Lambeth 2008: Talk is cheap, but the gospel isn’t.

The proceedings of the 2008 Lambeth Conference were overshadowed by the growing schism in the Anglican Communion over homosexuality. The liberal wing of Anglican bishops (including the Episcopalians in America) overwhelmingly favors the ordination of gay bishops and the consecration of gay unions. The conservative minority does not. The basic issue is whether the Bible’s teaching on these matters is authoritative. Obviously, the conservatives think that it is, and the liberals think that it is not.

One would have hoped that the Archbishop Rowan Williams might speak a prophetic word into this swirling morass of error, but once again the Archbishop disappoints. In his sermon given at the concluding Eucharist observance of the conference, he indicates that talking about theological disagreements is better than resolving those disagreements. He writes:

“In these last two weeks we’ve often spoken, both in the bishops’ and in the spouses’ conference, about telling our stories. It’s almost a cliché, isn’t it? In a good and properly organized Christian meeting we tell our stories. And that is right and proper, because one of the most significant things any believer can ever do is to say, ‘Come, and I will tell you what he has done for my soul.’ . . . perhaps we can go back to our local apostolic ministries . . . to tell the story of this meeting, this Lambeth Conference, in such a way that it becomes itself a story that makes things happen. We can ask God to strengthen us and enable us, so to talk about what we’ve received here that something shifts and grows and deepens in the Christian communities to which we belong. We can try to tell the story of the Lambeth ’08 Conference so that something happens, so that Christ comes alive in others.”

I’m not trying to be cynical. But I hardly think that the bishops’ talking to their parishioners about how they talked to one another at the Lambeth Conference is going to set the world on fire for the gospel. What is needed from the bishops (including Archbishop Williams) is a clear word about what the word of God says about the gospel and its implications for all of life (including the issue of homosexuality). Until that happens, the prospects for renewal in the Anglican Communion are dim indeed.

4 Responses to Lambeth 2008: Talk is cheap, but the gospel isn’t.

  1. Truth Unites... and Divides August 5, 2008 at 12:06 am #

    “The liberal wing of Anglican bishops (including the Episcopalians in America) overwhelmingly favors the ordination of gay bishops and the consecration of gay unions.”

    Reap what you sow.

    “The Church of England has been plunged into fresh turmoil by the “marriage” of two gay clergymen and threats of an exodus of priests opposed to the consecration of women bishops.”

    From: Anglican church in meltdown over gays and women

  2. Paul August 5, 2008 at 11:00 am #

    I like how TUAD highlights the liberal in that quote.

    One trick pony, you are TUAD.

    That said, I agree, there is no place for veering from Biblical authority in the church.

  3. Ken August 6, 2008 at 11:54 am #

    There are times when I fully believe the only Rowan running the Anglican Church is actually last-named Atkinson…

    Only I’m not sure if it’s as Blackadder or Mr. Bean. Maybe Zazu…

  4. Truth Unites... and Divides August 6, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    In private correspondence, seen by the Daily Telegraph, Dr Rowan Williams, refutes the Anglican Communion’s traditional teaching that homosexuality is sinful.

    Furthermore, he expresses his hope that the Church will change its position to be more accepting of gay partnerships.

    “The Bible does not address the matter of appropriate behaviour for those who are, for whatever reason, homosexual by instinct or nature,” Dr Williams writes.

    “By the end of the 80s I had definitely come to the conclusion that scripture was not dealing with the predicament of persons whom we should recognise as homosexual by nature.

    “I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had the about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”

    Conservative Anglican leaders said that the disclosure of the letter revealed the true mind of Dr Williams and significantly weakens his position as he battles to save the Church from schism.

    The Rev Canon Chris Sugden, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream – an orthodox group, said: “Clearly he is in a conflicted situation, while holding these personal convictions with the job description of the Archbishop of Canterbury to uphold the teaching of the church.

    “It puts him in an untenable position that he has neither fulfilled the expectations of those who share his beliefs on this matter, to their considerable disquiet, and that his understanding of the concerns of the orthodox has not been met by the appropriate action. It’s an impossible situation.”

    Excerpted From Archbishop of Canterbury compares gay relationships to marriage

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