Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Brief Catholic A-Z of the ACNA

By Robin G. Jordan

I gathered these definitions from the articles and comments of Catholics in the ACNA on the Internet. From what I understand these views are not representative of all Catholics in the ACNA but of one highly vocal group.

Anglicanism—the Catholic beliefs and practices of the English Church before the sixteenth century Reformation, partially restored by the Caroline divines in the seventeenth century and completely re-established by the Oxford movement in the nineteenth century. Among the beliefs of genuine Anglicanism are the doctrines of purgatory, eucharistic sacrifice, the Real Presence, baptismal regeneration, and tactual succession. Real Anglicans pray for the dead, practice auricular confession, invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, venerate images and relics, and adore the consecrated host and carry it about in processions.

Anti-Catholic—saying anything that is even remotely critical of Catholic beliefs and practices. This includes suggesting that there are other views beside those held and taught by Catholics and these views represent a valid theological stream in Christianity and Anglicanism. It also includes not wholeheartedly and enthusiastically supporting the privileged status given Catholic ecclesiology and theology in the ACNA constitution and canons and embracing the vision of the ACNA as a province in which Catholicism is the dominant if not sole ecclesiological and theological school of thought.

Comprehensiveness—Those who espouse comprehensiveness are beset by the wild delusion that the ACNA was not created to be a Catholic province in North America but a province that would have a policy of recognizing divergent opinions in the church and in which other theological streams such as evangelicalism would grow and flourish alongside Catholicism. They are virulently anti-Catholic and are bent on extirpating Catholicism in the new province, rooting it out and destroying it utterly, even though they are not consciously aware of these tendencies. They suffer from a cognitive defect in failing to see the complete reasonableness of privileging and mandating the Catholic position or a Catholic position on key ecclesiological and theological issues.

Evangelical—not Catholic and therefore not orthodox in beliefs or practices. Those who identify themselves as “evangelical” but who tacitly agree with Catholic beliefs and practices or do not object to them are to be put up with since they may become Catholics over time with reeducation. Those who are ardent in their devotion to Protestant and Reformed principles, however, must be shut out of the ACNA. If they are already members of the ACNA, they must be harried out of the new province. This is absolutely essential to upholding the Catholic faith and Catholic order in the new province. Synonym: Heretical.

Reformed—Rabid bibliolatrous hyper-Calvinists on the fringe of Christianity and outside the Anglican mainstream, driven by an irrational fear and pathological hatred of Catholics and Catholicism and dedicated to the eradication of every trace of Catholicism in the ACNA and the purging of Catholics from the new province.

Tolerant—aligning the provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons with the beliefs and practices of one particular theological grouping in the ACNA, that is, Catholicism and Catholics, and favoring this grouping over the other theological groupings in the ACNA. Acquiescing to Catholic beliefs and practices on secondary issues as well as primary ones. This includes accepting the Catholic classification of what is primary and what is secondary.


DomWalk said...

Robin, it would appear that you are granting these Romanists (not Catholics) the power to define the ACNA.


Robin_G_Jordan said...

On the contrary, Dom. I am drawing attention to how this particular group of Catholics is defining the ACNA. I am hoping that my readers will recognize the extremeness of their views. Most of them by the way are not Anglo-Papists and have no intention of becoming Roman Catholics. To read the comment that prompted this article, go to http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=11073 and read the last entry on the thread.

DomWalk said...

Your title, though, is "A Brief A-Z of the ACNA", implying that what follows are definitions with which you agree as defining the ACNA.

Ok, so there's a small group of Romanists (not Catholics) who view the ACNA along the lines of their theology. Will you post the same for the Charismatics, the broad Evangelicals, the Affirmers and the Reformed?

Or are you surrendering to the Romanists?

DomWalk said...

Regarding the Virtue Online comment. Yes, there is a whole bag of nuts on that site, including a few eccentrics who believe that Constantine was entirely apolitical and that Eastern Orthodoxy is the true Anglicanism.


Reformation said...

Robin, I was expecting a larger laundry list. Not surprised one whit by this. I was thinking of the "catechism" in the back of the 79 BCP. I'm going to pull it from the shelf tomorrow for a laugh. It's first rate junk. Can you provide a fuller list?

Also, Virtue is prepping for a story on the REC. This is better than Prozac.

Reformation said...

Robin, what's your estimate of the percentages on Anglo-Romewardizers?

As to "evangelicals," that too still begs for analysis. I am seriously considering dumping the term altogether in favour of "Pseudo-evangelicals," to wit, the failure to comprehend true evangelicals in the Reformation Confessions. This includes Rick Warren, Emergent Church types, and ECT-compromisers.

Robin_G_Jordan said...


I think you are reading agreement into my choice of title, which is not there. If you have any suggestions for a new title, I'll consider them. Coming up with a title was the hardest part of writing the entire article. I will alter the title by adding "Catholic".

I have discontinued using the term "Romanist" because most contemporary readers do not know what the term means any more. "Catholic" with a capital "C" (as opposed to catholic with a small "c"), however, describes the proponents of Catholic beliefs and practices in the ACNA. Evangelicals are catholic. They are also evangelical, Protestant, and Reformed. They are not Catholic.

The reality, Dom, is that those you describe as "Charismatics, the broad Evangelicals, the Affirmers and the Reformed" are doing a very poor job of articulating what they believe and how they envision the ACNA, and the Catholics are miles ahead of them. One of the reasons that they have been so successful in hijacking the vision of the ACNA, is that the other theological groupings in the ACNA have never really articulated what their vision is in a formal statement along with a statement of the beliefs and values to which they are committed. They have permitted the Catholics to dominate this process.

Robin_G_Jordan said...


The list of words is short because it was taken from articles and comments on the Internet. If I come across any more words, I'll write a second article on the subject.

A story on the REC? I hope that it does not promote the REC as the place for evangelicals in the ACNA. Folks would need to be on heavy meds to believe that. Or off their meds and delusional. Sutton and Grote boast on the Internet that they were responsible for the Common Cause Theological Statement which as we both know mandates a Catholic view of the historic episcopate and draws the teeth of the Anglican formularies

I have no idea of how many Catholics in the ACNA consider a swim across the Tiber as an option. What I do think is that many would plunge into the polluted waters of the Tiber if the pope created an Anglican-rite jurisdiction for Anglicans within the Roman Catholic Church. FIF North America is at this stage committed to the ACNA and the task of "Catholicizing" the new province. On the other hand, FIF United Kingdom leans toward reunification with Rome. At the same time FIF North America recently adopted a resolution in which it committed itself to "Christian unity" over Anglican unity. I do not believe that the resolution was referring to unity with the Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, or Presbyterians. It suggests to me that FIF North America is not totally ruling out a swim across the Tiber if it deemed that swim worthwhile.

I often used the term "self-identified evangelicals" in my articles. FIF North America refers to all evangelicals as those who "define" themselves as evangelicals.

Evangelicals are a mixed bag not only in North America but also outside North America. For this reason I distinguish in my articles between evangelicalism and classical, conservative or traditional evangelical Anglicanism or Anglican evangelicalism.

Reformation said...

I watched the video with Marty Minns on virtue. I wondered if he had health problems or was on anti-depressants. I hope he is well, but energy was not evident. And there was no theology. I still think with military categories. Admiral material, not really. Captain perhaps.

It's good for "evangelicals" (the jellyfish) to get a lesson in AC Churchmanship, that is, being pushed around.

Reformation said...


Thanks for the update, info on FIF, and your definitions of evangelical.

As to REC, I suspect your suspicion will be true. David is looking for Sutton. Sheesh, Sutton is funny...as he switching from faith group to faith group, starting with Baptists, ect.

I am still plying the idea of the term "Pseudo-evangelical" since the vast majority of them wouldn't even find the term "imputation" or "imputed righteousness" significant.

Bishop FitzSimmons Allison, however, gets it on justification by faith alone.

If leaders aren't self-consciously informed on the Reformation Confessions, I have to think of them in terms of needing quarantine and about three years in re-education camps.

Thanks, as always, for your work.

Happily independent now and retired.


DomWalk said...

Our creeds have Catholic in upper-case. Why surrender this term?

Romanizers is very succinct. Otherwise, you could use "Anglo-Catholic" or "Anglo-Romanizer".

"Catholic" means universal. Don't surrender that term, too.

DomWalk said...

Philip, I use the old term "Fundamentalist" for those who actually uphold the traditional distinctives of the Protestant Reformation (à la Fundamentals of the Faith), over and against the liberal modernists and the Anglo-Catholics (liberal modernists in pretty gowns).

Reformation said...

I think the use of "Catholic" with a capital "C" is quite justified.

Contra: Robin's view, irrespective of who understands it, "Romanist" still works.

As to "fundamentalist," that has a particular American flavour. I reject that.

Rather, Confessional Catholic Churchman works fine in my book.

But, "Evangelical," what does that mean in these days of confessional minimalism and anti-intellectualism?

DomWalk said...

I disagree, "Fundamentalist" does not have an American flavor. J. C. Ryle was an author in that series, in fact.

That should settle it. :-)


From the 1662 BCP:


indeed of the whole Catholick Church of Christ

[Morning Prayer]

I believe in the Holy Ghost: The holy Catholick Church;

[Evening Prayer]

I believe in the Holy Ghost: The holy Catholick Church;

[At Morning Prayer]

before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith.

And the Catholick Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion : to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.

This is the Catholick Faith : which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

[Holy Communion]

And I believe one Catholick and Apostolick Church.

[Public Baptism of Infants]

And dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholick Church;

[Private Baptism of Children]

And dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholick Church;

[Public Baptism to Such as are of Riper Years]

And dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholick Church;

[A Catechism]

I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Catholick Church;

[Visitation of the Sick]

And dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholick Church;


Robin, you're both "innovating" in your use of "Catholic" to mean "Romanist" and redefining the language of the BCP.

Robin_G_Jordan said...


I believe that you are off base in suggesting that I am innovating in my use of the term "catholic."

From Alister's McGrath's Glossary of Theological Terms.

"catholic An adjective which is used both to refer to the universality of the church in space and time, and also to a particular church body
(sometime also known as the Roman Catholic Church) which lays emphasis upon this point."

The practice in the literature is to use a small "c" when referring to the universality of the church and a large "C" when referring to a particular theological school of thought or church body. For example, the recent Church Society article, "The Church of England: 'Catholic' or Reformed?" on the Internet at: http://www.churchsociety.org/crossway/documents/Cway_113_ConferenceReport.pdf Or the earlier article, "The Roots of Catholic Error," on the Internet at: http://www.churchsociety.org/issues_new/ecum/roman/iss_ecum_roman_rootsoferror.asp
Or "Articles of the English Reformation," on the Internet at: http://www.churchsociety.org/issues_new/doctrine/39A/history/iss_doctrine_39A_history_english.asp
Or an even earlier article, "Some Parallels Between Animistic and Catholic Beliefs and Practices," not on the Internet.

Robin_G_Jordan said...


Your suggestion that I am redefining the language of the Prayer Book is also a red herring, something intended to distract attention from the real issue. In my article I do not discuss the Prayer Book and its language. Certainly the Prayer Book capitalizes the "C" in Catholick" as it capitalizes the initial letter of a number of words such as "Bishop." From the late nineteenth century on we see a shift away from this practice. Instead of capitalizing the initial "C" of "catholic" authors sometimes used a lower case "c". This can be seen in J.C. "The Principles of the Church of England." About this time it became the practice to use a lower case "c" when referring to the universality of the church and an upper case "C" when referring to a particular theological grouping or ecclesial body.

Reformation said...


I didn't surrender the use of "Catholic" or "Catholick." I don't do that when I call myself a Catholic Christian. I say Confessional Catholick.

I refuse to say "Roman Catholic" in ordinary and written discourse, but use the term "Romanist" or "Papist." In discourse with some Roman friends, I say "Roman beliefs," "Romanist ideas," etc.

As to the term "fundamentalist" you are wrong. It is and has been largely an American term, rather than British. It has its origins in the 1909 publication "The Fundamentals of the Faith." It was scholarly, temperate, transdenominational in reach, including some Brits, e.g. H.G. Moule. Americans dubbed J.Gresham Machen as the "Father of Fundamentalism." He denied the term as to minimalistic, e.g. five fundamentals as acid-tests for orthodoxy. He affirmed that the WCF could not be reduced to five points and re-asserted his Confessional Committments. The term, historically, morphed into the Bob Jones, backwoods, bucolic set of exhorters...and has acquired the negative sense that is often used today. t's a non-issue for me, since I affirm mucnh more by my Confessional committments.

Likewise, I don't use the term "evangelical" since it is far too vacuous a term. Many "historic evangelicals," e.g. Confessional Lutherans rightly claim the term...it started in Germany and the Papists used it as a term of derision. As such, the "Pseudo-evangelicals" are those who wouldn't know what "imputed righteousness" was if it hit them in the face.

Rich Warren's style of evangelism "Give your life to Jesus" differs little from a Romanist or Anglo-Romewardizers claim...the latter do have no disagreements with that.

Good discussion.

DomWalk said...

Robin, you're wrong about Fundamentalism. Ryle himself contributed to the Fundamentals of the Faith series. It's not merely American.

I wear the badge with pride, and don't care one whit whether elitists like to elevate themselves by referring to backwoods, bucolic exhorters or the like.

You're also wrong to use "Catholic" to refer to the Romanizers in the ACNA. It's misleading, and goes against how the BCP uses the term.

Our Prayer Book creeds and services use the term "Catholic" in its "universal" sense.

I am Catholic and Reformed. You are too, if you pretend to subscribe to the 1662 BCP.

Let me also say that knowing what "imputed rightousness" means is not a sign of one being an Evangelical (or a Fundamentalist). Holding that view may make one a Pharisee, like Michael Horton, but intellectual pride is not a sign of Christ-likeness.

DomWalk said...

p.s. If nothing else, your use of "Catholic" is ambiguous and misleading (not to mention contra the BCP).

Which BCP do you use? How is "Catholic" spelled in that?

Reformation said...

Dom, whatever you might think of Michael Horton, the glorious word "imputation" is a glorious Pauline word. It is in the Catholic writers of all three streams of the magisterial Reformation. As to Pharisaicism, we are all Pharisees if we read the Scriptures aright. Claims of intellectual pride are founded and just...in every body you'll find it. If you look closely, you'll find it in yourself, in me and our neighbours. Yet, we do not surrender our tools of mind, research and thinking. Just because there are car accidents doesn't warrant the position of "Do not drive."

"Imputation" surely is a crucial word in the understanding of the Gospel. You have no redemption without it.

Regards and good discussion.


Robin_G_Jordan said...


Regarding the use of the term "Fundamentalist" and "Fundamentalism" you are confusing me with Phil. I have made no comments on the use of these terms.

Using a lower case "c" for catholic, universal, and a upper case "C" for Catholic, a particular ecclesial body or theological outlook, is standard practice so your argument is not just with me but with a large number of conservative evangelical Anglicans and Anglican evangelical theologians and other writers who use the lower "c"and the upper case "C" as I do. For example, the Jerusalem Declaration:

"3.We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

Strikes me you are trying to pick argument and I'm not going to bite. We both have better things to do than quibble over capitalization.

Jim said...

It seems to me that you are making the case that I have been making for some time. The coalition of the anti-TEC is simply not gonna work.

If the rather tiny and not growing much population of those who wont live in the big tent (sometimes I think big top ;-) ) fractures along various purist lines and I submit it is doing it here and elsewhere, then it will soon be as relevant as the continuum. The alternative is you are gonna invent TEC.

The only third choice is imposed unity. That is of course precisely what Rome does and what Dr. Williams and Bp. Wright want to do. "Put not your trust in princes."


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