Friday, November 11, 2005

Archbishop Williams Erring

Recently, in response to a question, do you believe that same-sex sex can be holy and blessed? If so, on what authority do you base this belief? Williams replied

[A] The church overall, the church of England in particular, the Anglican communion has not been persuaded that same-sex sex can be holy and blessed. [B] Were it to decide that by some process unimaginable to most of you it would be by an overwhelming consensus. [C]Only at that point would it be possible to say in the name of the church, this is holy and blessed.

So I take my stand with the church of England, with the communion, with the majority of Christians through the ages. I have in the past raised questions about this. I was a theological teacher for 17 years and along with other theological teachers raised this issue and discussed it. I have advance ideas on this in the past, but the fact remains that the church is not persuaded, and [D] the church is not William’s personal political parties, or any particular persons. [E] I am loyal to the church which has asked me to serve, and I myself hold if I am asked about doctrine and discipline, this is what the church upholds. So, the authority that I accept has to be the authority of the whole body and that part of the body which is the church of England and the Anglican communion has made its determination.
I’ll add two things to that.
[F] One is to welcome the statement that we should never use language that demeans another human being. In London, we have had another extraordinary brutal murder of a gay man in the last couple of weeks by a group of extremely violent people. I am loathed, indeed I cannot bring myself to use any language which could condone such behaviour and I’m sure that is true for all of you. That is something which I have to take very much to heart. The second is, I think I need to put on the table, is theologians will go on discussing this and it would not, I think, be possible to stop them. We ask theologians to look at difficult questions. They come up with different answers. For nearly a century in the 4th century in this country of Egypt, the conflict over the doctrine of the trinity raged between theologians and bishops and was not resolved overnight. But I distinguish as clearly as I can between a question a theologian may ask and an action or determination the church may take, or only the bishop may take. I think that is a necessary distinction for the life and health of the church. It would be a tragedy if the church sought to suppress questions. [G] But it is equally a tragedy when the church create facts on the ground that foreclose discussions and reflections on such questions.


I've added the letters in brackets where I felt it necessary to comment.

Take point [D]: the church is not the party of any particular person. That is, I hope you will agree, completely false. Provided you agree that the church has exactly one head, in relation to whom alone it can exist at all, namely Christ, you should concede that the church is the party of a particular person, namely Christ. The church in no way is bound to any doctrine or action where Christ would have us do something different--even if the overwhelming majority of the church throughout its history here below stood in agreement on a point contradicting the will of Christ, Christ would be right, and the church wrong. That should be a no-brainer for Williams, but he misses it.

Now take point [E] in light of his error in point [D]: which church is Williams serving? Evidently not the one headed exclusively by the person of Christ, but a "church" with another head, perhaps made up of bishops, etc. Evidently he is serving the wrong church--quite apart from questions about the possible holiness of same-sex unions.

But let us address points [A] to [C], which take up the issue of same-sex unions. How are we to determine that of which the church has been persuaded? Given Williams' conception of the church and its "head" you will not be surprised to find him speaking of "an overwhelming consensus" as determining the mind of the church. Buit that is wrong--the mind of the church is not determined by the persuasion of a super-majority; rather, it is determined by the mind of Christ. Christ's determination is the standard to which we are to bring ourselves in line--and it is an objective standard, not open to being altered and mutated by human preference in the church here below.

To make his argument, Williams would have had to establish a necessary connection between overwhelming consensus and the mind of Christ--which he would seem to be unable to do, as he holds out the possibility in [B] however unlikely of such a consensus shifting (which Christ would not do). In short, Williams' position is incoherent.

Contrary to [C], it follows rather that one may speak in the name of the church, even against a consensus to the contrary, provided the minority speaks for the mind of Christ. The leading question should be not "Where is the consensus now?" but "What is the mind of Christ on this question?" Shall we govern the church and determine its doctrine here below by opinion polls?

To the extent that Williams departs from Christ as a standard, he becomes thoroughly confused--an object lesson. With that in mind, consider points [F] and [G]. What kind of viscious abstraction conceives a human person apart from the love of that person, that designs to separate person and character? Can this be done with the divine persons without violence? How can we abstract the homosexual from the love in which that homosexual lives his or her life? Yet this is what Williams would have us do in consigning their love to mere sin while prescinding from demeaning them--the person left over after the sinful love is removed is somehow pristine and whole. A new mystery.

And finally, [G]--which seems hardly to stand long enough to fall down. His point cuts both ways: are ECUSA and Canada creating facts on the ground? Or are those provinces in the Anglican Communion creating facts on the ground by their resistance to blessing gay unions, their condemnation of homosexuals, their avid pursuit of schism? Williams displays a mindset here that should be vigorously rejected, the same sort of mindset that would tell black Americans in the Jim Crow south to wait a bit longer for equality, and above all not to stir up the anger of their segregationist neighbors by actively protesting the status quo. The status quo is itself a "fact on the ground" that is hardly morally neutral to the extent it is unjust; rather, by the very fact it is the default mode of life of the majority of the AC it continues to develop dispositions to injustice in those members of the AC affected by those facts so as to support the status quo. Why, when the status quo involves a manifest injustice contrary to the mind of Christ, is it wrong to create new facts on the ground, a new mode of life: justice in accord with the mind of Christ? It seems to me Williams has erred.

37 Comments:

At 5:29 PM, Blogger *Christopher said...

Scotist,

I apologize for the rant in advance, but this bit by ++Williams really pissed me off.

Thank you for this analysis. This is very not catholic of ++Williams, which seems to be a shift he's increasingly moved toward to hold things together--really it continues the scapegoating of lgb folk but in a more subtle way while not calling the Church (which here seems to mean either bishops, those who oppose inclusion of gay couples, or heterosexuals) to an attitude of critical self-examination. Jim Crow does indeed come to mind.

As I wrote in my proposal for responding to Windsor, the point is Truth--the Mind of Christ--, not what bishops or priests or deacons or laity decide is the consensus. One way or the other someone is wrong on this matter, and only the Mind of Christ will set us right, not a Church that in its members all suffer the effects of Original Sin and has already established various patterns of relating, "facts on the ground" in that past that have later been determined not to be the Truth at all.

If this is about the possibility of changes in Truth due to consensus, then we're not dealing with the approximation toward Truth that is the catholic sensibility. From an eschatological pov if same sex unions are true, they have always been true, and we've misapprehended the Truth with our "facts on the ground".

If the Truth of the matter is that same sex couplings for homosexual persons display holiness, which is above all else upbuilding and sacrificial love that participates in the love of Christ for the Church and the love of the Persons of the Holy Trinity for each other, then we need to reevaluate. And post haste.

If not, then we need to prepare for a reverse decision, post haste, and enforce break up of partnerships as not of the Mind of Christ and require celibacy for lgb both clergy and laity if they wish to be members of the Church in good standing.

I think there is enough of such couplings around at this point to begin an honest assessment, not establish some puny listening post inaccessible to most lgb folk as has been recently done.

The Church has created "facts on the ground" about homosexuality without submitting its facts to any testing whatsoever, besides its own long negative reading that has now been challenged. A challenge requires more than consensus, it requires a study for the Truth.

From a catholic anthropology, if same sex couplings are false, this can be verified not only through reading Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, but through Experience (and not just subjective experience, but a look at things sociologically, biologically, psychologically, etc., for flourishing and fruits).

That the Church is so bullheaded that it continues to assert "facts on the ground" without looking at the actual lives of Christian same sex couples to determine if the Church has gotten something wrong is in clear violation of a catholic anthropology.

After all, the Church has gotten things wrong before, and really if we're honest, that should be our best feature--that we can admit we've made a mistake, so some effort at reducing assertions in a time of discernment would be a start. But no, we assert "facts" which may not be the Truth at all, and claim those who in conscience submit that they are living into the Mind of Christ are creating "facts". Someone is wrong here on the matter. A consensus does not establish Truth.

++Williams can loathe horrible language all he wants, but his lack of passion on the matter of gay men being beaten to death says volumes. This isn't a powerful matter of concern because that man was probably sexually active and so not celibate and so matters less and its all really understandable seems to be the undertone since his loving was an inauthentic part of this imago Dei.

All the little bits of even a progressive Anglo-catholic heterosexism wrapped up without challenge. It's so damn consdescending in a "yes'a masta" kind of way.

Finally, this isn't some head trip for theologians to debate for a century or two, this is a matter of care for fellow human beings, who suffer real harm, and frankly, with ++Williams attitude of care, he cannot pastor us. He has already established "facts on the ground" and they're killing us.

He can take a stand with the Church of England all he wants, but it isn't clear that his facts are the Truth. And given there is unclarity, continued assertions of what the Church has always taught are no longer enough--they are in dispute and that dispute deserves attention, not mere reassertions and headtrips, which are not a Trinitarian and Anglican way to proceed. We proceed toward Truth at our best in liturgy, i.e. our primary of relating to G-d, and conversations.

 
At 6:36 PM, Blogger bls said...

I agree that Rowan Williams is confused.

The Church persecuted Jews, too, from the moment the ink was dry on Nicea until just last week. That's 1600 years' worth of grievous error; not, I'm afraid, very inspiring of confidence in "majority rule."

 
At 7:22 PM, Anonymous John D said...

An altogether unworthy statement from ++Rowan, and a damned fine exhibit of why North American Anglicans(with Christians of all labels) should beware Established religion.

 
At 8:33 PM, Blogger Augustus Meriwether said...

This is a brilliant analysis, Mr Scotist, thank you so much.

 
At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How to miss the point completely!

Dr Williams is expressing the basic catholic principle that the mind of Christ is precisely to be found in consensus, not in the assertions of pressure groups or sects. "Securus iudicat orbis terrarum".

A welcome statement from a remarkable Christian leader.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Sadly I agree with your criticisms of ++Rowan. I regret this very much, as I find that he also has much to say that is fruitful. I think what has happened is that he has become institutionalised. Rowan Williams, the compassionate much-gifted man, has become the Archbishop of Canterbury, the dysfunctional institution.

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

christopher,
I agree with you: Abp. Williams has been sadly disappointing; more of a politician than a shepherd, less a pastoral leader and more a Proteus, ever shifting into odd shapes to suit our odd times. He has become something of a mere aesthete, in Kierkegaard's sense.

And you are right on to call attention to the eschaton as an epitstemic hinge: who can say how many popes, patriarchs and apostles side firmly with ECUSA now (or then, depending on your theology), being actually in the presence of Christ? The communion of saints we celebrate extends far beyond those we see now here below; we should beware confusing the church as it actually is with the church as it is now here below and has been here below.

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anonymous,
Thanks for giving voice to this principle, "securus iudicat orbis terrarum." The principle is only true, and so genuinely catholic, if the consensus concerns the entire church viewed across its entire existence. Then, of course, what a super-majority believes now, or at any time here below after Ascension, is insufficient to determine true doctrine on an issue like the blessing of gay unions.

 
At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try looking beyond the shores of ECUSA, Scotist. You will find a remarkable consensus among Orthodox Churches, the RC Church, and the great majority of Anglican provinces. And now also the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was the darling of the liberal ascendancy until recently, when he dared to disagree with their programme.

It also tallies with the views expressed by the universal church on this issue down the ages. Set that against the shadow of a shade which is the modern secularised ECUSA, and tell us, in all sincerity, that you think the electors of NH were right and everyone else is wrong?

 
At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Vincent said...

I have to agree with Anonymous. Scotist, your remarks fall completely at the bar of Vicentian catholicity.
The consensus across time (before and after the Asecension) and throughout the world is clear on same-sex behavior.
If you choose to set 'the mind of Christ' against the consentient testimony of the Church, you must also cast doubt on the ecumenical creeds and the ways in which they have been received. You also set yourself against the Apostle Paul and his fellow apostles in their claim to 'have the mind of Christ'.
So your vision of the church is neither one, nor catholic nor apostolic. It is sectarian.

 
At 6:38 PM, Blogger Merseymike said...

Wise words indeed - they are very much appreciated.I hope that Rowan Williams will find the time to read them.

 
At 8:10 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anon,
True, Abp. Williams does seem to have stepped away from the liberal enclave of Affirming Catholicism, say, and into something else of a rather different sort.

More to the point, it is not just ECUSA against the rest of the AC, even here below. Who knows which provinces would choose to stand against the Anglican Church in Nigeria, etc.

Even so, as I'm sure you would agree, the here and now is not decisive in determining the truth
of catholic morality. Youo continue to insist on looking to the visible word of the church here below, when the communion of saints, and the person of Christ, extend far beyond that.

 
At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since you dismiss the idea of consensus, would you like to outline for us exactly how you think the mind of Christ should be discerned on significant issues where committed people genuinely disagree?

Is it the view that the minority that you happen to personally belong to that should be imposed on everyone else --- because it sure is what it sounds like?

The ABC is indicating that he is not such a big-head as to think he has correctly discerned the mind of Christ if most other people in the Church has discerned in the opposite direction. That is a position of humility that I find admirable in him.

 
At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

". . . where committed people genuinely disagree . . ." - that is the contemporary problem, how we, as a communion, "live" with this disagreement . . . Akinola et al would not permit such disagreement, the theological thrust of the arguments coming out of the conservatives is that, in effect, this disagreement must be the result of one side not genuinely committed to the Christian faith, handed down, founded in Scripture etc etc

If we have come to a place where faithful response brings us to such disagreement, and we are unable to either accept the faithfulness of the "other", or to live with that tension, then Dr Williams will not be able to hold any communion together, nor would any other . . .

 
At 10:06 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

vincent,

To appraise the soundness of the Vincentian Canon, try to use it to settle as basic an issue as what Scripture counts as canonical. In his Commonitorium Vincent writes,

"I have continually given the greatest pains and diligence to inquiring, from the greatest possible number of men outstanding in holiness and in doctrine, how I can secure a kind of fixed and, as it were, general and guiding principle for distinguishing the true Catholic Faith from the degraded falsehoods of heresy." Surely what counts as canon is at the heart of true catholic faith? And of great import for warding off heresy?

But alas--Vincent's canon is of no real help here: it is insufficient.

I suspect close attention to the canon will show it is empty too because it calls for unanimity: 99% or 51% or 99.9999999% one way are just not enough. that is too high a bar for any doctrine.

Finally, the canon is empty on account of the inaccessibility of required evidence: we have no idea where the required unanimity was actually achieved. Note, someone saying "I believe..." may be shading the truth, or even lying. How are we to tell unanimous sincerity among the ancient departed?

Indeed, as Christ is one of those whose belief counts toward what was held always etc held, if he alone dissented in ancient Palestine without telling us here below, that would be sufficient to invalidate Vincentian unanimity. Since he is said to have told us there is much he did not share with us, we have a problem: how to discern the mind of Christ. The Vincentian canon cannot help, on pain of logical circularity. O Alas!

Such problems with actually employing the Vincentian canon show why it is not truly canonical: why weigh down a creed or article of faith with that dead wood? It cannot couont toward establishing genuine catholicity.

 
At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul - I am not going to comment on your characterisations of Akinola et al -- they display such prejudice and malice that they do not deserve it -- but I do want to comment on the recurring refrain of "living with our disagreements" which we so often hear from one side of the arguement as being the necessary position we should reach.

This discussion started out with the preposition that the deciding factor is not the ABC's nor Akinola's mind, or even the mind of the majority but rather with the mind of Christ.

I would like you to explain how "living with our disagreements" doesn't mean that Christ is mind-less -- or at very least has a duality of mind that means that he believes the truth of completely conflicting positions.

I suggest that the position of "living with our disagreements" is only credible when we believe it is a dispute over which Christ could not care less -- like the colour of flowers in the church -- or the length of hair of the celebrant -- but to say that we do not need to resolve serious issues because we must "live with our differences" necessarily means that Christ ultimately stands for nothing.

That is not a position I would have thought anyone at any position of the spectrum of beliefs could agree with.

 
At 10:15 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anon,

Your question about how to actually discern the mind of Christ is indeed a fair, and pressing one. We have no silver bullet or magic ray for doing this job; our best efforts will be only provisional. Thus, ECUSA and anyone else in its position, regardless of consensus, cannot do anything to rewrite or add to the kerygma. If it decides to bless gay unions, saying that is the mind of Christ, all it can say legitimately is "For all we know, ...." or "To the best of our knowledge,...."

Stephen Holmgren in "Ethics After Easter" outlines a method giving content to what I call arguing to "For all we know..."--his word for it is "making a case." In this type of situation, we owe each other the consideration of making the best case possible for the moral decisions we must inevitable make without adequate guidance from the canon.

 
At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the anglican scotist

Thank you for your considered reply ... however, "making a case" to whom?

I think this is a key part of the question. Thoughout church history from the Council of Jerusalem onwards, the case has been made to the church leaders, who after prayerful consideration of the case, in light of their understanding of Christ, make a decision. That is the essence of "securus iudicat orbis terrarum."

Now the nearest the Anglican church has had to such a "making the case" is Lambeth 98; the Windsor report; the Dromantine conference; and the recent ACC meeting -- of which the most comprehensive meeting of the leaders was undoubtedly the Lambeth conference. And in each and every case the decision of the church leaders has been opposed -- in the case of the Lambeth conference overwhelmingly opposed -- to the innovations of the ECUSA.

With this history the position that you suggest we should take modeled on your reading of Stephen Holmgren is undoubted that which the ABC has taken in his answer which began this conference ie any opinion I may hold must be subservient to the expressed considered mind of the leadership of the church.

 
At 12:25 AM, Blogger Contarini said...

Scotist,

I've responded to your attack on ++Williams at my blog. The address is stewedrabbit.blogspot.com

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger Mark said...

So have I . . . in a more snarky manner than contarini:
http://wannabeanglican.blogspot.com/

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

contarini,
Thanks for the response; I'll try to reply later today at your blog, Ithilien.

anon,
Surely--as you say--the decision here below as to how we shall proceed is vested for the most part in the leaders of the church here below--bishops, priests, and others as the case may be.

I think that we will both agree that those leaders should make their decisions on the basis of their prayerful discernment of the mind of Christ. Good so far.

We may not be up to making a case for our respective positions however. ECUSA tried; it did well with "To set our hope on Christ" but that piece is a bit light on argument, and a bit brief as well. I'm not sure Windsor really called for a debate, or a sustained piece of reasoning serving a case.

Likewise, Lambeth resolutions can well leave underlying rationales dark (despite the accompanying 'study guides' which do not really build cases anyhow)--and I have no clear idea about what reasoning is behind 1.10.

Our ongoing dialogue, such as it is, would be better served in my opinion by moderated debate, carried on for months even, with the moderator directing each side to points it must answer in the other's argument.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Mark,
Snarkiness is welcome too--I'll try to answer you at your blog as well; it might take me until Tuesday.

 
At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you again for your considered reply.

The ECUSA was asked to make a considered case to the ACC. It was given many months to get it together, they used leading scholars within the church to write it, it was clearly going to become a key document in establishing their case, and they were given no word limit or for that matter any other constraints, so I think everyone is entitled to assume they made the best case they possibly could. To state therefore that it is "a bit light on argument, and a bit brief as well" as if it was a document rushed together in two minutes by the latest graduates from seminary with both hands tied behind their backs by the terms of the invitation is --- well disingenuious to put it politely.

The leadership asked for the ECUSA to undertake the process of convincing them -- the ECUSA failed to do so, even though they were presenting their case in the most friendly forum that existed. On this basis the ECUSA has failed (miserably and completely actually) to convince the leadership, and in failing to recognise that fact and address the issue they have done much more than breach the bonds of fellowship -- they have ceased to accept the discipline implicit in belonging to Anglican communion. Hence the consequences that have come from their actions.

Rowan Williams has, in the answer he gave above, modelled the correct response which the ECUSA should have made -- that they accepted that the church had not changed its position, but that there is a place for continuing the discussion and study. That place is not, however, at the consecration ceremony of a bishop, but in the halls and studies of our leading academics and in the meetings of the leaders of the church.

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anon,

For all I know, you might be right to suggest that "To set our hope on Christ" was the best reasoning ECUSA could put out given the state of its scholars etc.

I thought it was a work of popularization, intended for an audience outside of the academy. Given the high stakes, it was a work in the wrong genre.

ECUSA should do more to make its case; it can do more. That is not to say its case is the last word, or that its best case is infallible. It's time for a more academic formal production that explicitly invites others in the AC to the table to the task of refutation.

ECUSA did not commit itself to anything it cannot back away from in GC2003--it did not claim to operate with epistemic certainty or infallibility. But before it does so, it would need very good reasons.

At the present, no official forum actually exists where such reasons can be explicitly argued--am I wrong? Why doesn't the AC have such an open forum?

 
At 3:21 PM, Blogger Contarini said...

Scotist,

Thanks for your courteous and thoughtful reply over on my blog. I really need to get more work done and stop continually checking the blogs (!), so it may be a few days before I respond.

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

You are most welcome. Are you ABD (All But Dissertation)? Take your time and get work done. I know exactly what you are talking about, having finished up a degree recently.

 
At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Vincent said...

Anglican Scotist: if you don't want to be ex-Anglican Solipsist, you will have to take seriously what Paul says in 1 Cor 2.16, 'we have the mind of Christ', which is assuredly not an insight into everything but those things that Christ has chosen to disclose to us through his teaching and by the Spirit given to the Apostles.
And your advocacy of 'experience' as a source of religious truth is in no way catholic; rather it is a form of 'Kulturprotestantismus'.

 
At 7:09 PM, Blogger Contarini said...

Scotist,

Actually I recently defended my dissertation and am printing out the final copy (with all the right margins, etc.) at this very minute.

I'm giving a paper at AAR in a week (on Martin Bucer's demonology) and another talk to a church-related group (actually a fundraiser for a church school--they want me to give a historical talk about education in the Reformation era) this weekend. I have not finished either of these, hence my reference to work . . . .


I presume that your degree has something to do with Scotus?

 
At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You replied to my comment with this:

"ECUSA did not commit itself to anything it cannot back away from in GC2003--it did not claim to operate with epistemic certainty or infallibility. But before it does so, it would need very good reasons."

I would have to ask -- why?

ECUSA has failed to persuade the leaders of the communion. That is enough reason for them to think they have taken the wrong path. To then turn around and say it is up to the communion to persuade ECUSA that their change to 2000 years of thinking is wrong -- it defies belief really.

Are you really that myopic in outlook?
Do you really think tso little of the rest of the communion?
Is the heart of the whole universe the tiny insignificant organisation that you happen to belong to that you will ignore everyone else?

No -- the onus of persuasion lies solely with those proposing changes in doctrine, and ECUSA has failed - and failed miserably - to do so.

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anon,

The tininess of ECUSA isn't to the point--it may be right for being tiny, and the RCC, say, may be wrong despite being huge.

When I suggested that ECUSA operated within the limits of epistemic humility, I meant to imply that much of the rest of the AC did not. That is why reasons are required all around: the very fact ECUSA has said "Come see" and raised a question throws the security of opinion about the holiness of gay unions into question. What was uncertain to begin with has been questioned; much of the AC, and perhaps even Williams, are involved in a kind of epistemic hubris, pretending what is uncertain is certain.

You might as well pretend black is white, freedom is slavery, peace is war.

 
At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When I suggested that ECUSA operated within the limits of epistemic humility, I meant to imply that much of the rest of the AC did not."

What an utterly astounding assertion!!!! I really think you have stretched your credibility to breaking point. However in the interests of fairness, I will ask for your evidence please -- for both both ECUSA's humility and for AC's lack of it.

 
At 3:55 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

I'll provide evidence. But first let us agree on what counts as good evidence. Would you accept "True Union in the Body," "Claimimg our Anglican Identity" and "Communion and Discipline" as sources of possible relevant evidence? See the ACI website (I've got a link on the right) if you are unfamiliar with these three publications. I take them as speaking the mind of that part of the AC opposed to ECUSA's actions at GC2003. Are we agreed? Would you add anything?

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

vincent,
As you seem to tacitly concede, Paul's "we have the mind of Christ" cannot be taken literally without absurdity.

Moreover, if it was true for Paul in some relevant sense, his saying it does not make it true for the church after him, much less for us today.

Keeping to the mind of Christ is an ongoing task for the church, part of its calling--not something by any means guaranteed by Paul writing such and such. Otherwise, what would all the fuss concerning ECUSA be about?

Moreover, it seems obvious catholicity requires experience: is this even a question? How else is tradition transmitted? How else are Bible translations produced? Appeals to experience are ubiquitous in the catholic church here below. Do you really think we receive the mind of Christ as a pristine body of innate ideas?

However, I wish to agree with you that the core of tradition concerns the Gospel to be proclaimed and in addition the apostolic vehicle by which the proclamtion is to go forth: baptism, eucharist, episcopate, et al. But neither of these things determine the permissibility of blessing gay unions.

 
At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I submit the evidence has to be the sum total of actions taken by both sides since the decision was made to move ahead and consecrate VGR ie at very least it starts with the meeting that took place which lead to a letter which PB Griswold signed, which in summary said that going further would damage the communion etc. So selected documents won't cover it ... its the lot and includes both actions and statements.

 
At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually having thought a little more, I submit the evidence has to go back to Lambeth 98 -- because that was when the Communion considered the issue, and made a clear determination so that no-one could be in any doubt as to the basis of understanding of the communion.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anon,

I have given it a shot in a new post here, attending to Lambeth '98, as you suggested.

 
At 2:27 AM, Anonymous J.C. Fisher said...

"that their change to 2000 years of thinking"

. . . and with that, anon, you just shot your credibility as well.

Why oh why do we Episcopalians get tortured with this nonsense about "2000 years" or "the consensus of the Church through the ages" or other such anachronistic blather when it comes to the subject of homosexuality.

You CANNOT have 2000 years of thinking on a subject that is not even 200 years old! (As texts which are nearly 2000 year old---or older, in the case of the OT---cannot address this recent a subject either)

Basta! Enough already.

More light, Lord Christ: grant us more light!

 

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