jQuery Slider

You are here

COLUMBUS, OH: Who has done the departing?

COLUMBUS, OH: Who has done the departing?
“The ECUSA has left us. We have not left it.”

by Peter Toon
VirtueOnline Correspondent
www.virtueonline
6/19/2006

In reply to the frequently asked question: “Will you leave the Episcopal Church in the light of its apostasy?” leaders in the American Anglican Council (AAC) and of the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) usually reply: “The Episcopal Church has left us. We have not left it. Thus we are going nowhere, for we are where we should be.”

This answer presupposes that (or hopes that) the majority of Anglican Primates and Provinces overseas, especially the so-called Global South, will very soon state that they are out of communion with the Episcopal Church as a whole, but in communion with those within it who claim the description, “orthodox.” And, of course, the AAC and ACN, see themselves as the “orthodox” even as they describe the leaders of the Episcopal Church as “revisionist.”

Let us, for the sake of musing, suppose that this scenario actually occurs.

This will leave the “orthodox” in the uncomfortable position of having an “unorthodox” liturgy, doctrine, canon law and pastoral practice (i.e., that of the current Episcopal Church). So what can the “orthodox in intention” do in the short term to become “orthodox in reality.”

Here are some suggestions:

1. Recover the classic formularies of the Anglican Way as the basis of the Reformed Catholic Faith of the Anglican Way. That is restore to first place, after the authority of Scripture and the catholic Creeds, the Thirty-Nine Articles, the historic Ordinal and the classic Book of Common Prayer (in the editions of 1662 [used in a majority of the Anglican Communion] or 1928 [the PECUSA edition of it] or 1962 [the Canadian edition of it] . This will mean rejecting the 1979 Prayer Book as the chief Formulary and making it, at best, an approved Book of Alternative Services (which in shape and content it truly is, and as its equivalent, the BAS, is in Canada).

2. Create a contemporary language edition of the classic Prayer Book that is based on the classic 1662 edition, so that there can be used services that contain biblically informed, Reformed Catholic doctrine and morals and which are available for those who wish to address God as “You.” (A pilot form of this project has already been completed by the Prayer Book Society with others.)

3. Recover or create a new canon for marriage so as to make it clear that marriage is a union of a man and woman as one flesh and one major purpose of the union is procreation. Further, that divorce and remarriage are the exception rather than the commonly permitted rule. This will mean a setting aside of the notorious marriage canon of 1973 and the preface to the marriage service in the 1979 prayer book. It will also probably mean both a cessation on the ordaining of divorce and remarried persons and the standing down from parish Ministry of the ordained who do in fact divorce and remarry. To face the radical sexual agenda, the “orthodox” must tighten their discipline in order to be the salt of the earth!

4.. Begin to phase out in an honorable and reasonable way the practice of ordaining women and of deploying women clergy, while at the same time making it clear that there are many ministries for godly women in Christ’s Church. In the USA there is no doubt that the ordination of women has been a central part of the liberally progressive agenda of the Episcopal Church, and the only way to deal with this painful reality – even though it will bring sorrow to some – is to cease this innovation which began in 1976.

If those still within the Episcopal Church (in AAC & ACN) who desire an orthodox province will do this kind of thing, then they will truly appear to the Anglican Communion of Churches as a group who mean business, and who intend to conform to biblical and classic Anglican standards. Further, and importantly, they will also have built the bridges for the possibility of a growing union with the present Continuing Anglican Churches, which left the Episcopal Church because of its growing radicalism and apostasy. There certainly needs to be a coming together of those who desire to be authentic, orthodox Anglicans in the USA – right now there are too many groups apart from one another.

Right now, perhaps surprisingly to some, it is not unfair to describe the AAC and the ACN as “mildly revisionist” for they have not explicitly stated their rejection of the 1973 Canon on Marriage, the 1976 Canon on Ordination, and the calling of a book of alternative services and doctrines, “The Book of Common Prayer.” Further they use and treat the 1979 Book as though it truly were The Book of Common Prayer and The Formulary for them.

There is light ahead for the “orthodox” as they pass through the dark tunnel. But to embrace that light will cost them a price – the price of recovering the dynamic Reformed Catholicism of the Anglican Way. Let us hope that they do this quickly and joyfully, whatever the cost!

END

Subscribe
Get the latest news and perspectives in the Anglican world.
comments powered by Disqus
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top