Ephraim Radner’s article in First Things is not the first time he has looked at Rwandan Anglicans. Writing for the Anglican Communion Institute in 2009 Radner did an excellent job of laying out the background of conflicts in the DRC and Rwandan problems. He turned to Anglican related issues and said:
The current and often antagonistic disagreements among Anglican churches within the world-wide Anglican Communion has added another layer of confusion into this already difficult field of witness. Concerns about the character of our various churches’ attachments to players in the eastern Congo tragedy are generally suppressed through a desire to maintain ecclesial alliances; or, conversely, when such concerns are raised, they are dismissed and assigned to the motives of ecclesial politics. But we must not fool ourselves: the demise of truly catholic order and responsibility in something like the Anglican Communion mirrors the failures of global accountability in the secular world. […]
Let me re-emphasize this sentence: Concerns about the character of our various churches’ attachments to players in the eastern Congo tragedy are generally suppressed through a desire to maintain ecclesial alliances; or, conversely, when such concerns are raised, they are dismissed and assigned to the motives of ecclesial politics. This, in a nutshell, is what PEAR USA is doing, suppressing critical thinking due to ecclesial alliances which allow American bishops and clergy to carry on with whatever Reformation they think they are enacting here in the States, all the while ignoring evil. Radner says:
If Christian churches, like those of the Anglican Communion, cannot get beyond the politics of their own conflicted life, what is left is a church, just like the civil societies in which she moves, that is picked apart, manipulated, ordered by competing personal interests, and drawn ever more deeply into to the pit of complicity with evil. We have seen this happen.
Perhaps – indeed, surely, as the Psalmist writes – one must eventually fall into the pit one digs for another (cf. Ps. 7:15; cf. Prov. 26:27). But in the meantime, others have fallen in as well – too many others; millions of others. The Gospel promises us, through the prophet, a leveling out of the land – a filling in of rough places and of the pits themselves (Is. 40:4; Lk. 3:5), so that, at least, what the evil man contemplates cannot catch another on his or her way. The tentative pause in the eastern Congo’s holocaust can be extended, surely, through the corporate and cooperative determinations of participants. But the Christian churches must get involved in this as well. And to do that, they will need to extricate themselves from the expectations of and collaborations with governments that have already proven they cannot be trusted, and can only be pressured into acts of ostensive justice at best. Writing as an Anglican, this will require a conversion on the part of all of us that goes far beyond the local ecclesial feuds that have ruined our ability to hear the voice of the Lord calling us into His light.
Given what we have seen to date, PEAR USA and GAFCON more broadly will not confront evil until it is much too late. The lesson learned from Thad Barnum’s book “Never Silent” is not applied to contemporary circumstances.