Thursday, July 02, 2009

Is ACNA too Catholic?

http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/news/communion/is_acna_too_catholic/

[sydneyanglicans.net] 2 July 2009--Last week the Anglican Province of North America was officially launched in Bedford, Texas and Robert Duncan, was elected its first Archbishop.

Some criticism has been levelled at the constitution as being too Catholic and not sufficiently reformed. I thought it would be helpful for readers to decide for themselves as to whether the constitution’s fundamental declarations might not be signed by right-thinking Anglicans...

I recommend that readers take a look at the comments in response to the earlier version of the ACNA Fundamental Declarations posted on the sydneyanglicans.net website.

10 comments:

texanglican said...

Mr. Jordan, I think your post here points out exactly why your efforts on this blog have not borne much fruit in the run-up to the creation of ACNA. Basically, as I have read your posts of the last few months it has seemed to me that for you "evangelical Anglican" is pretty much synonymous with "Sydney-type evangelical Anglican." I fear that Anglican Media Sydney may be the only place in the Anglican world where your objections will get much traction (though as I write this there is only one short substantive response on that site other than your own voluminous comments--surely that will change with time).

But it is not the case that virtually every other Anglican jurisdiction on earth outside of the archdiocese of Sydney is "too Catholic" from their point of view? No one has backed Sydney on lay presidency the Eucharist, or diaconal presidency for that matter. They are, sadly, quite marginalized by their ultra-Reformed evangelicalism. In the eyes of much of the Anglican world Sydney's Anglicanism is hard to distinguish from the faith of the Puritans (except that they are willing to allow the continued existence of bishops [as long as they do think too much of their office!]). It is simply not very close to where the bulk of us are world-wide.

The fact that ACNA did not modify it's proposed Constitution and Canons to satisfy the theological demands of a brand of Anglicanism as isolated as Sydney's version is ought not to surprise any of us. I heard no complaints about the proposed legislation you objected to from any of the more mainstream Anglican evangelicals who attended the Assembly. The vast majority of the evangelicals within ACNA are simply not of the Moore Theological College variety.

It appears that only those whose theological convictions align with the highly Reformed faith of Sydney are very much troubled by an affirmation about bishops in the Constitution that goes very little farther than the 120 year-old, much respected Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. It may very well be that Sydney-style Anglicans won't feel at home in ACNA. But that is more a symptom of the isolation of Sydney's brand of evangelicalism at the far end of the Anglican spectrum than to any error on the part of ACNA's Constitution and Canons.

Restless Heart said...

TexAnglican eloquently answers the question. I would simply answer your question, "Is ACNA too Catholic?" thusly:

No. It is not sufficiently so.

Reformation said...

TexAnglican and Robin, of course the new ANCA is Anglo-Romewardizing:

Thomas Rogers. The Catholic Doctrine of the Church of England, An Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles ed. Parker Society (Cambridge: Cambridge Press, 1854).
As usual with the Parker Society series, the frontispiece contains the following:

“For the Publication of the Works of the Father and Early Writers of the Reformed English Church.”

The editors unabashed call the Church of England “Reformed” and “Catholic.” The hi-jacking and theft of the legitimate term “Catholic” by Anglo-Catholics is revisionist. “Anglo-Romewardizing” is more accurate for these squatters.

This was written by Thomas Rogers, the Chaplain to Archbishop Bancroft. We will venture summarization.

The work is freely downloadable at:
Thomas Rogers’ background is sketch. We learned that he came to Cambridge about 1568. He took holy orders and was granted an M.A. in 1576. He was a Chaplain to Dr. Bancroft, then Bishop of London, and became a Rector of Horninger, near to St. Edmonds-Bury in Suffolk.

Varied works include: A Philosophical Discourse, entit. The Anatomy of the Mind; Of the End of the World and the second Coming of Christ; The English Creed, wherein is contained in Tables an Exposition on the Articles which every Man is to subscribe. Where the Articles are expounded by Scripture, and the Confessions of all the reformed Churches; General Session, containing an Apology of the comfortable Doctrine concerning the End of the World and second Coming of Christ; The English Creed, consisting with the true, ancient Catholic and Apostolic Church in all the Points and Articles of Religion, which every Christian is to know and believe that would be saved, in two parts (the first part printed in 1585 and the second in 1587); the current work, An Exposition on the 39 Articles of the Church of England, 1586 ; A Golden Chain taken out of the rich Treasure-House of the Psalms of David (1579); Historical Dialogue touching Antichrist and Popery, drawn and published for the Comfort of our Church (1589); Two Dialogues, or Conferences concerning kneeling in the very Act of receiving the Sacramental Bread and Wine in the Supper of our Lord (1608); Of the Foolishness of Men and Women in putting off the Amendment of their Lives from Day to Day (1583); A Method of Mortification, called heretofore The Contempt of the Word.

In 1607, our current book appeared. This volume was cognizant of the varied Reformed and Lutheran documents and confessions.

texanglican said...

Reformation, I must admit I find your post a bit puzzling. How precisely does your extended recitation on the Rogers book's contents relate to the question of the ACNA? Are you implying that all Anglican developments that are not in line with the heavily Reformed views of certain late 16th century English divines "Romanizing"?

Certainly no one can doubt that there were significant figures in the late 16th century English church who were deeply influenced by Geneva (especially since many of them had weathered the storm of Mary Tudor there). The real question is--is that what genuine Anglicanism amounts to today? Does the heritage of Andrewes, Laud, Taylor, Herbert, Donne, the Wesleys, Wilberforce and Pusey, not also inform what it means to be an Anglican? None of them was Calvinistic, and they are all important parts of our Anglican heritage. It would be a serious mistake for the ACNA to limit itself to the ultra-Reformed views of some of the first generation English reformers when their views are not central to the faith of most Anglicans today. Indeed, it appears to me that these ultra-Reformed views are quite rare among Anglicans these days outside of Sydney, Australia, and those churchmen influenced by Moore Theological College.

If your goal in this comment was to point out that some of the first and second generation leaders of the C of E had strongly Reformed views, then I happily concede that point. But please do not forget, the Puritans left the C of E in the late 16th and early 17th century, almost stripping the C of E of these ultra-Reformed commitments. We are primarily the descendants of the less Calvinistic version of Anglicanism that developed following the departure of most Calvinists from the established church (though that stream has never completely died out in Anglicanism, as George Whitefield and even the venerable J.I. Packer exemplify).

It is this more relaxed, post-Puritan version of the Anglican tradition that is dominant among the members of ACNA--both evangelical and Anglo-Catholic. And it is this post-Puritan form that dominates the world-wide Communion today. This form of Anglicanism I happily term "reformed Catholicism," and subscribe to myself.

Robin_G_Jordan said...

Texanglican

Your claim that the only "Sydney-type evangelical Anglicans" are opposed to the partisan doctrinal positions of a number of the provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons does not hold up. The conservative North Americans Anglicans with whom I have been in contact and who have serious concerns regarding these provisions, including at least one who described himself as "High Church." Some are Reformed in their views but hardly "ultra-Reformed." Others might be described as charismatic. Some are affiliated with the AMiA; others, with CANA. I have also heard similar concerns expressed by individuals in the ANiC and the REC. However you might like to paint as "Sydney-type evangelical Anglicans" those who have difficulty with the partisanship of the doctrinal provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons, it is simply not the case. The reality is that the ACNA constitution and canons backtrack when it came to establishing a ecclesial body that is comprehensive in its recognition of divergent opinions among conservative Anglicans and which is united in its doctrinal and worship standards with those of the Anglican entities that have supported the establishment of a new orthodox province in North America and extend their recognition to the ACNA as that province in formation.

It was Bishop Mimms who drew to the attention of the Provincial Council at its meeting before the inaugural Provincial Assembly that the third Fundamental Declaration was "too Catholic" in its choice of language. Both he and Bishop Bena supported modification of the language of that declaration to make it neutral, not aligned with any theological grouping in the ACNA.

When did the bulk of Anglicans outside North America become Anglo-Catholic? Anglo-Catholics and liberals, as we both know, are minority groups in the Anglican Communion. It is widely recognized that the typical Anglican is black, female, evangelical, and believes that the Holy Spirit is active in the same way today as He was in New Testament times.

The Anglo-Catholic wing of the Protestant Episcopal Church enjoyed hegemony in the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1886. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral that the Episcopal House of Bishops adopted in 1886 contained wording that was not included in Resolution 11 that the third Lambeth Conference adopted in 1888. Resolution 11 dropped any reference to the historic episcopate being an inherent part of "this sacred deposit," and expressed the "opinion" that its four articles provided a "basis." for "approach" toward "Home Reunion." Articles 3 and 4 were a major cause of controversy especially among Anglo-Catholics. The latter believed that the fourth article cast doubt upon their doctrine of apostolic succession. An "affirmation about bishops" that "goes very little further" than the partisan resolution adopted by the Episcopal House of Bishops in Chicago in 1886, while it may be pleasing to Anglo-Catholics,is needlessly divisive. It actually seeks to undo Resolution 11.

The ACNA constitution and canons contain so many problematic provisions that they should not have presented to the inaugural Provincial Assembly for ratification. Indeed the process followed in drafting the two documents, revising them, and adopting them was problematic as was the process followed in ratifying them.

Reformation said...

TA said:

Reformation, I must admit I find your post a bit puzzling. How precisely does your extended recitation on the Rogers book's contents relate to the question of the ACNA? Are you implying that all Anglican developments that are not in line with the heavily Reformed views of certain late 16th century English divines "Romanizing"?

RT: TA, sorry for delay. Your question is well considered, given the extended comment on Rogers vis a vis Robin’s post. First, Robin during his review of the Canons and Constitutions has—often obliquely—raised the Anglo-Roman viewpoints or AC’s if you wish. On the contrary, I am more fully discovering the English Reformers and frankly suspect they would not be welcomed at the recent Inaugural of the ACNA. So yes, an extended answer amplifying on Robin’s more oblique references. Sorry to have puzzled you.

Reformation said...

TexAnglican said:
Certainly no one can doubt that there were significant figures in the late 16th century English church who were deeply influenced by Geneva (especially since many of them had weathered the storm of Mary Tudor there). The real question is--is that what genuine Anglicanism amounts to today? Does the heritage of Andrewes, Laud, Taylor, Herbert, Donne, the Wesleys, Wilberforce and Pusey, not also inform what it means to be an Anglican? None of them was Calvinistic, and they are all important parts of our Anglican heritage. It would be a serious mistake for the ACNA to limit itself to the ultra-Reformed views of some of the first generation English reformers when their views are not central to the faith of most Anglicans today. Indeed, it appears to me that these ultra-Reformed views are quite rare among Anglicans these days outside of Sydney, Australia, and those churchmen influenced by Moore Theological College.

PV: Thanks again, TA. I am not impressed by Laud at all. Andrewes and Herbert are not high on my list compared to John Calvin. I cannot embrace Arminianism; neither did Archbishop Ussher or the Anglican divines at Dordt. Pusey had Roman views and is not within authentic Anglicanism. Although I’m alone and odd-man out—everywhere, perhaps to your comfort—I believe that Anglicanism needs additional Confessional boundaries beyond the XXXIX Articles. The English Reformers were not “ultra-Reformed,” but simply Reformed. Newman felt the Articles were a mish-mash of confused views. In that tiny respect, I agree. Additional statements are needed.

Reformation said...

TexAnglican said:
If your goal in this comment was to point out that some of the first and second generation leaders of the C of E had strongly Reformed views, then I happily concede that point. But please do not forget, the Puritans left the C of E in the late 16th and early 17th century, almost stripping the C of E of these ultra-Reformed commitments. We are primarily the descendants of the less Calvinistic version of Anglicanism that developed following the departure of most Calvinists from the established church (though that stream has never completely died out in Anglicanism, as George Whitefield and even the venerable J.I. Packer exemplify).
PV: Tex, need to do this in three parts. The site allows only small posts. Part three here. I would argue that Calvinism or Reformed theology was at least four generations deep in Anglicanism. I regret that the Puritans tossed our beloved BCP. Similarly, I regret that the Anglicans did not embrace the Lambeth Articles (1595), the Irish Articles (1615) nor vast tracts of the WCF.

Reformation said...

TexAnglican said (cont):
If your goal in this comment was to point out that some of the first and second generation leaders of the C of E had strongly Reformed views, then I happily concede that point. But please do not forget, the Puritans left the C of E in the late 16th and early 17th century, almost stripping the C of E of these ultra-Reformed commitments. We are primarily the descendants of the less Calvinistic version of Anglicanism that developed following the departure of most Calvinists from the established church (though that stream has never completely died out in Anglicanism, as George Whitefield and even the venerable J.I. Packer exemplify).

Given Jim Packer’s utterly regrettable posture on ECT, he is very much outside Anglicanism view of Rome for at least 300 years. It is fortunate that we can look back at the 17th century and make corrections to Anglican mish-masheries. I wish to say that as kindly as is possible. Perhaps this will help on my view towards Rome.
http://reformationanglicanism.blogspot.com/2009/06/anglican-position-towards-rome.html

Reformation said...

TexAnglican said:
It is this more relaxed, post-Puritan version of the Anglican tradition that is dominant among the members of ACNA--both evangelical and Anglo-Catholic. And it is this post-Puritan form that dominates the world-wide Communion today. This form of Anglicanism I happily term "reformed Catholicism," and subscribe to myself.
PV: What is a “more relaxed, post-Puritan version? Arminianism? Deism (I doubt you are that). Tractarian? Liberal? I would agree that a d├ętente has been reached between the Anglo-Roman and “evangelical” (whatever that is) sides in modern Anglicanism. “Reformed Catholicism” as terms is almost a shell-game. Jewel’s “Reformed Catholicism” or Peter Toon’s and Packer’s, which was/is more comprehensive than the English Reformers for four generations at least? I would claim Reformed and Catholic, Protestant and Confessional. I give this in the spirit of charity, wishing no offense---yet, like yourself—having to take one’s own stand. (I confess a dislike for some Calvinist Anglicans and their attitudes...but then have seen that from ACs also.) Kind regards in Trinity IV.