Tales from ACNA-Land: Duncan says Canterbury is “lost”

A popular refrain among Anglican secessionists is that the Episcopal Church is in error, and that they (ACNA) should be the sole representative of the Anglican Communion in the United States. So you might be surprised to learn that ACNA’s leader, Bishop Robert Duncan, has gone on the record saying that not even the Archbishop of Canterbury is Anglican enough to suit him. Even the gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world, the Lambeth Conference, is not good enough for ACNA.

The Living Church reports Duncan’s remarks made in 2007.

“Never, ever has he spoken publicly in defense of the orthodox in the United States,” Bishop Duncan said of the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, adding that “the cost is his office.” “To lose that historic office is a cost of such magnitude that God must be doing a new thing,” he said. “The fact is that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not led in a way that might have saved his office and might have saved Lambeth,” Bishop Duncan said. “In this crisis, we’ve had no leader to lead,” he said. Asked if he thought that being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury was essential to being Anglican, Bishop Duncan said that being obedient to scripture is of greater importance than being recognized by Canterbury.

So if the Archbishop of Canterbury isn’t suitable, one wonders why ACNA seeks recognition from the Church of England. One wonders why the Church of England would even contemplate recognizing these secessionists? At this rate, Bishop Duncan will soon be in communion with only one bishop: himself.

Duncan’s judgment of Canterbury provoked Ephraim Radner to resign from the Anglican Communion Network. Radner, no liberal, had this to say:

I have come to the conclusion that unity among conservatives has not in fact been a goal for many, and that to pretend otherwise is confusing matters gravely; it should be, of course, but until there is greater honesty, it will not be. The unity of the Communion is under such serious threat, and is of such a value, that allowing words, actions, and strategies that are undermining our future go unquestioned, immediately and forcefully, is a dereliction of Christian responsibility.

The schismatic power-driven agenda is clear. That’s why it is important that no one fuel their agenda. Instead, we can stand ready with open arms to welcome home those who left the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Jesus prayed for the unity of the church, and we should do the same.

This post is part of a series, Tales from ACNA-Land. Read the previous post or the next post.

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7 Responses

  1. Daniel says:

    It is good to see that they’re finally showing their true colors. It’s not that Duncan wants to be “Anglican,” it’s that he wants to be Pope.

  2. Justin Brett says:

    Truly bizarre. Obviously he is the only person who can be trusted to keep Christianity from error. Do you think he might be trying out for Ecumenical Patriarch too?

  3. wmpaul@excite.com says:

    This might be helpful to you, Scott. Fine to call Duncan and others secessionists. But you routinely go so far over the line and, really in general, your articles are fundamentally ad hominem, slamming the person, and not focused on some very simple questions (which may not have simple answers) like ‘Can Diocese leave?’ and others that you know.

    And, of course, when the Primates warned ECUSA not to proceed in 2003 b/c such an action would ‘tear the sacramental unity of the church at a fundamental level’ which is a darn good working definition of schism, how is it that you persist in calling others schismatic?

    And why do you blog? I would love for you to look closely at Duncan and see that he has never, to my knowledge, slammed anyone else, but has been temperate and gentle in a way, well, in a way others, on the other side of the aisle, and on his own side, have not.

    From another blog:

    “Our standards….are simple: We expect you to comment with Christian charity toward your fellow readers and to those whose causes are mentioned in the blog. This means that we will not permit comments which advocate physical or spiritual harm to an individual (i.e., wishing someone would soon “meet his maker” or burn in hell). Comments that include slanderous or abusive name-calling will be edited or deleted. You can disagree with someone’s point of view, but you cannot — to give one recent, extreme submission that got cut — call someone “a disobedient, self-willed sociopath.” Even milder forms of name-calling, such as questioning someone’s intelligence, likely will be excised.

    And it goes without saying that foul language will not be permitted. Also, hyperlinks to outside Internet sites within a comment will only be allowed when judged to be crucial to the commenter’s point. Fine to call Duncan and others seccessionists

    How can you meet these standards? Just stick to the issue being discussed and leave out the personalities. Back up your argument, telling why you disagree instead of saying that someone’s suggestion is stupid. Remember, Jesus had strong views, but he didn’t tear us down to illustrate his points or bring us salvation.”

  4. Scott Gunn says:

    wmpaul, can you tell me where in this article you find an ad hominem attack? I will freely admit that I adopt a somewhat cheeky style when I write on 7WD, but that is intended primarily as humor. Sometimes, sadly, I probably cross over the line and neglect to respect others. When that happens, and I either realize it or it’s pointed out, I generally post a comment/correction within the post and contact the relevant person.

    As for Duncan, I think it’s neither gentle nor temperate to declare without reservation that a large number of people are consigned to eternal damnation. If you think it’s an ad hominem attack for me to point this out, then I’m not sure what else to say to you.

    My general aim here is to write with a lightness because I think most of us take ourselves too seriously in the Church. I try to take it as I dish it out. My proverbial pen looks at progressives and conservatives alike. Lately I’ve been scrutinizing ACNA because they have perpetuated a false narrative to the world, especially to the Church of England on the eve of its vote re: the ACNA issue.


  5. wmpaul@excite.com says:

    Scott you say “As for Duncan, I think it’s neither gentle nor temperate to declare without reservation that a large number of people are consigned to eternal damnation.”

    But Duncan has never said anything close to that. In fact, you take what he did say about the ABC losing his office, meaning losing the centrality and gravitas of it among the Communion b/c he has not been clear and strong enough . . .you take that to be about eternal damnation and print a very misleading headline, along with the simply flat out inaccuracy of what you say Duncan said in your post to me.

  6. Scott Gunn says:

    wmpaul, This is a quote from Duncan: “We’ll leave and they can take the stuff with them to hell, because that is where they will take it.” Nothing to do with the ABC. That’s Duncan saying that TEC is going to hell. Plain as day.

    See here:

    Please tell me in what way it is inaccurate to say that Duncan has consigned me and every other Episcopalian to hell.


  1. February 8, 2010

    Tales from ACNA-land…

    Scott Gunn has posted a series of blog articles recently commenting on various matters relating to ACNA. Some examples: Putting the shoe on your foot “Church Militant” gets new meaning Duncan says Canterbury is “lost”……