Comments: GS: Anglican Covenant Proposal - Annex 4

The November 2006 MCU document, with its account of theological coherentism and foundationalism, and their implications for ways forward is very clear and helpful.

In fact, it comes as a breath of fresh air to me, and clarifies many difficulities of the current Anglican rows.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 20 June 2007 at 2:55pm BST

What gradual & consensual method did the US take when they were asked to hold off and wait until the commuion as a whole agreed? The debate is about sin. The scripture is not silent on this issue. The covenant would claify what we as Anglicans believe. If you can't sign on to it then the alternative vision is in fact more of the Unitarian faith which maybe is where some should take a look at. We are of two different faiths, lets face it!

Posted by janny at Wednesday, 20 June 2007 at 5:28pm BST


*Framing* this debate as "Either you agree to THIS Covenant and you're an Anglican ***OR*** you reject it, and you're a Unitarian supporting what Scripture clearly calls sin" is NOT helpful.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 20 June 2007 at 10:20pm BST

As a former Unitarian the division suggested is not adequate in the least.

The principal basis of Unitarianism is a creedless approach to the whole of faith, which in some places or others where power resides leads to sort of creeds by the back door - say in what kind of message giver a congregation prefers to have to preach.

Secondly, Unitarianism has been based on the idea that within all the clutter is a simple Christianity, which then is not the case for other Unitarians who find a religious humanism not Christianity, or an amalgam of faith packages on an individualist basis. Anglicanism in contrast, if gently in authority, and rather heavily liturgically, provides a given faith path with which to struggle and form oneself.

It follows from that that Anglicanism is better designed to handle postmodernism than Unitarianism. The latter, unless it is consciously remythologising from below (by individuals and groupings), is stuck in a kind of objective truth reductionism, a demythologising that is always limiting in terms of producing a narrative of faith.

As someone who still carries quite a bit of my Unitarianism with me, and indeed opposed the General Assembly's Object to "uphold the Liberal Christian tradition" on both different and not always dissimilar grounds as I oppose this Covenant, I find that Anglican diversity and Unitarian diversity are differently constructed.

The principle difference here of course is the place of the Christ concept as identifying a continuing community within Anglicanism, and there is nothing like this same sense of continuation in a Unitarian community which, rather, re-forms itself afresh every time it gathers as a voluntary human gathering in which to worship, whilst understanding that its inheritance has evolved radically from its Puritan forebears.

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 20 June 2007 at 10:47pm BST

Janny has posted: "The covenant would claify what we as Anglicans believe. If you can't sign on to it then the alternative vision is in fact more of the Unitarian faith which maybe is where some should take a look at. We are of two different faiths, lets face it!"

In that posting Janny seems to be espousing the fundamentalist view in which they alone are guardians of the truth, and generally will not admit that other Christians may validly interpret the Bible differently than themselves.

I do not believe that I am the sole possessor of absolute truth, and I don't believe that Janny, or any other mortal -- in any part of the spectrum of Anglican theological beliefs -- can validly claim that "certainty."

This is all the more reason that we should all reject those Anglican zealots who do claim sole possession of "the truth," and then work to impose their beliefs on other Anglicans.

That is a principal factor in my own rejection of the fundamentalist mindset, and one reason why the historical diversity of Anglicanism, and its historical acceptance of differing scriptural positions, should be cherished by all Anglicans, conservatives, liberals, and even centrists like me, alike.

We do not need a new Calvinist version of a narrowly-constructed Anglicanism, and that is what these Covenant attempts are all about.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Wednesday, 20 June 2007 at 10:50pm BST


If Janny's simplistic comment is unhelpful, then to immediately call the view "fundamentalist", "zealot", "Cavlinist", and "narrowly-constructed" looks rather like name-calling. It doesn't move the debate along in any positive way, and doesn't show much attempt to "cherish" the "historical diversity of Anglicanism" as you say you want to.

Posted by linkbo8 at Thursday, 21 June 2007 at 2:17pm BST

"The debate is about sin. The scripture is not silent on this issue."

Indeed. The Scripture is not silent on many issues. Odd though how those who point out what Scripture says on this issue are able to get away with ignoring what Scripture says about so many other issues. Let's see:

"Blessed are the meek...." I can be as arrogant as I please as long as I am a legalist fundamentalist.
"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness..." Well, as long as it's sexual "righteousness". Righteousness in business, or international relations, or anything that might disturb the powerful, well, I can ignore that.
"Blessed are the peacemakers...." Well, if they started it, I see no reason why I should go the extra mile. They didn't do what we said, they are thus the transgressors, and I don't need to make peace by forgiving them even 7 times, let alone 70 X 7!
"Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you...." Well, as long as I can invent reviling and persecution from the other side, I can cover up the fact that I am a far worse reviler and persecutor myself.
"Love one another as I have loved you." Well, yes, but "they" aren't "us" so I don't have to love them, surely, and I can find lots of "scriptures" that tell me that Jesus didn't really mean for me to love anyone as clearly wrong about what He wants as they are.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 21 June 2007 at 6:28pm BST

Well, we have another unrevealed poster, "linkbo8" who finds the use of words like "fundamentalist" (for which I provided my own definition, so my context was quite clear, thank you), and "zealot" (which needs no definition, and there are zealots for many theological positions anyway), and "Calvinist" (which is rather historical), and "narrowly-constructed" (which is a rather straightforward phrase for anyone whose natural language is English), and tries to turn that into so-called name-calling.

Bull twaddle, linkbo8, whomever you may actually be. You are just using the old tactic of deflecting a reasoned and defined position by simply claiming offense at a word or words that were used.

There are zealots who are trying to redefine Anglicanism, and who are trying to impose their will on others; that is irrefutable, my friend.

I don't care if Anglicanism goes forward with Christians well to my right, as well as with Christians well to my left. I can live with that, and have lived with that since I became an Anglican 31 years ago, at the tender age of 32.

What I cannot live with, and what I will fight to prevent with all of my ability, is some zealot (oh dear, that word again) who wants to prevent others within Anglicanism from having different beliefs.

I do not want a Calvinist Anglican Church, and if someone is so theologically disposed, that they will not tolerate beliefs very different than their own within the same church, there are plenty of Calvinist churches from which they may choose, and leave to the traditional Anglicans, who tolerate diversity, the Church which we have embraced, and love.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Friday, 22 June 2007 at 3:08am BST

Please let's not get so excited. More politeness please.

Perhaps we could also have comments that are specifically in response to what the MCU paper says.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 22 June 2007 at 8:26am BST

I should make it clear that the preceding comment was not directed exclusively at Jerry Hannon, but at all the commenters in this thread, right back to the beginning.
Please do concentrate on the article itself, and get less worried about the personal opinions of other commenters.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 24 June 2007 at 6:48pm BST
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