The 1874 Book of Common Prayer

December 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

 

By Robin G. Jordan

 

In 1874 the Reformed Episcopal Church adopted its first Book of Common Prayer. This Prayer Book was a revision of the 1785 Proposed Book of Common Prayer of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Since that time the General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church authorized three editions of the 1874 Prayer Book.

 

In 1963 the General Council authorized the first revised edition of the REC Prayer Book. In 2005 the General Council authorized a second revised edition of the REC Prayer Book. This edition represented a major revision of the REC Prayer Book. It incorporates material from the Church of England’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Protestant Episcopal Church’s 1928 Book of Common Prayer that Bishop George David Cummins and the founders of the Reformed Episcopal Church would have certainly found highly objectionable. Indeed they would see in this material the maturing of the principles of sacerdotalism and ritualism that prompted them to secede from the Protestant Episcopal Church in the first place.

 

A comparison of the 1963 revised edition of the REC Prayer Book with the 2005 revised edition reveals that the Reformed Episcopal Church has undergone a tremendous shift in doctrine in the past 40 odd years. It has abandoned the doctrine and principles of Classical Evangelical Anglicanism that formed its distinctive heritage. The conservative evangelical Church Society of the Church of England no longer recognizes the Reformed Episcopal Church as “Reformed.”

 

A number of factors appear to have contributed to this doctrinal shift. Since the 1970s the Reformed Episcopal Church has seen an influx of Episcopalians fleeing the liberalism of the former Protestant Episcopal Church. These Episcopalians brought with them a taste for High Church worship. They also brought Catholic doctrine and principles into the Reformed Episcopal Church. The one tends to piggyback upon the other.

 

A number of Reformed Episcopal clergy have developed a pernicious fascination with the writings of the early Church Fathers and Lancelot Andrews and the Caroline High Churchmen who experienced a similar fascination. This points to another factor. The Caroline High Churchmen lived and wrote in a period in English Church history when the Reformation was no longer fresh in the minds of English churchmen. A distance had already grown between them and the events of the Reformation. Catholicism was less threatening to them as it had been to the English Reformers. The founders of the Reformed Episcopal Church can be thought of as having launched their own reformation. However, that reformation was 135 years ago. What mattered to them no longer appears to matter to a large segment of the Reformed Episcopal Church. As in the case of the Caroline High Churchman the passage of time has created a distance between them and the events that led to the creation of the Reformed Episcopal Church.

 

A number of Reformed Episcopal leaders evidence a desire to be a part of what they consider the “mainstream” of North American Anglicanism. They ignore the fact that North American Anglicanism is not particularly representative of global Anglicanism and has drifted far from its moorings in the Bible and the Reformation.

 

The Reformed Episcopal Church has also become a refuge for those who may have at one time subscribed to Reformed doctrine and principles but found the theological environment of their former denomination too rigorous for them. In the Reformed Episcopal Church they can maintain a pretense of being Reformed without actually putting Reformed doctrine and principles into practice.

 

The extent of this theological shift in the Reformed Episcopal Church is reflected in the posts of members of the Reformed Episcopal Church on the Internet. It is not unusual to read a post in which a member of the Reformed Episcopal Church reinterprets the Declaration of Principles or even denigrates them. It is also not uncommon to read a post in which a member of the Reformed Episcopal Church espouses or defends theological views that are far from Reformed, for example, Baptismal Regeneration, Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Real Presence, and Apostolic Succession. Those who still subscribe to the doctrine and principles of the Reformed Episcopal Church’s founders are derisively referred to as “Presbyterians.”

 

The Reformed Episcopal Church that once was a faithful witness to Evangelical and Reformed doctrine and principles in Anglicanism has forsaken her first love. Like a wonton the Reformed Episcopal Church has gone in search of new lovers. She plays the harlot and covers herself with shame.

 

Others must take up the banner of Evangelical and Reformed Anglicanism in North America. To this end the Heritage Anglican Network is seeking to publish the text of the Reformed Episcopal Church’s The Book of Common Prayer of 1874 on the Internet. If anyone has a copy of the 1874 Prayer Book, please contact me at heritageanglicannetwork@gmail.com.

 

 

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The Nativity of our Lord, or the Birth-day of Christ, Commonly called Christmas-Day.

December 23, 2008 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The following Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for Christmas Day are taken from the 1559 Book of Common Prayer, the Prayer Book of Elizabeth I and the first Prayer Book used in North America.

On June 17, 1579 Captain Francis Drake and the crew of the Golden Hind landed on the west coast of North America and Drake claimed the land in the name of the Holy Trinity for the English Crown. Drake called the land Nova Albion, Latin for “New Britain.”

When Drake and his crew landed, his chaplain celebrated the Holy Communion. It was one of the first, if not the first, Protestant church service in the New World.

The 1559 Prayer Book was also used at the first Christmas at Jamestown on December 25, 1607. Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States of America.

The Ordre for the Administracion of the Lordes Supper, or Holy Communion used on these occasions can be found on the Internet at: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1559/Communion_1559.htm

During the “starving time” winter of 1609 only 60 of the original 214 settlers at Jamestown would survive. One of the casualties was the colony’s chaplain.

We are also facing hard times–an economy in recession, foreclosures, and layoffs.

As we read these words from the Elizabethan Prayer Book, let us remember that there is one who truly offers us in hope in the midst of trouble. He is the one whose birth we celebrate. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Collect

ALMYGHTYE God, whiche haste geuen us thy onlye begotten sonne to take our nature upon hym, and this daye to bee borne of a pure Vyrgyn; Graunte that we beyng regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, maye dailye be renued by thy holy spirite, through the same our Lorde Jesus Christe who lyueth and reygneth &c.

The Epistle. Hebrews 1:1-12

GOD in tymes paste dyuerselye and manye waies spake unto the fathers by Prophetes: but in these laste dayes, he hathe spoken to us by his owne sonne, whome he hath made heyre of all thynges, by whome also he made the worlde. Whiche (sonne) beeing the brightenesse of his glorye, and the very image of his substaunce, rulying al thynges wyth the woorde of his power, hath by his owne person pourged our synnes, and sytteth on the righte hande of the Majestye on hygh: being so much more excellent then the Angels, as he hath by inheritaunce obtained a more excellent name then they. For unto which of the Angels said he at anye tyme? Thou arte my sonne, this daye haue I begotten thee. And agayne, I wilbe his father, and he shall bee my sonne. And agayne, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten sonne into the worlde, he sayth: and let all the Angels of God wurship him. And unto the Angels he sayeth, He maketh his Angels spirites, and his ministers a flame of fyer. But unto the sonne he sayeth, thy seate (O God) shalbe for euer and euer. The scepter of thy kingdome is a ryghte scepter. Thou haste loued righteousnes and hated iniquitie; wherfore God, euen thy God, hath anointed thee with oyle of gladnes aboue thy felowes. And thou lorde in the beginning hast layde the foundacion of the yearth; and the heauens are the woorkes of thy handes. They shall perish, but thou endurest. But they al shal waxe old as doeth a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou chaunge them, and they shalbe chaungecl. But thou art even the same, and thy yeares shall not fayle.

The Gospel. John 1:1-14

IN the begynnyng was the woorde, and the woorde was with God: and God was the worde. The same was in the beginning with God. All thinges were made by it, and without it, was made nothyng that was made. In it was life, and the lyfe was the light of men, and the light shineth in darkenes, and the darkenes comprehended it not. There was sente from God a manne, whose name was John. The same came as a witnes to beare witnes of the light, that al men through him might beleue. He was not that light, but was sent to beare witnes of the light. That light was the true lyghte, whiche lighteth euerye man that cometh into the worlde. He was in the world, and the world was made by him; and the worlde knew him not. He came among his owne, and his owne receiued him not: But as many as receiued him, to them gaue he power to be the sonnes of god; even them that beleued on his name, whiche were borne, not of bloud, nor of the will of the fleshe, nor yet of the will of man; but of God. And the same worde became fleshe, and dwelt among us; and we sawe the glory of it, as the glory of the onely begotten sonne of the father, full of grace and trueth.

A very merry Christmas to all readers of the Heritage Anglican Network.

Your brother in Christ,

Robin G. Jordan

What’s Wrong with the 1928 Book of Common Prayer?

December 18, 2008 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments

By Robin G. Jordan

Introduction
In this article I seek to answer from a Reformed perspective the question, “What’s wrong with the 1928 Book of Common Prayer?” Classical Anglican Evangelicalism had disappeared from the Protestant Episcopal Church by 1900.The 1928 Prayer Book was adopted at the time the Anglo-Catholic and Broad Church movements were the dominant schools of thought in the Protestant Episcopal Church and the book reflects their doctrinal emphases.  At the 1925 General Convention Anglo-Catholics and Broad Churchmen united to remove the Thirty-Nine Articles from the American Prayer Book. They adopted a resolution dropping the Articles from the Prayer Book. However, they were thwarted by the denomination’s Constitution that required an amendment of the Constitution to abolish the Articles. The resolution, which required the ratification of a successive General Convention, was quietly dropped at the 1928 General Convention.

The 1928 Book of Common Prayer was the first major revision of the American Prayer Book. It goes far toward undoing the work that was accomplished for the Anglican Church at the Reformation. Many things rejected by the sixteenth century Reformers because of their inconsistency with biblical and Reformation doctrine, are introduced into the Prayer Book.

Morning and Evening Prayer
The 1928 Book of Common Prayer dilutes the American Prayer Book’s doctrine of sin. The ten penitential sentences that had survived the 1892 revision of the American Prayer Book are reduced to three each in Morning and Evening Prayer and placed under the season of Lent. This eliminates an important evangelistic element from Morning and Evening Prayer. Samuel Luenberger draws to our attention:

“The text of our sentences are so compiled that they let one discern for himself the way to overcome sin through repentance. The following texts from the twelve quotations occupy a particularly important position: Ezekiel 18:27; Psalm 51:3.9, and 17; Joe; 2:13, etc.

“The very first quotation from Ezekiel 18 shows the way to prevail over sin:

“When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.” [1]

In its use of Sentences for the Seasons the 1928 Book of Common Prayer imitates the 1928 English Revised Book of Common Prayer and the 1929 Scottish Book of Common Prayer, both which are much more Catholic in tone than 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

The Evangelicals in the Church of England and the British Parliament rejected the 1928 English Revised Prayer Book because it modified the doctrine of the Church of England, and replaced the biblical-Reformation theology of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with unreformed Catholic doctrine. The upper house of Convocation would defy Parliament and authorized its use in Dioceses where the Ordinary consented to its use. The Scottish Episcopal Church has historically been more High Church and Catholic than the Church of England, preserving such customs as the wearing of eucharistic vestments during the Communion Service and the elevation of the consecrated host during the Prayer of Consecration. The 1929 Scottish Prayer of Consecration included an Epiclesis invoking the Holy Spirit upon the bread and the wine so that the eucharistic elements should “become” the Body and Blood of Christ. Like the 1928 Prayer of Consecration, the 1929 Scottish Prayer of Consecration is derived from the 1764 Scottish Non-Juror Prayer of Consecration.

The 1928 Prayer Book permits the substitution of a short Invitation for the Exhortation in Morning and Evening Prayer with its view of man “in a strictly evangelical-Reformation way as one who wishes to disguise his sinfulness and lives with a propensity for avoiding God.” [2]

A short Absolution taken from the medieval Sarum breviary may be used in lieu of Cranmer’s fuller Absolution. This short Absolution, as well as a simplified Confession, is offered as an alternative at both Morning and Evening Prayer in the 1928 English Revised Prayer Book and the 1929 Scottish Prayer Book. As we shall see, the short Absolution is one of number of features that the 1928 Prayer Book shares with these books.

The 1928 Prayer Book permits the omission of the first Lord’s Prayer or the second Lord’s Prayer at Morning Prayer. In the 1552 Prayer Book the first Lord’s Prayer forms a part of a sequence that begins with the penitential sentences. Cranmer’s Absolution does not make sense if the first Lord’s Prayer is omitted. The 1928 Prayer Book permits the omission of the Exhortation, the Confession, the Absolution, and the first Lord’s Prayer at Evening Prayer. This represents a significant departure from the Reformed form of Evening Prayer of the 1552 Prayer Book and a return to the unreformed Catholic form of the medieval Sarum breviary and the 1549 Prayer Book.

Invitatories for optional use in the form of medieval Antiphons are prefixed to the Venite. Cranmer had omitted Invitatories from the 1552 Book of Common Prayer because they were interpolated between the successive verses of the Venite and other passages of Scripture and broke the continual course of the reading of the Scripture. (See The Preface in the 1552 Prayer Book). With the Sentences for the Seasons that replace the penitential sentences, they give further emphasis to the Seasons. In the 1928 Prayer Book observance of the Church Year overshadows repentance at Morning and Evening Prayer. This is just one of a number of ways that the 1928 Prayer Book minimizes the gravity of sin.

The Holy Communion
The revised Order for the Holy Communion includes elements that quite definitely bring it into line with the medieval Roman Mass. Among the changes that 1928 Prayer Book introduced are the following:

1. The opening rubrics of the 1928 Order for Holy Communion direct the priest to stand before the Holy Table, his back turned to the congregation. This is how the priest stood at the medieval Roman Mass. This position, commonly referred to as the “eastward position,” is associated with the unreformed Catholic and Roman doctrinal views that presbyters are a sacrificing priesthood and the Mass is a sacrifice.

2. The rubrics direct the priest to offer the bread and wine and then place them upon the Holy Table at the Offertory. An offering of the bread and wine during the Prayer of Consecration had already been incorporated into the American Prayer Book with the adoption of the Scottish Non-Juror Prayer of Consecration in 1789. The two offerings of the bread and wine, one at the Offertory and the other during the Canon or Prayer of Consecration are taken from the medieval Roman Mass and are associated with the doctrines of the Sacrifice of the Mass and Transubstantiation.

3. The Prayer for the State of Christ’s Church contains a petition for the departed. This is also a feature of the 1928 English Revised Prayer Book and the 1929 Scottish Prayer Book.

4.  After the Sursum Corda the rubrics direct the priest to “turn to the Holy Table” with his back turned to the congregation—the eastward position associated with the doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

5. The 1928 Prayer of Consecrations closely follows the pattern of the medieval Roman Canon, except the latter has no Epiclesis.

6. The theology of the 1928 Prayer of Consecration represents a modification of the theology of the 1764 Scottish Non-Juror Prayer of Consecration. 1764 Scottish Non-Juror Communion Office was the work of two elderly Scottish Non-Juror bishops. They were the last of the surviving Usagers, a Scottish Non-Juror church party that taught that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. They believed that Christ had not offered himself as an atoning sacrifice for our redemption on the cross but at the Last Supper. He had only been slain on the cross.

“The Eucharist is both a Sacrament and a Sacrifice. Our Lord instituted the Sacrifice of the Eucharist when He began to offer Himself for the sins of all men, i.e. immediately after eating His Last Passover. He did not offer the Sacrifice upon the Cross; it was slain there but was offered at the Institution of the
Eucharist.” [3]

Bishop Thomas Deacon in his Comprehensive View describes a proper celebration of the Eucharist from this standpoint. The priest, he writes

“does as Christ did…he next repeats our Saviour’s powerful words “This is my Body,” “This is my Blood” over the Bread and Cup. The effect of the words is that the Bread and Cup are made authoritative Representations or symbols of Christ’s crucified Body and of His Blood shed; and in consequence they are in acapacity of being offered to God as the great Christian Sacrifice….God accepts the Sacrifice and returns it to us again to feast upon, in order that we may be thereby partakers of all the benefits of our Saviour’s Death and Passion. The Bread and Cup become capable of conferring these benefits on the priest praying to God the Father to send the Holy’ Spirit upon them. The Bread and Cup are thereby made the Spiritual, Life-giving Body and Blood of Christ, in Power and Virtue.”  [4]

The theology of the 1928 Prayer of Consecration is far removed from the Reformed theology of the 1552 and 1662 Prayers of Consecration or even the theology of the 1549 Canon. In the latter prayer the Epiclesis precedes the Words of Institution and there is no Oblation, or offering of the bread and wine.

6. The 1928 Prayer of Consecration contains an invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine that, as both Martin Bucer and Stephen Gardiner drew to Cranmer’s attention, suggest that the bread and wine undergo some kind of change other than a change in use. For this reason and the following reason the invocation of the Holy Spirit was dropped by Cranmer from the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. An invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine is a feature of the 1928 English Revised Prayer Book and the 1929 Scottish Prayer Book.

7. Bucer also objected to the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon inanimate objects. There was no warrant for the practice in the Bible. It also represented a departure from Biblical practice. In the Bible the Holy Spirit is invoked only upon people. The Holy Spirit also descends only upon people. Now where do we find in Scripture the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon inanimate objects.

The blessing of Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, and 1 Corinthians 10:16 refers to the Jewish practice of blessing God over a cup of wine as a form of thanksgiving and not to the blessing of the wine itself. This is clear from Luke 22:17-20:

“And he received a cup, and when he had given thanks, he said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I shall not drink from henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. And the cup in like manner after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you.”

And 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:

“For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.”

It is not an example of Jesus pronouncing God’s blessing upon an inanimate object—a cup of wine.

In the 1552 Communion Service in the prayer, “Almighty God oure heavenly father, whiche of thy tender mecye…,” the priest humbly asks God that those receiving the bread and wine may be partakers of Christ’s Body and Blood. In the 1552 Baptismal Office in the prayer, “Almightie euerliving God, whose most dearely beloued sonne Jesus Christ…,” the priest humbly asks God that all his servants who are to be baptized in the water, may receive the fullness of his grace and ever remain in the number of his faithful and elect children. There is no invocation of the Holy Spirit or God’s blessing upon the bread and wine or the water in the font.

8. Nowhere in Scripture do we read that Jesus commanded the disciples to celebrate and make a memorial before God with the bread and wine or to offer them to God. Jesus instructed the disciples to eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of him. He said nothing about celebrating and making a memorial before God as if God needed to be reminded of what he had done. Paul speaks of proclaiming Christ’s death with the bread and the cup until he comes again. But he is not speaking of proclaiming to God but to our fellow men.

9. The 1928 Prayer of Consecration contains the words: “…with these thy gifts, which we now offer unto thee….”  It also contains the words: “And though we be unworthy to offer unto Thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech Thee to accept this our bounden duty and service.” The Reformers rejected the doctrine that the priest offers a sacrifice of Christ’s Body and Blood. Cranmer therefore removed from the 1552 Prayer Book all expressions that taught a presence of Christ in the consecrated elements, and all expressions that implied the offering of them as a sacrifice. For this reason Cranmer removed the word “Altar,” and all words in the Prayer of Consecration relating to any offering of a sacrifice by the priest. The Reformers also discarded eucharistic vestments such as the chasuble.

10. The rubrical permission to sing a hymn immediately before the distribution of the Communion permits the singing of the Agnes Dei. Coming where it does, it suggests a presence of Christ in the Bread and Wine as a result of the words of Consecration, and for this reason it was removed by Cranmer from the 1552 Prayer Book. This suggestion is further strengthened by the placement of the Lord’s Prayer and the Prayer of Humble Access immediately before the distribution of the Communion. For the same reason they were moved by Cranmer to different positions in the 1552 Prayer Book, the Lord’s Prayer to a position immediately after the distribution of the Communion and the Prayer of Humble Access to a position immediately after the Sanctus.

Baptism
The 1928 Book of Common Prayer also changes the baptismal theology of the American Prayer Book.

1. The opening sentence of the Exhortation of the Baptismal Office “forasmuch as all men are born and conceived in sin” has been omitted.

2. The 1928 Prayer Book drops the Flood Prayer that had been in the Book of Common Prayer since the 1549 Prayer Book and in the American Prayer Book since 1789. The Flood Prayer teaches that God has “sanctified the element of water to the mystical washing away of sin” through Our Lord’s baptism in the River Jordan. For this reason the form for the private baptism of infants in the 1552, 1559, 1604, and 1662 Prayer Books does not contain a blessing of the water used in baptism.

One cannot make even the slightest alteration in a text without affecting the doctrine of the text. Dropping the Flood Prayer that stresses God’s sanctification of the element of water for the purpose of baptism is as serious an alteration of doctrine in the 1928 Prayer Book as the addition of prayers for the departed.

3. The biblical language of the Prayer for the Baptismal Candidate has been watered down.

4. The 1928 Prayer Book recasts the prayer “Almighty, everliving God, whose most dearly beloved Son, etc…” along the lines of the Prayer of Consecration in the service of Holy Communion. This recasting emphasizes the priestly blessing of the water in the font. This is also a feature of the 1928 English Revised Prayer Book and the 1962 Canadian Prayer Book.

The rubrics of 1928 Prayer Book do permit private baptism even by a baptized layperson in cases of dire emergency without a blessing of the water since its omission would have gone against Catholic tradition but its inclusion does not counterbalance the recasting of “Almighty, everliving God, whose most dearly beloved Son, etc…”.

5. The signing of the newly baptized with the cross upon the forehead, a practice that Evangelicals view as without warrant in the Bible, to which they have long objected, and which was optional in the 1892 Office of Baptism, is made mandatory.

6. The 1928 Book of Common Prayer gives liturgical expression to the unreformed Catholic doctrine that a bishop in a line of succession going back to the apostles, through the imposition of hands, has the power to confer upon an ordinand in turn the power to convert the substance of the eucharistic elements into the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ (Transubstantiation) and to impart to the element of water the power to regenerate the human soul (Baptismal Regeneration).

The Thirty-Nine Articles rejects the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics are sharply divided over the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration. The Privy Council, the highest judicial authority for the Church of England at the time, ruled against Bishop Henry Philpotts and the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration in the Gorham decision in 1850. The Privy Council ruled that Baptismal Regeneration was not a doctrine of the Church of England and Bishop Philpotts should not have denied a living to George Gorham in the Diocese of Exeter because Gorham did not believe that the grace of regeneration invariably accompanied the act of baptism.

Baptismal Regeneration was one of the latent Catholic doctrines in the 1789 Book of Common Prayer that, with the growth and increased influence of Tractarianism in the then Protestant Episcopal Church, prompted Bishop George David Cummins and conservative Evangelical clergy and laypersons to leave the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1873 and to form the Reformed Episcopal Church.

The Catechism
The 1928 Book of Common Prayer replaces the Prayer Book Catechism with two Offices of Instruction. The Second Office articulates a view of Confirmation, which has no real basis in the Bible and is not found in the Reformed Prayer Book of 1552, the classical Anglican Prayer Book of 1662, or the first two American Prayer Books of 1789 and 1892. It is a sacramental view of Confirmation that differs from the catechetical view of Confirmation that was held by the English Reformers and is given liturgical expression in these four Prayer Books. It is also a view of Confirmation over which Anglicans are sharply divided.

Confirmation
The 1928 Prayer Book omits the preface to the Office of Confirmation that was a feature of the 1662, 1789, and 1892 Offices of Confirmation and which emphasizes the catechetical nature of Confirmation. The presentation of the candidates for Confirmation to the bishop is modeled upon that of the presentation of candidates for ordination. The 1928 Prayer Book includes Acts 8 as an optional reading. This particular reading and what it means is the subject of much heated debate.

Burial of the Dead
The biblical language of the Burial Office has been diluted. The Burial Office includes a number of prayers for the departed.

Ordination
In the Ordinal there is a significant change in the form of the question put to the deacon concerning the Bible. Instead of being asked, “Do you unfeignedly believe all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments?” the candidate is asked “Are you persuaded that the Holy Scriptures contains all Doctrine required as necessary for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ?” The candidate is no longer required to affirm a blanket belief in the teachings of the Bible.

Consecration of a Church or Chapel
In the Form for the Consecration of a Church or Chapel any reference to God’s anger or wrath has been expunged

Conclusion
From a Reformed perspective the 1928 Book of Common Prayer suffers from a number of serious theological defects. This rules out the use of the 1928 Prayer Book in public worship in an Anglican church that is Reformed in its doctrine. If prayers and liturgical material are used from the 1928 Prayer Book, great care should be taken to see that their doctrine conforms with the biblical-Reformation doctrine of the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1661 Ordinal.

Anglicans have long recognized how we pray reflects and shapes what we believe. What good does it do to preach one thing when the liturgy that we are using and the worship practices that we have adopted teach another? Both our preaching and our liturgy and worship practices need to convey the same message.

Endnotes:
[1] Samuel Leuenberger, Archbishop Cranmer’s Immortal Bequest The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England: An Evangelistic Liturgy, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990) 152.
[2] Leuenberger, 153.
[3]Henry Broxap, The Late Non-Jurors, “Appendix II Non Juror Doctrine and Ceremonies” (Cambridge 1928), 1, appendix on the Internet at: http://anglicanhistory.org/nonjurors/broxapapp2.pdf
[4] Broxap, 1-2.

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.

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.

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.

What’s Going on at Wheaton?

November 23, 2008 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

By Robin G. Jordan

The leaders of the Anglican Communion Network and other Common Cause Partners are playing their cards close to their chest. When I asked for a summary of the proposed constitution, I was politically told that I would have to wait with everyone else to the Common Cause Partnership Council meeting in December when the CCP will receive the proposed constitution and then unveiled it to the world. I have heard the suggestion that they are still hammering out the final details. I learned from the ACN that after the CCP Council has received the proposed constitution, it would remain a draft for up to a year until it is ratified and during this time public comment would be invited. From another source I learned that once the CCP Council approves the proposed constitution at its December meeting, it would no longer be a proposed constitution but would be the constitution of the Anglican Church in North America and then it would be sent to each CCP member organization to ratify—“up or down” as it stood. Each of the judicatories that would be forming the new province would be similar to dioceses without borders except for the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses. The ACN would remain the ACN; the AMiA, the AMiA; the ANiC, the AniC; CANA, CANA, and so on. If clergy and congregations are with the ACN now, they would with the ACN in the new province. This source anticipated some mergers in the future but was unwilling to predict which judicatories might merge. Bishop Iker has been quoted as saying that the new province would be a reality by Easter 2009. So we have three conflicting accounts of what is going to happen at the CCP Council meeting and in the next 12 months.

During the earlier part of this month VirtueOnline published three articles in which I called attention to the token place of the Anglican formularies in the CCP Theological Statement and the implications for the new province and confessional Anglicans. The CCP Theological Statement is supposed to form the theological foundation upon which the new province will be erected. In giving a token place to the Anglican formularies the CCP risked recreating in the new province a situation much like the one that exists in The Episcopal Church. In The Episcopal Church we see little regard for the Bible and the Creeds, much less the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571, the Book of Common Prayer of 1662, and the Ordinal of 1661. The Bible and the Creeds are rapidly becoming historical curiosities along with the Anglican formularies. I urged confessional Anglicans to organize in defense of the gospel.

The Thirty-Nine Articles identify what are the essentials of an evangelical faith, a faith according to gospel teaching. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer expresses that faith in liturgical form. The 1662 Ordinal defines the roles of deacon, presbyter, and bishop as ministers of that faith. The three formularies outline what the English Reformers and classical Anglicanism understood and confessional Anglicans still understand to be the gospel, the faith of the gospel and the ministry of the gospel. In The Episcopal Church where these formularies are historical curiosities, all three are disappearing.

In the judicatories that constitute the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses and the Common Cause Partners the Anglican formularies occupy a tenuous place. They may be affirmed in the constitution or declaration of principles of these judicatories but they do not significantly influence and shape the life and worship of the judicatory. The 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, which do not adhere to the biblical-Reformed doctrine of the 1662 Prayer Book or respect its liturgical usages, are still used. Earlier this year the Prayer Book Society of the USA and the AMiA jointly released a service book, An Anglican Prayer Book (2008), which in its doctrine is not too distant cousin to both the 1928 Prayer Book and the 1979 Prayer Book. This book is now being used in some churches of the Common Cause Partners.

In response to my articles I have encountered several disturbing attitudes. One is that since the Anglican formularies were little regarded in The Episcopal Church, why should they be regarded at all in the Anglican Church in North America. A second is outright hostility toward the formularies and confessional Anglicanism. Those exhibiting this attitude have for the large part been Anglo-Catholics or lean toward Anglo-Catholicism. A third is that the formularies mean nothing to the people in the pews. They have no place in their faith or worship. It is even suggested that they would mean nothing to Christ when he returns in glory. How widespread these attitudes are, I do not know but their existence does not portend well for the new province or for confessional Anglican. They suggest that what may be in the making is another Episcopal Church but without the liberals—at least for now.

These attitudes point to the great neglect of the formularies in The Episcopal Church and how their neglect may have contributed to the present state of that church. If one looks around the Anglican Communion the neglect of the formularies and the encroachment of liberalism, modernism, and unreformed Catholicism appear to go hand in hand. This neglect has not only lead to the encroachment of liberalism, modernism, and unreformed Catholicism but their encroachment has also lead to the neglect of the formularies.

While I called in my articles for a larger place for the Anglican formularies in the CCP and the new province, the reality on the ground is that this is not likely to happen. Three of the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses are Anglo-Catholic. The CCP is a disparate group. It is made up largely of Anglo-Catholics and charismatic evangelicals with confessional evangelicals in the minority.

I see four ways forward for confessional Anglicans. The first is to identify and network with other confessional Anglicans and incipient confessional Anglicans—those who are confessional but do not yet recognize it—in their respective judicatories and in the new province. The Heritage Anglican Network is being formed to help facilitate this process. I say being formed because it still is very much a work in progress. This includes identifying and networking with confessional Anglicans in the Americas and the Caribbean outside the structure of the new province.

The second way forward is to form linkages with confessional Anglicans in other parts of the world—in Australia, Ireland, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. We need to not only overcome our isolation from each other in the Americas and the Caribbean but also worldwide. We live in the age of the Internet. We are a mouse click away from each other even though we are thousands of miles apart.

Confessional Anglicans are confronting similar conditions in the United Kingdom as we face in the United States and Canada.

The third way forward is to devote our combined energies and resources to campaigning for provisions in the constitution of the new province for the formation of confessional Anglican judicatories within the Anglican Church in North America and the admission of confessional Anglican judicatories formed outside the new province and to forming at a minimum one confessional Anglican judicatory but preferably two or more and securing their admission to the new province if they were formed outside the province. These provisions should include:

(i) Provision for unrestricted voluntary transfer of confessional Anglican clergy and congregations from the other constituent bodies of the new province to confessional Anglican judicatories formed within the new province or formed outside the province and subsequently admitted to the province.

(ii) No penalization of confessional Anglican judicatories for having formed within the new province or having formed outside the province and admitted to the province after the initial ratification of the proposed constitution.

(iii) The same guarantees for their structure, identity, priorities, and participation in inter-provincial structures as the original constituent bodies of the new province.

(iv) No requirement for the involuntary amalgamation or merger of a confessional Anglican judicatory forming within the new province or formed outside of the province and being admitted to the province—with one of the original constituent bodies of the province. For example, a network of confessional Anglican churches could directly be admitted to the new province. They would not have to join the ACN, AMiA, ANiC, CANA, or another such judicatory in order to be admitted to the province.

(v) Freedom to establish and maintain the Anglican formularies as the doctrinal and worship standard of a judicatory.

(vi) Freedom to use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1661 Ordinal and to develop and adopt modern English services adhering to the doctrine of the 1662 Prayer Book and the 1661 Ordinal and showing due regard for their liturgical usages, to use along with the 1662 Prayer Book and the 1661 Ordinal.

(vii) Freedom to plant churches and to establish networks of churches throughout the entire geographic territory of the new province.

(viii) No penalization of clergy and congregations transferring to confessional Anglican judicatories in the province such as loss of pension contributions or seizure of church property.

These provisions might be described as a confessional Anglican Bill of Rights for the new province.

The fourth way forward is to plant confessional Anglican churches and link them together in a network that crosses judicatory lines. The Heritage Anglican Network can play a useful support role.

We may not succeed at changing the culture of the Anglican Church in North America but we can work to establish a strong confessional Anglican presence in the new province.

We need to do whatever we can to bring pressure to bear upon the CCP and the Anglican Church in North America to make room in the new province for confessional Anglican judicatories that can freely order their doctrine and worship and can operate throughout the geographic territory of the new province. This may require turning a spotlight on any policy or policy maker that even gives the appearance of barring full inclusion of confessional Anglicans into the new province, of dismissing or ignoring their concerns, of marginalizing them, and of relegating confessional Anglicanism to obscurity. It may include pointing attention to the equivalence between how the CCP and the Anglican Church in North America is treating confessional Anglicans and how The Episcopal Church treated disaffected Episcopalians and the Anglican Church of Canada, disaffected Anglicans. It will certainly entail courting and mobilizing the support of confessional and other Anglicans outside of North America. It may also require making appeals to other Anglican Provinces and their primates and even calling for intervention in the new province.

Every journey begins with a first step. Our first step is to pray. We must immerse this whole undertaking in prayer. We must pray for the cause of the gospel, genuine Anglicanism, and evangelical Christianity. We must pray for the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses and the Common Cause Partnership, for our respective judicatories, and for their leaders. We especially must pray the Common Cause Partnership Council will have the discernment and wisdom to recognize the flaws in the proposed constitution and will amend it to make room in the Anglican Church in North America for confessional Anglicanism and to guarantee a place at the table for confessional Anglicans alongside the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses and the Common Cause Partners. We must pray for our brothers and sisters outside these bodies. We must pray for the Heritage Anglican Network and for ourselves.

Let us not forget that we are contending for the faith once delivered for all to the saints—not the faith of human tradition, not the faith of men’s devising, but the faith of the New Testament, the faith of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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