Skip to comments.Are We ECUSA or Are We Network?
Posted on 04/03/2006 12:08:27 PM PDT by sionnsar
Are you ECUSA or are you Network?
I was in Pittsburg perched on the edge of my aisle seat taking notes about a mile away from the platform (or so it seemed) at the Hope and a Future conference when I heard Archbishop Akinola lay down that charge. His words were electric. The crowd (or at least a lot of the crowd) roared with approval.
Others were shocked. I remember thinking to myself, Boy, are people going to misinterpret this.
And they did.
Many opined that ++Akinola had called for the immediate separation of the Network and the Episcopal Church.
He had not.
Archbishop Akinolas words were pointed definitively toward Columbus 2006 and the aftermath.
He knew, everyone knew, that ECUSA was not about comply with Windsor and he was warning Network leaders, very clearly, that when non-compliance becomes a legislated fact, there must be a reckoning. There must be some form of decision.
I had no doubt then (naively?) that orthodox Episcopalian leaders were up to the task.
Now, sadly, I have doubt.
Over the weekend and throughout the latter half of last week Ive heard several anonymous accounts of orthodox bishops coming away from the recent House of Bishops meeting Very Pleased with the preliminary report of the Standing Commission on the Anglican Communion.
This despite the indisputable fact that if what has been related is accurate, the report represents an outright rejection (though subtly phrased) of the Windsor requests. First, the proposed compromise (because that is precisely what it is) encourages extreme caution but fails to impose a moratorium on the consecration of future non-celibate gay bishops as requested. Second it fails to acknowledge through regret or repentance breaking the bonds of affection which serve to limit provincial action, repenting instead of some unspecified actions which caused pain. Thus, the compromise advances the revisionist cause on two fronts while retreating on only one. This is, literally two steps forward one step back.
And orthodox leaders are happy? I shouldnt be surprised but I am. Somehow, after all the conferences, meetings, statements and gatherings, I believed that there would be no compromise on Windsor. ECUSA will do what ECUSA will do but I thought our immediate role was clear: uphold Windsor. After all, (and perhaps Im not remembering correctly) wasnt the international protest that led to the Windsor Report, at least partially, undertaken on our behalf? Hasnt all of the fire and heat between the Global South and other provinces been fed, at least in part, by our dissent?
And now, after all that has passed over the last three years, after having garnered such widespread international support including even the sympathy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, some want to step back from the brink and surrender those things for which many have paid (and the rest of us have been willing to give) home, career, property and status? Please tell me Im not hearing things accurately or that Im misunderstanding what I have heard. I am open to and in fact eager for correction
If a compromise like the one suggested passes through the HOB and HOD with orthodox approval or assent, then we, the orthodox, will have implicitly affirmed in principle the right of the Episcopal Church to consecrate non-celibate gay bishops (using extreme caution of course) and implicitly denied the existence or at the very least the limiting role of the bonds of affection the authority of the Anglican Communion. More importantly, we will have failed our Christian duty as pastors and leaders to defend the faith and the faithful against false teaching.
The orthodox, rightly, are infinitely patient. We should be (and have been) willing to wait a long time for God to reform the Church and live at peace when we can. But that waiting and that peace ought never to involve capitulation on essential matters.
If the reports I am hearing are true, then I believe (as the author of an article Im hoping to have permission to pass along some day argues forcefully and well) that the presaged collaboration between institutional revisionists and orthodox leaders will destroy the orthodox party in the Episcopal Church. In the wake of such a compromise, many if not most would leave for safer climes. Those who stay will be so weakened that there will be very little to stop or even slow the revisionist onslaught.
But the international ramifications would be even more disturbing. The Global South(GS) would lose a great deal of political capital. The burden of the argument would shift. No longer could the GS legitimately claim to uphold the cause of beleaguered orthodox Anglicans in the USA and Canada. If orthodox leaders in the USA accept a compromise it would make the Global Souths refusal to do the same appear unduly divisive or schismatic. The moderate primates who are presently more or less supportive of the Windsor line would agree with all sides in America that the compromise is a good and workable thing. The ABC, sensing a shift in the mind of the communion, would do the same. Lambeth invitations would be sent to all North American bishops who would thereby continue as full members of the Anglican Communion unfettered by Communion discipline. The Global South would not have the votes or the influence to stop it (much of this scenario is drawn from the article I mentioned above that I am hoping to pass along) .
Please realize that this would mean that not just ECUSA, but the entire communion will have taken a step that necessarily undermines Lambeth 1.10. By including ECUSA as full members, the Communion as a whole will have accepted the right (in principle) of individual provinces to cautiously consecrate non-celibate homosexuals without even acknowledging the bonds of affection. The covenant statement and Communion structure envisioned by Windsor would be dead. And worse, the Anglican communion will have implicitly embraced a necessarily revisionist view of biblical truth.
All this because we, here and now, did not stand firm.
Count me out. I'll not follow any leader down that road. And I'm far from alone...
Are we ECUSA or are we Network?
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