Tuesday, June 27, 2006

GC ’06 Fallout: The Archbishop of Canterbury Reflects

Well, just about everything causes the Archbishop to reflect, but, anyway, he issued an important, perhaps historic statement today.

There’s quite a bit to digest and, frankly, my brain is not functioning at its best as revealed by some really bad chess last night, so my initial observations are partial at best.

I think Matt+ Kennedy’s initial analysis is on target. I’m particularly encouraged that the Archbishop has finally acknowledged that it might be necessary for the North American provinces (TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada) to split. I think this is the first time he has publicly said such.

My first response is that ++Rowan’s proposal of an opt-in Anglican covenant is a good proposal for the long term. I am concerned that he says very little about the near term. And something must be done very near term. The orthodox should not be asked to endure apostate leadership for years and years while a covenant is being formed.

But I suspect ++Rowan is deferring near term responses to the Primates. And he may be saying as much in an accompanying statement to the Primates.

++Rowan does, with Anglican understatement of course, concede that the Episcopal Church has fallen short of Windsor, and that is an important development.

Now, there is a problem with an assumption ++Rowan makes: “. . . to strict evangelical Protestantism, to Roman Catholicism, to religious liberalism. To accept that each of these has a place in the church’s life . . . .” Many orthodox Anglicans do not accept that religious liberalism has a place in the church’s life. And I’m one of them.

Perhaps I’ll say more on that in due time. But overall I’m encouraged by the Archbishop’s statement.

MORE: I also find the Empty Church’s take on ++Rowan’s statement very interesting. It concludes:

Practically, this is completely uncharted territory; theologically, the orthodox have definitely won.

Dr Williams says that "it isn’t a question of throwing people into outer darkness, but of recognising that actions have consequences – and that actions believed in good faith to be ‘prophetic’ in their radicalism are likely to have costly consequences." ECUSA has finally gone too far.

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