Thursday, November 17, 2005

primates of the global south to ++rowan cantuar on his comments in cairo

J-Tron hoped I would say something about the Global South's response to the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments in Cairo.

Some of the more interesting and incisive bits I have pasted below (read the whole thing here).

In general, both this piece and the previous statement from the Most Reverend Fathers gathered in Egypt reads like it could have been written in the Patristic Age. These seem to be men steeped in God's self-revelation. They seem to know it, to love it, and to commend it with a refreshing lack of self-awareness or the niceties of overly political scrupulousness.

Both the previous statement and this one strike me as profoundly catholic. Note the appeals to the consesus fidelium of the Holy Catholic Church, the appeals to apostolic authority, and the recognition that ++Wiliams's own archepiscopal authority, as primus primorum inter pares, is derivitive therefrom.

I love their uncompromising fidelity to the Truth of the Gospel, confirmed by Catholic witness, as well as their unfaltering confidence in the Bible as the Word of the Lord.

With regard to the last paragraph (below), about which J-tron asked specifically, I disagree that the Communions mentioned are "equally part of the... Catholic... Church." It strikes me as a careless statement, though one born of a sensitivity to the predominance of truly catholic disciplines and charismata among the Baptists and Pentacostals (primarily Biblical literacy and the "gifts of the Spirit"). Though cursory reflection on the matter confirms the greater relative importance of the Apostolicity of the Historic Episcopate for true catholicity, its also true that the more Catholic Communions could stand to learn a lot from our Free Church brethren about true evangelicalism and evangeliocentricity. I just wouldn't have used the word "equally". I don't think its accurate. But neither will I get my knickers in a knot over it. The shortcomings of Baptists and Pentacostals in terms of polity (and, indeed theology) are largely the byproducts of ignorance. ECUSA, on the other hand, is swiftly becoming willfully apostate.

The essence of libertinism is the severing of the grace of Christ from his moral commandments. This, we believe, is at the heart of our present divisions. Although it is right to be reminded both of the grace of God in Christ and of our own frailty and sinfulness, neither the greatness of grace nor the sinfulness of sin can be advanced as reasons for failing in our duty to guard the gospel. The church is, after all, “a pillar and buttress of truth” (I Timothy 3.15) and “Your word is truth” (John 17.17).


We welcome your pastoral example of coming amongst us as presiding Primate of the Anglican Communion. We recognize the limitations on your office, as the Communion has few legal structures. We agree with you that a Communion Covenant is needed. However, we are troubled by your reluctance to use your moral authority to challenge the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to call for the immediate cessation of any blessings of same sex unions and on any ordinations of those in such unions in every diocese in the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada. The apostle Paul never invoked law for his churches (indeed there was no canon law at that time), but he nevertheless exhorted them to be of one mind with him and to conform their lives to apostolic tradition (II Thessalonians 2.15). We do not see why you cannot warn these churches now, based on the Windsor Report and your own convictions about unity, that they will not be invited to Lambeth 2008 unless they truly repent.


We appreciate your sharing the testimony of your own pilgrimage of faith, including your early encounter with Russian Orthodoxy. We agree there is much to learn from other traditions, such as the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Baptists and Pentecostals, who are equally part of the one holy, catholic and apostolic church. We are sure you must feel the shame caused by the brokenness within our own Communion when you interact with these churches ecumenically.

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