Friday, October 30, 2009

Reformation Day and the 457th Anniversary of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer

This Saturday--31st October 2009--is Reformation Day, and this Sunday--1st November 2009--is the Feast of All Saints (also known as the Feast of All Hallows, or Hallowmas) and the 457 th anniversary of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. To mark these occasions I am posting a series of articles on the Reformation and the 1552 Prayer Book.

Cranmer and the Lord's Supper

[Cross+Way] 30 Oct 2009--Through his liturgy Thomas Cranmer sought to reform the Church under the Word of God. He did not abandon all that had gone before but endeavoured to take what had become corrupted and transform it in accordance with the plain teaching of scripture.

In some places this meant small changes, in others dramatic. The key features of the 1552 Communion Service (in effect the Book of Common Prayer and the backbone of Common Worship Order 2 in Contemporary Language)were all derived from the teaching of scripture.

1552 And All That

[Churchman] 30 Oct 2009--All Saints Day this year sees the 450th anniversary of the implementation of the Second Prayer Book of King Edward the Sixth as the standard liturgy of the Church of England. As far as this writer knows, there has been little concern in official circles to commemorate the occasion, possibly as the liturgical position it adopted (which remained largely unchanged and unchallenged by either the Elizabethan settlement of 1559 or the Restoration settlement of 1662) is not one which finds widespread favour in the Church of England today. This is sad in a day when so many clergy would claim to be evangelical and therefore should be underlining rather than undermining the theology which lies behind this book.

Cranmer had introduced his first revision of the Communion liturgy three years previously with the First Prayer Book of King Edward the Sixth. While this had been a big step forward in making the liturgy comprehensible to the masses (being entirely in English following the interpolation of an English section into the Latin mass the previous year), its theology was still mainly unreformed. As a result it had met with criticism both from Bishop Gardiner of Winchester, who saw little difference from the old forms, and Cranmerʼs fellow reformer Martin Bucer, who pointed out the many ways in which it fell short of expressing a clearly reformed position.1

For the purposes of this study it is best to simplify the issues by focusing on two main points which were highlighted in the 1552 revision. They are the question of what the minister should pray for when setting apart the bread and wine for their special use, and in what sense and on whose part there is a sacrifice in the service. The first relates to the role of the Holy Spirit in the communion service, and the second to the very nature of a sacrament—does it signify Godʼs grace reaching down to sinful man, or is it a human effort to offer something to God?

Small Steps--Big Leaps

[Cross+Way] 29 Oct 2009--There are a number of apparently small changes between the First and Second Prayer Books issued in the reign of King Edward VI (1549 and 1552). Though small some of these actually represent major steps in the reformation of the doctrine and liturgy of the Church of England.

At the Burial service whereas there had been a commendation of the soul of the dead person to God, in the new services there was simply a committal of the body to the ground (pending the general resurrection) and a declaration of the gospel promises with the expectation that those dying in faith would be with Christ. There is also no prayer for the forgiveness of sin, nor the provision for Holy Communion. Thus the errors of the medieval liturgy were finally removed (though they have crept back gradually over the years). What matters is whether a person dies in faith, our prayers for their future, requiem masses, and the invented sufferings of purgatory make no difference whatsoever.

‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.’

What Do We Owe to the Reformation?

[Church Society] 30 Oct 2009--Our lot is cast in days when it is the fashion to despise everything that is old. There is a morbid readiness to throw aside all things which bear about them the least mark of antiquity, and to treat them with as little respect as last year’s almanacs or worn-out clothes. The only exceptions I can
think of are old lace, old coins, old pictures, and old wine! But, as a general rule, old opinions and old institutions are too often condemned as useless lumber, and shovelled out of the way, simply because they are old.

Now I am not one of those who object to all changes and reforms of old things. Nothing of the kind. I heartily thank God for most of the changes of the last half century, whether political, or social, or scientific, or educational. I should not be an honest man if I did not declare my conviction that on the whole they are great improvements. But there is one subject about which I cannot take up new views, and that subject is the English Reformation. I cannot agree with those who now tell us that the Reformation was a blunder—that the Reformers are overpraised—that Protestantism has done this country no good—and that it would matter little if England placed her neck once more under the foot of the Pope of Rome. Against these new-fangled opinions I enter my solemn protest. I want no departure from the old Protestant paths which were cast up by Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, three hundred years ago. In short, about the value of the English Reformation I want no new views. I unhesitatingly maintain that “the old are better.”

The subject of this paper may seem a very simple one. But I fear there is a strange amount of ignorance about it, and a widely-spread disposition to undervalue the Protestant Reformation. Time has a wonderful power of dimming men’s eyes, and deadening their recollection of benefits, and making them thankless and ungrateful. Three busy centuries have slipped away since England broke with Rome, and a generation has arisen which, like Israel under the Judges, knows little of the days of the Protestant Exodus, and of the struggles in the wilderness. Partly too, from a cowardly dislike to religious controversy, partly from a secret desire to appear liberal and condemn nobody's opinions, the Reformation period of English history is sadly slurred over both in Universities and Public Schools. It seems an inconvenient subject, and men give it the cold shoulder. Be the cause what it may, the Reformation period is too often shunted on a siding, and has not that prominent place in the education of young England which such a character-forming period most richly deserves. The whole result is that few people seem to understand either the evils from which the Reformation delivered us, or the blessings which the Reformation brought in. In short, many now-a-days regard the subject of Popery as a “bore.” They blindly persuade themselves that there is no mighty difference between Protestants and Papists at bottom. They say in their hearts, “A plague on both your houses! it is six of one and half a dozen of another.” To remove some of this ignorance, and let in a little light, is the simple aim of my paper. I want to make some of my countrymen understand that WE OWE AN ENORMOUS DEBT TO THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION.

Why Were Our Reformers Burned?

[Church Society]30 Oct 2009--There are certain facts in history which the world tries hard to forget and ignore. These facts get in the way of some of the world’s favourite theories, and are highly inconvenient. The consequence is that the world shuts its eyes against them. They are either cut dead as vulgar intruders, or passed by as tiresome bores. Little by little they sink out of sight of the students of history, like ships in a distant horizon, or are left behind, like a luggage-train in a siding. Of such facts the subject of this lecture is a vivid example:—“The Burning of our English Reformers; and The Reason Why they were Burned.”

It is fashionable in some quarters to deny that there is any such thing as certainty about religious truth, or any opinions for which it is worth while to be burned. Yet, 300 years ago, there were men who were certain they had found out truth, and content to die for their opinions.—It is fashionable in other quarters to leave out all the unpleasant things in history, and to paint everything of a rose-coloured hue. A very popular history of our English queens hardly mentions the martyrdoms of Queen Mary’s days. Yet Mary was not called “Bloody Mary” without reason, and scores of Protestants were burned in her reign.—Last, but not least, it is thought very bad taste in many quarters to say anything which throws discredit on the Church of Rome. Yet it is as certain that the Romish Church burned our English Reformers as it is that we are assembled in St. James’s Hall. These difficulties meet me face to face as I walk up to the subject which I am asked to unfold today. I know their magnitude, and I cannot evade them. I only ask you to give me a patient and indulgent hearing.

After all, I have great confidence in the honesty of Englishmen’s minds. Truth is truth, however long it may be neglected. Facts are facts, however long they may lie buried. I only want to dig up some old facts which the sands of time have covered over, to bring to the light of day some old English monuments which have been long neglected; to unstop some old wells which the prince of the world has been diligently filling with earth. Give me your attention for a few minutes, and I trust to be able to show you that it is good to examine the question, “Why were our Reformers Burned?”

The Reformers' Doctrine of Holy Communion

[Churchman] 30 Oct 2009--“We will have the Sacrament to hang over the high altar, there to be worshipped and only to be delivered to the lay people at Easter, and then only in one kind.” “We will have the Mass in Latin, as was before, and celebrated by the priest without any man or woman communicating with him.”1

These were the demands of the ‘Rebels in the West’ to Cranmer in 1549, and they illustrate clearly the medieval practice and teaching concerning the Eucharist which our Reformers strongly condemned. They also prove that the doctrine of the Holy Communion centred round two closely related questions. Are the Body and Blood of Christ literally present in,under or with the consecrated elements, or only present to faith? The Reformers definitely declared that they were ‘only present to faith’. Is the Lord’s Supper the commemoration of a finished sacrifice or is it itself a propitiatory material sacrifice? The Reformers taught the former and denied the latter.

Cranmer’s direct answer to these ‘Rebels’ was that in Apostolic times the bread had never been ‘reserved’ or ‘worshipped’ (i.e. made to “hang over the high altar”), but used by the faithful as a divinely appointed means of fellowship and communion. Instead of being delivered to the lay people only at Easter, which was their demand, Cranmer declared that “all learned and godly men have exhorted Christian people often to receive the Communion”, and that in the Apostles’ time people received it every day, and afterwards three or four times a week, and ‘commonly everywhere once a week’”.2 We find confirmation of this statement in Acts xx.7 in connection with St. Paul’s visit to Troas, that “upon the first day of the week the disciples gathered together to break bread”. And the Didache, at the end of the first
century, enjoins that “on the Lord’s day” all Christians should “come together and break bread”;3 although some scholars now hold that this refers to a Jewish fellowship meal rather than to the Lord’s Supper. In Justin’s Apology, a weekly celebration of the Eucharist is carefully described. We then get a gap in records for about two centuries, and it is from this latter period that Cranmer’s further remarks probably apply, when he adds: “When the Spirit of God began to wax more cold in men’s hearts, then their desire was not so hot to receive the Communion as before. And as the world waxed more wicked, the more people withdrew themselves from the Holy Communion. But to them that live godly it is the greatest comfort that in this world can be imagined”.4 And he also reminds them of an early decree ordering
that all Christians “must receive the Communion at least three times a year, at Easter,Whitsun, and Christmas”.

Bertram and the Reformers

[Churchman] 30 Oct 2009--It is now more than a thousand years since Bertram wrote his famous treatise “On the Body and Blood of the Lord,” against the rising error of the “Real Presence” and Transubstantiation; and unhappily the controversy still exists. Not only so, but the error is being steadily pressed forward by some of the clergy in the National Church, from whose standards it has been authoritatively rejected.

Bertram, or Ratram, lived in the ninth century. He flourished about the year A.D. 840, though probably the treatise mentioned was written a few years later—A.D. 845. His real name is supposed to have been Ratramnus, and this, with the prefix Beatus expressed thus, B. Ratramnus, was in process of time corrupted or abbreviated into Bertram.1 He was a priest or presbyter in the Church, and a monk of the monastery of Corbie in France, in the diocese of Amiens. His reputation for learning was great, and he wrote two or three other treatises besides that on the Lord’s Supper—viz., on “Predestination,” and on “The Manner of our Lord’s Birth,” &c. The century in which he lived was a very important and eventful one in many respects. It was one of the dark, if not the darkest, of the Middle Ages; exceeded in this respect only by the tenth, according to Baronius. The famous image controversy was at its height, and, unhappily, the images carried the day, kings and councils notwithstanding. It was the century when the forged decretals first saw the light, those huge impostures on which the Papal supremacy to a large extent founded and bolstered up its increasing and gigantic despotism. It was a century when the externals of religion, ceremonies and sacraments, were being multiplied—the form of godliness without the power thereof. The worship of, or superstitious veneration for, relics became quite a mania among the people, and the priests were nothing backward in encouraging them, as well as in supplying them with appropriate objects. “To see clearly,” says Mosheim, “the heights which ignorance and perversity reached in this age, it is only needful to consider its extravagant or, more properly, senseless fondness for saints, and for their dead bodies and bones.”

In this the greatest part of religion and piety was placed. Everybody believed that God would never be found propitious to those who had not secured some intercessor and friend among the inhabitants of heaven. Hence arose the rage for making, almost daily, new objects of deification. And the priests and monks were most successful in dispelling the darkness that concealed the wondrous deeds of holy men, or rather in fabricating the names and the histories of saints that never existed; so that they might have patrons enough for all the credulous and senseless people. . . . . The corpses of holy men, either brought from distant countries or discovered by the industry of the priests, required the appointment of new feast days, and some
variation in the ceremonies observed on these days. And as the success of the clergy depended on the impressions of the people respecting the merits and the power of those saints whom they were invited to venerate, it was necessary that their eyes and their ears should be fascinated with various ceremonies and exhibitions. Hence the splendid furniture of the temples, the numerous wax candles burning at mid-day, the multitudes of pictures and statues, the decorations of the altars, the frequent processions, the splendid dresses of the priests, and masses appropriate to the honour of the saints (vol. i. p. 571).

Such is the description of the ceremonialism and superstition of the ninth century, and it is sad and painful to reflect that it is just as applicable now, not merely to the unreformed Churches of Christendom, but also to many of the churches of England. Between the ceremonialism of the ninth and the ritualism of the nineteenth century there is not much to choose. The latter portion of the extract given above would suit admirably for a verbal and literal account of what is taking place in our very midst.

Has the Anglican Experiment Really Failed?

[SPREAD] 30 Oct 2009--Last Sunday I was privileged to be present at the consecration of the Revd Canon Dr Festus Yeboah-Asuamah as the new bishop of Sunyani Diocese in Ghana by the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of West Africa, Dr Justice O. Akrofi. The diocese has only existed since 1997 and the diocese from which it was formed had itself only been inaugurated in 1981, yet here were hundreds of joyful worshippers gathered in a new cathedral to welcome their next bishop. For over five hours there was a glorious weaving together of liturgy and music, moving seamlessly between solemnity and spontaneity, with a clear and challenging gospel focus in the Archbishop’s sermon.

Yet the day before in London, as Forward in Faith were debating Pope Benedict’s extraordinary offer to Anglicans of a Personal Ordinariate, the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Revd John Broadhurst told the conference plainly that ‘the Anglican experiment is over’. Well, maybe in England it is, but clearly not in Ghana!

Of course, the Pope’s initiative is a very sobering sign of Anglican failure. The Vatican has been at pains to point out that its action in offering Anglicans a continuing ‘space’ within the Roman Church is not an attempt to poach, but a response to persistent requests from those in distress and it seems clear from the lack of preliminary consultation with Dr Rowan Williams that confidence in his ability to lead the Anglican Communion has dwindled.

However, what my experience in Ghana illustrates is the truth which GAFCON has so powerfully articulated – that the failure of the Anglican Communion is not an intrinsic flaw in its fundamental theological vision, but a failure to be faithful to that vision. The Anglican experiment is in fact proving to be remarkably successful in many areas of the Global South, undergirded by that recovery of confidence in Evangelical Anglicanism so closely associated with John Stott and J I Packer – even if it may sometimes take liturgical forms which would not be entirely to their taste.

The Anglican Communion crisis is not about Anglicanism in itself, but a crisis of faithfulness. Failure to maintain Anglicanism’s doctrinal and moral integrity precipitated GAFCON and is the root cause of the Pope’s offer of the Ordinariate. As Bishop Broadhurst bluntly stated ‘Anglicanism has become a joke because it has singularly failed to deal with any of its contentious issues’.

Membership drops in the Episcopal Church

[Religious Intelligence] 30 Oct 2009--Membership and average Sunday attendance in the Episcopal Church have continued their downward spiral, statistics released by the church last week report.

Average Sunday attendance for the Episcopal Church’s domestic dioceses declined by three per cent from 2007 to 2008; with an additional 22,565 people missing from the pews last year. Average Sunday attendance for 2008 was 705,257.

The church’s membership, counted as active baptized members, also declined by three per cent, falling by 59,457 to 2,057,292. The rate of decline in attendance and membership also rose last year, with the 10-year rate of decline in attendance rising from 13 to 16 per cent, and the 10-year rate of decline in active membership rising from 10 to 11 per cent.

Fifty per cent of US Episcopal churches saw a decline in attendance last year, while only 35 per cent registered growth. The median average Sunday worship attendance in 2008 was 69.

For the first time the church’s income fell, with recorded “pledge and plate” income falling by 0.2 per cent.

Critics assert the numbers may be overstated as some dioceses have not recorded the secession of breakaway congregations. While the Diocese of San Joaquin recorded a membership drop of almost 8,000, or 77 per cent — reflecting the secession of a majority of its congregations, the Diocese of Los Angeles continues to carry St James Newport Beach’s 1,500 members on its books --- even though the congregation’s fight to quit has already taken the fight to the US Supreme Court.

At the autumn meeting of the Executive Council meeting, the Church’s two presiding officers declined to answer questions on membership.

Vatican row delays Anglo-Catholic text

[Times Online] 30 Oct 2009--A row has broken out behind the Vatican walls over the "confusion" surrounding Pope Benedict XVI's opening to disaffected Anglicans, according to a papal biographer.

Andrea Tornielli, the biographer of several modern Popes including Pope Benedict, said that just over a week after its existence was revealed by the Vatican, the text of the Apostolic Constitution laying down the conditions for the creation of a new "Anglo-Catholic" section of the Church was still not ready for publication.

This was not because of translation problems but "something more serious", Mr Tornielli said. There was still debate behind the scenes over priestly celibacy, the "most sensitive point for public opinion".

When asked last week about admission into the Catholic Church of married Anglican priests under the new rules, Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, replied that requests would be judged "on a case by case basis".

It was left unclear however whether Anglican seminarians who were either married or who wished to get married before being ordained would also be admitted to the Catholic Church. The final text of the Apostolic Constitution is likely to "eliminate this ambiguity" by making clear that all trainee priests will be required to be celibate if they wish to go over to Rome, Mr Tornielli said.

The row has been exacerbated by the decision to disclose Pope Benedict's approach to Anglican traditionalists before the final text was ready, thus risking another of the "diplomatic gaffes" that have occasionally marked his pontificate so far.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Authentic Anglicanism

"Authentic Anglicanism is a particular expression of Christian corporate life which seeks to honour the Lord Jesus Christ by nurturing faith, and also encouraging obedience to the teaching of God's written word, meaning the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New testaments. It embraces the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (published in the year 1571) and the Book of Common Prayer (the two versions of 1552 and 1662), both texts being read according to their plain and historical sense, and being accepted as faithful expressions of the teaching of the Scripture, which provides the standard for Anglican theology and practice."

If you have not yet read the offical GAFCON study document, The Way, the Truth, and the Life, I recommend that you read it. It is on the Internet in PDF format at:

Survey: Does Your Church Use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer?

I am taking a survey of Anglican churches in North America that use the classic Anglican Prayer Book—The Book of Common Prayer of 1662. If your church uses the 1662 Book of Common Prayer at any or all of its services and is located in Canada or the United States, Puerto Rico or one of the US territories, I would like to hear from you. Please leave your answers to the following questions in the comments section below.

• What is the name of your church?
• What is the name of its current pastor? Did he introduce the use of the 1662 Prayer Book? If not, who did?
• With which ecclesial body is it affiliated? If it is affiliated with the ACNA, please also give the name of jurisdiction and the cluster, diocese, district or network to which it belongs.
• What is its location?
• What is its email address?
• Which forms of service—Morning Prayer, Litany, Holy Communion, Evening Prayer, Baptism, Confirmation, etc.—from the 1662 Prayer Book does it use and at what services?
• What other worship aids—service books, hymnals, songbooks—does your church use with the 1662 Prayer Book?
• Further comments.

Please note that churches using the Reformed Episcopal Church’s new Prayer Book—The Book of Common Prayer of 2005—are not using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer but a service book that combines elements taken from both the 1662 Prayer Book and the 1928 Prayer Book. The result is a service book that differs significantly in its theology from the 1662 Prayer Book. The purpose of this survey is to identify churches that actually use the classic Anglican Prayer Book and to learn more about them and their use of the 1662 Prayer Book. Thank you for helping with this survey.

Sydney welcomes ACNA

[Anglican Church League] 28 Dec 2009--“On the final night of the 2009 Synod, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney has passed a resolution embracing the new Anglican province, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

In the words of the resolution, ‘Synod welcomes the creation of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) under the leadership of Archbishop Bob Duncan and notes the GAFCON Primates’ Council recognition of the ACNA as genuinely Anglican and its recommendation that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA. Synod therefore expresses its desire to be in full communion with the ACNA.’…”

– Russell Powell writes at

Rebuff for Vatican offer to Anglicans

[Religious Intelligence] 28 Oct 2009--A mass exodus of overseas Anglo-Catholics in response to last week’s announcement of a proposed Anglican enclave within the Roman Catholic Church is unlikely, a review of the Communion by The Church of England Newspaper finds.

While overseas leaders acknowledge that individual Anglicans may take advantage of the provisions of the proposed Apostolic Constitution for the creation of “Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church,” no diocese or province is set to quit the Anglican Communion for Rome.

In jurisdictions where traditional Anglo-Catholics predominate: the Provinces of Central Africa, Tanzania, West Africa, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the West Indies; the Australian dioceses of The Murray and Ballarat and the US dioceses of Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin---individuals may take up the Vatican’s offer, but no institution is likely to follow. Nor is the offer likely to divide North American conservatives into rival Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical camps, its leaders tell CEN.

Goodbye Evangelicalism, hello Church of England?

[The Ugley Vicar] 28 Oct 2009--Recently this blog has addressed two issues which, at first glance, may seem to be unrelated. One is the state of Evangelicalism. The other is the significance of the Vatican’s recent manoeuvres vis à vis the Anglican Communion. As far as Evangelical Anglicans are concerned, however, these issues are much more closely connected than might appear.

On the one hand, the divisions within Evangelicalism raise the question of exactly what is an ‘Evangelical’. On the other hand, the Vatican’s offer may, as a Guardian editorial observes, leave Evangelicals isolated within the Church of England, since, unlike the Anglo-Catholics, they have “nowhere to go”. Certainly one scenario being envisaged is that this development will purge at least some of the ‘bigots’ from the Church, leaving the ‘unbigoted’ majority free to introduce women bishops and, ultimately, to embrace same-sex relationships.

If this scenario is correct, then the prospects within the Church of England for the Evangelicalism of our forebears is bleak. Open Evangelicals, virtually by definition, favour the ordination of women and will welcome the consecration of women bishops. But as a ‘party’ they are defined less by their adherence to traditional Evangelical doctrines than their sitting light to them.

Meanwhile, the Conservative Evangelical response has been to close ranks and, at the same time, to look for help in the form of overseas links, such as those forged in the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Some even hope that such support would extend to episcopal oversight. Should it be offered and accepted, however, this would not merely isolate Conservative Evangelicals within the Church of England but might effectively remove them from it.

One is mindful of the lines from Sir Henry Newbolt’s poem:

The Gatling’s jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.

The situation seems beyond desperate. Our Evangelical unity is gone. Rome, which was for so long the antithesis of English Christianity, is offering English Christians a home. Have we not reached the time warned of by Bishop JC Ryle?

... so long as the Church of England sticks firmly to the Bible, the Articles, and the principles of the Protestant Reformation, so long I advise you strongly to stick to the church. When the Articles are thrown overboard, and the old flag is hauled down, then, and not until then, it will be time for you and me to launch the boats and quit the wreck. (Needs of the Times, in Holiness)

Maybe. But perhaps in Ryle’s warning lies the key to our problem. I may be quite mistaken, but desperate times call for desperate measures —and these seem to be desperate times. In the light of this, therefore, I want to suggest the abandoning of the Anglican Evangelical project and the consideration of an alternative.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Research: Young Adults Skeptical of the Bible but Open to Learn

[The Christian Post] 26 Oct 2009--New research shows that the younger generation in America is less likely to view the Bible as accurate or sacred, but at the same time they are slightly more interested in gaining knowledge about the Bible than older generations.

Based on five separate studies conducted between 2006 and 2009, The Barna Group found that only two out of three Mosaics (adults between the ages of 18 and 25) view the Bible as a sacred or holy book. By comparison, 81 percent of Busters (ages 26 to 44), 89 percent of Boomers (ages 45 to 63), and 90 percent of elders (ages 64 and above) consider the Bible as sacred.

Younger adults also are significantly less likely than older adults to strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches. Only 30 percent of Mosaics and 39 percent of Busters strongly agree that the Bible is “totally accurate” in all the principles it teaches. The majority of Elders, however, strongly agree with the statement.

Mosaics also are more likely to hold universal religious beliefs than their elders. The majority of Mosaics believe the Bible teaches the same spiritual truths as other sacred texts while only 4 out of 10 Busters and Boomers, and one-third of Elders feel the same way.

David Kinnaman, who directed the analysis of the research, commented that the “central theme” of young Americans’ approach to the Bible is skepticism. Young adults question the Bible’s history and relevance to their lives, leading them to reject the idea that the Bible contains everything they need to live a meaningful life.

“This mindset certainly has its challenges but it also raises the possibility of using their skepticism as an entry point to teaching and exploring the content of the Bible in new ways,” said Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group.

Yet despite the skepticism, Mosaics express the most interest in improving their Bible knowledge. Nearly one in five (19 percent) of 18- to 25-year-olds say they would like to improve their Bible knowledge.

By comparison, only 8 percent of Elders, 12 percent of Boomers, and 14 percent of Busters want to learn more about the Bible.

Former archbishop attacks Pope for Anglican overtures

[The Independent] 26 Oct 2009--The former archbishop of Canterbury criticised the Roman Catholic Church this weekend, branding as "inexcusable" its failure to consult leading Church of England clergy on the Pope's invitation for Anglo-Catholics to join him.

Lord Carey gave a cautious welcome to the proposals from Rome but said he was "distressed" that his successor had received just two weeks' notice of them.

He said that the move by Pope Benedict XVI could help clergy in the Church of England who were unhappy with the ordination of women bishops.

S.C. Distances Itself from Episcopal Bodies

[The Living Church[ 26 Oct 2009--The voting margins were huge on Saturday as a special convention of the Diocese of South Carolina approved four resolutions [PDF] supported by the diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark Joseph Lawrence.

A fifth resolution addressed diocesan convictions on sexuality, without explicit implications for the diocese’s relations with the Episcopal Church.

As Bishop Lawrence urged approval of the resolutions, he acknowledged criticisms that they have attracted: “The resolutions that are before us, while seeming tepid to some, have to others the feel of haste, even imprudence.”

Those disagreements are clear even within the diocese. Only about six miles from the convention’s meeting site, Christ Church in Mt. Pleasant, is St. Andrew’s Church, which already has begun a 40 Days of Discernment program to decide whether it will separate from the Episcopal Church and, by extension, from the diocese.

In mid-September, the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina said the diocese “teeters on the edge of schism” from the Episcopal Church.

Global South Bishops respond to Pope's offer

[EV News] 26 Oct 2009--The Global South Bishops have released the below statement about the Pope's offer to accept disaffected Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church.


A Pastoral Exhortation to the Faithful in the Anglican Communion

1. We, under-shepherds of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Jesus Christ, bring greetings to the faithful in the Anglican Communion. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. For in his great love for us, we are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2: 19-22).

2. The Vatican announcement on Apostolic Constitution (Note of The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church) gives us an occasion in making the following pastoral exhortation.

3. We welcome Pope Benedict XVI’s stance on the common biblical teaching on human sexuality, and the commitment to continuing ecumenical dialogue.

4. At the same time we believe that the proposed Anglican Covenant sets the necessary parameters in safeguarding the catholic and apostolic faith and order of the Communion. It gives Anglican churches worldwide a clear and principled way forward in pursuing God’s divine purposes together in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Jesus Christ. We urge churches in the Communion to actively work together towards a speedy adoption of the Covenant.

5. In God’s gracious purposes the Anglican Communion has moved beyond the historical beginnings and expressions of English Christianity into a worldwide Communion, of which the Church of England is a constitutive part. In view of the global nature of the Communion, matters of faith and order would inevitably have serious ramifications for the continuing well-being and coherence of the Communion as a whole, and not only for Provinces of the British Isles and The Episcopal Church in the USA. We urge the Archbishop of Canterbury to work in close collegial consultation with fellow Primates in the Communion, act decisively on already agreed measures in the Primates’ Meetings, and exercise effective leadership in nourishing the flock under our charge, so that none would be left wandering and bereft of spiritual oversight.

6. As Primates of the Communion and guardians of the catholic and apostolic faith and order, we stand in communion with our fellow bishops, clergy and laity who are steadfast in the biblical teaching against the ordination of openly homosexual clergy, the consecration of such to the episcopate, and the blessing of homosexual partnerships. We also urge them, as fellow Anglicans, to continue to stand firm with us in cherishing the Anglican heritage, in pursuing a common vocation, in expressing our unity and common life, and in maintaining our covenanted life together.

7. In the closing words of the Anglican Covenant: With joy and with firm resolve, we offer ourselves for fruitful service and binding ourselves more closely in the truth and love of Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory for ever. Amen.

“Now may the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13.20, 21)

25th October 2009

Global South Primates Steering Committee:

Chairman: The Most Revd Peter J. Akinola, Nigeria

Vice-Chairman: The Most Revd Emmanuel Kolini, Rwanda

General Secretary: The Most Revd John Chew, Southeast Asia

Treasurer: The Most Revd Mouneer Anis, Jerusalem and the Middle East.


The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo, Myanmar

Bishop Albert Chama, Dean of Central Africa

Filed: 26 Oct 2009

Related article:
Developing nation Anglicans decline pope's offer - Reuters

Friday, October 23, 2009

What does it mean to be Anglican? V

[Theological Theology] 23 Oct 2009--So far I have tried to argue that Anglicanism is catholic, Protestant and Reformed. The formularies reveal a doctrinal base that values continuity with faithful Christians in all ages, the critical distinctives of the Protestant reformation and the emphases within that reformation exemplified in the theology of men like Bucer, Bullinger and Calvin. But perhaps it is a bit of a stretch to suggest that authentic Anglicanism is evangelical. After all, most historians date the evangelical movement from the revivals associated with John Wesley and George Whitefield. Isn't it rather anachronistic to speak of the foundations of authentic Anglicanism as 'evangelical'?

In one sense the answer to that question must of course be 'yes'. It would perhaps be more accurate to say that there is such a thing as an authentically Anglican evangelicalism which takes seriously both the Anglican theological and ecclesiastical heritage and the evangelical emphasis on the necessity of personal conversion and not simply church membership or attendance. It would be flying in the face of history to suggest there is no such a thing as authentic Anglicanism that is unambiguously evangelical.

That part of the evangelicalism of the eighteenth century which saw its heritage as indubitably Anglican arguably involved a return to reformation distinctives such as sola scriptura, the centrality of cross of Christ, justification by faith alone, etc. (all affirmed in the Anglican formularies), a repudiation of the growing formalism and sacramentalism that was emerging in certain quarters even a century before the Oxford Movement, and a new prominence to the issue of one's personal standing before God that did not necessarily negate or ignore the critical corporate dimension of the Christian life.

It is surely beyond dispute that there has been a long succession of evangelical leaders within the Church of England over the past three centuries. These men and women (Selina, Countess of Huntington comes to mind), did not want to leave the Church of England. They valued the doctrine of the Articles and the way the the gospel found expression in the Book of Common Prayer. It is certainly true that some did leave in time (Wesley himself being the preeminent example) but most saw no need, since in neither their doctrine nor their practice were they departing from authentic Anglicanism. Great hymn writers, powerful patrons of mission and social reform, great, perservering preachers of the gospel were used by God to breathe life into the established church.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reform Initial Response To ‘Apostolic Constitution’ Announcement

[Reform] 21 Oct 2009--Revd Rod Thomas, chairman of Reform, makes four points as an initial response to today’s announcement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster:

“Anglicans concerned about protecting the basic Christian faith need not go to Rome, because we now have the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA (UK)) which holds together those who want to stop the orthodox faith being eroded. We can remain Anglican. Furthermore, the FCA Primates have recognised that problems with episcopal oversight are arising here in the UK. They have expressed the hope that these will be solved locally, but if not, they are willing to step in.”

“This development highlights the need for robust legislative provision to cater for those who cannot agree to women bishops, such as that recently suggested by the Revision Committee.”

“If priests really are out of sympathy with the C of E’s doctrine (as opposed to the battles we are having over women’s ministry and sexuality), then perhaps it is better they make a clean break and go to Rome. However, when they do, they will have to accommodate themselves to Rome’s top-down approach to church life, whereas the C of E has always stressed the importance of decision making at the level of the local church.”

“It is illusory to pretend that this development is an outcome of ecumenical dialogue. It illustrates the difficulties the C of E faces and the need for stronger leadership, rather than the ‘softly softly’ approach so far taken to those holding liberal views who are splitting the church.”

" fight afresh..."

[The Ugley Vicar] 21 Oct 2009--And our own operation needs to be kept razor sharp, if it is to make any lasting contribution to the general scene. Years back, while I was CEEC chairman, we invited Nick Page of Radio 2 to interview on video David Hope, former Bishop of London. The video was played at one of our larger conferences. At one point, Nick put the question, “Bishop, would you agree that anglican evangelicals would do well to take into their account and thinking the findings and emphases of the various other viewpoints within the Church; Catholic, Liberal and so on?”

The bishop’s reply was interesting. “Not at all,” he remonstrated. “Right now you evangelicals are not nearly evangelical enough. You seem, if anything, to be departing from your earlier roots. What has happened to your doctrines – and to your preaching of them? And why are you slipping from your Quiet Times? What has happened to your prayer meetings and to your former great missionary drive? We need you to be faithful to your own true evangelical identity if you are to have a hope of challenging and building the rest of us in the church!”

My long-time next-door neighbour John Stott puts it in a different way. Every generation of Gospel men and women, he insists, has to go through the same operation repeatedly – namely to fight afresh all over again for the unchanging apostolic truths that remain the platform for the church, in every age and crisis that it inevitably faces; we cannot opt out.

Note: Richard Bewes' own blog, Pocket Bible Thoughts with Richard Bewes, can be found at

Anglicanism, Evangelicalism, and the Anglican Church in North America

By Robin G. Jordan

Note: The following description of the state of Anglicanism and evangelicalism in the Anglican Church in North America began as a comment written in response to Dr. Mark Thompson's series, "What does it mean to be Anglican?" However, it proved too long a comment so I am posting it here and emailing a copy to Dr. Thompson.

The use of the terms “Protestant” and “Protestantism” are not particularly encouraged in the ACNA. Anglicans, we are told, are not Protestants. They are “Reformed Catholics.” Anglicanism is not a form of Protestantism. It is a form of “Reformed Catholicism.” The late Peter Toon revived the terms “Reformed Catholic” and “Reformed Catholicism” and popularized them. The Caroline divines and the Non-Jurors had originally used these terms. The Scottish Episcopal Church had experimented with the use of “Reformed Catholic” in the nineteenth century but abandoned it in favor of “Protestant Episcopal.” To the Scots “Reformed Catholic” was too close to “Roman Catholic.”

To understand current developments in the ACNA, it is helpful to put them in historical perspective.

The General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church adopted a revision of the Thirty-Nine Articles in 1801 and ordered that the revised Articles should be bound up with the Book of Common Prayer in all future editions. The Articles had their opponents in the Protestant Episcopal Church from the outset. In 1799 the following resolution was brought to the floor of the General Convention: "Resolved, That the articles of our faith and religion as founded on the Holy Scriptures are sufficiently declared in our Creeds and our Liturgy as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer, established for the use of this Church, and that further articles do not appear necessary." The House of Bishops voted against the resolution. The Bishops favored adopting the Articles. When the revised Articles were adopted in 1801, the clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church, however, were not required to formally subscribe to the Articles, as were the clergy of the Church of England. What binding force upon belief that they might carry was left to the conscience of the individual.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries we encounter criticism of the Thirty-Nine Articles from two quarters of the Protestant Episcopal Church—the Anglo-Catholics and the Broad Church liberals. Among the criticisms of the Articles were that they were foreign to the genius of the Church of England. “The adoption of such a detailed system of theology was contrary to her history and traditions.” Or the Articles were no longer relevant for today and represented “a watermark of a previous tide.” The latter view of the Articles crops up in a modified form in the Common Cause Theological Statement now embedded in Article I of the ACNA Constitution.

The Anglo-Catholics and the Broad Church liberals disliked the Thirty-Nine Articles because they did not support their beliefs and practices. While Broad Church liberals pointedly refused to take notice of the Articles, Anglo-Catholics, following the example of John Henry Newman, reinterpreted them. E. J. Bicknell’s The Thirty Nine Articles, which drew upon Newman’s fanciful ahistorical reinterpretation of the Articles, exercised a broad influence in North America. Gillis J. Harp attributes the widespread ignorance of Episcopalians of the Articles and their Reformation heritage to the influence of Anglo-Catholicism in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

In the nineteenth century the Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England agitated for the abolition of the Thirty-Nine Articles. They were not successful. In the Protestant Episcopal Church they had much greater success. In 1925 the General Convention under the denomination’s then Anglo-Catholic leadership passed a resolution dropping the Articles from the Prayer Book. They, however, were eventually thwarted by the Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

As I previously noted, the Anglo-Catholics were not the only school of thought in the Protestant Episcopal Church that were opposed to the Thirty-Nine Articles. So were the Broad Church liberals. The views of the two schools increasingly converged and influenced each other. Their views of the Articles continue to exercise influence upon how a large segment of the ACNA sees the Articles. An influential self-identified “evangelical” and “Calvinist” in the ACNA informed me that the Church had outgrown the sixteenth century theological views expressed in the Articles. Contemporary Anglicans have a different understanding of the issues addressed in the Articles.

In 1976 and 1979 the General Convention voted to relegate the Articles to the historical documents section of the new Prayer Book. The official position of the Episcopal Church was that the Articles were a thing of the past. By this time “Protestant” had been dropped from the Episcopal Church’s name.

In the newly formed ACNA the position of the Thirty-Nine Articles is not much better. The Articles are presented as belong to the past but containing some principles of genuine Anglicanism. Newman’s reinterpretation of the Articles in a Roman direction is established as normative for the ACNA.

The problem with the ACNA is not so much that Anglo-Catholics dominate the organization as it is that many of those who define themselves as “evangelicals” sit very loosely to the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles that historically have distinguished classical evangelical Anglicanism. In Guarding the Holy Fire Roger Steer asserts that “traditional evangelical Anglicanism” disappeared from the Protestant Episcopal Church by 1900. Former Bishop of South Carolina C. FitzSimmon Allison drew to the attention of the late Urban T. Holmes in a personal communication that there were at that time few genuine evangelicals in the Episcopal Church and that those who called themselves “evangelicals” were “liberal low churchmen.” Terry Holmes himself noted in the essay in which he refers to this observation that “English Evangelicalism” has never gained much acceptance in the United States. The essay was published in 1981. Most of what passes for “evangelicalism” in the ACNA may owe more to contemporary popular evangelicalism in North America and the charismatic renewal movement in the 1970s than to classical evangelical Anglicanism.

The ACNA does have a number of pastors who studied in Reformed seminaries or who were Reformed pastors before they were reordained in the ACNA. The ACNA also has a couple of influential theologians, J. I. Packer and Bishop John Rodgers, known for their classical Reformed theology. However, the opinions of Packer and Rodgers are now suspect for the recent positions that they have taken.

“Evangelicalism” in the ACNA has sunk to such a low state that a pastor who takes an Anglo-Catholic position on a number of key issues that divide Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals can represent himself as an “evangelical” and others will defend his description of himself.

The Trinity Episcopal for Ministry contributed to the revival of evangelicalism in the Episcopal Church in the 1970s. In recent years TESM, however, has focused upon helping its students to develop what TESM describes as a “Biblical theology,” whether they are Anglo-Catholic, charismatic, evangelical, or “mere Christian.” In his description of an evangelical Anglican identity its present dean names Lancelot Andrews who is hardly a sterling example of classical evangelical Anglicanism.

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer as an Anglican formulary does not fare any better in the ACNA. In the seven clause of the Common Cause Theological Statement the 1662 Prayer Book is identified as “a” doctrinal and disciplinary standard for Anglicans—one of a number of standards that Anglicans recognize. It forms only a part of the worship standard for Anglicans “with the Books which preceded it.” The latter are not identified. The clause itself is open to interpretation as including the 1637 Scottish Liturgy and the pre-Reformation medieval service books. The resulting standard is very nebulous.

The first American Prayer Book of 1789 was something of a paradox. Its compilers adopted many rationalistic changes or simplifications. They dropped the Benedictus from Morning Prayer and the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis from Evening Prayer and replaced them with psalms. Yet at the same time they adopted the eucharistic liturgy of the Scottish Non-Jurors, a rite that had no previous basis in the popular practice of Anglicans in North America. With the 1789 Prayer Book the American Prayer Book began to diverge from the 1662 Prayer Book in its theology, a divergence that became more pronounced with each addition to the American Prayer Book and particularly with the 1928 Prayer Book, the first major revision of the American Prayer Book. The office for the institution of incumbents that was added to the American Prayer Book in 1804 expressed a “High Anglican view of holy orders” that the Ordinal did not articulate. The service was studded with words and phrases that did not appear elsewhere in the American Prayer Book; for example, presbyter, sacerdotal relation, rector, rails of the altar, apostolic succession, and holy eucharist. It reflected a desire to revive the Caroline and Nonjuror heritage of Anglicanism. The 1892 Prayer Book restored the Prayer Book canticles. What few other changes that it introduced were far less significant than the far-reaching and even radical changes that the 1928 Prayer Book made in the American Prayer Book. These changes reflected the American taste for variety, greater emphasis on the Church Year, and preoccupation with medieval tradition. The 1928 Prayer Book represented a “drastic repudiation of post-reformation standards.” With its adoption Episcopalians in the United States “unhesitatingly parted company with conservative Anglicans in other lands.” What many people do not realize was that the 1928 Prayer Book was not only more Anglo-Catholic than its predecessors in its theology but it was also more liberal. This is the Prayer Book that the late Peter Toon and the Prayer Book Society promoted as the classic Anglican Prayer Book, not the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. While proponents of the 1928 Prayer Book will not admit it, the 1928 Prayer Book paved the way for the 1979 Prayer Book, setting a precedent with its extensive changes.

The 1928 Prayer Book is far from a local adaptation of the 1662 Prayer Book as it has sometimes been portrayed. The Protestant Episcopal Church developed its own Prayer Book tradition and that tradition has been imported into the ACNA where the two most commonly used service books are the 1928 and 1979 Prayer Books.

In 2005 the Reformed Episcopal Church, a Common Cause Partner and founding entity of the ACNA adopted a new Prayer Book. This book was purportedly based upon the 1662 Prayer Book. The book, however, incorporates so much material from the 1928 Prayer Book that its theology departs significantly from that of the 1662 Prayer Book. The Solemn Declaration of the Anglican Mission in the Americas states that all alternative rites and forms adopted by the AMiA must conform to the doctrine of the 1662 Prayer Book. In 2006 AMiA and the Prayer Book Society jointly published a service book for trial use in AMiA congregations. The services in the book were described as contemporary English forms of the services of the 1662 Prayer Book. However, they owed more to the 1928 Prayer Book than to the 1662. In 2008 the AMiA and the Prayer Book Society jointly published a second service book for the use of AMiA congregations and other Anglicans. The compilers of this book dropped any pretense that its services were from the 1662 Prayer Book. Neither book, however, meets the AMiA’s own doctrinal standards. More recently Forward in Faith North America adopted a resolution urging its member congregations to use the 1549 and 1928 Prayer Books and the missals developed for use with these two service books.

The Initial Report of the ACNA Task Force on the Prayer Book and Common Worship has not been circulated openly or widely but rather has been released to only select individuals. This is not surprising for the ACNA that did not make public its provisional constitution and canons until they were adopted and only gave interested parties a fortnight to make suggestions and comments regarding proposed amendments to the provisional constitution and a proposed set of canons.

In addition giving a token place at best to the Anglican formularies, the ACNA constitution takes the Anglo-Catholic position that the “historic episcopate” is an essential part of the Church. In 1886 the Anglo-Catholic dominated House of Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church adopted the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral that took a similar position. The ACNA Canons contain language highly suggestive of Anglo-Catholic views of apostolic succession, ordination, and the sacraments. The ACNA Canons require unreserved subscription to the seven clauses of the Common Cause Theological Statement embedded in Article 1 of the ACNA Constitution as condition of membership, recognition as a diocese or diocese-in-formation, partnership in ministry, ordination, licensure, and election to the episcopate.

In the ACNA Constitution the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration is relegated to the Preface. It is no longer included in the ACNA’s definition of Anglican orthodoxy, which are now limited to the seven clauses of the Common Cause Theological Statement. More recently Philip Ashey, Chief Operating Officer of the American Anglican Council, a Common Cause Partner and a founding entity of the ACNA, announced that Archbishop Peter Jensen had charged the AAC with the formation of a Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in North America. As Ashey envisioned the FCA in North America, it would function as a “ministry partner” of the ACNA—principally as an auxiliary of the ACNA in areas without an ACNA presence. Under the provisions of the ACNA Canons to become a ministry partner of the ACNA an entity must subscribe without reservation to the ACNA Fundamental Declarations (the Common Cause Theological Statement). Ashey’s vision of the FCA is not that of the Global Anglican Future Conference Statement or the GAFCON Theological Resource Group as set forth in Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today.

In the ACNA conservative evangelicals are viewed in some quarters as a disruptive “fringe element.” Their exclusion from the ACNA is regarded as essential to peace and unity within the ACNA. They are portrayed as “ultra-Protestants” and “hyper-Calvinists”—even the more moderate conservative evangelicals.

Members of the ACNA who are conservative evangelicals keep a low profile. Those with whom I am acquainted became members of the ACNA when the jurisdiction to which they belonged joined with the other Common Cause Partners to form the ACNA. They are not particularly happy with the theological direction in which the ACNA is moving but remain a part of the ACNA for pragmatic reasons. Some hope that the ACNA can be reformed from within; others see no viable alternative to the ACNA.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What does it mean to be Anglican? IV

[Theological Theology] 20 Oct 2009--Anglicanism is both genuinely catholic and unambiguously Protestant. But what type of Protestantism is embedded in the Anglican formularies — Lutheran, Reformed or Anabaptist? It is well-known that Cranmer and his contemporaries began their journey in Reformation theology by avidly reading the banned works of Martin Luther in the early 1520s. They were captivated by Luther's doctrine of justification by faith alone and his insistence on the final authority of Scripture alone. They welcomed the alternative explanation of the real presence of Christ in the eucharist that Luther provided for them — the idea of sacrifice could be jettisoned and so could transubstantiation without denying a real presence.

What is more, the influence of Melanchthon, Luther's off-sider and, just as importantly, a humanist scholar, continued to grow over the next few decades. Cranmer corresponded with Melanchthon, with whom he shared a humanist education, both before and after Luther's death in 1546. Melanchthon became one of the elder statesmen of the continental Reformation, a man of great intellect with a long history of engagement with different strands of the Reformation. He did not have the same strident manner as Luther and was at least willing to listen to others. Did Lutheranism, largely mediated through the person of Philip Melanchthon, continue to shape the English church of Edward VI and Elizabeth I?

The evidence suggests that as time went on others would have a more decisive influence on the English Reformers. As Cranmer's reforming agenda came into the open during the reign of Edward VI, Martin Bucer, a Reformed theologian who had at one time mentored Calvin, was invited to take up the post of Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. Bucer was asked to comment on the first prayer book of Edward VI, the 1549 edition. Cranmer's mature theology continued to embrace justification by faith alone, but his understanding of the sacrament modified under the influence of the Swiss reformers. Bucer's De Regno Christi was an attempt to put forward an agenda for reform and though it was never officially sanctioned (it was published in Basle rather than in England) Bucer's personal influence on Cranmer and the other key players in the Edwardian Reformation was considerable.

However, it was to be Heinrich Bullinger, Zwingli's successor in Reformed Zurich, who was to make the most significant contribution as the English Reformation matured. Bucer did not travel to England but many English refugees travelled to Zurich during the Marian persecutions. When they returned, they brought Bullinger's writings with them. His Decades, collections of sermons expounding a rich pastoral theology, became required reading by all curates in Elizabethan England. Bullinger's sermons presented in an easily digestible form the essence of Reformed theology. His explanation of the authority and efficacy of the Word of God was particularly helpful. He was a principal author of the Second Helvetic Confession (1566) with its insistence that 'the preaching of the word of God is the word of God'. His distinctive development of the notion of covenant would be particularly influential in the century that followed.

What does it mean to be Anglican? III

[Theological Theology] 20 Oct 2009--The Anglican inheritance in both doctrine and church practice is irrevocably tied to the cause of the Protestant Reformation. For all its insistence that it is genuinely catholic, that it was not another church set up as an alternative to that existing at the time but rather the true church reformed, the English church from which worldwide Anglicanism has grown was unambiguously Protestant. It embraced the Reformation doctrines of Scripture, salvation and the church. The five solas, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura, and soli Deo gloria, all find expression in the Anglican formularies and are expounded in the book of homilies. The antagonism of Catholic apologists during the Elizabethan period and ever since is not simply directed to the Anglican rejection of papal primacy but also and primarily to Anglican doctrine which it sees as incompatible with the emphases of the Roman church.

Ever since at least the early seventeenth century there have been attempts to suggest true Anglicanism is not really Protestant and that aligning the English church with the continental Reformation is a mistake. Revisionist accounts of the origins of Anglicanism have glossed over the way in which, in both doctrine and practice, the English Reformers sought to align their church with the Reformation churches on the continent.

However, in more recent years even unsympathetic scholars of the Reformation have been willing to concede Anglicanism's basic Protestantism. It rejected the notion of a magisterium that stood alongside Scripture as an authority for Christian faith and life. It rejected a sacerdotal understanding of priesthood and Christian ministry. It rejected purgatory, the cult of the virgin and the use of images in worship. It clothed its clergy in a surplice rather than priestly robes (though strong voices from within its ranks argued that even this should be dispensed with).

The pious pelican on the Bible page

[The Telegraph] 20 Oct 2009--George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury, went hunting one day in 1621 and an arrow from his crossbow wounded a gamekeeper, who later died. Abbot was distressed; his enemies rejoiced; and others declared him a "man of blood", whose functions as a bishop were thereby suspended.

William Laud, a future Archbishop of Canterbury, refused to be consecrated bishop by him, and a group of women who got in the way of his coach in the street in Croydon mocked him with the cry: "You had best to shoot an arrow at us." The crisis was resolved by James VI issuing a dispensation. Ever after, on Tuesdays, the day of the accident, Abbot in penance abstained from the meat pies that he liked to eat.

This memorable incident in the life of a stern and learned man illustrates the human background to a truly outstanding event in English history: the publication of the Authorised Version of the Bible in 1611.

That was the year Abbot had become archbishop. He had also been one of the 50 translators of the 1611 Bible – a member of the "company" (or committee as we'd say) responsible for putting into English the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and the book of Revelation.

A magnificent Jacobean almshouse, Abbot's Hospital, that George Abbot founded still stands at the top of the High Street in Guildford, Surrey, opposite Holy Trinity church where he is buried. The seven couples and 12 single people who live at the hospital plan a double celebration in 2011: for their founder and the 400th year of the English Bible.

This is one of hundreds of events being co-ordinated by a new body called the 2011 Trust. Time is running short: it's only 440 days away, nearer than the Olympics.

Legal challenge brewing over Holy Communion row

[The Sydney Morning Herald] 20 Oct 2009--The Sydney Anglican Archbishop, Peter Jensen, is facing a legal challenge over his church's decision to break with the national church and permit apprentice ministers to give Holy Communion.

The highest court of the Australian Anglican Church, the Appellate Tribunal, has been convened to decide on the contentious issue of whether church law allows deacons or church workers to preside over the Lord's Supper, a duty exclusively performed by ordained priests and bishops.

Eight diocesan bishops from Wangaratta, Bathurst, Bunbury, Riverina, Rockhampton, Grafton, North Queensland and Willochra, and 20 clergy and laity from 13 dioceses around the country outside of Sydney have applied for a legal ruling.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Direction of the ACNA and the Need for an Independent FCA in North America

By Robin G. Jordan

“It is important to remember that the direction of the province that is envisioned will be under the Common Cause Partnership, and for this reason, we must look primarily to the wording of Theological Statement agreed upon by Common Cause some time ago. There are some slight differences in wording and emphasis in that document from the final statement that came out of the Jerusalem meeting. Suffice it to say that Anglo-Catholics in the future will continue to regard the 1662 Prayer Book, the 39 Articles, liturgical practices, and the Councils of the patristic church just as the Oxford Movement did under Pusey, Keble, and Newman, our fathers in the faith.”

The preceding words of Bishop Jack Iker from an interview he gave on July 11, 2008 ran through my head as I was reading Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today, the GAFCON Theological Resource Group’s exposition of the Jerusalem Statement. Bishop Iker describes the differences in wording and emphasis between the Common Cause Theological Statement and the Jerusalem Declaration as “slight.” But is that really the case?

A comparison of the two statements points to substantial differences between them. The GAFCON Theological Resource Group’s exposition of the Jerusalem Statement removes any doubt about these differences.

The ACNA was formed as a response to the GAFCON Primates’ call for a new province in North America. The Jerusalem Declaration set forth what GAFCON recognizes as the basic tenets of Anglican orthodoxy. One might expect that the ACNA would receive and affirm the Jerusalem Declaration as its definition of Anglican orthodoxy. However, the ACNA in embedding the Common Cause Theological Statement in Article I of its constitution made that statement its definition of orthodox Anglican belief and practice. The ACNA relegated its affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration to the Preface of the constitution.

The Common Cause Theological Statement lays considerable emphasis upon the “historic episcopate,” which it describes as “an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.” We find nothing like clause 3 of the Common Cause Theological Statement in the Jerusalem Declaration nor in the GAFCON Theological Resource Group’s exposition of that declaration. Indeed such notions fall into what the Theological Resource Group identifies as secondary matters and adophora.

The Common Cause Theological Statement takes a different view of the first seven general councils of the undivided Church from that of the Jerusalem Declaration. The Jerusalem Declaration only mentions the first four—those which the GAFCON Theological Resource Group notes deserve a special place of honor because “at these Councils…debates about the teaching of Scripture on God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit were settled in a way which has been embraced by Christians from all traditions in all generations.” It further notes that there are some exceptions such as the Monophysite churches of the East that have never accepted the Definition of Chalcedon. [Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today, p. 33]

The Common Cause Theological Statement does not give as large a place to the Anglican formularies, to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the 1661 Ordinal annexed to it, and the Thirty Nine Articles of 1571, as does the Jerusalem Declaration. The 1662 Prayer Book is identified as “a” doctrinal and disciplinary standard for Anglicans—one of a number of standards that Anglicans recognize. It forms only a part of the worship standard for Anglicans “with the Books which preceded it.” The latter are not identified. The clause itself is open to interpretation as including the 1637 Scottish Liturgy and the pre-Reformation medieval service books. The resulting standard is very nebulous. On the other hand, the Jerusalem Declaration upholds the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as “a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.” The reason that 1662 Prayer Book remains such a standard, the GAFCON Theological Resource Group stresses, is “because the principles it embodies are fundamentally theological and biblical.” The liturgies of the 1662 Prayer Book enable those taking part in them “to think in true and biblical ways about God and about their life as his people.” [Ibid., p. 47] The Theological Resource Group goes on to point to the reader’s attention:

“Translation and local adaptation are not just contemporary responses to our own needs—they are envisioned in the Book of Common Prayer itself.”[Ibid.]

After giving a example of a change that is not in continuity with the Book of Common Prayer and one that is, the Theological Resource Group draws attention to a second key principle of revision, that of mutual accountability within the Anglican Communion. They stress:

“The further removed a proposed liturgy may be from the 1662 Prayer Book, the more important it is that it should be the subject of widespread evaluation throughout the Communion.” [Ibid.]

The place that the Jerusalem Declaration gives to the 1662 Prayer Book is not the place that a number of the Common Cause Partners forming the ACNA give to the classic Anglican Prayer Book. The REC adopted a new Prayer Book in 2005, purportedly based upon the 1662 Prayer Book. However, it incorporates so much material from the 1928 Prayer Book that its theology departs significantly from that of the 1662 Prayer Book. The AMiA’s Solemn Declaration of Principles states that all alternative rites and forms adopted by the AMiA must conform to the doctrine of the 1662 Prayer Book. The AMiA has produced two service books for the use of its congregations. Both books fail to meet this requirement. More recently FIFNA adopted a resolution urging its member congregations to use the 1549 and 1928 Prayer Books and the missals developed for use with these two service books.

The Common Cause Theological Statement’s position on the Thirty-Nine Articles is that while the Articles may contain some authentic Anglican principles, they essentially belong to the sixteenth century. The Common Cause Theological Statement adopts as the norm for the interpretation of the Articles John Henry Newman’s nineteenth century reinterpretation of the Articles “in a Roman direction.” [The Way, the Truth, and the Life: Global Resources for a Pilgrimage to a Global Anglican Future, p. 97] In contrast to clause 7 of the Common Cause Theological Statement, clause 4 of the Jerusalem Declaration states, “We uphold the Thirty-Nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.”

The GAFCON Theological Resource Group, after noting that the Articles, alongside the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal, have long been recognized as the doctrinal standard of Anglicanism, stress:

“The Clause should not be interpreted to suggest an equivalence of the authority of the Articles with the authority of the Scripture. The authority of the Articles comes from their agreement with the teaching of the Scripture….The Articles make no attempt to bind the Christian mind or conscience more tightly than Scripture does on matters of doctrine and Christian living. However, acceptance of their authority is constitutive of Anglican identity (my emphasis).” [Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today, p. 35]

The Theological Resource Group further draws to the reader’s attention:

“In recent years, some member churches of the Anglican Communion have dispensed with assent to the Articles, presenting them as mere ‘historical documents’ or relics of the past. Not coincidentally, these same churches include the ones which have abandoned historic doctrinal and moral standards. For other churches, the Articles have formal authority but they have been neglected as a living formulary. The Jerusalem Declaration calls the Anglican church back to the Articles as being a faithful testimony to the teaching of Scripture, excluding erroneous beliefs and practices and giving a distinctive shape to Anglican Christianity (my emphasis). [Ibid., p. 36]

Anglo-Catholic reinterpretation and even outright rejection of the Thirty-Nine Articles is not particularly surprising since the Oxford Movement was a counter-Reformation movement. However, a number of ACNA clergy and members who identify themselves as “evangelical” take the position that the English Reformers were wrong on a wide range of issues. The Articles are portrayed as outdated and irrelevant to the twenty-first century Church. Conservative Evangelicals like myself who hold to the biblical and Reformation theology of the Anglican formularies are dismissed as a “fringe element.”

With the exception of the representatives of the REC and the APA, the participants in the Common Cause Round Table that drew up the Common Cause Theological Statement came from a TEC/PECUSA background. The PECUSA, while it had adopted a revision of the Articles had never required clerical assent to its provisions. In 1925 Anglo-Catholics and Broad Church liberals joined together in an attempt to remove the Articles from the American Prayer Book but were thwarted by the PECUSA constitution. The Articles were relegated to the historical documents section of the American Prayer Book with the adoption of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The REC at the time the Common Cause Theological Statement was drawn up had long drifted from the Protestant and Evangelical principles of its founders. The APA is a traditionalist Anglo-Catholic ecclesial body. It would subsequently drop out of the Common Cause Partnership.

The considerable differences between the Common Cause Theological Statement and the Jerusalem Declaration and the remarks of ACNA leaders like Bishop Iker indicate that the direction that the Common Cause Partnership envisions for the ACNA is not the same as the direction of GAFCON and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Some North American Anglicans may argue that the ACNA is an independent organization and may therefore chart its own course. This, however, is the argument that TEC and the ACoC have been making. It is their disregard for their fellow Anglicans that has in part been the cause of the crisis that has torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion.

The substantial differences between the Common Cause Theological Statement and the Jerusalem Declaration point to the need for the formation of a Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in North America that is independent of, and not subordinate to, the ACNA. In Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today, the GAFCON Theological Resource Group define the nature of a “Confessing” Fellowship:

“The Fellowship has the character of a renewal movement. Like other renewal movements, the Fellowship intends to work within the global Anglican Communion. The Statement makes it clear that the Fellowship ‘is not breaking away from the Anglican Communion,’ and it does not claim to be the sole representative of true Anglicanism.” [Ibid., p. 37]

The Theological Resource Group goes on to explain:

“The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is ‘confessing’ in the sense of confessing the gospel, the faith of Christ crucified. It is confessional in the sense of affirming, as authoritative, the rule of faith found in the historic Creeds and Councils, and in the classic formularies of the Church of England—the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Prayer Book and the Ordinal—all of which claim to be in accordance with Scripture, and all of which may be ‘proved’ by Scripture. The Jerusalem Declaration is itself confessional in form, with brief statements of principle and half of its clauses referring to existing authorities. [Ibid., pp. 37-38]

The Jerusalem Declaration is further identified as the basis of governance for the Fellowship, deriving its authority from its conformity with the teaching of Scripture. [Ibid., p. 38]

In Phil Ashey’s recent announcement of the formation of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in North America, however, the FCANA was presented as functioning as an auxiliary to the ACNA, and subscribing without reservation to the Common Cause Theological Statement—a vision far removed from that of the GAFCON Statement.

Note: All page references are from Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today, A Commentary on the Jerusalem Declaration; supplemented by The Way, the Truth, and the Life: Global Resources for a Pilgrimage to a Global Anglican Future; prepared by the Theological Resource Group of the Global Anglican Future Conference; edited by Nicholas Okoh, Vinay Samuel, and Chris Sugden, and published by The Latimer Trust. The book is available from on the Internet at:

Survey: Does Your Church Use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer

I am taking a survey of Anglican churches in North America that use the classic Anglican Prayer Book—The Book of Common Prayer of 1662. If your church uses the 1662 Book of Common Prayer at any or all of its services and is located in Canada or the United States, Puerto Rico or one of the US territories, I would like to hear from you. Please leave your answers to the following questions in the comments section below.

• What is the name of your church?
• What is the name of its current pastor? Did he introduce the use of the 1662 Prayer Book? If not, who did?
• With which ecclesial body is it affiliated? If it is affiliated with the ACNA, please also give the name of jurisdiction and the cluster, diocese, district or network to which it belongs.
• What is its location?
• What is its email address?
• Which forms of service—Morning Prayer, Litany, Holy Communion, Evening Prayer, Baptism, Confirmation, etc.—from the 1662 Prayer Book does it use and at what services?
• What other worship aids—service books, hymnals, songbooks—does your church use with the 1662 Prayer Book?
• Further comments.

Please note that churches using the Reformed Episcopal Church’s new Prayer Book—The Book of Common Prayer of 2005—are not using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer but a service book that combines elements taken from both the 1662 Prayer Book and the 1928 Prayer Book. The result is a service book that differs significantly in its theology from the 1662 Prayer Book.

The purpose of this survey is to identify churches that actually use the classic Anglican Prayer Book and to learn more about them and their use of the 1662 Prayer Book. This includes new church plants in their early stages, meeting in a private home or other non-traditional setting. In conducting this survey, my intention is NOT to ascertain individual devotional practices or to start a discussion on the strengths and weakness of a particular service book or related topics but to obtain a picture of what churches are using the 1662 Prayer Book and how they are using it. Thank you for helping with this survey.

Can we crack the Bible Study problem?

[] 16 Oct 2009--There is a problem in congregational life that I have spent the last twenty years trying to solve.

It is: “How can we organise things so that husbands and wives with kids can be actively involved in Bible study together?”

It is a real problem because:

• fairly shortly after children arrive husbands and wives are separated in Bible study- the wife may go to one group and her husband another, but never together as someone has to be home to look after the kids, and you just get used to ministering in separate fields

• it is easy for one member of the marriage to just withdraw from Bible study while the other continues. In our minds we think “this is just while the kids are young”, but I have seen that once removed from regular small group meeting, it is very hard to get re-involved later on.

Runaway Teen Convert to be Returned to Ohio

[The Christian Post] 16 Oct 2009--Runaway teen convert Rifqa Bary will be returned to her home state of Ohio, Florida and Ohio judges decided Tuesday.

Bary, 17, will be turned over to foster care once she arrives in Ohio, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Both state judges agreed after weeks of discussion that the teen, who ran away to Florida for fear of being physically harmed by her Muslim parents for converting to Christianity, is under the jurisdiction of Ohio.

But before Florida state relinquishes custody of Bary, Florida circuit Judge Daniel Dawson required her parents to provide documents that prove they are legal residents in the United States. Bary’s temporary guardian raised concern that if the teen is staying illegally in the United States then she could be sent back to Sri Lanka where her family is originally from.

John Stemberger, the teen’s attorney, said Rifqa’s immigration status is “very critical” because his client fears being killed, harmed or placed in an insane asylum if she is sent back to Sri Lanka given that her conversion has been made public to the world.

Earlier, Bary said her parents had threatened to send her back to Sri Lanka after they found out she had become a Christian.