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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Archbishop Duncan?????


Of the newly-formed-province-in-transition "Anglican Province in North America."

I watched some of the Live Stream video from Wheaton Evangelical Free Church in suburban Chicago community of Wheaton, Illinois for about as long as I could stomach it (I may have gone to EDS but I know enough not to preach in a chasuble, for pity's sake!), but I did hear Bishop Murdock say that it had been decided that Bob Duncan would be their new Archbishop.

Even called him, "Your grace." Duncan laughed and squirmed in his seat, but he was clearly enjoying every minute of it.

And the crowd went wild with applause.

Honest to God.

That's about the time I switched off.

Actually, they were just about to "formally subscribe" to the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and affirm GAFCON's Statement on the Global Anglican Future. That was more than enough for me.

Leaders of the Common Cause Partnership released the draft constitution of what they called "an emerging Anglican Church in North America" during the worship service. I'll be curious to read Brother Mark's take on it after he has a chance to read, mark and inwardly digest it.

You can find the ENS story here:

There were lots of people in attendance I didn't recognize, but I did see Jack Leo Iker, former bishop of Fort Worth. I also spotted David Anderson, and John Geurnsey, two former Episcopal priests who left TEC and were ordained by African bishops (I think Rwanda, but I fear I don't recall. Sorry.).

I thought I also saw Peter Beckwith, present bishop of Springfield, and Keith Ackerman, recently retired ("on the advice of my physician") bishop of Quincy and newly announced assisting bishop of Springfield (miraculous healing, no doubt).

It's all so very terribly sad.

Oh, not that they are leaving and forming a new Anglican Province. Good on them. God Bless and prosper the work of the ministry in the name of Jesus.

I hope they're happy, but I'm guessing it won't take three months before they start to play the same zero-sum "somebody else has to lose in order for us to win" game they've been playing with members of TEC but now, not having either uppity women or uppity LGBT people who want to be ordained priests, they'll do it with each other.

I'm being generous, giving them three months. If the issue of women's ordination doesn't get 'em, lay presidency will. The "Thirty Nine Articles" so dearly beloved by Evangelicals and loathed by Anglo Catholics will prove to be 39 pickets in the fence that will divide them even further.

Not only that, but I predict that the chances of their being "approved" by 2/3 of the Primates at their next or any meeting - or accepted by the Anglican Consultative Council - or invited to the Lambeth Conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2018 is about the same as the chance of the largest snowball in the hottest places of hell.

It's not as much sad as it is monstrously pathetic.

They can call themselves "Anglican." That don't make it so. Anglicanism has always been about making room at the table - not casting those who don't agree with you into the outer darkness.


Meanwhile, I've been reading the latest issue of Christian Century, December 2, 2008 which arrived today - just in time to provide me a little intellectual diversion from the temptation to lower my IQ a few points by watching the goings on in Wheaton.

There, on page 19, I stumbled onto this newsflash:

"A Maryland appeals court has ruled that a suburban megachurch that split from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1999 must relinquish millions of dollars in property back to the denomination. The Heart Church Ministries in Temple Hills, Maryland, must turn over more than $30 million in property, including three sanctuaries, an office building and a large tract of property owned by the ministry, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled in an opinion filed October 28. Thomas L. McCally, a lawyer for the denomination, views the decision as significant for the individual church and others with similar hierarchical structures."

Almost ten years in court, eh? But, they won. Right. The truth will have out.

Giddyup! Let's get on with it.

Meanwhile, I'm going to keep asking the question until someone answers:

NOW can we say 'schism'?

I mean, if we can say "Archbishop Duncan" surely we can say 'it is finished.'


Anonymous said...

It was finished in 2003 when they first started threatening via Geoffrey Chapman. I said it then; I'll say it now. I'll call it "schism", because I think it is, and always has been. It's time for TEC to get on with business. Stop the accomodating; stop the Neville Chamberlain routine. They've never wanted reconciliation - from the time they were Southern Baptists up until now. I've watched this unfold locally for 25 years. It's time for TEC to stand up and say what we believe about Jesus and Gospel. (I'm so energized that I'm afraid this will sound odd. So be it.)

airedale said...

The new province's constitution says the Archbishop and Primate is to be elected by the "college of bishops". Yup, all six of them.

I wonder how long it will be before all those folks who followed them out will be knocking on the door to come back in.

rick allen said...

"Anglicanism has always been about making room at the table - not casting those who don't agree with you into the outer darkness."

I suppose it's a quibble, but I think there should probably be some distinction between present aspiration and history.

The Jesuits of the late sixteenth century, the puritans and Scots of the seventeenth, the followers of Wesley in the late eighteenth century, to take the most obvious examples, would, I imagine, question the extent to which Anglicanism has "always been about making room at the table."

Still, I can't help but think you are right that this conflict ultimately comes down to what "Anglicanism" will mean in the future. Whatever one thinks of the substance of "progressive" or "liberal" Christianity, it certainly proclaims a coherent and understandable message.

But this new group's conception of Anglicanism seems to lack any principle of unity, other than opposition to those they are leaving and adherence to standards that most Anglicans already profess to adhere to. It's hard to see why they won't go the way of prior Anglican schismatics long before haivng any hopes of getting the "imprimatur" from Canterbury they seek.

If I were asked to characterize the new group, I would call them Augustinians, at least insofar as they are African in origin, episcopal, and emphasize rather strict sexual standards and the importance of grace.

Please understand, I don't consider "Augustinian" a term of reproach, as many of our contemporaries would. But it represents to me a compelling conception of Christianity that nevertheless requires some serous balancing. And of course Augustine, I think, would have been more scandalized by schism than many of his intellectual descendants.

Frair John said...

I would argue (and have agrued) that there is no way to call these people Agustinian.
These are morre like another Bishop of Hippo. In this case it is one with as a specious claim as +Duncan has to being the Episcopal bishop of Pitsburg: Donatus.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Whether it's Augustinian or Donatism, it's still all dreadful homophobia. These boys really don't care about anything else except stopping LGBT people and women from being bishops, b/c, of course, that limits the possibilities for their own. . . erm . . .vocational fulfillment.

I know I sound cynical. Right now, I am. And, sad, but strangely relieved.

JCF said...

The Jesuits of the late sixteenth century, the puritans and Scots of the seventeenth...would, I imagine, question the extent to which Anglicanism has "always been about making room at the table."

While I'm not in the least bit defending all the things done against the above named groups, there was that little business about them each trying to sieze control of the English state (by assistance of arms, if not active deployment), rick.

Not the best comparison to non-established churches in the USA and Canada in 2008, I suspect.

Frair John said...

but strangely relieved

There are no more shoes to drop.

Now they are less and less our problem and are more and more thier own. We can now return our attention to the Gospel and to the every day life of the Church.

They are now wandering into their own wilderness and will now have to do somthing constructive. While it may take them a bit longer to shake off their need to attack, we can be sure that they will soon be trying to work out thier own messes. +Iker alone should make things interesting for them.