A Clarification of Position

December 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

By Robin G. Jordan

After reading the comments posted in response to my previous articles, I believe that I should clarify my position on three issues.

[1] I am not advocating that any Reformed Anglican should join an ACNA judicatory (e.g., AMiA or CANA), or he and his congregation should join an ACNA judicatory, if he believes that he would be compromising his Reformed beliefs if he did so. I am advocating that Reformed Anglicans outside of the new province network together since I believe that a network of Reformed Anglicans would be beneficial not only to the participants in that network but also to the cause of the gospel, evangelical Christianity, and Reformed Anglicanism. If you heap a pile of hot coals together, they will burst into flame. Add some more fuel and you have a fire. Rake those coals apart and one by one they will become cold and lifeless.

[2] I am advocating that Reformed Anglicans who have joined an ACNA judicatory and do not believe that they have compromised their Reformed beliefs in doing so should network together for the very same reasons as I am urging Reformed Anglicans outside the new province to network together. I am also advocating that they network together for a couple of additional reasons.

The first reason is the establishment of a strong Reformed Anglican presence and sphere of influence in the new province. The presence of a mouse in a room can be ignored. The presence of an elephant cannot. The mouse squeaks and no one heeds it. The elephant trumpets and everyone in the room pays attention.

The second reason is self-preservation. I do not share the optimism of some North American Anglicans regarding the new province. Over time Reformed Anglicans in the new province may discover that some parts, if not all, of the ANCA is really not Reformed Anglican-friendly.  Even though I am not optimistic, I still believe that Reformed Anglicans in the new province should put their energies into developing what might be described as a “safe zone,” or enclave, for Reformed Anglicanism in the new province.

I do not know how much my readers are familiar with the principles of unconventional or guerilla warfare. However, guerilla forces will establish a safe zone in which they can operate unmolested by the enemy. In this zone they stockpile weapons, treat their wounded, train and equip new recruits, and retrain and re-equip their fighters. From this zone they launch attacks upon the enemy and carryout incursions into enemy territory. In time they seek to establish a number of these zones and to expand their area of operations in enemy territory.

While some may question my choice of analogy, it does describe the historical position of Reformed Anglicanism below the Canadian border. Since its revival in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s Reformed Anglicanism has been embattled in the United States. It has primarily been under attack from liberalism, the school of thought that now dominates The Episcopal Church.  In the nineteenth century Reformed Anglicanism had repeated clashes with Anglo-Catholicism, the school of thought that once dominated the same denomination. It presently quiet on that front, except for occasional skirmishes—Reformed Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics sniping at each other from concealed positions on the Internet, having not forgotten the past enmity between the two schools of thought. Since Reformed Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics are no longer fighting a common enemy–liberalism, we may see renewed hostilities on that front. We hear a call in some quarters of the Anglican Church in North America for a renewal of Anglicanism’s Catholic heritage and order in the new province. We recently heard a call from a Roman Catholic Church spokesman for “a new Oxford Movement.” A resurgent Anglo-Catholic movement would not bode well for Reformed Anglicans in the new province.

The ACNA constitution and canons do not contain enough guarantees and safeguards to establish buffers between the three different schools of thought represented in the new province and to diminish the danger of quarrels. The new province is based upon theological affinity only in so far as these three schools of thought are theologically conservative. The new province’s constitution and canons, however, fail to take this principle an important step further and to create theological affinity-based convocations of clergy and congregations as the constituent judicatories of the new province, with Anglo-Catholic clergy and congregations forming one or more judicatories, charismatic evangelical congregations forming one or more judicatories, and Reformed Anglicans forming one or more judicatories. The creation of such affinity-based convocations would seriously reduce the possibility of theological conflict.

The three schools of thought represented in the new province have disparate and often conflicting theological beliefs. They are thrown together to compete for hegemony in the forming judicatories seeking admission to the new province as well as the existing judicatories comprised of the former Common Cause Partners. Of the latter bodies only three of the breakaway Episcopal dioceses and Forward in Faith North America are theologically homogenous. They are exclusively Anglo-Catholic. It is a formula for power struggles and serious theological disputes.

There is a naïve assumption that since the Anglican Church in North America is made up of theological conservatives, clergy and congregations will not experience the kinds of problems that they experienced in Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church. Clergy and congregations in the new province are at the mercy of whatever judicatory they join. The ACNA constitution and canons make no provision for the transfer of clergy and congregations from one judicatory to another in the event that they join a judicatory with which they discover that have no real theological affinity or which undergoes a change in theological climate. They are stuck with whatever judicatory that they join. In cases of severe theological incompatibility their only option is to withdraw from the new province. They cannot transfer to a more theologically congenial judicatory, one that suits their theological disposition, and remain an ACNA affiliate.

While Reformed Anglicanism is represented to some extent in the new province, it is not represented to the degree that Anglo-Catholicism and charismatic evangelicalism are represented. Reformed Anglicans are largely scattered throughout the judicatories of the new province. While they are present in significant numbers in at least two judicatories, they do not form a substantial majority in these judicatories nor do they play a large role in the leadership of the same judicatories.

Reformed Anglicans do not have any leaders in the new province to which they look for an advocate. AMiA Bishop John Rodgers, twice dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, was at one time a voice for classical Anglicanism and Reformation Christianity but has become more conciliatory toward Anglo-Catholics and Anglo-Catholicism in recent years. This may be explained by his long-expressed desire to see the establishment of a new province in North America to replace the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church. He appears to have concluded that the cooperation of the Anglo-Catholics was needed to establish the new province and therefore was willing to accommodate them on certain matters. A number of Anglo-Catholic leaders and theologians may have influenced his thinking when they expressed their fear that Anglo-Catholics would be excluded from the new province at a meeting at Nashotah House. He came back from the meeting impressed with the depth of their faith as well as the genuineness of their concerns. I am not privy to the workings of his mind and have drawn these conclusions from a number of his public statements.

I was disappointed that Bishop Rodgers endorsed both Services in Contemporary English from The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 (2006) and An Anglican Prayer Book (2008). The first book was not the translation of the 1662 services into contemporary English it was purported to be. It drew heavily from Peter Toon’s earlier translation of the services of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer into contemporary English and incorporated material from the 1928 English Revised Book of Common Prayer and the 1962 Canadian Book of Common Prayer. The result was a book that was more Catholic in tone than the 1662 BCP. The second book is even more Catholic in tone than the first book albeit it did modify the language of the Baptismal Office and the Confirmation Office. However, it incorporates the second Office of Instruction of the 1928 BCP and teaches that Confirmation is a sacrament in everything but name only, by which the gifts of the Holy Spirit are conferred upon the confirmand. The first book taught that Confirmation is a sacrament by which the gift of the Holy Spirit is conferred upon the confirmand. Both books reject the Reformed catechetical view of Confirmation of the 1552, 1608, and 1662 BCPs. For a more detailed analysis of An Anglican Prayer Book (2000), go to Exploring An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) where I examine the theology of a number of services of that book.

I do not know who initiated the project that produced the two books. This knowledge and details of who participated in the compilation of these books beside Peter Toon and how they became involved in the project would provide some insight into why they took the direction that they did. In his writings Dr. Toon has displayed sympathy for the seventeenth century Caroline High Churchmen, the seventeenth and eighteenth century Non-Jurors, and their doctrinal beliefs. He has expressed support of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, a modified doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice, and a two stage theory of Christian initiation that Anglo-Catholics favored in the first half of the twentieth century. He is also known for his advocacy of the 1928 BCP, a service book that is decidedly Catholic in tone. The doctrinal emphases in the two books are ones that he has supported in his writings. An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) clearly teaches that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. While Dr. Toon has never to my knowledge espoused the doctrine of Transubstantiation, the book contains elements that Martin Bucer and Stephen Gardner both identified in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer as giving liturgical expression to that doctrine.

The fact that an Anglican entity which is largely comprised of evangelicals of one stripe or another would produce two service books so Catholic in tone and its two senior most bishops would endorse these books is itself a cause for concern. One explanation a source in the AMiA offered me is that the bishops of the AMiA are not as attentive to doctrine as they should be and they are apt to tolerate anything that is not overtly liberal. This stems from the early days of the AMiA when the AMiA was the only refuge for clergy and congregations fleeing the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church, which had a connection with the Anglican Communion. The AMiA tended to not look too closely at the theology of clergy and congregations applying for affiliation with the AMiA provided the clergy accepted the AMiA core values, subscribed to the annual declaration in the AMiA Solemn Declaration of Principles, and committed themselves and their congregations to the AMiA’s missionary outreach objectives.

This source also told me that Dr. Toon was not particularly open to suggestions and ideas for the revision of the first book from Reformed Anglicans. From what I learned from another source in the AMiA as well as from this source, Toon paid more attention to the Anglo-Catholics. My own private correspondence with Toon supported this conclusion. He wrote me that “they” were not interested in the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. I had suggested to him that the new service book should be based upon the 1559 Elizabethan Prayer Book, the first Prayer Book used in North America. The 1559 Book of Common Prayer is essentially the 1552 BCP. “They” were certainly not Reformed Anglicans in the AMiA, with whom I had contact. The latter wanted a contemporary English translation or conservative contemporary English revision of the 1662 BCP. “They”, I presume, were the Anglo-Catholic wing of the AMiA.

I submitted the draft of more Reformed service book to AMiA Bishops Chuck Murphy and John Rodgers. The draft service book was essentially a contemporary English translation of the 1662 BCP with a number of alterations and additions to make it more Reformed in tone and more usable in the mission field in the twenty-first century. Bishop Rodgers did read the book. Some of my ideas do appear in An Anglican Prayer Book (2008), suggesting that he may have passed it on to the committee working on that book. I do not know that for certain. The committee may have come up with those ideas independently. I never heard anything back from Bishop Murphy. Based upon my communications with his administrative assistant I have concluded that my work was largely dismissed by Murphy because I had no one of consequence in the AMiA or another Common Cause Partner backing me. One of the first questions she asked me was who was sponsoring me.

While the senior most AMiA bishops who endorsed An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) commended it for the use of AMiA churches, the AMiA does not require its use. If the AMiA required the use of An Anglican Prayer Book (2008), the Anglican Mission would be violating its Solemn Declaration of Principles. Article III, Section 2 states:

“The theology set forth in the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal shall be the theology to which alternative liturgical texts and forms will conform.”

Even the so-called “1662 English Order” in the Holy Communion rites of An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) does not conform to theology of the 1662 BCP. It authorizes the use of the Benedictus and Agnes Dei and makes provision for the reservation of the sacrament.

Reformed Anglicans may be weak in number in the new province. They may be dispersed throughout the new province and lack influence where they are placed. But this will not prevent God from using them to fulfill his purposes. God takes the weak in the eyes of the world and does great things through them.

Our Lord compares the Kingdom of God with leaven that a woman hides, or kneads, in three measures of flour until it is all leavened (Luke 13:20).  Paul reminds his readers in 1 Corinthians 5:6 and Galatians 5:9 that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” He is using the saying as a warning but it relates to the property of a small quantity of leaven to make dough ferment and rise. If you have ever baked bread or watched your wife bake bread, you know that after the flour, water, yeast (or leaven), and the yeast nutrient (sugar or honey) is mixed together, the resulting dough is left to rise in a warm place. The bread maker then takes the risen sponge and kneads it. This works the yeast and the gluten throughout the sponge. The bread maker then puts the dough in the bread pans and leaves it to rise again. This process can produce an amazing quantity of dough; enough to make several loafs of bread. While they may be dispersed throughout the new province like leaven hidden in flour, Reformed Anglicans can have a pervasive transforming influence upon the new province like yeast kneaded into dough.

[3] I am advocating that Reformed Anglicans outside the new province and Reformed Anglicans in the new province network with each other and cooperate and fellowship with each other. In regards to the Anglican Church in North America Reformed Anglicans on the outside and Reformed Anglicans on the inside need to respect each other’s consciences. God in his wisdom has put some Reformed Anglicans outside the new province and He has put some Reformed Anglicans inside the new province. We must not forget that God is the master builder and it is his house that he is building. He puts his workers where he wants them. He may have put those in the new province there to save some by snatching them out of the fire, plucking brands from the burning (Jude 23). God does not do anything without a purpose.

Like Paul, we all are fellow workers with God (1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1). We all are called to work with him in building his church. God, of course, is ultimately the builder of all things (Hebrews 3:4). But he uses us who are weak to accomplish his purposes (1 Corinthians 1:26-29, 1 Corinthians 2:3).

I hope that despite my digressions I have clarified where I stand on these three issues.



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  1. Robin:

    Another sage post of serious merit. It will take some time to digest it.

    You said from the above:

    “…We recently heard a call from a Roman Catholic Church spokesman for “a new Oxford Movement.” A resurgent Anglo-Catholic movement would not bode well for Reformed Anglicans in the new province.”

    This does not surprise me in the least, given that Rome, Pius IX (of Immaculate Conception, Vatican 1, anti-democracy, and Bible Society and Syllabus of Errors fame), Cardinal Bonaco (sp? will have to check), and others from the Doctrine Office in the mid-19th century decisively noted that the Oxford Movement was clearing the way for reunion with Rome. The 1896 declaration of the invalidity of orders didn’t help the Anglican cause, but, I could handily see Rome casting eyes at its Romewardizer-Anglican friends.

    This hint by you is an important alert. It will take me several posts here to get at what you are saying.

  2. Robin:

    Having finished the third of Walter Walsh’s turn-of-the-20th century books, I now can see why Mr. Toon never included Walsh in his bibliography, Evangelical Theology. Toon has built the Prayer
    Book Society around his supporters, largely an AC constituency.

    Walsh rightly noted that the OM was the result of ineffectual action by the episcopal bench. He warned that true Protestant Churchman, Anglicans, could turn against the episcopal bench. Theologically, an excellent idea.

    Can any self-conscious, Confessional, reasonably-well read, Protestant Churchman have confidence in the current NAP (North American Province)? Or its Bishops? I suspect that on this network, in due time, we may have a bibliography with a reading constituency that can deal with episcopal obstructionism and obfuscation.

    I understand some may wish to work within the NAP, but the more I read about Tractarians and Ritualists, standard-bearing SSC-Churchmen, like one of the withdrawing Bishops, I simply cannot–can I say it?–stomach the weakness of the so-called evangelicals, e.g ABP Greg Venables, travelling to CA and commending orthodox congregations? Or Leonard Riches of the REC. Or Akinola ratifying a concord between the REC and APA. Horrific amnesia perhaps, or perhaps unionism at the expense of the facts and clear thinking.

    If history teaches anything, AC’s view Protestantism as the thing to be repressed en route to corporate union with Rome and the East. There are shades of opinion on this, but this is lurking also in the background.

    Robert Turner, VOL moderator, noted that VOL will not deal with Reformation-issues, just the common fight against liberals. Intellectually, the Princetonians led and won that battle decades ago…while Episcopalians were largely duped by liberals. A little late to that fight.

    By 1900, Tractator-Ritualists were decisive in their rejection of the Reformation. Post-1977…..with the secessionistic AC’s from TEC, opprobrium was distributed to any Protestant and evangelical Churchmen. It’s core–AC core–is an exalted clergy with a magisterium and sacerdotalism that is NOT to be questioned. Time and again, I have seen that in internet discussion forums. That hubris works with the gullible and ignorant, but not with those who’ve done some reading.

    Concur that a network needs to exist for those without and within NAP, if only to have a tribe of affinity, theologically, historically, and liturgically.

    Expanding a sphere of influence, within or without, will take reading, conviction, courage and perseverence. It will also require a committment to hold to biblical truth above unionism.

    Let is be well-noted. War is–regrettably–an avenue to victory and peace. The Romewardizing Anglicans fired their volleys with rigour, if you read the history books. The liberals also and they still are ruthless, if you confront them, theologically.

    Owls hate the light and love the darkness. May the effulgent light of His Sovereign Majesty, the Light of the world (Jn.8.12) shine in our lives, readings, writings, and dealings with these double-dealers and faith-hooligans (e.g. liberals, inter alia…they call us worse, truth be told).

  3. Robin,
    Realistic and reasonable comments which are well thought out. In today’s world it is unusual to find these qualities in much that is written or spoken.

    I particularly appreciated your analysis of what it will most likely be like for Reformed Anglicans behind the lines in the ACNA. I was behind similar lines in the Rome-ward bound Anglican Church in America.

    I cannot imagine the ACNA being anything, but a conflicted, dead-end street for Reformed Anglicans….which is all the more reason they need to network. There is strength and defense in numbers.

    I was alone in the ACA. There was no one else around. One needs to have their wits about them in such a situation, and team up, when they can.


  4. John, excellent comment. One theme of John Steinbeck’s novels is: “oppression works to strengthen the bonds of the oppressed.” I would love to hear your stories about the ACA-experience.

    On to another note. I sent this email to a friend, a PhD in 17th century English thought. He’s a Presbyterian Church (PCA) who kindly queries me, sparring at times, but also within the orbit of Reformed thought.

    I post the email below. It’s bearing on Robin’s post is this: Walter Walsh in the first URL calls for a similar unity between all Protestant Churchmen, Anglians and Dissenters, to band together to find the Ritualist-Romewardizingin 1900. I want get this friend’s historical take on Walsh’s works. Here’s the email.
    XXXXXXX: Would love to see you read, review and comment on http://books. google.com/ books?id= 0sMTAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=walter+walsh&lr=

    It is a very nervous evangelical Anglican, turn-of-the- 20th century, writing about Tractarian-Oxfordia n-Ritualistic advances. It’s a fast read and he makes recourse and appeals to Englishmen– almost a tone of desperation- -to vote correctly re: Parliament to roust the Ritualist rascals…noting the substantial failures of the episcopal bench over a 67-year period…..1833- 1900. Ahem, note bene: these failures may constitute an argument against effete and ineffectual bishops–or senior presbyters as I dub them.

    I am on to the next Walsh work about the Jesuits in Engand (I understand the modern ones are liberals), but Walsh’s fevered fears for England in 1900, I suspect, propel his inquiry.

    Would love to see your historical eyes review it. http://books. google.com/ books?id= ZxU3AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=walter+walsh&lr=

    For all hands, these are downloadable books. This becomes somewhat more practical, or timely should I say, given the weaknesses of ECT signatories. ….the general evangellish- dom of the Americas….opting for socio-cultural coalitions at the expense of hard-earned and well-fought victories for the biblical faith. This ALSO includes these new-fangled, so-called evangelical Anglo-Romewardizers in David Virtue’s new consortium of contradictory and irreconcilable forces….not yet addressed… .if you raise those issues, VOL moderators erase the comments, as indicated by others to me. They think rallying around the gay-issue is some amazing feat. Expect the North American Province to be about 75% Romewardized and anesthetized, doctrinally.

    We have word–yet to be confirmed— from a Romanist spokesman, to wit, calling for a “New Oxford Movement” in this new-fangled Province. For some of us then, that fight may need to be refought.

    If so, I trust His Majesty’s Gospel will get larger visibility.. …this is as much spiritual as it is intellectual. These owls hate the light and love darkness and that AC Gospel is a false one.

    Fascinating. Ever glad for the availing, prevailing, conquering, ever-abiding, transcendent and imputed righteousness earned by Christ alone and gratituously applied to the most needy, dead sinners, needing a righteousness they never can, ever, ever, ever attain….apart from His majesty. Christ’s active and passive obedience is our own hope.


  5. Robin, in your latest essay on VOL you say:

    Anglo-Catholics, charismatic evangelicals, and confessional evangelicals have different theological views of salvation, grace, justification, works, the gravity of sin, the place of the Bible in the Christian faith, the Church, the sacraments, ordination, apostolic succession, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    Have you explained this assertion in another essay that I have missed?

    • Tony,

      If you check the “As I see it” and “theology” archives of VOL, you should come across a number of articles in which I touch upon these differences. I also address these differences in a number of responses to comments made in response to these articles.

  6. Thank you, I will check those places.

    • Tony,
      The theological differences between the major Anglican schools of thought that are presented in the Common Cause Partnership and the new province go beyond just women’s ordination, baptismal theology, and blessing. I would have thought that the CCP would have learned a lesson or two from the past 40 years and would have produced a provisional constitution and canons that avoided the kind of situations that generated theological conflict in the Episcopal Church.

      One way to avoid theological conflict in the new province would be to create affinity-based convocations to take the place of geographically-based dioceses in the new province. Each convocation would consist of clergy and congregations belonging to the same school of thought in Anglicanism and sharing the same doctrinal emphases. This is preferable to throwing Anglo-Catholics, charismatics, and evangelicals together in a judicatory and leaving them to fight among themselves for the upper hand in shaping the doctrine and worship of the judicatory, which is bound to happen when these three theological streams are thrown together. It is naive to believe that is not going to happen. I see evidence of this type of struggle in the AMiA.

      Unfortunately the ACNA provisional constitution and canons recreates a number of the situations that generated the theological conflict in the Episcopal Church instead of avoiding them. Their drafters appear to have operated from some very naive assumptions. A more cynical explanation is that they were seeking to take advantage of the excitement over the formation of the new province to consolidate their influence in the new province. Either way it does not portend well for the new province and for the fresh start that many of us were hoping for.

  7. Okay, I’m back. I did find the following. Would I be wrong is saying that the theological difficulties that you find are in the areas of women’s ordination, baptismal theology, and blessings?

    Re: The ACNA Constitution and Canons – Robin G. Jordan


    It is very hazy on the issue of the ordination of women and offers no real protection to judicatories that do not accept women’s ordination. The judicatories forming the new provinces are for all intents and purposes subordinate to the Provincial Council. The Provincial Council can withhold powers from the judicatories. It should be the other way around. The Provincial Council should exercise only those powers expressly delegated by the judicatories to that body; all other powers should be reserved to the judicatories. The Provincial Council should be the subordinate body. In certain matters the Provincial Council should be required to obtain the consent of the judicatories. Certain canons would not apply to a judicatory if the judicatory did not agree to them.

    We have all seen what has happened to the office of Presiding Bishop since it became separated from that of senior most Diocesan Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Each successive Presiding Bishop has expanded the power and prestige of the office. Schori is just doing what her predecessors did. Unless she is reined in, the next Presiding Bishop will follow in her footsteps. With the new Archbishop having been given a blank check to develop that office the new province is moving in the same direction.

    The provisional constitution and canons have the appearance of documents that different groups put together without a lot of consultation with each other. One group drafted one section of the document; another group drafted another section and so on. Whatever group was responsible for editing the document and making sure that language was consistent throughout the document and one provision did not conflict with another did not do a good job presuming that there was such a group. The provisional constitution and canons have all the marks of something that was hastily thrown together so Robert Duncan could announce the formation of the new province last Wednesday. What troubles me is if it is actually used as the basis of the final constitution and canons for the new province.

    We need to replace the Episcopal Church’s present model of church governance with a better one and not one that suffers from the same drawbacks as that of the Episcopal Church. It is naïve to believe that anything is an improvement over the Episcopal Church’s model. We cannot blame the Episcopal Church original constitution for what that denomination has become. Over the years Episcopal leaders have made changes in that constitution and reinterpreted its provisions. They have declared that they are ones to determine what it means and not those who drafted it. The Episcopal Church today is a far cry from the church that Bishop William White envisioned. Right now the evidence points to the strong probability of the new province winding up with a model of church governance that is just as bad as that of the Episcopal Church if not worse.

    An all-male episcopate is essential to the unity of the new province. Unfortunately the provision for limiting the episcopate to males has been placed in the provisional canons where it is much easier to change than if it was placed in the provisional constitution. The new province not only brings together theologically disparate groups in the United States and Canada but also different global South Anglican provinces that have different positions on women’s ordination. The Anglican Mission in Americas exemplifies the predicament facing the new province. The US branch of the AMiA placed a moratorium upon the ordination of women to the priesthood but accepted women deacons. One segment of the US branch of the AMiA, however, has been agitating for the abolition of women deacons in the AMiA. On the other hand, the Canadian branch of the AMiA accepts both women deacons and priests as does the sponsoring province of the AMiA, the Anglican Church of Rwanda. Both branches of the AMiA are Common Cause Partners.

    As long as the new province has an all-male episcopate, opponents and proponents of women’s ordination may be able to coexist in the new province albeit uneasily. The only thing that will prevent male clergy from functioning in all congregations of the new province is their willingness to work alongside women clergy in a judicatory that does accept the ordination of women and the willingness of the bishop of that judicatory to license them. Anglo-Catholics will, of course, not accept the sacramental ministry of women priests and most confessional evangelicals will not accept their teaching ministry. The small group of confessional evangelicals who do accept their ministry will do so because they are serving under the headship of a male bishop and the authority they exercise is not their own but the delegated authority of the bishop. Charismatic evangelicals can be expected to work with women clergy.

    Women clergy, on the other hand, will be restricted to those judicatories that accept women’s ordination. Since the judicatories are not geographically based, this means they will be able to function wherever a judicatory that accepts women’s ordination has a church.

    In a few years from now we should not be too surprised to discover three ACNA churches in the same community, one Anglo-Catholic with all-male clergy, one Reformed-Evangelical with an all-male clergy, and one charismatic with mixed clergy. What we hopefully will not find is a liberal ACNA church with openly gay or lesbian clergy. That is the niche that The Episcopal Church has staked out for itself. North American Anglicanism may no longer reflect our particular view of Anglicanism but it will reflect the face of global Anglicanism.

    I do not foresee any agreement upon a common liturgy. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer is not Catholic enough for Anglo-Catholics and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is too Catholic and, I would add, too liberal for Reformed-Evangelicals. The language of both books is too distant from the vernacular for those who are accustomed to praying in a form of liturgical English closer to the language that they speak everyday. A large segment of the North American Anglicans forming the new province are also accustomed to a much greater use of extemporaneous prayer and much greater freedom of usage than previous generations of Anglicans. At most we can expect is reluctant agreement upon “a Resource for Common Worship” that is dusted off for the opening Eucharist of Provincial Assembly and Provincial Council meetings and then is shelved for the rest of the year.

    The days of one Prayer Book are behind us. Any attempt to impose a common liturgy upon the new province would destroy the fragile partnership between Anglo-Catholics, charismatic evangelicals, and confessional evangelicals. What would be more realistic is to prepare a common liturgy for the use of those who wish to use it—a service book that has conservative contemporary English revisions of the orders for Morning and Evening Prayer, a selection of additional canticles, several alternative forms of morning and evening worship, a late evening service, a litany, a selection of occasional prayers, thanksgivings, blessings, and endings for use with the various services, several orders for the Holy Communion—a conservative contemporary English revision of the 1662 Communion Service, a service of Holy Communion following the contemporary model but adhering to the biblical and Reformation theology of the 1662, a conservative contemporary English revision of the 1549 Communion Service, and, a service of Holy Communion following the contemporary model but closer to the 1549 in theology than the 1662, a selection of general intercessions for Sunday services, orders for Baptism embodying Catholic baptismal theology, orders for Baptism embodying Reformed-Evangelical baptismal theology, a contemporary English translation of the 1662 Catechism, a conservative contemporary English revision of the 1662 order of Confirmation—with provision for the bishop to give an address upon his understanding of Confirmation, conservative contemporary English revisions of the remaining rites of the 1662 BCP and the 1662 Ordinal. Such a service book would conform to the new province’s received doctrinal and worship standards as set forth in the Common Cause Theological Statement. At the same time judicatories should be free not use the common liturgy and to develop alternative rites of their own, as well as to continue to use the 1662 BCP, the 1928 BCP, and the 1962 Canadian BCP.

  8. Robin,

    I cannot speak about the AMIA since I am certainly an outsider to their situation, but Bp. John Guernsey who is affiliated with Uganda has said that the CCP/ACNA will not be a “blender” where all differences are smoothed out. He said that the CCP/ACNA will recognize differences as those between FIFNA and AMIA. The distance between FIFNA and evangelicals is certainly less than the gulf between the CCP and pecusa. Maybe those with Anglo-Catholic sensibilities should migrate to FIFNA, but I suspect that A-Cs are not of one mind on women’s ordination.

    The problems you mention are not insurmountable, but they could be serious. I would think that the leaders of the CCP recognize these problems and will work to prevent splintering over them. I hope that this is more than wishful thinking.

    • Tony,
      I believe that it is critical at this stage to focus attention upon potential areas of conflict so that the final ACNA constitution and canons will put in place the kind of guarantees and safeguards needed to reduce the potential for conflict. The provisional ACNA constitution and canons do not do that.

      Rather than forming judicatories on the basis of geography or theological affinity, I am convinced that the judicatories of the ACNA should be formed on the basis of theological affinity only. Call them Convocations, Sub-Provinces, or whatever. They would have no specific geographic territory of their own but would share the entire territory of the ACNA. These judicatories could be organized internally on the basis of a specific geographic territory. For example, the sub-unit of a judicatory might be a Region. Each Region would have a Regional Conference made up of the clergy and congregations of the judicatory within a particular geographic area. A Region Bishop would perform episcopal functions within a Region and a Regional Council would carry on the work of the Regional Conference between the meetings of the Regional Conference. Regions could be further subdivided into Districts, each with a District Conference and a District Council. The Regional Conferences and the District Conferences of two or more judicatories could enter into cooperative agreements upon matters of mutual interest. The idea of theological affinity based judicatories is not new. The proposed “third province” in the Church of England would be such a judicatory.

      I also am convinced that the minimum number of congregations associating together for the purpose of forming a judicatory should be smaller to make room in the ACNA for groups that may not have a large representation in the United States but have a larger representation elsewhere–for example, confessional or Reformed Anglicans.

      Congregations in an existing judicatory should be free to seperate from that judicatory to form a new judicatory or to unite with congregations from another judicatory or from outside of the ACNA to form a new judicatory. Congregations in one judicatory should also be free to transfer from one judicatory to another.

      Here again the idea is not new. It was one of the proposals that made during the debate over adequate alternative episcopal oversight. Instead of forcing a congregation to remain in a hostile theological environment, it may transfer to a friendlier one or unite with a group of like-minded congregations to form a new judicatory that reflects their theological emphases. This is what congregations eventually did after no provision was made for them to do so.

      I am further convinced that the Primate and the General Synod of the ACNA should have limited powers. Certain categories of canons made by the General Synod should require the ratification of a judicatory before it would have any effect in the judicatory. All congregations should be guaranted the right to hold title to their own property. Congregations in formation and assisted congregations would be guaranteed the right to choose their own pastor.This is not congregationalism. It is a safeguard against the imposition of a pastor whose theological views does not match those of the congregation.


  9. The biggest drawback in the diocese structure based on territory is that any congregation that falls within that boundry has no other choice than the bishop of that diocese. This is great news if you are high church and want to impose the high church standard on you diocese. No pastor would ever be allowed to function in the diocese if he did not meet the apporval of the ordinary. Anglo-Catholics have used this to drive out the Evangelicals. And Evangelical parish was a successive inflow of nothing but Anglo-Catholic priests will soon become Anglo-Catholic. The Evangelicals must to guanranteed that they will not ever have to submit to an Anglo-Catholic bishop or the parishes to Anglo-Catholic priests. The parish needs to be guaranteed that it will have the choice of any minister from anywhere without the apporval of a diocean bishop. But then there would be no necessity for a diocese. How will the Anglo-Catholic deal with the idea of an affinity based jurisdiction? No well, “it’s not catholic.” The best thing that the Protestant Reformed Evangelical can do is to make sure he is not unequally hitched with the unbeliever.

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