Skip to comments.Rubicon [and Rowan Williams]
Posted on 08/21/2006 5:21:00 PM PDT by sionnsar
Has Rowan Williams made up his mind?
Unity in the Church - worldwide - is to you a means of coming closer to the truth. As you put it, If we dont stay together, we are only following our own local denomination or our personal preferences. Where then do you draw the line? How far can unity be stretched within the boundaries of still being based on the Bible?
In reply to this question Williams starts off with a rebuke of those who argue it is high time the Church accepted gay relationships. Their ideal is the inclusive church. "I dont believe inclusion is a value in itself, says the Archbishop. "Welcome is. We welcome people into the Church, we say: You can come in, and that decision will change you. We dont say: Come in and we ask no questions. I do believe conversion means conversion of habits, behaviours, ideas, emotions. The boundaries are determined by what it means to be loyal to Jesus Christ. That means to display in all things the mind of Christ. Paul is always saying this in his letters: Ethics is not a matter of a set of abstract rules, it is a matter of living the mind of Christ. That applies to sexual ethics; that is why fidelity is important in marriage. You reflect the loyalty of God in Christ. It also concerns the international arena. Christians will always have reconciliation as a priority and refuse to retaliate. By no means everything is negotiable for me. I would not be happy if someone said: Let us discuss the divinity of Christ. That to me seems so constituent of what the Church is.
Critics of the American Churchs gay policies say they have reached the boundaries.
"In terms of decision-making the American Church has pushed the boundaries. It has made a decision that is not the decision of the wider body of Christ. In terms of the issue under consideration: there are enough Christians of good faith in every denomination - from evangelical to Roman Catholic - to whom it is not quite so self-evident. Who are not absolutely sure that that we have always read the Bible correctly. They are saying: this is an issue we must talk about. But if we are going to have time to discuss this, prayerfully, thoughtfully, we really dont need people saying: we must change it now. The discussion must not be foreclosed by a radical agenda. The decision hasnt been made yet. Or rather, the tradition and teaching of the Church is what it always was."
What will happen to the six or more dioceses in America that have asked for alternative primatial oversight?
"I dont know yet. We are working intensively on what this might mean. I dont want to make up church law on the back of an envelope, because in fact its a very complicated situation.
But these dioceses and the group around them wont hold out in ECUSA for too long.
No, and it is perhaps a rather larger group than some have presented it as being. I know too that if Canterbury doesnt help, there will be other provinces that are very ready to help. And I dont especially want to see the Anglican Church becoming like the Orthodox Church, where in some American cities you see the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Romanian Orthodox Church. I dont want to see in the cities of America the American Anglican Church, the Nigerian Anglican Church, the Egyptian Anglican Church and the English Anglican Church in the same street.
For those of us on the orthodox side of this argument, this is an encouraging interview. I don't think it's either surprising or hypocritical to see Dr. Williams value the unity of the Anglican Communion regardless of what his personal beliefs might be. Indeed, he comes off here as much more humble than the bishops of ECUSA's left. But I think Rowan Williams finally realizes that all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put ECUSA back together again.
But the grace of our Saviour can resurrect something even more glorious from its ashes!
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