Reflections on the position of TEC Bishops in Common Cause who say they will attend Lambeth 08
By A MERE ANGLICAN PRIEST
According to the wisdom of the wise, all those Bishops (of biblically-orthodox faith) who were invited to Lambeth 08 ought to have said Yes. Then as a group they could have protested with one voice the invitation given to the consecrators of Gene Robinson. Also they could have prepared to work together at Lambeth, whatever the stated agenda, for real reform and necessary change in the Communion of Churches.
In the event, because of conscientious problems about cooperating with the Archbishop of Canterbury and matters to do with the Windsor Report and Process, many orthodox bishops delayed to say Yes and so little or no common mind and protest were generated.
Fast forward to early December 07 Nairobi
Bishop Duncan and other Bishops of Common Cause went to a meeting in East Africa in December 2007, and there gave approval to what came to be called GAFCON to be held in Jerusalem in June 08, a month ahead of the Lambeth Conference (itself planned for July 08 ever since July 1998!). Although GAFCON was initially clearly stated to be NOT an alternative to Lambeth 08, the dominant participants (Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Sydney) in the East Africa meeting soon announced that they would not be present at Lambeth. Significantly, the reasons given for not going to Lambeth all concerned being faithful to the Lord Jesus and his Gospel and Truth. Although asked to change their minds by voices from many quarters, these Provinces stood firm ---Gafcon certainly Yes, but Lambeth certainly No. And they saw it as being obedient to the will of the Lord Jesus. They did not want to cooperate with and share the Lord’s Table with “heretics” such as those from TEC.
From December 07 most observers and commentators thought for several months that all the bishops from America from Common Cause, who attended the East Africa meeting, had surely committed themselves in general terms to the position of the lead participants. And clearly the missionary Bishops in the USA from Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda were so committed.
However, amazingly, the TEC Bishops in Common Cause (Duncan, Ackerman, Iker et al) have announced in May 08 that they will be go first to GAFCON and then to LAMBETH! They offer the general justification that unless there are “the orthodox” there at Canterbury to make the case, the truth about what is going on in North America may not be understand, let alone heard, by the Anglican Bishops present. So their presence as truth-tellers is necessary, they say (but do they realize that their senior African colleagues have already rejected totally this type of argument!).
In fact by attendance at Lambeth the TEC Bishops accept that the A. of C. is in fact, and in practice, the President of the Lambeth Conference and also the first Instrument of Unity of the Anglican Communion of Churches. More to the point they undermine the strong critique of the Windsor Report Process and the work of the Archbishop in that process, made on behalf, and in justification of, the GAFCON event!
One is left wondering whether the parting of the ways is beginning (but not yet discerned) between the TEC Bishops in Common Cause and the rest of the Bishops therein (e.g. AMIA & CANA). Further, is the bond between the African Provinces (Nigeria, Rwanda etc.) and the TEC Common Cause Bishops beginning to snap? And, further, is the Southern Cone beginning to change direction? Not going to Lambeth 08 obviously lies near to the heartbeat of the practical religion of the Nigerians, Rwandans, Ugandans, Kenyans and Sydneyites! Do the TEC Common Cause Bishops really appreciate this and have they assessed before the throne of grace what their going to Lambeth may mean?
OH, IF ONLY ALL THE BIBLICALLY ORTHODOX BISHOPS WOULD HAVE DECIDED TO GO TO LAMBETH AND TO MAKE A CONCERTED AND GODLY STAND there FOR FULL BIBLICAL ORTHODOXY IN THE ANGLICAN WAY! That they did not do so will leave a permanent scar on the face of world Anglicanism and may be a major cause to the rupture of the Anglican Way.
END Eve of Pentecost 2008