Monday, April 30, 2007

Nigerian Archbishop to install American anti-gay bishop

[OpEdNews] 30 Apr 2007--Archbishop Peter J. Akinola's unprecedented visit to the Washington, D.C. area this week to install an American bishop in a renegade branch of the Episcopal Church of North America is both a contradiction and an insult to freedom-loving men and women of peace and love who believe in human dignity, self-determination, and the humanity of Jesus Christ.

This article, after smearing Archbishop Akinola, urges its readers to contact their local newspaper or "congress people" and object to his visit to the USA. Orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans may want contact their local newspapers and members of Congress and object to such attacks upon a leading Archbishop of the Anglican Church and religious freedom.

Episcopal leader visits Salem Avenue church

[Dayton Daily News] 30 Apr 2007--You couldn't tell by the informal dress of the visitors to Dayton's St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Sunday that something of historical importance was taking place.

Visiting St. Andrew's a day after consecrating the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio was Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA.

Nigeria: U.S. Church Fumes Over Akinola's Visit

[Daily Champion] 30 Apr 2007--A head of the May 5 visit by the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola to the United States, for official assignment, the Episcopal Church is gearing up for a showdown with the cleric aimed at scuttling the proposed visit.

Akinola, a fierce critic of the Episcopal Church for its acceptance of homosexuality, is arriving the United States, May 5 to preside over a ceremony in Virginia that will install Martyn Minns, former rector of an Episcopal Church there, as the bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, an offshoot of the Nigerian church.

Anglican Church names first female archdeacon

[The Washington Times] 30 Apr 2007--Canterbury Cathedral, the seat of the Church of England, installed its first female archdeacon in its 1,400-year history yesterday.

Before a congregation of 500, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams led the service of installation for the Venerable Sheila Watson, 53, the first woman to join Archbishop Williams' senior staff.

The former archdeacon of Buckingham in the Diocese of Oxford, who succeeds the retired Patrick Evans, can now enthrone new diocesan bishops in 27 of England's 43 dioceses under Archbishop Williams' guidance.

The move comes as the Church of England, also known as the Anglican Church, takes the first steps toward the creation of female bishops. The Church of England ordained its first female priests in 1994.

Break-away Anglican church growing in Fairfield

[Kennebec Journal] 30 Apr 2007--Retired educator and self-described dirt farmer Larry Morse of Manchester was not always a man of Christian faith.

"I was without a church for years," he said. "I was a skeptic, a doubter, a rationalist."
But, as a thinker, too, Morse said it eventually became clear to him that there was intelligent design to the world around him.

Morse said he turned to the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, a tradition-rooted assembly established in 2004 and opened in 2005 on Ten Lots Road in Fairfield.

"I have looked at the world, and it is clear that God has made it," Morse said. "If deity exists, then you may pursue that logically and you conclude that faith makes real sense. Once it was clear to me that that was sound judgment, then it was clear I had to go and find a church that was congruent with what I had come to understand."

Holy Trinity, a denomination of the Traditional Anglican Communion, is housed in the Asa Bates Memorial Chapel, built in 1909 on Ten Lots Road as a Baptist Church.

Robert Webber RIP

30 Apr 2007--Noted theologian and author Dr. Robert E. Webber died on Friday April 27, 2007 in his home in Sawyer, Michigan, after an eight-month struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 73 years old.

Dr. Webber was born in Congo of missionary parents, and was raised in the Philadelphia area. He earned the Th.D. from Concordia Theological Seminary. From 1968 to 2000 he served as Professor of Theology at Wheaton College, and was named Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in 2000. He was appointed William R. and Geraldine D. Myers Professor of Ministry and Director of the M.A. in Worship and Spirituality at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of 2000. Bob Webber founded The Institute for Worship Studies (now the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies) in 1998. The Institute for Worship Studies is a Masters and Doctorate level graduate school focused on the study of the theological, Biblical, historical, sociological and missiological foundations of Christian worship. The school is hosted by Grace Episcopal Church of Orange Park, Florida and combines distance learning with one-week on-campus intensive courses involving students, faculty and alumni from around the globe.

IWS Provost and President-Elect Dr. James R. Hart commented, “Bob Webber significantly influenced many in our generation with the understanding that worship is the key to the renewal of the church. We mourn the loss of our friend and mentor, but rejoice with him in worshiping the risen Christ.”

Webber was noted for his numerous writings and workshops in worship and worship renewal. His books include such titles as Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail, Worship Is a Verb, Worship Old and New, Ancient-Future Faith, Ancient-Future Time, Ancient-Future Evangelism, Journey to Jesus, The Younger Evangelicals, and The Divine Embrace. He served as editor of the seven-volume The Complete Library of Christian Worship (Hendrickson, 1993) and was a regular columnist in Worship Leader magazine.

Webber leaves behind a wife, Joanne, four children, John (Isabel), Alexandra (Jack), Stefany (Tom), and Jeremy (Susie), seven grandchildren, and a rich legacy of friends, colleagues and students.

Memorial services will be held at Northern Seminary (please call for date, time and location) and at Grace Episcopal Church in Orange Park, FL on Friday, June 15 at 7 PM, during the June session of the Institute for Worship Studies.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested that donations be made to the Robert E. Webber Endowment Fund at the Institute for Worship Studies, 151 Kingsley Ave., Orange Park, FL 32073, or the Robert E. Webber Center for an Ancient Evangelical Future, c/o Northern Seminary, 660 E. Butterfield Rd., Lombard, IL 60148.

Grace and peace,
Jim Hart

Saturday, April 28, 2007

How to start a church? Think outside four walls

[The Jackson Sun] 28 Apr 2007--A friend wants to start a church. Let's help her do it. First, the word "church." Should she use it?

While I certainly do not agree with everything that Tom Ehrich says in this article, particularly his rejection of orthodoxy and his emphasis upon radical inclusion, he does offer some good advise that orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans might use in establishing new Anglican congregations. I am going to identify for orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans what I believe is good advise from Ehrich's article from my own experience in new church development and the literature on the subject and post it on AnglicansAblaze.

U.S. Episcopalians angry over African archbishop's visit

[The International Herald Tribune] 28 Apr 2007--A Nigerian archbishop who is a fierce critic of the Episcopal Church for its acceptance of homosexuality plans to install a bishop here next weekend to lead U.S. congregations that want to break from it.

Episcopal Church leaders say the visit threatens to strain further the already fragile relations between their church and the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion. But traditionalists in the United States say there is a growing desire among them to break away.

Boom in Third World Christianity transforms middle-class American church

[] 28 Apr 2007--"Trends suggest that Christianity is going to continue to grow as a global phenomenon, and denominations that have thought of themselves as being predominantly North American in character are going to have to get over that," said William Lawrence, dean of the Perkins School of Theology, a Methodist seminary in Dallas.

Church History: America once an Episcopalian nation

[The Daily Citizen] 28 Apr 2007--Statistically no group of Christians held a greater influence over the founding and initial direction of the United States of America than the Episcopal Church. According to the website, fifty-five percent of the founding fathers were Episcopalian. In addition, Episcopalians comprised thirty-two percent of all Supreme Court Justices

Clearing the Air - Christians on Climate Change

[] 28 Apr 2007--Let me contrast three different ways of approaching the question of our world around us. They are:

1. Nature as a thing to be conquered or rescued
2. Nature as the sacred other, and
3. Creation not nature, a partner in trust to us.

Hispanics leaving imprint on religion in Dallas, across U.S.

[The Dallas Morning News] 28 Apr 2007--A major study released Wednesday offers a close look at how Hispanics are changing the way religion is practiced in the United States – and how American culture is affecting the faith of Hispanics.

Waco Revisited

[Christianity Today] 28 Apr 2007--The theology of the Branch Davidians.

Thai Buddhists push for state religion,10117,21623323-401,00.html?from=public_rss

[] 28 Apr 2007--Hundereds of Buddhist monks and laymen accompanied by nine elephants braved scorching heat to demand Buddhism be declared Thailand's national religion in its new, post-coup constitution.

Another group of 1400 people gathered outside parliament to demand that writers of the charter, which is to replace the 1997 "People's Constitution" torn up in September's military coup, add a clause defining Buddhism as the official state religion.

Installation Celebration, May 5, 2007

[CANA Convocation] 28 Apr 2007--The honor of your presence is requested at the celebration attending the Installation of the Right Reverend Martyn Minns as the Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

Time: 12:30 p.m.

Date: Saturday, May 5, 2007

Location: The Cecil D. Hylton Memorial Chapel
14640 Potomac Mills Road
Woodbridge, VA 22192

I urge all orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans to attend this installation celebration and to show their support for Archbishop Akinola and Bishop Minns.

Rev Dr John Stott: Retirement and move

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 Apr 2007--John Stott would like his many friends around the world to know that, having reached the age of 86 in April, he has taken the decision finally to retire from public ministry after fulfilling one final speaking engagement at the upcoming Keswick Convention in July.

He will also be moving home from his flat in Bridford Mews, London, where he has lived for more than 30 years, to a retirement community for Anglican clergy in the south of England which will be able to provide more fully for his present and future needs. Dr Stott has made this decision with the strong belief that it is God’s provision for him at this stage.

Primates seen as dictatorial

[Church Times] 28 Apr 2007--The Revd Professor Marilyn McCord Adams, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University, has severely criticised the Windsor report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the communiqué from the recent Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam (News, 23 February).

In an address to the annual conference of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement in London on Saturday, she questioned the legitimacy of the Windsor report on a future structure for the Anglican Communion, and accused the Primates of seeking to exercise “dictatorial powers”. She also called for a General Synod debate on the proposal for an Anglican Covenant.

The doctrine of substitutionary atonement is both biblical and Anglican, argues Tom Wright

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 Apr 2007--Suppose you turned on the radio one day, and heard the following statement: “I once heard a sermon that said that God was like three men together in a boat. What’s more, some people in Crete are saying that there are really three gods. And recently some in this country have said that God is like a man with three heads. Now, even when I was ten years old, I knew this was ridiculous. So let me tell you: this business about the Trinity is just nonsense.”

Of course, nobody in their right mind would make such a silly argument. Certainly the BBC wouldn’t dream of broadcasting it. But that is more or less the type of argument that the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, advanced in his Holy Week broadcast on Radio 4. He once heard a funeral sermon about God’s wrath falling on the recently departed. A Cretan bishop interpreted an earthquake as God’s judgement against contraception. And some people think that God hurled a thunderbolt at York Minster because of Dr David Jenkins, the then Bishop of Durham.

Scoop: Windsor Bishops To Meet Twice This Summer

[Drell's Descant] 28 Apr 2007--Here are the dates from a VERY reliable source:

June 18-19, with a follow up meeting August 9-10, well in advance of September 30.

Just FYI.

Visit by Anglican Bishop Draws Episcopal Anger

[The New York Times] 28 Apr 2007--The Anglican archbishop of Nigeria, a fierce critic of the Episcopal Church for its acceptance of homosexuality, is arriving next week to install a bishop to lead congregations around the country that want to break from it.

Episcopal leaders say the visit threatens to strain further the already fragile relations between their church and the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion. But Episcopal traditionalists say there is a growing desire among them to break away. A decision by the Episcopal Church in 2003 to consecrate an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, as the bishop of New Hampshire profoundly alienated those theological traditionalists, and most of the Anglican Communion overseas, who contend that the Bible condemns homosexuality.

The Nigerian archbishop, Peter J. Akinola, will preside over a ceremony in Virginia on May 5 installing Martyn Minns, former rector of an Episcopal church there, as the bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, an offshoot of the Nigerian church.

Arkansas Dad Sues Library Over Lesbian Book

[Stand Firm] 28 Apr 2007--Maybe he missed the memo about the listening process....

Captors Release Lay Pastor in Baghdad

[The Living Church] 28 Apr 2007--The lay pastor of St. George’s Memorial Church in Baghdad has been released unharmed upon payment of a $40,000 ransom by the church, reported its vicar, Canon Andrew White.

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Hampshire's gay bishop plans his own civil union

[Delaware Online] 27 Apr 2007--The Rev. V. Gene Robinson became the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop. Now, he and his partner want to be among the first gay couples in New Hampshire to officially unite under a soon-to-be-signed civil unions law.

Anglican statement not meant to be pro-Mugabe, says bishop

[Church Times] 27 Apr 2007--Headlines in an Associated Press report proclaimed: “African Anglican Bishops support Mugabe”, and the pro-Mugabe Herald had “Anglican Bishops rap sanctions”. SW Radio Africa reported “Anglican Bishops blasted for supporting Mugabe”, and another AP report described the Anglican Church as “traditionally muted in its criticism of the government, with its leaders generally toeing the ruling party line”.

But Bishop Mwamba, who gave a keynote address to senior judges and others at the Ecclesiastical Law Society Conference in Liverpool earlier this year (News, 2 February), said on Tuesday that the letter had to be seen in the context of the Anglican situation in Zimbabwe. The spirit in which it had been sent was to support the progressive forces and the need for change, and was not in any way meant to be pro-Mugabe, he said.

Episcopal Head Says Anglican Churches Will Make Same 'Journey' to Pro-Gay Stance'Journey'_to_Pro-Gay_Stance.htm

[The Christian Post] 27 Apr 2007--"In other words, Jefferts Schori argues that time is on her side," commented the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of America's pre-eminent evangelical leaders, in a blog post Thursday. "The African churches will simply have to grow up and learn to play the game. They will have to learn to replace the authority of the Bible with the authority of modern therapeutic ideologies.

"In time,” he wrote, “she expects the African churches to learn to play the game - relativizing Scripture, redefining biblical morality, and flaunting the moral wisdom the church has known for over 2,000 years.

"She may be right," Mohler added. "We must pray she is wrong."

Wisdom from Secreatry General Schori

[The Reformed Pastor] 27 Apr 2007--This is the sort of thing that convinces one that Jefforts-Schori is using her current position as a stepping stone to the UN Secretary-Generalship. The idea that Jesus Christ might be the answer–even part of the answer–for the world’s problems–even some of the world’s problems–is simply foreign to her. She doesn’t seem to think like an ambassador for Christ, but like a government bureaucrat trying to find a way to make life a little better for some people. She talks about “God’s dream of shalom” (which presumably is lib-speak for the Kingdom of God), but thinks that we can bring it about if we can just make our political and economic systems work more for poor people.

Here’s some free advise to the Bishop: give up your day job. What you really want to be is a roving cheerleader for the UN. Do it, and let someone who actually cares about the mission of the Church–proclaiming the gospel of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the eternal life found in His name–take over the reins.

Episcopal Bishop says few leaving over same-sex issues

[The Virginian-Pilot] 27 Apr 2007--The Episcopal Church's presiding bishop on Wednesday downplayed the notion of a denominational schism over homosexuality, saying only a tiny fraction of congregations have moved to break away.

In an interview, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said the congregations had "gotten a lot of attention and been very noisy," but accounted for less than 1 percent of the country's total number of parishes, which she put at 7,500.

"The Episcopal Church is alive and well," she said. Jefferts Schori was in Virginia Beach on Wednesday to speak at the Episcopal Communicators annual meeting at The Cavalier Hotel.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Once-rebel Newport priest quits as rector,1,7629004.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

[Los Angelos Times] 26 Apr 2007--A conservative Episcopal priest who helped lead a 2004 revolt against the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles over homosexuality has resigned as rector of a Newport Beach church after a female parishioner complained about unwanted attention from the married clergyman.

There is no honour (let your yes be yes)

[Stand Firm] 26 Apr 2007--It shouldn't surprise us, then, that pagans lie all the time. They are, after all, only doing what their Father, the Devil, does. But Christians are to be different and so when Christian leaders lie it is totally unacceptable.

Presbyterian Church in America Issues Report on the New Perspective on Paul, Federal Vision, and the Auburn Avenue Theologies

[Stand Firm] 26 Apr 2007--This important report addresses some of Bishop NT Wright's work on St. Paul.

Report from the Field -- the Right Way to Leave ECUSA: A Layperson in TN Explains Why He is Leaving

[Stand Firm] 26 Apr 2007--A layperson explains in a letter to the wardens, vestry, and parish -- with copies to the bishop and canon to the ordinary of his diocese . . . "now that's what I'm talkin' about!"

A Pastoral Response to Bishop Tom Wright - Dr Lisa Severin Nolland

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 Apr 2007--We can probably all agree that both Tom Wright and Steve Chalke have made really important and very impressive contributions to the vitality of the church in the UK and around the globe, the former through his theological writings, the latter through his Christian social activism. We can also probably agree that certain of Jeffrey John’s theological views are inherently problematic and that evangelical Christians especially have core investments in the theory of the penal substitutionary atonement and that those who encourage us to think more deeply in this or other areas are to be commended, whether we agree with everything they say or not. I have no doubt but that there will be further discussion and debate at this level, which is all to the good, as far as I am concerned, but that is not where I intend to engage here.

My concern lies elsewhere. In particular, I am fascinated by the emotional tone of and psychological dynamic inherent in ‘The Cross and the Caricatures’, and the sociological implications. I begin with the tone and use of language in the essay. In its initial pages, I was impressed by the respectful nature of the discourse, its cultured, gentleman-like and nuanced deployment of language. Jeffrey John was consistently referred to as ‘Dr John’ and when Tom felt the need to disagree—and he did, and not infrequently—he did so with some apparent sadness and a complete lack of animosity or acerbity. This part of the essay was resplendent with British upper-class formality, good taste, good humour and positive intentions. Indeed, Jeffrey John was given the benefit of the doubt whenever possible; at times Tom even seems to bend over backwards to be warm and receptive. And though there appeared to be little or no common theological ground found with Jeffrey John in relation to the issues surrounding penal substitution and related matters, it did not seem to matter. Tom made his case and made it well.

Personal Jesus

[National Review] 26 Apr 2007--What’s a religion good for, anyway?

That is the question retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong never gets around to asking, let alone answering, in his new book, Jesus for the Non-Religious. His title suggests an answer, and he has tried to lob his book like a hand grenade into the institutions of Christendom. The idea is to explode two millennia of traditional belief on which these institutions rest, thereby making room for a new Christianity based on a conception of Jesus that is palatable to “a twenty-first century person.” What actually crawls out of the rubble is a Jesus for John Shelby Spong.

Why Are Muslims Attracted to Christianity?

[The Continuum] 26 Apr 2007--Some thoughts from my friend and regular reader, Abu Daoud. You can find more of his writing on his blog.

I don't know if this can be verified, but I heard that more Muslims have converted to way of Jesus Christ in the past ten years than in all the other years since the advent of Islam in the 7th Century. I'm not sure it's an accurate figure, but I will say that something is certainly happening among Muslims and that there is an openness in their society that was not there before. I also want to point out that large numbers of nominal Christians, especially in Europe, are converting to Islam -- a main reason being so they can marry Muslim women. Who has more converts? I have no idea. I will say that Muslims converting to Christianity often pay a heavy price in terms of persecution, and that Westerners converting to Islam are afforded generous protection by their governments.

But here is the question: why are Muslims attracted to the way of Jesus Christ? Here are some of the main reasons....

Lay Pastor at St. George's, Baghdad Kidnapped

[The Living Church] 26 Apr 2007--The lay pastor of St George’s Memorial Church, the Anglican parish in Baghdad has been kidnapped. If the church does not pay the kidnappers $40,000 within 24 hours they have threatened to kill him.

The Rev. Canon Andrew White, vicar of St. George’s, informed supporters of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East in an email message sent April 25.

Through negotiations, the parish was able to lower the initial ransom demand. While objecting in principle to ransom payments, Canon White noted “if do not pay them quickly, people are killed. We have already lost too many of our leaders.”

Lambeth Conference Plans move forward

[Anglican Communion News Service] 26 Apr 2007--Decision-makers met last week to continue their planning for progress plans for the Lambeth Conference 2008.

The conference ‘Design Group’, appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spent five days from April 16 to 20 working on looking the conference structures, purposes, issues and programme.

This international group is chaired by the Archbishop of Melanesia, Sir Ellison Pogo.

Enemy of liberal Anglicans was fatally poisoned

[EV News] 26 Apr 2007--A British missionary was fatally poisoned after helping to prevent a London vicar from becoming a bishop in Central Africa, The Times has learnt.

Relatives of Canon Rodney Hunter, 73, believe that his food was contaminated by supporters of the Rev Nicholas Henderson in a battle between the liberal and conservative wings of the Anglican Church.

In November Canon Hunter was found dead at his home in Nkhotakota, Malawi, with a strange black substance around his mouth. The day before his death he had complained of severe stomach pains, and postmortem examination has now shown that he was killed by three poisons.
Malawi police have charged his cook with murder and are investigating rumours that the poisoning was organised by supporters of Mr Henderson, who had no knowledge of the alleged plot.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Episcopal Leader Holds Firm On Gay Rights

[The Boston Globe] 25 Apr 2007--Saying "I don't believe that there is any will in this church to move backward," the top official of the Episcopal Church USA said yesterday that the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire has been "a great blessing" despite triggering intense controversy and talk of possible schism.

Diocese of Louisiana Congregation to Form New Anglican Church

[Stand Firm] 25 Apr 2007--I am told today that a group from St. Margaret's has decided to form a new "Anglican" Congregation in Baton Rouge. They are self-styled as All Saint's "Anglican" Church of Baton Rouge. Even before we learned of this development, Canon Stevenson had scheduled a congregational meeting with St. Margaret's for this Sunday. I will be there soon for a visitation. Please keep this congregation in your prayers.

Is it Time to do the Bold Thing?

[Stand Firm] 25 Apr 2007--I keep hearing from several quarters that we in TEC have waited long enough. The primates haven't done enough to protect the orthodox, and it is now time to force their hand, in essence, to do the bold thing, make them deal with a diocese that breaks away from TEC. I want to offer an alternate view, and I invite comments.

This is the scenario as I see it. Let's say that a diocese or several declare their disassociation from TEC and seek recognition (adoption?) from a primate or a collection of primates similar to the Diocese of Recife. In my view this would be a terrible mistake—not for theological reasons (although I have some problems with it theologically, but there are so many different theological opinions, for me to argue theologically would be a waste of breath) but for strategic reasons. Here's why.

The primates have put together a plan for the oversight of orthodox dioceses and congregations in TEC. Some will say, 'Yeah, and it is dead on arrival.'

Covenant Task Force Invites Response

[The Living Church] 25 Apr 2007--An Executive Council task force has prepared a study guide to assist Episcopalians interested in commenting on the proposed Anglican covenant. Comments must be sent to Council headquarters at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City no later than June 4.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Anglican Bishops Meet Amid Schism

[Beliefnet] 24 Apr 2007--When the head of the worldwide Anglican church meets with Episcopal bishops from across the country in New Orleans this fall, it will briefly position the Crescent City at the center of the Anglican universe, but for an unlikely reason.

The archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, announced the meeting during a visit with Canadian bishops in Toronto this week. He will be accompanied on his visit by key archbishops, or "primates," from conservative overseas Anglican churches, where pressure has been steadily building to eject American Episcopalians from the global confederation of churches.

The Death of PowerPoint

[] 24 Apr 2007--A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald signaling the ‘death’ of PowerPoint has generated a lot of buzz amongst ministers.
I suspect some of this is being driven by a natural resistance to the use of new technology in churches. There is a bit of a ‘told you so’ attitude amongst those who feel use of new media technology is just an expensive fad.

But how does this latest research gel with what educators have been telling Bible teachers in recent years: that people have different learning styles and that the oral sermon is a teaching format that doesn’t hit the mark with all people? Is there still a need for visual aids or worksheets to supplement the sermon?

At this point I thought it important to track down the research that prompted the Sydney Morning Herald article. After reading the research paper, I was also able to ask some clarifying questions of Professor John Sweller who led the research team. Together we’ve drawn some helpful conclusions for the technologically literate preacher.

First ACN Good News Training Conference with Rev. Dr. Michael Green May 17-20 in El Paso

[Anglican Communion Network] 24 Apr 2007--The first ACN Good News evangelism training conference, called “Sharing Your Faith,” is being hosted by the Southwest Deanery of the Network Diocese of Rio Grande at St. Clement Pro Cathedral in El Paso, Texas, May 17–20. The conference is free and open to all. The Good News Initiative of the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) is sponsoring a number of evangelistic training events for lay and clergy over the course of the next 12 months across the United States.

The Rev. Cn. Dr. Michael Green, evangelist and author of more than 50 books on evangelism and discipleship, will be the main speaker at the El Paso event which begins with an Ascension Day evening service on May 17. Green will be joined by the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman of the Diocese of Quincy who will preside, present and preach as well throughout the four day event. Other members of the ACN’s Good News core team who will lead training workshops are Carrie Boren, Missioner of Evangelism for the Diocese of Dallas, Jenny Noyes, ACN Good News Initiative and Communications Coordinator, and Rosemary Green, Dr. Green’s wife and partner in ministry for almost 50 years.

Tom Wright, Conservatives and the Cross: a triumph of politics over theology

[The Ugley Vicar] 24 Apr 2007--Over on the Fulcrum ‘Open Evangelical’ website the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Tom Wright, has had published a critique of three current approaches to the cross: those of Robert Jenson, Jeffrey John and the authors of Pierced for our Transgressions, a new work from some leading English Conservative Evangelicals.

Wright’s comments on Jenson are very brief, reflecting the provisional nature of Jenson’s own contribution to current debate. By contrast, he presents a very substantial critique (indeed, demolition) of Jeffery John’s position articulated in a recent broadcast on Radio 4.

However, his remarks about Pierced for our Transgressions (PFOT) give, I believe, considerable cause for concern.

To read this article, you will need to scroll down to "Response to Tom Wright on the Cross".

Gay marriage evil, abortion terrorism: Vatican

[Yahoo News] 24 Apr 2007--The Vatican's second-highest ranking doctrinal official on Monday forcefully branded homosexual marriage an evil and denounced abortion and euthanasia as forms of "terrorism with a human face."

Arguing About 'Polity' Avoids the Real Issue

[The Living Church] 24 Apr 2007--I cannot claim to not have racist thoughts and instincts deep within me that surface without bidding. I am an American who has spent much of his adult life in Mississippi, a product of the 20th century, and to claim to be free of the stain of racism would be as ridiculous and as proud as to claim to be free from sin. I can claim, however, to be aware of racism, and to attempt to combat it in my own life and in the community around me. Given this awareness, every now and then I will be struck by the fact that real, measurable change has occurred in little pockets of our society.

The other day at a community health center I was in the locker room at a time when most of the other men in there were young African Americans. Without thinking, we acknowledged each other with the slight nod common to chance encounters in Mississippi. “Hey, how’s it goin’?” “All right now.” It struck me that no one now gives much thought to the fact that we are sharing a public facility, whereas 50 years ago the police would have been called if young African Americans were using a “white” (public) facility like the locker room. Racism remains real, and people in our society still separate themselves and treat each other differently on the basis of race, and yet open, state-sponsored discrimination is a thing of the past.

What was the agent of this change? I would like to think it resulted from a growing enlightenment and sense of justice, even a deepening in Christian love, but in reality a lot of it came about because a power outside of Mississippi (or any other state that supported segregation) took concrete steps to make it happen, using superior power. When that “foreign” power (the federal government) started to say, “You must change,” the first result was resistance. The first argument was “states’ rights,” that sovereign states have the right to determine their own governance for their own inhabitants. In other words, the first argument was that the federal government violated the polity of the states in imposing anti-discrimination laws.

Today we hear an interesting echo of this argument. The primates of the Anglican Communion tell The Episcopal Church that our House of Bishops must commit itself to an unequivocal undertaking on an issue of church doctrine and discipline. The most common first reaction one hears is that this does not recognize the polity of The Episcopal Church (TEC); that the House of Bishops cannot bind TEC absent the consent of the House of Deputies, given in General Convention. Leaving aside the finer points of canon law, this argument, like the states’ rights argument against federal legislation, is one that exalts procedure over substance, and thus attempts to avoid the underlying issue.

Another Divisive Unity Report

[EV News] 24 Apr 2007--The recent report, Growing Together, is evidence that over thirty years of talks about Church reunion have been ineffective and misdirected. The process, known as ARCIC, failed because it had as its main goal institutional unity rather than unity in truth and faith.

Now a new approach is being tried, represented by IARCCUM, which focuses on joint activity and mission. However this cannot escape the fundamental divisions which still exist.

At the reformation, after centuries of conflict, the Church of England freed itself from the yoke and authority of the Roman Church and in particular the Pope. This facilitated the reformation of teaching and practice in the Church.

Growing Together shows that the fixation with the authority of the Bishop of Rome continues. This betrays the heart of the problem; that the errors of the Roman Catholic Church have been propped up by the false claims of the Papacy. Indeed, since the Reformation various Popes have deepened division by claiming that blatant errors were infallible truths. The papacy has thus been one of the chief causes of division in Christ’s Church.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Election candidates for primate describe reactions to news of nomination

[Episcopal Life Online] 23 Apr 2007--"Overwhelmed" was a word that cropped up several times when the four candidates for primate were asked how they felt at the prospect they might be called in June to lead the Anglican Church of Canada. Due to a new nomination process, each bishop had agreed several months before to allow a nominator to put forward his or her name, so they had had time to consider the situation.

Dissatisfaction, yearning make churchgoers switch

[USA Today] 23 Apr 2007--The faithful are restless, a new study of Protestant churchgoers suggests.

They're switching from church to church, powered by a mix of dissatisfaction and yearning, according to the study by LifeWay Research. The organization is part of the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Ihloff retiring as bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Md.

[] 23 Apr 2007--The retiring bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland says he's pleased to have avoided many of the controversies that have roiled the Episcopal Church during his tenure.

The Rt. Rev. Robert Wilkes Ihloff will step down this month. After four decades in the ministry - the last dozen as bishop - he celebrated his final service as bishop on Easter Sunday at the Cathedral of the Incantation in Baltimore.

Ihloff, 65, is proud to have worked through many of the hot-button issues that have beset the church elsewhere, from female clergy to the place of gays and lesbians.

"It makes my retirement much easier in that I am very proud of this diocese in the way it functions and is administered," Ihloff said.

"Lord" is fading at some churches

[Arizona Daily Star] 23 Apr 2007--God has no gender. And the Lord? There's not much Lord in this church service.

At Tucson's largest Episcopal church, St. Philip's in the Hills, the creators of an alternative worship service called Come & See are bucking tradition by rewriting what have become prescribed ways of worship.

For the faithful, that means God isn't referred to as "him," and references to "the Lord" are rare.

"Lord" has become a loaded word conveying hierarchical power over things, "which in what we have recorded in our sacred texts, is not who Jesus understood himself to be," St. Philip's associate rector Susan Anderson-Smith said.

"The way our service reads, the theology is that God is love, period," St. Philip's deacon Thomas Lindell added. "Our service has done everything it can to get rid of power imagery. We do not pray as though we expect the big guy in the sky to come and fix everything."

St. Philip's isn't the only local church to re-examine its language. Other local religious leaders already are eschewing the use of "Lord" for similar reasons.

The coming trend in the Episcopal Church?

Nigeria's Anglican Church Renews Evangelism Focus

[Christianity Today UK] 23 Apr 2007--The Anglican Church in Nigeria has renewed its focus on evangelism with the recent consecration of six new bishops at The Good Shephard Cathedral Enugu.

Pope abolishes limbo,23599,21595208-38200,00.html?from=public_rss

[] 23 Apr 2007--The Vatican has determined that limbo does not exist, opening the gates of heaven to babies who die unbaptised, a member of a high-level theological commission.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

S.C. diocese plans to defy bishop, hold a second vote!living&s=1037645509005

[Winston-Salem Journal] 20 Apr 2007--The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina will again attempt to elect the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as its new bishop. His election was invalidated last month by the head of the national church.

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took the unusual step of invalidating the election in a diocese that has rejected her authority because of her liberal theology.

The diocesan standing committee agreed Tuesday to hold an annual meeting in June and make plans for a special meeting to again elect Lawrence, said the Rev. J. Haden McCormick, head of the committee.

Bishops prepare pastoral care plan for General Synod

[Anglican Journal] 20 Aprm 2007--Conservative bishops, while agreeing that pastoral care is needed, objected to some aspects of the document. “Our clergy will say this is one more step leading to recognition of homosexual marriage,” said Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk of the diocese of the Arctic. Bishop William Anderson of Caledonia said it “reaches out to gays and lesbians” but would be seen as a “slap in the face to orthodox Anglicans.”

Archbishop to visit US in September with other Primates

[Anglican Mainstream] 20 Apr 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury has accepted the invitation of the American House of Bishops to meet with them prior to the September 30 deadline set by the Primates for compliance with the Dar es Salaam communique. A date for the trip, which was announced during an April 16 press conference at the Anglican Church of Canada’s headquarters in Toronto, was not given.

However, the Rev Jonathan Jennings, the Archbishop’s press spokesman, told The Church of England Newspaper that Dr “Williams intended to travel to the US sometime in September, after his return from a three-month vacation and sabbatical. Joining Dr Williams on the all-expenses-paid trip to the US would be “some of the joint standing committee members” of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates, he noted. Details for the visit have yet to be worked out, the press spokesman noted, as the primates’ schedules have yet to be coordinated.

Justice badly done by

[Times Online] 20 Apr 2007--Embracing principles of justice and equality as many of have been in the debate over homosexuality in the Anglican Church, it might be time that some of us white Westerners asked ourselves whether we have inadvertently allowed ourselves to become perpetrators of another equally wicked calumny. We must stop and question whether, in condemning so stridently the seemingly homophobic stance adopted by the churches of the Global South, we have not allowed ourselves to veer just a teeny little bit towards racism. What a disgrace that would be, were we so to have done so, on this bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

Anglican group to ordain priests

[The Washington Times] 20 Apr 2007--The fledgling Anglican District of Virginia, a group of 11 local churches that have broken with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia over theological issues, will ordain its first three priests and a deacon today in Falls Church.

Seventh Church this Year Splits in Diocese of Dallas

[The Living Church] 20 Apr 2007--The Rev. Canon Victoria Heard, canon missioner for church planting for the Diocese of Dallas, has been named priest-in-charge of Church of the Resurrection in Dallas after a majority of the congregation voted to follow the former rector and form a new congregation affiliated with the Anglican Mission in America. The majority of the congregation, which currently has an average Sunday attendance of about 160, will vacate the building by May 31.

Related articles:
Another Episcopal church bolts - Dallas News Religion
Bishop Stanton Writes his Clergy about Church of the Resurrection - Stand Firm
E. Dallas church breaks with Episcopal Diocese - The Dallas Morning News

Connecticut Bishop to Permit Ordination at Estranged Parish

[The Living Church] 20 Apr 2007--The Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, Bishop of Connecticut, has given permission for the Rev. Bill Hesse to be ordained to the priesthood by the Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh, on May 12 at Bishop Seabury Church in Groton.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Note from Dr. Gagnon

[Stand Firm] 19 Apr 2007--While Williams stated that his reading of Romans 1-2 “does nothing to settle the exegetical questions fiercely debated at the moment,” the context makes evident that he means by this only the question of whether Paul’s condemnation of same-sex relations in 1:24-27 would take in non-exploitative, loving homosexual bonds entered into by persons homosexually oriented. His remark cannot mean that he has nothing to say about the main question raised by the passage in its context, that is, its “movement” and “direction” of the text as it leads to Romans 2, because Williams’ precise point in these four paragraph is to explain what this movement or direction is and how such a movement or direction constrains the church’s application of Rom 1:24-27. Williams’ point is that Paul’s “primary point [is] not about homosexuality but about the delusions of the supposedly law-abiding” who are “happily identifying with Paul’s castigation of someone else” and oblivious to the fact of “universal sinfulness and need,” including his own. Therefore, Williams suggests, even if homosexual practice were absolutely rejected by Paul in a way that would include even committed homosexual unions—a point that Williams begs off debating here—that would still be secondary to Paul’s use of his remarks in Rom 1:24-27, namely, that one ought not to be judging those who engage in such behavior since we are all sinners. It is precisely that “contextual use” of the passage that I contest in my article. Therefore, I have not missed the point that Williams has made in his article but rather have targeted it. My own point is that, contrary to what Williams claims, the context for Rom 1:24-27 does not suggest to the Roman Christians (or to us) that we should stop judging sexual immorality in the midst of the community of faith. This precisely addresses the context issue that Williams raises....

Pluralism Sunday 2007

[Stand Firm] 19 Apr 2007--Can't make this stuff up. From this morning's "Walking with Integrity" email list....

I am looking forward to Paganism Sunday. We can all go down to the local Episcopal parish and dance sky-clad on the lawn.

A matter of faith

[Episcopal Life Online] 189 Apr 2007--The presiding bishop and president of the House of Deputies (HoD) each has given her initial response to the recent primates' meeting. The president of the HoD's response pleases me more.

Inconsistancies in this article are noted on the Stand Firm web site:

Anglican Head Claims Conservatives Misread Scripture on Homosexuality

[Christianity Today UK] 19 Apr 2007--Dr William's comments, however, do not favour either side. He stressed the text is "not helpful" for the liberal case either since Paul's point is that everyone "in his imagined readership" agrees in thinking same-sex relations are "obviously as immoral as idol-worship".

Schism over gay ordination, same-sex unions a real threat, says Anglican head

[Catholic Rigester] 19 Apr 2007-- The archbishop of Canterbury will meet with the American Episcopalian House of Bishops in September in an effort to prevent a schism between Anglicans in the rich, first world and the Anglican majority in the global south.

In February, 38 Anglican primates meeting in Tanzania gave the American branch of Anglicanism, the Episcopal Church of the United States, until Sept. 30 to agree not to ordain as bishops openly gay men and to cease authorizing blessings for same-sex unions.

The American bishops are scheduled to meet in September, prior to the deadline, and spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, England, will meet with the U.S. bishops some time during those meetings.

Archbishop Williams told reporters at an April 16 press conference in Toronto that schism in the world’s third largest church of 77 million Christians is a very real possibility, but that he didn’t have the power to impose a solution.

Archbishop of Canterbury addresses crisis in Canada visit

[Candaian Christianity] 19 Apr 2007--Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican communion, made his first visit to Canada this week.

He accepted an honorary degree from Wycliffe and Trinity Colleges, and he led a one-day retreat for the House of Bishops, the leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

But most of the attention his visit received was focused on the disagreement within the Church over the issue of homosexuality and the blessing of same-sex unions, which, Williams told an April 16 news conference, "has been getting much more deep and bitter and [is] threatening to divide us."

Anglican leaders set to converge on N.O.

[New Orleans Times Picayune] 19 Apr 2007--The head of the worldwide Anglican church will meet with Episcopal bishops from across the country in New Orleans this fall, in an effort to keep the 77 million-member Anglican Communion from breaking apart over opposing views of homosexuality.

The archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, announced the meeting during a visit with Canadian bishops in Toronto this week. He will be accompanied on his visit by key archbishops, or "primates," from conservative overseas Anglican churches, where pressure has been steadily building to eject American Episcopalians from the global confederation of churches.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Anglican church head will try to mend Episcopal rift

[USA Today] 19 Apr 2007--Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the 77-million-member Anglican Communion, announced Monday he'll visit with U.S. Episcopal bishops this fall in what may be a last ditch effort to patch fractures over views of the Bible and the roles of homosexual clergy.

At a press conference at the Anglican Church of Canada, Williams said he and other Communion leaders would meet with the U.S. bishops Sept. 20-25 in New Orleans, "to try and keep people around the table for as long as possible on this, to understand one another."

"We may come to a point where people feel there are irreconcilable differences," said Williams. "But when there is an overlap between human rights and what the church can endorse, it does no good to isolate ideas... If the Anglican church divides, everyone will lose."

I do not see how Rowan Williams really thinks that he can "patch fractures over views of the Bible and the roles of homosexual clergy" when he has been busy this week contributing to those divisions.

South Carolina Standing Committee announces plan to re-elect Lawrence

[Episcopal News Service] 19 Apr 2007--The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina decided April 17 to begin a process it hopes will lead to the re-election of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as its next bishop.

Lawrence, 56, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Parish, in Bakersfield, California, in the Diocese of San Joaquin, was elected on the first ballot September 16.

On March 15, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori declared Lawrence's election "null and void" due to problems with the form in which consents were submitted from several dioceses.

Anglican bishop to make case for leaving Episcopal Church,1299,DRMN_15_5491562,00.html

[Rocky Mountain News] 19 Apr 2007--An Anglican bishop will make the case tonight to members of an embattled Colorado Springs parish about why they should secede from the Episcopal Church.

"We’re trying to find a way to remain faithful Anglicans during this time of turbulence," said Bishop Martyn Minns on Wednesday, hours before he was scheduled to address parishioners of the Rev. Don Armstrong’s Grace and St. Stephen’s Church.

Turbulence comes on two fronts: The Colorado Episcopal Diocese is threatening Armstrong with civil and criminal lawsuits involving allegations he misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in church money. Armstrong says the diocese is persecuting him for his conservative views.

Related article:
Grace's state of confusion - Colorado Springs Independent,1299,DRMN_15_5492780,00.html
Episcopal parish in Springs invited to join breakaway group - Rocky Mountain News

Here We Go Again

[Lionel Deimerl's Web Log] 19 Apr 2007--The South Carolina Standing Committee is convinced that “the Holy Spirit spoke” in its episcopal election. Perhaps its members should consider that it is equally likely that the Holy Spirit spoke in the rejection of Mark Lawrence by diocesan standing committees.

"Liberals" love to claim that the Holy Spirit is on their side. But as the Thirty-Nine Articles remind us, diocesean standing committees "forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God, they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God " (Article XXI).

Executive Council: Draft Covenant Study Guide

[Stand Firm] 19 Apr 2007--A link to a PDF file of this study guide is posted on the Stand Firm web site.

Rowan Williams’ Wrong Reading of Romans'WrongReading.htm

[] 19 Apr 2007--Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and titular head of the Anglican Communion, has been quoted by Reuters as saying that Paul’s “primary point” in mentioning homosexual acts in Romans was to warn Christians against the smug self-righteousness of condemning the acts of others (“Anglican head Williams says anti-gays misread Bible,” Apr. 17, 2007: So Christians apparently should not judge those who engage in homosexual acts, even though it is true that Paul regarded homosexual practice “as obviously immoral.” If Reuters has accurately reported Williams’ remarks to theology students in Toronto (always a big “if”), then Williams has seriously misread Romans. I say this with all due respect to the archbishop, who is a bright man and an able theologian (although not a biblical scholar).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Raped 'for reading Holy Bible',10117,21567726-2,00.html?from=public_rss

[] 18 Apr 2007--An Iraqi Muslim man allegedly raped a Muslim woman as "punishment" for her reading the Bible.

Campbelltown District Court in Sydney's west yesterday heard Abdul Reda Al Shawany twice sexually assaulted the woman, a practising Muslim, and then said to her: "Let your Jesus help you."

Reginald Fuller, 92; biblical scholar,1,2594209.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

[Los Angelos Times] 18 Apr 2007--Reginald H. Fuller, a British-born New Testament scholar and author who wrote several books about the historical Jesus and the early Christian church's growing understanding of the meaning of his life, has died. He was 92.

Fuller, an Anglican priest, died April 4 at Westminster-Canterbury retirement community in Richmond, Va., where he had been a resident.

The cause was complications after surgery for a broken hip, according to a statement on the website of the Virginia Theological Seminary, where Fuller was an emeritus professor.

Williams bemoans loss of listening to Scripture

[Episcopal Life Online] 18 Apr 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has lamented what he called the lack of "rootedness" in the Anglican approach to Scripture and said "we've lost quite a bit of what was once a rather good Anglican practice of reading the Bible in the tradition of interpretation."

He added: "We read the Bible less in worship. We understand and know it less ... [we're] either underrating it or misrating it, making it carry more than it's meant to, as Richard Hooker says ... We don't have a very clear sense that we're reading the Bible in company with its readers from the centuries and indeed, at the present moment."

Williams made the observation in response to a comment about a seeming lack of theological tradition among Anglicans, following a Larkin-Stuart lecture delivered April 16 before an audience of mostly theology students from Wycliffe and Trinity Colleges in Toronto.

Anti-gays misread Bible: Anglican head

[Sydney Morning Herald] 18 Apr 2007--The spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans says conservative Christians who cite the Bible to condemn homosexuality are misreading a key passage written by Saint Paul almost 2,000 years ago.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, addressing theology students in Toronto, said an oft-quoted passage in Paul's Epistle to the Romans meant to warn Christians not to be self-righteous when they see others fall into sin.

His comments were an unusually open rebuff to conservative bishops, many of them from Africa, who have been citing the Bible to demand that pro-gay Anglican majorities in the United States and Canada be reined in or forced out of the Communion.

Scripture reference please. Let us judge for ourselves who is misreading this passage. It must also be noted that the orthodox Anglican understanding of what the Scriptures teach on human sexuality does not hinge on one passage.

Gay rights debate threatens worldwide Anglican conference

[ABC News] 18 Apr 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury has threatened to cancel an important once-a-decade conference of Anglican bishops because he fears it will breakdown during debate over gay rights.

Dr Rowan Williams spoke to the Anglican Seminary in Toronto, where he made a number of surprising statements.

Anglican head says Bible's "gay" message misinterpreted

[Pink News] 18 Apr 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury has accused anti-gay conservative Christians of misinterpreting a key biblical passage written by Saint Paul almost 2,000 years ago.

Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, is on a visit to Canada.

Speaking to theology students in Toronto, he said that the Biblical passage most commonly used to condemn homosexuality, an extract from Saint Paul's Epistle to the Romans, was in fact meant to warn Christians not to be self-righteous in the face of others' sin.

"Many current ways of reading miss the actual direction of the passage," Williams said on Monday, according to Reuters.

"Paul is making a primary point not about homosexuality but about the delusions of the supposedly law-abiding," he added.

His comments constituted a direct attack on conservative bishops who have been using the Bible to try to force pro-gay Anglican communities, particularly in the United States and Canada, out of the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop will not cancel Lambeth Conference

[Anglican Journal] 18 Apr 2007--Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams considered cancelling the 2008 Lambeth Conference of the world’s Anglican bishops due to the sexuality debates roiling the church, but decided against it.

“Yes, we’ve already been considering that and the answer is no. We’ve been looking at whether the timing is right, but if we wait for the ideal time, we will wait more than just 18 months,” he told the Anglican Journal in an exclusive interview.

Archbishop Williams spoke during a break on April 17 at a day-long retreat for the Anglican Church of Canada’s bishops at the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre here. On April 18, the bishops move into a business session and on April 19, they will vote in a closed session to choose candidates for the next primate, or national archbishop, of the Canadian church. The primate, who will succeed the retiring Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, will be elected at the church’s General Synod convention in June.

The Future of Anglicanism

[] 18 Apr 2007--Rowan Williams in his latest work “Anglican Identities” ends his introduction like this “Its future is of course unknown and I have already foresworn any aim to provide a fresh rallying point for Anglican Identity in these papers. But perhaps there is one thing worth drawing out. The writers discussed here in their different ways are apologists for a theologically informed and spiritually sustained patience. They do not expect human words to solve their problems rapidly, they do not expect the Bible to yield up its treasures overnight, they do not look for the triumphant march of an ecclesiastical institution. They know that as Christians they live among immensities of meaning, live in the wake of a divine action which defies summary explanation. They take it for granted that the believer is learning, moving in and out of speech and silence is a continuous wonder and a continuous turning inside out of mind and feeling. This in an age dramatically impatient and intolerant of many sorts of learning; and the modern Church is not exempt".

The above reflects a continuing and dominant theme in William’s writings and shapes his leadership and response to the current crisis in the communion. He speaks earlier of “passionate patience”. Patience is presented as the pre-eminently “Anglican” way of holding and exploring Christian truth. Patience becomes the category in which truth must operate. For someone shaped by the way biblical narrative and teaching approaches truth and patience this is a confusion of categories.

Apprehended by Christ the truth, led into truth by his Spirit affirmed in the truth by the testimony of fellow believers in the communion both past and present, I do not end up with epistemic silence, confusion or pride. It is a degree of epistemic confidence that is the foundation of any virtue of patience I must cultivate. Patience founded on epistemic silence or vagueness is not what scripture teaches, nor is it the teaching of the Anglican divines like Hooker, Westcott and Ramsey who are co-opted for his view of patience as the governing virtue for contemporary Christians. Patience is related to judgement and God’s promises in the Bible and not as the essential companion to truth.

I have explored the above briefly to show the nature of the task ahead of us, as we challenge the reigning theological methodologies in liberal Anglicanism and construct an orthodox / biblical theology which deals effectively with the assumptions and criticisms of liberal theology.

Below I will identify the key areas of concern as I see them....

South Carolina Prepares to Re-elect the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as Bishop

[The Living CHurch] 18 Apr 2007--Following a specially called meeting in Charleston, S.C., on April 17, the standing committee announced plans to begin the process of re-electing the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina.

Fr. Lawrence’s election on the first ballot last September was nullified last month by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori because the diocese did not receive a sufficient number of properly verified consents from a majority of diocesan standing committees within the time frame specified by the canons.

“We are fully persuaded that the Holy Spirit spoke in that election and we were reassured that a majority of both bishops and standing committees intended to consent to this election,” the committee stated. “We are determined to carry forward our diocesan mission within the context of the canons which give order to our common life. Accordingly, at our meeting today, we unanimously passed a resolution reconvening the 216th annual meeting of the Diocese of South Carolina, which was recessed.”

Related article:
S.C. diocese to make another attempt to elect bishop - The State

New York Court Limits National Church Participation in Property Case

[The Living Church] 18 Apr 2007--A New York state court has rejected a motion filed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church (DFMS) to join the lawsuit filed by the Diocese of Central New York against St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Syracuse.

The New York court’s April 10 ruling limits the national church’s right of action in cases involving the Dennis canon. It granted the DFMS the right to observe but not materially participate in the prosecution of the case.

San Joaquin Standing Committee Seeks Clues to Diocese’s Fate

[The Living Church] 18 Apr 2007--The standing committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin has asked its bishop, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, to help restart the nomination process leading to a primatial vicar.

In their communiqué from their meeting in Tanzania, the primates of the Anglican Communion proposed a pastoral scheme for dioceses and parishes that request alternate oversight. San Joaquin is one of seven dioceses which have requested alternate primatial oversight. The standing committee letter, dated April 10, encouraged Bishop Schofield to consult with other Episcopal bishops who are committed to the Windsor Report and to remaining in full communion with the See of Canterbury.

Progress toward implementation of a primatial vicar seemingly stopped last month after the House of Bishops declined to endorse the creation of a pastoral council which the primates envisioned overseeing the work of the primatial vicar.

Canadian interview with Rowan Williams

[EV News] 18 Apr 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken to the press in Canada about problems in the Anglican Communion.

A full record can be found on the Canadian website Anglican Planet.In the interview Dr Williams attempts to tread a fairly careful line in not wanting to support nor separate from the revisionists. He was asked some probing questions which again confirm his own position.

Q: How do you account for your evolution away from being inclusive of gay and lesbian people to now being actively opposed to their full inclusion in the Church?

A: Well that’s quite a pointed question, isn’t it? It’s partly an evolution of different kinds of responsibility in the Church. As a theologian and as a teacher for many years naturally I had the liberty to raise certain questions and to express personal opinions on the matter. As a bishop I have to keep people around the table in discussion on this. I’ve tried to say throughout that I’m strongly and consistently opposed to anything that suggests that gay and lesbian Christians are less than human, less than fully baptized, good faith members in the Church. The question is what are the forms of behaviour that the Church has the freedom and authority to bless? And for the Anglican Church that is not a question that can be settled by fiat means. What’s for the health of the Church? Can we maintain unity on this? Can we move ahead together in this rather than having different people finding different solutions?

Deep down as an individual he agrees with the ultimate aim being pursued by the revisionists. However, as Archbishop he has attempted to put forward not his own views but those of the Church. Therefore, for example, he does not argue that blessing homosexual relationships is wrong but rather that the revisionists are wrong to have gone ahead without agreement because there are strongly held views to the contrary. Whilst in some ways his position is laudable - subjecting his own views to the necessity of the post - it seems fairly clear that his appointment gave the green light to the revisionists because they knew he would find it difficult to oppose them in the way his predecessor had done.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Anglicans split on same-sex marriage issue

[Guelph Mercury] 17 Apr 2007--Guelph Anglicans are largely supportive of same-sex marriage, according to local church official David Howells. But when Anglican bishops of Canada meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury today in Niagara Falls, says Howells, the spiritual leader will find the flock divided on the issue.

The dispute could lead to a serious split in the church, driving some parishioners to seek other worship options, said Howells, rector of St. David and St. Patrick Anglican Church.

The conflict, he added, is a reflection of a much deeper question over whether the Anglican Church will remain flexible in its interpretation of the Bible, or adhere to a more literal reading of the holy book.

Teaching: National reconciliation seminar set for Los Angeles May 23-25

[Episcopal Life Online] 17 Apr 2007--Themed "Finding the Third Way: A National Training Event in Reconciliation," the conference will use the present conflicts in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as raw material, and introduce to the eight core principles of faith-based reconciliation: Pluralism; Forgiveness; Inclusion; Healing; Peacemaking; God's Sovereignty; Social justice; and Finding Peace with God.

"Reconciliation," or at least the "liberal" understanding of that concept, is at the center of the Episcopal Church's new evangelism and outreach strategy. Local Episcopal churches are invited to become "centers of reconciliation" in their communities.

Anglican Group Severs Ties with Breakway Megachurch, Embattled Leader,_Embattled_Leader.htm

[The Christian Post] 17 Apr 2007--An Anglican think tank severed ties with a breakaway Colorado megachurch and its rector, according to a statement on Saturday.

"In consequence of the legal and ecclesiastical struggles Grace Church and Fr. Armstrong are now engaged with, we judge it proper to dissolve our relationship with the Web site and all activities of Grace Church ... so that the charges of the Presentment and other matters of public trust and ecclesiastical jurisdiction might be resolved without interference,” stated the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI), an international theological think tank, according to Colorado Springs' The Gazette.

The institute had largely been funded by Grace Church & St. Stephen’s - a parish of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary diocese of the Church of Nigeria. The leaders of Grace Church & St. Stephen’s Parish had voted in March to leave the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado and the national body and join CANA in dissension over the liberal theological direction of the Episcopal Church.

"They just walked away from 85 percent of their funding," Alan Crippen, spokesman for Grace, told The Gazette. "I don't know what ACI is without that."

Crippen thinks the main issue is the institute has not been pleased with Grace Church's departure to CANA.

Anglican head to attend 'pink summit' in U.S. ahead of controversial vote

[] 17 Apr 2007--Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, will meet with bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church later this year in a last ditch effort to avert complete schism over homosexuality, an issue that's "tearing us apart."

"These are complicated days for our church, and it's all the more important internationally to keep up relationships," Williams told a news conference during a day-long visit to Toronto on Monday.

"The loss of union is not just the loss of some institutional fiction. It's a wound in an organism."

Archbishop of Canterbury to meet with U.S. church to discuss gay priests, marriage

[CANOE] 17 Apr 2007--An impassioned ideological difference within the Anglican Church over the role of gays and lesbians threatens to create a schism among the faithful, the church's worldwide spiritual leader said Monday in announcing plans to meet with its embattled U.S. wing.

Same-sex conflict tearing church apart, leader says

[GlobeandMail] 17 Apr 2007--He also told Anglican divinity students at the University of Toronto in a closed meeting that he found unacceptable a draft covenant presented to the senior archbishops, or primates, that would allow the communion to boot out member churches deemed to have stepped out of line doctrinally on issues such as sexuality. Such a move would be a first in Anglicanism's 400-year-old history.

But he rejected a suggestion made earlier by the Canadian primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, that he defer next year's world gathering of Anglican bishops -- the decennial Lambeth Conference -- at which differences will be underscored between the liberal wings of Anglicanism and the more conservative churches in the Southern Hemisphere.

Archbishop of Canterbury - church needs to listen properly to the bible

[The Anglican Church of Canada] 17 Apr 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan WIlliams, has told an audience of theological students that both intensely liberal and ultra conservative readings of the Bible are 'rootless' and are limited in what they can contribute to the life of the church. In the Larkin Stuart lecture, delivered today at an event hosted jointly by Wycliffe and Trinity theological colleges in Toronto, Dr Williams said that Christians need to reconnect with scripture as something to be listened to and heard in the context of Jesus's invitation to the Eucharist and to work for the Kingdom.

Anglicans sapped by questions of sex: Archbishop

[Globeand Mail] 17 Apr 2007-- The spiritual head of the world's 77 million Anglicans said today his church is sapped by questions of sex and may well face irreconcilable differences over acceptance of homosexuality that could lead to its break up.

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, also told a press conference in Toronto that if Canadian Anglicans vote in two months time to authorize church blessing of same-sex unions, “I don't think it takes rocket science to work out that this will cause problems.”

He urged Canadian Anglicans to ask themselves when they come to decide on the issue what is good for the health of the church locally and globally.

More on "Descent into Parody"

[The Reformed Pastor] 17 Apr 2007-- The Reformed Pastor has more questions about The Rev. Paige Blair's nomination as bishop of El Camino Real.

Twisting Scripture

[Possessing the Treasure] 17 Apr 2007--Martin Luther’s ministry as a reformer was in the early 16th Century. However, even back then people were trying to force their own man-made doctrines on the Bible. Nothing has changed. People still do this. The use of the Bible this way is always eisegetical. That is, it is reading into the text that which is not there. This does violence to the authority of scripture and it’s inerrancy. Every heresy started this way. Also, much of the rebellion against traditional churches these days is born within those who believe that established denominations are guilty of doing the same thing. This has tragic consequences. No matter how we "feel" about these things, we must not fall into the mistake of throwing out the baby with the bath water. I am not alone in contending that the Church is ripe for another Reformation. However, currently there are many counterfeit reformations taking place that are extra-Biblical in nature. In their zeal to reform, they have done away with the Authority of Scripture as our baseline....

Archbishop of Canterbury Agrees to Meet House of Bishops

[The Living CHurch] 17 Apr 2007--Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has accepted an invitation to attend a special meeting of The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops before the Sept. 30 deadline set by the primates during their meeting in Tanzania in February.

“These are complicated days for our Church internationally, and it’s all the more important to keep up personal relationships and conversations,” he said. “My aim is to try and keep people around the table for as long as possible on this, to understand one another, and to encourage local churches.”

The announcement came during a press conference April 16 at the Anglican Church of Canada’s headquarters in Toronto. No date for the visit was mentioned.

The State of the Anglican Communion

[EV New] 17 Apr 2007--In February the Primates of the Anglican Communion met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to address the crumbling of the Communion following actions in North America to promote sexual immorality. The Primates issued a Communiqué and set in place a process designed to come to fruition by 30 September.

We are grateful for the strong stand taken by some of the Primates both before and at their meeting. We recognise in the Communiqué the fruit of their continuing faithfulness to Biblical teaching.

We are also grateful that the Communiqué reiterates that sexual intercourse belongs solely within (heterosexual) marriage, that it stated plainly that the Communion has been torn by revisionists in the US, Canada and elsewhere, and that they both recognised and offered support to those who have stood against the current errors and are suffering because of it.

However, it was clear that their approach contains many risks....

Will ECUSA abandon the Anglican Communion?

[EV News] 17 Apr 2007--The American Anglican Council recently release a report collating responses within the Episcopal Church to the Anglican Primates Communiqué released in February.

The Communiqué requires of the US Episcopal Church that they desist both from pursuing the revisionist agenda of promoting homosexual practice and from persecuting, particularly through court cases, Anglicans who disagree with them.

The AAC has established a Communiqué Compliance Office (CCO) which has produced its first report. This monitors the House of Bishops, ECUSA Executive Council, individual Bishops, rites for same-sex blessings and persecution. In each case a helpful summary is provided, several quotations and links to the full text or report from which the quotations are taken.

This helpful work makes it abundantly clear that most of those in authority in the US Episcopal Church will not turn back from their plan of splitting the Anglican Church in order to promote sexual immorality.

Analysis of the Anglican Primates Communique

[Church Society] 17 Apr 2007--Church Society had called for and looked for clear action to separate the US Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion and to embrace in fellowship those Anglicans in the US who remain faithful to Biblical teaching. This did not happen, but the statements issued and course of action set out was remarkably strong and achieved despite considerable opposition.

There were threats in advance that a number of primates would not sit at table with the new primate of the US Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori. Whilst this was understandable given that she is a false teacher, the danger with such tactics is that it hands over committees to the heretics. Fortunately the Primates did not carry this threat through but rather did not sit at the Lord’s Table. There were seven Primates who did not attend the services and a further two who apparently attended but did not take communion. It appears that there were also three primates missing altogether.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Who Do You Say I Am? An Orthodox Anglican View

Commentary by Robin G. Jordan

In writing his article, Who do you say I am? (Wednesday Journal 4/10/07) Tom Holmes appears to have turned its writing over to the “liberal” Episcopal clergy that he quotes in the article and let them write the article for him. The article is one-sided and is filled with inaccuracies.

Mr. Holmes' article leads the reader to believe that Archbishop Orombi and the other primates did not sit down with the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church at the Dar es Salaam Primates' Meeting. While they threatened not to sit down with her before the meeting, they did not carry out this threat. The primary reason Archbishop Orombi and the other primates talked about refusing to sit down with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori was because their provinces had declared a state of broken or impaired communion exist between their provinces and the Episcopal Church, resulting from the Episcopal Church’s unilateral decision to break with the teaching of the Bible and the Church and to consecrate as bishop a man involved in a same sex relationship. The African provinces’ objection to the consecration had more to do with Gene Robinson’s way of life than with his sexual orientation. It fell short of the New Testament standards for bishop which these provinces, unlike the Episcopal Church, believe are binding upon the Church as much in our time as in times past. Orombi and the other primates, however, did sit down with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori at the Dar es Salaam Primates' Meeting but subsequently refused to receive Holy Communion with the Presiding Bishop because both the New Testament and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, widely used in the African provinces, teach that one must be reconciled and at peace with one’s neighbor in order to receive the sacrament. To have done so, they would not only have violated their consciences but also would have risked eating and drinking the sacrament to their own condemnation. These beliefs are a part of the Anglican tradition from which the Episcopal Church has to a large degree departed.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori herself had been involved in the confirmation and consecration of Gene Robinson, had publicly expressed support for the blessing of same sex couples, a position that also conflicts with Lambeth Resolution 1.10, the Anglican Communion’s official position on human sexuality, and had also rejected the essential Anglican and Christian doctrine of salvation in Christ alone. For those who are unfamiliar with Lambeth Resolution 1.10, it states that Anglicans understand “homosexual practice,” that is sexual activity between members of the same sex to be contrary to the teaching of the Bible. Consequently, the bishops of the Anglican Communion stated that they could not sanction the ordination of individuals involved in same sex relationships or the blessing of same sex couples. Lambeth Resolution 1.10 was adopted by the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, which has normative authority in most Anglican provinces, condemns as false teachers those who reject the doctrine of salvation in Christ alone. Indeed it is the only group of individuals that the Articles declare anathema, or accursed by God.

None of these details were mentioned in Holmes’ articles.

Paris Coffey, Shawn Schreiner, and Richard Emrich all present themselves as the “real” Anglicans and the global South primates and orthodox Episcopalians as innovators who are seeking to change the Anglican tradition. However, in actuality Mss. Coffey and Schreiner, and Mr. Emrich represent the innovators and the global South primates and orthodox Episcopalians are the genuine Anglicans. What they present is a “liberal” Episcopal interpretation of the Anglican tradition, an interpretation that they would like to see predominate in the Anglican Communion, as it does in the Episcopal Church. It would make room for theological views that orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans reject such as Presiding Bishop Jeffert-Schori’s position on salvation outside of Christ.

Schreiner claims that Anglicanism has always embraced a wide latitude of theological perspectives. She suggested that the global South primates were seeking to make the Anglican Church more confessional. However, does Schreiner’s view tally with the history of the Church? The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion were adopted by the Church of England in 1562. They are, with the Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal of 1662, recognized to this day by the canons (Canon A2 and Canon A5) of the Church of England as an official statement of its doctrine – what the Church believes. The Preamble and Declaration of the Church of Ireland of 1870 likewise recognizes the Thirty-Nine Articles in their 1634 version and the Anglican Prayer Book and Ordinal of 1662 as an official statement of that Church’s beliefs. Most Anglican provinces have similar provisions. In the 1880s in “The Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith” in Knots Untied Bishop John Charles Ryle documents that since their adoption in the 16th century the Thirty-Nine Articles have, for Anglicans, been their confession of faith, showing that the position the global South primates are taking is not new. Indeed it is a much more widely held position in the Anglican Church than Schreiner would have us believe and has been since the adoption of the Articles. In his opus The Principles of Theology: An Introduction to the Thirty Nine Articles W. H. Griffith Thomas, former Professor of Systematic Theology, Wycliffe College, Toronto, and former Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, first published in 1930, shows the similarities between the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Lutheran Confessions. Both Ryle and Thomas represent a long tradition in the Anglican Church that the Thirty-Nine Articles are the Anglican confession of faith. Indeed, the full title of the Articles supports this position: Articles agreed upon for the avoiding of Diversities of Opinion, and for the stablishing of Consent touching true Religion. Schreiner, on the other hand, is a priest of a church that jettisoned the Thirty-Nine Articles. Orthodox Anglicans are not seeking make the Anglican Church more confessional; they are endeavoring to protect the Church from those who would make the Church less confessional, those who would stretch the limits of Anglican comprehensiveness to include beliefs that are not even Christian, much less Anglican!

Anglican comprehensiveness has historically extended to things that are not essential to salvation - things that we can believe or do that do not affect our relationship with God and about which Christians can differ. “Liberal” theologians in the Episcopal Church would stretch that comprehensiveness to include things essential to salvation, things that we believe or do that can affect our relationship with God. This is a significant point of departure from what has been the policy in recognizing divergent opinions in the Anglican tradition.

The more resolute have the global South primates shown themselves in opposing the theological and moral innovations of the Episcopal Church, the more hostile has the “liberal” segment of the denomination who initiated these innovations has grown toward the primates and orthodox leaders in the Episcopal Church. Indeed the denomination’s “liberal” wing has sought to blame the latter for the opposition of the global South primates. It has evidenced a strong tendency to ascribe all kinds of evil motives to the global South primates and orthodox Episcopal leaders, as does Emrich to Archbishop Akinola in the article, and to demonize them. Emrich fails to note how the Episcopal Church’s “liberal” leaders have themselves sought to influence the direction of the Anglican Communion through its various bodies and promoted their own particular theological perspective. Indeed, the Episcopal Church’s consecration of a non-celibate gay man as a bishop and its election of woman primate are seen outside the United States as an attempt on the part of the Episcopal Church not just to push the envelope in these areas but to promote its particular agenda in other provinces. Several Anglican provinces have not accepted the ordination of women. The number of Anglican provinces that ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians is even much smaller.

It is axiomatic in politics that if one wants to win an election, one must define one’s opponent before he can define himself. It is also axiomatic that if one throws enough mud, some will stick, or at least give the appearance of sticking, which is all that matters since it helps to discredit one’s opponent and to shape the electorate’s perceptions of him. A lot of that is going on in “liberal” circles in the Episcopal Church. One just has to visit the “liberal” web logs and web sites. Mr. Emrich’s views reflects the views current in those circles.

Coffey seeks to perpetuate the myths that what has united Anglicans is the Book of Common Prayer; if outsiders want to know what Anglicans believe, they should pray with Anglicans. Whatever Anglican church into which one goes, wherever in the world, whatever language is spoken, one would recognize the liturgy. What she fails to point out is that the Episcopal Church has been worshiping with a different prayer book from other Anglican churches since the 1970s. Even before the 1970s the American Prayer Book represented a different Prayer Book worship tradition from the English Prayer Book. Some provinces now use more than one service book, for example, the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Anglican Church of Australia. The newer service books differ in their theology from the Prayer Books authorized for use in these provinces. Some of the newer service books are deliberately ambiguous to permit more than one interpretation of the texts in the service book. In the Episcopal Church and the other Anglican provinces where only one official Prayer Book is authorized, different ecclesiastical traditions had different interpretations of that Prayer Book. For example, “liberal” Episcopalians have a significantly different view of the Baptismal Covenant than do orthodox Episcopalians, overemphasizing the commitment to social justice and downplaying or ignoring the renunciation of sin. In their view this commitment trumps everything else. It is highly debatable that the revisers of the Prayer Book had intended that this highly unbalanced interpretation should be given to the Baptismal Covenant.

The idea that using the same Prayer Book unites Anglicans is certainly untenable nowadays if it ever was. So is the idea that you can learn what Anglicans believe from praying with them. An Episcopalian visiting some Church of England or Diocese of Sydney parishes has a good chance of not recognizing the liturgy even though he may understand the language. What Coffey says about recognizing the liturgy may have been true to a limited extent in the 19th century but it is not in the 21st.

The origin of the claim that the Book of Common Prayer is the fullest expression of what Anglicans believe can be traced to an attempt by 19th century high churchmen to replace the Thirty-Nine Articles with the Prayer Book as the test of an Anglican’s soundness in the faith. These high churchmen leaned toward Roman Catholicism and they disliked the Protestant and Reformed doctrine of the Thirty-Nine Articles. They interpreted the Prayer Book to “jar and contradict” the Articles and to support their theological views. Bishop Ryle, who was involved in this controversy over the Prayer Book and the Articles, wrote:

“I pass over the unreasonableness of setting up a book of devotion, like the Liturgy, as a better test of churchmanship than a confession of faith like the Articles. Prayers, in the very nature of things, are compositions which are not so precisely framed and worded as cold, dry, dogmatic statements of doctrine. They are what rhetorical speech of the advocate is, compared to the cautiously-balanced decision of the judge.”

All three Episcopal clergy misrepresent the place of Scripture, reason, and tradition in Anglicanism. They use the image of the three-legged stool which distorts the teaching of benchmark Elizabethan Anglican divine Richard Hooker who is usually credited with its origin. In Book V of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (Chapter 8, Section II) Hooker in actuality states that Scripture is the primary authority, then next reason, and finally tradition: "What Scripture doth plainly deliver it is that the first place both of credit and obedience is due; the next whereunto is whatsoever any man can necessarily conclude by force of reason. After these the voice of the Church succeedeth". Hooker did not assert and neither does classical Anglicanism that Scripture, reason, and tradition have equal authority as do Coffey and Schreiner, and Emrich. For classical Anglicanism, as for Hooker, Scripture is the supreme authority. Hooker is also talking about how we should go about interpreting Scripture, first by Scripture, then by reason, and last of all by tradition. This is how classical Anglicanism interprets Scripture. By reason both Hooker and classical Anglicanism mean “sanctified common sense, the facility to grasp what Scripture speaks.” It is drawn out of the plain principles of Scripture themselves. Neither Hooker nor classical Anglicanism make a place for human experience in the interpretation of Scripture. They do not see “the modern experience of (sinful) life” as “a major source of revelation from God superseding or correcting that which Scripture interpreted by right reason has delivered to us.” Coffey, Schreiner and Emrich suggest that Archbishop Akinola and orthodox Anglicans are giving too much weight to Scripture but classical Anglicanism has always given more weight to Scripture than to reason or tradition. The problem is not that Archbishop Akinola and orthodox Anglicans give too much weight to Scripture but that “liberal” Episcopalians do not give enough weight. They give too much weight to human experience.

In the classical Anglican understanding of Scripture, a text can have only one meaning, the meaning that the author and ultimately the Holy Spirit intended for that passage. This meaning and only this meaning is authoritative. Any other interpretation of the text is not.

Coffey repeats a “liberal” talking point that Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori herself has used, asserting that orthodox Anglicans’ focus upon the issue of human sexuality is diverting the Anglican Communion from more pressing problems. What is not acknowledged is that the Episcopal Church created the present situation. It took unilateral action on a very sensitive issue without consulting the other Anglican provinces. It put the focus upon this issue with the actions of the 2003 General Convention. To refuse to take notice of the issue as “liberal” Episcopalians would like orthodox Anglicans to do would from an orthodox Anglican perspective give tacit acceptance to those actions. However, orthodox Anglicans cannot in good conscience accept what the General Convention has done. They believe that with its actions the General Convention has jeopardized the salvation of millions. “Liberal” Episcopalians who have embraced an explicit or implicit universalism may not believe that but orthodox Anglicans do. The actions of the General Convention have also harmed the witness of their churches in their own countries. “Liberal” Episcopalians naturally would like these actions to be treated as a fait accompli. To ignore the General Convention’s actions, orthodox Anglicans realize, however, would encourage the Episcopal Church’s “liberal” leaders to take more radical steps and do even more harm.

The Episcopal Church is one of the most “liberal” provinces in the Anglican Communion, if not the most “liberal”. Beginning in the 19th century the church embarked on a course that has taken it away from the mainstream of Anglicanism. As Dr. Paul Zahl, the Dean of the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, points out in The Crisis of the American Episcopal Church, “with the rise of the Oxford Movement and also the rise of theological ‘liberalism,’” the Episcopal Church has been unable to “sustain a strong Christianity identity alternative to the world.” Based upon its particular synthesis of Catholic and modernist elements, Dr. Les Fairfield, former Professor of Church History at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, now retired, classifies the main ideological force in American Episcopalianism as “Catholic Modernism”. While the three Episcopal clergy in the article would like to see themselves as Anglicans and their beliefs as Anglican, neither they nor their beliefs are. While Coffey and Schreiner believe that orthodox Anglicans want to set the parameters of what it means to be Anglican, they are themselves seeking to change the parameters of what has historically distinguished Anglicans from non-Anglicans and to impose their own criteria.

Coffey offers no explanation for why she believes that God “invited” the consecration of Gene Robinson. How does she really know that God was behind his consecration? All she has is her opinion. The benchmark Elizabethan Anglican divine John Jewel and classical Anglicanism endorse the Reformation idea that the Holy Spirit always speaks in harmony with the Scriptures. John Jewel, with Richard Hooker, was a leading theologian of the 16th century English Reformation and Tudor Settlement that has shaped the essential character of the Anglicanism of subsequent centuries. Jewel wrote that to ignore what the Scripture plainly teaches and to make a direct appeal to “God himself in the Church and in Councils” is to follow one’s own opinions. He rejected as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s leading any departure from the plain teaching of Scripture. Classical Anglicanism takes the same position: whatever goes beyond the plain teaching of Scripture or against it is devoid of the Holy Spirit. For this reason orthodox Anglicans do not accept the claims of “liberal” Episcopalians that in confirming the election of Gene Robinson, the 2003 General Convention was led by the Holy Spirit and was exercising a “prophetic ministry”. While Coffey maintains that she is Anglican, she takes from an orthodox Anglican perspective a decidedly un-Anglican view of the consecration.