7.7.09

meet the fca: part II

‘satan is alive and well and resides in church house’ according to +broadhurst

together with general synod, which apparently has a huge dose of satan too, as it has failed on the issues of marriage discipline, liturgical language (quoting also ‘creator redeemer sustainer’ language), language in worship songs.

he then lambasts Lambeth 1998, calling it a bureaucracy seeking to suppress the gospel and commenting that people are believing the ‘system’ and not in the gospel. he calls the new province (ACNA) ‘authentically anglican’.

at this point i admit to a smile being raised as i watched paul perkin cross the platform and encourage +broadhurst off the stage. certainly quite revealing.

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+duncan also comments on the seeming incongruity of these two traditions working together. how has it happened? because God changed hearts and they agreed to bless each other. they had a common focus: mission, and he comments that when we focus on each other and the party, this is where the temptation is to pick each other apart.

he says that he is asked ‘are the new churches growing?’. to which he answers that there has been terrible splitting and that people have their difficulties in separating from their buildings and the places and things that they have worshipped with, but that when they see those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, that they are encouraged that God is faithful.

he asks ‘what are the qualities of a leader?’. he says that leaders must stop worrying about who gets the credit, and that leadership is about serving. that leaders must speak the truth in love and that we must face the things that would divide us.

(you will begin to notice that there is a huge weighting difference between the time allowed to anglo-catholics compared with evangelical voices, with the evangelical voices more prominent)

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after a short video interview with j i packer, done by richard bewes, +jensen approaches the platform.

he speaks of ‘ominous and foreboding words’ that have been ‘used against’ the FCA. but that this shouldn’t be the case because all FCA wish to do is to keep anglicanism united, to keep orthodox Anglicans within the fold. he asks ‘will you join us?’.

he tells us that we are fighting an ideological war, that the fate of culture and the eternal fate of souls is at stake and that unless we pass the test in the UK then the ‘culture will swallow you alive’. it is a question of the structural unity of the institutional church over the gospel and that whilst in the UK we have the disposition not to ‘panic’ (‘don’t panic mr mainwaring), that this is not a time for drift, that there is little time left and if you don’t do something then the younger generations will be lost. some treat the institutional church as the unassailable temple of the LORD. listening as the false prophets say ‘peace peace’, +jensen says ‘there is no peace’.

the biggest clap of the morning goes to his next statement which is about the place in the church for those whose integrity doesn’t allow them to affirm women bishops. this tells me the constituency i am amongst, even if FCA claims that this is a second order issue, for everyone on the platform and the majority of those there, this is the issue at hand. this is the thread that appears to run through, joining them together. it may run under the surface, but it is there.

he finishes by saying that the conflict is over jesus’ authority, over theological education, over hermeneutics and that ‘they’ (liberals) are ahead of the game. he honours those who remain inside and who are going with the covenant, but he also honours greg venables and the jerusalem declaration is a good document that affirms the biblical gospel, that it is a holy spirit gospel, and it affirms the uniqueness of christ.

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so we turn to the afternoon now, where we are told that we are going to explore the shape of regional expressions of FCA.

vaughan roberts, st ebbe’s, oxford, introduces his ‘nightmare’ and his ‘dream’. his nightmare is that there will be a gradual drift towards apostasy, that there will be a time when the orthodox will not be ordained. that this will come because of people’s naivety, good people will fail to notice the ‘salami tactics’, where slice by slice we find ourselves unorthodox. or that through compromise, where good people don’t want to engage with the issues. or through divisions amongst the tribes. his nightmare is that this will end in sectarianism, where we have such things as ‘church of england (reform)’ or ‘church of england (FIF), or ‘church of england (new wine)

his dream is that FCA becomes a strong united renewal movement of orthodox anglicans. people committed to the truth and that it is not a pragmatic alliance of those united in what they are against. that this would be a group who are committed to breadth: culturally, racially, liturgically, and committed to grace and prayer. a group who would continue to exist within the structures if possible, but if necessary, on the edge.

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i have to apologise that I didn’t take any notes of vinay samuel’s talk on the anglican communion, catholic and local – by this time my brain needed a slight breather!

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we had a brief unpacking of fellowship from philippians, summarised in the five following signs:

  1. common partaking or experience of the grace of God.
  2. concern to defend and proclaim the gospel (accused some of being ‘sniffy and iffy’ at FCA even though this is all they want to do)
  3. pray for and covet prayer from brothers and sisters
  4. stand firm – military metaphor of ‘locking shields’
  5. giving and receiving finances

fellowship must contain all five

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the main part of the afternoon was taken up by focusing on FCA as a mission movement and this too was split into five sections:

  1. mission: we must go, sometimes to places we are not allowed to go
  2. ministry: we will appoint, within the structures, sometimes outside
  3. stewardship: we will fund, some things we cannot fund
  4. fellowship: we will associate, but sometimes we cannot associate
  5. oversight: seek oversight within the structures, and sometimes outside

my subtitles are a paraphrase as i didn’t copy them exactly.

the format of this part of the afternoon was to use videos of some with a positive spin on, for example, church plants, and some who had been ‘forced’ to go against the bishop and plant anyway, where they deemed their bishop to be working against the gospel by stopping them plant. then two people were invited onto the platform to be interviewed about their experience – overwhelmingly these people were negative. this format was followed for all five sections and became more and more wearing as the afternoon went on.

the people involved in the videos and interviews were overwhelmingly if not 100% against the ordination of women. when the section on ministry followed those being trained outside cofe structures, these training courses were either cornhill or training courses like the one currently running at st ebbe’s oxford – neither of which could be said to encourage women in an ordained calling to priesthood. one vicar complained when a member of his congregation failed to get through his BAP and proceeded to denounce the ‘hoops’ that he had been made to jump through by his DDO, which (oh horror) included having to work in a church with a woman incumbent – he actually admitted that she had given his candidate a ‘glowing report’, so i’m not sure the worth of mentioning it, apart from putting the fear on others who would find this a similarly distasteful exercise.

richard coekin of the co-mission effort made a plea for the FCA bishops to give him oversight as the archbishop of canterbury wouldn’t provide him with appropriate support.

in effect, in all these areas the message seemed to be – support us, or don’t support us, we’ll do exactly what we want anyway.

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i stayed for the communion afterwards, i wanted to be clear that fundamental disagreement had no effect on the grace of God to me in the sacrament. but be of no doubt that to stay came at a cost.

4 comments:

David said...

Well, having read that to the bottom I think the best thing to say is that I just pursed my lips and blew hard.

Lots there to be concerned about, lots there that give me the shivers.

I'm still deeply unsure as to why they think we need an FCA in the first place and I have absolutely no desire to join them.

karen freeman said...

thank you for this revealing report.

Mark B said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this up. I found the New Wine newsletter encouraging, especially in John Coles' statement about women in ordained ministry - shame that not all of it was quoted. Be good to hear more.

jody said...

thanks

yes, mark, i was interested and (semi) encouraged to read john coles' letter.

i thought paul perkin was completely disingenuous to use it in the way that he did - and clearly this will be an issue that new wine will have to be proactive in, if they don't want their integrity to be eroded.

having spoken to john at fca, i was convinced of his own feelings on the subject of women's ordination - i believe him.

whether the courage and impetus is there to do anything about it remains to be seen. he told me to 'give him five years' to do something about new wine's problem of lack of ordained females in strategic roles.

i await 2014 with baited breath....