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Archbishop Carey and the consecration of Bishops Murphy & Rodgers

It is with profound regret that Reform Ireland has read the response of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Singapore consecrations (17th February 2000). We are dismayed to find that he has rejected the provision of godly episcopal oversight for Anglican congregations in certain dioceses within ECUSA in which Biblical, orthodox faith has been rejected. Because of the significance of this issue, Reform Ireland feels that it must offer a careful critique of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reasoning on this matter.

 

In refusing to accept the episcopal ministry of Bishops Murray and Rodgers, Archbishop Carey notes that their consecration implies a rejection of territorial integrity which is a most important part of episcopal order. He points out that each province in the Anglican Communion has a set of procedures for the appointment of bishops, which he claims have not been followed in the Singapore consecrations. Reform Ireland is both shocked and disappointed that Archbishop Carey makes such reference to territorial integrity and canonical procedures in this context. Alongside the well-documented rejection of Biblical, orthodox faith within ECUSA, territorial integrity and canonical procedures are, quite simply, of no consequence. When territorial integrity and canonical procedures are invoked to give authority to those who ministries deny Biblical truth, they have no authority. The provision of godly oversight for orthodox congregations within some ECUSA dioceses should not and cannot be prevented on the grounds that it has not respected the territorial integrity of those who have rejected Biblical truth. It should not and cannot be prevented because of the human rules governing the administration of a particular denomination.

 

Archbishop Carey declares that the Singapore consecrations occurred without the support or even the knowledge of the vast majority of bishops in our communion. Many bishops of our communion have been very aware of the consistent and continued rejection of Biblical truth (and thus classical Anglicanism) by bishops within ECUSA and ECUSA dioceses. What has been the response? We are still waiting. Bishops in our communion have stood by while fundamental Christian truth has been compromised within ECUSA. But now, when mere territorial integrity and canonical procedures have been violated, it is seen fit to respond.

 

Referring to Bishops Murphy and Rodgers, Archbishop Carey says: I cannot accept their episcopal ministry until such time as a full rapprochement and reconciliation has taken place between them and the appropriate authorities within the Episcopal Church of the United States. We find it unacceptable that godly overseers should be refused recognition until they have been reconciled to an institution which has compromised the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Primate of ECUSA, Frank Griswold, has publicly stated that while Bishop of Chicago, he knowingly ordained practising homosexuals. Bishops Murphy and Rodgers do not need to be reconciled to ECUSA: ECUSA as an institution needs to be reconciled to the gospel.

 

The Archbishop states that bishops are called to act collegially. But such unity can only have its foundation in revealed Truth – God’s Word written. Reform Ireland deems the Singapore consecrations to have been a necessary act to ensure that Anglican congregations in parts of ECUSA have episcopal oversight which furthers the work of sharing the Gospel – instead of opposing that work. Acting collegially, territorial boundaries, canonical procedures and forms of ecclesiastical administration must be secondary to obedience to the Scriptures. The heart of the Anglican understanding of episcopal ministry is expressed in the question asked at the consecration of a bishop: are you persuaded that the holy Scriptures contain sufficiently all doctrine required of necessity for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined out of the same holy Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge? It is this conviction which led to the Singapore consecrations and which now leads Reform Ireland to give their prayerful support and extend fellowship to Bishops Murphy and Rodgers.

 

Noting that Archbishop Carey has communicated his opinion on the Singapore consecrations to all bishops in the Anglican Communion, and aware that this is, of course, merely the opinion of one bishop, Reform Ireland –

 

 

  1. Respectfully requests Archbishop Carey to reconsider his opinion on the consecrations of Bishops Murphy and Rodgers, in order that the work of building and leading in mission Biblically orthodox congregations may continue throughout the United States;
  2. Respectfully requests the bishops of the Church of Ireland to accept in fellowship the episcopal ministry of Bishops Murphy and Rodgers, recognising the need for godly oversight to be provided in those ECUSA dioceses which have acted contrary to God’s Word written; and further requests Archbishop Eames to call on the Primates’ Meeting next month in Lisbon to recognise the calling and sending of Bishops Murphy and Rodgers;
  3. Reiterates its prayerful support for, and fellowship in the gospel with, Bishops Murphy and Rodgers, and our desire to work in partnership with them in obedience to the Great Commission.
18th Feb 2000
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