Recognising the Inevitable Split in the Anglican/Episcopal World

That great son of the Confederacy (and probable relative to his Ulster Unionist namesake) David Trimble gets it right on this one:

Many of these orthodox may not yet be fully conscious of this change.  It is in some ways subtle, in the tone and frequency of blog posts and other communications among those who have for so long been engaged in this fight.  There is a sense of resignation that TEO is inexorably going to do what it will do to convert itself into a secular, social-justice based organization, using the Bible only insofar as it can be turned to justify their secular goals.  If one is not yet convinced, the upcoming Glasspool consecration should be the nail in the proverbial coffin of belief in the possibility to “reform” TEO back into a Christian organization.

GAFCON has, through Archbishop Kolini, specific actions to be taken within the overall Communion to advance the cause of the orthodox, including probably rejection of the Covenant.  In so doing, is it possible that a line has been drawn in the sand that could lead to the orthodox, particularly the Global South, rendering Canterbury further down the road toward complete irrelevancy?  And, GAFCON’s open embrace of Abp. Bob Duncan, +Mark Lawrence, and others from among the North American orthodox clergy is an obvious step away from Canterbury.

My question is this: why did anyone think it would turn out differently?

In the years since I’ve been a part of the Anglican/Episcopal blogosphere, I’ve worked under the following assumptions:

  • The Episcopal Church is irredeemably revisionist, and that’s putting it politely.  It’s been that way since the days of wine and James Pike and the local resistance movements haven’t changed the general character of the church.  A “new deal” for North American Anglicans is needed, with or without the previously occupied property.
  • The Church of England, for reasons political and otherwise, cannot be counted on to buttress the orthodox, irrespective of its Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic constituencies.
  • The best hope for a serious orthodox Anglicanism in the world is, literally, out of Africa.  This is also good for everyone else, because it fulfils the promise of a multicultural body of believers (not sceptics) that is embodied in the New Testament from Acts 2 onward.  I know it’s inspired me to look at my own church in a different light.
  • The Anglican Covenant is not only a non-starter in a group of churches which is so divergent in belief; it’s a conduit for all kinds of First World mischief to be propagated through money favouring.

It’s sad if understandable to read of blog post after blog post of people who have some kind of hope that an infusion of ecclesiastical authority coming from somewhere (Canterbury is the usual object of affection) will make things “all better.”  But we all know that the gap between the promise of hope and change vs. the reality can be very dramatic.

The good news is that Anglicanism, thanks to the dedication of many, the medium of the Internet, and the blessings of God, has done things I wouldn’t have thought were possible, had I not seen them for myself.  It’s time to celebrate what’s good and move forward with the mission that Our Lord left us and not worry so much about how we might have liked for things to come out.

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