Bishop of Montana responds to the Canterbury primates communique

I wonder who is being punished by this high-handed action. The rest of the communion will now not have benefit of the considerable talents of the TEC.

I rarely post on Facebook, but the events at the recent Anglican Primates meeting in Canterbury and the reporting on that event in the secular press prompt these comments.
First, The Episcopal Church has not been suspended or kicked out of the Anglican Communion, as the press has reported. It would be more accurate to say that we have been put in the time-out corner for being naughty. Our misbehavior regards our authorizing blessing of same-sex marriages. The primates, that is, the senior bishops of each of the provinces of the Anglican Communion, state that this action is a fundamental departure from the teaching of the majority of the Provinces. It may well be true that what we have done departs from the doctrine of other churches, but it would be more accurate to say that it is a departure from the beliefs of the bishops present.

Second, the primates, then, “require” that the US Church be kicked off any ecumenical or interfaith committee, that no one from TEC be elected or appointed to any internal committee, and that any TEC person already on such a committee not be allowed to be part of any doctrinal or polity decision. As I said, we are in the time-out corner for the next three years.

Three, I believe that I am correct that this action is far beyond the authority of the Primates. These are decision made by the Anglican Consultative Council and perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury. The primates are acting like prelates in the pejorative sense of that word. Or, more bluntly, they are trying to bully TEC, and are thereby indulging in the worst kind of clerical arrogance.

Four, this hardly comports with the description of love in I Corinthians 13 nor with the Pauline command to forbear with one another. 

Five, I wonder who is being punished by this high-handed action. The rest of the communion will now not have benefit of the considerable talents of the TEC.

Six, the good news is that no one walked out of the meeting as many had predicted. The primates, rather, stated their unanimous desire to walk together. This suggests that we all owe considerable thanks to Archbishop Welby for his prayerful humility and his well-known skills at reconciliation. I am grateful to God for that.

Seven, I am enormously proud of our Presiding Bishop. He has taken the high road of love and conciliation while all the time pointing to our Lord. I especially appreciate his reference to Galatians with its profound insight that in Christ all of our usual divisions are overcome.

Finally, I believe that history will look favorably on TEC. We have taken what I believe is the course of action that accords with scripture, tradition and reason. I wonder what the primates will do when other provinces of the communion follow our lead, as some surely will. My prediction: no time-out for them.

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