Monday, August 15, 2011

Archbishop Robert Duncan on the New ACNA Ordinal

By Robin G. Jordan

Kevin Kallsen recently posted on Anglican TV the video of a short interview with Archbishop Robert Duncan, titled “Discussing the Ordinal with Archbishop Duncan.” I viewed the interview several times and jotted down some notes. They form the basis of this article.

Kallsen began the interview by asking Archbishop Duncan a question about the connection between the Thirty-Nine Articles and the new ACNA Ordinal. What was Kallsen’s intention in asking the question was not clear because it was not well phrased. In any event Duncan ignored the question.

In the interview Duncan explained that he had given instructions to the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force “to produce a Prayer Book that so commends itself that people everywhere want to use it….” He had made similar statement in his address to the Provincial Council at its last meeting. The new Ordinal was the initial step in the production of a new Prayer Book. The Ordinal had been chosen first because it was the most defective part of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. According to Duncan, the 1979 Ordinal’s chief flaw was that it was “discontinuous with previous Prayer Book Ordinals.” Its greatest defect was that it “did not guard the faith.” It was weak in its examination of candidates for ordination. For this reason the texts of the new Ordinal primarily were taken from the 1928 Ordinal. Duncan made a point of stressing that the 1928 Prayer Book, unlike the 1962 Canadian Prayer Book, was free from references to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family.

After having repeatedly viewing the interview, I was prompted to wonder whether Duncan himself had actually examined the new Ordinal. He sounded as if he was repeating whatever the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force might have briefed him on the new Ordinal or he might have picked up from reading from the article that the ACNA website posted announcing the College of Bishop’s approval of the new Ordinal. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The alternative is that he was deliberately misrepresenting the new Ordinal.

Article 36 states that 1552 Ordinal, adopted in the reign of Edward VI contains all things necessary for the consecration of Archbishops and bishops and the ordering of priests and deacons. The 1552 Ordinal contains nothing that of itself is superstitious and ungodly. Consequently anyone who is consecrated or ordained according its rites is rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordained.

In the sixteenth century the giving of a paten and chalice with prepared bread and wine and the blessing and anointing of the ordinand’s hands was regarded as the form for the ordination of a priest. In 1552 the Prayer Book Ordinal in its fully reformed form did away with these practices and restored the New Testament practices of imposition of hands with prayer. The Prayer Book Ordinal added the public examination of the candidates to the ordination services for deacons and priests and substituted the giving of a New Testament to the new deacon for the giving of the Book of Gospels and the giving of the Bible to the new priest for the giving of the paten and chalice with the prepared bread and wine. It abolished the vesting of the new deacon with a stole and a dalmatic. It also abolished the vesting of the new priest with a stole and a chasuble. The Prayer Book Ordinal also did away with the giving a pastoral staff and ring to the new bishop and the anointing of the new bishop’s forehead. The new Ordinal, approved by the College of Bishops, restores all these practices. In the view of Article 36 such practices are unnecessary, superstitious, and ungodly.

The Thirty-Nine Articles reject the doctrines and practices with which the giving of the paten and chalice with the prepared bread and wine to new priest, the blessing and anointing of the new priest’s hands, and his vesting with a stole and chasuble are closely linked. They include the doctrines of transubstantiation, of the sacrifice of the Mass, and of the sacerdotal character of the priesthood and the practices of elevating the eucharistic elements, reserving them, carrying them in procession, and exposing them in a monstrance or similar vessel for adoration. The new Ordinal in restoring the practices of giving a chalice to the new priest, blessing and anointing the new priest’s hands, and vesting him in a stole and chasuble affirms these doctrines and countenances such practices. It not only repudiates Article 36 but also Article 6, 11, 12, 20, 25, 28, 31, and 34.

The claim that the Ordinal is the most defective part of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer raises two troubling questions: Why then has the ACNA and its ministry partner, the AMiA, continued to use this Ordinal at the ordination of their clergy, including the consecration of their bishops? Are the ACNA and the AMiA planning to reordain their clergy as the 1979 Ordinal was used at the ordination of the greater part of their clergy and at the consecration of almost all of their bishops? Obviously the ACNA and the AMiA has not had any scruples about using the 1979 Ordinal until now. They have no plans to reordain their clergy. These facts belie such a claim.

If the chief flaw of the 1979 Ordinal is its discontinuity with the Prayer Book Ordinal, as Archbishop Duncan claims, the new ACNA Ordinal is likewise flawed. It does not follow the pattern of the Prayer Book Ordinal either. It may use the texts of the 1928 Ordinal in places but it is modeled upon the 1979 Ordinal. It alters the language of the historic Preface to the Prayer Book Ordinal. It adds the singing or recitation of the Veni, Creator Spiritus and an ordination prayer before the laying-on-of-hands and changes the formula at the imposition of hands in the ordination service for deacons. It drops from the ordination service for priests the alternate formula at the imposition of hands. This formula has been a part of the American Ordinal since 1790. It has made other changes. None of the practices that it has restored are found in the Prayer Book Ordinal. If continuity with the historic Ordinals such as 1661 and 1790 were a major concern for the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force and the College of Bishops, it is not reflected in the new Ordinal.

If the 1979 Ordinal’s greatest defect was its failure to guard the faith, the new Ordinal also fails in this regard. In adopting wording from the 1928 examination of candidates for the diaconate in the examination of candidates for the presbyterate and the episcopate as well as the examination of candidates for the diaconate, it does not require blanket belief in the Old Testament and the New Testament. We know where that led in the Episcopal Church.

In the case of the Episcopal Church it was not the Ordinal that failed to guard the faith but the bishops and clergy. The 1979 Ordinal may not have reminded them of this responsibility at their ordination but if they had gone to seminary or otherwise received ministerial training, they were fully aware of their responsibility. With their approval of the new Ordinal the bishops of the ACNA have not shown that they are any better at guarding the faith than the Episcopal bishops and clergy. They have restored to the Ordinal ceremonies that the English Reformers discarded as unnecessary, superstitious, and ungodly, and which are tied doctrines and practices that they rejected as unscriptural.

The only references to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family in the 1962 Canadian Ordinal are found in the Litany, which is not actually a part of the Ordinal. The texts from 1962 Canadian Ordinal could have been used in the new Ordinal as much as the texts from the 1928 Ordinal.

What is evident from the General Introduction and Notes to the new Ordinal and Archbishop Duncan’s interview is that the explanation that they offer for the changes in the new Ordinal are simply talking points that have been developed to justify these changes, which are extensive and in a number of cases represent a radical departure from the Prayer Book Ordinal. One is left with the distinct impression that the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force and the College of Bishops are trying to gull the ordinary members of the ACNA. They cannot fool those who have studied the history and development of the Ordinal unless they want to be duped.

The new Ordinal certainly does not commend itself to Anglicans who uphold the historic Anglican formularies and stand in continuity with the English Reformers and the Protestant Reformed Church of England. When tested and measured by the standard of the Prayer Book Ordinal, it is a seriously flawed Ordinal. It should not have been presented to the College of Bishops, much less approved by that body, and it should be withdrawn immediately. However, I am not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

The College of Bishops has so far not admitted to having made any mistakes. Apparently the Bishops believe that they are infallible like the Pope. Nowhere in Scripture, however, do we find a passage that even remotely suggests that holders of the episcopal office are not liable to error. If even general councils may err when they meet, and sometimes have erred, as Article 21 states, a College of Bishops certainly is capable of erring. Their approval of the new Ordinal is also very revealing as to how they view the Thirty-Nine Articles.

If the Bishops approve a seriously flawed Ordinal, I dread to see what they will approve in the way of a Prayer Book. If Duncan’s statement that the Ordinal is the most defective part of the 1979 Prayer Book represents the view of the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force and the College of Bishops, I think that we can expect a reworking of the 1979 Prayer Book but with a few surprises. The ACNA top leaders look suspiciously like they are testing the waters with the new Ordinal. If the new Ordinal does not provoke a strong negative reaction, they will be emboldened to approve similar changes in the new Prayer Book as they approved in the new Ordinal.

The new Ordinal confirms what I have been saying from the outset. The ACNA does not take the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1661 Ordinal with the seriousness they deserve as the primary historic Anglican formularies and the long-recognized doctrinal standard of Anglicanism. The provisions of the ACNA constitution and canon display an Anglo-Catholic bias in the areas of apostolic succession, ecclesiastical governance, the historic episcopate, ordination, and the sacraments.

From the perspective of a conservative evangelical like myself the ACNA has nothing more to offer than the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. All three churches have serious problems in the areas of doctrine, leadership, and morality.

The ACNA may yet be the undoing of GAFCON. The ACNA top leaders show little if any regard for the Jerusalem Declaration. This is obvious from the new Ordinal as well as the constitution and canons of the ACNA. Their disregard for the Jerusalem Declaration is likely to encourage of the leaders of other Anglican churches to ignore its provisions. It will quickly become valueless as a declaration of the tenets underpinning Anglican identity. Anglo-Catholic leaders in and outside of North America who dislike the Jerusalem Declaration would welcome such a development. They can be expected to do everything to hasten its occurrence. The ACNA is the weak link in the chain. As the saying go, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.


Charlie J. Ray said...

Robin, that was an excellent analysis of the situation. I appreciate your candor. However, in my view one of the most flawed parts of the 1979 book of alternative services--as the late Peter Toon called it--is the Catechism. The Catechism of the 1979 book is out and out pelagian and nowhere acknowledges the doctrine of original sin, actual sin, or the depravity of the human race.

One could legitimately ask, "Whatever happened to sin?"

OK, so it does mention sin but it defines sin as following the bad example of Adam for all practical purposes:

Human Nature

Human Nature
Q. What are we by nature?
A. We are part of God's creation, made in the image of God.

Q. What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
A. It means that we are free to make choices: to love, to create, to reason, and to live in harmony with creation and with God.

Q. Why then do we live apart from God and out of harmony with creation?
A. From the beginning, human beings have misused their freedom and made wrong choices.

And: Sin and Redemption

Sin and Redemption
Q. What is sin?
A. Sin is the seeking of our own will instead of the will of God, thus distorting our relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation.

Q. How does sin have power over us?
A. Sin has power over us because we lose our liberty when our relationship with God is distorted.

You'll notice above that sin is not inborn or imputed but something we willfully do, which leads to distortion. That's Pelagianism. It's what we "do" that makes us sinful and not what Adam did that makes the human race sinful. (See: Catechism: 1979 Book of Alternative Services)

Secondly, sin has power over us after we distort the relationship by sinning. This is another direct contradiction to the 39 Articles, Article 9:

Of Original or Birth Sin

Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated, whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh), is not subject to the law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust hath itself the nature of sin.

As bad as the ritualism is, the Catechism of the 79 book is worse in my opinion because it teaches directly against the doctrines of salvation in Articles 9-18 of the 39 Articles of Religion. That might be why the 39 Articles are relegated to fine print in the back of the 79 book so as to be merely a history piece and not binding doctrine.



Charlie J. Ray said...

BTW, I've met George Conger in person via my former rector, David Knox at Christ Church Longwood, Longwood, Florida.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I should add that George Conger and his co-reporter, Kevin Kallsen, does not get it that the solution is not a "Christian society" but the conversion of individual sinners to Christ. In short, it is grass roots renewal from within that renews a community or a society and that only happens as the elect are irresistibly drawn into saving faith.

Conger's view smacks of theonomy from a Reformed perspective and "christendom" from an Anglo-Catholic or Roman Catholic perspective... It's really the same sort of pelagianism I pointed out in the 79 book's catechism.

Robin G. Jordan said...


The 1979 Book of Common Prayer's An Outline of the Faith also teaches that we participate in Christ's sacrifice through the Holy Eucharist, as do the Eucharistic Prayers in Rite II.

Q. What is prayer of oblation?
A. Oblation is an offering of ourselves, our lives and labors, in union with Christ, for the purposes of God.

Q. Why is the Eucharist called a sacrifice?
A. Because the Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which he unites us to his one offering of himself.

This teaching is far from scriptural. In The Thirty-Nine Articles: Their Place and Use Today Roger Beckwith rightly observes:

The Holy Communion is nowhere described in Scripture as a sacrifice. The nearest the New Testament comes to this is by describing it as a feast upon Christ's sacrifice. Of the instituted acts of the service, only thanksgiving is elsewhere called a spiritual sacrifice, and this is a sacrifice which any member of the priestly people of God may offer, in private or in public. The idea that the eucharist is a ritual sacrifice offered by a ministerial priesthood is therefore quite foreign to the New Testament, as is ceremonial suggestive of such an idea; and when the further idea is added that this ritual sacrifice is identical with Christʼs sacrifice on the cross, or with some heavenly sacrifice of equal or greater importance, the very foundations of Christianity are being overturned, and the language of Article XXXI,
ʻblasphemous fables and dangerous deceitsʼ, becomes appropriate.

The ACNA and its ministry partner, the AMiA, while they may have backed away from false teaching in one direction, are going full steam ahead into error in another. If the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and its Catechism are filled with false teaching, I shudder to think what "strange and erroneous doctrines" will be incorporated into the ACNA Prayer Book and its Offices of Instruction.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Amen, Robin.... Your latest posts have been helpful. Thanks for your efforts!


Robin G. Jordan said...


The ceremonial that the new ACNA ordinal incorporates goes beyond suggesting the idea that the eucharist is a ritual sacrifice offered by a ministerial priesthood. It clearly teaches that it is. It will be interesting to see how the new ACNA Prayer Book will express this doctrine in the eucharistic rite and articulate in the catechism. It could follow the 1979 BCP and adopt the Lambeth modified doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice, i.e. the eucharist is a participation in Christ's hypothetical ongoing sacrificial activity. Or it could adopt the Tridentian doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice as do the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda.In this doctrine the eucharist is a reiteration or representation of Christ's sacrifice.

The celebration of the Eucharist is an action of Christ himself and of the Church. In it Christ the Lord, through the ministry of the priest, offers himself, substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine, to God the Father, and gives himself as spiritual nourishment to the faithful who are associated with him in his offering... In the
Eucharistic assembly the people of God are called together under the presidency of the Bishop or of a priest authorized by him, who acts in the person of Christ....
Title II, Canon 17.1.1.

The Rwandan canons are the work of an AMiA priest.

Both doctrines conflict with the Thirty-Nine Articles. The Lambeth doctrine stresses our sacrificial activity; the Tridentian doctrine the sacrificial activity of the priest. Both doctrines ignore what the New Testament teaches about Christ's death on the cross.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Thanks, Robin. Your comment shows that the Global South is infected with Anglo-Catholicism and the ritualism and pelagianism of the 1979 book of alternative services as well. It is disheartening but God is still in control.


Charlie J. Ray said...

I couldn't find the question about the 39 Articles in the video. Do you remember about what minute mark it occurs? I checked and the interview with Duncan starts at about 13:40 on the counter...

George Conger is a very nice man but not an Evangelical at all. He's a conservative Anglo-Catholic. He's also still ordained through the Central Florida Diocese of TEC. He supports himself by working as a hospice chaplain and by doing reporting on the Anglican Communion at large....

He and David Knox and I had lunch together at McDonalds during the Central Florida Diocesan Synod a year or two ago....

He would probably laugh if he knew that I think he's as unconverted as the liberals he opposes:) For him it's all about the "club". Christian society, a conservative institution, etc...

He's also approachable. If you e-mailed him he would more than likely respond.

I've learned quite a bit about the polity of the Anglican Communion from your blog, Robin. My interests are more in line with systematic theology, creeds and confessions of faith and the hermeneutics involved in proper interpretation of Scripture....

Please keep up the good work.



Robin G. Jordan said...


Exported from North America--from an Anglican entity that broke away from the Episcopal Church. It points to a common weakness of the ACNA and the AMiA. Anglo-Catholics whose doctrinal views may not be representative of a substantial number of the congregations and clergy in the ACNA and the AMiA are able to occupy positions of influence from which they can not only shape the doctrine of these bodies but also export their theology to the GAFCON provinces supporting the ACNA and the AMiA. Is this any different from what the liberals in the Episcopal Church are seeking to do?

At one point we heard a lot about how Anglican evangelicalism imported from the British Isles by the way of Africa might rejuvenate and revitalize the American Church. But it has not happening. Anglo-Catholics in the ACNA and the AMiA are working sedulously to prevent it from happening and to export their system of beliefs and practices to Africa and elsewhere.

Anglo-Catholicism was until fairly recently largely confined to South Africa. What we are seeing happen is Anglo-Catholics doing what Anglo-Catholics have always done--promote their religious system. They are successful because the other schools of thought represented in the ACNA and the AMiA are doctrinally weak. This is attributable to the influence of the charismatic and Ancient-Future movements which, unlike the evangelical movement, do not place emphasis upon doctrinal purity.

Robin G. Jordan said...


It is at the very beginning of the interview, right after the title of the interview is flashed on the screen. May be Kevin edited it in response to my email.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I think you're right, Robin. It has been edited out. It's no longer there.... 13:40

Charlie J. Ray said...

Wait... The connection with the 39 Articles is mentioned about 15:18-25

You're right. He completely ignores the mention of the 39 Articles in the answer....


Charlie J. Ray said...

"The Ordinals from 1549 on... are very much in our new Ordinal...." Dead give away, isn't it?? He also focuses on the 1928 BCP, which is clearly an effort to get away from 1662. A clever sidestep by Anglo-Catholics but a sidestep nevertheless...

Robin G. Jordan said...


For the most part the 1928 Ordinal retains the 1790 Ordinal, which is substantially the 1661 Ordinal. However, the new ACNA Ordinal is not a modern language version of the 1928 Ordinal. It takes a number of texts from the 1928 Ordinal and then adapts them. They not only altered textually but also where and how they are used. A weakness of the 1928 Ordinal was the change that it made in the examination of the candidate for the diaconate, no longer requiring blanket belief in the canonical Old Testament and New Testament. The new Ordinal incorporates this weakness in all three examinations of candidates--deacons, priests, and bishops. Of course, none of these changes is mentioned in the interview. People are given the impression that the new Ordinal is a modern language of version of the 1928 Ordinal, which is far from the case.

The 1549 Ordinal, which was published in 1550, was only partially-reformed like the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. It was replaced by the 1552 Ordinal, which was more thoroughly reformed. The 1552 Ordinal is the classical Anglican Ordinal, not the 1549-1550 Ordinal.

All this is possible with the standard for worship and prayer that the ACNA adopted in its constitution in its fundamental declarations. It includes the 1662 Prayer Book and the Ordinal annexed to it and the books that preceded them, which include the pre-Reformation Medieval Catholic Sarum Missal and the Sarum Pontifical. The same declarations treat the 1662 Prayer Book and the 1661 Ordinal as two of a number of doctrinal standards and relegate the 1571 Thirty-Nine Articles to the trash heap of history.

The Hackney Hub said...

I imagine the ACNA Prayer Book will look like the BCP 2011 produced by the Diocese of the West. I stand with you, Robin, in saying that the ACNA is not turning out to be the guardian of Anglican orthodoxy that I hoped for, but, unlike you, I am willing to work from within the structures of ACNA (and now the TEC Diocese of Albany) to at least counter the Tractarians' bad history. I don't really see that much difference between ACNA and TEC anymore, TEC is just a few steps ahead of ACNA.



Robin G. Jordan said...


We work where we sense that God has called us to work or where God through circumstances has placed us.

You may have to labor in Goshen before you follow God into the Sinai. I may be allowed only to see the promised land at a distance and not be allowed to enter it.

We are where we are for a reason even though we grasp that reason dimly or not at all.

Due to my particular circumstances I am free to write what others might think but fear to write because their bishop, their fellow clergy, or their congregation might react adversely to what they write.

I write with no assurance that what I write will be heeded. Some shrug off what what I write; others do not care to hear what I say and tune me out. However, I feel a sense of obligation to keep writing. The easy path would be to say nothing, pursue my hobbies, and let the world go to hell. But my conscience will not let me do that.

Charlie J. Ray said...

@Hackney Hub

You are surely right. There is not much difference. The only difference is the homosexuality issue and you're correct. ACNA will eventually come full circle.



Robert Ian Williams said...

An excellent article, but Cranmer even in his 1550 ordinal retained the giving of the chalice but not the annointing of hands.

Reformation said...

Still miffed by the Utopianism here. Mr. Duncan has never given clear theological direction since day one. Surely, no indication of Confessional maturation. The day is (has been, actually) over to take him seriously.

Rick Warren and Metropolitan Jonah at their inauguratory celeb-fest in 2007 (or was 2008 or 2009?) spoke volumes.

Mr. Virtue has never sorted through the stories either.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The 1549 edition is not fully reformed. Not until 1552 does the prayer book become more reformed. Anglo-Catholics usually favor the 1549 for that reason.

I should point that Elizabeth's settlement was more political than theological because she sought appease those who were leaning Catholic. It obviously didn't work since the Catholics tried to take her life...

Doctrinal minimalism never works. Such thinking leaves loopholes for the heretics and subversives...

Robin G. Jordan said...


Cranmer did initially retain the practice of giving the new priest a chalice. This is the justification that the compilers of the new ACNA Ordinal use for the reviving the practice. At the same time they reintroduce an entire raft of pre-Reformation Medieval Catholic ceremonila and ornaments. The rubrics do not prohibit a paten on the mouth of the chalice and wine in the chalice and a host on the paten. The three Ordinals that they turn to as models--the 1979 American, the 1989 South African, and 2001 English Common Worship Ordinals evidence Anglo-Catholic influence and permit these ceremonies and ornaments to varying degrees.

The new Ordinal was also modeled upon supposedly ecumenical Ordinals, that is, the Roman Catholc Pontifical and other ordinals modeled upon it.

What we have here is an example of how a particular Church party has taken advantage of the desire for a modern language version of the Ordinal to change the doctrine, rites, and ceremonial of the Ordinal to reflect their own beliefs and practices. It has been happening since the early twentieth century. With the passage of time that Church party grows bolder. Without any real opposition in the ACNA it can pretty well do what it pleases.

Robin G. Jordan said...


George Conger has written articles defending the ACNA and criticizing my articles at the behest of the ACNA when my articles gained the attention of the Church of England Newspaper or otherwise attracted unwanted attention. When I asked Archbishop Robert Duncan for an explanation of why the ACNA College of Bishops recognized the orders of a CEEC bishop, his director of communications decided that I was too unfriendly to ACNA and Bob Duncan to provide me with the requested explanation. Instead he got Conger to write an article.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Yes, that was part of the reason I decided to break with Christ Church Longwood. Mr. David Knox, although himself an Evangelical, is too willing to compromise with the Anglo-Catholics for the sake of job security. I, on the other hand--being the knuckle head I am--, decided that the truth and the Gospel are more important than job opportunities or being a "company" man.

Denominations are essentially secular organizations with political motivations. The local congregation is the only way to sure of fellowship and sound doctrine. Where two or three are gathered in His name He is in their midst.



Fr. Chris Larimer said...

The transmission of the chalice is mandated by the rubrics. I can understand your concern there, but I believe it a healthy symbol gesture. The old charge it's to be a faithful minister of Word and Sacrament. Imbalance of either ministration causes instability.

similarly, I'm pleased that they included the more ac stuff. All of it is clearly marked as optional. All of it had been practiced in this country for more than a century. At least now there is a prescribed form: "If you are going to include these elements, here is how to do it so that you avoid superstition."

I'm far more troubled by the actual form of ordination which seems to be glossed over by evangelicals angry at the inclusion of optional rubrics. The classical formulas all gave an imperative epiclesis for the Spirit to fall on the ordinand. More importantly, they explicitly included the power and obligation to absolve. Out is most troubling to me that this was left out, as it is in every ordinal until 1979. Even the CofE maintains the duty in the charge immediately following imposition in a common worship. But the ACNA ordinal doesnt use the words absolve, forgive, remit, or any of their derivatives. It's ain even mentioned?

I will be discussing this with Bishop Foley when he visits the parish next week.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

Also, the inclusion of the hymn text for the Veni is a good thing. It's always been mandated, but the text was not included. That allowed all sorts of messes. The musicians at my own ordination used the Taizé version. While I love that piece, it leaves much to be desired. I was glad to have memorized the Neale text for use as vesting prayers and happily prayed it in the midst of their ostinato.

Charlie J. Ray said...

All of the Anglo-Catholic doctrines and services are repugnant to Scripture and are expressly forbidden by the 39 Articles of Religion. Furthermore, the Articles interpret the 1662 prayer book and not the other way around. The 1662 BCP is the only legitimately Anglican prayer book. The 1928 and 79 are not legitimately Reformed and Anglican...

Furthermore, wherever the papists have taken over anyone who is a believer can legitimately preach the Gospel and administer the two sacraments. Since the ACNA is predominated by false ministers and a false gospel of the papists, then Article 19 prevails where the congregation may call its own minister and administer the sacraments on its own.

Robin G. Jordan said...


The giving of the chalice was dropped from the 1552 Ordinal for good reason. The practice can be too easily misunderstood and too easily abused. The giving of the Bible recognizes that the sacraments are themselves a visual proclamation of the gospel--the Word made visible.

The inclusion of the other pre-Reformation Medievel Catholic ceremonies and ornaments, while they may be optional, are an endorsement of the pre-Reformation Medieval Catholic and post-Tridentian Roman Catholic doctrines and practices tied to these ceremonies and ornaments, which the English Reformers and historic Anglicanism reject. The fact that some dioceses have used these ceremonies and ornaments does not justify their incorporation into the Ordinal. If the Episcopal Church practices the blessing of same sex unions and solemnizes gay marriages for a period of years, does this justify the inclusion of these rites in the Prayer Book? Of course not! Neither does some dioceses' use of these ceremonies and ornaments justify their inclusion in the Ordinal.

The formula to which you refer was late Medieval addition to the Ordinal. It is not found in the earliest Ordinals. It is one of the accretions by which the primitive ordination rites were overlayed. It was an object of contraversy in the nineteenth century when the Ritualists would claim it was essential to valid ordination. As Harrison and Sansom and others observe it is out of harmony with the conviction that the essence of ordination is the laying on of hands with prayer, which in turn is a reflection of the conviction that it is God who ordains. It also draws attention away from the ordination prayer that precedes it. It was apparently designed to fill silence during the laying on of hands. The 1792 Ordinal provides an alternate formula because the sacerdotal implications of "Receive the Holy Ghost..." were objectionable to many, despite the Scriptural language, particularly because the formula was unknown in the ancient rites, but first came into use in the thirteenth century. This was same period in Church history when Transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the Mass, and the sacerdotal character of the priesthood became official doctrines of the Medieval Catholic Church, which may explain the Ritulists' attachment to this formula.

All three Ordinals that were used as models for the new Ordinal contain ceremonies and ornaments and countenance doctrines and practices that put them at odds with historic Anglican formularies, which GAFCON recognizes as the long-standing doctrinal standard of Anglican. If the ACNA wants to adopt such a flagrantly Anglo-Catholic Ordinal, it must give up its claim to being the new North American Anglican province, forego the recognition of the GAFCON Primates, and join the ranks of the Continuing Anglican Churches. The new ACNA Ordinal is a repudiation of the Jerusalem Declaration, the theological basis of GAFCON.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...


Where do the Scriptures enjoin the transmission of a Bible in the ordination service.

Adding to God's word again, are we?

(Or do all 16th c. innovations by Reformers get a pass?)

It's symbolic language. I agree that at the time it had to go because of the "mass for the living and the dead" part. That time is gone. What is needed now is balance.

Robin G. Jordan said...


Where do they forbid the giving of Bible? With what teaching in the Scriptures is the giving of the Bible not agreeable? On the other hand, the beliefs and practices to which the other ceremonies and ornaments are tied are "repugnant" to what the Scriptures teach.

The Scriptures teach that Christ's sacrifice is complete, finished, and we have no part in his sacrifice. We cannot reiterate or represent it. Nor do we participate in it. We commemorate it. Ceremonies and ornaments that imply otherwise are unscriptural albeit they may not be specifically probited by the Scriptures. They are far from edifying. On the contrary, they "blind the people and obscure the glory of God." They "are worthy to be cut away and clean rejected." They "more confound and darken than declare and set forth Christ's benefits unto us."

The Anglican priest is a steward in his Master's household. He feeds his fellow servants from the provisions that their Master supplies. He feeds them with the Word and the sacrament of the Holy Communion. The only "sacrifice" in the celebration of the Lord's Supper is our offering of praise and thanksgiving and self in response to what Christ did for us on the cross.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

They forbid it in the same place where they forbid vestments, incense, anointings, chalices, etc. The simple fact is that while the Scriptures give us everything necessary to salvation, they do not give us everything the apostles taught their successors in terms of orderly worship and administration.

Robin G. Jordan said...


The notion of "Holy Tradition" is sheer fantasy. The apostles had nothing to do with vestments, incense, anointings, chalices, etc. They are later developments. In some cases they are what the XXXIX Articles refer to as the "corrupt following of the apostles, later developments that the Medieval Church would equate with apostolic practive but which are not actually derived from apostolic practice.

At the Council of Trent the Roman Catholic Church realized that if it appealed to Scripture, it did not have a leg to stand on so it recognized "Holy Tradition," interpreted by the Church, as authoritative as Scripture. The Roman Catholic Church then made "Holy Tradition" more authoritative than Scripture in its insistance that Scripture must be interpreted by "Holy Tradition" and Holy Tradition was infallible. The Church as the interpreter of "Holy Tradition" was also infallible. All very convenient for the Roman Catholic Church. It was right no matter what. The English Reformers and the XXXIX Articles rejected this nonsense. The Ritualists would revive it in the nineteenth century to justify their beliefs and practices. You appear to be following suit.

I have devoted more than 25 years of my life to the study of Church history, the Book of Common Prayer, Christian worship, and related subjects, including the controversies over Ritualism of the nineteenth century. I do not believe in such fairy tales.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

If he ISA steward, then why does it obscure the biblical duties to give him the chief instruments, or keys, by which he admits Fellow servants to the riches of the masters house? How does a chalice obscure, instead of highlight, that he is a minister of Word and Sacrament?

This is not the 13th or 16th century. We are not confused with Rome. The danger is being confused with sectarians (like Baptists or Presbyterians) rather than historic catholics. The transmission of the sacred vessels and sacred scriptures is a ceremonial worthy of signing what is being done to all who have the sense of sight (even if they be deafandilliterate).

Robin G. Jordan said...


The danger, my friend, is that the chalice will contain wine and have a paten placed on top of it, containing a host, thereby conveying to the new priest and to those present that the new priest is a sacrificing priest, a sacerdote.

Add to the rite the following ceremony:

The Bishop then anoints the hands of the new Priest, saying

Grant, O Lord, to consecrate and sanctify these hands by this unction, and by our blessing; that
whatsoever they bless may be blessed, and whatsoever they consecrate may be consecrated and sanctified; in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

And the new Ordinal teaches with muted language and ceremonies not only the Medieval Catholic doctrine of the sacerdotal character of the priesthood but also the Medieval Catholic doctrines of Transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the Mass. These ceremonies are unnecessary except as statements of doctrine, doctrine that is contrary to Scripture and the XXXIX Articles.

I have compared the anointing of the new priest's hands in the new ACNA Ordinal and the anointing of the new priest's hands in the 2011 Book of Common Prayer Ordinal. They are close to each other in wording, and the doctrine of that book is quite evident.

In the controversies over Ritualism in the nineteenth century the ecclesiastical courts articulated a principle that is applicable here. Where a practice is associated by a school of thought in the Anglican Church with a particular doctrine or by another denomination with that doctrine and the doctrine is not a official doctrine of the Anglican Church in accordance with its formularies, or the doctrine is rejected by the same formularies, the practice should be avoided.

Enrichment has in the past been used to mask the introduction of practices into Anglican worship that have doctrine attached to them that is contrary to the Scripture and the XXXIX Articles. The introduction of such ceremonies as giving a chalice to the new priest and anointing his hands with the oil of chrism must be viewed with scepticism borne of past experience. Such ceremonies are never what those championing them claim that they are!

Robin G. Jordan said...

A steward in the classical Anglican Ordinal’s understanding of the office of a priest (or presbyter) is not the hired manager of the estate or house but a slave whose duty is to purvey food to his fellow slaves. He wears the thrall’s collar, as do the other slaves. If he proves unfaithful in his task, this office can be taken from him and given to another. One of the temptations of his office is that he may succumb to pride, that having been appointed to this position in the household, he esteems himself too greatly in his master’s eyes and assumes that he is better than his fellow slaves. He may desire to adorn himself in a way that shows his station to be higher than that of the other slaves in the household, take upon himself a pretentious title, and otherwise set himself apart from his fellow slaves.

The ordination rite in the classical Anglican Ordinal does not cater to this impulse. The Exhortation speaks of the excellency and difficulty of the office and the height of the dignity into which the Lord has placed the ordinand to stress the care and study with which the ordinand ought to apply himself and dutifulness and gratitude that he ought to show to the Lord. The Exhortation goes on to warn the ordinand not to offend others or cause them to offend. The Exhortation further stresses the place of Scripture in the ministry of a priest. The ordination rite emphasizes the latter with the questions in the Examination and the Bishop’s delivery of a Bible to each new priest after his ordination.

The ceremonies and ornaments that the new ACNA Ordinal introduces into the ordination rite change this understanding of the priest’s office. It reflects the view of the priest articulated in the Catechism of the 2011 Book of Common Prayer. “He is to make visible Jesus Christ the High Priest, making intercession and offerings on our behalf.” The same Catechism teaches, “In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the Bishop sets apart, by laying on of hands and anointing with holy oil, specific men for the pastoral and sacramental headship of the common life of the Church. These men receive the increased gifts of the Holy Spirit to be Servant-Leaders and Pastors of Christ’s flock.” Whatever this is, it is not the doctrine of historic Anglicanism. It is, however, the implicit doctrine of the new ACNA Ordinal.