Can Two Walk Together, Except They Be Agreed?

Why Disinvite Calvin Robinson from ‘Mere Anglicanism’ 2024?


Mere Anglicanism 2024 takes the prize for the best conference I have ever attended. The worship was sublime, and the speakers were both academically rigorous and engaging. As a Rector, it brought me much joy to have a sixth of my parishioners with me to journey together deeply into topics which are so pressing and central to our Faith. And yet, this conference will not be remembered for the quality of its speakers or the devotion of the worship; it will be infamous for its treatment of Fr. Calvin Robinson.

As a native South Carolinian who was confirmed in the Diocesan Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, I am ashamed at the lack of southern hospitality (not to mention Christian hospitality – ironic, given the final talk) purportedly shown to Fr. Robinson.

On Friday, January 19th, Fr. Robinson presented on the relation of critical theory to the gospel. During each speaker’s presentation, there were things I disagreed with – such is the nature of academic formation. In Fr. Robinson’s presentation, for instance, I think he failed to sufficiently prove his point that Karl Marx’s revolution directly descends from and completes Martin Luther’s reformation, and did not adequately expound upon the theological significance of this point. However, what Robinson did not fail to do was show the link from critical theory to Marxism to feminism. He skipped the symptoms and addressed the root cause as he saw it: feminism, exemplified by the ordination of women to the presbyterate, is where critical theory entered the church.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with him, Fr. Robinson clearly addressed critical theory. His infraction, therefore, was not his inability to address the topic, but his decision to do so through naming the elephant in the room – women’s ordination. For that, he was disinvited to the final panel. In Robinson’s words: “The Director made it clear to me on the Saturday morning that he had expected me to speak explicitly on Critical Race Theory. Had that been made clear to me from the beginning I would not have agreed to attend. I am not a brown face for hire to speak about race” (emphasis my own).[1] We live in a society full of symptoms of an existential rot; we do not need more talks addressing symptoms, we need more engagement with root causes. We can watch the news for uncontroversial takes; we come to conferences for substance.

However, it is easy to understand the predicament of the conference facilitators. The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina allows women to be ordained as priests, and there were obviously female priests in the room. Thus, when Robinson spoke, you could feel the tension in the space; it was electric – painfully so. When Robinson started quoting from 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, there was a rustle, and a few people – notably male clerics – walked out. Let me say that again: when Robinson started reading from the Bible, clergy left the room. It was shameful.

It is fair to say that there was a difference of focus between Robinson’s talk and the other presentations; allowing the final panel to focus on women’s ordination would probably have disenfranchised the other speakers’ presentations. However, silencing Robinson was censorship. I did not pay to attend a conference where speakers are censored. Hindsight is 20/20, and I could offer my own variety of solutions to the conference organizers, but that moment is past, a Rubicon was crossed, and repentance is what is needed now. Would allowing Robinson to speak at the panel show diocesan support for his position? No. But silencing him showed that truth was no longer a primary concern of the conference – only niceness masquerading as love.

I grew up in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and I was inspired by my father and his female associate pastor leading our congregation out of that heterodox denomination. Both of them showed great courage and fidelity to the scriptures. There are many female priests in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) who took similarly brave stands, not the least in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina. These women forsook livelihoods, pensions, and reputations for the gospel, and they deserve our acclaim. And yet, that acclamation cannot stop us from pursuing the truth. The back of our bulletins at the conference’s Festal Eucharist stated: “Mere Anglicanism’s vision is for a reformed, renewed orthodox Anglicanism within North America. We recognize that to achieve a restored and faithful Anglicanism, many battles must be fought, many lessons learned…Mere Anglicanism does not take a particular stance on what tactics Anglicans should use to reform or restore Anglicanism” (emphasis my own).

This statement is a lie; otherwise, Mere Anglicanism would not have disinvited Fr. Robinson from the panel. In doing so, the conference shunned the battle that must be fought and it clearly disapproved of Robinson’s tactics. In essence, it disavowed its own convictions. As Dr. Amy Orr-Ewing pointed out so magnificently in her talk, the gospel is good news for women. Amen. But being good news does not necessarily imply that the lived reality mirrors broader culture. This presupposition was taken for granted by every single speaker when it came to issues of same-sex attraction. Why, then, is this inference unacceptable when applied to gender roles? Moreover, if avoiding speaking the truth about God’s intention for sexuality is unloving, why is it loving to silence that same discussion regarding gender?

When I was confirmed, I was an egalitarian; and yet, the faithful witness of the tradition slowly taught me that the hermeneutic which allows for same-sex marriage is the same hermeneutic that allows for women’s ordination, and vice-versa. We are all journeying, and in order to journey, we need guides – guides in concert with the scriptures. We need discussion. We need debate. We need discourse – all under the leadership of the church. On this issue, our own bishops have said: “we acknowledge that [women’s ordination to the priesthood] is a recent innovation to Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order, [and we] agree that there is insufficient scriptural warrant to accept [it] as standard practice throughout the Province.”[2]

The issue of women’s ordination to the presbyterate will be the defining issue of the ACNA. As demonstrated at Mere Anglicanism, it already divides us. Christ’s prayer is that we may be one (John 17:21), and yet, the oneness that Christ prays for is not unity for the sake of unity. It is unity for our sanctification in the truth (John 17:19). Taking time to study, to pray, and to journey in communion with the church towards sanctification in the truth is a holy process. To shut down conversation and eliminate that pursuit is neither holy nor true. Indeed, it is disingenuous in a place called the Holy City at a conference dedicated to the truth.


  1. Calvin Robinson, “Cancelled from Mere Anglicanism,” January 20, 2024:
  2. ACNA College of Bishops, The Victoria Statement, September 7, 2017:

Jay Thomas

The Rev. Jay Thomas is the Rector of St. Mark's Anglican Church in Moultrie, Georgia.

'Can Two Walk Together, Except They Be Agreed?' have 34 comments

    • January 22, 2024 @ 12:57 pm Michell Adams

      Please explicitly outline which hermeneutic(s) allows both for same-sex marriage & female ordination. This is definitely not a challenge, but more apologist fodder to add to my pile.


      • January 22, 2024 @ 11:46 pm Gerry T. Neal

        The hermeneutic that allows someone to disregard the clear statements in the New Testament against women holding positions of authority can be expanded to disregard the statements in both Testaments that forbid all same-sex sexual relationships which would of course include same-sex marriages. The usual hermeneutic is to explain the passages away as saying something that is not universally binding but what specific to the culture that first received the Scripture. That this type of hermeneutic, having been used to explain away the one type of passage, would inevitably be used to explain away the other, is evident in the relationship between the thinking behind women’s ordination and the thinking behind same-sex marriages. It is the same thinking – Modern man’s having made an idol out of equality. If the equality between the sexes is such an involable principle that the distinction between men and women inherent in forbidding the priesthood and epsicopacy to women cannot be tolerated even though it is backed by two thousand years of the tradition of the universal Church and by the plain teaching of Scripture then other distinctions between men and women will be similary regarded as intolerable. Such as the distinction that says that women should be attracted to and marry only men, or that men whould be attraced to and marry only women. Ultimately the distinction that says that only a man can be a man and only a woman can be a woman will be found intolerable by those who make an idol out of sexual equality which is exactly where we have arrived at in the secular culture today.


        • January 27, 2024 @ 8:28 am Michell Adams



        • January 27, 2024 @ 7:32 pm Jesse

          You said \”The usual hermeneutic is to explain the passages away as saying something that is not universally binding but what specific to the culture that first received the Scripture.\” and I agree but I would say this started not with the passages about woman in leadership but rather on the passage on women\’s head covering being ditched in the 1960\’s. In my estimation it went from Head coverings to Priestesses to Same Sex Marriage. If the first step down the road is ignored then there is nothing stopping it from progressing further.


        • January 27, 2024 @ 7:33 pm Jesse

          I agree but I would say this started not with the passages about woman in leadership but rather on the passage on women’s head covering being ditched in the 1960’s. In my estimation it went from Head coverings to Priestesses to Same Sex Marriage. If the first step down the road is ignored then there is nothing stopping it from progressing further.


          • February 7, 2024 @ 12:55 pm Joshua M

            Jesse – In my estimation, it started with the ditching of the King. If the the word “King” can be re-contextualized to mean “President”, then why can’t every other word be re-contextualized?

            But in more Modern times, it traces at least back to the 1930’s acceptance of Contraception – something EVERY Christian Church vehemently opposed… until they didn’t.

      • February 7, 2024 @ 12:51 pm Joshua M

        I am not Father Jay, but I can easily outline how WO and acceptance of same-sex marriage (and divorce, and contraception, and a host of other Modern evils) are connected:

        1. They both believe that, or at least acknowledge the possibility that, the Church global has been wrong in most places at most times on an issue of core anthropology and sacramental theology.

        2. Hermeneutically, they both believe that Modern scholarship can shine light on Scripture in ways that are in complete disregard of at least 1800 years of Tradition. They suggest that any and all issue of doctrine, practice, or belief can and should be open for discussion.

        3. Non-hermeneutically, they both adopt the Modernist shattering of the iconic/sacramental worldview that was Pre-Modernism. The most helpful book that I have read so far on this is “The Medieval Mind of C.S. Lewis” which has nothing to do with either WO or same-sex marriage but which reveals how the very *way* we talk about these things, study our Bibles, and live our lives is completely foreign to Christianity prior to the 1700s. One cannot explain Pre-Modernism utilizing the tools of Modernism, so we can’t really say much more than that.

        4. They both rely on a “progressive revelation” approach in order to dismiss sections of the OT and even NT. IE, WO suggests that we moved from women having no power (OT) to women having dignity (the Gospels) to women having some power (the Epistles) to women being full priests (our Modern discovery); likewise, homosexuality was punished by death (OT), ignored completely (Gospels), and tepidly allowed for* (epistles)
        *Note: you must be familiar with the understanding that the Epistles discussions of “homosexuality” are specifically talking about pederasty, sex slaves, and temple prostitution; if you aren’t familiar with that argument

        5. They both rely on the belief that we must have some rare and convoluted understanding of 1st century culture in order to “REALLY” understand what the Scriptures are saying. The tortured arguments stating that St. Paul wasn’t talking about ALL women but only “uneducated women” are exactly mirror to the above argument that he wasn’t referring to loving, sacrificial monogamous same-sex unions but only abuse and rape.

        6. In terms of chronology, they both start with a practice or desired outcome and then work BACKWARDS to justify it. Study the history of both WO and Same-Sex Marriage and you’ll note that it first started as a practice and the theological defenses came later. Similarly, the original justifications for both are constantly changed.

        7. Perhaps most importantly (but related strongly to #6), they both work to adopt and adapt something that occurred in Secular civilizations, specifically the codified law, prior to them but within a century. No one pretends that the Church, or any significant/notable part of it, first ordained women and that, from there, we somehow introduced Women’s Suffrage. Likewise, no one thinks that the Church (again, a significant or notable part of it) was globally joining same-sex couples in holy matrimony BEFORE the State started doing so. The underlying belief is that the Church is slower to the promptings and movements of the Holy Spirit than secular governments.

        As a gay Christian myself, I have looked hard at both issues. They are inescapably linked at the hip. But what is most damnable is that, in accepting either of them, we must start with the premise that we WANT Christianity to be true rather than a quest for Truth itself. If we didn’t first start out with the determination that we WANT Christianity to be true, we would recognize that the process by which we justify either WO or Same-sex marriage actually, if we are honest, overthrows the entire Christian religion. Let me return to #1 above: If, as a gay man, I can believe that the Church has always in all places at most times been wrong on a core thing that affects my own basic humanity, then how can I have any certainty that the Church is right about anything at all? Why should I believe it when it talks about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Why should I accept that the Scriptures are the ones WE know rather than the Gnostic Bible? Why should I believe that any of the known Churches today are the heirs of Jesus Christ?

        I should, at best, be a Baptist and, more likely, a Deist or Universalist. Which leads to…

        8. Both practices originate (chronologically at least) in spiritual/religious groups that are most decidedly NOT Christian.


    • January 23, 2024 @ 10:57 pm Geoffrey

      It’s not only about the presbyterate. It’s all holy orders, including the diaconate. Don’t stop half way! That has been the pitfall of the ACNA! Diocese with female deacons preaching on Sunday are just as much in disobedience to God’s Word.


      • January 27, 2024 @ 7:33 pm Jesse

        I agree but I would say this started not with the passages about woman in leadership but rather on the passage on women\’s head covering being ditched in the 1960\’s. In my estimation it went from Head coverings to Priestesses to Same Sex Marriage. If the first step down the road is ignored then there is nothing stopping it from progressing further.


  1. January 22, 2024 @ 3:44 pm Marissa Burt

    I was not at the conference & don’t know why the conference organizers disinvited him, but I did read the transcript of Fr. Calvin’s talk which is available on his substack.

    I found it deeply problematic on multiple fronts, the key ones being:

    1. It was divisive & is even now stirring up quarrels. There are intellectually serious arguments to be made against WO, but sprinkling complementarian talking points throughout unsubstantiated inflammatory statements like women’s ordination is “a cancer” and an “offence to Christ” is a rhetorical method that stirs up quarrels and controversies and is pastorally negligent. I don’t know why people walked out of the room, but Fr. Calvin’s approach was not hermeneutically sound and instead prooftexted passages. Much could be said about the way he conflated without explanation things like “teaching” and “women’s ordination.” This approach makes a mockery of the careful thought many people have put into their stance on this issue.

    2. It was disrespectful to episcopal authority. The ACNA bishops have unanimously agreed to dual integrity. Fr. Calvin may not like this stance, but do Anglicans not care about the years of study and thought our own bishops put into this matter?

    3. It was pastorally negligent. For Fr. Calvin this may be an interesting theological discussion or debate, but for the attendees of the conference, including women who are priests as well as women in general, none of this was “in love.”

    4. It read to me like a message for itching ears. I do not think it is intellectually serious to make points like “women are emotion based” or men are “simple.” If I held to a position against WO I would want a fair representation of my beliefs. I am kind of surprised to find people pleased with his message. I’m curious to hear from those who are against WO, as I know most NAA readers are, if you found his talk representative of your view and giving justice to it.

    Now, much of this still ought to be laid at the feet of the organizers. To my knowledge, Fr. Calvin self-identifies as a controversial social commentator and has a reputation for this sort of thing. Indeed, his conference bio seems to indicate being a media personality is his main credential. It is very unfortunate that the fruit of this kind of decision means further division, quarrels and lack of concern for others.


    • January 26, 2024 @ 8:30 am Rhonda C. Merrick

      \”I’m curious to hear from those who are against WO\”
      From your comments on this site and elsewhere, I must ask, are you really? How open are you to the other point of view? I ask because, to recall the late Fr. Peter Toon\’s words, we can\’t explain and defend our viewpoint in short comments posted within character limits of 50 or even 500 words. It takes more like 5000 words, because of the need to discuss the underlying issues, the water we all seem in in these times.


      • January 28, 2024 @ 1:38 am Marissa Burt

        Hi Rhonda – I wrote in full: “I’m curious to hear from those who are against WO, as I know most NAA readers are, if you found his talk representative of your view and giving justice to it.”

        Yes, I absolutely am curious to hear thoughts on the above. I definitely understand that some who are against WO are glad Calvin spoke about it. I am unclear whether they believe he accurately expressed their views.

        I am always interesting in hearing well supported arguments. As it sounds like you’ve seen elsewhere, I do not like sweeping claims, unsubstantiated or contemptuous arguments, or things like calling women “priestesses.” This is probably because I spent many years in communities where the complementarian view was presented as a presumed given. I think in matters relating to the vocations of half the church, the formal stances presented from publications like NAA or clerics writing on these matters must be compelling and defensible. Anyway, though I am unlikely to reconsider a complementarian position myself, I do value being in a denomination that makes space for both views.

        I agree with you regarding the difficulty of presenting one’s position in a comment section. If you like, you are welcome to email me or contact me through the link.


        • February 2, 2024 @ 6:54 am Rhonda C. Merrick

          Thanks for this response. I will try to go in (a logical) order.

          I can\’t say whether Fr. Calvin\’s views represent mine because I haven\’t finished reading the text of his speech . I suspect that his attempt to connect Luther and Marx is a bit of a stretch, because wouldn\’t someone else have already done so? But also I may not even get through that part, life is short, kwim? But it sounds like he didn\’t spend much time explaining or defending the traditionalist position, just talked about the downsides of rejecting it.

          I came at the whole issue from a very different direction than you. I left a Protestant background in search of the ancient, undivided Church, and was surprised to find that ordained women were a recent and controversial idea, who knew? Lol. I kept an open mind, assuming there was something (else) I didn\’t understand. I just wanted to interpret Scripture the way the Apostles had, and get the sacraments, which I hadn\’t grown up with. Looking back now, I also needed inner healing (still do), but catholicity offered the stability I craved.

          I don\’t like the words \”complementarian\” or \”egalitarian.\” The first has too much baggage, too many extra presumed layers of details to fit in with a non-Protestant worldview. The second is, I believe, misused in this sort of context. Egalitarianism already had a fine definition, and promoters of WO need to find another word to use for their ideas, for they do go beyond the classic sense. \”Feminism\” is another word that\’s been broadened into uselessness. And \”liberal,\” except for, \”a liberal dose of cheese, bacon, or chocolate will improve any dish.\”

          When British people use the word \”priestess,\” I don\’t think they\’re intending a slur. I suspect Brits are more used to using words with the typical \”-ess\” suffix than Americans, and aren\’t implying a pagan connotation in a personal way. I have of course heard the word thrown about in a hostile way here in the US, which is just a dumb thing to do. Or, possibly, when a Brit uses the word \”priestess\” in an impersonal context, he\’s highlighting the pagan connotations, but not as a direct personal accusation, rather, because he sees the connection *not* being grasped, and wants to warn of the danger. Those may both seem unlikely to you, but I think the whole \”two countries divided by a common language\” thing is rearing its ugly head here.

          I think talking about WO and gender roles and whatever else goes along in these discussions is better approached from a sacramental pov. The intersection of the spiritual and the tangible, the mystical and the everyday, that\’s what\’s really interesting to me.

          Good grief, sorry for how long and disjointed this is, and without even getting to anything meatier like what books I\’d point to, but I\’d better just stop for now. Thank you again for your reply.


          • March 15, 2024 @ 6:00 pm Marissa Burt

            Thank you for your reply and sharing your thoughts here, Rhonda.

        • February 7, 2024 @ 2:15 pm Joshua M

          I’m curious what is so offensive about the term “priestess”? It simply means a female priest, doesn’t it? Genuine question here.

          It is important to note that, for those who work within a Pre-Modern worldview, both Complementarianism and Egalitarianism are Modern innovations. It is also important to note that “well-supported arguments” is a device of Modernism, so it is impossible for a Pre-Modern to respond. If you will demand me to know what red and green and blue are, but you will only allow me to use black ink, I’m afraid you can only be disappointed and walk away thinking that “colour” is nonsense. This, I think more than any other, is why there has been so much smoke and confusion around the issue: C.S. Lewis didn’t oppose priestesses (his word, not mine) because of this or that Bible verse or rational argument or even authority. He found it so repulsive because it goes against his entire Medieval worldview that sees every natural and beautiful thing as an icon and Sacrament into God.


          • March 15, 2024 @ 6:06 pm Marissa Burt

            Hi Joshua,
            The way I most often see the word “priestess” used by Anglicans against WO is as a way to denigrate their vocational call. Because those individuals do not believe in WO they make the claim that because a woman cannot be a priest, there is no such thing as a woman priest, only a priestess. I think there is also often an intent to connect it to witchcraft or paganism.

            For some, I believe it may be an innocent semantical choice, but for others I do believe it is intended to be a slur and a flex.

            The women I know who have taken Holy Orders do not refer to themselves as priestesses.

            Re: Lewis and the medieval worldview – I am partway with you there. I am disinterested in this as a compelling argument for the work of the church today. We may all have our personal preferences about various practices or aesthetics, but I do not believe they are authoritative. I have said elsewhere and hold to it that I do not think a case against WO based on traditional practices to be compelling. I also quite wonder what Lewis would think of how his essay has been handed around as a kind of definitive work on women’s ordination. I also wonder if his perspective on this might’ve changed later in his life post-marriage to Joy. It’s all speculative, but, as much as I love Lewis, I don’t think it’s wise to imagine his opinion – and indeed it seems much of what he writes in that essay is unapologetically his opinion – is infallible or applicable to all contexts.

    • February 7, 2024 @ 2:05 pm Joshua M

      This. The reason Fr. Calvin was so offensive is that he dared to suggest there is Something Else that might, just might, be more important than the Unity that ACNA and GAFCON hold as their highest priority.

      Divisiveness, causing quarrels, disrespectful to episcopal oversight, pastorally negligent… These are unacceptable to those who see Unity as the greatest and highest priority.


  2. January 22, 2024 @ 6:30 pm Kenneth Howes

    The Lutheran Reformation and Karl Marx have nothing to do with each other. The Lutheran Reformation is all about our consciousness that we are all sinners, “beggars”, before God. Not one of us has earned salvation. We are saved by what the Anglicans call “the full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” Marx says that God himself is an invention of the ruling class to keep the workers passive. In the words of the great communist song, “Through the conflict comes power, Each shall lift high his face. And thus shall come to flower at last the human race.” Marxism is all about humans, and specifically the working classes, making their own glory. Luther would be appalled by it.


    • January 23, 2024 @ 8:06 pm Lwr

      The issue between Luther and Marxism isn’t expressed as salvation but in what happened as ammouthrowrh because of Luther’s move and how Marx used it to fight against hierarchy. He plainly stated that. He used it and now we have 25k denominations. There’s more than a sliver of truth.


      • January 24, 2024 @ 12:54 pm Connor Perry

        I don’t believe there’s much truth to be found in using a fake statistic of denominations that doesn’t account for intercommunion, shared tradition, or altar-pulpit fellowship.
        There’s also a distinct difference between the argument of Luther’s, which was “as a priest ordained to a specific duty, I am compelled by the same duty to resist a lower authority which contravenes the words of a higher authority” and “because of my pet sociological theory, I have the right to violently overthrow any and all authority that disagrees with my ideas.” Robinson advanced extremely erroneous views on this subject, and if there was any truth to be found in his argument, it’s akin to finding a needle in a haystack.


  3. January 23, 2024 @ 8:02 am Dr. Bruce Atkinson

    Indeed, who can deny that “dual integrities” is an oxymoron! Either we follow the scriptures regarding the role of women in our churches and families… or we don’t.

    However, we need to examine the “whole counsel of God.” Women’s Ordination (WO) is not at all the same as the homosexuality issue where there are absolutely no exceptions in either Old Testament or New Testament that this behavior is an egregious sin that will keep a person out of the Kingdom of God (e.g., 1 Cor 6:9). No, the role of women in God’s kingdom on earth has clearly had some exceptions in the Bible, where women have had authority without any divine judgment or criticism about it.

    The fact that Jesus Himself elevated women (and their roles) above what was regarded as normative in His culture (women were virtual chattel, not even to be spoken to in the street) tells us a lot about the teleological direction we could expect to occur over time in the Kingdom of God by the revelation of scripture made evident by the Holy Spirit. Note Paul’s teaching in Galatians 3:24-29 where egalitarianism is taught as being part of our freedom in Christ versus the Jewish laws and culture. Despite Paul’s admonition to Timothy about women’s disqualification to have authority over men, Paul was not shy about allowing women to lead where his own welfare (and thus that of the gospel) was concerned (as seen in Romans 16:1-4).

    So… exceptions can be found in the scriptures that go against the social-ecclesiastic rule of women not being allowed positions of authority among God’s people. Note also that this is an organizational rule not a moral law. To allow women to be in authority over men in most ecclesiastic situations is foolishness I admit, but it is not regarded anywhere in the scriptures as actual ‘sin.’ The New Testament reveals that there were women deaconesses and women prophets in NT churches… without any criticism by Paul or other Apostles. And how far should we generalize Peter’s point that the Church consists of the “priesthood of ALL believers”?

    But I must emphasize that these scriptural exceptions to the rule (like Deborah the judge in the OT) were in fact exceptions. Jesus did not choose any of His many women disciples to be Apostles and no women wrote the books of the NT. Therefore, ACNA is not wrong to also have exceptions… but they must be kept relatively rare (as exceptions) and never turned into a general WO rule (as TEC and the Church of England have done). The presence of women deacons and sub-presbyters under three levels of male headship in ACNA (rector, Bishop, and Archbishop) do not violate the principle of male headship. Where some ACNA dioceses go wrong is continuing to have some female rectors, who by definition have authority over men in the church. This is an error which needs to be corrected. But I must say, we are thankful that ACNA canons do prohibit female bishops.

    So let’s get our “single integrity” correct here according to the scriptures and reason, Calvin Robinson!


    • January 26, 2024 @ 8:07 am Francis R Lyons

      Thanks Dr Bruce for an excellent Scriptural consideration of the controversy.


    • February 7, 2024 @ 12:12 pm Joshua M

      Dr Atkinson – Your positions is unique. It appears, in my view, to take the weaknesses of both sides and combine them into a solution that is both untenable (cannot actually be maintained) and unsatisfactory to everyone. I wonder, would your focus on male headship be acceptable to Todd Hunter or whoever-the-current bishop of Pittsburgh is? Likewise, would your view that women be visible icons of Christ \”as long as they are under a man\” be acceptable to… anyone who is opposed to WO on the basis of their understanding of the role of priest.

      This is not a thoughtful or reasonable fusion – it appears to rather be designed to appease and accommodate everyone and so achieve the greatest goal of Unity.

      There simply are no examples of \”allowed as an exception\” actually working in real-life churches. To allow an exception will *always* result in it becoming the normative practice.


  4. January 23, 2024 @ 8:20 am Dr. Bruce Atkinson

    “Can two walk together unless they be agreed?” However, I have notices that this Amos 3:3 pericope has been translated and interpreted in more than one way.
    Well, as stated here, of course they can walk together if they are discussing their disagreement and looking for rapproachment. However, as the NLT (and other versions) put it, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” In this case, then the answer is clearly no, they must at least agree on the direction they will be taking or they must necessarily walk apart.


  5. January 23, 2024 @ 8:33 am Ralph Webb

    I attended the conference and came to very different conclusions than Fr. Thomas. It seemed clear to me that Fr. Robinson had chosen to move his talk away from what its title suggested. Spending over half of your talk making broad, sweeping statements about women’s ordination and then another third (at least) on a perceived connection between Marx and Luther is not keeping with the topic publicized to the attendees. Yes, he in a fashion brought it around so that he ended the talk with the title of the speech, but only after spending almost all of the talk not directly addressing the subject. As a result, the talk was sufficiently off-topic that Fr. Robinson really did not address the promised subject. In fact, Fr. Robinson threw out a litany of topics near the beginning of his talk that would have more directly addressed the subject matter promised by the title, but he only briefly mentioned them and remarked that he assumed everyone would agree with him on those matters. In a crowd of over 900 people, that is a big assumption to make., particularly when there can be nuanced positions on some of them.

    Additionally, Fr. Robinson too often did not substantively back up his sweeping assertions. We heard a series of charges and complaints about women’s ordination, and it (or, more specifically, feminism, with women’s ordination as the offending church practice) was presented as a source of many evils without substantive backing. The same was true regarding the Marx-Luther connection. As a result, the talk seemed more like a personal airing of grievances, concerns, and convictions than an academic talk to me.

    From my point of view, the biggest problem with the talk was that it was frequently argumentative in a confrontational manner, and that is not the goal of Mere Anglicanism. Mere Anglicanism’s overarching goal is to educate Christians regarding critical topics of the day; the goal is strengthening the body of Christ in its life and witness. I have been to four Mere Anglicanism conferences, and arguments about matters where orthodox Anglicans differ have never been the substance of conference talks. Mere Anglicanism instead aims to bring orthodox Anglicans of differing theological convictions together positively (and not just orthodox Anglicans; in more recent years, the topics have broadened, assumedly to potentially appeal to other Christians as well). Fr. Robinson’s talk might have fit naturally in a different context, but it was not in keeping with the tenor and goals of Mere Anglicanism.

    I saw no evidence that Fr. Robinson’s opposition to women’s ordination, or his views on any of the topics that he discussed, was an issue. But from my point of view, his talk did not sufficiently address what the conference blurb promised, and the polemicism was at odds with Mere Anglicanism’s ethos.


  6. January 23, 2024 @ 1:15 pm Oliver Strange

    I’m not sute why they invited Fr. Robinson anyway; it’s clear to anyone who has kept a close eye on the opinions he has been expressing that he is desirous of joining the Old Catholic Church, hence his hostility towards Luther.


    • January 23, 2024 @ 8:13 pm Lwr

      Anglicans aren’t Anglicans because of Luther. There are many Angli-Catholics and even in the ACNA. Anyone who has listened or watched Rev. Robinson knows what his speech was going to be. Whether you liked his connectedness is one thing but he persistently has stated Marxism, Wokeism and Women ordination of which should have no bearing on denomination. We can’t walk together unless you agree.


    • January 26, 2024 @ 10:18 am Rhonda C. Merrick

      Not sure what you mean by \”Old Catholic Church.\” Are you aware that he was ordained by a bishop in the Nordic Catholic jurisdiction, and that\’s where his, what\’s the phrase, clerical submission resides?

      And anyway, don\’t we ALL want to be in the old, orthodox, catholic Church, that mystical Bride? I sometimes get the feeling that some people don\’t want that, which I cannot for life of me understand.


  7. January 23, 2024 @ 1:27 pm Jimmy

    For anyone doubting the Luther-Reformation-Marxism connection and the current state of things in both the Church and the world, read Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age by Fr. Seraphim Rose.
    Fr. Robinson’s address was not a disconnected airing of grievances at all; it was plain truth-telling, and nothing is more offensive than truth to those who oppose truth, and to whom “truth is relative” or hold to the idea of “dual integrities”.


  8. January 23, 2024 @ 10:35 pm Joanne G Griffin

    Offended or not, alarmed or not; the better way would have been diplomatic forbearance.
    If you invite a flame-thrower to your party, you can\’t complain about the heat, and you shouldn\’t add fuel to the aftermath.


  9. January 24, 2024 @ 9:33 am Ichabod

    Priestesses and their bishops want orders so bad they will burn down their church to get them. But how will victory taste in a dead church?


  10. February 7, 2024 @ 11:56 am Joshua M

    Fr Jay, I think you’re missing the culture background, recent history, and core beliefs of what has happened to Anglicanism, especially in North American, but globally.

    Globally, Anglicanism has become a Communion first and foremost devoted to power and influence, and secondly, to scratching the backs of those who are already one’s friends (because this is the best way to achieve power). This is PARTICULARLY true in the culture of ACNA.

    This is why bishops were willing to create the mess of ACNA even though everyone knows the “dual integrities” is an intellectual obscenity (from both sides). Those bishops have made it clear they value their communion with heterodox bishops MORE than the supposed Truth or Justice. Bishops who oppose WO openly acknowledge that they believe their rivals on the issue are in opposition to both Scriptures and Tradition. Likewise, those bishops who are in favour of WO openly state that one of the primary reasons for doing so is the injustice of denying women full participation in the life of the Church. Neither party, however, appears to see that by “agreeing to disagree,” they are stating that BOTH of these points are unimportant, or at least less important than Something Else. This is not now, nor has it ever been, simply a disagreement on church practice or even doctrine. To actually and truly believe EITHER side means that the other is not just wrong, but intolerably wrong: If you are for WO, then those who are anti are perpetuating the most heinous type of spiritual abuse on their victims. If you are against WO, then those who are in favor have fallen away from the clear teaching of Scripture and Tradition.

    This has never been an issue we can agree on… UNLESS we all agree that there is Something Else which is more important than both Truth and Justice: Unity. This is what ACNA is founded on. Bishops brag about it. They see their coming together, even in disagreement on points of open departure from Scripture/Tradition AND spiritual abuse and maltreatment of half of the populace, as something to be applauded. There are myriad psychological reasons for this, but at least one point boils down to insecurity: “See, Episcopalians, we aren’t schismatics: We are perfectly willing to tolerate departures from Truth AND Justice.”

    Both Truth or Justice may be used as tools to bring about Unity and to hit our enemies, but they must never be seen as MORE important than the all consuming aspiration of Unity.

    And why is Unity so important? Because we are formed in the context of a democratic nation, society, and civilization. Numbers are power, and so anything that decreases numbers is dangerous. I am convinced this has soaked deep into the subconscious of leading Anglicans in all camps and in all Provinces.

    You heterosexual folk are torturously slow to open your eyes to the reality of what’s going on in ACNA and the broader Anglican Communion, particularly GAFCON. When ACNA bishops condemned and effectively kicked out faithful celibate gay Christians, some even in heterosexual marriages , they did it for two, and only two, reasons: they believe that hitting “the gays” is still a political win in the USA for folks who would be drawn to ACNA, and the Archbishop desperately craved the approval of African, in particular Nigerian, Anglicans. Even the Statement itself, and the subsequent failure to reprimand Bishop Hunter, admitted that they cared first and foremost about Unity. Words and Documents are used not to communicate Truth or care for the souls of actual, real men and women, but to secure Unity. Unity at all costs.

    A parallel experience is happening in GAFCON… The only thing that they agree on is their hatred of gay people. This is why the Church of Kenyan can impudently install female bishops contrary to the founding documents of GAFCON without so much as a wrist slap. At least Lambeth took voting rights away from the Episcopal Church for a time when IT violated an agreement. But for GAFCON to do so would risk our reputation, would challenge the narrative that “we are the future of global Anglicanism.” It might open us up to political and even actual attacks from Secularists and Muslims. No, no, it is important to follow the wise words of that greatest of Anglican theologians: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” THIS is the water and air and lifeforce of ACNA and GAFCON.

    When Fr Calvin hits at WO, or even the failures of the Reformation, the problem isn’t just that he is touching on a disagreement; we all KNOW there is a disagreement – it is that, in bringing it up at a supposedly “mere” conference, he’s implying that there is still Something Greater than Unity. This is dangerous. It will splinter ACNA. It will break apart parishes and dioceses. It will cut our denomination in half, and therefore render us politically unimportant. If it’s taken too seriously, it could even break up GAFCON and lead to the global destruction of Anglicanism as a force in the Christian world… we will lose our influence.

    How very much like Martin Luther he is.


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