The propaganda on the Anglican covenant produced by Inclusive Church (IC) and Modern Church (previously MCU) and published in the church press reveals a most frightening development in contemporary Anglicanism. Two of the Church of England groups most associated with an appeal to reason have demonstrated themselves to be incapable of reasoned argument. They have also revealed themselves so hermeneutically challenged when faced with a relatively simple and short text whose contemporary context is well known that, did I not know some of the groups’ leaders, I would conclude they were deliberately misrepresenting the situation and framing false charges just in order to rally their troops and engender fear in those relatively uninformed of the covenant’s background and content.
The advertisement’s distorted account of the covenant brought to mind Mrs Thatcher’s perception of Europe as described in Geoffrey Howe’s famous resignation speech - a “nightmare image...conjured up by my right hon. Friend, who seems sometimes to look out upon a continent that is positively teeming with ill-intentioned people, scheming, in her words, to "extinguish democracy"”.
We are presented with a vision of the covenant as an oppressive mechanism which will be used against us by such dangerous elements as “neo-Puritans” and “Anglicans in other parts of the world”. It has allegedly “been kept so quiet” because it will “impose restrictions on any future church developments which another province opposes”, “make the Church of England subject to an outside power for the first time since Henry VIII” and “subordinate” General Synod to “new centralised authorities” in order to “make Anglicanism more dogmatic” instead of “Classic Anglican theology’s balance of scripture, reason and tradition”.
Every one of these claims and every answer to the seven questions IC & MCU ask is flawed, at best incomplete, often simply erroneous. Read more