April 28, 2009

Thought for 04.28.09

(inspired by a comment in the previous thread — thanks, Fred!)

The Insufficient Quad

The Lambeth Quadrilateral, though originally conceived as a tool to broaden the reach of ecumenical relations between Anglicans and other Christians, eventually came to be seen as a helpful tool in ordering our own Anglican household. It has not proven to be sufficient for some in this regard.

  • They not only want (rightly) to give pride of place to the Scriptures, but the their specific understanding of the Scriptures.
  • They also want to add to the credenda items in the past uniformly held to be questions of pastoral theology, not dogmatic or systematic theology.
  • They want to place extra emphasis on two of the sacramental rites (marriage and ordination) rather than focusing on the two Dominical sacraments.
  • And finally, they do not want to respect one specific local adaptation in the office of bishop to meet the needs of particular communities.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

8 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

My dear Tobias, you're on a roll yesterday and today with your thinking. Keep on thinking.

Thanks to Fred S. for the inspiration for today's thought.

Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

Tobias: If the last point refers to the election of Kevin Thew Forrester and the challenges in the consent process, the issue of how he was elected seems to be far down the list of concerns. Of greater concern is the reworked baptismal liturgy he wrote and used. The latest refusal of consent explanation is here. It is worth asking what limits are placed upon us liturgically in a hierarchical church such as ours and how far "local adaptation" of such rites can go.

Christopher said...

Fr. Haller,

That's about right. I am reminded that the Quadrilateral as finally approved at Lambeth is incredibly nuanced and thoughtful. "containing all things necessary for salvation", "ultimate standard of faith"...referring us then to the hermeneutic which tells us that faith "sufficiently"... It's such a bounded yet roomy center.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks GM. Sometimes it takes a while for things to "hit" me -- but it seems so clear now how much the "reasserter" wing is out of step with this generous orthodoxy.

Tom, I know it is sometimes hard for us right now to see the Forrester for the trees, but actually I was thinking of the Bishop of New Hampshire! As to KTF, I think many of the concerns raised about him do rise to the level of the Quadrilateral's limits at least on the first three points: an impoverished reading of Scripture, a selective or dismissive attitude towards the Creeds, and an "inventive" attitude towards Baptism, at least! I think all of these things are far more central to the life of the Church, and FWIW have cast my vote in the negative.

Thanks, Christopher. People should really read Huntington if they want to understand the scope of his intent -- which was to be inclusive, but inclusive into something defined and identifiable.

Matt Gunter said...

Tobias,

The probelm, at least as I see it, is that KTF would probably claim to honor the Quadrilateral. And many who have argued for consent have suggested that you and others who have voted in the negative are guilty of your first and fourth points. And that you are much too narrow in your understanding of the creeds.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Matt, thanks for this, though I am loath to get off onto a discussion of KTF, which wasn't in my thoughts at all in composing this.

It's certainly true that he might claim, or others might on his behalf, that he is in full accord with the LQ, and those who disagree are being too narrow. But then, that's why we have a consent process -- just as, dealing for those to the reasserter side who claim TEC is too liberal, we have General Convention. The point is, as Hooker put it, there is a way to settle all controversies: the Law of Ecclesiastical Polity.

In short, opinions may vary, but there are authorities to settle such disputes. In our case, it is General Convention. In KTF's, the bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees. Both liberal and conservative appeals to other non-authoritative bodies or concepts are just that. I believe in free speech and open discussion, but ultimately decisions are made, and, again, as Hooker so well put it, "Things were disputed before they came to be determined; men afterwards were not to dispute any longer, but to obey. The sentence of judgment finished their strife, which their disputes before judgment could not do. This was ground sufficient for any reasonable man's conscience to build the duty of obedience upon, whatsoever his own opinion were as touching the matter before in question. So full of wilfulness and self-liking is our nature, that without some definitive sentence, which being given may stand, and a necessity of silence on both sides afterward imposed, small hope there is that strifes thus far prosecuted will in short time quietly end."Of course, this doesn't mean that matters cannot come up for review -- but the forum for that review will be General Convention, not some yet to be constituted Anglican tribunal.

Marshall said...

Well, Tobias, I thought your comment, "And finally, they do not want to respect one specific local adaptation in the office of bishop to meet the needs of particular communities," could apply to the entire epicopate in the Episcopal Church. There seem so many who have been confused and disturbed by our lack of "prince bishops" and "chieftain bishops." As I recall, there were some of our bishops who had heard this question one time or another: "But, if you were really being the bishops, how would you act?"

I have long felt that "local adaptaion" in the Quadrilateral applied at the national/provincial level; and I think applying it more specifically, whether to Bishop Robinson or Bishop-elect Thew Forrester, may be as disturbing as suggesting that dioceses can act independently - against which our own best local argument is the requirement that the election of bishops be confirmed.

JCF said...

But then, that's why we have a consent process -- just as, dealing for those to the reasserter side who claim TEC is too liberal, we have General Convention. The point is, as Hooker put it, there is a way to settle all controversies: the Law of Ecclesiastical Polity.Thank you, Tobias, this is very helpful.

I still haven't heard anything which would prevent my consent to KTF (if I had such a vote, which I don't).

But I trust the process: he becomes bishop if he receives the necessary consents, he doesn't if he doesn't. [Now, if the DioNMich then re-elects KTF . . . but we'll cross that bridge when we get there!]