Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Inclusive Church's statement on GAFCON - another fisking

This is such a target rich environment that it's too easy.

The "Inclusive Church" has a statement about the recent steatement from GAFCON. You can read it at the link, but here is my fisking of the statement:

The "Statement on the Global Anglican Future” released after the
GAFCON conference in Jerusalem shows once again how deeply many people
misunderstand the nature and spirit of Anglicanism. It misrepresents
loyal, orthodox, traditional Anglicans across the world who are
working and praying, in the spirit of the Gospel, to bring about the reign of
God on earth

That GAFCON was necessary is evidence of how "deeply many people misunderstand the nature and spirit of Anglicanism." But the problem is that the GAFCON delegates are the ones who do understand the nature and spirit of Anglicanism. It is the groups who are trying to change the Church from the Body of those who are being made new in Jesus Christ to a body of those who are affirmed in their deepest selves. GAFCON represents (not mis-represents) "loyal, orthodox, traditional Anglicans across the world."

Anglicanism is is a dynamic, changing, growing and living faith which takes its
authority from scripture, reason and tradition. It is unafraid to
learn and receive anew the lessons of God's unconditional love. The last
century has taught us how we must make sure that there are no barriers to the
welcome we offer to God's house. Anglican Christians in the United
States, Britain and across the world have applied those lessons and, in
accordance with scripture, opened their doors to those previously shut

This is a pretty true statement. But Inclusive Church has rejected Scripture, Tradition, and reason. (Note that "scripture" is not capitalized). The Church does need to be more open and call all people into relationship with the Holy Trinity. But that call is not a call to affirm yourself. It is a call to die to self to be raised with Jesus Christ. The only barriers to welcome in God's hourse should be within ourselves and include those sins of which we will not repent.

We welcome the response of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the GAFCON
statement. The arbitrary creation of a "Primates' Council” without
legitimacy or authority cuts directly across the Anglican Instruments of
Communion - the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference,
the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meeting. The Statement
represents, in sum and despite its denials, a schismatic document which
seeks to re-form Anglicanism in a way which is without justification
historically and ecclesiologically.

The audacity of this statement is almost beyond belief. Having rejected the authority of the Primates Council, Lambeth, the ACC, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, how can they question anyone who works both inside and outside these structures. GAFCON is not attempting to replace either Lambeth, the ACC, the Primates Council or the ABC. GAFCON is asking for a primates group to steer the GAFCON church within a church. This is actually better than the Inclusive Church or the Integrity way of acting schimatically by telling the rest of the Church that they are wrong and shouldn't be listened to.

We regret the stumbling blocks which are created by the insistence on a
narrow understanding of scriptural authority, especially for members of Anglican
Churches in provinces whose leaders support the ideas of GAFCON. And
those who break away from the Anglican Communion will still have the challenge
of celebrating the diversity in God's universe, and acknowledging the divine
gifts bestowed on people who may be marginalised in some provinces - especially
women and lesbian and gay people.

Chesterton once said "The purpose of an open mind is the same as an open mouth - to close it upon something." It seems that Inclusive Church wants to have scripture (for them it has no capital) to be so open as to avoid all meaning. There are many ways to interpret scripture in its plain sense. The problem comes when you interpret Holy Scripture to say what it manifestly does not say. When you insist on ways of interpreting Scripture that the Church has never used or has used and found wanting. No one is denying that God gives gifts to homosexuals or to women. We do deny that God blesses homosexual sex in any fashion.

We are reminded of Matthew 11.16 - "To what shall I compare this
generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling
to one another, "We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we
wailed and you did not mourn.”

I am reminded of Gal 1:8 "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed." No one is asking people not to dance nor not to mourn. What we are asking for is simple compliance with the united voice of the Anglican Communion in recognizing sin as sin and refusing to bless it.

Above all we give thanks that the Spirit which leads us into all truth continues
to inspire and refresh the Anglican Communion. We all have much to learn
from each other, and we look forward to the Lambeth Conference. We pray
that in humility and openness those who attend will grow in their understanding
of the Gospel, of the Communion and of one another so that we can all be
newly equipped to serve the God who calls each of us into God's immeasurable

I share this prayer and I pray that the Holy Spirit comes with great power upon the bishops assembled at Lambeth. I pray that the stiff necked people who will not submit to the will of God as it is made plain in Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Church will bend their necks, lower their hearts and bend their knews and surrender to God's grace and love.

Phil Snyder


Dale Matson said...

The Inclusive Church statement was made, "It [Anglicanism] is unafraid to learn and receive anew the lessons of God's unconditional love. The last century has taught us how we must make sure that there are no barriers to the
welcome we offer to God's house" 1. God's love is indeed unconditional but it is not what Bonhoffer referred to as "Cheap Grace. We are accepted "As is" but we are called to be transformed. The process of Sanctification does not allow us to remain as we are. 2. The "barriers" referred to are conditions we agree to in our baptismal covenant. We agree to drown the old man as we celebrate our baptism daily (Luther). I was once a Missouri Synod Lutheran and remember their theology that both the Gospel and Law should be preached. The Law was a curb, a mirror and a guide. We must be obedient to God. We must be a holy people. I don't hear this aspect even mentioned. I hear "Gospel, Gospel, Gospel" but without balance you have the Church in Corinth and "another gospel" mentioned by St. Paul in Galatians. The only law I hear about from TEC is cannon law.

Bob said...


target rich seems like an awfully sad term to describe this

plsdeacon said...


You are exactly right. God loves us as we are, but he loves us too much to leave us as we are. Rather than thinking of God's "unconditional" love, I would rather talk of His "unmerited" love. God's love does have conditions - if you accept it. You cannot truly accept God's love an not be changed.

Dale - While it is sad that there are so many targets out there today, I am also glad that I ahve a chance to stand for the orthodox Christian faith and proclaim the truth. God often allows His Church to fall in to error and apostacy, only to renew it and bring about a great awakening world wide. I believe we are seeing the beginnings of that in Africa and the Global South today.

Phil Snyder