Thursday, August 23, 2007

Toothless

With a very minor change, the U.S. House of Bishops should immediately affirm every one of these points in its September meeting, post Williams:


a. The Authority and Supremacy of Scripture.
b. The Doctrine of the Trinity
c. The person, work and resurrection of Jesus the Christ
d. The acknowledgement of Jesus as Divine and the One and only means of salvation
e. The doctrines of sin, forgiveness, reconciliation, and transformation by the Holy Spirit through Christ.
f. The sanctity of marriage and teaching about morality that is rooted in the Bible.


And not on my say-so alone. These points are taken, of course, from the new, revised, standard version of Akinola's latest missive (to his own bishops ostensibly). [Update: Who knew this toothless, awkward missive was mostly the work of Brother Minns? How long do you suppose Minns has played Rove to Akinola? I for one am less than shocked.]

The minor change? There is no mention of Jesus' full humanity. Points (b), (c), (d) and (e) make Jesus' full divinity amply clear, but lest the document seem crypto-Gnostic or quasi-Apollinarian, we should amend it minimally so as to make clear the full humanity of Christ--which in the Spirit of Charity we should take Akinola[/Minns] to have intended.

Anyhow, shouting loudly that they accede to each of these points, the bishops could make clear how much common ground actually remains between the so-called GS and the rest of the Anglican Communion, audacious propaganda aside.

If someone wants to then dispute the bishops' sincerity, that soul shall have to make clear more is meant than appears on the little list. What more is meant, whatever it is, should have an opportunity to come out of the darkness and into the light.

If the HoB proclaimed these points, and nobody stepped into the breach to say with cogency "Why, it just can't be so!" then post 9/30 hysteria will appear--and in fact become--quite irrational. Akinola[/Minns], has, in spite of himself one fears, given the HoB a wonderful present.

7 Comments:

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

Part `d', `only means' could be interesting.

Likewise part `f', `rooted in' could be.

With a little understanding, one might be able to use these two phrases, but I bet I don't mean the same things as Akinola by them. (
Spong is right: these terms are decided and then they become the new rigid poles in the scaffolding.)

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Problem: the decoder ring doesn't come in the Bible box.

An exclusivist decoding in any terms--including conservtaive--is an exercise in sheer asserion of Created will over against that of the Creator--Who knew we could never comprehend Him.

The sheer assertion of Will, along the lines of a fiat "Let it mean what we say it means" is an exercise backed by Nothing; and the fervent advocacy of sheer will beacked by Nothing is merest Nihilism: the impossible attempt to Reduce the Creator to the plane of the Created.

 
At 2:48 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I would modify (d) to read: "The acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as Incarnate Lord, whom we believe to be the Saviour of the world, (John 4:42)

This takes the politics of John 14:6 out of the hands of the Akinolites/Minnoans.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Jody+ said...

As someone who has been numbered among "reasserters" I can say that if our HOB affirmed that list (with the change you indicate) then we would be in a much more comfortable place to discuss the remainder of our differences. My primary concern has never been the sexuality issue per se, but that it seems to serve as a marker for other, more important doctrinal issues so often.

 
At 8:49 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

They should not be nervous about affirming it.

They would hesitate for only two reasons, IMHO: (1)they do not want to turn off educated but unchurched observers who are scared of churchbabble; (2)they have gone out of their way to be friendly to a handful of ostentatious ordained questioners. But these are not good reasons to hesitate at this time.

Because there is nothing politically reactionary or anti-science "know-nothingish" on the list, it would run very little risk of turning modernist observers off. They have ways of "finessing" such a list; they'd be OK.

And like you said, it would be very reassuring to the self-consciously creed-minded (like you and me I suppose).

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger Marshall said...

You're aware, of course, of the most meaningful argument against passing such resolutions: that they have been passed repeatedly in the past, and have not been abrogated, most meaningfully in constitutional approval of the Book of Common Prayer; and are reaffirmed in each Eucharist, each Baptism, each Ordination and Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows, and each Episcopal Visitation. Some of us resist these initiatives in General Convention and in diocesan Conventions feeling that to reconsider such explicit statements is to suggest our regular repetition is somehow insubstantial or inadequate unless understood through a narrow, partisan hermeneutic.

Now, there are other arguments, mostly related to concern about that narrow, partisan hermeneutic. The concern about "how this will reflect on interfaith discussions" is of this sort.

Perhaps in these times it is worth considering passing such resolutions, so as to (depending on perspective) proclaim how much we have in common, or to put the ball in the dissenters' court. I could consider it, if couched in an affirmation of Prayer Book life and liturgy and Anglican breadth, rather than in an apparent rejection of them

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Marshall,
That's a good point; there are sound reasons for ignoring the list.

However, there are also good reasons for passing an affirmation, as you note. This is not just like General Convention, where political and factional debating about such a list might be a self-indulgent spectacle entirely out of place.

This is a matter of TEC on the international stage, where there is some sincere perplexity and confusion about where we stand as a church. Clarification would be in good order. An affirmation would not go against TEC's current doctrinal positions, and it would do--in our current context--considerable pastoral good.

 

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