Thursday, October 02, 2014

Justin Welby and Lambeth 2018

Earlier this week came news that Lambeth 2018, the decadal meeting of Anglican Communion bishops, has been postponed indefinitely or cancelled.

I think Justin Welby is doing the right thing to not insist on having Lambeth 2018 on schedule.  To have a repeat of Lambeth 2008, a big useless indaba session rightly boycotted by over 200 bishops, would be an expensive exercise in pointlessness that would confirm the divisions in the Anglican Communion.

Perhaps it would be better if he proceeded with Lambeth while not inviting a number of apostates, particularly the consecrators of Gene Robinson.  But if he were that hardline (as I am), he would not have been made Archbishop of Canterbury, now would he.

No, the one to blame is his predecessor, Rowan Williams.  For years, while pretending to be even-handed, he strung along the orthodox then sided with apostates when he had to make an actual decision.  He even undermined the Primates Meetings to do so.  Here’s a post from 2007 to give a flavor of that.

Then when he issued his invitations for Lambeth 2008, although he did not invite Gene Robinson himself, he invited all his consecrators, and thereby invited the boycott that followed.  Once again he chose the apostates over the orthodox.  In addition, he infamously structured Lambeth with indaba so that no real decisions could be made, further protecting apostasy. 

In effect, when presented with the unavoidable choice between a robustly orthodox but slightly smaller communion and a weak, muddled, and much smaller communion, Rowan Williams chose the latter.  Brilliant.

And the Anglican Communion has not recovered from that – and perhaps never will.

So, yes, I think Justin Welby should be more hardline against apostasy and for a robustly orthodox Anglican Communion.  But I cannot blame him for the current divisions.  And he deserves credit for not pretending “All is well,” for not going forward with Lambeth 2018.


Housekeeping: Thanks to a kind reader for correcting my brain typo.  It's Gene Robinson (not Robertson, gah!).  Now corrected.

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