By Robin G. Jordan
To date I have identified five different groups in the Anglican Church in North America in relation to the problem areas of the jurisdiction. The first group is for a large part satisfied with developments in the Anglican Church in North America—its particular form of governance, its present leadership, the doctrine of its Catechism and of the Prayer Book in preparation, and its liturgical practices. Perhaps the area where its members experience the most dissatisfaction is the jurisdiction’s acceptance of the ordination of women. Its acceptance of women’s ordination makes the Anglican Church in North America a liberal independent Catholic denomination whatever other positions its College of Bishops takes on key issues.
The second group is composed of those whom may be described as the blissfully ignorant. They are attracted by the ambiance of the local ACNA church—the ceremonial and ritual, the weekly celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the observance of the great festivals of the Church Year. They do not know much about Anglicanism and what little they do know is what they have learned at the local ACNA church and is slanted toward the College of Bishops’ revisionist redefinition of Anglicanism. This is the group at which the Catechism and the Prayer Book in preparation is targeted to a large extent. They are designed to indoctrinate the members of this group in the particular variant of Anglicanism that the College of Bishops favors if it can be considered to be a variant of Anglicanism. Perhaps a more accurate description would be the variant of independent Catholicism that the bishops favor.
The third group is in various stages of denial in relation to the problem areas of the jurisdiction. They may experience uneasiness in response to developments in the Anglican Church in North America but become defensive if the problematic nature of these developments is drawn to their attention. A frequent response to observations about the problematic nature of such developments, its extent, and its seriousness is the accusation that those making the observations are chronic faultfinders hostile to the Anglican Church in North America. They are unwilling to admit that such observations may contain more than a seed of truth since making such an admission would force them to reappraise the Anglican Church in North America and alter their perceptions of the jurisdiction. They might be compelled to concede that the Anglican Church in North America is not the great improvement over the Episcopal Church that they had believed that it was. The jurisdiction has its own share of problems, some of which are quite serious.
The fourth group recognizes the problems of the Anglican Church in North America. Indeed they are the most affected by these problems. At the same time they do not know how they should respond to them. They are puzzled, even alarmed by the GAFCON Primates Council’s tolerance of harmful developments in the Anglican Church in North America and its inaction in response to these developments. To varying extents they feel abandoned by the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the GAFCON Primates. While they stand for what the GFCA and the GAFCON Primates are supposed to stand for—an Anglican Church ruled by the Bible and the Anglican formularies and fulfilling the Great Commission, the GAFCON Primates extend their support to the first group. Unlike the fourth group, the first group is only on the same page as the GFCA and the GAFCON Primates as far as holding a traditional view of marriage and human sexuality is concerned.
A fifth group like the fourth group stands for an Anglican Church in which the Bible is fully accepted as its functioning rule of faith and life and the Anglican formularies as its standard of doctrine and worship and in which the spread of the New Testament gospel and the making of genuine followers of Jesus Christ of all people groups is the highest priority. Where it differs from the fourth group is that it is in the process of developing and implementing a plan of action to deal with the problems of the Anglican Church in North America that affect it. This plan of action includes the development of its own Catechism and Prayer Book and the formation of a second province with its own doctrinal foundation, form of governance, and leaders.
To which group in the Anglican Church in North America do you belong?