Donlon Dupes Rwanda?

I hope to read Canon Donlon’s response to the Washington Statement and interact with it in the next day or so. My first impression of it is underwhelming. Perhaps that is due to the buildup of the document by Father James Kennaugh who referred to it last week as “the document of record and correction.” At least it is something, compared to the emptiness of the three press releases from Rev. Brust. I don’t know if the Donlon document has the AMiA imprimatur on it, as we haven’t seen it officially referred to yet.

On a more interesting note, Robin Jordan has a scathing article about Donlon up at his blog. To Jordan’s credit, he has been tracking Donlon’s activities for some time now. Jordan passes along an assertion that Donlon pressured the Rwandan bishops to ratify his revisions to their canon laws under the pretext of urgency, an action that is a shameful way to treat a friend. From Jordan’s piece:

In these emails this individual stated that he was disturbed by the false impression of the doctrine and practice of the Anglican Church of Rwanda created by the new Rwandan canons adopted in September 2007. They did not reflect the Province’s longstanding Anglican doctrine and practice. He went on to state that the Rwandan House of Bishops was not given sufficient opportunity to examine the new canons or to make comments or suggest changes at the time the new canons were presented to them for endorsement and promulgation. The Rwandan Bishops were assured that Canon Kevin Donlan who had drafted the new canons was an expert in canon law. The endorsement and promulgation of the new canons was stressed as being urgent and not allowing for delay as it was essential for the legal changes that Anglican Mission needed to make in its charter.

What is becoming clear is that Donlon is pushing his vision of Eastern Rite Roman Catholic canon law as the basis for unifying GAFCON through intermediaries like Bishop Murphy, who probably don’t care what he does as long as it keeps the old ship AM sailing. Jordan continues:

My analysis of the Rwandan canons confirmed my earlier examination of the canons. They are heavily indebted to the Roman Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law (1983). They replace Anglican teaching with Roman Catholic dogma as well as establish Roman Catholic governance structures.

As I wrote in my assessment of Canon 6, it attempts to recreate in the Anglican Church of Rwanda—at least in part—the papal system but on a smaller scale. The relationship of the Primate to the Primatial Vicar closely resembles that of the Roman Pontiff to a diocesan bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. Canon 6 recognizes the Primate as the supreme legislator for the Province as the Code of Canon Law (1983) recognizes the Roman Pontiff as the supreme legislator for the Roman Catholic Church. It further recognizes that legislative authority may be validly delegated to the Primatial Vicar as his deputy and agent.

So AMiA, which many of us thought was a a church planting movement rooted in Scripture and the classic formularies is now being turned into a strange amalgam of radical theology (women’s ordination, Jack Deere and Todd Hunter) and an inorganic attempt to impose unity on the emerging GAFCON bloc of Provinces via a foreign code of canon law. I will have more to say on this later, but I thank God that this has been brought to the light before it all was set in stone.

Note also that there is no concern for unity with ACNA in anything that Donlon and Bishop Murphy have done. Our Lord’s desire for unity, expressed in John 17, is hard enough to achieve given our many differences of theology and practice. What we are seeing from theAM is an attempt to move further and further away from ACNA. My contention from the beginning of ACNA has been that it is a very imperfect body, but that it is the body that now exists. The time for CANA and AMiA is over. Bishop Minns and Bishop Murphy should move on, and their organizations should fold into ACNA. Canon Donlon’s machinations drive a stake through any hope that AMiA will ever join ACNA under the leadership of Bishop Murphy.

7 thoughts on “Donlon Dupes Rwanda?”

  1. Whether we like it or not, Anglo-Catholics and Anglo-Catholicism exists, and has been part of Anglican history! I am myself more towards Reformed Anglicanism, on certain issues of theological & soteriological. But I am closer to what the Americans call the Federal Vision, with Sacraments and the Covenant. And I also see and believe in what Cyril of Alexandria said and taught about Mary as the Theotokos. But I am always against Pelagianism and Semi-Pelaganism.

  2. I find it rather remarkable that you denounce “radical theology”, and in the very next breath express a desire for greater unity with ACNA, a group that has provided far more space for women’s ord, the charismatic, and Anglo-Catholicism than the AM ever has… It’s a bit disingenuous, don’t you think? Let’s not pretend that the proposed move to ACNA is anything more than the political machinations of certain clergymen who have long had personal grievances with +Murphy and Donlon.

  3. I’m not sure how we would weigh the theological departures of ACNA vs. AMiA in the balance. On the whole, they are both weighed and found wanting, with AMiA heading in a progressively horrible direction with regard to WO (cf. Todd Hunter). I can envision a diocese of affinity within ACNA that is anti-WO and pro 39 Articles, something that won’t exist for long in “theAM”.

    And BTW, who has “proposed” a move to ACNA? Blaming people other than Bishop Murphy for political machinations is rich!

  4. Who has proposed a move to ACNA? Why, a good chunk of +Thad Barnum’s old parishes *threatened* to go to ACNA if they were placed under the episcopal care of anyone but +Glenn. Really, the DC boys have been at this game for a while now…

    We disagree on who is and isn’t found wanting theologically, (particularly if you think Jack Deere, former DTS professor and reluctant charismatic, is radical…) but really the differences are a side show. Anglicanism has existed with theological diversity since the beginning, and Lord willing it will continue to. Moreover, we knew about these differences with each other when the various orthodox groups were formed in the wake of the TEC disaster: were Dan, Chuck, Tommy, or their Apostles Mission Network buddies under the impression they were joining an exclusively low-church, Calvinistic, cessationist, anti-WO group? I think not. No, the current row has nothing to do with theology. This is about a group of clergymen who have decided it’s their way or the highway.

  5. [1] It would be just fine if the DC clergy decided to leave simply over Murphy’s latest machinations. You make it sound like they are wrong to want to move to ACNA, when if fact it would right (and great) if they did.
    [2] We wouldn’t be having this conversation if old Bishop Murphy would have bowed the knee to Rwandan oversight, or to Bob Duncan and ACNA. His casting around for ways to keep himself sovereign are what is driving this.
    [3] It would have been better if the DC churches, and in fact, all of AMiA, went to ACNA. It is the Anglican province connected with GAFCON in North America. What is now clear is that Murphy wants his own empire, just like the Continuing churches before.
    [3] The differences are not a side show at all. If you think tolerating error is fine (or that there is no error in ordaining women) then your presuppositions are driving your erroneous conclusions from the beginning. Just Google the Toronto Blessing, the Kansas City ‘prophets’, Mike Bickle, Bob Jones and Jack Deere and see what you find. Further, look at who started women’s ordination: heretics like Bishop Pike and other Episcopal nut-cases in the Seventies.
    [4] The AMiA was formed as a life raft in 2000, prior to CANA and ACNA coming on the scene. With the creation of ACNA, there is no possible reason for AMiA to persist in existence outside of bishops not liking each other and keeping money flowing down to staff at Pawley’s Island.

    Now it becomes clear that the “Rwanda re-evangelizes the USA” story is dead in the water, Rwanda is just a fig-leaf for Bishop Murphy to maintain his position. Fortunately, he has been exposed.

  6. My, that’s a spirited defense of moving to ACNA from someone whose previous comment included “And BTW, who has ‘proposed’ a move to ACNA?” … Look, I have no problem with ACNA. (In fact, one of the greatest strengths of Canon Donlon’s proposal IMHO, which you’ve failed to see, is that the missionary society structure allows for much greater unity with ACNA than the current set-up does.) My problem is with how disingenuous it is for the DC boys to make it seem like their version of the promised land. It wasn’t too long ago when they were calling the formation of a new province “very premature”. Many in that crowd were fully supportive of mission partner status at the time, and there were lots of freak outs about things like the Orthodox Metropolitan Jonah addressing ACNA and saying things like “Calvinism is a known heresy”.

    So you see, this whole “more unity with ACNA!” line is a rather recent concern for the boys. If and when they get to ACNA, they’re going to be just as miserable and agitate just as much (if not more) against ++Duncan as they currently do +Murphy. The entire “Washington statement”, or whatever they’re calling it now in the blogosphere, is mere political posturing to try to get their own way. They’re not going to get it, and they’re either going to be miserable in AMiA or they’re going to be miserable in ACNA.

    Also, I enjoyed your use of the phrase “tolerating error”. How very non-Anglican of you. So much for “in essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, charity”, eh? Why not join the PCA if you’re looking for a uniformly Reformed and cessationist church with no WO and no episcopal authority? That’s where +Glenn was originally headed post-TEC.

    By the way, I noticed you’ve interacted a fair bit on your blog with the current controversies surrounding Sovereign Grace Ministries and CJ Mahaney. In a former life, I was once a pastoral intern at a SGM church. My wife and I count ourselves among the large crowd of people who have suffered greatly because of the abuses in that group. This has nothing to do with the ACNA v. AMiA discussion, but it may sadden you to know that the DC boys have a record and reputation for behaving in ways remarkably similar to the SGM abuses. In fact, this summer my wife and I had the opportunity to personally minister to a couple who have undergone great spiritual abuse at the hands of one of their proteges (who was acting the entire time under their advice).

    1. [1] Yes, *I* have proposed moving to ACNA. I am asking you who from AMiA has proposed it. My position is my own opinion, I am not responding to anything official. You were talking as if there was a move on right now. I hope there is, but have no evidence for that fact.
      [2] If you think Donlon’s purpose is greater unity with ACNA, you aren’t seeing things clearly.
      [3] “My problem is with how disingenuous it is for the DC boys to make it seem like their version of the promised land.” Where do you get the idea that they are? Again, *I* am proposing this as the best idea right now. ACNA is a mess and has the same issues of Scriptural fidelity that most jurisdictions do. But it also allows for a diocese of affinity, based on the formularies and doctrines of the Articles and our Anglican fathers. As far as what the position of the DC clergy may have been when ACNA was formed, (a) I have no idea and (b), if they opposed it then, I would say they were wrong. Big deal. People can change their minds.
      [4] “mere political posturing” – that’s your opinion, and nothing more.
      [5] “Also, I enjoyed your use of the phrase “tolerating error”. How very non-Anglican of you.” Right, because Anglicanism has tolerated error for the past century or more, so I guess we should still do it.
      [6] “So much for “in essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, charity”, eh?” That’s not a doctrine or a prescription for how to maintain a church. And women’s ordination is not adiaphora, nor is false prophecy. Read your Old Testament.
      [7] “… if you’re looking for a uniformly Reformed and cessationist church with no WO and no episcopal authority?” First, I am not a cessationist, I believe strongly in the charismata, but that in no way means I approve of fruitcakes like Deere. Discernment doesn’t go out the window with the charismata. As to WO, it is a novelty of the past 30 years and violates both Scripture and Tradition. I also believe strongly in episcopal authority AND accountability, which is why I oppose Murphy thumbing his nose at Rwanda. You are making lots of assumptions and they are all wrong.
      [8] If you were actually at SGM, then you of all people should be able to connect the dots between the behavior of CJ and the behavior of Murphy.
      [9] Everyone can cry “spiritual abuse” when they are corrected. It may be true or it may not be. Given your animus, I’d take your claims with more than a grain of salt.
      [10] You haven’t interacted at all with, or provided a justification for, the continued existence of AMiA (or CANA). You haven’t defended Jack Deere in any specific way. You have an obvious axe to grind and I suggest you take it somewhere else. I’ve allowed you to post over the past two weeks and you have displayed no theological reasoning whatsoever, just personal animus. Maybe that’s how it’s done in Boston, but I’m not having it.

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