By Robin G. Jordan
Over the past eight odd years I have documented in a series of articles on this blog how the Anglican Church in North America from its days as the Common Cause Partnership has denied official standing to the doctrines and practices of convictional Anglicans, of those who fully accept the authority of the Bible and the historic Anglican formularies and stand in the heritage of the English Reformation and the Protestant Elizabethan Settlement.
I have shown how this denial of official standing to their doctrines and practices, which are consistent with the Bible and the historic Anglican formularies, is a serious form of exclusion that warrants intervention on the part of the GAFCON Primates.
While some convictional Anglicans in the Anglican Church in North America cling to the belief that they have a place in the ACNA, the evidence does not support this belief. They are drowning men clutching at straws.
The Catholic Revivalists occupying the place of power in the Anglican Church in North America have given notice that they do not want to share the ACNA with the adherents of biblical Anglicanism. Otherwise, they would have taken steps to make the ACNA more comprehensive, extending official standing to the doctrines and practices of convictional Anglicans.
By 2019 the Anglican Church in North America will have a Prayer Book that will be unreformed Catholic in the doctrines and practices that it mandates or sanctions, making no room for any other body of doctrines and practices in the ACNA.
Under the provisions of the constitution and canons of the ACNA clergy and congregations in the ACNA will be unable to use any other forms of service other than those authorized in the new Prayer Book. Under the provisions of the same governing documents ACNA clergy must conform to the doctrines and practices mandated or sanctioned in the new Prayer Book.
The governing documents of the ACNA make no provision for congregations, dioceses, or sub-provinces to adopt their own forms of service in the event they find such doctrines and practices inconsistent with the Bible and the historic Anglican formularies. Nor do they make any provision for the ordinary of a diocese to authorize modifications in the forms of service in the new Prayer Book.
To date the Catholic Revivalist-dominated College of Bishops and Provincial Council has shown no inclination to add such provisions to the ACNA’s governing documents.
What may provide dioceses with a temporary reprieve from the unbiblical teaching and practices that the new Prayer Book will impose upon the Anglican Church in North America is Canon II.2.2:
“…it is the responsibility of the Bishop with jurisdiction to ensure that the forms used in Public Worship and the Administration of the Sacraments be in accordance with Anglican Faith and Order and that nothing be established that is contrary to the Word of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.”
Under the provisions of this canon the ordinary of a diocese is charged with responsibility for ensuring that the forms of service used in the diocese are consistent with the Bible in their doctrines and practices.
I anticipate that its provisions will be challenged if any bishop does use them to prohibit the use of all or part of the new Prayer Book in his diocese. Consequently, any relief these provisions might offer will be short-lived.
The Catholic Revivalist-dominated College of Bishops and Provincial Council can be expected to close this loophole in the event any of the bishops sympathetic to the cause of convictional Anglicanism seek to make use of it.
This leaves convictional Anglicans in the Anglican Church in North America with two choices. The first choice is to compromise what they believe and conform to the doctrines of the new Prayer Book, ceasing in effect to be convictional Anglicans. The second choice is to withdraw from the ACNA and to form their own province—a province that is, unlike the ACNA, is biblically faithful and fully Anglican.
As the Scriptures tell us, two cannot walk together unless they are agreed. It is unwise for believers to yoke themselves to unbelievers. To welcome false teachers is to share in their wicked work. If we fully accept the authority of the Bible, we need to receive these admonitions with the utmost gravity that they deserve.
Rather than being forced out of the Anglican Church in North America three years from now, convictional Anglicans need to band together and lay plans for their strategic withdrawal from the ACNA before the finalization of the new Prayer Book in 2019.
Three years is ample time to develop a common vision for a new province, to draft and adopt governing documents for the new province, and for clergy and congregations to transfer from the Anglican Church in North America to that province. It is sufficient time for the GAFCON Primates to reconsider their support of the ACNA.
Even if the GAFCON Primates are hesitant to support the formation of a second new province, their indecision should not be allowed to discourage convictional Anglicans from taking steps to secure a future for biblical Anglicanism and themselves in North America. The gospel and the salvation of a multitude of lost people in North America and elsewhere in the world are at stake.