The FCA: choosing their queens carefully

This makes for very confusing reading and in my headline, I am alluding, of course, to the fact that this controversy over an alternative gospel being preached, which is FCA's charge, surely has a lot to do with women and gay people and perhaps actually less to do with the presentation of an alternative Jesus. Those who hold to inclusivity are not preaching another gospel. They are simply preaching the good news to women and to people in same-sex relationships and not excluding them. So it makes for an awkward read - FCA hold to Male headship for the most part but choose to quote the support of one particular and powerful woman when it suits them!

Later amendment my moi: I have since read around a little. There is a lot of talk out there about the Queen's 'support' of FCA and it transpires, according to Ecclesia Thinktank, that Royal sources said the Queen was not endorsing the FCA and pointed out that she corresponds with a great number of organisations. There seems to have been a fair amount of misquoting going on at FCA conference. On Monday I looked at what had been read out from John Coles, leader of New Wine but it transpires that the original correspondance was shortened and Jody has written to explain that she did manage to talk to John Coles about it and the paragraph thatwas read out was only half the story. John said that New Wine were about affirming women in ordained ministry. 'I realise that there are many in FCA who hold views which are very different from ours, for instance excluding women from church leadership. But with Henry Orombi right at the heart of it I know that our views on women in leadership will be upheld.'

So I guess to conclude my dabbling just a little in exploring all things GAFCON, FOCA and FCA on and off for 12 months or so, I would not be able to sign up to these organisations, what a sad thing in some ways when I feel just as passionately about the gospel as they do, and that's THE GOSPEL, not some alternative one.

The political stuff I continue to find interesting but in some ways it is sad. When I started to explain all the different denominational differences I had explored in the course of discerning where I stand on issues, it dawned on me at selection conference, that I am hoping to join a very, very messy church. I really hope that we do not have a 'break away church'. It does feel painful to think that there is a body of people out there who think that you love Jesus somehow less than they do or that you are less obedient than they are. I am saddened by the absence of open evangelicals at FCA. Surely, we have so much common ground?


Revd John P Richardson said...

Oh Rachel, it's all been covered before in the Thirty-nine Articles:

XXXVII. Of the Civil Magistrates.
[...] Where we attribute to the Queen's Majesty the chief government, by which titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended, we give not to our princes the ministering either of God's word or of sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen doth most plainly testify: but that only prerogative which we see to have been given always to all godly princes in Holy Scriptures by God himself, that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be ecclesiastical or temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.

Rachel Marszalek said...

That's all well and good, John but I still find it confusing. Anglican ministers swear allegiance to the Queen, I know: article 37.

But at a monarch's coronation the monarch is asked if they will to the utmost in their power 'maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion.'

The Church of England appoints women and soon women bishops. The Queen has to maintain this, yes? Or no?

The Queen also, according to the coronation vows is called to maintain and preserve the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? Does this not mean that she will also preserve the position (government) of someone like our Archbishop. The FCA seem to be very unhappy about our archbishop. Quite frankly I think the comments made by + Broadhurst were embarrassing, all that stuff about Satan, you know! Ouch!

FCA are loyal to the Queen, they thereby make themselves loyal to what she declares herself loyal to and that is the established church, the same one which has ordained women and Archbishop Rowan (at the moment).

Does anyone know how the Queen feels about women in ministry?

Revd John P Richardson said...

What is often misunderstood is that the position of the Church of England is based on an understanding that the Church is governed, insofar as it is part of society, by whoever is the 'Supreme Governor' of that society.

This applies to all governors and all 'ecclesial' bodies. So the Queen is just as much the Supreme Governor of the Roman Catholic Church in England as she is of the Church of England. The difference is that the CofE is 'by law established', the Roman church is not.

By the same token, however, the status of the leader is irrelevant. At his trial, Thomas Cranmer stated that in the time of the Apostles, the Head of the Church as regards this world was Nero!

We may find this surprising, but it is Anglicanism - and, indeed, is the basis of our separation from the jurisdiction of the Pope.

Revd John P Richardson said...

On the Queen's direct role vis a vis the Church of England, her position is set out in the correspondence with the FCA organizers, published on the Anglican Mainstream website, to wit: "the Queen, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England would not intervene in the day-to-day running of the Church of England."

Though the Queen inherits a tradition, which was expressed in her coronation service, of monarchical governance of the Church, in reality she will accept -and therefore 'uphold' -whatever Parliament agrees that the Church should do.

There is not quite a 'carte blanche' for either the Parliament or Synod, but the Queen has little actual say in it.

The upshot is, we cannot insist that FCA must approve whatever the Queen 'upholds'. Nor is her gender relevant - see my previous post, which should appear shortly.

The old accusation that people opposed to the ordination of women shouldn't accept the authority of the Queen simply reflects a failure to understand Anglicanism, I'm afraid.

poppy tupper said...

Rachel, don't get pulled in to trying to argue on the basis of the Article. They are absolutely not definitive as statements of faith for Anglicans. They were always a political compromise, and we are only required to assent to the fact that they bear witness to the faith of the Church of England, not that they decribe, define or limit it. Move on.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Hi friends,

Just two things: John, interesting and edifying as always and you have helped me with the apologetic task of explaining the Queen's role, for I have often come across the argument that many hold it ironic that traditionalists are under the sovereignty of the Queen. The situation is not what it seems.

I'm still working on this - I need to do some reading on the 39 articles and understand how they do and do not define the faith as I understand it. I have started by reading some of the thoughts of Canon Dr Judith Maltby, chaplain and fellow of Corpus Christi College and reader in Church History at the University of Oxford. I am reading also Peter Ould's responses to some of her thinking.

Can anyone recommend some books which might help me to understand the articles? I would like to read arguments from both perspectives: those who hold them to be an absolute fundamental and those who do not.

I read in a similar way about ordained women and was able to come to my conclusion in recent years.

Thank you to you both

You have been very formational for my journey and I mentioned you both at my conference.

Anonymous said...

for me the issues Rachel raises here are not so much about the authority and jurisdiction of the Monarchy ( love the title of the post btw!) but really to do with disingenuous and selective quotation - it should be obvious to pretty much anyone that HMQ doesn't come out & wave flags in support of organisations in that fashion, but will politely wish them well if they write to her.

Combined with the half quoting of John Coles (obvious to me as to Jody as I too received the original email!) to make it sound as if New Wine were wholeheartedly behind FCA, this does nothing for impressions of openness and reputation of integrity for the FCA (and +Broadhurst's soundbite didn't help either!) Surely that can be seen which ever side of the numerous hoops and fences one stands.

Rachel Marszalek said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Fibre-fairy. It just all leaves a rather bad taste in the mouth. I'm so willing and wanting to listen to what they have got to teach me, for if I can love Jesus any more perfectly than I already do, I want to know about it but there is something which just doesn't feel right about this organisation. I guess we are just left to wait on the Spirit and all things 'Gamaliel'.


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