Media Statement by Bishop Thompson Increases Tensions

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Bishop Greg Thompson has issued a media statement following on from yesterday’s story:

Some initial reactions:

  • He presents his diocese as having a uniform understanding on matters with no sense by many I’ve spoken to that the statement values or respects the evangelicals or Catholics in his diocese.
  • He conflates the topics of what he calls “gender equity”[sic.] and “marriage equality” and presents advocacy of both as a legitimate Anglican position. While there is clearly disagreement over the former (and Thompson does not fairly describe conservatives’ positions as he rejects them) the official and historical teaching on the latter is clear – that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
  • It is incorrect to say that the Sydney synod sought to hold other bishops accountable to them. Rather, they had expressed sorrow that those bishops would not hold themselves to promises they themselves had made, nor to the other bishops in Australia who they had made them with.
  • In the context of the statement it appears that when Thompson states “I am looking to the bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia to affirm the importance of being able to express divergent views in common fellowship” he is actually stating that Bishops in the Church should be allowed to express views contrary to the established teaching of the church and it’s official position, i.e. in direct contradiction of their consecration vows and charge to uphold the teaching of the church and refute error and false teaching.
  • More than one source in the diocese has spoken to me this morning of their incredulity that Thompson appeals to the 39 Articles and BCP in an ad clerum one week in order to assert his authority in the diocese and then the next week asserts his right to contradict the Articles and BCP. As one put it to me “his understanding of catholicity is very fluid”.

I hope to have more later today as this story develops.

update: The Newcastle Herald has a follow-up story summarising the statement and repeating some background.

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