Category : Anglican Identity

and Nature of Anglican Communion

(AI) Samford’s Beeson Divinity School to Host Anglican Theology Conference in September

The Institute of Anglican Studies at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School will host its first Anglican Theology Conference, Sept. 25-26. This year’s conference, “What is Anglicanism?,” will bring together top scholars and church leaders to probe what it means to be Anglican.

With a membership of approximately 85 million worldwide, the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. In recent years, its center of gravity has moved to the Global South, where new understandings of Anglicanism have emerged amidst spiritual vitality and dynamic church growth, according to Gerald McDermott, professor of divinity and director of the Institute of Anglican Studies. However, Anglican identity is still contested. The conference will address these issues and more, he added.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Stephen Noll–Fisking Bishop Fearon: The Lambeth Establishment Takes on the Global South

Bishop Fearon continues: The See of Canterbury is one of the unique features which binds us together. At the Primates’ Meeting in October it was clear just how much Canterbury meant to those who came. For Anglicans, communion with the See of Canterbury – and with its Archbishop – is the visible expression of our communion with one another.

A deep respect for the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury has existed among global Anglicans, who have been grateful for rather than resentful of the colonial heritage. This deference is in no small part because they received the gospel of salvation thereby; but in recent decades, this deference has been wearing thin. Fearon’s roseate picture of the recent Primates’ meeting is delusional, especially considering that three Primates from the largest African Provinces had refused to attend and seven others have now signed the Global South Network letter, which contradicts the (unsigned) Canterbury Primates’ Communiqué.

Bishop Fearon now comes to the point concerning Anglican identity. Contrary to Archbishop Okoh, he asserts: the relationship with the See of Canterbury is essential for Anglicans. You cannot be in the Anglican Communion without it.

This assertion represents an extreme interpretation of “primacy,” edging toward papalism. In fact, it suggests that Canterbury is not just a unique feature of Anglicanism but the unique feature. Note the use here of the word essential. Being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury is not only required for formal recognition as a Province of the Anglican Communion, but it is required to call oneself an Anglican, a point I shall return to later.

Bishop Fearon supports his claim by reference to the Lambeth Conference: The fundamental character of this relationship was spelled out by the 1930 Lambeth Conference which refers to the Anglican Communion as “a fellowship, within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury…

Resolution 49 from the Lambeth Conference in 1930 is indeed an important statement concerning member churches of the Anglican Communion. The Resolution goes on to say of those churches:

  • they uphold and propagate the Catholic and Apostolic faith and order as they are generally set forth in the Book of Common Prayer as authorized in their several Churches;
  • they are particular or national Churches, and, as such, promote within each of their territories a national expression of Christian faith, life and worship; and
  • they are bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the Bishops in conference.

The standard definition of the Anglican Communion certainly calls for respect and received it uniformly until 1998. Following the 1998 Lambeth Conference, however, the adequacy of this arrangement was tested when one member church chose to violate what others consider a breach of “Catholic and Apostolic faith and order” by ordaining a practicing homosexual as bishop.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Identity, Church History, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Church Times) Philip Welsh reviews ‘The Joy of Being Anglican’ edited by Caroline Hodgson and Heather Smith

The Joy of Being Anglican does not aim at being a systematic, searching, or critical examination of Anglicanism, but, rather, at celebrating what a variety of Anglicans love about the Church they belong to. That said, issues do get raised. Ruth Gledhill writes warmly of the “understated, modest, anonymous way” in which churches get on with doing good, but offsets this against “the hurt felt by many LGTB people, who are also part of the Church family”. Trevor Dennis vividly evokes the joy to be had from scripture — “Really? For an Anglican? Are you quite sure?” — but admits that “sometimes, let’s face it, the Bible is very wrong,” and accuses preachers of evasiveness in confronting difficult passages.

Rachel Mann has a penetrating chapter on the Anglican tradition of poetry, admitting that to some extent it has been tied in with authority and privilege. And, in a volume that generally has little to say about Anglican theological thinking, she does affirm that “To be Anglican is to be free of the need for doctrinaire safety or dogmatism,” and offers W. H. Auden and R. S. Thomas as examples. Casual references to “Hegelian rigour” and “dialectical encounter” seem to have slipped through the publisher’s declared policy of using “simple, everyday language”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Books, Theology

Phil Ashey–Who decides membership in the Anglican Communion? Not the Secretary General of the ACC!

The Secretary General’s statement that The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is not a province of the Anglican Communion is misleading at best. It ignores the very process of recognition of the Anglican Church in North America by some GAFCON provinces as early as July 2009. It ignores the public and published recognition of Archbishop Foley Beach as “a fellow Primate of the Anglican Communion” by those Primates of the Anglican Communion who installed him as the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America on October 9, 2014. The Secretary General ignores the recognition of the Anglican Church in North America as a “partner province” of the Global South by the Primates of the Global South in their October 2016 Communique.

In other words, the process of recognition of the Anglican Church in North America as a member Church within the Anglican Communion is already a 10-year process initiated by Primates of the Anglican Communion, representing Churches of the Anglican Communion, and in keeping with their “long-standing” procedural authority to do so. It’s certainly in the Secretary General’s interest in his Report to take pride in his achievement in helping to form a new ‘province” of the Anglican Communion in Sudan. But that does not give him the right to take pride in misstating who decides membership in the Anglican Communion—especially by usurping the rightful authority of the Primates to do so while they are in the middle of an already ongoing process of recognition.

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Posted in Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Identity, Anglican Primates

(TLC) Ephraim Radner–The missio Dei of communion: Anglicanism, change, and synodality

My question here is: How well this common vision of the Anglican Communion matches God’s actual identity as I spoke of it before — the “it is finished” identity of Jesus Christ by which God orders the history of creation? On the one hand, much of this divine identity is implied by the theological introduction of the Covenant: the great vision of creation’s Christ-embraced end, in Eph. 1:10; the providential shaping of time; the sense that there is a temporal history that marks the very character of the “wider church” and her particular “families” of identities, and so on. Much is helpfully implied in all this. But what the Covenant clearly failed to do was to take these brief pointers and flesh them out in way that could properly describe the divine movement implied in all this and demonstrate its ecclesiological form, as it were. When it came to the debated Section 4 of the Covenant — revised several times more than any other part — the question of how in fact to deal with one another in the Communion became an explosive topic: drawn-out procedures of requests, committees, recommendations all seemed laborious; a reluctance to give anybody “power” to make any final decisions — primates, joint committees, and so on — made the process even more intricate and undefinitive. It wasn’t that none of this could work; it has seemed, rather, that the purpose of Section 4 was only vaguely coherent in the preceding vision. “Too juridical,” as some argued, as if mission had given rise to committees, and not the other way around. But, for lack of a Covenant, committees have been all that we were left with.

In brief, the Covenant’s over-scheme could not integrate communion and change together in a concrete fashion. What are we to do with our declining Christian and specifically Anglican churches in the West and their eviscerating Christian cultural contexts? What are we to do with clamoring expansion of African and Asian churches — including Anglican ones — that stand in deep tension with the deracinated cultures of the West? How to disengage political corruption from ecclesial affairs, or reengage societies whose political form has left the gospel behind? These are all very real elements of historical change that the Covenant’s vision of communion, rich though it was, failed to engage concretely. (No one else, by the way, has done so either.) That failure was embodied in the great debate over the final section of the Covenant dealing with common life and decision-making. And that debate, although it has abated somewhat in public terms, is still with us, and has stymied in some ways the practical adoption of the profound theological vision of the Covenant that deserved to be assimilated into our common life.

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Posted in Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology

(CEN) Chris Sugden reviews the new book “Reformation Anglicanism – a Vision for Today’s Global Communion”

[Michael] Nazir Ali traces the development and nature of the Anglican Communion, a reprint of his Latimer Booklet of 2013 “How the Anglican Communion began and where it is going”. through ‘movements of people responding to the call of God on their lives”. Its renewal will come “ not through the reform of structures or through institutional means but through movements raised up by God” for planting churches, renewal in worship, campaigners for the poor and persecuted. ( p 43)

[Benjamin] Kwashi expounds the transforming power of the gospel as we seek the kingdom of God, rather than our own power and status, by relying not on our own natural power, but on God working through us by the Spirit.

The relation of scripture, reason and tradition is more accurately described not as a three legged stool, but to see “ Scripture as a garden bed in which reason and tradition are tools used to tend the soil, unlock its nutrients and bring forth the beauty within it.” ([Ashley] Null p. 86). The whole thrust of Anglican liturgy was to teach people the scriptures. The Church of England would only succeed, Cranmer held, if the English people regularly sat under the transforming power of Scripture and its message expressed in Morning and Evening Prayer and the Holy Communion. (198) The chief responsibility of Bishops is to “proclaim and defend the apostolic faith as taught by the Scriptures” (195) since Christian fellowship can only be based on a common understanding of saving faith (196). They show their authentic apostolic succession by what they teach and what they reject.

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Posted in * Theology, Anglican Identity, Books, Church History

Scot McKinght–Why be an Anglican? 1 reason is the Church Calendar

I became Anglican because of the church calendar. (Not only because of the church calendar but it was part of the process.) Non-calendar Christians usually observe Christmas (not always Advent, though it is growing) and Good Friday and Easter. That’s about it. The rest of the year is up to the preacher, the pastor, the elders and deacons, and up to the congregation. Many pastors wisely organize their churches to be formed over time through a series of themes ”” or books of the Bible (Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Piper preached through Romans for almost two decades) ”” but none can improve on the centrality of Christ in the church calendar.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Identity, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

Bp Matt Hunter–Why Anglican? Anglican Values

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Identity, Church History, Theology

Eric Metaxas: Western Churches and the Wrong Side of History

..the real clash of cultures is happening not among governments, but between churches; specifically between churches in the West””that is, in Europe and the U.S.””and churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Last year the Washington Post ran a story about the growing tension between Anglican and evangelical churches in the West and their daughter congregations abroad. While many churches in Europe and America have shriveled as they drift from biblical Christianity, their counterparts in the global south have thrived. These missionary plants haven’t gotten the memo about rewriting two thousand years of Christian orthodoxy. And they’re puzzled and more than a little worried when Westerners come bearing the sexual revolution instead of the Gospel.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity

Robin Jordan–A Proposal for the Restructuring of the Anglican Church in North America

Episcopal Church expansion in the region occurred in three phases””in the nineteenth century, in the 1950s, and in 1980. No new Episcopal churches have been planted in the region since 1980. One of the churches, which was planted in the 1950s, closed in 2005. There is only one self-supporting parish in the Jackson Purchase; the other churches are subsidized missions, except for the oldest Episcopal church in the region. It is a preaching station.

The last Episcopal church planted in the Jackson Purchase, the one planted in 1980, experienced a church split following the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire. The group of conservative Episcopalians that broke away from the congregation affiliated with one of the Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. This group has experienced a number of splits of its own since that time and has been affiliated with three different Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. The Jackson Purchase’s two Continuing Anglican churches trace their origins to this group.

If any conclusion can be drawn from the experience of these two Continuing Anglican churches, it is that traditionalist High Church Anglo-Catholic congregations do not fare well in the region. Among the factors that may have contributed to their negligible growth is that the communities in which they are located are not diverse enough for them to find a niche for themselves in their respective communities. The two churches also have no connection with the communities in which they are located. While the Episcopal churches in the region are not exactly flourishing, they are, with the exception of the preaching station, doing better than the two Continuing Anglican churches.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Theology

Bishop of Province of S America Reassures SC Diocese that It’s Part of Anglican Communion

The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala, Bishop of Chile and Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of South America, made his comments in clear English during a meeting at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, Charleston, May 20. He said that, despite the Diocese’s separation from the Episcopal Church in 2012, the Diocese continues to be recognized as Anglicans by the majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“I’m here with you with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury,” said Bishop Zavala. He told those gathered that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was with the Global South Primates “Steering Committee” in a meeting in Cairo, Egypt in 2014 when “we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to some dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion” said Bishop Zavala.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Anglican Identity, Chile, Evangelism and Church Growth, Global South Churches & Primates, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, South America, Theology

Leaders from the Diocese of South Carolina and ACNA Meet at St. Christopher

Leaders from the Diocese of South Carolina and the Anglican Church in North America, led by Bishop Mark Lawrence and Archbishop Foley Beach, came together at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, South Carolina on April 28-29, 2015 for prayer, fellowship, and conversation.

We had frank exchanges that examined the possible compatibility of the ecclesiologies of the Anglican Church in North America and the Diocese of South Carolina.

There is a wide spectrum of polities in the provinces of the Anglican Communion and these differences affect the ways in which dioceses relate to their respective provinces. Provinces such as Nigeria are more hierarchical, while provinces such as South America are more conciliar. Our conversations began exploring the practical dimensions of how a diocese and province relate in the structure of the Anglican Church in North America.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Theology

(TLC's Covenant) Jeff Boldt–The baggage of evangelicals on the Canterbury trail

In addition to personal hurt, the baggage accumulated here, again, might result in the “baby” of holiness getting thrown out with the “bathwater” of legalism. If the ex-fundamentalist does not become a New Atheist ”” the inverted modernist equivalent of the rationalizing fundamentalist ”” he might drift in the Anglican direction. Here he will decide whether to let John Spong usher him through the dusty halls of a bygone Protestant liberalism back towards Dawkins et. al. or, via the “Canterbury Trail,” he will head towards the more romantic tradition of Anglo-Catholicism. The temptation then is to construct an Anglican identity that is more concerned with “not being fundamentalist” than with being Christian. So ex-fundamentalists are largely reacting against pride and legalism, while ex-evangelicals are reacting against the spiritual emptiness of faddish evangelicalism. But, of course, there are degrees of mixture between the two.

In closing, I want to say that although this new generation of Canterbury Trail Anglicans has a lot to offer the Anglican and Episcopal churches which we now inhabit ”” especially in our greater desire for unity than many a Boomer who busies himself with ecclesial marketing, lawsuits, or even doctrinal and moral “purity” ”” we also carry a lot of baggage. Not having “stayed put” in those places where we originally received the faith, we struggle here too in this Anglican place to practice what we have come to preach. Here we counsel the local “cradle” Anglican evangelical not to throw overboard the riches of the tradition in order to fill the pews. But we also need to be reminded that without mission, evangelism, and, yes, conversion, the tradition simply becomes liturgical histrionics, much to the annoyance of the local Anglican evangelical. Finally, the new Canterbury Trail Anglicans need to be more than “not fundamentalists” or “not-Southern-Baptists.” Not only would such an attitude contradict the ecumenical spirit, not only does this tempt us to throw out the legitimate orthodoxies held by those we react against, but, contrary to the spirit of humility, it also tempts us to “via media” pride, as if we somehow have got it all together. Truth, humility, and unity are a package.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Identity, Anthropology, Canada, Christology, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Soteriology, Theology

Jon Zeiglar–Why I Am Becoming Anglican: a Brief Explanation for my Assemblies of God family

During this year past year, I made a very difficult decision to leave the only church I have known. I grew up in an Assemblies of God (AG) church. My family has been AG since the 1930s and is one of the oldest Pentecostal families in New Orleans. My father is an AG pastor and I have two brothers who are ordained AG ministers. I have held AG ministerial for a couple of years, but with the recent transition of the New Year (2015), my AG ministerial credentials have lapsed. God willing, I will be confirmed on January 25th into the Anglican Church by Bishop Todd Hunter at Holy Trinity in Costa Mesa.

I am not leaving with hurt, bitterness, or resentment. Quite the contrary, I maintain a deep love and respect for the church that taught me the name of Jesus. The last AG congregation I was a part of (in Pasadena, CA) was a wonderful group of people led by a theologically capable pastor that I appreciate greatly. I am excited about the direction of the AG (under George Wood) and I am confident that it will continue to thrive in the decades to come.

Because of my positive wishes toward my friends and family in the AG, I was not planning on sharing publicly my reasons for leaving. That is, I am not trying to convince people to leave the AG or even that it was a good idea for me to leave the AG. I actually want people to stay and make the AG even better. (I tried myself really hard to stay, and finally had to acknowledge that God was calling to the Anglican Church””or perhaps more accurately, God was making me into an Anglican). However, my friend (and fellow AG minister) Dan suggested that I give a public explanation for why I am leaving. His reasoning was that if people continue to leave silently, how will the AG address those issues which led to their exit from the church? I think Dan is right and so I am taking some time to explain how I became Anglican.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Theology

Phil Ashey: Anglicanism at Its Best

I am still elated from yesterday’s investiture of the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Right Rev. Dr. Foley Thomas Beach. It is always a joy at these gatherings of our Church to see so many old friends from across North America”“ it really does have the joy of a family reunion. I was so blessed to see the number of archbishops, bishops, clergy, laity and friends from all across the Anglican Communion with us (at substantial cost, I might add!) simply to rejoice with us in this milestone in the growth of our Anglican Church, and to reaffirm our communion with them and the vast majority of practicing Anglicans across the globe.

Here are just some of the high points for me:

”“The Communion anthem by the combined choirs on the Holy Spirit”“ it lifted me out of my seat and into the throne room of the Lord in worship, reminding me of our continuing need for a new Pentecost

”“ The presence of youth and adults, Americans, Canadians, Burmese, Nigerians (a Nigerian female deacon read the Gospel), all highlighting Archbishop ++Foley’s observation that we are indeed a “diverse lot”

”“ The greetings brought from The Rev. Preb. Charles Marnham, St Mark’s Chester Square London, on behalf of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, the Church of England Evangelical Council, Church Society, Reform, and the Anglican Mission in England”“ with the heartfelt reminder that we should never forgot “how many friends we have in the Church of England.”

But especially the Primates gathering around our new Archbishop, laying hands on him and praying together out loud the blessing, and adding in this significant sentence NOT in the original worship bulletin:

“Foley Beach, We receive you as an Archbishop and a Primate in the Anglican Communion.”

That they went out of their way, together, to pray this before the gathered people of God is a clear reaffirmation of the Primates’ authority to decide who is Anglican, and their confirmation of our Anglican identity on behalf of the vast majority of practicing Anglicans within the Communion.

Whether or not the Archbishop of Canterbury respects this, we will move on with the distinct mission to which our new Archbishop has called us”“ to be a repenting, reconciling, reproducing and relentlessly compassionate Anglican Church reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ!

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity