Nothing new ..

Continuing to read .. and of course finding that Lambeth has constantly been in difficulties from the very beginning. I hadn’t thought, of course, how significant it is that many who attend the Lambeth Conference will do so for the first and only time. So it has always been difficult to order the Conference in such a way that it builds on the work of former Conferences – too tempting to treat it as a ‘one-off’ without reference to the past. That in turn seems to contribute to the relative ineffectiveness of Lambeth Resolutions – and probably makes the Lambeth Conference less significant as one of the instruments of unity in the Anglican Communion than it might otherwise be. Maybe it’s partly a factor of time scales. Ten years may just be too long in today’s world. But, to be honest, I wouldn’t be queuing up to go more often!

I’ve been reading the GAFCON material with a curious mixture of sympathy and disappointment. I don’t think it is helpful at this moment to do more than say that I find it difficult to recognise myself in it. Maybe that shows just how ‘compromised and enfeebled’ I am without realising it.


  1. I noted your comment re.GAFCON but wondered just where you stand on the invite given to Gene Robinson to preach in St Mary,s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow ? This man surely preaches another Gospel and should not be entertained in the church of Jesus Christ. Galatians 5 v 1

  2. Mark, How right you are! Have just winced on seeing this FOCA acronym in the Times (cf. FCUK, eh?). At the same time, as a 58-year ‘cradle’ conservative evangelical (excuse the theological impossibility of this notion technically outside of a covenant-theology household), the words that come to mind are ‘the children of this generation are wiser than the children of light’. After many years of academic research/publishing in all this, I’ve come to the conclusion that it **is** possible to do evangelicalism in Anglicanism, but it is always going to be difficult. Like trying to play shuttle cock in a squash court: Anglicanism appears, frankly, too far from the end of Acts 2 ((1) meeting with ‘joy and sincerity’ among ‘spiritual siblings’ + (2) with ‘the bishop’ living ’round the corner’: implicit ‘ground zeros’ for ‘generalised’ evangelicalism in the UK). In tandem with the atonement, the central issue of UK evangelicalism seems to be the **fellow** believer (‘love God and….love the brethren’): something essentially very tough to sustain in a parish system (believe me, I’ve researched this very widely). More broadly, the church appears really to be like a (‘complexe system’/’emergent phenomenon’) flock of birds in the sky – dynamically changing direction often. Very difficult to fit into the ‘common-sense’ ‘platonic’ one-and-the-many models of contemporary ecumenism. And nothing is more inimical to the Zeitgeist than the idea of truth being dialectically established (compare Paul’s ‘bound to differ’) ; whereas if you research many church situations as I do (north and south of the border) the idea of dialectically-established truth seems overwhelmingly capable of having explanatory power. Perhaps the greatest enemy of ecclesiological understanding is [sitting thinking in] the armchair. Noel

  3. David – it is good to be in touch by blog! I have added you to my blogroll and thanks for putting me on yours!

    My heart sank when I read the statement as well.

    The new movement is apparently the Fellowship Of Confessing Anglicans. FOCA. Has anyone told them what that sounds like when you refer to them as a group? 🙂

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