LAMBETH: Bishops Talk Up Issues But Offer No Resolution. Rowan Williams Plays for Time
"It's not just that we're not on the same page; We are not in the same book.; We are in different libraries. I am dealing with inter-faith relations within The Episcopal Church." '--- Peter Beckwith Bishop of Springfield
Non-negotiable revelation. The gospel is a non-negotiable revelation from God. We may certainly discuss its meaning and its interpretation, so long as our purpose is to grasp it more firmly ourselves and commend it more acceptably to others. But we have no liberty to sit in judgment on it, or to tamper with its substance. For it is God's gospel not ours, and its truth is to be received not criticized, declared not discussed. --- From "Christian Mission in the Modern World" John R.W. Stott
Modernism attacked the truth of scripture, Post-modernism attacks not the truth of scripture, but our ability to understand it. For them, scripture is mysterious and we can never be certain exactly what it means. Post-modernist teachers try to cast doubt on what it means and see such doubt as a sophisticated virtue. Thus for them, we can never be quite sure what the Bible says about for example homosexuality and abortion - so being unsure, we should not impose our personal belief on anyone else. --- Philip Rosenthal www.ChristianView.org
The debates over covenants and forums and instruments and continuation groups are just play-acting because (a) nobody can vote on them and (b) even if they could, liberals and conservatives wouldn't pay a blind bit of notice to any bits of a plan that didn't fit their agenda. --- Damian Thompson writes for the Telegraph and for the Catholic Herald in the UK.
Dear Brothers and Sisters
It was another week of relentless talk among 600 bishops of the Anglican Communion. They talked up Millennium Development Goals, the environment and what Spouses are doing in Ministry. The most important document was the three part Moratoria called for by the bishops that included no future consecrations of partnered homosexual bishops, no same-sex rites, no boundary crossings, and a Communion Partners concept that looked and smelled very much like an alternative Lambeth Primates Council to stand over against the GAFCON Primates Council.
While there is much hand-wringing about the absence of more than 270 orthodox Global South bishops, there is another message which is, we will get on without you and we will deal with the orthodox bishops who are here and, if we can, isolate you from the Communion, if you won't play ball.
It is abundantly clear that Lambeth 2008 is Rowan Williams' road show. It belongs to him. He owns it, presides over it and he will find a third way to deal with sexuality issues, come hell or high water.
He will not "betray" active homosexuals, and he will use as many drafts of the Windsor Report and Covenant as he can come up with to find language that pleases everybody. But can he do it?
He is hoping and praying that Indaba, the process whereby bishops confront their fears as they face the "other" will be enough to turn down the temperature and keep the Anglican Communion together.
Will he be successful?
The third draft (reflections on Lambeth), which came out today had this telling paragraph at the end of 17 pages. "Nevertheless, we must acknowledge that there are great tensions in our relationships at present, and an erosion of trust between us. There is concern caused by a perceived lack of restraint and self-limitation, by impaired communion and by intervention across provinces. There is some lack of confidence in the "Instruments of Communion" as the means of achieving this and a particular concern about the role of the Primates' Meeting."
Already the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi has said there will be no moratoria on boundary crossing. Episcopal bishops and their strident LGBT acolytes are saying there will be no moratoria on consecrating bishops living in homosexual sin and same-sex rites now performed illegally will be a done deal at GC2009. Maybe.
A source told VOL today that none of the Latins will ever trust any document that Jefferts Schori signs off on. There would have to be zero wiggle room. Frankly, they don't believe anything she has to say or sign. They saw what Frank Griswold did. Their word is not their bond.
The revisionist agenda is too deeply entrenched in TEC for anything to substantially change. If it did, it would be short term. Revisionist bishops may not perform marriages using rites, but will they discipline their priests who do? Not a chance. Bruno can raise holy hands and say I won't do it, but what about the Rev. Ed Bacon?
GAFCON and LAMBETH. It is becoming clearer that GAFCON is in the driver's seat. They are not going anywhere. At the end of the day Lambeth will have to go to GAFCON -- not the other way round. What is more, if the orthodox bishops who are at Lambeth sense that things, are rotten in the State of Lambeth and nothing is done to reign in the North American provinces, they will pull their allegiance here and cross the road to GAFCON, thus strengthening the true Global South hand. There are any number of waverers including Mouneer Anis of Egypt, Drexel Gomez of Nassau and possibly John Chew of Southeast Asia.
It is Williams' communion to lose. Waiting quietly in the wings is GAFCON. They have nothing to lose, nothing. The next few days are critical.
OUTRAGE has broken out here among Global South bishops over a statement made by Bishop Suffragan of New York, Catherine Roskam who has accused some of her male colleagues of beating their wives. She told a meeting at Canterbury that men beat women "because they can".
She also said: "We have 700 men here. Do you think any of them beat their wives? Chances are they do."The most devout Christians beat their wives ... many of our bishops come from places where it is culturally accepted to beat your wife." Roskam's comments were published in the latest issue of The Lambeth Witness, the daily newsletter of a liberal lobby group working for the full inclusion of pansexualists in Church life.
A number of Global South bishops were all over her case. and Yyou can read the full story in today's digest.
From the Ugly Vicar Blog comes this question, "What difference has thirty-two years of women's ordination made in the American context?" Answer very little. No diocese has prospered and grown under a woman bishop. The Rev. Margaret R. Rose, Director of Women's Ministries, Episcopal Church USA said this. "Just 2 years ago, January 2004 a gathering of 25 women, diverse in age, race and career path, all ordained 20 years or more gathered to take a look back, and a look forward. The questions we pondered were various aspects of: Was it worth it-for ourselves, for the church? And where do we go from here? What emerged was that our call to priesthood, as shamans, as a way of representing the holy was as strong as ever. But that our commitment to the church as institution - well, we could take it or leave it. A "shaman" can be defined as "A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events".
Wrote blogger John Richardson, "There is no way on God's good earth I would ever describe myself in those terms or want Christian 'priesthood' to be thought of that way. Bear in mind, moreover, this is not some fringe whacko, but the TEC's Director of Women's Ministry. And this is the body with which the Windsor Continuation Group apparently wants disaffected members to be reconciled, after they've done time in the 'sin bin'!"
This week a California judge has ruled on his own motion, to place the lawsuits against St. John's Anglican Church in Petaluma, CA on hold until the decision of the California Supreme Court is reached regarding the Southern California Anglican churches. The Episcopal Church has to fight for every bit of property, one parish at a time. They may or may not win, but they are spending millions to keep what they allegedly own.
My colleague Mr. Hans Zeiger is truly sharing the load and it is a delight to have him work for VOL. We are working 18-hour days to bring you all the news that fit to print. We are up at the crack of dawn and rarely get to bed before midnight. Please keep us in your prayers, and if you can spare a few dollars to keep all of this coming to you, please do so.
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BREAKING NEWS. Ugandan Primate Hits Out at Lambeth Conference and ABC. The Church cannot heal this crisis of betrayal, says Evangelical Archbishop. Those who violate biblical teaching must show repentance and regret before we can share communion with them. He says. Read the full story here or in today's digest http://tinyurl.com/5vo2n5
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