The Global South / GAFCON and an Anglican Future

Primates of Anglican churches belonging to the Global South Anglican group (GSA) met in China recently and produced a communique.  In that communique there was a longish section devoted to the Primate's observations about the Anglican Communion. We'll get to that in a moment.

Who are these people?

Just to keep it all in order, the GSA group consisted of the following Primates (that's what we Anglicans are given to calling the chief bishop of the several churches in the Communion - it is unfortunate, but there it is.)  The list that attended in China:

Most Rev Dr John Chew
Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi
Most Rev Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis
Most Rev Justice Ofei Akrofi
Most Rev Bernard Ntahoturi
Most Rev Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh
Most Rev Stephen Than Myint Oo
Most Rev Hector Zavala
Most Rev Eliud Wabukala
Most Rev Onesphore Rwaje
Most Rev Albert Chama

Now there is a second organizing group, known as GAFCON, that grew from a conference, The Global Anglican Future Conference, and GAFCON has a primates' council. Those above in RED are the overlap with GAFCON. 

That council consists of the following:
The Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala,
The Most Rev’d Justice Akrofi,
The Most Rev’d Robert Duncan,
The Most Rev ‘d Onesphore Rwaje,
The Most Rev’d Valentino Mokiwa,
The Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh,
The Most Rev’d Henry Orombi,
The Most Rev’d Hector Zavala,

GAFCON includes a non-Anglican Communion member in Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America, otherwise all the remaining Primates in GAFCON, save Zavala from the Southern Cone, are from Africa. The GAFCON group also includes the Primates who have defined the Windsor Report's request not to muck about in other's Provinces by ordaining bishops and priests for work in Provinces not their own.

The Global South Anglican group includes Primates Chew, Anis, Ntahoturi, Oo and Chama who represent African and Asian Anglican churches not part of GAFCON. However, GAFCON Primates represent a majority of the GSA body and GSA has been mostly encouraging of the GAFCON project.

It is not surprising therefore that the GSA Communique shares a great deal in common with the Primates Council of GAFCON communique of May 2011. That document can be read HERE.

Now, to the GSA Communique:  There is not much new in this Communique but it has clearly aligned itself with the movement of the GAFCON Primates away from the Anglican Communion as a fellowship of churches linked by the "Instruments of Communion" - the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meetings.

Here are the points in PURPLE, with my comments following each section in RED.

11. In our reflections, we found that our Anglican Communion has also undergone a tremendous transformation in recent decades. Today, the majority of Anglicans are found no longer in the west, but in churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are firmly committed to our historic faith and order.

The GSA primates contend that they are churches "firmly committed to our historic faith and order." I am sure they are. That historic faith and order assumes nothing about restrictions on the self-government of local churches (ie national or regional churches - the Provinces), rather historic faith and order in the CofE assumes the domain of each Church to be limited. 

12. At the same time, it grieves us deeply to observe many Anglican churches in the west yielding to secular pressure to allow unacceptable practices in the name of human rights and equality. Beginning with the undermining of Scriptural authority and two millennia of church tradition, the erosion of orthodoxy has gone as far as the ordination and consecration of active gay and lesbian clergy and bishops, and the development of liturgies for same-sex marriage.

The GSA primates takes a swipe at "reason" and stands up for "scripture and tradition." It charges that some of the churches in the "West" have placed human rights, laws, and the search for equality, above scripture and tradition."  Well yes and no.  Some in the west have argued that even though scripture condones execution for various crimes, we ought to stand against capital punishment.  But in the west we still have occasions where executions are not only condoned but apparently delighted in. So even in the belly of the beast, in the US, there are still holdouts for scripturally condoned executions. Most of the two mellennia of church tradition has condoned slavery. In a variety of forms it is still in existence. Surely GSA is not suggesting a return to that?  No, of course not. 

The GSA Communique has little to say about such matters.

What they mean is clear. They are talking about inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the sacramental life of the church. "The erosion of orthodoxy has gone so far as the ordination of active gay and lesbian clergy and bishops, and the development of liturgies for same-sex marriage."  Well, I'm glad they made that plain!  We never would have know otherwise.

So what they are arguing is that actions that were condoned, tolerated and not confronted in Scripture or history, are OK even if most of GSA and most of the rest of us would stand opposed to them, and are not the basis for division in the church, but things that are argued were not condoned by scripture or most of Christian tradition are never to be allowed.  So if it was prohibited by Scripture or Tradition it stands. If it was condoned and practiced, we  can chose to follow or not.

13. We are wholeheartedly committed to the unity of Anglican Communion and recognize the importance of the historic See of Canterbury. 

No they are not. And they recognized the historic importance,not the actual importance, of the ABC. (See below.)

Sadly, however, the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Unity have become dysfunctional and no longer have the ecclesial and moral authority to hold the Communion together. 

So, The ABC (one of the instruments) does not have the ecclesial and moral authority... But maybe they think he is the focus of unity....I think not.

For instance:
13.1. It was regrettable that the Lambeth Conference 2008 was designed not to make any resolutions that would have helped to resolve the crisis facing the Communion.

That would have been the Archbishop's final decision, yes? So according to GSA, he failed. 

13.2. The Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in January 2011 was planned without prior consultation with the Primates in regard to the agenda. There was no commitment to follow through the recommendations of previous Primates’ Meetings. The responsibility given by all bishops at the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences for the Primates’ Meeting to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” seems to have been completely set aside.

That would also have been the Archbishop's failing. Its his fault.

13.3. The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the Anglican Communion Standing Committee, and Communion-level commissions such as the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) and the Anglican Communion Liturgical Commission no longer reflect the common mind of the churches of the Communion because many members from the Global South can no longer with good conscience attend these meetings as issues that are aggravating and tearing the fabric of the Communion are being ignored.

So the reason these groups fail the test is because they ignore the things they are upset about and they don't want to have to go to meetings representing a minority opinion or ones that are not being responded to adequately in their minds.  Now its not only his fault, its their fault.

14. We have devoted much time to discuss the Anglican Communion Covenant and the Preamble by the Province of South East Asia documenting the historical events leading up to the Covenant and insisting that the Primates should be the proper moral and spiritual authority for the monitoring of the Covenant. The Covenant with the Preamble have been commended to our respective Provinces for further study and decision.

They discussed the Anglican Communion Covenant, etc. but seemed to take the lead from the Province of South East Asia and insist that it be changed. Interestingly it is the Province of South East Asia's "preamble" that is being circulated with the Covenant. Its a package deal. They are apparently locked into the idea that the Primates are the body with the "proper moral and spiritual authority" for monitoring the Covenant. That is, the Covenant as currently constructed must be changed.  Blame the ABC, the ACC, and the miserable influence of the West, etc.

15. We are committed to uphold the apostolic faith and traditions that define us as Anglicans. This commitment compels us to adopt a proactive stance with respect to our common mission and witness.

The term "apostolic" now shows up.  What this means is that the GSA is grabbing the brass ring on this marry-go-round. They are out to show that they not only have the real, true and viable "historic faith and order" but they are apostolic.  So they are not any more the product of division (as in the Reformation) they are the true source church, you know "apostolic."

15.1. We are planning a Missions Consultation with the theme “Decade of Mission and Networking” as proposed in the Fourth South-to-South Encounter, as a unifying vocational platform on which we realize and build up our common life and witness. Orthodox Anglican churches and groups will be invited to join hands with us in missions.

Well their turn. The Anglican Communion tried a decade of evangelism and that was no great winner. Better luck with "mission and networking." Decades are markers for sales pitches. Didn't like it then, don't like it now. At the same time, to give them credit, the relationship between mission and networking has some merit. The problem is, I think this is code for building up a new Anglican Order based on the Jerusalem Declaration and a revised standard Anglican Covenant. 

15.2. We commend the initiatives of theological education carried out in some of our provinces to strengthen the theological foundations and deepen theological reflection among future leaders of the Church.

Actually, right on with this one. Theological reflection takes place in a world much larger than the vision of the GSA primates, and some of the work being done in the Global South is very important indeed. So, go for it.  Too bad the Anglican Communion initiatives are not mentioned here, but there it is.

15.3. We are developing economic empowerment strategies and networks to enable churches in the Global South to be more economically self-sustaining using the resources God has blessed each of our nations.

Again, these strategies are of great importance. I hope there is wide consultation among churches, South and North (or is it South and West), because economic self-sufficiency is an across the board issue. 

15.4. We are committed to support faithful orthodox Anglican churches and groups in the west which share our historic faith and order.

Well, we thought so. Churches like ACNA and AMiA in the US and Canada, AMiE in England, and whatever it is in Brazil that involves the deposed bishop of Recife,  you know, churches and groups like that.  What GSA means is that their alignment is with what they consider "orthodox" churches in the global south  (to bad Brazil) and the realignment crowd in North America and now England.

So what does this all add up to?  The Global South Anglicans and the GAFCON crowd are hand in glove. They seem pretty clear about it all:

(i) The Anglican Communion as now constituted is defunct, they don't like it and they are not going to go there any more.
(ii) The Archbishop of Canterbury was useful, but is not any more.
(iii) The Primates ought to be the central body in a newly constructed Anglican Communion and that body ought to be purged of Primates of churches that have gone astray. If they can't get the votes in the current line up to do that, the truly "apostolic" Primates will meet separately (as in the GSA meeting).  But for sure, when the new improved Primates meetings take place they will decide who is in and who is out of the Communion.
(iv) GSA Churches will not approve a Covenant that does not make the changes they wish.
(v) They will turn away from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and perhaps even the Church of England, and towards "orthodox" groups in those areas of the world.

Now, explain to me again how they are in any way concerned "wholeheartedly" for the unity of the Anglican Communion?   


  1. The only part of Latin America that would go with their line of thinking is the Southern Cone whose archbishop was not Latino. Certainly IARCA, Mexico and Brazil are not in their camp.

  2. Reminds one of the Republicans in the current US Congress who believe that compromise and bipartisanship means they get everything they want or they end all discussion.

    Something about that conservative victimhood that rankles me though. But then again I truly and wholeheartedly believe that the Holy Spirit is leading us apart for God's own good reasons and we should follow that lead and get on with Gospel business and let the Communion go. A new wineskin for new wine, if you will.

    Jesus, grant us your peace.

  3. I was stunned at seminary when a visiting Bishop (African) was visiting some students attending there. I brought coffee in to the room, and the Bishop was receiving questions. The students were asking permission to ask questions --that's all fine... but the preamble to the questions included at least four or five words including 'your Honorable Grace Lord Bishop...' --now, that's all culturally established, I'm sure --but what struck me was the posture --the head bowed.... furtive eye contact... cultural constructions, I'm sure. But, given that, is it any surprise these bishops are demanding a Primate-led church?

    And, ummmm, no thanks. Besides, I would love to hear them parse "Don't call me good. Only God is good." Or, "call no man, Father."

  4. I agree with Caminante. As far as I can tell (as a priest serving in a diocese in IARCA), IARCA has not bought into this. The Southern Cone, while physically in Latin America, with the majority of its bishops from the U.S.A. and U.K., are not really Latin American.

  5. Mark:

    The Abp of Sydney though not a primate is also part of the GAFCON group serving as General Secretary

    Caminante: Let me assure you that the Most Rev Hector 'Tito' Zavala, Primate and Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone is a 100% genuine Latino.

  6. Let me assure you that the Most Rev Hector 'Tito' Zavala, Primate and Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone is a 100% genuine Latino.¨ DW

    Oh, hark, yes...Bishop Tito is Latino...easy mistake as he was the suddenly-called-in walk in replacement for former PB Greg Venables whose border crossing mischief/more required him to fade into the sunset after his anti-LGBT Christian fleecing of North America schemes! Certainly Bishop Tito was served up quite honorably? Leonardo Ricardo, Sacatapequez, Central America

  7. Thanks for this post, Mark. It’s sometimes hard to keep the various “orthodox” groups straight in one’s mind. After all, the same cast of characters seems to show up wherever you look.

  8. The irony of the GS/GAFCON argument against human rights, aside from the egregious human rights abuses in several of their countries, is that the notion of human rights is grounded squarely in the Christian tradition. The infinite value of the human individual, created in the image of God, and the radical equality as seen, e.g., in Galatians 3:28 underlie Western developments in the realm of human rights.

    That these developments have often been worked out by secular authorities does not make these rights intrinsically "secular" as though that were anathema.

  9. This all reminds me of the great scene in Monty Python's "The Life of Brian". They could not keep the various radical group straight. Ha!

  10. It has sadly been clear for some time that these brothers in Christ are not willing to be a relationship with us unless we stop being who we are and responding to God's call as we understand it. It is also now becoming clear that they will want to do with others who, while disagreeing with our actions, still want to be the Communion with us. Sad indeed.

  11. "It is also now becoming clear that they will want to do with others who, while disagreeing with our actions, still want to be the Communion with us."

    Strictly speaking, what does this mean and how is it significant?

    'will want to do with others' -- who is that? and what does 'do with others Christianly mean'?

    and what is trhe relevance of this putative fact? TEC will be in communion with provinces these provinces are in communion with, but not with them?

    so what?

    TEC decided to go to a 'new place', and others decided it was not a Christian place and so would not join them.

    TEC stepped out into new territory, and others said, 'that is not anglicanism as we understand it, even as venerable Hooker understood it, who you look to for support (maybe)'. So that is now where TEC is. It will find others who want to go to that new place with them.

    But the vast bulk of the provinces as provinces have said, we are not following you to your new place.


  12. Bart, many are called but few are chosen. If you truly think majority rule or my team is bigger is proof of your orthodoxy then you are built upon sinking sand fella.

    As to the charge that the majority of provinces think that where TEC has gone is not Christian that would be up to Christ to decide, wouldn’t it? But I’m really comfortable being on Jesus’s side. After all, he was condemned and crucified by the orthodox majority in his day for going someplace not orthodoxly Jewish.

  13. Dear Brian

    Keep your hair on.

    This isn't about polling people and finding out majorities.

    It is very simple.

    TEC wants to go where others do not agree.

    You can claim 'Christ' on your side.

    Others not willing to go where you go will say that is because they have no conviction that Christ would go there, and they are siding with him.

    This is what happens when people speak of 'Christ' and claim him for causes.

    When you go where you want to go and claim that Christ is there, and others say, He is not there.

    Then: Where is He?

    Has He rejected those who stay where He has been?

    Is this the conclusion? Christ is the champion of same-sex relationships in late modernity. Others who do not believe this are not Christians. Are now to be regarded as a majority that is a) wrong, b) evil, c) ignorant/slow?

    What is your view? a, b or c?


  14. Sorry, I should have spoken of 'the chosen.'

    If you are not of the chosen, are you a, b, or c?

  15. Bart, you very clearly show how your faith is so very different from mine. I believe Christ is everywhere. I have enciuntered Him in places and through people you would run away from as fast as you can.

    My Christ is the Jesus who embraced lepers and "fallen" women and other unclean simners and who even dared to eat with tax collectors and hang out with the outcasts.

    You can have your Christ. I don't know him nor do I want to know him. And my hair is still firmly attached, thank you. God bless!

  16. The big difference lies in the fact that TEC is willing to maintain a relationship despite the disagreement on the gay issue. The petulant Global South / GAFCON crowd only wants to maintain ties with those who will agree with them.

    There is much more that unites us than there is that seperates us, but the GAFCON folk are willing to sacrifice it all over disagreements concerning (relatively) non-essential doctrinal matters. It's all really quite sad, and pitiful.

  17. Jesus didn't hang out. He was crucified too soon for that.

    He did preach the kingdom of God and said that lepers and the poor and Gentiles would be brought in. That is, you and me.

    How is it that the most devoted care for the poor goes hand-in-hand with strict sexual ethics (see St John Chrysostom, Jesus Christ, et al)?

    Sadly, I fear you may be more right than you think. You have concocted a Jesus as a political raison etre.


  18. One of the problems I have is leaving out words. What I meant was that I suspect that GAFCON will not want to be in communion with any church that is in communion with TEC even churches that have not agreed to bless same-sex unions.

  19. So, Doctor Piled Higher and Deeper thinks that Jesus didn't hang out, eh? With sinners, eh? Jeheech!

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

  20. No, we certainly wouldn't want any ranting....

    "Jesus and me hanging out with our causes."

    What if we are in fact the "causes"? He hung out for us. On a Cross. Our love is compelled from that angle of view, not from rendering the earthly Jesus into a change agent who's 'on our side.'


  21. As true now as when he said it about the social Gospel in the last century, just update for our season:

    "A God without wrath brought men [and women, GLBTQ] without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross."

    H Richard Niebuhr

  22. Fr Weir--the Primates of 1/3 of the Communion who met in China are not Gafcon but GS. There is no evidence they devoted themselves to an en masse determination of who is in Communion with TEC, so as to state they are out of Communion with them. Indeed, a good example is the CofE. The GS is in communion with the CofE.

    Why would it be in your interest to claim that the GS wants to be out of communion with anyone in Communion with TEC. This sounds overweaning.

  23. Bart, it seems to me that you have moved on to nitpicking. I wrote GAFCON because I meant GAFCON, although earlier I had written about some brothers in Christ. What is clear about what I wrote is that it is my conclusion that the lines will be drawn not simply on whether a church acts to accept some same-sex unions as holy - on the same terms that we accept some opposite-sex unions as holy - but also on whether a church is willing to remain in communion with TEC. I may well be wrong about that, but that seems to me to be the direction that GAFCON is headed.

  24. Isn't that funny. With respect, that sounds exactly like what you are doing. Instead of focusing on the mission of the Gospel, you are trying to gauge what the effect of TEC's progressivism is, even knock- on effect.

    It's a kind of liberal phariseeism.


  25. It seems to me that Bart, who unlike some of us chooses to remain anonymous, has jumped to the conclusion that I have stopped focusing on mission on the basis of a few very narrow comments that I have made here. As someone who has used my full name and has a blog, my wider concerns are certainly able to be known, but Bart has made an assessment based upon the narrowest of evidence. If that is what passes for serious discussion these days it is sad indeed.

  26. "...but Bart has made an assessment based upon the narrowest of evidence. If that is what passes for serious discussion these days it is sad indeed."

    As I said, piled higher and deeper.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

  27. Sad commentary? Do you bother to read what Kurt Hill writes? Its the ne plus ultra of cranky 'TEC, c'est moi.'

    I'm sorry, I'm reading you on this blog. I have never read/seen/know about your own blog. I think mission is important. Look at the death spiral of TEC, and wht it means to spend 47% on 815 etc.

    But to focus on whether the GS will be out of communion with people who remain in communion with TEC...come on. This is pointless self-referentiality. Mission it ain't.


    PS--who's Brian, who's 'it's margaret, who's 'Padre Mickey', who's 'Jim'? what difference does it make when the issues are there to be discussed?

  28. "Sad commentary? Do you bother to read what Kurt Hill writes?"

    I've been commenting on this site for years. And on serious issues and topics. And I've seen tons of anti-TEC cranks come and go. It's hard to take someone like Doctor Piled Higher and Deeper seriously.

    Kurt Hill (real name)
    Brooklyn, NY (real home town)

  29. Good for you, Kurt.

    This is a blog. Let's not imagine it's anything more than that. You don't get extra credit for years of involvement, for declaring your place of residence, or even for getting in the best insults.

    It's a place where (hopefully) significant issues can be discussed without a lot of ad hominem.

    We are in a very interesting time. Some hard decisions are going to have to be made inside a contracting autonomous denomination, due to shrinking resources and an administrative model that needs a hierarchy for legal purposes -- costly, unprecedented, and even now questioned by liberals (Naughton wondering what it means for a diocese in Equador to cede authority to the PB!?)


  30. My apologies to the good people of Preludium for engaging and feeding Bart. It was a mistake. I truly and fully believe in the Jesus I speak of and I get a little irate when someone tries to tell me my faith is not real or not worthy of the name Christian. I should do better and with God’s help I will. I know that people like Bart just come here to stir the pot and cause frustration and I fell for it when I should’ve just asked God to bless him and moved on. Please forgive me.

  31. We've all fallen for it at one time or another, Brian. God's Peace be with you.

    To the list of accomplishments in the comments on the Sauls post, forgive, forgive, forgive...

  32. ".....the most devoted care for the poor goes hand-in-hand with strict sexual ethics." What a ludicrously simplistic statement.

    The primates' nauseating kowtowing (in the circumstances an all too appropriate verb) to the authorities of the Chinese Peoples' Republic in the earlier clauses of the communiqué has elicited near-universal disgust at both ends of the Anglican religious/political spectrum. Curious to know whether this too skims under Bart's radar.

  33. Is concern about relationships within the community not also concern about our work in mission? If some are unwilling with others because of differing convictions about same-sexuality mission is hampered not enhanced. TEC has not insisted that its mission partners agree with it on this issue, or on other issues where there is disagreement within the Communion. Long after TEC began ordaining women it had mission partnership with churches that did not. I wish there were that kind if openness now.

  34. Fr Weir

    Your initial remark had to do with figuring out (actually, asserting) that provinces in the Communion would want to be in communion with this or that other province based on this or that relationship with TEC. That didn't sound like a commitment to mission concern, but a kind of scolding effort.

    As for mission proper.

    There will be different and diametrically opposed pastoral responses re: sexual ethics across the Communion. Is this to be covered by an agreement to live with diversity?

    No one is opposed to a blanket of bonhomie in a spirit of live and let live.

    At issue is whether it is genuinely possible? If one province judges a sexual practice morally wrong in Christ, and another judges the opposite, how is mission unhindered?

    It ought to be past time dwelling on the wrongness of positions firmly held by opposites. The practical question is, how this is anglican communion life in any coherent sense. I don't think it is. It would be better to acknowledge a parting of ways and find a way to let that happen without such a high cost.


  35. "I truly and fully believe in the Jesus I speak of and I get a little irate when someone tries to tell me my faith is not real or not worthy of the name Christian."

    Brian wrote prior to that:

    "You can have your Christ. I don't know him nor do I want to know him."

    You claimed to be part of the chosen ('many are called...'). And:

    'But I'm really comfortable being on Jesus's side.'

    Funny how things get turned around by the end. You claim to be on Jesus side. Say you are part of the 'few chosen.' Tell me you don't want 'my Christ.'

    But you are the one hard done by!

    How weird.


  36. Do we need, yet again, to parse the distinction between making and scoring a point?

  37. Good work, Rabbit. Score one for you!


  38. An experiment for Fr Harris to consider.

    TLC is reporting the answers to questions on the theology of communion of the un-baptized, given by candidates for Bishop in CFL.

    They are brief and for the most part theologically considered.

    My question is whether these candidates and their positions are acceptable in TEC? This will be an important indicator of the future character of TEC, and of course other questions will be put to the same candidates, including Christian marriage.


  39. I think some of us forget during the current debates just how theologically central to many conservatives was/is the question of women's ordination. For them - and I don't think I'm being unfair to them - the proper matter for the sacrament of Orders is a man. Somehow Anglicans managed - more or less - to work together in mission I'm spite of disagreements about this. At present it looks like our sisters and brothers in ACNA are managing to do that and I pray for their success in living with disagreement about that. It seems to me that we are having a similar disagreement about the proper matter and ministers of the sacrament of marriage but we haven't managed to continue in mission in spite of these differences. How sad.

  40. Fr Weir

    My sense is that you are a genuine student of Church History. There is a modest parish in Canada, inhabited in time by many Singapore and Hong Cong Chinese. A lovely tribute exists in the parish, in honor of the fisr woman ordained a priest in that region.

    Lambeth Conference as a plenary gathering assessed the issue, and notwithstading the irregular actions in TEC-Philadelphia, joined the longer discussion on WO with present realities.

    There is nothing remotely on analogy with homosexual blessings.

    And to further the disanalogy: in the wake of TEC's actions we have nothing like the aftermath of WO. (Uganda and Nigeria disagree on this but understand its relative significance vis-a-vis mission).

    Instead we have chaos and a breaking up of communion at the most obvious levels.


  41. It is a one sided breaking up and chaos Bart. Not one province that is welcoming to GLBT Christians has broken communion with any province that does not welcome GLBT Christians.

  42. Every one in the Communion has agreed that driving on one side of the road makes the best, safest sense. It is the long-agreed position, and it is held to be the position of Jesus and the saints.

    Others say, it is safe to drive in either lane. Just be careful. Be committed, etc.

    The rest of the Communion says, we are sticking with the long-standing agreement.

    And you claim they are breaking things up.

    Disagree all you will with those who have decided to stay with the church's teaching on sexual relationships.

    Agree that you are right and are moving in a fresh new direction.

    But at least acknowledge that this has come with an obvious cost, and you have created the conditions for a break-down. Just say it was worth it.


  43. It is statement like "everyone in the Communion" that betray, IMV, the unwillingness of some to have anything like a serious discussion of the question (which is not to say that Bart doesn't want such a discussion, but that he has fallen into that particular trap.)
    Everyone? Not the people I worshipped with this morning! Unless you assume that Bishops speak for everyone, we can't even begin to know what the laity in the churches of the Communion think about same-sexuality. I assume that there is diversity of conviction in most of the member churches, as their is diversity in TEC.

  44. Dear Fr Weir

    Let's let the year be 1960.

    When I say 'everyone in the Communion' has agreed to drive in a single lane, do you actually disagree with that (in the context of the metaphor)?

    Until recently, 'everyone in the Communion' agreed on the definition of Christian marriage. Indeed, it was a universally held Christian view.

    The point is that some in the Communion held that agreement to be incorrect and insisted driving in both lines was proper and progressive.

    The rest said No thank you. This is not the teaching of the church of Jesus Christ. We believe in the agreed on position. We believe it goes back to Jesus, prophet, apostle.

    Because this group of anglicans will not go where the others have said safe driving is, are they to be charged with breaking something?

    One-sided breaking up? This is what was asserted.


  45. I think that you are way off on "what everyone has believed" regarding "Christian" marriage Bart. It has been quite a while since everyone drove in that one lane country road. I think the more apt metaphor might be that the road has been upgraded, and instead of the country lane, it is now a more modern multi-lane highway, with everyone still driving on one side of the road and going in the same direction.

  46. Just out of curiosity, where do you come up with these ideas, David?

    What other definitions of Christian marriage are you referring to (including those which envisioned same-sex marriage)?

    When Christian faith reached into cultural areas where polygamy had been the norm, the conciliar judgment of Lambeth was that this would cease. An actual discrimens was brought to bear.

    But even leaving that oddity aside, tell us about a liturgical rite for Christian marriage that was different from what the BCP now states.

    TEC is attempting to leave that rite behind and invent new ones -- ones never known in the history of Christianity. Is this is some doubt?

    Others have said, we are not going there. We are not going to be 'one-side' breakers (to use your language) -- not with one another, and not with Christians who came before us.

    How is this in doubt?


  47. PS--I presided at a wedding a couple of months ago. Couple used 1662. The very fact that we generally recognize that older rites were fully scriptural, and in continuity with newer ones, means lex credendi/lex orandi is in place.

    Advocates for same sex marriage proudly and correctly say this is a fully new thing. Not revealed before. Borne of prophetic insight.

    That this is contested cannot be in doubt and the breaking of the communion follows from this.

    And that is because others have said, we cannot go there. We do not agree about prophetic insight. We believe the traditional rites are the range within Christian teaching is found. You may drive in that lane, but you will not see us join you.

    If this is breaking the communion, it is an odd notion of breaking: 'we went into a lane and you would not follow. You are breaking communion.'

    No, we simply do not see Christ in that lane.


  48. Bart,
    I think you have fallen into another, needlessly since you have been quite clear in stating your convictions about marriage. The trap was the assertion that TEC wants others to "drive in this other lane." That is simply not the case. What has been said, to use your analogy, is that if TEC wants to drive in that lane, we'll take away the keys. As has pointed out here, perhaps ad naseum, all TEC has asked is to remain in communion with sisters and brothers in Christ with whom we disagree about this. I accept that some might in conscience be able to stay in communion with us, but that is their choice, not mine.

  49. Advocates for same sex marriage proudly and correctly say this is a fully new thing. Not revealed before. Borne of prophetic insight.

    Not all of us look at it as fully new, newly revealed and born of prophetic insight. There are those of us who view it as "a reasonable development in the tradition rather than a radical departure from it (or at least no more radical than a number of other changes in the tradition.)*" You may not see it that way, and ultimately we know that there are those who are in your same camp. The important thing is that there are also plenty who do not see it the way that you see it and are willing to not make it a communion breaking issue. It is to them we speak, basically we have given up on you. Although you may refuse to break bread with us, that decision is yours, we have not, and I believe that we will not, take the decision not to always have a place for you to come and break bread with us. Its as one of your US hotels chains says, "We will leave the light on for you."

    *The Revd. Tobias Haller.

  50. Absolutely not, Fr. Weir.

    What is being said is that you may drive in that lane on your own. Others do not feel Christ blesses it. They read a liturgy prepared and used in Massachusettes and say, 'that's a lane too far.'

    You may drive there and hold on to your keys.

    Others will not join you.

    By your own choice, you differentiate yourself.

    David, when you get everyone to agree about same-sex marriage, let us know. Of course you judge it a reasonable development. Others don't and won't. That is the price.

    Breaking comes with a cost. Be willing to pay it. Don't expect others to join you.



OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.