Monday 14 April 2008

More on Fulcrum Lectures

I don't intend to comment on these too closely. Having highlighted the titbit of information in Tom Wright's lecture, that Rowan Williams is sending out letters asking bishops who are doubtful about the Covenant and Windsor whether they should turn up, which would certainly add a bit of bias into Lambeth proceedings, there is further comment that can be made.

Basically he is running around 1 and 2 Corinthians, and making a direct accusation. It is that those who have been inclusive in the United States, and presumably Canada, are the equivalent of the Super Apostles. He, and the Archbishop, and the Covenant people, are like St Paul. So it is intellectualism (or a sort) dressed up as ecclesiastical politics. The problem is that he is talking not about a Church but about a loose Communion, and who says what St. Paul wrote about has anything to do with a wider Communion? The letter was written to one Church, not many. So it is just politics, and as for the GAFCON people, he sees them similarly and wants to have the name "evangelical" for people like him, and Fulcrum.

It is sad to see the same Pannenberg quote used by Andrew Goddard in the last letter to Giles Goddard being wheeled out again. Thus the argument is the same: that those who read the Bible differently from its literal message are themselves carrying out schism. It effectively gives the argument to GAFCON. Andrew Goddard is wriggling about this, but the schism is already made - and that's the point.

Worse than this in his lecture is a parallel with the doctrine of just war. He parallels this with weak powers in the United Nations and necessary interventions. Well, OK then, let's pursue this. Zimbabwe is clearly corrupted when it comes to electoral discipline, but its absence of electoral transparency has no effect on anyone else's electoral transparency. So far no international body has done anything other than monitoring (most thrown out) and diplomatic activity, almost all of which has been ignored. Darfur, which surely should have seen dramatic intervention, has seen very little. What about Tibet? All the time governments are concerned about a history of colonialism, and all the time governments preserve the importance of the nation state. Iraq was an exception which rather proves the rule, and Afghanistan is the exception about a state taken over by a foreign body, and this has no equivalence.

So if we pursue this analogy, we should treat each Anglican Church in an autocephalous manner.

Now each Anglican Church has been able to comment on the first Draft Covenant so far, and so far those that have bothered to comment have either been mildly or strongly negative. So for all this presumption that the Anglican Communion stands for anything, in the end it will come down to the Churches.

When the Covenant carries kind of compulsion or discipline, there are quite a number of Churches who will just say no. They will not have their autonomy compromised, and the Church of England legally cannot. So when this process is over, and it collapses in a heap, because it cannot do otherwise, with many Churches outside some Covenant (or the Covenant is useless), perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury will do the decent thing and resign, and those who have backed his policy might just do the same or at least stay where they are.

There is another comment to make as to just how immoral this whole matter has become, how self-obsessed are the Churches, how atrocious is the stance. Look at this comparison also made by Andrew Goddard:

Wannenwetsch then notes that "the recent installation of the first openly homosexual bishop in the Anglican diocese of New Hampshire has been widely recognised an act of this quality" (72). He provides other examples - the South African Dutch Reformed Church's proclamation of apartheid as biblical and the German Protestant response to Nazi Aryan and anti-Semitic teaching.

This is nothing less than appalling. Appalling to compare a consecration of an openly gay man, in a loving relationship, as bishop with the evils of apartheid and Nazism.

Is this what being Church is all about?

Andrew Goddard: you and all those like you should hold your head in shame. For God's sake get some perspective.

See the previous entry and the end of the previous entry - updates 14 and 15 April.

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