Ed. This critique was originally posted on the Prayer Book Society USA website in September 2009. The Rev. Gavin Dunbar is the president of the Prayer Book Society. I posted the critique on Anglicans Ablaze following its posting on that website. I also requested a copy of the Initial Report of the Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Task Force from Rev. Dunbar since despite the claim in his critique that the report was "in circulation," it was actually circulated among only a selected group of people. It was not widely available to members of the ACNA and other interested parties like myself. Only recently--within the past 6 months--has it been posted on the ACNA website. It was posted without fanfare and I myself came across the report by accident. The Rev. Dunbar did not respond to my request. I am reposting Dunbar's critique for comparison with my own article series on the report. The first article in the series can be found here.
It is no surprise that the newly-formed Anglican Church of North America has begun already to consider the question of worship. And the “Initial Report” of the “Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Task Force” is now in circulation. Its task was to “develop a ‘theological lens’” through which a “thoroughly orthodox prayer book” might be composed. Although not without some strengths, in that it sets forth some of the chief questions to be considered, as a whole the Report is disappointing: both confused and confusing, polemical, and sometimes contradictory.
For a start, the document is too complex (a much simpler numbering system would make references easier) and somewhat disorganized. There is a confusing mismatch between what the preamble promises and what the body of the report delivers.
Such confusion suggests hasty or careless compilation, and at times the Initial Report sounds like the minutes of a disjointed, unfinished, and inconclusive discussion,rather than a coherently worked out statement. This would be reasonable, if the Initial Report confined itself to raising questions for study and discussion. In some places it does so, but in others it reaches premature conclusions, based on highly tendentious and polemical argumentation. And much of the discussion is sketchy and unfocussed.
The criticisms of the Report that are offered below may seem rather blunt, but there is no intention to pick a fight. The questions which the Report raises are too important to be reduced to point-scoring and polemic, and I apologize to its authors if my own comments seem harsh. It is my hope that the criticisms will spur and perhaps assist the Task Force in its further work. To read more, click here.
Saturday, January 07, 2012
Gavin Dunbar: A Critique of ACNA’s Initial Report of the Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Task Force
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 10:14 AM