Church of England response to the draft Covenant

Press Release

Church responds to draft Anglican Covenant

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, as Presidents of the General Synod, have submitted a Church of England Response to the draft Anglican Covenant published last year for discussion around the Anglican Communion.

All Anglican Provinces were invited to comment on the text prepared by the Covenant Design Group chaired by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez. The Church of England’s response follows a General Synod debate on the principle of an Anglican Covenant in July 2007, when the following motion was carried.

  That this Synod:

  (a) affirm its willingness to engage positively with the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007 for a process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion;

  (b) note that such a process will only be concluded when any definitive text has been duly considered through the synodical processes of the provinces of the Communion; and

  (c) invite the Presidents, having consulted the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council, to agree the terms of a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office by the end of the year.’

The text of the response has been overseen by the House of Bishops’ Theological Group and builds on the earlier work of the Faith and Order Advisory Group. The draft response was discussed by the House of Bishops in October and by the Archbishops’ Council in November.

The Covenant Design Group will be meeting at the end of January to consider all Provincial responses. A ‘take note’ debate on the Church of England response to the Anglican Covenant is planned for the General Synod in February 2008.

The text of the response can be found here (RTF file).

23 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Br_er Rabbit Says:

    The text of the revised draft covenant has also been posted in seven parts on StandFirm, where a number of commenters are submitting their detailed suggestions.

    The Rabbit

  2. Br_er Rabbit Says:

    The Church of Ireland has also released its response to the draft covenant, and it can be accessed here.

  3. Rosemary S Behan Says:

    I am particularly interested in the following comments from the C of E response,  because they are diametrically opposed to the response of our leaders in New Zealand ..  which isn’t necessarily the same as the response from many of us in the pews.

    (27) What is said about the Primates meeting needs to note that it is a meeting of the presiding bishops of the Communion and acts as the executive committee of the Lambeth Conference.

    (28) The description of the Anglican Consultative Council needs re-working.
    It is unhelpful to imply that the ACC in particular represents the bishops, clergy and laity of the Communion in a manner than the other Instruments do not and the final clause of the description of the gives a rather limited picture of its role It would better to say something along the lines of:

    The Anglican Consultative Council is a body consisting of bishops, clergy and laity representing the member churches of the Anglican Communion. It has the task of fostering mutual responsibility and interdependence within the life of the Communion. 


    (33) Subsection 5 needs to make some reference to the enhanced role that the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences asked the Primates to exercise in order to make it clear that the Primates are not simply attempting to claim power over the Communion. It also needs to make clear that what is suggested is a mechanism for ensuring that significant and potentially divisive decisions are taken only after there has been a proper conversation about the issue in question across the Communion.  In addition, the words ‘their councils’ in 5.2 need to be omitted since the Instruments do not have councils.

    From a Church of England perspective, Stephen Slack has confirmed that it would be unlawful for the General Synod to delegate its decision making powers to the Primates, and that this therefore means that it could not sign up to a Covenant which purported to give the Primates of the Communion the ability to give ‘direction’ about the course of action that the Church of England should take. 

    In order to address these issues the subsection might be re-worded as follows:

    [We commit ourselves] to submit matters in serious dispute that cannot be resolved by mutual admonition and counsel to the Primates so that (in accordance with the responsibilities given to them by the Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998) they can offer guidance on how they may be resolved, either on the basis of the existing position of the Communion, or after the development of a common mind through consultation with the local churches of the Communion and their bishops and with the other Instruments of Communion .

  4. Father Ron Smith Says:

    The above statement about the New Zealand Church view of the proposed Covenant - purporting to represent the majority view of the membership of our Province - is little short of ingenuous at best, and could be problematic.

    Rosemary Behan’s statement does not necessarily represent the official New Zealand view - so far as the Christchurch Diocese is concerned - and maybe not any of the other dioceses.

    She and I were present at the Christchurch Meeting, chaired by former Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves, convened to discuss the prospect of the Covenant - as proposed by the Covenant Group chaired by Archbishop Drexel Gomez.

    Discussion at that meeting in Christchurch was summed up by the Chairman as recognising that, though there were some positive aspects of the proposed Covenant, certain details were looked upon with some suspicion.

    One of these concerned the fact that a vote by a power-block amongst the Primates could allow for the dismissal of any part of the Church that did not measure up to their (those particluar Primates) agreed standard of ortho-doxy/praxy. 

    This, presumably, could happen without reference to the ACC - which was thought by those present to be the truly representative body of the three Orders of the Church - Bishops, Clergy and Laity, and which the majority felt ought to be consulted before any such drastic action was contemplated by the Church authorities.

    Such a degree of power-wielding by any group of the Primates was seen, by the Christchurch Meeting, to be against the nature of inclusivity in the Anglican Church ethos - especially when the other 3 Instruments of Unity were being overlooked on a matter of Church discipline.

    For your correspondent, who is just one person in the Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand, to advise the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Covenant Committee on how to amend a specific sub-section of the Covenant could just be a little premature - especially as the General Synod of our Church was asked to present its own (official)report on the New Zealand Provincial attitude towards the Covenant.

    I would advise anyone on this site who wants to find out the official response of our Church in New Zealand, to either wait for the Primate’s communique, or to find out from the official web-site of the Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand when a statement upon this important matter is made.

  5. Rosemary S Behan Says:

    LOL ..  that’s what I said Ron.  I must admit I didn’t understand all your post,  a not infrequent occurence,  but please read my first paragraph again ..  that IS what I said. 

    “I am particularly interested in the following comments from the C of E response, because they are diametrically opposed to the response of our leaders in New Zealand ..  which isn’t necessarily the same as the response from many of us in the pews.”

    As you say,  our leaders gave us the clear impression that they didn’t support ‘power wielding Primates.”  [Your words]  On the other hand they were VERY supportive of the ACC ..  but that isn’t necessarily the view of those who attended the local Diocesan meeting about the Covenant ..  which you DIDN’t attend Ron ..  so that IS what I said.

    The rest of my post is ALL from the Church of England response to the Covenant,  which ..  please note ..  does NOT follow the same lines as the ideas promulgated at the meeting we both attended.  That was something of a surprise to me ..  a pleasant one.  The Church of England response gives the Primates more power if anything and reduces the power of the ACC.

    What a laugh you have given me though ..  to think that you thought I’d taken it upon myself to advise the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Covenant Design Committee   ..  gosh,  I’ll chuckle about that for days!!

    Of course it does make me wonder whether the C of E response will influence New Zealand’s response.

  6. Father Says:

    Rosemary, I suggest you read yesterday’s article in the U.K. ‘Church Times’, to bring yourself up to date with the latest news on the C.of E.‘s (amended) response to the suggested ‘Covenant’

    You wil find that there is a deep-rooted antipathy towards the possibility of giving the Primates any greater responsibility for Church discipline than any other of the ‘Instruments of Unity’. The ACC is considered to be accorded primary responsibility in this area.

    In a ‘Church Times’ poll on the subject of whether the Covenant (as proposed) is acceptable to the majority 0f readers, the result was that there were 8 per cent in favour, and 92 per cent against. That would appear to be the opinion of the rank and file of the English Church.

    This seems to me to be very like the majority of New Zealanders’ response!

  7. Rosemary S Behan Says:

    Thanks Ron,  yes,  I’ve read the Church Times article.  When you say,  “Deep-rooted antipathy towards the possibility of giving the Primates any great responsibility for Church Discipline than any other of the instruments of unity,’  I wonder whether you and I are reading the same document. 

    First of all,  lets deal with the Church Times article rather than the C of E release.  They say nothing that I didn’t post above with regard to the information received by them from Stephen Slack ..  so that doesn’t explain your comment of ‘deep-rooted antipathy.’  It’s a simple fact that to date,  autonomous [I’m beginning to really dislike that word] churches can NOT delegate their powers to the Primates ..  it’s against the Law of the land.  That doesn’t of course mean it can’t be changed!

    With regard to the document itself ..  and you will surely agree that it’s better to deal with the actual document than articles written about it ..  then as I pointed out above,  they suggest that the Primates be advisers to the ABC with regard to the ‘mind of the communion.’  I will also add another quote from that document which reads ..

    1.“Acknowledging the need for the exercise of discipline within the life of the Church in order to preserve its holiness and the effectiveness of its mission and to ensure that those who have erred are brought to repentance and restoration, we commit ourselves to accept the patterns of discipline involved in being part of the Anglican Covenant. In the most extreme circumstances, where member churches choose not to fulfil the substance of the covenant as understood by the Instruments of Communion, we will consider such churches to have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, and we accept that a process of restoration and renewal will be required to re-establish their covenant relationship with other member churches.”

    With regard to the Church Times poll ..  I suggest you ignore it.  Internet polls are notorious for their infidelity.  Either you can vote 100 times,  or you can organize all your friends to vote ..  either way,  it is NOT a cross section of the population and should not be used to ‘prove a point.’

    No,  on balance,  I think your comment ‘deep rooted antipathy’ reflects your own feelings rather than the majority of the Anglican communion.

  8. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Rosemary - you talk about balance - how does the ratio of 92 to 8 per cent seem to you? If that is ‘balance’, then it is certainly not in favour of your argument.

    Also, concerning your sub-penultimate paragraph (above), quoted from the actual document:

    “In the most extreme circumstances, where member churches choose not to fulfil the substance of the covenant as understood by the Instruments of Communion, we will consider such churches to have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, and we accept that a process of restoration and renewal will be required to re-establish their covenant relationship with other member churches.”

    This could be a very good reason for independent Provincial Churches not to support the idea of an Anglican Covenant.

    In such a centralised rule by the Primates, who would determine when the conditions could be considered to be:
    “In the most extreme circumstances” ?
    ‘WE’? Presumably the Primates, Yes? It all seems very un-Anglican, and sounds a bit like an exotic ‘College of Cardinals’ to me.

  9. Br_er Rabbit Says:

    ‘WE’? Presumably the Primates, Yes?

    No, Fr. Smith. The document is quite clear (see the preamble).

    ‘WE’ refers to the several provinces gathering under one covenant. This does in no way hint at a college of cardinals.

    On the other hand, the enforcement mechanisms in the draft are so intentionally vague as to cause concern both by those who want tighter controls and those who want them more relaxed.

  10. Steven Berry Says:

    Perhaps someone can help me out.

    I know what penultimate means:

    penultimate (adj.)

    1677, from earlier penultima (n.) “the next to the last syllable of a word or verse,” from fem. of L. adj. penultimus “next-to-last,” from pæne “almost” + ultimus “final.”

    I know what “sub” means:

    sub (prefix)

    Of Latin origin meaning “under,” from L. preposition sub “under” (also “close to, up to, towards”), from PIE base *upo- “from below,” hence “turning upward, upward, up, over, beyond” (cf. Skt. upa “near, under, up to, on,” Gk. hypo “under,” Goth. iup, O.N., O.E. upp “up, upward,” Hittite up-zi “rises”). Used as a prefix and in various combinations. The original meaning is now obscured in many words from Latin (suggest, suspect, subject, etc.); the prefix is active in Mod. Eng., however, sometimes meaning “subordinate” (as in subcontinent, first recorded 1863) or “inferior” (a sense first attested 1963). Many such words are transparent (e.g. subcommittee, 1610) and etymologies of their root words may be found under those headings. As a word of its own, sub is first recorded 1830, as a shortened form of substitute (originally of printer’s substitutes). The verb in this sense is from 1853.

    But for the life of me I don’t know what a “sub-penultimate paragraph” is.

    And to think that I am taken to task by a certain someone for using “big words”?

    Well, at least my “big words” actually exist and mean something.

    Who would have known that there could be a “sub next to the last”? Rather confusing, isn’t it? How does one distinguish it from the “pre next to the last”? Or the “primary next to the last”?

    A totally confused

    Steve

  11. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    The Church of Pakistan could not meet for the issue.
    +Ijaz Inayat
    Karachi
    Pakistan

  12. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Thank you, once again, Bishop Ijaz, for bringing us back to the real issue - the actual subject of this posting.

    Many of us do understand the serious situation existing in Pakistan, and the difficulties of getting together to discuss the proposed Covenant - in a situation of grave political strife. This puts into perspective the real mission of the Church at this time - which is to maintain unity around the ‘Word-made-flesh’, whose dying wish was that “All may be One, Father, as you and I are One” - so that the Church might present a united front before the world. In this atmosphere of mistrust, becomes only too obvious that no earth-bound Covenant - between those whose agendas are radically different - can actually perform the miracle of making us one. This requires the will to be one,
    and will require the grace of the Holy Spirit - the Author of true koinonia!

    Our Blessed Lord, by his very character (which the Bible reveals to us through Jesus’ own words, and the obedience of his closest disciples), would no doubt be concerned with rather more important issues than sexuality and biblical literalism and the exclusivism of those who want to proclaim their own righteousness.

    Jesus’ problems with the Guardians of the Law and the Prophets of his day - the Scribes and the Pharisees - should warn us against any puritanical presentation of the Gospel. God alone is Holy, and our holiness consists, not in our goodness in being one with Christ! 

    Jesus’ own attitude towards the ‘gate-keepers’ of the Old Testament tradition was indicative of his desire to get beyond semantics, so that we could be freed from hypocrisy and the weight of the Law. As Paul tells us: “Christ has freed us from the Law of Sin and Death”, and has raised us up. Thanks be to God for the Word-made-flesh!

  13. Steven Berry Says:

    The response to the draft covenant has been interesting though not unexpected. The English, Canadians, and Americans (probably the current leadership in New Zealand as well) don’t want any part of it unless it allows them to maintain the status quo, and now, apparently the Pakistani don’t even think that it is important enough to get together to discuss.

    History shows that people generally find a way to do the things that they feel are important to them.

    While I recognized that political and religious strife exists in Pakistan and other parts of the world, the political and religious strife of the first 300 years of the Church didn’t slow its mission and, trust me, it was an environment far worse that what is happening in Pakistan today. The political and religious strife of the 1500s didn’t stop the reformation. The Church has always stood for truth and has even at times paid the ultimate price of martyrdom as a result.

    Today in parts of Africa, Asia, and in other areas of the world, Christians are slaughtered for their faith, but the Gospel is still being preached.

    The Primates of Central Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and West Africa are able to continue working under tremendous political and religious strife, yet their Churches, as with the persecuted early church, are strong, vibrant, and growing. These current “Great Men of God” have risked everything by standing strong for the things that matter most to them and they will long have my admiration, gratitude and thanks.

    Through the centuries many have died, both small and great, for simply standing on principal. Many knew that their stand would cost them, but yet they stood.

    Yes, godly men and women have died during periods of intense political and religious strife, but one thing these true saints didn’t do was to cower in the corner or try to appease the powers that be.

    I guess that is the difference between the saints of old and the inclusionists and pacifiers of today. They understood that there are things worth fighting for and yes, even dying for.

    I have no intention to be harsh or critical, because I don’t know all the facts; but if one is simply hiding behind political strife as the reason for not standing up for truth, that is just an excuse for being a coward.

    Steven

  14. Father Ron Smith Says:

    O Saviour of the world, Lord Jesus, who by your Cross and Precious Blood have redeemed the WORLD, save us and help us, we humbly beseech you O Lord.

    I pray for Bishop Ijaz, and his fellow Anglicans in Pakistan, whose witness to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ is vital for the understanding of God’s love for all peoples, tribes and nations - irrespective of their racial, ethnis or religious origins. May God richly Bless you all.

  15. Steven Berry Says:

    Sorry Editorial Team and Teddy. I know that this is off topic, but please bare with me as I really must protest in this instance.

    Fr. Ron’s posts are so egregiously misleading. He uses words familiar to Christians, but completely redefines them and in so doing sows error and false doctrine which an uncritical reader might accept as true. He truly is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Statements such as “O Savior of the world, Lord Jesus, who by your Cross and Precious Blood have redeemed the WORLD …” sound orthodox on the surface, but he means something quite different than what historic Biblical Christianity understands these words to mean.

    Being a Universalist in actuality or unwittingly, he, and others like him, mean by these words that the “whole world” will be saved irrespective of repentance from sin and putting one’s faith in Jesus.

    He is adept at misquoting the Scripture and taking it out of its context or he will paraphrase certain passages to suit his own theological purposes. For example, he frequently uses a paraphrased form of John 12:32 “… if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me…” then by sleight of hand declares this verse to mean that Jesus will save all irrespective of what religion, morality, or ethical position one holds.

    While John 12:32 does state: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Verse 33 explains Jesus’ statement. “[33]  This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

    Now what John records in chapter 12 cannot be removed from the larger context of what he recorded in chapter 3. Here John records Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. John 3:14-18:

    John 3:14 “ And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [15]  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. [16]  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17]  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18]  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

    So as we can see, while it is true that God loves the world and has made provision to save it, that salvation is conditional and is tied to “whosoever believeth in him [Jesus]”. Those who do not or will not “believe in him” are “condemned already” and no amount of sleight of hand changes that. It is for this reason that one of the ministries of the Church is to preach the gospel (ευαγγελιον- the word evangelism is derived from this word) to the entire world and teach or disciple believers in Jesus into a deeper walk with the Savior.

    A simple reading of Rom 1:16 shows that the gospel was to be preached to both the Jew and the Gentile, i.e. men of all religions and faiths, because through the declaration of the gospel men might turn from sin unto the Savior and therein find salvation.

    [16] “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone
    that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

    Those who reject Jesus and the Father’s offer of salvation through Jesus’ work on the cross, remain under God’s wrath (two verses down in verse 18) and are destined for His judgment. The fact that hell awaits those who do not know Jesus or who, because of being blinded by false religions, have rejected Christ, is a strong incentive for us to reach out in Christ’s love to the lost.

    [18]For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…”

    The Apostle Paul towards the end of is ministry stated, as recorded in Acts 20:28-30:

    “[28]Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29]  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30]  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples [or an entire Communion] after them.”

    St. Peter too stated in 2 Peter 2:1:

    “[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

    Be ever vigilant against the false prophets and false teachers within the Anglican Communion be they Archbishop, Bishop or Priest.

    Steven

  16. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Jesus said: “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father, except by me”.

    As Jesus was the Word made flesh, that surely and definitively, for everyone - scholar ot not - tells us that the only way to Salvation is Jesus Christ. Words ABOUT Jesus can only come a close second!

    Do not mistake the fact that reading the Bible leads us to the WORD, who has been made flesh. And Jesus is that WORD, in him alone is salvation!
    The Holy Bible is not the Christ. Words in a Book cannot effect redemption itself. That is Christ’s sovereign work.

    The Message and the Messenger are complete in the Incarnate Word of God, named Jesus - at least for Christians! Beginning and End of story. (John 1)

    Great swathes of Scriptural quotations can never tell the whole story. This is a heart story, not just a head story. Until Christ the Word dwells in one’s heart, these endless quotations of the sciptures are just like repetitive URLs.

    I am wondering, with all the plethora of biblical quotations on this site which are devoted to the declaration of God’s wrath and threats of Hell’s damnation, would ever draw anyone to the Christ I know in the gospels, and encounter in the Holy Eucharist - the Great Thanksgiving action of Jesus himself for the world’s salvation?

    For all who do not know the Christ in this way, this is the prayer of the Church:
    Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison; Kyrie eleison!

  17. Gary Morrow, Dahlonega, Georgia. USA Says:

    RE:#16

    “Do not mistake the fact that reading the Bible leads us to the WORD”

    “tells us that the only way to Salvation is Jesus Christ.”

    “only way to salvation”

    2 Timothy 3:15

    “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

    ...able to give you the wisdom that [leads] to salvation.

    “Do not mistake the fact that reading the Bible [[leads]] us to the WORD”

    “only way to salvation”

    Fr. Ron’s posts use words familiar to Christians, but completely redefines them and in so doing sows error and false doctrine which an uncritical reader might accept as true.  [Edited]

  18. Steven Berry Says:

    This dialog easily proves why the Anglican Communion needs to establish an Anglican Covenant of some type. Such a Covenant would provide, at least, a minimum basic theological understanding as what is or what isn’t core Anglican doctrine.

    On the one hand it is sad that the Anglican Church would need “another” document to establish what Anglicanism believes since it already has:

    The Bible
    The Book of Common Prayer
    39 Articles
    The Catechism
    The creeds
    Historic Biblical Tradition i.e. the early Church fathers

    But, if a new Anglican Covenant addresses the most basic of theological questions, it will be worth it.

    Fr. Ron’s point is quite valid where he speaks passionately for “Kyrie eleison” (Greek for “Lord have mercy”). I agree with him completely that Christ’s mercy is truly a most wonderful truth; but, He is also “just”.

    When statements like: “I am wondering, with all the plethora of biblical quotations on this site which are devoted to the declaration of God’s wrath and threats of Hell’s damnation, would ever draw anyone to the Christ I know in the gospels…” they miss a couple of very important points.

    First, there wouldn’t be the “plethora of biblical quotations” referring to God’s declaratory wrath against sin if the very issues involved weren’t about excusing and justifying what the Word of God says is sin. It is posts that only talk of unity, equivalence, love, inclusion, forgiveness without repentance, and calling that which God calls an abomination (homosexual practice) to be not only acceptable, godly, moral, but something that the Church should bless that cause people to post as they do.

    St. Jude provides the guidance necessary when dealing with those outside of the faith.

    Jude 1:22 “And of some have compassion, making a difference: [23]  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.“

    Yes, we need to be aware of the personality of the person we are sharing Christ with and then use the appropriate method. We are to deal compassionately and tenderly with some, because that will have a better effect on their view of Jesus and Christianity. But, there are also times, as Jude points out, that we will need to approach people quite differently.

    Secondly, what is being quoted isn’t simply man’s words, but God’s words that are being quoted. To argue that we should not emphasize God’s justice and wrath, is to fail to understand the real cost of the cross. It is our sins that put Jesus on the cross.

    God speaking through the prophet Ezekiel states:

    Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore I will judge you, … saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. [31]  Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? [32]  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”

    Here we see the broken heart of not a brutal, but loving God talking with His rebellious children. Yet, in spite of His mercy and love, He declares that judgment will fall upon the unrepentant. His pleading of “why will ye die” shows that sin has consequences. God’s love does not override His justice.

    Remember that it was Jesus Himself who made “the declaration of God’s wrath and threats of Hell’s damnation” when He stated:

    John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18]  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

    It is not one’s sincerity of belief that matters with Jesus, but right or correct belief. Just using the name of Jesus is not sufficient as the Apostle Paul shows… there is “another Jesus, another Spirit, and another Gospel.” This different Jesus cannot save you.

    2 Cor 11:4 “For if someone comes along and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or should you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you are all too willing to listen.”

    I am convinced that this is why Matthew records Jesus as saying:

    Matthew 7:22 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [23]  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

    We are dealing with very important issues. Issues, that have eternal consequences.

    In Him

    Steven

  19. Steven Berry Says:

    The Anglican Covenant draft writers would do well to study the “Theological Statement” of the Common Cause Partners as it would be a good “starting place.”

    We believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Him. Therefore, the Common Cause Partnership identifies the following seven elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way, and essential for membership:

    1. We confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.

    2. We confess Baptism and the Supper of the Lord to be Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself in the Gospel, and thus to be ministered with unfailing use of His words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.

    3. We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.

    4. We confess as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture the historic faith of the undivided church as declared in the three Catholic Creeds: the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian.

    5. Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures.

    6. We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.

    7. We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing the fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.

    In all these things, the Common Cause Partnership is determined by the help of God to hold and maintain as the Anglican Way has received them the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ.

    “The Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher wrote, “has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.” It may licitly teach as necessary for salvation nothing but what is read in the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word written or may be proved thereby. It therefore embraces and affirms such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the Scriptures, and thus to be counted apostolic. The Church has no authority to innovate: it is obliged continually, and particularly in times of renewal or reformation, to return to “the faith once delivered to the saints.”

    To be an Anglican, then, is not to embrace a distinct version of Christianity, but a distinct way of being a “Mere Christian,” at the same time evangelical, apostolic, catholic, reformed, and Spirit-filled.


    Steven

  20. Br_er Rabbit Says:

    Stirring words, Steven, Thank you for that.

  21. Br_er Rabbit Says:

    The response of the Anglican Church of Aoterea and New Zealand (ACANZ) to the draft covenant has been prepared and is available for viewing over here.

  22. Br_er Rabbit Says:

    The response of the Scottish Episcopal Church to the draft covenant has been prepared and is available for viewing over here.

  23. GARY MORROW Says:

    RE: #21

    In addressing another post on this site entitled:
    “A Pastoral letter from Archbishop Peter Akinola” I added, “and now the Churches of New Zealand.”

    “A further matter deliberated upon was the fresh thought about returning to our biblical roots in Jerusalem, especially in the face of our protracted controversies with the revisionists in the Church in the Provinces in America, Canada, and even England” and now the Churches of New Zealand.

    Posted by GARY MORROW on 01/13 at 11:40 PM

    I didn’t realize how right on I was until I read the Anglican Church of Aoterea and New Zealand (ACANZ) response to the draft convenant.

    When getting past the bull, and excuses put forward, there is always a paragraph or sentence that exposes the real reason/s to reject the covenant:

    “The [[real difficulty]] is that the bonds of affection that hold us together have been severely strained by the controversy over issues of sexuality and by the responses of certain national churches or their leaders. Given the breakdown of trust implied by signs of impaired communion, we are not convinced that a solemn covenantal agreement is the way forward. In fact the risk is that such an agreement might itself become a weapon in the hands of those committed to a particular viewpoint in this controversy.”

    In other words, the Conservative orthodox will no longer accept our revisionist theology to allow violations of holly scripture when it comes to accepting sexual perversions, ordination of women in roles given only to men by God in the church, removing gender idenity in the Bible(rewriting the Bible to fit modernism, homosexuality, poligamy, group marriage, etc.

    “[[Fear]] was expressed that the desire for a Covenant could constrain the Communion as a whole from encouraging [[innovative and creative insights]][In other words, revisionism, and Scripture only as a possibility of law]. Our own Province from earliest times gave lay people a voice and a vote and has permitted the re-marriage of divorced persons, promoted the ordination of women, elected the first woman Diocesan bishop and changed its Constitution to ensure equality and shared power and decision making within Province[In other words, we are a Liberal, socialist, and open-minded society, and the Bible is outdated and no longer can be applied here in New Zealand because of the Liberal Law of no right and no wrong can exist. Besides, Liberals should be allow to vote as to what is wrong and right-not having to adhere to the fuddy-duddy, old-crow Bible thumpers. How can we engage in group sex, or perverted sexual acts if we have to adhere to the Bible and its out of date scriptures, lay can overide and veto the Biblical standards as handed down by God. Lay have the final authority-not God and his scriptures that make us feel bad for the acts we perform in contradiction to scriptures].

    “If a Covenant had been in place when these changes were made, it is likely that the process for affecting these changes would have been much more difficult[in other words, a convenant will put an end to our wanted ability to go and sin some more, we like our sinful lifestyle that made us humans happy, and we do not want to give that up].

    “Many of the respondents considered that the Primates’ Meeting is moving beyond its original intent. The original brief of the Primates’ Meeting was to provide support and enable prayer and consultation but this has changed as the Primates began to take on an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral issues[in other word, everything was fine until the Global South was providing support, prayer, and consultation, but when Global South insisted that Liberal Anglicans had to started adhering to Biblical moral standards in violation of our Liberal sinful ways, then that was going to far, we Liberal don’t mind believing and playing Church,and believing in God, but having to live in accordance to God laws, Commandments and strict scripture is to much to ask us to give up—WE CANNOT LIVE WITH GOD’S LAWS AND COMMANDMENTS, WE LIBERALS HAVE CHANGED THE FACE AND MEANING OF WHAT ANGLICANISM IS, THAT IS ACCEPTING PERVERSIONS, AND WE ARE NOT TURNING BACK, WE LIBERAL SOCIALIST PERVERTS HAVE TAKEN OVER YOUR CHURCH, AND ARE IN CONTROL OF THE PURSE, ACCEPT OUR PERVERTED WAYS OR LEAVE].