A Conservative Evangelical puts his head above the parapet...

bigjonbigjon Shipmate
First thread-starter, not sure whether it belongs here in Purgatory or in Epiphanies - hosts feel free to move.

The John Smyth / Iwerne thread in Purgatory here started to develop into wider Conservative Evangelical issues, so I thought I'd start a new thread.

Background - I grew up in a low-church / soft-charismatic provincial C-of-E church, but since student days in the early 90s have been part of large 'flagship' C-of-E conservative-evangelical churches.
Doc Tor wrote: »
bigjon wrote: »
Opinions differ I'm sure as to the level of justification for irregular church-plants etc, but saying "they've done as much as they can to undermine..." seems definitely on the harsh side to me.

Deliberate irregular ordinations, bringing in non-communion bishops to consecrate your own bishops, denying the authority of diocesans, withholding parish shares? I mean, how would you describe it?

I would describe it as action taken reluctantly to achieve a necessary good that was otherwise unachievable: certainly the prime or even secondary motivation was not to undermine C-of-E institutions as much as possible.
«13456719

Comments

  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    As a complete CofE outsider, so with no axe to grind, can I ask, from genuine ignorance, what "good" and why if it could not be achieved within the denominational structures did the congregation(s) concerned not split off to become independent? Or work to change the structures so that the "good" could be done by all?
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    edited August 14
    bigjon wrote: »
    First thread-starter, not sure whether it belongs here in Purgatory or in Epiphanies - hosts feel free to move.

    The John Smyth / Iwerne thread in Purgatory here started to develop into wider Conservative Evangelical issues, so I thought I'd start a new thread.

    Background - I grew up in a low-church / soft-charismatic provincial C-of-E church, but since student days in the early 90s have been part of large 'flagship' C-of-E conservative-evangelical churches.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    bigjon wrote: »
    Opinions differ I'm sure as to the level of justification for irregular church-plants etc, but saying "they've done as much as they can to undermine..." seems definitely on the harsh side to me.

    Deliberate irregular ordinations, bringing in non-communion bishops to consecrate your own bishops, denying the authority of diocesans, withholding parish shares? I mean, how would you describe it?

    I would describe it as action taken reluctantly to achieve a necessary good that was otherwise unachievable: certainly the prime or even secondary motivation was not to undermine C-of-E institutions as much as possible.

    That is certainly the case for the situations I know most about - for instance, a church plant in a village school under a Bishop's Mission Order for which the Bishop withdrew the order when a new vicar was appointed to the (Open Evangelical) parish church on the grounds that the plant congregation should go there instead.

    Quoting code was clearly broken here. I have fixed it, and I hope it correctly reflects what was intended. BroJames Purgatory Host
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    What aspects of the 'regular' structures make it impossible for your community to worship as (in your view) God intends?
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Cathscats wrote: »
    As a complete CofE outsider, so with no axe to grind, can I ask, from genuine ignorance, what "good" and why if it could not be achieved within the denominational structures did the congregation(s) concerned not split off to become independent? Or work to change the structures so that the "good" could be done by all?

    In the example I've just cited (while you were posting) the congregation did indeed become independent, but only because the Bishop cast them out of the Church Of England by withdrawing the Bishop's Mission Order
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    What aspects of the 'regular' structures make it impossible for your community to worship as (in your view) God intends?

    Hi Ricardus, I'd quibble with the word 'worship' there (Romans 12:1-2)! But that might be a topic for another thread, or further down this one! But my particular community is still participating in the regular structures, and the general practice of communities such as mine is to participate within the regular structures until it becomes impossible, as in the Bishop's Mission Order example I referred to above.
  • What is remotely part of the one catholic and apostolic church about the way in which you are trying to function? Why does it belong in the Church of England?
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited August 14
    bigjon wrote: »
    Cathscats wrote: »
    As a complete CofE outsider, so with no axe to grind, can I ask, from genuine ignorance, what "good" and why if it could not be achieved within the denominational structures did the congregation(s) concerned not split off to become independent? Or work to change the structures so that the "good" could be done by all?

    In the example I've just cited (while you were posting) the congregation did indeed become independent, but only because the Bishop cast them out of the Church Of England by withdrawing the Bishop's Mission Order

    The withdrawal of the BMO certainly does not mean that the bishop "cast them out". First and foremost, many (in some dioceses most) BMOs have a fixed lifespan and if, six months before the conclusion of that period the Visitor reports, and the bishop agrees, that the initiative has been successful then the BMO comes to an end. In other words, if you and your fellow Con-Evos had managed to create a church community that was lively, self-governing and healthy, there would be no reason for the BMO to continue.

    Of course, it could be that the Visitor, and/or the Bishop, became aware of actions that were not in accordance with Canon Law or that had split off or alienated existing members of the BMO parish and decided that the influence of the Con-Evo group was not conducive to an inclusive, all-welcoming congregation within the structures of the Church of England.

    In your OP you stated
    I would describe it as action taken reluctantly to achieve a necessary good that was otherwise unachievable: certainly the prime or even secondary motivation was not to undermine C-of-E institutions as much as possible.

    What gives your group the right to decide what is "good" - and by extension you are deciding what is "bad" - and what is "necessary"? The judgmentalism and hubris implied by your words is breathtaking, but just in case anyone could be in any doubt you than go on to say you weren't really trying to undermine CofE institutions but ...!

    The arrogance, the holier-than-thou attitude would be laughable if it wasn't taking place in the context of a faith which is supposed to live out its belief with the principle in mind of Judge not, that ye be not judged. To be blunt, You may feel that you have the right to decide what is good and bad, to decide to flout authority, and to flaunt uncharitableness, but the Christ after whom the religion is named and on whose teachings it should be based says you don't.

    A thought for you to ponder: How many people are put off church, and Christianity, for life by observing the antics of congregations which decide to use the CofE for their own ends, to use financial blackmail when they don't get their own way, and to break every rule in the book.
  • What is remotely part of the one catholic and apostolic church about the way in which you are trying to function? Why does it belong in the Church of England?

    This would be one of the questions I would pose -- at the point at which you feel the hierarchy of the church you are part of is sufficiently corrupt that it can't be worked with, why would you remain part of it?

    FWIW I grew up in conservative charismatic/Baptist circles and attended con-evo style churches during university before gradually drifting away from them as they seemed much more culturally determined than they thought they were.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    bigjon wrote: »
    Cathscats wrote: »
    As a complete CofE outsider, so with no axe to grind, can I ask, from genuine ignorance, what "good" and why if it could not be achieved within the denominational structures did the congregation(s) concerned not split off to become independent? Or work to change the structures so that the "good" could be done by all?

    In the example I've just cited (while you were posting) the congregation did indeed become independent, but only because the Bishop cast them out of the Church Of England by withdrawing the Bishop's Mission Order
    The withdrawal of the Bishop's Mission Order should not in itself have been a reason for the planted congregation to separate from the Church of England. Why was it unwilling to work with/ under the authority of the newly appointed parish priest in the parish in which they had begun to be established, or why was he/she unwilling to work with them?
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    What is remotely part of the one catholic and apostolic church about the way in which you are trying to function? Why does it belong in the Church of England?
    Hi Thunderbunk -
    - In my understanding of 'catholic'; part of the whole body of Christ.
    - In my understanding of 'apostolic'; continuing the Christian faith as handed down by the apostles.
    - It belongs in the Church Of England because it remains true (or at least tries) to Church Of England doctrine as defined by Canon A5, "The doctrine of the church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thiry-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal."
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    bigjon wrote: »
    Cathscats wrote: »
    As a complete CofE outsider, so with no axe to grind, can I ask, from genuine ignorance, what "good" and why if it could not be achieved within the denominational structures did the congregation(s) concerned not split off to become independent? Or work to change the structures so that the "good" could be done by all?

    In the example I've just cited (while you were posting) the congregation did indeed become independent, but only because the Bishop cast them out of the Church Of England by withdrawing the Bishop's Mission Order

    The withdrawal of the BMO certainly does not mean that the bishop "cast them out". First and foremost, many (in some dioceses most) BMOs have a fixed lifespan and if, six months before the conclusion of that period the Visitor reports, and the bishop agrees, that the initiative has been successful then the BMO comes to an end. In other words, if you and your fellow Con-Evos had managed to create a church community that was lively, self-governing and healthy, there would be no reason for the BMO to continue.

    Hi TheOrganist, your characterisation in this particular case doesn't square with the correspondence with the Bishop which I saw. In particular, the Bishop expected the congregation to move en masse to the local parish church because the newly-appointed vicar was evangelical.
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    edited August 14
    In your OP you stated
    I would describe it as action taken reluctantly to achieve a necessary good that was otherwise unachievable: certainly the prime or even secondary motivation was not to undermine C-of-E institutions as much as possible.
    What gives your group the right to decide what is "good" - and by extension you are deciding what is "bad" - and what is "necessary"? The judgmentalism and hubris implied by your words is breathtaking, but just in case anyone could be in any doubt you than go on to say you weren't really trying to undermine CofE institutions but ...!
    How does anyone in an institution such as the C of E decide what is good? In our case, and I suspect in yours, not simply because the Bishop tells us to. The standard to which we aspire (not saying by any means that we always reach it) is the official standard of the Church Of England, as set out in Canon A5 which I quoted above in reply to ThunderBunk

  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    bigjon wrote: »

    In the example I've just cited (while you were posting) the congregation did indeed become independent, but only because the Bishop cast them out of the Church Of England by withdrawing the Bishop's Mission Order
    The withdrawal of the Bishop's Mission Order should not in itself have been a reason for the planted congregation to separate from the Church of England. Why was it unwilling to work with/ under the authority of the newly appointed parish priest in the parish in which they had begun to be established, or why was he/she unwilling to work with them?

    Hi BroJames -
    I don't know for certain because I wasn't there, but I imagine that the newly-appointed vicar being a woman was a significant obstacle to the congregation transferring en bloc to the existing parish church.
  • Well, if the BMO people have/had issues with the position of women in the church, that's perhaps understandable (though one would have thought the Bishop would have been aware of it beforehand).

    The question still arises, though, as to why large Con-Evo churches remain (if rather loosely) within the C of E. Why not simply go off, and be a separate group?

    Could it be that ministers/leaders would thereby possibly lose their pension rights, stipends, Vicarages etc., and the congregations their building(s)?

    An unworthy thought, maybe, but a valid question, IMHO.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    So what should the bishop have done about a worshipping community in the parish claiming the name ‘Church of England’ but denying and/or refusing the authority of the person duly appointed by the bishop to have the ‘cure of souls’ for the parish? And can you not see how hampering to the mission potential of the church’s ministry under that incumbent’s leadership would be the existence of a group claiming the C of E label but unwilling to recognise, indeed probably opposed to that person’s duly conferred authority - especially if located in a school in which that person would be expected to minister and build relationships.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    From my experience (which was limited to one ConEvo church, although it was pretty much the epicentre for a lot of the Reform etc stuff), the relationships between ConEvo churches - and, in retrospect, between Iwerne 'graduates' - were of far more importance than between a vicar and their bishop. There was a presumption that the authority a bishop had over their ordinaries was illegitimate, and that loyalty lay solely 'in group'.

    As has been said up thread, there would have been an honesty about leaving to form independent evangelical congregations. But, fundamentally, there was dishonesty at the heart of Reform and all the acronyms that came after it. They wanted to retain the trappings and the titles of the CofE ("the best boat to fish from") because it leant their manoeuvrings a patina of legitimacy, but they cared nothing for the structures of accountability and authority they had put themselves under.

    My old vicar has operated unaccountably and without any form of oversight for nigh on 30 years now. That is simply not a good thing, and if replicated (as I suspect) across the old Reform network of churches, then I don't think it can be seen as anything other than a systematic attempt to undermine the traditional relationships between parts of the CofE.
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    What is remotely part of the one catholic and apostolic church about the way in which you are trying to function? Why does it belong in the Church of England?

    This would be one of the questions I would pose -- at the point at which you feel the hierarchy of the church you are part of is sufficiently corrupt that it can't be worked with, why would you remain part of it?
    I think the general principle in most instances is to wait to be kicked out rather than leave voluntarily - we truly belong in the Church Of England because we (try to) act faithfully in accord with the C of E's founding documents of the Bible / 39 Articles / Book Of Common Prayer / Ordinal. When we do have to leave the C of E, it is likely to be another Anglican organisation attempting to continue in the line of these founding documents to which we move.

    As a worked example, about 15 years ago our vicar asked for the Parochial Church Council's support in discussions with the Bishop, and the PCC accordingly passed a resolution that we would not expect him to swear an oath of canonical obedience to a female bishop: if he was removed from the C of E as a result the PCC would follow him.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    What that appears to me to amount to is a view on the part of the church plant and those who support it that Canon A5 is no longer true of the Church of England.

    Further, if any of those are persons holding the bishop’s licence, there is an implication that they consider the bishop’s action in appointing the new vicar to be unlawful or dishonest, either that or they are in breach of their oath of canonical obedience.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    bigjon wrote: »
    As a worked example, about 15 years ago our vicar asked for the Parochial Church Council's support in discussions with the Bishop, and the PCC accordingly passed a resolution that we would not expect him to swear an oath of canonical obedience to a female bishop: if he was removed from the C of E as a result the PCC would follow him.

    And this is an example of the dishonesty involved. You have lost the argument. The CofE have collectively agreed that there is no bar to women becoming bishops, and has appointed women as bishops. And yet, your vicar remains.

    (I am absolutely convinced that this is why Newcastle now has a woman bishop. The CofE can afford to play the long game.)
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited August 14
    I get the impression that the majority of the comments so far have come down to the proposition that schism is worse than heresy.

    On the evidence so far I cannot really make my mind up whether:

    (a) The plant should never have been created in the first place.
    (b) The bishop played by the rules, but in a heavy handed manner.
    (c) It is another case of management winning out over pastoral care.
    (d) Someone is playing games.

    By the way, was the BMO withdrawn or not renewed?
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    edited August 14
    OK I am a member of a None Parochial Place church with in the C ofE. We are not responsible to the local vicar. In fact our area covers 5 parishes. We work closely with them and other church leaders but be are at the appointment of two Bishops independent of all the parishes. It is possible to be within the C of E and independent to a large degree.
    As to the Bishop telling the bigjon’s church to join with the local one there are two problems.
    1) The new vicar maybe Evangelical but what if the next one isn’t? Do the church split?
    2) There will be a feeling of community with bigjon’s church. They will have been building that community. To just stop that is short sighted.
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    From my experience (which was limited to one ConEvo church, although it was pretty much the epicentre for a lot of the Reform etc stuff), the relationships between ConEvo churches - and, in retrospect, between Iwerne 'graduates' - were of far more importance than between a vicar and their bishop. There was a presumption that the authority a bishop had over their ordinaries was illegitimate, and that loyalty lay solely 'in group'.

    Hello Doc Tor, and thanks for making it across to this new thread.

    I recognise the truth of your paragraph in relation to Iwerne loyalties, but I think you may be generalising too much from your experience with regard to relating to the bishop.

    In thirty years I have been at three Con Evo churches with four vicars, all Iwerne men through-and-through, but they all worked very hard at relating to their Bishop. For instance one of them was holding meetings off-site including sharing the Lord's Supper, and when the Bishop said perhaps you oughtn't to have Communion meetings off-site, the vicar said, if you order us not to, we won't, but every time we meet and it would have been the Lord's Supper, we'll say at the beginning of the meeting, this would have been a Lord's Supper meeting but the bishop told us not to! Needless to say, the bishop didn't follow through!
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    bigjon wrote: »
    What is remotely part of the one catholic and apostolic church about the way in which you are trying to function? Why does it belong in the Church of England?

    This would be one of the questions I would pose -- at the point at which you feel the hierarchy of the church you are part of is sufficiently corrupt that it can't be worked with, why would you remain part of it?
    I think the general principle in most instances is to wait to be kicked out rather than leave voluntarily - we truly belong in the Church Of England because we (try to) act faithfully in accord with the C of E's founding documents of the Bible / 39 Articles / Book Of Common Prayer / Ordinal. When we do have to leave the C of E, it is likely to be another Anglican organisation attempting to continue in the line of these founding documents to which we move.

    This implies you think those documents are the best expression of the Christian faith and a church founded on, say, the Westminster Catechism or the UCCF Doctrinal Basis is in some way inadequate - is that so?
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    bigjon wrote: »
    I recognise the truth of your paragraph in relation to Iwerne loyalties, but I think you may be generalising too much from your experience with regard to relating to the bishop.

    I acknowledge that this may well be true. My old vicar had an entirely antagonistic relationship with his then bishop (and I have no idea if he's even met the new one), essentially barring them from visiting. I don't pretend to know how that works.

    But we also have to factor in the other irregularities at Emmanuel Wimbledon, that confirmation services were overseen by extra-territorial bishops, that the group have even appointed and ordained their own bishops to provide oversight outside of the CofE.

    You also may be generalising too much from your experience.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    edited August 14
    bigjon wrote: »
    First thread-starter, not sure whether it belongs here in Purgatory or in Epiphanies - hosts feel free to move.

    The John Smyth / Iwerne thread in Purgatory here started to develop into wider Conservative Evangelical issues, so I thought I'd start a new thread.

    Background - I grew up in a low-church / soft-charismatic provincial C-of-E church, but since student days in the early 90s have been part of large 'flagship' C-of-E conservative-evangelical churches.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    bigjon wrote: »
    Opinions differ I'm sure as to the level of justification for irregular church-plants etc, but saying "they've done as much as they can to undermine..." seems definitely on the harsh side to me.

    Deliberate irregular ordinations, bringing in non-communion bishops to consecrate your own bishops, denying the authority of diocesans, withholding parish shares? I mean, how would you describe it?

    As someone whose former church was seriously considering witholding parish shares many years ago over a (IMO Deceased Equine) issue, I would describe it as blackmail.

    Corrected quoting code. BroJames Purgatory Host
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    edited August 14
    PDR wrote: »
    I get the impression that the majority of the comments so far have come down to the proposition that schism is worse than heresy.

    I'm not entirely sure where you are directed that comment, but if the argument is that the con-evos see the rest of the church as heretical, then one wonders why they still choose to continue their association.
    bigjon wrote: »
    the vicar said, if you order us not to, we won't, but every time we meet and it would have been the Lord's Supper, we'll say at the beginning of the meeting, this would have been a Lord's Supper meeting but the bishop told us not to! Needless to say, the bishop didn't follow through!

    Strictly speaking this isn't really true if the vicar did subscribe to the standards of faith you listed previously, and I struggle to describe this as anything other than passive aggressive in the extreme.
  • bigjon wrote: »
    In thirty years I have been at three Con Evo churches with four vicars, all Iwerne men through-and-through, but they all worked very hard at relating to their Bishop. For instance one of them was holding meetings off-site including sharing the Lord's Supper, and when the Bishop said perhaps you oughtn't to have Communion meetings off-site, the vicar said, if you order us not to, we won't, but every time we meet and it would have been the Lord's Supper, we'll say at the beginning of the meeting, this would have been a Lord's Supper meeting but the bishop told us not to! Needless to say, the bishop didn't follow through!

    Not funny. What the bishop seems to have been attempting to do is to nudge the priest concerned into celebrating the Eucharist publicly and in a place easily accessible to any would-be communicant, and I find it shocking that anyone who would self-describe as a Christian and a pastor should see that as an opportunity for childish point-scoring, and with overtones of blackmail.

    Then more jolly japes : "the bishop didn't follow through!" - follow through with what precisely?

    One of the duties of a priest with the cure of souls is to hold, and advertise, public celebrations of Holy Communion: the implication and meaning is crystal clear that the wish and intention behind such advertisement is to ensure that anyone in the parish can attend and make their communion. The obvious, and best, place for this to happen is in the Parish Church - not only will not everyone be able to find or make their way to 7 Acacia Avenue, a domestic dwelling is unlikely to be able to (potentially) hold an almost limitless number of people for a celebration of HC.

    The lack of charity in your short post above is chilling.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    bigjon wrote: »
    <snip> they all worked very hard at relating to their Bishop. For instance one of them was holding meetings off-site including sharing the Lord's Supper, and when the Bishop said perhaps you oughtn't to have Communion meetings off-site, the vicar said, if you order us not to, we won't, but every time we meet and it would have been the Lord's Supper, we'll say at the beginning of the meeting, this would have been a Lord's Supper meeting but the bishop told us not to! Needless to say, the bishop didn't follow through!
    ‘Working very hard at relating to their Bishop’ appears to mean doing their best to force the bishop to accept their approach - both in this example, and in the one where the incumbent threatened that if he had to swear canonical obedience to a female bishop not only he, but all the PCC would resign.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited August 14
    That incumbent's attitude (and that of his PCC, if they agreed with him) is an attempt at emotional blackmail.

    See, how these Christians love one another!

    FWIW, I minister in a Forward-in-Faith/Society parish, which, to a degree, shares some Con-Evo views on Dead Horse issues. I, personally, don't share those DH views, but I recognise that people 'are where they are', and that we can agree to differ. We are the only such parish in the town, but our congregation is mostly local, rather than 'gathered'.

    However, we cheerfully play our part (including paying the parish share!) in Deanery, and Diocese, with the support of our Diocesan Bishop, Archdeacon, and Provincial Episcopal Visitor (known locally as our 'special needs Bishop'). A recent BMO covers part of our parish, and the two parishes immediately adjacent, and is working well, with a growing congregation meeting in two different venues*. We are on good terms with the BMO, and those neighbours (one MOTR, the other charismatic-evo).

    What's with Con-Evos (or some of them) that they can't do the same? ISTM that it's all about POWER and CONTROL...

    *Venue A one week, Venue B the next, that is!
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    bigjon wrote: »
    As a worked example, about 15 years ago our vicar asked for the Parochial Church Council's support in discussions with the Bishop, and the PCC accordingly passed a resolution that we would not expect him to swear an oath of canonical obedience to a female bishop: if he was removed from the C of E as a result the PCC would follow him.

    And this is an example of the dishonesty involved. You have lost the argument. The CofE have collectively agreed that there is no bar to women becoming bishops, and has appointed women as bishops. And yet, your vicar remains.
    I did say this was about 15 years ago. The present vicar has not stated how he would react if asked to swear an oath of canonical obedience to a female bishop, and he has not yet been required to do so, therefore at present we bask in the atmosphere of love & goodwill and the commitment from all parties to mutual flourishing which accompanied the Women Bishops measure about 5 years ago.
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    What that appears to me to amount to is a view on the part of the church plant and those who support it that Canon A5 is no longer true of the Church of England
    I think the view of those people is rather that Canon A5 is still the doctrinal standard of the Church Of England, and it is those who depart from that standard who are schismatic.

  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    PDR wrote: »
    I get the impression that the majority of the comments so far have come down to the proposition that schism is worse than heresy.
    Hi PDR, I agree, but I would define schism principally in relation to doctrine rather than in in relation to polity. In that case they might amount to pretty much the same thing.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    bigjon wrote: »
    I did say this was about 15 years ago. The present vicar has not stated how he would react if asked to swear an oath of canonical obedience to a female bishop, and he has not yet been required to do so, therefore at present we bask in the atmosphere of love & goodwill and the commitment from all parties to mutual flourishing which accompanied the Women Bishops measure about 5 years ago.

    Not to labour the point, but the appointment of the bishop does not lie in your parish churches' bailiwick. The expectation is that whatever sex the bishop is, your present vicar will swear an oath of obedience to them. You are part of a church that ordains women, and has women bishops - unless, as I suspect, you see yourselves as not-part of the church, at one remove from it.

    (I also share others' distaste at your supposedly bishop-affirming story above. Your vicar acted in bad faith.)
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    bigjon wrote: »
    What is remotely part of the one catholic and apostolic church about the way in which you are trying to function? Why does it belong in the Church of England?

    This would be one of the questions I would pose -- at the point at which you feel the hierarchy of the church you are part of is sufficiently corrupt that it can't be worked with, why would you remain part of it?
    I think the general principle in most instances is to wait to be kicked out rather than leave voluntarily - we truly belong in the Church Of England because we (try to) act faithfully in accord with the C of E's founding documents of the Bible / 39 Articles / Book Of Common Prayer / Ordinal. When we do have to leave the C of E, it is likely to be another Anglican organisation attempting to continue in the line of these founding documents to which we move.

    This implies you think those documents are the best expression of the Christian faith and a church founded on, say, the Westminster Catechism or the UCCF Doctrinal Basis is in some way inadequate - is that so?

    I believe they are as good as can be, because the founding documents themselves are submissive to Scripture - eg Article 20, "it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same..."
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Miffy wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    ... withholding parish shares? I mean, how would you describe it?
    As someone whose former church was seriously considering witholding parish shares many years ago over a (IMO Deceased Equine) issue, I would describe it as blackmail
    Hi Miffy -
    20 years ago the PCC of the church to which I belong withheld parish share except for cost of ministry plus cost of central diocesan budget, because of heretical publications by another vicar in the deanery. The rationale was that the money given by congregation members was not given to subsidise false gospel teaching elsewhere within the organisation.
    It wasn't blackmail, it was simply good stewardship by the charity trustees (the PCC) to ensure the donations were put to the uses intended by the givers and in keeping with the stayed aims of the charity. The balance was put into a Ministry Trust which was used to subsidise ministry elsewhere within the diocese.
  • Well, if a PCC is prepared to withhold parish share simply because it doesn't agree with the views of another vicar in the Deanery, then, for God's sake, GO!

    Not blackmail? A perfect example of that practice, rather.

    As I said earlier, it's all about power, and control. What's your answer to that, @bigjon ?
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    bigjon wrote: »
    It wasn't blackmail, it was simply good stewardship by the charity trustees (the PCC) to ensure the donations were put to the uses intended by the givers and in keeping with the stayed aims of the charity. The balance was put into a Ministry Trust which was used to subsidise ministry elsewhere within the diocese.

    Yes, that was the excuse my old church used too... Sorry, but that doesn't wash. Disciplining another church isn't in your bailiwick, and disadvantaging the entire diocese to do so is just spite.
  • bigjon - you are not the only Con Evo writing on these boards. There are others here (like me) who share your theological worldview but I would also say that, irrespective of the theological position we share, I am appalled by the behaviour of fellow travellers within the CofE.

    Smyth. Iwerne. Fletcher. Emmanuel. I have looked on with dismay as a self perpetuating clique is destroying the message and ministry that transforms lives and communities. Fellow travellers are tainted not by association but by inference - if they did that, what did you do?

    On the local level we have experienced the arrogant parachuting in of a so called Anglican "Resource" church which is alienating Anglicans and others in equal measure. Hard won ground in building trust and working together has been destroyed by the desire of the diocese to up their numbers. Simply bunging millions into one project while churches on troubled estates struggle, simply serves to emphasise how far from the biblical standard of seeking first the Kingdom and God's righteousness, the CoE has moved.

    It gives me no pleasure in any way to bring this charge. It's simply my experience on the ground. I see what I see, hear what I hear and reflect on what I am told. In the meantime, the CofE continues to appoint from the same old, same old backgrounds - Oxbridge, likes football, Husband or wife lecturer or GP. I don't see the con evo teaching any more nor do I see the social impact that arises from an active engagement with scripture lived out in the real world.

    It's all become so cosy, so nice, so bland and so (well) smug. The Resourcing church have come into town with the attitude of join us we'll show you the way: is this how the established church really wants to flex its muscles?

    Would it not be best - at this time of crisis - to seek out, work with, embrace and affirm fellow travellers in the cause of God's Great commission?

    I wish I could say more on line but to do so would inevitably out me, the church I'm involved in and the town I live in
  • Ah, but the mere smell, or hint, of HERESY™ has these people locking their chequebooks away. How DARE any other member of the church - albeit elsewhere in the Deanery - differ from The True Faith?

    Sorry, but this thread is putting Hellish thoughts into my poor old head...
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    bigjon wrote: »
    In thirty years I have been at three Con Evo churches with four vicars, all Iwerne men through-and-through, but they all worked very hard at relating to their Bishop. For instance one of them was holding meetings off-site including sharing the Lord's Supper, and when the Bishop said perhaps you oughtn't to have Communion meetings off-site, the vicar said, if you order us not to, we won't, but every time we meet and it would have been the Lord's Supper, we'll say at the beginning of the meeting, this would have been a Lord's Supper meeting but the bishop told us not to! Needless to say, the bishop didn't follow through!

    Not funny. What the bishop seems to have been attempting to do is to nudge the priest concerned into celebrating the Eucharist publicly and in a place easily accessible to any would-be communicant, and I find it shocking that anyone who would self-describe as a Christian and a pastor should see that as an opportunity for childish point-scoring, and with overtones of blackmail.

    Then more jolly japes : "the bishop didn't follow through!" - follow through with what precisely?

    One of the duties of a priest with the cure of souls is to hold, and advertise, public celebrations of Holy Communion: the implication and meaning is crystal clear that the wish and intention behind such advertisement is to ensure that anyone in the parish can attend and make their communion. The obvious, and best, place for this to happen is in the Parish Church - not only will not everyone be able to find or make their way to 7 Acacia Avenue, a domestic dwelling is unlikely to be able to (potentially) hold an almost limitless number of people for a celebration of HC.
    It wasn't a domestic dwelling, it was a large auditorium with a capacity of about 500. It was used as a temporary measure because the existing congregation had outgrown the centuries-old previous building and had not yet taken possession of a larger church building, which was to be refurbished. The meetings were certainly advertised to all the parish, arguably with some success given the numbers which used to attend.

  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    bigjon wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    bigjon wrote: »
    What is remotely part of the one catholic and apostolic church about the way in which you are trying to function? Why does it belong in the Church of England?

    This would be one of the questions I would pose -- at the point at which you feel the hierarchy of the church you are part of is sufficiently corrupt that it can't be worked with, why would you remain part of it?
    I think the general principle in most instances is to wait to be kicked out rather than leave voluntarily - we truly belong in the Church Of England because we (try to) act faithfully in accord with the C of E's founding documents of the Bible / 39 Articles / Book Of Common Prayer / Ordinal. When we do have to leave the C of E, it is likely to be another Anglican organisation attempting to continue in the line of these founding documents to which we move.

    This implies you think those documents are the best expression of the Christian faith and a church founded on, say, the Westminster Catechism or the UCCF Doctrinal Basis is in some way inadequate - is that so?

    I believe they are as good as can be, because the founding documents themselves are submissive to Scripture - eg Article 20, "it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same..."

    But that's pretty standard fare for Protestants.

    I guess - speaking as an Anglican myself - I don't see there is a principled reason for preferring the Anglican church over any other, because it is so much a product of historical circumstances. That is, if you were trying to derive from first principles what the church should look like, I can see how you could end up with something like the Catholics, or the Society of Friends, or the Presbyterians, but not the C of E.
  • Hmm. We're urged (by our Hosts and Admins) not to discuss too deeply the affairs of an individual church, but it does seem a bit odd not to allow temporary use of (presumably) suitable accommodation for worship (including Holy Communion), whilst the new church building was being made ready.

    AFAIK, the temporary building would need to be licensed by the Bishop for public worship, so maybe there was an issue?

    I suspect that there may be a good deal more here than meets the eye.

  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    bigjon - you are not the only Con Evo writing on these boards. There are others here (like me) who share your theological worldview but I would also say that, irrespective of the theological position we share, I am appalled by the behaviour of fellow travellers within the CofE.

    Smyth. Iwerne. Fletcher. Emmanuel. I have looked on with dismay as a self perpetuating clique is destroying the message and ministry that transforms lives and communities. Fellow travellers are tainted not by association but by inference - if they did that, what did you do?

    It gives me no pleasure in any way to bring this charge. It's simply my experience on the ground. I see what I see, hear what I hear and reflect on what I am told. In the meantime, the CofE continues to appoint from the same old, same old backgrounds - Oxbridge...
    Hello ExclamationMark, and hail to a fellow ConEvo!

    I share your criticism of the cliquey-ness involved in the Iwerne scene - I created this thread as an offshoot from the Smyth / Iwerne / Fletcher thread and discussion of that aspect of the ConEvo scene is probably better continued there. I argued there that the infiltration element has been tailing off a bit over the last 30 years, and I think the same is true of the wider constituency of Oxbridge graduates & the privately-educated.

    The energy and impetus for growth in the ConEvo scene more recently has come from Sydney and Moore College via the Proclamation Trust (obviously a Iwerne-derived organisation) & Oak Hill (not so much), and also Co-Mission (to an extent at one remove).
  • bigjon wrote: »
    20 years ago the PCC of the church to which I belong withheld parish share except for cost of ministry plus cost of central diocesan budget, because of heretical publications by another vicar in the deanery. The rationale was that the money given by congregation members was not given to subsidise false gospel teaching elsewhere within the organisation.

    Or to put it another way, you tried to blackmail the diocese into enforcing your own beliefs on the other churches therein.

    Fortunately, the truth of the gospel is not determined on a "he who pays the piper calls the tune" basis.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited August 14
    On the local level we have experienced the arrogant parachuting in of a so called Anglican "Resource" church which is alienating Anglicans and others in equal measure.
    There is potentially a similar issue where I live, where the Bishop's proposal - allegedly without local consultation - to turn a middle-to-high church with a lot of "arty" input into a "Resource" church resourced from outside the Diocese has caused a lot of disquiet. This is especially true as the area is already served by two or three thriving but Nonconformist Con-Evo churches: are the Anglicans trying to grab a share of the market?
    The Resourcing church have come into town with the attitude of join us we'll show you the way: is this how the established church really wants to flex its muscles?
    I certainly came across this about 15 years ago when the local parish church was taken over by an HTB plant. I have to say that something needed to happen as the church was beset with problems and dying on its feet. However in the early years the new regime very much behaved as if other churches didn't matter. I'm glad to say that things now seem to be rather different and also that they are getting involved in the parish, which encompasses extremes of wealth and poverty almost cheek-by-jowl. I don't know if the Vicar is an Iwerne man but I can say that he has a good brain on him! By the way I have encountered similar "smugness" and independent-mindedness from other (non-Anglican) Con-Evo groups who plant new congregations with no reference to the wider Body Of Christ.

  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    bigjon wrote: »
    20 years ago the PCC of the church to which I belong withheld parish share except for cost of ministry plus cost of central diocesan budget, because of heretical publications by another vicar in the deanery. The rationale was that the money given by congregation members was not given to subsidise false gospel teaching elsewhere within the organisation.

    Or to put it another way, you tried to blackmail the diocese into enforcing your own beliefs on the other churches therein.

    Fortunately, the truth of the gospel is not determined on a "he who pays the piper calls the tune" basis.

    Hear, hear, Marvin. My regular giving to my local church does not come with dictates and restrictions on its use.

  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    I did, however, want to add at this point, that @bigjon is very welcome on the Ship! We're not exactly a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but the questioning is going to be robust...

    At one time, I would have defended your church's practices, because they were my church's practices - using your justifications, pretty much word for word. I only gradually (mainly when I was working in the church office) became aware that the motivation behind the practices were considerably less godly and a lot more worldly than the pew-sitters realised. Talking with other local Anglican Christians helped considerably.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Extra-parochial church plants seem like a fudge to me. If you want to minister to a specific geographical area, create a new parish. If you want to minister to people in a specific role, because of the challenges of their role, then set up a chaplaincy. (The 'you' refers both to the planters and to the bishop who approves the scheme.) Everything else suggests either 'We want to minister to this kind of person', or 'We don't want the hassle of figuring out why this might be a bad idea under the parish system'.

    Likewise, it does seem a nonsense that a thriving plant can be closed effectively on the bishop's whim, whereas closing a parish church, even if visibly unsustainable, entails a highly bureaucratic process with a right of appeal that goes, in some cases at least, all the way to the Privy Council.
  • This is simply proof that the Keele gathering project of colonising the Church of England has finally so blatant that it is meeting mild resistance. Expect more, or do the honourable thing, and float away.
  • bigjon wrote: »
    bigjon - you are not the only Con Evo writing on these boards. There are others here (like me) who share your theological worldview but I would also say that, irrespective of the theological position we share, I am appalled by the behaviour of fellow travellers within the CofE.

    Smyth. Iwerne. Fletcher. Emmanuel. I have looked on with dismay as a self perpetuating clique is destroying the message and ministry that transforms lives and communities. Fellow travellers are tainted not by association but by inference - if they did that, what did you do?

    It gives me no pleasure in any way to bring this charge. It's simply my experience on the ground. I see what I see, hear what I hear and reflect on what I am told. In the meantime, the CofE continues to appoint from the same old, same old backgrounds - Oxbridge...
    Hello ExclamationMark, and hail to a fellow ConEvo!

    I share your criticism of the cliquey-ness involved in the Iwerne scene

    Just wanted to say that my critique springs from much the same roots as EM - I'm still somewhat conevo, but even considered purely pragmatically the tactics adopted by my former fellow travellers don't seem likely to succeed in anything but the fairly short term.
Sign In or Register to comment.