Friday, April 30, 2010
"'As for the sacrament, I believe as I have taught in my book against the bishop of Winchester,the which my book teacheth so true a doctrine of the sacrament, that it shall stand at the last day before the judgment of God, where the papistical doctrine contrary thereto shall be ashamed to show her face.'2
These final words of Thomas Cranmer’s declaration of faith before he was taken out to be burned remind us that the true doctrine of the Lord’s Supper was one of the key issues of the Reformation. Cranmer’s mature thought on the subject was a vital influence on the progress of the English Reformation and on the doctrine and liturgy of the English Church. Though a meek man, Cranmer expressed in these words a mighty confidence in the Biblical doctrine of the Lord’s Supper which he had come to embrace.
The development of Cranmer’s views on the sacrament has been a matter of debate; the
concern of this paper is with his final, mature teaching as expressed in his book, and in other forms, in the reign of Edward VI...."
To read more, click here.
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 9:12 AM
"Most young adults today don't pray, don't worship and don't read the Bible, a major survey by a Christian research firm shows.
If the trends continue, 'the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships,' says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. In the group's survey of 1,200 18- to 29-year-olds, 72% say they're 'really more spiritual than religious.'
Among the 65% who call themselves Christian, 'many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only,' Rainer says. 'Most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith."
Key findings in the phone survey, conducted in August and released today:
•65% rarely or never pray with others, and 38% almost never pray by themselves either.
•65% rarely or never attend worship services.
•67% don't read the Bible or sacred texts.
Many are unsure Jesus is the only path to heaven: Half say yes, half no.
'We have dumbed down what it means to be part of the church so much that it means almost nothing, even to people who already say they are part of the church,' Rainer says."
To read more, click here.
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 9:08 AM
"Nothing in her evangelical upbringing prepared Laura Watkins for John Piper.
'I was used to a very conversational preaching style,' said Watkins, 21. 'And having someone wave his arms and talk really loudly made me a little scared.'
Watkins shouldn't be embarrassed. Piper does scare some people. It's probably his unrelenting intensity, demanding discipline, and singular passion—for the glory of God. Those themes resound in Desiring God, Piper's signature book. The pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis has sold more than 275,000 copies of Desiring God since 1986. Piper has personally taken his message of "Christian hedonism" to audiences around the world, such as the Passion conferences for college-age students. Passion attracted 40,000 students outside Memphis in 2000 and 18,000 to Nashville earlier this year.
Not all of these youth know Piper's theological particulars. But plenty do, and Piper, more than anyone else, has contributed to a resurgence of Reformed theology among young people. You can't miss the trend at some of the leading evangelical seminaries, like Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, which reports a significant Reformed uptick among students over the past 20 years. Or the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, now the largest Southern Baptist seminary and a Reformed hotbed. Piper, 60, has tinged the movement with the God-exalting intensity of Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century Puritan pastor-theologian. Not since the decades after his death have evangelicals heaped such attention on Edwards.
Reformed theology often goes by the name Calvinism, after the renowned 16th-century Reformation theologian John Calvin. Yet even Edwards rejected the label, saying he neither depended on Calvin nor always agreed with him. Still, it is Calvin's followers who produced the famous acrostic TULIP to describe the "doctrines of grace" that are the hallmarks of traditional Reformed theology: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints. (See "It's All About God.")
Already, this latest surge of Reformed theology has divided Southern Baptist churches and raised questions about the future of missions. Its exuberant young advocates reject generic evangelicalism and tout the benefits of in-depth biblical doctrine. They have once again brought the perennial debate about God's sovereignty and humans' free will to the forefront.
The evidence for the resurgence is partly institutional and partly anecdotal. But it's something that a variety of church leaders observe. While the Emergent "conversation" gets a lot of press for its appeal to the young, the new Reformed movement may be a larger and more pervasive phenomenon. It certainly has a much stronger institutional base. I traveled to some of the movement's leading churches and institutions and talked to theologians, pastors, and parishioners, trying to understand Calvinism's new appeal and how it is changing American churches."
To read more, click here.
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 8:20 AM
"A majority of Americans believe Jesus speaks to them in some form or another, finds a new survey.
Fifty-two percent of Americans said Jesus speaks to them by influencing or connecting directly with their mind, emotions or feelings, according to a survey conducted by The Barna Group. Slightly more than two in five people said Jesus communicates with them through the Bible passage they read or that is read to them.
And more than one-third of the population said Jesus communicates to them through signs; sermons or teachings that address their immediate situation; miraculous circumstances or outcomes; and through words spoken to them by someone else.
Less than one-fifth of the population said God communicates with them through an audible voice or whisper they could hear.
The findings are part of a study, conducted on a random sample of 1,002 U.S. adults, that found two out of three adults (67 percent) claimed to have a “personal relationship” with Jesus that is currently active and that influences their life.
American adults who are likely to say they have a personal relationship with Jesus tend to be female (72 percent), Protestant (82 percent), and those who describe themselves as mostly conservative on social and political matters (79 percent).
Notably, the study found that the younger someone is the less likely the person is to claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus."
To read more, click here.
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 7:56 AM
Anglican aspect of life in Ordinariate questioned
"Doubts have been raised about whether former Church of England clerics would have distinctive “transferrable skills” to bring to the Roman Catholic Church, if they ceased to be part of the Anglican Communion.
At a meeting on Saturday at Pusey House in Oxford, the Revd Jonathan Baker SSC, Principal of Pusey House, said that a group was gathering to reflect on what was the “distinct tradition” within the Anglican Church, fostered since the Reformation, which was “potentially capable of finding its way to enrich the life of the wider Catholic Church”.
Under the norms of Benedict XVI’s Anglicanorum Coetibus, clergy trained in seminaries in the proposed Ordinariate (News, 23 October) would be tutored in “those aspects of Anglican patrimony that are of particular value” to the RC Church.
One speaker, Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity at Cambridge, and an Irish Roman Catholic, asked what “transferrable skills” Anglicans would bring. He said that what was distinctive was that they had been “shaped” by the Royal Supremacy, which had had a “moderating impact” on the differences in the Church of England between Catholics and Protestants.
'A fundamental part of the nature, identity, and patrimony of Anglicanism comes from the enforced co-existence of the Catholic dimension of Anglicanism within other more Protestant streams within an establishment,' Professor Duffy said. There would be 'big problems imagining how it would retain its coherence and Anglican identity outside those constraints. . . Could choral evensong survive in a minority uniate Church . . . within Roman Catholicism?'"
To read more, click here.
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 7:01 AM
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
By Robin G. Jordan
In its communiqué the Fourth Global South to South Encounter recognized the Anglican Church in North America as “a faithful expression of Anglicanism” and called for the recognition of the ACNA by other Anglican bodies. As an Internet commentator who has been closely following developments in the Common Cause Partnership and its successor, the Anglican Church in North America, since the inception of these para-church organizations, I was forced to greet this statement with nothing short of open-mouthed amazement and dropped-jawed incredulity. The statement was ludicrous beyond reckoning.
According to The Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1932), “faithful” means “loyal, constant, (to), true.” “Loyal” means “faithful (to), true to allegiance.” “Constance means “having constancy; not subject to variation; continual, never ceasing for long.” “Constancy” means “tenacious adherence to or to principles or beliefs.” “True” means “loyal or faithful or constant (to).” “Express” means to “represent, make known, in words or by gestures, conduct & c.” “Represent” means “call up by description or portrayal or imagination, place likeness of before mind or senses, serve or be meant as likeness; symbolize, act as embodiment of, stand for, correspond to, be specimen of.” “Anglican” means “of the reformed Church of England.” “Reform” means “make better by removing or become better by abandoning, imperfections or faults or errors; abolish or cure (abuse). The Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines “the Reformation” as “16th century movement to reform the Western Church,” “reformational” as” of the Reformation,” and “reformer” as “(esp.) leader in the Reformation.”
For an Anglican body to be “a faithful expression of Anglicanism,” it must be loyal to the reformed Church of England in its representation of that Church and the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles of that Church. It must be a true likeness of reformed Church of England. Its doctrines and practices must correspond faithfully to that of the reformed Church of England.
Being able to trace its origin to the Church of England or maintaining ties with the Church of England does not qualify as “a faithful expression of Anglicanism.” An Anglican body must tenaciously adhere to the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles of the reformed Church of England. Its doctrine and practices must be those of the English Church after the English Church rejected and disowned the errors of the Roman Catholic Church in the sixteenth century. It must be a true embodiment of the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles of the reformed English Church.
The Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles of the reformed Church of England are found in the writings of the sixteenth century English Reformers. They are particularly articulated in the historic Church of England formularies, i.e., the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571, the two Books of Homilies, The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 and The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons according to the Order of the Church of England of 1661.
How faithful is the Anglican Church in America in expressing the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles of the reformed Church of England? Does it place before the mind the reformed Church of England itself? It is a true specimen of a reformed Church after the 16th century English model?
To the English reformers episcopacy was an acceptable and even commendable form of church government but it was not an essential form of church government. They rejected the argument that the rule of bishops was divinely instituted along with the argument that the rule of presbyters was divinely instituted. They found no particular form of church government in the Bible. On the other hand, the Anglican Church in North America, takes the position that “a godly historic episcopate” is “an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice” and consequently “integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.” This is far removed from the position of the English reformers or that of the Thirty-Nine Articles, which make no mention of any need for bishops at all. In its view that bishops are essential to the life of the Church the ACNA owes more to the teaching of Roman Catholicism, the 19th century Tractarian movement, and 20th century liberal Catholic ideology than to the doctrine of the reformed Church of England, that is, the doctrine of the Bible and the Reformation.
To the English reformers apostolic succession meant a succession of doctrine. A church retained the apostolic succession along as it transmitted the teaching of the apostles, as recorded in Holy Scripture. The English reformers shared this view of apostolic succession with the continental reformed churches and the Lutheran churches. The Anglican Church in North America, on the other hand, takes the position that apostolic succession is a succession of bishops. Here again the ACNA owes more to the teaching of Roman Catholicism, the 19th century Tractarian movement, and 20th century liberal Catholic ideology than to the doctrine of the reformed Church of England.
The English reformers retained the three-fold ministry of bishop, presbyter, and deacon. At the same time they also recognized the ministry of the continental reformed churches that had not retained the three-fold ministry. They recognized the validity of presbyterial ordination and the validity of the sacraments administered by presbyterially ordained ministers. The Anglican Church in the North America, on the other hand, only recognizes the ministry of a church that has bishops in a particular succession. Ministers from other churches must be re-ordained. Once more the ACNA owes more to the teaching of Roman Catholicism, the 19th century Tractarian movement, and 20th century liberal Catholic ideology than to the doctrine of the reformed Church of England.
The English reformers rejected on solid Biblical grounds such beliefs that the Eucharist is a re-presentation or reiteration of the Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross and that Christ is substantively present in the consecrated elements. They also rejected on similar grounds such practices as the invocation of the saints, the veneration of relics, the elevation and adoration of the consecrated Host, and processions with the Host. The Anglican Church in North America, on the other hand, countenances such beliefs and permits such practices. As in the case of its view of episcopacy, apostolic succession, and the three-fold ministry of bishop, presbyter, and deacon, here also the ACNA owes more to the teaching of Roman Catholicism, the 19th century Tractarian movement, and 20th century liberal Catholic ideology than to the doctrine of the reformed Church of England.
The English reformers rejected the sacramental system of the Roman Catholic Church, which made an individual’s salvation dependent upon the clergy and not God. They recognized only two sacraments—Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion. The English reformers taught that what were “commonly called,” that is, misapprehended to be, sacraments—“Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction” were corruptions of apostolic practice or states of life “allowed in the Scriptures” and did not have the nature of a true sacrament as they did not have “any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.” The Anglican Church in North America, on the other hand, views matrimony to be a sacrament and in doing so by implication regards rites of confirmation, reconciliation of a penitent, ordination, and anointing of the sick to also be sacraments. Here again the ACNA owes more to the teaching of Roman Catholicism, the 19th century Tractarian movement, and 20th century liberal Catholic ideology than the doctrine of the reformed Church of England.
As we can see, the Anglican Church in North America does not even come close to the mark in faithfulness in expressing the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles of the reformed Church of England. The ACNA certainly does not place that Church before the mind. Rather the ACNA calls up a church that has undone the reforms of the 16th century and returned to the errors of the Roman Catholic Church. The ACNA is by no means a true specimen of a reformed church after the 16th century English model. If anything, it is a specimen of a de-reformed church after the 19th century Tractarian model, not only leaning sharply toward Roman Catholicism in its theology but in the case of its largest founding entity—the Anglican Mission in the Americas, embodying Roman Catholic doctrines, principles and norms in its ecclesiology.
If the Anglican Church is not true to the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles of the reformed Church of England, how then can the fourth Global South to South Encounter recognize the ACNA as “a faithful expression of Anglicanism”? First, the conference may have been poorly informed in regards to the ACNA. Its members may have not investigated developments in North America for themselves. They may have relied on the accounts of the Global South primates and bishops who intervened in North America as well as those of the ACNA leaders who present at the conference. Consequently, they may have heard what are only filtered accounts of what is happening.
Second, the leaders of several Global South provinces who support the ACNA are also leaders of the Global South to South Encounter and the Global South Primates’ Standing Committee. They may have influenced the content of the communiqué. They have a vested interest in the recognition of the ACNA. They may recognize its problems and weaknesses but fear the possibility of liberal exploitation of any acknowledgment of its defects. On the other hand, they themselves may be in denial in regards to ACNA’s problems and weaknesses or may not be cognizant of ACNA’s defects.
Third, the members of the conference themselves may have departed from historical Anglicanism and may have their own “revisionist” definition of Anglican orthodoxy. Revisionism is not confined to liberals or to the 20th or 21st centuries. The Tractarians reinterpreted English Church history as well as the Thirty-Nine Articles, The Book of Common Prayer, and The Ordinal. The conference members themselves may have become disconnected from the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles of the reformed Church of England.
For a number of years it has been a widely circulated belief that the African provinces are not only more conservative than their Western counterparts but also more “evangelical.” My study of the constitution and canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, the parent province of the former Anglican Mission in Americas, has lead me to question this assumption. The canons of the Rwandan Church are heavily indebted to the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church. The Rwandan canons have not only incorporated the language of the Roman canons but also their doctrines, principles, and norms. The Rwandan canons are also indebted to the Episcopal canons, as revised through 1967. The Canonical Charter for the Ministry of the Anglican Mission in the Americas evidences indebtedness to the Roman canons. The structure and governance of the former AMiA bears a strong resemblance to the structure and governance of a Roman diocese. I would be interested in knowing from where the Roman influence came in both documents. Did it come from a source within the Rwandan Church? Or did come from a source within the former AMiA? This points to the possibility that not only are the Africans influencing the ACNA but also the ACNA is influencing the Africans.
A number of supposedly African institutions that the ACNA has borrowed are in actuality Roman Catholic institutions that the Africans have adapted to their needs. In borrowing these institutions the ACNA has shown a tendency to remove or abandon any procedural safeguards and checks and balances that the Africans may have included in their adaptation of the Roman Catholic institutions. The result is the ACNA version of the supposedly African institutions more closely approximates the Roman Catholic original. These institutions, Bishop John Rogers in his essay “The ACNA Constitution – An Evangelical View,” which has been removed from the Internet, describes as “new” and “a breath of fresh air.” Such institutions, however, are far from new, except in the sense they may not have been previously known to some North American Anglicans, and they hardly represent “a breath of fresh air.” They are not even African institutions even though they may have entered the ACNA from one of the African provinces. They are Roman Catholic.
This raises the question, “In what other ways is Roman Catholicism influencing African thinking?” It certainly has influenced the Rwandan view of apostolic succession, ordination, and the sacraments. This raises another question, “Are African primates and bishops who themselves may have been heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism in a position to recognize as ‘a faithful expression of Anglicanism’ a para-church organization that itself shows the influence of Roman Catholicism?”
These questions may not trouble those who as a result of their experience in The Episcopal Church are inclined to think of Anglicanism as a form of Roman Catholicism but without the Pope. But they should deeply disturb those whose understanding of Anglicanism has been shaped by the English Reformation, the historic Anglican formularies, and classical evangelical Anglicanism, and not by 19th century Anglo-Catholicism or 20th century liberal Catholic ideology.
Is then the Anglican Church in North America “a faithful expression of Anglicanism”? At best we can say is that some congregations and their clergy within the ACNA may be a true representation of the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles that characterized the reformed Church of England. But the larger part of the ACNA, however, like the larger part of the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church is not a faithful expression of what genuine Anglicanism is about. It has come to accept a substitute for the real thing. This should not surprise us. The ACNA is largely comprised of former clergy and members of the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church. What shaped the more radical thinking of liberals in these two churches, has also marked them. Except for a penchant for authoritarianism and a dislike of liberal radicalism and liberal championing of homosexuality they are not far removed from their brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church.
If the Fourth Global South to South Encounter is going to recognize the Anglican Church in North America as “a faithful expression of Anglicanism,” the conference might as well, for what it is worth, recognize the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church as loyal embodiments of “Anglicanism” too. If the conference can apply a coat of whitewash to the ACNA, it can likewise apply a coat of whitewash to the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church. None of these churches is faithful in its expression of the Protestant and evangelical beliefs and principles of the reformed Church of England.
Try these, man.
What are they?
Magic mushrooms,man. Magic mushrooms. They'll give you a real spiritual trip.
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 9:21 AM
"After viewing Friday night’s Larry King Live with Jennifer Knapp, pastor Bob Botsford, and Ted Haggard, I was struck with the question:
Why is it that whenever a proponent of Christianity’s historical view of sexuality goes head to head with an advocate for gay rights, the traditional Christian almost always loses the argument?
Read the transcript from Friday’s roundtable discussion here. Watch as the traditionalist pastor seeks to be loving and gentle, and yet still gets pelted with the pejorative term 'judgmental.' Why is this so?
I’m convinced that we continue to lose the argument about homosexuality and Christianity because the traditionalist almost always makes his case within a conversation that has been framed by the opposing viewpoint. The Christian doesn’t lose the argument at the micro-level. The argument is lost from the beginning because of how the discussion is framed.
I only know Jennifer Knapp through her music. (Kansas is one of the best albums in Christian music, as far as I’m concerned.) I do not want the rest of this post (or the comments) to focus on her particular story. Instead, I want to analyze the Larry King appearance as a launching pad from which we can think clearly about how we might re-frame this discussion in ways that benefit the traditionalist position.
Here are four ways to get started...."
To read more, click here.
This dude is freakin' me out, man! He keeps sayin' he's the Archbishop of 'shroombury!!
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 9:09 AM
"A small western Sydney church has been hit with a $3000 fine by the local council because its choir was singing too loudly and some choristers were caught dancing.
Council officers raided the Granville church and were alarmed to discover choir members dancing in the carpark and the door of the church open an hour after it was supposed to be closed.
The dispute has gone all the way to the office of Treasurer Eric Roozendaal, who has been asked by his fellow minister David Borger to show mercy to the musical Christians and waive the penalty.
The Tokaikolo Christian Church choir was practising Christmas carols and other songs on the evening of December 3 last year.
The "infringement" occurred at 10pm as the rehearsal was finishing. A week later the church was hit with a $3000 fine from Parramatta Council.
It has been unable to pay the fine, which has been referred to the State Debt Recovery Office - which slugged the church another $50."
To read more, click here.
Wow, I'm seein' angels...
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 8:53 AM
"As a watching world wonders if Anglicanism is falling apart, major players in the Anglican Communion are assured of unity. But it is an assurance that is mingled with a deep sorrow.
These were recurrent themes in conversations The Christian Post had with most of the Global South archbishops and representatives. This paper had met them at a significant summit held last week at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.
For the Global South archbishops, there is no question about whether there will be a split in the largest Protestant communion.
“There is really only one Anglican Communion,” said the Most Revd. Henri Kahwa Isingoma of Congo. “It is the North American Churches that have gone far from the roots of our common faith.”
Isingoma went on to explain that the Global South is a ‘resistance’ movement to stem the tide of theological liberalism. For him and other archbishops at the meeting, the Anglican Communion is defined not by self-styling but by biblical orthodoxy.
The worldwide communion was thrown into chaos when two North American Churches started blessing same-sex unions and ordaining homosexuals as bishops eight years back.
Homosexuality is a sin in the official view of the Anglican Communion. While the Bible teaches that Christians should treat homosexuals with compassion, they are not to promote homosexuality."
To read more, click here.
Smoke some ganja. It'll mellow you out.
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 8:41 AM
"Anglicanism is increasingly becoming a misnomer of sorts. Its name derived from a word meaning 'of England', the Anglican Church was so named because it developed from the State Church of England.
A case could be made in view of the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury, England’s highest ranking clergyman, is still the spiritual leader of worldwide Anglicanism.
But the Anglican Church has undergone a major demographic shift in the last century. The face of Anglicanism is now hardly English. It is for the most part African. And further changes look set to occur.
Thanks to the spiritual leadership of Churches in the southern hemisphere and Asia, the Anglican Communion looks set for more change. The next major milestone for the Communion appears to be the Anglican Covenant, a document leaders hope would clearly articulate the Anglican faith, and a real system of authority.
In this exclusive survey of the views of Anglican Global South archbishops and representatives, The Christian Post learns of their concerns and hopes as they eagerly draw the curtains to their collective future.
The following are full-length transcripts of interviews conducted with most of the archbishops and their representatives gathered at a summit held last week at St. Andrew's Cathedral."
To read more, click here.
Man, I think I'm havin' a bad trip. I think I'm gonna freak...
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 8:32 AM
"...to hear that people can have even more powerful religious experiences without Christian faith gives us pause. It's a lot of work to fast and pray and worship and deny oneself—and even then, experiencing God is a hit or miss proposition! What's the fuss if we can pop a mushroom and have a nearly guaranteed religious experience?
But the research suggests a number of consequences for the way we do Christianity in our day. If religious experience is something that a drug can induce even more easily than spiritual ritual and disciplines, it may be time, for example, to rethink what many churches are trying to do on Sunday morning: create a memorable 'worship experience.'"
To read more, click here.
Wow, man, I think I saw another angel...
Nah, that's the ER nurse...
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 8:14 AM
Friday, April 23, 2010
Authority, Mission and the Anglican Church in North America - Part VII: Orthodox Faith and Practice in the ACNA
By Robin G. Jordan
While the ACNA has elements of a distinctive ecclesiology, which is grounded in the teaching of Tractarianism, liberal Catholic ideology, and Roman Catholicism, it does not have a clear definition of what constitutes Anglican “orthodoxy.” The seven points of the ACNA Fundamental Declarations establish what may be described as the limits of ACNA comprehensiveness, which, while tolerant of Catholic and Pentecostal theology, does not display the same tolerance toward the conservative Protestant, Reformed, and evangelical theology of the English Reformers, classical Anglicanism, and traditional evangelical Anglicanism. The particular definition of Anglican orthodoxy that they embody treats as acceptable a range of doctrinal views that not only conflict with each other on secondary matters but also on primary matters. At the same time it excludes the narrower definition of Anglican orthodoxy embodied in the Thirty-Nine Articles since the Articles reject a number of these doctrinal views as “repugnant to the Word of God.”
Two related trend seen in the Anglican Mission and other member organizations of the ACNA is to blend together sacramental, Pentecostal, and evangelical piety and practice and not to press doctrine. The Anglican Church is viewed as a third way along side of Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Catholicism—Catholic and reformed but in our time is evolving, uniting the Catholic, evangelical, and Pentecostal traditions in a new way, in a way that is both ancient, as seen in the early Church, and future-oriented. In this view this convergence of traditions is seen as the work of the Holy Spirit and the Anglican Church in North America as its present focus. This view is an outgrowth of the more dynamic version of the via media theory popularized by former Unitarian F. D. Maurice.
These two trends are associated with what is known as the convergence or Ancient-Future movement. This school of thought and Anglo-Catholicism dominant Anglican thought in the Anglican Church in North America. Archbishop Robert Duncan’s speeches are peppered with convergence or Ancient Future buzzwords. In his address to the inaugural ACNA Provincial Assembly Archbishop Duncan described the ACNA as “truly evangelical, truly Catholic, and truly Pentecostal.” At the Anglican 1000 Church Planting Conference Archbishop Duncan painted the ACNA as “the ancient future movement of the 21st Century church.” Duncan went on to say:
“We have an identity. The charisms of catholic, evangelical and Pentecostal have been brought together in one church to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.”
The Anglican Mission also uses convergence or Ancient Future buzzwords. Its slogan “Catch the Wave” refers to the practice of surfers catching a big wave to ride into shore. In this case the wave is the wave of the Holy Spirit represented by the Anglican Mission. Anglican Mission literature and Anglican Mission leaders make frequent references to the slogan “three streams, one river,” taken from an article that Richard Lovelace wrote for the 1984 September issue of Charisma magazine, in which he approvingly noted the trend of Catholics, evangelicals, and charismatic/Pentecostals to move closer together.
This school of thought is not confined to the Anglican Mission and is evident in the other member organizations forming the ACNA. It views are reflected in the closing statement of the Common Cause Theological Statement:
“To be an Anglican, then, is not to embrace a distinct version of Christianity, but a distinct way of being a “Mere Christian,” at the same time evangelical, apostolic, catholic, reformed, and Spirit-filled.”
The convergence or Ancient Future movement is not an Anglican movement. It began as a movement among charismatics and evangelicals who were attracted to the doctrine and worship of the first five centuries of Christianity and found elements of this doctrine and worship in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the ritualism of the Episcopal Church. Some became Episcopalians; others started their own denominations.
In his address to the participants in the Anglican 1000 Church Planting Conference Archbishop Duncan’s choice of the phrase “to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ” draws attention to a major weakness of this approach to doctrine. Duncan and other ACNA leaders are forced to use such euphemisms because the churches of the ACNA are proclaiming at least two gospels—the Anglo-Catholic gospel of sacramental salvation, of salvation by faith and works, and the New Testament gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
In tolerating a range of divergent opinions on primary matters as well as secondary ones, Archbishop Duncan and other ACNA leaders come dangerously close to the position of former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, current Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, and other liberal Episcopal bishops. They are treating primary matters as adiaphora, matters of indifference. In failing to press biblical teaching in such areas as the economy of salvation and Justification, they have adopted a position that is at variance with Article XVIII.
In today’s post-modern, post-Christian world it may be acceptable to preach two or more gospels since there is not absolute truth from a post-modern perspective, only opinion. Truth is relative and subjective. What may be truth for one person may not be truth for another. All opinions are equally valid and equally invalid. However, the Bible takes a different view of truth. In the Biblical worldview truth is an absolute. Jesus does not just speak the truth. He is the truth. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth. The Bible does not recognize the existence of two or more gospels. It recognizes only one gospel. Even if an angel preached a different gospel, he is anathema, or accursed. Only those who hear the true gospel and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are saved. In not pressing doctrine, Archbishop Duncan and other ACNA leaders are making the post-modern, post-Christian worldview the default worldview of the ACNA.
If the Anglican Church in North American does not have a Biblical worldview, it cannot be described as upholding orthodox faith and practice. It is certainly not orthodox in the sense of being faithful to the teaching of the Bible. Historically being faithful to the teaching of the Bible has been essential to an Anglican identity. The GAFCON Theological Resource Group articulates in Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today the position that adherence to the Thirty-Nine Articles is also essential to an Anglican identity. From a classical Anglican perspective being faithful to the teaching of the Bible and adhering to the Articles are synonymous because the Articles are themselves based upon the Scripture and derive their authority from it. Yet as we have seen, the ACNA is not fully faithful to the teaching of the Bible. It largely views the Articles as a relic of the past. It is not for the ACNA an authoritative standard of doctrine and worship.
How can GAFCON Primates then recognize the ACNA as being “authentically Anglican”? In response to the GAFCON Primates’ statement on the Pope’s offer of an Apostolic Constitution to Anglicans, issued November 10, 2009, the Council of the Church of England’s Church Society took issue with the GAFCON Primates’ claim that the papal offer “reflected the same commitment to the historic apostolic faith” that they had proclaimed in the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference. In making this claim the Church Society’s Council believed that the Primates were “gravely mistaken.” The Council gave a number of solid reasons in support of their belief. They concluded their letter with the plea that the GAFCON Primates “recognise that authentic, historic Anglicanism does not agree with Roman Catholicism on fundamental truths and in particular on the nature of authority and the means of salvation.” If the GAFCON Primates can be mistaken about the Roman Catholic Church’s commitment to the historic apostolic faith, they can also be mistaken about the authenticity of the ACNA’s Anglican identity. Recognizing Roman Catholic Church’s commitment to the historic apostolic faith and the authenticity of the ACNA’s Anglican identity may have for the GAFCON Primates been politically expedient but it is theologically indefensible.
The Anglican Church in North America has ambitious plans to plant 1000 new churches in the next 5 years. What, however, is the purpose of these churches if the ACNA does not have a clear definition of Anglican orthodoxy and some parts of the ACNA do not teach and preach the true gospel? Is it to surpass the Anglican Church in Canada and the Episcopal Church in size? Is it to impress the GAFCON Primates and to retain their support? It is certainly not to fulfill the Great Commission. One church may be producing followers of Jesus; another church may be making disciples of men. One church may be teaching what Jesus commanded; another church may be imparting the traditions of men. Archbishop Duncan and other ACNA leaders are basically telling the ACNA membership that they do not need to share a common set of core beliefs to be the church together. Is that not what the liberals in the Episcopal Church have been saying? How then is the ACNA any different from the Episcopal Church except that it is experimenting with more authoritarian forms of ecclesiastical governance and does not countenance the normalization of homosexuality in the Church, consecrate women bishops, and embrace a number of the more extreme views found in the Episcopal Church—at least not yet?
The ACNA is reportedly preparing a catechism—by polling ACNA churches regarding what they believe. The catechism will not be based upon what historic, authentic Anglicanism has understood the Bible to teach but a survey of the diverse and often disparate beliefs of the churches forming the ACNA. If this report is correct, the resulting statement of faith will be a hodgepodge of these beliefs. The Catechism of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer rests upon on the teaching of the Bible and the Reformation, as do other historic Anglican catechisms such as Alexander Nowell’s Catechism, and Thomas Becon’s Catechism. They are not based on an inquiry into what beliefs are the most popular or widespread in a denomination.
One of the criticisms leveled at the ACNA is the shallowness of its theology and its lack of a definitive theology. This criticism is particularly applicable to two groups within the ACNA—those who identify themselves as evangelicals and charismatics. Anglo-Catholics, on the other hand, do have what can be described as a definitive theology. Where there is a vacuum due to the theological shallowness and indistinctiveness of the other two groups, Anglo-Catholic theology tends to fill the vacuum, becoming the theology of the ACNA by default.
From a conservative evangelical perspective such a development is unfortunate since Anglo-Catholic theology does not stand by Scripture and historic Anglicanism in teaching that that we are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The doctrine of justification is the article upon which the Church stands and falls, a view that the churches of the Reformation including the Church of England share with Martin Luther.
The Thirty-Nine Articles subject the Church to the Bible. Anglo-Catholicism puts the authority of the Church in its role as interpreter of tradition above the Bible, arguing that tradition is as authoritative as the Bible, if not more so, and the Bible must be interpreted by tradition. In making this argument, Anglo-Catholicism gives the Church and tradition authority over the Bible. Ultimately the Church usurps the role of the Bible as the final test of the truth of a doctrine and the rightness of a practice.
Anglo-Catholicism revived and reintroduced into the Anglican Church doctrines and associated practices that the Anglican Church rejected at the Reformation for sound reasons. These reasons are as valid today as they were in the sixteenth century. They reestablished a system that makes its adherents obligated to the clergy for their salvation rather than to Jesus Christ.
In calling for the establishment of 1000 churches in the next 5 years, Archbishop Duncan did not identify the kind of church that he is seeking to see established. In his address to the Anglican 1000 Church Planting Conference he spoke in generalities—multiplying “ congregations fueled by the Holy Spirit,” joining what God is doing, meeting people where they are, not leaving them there, loving them where they are, and helping them to be transformed by God’s love. Such general statements could have been made to a gathering of progressive Episcopalians. They have a wide application. He also spoke of “four accountabilities”—“Scripture, tradition, the Holy Spirit, and society,” but did not go into specifics as to how the church is accountable to Scripture, tradition, the Holy Spirit, and society. This would have meant articulating a clear doctrinal statement that would reveal where he himself stands doctrinally. Such a revelation might disturb the fragile alliance between Anglo-Catholics, evangelicals, and charismatics at the heart of the ACNA and cause some ACNA leaders and members to have second thoughts about following his leadership. Rather he leaves to his audience to interpret for themselves what he means in a manner compatible with their own theological perspective. In doing so he does what a number of the more recent Anglican service books do in their use of “studied ambiguity” in the language of their rites. Two or more groups with different theological perspectives can use the same rites, interpreting them in accordance with their own particular theological perspective.
This is also what Archbishop Duncan has done in his call for 1000 new churches in the next 5 years without specifying the kind of church. He is leaving the kind of church to the imaginations of clergy and laity in the ACNA. For the Anglo-Catholic traditionalist the kind of church will be the traditional Anglo-Catholic parish with regular weekly and even daily celebrations of the Mass—the offering of the Holy Sacrifice for the living and the dead; adoration of the consecrated Host in the tabernacle or monstrance; auricular confession and priestly absolution; invocation of the saints; and prayers for the dead. For the charismatic the kind of church will be the Spirit-filled charismatic parish in which baptism in the Holy Spirit is emphasized and the gifts of the Holy Spirit including speaking in tongues will be practiced. For the evangelical the kind of church may be an Ancient Future faith parish blending Catholic, Pentecostal and evangelical piety and practice or a church reflecting the latest trends in popular American evangelicalism. Each church will be “Anglican” and “orthodox” in accordance with the understanding of the group planting it.
Where there is vision was Archbishop Duncan’s premise in his address to the Anglican 1000 Church Planting Conference, there is no reason for disagreement over theological differences. This is a back handed slap at those who draw attention to the lack of a common theology in the ACNA. The implication is that they suffer from a want of vision. Those who have caught the overarching vision of the ACNA, Archbishop Duncan’s vision, are not concerned by theological differences. They focus upon the vision and not each other.
This viewpoint does not differ greatly in its basic argument from that of Presiding Bishop Schori when she urged Episcopalians to moved past the issues of human sexuality and biblical authority and focus upon the mission of the church, envisioned in terms of carrying out the UN Millennium Goals. Archbishop Duncan and Presiding Bishop Schori have different visions but they make similar arguments. As in the Episcopal Church, the priority of mission in the ACNA, even though it is conceived differently than in the Episcopal Church, does not trump dealing with such issues as the lack of a common theology in the ACNA.
The future adoption of a common Prayer Book is not likely to resolve this problem. By the time such a book has been adopted, the theological differences seen in the ACNA will have become entrenched. It will at best create the illusion of a common theology and may not even attempt the undertaking, settling for the “studied ambiguity” that has become the mark of a number of the more recent service books or favoring one theological school of thought over the others represented in the province, as do also a number of these service books.
On the other hand, a common theology may emerge over time that is completely alien to the confessionalism of the historic Anglican formularies, classical Anglicanism, and traditional evangelical Anglicanism. This common theology may be a witch’s brew of Catholic, Pentecostal, and evangelical elements, and equally objectionable to traditionalist Anglo-Catholics and conservative evangelicals.
Archbishop Duncan speaks about leaving “Egypt’s patterns” as well as leaving Egypt, usually referring to things that he dislikes about the Episcopal Church. However, this bringing together of divergent elements is a pattern of Egypt. Ancient Egypt had many gods and goddesses. Its religion was a synthesis of a number of religions, reflecting the influence of the ancient Mid-East as well as that of ancient Africa. In the Episcopal Church we see a similar combining of religions in its early stages. In the Roman Catholic Church we see evidence of such combining not only in the past but also today with the acceptance of animal sacrifices to the ancestors in Africa and the movement to make Mary a co-redemptrix with Christ, a relationship that the Mother Goddess of the ancient Mediterranean world enjoyed with her dying and rising Son.
The process by which competing religions may be combined into a larger religious system or one religion absorb another and adopt its tenets helps to explain what is happening in the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church and the reaction of conservative or traditionalist Anglicans to these developments. At the heart of the history of ancient Israel is the struggle of the Jews to resist the influence of other Mid-Eastern religions and to maintain their devotion to the One True Living God. As we know from the Old Testament, they were not very successful in this undertaking. While God was faithful to them, they were unfaithful to him. When they were most successful was when they purged the foreign gods from their midst, renewed their devotion to God, and returned to the teaching of the Hebrew Bible. This was something that they had to do over and over again, as the influences that worked against their devotion to God were pervasive and persuasive and the human heart as the Old Testament tells us is deceitful, untrustworthy, and prone to rebel against God.
Times have not changed. The New Testament records the struggles of the apostles to preserve the teaching that they had received from Christ and to transmit it to posterity. The history of the Christian Church from apostolic times on is the history of how the primitive faith of the Church became corrupted, defaced, and overlaid by innovations in doctrine and worship. During the sixteenth century devote Christians, like the Jews of old, sought to purge the foreign gods from their midst, renew their devotion to God, and return to the teaching of the Bible. Since the Reformation there have been other movements to reform the Church.
The restoration of Anglican confessionalism and the Bible and the Thirty-Nine Articles to a central place in the life and teaching of the Anglican Church are critical to the reform of the Church in the twenty-first century. Yet the Anglican Church in North America, while claiming to represent the forces of reform and renewal in North American Anglicanism, clings to this pattern of Egypt, blending together disparate beliefs and practices, claiming precedent for its particular synthesis in the first five centuries of Christianity. Those who compiled the1979 Book of Common Prayer that contributed to the emergence of the Convergence/Ancient Future movement also maintained that its doctrines are justifiable on the same basis. The appeal to antiquity is a characteristic that Tractarianism, liberal Catholicism, and the Convergence/Ancient Future movement share. The Oxford Movement claimed continuity with the seventeenth century Caroline divines on this basis. However. Peter B. Nockles in The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship 1760-1857 shows that its claim was spurious.
Those who support this synthesis also appeal to Anglican comprehensiveness and to Anglican via media theory. Their views of Anglican latitude in doctrine and liturgical usage and the Anglican middle road are very close if not identical to the views that were popularized in the Episcopal Church in the last five decades of the twentieth century, and reflect Anglo-Catholic, Broad Church, and liberal influences.
The primary difference between the doctrinal mix in the Anglican Church in North America and that in the Episcopal Church is that the ACNA has backed away from radical liberalism. The Episcopal Church claims to have no core doctrine. The ACNA does not press doctrine, except in the area of human sexuality and even in this area it falls short of expectations in the area of divorce and remarriage. With the exception of a modification of the Common Cause Theological Statement and the other provisions of its constitution and canons that explicitly state a particular doctrinal position or imply such a position, the ACNA has not adopted any statements of doctrine.
Is then the Anglican Church in North America upholding orthodox faith and practice—its raison d’etre? This is a highly debatable question. Some may argue that the ACNA is because their own churches are upholding orthodox faith and practice according to their own lights. The problem with this argument is that it makes two assumptions. The first is that what their churches are maintaining is orthodoxy. The second is that the rest of the churches in the ACNA are maintaining the same thing. The first assumption may be correct: their churches may be orthodox in their faith and practice as understood by historic Anglicanism. But it is quite a stretch to assume that the rest of the churches in the ACNA are also similarly orthodox in their faith and practice especially in a denomination that recognizes a broad range of divergent opinion and upholds its own version of “generous orthodoxy.” While the number of entrees and side dishes may be less—no Buddhist mock duck, Muslim lamb, and Wiccan sautéed wild mushrooms, and the hearty fare of classical Anglicanism is conspicuous by its absence from the steam table, the ACNA practices its own form of “cafeteria Christianity.”
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 8:48 AM
The fourth Anglican South to South Encounter wrapped up on April 23, 2010. The Anglican South to South Encounter issued its fourth “Trumpet.” During the five-day conference former Nigerian Primate the Most Rev. Peter Akinola saw TEC's actions as making a new Anglican Communion inevitable. Archbishop John Chew was elected chairman of the Global South Primates’ Steering Committee, replacing outgoing chairman Archbishop Peter Akinola. President Bishop Mouneer Anis called for the restructuring of the Anglican Communion and Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini proposed the establishment of a new “Anglican Ecumenical Council,” modeled on the Councils of the Early Church.
Charles Raven writes on the significance of the fourth Anglican South to South Encounter on SPREAD.
This Week’s Articles
“Authority, Mission, and the Anglican Church in North America—Part VII: Orthodox Faith and Practice in the ACNA” –new article
“Authority, Mission, and the Anglican Church in North America – Part VI: Ecclesiology” –featured article
“The Anglican Mission and the Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic: A Contrast in Ecclesiology” – accompanying article
“Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law in the ACNA” – accompanying article
“Church, mission, evangelism and programs” -- TheologicalTheology
"Survey: 1 in 4 Christians in Africa Hold to Indigenous Beliefs" – The Christian Post
“Unchurched Population Nears 100 Million in the U.S.” --The Barna Group
“True Colour of Logo” – Sydney Anglicans
“Five Myths about Emerging Adult Faith”— Christianity Today
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 8:23 AM
Monday, April 19, 2010
by Robin G. Jordan
Introduction. In this article I will examine the ecclesiology of the Anglican Church in North America, that is to say, its theological doctrine of the church. To obtain a complete picture of the ecclesiology of the ACNA, I will be taking a look at the theology of the church stated in the constitution and canons but also the ecclesiology embodied in the institutions created and established by the constitution and canons. I will be examining the views of top ACNA leaders and their actual leadership practices. I will be comparing the ecclesiology of the ACNA as pieced together from these sources with the theology of the church of the English Reformers and classical Anglicanism. I will also be taking a look at its origins. This includes cultural factors that may have contributed to its development.
The Anglican Church in North America is, at its present stage, a federation of para-church organizations. The para-church organizations fall roughly into two groups—the founding entities of the ACNA that formed the Common Cause Partnership and the “dioceses” that joined in the days immediately before and after the inaugural meeting of the Provincial Assembly. The relationship of the para-church organizations in the first group with the ACNA is determined in part by the constitution and canons, in part by protocol, and in part by the network of relationships their leaders built during the Common Cause Partnership stage of the ACNA. The relationship of the para-church organizations in the second group is largely determined by the constitution and canons and any relationships that existed between their leaders and the leaders in the first group before their admission to the ACNA. With one or two exceptions the organizations in the second group did not enjoy an independent existence before the formation of the ACNA and were established either in anticipation of its formation or shortly thereafter.
I will, in an accompanying article, “The Anglican Mission and the Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic: A Contrast in Ecclesiology,” be looking at the ecclesiology of the Anglican Mission and its parent province, the Anglican Church of Rwanda, and comparing it with the ecclesiology of one of the more recent additions to the ACNA family—the Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic. As readers will see from the two examples that I examine—one from the first group and the other from the second, there can be a considerable difference in ecclesiology between the para-church organizations forming the ACNA. While some may fit comfortably within the larger ecclesiology of the ACNA, others do not.
Ministers in Christ’s Church. Canon III.1.1 affirms the normality of three ministries in the Church of Christ—that of deacon, presbyter, and bishop, asserting that the Anglican Church in North America holds what is the historical Anglican position on this matter. In its affirmation of the normality of these ministries does Canon III.1.1 takes the historic Anglican position, as it claims? In Freed to Serve Michael Green draws to the attention of his readers:
The Preface to the Anglican ordinal asserts roundly, ‘It is evident unto all men diligently reading the Holy Scriptures and Ancient Authors that from the Apostles’ times there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church: Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.’ This statement is widely misquoted. It does not say ‘there have been three Orders’ that is, three only. It is not in the least polemical. The Reformers who framed the statement did not wish to unchurch their colleagues on the continent who had a different, perhaps presbyterian form of church government.
Green goes on to say that the English Reformers retained at the Reformation the three catholic ministries of bishop, priest, and deacon because they saw these ministries as being agreeable both to history and scripture. In his reforming work in England Archbishop Thomas Cranmer applied the principle of retaining the old where “the old may be well used.” 
While “by the middle of the second century the threefold ministry of bishop, priest and deacon was the normal, almost universal pattern for Christian ministry…,” Green further notes, other ministries existed in the Christian Church. These ministries included apostles, prophets, prophetesses, exorcists, and miracle workers.  He stresses:
Jerome and Aquinas…both refused to regard bishops as a different order from priests, and the Council of Trent defined that the two differed in gradus but not in ordo. It would be precarious, therefore, to interpret the Anglican Ordinal in any exclusive sense. This can be easily proved, if proof is needed, by the fact that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Church of England enjoyed the closest of ties (including intercommunion and occasional interchange of ministers), with her sister churches of the Reformation on the continent who had not retained the threefold ministry. 
Green’s point is that the classical Anglicanism recognized the threefold ministry of bishop, priest, and deacon as both historical and scriptural. This, however, did not prejudice classical Anglicanism against recognizing other ministries. In the nineteenth century the Tractarians and later the Anglo-Catholics would interpret the Anglican Ordinal as excluding such ministries. They would unchurch all churches that did not have the threefold ministry of bishop, priest, and deacon even those churches (e.g., the Lutheran Churches) that had conflated the ministries of bishop and priest into the single ministry of pastor at the time of the Reformation on the basis that bishop and priest were not different orders but different grades in the same order.
In his discussion paper, “The Reform of the Episcopate and Alternative Episcopal Oversight,” David Holloway makes a number of important points in regards to these ministries in classical Anglicanism:
Classical Anglican doctrine on the episcopate is not prelatical. Classical Anglican doctrine is minimalist. It recognises two orders not three in the Church - a presbyteral and a deaconal order. Bishops (as Jerome, Peter Lombard and the Lateran Council acknowledged) are part of the order of the presbyterate. The Preface, therefore to the 1662 Ordinal does not say there are "three Orders" but "these Orders of Ministers ... Bishops, Priests and Deacons."
In the rubric of both the "Making of Deacons" and the "Ordering of Priests" there is the requirement for a sermon "declaring ... how necessary that order is in the Church of Christ." There is no such requirement in the Consecration service. Secondly, the headings to the pages in the 1662 Ordinal are respectively, "The Ordering of Deacons", "The Ordering of Priests" but "The Consecration [not "The Ordering"] of Bishops". Similarly in Article XXXVI it speaks only of "the consecration of archbishops and bishops" but "the ordering of priests and deacons". Thirdly, any order a Bishop has (according to the Ordinal) is political rather than ecclesial. A priest is "called ... according to ... the order of this Church", while the bishop is "called ... according to ... the order of this realm." This is most important.
That is why it is fair to say that classical Anglican doctrine recognises two orders, not three, in the Church. In the words of Dean Field (writing in the 17th century):
"that wherein a bishop excelleth a presbyter is not a distinct power of order, but an eminence and dignity only."
For our Reformers, therefore, the bishop was a senior presbyter with a jurisdictional role and an ordaining role.
As we can see, in its affirmation of the normality of ministries of bishop, priest, and deacon in the Christian Church, Canon III.1.1 goes a step beyond the classical Anglican position, which makes allowance for the existence of other ministries in the Christian Church. Rather it takes the nineteenth century Tractarian position. It is highly debatable as whether that position represents the historic position of the Anglican Church. Bishop John Bramhall, Bishop John Cosin, and other Caroline divines recognized the ministries of the reformed churches on the continent. While these churches lacked “the episcopal regimen,” they adhered to “the principles of the gospel.” Even Archbishop William Laud accepted the validity of the German Lutheran orders. The German Lutheran system of superintendancy, he maintained, “preserved the substance, though not the name, of episcopacy.”  The Tractarians were less charitable in their view of the continental reformed churches than the Caroline divines.
Apostolic Succession. Canon III.5.1 requires ministers “ordained in a jurisdiction not ordered in the historic succession” to be re-ordained. The term “the historic succession,” as it is used in Canon III.5.1, conveys more than the notion of a particular line of bishops that follow each other one after another and that is vouched for by history. It is also a term used in the writings of Anglo-Catholics, independent Catholics and Roman Catholics to describe a particular succession of bishops that meets the requirements of the Catholic doctrine of apostolic succession. They take the position that apostolic succession is maintained through the consecration of bishops in unbroken personal succession traceable back to the apostles. It is the preservation of this succession without interruption that guarantees that the bishops in this succession are not only the successors to the apostles but also that they teach what the apostles taught. The bishops in this succession are not successors to the apostles because they teach the doctrine of the apostles. Rather their teaching is apostolic because they succeed the apostles.
By the imposition of the hands of a bishop or bishops in this succession not only is the apostolic commission conferred upon the new bishop but also the gift of the Holy Spirit needed to carry out this commission. By this means a bishop is not only consecrated but also the succession of bishops continued. By the same means apostolic authority has been transmitted from one generation to the next in the one holy catholic and apostolic church for the past two millennia. Only a bishop in this succession is a true successor to the apostles and has the spiritual authority to govern the church. Only a bishop in this succession is empowered by the Holy Spirit to validly confer the sacraments of holy orders and confirmation.
Whether a church has apostolic succession is a test of whether the church has apostolic teaching. Only a church that has apostolic succession teaches what the apostles taught. This doctrine is used to justify church teachings that are far removed from apostolic teaching as revealed in the Bible. Any objections to church teachings on the grounds that they are not found in the Bible nor can they be proved from the Bible are dismissed. Since the church has apostolic succession, its teaching are apostolic.
The English Reformers and classical Anglicanism, on the other hand, take a different view. In this view bishops are successors to the apostles if and only if they actually teach the doctrine of the apostles as found in the New Testament or as provable from the New Testament. True apostolic succession is succession of doctrine. It does not matter whether a bishop was consecrated by a bishop or bishops in a succession with a pedigree that goes back to the apostles. If the bishop does not teach New Testament doctrine, his teaching is not apostolic and he is not a successor to the apostles.
Whether a church has apostolic teaching is, for the English Reformers and classical Anglicanism, a test of whether the church has apostolic succession. In this view a church might have no bishops but still have apostolic succession because the church has preserved apostolic teaching. On the other hand, a church might have bishops who claimed the apostle Peter as the founder of their succession but did not have apostolic succession because it did not preserve apostolic teaching. The English Reformers and classical Anglicanism shares this view of apostolic succession with Lutheranism and Reformed Protestantism.
Conservative evangelicals and other Protestant Anglicans are the contemporary adherents of the classical Anglican view of apostolic succession as succession of doctrine. Since the nineteenth century the nature of apostolic succession has been a point of contention between Protestant and Catholic Anglicans that persists to this day. The canons of the ACNA, as does its constitution, takes sides in this controversy, aligning the ACNA with the Catholic position instead of taking a neutral position, not aligned with either side of the debate.
Canon III.5.3 permits ministers “ordained in a jurisdiction by a bishop of the historic succession but not in communion with” the ACNA to be received as members of the clergy of the ACNA. It supports the preceding identification of the use of “the historic succession” in Canon III.5.2 with the Catholic doctrine of apostolic succession.
Canon III.5.4 requires the consent of the College of Bishops for the reception as a bishop of the ACNA any bishops “from another jurisdiction not in communion with” the ACNA. It also applies to two preceding canons to such bishops. In doing so, it provides further support to the foregoing conclusion.
The re-ordination requirement of Canon III.5.1 for ministers “ordained in a jurisdiction not ordered in the historic succession” not only does not recognize the validity of non-episcopal ordination but also that of episcopal ordinations of a church, the bishops of which are not in “the historic succession,” a particular succession of bishops through which Catholics would agree the apostolic commission, the Holy Spirit, and apostolic authority have been transmitted from apostolic times, and which has a lineal descent going back to the apostles themselves.
In contrast, English Reformers did not hold that episcopal ordination was necessary, much less episcopal ordination by a bishop in a particular succession of bishops:
The views of the Reformers are well known. They agreed that all necessary doctrine was set forth in Holy Scripture: and the importance of episcopal ordination was not plainly set forth there. Thus Cranmer could say, ‘I do not set more by any title, name or style than I do by the paring of an apple, further than it shall be to the setting forth of God’s word and will, and Bishop Hooper could write, ‘I believe the church is bound to no set of ministers or any ordinary succession of bishops…but only unto the Word of God.’
In the footnotes of his book, Elders in Every City: The Origin and Role of the Ordained Ministry, Roger Beckwith points to the attention of his readers that “the remarkably general language” of Article XXIII in the Thirty-Nine Articles “is widely recognized as avoiding any condemnation of non-episcopal ordination in the reformed churches on the continent. He further notes that it “may also be intended to safeguard lay voice in ordination and appointments.” 
As we have seen, the Caroline divines did not unchurch the continental reformed churches due to their abandonment of episcopal government or reject the validity of their sacraments due to the non-episcopal ordination of their clergy. Traditional High Church ecclesiology before the advent of the Tractarian Movement also recognized these churches and their orders. 
Canon III.8.2 describes the ministry of bishops. It maintains that bishops “are successors to the apostles through the gift of the Holy Spirit who is given to them.” The description of the ministry of bishops in Canon III.8.2 is adapted from a similar description in Canon III.23.1.1 of the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The latter, in turn, is adapted from a description of the ministry of bishops in Canon 375 §1 of the canons of the Roman Catholic Church:
By divine institution, Bishops succeed the Apostles through the Holy Spirit who is given to them. They are constituted Pastors in the Church, to be the teachers of doctrine, the priests of sacred worship and the ministers of governance.
All three descriptions contain a variation of the statement that bishops “are the successors of the apostles through the grace of the Holy Spirit given to them.” However it is worded, this statement is a reference to the Catholic doctrine of tactual succession.
The Episcopate. Article I.2 of the constitution speaks of “the godly historic episcopate” as being “an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice” and consequently “integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.” It takes the position that bishops are essential to the existence of the Church, a view associated with Roman Catholicism, as well as Tractarianism and liberal Catholic ideology. In contrast, the English Reformers held that episcopacy was not essential to the being of the Church:
The way the Anglican tradition addresses the question of order may be seen in the Preface to the Ordinal of the Church of England which famously states ‘It is evident unto all men diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient authors that from the Apostles’ time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church; Bishops, Priests and Deacons’. It is not often appreciated what this careful statement is and is not saying. It is not arguing or insisting that bishops are essential to the existence of the Christian community. It is simply acknowledging that ‘bishop’ is a scriptural word, and that a distinctive episcopal ministry arose in the time of the apostles (hence the reference to ‘ancient authors’). This is the characteristic position of the early generation of Reformers in the Church of England. [my emphasis] It is also to be noted that the statement speaks of ‘these Orders of Ministers’ and not of ‘three Orders of Ministers’. The latter is often assumed, but in fact the Church of England Reformers viewed bishops and priests as being of the same order, which is why bishops are consecrated rather than ordained. 
Archbishop Whitgift articulates the position of the Reformers and classical Anglicanism: “it is plain that any one certain form or kind of external government perpetually to be observed is nowhere in the scripture prescribed to the church.” Consequently the Reformers would “take issue with those who insisted that presbyterianism was the church order to be followed, just as they would take issue with any who insisted that bishops were essential to the life of the Christian community.” 
The Reformers had a very clear understanding that the gospel, rather than a particular form of Church government, creates and establishes the church. To think otherwise is to fall into the same error as the Roman Catholic Church.  What is essential to the life of the Christian community from the viewpoint of the Reformers is apostolic teaching. Bishops are acceptable provided they teach the doctrine of the apostles.
The Thirty-Nine Articles do not indicate that any particular church government is necessary. Article XIX recognize only two marks of the visible Church of Christ—the preaching of the pure Word of God and the ministration of the sacraments with due order and discipline as ordained by Christ. These are the exact same marks of the visible church as are formulated in the Reformed Continental Confessions of Saxony, Augsburg, and Switzerland. 
Article X.5 of the ACNA constitution gives authority to the College of Bishops in “the election of the bishops of the province.” This authority consists of consenting to the election of the bishop-elect of an ACNA judicatory or choosing and consenting to a bishop for the judicatory “from among two or more nominees put forward by” the judicatory “in the manner set forward by canon.” “Set forward” means to “assist the progress of.” “Set forth” means to “expound.” This error was, before the ratification of the canons, drawn to the attention of the Governance Task Force, which did nothing to correct it. The particular choice of wording of this section prompts the question, “Why would the College of Bishops, having chosen the bishop of a judicatory, need to consent to their own choice, unless this provision envisions the possibility of a part of the College such as the presiding officer, a committee, or a board of electors choosing the bishop and the College ratifying its choice?” If the College of Bishops made the actual choice of the bishop, its consent to that choice would be superfluous. Its consent is implicit in the choice of bishop. The wording of this section leaves open the possibility that one faction in the College of Bishops on a consent vote might undo an earlier vote of the College to choose a particular nominee. This would allow a small faction in the College of Bishops to hold that College hostage by refusing to support the decision of the larger body.
Canon III.8.3 lists the criteria for the episcopate. This criteria is adapted from Canon III.23.2 of the Rwandan canons, which in turn are adapted from Canon 378 §1 of the Roman Catholic Church’s canons:
Can. 378 §1 To be a suitable candidate for the episcopate, a person must:
1° be outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and human virtues, and possess those other gifts which equip him to fulfil the office in question;
2° be held in good esteem;
3° be at least 35 years old;
4° be a priest ordained for at least five years;
5° hold a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred Scripture, theology or canon law, from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least be well versed in these disciplines. 
Note that the minimum age requirement of 35 years of age for the ACNA bishop is the same as the minimum age requirement as a Rwandan missionary bishop and a Roman Catholic bishop rather than historic minimum age requirement of an Anglican bishop, which is 30 years of age.  This minimum age requirement was apparently adopted to accommodate the Anglican Mission whose bishops are also Rwandan missionary bishops.
The Rwandan canons were composed after the establishment of the Anglican Mission as a missionary jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. A study of the role that the Anglican Mission played in the drawing up of the Rwandan canons would be useful in tracing the origins of different provisions of the ACNA canons. A number of provisions of the ACNA canons are adapted from those of the Rwandan canons. The provisions of the canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA in adapted form found in the Rwandan canons may have originated with the Anglican Mission. Such a study should also include what part, if any, the Anglican Mission had in the adaptation and incorporation of provisions of the canons of the Roman Catholic Church into the Rwandan canons.
Canon III.8.4.2 requires the body that elected a new bishop of a diocese to submit certification of the election of the bishop elect to the College of Bishops in order that the College of Bishops may confirm the election of the bishop elect. As an alternative to a diocese electing its own bishop and obtaining confirmation of the election from the College of Bishops, it permits a diocese to submit to the College of Bishops a list of two or three candidates from which the College of Bishops may “select one for the diocese.” It commends this practice to all dioceses. The alternative method of episcopal selection is adapted from the provisions of Canon III.23.3 of the Rwandan canons and Canon 9.2 of the proposed canons of the Anglican Missionary Province of North America.
All three methods for the selection of a bishop show the influence of the canons of the Roman Catholic Church. Instead of following the ancient practice of a diocese electing its bishop and the bishops of the province confirming the election, which was preserved in the pre-Reformation medieval English practice of the chapter of the cathedral church of the diocese electing the bishop of the diocese and the archbishop of the province confirming the election, they adopt a variant of the method used in the Church of Rome to select bishops. Under the provisions of Canon 377 of the canons of the Roman Catholic Church “the Supreme Pontiff freely appoints bishops or confirms those lawfully elected.” Various bodies (e.g. episcopal, conference, college of consultors, cathedral chapter) in an ecclesiastical province propose the names of suitable candidates for the episcopate to “the Apostolic See.” The metropolitan of the province may also propose suitable candidates, as may the president of the episcopal conference and individual bishops. In the case of an auxiliary bishop the diocesan bishop submits the names of three suitable candidates to “the Apostolic See.”  The underlying principle is that a higher authority in the church hierarchy selects a new bishop from nominations made by various church bodies and dignitaries at a lower level in the hierarchy. In the ACNA variant the diocese proposes by certificate the names of two or three candidates to the College of Bishops for its consideration. The College of Bishops may reject all three candidates. The ACNA canons do not specify what happens if the College of Bishops does reject the three candidates except that the College of Bishops must notify the diocese within a specified period of time. The College of Bishops is not bound by the constitution or the canons to select a candidate proposed by the diocese. The constitution and canons are open to interpretation as permitting the College of Bishops to propose and elect its own candidate. In the Rwandan variants the primatial vicar and council of missionary bishops of a missionary jurisdiction of the Province of Rwanda submit names of suitable candidates to the House of Bishops of the Province of Rwanda for consideration or in the case of a diocese the diocesan synod selects four suitable candidates and then submits the names of two of these candidates to the House of Bishops for consideration. The House of Bishops, if it is not satisfied with these two candidates may reject both candidates and elect additional nominations from the diocesan synod. Or it may elect one of the two candidates. In case of a tie the candidate who has seniority by date of ordination is declared elected. The election must be confirmed by the Primate of Rwanda. In the Anglican Missionary Province of North America variant the diocesan synod submits a slate of three candidates to the House of Bishops of the province which, if it does not elect one of these candidates as diocesan bishop, may request additional nominations from the diocesan synod until it elects a candidate. The election must be confirmed by the diocesan synod, and its confirmation of the election must in turn be confirmed by the House of Bishops. In all three variants the College of Bishops or House of Bishops replaces the Pope as the higher authority in the church hierarchy. In all three variants the College of Bishops or House of Bishops is essentially a self-perpetuating body with the diocese involved in only the nomination of candidates for the episcopate.
It is worthy of note that Canon 377 § 5 of the canons of the Roman Catholic Church does not foresee the concession of any “rights or privileges of election, appointment, presentation or designation” to the civil authorities.  This is quite clearly directed at the Church of England should the English Church re-enter the Roman fold.
Canon III.8.4.3 establishes as a norm for newly formed dioceses the second mode for selection of a bishop briefly described in Canon III.8.4.2. There was sharp disagreement on how the provisions of the Canon III.8.4 should be interpreted during the seventeen-day period that proposed constitution and canons were made public for comments and suggestion before their adoption. The instructions that accompanied the application for recognition as a judicatory (diocese or other grouping) of the ACNA supported the interpretation of that newly formed judicatories had no choice in respect to the mode of selection of a bishop. They were required to submit a list of two or three candidates to the House of Bishops for its consideration. The debate became so heated that a representative of the Governance Task Force publicly stated that new judicatories did have a choice as to how a bishop was selected for the judicatory. The Governance Task Force did not address the issues of what happened if the House of Bishops did not accept any of the nominees on a judicatory’s list and of whether a judicatory, having adopted a particular mode of selection could change it at a later date. The misleading instructions to the application for recognition were not withdrawn. No amendments were proposed to clarify the language of the constitution and canons.
In commending the practice of the College of Bishops selecting a bishop for a judicatory rather than the judicatory choosing a bishop for itself and establishing this practice as a norm for newly-formed judicatories the ACNA canons broke with a long tradition not only in the North American Anglican Church but also in the Church of England and the Christian Church. In the early Church the clergy and laity of a diocese elected the bishop of the diocese.  In consecrating the bishop elect, the bishops of the province confirmed his election. Even after the election of a new bishop had become the privilege of the cathedral chapter in the English Church, the leading members of the nobility and landed gentry in the diocese were consulted in the choice of a new bishop and the new bishop was presented to the general populace for its acclamation. By the reign of Henry VIII it had become the practice of the English monarch to nominate a candidate for a vacant see and to summon the cathedral chapter to elect the king’s nominee. Upon election the king appointed the new bishop to his post. By this time bishops were not only ministers of the Church, they were also ministers of the Crown. Even Henry VIII, the quintessential Tudor despot, did not dispense with the formality of an election.
Giving the College of Bishops authority not just to confirm a bishop’s election but also to elect a bishop weakens the autonomy of the judicatory in the ACNA at a time when the autonomy of the diocese is under attack in the Episcopal Church. See the Anglican Church Institute’s Statement on South Carolina. As we shall see, the ACNA canons contain other provisions that weaken the judicatory’s autonomy.
Canon III.8.4.4 requires a two-third vote of the members of the College of Bishops present and voting “for consent or choice and consent” and establishes the time frame within which “consent” must be given. It requires a quorum of a majority of the active members of the College of Bishops for the election of bishops at a meeting of the College.
Canon III.8.6 authorizes the creation of one or more offices of bishop for special missions. Before creating such an office the College of Bishops must consult with the Executive Committee. While the provisions of Canon III.8.6 do not state so, this is apparently to ensure there are funds available to pay a stipend to the bishop for special missions and to meet his other expenses incidental to his office and work. Bishops for special missions are elected by the College of Bishops and they serve directly under that body. Canon III.8.6 states, “The College of Bishops may certify two or three candidates, from whom one may be elected by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the College.” The use of permissive language such as “may” and the use of the term “certify” instead of “nominate” open these provisions of Canon III.8.6 to interpretation as being optional and giving the College of Bishops leeway to choose a bishop of special missions in a different manner from the one suggested in Canon III.8.6. To certify a candidate, to declare his candidacy by certificate, or written document, is not the same as to nominate. A committee of the College might do the actually nominating or even the Archbishop as the presiding officer of the College. Stating that the College “may” elect one of these candidates is not the same as saying it must. Under the provisions of Canon III.8.6 it is not juridically bound to elect one of the certified candidates. It can elect a compromise candidate, nominated after two or three rounds of voting. Since the language is permissive, the Archbishop could propose a candidate and the College confirm the candidate by acclamation.
Canon III.8.7 requires ACNA dioceses to first have the consent of the College of Bishops before proceeding to select a suffragan or coadjutor bishop under the provisions of Canon III.8.4. It is noteworthy that Canon III.8.7 does not guarantee a diocese a minimum number of suffragan bishops or place a cap on the number of suffragan bishops that a diocese may have. It leaves this determination solely to the judgment of the College of Bishops with no right of appeal to the Provincial Council.
Under the provisions of Canon IV.9.2 in the case of the presentment of a bishop, including the archbishop, three of the five senior members of the college of bishops by date of consecration may “by affirmative vote” temporarily inhibit the bishop. Those inhibiting the bishop may not include “any bishop involved in the presentment or trial.” The provisions of Canon IV.9.2 omit many essentials details such as exactly when a bishop may be inhibited and how and under what circumstances the inhibition may be modified or revoked. Important procedural safeguards are noticeably missing.
Article X.1 identifies the College of Bishops’ primary task as propagating and defending “the faith and order of the church” and being “the visible sign and expression of the unity of the church.” It propounds the view that bishops, rather than the apostolic teaching they are charged to uphold, are the foci of unity in the church.
In his discussion paper Better Bishops Michael Burkill draws attention to the way that the nineteenth century refashioned Anglican identity so as to emphasize secondary features of church life such as episcopacy rather than staying with the doctrinal position that has been the basis of Anglican identity up to that time. Under the influence of the Tractarian Movement the practice of episcopal ministry became prominent in defining what it is to be Anglican. It would also displace the gospel and biblical doctrine as the essential ingredient for the unity of the church. This focus upon secondary features of church life as securing Anglican unity as well as determining Anglican identity has made it extremely difficult to reform these features. 
Burkill identifies another major difficulty associated with the view that bishops are the sign and focus of church unity:
However the sad reality is that episcopacy cannot bear this weight in and of itself. Bishops will only maintain and strengthen the unity of the Christian community insofar as they are faithful teachers of the gospel and Scripture. This is why the Ordinal calls upon new bishops ‘to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word’. 
The Archbishop. Article IX establishes the office of archbishop and gives the archbishop the title and designation of the “Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America. Under its provisions the Archbishop is elected by the College of Bishops. Article IX limits the person elected as Archbishop to two five-year terms of office. An Archbishop’s term of office concludes at the meeting of the College of Bishops that elects the next Archbishop. Article IX.3 states:
“The Archbishop convenes the meetings of the Provincial Assembly, Provincial Council and College of Bishops, represents the Province in the Councils of the Church and carries out such other duties and responsibilities as may be provided by canon.”
The Governance Task Force added the clause “…and carries out such other duties and responsibilities as may be provided by canon” to this section of Article IX after representatives of CANA drew to their attention that they were arrogating to the archbishop in the canons privileges, powers, authority and rights that the constitution did not give him.
Article X.2 limits the College of Bishops to bishops in active episcopal ministry and Article X.3 most importantly requires that the College of Bishops elect the Archbishop from among its members. Without this provision a presbyter or even a deacon or layman could have been elected archbishop since Article IX did not specify that the Archbishop should be in holy orders, much less a bishop. Article X.4 makes provision for special meetings of the College of Bishops “at the call of the Archbishop or one quarter of the episcopal members of the Provincial Council.” It does not give authority to the other members of the College of Bishops to call a special meeting.
The Archbishop as the chairman of the Provincial Council, the de jure governing body of the ACNA, is responsible for preparing the agenda for Provincial Council meetings with the assistance of the Executive Committee and other office bearers” (Article VII.9).
According to the provisions of the foregoing articles the role of the Archbishop is essentially that of a president bishop or presiding bishop. But this is not the role that the Governance Task Force and the Provincial Council have given the Archbishop in the canons.
Canon I.1.3 gives the archbishop authority to call special meetings of the Provincial Council.
Canon 1.1.4 makes him the chairman of the Executive Committee, which is the board of directors of the Anglican Church in North America, Inc., controls the purse strings of the ACNA, determines the budget and program of the ACNA, refers matters to the Provincial Council and requires reports from the Council respecting matters it referred to the Council, and receives the combined annual reports from the diocesan bishops. The College of Bishops must consult the Executive Committee before it creates the office of a special bishop for missions and the Archbishop must consult the Executive Committee before modifying or terminating the temporary inhibition of a deacon or presbyter. The Executive Committee is the de facto governing body of the ACNA and the real focal point of power in the ACNA.
The Executive Committee’s control of the affairs of the ACNA is justified by the requirement of the law under which the ACNA was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. This law requires that a board of directors must control a non-profit corporation. If the Provincial Assembly had been given a greater role in the governance of the ACNA as the general synod of the province, then a Provincial Executive Council elected by the Provincial Assembly and responsible to the Assembly could have met that requirement. This would have placed the administration and management of the affairs the ACNA into the hands of a larger group of people rather than a 13-member committee.
This points to a similarity between the organization of the ACNA and the Anglican Mission. Both have two power structures—once corporate and the other ecclesiastical. In the case of the ACNA the corporate structure actually runs the ACNA.
Canon I.1.5 makes the Archbishop the presiding officer of the Church as well as the presiding officer of the Provincial Council.
Canon 1.2.5 gives him authority to determine the rules under which the inaugural meeting of the Provincial Assembly will conduct its business.
Canon I.2.6 makes the Archbishop presiding officer of the Provincial Assembly and gives him authority to designate other persons to preside in his place.
Canon I.5.6 make provision for the Archbishop to appoint a vicar general for a diocese-in-formation “with the majority vote of the Council.”
Canon I.6.8 require the Executive Committee “to cause to be prepared a report to the Archbishop on the status and growth of the province.” Although Canon I.1.1 describe the Provincial Council as the governing body of the Church, Canon 1.6.8 makes no provision for the Council to receive a copy of this report. This is left entirely to the discretion of the Archbishop.
Canon I.7.3 authorizes the Archbishop to invite representatives of ACNA Mission Partners to ACNA functions and gatherings and to give them a seat and a voice in these functions and gatherings. Canon I.8 authorizes him to invite any person or group to church functions and to give them seat and a voice in such functions.
Canon III.1.2 maintains that the bishop of each diocese “owes canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest” to the archbishop of the ACNA. This provision is adapted from Canon C1.3 of the Church of England canons:
According to the ancient law and usage of this Church and Realm of England, the priests and deacons who have received authority to minister in any diocese owe canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest to the bishop of the same, and the bishop of each diocese owes due allegiance to the archbishop of the province as his metropolitan. [my emphasis] 
The provisions of Canon C 17 of the canons of the Church of England the Archbishops of Canterbury and York recognize as metropolitans of their respective provinces and therefore chief bishop over the bishops of their respective provinces:
The archbishop has throughout his province at all times metropolitical jurisdiction, as superintendent of all ecclesiastical matters therein, to correct and supply the defects of other bishops, and, during the time of his metropolitical visitation, jurisdiction as Ordinary, except in places and over persons exempt by law or custom. 
On the other hand, Article IX of the ACNA constitution does not recognize the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America as having superintendency over all ecclesiastical matters in the ACNA and metropolitical jurisdiction throughout the ACNA. While authorizing the Provincial Council to prescribe any additional duties and responsibilities of the Archbishop by canon, it does not authorize the Provincial Council to give the Archbishop by canon privileges, powers, authority and rights in addition those that the constitution gives him. In requiring the canonical obedience of the bishops of the province to the Archbishop Canon III.1.2 goes beyond prescribing an additional duty or responsibility of the Archbishop. It gives him authority over the other bishops of the province that the constitution does not give. It takes the position that this authority is his in virtue of his office. This would be the case if he were a metropolitan. However, the ACNA constitution makes him an archbishop and a primate but not a metropolitan. The constitutions and canons of Anglican provinces, if the archbishop or other bishop is to be the metropolitan of the province and to have authority over the other bishops of the province, typically state the archbishop or other bishop is, in addition to being the primate of the province, the metropolitan of the province with the duties and rights of a metropolitan of a province.
As we shall see, the provisions of Canon III.1.2 is not the only one in the ACNA canons that goes beyond prescribing an additional duty or responsibility of the Archbishop. The ACNA canons generally seek to give the Archbishop a larger role than the one delineated in the constitution, sometimes giving him powers, prerogatives, privileges, and rights that exceed those normally associated with a metropolitan of an Anglican province.
The Archbishop, like the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, may, upon the written demand of a bishop, appoint a board of inquiry to investigate rumors, reports, or allegations affecting the bishop’s character (Canon IV.4.2-5). This practice is not seen in the constitutions or canons of other Anglican provinces, except the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, which are based in part upon the canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA.
The Archbishop appoints the prosecutor and the legal advisor to the court for the trial of a bishop (Canon IV.5.2). He appoints the members of the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction, the prosecutor, and the legal advisor to the court (Canon IV.5.3 ). This court tries clergy canonically attached to other Anglican provinces or dioceses and overseen by bishops of the ACNA in such cases where these provinces and dioceses have waived their jurisdiction in favor of the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction. It may also try clergy who are amenable to presentment under the provisions of the canons and whose own diocese does not have a trial court. The Archbishop is not required to consult with anyone in making these appointments, not even the chancellor of the province. There is no confirmation process involving the Provincial Council or the Provincial Assembly or even the Executive Committee or the College of Bishops.
Under the provisions of Canon IV.5.4, which establish the Provincial Tribunal and prescribe its jurisdiction, the Provincial Council can delegate the nomination of suitable candidates for members of the court to its presiding officer, the archbishop, and appoint whomever he nominates. Canon IV.5.4 does not bar the Archbishop as a bishop of the province from serving as a member of the Provincial Tribunal or as the president of the court.
The provisions of Canon IV.8.1 give the Archbishop authority to pronounce sentence or to appoint a bishop to pronounce sentence in cases where there is no bishop with jurisdiction over the deacon or presbyter. In the Episcopal Church the practice has been that if the bishop of a diocese is disqualified from pronouncing sentence upon a deacon or presbyter, or there is no bishop of that jurisdiction, the sentence is pronounced by another bishop at the request of its standing committee. This practice respects the autonomy of the diocese. The provisions of Canon IV.8.1, on the other hand, weaken that autonomy.
Canon IV.8.2 recognize the College of Bishops, speaking through the archbishop or his designate, as having sole responsibility and authority to pronounce sentence on a bishop. Note that the Archbishop acts as the spokesman or voice of the College of Bishops. He does not actually impose the sentence.
Under the provisions of Canon IV.8.4 the bishop of the judicatory in which a deacon or presbyter was convicted may, “with the advice and consent of the Archbishop,” in consultation with the Executive Committee, shorten or terminate the sentence of suspension of the deacon or presbyter. This represents a serious infringement upon the authority and rights of the diocesan bishop and the autonomy of the diocese. It requires a bishop to consult the archbishop and obtain the archbishop’s permission before exercising his power to modify or remit a sentence that he imposed. It is an example of how the canons go beyond assigning a particular duty or responsibility to the archbishop. It implies that the Archbishop has, in matters of discipline, authority over the bishops of the ACNA even though the constitution he is not the metropolitan of the province. In the Episcopal Church the practice has been that the bishop of a diocese may, for sufficient reasons and with the advise and consent of two-thirds of all the members of the diocesan standing committee, remit and terminate a sentence of suspension pronounced in his jurisdiction upon a deacon or presbyter. This practice respects the autonomy of the diocese while the provisions of Canon IV.8.4.1 weaken it.
The provisions of Canon IV.8.4.2 require the College of Bishops to obtain the permission of the Archbishop before shortening or terminating the sentence of suspension of a bishop. This canon is modeled upon a Rwandan canon. In the Anglican Church of Rwanda, however, the Primate is also the metropolitan of the province. As in the case of Canon IV.8.4.1, Canon IV.8.4.2 represents an example of how the canons go beyond assigning a particular duty or responsibility to the Archbishop. It subordinates the College of Bishops to its presiding officer and weakens the authority of that body.
Canon IV.9.1 gives the Archbishop authority to modify or terminate a temporary inhibition imposed by a bishop of a diocese upon a deacon or presbyter of the diocese. This represents a serious infringement upon the authority and rights of the diocesan bishop and the autonomy of the diocese. It permits the Archbishop who is not the metropolitan of the province or its highest judicial authority, to meddle in the disciplinary proceedings of a diocese and to overrule the decisions of its bishop.
While the constitution envisions a fairly modest role for the archbishop, the Governance Task Force, the Provincial Council, and the Executive Committee has expanded that role arguably beyond the terms of the constitution. The recent appointment of Bishop Don Harvey as dean of the province shows a willingness on their part to go even further and to ignore the provisions of the canons as well as the constitution. In appointing Bishop Harvey as provincial dean Archbishop Robert Duncan stretched his authority well beyond the authority that the constitution and canons gives him. In agreeing to the appointment the Provincial Council and the Executive Committee took upon themselves authority that they had not been given by the constitution or the canons.
The office of dean of the province is important enough to warrant its inclusion not just in the canons but also in the constitution. The constitution should delineate the dean’s qualifications, his term of office, his duties and rights, and the manner by which he is elected or appointed. The canons should provide further details in respect to the performance of his duties and the exercise of his rights and the manner of his election and appointment.
In The Episcopal Church we see a Presiding Bishop who is expanding the role of that church official beyond its constitutional and canonical limits. In the Anglican Church in North America we see an Archbishop who is doing the same thing. Both are ignoring the provisions of their respective constitutions and canons or reinterpreting them to suit themselves. Both believe that they are doing the right thing. What we are seeing in both TEC and the ACNA is the breakdown of constitutional church government in which the church constitution and canons clearly define the roles of church leaders and church leaders keep within these constitutionally and canonically defined roles. There is very little respect for constitutionalism and the rule of law on the part of present day church leaders. See my accompanying article, “Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law in the ACNA.”
It is not surprising that the ACNA consequently displays a number of authoritarian characteristics. The commended method of selecting bishops can be used to exclude potential challengers to the status quo. The staggered terms of the Provincial Council members also reduce the likelihood of anyone challenging the status quo to make any headway in that body. The Provincial Assembly appears to be largely designed to mobilize the members of the ACNA around the goals of its top leaders. There is a high degree of concentration and centralization of power at the “federal” level of the ACNA. As we shall see, the same kind of concentration and centralization of power is also present in at least one of the sub-provincial jurisdictions of the ACNA. The top ACNA leaders, as has already been noted, are not particularly respectful of constitutionalism and the rule of law. They operate quite independently of the rules embodied in the constitution and canons, the supervision of an elected general synod, or the concerns of the para-church organizations they purportedly serve. Major decisions are made behind closed doors with little if any public discussion before hand. They exercise considerable power and have at best minimal oversight and accountability. The ACNA top leadership is to a certain degree self-perpetuating. The constitution and canons contain few checks and balances and safeguards.
The Sacraments. Canon II.4.1.2 establishes as a norm the confirmation of all baptized children and adults. It does not require any kind of preparation for confirmation such as confirmation classes. It does not require the candidates to “have an appropriate understanding of the Christian life and to understand and accept the life of Christ in their lifestyle;” to have “a firm determination to live the Christian life to the best of their ability;” and to have “an appreciation of the importance of worship and prayer in the life of the Church” and to “understand the importance of personal and communal worship.”  It does not even require the candidate to evidence repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ. It also does not set a minimum age requirement for confirmation. Such requirements would be indicative of catechetical view of confirmation in which the candidate upon attaining the age of discretion and after receiving instruction in the Christian faith and life makes a profession of his faith in Jesus Christ before the church and receives the prayers of the church. While Canon II.4.1.2 does not describe confirmation as a sacrament, a sacramental view of confirmation is implicit in its establishment of confirmation as normative for all baptized children and adults as if confirmation “is the topping up of baptism as the entry into Christian life.” .
Canon II.4.3.4 permits the admission of baptized young children to the Holy Communion. In failing to require a child to evidence the capacity to rightly, worthily, and with faith to receive the sacrament before being admitted to the Holy Communion, it breaks with the sacramental and eucharistic doctrine of Articles XXV, XXVIII, and XXIX. It implies that in a child who does not receive the sacrament in a worthy manner, the sacrament “has a wholesome affect or operation;”  that to a child who does not rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the sacrament the Bread is “a partaking of the Body of Christ and likewise the Wine is “a partaking of the Blood of Christ;” that the child, “void of a lively faith,” is a partaker of Christ . It represents a significant departure from the doctrine of the English Reformers and classical Anglicanism. It teaches not only that baptism automatically conveys grace but also that justification comes about in baptism and not as St. Paul teaches by faith, and that the new birth took place in the child without any sign of change of life whatever.  It further teaches that the baptism enables a child to benefit from the sacrament even though he is unrepentant and unbelieving. The condition of the child does not take away the effect of the sacrament or diminish the grace of God’s gift. Like the fire berry that every morning a bird brought the retired star Ramandu from the valleys in the Sun in C. S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it imparts something to the child even though we see no evidence of what it imparts in the child. Each fire-berry took away a little of Ramandu’s age, and when he became as young as a child that was born yesterday, he would take his rising again and once more tread the great dance in the heavens.  This change, however, was discernable. Any change the sacrament is supposed to affect in the child is not.
Canon II.4.3.4 is also open to interpretation as teaching by implication the Lutheran doctrine that an infant is capable of faith. Martin Luther held that God imputes faith to the infant in baptism even though the infant is not aware of it.
The English Reformers and classical Anglicanism hold that the sacraments are designed to confirm our faith in Christ, to make it livelier and stronger (Article XXV), a view that it shares with a number of the continental reformed churches. This view presupposes faith in the godparents in the case of infant baptism or faith in the candidate in the case of adult baptism. It requires the existence of faith in the communicant in the case of Holy Communion. Faith is a necessary condition that must be present in the communicant in order that the communicant may benefit from reception of the sacrament. Without faith a communicant is not an appropriate recipient of the sacrament. The sacrament is not effectual. To be effective only a mustard seed grain of faith is necessary. Faith is the “good soil” upon which the seed of the word made visible in the sacrament falls. The seed springs up and bares fruit a hundredfold. It is not, as some critics of this view claim, a work that must be performed in order for the sacrament to operate.
Canon II.4.3.5 mentions the qualifications that the Supper of the Lord should be received rightly, worthily, and with faith as provided in Article XXVIII only in connection with the admission of members of other churches to the Holy Communion. The doctrine implicit in Canon II.4.3.4 contradicts Article XXVIII. The application of Article XXVIII to baptized adults but not to baptized young children raises questions as to how those who prepared the canons of Title II understand sin, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and related concepts. It points to one of the problem areas of the ACNA, that is, its tendency to hold doctrines that are contradictory to each other. I will address this problem area in the next article in this series.
Canon II.7.1 describes the state of Holy Matrimony as a sacrament, a view of matrimony held by Anglo-Catholics, independent Catholics, and Roman Catholics. The English Reformers and classical Anglicanism regard matrimony as a state of life allowed in the Scripture. It does not have the nature of a sacrament as it does not have any visible sign or ceremony ordained by God (Article XXV). In the Form of Solemnization of Matrimony in The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 matrimony is referred to as “an honourable estate” and “a holy estate” but not as a sacrament.  Nowhere in Canons B30-B36, the canons of the Church of England relating to matrimony, do we find any reference to matrimony as a sacrament. 
Conclusion. A number of influences are discernable in the Anglican Church in North America:
1. Catholic doctrine and practice have greatly influenced thinking in the ACNA. This is not only seen in the constitution and canons of the ACNA but also in varying degrees in the constitutions and canons of the para-church organizations forming the ACNA. It is also manifest in the emerging ethos of the ACNA. This influence is most evident in former Episcopalians and Continuers but is also evident in evangelicals and charismatics influenced by the Convergence/Ancient-Future Movement. It shapes their understanding of Anglican ecclesiology, identity, and unity. Those who appear to be least affected studied in conservative Reformed seminaries, came from conservative Reformed backgrounds, retained the Protestant and evangelical principles of the founders of the Reformed Episcopal Church, or otherwise imbibed Reformed theology to the point that they are inoculated against this influence.
2. A second influence that has received a lot of attention in the media is that of the African Church. A number of the para-church organizations forming the ACNA were originally an extraterritorial jurisdiction of an African province. They continue to maintain ties with the province. At least one of them has adopted what are described as “African” methods and practices. The extent to which the methods and practices are actually African or are American but are presented as African is worthy of further study. My own observation is that a number of so-called “African” methods and practices are American interpretations and even caricatures of African methods and practices. In the process of being transplanted from one culture to another, they lost whatever checks and balances and safeguards associated with them while at the same time acquiring a more authoritarian cast, which can be attributed to those introducing the practices into the North American Church rather than to the African Church. A number of the supposedly “African” methods and practices actually come from the Roman Catholic Church and are not African at all. The Africans may have borrowed these methods and practices from the Roman Catholic Church and adapted them to African circumstances but they are clearly Roman Catholic in the doctrines, principles, and norms they embody.
3. There is an undercurrent of what can be described as reactionary thinking that has a strong pull on the ACNA. It is authoritarian and elitist. It shows little respect for constitutionalism and the rule of law, and is impatient with synods and deliberative decision-making processes. It is attracted to authoritarian institutions or to institutions that can be transformed into authoritarian institutions. It tends to justify its authoritarian leanings in a number of ways. These include that a more authoritarian approach produces results. In response to a crisis, regression, or backward movement, is appropriate. Episcopacy has historically been authoritarian. A more authoritarian regimen gives church leaders greater flexibility and more freedom of action to respond to circumstances. It is distrustful of the laity and favors minimal lay involvement in the government of the church and the management of its affairs. It shows a tendency to scapegoat the laity for the problems of The Episcopal Church and a willingness to absolve the clergy and in particular bishops of complicity in The Episcopal Church’s problems, which amounts to denial of the substantial role they played in these problems.
4. A fourth influence affecting thinking in the ACNA is the Convergence/Ancient-Future movement. Those influenced by this movement are non-critical in their approach to practices of the first five centuries of Christianity and later periods in Church history and the appropriateness of these practices to Anglicanism.
5. The Roman Catholic Church has exercised a strong influence upon the ACNA—through the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, through its influence upon the organizational structures and ecclesiology of a number of other Anglican provinces, through the Anglo-Catholic members of the Governance Task Force and through self-identified “evangelical” members of the GTS influenced by Catholic ecclesiology and theology. Some of the latter may be under the misapprehension that this ecclesiology and theology is “Anglican.”
The canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda are heavily indebted to the canons of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the canons of the former Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA. Its doctrine of apostolic succession, holy orders, and sacraments has been strongly influenced by that of the Roman Catholic Church, as has its organizational structures and ecclesiology. The Governance Task Force altered the wording of a number of Rwandan canons and incorporated them into the ACNA canons. These changes, however, did not alter the theology of the canons in question.
6. A sixth influence is recent theories that apply entrepreneurial business practices and corporate organizational structures to church leadership and management.
The ecclesiology of the Anglican Church in North America is essentially Catholic. Implicit in its canons is the Catholic belief that apostolic succession is the main mark of the true church, that the continuity of the church is based upon a succession of bishops, not a succession of doctrine. According to the ACNA constitution the unity of church is episcopal not theological. The ACNA canons recognize not only the traditional division of the church into clergy and laity. They also adopt the position of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer that the church is divided into four orders. Bishops, presbyters, and deacons comprise the first three orders and the laity the fourth order. Their basic view of the church is hierarchical and oligarchic with a strong leaning toward monarchical. The latter is evident in the power and authority that the canons give the Archbishop. The role that they create for the Archbishop is not the role that the constitution envisions for him. As we have seen, the Executive Committee, as well as the Governance Task Force and the Provincial Council, display a tendency to impute more power and authority to the Archbishop than is his by the provisions of the constitution. In a number of respects the canons and these three bodies treat the archbishop as if he is a metropolitan bishop. In some respects the canons give power and authority to the Archbishop that is patriarchal or even papal rather than metropolitical. At the same time the Governance Task Force, the Provincial Council, and the Executive Committee evidence reluctance to formally give the Archbishop in the constitution the title of metropolitan as well as the duties and rights of a metropolitan. This may be partially attributable to the fact that in at least one sub-provincial jurisdictions of the ACNA (i.e. the Anglican Mission) the bishops are members of the house of bishops of an African province and as such are responsible to the primate of that province who is the metropolitan of his province. The senior bishop of this sub-provincial jurisdiction is the vicar of this primate and in that capacity has sweeping powers that approximate and even exceed those of a metropolitan.
While the ACNA canons recognize the laity as having a primary role in the mission of the church, sharing responsibility for the ministry of the church with the bishops and other clergy, they do not acknowledge them to have a similar role in the governance of the church or the administration of church discipline.
The ACNA canons are Catholic in their view of the sacraments. The canons intimate that the operation of the sacraments is automatic, that is, ex opere operato. In their admission of young baptized children to the Holy Communion they adopt a realist view of the Holy Communion. They reject the historic Anglican doctrine that a response of faith is essential to receiving the benefits of the sacrament. In their lack of any other requirements for confirmation beside baptism and their identification of matrimony as a sacrament, they take the position that there are more sacraments than baptism and Holy Communion.
For those who have not read the previous articles in this series, the following are links to these articles.
"The Anglican Mission and the Diocese of the Gulf South: A Contrast in Ecclesiology"
"Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law in the ACNA"
"Authority, Mission, and the Anglican Church in North America - Part V Ecclesiastical Discipline"
"Authority, Mission, and the Anglican Church in North America - Part IV: The Structure and Form of Governance of the ACNA"
"Authority, Mission, and the Anglican Church in North America - Part III: Authoritarian Forms of Governance in Para-Church Organizations"
"Authority, Mission, and the Anglican Church in North America - Part II"
"Authority, Mission, and the Anglican Church in North America - Part I"
 Michael Green, Freed to Serve, (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1983), 42.
 Ibid., 42-43.
 Ibid., 43.
 Ibid., 43.
 David Holloway, “The Reform of the Episcopate and Alternative Episcopal Oversight,” a Reform discussion paper on the Internet at:
 Peter Benedict Knockles, The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship 1760-1857, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994),156-157.
 Green, Freed to Serve, 42.
 Roger Beckwith, Elders in Every City: The Origin and Role of the Ordained Ministry, (Waynesboro, Georgia: Paternoster Press, 2003), 78.
 Knockles, The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship 1760-1857, 156.
 “Book II: The People of God,” “Part II: The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church,” “Section II: Particular Churches and Their Groupings,” “Title I: The Particular Churches and the Authority Constituted within Them (Cann. 368-430),” “Chapter II: Bishops,” “Article 1, Bishops in General,” Code of Canon Law, Can. 375 § 1, the canons of the Roman Catholic Church on the Internet at: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM
 Michael Burkill, “Better Bishops,” a Reform discussion paper on the Internet at: http://www.reform.org.uk/pages/bb/betterbishops.php Ibid.
 Green, Free to Serve, 42.
 Code of Canon Law, Can. 378 § 1.
 “Title I: Organization and Administration of the Church,” “Canon 6 – of Missionary Districts,” Canons of the Province of Rwqanda, Canon I.6.3.1(3), the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda on the Internet at: http://www.theamia.org/am_cms_media/canonsoftheprovinceofrwanda.pdf Code of Canon Law, Can. 377 §1-4.
 Ibid., Can. 377 § 5.
 Beckwith, Elders in Every City: The Origin and Role of the Ordained Ministry, 59.
 Burkill, “Better Bishops.”
 “Section C - Ministers, their ordination, functions and charge,” The Canons of the Church of England, 79, the canons of the Church of England on the Internet at: http://www.cofe.anglican.org/about/churchlawlegis/canons/complete.pdf
 Canons of the Province of Rwqanda, Canon II.18.4.
 Michael Green, Baptism, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1987),102.
 “Articles Agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops of Both Provinces and the Whole Clergy in the Convocation Holden at London in the Year 1562 for the Avoiding of Diversities of Opinions, and for Establishing Consent touching True Religion,” The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church according to the Use of the Church of England together with the Psalter or Psalms of David Pointed as They Are to Be Sung or Said in Churches and the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops Priests, and Deacons, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987),704.
 Ibid., 705-706
 Ibid., 706.
 Green, Baptism, 54.
 C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of Dawn Treader, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1980), 204-209.
 “The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony,” 362-373.
 “Section B – Divine Service and the administration of the sacraments,” The Canons of the Church of England,51-57.
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 11:54 AM