Highways and Hedgerows

December 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

By Robin G. Jordan

I have good reasons for urging Reformed Evangelicals to form a strong network that links together Reformed Evangelicals in the new Anglican Church in North America with Reformed Evangelicals outside that body and to establish a vigorous presence and an even more robust sphere of influence in the new province. They have a lot to gain from achieving these goals.

Reformed Evangelicals have an opportunity right now that is not likely to be repeated. The new province is affinity based and not geographically based. This means that the affinity-based judicatories that form the new province may plant and grow new churches throughout the United States and Canada. They are not restricted to a specific territory like a diocese. The only exceptions are the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses.

If Reformed Evangelicals establish themselves in a position of leadership in one or more judicatories of the new province, they can carve out a substantial niche in the new province. The only restraint upon the place that they can establish for themselves in the new province will be the number of new congregations that they can form. There are no territorial limitations as in other Anglican provinces. One church party cannot stake out a piece of real estate and bar other church parties from its turf.

I spent 27 years in the field of social work. I developed some expertise in evaluating people’s capacity, readiness, and motivation for change. It takes a crisis of some kind to motivate most people to change. They are off balance and they seek to reduce the tension that the crisis has created. Once they regain their balance, the motivation for change quickly fades. The trick for a social worker is partner with those in crisis to bring about change in their lives while they are still motivated to change. When the crisis is past and they have regained their balance, then the social worker must look for other motivators for change in the lives of his clients. I worked largely with involuntary clients—those referred by the state child protection agency and the courts.

Most Reformed Evangelicals I know, while they are not happy with a number of developments, are still committed to the idea of a new province. They have invested themselves in the present churches and their present judicatories. Their level of dissatisfaction is not such that they are entertaining any thoughts of an alternative to the new province. There is nothing happening in the Common Cause Partnership—no crisis—to motivate them to take a different direction from the one that they are presently taking. There is also nothing happening outside of the CCP to also motivate them to take a new direction—another possible motivator. There is no dynamic growing entity outside the CCP that captures their imagination and leads them to think, “I should be there and not here.”

I do not believe that we are going to see anything that will help change their present direction until they have been sharing the new province with the Anglo-Catholics and the other schools of thought represented in the new province for a period of time. The Anglo-Catholics enjoyed hegemony in the Episcopal Church in the nineteenth century and they can be expected to seek to regain it in the new province. Their efforts to shape the culture of the new province and to dominate its institutions may change Reformed Evangelical attitudes toward the new province.

I see a number of advantages in establishing a network of Reformed Evangelicals in the emerging Anglican Church in North America and outside of the new province beside the ones I have already enumerated. It would reduce the isolation of Reformed Evangelicals who are dispersed throughout the new province and to provide them with support and encouragement and various kinds of assistance.

It is not only Reformed Evangelicals in the new province, which need to network together. It is also Reformed Evangelicals outside the new province. They are just as isolated and scattered. They also need support and encouragement and all kinds of assistance.

Most, if not all, of the Reformed Evangelicals I have encountered outside of the new province are orphans. They no longer have a denomination of their own. Networking them together would provide them with a tribe, with a family. Networking together is one way we can care for each other’s spiritual welfare. It may be idealistic. But I see a need that is crying to be met, and networking is one way I see of meeting that need.

Another advantage of linking together Reformed Evangelicals in the new province and linking them to Reformed-Evangelicals outside the new province is that it establishes the kinds of collaborations and relationships that are essential to the eventual formation of a new judicatory. This is how the Anglican Mission in America was formed. It began as a network of Episcopal clergy and congregations who were concerned about the direction in which the Episcopal Church was going—their motivating crisis—and who established ties with sympathetic Anglicans outside of the Episcopal Church and the United States.

Among the other factors that influence my thinking is that to be successful in achieving its goals a movement needs critical mass. Networking can help to create critical mass.

Reformed-Evangelicals need dynamic new leaders. I have sized up the only two Continuing Anglican judicatories that claim to be Protestant and Reformed. They may be Low Church but their use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer rules them out as truly standing in the tradition of Classical Anglican Evangelicalism. The 1928 BCP is a High Church liturgy that reflects the unreformed Catholic and liberal theology of the two church parties that dominated the Episcopal Church in the 1920s—the Anglo-Catholics and the Broad Church Liberals. From what I gather, the bishops leading these two judicatories simply cannot provide the kind of energizing leadership that Reformed-Evangelicals need in the twenty-first century. Networking can also help to produce such leadership.

Why do I encourage Reformed-Evangelicals in the new province to devote all their energies, time, and resources to networking with Reformed Evangelicals in the new Anglican Church in North America and with Reformed Evangelicals outside that body and establishing strong presence and sphere of influence in the new province and to put out of their minds any other options?

If they focus upon accomplishing one or two goals, they have a greater likelihood of meeting these goals than if they try to work on a larger set of goals that pulls them in different directions and dissipates their efforts. The first of these two goals is achievable. The second is more challenging but not beyond the realm of possibility. Putting other options out of their minds enables them to concentrate upon the tasks necessary to accomplish these goals.

I have something else in mind for Reformed Evangelicals outside the new province. They need to go out in the city and the towns, into the highways and the hedgerows, and to gather in their fellow Reformed Evangelicals who like themselves are outside the new province. Together we need to sit down and identify what their needs are and how the Heritage Anglican Network can meet their needs.

Should Reformed Evangelicals work within the new province? Should they separate from the new province and establish their own enclave? We can spend endless hours debating what is the best course of action and accomplish nothing. The reality is that we have Reformed Evangelicals in the new province and we have Reformed Evangelicals outside the new province and both would benefit from a network of Reformed Evangelicals. I believe that our focus should be upon forming that network. Networking together will strengthen both groups.



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  1. Robin,
    You stated,
    “They are not restricted to a specific territory like a diocese. The only exceptions are the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses.”
    So what about the Evangelicals in the three Anglo-Catholic dioceses? They would have to of necessity form congregations outside of the CCP. This is an Achilles heel. Also, I noticed the traitors from the Reformed Episcopal Church who sat their in all their episcopal glory, Evangelical need to be warned of their treason against that once bastion of Low Church Evangelical Protestant Reformed doctrine and practice.
    This much I will cede to your position, Evangelicals do need to reach out and establish themselves wherever they can. No matter where they are they need to fellowship and support each other. They need to be able to contact each other and meet. This is urgent. They certainly cannot worship though with Anglo-Catholics because they simply do not believe the same thing. Anglo-Catholic practices are sin to them.

  2. Mr. Mahler,

    I would add a little something to your post. I am a graduate of Calvin College, and while there was a friend of a young woman whose father was an Episcopal priest in the Milwaukee area. I asked her about her father’s parish and she felt that (even though, I might add, he was a Nashotah House graduate, a visit to which insitution with its Marian statuary, etc., nearly turned the stomach of her formerly-Lutheran mother) it was more broad church than high church.

    But as she was seeking a TEC parish in the Grand Rapids area, she tried out Grace Episcopal Church, which you may recognize from its hosting the funeral service of Pres. Gerald Ford. I asked her how she liked it, and she said she didn’t care for it, noting almost off-handedly that the parish was your typically unfriendly-to-visitors Episcopal congregation. This came not only from a cradle Episcopalian, but a clergy daughter!

    I realize this is fairly off-topic from your post, but I would like to stress to all the HAN readers out there the absolute necessity of fostering friendly parishes (and a friendly network, at that). When my wife and I moved to South Bend, we “scouted” three United Methodist parishes, and settled on the smallest of the three. But God truly blessed us, since I’m not quite sure we knew what we were doing, as our parish has such a warm feeling to it, a feeling that you *are* with family.

    All that aside, as a first gesture in response to your call that “… Evangelicals do need to reach out and establish themselves wherever they can. No matter where they are they need to fellowship and support each other. They need to be able to contact each other and meet. This is urgent”, I will state that I am located in South Bend, Indiana, have started some tentative evangelizing efforts in the city (no visible success yet, such that Anglicans Of Michiana consists only of myself, my dear, loyal wife, and our 2 1/2 year-old son), and while disheartened at times, I must remind myself that a) God calls us to faithfulness, not success, b) I have no idea if my efforts have touched someone who will remain completely unknown to me this side of glory, and c) the more I look around, the more I find websites such as this popping up. And this last is truly an encouragement.

    I desperately wanted to attend the ACNA events on Dec. 3, but unfortunately the last train to South Bend leaves at 7:10 P.M., and the service did not even begin until 7:30 P.M., in addition to being in Wheaton, which meant another train ride just to get to Millennium Station downtown for the train home.

    The service was probably a “Mass”, anyways.

    – Jeff

  3. Mr. Miller,

    Your are right a church does need to be friendly. The member need to be willing to go out and introduce themselves to those who come in. I have found that small churches as a whole are the most friendly. But sadly I have also found that many who visit a small church will not return. Their reason, it is too small. Within small churches the members quickly become almost as a single extended family. Many large churches realizing this have started cell groups to give that feeling of friendship and family. But I will state the church must never sacrifice the truth for growth and success. Jesus Christ is an offense to worldly people. But never to the Christian.

  4. Jeff and Joe:

    Yes, there should be a network of Confessing Evangelical Anglicans, faithful to the Reformed Church of England.

    However, as Robin suggests, networking inside the ACNA leaves me cold, since substantial trust and control issues exist. For example, co-laboring with one of these ill-trained TEC priests. Just look at what Virtue calls “Orthodox Anglicanism” and his utoptian euphoria of “evangelicalism” nationwide in the new province.

    As for me, will just keep reading. I am one of those “orphans” to which Robin refers.

  5. Mr. Veitch,

    After exploring the AMiA, and reading up on what that organization requires in terms of subscription from its clergy (yearly reaffirmation of belief in Articles in their literal-grammatical sense, etc.), as well as what I would consider the truly courageous and ground-breaking decision to bring to an end the ordination of priestesses (in passing, can I open that can of worms? Is there a consensus among confessing Anglicans that the priesthood should be reserved to males?), I thought for certain that I had found a home in which to pursue my vocation (I believe God has called me to the ministry, but that’s another story).

    So one can imagine my disappointment when I read the “Fundamental Principles” found in the constitution of the ACNA. I haven’t yet found the time or the intellectual energy to begin reading the canons, but would be interested in the comments of those who have, and if there is anything of theological import therein.

    I DO believe that Robin’s website here as well as his call for a network of confessing Anglicans on the “About Us” page is a great first step in the direction of establishing a theologically-coherent and (hopefully) spiritually tightly-knit group of “comrades in arms”.

    And we need most of all to keep praying for one another.

    – Jeff

  6. Dear Jeff:

    Thanks for this excellent post. Yes, to a theologically-coherent and tight group of Confessing Evangelicals.

    As an aside, am posting this good URL–long but good portal to many books.

    This one by Bp Alexander Viets Griswold, 1843, contra: Tractarianism.

    Jeff, and others, will continue to post these URL’s where we can download excellent books free of charge and to our advantage and use.

    Am one of those “orphans” to which Robin alluded.


  7. http://books.google.com/books?id=S6oOAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=reformation&lr=#PPA3,M1

    Forgot the URL.

  8. Some essential reads which are downloadable.

    Remains of Thomas Cranmer


    Thomas Cranmer by Mason


    The Works of Cranmer


    Life of Cranmer (no author cited)


    Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation by Pollard (often cited in many bibliographies and now–at hand).


    Life of Thomas Cranmer by John Strype (1643-1737), an early commentator with access to many manuscrpts.


    Cranmer’s Catechism


    Life of Thomas Cranmer by Gilpin (1784)


    A Vindication of Thomas Cranmer by Todd (1826)


    The British Reformers by the Presbyterian Board Publication (1842)


    Life of Cranmer by Marshall (1876)


    History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth by J.A. Froude (1860)


    Age of the Reformation by Preserved Smith (1920)


    History of England from the Accession of Henry VII to the Death of Henry VIII by Fisher (1906)–Cranmer found around pp.317ff.


  9. To Robin G. Jordan: Isn’t ‘further’ not’farther’ the correct word for the title of your latest Anglicans Ablaze article?

    • Floridian,

      Both are appropriate. I chose to use both for the sake of variety after consulting my 1932 Oxford-Cambridge Dictionary of Modern English.

  10. Questions:

    What are the practical on-ground, questions we have learned from Evangelical Churchmen under or with the mish-mash TEC?

    Or with AC’s?

    Repression and obstructionism. Witness the hostility to Reformed posters on VOL blogs?


  11. I had to wonder about the comments re. the 1928 BCP.
    I do not see where a low-Church evangelical could not use it. The Prayer for the Whole State of Christ’s Church can be altered with the words “militant here on earth” from the 1662. The prayer for the dead in the funeral service need not be said.

    In Churchmanship, I am a high church Calvinist with no Anglo-Catholic sympathies. That said, there is much to be said for Anglican and non-Anglican evangelicals to bond together. Who knows? Our fellow Reformed may come to appreciate the Prayerbook? Charles

    • The 1928 Communion Service contains elements that historically are associated with the doctrines of the Sacrifice of the Mass and Transubstantiation. You can learn more about the theology of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer on my website Exploring An Anglican Prayer Book (2008). The alterations and additions in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer moved the American Prayer Book away from the biblical and Reformed theology of the 1552 -1662 family of Prayer Books and closer to the unreformed Catholicism of the Medieval service books. I’ll summarize my findings for you and post them as an article on this web site.

  12. For the record, i strongly prefer the 1662 as more in line with the faith and worship of the Reformed Church of England. I am currently a member of a Reformed Church and grievously miss the BCP Liturgy.

  13. Friends:

    In readings on the OM-Ritualist movement this week, important to realize the extent to which this Romewardizing movement progressed in the USA by 1900, notably. I am not sure we appreciate how extensive these innovators were. I am not sure the rank and file TEC Churchman understands a whit of these things. I suspect that all the fripperies, fancies, smells, bells, mitres and lace were emotionalistic enthusiasms of a Romanticist movement of the late 19th century. Histrionics, if not narcissism, later morphing alongside liberal theology.

    However, OM-Ritualism produced a choke-hold on Reformation-minded Anglicans as TEC became either Anglo-Catholic or Broad Church (indifferentists, etc., to manly resistance). And then, liberal theology went largely unopposed–compared to, for example, the Princeton theologians of Presbyterianism. Do we see any such scholarly counterpart in TEC, 1900-1950? Help, if you know of such. What TEC theologian from 1870-1925 compared with Charles Hodge, AA Hodge or the veritable, venerable and scholar B.B. Warfield?

    Much water under the bridge from 1900 to 2000. Devoted Romewardizing-Anglicans, by default, will and do dominate the NAP. These Churchmen will be (are) in no mood to see a Renaissance of learning re: the Reformed, Protestant, Confessional and Anglican history.

    Imagine trying to induce NAP-ers to Calvin, Bucer, Bullinger, Zwingli, Luther, Melanchthon, Cranmer, Ridley, Hooper, Parker, Sandys, Becon, Rogers, Bradford, Latimer and even Whitgift? Or the Protestant Confessions of Germany, Switzerland, and England?

    Or secondary works expositing the Reformed faith?
    My sense? You will be pointed to the “Exit Sign” and dubbed a “troubler in Israel.” Count on it.

    I fear the charismatic breed in NAP-ville does not delve deeply into these theological and historicla issues either, although my contacts in the charismatic world–by design–are nil.

    Whither shall we go?

    Worked through several hundred pages from early documents of the Reformed Episcopal Church this week. What an huge transition over 10 years, led by Leonard Riches, emphatically contravening the theology, spirit and ethos of 140 years of evangelical and anti-Tractarian witness…all gone, now, except for isolated clergy here and there.

    Let’s keep talking…at least it’s therapeutic by way of venting (not ranting). A rather sad day in which we live. Although it was sad for the Marian exiles and victims—manly men in those days.

    Will be working through Strype’s Ecclesiastical Memorials (1733) on Mary’s reign. See http://books.google.com/books?id=aa4UAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=john+strype+ecclesiastical+memorials for a free book, downloadable as a pdf-file.

    Of interest, after Mary’s accession, the English rank and file “sorta hung out” attempting to discern the new shifts, yet without causing trouble. Mary feared there would be a reaction and proceeded somewhat slowly, but then fairly quickly by way of imprisonments. I believe it was Ridley who chided the rank and file for discerning the faith by the “prevailing winds of culture” rather than the Supreme and Sovereign Standard and Rule of Faith, the canonical Scriptures. Truth rather than taste determines theology. Some things never change.

    So whither now?

  14. Greetings brethren.
    I found this site thru ReasonableChristian, God be thanked. I’m a member of the REC, living in a comparitively traditional pocket of the NY/NJ/PA area.

    The current REC PB, if he is the author of this Puseyite upsurge, is an old man. If it is only ten years in the doing, or even twenty, it’s possible the rot can be turned back, with God’s help.

    I attend two REC parishes in NJ, and neither is happy with ACNA. I absolutely agree with brother Jordan that we organise – I intend to start with this REC pocket. I did Episcopal Witness in ECUSA for the last few years before realising that ECUSA was lost a century ago. I propose a renewed Anglican Evangelical Witness be launched at the laity. and if God so wills it, we may see the damage reversed, or reduced.

    God have mercy on us all.

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