Tuesday, 11 May 2004

Reports from Sydney

Recently the Church Times published this report from Sydney by Humphrey Southern, The new Puritans down under.

This generated a number of letters claiming it was inaccurate, including one (published this week in the paper edition) by no less than Archbishop Jensen himself which I will link here when it is available electronically. Also, Mary Ann Sieghart wrote an article for The Times on 21 April which was based in part on this article, Anglicanism’s new holy warriors. Mary Ann said in part:

The fundamentalist Diocese of Sydney - and its outposts abroad - can now be seen as the Church of England’s militant tendency.
THINK OF SYDNEY and what springs to mind? A beautiful, cosmopolitan, liberal and laid-back city with a flourishing gay community? You would be only half-right. This wonderful Australian city now also plays host to the most narrow-minded, puritanical and zealous brand of Anglicanism, a new puritanism that is trying to establish itself over here.
Worried? You should be. These hardline fundamentalists are using all the tools of entryism familiar to students of the Labour Party in the 1980s. The diocese of Sydney - and its outposts abroad - can now be seen as the Church of England’s Militant Tendency.

Moore College has exported its New Testament lecturer, David Peterson, to become principal of Oak Hill Theological College in London, which is now producing fundamentalist clergy clones for conservative evangelical churches here. For English conservative evangelicals, Jensen has talismanic status. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that it was Jensen’s people who managed eventually to block the appointment of Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading. If the Anglican Church were to split over homosexuality, the hardliners would follow him as leader of the conservative wing.
Sydney’s militant Anglicanism is as exclusive as its political counterpart. Jensenism sees no role for the Church in society; it is there only for its members. And any straying from scriptural orthodoxy is swiftly stamped upon. When Professor Horsburgh dared to defend homosexuality in a synod committee, his views were described as “heresy”, “apostasy” and “defection to the enemy”. When he stood up to speak on another subject in the synod itself, he was hissed. The Sydney synod is no longer, as it should be, a forum for debate but, as Professor Horsburgh puts it, “a rally for the Diocesan Mission”.

More recent real life events in Sydney generated all this in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Parents in tears as choir’s 130 years of tradition wiped out
Once discarded, church fabric will be hard to replace
Go forth, muscular Christians

This older report also describes some of the history mentioned in the last item.

Anglican Media Sydney responded with this statement from the Rev Chris Moroney.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 11 May 2004 at 11:05 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion