Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Two Are Better Than One: Time for a Second ACNA Province

By Robin G. Jordan

"Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts" Ecclesiastes 4:9

This past month I have posted a number of articles drawing attention to the pressing need for the formation of a second province within the Anglican Church in North America and describing what steps can be taken to lay the foundation for this province. See the links below:

If you have not had an opportunity to read these articles, I do recommend that you read them.

There is a clear need for the formation of an orthodox Anglican province in North America that is closely aligned in its teaching and practices with the Holy Scriptures and the Anglican formularies, including the two Books of Homilies. As evidenced by its governing documents and other doctrinal statements, the Anglican Church in North America as it is presently constituted is not such a province.

I take the position for the reasons that I give in the article, “A Rationale for a Second ACNA Province,” that this province should be formed within the Anglican Church in North America from elements of that denomination and should be recognizably different in character from the existing province in its adherence to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and to the doctrine of the Anglican formularies and its application of the principles of limited constitutional episcopacy and of synodical government. The latter would include the recognition that “all authority belongs to the Church as a whole, and the Church delegates to its officers such parts of its authority as it chooses.”

There is a real danger that congregations and clergy who are a part of the Anglican Church in North America and who view historic Anglicanism as sufficiently catholic are being lulled into a false sense of security by the seeming lack of aggressive measures to reduce or eliminate their presence in the denomination. They do not fully appreciate the predicament in which they are. As I pointed out in yesterday’s article, their convictions do not enjoy the recognition, affirmation, and protected status enjoyed by the convictions of congregations and clergy who are a part of the denomination and who desire to make the Anglican Church more fully Catholic as they understand the term “Catholic.”

The governing documents of the Anglican Church in North America clearly favor positions historically taken by Anglo-Catholics on a number of key issues. The College of Bishops has endorsed a number of doctrinal statements which clearly favor unreformed Catholic teaching and practices and display negligible sensitivity to concerns of evangelical and other Anglicans related to such teaching and practices.

Those who hold views historically associated with Anglo-Catholicism and who hold positions of leadership in the Anglican Church in North America at this stage appear to be content to reduce and eliminate the presence in the denomination of those who do not share views by the gradual process of attrition and assimilation. This has not prevented a number of them from resorting to exclusion when the opportunity presents itself. A number of cases have been drawn to my attention in which bishops affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America discriminated against individuals who were seeking to minister in the denomination and who were committed to a Biblical, Protestant, Reformed, evangelical theology.

Those who have studied the history of the twentieth century Continuing Anglican Movement know that this sort of thing happened in the first Anglican Church in North America and the splinter jurisdictions into which it fragmented. Considering the present state of these jurisdictions, it is not a healthy development.

The formation within the Anglican Church in North America of a second province of the type that I am advocating will help the second Anglican Church in North America avoid what has happened to the Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. It will enable the denomination to reach and engage a much wider segment of the North American population and give it a much broader population base. Both are necessary for its fulfillment of the Great Commission and its present and future growth. 

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