Friday, September 15, 2006

the diversity of Sydney Anglicans

Recently I expressed my sadness over an article flaming the emerging church, written in a Sydney Anglican newspaper. I wrote to the reporter and was granted a cordial and thoughtful reply. Hat tip to the reporter, Madeleine Collins.

The article took another turn when it became apparent that the reporting had included the taking of a web-based April fools joke as fact. The rather earnest Anglican error was duly lampooned on Australian TV. Which seemed to illicit a certain schadenfreude (enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others) in a number of blog circles. (Always wanted to use that word schadenfreude in a blog post:))

Anyhow, I am fascinated to find yet a further step in the saga. Here are excerpts of a letter in reponse to the article (June 2006);

I’m writing in response to your recent article “True Confession of the Emerging Church” (SC May’06) to ask the question why is Southern Cross so negative and quick to criticise fellow (evangelical) Christians? …

To equate emerging church expressions with the Da Vinci Code is unworthy. To see the emerging church as a danger akin to the charismatic movement fails to recognise that we have all benefited from this movement … If your concerns about some hanging loose to theology are true a combative attitude can only ensure that those whose zeal for outreach causes them to neglect core theology will not learn from us. And just as sad that we will not learn from their zeal.

A grave danger for those of us who cherish reformed theology has always been that we “know better what we don¬ít believe than what we do believe.” The best antidote to this awful tendency is surely a generous attitude toward our fellows, who in the main, are seeking fresh ways of touching the hearts and minds of those we have not touched.

Peter Brain, Bishop of Armidale


So there you are. A bishop of Brain no less. My impression of Sydney Anglicans has just been deepened.

Posted by steve at 12:38 PM


  1. Sad that the letter below it is not so generous.

    Comment by Paul Fromont — September 15, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

  2. Yes, I read that letter too. And it is sad. But I am simply wanting to give credit where credit is due. Why let that letter detract from the words of a bishop within sydney anglicanism?

    Comment by steve — September 15, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

  3. good words from peter.

    hey – i think peter brain taught me at WA Bible college in Perth about 22 years ago. .

    Comment by andrew Jones — September 15, 2006 @ 6:36 pm

  4. Funny isn’t it that the very criticism thrown at fundamentalists is their narrow modernist approach and frameworks for discerning truth. Everything outside of that becomes a threat and dangeously wrong. Even most forms of 1st century church practice get ruled out. Yet they are right. You’ll nevr win over the mindset of someone who can dig a position that way! Not unless hey are entering liminality within their own movement.

    Comment by Andrew — September 15, 2006 @ 7:08 pm

  5. Yes Peter Brain did teach in WA, he was the minster of Waneroo Anglican prior to returning east to become a bishop. his son is ordained in the diocese of the North WEst

    Comment by Jane — September 15, 2006 @ 7:55 pm

  6. just read the letter underneath that one. ouch.

    Comment by cheryl — September 24, 2006 @ 1:16 pm

  7. Well, Cheryl, I suspect that in Anglican circles, a Bishop waying in on behalf of the emerging church is pretty significant, esp in the Sydney Anglican context.

    Comment by steve — September 25, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

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