The long-term Problem with Two Provinces
One of the options being put forward to solve the crisis in TEC is a 2 Province solution. Broadly put, the Primates would create a new Province (probably under Bob Duncan as it’s first Primate) and it would sit alongside TEC. Dioceses and parishes could align to it, the orthodox in the USA would be saved and all would be merry and light.
It’s an attractive scenario and it has some short term merits but as a long term solution I believe it is doomed. Let me explain why:
i) It violates Nicean principles of Episcopal Diocesan integrity
You know this one because the Windsor Report itself refers to this in response to some actions of other Primates outside TEC. Simply put, the Council of Nicea ruled that in one place there would be one bishop and one diocese. It was not possible to have two bishops in jurisdiction over one diocese or place within the diocese.
Interestingly though, the out working of this ruling was to, over time, depose a great number of Arian Bishops and to replace them with orthodox episcopal authority. We also have the very important example of St John Chrysostom who as Patriarch in Constantinople deposed a number of unorthodox bishops. He didn’t put up parallel jurisdictions, he deposed them.
The bottom line is that a parallel province is un-Nicean and therefore unCatholic. It destroys the principle that there is a universal church represented by universally recognised bishops.
ii) It doesn’t discipline TEC
So this leads us to our second problem with a parallel or two province solution – it doesn’t discipline TEC for it’s apostasy. We need to remember that this is not a squabble over adiaphora or women priests. It’s not really about homosexuality actually. The problem with 815 (the TEC headquarters and leadership) is that it has completely apostasised. KJS and others, starting with Pike and Spong and carried on down the decades, simply refuse to affirm and teach basic Christian truths. Spong denied the entire Nicene Creed and yet TEC did nothing about it. In St John Chrysostom’s day Spong would have been literally kicked out the palace gates.
Greg and Sarah have blogged today on the absolute need to discipline TEC on this and other matters. A failure now to discipline TEC would completely undermine the whole of the Anglican Communion. The major players in global creedal orthodoxy, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, are looking to us to see whether we will still teach the Nicene and Chalcedonian truths of the Scriptures. To not discipline TEC would be to acquiesce to heresy. Indeed, we need to be bold here and say that anybody who does not criticise and discipline heresy is guilty of supporting it and therefore denying Christ. It’s as simple as that. If we let untruth exist we deny God because untruth denies who he is. Untruth CANNOT live alongside truth – it simply cannot.
A two province solution without discipline of TEC would be a cutting off from our catholic roots AND an implicit denial of basic creedal truth.
These are my initial thoughts this evening – I’d welcome comment and constructive feedback below.