Here we are again, with heresy hunting and specifically the TEC Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori. He writes that she said:
The Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke recently at the University of the South, saying "Diversity is a vital part of the Anglican Communion. That can be a problem for those who think their way is the only way." She goes on to make a comparison of those who believe in a specific Christology of Jesus as "the Way, the Truth, and the Life," as sinning against the Holy Spirit, "It’s like the sin against the Holy Spirit, believing that there is no other possibility. Believing that we’ve got the whole thing right now and God can’t possibly do anything else, anything unexpected." Although Schori earned a Ph.D in marine biology, her grasp of the Holy Scriptures and her comprehension of theology are far removed from her area of learned expertise, and it would appear from her remarks that if you believe what Jesus said about himself, you are sinning against the Holy Spirit. It simply takes your breath away...
So I thought, this is plain enough; I will see what is published. She must be attacking those who state that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and who build a specific theology around it. Quite risky then for this leader of a Church. So I listened to her sermon given at the University of the South (May 13 2008). It was about provoking based on hope and love an students going out into the world to address need. She referred to Julian of Norwich and love as our Lord's meaning. Desmond Tutu provokes, she said. She talked about a female ex-student with the Magdalen community with humble rules and an enterprise called Thistle Farms offering jobs and skills which were taken into Rwanda. Thistles are beautiful and provocative. Graduates are to be thistles in life's fields.
I admit that this was a very this-worldly sermon and nothing first-hand supernatural in it. So I looked around a little more and found this report at Tennessean.com:
BOB SMIETANA • Staff Writer • May 17, 2008
...Diversity is a vital part of the Anglican Communion, Jefferts Schori also said. That can be a problem for those who think their way is the only way.
"It's challenging to live in a community with a variety of opinion when you think yours is the only right one," she said. "That is the hard part - finding the grace and humility to admit the possibility of some difference of opinion."
She added that those who believe they have all the answers are mistaken.
"It's like the sin against the Holy Spirit, believing that there is no other possibility. Believing that we've got the whole thing right now and God can't possibly do anything else, anything unexpected."
This is very interesting, when compared with Bishop Anderson's letter. He slipped in an example of a fixed opinion, and put it in the same quotation marks. So he put (to repeat):
That can be a problem for those who think their way is the only way." She goes on to make a comparison of those who believe in a specific Christology of Jesus as "the Way, the Truth, and the Life," as sinning against the Holy Spirit, "It’s like the sin against the Holy Spirit, believing that there is no other possibility.
By doing that, he makes it look as if she has directly criticised those who focus on this part of the Gospel of John's Farewell Sermon. Having done it, he then launches into a more personal attack about her education and her theological inadequacy. In fact she had made a more general point against those who think they have all the answers and do not allow God to act on unexpected bases. She made no comment about those with one kind of Christology or another. After all, there are those who do believe in specific (though we are not told which specific) Christologies of Jesus based on that Gospel sermon, indeed on those very words, and yet who do not think that they know it all and do allow for God to act surprisingly and with difference.
It is all inference, all sleight of hand, but once again it is not accurate. It is ideology. Now I here rely upon a report, but then I am not stating any more than is in that report. I have added nothing in.
Notice how in this letter, as elsewhere, Archbishop Mouneer Anis is being attacked for his comments about why he is going to Lambeth 2008 and not to GAFCON. The letter states:
His words about his decision to absent himself from GAFCON, blaming the trouble on northern agitators, are poorly chosen as well as factually wrong. GAFCON is the creation of some Global South Primates, and in their invitation to other orthodox bishops, clergy and laity, naturally some come from the north, even as Egypt is north of Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Rwanda.
Isn't that last comment silly! Egypt is north of these African states. Bishop Anderson knows perfectly well what 'northern' means. It has an ideological and cultural connection. It means people in Northern or Western Christianity who have a particular outlook that some of us would call sectarian. They have joined up with these Africans whose faith has another cultural setting. What concerns Mouneer Anis is that the African cultural setting relates to that of the rest of the Global South, and yet under this Northern agenda is likely to split the Global South. Some of us indeed do see Northern or Western advisors with hands well on the GAFCON steering wheel.
Now I do make the analytical abstraction (and clearly so, that this is my commentary) that it is typical that a generous in tone letter from Mouneer Anis to GAFCON receives nasty attacks back: it is typical of what I call religious trotskyism, that is to say the core control of this GAFCON agenda and its intended entryism has the strategy that those who should be on board and who refuse get attacked.
Of course the issue of whether Mouneer Anis will achieve anything at Lambeth is moot, something he has wondered himself (if a Covenant is possible, how to rearrange the Communion with a more leading role for the whole of the Global South).