Skip to comments.Anglican split 'has become necessary'
Posted on 06/19/2006 11:45:57 AM PDT by monkapotamus
A split in the Anglican Communion is inevitable the Bishop of Rochester has said, as issues such as gay and women bishops continue to divide the global Church.
The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali's comments came as the US Episcopal Church - which ordained the first openly gay bishop in 2003 - chose Katherine Jefferts Schori as its first female head.
Here, two church members for and against such issues, give their views on a split.
REV DAVID PHILIPS, THE CHURCH SOCIETY
The Reverend David Philips believes a split is "probably inevitable".
"We have to have limits and they have gone way beyond them [the US Church]. It is a shame it has taken so long for a bishop to come out and say it," he said.
Even so, he does not think many Church of England bishops will be following the Bishop of Rochester's' lead.
"Their concern is unity, unity at any price," he said. "It's astonishing really."
The impact of a split in the Anglican Communion would have quite an effect on the Church of England, with those backing the US Episcopal Church's stance and those not, Mr Philips said.
He believes the US Church is "promoting immorality".
"It's not just the one issue," he said.
If they appointed a bishop who is an open adulterer, would you say that was right?
If they appointed a bishop who is an open adulterer, would you say that was right?
While it accepts gay and women bishops, there are other bishops who deny "every aspects of the Christian faith", such as the resurrection and virgin birth, he said.
"Oversight" positions should not be carried out by women, Mr Philips added.
"There clearly must be boundaries," he said - these were issues on which the Scriptures spoke clearly.
It was these which kept the Anglican Communion united by a "common bond".
"The Anglican Church is not like the Roman Catholic Church where it has a body that makes binding decisions," he said.
"When people break that common bond, and that's what has happened, there is no easy way for Churches to know how to respond to that."
And Mr Philips denied his views were prejudiced.
"Homosexuality was pretty common in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire," he said, "but Christians stood against it. I don't see the difference."
These convictions came from what God said in the Scriptures "on what's right and wrong".
"I don't think that's prejudice. If they appointed a bishop who is an open adulterer, would you say that was right?"
REV JEREMY CADDICK, EMMANUAL COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
The Reverend Jeremy Caddick also thinks a split is likely.
"I have a lot of time for the Bishop of Rochester and have a great deal of sympathy with his dislike of an 'options' Church," he said.
"But I actually think that loyalty to the Good News, as revealed by Jesus, takes us in exactly the opposite direction.
"In things like the Church's treatment of gay people, we are going in the wrong direction."
A "narrow" reading of the Bible took us away from Jesus, Mr Caddick said.
"The Gospel is good news for everybody and, on the gay issue, one of my concerns is it is good news for heterosexuals, but not if you are gay.
"Loyalty to one reading of the Bible puts us in a position of condemning large numbers of people, which I think is not consistent with the accepting attitude of Jesus in the Gospel."
Mr Caddick said the context in which the Church proclaimed the Gospel had changed.
"In the past the Bible has been used to justify the subjugation of women and slavery, but today these are regarded as unacceptable," he said.
"If it is the case that some sections of the Church cannot accept a female bishop, then I think the Bishop of Rochester is right, the time has come for a split.
"It certainly worries me, but I think it is maybe necessary.
"The Church of England has a track history of accommodating a wide diversity.
"From my point of view, there's no reason why that diversity can't include some parts of the Church that accept women leaders and recognise gay bishops, and so on and so forth.
"The problem is that those who don't accept this are insisting we all go the same way - and that's a sticking point."
So they're ordaining muslims too now?
The American chuch is all about me. Me the gay, me the
alcholic, me - me - me - me.
Where Christ fits in this busy schedule is a mystery.
This is very sad and must be extremely depressing for Anglicans/Episcopalians, although I honestly don't see how orthodox Christian Episcopalians have hung on as long as they have.
Furthermore, I am not being insulting, but I have always been puzzled by Anglicanism (I'm Catholic) because it puts a temporal authority in charge of the Church. How can this be? I am sincerely asking this, since I don't understand how a Christian can logically accept a temporal authority as the head of the Church, even his "local" church. Having the British Royal House of the moment proclaim itself supreme authority, even just as a figurehead, of one's church would be like having Teddy Kennedy proclaim himself head of the Catholic Church in the US. Just a question that has always bothered me.
One wonders just what he has in mind when he says, 'and so on and so forth'. What's next?
The female ordinations and the approval of homosexual activity follow many long years of open disbelief in some very basic tenets of Christian faith by some of the Right Reverend gentlemen. The Resurrection, and so on and so forth.
Lay investiture was the medieval practice of Christian emperors and kings appointing the bishops in their realms. When the church and the state were one and the same (as is still the case in England) the appoitment of church officials was no different that the appointment of treasury, university or law enforcement officials. The king did not exercise spiritual authority, he simply oversaw the administrative duties of filling vacancies, paying bills and maintaining buildings. As the Papacy grew in strength, a tug-of-war erupted between the Pope and the kings (especially London) over lay investiture. The 13th century Lateran Councils condemned the practice while the Magna Carta (1214) decreed freedom from foreign interference for the Church in England. By the Renaissance, a compromise had formed by which the king would make an appointment and the Pope would confirm it (for a small fee, of course). Henry VIII appointed Thomas Cranmer to the See of Canterbury, and Pope Clement VII confirmed it. The Act of Supremacy and the defeat of the Armada eliminated the Pope from the episcopal appointment process and returned it to lay investiture. Today there is a detailed process involving the Church leadership, Parliament and the Prime Minister for recommending to the Queen episcopal appointees.
In all Protestant churches, administrative leadership is held by the laity. Congregations are governed by a board of directors (vestry, session, deacon board, etc) and denominations are governed by a convention. Spiritual authority is held by the clergy. In England, Parliament acts as the convention (because the church and the state are one and the same) and the Queen is the governor general.
The Queen exercise administrative authority in the Church of England, but she has no spiritual authority.
after my conversion I was trying to decide between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. One of the factors that helped me to decide was that the Bishop of Constantinople has to be approved by the secular/islamic Turkish government. Then comparing that with the Pope... in the Vatican, subject to no one but God.
Arab does not equal Muslim. There are many Lebanese, Egyptian, and Iraqi Christians. I am sure you wouldn't have written that with a little more forethought.
Thanks for the detailed explanation of the English situation. Lay investiture was a serious problem and first reached a crisis point on the Continent, even in places like Spain, in the 11th century. Obviously, for various strategic reasons, a cozy relationship had developed between the kings and the Church, with the royals feeling they ran the roost. This was clearly something the Church could not tolerate; it was considered an abuse, like simony, and interestingly enough, the reform attempts were often coupled with the spread of the Roman (or Frankish) Rite, that is, they were part of a centralizing movement attempting to instill visible unity and discipline and bring the Church under the control of the religious authorities alone. IIRC, England was rather resistant to the new rite, although eventually it was installed.
The State has always salivated over the Church, seeing a real opportunity for consolidation of power, and the Church has always had to struggle to assert its independence. Establishing the ground rules was slow going and England, in particular, seems to have been problematic all along. Germany was also difficult; I have often wondered if it was because these two countries did not speak a Latin-root language and thus felt a little more adversarial to Rome. Be that as it may, I can understand the historical/political forces that were at play.
In any case, I suppose there will be all sorts of changes in the works now. I really don't see how the Anglicans are going to be able tolerate this, but perhaps that was ultimately the intention of the cabal that elected this woman. They may regard the Anglican Church as somewhat of a drag on their "progressive" movement. I read in another post here that there was a huge gay Episcopalian conference last week, and those present (including the dread Vicki Gene) were commenting on the fact that the Episcopal Church was dwindling, except for its gay membership, which was growing rapidly. So I imagine that the Episcopalians will be only too happy to cut their ties to the Anglican Church. This is going to be very painful for many Episcoplians, who have done nothing to deserve this.
He probably has nothing in mind. This just a common cliche among the devotees of the "Theology of Whatever."
The Orthodox Church, as much as I love it, has always had a problem with state authorities. One of the reasons it is so hard for Orthodox Churches to let go of their nationalism when they come to the US is that they have had such a long history of identification with the government of whatever state they happen to be in.
"So they're ordaining muslims too now?"
I hope you will rethink your unkind comment...Bishop Nazir-Ali has been a great voice for orthodox, Biblical beliefs in the Church of England and Anglican Communion.
"My apologies for not putting a '</sarcasm> tag after it, and for any offense taken by those to whom the tone of my comment wasn't obvious."
"....those present (including the dread Vicki Gene) were commenting on the fact that the Episcopal Church was dwindling, except for its gay membership, which was growing rapidly."
Utter nonsense! Homosexuals make up a MINISCULE percentage of the population (something between 2 & 10% depending on whose propaganda you're listening to) & of those numbers, an even MORE MINISCULE number have never stepped foot in a church & never will irregardless how "open & affirming" it may be! If memory serves, The Episcopal Church has lost, on average, 38,000 members every year for the past 10 years & the number of members & whole parishes who've left since 2003 & the consecration of Vicky Gene has to be double that figure. There's no bloody way that the ECUSA has made up more than 1/10th of 1% of its lost membership from homosexuals who've suddenly found religion.
I detest people who throw out bald-faced lies like this, knowing full well that the average person won't ask them to back up those statements with facts. But of course, we all know who the Father of Lies is. Since he's now firmly in control of the ECUSA, we can expect nothing less than bald-faced lies from this pack of boobs.
"...an even MORE MINISCULE number have never stepped foot in a church..."
My apologies...that should read "EVER," not "never."
I'm Episcopalian and intend to remain in my local parish.
I've just decided to ignore the National Church completely.
As of this morning, I dropped them from my prayer list. I feel bad about it, but they are obviously intent on alienating the conservative branch. It's really stupid because about half (or slightly less) of Episcopalians are pretty darn conservative.
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