Anglican Samizdat

June 6, 2009


I watched the film Duplicity last night. I rather enjoyed it: it was all about who was being “played” and by whom. That is to say, taken for a ride, conned, stung, swindled, double-crossed, duped, suckered, bamboozled; the answer in the film is supposed to be a surprise, so I won’t give it away.

Which brings me to evangelical leaders in the ACoC: I think they are being played. I had the pleasure of attending an Essentials gathering today where the speaker was John Bowen, an evangelical who remains within the ACoC and is the motivating force behind Fresh Expressions in Canada.

I was curious as to how he manages to cope in the ACoC and also whether he had any sense of being paraded as a token evangelical; his answer was that being permitted to preach the true Gospel is what is important and he still has that leeway. An apparently reasonable answer.

But who is really being played here? I suspect that evangelicals who remain in the ACoC preach the gospel only within constraints that the ACoC places on them. As Malcolm Muggeridge used to say: like playing hymns in a whorehouse. There is a game afoot: evangelicals do what they think they can get away with and the ACoC gives them enough latitude to make them think they are a welcome part of the institution. But who is really playing whom?

The ACoC is suing and persecuting those who can no longer put up with its antics. Those who remain within the ACoC are helping to finance the lawsuits.

The ACoC has its liberal agenda set, yet it wants to be seen as inclusive so it needs token evangelicals to flaunt at the appropriate moment. It has no interest in what the evangelicals have to say: it pretends to listen and goes its merry way unimpeded.

The ACoC allows programs like Alpha and Fresh Expressions, but its intent is to capitalise on the success of such programs by making use of the techniques while altering the content to something that fits the ACoC’s anfractuous view of reality.

So who is being played?



  1. Interesting thought. I don’t think I’m being played by the ACoC. I’m not doing what I’m doing in the ACoC because I feel welcomed, appreciated or listened to. I’m doing it because I feel constrained by the LORD so to do. I can’t explain or defend it. It seems I just have to do it.

    Perhaps I’m playing the ACoC for a pension.

    Comment by Gene — June 6, 2009 @ 11:52 pm

  2. Hi Gene,

    I’m sure my views are coloured by the diocese I used to be in and what I said is a generalisation.

    Perhaps I’m playing the ACoC for a pension.

    Play them for all they’ve got while there’s still some left 🙂

    Comment by David — June 7, 2009 @ 6:55 am

  3. I wonder how many are playing this game? Hopefully a lot of us. Just never thought of it as a “game”. Puts a much better light on it. Games are fun! No wonder I am having such a great time!

    Comment by obituary — June 7, 2009 @ 8:25 am

  4. David: I would appreciate you making these comments directly to me.


    Comment by John Bowen — June 14, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  5. John,

    For the most part, I thought I had when we spoke in person.

    Beyond that, as I mentioned in #2 above, I am generalising. You must realise that there are some rather intense disagreements afoot between the ACoC and ANiC parishes at present and I do believe that evangelicals who remain in the ACoC are being used by its hierarchy to bolster the ACoC’s contention that they are “inclusive”. In reality – even if they appear to listen – I don’t think the ACoC pays any attention whatsoever to what evangelicals have to say.

    If you would like to discuss (or castigate) via email, you can reach me at

    Comment by David — June 14, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

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