Non Sequitur

These two assertions recently made in First Things seem to encapsulate at least some of the virulent conviction behind the march of the "Global South" toward separation.

First, this:

The tepid response to Williams’ Lambeth invitations has already shown how and why this will work—hundreds of Anglican bishops will simply decide that Lambeth is not worth going to since no one is required to abide by its decisions.

I think the author, Jordan Hylden, is not alone in his misconception of Lambeth's role in the Anglican Communion. It has never had the power to make any decisions that its members were "required to abide by." True, select parts of Lambeth 1998's 1.10 have been specially singled out and treated as if members were required to uphold them, but this is sheer opportunistic novelty. A new party--the right-wing evangelical "Global South"--came to power in the Communion, and liked it enough to unilaterally but tacitly re-define the authority of Lambeth in practice to suit its interests. Because it wanted to and it could.

There's more:

Like any group lacking authority, Anglicanism thereafter will break apart into several factions.

He means "like any group lacking authority to require members to abide by its pronouncements"--which may seem to contradict his earlier assertion. How could it lack what it has? But nevermind; the larger issue is his assumption that group unity demands that kind of power.

It didn't have that kind of power for more than a century (from 1867), but Lambeth stuck together nonetheless.

Now that such power is sought, the Communion is about to come apart. One might wonder whether it is precisely the fact that such power is sought that is helping cause the Communion disintegrate. After all, the Global South "prosecution" is the faction pushing disintegration hardest, and this is the very faction that seemed most to want Lambeth to have more power.

Is there a connection? I venture to say so. It is as if having tasted power, the GS faction wants more, and is almost convinced it can have as much as it likes, that maybe there need be no limits in Anglican tradition to what it can get away with, or atleast none it is obligated to respect. Its will in this regard is the law.

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