Thursday, 8 January 2009

A Case For Faithful Anglican Staying

As is so often the case; ideas, opinions and thoughts about what concerns me float about in my mind "without form" until one day I come across something which crystalizes and settles them into a coherent form. This, from Philip Turner, Christopher Seitz and Ephraim Radner over at VirtueOnline, is such a something:
It is now the case that the people we know do not see any near possibility of reform and they no longer pursue such purposes. They have recognized the futility for near term of politically realistic change. However, they do hold certain convictions, and they do have certain commitments that give shape to their present actions-actions that hardly qualify as passive. These convictions and commitments are reflected in patient and enduring witness rather than in strategies and tactics designed to bring about desired future states. They grow from trust that God will use faithful witness in his own time and in his own way to bring about his purposes-purposes that do not stem from our imaginings or our desires but from God's justice and God's mercy.

This is where I now find myself

The experience of two General Synods have convinced me of how unlikely reform is in the Anglican Church of Canada and the futility of any attempts at Biblical or orthodox theological argument in the face of the well meaning but tragically mistaken revisionist tide. Yet this is the time and place into which God, in his wisdom, has called me.

So patient and enduring witness it is 

Turner, Seitz and Radner are committed to: 
witness rather than a strategy designed to bring about a desired future state. Our work is not to take this kingdom by force of design and tactic, but to make a faithful witness, practice faithful endurance, and wait upon the Lord to see what he will make of what we do and say.
Certainly my attempts at "design and tactic" have not been particularly fruitful in the wider church, or in my parish, for that matter.

I find I am strategically challenged, alas

I am, however, capable of faithful endurance. I don't much like it, but, with the Lord's help, it's doable. 

The whole piece here.

And not only that…

In a piece by Timothy Morgan of Christianity Today, one Russell Levenson Jr, Rector of the largest Episcopal church in the United States, explains why he and his parish are staying:
Daniel had to stay in Babylon, but did not abandon his faith. Jeremiah was not given another Israel. Ezekiel had to preach to the dry bones. When Jesus and his message were completely rejected, he did not leave. He wept. He stayed. He did not move on to Egypt. He stayed and faithfully preached when they believed and when they did not believe.

John Stott's Counsel

Levenson visited with John Stott recently. They talked and prayed about the challenges facing the Anglican Communion. When he asked Stott for his counsel, Stott said:
If I were you, I would stay … you have the truth on your side … and I think you are called to stay and faithfully preach the gospel. Remember what Max Warren said, 'the church is evidence of God's patience.' And we just don't know what fruit or reform will be born as a result of a long period of faithful preaching and witness to the evangelical faith we share.

Faithful staying, witness, endurance and preaching…

…while leaving the outcomes to the LORD are the order of the day for the likes of  Turner, Seitz, Radner and Levenson. Me, too, I guess.

O Lord, write these on my heart and may our faithfulness lead to Kingdom fruitfulness in the Anglican church. 

Read the whole interview with Levenson here.