Anglican Covenant: two more views on the new draft

The Archbishop of Dublin John Neill wrote an article Drafting an Anglican Covenant in the Church of Ireland Gazette.

The Bishop of Dudley (UK),  David Walker also wrote an article entitled Why the new Covenant creates hope

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  1. Steven Berry Says:

    I am going to limit my comments to three statements made by Bishop Walker in his “Why the new Covenant creates hope” as published in Church Times.

    I read with interest the Rt Revd David Walker article and was shocked when he began with:
    “If the book of Isaiah shows the work of several authors, brought editorially into a single volume, then the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant is an example of the opposite: one whole mutating into two separate documents.”

    Well, if the rest of “Covenant” writers hold the same skewed view of Scripture as Bishop Walker appears to, then his article should be titled “Why the new Covenant creates no hope” for the Anglican Communion.

    “Textual critics” or those who have bought into the “Deutero-Isaiah” myth insist that the Book of Isaiah is a compilation text brought together by two different writers, each calling himself Isaiah. These two different Isaiahs, according to the theory, supposedly wrote in different time periods. While this “Deutero-Isaiah theory” is taught in many modern liberal seminaries and is held by many parading themselves as biblical scholars, it is based on the pure speculation.

    It is on the basis of stylistic changes between the two sections that critics have developed this theory. Chapters 1-39, they say, belong to the eighth century b.c. and are assigned to one Isaiah while Chapters 40-66 are assigned to a second Isaiah.

    Why am I making such a big deal over this issue? Simply because when Bishops or academicians promote such faulty reasoning it creates un-necessary doubts about the authorship and authenticity of the book. If doubts can be created in the mind of the reader about the book of Isaiah, then any book in the Bible can then be brought into question. This issue is a not so subtle attack on the fundamental issue of inspiration. If the doctrine of inspiration is rejected or impugned then any attempt to take the Bible seriously is greatly impaired.

    Is there a way to resolve this issue without getting drawn into endlessly debating the so-called biblical scholars and “textual critics”? Yes, there is. How about actually studying the Word of God instead of just critiquing it or by needlessly questioning the veracity of the Scriptures by introducing “Deutero-Isaiah” tripe into articles published, by people who should know better, in the “Church Times.”

    Bishop Walker, read John 12 verses 37-41 and note carefully what St. John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says:

    [37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: [38] That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? [39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, [40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. [41] These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

    In verse 38 we encounter a quote familiar to many of us, taken from the Isaiah 53:1. This, according to those who promote the “Deutero-Isaiah Theory”, would be found in the section attributed to the “second Isaiah.”

    In verse 40 we have references from Isaiah 6:9-10 and 41 from Isaiah 6:1. These, of course, are found in the first section of Isaiah and is purported to have been written by the “first Isaiah”.

    However, please note what the Apostle John says in verse 39, “that Isaiah said again”. When the Apostle John links verses 38 and 40 he attributes both sections to Isaiah! If you take St. John and the Word of God seriously, and recognize and believe in the inspiration of the Word of God, then you can clearly see that there were not two Isaiahs, but one.

    I am afraid that the reason the Anglican Communion is in its current fragmenting state, is not simply because of sexuality issues, but because the Bible itself has been marginalized in the minds of too many (including Bishops). The Bible is looked on as only a historical document (although its stated history is quite unreliable, according to them), and as something irrelevant for today as a guide for godly living and correct teaching. After all, how does one come to the conclusion that it is somehow just fine with God to elect a divorced male who admits being an active practicing homosexual to the episcopate when the Bible clearly identifies homosexual practice as sin, unless you ignore the plain teaching of the Scriptures or think them irrelevant?

    Secondly, the Rt Revd David Walker stated:
    “The earlier has changed from the draft circulated and commented on in 2007 (Comment, 4 January) more in tone than content. Subtle alterations, such as replacing nouns by verbs, have created a more dynamic feel. More reference to prayer and worship has emphasized that, for Anglicans, the spiritual practice of faith is central, while any reference to particular disputes has gone.”

    So, let me get this straight… nothing really changed, except to make it “weaker” than it previously was and now it’s more touchy feely. Just what Anglicanism needs, more pretentious rhetoric over substance.

    Thirdly, the Rt Revd David Walker stated:
    “Reaction to this first part of the Covenant has been muted. A few lone voices from the political right dislike the retention of the Five Marks of Mission, in particular that we “seek to transform unjust structures of society” and “strive to safeguard the integrity of creation”.”

    Why does the Rt Revd David Walker disparagingly identify people who dislike the Five Marks of Mission as being from the “political right”?

    Could it be that the good Bishop feels threatened by people who stand up and say that “leftist” politics and a misguided environmentalist adgenda should have no place in an “Anglican Covenant”? Exactly what does “seek[ing] to transform unjust structures of society” and “striv[ing] to safeguard the integrity of creation” even mean? And, how could any right minded Anglican assume that the Five Marks of Mission express the Anglican faith better than the 39 Articles? We are talking about an Anglican Covenant here guys. If you can’t bring yourselves, as Anglicans, to subscribe to the Anglican 39 Articles, then perhaps you aren’t … Anglican.

    Come quickly Lord Jesus.