Canon Phil Ashey: Anglicanism in spite of Canterbury?
Posted February 17, 2016
I read with some interest the remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, on the Primates gathering we returned from just a few weeks ago. In his recent address to the Church of England’s General Synod he made a number of significant statements—significant because they are signs of the future that lies ahead for a deeply divided Anglican Communion. You can find his whole address here, but let me focus on three significant statements:
1. “The meeting was set for Canterbury because that would recall to people the way in which Canterbury, and especially its cathedral, represent the center of the Anglican Communion.”Really? Is the center of the Anglican Communion really an Archbishop, or a Cathedral? For the vast majority of Anglicans now living in the Global South, the center of the Anglican Communion is where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, where the Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations” is being accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit, and where peoples’ lives are being transformed spiritually, emotionally and physically by the love of Jesus Christ. The center of the Anglican Communion is where Jesus is being exalted as Savior and Lord, and where people are faithfully living their lives as Jesus would according to the Scriptures. And if that place has a geographic center, it is the Global South—not Canterbury.
Elsewhere the Archbishop of Canterbury rightly observed: “What are the limits of diversity? Who is in control? British colonial history makes the laying down of edicts by white, middle-class Christians from the Global North, citizens of the former colonial power in many places, a process that is rightly deeply resented.” But in claiming himself and Canterbury as the center, is he not contradicting himself and simply reasserting continuity with that British colonial past? Shouldn’t we be wary of a leader who says that we should avoid old “colonial ways”—and then insists that his See, Canterbury, is the hub around which the Communion revolves?
In reality, it was the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and Global South Primates who had to take leadership in this Primates gathering to get any “limits on diversity,” and any “relational consequences” at all upon The Episcopal Church (TEC) for its actions since 2003 in unilaterally violating Biblically teaching on human sexuality, along with Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998)...
Essay continues here