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Gregory Cameron , Andrew Goddard , and Graham Kings have all criticised attacks on the covenant as misinformation and scaremongering. But strikingly none of them has explained what benefit to the Church of England comes from endorsing the covenant. There's a very simple reason for this: none exists. Everyone agrees that the Anglican Communion is in a bit of a mess. Having a covenant will not reduce the mess one jot. Historical context is crucial to understanding opponents' fears: this covenant was a key recommendation of the Windsor report , whose premise was that Gene Robinson should never have been elected as bishop of New Hampshire.
From the start, the objective was to oblige local churches to defer to "worldwide Anglican consensus" rather than responding to local circumstances in accordance with local needs. Although a far cry from the text originally envisaged, section 4.
Some now defending the covenant were among those previously leading the campaign for strong disciplinary measures; few doubt that the covenant will be used this way. In , during the Lambeth conference, Paul Bagshaw found attending bishops saying two contradictory things.
First, there will have to be a covenant. This is partly because archbishop Rowan Williams has invested so heavily in it, and many of his supporters will support him even if privately they think otherwise. Others claim it's the only way to hold the Communion together. Second, not all Anglicans will sign up to the covenant. Some will refuse. There is much speculation about who the refusers will be and what they will do. But we now know that it's mostly conservatives who won't be signing up.
We believe that it is only by a theologically grounded, biblically shaped reformation such as the one called for by the Jerusalem Declaration that God's kingdom will advance. The Anglican Communion will only be able to fulfil its gospel mandate if it understands itself to be a community gathered around a confession of faith. In other words, conservatives reject the covenant because it isn't punitive enough. Asked if he thought the covenant would become a reality, the former bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, recently said : "I think so, because I don't think really there's any alternative.