Covenant or no covenant

I mentioned a few items ago that the British evangelical group Reform had presented the Archbishop of Canterbury with the draft of a covenant for the Church of England. You can read it here.

Since then, Mark Harris has weighed in on this issue twice. Tobias Haller has registered his objections, including this bit, which I endorse:

“[T]o suggest, as ++Rowan has in his own inscrutable way, that no action can properly be taken in the absence of a new consensus is to ask for the ahistorical. The Jerusalem Council didn’t settle the issue of Gentile inclusion — there were those who opposed it and they bedeviled Paul’s ministry for years. Later, some die-in-the-ditch issues of the continental reformation (access to the Cup, and vernacular liturgy) were eventually adopted by Rome, after a considerable delay. This is how change works in the church, here and there rather than all at once.”

For a thoroughgoing critique of Reform’s proposal, put in global perspective, have a look at the press release from Inclusive Church, on Thinking Anglicans.

A sample:

“2.0 We are seeing the development of a long term plan developed by various people on various continents which is intended to bring the Anglican Communion out of its historically generous and open position, into a narrowly defined, confessional group of churches rooted in the religious right of the United States and extending from there across the world.

2.1 We understand that the Tanzania declaration was produced at the behest of others with the specific aims of undermining the Presiding Bishop of the United States, challenging the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and derailing the moves towards an inclusive Covenant which the Communion is beginning to make. It is a deliberately incendiary move. The intention is to pre-empt any decisions the Primates’ Meeting in February might make so that elements from the Global South and disaffected elements of the Episcopal Church rebels can proceed with their plan to set up an alternative Communion.

3.0 Reform’s “Covenant” brings this strategy into England. The authors of the “Covenant” (all male, all white) and their cohorts are, simply, using the politics of the playground, issuing financial threats and huffing and puffing in an attempt to bring the Church of England into line. The most cursory reading demonstrates a startlingly inadequate ecclesiology and a deep misunderstanding of the role of bishops. They are showing increasing militancy and becoming more and more vocal, because those of us who support the orthodox, historic and open tradition of Anglicanism are, unexpectedly, refusing to lie down and be trampled on.”

I have no idea whether the Tanzanian statement was undertaken at the behest of others. But the rest of the plan they outline won’t come as a surprise to readers of Following the Money .

Past Posts