Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Kearnon makes our point for us

The Republic of God is NOT at hand.

In a recent report in the Washington Window, we learned about remarks made by the the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. In his remarks he made a point, quite by accident, that has everything to do with why Continuing Anglicanism has been a fact for thirty years, and why it continues and grows.

Discussing the difficulties of the Anglican Communion, at Virginia Theological Seminary on February 22, he said "The Lambeth Conference was born out of controversy, therefore throughout its history it has not been a stranger to controversy." Mentioning the various bishops who will not be attending the Lambeth Conference, and making the distinction between those who are not invited and those who refuse to be present, he spoke at length about the most current cause of crisis and division. He spoke about the problems of Gene Robinson, and also about the CANA bishops.

To quote directly from the article:

"The Anglican Church's formal position on gays and lesbians is expressed in 1998's Lambeth Resolution 110, he said. This resolution 'upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.' It also states that all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.

"'Statements from Primates Meetings and the Anglican Consultative Council have always affirmed the place of gays and lesbians in the life of the church,' Kearon said. 'The issue is, what can the church bless – and that's where we are now.'"

This was a simple statement of fact. But it continues:

"Kearon responded to criticism about the way the Anglican Communion has handled these issues by pointing out that the Communion is one of the few bodies that is openly addressing them. He also noted that the Communion came under similar fire when it changed its position on contraception in the 1950s (after voting against it in the 1920s and 30s) and on the ordination of women in the 1970s."

That came directly after this:

"'In order for the Anglican Communion to change its position on these issues, they must be worked through the system properly,' Kearon said. 'The process should begin at local synods and be taken up at conventions,' he said, 'then you begin to work it up through the church. Set up a commission, work it through…. If someone has a new idea for the way things should go, we should test it as a community of faith… We as a church should be very wary if people cannot express and test new issues in the life of the community.'"

Following the post of yesterday, this only means that the Anglican Communion has become an antinomian organization. Furthermore, this demonstrates the main problem we see in Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and in the whole effort of TEC and other churches (if we can call them churches anymore) such as the Anglican Church in Canada. The idea has arisen that we can make new rules and create new doctrines by consensus and compromise.

Yes, Canon Kearnon is right. This is, indeed, the same problem that was present in the 50s (much more so than 1930) concerning contraception, and in the 70s regarding women's "ordination." The problem is, it has become an accepted principle, with many Anglicans, that God is running a representative government, the Republic of God rather than the Kingdom of God. This is not the Gospel that Jesus Christ our Lord commanded us to preach.

Yes, theirs is not yet a wholly lawless system (even though in the United States TEC is now lawless); but the northern Hemisphere and "Western" Anglicans still need to undergo a radical conversion to Christianity. Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and commanded his hearers to repent of their sins. The real Anglican problem is this heretical idea that even though God has spoken, we get to vote on his divine proposals, amend them to our fancy, and to reserve a right by duly elected representatives to exercise veto power. Then, we get to send it all back to him for his consideration.

Well, to Hell with that-literally. Yes, quite literally. "Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." (II Corinthians 5:11) There comes a time to talk about damnation and eternal punishment. In all of their democratic efforts to make the Church into a republic, they have rebelled against God completely, as if he has no authority himself to issue commandments. They seem not to realize that the Lord is no Constitutional Monarch.

To once again quote Fr. Cantalamessa's Good Friday sermon in Rome:

“'Who is it that overcomes the world,' John writes in his first letter, 'if not those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God?' (1John 5:5). Sticking with this criterion, the fundamental distinction among Christians is not between Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, but between those who believe that Christ is the Son of God and those who do not believe this."

Legislative process and compromise are just another Tower of Babel in the end. Some ideas are so radically opposed to each other, that no compromise and reconciliation is possible, and never will be. "He that is not with me is against me." (Luke 11:23) To believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, is to recognize that he is the King of the Kingdom of God. We are given no votes about what he has commanded.


Anonymous said...

My plain and open admiration of Fr. Robert Hart, for his unwavering faith and intelligent theological delineations of God's holy truths!!!
+Stephen Clark

Anonymous said...

What's the Queen Lear reference? Just curious.


Canon Tallis said...

From my own point of view, the Lord is an absolute monarch and not a constitutional one. When we stray from His word as expressed in Holy Scripture, it is we and anyone else which is in the wrong. And this applies equally to the Church of Rome with its "celibate" clergy as it does to any other part of the Kingdom of God.

But I believe that such is precisely what you were intending to say - or have I got it wrong?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Sean asked:
What's the Queen Lear reference? Just curious.

Perhaps a bit too subtle. As William Shakespeare wrote it, King Lear decided to throw away his authority, and relax. The result was the ruin of his house and kingdom. I think of a very different king, namely the father of the current queen, who in his time actually used his authority to remove the wrong Prime Minister and replace with him with Churchill, and in other ways to come to the help of England. But, the queen has let England fall into ruin, not because she could never step in at all, but rather because she simply has never bothered.

Anonymous said...

OK. I thought it might be something like that, but i wasn't sure since there wasn't a formal abdication. No doubt Charles would oblige. Would the disestablishment of the church be meaningful at this point?


Anonymous said...

'the father of the current queen, who in his time actually used his authority to remove the wrong Prime Minister and replace with him with Churchil'

Er? (I confess that my British constitutional history isn't what it could be, but could you please elucidate?)

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart, perhaps my earlier question wasn't all that politely put, which is why it is ignored, but in order to you to maintain your 'Queen Lear' snipe at the reigning Head of State of peoples other than your own, would you kindly give the less historically clued-up amongst us one concrete instance of King George VI using his executive power contrary to the expressed wishes of Parliament or the advice of his ministers. If by the replacement of 'the wrong PM' by Churchill you mean the resignation of Chamberlain and the appointment of Churchill in 1940, my reading is that these were instances of the King acceding reluctantly to the wishes of Parliament. If you really want to see a use of the executive power of the Crown way outside the square within a Westminster system, I suggest that you look at the Australian Constitutional Crisis of 1975. I don't want to get into an argument with a bunch of Americans about the rightness or wrongness of the Westminster system (although I am beginning to suspect that this is taught in American schools in the way English Church history is taught in RC schools), or with Australians for that matter about the rightness or wrongness of our current system--not on this list, anyway, and I don't want to get into anything with you, Fr Hart, that turns nasty, since I am greatly helped by almost everything else that you write, but I'll not tell your President how to do his job if you don't tell my Queen how to do hers.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

In the words of Groucho Marx, from the contract scene in A night at the Opera, "Well, let's not break up an old friendship over a thing like that." So I have torn out the Queen Lear line.

I realize too, it distracts from my point.

Anonymous said...

And it was too good a point from which to distract.