The Status of AMiA Bishops

Archbishop Rwaje has addressed the status of the AMiA bishops:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ:

Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The House of Bishops met together on March 29, 2012, during which time we seriously and prayerfully considered how to respond to the desire of those in the Anglican Mission in the Americas who wish to disaffiliate from the Province de l’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR). Those AMiA missionary bishops who resigned on December 5, 2011 have maintained their credentials in the Province of Rwanda up until now. However, in a meeting of delegates from PEAR and AMiA in Johannesburg earlier this month, they asked to be “released” from the PEAR.

According to our Provincial Canons, there are only three ways that we may “release” clergy affiliated with us:

    1. By transferring them to another jurisdiction within the Anglican Communion;
    2. By their voluntary renunciation of orders;
    3. By formal ecclesiastical discipline.

Today we wrote to those AMiA missionary bishops who resigned and asked that if they wish to continue in episcopal ministry within another Anglican jurisdiction, that they please inform us of that jurisdiction immediately so that we may translate them appropriately.

For the time being, all remaining AMiA clergy continue to have canonical residence within the PEAR. Any clergy who wish to withdraw their credentials are free to do so in writing. We encourage all North American clergy credentialed in the PEAR to join PEARUSA, which is our missionary district in North America, unanimously erected by our House of Bishops in our today’s meeting.

We pray that you will not be distracted from the higher calling of Jesus’ Great Commission. Preach the good news, love the poor, plant healthy churches, and disciple Christ’s flock.

The grace and peace of God be with you all. Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje

Todd Hunter at the ACNA Assembly

Bishop Todd Hunter of the AMiA is a featured speaker at ACNA’s Assembly 2012. Why? Although canonically resident in Rwanda, he left PEAR along with Chuck Murphy. Archbishop Duncan said of these folks, “They are now former Anglicans, that’s what they have to grapple with.” [1]

So why would Archbishop Duncan turn around and invite Todd Hunter to teach at the high point of ACNA’s life together? Possibly, it signals that AMiA is on the way to being folded into ACNA. Or, perhaps it means that Todd is a candidate for the Vicar (Provincial Director) for Anglican 1000? Either way, it sends a confusing message when paired with what Archbishop Duncan has previously said.

 

From Nairobi to Johannesburg

The new communique from GAFCON on reconciliation between AMiA and PEAR is probably the end of the road for this chapter of the saga. This latest communique does not seem to agree with many points from the earlier Nairobi communique, for instance:

  • AMiA agreed that they remain canonically under the Church of Rwanda and accept the doctrine of forgiveness.
  • AMiA agreed to continue to work with the Church of Rwanda and that other plans for restructuring will be put on hold for six [6] months to allow time for healing and for other fruitful discussions.

The latest communique says instead that “we have done the best within our human efforts to fulfill the recommendations of the Nairobi Meeting”. I haven’t seen AMiA putting their plans on hold for six months, so I interpret this to mean that Rwanda is graciously allowing them to go their way.

This again points to a problem for Anglicanism that is at least as old as Bishop Pike and his heresy trial, if not much older, and that is that there is a real failure of church discipline. Renegades can get away with pretty much whatever they want, and that is not in accord with what we see in the Scriptures. Although GAFCON is a new development, it is in for a lot of trouble if it maintains the laissez-faire approach to church discipline that it inherited from Canterbury.

It remains to be seen where theAM ends up, and I’m sure that will take more time to sort itself out.

 

Conger on the Congo

The AMiA has been conducting ordinations under the auspices of the Anglican Province of the Congo recently. See this link saying that “Jenna Martin is actually a deacon of the Anglican Church of Congo” and this story which says: “Yet tonight, with the authority of the Province of the Congo, four new deacons and a priest were ordained in a service that was solemn, joy filled and yet redolent with hope.”

But in the latest episode of AnglicanTV, George Conger [you know, the guy who fomented the AMiA’s flight from Rwanda], reports contacting the leadership of the Congo and getting an “excuse me?” response to his questions about the AMiA’s actions [see about 7:40 into the episode]. The Congo leadership is professing to have no idea what Conger is talking about, so what is the real situation?

The Anglican Autumn

2011 saw the collapse of governments across the Middle East in a broad move later dubbed the Arab Spring. A major catalyst for this implosion was the strength of people connecting on the internet through Twitter, Facebook and blogs. The medium of the internet exposed these governments to scrutiny that had not previously existed. Leaders who were used to acting with impunity were suddenly exposed to a very public check on their power, and they did not respond well. 

Former Anglican Archbishop Moses Tay remarked on this upheaval during the AMiA Winter Conference, where he said: “Global shaking [was] affecting the church as well. We had a year of global shaking in the Middle East and everywhere else and here we have the church being shaken as well.” Indeed, a distinctively Anglican social media, born during the initial struggles with TEC, gained its sea legs during the Fall of 2011 in what we might call the Anglican Autumn.

Strong Men Can No Longer Work in Secret

Time magazine named “The Protestor” as its person of the year for 2011. Protests across the globe were fueled by news on Twitter, Facebook feeds, YouTube clips gone viral and the grandfather of social media – blogs. The leveling force of the internet means that individuals can compete in many ways with the ossified media strategies of governments. The ubiquity of social media provides for transparency and open debate. Rather than approved messages flowing down from the top of the organizational pyramid, anyone with a cell phone and an internet connection can shoot video, record audio, and type out their own take on events.

The asymmetric nature of communication means that President and Generals are more exposed to scrutiny than they were previously. In the past, the Watergate scandal was unfolded primarily through the vehicle of two reporters and an informant. Now, news can come from anywhere, through any channel, and is quickly picked up by an international social network. This can be good and bad, as we are more exposed to raw data, opinion, and sometimes wrong information in the fog of war. The editorial functions exercised by the old media are not in place, which can be a two-edged sword.

This social media revolution has precedents in the Reformation and the invention of the printing press. The Economist outlined these parallels in a December article:

The media environment that Luther had shown himself so adept at managing had much in common with today’s online ecosystem of blogs, social networks and discussion threads. It was a decentralised system whose participants took care of distribution, deciding collectively which messages to amplify through sharing and recommendation. Modern media theorists refer to participants in such systems as a “networked public”, rather than an “audience”, since they do more than just consume information. Luther would pass the text of a new pamphlet to a friendly printer (no money changed hands) and then wait for it to ripple through the network of printing centres across Germany.

Being able to follow and discuss such back-and-forth exchanges of views, in which each author quoted his opponent’s words in order to dispute them, gave people a thrilling and unprecedented sense of participation in a vast, distributed debate. Arguments in their own social circles about the merits of Luther’s views could be seen as part of a far wider discourse, both spoken and printed. Many pamphlets called upon the reader to discuss their contents with others and read them aloud to the illiterate. People read and discussed pamphlets at home with their families, in groups with their friends, and in inns and taverns. Luther’s pamphlets were read out at spinning bees in Saxony and in bakeries in Tyrol. In some cases entire guilds of weavers or leather-workers in particular towns declared themselves supporters of the Reformation, indicating that Luther’s ideas were being propagated in the workplace. One observer remarked in 1523 that better sermons could be heard in the inns of Ulm than in its churches, and in Basel in 1524 there were complaints about people preaching from books and pamphlets in the town’s taverns. Contributors to the debate ranged from the English king Henry VIII, whose treatise attacking Luther (co-written with Thomas More) earned him the title “Defender of the Faith” from the pope, to Hans Sachs, a shoemaker from Nuremberg who wrote a series of hugely popular songs in support of Luther.

     Predictably, those in power in Luther’s day were not impressed with this new technology:

“Idle chatter and inappropriate books” were corrupting the people, fretted one bishop. “Daily there is a veritable downpour of Lutheran tracts in German and Latin…nothing is sold here except the tracts of Luther,” lamented Aleander, Leo X’s envoy to Germany, in 1521. Most of the 60 or so clerics who rallied to the pope’s defence did so in academic and impenetrable Latin, the traditional language of theology, rather than in German. Where Luther’s works spread like wildfire, their pamphlets fizzled. Attempts at censorship failed, too. Printers in Leipzig were banned from publishing or selling anything by Luther or his allies, but material printed elsewhere still flowed into the city.

The Anglican Autumn and the New Media

Bishop Chuck Murphy and others had come up with the idea of a Missionary Society working inside and outside the United States. For unknown reasons, an attempt was made to keep all discussion of this concept in-house, away from any public scrutiny. We are told that Murphy asked bishops “Rwaje and Mbanda [to] keep the concept confidential until he has discussed it with his colleagues in the States.” 

When word of the proposal finally made its way to the internet via AnglicanTV, confusion erupted. The public relations strategy used by the Anglican Mission was alternately to attack the messengers or ‘the internet’ more broadly. During the Winter Conference, Bishop Murphy expressed that he had been taken aback by the furor on the internet claiming to have “been chopped up royally in recent months.” And yet, he did not address the substance of the arguments, but rather attacked blogs and the internet in a general way. He even used leaks to the press as a reason that he had to resign.

Susan Sontag wrote an essay about Abu Ghraib in which she talked about blaming the pictures rather than blaming the actions of people. It is similar to an abusive husband being angry because his behavior has been exposed rather than the fact that he sinned. The internet, blogs and YouTube are tools that can be used for good or ill. It is the substance that they carry that is wrong or right, not the tools themselves. Murphy’s attacks on the internet perhaps reflect the bemused nature of an older generation at the media revolution occurring all around them.

The Washington Statement asked for this discussion to come into the light:

We desire to walk in the light by bringing the ongoing conversation into the light. Our purpose in writing this document is to speak the truth in love, in hopes of fostering  honest and open dialogue together, for the sake of our shared Gospel mission to North America. We have been greatly blessed by, and are indebted to, the AMiA and her  leadership, and our hope is to see this mission continue as our Lord leads.

This didn’t happen until after the AMiA had separated from Rwanda. The proposal finally appeared in the London Communique, after the frenzy of meetings and letters had occurred. In retrospect, the entire proposal could have been laid out for the world to see, for clergy and laity to reflect on, and for the Rwandan bishops and GAFCON to mull over.

The lesson for AMiA, Rwanda, the ACNA, GAFCON and the wider church world is that transparency is generally a necessity. The best way to avoid internet wars is to value openness in the first place. Share the most information possible at the earliest possible time. Respond to questions with candor and don’t blame the internet for your problems.

AMiA Winter Conference – Bishop Murphy’s Address

This is a transcription of the first half of Bishop Murphy’s address today. It is not word for word, but is rather a summary of what Bishop Murphy said.

Chuck Murphy Address 1-12-2012

This has been a difficult season, an awkward season.  We knew that bringing the conference east of the Mississippi would affect attendance.  We are glad to have 700 plus people signed up for the conference, with more in attendance.  This is a smaller group, and we want to listen carefully.  We want to hear God speak to us, to see how he wants to direct us.  

This Winter Conference will be different by design, because our task is different.  We have a huge responsibility to discern: “Lord, what should we do?”  We should listen to each other, have a conversation, because God speaks through his people.

We want to hear how people are feeling in this painful time, and listen together.  We will go through this process of listening this afternoon.  We have established a “Communiqué Team” made up of Bishops Todd Hunter and TJ Johnson, Archdeacon H Miller, and Rev. Ellis Brust. Together, we are going to listen, gather, collect, hear, and then present a communiqué by Saturday: “This is what the Holy Spirit is saying.”

A lot of different people are interested in the Anglican Mission right now.  They are concerned, they want information, and we are going to respond to that information with a communiqué.

I was invited to Nairobi by the Archbishop of Kenya and the chair of GAFCON.  I attended with John Miller, and sat down with Abp. Rawje, Mbanda, and 5 observers.  We walked through what was taking place, to work on reconciliation.  We made genuine headway, as reflected in the statement that came out of Nairobi.

We are going through a difficult chapter.  We have WILDLY different leadership in Rwanda than before, and the current leaders don’t get what’s going on in the Anglican Mission right now.  We are going through the “norming, storming, forming, and performing” cycle, trying to find a way forward.

The leadership in Nairobi enormously affirmed what God is doing through the Anglican Mission.  Their arms were not crossed; they gave no suspicious looks.  Their agenda was to find a way forward.

In Nairobi, we told them our story, that story that began 12 years ago when we had a vision, when we said, “Lord, you thought this up, not me.”  And we watched a remarkable thing

SLIDE: “Anglican Mission: A Remarkable 12 Years.”

In the last 12 years, we have sent $46 Million out of the Mission Center.  $19 Million have come from congregations.  $20 million has come from a handful of generous donors.  $6 Million has come from other donors.

We have found, and always believed, that money follows vision.  Church planting is expensive!  But these donors have believed in our vision.

In addition, we have seen 268 churches raised up.

We just say to the Lord: “Lord, you have been faithful!” Nairobi knows, heard about, and was excited about this.  If there’s tension, they wanted to help us.

We are presently in a painful time. But we’ve come here to Winter Conference not just with a concern, but with expectation: Expectation that God will show up, help us move forward, and speak to us in a concrete way.  The communique will reflect this.

On a personal note, I’ve been chopped up pretty good from the attacks on the Internet, from the blogs.  It’s been a painful experience for me, a “WOW” moment.  I’ve been left a bit stunned and staggered at these attacks.  So has my family.  My kids were reading these attacks, and said, “Gosh Dad, this makes you sound like a real monster!”

When we were consecrated in Singapore earlier, it didn’t go well either.

There have been attacks on my character, integrity, honesty, and leadership.  And the blogs have a mask, so you don’t know who is making the attacks.  It’s hard to know whose behind it.

My response has been: I have been called to practice what I’ve preached all these years: I must WALK IN THE SPIRIT.  Don’t get in the fray and strike back.  I’ve asked God to give me the grace to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit: love, the joy, the patience, the kindness and long-suffering and joy.

Because I know that will please the Lord.  I’ve made a decision to simply trust that I know the Lord will work this out.  Quietness and trust will be our strength.

This experience has brought me to my knees in prayer.  The Lord gets me up at 4 AM every morning.  We spent time together.  It is nurturing and powerful.

I’ve learned that all of the promises of Scripture are true, even in painful times.  I have intercessors throughout the country who are praying for me.  They have spoken powerful prophetic words to me.

I’m constantly learning by what God is speaking to me in this difficult time.  his voice has been written into my heart.  And it’s been so good to have a counsel of bishops (all of them named, one by one); we work together to lead the mission.

The founding Archbishops consecrated all the Anglican Mission bishops.  They are here every year for the NEW movement we call the Anglican Mission in the Americas.

This is a time to really be engaged.  I want to model godly leadership; refusing to strike back – it’s not helpful.  I want to look to the Lord- when he was in hot water, he didn’t say anything, he didn’t revile in return.  I Peter 2:23 (on the slide) – this is a model for all of us.

V. AMiA Upheaval – The Road Ahead

I suspect that the Pawleys Island group wants to have something concrete in place to present to folks at the Winter Conference. I don’t see any way that this is possible given what Archbishop Duncan has said. The course suggested by Archbishop Duncan will require time, effort and discussion.

The Pawleys Island group is currently a continuing church, not attached to any Province of the Communion. It has an invented College of Consultors that it claims are providing it oversight and somehow connecting it to the Communion, but both of those claims are dubious. The Washington Statement said, “The Anglican Mission in its current form is a hierarchy in search of a polity” and that has proven to be true. If the Pawleys Island organization can somehow find its way into ACNA, what will it look like, who will remain with it, and what will it do? I have a few guesses:

  1. It needs fewer bishops, not more. Perhaps some of the bishops who have been around longer could step down. The Pawleys group has resisted folding in to ACNA’s geographical dioceses, but one theoretical solution is for this group to simply cease to exist, with its churches fully absorbed into ACNA and its bishops working geographically, or however Archbishop Duncan sees fit for them to work. I see this option as highly unlikely, but the prospect of 7-10 more bishops with not that many churches strikes me as less than optimal.
  2. Could Archbishop Duncan actually embrace the missionary society as outlined by Pawleys Island? I cannot see him sanctioning something as disruptive and unaccountable as what is currently drawn up, but I won’t rule anything out.
  3. I suspect that the current Council of Bishops could find a way to report to ACNA as a Mission Partner, with leadership changes, and with a subset of the former AMiA churches. Perhaps it could be sold as a ‘missionary society’ within ACNA and with the purpose of planting churches in the Americas only, but then what about Anglican 1000? And why exist as a separate structure at all?
  4. I think several existing churches will simply join ACNA of their own accord and say enough of the shenanigans. The individual congregations are free to do whatever they want, and if they have seen enough drama over the past few months, they might head for greener pastures.

Another possibility is that negotiations break down due to something like “a difference in vision.” ACNA’s demands may be too much for Pawleys Island to bear, and they could go looking for another suitor. I can’t imagine who that would be, but we can’t say that this group isn’t creative, so maybe they could come up with someone else. And as the bishops said, “several options have been considered and have presented themselves to us…” ACNA is only one option, one that they probably felt the most pressure to attempt.

I expect the clergy at the Winter Conference to endorse the missionary society ‘nothing more, nothing less’ concept and give the resigned bishops a blank check to negotiate on their behalf. They will land somewhere in the next few months. Given that the churches staying loyal to PEAR are generally the more classically Anglican parishes, what you will have left in the new AM is the emergent, “accidental Anglican” theology, the Kevin Donlon ‘Celtic’ Catholic theology complete with copious canon law, the women’s ordination theology advocated by Cynthia Brust, and miscellaneous a-theological or anything goes thinking in some quarters. There is no unifying prayer book, and indeed the very concept of a prayer *book* is more and more remote. What you will have in short is 1970’s Episcopalianism with somebody akin to a Jesuit near the top setting the rules.

Next, consider the group affiliated with PEAR. I don’t know what to call it, because although the Apostles Mission Network of the former AMiA is the core of the group, no one has officially named it. For the moment I will call these churches the “Rwandan churches.” This group has been silent for the most part throughout this entire upheaval. Bishop Glenn issued a letter when he resigned, bishops Glenn and Barnum issued the call for an Advent respite, and now Archbishop Rwaje has announced the Moving Forward Together assembly in Raleigh, almost immediately after the Winter Conference. Other than this, you have not seen the Rwandan churches providing press releases and interviews with David Virtue.

I have no clear indication of what the results of this assembly will be. I think that it will legitimately look for a collaborative way forward with the PEAR bishops. I don’t think the decisions coming from the assembly are pre-ordained, scripted or stage-managed. So it is harder for me to guess at what the Rwandan churches will do in the future. My hope is for a recommitment to the principles of the Solemn Declaration, the 39 Articles, the Jerusalem Declaration and historic Anglican norms. I know there will be a continued commitment to reaching the lost with the Gospel and planting churches, something we share with all sections of  ACNA and Pawleys Island. Hopefully there will be a commitment to begin our own discussions with ACNA about the eventual union of our two groups. I would eventually like to see a diocese of affinity within ACNA that is committed to a Reformed Anglican position, against women’s ordination, and nimble about ordaining new clergy and planting solid churches. But all this remains to be seen.

In closing, it is worth considering how the stated purpose of the Washington Statement remains unfulfilled. The Statement said, “Our purpose in writing this document is to speak the truth in love, in hopes of fostering honest and open dialogue together, for the sake of our shared Gospel mission to North America.” That honest and open dialogue was never had. Instead, precipitous decisions occurred and attempts were made to shut discussion down. There is a lesson here for ACNA and anyone else willing to heed it: discussions of theology, ecclesiology and just about anything else should be open for all clergy to participate in, and should be transparent to the watching world. Hiding documents from the public view or keeping things secret until it is too late to change them is not consistent with the praxis of a healthy communion of churches.

I. AMiA Upheaval – Discipline and Resignations

Much has happened since the Rwandan House of Bishops threatened to remove Bishop Murphy as the head of what was the AMiA. It was hard to keep abreast of developments for a time as events were happening on a day to day basis. Let me summarize what I see as the strategy of the Pawleys Island leadership (as named by Archbishop Duncan) to date.

First, to avoid the immediate loss of authority over the former AMiA, the majority of the AMiA bishops resigned en masse at the eleventh hour on December 5th, essentially fleeing church discipline. This resignation was communicated via two letters, one from Bishop Murphy, the other ostensibly from Murphy, but clearly written by Canon Kevin Donlon, with his trademark underlining, bolded, italicized underlining, and references to the canons he foisted upon Rwanda several years ago. The AMiA bishops signed the Donlon/Murphy letter, minus Thad Barnum and the resigned Terrell Glenn.

These letters adopted the stance that the Pawleys Island leadership had the authority to release to Rwandan oversight parishes within AMiA that wanted to remain with Rwanda, rather than the Pawleys Island leadership structure. The letters were part of a broader approach to the media that reversed an earlier reticence to speak. However, the articles that appeared failed to answer several key questions. But I am getting ahead of myself. The PR strategy included an interview with Anglican Ink. Before the resignations were made public, someone (probably Brust)  told Anglican Ink:

A spokesman for Bishop Murphy told Anglican Ink the proposed reorganization has “required the [AMiA] and the Province of Rwanda to engage in substantive dialogues, and we seek to ensure that our unique cultures are in clear communication with each other.”

“It has required that we listen carefully to one another in our attempts to fully understand all of the issues involved from one another’s cultural perspectives,” the spokesman said, noting the 30 Nov letter was “part of that yet unfinished dialogue and it will be addressed as our Archbishop has required.”

The impending discipline was referred to as dialogue and clarification was mentioned, when in fact very clear boundaries had been set and a “cease and desist” order regarding the new Mission Society had been issued.

After the break with Rwanda, Brust chalked up the mass resignation to a difference of opinion, no mention being made of the impending church discipline:

Brust said AMIA has every intention of remaining a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The association will seek a group of retired archbishops to serve as a college of consultors and connect to an undetermined Anglican province.

“It’s just a difference of opinion in the way Rwanda wanted to move forward and what the Anglican Mission felt like God was leading us to do,” Brust said.

The Pawleys Island leadership then released to David Virtue some of the notes from the November 17-18 meeting between Bishop Murphy, Canon Donlon and Bishop Mbanda and Archbishop Rwaje in Washington D.C. It is interesting to note that no one has characterized this meeting publicly except Bishop Murphy and other former AMiA clergy. As far as I can tell, David Virtue did not contact Mbanda or Rwaje to ask what their side of the story of the D.C. meeting was. If he did, there is no evidence of it in his reporting.

Four days after this precipitous resignation, Archbishop Rwaje appointed bishops Glenn and Barnum to oversee the clergy and congregations remaining affiliated with the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda (PEAR). Archbishop Rwaje further stated that the resigned Pawleys Island leadership had “forfeited their authority over those clergy and congregations that have been affiliated with Rwanda through AMiA.”

After these events, two stories appeared publicly from clergy loyal to the Pawleys Island leadership. The first from Rev. Mark Quay leveled particularly incendiary charges against Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo and was published on Virtue Online. Quay is the President and Dean of the Anglican School of Ministry, an arm of the former AMiA. Quay’s story quickly vanished from Virtue Online, and I have not seen a further statement from him.

Next came a story from Rev. Joe Boysel, a priest at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, reporting up through Bishop Doc Loomis. Boysel’s story on Internet Monk offered further thoughts as to what had just happened. He posited a difference between ACNA and AMiA in terms of mission vs. structure – this has been a common theme, and one that makes little sense as any church on earth is to be engaged in mission per the Great Commission. Boysel’s version of events perpetuated the Murphy angle on the final meeting between Archbishop Rwaje and Bishop Murphy. Boysel says that “Everyone smiled and warmly embraced everyone else” at that meeting. He does not say what his source for that angle on the meeting is.

Neither Boysel, Murphy or Quay mention the role of Canon Donlon in writing canon law for Rwanda and then pushing it on the bishops of Rwanda and AMiA. The Pawleys Island leadership are assigning blame on the Washington Statement clergy, Bishop Alexis, perhaps Archbishop Rwaje, and so on. And yet none of them have offered a cogent account of what Donlon has been up to these past several years.

Here is the rub: Donlon’s theology does not represent the founding theology of AMiA itself. See the Solemn Declaration of Principles of the Anglican Mission in America. The Solemn Declaration explicitly says:

This Church subscribes to the teaching of the 39 Articles of Religion of the Church  of England. These are to be interpreted, as ordered in the Declaration which  prefaces them in the English Book of Common Prayer, “in the full and plain  meaning thereof” and “in the literal and grammatical sense.” Further, it is  understood that there are places in the Articles (i.e. Art. 37) that assume past  and present political structures in England which do not directly apply to this Church located as it is in North America.

Donlon’s theology does not represent the theology of the Rwandan Anglicans, nor does it represent GAFCON’s theology. The Jerusalem Declaration says:

We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.

Further, the GAFCON document titled The Way, the Truth and the Life emphatically embraces the Articles as the norm of Anglican doctrine:

Authentic Anglicanism is a particular expression of Christian corporate life which seeks to honour the Lord Jesus Christ by nurturing faith, and also encouraging obedience to the teaching of God’s written word, meaning the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. It embraces the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (published in the year 1571) and the Book of Common Prayer (the two versions of 1552 and 1662), both texts being read according to their plain and historical sense, and being accepted as faithful expressions of the teaching of Scripture, which provides the standard for Anglican theology and practice.

Donlon’s theology clearly contradicts the Articles and classical Anglican norms. I hope to outline this at length later, but suffice it to say that his sacramental views alone are a rejection of the Articles and early Anglican norms.

In order to bring about sweeping changes in theology and structure to Rwanda, AMiA and GAFCON, Donlon (and Murphy) should have submitted these changes for public discussion and debate. In fact, clergy who adopt the Romanist position of Donlon on the sacraments should not affirm the Solemn Declaration in good faith – how they have done so until now is a matter for their own consciences to answer. So, did Donlon submit his proposals on the sacraments and other theological issues to the broader denomination for review, interaction, debate or a vote? No, he rather performed an end run around the broader group and essentially subverted Rwandan theology from within (granted, this reflects very poorly on Rwandan leadership at the time and the AMiA bishops from that period). He (abetted by Murphy) then attempted to hustle through a Mission Society proposal, presumably in time for the next Winter Conference, and then when exposed to public scrutiny, did not engage in debate or obedience, but rather fled discipline.

Further, the stories by Quay, Boysel, and Bishop Murphy have not explained or even attempted to explain why both Glenn and Barnum felt the need to resign. Just what was it that pushed them to do this? We may never know, but you would think that an accurate backstory of what happened would at least venture a guess as to why they came to the decisions that they did.

This initial flurry of stories from the Pawleys Island associated clergy was not met with any public response from PEAR or PEAR clergy in the USA. Rather, bishops Glenn and Barnum called for an Advent respite to blogging and news sites, perhaps reflecting the difficulties inherent in the the age of internet communication. Church structures now struggle with how to handle comments from the priesthood of the plebs. This is understandable, but it cannot be changed – there is no going back to the pre web days, as much as communication organs wish that there is.

I will continue my look at events in days ahead, charting the changing reactions, the proposed Society, and the lay of the land currently.

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

Thy silver is become dross – Isaiah 1:22

Yesterday, the Archbishop Murphy Indaba Association (formerly known as the AMiA) released financial records. I confess, I have not had time to dig into them yet, but I intend to when I am not reading old Kevin Donlon statements on Johanine Awakenings.

Someone calling himself “Theophorus” has been commenting here, on TitusOneNine, and Stand Firm, and painting a different picture from the air brushed portrait of the finances coming from the PI (Pawley’s Island for my non AMiA friends). Theophorus knows, or claims to know, a wealth of details. He is either a big fraud, or someone who really knows stuff. So, for your reading pleasure, I am consolidating his version of events in one place. Here it goes. Continue reading “Money Can’t Buy Me Love”