Monday 17 December 2007

A Question about Lambeth 2008

Here is a question I have asked of Inclusive Church via a contact page:
Now that the Archbishop of Canterbury has made it clear that the basis of an Anglican Church is a particular way of reading the Bible, consistent with Lambeth 1998 1:10, and that Churches which do otherwise risk falling out of expectations of the others, and becoming a failed Church laid open to intervention by the Instruments of Communion, and that therefore the Covenant must be a restrictive one that also defines these Instruments of Communion, and further that all attending bishops must agree to the end of producing a Covenant, is it still the policy of Inclusive Church to support Lambeth 2008 towards a narrowing of Anglican boundaries and its centralisation into a pseudo-Roman Church based around Instruments of Communion?
I have also contacted others about participation in Lambeth 2008.

I don't particularly seek replies. What I am seeking is a recognition that things have changed, and that those who never sought to avoid Lambeth 2008 or undermine the Archbishop of Canterbury are being left with fewer options.

One option is to go and aim to produce a Covenant so open that it simply undermines the effort to produce a narrowed Communion; however, an expressed purpose of this Covenant is to clarify the Instruments of Communion for everyone else (the Archbishop already using them). It seems to me that if they are so given legitimacy then the result is an Anglicanism that is different from history and one that many would seek to reject. Many a Church within Anglicanism would find such presumptuous intervention unacceptable in principle, and Anglicanism might break up anyway, this time in more directions than previously.

Graham Kings at Fulcrum says he agrees with me that this is a significant point in Anglicanism, but not the rest of my analysis. He does not say why. Basically Fulcrum likes this Communion-wide solution that narrows the boundaries, the problem being that the Conservative Evangelicals are developing their own structures already and when the discussions go on they will be, as they always are, impatient and those structures will bed in. Fulcrum remains the splitting point for Anglicanism between those Open Evangelicals who would be happier with other strong Evangelicals, and those who prefer the openness of the liberal ethos. The Conservative Evangelicals have long criticised Open Evangelicals as liberal evangelicals - so they open types are not going to have much latitude in new structures, nor if they were to capture the main Communion. Despite the shift to the theological right and therefore the rise of Fulcrum (if quite a small grouping) into the new centre, Fulcrum cannot act as a new broad Church as it carries no glue for others (such a role is not recognised nor seen as needed), and is the splitting point for evangelicals (brought about by the homosexuality debate) just as the Anglo-Catholics underwent their traditionalist and broader split after the ordination of women.

This morning I arrived near the church and put the prayer book on top of the car. As I looked elsewhere it fell off and, hitting the ground, the spine came off down one side. So in the main eucharist service I turned its non-use into a kind of mini-protest. I know most of the words anyway, so it made little difference, except, as a further little protest, I did not say the words of the Church tradition, the creed. If I stop taking communion, then that's it so I did not go that far. As regards Anglicanism as a whole, it's a case of watch and see, but a longer term option may be how to participate whilst removing the sense of personal approval. I am aware of my own marginal position, which comes into sharper focus when the boundaries are narrowed. Who would have thought it, from this Archbishop, when he entered his office.

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