Wednesday, December 02, 2015

3 Ways to Show Your Disapproval of the Proposed ACNA Prayer Book

By Robin G. Jordan

I am anticipating at least four different responses to the final authorization of the proposed ACNA Prayer Book. The first response will be to welcome the new Prayer Book. This response will come from those whose thinking and practice is in sync with that of the new Prayer Book. One may hear a few complaints such as the book could have been made more Catholic with prayers to the blessed Virgin Mary and the saints and other Catholic devotions.

The second response will be to accept the book because other clergy and congregations in the Anglican Church in North America are accepting it. While the clergy and congregations in this group may not agree with the unreformed Catholic teaching and practices mandated or sanctioned in the book, they will conclude erroneously that they have no other choice but use it. The College of Bishops, I believe, is banking on this happening. The catechism and the proposed Prayer Book are the centerpiece of the Catholic Revivalist effort to Catholicize the jurisdiction.

The third response will be to use the new Prayer Book but to make unauthorized changes in the book. This includes changes that will make the book even more Catholic than it is.

The fourth response will be to reject the book altogether and to use an unauthorized liturgy. While the use of such a liturgy will constitute a violation of the canons, clergy and congregations with strong convictions are likely to take this route rather than compromise their convictions.

One argument that I expect to hear in support of use of the new Prayer Book is that its two services of Holy Communion resemble the Holy Communion service in the 1928 Prayer Book. There is a superficial resemblance between the rites. However, if one carefully examines the rites, it quickly becomes apparent that the two ACNA forms of Holy Communion are far more Catholic than the 1928 rite, which itself is fairly Catholic in its doctrine and liturgical practices.

I also expect to hear the argument that the new Prayer Book is “our” Prayer Book, endorsed by “our” bishops, as if being an ACNA service book, approved by ACNA bishops, makes up for its doctrinal and liturgical shortcomings.

The third argument that I am expecting to hear is that the new Prayer Book contains material from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The new book does indeed contain material from the 1662 Prayer Book. This material, however, has been altered and added to and used in an entirely different manner than in the 1662 Prayer Book so that it does not convey the doctrine of the 1662 Prayer Book. Key elements of the 1662 Prayer Book such as the Declaration on Kneeling are also missing. The 1662 Prayer Book is substantially the Reformed 1552 Prayer Book. The two forms of Holy Communion in the proposed ACNA Prayer Book have more in common with the Roman Mass.

I would urge clergy and congregations faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and standing in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage to show their disapproval of the book in three ways.

1. Publicly object to the book’s contents, its doctrine, and its liturgical practices. They gain nothing from maintaining silence on these matters.

2. Refuse to use the book. If disciplinary action is taken against clergy and congregations that refuse to use the book, it will reflect poorly upon the Anglican Church in North America and will subject the jurisdiction to unwanted scrutiny. The GAFCON Primates will find themselves in the unenviable position of supporting a jurisdiction that persecutes Confessing Anglicans on the basis of their beliefs.

3. Refuse to purchase the book. Low sales volume and a publisher’s warehouse filled with unsold books will send a clear message to the College of Bishops.

In other words, start a Prayer Book rebellion. Mixing things up a little may bring the ACNA leadership to its senses. If it overreacts, it will expose itself for what it really is—no friend of biblical Anglicanism.


RAD said...

First, I want to thank you for your excellent Blog; I read everything you write and much of the articles you import.

I agree with nearly everything you state about the ACNA Prayer Book; I have read it and am not comfortable with it, except for one thing : I REALLY appreciate the citations after each prayer indicating which passage(s) of scripture the prayer is based on or quoted.

I am appalled at the lack of depth most persons currently have with scripture and I think it would be helpful through such citations to constantly remind them that our worship should be humbly and faithfully rehearsing God's own words back to Him which is always the greatest honor one can give another.

I would like to have published a 1662 Prayer Book with these citations.

I am a "low church evangelical" and find the 1662 Prayer Book superior to all others in its presentation of the Gospel through its format, especially the excellent Holy Communion service which is 'spot-on' perfect in an evangelical context.

I am currently a member of an TEC parish in eastern Virginia, 375 years old, formerly an evangelical parish during the nineteenth century, (George David Cummins was rector here for six years) but of late has become heterodox Anglo catholic and during this past year has given itself over to promoting pan-sexuality preforming several very public sodomite "ordinations" and sodomite "marriages".

I not allowed to attend (as if I would want to) having been 'inhibited' by the Bishop and Rector as my evangelical biblical orthodoxy is deemed a "threat" to others in the congregation.

I must ask why do you receive so little feedback on this site? I find it quite useful, agree with its contents, and wish more viewers would respond.

Robin G. Jordan said...

Some blogs generate a lot of comments while others generate only a few. A number of factors may explain this phenomenon. I would be only speculating in any explanation that I offered in regard to why Anglicans Ablaze does not have a high comment yield.

I have learned not to rely on comment yield as an indicator of whether people are reading Anglicans Ablaze. Rather I monitor the hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly stats that Blogger provides.

I not only check to see who is reading the blog but what they are reading. I use this information to sharpen the focus of the blog as well as to select articles from the Internet and the archives that may interest readers.

While I have a large US readership, I also have a large international readership. I try not to focus on one group of readers to the neglect of the other and endeavor to provide a balance of articles that may be useful to both groups of readers. I realize that the situation in other countries is different from what it is in the United States. I am not always successful in maintaining this balance.

While it would be encouraging to receive positive feedback, what concerns me more is that readers share my articles with others, take what I write to heart, and act on it. In the past I have been a participant in a number of discussion boards and forums. What I found is that while we had some fruitful and meaningful discussions, they rarely led to action. Any impetus to action was dissipated in the discussion.

From what I gather from some readers is that for them the lack of positive feedback is discouraging to them. While I agree that it can have that effect, I learned in my 27 years as a social worker that change takes time, that there will be setbacks, and that while it may prove trying at times, one must persevere if one hopes to affect change.

The members of a group must experience a high level of discomfort and disequilibrium before they seek to change their situation. Human beings have the facility of adapting to quite difficult or uncomfortable situations and quickly recovering their equilibrium when it is disturbed. As consequence change tends to occur at a slow pace.

While rapid change is not impossible, the kind of factors that drive rapid change do not appear to be evident in the Anglican Church in North America—at least not at the present time. I certainly would not object if I am proven to be wrong in my assessment.