Monday, August 06, 2007

Anderson's Variation on Godwin's Law

Last month, the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, was interviewed by John Petre of the Telegraph. The interview contained this segment:

...He warned the leaders of the conservative Global South group that they would be in danger of putting themselves outside the worldwide Church if they carried out their threats to boycott the Lambeth Conference next year.

He said: "The thing that unites all Christians is our faith in the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and what makes us Christians is that we participate in the death and resurrection of Christ.

"The other thing to remember is that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace.

"As long as someone does not deny the very basic doctrines of the Church - the creation, the death, the resurrection of Christ and human beings being made in the image of God - then the rest really helps but they are not the core message.

"And I haven’t found that in Ecusa or in Canada, where I was recently, they have any doubts in their understanding of God which is very different from anybody. What they have quarrelled about is the nature of sexual ethics"...
Such a statement caused some of the extremists to become quite upset. Consequently, the head of their covert operations division, Canon David "I like a good fight" Anderson, offered a response: Why the Archbishop of York Got It Wrong.

You might recall that before Anderson jumped to Nigeria, he was the rector of St. James, Newport Beach. He then became the head of the American Anglican Council, and brought Howard Ahmanson, his former parishioner, and his millions, along with him.

Anderson has been known for many years to be the pet pit bull of the Anglican extremists. Normally, his barking and snapping is ignored, especially since he chose to leave the Episcopal Church. But, this time, he chose to growl and snarl in the direction of the Archbishop of York.

The response to Anderson's rude display comes from the Revd. Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Archbishop of York:

Most people who have ever entered into an online debate will be familiar with the concept of Godwin’s Law.

This law – formulated by Mike Godwin in the 1990s – suggests as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler becomes inevitable. This is not to say that the comparison will be right or justified, but rather that at some point the comparison will be made.

A rather similar law feels like it is taking shape in the debates over the future of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

As the discussions grow longer, the probability of a comparison with Bishop John Shelby Spong becomes inevitable. The comparison may be unjustified or incorrect but as debates rage, the invocation of Jack Spong becomes inescapable.

So it is that in his article criticising the Archbishop of York [] The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson dabbles in futility by turning to the long retired Spong in proposing a tortuous thesis that Dr. John Sentamu, on the path to the Lambeth Conference of 2008, has fallen in amongst a group of liberal bandits...

...Canon Anderson’s objection to Dr. Sentamu rests on half of one sentence made in an hour long interview with the Daily Telegraph: "I haven't found that in ECUSA (sic) or in Canada, where I was recently, they have any doubts in their understanding of God which is very different from anybody. What they have quarrelled about is the nature of sexual ethics."

Anderson’s objections lie not in the consideration of the mainstream of TEC but rather by reference, by and large, to its extremities.

By using such a broad brush to attack the Episcopal Church as a whole, Canon Anderson conveniently whitewashes the testimony daily offered up by all those faithfully reciting the creeds and liturgy that bear evidence to those doctrines which he alleges have been abandoned. The orthodox voice of the multitude is drowned out and ignored in Anderson’s analysis in favour of selective quotation from the fringe...
Make sure you read Arora's entire response, as it also points out Anderson's "ideological inconsistencies" which he demonstates in his "rush to say something (anything?) that will place TEC upon the top of a heretical bonfire..."

It may be time for the Anglican extremists to suggest to Canon Anderson that he quietly retires. Surely they can find a new angry front man, preferrably one who is not such a theological lightweight.


No comments:

Post a Comment