Texanglican

"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

++Venables and the Southern Cone Punished for Helping Orthodox Anglicans in North America and Elsewhere

The Province of the Southern Cone of the Americas, headed by Archbishop Gregory Venables, has just been sanctioned by Canon Kearon, the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion Office, for helping orthodox Anglican parishes and dioceses trapped within heretical provinces like the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. The South Americans have now been rewarded for their courageous stand on behalf of "the faith once delivered to the saints" by having their sole representative removed from an important inter-Anglican body, the Standing Committee on Unity, Faith, and Order. Naturally, this move by the staunchly liberal Canon Kearon also serves to diminish orthodox voices on that committee almost to non-existence.

May God bless the people and clergy of the Southern Cone, and ++Venables in particular, richly for their willingness to be of service to their brothers and sisters in Christ--including my own diocese--even in the face of such opposition from the forces of "progress."

From the ACNS (hat tip to Stand Firm):

The Secretary General writes: 'Many of you will have read the Archbishop of Canterbury's letter to the Anglican Communion issued at Pentecost last (28 May 2010). Part of that letter addresses the current and ongoing tensions in the Anglican Communion - these tensions cluster around the three moratoria referred to in the Windsor Report.

'In that letter the Archbishop made the following proposals:

"I am therefore proposing that, while these tensions remain unresolved, members of such provinces – provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged. I am further proposing that members of such provinces serving on IASCUFO should for the time being have the status only of consultants rather than full members".
'At that time I wrote to the Primate of the Southern Cone, whose interventions in other provinces are referred to in the Windsor Continuation Group Report asking him for clarification as to the current state of his interventions into other provinces. I have not received a response.

'Consequently, I have written to the person from the Province of the Southern Cone who is a member of the Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO), Bishop Tito Zavala, withdrawing his membership and inviting him to serve as a Consultant to that body.

'These decisions are not taken easily or lightly, but relate to the gracious restraint requested by successive meetings of the Instruments of Communion and the implications for Communion bodies when these requests are not honoured.'

The Revd Canon Dr. Kenneth Kearon.

16 Comments:

Blogger Julian said...

Aren't the "heretical dioceses" also breaching a number of moratoria?

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what? Important inter-anglican body? This "important" body is just about as useful as tits on a boar hog.

My feelings ain't hurt.

Pax,

BigTex AC

3:02 PM  
Blogger Father Lee Nelson, SSC said...

Julian, in fairness, Canon Kearon is spreading the wrist-slapping around equally.

But, in fairness to ++Venables, the interventions have ceased. The ACNA is now a fully self-supporting proto-province. Unless TEC claims a monopoly on Anglicanism in the US, which it's clear they either are doing or intend to do so, it's pretty much a non-issue.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Devon W said...

Episodes like this have been cited as reasons for departure by many "former Anglicans" I have conversed with in the past. Many Roman Catholics often point to issues of this nature as reasons why they joined the Roman Catholic Church.

If anyone is on the verge of following suit, I caution you against it. Not because I have any vendetta against the Vatican or the Roman Catholic tradition, but because if we all flee in the face of adversity, our church WILL fall. And what good will the Roman Catholic- or other denomination- be if it is filled with those who run away from trouble?

Instead, stand your ground. Only through perseverance and diligence can we push back this tide and overcome. If God is with us, who can be against us?

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Heretical" you say? My goodness, that is ugly to say.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

Even more ugly to have experienced!

6:17 AM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

And lest some readers think my reference to TEC's heresy is libelous, I remind you that the truth is an absolute defense against a defamation charge. To that end, reflesh your recollection with this catalog of errors over the last decade--the vast majority of which remain uncensured within TEC:
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/13902

8:56 AM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

That should be "refresh," not "reflesh." Though "reflesh" does have a certain pure, uncompromising energy about it, doesn't it? :-)

9:08 AM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

A comment from a reader in the diocese of Chicago (a diocese within which I lived and worshipped for seven years during my time at U of C, btw), posted here by his request. Thank you for reading and contributing, sir.:

I (being myself a member of TEC) wish that this action could stand in a broader and more generous frame. While I am dismayed to find the voices of my own church excluded (even by way of a partial formality) from conversation with the broader communion (a number of Episcopalians were sanctioned similarly after the election of an assisting bishop last May), I recognize that what was requested is restraint (which has been practiced in some places, notably in my own experience in bishop elections in Chicago and Minnesota over the last five years).

To call this a "punishment" is, I suspect, inappropriate; rather it continues to be an action that seeks to create greater space for conversation. ACNA seemed quite excited to have Canterbury be the arbiter of its own positions when TEC was sanctioned.

I remain concerned about what our conversation might be - I have often freely confessed my own confusion about ACNA's purpose; for the first time since the Council of Nicea we have a new organization seeking to exercise pastoral authority over the same geographical cure as a part of the same communion. This organization, from my perspective as a moderate Episcopalian who believes in the authority of Holy Scripture, made its first step a separation from those brothers and sisters in Christ who abide in the Episcopal Church, and then as a second step to seek recognition back into communion with us, but through Canterbury. Surely this is not the reconciliation to one another and to God that we are called to by the Gospel?

That said, I understand the frustration of losing pride of place for one's own views (certainly LGBTQ Christians have remained within the communion of the church for a long time feeling that their own views haven't been represented by the communion, though I happen to be heterosexual myself). I appreciate that this is a time of great difficulty for the Christians who now associate with ACNA, and while I would prefer a church that stands united and abides in conversation with one another when there is disagreement (as so abided, I feel some perhaps-unhelpful need to point out, those Christians who believe that the lives of gay and lesbian Christians are given to them by God), I understand the need for a church community to be a place that feels safe.

My prayer for our church (which I must still regard as one family, though our final shape must certainly be yet to be revealed) is one of return to unity, though I don’t know what that must look like now, or whether it will remain in God’s vision for the restoration of all of us to one another and to God’s own will.
With love,


Ben Varnum

(Diocese of Chicago, nominee for Holy Orders in the presbyterate)

10:58 AM  
Anonymous WannabeAnglican said...

Does anyone know why ++Gregory did not respond to Kearon's letter?

9:45 AM  
Blogger Benedict Varnum said...

http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/anglican_communion/venables_reacts_to_kearon_sanc.html

An interesting follow-up to this; Venables has offered a response. Interestingly, part of it trades on the same argument made by TEC's presiding bishop a year or so back when she was asked to "clarify the position of TEC regarding human sexuality" and responded that she could not do that of her own accord.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

The following condemnation of universalism is found in the Forty-Two Articles:

Non omnes tandem servandi sunt. Hi quoque damnatione digni sunt, qui conantur hodie perniciosam opinionem instaurare, quod omnes, quantumvis impii, servandi sunt tandem, cum definite tempore a justitia divina cenas de admissis flagitiis luerunt.

For those whose Latin is rusty, I have included the English version. It was written before English spelling was standardized.

Article XLII.
All men shall not bee saued at the length. Thei also are worthie of condemnacion, who indeuoure at this time to restore the dangerouse
opinion, that al menne be thei neuer so vngodly, shall at length bee saved, when thei have suffered
paines for their sinnes a certain
time appoincted by Goddes iustice.

Edgar C. S. Gibson, The Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, Volume I, (London: Methuen & Co., 1896), p. 89.

As we all have heard with our own ears and read with our own eyes, the Presiding Bishop has on a number of occasions voiced this very opinion. She visited a liberal flagship parish in my area in May of last year. In that parish the rector who is a woman preaches the same opinion, even arguing that the Bible teaches universalism.

The Thirty-Nine Articles only declares one group anathema, or accursed by God, those who hold this opinion.

XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.

They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

In the olden days Presiding Bishop and those of like opinion would have been excommunicated as were the sixteenth century Anabaptists in the post-Reformation Church of England. If they were obdurated and refused to recant, they would have been turned over to the civil authorities and burned as a heretic.

In North America we do not excommunicate and burn heretics. We ordain them as clergy and elect them as bishops and presiding bishops.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Benedict Varnum said...

Quite apart from the 39 Articles being articulated in a theological context 500 years old (we carry other assumptions and differences in our age beyond standardized spelling!), or their occasional direct contradiction of scripture (as in, say, Article 38 vis-a-vis Acts 2:44), we might note that the 39 Articles were an articulation of England's position within the social and political climate of the Reformation (the Articles are quick to make clear their stance on donatism, as well as declaring that the church could not meet in council without the will of princes), and were not even seen fit for inclusion among the Instruments of Unity that affiliate the Anglican Communion.

As for so-called universalism (what a strangely abstract name for the notion -- rather un-radical to my thinking -- that God will call all human creation back into loving relationship with God's own self and with one another), the council in Acts 15 shows that even the early church struggled about who was within the bounds of salvation (the story of Acts can easily be read as an expansion of the pentecost event through various unexpected communities -- jew, gentile, roman).

(To anticipate an angry rebuttal: the Acts 15 story goes on, as those who have scanned the Bible lexically for anything remotely resembling anti-gay rhetoric to cite "sexual immortality" as something that should be discussed with those who serve a different law, BUT in the same breath it suggests telling them to abstain from food prepared for idols, about which Paul has much to say in 1 Cor 8).

Add to this entire discussion the fact that the early church was deeply divided as to whether it was itself Jewish or Gentile, the unclear boundaries around what "Christian" means (would the Orthodox confess the Mormons to be Christians?), and beyond all else, God's power to appear to different groups in different shapes for their salvation (was the stranger who wrestled with Jacob and gave him the name and the inheritance of Israel an angel, or God? What of the pillar of fire and smoke?), and there are good reasons to begin a conversation with "other" religions (and I think particularly with Judaism and Islam, our partners within the Abrahamic fraternity) about what we hold in common when we worship God.

That (to borrow a technique from Paul's letter to the Phillippians) is quite apart from any need to remind us that we live in a world so suffused with violence and hate that it explodes into attacks that kill thousands, and warfare that kills tens of thousands. This same world in which bishops from the Sudan can make earnest pleas for theological moderation because his people are being killed in the name of homophobia because of partnership with TEC. This same world in which teenagers and young adults are beaten, tortured -- and made to participate in the torture of others by those assaulting them, and killed because of a fear of their sexuality.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry. Anglicanism will be dead soon if Anglicans do not take a true hard line against the Islamification of Great Britain.

5:25 PM  
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