Thursday, February 15, 2007

Greg Griffith: The Sub-Group Report: The Battle Broadens

Greg Griffith: The Sub-Group Report: The Battle Broadens

February 15th, 2007 posted by admin at 6:30 pm

The report of the sub-group on communion is out, and by now most conservatives know it is a disaster. It is important to note at this early stage that the report is not authoritative, but advisory; and that few of the primates have yet to voice their approval of it. It is not another Windsor Report or Dromantine Communique. It may indeed become that in time, but at the moment its scope is unclear.

But one thing is very clear: It is almost impossible to make the case that the communion can take the giant step of designing - to say nothing of enforcing - a meaningful covenant, if it cannot now manage the baby steps of correctly characterizing the Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report. The sub-group’s report doesn’t even to begin to do this. Any committee that can read the plain text of B033, and view the list of bishops who immediately declared they wouldn’t abide by it, and observe how it’s being used to deny consent to a godly man such as Mark Lawrence - and still declare that the resolution represents an adequate response to Windsor, is either deeply delusional, or deeply dishonest. Either shortcoming renders it incompetent to advise the communion on the crisis, and the degree to which its recommendations are followed by the primates will be the degree to which the communion either fractures, or withers away as a force in global Christianity, as the faithful begin to take their leave. If it has not, so far, been clear to the primates that unless Windsor has teeth now, the covenant is doomed later, allow me to beg them to understand it now.

An exhaustively detailed history of the entire process that produced General Convention’s response to Windsor is here in the Stand Firm archives, and it is clear to anyone who reads it that not only were the resolutions which were actually passed embarassingly inadequate, but the debate surrounding both the passed resolutions and the failed ones show the Episcopal Church’s real intent in abiding by the terms of Windsor - which is to say, none at all. The failure of the sub-group either to understand that, or to state it in even mushy Anglican terms, is cause for alarm. This is not a case of different interpretations, or an attempt to make room for negotiations. It is a falsehood perpetrated on the communion.

Liberals will no doubt be bouyed by the report, but if the primates do not summarily discard its conclusions, and instead allow it to shape their immediate negotiations, the rest of us should consider very carefully that the future of the communion will likely be based not on honesty and intellectual clarity, but on willful deceit and cowardice. From this point on, it is no longer about a group of orthodox primates going to bat for a few Americans in a province beset by an internal struggle; it is now a battle for the doctrinal and intellectual integrity of the entire Anglican church. This report is an affront to the Global South, a direct challenge to their determination to repair the damage done to this church. I for one will be praying they are up to it.

The full article is here.

Greg Griffith is the webmaster for the Stand Firm website. He and his colleagues have been doing an amazing job of covering the Primates meeting. We here at Titusonenine are grateful for their expertise, commitment and friendship. How Greg has found time to write a commentary in addition to running Stand Firm is a mystery to this lowly T19 “elf”!


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