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Author Topic: The Episcopal Church suspended by the Anglican Communion for teachings on SSM &c  (Read 7850 times)

Demophon

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Quote from: Juniperberry;185252
I'm not entirely sure what the situation here is.

I've read that this move is less about same-sex marriage, but about TEC taking matters of doctrine and policy into their own hands. For that, they have been suspended for three years from voting on doctrine and policy at the Anglican Communion.

As in, it could have been any issue that created this schism, and not that this is necessarily an Anglican attack on homosexuality. It's that there is still a process in which things need to happen, and TEC didn't follow that process.

Is that an accurate understanding?

 
The thing about Anglicanism is that it is so broad, the idea that there can be a single stance on any particular doctrine is a bit of a joke. I think the main problem here is that TEC's decision to allow same-sex marriage rites incited hysterics among some African Anglican Churches, and the African Churches were threatening to leave the Communion because of it. Suspending TEC is just a way of rapping their knuckles in order to keep the Africans happy and prevent a schism, which I think is kind of unfair. I think that if TEC has to face consequences for its actions, African Churches should also have consequences for their uncharitable behaviour and their inhibiting of actual dialogue on the issue. They are just like bratty children that the council of primates are trying to appease before their temper tantrum goes too far.

Most of the authority within Anglicanism resides at the diocesan level. The national churches are autonomous, and the primates have very little, if any, authority, as they are not the head of a diocese. Suspending TEC's primate from voting on policy and doctrine is a pretty meaningless gesture in a practical sense, although it does send a message that the Anglican Church as a whole would rather give in to temper tantrums than actually engage in dialogue when difficult issues arise. TEC has been one of the more progressive member Churches of the Anglican Communion, ordaining female bishops long before many other national Anglican Churches, and was the first to ordain an openly gay but not celibate man as a bishop. I don't think the Church of England had women priests until the 1990s, and only began ordaining female bishops in the past year, but in contrast, TEC has had female bishops since the 1970s. TEC has been controversial before, but is only facing consequences now because homophobic African Churches are threatening a schism over the issue of acceptance of same-sex marriage. Of course, the typical Anglican way of dealing with this is to try to keep everyone satisfied and not come down definitively on one side or the other.

Juniperberry

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Thanks, Frater, for your insightful reply. I appreciate you taking the time.



Quote from: Demophon;185265
The thing about Anglicanism is that it is so broad, the idea that there can be a single stance on any particular doctrine is a bit of a joke. I think the main problem here is that TEC's decision to allow same-sex marriage rites incited hysterics among some African Anglican Churches, and the African Churches were threatening to leave the Communion because of it. Suspending TEC is just a way of rapping their knuckles in order to keep the Africans happy and prevent a schism, which I think is kind of unfair. I think that if TEC has to face consequences for its actions, African Churches should also have consequences for their uncharitable behaviour and their inhibiting of actual dialogue on the issue. They are just like bratty children that the council of primates are trying to appease before their temper tantrum goes too far.

Most of the authority within Anglicanism resides at the diocesan level. The national churches are autonomous, and the primates have very little, if any, authority, as they are not the head of a diocese. Suspending TEC's primate from voting on policy and doctrine is a pretty meaningless gesture in a practical sense, although it does send a message that the Anglican Church as a whole would rather give in to temper tantrums than actually engage in dialogue when difficult issues arise. TEC has been one of the more progressive member Churches of the Anglican Communion, ordaining female bishops long before many other national Anglican Churches, and was the first to ordain an openly gay but not celibate man as a bishop. I don't think the Church of England had women priests until the 1990s, and only began ordaining female bishops in the past year, but in contrast, TEC has had female bishops since the 1970s. TEC has been controversial before, but is only facing consequences now because homophobic African Churches are threatening a schism over the issue of acceptance of same-sex marriage. Of course, the typical Anglican way of dealing with this is to try to keep everyone satisfied and not come down definitively on one side or the other.

 

From the article Darkhawk linked it seems that the problem in Africa is due primarily to Western influence. If most of Western culture is conforming to a pro-gay culture, why is this such a problem in Africa, if culturally, homosexuality wasn't an issue? Is it because a certain type of Westerner is finding conservative refuge in Africa?


(I was not raised religious at all. What I know about Christianity is barely a drop in the bucket compared to paganism.)
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

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RecycledBenedict

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Quote from: Demophon;185265
The thing about Anglicanism is that it is so broad, the idea that there can be a single stance on any particular doctrine is a bit of a joke.

I think that Anglican consensus can be boiled down to the following:

  • Reason, Scripture and Tradition are used in theological reflection, but there is no consensus exactly how
  • The Bible is read in the vernacular
  • Baptism is performed regardless of age, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ('Ghost' in old translations)
  • The Eucharist is celebrated, using bread and wine
  • The threefold ministry from the early church is maintained: Deacons, priests and bishops
  • The organizational rules for each member church have their historical roots in Canon Law from the middle ages, adapted and supplemented by time
  • The authority of bishops and vicars is balanced by responsibilities held by elected laity on vestry, diocesan and provincial level
  • Recitation (read, sung or choral) of the daily office is a defining factor for Anglican common life and spirituality
  • The way worship is ordered is descended from the mediaeval Sarum Liturgy and the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, although the extent, to which present day liturgies differ from these points of departure, differ considerably between provinces, dioceses and parishes, especially in liturgies authorized after 1978, and bishops have the authority to permit supplements and complements

Quote from: Demophon;185265
I think that if TEC has to face consequences for its actions, African Churches should also have consequences for their uncharitable behaviour and their inhibiting of actual dialogue on the issue.

Yes. Very true. I agree. To keep silent or even encourage draconian anti-gay laws is not in keeping with traditional Anglican stances. If something, I guess 'don't-ask-don't-tell' was the standard attitude between the early 1800s and 1970, at least at the universities and among the upper classes. And Stewart Headlam payed the bail for Oscar Wilde.

Quote from: Demophon;185265
The national churches are autonomous, and the primates have very little, if any, authority, as they are not the head of a diocese.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the diocese Canterbury. The Archbishop of Amargh is the head of the diocese of Amargh. The Scottish bishops elect one of their diocesan bishops to take the resposibility as Primus, but (s)he remains a diocesan bishop. How do you mean?

Quote from: Demophon;185265
Of course, the typical Anglican way of dealing with this is to try to keep everyone satisfied and not come down definitively on one side or the other.

A good summary.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 06:58:08 am by RecycledBenedict »

RecycledBenedict

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Quote from: Juniperberry;185267
If most of Western culture is conforming to a pro-gay culture, why is this such a problem in Africa, if culturally, homosexuality wasn't an issue? Is it because a certain type of Westerner is finding conservative refuge in Africa?

Within England, the Broad (Liberal), High (Catholic), and Low (Evangelical) types of Anglicanism have balanced each other since the 1560s (with an interruption 1645-1660, when it became a criminal offence to practice Anglican Christianity, and many Anglicans were put in prison).

Surrounded by a vigorous Roman Catholic Church, Anglicans in Ireland have often stressed a Protestant interpretation of Anglican identity, especially after 1870. Surrounded by several vigorous Presbyterian churches, Episcopalians in Scotland have often stressed a Catholic interpretation of Anglican identity, especially from 1711 until rather recently.

These three 'mother-churches' of the Anglican Communion - each with their own independent origin and characteristics - have influenced the development of Anglicanism/Episcopalianism abroad in various ways.

Anglican churches in Africa are by no means homogenous. Missionary activities in Africa were not organized by the Church of England on an official level, but by voluntary organisations, keeping particular doctrinal and liturgical profiles. While English Anglicanism always was a balanced mix of churchmanships, Anglican churches in Africa are either more extremely Evangelical or more extremely Anglo-Catholic.

Church Mission Society was the Evangelical mission society, and the parts of Africa, were it was active, are now the member churches who nurture a very harsh view on gay rights (in a sub-saharan belt in the north). Universities' Mission to Central Africa was the Anglo-Catholic mission society, and the parts of Africa, were it was active, are now member churches who keep a lower profile on this particular issue. Anglo-Catholic missionaries were also particularly active in Southern Africa, the church of which has taken a stand against their conservative Evangelical sister-churches in the north (Desmond Tutu probably being the most public face of the South African Anglican defence of gay rights).

The former colonial churches, became independent Anglican churches in a slow process taking place from 1869 to 1980, and, since then, some have been divided in several independent churches (the formerly one church in Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire became three churches in 1992, for instance).

Conservative Evangelicals (Anglican and otherwise) from the U.S. have since the 1990s  reinforced harsh attitudes on LGBTQI issues in some Anglican churches in Africa. On the initiative of Church of Nigeria, Church of Uganda and the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, a conservative Anglican church, ACNA, was founded in U.S. and Canada in 2009, in order to receive disgruntled former members of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 07:50:44 am by RecycledBenedict »

Demophon

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Quote from: FraterBenedict;185269
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the diocese Canterbury. The Archbishop of Amargh is the head of the diocese of Amargh. The Scottish bishops elect one of their diocesan bishops to take the resposibility as Primus, but (s)he remains a diocesan bishop. How do you mean?


Oh, well the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada is not connected with a diocese. I don't know if TEC's primate is, either.
 
Quote from: Juniperberry;185267
From the article Darkhawk linked it seems that the problem in Africa is due primarily to Western influence. If most of Western culture is conforming to a pro-gay culture, why is this such a problem in Africa, if culturally, homosexuality wasn't an issue? Is it because a certain type of Westerner is finding conservative refuge in Africa?


The kinds of Christians who do missionary work in Africa are usually the more conservative Evangelical sort, which isn't the majority of Anglicanism, but there is definitely a wing of the Anglican Church with those leanings. Apparently Pentacostalism is also a big denomination in Africa, which influences the other Churches there, and tends to be conservative and follows a more literalist interpretation of the Bible.

RecycledBenedict

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Quote from: Demophon;185271
Oh, well the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada is not connected with a diocese. I don't know if TEC's primate is, either.


Thank you! I very much appreciate to learn this. I didn't know that! For obvious geographical reasons, I know more about the three Anglican churches close to the North Sea, and my personal impressions of Anglicanism are formed by English Aff.Cath. environments and Scottish Episcopalians.

Juniperberry

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Quote from: Demophon;185271
The kinds of Christians who do missionary work in Africa are usually the more conservative Evangelical sort, which isn't the majority of Anglicanism, but there is definitely a wing of the Anglican Church with those leanings. Apparently Pentacostalism is also a big denomination in Africa, which influences the other Churches there, and tends to be conservative and follows a more literalist interpretation of the Bible.


Interesting!

I was invited to a coworker's Pentacostal service once and thought it was actually really moving.
 
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Quote from: Castus;185163
http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/14/world/episcopal-church-suspended/

I'm honestly shocked. The issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage has threatened to cause a schism in the mainline Anglican community for years now; but I never thought they would have the collective backbone to move against TEC. Bravo to the bishops for standing up for orthodoxy, and refusing to cave to the prevailing fashions of the day. I hope that this act will bring TEC back in line with common consensus.

 
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