Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Reform wants Purity

None of us should be surprised at the strategies and statements of the Reform Conference of 2008. GAFCON basically provides the means by which Reform wants its own flying bishops.

To the cries of "It can't be done," because parishes cannot be extracted due to the law of the land, nevertheless Reform still wants to identify so-called unbiblical bishops and have parishes receive alternative oversight.

There are several possible horses to ride. One comes regarding traditionalist Anglo-Catholics and still the potential of something more than a code of conduct. Despite the Synod vote, the bishops are wriggling towards something stronger. Reform thinks there could be dioceses or, without dioceses, something like religious communities each having their own Episcopal Visitor, chosen by the communities. Presumably Reform would start with one of its own.

Another intention is to use the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, out of GAFCON, in which member bishops here would provide the oversight or persons go out to Africa or wherever to get consecrated. Or perhaps say three English member or sympathiser bishops could form a consecration squad.

They think this can be done without conflict. It is already conflict. Identifying a bishop, a person already chosen by the Church, as unbiblical is a slander and a slur given the Declaration of Assent all have given. Then making an illegal move to ignore this bishop and have another is conflict. The result would not be something harmonious, but one bishop telling another to keep out of diocesan affairs.

The alternative to this is to become a different province, again via GAFCON/ FOCA and the Primates Council. This would then be a competing Anglicanism. However, twenty five congregations or so is not many and would be a rather small province.

It seems to me there is a choice. First one is as part of the Anglican Church you fit in with its structures and disciplines. They can be argued against, but until changed then the bishop is the centre in a locality, with he (or she, as will) being under the declarations of the Church.

Secondly you leave. You go off and rent some property and whoever wants to leave goes to the new place. You then run your affairs however you wish, whether it is via the Primates' Council or whatever body. You can be congregationalist, presbyterian or episcopalian according to choice, and link up with whomever you like and raise and send money according to the group.

The Church of England is in the throes at the moment of providing for its marginalised traditionalist Anglo-Catholics. These cannot upset a unified Church and one that chooses to have women bishops, where these bishops should have undivided rights and responsibilities with male equivalents. Such is rather a large job, and is not going to be extended to such a small body as Reform and those it represents.


cryptogram said...

I can't understand why they don't just go off and join the Free Church of England (in either of its manifestations). They have a structure and even bishops who eschew pointy hats. They do however seem to like preachers to wear a black gown, which might cut against the jeans-and-sweatshirt culture of some of the Reformers.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Perhaps they will; perhaps they will engineer some sort of realignment of denominations.