Covenant doings: Fraser balks; the ‘no’ crowd gets an American patron

In Church Times, Giles Fraser says he’s against the proposed Anglican Covenant.

The idea that all the different Churches of the Communion can be held together only by signatures on a page rather than years of tradition and common baptism and liturgy is an unnecessary bureaucratisation of theology and fellowship.

If you allow one province a quasi-legal mechanism for pushing out another province, then you are providing a context for acrimony, not for reconciliation. Recon­cilia­tion comes when those divided by differences learn to see Christ at work in each other. Mostly, this is achieved through patient friendship and listening.

The reason why the Covenant is such a terrible idea is that it replaces the search for common ground with a fear that the Other is out to get me. It gives the Other a means of my exclusion, and thus turns the Other into the enemy.

We figure his sentiments would be echoed by someone like Marilyn McCord Adams, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and former Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University and Residentiary Canon at Christ Church, Oxford. Adams has joined the fight by signing on as an American patron to the No Anglican Covenant Coalition.

“The proposed Anglican Covenant was conceived in moral indignation and pursued with disciplinary intent,” according to Professor McCord Adams. “Its global gate-keeping mechanisms would put a damper on the gospel agenda, which conscientious Anglicans should find intolerable. The Covenant is based on an alien ecclesiology, which thoughtful Anglicans have every reason to reject.”

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