Saturday, September 11, 2004

Comment upon the Document submitted by a group of evangelical Bishops and theologians to the “Eames” Commission at its last meeting on 9/6/2004

Obviously, this was a last minute, determined attempt to persuade the Commission (which met from 6-10 September at Windsor Castle) to recommend what this group believes will be the minimum acceptable to the “orthodox” of both the Global South and the West/North and will therefore prevent an evangelical “walk out” from the Anglican Family as it is presently constituted.

In brief this international (but mostly Western) group:

1. desires the present Anglican Communion to remain a Communion of Churches with a common Faith and having two types of membership of national Churches – (1) full member and (2) member-under-discipline.

2. rejects proposals for converting the Anglican Communion into a Federation of National Churches, wherein each of which can emphasize its provincial autonomy, but for which total grouping there is no clear common Faith or discipline.

3. insists that discipline – restorative discipline – be offered to/pressed upon the North American provinces (via the visit of overseas Primates to address the Houses of Bishops) for their true good.

4. explains that if restorative discipline is not accepted then the provinces of North America be excluded from the Communion and that in their place what is now called “The Network” (and its Canadian equivalent) be recognized as the true Anglican province(s) of North America and organize as such.

Further, this document assumes that the provinces of North America should be disciplined or excluded by the leaders of the Communion because of, and only because of, the innovative sexual developments of 2003/4. There is no mention or even assumption that these sexual innovations are really and truly presenting problems, and that, alongside and beneath them, there are other, very serious expressions of apostasy from the LORD and from Catholic & Evangelical Worship, Doctrine and Discipline.

What is distressing is that the kind of thinking displayed by the group carries the implication that “The Network” which accepts some of these post 1960s innovations is truly “orthodox” now, and simply because it is apparently “clean” on the homosexual innovations and actually protests against them. Thus, regrettably, the new USA province it envisages will at best be only “would-be-orthodox” in shape and content for it will not have the classic and orthodox Formularies in place.

The REPORT of the Commission is now being written and is promised for publication on October 15, 2004. We await its appearance with some measure of trepidation.

The Rev’d Dr Peter Toon September 12, 2004

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