Thursday, June 29, 2006

General Convention

I read something by Bishop Gary Lillibridge here that I wanted to reflect on a bit.

Bishop Lillibridge said: "When we are forced to legislate and vote on theological issues, the inevitable result is that winners and losers are created."

The truth is that General Convention was never designed to debate, decide, or vote on theological issues. GC was designed to govern the Church. It is designed to debate budgets, diocesan creation or consolidation, set out rules concerning qualification and training for ordained ministry. GC sets out the disciplinary rules for the Church and provides (or should provide) direction of the ministry of the Church. GC does not, or should not decide the Faith of the Church because everything GC does that is not canonical or constitutional is considered recommendary. (Which makes me wonder why we go through the whole mess because if you don't want to follow the recommendation, you don't have to.)

The Faith of the Church has already been given. I made this point in my post on Ordination. When changes are made in the faith of the Church (such as the proposed change on moral teaching), those changes should be debated by the Bishops and Presbyters of the Church - in concert with the other members of the communion. In truth, there really is no current mechanism to change the teaching of the Church, so we've been making it up as we go along. The method we selected this time has not been a good one for reflection or debate. Perhaps we should come up with a better process before we try to change the faith of the Church.

Phil Snyder


Milton Finch said...

Hey Phil,

You wrote, "those changes should be debated by the Bishops and Presbyters of the Church - in concert with the other members of the communion."

Do you think this is on the way with the covenant agreement? Is a magesterium on the way, like the college of Cardinals, or something less formal?

plsdeacon said...

I don't know if the Covenant agreement will include that. I hope it does. Not being a confidant of ++Cantuar, I don't know what he is expecting for the Covenant :).

Phil Snyder

Anglican in FL said...

Being forced to vote on theological issues ends up a process of politics and negotiation and results in compromise. Never a good idea.