Whither Now?

December 3, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 48 Comments

By Robin G. Jordan

Well-meaning friends tell me that Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics cannot walk together, especially Evangelicals who hold to the Biblical-Reformation doctrine of the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion of 1571, The Book of Common Prayer of 1662, and The Ordinal of 1661. They insist that Evangelicals should come out of the constituent bodies of the newly forming Anglican Church in North America and form their own separate entity. Evangelicals who have not joined one of these bodies should not become a part of the new province. While I see their point, I do not believe that separation is the best option for Evangelicals at this moment in time. Here is why.

In 1873 Bishop George David Cummins and a group of conservative Evangelical clergy and laity succeeded from the Protestant Episcopal Church and formed the Reformed Episcopal Church. One hundred and twenty five years later the Reformed Episcopal Church is a small denomination with no churches in Kentucky where Cummins was assistant bishop. The Reformed Episcopal Church is also no longer “Reformed.” A large segment of the church has been influenced by the Tractarianism and ritualism that prompted the founders of the church to leave the Protestant Episcopal Church and have departed from the principles of the church’s founders. Among the evidence of the church’s departure from the evangelical faith of its founders is its adoption of rites of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the first major revision of the American Prayer Book which introduced far-reaching and even radical changes into the American Prayer Book and moved it in an unreformed Catholic and liberal direction.

After Bishop Cummins and conservative Evangelicals succeeded from the Protestant Episcopal Church, the remaining Evangelicals succumbed to liberalism and adopted Broad Church principles. Evangelicalism virtually disappeared from the Protestant Episcopal Church by 1900. For sixty years the dominant schools of thought in the Protestant Episcopal Church were Anglo-Catholicism and Broad Church liberalism. In 1925 the General Convention adopted a resolution authorizing the removal of the Thirty-Nine Articles from the Prayer Book. This effort was abandoned in 1928 because the removal of the Thirty-Nine Articles from the Prayer Book would have required revision of the church’s constitution.

In the United Kingdom conservative Evangelicals did not withdraw from the Church of England due to the growth and increased influence of Tractarianism and ritualism. They went on the offensive. One hundred and twenty-five years later Evangelicals still maintain a substantial presence in the Church of England albeit we see a number of significant divisions in the church’s Evangelical wing. During those 125 years Evangelicalism spread throughout what is now the Anglican Communion. The largest group of churchgoers in the Anglican Communion is Evangelical. Anglo-Catholics and liberals are minority groups—highly vocal minority groups exercising a degree of influence disproportionate to their size but nonetheless minority groups.

In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s the Episcopal Church experienced a resurgence of Classical Anglican Evangelicalism. This resurgence began with a few isolated individuals who largely came from the English Evangelicals or were influenced by them. They included Peter Moore, Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, and John Guest. The resurgence resulted in the opening of the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in 1976.

In 2008 we find two major groups of Evangelicals in North American Anglicanism—charismatic Evangelicals and confessional, or Reformed, Evangelicals. The second group is made up of a number of subgroups. Several subgroups of Reformed Evangelicals can be found in the formerly Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and Common Cause Partners such as the Anglican Mission in Americas and the Reformed Episcopal Church. One subgroup consists of graduates of the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and their congregations. A second subgroup consists of pastors who came from these bodies and trained in Reformed seminaries and their congregations. A third subgroup consists of candidates for Holy Orders coming from the same bodies and training in Reformed seminaries. A fourth subgroup consists of Reformed pastors who came from outside of these judicatories, who were attracted to Anglicanism’s historical formularies and liturgical worship, and are now serving congregations in one of the same judicatories, and their congregations. A fifth subgroup consists of the Reformed Evangelical pastors and congregations in the Reformed Episcopal Church, who have remained faithful to the doctrines and principles of the REC founders. A sixth subgroup consists of Evangelical pastors who, while they may have not studied in a Reformed seminary, embrace Reformed doctrines and principles, and their congregations. Several subgroups of Reformed Evangelicals can also be found in Continuing Anglican judicatories and even in the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church.

Reformed Evangelicals are dispersed among a number of judicatories and are not concentrated in any one judicatory. They are widely scattered and isolated from each other. They typically share a judicatory with other groups that have different views of the character of Anglicanism, of the history of the Anglican Church, and of the place of their own school of thought and that of other schools of thought in the Anglican tradition. These groups also have doctrinal beliefs and practices that are fundamentally different from those of Reformed Evangelicals and which do not harmonize with them.

Both inside the constituent bodies that are going to form the new Anglican Church in North America and outside those bodies Reformed Evangelicals lack strong, dynamic, and consistent leadership. Even where they have numerical strength, they do not enjoy a degree of influence commensurate with their numbers. Other groups are better organized than they are and exercise greater influence. They have no organizations like the Church Association and the National Church League that brought together Church of England Evangelicals in the nineteenth century.

None of the existing Anglican judicatories in North American genuinely represents the Reformed Evangelical tradition. Some judicatories may lay claim to the Reformation heritage of the Anglican Church but the actions of their leaders belie their claim. The Prayer Book Society of the USA and the Anglican Mission in Americas collaborated to produce two service books—Services in Contemporary English from The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 (2006) and An Anglican Prayer Book (2008). The Anglican Mission’s Solemn Declaration of Principles stipulates that alternative rites developed for use in the Anglican Mission must conform to the doctrines and forms of the classic Anglican Prayer Book—The Book of Common Prayer of 1662. Despite its title Services in Contemporary English from The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 (2006) does not meet this requirement. Neither does An Anglican Prayer Book (2008). Both draws heavily from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the 1962 Canadian Book of Common Prayer, and the 1928 English Revised Book of Common Prayer and embody their Catholic theology and not the Biblical-Reformation theology of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The so-called “1662 English Order” for the Holy Communion in An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) contains a number of Catholic elements that are not found in the 1662 BCP. Yet two senior bishops of the Anglican Mission, in contradiction to the Solemn Declaration of Principles of that body, endorsed both service books. This also shows that even in judicatories that are ostensibly committed to classical Anglicanism and Reformation Christianity, Reformed Evangelicals cannot expect their bishops to defend the Reformed Evangelical tradition.

Some Evangelicals may see the foregoing as very good reasons to separate. However, they need to consider the following.

In the Continuum judicatories in which the constitutions, the canons, and the church leaders promote the use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer cannot be regarded as truly standing in the Reformed Evangelical tradition however these judicatories choose to describe themselves. The 1928 BCP is a contradiction of the Reformed Evangelical tradition.

In Archbishop Cranmer’s Immortal Bequest – The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England: An Evangelistic Liturgy Samuel Leuenberger analyzes what he calls the “revivalistic,” or evangelistic, elements in the three principal liturgies in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. He points out that the text of the penitential sentences at the beginning of the services of Morning and Evening Prayer are so compiled that they let one discern for oneself the way to overcome sin through repentance. The Holy Spirit can also use them as he uses a minister’s preaching to convict a sinner and bring him to repentance. The 1928 Book of Common Prayer does away with these sentences and replaces them with sentences like Habakkuk 2:20, John 4:23, and Acts 1.8. A number of the penitential sentences are retained but they have been turned into seasonal sentences and scattered among the other sentences. They no longer serve the purpose that they serve in the 1662 Prayer Book. When one compares the 1928 BCP with its predecessors, it becomes apparent that the penitential language of these first two American Prayer Books has been diluted and a number of references to God’s anger or his wrath have been expunged. With these changes the 1928 BCP downplays not only the depravity of man but also de-emphasizes the response of a holy God to human sinfulness.

The two dominant schools of thought in the Episcopal Church at the time of the adoption of the 1928 Prayer Book were the Anglo-Catholics and the Broad Church liberals. The theology of these two schools of thought is reflected in the 1928 BCP. Anglo-Catholics supported these changes in the American Prayer Book because the changes are consistent with the Catholic view that man is not wholly depraved and the believer can save himself with the help of the grace that flows from Christ through the sacraments. In The American Prayer Book: Its Origins and Principles Edward Lambe Parson and Bayard Hale Jones provide an explanation of why Broad Church liberals supported these changes:

“They looked at…the interpretation of the Bible. In a way greatly different from that of previous generations. They were surer of God’s love, and less dogmatic about his wrath. They were increasingly eager to make worship more beautiful, and thus more worthy.”

The alteration of the language of the American Prayer is just one of a number of ways that the 1928 Book of Common Prayer helped to pave the way for the ascendancy of liberalism in The Episcopal Church. The 1928 BCP not only spread unbiblical doctrines and practices throughout the Episcopal Church but also fostered a disregard for biblical authority and an acceptance of doctrinal beliefs inconsistent with the Scriptures.

The 1928 Book of Common Prayer introduced several major doctrinal changes into the American Prayer Book:

1. The 1928 Prayer Book restores the two-fold offering of the bread and wine of the Medieval service books, the first offering at the Offertory and the second during the Prayer of Consecration, which has a long association with the doctrines of the Sacrifice of the Mass and Transubstantiation. The Anglican Church had rejected these doctrines as “repugnant” to the word of God at the Reformation in the sixteenth century.

2. In the 1928 BCP the second offering of bread and wine follows the Words of Institution as it does in the Medieval Mass and the 1764 Scottish Non-Juror Communion Office. In both liturgies this offering is seen as not as an offering of the bread and wine to God for use for the sacrament but as the offering of Christ’s Body and Blood to God as a reiteration or representing of Christ’s sacrifice.

3. The 1928 BCP directs the priest to stand in the eastward position, his back to the congregation, at the beginning of the Communion Service and of the Prayer of Consecration, a position has a long association with the doctrines of the Sacrifice of the Mass and Transubstantiation.

4. The 1928 BCP moves the Lord’s Prayer and the Prayer of Humble Access to a position immediately before the distribution of Holy Communion. The rubrics make provision for the singing of a hymn before the distribution. This provision permits the singing of the Agnus Dei. Steven Gardiner pointed out that these three elements in this arrangement in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer teach the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Martin Bucer in his Censura also drew the same conclusion. He also pointed out that the epiclesis or invocation of the Holy Spirit in the 1549 Canon also suggests that the eucharistic elements undergo some kind of change other than in use. The 1928 Prayer of Consecration is a revision of the 1764 Scottish Non-Juror Prayer of Consecration and like that prayer has an epiclesis or invocation of the Holy Spirit. The two Scottish Non Juror Bishops who compiled the 1764 Consecration Prayer were Usagers and believed that Christ did not offer himself to God upon the cross for our redemption but at the Last Supper. He was only slain on the cross. They taught that the priest re-offers Christ’s offering of himself symbolically in the consecrated bread and wine, God accepts the offering, blesses and sanctifies it, and then offers Christ’s Body and Blood to the communicant. The Words of Institution consecrate the bread and wine and the invocation of the Holy Spirit blesses and sanctifies the eucharistic elements.

5. In dropping the Flood prayer and recasting the prayer, “Almighty, everliving God, whose most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ, etc.,” the 1928 BCP places much greater emphasis upon the priestly consecration of the water in the font than do the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the previous American Prayer Books. This is consistent with Catholic sacerdotalism and sacramentalism and the Catholic doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

In adding the Second Office of Instruction to the Catechism, omitting the 1662 Preface from the Order of Confirmation, adding a presentation of the candidates for confirmation similar to that of candidates for ordination, and adding Acts 8 as an optional reading the 1928 BCP interprets confirmation as a sacrament in all but name only. It teaches that when the bishop lays hands upon the confirmand, a “measure” of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’ gifts are invariably conferred upon the confirmand. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer interprets confirmation as a catechetical rite in which those baptized as infants have opportunity to profess their faith before the church and to own for themselves the baptismal vows that were made on their behalf and to receive the prayers of the church for the strengthening of the Holy Spirit. It assumes that, since the candidate for confirmation is making a profession of faith, he has received the Holy Spirit. For without the Holy Spirit he could not make a genuine profession of faith. The bishop prays that God will “daily increase in them the manifold gifts of grace” and not that God will give them a “measure” of the Holy Spirit or the Spirit’s gifts.

7. The 1928 BCP drops the “militant here in earth” from the title of the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ’s Church and inserts a petition for the departed into the prayer. The 1928 BCP also adds prayers for the departed to the Order for the Burial of the Dead.

A Continuing Anglican judicatory that promotes the use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is not Protestant, much less Reformed. The Episcopal Church may have not yet dropped the “Protestant” from its name in 1928 but even then it was Protestant in name only and certainly not in its doctrine or its worship.

The lack of strong, dynamic, and consistent Reformed Evangelical leadership exists not only in the constituent bodies that are going to form the new province but also outside them. At the present time there is no Reformed Evangelical judicatory with leaders who are mission-minded and capable of leading a growing and vibrant judicatory. There is nowhere to go.

Most Reformed Evangelicals in North America are investing their energies, resources, and time in the new Anglican Church in North America. They are like a young couple, which have bought their first home. They are oblivious to bad plumbing, the faulty electrical wiring, the loose shingles, and the termite damage. It may take them several years and a lot of money later to realize that their first home is not the dream house that they thought it would be.

The way forward I believe is to organize Reformed Evangelicals both in the constituent bodies that are going to form the new Anglican Church in North America and outside these bodies, to establish a network of Reformed Evangelicals that crosses judicatory boundaries and to use this network to not only take steps to ensure that the Reformed Evangelical tradition grows and thrives in the new province but also outside it. The lesson today’s Reformed Evangelicals can learn from the nineteenth century Evangelicals is to stay in the new province as long as they can. In doing so they will not only advance the cause of Reformed Evangelicalism but also that of the gospel.

Should they, however, discover that their new home is not the house of their dreams and they must find somewhere else to live, they have already established the foundation of another new home upon which they can build. Their next step would be to elect a college of bishops who would provide the kind of mission-minded, capable leadership that a growing and vibrant Reformed Evangelical judicatory would need, and to secure their consecration.

But this option they really should put out of their minds altogether so that they can wholeheartedly devote themselves to establishing a strong Reformed Evangelical presence in the new province and even stronger zone of Reformed Evangelical influence. They also need to remember that a number of the other groups that comprise North American Anglicanism would be only too glad to see them go. These groups already dismiss Reformed Evangelicals as not being truly representative of authentic Anglicanism. The departure of Reformed Evangelicals from the new province would be a significant victory for them. They could then represent themselves as the mainstream of North America Anglicanism and Reformed Evangelicals as a fringe group. They could shape the life and worship of the new province to their liking. They could, as The Episcopal Church does now, claim to be the official representative of Anglicanism in North America. Having recognized a second North American province, the global South primates might be reluctant to recognize a third. Reformed Evangelicals would be robbed of their Anglican identity even though they embody genuine Anglicanism.



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  1. Robin, sage offerings, but have a more pessimistic view of the new Province. Reformed and Confessional Anglicans will be elbowed to the side. The AC Continuuers-post 1977–were definitely anti-reformational.

    Having said that, thanks for establishing HAN.


  2. The Reformed Episcopal Church did not adopt the 1928 BCP. They continue to use their own prayer book based on the 1789 BCP. However, when they began “fellowshipping” with Episcopalians they began to be influenced in the Anglo-Catholic direction. This is precisely why they are going Anglo-Catholic. Rather than focusing on growing their denomination through solid Reformed teaching and preaching, they are seeking to grow by merging with the Anglican Province in America, which is Anglo-Catholic. And they are joining in the Common Cause Partnership and have signed agreements with the AMiA and others in hopes of finding a place in the new province you are promoting.

    Personally, I think Anglicanism as a whole is liberal precisely because it tries to keep everyone under one tent. Sorry, but I can’t agree.

    Anglo-Catholics are not even Christians. So how can we fellowship with them????

  3. Charles;

    Sage inquiry. REC was going down the tubes in the early 90’s, without any barometer on the current TEC situation. Along came a theonomist, former Baptist, former Presbyterian, Sutton. He led Riches to his death.

    Riches, in a dying diocese, REC, my former theo-prof and Bishop for 20 years, was–as a pastor and seminary prof–a loser. During the 90’s, Riches, as a loser, was reaching out to others for affirmation.

    I can tell u this. Riches of the REC has not read the 55 volumes of the Parker Society series, although that set is in the very library where Riches lectures.

    Riches, in fact, with Grote, worshipped with ABP Grimbag, APA, at a “Unity Mass.” Venables presided.

    Anglicanism is a confused mish-mash.


  4. Robin, good thoughts, but an utopian desire in the face of AC-educated Churchmen. They are not going to accede to your views. Confessional Anglicans are done in the USA. Hate to be pessimistic, but true.

  5. The REC General Council adopted a new Book of Common Prayer in 2005. It “combines much material from the BCP 1662 and much from the American 1928 BCP.”

    Check out my article The Book of Common Prayer and the New Settlement at http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=9356

    The present situation is that the larger number of Evangelicals, charismatic and confessional, are involved in one of the judicatories of the the emerging Anglican Church in North America. The only two so-called “Protestant” Anglican judicatories outside the new ACNA are nominally Protestant at best and do not represent authentic confessional or Reformed Anglicanism. Their leaders are not capable of spearheading the recovery of confessional/Reformed Anglicanism in North America, much less lead a growing and vibrant confessional/Reformed Anglican entity.

    My point is that if we are ever to have a strong confessional/Reformed Anglican presence and even stronger confessional/Reformed Anglican zone of influence, we must focus on organizing confessional Evangelicals in the emerging ACNA where most of them are right now, as well as those aside the new province.

    The alternative is to form a new confessional/Reformed Anglican judicatory outside the new ACNA but there is neither the impetus or the critical mass for such an entity.

  6. I was unaware of the REC’s new prayer book but I will take you at your word since I know they are headed away from their Evangelical roots. Joining with the CCP is merely compromising the Gospel by associating with those who promote the heresies condemned in the 39 Articles. I would rather join a Presbyterian denomination than to join any existing Anglican province or denomination. The only other option would be independent Reformed/Evangelical churches which use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as their source for worship. The Catechism and the Ordinal might also be used. However, I would require that ministers also accept the Westminster Standards as an additional confession along side the 39 Articles. The Articles were formulated before Amyraldianism and Arminianism came on the scene as heretical departures from the Reformed faith.

    I was defrocked by the REC for refusing to accept apostolic succession. It makes about as much sense to be in league with Anglo-Catholics and charismatics as it does to be in league with Roman Catholics or the Eastern Orthodox. It is like trying to mix oil and water.

  7. Packer’s nice handbook, Concise Theology, makes extensive use of both the 39 Articles and the WCF. As he says in his introduction, “[S]ince the Confession was intended to amplify the 39 Articles, and most of its framers were Anglican clergy, and since it is something of a masterpiece… I am entitled to value it as part of my Reformed Anglican heritage”.

  8. Robin,

    It appears that your assessment of history differs from those who honestly and sincerely believe that the two mutually opposing theologies cannot be yoked together without a third theology emerging as the resultant. This is exactly what happened in the Anglican Communion. We may say it began with the High Church-Low Church divide. As it turned out in the united States the High Churchmen turned a blind eye to the Anglo-Catholics because they both held to a high church position. The net result was that the High Churchmen became Anglo-Catholics for that one doctrine that was so precious to them. The Low Churchmen (Evangelicals) who stayed in the Episcopal Church fought against the Anglo-Catholics but lost and had to at first tolerate the Anglo-Catholics. This forced toleration led to acceptance and then to almost disappearance of the Evangelicals. But toleration and even acceptance of opposing views led to liberal views. “We don’t want to argue, so let’s just accept each other as valid.” This of course is not possible with either the theology of the Evangelical or the Anglo-Catholic. So the Episcopal Church has basically become a Liberal Anglo-Catholic body who scorns the teachings of the Scriptures when it does not fit the spirit of the age. This is what happens when opposing theologies try to live together, the two clash, one gets the upper hand and the emergent result follows.

    In 1873 the Reformed Episcopal Church was formed by unhappy Evangelicals led by Bishop Cummins. In reality it was a very small movement. Not many churches left the Episcopal Church. Where the Low Church Evangelicals were in control they felt safe and did not see fit to leave and join their brothers in schism. Virginia is a good example. Bishop John Johns was the bishop of the diocese, at that time all of Virginia. Virginia was a safe place for Evangelicals. Being a Virginia and born in an Episcopal family, I cannot believe how liberal and accepting Virginian Episcopalians have become. They see nothing wrong with the Episcopal Church and yet the same people would have been shocked by all the mess presently going on before 1970. No, Bishop John Johns did not act pastorally in keeping Virginia in the Episcopal Church nor did McIlvane and others in keeping their dioceses in as well.

    Benjamin Bosworth Smith the Bishop of Kentucky was supposed to be an Evangelical. Bishop Cummins was his assistant bishop and slated to become the bishop of the diocese. Instead of retiring as he had planned he was talked into not resigning not doing so by some ministers (Anglo-Catholic) who knew that Bishop Cummins would enforce the then canons of the church and the rubrics of the Prayer Book. Benjamin Smith betrayed the theology that he claimed in calling himself an Evangelical.

    We can talk all day about who would have happened in history or what may have happened if something differently had happened, but it is all just so much talk. Historically speaking those Evangelicals who remained in the Episcopal Church were lost. Most Evangelicals left the Episcopal Church from 1873 to the present. The one who maintained their Anglican, Protestant, Reformed and Evangelical character the longest were those who went with the Reformed Episcopal Church. Many, many Episcopal Evangelicals left Anglicanism forever to find their descendants in the Baptist Churches and other Evangelical bodies. If Evangelicals wed themselves with the Anglo-Catholics, how do they expect a different outcome? Why would anyone keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result? Does history teach us nothing?

  9. “Personally, I think Anglicanism as a whole is liberal precisely because it tries to keep everyone under one tent. Sorry, but I can’t agree.

    Anglo-Catholics are not even Christians. So how can we fellowship with them????”

    Mr. Ray has hit the nail squarely on the head…and unfortunately it is a nail in the coffin of Anglicanism. Just as a little leaven leavens the whole lump, so the relentless persistence and virulent false doctrines of Anglo-Catholicism have resulted in a rotten core in Anglicanism. The Anglican Church is a wretched mess. It has forgotten from whence it came.

  10. Phil,
    How can you write that Reformed Anglicanism is “done” in this country when no one brings more ‘fire’ to the table than you do some times in an internet discussion? More than once I have become weary reading A/C commentary only to have my eyes brighten when your comments suddenly appear. It seems to me when you show up the enemy scatters. You are not “done”, and we are not “done”.

  11. Charles and Robin:

    (1) Not sure what two Prot judicatories are outside ACNA to which alluded. AOC and PECUSA? Concur that leadership not motivated nor able to lead much of anything.

    (2) Charles, with you on the WCF, but good luck with Anglicans on that one.

    (3) Charismatics in ACNA? Well…

    (4) Defrocked by REC for? Pray tell, say more.

    (5) I don’t see or hear of any confessional Anglicans? Where are they in the USA?

  12. We have also encouraged people across the world to realize that GAFCON is a gospel movement within the world-wide Anglican Communion. And so, the number of confessing Anglicans is on the increase.


  13. I hate to say it but if the Evangelicals continue to stay in the same tent with the Anglo-Catholics then they are gone, gone, gone. The Evangelicals must unite, get together, fellowship and work together. The only contact that the Evangelicals should have with the Anglo-Catholic is that of evangelizing them, the same contact they would with any other idolater or pagan or atheists or agnostic. God’s Word doesn’t change. “Do not be unequally yoked with the unbelieve”. “Flee from idolartry.” What is so hard to understand about that?

  14. Charlie and Philip:
    J. I. Packer in his wonderful little “Concise Theology” refers to the WCF just about as often as to the 39 Articles, holding in his preface that, “[S]ince the [Westminster] confession was intended to amplify the 39 Articles, and most of its framers were Anglican clerty … I am entitled to value it as part of my Reformed Anglican heritage and to use it as a major resource.
    BTW, I’d have “Concise Theology” as a must in any Reformed Anglican, even not theologically inclined, library.

  15. Dom,

    I agree, I treat it as an expansion and clarification of the 39 Articles. Especially since it is rooted in Scripture.


  16. For John Haney:

    Ah yes, how the AC’s weary me and confront me when in former discussions. Oh how they hate reformation-Anglicanism! Thanks for your note. It brings encouragement although the ACNA will be another mish-mash of contradictions, conflictions and dishonesties, to wit, adhering to the XXXIX Articles while AC’s are shoe-horned into the tent.


  17. Dom:

    From my small perspective, I just don’t see the increase of Confessing Anglicans at least in the USA. The ACNA is already dominated by 3 AC-bishops. Virtueonline.org follows the Keele-Stott-weakness of evangelical burial of the hatchet with AC’s. One of VOL moderators, Taylor, is an AC. I often wonder why Packer hasn’t been more direct about AC’s?

    I concur that WCF is vital to a reformational Anglican. Not only did Packer say this, but so did my C o E prof, Philip Edgcumbe Hughes…I miss that old, stalwart and godly churchman!


  18. Phil,

    I can understand the pessimism but I also do not think we should roll over and play dead. If the Evangelicals can get together and do something we may very well “light a candle in the united States that I trust will never be put out.” (paraphrase Bishop Latimer). Bishop Latimer uttered his famous words in the darkest period of the Reformation in England. The Providence of God works and never fails.

  19. This is why the Anglican Church is in ruins:
    http://a-c-ruminations.blogspot.com/ . There is no way unity can be had with this. It is an abomination.

  20. Ken,
    That is not an Anglican site. It is Roman. They have infiltrated Anglicanism which is an English expression of Christianity and enjected what the reformers referred to as the anti-christ. We Anglican Christians need to get together and work together. Another Whtite Horse Inn discussion group. The site you gave me makes me sick. Pure popery. Anyway I’ll research the site and its links a little mre. BTW, do you think they will be open to one of us preaching from their pulpit?

  21. Joe,
    Getting in an AC pulpit…wish it could happen. But as A.W. Tozer said, “Light means nothing to a blind man.”

  22. Just reading Tracts IX and X, but also the earlier ones. The game plan by the early Tractarians was to “talk up,” discreetly when opposed and cautiously when an auditory gained, “apostolic succession.” Talk up the power of the clergy (pro-sacerdotalism). One of them stated that the duties and privileges of the laity was to be silent and obey. That rank arrogance of the early Tractarians still informs many AC-ers. Just reading some of the hostile comments on VOL’s blogs…which remain, while the AC moderator Paul Taylor erases blogs by those of the Reformed Church of England.

    Get into an AC pulpit? Won’t happen. And, even if offerred such, this scribe wouldn’t take it.

    One lesson to be learned from Tractators…a minority can topple things. And make no mistake about it, Newman advised one body of clerks that if opposed, they–the Tractators–“would march right past them.”

    See Walter Walsh’s History of the Romeward Movement in the Church of England, 1833-1864. Quite notably and as an aside, Toon does not mention Walsh’s works anywhere—ahem.

    Away with AC interlopers.

  23. Mr. Veitch,

    “Away with AC interlopers.”

    Agreed. But isn’t also widely believed in these parts that there is a critical mass lacking to even, say, begin an alternative denomination, though small, in the confessional evangelical Anglican tradition, much less seize the “levers of power” within the emerging ACNA?

    Reading comments on, say, Stand Firm, one gains the impression over time that most of these people honestly, sincerely, and *thankfully* believe they’re just thisclose to Rome or Constantinople (I’d like to pistol-whip the next git who uses the phrase “swim the Tiber”).

    The level of contempt for evangelicals is indeed staggering, all borne with the best of humor by Fr. Kennedy.

    Your point concerning a minority toppling over ramparts, however, is well taken, and another excellent illustration is the triumph of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia: not even a majority in their own party, they took for themselves the name denoting “majority” and consigned the moniker of “minority” to the majority Mensheviks.

    – Jeff

  24. Dear Jeffrey:

    I agree that “critical mass” for a new judicatory is missing. Mr. Jordan has noted that two Protestant judicatories already exist, to wit, the Protestant Episcopal Church, US (pecusa.us) and the Anglican Orthodox Church. These two judicatories are led by honourable, godly, and Protestant Churchmen, committed to the 1928 BCP and the authorized version of Scripture. Also, the XXXIX Articles and the ordinals of the 28. I know both, but do not see substantive movement forward.

    Mr. Jordan justifiably raises concerns about the 1928 BCP.

    Neither jurisdiction will be able to “seize the levers of power” in the ACNA. The current leadership pattern–3 of 4 withdrawing Bishops are AC–will, as AC’s do, insist on their legitimacy at the table of power.

    Upon furthered reading of the Tractarians and Ritualists, I find so many of their leaders dishonest. With Mr. Mahler, I cannot see how an AC and a Confessional Anglican can–in good conscience–co-labour in the ministry.

    An educated, writing, radio and TV, and internet—such as here–provide opportunities. The key will be the ability to defang, intellectually and spiritually, these AC interlopers.

    Big picture in response to your post, concur that critical mass–on the ground–does not exist.

  25. Jeff and others:

    You can download these books at following URLs. Must reads. I cannot comment on all GAFCON-eers. I can about Leonard of the REC–hypocritical and comprising. I little know how to motivate such pompophiles to honest and humility. Tractarians are an offense to me. I believe they are derogatory to the Protestant, Reformed, Confessional, and Catholic Anglican. These books are highly recommended. See below.

    The History of the Romeward Movement in the Church of England, 1833-1864


    The Secret History of the Oxford Movement


    The Jesuits in Great Britain


    The Ritualists, their Romanising objects and work


  26. Phil and Jeff,
    Agreed Reformed/Confessional Anglicans cannot work with AC’s….Apples and Blight…forget about night and day, but much more important…..do we not have the initial question backward?

    I agree the critical mass is not there (whatever that number may be?), but is that what we should be looking for first? Are we not putting the cart before horse when we do? Shouldn’t we be looking for a network first (the locomotion to get the job done….the horse), and so that the numbers (the ‘necessary’ mass….the buggy) will have something to hitch to, and move along?


  27. Mr. Haney,

    If you are correct that we need to get the engine built before the buggy can get moving, then THE question becomes, Do we migrate into the ACNA (as Mr. Jordan has suggested, as an affinity-based network, i.e. the Heritage Anglican Network), or work outside as the REC decided to do so all those years ago?

    Frankly, the idea of entering the ACNA as the HAN appeals to me, but only at first sight. I believe that a group of confessing, evangelical Anglicans, committed (uniquely, as far as I know, among ALL the networks, caucases, dioceses, independent denominations, etc. expected to endorse and constitute the new province) to the use of the 1662 BCP and strict adherence to the 39 Articles, will be swamped by all the other parties out there; and thus, we will be at the mercy of an extremely outsized majority when it comes to maintaining a peculiar witness in the ACNA.

    That said, I do not want to come across as believing the intentions of the various factions as nefarious: I detect a great amount of Christian forbearance and charity among those leading the journey towards the new Anglican jurisdiction, on all sides.



  28. Jeff and John:

    Whatever decisions are made, clearly, a literate confederation is needed, to wit, a network. A place where genuine, Confessional Anglicanism is the governing dictum.

    One may elect to work within the REC (good luck with Riches), AMiA, etc. The advantage is to leaven those bodies. The disadvantage, conflict.

    If left at the academic and informational level–which is a MUST–we can discern if there is movement on the ground.

    Like the Oxfordians, we need an extremely well-read, courageous, and organizational breed. Oxfordians excelled at that and were courageous, albeit very, very confused.

    This forum surely helps to exchange our ideas and network.

    As to looking at charity in the various factions of ACNA, the same argument was used by sympathizers of the Tractarian-Ritualist breed, to wit, they help the poor. Good as far as that goes, however, that doesn’t and didn’t answer the reformational core doctrines.

    Riches will be nice to you until you tell him he is wrong, to wit, to countenance Anglo-SSC-Romery like ABP Wally Grunsdorf of the APA. Fundamentally, hypocritical and dishonest on Riches’s part.

    Also, would suggest academic posts to the VOL blog as one source of opposition.

    BTW, which withdrawing ACNA Bishop is an SSC-man? Iker?

  29. Mr. Veitch,

    Do you have (former) ties to the REC? I apologize if you’ve already mentioned so. I know Mr. Charlie Ray was defrocked as a priest in the REC.

    I am just curious as to whether people in the pews of the REC have any idea that their theological heritage has basically been abandoned by the leadership of the denomination.

    I think the SSC man among the former TE”C” bishops must be Schofield (out in California, northern Central Valley area, can’t recall diocese name right now).


  30. Jeff,
    I think Schofield is bishop of Joaquin Valley in California. However, I don’t know what SSC means. I though I had read that he was an Evangelical.

    I agree that we need to get the horse in place.

  31. Jeff:

    Yes, I once was an REC minister and served under them as a Navy Chaplain. My own generational roots to REC go back to 1981. My great-great grandparents and great grandparents were REC in Canada from 1874-1921, when St. George’s returned to the Anglican Church of Canada (discovered by me in the 1990’s to my surprise).

    Not sure why Charles Ray was defrocked.

    As to REC pew members, yes, many questions were raised, especially at Bp Cummins Memorial in Baltimore, but largely, objectors–as rectors–were marginalized or driven off to the PCA to preserve something of their Reformed and Calvinist sensibilities. Joe Busfield is one such activistic opponent of Leo–a Cardinal or Archbishop or Primate–His Lord—His Grace—His eminence–enthroned above REC Churchmen.

    I suspect that the new generation of young people know nothing of REC history. In the 80’s, it would have appeared to my limited sight that many youth were not much to be seen. But I could be wrong.

    I, one clergy for sure, am not happy. Joe Mahler was an REC clergyman as well. Dr. Hubler, a very successful rector and fellow classmate at REC, was REC—now is with Bp Morley of the Traditional Episcopal Church, a small continuuing Protestant group.

    As to SSC, it may well be Schofield. I wonder ab out Iker and Ackerman. Whoever it is—a bad historical association for sure. As a Protestant Churchman, I wouldn’t go near the SSC, the Society of the Holy Cross (founded about 1867 after a few mergers with other secret Papist, underground groups in C o E…Order of St. John the Divine, Order of St. Orismund, Order for Corporate Union, and others…with explicit marching orders to de-Protestantize England and the C of E).

    Virtue’s failure to raise this issue is telling, but not surprising.

  32. Also, truth be told, Dr. Allen Guelzo, a former Prof, was unhappy. He left. So was Dr. Milton Fisher, OT Prof at RES. He headed off to the ARP, although was a long-time RES prof. So was Dr. Dwight Zeller (? might have last name wrong, but was a retired USN Chaplain). They cleared out. Rev. Neil Bech, the registrar, was driven off. I know other clergy were unhappy. But NO LEADERSHIP. Or willingness to fight. Rev. Truesdell, long-time librarian, fought a rear-guard action as did his lawyer-son, whom Leo hooted down after the lawyer raised questions about monies, sale of land, and a new pension fund for His Lord and Eminence, Leo.

    I hope Joe Busfield, a cradle REC Churchman, posts here. He has an excellent and better sense of it than me.

  33. For Joe Mahler and others:

    I posted a bunch of URL’s, especially those by Walter Walsh, neglected by Toon in Evangelical Theology. Walsh is a far closer and better witness to the OM than Toon in his work. You can download Walsh’s books as noted earlier.

    You’ll soon get your eyes opened about the SSC–the shock-troopers of C o E Tractarians. LIARS, JOE, LIARS. Dishonest Churchmen, signing off to the XXXIX Articles, and–with more than mere dalliances with Rome–were explicitly committed to resubmission to the Anti-Christ of Rome and Tridentine doctrine.

    The REC impulse—though she was never large–was correct. And at the juncture in history when she could have been a tremendous witness, Lord Leo has played the prostitute for respect, sleeping with APA Wally Grunsdorf. He needs to be impeached and forcibly retired. Feel free to quote me.

  34. A downloadable book, Strype’s history on ABC Edmund Grindal, Bess 1’s ABC who would not suppress “prophesyings,” to wit, synods of people discussing theology and Bible. Something QE1 thought unauthorized and favouring disorder and disunity, e.g. some dissatisfactions with the BCP.


  35. I must apologize for ruining the Anglican Church. Mea maxima culpa. I’ll add this naughty deed to my next confession and offer some extra acts of contrition at Rosary, Stations of the Cross, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament this week at my parish. Thanks for the link to my blog. It never hurts to have more links to help me educate and support an even larger number of the faithful in the Catholic Faith.

    • Adam,

      Your penance is to stand up to your waist in freezing cold sea water and to plead for forgiveness for forty days and forty nights and then to find a suitable stony holy mountain in Ireland and to ascend to the top of the mountain on your knees while flaggelating yourself with a cat-o-nine-tails in the manner of a true penitent, followed by a pilgrimage to Rome on foot, wearing a hair shirt and no shoes, and concluding with an interview with the Holy Father in which you are to obtain his absolution and blessing of Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, and the other martyred English Refomers. You are also to obtain a written statement from his Holiness, signed, and sealed by him, in which he admits that the Church of Rome was wrong in its opposition to the Reformation and its persecution of the Reformers, that indeed the Church of Rome and all Catholic Christianity is in desperate need of reform to this very day. But to ensure that you are truly penitent, you are to daily read at least a chapter from the Old Testament, a chapter from the New Testament, one of the Homilies from the two Books of Homilies, a sermon from John Bullinger’s Decades of Sermons, a chapter from the work of a Puritan writer of your choice, a tract from the Church Association or a chapter from one of Bishop J. C. Ryles’ works, and such other works on the periodic lists that we shall email you. You are to become an active member of a church that is decidely Protestant and Reformed in its doctrine and worship as well as to give a large donations to the Protestant and Reformed organizations on the list which we will also send you. You are to post a notice on your website cautioning anyone who visits that site to not believe any positive remarks that you might say about the Catholic faith, admitting that you have been misleading people for years. A visit to the confessional, the recitation of the Rosary, and Benediction just will not suffice.


  36. Robin,

    Thank you. If I ever have enough money, I’d love to return to Ireland, and make a first visit to the Eternal City. To meet the Sovreign Pontiff and obtain his blessing would be too wonderful! Since indulgences cannot be purchased, and cannot be obtained as insurance against future offences, which you undoubtedly know as a student of Church history, I’ll have to obtain them the same way I’ve been obtaining them all along – by prayers and works of supererogation.

    • Adam,

      I edited my post and toughened up your penance. I decided that I was letting you off too easily. After all, most of the people who post on this web site are Calvinists and they take repentance seriously. At least I did not consign you to the stocks in front of the kirk or required you to confess your sins to the whole church on Sunday morning. Quite frankly you are still getting off lightly.


  37. I see your comment has been enlarged since I made mine. Indeed, it would be quite effecacious to have requiem Masses said for the souls of the English Reformers, but as I am of humble means I cannot build a chapel dedicated to Our Blessed Lady. Walsingham will have to do. As to Bible reading, I do a bit of that, and also hear much of the Holy Scriptures read at Mass on Sundays and weekdays. I’ve never heard of the Church Association – perhaps you mean the Church Union, which published many fine tracts.

  38. Robin

    Each time I look at your comment it gets longer and more “interesting” so I’ll stop looking at it now. One final comment, though: The Church is often in need of reform, it is true. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, has been engaged in a process of reform during his happy Pontificate. You’ll also notice that I did post a warning to readers on my blog warning them that they should read at their own soul’s risk yesterday.

    • Andrew

      The Church Association was organized in the United England in the nineteenth century in response to the Oxford Movement and Ritualism. It was composed of Evangelical churchmen. As well as publishing tracts, it was also involved in the prosecution of a number of Catholic churchmen who introduced into their churches candles, candlesticks, and crosses on the altar, eucharistic vestments, and other ornaments and practices that not only violated the canons of the Church of England but also English civil and criminal law. The prosecution of these individuals, however, did not produce the results that the Church Association desired. It generated public sympathy for the prosecuted Catholic churchmen. The latter even though they were fined and jailed, persisted in what they were doing, much like the liberals have in the past thirty years. This led to more fines and more jail time and provoked a public outcry against their continued prosecution.

      A number of the Church Association tracts can be found on the Church Society web site. They will give you insight into the concerns of the Evangelical churchmen involved in the Church Association. I also recommend reading J. C. Ryle’s Knots Untied. The Ritualists of his day were extremely provocative toward the Evangelicals and their provocativeness did not help relations between the two church parties.


  39. I had lost track of this important exchange. The interaction between Robin and Adam is—well, is it contrived or humorous? Or serious. Either way, it’s funny.

    Adam, get on with it man. The standard of infinite holiness is perfect and, one your grounds, can ya make man?

  40. Phil, yer Grandad must have sung:

    Oh give me a home,
    Where there’s no pope of Rome,
    And none but the Protestant’s play.

    Where seldom is heard,
    A jesuit’s word,
    And flute bands play “The Sash”
    all the day.

    No, no Pope of Rome.
    No chapels to sadden my eye.
    No nuns and no priests,
    and no rosary beads.
    Where each day is the Twelfth of July.

    The 12th of July commemorates the victory of King William III over the papist King James II, and the establishment of the Church of England as Protestant, and that of the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy. This directly lead to the Constitution of the United States, and the liberty of her people, God Bless Us All.

  41. My Grandad, Scots Presbyterian in Canada, was told by a Roman believer that he lived for the day when he could walk in Protestant blood. Yep and Gramps never forgot it. He never talked much about his faith, but he sure lived it—Saturday night, bathtub, potatoes peeled for Sunday to minimize all work, and, on Sunday, divine worship. And as a kid, I could NOT play outside. Objections by me were tabled. Then, on Monday, we’d go fishing. An avid fisherman, but not on the Lord’s Day. And we sang from a Psalter with no music, just a book with words in it. They did have an organ though.

    After a century of Papal intrigue and Jesuit-missions in England (something am looking into), James 11’s intrigues were put to an end. Until Newman came along.

  42. These comments get more frightening, and at the same time more hilarious, with each new one.

  43. Adam – perfectly human reaction to laugh after being frightened. Laugh and be free. 😉

    Phil – We should try and meet up in Philly on the weekend of the Reformed Convention. There’s a good Brit place that serves a fine lunch not far from Center City, my treat.

  44. Perhaps the other option is to form Evangelical and Reformed associations within the new province? A denomination within a denomination?

    At any rate, Christ Church, Longwood, Florida is a small congregation and cannot leave TEC without losing the property which would devastate what is left.

    I think the pastor might be open to joining a Reformed fellowship within the new province since that might not entail leaving TEC at this point.


  45. Keith, perhaps a connect in Phillie, not sure headed that way. i want to however, to attend my home church of three years, Tenth Pres.

    Charlie: Perhaps an “ecclesiola ecclesiae,” to wit, a church within a church. At this point, I see nothing emerging with ACNA. 3/4 dioceses are anglo-romanist. Virtue is of no help here.

    Wither now? At this point, we live in cyber-space.


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