Monday, June 30, 2008

The Presiding Bishop's "Emission" - My first "Fisking."

The Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA has issued a statement about the GAFCON statement. My intent in this post is to point out the errors in her statement and not to be as dismissive of her as a person as she is to the people who developed the GAFCON statement.

(edited to add the whole statement) - First is the statement and then I will "fisk" it line by line or section by section.

Much of the Anglican world must be lamenting the latest emission from GAFCON.
Anglicanism has always been broader than some find comfortable. This statement
does not represent the end of Anglicanism, merely another chapter in a
centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider themselves the only
true believers. Anglicans will continue to worship God in their churches, serve
the hungry and needy in their communities, and build missional relationships
with others across the globe, despite the desire of a few leaders to narrow the
influence of the gospel. We look forward to the opportunities of the Lambeth
Conference for constructive conversation, inspired prayer, and relational
encounters.

Now the section by section response (end of addition to new post):
Much of the Anglican world must be lamenting the latest emission from
GAFCON.

On the face of it, this is a true statement or at least not a demonstrably false one. I would guess about 5% of the Anglican Communion "laments" the GAFCON Statement. I also wonder about the title "emission." Why not talk about the "statement" from GAFCON or the GAFCON Declaration. ISTM that +Schori is belittling the statement from the beginning.

Anglicanism has always been broader than some find comfortable.
While it is true that Anglicanism is "broader than some find comfortable," it is also true that it has boundries. Traditionally, those boundries were found in the Book of Common Prayer and in the 39 Articles. Also, the boundries were found in the Creeds, Holy Scripture, and the first 4 (or 7) Ecumenical councils of the Church. while TECUSA has not yet officially crossed these boundries, many of the Clergy (including +KJS) have crossed them and no discipline has been forthcomming.


This statement does not represent the end of Anglicanism, merely another
chapter in a centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider
themselves the only true believers.
First, the statement does not pretend to represent the "end of Anglicanism." That is a rather nasty red herring. Second, the delegates at GAFCON do not think themselves the only "true" believers. They are not struggling for dominance. They are witnessing to the historical and universal teaching of the Church, catholic. It seems odd that +KJS would say that others "consider themselves the only true believers" when she is quite willing to depose bishops without following the canons, replace standing committees without canonical authority and call for diocesan special conventions that don't follow the canons or constitution of either TECUSA or the diocese in question. +KJS seems to be willing to risk a large portion of the wealth of TECUSA on lawsuits and does not seem alarmed at the drastic fall in TECUSA's ASA or the crisis in the Anglican Communion - so long as she and those that agree with her are allowed to continue on their path. These are the actions of someone who is assured of her own rightness and righteousness and that everyone who disagrees with her is wrong. These are the actions of a person who things she (and those like her) are "the only true believers."



Anglicans will continue to worship God in their churches, serve the hungry
and needy in their communities, and build missional relationships with others
across the globe, despite the desire of a few leaders to narrow the influence of
the gospel.
I notice no mention of making disciples for Jesus Christ. There is nothing about being made new in Jesus Christ. There is nothing about submitting to God's will or trying to learn God's will. From what I can see, the GAFCON leaders are broadening the influence of the Gospel because they are changing their societies with its message and power. TECUSA is the one narrowing the "influence of the gospel (sic)." They are narrowing their influence to a small and shrinking subset of society. They are presenting a gospel of self acceptance and self actualization, not one of dying to self to be raised to New Life. Bishop Schori - to see who is narrowing the Gospel's influence, look in the mirror.



We look forward to the opportunities of the Lambeth Conference for constructive
conversation, inspired prayer, and relational encounters.


I too look forward to Lambeth and pray that God's Holy Spirit will come with great power on the Bishops assembled. C.S. Lewis once said that it is harder to convert those who think they know the truth than those who recognize that they do not. It is harder to convert a Sunday only Christian who thinks he's got a pretty good life than it is to convert a person who realized that he is in a bad way and needs help. I pray that God will work to convert those who don't recognize their need of Him at Lambeth.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

3 comments:

Robert said...

Could you provide us with a link to the Presiding Bishop's complete statement, if such exists? Thanks.

plsdeacon said...

I'll edit the post to put the complete statement at the top.

Thanks for the suggestion.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Jill C. said...

Phil, you did a good job with your first "fisking." I think you were polite but accurate. Thanks for taking the time to take it apart!