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ACNA C&Cs: Nice Little Bishops’ Cabal You Got There?

Friday, May 22, 2009 • 2:19 pm


[With the previous thread’s discussion going strong on the ACNA C&Cs I’ve decided to open up another post for continuing that discussion.]

Wowzer.

Is the ACNA really going to approve a Constitutions and Canons that disallow all future lay and clergy choosing their bishops for new dioceses, phrased as it now is as: “Where the originating body is newly formed, that body shall normally nominate two or three candidates, from whom the College of Bishops may select one”?

And look, they’ve neatly grandfathered in the dioceses of the AMiA, the three Anglo-Catholic dioceses, the dioceses of the REC—but all the “newly formed” dioceses must have their bishop selected [from two or three candidates] by the College of Bishops.

Am I reading this correctly—and did all the previous drafts of the C&Cs include this line?

Is the “newly formed” diocese forever “newly formed”—or do they get to elect their own bishop after the *first bishop* is selected by the Council of Bishops?

Years ago I was informed—over and over and over and over again—by departing Episcopalians that politics was a Bad Bad Thing, that I was becoming Badder and Badder by engaging in it, and that where they were going there would be no need to engage in Bad Bad Politics.

But politics is merely the ordering of institutions and organizations by human beings.  That’s what politics is—and one may choose to be a part of that ordering or choose to remain and act oblivious to that ordering, while it goes on all around one by others.  But this choice to insert this little rule about the bishops being selected—[neatly shuffling off the laypeople and clergy from simply selecting their own bishop and still allowing said bishop up for approval to the college of bishops]—is a political choice with rather far-reaching consequences.  It centralizes a massive amount of power in the College of Bishops and certainly shortchanges any power of the laity and clergy. 

With this rule as a huge red flag, I would begin—were I departing TEC for the ACNA—to explore and scour the C&Cs for further evidence of further centralization of power with the College of Bishops.

If there’s anything at all we’ve learned—surely—over the past years it’s the sheer perfidy and oiliness of bishops-with-power.  Revisionist bishops.  Orthodox bishops.  Moderate bishops.  Institutionalist bishops.  When they are unchecked by lay and clergy resistance, they run rampant over parishes, laypeople, clergy, canons, and constitution.  It’s just a given.

How on earth a group of laypeople and clergy leaving a corrupt nasty oily place like TEC with its current crop of bishops and promptly deciding they were going to “be like Nigeria and Uganda” and allow their College of Bishops to select a bishop for a diocese one cannot imagine.

People are just sheer mysteries.

I have no interest, honestly, in what Nigeria or Uganda do in selecting their bishops, any more than I have an interest in how the COE selects its bishops; otherwise I’d be hoping that the ACNA would also introduce a Queen somewhere in the mix.  The one thing that the bishops of TEC have not been able to corral, in fact, is their Rebellious Wicked Laity, despite attempting to do so by enacting some new disciplinary standards at GC 2006.  The primary thing that has led to the excellent chaos and resistance in TEC dioceses is groups of laity standing together and saying “no way, Hosea.”

Years ago, other departing TECans who weren’t explaining to me how Bad Politics Was, were earnestly informing me that they had Really Really Learned their lessons.  They weren’t fleeing fighting battles—they recognized that wherever they went, they’d need to engage and be a part any new organization and little stone bridges and battles over those bridges were everywhere.

Well . . . in one month’s time will be their chance.  Do you know who your delegates are?  Where do they stand on the various parts of the C&Cs?  Have they even read the C&Cs?  Do they know one another?  Have they networked with other delegates of like mind?

Good luck in June.

And I really mean that—I’d rather have the joy of seeing my friends in a highly functional, healthy ACNA, then a repeat only conservative version of TECusa.

So here’s my question for the purposes of conversation on this thread.  Setting aside the above issue of selecting a bishop for the newly formed dioceses, are there other parts of the C&Cs that yield further centralization of power for the College of Bishops and decline of power for laity and clergy?

This will serve as an ACNA C&C discussion thread.


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Comments:

PLEASE….let’s have no more popularity contests!

[1] Posted by Cennydd on 05-22-2009 at 04:08 PM • top

Right—so why would you want the popularity contest to be settled in an even smaller group than before, Cennydd?

Or is it that bishops will, necessarily, nevah nevah nevah engage in a popularity contest?

[2] Posted by Sarah on 05-22-2009 at 04:10 PM • top

The latter would be ideal.  But then we DO need to have a chat with the Provincial Council re the bishops’ elections, don’t we?

[3] Posted by Cennydd on 05-22-2009 at 04:22 PM • top

The temptation departing groups easily fall into is that of creating a reactive structure. Rather like some theology, which proceeds to identify the error in another theology, propose its opposite and then seeks biblical texts to bolster what is probably as “novel” as that opposed, in this age of structural obsession, “continuing” groups have often sought safety in creating “safe” organizational methods.

While the manner of electing bishops and the powers attributed to General Convention may seem to be the crux of the problem to be avoided, the real heart of the matter is centered in the area of belief. Given sound belief and practice how one discerns a vocation to episcopacy matters very little.

[4] Posted by wvparson on 05-22-2009 at 04:38 PM • top

Sarah -

Thank you so much for posting this issue in a separate thread and giving it attention on the Stand Firm Website.  I have been wondering why this has not been given more attention as I sent to you and other leaders at Stand Firm in a private message.

Without a doubt, we have some godly people working on these canons and constitutions. Without a doubt orthodox Anglicans are rejoicing in the formation of ACNA. However, I believe that there are many substantial issues that need to be addressed. This is certainly one of them.

Others include the moving of the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration from point 8 in the fundamental declarations to the pre-amble. Ironically, as of this morning in Section 1 of the Fundamental Declarations as posted on the Common Cause website, it states that there are 8 affirmations for authentic Anglicanism but only 7 follow.

The move is problematic given the very different language that the other fundamental declarations use to affirm the 39 articles and the prayer book when compared to the Jerusalem Declarations. As a practical matter what does it mean to affirm two very different statements about the articles and the prayer book? Further, what does it mean if one set of affirmations is in the preamble and the other is in the fundamental declarations? Is the commitment to the Jerusalem Declaration somehow less “fundamental?” It would seem so.

Why does point 3 on the fundamental declarations make the “esse” position on bishops the only allowable one within ACNA. Anglican Reformers like Jewell, Latimer and Ridley didn’t hold the “esse” position. Nor do current Anglican leaders like Stott and Packer believe that today. Are we trying to push Anglicans in the mold of Stott and Packer out of ACNA? Are we really only going to officially partner with groups that hold to this position unreservedly as the CnCs state under the section of ministry partnerships?  How sad for the cause of unity in the body of Christ.

Will there be a list published of those who have been on the committee working on these documents. Is it true that Matt Kennedy is on this committee? I truly appreciate his posts and recognize him as a man of integrity. However, would it not be a conflict of interest for him to be posting comments on Stand Firm defending the CnCs without also disclosing that he was a member of the team drafting these documents?

Have people been given the time to actually review these documents and provide feedback. We all want to see ACNA established. But don’t we want to allow the time to get it right?

By all means let’s discuss it and continue to contend for the faith.

[5] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-22-2009 at 04:40 PM • top

Sarah, I just don’t see a conspiracy here to control who becomes bishop. I see a cooperative venture between the elected delegates of the diocese and the College of Bishops. It’s not possible for the College of Bishops to impose a bishop on an unwilling diocese under the canons of the ACNA. If you go onto the website of the Western Anglicans, http://www.westernanglicans.org/ you will see the announcement of the formation of the diocese by Fr. Bill Thompson, Collegiate Vicar. You will read that the House of Delegates picked three candidates for bishop and forwarded their names to the ACNA’s College of Bishops, who will then pick from one of the three who have already been chosen by the diocese. 

Something you don’t know is that when the delegates chose the slate in March they also voted.  The votes were then sealed and sent to the College of Bishops to use (or not) as it sees fit. My own rector is one of the three; in fact, the bishop candidates are required to be rectors.  If he is chosen, he will remain rector of our parish, delighting me to no end.  This is for a reason:  in TEC, when someone becomes bishop, s/he leaves parish life and is cut off from the spiritual support that a bishop needs. The new bishop becomes nothing more than a corporate administrator who wears a funny hat.

If you want to get on your high horse about the selection of bishops for the ACNA, there’s another canon you could legitimately make a fuss over—the one that says that they shall be male.  I asked my rector about that, and he said that it’s there “for a season—and for a very practical reason. The new province would fall apart immediately.”

[6] Posted by Sue Martinez on 05-22-2009 at 04:44 PM • top

Ah Sarah, spoken like a true congregationalist.  Are you sure there was not Baptist genes in your ancestry?  Of course there is politics in any choice.  T think the word became bad because we think of politics as the smoked filled room, wheeling and dealing, bribery and leaning on someone, factionalism as at the Episcopal Church of Corinth.  But Biblically, they have some strong verses to counteract the anarchy of the masses.  The Apostle Paul sent the Apostles Timothy and Titus off to choose and ordain bishops in those new start up churches like Crete.  He didn’t send them to oversee Jimmy Carter style a popular election.  One problem in a new organization like ACNA is credentualling the electors.  Maybe for the laity they haven’t printed up the membership cards yet.  So who is to say who gets to vote.  Got to get that seed corn form somewhere, like in the US with Bishop Seeworthy, huh?  It may be as simple as the difference between a democracy like we have now and a republic like we had in George Washington’s day.  Some day maybe I can tell you what I believe.  Meanwhile, good luck (to use and old Calvanistic term)  in getting good leaders.  I think it would be more important to get a good credentials committee and a better excomunicating committee for the long term health of any organization.  And by the way, a constitution, bylaws, creed, C&C;won’t hold unless the leaders are good.  We should already know that.  IMHO

[7] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 05-22-2009 at 04:52 PM • top

I have to ask Sarah, why do you care?  You’ve made no secret that you will not leave TEC for another episcopal (note the small e) entity.

It seems bad faith to critique what one has no use for.
Just wondering?

Grannie Gloria

[8] Posted by Grandmother on 05-22-2009 at 05:14 PM • top

I think Sarah is doing it because she cares. And many SF readers care and thus far the coverage on the ACNA CnCs has been really thin and at this point really dated. Maybe we needed an honest broker outside the system to make sure the emperor was fully clothed.

Thank you Sarah!

[9] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-22-2009 at 05:20 PM • top

I don’t mind this section. After all, how many Anglican jurisdictions have bishops directly elected by their future dioceses, anyway?

[10] Posted by A Senior Priest on 05-22-2009 at 05:35 PM • top

Wasn’t it Wm Buckley who said that he would rather be ruled by the first 400 names in the Boston phone book than the enlightened faculty of Harvard. I know personally that I am beyond a Bishop telling me what to do, but that is me. I learned to be that way in PECUSA. It is a sticky wicket. Laymen electing Bishops a la TEC reintroduces politics to a young province that doesn’t need to create its own problems, or becoming hierarchical and going against the grain of our culture and becoming anti-demoncratic. To be or not to be, that is the question…

[11] Posted by ctowles on 05-22-2009 at 05:45 PM • top

ctowles,

I believe Buckley specifically referred to the New Haven phone book, but yeah… classic line.

[12] Posted by Greg Griffith on 05-22-2009 at 05:52 PM • top

I really think many are misreading what the canon says-
and I think it might be best to invite Bishop Duncan or Bishop Iker or Bishop Minns to write a couple paragraphs on the intent of the canon.  As I read it- a newly formed diocese will submit 2 or 3 candidates to the College of Bishops OR ask the College of Bishops to select a candidate- for the FIRST bishop of the new diocese.  After that, the diocese will choose a bishop based on diocesan canons, which may include the previous procedure, but could be something else, as long as the procedure does not violate the ACNA canons.  The ACNA would prefer- ie: commends- the multiple candidate process but does not require it.
  Is this an overreaction to the Spongs and Thew Forresters of TEC?  Perhaps it is.  But it is not out of line with the selection of bishops in the ancient church, or in many Provinces of the Communion today.  We KNOW the TEC selection process is flawed beyond belief, and prone to manipulation.  So it seems to me that if you are going to oppose what ACNA has put forward, you need to come up with an alternative that is demonstrably different from the common TEC diocesan convention.

[13] Posted by tjmcmahon on 05-22-2009 at 05:56 PM • top

I agree with you, ctowles….and that’s what I’ve tried to say about electing bishops in the manner of TEC.

[14] Posted by Cennydd on 05-22-2009 at 06:01 PM • top

Sue Martinez:

RE: “If you want to get on your high horse about the selection of bishops for the ACNA, there’s another canon you could legitimately make a fuss over—the one that says that they shall be male.  I asked my rector about that, and he said that it’s there “for a season—and for a very practical reason. The new province would fall apart immediately.”

Why would I do that?  I’ve opposed WO—though recognizing that it is not communion breaking in the Anglican Communion—for the entire time I’ve been an Episcopalian.  Indeed—the new province would fall apart immediately.  The same could most likely be said regarding 1) the various BCPs being used, 2) liturgical/worship style, and 3) divorce/remarriage among other things.  So all of those things—or at least the first two—will have to be open for the forseeable future.

RE: “It’s not possible for the College of Bishops to impose a bishop on an unwilling diocese under the canons of the ACNA.”

Nor did I say that.  I was very clear in my post.

RE: “You will read that the House of Delegates picked three candidates for bishop and forwarded their names to the ACNA’s College of Bishops, who will then pick from one of the three who have already been chosen by the diocese.”

Right.  As I think I’ve been pretty clear—that’s a problem, it seems to me.

RE: “in fact, the bishop candidates are required to be rectors.  If he is chosen, he will remain rector of our parish, delighting me to no end.”

That’s nice—but it has nothing to do with the issue at hand, which is that in the current C&Cs;a bishop is selected from nominees for a “newly formed” diocese by the College of Bishops. 

Prophet Micaiah:

RE: “Ah Sarah, spoken like a true congregationalist.”

I had not realized that congregationalists believe in hierarchical bishops over diocesan churches.

RE: “He didn’t send them to oversee Jimmy Carter style a popular election.”

I completely agree.  A diocesan electing convention with appropriately chosen delegates from parishes is not, however, a “popular election.”

Webdac:

RE: “I have been wondering why this has not been given more attention as I sent to you and other leaders at Stand Firm in a private message.”

I, Greg Griffith, and Jackie Bruchi are members of TEC.  David Ould is a member of the Diocese of Sydney.  That’s 4/5 of the blogging team.  This may come as a surprise to some, but three pairs of our bloggers’ hands are a trifle full with TEC matters.  And we have posted on the ACNA documents a number of times, even this year.  I would expect, of course, for the various ACNA blogs out there—wherever they are—to be hotfooting it about the ACNA C&Cs;with masses of discussion.  I would expect for small groups in parishes and within clusters and within dioceses to be abuzz.  I would expect for networks to have formed regarding these Rather Important and Foundational Documents.  Has that happened?  Who knows.  Is it the responsibility of StandFirm to make any of those things happen?  No.  It’s been five years—at minimum—since departing Episcopalians have had the rug pulled out from them and Learned Their Lessons Well [one hopes] and are thus Well Prepared to embark upon this smaller challenge.

As I said above—this is the opportunity for the ACNA laity and clergy to be involved in . . . [drum roll] politics.  Obviously, Greg, Jackie, and I cannot go over the new C&Cs;with a fine tooth comb as we are busy going through all the TECusa documents with a fine tooth comb.

RE: “Why does point 3 on the fundamental declarations make the “esse” position on bishops the only allowable one within ACNA.”

I don’t know any Anglicans who think bishops are expendable and not necessary to be Anglican.  If there are any, I assume they’re along the lines of Sydney Anglicans.  If you’re one of those types of incredibly low-church Anglicans—then yes, I can see how the ACNA wouldn’t be for you.  Because from the very very beginning—with Common Causes’s sought-for inclusion of the Continuing churches—it was a *given* that it was going to have many Anglo-Catholic elements.  I would be shocked if the Anglo-Catholic dioceses would be a part of a province that did not consider bishops to be absolutely essential.  And I would be shocked if many many high-church evangelicals would be a part of a province that did not consider bishops to be absolutely essential.  So unless you are angling for an Anglican church made up of charismatic and low-church reformed evangelicals only, I expect that will stay in the C&Cs;.

RE: “Have people been given the time to actually review these documents and provide feedback.”

It’s been months by my count.  Yes—that’s enough time. 

Grandmother:

RE: “It seems bad faith to critique what one has no use for.”

[smile]

I will wait patiently while all of the Dearly Departed TECans file silently away from this blog, shattered that they may no longer critique what they have no use for.

Further, I would then no longer be able to critique 1) Democrats, 2) Republicans, 3) other TECan dioceses of which I am not a part, 4) the ACI, 5) the Roman Catholics, 6) our Dear 815 Leaders, 7) the Baptists, 8) professional tennis players, 9) NAMBLA 10) [insert almost every thing else I write about here].

Finally, though I have no use for the ACNA on a personal basis—[and no, my saying that doesn’t now mean that anybody can turn this thread into Yet Another Thread On Why Mean Sarah Won’t Join The ACNA]—I have friends there, and I care about them and I want the organization to be as good as it possibly can be. 

Webdac:

RE: “Thank you Sarah!”

Thank you, webdac.  I do appreciate that.

[15] Posted by Sarah on 05-22-2009 at 06:06 PM • top

RE: “Laymen electing Bishops a la TEC reintroduces politics to a young province that doesn’t need to create its own problems . . . “

Yikes.  Bishops selecting bishops introduces “politics” as well.  It’s a choose your poison.

TJ:

“As I read it- a newly formed diocese will submit 2 or 3 candidates to the College of Bishops OR ask the College of Bishops to select a candidate- for the FIRST bishop of the new diocese.  After that, the diocese will choose a bishop based on diocesan canons, which may include the previous procedure, but could be something else, as long as the procedure does not violate the ACNA canons.”

I tried to account for that possibility in my post.  But I think it’s still bad if that’s the interpretation of it.  AND BEYOND THAT . . . it needs to be made clear.  AND BEYOND THAT . . . people need to be reading the C&Cs;and finding out what else is in there.

RE: “So it seems to me that if you are going to oppose what ACNA has put forward, you need to come up with an alternative that is demonstrably different from the common TEC diocesan convention.”

Why?

That’s falling in with the whole faulty notion that “process” is what matters.  But it’s almost never been the process that’s the problem with TECusa, TJ.  It’s the fact that the people running the process don’t believe or promote the Gospel!

It’s not about “oh, if we just were to tweak all the bad old TECusa processes, things would be much much better.”  The issue is the people behind the process.

And one of the other problems with the people behind the process is that the laypeople—the laypeople that believed the Gospel, at least many masses of them—sat on their duffs and barbecued and coached Little League while the clergy and laity who couldn’t have located the gospel if it struck them over the nose took over.

[16] Posted by Sarah on 05-22-2009 at 06:13 PM • top

I guess this is an issue if you do not trust the bishops that are provided the oversight. But then again, Sarah in all honesty is not a in ACNA. And in fairness of disclosure, I’m not in the AC any more. However, knowing a few of them from attending missions planning, etc., I do trust them.

[17] Posted by Festivus on 05-22-2009 at 06:15 PM • top

Please excuse my freudian slip of misspelling democratic.

[18] Posted by ctowles on 05-22-2009 at 06:19 PM • top

I agree with #13.  It would be far better to invite someone with inside knowledge of the ACNA to answer questions or explain. Of course they might be a bit busy considering what just happened with the ACC but nevertheless.

I think it more fitting that we keep those concerned in prayer, praying for them to be led by the Holy Spirit for the good of God’s people.  At the same time, asking them the questions that one might deem need answering. 

Nothing pleases the enemy more than dissention among the faithful, and its particularly potent when it comes from highly regarded folk who claim only the best motives.

In case you’re wondering, I and my husband are still in TEC, not because we wish it, but because under our particular circumstances there is no where else to go.
We’re still fighting the good fight, altho very carefully.

Believe me, when the opportunity comes to leave, we will.
In the meantime, I very carefully plant the seeds among folks who don’t understand. Praying they will see the light.
Grannie Gloria

[19] Posted by Grandmother on 05-22-2009 at 06:21 PM • top

RE: “I guess this is an issue if you do not trust the bishops that are provided the oversight.”

Well, I think it’s actually more a question of “what do you trust bishops—even good orthodox bishops—to do.”

I trust them to confirm, baptize, preach and teach the gospel, evangelize, and disciple.

I do not trust them to select bishops for newly formed dioceses.  I like lots of checks and balances on 1) bishops, 2) laity, 3) clergy, 4) archbishops, 5) trial courts, 6) assemblies.

I don’t see that occurring.  I see a very bishop-centric province forming and worse, one where a small group of bishops could basically form and control the province as a whole. 

At least I’ve tried to do my part.

Off to critique the Covenant.

And the ABC.

; > )

[20] Posted by Sarah on 05-22-2009 at 06:25 PM • top

Sarah,

I appreciate your questions.

Not to play devil’s advocate, but your discussion thread brings up an issue I wanted to mention.

Bishops are very conservative in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and bishops are not elected by laity or priests, but rather by other bishops.  I am less certain of RC polity, but I believe the same principal holds true.

From what I observed in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas growing up, the bishop was usually more conservative on average than the parish priests (though of course there were always individual priests to be found who were more conservative—I am talking about averages and voting blocks).

The pattern that I saw was that more theologically liberal, younger priests began to stack the deck for the commission on ministry, standing committee, etc.  We had a pattern of somewhat more conservative bishops, perhaps a bit too relaxed, with a gradually more progressive filter for screening out potential ordinands.  As each bishop retired, the next, younger, bishop was a bit more progressive.

At the same time, parishes were filled with more conservative parishioners, typically older, and sometimes derisively called the “blue hairs” (older women, for example, with blue tinted grey hair) who tended to operate as a brake on the progressive drift of younger groovier priests.

In the ancient ecumenical counsels, the bishops or their representatives were the ones who voted (not a broad canvas of younger priests with hand-picked laity reps who shared the priests views instead the more conservative views of the parish as a whole, as one would find in a TEC diocesan counsel), and in the ancient patriarchates the pattern of picking bishops from the top down predominated.

Objectively speaking, it would appear to me that bishops picking bishops leads to a more theologically conservative church.  Older, more experienced church leaders, will tend to be more conservative on average, and if they are the ones picking their own successors, that circumvents the world zeitgeist.

I am not advocating a particular approach to polity in making these observations, but I think as Americans we have a tendency to assume that the church must run like a democracy, and we need to keep in mind the apostolic model of Paul and other apostles appointing elders in church plants, rather than doing a democratic vote.

There is also a counterbalancing argument.  For issues such as clergy abuse of parishioners, it is harder for laity to put pressure on the bishop if he is not elected by a vote that takes into account the views of the laity.  So, for example, some EO or RC Christians of a conservative bent who are nonetheless troubled by clergy abuse might argue that bishops who have the right theology nonetheless failed to remedy child abuse, because they are more detached and remote from parish needs and there is no responsive mechanism for parishes to apply pressure to address those needs.

Dcn. John (REC)

[21] Posted by John Clay on 05-22-2009 at 06:51 PM • top

#20 - I appreciate your honesty, but I can’t help but feeling that your lack of “trust[ing] them to select bishops for newly formed dioceses” for someone who has no interest in ACNA isn’t the real reason. I just don’t know what it is; I don’t get it. But if the model you want is really what you are looking for, why stay an Anglican? After all, the Anglican polity model only works if people exhibit a true Godliness, correct? Hasn’t worked for TEC in the current quagmire. Nor most of the northern hemisphere Anglicans. Why not go PCA, Baptist, or some more congregational denomination?

[22] Posted by Festivus on 05-22-2009 at 06:53 PM • top

I seem to remember that in the first episcopal election only eleven male bishops decided who was eligible to fill the vacant seat and how that person would be chosen. It worked then, it will work now. It is a little loosey goosey to allow laity to nominate when Mary, Joanna, Martha, Magdalene, the other Mary, Jim, Joe and Nick or any of the other 120 never had nor needed a say.

Bob+
. . . still ridin for the brand.

[23] Posted by Bob Maxwell+ on 05-22-2009 at 06:54 PM • top

If I remember correctly they also drew lots ...Thank God for progress…! 

Blessings

seraph

[24] Posted by seraph on 05-22-2009 at 06:59 PM • top

Mad Potter:

RE: “While I am amazed that I agree with Sarah almost completely . . . “

May be time for me to reconsider my position.  ; > )

John Clay:

RE: “Objectively speaking, it would appear to me that bishops picking bishops leads to a more theologically conservative church.”

An interesting observation.  I don’t think I agree.  But I don’t think that’s the issue in the ACNA.  I would expect, for instance, for all three of the nominees for the Western Anglican diocese to be orthodox and Christians.  The principle to which I am objecting is one that applies to most of my objections to most organizations.  I am heartily opposed to centralization of authority within one of the many levers of influence in an organization.  Period.  Full stop.

Festivus:

RE: “But if the model you want is really what you are looking for, why stay an Anglican?”

I’m unable to respond as I have no understanding at all of what the above question means. 

RE: “After all, the Anglican polity model only works if people exhibit a true Godliness, correct?:

Um—any polity model at all will “only work” if “people exhibit a true Godliness”—but even if people “exhibit a true Godliness” some models work better than others.

The rest of your comment is personal in nature and has been thoroughly covered on another thread from one week ago.  Suffice it to say, we won’t be going there again any time soon.

Grandmother:

RE: “I think it more fitting that we keep those concerned in prayer, praying for them to be led by the Holy Spirit for the good of God’s people. . . . Nothing pleases the enemy more than dissention among the faithful, and its particularly potent when it comes from highly regarded folk who claim only the best motives.”

I can’t tell you how much that sounds like a TEC progressive bishop talking there.

Can’t you just hear him, during his diocesan convention address, speaking to the TEC Faithful?

Critique or analysis or even simply pointing out disadvantages and asking if any laypeople in the affected organization has read the C&Cs; is indeed highly divisive.

Perhaps even . . . unsavory?  ; )

Is it possible that I could be . . . The Very Most . . .

[never mind]

[25] Posted by Sarah on 05-22-2009 at 07:03 PM • top

I am not in the ACNA, so I don’t have a dog in the fight, but it is not uncommon in the Anglican Communion for bishops to be elected be other bishops in their respective province.  I know that this is true in Uganda.  Which is the better way? 

Interesting that you have some bishops who are not rectors, as in +Bob Duncan, +Jack Iker, and +John-David Schofield.  AMiA seems to be in flux.  They seem to be discovering that the job of bishop, if it is to be hands-on at all, takes a tremendous amount of time away from parish responsibilities.  Parish ministry is hard work and requires full-time attention.  If the bishop is going to be only a confirming presence, it may not be necessary to have a bishop who is not a full-time rector.  But, to have a bishop who is available to be a pastor to the clergy requires bishops who are either retired with a healthy pension or independently wealthy.  Even the rector of a resource-sized congregation will see his congregation suffer from the absences and the time it takes on a daily basis to attend to other clergy and congregations that go along with episcopal ministry.

[26] Posted by Neal in Dallas on 05-22-2009 at 07:15 PM • top

Thank you Sarah for putting this subject into the light as we seek for truth. Whenever we sincerely seek the unvarnished truth we draw closer to the Way, the Truth and the Life!

Mad Potter, you made the ACNA case!

I also remember that it was true until I had served as a priest for several years that all new dioceses were Missionary Dioceses of PECUSA and their bishops were chosen and consecrated by the HOB. PECUSA was not a bad place to serve in the Church of God.

[27] Posted by Bob Maxwell+ on 05-22-2009 at 07:17 PM • top

There are models for appointing overseers in the New Testament, and there are models for the local church (diocese) electing them.  Neither is a bad model.  Sarah and I rarely disagree, but here we might disagree, though we are not completely at odds. 

The problem with any selection process is that it is subject to the faithfulness and attention of those selecting.  The problem in TEC has been that the lay people, by and large, have been asleep while their lay delegates and clergy have been gnawing away at the historic faith.  No one paid much attention until 1976 and the (not so) new Prayer Book was unveiled for approval in 1979.  Everyone was upset for a bit, then went back to sleep until 2003.  The problem was not with the system, but with the people who weren’t paying attention. 

There is an opposite danger with a smaller group, the ACNA House of Bishops, or the Roman Curia, etc.  It can run wild even when the people are paying attention.  If the people making the decisions are not faithful, then bad bishops will be chosen.  They may not be revisionists.  They may be interested in financial gain, which was the concern of the earlier times of the church.  As a side note, that is why Roman clergy are not permitted to marry.  There is no chance of a dynasty that way.  However, there is still the danger of power seeking people working their way up the ranks.  Even if they “keep the orthodox faith” they may still feed on the sheep. 

It seems to me that those who are calling for more central authority are simply saying, “Save us from ourselves,” or perhaps, “Give us a king like all of the other nations.”  It makes it much easier if the laity do not have to pay attention to the governance of the church, but you may be in for a rough ride. 

If the ACNA decides to have a less centralized governance, then it will require the laity to be vigilant.  Do not assume that all of your leaders are “godly men”.  They may be bold.  Some of them may also be calculating.  Wherever there is power, you will find some calculating people to grab it. 

In either case, don’t think that leaving will save you from the unfaithfulness and inattentiveness that plagues TEC.  Remember, most of your members are coming from TEC, and the genes are there. 

As a final note, having served in a continuing church where the bishops had almost complete control, I would much rather do the hard work of paying attention.  All of the bishops were orthodox, but only some of the bishops were godly.

[28] Posted by revrj on 05-22-2009 at 07:18 PM • top

The CEC (neo-Anglican-charismatic) had all its bishops elected by other bishops, all male! Did not work so well there!

[29] Posted by seraph on 05-22-2009 at 07:23 PM • top

Sarah,

You’re certainly not suggesting that the model for Episcopal election is the democratic process used in the Episcopal Corporation which has given us such outstanding spiritual leaders as
James Pike
John Shelby Spong
Ed Browning
Frank Griswold
Charles Benning
Katherine Schori
Barbara Harris
Jon Bruno
Thomas Shaw
V. Gene Robinson
and so many others in the Episcopal Corporation’s Hall of Shame?

I think I would prefer selecting from nominees proposed by godly folk in the House of Bishops to the process which has so corrupted the Episcopal Corporation. But you have chosen to remain with the Corporation. I look forward to the adoption of your reforms in that institution.

[30] Posted by Dan Crawford on 05-22-2009 at 07:37 PM • top

There is a large element of trust at stake here.  I, for one, am thrilled that birthing ACNA is not taking as long as the Ang. Covenant,  will eventually take.  A separate province has been long in the making, goes back years before the announcement of the birth, and there have been years of discussions.  Now it is here, it needs to ‘take place’ and if every little ‘t’ isn’t crossed or every ‘i’ isn’t dotted, I think you cab expect an openness to adjustments, etc.

[31] Posted by Bill C on 05-22-2009 at 07:38 PM • top

<blockquote> RE: “I think it more fitting that we keep those concerned in prayer, praying for them to be led by the Holy Spirit for the good of God’s people. . . . Nothing pleases the enemy more than dissention among the faithful, and its particularly potent when it comes from highly regarded folk who claim only the best motives.”

I can’t tell you how much that sounds like a TEC progressive bishop talking there. <blockquote>

Thank you Sarah.. I cherish your critique, and bow to your superior knowledge. I suppose you have much more experience in church politics than a 72 year old woman ever could have.

But know one thing, when I suggest prayer for the faithful that care deeply about the people who are being led astray (away from Christianity) and invoke the HOLY SPIRIT, I mean the HOLY SPIRIT, the one Jesus sent us.

You win,
Grannie Gloria

[32] Posted by Grandmother on 05-22-2009 at 07:45 PM • top

Having participated in the diocesan convention that elected the Swinger to California, I think the current TEC method is very poor. Talk about cabal!  The hand picked search committee comes forth with 4 names, you get a minimal chance to find out about the candidates while they are on their very best behavior, and they are trying to be popular and woo the folks.  At least a college of bishops might know more about the past experience and track record of the candidates.  Having seen Joe Doss in action I could not believe anyone would want him as a bishop, but some diocese was hoodwinked into choosing him.  I really can’t imagine a worse process than TEC’s currant one.

[33] Posted by ann r on 05-22-2009 at 07:47 PM • top

Hey we elected an inexperienced 2 year state senator as President of the United States so stranger things have happened.

[34] Posted by The Templar on 05-22-2009 at 07:49 PM • top

Reactive legislation is perhaps natural. We’ve seen enough of it in TEC beginning with the Dennis Canon

I well remember a “continuing bishop” deprived of his parish property who later attempted to sue one of his continuing parishes when they sought to leave his jurisdiction. I also remember one of the branches of the 1977 separation which adopted a Constitution and Canons which were so complex and coercive that they spawned division rather than achieving unity.

I just hope and pray that the mistakes of the past will be evaluated and taken to heart. Trust and a willingness to work together positively is essential in an emerging body. Ironically the ties which have bonded Episcopalians, including love of heritage and even buildings, once removed leave a vacuum which only time and stability may replace. Personalities and the Cause are as able to destroy as to build up during a time when a certain incarnational fidelity has not yet re-appeared.

[35] Posted by wvparson on 05-22-2009 at 07:49 PM • top

Bill C, as you know, our new province has been years in the making, with the road a long, rough, and rocky one, and who knows what the road ahead will be like?  I think we all need to trust our Church’s leaders, and we need to support them in their efforts.  But most of all, we need to put our trust in Christ, for we are indeed His Church.  He is our Shepherd and we are the Sheep of His pasture.  He will not lead us astray, nor will He lead our bishops astray.

[36] Posted by Cennydd on 05-22-2009 at 07:52 PM • top

Miss Sarah,

I find your use of the word cabal interesting and puzzling.  Here is Merriam-Webster’s online definition of cabal:

“1: the artifices and intrigues of a group of persons secretly united in a plot (as to overturn a government) ; also : a group engaged in such artifices and intrigues2: CLUB, GROUP <a >”

Please help me identify the persons secretly united (I thought we knew most of them) in a plot and their artifice, intrigue, secrecy or plot.  Any evidence on offer?

Words matter.

God bless.

[37] Posted by Ol' Bob on 05-22-2009 at 07:53 PM • top

I am an ACNA person via AMiA, and quite frankly I don’t believe a “democracy” is the best way to run a church.

I don’t think the sheep should have a voice in electing their shepherd.  Why?  Because over time, the sheep will always choose shepherds they want and not the shepherd they need.  Sheep want a “nice” shepherd, who won’t be too rough on them when they stray, and generally makes life easy for them.  Being “nice” becomes an attribute that is valued in shepherds.  How many times do we hear, Gene Robinson is who the people (sheep) of New Hampshire wanted, so who are we to oppose him?  And Gene Robinson is such a nice man (which he probably is).

Shepherds picked by shepherds won’t be perfect, of course, but I am sure they can do a heck of a better job than the sheep.

Democracy is good for picking representatives.  I don’t want my Bishop to be my representative on anything.  I want my Bishop to lead me.  I would hope that he is friendly and warm, but don’t be nice to me.

I prefer ACNA’s stated method for picking Bishops any day.  If it somehow doesn’t work, and my Bishop is a false teacher, I will take my family and leave.  But I am not going to pretend if I get elected by my parish that I somehow would have better judgment at picking my Bishop than another Bishop would.

And we have the benefit of a very real-world experiment in picking Bishops.  I would be surprised if a false teacher became a Bishop in ACNA in my lifetime.  I would be surprised if a false teacher does NOT become a Bishop in TEC in the next 12 months.

DoW

[38] Posted by DietofWorms on 05-22-2009 at 08:12 PM • top

Regarding the WFB quote:

“I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”

  —- William F. Buckley, 1963

  The Quote Verifier : Who Said What, Where, and When (2006) by Ralph Keyes, p. 82

[39] Posted by Brize on 05-22-2009 at 08:34 PM • top

As far as historical Anglicanism goes, bishops as necessary “esse” versus the “plene esse” has long been a live debate. Not as a question of whether the Anglican Church will use bishops, but as a question of how Anglican view other churches. If bishops are a part of the esse (being) of the church, then one must say that the Presbyterians are not quite a church. If, rather, bishops are the “bene esse” (well-being) or the “plene esse” (fullness of being), then the Presbyterians are a church that is failing to follow “a more excellent way.”

As far as leading Anglican lights go, IIRC Hooker took the “plene esse” position and Laud took the “esse” view. More recently, the late Peter Toon argued for the “plene esse” view. While I do not want to canonize the man, surely it would be a problem if ACNA would exclude Peter Toon from the get-go.

But, as for the actual language of the proposed ACNA constitution:

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.

That seems to be in line with the “plene esse” view, as interpreted through the Lambeth Quadrilateral’s naming the historic Episcopate as a requirement for union with other churches. It also makes it quite clear that ACNA won’t be abandoning Episcopacy any time soon.

[40] Posted by K-W on 05-22-2009 at 09:03 PM • top

Brize,

I stand corrected.

[41] Posted by Greg Griffith on 05-22-2009 at 09:11 PM • top

Sarah - my question that seems to have thrown you was related to your comment, “I like lots of checks and balances on 1) bishops, 2) laity, 3) clergy, 4) archbishops, 5) trial courts, 6) assemblies.” To which I attempted to point out, perhaps badly, that the church polity of Anglicanism as a working model is not the best example. On the other hand, if Anglican Bishops acted as if they had the power that you ascribe to ACNA Bishops, perhaps the Anglican Communion would not be in the mess it finds itself. But we see how well the balances have worked to date (cough.. ACC14…cough…HOB…cough…GC…cough) have we not? If you want one with “checks and balances” as you described, then I simply suggested PCA or SBC as far more suiting your ideals. And yes, you have covered that ground on more than one occasion. And I know that is an option you don’t care to entertain. So again I ask, for someone who has no interest in ACNA, why the beef? It’s kinda like saying you’ll never move to Montana because it’s cold, yet complaining how cold it is, you know?

[42] Posted by Festivus on 05-22-2009 at 09:25 PM • top

I do not trust them to select bishops for newly formed dioceses.  I like lots of checks and balances on 1) bishops, 2) laity, 3) clergy, 4) archbishops, 5) trial courts, 6) assemblies.

I don’t see that occurring.  I see a very bishop-centric province forming and worse, one where a small group of bishops could basically form and control the province as a whole.

I’m a bit puzzled by these comments.  As I read the ACNA C & C, the nominees for bishop are not “selected” by the College of Bishops but are selected by each diocese in accordance with their local C & C—so likely in some sort of convention with laity and clergy voting.  Article X. 5 is clear on the limits on the authority of the College of Bishops.

If a diocese selects only one, that nominee goes to the College of Bishops for “consent” and if they select two or three nominees, those names go to the College of Bishops for both “choice” and “consent.”  And I would note that it is by a required 2/3 vote in the College of Bishops, which does not sound like a “small group of bishops”  exercising central authority.  If they are making a “choice” it is only among the nominees submitted by a diocese.

Although the C & C “commends” the selection of more than one nominee, it is not required.  Thus each diocese can make that choice as their circumstances suggest—one nominee if they are clear on that single choice or multiple nominees if they find that more suitable.

I really don’t see the problem with this process.  The choice is made locally and confirmed by at least 2/3 of the College of Bishops.  There’s no abdication by the local laity and clergy to having bishop nominees dictated to them by some centralized authority.  Obviously, if the College of Bishops does not consent to their nominee(s) they start over, but the overall process seems to me to give the kind of checks and balances suggested and keeps dioceses from getting the likes of Robinson and Forrester.

As part of the ACNA laity, I like the process.  If Sarah or others see it as defective, I would be interested in what positive changes they think would make it better.

[43] Posted by hanks on 05-22-2009 at 09:49 PM • top

Because, Festivus, as she pointed out above, she has family and good friends who have moved to Montana, and she is worried that their wardrobes don’t contain the proper warm clothing and jackets, and they don’t have snow tires on their cars——just a sort-of heads up, that they may need to plan better.

[44] Posted by heart on 05-22-2009 at 09:50 PM • top

This is a great thread…..Good discussion and just the kind of thing SFIF does so well.  Just thought I’d throw that it, although it adds nothing to the conversation…
Thanks!

[45] Posted by Liz Forman on 05-22-2009 at 09:54 PM • top

Dan Crawford:

RE: “I think I would prefer selecting from nominees proposed by godly folk in the House of Bishops to the process which has so corrupted the Episcopal Corporation.”

And as I pointed out above—the obsession with “process” is incredibly TECan, and now, it appears, Rowanish as well.  But it’s not the “process” that has corrupted TEC at all.

RE: “I look forward to the adoption of your reforms in that institution.”

No reforms needed in the process of electing bishops in TECusa . . . as I’ve pointed out now for the third time here.  The problem is that many aren’t even believers.  That is, I think you’ll agree, a rather different issue from “bad process.”  I’m critiquing in the ACNA C&Cs;the process—isn’t it lovely that I’m not having to point out that the bishops in question aren’t believers?  ; > )

RE: “Thank you Sarah.. I cherish your critique, and bow to your superior knowledge.”

You’re very welcome, Grandmother.  But it wasn’t a critique—merely an observation of how incredibly similar your words sounded to me to a TEC progressive bishop.  If you choose to take that as a critique rather than an observation, that is certainly your call.

DOW:

RE: “quite frankly I don’t believe a “democracy” is the best way to run a church. . . . “

Me neither.  And as has been outcried for the past five years by many departing TECusans, under no circumstances can one describe the processes whereby people are elected in TEC a “democracy.”

RE: “I don’t think the sheep should have a voice in electing their shepherd.  Why?  Because over time, the sheep will always choose shepherds they want and not the shepherd they need.”

Problem is, of course, that bishops are in the eyes of Jesus Christ also “sheep.”  So no matter what, it is the sheep who will select a shepherd.  It’s just a question of some sheep being more equal than other sheep, apparently.  How very familiar that sounds.

K-W:

You do not see the word “inherent” as describing the “esse” position on bishops?  That appears to be what webdac sees it as.  If it is not, then his concerns there might be addressed.

Festivus:

RE: “If you want one with “checks and balances” as you described, then I simply suggested PCA or SBC as far more suiting your ideals.”

Um—PCA and SBC have far far far fewer such “checks and balances.”  Not to mention that I’m an Anglican.  Are you at all familiar with the PCA, Festivus?  You don’t seem to be.

RE: “So again I ask, for someone who has no interest in ACNA, why the beef?”

No beef and no complaints—just critiquing and analyzing as I do on most topics that I write about on this blog.  If you don’t like critique and analysis you are probably at the wrong place.  It’s like your going to Montana in the winter and then marvelling that it is cold.  It is cold at StandFirm!  Brrrrrr . . .

Hi Hanks:

RE: “I’m a bit puzzled by these comments.”

It all started over on another thread when Aidan pointed out a line in the C&Cs;regarding “newly formed” dioceses which apparently are treated differently from the grandfathered-in dioceses.
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/22750/#365654

Just a question here, at the end of this comment.

Nobody has mentioned any other things they’ve noticed in the C&Cs;that are troubling.

Is this it for Aidan, Anglicans Ablaze, and various others who have emailed/commented/etc?

Remember—this is a thread to discuss the C&Cs;—not just the one quibble I see with the dioceses that are “newly formed.”

To those who have emailed us asking us for threads on discussing this—this is your chance.

Bring it up now.

A month from now I suppose all of this will come up—or not—at the assembly.

[46] Posted by Sarah on 05-22-2009 at 10:22 PM • top

Hank,
The ACNA canons do not rule out the outgoing bishop nominating his successor. They do not require the involvement of the diocese’s clergy and laity in the nomination process. They also do not prohibit the Colege of Bishops nominating and electing its own candidate rather than the diocese’s nominee or nominess.

[47] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-22-2009 at 10:23 PM • top

Festivus, I’m far less familiar with the details of SBC national level politics than I should be as someone that grew up SBC, but quite sure that that the SBC would not meet Sarah’s ideals as expressed in this thread. 

Sarah has as much right to be critical of the politics of ACNA as she, as a resident of South Carolina, has the right to be critical of gay marriage in Iowa or Maine. She needs no more excuse to be interested in the topic than I need to be interested in the consitution of the Roman Republic, which, incidently failed in large part because they never really managed to adapt a city government to running an empire.

I’m not going to involve myself too heavily in the discussion of polity, other than to simply point out that people have been debating the relative merits of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy for a little over 2,500 years, and for all the checks and balances and mixed contistutions that have arised attempting to anticipate all eventualities, humanity still manages to screw things up on a fairly regular basis. 

However, I do think that it would benifit the discussion to know who is on the governence committee or whatever the group is called, in order for people to be able to solicite their input, and what Matt (as the only ACNA blogger of the five) thinks of all of this.

[48] Posted by AndrewA on 05-22-2009 at 10:24 PM • top

Hank,
The ACNA canons do not rule out the outgoing bishop nominating his successor. They do not require the involvement of the diocese’s clergy and laity in the nomination process. They also do not prohibit the College of Bishops nominating and electing its own candidate for bishop of the diocese rather than the diocese’s nominee or nominees. See my articles to which I have posted links below.

As for people in the ACNA liking this process, I am in contact with several groups in the ACNA that are not happy with the process at all.

[49] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-22-2009 at 10:34 PM • top

Sarah,
Anyone who has carefully studied the ACNA constitution and code of canons in their various drafts cannot fail to notice not only the centralization of authority in these documents but also their abandonment of centuries of hard-won lay involvement in diocesan and provincial governance and the episcopal and archiepiscopal nomination and election process.

Constitutions and canons are not just rules by which a church operates. They are also statements of doctrine. The ACNA constitution and canons exhibit a decidedly Catholic doctrinal point of view. They adopt a clearly partisan stance on a number of issues over which orthodox Anglicans have historically been divided. They also display an undeniable leaning toward centralization and authoritarianism historically associated with Catholic order.  While modes of electing the bishops of the dioceses and the primate of the province are patterned upon African models, they also reflect the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as traditional African society and British colonialism.  The ACNA may be described as a ecclesial structure designed for Catholic-minded North American Anglicans who see the renewal of Catholic doctrine and order as the way to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the Anglican Church in the United States and Canada. Such integrity and authenticity is conceived largely if not exclusively in Catholic terms. This explains why a substantial number of the most enthusiastic supporters of the ACNA are Catholic. I recently learned that Forward in Faith North America has been guaranteed a place in the ACNA. No similar provision has been made for organizations that represent other theological streams in orthodox Anglicanism.

What place is open for orthodox North American Anglicans who are Protestant and Reformed in their beliefs depends upon their willingness to compromise their Protestant and Reformed principles or to sit lightly to these principles, that is to play the role that the Broad Church party played in the former Protestant Episcopal Church when the Catholic party had the hegemony in that church. Likewise, the place open to orthodox North American Anglicans who value the North American Anglican heritage of synodical forms of church government at the diocesan and provincial levels, the diocesan synod’s election of the bishops of the diocese, and the general synod’s election of the primate of the province is limited to those who are willing to turn their backs upon this heritage

On the Heritage Anglican Network I have posted a number of articles drawing attention to the problematic provisions of the finalized version of the ACNA constitution and code of canons that the ACNA Provincial Council adopted on April 25, 2009 and their implications for orthodox North American Anglicans.  The URL is:

On Anglicans Ablaze can be found three papers related to the ACNA constitution and canons that I submitted to the ACNA Governance Task Force:
 
The ACNA Draft Canons: An Analysis of Their Provisions with Proposed Changes - Part II
http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/04/acna-draft-canons-analysis-of-their_18.html
The ACNA Draft Canons: An Analysis of Their Provisions with Proposed Changes - Part I
http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/04/acna-draft-canons-analysis-of-their.html
The ACNA Provisional Constitution: A Blueprint for Radical Innovation in Church Government
http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/04/acna-provisional-constitution-blueprint.html

On the same web site can be found a number of earlier articles that I wrote in connection with the provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons and their implications.

The Episcopate in the Anglican Church in North America
http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/03/episcopate-in-anglican-church-in-north.html
Ecclesiastical Government in the Anglican Church in North America
http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/03/ecclesiastical-government-in-anglican.html
Bigger Is Better. Or Is It?
http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/03/big-is-better-or-is-it.html
A Warning from the City Wall
http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/03/warning-from-city-wall.html
The ACNA Constitution: What You See Is What You Get
http://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2009/02/acna-constitution-what-you-see-is-what.html

[50] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-22-2009 at 10:36 PM • top
[51] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-22-2009 at 10:39 PM • top

I’m delighted to see this subject being discussed!  It needs to be chewed up and spit out by every Anglican Christian everywhere!  After all, these are PROPOSED canons, not “canons” yet!  I love the discussion with those who do have a dog in the race (like me) and those who don’t!  Both sides serve a marvelous purpose!  Sarah and other TEC “stayers” can sometimes see pieces that we “leavers” have glossed over with hope!  Sarah asked, way up at the top…

Do you know who your delegates are? Where do they stand on the various parts of the C&Cs;? Have they even read the C&Cs;? Do they know one another? Have they networked with other delegates of like mind?

In my case, I can say, yes, I know personally three of the delegates from our “diocese in formation”, the one I know best (my rector!) knows them, yes, they have networked with each other.  Is this the case with all of them?  I don’t know, and my cynical side says, of course not!  They are human.  They ALL need the coverage of prayer, because no church or part of a church can be put together WITHOUT the Hand of God not only involved but pointing the way!  Yes, some of these canons, as stated now, are,.... well, let’s be honest…. silly.  Some others would be stumbling blocks for the work of the church.  Some others carry too much TEC negative DNA.  Some are over-reaction to TEC “issues” (Boy! Did I have to edit down my first word for that one!!!)  A few are God-inspired! I’m sure there are also some plain old power brokers and power players in the group of what we all hope and pray are people dedicated to putting the Lord first! But does anyone REALLY think all those “saints” who came boiling out pushed by the Holy Spirit to form the church on the first Pentacost did NOT have some of those present?  The difference was the Holy Spirit!  And He and He alone will make the difference at the ACNA Convention later in June!  In the meantime, please pray first, and discuss, discuss, discuss!  I will read, find a way to flush the acid from the truth, and pass along what strikes me as worthwhile to my rector!

[52] Posted by Goughdonna on 05-22-2009 at 10:46 PM • top

Didn’t I read somewhere that Bishop Cranmer did not think bishops were necessary, but he would put them in the governing documents because that was what was already being used and were OK as a system of government?  His wife was Lutheran.  Or was this some revisionist history account I fell into?

[53] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 05-22-2009 at 10:48 PM • top

AnglicansAblaze,

You’ve written a lot, obviously.

Could you please categorize those 8 links to distinguish between the ones that are about your particular low-church Protestant Reformed theological objections and the ones about the *polity* issues in the C&Cs;?

[54] Posted by Sarah on 05-22-2009 at 11:02 PM • top

I’m wholly ambivalent.  Given the history of TEC, democracatic institutions and ecclesiastical “cabals” of bishops guarantee little.  For democracy to work, you need an educated electorate.  I was at GC2003.  The lay delegates came with alot of opinions, little knowledge of what they SHOULD believe, even from the 79 BCP watered down catechism, and almost no wisdom.  Do we give theological literacy tests to lay delegates?

Liberalism thrives on emotion which exists in the vacuum of knowledge and reason.  Lay involvement is a double-edged sword.

[55] Posted by Bill2 on 05-22-2009 at 11:10 PM • top

Clearly I’m not the only one that needs to find a new hobby (or a significant other) to fill my Friday nights, but…


I’m not sure one can meaningfully seperate polity from theology.  For example, your own comment about whether some sheep are more equal than others.  I would imagine that for those that hold an exceptionally “High” view of the role of the episcopate would say “But of course!” or would refer to clergy as junior shepherds (hence the word “pastor”) rather than mere sheep.  Hence, the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox approaches, which a few commentors here seem to think are a good idea.

[56] Posted by AndrewA on 05-22-2009 at 11:10 PM • top

Goughdonna, you’ve made some pretty wild statements about the ACNA C & Cs being “silly”  and “stumbling blocks” and “overreaction to TEC”.

If you can give specific examples, that might be helpful to this discussion.  As it is, what you’ve written is most unfair to people who have worked very hard on a difficult task.

[57] Posted by hanks on 05-22-2009 at 11:14 PM • top

I find this very interesting.
Thanks to all who are commenting.

I’ll be watching yet longer from the sidelines, prayerfully, and hopefully.

[58] Posted by Bo on 05-22-2009 at 11:24 PM • top

Hanks, if it weren’t so late at night I could get more specific about those parts where I am “less than enthusiastic”.  Right now, please accept my apologies for seeming to criticize the work of Christians whom I KNOW have sweat blood over producing this proposed set of C&Cs;.  No criticism of their actions was intended, nor do I fail to recognize that several points of few at some distance from each other were represented in this presentation.  It is a monumental first effort.  But it has refining left to be done.  As it stands, it is better than what I have known before.  I probably should have said that in my first post. My major point was not what my personal opinion found lacking, but that the discussion on SF is a help in the refining process.

[59] Posted by Goughdonna on 05-22-2009 at 11:27 PM • top

In answer to Sarah’s original question in setting up this thread, here’s another example:  The Archbishop is chosen solely by the College of Bishops.  Neither lay nor clergy have any say, whether through the “Provincial Council” or the “Provincial Assembly.”

On episcopacy, there are different ways of using the word “necessary,” so it’s important to be clear.  I think what Webdac is just saying is that, although everyone agrees we should have bishops, it’s a very respectable Anglican position that episcopacy is not a *theological* necessity (because not mandated by Scripture).  Instead, we should have them because episcopacy is, as you might put it, a Very Old and Good Idea—dating to the early church, and useful.  That’s the Cranmer, Jewel, Stott, and Packer position.  They’re hardly a bunch of Anglo-Baptists or crazy charismatics.  But Article I.3 as written doesn’t leave room in ACNA for their view.  The sad thing is that there are Anglican formulations the ACNA could have used to affirm episcopacy without specifying why they’re doing it, allowing for Anglicanism’s multiple views on that subject.  My favorite is the first sentence of the preface to the Ordinal.

[60] Posted by Aidan on 05-22-2009 at 11:29 PM • top

Aidan—that was *very* helpful—just that little point about how the Archbishop is chosen.

RE: “although everyone agrees we should have bishops . . . “

Is that the case?  I get the impression from Anglicans Ablaze that some Protestant Reformed people would not agree.  And for those people who don’t give a tuppence about Very Old and Good Ideas, bishops are expendable.

I agree with you about the Cranmers, Jewels, and Stotts.  But I’m drawing a distinction between the folks who say “sure let’s have bishops because it’s a Very Old and Good Idea,” and the folks who say “this Very Old and Good Idea is not really good in today’s context so let us dispense with bishops, still remain within the ACNA, have our ‘clusters’ and come up with some new praise tunes.”

I don’t think the latter would be a very good plan at all.

[61] Posted by Sarah on 05-22-2009 at 11:52 PM • top

Is there a cluster forming for Anglo-Baptists (do we get to double dunk?)?

Where do I sign-up?

[62] Posted by Bo on 05-23-2009 at 12:03 AM • top

While we are at it, they have got to purge the word “cluster” from their official terminology.  It always makes me think of, to use the polite euphamism, charlie foxtrot.

[63] Posted by AndrewA on 05-23-2009 at 12:16 AM • top

#27 NID…
+John-David Schofield may not be a rector now but he spent many years as one in the Diocese of California.
Intercessor

[64] Posted by Intercessor on 05-23-2009 at 12:17 AM • top

This thread could be a place where those of us, lay and otherwise, who are in the developing ACNA could discuss the C & C. I, however, am one lay person who has little to say about them. I am not asleep at the switch (as we accuse many of the TEC laity of being over the past decades). I am quite content with the direction the switch is directing us to go.

I have read the C & C of TEC, the C & C of the Church of Nigeria, and the pending C & C of ACNA. Each of these churches is populated solely by sinners and led by some of those sinners who have been named as bishops. Will the result for each be perfect? Not only not likely, but actually not possible, unless basic Christian theology is untrue. Will any of them be effective? They will be if sufficient of these sinners know who has saved them, who actually is the head of the church and how dependent they are upon Him for their direction. If they know all this, then they could even choose a bishop the way an Amish congregation chooses theirs - by lot - and they would do tolerably well. If they suspect that crucifixion, resurrection, atonement, an actual real Holy Spirit guiding the church are all primitive hocus pocus, then no particular C & C or collection of bishops will rescue such a church.

The reason I am content with the current ACNA C & C is that the leaders who constructed them are wise, Godly sinners, who know that they are saved by grace, etc., etc. Will such leaders always lead the ACNA? Probably not, for we are a flawed, sinful people who often see truth poorly and follow it imperfectly. But for now, the ACNA direction, its C & C, its current bishops and bishops of the near future, are worthy of trust.

With that being true, I for one can safely go about the ministries to which I have been called, and let those wise sinners who have been called to be bishops do theirs. Will I and others be watchful for danger signs the likes of Righter and Spong? I hope so, but if the history of decay and reform in the church is any guide, we will probably fail to see some of the essential danger signs, and someone somewhere into the future will need once more to call for a new reformation.

[65] Posted by Bill Cool on 05-23-2009 at 12:25 AM • top

WOW! Is all I can say at this late hour….gone all day and have missed out on all the fun! smile But there is always tomorrow.

[66] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 12:42 AM • top

#6 / Sue Martinez:

If you want to get on your high horse about the selection of bishops for the ACNA, there’s another canon you could legitimately make a fuss over—the one that says that they shall be male.  I asked my rector about that, and he said that it’s there “for a season—

I would be keen to know if in fact your rector is telling you that the new canons prohibiting female bishops are “for a season.”  Surely, you are misrepresenting him or I am misunderstanding you.  The issue is to be studied after the formation of ACNA, but you make your rector sound as if he knows what the results of that study will be. Please say more.

[67] Posted by sandiegoanglicans.com on 05-23-2009 at 01:53 AM • top

#68, What he was saying was that in the formative phase, they must be pragmatic because many of the ACNA elements are anti-WO. By “for a season,” what I understood him to mean was that sometime in the future, maybe when all of us are gone, this may change—or not. Unifying so many disparate groups is a delicate thing.  Bp. Duncan, as you know, ordains females; Bp. Iker does not, nor do the Forward in Faith people. This is a concession that the pro-WO people are making in order to get the new province born.

[68] Posted by Sue Martinez on 05-23-2009 at 02:10 AM • top

#56 / Bill2.

I’m wholly ambivalent.  Given the history of TEC, democracatic institutions and ecclesiastical “cabals” of bishops guarantee little.  For democracy to work, you need an educated electorate.  I was at GC2003.  The lay delegates came with alot of opinions, little knowledge of what they SHOULD believe, even from the 79 BCP watered down catechism, and almost no wisdom.  Do we give theological literacy tests to lay delegates?

Thanks for spelling this out bluntly.  I tend to agree.  Largely because of it’s highly democratic nature, TEC draws unto itself legions of bottom-up activist types (right & left), all hungry for influence.  It worked for a while, but the system has been “gamed” of late.  Similar forces are at work in our civic space.  The founding fathers predicted it.  A few years ago, I might have been more bothered by the centralization of power, rightly identified by Sarah.  Presently, I’m more concerned about the greater threat of individualism on the rise.

[69] Posted by sandiegoanglicans.com on 05-23-2009 at 02:18 AM • top

I think I agree most with Bill Cool here (#66).  One of the most difficult tasks for Americans is to let go of the idea that our secular political system is necessarily the best sort of system for all circumstances.  I have only to look at TEC claiming that the ACC is the only “representative” body among the instruments of communion.  That’s worked out well, hasn’t it?  It is clear to me that “democracy” is not the way the original churches operated.  Apostles and disciples of Jesus called others to serve through the Holy Spirit.  The idea of the apostolic succession and the “catholic” church is the maintenance of orthodoxy, correct teaching, by direct connection to the apostles and their designated successors.  A system in which bishops have by far the largest say in the calling of other bishops seems perhaps better than some others.

The check/balance in the ACNA situation, whose canons may very well change and develop, is the ability of the laity to control the purse strings and the ability of parishes to leave and hold their properties.

[70] Posted by Katherine on 05-23-2009 at 05:59 AM • top

Aidan, Sarah -

Thanks for clarifying. I want bishops! Bishops are essential for Anglicanism! What I am protesting is the notion that our doctrine would say that they are essential to have an apostolic or a truly Christian Church. That’s what I’m protesting. It’s that position that “unchurches” those from other valid Christian traditions and even unchurches Anglicans that think that episcopal polity is biblical, historical and wonderful but not essential to being apostolic or Christian.

Implications:
1) The canons specify that ACNA can’t partner with another church or body that doesn’t hold to the fundamental declarations unreservedly, i.e., no official partnerships with Protestants beyond the Lutherans. I think that’s a huge mistake.
2) It could be used as a bar to ordination or selection to bishop for holding a typically Anglican position that bishops are essential to Anglicanism but not to apostolicity or full-orbed Christianity (Positions held by Anglican reformers and martyrs like Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley and Anglican leaders today like Stott and Packer). Do we want a church where the theological perspectives of Cranmer, Latimer and Stott would not be affirmed?
3) It could be used potentially to discipline clergy who teach that there are three valid and biblical forms of polity while simultaneously teaching that episcopal polity is the best.

Other issues:
1) The discrepancy in the language of the affirmations of the 39 Articles in the fundamental declarations and in the Jerusalem Declaration.  Both statements are affirmed but say different things. They are affirmed in the same document but the affirmation of the JD and thereby it’s statement affirming the Articles is in the preamble and the other is in the fundamental declarations. It’s confusing to have the two affirmations in this manner - which one do we really affirm? Which one is more important? It would seem that the answer to that question is that it’s the statement that is in the fundamental declarations - I am arguing that the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration be returned to the Fundamental Declarations to make it truly reflect a consensus view for high and low Anglicans.
2) Same issue on the prayer book. Two affirmations that say different things about ACNA’s take on the Prayer Book. I think they both need to be in the Fundamental Declarations
3) Re: timing. The last version of the documents was sent out for review on April 20 with a request for feedback by the 23rd - not enough time for meaningful review!
4) Since they were sent out the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration was moved to the pre-amble - How do you make such a substantive change without consultation?
5) To my knowledge the names of those on the governance team have never been released - why not make this public? Ought this not be an open and transparent process?

Sarah -I really appreciate your comment about 4/5ths of the SF blogmasters not being in ACNA and being focused on a lot of other things. You suggest that perhaps there are blogs out there that are more focused on ACNA. There may be, but I think a lot of us ACNA types look to SFIF as a blog that is focused on issues related to orthodox Anglicans for both those who have left TEC and those who have stayed. However, if the one guy on the SFIF leadership team that is going with ACNA is also on the Governance Task Force and the others are more focused on non-ACNA issues that really could affect the type of coverage available for your ACNA leaders. Which is why I’ll say again - thanks for opening up a thread on this issue. I think it has been really needed for your ACNA readers.

[71] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-23-2009 at 06:35 AM • top

I thank Sarah for bringing this up and it has caused me to do some thinking. About the issue of the original thread—not selecting bishops but why no one in ACNA is reading its draft Constitution and Canons.

When the C+C cane out ANiC notified its members immediately. I went and looked at them very soon after. At our Church our wardens are very diligent about telling us what’s going on in ANiC and ACNA. The weekend after they came out it was announced at church that they were out. There hadn’t been time to make any copies, and we don’t have no internet or copier right there in the gymnasium, but we were advised that anyone wgo wanted a copy could ask the Deputy People’s Warden, who would get one for them. (If I remember I’ll ask him tomorrow how many people took advantage of this offer. I’m pretty sure I know the answer already. Hint: the over/under is one-half; take the under.)
I wonder if you noted that I said that I “looked” at the C+C. I didn’t say I read them. I looked seriously at the declarations-of-principle parts, examining them for creeping Papistry, Prayer-Book-of-1662 fetishism, etc. However I did not read the constitution and canons. Even though I am in not just the 10%, not just the 5%, but the 1% of the laity most likely to read the C+C. I enjoy making critiques about stuff like how something in the Canons contradicts something in the Constitution, indeed about how subsection A4.Y5.3(v) has been wrongly placed there, when it really belongs in paragraph B6.J3.

So then why did I not read the Constitution and Canons? I had to ask myself that. And why am I not going to read them now, despite Sarah’s very appropriate warnings?

Because if I don’t like them there isn’t a damn thing I could do about it. Oh my rector would be happy to discuss them with me if I wanted. But there ain’t a damn think he could do about it either. We can’t review these at our ANiC synod, because their release, review and approval all comes in between two of our annual synods. The delegates to the ACNA synod were just announced yesterday. All 4 of the clergy delegates are from western Canada. (What’s up with that?) 2 of the lay delegates are from Ontario. I don’t know them, but I am sure I could find them and contact them. Heck, this ain’t the problem. Charlie Masters is the Executive Secretary of ACNA. (Does he keep the minutes? The person who keeps the minutes can be the second most important person in a voluntary organization sometimes.) He was at my church last month and I could have cornered him and bent his ear for an hour. Or just call him; he’s in the book.

But I face 3 stark facts: 1) nobody with any power really cares what I have to say, no matter who reasoned, thoughtful, and intelligent it might be (heed the example of Robin Jordan and take note); 2) even if someone did care, there is only one person in ACNA who has the practical power of influencing someone who has power to do anything, Bishop Don Harvey. 3) Rven if Bishop Don didn’t like something about the C+C, it’s likely the rest of the bunch would listen, smile and nod politely, leave it as it is and move onto something else.
So reading the C+Cs would be a waste of my time and could only raise my blood pressure, and I have enuf things doing that already.

I’ll break this into two posts. Later I’ll discuss why this situation is both good and bad, how the impotence of the indivdual layman stems from the very good fact that we have as yet no organuzed church parties to which to adhere, and why I grudgingly accept the large degree of bishop power that exists, as necessary in an organization-in-formation comprising folks with all manners and forms of churchmanship. And just to keep you awake, maybe speculate about why I believe the current bishop-selection rules may be connected to WO and women bishops.

[72] Posted by Toral1 on 05-23-2009 at 06:40 AM • top

#71 Katharine.  I believe you are correct, there is much leverage in control of the $.  But, there are a couple of issues down the road.  First, the election of bishops.  I’ve been unclear on this, and maybe Sarah can help.  Say, you are in St. Dunstan’s which joined Kenya, and the bishop designated for you (not elected) is Atwood.  You are governed by Kenya but you decide to leave your adopted church, Kenya…(it was only temporary anyway), does your “bishop” come with you, and what happens if you don’t like him,  since you had no control over his appointment, can you just say, it was “provisional” and we don’t want him and want to nominate somebody else?  When your parish joined the province of Kenya,  was it making its choice on the basis that it liked the province (no longer applicable when ACNA is established ) or on the basis of the bishop, e.g., Atwood, Guernsey, Murdoch, Minns etc.  Or are these “founding” bishops locked in as bishops for the province, and able to make the decision for you?  Yes, you can simply leave ACNA as a parish or as a diocese, (component whatever), and REJOiN a component you like better?  It appears to me, tne ultimate decision, de jure, rests with the bishops, many of whom, particularly for the old Network churches, were electec by no one.  But then again, I’m projecting an American mindset of an argument down the road:  “I didn’t elect him, (in the case of Guersey,Murdoch,Atwood Minns etc.,) we didn’t even get to nominate him and now he gets to be either “my” bishop or one of the bishops who decides for me.”  For that particular group, the Network group consecrated overseas, again, this was Duncan’s roster.  These were his hand pickec men.  Not Minns or Anderson (who has no diocesan constituentcy but operates what is essential ly a lobby).

[73] Posted by EmilyH on 05-23-2009 at 06:50 AM • top

EmilyH, I would imagine that the bishops who were affiliated with Kenya, Rwanda, Southern Cone, etc., would end up remaining ACNA bishops when they affirmatively leave behind the foreign-report status and cleave to ACNA.  And what the heck, I’ve moved often and have had lots of bishops I never voted for even through representatives.  This isn’t a case of “no confirmation without representation,” at least not for me.

[74] Posted by Katherine on 05-23-2009 at 07:08 AM • top

Now see, this conversation is revealing bunches of more minor differences between us as well.  I agree with Bill Cool that if nobody is a believing Christian that is involved in the process, then all is lost.  But I disagree in that I do believe that process is somewhat important.

RE: “If they know all this, then they could even choose a bishop the way an Amish congregation chooses theirs - by lot - and they would do tolerably well.”

This is ironic, as I actually had a very conservative [more conservative than I] member of TEC tell me that she served on a search committee that was anxiously looking for a good rector.  Rather than [ahem] doing the appropriate research and networking with the right contacts to discover who among their final list might be a better fit and who a worse, they decided that it was all terribly confusing and that they were called to select their rector “by lot.”  So they cast lots.

The lot fell upon a horribly revisionist female priest and that is who they selected.  To this day, the woman is oblivious about the fact that maybe their process was really really screwed up.  Everybody will be surprised to know that I—with great effort—restrained myself from leaping over the table and screaming “do you understand what you did?”

In other words, I heartily disagree with Bill Cool that the ACNA could cast lots like the Amish and light upon a good bishop.  Nevertheless, if that is what Bill Cool really believes, then he’s right to be completely unconcerned about the C&Cs;and he can indeed “safely go about the ministries to which I have been called.”

SandiegoAnglicans:

RE: “Similar forces are at work in our civic space.  The founding fathers predicted it.  A few years ago, I might have been more bothered by the centralization of power, rightly identified by Sarah.  Presently, I’m more concerned about the greater threat of individualism on the rise.”

Here may also reveal a more minor difference that affects the whole.  I don’t believe that the problem with our American government is individualism.  I relish individualism.  I think the problem with our government is that some very wicked people have decided to 1) achieve political power, 2) while the voters were out attending the neighborhood barbecue, and 3) those political achievers have decided to ignore utterly the Constitution which they swear an oath to uphold [other than mouth deconstructed sophisms concerning it.]  Hopefully all of that sounds rather familiar!

It is true that at least in the ACNA you are not dealing with deconstructionist socialists who have risen through power.  But at the same time I don’t think the problems in America or the ACNA will be too much individualism.  Still—shouldn’t the laity and clergy of the ACNA care, just a little, about a system that will concentrate an *immense amount of power* into one small group of people?  What about the future?  What about 100 years from now?  What recourse will lay or clergy have in order to reform the ACNA, should it ever slide?  The only recourse I am hearing is “leave”—and perhaps that is understandable considering the unfortunate organization from which so many in the ACNA have recently come.

Webdac:

RE: “3) Re: timing. The last version of the documents was sent out for review on April 20 with a request for feedback by the 23rd - not enough time for meaningful review!”

Hmmm.  I don’t remember that three-day turnaround and I’m a bit suspicious of your dates here.  Maybe I missed that . . . maybe others can confirm that this is indeed true.

RE: “4) Since they were sent out the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration was moved to the pre-amble - How do you make such a substantive change without consultation?”

I agree—that’s odd.  I did not know that.

RE: “5) To my knowledge the names of those on the governance team have never been released - why not make this public? Ought this not be an open and transparent process?”

I do completely agree that the names of those on the governance team should be public.

Toral1:

RE: “However I did not read the constitution and canons. Even though I am in not just the 10%, not just the 5%, but the 1% of the laity most likely to read the C+C. I enjoy making critiques about stuff like how something in the Canons contradicts something in the Constitution, indeed about how subsection A4.Y5.3(v) has been wrongly placed there, when it really belongs in paragraph B6.J3.”

Heh.  Maybe Aidan and Anglicans Ablaze and Webdac and you need to put your heads together.  ; > )  You sound like just their ticket.

Regarding much of the rest of your comment—I think I will blockquote it for my second comment, because it is so important.

[75] Posted by Sarah on 05-23-2009 at 07:09 AM • top

RE: “Say, you are in St. Dunstan’s which joined Kenya, and the bishop designated for you (not elected) is Atwood.  You are governed by Kenya but you decide to leave your adopted church, Kenya…(it was only temporary anyway), does your “bishop” come with you, and what happens if you don’t like him, since you had no control over his appointment, can you just say, it was “provisional” and we don’t want him and want to nominate somebody else?”

EmilyH—my understanding—and this is something that I think the C&Cs;got right—is that any parish within a cluster or diocese [or whatever] may choose to depart said entity and apply for membership in another entity of the ACNA.  Remember that clusters and diocesese are not *necessarily* geographical.  That’s why I’m more concerned about the *provincial* C&Cs;than I am the *diocesan* C&Cs;.  A parish actually has influence or choice on the local or regional level—but practically none on the national or provincial level.

To return to Toral1’s excellent and articulate comment:

So then why did I not read the Constitution and Canons? I had to ask myself that. And why am I not going to read them now, despite Sarah’s very appropriate warnings?

Because if I don’t like them there isn’t a damn thing I could do about it. Oh my rector would be happy to discuss them with me if I wanted. But there ain’t a damn think he could do about it either. We can’t review these at our ANiC synod, because their release, review and approval all comes in between two of our annual synods. The delegates to the ACNA synod were just announced yesterday. All 4 of the clergy delegates are from western Canada. (What’s up with that?) 2 of the lay delegates are from Ontario. I don’t know them, but I am sure I could find them and contact them. Heck, this ain’t the problem. Charlie Masters is the Executive Secretary of ACNA. (Does he keep the minutes? The person who keeps the minutes can be the second most important person in a voluntary organization sometimes.) He was at my church last month and I could have cornered him and bent his ear for an hour. Or just call him; he’s in the book.

But I face 3 stark facts: 1) nobody with any power really cares what I have to say, no matter who reasoned, thoughtful, and intelligent it might be (heed the example of Robin Jordan and take note); 2) even if someone did care, there is only one person in ACNA who has the practical power of influencing someone who has power to do anything, Bishop Don Harvey. 3) Rven if Bishop Don didn’t like something about the C+C, it’s likely the rest of the bunch would listen, smile and nod politely, leave it as it is and move onto something else.

So reading the C+Cs would be a waste of my time and could only raise my blood pressure, and I have enuf things doing that already.

I blockquoted that part of Toral1’s comment because I’m hoping more people will read it.

All I can say is that it does appear to me that there is even less open to a layperson in the ACNA in the way of action than is open to a TECusan.

BUT—isn’t all of what you said, Toral1, precisely what the average layman said in TECusa?

And we know how well that all worked out . . .

[76] Posted by Sarah on 05-23-2009 at 07:15 AM • top

On the casting of lots to choose a bishop or rector- or for that matter, babysitter for your kids, the key is to actually follow the instructions- found in Acts I.  In verse 15 we are given that about 120 of the disciples of Jesus had gathered.  Of that 120- 2 were deemed worthy to join the Apostles.  Perhaps the Apostles themselves were unable to choose between them, so they prayed and cast lots.
My point would be that you don’t cast lots for everyone who submits a resume.  You cast lots when the choice is not obvious, and only from those candidates who are so worthy of the position that you cannot fairly choose between them.  If you end up with a radical revisionist cleric in a traditional parish, you did NOT follow the instructions.

[77] Posted by tjmcmahon on 05-23-2009 at 07:34 AM • top

This is probably a bit off-topic, however I believe there is a more fundamental question that should be dealt with first before we decide how bishops are elected and that is: what is the approprate role of a bishop? In my experience bishops have to spend too much of their time on CEO functions rather than “guarding the faith unity and discipline of the Church.” The emphasis on adminsitrative and disciplinary tasks take away from spiritual development and pastoring of clergy and “the flock.”

As I review the ordination vows for a bishop much is asked about faith matters and little is asked about government of the church (“Will you share with your fellow bishops in the government of the whole Church [...]”), but in practice a bishop’s time is spent largely on government rather than “Boldly proclaim and interpret the Gospel of Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the conscience of your people.”

We need to restore the episcopate to a pre-Constantine model and find other ways of delegating the CEO functions. Then an election to bishop becomes less political in nature (regardless of the way it is performed).

Just my $.02 after 6 years of being a canon to a bishop.

[78] Posted by garyec on 05-23-2009 at 07:38 AM • top

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  That is exactly the way I read it.  A parish can “bishop shop” from the group already designated or from new clusters, dioceses etc.
to be formed, their bishops to be nominated locally but chosen provincially by the ACNA house of bishops.

[79] Posted by EmilyH on 05-23-2009 at 07:52 AM • top

Sarah,
Good Posting; but with less than a month left before Bedford, most people, still, never took the time to read the documents closely. I have felt for a long time that people were buying a pig in a poke. The deals have already been made in the incense-filled rooms in the back, Bedford will just be a photo-op. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

[80] Posted by RMBruton on 05-23-2009 at 08:11 AM • top

Sarah -

The 4 day timeline for feedback on the constitution and canons from 4/20 to 4/23 was from the letter to CANA clergy. The publishing of the complete ACNA canons and Constitutions occurred on April 6th and asked for feedback by April 20th. See here -
http://www.united-anglicans.org/stream/2009/04/ACNA-canons-published-comments-welcome.html

So I stand corrected. 14 days, not 4. However, I think my comment that the process has been truncated stands.  14 days to review the complete publishing of the canons and constitutions????

Moreover, the change to move the Jerusalem Declaration affirmation from the fundamental declarations to the pre-amble seems to have come after these documents were published. Weird, no??

[81] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-23-2009 at 08:12 AM • top

To all those hostile to a greater role for laity in selecting bishops in the ACNA because of problems with the TEC process: 

In addition to the various other arguments that folks have made (e.g., it’s not as if the RC bishops in the US have been a wild success in recent years; TEC bishops are no more stunning towers of theological wisdom than the laity), it’s not as if TEC conjured its basic system out of some revisionist, populist ether.  First, it goes back to the beginning of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 

Second, although I’m no professional historian or canon lawyer (and happy to be corrected), from a little research it appears that the basic model of the Church in the West, for at least the first quarter millennium (certainly up to Nicea), was that the clergy of a diocese settled on someone to be bishop; they obtained the consent of the laity of the diocese; and then the bishops of other dioceses in the province signed off *on that one candidate* through the requirement that at least three of them, presumably including the metropolitan, participate in consecrating that person.  Sometimes the clergy and laity reversed roles and the people drove it, as with Cyprian (mid-200s).  He didn’t turn out so badly.  Sound familiar?

[82] Posted by Aidan on 05-23-2009 at 08:15 AM • top

Confirmed! - when published on April 6th - the constitution had pt. 8 affirming the Jerusalem Declaration as one of the 8 fundamental declarations.  should there not have been some sort of announcement that they were changing one of the 8 fundamental declarations.

[83] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-23-2009 at 08:37 AM • top

Aiden @83.  The selection of Philander Chase 1st Bishop of Ohio was certainly as you suggest.  Of the 4 clergy, they selected Chase and Chase was consecrated.  There was no involvement of laymen (and, of course, no invovlement of women)  The model chosen places de jure a great deal of power in the hands of the bishops and, de facto, a great deal of power in the hand of the founding bishops who can control who will join their number.  Among these there are huge variances in theology and liturgy.  Duncan has placed a number of his own men in this group (Check the Calvary case exhibits for proof)  The R.E.C. very low church has a number to contribute as well as the Anglo-Catholic men, Schofield, Ackerman, & Iker.  The only thing they seemed to have compromised on so far is to exclude women from their membership, gee why am I not surprised, and, of course, only Pittsburg ordains women…... and,

[84] Posted by EmilyH on 05-23-2009 at 08:58 AM • top

EmilyH #85, the Virgina Anglican group and Uganda-affiliated folks also ordain women— as has been pointed out to you many times when you go in this direction.  And of course many women belong to and support the non-WO portions of the ACNA.

[85] Posted by Katherine on 05-23-2009 at 09:54 AM • top

AnglicansAblaze (#48 and 50), you are badly misreading the C & Cs to come to the conclusion that the College of Bishops or the diocesan bishop can run roughshod over the process.

Let’s start with the College of Bishops.  As I noted earlier, they have the authority only to choose among the bishop nominees sent to them by a diocese and then to consent to their choice or to the single nominee sent to them.  They have no authority in the C & C to nominate and elect their own nominee.  There are two key provisions in the Constitution which are important here (emphasis added):

ARTICLE VIII: THE LIMITS OF PROVINCIAL AUTHORITY
1.  The member dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) and those dioceses banded together as jurisdictions shall each retain all authority they do not yield to the Province by their own consent.  The powers not delegated to the Province by this constitution nor prohibited by this Constitution to these dioceses or jurisdictions, are reserved to these dioceses or jurisdictions respectively.

ARTICLE IV: THE STRUCTURE OF THE PROVINCE
7. This Constitution recognizes the right of each diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based) to establish and maintain its own governance, constitution and canons not inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution and Canons of this Province.

Article VIII is patterned after the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution which reserves powers to the States.  In the case of ACNA, if a specific authority is not spelled out, the College of Bishops does not have it.  And it’s up to each diocese to establish its own process for selecting nominees per its C & C.

Then let’s look at the diocesan level where you suggested the diocesan bishop could nominate his own successor.

Canon 8, Section 4 states: 

Bishops shall be chosen by a Diocese in conformance with the constitution and canons of the Diocese and consistent with the Constitution and Canons of this Church.

Are you suggesting that a diocese might approve a local C & C which would exclude the laity and clergy from the process of the selection of nominees?  If that were to be proposed, I can not imagine many churches deciding to stay in that diocese.

And, should any congregation decide to leave the diocese or the Church (which is their right under Canon 6, Section 9 ), their church property “is and shall be solely and exclusively owned by the congregation” per Canon 6, Section 6.  That’s not exactly an incentive for the local bishop to run roughshod over anyone—a pretty good “check and balance” item.

I think you are conjuring up scenarios which are simply not what the ACNA C & C’s allow.  As I said earlier, I like what has been developed, but would welcome positive suggestions which might improve the process.

And as to the original question raised in this thread about “newly formed dioceses,” I think it’s clear that once a diocese has been formed and consent given to their bishop nominee, they are no longer “newly formed.”  After that, every diocese that nominates a new bishop goes through exactly the same process.  And they can submit one nominee or they can submit the “commended” two or three.  This seems like a good process with wise checks and balances—not a Province about to be run by some “cabal”.

[86] Posted by hanks on 05-23-2009 at 09:58 AM • top

ANiC has women ministers. Indeed one of its rectors was the orthodox candidate for bishop at the last bishop election in the ACoC diocese of Niagara.

[87] Posted by Toral1 on 05-23-2009 at 10:11 AM • top

Emily [80],
If you examine the finalized versions of the constitution and canons and the guidelines for the recognition of new dioceses that the Provincial Council has adopted you will discover that a congregation cannot “shop” for a bishop. “Affinity” as used in these documents refers to an existing relationship with a founding entity, or Common Cause Partner. It does not refer to a common or shared position on key theological and ecclesiological issues as some people, including myself, have erroneously assumed. The guidelines for the recognition of a new diocese clearly encourage the formation of dioceses on a “regional,” or territorial, basis. Congregations that are affiliated with a founding entity may remain with that entity or they may join with other congregations in a specific geographic area to form a new diocese. They have the choice of sticking with their present bishop or joining a new diocese for which the College of Bishops will elect a bishop. That bishop may be a nominee of the new diocese or he may be a nominee of the College of Bishops. The canons do NOT require the College of Bishops to elect the diocese’s nominee or nominees. They also do not make provision for the diocese to make additional nominations if the College of Bishops rejects its nominees.

Contrary to what was stated earlier, the canons do not make any provision for a new diocese to elect its subsequent bishops. The particular mode of episcopal election which the canons impose upon all new dioceses and encourages the founding entities to adopt comes from the Anglican Church of Rwanda in which a diocese presents the names of candidates for bishop of the diocese to the Rwandan Primate and House of Bishops for consideration. As in the case of the ACNA the Rwandan provincial bishops are not bound from among the diocese’s nominees.

The bottomline is that a congregation cannot go bishop-shopping.

[88] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-23-2009 at 10:16 AM • top

One wonders how the Christian world survived at all for so many centuries without extensive lay control of the instruments of power.

[89] Posted by Dan Crawford on 05-23-2009 at 10:30 AM • top

AnglicansAblaze (89), your statement that the College of Bishops “elects” bishops or can nominate bishops outside of the nominee(s) presented by a diocese is not correct.

The College of Bishops has no such authority.  Here’s the language from the Constitution which spells out their options as “consent” to a single nominee or “choice and consent” from among multiple nominees.  These are the only roles they can play in the election process:  There is no language which suggests any authority for the College to nominate.

ARTICLE X: COLLEGE OF BISHOPS
5.  The College of Bishops shall have authority in the election of bishops of the Province which may be: a) consent to an election from a diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based), or b) the actual choice and consent from among two or more nominees put forward by a diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based), in the manner set forward by canon.

Perhaps the Church of Rwanda provides that authority, by ACNA does not.

[90] Posted by hanks on 05-23-2009 at 10:31 AM • top

And, EmilyH, please learn, at least, to spell “Pittsburgh” correctly.

[91] Posted by RalphM on 05-23-2009 at 10:31 AM • top

Did the Episcopal Church always have a General Convention?

[92] Posted by Theodora on 05-23-2009 at 10:37 AM • top

Not at its founding.

[93] Posted by Cennydd on 05-23-2009 at 10:39 AM • top

As for casting lots:  the credentials of the new choice for the twelve was laid down by the eleven already in office. Only two met the criteria.  It was not a democratic free for all.  Then who got to cast the lots?  Many think casting of lots was not drawing straws, casting dice, or rock-scissors-paper but merely like our paper balot,  Each voted for the one of the two pre qualified. One was chosen.  Some churches required the votes to be unanimous and are retaken until all agree.  “The Holy Spirit can lead all as easily as He can one.”  I have actually seen this done and say that by waiting until all were in agreement, great tragedy was avoided that they did not even expect.  Now as for CANA,  look guys, any new organization has to start up some way.  Unually the founding leaders cobble up a way to start and keep going. It is best to keep it simple and in generalities.  Later the system will mature and gradually modofied hopefully for the best.  Most of the time it is too complex to settle in stone unless we have the ability to see the future.  IMHO

[94] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 05-23-2009 at 10:45 AM • top

Sue Martinez,
You make it sound as if you “Pro Women Priests/Bishops etc…” people are compromising “your” new Province to allow us “Non Women Priests/Bishops etc…” people to join “your” new Province!
The same thing is being said on this side of the issue which is why I feel this New Province is headed for deep trouble right off the bat. Forget the way bishops are chosen or elected, I don’t agree with Sarah on that. I rather like taking the laity out of the equation since laity cannot be trusted to be informed about much of anything save the pew seat they normally sit in each Sunday and the fact that someone else or someone new might be sitting in it God forbid! As I see it, Rome seems to fair out better the way they have chosen their clergy anyway….or maybe Rome has the protection of the Holy Spirit because Jesus did say He would build His Church on Peter and it would be protected. Yes human sin and desires will be there no matter how one is chosen to be a priest or bishop and when a priest commits a sinful disgusting act like pedophilia Rome has been relaxed on dealing with that but, no more so than the Anglican Church regarding divorce, homosexuality, ordaining women, and allowing heretics to take over the Church! As I see it Rome has never divided within it self….that says alot to me! However, there are still dividing issues that are being brought right into this New Province and how in the world can a house already divided and which has divided before stand unified when both parties are playing the same bluffs (WO, being one of them)  with each other?

[95] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 10:55 AM • top

TLDillon, I really have no opinion on whether women should be priests because I know some who are truly called and have much to offer. It’s not up to me, though, to decide this issue.  All I said is that they’ve compromised on many things and this is one of them. We could argue WO from now to kingdom come and there would be no new province.  We are all flawed, and no institution is going to be perfect. I know how hard the founders have worked, how hard they’ve prayed for a solution, and I know that God has found a way forward.  I rejoice that the ACNA has refused to be sidetracked by potentially divisive issues. If the primates of GAFCON can be united without being sidetracked (Uganda ordains women; Nigeria does not) why can’t the ACNA?

[96] Posted by Sue Martinez on 05-23-2009 at 11:35 AM • top

Sarah #47 - PCA has a rule from the grass roots up, rather than from the top down. They have presbyters (or elders) and the graded assemblies or courts.  These courts are
a. The session, governing the local church
b. The presbytery, runs regional matters
c. The general assembly, at the national level.
d. Has two classes of elders teaching and ruling (functioning as as priests and bishops).
Just pointing out that on paper and constitution, it seems to meet your desires, that’s all.

[97] Posted by Festivus on 05-23-2009 at 11:46 AM • top

Sue Martinez,
I know many who have much to offer and are called to use their gifts, but not necessarily wearing a collar. We are all called to use the gifts God has given us to the benefit of others for the expansion of the Kingdom and to the glory of God. Doesn’t mean we are being called to be priests, especially women. Now as far as compromise I see this issue, WO, along with divorce, the 39 articles, etc… as a compromise to agree to disagree….nothing solved, nothing dealt with. What happens when you let a terminal illness go without treatment, or with a tooth that needs attention but you ignore it? The person eventually dies from the illness because they do not get it resolved by seeking to treat it. The tooth eventually dies and needs to be pulled because one did not seek treatment for it to be fixed. I see the issues that are not being dealt with in this new province as such….Eventually, the illness will get more infected and rear its hurtful head and then another split. How many splits will it take before we get it? or are we making things worse instead of better because we have not recognized our own follies in our ever so distant past?

[98] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 11:58 AM • top

TLDillon in #96, wrote:

I rather like taking the laity out of the equation since laity cannot be trusted to be informed about much of anything save the pew seat they normally sit in each Sunday and the fact that someone else or someone new might be sitting in it God forbid!

We would hope that TLDillon is being sarcastic because this is one of the major problems with TEC and the AC.  As long as the laity is seen or perceived in this light, there is no accountability for those in robes or miters.  This is specifically true when those in robes or miters should never have put on one in the first place.  Jesus even said that you have to become a servant as leader, and this teaching is lost in the current TEC environment.  The whole point of the Church is to help Christians grow in Christ and witness to others.

We’ve seen both men and women in ministry denied the collar who were far better suited than some men (and women) in ministry who were approved.  As long as the process has a level of politics involved, it will be fatally flawed.  God will choose His ministers, whether they wear a collar or not.

Sue Martinez (#97) has succinctly, and in our opinion accurately, stated the situation.  And our hope is that GAFCON, ACNA, etc., will keep their eyes focused on Jesus and follow His lead, and not get bogged down in “divisive issues”.

[99] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 05-23-2009 at 12:12 PM • top

Lakeland two,
I am not being sarcastic…I think what I have stated has much validity to it as I hear it and see it weekly. Much of the laity don’t care to talk about or discuss the issues because they just want to come to church, get their sermon and communion and go about their week ahead. But hey do notice when their seat is taken by someone else and want to discuss it at length, or if the music that is being played is not the typical music and wants to talk about shy and what happened. Their interests rise at things like that instead of what is actually happening under their noses with clergy and those being sponsored by their church to the priesthood because they are fine with them because after all they come from our parish. Or if a postulant comes from another church in their diocese they must be okay because after all they are from our diocese and those people who are in the Q&A;part of the discernment of deciding who gets the thumbs up or down to present to the bishop are smarter than they, then all is okay! Not So! It’s a popularity contest. I have heard of someone going through the process three times was told no but eventually she was told yes because she coming back through and answers to questions kept getting better and then there were different people on the Bishops Committee on Ministry. Should she really have been made a clergy? Two times she was told no, her third time was a charm. How in the world did she change so drastically in such a short amount of time to finally win them over?
I am sorry Lakeland Two if you do not agree, that is your prerogative. But, I think Rome has it right and we have had it wrong for too many decades!

[100] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 12:28 PM • top

Thank you, Lakeland Trio! 

I’ve seen too many commenters on this thread who are willing to see ACNA die before it’s even born.  Yes, there are unresolved issues and flaws, but this is not the time to deal with them. My rector shares a lot of what’s going on on the national level with the “pewsters.”  He also refuses to comment negatively on issues on the local level, such as our court cases, and at all times, insists that we keep our eyes on Jesus. I once asked him why he left TEC, and he said simply, “I’m following Jesus.” I think that most, if not all, of those who have left would say the same thing, and so would the “stayers”—and both would be right. Personally, I am much comforted with the firm belief that God has us firmly in the palm of his hand and that he’s carrying out his plan despite our imperfections.

Now I have some pruning and weeding to do in my garden, so I’m off the computer for the day. Even though gardening is a new activity for me, it has become my preferred place to be alone with God. He teaches me a lot.

[101] Posted by Sue Martinez on 05-23-2009 at 12:34 PM • top

By the way, I keep hearing this “Keep their eyes on Jesus and all will be okay.”
Yes that is what we are all supposed to do….but the other side is saying the same thing yet we see them as leaving the faith once delivered to the saints. They see us and say we are not following Jesus. Who has it right? Who really is following Jesus and who is really looking at Jesus?  That is an easy convenient statement to use and claim, but when two very different sides are saying the same thing…..then one has to stop and ask the question…..Who is rightfully doing so?

[102] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 12:36 PM • top

Hank [87],
I do not believe that we should ascribe evil motives to the ACNA leadership. Indeed I believe that it is unhelpful and counterproductive since it can be used to dismiss legitimate concerns and undermine the credibility of those expressing these concerns.

I also do not believe that you have been paying attention to how the ACNA Governance Task Force has in the drafting of the canons been interpreting the constitution. In the canons they assign to the College of Bishops and other ACNA governing organizations powers and functions that are NOT given to them in the constitution. The Governance Task Force has not been interpreting the constitution as you do. I pointed to their attention in one of my papers that they were rewriting the constitution in the canons without amending it. In adopting finalized version of the constitution and canons with a few revisions the ACNA Provincial Council agreed with their interpretation of the constitution. When the dioceses of the ACNA ratify the constitution and canons in Bedford in June, they will be consenting to this interpretation of the constitution.

You are obviously unfamiliar with the canonical charter of the AMiA under which the AMiA will be operating as a member judicatory of the ACNA. In that charter the AMiA Council of Missionary Bishops nominates candidates for the office of bishop in the AMiA. The Primatial Vicar must approve all nominations before they are presented to the Primate and House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Rwanda for consideration. He may turn down any and all nominations. The clergy and laity have no role in the nomination process. As in the ACNA the Rwanda provincial bishops are not required to choose one of the nominees. The name of the new AMiA bishop is then presented to the ACNA College of Bishops for consideration.

You are ignoring the last part of Article XII: “Where property is held in a different manner by any diocese or grouping, such ownership shall be preserved.” If you read my papers, you will see that I proposed extensive revision of this Article that would have eliminated this provision. The Governance Task Force rejected my proposal. Under the provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons a diocese that holds the property of its congregations in trust may be admitted to the ACNA and may continue to hold their property in trust.

A much better solution to the one that you propose is to guarantee to all dioceses the power and authority to elect their own bishops and to make provision for the involvement of a congregation in the nomination and election process of its diocese through its delegates to a synod by which the diocesan bishop and auxiliary bishops of the diocese would be nominated and elected. This should be clearly stated in the constitution and canons. 

I must also point to your attention that if a ecclesial body is so structured that a congregation is left with no choice but leave that body when it does not agree with the choice of a bishop, how is that body really different from TEC?

Why do the canons commend the College of Bishop’s election of the bishops of a diocese to those member judicatories of the ACNA such as the Reformed Episcopal Church that continue to elect their own bishops if the drafters of this document do not regard this particular mode of episcopal election as the primary and preferred mode of episcopal election and envision a future in which it is the only mode of episcopal election in the ACNA? If the ACNA Provisional Council does not endorse this vision of the ACNA future, why did it not remove this provision? Why did they adopt the constitution and canons and commend them for the ratification of the dioceses of the ACNA?

The College of Bishop’s election of the bishop of a new diocese cannot be likened to the appointment of a missionary bishop for two reasons. First, a missionary bishop is usually appointed to oversee a diocese in formation, which is the case in Southern Cone and other Anglican Provinces. A missionary bishop is not appointed to oversee a diocese that has been newly admitted to a province. Second, the ACNA canons contain a provision for the College of Bishop’s election of missionary bishops, designated as bishops for special missions.

The constitution and canons give expression to the vision of the ACNA future of the segment of the ACNA Governance Task Force that had the most influence upon the development of the provisions of these documents. The different responses of posters on this and other web sites suggest that a substantial number of people are projecting their own vision on these documents rather than reading what they say and, just as important if not more so, what they do not say. As more and more people take a closer look at the two documents, they are discovering that the vision of the ACNA expressed in these documents is not one which they can embrace. It is at odds with what they believe and value.

The ACNA constitution and canons are divisive in a number of ways. This includes but is not limited to their decidedly partisan doctrinal position on a number of key theological and ecclesiological issues, the form of ecclesiastic governance that they establish, the mode of episcopal election that they endorse. If the ACNA is going to be church that enfolds all segments of orthodox North American Anglicans, it needs to adopt a much less divisive constitution and canons.

[103] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-23-2009 at 12:45 PM • top

Sue Martinez,
Fr. Rob Eaton says he is following Jesus and he is still in TEC along with Bishop Mark Lawrence. Yet these brothers are separated from their other brothers in Christ who have left TEc.  When one sees this as it is one has to ask the question does God want them separated? Does God want His Church divided brother against brother? Jesus did say in Matthew 10:32-38
 

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, [33] but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
  [34] “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. [35] For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. [36] And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. [37] Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.


So who is right in their following?

[104] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 12:49 PM • top

TLDillon
They way I see it Fr. Rob Eaton and Bishop Mark Lawrence are part of the same Church, God’s Church.  That they are not part of the same worldly church is a shame, but allows each of them to reach others and bring them into God’s Church.  In a perfect world, God’s Church would be one church on earth.

[105] Posted by JustOneVoice on 05-23-2009 at 12:55 PM • top

Exactly JustOneVoice…and there has been only one church that has not imploded, divided, and turned on itself….The Roman Catholic Church and I am starting to ask why that is? The Anglican Communion has seen how many divisions? Two that I know of and to me that is 2 too many! Not too mention all the splinters that have come out of it…Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc….
So if ACNA is starting off with issues, and it is, then what is from stopping it from splitting yet again in the future? Nothing IMHO! And what will keep other problems like homosexual/lesbian clergy from getting through?

[106] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 01:01 PM • top

Forgot to add after that last sentence that since the homosexual/lesbian issue was the dividing factor, or as many like to say departing from scripture, then what guarantees does ACNA have to keep that from happening in there world?

[107] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 01:04 PM • top

Matthew 16:18
  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Seems the gates of hell are prevailing within the Anglican Communion IMHO! The church that Jesus built His Church on may have its issues and it does because after all they too are human, but it has not fallen nor has it divided within itself because it is protected by God and the Holy Spirit. Those that have sinned against her will be dealt with her on earth and in heaven.

[108] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 01:10 PM • top

Those that have sinned against her and within her will be dealt with here on earth and in heaven.
Fixing my typos

[109] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 01:12 PM • top

108 TLDillon, there are no guarantees, and we need to be extremely vigilant in order to prevent that from ever happening.

[110] Posted by Cennydd on 05-23-2009 at 01:13 PM • top

Cennydd,
With these C’s & C’s how are we going to do that?

[111] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 01:15 PM • top

Cennydd,
With these C’s & C’s and the unresolved issues coming into this new Province how can we do that? I also see that we have yet another problem and maybe in time way down the road it can work itself out, but I don’t hear too much from other people not in our church denomination wanting to join us because they see all this division, and the issues, and quite frankly I do not see that as a positive in evangelizing to those not already Anglican. We seem to be so busy fighting each other and other “christians” spending that precisous time on bringing people to our Church to meet and know Jesus because we are so busy fight each other and other Christians.

[112] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 01:24 PM • top

Sarah [55]
All of the articles relate in some way to church polity. With the ACNA constitution and canons I do not think that you can separate doctrine from the particular form of ecclesiastical governance and modes of episcopal and primatial election that the constitution and canons establish. The point that I have sought to make is that if the ACNA is to enfold all orthodox North American Anglicans and to enjoy good relations with all orthodox Anglicans outside of North America, it cannot take a partisan doctrinal position on key theological and ecclesiological issues over which orthodox Anglicans historically have been divided. The Anglican Church of Australia has dioceses that are very Catholic and dioceses that are very Protestant. Its constitution in its fundamental declarations sections steers clear of such issues. The ACNA constitution and canons, however, make the affirmation of partisan doctrinal positions on the historic episcopate and apostolic succession a prerequisite to membership, formation of a diocese, ordination and licensing of clergy, and nomination, election, and consecration as a bishop. Under the provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons clergy and seminary professors are subject to discipline for teaching the doctrine and ecclesiology of the English Reformers, classical Anglicanism, and traditional evangelical Anglicism because the ACNA has in its constitution and canons adopted the position that teaching other than that which the constitution and canons endorse is contrary to the apostolic faith and practice and the doctrine of Christ. The ACNA constitution and canons endorses the Catholic doctrine and ecclesiology that the English Reformers, classical Anglicanism, and traditional evangelical Anglicanism reject as unscriptural.

[113] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-23-2009 at 01:29 PM • top

This video posted on BabyBlue is very telling in and of itself as ABp Orombi explains why he see the ACNA as necessary!
http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/2009/05/archbishop-orombi-explains-why-new.html

[114] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 01:42 PM • top

Sarah [55]
Unreserved subscription to the ACNA doctrinal position on the historic episcopate and apostolic succession is also required from organizations and ecclesial bodies desiring to become partners in ministry with the ACNA. Due to this provision organizations like Church Society and Reform in the UK and Anglican Church League in Australia and ecclesial bodies like the Church of England in South Africa would not be able to become ACNA ministry partners even though they are members of GAFCOn and supporters of a new province in North America.

[115] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-23-2009 at 01:44 PM • top

TLDillion,
If you think the Church of Rome has not imploded, divided, and turned on itself, you’re a poor reader of history, unfamiliar with the various Sedeprivationism and Sedevacantist movements currently afoot, and ignore Scripture (they came out from us but were never of us).

Its doctrinal,  priestly discipline problems, and division from the Ancient Sees of the East left aside of course….

[116] Posted by Bo on 05-23-2009 at 02:03 PM • top

TDillon [115]
I have supported the establishment of a third province in North America for a number of years, believing that its establishment might eventually lead to a turnaround of the Episcopal Church. With its divisive constitution and canons and the subsequent loss of confidence in its leadership that these documents have created I must question whether the Anglican Church in North America is the right ecclesiastical structure for that new province. I suspect that Archbishop Orombi is in part not fully informed of all developments in the ACNA and in part, as he himself notes in his talk, he, like the other global South primates who intervened in the United States, are under pressure to discontinue their intervention. However, unless the ACNA adopts a less divisive constitution and canons, ACNA congregations may in the near future be putting out their own distress call to the global South primates as they become refugees from the ACNA. As I see it, the ACNA leadership in endorsing such a divisive constitution and canons seem intent upon sabotaging their own efforts to achieve provincial status for the ACNA.

[117] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-23-2009 at 02:20 PM • top

Thank you AnglicansAblaze…I concur.
I also believe that if Orombi feels this way then most, if not all, of the other GS Primates must as well. But his analogy of “refugees”is flawed. In America the refugees that come here hardly if ever go back to their own countries. They are still here and have become citizens. That was weak IMHO. I also find it telling that this pressure of border crossing all of a sudden is tremendous burden upon them and why exactly?

All of those who are in the mindset that the GS Primates will sign on to forming their own See seems to me to be rather weak in view of this statement by ABp Orombi regardless ofthe fact that the WWAC and Canterbury is so irrelevant at the moment or not. If they are pushing for ACNA to happen so quickly and for those who have sought refuge in them to go back ,i>“home”</i> as he puts it, now because of said pressure, then how in the world can one even think that they are giving any thought to forming their own See apart from Canterbury. Something is a miss here and I do not get a good warm fuzzy feeling over any of this.

I am not the type to just sing off because my bishop and clergy say it is good to do so. It is my eternal soul at stake and I am in charge of it not them. If I do not ask the questions then I am at fault for my ruin.

[118] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 02:38 PM • top

Or maybe I should have said “What pressure, from whom, and why?”

[119] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 02:42 PM • top

Could someone please tell me why, if I wanted to be under the control of a hierarchy, I should join a struggling new province rather than sign onto a going concern of known properties like the Roman Catholics?

[120] Posted by Dhimmi on 05-23-2009 at 03:09 PM • top

If you can support the doctrines, swim the Tiber.
If you can’t you’re left looking…...

[121] Posted by Bo on 05-23-2009 at 03:10 PM • top

well Bo, it depends on whose doctrines one feels compelled to ascribe to…..Rome’s, Tec’s, ACNA’s or whom ever else is out there.
BTW, Sedeprivationism and Sedevacantist movements are heretical and have been not only disavowed by the Vatican but are much like the women who have supposedly been ordained in the Roman Catholic faith…..NOT! They have been excommunicated and have started their own little cults…I mean church .....with their own followers. But the RCC has not divided to the point of hurting itself as the WWAC has done more than once….They are far stronger in their discipline, inner workings, and numbers then the WWAC, IMHO. And that is what it is my humble opinion of which I am not asking you to ascribe to but for you to at least heat the concerns because there is a concern among many.

[122] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 03:17 PM • top

Dear TLDillon, 

You sound more and more like someone who is already more than waist deep in a certain Italian river!  :8->

[123] Posted by Theodora on 05-23-2009 at 03:22 PM • top

Floridian,
well only God knows what He has in mind for me and you and everyone. At some point in our lives things change and life changes and God reveals things to us and if we are paying attention He will lead us where it is He wants us and we maybe going kicking and screaming and saying “No way” but then find ourselves there. Who knows what God has in mind…I just know that there are concerns and more unanswered questions then there is peace in the ACNA valley and answers to those questions.

[124] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 03:35 PM • top

This one’s for you, TL:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnrwJikqpqI

[125] Posted by Theodora on 05-23-2009 at 05:48 PM • top

God Bless you Floridian….thanks for the link. This was one of my dad’s favorites… God rest his soul. ;>)

[126] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 05:51 PM • top

TL Dillon,
You raise an interesting question. If you put Orombi’s analogy in an African context, refugees also rarely go home. They live in camps, rely heavily on the UN and the host nation for assistance, compete with the poorer segments of the host nation’s population for scarce jobs, and strain the limited resources of the host nation. They are also the source of numerous other problems for the host nation, for example, stirring up political unrest in the host nation. The host nation may eventually resort to forcible repatriation, using its military forces to expel the refugees from the camp and to force them to return to their own country. From what I gather Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda are prepared to release the congregations and clergy in their North American convocations to the ACNA. The AMiA will continue its present relationship with Rwanda and also participate in the ACNA. I have not heard anything about Southern Cone. The draft constitution of the Anglican Network in Canada did include as one of its options a continuation of its relationship with Southern Cone in the event that the ANiC was not accepted as a ACNA diocese. The willingness of the ANiC to accept “diocese” status rather than “jurisdiction” status in the ACNA was surprising. The ANiC consists of a number of churches scattered throughout several Canadian provinces and has in these churches a nucleus of a “national church.” The history of the relationship of the Canadian branch of the Reformed Episcopal Church with its parent church in the US suggests that the Canadians in the long term will eventually experience difficulties with a US bishop-dominated College of Bishops electing Canadian bishops.

I also am inclined to wonder whether Orombi made this speech at the urgings of ACNA leaders who are becoming concerned about the growing reservations that an increasing number of orthodox North American Anglicans have about the ACNA.  They are trying to line up endorsements of the ACNA from Anglican Communion leaders outside the GAFCON primates. The growing disenchantment with the ACNA and the loss of confidence in their leadership that the divisive constitution and code of canons that they have endorsed has generated does not help their cause. On the other hand, it serves that cause for someone like Orombi to tell US Anglicans that they cannot expect to maintain an indefinite relationship with the African provinces that have taken them under their wing.

[127] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-23-2009 at 07:51 PM • top

Where is that “growing disenchantment?”  Who is spreading it?  Who is helping to sow those seeds of discontent?  Is it any of us?  Honest and open debate is good, but it’s not always helpful when some who are opposed to the ACNA try to twist it to their advantage.  Sorry, but I can’t help thinking that some don’t like the idea of ACNA’s existence, and they’re doing everything they can to torpedo us before we have a chance to prove ourselves.  We have worked long and hard to get to where we are, with much “blood, sweat, and tears.”  We’re not perfect; our C & Cs aren’t perfect, and we can’t be expected to satisfy everyone, because if we try to do that, we end up satisfying no one.

[128] Posted by Cennydd on 05-23-2009 at 09:06 PM • top

Sorry, but my dander is up!

[129] Posted by Cennydd on 05-23-2009 at 09:11 PM • top

Cennydd,
Believe me we have all suffered since 2003 and before that as well, but mostly since 2003 that was only 6 years ago. Our own diocese only made its second vote to ratify our amended C’S & C’s in Nov. 2007. That was only 1-1/2 years ago. the Common Cause Bishops and those in continuing churches that left in and around those dates have been working to get things in some kind of order and quickly hard yes, fast oh yes! And that is the point it is very fast it really has not been that long to look, talk, and organize. It appears to many that this was all put together just how they the Bishops involved wanted it put together and there seems to be a rush will many flaws not dealt with. Once you allow something like that to go forward with the premises of “working things out as we go along” seems rather like a brush off to sweep issues under the carpet. A year and a half is not that long of a time to put an whole new Province together encompassing many from all over.

[130] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 09:20 PM • top

By the way…Why are the GS Primates wanting to push us to get into our own Province? Because of pressure over border crossing all of a sudden? From whom? From where? And really why exactly? What is the rush? Seems to me if we want to get it right then we need to be doing a better job of building instead of rushing to get it done. And with issues still attached and flaws in the C’s & C’s, that appears very irresponsible and we are and should be quite the contrary.

[131] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 09:27 PM • top

As I said, if we try to satisfy everybody, we satisfy nobody.

[132] Posted by Cennydd on 05-23-2009 at 09:39 PM • top

Cennydd (129), I fully agree with your comment.  I’ve now read the same comments on this thread over and over from TLDillon and AnglicansAblaze about “flaws” and “divisive” C & Cs and “disenchantment”.  It seems to have shut down any other discussion.

They seem to have a perspective that I don’t understand at all.  I’ve followed the C & Cs development and have read them in detail.  Do they think that if they could write them that all the orthodox anglicans in North America would leap on board?  Since I’ve been unable to follow and understand what their various complaints are, I suspect they might not have a very big following.

I like what I’ve seen and I believe the overwhelming majority of those of us in ACNA dioceses will approve these C & Cs in June.  It’s time to get on with mission.

[133] Posted by hanks on 05-23-2009 at 09:44 PM • top

Well Cennydd and hanks,
Peace and prayers to you both and to those who think like you both. Time will tell won’t it? June is right around the corner and the lawsuits are still going on we shall see how unified we really are come this time next year.
Blessings to you both…..

[134] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 09:49 PM • top

Now that I’ve said that, the province will officially come into existence on June 25th, and until the C & Cs are revised, we will have to go with with what we’ve got.  Yes, not everyone is going to be satisfied, and yes, there are things which need correction, but this will take time.  No one’s perfect, and that certainly includes those who ultimately will be involved in the process.  They need our prayers, and our new province certainly needs them as well!

[135] Posted by Cennydd on 05-23-2009 at 09:50 PM • top

RE: “My point would be that you don’t cast lots for everyone who submits a resume.  You cast lots when the choice is not obvious, and only from those candidates who are so worthy of the position that you cannot fairly choose between them.  If you end up with a radical revisionist cleric in a traditional parish, you did NOT follow the instructions.”

TJ—these folks that I referred to cast lots on a part of the final slate of candidates.  Clearly the choice was “not obvious”.  And if lot casting only works when the candidates “are so worthy of the position” and you know everything about them already and you cannot possibly make a mistake or have bad information about them anyway, then why not just play eenie meeny miney mo?

Katherine:

RE: “EmilyH #85, the Virgina Anglican group and Uganda-affiliated folks also ordain women— as has been pointed out to you many times when you go in this direction.”

Yep, and Kenya too.  But EmilyH already knows that.  She was just seeing if anyone noticed when she said only Pittsburgh.

Dan Crawford:

RE: “One wonders how the Christian world survived at all for so many centuries without extensive lay control of the instruments of power.”

Hear hear!  One wonders how the Christian world survived at all for so many centuries without [air conditioning]—let’s go ahead and give up that modern innovation and Be A Real Church Just Like The Old Days.

TLDillon:

RE: “As I see it Rome has never divided within it self . . . “

Well for that matter no denomination has ever “divided within it self” at all!  Everybody leaves or gets expelled and starts new denominations . . . which is of course precisely what happened to Rome—and numerous times too.  That doesn’t make Rome right or wrong.  But division has sprung from that church, most certainly.

RE: “Yet these brothers are separated from their other brothers in Christ who have left TEc.”

I do not agree that they are separated from any other brothers in Christ unless by separated you mean all those in other denominations from one another.

RE: “and there has been only one church that has not imploded, divided, and turned on itself….The Roman Catholic Church . . . “

I completely disagree.  With apologies to the Roman Catholics on this blog, I see the RC church to be the perfect example of division, both in the great schism and the Protestant Reformation, as well as the small divisions of the 20th century.

I sense that we are veering into making this thread somewhat about the RC’s and I don’t want that.  So I’d prefer that this be the final comment about the Roman Catholic church, please—i’d rather focus on the Anglicans on this thread, as further discussion will simply cause the post to veer off-topic.

Festivus:

RE: “Just pointing out that on paper and constitution, it seems to meet your desires, that’s all.”

I’m quite familiar with the governance and theology of the PCA, and no, in no way shape or form does either “meet” my desires.  Not remotely.  It appears that you have not understood my desires at all—and that’s fine, I’m content with that.

Anglicans Ablaze:

RE: “The ACNA constitution and canons endorses the Catholic doctrine and ecclesiology that the English Reformers, classical Anglicanism, and traditional evangelical Anglicanism reject as unscriptural.”

But I do not grant that your particular low-church, Protestant Reformed brand is “classical Anglicanism” or even traditional evangelical Anglicanism.  Your later comment indicating what groups you think are exemplars of “classical Anglicanism” reveals all: “Due to this provision . . . ecclesial bodies like the Church of England in South Africa would not be able to become ACNA ministry partners even though they are members of GAFCOn and supporters of a new province in North America.”

I see that as a feature, not a bug.  You do realize that one of the reasons why conservative Episcopalians look askance [not that that really matters, I know] is just those sorts of organizations being at Gafcon?

Look, AA, I don’t want to argue theology.  We’ve already covered that on other threads.  And what I’m pointing out about conservatives looking askance at various factions doesn’t mean they’re right—but it is reality.

I just don’t see that theologically all the fringes—both Continuing Anglicans and Protestant Reformed Low Churchers—can be in the group.  The ACNA has sacrificed the Continuers.  Why not the Protestant Reformed Low Churchers?  In this way, they basically scoop up the middle and let the fringes go. 

But beyond the theological differences—even if the ACNA decides to have *only* AngloCatholics or *only* low church Reformed Protestants—the truth is that the bishop-centric system of political organization [not theological organization] would still be very very troubling for many laypeople no matter what the theological orientation.

Again, on this thread I don’t want to argue theology or argue about Rome either.  I’m simply pointing out the reality of the mathematical equation which is that *ALL* Anglican entities/theologies cannot be accepted into one group.

At any rate, I’m appreciating this thread as a whole.  A lot of good stuff here, and I do wish good fortune to those who are reading the C&Cs;and really wrestling with the content, and offering revisions, etc.  I do believe that that kind of attention can only improve things ultimately.

[136] Posted by Sarah on 05-23-2009 at 10:46 PM • top

123 TLDillon,
The existance of such ‘splinter groups’ (some of whom are now ‘back in communion’ - or at least their bishops are) was the point, not their ‘heretical status’ - according to the Bishop of Rome’s official teachings, I’m bound for hell (I deny the immaculate conception, and doubt the perpetual virginity, not to mention that whole ‘must be in subjection to the Roman Pontiff thing).

By all means if you can ascribe to the teachings of Rome, join with them.  The Church of Rome does much good in the world, has many fine saved folks as members, and certainly has a strong tradition of dealing firmly with dissent.

[137] Posted by Bo on 05-23-2009 at 10:54 PM • top

Good on ya BO! But as Sarah has stated already she wants no more discussion on the RCC. So I am going to not reply to your comments save to say God Bless ya! And all who are in search for the est place for them to worship and find an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

[138] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 10:58 PM • top

RE: “Yet these brothers are separated from their other brothers in Christ who have left TEc.”

I do not agree that they are separated from any other brothers in Christ unless by separated you mean all those in other denominations from one another.


Sarah…..that is precisely what I meant. Many of the clergy that used to do the work of the Church together in the same denomination and diocese no longer do. Oh theyare doing the work that God has called them to do as they each state even though they are in different “camps” with very different views on how it should be done now than before this split. That was my point and I find it somewhat sad.

[139] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 11:12 PM • top

We don’t have to be in the same ‘camp’ to be followers of the same King.  Luke 9:49-50

[140] Posted by Bo on 05-23-2009 at 11:27 PM • top

139, TLDillion,
Thanks, and exactly!

[141] Posted by Bo on 05-23-2009 at 11:28 PM • top

I never said we did Bo. Last word from me as I think you are trying to start something with me and I’m not biting just wishing you well and God’s Speed.

[142] Posted by TLDillon on 05-23-2009 at 11:53 PM • top

143,
I’m not trying to start something with you.  (Thanks and Exactly don’t sound like ‘starting words’ to me!)

The ‘camp reference’ was to point out that what should be obvious - as we each find ourselves in different ministries from the same Holy Ghost, we may well find ourselves under different operations of that same Holy Ghost.  I Corinthians 12:5-6

5 And there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord; 6 And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all.

[143] Posted by Bo on 05-24-2009 at 12:16 AM • top

On Kenya, Uganda ordaining women.  Yes, but how long will the churches affiliated with them stay with them?  Am I correct in understanding that, from Orombi’s perspective, is really temporary?  Does that mean when they depart from their off-shore sponsors, they will have to join Pittsburgh or will they form 3 or 4 new dioceses that are tolerant of women?  Given the great majority of ACNA members who aren’t, is the toleration built in?  Will the bishops accept a bishop nominee who will ordain women?

[144] Posted by EmilyH on 05-24-2009 at 07:02 AM • top

Emily,
“Tolerant of Women”?

Last I checked no one was ‘intolerant’ of women.  The real question is:  Will they remain tolerant of those who believe that both Scripture and Tradition exclude women from the episcopate?

[145] Posted by Bo on 05-24-2009 at 07:44 AM • top

EmilyH, maybe Article XIII.2 of the Constitition of ACNA will alleviate your concerns about “toleration of women”:

The Province shall make no canon abridging the authority of any member dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) and those dioceses banded together as jurisdictions with respect to its practice regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate or presbyterate.

[146] Posted by Nevin on 05-24-2009 at 07:55 AM • top

RE: “Will the bishops accept a bishop nominee who will ordain women?”

Goodness, I dunno!  Will “the bishops” accept Bob Duncan?  John Guernsey?  Martyn Minns?

We all wait with bated breath to discover the answer!!!!!

[147] Posted by Sarah on 05-24-2009 at 08:31 AM • top

I have a feeling I really shouldn’t be biting at these hooks, but…

What exactly is meant by the suggestion the ACNA is somehow unwilling to be work with those that have a diversity of views regarding the episcopate?  Considering that the featured speakers at the “Launch” of the ACNA include a Southern Baptist megachurch preacher and a Russian Orthodox metropolitan, I’m not seeing a lack of willingess to work together with other Christian denominations regardless or their polity and ecclessiatic theology.

[148] Posted by AndrewA on 05-24-2009 at 11:56 AM • top

AndrewA, I expect it has something to do with the meaning of the words “ACNA ministry partners.”

[149] Posted by Sarah on 05-24-2009 at 12:11 PM • top

Okay, so now I have to look up what a “ministry parter” is.  I get:

Of Ministry Partners
Section 1 - Concerning Partnership
Ministry Partners and the Church work together, supporting each other in ministry to extend the
Kingdom of God.
Section 2 - Concerning Admittance
An entity such as a seminary, monastic order or ministry organization, or a Diocese,
congregation or other entity that is not a member of the Church, may apply in writing to the
Council to become associated with the Church as a Ministry Partner. A Ministry Partner may
belong to another denomination of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, or be
independent, so long as it subscribes without reservation to the Fundamental Declarations of the
Church stated in Article I of the Constitution. The Council may admit such applicant to Ministry
Partner status upon terms deemed appropriate.
Section 3 - Concerning Fellowship
Ministry Partners may have representatives attend functions or gatherings of the Church upon
invitation of the Archbishop, and may attend functions and gatherings of any constituent
jurisdiction of the Church upon the invitation of the Bishop with jurisdiction. Representatives of
Ministry Partners may have seat and voice as determined by the Archbishop or Bishop with
jurisdiction. Ministry Partners may withdraw from affiliation or have their affiliation ended with
or without cause.

[150] Posted by AndrewA on 05-24-2009 at 12:24 PM • top

I don’t think there’s any “accepting” to be done, Sarah.

[151] Posted by Cennydd on 05-24-2009 at 02:38 PM • top

The ACNA has sacrificed the Continuers.  Why not the Protestant Reformed Low Churchers?

Very true and a great question.

[152] Posted by TLDillon on 05-24-2009 at 02:58 PM • top

Sarah [137],
As a writer I generally research my subject before I write about it unless I am well acquainted with the subject. I use both primary and secondary sources. The theology of the standard Anglican divines during the Edwardian and Elizabethan phases of the English Reformation and during the reign of James I was Reformed, as was the official doctrine of the Church of England. I refer you to Philip Edgcumbe Hughes’ Theology of the English Reformers for a definitive study of the doctrinal views of the Edwardian and Elizabethan Reformers on a number of key issues. The sixteenth century Reformers did not hold nor teach that the Bible prescribes a particular form of church government, as the Church of Rome claimed at that time and continues to assert to this day and as the Oxford movement would also claim in the nineteenth century. They found evidence that the orders of deacon, presbyter, and bishop had been know since apostolic times but they found no warrant in Scripture for papacy or any other form of church government. They retained episcopacy because it was, in the words of Bishop John Jewel, “ancient and allowable.”

Conservative Evangelicals are far from a “fringe” group. Due to the particular history of The Episcopal Church US Anglicanism is not representative of global Anglicanism as a whole. This may affect the perceptions of Episcopalians and former Episcopalians of conservative Evangelicals. In the nineteenth century the then Protestant Episcopal Church had a substantial Evangelical wing. More than half of its bishops and more than one-third of its clergy was Evangelical.  The truculence of the High Church party in the General Convention in response to Evangelical pleas for revision of the Prayer Book led to an exodus of the more conservative Evangelicals from the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1873 and the formation of the Reformed Episcopal Church. The more liberal Evangelicals migrated into the Broad Church movement. For sixty odd years the experience of Episcopalians with Anglicanism was Anglo-Catholic or Broad Church. During the 1970s with the establishment of the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry (TESM) and the Charismatic Renewal movement Evangelicalism experienced something of a revival in the Episcopal Church.

Conservative Evangelicals number in their ranks John Stott; J.I. Packer; Alister McGraith; Peter Moore, former Dean of TESM; Bishop Wallace Benn; Michael Green;  David Holloway; Roger T. Beckwith, former Warden of Latimer House, Oxford;  Archbishop Peter Jensen; Dean Philip Jensen; Mark Burkill, director of the Latimer Trust; and Mark Thompson, Dean of the Moore Theological College and President of the Anglican Church League.
A number of the individuals whose names I have listed are key figures in GAFCON and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

Conservative Evangelicals have been involved in the “third province” movement from the outset.  A conservative Evangelical, AMiA Bishop John Rodgers, former Dean and President of TESM, was one of the first to call for the establishment of a new province in North America and has written a number of articles and papers on the subject.

A number of the pastors serving in the different convocations that form the Anglican Church in North America are conservative Evangelicals. They received their theological training at TESM or in a Reformed seminary. A number of candidates for ordination are also conservative Evangelicals. They are receiving their theological training in Reformed seminaries.
A number of the new ACNA dioceses contain former Continuing Church congregations, as well as former Episcopal congregations and newly-formed congregations. The leaders of a number of Continuing Church jurisdictions are for a variety of reasons not interested in affiliating with the ACNA.  The ACNA’s decidedly partisan doctrinal position on the historic episcopate and apostolic succession do not present a major barrier to membership for Continuing Church congregations and clergy. With perhaps two exceptions the Continuing Church jurisdictions are Anglo-Catholic and subscribe to this position. For Continuing Church jurisdictions the ACNA recognition requirements relating to the minimum number of congregations and the minimum individual and aggregate ASA for these congregations is more of a serious obstacle.

What group of “conservative Anglicans” would object to the involvement of the Church of England in South Africa in GAFCON and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans? If they object to the CESA’s involvement in these two organizations, they are likely to object to the involvement of conservative Evangelicals in general.  The Archbishop of Canterbury’s recognition of an ecclesial body as “Anglican” is not a requirement for GAFCON and FCA membership. The same group of “conservative Anglicans” would, I suspect, object to the involvement of the Reformed Episcopal Church in the ACNA. The CESA and the REC share a similar history. They were established in response to similar situations, situations that are not to dissimilar to the situation in The Episcopal Church that has caused Episcopalians to break away from that body and to form what they hope will eventually be recognized as a new Anglican province.

I understand that you want to avoid a theological debate and I am not interested in starting one. However, constitutions and canons are not just rules by which a church operates. They are also statements of doctrine even those sections of a constitution or code of canons that are not specifically doctrinal statements. A constitution and code of canons give expression to their drafters’ vision of the church. This vision is theological. The decisions that the Governance Task Force and the Provincial Council made in connection with various provisions of the ACNA constitution and code of canons were theology-driven. A discussion of forms of ecclesiastical governance, modes of choosing church leaders, and the like is going to touch upon the theology underlying these elements of church polity. It is inescapable.

An early vision of the new North American province is that it would be an ecclesial body in which all three orthodox theological streams in Anglicanism—Anglo-Catholic, charismatic, and evangelical—were fully represented and in which they would be able to flourish. The ACNA constitution and canons’ decidedly partisan doctrinal position on the historic episcopate and apostolic succession conflict sharply with this vision. Conservative Evangelicals in and outside the ACNA are not the only ones raising objections to the ACNA’s decidedly partisan doctrinal position on the historic episcopate and apostolic succession. So are orthodox North American Anglicans who, while they do not identify themselves as conservative Evangelicals, are committed to this vision of the new province. 

Conservative evangelicals outside of North America with who I have been in contact have been surprised and concerned by the ACNA’s partisan doctrinal stance. It is something that they had not anticipated. It has altered their perceptions of the ACNA.

[153] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-24-2009 at 04:12 PM • top

This is a very curious thread. I would tend to agree with the overall sentiment of [129] Cennydd:

Where is that “growing disenchantment?” Who is spreading it?  Who is helping to sow those seeds of discontent?  Is it any of us?  Honest and open debate is good, but it’s not always helpful when some who are opposed to the ACNA try to twist it to their advantage.  Sorry, but I can’t help thinking that some don’t like the idea of ACNA’s existence, and they’re doing everything they can to torpedo us before we have a chance to prove ourselves.  We have worked long and hard to get to where we are, with much “blood, sweat, and tears.” We’re not perfect; our C & Cs aren’t perfect, and we can’t be expected to satisfy everyone, because if we try to do that, we end up satisfying no one.

As I said in my one earlier post on this thread [66], I consider the bishops and other leaders of ACNA to be “wise, Godly sinners, who know that they are saved by grace, etc., etc.” .... for now, the ACNA direction, its C & Cs, its current bishops and bishops of the near future, are worthy of trust.”

I do believe, and see evidence, they are attempting to follow the first apostles and elders who could say (Act 15:28) “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to ...”

I find a substantial percentage of the verbiage on this thread not to fall within the bounds of Heb 10:24-25: ” And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, ... encouraging one another…” Perhaps that is the nature of blogs, or of human nature in general, but such comments seem to me to fall far short of the redeemed nature called for in this passage in the letter to the Hebrews.

[154] Posted by Bill Cool on 05-24-2009 at 04:13 PM • top

RE: “What group of “conservative Anglicans” would object to the involvement of the Church of England in South Africa in GAFCON and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans?”

First you need to quote me accurately.  I said “conservative Episcopalians.”

Setting aside your conflation of your particular low-church, Protestant Reformed theology with lists of other Anglicans whom you happen to like and now have co-opted into your particular low-church, Protestant Reformed group, and setting aside the fact that very very few of that group actually exist anywhere *within the Anglican Communion* other than Sydney and the COE, there is also this statement which is wrong: “If they object to the CESA’s involvement in these two organizations, they are likely to object to the involvement of conservative Evangelicals in general.”

No—the wholesale bringing on of a group that is not a part of the Anglican Communion is a separate issue from your particular theology which is another issue.

RE: “The Archbishop of Canterbury’s recognition of an ecclesial body as “Anglican” is not a requirement for GAFCON and FCA membership.”

I know that.

RE: “They are also statements of doctrine even those sections of a constitution or code of canons that are not specifically doctrinal statements.”

I understand that.  That is why—farther up in the thread—I asked that people state their polity objections rather than their theological objections, since their *polity* objections apply to all the groups of people within the ACNA, and not simply to those groups which wish to enter the ACNA and cannot.

I recognize that you want a discussion on the latter issue too.

But can’t you see, Aidan, AA, webdac, etc, etc, that the more you talk about the people you wish to have as part of the ACNA and who are not because of theological issues, the more askance any potential allies you may have about the *polity* issues you perceive embedded within the C&Cs;will look at your efforts?

Can’t you see the differences between those two matters?

The *polity* issues many groups within the ACNA can object to and critique.  The *theologica* issues which preclude yet more groups joining the ACNA are another matter entirely.

[155] Posted by Sarah on 05-24-2009 at 04:35 PM • top

“A Ministry Partner may belong to another denomination of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, or be
independent, so long as it subscribes without reservation to the Fundamental Declarations of the
Church stated in Article I of the Constitution
.”

This is one of a number of provisions in the ACNA constitution and canons that require subscription to the Fundamental declarations as prerequisite of membership, recognition as a diocese, ordination and licensing, and nomination, election, and consecration as a bishop in the ACNA, or as in the case of the foregoing section, partnership in ministry with the ACNA. The Fundamental Declarations include adecidely partisan doctrinal position on the historic episcopate and apostolic succession over which orthodox Anglicans have historically been divided. I have reviewed the constitutions and canons of a number of Anglican provinces. The only document that contained anything like this position statement was the canons of the liberal Scottish Episcopal Church. The other constitutions and canons that I reviewed steered clear of such a divisive position statement. They included but were not limited to the constitution and/or canons of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Anglican Church of the Province of the Southern Cone of America, the Church of England, and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). The ACNA code of canons also contains a partisan doctrinal statement in its discription of the role of a bishop.

The ACNA may invite a Southern Baptist to speak at its Inaugural Provincial Assembly but its canons prevent the ACNA from entering into a ministry partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention or even a Southern Baptist church unless it subscribes without reservation to ALL the Fundamental Declarations. They also prevent the ACNA from forming ministry partnerships with Anglican ecclesial bodies and organizations that do not unreservedly share its particular doctrinal position on these key issues or as far as that goes its position on the Anglican formularies or the Church councils other than the first four.

[156] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-24-2009 at 04:44 PM • top

Way back up at comment #41 K-W made what I thought was a reasonable observation, mainly that Declaration #3 was not on its face a demand that everyone affirm the “esse” position on the episcopate, but that it could actually reflect the “plenne esse” or “bene esse” position.  The language used is “inherent” not “esse” and seems to leave some wiggle room as to its exact meaning.  My question to webdac and anglicansablaze would be, has it been made clear to you by individuals involved in the authorship of the Constititution that the “esse” view of the episcopate is in fact what is intended by Declaration #3?

[157] Posted by Nevin on 05-24-2009 at 04:47 PM • top

AnglicansAblaze, are you a part of a jurisdiction that is joining ACNA? If so, which one?

[158] Posted by shortstop on 05-24-2009 at 04:53 PM • top

Sarah [156]
I included in that list the names of individuals whom others beside myself recognize as conservative Evangelicals and I also included the names of individuals whose writings have shaped my own evangelical and Reformed theology, along with my own study of the English Reformers and the Anglican formularies.

Conservative Evangelicals are found outside the Church of England and the Diocese of Sydney. They are found in Southern Cone and other Anglican provinces.

You yourself must be well aware that Anglo-Catholics outside the United States are a minority and the larger number of Anglicans are evangelical albeit they may not all be Reformed Evangelicals. The position on the historic episcopate and apostolic succession that the ACNA constitution and canons adopt is historically associated with the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic or Laudian Reaction, the Oxford Movement, and Anglo-Catholicism and is not the position historically associated with the English Reformers, the Elizabethan Settlement, and Evangelical movement in the Church of England and other parts of the Anglican Communion. It is a position over which Anglicans have historically been divided and continue to be divided to this day. There is no need for its inclusion in the ACNA constitution or for a related statement in the ACNA canons. It is unnecessarily divisive.

I agree that calling attention to this problem may not win allies for people like Aidan, webdac, and myself. However, it is an issue that must be addressed. If the ACNA constitution and canons were revised to make the form of church government more synodical at the diocesan and provincial level; to devolve authority instead of concentrating it; to restore to the diocese the power and authority to elect its own bishops, including its first bishop; to do away completely with a diocese holding local church property in trust; to permit the formation of dioceses on the basis of common positions on key theological and ecclesiological issues, as well as territorial proximity; and to substantially involve clergy and laity in the episcopal and archiepiscopal nomination and election process, and the issue was not addressed, the ACNA would still be a church that is not open to all orthodox North American Anglicans and would not be any better than TEC

The divisive element here is not people like myself who are drawing attention to a problem. The divisive element is the ones who created the problem in the first place, who included this and other divisive provisions in the ACNA constitution and code of canons. The only explanation for these divisive provisions beyond the desire in the choice of the modes of episcopal and archiepiscopal election to ingratiate the ACNA leadership with the African primates and to win their recognition is to court the favor of particular element within the ecclesiastical organizations that formed the ACNA and to take advantage of a crisis to implement a particular agenda, in this case, a particular vision of a new North American province. As a number of politicians have observed in recent months in connection with the recession and Barack Obama’s far-reaching and even radical economic and social agenda: “Why waste a good crisis?”

[159] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-24-2009 at 05:47 PM • top

Which continuing churches has ACNA zapped?  I thought it was more that some of the continuing churches are taking their time about deciding whether or not to align with the ACNA.

[160] Posted by terrafirma on 05-24-2009 at 05:52 PM • top

Nevin,
I drew to the attention of the Governance Task Force that the constitution affirmed the “esse” position and the task force made no effort to deny it.

[161] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-24-2009 at 05:53 PM • top

#161, terrafirma,  Some of the continuing churches would not want to be part of ACNA - First, because of WO
Second because they DO NOT want to be connected with Canterbury
Third, the do not want to be even indirectly connected to TEC or ACoC, et al.

They have been healed, cured, delivered and washed clean of being codependently related to Canterbury and the English.

[162] Posted by Theodora on 05-24-2009 at 06:03 PM • top

I would argue then, since no one is willing to actually state that Declaration #3 means the “esse” position and no other, that it is indeed ambiguous as to its exact meaning and can easily encompass the “bene” and “plenne” positions.  You are insisting on an affirmation that is simply your own reading.  Perhaps it was left deliberately vague to accomodate all views.  I note several of those evangelicals you imply are being forced out by this “divisive” declaration appear to be ardent supporters of ACNA, namely Packer and Bishop Rodgers.

[163] Posted by Nevin on 05-24-2009 at 06:10 PM • top

AnglicansAblaze:

RE: “I agree that calling attention to this problem may not win allies for people like Aidan, webdac, and myself.”

Oh no—I didn’t mean that at all.  I said that it would not win allies for the other *polity* issues that you mention.  I appreciate the helpful list here:

. . . make the form of church government more synodical at the diocesan and provincial level; to devolve authority instead of concentrating it; to restore to the diocese the power and authority to elect its own bishops, including its first bishop; to do away completely with a diocese holding local church property in trust; to permit the formation of dioceses on the basis of common positions on key theological and ecclesiological issues, as well as territorial proximity; and to substantially involve clergy and laity in the episcopal and archiepiscopal nomination and election process . . .

I do have a question about that list.

It was my understanding in my reading that the C&Cs;did “permit the formation of dioceses on the basis of common positions on key theological and ecclesiological issues, as well as territorial proximity.”

How does it no longer permit that “affinity” groups forming dioceses and asking for acceptance into the ACNA?

shortstop:

AA can speak for himself, but as nearly as I can discern, he was a part of the Reformed Episcopal Church until the REC [over the past some 20 years] rejected the low-church, Calvinist, non-sacramental, dispensational turn it had taken and took a more sacramental track culminating in its attempted merger with the APA [which is now a bit strained, since the APA is not joining the ACNA but the REC intends to do so].

At any rate, the REC is also allied with the Free Church of England, and those members of the REC that are not interested in the current direction of the REC are in a pickle, I admit.

Where are they to go now? 

So you have a big theological issue for the leaders of the ACNA on the Reformed side, just as you did on the Continuing Anglican side.  Do they take on the Free churches of South Africa and England, and open the doors to the fringe on the Reformed Protestant low-church end? 

Think of Anglicanism as a large line, on one very end/tip of which you have people who essentially accept all the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church, and on the other very end/tip of which you have people who essentially accept all the doctrines of the PCA church, along with smatterings of groups that tout contemporary worship, an anti-sacramental theology, and limited to no liturgy at all.

The question before every Anglican group that ever lived is [and I should also add, every Christian group, since every Christian group has ends/tips of a continuum] do we attempt to encompass all of the ends of the spectrum?

That is what Anglicans Ablaze is arguing for—to draw the C&Cs;wide enough to encompass all of the tips/ends of the spectrum—something that I personally think is entirely impossible, but that’s for the ACNA to decide.  Using the word “divisive” as AA does actually means “the ACNA won’t let every group that names itself Anglican into the new North American Anglican Province.”  And with that as its definition then certainly the C&Cs;is “divisive.”

[164] Posted by Sarah on 05-24-2009 at 06:13 PM • top

AnglicansAblaze, (#160 and many other posts—104, 114, 116, 118, 128, 154 and 157), do you not have anything new to say?  You continue to repeat and repeat your charge that the C & Cs are “divisive”—which I take to mean “intending to create division.”

I tried twice to explain (see #87 and 134) that you were absolutely wrong in your reading of the C & Cs, but you just continue to say the same thing over and over.  I quote the C & C language, but you just make assertions about the process for election of bishops.  Could it be that you are trying to be divisive—trying to create division?

There has been some good discussion on this thread, but you (and a couple others) seem to consistently want to get us off track and onto your esoteric issues.

[165] Posted by hanks on 05-24-2009 at 07:05 PM • top

Hanks, I think in AA’s meaning of the word “divisive” the C&Cs;*are* “divisive.”  But I don’t think that is a bad thing necessarily at all.

By that I mean that the C&Cs;don’t allow all and sundry on all wings to be a part of the ACNA.  I personally think—as I’ve indicated before—that that’s a feature and not a bug.  I think the C&Cs;have gotten some things right as far as forming a cohesive clear identity—which necessarily means that not all people who are named Anglicans can be a part of it.  For instance, the stance on WO that the ACNA has taken is a stance that Continuing Anglicans simply cannot be a part of . . .

At any rate, I also have been very pleased by and large with this thread as I think there is some greater clarity about what the concerns are with the polity.

[166] Posted by Sarah on 05-24-2009 at 07:10 PM • top

Awards (MVHO, of course) for best comments on this thread…..
[drum roll]
First runner-up….
Dan Crawford for his brilliant #31
and the winner of the best ACNA-related comment on this thread goes to .....
[long drum roll] 
Diet of Worms for the poignant articulate almost lyrical, even poetic #39 [wild applause whistles standing ovation]

NOW!  The Award for Miss Congeniality….
[drum roll] 
May I have the envelope please….
[long long silence]
May I please have the envelope….. 
[more long long silence]
Thank you….
[rips envelope]

We regretfully announce that the Judges were unable to select a Miss Congeniality for this thread.

[167] Posted by Theodora on 05-24-2009 at 07:19 PM • top

Sarah, I agree with your helpful explanation of what AA is trying to say—and also agree that it’s not a bad thing.

I do think he is way off on his reading of the provisions regarding the election of bishops.  I think it’s a good process that allows the various elements of ACNA to create in their diocesan C & Cs the method each finds most suitable.

This has been a useful thread, but it seemed to me that it was getting close to being hijacked.

[168] Posted by hanks on 05-24-2009 at 07:39 PM • top

Shortstop [159],
Eight years ago I was, due to my open sympathy for the Anglican Mission in America, forced to resign my leadership position in the Episcopal parish that I had helped to start in the 1980s. I then became involved in an unsuccessful AMiA church plant in southeastern Louisiana. I now live in western Kentucky and the nearest AMiA church is a three hour drive from my home. Since the only Episcopal churches in my area are very liberal and revisionist in their theology—I live in Ted Gulick’s former diocese—and the nearest Continuing Church congregations is very Anglo-Catholic in both its theology and its worship—it is a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion that is seeking to reunite with the Roman Catholic Church, I am sojourning with a non-Anglican church. I chose this particular church not because of its denominational label but because it is a new church plant that is targeted at the students at the local university and the young adults and their children in the community, a ministry focus group that God has placed on my heart. It is sixth new church plant in which I have been involved during an eight year period.

Unless the ACNA modifies its constitution and canons, it does not look like that I will be a part of a jurisdiction that is joining the ACNA. I am one of those orthodox North American Anglicans whom the problematic provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons to which I have drawn attention in my articles and papers are major barriers to their participation in the ACNA. I support the establishment of a new province in North America but not to the extent of compromising my beliefs and values.

[169] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-24-2009 at 07:43 PM • top

AA - thanks for letting us know your story. Hope you find a church home.

[170] Posted by shortstop on 05-24-2009 at 08:10 PM • top

#170, Anglicans Ablaze, You seem to be a wonderful Christian and conscientious gifted church leader.  I am sorry you have not found ‘a place to lay your head’ so to speak, but that is what the Lord experienced as well.  We are all pilgrims, seeking a city.

You have posted your well thought out concerns in many places and as a result, I have prayed for you, that you would not be discouraged and that you would be heard.
Your posts have made me pray harder for the ACNA constitutions and canons process…that it would evolve so that the Lord is glorified and the Church is sound and stable.  I hope and pray if your ideas and concerns are in His will, they will be considered and incorporated.
All Blessings and peace.

[171] Posted by Theodora on 05-24-2009 at 08:15 PM • top

This might seem like a dumb question, but here goes.  What is the difference between an Evangelical Anglican and a Reformed Evangelical?  The only Episcopal churches I have been in are very Anglo-Catholic.

[172] Posted by terrafirma on 05-24-2009 at 08:15 PM • top

AnglicansAblaze, I can see how the apostolic succession issue could be a matter of principle preventing you and others from joining ACNA. I salute you for your integrity, especially because the great majority of evangelicals who do not believe in that provision will, even knowing about it, go ahead and join ACNA anyway.  But I cannot see how any of the other matters you are concerned with, the matters mentioned in 160, could possibly be matters of principle that would prevent you or anyone from joining. They are matters of preference. You seem to be tying them to the necessity-of-bishops issue in order to hoist them up ftom the preference tier to the principle tier. And if you demand that church governance be constructed as close to your ideal model as you give the impression of doing, I feel you will never be satisfied with any church. Certainly not one in the Anglican tradition because there are not enough people who agree as completely with you as you seem to require to sustain an organization of any size.

BTW if evangelical dissatisfaction were growing to any size would there not be a movement already not to ratify the constitution in June unless the high-view-of-bishops principle was changed, a movement big enough to have made its existence and activities known by now?  I think there would be.

[173] Posted by Toral1 on 05-24-2009 at 08:16 PM • top

Gosh, AA, that has to be tough.  Apparently you are called to be involved with church plants.  I guess you have to bloom where you are planted.  The AMIA seems to be very missionary minded.  Maybe they will start a mission somewhere close.

[174] Posted by terrafirma on 05-24-2009 at 08:20 PM • top

Sarah, in 145 you gave an excellent summary of what’s going on here and across the churches.

TL, Rome has deviated from Catholic principle so much—ie forbidding married clergy, a NT requirement, that they long ago ceased to be fully Catholic. Eastern Orthodoxy has some of the same problems.

Rome has stretched the line Sara described just as far as they can, farther than any proposed AC construct:
Uniate Churches and National Churches
Diocesan parishes
Franciscan parishes
Jesuit Parishes
Dominican Parishes
Selasian Parishes
Anglican Rite Parishes
{next} __________________
Rome has always had their “denominations.”
Bob†
. . . still ridin’ for the brand.

[175] Posted by Bob Maxwell+ on 05-24-2009 at 08:33 PM • top

Hank,
I have pointed to your attention that you are mistaken in your interpretation. You insist that you are not. You apparently are interpreting the constitution in part as a strict constructionist; I pointed to your attention that the governance task force is not interpreting the constitution the way that you are interpreting it. The College of Bishops will be electing not just the first bishop of a new diocese but all its subsequent bishops. You refuse to accept that. Why would the canons commend this particular method of episcopal election to the founding entities if it was a one-time thing? I am not alone in my understanding of these provisions of the canons. The governance task force has not gone on record as denying the correctness of this understanding. The particular method of episcopal election is adapted from that of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and resembles in part the procedure for the nomination of Roman Catholic bishops in England and Ireland. As I have pointed to your attention, the canons permit the diocese to nominate two or three candidates but do not prescribe the method of nomination. They do not juridically bind the College of Bishops to choosing the new bishop from the candidates on the list.

As I have pointed to the attention of others, if the provisions of the constitution and canons are open to more than one interpretation, then they are not clear or specific enough. I also drew this problem to the attention the governance task force. However, they chose to do nothing about it.

You also completely overlook the provision of the constitution requiring the constitution and canons of a diocese to conform to the constitution and canons of the province.

I believe that you are going to discover that my understanding of constitution and canons is correct and new dioceses, when their episcopal see falls vacant, are not going to be able to elect a bishop to fill it.

I consider these provisions “divisive” because they represent a radical change from the way orthodox North American Anglicans are accustomed to choosing their bishops and they divide orthodox North American Anglicans into two opposing groups—those who are proponents of the change and those who value the way that orthodox North American Anglicans have chosen their bishops for two hundred and twenty-five odd years , which has its origins in the practices of the early Church and is an important form of diocesan autonomy.

Sarah,

“Divisive”

I see the ACNA constitution and code of canons as “divisive” in three ways.

First, they show a lack of sensitivity to key issues that have historically divided Anglicans. Whether episcopacy is of the essence of the Church divided Anglicans in the nineteenth century and continues to divide them to the present day. The only province that I have come across that has anything close to the doctrinal statements that the ACNA makes in its constitution and canons in connection with the historic episcopate and apostolic succession is the liberal Scottish Episcopal Church, which historically has been fairly Catholic in doctrine. The other provinces the fundamental documents of which I have examined do not make any doctrinal statements in connection with the historic episcopate and apostolic succession. In steering clear of making such statements, they make room for both the Catholic and Evangelical view of episcopacy in the province and avoid the controversy that the endorsement of one particular view is likely to generate.

Second, the constitution and code of canons introduce a number of radical changes in the form of church government, the autonomy of the diocese, and nomination and election of the bishops of the diocese and the primate of the province. They abandon centuries of hard-won lay involvement in the governance of the church at the diocesan and provincial levels and the episcopal and archiepiscopal nomination and election process. Such changes are bound to divide orthodox North American Anglicans into proponents and opponents of these changes.

Third, the constitution and canons recreate conditions in the ACNA, which have caused division in TEC.  The drafters of the two documents had an opportunity to avoid the recreation of these conditions but they failed to take advantage of that opportunity.

“Affinity”

I initially assumed as you do that in referring to “affinity” the ACNA constitution and code of canons were referring to theological affinity. But if you examine the two documents, you will discover that they contain no reference to theological affinity. Indeed they studiously avoid pairing the two word.  The guidelines for the recognition of a new diocese define “affinity” as an existing relationship with a founding entity, not theological affinity. They stress the importance of regional ministry and encourage the formation of geographic dioceses while at the same time counseling respect for such existing relationships. They provide no guidance for the formation of non-geographic dioceses on the basis of theological affinity and do not even suggest that such an option exists.

[176] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-24-2009 at 09:47 PM • top

Toral1,
I believe that dioceses should have a real choice, thereby preserving diocesan autonomy: They would be able elect their own bishops as North American Anglicans have always done and then submit the election of the bishop elect to the College of Bishops for confirmation or they would be able by diocesan canon to delegate the election of the bishops of the diocese to the College of Bishops, a canon which the diocese could rescind at a later date and elect the bishops of the diocese itself. Election by the diocese and not by the College of Bishops would be the default position. The confirmation process would involve the clerical and lay members of the Provincial Council as well as the College of Bishops. I also believe that, when a diocese delegates the election of its bishops to the College of Bishops , the diocese may nominate additional candidates if the College of Bishops rejects its first three candidates. The College of Bishops should juridically bound to elect one of the candidates nominated by the diocese. If the College of Bishops repeatedly fails to elect a new bishop from the diocese’s nominees, the election would pass back to the diocese. I believe the primate of the province should be elected by an Electoral College or Board of Electors consisting of the College of Bishops and the clerical and lay members of the Provincial Council. I further believe the representation of each diocese on the Provincial Council should be increased and the Provincial Assembly should be abolished. The ratification of constitutional amendments and canons should be turned over to the synods or representative governing bodies of the dioceses. The constitution and canons should state that the ACNA is a voluntary association of autonomous dioceses and should reserve to the dioceses all power and authority not specifically delegated to the province. This goes beyond a matter of preference. The autonomy of the diocese and a synodical form of government are for me a matter of principle.

[177] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-24-2009 at 10:22 PM • top

AnglicansAblaze, in case you can’t tell some of us here think you are manufacturing a controversy by your insistence that Declaration #3 requires an affirmation specifically of the “esse” doctrine of the episcopate.  It is not at all clear that this is what the declaration is saying or requires.  You have clearly failed to find anyone involved in the process to confirm your interpretation.

I do agree that the language regarding the election of bishops could be tightened up a bit.  For instance, rather than assuming that the College of Bishops will be electing all the bishops of a “newly formed” body (from two or three selected candidates) one can actually make the case that the “newly formed” body still has the option of presenting only one candidate.  After all, the canon says the body “shall normally nominate two or three candidates”, appearing to leave open some other less than normal option.  There is nothing here clearly stating that the newly formed body can’t ignore the “normally” and only present one candidate.  So, by qualifying the word “shall” with “normally”, it appears that some wiggle room is left in place…

[178] Posted by Nevin on 05-24-2009 at 10:24 PM • top

Nevin -

I think the language in the third fundamental declaration does have some wiggle room. I think it certainly accommodates those who take the “esse” position and those who take the “plenne” position. On my reading, I don’t see how it could accommodate the “bene” position. The language of “inherent” and “integral” seems to preclude that in my opinion.

A little humorous aside from one of my Anglo-Catholic rector friends. He likes to say that the “esse” position on bishops must be right because it would be hard to argue that they have always been for the good of the church!  That’s supposed to be a joke guys so don’t jump all over that.

Seriously though -

Sarah - I don’t think your characterization that “Protestant Reformed Low Churchers” represent the fringes is accurate. Some of the biggest ACNA churches represent this stream of Anglicanism and are about as large in terms of members as some Anglo-Catholic dioceses. Further, I thought ACNA was billed as an organization for Anglicans from all three streams - anglo-catholic, evangelical and charismatic. Moreover, many of the provinces who have supported us so strongly are more low church and evangelical as evidenced in the language of the Jerusalem Declaration. For further evidence, look at Bishop Iker’s interview with your very own Greg Griffith at http://www.fwepiscopal.org/bishop/sf071108.html. He knows that GAFCON is more low church and evangelical in nature and he re-assures the Anglo-Catholics to look to the Common Cause statement for hope and evidence that ACNA will be a safe home for them. At this moment in time his assurances seem remarkably prescient.

I rejoice that ACNA will be a safe home for Anglo-Catholics. I am only asking that it also be a safe home for low church evangelicals. I think that could be achieved with some revisions.

One suggestion for a re-write of the third fundamental declaration is: “We acknowledge from that the Apostles’ time there have been these orders of ministers in Christ’s church – bishops, presbyters, and deacons and we affirm the Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and people called by God into the unity of His Church.”

This language draws from existing Anglican affirmations combining the classic first sentence of the preface to the Ordinal (1550) with the fourth article of the Lambeth Quadrilateral. It would represent a consensus position that honors the integrities of high and low Anglican churchmen today and historically. It would not require low churchmen (who see true apostolic succession as primarily an issue of right doctrine) to affirm something beyond their convictions, while high churchmen would be free to believe beyond this affirmation.

A second change that I would request would be to return the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration to the Fundamental Declarations. Realize first of all that this was only recently taken out. In fact, this was still point 8 in the fundamental declarations when the complete set of canons were published on April 6th.

Returning the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration back to its position as the 8th Fundamental Declaration would represent a consensus position that leaves room for the integrities of both high and low Anglican churchmen. High churchmen could point to the language in fundamental declarations points six and seven to affirm their perspectives on these documents. Low churchmen could point to the language of the Jerusalem Declaration to affirm their perspectives on these documents.

Returning the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration to the Fundamental Declarations to the preamble would avoid the appearance that the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration has been demoted in importance vis a vis the other statements in the Fundamental Declarations.

Affirming the Jerusalem Declaration in our fundamental declarations seems wholly appropriate in light of the amazing efforts of the GAFCON Primates and the extraordinary events that have enabled the formation of ACNA.

I certainly don’t want to undermine the formation of ACNA. I have worked and prayed and rejoiced in its formation. I am not asking that we wait to get every detail just right before ratifying the CnCs. I am asking that we take enough time to ensure that ACNA is a home for anglo-catholic, evangelical and reformed streams. I hope and pray that it will

[179] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-24-2009 at 10:45 PM • top

‘My’ Anglicans will be joining ACNA.

I’m hoping that when the dust settles, I find that I can continue to affirm all that their (new) church body requires be affirmed.

Of course, I’ll wait to see what the ‘final and approved text’ says, and read it in its ‘plain and grammatical sense’. smile Then I’ll determine is such a body is one for me or not.

[180] Posted by Bo on 05-24-2009 at 10:53 PM • top

Typos - in the last line I meant to say “charismatic” not “reformed.”

Sorry and Good Night!

[181] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-24-2009 at 11:00 PM • top

Does anyone know if Stephen Noll, Ashley Null or J. I. Packer have written anything on the ACNA CnCs? I would really appreciate their perspectives.

[182] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-24-2009 at 11:17 PM • top

Nevin,
The Governance Task Force has never gone on record to say that how I read section 3 is incorrect.

“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.”

“Inherent” means “involved in the constitution or essential character of something : belonging by nature or habit.” In other words, “the godly historic episcopate” is an essential “part of the apostolic faith and practice.” This is the “esse” position. “Integral” means “essential to the completeness,” “an essential part.” “Therefore” means “for that reason, consequently.”
What section 3 is saying is that the episcopate is an essential part of the apostolic faith and practice and for that reason it is an essential part of the unity and fullness of the Body of Christ. The basic message of the section is that the episcopate is essential to the Church. This is not the “plene esse” position; it is the “esse” position.”

I have run section 3 by a couple of people who are knowledgable upon this issue and they agree that section 3 is basically a statement of the “esse” position.

As I point out elsewhere, if the language of a section of the constitution or canons is open to more than one interpretation, then it is not clear or specific enough. There are two possible solutions. Rewrite the section to make its clearer and more specific or drop it. In the case of section 3 I recommend the latter. It should be replaced by a statement upon which everyone agrees what it means and which is agreeable to all three orthodox theological streams.

[183] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 06:57 AM • top

RE: “Sarah - I don’t think your characterization that “Protestant Reformed Low Churchers” represent the fringes is accurate.”

Webdac, please note that I said “your particular” and then added the words “low-church, Protestant Reformed theology.”  So I did not say at all that “Protestant Reformed Low Churchers represent the fringe.”

However, I hope that you would grant that there are some with particular “low church, Protestant Reformed theology” that are indeed on the Anglican fringe.  Just as there are *some Anglo-Catholics* that are indeed on the Anglican fringe—and who will not be able to be a part of the ACNA.

So no, “some of the biggest ACNA churches” may indeed represent low-church Reformed Protestant theology—but they do not represent the fringe.  Believe me, the churches that I’m thinking of aren’t able to grow anyway due to their particular version of “low-church, Protestant Reformed” theology and I cannot imagine any way to draw the C&Cs;huge enough to encompass them unless you wish to drive the Anglo-Catholics and the evangelicals who make up the majority in the US out in disgust.

[184] Posted by Sarah on 05-25-2009 at 07:02 AM • top

In response to the suspicion that I am trying to manufacture a controversy, I must ask why the great reluctance to make a few changes that would make section 3 clearer and acceptable to all parties concerned, why the investment in this particular wording? Altering the language of the section or replacing it with a new section would easily remedy any controversy surrounding it. It would be an expression of goodwill to the party that drew attention to the problem. I hear all this talk about tweaking this and modifying that as we go along but my experience with the governance task force as has been the experience of others is one of great reluctance on its part to make any but minor changes. I do not detect any real openness in some quarters to tweaking and modification of the constitution and canons. It is as if these documents have in some minds already been set in stone. There is nothing sacred about these documents. They were not written by a finger of fire on a mountain top.

[185] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 07:27 AM • top

Sarah -

I was looking at your language in 137 -

I just don’t see that theologically all the fringes—both Continuing Anglicans and Protestant Reformed Low Churchers—can be in the group.  The ACNA has sacrificed the Continuers.  Why not the Protestant Reformed Low Churchers?  In this way, they basically scoop up the middle and let the fringes go.

It seemed like you were saying that it would be ok for ACNA to “sacrifice” Protestant Reformed Low Churchers. When I hear “Protestant Reformed Low Churchers” I think of the Christ Church Planos, Truros, and St. Stephens Sewickleys. However, reading your 185 it seems you are not talking about churches like these.

Moving on. I’ll grant you that there are extremes and fringes on both sides - no doubt about it. But I think that plenty of the low church guys at places like Christ Church Plano, Truro, and St. Stephen Sewickleys would have issues on the third fundamental declaration and shouldn’t be classified as extremes. Some from places like this have raised exactly these issues. I think they are right to do so on biblical and Anglican historical grounds. Certainly the documents should be written broadly enough to accommodate these kinds of churches.

And I think that raising the issue is not divisive, but rather an attempt to be faithful
to the Scriptures and our Anglican tradition. That there has not been a massive outcry on this, I will grant you and that has been very strange to me.

It could be that folks are just not reading the docs. It could be that folks are just so eager for a unified ACNA that they don’t want to bring the issues up. I think that would be short-sighted. I don’t think you can trade truth for unity.  It could be that folks don’t think it’s an issue. I suppose time will tell. But it seems wholly appropriate to be asking the question now. Changing it later, once ratified will be much harder.

[186] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-25-2009 at 07:49 AM • top

Sarah,

You do come across as lumping all Reformed Evangelicals together into the same class. You and I have never sat down and had a long chat about my views on doctrine and worship and yet you have in your posts made a number of assumptions about me. I am certainly an evangelical and I am Reformed in my theology. My Reformed theology is based upon the Anglican formularies, and is quite moderate in compariso with some forms of Reformed theology. My views on worship are quite eclectic. I have also been influenced to some extent in my thinking by the “Third Wave” movement. I have no problem with Anglo-Catholics, charismatics, and evangelicals sharing a province as long as all orthodox theological streams are given ample elbow room. I have no objections to a diocese delegating its power and authority to choose its bishops to the College of Bishops as long as it retains the right to withdraw that delegation of power and authority and this right is respected and other dioceses are free to choose their own bishops. I advocate the formation of judicatories on the basis of theological affinity rather than geographic proximity because I see that as a way of avoiding the tensions that are going to arise when two or more theological affinity groups share the same diocese. I presented an alternative constitution to the governance task force that went much further than the present constitution to maintain good relations between different theological affinity groups. The present constitution does very little in this area.

[187] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 07:55 AM • top

Webdac, please note that I said “your particular” and then added the words “low-church,

But as near as I can tell, Sarah’s previous description on “your particular low church” is a bit off, in that she said that those arguing against this thing bishops are

I don’t know any Anglicans who think bishops are expendable and not necessary to be Anglican

...or want to for affinity groups in the ACNA that disgards bishops.  She also falsely pegs AnglicanAbaze’s affiliation as REC, even though he has mentioned in relationship to the AMiA in previous threads and, I think, on his blog. 

I don’t think anyone has argued that one can or should set up an Anglican church without bishops.  I think the argument that has been made is that one can set up a Christian church without bishops.  If one says that having bishops is essential to being a church, than one would have to say that, for example, the various Calvanist Reformed and Presbyterian denominations are not in fact churches, which is a position that the Reformed are understandibly unwilling to take.  I haven’t taken any surveys, but I doubt the notion that non-episcopal denominations are still churches is uncommon in Anglican circles. 

To use an analogy, one can say that having a liturgical worship style is essential to Anglicanism, but just because the Baptists don’t have one doesn’t mean that they aren’t Christian churches.

[188] Posted by AndrewA on 05-25-2009 at 08:13 AM • top

webdac:

RE: “However, reading your 185 it seems you are not talking about churches like these.”

You’re correct.  I meant the word “fringe” to be modified by “Continuing Anglicans” and “low church Protestant Reformed” . . . by that I mean that not all Continuing Anglicans are fringe, and not all low church Protestant Reformed churches are fringe.

Let me put it this way, webdac.  Quite realistically, according to some low-church Protestant Reformed folks, the Plymouth Brethren could claim to be “Anglican.”

Anglicans Ablaze:

RE: “You do come across as lumping all Reformed Evangelicals together into the same class.”

That would be odd, as I myself and Reformed Evangelical.  And so is Matt Kennedy.

RE: “You and I have never sat down and had a long chat about my views on doctrine and worship and yet you have in your posts made a number of assumptions about me.”

Right—because you have or have had about 4-5 rather extensively written blogs, Anglicans Ablaze, that more than make up for the lack of a chat.  ; > )

And yes, your theology is in no way even close to Matt Kennedy’s Reformed Evangelicalism [and both he himself and I are fringe within TEC, though he is not in the new ACNA].  It is fringe of fringe, so to speak.

Understand that I don’t think of fringe as “negative” or “pejorative.”  It is what it is, on the outer edge of the ring, if not falling off the ring. 

RE: “I advocate the formation of judicatories on the basis of theological affinity rather than geographic proximity because I see that as a way of avoiding the tensions that are going to arise when two or more theological affinity groups share the same diocese.”

I wholeheartedly agree with you—and I still don’t see where in the C&Cs;that’s not allowed.

Is it forbidden?  Or merely not mentioned?  Theoretically, a bunch of Reformed Evangelical Low-Churchers such as yourself could find one another and form a diocese, according to the current C&Cs;from a polity perspective.  But I’m willing to be shown differently if you can quote me some relevant passages.  Now to be sure—you won’t find many people like yourself who wish to be a part of the ACNA.  But still . . . there are some. 

I’m a bit curious about another aspect—and you don’t have to share that if you don’t want to.  But did I confuse your bio from another blog?  Have you never been a part of the Reformed Episcopal Church?

[189] Posted by Sarah on 05-25-2009 at 08:17 AM • top

I mangled part of that.  It should read, “…those arguing against the doctrinal statement think bishops are not necessary to Anglicanism…  or want to form affinity groups in the ACNA that discards bishops.” 

Now, on the other hand, I think it is a bit misleading to simply say that the ACNA is unwilling to partner with or engage in ministries with those that don’t agree with all their doctrinal statements.  The term “ministry partners” has a very specific meaning according to the canons.

[190] Posted by AndrewA on 05-25-2009 at 08:24 AM • top

AndrewA, I was not trying to imply that AA wanted to have groups without bishops . . .

I think you need to google Anglicans Ablaze, from that google his name, and discover the several blogs on which he has waxed eloquent, detailing his particular low church Protestant Reformed theology.

Suffice to say—it’s not Truro Church.  It’s not Matt Kennedy. 

That doesn’t mean he’s a bad person or not sincere or not a believer or anything else.  And I’m very glad that he, along with Anxious Anglican [another thread], webdac, Aidan, and various others have pointed out the polity issues of the proposed C&Cs;.

I personally think it’s a mistake of massive proportions to include the Free Church of England, The Church of England in South Africa [CESA], the folks who are left in the REC who were essentially Presbyterians in robes [not that there’s anything wrong with that], and the many many many many many others of the *particular* low church Protestant Reformed groups that are out there . . . just as I believed it was a mistake of massive proportions to attempt to include the many many many many many others of the *particular* Continuing Anglican groups that are out there as well.

But the ACNA itself will have to decide on its theology.  And that’s, frankly, what it will do if it decides either 1) not to broaden the theological scope of its C&Cs;or 2) to broaden the theological scope of what it allows in its C&Cs;.

Just remember this.  The more you broaden the wings of the organization, the more massive conflicts you invite into the organization.  And the more that people within the Anglican Communion will heartily resist taking on a new province if there ever comes a time that that is possible. [And yes, I understand that that’s not the ACNA’s main goal, nor should it be.]

[191] Posted by Sarah on 05-25-2009 at 08:55 AM • top

In a few short weeks there will be a test to see how valid the concerns of AnglicansAblaze and others are.  Can you imagine the embarrassment to the new Archbishop if a few his large low-church evangelical parishes opt out of ACNA because it’s too catholic?  I imagine rectors such as Geoff Chapman and Eric Taylor have Bishop Duncan’s ear…

[192] Posted by Nevin on 05-25-2009 at 09:21 AM • top

Just some outload musings, feel free to correct me: 

“Comprehensiveness” has been the stregnth and the bane of Anglicanism for quite some time, and the unity based on a common national geographic or national identity or Anglo heritage has played an important part of holding together some diverse theological groups in ways that would be unimaginable in most denominations.  The Church of England is probably the most extreme example, which is not suprising since England has powerful cultural, material and (less now than there used to be) legal reasons to be part of the Church of England and not some other group.  It seems to me, juding from a distance, that the CoE has many groups that, in the US, would have long since left for a Truly Reformed or a Truly Catholic group. 

Once one starts breaking away from the “geographic” or “one nation, one church” model one begins to create sticky problems about how to define Anglicanism.  That’s part of the reason why liberals keep going on about about the difficulty of a “ideological” rather that “geographic” basis for a province.

None of the offshoots of PECUSA, for example have been as “comphrehensive” as “mainstream” Anglicanism.  Of course, those that set up the offshoots consider that a feature, not a bug.  All of them have been formed in concious rejection of some theolgical party that had gained power in Anglicanism, and as a result have tried to form themselves in such as way as prevent the objection theology from ever gaining power.  Most have added forumlaries that go above and beyond the 39 Articles and 1662 BCP in limiting the possible range of interpetation of what it means to be Anglican.  REC is one of the earliest examples.  Having read some of the stuff by the bishop that founded REC, I think it is safe to say that his particular “fringe” was not too far from AnglicanAblaze.  They have since become broader, but I’m sure there are at least a few in REC that are as reluctant to join up with ACNA as they were to join up with the APA.  The Anglican Catholic Church, born of the 1970’s split, is the other extreme.  Their response to GAFCON has been rather cold.  They don’t have the slightest interest in having anything to do with “so-called Anglicans” that affirm anything less than Seven Councils and Seven Sacraments.

So no, ACNA will not be able to incorperate all those that have left TEC in the last 150 years, because all of them have been formed in rejection of some element that is present in the founding members of ACNA. 

As a I’ve said in the past, the best that might be imaginable it to consilidate the alphabet soup down to perhaps three bodies:  The Traditional Truly Reformed Prostestant Episcopal Church, the Anglican Catholic Church of Christ the King the Holy Cross and the Blessed Virgin, and the ACNA. 

In summary, once you leave the “national church” model unity is more challenging, and you can’t expect to gain 100% unity among all the possible Anglican groups.  The ACNA will likely achieve unity among most those that left TEC recently, for reasons Sarah has detailed elsewhere.  However, those that looking for a Truly Anglo-Catholic of a Truly Reformed body are going to be sorely dissapointed in the ACNA.  Those looking for “All 1662, All the Time” will be disappointed.  So will those simply looking for “TEC Without the Gayness”.

[193] Posted by AndrewA on 05-25-2009 at 09:42 AM • top

BTW, back to polity:  I don’t know the details, but my understanding is that polity differences relating to the role of bishops is a large part of what split the St Louis Affirmation folks.

[194] Posted by AndrewA on 05-25-2009 at 09:53 AM • top

As usual I find myself late to the party.  But I do take an interest in the “esse” question regarding the language about the episcopate.  It won’t do and I will have nothing to do with unchurching Christians of a differing polity, so the issue is very important to me.  But looking at the statement in question,

“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.”

in its context it is not at all clear to me that the word “Episcopate” in this setting clearly or necessarily signifies anything more than spiritual oversight, the actual meaning of the Gk. episkope.  This spiritual oversight must be godly and of historic pedigree, but there is hardly clarity about the assumption that episcopacy must entail a third order.  Does not this language leave that an open question?

Bill+

[195] Posted by Bill+ on 05-25-2009 at 10:36 AM • top

Last thought before going off to work on the ribs, clearly the most pertinent context to this language is the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.  And that statement has been widely regarded as loosening rather than tightening the connection between historic Christianity and any particular notion of episcopacy.  See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago-Lambeth_Quadrilateral

“By far, the most controversial point has been the fourth, which many believe could open the door to challenging the Church’s episcopal tradition of apostolic succession.”

Indeed.  And a narrow understanding of apostolic succession deserves being challenged and has always been challenged by Anglican Evangelicals.  I don’t see the ACNA documents as pulling us in a different direction from the C-L Quadrilateral.

cheers,

Bill+

[196] Posted by Bill+ on 05-25-2009 at 10:53 AM • top

This has been an interesting thread because it reflects a certain tension that has been within Anglicanism from its inception—protestant and catholic wings struggling to define the identity of Anglicanism.

Could it be those essentials upon which reformed evangelicals have in common with Anglo Catholics consitute the sort of “mere Christianity” that is also “mere Anglicanism”?

One thing I am mindful of in reading these posts is how difficult it is for any of us to accurately describe the constituent elements that are forming the ACNA. 

I have heard many descriptions of the REC, for example, that seem to be based on 19th century tracts and do not bear much of a connection to what I have found in my REC Diocese or parish.  My experience within the REC is that my Diocese is “higher church” in liturgical practice and theology than what I actually had encountered growing up in the TEC Diocese of Texas, but I would still easily describe the REC as reformed catholic rather than Anglo Catholic (and as a former Eastern Orthodox seminarian, I have some awareness of the difference between high church “liturgy” and a more catholic theology that would embrace the idea of grace mediated through the saints).

Years ago, I had read about the REC and dismissed it something peremptorily because I found some web pagess detailing a 19th Century reaction to emerging Anglo Catholicism in the US.  What changed my perspective on the REC years later was to attend a parish, meet the priest, attend Diocesan functions, meet the bishop at events like confirmation, etc.—in short, the sort of basic and “normal” parish and denominational activities that I had experienced in the TEC growing up.

Yet if I have personal knowledge of the REC, I have very little personal experience with the AMiA, parishes in the Diocese of Fort Worth, CANA, or some of the continuing Anglican groups that left the TEC in the 1970’s.  It would be very easy for me to lump each such other group into a wing of Anglicanism, and it would be understandable for me to speculate whether the various factions or parties would start to war with each other to assert dominance and leave their stamp on the emerging province so that what is replicated is in one particular party’s image.  It is easy, because I do not yet have personal relationships with people in the “other” groups that would provide a basis for trust through something other than paper communications and web pages.

An other way to put it is the concerns about a potential struggle between abstract movements in the ACNA does not necessarily take into account that the ACNA is a movement composed of people and their ability to relate to each other and develop Christ-centered layers of trust and friendship over a period of years.  Like my experience with normal and healthy Anglicans in the “real” REC (i.e., my integration into a functioning parish in a functioning Diocese with a seminary, regular Diocesan events, clergy meetings, retreats, etc., as opposed to web pages), perhaps the ACNA’s ability to function is going to be determined less by the initial canons and paper structure and more by the quality, character, and spiritual health of the leaders and parishes that are entering the province.  Christ-centered leaders, who approach the emerging province and each other with humility, have perhaps a much better chance of succeeding (provided they have agreement on true essentials of historic Anglicanism even if there is not total agreement on minor “party” issues).

The undivided church of the “golden” patristic era did not have a uniform polity.  It did not have complete agreement on minor fringe issues.  It reached ecumenical consensus on the core issues of faith through a fidelity to what the apostolic church had taught at all times and in all places.  And it grew, not by process or procedure, but through love for God, love for neighbor, and preaching the transformative Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is a worthwhile thread because we should always be concerned as good stewards of our churches in setting up processes for admission, discipline, and decision-making.  But the success or failure of the ACNA is a matter of whether God intends to bless it, and a matter of relying on God, as opposed to our weary human effort and anxious fretting.  If the people within the ACNA are blessed with the grace to acting for Christ-centered reasons, their egos, personalities, and human agendas will not destroy or stunt the province’s growth.

Dcn John (REC)

[197] Posted by John Clay on 05-25-2009 at 10:54 AM • top

AnglicansAblaze, at #178 you wrote:  “The constitution and canons should state that the ACNA is a voluntary association of autonomous dioceses and should reserve to the dioceses all power and authority not specifically delegated to the province.”

Are you unwilling to read and accept the language in Articles II and VIII? 

ARTICLE II: THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE PROVINCE
3.  Member dioceses (or groups of dioceses organized into distinct jurisdictions) are free to withdraw from the Province by action of their own governing bodies at any time.

ARTICLE VIII: THE LIMITS OF PROVINCIAL AUTHORITY
1. The member dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) and those dioceses banded together as jurisdictions shall each retain all authority they do not yield to the Province by their own consent. The powers not delegated to the Province by this constitution nor prohibited by this Constitution to these dioceses or jurisdictions, are reserved to these dioceses or jurisdictions respectively.

 

At # 177 you wrote to me:  “You apparently are interpreting the constitution in part as a strict constructionist; I pointed to your attention that the governance task force is not interpreting the constitution the way that you are interpreting it.”

First of all, I take with pride your “accusation” that I am a strict constructionist – that is, I actually read the language, believe that the members of the governance task force are godly people who are not trying to pull a fast one, and thus take the language seriously—without trying to put my own spin on it. 

Second, your statement that the task force is interpreting the C & Cs in some other manner is nothing more than your assertion, perhaps based on the fact that they have not responded to your suggestions.  I’ve seen nothing from them to suggest that the actual words in the C & Cs mean anything other than written.  For the last time, I will say to you that your claims about the role of the College of Bishops in the process for the election of bishops are just flat wrong.  I discussed this in some detail back at #87.

You also wrote at #184:  “The Governance Task Force has never gone on record to say that how I read section 3 is incorrect.”

Although I find no problem with section 3, perhaps your statement is revealing.  Do you consider it their duty to report back to you on all the ways in which you choose to want to put your own spin on the words?  And if they don’t respond to you, does that have some nefarious meaning?

Then you added:  “As I point out elsewhere, if the language of a section of the constitution or canons is open to more than one interpretation, then it is not clear or specific enough.”

So if you are not satisfied and want to conjure up your own interpretation, then you believe they have to rewrite it?  With that standard, I doubt that the task could ever be completed.

I have paid close attention to the language from the beginning of this process and am confident that the words mean what the words say.  The governance task force has done a superb job and I would encourage folks reading this thread to not let the seeds of discontent take root.  Clergy and laity at the diocesan level will be the ones to select their bishop nominees—and that has already happened in the case of the “newly formed” diocese that were considered by the Provincial Council in April.  This is a bottom-up process, as the language of the C & Cs makes clear.

[198] Posted by hanks on 05-25-2009 at 11:15 AM • top

I hesitate to walk into the middle of this tennis match. For a while there seemed to be only a couple players, and the balls sure were whizzing back and forth.

I’ll try to stick to Sarah’s brief that this discussion focus on the sociological more than the theological implications of the ACNA C&C;.

On the mode of electing bishops, the canons are well within the bounds of Anglican practice. That’s what we do bishops in Uganda anyway. I might speculate, however, that this mode of election does reflect lessons from the culture wars in TEC. The danger that has occurred too often (read Diocese of Florida) is that the laity and maybe clergy of a diocese have been conned into electing a bishop who actually betrays them. I suspect the provision for final election by the College of Bishops is a safeguard against this kind of politicking and outright deceit that has destroyed more than a few TEC dioceses.

Personally, I prefer the phrasing of JD clause 7:

We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.

to Fundamental Declaration 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.

It seems to me JD #7 is better because it is descriptive-normative rather than prescriptive-normative. Maybe the Anglo-catholic influence in America was more strongly felt in framing the Constitution. However, phrases like “godly” and “historic” episcopate, along with “inherent” and “fullness” are intended to give qualification to a view of purely tactile and instrumental apostolic succession. I know there are Evangelicals who consider the LQ to be the camel’s nose in the tent of true religion, but in the North American context, it has more often served as a defence of the fundamentals.

As to the transfer of the Jerusalem Declaration from Declaration 8 to the Preamble, I have written to several of the formulators of the Constitution and they have assured me that the shift was out of deference to the “ancientness” of the formularies in Declarations 1-7 and not out of disagreement with the substance of the JD. That makes sense to me.

Now a little more ecclesiastical sociology and I’m through. One of the more telling terms in the Constitution is “Anglican Way.” (Peter Toon must be smiling from heaven.) It occurs twice: in the preface and conclusion of Article I and not at all in the Canons. I suspect what it is saying is that orthodox Anglican identity, especially in its North American context, has been influenced by more than one historical movement. The C&C;are political documents, seeking to incorporate a broad swath of orthodox folk who come out of varying traditions, from the Reformation to the Catholic revival to the charismatic renewal. And so it is. My observation is that indeed the C&C;do represent these three streams. Purists in one stream or another may feel the river is polluted, but I think most will recognize enough of their own tradition to say: Close enough for [church] government purposes.

[199] Posted by Stephen Noll on 05-25-2009 at 11:57 AM • top

Does the ACNA have means to define error, discipline and depose/remove an errant Bishop in its C&C;? (ie, Pike/Righter/Spong)

Would each individual Diocese also have power & means to do that? (ie, Dio FL)

[200] Posted by Theodora on 05-25-2009 at 12:32 PM • top

John Clay #198, while I’ve been overseas my home parish reaffiliated with the REC.  You’re making me really happy we did, since I haven’t yet been able to meet my new bishop or go to any meetings.

[201] Posted by Katherine on 05-25-2009 at 12:44 PM • top

Thank you Dr. Noll for your helpful and irenic response to this thread.  On behalf of the ACNA GTF, I want to confirm your understanding that the transfer of the Jerusalem Declaration from Declaration 8 to the Preamble was for precisely the reasons you have stated.
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).
Finally, to Floridian #201 the answer is a resounding YES.  ACNA Canon IV.2 lists “1.Apostasy from the Christian Faith; 2. Heresy, false doctrine, or schism; and 3. Violation of ordination vows” as the first three of twelve offenses for which an Archbishop or Bishop may be presented.  Please note the order in which the presentable offenses are listed; this reflects our intent to safeguard the office of bishops as the chief guardians and teachers of doctrine (Canon III.8.2)  Canon IV.4 provides for the Presentment of a Bishop; Canon IV.5 provides for the Courts for the Trial of a Bishop, and the Provincial Tribunal—established in Article XI of the ACNA Constitution—will serve as a court of review in the case of conviction after trial of a bishop (Canon IV.5.4), as well as a court of original jurisdiction (a) to determine matters in dispute arising from the Constitution and Canons of the Province; (b) to hear and decide disputes between Dioceses; and (c) to issue nonbinding advisory opinions on issues submitted by the College of Bishops, the Provincial Council, or the Provincial Assembly.  We believe the establishment of the Provincial Tribunal provides a “check and balance” that has been sorely missing from TEC’s C&C;.
Yours in Christ,
Phil Ashey
Secretary and Chaplain, ACNA Governance Task Force

[202] Posted by PhilAshey on 05-25-2009 at 02:05 PM • top

The issue has never been that the particular mode of episcopal election is inconsistent with Anglican practice but rather that it is a substantial departure from North American Anglican practice and goes a long way to undo hard-won lay involvement in the governance of the church at the diocesan and provincial level and in the episcopal and archiepiscopal election process. Synodical meetings of godly clergy and laity have also been electing godly bishops. A College of Bishops did not elect Bishops Iker and Duncan or Archbishops Venables and Jensen. More careful vetting of candidates to fill a vacant episcopal see would also eliminate another situation like that which happened in Florida. So would a probationary period for newly elected bishops. There is more than one solution t that particular problem.  The Roman Catholic Church has a similar procedure for the selection of bishops to the one that the ACNA constitution and canons adopt. It has produced liberal and heterodox bishops.

Did I understand Paul Ashley to say that Article 1, Section 3 of the ACNA constitution takes the position that the historic episcopate is of the essence of the Church?  Did he offer any explanation why the Governance Task Force is sticking with a position that has historically divided Anglicans? While Paul Ashley had an excellent opportunity to address a number of issues that have been raised in this discussion and put to rest any disputes over conflicting understandings of the different provisions, he failed to do so. He left a number of questions unanswered. As I have been reading the posts, no one has been asking whether the particular statement that they are proposing as a replacement for Article 1, Section 3 of the ACNA constitution conforms to that section.  This raises the question why a spokesman of the Governance Task Force is unwilling to go on the record as to what is the Governance Task Force’s understanding of the provisions, the meaning of which is under dispute. Is he fearful that he may cause more controversy and this controversy may affect the outcome of the June Inaugural Provincial Assembly?  He could have cleared up a lot of matters.

The answer that he did give to those seeking to replace Article 1, Section while it was not to any question that they were asking points to the need for different replacement section to Article, Section 1. It also does suggest that the Governance Task Force is not open to a change in that section.

[203] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 04:37 PM • top

Did I understand Paul Ashley to say that Article 1, Section 3 of the ACNA constitution takes the position that the historic episcopate is of the essence of the Church?

No, Phil Ashey said nothing of the sort.  There is not even a hint in his comment that the “esse” doctrine of the episcopate is the required reading of FD #3.  He clearly stated that nothing more was meant by FD #3 than what is found in the CLQ.  Are you now suggesting that the CLQ is also unacceptable to evangelicals? 

the meaning of which is under dispute

Only to those determined to find it so.  Doesn’t the above endorsement of FD #3 by one of the leading evangelicals in the Anglican Communion mean anything to you?

[204] Posted by Nevin on 05-25-2009 at 05:13 PM • top

Nevin,
I would like to hear clarification from Phil Ashley himself. I would like to hear him say that the “esse” position is NOT the required reading of FD #3. I would like to hear him speak Not for himself but for the ACNA. I would like to see an official spokesman go on record that it is NOT how the Governance Task Force and the Provincial Council interprets FD #3, and not dance around the issue. I belive that it is quite reasonable. As I pointed out, he could have addressed a number of issues and resolved a number of disputes but chose not to. The Governance Task Force apears reluctantto go on record, which I imagine is out of fear of causing controversy that may be detrimental to the outcome of the June Inaugural Provincial Assembly.

Stephen Noll is just one of a number of leading evangelicals in the Anglican Communion. He also is the vice chancellor of a Ugandan seminary, has ties to the ACNA Diocese of Pittburgh, and I gather has also served as a consultant to the Governance Task Force.He has a vested interest in the ACNA.  These factors can be expected to color his views. Was it coincidence that he posted his comments and then Phil Ashley popped up to thank him for his response? Perhaps. Or did Ashley prevail upon him to make a statement?

[205] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 05:40 PM • top

In relation to what Stephen Noll says about the Fundamental Declarations serving as the ACNA definition of the “Anglican Way,” of Anglican orthodoxy, that definition views as not genuinely orthodox Anglican those who do not agree with the position of FD #3. If the position of FD #3 is the “esse” posotion as a number of North American Anglicans understand it to be and the Governance Task Force has not yet gone on record as denying as inaccurate understanding of the FD # 3 position, then the Fundamental Declarations do not include evangelical Anglicans who do not hold the “esse” position in its definition of orthodox Anglicans, those who are walking the “Anglican Way.” Even Dr. Noll should realize the implications of the ACNA taking such a position and how it will reflect the relations of the ACNA with a significant part of the evangelical Anglican community.

I am interested in reading how the Commentary on the Jerusalem Declaration that the FCA Theological Group is preparing interprets clause seven of the Jerusalem Declaration. The Commentary is supposed to offer clarification of what the Jerusalem Declaration means so that that there are no disputes over its meaning like the ones over the meaning of the ACNA constitution and code of canons on this thread. Since the FCA Theological Group is a theologically diverse group, I imagine that there are quite different shades of opinion on the meaning of this clause represented in the group. I am interested in seeing how they resolve these differences. How they settle those differences will have bearing upon the ACNA since it has affirmed the Jerusalem Declaration in its constitution. The Jerusalem Declaration, like the Fundamental Declarations, is a definition of Anglican orthodoxy. This leads to the next question. Which definition will prevail in the ACNA?

[206] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 06:07 PM • top

By “reflect” I meant “affect.”

[207] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 06:10 PM • top

Sarah,

I have never been a member of the Reformed Episcopal Church. I have written a number of articles on that ecclesial body, its history, and its abandonment of the evangelical and Protestant principles of its founders.

I have looked through the articles in my files but I have yet to come across one in which I expressed “fringe” views. Classical evangelical Anglicanism may not have a strong representation in the United States but treating its views as “fringe” may be going too far.

To provide you with some biographical information I was baptized in the Church of England and attended that church in my childhood. In my teen years I attended the then Protestant Episcopal Church and was confirmed in that church. For seventeen years I was a licensed lay reader in the Episcopal Church. I was involved in a number of music, teaching, and worship ministries. I am an avid reader and my reading has included but has not been limited to the works of J. C. Ryle, Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, John Stott, James Packer, Michael Green, David Watson, Alister McGrath, John Booty, Leon Morris, and others. Through independent study I have acquired the equivalent of a seminary education. I am a historian by training (I was a social worker by profession) and the two periods in Church history that I have studied the most are the English Reformation to the Restoration and the Evangelical Revival. I have read the works of the Continental Reformers—primarily John Bullinger since he had the most influence upon the English Reformers, as well as writings of the English Reformers themselves. I have read such classical Anglican works as George Herbert’s The Country Parson, Jeremy Taylor’s Holy Living and Holy Dying, and Thomas Traherne’s Meditations. Other areas of interest include the Book of Common Prayer, church music, evangelism, missions, church planting, and small group ministry.

[208] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 06:39 PM • top

Upon reflection in stating that the Jerusalem Declaration was removed from the Fundamental Declarations because the first seven points were more ancient than the Jerusalem Declaration, the Governance Task Force is staking out a position. In other words it is stating that its Catholic definition of the “Anglican Way,” of Anglican orthodoxy, is more authoritative than the Jerusalem Declaration’s more Evangelical definition of Anglican orthodoxy. This points to an observation that I made in my article, “Where Does the ACNA Really Stand on GAFCON?”

“The Fundamental Declarations in Article I are silent on a number of key issues addressed in the Jerusalem Declaration—salvation by grace through faith, the perspicuity of Scripture, ‘the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ,’ the atonement, the sanctity of marriage, the Great Commission, the stewardship of creation, recognition of ‘the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice,’ ‘freedom in secondary matters,’ working together ‘to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us;’ and Christ’s second coming. The Jerusalem Declaration solemnly declares the tenets of orthodoxy that are articulated in its fourteen points underpin Anglican identity. Article III of the revised constitution does identify the mission of the ACNA with the Great Commission and the revised code of canons does contain a statement on the sanctity of marriage. The revised canons, however, take a different position than the Jerusalem Declaration on several issues. These issues include recognition of ‘the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice,’ freedom in secondary matters,’ and working together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.’ They require adherence to the doctrinal positions stated in the Fundamental Declarations and developed in the revised canons.”

[209] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 08:10 PM • top

Anglicans Ablaze, do you really think that Phil Ashley and Stephen Noll are colluding with each other to obscure the meaning of the C&C;‘s? Your argument from silence (“the governance committee have not denied it”) is getting ever more problematic. Are they really guilty until proven innocent of mandating the “esse” view of episcopacy until they issue a meaningful denial to a self-appointed spokesman? Do they have to give an explicit denial of every charge leveled at them in order to be deemed credible? Does it remotely follow sound norms of Christian discourse to dismiss Stephen Noll’s views because he has a “vested interest” in ACNA and is connected to the relevant committees? Wouldn’t that rather suggest that he has some insight into the committee’s intent?

You have some good points to make, but you should consider whether you are being reasonable in your argumentation and accusations.

[210] Posted by K-W on 05-25-2009 at 08:13 PM • top

K-W,

Don’t you think a statement from the GTF would go far to clarify the meaning of the various provisions of the constitution and canons?

To point to factors that may be influencing Dr. Noll’s response does not go beyond the sound norms of Christian discourse as you put it. It draws attention to possible factors that may be coloring it. People have a right to know this kind of background information.

You not I are suggesting collusion. I suggested that Ashley asked Noll to make a statement and then followed it up with a statement of his own. I did not as you suggest ascribe evil motives to what they did. Nor did I suggest that they were plotting together. That is your interpretation of my questions.

[211] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 08:25 PM • top

AA, thanks for setting me straight about your [non] memberships.  I appreciate it.

RE: “I have looked through the articles in my files but I have yet to come across one in which I expressed “fringe” views.”

I understand that you believe that.

[212] Posted by Sarah on 05-25-2009 at 08:40 PM • top

I would like to hear him say that the “esse” position is NOT the required reading of FD #3

He did.  You need to actually read what he wrote.  He clearly stated that a body could join ACNA and use the wording of the CLQ in their own Constitution and Canons to clarify their own understanding of the episcopate.  The CLQ statement is OK in ACNA.  In other words a body is free to clarify that they do not accept the “esse” position.  I suspect your opposition to FD #3 is because the converse is also true.  The Anglo-Catholics joining ACNA are going to be free to clarify their Constitution and Canons as well.  And you don’t want to be part of a church in which both viewpoints are tolerated as appears to be the situation in ACNA.

[213] Posted by Nevin on 05-25-2009 at 08:43 PM • top

K-W,
I would go as far as saying that the GTF needs to produce a commentary on the ACNA constitution and canons like the FCA Theological Group’s Commentary on the Jerusalem Declaration to clarify the meaning of the provisions of these two documents and to put to rest any disputes over different understandings of these provision. The way the two documents are written makes them open to more than one interpretation, a fact that has been brought to the attention of the GTF. It makes sense to produce such a commentary so that people know what is the official take on each provision. As it stands, the Provincial Tribunal can anticipate a heavy docket of requests for rulings on how the provisions of the two documents should be interpreted as people come to the realization that how they are interpreting the doucments’ provisions are not how the ACNA leadership is interpreting them. The GTF could avoid a lot of future conflict.

[214] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 08:43 PM • top

Nevin,
Ashley did not make any statement denying that the position of FD #3 was NOT the “esse” position. Whay he said was:

<blockquote>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).,/blockquote>

[215] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 08:49 PM • top

Nevin,

Sorry about the double negative. It should read “denying the the position of FD#3 was the “esse” position.

[216] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 08:53 PM • top

Dr. Noll / Rev. Ashey -

Thanks for your responses. I really appreciate your chiming in here.

Dr. Noll, I appreciate that you also took notice and wondered at the move of the Jerusalem Declaration from the Fundamental Declarations to the preamble. I understand the rationale to move it on the basis of its lack of “ancientness.”

However, I still struggle with the fact that the JD and the fundamental declarations affirm different things about our understandings of the articles and the 1662 Prayer Book and the historic episcopate. For example, the JD declares that the articles are our true doctrine whereas the ACNA fundamental declarations describe them as a reaction to certain controverted issues at the time of the Reformation and that they reflect authentic principles of Anglican belief.

I suppose you can affirm both of those things – but isn’t it a little goofy? And if you affirm them in different places doesn’t that naturally lead to the question of which one is more genuinely affirmed? Moreover, in 30 years when people look at these documents won’t they look to the fundamental declarations and say – “that’s what was and is essential to believe in ACNA.” In other words, the fact that we have been assured in the present that ACNA is really committed to the JD, wouldn’t it be prudent to keep it as a fundamental declaration just to really make that clear.

I am also pleased to see your preference expressed on the wording of Fundamental Declaration 3 –

We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.

The words used in the JD would be a huge improvement in my estimation and would be much more amenable to many in the evangelical stream. It would certainly help me.

Rev. Ashey –

I think one of the things that would help is some communication from the Governance Task Force on the issues that have been raised and some clarifications on the intent of the language used. For example, some would be served with an explanation of whether fundamental declaration 3 is meant to only be understood as reflecting the “esse” position or if it is written to accommodate the “plene” and the “bene” perspectives as well.

It would seem that one of the things that helped assuage Dr. Noll’s concerns about the moving of the affirmation of the Jerusalem Declaration to the preamble was the access that he had personally to those on the GTF. Some of us don’t have that sort of access and yet we have some of the same questions that he had. I am sure all involved are committed to an open and transparent process.

Anxious Anglican made reference on another thread to a “federalist papers” type response being put together by the GTF to address all the issues that have been raised. Is such a document in the works? I think it would really help us.

My assumption is that we are all trying to be faithful in this amazing moment in the history of Anglican Reformation in North America. I absolutely want ACNA to succeed and am praying and working to that end.

[217] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-25-2009 at 08:58 PM • top

Dear webdac #218
Thank you for not imputing bad motives to the GTF, nor that we are trying to hide or obscure anything.  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!

Thank you for recognizing that we are all trying to be faithful in this amazing moment of Anglican Reformation in North America, and thank you so much for your prayers!

[218] Posted by PhilAshey on 05-25-2009 at 09:07 PM • top

Anglicans Ablaze,

A statement from the GTF could be helpful. That, or some clarifying amendments as needed. Perhaps, as long as it would not derail the meeting, some amendments or revisions could be considered at the ACNA meeting. I assume that few people here need me to lecture them on how ambiguity provides a poor basis for unity. Still, I do not think that the lack of a statement demonstrates much of anything. There can be any number of motivations behind not giving a statement, which is why I have been perplexed when you respond to arguments from the text of the C&C;‘s with, essentially, “if they believed that they would have answered me already.”

I do wonder what an “Anglican Federalist Papers” would accomplish. If some portions of the C&C;are deemed ambiguous, they should be clarified by amendment or by resolutions at the provincial or diocesan level. If the GTF gave an official commentary of the current text, the authority of the commentary would be open to dispute. Would the commentary need to be voted upon along with the C&C;‘s as a definitive statement of intent? If not, in what ways would the Tribunal be bound to the opinions of the GTF? If the text of the C&C;‘s really are ambiguous, the best solution is amendment. And that sooner rather than later.

For your tuquoque at the end of #212, I have only this response: if I have misinterpreted you I apologize. If not, there is nothing I can add to what I have already said.

[219] Posted by K-W on 05-25-2009 at 09:32 PM • top

Wow, big apologies for the mysterious semicolons after “C&C;”. Each of those semicolons should just be an apostrophe-s. “C&C;‘s”

[220] Posted by K-W on 05-25-2009 at 09:40 PM • top

Sarah,
In the late ninteenth and early twentieth century both conservative and moderate evangelicals in the Church of England would have viewed many of today’s evangelicals in the United States as “liberal” evangelicals because they sit loosely to doctrines and liturgical usages that have historically defined classical evangelical Anglicanism. In Guarding The Holy Fire: The Evangelicalism of John R. W. Stott, J. I.Packer, and Alister McGrath, Roger Steer draws attention to the strong influence that liberalism has had upon American evangelicals, those in TEC and those who have migrated from TEC to the ACNA, an influence of which these evangelicals may not be aware. Classical evangelical Anglicanism disappeared from the Protestant Episcopal Church by 1900. Most evangelicals in TEC and the ACNA are converts to evangelicalism. They largely come either from a “middle church,” or moderate Broad Church background, or from outside TEC and the ACNA, from evangelical churches. They have a lot in common with the liberal “open” evangelicals in the Church of England, for example, their support of the ordination of women. Do they represent the mainstream of evangelicalism in the Anglican Communion? That is open to debate.
I must say that I was surprised that you associate conservative evangelicals with an absence of real gospel ministry like that in a number of the Continuing Churches. Conservative evangelicals both in and outside the United States are very active in gospel ministry, reaching and evangelizing the unchurched, planting new churches, growing existing churches, and so forth. Sydney evangelicals have a decided commitment to the numerical growth and the gospel growth of their diocese.

I would like to hear your story, how you have come to view Anglicans like myself who are evangelical and Reformed in our beliefs as a troublesome element?

[221] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 09:45 PM • top

Rev. Ashey, Dr. Noll, 
Thank you very much for being willing to join in this discussion and answer questions. 
I appreciate the extreme effort and sacrifice you have made for our Lord and His Church. 
May the Lord continue to lead you, bless and give you joy in His presence.

[222] Posted by Theodora on 05-25-2009 at 10:07 PM • top

Having read primary sources from the 19th century, I’m not going to argue that Anglicanism has not changed quite a bit from 19th century when Ritualist clergy were being put on trial for Romish ways, or that there was not once a time that things such as weekly Communion services as the main Sunday service was considered a mark of apostasy by many, however…

Still, I can’t help but wonder why you would expect an organization designed by and for certain segments of contemporary evangelicals (or crypto-liberal broad churchers, as you would say) and contemporary Anglo-Catholics (or crypto-liberal broad churchers, as the Continuers would say), would turn out as a reflection of 18th and 19th century evangelicalism.  One can go back and forth as to whether or not 19th century evangelicalism is better than, say, Truro or Christ Church Plano evangelicalism, but the simple pragmatic reality is that the ACNA is going to reflect those that form it.

[223] Posted by AndrewA on 05-25-2009 at 10:13 PM • top

RE: “In the late ninteenth and early twentieth century both conservative and moderate evangelicals in the Church of England would have viewed many of today’s evangelicals in the United States as “liberal” evangelicals because they sit loosely to doctrines and liturgical usages that have historically defined classical evangelical Anglicanism.”

Indeed.  And in the late third century many Christians would view today’s Christians as pagans.  And I myself would think of some centuries of Christians as grossly immoral.  But I don’t make my decisions about right and wrong, or my theology, based on what various Christians in various generations might think of me.

RE: “I must say that I was surprised that you associate conservative evangelicals with an absence of real gospel ministry like that in a number of the Continuing Churches. “

I don’t.  I associate *your particular vision of low church Protestant Reformed theology* with an absence of growth.  Indeed, “failure to thrive” beautifully describes such churches, from a growth perspective.  I’ve already made quite clear—numerous times now—that a church like Truro doesn’t fall into that category of theology at all.

RE: “how you have come to view Anglicans like myself who are evangelical and Reformed in our beliefs as a troublesome element?”

I’m afraid that would serve as much purpose as explaining to progressive activists how I came to view Anglicans like Gene Robinson as “troublesome elements.”

For example, we haven’t—as with progressive activists too—even been able to agree on the use of basic terms, such as “mainstream,” “classical,” “fringe” and many other descriptive words And we’re not going to agree on those words, nor are we going to agree on much else involving Anglicanism, no matter the amount of discussion or dialogue.

I’m cool with that.  I don’t need folks to agree with me on these things.  I’m okay with accepting that we simply won’t agree about whether your particular theology represents mainstream, classical, non-fringe, historic Anglicanism.

I’ve clearly expressed my opinions—I don’t think your particular vision of low church Protestant Reformed Anglicanism is any more “troublesome” than the Continuers.  But I think it would be deeply unwise of the ACNA to attempt to include those on the Catholic tips and those on the low-church Reformed Protestant tips.

But you can be relieved over something.  Generally speaking when I think something is incredibly unwise, the ACI, the Communion Partners, Common Cause, Gafcon, the Global South, and the ACNA all do it.  ; > )

[224] Posted by Sarah on 05-25-2009 at 10:14 PM • top

K-W
I am not a “conspiracy theorist.” I see no benefit in ascribing evil motives to Dr. Noll or the Rev. Ashey. It would only make me sound like a “crank” and would damage my credibility.

I have what I believe are a number of legitimate concerns about the doctrinal positions, ecclesial governance, and modes of episcopal and archiepiscopal election of the ACNA. Others have similar concerns.

[225] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 10:21 PM • top

AnglicansAblaze, you claim that you want to accomodate Anglo-Catholics in ACNA but it certainly seems as if that is not the case.  You are insisting that FD #3 must have one narrow interpretation (detailed in a “commentary”) that either excludes the evangelical viewpoint or the Anglo-Catholic viewpoint.  Even though Phil Ashey has clearly indicated that the intent was to make the statement broad enough to encompass both views (ala CLQ), and that ACNA will indeed allow bodies to clarify which view they take- that is not good enough.  You want a statement clearly eliminating the Anglo-Catholics.  I can see that ACNA is not the place for you…

[226] Posted by Nevin on 05-25-2009 at 10:23 PM • top

Sarah,

Now I am curious what you consider my “particular vision of low church Protestant Reformed theology.” Since I am casting such a horrible vision in your estimation I would be interested to know what vision that I am exactly casting. What are its salient points? I am a retired social worker and I am well aware that people have their “blind spots”—they are blind to how others perceive what they do and say. Perhaps you can point out a particular article that I have written that troubled you. Perhaps its my style of writing.

[227] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 10:31 PM • top

Side Question (based on the ‘bene’ ‘plene’ ‘esse’ stuff….)

Do the AngloCatholics think the Baptists to be ‘unchurched but Christian’, ‘unchurched and unChristian’ or ‘churched in a defective but functional church and Christian’?

[228] Posted by Bo on 05-25-2009 at 10:33 PM • top

Bo, the best answer to your question is “Yes”.

[229] Posted by AndrewA on 05-25-2009 at 10:40 PM • top

RE: “Since I am casting such a horrible vision in your estimation . . . “

Not at all.  I also, for the record, do not think Continuing Anglicans cast a “horrible vision” either.  But beyond that, I won’t be exploring or discussing theological questions with you on this thread.

Now is the perfect time for you to raise your paper back up to your eyes, rustling it, and saying like Mr. Bennett, “very well then, ignorance shall be my punishment.”  ; > )

[230] Posted by Sarah on 05-25-2009 at 10:49 PM • top

Nevin,
I would prefer no statement at all as in the constitution and canons of the Church of Nigeria or something on which Anglo-Catholics, charismatics, and evangelicals agree like the Anglican Church of Australia’s “...and preserve the three orders of bishops, priests and deacons in the sacred ministry…” or the the Church of Ireland’s “...and will maintain inviolate the Three Orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons in the sacred Ministry….” With such a provision Anglo-Catholics, charismatics, and evangelicals would be free to hold and teach whatever they believed about the historic episcopate and apostolic succession.

Why is it that Anglo-Catholics resort to accusing evangelicals of trying to get rid of them when evangelicals do not agree with them? It is very tiresome. It is also manipulative. It says that if you do not accept our point of view, you must not want us around—sort of like the wife that claims her husband does not love her because he or she won’t agree with her.

[231] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 10:51 PM • top

Husbands also manipulate their wives in the same way which is how “she” got in my last sentence. However, the original sentence was rather cumbersome so I edited it but missed the “or she.”

[232] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 10:57 PM • top

Fair Warning:  I can’t really speak for Anglo-Catholics myself, however I think the “Outside the Church Catholic but still Christian” would probably be the most common view. 

It is dangerous to take the Tractarians as being reflective of current Anglo-Catholics, however to get an idea where “Oxford Movement” Anglo-Catholicism started, you might want to look at:
http://anglicanhistory.org/tracts/

[233] Posted by AndrewA on 05-25-2009 at 11:04 PM • top

Bo,
In the eyes of Roman Catholics Anglic clergy are at best devote laymen and in the eyes of Anglo-Catholics Baptist preachers are at best devote laymen. Does that help to answer your question?

In the 19th century the Oxford Movement “unchurched” all denominations that in its estimation did not have bishops in the apostolic succession. At best churches in these denominations were considered religious socieies but not truth churches. Anglo-Catholics are the spiritual descendants of the Oxford Movement. As to what they believe, I think that you will have to ask them individually. If they support the “esse” position, which is historically the Catholic position, then they do not belive that they are tru churches. Roman Catholics do not believe that the Anglican Church is a true church because it does not accept the authority of the pope and to Roman Catholics that is the ultimate mark of the true church—acceptance of papal supremacy.

[234] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-25-2009 at 11:06 PM • top

Do the AngloCatholics think the Baptists to be ‘unchurched but Christian’, ‘unchurched and unChristian’ or ‘churched in a defective but functional church and Christian’?

To be honest Bo, we spend most of our time worrying about which of those 3 categories TEC and the Archbishop of Canterbury fall into.

OK, seriously.  From our perspective, Baptists are in error in their concept of the Eucharist, and their opinion of the Apostolic succession (in the sense of episcopal ecclesiology- or lack thereof in Baptist practice).  I have never heard an Anglo Catholic say that Baptists are either unChristian or unchurched, so I guess your 3rd option comes closest.  Of course, most of us realize that we are also in error (as is evident by the fact that the Church is divided, and therefore all are in error to some degree).

Tiresome Anglo Catholic here, wondering just where the canons of the ACNA are in conflict with the 39 Articles, and if they are not, what the big fuss is about. Of course, as an Anglo Catholic, I don’t care nearly so much whether they conflict with the Articles as whether they are within the ecclesiology of the first 6 Councils of the Church.

[235] Posted by tjmcmahon on 05-25-2009 at 11:10 PM • top

BTW, I don’t think a Baptist should be particularly offended if an Anglo-Catholic or a Roman Catholic tells them that they are not a real church or that their minsters are not real priests and bishops, because the simple fact is that they do not share a common view of what a church is or what ministers are.

I can almost understand the Anglo-Catholic that gets upset if the Roman Catholic insists that Anglican priests are not real priests, but I would think that any Baptist who is told their their pastors are not priests would say “But of course they aren’t!  What’s your point?”

[236] Posted by AndrewA on 05-25-2009 at 11:41 PM • top

tjmcmahon,
Thanks,  It follows from that then that we could work in ‘Christian Ministry’ together, but not as ‘Partners in the Ministry of either of our Churches’, right?

Sounds like I’ll still be welcome at ‘my Anglican’s’ services even if they are caught up in an AngloCatholic Church in North America.

All
Let the inter Anglican Sniping continue, this ‘interjecting bystander’ will now return to the sidewalk to enjoy the show.

[237] Posted by Bo on 05-25-2009 at 11:42 PM • top

Andrew A,
You’re right, My Baptist Preacher ain’t a priest - He is a Bishopsmile smile smile

(He is, after all the elder responsible for over 300 priests!.  I knew that priesthood of the believer bit would come in handy smile smile smile )

[238] Posted by Bo on 05-25-2009 at 11:47 PM • top

It is also manipulative. It says that if you do not accept our point of view, you must not want us around—sort of like the wife that claims her husband does not love her because he or she won’t agree with her.

Interesting picture you paint, though I would imagine it has gone both ways over the years.  It gets one thinking though:  If the bickering between the High and Low can be analagous to a husband and wife always fighting, is it any wonder that the children have turned out to be so disfunctional?

[239] Posted by AndrewA on 05-25-2009 at 11:57 PM • top

Andrew,
Keeping that analogy, As long as neither goes awhoring after strange gods, they need, for the sake of their witness, their children, and obedience to their oaths, to remain together, seek the counsel of the godly and work to not just save, but strengthen the marriage.

I hope and pray that the new house (ACNA) will allow that to happen, that the couple will turn back to their first Love (The Lord God), and that each will provide for the other what God has given them to share.

[240] Posted by Bo on 05-26-2009 at 12:06 AM • top

Bo,
Look at it this way.  To an Anglo Catholic, a Baptist preacher is not a priest. Primarily because the Baptist preacher was not ordained by a bishop in apostolic succession (this should apply to any Anglican, as ordination by a bishop is a canonical necessity in all Provinces). But I don’t know any Anglo Catholic who would deny that Dr. Martin Luther King (Sr. or Jr.) was called to ministry by God and preached His Word.  And that God granted him (and a number of other Baptists) a gift for preaching that He has not, in His wisdom, granted to many Anglican clergy.

[241] Posted by tjmcmahon on 05-26-2009 at 07:04 AM • top

tjmcmahon,
Thanks, It follows from that then that we could work in ‘Christian Ministry’ together, but not as ‘Partners in the Ministry of either of our Churches’, right?

I am not familiar with the term “Partners in the Ministry” capitalized and in quotes, so I am guessing you are correct. When I translate that into “high church Anglican” I think it is: “We could share an ecumenical relationship, but not be in full Communion with one another”- which is correct.  That is to say, one of your pastors/preachers/presbyters (not sure if any Baptists use the latter term) could not preside at the altar of an Anglican Church at the Eucharist.  Of course, as I am sure you are aware from your contact with Anglicans, there is no question about accepting the Baptism of a Baptist, which of course we do, unless there is an odd sect out there who do not use the formula “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”  I assume there are some out there claiming to be Baptist, but are doing their own thing, just like some claim to be Episcopalians, but then write to the HoBD list that they are using some other formula (that happened a while back, even rousted a couple TEC bishops out of their complacency).  Unfortunately, in our church, if you rewrite the Baptismal liturgy, they send you to GC as a deputy.  My guess is that most of the major Baptist denominations there is firmer discipline.
  I am not aware of any ACNA canon requiring confirmation prior to Communion, although a few of the Anglo Catholic dioceses might reinstate that in their canons (if it ever was in the canons- although I know it was the tradition in many parishes 50 years ago). But as I understand things, as a baptized Christian, you are welcome at the Communion of most Anglican churches- Anglo Catholic or otherwise.  At least, that is the exhortation I’ve heard from the sanctuary.
  But no, I will not share the secret handshake.

[242] Posted by tjmcmahon on 05-26-2009 at 07:25 AM • top

tjmcmahon,
And I’m sure Dr. King and my pastor wouldn’t claim the authority inherent in the position/office of priest as understood by the AngloCatholics (and pretty sure they’d not claim it as understood by the low church folks either).

I can respect that they’re not accepted to an office they don’t claim and have not been charged with, I’d have issues with the ‘not even really Christian’ position, but have no trouble with the ‘not really a priest’ one, for as someone mentioned, they don’t claim the powers associated with the office as described…

[243] Posted by Bo on 05-26-2009 at 07:37 AM • top

unless there is an odd sect out there who do not use the formula “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Being a non-liturgical church, Baptists don’t have a strictly defined thing to say during Baptism, but it you look at the Southern Baptist Faith and Message, you see…
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I’m not sure if they have any canons requiring it, but in my years growing up in the Southern Baptist church, I’ve always heard them use the full Trinitarian formula.

[244] Posted by AndrewA on 05-26-2009 at 07:40 AM • top

Bo,
The idea that Anglo Catholics think that Baptists are “not really Christian” is a strawman constructed by people who are very much anti-Catholic and want to disparage us.  I am not aware of any serious Anglo Catholic theologian who would characterize Baptists as “non-Christian.”  In the strict sense, some would say Baptists are not a “church” but this assumes the Catholic definition- as in Church Catholic- which from our point of view requires bishops in Apostolic succession.  Thus an Anglo Catholic recognizes the order of Rome and the East, even if they do not recognize ours (although in some cases, they are coming around), but does not recognize those of most Protestant denominations (regardless of the recent Anglican propensity to throw the ancient councils out and recognize ELCA and Methodist ministers as presbyters).

[245] Posted by tjmcmahon on 05-26-2009 at 07:51 AM • top

tjmcmahon (243)
Again, thanks!

The “Partners in the Ministry” was my attempt to ‘get it right’ with regard to the wording used in the C&C;.  I think it has more to do with ‘sharing the secret handshake’ as you put it, than it does with denying the Christian Church status to those who have a different polity.

Some ‘baptist’ churches are as nutty as anything the TEO has done, perhaps more blatantly so (most of the TEO ‘nutters’ pretend to be more rational than they appear).  The SBC and other conventions are pretty effective at dealing with ‘unorthodox members’ - they’re just expelled. 

The fight for the seminaries was tougher, as that was ‘corporate property’ and the ‘you just can’t come to convention anymore’ wouldn’t have worked. 

Just as the 39 articles are ‘pretty much acceptable’ to any baptist as being ‘true’ (They’ll not take them as binding, anymore than we do the creeds!), I think most of the baptist faith and message (VI and VII might be troublesome) would be OK by most Anglicans.

The differences in administration mean we don’t have the same secret handshake, the same Lord, Faith, and Baptism, means that we can share with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom.

Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament. (From XIV )

[246] Posted by Bo on 05-26-2009 at 08:00 AM • top

Bo, are you thinking of the “Ministry Partners” as described in the ACNA canon I quote above?  I’m a little vague as to how that is supposed to work out in pragmatic terms, but as near as I can tell the only thing being a “Ministry Partner” gives one the right to do is show up and speak at ACNA events if they are so invited.  It isn’t even the same as as inter-communion.  Of course, considering that the ACNA has invited Rick Warren to be one of their keynote speakers at their launch ceremony, I don’t think you have to worry about them ruling that Baptists aren’t Christian.

[247] Posted by AndrewA on 05-26-2009 at 08:27 AM • top

The constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia has a provision similar to the “Partner in Mission” provisions of the ACNA canons. It was for dioceses in Australia and the surrounding region that opted not to become a part of the ACA. They could establish a releationship with the ACA but under such terms worked out between the ACA General Synod and their synod or representative governing body. However, this provision does not insist that they “subscribe without reservation” to the Fundamental Declarations of the ACA.

The following are the ACA Fundamental Declarations:

1. The Anglican Church of Australia,2 being a part of the One Holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church of Christ, holds the Christian Faith as professed by the Church of Christ from primitive times and in particular as set forth in the creeds known as the
Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed.
2. This Church receives all the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as being the ultimate rule and standard of faith given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary for salvation.
3. This Church will ever obey the commands of Christ, teach His doctrine, administer His sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, follow and uphold His discipline and preserve the three orders of bishops, priests and deacons in the sacred ministry.

The ACA Ruling Principles go on to state:

4. This Church, being derived from the Church of England, retains and approves the doctrine and principles of the Church of England embodied in the Book of Common Prayer together with the Form and Manner of Making Ordaining and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests and Deacons and in the Articles of Religion sometimes called the Thirty-nine Articles but has plenary authority at its own discretion to make statements
as to the faith, ritual, ceremonial or discipline of this Church and to order its forms of worship and rules of discipline and to alter or revise such statements, forms and rules, provided that all such statements, forms, rules or alteration or revision thereof are
consistent with the Fundamental Declarations contained herein and are made as prescribed by this Constitution. Provided, and it is hereby further declared, that the
above-named Book of Common Prayer, together with the Thirty-nine Articles, be regarded as the authorised standard of worship and doctrine in this Church, and no
alteration in or permitted variations from the services or Articles therein contained shall contravene any principle of doctrine or worship laid down in such standard.

[248] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-26-2009 at 08:33 AM • top

Andrew,
I was seeking re-assurance, and you’ve provided it.  Thanks!

[249] Posted by Bo on 05-26-2009 at 09:30 AM • top

Re #177: “The College of Bishops will be electing not just the first bishop of a new diocese but all its subsequent bishops.” This is incorrect. A plain reading of Canon III.8.4, which covers the election of bishops, shows that dioceses put forward a name or names for consent or selection by the College of Bishops. “Bishops shall be chosen by a diocese in conformance with the constitution and canons of the Diocese….” Thus, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, dioceses establish their own procedures as long as they are consistent with the ACNA Constitution and Canons. They may elect and certify one candidate to the College. They may certify two or three nominees from which the College may select one. While this “latter practice is commended to all Dioceses,” and while a “newly formed” body shall “normally” nominate two or three candidates, the plain reading of this canon is that such practice is encouraged, but not required. Note also, that if a bishop-elect or nominees are rejected by the College, the College informs the Diocese of this non-selection. It has no authority to select a bishop for a diocese that has not been recommended to it by the Diocese.

Jim McCaslin+
Member, Governance Task Force

[250] Posted by Jim McCaslin on 05-26-2009 at 09:51 AM • top

Why then is the guidelines for recognition of dioceses encouraging applicants for diocese status to nominate two or three canidates for the consideration of the College of Bishops rather than saying applicants may elect their bishop and submit the name of the bishop elect to the College of Bishops for confirmation of the election. The guidelines are clearly promoting the first mode of choosing bishops over the second and not stating that applicants may elect one of two options: they may elect their own bishop or nominate two or three candidates for consideration of the College of Bishops.

Why do the canons contain no provisions binding the College of Bishops elect a nominee of the diocese when the College of Bishops is the electing body? Why do they contain no provisions permitting a diocese to make additional nominees if its initial nominees are rejected? These provisions are clearly needed as safeguards and guarantees for the dioceses opting for the College of Bishops to elect their bishops.

The canons also clearly need to specific that dioceses are free to elect their own bishops. There also needs to be a provision that a diocese in opting for the College of Bishops to elect its bishops is delegating its power and authority to choose its own bishops to the College of Bishops and may rescind that delegation at any time at its choosing.

[251] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-26-2009 at 10:12 AM • top

For those who may not have taken note the Rev. Ashely quoted the Chicago Quadrilateral Resolution that the Episcopal House of Bishops adopted in 1886 and not the Lambeth Quadrilateral Resolution (Resolution 11) that the 1888 Lambeth Conference adopted. The latter contains no reference to “inherent parts of this sacred deposit”:

That, in the opinion of this Conference, the following Articles supply a basis on which approach may be by God’s blessing made towards Home Reunion:
(a) The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as “containing all things necessary to salvation,” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
(b) The Apostles’ Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
(c) The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself — Baptism and the Supper of the Lord — ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s Words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.
(d) 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.

The “home reunion” referred to in the resolution was reunification with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

[252] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-26-2009 at 10:20 AM • top

From the application guidelines:

3. Recommended Nominees. All groupings are to be united by a bishop (Article IV) except those “In Formation,” which may be led by a Vicar General at the discretion of the Archbishop (Canon 3). The College of Bishops has authority in the election of bishops. A
grouping puts forward two or three nominees for bishop. The College may choose one and grant consent for his consecration (Article X).
Canon 4 further specifies that an eligible candidate for bishop will be a duly ordained male presbyter of at least 35 years of age, who possesses those qualities for a bishop which are in accordance with Scriptural principles, and who has fully embraced the Fundamental Declarations of this Province. Additional guidelines for the submission of nominees for bishop will be provided.

There is no mention of the applicant having the option of electing its own bishop and presenting the name of the bishop elect to the College of Bishops for confrimation of the election. From reading the application guidelines an applicant would not conclude it is free to elects its own bishop.

[253] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-26-2009 at 10:31 AM • top

Attn StandFirm Staff:  I recommend that Jim McCaslin’s comment 251 be given its own thread, instead of letting it hide in the bottom of a very long and rambling thread.

[254] Posted by AndrewA on 05-26-2009 at 10:40 AM • top

I agree. It represents an important clarification of the provisions of the ACNA constution and canons if Jim McCaslin is speaking for the Goverance Task Force. It also raises questions as to why the application quidelines have not been informing groups of congregations applying for recognition as an ACNA diocese that they may elect their own bishop and then submit the name of the bishop elect to the College of Bishos for confirmation of the election or advising them that if they do choose the option of the College of Bishop’s electing their first bishop, they are free to elect their subsequent bishops.

[255] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-26-2009 at 10:49 AM • top

Bo (#229),
This Anglo-Catholic thinks the Baptists are definitely Christian, but not sure which of your other two options to ascribe to them.  Could be either one.

[256] Posted by evan miller on 05-26-2009 at 12:06 PM • top

AnglicansAblaze, #254

I have been trying to tell you all throughout this thread that you need to actually read the language of the C & Cs—not just make stuff up based on your own fertile imagination.

What Jim McCaslin stated was that this is what the C & Cs say.  Why do you have such a hard time accepting the plain meaning of words?  You accused me earlier of being a “strict constructionist” which I took as a compliment.  As I said, what that means is that I read what is written and trust that the authors meant what they wrote.

You’ve now had explanations from both Phil Ashey and Jim McCaslin.  If you now want to continue arguing, it demonstrates that you will never be satisfied until you are asked to write the C & Cs and have them adopted without question.

[257] Posted by hanks on 05-26-2009 at 12:18 PM • top

Evan,
Thanks to you as well.

[258] Posted by Bo on 05-26-2009 at 04:41 PM • top

Hank,
If you examine the canons, you will discover that the GTF does always read the constitution as you read. In this particular case one member of the GTF confirmed your interpretation of the constitution. If he was speaking for the GTF, I appreciate his clarification of the GTF’s understanding of the meaning of these sections. However, I would caution you that because in this particular case the GTS’s interpretation of the constitution appears to agree with your own that you assume that the GTF if interpreting the constitution the same way as you do and your interpretation of all provisions of the constitution is correct. I would want confirmation from the GTF that is how they are interpreting the provisions of the document. The Rev.McCalin did provide clarification. However, I would not say that the Rev. Ashey did. he simply quoted the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral resolution that the Episcopal House of Bishops adopted in 1886 and answered a question that had not been asked.

I personally would not be satisfied until the GTF has produced clarification of all sections that are open to more than one interpretation and there are a number of them. I have learned never to assume what one may think a document says is how everyone else reads it. I would recommend that you adopt this more cautious, critical approach yourself instead of assuming that everyone is reading a document as you are. You will save yourself some unpleasant surprises and great disappointments. As they say, before you sign a contract, you should read the small print, and not be in a rush to sign it.

The question still remains as to why in the application guidelines the GTF and the Provincial Council have been leading groups of congregations applying for recognition as a diocese to believe that they have only one option and not more widely publicizing that they have two options—elect their own bishop and submit the bishop elect to the College of Bishops for confirmation of his election or nominate two or three candidates and submit them to the College of Bishops for consideration.

A number of sections of the constitution and canons need to be beefed up so that it is much clearer what they do allow and what they do not allow. Several of them need to be made more specific in their language.

When I wrote my papers on the provisional constitution and the proposed code of canons, I took the approach of a strict constructionist. However, the finalized draft of the constitution and canons demonstrated that the GTF was not reading the constitution that way. As I drew to your attention earlier, they were rewriting the constitution in the canons without amending it.  If the GTF was consistently strict constructionist in their interpretation of the constitution, they would not have done this. I brought this problem to the attention of the GTF as did others.

I am looking forward to further clarifications of the provisions of the constitution and canons. I am not going to content myself with thinking that how I am reading the documents is right or wrong.

[259] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-26-2009 at 05:04 PM • top

I meant does NOT….

[260] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-26-2009 at 05:06 PM • top

always read the constitution as you read it. I am having wireless connection problems and cannot properly preview and edit my posts.

[261] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-26-2009 at 05:11 PM • top

I personally would not be satisfied until the GTF has produced clarification of all sections that are open to more than one interpretation and there are a number of them

A frank admission that you will never be satisfied.  I don’t think anyone will be writing the extensive official commentary necessary to address your creative interpretations.  Bottom line: leading Anglican evangelicals like Packer and Noll will be ardently supporting ACNA in June, leading Anglican evangelical churches like Truro and St. Stephen’s will be enthusiastic members of ACNA in June.  You will be on the sidelines sniping…

[262] Posted by Nevin on 05-26-2009 at 05:48 PM • top

The seemingly endless subtext I seem to see in the comments by AA on this thread is that the ACNA bishops are principally , perhaps solely a legislative body or, even more devious, a collection of power blocks. As one who eagerly awaits the full arrival of the ACNA, I am so thankful that the body of bishops is primarily to be a group of trustworthy apostolic leaders and guardians of the faith.

Much, much earlier on this thread, I mentioned that even the Amish method of choosing a congregation’s bishop by lot could work passably well - since the precondition of choosing from among Godly elders was already part of the process.

As a lay member from Truro, I have seen and heard a number of these Godly bishops. One of my great joys, for instance, was attending a training session by Keith Ackerman on evangelism as part of a multifaceted evangelism conference organized by part of CANA and other northern Virginia churches.

If the ACNA bishops and other leaders are Godly persons (as they are), the C & Cs while important are not the heart of the province. God building his church under the encouragement, leadership and guardianship of Godly leaders will be much more crucial than phraseology of the C & Cs. Am I thankful for all the hard work done to create the C & Cs - you bet. Could corrupt and heretical leaders subvert any set of C & Cs - an emphatic YES - just look at TEC. If Godly leaders were operating TEC, it would probably be closer to being on track than it is.

Knowing the Godly leaders and their work in the various groups coming together in ACNA is what makes me hopeful and enthusiastic.

[263] Posted by Bill Cool on 05-26-2009 at 06:25 PM • top

You’re not alone, Bill!

[264] Posted by Cennydd on 05-26-2009 at 06:53 PM • top

Phil Ashey’s point about Article I.3 suggests this whole discussion is water under the bridge, but overlooks some things:

1.    The language he quotes is from the Chicago Quadrilateral.  It does not appear in the Lambeth Quadrilateral.  See 1979 BCP, p. 877. 
2.  The Chicago Quadrilateral was not even approved by the full General Convention.  It was a proposal from the House of Bishops.  (Is that a surprise?)  It was not enacted by the House of Deputies.  See 1979 BCP, p. 877.
3.  And most importantly, the prefatory language to the Chicago Quad has, as far as I know, *never been mandatory dogma in American Anglicanism.*  That’s the key point that often gets overlooked in these discussions of Article I.  By its terms, it sets out mandatory, non-negotiable requirements for membership—for parishes, for dioceses, and for clergy.  Thus, even if Rev. Ashey were otherwise correct, the use of the language in Article I.3 would be A New Thing.  New things should be justified—especially when, as others have pointed out, other language is readily available.

And that’s also why the relocation of the affirmation of the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration matters.  Article I sets out mandatory, essential elements.  The preamble does not.  And preambles are generally not binding.  So whatever private assurances or private intentions there may be, the move matters because words and placement matter.

And I’m also not clear on what’s “ancient” about the remaining 7 provisions of Article I:  The particular phrasings of many of the sections date all the way back to 2007 or so—in the Common Cause Partners theological statement.  If that’s “ancient,” then the Spirit really is doing a New Thing.  The *subjects* of these provisions are ancient, but hardly the wording—which, as it happens, is exactly the point with Article I.3.

Finally, given the occasional ad hominem attacks on those who are taking the words and structure of these documents seriously and have misgivings, I should say that I support the ACNA effort and attend a church that several years ago joined one of the founding organizations of the ACNA.  I would very much like to be part of a well constituted organization, rather than one that both innovates and unnecessarily excludes from the outset.  So all of this is done out of love for my church.

[265] Posted by Aidan on 05-26-2009 at 08:29 PM • top

Nevin,
It is quite reasonable to seek clarification of provisions that are open to more than one interpretation. You and others who have posted responses to my comments in this thread seem obsessed with the idea that anyone who takes a cautious approach to the constitution and canons, carefully evaluating the merits of their provisions, drawing attention to any defects, and suggesting alternative provisions, harbor ill-will toward the ACNA. If we cannot at this point in time talk about the constitution and canons and how they may improved, how are we ever going to talk about them and the ways that they might be improved. They are not sacrosanct. They are not untouchable.

If groups of congregations applying for recognition as an ACNA diocese have the option of electing their own bishop, they are entitled to know this from the outset and not be led to believe as the application guidelines lead them to believe that their only option is to nominate two or three candidates one of whom MAY be elected by the College of Bishops. It is reasonable to ask why the GTF and the Provincial Council is not informing them of all their options. They are told that they will be notified if their candidates are rejected but they are not told if they can nominate more candidates nor are they told whether the College of Bishops is bound to elect a candidate that they nominate. This was drawn to the GTF’s attention but they did nothing about it. It is quite reasonable to ask why. It is also reasonable to expect an answer to both questions.

[266] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-26-2009 at 09:01 PM • top

Aidan’s point about the distinction between the wording of the two quadrilaterals is very important.

Rev. Ashey called it the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral but Aidan is correct in pointing out that these are two different documents. The language Rev. Ashey quotes about the episcopate “as an inherent part of this sacred deposit, and therefore as essential to the restoration of unity…” does not appear in the Lambeth Quadrilateral. And as Aidan points out this was not approved by the house of deputies.

When I and others suggested the 4th point of the Lambeth Quadrilateral we meant the language that was approved by the Lambeth Conference in 1888. This should not be conflated with the additional language from the Chicago Quadrilateral which was not approved by the ECUSA house of deputies and not approved by the Lambeth Conference who chose to simply approve the four points without the additional language.

[267] Posted by Wright Wall on 05-26-2009 at 09:26 PM • top

Well, you all (make that 266 and 268 may have a point about the distinction between the Chicago and Lambeth versions of the Quadrilateral.  I will assume for the sake of argument (or non-argument) that you are correct.
On the other hand, whether or not the language was approved by PECUSA, ECUSA or TEC is utterly irrelevant.  The point of the exercise (division from TEC, formation of ACNA) is to differentiate from TEC, to remove churches from its authority, etc.  Therefore, the actions of GC, whether in 1888 or 2009 have no affect on ACNA, and what it does and does not accept in its constitution and canons.  Of course, revisionist readers of SF owe you a debt of gratitude for pointing this out, as they can now get to work writing resolutions repudiating the Quadrilateral along with the 39 articles and B033.
  Still, I think everyone should get used to the idea that the people who put together ACNA are forming an episcopal church- a real one, run by the episcopate.

[268] Posted by tjmcmahon on 05-26-2009 at 09:38 PM • top

The point, tjmacmahon, is that the one precedent to which Rev. Ashey pointed as the source of Article I.3 is weak at best, and hardly justifies a provision making episcopacy a matter of theology and insisting that all members of the ACNA adhere to it.  I entirely agree that what the TEC House of Bishops said in 1886 isn’t a particularly big deal.  I’m not the one who raised it.  Once that’s out of the way, however (as I agree it should be), the question remains why the ACNA is insisting on a novel formulation that has never before been mandatory and that excludes the view of a large portion of historic Anglicanism.  I’m all about having an episcopal church—just as Cranmer and Jewel were.  But the reasons matter, and Article I.3 does not allow their reasons.

One note on episcopal election:  I don’t have a horse in the spat between AA and everyone else except to point out, again, just what the text of the canon says and the application materials reinforce:  a new diocese should “normally” send up 2 or 3 candidates.  Who or what decides when a situation is “abnormal”?  The diocese?  The College of Bishops?  Private assurances on a blog are all well and good, but those won’t be governing us.  I’m not trying to unearth every imaginable ambiguity and construe each in the worst possible light (a charge to which I think AA has opened himself).  But this is genuinely unclear, and the application materials suggest that nearly all cases will or should be “normal.”  If the drafters are sincere in thinking it’s up to the new diocese to pick the method, they need to clarify the canons and rewrite the application materials before the Assembly, not rely on blogging or private messaging. 

For a somewhat similar example flagged long ago in the earlier thread, see the treatment of tithing up the chain:  The Canon (I.9) is ambiguous in referring to teaching tithing “at every level” of the church.  The application materials are not, and in turn necessarily inform the meaning of the canon:  A parish should tithe to its diocese, and the diocese to the national.  Translation: national bureaucracy.

[269] Posted by Aidan on 05-26-2009 at 10:21 PM • top

Aidan and webdac, thanks for the clarity of your most recent comments.

[270] Posted by Sarah on 05-26-2009 at 10:51 PM • top

What I have been seeking to drawing attention to is that a number of sections of the constitution and canons are open to a number of interpretations and to raise people’s awareness of what a number of sections of these documents do allow or permit due to their wording. I have also pointed attention to where the constitution and canons should be saying more but do not. I have studied a number of existing constitutions and canonical charters of ecclesiastical organizations that are part of the ACNA, the constitution and canons of a number of parent provinces of these organizations, and other primary and secondary sources relating to the governance and modes of episcopal election of these ecclesial bodies, and researched the origins of the latter. I then have taken all this data and looked at the provisions of the constitution and canons in this light. What I draw attention to in some instances are worse case scenarios but the point is that the constitution and canons do allow or permit such conditions to arise in the ACNA. They are very short on guarantees and safeguards that would prevent the occurrence of such conditions.

I am well aware how different people interpret the provisions of the constitution and canons but what matters to me the most is how the GTF and the Provincial Council and the other instruments of governance of the ACNA interpret these provisions since they are the ones who are going to be enforcing them. I am not content to imagine my interpretation of these provisions is the right one. I also want to know why and I believe that everyone needs to know why that if the GTF and the Provincial Council is interpreting provisions of the constitution in a particular way why that interpretation is not reflected in the canons and the guidelines for application for recognition as a diocese of the ACNA. If groups of congregations and clergy are free to elect their own bishop and then submit the name of the bishop elect to the College of Bishops for confirmation of the election, why are they not being told that? The most obvious answer is that the GTF does not want to encourage the practice. The use of the words “normally” and “commend” point to that answer.

Groups of congregations and clergy becoming dioceses of the ACNA need to think through the implications of a system in which the College of Bishops elects the bishops of the diocese instead of the diocese itself. I have some ideas of those implications from my study of similar systems—in the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church. I have shared what I have learned from this study in my articles, papers, and posts.

One of the reasons that congregations and clergy left the Episcopal Church was due to the abuses of episcopal power of the bishops of their dioceses, serious theological disputes with their bishops, the increasing centralization of authority in the Episcopal Church, and the failure of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops and General Convention to make adequate provisions for alternative episcopal oversight for congregations and clergy in conflict with their bishops. What has been the GTF’s response to these problems? Create an ecclesiastical structure that may be even more susceptible to these conditions and then gives the bishop of a diocese the right to ask for a board of inquiry to investigate “rumors” in his diocese, which can be used to suppress dissent. Anyone who has studied the history of the Church of England knows that during the periods of its history when an authoritarian view of episcopacy was prevalent such as during the Laudian period, all kinds of abuses have abounded. The same thing happened in the Episcopal Church during its history, not only in the 20th and 21st centuries but also in the 19th century. I have no problems with constitutional episcopacy but do have problems with prelacy and authoritarianism. Would those who favor an unfettered episcopate be so sanguine if that episcopate was liberal or favored the ordination of women including the consecration of women bishops? I suspect that at the backs of the minds of its most ardent proponents is the hope that that episcopate will be Anglo-Catholic and traditionalist and that it will bring the charismatics and evangelicals in the ACNA in line or push them out of the ACNA. I have read such views on a number of web sites so it is not a product of my “fertile imagination.” I would suggest that a constitutional episcopacy, or a modified episcopacy if you like, is necessary to protect everyone from their worst instincts, including the bishops themselves.

[271] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-27-2009 at 08:53 AM • top

Sorry for the delayed entry into the fray!  I will try to avoid restating previous points in favor of exploring what unplowed turf remains.

A key point for me concerning the over-emphasis on the power of the episcopate under the proposed constitution and canons is their over-representation in the governance structure of the new organization. 

1.  The bishops have their own college which selects the archbishop.
2.  Bishops are 1/4 of the membership of the provincial council (as are clergy reps, which leads to the whole issue of clericalism, but we’ll leave that for another day).
3.  The bishops of a diocese are all apparently ex officio members of the (powerless) provincial assembly, as well.

The bottom line for me is that this proposed governance structure trusts bishops a lot.  A whole lot.  Which is ironic in that the problems in TEC were not wholly the fault of the laity.  In the current unpleasantries, it is the presiding bishop and her diocesans who are suing the laity who dare to think that they own the property in which they worship.  It is a gay bishop that brought this problem to a head.  It is bishops who are deposing orthodox priests throughout North America. 

From a political theory perspective, this is a situation in which it would be profitable for us to consider what will happen under the current system when the godly bishops who have established ACNA move along.  What if they lack the virtues these men possess?  To use a historical example, what if they are Brownings or Griswolds instead of Cranmer and Ken?

[272] Posted by An Anxious Anglican on 05-27-2009 at 08:58 AM • top

On a related note, I think that our problem begins in Title I of the proposed constitution and its unusual language describing the episcopate.  The text is as follows:

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.

This language is taken from the Common Cause Partnership Theological Statement, but is otherwise unprecedented.  Where did it come from?  Why was it chosen?  Why did we “stick with it” when we changed other text from the CCP Theological Statement?  Who wrote it?  Who is advocating it in the councils of ACNA?  Why the silence from the Governance Task Force?  Where are the promised “federalist papers” explicating these points?

But the biggest question is why the language of traditional Anglicanism, drawn from the historic Ordinal, was not sufficient for the drafters?

We acknowledge that from the Apostles’ time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church; Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, and we affirm 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.

That is Anglican language, taken from the Preface to the Ordinal and Resolution 11 of the 1888 Lambeth Conference.  Why didn’t this irenic language, which has met the needs of generations of Anglican clergy, make the grade in ACNA?

[273] Posted by An Anxious Anglican on 05-27-2009 at 09:09 AM • top

I recommend that those who have not read it read Mark Burkill’s Better Bishops. It is on the Internet at: http://www.reform.org.uk/pages/bb/betterbishops.php. The Rev. Dr. Mark Burkill is the Vicar of Christ Church Leyton and Chairman of the Latimer Trust.

[274] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-27-2009 at 09:33 AM • top

At the risk of preaching to a nearly-empty nave, I offer the following thoughts.

I have struggled for weeks with what it is about the proposed constitution and canons that so bothers me, and I think that I may have discovered it last night as I read Archbishop Williams’ book, Christ on Trial: How the Gospel Unsettles Our Judgment.  In a nutshell, I have concluded that these governance documents lack the “Wisdom of God.”  I will let the Archbishop explain:

God’s Wisdom is “kenotic.”  It defines itself in the self-forgetting, self-emptying love of Christ, the eternal Word, who lives a human life for our sake and is obedient to the point of death.  Such Wisdom will always be an exile, a refugee, in a world constrained by endless struggles for advantage, where success always lies in establishing your position at the expense of another’s.

The proposed centralization of power in the episcopate is not kenotic, self-forgetting, or self-emptying, nor has been the response of its defenders. But there is a response available to the drafters and our bishops!

The first step in acquiring God’s Wisdom is therefore to search for what one recent writer called “the intelligence of the victim” – not because it is good or holy in itself to be a victim, far from it, but because looking at the world from the point of view of those excluded by its systems of power frees us from the need always to be securing our own power at all costs.  The victim is the person left over or left out after a system has done its job, and is therefore an abiding challenge to the claim of any system to give a comprehensive solution to human needs and problems.

The laity are (in this sense) the “victims” of the proposed governance plan, and I hope (and pray) that the Governance Task Force and the delegates to the provincial assembly will look at the world from the point of view of a largely excluded laity before acting on the proposed constitution and canons.

[275] Posted by An Anxious Anglican on 05-27-2009 at 10:13 AM • top

In our diocese, we delegates are scheduled to meet this August 1st, and I must assume that the purpose of this meeting will be the diocese’s ratification of the constitution and canons.  If this is indeed the purpose of this meeting, I am sure that some changes will be proposed and acted upon in order to try to effect those changes.  So therefore, I don’t think the C & Cs are set in stone yet, and there may very well be some amendments in the near future.  Just my opinion, of course.

[276] Posted by Cennydd on 05-27-2009 at 10:43 AM • top

Both the Reverends Ashey and McCaslin refer to the principle of subsidiarity. Subsidiarity means “the quality or state of being subsidiary” and “a principle in social organization: functions which subordinate or local organizations perform effectively belong more properly to them than to a dominant central organization.” “Subsidiary” means “auxiliary, functioning in a subsidiary capacity” and “of secondary importance.”  This is revealing since it suggests a view of the ACNA different from the view of that church as “a voluntary association of autonomous dioceses” that have banded together for common mission, entered into a compact for this purpose, as represented by its constitution, and have delegated a number of their powers and functions to the association that they have established. (“Autonomous” means “having the right or power of self-government,” carried on or undertaken without outside control, self-contained” and “existing or capable of existing independently.” Placing the election of the bishops of a diocese in the hands of the College of Bishops, for example,  takes away an important element of autonomy, “the quality or state of being self-governing; especially the right of self-government.”) In such an association the autonomous dioceses are not subsidiary or subordinate, and the association is a creation of the dioceses and not the other way around. This applies to groups of congregations and clergy that join the association after it was formed as well as those that established the association.

Their reference to this principle suggests a view of the church that is very much like the one that TEC Presiding Bishop Katherine Schori, the TEC Executive Council, and the liberal TEC bishops have been putting forward both in and outside of court. As I have noted elsewhere the use of the title and designation of “archbishop” instead of “presiding bishop” or “bishop primus” points to this view of the ACNA.

[277] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-27-2009 at 12:14 PM • top

It seems like the discussion here is about how much power the Bishops will have.  Since this is a voluntary association (like TEC is supposed to be) the only power they have is what the diocese grant them.  If the Bishops abuse this power, the diocese can leave, but if you want to stay you play by the rules of the group.  To me the two most important things are insuring a diocese can leave and insuring that a diocese can be kicked out.  That way if one side isn’t playing by the rules, the other can leave.  The problem with the Anglican Communion is it is not set up (or willing) to kick a province out.  The problem with TEC is that it has become a organization that make it hard to leave.

[278] Posted by JustOneVoice on 05-27-2009 at 03:23 PM • top

Folks—great thread.

We’re approaching the “witching” number of comments and I’ll be closing it down soon.

[279] Posted by Sarah on 05-28-2009 at 09:30 AM • top

I personally do not want to see the ACNA fall apart over issues that were not addressed when they should have been but were ignored until they reached the point where they could not be ignored but by that time things were too far gone to prevent a breakup. There are a number of issues that are simply not going to go away if we put our hands over our eyes, our fingers in our ears, and act like they are not there. Sure, congregations and dioceses have the option of leaving. But is that really the best way to deal with these issues. The end result is church like TEC which is mostly one party and the need for another new province. Or fragmentation like the Continuum.

Somehow the vision of the new province as a church that enfolds all three orthodox theological streams—Anglo-Catholic, charismatic, and evangelical, in their different expressions, has been hijacked, and replaced by the vision of a new province in which one theological stream is dominant and the other theological streams must compromise their beliefs and values in order to take part in the new province. This includes their beliefs and values related to the governance of the church, the role of bishops, clergy, and laity in that governance, the mode or modes by which bishops are selected, the role of the clergy and the laity in the episcopal nomination and election process, and the like. I do not believe that this development bodes well for the ACNA or North American Anglicanism. It is just the sort of thing that is going on in TEC.

[280] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-28-2009 at 12:03 PM • top

Sarah,
Ah, the “witching” hour. The clock strikes twelve. Time to return to the pumpkin patch and await another Halloween.

[281] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-28-2009 at 12:13 PM • top

We’re all about the three godly streams!!! May God be glorified in all that we say and do, and may we devote ourselves with zeal to bring His saving Good News to a lost and hurting world in the Name of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jim McCaslin+

[282] Posted by Jim McCaslin on 05-28-2009 at 01:10 PM • top

Amen, and, may it please God, let it be!

[283] Posted by Cennydd on 05-28-2009 at 02:07 PM • top

Jim+, that’s a great finish to this thread. 

Amen.  I’m in complete agreement with that positive assessment of the direction and the future of ACNA.

[284] Posted by hanks on 05-28-2009 at 03:40 PM • top

This is somewhat off topic, but I wonder: is there a Stand Firm reunion planned for the Provincial Assembly in Bedford, TX?  I imagine there will be many regular SFers there and it would be a delight to meet up!

[285] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 05-29-2009 at 12:31 PM • top

Steve,

At the moment I don’t have plans to be there, although that could change at the last minute.

Whether I’m there or not, I think some kind of meet-up would be great. I’d love to see some pics and get some reports from it.

If I start a thread for that, can you take charge, and let me have people PM you for more info?

[286] Posted by Greg Griffith on 05-29-2009 at 01:00 PM • top

VOL will be there, and you’ll probably be able to get some feed from them as well.

[287] Posted by Cennydd on 05-29-2009 at 01:30 PM • top

Would an apology be appropriate at this point? 

The May 29 AAC Weekly Update contains the following in The Chaplain’s Corner by Fr. J. Philip Ashey, COO and Chaplain of AAC: “I must confess some discouragement as I have followed discussion of the Constitution and Canons on several blogs. Those who have drafted, listened, edited and redrafted the C&C;have been accused of party spirit, conspiracy, theological ignorance and worse.”  http://www.americananglican.org

I have diligently searched for evidence of any conspiracy or intrigue, and found none.  Perhaps my search was not sufficiently diligent or effective, but I found only evidence of Godly, but fallible, humans trying to do God’s work, sometimes at some personal sacrifice and, heaven forefend, sometimes not doing it just the way we would have.  But, we weren’t there, were we?

To what end have we maligned them with accusations of a cabal, conspiracy, and intrigue, possibly sowing seeds of mistrust and dissention in the nascent province, for which some have expressed disdain and disavowed any desire or intent to become a member? What is our motive?  (I am not referring to proposed changes in language, etc.; I am referring to an allegation of base motives such as a cabal, intrigue and conspiracy.) 

Would an apology be appropriate at this point?  I, for one, think so.

God bless.

P.S.  I am trying to work out being in Bedford, but it does not appear likely at this moment.  If I make it, I hope I will see some of you there.

[288] Posted by Ol' Bob on 05-29-2009 at 10:46 PM • top

If you read this thread carefully, you will discover that those who were drawing attention to problematic provisions of the constitution and canons did not accuse the Governance Task Force of conspiracy. Rather it was their detractors who alleged without substance that they were accusing the GTF of conspiracy. If one was critical of the constitution and canons, examining their provisions, judging the merits of these provisions, and weigh their implications, one was likely to find oneself accused of all kinds of things. The level of defensiveness was extremely high and manifest itself in this particular form. I cannot account for the level of defensiveness beyond some individuals have a very highly idealized view of the Anglican Church in North America and any criticism of the constitution and canons threatens that view.

The lack of openness to making the kind of alterations in the constitution and canons needed to make the ACNA a more comprehensive church evidenced in our discussion does not portend well for the future of the ACNA and North American Anglicanism. There is too greater investment in things as they are in respect to the constitution and canons and very little willingness to make the few changes that would give everybody a little more elbow room in the ACNA, as well as to fine tune its provisions. I guess those opposed to further changes have had enough of change. Yet strangely they embracing what are for North American Anglicans some radical changes in ecclesaistical governance and modes of episcopal and primatial election. Go figure!

When I compare that constitution and canons with those of a number of Anglican provinces, they give the appearance of being very amateurish documents which is surprising since a number of attorneys were involved in their development. They do not include things that need to be included and include things that do not need to be included. I think that this will become evident in time to even their most vigorous defenders.

[289] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 05-30-2009 at 12:32 AM • top

AA,

Here is why I have found it difficult to be sympathetic or very interested in much of what you have written.

1) You appear to think that since you personally find fault with the ACNA C & Cs, then there are a multitude, or at least many, who think similarly.

2) You apparently think that some or many will be harmed by the current status of the ACNA C & Cs.

3) The people who would presumably be harmed would have to be those intending to be part of the ACNA. I do not hear of a groundswell of C & C-dissatisfied people who actually intend to be part of the ACNA.

4) I am one person who will be a member of the ACNA, and I for one, am quite comfortable with the provisions of the ACNA C & Cs to which you object, and incidentally provisions upon which, according to others on this thread, you seem to place interpretations beyond the clear straightforward meaning of the language of the provisions themselves.

I am not enough of an expert in reading C & Cs to know if the evaluation of others that you are misinterpreting the provisions is true, but I am not even sure if your opinion about the ACNA C & Cs has much strength of argument, except as an exercise in argumentation. Do you intend to become a member of an ACNA diocese? If not, your objections are a bit like my objections to certain portions of the Catechism of the RC Church. I have no intention of becoming RC. I find much, but not all of the RC Catechism compatible to my understanding of Christianity, but I am not prepared to write to Pope Benedict and ask that the segments to which I object be clarified or altered. I do not choose to accept those several items in the RC Catechism, and so I do not intend to become RC. I presume that a comparable argument would keep you from becoming part of the ACNA.

Do you intend to become a part of ACNA? If not, then your requests for alteration of the ACNA C & Cs or for what does sound a bit like a “Federalist Papers” explanation and interpretation strikes me as hubris. Perhaps I missed a comment where you have said you find it necessary to become a member of an ACNA diocese, which would give weight to your request that the C & Cs suit your needs better. If you do not intend to become a member, then it is of course perfectly in line for you to critique the C & Cs as an outsider. However, having the task force fail to consider the advice of an outside is something that does not surprise me.

There is one other reason why, as a member of the ACNA, I will find the C & Cs;acceptable. The historic church has, when it has followed the apostolic model laid out for us, been led and its faith been guarded by faithful Christian bishops. ACNA appears to have such a collection of bishops. TEC does not. Therefore, I will gladly become part of ACNA, but have shaken the dust of TEC off my feet. As I said earlier, even highly flawed C & Cs would work with faithful bishops who are building the church. But no C & Cs would work with power-hungry apostate bishops who are intent on destroying the church.

[290] Posted by Bill Cool on 05-30-2009 at 01:58 AM • top

RE: “Therefore, I will gladly become part of ACNA, but have shaken the dust of TEC off my feet. As I said earlier, even highly flawed C & Cs would work with faithful bishops who are building the church.”

I’m afraid that that has been proven wrong, Bill Cool.  How do I know this?  Because TEC was once made up of faithful bishops.  And the laity said “question not the bishops—they are doing the work of God for us—we will sit here and rest.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Further, I can assure you that there are plenty “of C & C-dissatisfied people who actually intend to be part of the ACNA.”

Or they did intend.  Hopefully this excellent thread will allow the changes to be made that need to be made in order to allow them to be such a part.

[291] Posted by Sarah on 05-30-2009 at 06:36 AM • top

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