11/17/2008

Proposition 13 of the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration.

Well, something is happening on December 3rd related to the formation of a GAFCON recognized North American Province of Something. (See Living Church and Anglican Communion Network News)

Let us remember that the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration, which has reappeared as a statement that will have to be signed by those of the Common Cause Partnership who want to be part of the GAFCON North American Province, includes this proposition:

"13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord."


Now, just so everyone understands: Those who sign the Jerusalem Declaration will be pledging "to reject the authority of church and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or dead." Who are those churches and leaders? Well, clearly the Provinces of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada and at least all its bishops who have voted or acted in support of the inclusion of gay or lesbian persons by blessing their vocations to ordained ministry or to committed relationships.

That means that North America is, as far as the signers are concerned, without Episcopal leadership or Provincial governance. North America is an open mission field.


The Jerusalem Declaration has fourteen points. The headings of the thirteen others are, "we rejoice (three times), we believe, we uphold, we gladly proclaim, we recognize, we acknowledge, we gladly accept, we are mindful, we are committed, we celebrate. Only the one, Number 13 begins "we reject."



This single proposition, number 13, is what gives license to the GAFCON / Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans to carve up the map of TEC and ACoC to their liking.

Assuming this December 3rd Thingy goes anywhere, it will result in a new world wide Church that will call itself Anglican but which will not be Anglican at all. They will lead Anglicans astray and they will beguile others into thinking that they are indeed uniquely Anglican.

In this they will be wrong, and should they meet with some momentary success, it will be followed by their crash into conservative Calvinism on the one side and the lure of Rome on the other.

Meanwhile The Episcopal Church will continue to be broadly welcoming, although not as good at that as it should or could be. Likewise the Anglican Church of Canada will continue to be Anglicanism at its best. All of these troubles will lead to some reduction in membership, but in the long run the face of Christ that welcomes is better news than the face of Christ that rejects. I say that knowing that sometimes rejection is a way to greater love.

Just as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, so sometimes rejection is just rejection.

8 comments:

  1. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed

    T-Minus10, and counting, till the GafCONEheads start accusing each other of denying "the orthodox faith in word or deed"...

    Lord have mercy!

    [And God bless The Quad: Anglicanism's version of K.I.S.S.! ;-)]

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  2. Just what is the orthodox faith of which they speak? Is this the same "faith once delivered by the saints.", and one might ask which saints are they referring to?

    Richard Warren

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  3. This is a very interesting proposition. First, I'm not aware that being guilty of heresy removes an ordained priest from the Apostolic Succession or stops the validity of their pastoral acts. This is fascinating. Second, on a functional level how does one actually verify who is orthodox and who is not orthodox. I think that to proof of heterodoxy requires more than an angry press release! I'm hardly an expert on the subject.

    Griff

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  4. So when the GAFCuria meets to admit the CAFCONfected new peovince, will they also pronounce an anatehma against certain innovation is Sydney? Or will they give their current banker a pass?

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  5. To deny the sacramental authority of those who violate the "orthodox faith" is to engage in the heresy of Donatism.

    Which of the other councils will they deny as they create their own "orthodoxy"?

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  6. This is a new version of an old religion organized on principles of exclusion. Thus, it contains the seeds of its own destruction.

    They agree on the "needle's eye" of entrance into the Realm of God. They agree on the(ir) interpretation of scripture. They agree on a solid condemnation of homosexuality and abortion (including stem cell transplant).

    If the "problem" of women's ordination doesn't get 'em, then the 13 Articles will.

    Uber-Calvinist Evangelicals and nose-bleed high Anglo-Catholics have never made stranger bedfellows. There is no middle ground, which is the hallmark of classic Anglicanism.

    The irony is rich. They pat themselves on the back about being "tolerant" of each other's differences, assuring themselves as long as they stay "true" to the "true", "Way, Truth and Life" of their understanding of Jesus, they can work out all their differences.

    As my sainted grandmother used to say, "Dead wood splinters."

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  7. "To deny the sacramental authority of those who violate the "orthodox faith" is to engage in the heresy of Donatism."

    One would think that the final clause of prop. 13 would separate the Jerusalem Declaration from accusations of Donatism, as a refusal to recognize repentance was precisely that which was lacking in the Donatists... after all, it's not as if the Catholics thought any better of apostasy than the Donatists did- they were simply willing to accept repentance and a change of heart as adequate for ministerial service. This is exactly what GAFCON is saying.

    The charge of Donatism is much too loosely thrown out these days, in my opinion. It simply doesn't apply here.

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  8. "Uber-Calvinist Evangelicals and nose-bleed high Anglo-Catholics have never made stranger bedfellows. There is no middle ground, which is the hallmark of classic Anglicanism."

    There's no middle ground reported in the news. But I don't think that means that there's no middle ground. Whether it all falls apart is another matter, and you may be quite right about that. But I think the idea of "strange bedfellows" here has gotten a little bit overblown. In fact, the Chicago area churches near which the Declaration is going to be signed on Dec. 3rd are perfect examples of middle of the road congregations... All Soul's is more Anglo Catholic, most of the others have a bit more of an evangelical feel, but none are "low church" with regard to their ecclesiological commitments.

    The new American province fills the spectrum with regard to diversity on these issues, and there isn't a bi-polar Evangelical/Anglocatholic feel in any place that I've been. But maybe your experience of these churches has been different.

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