And now, the Lambeth Conference Begins In Earnest…Recognizing Disagreement…What’s Coming

Now the retreat will soon be over and the Lambeth Conference will begin more in earnest, with dialogue among the bishops wherein I’m sure they will discuss some sort of solution to the Communion’s problems. Rumor has it that the Archbishop of Canterbury has a plan for some sort of canon law up his sleeve. While there are numerous potential problems with this and just about everything that has come out of the Instruments of Unity during the last five years, I guess the thing that really stands out to me is that +Rowan apparently had a plan for General Synod and that just didn’t work out. Ruth Gledhill reported somewhere that +Rowan voted for measures to protect traditionalists, abstained from the final vote on Women bishops, and spent a good deal of his time at Synod with his head in his hands. His suffragan that runs the Diocese of Canterbury, the Bishop of Dover, ended up crying and stating he was ashamed of his church.

When in a majority in the Anglican Church, liberals simply will not compromise. Why? Because women, gays, lesbians, and just plain old liberals are looking for the church’s blessing on who they are, their kinds of “ministries”, and what they believe. They aren’t looking for space in the church for themselves or even a place at the table, but for the church, including conservatives, to say their positions and beliefs are legitimately Christian. Of course, this is the one thing conservatives cannot give in principle. Moreover, they simply cannot be under the authority of someone who holds these kinds of positions and maintain their conscience. It is this Bible-thingy. It says you aren’t supposed to.

The United Methodist Church was confronted with similar stuff at their most recent annual conference, where the liberals, not being able to win a majority, got in a huff when a resolution was rejected that recognized “disagreement”. Recognizing “disagreement” is the legitimacy that it on the agenda, and the first step to achieving the goal. Thankfully, the Methodists rebuffed this, probably because they saw how “recognizing disagreement” ultimately undid the Episcopal Church.

The Church of England General Synod effectively refused to recognize disagreement with traditionalists in the CofE. The liberals clearly understand why they shouldn’t do this. However, over the years, conservative Anglicans have been, well, way too nice on this front and now we are paying the price.

So, I hope my blog readers out there, including not more than a few bishops at Lambeth, will not vote for anything that recognizes “disagreement”, unless it is a courtesy resolution recognizing someone from another church visiting the deliberative body of which you are a part. Firstly, why state the obvious? Secondly, it effectively undoes whatever else the resolution states. Thirdly, the slippery slope has ceased being a logical fallacy in the Anglican Church, but an observable reality.

Do realize that based on information I have from a source close to +Rowan is that +Rowan would like a workable solution to all this, and he is desperate for it. However, I don’t think he is going to get it. It will get mired down procedurally, and the folks will simply vote no.

On a personal note, it dawned on me that Provincial Synod is coming up for Province VII, and then General Convention 2009 in a year, which as I get older seems like less and less time. Lately, I’ve been feeling like, well, not going. Getting a note from my doctor or my wife saying I’m too well to attend these meetings. Of course I am going to go and do my duty. Mostly to vote no at GC2009. No to whatever comes up. That was Bishop Robinson’s strategy to kill my prison ministry resolution in the structure committee, despite the sheer number of sponsors I had on the other side of the sexuality issues signed up on the measure. It came from me, so it had to die, despite the fact that this same resolution was passed at GC2003, with only a few changes made to update it for GC2006.

At one time, I had some hope for reconciliation, after participating in the exercises here in Western Louisiana. I simply don’t think it is possible anymore. I don’t think anyone else really thinks it is possible anymore. If some sort of structural relief were to come in which I, as a conservative, Bible-believing Christian who is about equally evangelical and Anglo-Catholic, could remain in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion with integrity, I would take it. So would a lot of other people, including quite a few solid Episcopal bishops. Frankly, folks, it just isn’t going to happen. I’ll be cheering the loudest if it does. But, it is something the liberals just can’t give.

The only thing Canterbury could do to help this situation is to recognize those who have left TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada as Anglicans as well, and then see which part of the Anglican Communion prospers under the Gamaliel principle. He wouldn’t need anyone else’s approval to do that symbolically. Short of that, I think the Anglican Communion is pretty much over, as is the Church of England.

9 Responses to “And now, the Lambeth Conference Begins In Earnest…Recognizing Disagreement…What’s Coming”

  1. 1 Tregonsee July 20, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    The only real question is when the alternate NA province will be proclaimed by what I will call the GAFCON Communion, pending a more formal name. I have seen references to “within a year” which I hope should have read “within this year.” Several bishops, +Duncan being the most obvious, are going to get the full TEC treatment this fall, and need some legal and ecclesiastical cover.

  2. 2 Timothy Fountain July 20, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    God bless you, Brad. I know that God has you up to many meaningful and responsible things in your life, but, selfishly, I miss reading your once frequent analysis of the Anglican situation.

    I think you are on target and I pray that God will see you through any final Provincial/GenCon duties and set you free to minister without that sickening burden.

  3. 3 Sandra July 20, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Brad, Thank you. I always read you comments and agree with you most of the time. You are correct, I believe, but it makes me sad for our beloved church.

  4. 4 Rick Arllen July 20, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Toast. Здравица. Pain grillé. Toost. Pane tostato. Φρυγανιά. Brinde. Tostada.축배. 多士. トースト.

    In German or Russian or French or Dutch or Italian or Greek or Portugese or Spanish or Korean or Chinese of Japanese the result is the same – TOAST.

    Stick a fork in it.

  5. 5 One Small Voice July 20, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Yea Brad

    I am looking forward to Synod and GC09. Especially to be there with you again at GC and to make sure we have a bigger “blue box.”

    Canon G+

  6. 6 Todd Granger July 21, 2008 at 1:34 am

    Completely spot on, brother. I have arrived at the same distressing conclusion myself.

    And in our particular circumstances here in central North Carolina, I feel completely paralyzed by it.

  7. 7 Jeffersonian July 21, 2008 at 2:26 am

    In Portuguese, it’s “torrada.” (toe-hah-duh)

    I left ECUSA a couple of years before VGR…I could see the heretical writing on the wall. I’m in an AMiA parish now and quite happy to be with Africa. If we meld with Gafcon, so much the better.

  8. 8 pendennis88 July 21, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Brad Drell, you have summed it up. The Anglican Communion is spinning apart. TEC could have saved it by offering real protection to the orthodox. But they neither were willing to give up the tiniest amount of its power, nor to stop trying to drive the orthodox out.

    And the Archbishop of Canterbury could have done the right thing and followed the wishes of the primates. He could have instituted a panel of reference as the Windsor Report asked; he could have organized and supported an alternative structure along the lines of what the primates asked him to do in Dar es Salaam. It may or may not have had much legal effect on TEC. But no matter; TEC opposes them and so he has refused. At this point, he just seems to be trying to get through Lambeth and have it accomplish as little as possible.

    I would well imagine that right now, though, TEC and its allies are counting votes to see what they can do to get something favorable to them, to their theology, property and power, such as a resolution calling for expulsion from the communion for crossing borders. Barring that, so that if nothing comes out of the Lambeth Conference, the disintegration of the communion will simply accelerate. I suspect there will remain for some time an “Anglican Communion”; I just doubt it will be a communion.

  9. 9 One Small Voice July 22, 2008 at 10:59 am

    The +++ABC has a one track mind – covenant. But what will it look like after Tec does its cut and paste job?

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