Monday 8 December 2008

CEEC - Covering the Ground

So CEEC did decide to pass a motion that was not passed at NEAC 5. What makes it slightly different is the third paragraph.

Take the third out for a moment and we have:
CEEC affirms and rejoices that the Church of England professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and its historic formularies (the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons) and set out in Canon A5 and the Declaration of Assent.

Further we affirm (1) the CEEC's own Basis of Belief, (2) Resolution 3.5 of Lambeth 1998 (concerning the authority of Holy Scriptures), (3) Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998 (concerning human sexuality), and (4) the Jerusalem Declaration, and as members of the Anglican Communion, we acknowledge our obligation to stand in prayerful solidarity with faithful Anglicans across the globe.

We call on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates to recognize the urgency of the situation as it affects parishes and clergy, particularly in the USA, Canada and Brazil, and to give immediate and serious consideration to granting recognition to the new Province in the USA.

Taking these alone, the first paragraph attempts to connect the Church of England to the Jerusalem Declaration, which the second paragraph adds in specifically. It defines in these terms what it calls faithful Anglicans, raising the question about who are the faithless Anglicans. You cannot have a positive like that without implying a negative. Note the inclusion of Brazil, where Recife is a hot issue and arguably more controversial than North America. Then it makes an appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as the Primates, though it is two thirds of Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council that would recognise a breakaway.

It is important to do this, to see what is involved and then what difference the third paragraph makes:

We recognize that evangelical Anglicans will pursue a variety of strategies for dealing with the current crisis in the Communion, and we support those who are seeking to work through the existing Anglican Communion structures, those who are working within the framework set out in the GAFCON Statement, and those supporting both.

This is the concession paragraph, and GAFCON can accept this because it claims to still be part of the Anglican Communion while it sets up what might be called parallel structures of its own. It comes across as nip and tuck towards the necessary adjustment.

The bias of the whole is in favour then of the breakaway, and in favour of the GAFCON approach; and while it allows for other approaches it does push the GAFCON agenda along somewhat.

Here is the question then: do the bulk of Evangelicals support the breakaway that would like to be a province, as does this passed motion? As I see it, the Conservative Evangelicals may well but the more Open Evangelicals are divided on the matter. The CEEC website is full of apologies for NEAC 5 but still claims to be representative.

The Primates include many more than just Evangelicals. If two thirds of the Primates will not support the breakaway grouping then it will just swing in the wind as far as the Anglican Communion is concerned, outside the door. Recognition of this province could cause deeper division between Evangelicals and others in wider Anglicanism.

Meanwhile Richard Turnbull has resigned but he's still there on the CEEC, and still as Principal of Wycliffe College.


Rev R Marszalek said...

Some neat analysis here.
Very interesting.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Oddly it seems that Peter Ould has a not dissimilar view.