cseitz wrote:

Thank you James. We are all learning the perceptions we bring. I always thought the strongest percentage of the Communion could determine its fate, and if RDW decided not to be a part of that, they would work to maintain the Communion all the same. That is the conciliarism that lies at the root of Anglicanism as a global reality, and it exists in the Instruments. If it takes staying away from Primates Meetings, sad but proper. But it has never occurred to me to conclude that a well organised Communion majority could be defeated by the Canterbury incumbent, in this case RDW. I wouldn’t think ‘throwing in the towel’ on anything by the Communion majority made sense. It would strike me more as a failure to organise well.

November 25, 9:23 pm | [comment link]
11. Fr. Jack wrote:

This discussion of the covenant continues within a paradigm that is no longer functional. Thus, further dialogue, adjustments, possibilities, and positions will be ineffective in rendering said covenant effective in producing a resolution to the ongoing angst of the Anglican Communion. A paradigm shift is needed to restore a vibrant Biblical, indeed Christian, expression of the Anglican Church in the 21st century. This fact is difficult to hear, and even more difficult to embrace, by all who continue moored within the old paradigm. Yet, only a paradigm shift will unlock the potential that is waiting in both covenant and communion.

November 26, 1:21 am | [comment link]
12. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

I have to say, that is a great title for an article.

But is Dr Radner really a dispensationalist?

Some days I sit and think. Other days I just sit!!

November 26, 3:42 pm | [comment link]


© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com


<< Back to main page

<< Return to Mobile view (headlines)