Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dr. Radner Resigns from ACN -- UPDATED

LATEST UPDATE (as of August 3): Read Sarah Hey's latest contribution over at Stand Firm.

UPDATE: Ephraim Radner responds to criticism over his resignation. See entry #188.

Dr. Radner's letter is posted at the Anglican Communion Institute.

Written by Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
A Brief Statement of Resignation from the Anglican Communion Network:

It is with sorrow and deep disappointment that I tender my resignation from the Anglican Communion Network. Since the time I assisted in its founding, its leaders, members, and mission have been dear to me, even when I have disagreed with some of its corporate actions. The recent statements by the Moderator of the Network, Robert Duncan, however, so contradict my sense of calling within this part of Christ's Body, the Anglican Communion, that I have no choice but to disassociate myself from this group, whom I had once hoped might prove an instrument of renewal, not of destruction, of building up, not of tearing down.

Bishop Duncan has now declared the See of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference -- two of the four Instruments of Communion within our tradition - to be "lost". He has said that God is "doing a new thing" in allowing these elements to founder and be let go. I find this judgment to be dangerously precipitous and unfair under circumstances when current, faithful, and hard work is being done by many to bolster these Instruments as servants of our common life in Christ. The judgment is also astonishingly self-confident and autonomously prophetic in a mode not unlike the baleful claims to visionary authority of those who have long misled the Episcopal Church. Finally, the declaration in effect cancels out the other two Instruments of Communion that also uphold our common Anglican life - the Primates' Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council. It is the entire Anglican Communion, therefore, that Bp. Duncan is declaring to be "lost". The judgment is far too sweeping.

Bp. Duncan has, in the end, decided to start a new church. He may call it "Anglican" if he wishes, though I do not recognize the name in these kinds of actions that break communion rather than build it up - for such building is what I have long perceived to be the "thing" God was "doing" with the earthen vessel of our tradition. In founding his new church, furthermore, he is, I fear, not working for the healing of our broken Body, but repeating the mistakes of Christians in the past, whose zeal has not only brought suffering to themselves, but has wounded the Church of Christ. It is not only his own diocese that his statements and actions will affect; it is many others, including parishes within them, many of which have worked for faithfulness and peace, truth in love, for some time, and for whom new troubles and divisions are now promised. Enough of this. I cannot follow him in this way. There is great work to be done, with hope and with joy, if also with suffering endurance for the faith once delivered, in the vineyards of the Anglican Communion where the Lord has called us and still maintains His calling; just as there has been in the past, and all for the glory of the larger Church Catholic.

Ephraim Radner (the Rev. Dr.)


P.S. Brett over at Canterbury Pilgrim posted Peter Toon's prediction of things. I'm no "Tooniac" by any stretch, but this is an insightful analysis of where things may be heading.


dmartin said...


Fr. Jeffrey said...

What do you think about this??

Third Mill Catholic said...

This was inevitable. Duncan's recent address to the ACN was akin to Patrick Henry's speech, "Give me liberty or give me death." The ruptue between Conciliarists and Federalists is now a fait accompli. By all accounts, this will be a sad loss for the Anglican Communion. Then again, we need "protestant" numbers, but not necessarily prot theology!

Fr. Jeffrey said...

I'm just happy to be a Catholic in the Church of England. We think so differently than those on the colonies! ;-)

Death Bredon said...

Could someone lay out the American, "associated with Canterbury," alphabet soup? I've got the "splinters" down, but now the rump acronyms are so hard to follow!!!!

Third Mill Catholic said...

Hi DB,

Do you mean these?

ACN - Anglican Communion Network (a conservative/traditional network of dioceses and parishes still operating, for the meantime, under the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church)

ACI - Anglican Communion Institute (a think-tank of Communion minded conservatives)


Anonymous said...

As usual, Radner answers his critics with eloquence and humility.

The Conciliarism of Ephraim Radner and other spokesmen from the ACI is undoubtedly more catholic than the solution being proffered by Bp. Duncan, et al. ( Hence, the "rupture" you have alluded to, running along a theological catholic vs "prot" fault line ).

And yet, for all their differences, I find it striking that Conciliarists and Federalists share something in common. In Duncan, the latter have an advocate of women's ordination ( not surprising, perhaps, considering the number of Anglican Evangelicals who are in favor of admitting women into holy orders ). But the same is also true of a number of the ACI's leading lights, such as Philip Turner, Bp. Fitzsimmons Allison and, of course, Radner himself.

I do not for a moment doubt Radner's sincerity in striving for an authentic catholicity ( I understand his own confessor is a Roman Catholic priest ). But, like Dr.Toon, I find his advocacy of such a resoundingly uncatholic practice perplexing to say the least.

For this very reason, some extra-mural Anglicans have taken a "taste not, touch not" approach to the AC. This itself is perplexing, since it's assertion amounts to a tacit repudiation of a crucial principle of Anglican ecclesiology, namely the rejection of ecclesial ultimacy ( I'm referring to your comment in another post about the "ultimacy of hereditary pedigree over against the errant body from which they departed", which, at the very least, sounds like a form of ecclesial ultimacy ).

Oh, well


Brett said...

Just a quick note, my snippet from the Rev. Peter Toon can still be found on my Blog over at: "

Explanation? At the time of my first posting this excerpt, I was still a bit hesitant to reveal my personal shift from fed-con to com-con.. so as not to irritate any of my continuum friends. This is no longer as much of a concern.