Here are my initial comments on the AoC’s stateemnt.
The response from Lambeth is not as hostile as it could be, which is hopeful.
They welcome mission, which is great.
They welcome faithfulness to the structure of the Church of England, which is disappointing. I’d have preferred faithfulness to the doctrinal position of the Church of England. But let’s see how it pans out.
They’re not clear about how AMiE relates to ‘proper’ oversight. Clever use of the word ‘proper’, I thought. Except that if all Anglican evangelicals had ‘proper’ oversight from Diocesan Bishops in the Church of England there wouldn’t be an issue. Some wouldn’t feel that it was necessary to go looking elsewhere! But that’s something that they can sort out, one would hope.
Their issue may well be one of episcopal collegiality; ours is episcopal integrity. We want Bishops who will do what they promised to do and ‘drive away erroneous doctrine’. Or as the English Prayer Book version of the Consecration of Bishops puts it, ‘Are you ready to banish and drive away all wrong and strange doctrine that is contrary to God’s Word and will you both in public and private urge and encourage others to do the same?’ At the heart of this debate and the actions of some Anglican evangelicals who, in good conscience, have thought this significant move necessary, is a desire to have orthodox Bishops upholding orthodox doctrine and opposing heterodoxy. That’s it; it’s not rocket science, is it?
It’s good that they’re willing to engage in further discussion. But they’ve been doing that for over four years. That’s why the English Bishops and the GAFCON Primates got involved;. Endless discussion can be a delaying tactic to ensure that the opposition peters out. I’m not saying that’s been their tactic. But the issue of human sexuality, which is one of the presenting issues, has been on the table since Lambeth 1998. You’d imagine that’d be long enough for even the Church of England to get all its’ ducks in a row, wouldn’t you? Of course, we mustn’t be judgmental. But at the same time, let’s not be naive. Let’s be open to the possibility that the liberal revisionists and the political powers in the C of E hierarchy don’t want Anglican evangelicals to have a home in the Denomination. But it would be terribly un-Englsih to actually say so. So waiting for them to go away by making them very unwelcome would be a more polite way of accomplishing the same end, wouldn’t it?
I’m sure they didn’t mean to, but I did wonder whether Lambeth’s words were a little patronising towards the Archbishop of Kenya. The words ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury has had the opportunity to speak with the Archbishop of Kenya about the situation: the good faith and fraternal good intentions of our Kenyan colleagues are not at all in question, but it seems that there were misunderstandings of the precise requirements of English Canon Law and good practice as regards the recommendation of candidates for ordination and deployment in mission’ seem to suggest that the Archbishop of Kenya, the Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council didn’t know what he was doing. You reckon? I think he’s sharper than that. I suspect he knew exactly what he was doing.