Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Transcript of Bishop Mark Lawrence's Anglican TV Interview

As we’ve spread the Anglican understanding of Christianity around the world we’ve been slow to put into place structures that sufficiently govern the spread of Anglicanism. With the spread of the Internet and intercontinental travel, we find ourselves playing catch-up with the “flat world” and as we’re playing catch-up there’s those who want to hold on to old methodologies of government that just are not sufficient for the 21st century. My contention is that what we are in the midst of right now – what is at stake – is not just Anglicanism in North America; it is Anglicanism throughout the world.

I have not been and we in South Carolina do not see ourselves as somehow or another reforming the Episcopal Church. The landscape of Anglicanism is shifting all the time and this General Convention will shift it once again. What is at issue now is the survival of the Communion, and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform people’s lives rather than the gospel of inclusivity that is also aggressively being spread. And so as I look at our role in the Diocese of South Carolina, we are to work for the shaping of Anglicanism in the 21st century, and we need to find and remain and stay in that place that will give us the most leverage in doing that.

In the domestic landscape you have two entities. You have TEC [The Episcopal Church] and the Anglican Church in Canada, which from my perspective is promulgating the gospel of inclusivity that would displace the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what we know of as the core doctrine of the Christian faith. That entity would export, or would like to export this uncatholic teaching about Christ and His Church. Then you have in ACNA, a confederation of people that (speaking for myself), I do not see a fullness of catholic ecclesiology there. There seem to be some groups that are so wedded to their personal identity (even though their personal identity may have only been around five or ten years) that there is a hesitancy to surrender that identity. So what we have almost is a codified (and I hate to use the word) schism that looks of prenuptial agreements: “I’ll enter into this but I’m not going to surrender myself fully to one another.” Thomas Brown described [them] centuries ago: Those who schism with others who lightly bond among themselves. What those in ACNA have to get over is that unwillingness for mutual accountability, surrender and responsibility.

Read it all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen! I agree, we must deal with our anger, or we will continue to split and splinter on both sides.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thanks to John Burwell (hope I spelled that correctly) for this transcription. Sound doesn't function on my computer and I had missed hearing what is arguably the most Christian statement I have yet to see on the situation we find ourselves in. In the midst of a church in chaos, +Lawrence has kept his internal compass pointed true north. I hope more people will listen to/read his comments and think and pray about them. There is a better way forward than any that have been tried. For all of us.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous David Handy_ said...

There is much rich food for thought and prayer here.

A few brief initial reflections:

1. I heartily agree that the current international structures of the AC are insufficient for dealing with today's severe challenges. We need new wineskins.

2. I'm glad +Lawrence spoke in terms of saving "Anglicanism" and not the (current) Anglican Communion. Anglicanism as a religious system (like any other ism), or what we might call Prayerbook religion, isn't dependent on the survival of the AC as we know it. Anglicanism is the immortal soul, the AC is the mortal body that houses it. But Anglicanism will go on after the AC dies. And someday it will be housed in a new resurrected body that is much better than we have now.

3. There is simply no escaping the Culture Wars in the Global North. We Anglicans, in the inscrutable providence of God, seem to have been called to fight on the front lines of that massive, bitter, multi-front war. And yes, the cultural landscape is changing all the time, and so we must continually adapt out tactics to deal with those ever shifting circumstances in light of the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ.

4. Yes, we must all deal with our anger and unforgivenss, or we tend to become the mirror image of that which we reject. But after that, what then??

David Handy+

4:05 PM  

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