THE PRESENT FORM OF THE ANGLICAN COVENANT IS TOO WEAK FOR THE ORTHODOX AND TOO STRONG FOR THE REVISIONISTS.


It seems to me that the Covenant should be seen to be precisely what the Archbishop of Canterbury has said it is not, a binding commitment to mutual mission and encouragement, to a process of adjudicating differences that threaten to be Communion- breaking, and to a confessional standard of Doctrine to which all who sign are committed and to which they can be held accountable.

It would strengthen the present form of the Covenant if it were adjusted in two specific ways: first, if the Primates were the body that were to oversee compliance and not the Standing Committee, a committee with no historic standing in the Communion. And, second, it would be strengthened were the Jerusalem Declaration added to the standard of Faith to which all signers were committed and held accountable.

It is clear that the revisionists are allergic to any covenant that would interfere with their autonomy, not only in things secondary but in the primary matters of the Gospel. If they are not willing to be held accountable what then is the point of a covenant? At this point it becomes a pointless effort to try to fashion a covenant to which they could agree.

It is also clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury is unwilling to view the present Covenant as having any teeth should a province or diocese sign it and then not conform to it. He has declared that it would not, in his eyes, have that function. Should a covenant be approved it would not make any sense for this Archbishop to be the one charged with overseeing it.

Lastly, “in for a penny, in for a pound”, since the present form of the Anglican Covenant needs to be strong in the Anglican Faith or Anglican grasp of the Apostolic Faith, is it not now time to be explicit about the Faith, the nature of the Covenant and the body that is to oversee the conformity of its members to the covenant ? There need be no worries that we would thereby exclude some of the Communion, they are already outside fellowship with the orthodox in any serious sense and will sign no covenant worth the paper it is printed upon. Let’s do it right and get on with a true and godly Anglican Covenant, by adding the Jerusalem Declaration and by assigning oversight to the Primates. Let the Global South makes such adjustments and send the adjusted Covenant to all Provinces and let those who are serious about a covenant sign. The chips will fall where they lay. In the end, we will have a covenant that binds the orthodox Provinces and it will be overseen by orthodox Primates. That would be a covenant worth signing. It would be one with a future and a ministry.

Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers Jr. Th.D.

Advertisements