A clear, refreshing voice
Following the watershed meeting of the Anglican primates in Ireland recently, where they decided what to do about the departure of the Episcopal Church (USA) from Anglican practice, there was a lot of writing that I found rather hard to understand. What really went on? Did they agree or disagree? Did the conservative or liberal viewpoint prevail? Was the Episcopal Church (USA) decisively disciplined or not?
Trying to decipher the “explanation” by Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold just gave me a headache. What DOES he intend to communicate? How did he get THAT from what actually transpired with the other primates? One Episcopalian blogger has coined the term “Griswold-talk,” with its “meandering, mystical style” (see comment #10). While Griswold’s meanders lose me, his dizzying spin can make me lose my orientation altogether.
Into this fog steps Gregory Venables, Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone. That man can write a clear account! He recalls: “In a moment of time, at a pause in the conversation, it became obvious that the overwhelming majority of the Primates (who represent the clear majority of Anglicans around the world) were not willing to assimilate the innovations pressed by the United States and Canada into the teaching of the Communion. On the contrary, historic biblical faith was clearly going to emerge from the meeting as the conviction of the vast majority.”
What is going to happen in the Anglican Communion? Venables writes: “ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada will have to repent and conform their teaching and practice to historic and biblical faith, in order to have the broken relationship restored. If they fail to do so, the separation that is gracefully modelled in the communiqué [from the primate meeting] will become stark and formal.”
Some time ago, I advised us all to watch what happens in the Episcopal Church, because it can show us what could happen in the Presbyterian Church (USA). What has happened is this: The ECUSA decision to depart from biblical morality has caused an expected, enormous, and destructive uproar within their own denomination and has isolated them from the worldwide Anglican Communion. Fellow Anglicans from around the world have stood faithfully and will not buy the revisionism of the ECUSA.
We in the PCUSA can learn from Anglican leaders like Gregory Venables. Clarity of thought, consistency in action, and lucid communication make him stand out as a leader with integrity. We can learn from him as we overhear his conversations with his church, marking how his words and actions model congruence and faithfulness to the Bible and our Lord Jesus Christ.