Fred Hiltz aims for “good disagreement” on same-sex marriage

Does anyone remember Rowan Williams’ attempt to solve the same-sex marriage mess in the Anglican Communion using The Covenant? It was still alive and kicking – well, twitching at least – as little as five years ago, yet now it’s deader than the dandruff falling from Rowan’s eyebrows.

Justin Welby ignored The Covenant and, instead, imposed “consequences” on provinces that defied the ban on same-sex marriages. No one, least of all Welby, took them seriously.

Having now jettisoned both The Covenant and Consequences, Welby has settled on the idea of “good disagreement”, an ecclesiastical version of the cold war with ersatz pieties injected into it for appearances’ sake.

Fred Hiltz has jumped on the good disagreement bandwagon and is applying it to the Anglican Church of Canada. Sorry, he is embracing it.

The question is, if same-sex marriage were to remain forbidden in the ACoC, would anyone be proposing good disagreement as the solution for calming bruised liberals? Of course not: the battle would continue and all we would hear about would be prophetic voices, inclusion, justice and equality, laced with frequent references to a rubber stamping holy spirit.   Good disagreement is just another smoke screen designed to cloud the judgement of conservatives in order to keep them in the fold, so as to continue to collect their offerings.

From here:

My own read is that many in our church are coming to accept and declare that we will never agree on this matter. There will always be those who favour same-sex marriage and those who oppose it, each from the ground of their own wrestling with the Scriptures and the long-held teaching of
the church on the nature of marriage. The challenge is, how do we live with such deep-seated differences of conviction?

At the heart of this challenge are two things—the acknowledging of our fears and the embracing of good disagreement.

Of the fear, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby addressed his own church at a General Synod in 2014, saying, “There is great fear among some, here and round the world, that that will lead to the betrayal of our traditions, to the denial of the authority of Scripture, to apostasy, not to use too strong a word. And there is also a great fear that our decisions will lead us to the rejection of LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] people, to irrelevance in a changing society, to behaviour that may seem akin to racism. Both those fears are alive and well in this room today.”

Of the nature of good disagreement, 
the dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, David Ison, wrote in 2015: “There is no expectation of achieving any consensus—in either direction—in the foreseeable future. But there is a task to be done of encouraging those within the church who are at odds on this issue to express their concerns in a safe environment, listen carefully to those with whom they disagree profoundly, find something of Christ in each other and consider together what the practical consequence of disagreement might be. From New Testament times the church of Christ has had to face disagreement. Fashioning our life as a church includes finding ways to ‘disagree Christianly’.”

I believe that in our church there is both a commitment and a capacity to do just that—to disagree in a manner that does not demean one another, but honours our calling in Christ. In good disagreement, no one is made to feel their position is of no value. No one feels belittled, walked over or pushed out. In good disagreement, there is, in truth, a continuing place for everyone in our church.

6 thoughts on “Fred Hiltz aims for “good disagreement” on same-sex marriage

  1. The fact that the appointment of the ABC is subject to the approval of the civil government simply shows on which side of the truth the ABC will stand. Tragically both he and Fred Hiltz and their supporters no longer worship the God the Scriptures but the god of political expediency – the god that has no moral standards whatsoever but the god that will not offend anyone other than a genuine Christian. The mainline churches, and that includes the ACoC and the TEC, have clearly abandoned their mission to evangelize and seem willing to accept anything but the authority of Scripture.

  2. When I first attended an Anglican Church in Port Arthur, Ontario, the Canadian Church has just adopted the new Book of Common Prayer (1962). The BCP is still the official Book of the Church today. Every time I attended a wedding, I heard the priest declaring that “Matrimony was ordained for the hallowing of the union betwixt man and woman; for the procreation of children to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord; and for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, in both prosperity and adversity” (BCP, P.564). Is there any room for “good disagreement”?

    • This is exactly what I believe too. I was born in Current River, Port Arthur Ont now part of the amalgamated city of Thunder Bay. The motto of the city is “Superior by Nature”, and isn’t that the truth. My maternal grandparents were married in the Anglican faith in Kenora Ontario. Pleased to hear from you on this site.

  3. So called “good disagreement” is nothing more than an effort to “lets agree to disagree”. Problem here is that a decision must be made. Either the Church upholds Biblical Marriage and refuses to conduct same sex marriages (or whatever they call it – same sex blessings is just code for same sex marriage), or the church goes along with the ways of this sinful and fallen world. The AcoC has chosen the later and now sees its attendance suffering serious decline and the resultant extreme contraction of offerings.

    Perhaps people like Mr. Hiltz are comprehending that their church cannot survive without the money that used to come from people like me and so comes the “lets agree to disagree” plea. You can continue to disagree with what has been inflicted and still attend and fill the coffers, but the embracing of the sinful ways of this world will not be undone.

    So to all those like myself that remain dedicated to the true Christian Faith I offer this. Do not be fooled by this wolf. Stop attending his church and stop propping it up with your money. Let it die. Hiltz and his ilk may have abducted the bride but in doing so they killed her, which in the end means they won nothing. Once the church of Fred is bankrupt and gone and the Church of God (in the form of ACNA) remains and grows we shall be able to say convincingly that God stayed with the people that chose to stay with Him.

  4. Virtually dozens of Anglican churches have closed in Western Ontario, in small towns and in cities too. Many predict that the Anglican Church of Canada will not exist in five years the way that things are going.

    • In the meantime I think the problem is that the ACoC, and other denominations that have similar leanings, may be confusing a lot of people who are looking for a church and at the Christian faith. Those people’s attitude and beliefs may be so affected by what they are being told that Christian churches will not be able to reach them after the ACoC and others collapse. Also, I don’t see that collapse happening in the short term. I think it may take another generation, but that is really just a feeling I have.

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