Convenent For or Contract On?

Back in December the Church of England Evangelical Council (website) met with the Archbishop of Canterbury and presented him with a “Convenent for the Church of England.”

The Covenant is available in full here (rtf). Some extracts:

At this time in the life of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, faced with a faulty view of revelation, false teaching and indiscipline, we believe that it is necessary to set out where we as orthodox Anglicans stand, and to invite others to join us.

“Existing ecclesiastical legal boundaries should be seen as permeable”. This means there cannot be any no-go areas for gospel growth and church planting. …. We will support mission-shaped expressions of church through prayer, finance and personnel, even when official permission is unreasonably withheld.

We can no longer be constrained by an over-centralised and increasingly ineffective control that is stifling the natural development of ministry. If the local Bishop unreasonably withholds authorisation, we will pay for, train and commission the ministers that are needed, and seek official Anglican recognition for them.

Our congregations will seek actively to become self-sustaining when and where we can, to donate a reasonable yet modest amount to support the administrative centre, to be part of mutually accountable financial partnerships, and to give generously to gospel ministries, at home and abroad, that share the same values.

We are aware of those who justifiably consider that their communion with their bishops is impaired, and will support and help them to find alternative oversight.

A companion document (rtf) further states:

We recognise that the fault-line running down through the Anglican Communion is also running through the Church of England.

The Church of England in its central decision-making structures is largely in the hands of a liberal leadership.

If Communion is finally broken by some with The Episcopal Church, there will be those in the Church of England who will continue publicly to express their strong support for TEC. This will put many parishes and clergy who are in their charge in impossible situations.

In the current position world-wide we are already in a situation of unregulated indiscipline. Our aim is to help prevent the situation getting worse. However, extraordinary times call for out-of-the-ordinary actions to deal with them.

Innovative, experimental, and even irregular [cross-boundary church plants], do not necessarily mean illegal.

One of those who drafted the covenant is The Rev. Dr. Richard Turnbull, Chairman-Director of CEEC and principal of Wycliffe Hall. (See our recent related post.) He has recently stated, “I am not a member of any evangelical pressure group and never have been.”

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