|Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Reverend Lorna Hood|
making her way through the Church of Scotland's Assembly Hall, where commissioners made
"a historic vote" in favour of accommodation for congregations that choose a minister in a
same-sex civil partnership Source: Christian Today (Photo: John Young)
Paved with good intentions, the declaration moves the C of E further towards nonconformity while pretending to keep a toe in the Apostolic Church following the lead of the Church in Wales (C in W).
The proposals are set out in GS 2016, "Growth in Communion, Partnership in Mission -
A Cover Note from the Council for Christian Unity". There are two references to apostolic succession.
Para 18 (i): Within the apostolicity of the whole Church is an apostolic succession of the ministry which serves, and is a focus of, the continuity of the Church in its life in Christ and its
faithfulness to the words and acts of Jesus transmitted by the apostles.
Para 31: The Church of Scotland also believes that its ministries are in apostolic succession, without needing to include the episcopal order nor to express that succession through it.
In its ordination rites it emphasizes the continuity of the Church and its ministry. It can
recognize in the historic episcopal succession maintained by other churches a sign of the
apostolicity of the Church. It does not, however, regard it as important for the bene esse
(‘well-being’) of the Church in the same way as the Church of England, and therefore
while respecting its perspective does not share from its own side the significance for the
Church of England of this issue in seeking to grow together.
God forbid that the C of E should follow the lead of the C in W:
"Consequently the Church in Wales Working Group's Long-term Recommendations to their Governing Body were that: 'the Methodist jurisdiction, the Presbyterian jurisdiction and the URC/Covenanting Baptist jurisdiction each elect a bishop, the bishop will ordain all those who are to become ministers within that jurisdiction. That this bishop will be a bishop in the Church Uniting in Wales and will share collegiality and full interchangeability with all the other bishops of that Church'."
Sidelining the Scottish Episcopal Church, the C of S and the C of E "acknowledge one another’s churches as churches belonging to the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and truly participating in the apostolic ministry and mission of the whole people of God".
But what of the wider Church?
The C of S, the C of E and the C in W are minnows in the Christian Church which is dominated by Catholics and Orthodox, now showing signs of coming together while Anglicans drift apart. In global terms Anglicans are mentioned once, "Nigeria now has more than twice as many Protestants (broadly defined to include Anglicans and independent churches) as Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation yet they claim to be in the forefront of advancing the apostolic ministry and mission of the whole people of God.
What does this amount to?
The C of S has opened the door to the appointment of married gay ministers. Having lost the same-sex marriage battle, the Archbishop of Wales is encouraging his rapidly diminishing flock to support the Iris Prize Outreach project which aims to "make 36 short films over the next three years with different community groups to build understanding of LGBT issues".
Driven by WATCH the C of E is obsessed with gender issues: "Fewer than one in 50 large churches led by a woman priest".
For the Church to survive in Britain it will have to become closer to the apostolicity of Catholics and Orthodox, not more protestant and secular.
'No unity at the expense of truth': a response to Justin Welby's Presidential Address.
An excellent analysis from Christian Concern, H/T Anglican Mainstream, here.