Friday, June 15, 2007

From the Center and the Right

From Nicholas Knisely, speaking from the Center, over on the Daily Episcopalian:

...I have also noticed that the African Primates seem to be more than a little impatient with their American allies. They have been made promises that whatever money they turned down for relief and development from the American church would be replaced by gifts by those separating from the Episcopal Church. This has not happened. In addition it appears that the American folks are looking for a solution that is Canterbury centered, and that is becoming less a concern for the sub-saharan African Primates. The tone of the last couple of CAPA conferences has been that African Anglicans should work together to find an African based solution to the present crisis. Perhaps that is what is happening? And perhaps Jonathan Petre wasn’t so far off base in his reporting?

In other words, we could be seeing the first signs of a totally sub-saharan African based response to the present stresses in the Anglican Communion. It appears now that this group of Primates is working to have the broadly based invitations to the North American bishops withdrawn. And if the Archbishop of Canterbury won’t do that, then they are willing to walk on their own away from an England-dominated Communion.

What new implications would a strong and coordinated, completely non-western based strategy bring? Philip Jenkins talks about the rise of African Christianity and how it is fast becoming the leading voice of a global Church. Could we be seeing a thread of this tapestry in these very events?...
Speaking from the Right, Dan Martins:

...There seems to be an inexorable drive to circumvent the organic processes of the Anglican Communion, regulated--albeit informally and, one could say, haphazardly--by the Instruments of Unity, and confect a solution to our conflicts that the "instruments"--most palpably the Archbishop of Canterbury--will be asked to simply accept. Or not, as it may be. In which case--and here's where I break out into a cold sweat--there will effectively be civil war in the Anglican Communion, a schism that may not have the repercussions of the Great Schism of 1054, but which will be no minor tremor. We will be left with Canterburian and non-Canterburian Anglican churches. Only...will the latter actually be Anglican? Isn't communion with Canterbury of the esse of Anglican identity? Or is it only the bene esse...or, perhaps the plene esse?

Frankly, I find such a spectacle horrific in the extreme. The prospect of choosing between a Canterburian Anglicanism that is "ecclesiologically correct" but otherwise theologically and spiritually vacuous, and a non-Canterburian Anglicanism that is creedally orthodox and spiritually vital, but, lacking an organic continuity with a See that, if not apostolic, is at least ancient, and founded by the bishop of an apostolic See--and therefore essentially just one more Protestant denomination--well...this choice is too terrible to contemplate.

I feel like I have an Anglican soul, but it is a Canterburian Anglican soul. To be bereft of that vital organic link would be to surrender the very core of Anglican identity. I would urge my "reasserter" colleagues to exercise more patience. But I know that too many of them are way beyond the point of listening to such a plea...
We've now heard messages of support for the ACK beachhead from Abps. Orombi of Uganda, Akinola of Nigeria and Venables of the Southern Cone. Each claim ownership of Episcopal congregations in the US. The statements were somewhat similar. I suspect Nick and Dan are correct. We are witnessing the emergence of a new Communion centered in the Global South with no ties to Canterbury.

What are the implications? There are many, but the one that comes to mind immediately is that this new entity would not be "Anglican." It would instead be a new denomination. For this denomination to build a new church down the road from an Episcopal church would not be a case of border crossing or foreign intervention. It would be the same as a Baptist church setting up shop in our neck of the woods.

Other implications?


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