Saturday, December 03, 2005

Voyage to the bottom of the sea

For a long time, critics of “Reformed Catholicism said this was an unstable compromise, transitional to something else. Paul Owen has now made it official.

http://www.communiosanctorum.com/?p=116

Having originally styled himself a “convinced Presbyterian,” from which position he first lambasted Reformed Baptists, and then lambasted his fellow Presbyterians, Dr. Owen has now become a member of the noble church of John Spong, Joseph Fletcher, and Vicki Gene Robinson.

Dr. Owen has a great sense of timing, does he not? Nothing like coming aboard a burning and sinking ship at the same time the rats are jumping ship.

Three cheers for catholicity! See you at the bottom of the sea.

N.B. Not a peep out of Kevin Johnson or Tim Enloe regarding his defection.

19 comments:

  1. Heh...no lack of criticism from this blog.

    But, your claim is inaccurate. Paul joined the Anglican Province of America which is not the same as ECUSA to which Spong, Robinson, and whoever else you mentioned. I would ask you to correct your statements to accurately reflect the truth.

    The Anglican Province of America (www.anglicanprovince.org) enjoys communion with the Nigerian Church as well as the Reformed Episcopal Church.

    I'm personally happy for Dr. Owen and glad he's found a home in that particular communion of the Church of Christ...and as long as he's a member of a Christian church, what really is the problem here?

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  2. Surely it should be 'bottom of the see'? Indeed, Mr. Johnson is correct, the APA is not the ECUSA, and is a more conservative (though pretty high church, at least according to their website) episcopalian denomination. I can think of no-where where Dr. Owen would feel more at home (note banner on APA homepage: 'Traditional episcopal, evangelical and catholic'. The confusion of APA with ECUSA is even worse than confusing the Free Church of Scotland (don't ordain women) with the United Free Church of Scotland (do ordain women).
    The fact that 'convinced presbyterian' Dr. Owen is now an episcopalian still stands, however. Apparently he wasn't so convinced after all.

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  3. Ummm...okay..."Highland Host".

    I guess you and Mr. NiceTry need to tell us how moving from one denomination to another within orthodox Christianity is a "defection" and/or something that is inappropriate or bad.

    Secondly, what is the problem with changing your opinion on certain theological matters as a matter of growth in one's life--especially when these changes do not reflect any sort of abandonment of what it means to be an orthodox, creedal Christian? Are we not free as Christians to think and believe differently than one another? Why the need to ridicule others who understand what are certainly secondary doctrines (such as elder rule and the use of images in church)?

    I mean, it would be one thing if Dr. Owen was denying the resurrection and joining hands in a prayer circle with Bishop Spong, but as it is he's a part of a very conservative Anglican church that would do no such thing.

    I guess maybe you folks can point us to the actual problem here in switching denominations (as if none of you ever went from say, Southern Baptist to Reformed Baptist or Presbyterian!).

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  4. PS. Having read all the 'Parish information' on the APA website, and being a former Anglican myself, I can uncategorically affirm that the APA is, at least in the main, 'Anglo-Catholic'. The use of the 1928 Prayer Book, and the pushing of 'altars' (a term not found in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662) against the wall is a dead giveaway to those of us in the know about Anglicanism.

    Welcome home, Dr. Paul Owen. You are at last where you belong.

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  5. PPS. Otherwise the APA looks pretty traditional. They're laughing with glee at Robinson's antics, and looking forward to an influx of Anglo-catholics from the ECUSA. While no doubt the Reformed Episcopal Church are looking forward to the non-Anglo-catholics flocking into their communion.
    Between them, they are hoping to get ALL the non-liberal Anglicans in the US. Here's to hoping!
    Oh, and to hoping that the rest of the 'Reformed Catholics' pile off and become Anglicans as well.

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  6. This second statement about the Anglo-Catholic nature of the APA is just ridiculous. For crying out loud, they are in communion with the Reformed Episcopal Church, a body which can hardly be called Anglican Catholic. Not only that but this sort of statement ignores the width and the breadth of freedom within the Anglican communions on these issues and as a former Anglican you ought to know better than to say "welcome home" as if Dr. Owen has stopped one step short of Roman Catholicism.

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  7. According to the post, he has joined the "Anglican church." The ECUSA has some sort of ties to that body.

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  8. Ummm...okay...I suppose truth is only important when its convenient for your cause.

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  9. From the ECUSA web site --

    "As part of the Anglican Communion, we have nearly 80 million sisters and brothers in 164 countries throughout the world"

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  10. Mr. Johnson. Have you read Paul Owen's post? Have you read the PCA website. I have.

    Mr. Johnson. I used to be an Anglican. I did not say 'Anglican Catholic', I said 'Anglo-Catholic'. There is a pretty big difference. Have you looked at all the parish web pages linked to the APA site? I made my comment after doing so. I saw the word 'Mass' used to describe the Communion, I saw ministers calling themselves 'Father'. Now that is Anglo-Catholicism, not of the Oxford Movement type perhaps, but of the Laudian School of the 17th Century. The 1928 prayer-book, used by a number of APA Churches was rejected by the British parliament because it was Anglo-Catholic.

    And I'm not so sure it is a 'defection', it's Dr. Owen actually sorting out where in the Christian world he belongs. I'm sorry if you thought my 'welcome home' was sarcastic.

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  11. I personally find it encouraging to see apostates-in-training leaving denominations that are still conservative.

    The trend in the past has been exactly the opposite - the conservatives leave the denomination to the care of the apostates.

    Here's to hoping that Owen's acolytes follow him shortly.

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  12. "2. As a Presbyterian, I was always uncomfortable with two distinctives: 1) presbyterial church government (which I never accepted)" -Dr. Owen.

    So WAS he a 'convinced Presbyterian' or not? THAT (as Hamlet very nearly said) is the question.

    And, having spent the first twenty years of my life in the CofE, I know Anglo-Catholic when I see it. You look round the APA parish website pictures. THAT is Anglo-Catholicism at least of the Laudia variety. One of those parishes is called 'St. Charles the Martyr'. Know who he was? King Charles I. 'Charles the Martyr' is a popular Anglo-Catholic dedication for churches. Look at these pictures: http://imagegallery.webspawner.com/gallery.asp
    http://www.stmarydelray.org/
    http://www.stpaulsparishsuntree.org/
    http://www.saint-alban.org/ (and note that the Eucharist is called the Mass on this site
    Look at this link: http://www.saintstephenmartyr.org/holydays.html. I could go on, but I won't. I don't make statements I can't back up. The APA is Anglo-Catholic as surely as a baboon's backside is blue. (further evidence of bee in bonnet. If the problem persists, call a doctor).

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  13. My apologies for the 'baboon's backside' remark. It was out of order. But Mr. Johnston's ridiculous statement that the APA 'aren't Anglo-Catholic' rather got my goat.

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  14. BTW, if I seem to assume a critical tone, that is directed at Kevin, not at the highland host, whose informative remarks I greatly appreciate.

    Of course, Kevin is always welcome to keep posting comments here.

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  15. "Highland Host" wrote:
    "But Mr. Johnston's ridiculous statement that the APA 'aren't Anglo-Catholic' rather got my goat."

    If you would read carefully, you would find that I never denied that the APA was Anglo-Catholic (or may very well be). That wasn't the point of what I wrote.

    The point of what I wrote is exactly this: the Anglican Communion has a fair amount of theological freedom and one does not have to be Anglo-Catholic to be a member of the APA or other Anglican bodies and the fact that they are in communion with the Reformed Episcopal Church makes that quite clear.

    But again...what really is the problem here anyway in terms of moving from one denomination? And why hasn't Steve corrected his remarks to reveal the truth of the matter?

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  16. Mr. Johnson. You said: "This second statement about the Anglo-Catholic nature of the APA is just ridiculous." NOW you say: "If you would read carefully, you would find that I never denied that the APA was Anglo-Catholic (or may very well be". If your first statement was NOT denying that the APA was Anglo-Catholic, what was it? You'll pardon my taking that remark at face value.

    Also the APA is NOT IN the Anglican Communion. Which is part of the point behind your remarks (ironically).

    What is more, Anglo-Catholicism is more about ritual than theology (which is why a synonym for it is 'ritualism'). But enough of this. It wasn't the point of your remarks (it was the point of mine).

    Do you know WHY the APA are in communion with the REC and Nigeria? There is a re-alignment going on in global Anglicanism. If the traditional Anglicans, High- and Low-Church band together, they can stand against the ECUSA and other apostate bodies. And I wish them every blessing.

    I agree, I wish Mr. Hays would correct his remarks about 'The Church of Bishop Spong...' 'tisn't, and no amount of saying it is will make it so, Mr. Hays.

    But the point is not that Dr. Owen is now consistent, and in a denomination where he should feel thoroughly at home (Anglo-Catholic Ritual AND . But I said:

    "2. As a Presbyterian, I was always uncomfortable with two distinctives: 1) presbyterial church government (which I never accepted)" -Dr. Owen.

    So WAS he a 'convinced Presbyterian' or not? THAT (as Hamlet very nearly said) is the question.

    Or that is my charitable interpretation of Mr. Hays' somewhat inaccurate posting.

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  17. Sorry, I left my last post incomplete. What I meant to say was:

    But the point is not that Dr. Owen is now consistent, and in a denomination where he should feel thoroughly at home (Anglo-Catholic Ritual AND a Reformed Confession).

    Apologies for posting an incomplete sentence.

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  18. Kevin continues to accuse me of misstating Owen affiliation and refusing to correct my error.

    The problem here is that I’m in no position to answer for Owen. There are two possible answers—neither of which is very appealing for Owen.

    1.The first answer is that the APA is not a member of the Anglican Communion. Hence, it is not in communion with the ECUSA via Canterbury.

    Remember that the ECUSA has not been formally executed, and that is not a trivial distinction in Anglican canon law.

    It also remains to be seen whether the Primates will have the nerve to excommunicate the ECUSA. At the moment, all we have are unilateral actions on the part of individual Primates.

    Assuming, for the sake of argument, that (1) is the correct answer, then Owen does not belong to the same church as Spong, Robinson, and so on.

    But is that the answer Owen would give? In order for Owen to give that answer, he’s have to admit that he is a schismatic. That he belongs to a schismatic body.

    That would be very difficult for him to swallow given his stated ecclesiology.

    2.The second answer is that APA is a member of the Anglican Communion, and hence in communion with the ECUSA via Canterbury. In that event, he does belong to the same church as Spong, Robinson, and so on.

    Now, these distinctions are meaningless to me, personally. I think the realignment is a good thing. But that’s because I have a low church ecclesiology.

    If, however, you subscribe to a high church ecclesiology, then these are not hairsplitting distinctions. In that case, schism is a big deal. Apostolic succession is a big deal.

    So as soon as Kevin tells me how Owen would answer these questions, I can make whatever adjustments are necessary. But for Owen, it’s a lose-lose proposition either way.

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  19. I suspect Owen would say that the ECUSA is the schismatic body. I would. And the APA is most definitely NOT in communion with Canterbury.

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