Monday, October 01, 2007

Exporting Schism

Since the schism in North America is being heralded as a great success, having gained the allegiance of 5 diocesan bishops (out of 110) and 60 congregations (out of 7,600), it appears that the same tactics will now be exported to England.

From the Telegraph:

...Reform also says it will bring in foreign archbishops to ordain priests in dioceses where incumbent bishops refuse to disassociate themselves from the American church, which appointed the openly homosexual Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003...

...The Rev Rod Thomas, the chairman elect of Reform, said: "The situation in the Anglican communion is so serious now that we have to plan for an inevitable split in the Church of England from top to bottom"...
Reform is a group that describes itself as "a network of churches and individuals within the Church of England, committed to the reform of ourselves, our congregation and our world by the gospel." Their "reform" seems to be primarily about getting rid of the gays.

Reform is now denying that they made any such threat to Canterbury. However, their recent statement regarding the New Orleans House of Bishops meeting echoes much of what is reported in the Telegraph:

...We are facing an eleventh-hour crisis in the Anglican Communion; any suggestion that further discussion is the way forward is a failure to realise the imminence of the threat we face. What is needed now is firm, decisive leadership which clearly protects and promotes the Biblical Christian faith. It is around such a position that the Communion could unite. In practice this means that discipline should be applied to TEC. Any bishops involved in the consecration of Gene Robinson or who teach that such consecrations are acceptable should be dis-invited from the Lambeth 2008 conference.

Without such discipline, we fear that divisions within the Anglican Communion will become permanent, with very grave consequences for the Church of England herself. Many in the mainstream of the Church’s life will want to align themselves with orthodox believers and distance themselves from TEC. This will entail a review, and suspension of, current diocesan links with TEC. Where dioceses are unwilling to suspend such links, orthodox clergy and parishes will remain committed to the Church of England, but will find the case for seeking alternative forms of spiritual oversight increasingly attractive and in many cases overwhelming.
Those Primates who might be considering allowing "alternative jurisdictions" within the boundaries of the Episcopal Church may want to note this development.

If it works in America, England will be next. And then New Zealand, perhaps? Or maybe Mexico? No doubt those who will be pushing such schisms will call on the assistance of a few "pistol packing" Texans to make sure the job gets done right. The Primates need to be aware that this schism is turning ugly, and there are those who are actively working to export it into their backyards.

J.

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