June 22, 2011

Clatworthy Trashes Covenant Introduction

I have offered my thoughts about most of the parts of the Anglican Covenant. I have tried to wrap my mind around the complexities of Section 4 in “Section 4 Decoded,” and I have pointed out problems in Section 1 (“A Critique of Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the Anglican Covenant - Part 1”) and Sections 2 and 3 (“A Critique of Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the Anglican Covenant - Part 2”). In “Why No Anglican Covenant: Part 1 ” and in “Why No Anglican Covenant: Part 2,” I dealt with the Covenant as a whole, though not definitively. I have also suggested the sort of covenant that might be truly useful in “The Covenant We Do Need.”

I have said little about the Introduction to the Anglican Covenant, however, that odd piece of text that is declared not to be part of the Covenant but must always be printed with it. I have not discussed the Introduction because, to me at least, it seems to be theological gobbledegook. I have read it repeatedly without being able to follow its logic. Not being a theologian myself, I assumed that I was simply not learned enough to understand it. Mind you, even if it makes sense to the biblical scholar, it is a decided flaw that the Covenant is introduced by an essay that is impenetrable to ordinary Anglicans.

Happily, someone has finally offered analysis of the Introduction. The Lead quotes Jonathan Clatworthy on the Introduction in “The other troubling parts of the Covenant.” Clatworthy’s remarks are very reassuring; maybe I’m not so dumb or ignorant as I had feared.

“The Introduction centres round a string of biblical texts interpreted in a ‘conservative evangelical’ manner which no reputable biblical scholar would approve of,” Clatworthy asserts. He also sees outright contradictions in the Introduction. For example, here is his take on paragraph 5:
Pompous cant. this text contradicts itself. The covenant is ‘not intended to change the character’ of Anglicanism, but it is intended to reaffirm and intensify the bonds of affection. Reaffirm okay, but intensify means change.
Read the whole post at The Lead for yourself. It is brief but devastating.

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