Deciphering Venables

It’s not every day that a Primate of the Anglican Communion gets involved in a blog conversation. Most of us like to flatter ourselves that some of the big hats read our offerings (I personally believe that the person at the ACO who reads my contributions – I can see them when they happen – is the great bearded one himself) but that they actually get involved in the chats and comments?

That’s exactly what Greg Venables, the Primate of the Southern Cone has done by commenting on a thread on Stand Firm (as I report below). He was writing in response to some worries about the GAFCON meeting in June (splendid website by the way don’t you think?) and his remarks are fascinating, giving a clear insight into the thinking of those behind the Holy Land gathering. Let’s have a closer look:

++GV says: You seem to have laid out several examples of why Lambeth attendance is imperative. If the game is still afoot and the possibilities that you have described are still in play, is there not an obligation for the orthodox to endeavor to bring these things about? Don’t these possibilities simply dwarf even the best possible outcomes of every HOB, GC and Primates Meeting to date?” If you really believe it crucial that key orthodox primates attend Lambeth please pray seriously because there is pretty well no possibility at present

Having given much time and energy to the debate and seen how little things have changed they are now getting on with the mission of the church where they are. Hence the silence from several for some months now and the planning of the conference in the Middle East next June. Lambeth is no longer a priority whereas the gospel is. Canterbury and the western leadership believe we still are part of one body and just need to find out how to live with that and that’s why there is talk of professionally facilitated dialogue.

Basically, the orthodox Primates have had enough. They’ve seen a Windsor Report, a Dromantine Communique, a condemnatory ACC resolution and a Dar Es Salaam missive come and go without a hint of change from the stance of TEC. If all these instruments have failed, why should they believe that Lambeth 2008 will succeed?

The absence of trust in the Communion is the fruit of our experience. Also, the consciousness that this is a western driven agenda which is paternalistic and has little if any understanding of other cultural styles.

The problem is there have been too many ” just this once” occasions.

There is a disillusionment with the system and Canterbury, born of experience and interpreted as betrayal and a not very subtle paternalism.  Therefore several have decided that it’s no longer worth going down that road. There is no alternative plan other than the discerning of God’s will. Neither is there a group identity other than being brethren (or whatever that is in politically correct language) either to make this decision or to act together afterwards. The Global South has no defined membership. Yet being God’s people we know he is guiding us even if we have no real sense of what that might mean in the future. Part of our problem has been to do with well-intentioned westerners trying to help us with a western agenda.

The problem is Canterbury and the trust is running out. While Rowan sends out seemingly positive messages of conversation and dialogue he is in actuality inert and dangerously passive. As one leading organiser of GAFCON pointed out to me this afternoon, the Windsor Report clearly stated that those who caused the tears in the Communion to take place (the consecrators of Gene Robinson) should not be permitted representative functions in the instruments of unity. Yet that is exactly what an invite to Lambeth 2008 is – it is a representative voting role for a Bishop. Even Tom Wright agrees that that’s what the Windsor Report asked for, so in which case why is Rowan issuing invites to people that the Windsor Report says shouldn’t be coming?

This is the issue – Rowan, like it or not, is not doing his job. Furthermore, leading members of his team are telling TEC that it’s perfectly OK for them to carry on regardless with same-sex blessings and other ACO officials are resident clergy at churches where controversial gay communions take place. These key staff members are not censured nor is there a public retraction. Why should the orthodox leaders believe that Rowan will act positively when he lets his staff say exactly the opposite?

Little is expected from that quarter since so far it’s been disappointing.  There is no more trust, a sense of betrayal and a sadness at the paternalistic tone to everything. There is no desire to resign membership of the Anglican Communion or to walk away but simply a sense that Lambeth will be more of the same and therefore not worthwhile. Non attendance at Lambeth cannot be taken as resigning.  I share your pain re the implications but it will be difficult to change the decision, which was taken long before all the recent things had been written or said.

I wrote a while back that Rowan needed to step up to the mark but from reading these comments of Venables it might already be too late. Unless Rowan takes action now, before Lambeth 2008, he may not have an opportunity to do so afterwards.

And forget all the liberals spitting about GAFCON being Schismatic and the Bishop of Jerusalem being ignored. The Diocese of Jerusalem is bankrolled by TEC so regardless of him getting a letter on the 24th of December (which he did I am very reliably informed), he’s not going to be happy with it because his financial backers won’t be happy. As for schism, Augustine pointed out very clearly that schism happens when those who believe the same things split (i.e. Donatism was not a division over doctrine but church discipline). What we have in contrast in the Communion is two very different theologies – one Biblical and one Pagan.

So what now? The remarks of Venables are very clear. Unless Rowan acts to discipline TEC (something he claims he cannot do but in fact he can do by simply withdrawing Lambeth 2008 invites; a power he has alone and therefore an option for discipline that he has always had, putting paid to the lie that he is simply a figurehead and nothing more) he will find that other leaders in the Communion will begin to enact that discipline without him.

Who, I wonder, will blink first?

18 Comments on “Deciphering Venables

  1. Hi Peter,

    first off, happy new year to you, Gayle, and the Little One Who Is To Come.

    Just wanted to scatter a few comments about this post:
    Did the Windsor Report state that only those who consecrated Gene Robinson are those who caused the “tears in the communion”? (genuine question – I don’t know and it seems worth asking. Is TWR online anywhere?).

    From Rowan Williams’ Advent Letter:
    “The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that interventions are not to be sanctioned. It would seem reasonable to say that this principle should only be overridden when the Communion together had in some way concluded, not only that a province was behaving anomalously, but that this was so serious as to compromise the entire ministry and mission the province was undertaking. Without such a condition, the risk is magnified of smaller and smaller groups taking to themselves the authority to decide on the adequacy of a neighbour’s ministerial life or spiritual authenticity. The gospels and the epistles of Paul alike warn us against a hasty final judgement on the spiritual state of our neighbours.”
    This seems to me a challenge to what Greg Venables is saying, especially the phrase “the Communion together had in some way concluded” – without full attendance at Lambeth 08 the Communion won’t be together to come to such a conclusion. ++Greg is advocating giving up on the rest of the Communion, a possibility which RW’s letter seeks to resist strongly, it seems to me.

    Re your last paragraph: if RW were to “discipline TEC” by not inviting them to Lambeth 08, surely that in itself would split the Communion utterly, which RW is so keen to avoid? And it would be against the principle that RW articulated in the part of his letter I quoted above – he’d be pronouncing a judgment (or at least be taken to be doing so) on the spiritual state of TEC. RW has stated before that Lambeth invitations aren’t to be taken as a “certificate of orthodoxy” – disinviting TEC bishops would contradict that, it strikes me.

    Off to haunt another thread now :)


  2. To answer your first question, the WR very cunningly says that the consecraters of Gene Robinson shouldn’t be included in representative bodies of the Communion (hence TEC and Canada being excluded at the 2005 ACC) but made no such stipulation about those who crossed borders.

    The problem with your argument about Rowan and Lambeth 2008 is that the judgements have already been made. ’98 1:10 made it very clear what the mind of the church was on sexual behaviour and given that TEC has ignored that (in fact practically stuck two fingers up at it), Rowan should have used (and could still use) his invitational prerogative to exercise judgement. His failure to do so (and therefore to defend ’98 1:10) is, as it were, the final straw.

    Happy New Year by the way!!!

  3. Excellent Post Peter! Quite right in all respects.

    I also like your brother’s comment as well from SFIF:

    We are all, I trust, Christian first and Anglican second. We are Anglicans (at least I know that I am) because we see no inconsistency with our Christian faith and cherish the fellowship with others that it brings. Where the Communion walks away from the faith then we can no longer be a part of it.

    This is where the ACI, and others like them, have made their big mistake. They mistake the Communion for the Church and the two are not the same. We will always be members of the Church but need to realise that it may lead us to renouncing membership of the Communion. This is, of course, one of the problems with the Windsor Report – it also fails to make the distinction, and raises institutional unity to the same level as Christian unity; indeed it equates the two.

    So I end up being more and more excited about gafcon – it’s focus is our common Christian faith, not our Anglicanism. Because of that, though, I suspect that it will (amongst other things) bring about a revival in our assessment of Anglicanism, but not the Communion as it currently stands.

    [273] Posted by David Ould on 01-03-2008 at 05:57 PM

  4. I for one, am still feeling blessed by ++Venables sojourn among us. I was a bit amazed at his willingness to tell “the truth, and the whole truth”. What a refreshment in the middle of the “desert of spin”.

    No matter what, I hope he becomes aware of what a wonderful and pastoral thing he did. ++Venables (I know he’s a “presiding), is one of the true shepherds, even giving comfort to those sheep outside his shelter.

    God Bless Him,

    Grannie Gloria

  5. Peter, I thnk that your analysis of the situation is good. And incisive. I applaud Archbishop Venables. Just for the record, I am a member of an AMiA parish. And I absolutely love my Rwandan Archbishop. As an Anglican, I have NEVER had it so good. And I suspect that I will NEVER “leave Africa,” as it were, regardless of whether the Communion, as a whole, ever affirms the actions of my “border-crossing” Archbishop.

    I fully understand the frustration and impatience of anybody and everybody in the broad orthodox coalition, at this stage of the game. This thing has been hard on ALL of us.

    Am I correct in assuming that the recent flare-ups among the orthodox over the issue of GAFCON– a flare-up which primarily seems to be emblematic of different strategies– can actually be understood to be a dispute over the degree to which (or the ways in which) doctrinal orthodoxy might (or might not) take precedence over ecclesiological issues?

    In this regard, I note your reference to Augustine, and your reference to the Donatist heresy.

    My only reservation about GAFCON is this: I have always thought that Anglicans, in so far as we are at all “catholic,” have always held that both our theology and our sacramental life are inexorably bound up with our ecclesiology. This is why I have not, for instance, joined the Presbyterians; it why I have not joined the Lutherans or the Methodists; it is why I have not joined a “continuing church” of one sort or another.

    Fitzsimons Allison used to be my Rector at Grace Church in Manhattan. I consider myself to be fully alligned with Reformed theology. I am low-church. And I am now a member of the AMiA. Yet, I have this reservation. If we are not cathoic as well as Protestant, why remain an Anglican?

    I have no problem at all with a non-Canterbury centered Communion. But, at the same time, I think that the only way to achieve such a thing– the only “catholic” way to accomplish this, if you will– is THROUGH Canterbury. From a Biblical standpoint, I find it hard to understand how one can “Shake the dust off one’s feet” if we are NOT STANDING ON THE DOORSTEP, so to speak… Can one really shake the dust off one’s feet when positioned thousands of miles from the house which has rejected the Gospel which we bear?

    Please comment on this. And may God bless you for all of your good works. May He bless all of us as we grapple with the forces of darkness.

  6. Huh?
    I have no problem at all with a non-Canterbury centered Communion. But, at the same time, I think that the only way to achieve such a thing– the only “catholic” way to accomplish this, if you will– is THROUGH Canterbury.

    Q. What does it mean to have a non-C centered Communion “THROUGH C.” ???

  7. #1. I have no problem at all with a non-Canterbury centered Communion.

    #2. But, at the same time, I think that the only way to achieve such a thing– the only “catholic” way to accomplish this, if you will– is THROUGH Canterbury.

    Hmmm. I suppose you maintain that #1 and #2 cohere. If I understand you correctly, then the ONLY WAY to achieve a non-Canterbury Communion is with the clear and unambiguous blessings and approval of the current officeholder of the See of Canterbury.

    Yeah. Okay.

  8. Tony Seel already beat me to the punch. Alright, here’s another comment that I’ve posted elsewhere:

    Anybody who seriously thinks that there is any chance whatsoever that the next Lambeth Conference will come up with a Covenant that is worth the paper it will be printed on really needs to get out more.

    C’mon Christopher, there’s lots of Institutional Anglicans who are still dove-eyed hopeful that a Covenant will be approved (and later enforced) and so it is just the right cure for the malignant cancer in the AC. You know that. These are Neville Chamberlain types who believe that Hitler will keep his promises.

    The same people who are putting all their hopes in a Covenant are the same people who are urging attendance at Lambeth by the conservative Anglican bishops.

    “Chane seems to come right out and admit that TEC will sign whatever’s put in front of them this year and then “interpret” it to mean whatever they want it to mean.”

    That’s partially why a Covenant won’t work. The other part is that it will either be unenforced (due to Anglican invertebrates) or that there will be near-endless process meetings as to what constitutes a violation of the Covenant when a violation does occur, and if so, more interminable jaw-jaw discussion about what should be the appropriate discipline to be meted out for the offending province.

    A political takeover of both the Lambeth proceedings and the Lambeth agenda by Conservative Anglicans is unbiblical and a very, very, very poor corporate witness of the Gospel of Christ. Therefore, the orthodox bishops need to absent themselves from Lambeth.

    Attending Lambeth is a lose-lose game for the orthodox. The game is rigged in advance for the orthodox to lose. Solution: Don’t play the game.

    Besides, absenting oneself from the Lambeth Jamboree doesn’t necessarily have to be interpreted as splitting the Communion. Actually, I think it’s the more principled action to take for the conservative Anglican bishops. There will be Eucharist held at Lambeth. Conservatives don’t want to dishonor the Lord’s Table in practicing Eucharistic promiscuity by taking the elements alongside apostate and heretic bishops.

    P.S. Conservative Anglican bishops should not let apostate liberals and Institutionalists label them as “sectarian” or “schismatic”. They should merely respond with “biblical separation”. Don’t let the heretic libbers and the Institutionalists frame the language!

  9. Tony Seel and Truth Unites,

    I am expressing a minor reservation, at best. I, too, have lost all patience with the current Archbishop of Canterbury; and I think the Anglican Communion, as presently constituted, is a joke.

    I have no illusions about the Covenant. Nor do I think it is ever possible tyhat TEC might ratify even a very watered-down version of some Covenant…

    Still, I think, perhaps foolishly, that the upcoming Lambeth Coference is the proper place for the orthodox Primates and Bishops to ARTICULATE– in plain and final terms– why they are going their own way.

    “Biblical separation” is fine, as far as it goes. But it is a thing not to be undertaken lightly or in a fit of impatience. The history of Protestantism in the United States during the early 20th century can be interpretted in many ways. But there are more than a few reputable historians out there who would contend that some of the more outrageous rot that now characterizes the overarching culture of America can be attributed to the “Biblical separation” of orthodox conservative Christians in the earliest decades of that century. These orthodox conservative Christians, in effect, surrendered the institutions (churches, universities, etc.) of the mainstream culture to the revisionists of their day. Maybe they did what they had to do– I do not know. But I think we must all proceed somewhat cautiously, in these matters.

    As they say in Las Vegas, “when the stakes are high, it is wise to play conservatively.”

  10. BlueNarrative,

    You wrote some very fine statements early on in your post. I won’t repeat them due to space considerations, but I want to commend you nonetheless.

    These orthodox conservative Christians, in effect, surrendered the institutions (churches, universities, etc.) of the mainstream culture to the revisionists of their day.

    Some did. But perhaps the “orthodox” Anglicans will do what Machen did. He started his own seminary after the liberals did a political takeover of Princeton seminary. These biblical Anglicans will have to start their own communion *WITHOUT* going through Canterbury. After all, Machen started Westminster Seminary without going through Princeton Seminary.

    I wrote this on a blog a day or two ago:

    I’ve been perusing the Anglican blogs today. The discussion seems to be focused on two topics:

    (1) Presence/Absence at Lambeth by the “orthodox”.

    (2) Efficacy of a Covenant to be the doctrinal and ecclesial superglue that holds the Communion together.

    The Institutionalists are begging, pleading, whining, arguing, and praying for “orthodox” attendance at Lambeth and to push for an adopted Covenant. By the sheer volume of words through the number of comments they post and the long length of their comments, the Institutionalists are “winning” the policy debate.

    As a bemused, yet interested bystander, I think it’s a colossal mistake for “orthodox” bishops and primates to attend Lambeth for a number of reasons which I shan’t elucidate. Nor do I think a Covenant and the interminable jaw-jaw process to approve, ratify, and then unenforce a Covenant will be effective either in removing the God-mocking heresy and apostasty in TEC, ACC, CofE, and other parts of the Anglican Communion. It is abundantly and painfully clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has granted safe conduct and passage for the liberal heretics and apostates to continue undisciplined. Therefore, the heresy and apostasy will continue to flourish, spread, and embed itself further into the fabric of the Anglican Communion whilst the liberal apostates and the conservative Institutionalists debate, dither, and delay over issues such as the meaning and interpretation of unitive ecclesiology, Scripture, the Authority of Scripture, the deliberately ambiguous sections on discipline in the Draft Covenant, ad infinitum.

    Oh well. God is still sovereign. His Will be done.

    Truth Unites… and Divides


    An Ex-Gay Anglican by the post name of Publius offers a supporting argument as well from SFIF:

    I am only making the point that the draft Covenant will really not address, let alone solve, the problems of TEC’s defiance, coupled with the ABC’s abdication of responsibility. In that sense, the Covenant is simply not relevant to fixing either problem.

    Dr. Radner can, of course, speak for himself. But the clear implications of his position seem to be (1) that TEC will refuse to accept the Covenant and (2) thereby expel itself from the Communion. I question whether either implication is true, particularly given the ABC’s refusal to discipline TEC to date.

  11. Still, I think, perhaps foolishly, that the upcoming Lambeth Coference is the proper place for the orthodox Primates and Bishops to ARTICULATE– in plain and final terms– why they are going their own way.

    Here’s an interview with ++Venables that’s posted by the Anglican Mainstream.

    A Conversation with Archbishop Venables – “The system is not allowing a solution”

    Date: January 4, 2008 By Robert Lundy, Communications Assistant, American Anglican Council

    Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with the Primate of the Southern Cone, The Most Rev. Gregory Venables. I asked him what his thoughts were on current events in the Anglican Communion. Below are some questions and answers from that conversation.

    AAC: Are you going to attend the Lambeth conference? If not, then why?

    ++Venables: My personal conviction after a very long period of active participation in this drawn-out process is that the system is not allowing a solution. It’s Catch 22. We believed initially that there was a simple, albeit painful, solution but there seemed to be an overwhelming reluctance to pay the price. It’s not even “unity whatever the cost” because that’s the one thing we won’t end up with. The Anglican Communion has already unraveled, and things are even further away from resolving the deadlock. Under these conditions, Lambeth will not only fall far short of anything positive but actually make things worse. Perhaps, looking at it from the outside, it looks easy but inside it’s not only labyrinthine, but there is no centre to get to. It’s an ecclesiastical Alice through the Looking Glass, but there’s no humour and little real love.

    AAC: Why do you think there is disillusionment with Canterbury and the Anglican System?

    ++Venables: It’s not personalised but it is definitely to do with the Anglican system and the whole procedural set up. So much has been done such as Lambeth 1:10, several very clear communiques, the Windsor report and even some crucial and concrete decisions taken, yet nothing seems to have really changed and it’s hard not to read this negatively. It’s as if every time you have to start from scratch and people have just got tired. The latest disillusionment is that there won’t be another primates’ meeting, which is a tragedy because it was there that everything was developed. In the real world you don’t dismiss the medical team before the operation is completed.

    AAC: There are orthodox Anglicans who think attending Lambeth is the answer and that the GAFCON is a mistake; what do you say to them?

    ++Venables: God bless them but they’re probably making a mistake. Some of us who have actually participated in all the meetings believe we have to get on with the really important ministry of the Church, which is to do with salvation and eternal life, and that this can only be done with those who share the historic biblical faith. It’s a question of realism and priorities.

  12. Happy New Year, Peter.

    I find Archbishop Venables’ honest assessment very encouraging. It signals a way out of this conundrum. Chris Johnson has expressed the problem very nicely at his Midwest Conservative Journal blog. He wrote:

    “Quick Anglican quiz. What three things do the following have in common?

    Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10
    The October, 2003 Anglican Primates Statement
    The Windsor Report
    The Dromantine Primates Communiqué
    The Dar es Salaam Primates Communiqué

    All five (1) were the result of Anglican meetings, (2) express the mind of Anglican Christianity and (3) were resolutely ignored by the Anglican Communion.

    Archbishop Venables is quite right. If the Anglican Communion refuses to enforce its own decrees, then there is no reason to waste any more time with yet another meeting, even if that meeting is called a Lambeth Conference. There is nothing sacred about Lambeth Conferences which only date back to 1868.”

  13. Alice #13 — and (4) involved an attempt by the ACO and the liberal Canterbury bureaucracy to manipulate the process, which was largely defeated by cooperation between the Global South and the orthodox faction in the Western churches.

    If a political takeover is unbiblical and so on as TUaD asserts in #9, then we’ve been doing it for a long time, forcing the ACO, 815, and the AC bureaucracy to increasingly ham-handed measures to avoid actual enforcement. But now we are contemplating an action which cedes all legitimacy to the liberal faction in the only (earthly) eyes that matter — the moderate Primates, the pew potatoes of the US and Canada, and the US legal system. In #9 TUaD (rightly) points out that we should not cede the language to the revisionists and allow them to label the orthodox as “schismatic.” Fine, then why are we handing them a propaganda coup on a silver platter — “After all, they are the ones who left.” ?

    Then in #11 TUaD says that we who urge Lambeth attendance are winning the argument through sheer length of our comments — and then adds that he won’t elucidate the reasons he’s against orthodox Lambeth attendance. Very well. but I have not seen any reasons for a Lambeth boycott other than frustration, despair at the prospect of discipline, and exhaustion — all of which are understandable, of course, but they all amount to giving up the fight for the soul of the Communion — a soul which in ++Venables view does not exist. So perhaps TUaD might reconsider elucidating his views somewhere, from a tactical point of view, and what he sees as the ecclesiological situation in Anglicanism a decade down the road.

    And as to sharing holy communion (#9), recall what happened at Dromantine.

  14. o “If a political takeover is unbiblical and so on as TUaD asserts in #9…”

    Does the following political scenario by Spencer at Stand Firm look biblical to you? Does it look like Godly behavior that magnifies the Lord and is an excellent corporate witness of Christ’s Glory? (Incidentally, Spencer and I agree on many things. Back in mid-2007, I said that +++Rowan had to revoke TEC’s Lambeth invitations. He fully agreed with me.) Spencer writes:

    This cannot be business as usual. Rowan made his invitations conditional on accepting his agenda. If GAFCON were to make the statement that they will attend only if the first agenda item is to vote on TEC’s response to DES, second item would be a vote on Canada’s actions, 3rd item would be to vote on temporary but indefinite removal of these provinces until repentance is demonstrated. At that point all TEC and ACC bishops are asked to leave the building and go home. Once all the heretics have been removed from the building, then the next agenda item would be to invite (truly) Windsor bishops, CANA bishops, AMiA bishops, etc. into the Lambeth Conference. Once they have been received, then and only then can the discussion move toward work on an Anglican Covenant. This should be the agenda of the orthodox. They should announce this at GAFCON, walk into Lambeth and demand this new agenda be accepted. If not, they all (and I do mean ALL) get up and walk out of Lambeth all at once creating one huge sucking sound.

    Only under such a predetermined agenda with absolute unity of the orthodox would I even dare to recommend that any orthodox attend Lambeth.

    New Reformation Advocate, a rather voluminous commenter, enthusiastically supports such political measures, and has written of such possibilities himself. In support of Spencer he writes: “If I may be so bold, “You are a man after my own heart.” Ditto. I wholeheartedly agree.”

    o [b]ut I have not seen any reasons for a Lambeth boycott other than frustration, despair at the prospect of discipline, and exhaustion…

    You’ve already been rebuked before on a previous blog for mistaking realism as “despair”. No need to repeat the rebuke.

    o Fine, then why are we handing them a propaganda coup on a silver platter — “After all, they are the ones who left.” ?

    There are a number of faulty presuppositions underlying this statement.

    (1) “Propaganda coup”? Gimme a break. The fallacy is thinking that liberal apostates are unable to spin the outcome (if there even is an outcome) to an advantageous propaganda for themselves.

    A. Suppose Orthodox political machinations and takeover. Then the liberal apostates and heretics will justifiably act appalled and declaim any outcome as being null and void due to the ham-handed, heavy-fisted grossly political acts of conservative Anglicans.

    And even if they don’t protest, they simply ignore any Lambeth decrees just like Chris Johnson and Alice Linsley have accurately noted.

    B. The liberal apostates and heretics win the agenda, win any outcomes arising from Lambeth 2008, and also declare that those absent are the ones who left the Anglican Communion. Again, the liberals “win” just like in the 1970’s when they they used illegal political maneuvers to approve WO in TEC. They then proclaim canonical sanction.

    So the liberals play dirty politics. It’s a lose-lose game for the “orthodox” Anglicans to attend Lambeth. If the “orthodox” use politics to root out heresy, the liberals will proclaim dirty politics, and any decisions are null and void as they seize the moral high ground. If the liberals use process tactics at Lambeth to block the possibility of any *REAL* discipline from occurring, such as more “conversation”, more of a “Listening Process”, more bullcrap which result in more delays and more dithering and dallying, then they’ll say along with the Institutionalists that the Instruments of Unity need more time. If the Orthodox protest against this, then the liberals again have their “propaganda coup”.

    o what he sees as the ecclesiological situation in Anglicanism a decade down the road.

    Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission. He did not give them the Great Institution. The Institution of the Anglican Communion is supposed to further the Great Commission of the True Gospel. (Not the Millenium Development Goals). When the Institution inhibits the Great Commission, and refuses to repent and reform, and yet there are Institutionalists clinging to a harlot, then the Institutionalists are worshipping a false idol. Please see David Ould’s comment above.

    I believe that ++Venables mentioned something about “realism and priorities” with respect to GAFCON and Lambeth in 2008. The priorities are the Great Commission. The realism is that the institution of the Anglican Communion is rotting like a fish, starting from the head down.

  15. P.S. Spencer then writes the following to New Reformation Advocate on Stand Firm, letting him know that such political maneuverings are untenable.

    In fact I am sure that I do not. My heart says give up on Lambeth, what’s the use? Let’s just move on with an alternate Communion and rid ourselves of this old relic of a Canterbury based Communion. I am not very supportive of the orthodox going to Lambeth at all. However I could be persuaded “IF” the above conditions were met. Sadly, I really do not think they will be. Do you honestly think that Dr. Radner and the others at ACI would give complete assurances that they would support such a Lambeth walkout? Would they publish a paper encouraging bishops to walk out under this scenario or would they remain status quo? Would orthodox communion-minded primates (such as Gomez) and all their bishops be willing to stand up and walk out of Lambeth if Rowan does not concede to our agenda?

    I hate to burst you bubble or bring you down to the depths of despair, but I seriously have doubts such a scenario will transpire… No. A fighter I am not. I see only destruction in front of us.

  16. In my #11 post above, I wrote:

    It is abundantly and painfully clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has granted safe conduct and passage for the liberal heretics and apostates to continue undisciplined. Therefore, the heresy and apostasy will continue to flourish, spread, and embed itself further into the fabric of the Anglican Communion whilst the liberal apostates and the conservative Institutionalists debate, dither, and delay over issues such as the meaning and interpretation of unitive ecclesiology, Scripture, the Authority of Scripture, the deliberately ambiguous sections on discipline in the Draft Covenant, ad infinitum.

    Dr. William Tighe writes in support of my assertion over at the Midwest Conservative Journal in a post “Comes the Dawn” about Archbishop Venables’s interview with the AAC:

    As to the “instruments of unity” they are:
    (1) the AbC (1868);
    (2) the Lambeth Conference (1868);
    (3) the Anglican Consultative Council (1971); and
    (4) the Primates Meeting (1980s or 1990s?)

    — I am listing them in descending order of age (as “instruments of unity” — not that the Archbishopric of Canterbury was founded in 1868).

    The efficacy of #2 depends on the response of the Anglican Communion in general, and of #1 and #4 in particular. #3 is and always has been dominated by liberal apparatchiks and funded by ECUSA money, and has been hopeless right from the beginning, when its advance approval of the proposed commencement of WO in Hong Kong opened the floodgates to all that came afterwards (contrast the way that Hong Kong’s earlier adventure in WO in 1944 was quite thoroughly squelched subsequently by the then AbC, Fisher, who threatened the diocese with expulsion from the Anglican Communion by non-invitation to the 1948 Lambeth Conference). #4 is key, especially in the event of a weak or feckless AbC, but as it depends wholly on #1 to summon it to meet, it can be hamstrung (as it is currently) by the refusal of the AbC to call on it to meet.

    So it all comes back in the end to #1, on whose head, more than on that of any other individual or institution, will rest the responsibility for the inevitable break-up of the Anglican Communion.

  17. I did not read all of the comments, so someone may have already made this one: has anyone of any credibility written directly to ABC with the observation about Windsor adherence precluding Robinson-consecrating Bps from attending Lambeth? If not, why not?

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