Thursday, July 19, 2012

The ACNA Prayer Book: A Prayer Book for All Conservative Anglicans in North America?

By Robin G. Jordan

From the taskforce’s reports and the articles and comments I have read on a number of websites I do not believe that the Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Taskforce, the advisers to the taskforce, and a substantial number of clergy in the ACNA are committed to the compilation of a Book of Common Prayer for the ACNA that would be comprehensive to the point where the broad spectrum of conservative Anglicans would be happy with it. The will to produce such a Prayer Book simply is not there.

Rather I discern the influence of the various expressions of the Catholic Revival of the past two hundred odd years—the nineteenth century Ritualist movement and the twentieth century Liturgical, ecumenical, and Worship Renewal movements. The Worship Renewal movement is also known as the Ancient-Future or Convergence movement.

The classical Anglican Prayer Book—The Book of Common Prayer of 1662—which is a formulary of the Church of England and a number of other Anglican provinces, and the long-recognized doctrinal standard of Anglicanism, alongside the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571 and the Ordinal of 1661, is viewed as defective both in its doctrine and its liturgical usages. The rule of antiquity is given more weight than the rule of Scripture. The liturgies of the post-Apostolic Church and the Medieval Church, the semi-reformed 1549 Book of Common Prayer, the retrograde 1928 Book of Common Prayer, and the revisionist 1979 Book of Common Prayer are held up as models for the ACNA Prayer Book.

The ACNA governing documents already mandate the acceptance of a number of doctrines over which Anglicans historically have been divided. In doing so, they effectively prohibit the views of those who disagree with these doctrines. I am not talking about liberals or revisionists. I am talking about conservative Anglicans—Anglicans who are faithful to the teaching of the Bible and the Anglican formularies!

While claiming to embrace the "three streams" of Anglicanism, the folks of the Anglican Church in North America are actually very parochial, or narrow, in their views. This parochialism is quite evident in their ideas about a Prayer Book for the ACNA. If these ideas are implemented in a service book without provision for conservative Anglicans who do not share these views, the service book will be another major barrier, or obstacle, to the participation of these conservative Anglicans in the ACNA.


Will said...

Can you give some specific examples, or is this just a feeling you get from reports you have heard?

Robin G. Jordan said...


My article is based on first hand information. I have posted a series of articles on the reports of the ACNA Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Task Force and the ACNA Ordinal. I have also taken note of the attitudes manifest in a number of articles directly and indirectly related to the ACNA Prayer Book posted on the Internet and comments left in response to these articles. They include but are not limited to a series of articles on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer on A Living Word and the comments left in response to these articles, Bill Witt’s responses to email on his blog, and the comments left in response to Anglican Ink's "ACNA Prayer Book chairman pleased with progress" on Sanctus. These articles and the accompanying comment threads prompted me to write the article.

It is noteworthy that one of the reports about which I wrote was subsequently removed from the Internet.

In addition, I have obtained a copy of the daily office and eucharist rites used at Assembly 2012. I am planning a separate article on these rites.

You are free to question the validity of my conclusions. At the same time I must point to your attention that I spend a large part of my day searching for articles on the Internet for Anglicans Ablaze and researching future articles of my own. This includes noting what people are saying in their comments to articles posted on the Internet and other comments left in response to these articles, as well as gleaning information from a variety of other sources. This admittedly is not the most scientific approach but it does provide valuable insights into what people are thinking and into what is happening behind the scenes.

I was trained in sociological research methodology in university and I worked as a social worker for 27 odd years. As a social worker I gathered and assessed information and prepared reports for other professionals and the courts. This included summarizing my findings and making recommendations. I used observation as well as interviewing and reports of other professionals in my information-gathering. As a social worker I also investigated reports of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation and collected evidence for use in court. I use a number of the skills I acquired in researching and writing articles.