01 November 2008

My comments are below in this red.

An Emerging North American Province - by Robert Duncan

By Bishop Robert Duncan

Anglican Communion Network
October 30th, 2008

The twin trajectories of The Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Church of Canada away from any Communion-requested restraint on matters of moral order and legal prosecution have made permanent a widespread separation of parishes from their historic geographical dioceses in the United States and Canada. Now these alienated parishes representing the moral (and theological) mainstream of global Anglicanism are being joined (or are about to be joined) by the majorities of four former Episcopal Church dioceses: San Joaquin in California, Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Quincy in Illinois and Fort Worth in Texas. The reality of a significantly disintegrated North American Anglicanism now stretches from coast to coast and from the Arctic to the Rio Grande.

Oh please, one diminishing portion of one diocese in California one tiny diocese in central Illinois where the incumbent ordinary has run the attendance down to hundreds from thousands, one incredibly dishonest bishop in Texas and some part of his own former diocese of Pittsburgh and suddenly the schismatics are a coast to coast movement? Hyperbole is all well and good but this goes beyond mere spin.

Given the ruthlessness with which those who have stood against the progressive agenda of TEC and the ACC have been treated - lately symbolized by the deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh - the possibility of achieving the Windsor Continuation Group's goal of "holding" for eventual reunion is remote indeed.. Moreover, there is scarcely a parish or diocese that has endured the travail of separation (whether forced or chosen) that would not describe the North American Anglican scene as characterized by "two irreconcilable religions."

The spin continues. The author neatly ignores the fact that he is the now deposed 'bishop of Pittsburgh.' He rather protests too much. Nothing of the WCG's presentations is official albeit the arch accommodator of Canterbury might wish otherwise.

Of course he is correct on one point. Biblical idolatry is intolerant of Christianity.

The pre-ordained conclusion of the Global Anglican Future Conference was that the time for the recognition of a new Anglican Province in North America had arrived. Not surprisingly in the months since the Jerusalem Conference - and encouraged by the Primates of the GAFCON Movement - the Common Cause Partnership in North America has moved to structure itself in just this way. The goal of describing by December 2008 a "recognizably Anglican provincial structure" has been adopted by the Lead Bishops Roundtable (Executive Committee). A Governance Task Force, chaired by a former chancellor of the Diocese of Virginia and composed of significant leadership from all the Common Cause Partners, is hard at work.

Across the Communion many have expressed deep concern about what the Archbishop of Canterbury has called "the inter-provincial model" emerging in present-day Anglicanism. This inter-provincial model is characterized by overlapping claims of jurisdiction ("border-crossing") within the U.S. and Canada by Anglican Provinces external to the U.S. and Canada. Is there a preferable alternative?

Of course there is no "inter-provincial model." What exists is a group of churches that are already fracturing all claiming space where they clearly do not belong.

Were the Communion to bless - in some quarters enthusiastically and in some quarters reluctantly - the formation of a new "mainstream" North American Province the need for temporary rescue measures by mainstream Anglican Provinces like Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southern Cone and Uganda would be ended. With the creation of the new North American Province at least one of the WCG's chief challenges ("border crossing") would evaporate.

Here is the actual point and it is fascinating. It recalls the old joke about the man convicted of killing his parents who seeks leniency because he had recently become an orphan. If we simply agree there are no borders, then border crossing is not a problem! It is an amazing piece of 'logic!' And it is consistent with the bishop's general view: clearly all he does either is or should be OK.

In fact, the anomaly of a new mainstream Province of the Anglican Church in North America overlapping two rogue provinces, The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, would prove far more stabilizing and manageable for the entire Communion than the present alternatives.

I suppose anytime one gives in to the bully, more stability appears. As long as no one says no to the bully peace of a sort, can be seen. The question is always cost. Somewhere else of course, peace and stability vanish because bullies always follow the Sargon The Great model -- start with the playground, and build the empire until you control the world. As he contemplates Nigerian holiness appearing in England, the Archbishop of Canterbury should perhaps read Churchill on this subject!

The moderator assumes that everyone simply agrees. Of course nothing like that is probable. Were some communion agent to endorse this silly 'overlapping' model does anyone think that there would be no litigation as the self-proclaimed holy tried to take assets to it?

Do not doubt for a moment that assets are what this is all about. Nothing stops the moderator from becoming a Ugandan or Kenyan bishop. He lacks adequate holiness to become Nigerian having ordained and licensed women priests. But, it is utterly clear that the sticking point is taking the assets that TEC owns along. There is where the "ruthless" problem arises as TEC says no to theft.

Nothing would immediately change about the 22 Anglican Provinces that are in broken or impaired Communion with TEC and the ACC - and the scandal of one North American Province not in Communion with two others would be obvious.

Does the moderator thingk the scandal is not obvious now? What planet exactly has he been evangelizing?

Nevertheless, such a course of action would alone allow the Windsor Continuation Group and the historic Instruments of Communion to focus on address of the issues that precipitated the present crisis in the first place, narrowly defined as blessings of same-sex unions and ordination of bishops in sexual relationships outside of Holy Matrimony, or more broadly sketched as unwillingness to remain accountable to the Holy Scriptures, to the Christian moral consensus of 2000 years and to the Faith once for all delivered to the saints. Only then can communion and coherence be restored everywhere.
Rot! This amazingly arrogant assumption that his opinions about the Scriptures, history of which he seems remarkably ignorant by the way, and the faith govern or should, is why so many of us were relieved to see him deposed.

---Bishop Bob Duncan Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership Episcopal Commissary for the Southern Cone Sometime Bishop of Pittsburgh

1 comment:

Leonard said...

I think the ¨red part¨ covers the situation nicely.

St Laika's

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