Wednesday, 30 July 2008

NT Wright's Concerns About GAFCONish Claims

When I hear Peter Jensen say that ‘we are not self-selected; we are God-selected, because we are based on the word of God’; when I hear beloved and respected Jim Packer say that the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ should be the basis of a new covenant to which all English bishops will be required to sign up; when I hear Vinay Samuel, one of the sharpest minds in the whole GAFCON movement, saying (unless he was misreported) that ‘we are not breaking away from the Anglican Communion – we ARE the Anglican Communion’; and when I see Bishop John Rodgers of AMiA saying that ‘we are the true and faithful Anglicans . . . the true representatives of the Anglican Communion’ – then it is time for someone, and it might as well be an old-fashioned Bible-believing evangelical like me, to stand up and say, with usual English understatement, ‘hold on, this seems to be somewhat over the top’. Just as the ‘covenant for the Church of England’ bore all the marks of sloppy thinking and hasty drafting, so the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’, though affirming more or less the doctrines that I myself have spent my whole adult life affirming and teaching, bears all the marks of similar haste. In addition to its embarrassingly obvious weaknesses, it has smuggled in, alongside the doctrinal affirmations, various open-ended formulae which basically mean ‘We will decide who’s in this new club and who’s out of it, and if we decide you’re out we claim the right to plant new churches in your territory, “authorize” them, and send in bishops to look after them’. This is not a ‘suspicious’ reading; it is more or less exactly what the text says. And I say to my fellow evangelicals in the Church of England: do not be taken in by this. This is not the answer. There are good answers to such problems as we face and this is not among them. (NT Wright)

For the full text of his comments see Stephen Bloor's post here.

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