In the January issue of Christianity Today, renowned Anglican theologian (and CT executive editor) J.I. Packer wrote about why he walked out of the synod of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster as it authorized a service for same sex-unions. In a long-awaited statement, the world's Anglican leaders (called primates) yesterday criticized that diocese's action—along with the Episcopal Church USA's confirmation of a gay bishop—as threatening "the unity of our own Communion as well as our relationships with other parts of Christ's Church, our mission and witness, and our relations with other faiths." In the hours that followed its release, Christianity Today managing editor Mark Galli discussed the primates' statement with Packer.
Where do you think the statement got it right?
I think the statement is a brilliancy of its own kind. First, it's realistic about the seriousness of the relational situation between the different parts of the Anglican Communion. That realism goes beyond what has been representatively acknowledged hitherto, and the facts of threatening division are faced.
And the brilliancy was to formulate the statement in such a way that the frank facing of the facts and the open-endedness of what was said about the future made it possible for that majority to accept the statement as an interim statement, acknowledging their concerns—just as liberal primates who basically remain in sympathy with the move to accept the gay lifestyle in some Anglican provinces were able to accept the statement. Although for one or two of them the words—"as a body we deeply regret the actions of the Diocese of the Westminster and of the Episcopal Church"—implicitly involves a different stance for these liberals from that which they've ...1