Sunday, July 20, 2008

Crack up of Anglican Communion at hand, evangelicals say

From an article by George Conger in Christianity Today:

The crack-up of the Anglican Communion is at hand, evangelical bishops attending the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury tell Christianity Today, and the 400 year old Anglican project appears over.

“I’d like to expect a miracle,” said Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina, a leader of the evangelical alliance at Lambeth, but said he feared the prospects for the church holding together were grim.

“Humanely speaking there is little hope for even a peaceful separation” between the liberal and evangelical wings of the 80-million member communion of churches, Bishop Venables said on July 18. . .

Of the 880 Anglican bishops, between 200 and 250 will stay away. The total number of ‘no-shows’ will not be known until registration closes on July 20. However the boycott by evangelicals means that bishops from the liberal-leaning Episcopal Church of the United States comprise 1 in 5 of the bishops attending the conference, while world-wide Americans account for only 1 in 40 Anglicans.

In addition to the absence of many of their brethren, evangelicals are not optimistic about the conference’s prospects for resolving the dispute as the agenda has been designed to avoid addressing the contentious issues facing the church has left those conservative Anglicans at Lambeth not sanguine about the conferences prospects. . .

“I don’t have great expectations” for Lambeth, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said. It was important to give voice to the views of evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics marginalized by the dominant liberal wing of the Episcopal Church, and he welcomed the opportunity for “strengthening the bonds of relationship” with bishops from the developing world. However, he was “deeply saddened” that the gap between left and right now seemed unbridgeable.

The pleas for dialogue at this stage rang false, Bishop Venables said. “Although much has been said about talking, it seems to me that on one is listening,” he said. “I’m on the telephone,” but “no one has called me to say ‘let’s talk’ this over,” Bishop Venables said. . .

Read it all.

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