By Robin G. Jordan
In a communiqué issued after its February 1-5, 2016 meeting the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) “calls upon all provinces of the Anglican Communion to uphold and maintain the faith of the church as expressed in the Holy Bible, the Anglican Formularies and the Jerusalem Declaration.” It is a call to which I give my hearty approbation.
At the same time I must ask, “Are the leaders of the Anglican Church in North America listening?”
As long as Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and the other GAFCON Primates recognize the ACNA as a part of the Anglican Communion, this call applies to the ACNA's leaders, not just the leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the USA.
What are they doing to uphold and maintain what the communiqué describes as the Anglican Church’s “historic faith”?
Very little if the formularies of the ACNA are used as a measure of their commitment to that faith—a faith based upon the Holy Scriptures and set out in the Anglican Formularies and the Jerusalem Declaration.
While they have not gone as far as the Episcopal Church’s leaders in their departure from that faith, they have nonetheless strayed from it. They espouse teaching and practices that are inconsistent with the Bible, the Anglican Formularies, and the Jerusalem Declaration.
It may be wishful thinking on my part to hope that this call might resonate with the leaders of the Anglican Church in North America. They are committed to upholding and maintaining a different faith—a faith of human contriving. No doubt they may sincerely believe what they believe but as Bishop J. C. Ryle pointed out more than a century ago, sincerity of belief is not enough. Salvation comes from hearing the gospel and believing on the Lord’s Jesus Christ. It does not come from sacraments and good works. The doctrines of salvation are found in God’s word written, in the Holy Scriptures. They are not found in the traditions of men.