Abp Anis: Primates should rule

Kendall Harmon’s web site Titus 1:9 carries the transcript of Archbishop Mouneer Anis’ talk at Mere Anglicanism Conference in the Diocese of South Carolina.

Some excerpts:


We have also fallen when we lost the Conciliar concept that characterized the early church and the early days of the Anglican Communion. The individualistic and hedonistic spirit of our world today has penetrated the Communion deeply. This encouraged some churches to interpret the Scriptures without listening to and consulting with the other churches within the Communion. The interpretations that are produced by Lambeth Conferences have only a moral authority and are not binding.

In fact the trace of Conciliar concept that was there in the Lambeth Conferences of bishops and Primates was diluted and almost completely lost at Lambeth 2008.

The absence of conciliarity and the individualistic interpretation of the Scriptures led the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to take decisions in the light of what is prevalent and accepted in the culture; not in the light of the teaching of the Scriptures and what is accepted by the rest of the Communion. In other words these provinces allowed their cultures to influence the interpretation of the Scripture instead of allowing the Scripture to address the culture. In other words the contemporary cultural norms are given more authority than the Scripture.


The Anglican Communion needs to give the Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ Meeting a Conciliar authority in matters of faith and order, including the area of interpretation of the Scriptures. The principle of: ‘What affects all, should be decided by all’ is crucial to avoid further crisis.

This version of Anglican polity is nothing like the church I have known since birth, nor anything I have studied. It is an alternate universe from much of the church in Europe and the Americas and Southern Africa. Where are the voices of laity, priests, deacons, scholars? Only bishops and especially Primates decide what is good for the church? How can we make a covenant when there are such different realities?

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