Lambeth rocked as Archbishop calls on Robinson to resign

Lambeth rocked as Archbishop calls on Robinson to resign
Tuesday, 22nd July 2008. 5:34pm

By: George Conger.

The Bishop of New Hampshire must resign in order to save the Anglican Communion from chaos, the Archbishop of Juba and Primate of the Sudan, said today. “If [Gene Robinson] were a real Christian he would resign,” Archbishop Daniel Deng said on July 22.

In a statement released on the second day of the Lambeth Conference, the Sudanese church called upon the American church to “respect the authority of the Bible,” refrain from ordaining gay priests or bishops, halt gay blessings, and “cease court actions” against traditionalists “with immediate effect.” The American Church’s experiments with gay blessings and bishops had led to the deaths of Sudanese Christians, Dr Daniel Deng said in an impromptu press conference in the Lambeth Conference media room.

Because of the actions of the American church, “we are called infidels in the Islamic world when they hear of the same-sex blessings,” he said. “It will give [Islamist militants] reason to kill” Sudanese Christians he said. Dr Deng’s statement, backed by over 150 bishops from 17 Global South provinces presents a significant blow to Dr. Rowan Williams’ hopes of averting a crisis at the 14th Lambeth Conference. The American church has been on its best behavior at Lambeth, seeking to mollify criticism from the wider Communion and preserve its place in the Church.

However, the Sudanese Archbishop, Dr Daniel Deng said there was “already a breakdown of the Anglican Communion.” To prevent its wholesale collapse, “Gene Robinson should resign.”

The Sudanese statement comes amidst a turbulent second day of the Lambeth Conference. Sources within the conference organizing committee report Lambeth is over £1 million in debt, while the conference press office has refused to release the names of the bishops present, alternately citing concerns over privacy and security.

It came the same day as evangelicals held a private meeting to address divisions among traditionalists. A number of primates, Church of England and overseas bishops and an aide to the Archbishop of Canterbury met to reconcile the Gafcon wing of the traditionalist movement with the Communion Partners group.

Chris Smith, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s aide de camp met with Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East —- leaders of center right Communion Partners group, and Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone —- a member of the more traditionalist Gafcon primates’ council.

The Bishop of Durham and other English bishops met with the primates to formalize a way forward for the conservative amidst the chaos of the Anglican Communion the unfolding train wreck of the Lambeth Conference. The two conservative factions are at odds with the best way of responding to the crisis of doctrine and discipline within the Anglican Communion. The Gafcon wing, led by the Churches of Nigeria and Uganda and comprise over 60 percent of the Communion’s members, are seeking to reform the Anglican Communion, lessening the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the existing power structures.

The Communion Partners group seeks to work within the existing power structures of the Communion, to preserve the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic voice in North America.

However, events within the Conference are moving faster than can be controlled by Dr Williams and the conference organizers. The indaba process of small group meetings of 40 bishops has received mixed reviews. The Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan said the sessions reminded him of the US House of Bishops’ meetings, with the structure designed to produce predetermined ends.

Dr Deng said “until now I cannot judge” the worth of the indaba process, “but until now I think they are not doing it” and responding to the crisis within the church. The Sudanese Archbishop said his church had come to Lambeth to tell the Communion its views on homosexuality and church order. “God is not making a mistake in creating an Adam and an Eve,” he said. “He would have made two Adams” if homosexuality were natural and not perverse.

Dr Deng refrained from calling for those bishops who had consecrated Gene Robinson to resign or to quit the Lambeth Conference “but should confess [of their sin] to the Conference.”

Traditionalist American bishops attending the conference report that Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker will release a statement calling upon those bishops who “stand in solidarity” with Gene Robinson to quit the conference. Unless their oft professed pledge to stand with Robinson were “all talk” they should in “integrity and honesty” withdraw from the Lambeth Conference.

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