I’ve written before on how N. T. Wright, bishop of Durham in England, is an Anglican Centrist bishop. And in a previous posting I’ve also noted that his response to the recently released final statement from GAFCON was quite balanced.
That doesn’t mean, however, that an Anglican Centrist can’t take off the gloves when he/she deems it necessary. Today, for instance, I see that in a BBC interview, Bishop Wright’s criticisms of GAFCON are far more pointed than in his original statement. Here’s what he said to the BBC:
Dr Tom Wright, a traditionalist himself, said Gafcon's plans to let parishes break from liberal bishops were ridiculous and "deeply offensive". …
"The coalition of Gafcon is a very odd combination of hard-line evangelicals, who would never use incense in a communion service, who would never wear Eucharistic vestments, along with Anglo-Catholics from America for whom those things are absolutely de rigeur.
"You've also got people who are totally and passionately opposed to the ordination of women, and others who are not only happy with it, but promoting it. That's not a coalition that's going to last very long, to be honest.
"For me this is particularly frustrating. I spend 90 to 100 hours a week doing the work of the gospel and the kingdom of God in my diocese and around the place.
"And to be told that I now need to be authorised or validated by a group of primates somewhere else who come in and tell me which doctrines I should sign up to is not only ridiculous it's deeply offensive.
"The idea that they have a monopoly on Biblical truth simply won't do and we must stand up to this, it's a kind of bullying. 'We're the true gospel people, therefore you must listen to us'." …
"When one finds people coming high-handedly, who don't actually know what's going on, and say, 'We've now drawn up this list of 14 points and you've got to sign up to them and then we'll authorise you and you can be part of our club, and if you don't then we're going to sweep you aside'... anyone has a right to feel angry when faced with that kind of thing."
In response, one conservative commentator accuses Wright of “mouth[ing] revisionist slogans,” suggesting that he “certainly seems to have a problem with reading/comprehension,” and concludes by saying that “his responses and general attitude toward evangelicals more conservative than himself has been both irrational and graceless.”
That’s pretty tough stuff to say about one of the most respected orthodox Christian theologians and biblical scholars working in the world today. But such may be the price to pay for declaring one’s theological independence from the agendas of both the Anglican Left and the Anglican Right.