Why the Anglican Covenant is a bad idea

The Rev. Dr Bruce Kaye says there are four reasons why the Anglican Covenant is a bad idea.

Kaye was General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia from 1994 to 2004, the editor of the Journal of Anglican Studies and Professorial Associate in the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales.

Kaye writes:

There are four reasons why this covenant is not a good idea for Anglicans.

1. It is against the grain of Anglican ecclesiology (what we think the church is)

2. It is an inadequate response to the conflict in the Anglican Communion

3. In practical terms it will create immense and complicating confusion about institutional relationships and financial obligations.

4. It does not address the key fundamental issue in this conflict, how to act in a particular context which is relevant to that context and also faithful to the gospel.

Making the fourth point, Kaye elaborates:

In the USA human rights is a determinative element in society, indeed it is a foundational and constitutional commitment of the nation. The Episcopal Church was drawn into the civil rights movement of the 1960s in support of the oppressed and disadvantaged. The currents of that same movement shaped approaches to issues within the church. Their new Prayer Book with its baptismal ecclesiology meant that all members of the church by baptism were entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership of the church. That came to have significance for the position of women in the public life of the church, being members of the General Convention and being ordained. The same currents flow in the consideration of gay and lesbian people in the church.

The debate in The Episcopal Church is crucially about how to make a judgement about the proper adjustment to the social context in witnessing to the gospel. That is the same issue in regard to homosexuality in Nigeria though it is set within a different context with totally different assumptions.

Even a cursory reading of church history shows how Christians have had to adjust over time and in different contexts on matters which they previously thought to be fundamental and non negotiable. This is not an argument for anything goes. It is simply to draw attention to the complexity and difficulty of living in the world without being of the world, of testifying to Jesus’ Kingdom which is not of this world, while living in this world.

In a rapidly changing world this is one of the most important and difficult issues facing Christians. It is clearly at issue in the present Anglican conflict, but it has been neglected in the way in which the present conflict has been approached.

Read the rest of his essay here.

Multiple Hat-tips to Thinking Anglicans, Mark Harris and Covenant.

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