Wednesday 27 August 2008

Evangelicals Now and Present

Whilst others of his ilk boycotted the Lambeth Conference, Chris Sugden went there. He did so by having a press pass. Perhaps some of those bishops boycotting could have attended as roving reporters as well. He was as much an organiser as a reporter of press conferences, of course.

He has his own reflections, being positive about the final worship and about the meeting together of the folks in purple.

Without votes, Chris Sugden has to refer to what a few people said and use some of his own rhetoric: like the "pro-gay agenda" [bad, something else] versus the "remain true to Christian orthodoxy [good. something central] working for as long as the sun shone.

Another senior archbishop noted that the conference culture was highly controlled...

The outcome was predetermined, he claims. How about two conferences at the same time: the one of the formal working groups with agendas reporting into the conference, not deflected, and the more or less informal groupings giving their listening, conflicting, opinions?

He clearly dismisses the Pastoral Forum. They asked for this a year ago:

Orthodox Anglican leaders in North America say that they are not asking for this now.

It is a low blow to quote "another primate" who believes that the Pastoral Forum is to support the Archbishop of Canterbury and undermine the GAFCON Primates Meeting due to racial prejudice. Reverse racism, perhaps, from such a belief, just as the GAFCON primates seem to think in terms of reverse colonialism in their actions.

More deflective speculation is offered when Chris Sugden supposes that the presentation referring to some bishops as wife-beaters was an attempt to discredit African orthodoxy.

Even my Machiavellian mind (according to Ephraim Radner) doesn't extend that far.

If the Reflections document didn't refer to "clear disobedience to revealed truth in Scripture" it might just be because there was not sufficient weight of opinion in that direction. Just because Chris Sugden and the breakaway supporters think this doesn't mean it is so.

He accuses the Archbishop of Canterbury as failing to speak with the Primates when he spoke to them and others. This is to suppose that the Primates as collective have some sort of formal position. They don't. The Archbishop certainly put his stamp on this event, as he was the host of the party. This is not the Roman Catholic Church, much as some would see a loose Anglican Communion going that way and is indeed the Archbishop's own tendency.

If GAFCON wants to organise itself centrally in that fashion for its confessional set-up, then it certainly can: but Canterbury related Anglicans don't have to at all.

Perhaps the make-up of the market place was based on who made the effort to be there: how come these all so numerous evangelicals couldn't put up a show? A diatribe by Chris Sugden about secular liberalism and an inclusive conference has little to do with the bishops at the conference: they were always going to be there. There were some who excluded themselves, practising self-exclusion.

That's journalism for you. These journalists do have a tendency to make some things up, and to see things that are not always there, to come with an agenda before paper is set to pen, even the journalist who is otherwise busy organising the competition.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please try not to take Ephraim Radner seriously: he teaches at a college that made Graham Kendrick a Doctor of Divinity!