March 23, 2017

July 29, 2009


Glenn Davies: Explaining the Episcopate

Explaining the Episcopate
Glenn Davies
July 29th, 2009

Last fortnight’s developments in the TEC convention delayed my response to those who queried the reference to the ‘historic episcopate’ in the Fundamental Declarations of the ACNA. I would first like to thank David Palmer for his warning at the beginning of last month’s blog and for his salient conclusion to the dozen blog entries. However, I think that that there must be a fairly narrow audience of one or two others who participate in these blogs, namely Mr Jordan (by a mile) and Mr Dungey. I often wonder at the value of these blogs, as I am not personally inclined to be sitting on my computer all day revealing my responses to the latest entry.

Nonetheless, perhaps some response is needed.  I tabled the Fundamental Declarations of the ACNA so that readers could be well informed as to what the new province stood for. I recognise that ‘orthopraxis’ must always accompany ‘orthodoxy’ (both of which must spring from ‘orthokardia’) to ensure that faith and obedience hang together. However, I have no intimate knowledge of the practices of North American Anglicans and therefore began with their statements of belief.

The main sticking point seems to be article 3.

  3. We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.

My own research of the term ‘historic episcopate’ reveals that the term has an elastic meaning conveying many interpretations.

...more

This brief article from no less than a Sydney bishop supports Bishop John Rodgers’ argument and my own that this wording ought not represent a stumbling for evangelical Anglicans. Curiously Robin Jordan (Anglicans Ablaze) suggests that “In the Internet debate preceding the inaugural Provincial Assembly nothing like the explanation of the historic episcopate that you gave was offered.” Odd…considering that Jordan commented voluminously in both Stand Firm threads. 


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73 comments

Another meaning of the term “historic episcopate” is the idea of laying on of hands in consecration from bishop to bishop all the way back to the Apostles.  You can see this in the Roman Catholic Church at St. Peter’s in Rome where a list on one wall lists all the popes back to St. Peter.  TEC has the same thing with its emphasis on Samual Seabury as the first bishop and the need for him to go to Scotland to be consecrated.  I reject this understanding in light of the warnings found in I Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9 against foolish genealogies.

In the early Church, apostolic succession helped to ensure that the teaching was true.  “I was taught by X, who was taught by Y, who learned the gospel at the feet of the Apostle James” (or John or whoever).  But after the gospels were written down, scripture, not apostolic succession, became the guarantor of truth.  When 80% of the bishops in TEC vote against the clear teaching of scripture, it is a clear indication that the office has no special divine warrant.  We need to be careful to limit the power of bishops in the new ACNA, because while the initial batch seem to be uniformly godly men, there is no guarantee that it will remain so forever, and the combination power combined with lifetime appointment and human ambition has always had a tendency to corrupt.

[1] Posted by Russell on 7-29-2009 at 06:17 AM · [top]

“But after the gospels were written down, scripture, not apostolic succession, became the guarantor of truth.”  I would be interested in knowing where that was decided.  “We need to be careful to limit the power of bishops in the new ACNA.”  The representative structure including clergy and laity and weakened bishops served us so well in TEC, you mean?

[2] Posted by Katherine on 7-29-2009 at 08:12 AM · [top]

I agree with Katherine.  It seems, from all I can tell, that those of like mind to Robin Jordan have what they want in ECUSA: the mob rules and the bishops have been neutered and beaten down to a cowering huddle in a corner.  But enough about the Communion Partners.  I would like to hear why this approach would have been expected to work out any better in ACNA than it has in ECUSA.

[3] Posted by Phil on 7-29-2009 at 09:08 AM · [top]

Katherine,
On your first point, I would think that it is self evident that written communications is transmitted with far fewer distotions than verbal. Surely, you played “telephone” as a kid, whispering a phrase into each other’s ear to see what comes out the other end of the chain?

On you second point, I agree completely. The centralized structure of TEC as evidenced in both houses at general convention has really let us down.  The subject of the post was the Episcopate, so I didn’t touch on the house of deputies.  If I understand it correctly, I think the decentralized organization of ACNA will serve us well as long as we continue to resist the temptation to put to much power at the top and keep it at the parish level, where the actual work of furthering the Kingdom is done.  It is much more difficult to subvert hundreds of individual Churchs, than it is to take over an organization from the top down. That may be a little too congregationalist for most Anglicans, but it is where I’m at these days.

[4] Posted by Russell on 7-29-2009 at 09:16 AM · [top]

Agreed Phil…that would be a rather fascinating explanation. I don’t buy into either.

I disagree with Russell regarding genealogies. I think it is a good thing that we can trace our lineage but have searched for an explanation on the verses he posted above and this is what I found. I think we need to understand better these kinds of instructions that Paul puts out there better.

9. avoid-stand aloof from. Same Greek, as in 2Ti 2:16; see on [2538]2Ti 2:16.

foolish-Greek, “insipid”; producing no moral fruit. “Vain talkers.”

genealogies-akin to the “fables” (see on [2539]1Ti 1:4). Not so much direct heresy as yet is here referred to, as profitless discussions about genealogies of aeons, &c., which ultimately led to Gnosticism. Synagogue discourses were termed daraschoth, that is, “discussions.” Compare “disputer of this world (Greek, ‘dispensation’).”

strivings about the law-about the authority of the “commandments of men,” which they sought to confirm by the law (Tit 1:14; see on [2540]1Ti 1:7), and about the mystical meaning of the various parts of the law in connection with the “genealogies.”

[5] Posted by TLDillon on 7-29-2009 at 09:21 AM · [top]

Russell, yes, but the “telephone” analogy does little justice to the ancient world’s transmission of oral tradition, which modern scholarship has affirmed was remarkably able to preserve materials correctly for far, far longer than the period in which the Christian tradition was transmitted orally by the Apostles (as referenced in the NT).  Before movable type transmission of the Gospel was still heavily oral (and visual) for most Christians.

The essential counterweight to the power of the bishops in the ACNA is the ownership of property at the parish level and the right to take it and leave.  That is a great power.

[6] Posted by Katherine on 7-29-2009 at 09:25 AM · [top]

On your first point, I would think that it is self evident that written communications is transmitted with far fewer distotions than verbal.

Having just worked extensively with a 100-year-old list of names that has been written and rewritten, I’d beg to differ with that opinion. :-( Also, the human mind has a great capacity for remembering things and at different time periods, I think humans have chosen to stock it with different things. Modern culture doesn’t have anything comparable to the oral tradition of the past because we haven’t needed it.

[7] Posted by oscewicee on 7-29-2009 at 09:43 AM · [top]

Matt
The GTF offered no such explanation as you well know. While you said that you had no difficulty with FD# 3, you did not offer a clear explanation why. Also Bishop Rodgers himself recognized evangelical concerns related to this declaration. He urged the ratification of the proposed constitution and canons despited these concerns. Stephen Nolls acknowledged the possibility of a strong Anglo-Catholic influence on the language of the Fundamental Declarations and expressed a preference for the more descriptive Jerusalem Declarations, describing the ACNA Fundamental Declarations as too prescriptive. Bishop Mimms raised similar concerns at the Provincial Council meeting before the inaugural Provincial Assembly.

Is Glenn Davis actually giving FD# 3 a clean bill of health as you would like people to think? He himself admits that he has no personal knowledge of how American Episcopalians have interpreted the historic episcopate. He says that if you take a Biblical viewpoint FD# 3 might be read a particular way. But do the ACNA constitution and canons take a Biblical viewpoint. An examination of the canons indicates that they take an Anglo-Cathlic viewpoint, the Biblical basis of which evangelicals have historically questioned. The viewpoint they take does not support Davis’ suggestion as to how the ACNA might be interpreting this declaration. The fact is that he does not know: he is hazarding a guess. Conservative evangelicals that have supported the establishment of a new province in North America are now faced with the reality that the candidate that they have been supporting for that province is not genuinely comprehensive but privileges one particular theological stream in orthodox Anglicanism and mandates conformity to that stream, a theological stream that rejects classical evangelical Anglicanism and its beliefs and practices.

I have reviewed the fundamental declarations or the equivalent of a number of Anglican provinces. I have not come across anything like FD#3 in these fundamental declarations. Its inclusion in the ACNA fundamental declarations is absolutely unnecessary. The following new set fundamental declarations would bring the ACNA more in line with the rest of the Anglican Communion, particularly the GAFCON provinces:

1. The Anglican Church in North America is a voluntary association of autonomous and self-governing dioceses within the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, worshiping the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, united under one Divine Head, and dedicated to the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ and the advancement of God’s Kingdom.

2. We hold the Christian faith as professed by the Church of Christ from primitive times and in particular as set forth in the Catholic Creeds and the Anglican Formularies, that is, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons issued by the Church of England in 1662.

3. We receives all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as being the Word of God written and the supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and life of the Church, given by the inspiration of God and containing all things necessary for salvation.

4. We maintain inviolate these orders of ministers in Christ’s Church—Bishops, Priests, or Presbyters, and Deacons—which offices have been known from the apostles’ time and have always been regarded as worthy of great honor.

5. We are determined by the help of God to uphold and preserve the Doctrine, Sacraments, and Discipline of Christ as the Lord has commanded in his Holy Word, and as the Church of England has received and set forth in its Formularies; and to transmit the same unimpaired to our posterity.

6. We seek to be and desire to continue in full communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses, and Provinces holding the historic Christian faith and maintaining the aforesaid Doctrine, Sacraments, and Discipline of Christ.

[8] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-29-2009 at 09:44 AM · [top]

RE: “Curiously Robin Jordan (Anglicans Ablaze) suggests that “In the Internet debate preceding the inaugural Provincial Assembly nothing like the explanation of the historic episcopate that you gave was offered.”

I took this statement to mean the explanation was not offered by leaders or members of ACNA.  I had thought Robin Jordan was not a member of ACNA.

[9] Posted by Sarah on 7-29-2009 at 10:03 AM · [top]

I don’t think he is, Sarah.

[10] Posted by Cennydd on 7-29-2009 at 10:06 AM · [top]

Russell,
Authority in the ACNA is much more centralized than you may realize. The following come from my article, “Sizing Up the ACNA Constitution and Canons” on the Internet at:
http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/07/sizing-up-acna-constitution-and-canons.html

Lack of Genuine Diocesan Autonomy

Article IV.7 is often used to back the claim that the ACNA constitution and canons affirm the autonomy of the judicatory, or diocese. However, the ACNA constitution and canons infringe upon the autonomy of the judicatory, or diocese, in a number of ways. Article IV.7 is largely intended to permit jurisdictions like the AMiA to retain their existing structure and form of governance. The AMiA has no internal dioceses. It is divided into “clusters” solely for the purpose of the appointment of delegates to the Provincial Assembly. The AMiA is governed by a primatial vicar with the assistance of a council of missionary bishops. The primatial vicar and the members of the council of missionary bishops are appointed by the Primate and House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Rwanda….
The ratification of constitutional changes and canons by an otherwise authority-less Provincial Assembly is itself an infringement upon diocesan autonomy. It takes the ratification of important legislation away from the governing bodies of the dioceses and jurisdictions and puts it into the hands of an assembly that is highly susceptible to political maneuvering and manipulation. The members of the Assembly can be easily swayed to vote against the best interests of the dioceses and jurisdictions that they represent.

Titles I.6.3 and I.6.5 contain provisions that relate to the organization, administration, incorporation and indemnification of local congregations, matters that are rightfully within the purview of the diocese. Title 1.6.7 establishes criterion for a “self-sustaining congregation.” All of these provisions represent an infringement upon the autonomy of the diocese.

Title I.5.4 permits dioceses and jurisdictions to continue to operate under the constitutions and canons of another Province. This provision allows the AMiA to remain a missionary jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of Rwanda with the Rwandan Primate and House of Bishops choosing the members of its episcopal hierarchy. It is therefore possible for a diocese or jurisdiction to have even less autonomy than it has under the ACNA constitution and canons.

Title III.8.4 in establishing as the norm for new dioceses the College of Bishop’s election of the bishop of the diocese and commending this particular mode of episcopal election to existing judicatories that elect their own bishops weakens the autonomy of the diocese in this critical area—its election of its own bishop or bishops. The canons contain no provision that in clear language juridically binds the College of Bishops to elect one of the two three candidates that a diocese is permitted to nominate. They say nothing about what happens if the College of Bishops rejects the diocese’s slate of candidates. They do not prohibit the College of Bishops from nominating and electing its own candidate. The canons are also silent on whether a new diocese will ever be able to elect its own bishop once the bishop that the College of Bishops elected retires or the see otherwise falls vacant. Under the provisions of the canons the outgoing bishop can nominate his successor, the clergy and laity of the diocese having no guaranteed input into the nomination of candidates for consideration of the College of Bishops.

Centralization of Authority

Authority in the ACNA is highly centralized. The real center of power in the ACNA is not the Provincial Council, the official governing body of the ACNA, or the College of Bishops but the Executive Committee of the Provincial Council. The Executive Committee consists of the Archbishop Bob Duncan and twelve members, six clerical and six lay. With the exception of the Archbishop, the Council elects the Executive Committee but the Executive Committee sets the Council’s agenda. The Executive Committee also functions as the Board of Directors of the ACNA….

Expansion of Archiepiscopal Authority

One of the constitutional amendments adopted and ratified at the inaugural Provincial Assembly permits the Provincial Council to give more responsibilities to the Archbishop of the ACNA beyond those specified in the constitution. It had been pointed to the attention of the Governance Task Force that they were giving additional responsibilities to the Archbishop in the canons, for which the constitution made no provision. They were doing what Presiding Bishop Katherine Schori has been doing in The Episcopal Church, arrogating powers and prerogatives to the office of Archbishop that the constitution did not give to that office and setting a bad precedent.

Despite the foregoing amendment the canons continue to arrogate to the Archbishop powers and prerogatives that the constitution does not give him….

Abandonment of the North American Anglican Heritage

The ACNA has discarded a substantial portion of the legacy that previous generations of orthodox North American Anglicans left to their posterity. This includes centuries of hard-won lay involvement in the governance of the church at the diocesan and provincial levels and the nomination and election of the bishop or bishops of the diocese and the primate of the province. Rather than seeking to reform this legacy where it needed reforming, the ACNA has thrown it away. The ACNA has chosen to return to the “bad old days” of unfettered episcopal authority and the accompanying abuses of episcopal power such as episcopal patronage.

In the recent debate in the Church of England’s General Synod over giving more powers to the Archbishop of Canterbury and York at the expense of General Synod opponents of the proposed changes warned that they would turn the Church of England into a medieval style of government more akin to a “Muslim-style theocracy”. The Rev. Christ Sugden, secretary of the evangelical group Anglican Mainstream, who attended the inaugural Provincial Assembly, said: “This takes us back to a medieval church run by the clerics. The whole point of the Reformation was to make Parliament part of the government of the Church of England. “He went on to say, “It is much like the style of governance of the Orthodox churches, like the Muslims. It cuts out lay people.” Other concerns voiced were that there would far less accountability and far fewer people involved. Those who would be involved would be unelected. The same observations are applicable to the style of ecclesiastical governance that the ACNA has adopted….

Absence of Genuine Checks and Balances and Safeguards

The ACNA constitution and canons make no provision for a synod or council of clergy and laity to counterbalance the authority of the bishop at the diocesan or jurisdictional level. Among the provisions of the constitution and canons that have a high potential for abuse are the following:

• While Article XII does not permit local church property to be “subject to any trust interest in favor of the Province or any other claim of ownership arising out of the canon law of this Province, it allow a diocese or other grouping to hold local church property in trust. Title 1.6.6 permits a diocese to assert a claim over the property of a congregation with the written consent of the congregation.

• Title III.8.6 authorizes the College of Bishops to create the office of bishop for special missions in consultation with the Executive Committee and to nominate and elect these bishops. Bishops for special missions are solely accountable to the College of Bishops which determines the “specific missionary purpose” for which the office of each bishop for special missions is created. The canons set no limits on the number of such bishops.

• Under the provisions of Title IV.4.2 the Archbishop may, at the request of a bishop, appoint a board of inquiry to investigate suspected rumors circulating about the bishop. Evidence of the circulation of rumors is not required, only suspicion of their circulation.

Lacking from the constitution and canons are the kinds of details that provide important safeguards. For example, one missing detail is what happens after the College of Bishops rejects the slate of candidates for bishop that a diocese submitted for the consideration of the College of Bishops.

On the Heritage Anglican Network I have archived a number of articles that relate to the Fundamental Declarations and other provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons along with a series of proposals for revision of these two documents. They are on the Internet at: http://theheritageanglicannetwork.blogspot.com/ The proposed revisions would limit the authority of the governing organizations of the ACNA, devolve much more power to the judicatories forming the ACNA, and put in place necessary checks and balances and safeguards missing from the constitution and canons.

[11] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-29-2009 at 10:16 AM · [top]

Katherine,
The 2009 General Convention of The Episcopal Church shows that the problem is not a synodical form of ecclesiastical goverance, which is quite common in the Anglican Communion, but the inroads that liberalism has made in that denomination among the bishops as well as among the clergy and the laity. The House of Bishops might have blocked D025. They only amended it slightly and then approved it. The House of Deputies did not force the House of Bishops to amend and adopt C056. They also did that on their own.

The ACNA is itself vulnerable to dominance by a single theological stream. It has very few real checks and balances and safeguards.

I hear a lot of talk about local churches having the option of leaving. However, while the province cannot make any claim to local church property, under the existing provisions of the constitution and canons the judicatory, or diocese, can. These provisions enable dioceses to hold property of the local congregation in trust and to take property into trust with the written consent of the local congregation. In a judicatory in which property is held in trust or has been taken into trust, a local congregation will not be able to leave with its property. Indeed it not only has provisions in the constitution and canons that prevent it from doing so but by that time there may be considerable case law support the right of a hierarchial church to retain the property of congregations that leave it.

The ACNA has nothing in its constitution and canons that define the ACNA as something other than a hierarchial church. The constitution and canons have put into place all the elements for the establishment of a centralized hierarchy. One jurisdiction—the AMiA—already has such a hierarchy. The provincial vicar appointed by the Rwandan Primate and House of Bishops governs that jurisdiction with the help of a Council of Missionary Bishops also appointed by the Rwandan Primate and House of Bishops on his recommendations. The AMiA has nothing like a synodical meeting of clergy and lay delegates at the network or jurisdiction level.

[12] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-29-2009 at 10:40 AM · [top]

Heh, hi AA,

you write:
“Matt, The GTF offered no such explanation as you well know.”

And “as you well know”, I was responding to your false statement on the Sydney website that there had been no “internet” debate. There certainly had been. And since I was on the GTF and the drafting committee, its pretty silly to suggest that no one on the GTF “offered explanations”. There was no official response “to you”. But there were certainly explanations. You just didn’t like them. Why not just say that?

“While you said that you had no difficulty with FD# 3, you did not offer a clear explanation why.”

No AA, I explained my reasons quite clearly. It’s just that you do not agree…which is fine…but just say it, don’t try to fob it off on some “lack of clarity” on my part.

[13] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 7-29-2009 at 10:42 AM · [top]

If Bishops abdicate their teaching and apostolic authority to conventions of lay and clergy folk, do they continue to be part of the historic episcopate?

[14] Posted by DaveG on 7-29-2009 at 10:47 AM · [top]

Perhaps, then, AA, parishes should take care to join jurisdictions which do provide for parish ownership of property.  The REC does.

[15] Posted by Katherine on 7-29-2009 at 11:02 AM · [top]

oops, let me rephrase that…I should have said in 13:

“I was responding to your false statement on the Sydney website that there had been no “explanation on internet” like the one Davies offered. And since I was on the GTF and the drafting committee, its pretty silly to suggest that no one on the GTF “offered explanations” like +Davies. There was no official response “to you”. But there were certainly explanations like the one +Davies offerd. You just didn’t like them. Why not just say that?”

[16] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 7-29-2009 at 11:16 AM · [top]

Perhaps AA, your reading of the C&C of ACNA is biased to shew in a more positive light the much more evangelical and congregational bias you would prefer? The is the heavy message I take away from your offerings. It comes across not as, “well things could be worse, here how things could be better”. Instead you seemed to have leaped for the alarums and clangers to sound the alarm that the ACNA is hierarchical and bloody well Anglo-Catholic thru and thru. It is tantamount in my, admittedly disinterested view (since I espouse neither A/C nor Evangelical leanings and frankly am not interested in what separates us but what binds us together) that you have chosen, in reviewing the net to point out that the net has these huge holes in it in between those rather less interesting bits of cord that hold everything together. Therefore according to your view (as espoused) the net is nothing so much as empty space - as there seems to be more of that than the cords that in fact make the net - a net.

[17] Posted by masternav on 7-29-2009 at 11:38 AM · [top]

RE: #6 and #7, I fully agree with your assertions about the accuracy of the oral traditions.  So, having lost the point on logic, I’ll simply fall back on stubbornness and stick by my opinion that if there is a conflict between the historic episcopate and Holy Scripture, I come down on the side of Scripture every time.  To use another often quoted analogy, Hooker’s three legged stool is really a tricycle and the big wheel is Scripture.

AnglicanAblaze, I pray that time will prove your fears overblown because if you are correct we are better off to have no bishops at all than to be governed by the likes of the TEC HOB.  But in the end, I think Katherine is correct when she says, “The essential counterweight to the power of the bishops in the ACNA is the ownership of property at the parish level and the right to take it and leave.”

[18] Posted by Russell on 7-29-2009 at 11:39 AM · [top]

Matt,
Show me where I said there had been no internet debate. This is what I wrote:

In the Internet debate preceding the inaugural Provincial Assembly nothing like the explanation of the historic episcopate that you gave was offered. The Governance Task Force repeatedly made reference to the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, the resolution that the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops adopted in 1886, in which the House of Bishops asserted that the historic episcopate, as they understood it, was “an inherent part” of “this sacred deposit”—a reference to “the substantial deposit of Christian Faith and Order committed by Christ and his Apostles to the Church unto the end of the world, and therefore incapable of compromise or surrender by those who have been ordained to be its stewards and trustees for the common and equal benefit of all men,” also mentioned in that resolution, arguing that the position of the 1886 Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral was the position of the Anglican Communion. They failed to mention that Resolution 11 that the third Lambeth Conference adopted in 1888 makes no such claim. In 1886 the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Episcopal Church dominated the House of Bishops. The view of the historic episcopate embodied in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral was the Anglo-Catholic view of the historic episcopate. This is how the Governance Task Force uses the term, “historic episcopate.”

The GTS offered no explanation along the lines of Glenn Davis’. I saved a record of the official statements that the GTS representatives made. They made no such argument. As for your explanation, it was deficient in lucidity. Basically you asserted that subscribing to FD#3 did not in your opinion compromise your “evangelical principles.” But you offered no clear or conclusive evidence to support your assertion.

FD#3 is one of several sticking points for evangelicals in the Fundamental Declarations. FD#6 adopts as a worship standard for the ACNA a collection of books that can be interpreted as including the pre-Reformation medieval service books in contrast to most Anglican provinces which recognize the 1662 Prayer Book as their worship standard. FD#7 essentially relegates the Thirty-Nine Articles to the past. It takes a view of the Articles that is quite acceptable to many liberals as well as many Anglo-Catholics.  Compare the position of these two declarations with that of the Jerusalem Declaration:

4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.

6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.

The two documents that the inaugural Provincial Assembly ratified were in need of considerable more work. This included the Fundamental Declarations. As they are presently written, the constitution and canons grant special status to a particular theological stream and require conformity to its views on a number of key issues. They hardly embody the vision that Archbishop Duncan and other ACNA leaders have been promoting of a Church that unlike The Episcopal Church is “truly evangelical, truly catholic, and truly pentecostal.” The ACNA leadership needs to either bring the constitution and canons in line with that vision or promote a more accurate vision of the ACNA—a Church for Anglo-Catholics and those evangelicals and charismatics who can go along with Anglo-Catholic views of the historic episcopate, the Anglican formularies, apostolic succession, the sacraments, baptismal regeneration, and ordination.

[19] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-29-2009 at 11:48 AM · [top]

AA, se 16

[20] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 7-29-2009 at 11:49 AM · [top]

I like what Matt Kennedy+ wrote here:
“I do not think, nor to the Articles of Religion teach, that the Church resides wherever there are bishops. Rather the visible Church is present where the pure Word of God is preached, the Sacraments given according to Christ’s institution and godly discipline is exercised.

Reformed Anglicans hold the apostolic succession of apostolic teaching to be primary—over and above the succession of bishops.”

http://binghamtongoodshepherd.blogspot.com/2009/07/mark-driscoll-what-is-church.html#links

Perhaps this would make a good statement to add to the C&C of ACNA or FCA.  Or is it already in there?

[21] Posted by Theodora on 7-29-2009 at 12:04 PM · [top]

Russel [18]
I would not rely too heavily on the threat of congregations leaving, taking their property with them, as a counterweight to episcopal abuse of authority. Are familar with what happens to frogs in a pot of water if you slowly bring it to a boil. They do not notice that the water is getting hotter and hotter. Drop a frog in the hot water and it’s jump out right away. But not the frogs in the pot. They have become accustomed to the gradually rising temperature of the water. The ACNA constitution and canons have already left open a door for dioceses to take property into trust as well as retain it in trust. They contain very few if any checks and balances on episcopal authority and safeguards on its abuse. They create a structure that already permits authoritarian forms of ecclesiastical governance at the diocesan level and drastically reduces lay involvement in church goverance at the provincial level. North American Anglicanism has a tradition of constitutional epsicopacy. Where and when it abandoned that tradition, largely under the influence of the High Church Party and then Anglo-Catholicism in the 19th century, it established precedents and a way of thinking of which liberals were able to take full advantage in the 20th and of which they are still taking advantage. Don’t be surprised if you hear arguments for greater episcopal authority in the ACNA and further diminishment of lay involvement in church governance at all levels. Don’t be surprised if the supposed guarantee of local church property ownership is chipped away. Just rememember those frogs in the pot. By the time the water comes to the boil, they are already dead, floating around on the top of the water, belly-up.

[22] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-29-2009 at 12:16 PM · [top]

John3v3 -

Indeed it is a great statement. Moreover it is an Anglican statement which is in agreement with the Scriptures and the 39 Articles. It would be wonderful if such a statement were added to the ACNA CnCs.

[23] Posted by Wright Wall on 7-29-2009 at 12:17 PM · [top]

John3v3 [21]
Title III.8.2 of the canons, which is adapted from the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, embodies an Anglo-Catholic view of apostolic succession: “Bishops… are successors to the apostles through the grace of the Holy Spirit given them.” This is the Anglo-Catholic doctrine of tactual succession. The Rwandan canons also adopt an Anglo-Catholic view of the sacraments and ordination, including the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. A similar view of the sacraments and ordination is implicit in the ACNA canons. The ACNA constitution and canons contain no reference to bishops being successors to the apostles because they preach and teach what the apostles preached and taught—the view of apostolic succession that the English Reformers held and which evangelical Anglicans have historically held.

[24] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-29-2009 at 12:23 PM · [top]

Basically, AnglicansAblaze, you distrust the higher-church members of ACNA, blame these trends for the troubles in TEC, and distrust bishops.

There is no question that Anglican bodies of all sorts need to be far, far more careful about WHO become bishops and about their adherence to the faith.  I also do not trust bishops who don’t seem to be recognizably Christian.  Nor, as GC demonstrates, can we trust similarly confused and misled laity and clergy.

[25] Posted by Katherine on 7-29-2009 at 12:26 PM · [top]

webdac [23]
Good point. The following proposed amendment to the canons would move the ACNA toward a genuinely comprehensive position on apostolic succession. It takes a different approach from the one which you are recommending. But both approaches would move the ACNA toward genuine comprehensiveness.

III. 8.2 Amend as follows:

The Office of Bishop

1. Every bishop is the chief pastor of all that are within his diocese and their father in God; it appertains to his office to teach and to uphold sound and wholesome doctrine, and to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s word; and to be himself an example of righteous and godly living. Each congregation within a Bishop’s jurisdiction shall be visited personally by its Bishop at least once in every three years, and formal visitations by the Bishop may from time to time be held in connection therewith.

2. The Bishop is the principal minister of Word and Sacraments in the Diocese, to whom belongs the right of celebrating the rites of Ordination and Confirmation. As Chief Pastor it is competent for the Bishop to administer the Holy Sacraments, preach the Word of God, preside at all liturgical functions, and perform all other duties pertaining to this office, in every church within the Diocese, and notice of intention to do so shall be given by the Bishop to the Rector or Senior Pastor as may be convenient to the circumstances.

3. The Bishop shall perform such other duties as shall be prescribed by the canons of his diocese.

4. No Bishop of one diocese, except as provided in these Canons, shall interfere with the concerns of another diocese.

5. With the consent of the Bishop with jurisdiction of the diocese, the Provincial Executive Council, and the College of Bishops a diocese may have one or more qualified Bishops elected to serve as auxiliary Bishops, elected in the same manner as the Bishop with jurisdiction of the diocese.

The first sentence of the existing section is a partisan view of apostolic succession that all orthodox Anglicans do not share. It is adapted from a similar provision in the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. While some Anglicans hold that a particular grace of the Holy Spirit, tactually conveyed by the imposition of hands by a bishop in unbroken line from the apostles, makes a bishop a successor to the apostles, others hold that it is his continuance in apostolic teaching that truly makes him a successor to the apostles. The debate goes back to the English Reformation at which time the Church of Rome took the first view and the English Reformers the second. Both views are held by orthodox Anglicans to this day.

The second sentence of the existing section, also adapted from a similar provision in the Rwandan canons, does not adequately describe the duties and responsibilities of a bishop with jurisdiction. A comparison of this section with similar sections of the canons of a number of Anglican provinces reveals the extent of the inadequacy of its description of these duties and responsibilities. The Rwandan canons themselves go into much more detail in subsequently describing the duties and responsibilities of a bishop with jurisdiction.

This proposed amendment drops any reference to a particular view of apostolic succession; sets forth the duties and responsibilities of a bishop with jurisdiction; prohibits a bishop from interfering in another diocese, except as provided in the canons; and makes provision for the election of auxiliary bishops.

Additional proposed amendments to the ACNA constitution and canons are on the Internet at:  http://theheritageanglicannetwork.blogspot.com/2009/06/proposed-amendments-to-constitution-of.html and http://theheritageanglicannetwork.blogspot.com/2009/06/proposed-amendments-to-canons-of.html

[26] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-29-2009 at 12:37 PM · [top]

Katherine [25]
I am drawing attention to the lessons that we can learn from the history of the Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal Church. There is a saying that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

I have observed a tendency in certain quarters of the ACNA to view the kind of episcopacy embodied in certain African provinces and the Roman Catholic Church as a panecea for the problems that orthodox Anglicans experienced in The Episcopal Church. Stephen Noll has pointed out in one of his articles that African ideas of episcopacy is not the panecea that some think it is. The Africans have a lot to learn about the difference between episcopal authority and episcopal tyranny.

The problem is not synodical exercise of episcopal authority, with a synodical meeting of clergy and laity counterbalancing the authority of the bishop, but the spread of theologies that undermine the authority of the Bible and its place in the Church. Another factor is the presence or the absence of the Holy Spirit. Where faith is missing so is likely to be the Holy Spirit. As Article XXI reminds us, “...forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God, they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God.”

[27] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-29-2009 at 01:07 PM · [top]

Which reinforces the point, AA, that the problem is not primarily polity but rather faith.  Since members of the ACNA are American, whether from Africa or somewhere else, I doubt that the polity will grow on an African cultural model.

[28] Posted by Katherine on 7-29-2009 at 01:11 PM · [top]

Katherine [28]
A substantial part of the present ACNA polity is based upon an African model. The form of governance of one of the largest jurisdictions forming the ACNA—the AMiA—is based upon an African model. The primatial vicar with the assistance of a council of missionary bishops governs the AMiA. The Rwandan Primate and House of Bishops appoint the primatial vicar and the missionary bishops, the latter on the recommendation of a primatial vicar. The process is similar to that for appointing bishops to missionary jurisdictions of the Roman Catholic Church. The AMiA has no synodical meetings of clergy and laity.

The method of episcopal election that the ACNA canons favor is an adaption of that the Provinces of Rwanda and Uganda and the proposed canons of the Anglican Missionary Province of North America (AMPNA) but it is missing a number of safeguard found the latter methods of episcopal election. The method of primatial election that the ACNA constitution adopts, while preferred by a number of African provinces, is not confined to those provinces. It is also the method by which the Primus of the liberal Scottish Episcopal Church is chosen.

The legislative system that the ACNA constitution and canons establish, on the other hand, bears a strong resemblence to the structure and governance of the Russian Communist Party during the days of the Soviet Union. This type of party organization was known as “democratic centralism.” The Provincial Council is the highest governig body, not the larger and more representative Provincial Assembly, which only has power to ratify constitutional changes and new canons or return them to the Provincial Council without amendments of its own or even recommendations for amendments. However, the Executive Committee sets the agenda for the Provincial Council and controls what legistlation will come before it.

The North American model of polity gives a much greater role to the laity in the governance of the church and the nomination and election of bishops, including the primate of the province. Shared goverance by bishop, clergy, and laity is a major characteristic of the North American model at all levels. A general synod or its equivalent is the highest governing body of the church at the provincial level, with the House Bishops forming one of the chambers of the general synod. The diocesan synod is the highest governing body of the church at the diocesan level. The province is essentially a federation of autonomous dioceses and the diocese is essentially a federation of self-governing congregations.

[29] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-29-2009 at 01:43 PM · [top]

#29, re: “It is also the method by which the Primus of the liberal Scottish Episcopal Church is chosen.”

You’ve said this before, as though it proves something.  It’s equally valid to say, “It is also the method by which the head of the conservative Rwandan Church is chosen.”  Therefore, what?  Therefore, nothing.

As I’ve said before, you have your dream governance situation in ECUSA, and a fat lot of good it’s done.  As Katherine has said, the issue is faith, not polity.

[30] Posted by Phil on 7-29-2009 at 02:05 PM · [top]

Hi AA

“As for your explanation, it was deficient in lucidity.”

Not really. You just disagreed.

“Basically you asserted that subscribing to FD#3 did not in your opinion compromise your “evangelical principles.”

No. That was my conclusion. My point was that the words Historic Episcopate need not be used in the narrow way you insist upon…you are forcing a particularly Anglo Catholic and unnecessary definition of those words in order to bolster your argument.

“But you offered no clear or conclusive evidence to support your assertion.”

On the contrary. I supplied an example of the use of the very same words, “Historic episcopate” by Presbyterians to point to something very different than what Anglo Catholics mean. That example alone is enough to show that the words are capable of holding a number of different meanings.

The fact, again, is simply that you disagree…which is fine. Instead of simply stating that, however, you pretend that no one has offered an explanation like the one that +Davies offered before and then when “reminded” that, in fact, someone has offered an almost identical argument simply using different evidence, you go on to blather about a lack of clarity.

[31] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 7-29-2009 at 02:32 PM · [top]

Matt, Katherine, et al:  What of the commenters at +Davies posting that ask the following questions - how do you answer them?  He didn’t. 

Would an independent Baptist church with godly congregational overseers possess the ‘historic episcopate’ as you understand it?

And the million dollar question: by confessing “the godly historic Episcopate” in such terms, is article three attempting to add apostolic credit to the present day office of bishop, which you seem to admit is a product significant extra-biblical development?

Not that I don’t see some pragmatic value - as did the church fathers - in the Episcopate. I’m just wondering aloud at how clear and open we are when we say “the word was in the bible, so we’re good to go.” That doesn’t look like integrity from where I sit.

And I am not “Anglicans Ablaze,” notwithstanding the similar alliteration of our monikers!  grin

[32] Posted by An Anxious Anglican on 7-29-2009 at 08:26 PM · [top]

G’day Cobber!
Well that’s a fair dinkum mate - say what y’mean an mean what y’say.  Those poms over there reckun there’s some subltety to what the big fella’s man wrote, like some wry humor and such - but don’t bother with all that woofy pommy stuff.  That’s what I say.

[33] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 7-29-2009 at 08:42 PM · [top]

I’ll bet some woofy pom put comment #33 on the wrong thread - what did I tell you - I ask you.

[34] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 7-29-2009 at 08:45 PM · [top]

29.  That “dream governance” is not what I want, since if we adopted that kind of governance for our province, it would mean more of the problems which are inherent in TEC’s mode of governance.  To put it simply, I don’t want any more of that.  And I don’t think I’m alone.

[35] Posted by Cennydd on 7-29-2009 at 09:11 PM · [top]

Yes, if only ACNA had rejected the work of the large and diverse GTF in favor of AA’s own personal Fundamental Declarations, then the ACNA would not have been the pagan disaster AA saw in Bedford.  Then the masses of evangelicals estranged by the Anglo-Catholic domination of ACNA would have been able to join up with ACNA.  And if only they had adopted AA’s many and much superior additions and amendations to the Constitution and Canons ACNA wouldn’t be in the dire mess it is in now, what with evangelicals unable to join…

[36] Posted by Nevin on 7-29-2009 at 09:26 PM · [top]

I also see a problem with TEC’s manner of choosing their bishops.  For far too long, the election of a bishop has become a sort of popularity contest, designed to determine which candidate would “fit in” with the people and clergy of a diocese, and not always who is best qualified theologically to fill the office of bishop.  Witness the election of the deposed bishop Charles Bennison, for example. 

A candidate’s theological qualifications must always be determined by other bishops, while “fitting in” must always be of secondary importance.  I prefer the ACNA’s method of submitting three pre-qualified candidates to the diocese, with the final approval by the College of Bishops.  That, at least, is my view on the subject.

[37] Posted by Cennydd on 7-29-2009 at 10:50 PM · [top]

Anglicans Ablaze,
Greetings in Christ.
There is always a way around Article IV.7.  The jurisdictions such as The AMIA and CANA, which do not have internal dioceses perse, should be classified as religious orders or territorial prelatures. 
If AMIA or CANA and the like are classified as religious orders then they should have their own governing board at the national church level.  Or if they are then classified as territorial prelatures of the national churches from which they originate from, or be personal prelatures aggrogated to the archbishop of ACNA, this would definately help to keep them from intefering with diocesan jurisdictions.  This is just an idea of a way to go.
Pax,
+Christopher

[38] Posted by ShakeOffTheDust on 7-30-2009 at 12:24 AM · [top]

A candidate’s theological qualifications must always be determined by other bishops, while “fitting in” must always be of secondary importance.  I prefer the ACNA’s method of submitting three pre-qualified candidates to the diocese, with the final approval by the College of Bishops.  That, at least, is my view on the subject.

Whether we like it or not, the Scriptures seem to indicate that church leadership was chosen by other church leaders. The local congregations did not choose for themselves but, rather, had leaders given to them.

So, it seems to me that it’s only right that bishops are chosen by bishops or their delegated appointees. Should the laity and clergy in the diocese get to have a say? Of course, but not so that it tips the balance.

Tricky stuff, but surely better to strive for something Scriptural, even at the expense of our western sensibilities.

[39] Posted by David Ould on 7-30-2009 at 12:28 AM · [top]

If the Archbishop of Sydney was chosen by the other diocesan bishops in Australia then David and my diocese would have long ago ceased to be evangelical. Directly electing the archbishop from the floor of synod has worked to the good in this instance. If the individual dioceses in TEC simply elected their own bishops South Carolina and Central Florida (for example) could hold out forever.
I am not sure that scripture really tells us how we must appoint our leaders. (If it were clear we would all be presbyterian/congregationalist/episcopal take your pick.) To use a set of words we have recently come to know well it may be descriptive not proscriptive.

[40] Posted by obadiahslope on 7-30-2009 at 01:13 AM · [top]

Yes, good point ObadiahS/John.

I think, at the end of the day, we all may want to have our cake and eat it too.
The real question is whether those who make the choice are gospel-minded. What will best ensure that? Prob not systems but simply faithfulness to Jesus and His word.

[41] Posted by David Ould on 7-30-2009 at 01:23 AM · [top]

Matt [31]
As I recall that particular discussion, someone other than myself pointed to your attention that your attempt to redefine the meaning of “historic episcopate,” referring to how the Presbyterians used the term would not fly. The meaning of the term “historic episcopate” as used in the Constitution is found in the Canons. It is found in Canon III.8.2 “Bishops… are successors to the apostles through the grace of the Holy Spirit given them.” Canon III.8.2 is adapted from Title III, Canon 23, Section 1 of the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. This can be seen from a comparison of the two sections. Both sections teach the Anglo-Catholic doctrine of tactual succession. Through a bishop-elects’ consecration to the episcopal office by bishops in the apostolic succession, the bishop-elect inherits from the apostles the transmission of the Holy Spirit which empowers him for the performance of his work, in particular conferring the sacraments of Ordination and Confirmation. With the imposition of hands is given a special grace to “confect” or validly celebrate the sacraments and to tactually confer this grace upon priests at their ordination. The canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda are on the Internet at: http://www.theamia.org/assets/Final Edition of the Canons of the Province of Rwanda.pdf An examination of the Rwandan canons relating to orders and the sacraments will confirm this interpretation of Title III, Canon 23, Section 1.

It is also found in Canon III.5. The wording of this canon reflects the influence of Title III, Canon 10 of the canons of The Episcopal Church. It takes an Anglo-Catholic view of ordination, emphasizing the apostolic succession understood in a tactual sense and the laying-on-of-hands in ordination as a sacramental act.

Independently from myself members of the ACNA have also expressed concerns about the “unnecessary and narrowly partisan language” of FD#3, FD#6, and FD#7 and suggested alternative language to the Governance Task Force. Bishop Mimms brought up the problem at the Provincial Council meeting on the Sunday before the inaugural Provincial Assembly.

Before I began writing about the narrowly partisan doctrinal view of FD#3, as well as after I started writing on the subject, I ran the proposed constitution and canons of the ACNA by a number of conservative evangelical leaders in Australia, Ireland, and the UK. They expressed similar concerns regarding the partisan doctrinal provisions of the Constitution and Canons.

As I pointed to my readers’ attention in “Fundamental Declarations Compared” (on the Internet at: http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/search?q=Fundamental+Declarations+Compared)the ACNA Fundamental Declarations are quite unusual in a number of ways:

None of the other fundamental declarations contain anything like the assertion in Article I that the “seven elements” listed in the article is “characteristic of the Anglican Way.” In this regard the ACNA Fundamental Declarations resemble a Lutheran confession of faith more than they do Anglican fundamental declarations. The tenor of the ACNA Fundamental is also different from that of the other fundamental declarations. The ACNA Fundamental Declarations in paraphrasing the second article of the 1888 Lambeth Quadrilateral does not quite say what that article says. They also take an unnecessarily partisan doctrinal position on the historic episcopate. The other fundamental declarations do not touch upon this issue with perhaps the exception of Article III, 4 (d) of the ACK constitution which, while it affirms the fourth article of the 1888 Lambeth Quadrilateral, does not go beyond affirming that article as does the ACNA Fundamental Declaration and claim that the historic episcopate is “an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice.” The other fundamental declarations limit themselves to references to the three ministries of bishop, priest or presbyter and deacon or the” apostolic orders”....

[42] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-30-2009 at 12:12 PM · [top]

If AnglicansAblaze makes any new or good points, could someone e-mail me?

Thanks.

[43] Posted by Bo on 7-30-2009 at 12:35 PM · [top]

David [39]
I believe that you will encounter disagreement even among Anglicans over the particular interpretation of the New Testament that you are espousing. Can you produce a passage from the New Testament that actually prescribes a particular way of choosing church leaders? Or are you building your position solely on the basis of descriptive passages? If the latter is the case, then an important consideration is whether that the author who included a particular descriptive passage in what he wrote was intending to set a precedent or establish norm for a particular practice by the inclusion of that passage. The New Testament describes a lot of things but that does not mean the authors who included these discriptions in what they wrote intended to set a precedent or establish a norm. Description of a New Testament practice is not sufficient warrant for its continuation in this century.

The following is taken from my article, “The Anglican Church in North America Welcomes You - Part II.” It is on the Internet at: http://theheritageanglicannetwork.blogspot.com/2009/05/anglican-church-in-north-america.html

North American Anglicanism has a two hundred and twenty-five odd year tradition of dioceses electing their own bishops. The origins of the tradition of this tradition can be traced to the early Church. In A History of the Medieval Church 590-1500, Margaret Deanesly describes how bishops were elected in the fifth century:

“By the middle of the fifth century the normal unit of church government was the city group of Christians, headed by the bishop and his ‘familia’ of clergy. The see or sphere of the bishop’s authority included a larger or small territory around his city, very small in the east and Italy where cities were plentiful and Christianity was old, very large in the west where conditions were the opposite. This sphere of authority was known usually as the ‘parochia’ or parish of the bishop. Episcopal sees had already become grouped under provinces, under the authority of the metropolitan or bishop of the mother see. His authority was exercised in a supervision of episcopal elections, (which were made by the clergy, nobles, and people of the parochial under the direction of neighbouring bishops summoned to perform the obsequies of the late bishop), and in the summons and presidency of the provincial synod.” [ 1]

During this period in Church history the laity shared with the clergy in the election of a bishop. Deanesly goes on to point to her readers’ attention:

“Beyond this, the provinces of the church had become grouped into eparchates or patriarchates, around some parochial or see situated in a city of world wide importance , and usually where the first reaching of the faith had been the work of an apostle. There were four eastern and one western patriarchates….The visible organization of the church was broadly the same in all the patriarchates, and rested upon locally trained and ordained family of clergy and locally elected but provincially sanctioned bishops.” [2]

By the ninth century the election of bishops had become the canonical right of the cathedral chapter of the see. The laity continued to share in the episcopal elections in two ways. The nobility participated with the cathedral clergy in the deliberations that preceded the choice of a bishop. The common people, when the new bishop was presented to them, signified their assent to his election by acclamation. By the sixteenth century the chapter’s election of a bishop had become a formality in the English church with the chapter electing the candidate nominated by the king but even Henry VIII did not dispense with this formality. The chapter still technically elected the bishop of the diocese. The diocese chose its own bishop.

In The History of the Christian Church Philip Schaff describes how in a number of cases the people chose the bishop before the clergy:

“Sometimes in the filling of a vacant bishopric the ‘suffragium’ of the people preceded the ‘judicium’ of the clergy of the diocese.  Cyprian, and afterwards Athanasius, Ambrose, Augustin, and many other eminent prelates, were in a manner pressed into the bishopric in this democratic way.”

The practice of bishops choosing bishops would create a self-perpetuating hierarchy which in turn suffers from a number of drawbacks. A major drawback is that if a particular theology dominates the college of bishops, then the the members of that college are going to fill a vacant see with someone stands in the same theological tradition. For example, a college of bishops dominated by Anglo-Catholics would elect Anglo-Catholics or those who would go along with Anglo-Catholic doctrinal views on key isues. Or a college of bishops dominated by proponents of the ordination of women would elect supporters of women’s ordination. And so on. The creation of a self-perpetuating hierarchy provides no assurance that its members will remain orthodox or that they will continue to teach what the apostles taught. Look at what happened to the Roman Catholic Church. It drifted further and further away from the faith of the apostles over the centuries, necessitating the Reformation. In recent times liberal bishops have been appointed in the Roman Catholic Church. The history of episcopacy in the Church of England and the larger Church should also be a warning to us of the other dangers that accompany not counterbalancing episcopal authority with a synod of clergy and laity and not involving the clergy and laity in the nomination and election of bishops in a meaningful way.

[44] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-30-2009 at 01:12 PM · [top]

The history of episcopacy in the Church of England and the larger Church should also be a warning to us of the other dangers that accompany not counterbalancing episcopal authority with a synod of clergy and laity and not involving the clergy and laity in the nomination and election of bishops in a meaningful way.

Just like they do in the Episcopal Church, with stunning success.

[45] Posted by Phil on 7-30-2009 at 01:30 PM · [top]

What of Anxious Anglican’s (“the other AA”) questions at No. 32?  Inquiring minds want to know.

[46] Posted by Aidan on 7-30-2009 at 01:55 PM · [top]

Phil [45]
The particular form of ecclesiastical governance is not the reason that The Episcopal Church has drifted away from orthodoxy albeit there are those who would like to blame its form of church government in order to justify the introduction of a more authoritarian form of ecclesiastical governance. Similar arguments were used in the 1930s to justify the overthrow of democratic governments and to install fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, and Central Europe. The bugaboo, or bugbear, in the 1930s was Communism; in the 21st century Church it is liberalism and revisionism.

An authoritarian form of church government such as that of the Roman Catholic Church is no safeguard against liberalism and revisionism. The Holy See has appointed its share of liberal and revisionist bishops. The Roman Catholic Church has its share of liberal and revisionist provinces, dioceses, clergy, and congregations.

Liberalism and revisionism is a problem that is not unique to TEC. It affects all mainline denominations and even has begun to affect a number of the churches that are not classified as mainline. If you are looking for factors behind the drift of TEC and other churches away from orthodoxy, look at the culture of a particular area and its influence upon churches in that area, especially churches like TEC that are subsceptible to cultural influences. We live in a time of major cultural upheaval, in what some call a “paradigm shift.” Look at a church’s seminaries and what is taught in the seminaries. Look at a church’s bishops or other leaders, what they believe and teach, and most importantly what candidates they approve for ordination and licensure as well as where they send them for training. A church in which the bishops and other clergy are predominantly liberals and revisionists who have been indoctrinating their dioceses and congregations with liberal and revisionist ideologies is bound to move in a more liberal and revisionist direction whatever the form of ecclesiastical governance.

[47] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-31-2009 at 09:39 AM · [top]

Now that Godwin’s Law applies, I’d point out that the ‘democratic’ system in Germany was what produced Hitler as leader.  After rising to power democratically, he decided to stay.  Applicability to governance of other bodies is left to the reader.

Great Britain retained, in theory, a monarchy, every thing done in the name of and by the authority of the King.  To retain that position, he of course, for the main, acted only on ministerial advice, Applicability to governance of other bodies is left to the reader.

It is not the form of governance that is the heart of the trouble, it is the heart of the governed AND OF THE GOVERNED that determine the matter.

[48] Posted by Bo on 7-31-2009 at 09:57 AM · [top]

AnglicansAblaze, I wholeheartedly agree with that (#47).  Respectfully, I think that is the exact opposite of what you’ve often tried to lead others to believe - namely, that without a powerful lay check on bishops, a church will turn revisionist.  As such, might you tone down the criticism of the ACNA canons?  If you think, like a good American, that everything has to be as democratic as possible, that’s a fine criticism to make, but I hope you will dispense with allusions to the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and so forth as in any way relevant to ACNA - of which, again, I am not part.

[49] Posted by Phil on 7-31-2009 at 10:17 AM · [top]

Hi AA,

“As I recall that particular discussion, someone other than myself pointed to your attention that your attempt to redefine the meaning of “historic episcopate,” referring to how the Presbyterians used the term would not fly…”

Nope AA. Sorry about your lack of recall. I was not redefining the term. My argument…which was almost identical in form to +Davies…was that the term is used in a much wider way than you allow. And I employed the Presbyterian usage as evidence of that.

[50] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 7-31-2009 at 10:27 AM · [top]

This is in answer to Anxious Anglican:

“Would an independent Baptist church with godly congregational overseers possess the ‘historic episcopate’ as you understand it?”

yes.

“And the million dollar question: by confessing “the godly historic Episcopate” in such terms, is article three attempting to add apostolic credit to the present day office of bishop, which you seem to admit is a product significant extra-biblical development?”

Hmmm…not sure I agree with the premise here. Yes, the words episcopoi and presbuteroi are used interchangeably in the NT. But your question assumes, apparently, that the development of the office of bishop as we have it today needs some sort of “credit added” in order to be valid in apostolic terms. I don’t agree.

[51] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 7-31-2009 at 10:33 AM · [top]

Matt [50]
You have access to the Stand Firm archives. Pull up that thread and let us take a look at it. It will confirm whether one of the other posters took issue with your argument and what they pointed to the attention of the other posters. We can then judge for ourselves whether your argument is identical with Davies. Even if you and Davies have similar arguments, it does not follow that either of you are correct in your interpretation of FD#3. You are both confronted with the same dilemma. How do I as a self-identified “evangelical” rationalize my support of a declaration that others are claiming gives expression to an Anglo-Catholic view of the “historic episcopate.” The problem that Davies faces is that he is a member of the Sydney Standing Committee which voted to recognize the AC-NA; now attention is being drawn to the fact that the AC-NA does not make room for those who hold to the views of classical evangelical Anglicanism. Puts him in a somewhat ticklish situation. He expressed public support of a body that in its constitution and canons is anti-evangelical and anti-Reformed. There also may be some behind-the-scene diocesan politics of which you may not be aware—disagreement over what future position Sydney should take on the AC-NA.

I have run FD#3 by a number of conservative evangelical leaders outside of North America and they also noted that the FD#3 takes an Anglo-Catholic view of the “historic episcopate.” A number of AC-NA members, evangelical and otherwise, have also come to this conclusion as well as have evangelicals in North America who are not members of the AC-NA. The doctrinal provisions of the canons support the same conclusion.

[52] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-31-2009 at 12:10 PM · [top]

Um…AA,I linked it my original post.

Matt (from Anne’s computer)

[53] Posted by Anne Kennedy on 7-31-2009 at 12:18 PM · [top]

Bo [48]
Democracy did not “produce” Hitler. I have studied Nazism and Hitler’s rise to power. Such a statement is an oversimplification. It fails to take into consideration a number of factors that lie hehind Hilter’s becoming chancellor of Germany and then Fuehrer of the Third Reich. One of the factors that may have contributed to his rise was the authoritarian leanings of a number of segments of German society and their dissatisfaction with democracy. Unfortunately similar trends can be observed in some quarters of the ACNA. Otherwise, I see your point.

[54] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-31-2009 at 12:28 PM · [top]

AA {54]
Oversimplification is what you’re doing with FD#3.

Hitler’s party ‘won’ the election (by plurality), he was appointed chancellor according the the established ‘democratic’ constitution imposed on Germany at the end of WWI, he then won Fuehrer by plebiscite. 

The ‘good people’ of Germany, by democratic means, selected one of the most autocratic and dangerous leaders the world has every seen.

Democratic means do not protect against autocratic effects.  You’re making a mountain of a mole-hill, and its the wrong mole-hill even.  Democracy isn’t a biblical concept, much less a mandate.

[55] Posted by Bo on 7-31-2009 at 12:53 PM · [top]

AA looks at the date of the ACNA founding assembly and finds serious concerns about Paganism .  AA looks at FD #3 and finds a troubling similarity to Nazi Germany .  Are Anglo-Catholics really that bad?

[56] Posted by Nevin on 7-31-2009 at 01:01 PM · [top]

Bo [55]
Democracy did not “produce” Hitler. He took advantage of it in his rise to power. But it did not make him who he was. Other factors did.

My point is that there are similar tendencies being evidenced in the ACNA as were evidenced in the 1930s—to react to radicalism with authoritarianism—in the case of the ACNA at the expense of the synodical exercise of episcopal authority and in Italy, Germany, and Central Europe at the expense of democracy.

[57] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-31-2009 at 01:16 PM · [top]

Hmmm…now where did I put that tinfoil hat?

[58] Posted by Lawrence+ on 7-31-2009 at 01:59 PM · [top]

Matt [53]
Thank you for drawing that to my attention. I am also posting the link in this post so other readers do not have to scroll to the top of the thread. http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/23065/

You may have believed that you had proved your case but several posts in the thread indicate that the posters were not convinced by your arguments. Look for a moment at the logic of your main argument. One group of ninteenth century Presbyterians affirmed a particular interpretation of “historic episcopate,” therefore all individuals who hold to a Reformed theology should be able to accept FD#3. They should have no objections to that declaration. Your logic is flawed. It does not stand that because A accepted B, C can accept D. Your argument is also predicated upon the assumption that the view of this group represented the view of all Reformed Christians on the topic. It is further predicated on the assumption that FD#3 is open to several different interpretations, and we simply chose the interpretation that we find acceptable and ignore those interpretations which we do not find acceptable. If we take this way of thinking a little further, then Scripture also has multiple meanings and we can pick the meaning that we find most congenial. Indeed, Scripture means whatever meaning we bring to it. We both know where that leads.

Is that what Glenn Davies is saying?

My own research of the term ‘historic episcopate’ reveals that the term has an elastic meaning conveying many interpretations. It can refer to the monarchical episcopate of the ancient and medieval church, with all the distinctive developments of those times. However, it can also refer to the ‘historical’ order of bishops in the New Testament church (Philippians 1:1). Since the ACNA claims it is ‘part of the apostolic faith and practice’, then this use of the term ‘historic episcopate’ must have had its origins in the New Testament. One can only assume that the ‘episcope’ to which they refer is that which is actually mentioned in the New Testament, as for example in 1 Timothy 3:1; Titus 1:7 and Acts 20:28. Of course the episcopate evolved during the three centuries following the apostolic church, where bishops more readily reflected the ministries of Timothy and Titus, than the average presbyter/episkopos. However, its roots and history are clearly in the New Testament. It is therefore not at all surprising that one of the readings for the consecration of a bishop in the Ordinal of 1662 must be from either 1 Timothy 3:1-7 or Acts 20:17-35.

I do not think that it can be proved from Scripture that what emerged in the medieval church in terms of the ‘historic episcopate’ satisfies Article VI of the 39 Articles:

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

Only that historical ministry of bishops (episkopoi), practised and taught by the apostles, can be proved by Scripture and thus be in the words of ACNA, ‘an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.’

While Davies recognizes that “historic episcopate” has a number of interpretations, he argues that only one interpretation of the term is Biblical. Since the FD#3 claims that “the historic episcopate” is “an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice,” Davies assumes that it must be referring to the Biblical interpretation of the term. He is unable to countenance the idea that the interpretation of “historic episcopate” used in FD#3 might be other than Scriptural. This, however, not what you say in your main argument.

But is your approach to the use of the term “historic episcopate” in FD#3 or Davies’ supported by the ACNA Canons? The answer is “no”. They take the view that came to the fore in Anglican circles with John Hnery Newman’s first Tract for the Times. This view claims that the apostles ordained bishops to succeed them, and that the historic episcopate, which stretches back in unbroken succcession to the apostles, is absolutely essential to the church. Without such ordination, the exerciseof a “valid"ministry and the celebration of a “valid” sacrament is an impossibility. This interpretation of “historic episcopate” comes from Church tradition, not Scripture, and is historically associated with the Roman Catholic Church and Anglo-Catholicism.

[59] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-31-2009 at 02:00 PM · [top]

Lawrence [58]
If you do not believe that a number of ACNA members welcome a more authoritarian church take a look at some of the past threads on Stand Firm and Virtue Online.

You do not need your tin foil hat. The aliens have completed their harvest. There are no more crop circles. Aliens are not running around the roof of your house at night or lurking in your basement or pantry. You may also pour the glasses of water down the sink. But remember in three more years its 2012 and the end of the world. The Mayan calendar cycle comes to an end. The prophesies of Nostrodamus foretell it. So does the I Ching. If you have seen the most recent issue of National Georgraphic there is dormant super-volcano in Yellow Stone Park. The caldera is so big that it encompasses the whole park. If it ever explodes, it will indeed be the end of the world as we know it—a vocanic winter and the extinction of the human race! May be you had better dig out your tin foil hat and hide in the closet.

[60] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-31-2009 at 02:12 PM · [top]

AA 57
One more time.
Democratic processes put Hitler in power.  The electorate loved him! Your advocacy of ‘democratic’ principals as a hedge against excess by those in authority is shown to be without secure foundation.  People chose for themselves poor leaders more often than you’re willing to admit.

Paul did not direct Titus to hold elections, but to appoint leaders.  This may not be the only means by which leaders could or should be selected in the church (the ‘chose you out seven, who we will consecrate’ comes to mind). but there is no evidence in Scripture, nor the world, that the election of leaders is sanctioned of God as especially to be prised, nor that it is a protection against either abuse or error by or in those leaders.

Lawrence,
Might I suggest that one be sure that the ‘tinfoil’ is both genuine (aluminum) and well grounded.  Silver of course would be even better. smile smile

[61] Posted by Bo on 7-31-2009 at 02:23 PM · [top]

Hi AA,

hmm…

“You may have believed that you had proved your case but several posts in the thread indicate that the posters were not convinced by your arguments.”

And several posts in the thread indicate the opposite.

“Look for a moment at the logic of your main argument. One group of ninteenth century Presbyterians affirmed a particular interpretation of “historic episcopate,” therefore all individuals who hold to a Reformed theology should be able to accept FD#3.”

Wow. You have utterly misrepresented my argument. I Did not, as any even casual reader of the original post can clearly see (thanks for re-posting it), suggest that because the 1880’s presbyterians used Historic Episcopate in a certain way all who hold a reformed theology can too. I know that is how you wanted to read what I wrote but that is not what I wrote.

Rather my point—made over and over again in the thread and in the actual post—was that the term “Historic Episcopate” can be applied beyond the narrow confines of Anglo Catholicism. It has a wide range of meaning which is, as you note, precisely +Davies’ point.

I tend to think that you know very well what you are doing but since you were caught misrepresenting the facts on the Sydney Anglicans site you have had to “play dumb” here.

“Your logic is flawed. It does not stand that because A accepted B, C can accept D. Your argument is also predicated upon the assumption that the view of this group represented the view of all Reformed Christians on the topic.”

No your misrepresentation of my argument contains flawed logic…which helps when you are in the process of building a strawman.

[62] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 7-31-2009 at 02:56 PM · [top]

Bo- Good thought, but my silver is all tied up in bullets right now. vampire season and all.

[63] Posted by Lawrence+ on 7-31-2009 at 03:10 PM · [top]

Matt [62]
But your point is not Davies’ point. Davies recognizes that “historic episcopate” has been interpreted in a number of ways but only one interpretation is Biblical. He assumes that since the ACNA is claiming “historic episcopate” to be “an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice that the ACNA interpretation of FD#3 is the Biblical one as he understands it. You are misinterpreting what Davies is saying. Rather you are focusing on the first part of what he says and ignoring the rest. Davies himself admits in his blog entry that he does not know how North American Anglicans have historically interpreted the term “historic epsicopate.” Based upon what the Canons say Davies is wrong in his assumption.

I also did not misrepresent the “facts” on the Sydney website. I saved the official statements of the Governance Task Force. In none of them do the GTS make the kind of arguments that you and Glenn Davies make. Philip Ashey in his non-official remarks stressed the consistency between the 1886 Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and FD#3. The High Church party dominated the Episcopal House of Bishops in 1886 and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral reflects the Anglo-Catholic understanding of the historic episcopate.

You are arguing that “historic episcopate” can mean more than how Anglo-Catholics understand the term. But such an argument does take you into the realm of multiple meanings and subjective interpretations. It also sidesteps the primary issue, “What does FD#3 actually mean?” Not what it might mean. Not what it can mean. But what does it mean. To determine what it mean we must turn to the Canons. The latter clearly understand the term “historic episcopate” in the sense that Anglo-Catholics have historically understood it.

[64] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-31-2009 at 03:55 PM · [top]

Bo [61]
Democracy did not “produce” Hitler. Hitler was a product of other factors—his home environment, Imperial Germany, antisemitism, World War I, reperations, and so on. These factors are what shaped his thinking and set him on the path to political power. There may have also been a spiritual element. Hitler strongly believed in what he called “Providence.” He told a story how during World War I he heard a voice warning him not to sit down with some fellow soldiers. He heeded that warning. A shell exploded among the soldiers, killing them.

Many Germans who voted for Hitler wanted a strong, authoritarian leader. They had heard his speeches. Hitler had also set down his plans for Germany in Mein Kampf.

While a synodical form of church government may not be perfect, it does provide a hedge against the abuse and misuse of episcopal authority if the synod takes its role as a counterbalance to the bishop seriously and resists proposals to give more power to the bishop.

The directions that Paul gives to Titus were for Titus and not the whole church. When Paul is giving directions for the whole church, it is evident from the passage. The term used in the Greek is kathistemi, which is used here and two other places in the New Testament (Hebrews 5.1; Hebrews 8.3) in the sense “ordain.” Paul is directing Titus to ordain the leaders of the house churches in the town of Crete where he was ministering. The other term used in the Greek is diatasso, which is used here and in 1 Corinthians 7.17, 1 Corinthians 9.14, and Galatians 3.19 in the sense “ordained.” In Acts 6.3 the church is instructed to look about for (the Greek word is episkeptomai)qualified candidates for deacon and to present them to the apostles that they might, the word in the Greek is again kathistemi but used this time in the sense “appoint” but in the particular sense of set apart to carryout an office. It can also mean “make.” Hence the Anglican Ordinal speaks of making deacons.

The New Testament does not mandate a particular method of selecting church leaders. But it also does not prohibit any particular method of selecting them. While the New Testament contains passages that describe how the New Testament church selected leaders, these passages are not normative to all congregations at all times, in all locations, and in all situations. The fact a New Testament passage describes a church practice does not make it mandatory. There must be evidence in a descriptive passage that the author was establishing a precedent. Mandatory practices are normally prescribed or commanded in the Bible. Even then some imperatives are local, normative only at the time they were written, while others are universal, normative for today.

[65] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 7-31-2009 at 05:06 PM · [top]

AA
I would appreciate it if you objected to what I said, rather that what you wish I had said. I have never said ‘democracy produced Hitler’.  (Though I think this is now the third time you’ve attempted to put those words in my mouth.)

I have said that democracy was no bar to his rise to power, (you’ve admitted he used it!) and that democratic processes laid out in the Republican Constitution were not sufficient to prevent abuses of power by men elected to office, especially when the people approved of the early success of that person. 

Your call for a more ‘democratic process’, in addition to having no direct support in the Scriptures, has many counter-arguments, Hitler’s Germany being just the most vivid example from the world, the total absence of any mention of ‘election’ or ‘selection’ by the congregation of leadership above that of ‘waiter’ being another.

While a synodical form of church government may not be perfect, it does provide a hedge against the abuse and misuse of episcopal authority if the synod takes its role as a counterbalance to the bishop seriously and resists proposals to give more power to the bishop.

The more ‘americanized’ PECUSA’s HoD hasn’t been all that effective at controlling abuse.  The ‘we can always vote with our feet and wallets’ doesn’t sound like a bad way of implementing ‘checks and balances’, it is, at the least, a method that has not been shown to fail before. smile smile

he directions that Paul gives to Titus were for Titus and not the whole church.

Failing a limiting clause in scripture, that would remain conjecture. The instructions to Titus might well be intended as normative, (The Apostles having delegated Bishops to appoint/anoint bishops/presbyters/priests or it could apply only to mission churches (where someone from the ‘mother church’ does so), or could be a limited delegation of authority (for one man, in one region).  Or it could be that the Holy Ghost is quite capable of using some elders made so by means of appointment by an existing bishop, and others selected by other means (the 7 method)....

The New Testament does not mandate a particular method of selecting church leaders.

Exactly.  So there can be no claim that the appointment of Bishops by existing bishops is counter-scriptural.  We can only raise the point that it ‘does not seem best to me’ for the various means by the various bodies.  You of course seem bound to decry in terms stronger than ‘I don’t like it’ the authority and means of selection of bishops in ACNA.

he fact a New Testament passage describes a church practice does not make it mandatory.

In the case of Titus appointing/making/consecrating does however indicate that it is biblical and had apostolic sanction (remember no mention of any election, selection, or approval by the local church is made in the passage), means of limiting the power of Bishops is limited, from what I recall of the Scriptures is simply to ‘come out from among them, which is an option each of the dioceses have in ACNA.

I’m Baptist.  We ‘join with God’ in ‘issuing a call’ to our Pastors (our ‘episcopate/presbytery’), who have had their consecration (the laying on of hands) by the males in the congregation that ‘ordained them to ministry’.  Obviously I’m not one to be arguing that having bishops anoint and appoint is the only valid method. 

I am pointing out that you have attacked a method that is biblical, primarily on the basis that you think it leaves out a ‘safeguard’ - the ‘democratic process’ - that has failed, in the ‘church’ and in the ‘world’.

[66] Posted by Bo on 8-1-2009 at 01:49 AM · [top]

Hi AA, looks like I am not the only one you misrepresent.

Let’s review.

1. AA on the Sydney Anglicans site claims that: ““In the Internet debate preceding the inaugural Provincial Assembly nothing like the explanation of the historic episcopate that you [Davies] gave was offered.”

I point out that in fact, his argument about the expansive nature of the the words HE is exactly like mine except for the fact that we offer different supporting evidence.

AA refuses to acknowledge this for several posts and then says:

“you are focusing on the first part of what he says and ignoring the rest.”

Why does that bother AA? Because in fact, at least “the first part” of what Davies says and what I say are similar…

He goes on:

“Davies himself admits in his blog entry that he does not know how North American Anglicans have historically interpreted the term “historic epsicopate.” Based upon what the Canons say Davies is wrong in his assumption.”

Whether the canons say what you suggest they do is another argument…it has little to do with your claim that “In the Internet debate preceding the inaugural Provincial Assembly nothing like the explanation of the historic episcopate that you [Davies] gave was offered.”

In fact, Davies wrote:

“One can only assume that the ‘episcope’ to which they refer is that which is actually mentioned in the New Testament, as for example in 1 Timothy 3:1; Titus 1:7 and Acts 20:28. Of course the episcopate evolved during the three centuries following the apostolic church, where bishops more readily reflected the ministries of Timothy and Titus, than the average presbyter/episkopos…”

I wrote:

“I believe the simplicity and general nature of the language contained in statement [1.3] mitigates against an absolutist Anglo-Catholic reading. Notice, especially, the failure to capitalize the word “historic” which sets the word in a descriptive category—like the word “godly” which precedes it—rather than as part of the proper name of the established Anglo Catholic doctrine of “The Historic Episcopate”.

Now, I can certainly understand how my failure to cite 1 Timothy 3:1; Titus 1:7 and Acts 20:28 as did Davies might lead you to overlook my point here. But my argument was that the broadness of the language meant that the drafters the CCP theological statement were NOT explicitly pointing to the Anglo Catholic doctrine but in a subtle way appealing to the scriptural descriptions of episcopoi with which all side can agree.

That was the understanding I embraced even before my involvement with the GTS.

You can certainly argue that my understanding is/was incorrect, but you you cannot say that “In the Internet debate preceding the inaugural Provincial Assembly nothing like the explanation of the historic episcopate that you [Davies] gave was offered…”

Both Davies and I argue that the wording of 1.3 seems to suggest that the authors were not embracing a particular Anglo Catholic reading.

You then move to actually change the claim you made on Sydney Anglicans. You write:
“I also did not misrepresent the “facts” on the Sydney website. I saved the official statements of the Governance Task Force. In none of them do the GTS make the kind of arguments that you and Glenn Davies make.”

This is rich. Notice how AA shifts the ground from “internet debate preceding the inaugural assembly” to “official statements of the Governance Task Force”

I’m going to save this thread too AA…it is quite instructive.

[67] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 8-1-2009 at 06:32 AM · [top]

Matt [67]
As you just admitted, you came to the FD#3 with a pre-existing interpretation in mind. This is the interpretation of FD#3 that you continue to maintain. Glenn Davies tries to reconcile FD#3 to his evangelical views. You do not take the same view of FD#3 despite your insistence that you do. There may be some superficial resemblances but your view and Davies’ are quite different.

Philip Ashey in a post on 5-25-09 said:

“Just a further note in regards to the objections to Article 1 Section 3.  Some have suggested that the language from The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral would be a more appropriate statement regarding the centrality of the historic episcopate.  We note that the CLQ describes “as an inherent part of this sacred deposit, and therefore as essential to the restoration of unity…” the “Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.”  This language is certainly consistent with Article 1 FD#3 and under the principle of subsidiarity any diocese within ACNA would be free to use exactly this language in its own C&C;to clarify the office, role and authority of its bishop(s).”

When asked if the Governance Task Force could make an official statement on whether or not FD#3 took the “esse” position on the historic episcopate, Ashey’s response was:

“We do recognize that there are questions and have done, and are doing, our best to try and address them in a reasonable way.  This thread may not be the best way, but please be assured that we are working on it. 

Likewise, it would be presumptuous of us to issue papers or commentary and label them “The Federalist Papers”—I think some other folks of greater note have already taken that title!”

On 6/12/09 the Governance Task Force issued the document, “An Overview of the Work of the Governance Task Force on the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America,” (on the Internet at: http://www.theacna.org/about/INTRO_to_work_of_GTF_FINAL_v1.pdf). This document contains no clarification of FD#3. In the section, ” Constitution and Canons that define our identity as Anglicans,” Philip Ashey states:

“Those Fundamental Declarations include the Bible as the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life (FD1), the two dominical sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion (FD2), the godly historic episcopate (FD3), the three Catholic Creeds (FD4), the teaching of the first four councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh councils in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures (FD5), the 1662 BCP as a standard for Anglican doctrine and worship (and with the books that preceded it the standard for Anglican worship) (FD6), and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (1571) as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief (FD7).”

This is the only reference to FD#3 I find in the document and it does not offer the requested clarification of FD#3.

At the Provincial Council meeting on 6/21/2009 Bishop Mimms drew to the attention of the Council the concerns of CANA members regarding the Catholic language of FD#3. The response was not a denial of the statement that the language was “too Catholic” but rather the claim from Anglo-Catholic members of the Council that the language of the other declarations were “too Protestant.” This response is interesting because a number of the declarations represent concessions to Catholic views on a number of key issues—the Anglican formularies, for example. It also suggests that Anglo-Catholic Council members do not share your view of FD#3.

Canon III.5.1 states:
“When Ministers ordained in a Jurisdiction not ordered in the Historic Succession nor in communion with this Church desire to be a Deacon or Presbyter in this Church, they shall apply to a Bishop of this Church for ordination to the diaconate and presbyterate.”

Canon III.5.3 states:
“When a Minister ordained in a Jurisdiction by a Bishop of the Historic Succession but not in communion with this Church desires to be received as a member of the Clergy of this Church, the person shall comply with Sections 1 and 2 of this Canon. Thereafter, being satisfied of the person’s theological qualifications and successful completion of the examination specified in Canon III.3.1 and soundness in the faith, the Bishop may, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee or its equivalent:

1. Receive the person into this Church in the Orders to which already ordained by a Bishop in the Historic Succession; or….”

As I noted in an earlier post [#41], the wording of this canon reflects the influence of Canon III.10 of The Episcopal Church. It takes an Anglo-Catholic view of ordination, emphasizing the apostolic succession understood in a tactual sense and the laying-on-of-hands in ordination as a sacramental act.

Canon III.8.2 states:

“By the tradition of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, Bishops are consecrated for the whole Church and are successors of the Apostles through the grace of the Holy Spirit given to them.”

As I also noted in an earlier post [#42] Canon III.8.2 is adapted from Canon III. 23.1 of the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. This can be seen from a comparison of the two sections. Both sections teach the Anglo-Catholic doctrine of tactual succession.

Both point to a narrow Anglo-Catholic interpretation of FD#3.

I have also saved a number of threads, including most of the Internet debate related to the ACNA constitution and canons—those containing the entries which you allege that I misrepresent. As I believe you well know I have not misrepresented anything. Therefore I can only surmise that your intent is to lead people into believing that I am misrepresenting things by repeating that same false accusation over and over again. Look how you started this thread with a false accusation, which you later withdrew recognizing that it would be obvious to our readers that it was false. You offered no apology. The fact that at times you resort to ridicule, not only on this thread but also other threads, as well as make false accusations, is unbecoming in any Christian but especially one in holy orders. You give the appearance of trying to define me as a liar with the intent of weakening my credibility. It is a gambit well known in politics—define your opponent before he can define himself. Some of your remarks are quite unnecessary and do nothing to further understanding.

As always, your brother in Christ,
Robin G. Jordan

[68] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 8-1-2009 at 11:55 AM · [top]

Canon III.5.1 states:
When Ministers ordained in a Jurisdiction not ordered in the Historic Succession nor in communion with this Church desire to be a Deacon or Presbyter in this Church, they shall apply to a Bishop of this Church for ordination to the diaconate and presbyterate.

So, I’d have to apply for ordination, even if I were already a deacon in the Baptist Church, but not if I were in REC (or other Church in Communion), or the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Churches, right?

Canon III.5.3 states:
When a Minister ordained in a Jurisdiction by a Bishop of the Historic Succession but not in communion with this Church desires to be received as a member of the Clergy of this Church, the person shall comply with Sections 1 and 2 of this Canon. Thereafter, being satisfied of the person’s theological qualifications and successful completion of the examination specified in Canon III.3.1 and soundness in the faith, the Bishop may, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee or its equivalent:

So, if a Roman or Orthodox, I’d still have to prove that my theology was ‘right’, meet the stipulations of section 1 & 2, and then I MIGHT be brought over at ‘existing rank’.  IF the Standing Committee (You know the democratic part of this setup) says its OK to do so….


That’s not scary.
That’s reasonable.

[69] Posted by Bo on 8-1-2009 at 12:15 PM · [top]

Bo [66]
Here is what you said in an earlier post [#48]: “I’d point out that the ‘democratic’ system in Germany was what produced Hitler as leader.” I am not as you suggest trying to put words in your mouth.

Synods may be an imperfect safeguard but they are better than no safeguards. The ACNA constitution and canons provide few if any real safeguards. In my experience a lot of damage can be done before a congregation reaches the point where it pulls up stakes and leaves. The ACNA constitution and canons also continues to permit dioceses to hold property in trust and to take property in trust. This for some congregations will put the kabosh upon them leaving with the local church property. So the threat of congregations leaving is a limited deterent to episcopal abuse of authority.

The problem in TEC is that a large number of bishops are liberals and revisionists and liberals and revisionists, clergy and lay, dominate the diocesan conventions that elect delegates to the General Convention. I do not know how well you are acquainted with how things are done in TEC but diocesan bishop generally has control over what business comes before the diocesan convention. Resolutions from the floor do not go anywhere unless the “powers that be” give them the nod. This is not how William White, the architect of the original TEC constitution envisioned how diocesan conventions would work but reflects High Church influences in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Please credit me with a realistic view of the strengths and limitation of “democratic processes,” including congregationalism. A synodical form of church government is the most common form of ecclesiastical governance in Anglican provinces. How well it works varies from province and province. There are also as many ways of “electing” bishops as there are provinces and in some cases as there are dioceses in a province. The term “electing” is used rather loosely. I have studied a number of methods of choosing bishops in a number of provinces, even those of the provinces and the Anglican Missionary Province of North America, on which the method of episcopal “election” that the ACNA canons favor is based. They have many more safeguard spelled out in their canons than do the ACNA canons. For one thing, they clearly outline the process of nomination and election step by step, something that the ACNA canons do not do.

[70] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 8-1-2009 at 12:44 PM · [top]

What on earth are you talking about AA?

I began this thread with this “assertion”:

“Curiously Robin Jordan (Anglicans Ablaze) suggests that “In the Internet debate preceding the inaugural Provincial Assembly nothing like the explanation of the historic episcopate that you gave was offered.” Odd…considering that Jordan commented voluminously in both Stand Firm threads.”

And I have done nothing but maintain it all the way through. You have shown yourself willing to misrepresent me and those who differ with you many times and I have demonstrated that on this thread.

Now for the body of what you wrote in 68

“As you just admitted, you came to the FD#3 with a pre-existing interpretation in mind. This is the interpretation of FD#3 that you continue to maintain.”

Yes. And there is nothing about 1.3 that conflicts wiht that interpretation.

“Glenn Davies tries to reconcile FD#3 to his evangelical views. You do not take the same view of FD#3 despite your insistence that you do. There may be some superficial resemblances but your view and Davies’ are quite different.”

Nope. Sorry. That is a bald assertion that I have already shown to be simply groundless. I personally take precisely the same view of 1.3 as Davies.

The question that is debateable is whether that view is correct with regard to the intent of the authors of 1.3 and the canons of the ACNA. I believe that it is. You think otherwise.

Your material regarding Ashey+ does nothing but, once more, beg the question with regard to the meaning of “Historic Episcopate” in 1.3. I have no idea why you included it.

Your story about the Minns’ exchange is again irrelevant to the question of what the words historic Episcopate mean. Of cours Anglo Catholics apply them in an Anglo Catholic way…what do you expect? And of course evangelicals apply them in an evangelical way…which is precisely the benefit of using inherently broad terms like “Historic Episcopate” because, alluding as it does beyond “apostolic succession” and embracing the biblical foundation of the office of episcopoi, it can embrace both Anglo Catholic and Evangelical applications. 

““Canon III.5.1 states:
“When Ministers ordained in a Jurisdiction not ordered in the Historic Succession nor in communion with this Church desire to be a Deacon or Presbyter in this Church, they shall apply to a Bishop of this Church for ordination to the diaconate and presbyterate.”

Canon III.5.3 states:
“When a Minister ordained in a Jurisdiction by a Bishop of the Historic Succession but not in communion with this Church desires to be received as a member of the Clergy of this Church, the person shall comply with Sections 1 and 2 of this Canon. Thereafter, being satisfied of the person’s theological qualifications and successful completion of the examination specified in Canon III.3.1 and soundness in the faith, the Bishop may, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee or its equivalent:

1. Receive the person into this Church in the Orders to which already ordained by a Bishop in the Historic Succession; or….”

As I noted in an earlier post [#41], the wording of this canon reflects the influence of Canon III.10 of The Episcopal Church. It takes an Anglo-Catholic view of ordination, emphasizing the apostolic succession understood in a tactual sense and the laying-on-of-hands in ordination as a sacramental act.

Canon III.8.2 states:

“By the tradition of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, Bishops are consecrated for the whole Church and are successors of the Apostles through the grace of the Holy Spirit given to them.”

As I also noted in an earlier post [#42] Canon III.8.2 is adapted from Canon III. 23.1 of the canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. This can be seen from a comparison of the two sections. Both sections teach the Anglo-Catholic doctrine of tactual succession.

Both point to a narrow Anglo-Catholic interpretation of FD#3.”

No Robin, both canons are common practice in TEC and most every other Anglican province and say nothing at all about the use of the words historic episcopate in 1.3. They do say that the ACNA, like TEC, and every other Anglican province, recognizes that its bishops are in historic succession and that this is an important component of our tradition. But is says nothing about succession being essential to the church.

Interesting, also, Robin, that you leave out canon 8.1 which defines a bishop scriptures and sets 8.2, which deals with historic succession in the context of tradition, into perspective:

“Section 1 - Concerning Requirements for Bishop According to Holy Scripture
A Bishop is called by God and the Church to be a shepherd who feeds the flock entrusted to his
care. A Bishop is an overseer of the flock and as such is called to propagate, to teach, and to
uphold and defend the faith and order of the Church willingly and as God wants him to – not
greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to his care, but being a
wholesome example to the entire flock of Christ (1 Peter 5:2-3). These requirements are in
addition to the requirements set forth in Canon 2 for Deacon (1 Timothy 3:8-10) and for
Presbyter (1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17; Titus 1:6-9).”

In any case, you go on:

“As I believe you well know I have not misrepresented anything.”

No, I think you have misrepresented quite a bit.”

“Therefore I can only surmise that your intent is to lead people into believing that I am misrepresenting things by repeating that same false accusation over and over again.”

Nope. My intent is to show how you have misrepresented not only what I have written but also the nature of the “internet debate”.

“Look how you started this thread with a false accusation, which you later withdrew recognizing that it would be obvious to our readers that it was false.”

Nope. I withdrew nothing. It was not a false accusation. What on earth are you talking about?

“You offered no apology.”

You are right about that.

“The fact that at times you resort to ridicule, not only on this thread but also other threads, as well as make false accusations, is unbecoming in any Christian but especially one in holy orders.”

Not at all. You have become embittered and angry that your suggestions were not adopted by the ACNA and you have over the course of the last months/year become more and more prone to misrepresentation and mischaracterization.

“You give the appearance of trying to define me as a liar with the intent of weakening my credibility.It is a gambit well known in politics—define your opponent before he can define himself. Some of your remarks are quite unnecessary and do nothing to further understanding.”

The way you have conducted yourself speaks for itself.

[71] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 8-1-2009 at 12:51 PM · [top]

“weakening my credibility” LOL.  I think that was sufficiently shredded when AA voiced serious alarms about the pagan implications of the date of ACNA’s founding assembly.  AA sees Anglo-Catholic bogeymen haunting every nook and cranny of ACNA.  Please stop trying to persaude him they aren’t real…

[72] Posted by Nevin on 8-1-2009 at 01:12 PM · [top]

You know, this thread has served its purpose and is becoming far too personal. I am shutting down comments.

[73] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 8-1-2009 at 01:22 PM · [top]

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