Thursday 20 December 2007

Pardon? Archbishop says Anglicans are Different

Confused? I am.

The Archbishop has it that attendance at Lambeth Conference for Anglicans is conditional on agreement with creating a Covenant - a Covenant that will make clear centralised, international, Instruments of Communion, in order to deal centrally with local (national) Churches that innovate Bible reading beyond the one method as laid down by Lambeth 1998 1:10 and where that one Church falls out of expectations of the other Churches.

So that is very narrow, a literalistic reading of the Bible as part of mutual expectations, and do anything different and the Instruments of Communion could declare that Church a failed Church subject to intervention.

In his article in The Tablet, about 100 years of praying for Christian Unity, Rowan Williams says this about Anglicanism:
Along with the rest of my Anglican ecclesial family, I don't agree with the official Roman Catholic (and Orthodox) teaching which sees eucharistic communion as depending entirely on the attainment of a comprehensive agreement on doctrine. But I must also grant that this discipline at least shows that what is understood by the Eucharist (and thus, by extension, the recognised ministry of the eucharistic president) is to do with very basic aspects of faith as an activity of the Body, not of the individual.
I wonder if we can have some consistency here? Or may be he sees semi-literalistic reading of the Bible as "a very basic aspect[s] of faith". The problem is, it is so sweeping from something so narrow, that it is closer to being a comprehensive doctrinal test. Indeed, this is the view of the Conservative Evangelicals: that homosexual biblical texts constitute a first order issue of doctrine because it relates directly to how the Bible is read and how it informs doctrine. Rowan Williams in his Advent Letter has, in effect, presented their argument for them. The argument is ugly enough (it is not first order of anything; the texts do not refer to loving gay and lesbian relationships but a cultural context and about idolatry - and so what anyway?), but what makes the argument work is that Rowan Williams would design Anglican centralisation around this narrowness.

Sounds like comprehensive agreement on doctrine to me, for the Anglican Communion turned into an "Anglican Church".

The difficulty here is not that prayers for Christian Unity are kept at a low level because of fears of:
a Pullmanesque Magisterium, some people's nightmare of Roman Catholicism.
But that this is going to be in prospect for Anglicans, via the Instruments of Communion.

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