Skip to comments.The Fifth Scenario: Anglican Futures II
Posted on 06/05/2006 5:16:30 PM PDT by sionnsar
Several commenters and a fellow blogger have asked my take on a 5th scenario. What happens if ECUSA complies fully with the Windsor requests?
While I consider this outcome unlikely, it always pays to think through all contingencies. So heres my take and I must say Im a bit surprised and a little depressed about where such a scenario might leave us.
The fifth scenario: one province and one Communion. ECUSA complies with Windsor. The Archbishop of Canterbury quickly, within the first few days of the relevant legislation, recognizes ECUSAs full compliance. The orthodox primates, a bit more guardedly, offer the same in the following weeks. Publicly, the Network claims this as something of a victory but behind the scenes remains at a bit of a loss for how to proceed.
The problem is that the Episcopal Church, politically speaking, has gone from shunned pariah to embraced prodigal in the course of a month. The prodigal, again speaking in political terms, suddenly has a great deal of pull. The ABC has clothed the wayward province with his ring, sandals and best cloak. The fattened calf is being prepared. Yet for all of this, it is clear that ECUSAs desire is not so much to turn back from what revisionists call full inclusion but to remain Anglican, and more, to turn Anglicanism toward full inclusivity.
ECUSAs increased standing and respect Communion-wide provides a platform for this renewed mission. The political momentum swings from the orthodox primates and the Network to the Episcopal Church and the ACC.
A division arises within the body of orthodox primates. Some of the more moderate, institutional-minded primates want to lay down arms and make peace with ECUSA and proceed as a unified communion. They encourage the cessation of all border crossings. This call is echoed or echoes similar calls from across the Communion, perhaps even from Canterbury. The more zealous primates, citing the challenge of a powerful and politically revitalized ECUSA, refuse. There is semi-private division and acrimony between various orthodox primates
The Network publicly welcomes and celebrates ECUSAs compliance but is internally divided. Some Network bishops want to end all hostilities and return to a pre-GC2006 state of relations with their fellow bishops. Others, given the superficiality of ECUSAs compliance, think this course naïve and argue that it could prove disastrous in the long run not just for the Episcopal Church but for the Communion as a whole. They argue that the original mission, to reform Anglicanism in North America, remains unaccomplished and vow not to rest until it is. The Network is divided along similar lines as the orthodox primates.
Network parishes in ECUSA remain in ECUSA. Network parishes outside ECUSA are in limbo. The long expected parallel or replacement province seems unlikely. Some affiliate with the AMiA or the other Common Cause partners, others remain in the Network awaiting future developments. They become a source of consternation between bishops and primates.
But despite renewed political vitality, all is not well in ECUSA. The LGBT radicals feel betrayed. Those who recognize that Windsor compliance has opened an opportunity to sway the entire Communion find it politically expedient to swallow their disappointment and continue in ECUSA. Others cannot. Integrity also suffers division. Some of the most dedicated turn to the Metropolitan Church and the UCC.
All eyes turn to Lambeth 2008 and to the ongoing development of the Communion Covenant. These are the new battlefields for the heart of Anglicanism. With the orthodox divided, there is some fear that these battles will end with less than satisfactory agreements.
Of all the scenarios this fifth scenario seems ironically to be the most dangerous for orthodoxy. The desire to lay down arms will be strong and the arguments against such a passive stance will appear divisive and needlessly strident.
In all fairness, the Episcopal Church will have complied fully with the letter of Windsor. Any move to separate would, in my opinion be unjustified. Going back to an analogy Ive used before. Say your friend steals your wallet. You give him 24 hours to return it before calling the police. He returns it, reluctantly, after a full 23:59 hours. Even though you know hes still a committed thief you cannot, with integrity, call the police. You keep your word. Youve just got to be vigilant.
If this 5th scenario comes to pass, ECUSA will have returned the wallet. Nevertheless, we must not lay down our arms. We must remain vigilant. A compliant ECUSA will remain committed to false doctrine. For that reason, the ECUSAn divisions between revisionist and orthodox bishops and parishes that exist must continue until the LGBT agenda and the entire program of revisionism has been defeated.
At the same time, there will need to be an operational pause. My 5th scenario advice: if you are in ECUSA, stay in. If you are out of ECUSA, stay out. The reformation of North American Anglicanism will proceed, but there will need to be space and time to discern the new lines of advance.
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