The Church of England Evangelical Council met last Thursday after the controversial NEAC5 meeting and have now released a statement. Here it is:
CEEC apologises for the fact that we failed to circulate the proposed resolutions prior to the Consultation day. We acknowledge that this was a serious mistake which understandably caused consternation on the day.
We appreciate the fact that, following 15th November, many people availed themselves of the opportunity to make their views known by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. CEEC have heard a summary of what was said by this means.
We understand that what happened at the Consultation together with associated press reports has undermined the credibility of the Council. Though we are sensitive to the accusation that CEEC is not properly representative of evangelicals, over half the membership is elected and all those who subscribe to the Council’s Basis of Faith are eligible to stand for election.
We resolve to do all we can to fulfill our stated purpose of taking counsel together about matters of particular concern to evangelical Anglicans.
The Council, having listened to all that was said on 15th November, has adopted the following Resolution:
CEEC affirms and rejoices that the Church of England professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and its historic formularies (the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons) and set out in Canon A5 and the Declaration of Assent.
Further we affirm (1) the CEEC’s own Basis of Belief, (2) Resolution 3.5 of Lambeth 1998 (concerning the authority of Holy Scriptures), (3) Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998 (concerning human sexuality), and (4) the Jerusalem Declaration, and as members of the Anglican Communion, we acknowledge our obligation to stand in prayerful solidarity with faithful Anglicans across the globe.
We recognize that evangelical Anglicans will pursue a variety of strategies for dealing with the current crisis in the Communion, and we support those who are seeking to work through the existing Anglican Communion structures, those who are working within the framework set out in the GAFCON Statement, and those supporting both.
We call on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates to recognize the urgency of the situation as it affects parishes and clergy, particularly in the USA, Canada and Brazil, and to give immediate and serious consideration to granting recognition to the new Province in the USA."
The key section of course is the third bullet point, where the CEEC acknowledges that English Anglican Evangelicals might support solutions outside of the GAFCON framework. This is a position that was seen to be completely absent in the resolution presented to NEAC5 and therefore the presence of such an affirmation of both tracks is to be welcomed.
However, the fourth paragraph ("We call on the…") might be seen by some to explictly endorse the GAFCON border-crossing process, given that the creation of a new Province in the US is a strategy that bypasses the Communion Covenant path. It’s not clear also whether recognising the new Province will involve some Provinces "un-recognising" TEC. This is therefore still the "divisive" strategy that some Anglican Evangelicals find so disturbing, so ultimately this statement from CEEC might not satisfy that side of the camp.
Two weeks ago I wrote the following:
Such a position should not prevent individual members of CEEC promoting GAFCON in their private or other external capacities, but an attempt to make CEEC endorse GAFCON above other solutions, however inferior (I believe) such other solutions are, is simply going to create disunity rather than the unity intended by such a move.
I wonder whether the fourth bullet point will still be seen by many as failing this crucial hurdle? Methinks this one might yet run a while…