Wednesday, September 13, 2006

ACN (Anglican Communion Network) Statement on the NYC Meeting

And now, lets hear from the ACN folks ...

... interesting to me that now we're waiting for the ABofC AND the Primates to respond to their requests. And what about the "desperate situation" for faithful Episcopalians -- gay, straight and in-between -- who are stuck in dioceses bent on abandoning the Episcopal Church come hell or high water with no recourse as their bishops lurch like lemmings toward the cliff determined to drag them along off it.

Pittsburgh, PA —Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, thanked the people of the Network for their prayers and support during the just-completed meeting of Episcopal bishops in New York. The meeting, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has not led to a mutually agreeable way forward.

“It was an honest meeting. It became clear that the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Duncan, “Our request for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) still stands. We wait on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion to answer our request,” he added. Among the many items discussed in New York was the fact that even if fulfilled, the APO request only deals with the situation of those in Network dioceses. While that situation is important, a far more desperate situation exists for congregations in non-Network dioceses. Bishop Duncan made it clear that as moderator of the Network, he will make every effort to see those needs fully and honestly addressed.

Bishop Duncan encouraged the people of the Network to continue focusing on the local mission of their churches in the days ahead. “In season and out of season, we have the Good News of Jesus Christ’s love to share with all the world. As I said after General Convention this summer, pray, but don’t worry.”

Source: ACN website


Tony Seel said...

Susan, you have it backward, as does the PB. It is ecusa that is abandoning the Anglican Communion as it continues in the direction of walking apart.


Thanks for sharing the ACC/ACN party line, Tony ... it is not a line I've ever bought, even when David Anderson was floating it back before GC2003 and it is increasingly a line not being received by the church-at-large as anything other than the spin of those determined to bring off the schism they have their hearts so set upon.


for Hiram ...

I'm happy to post your comments but not lengthy reflections from Richard Kew ... a brother whose work I certainly am familiar with and would link to this blog if I thought his perspective helpful ... which I don't.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

That's an interesting perspective, Tony.

What's your take on the abandonment of canonical and episcopal responsibility of the Network bishops to the Episcopal Church, than? It seems to me that it is a tradition older and more established than the Anglican Communion (let's not forget the Communion is only 60 or so years old), and it is an abdication of the only institution to which we have formal ties (rather than simply bonds of affection)? If this group of people can lay down those formal ties and vows so easily, what does that say about their faith?

I'm having a hard time relating because my faith tells me we have to stick through the hard times; that sometimes we don't know why its hard but we have to go through it anyway and that's a part of being in community together. That's a part of the body of Christ-- if you get a nick on your finger you don't lop it off, you wait patiently for it to heal because in the end its a lot easier to have a finger than not to have a finger.

It seems to me that in the Network group there has been a clear abdication of responsibility that, at a minimum has been lacking bona fide effort at integrating, and at most has had quite solid attempts to tear it apart. I can't find where the trust is; where God is; where the Spirit is; where the patience is; in this religion. I see only idolatry of the Bible, and a willingess to exclude any non-likeminded people so as to protect the perceived status quo rather than introduce new ideas, no matter how divinely inspired.


Hiram said...

Rev Susan,
Thanks for the feedback. I did not think it likely that you would post the whole of my comment, if any of it. Although Richard Kew says it far better than I, I will try to explain how we reasserters/conservatives/orthodox see the situation.

We are two faiths bound up in one institution. The Gospel I proclaim is different from the one “Progressive Christians” proclaim. Many of the words we use are the same, but the meanings behind those words are different. We have two different worldviews.

But these two worldviews are not equal; one depends upon the other. The Progressive view could not exist if the conservative view had not existed beforehand. The Progressives have taken historic Christian terminology and have reinterpreted it according to existential philosophy, Hegelian dialectic, and/or Schliermacher’s earlier subjective reworking of Christian theology. Progressives approach the Scripture as being human reflection upon the experience of encountering the divine. Since we still have encounters with the divine, Progressive Christians believe that we have a right to amend earlier reflections upon such experience with our own reflections.

Conservatives believe, on the other hand, that there is a God who is personal (having both the will and the capacity to communicate with human beings) and who inspired the authors of Scripture so that it says what he wants said. (No one, of course, can understand God in himself; he is beyond our capacity. But that does not mean that we can understand nothing, and we who believe that Scripture is God-breathed also believe that what we do not know about God does not and will not contradict what he has revealed about himself.)

These two views cannot long co-exist. The thing is, that the conservative view was here first, and the Progressive view only came into being by taking the conservative view and transmogrifying it. I invite you to do a thought experiment: imagine that the Apostles and the first generation of Christian believers held to the views of Progressive Christianity. How would Christianity have survived that grand mélange of gods and goddesses, of sacrifices and ceremonies, of ritual prostitution, of the acceptance of homosexual activity, if it only claimed to be one way among many? If the Christianity of the first century had been “Progressive Christianity,” it would have faded out of existence, and Jesus would be perhaps an intriguing member of some pantheon of gods, or, at best, a dim figure of history.

Progressive Christianity is derivative of and dependent upon historic orthodoxy. How many Progressive Christians came out of utter unbelief? Very few, I would wager, in comparison to those who have become conservative Christians. Most Progressive Christians, I believe, come out of conservative backgrounds (Protestant or Roman Catholic) – sometimes because they had an encountered a “sick religion,” sometimes because they do not want to give up their favorite sins, and sometimes because they have met someone who (like Bp Spong) is long on personality and short on theology.

I can understand why you do not believe Kew’s blog to be helpful – because it does not help your viewpoint. But if some of your readers would like to evaluate what some thoughtful, educated conservatives say about the situation, I recommend two articles, whose web addresses I give below:

“Cuckoo Theology,” by the Rev Richard Kew

“The Ecstatic Heresy,” by the Rev Dr Robert Sanders

Tony Seel said...

And thank you, Susan, for the liberal gay line. David Anderson didn't invent the walking apart language. As you know, it is in the Windsor Report. By the church-at-large I assume you mean the less than 3% of the Anglican Communion that is the rapidly diminishing ecusa/tec.

Tony Seel said...

Jeff, if you'll please read church history you'll find that the church has been more fluid in terms of canonical issues than you seem to understand. In contrast, the church has a long history of perspective on human sexuality. Why would you want to push one and ignore the other? I think we both know the answer to that one.

As far as sticking together, the church has never made it job one to keep the faithful and apostates together. In fact, until very recent church history, the church has disciplined those who have departed from the faith.


David may not have "invented" the walking apart language but he was talking "walking apart" as far back as 1998 in this diocese while the rest of us were talking about working it out. Nothing will convince me that what we are experiencing now is anything other than the self-fulfilling prophecy of the vocal, well-funded convservative fringe determined to split this church if it could not re-recreate it in their own image. They're getting what they asked for and it's a bloody shame.

And for the record, that's not the liberal gay party line -- that's my considered opinion.