A LOOK ACROSS THE POND

February 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 31 Comments

A Brief Analysis of the Status of North American Evangelical Anglicanism

Chris Pierce

This article, originally published in Cross†Way Issue Summer 2003 No. 89, the quarterly journal of the Church Society, accurately describes the state of North American Evangelical Anglicanism today as it did almost six years ago.

 

It has often been said that the people of the United States and the United Kingdom (really the British Isles) are a common people, separated by a common language. This aphorism is especially true when one starts discussing ecclesiastical matters. One must always define one’s terms in order to be clear.

 

Take for instance the word evangelical. It is a good word, a very biblically derived and descriptive word. It is however, a loaded word, and carries with it all sorts of historical definitions and qualifications. One has to know his audience and how it defines terms if he intends to effectively communicate.

 

In the C of E and the C of I traditional evangelical Anglicanism (at least historically speaking) is clearly defined. The Scriptures are the final authority in all matters. The Three Creeds and the XXXIX Articles define the biblically derived summations of precise Christian doctrine. The BCP, ordered after the received theology of the Creeds and Articles, defines matters liturgical. Ceremony and clergy attire is traditionally evangelical, Morning Prayer and monthly communion…no bells or incense…no sacrificial vestments. The XXXIX Articles are more than minimally assented to, they are believed wholeheartedly. In earlier times English and Irish evangelicals would have read Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Ussher, and Ryle, and would unreservedly agree with Dean Litton’s assessment that (quoted by Dean Paul Zahl, in his work ‘The Protestant Face of Anglicanism’), “The Anglican Church, if she is to be judged by the statements of the Articles, must be ranked amongst the Protestant Churches of Europe.”

 

Evangelical, Low-Church Anglicanism in North America, whether in Canada or the United States, is in the main, very different than that found in the Church of England or Church of Ireland. In preparation for these articles, I interviewed clergy and laity in varying capacities in both countries. Some were serving in the ECUSA and the ACC, others in Anglican jurisdictions not in official communion with the See of Canterbury. Interestingly, many asked not to be directly quoted. Those that did not mind being quoted for the record were very clear in their understanding. All were in agreement that traditional Evangelical, Low-Church Anglicanism of the English and Irish variety is presently at a low ebb.

 

Dean Peter Moore, President of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania has served in both the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church USA. TESM is the ECUSA’s only official seminary that describes itself as evangelical. When asked for his take on evangelical Anglicanism in North America Dean Moore responded;

 

 “Radically low church Anglicanism has almost disappeared in North America, save for pockets in Canada such as the redoubtable Little Trinity Church in Toronto which was founded by Irish Protestant Anglican immigrants in the mid Nineteenth Century.”

 

Dean Moore continued; “One still finds quaint Episcopal Churches in places like Virginia that affect a low church image, occasionally with central pulpits (usually dating back to Colonial days) and discretely de-emphasized Holy Tables. But this is frequently combined with a vague liberal theology rather than being a thought-out position derived from clear biblical principles. There are, of course, many Anglican and Episcopal churches in North America that are charismatic in feel – if not also in theology. These frequently have informal services that have a low church appearance; but celebrants may be in chasubles or albs, and choirs may be robed with processions, while candles on the altar illuminate the sacramental action. Very occasionally one finds a celebrant who elects to wear a sports shirt and open collar at one of these informal services — even when it is the main service on Sunday. But this practice, now common in the UK, is very rare in North America.”

 

He seems to go straight to the heart of the North American evangelical Anglican position when he stated; “The fact is that churchmanship issues do not feature strongly in the North American Anglican picture. The real dividing lines are theological rather than ceremonial, and go to the heart of the deeper issues: biblical authority, classical Christian ethics, and whether or not one has a real Gospel to preach.” This writer would add that in his experience that the average self described evangelical Anglican in the United States is at best only vaguely familiar with the historical and theological backdrop of the churchmanship issues that Dean Moore references.

 

His description of the churchmanship practices at the lone official evangelical ECUSA seminary would not provide that much comfort to many traditional evangelicals within the C of E or C of I…who remain acutely aware of the historical and theological churchmanship controversies of days gone by; “Churchmanship at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, for example, would be considered relatively broad by low church English standards. There are Gospel processions (not every week), the normal wear is cassock and surplice or a cassock alb with stole, many cross themselves at key points in the service, ashes are dispensed on Ash Wednesday, and so forth. Variations are normal, and occasionally there will be a service with incense and the celebrant in a chasuble. Bells are not used. As students come from a wide variety of churchmanship traditions, the seminary tries to demonstrate that Gospel-centeredness can coexist with a wide variety of traditions.”

 

Canon John Newton is the rector of St. Paul’s parish, a large evangelical congregation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and his description of evangelical worship in Canada is reminiscent of the eclectic approach to churchmanship and worship set forth by Dean Moore. In commenting about the various evangelical parishes throughout Canada he writes; “In most cases (including our own at St Paul’s) these churches have adopted contemporary (or, in Robert Webber’s terms, “blended”) worship patterns. I personally have serious qualms about the Christology, soteriology and eucharistic theology of the liturgies in the Canadian Book of Alternative Services (1985) and I know that many evangelicals share this. We would be much more comfortable with the Kenyan, Australian or English alternatives. St John’s, Shaughnessy, is the only parish I can think of that still holds exclusively to the BCP for its morning worship–and it is the largest Anglican congregation in Canada (although not large by US standards.)”

 

The Rev’d Doctor Peter Toon, Vicar of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor, Lichfield Diocese, served in North America for a number of years and is a keen observer of all things Anglican on the North American continent. His position is that evangelicalism has gone soft doctrinally and that due to the adoption of the 1979 ECUSA Prayerbook.

 

In a recent editorial in Mandate, the official bi-monthly publication of the American Prayer Book Society, Toon commented on ECUSA’s version of evangelicalism’s embrace of the 1979 Prayerbook. “…Rite II services in “contemporary language” provide the necessary ingredients of intelligibility, simplicity, accessibility, relevance and meaningfulness and so are a means of making their services and outreach popular and attractive. So they pay little attention to the actual doctrinal content — i.e., they do not check it against the doctrinal content of the classic BCP & the Articles of Religion in terms of who is God, who is Jesus and what is salvation.”

 

Toon’s comments were in agreement with those made by Dean Paul F.M. Zahl, Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent (ECUSA) in Birmingham, Alabama, in his 1998 book, The Protestant Face of Anglicanism, “What we are left with now is amnesia regarding what once was; a negative judgment placed on any service but the so-called Rite II Holy Eucharist; and a false smile of “celebration,” like the Cheshire Cat’s, which covers over the mystery and tragedy of human pain. With the approval and lightning ascent of the 1979 Prayer Book came the end, for all practical purposes, of Protestant churchmanship in what is now known aggressively as ECUSA.” Up until the 1979 Prayer Book, the word Protestant preceded Episcopal. A minor row was started a few years ago when an ECUSA bishop concerned about the direction of the church, decided to incorporate the name Protestant Episcopal Church, USA, which had never been duly incorporated. In the next installment, I will endeavor to explain the practices of evangelicals who are not in official communion with the See of Canterbury.

 

Christopher Pierce is a 46-year-old convinced evangelical Anglican. He and his family live in Antigua where he is a deacon in the Province of the West Indies. At the time Chris Pierce wrote this article, he was a presbyter of the Reformed Episcopal Church. He has since that time left the Reformed Episcopal Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Another Reformed Episcopalian who has left that apostate body. How many are there among us? I am one.

  2. I’ll have to agree whole heartedly Evangelicals in North America do not hardly seem to be Evangelicals at all. It is a word bantered about with no real meaning for most.

  3. North American Anglicanism has been infected with sacerdotalism, sacramentalism, ritualism, and is guilty of relegating God’s Word to an ancillary position. Because it has disfigured itself with these things, it has become a freakish creature with a garbled voice, unable to put forth a truly evangelical witness. If it remains in its present state, Anglicanism in North America will eventually wither away.

  4. A comparison with CANA and AMIA churches today would be interesting. My fairly uneducated belief is that these African bodies are renewing Evangelical Anglicanism along Prayer Book lines (although probably not to the extent that most in here would like).
    :
    Thoughts?

    • Dom,

      I am more familiar with the AMiA than I am CANA. I am not sure in what direction the AMiA is going. Sections of the AMiA Solemn Declaration of Principles and the Proposed Constitution of the Anglican Missionary Province, the fundamental documents of the AMiA, emphasize the doctrine of the Thirty-Nine Articles and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1661 Ordinal. However, the AMiA’s two senior most bishops recommended for use of AMiA congregations An Anglican Prayer Book [2008] which departs from the doctrine of these Anglican formularies at a number of important points. Their recommendation of the book reflects a tendency among some of the AMiA leadership to accomodate the Anglo-Catholic minority in the AMiA for the sake of unity within the AMiA and the Common Cause Partnership. Those AMiAers who were hoping for a book adhering to the doctrine of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer [where its doctrine is agreeable to Scripture] were greatly disappointed. The book brought together the Catholic theology of the 1928 American Prayer Book, the 1928 Proposed English Prayer Book, and the 1962 Canadian Prayer Book together in one book. Even the supposed “1662 English Order” for the Communion Service incorporated Catholic elements, for example, the Benedictus and the Agnes Dei. The doctrine of An Anglican Prayer Book [2008] also suggests that Anglo-Catholics in the AMiA may have hijacked the process that produced the book. They certainly had the ear of Peter Toon who oversaw the project and whose theology is closer to that of the seventeenth century High Church Caroline divines than it is to the English Reformers and the Puritan-Evangelical tradition in Anglicanism. Neither AMiAers who are Protestant and Reformed in their theological views nor AMiAers who like the contemporary English, flexibility, and variety of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer [even though they are not particularly keen on its liberal Catholic theology] are happy with An Anglican Prayer Book [2008].

      Robin

  5. Charlie:

    I asked earlier for info. Virtue just said me this.

    http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2009/02/james-i-packers-last-crusade.html

    Packer is WEAK, period. U wanna call Sproul in Orlando? These gentlemen won’t talk publicly, but I know their thought. Packer is NO LEADER OF MEN. There are quite a few C o E evangelical churchmen who agree, offline. Weak, put it online, I say.

    Brother, we are in the same game. U rock, man!

    I’ll comment on Pierce in a few days. REC, then submitting to a Anglo-Catholic diocese in the Caribbean? From an REC presbyter to a deacon? Rolling the eyes here.

    A fellow warrior.

    Veitch

    • Phil,

      Before commenting upon Chris Pierce, I think that you should learn more about what actually happened. Chris discovered upon moving his family to Antigua that things there were not what he thought that they would be. I would prefer that we use our posts on this blog to build up rather than to tear down.

      Robin

  6. Zahl is right. The Protestant face of Anglicanism is gone, period. Packer and Toon have NOT helped things.

  7. Folks:

    Check this out on Charlie. http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2009/02/james-i-packers-last-crusade.html

    Chas-meister, you should have posted this for us. Grand and great inquiries on the weak-meister Jim Packer. I dare to say that Toon is in the same camp—as an accomodator. Packer was, is and ever shall be weak on ECT. Ever weak on “primary/secondary” matters re: Evangelicals/Romanists.

    The AC’s will not tolerate the XXXIX Articles, period.

    Veitch

  8. Dom:
    Not sure what your question was? CANA v. AMiA?

    That merits further discussion vis a vis “Dare we hope?”

    For one—may be wrong—not optimistic about clerics trained in TEC seminaries. At all.

    Help and thoughts?

    Veitch

  9. Philip/Charlie:
    :
    Where did Packer deny the primary importance of justification by faith or of substitutionary atonement?
    :
    Robin:
    :
    Thanks for your reply. I read your excellent series on “An Anglican Prayer Book” (AAPB) at Virtue’s, and fully agree that the ideal would be a straight 1662 (with localization of prayers for the King/Queen), in original and updated language. It seems, though, that our nature is that when given the opportunity, we think that we can improve on the original, as even the REC (perhaps, fatally) did.
    :
    Are AMIA churches forced to use AAPB, or is there local discretion?
    :
    Is there a 1662 already out there with either generic or Americanized prayers for government, and *no* other changes?

    • Dom,

      An Anglican Prayer Book (2009) is “recommended” for the use of AMiA congregations. It is not required. To require its use would violate the AMiA Solemn Declaration of Principles and could under provisions of the AMiA Solemn Declaration of Principles possibly lead to the dissolution of the AMiA. It would certainly alienate that segment of the AMiA that is Evangelical and Protestant in its doctrine and principles.

      Robin

  10. Dom,
    Nothing needs to be done with the 1662 BCP for its use outside of the UK and Commonwealth of Nations. Just simply omit the prayers for the royal family and it works quite well every where except in the versicles and responses in MP and EV. There you simply change “save the Queen” for “save the State or Church” This is essentially what was done in the 1785 proposed BCP.

    • Joe,

      The 1785 Proposed American Prayer Book does go several steps beyond simply changing the State Prayers. It makes significant alterations in the orders for the administration of baptism to infants and to adults and the order of confirmation. The 1785 Proposed American Prayer Book cannot be interpreted to teach baptismal regeneration as the 1662 Book of Common Prayer can. This is one of the reasons why the founders of the Reformed Episcopal Church adopted the 1785 Proposed American Prayer Book as their model for the REC Prayer Book. However, like the 1662 Prayer Book, the 1785 Proposed American Prayer Book suffers from flaws of its own. The truth is that there is no perfect Prayer Book. In advocating the use of the 1662 Prayer Book, I also advocate the historical Evangelical interpretation of that Prayer Book. I am hoping in the near future to unpack the theology of the 1874 REC Prayer Book and the 1956 Free Church of England Prayer Book. The latter stands in the 1874 REC Prayer Book tradition and the 1662 Prayer Book tradition. I also plan to look at how the 1928 American Prayer Book influenced the 1930 REC Prayer Book. The latter does contain evidence of the influence of the 1928 American Prayer Book.

      Robin

  11. Howdy, Joseph.
    :
    Yes, indeed, that’s all it would take, but I’m wondering if there has been a 1662 published and distributed with just those deltas.

  12. Robin, Packer does not deny justification by faith alone or substitutionary atonement PRIVATELY. However, when he is in the company of Anglo-Catholics–like this Wycliffe Hall Winter Conference where many ACs were present–both Packer and Richard Turnbull noticeably said “justification by faith” instead of justification by faith “alone.” Any AC can say they believe in justification by faith. You haven’t said anything. AND Packer specifically said that that the “Anglican” quadrilateral is ESSENTIAL to being an Anglican. I have it on video if you care to see the snippet. This directly contradicts the historical position of the REC which DENIED that the Episcopacy is essential. The Declaration of Principles says that Episcopacy is the “preferred” polity of Anglicans but it is not essential. To make the Chicago-Lambeth quadrilateral “essential” doctrine is to effectively disfellowship Presbyterians, Baptists, and independent Evangelicals of all stripes.

    I would also say that Packer never even once mentioned the 5 solas of the Protestant Reformation. Instead he came up with some Evangelical quadrilateral 1)Biblical authority 2)New Birth 3)Substitutionary atonement 4) Missions/Evangelism. Notice only Sola Scriptura is there and it’s watered down. “Biblical authority” is acknowledged by the ACs. But NOT sola Scriptura!

    I’m getting seriously TIRED of double talk, equivocation, and wimpy Anglicans. Why won’t anyone stand up to these people?

    Tolerance is not the test of fellowship. Truth is.

    Richard Turnbull approached me after my question to Packer and agreed with me that the Articles are Protestant and can never be Anglo-Catholic. Packer knows this. He’s just not willing to stand for the truth.

    Sola Scriptura!

    Charlie

    • Charlie,

      Sounds to me like Packer has been caught up in the culture of accomodation that influences a number of leading figures in North American Anglicanism–not accomodation with liberalism but accomodation with Catholicism, the underlying premise being that conservatives should stick together and form a common front against liberalism. From his earlier writings Packer himself recognizes that there are significant differences between Evangelicals and Catholics and these differences cannot be ignored or dismissed.

      Robin

  13. I was more or less forced out by Jim Reber. If you know him….

  14. Wow! If nothing else is done, this website affords fellowship. Some good posts above. Robin, yes, Packer is accomodationistic and with Colson avoids the nasty sola of justification. He knows what he’s doing, which aggravates and magnifies the error. The Gospel of Rome is a false one. The failure of Mr. Packer is one of courage and manliness, leadership, conviction, and fearlessness—it’s not lack of knowledge. Charle, had I been there, I would have rebuked Jim publicly. Politely, kindly, but directly and fearlessly. I’m tellin’ ya, once Jim bugged out with Colson and ECT, the entire academic reformed world—Presbyterians that is—closed their pulpits to him. If in Orlando, call Maureen at Ligonier to see RC Sproul about Packer. Avoiding the solas of the Reformation in a public conference on Anglicanism is NOT going to fly with those who read.

    Well, at least we have fellowship here and book recommendations.

  15. Charlie: Wish I known about this conference. It seemed to get no visibility from VOL. Would love to have attended. There needs to be monthly conferences like this around this nation, but with men, not girly-men. I have no respect for this kind of leadership. “Dare we hope?” With this kind of leadership, no, we dare not hope.

    ACNA, AMiA, and others have buried the hatchet with ACs. Many of their leaders were trained in American Episcopal seminaries. C o E evangelicals, many of them, did the same thing vis a vis the Keele and Nottingham Conferences…in which Packer was a player.

    I’m glad the REC defrocked you. It builds character to suffer like that. Hahahah. I’m serious (speaking from experience in terms of suffering). Last time I was in Orlando (last year), had chow-operations with Sproul and attended his St. Andrews (independent, actually). Was going to visit Wally Grimbag’s cathedral church (APA), but opted for a true church.

    You mentioned Frank James. A fellow classmate at Westminster. He’s top drawer on Peter Vermigli and sports two PhD’s in church history. Last I heard, he was attending an Episcopal Church in Orlando, FL. I understand the local Orlando PCA’s are the contemporary-type services.
    The order of our BCP bucks all that, as it should. The BCP enshrines the Gospel itself. Itself, it calls unbelievers to the Gospel and calls us, His justified saints, to be serious, athletic, and manly. Anglicanism is for men—it’s a demanding faith. No apologies for that. If I may, it’s for Marines.

  16. Robin said:
    Charlie,
    I am not surprised that he was “visibly stressed” since he has in his writings defended the Evangelical interpretation of the Thirty-Nine Articles while criticizing the Anglo-Catholic interpretation. He has also argued for a greater place for the Articles in the Anglican Communion and the contemporary Church.
    Robin
    ———————-
    PV: I reviewed Packer’s comments and it appears that he cut you off. I’m not surprised by this “visible” distress either. Note that he used the word–would “grill you” re: particular articles. I find this disingenuous at best. Even perhaps dishonest with another agenda. Very poor and evasive.

    Many of us have advanced far beyond this patronizing approach, as if many of us haven’t read anything or must submit to this palpable misguidance. Packer has never been a big hitter, theologically. He is popularist. Influential, yes. A kindly man, yes. A capitulator, YES. It’s not going to fly if one is well read in the Reformation–Continental as well English (until the dreamer, Laud).

    I howled the other night when I read about Chas 1 taking the “Dreamer Arminian ABC” to Scotland. Chas 1 haplessly said to the Scottish divines, assembled, that he’d brought a theologian (Laud) along to teach the Scotch some real theology. What an howler!!! Needless to say, it didn’t well.

    Thank God we have made substantial advances, intellecutally and exegetically, personally as well. Packer, if he were a Marine, wouldn’t rise much above the level of a Lt Col or on the Navy side, a Commander. He doesn’t have it. An academic yes. A technician, yes. A Commander of a Division, never.

    Also, notice the AC-drooling–as usual–by AC’s on VOL’s website. They notoriously tolerate AC posters and excise Protestant, Reformed opinion. Good luck there.

  17. Robin:

    A good, solid, serious rebuke. I take it as I must. Gal.6.1ff; 2 Tim.2.24. The Proverbs require one to take it.

    First, I would add that I think Pierce’s article is quite good. He wasn’t in my ambit re: interaction. Otherwise, the excoriatory remarks were confined to Packer’s complicity in ECT and refusal to address AC-issues amongst Anglicans. Hence, the sterness was towards Packer, not Pierce.

    Second, it would be better to write Packer about my concerns than to bloviate publicly. Inclined to do that, as an “open letter.” I may do that, copying several Reformed, Presbyterian and some Anglican scholars as cc:’s.

    Third, given the rebuke, very important. Having been burned, theologically, as a social worker, you are familiar with PTSD. I have it as a disabled Veteran. I also think Luther had it. I view it as God’s gift. I am 100% disabled. Proud of it. That means I do not easily tolerate enemies in war. That means we get as mean as snakes in war. On the other hand, I have Christian duties to moderate myself and attempt to be gentle. I am aware of that weakness on my end. Having said that, Packer is weak. His responses to Charlie Ray bordered on the wicked. “Grilling him” on seconardy sacramental matters. Weak, I say. Virtue accomodates ACs.

    Thanks. Let the reading go on.

    Phil

    • Phil,

      I am as disappointed with Packer’s remarks as you are. Too many of the people whom we expect to stand up for the evangelical and Protestant tradition in Anglicanism are letting us down.

      Robin

  18. Also, we need to think about what “needs to be pulled down” as well as “built up.” I think the ACNA and CANA group CANNOT pull down AC-ism. Nor VOL. The AC is in the modern Anglican DNA. I personally think that Protestant, Confessional, Evangelical Anglicanism is dead, over, finished in the USA. Again, willing to be shown and convinced otherwise. “Dare we dream?” I think not. A look across the pond? To what? Argue with me men. Show me otherwise. Tell me I am wrong. I will listen.

    • Phil,

      Anglo-Catholicism has certainly left its mark on contemporary Episcopalianism. But is confessional Anglicanism really dead? What we are seeing in the so-called Anglican Church in North America is a conservative form of contemporary Episcopalianism. For confessional Anglicanism, we must for the most part look outside of North America. There are some confessional Anglicans in the ACNA as well as outside that church body but they are not organized and therefore we have no real idea of their numbers. A number of them have ended up in non-confessional Anglican church bodies because there are no confessional Anglican church bodies on this side of the planet. There are “conservative” Anglican church bodies but no confessional Anglican ones. Some these bodies lean toward confessionalism more than others but none of them can be regarded as wholly confessional. It is very difficult to not compromise one’s evangelical and Protestant principles one way or another.

      The biggest challenge we face is how do we reach the confessional or confessional-minded Anglicans in the ACNA and other Anglican church bodies in North America? How do we convince them of the importance of networking together?

      I believe that confessional Anglicans need to stick together even though they may not agree on a number of issues, including whether a confessional Anglican compromises his evangelical and Protestant principles if he associated with “Anglicans” of other theological schools of thought. We have more to gain from joining our forces than we do from going our separate ways. Go into the woods if you live near one and pick up a bunch of sticks. Choose straight ones. Snap a few of them. Notice how easy it is. Now take a number of sticks and bind them tightly together in a bundle, winding the cord around the length of the bundle of sticks a number of times. Try breaking the bundled sticks. It is much harder.

      There are also those who lean toward confessional Anglicanism but are poorly informed on the historical position of confessional Anglicans on a number of issues and why they adopted this position. How do we reach this group?

      Few people have an inkling of what we are talking about when we refer to such things as Romanism and Sacerdotalism. We are talking over their heads. Most of the “new” Anglicans are former Episcopalians or evangelicals with a non-liturgical, non-Anglican background. To them “lex credendi, lex orendi” is a vague abstract principle. They have not considered its full implications. What they need is a careful explanation of this principle and why consistency between what we believe and how we worship is important, as well as an introductory course on the English Reformation and confessional Anglicanism.

      They need deprogramming from such notions that Anglicanism is a form of Catholicism, that a broad comprehensiveness is the Anglican norm, and that a High Church style of worship with ornate vestments; elaborate ceremonial; frequent bowing, kneeling, crossing one’s self, and genuflecting; organ music, stately hymns, classic anthems, and vested choirs; chanted Psalms, lessons, and prayers; altars with candles, candlesticks, crosses, and flowers; wafer bread and sacramental wine; offering of the people’s gifts of money at the Offertory and offering of the bread and wine at the Offertory and during the Prayer of Consecration or Eucharistic Prayer; elevation of the consecrated elements after the consecration; and an army of acolytes and servers with censers, processional crosses, and torches typifies Anglican worship.

      You have done a great job in pointing to our attention a number of primary sources that are available on the Internet, providing an invaluable service to those who are unacquainted with these resources. I personally have benefited from the work that you have done and greatly appreciate it. We need to interpret these resources to them, explain them so that they can make the best use of them.

      A third group that I would like to see us reach are those who have been deeply hurt by a church body to which they devoted a good part of their life. They have not recovered from this hurt. A fourth group is those who have joined a new church body only to find themselves sidelined. They have no real ministry in the new church body that they joined.

      Challenging? You bet. But God put us here for a purpose and I do not believe that purpose was to lament the death of confessional Anglicanism in the North America. He put us here to build up his church, using whatever gifts that he has given us, in whatever stage of life or state of life we find ourselves.

      Robin

  19. Phil,
    Are you alive?
    Joe

  20. Phil,
    Are you alive?
    Joe
    ———–
    Joe, I think so. Last I checked I was. Am here.
    Phil

  21. Phil, “I personally think that Protestant, Confessional, Evangelical Anglicanism is dead, over, finished in the USA. Again, willing to be shown and convinced otherwise. “Dare we dream?” I think not. A look across the pond? To what? Argue with me men. Show me otherwise. Tell me I am wrong. I will listen.

    Phil,
    Are you alive?
    Joe
    ———–
    Joe, I think so. Last I checked I was. Am here.
    Phil

    __________

    Phil,

    Then Protestant, Confessional, Evangelical Anglicanism is not dead. It is alive. Build on it, God has given you the means.
    Let’s not find ourselves confessing too much “we have left undone those things which we ought to have done….”

    Joe

  22. An attempt to interact with Chris Pierce. Denoted by PV:
    ———–
    A Brief Analysis of the Status of North American Evangelical Anglicanism

    Chris Pierce

    This article, originally published in Cross†Way Issue Summer 2003 No. 89, the quarterly journal of the Church Society, accurately describes the state of North American Evangelical Anglicanism today as it did almost six years ago.

    It has often been said that the people of the United States and the United Kingdom (really the British Isles) are a common people, separated by a common language. This aphorism is especially true when one starts discussing ecclesiastical matters. One must always define one’s terms in order to be clear.

    Take for instance the word evangelical. It is a good word, a very biblically derived and descriptive word. It is however, a loaded word, and carries with it all sorts of historical definitions and qualifications. One has to know his audience and how it defines terms if he intends to effectively communicate.
    A Brief Analysis of the Status of North American Evangelical Anglicanism

    Chris Pierce

    This article, originally published in Cross†Way Issue Summer 2003 No. 89, the quarterly journal of the Church Society, accurately describes the state of North American Evangelical Anglicanism today as it did almost six years ago.

    It has often been said that the people of the United States and the United Kingdom (really the British Isles) are a common people, separated by a common language. This aphorism is especially true when one starts discussing ecclesiastical matters. One must always define one’s terms in order to be clear.

    Take for instance the word evangelical. It is a good word, a very biblically derived and descriptive word. It is however, a loaded word, and carries with it all sorts of historical definitions and qualifications. One has to know his audience and how it defines terms if he intends to effectively communicate.

    In the C of E and the C of I traditional evangelical Anglicanism (at least historically speaking) is clearly defined. The Scriptures are the final authority in all matters. The Three Creeds and the XXXIX Articles define the biblically derived summations of precise Christian doctrine. The BCP, ordered after the received theology of the Creeds and Articles, defines matters liturgical. Ceremony and clergy attire is traditionally evangelical, Morning Prayer and monthly communion…no bells or incense…no sacrificial vestments. The XXXIX Articles are more than minimally assented to, they are believed wholeheartedly. In earlier times English and Irish evangelicals would have read Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Ussher, and Ryle, and would unreservedly agree with Dean Litton’s assessment that (quoted by Dean Paul Zahl, in his work ‘The Protestant Face of Anglicanism’), “The Anglican Church, if she is to be judged by the statements of the Articles, must be ranked amongst the Protestant Churches of Europe.”

    Evangelical, Low-Church Anglicanism in North America, whether in Canada or the United States, is in the main, very different than that found in the Church of England or Church of Ireland. In preparation for these articles, I interviewed clergy and laity in varying capacities in both countries. Some were serving in the ECUSA and the ACC, others in Anglican jurisdictions not in official communion with the See of Canterbury. Interestingly, many asked not to be directly quoted. Those that did not mind being quoted for the record were very clear in their understanding. All were in agreement that traditional Evangelical, Low-Church Anglicanism of the English and Irish variety is presently at a low ebb.

    Dean Peter Moore, President of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania has served in both the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church USA. TESM is the ECUSA’s only official seminary that describes itself as evangelical. When asked for his take on evangelical Anglicanism in North America Dean Moore responded;

    “Radically low church Anglicanism has almost disappeared in North America, save for pockets in Canada such as the redoubtable Little Trinity Church in Toronto which was founded by Irish Protestant Anglican immigrants in the mid Nineteenth Century.”

    Dean Moore continued; “One still finds quaint Episcopal Churches in places like Virginia that affect a low church image, occasionally with central pulpits (usually dating back to Colonial days) and discretely de-emphasized Holy Tables. But this is frequently combined with a vague liberal theology rather than being a thought-out position derived from clear biblical principles. There are, of course, many Anglican and Episcopal churches in North America that are charismatic in feel – if not also in theology. These frequently have informal services that have a low church appearance; but celebrants may be in chasubles or albs, and choirs may be robed with processions, while candles on the altar illuminate the sacramental action. Very occasionally one finds a celebrant who elects to wear a sports shirt and open collar at one of these informal services — even when it is the main service on Sunday. But this practice, now common in the UK, is very rare in North America.”

    He seems to go straight to the heart of the North American evangelical Anglican position when he stated; “The fact is that churchmanship issues do not feature strongly in the North American Anglican picture. The real dividing lines are theological rather than ceremonial, and go to the heart of the deeper issues: biblical authority, classical Christian ethics, and whether or not one has a real Gospel to preach.” This writer would add that in his experience that the average self described evangelical Anglican in the United States is at best only vaguely familiar with the historical and theological backdrop of the churchmanship issues that Dean Moore references.

    His description of the churchmanship practices at the lone official evangelical ECUSA seminary would not provide that much comfort to many traditional evangelicals within the C of E or C of I…who remain acutely aware of the historical and theological churchmanship controversies of days gone by; “Churchmanship at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, for example, would be considered relatively broad by low church English standards. There are Gospel processions (not every week), the normal wear is cassock and surplice or a cassock alb with stole, many cross themselves at key points in the service, ashes are dispensed on Ash Wednesday, and so forth. Variations are normal, and occasionally there will be a service with incense and the celebrant in a chasuble. Bells are not used. As students come from a wide variety of churchmanship traditions, the seminary tries to demonstrate that Gospel-centeredness can coexist with a wide variety of traditions.”

    Canon John Newton is the rector of St. Paul’s parish, a large evangelical congregation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and his description of evangelical worship in Canada is reminiscent of the eclectic approach to churchmanship and worship set forth by Dean Moore. In commenting about the various evangelical parishes throughout Canada he writes; “In most cases (including our own at St Paul’s) these churches have adopted contemporary (or, in Robert Webber’s terms, “blended”) worship patterns. I personally have serious qualms about the Christology, soteriology and eucharistic theology of the liturgies in the Canadian Book of Alternative Services (1985) and I know that many evangelicals share this. We would be much more comfortable with the Kenyan, Australian or English alternatives. St John’s, Shaughnessy, is the only parish I can think of that still holds exclusively to the BCP for its morning worship–and it is the largest Anglican congregation in Canada (although not large by US standards.)”

    The Rev’d Doctor Peter Toon, Vicar of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor, Lichfield Diocese, served in North America for a number of years and is a keen observer of all things Anglican on the North American continent. His position is that evangelicalism has gone soft doctrinally and that due to the adoption of the 1979 ECUSA Prayerbook.

    In a recent editorial in Mandate, the official bi-monthly publication of the American Prayer Book Society, Toon commented on ECUSA’s version of evangelicalism’s embrace of the 1979 Prayerbook. “…Rite II services in “contemporary language” provide the necessary ingredients of intelligibility, simplicity, accessibility, relevance and meaningfulness and so are a means of making their services and outreach popular and attractive. So they pay little attention to the actual doctrinal content — i.e., they do not check it against the doctrinal content of the classic BCP & the Articles of Religion in terms of who is God, who is Jesus and what is salvation.”

    Toon’s comments were in agreement with those made by Dean Paul F.M. Zahl, Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent (ECUSA) in Birmingham, Alabama, in his 1998 book, The Protestant Face of Anglicanism, “What we are left with now is amnesia regarding what once was; a negative judgment placed on any service but the so-called Rite II Holy Eucharist; and a false smile of “celebration,” like the Cheshire Cat’s, which covers over the mystery and tragedy of human pain. With the approval and lightning ascent of the 1979 Prayer Book came the end, for all practical purposes, of Protestant churchmanship in what is now known aggressively as ECUSA.” Up until the 1979 Prayer Book, the word Protestant preceded Episcopal. A minor row was started a few years ago when an ECUSA bishop concerned about the direction of the church, decided to incorporate the name Protestant Episcopal Church, USA, which had never been duly incorporated. In the next installment, I will endeavor to explain the practices of evangelicals who are not in official communion with the See of Canterbury.

    Christopher Pierce is a 46-year-old convinced evangelical Anglican. He and his family live in Antigua where he is a deacon in the Province of the West Indies. At the time Chris Pierce wrote this article, he was a presbyter of the Reformed Episcopal Church. He has since that time left the Reformed Episcopal Church.

    PV: Good. The word “evangelical” means something different in UK, am told, than the US. Not sure what it means, given that ABP Walter Grunsdorf, a devoted AC, says he is “Evangelical, Catholic, Liturgical, Anglican.”

    In the C of E and the C of I traditional evangelical Anglicanism (at least historically speaking) is clearly defined. The Scriptures are the final authority in all matters. The Three Creeds and the XXXIX Articles define the biblically derived summations of precise Christian doctrine. The BCP, ordered after the received theology of the Creeds and Articles, defines matters liturgical. Ceremony and clergy attire is traditionally evangelical, Morning Prayer and monthly communion…no bells or incense…no sacrificial vestments. The XXXIX Articles are more than minimally assented to, they are believed wholeheartedly. In earlier times English and Irish evangelicals would have read Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Ussher, and Ryle, and would unreservedly agree with Dean Litton’s assessment that (quoted by Dean Paul Zahl, in his work ‘The Protestant Face of Anglicanism’), “The Anglican Church, if she is to be judged by the statements of the Articles, must be ranked amongst the Protestant Churches of Europe.”

    PV: This is good stuff. For all readers, as Robin has posted, commending books.google.com for the acquisition of many authors cited above. To “Confess” our faith means to know, assert, cite, defend, present, argue, write, and LOVE the truth. Dr. John Gerstner, Confessional Presbyterian, Pittsburg Seminary, the only conservative on the faculty. His motto: “Out-read, out-think, out-argue, out-write” the liberals. Rumours were that he saved half of western Pennsylvania for Confessional Presbyterianism, now PCA. I concur. I had the curious privilege of doing that today with an AC Bishop who asserted that the XXXIX Articles were consonant with Trent…and that Rome agreed with Rev. Richard Davenport’s Deus, Natura, Gratia, to wit, this mutual reconcilability. The AC Bishop was dead wrong and was out-read. Out-argued and, I dare say, embarrassed before others. The fact was…Davenport was put on the Index Expurgatorius in Spain and almost in Italy. Brethren, let us attend to reading diligently.

    Evangelical, Low-Church Anglicanism in North America, whether in Canada or the United States, is in the main, very different than that found in the Church of England or Church of Ireland. In preparation for these articles, I interviewed clergy and laity in varying capacities in both countries. Some were serving in the ECUSA and the ACC, others in Anglican jurisdictions not in official communion with the See of Canterbury. Interestingly, many asked not to be directly quoted. (PV: Cowards. As a former warrior, I have little use for this kind of naked cowardice.) Those that did not mind being quoted for the record were very clear in their understanding. All were in agreement that traditional Evangelical, Low-Church Anglicanism of the English and Irish variety is presently at a low ebb.

    PV: I would argue it is about extinquished, if not gone.

    Dean Peter Moore, President of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania has served in both the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church USA. TESM is the ECUSA’s only official seminary that describes itself as evangelical. When asked for his take on evangelical Anglicanism in North America Dean Moore responded;

    “Radically low church Anglicanism has almost disappeared in North America, save for pockets in Canada such as the redoubtable Little Trinity Church in Toronto which was founded by Irish Protestant Anglican immigrants in the mid Nineteenth Century.”

    Dean Moore continued; “One still finds quaint Episcopal Churches in places like Virginia that affect a low church image, occasionally with central pulpits (usually dating back to Colonial days) and discretely de-emphasized Holy Tables. But this is frequently combined with a vague liberal theology rather than being a thought-out position derived from clear biblical principles. There are, of course, many Anglican and Episcopal churches in North America that are charismatic in feel – if not also in theology. These frequently have informal services that have a low church appearance; but celebrants may be in chasubles or albs, and choirs may be robed with processions, while candles on the altar illuminate the sacramental action. Very occasionally one finds a celebrant who elects to wear a sports shirt and open collar at one of these informal services — even when it is the main service on Sunday. But this practice, now common in the UK, is very rare in North America.”

    PV: Where are the five solas in all this? I hope we may have additional articles posted here by Chris.

    He seems to go straight to the heart of the North American evangelical Anglican position when he stated; “The fact is that churchmanship issues do not feature strongly in the North American Anglican picture. The real dividing lines are theological rather than ceremonial, and go to the heart of the deeper issues: biblical authority, classical Christian ethics, and whether or not one has a real Gospel to preach.” This writer would add that in his experience that the average self described evangelical Anglican in the United States is at best only vaguely familiar with the historical and theological backdrop of the churchmanship issues that Dean Moore references.

    PV: Where else can he learn of Evangelical Anglicanism?

    His description of the churchmanship practices at the lone official evangelical ECUSA seminary would not provide that much comfort to many traditional evangelicals within the C of E or C of I…who remain acutely aware of the historical and theological churchmanship controversies of days gone by; “Churchmanship at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, for example, would be considered relatively broad by low church English standards. There are Gospel processions (not every week), the normal wear is cassock and surplice or a cassock alb with stole, many cross themselves at key points in the service, ashes are dispensed on Ash Wednesday, and so forth. Variations are normal, and occasionally there will be a service with incense and the celebrant in a chasuble. Bells are not used. As students come from a wide variety of churchmanship traditions, the seminary tries to demonstrate that Gospel-centeredness can coexist with a wide variety of traditions.”

    PV: Frankly, quite wearisome. I am leaning to the hungry theologians like Charles Hodge and August Tholuck, exegetes, while we get expatiations on vestments—again.

    Canon John Newton is the rector of St. Paul’s parish, a large evangelical congregation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and his description of evangelical worship in Canada is reminiscent of the eclectic approach to churchmanship and worship set forth by Dean Moore. In commenting about the various evangelical parishes throughout Canada he writes; “In most cases (including our own at St Paul’s) these churches have adopted contemporary (or, in Robert Webber’s terms, “blended”) worship patterns. I personally have serious qualms about the Christology, soteriology and eucharistic theology of the liturgies in the Canadian Book of Alternative Services (1985) and I know that many evangelicals share this. We would be much more comfortable with the Kenyan, Australian or English alternatives. St John’s, Shaughnessy, is the only parish I can think of that still holds exclusively to the BCP for its morning worship–and it is the largest Anglican congregation in Canada (although not large by US standards.)”

    The Rev’d Doctor Peter Toon, Vicar of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor, Lichfield Diocese, served in North America for a number of years and is a keen observer of all things Anglican on the North American continent. His position is that evangelicalism has gone soft doctrinally and that due to the adoption of the 1979 ECUSA Prayerbook.

    PV: Myopic. Deeper than that. Liberalism has vitiated TEC-trained men.

    In a recent editorial in Mandate, the official bi-monthly publication of the American Prayer Book Society, Toon commented on ECUSA’s version of evangelicalism’s embrace of the 1979 Prayerbook. “…Rite II services in “contemporary language” provide the necessary ingredients of intelligibility, simplicity, accessibility, relevance and meaningfulness and so are a means of making their services and outreach popular and attractive. So they pay little attention to the actual doctrinal content — i.e., they do not check it against the doctrinal content of the classic BCP & the Articles of Religion in terms of who is God, who is Jesus and what is salvation.”

    Toon’s comments were in agreement with those made by Dean Paul F.M. Zahl, Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent (ECUSA) in Birmingham, Alabama, in his 1998 book, The Protestant Face of Anglicanism, “What we are left with now is amnesia regarding what once was; a negative judgment placed on any service but the so-called Rite II Holy Eucharist; and a false smile of “celebration,” like the Cheshire Cat’s, which covers over the mystery and tragedy of human pain. With the approval and lightning ascent of the 1979 Prayer Book came the end, for all practical purposes, of Protestant churchmanship in what is now known aggressively as ECUSA.” Up until the 1979 Prayer Book, the word Protestant preceded Episcopal. A minor row was started a few years ago when an ECUSA bishop concerned about the direction of the church, decided to incorporate the name Protestant Episcopal Church, USA, which had never been duly incorporated. In the next installment, I will endeavor to explain the practices of evangelicals who are not in official communion with the See of Canterbury.

    PV: I remain bearish on current prospects for a recovery.

    Christopher Pierce is a 46-year-old convinced evangelical Anglican. He and his family live in Antigua where he is a deacon in the Province of the West Indies. At the time Chris Pierce wrote this article, he was a presbyter of the Reformed Episcopal Church. He has since that time left the Reformed Episcopal Church.

    PV: An Anglo-Romanizing Bishop apparently required “re-ordination.” I can understand Wycliffe’s contempt for the Churchmen of his day. Enough from me on Chris. Nice article.

  23. Phil,

    Then Protestant, Confessional, Evangelical Anglicanism is not dead. It is alive. Build on it, God has given you the means.
    Let’s not find ourselves confessing too much “we have left undone those things which we ought to have done….”

    Joe

    ———————————-
    PV: Joe, am disabled. Medically, I require quietness in my life. No means other than reading. Not about to enter the hustle-bustle of church-planting. My warrior days are over. I attend an AMiA work north of here twice per month with little engagement in the congregational life and minimal expectations of any impact. I hear stately hymns, pray, receive the Mighty Sacrament, hear His Majesty’s Word, give thanks and pray.

    Someone show me where Protestant, Confessional, Evangelical Anglicanism…Reformed in theology…exists. ACNA? AMiA? (The rector where I go has a “God just wants to” theology). CANA? God is sovereign, but let’s get very real and very practical. Show me. I will listen.

  24. Phil,

    I am as disappointed with Packer’s remarks as you are. Too many of the people whom we expect to stand up for the evangelical and Protestant tradition in Anglicanism are letting us down.

    Robin

    ————–
    Robin:
    I have no respect for Packer, none. As a leader, I have no confidence in him. Rather than him “grilling” Charlie Ray about AC “secondary sacramental” exegeses–which he said, he should–Packer–be “grilled” and “roasted.” He’s done in my book and in the book of many fine Reformed writers. I suspect I need to write him, directly. If so, I shall post it here and elsewhere. I can assure you that Packer lost the confidence of many Calvinistic Churchmen in the mid-1990’s in this nation. VOL will never cover that….homo-erotica is the big deal for him.
    Phil


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