meet the fca

so, i'm not entirely sure what the best way to tackle this is. i have some very strong feelings about yesterday's FCAUK launch, but also want to give you an overview from someone who was there - so i come to the conclusion that i'll try to run you through the day, but i do come with a bias, so you'll just have to cope with that.

it is fair to say that even before the meeting, it was not lost on me that there were no ordained women asked to speak, the only woman on the platform was baroness cox (whose presentation i enjoyed), but she wasn't asked to speak on bible or vision and strategy, but in the conservatively 'safe' zone of social action/mission

at first we are welcomed by paul perkin, who is hosting the morning session together with a woman, i'm sorry but i didn't jot her name down, janice i think.

paul welcomes us and then reads messages of goodwill from various people, including +rowan (no applause), +carey (raucous applause), the queen (moderate applause). he then does a bible reflection on mark5v1-20, the demon possessed man whose legion ends up in the pigs. much good stuff about jesus as our liberator and the one who reunites us with our 'family'. not entirely sure about the metaphor that our church is demon possessed, nor with the link between jesus saying 'come out' to the demon in that passage, over and against what that term means today.

at the end of this more goodwill messages are read out - firstly from +akinola by two nigerian bishops who attended, then videos from +nzimbi of kenya, +orombi of uganda, +kolini of rwanda and then a paragraph from a new wine newsletter which represented new wine as being fully backing of the FCA. now, for those who are on the new wine mailing list, you may well wonder what happened to the second half of the paragraph of that newsletter which stated:

'I realise that there are many in FCA who hold views which are very different from ours, for instance excluding women from church leadership. But with Henry Orombi right at the heart of it I know that our views on women in leadership will be upheld. I further realise that some will think this movement is the wrong strategy and that everyone ought to support the moves towards an Anglican Covenant. I believe both in the need for a Covenant, and in FCA; let’s try to use every means available to secure the orthodox future of the church’s teaching and practice.'

i felt this was a way of high jacking new wine into the fca fold - obviously with paul perkin being very vocal in both, this possibly would make it quite difficult to hold onto new wine's integrity on this.

next, john hind introduces greg venables of the southern cone. +venables talks of the US case as being a long slow process (the hint of 'you are in danger in the UK' becomes more pronounced throughout the day), he talks of a new reformation in 'the offing' or 'already underway'. he says the situation is serious here (in the UK) and throughout the world and that we are at a crucial moment, we must not drift, hebrews 2: pay attention lest you drift away. we must pay attention, he says, to what has been 'heard', not to synods. this is not an alternative denomination, there is no alternative leadership (how this matches with what happens in the afternoon, i'm not sure), no division - the division was done by ecusa in 2003. FCA is simply affirming the central truths as received, we have 'raised the standard'. using an illustration of the only safe runway, he says that FCA is the one safe place to land and to take off, there is no other. he says that they are standing on the historic, apostolic, biblical faith, unchanged, not relative, or subjective, or a question of interpretation, but revealed plain truth. he exhorts us not to rest in institutional procedures - this will not save - but that this historic, apostolic, biblical faith is not being proclaimed in most western churches (!).

many have drifted away, false teaching has been introduced and the Anglican Communion can easily be taken over by a false gospel. there has been a strident and swift reaction to GAFCON, especially here in the UK, he says. why? because the gospel and truth has always been resisted, particularly by those who say 'we are modern'. the orthodox stance has been vigorously and violently resisted in the US, but here in the UK it is subtly done. remember we are not fighting flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. why do people not join FCA? some, he says, have a false view of institutional loyalty, or for some there's a fear of being blackballed, for others it's simple rebellion.

what is going to happen? the structures will continue to seek to accommodate the revisionists. the 'system will push the liberal agenda. we must have a robust and clear voice in the UK or christianity's voice will be silenced in anglicanism. he exhorts us to stand together, stand for truth in true love for one another, stand for him (jesus)

after greg venables, baroness cox and then +ackerman speak. baroness cox about AID's work in the sudan. a place where many evangelical organisations of all hues are working. this is work that we should all affirm, and +ackerman gave us a brief overview of where he is as an anglo-catholic in the FCA mix.

+ackerman begins by telling the media not to report that it's about 'women and homosexuality', but that it's much broader than that, it's about the 'soul of the Church'. it's about jesus. he says that he is surprised to find himself working with evangelicals, but that traditional evangelicals and traditional anglo-catholics must find a way to work together. he comments that FCA is neither for affirming catholics, who are neither affirming nor catholic, or liberal evangelicals (who could he mean!?) - he states that issues of style must be put to one side.

for the US he says, the erosion became obvious over 30 years ago, that now it is a new church. the power is centralised rather than diocesan. he also comments on the institutional loyalty that, to me, seems to be becoming the 'straw man' of this conference - that he isn't frightened by biblical fundamentalism, but is terrified of canonical fundamentalism and that the church has given way to 'institutional moonyism', where it believes it is carrying out the end of jesus' mission. just before this comment he talks of fear of language being changed, which changes everything, that to call God, 'creator, redeemer, sustainer' is like calling our parents 'life-giver' and 'sperm-donor', that issues around 'father' are purely narcissistic, about 'my needs'. it made me wonder how he deals with other labels like 'lord', 'rock', 'the almighty', whilst i affirm the necessity of the relational and 'given' father son spirit.

he finishes by saying that in answer to the question 'aren't you just pleasing yourselves?' they must rest in the fact that the only credibility they need is for jesus to say 'well done, good and faithful servant.'

i'll leave it there for a moment, sure that's enough to be going on with. i'm not sure if i'll get a chance to type up the rest prior to leaving for bishop auckland tomorrow, pray for us as we try to navigate these choppy waters...........


David said...

Thanks for that... do write up the rest when you can. I'd value your thoughts as someone whose opinion I respect.

Dave W said...

I see John Richardson has written up his reflexions which make interesting reading from another perspective.

Also -the impression I've got from other write ups was that the point about "Creator-redeemer-sustainor" language was that it was inadequate as a replacement for "Father-Sn-Spirit" I'm sre you made similar comments i your own essay on naming God? It's certainly nothing new and has other problems as well as its functionalism (it's also a tad modalisitc and denies inseperable operation)


(word verification defables -should i make anything of that?)

jody said...

the thing that i didn't particularly like about his commentary on that way of speaking was that he put engagement with the debate on the trinitarian language down to a totally narcisstic origin, which is misrepresentative of some of the careful reflection that has been done on this in the last few years.

you are right that i make the comment about the lack of relational language and also about the 'given-ness' of father son spirit, which makes it impossible for us to replace it with another formula - however i am happy to use creator redeemer sustainer, in the same way that i am happy to use 'lord', 'the almighty one', 'saviour', 'comforter'.

Dave Williams said...

Thanks Jofy -that's helpful context and I'd not picked up on that emphasis the first time. I guess that's a helpful lesson about the rhetoric we use and how we use it. Something that may be true (e.g. that sometimes people have been narcssitic in the God name debate) is not absolute (some people come from one motive, others from others -and so for example it seems reasonabe to me to acknowledge why some (many?) might find the word Father difficult).

The link with "Lord" is helpful. I hope everyone clls God Creator-Redeemer--Sustainer but that applies to each member of the Trinity rather than Father =Creator Son =Sustainer etc. The Son is Creator, rdeemer, sustainer