Thursday, 23 April 2009

Let's Play with Fire

Let's be clear: the basis on which to sign or not to sign this or very similar to the Ridley Cambridge Draft Covenant (RCDC) has to be on its own terms.

Nevertheless the Conservative elements are following Stephen Noll's entry qualifications approach as a way of having GAFCON sign, TEC not sign and the result is GAFCON move centre-stage in the Anglican Communion - the notion then that everyone has signed except The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Church of Canada. Thus the original job is done, and there is disciplining by access and lack of access. It TEC is playing for time, then GAFCON get in there quickly and make it even more difficult to join (though the simple answer could be for TEC and ACC to join and that blows away the disciplining intentions of GAFCON and unifies the whole Anglican Communion making most happy at least a little bit but the Evangelicals more disgruntled than most).

GAFCON does not just represent retrograde steps regarding social inclusion and that gospel message, but also represents the most fundamentalist and conservative approaches to understanding Scripture and tradition. To understand what that causes, simply refer to that headstanding piece of writing from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Advent Letter of 2007, which hardly represented his narrative approach to scripture or anything like what is heard in his scriptures or those of the academy (or even seminary). Yet that would be the pressure exerted on pulpits with the signing up of the Covenant associated with GAFCON and its Jerusalem Declaration but excluding the moderate Anglicans of North America.

Furthermore, to give the green light to GAFCON via this Covenant is to give the green light to parallel structures including the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (including being set up in the United Kingdom - why?), structures being established that would be 'first class Christians' and their differently based alternatives to existing institutions (the FCA is a beleivers-based fellowship alternative to a Communion), and furthermore the emryonic parallel to be takeover bodies should the additional and self-serving GAFCON Primates decide to take it upon themselves to declare countries and their Anglican Churches, like England, Scotland or Wales, heterodox. Should TEC decide not to sign, when GAFCON does sign, this would further appear to be the endorsement of schism, as in the approval of GAFCON intervention based Anglican Church of North America.

Imagine if England signs when North America does not. Many English clergy and laity will be deeply unhappy with the implications of this. Furthermore imagine if Scotland and Wales (and others) then decide they cannot sign with the North American failure to sign, then GAFCON might take that as a cue to declare Scotland and Wales (and those others - and any place it fancies) heterodox and start to convert its FCA Communion into mini-Churches for those countries.

Some people in the design process of this Covenant and its institutionalising of division will have a lot to answer for.

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