Speaking in Tongues in ACNA

At the recent consecration of Keith Andrews, Archbishop Foley Beach briefly spoke in tongues while laying hands on Andrews. I am not claiming that what he did was the Biblical gift of tongues, only that this is what passes for it in our day. Nevertheless, this spurred me to look at what the ACNA Catechism says about the practice.

Question 87 of the Catechism says, “What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?” The answer is:

The manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit include faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, other languages, the interpretation of other languages, administration, service, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy and others. The Spirit gives these to individuals as he wills. (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 27-31; Ephesians 4:7-10)

The Biblical proof texts for the answer include I Corinthians 12:10, which says in part “to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues…” The catechism is rendering “tongues” or “γλωσσῶν” as “languages” which is formally correct.

So it seems that the catechism is making a place for glossolalia, but is using the more sober term “language” to perhaps deflect attention away from a “three streams” reality. It is certainly not saying that the “sign gifts” are not active today. It does not seem to be coming from the position of many Reformed theologians such as John Frame, who says, “I Corinthians 14 would tell us that we should not practice the use of tongues in public worship services” (Systematic Theology, 930).

What Archbishop Beach was engaged in was glossolalia, as outlined in William Samarin’s book, “Tongues of Men and Angels,” available here.

Whether you like it or not, if you sign up for ACNA, you are signing up for a “three streams” reality. Archbishop Beach has endorsed this view:

Currently—and this is something I think that’s very distinctive about who we are— we are a group that is Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical, and Charismatic. Some call that the ‘Three Streams,’ and that’s a simple way of explaining it. But, even some of our most Anglo-Catholic folks would be more charismatic than I am. All of us tend to have those three streams somewhere in our mix.
I think that’s very unique for American Christianity today. All of us have our core; my core would be evangelical. Although I have the other two pieces, my core or default is evangelical. But, these streams enable us to bring the richness of the breadth of Christianity, and it’s truly powerful when these streams are together.

The Catechism seems to be allowing for glossolalia as it has come to Anglicanism from Pentecostalism. This is another area where some people sign on to ACNA and hope to change things.

“There might be charismatics out there, but I’m not one of them.” You might hear someone say. Well, when the official Catechism of your denomination seems to endorse glossolalia, you cannot really deny it to people in your congregation, can you?

The reality of ACNA on the ground right now in its formative days is that there is a live and let live reality. However, the Catechism codifies a view of things that I imagine will become more ingrained over time. So like it or hate it, ACNA is a “three streams” denomination.

Sounding the Alarm on Anglicans in Rwanda

Applauding a Madman
Archbishop Rwaje with Paul Kagame

Fr. Chris Schutte of Christ Church Anglican (ACNA) writes:

In the past week or so I’ve read several stories that illustrate the dangers of Christians becoming too close to political leaders. First, there has been a lot of news coverage commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. This is one of the most shameful events in recent memory, and the world’s passivity added sins of omission to the brutal sins of commission. Worst of all, this slaughter of innocent people occurred in a country in which over 90 percent of people claim to be Christians, and takes pride that the East African revival of the early 20th century was born there.

Fr. Schutte points out the embarrassing actions of Rick Warren:

The current president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has led the country since the genocide. He has been embraced by many Christians in Rwanda—as well as around the world—as a strong, courageous leader who is, essentially, on God’s side. Prominent American Evangelical pastor Rick Warren, who serves on Mr. Kagame’s advisory board, recently hosted the Rwandan president at his Southern California church, and praised him, saying, “I have never met a leader like Paul Kagame, he is an uncommon leader in an uncommon country.” He went on to say, “God chose a nation the world turned its back on during its darkest hour to give the world a new model.”

He correctly observes that Kagame’s regime has been incredibly wicked:

The problem, however, is that Kagame’s tenure in office has not been without serious problems. A recent Wall Street Journal article points out that Kagame’s armies systematically killed thousands of Hutus in recrimination, shut down critical news outlets, and launched military attacks in the Congo, which continue to this day. A recent New York Times editorial, while acknowledging the progress made since the genocide, observes that “civil and political rights in Rwanda are severely restricted. Dissidents and opposition political leaders are subject to harassment, detention and torture. Several have disappeared or been killed.” So, while it is important to honor the victims of the genocide, lament the failure of the international community to intervene, and celebrate the amazing progress Rwanda has made over the last 20 years, we must be careful how our embrace of political leaders might tacitly communicate support for all of their actions.

He then turns to the close relationships between Rwandan Anglicans, American Anglicans and the Kagame dictatorship, and he draws salutary conclusions that other Anglican leaders have failed to draw:

As a Christian, and specifically as an Anglican Christian, I find myself in a difficult place. The Anglican Church in Rwanda has a close relationship with President Kagame and his ruling party, and the Church of Rwanda has had an instrumental role in the founding of the Anglican Church in North America, of which our congregation is a part. So, while I want to honor the Rwandan leaders who have been so gracious to us. I also feel that, in good conscience, I cannot embrace Mr. Kagame in the way that many of my brothers and sisters both in Rwanda and the United States have done because I do not want to give the appearance that he is above reproach.

Our denomination, and the congregation that I serve, have a deep connection to the Anglican Church of Uganda. Their leadership was essential to our founding, and the relationships we have in the gospel are an important part of our life today. In addition, Anglican Church in North America shares many of the concerns around the move to redefine marriage. This relationship, rooted in common commitment to the gospel, makes it difficult to implicitly criticize these brothers and sisters, but on this issue I believe that Christians must speak out.

Although I don’t agree with his entire line of thinking, his conclusions regarding the witness of American Anglicans are spot on:

However, when Christians uncritically embrace political leaders who act in ways that are inconsistent with the gospel, and when Christians tacitly support laws that stigmatize groups of people, our capacity to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ and his heart for the world is compromised, sometimes irreparably.

Bishop Rucyahana, friend of Bishop Lawrence and Paul Kagame
Bishop Rucyahana, friend of Bishop Lawrence and Paul Kagame

The Early Emphases of Archbishop Beach

Archbishop Foley Beach has not been in office for a year, but he has been very active in his short time. What has he been up to so far and what can we glean from his actions?

On November 10th 2014, Archbishop Beach met with Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. He was accompanied by Bishop Ray Sutton who has a great passion for ecumenical coming together with Catholic and Orthodox churches.1 This meeting was to further cooperation between the two churches.

Hilarion_Beach

Metropolitan Hilarion came under heavy fire during this time from writers who called him a liar. Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille wrote:

Hilarion is rather like the Energizer Bunny: he goes on and on and on repeating tirelessly whatever pernicious propaganda the Russians want to spread. He has three channels to choose from: tired and outright lies about Ukrainian Catholics, repeated ad nauseam for over a decade now; useful if rather vague calls for Christians to co-operate in addressing the social ills of our time (same-sex marriage, divorce, abortion); and tendentious distortions of his own Orthodox tradition, particularly her ecclesiology.

DeVille concluded: “If he repeatedly tells lies about Catholics in Ukraine, and is now caught out uttering distortions about his own Orthodox tradition, how can this man be called upon to reliably discuss anything?”

DeVille was echoed by George Weigel, writing in First Things, who bluntly said:

For the past year, Metropolitan Hilarion and his master, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, have functioned as agents of Russian state power in matters having to do with Ukraine. Which is to say, they have functioned as agents of Vladimir Putin. I take it as axiomatic that serious ecumenical dialogue is impossible when the dialogue-partner operates under ambiguous or false pretenses and uses the dialogue to advance political interests. Yet that is the charade that is allowed to continue when Hilarion is welcomed in Rome. Indeed, the charade is reinforced.

Hopefully, ACNA and Archbishop Beach will think carefully before going too far down the road of cooperation with Hilarion and the Moscow Patriarchate.

Archbishop Beach made several key appointments to help him with leading the Province, as I noted here. Later, he appointed the Rev. Dan Alger as his Provincial Canon for Church Planting. Rev. Alger is a veteran of AMiA and PEARUSA, with a background in Bishop Terrell Glenn’s church.

One thing Archbishop Beach seems to be emphasizing is increasing a church planting presence in minority communities. Perhaps as part of this outreach, the Archbishop delivered an address to an ecumenical gathering at the Mt. Enon Baptist Church in Monroe, Georgia on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Archbishop Beach had high praise for Dr. King, concluding: “As we give thanks for Martin Luther King, Jr. this day, let us also seek to emulate his teaching and the example of how that teaching was to be lived.”

In February, Archbishop Beach responded to a ruling by the Canadian Supreme Court regarding physician assisted suicide. He wrote: “The Anglican Church in North America is committed to defending life from conception to natural death. Last week the Canadian judiciary opened the doors to physician assisted suicide, and we are deeply concerned about the threat that this poses to our weakest and most vulnerable members.”

Also in February, the Archbishop addressed the Georgia State Senate and admonished them to uphold God’s Law:

And so as our elected representatives, I would like to ask: Are the laws which you pass driving us further from the Law of God or are they bringing us closer to the Law of God? The eternal standards of right and wrong do not change – even though the culture and public opinion polls do.

The Archbishop asked for prayer for the persecuted church after ISIS executed Copts working in Libya. In an encouraging sign to me, he cited the example of Janani Luwum:

As we pray for the persecuted today, we do not need to go far to find a contemporary example of how God has built his Church through suffering. It is 38 years to the day that Archbishop Janani Luwum of Uganda was killed for his faith. His death was not broadcast to the world, and yet today he is being celebrated in Uganda as a model of faithfulness in the face of tyranny.

In March, the Archbishop traveled to Rwanda where he was with Bishop Guernsey, PEARUSA bishops Quigg Lawrence, Steve Breedlove, Ken Ross and David Bryan. The bishops went on retreat in Musanze and discussed renewing PEARUSA’s charters and protocols with the Rwandans. Expect PEARUSA to not remain as a standalone entity for much longer, but don’t expect them to acknowledge what is going on in Rwanda during this transition, but rather to shower the Anglican Church in Rwanda with praise.

musanze 15

To summarize, it seems like the new Archbishop is raising ACNA’s political profile a bit, and trying to broaden the scope of its outreach. Most of the Provincial initiatives were in place prior to his consecration, and continue to run on their own. I think his heart is in the right place, but I hope he applies the lessons of Janani Luwum to his relationships with the Russian Orthodox and his African partners, particularly Uganda and Rwanda which are nations run by dictators.

The Doctrinal Foundations of ACNA

house of bishops acna procession

Although the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) released a catechism, the catechism itself carries no doctrinal weight on its own (as far as I know). It is only useful as an explication of the doctrinal standards that are enshrined in ACNA’s Constitution. In the future, when there are doctrinal conflicts in ACNA, I envision appeals being made to what the Constitution says about doctrinal standards.

Before I look at what the Constitution says, it may be helpful to recall how it came into being. The Constitution imports language from the Common Cause Partners Theological Statement.1 A “Governance Task Force” drafted the Constitution, and that Task Force consisted of: Hugo Blankingship, Chair – CANA, Philip Ashey+, Esq. AAC, Larry Bausch+ FIFNA, Travis Boline+ Kenya, Jerry Cimijotti+ Southern Cone, Kevin Donlon+ AMiA, +Robert Duncan Southern Cone, Cheryl Chang, Esq. ANIC, Bill Gandenberger+ Southern Cone, +Royal Grote REC, +John Guernsey Uganda, Matt Kennedy+ AAC, +Martyn Minns CANA, +Bill Murdoch Kenya, +Chuck Murphy AMiA, Jim McCaslin+ Kenya, Ron Speers, Esq. Uganda, Scott Ward, Esq. CANA, Barclay Mayo+ ACiC, Wick Stephens, Esq. Southern Cone, Scott Ward, Esq.CANA and Robert Weaver, Esq. Southern Cone.

I am told that Kevin Donlon was front and center during the process. A participant told me that he “…had a lot of objections and suggestions and effectively vetoed some of the Reformed stuff people argued for.” We have a brief overview of the process in this press conference, but as with all such events, it did not in any way delve into the actual nitty gritty of what happened. Organizations necessarily put on a “sunshine and roses” take on their own deliberations, and the way to the truth is usually found when talking to participants off the record. I doubt we will see such an accounting of this process given the participants.

I tried to conceptualize what the Constitution says in the following chart:

Taken from the ACNA Constitution
Taken from the ACNA Constitution

The Constitution uses three words regarding the doctrinal standards: confessaffirm and receive. If the words imply weight to the different sources of doctrine, then I take confess to be the strongest, affirm the second strongest, and receive the weakest word. Even if they are weighted in such a way, the Constitution does say, “we identify the following seven elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way, and essential for membership.”

The GAFCON Statement and Jerusalem Declaration are affirmed in the Preamble, probably because they were issued very late in the process of drafting the Constitution, and so were presumably included at the last minute and not as one of the “essential elements” for membership.

Early on, Dr. Ephraim Radner pointed out the different weight that the Constitution’s words carry, and noted a move towards “indefiniteness” on the part of the writers:

The identification of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal, and the Thirty-Nine Articles as “standards” and “principles” has struck some as overly and perhaps impossibly precise. After all, have not Anglicans, through the Lambeth Conference now over 100 years ago, made formal the lack of explicitness with which these formularies are to be held as standards for all Anglicans. at least as it determines Communion-related “Anglican” identity? Yet we note the care with which the Constitution has cloaked these standards with a certain indefiniteness: “We receive the Book of Common Prayer…as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline” and as “the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship”; “we receive the Thirty-Nine Articles…, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles…”.

The clear implication is that there may be other legitimate “standards”, and that the BCP of 1662 is rather one among many, although obviously an acceptable one. Clearly, that the early BCP’s represent the standard for “the tradition” of Anglican worship is incontestable as a historical claim. Furthermore, a “tradition of worship” is itself a loose referent and already indicates an acceptance that the BCP’s of the Reformation and post-Reformation are no longer in explicit use among many Anglicans. Finally, it is hardly constrictive, let alone historically odd, that the Thirty-Nine Articles would be received as holding doctrine appropriate to its time of composition, that continues to express certain “principles” that cohere with “authentic Anglicanism”. For the Constitution does not claim that the Articles articulate necessarily all such principles, exhaustively, or straightforwardly (since “principles” can only be gleaned from historical records aimed at local moments and controversies), nor that all “authentic Anglicanism” is bound by them in any exhaustive way. None of this should surprise us, however, given that the proposed new province contains both Anglo-Catholic and evangelical churches and bishops, who, vis a vis the Thirty-Nine Articles, for instance, hold very different views, and for whom there are, therefore, perforce several “standards” and “principles” at work.

On this score, we must note the difference in the Constitution’s language from the GAFCON “Jerusalem Declaration” (no. 3) regarding the Thirty-Nine Articles “as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today”. Even this statement is open to some latitude in doctrinal reference however – does “authoritative for Anglicans today” mean for “all” Anglicans, necessarily? Can one be an “Anglican” and hold to some different (though perhaps not conflicting) standard? That the doctrine in the Articles is “true” does not clearly imply “exhaustively” true. And what exactly does “authoritative” mean in this context? Is it similar to the claims to salvation-status granted to certain beliefs by the Athanasian Creed? Probably not; indeed by their own standards, they are authoritative only to the degree that they are clearly supported by Scripture’s own teaching. Still, while the Jerusalem Declaration is itself hardly explicit in many ways, there is a definite move towards indefiniteness in the Constitution, one that is clearly by design, and most likely involves the reality of catholic and protestant sensibilities and commitments seeking incorporation in the same church. The Constitution “affirms” the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration (1.10), but such “affirmation” is itself general and necessarily loose in its meaning.

The “taken in their literal and grammatical sense” line about the Articles of Religion is the famous Anglo-Catholic evasion from Newman’s Tract 90, which reads: “For its enjoining the “literal and grammatical sense,” relieves us from the necessity of making the known opinions of their framers, a comment upon their text;”.2 This same kind of move away from the Reformed tenets of Anglicanism occurred during the second GAFCON meeting in Nairobi, as you can read here.

These moves to placate the famous “three streams” are understandable if you think of the Anglican realignment in America as stitching together a diverse group of Anglicans who do not agree doctrinally. Archbishop Duncan said that the Constitution provided, “flexibility, recognizing the diversity of Godly approaches common among the partners coming into union.” I believe that the Formularies, Prayer Book and Ordinal (alongside the Bible of course) provide us with enough tools of persuasion to make the case for Augustinian orthodoxy even in the current confused doctrinal environment of ACNA, but we should not be deceived about the fact that there are many camps under the banner of ACNA.

The reality for those of us who hoped for a Reformed rebirth in the realignment is that ACNA is a “here comes everybody” church. What we might hope for in the long run is a decade or two of Reformed church planters, Reformed clergy moving into the role of bishop, and an eventual change of the Constitution to read that “the Articles of Religion are confessed as the doctrinal standard of ACNA as proved by Holy Scripture.”

  1. Proposed Theological Statement of the Common Cause PartnersWe, the representatives of the Common Cause Partners, do declare we believe the following affirmations and commentary to contain the chief elements of Anglican Reformed Catholicism, and to be essential for membership.1) We receive the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Scripture as the inspired Word of God containing all things necessary for salvation, and as the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.2) We confess the historic faith of the Undivided Church as declared in the Catholic Creeds.3) We believe the teaching of the Seven Ecumenical Councils in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, and have been held by all, everywhere, at all times.4) We hold the two sacraments of the Gospel to be ordained by Christ Himself, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord, and to be administered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of Institution and of the elements ordained by Him.5) We accept the 1549 through the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and its ordinal as the foundation for Anglican worship and the standard for doctrine and discipline.6) We believe the godly Historic Episcopate to be necessary for the full being of the Church.7) We affirm the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as foundational for authentic Anglican belief and practice and as correctives to doctrinal abuses.  
  2. See this post for another take on the issues.

New AMiA Bishops

If there is something that Anglicans are good at, it is making bishops. The Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has two new bishops: Gerry Schnackenberg and Carl Buffington. Schnackenberg was one of the first wave of AMiA priests way back in 2,000, as you can see in this article. According to the website of his church:

Fr. Gerry Schnackenberg, Rector of Epiphany has his license for ordained ministry with the first Bishop of the Diocese of Kibondo, the Rt. Rev. Sospeter T. Ndenza. Fr. Gerry is also Bishop Ndenza’s Commissary or representative in the U.S.A. and serves as his Canon to St. Hilary’s Cathedral Kibondo.

AMiA publicized Schnackenberg’s April 2013 visit to Tanzania:

During the services, Gerry participated in the Holy Spirit falling on many in attendance and delivering others from demonic influence.

“This sort of ‘Power Ministry’ has been largely unknown to the people which means they are really, really open to it under the godly leadership of their Bishop whom they trust,” Gerry says. “Bishop Sospeter told me last February after experiencing the evening of healing prayer at Winter Conference that this is what he very much wanted for his Diocese. I believe he is setting a pattern for healthy and powerful ministry of releasing the fullness of the Holy Spirit in a gentle, but moving way.”

IMG_0322
Gerry Schnackenberg

Carl Buffington joined AMiA in 2004. Last year, Buffington went to Rwanda to attend the funeral of retired Archbishop Kolini’s son, John. Buffington’s article relating this experience mentions Pierre Habumuremyi and Rwigamba Balinda, both prominent Rwandan regime insiders, as being at the funeral. Habumuremyi was Prime Minister until 2014 when Kamage sacked him, see here. Balinda was part of a triumvurate of M23 supporters that included Bishops Kolini and Rucyahana, as the U.N. pointed out:

RPF members have been recruiting sympathizers and raising funds for M23 from within Rwanda. Politicians, former Rwandan armed forces and CNDP officers told the Group that Rwigamba Balinda, a Rwandan senator and Rector of the Free University of Kigali, and John Rucyahana, a bishop (see S/2012/348/Add.1, para. 29), both RPF members, had overseen those activities in Rwanda and abroad.

It is fascinating that these regime insiders attended the Kolini funeral, and is more evidence that both PEARUSA and AMiA are tied to the Rwandan regime, although they may not even realize it.

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Carl Buffington

H. Miller has left AMiA for Holy Trinity Brompton, to serve a dual role as Associate Pastor at St. Barnabas Kensington and as the Church Planting Network Developer for the HTB Network (Holy Trinity Brompton). This leaves a very top heavy structure as follows:

College of Consultors

RectorThe Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini
Vice RectorThe Most Rev. Yong Ping Chung
SecretaryThe Most Rev. Moses Tay
Consultors:The Rt. Rev. Charles H Murphy, IIIThe Rt. Rev. Sospeter T NdenzaThe Rt. Rev. William B MugenyiGeneral SecretaryThe Very Rev. Mike Murphy

Conference Of Missionary Bishops

The Rt. Rev. Alexander Maury (Sandy) Greene
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Silas Tak Yin Ng
The Rt. Rev. Charles H Murphy, III
The Rt. Rev. Gerry Schnackenberg
The Rt. Rev. Carl Buffington
The Rt. Rev. Thomas William (TJ) Johnston, Jr.
The Rt. Rev. John Hewitt Rodgers, Jr.

The communication from AMiA follows:

Last week the Anglican Mission was pleased to announce that at a recent College of Consultors meeting Gerry Schnackenberg+ and Carl Buffington+ were elected Bishop Emissaries for the Diocese of Kibondo and Boga, respectively. A bishop emissary, in Anglican custom, represents the respective mission partner diocese in matters that might assist or affect them outside of their dioceses. As both men are members of the Society, they will be given responsibilities in the Society as delegated from my office for confirmations, ordinations, etc, which our Concordats provide for. As one of our main values is spiritual oversight for clergy, the addition of Gerry+ and Carl+ will help greatly in that area. I will be meeting in Dallas with both bishops-elect soon to work on their portfolios for their ministry in The Mission. They will continue to serve as senior pastors of their respective churches. Their consecrations will be scheduled during Eastertide as plans are being finalized mindful of the schedules of the partners who will be attending, the available venues, etc.

We in the Society are excited about the election and grateful to our partners for sharing the emissaries, Bishop-elect Schnackenberg and Bishop-elect Buffington. Please keep them in your prayers as they go forward to serve your missionary interests.

Archbishop Rwaje on the East African Revival and the 1994 Genocide

Archbishop Rwaje at GAFCON in 2013
Archbishop Rwaje at GAFCON in 2013

In the course of responding to questions about the East African Revival at GAFCON’s 2013 meeting in Nairobi, the Archbishop of Rwanda, Onesphore Rwaje talked about the relationship of the revival to the 1994 genocide.1 He says:

…and I don’t know whether it is one of the questions you would like to ask me, let me respond to it before asking this question.  You may hear there is a contradiction and there is in fact, a country where revival movement was born, 1930’s—a second revival and the same time the country where has been a genocide against the Tutsis.2 That’s a contradiction, that’s a contradiction, and we are requesting ourselves what’s happened; 1960’s onward mainly within the church, mainly within the revival.

But after analyzing there {were a} few remnants among the revivalists in fact who stood against {the genocide} and we have testimony, some of them were killed and others are testifying for that. So that’s a contradiction and we have to bear that and this is a challenge we have to bear that not only for revival even for the church itself.

Archbishop Rwaje seems to be saying that the Anglican Church in Rwanda is trying to figure out what happened after the 1960’s that caused a nation of 85% Christians to slaughter one another. This is a good question, and you can see that for all the talk of revival and reconciliation before the genocide, it did nothing to stop the killing:

Moreover, by 1990, the Anglican church was deeply involved in internal wrangling and divisions. They were focused on jealousies and bitterness between Adoniya Sebununguri, bishop of Kigali, and John Ndandali, bishop of the second diocese of Butare, created in 1978. The conflict was focused on who would become the first Archbishop of the new Anglican province of Rwanda created in 1992. Although personal factors were paramount in this conflict, it did strangely parallel political divisions between the ‘north,’ where the deeply unpopular president came from, and a ‘south,’ which felt excluded. A series of other conflicts among the leadership of the churches began to disfigure the Anglican church: based on personal and family rivalries, regional differences, political disputes (as a multi-party system was introduced). Hutu-Tutsi divisions were only one of many factors fueling and sustaining these disputes.  Often the rhetoric of the Revival was introduced into the disputes. At high-profile meetings of reconciliation, church leaders confessed and sang Tukutenderza in the old spirit of the Balokole [Balokole means ‘saved’ – editor] fellowship, but these occasions did not seem to have the power to transform the faction-riven nature of the church. The form of Revival had replaced its genuine spirit.3

Bishop Laurent Mbanda tells us that some participants in the revival meetings were active killers in 1994:

Christian survivors of the genocide who participated in these evangelical meetings tell stories of church members and testifying Christians who, having attended the same meetings, were later seen in the uniforms and activities of Interahamwe (militia). During the killings, many were also seen at roadblocks with machetes. It is hard to believe, but reported by trustworthy individuals.

Unfortunately, the pattern of acquiescence with evil has continued as clergy support many evil actions of the Kagame regime. For example, bishops Rucyahana and Kolini supported and raised funds for M23, a group that kidnapped child soldiers, raped and murdered in the DRC. Before we rush to embrace the East African Revival, it is wise to ask what its legacy is in the world outside of church meetings, in the nitty gritty of political life and society.

Some related posts on the Revival are here: 1234.

The Next Pope?

Cardinal Robert Sarah
Cardinal Robert Sarah

Sandro Magister writes about Cardinal Robert Sarah, who has a chance at being the next Pope. I have also kept my eye on Cardinal Sarah for the last couple years. Magister provides a brief biography of the Cardinal, who is from Guinea. An excerpt:

He was born in a remote village in the savanna, into a freshly converted family. At the age of 12 he was circumcised and initiated into manhood in the forest. He studied to be a priest and became one, while his Guinea was under the bloody regime of the Marxist Sekou Touré, with the bishop of Conakry, the capital, imprisoned and tortured.

He studied theology in Rome, at the Gregorian and especially at the Biblicum, with rector Carlo Maria Martini and professors like Lyonnet, Vanhoye, de la Potterie. He spent a year at the prestigious École Biblique in Jerusalem.

And then he returned as a humble pastor to his Guinea, going on foot into the savanna to reach the very last of the faithful, amid a majority Muslim population. Until Paul VI made him a bishop in 1978, the youngest in the world at the age of 33. And he entrusted him with Conakry, as Sekou Touré became ever more infuriated with this new pastor and undaunted defender of the faith. After the tyrant’s sudden death in 1984, they would discover that Sarah was the first on the list of enemies to be eliminated.

Theologically, Cardinal Sarah aligns with Pope Benedict:

Sarah has boundless admiration for Pope Joseph Ratzinger. He shares his idea that for the Church of today, the absolute priority is to bring God into the heart of civilizations, both those of ancient Christian tradition that has been obfuscated or denied, and those that are still pagan.

Excerpts are quoted from his book, including:

The Church cannot go forward as if reality did not exist: it can no longer content itself with ephemeral enthusiasms, which last for the duration of great gatherings or liturgical assemblies, as beautiful and rich as they may be. It can no longer hold back from a practical reflection on subjectivism as the root of most of the current errors. What use is it that the pope’s Twitter account is followed by hundreds of thousands of persons if men do not concretely change their lives? What use is it to tally up the figures of the crowds that throng before the popes if we are not sure that the conversions are real and profound? […]

Keep your eyes on Cardinal Sarah when the next Conclave rolls around.

Anglican Bishops with Kagame in Huye

Paul Kagame visited with “opinion leaders” in Huye, Rwanda this week. Front and center in the audience were two southern bishops, Augustin Mvunabandi and Nathan Gasatura. Their Dioceses (Kigeme and Butare) are on the border of Burundi, where the town of Huye lies.

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Bishop Nathan Gasatura (left) with Paul Kagame
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Bishop Augustin Mvunabandi in the audience.

Bishop Mvunabandi was (is?) part of the Peace in the Great Lakes campaign. Here, he is sitting in front of the man who foments war in the Great Lakes. I wonder if he had anything to say about it?

When you’ve lost Virtue…

David Virtue addresses the latest actions of the AMiA (which I will write more about later):

Truth be told, the AMIA or ASMAW is now little more than a congregational operation with a creedal overlay. They can no longer be considered Anglican in any sense of the word. They have no existence apart from themselves and recognized by nobody.

Blame for all this truly rests with former Bishop Chuck Murphy whose narcissism has been well documented. Having lost 95% of his bishops and left with just a handful of small parishes, Bishop Jones, his successor, has been trying to pick up the pieces ever since, but with little success. This attempt to backdoor his small flailing group into something more has proven disastrous. If he had any sense or humility, he should go cap in hand to Archbishop Foley Beach and ask to be the 31st diocese of ACNA. We can only hold our breath and hope that repentance is forthcoming. As things now stand ASMAW has no future with anyone in the Anglican Communion. They are history.

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The form of our worship

Does it matter how we worship God? Does anything govern the actions and rituals we perform in gathered worship? Quite often it seems that churches worship with little or no thought about the theological right or wrong of a given practice. Most of us would realize that we cannot erect a golden calf in the sanctuary and offer incense to it, but what about a cross? Are there areas of indifference, where we can do whatever we want, or must we have a command from God for everything we do?

One wing of the Reformation reacted against Roman excesses by enacting the “regulative principle” where anything not expressly stated by God should not be done. Others move in a completely opposite direction and do just about anything, so long as they have a “tradition” to fall back on that justifies the practice. Many others, perhaps the majority, just do whatever they grew up with and add a dollop or two of whatever the cool church in town does.

Peter Leithart offers a convincing, Biblical way forward in his book From Silence to Song. He says:

…a word must be said at this point about the hermeneutical assumptions underlying the Reformed “regulative principle of worship.” In the hands of at least some writers, the regulative principle is, in practice, hermeneutically wooden and theologically Marcionite. It is wooden because an explicit “command” is required for every act of worship, and it is Marcionite because it ignores the abundant Old Testament liturgical instruction in favor of exegeting a few passages of the New.

He says later:

I adhere to the regulative principle in the sense that we are to worship God as He has taught us to worship Him, but He has taught us in myriads of ways, and not merely in explicit commands.

Using syllogisms, Leithart shows how strict regulativists contrast with how David approached worship:

Major premise: Whatever is not commanded is forbidden.
Minor premise: Singing is not commanded in the Levitical Law.
Conclusion: Therefore, singing in worship is forbidden.

David appears to have reasoned by analogy:
Major premise: The Law governs worship.
Minor premise #1: The Law prescribes that trumpets be played over the public ascensions, in public worship.
Minor premise #2: The trumpet is a musical instrument.
Conclusion: Analogously, song and other music are a legitimate part of worship.

In place of a “regulation-by-explicit command” principle, David operated according to a “regulation-by-analogy” principle.