By Robin G. Jordan
In declaring the Anglican Church in North America a partner province of the Global South and in seating Archbishop Foley Beach on their Council the Global South Primates have shown themselves as no friend to confessional Anglicanism in North America. Beach is the chief bishop of a self-styled “Anglican” jurisdiction whose constitution and canons equivocates in their acceptance of the longstanding doctrinal and worship standard of authentic historic Anglicanism—the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer of 1662, and the Ordinal of 1662, and whose College of Bishop in its endorsement of To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism and the rites and services of proposed ACNA Prayer Book has displayed a decided antipathy toward the principles of doctrine and worship laid out in the Anglican formularies and have countenanced Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox teaching and practices in their place.
The Global South Primates have tacitly given their stamp of approval to the Anglican Church in North America’s departure from the doctrine and faith commanded in the Holy Scriptures and taught in the Anglican formularies. They are also condoning the prohibition against teaching authentic Anglican beliefs and convictions that the formal adoption of this catechism and Prayer Book will impose upon clergy and congregations in the Anglican Church in North America and the resulting exclusion from the denomination of clergy and congregations that are faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and most importantly of all to the gospel.
While the Global South Primates may have been motivated by a desire to make a display of support for the cause of conservative North American Anglicans, they clearly did not think through the ramifications of their actions. Such actions encourage the leaders of the Anglican Church in North America to continue on their present course of taking that jurisdiction away from authentic historic Anglicanism in the direction of unreformed Catholicism, leaving North America bereft of a genuine Anglican presence and witness.
North American Anglicans who are faithful to the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and the gospel must contend not only with liberals and Anglo-Catholics seeking to suppress their Biblical and Reformation beliefs and convictions but also with Global South Primates oblivious if not unsympathetic to their plight.
Of the North American groups that identify themselves as Anglican, they more than any other group is fully Anglican. At the same time they face the most challenges and have the least support. The negligible support that they receive from ostensibly Biblically faithful, orthodox Anglicans raises serious questions about the depth of these Anglicans’ commitment to authentic historic Anglicanism.
It also casts doubt upon the claim of such Anglicans to be acting in defense of Biblical Christianity. They give the appearance of being far more motivated by a desire to preserve conservative social values from liberal erosion than by a desire to defend the Anglican Church from strange and erroneous doctrine contrary to the Word of God. Their willingness to overlook the Anglican Church in North America’s divergence from authentic historic Anglicanism conveys this impression.
Together the unreformed Catholic position on the essential nature of the episcopate articulated in the Anglican Church in North America’s governing documents and the unreformed Catholic teaching and practices countenanced in To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism and the rites and services of the proposed ACNA Prayer Book give expression to a gospel different from that of the New Testament. The tolerance of more than one gospel is not consistent with Biblical Christianity or authentic historic Anglicanism. The Holy Scriptures state very clearly that those who preach a different gospel are anathema. They are not to be received, much less embraced. The gospel is not a matter on which Christians, much less Anglicans, can agree to disagree.
The Global South Primates are right in drawing attention to the theologically liberal provinces’ departure from the teaching of the Bible and calling for their repentance. They are wrong, however, in their failure to do the same thing in the case of socially conservative jurisdictions that depart from the Bible’s teaching. They leave themselves open to the charge of applying a double standard. Authentic historic Anglicanism subjects ALL thought to the Holy Scriptures, not just that of theological liberals.