Martyn Minns cuts to the chase
As some of you know, certain bishops have yet to receive an invitation to the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Though he is at the centre of the argument over who should and shouldn’t attend, Minns has some interesting points to make from a letter last weekend:
What does all this mean? First of all it is clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury faces an impossible task â€“ he is confronted by two irreconcilable truth claims. This has been the presenting problem from the beginning â€“ that is the key issue with which the Windsor report wrestles. What Archbishop Rowan has chosen to do now, however, is to ignore the underlying issue and elevate process over principle.
Second, all of the various efforts at discipline resulting from several meetings and communiquÃ©s have been ignored. The Lambeth Conference has been reduced to a meeting where bishops and their spouses simply gather for group bible study, prayer and shared reflection. These are significant activities but hardly justify the enormous expense of such an extended and world-wide gathering. They also presume a shared understanding of what the Bible is, who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Without any such agreement how can there be a coherent gospel to present to a hurting world?
Third, the Windsor Report and the Dar es Salaam CommuniquÃ© clearly recognized that the various pastoral provisions for orthodox Anglicans within the U.S. – especially CANA – are in response to the defiant and unrepentant actions of the Episcopal Church since 2003. There is no moral equivalence between immoral living and a creative pastoral provision. To ignore this reality and to pretend that by simply excluding one or two individuals we can have business as usual is decidedly shortsighted.
Finally, we need to remember that all this confusion is simply one more phase of a global conflict for the soul of the Anglican Communion. I have no doubt that there will be many more media moments and decision points in the coming months. It is a profoundly important battle that has eternal significance. We would do well to reread Ephesians chapter 6 and remember that in the heat of the battle our call is to pray and stand firm!
The first point is the most important. Next year we are coming up to the climax of the struggle. If Nigeria won’t come if Minns doesn’t come, and if TEC don’t come if Gene doesn’t come, then we are at the moment (finally) when Rowan must choose. That’s the moment that we’ve all been crying out for for years.