Canadian Anglican Church facing danger point, says expert

The Anglican Church of Canada is approaching an “open schism” because of its inability to resolve differences over issues such as same-sex marriage, an expert in Anglican church history said Thursday.

“We’re at a danger point,” said Bill Acres, a professor of religious studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. “There will be some really sad consequences if this whole thing breaks apart. We’re a very spread out church and there are not a lot of Anglicans in Canada as is.”

Acres estimates there are 77 million members of the Anglican church, worldwide.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

18 comments on “Canadian Anglican Church facing danger point, says expert

  1. carl says:

    [blockquote] “In Canada, same-sex stuff is all completely legal now and I think this is where other parts of the world have a big problem with us and with parts of our own church that they have not accepted the existence of homosexuality,” said Acres. [/blockquote]

    Yes, that’s the problem. We have been shocked – [i]shocked![/i] – by the sudden discovery of homosexuals in our midst, and are still in the “denial stage.” Eventually we will get around to “acceptance” if only we are given enough time.

    Can you spell ‘patronizing?”


  2. drummie says:

    The problem is NOT that people don’t accept that homosexuality exists. We all know that there are gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. We don’t accept the unerepentatent actions of the homosexual sex acts or heterosexual either outside of marriage. Just because a secular liberal almost socialist government allows gay marriage doesn’t mean we have to lie down and accept them. God is a higher authority than the government of Canada and will not be mocked. True Christians can not and will not accept what the church in Canada is doing any more than accepting what TEC is doing in denying Christ as THE savior. What is happening is not Christian

  3. Ross Gill says:

    “I think we’re having something foisted on us. I think that the stuff we’re hearing that’s coming out of central Africa is not really coming out of our own tradition. I have a very strong feeling, as do many others, that this is a position that is being taken by a very powerful element of the church . . . I think it takes a lot of its content from outside, from other forms of evangelical christianity.” (sorry for not having blockquoted but I haven’t figured out how)

    For a supposed expert, this guy is pretty clueless. If he knew his history he would know that the Essentials movement arose from within the Anglican Church of Canada. It was a response to seeing the ACC drifting away from its moorings. Maybe the Calgary Herald should quote one of their own clerics – their own bishop even – who are much more clued in.

  4. tired says:

    [blockquote]”I think that the stuff we’re hearing that’s coming out of central Africa is not really coming out of our own tradition. . . I think it takes a lot of its content from outside, from other forms of evangelical christianity.”[/blockquote]

    I suppose that is true if the tradition is gnosticism. This guy makes it sound as if Cramner and Hooker would have endorsed The New Thing®, if they had only gotten around to it. What misinformation! Why does he think they even call it “The New Thing®”?

  5. Cole says:

    … other parts of the world… …they have not accepted the existence of homosexuality…

    Like people who don’t accept the existence of AIDS, broken marriages, promiscuous behavior or child abuse. I always cringe when I hear this logic. Accepting that it exists and celebrating it are two different issues. What God calls us to do is a ministry which falls between acceptance and condemnation. Even if Canada has largely embraced a post-modern philosophy, it doesn’t mean that faithful Christians must give up their core beliefs. Adam made that mistake by listening to Eve’s logic in Genesis 3:6. The Scriptures argued that their was a consequence.

  6. Mad Padre says:

    I know Bill and I like him, but I’ve heard him take this line before, that the conservatism coming from African Anglicanism (pace Orombi et al) is somehow not authentic, both for cultural reasons and inequalities inherent to those parts of African society, and because evangelical Christianity is foreign to Anglicanism. What saddens me coming from a faculty member at a seminary, and it’s a comment I hear repeatedly in this diocese, is that the Anglican tradition has always been light on doctrine.

  7. felix hominum says:

    I find that he introduces an interesting concept: “The central African church looks to us and sees us ordaining homosexual bishops…”

    Us? Us? The last time I checked, I was a member of the Anglican Church of Canada, and so was Dr Acres. I didn’t know that the ACofC is ordaining (practicing) homosexual bishops. I find it troubling that Dr Acres so readily sees the identification of the ACofC with TEC. Or perhaps it is the case that a new kind of theology, foreign to our Canadian Anglicanism, is being “foisted upon us” from south of the border.

    felix hominum

  8. Bill in Ottawa says:

    No, we have the “honour” of having the first bishop in the Anglican communion to authorize SSB. Our house of Bishops have not disciplined their brother, to date, and show no inclination to do so. Emboldened, three other dioceses are waiting for their bishops to grant similar authorizations, with the usual drivel about “conscience” exemptions for those clergy who are so mired in the middle ages as to not accept the movement of the spirit.

    It was these votes, and the coyness with which the diocesan bishops have reserved judgement, that are the tipping point for the Network parishes who have voted to date. Note that all of the parishes that have voted to accept oversight from Southern Cone are in dioceses where Synod has approved SSB and the bishop has not immediately vetoed it.

  9. Choir Stall says:

    How can one be “bisexual” and at the same time monogamus and faithful? Doesn’t the “identity” disassociate itself from fidelity to one person in a covenant — always looking elsewhere because there ARE more options?

  10. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Notice that this article cites no contrary opinion. This is very one-sided journalism. The quotations of intellectual drivel from Dr. Acres are remarkable only for their blatant prejudice against evangelicalism (as if it’s unAnglican), and their undisguised arrogance and condescending attitude toward African Christianity. The irony, of course, is that it all comes from an “expert” on religion, who shows obvious disdain for the subject he teaches (and thanks to which he earns a living).

    It’s very much as if contempt for conservative Christianity was the last acceptable prejudice in the western world. This is what I like to call ideological pluralism (as an ism, a belief system), or what I sometimes call “affirmative action in the sphere of ideology.” It’s as if elite culture in the western world has somehow convinced itself that Christianity has been privileged much too long, and it’s time to deliberately put Christianity at a disadvantage in order to create a more level playing field where other religions and philosphies have a fair chance to compete with it. Actually, that’s a very charitable view. I think elite culture really distrusts and dislikes Christianity, especially in its unadulterated biblical forms. This is one more sign of how the great new reality that we must come to terms with as western Anglicans is our increasingly hostile, “post-Christendom” cultural environment. This calls for a total overhaul of Anglicanism as we have known it in the past.

    David Handy+
    Passionate Advocate of High Commitment, Post-Christendom Anglicanism

  11. Cole says:

    #10: My own view of why the “elite culture” is so prejudicial against the Christian basics is because they want to anesthetize their own conscience. After all, if their own intellect is the god that they worship, and a behavior that puts “me first” is their modus operandi, it is no wonder that they are hostile to a philosophy that values the message in the Scriptures.

  12. Jim the Puritan says:

    “A little light on doctrine.”

    Now that’s the understatement of the year.

  13. jobeena says:

    People. Go read No. 7’s (felix hominum) post on this on his blog. It’s great!!

  14. rob k says:

    NRA – There is plenty of contempt for Catholic and Liberal Christianity on this site.

  15. New Reformation Advocate says:

    rob k (#14),

    Your comment is so terse that I’m not sure exactly what kind of evidence of such contempt you have in mind and what you’re getting at. I was thinking in my post #10 of the sorts of evidence that Philip Jenkins documents at great length in his recent book, “The New Anti-Catholicism: the Last Acceptable Prejudice.” Anti-catholic bigotry has a long, sordid history in America. But it is now matched by an equal disdain for “Fundamentalism” or “the Religious Right” in many segments of the culture. That is relatively new in American history, essentially a legacy from the fundamentalist-modernist controversies of the 1920s, and especially since the rise of “The Moral Majority” and similar ultra-conservative Christian political movements since the 1980s. The culture war has indeed polarized the country since the 1960s, with all too contempt flowing in both directions.

    I’m not justifying all the comments made by fellow conservatives on this blog (and it’s milder than SF and some others). Some of them do at times lapse into virtual contempt (and perhaps you feel that some of mine have as well, I don’t know; I’m sorry if so). That is why we have the Elves, who silently monitor the discussions and intervene when necessary.

    David Handy+

  16. rob k says:

    David+ – Thanks for your response to my blunderbus statement. Truly, contempt flows on all sides. But certainly on this site Kendall Harmon’s direction and the elves preserve an irenic disposition at the top, but I can’t say that for some of the contributors. I’d like to note that there are many still in TEC, priests and lay, who are orthodox. Many are not “orthodox” in one area – the gay question. But if a priest or lay person is homosexual in, or not in, a steady relationship, and is orthodox on all doctrinal and ecclesiological issues, is he or she thus cast beyond the bounds of “orthodoxy?” I shouldn’t think so, as I would say that many here, especially Evangelicals, express unorthodox views, usually of the extreme Protestant kind. As for contempt for Liberal Catholicism, much of that comes from within the RC community itself. But liberal Catholicism is a strong factor in the RC Church. I think that there is some contempt for Catholicism in Anglicanism, partly, I think, because it is associated, at some times and places, with gay people. At any rate, I fear that, if Anglicanism is riven, that Anglo-Catholic ecclesiology and liturgical and devotional practice will not be welcom in some of the new groups arising.

  17. New Reformation Advocate says:

    All right, rob k (#16), that helps clarify what you meant in your earlier post. I share many of your concerns and apprehensions. Much about the future of orthodox Anglicanism in North America remains unclear, and will probably remain so for some time to come. But for now, I think the future of Anglo-Catholicism is fairly well assured. Ft. Worth and San Joaquin will be two of the first dioceses to leave TEC, and Forward in Faith remains an active, prominent part of the ACN and CCP.

    Granted, the four African provinces that are leading the interventions in North America are generally low church (Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda were all evangelized by the low church CMS, not the high church SPG). But in Africa, churchmanship issues don’t seem to mean as much as they do in the western world. Probably because of the threat of militant Islam or general paganism etc., which helps all Anglicans rally together in opposition.

    But I’d suggest that it might be helpful to distinguish between “orthodoxy” (right belief and right worship), and “orthopraxis” (right behavior). I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at when you speak of otherwise “orthodox” clergy and laity who depart from orthodoxy only with regard to the homosexuality issue, because I’ve run across very few cases of such people. To me, it sounds like they might be orthodox (in doctrine), but simply not living what they believe. If so, that’s of course a universal problem that we all struggle with in our own ways.

    David Handy+

  18. rob k says:

    NRA – thx. for getting back. But no there are lots of people whose orthopraxis is “orthodox” except in this one area. I just say that it’s just that one thing. By the way, I was agaisnt the consecration of VGR. I do agree that there is a dedicated, well-organized group in
    TEC that sees everything from the vantagepoint of this one issue. I think that eventually, though, the Church will have to come to terms with the fact on the ground of homosexuality. I think that the leadership for this will eventually come from the RC Church. It is the only ecclesiological body with the gravitas to be able to do that. Certainly not any group in the Anglican Communion right now.