Friday, April 9, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury Fiddles While Anglican Communion Burns

Ruth Gledhill's blog and Virtue Online have both published a letter from Henry Luke Orambi, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda, announcing his resignation from the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion in solidarity with Bishop Mouneer Anis, who resigned a few weeks ago. The letter is addressed the Archbishop of Canterbury and copied to the other Primates and members of the Joint Standing Committee.

The letter laments the shift in power from the Primates as a group to the Standing Committee, which includes representatives of The Episcopal Church on it. The refusal of the Archbishop of Canterbury to discipline TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada for their flaunting of the manifest will of the Communion as a whole is exacerbating the crisis.
"Subsequent meetings of the Joint Standing Committee have included the Primate of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and other members of TEC, who are the very ones who have pushed the Anglican Communion into this sustained crisis. How can we expect the gross violators of Biblical Truth to sanction their own discipline when they believe they have done nothing wrong and further insist that their revisionist theology is actually the substance of Anglicanism?

We have only to note the recent election and confirmation of an active Lesbian as a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles to realize that TEC has no interest in "gracious restraint," let alone a moratorium on the things that have brought us to this point of collapse. It is now impossible to regard their earlier words of "regret" as a serious gesture of reconciliation with the rest of the Communion."
The "open Evangelical" group Fulcrum in the UK has recently called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to exclude the representative of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada from future meetings of Communion instruments of unity. Here is an excerpt:
"The nature of the Communion's structures at present is such that effecting this distancing will require clear and decisive action by the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the very least he needs to make clear that bishops participating in the May consecration in Los Angeles will thereby exclude themselves from being invited by him to participate in the Instruments or to represent the Communion in any form.

Unless he does this all that the Instruments have repeatedly said in relation to TEC's conduct will be undermined. The sickness of TEC's inability to say what it means and mean what it says to the rest of the Communion will then have infected the Instruments and will surely destroy the Communion. The fact the Presiding Bishop of TEC and Ian Douglas are on 'The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion' (which according to the proposed covenant will have a crucial role in monitoring the covenant's functioning) only highlights the need for decisive action if the Communion and the covenant are to retain any credibility."
Fulcrum has been extremely loyal to the Archbishop of Canterbury and includes within its ranks N. T. Wright. Up to this point it has obviously hoped that the Archbishop of Canterbury would uphold traditional and biblical doctrine and ethics and eventually discipline TEC and AC of C. But hope for Williams to do anything but stall, fiddle and hope that the orthodox eventually accept homosexuality is fading now.

It is clear that Williams is not prepared to defend the unity of the Communion. His professed desire to "hold it all together" is not credible any longer. What he wants to do is to enable the heretics in TEC and AC of C to stay in the Communion without being disciplined until their revisionist viewpoints eventually wear down the orthodox opposition.

The clear message to orthodox Christians from other denominations watching this tragedy unfold is two-fold. First, we cannot count on the Anglicans to champion orthodoxy in a balanced, scholarly manner as they have done for centuries as a gift to the wider Christian world. And, secondly, we must oppose liberal theology whenever it raises its ugly head in our own Churches because if it is allowed to grow and spread like a cancer the ultimate result will be division, heartache and scandal.

There seems to be some confusion as to whether Archbishop Orambi has actually resigned or merely stated his support for his fellow bishop Mouneer Anis's resignation. Both Gledhill and Virtue Online initially said he had, but have now post corrections saying that he has not actually resigned, only expressed support for Anis. See also the Stand Firm website, which has more details. Even if he has not resigned, this letter still exposes the unwillingness to act on the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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