Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sundry reflections on a Sunday Evening

As the dust settles at the Gafcon gathering in Jerusalem, let's start with a reality check from Michael (no-relation) Russell from the Diocese of San Diego:

The number of Primates openly supporting this movement has gone down since 2006 not up. Within Gafcon itself there is a move to redirect leadership from ++Akinola to ++Jensen.

The number of American Dioceses active in the movement has dwindled and even the Windsor Compliant Bishops are now prepared to cut the jurisdiction jumpers out of the equation to raise their own influence.

There is no occasion since the fully public inception of this movement of them actually getting anything they wanted. Neither TEC nor the C of Canada have been sanctioned or side streamed, and the reasserters have not been proclaimed as the true Anglican presence by anyone with any actual authority to do that.

The promises made to parishioners that they would soon be the acknowledged by the Archbishop of Canterbury as the true presence has not and will not happen.

The Jerusalem Declaration has pinned its future to an arcane formulation of "authorities" that most Anglican provinces worldwide are not going to endorse: specifically the 39 Articles and the 1662 BCP as standards of the faith.

Nor will most of the Anglican provinces endorse their peculiar formulations and doctrine of Scripture as found in the Document.

So after a dozen years of planning and six years of bullying and threats, this movement has a smaller affiliation circle and less influence than five years ago.

And their position on the Archbishop of Canterbury will further reduce that.

Despite their assertions that they will not leave, they have simply defected in place and will now just function as an out of control irritant.

It is, in fact, what the Diocese of Washington's Jim Naughton described as "taking the status quo, tying it up in a bow and trying to make it a present." Or what Katie Sherrod of Fort Worth fame has described as "all hat and no cattle."

Perhaps the greatest irony is that those who profess to be "protecting the historic faith" are declaring that Anglican identity "need not be determined through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury."

For anyone who forgot their Anglican Communion 101, here's a refresher:

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Focus for Unity for the three Instruments of Communion of the Anglican Communion, and is therefore a unique focus for Anglican unity. He calls the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of Primates, and is President of the AnglicanConsultative Council.

Threatening to throw the Archbishop out with the bathwater is certainly "a" way to get attention but it hardly lends itself toward protecting the historic catholicity of the Anglican Communion we've been hearing so much about. Sadly, it reminds me most of all of the time one of my then-small boys pitched a fit in the cereal aisle of the supermarket stamping his foot and declaring "you are not the boss of me."

Actually, I was the "boss of him." And so is the Archbishop of Canterbury -- within the limits of his authority as "first among equals" of the primates of all Anglican primates worldwide and the focus of unity for the Communion.

The Gafcon Communique or Jerusalem Declaration or whatever they're calling it is nothing less than the last ditch effort of the dwindling schismatic fringe to declare as fait accompli that which they wish would be: an Anglican Communion created in their own image without the Archbishop of Canterbury to boss them around or those pesky bonds of affection that knit you to people you don't agree with.

Here's the Anglican Reality Check according to Dave Walker:

Here endeth the reality check.

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