Update on responses to the Anglican Covenant Draft

The Church of England’s response can be read here.

The Church of Scotland’s response can be read here

The Church of Ireland’s proposes their own version of the draft covenant. Read here

Anglican Church of Aoterea and New Zealand’s response can be read here

(The Anglican Covenant Draft can be read here)

22 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    I was especially interested to read the Scottish Church’s response. The American-Scottish Concordat of 1784 noted that the parties involved “agree in desiring that there may be as near a Conformity in Worship and Discipline established between the two Churches, as is consistent with the different Circumstances and Customs of Nations.”

    Without the Scottish bishops, the Americans would not have achieved an independent Anglican church. The concordat speaks of conformity as far as is possible given cultural differences. Clearly there was an agreement that the Eucharistic liturgy would follow the form and the nuances of the Scottish Church. That conformity lasted about 200 years and was dismissed by the Standing Liturgical Commission in the production of the 1979 Prayer Book.

    The Eucharistic liturgy that appears in the 1979 American Prayer Book is not that approved by the 1789 General Convention for use by American Episcopalians. Nor is it like that found in any earlier versions of the Book of Common Prayer.  The 1979 Prayer Book departs from the formularies established and preserved from 1549 through 1928. The new Prayer Book, with its 1960s civil rights nuances, serves the revisionists, but does not represent a continued commitment to “common prayer” as was hoped for in the American-Scottish Concordat.

  2. Steven Berry Says:


    Your points on the 1979 BCP are extremely important and valid as they relate to the present Covenant Process.

    The 1979 BCP has, in my estimation, transformed the Biblical Standards of what it means to be “in Christ”, as seen in earlier versions of the BCP, and encourages what Dietrich Bonhoeffer identified as “cheap grace”.  By that term, I believe, Bonhoeffer meant to show how to be “in the faith” has come to merely mean having an intellectual assent to a set of doctrines without the necessity of actually believing them or claiming to be Christian without having any real transformation in the sinner’s life. Bonhoeffer stated it this way:

    “[It] is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, trans. R.H. Fuller, rev. ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1960), 30.

    The difficulty that lies before the Anglican Communion is not simply agreeing upon some sort of Christian “jargon” which appears to reflect historic Christian teaching, one that can be reinterpreted to suit one’s own ideas, but one wherein the words of the Covenant actually mean what historic Biblical teaching meant.


  3. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Very dear Alice and Steve,
    God bless you both as you have short listed the missing element from the Institutional Church which we want to revive according to the Word of God.
    This turns me to Jesus who wanted each one of us (Christians) to be like a little child in our approach to faith and things related with the Kingdom of God in order to enter it.
    To me in simple words it means to go to the Bible each time we are doing something in our personal lives or togather in the “Church”.

  4. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Theo Hobson is moaning about the failure of liberals in the C of E to redefine the moral teachings of teh Church. He correctly identifies the problem as that darn claim of the Church to have spiritual authority. Authority given to the Church by Jesus Christ. I love thse parts of his editorial:

    Theo Hobson wrote, “An institution that discriminates against homosexuals is without moral credibility.”

    “…the gay issue highlights the authoritarianism intrinsic to the very concept of the church…To say the church should withdraw from sexual moralism is to jeopardise its entire claim to authority.”

    “Organised religion has always been authoritarian, in calling certain moral rules God’s will, in saying that moral and doctrinal orthodoxy must be upheld. As I see it, Christianity rejects this; it dispenses with the moral “law”. It claims, scandalously, that God wills a new freedom - from “holy morality”, from the bossy legalism inherent in religious institutionalism. Liberal Christians should be truly liberal, and see that the concept of an authoritative church has had its day - that God calls us to something new.”

    And what might that something new be?  Certainly not the Church.

  5. Rosemary S Behan Says:

    If we cannot submit to one another,  we certainly cannot submit to the Lordship of Jesus who makes it more than clear that we are to OBEY.  Obey what?  Surely not ..  ‘laws?’ 

    I’m sorry Graham,  I cannot agree that this is an important article,  all it points to is those who want a man centred church,  with man’s ideas as to what the rules should and shouldn’t be. The hope I have is in HIS church,  formed and founded on HIS foolish plan, and given laws so that we KNOW that we are indeed sinful.

  6. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    The Church of Aoterea and New Zealand certainly has complexity. This is expressed clearly in the church’s 3 different resposes to the proposed Covenant.

    What I find curious is this statement: “Within the text there is an implied authoritarian/ hierarchical development with a stronger role than in the past for the episcopacy and especially for the Primates, at the expense of the laity and clergy. Respondents consider that any enhanced role for the Primates’ Meeting has yet to be agreed by all the member Churches of the Anglican Communion.” 

    In Anglicanism bishops have authority. If we don’t want a Roman style hieracrhy of bishops, then we must accept an affiliation of bishops such as is found in Orthodoxy. But liberals don’t want this collegial approach to primacy, because it can lead to gatherings such as GAFCON. Okay, then go to Lambeth and decide what you want! If you can’t make any process at Lambeth, then you have de facto collegial primacy.

  7. Steven Berry Says:

    I am constantly amazed at the number of so called Christians who seem to believe that Christianity is based not upon what God has revealed in His Word, but rather upon the series of pet beliefs that they personally feel comfortable with.

    C.S. Lewis rightly stated:

    “We are to defend Christianity itself — the faith preached by the apostles, attested by the Martyrs, embodied in the Creeds, expounded by the Fathers. This must be clearly distinguished from the whole of what any on of us may think about God and Man. Each of us has his individual emphasis: each holds, in addition to the Faith, many opinions which seem to him to be consistent with it and true and important. And so perhaps they are. But as apologists it is not our business to defend them. We are defending Christianity; not my religion.”

    God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics


  8. Father Ron Smith Says:

    But Alice, I presume you subscribe to the GAFCON theory that those who attend their conference will automatically merit the title “Orthodox”? What does that mean exactly, in that particular context? What sort of orthodoxy is envisaged by actions which contradict the lawful jurisdictions of fellow bishops - without their consent.

    If we are talking about primacy, what sort of primacy is presently being exercised by those who resile from the discipline agreed to by fellow Primates at Lambeth, incumbent upon them, in the matter of refraining from entering the lawful territory of other primates? (You cannot blame TEC for the unorthodoxy of GAFCON).

    To what entity will the GAFCON Primates now subscribe? Is it among themselves, as the new Church of the Global South? Or do they presume that the rest of the Anglican Provinces who are still in Communion with the See of Canterbury will now offer their loyalty to the new Church?

    Make no mistake here. The Anglican Church will not be bullied into ceding it’s identity to any other constituency than that which it already inhabits by its foundational membership. Bishops who deliberately - under any pretext whatever - remove themselves from the protection of Lambeth by setting up a rival conference, can never claim the right to call themselves ‘Anglican’.

    If GAFCON goes ahead, this will signal to the world that the Bishops convening the meeting have ceded their membership of the world-wide Church now known as the Anglican Communion. It could perghaps be called the ‘Anglican Bible Church’, but it could never claim to represent the main body of the Anglican Communion, which maintains its relationship with the See of Canterbury.

  9. Br_er Rabbit Says:

    Bishops convening the meeting have ceded their membership

    +Rowan Williams does not seem to agree with you.

  10. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Attention Father Ron Smith
    We who identify with Global South, GAFCON and CCP regarding our faith and its application with the witness and functioning of the Church are Christians who draw our understandings from the Word of God. We further agree to be in fellowship and witness accordingly which is and shall be the uniting force for years to come.
    Being Anglican or Christian is not limited to the central office of ABC. The faithful Anglican missionaries (Church) brought the Gospel in its simplest form to our fore fathers, who led them to Christ and the promised life, and we are in debt to them. Even now there are many beyond count all around the world who are Anglicans and loyal to the Lord and His Word.
    We are not opposed to persons (in any office) but to ideas and interpretations contrary to the Word of God for we know that the “Righteous shall live by faith alone”. You will agree with me that the basis of faith is the Word of God and that without faith we are not acceptable to God.
    So dear Father Ron we are not trying to compare the ideas and thoughts of God with those of men of stature in the Institutional Church. What we are trying to say is that however dignified a person may be cannot be honored above the Lord and His Word which is final.
    Is it possible to revise the Canonical books of the Bible and replace them with ideas of persons who are in the Church in disguise with agendas from the Anti-Christ? Maybe I am too strong in my language here but it is a matter of life and death (eternal). Ask the Lord and He shall pour down His Holy Spirit on the rest of the so-called Christians (comment 8 of Steve up there) so that they should learn that a “man does not live by bread alone” (and let me write differently) nor by ideologies opposed to the Word of God but only by the Word of God.

  11. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    The word “orthodox” means right-believing. Any idea, teaching or belief that aligns with the Bible, the Creeds, and in CS Lewis’ words (thanks, Steve!) “the faith preached by the Apostles and attested by the Martyrs” is orthodox. Conversely, if it does not align with these authorities, it is unorthodox and the Church cannot concede to such. It is to this Faith once delivered and unalterable in all essentials that Bishop Inayat points us in his comment above.

  12. Bryden Black Says:

    “Discipline.” “Identity.” “Membership.”

    This comment (link below) upon the ABC’s Advent Letter casts an interesting light upon those who would try to claim ownership of some special Anglican franchise:


    I doubt though that the Lord of all the Church is deceived by any of this as he continues to make disciples around the globe through communities fashioned by his “severe mercy” (CS Lewis).

  13. Rosemary S Behan Says:

    Thank you for this link brother ..  I suddenly feel as if I’ve had a bad case of conjunctivitis and my sticky eyes are opening slowly.

  14. Dr. Jackie Keenan Says:

    Dear Father Ron Smith,

    I saw on another blog that you said that some psychiatrists presented a paper claiming proof of a biological basis for homosexuality to the Church of England.  I presume that you are talking about solid evidence and not just possibilities. 

    I hope that they also identified characteristics that have been followed over time and shown to indicate unchanging orientaion, so that we can identify these people.  So far as I know, of the 100,000 people studied worldwide, whatever the criteria, people mutated out of the behavior over time.  Since we know from the work of homosexuals that people that have homosexual attractions frequently mutate away from their attractions, what evidence is there that biology is involved in behavior that is so often changeable? 

    Please send the paper that you cited to the ACI.  Also, make sure that the writers put good references in their paper.  If it’s just another apology of how homosexuality might possibly have a biological basis, don’t bother to send it. 

    So you see that you are wrong if you think that no one wants to have a real discussion.  I have been trying to have a discussion since July 4, 2005 with TEC’s bishops, but no one would engage.  Even the PB would only say that she has a revelation of creation that is independent of science and not mentioned in scripture.  Don’t these bishops have access to psychiatrists, who could produce your “proof”?  I look forward to seeing your paper.

    In Christ, Jackie

  15. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Dea Dr. Keenan, God bless you! I’ve tried to have a conversation about this since I first approached my (former) bishop, Stacy Sauls, but no one seems to want to discuss the topic on its own merits. Instead they want to talk about “love” and “committed relationships” and “pastoral provisions” for homosexual “couples.”  My background is in cultural anthropology and divinity. I’ve done a good deal of research on this and would love to converse with you.

    The Rev. Canon J. Gary L’Hommedieu’s article is helpful. It is useless to debate what Anglicanism is. In an age when words mean whatever the spokesmen for a cause want them to mean, “Anglicanism” can mean just about anything. Instead, we should be TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER as Anglican Christians. Father L’Hommedieu is correct that +Rowan Williams has failed to do this. He cites this paragraph from the ABC’s Advent Letter: “The exchange between TEC and the wider Communion has now been continuing for some four years, and it would be unrealistic and ungrateful to expect more from TEC in terms of clarification. Whatever our individual perspectives, I think we need to honour the intentions and the hard work done by the bishops of TEC. For many of them, this has been a very costly and demanding experience, testing both heart and conscience. But now we need to determine a way forward.”  There is no way forward when we can’t agree on the meanings of the words we use.

  16. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Dr. Keenan, You are probably aware of this already: http://descant.classicalanglican.net/?m=20051026/

  17. Dr. Jackie Keenan Says:

    Dear Alice,

    Go to http://www.anglicancommunioninstitute.com and read “Where’s the Science? A Conversation with the Presiding Bishop.”  It contains, among other things, the actual letter from the Presiding Bishop to me and a link to my article “Why Theology Should Precede Change.”  The second article shows major problems with “To Set Our Hope on Christ” and chronicles my attempt to discuss the issues for 2 1/2 years. 

    The Archbishop actually pushed me to do that, as my article shows, but until Schori came up with her unhinged revelation, no one would explain why they were ignoring science.  Since the PB’s letter is now moving through the communion like wild fire, it seems that TEC will have to decide whether it wants to argue from reason, history and scripture, or turn the 3-legged stool into a flying saucer as the PB has done.  (The only thing that I did not refute in my paper was the brain studies, but that refutation is in many places, including Johns Hopkins website.) 

    I too hope that there will be a real discussion, but TEC leaders have been unwilling to engage.  Also, doesn’t it seem strange that if there were real proof of biology that gay activists have failed to point it out?

    Yours in Christ,  Jackie

  18. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    “Doesn’t it seem strange that if there were real proof of biology that gay activists have failed to point it out?”

    It does indeed! But this isn’t about science, inspite of all the talk of “reason” as the third leg of the stool. TEC’s leadership has committed itself to a self-destructive course based on many lies. The “created homosexual by God” lie is only one of many.

  19. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Dear Ones,

    In my humble suggestion as Christians we must look at Gods “attitude” towards homosexuality in order to please Him, which can only be found in the Bible. The first decision that a Christian has to take is to decide upon entering into a relationship with Him and then how to maintain it. We cannot walk with Him in disagreement.

    The believers who hear the Word of God and respond to it are, “Those who have ears to hear…….”. For them the massage of the Bible is clear. It is a blessing of the Lord that He opens the ears Is. 50: 5 and Ps. 40: 6.

    We keep on trying (in prayers and all efforts within our means) to open their ears which I feel Global South, GAFCON and CCP are trying to do. We must expect good results.

  20. Dr. Jackie Keenan Says:

    Dear Bishop Inayat,

    Since so many people are deceived into thinking that God created people homosexual, it is worthwhile to point out that there is no evidence that He did.  People have successfully placed doubt in the minds of many people, claiming that the Bible was not referring to those created homosexual by God, but to heterosexual boundary crossers.  It is useful to point out to people that there is no evidence that God created people gay.  Even if there are a few people who have hormonal and genetic predispositions, God does not want us to encourage homosexual behavior by blessing it.  I would compare it to how we deal with people who are obese.  We love them, protect them, and include them.  Yet even though some have hormonal and genetic issues, we do not bless their obesity, and it is not bigotry to encourage diet and exercise.  The problem is that obesity and homosexual behavior are primarily something that God is against, so the Bible condemns gluttony and homosexual behavior.  But presently, people are told that anyone who is gay is created that way by God.  It is worthwhile to point out the lie of this stereotype.

    Yours in Christ,  Jackie Keenan

  21. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Thank you Dr. Keenan,

    Deceiving Gods children is the basic mission of Satan and he brings in thoughts, ideologies and concepts, which are not inline with the Bibles teaching to pollute the Church, which ought to be holy. 

    I think we have tolerated a little too much and thus allowed the body to decay. Now when it is in serious condition we need to labor more to bring it back to the position of glory.

    No doubt a very large part of the Church seems to be playing in the hands of Satan in the spirit of deceit. That is way the Lord said that unless they know the truth (The Word of God), they couldn’t be set free for it is the “Truth” (The Word of God), which sets the bounded laborers of Satan free. They have relied on external philosophies to justify themselves not knowing that only Jesus can justify anybody and the method to be justified is already defined in the Word of God.

    I feel the only power to over come is the force of our faith, which derives its strength from the Word of God.

  22. Dr. Jackie Keenan Says:

    Thank you Bishop Inayat,

    Just so you know, I have gotten the paper from the Anglican Listening Process that Father Ron Smith referred to in his earlear comment.  There is a great deal of politics in the statement, which comes from a special interest group.  The studies cited to claim biology are not useful.  Even the APA says that no one has found a gay gene, so genome scans are not helpful.  Also, the very study about younger brothers that I pointed out to be an example of unproven innuendo is the other study cited in the paper.  There is also a presumption that the many emotional problems that homosexuals have are caused by society.  They imply that gay people would be better off married, yet in Canada fewer than 5% of the homosexual population has gotten married.  A noted gay journalist pointed out that gay marriage is not important to most of the gay community.  Google “Canada, gay marriage, five percent” and it should pop up.  So father Ron is wrong about any significant information being in this paper from a “Special Interest Group in the Royal College of Psychitrists.”  This is how the deception goes, and it has been very effective to the detriment of our children who believe that their same-sex attractions are unchanging and created by God.

    In Christ,  Jackie Keenan