By Robin G. Jordan
Confessing Anglicans who subscribe to the teaching of the Bible and the principles of doctrine and worship laid out in the Anglican formularies and who stand in the Reformation heritage of the Anglican Church did not create the present situation in the Anglican Church in North America. The Catholic Revivalist wing of the ACNA was not content to share the new province with Confessing Anglicans. It would be satisfied only with an ecclesiastical organization that in its teaching and practices, form of governance, and method of selecting bishops reflected its views.
The Catholic Revivalist wing met with negligible opposition from Confessing Anglicans who were disorganized and leaderless and who naively believed that an alliance between Catholic Revivalists and Confessional Anglicans could work. They could share the new province on equal footing. The Catholic Revivalists would not seek to gain the ascendancy in the new province as they had done in other Anglican jurisdictions in the past.
But even in the ACNA’s Common Cause period, it was plain to those who were willing to see it that the Catholic Revivalist element in the Common Cause Partnership did not envision a new province in which Confessing Anglicans would be on equal footing with Catholic Revivalists. Authentic historic Anglicanism would not have a central and respected place in the new province. Indeed it would have no official standing in the province at all.
The GAFCON/Global South Primates’ unqualified recognition and support of the ACNA and their admission of ACNA leaders to their councils would embolden the Catholic Revivalist wing. It faced little opposition outside of North America as well as in North America. Some Confessing Anglican leaders outside of North America recognized the problematic nature of developments in the ACNA but were loath to publicly acknowledge it.
Within the ACNA, Confessing Anglicans have resisted admitting to themselves the seriousness of their predicament. They do not share the province on equal footing with Catholic Revivalists. A Catholic Revivalist-dominated College of Bishops has taken a number of steps to shape the jurisdiction to its liking. It usurped the role of the Provincial Council in the government of the province. It has given the province an Ordinal and a Catechism that mandates or sanctions unreformed Catholic teaching and practices and is in the process of doing the same with the remaining sections of the province’s Prayer Book. The College of Bishops may be described as having initiated its own counter-reformation in the ACNA.
In the accompanying article I give 22 reasons why Confessing Anglicans should band together into an organization of their own in North America. I believe that they really have no other choice if they wish to have a future in North America.