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New North American Anglican Province Will Pose Major Threat to Anglican Unity

New North American Anglican Province Will Pose Major Threat to Anglican Unity

COMMENTARY

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
5/1/2009

In less than two months the North American Anglican Province (ACNA) will be birthed on U.S. soil, the first of its kind since the formation of The Episcopal Church 431 years ago.

The first Church of England service recorded on North American soil was a celebration of Holy Communion at Frobisher Bay in September 1578.

It will formally mark a huge and irrevocable divide that now exists between those who are faithful to the Anglican tradition as it is expressed in Holy Scripture, the Anglican formularies, the 39 Articles, the creeds, the Book of Common Prayer (1662 and 1928) and, by contrast, those who have imbibed a post-modern morality, liturgical reconstruction, a deconstructed Bible and for whom the definition of mission is inclusion not conversion.

The divide will now determine the course of Anglicanism in North America in the 21st century.

In Bedford, Texas, the leaders of (ACNA) will bring together 28 new dioceses, some 100,000 parishioners, 700 churches and a dozen Anglican organizations drawn from the US and Canada. What will take place in St. Vincent's Cathedral, in Ft. Worth, Texas, will be the culmination of what began last November when its leaders presented a finalized draft constitution and church laws ahead of its first provincial assembly.

"It is a great encouragement to see the fruit of many years' work," said the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop-elect of the Anglican Church in North America and bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. "Today, 23 dioceses and five dioceses-in-formation joined together to reconstitute an orthodox, Biblical, missionary and united Church in North America."

Among the jurisdictions making up the 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation of the new church are: the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin; the Anglican Mission in the Americas; the Convocation of Anglicans in North America; the Anglican Network in Canada; the Anglican Coalition in Canada; the Reformed Episcopal Church; and missionary initiatives of Kenya, Uganda and South America's Southern Cone. The American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are also founding organizations.

This new province has already been given the good housekeeping seal of approval by another body of Anglicans drawn from the international Anglican Communion who see in ACNA a microcosm of themselves.

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) arose out of fundamental disagreement with the Lambeth Conference of bishops over homosexual acceptance, specifically the consecration of a non-celibate bishop to The Episcopal Church House of Bishops. That single act, the culmination of years of theological and moral degradation in Western pan-Anglicanism, forced the hand of faithful, believing Anglicans into a worldwide Anglican revolt.

From this deeply rooted "rebellion" emerged seven archbishops, members of a group called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) who are directing this worldwide revolt against the old liberal order.

For years, orthodox Primates of the Anglican Communion have been saying that the fabric of Anglicanism is torn, that they are in "impaired communion" with liberal and revisionist Anglicanism. In Alexandria, Egypt, this year, it was fully and finally recognized that the fabric of the Anglican Communion is irrevocably broken, to never again be repaired, unless those who have rent it asunder admit that their theological and moral innovations are the cause and repent.

Repeated calls for repentance have failed. The liberals and revisionists are not going to repent because they do not believe they need to repent. Where orthodox Anglicans have said that sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage is a sin requiring repentance, liberals say the church should repent for not including pansexualists to all orders of its ranks and for the church's express homophobia about pansexuality.

Despite multiple attempts to implement the Windsor Report recommendations, it clearly has no ecclesiastical teeth. Furthermore, it is growing clearer by the day, that no finagling of a Covenant, however many drafts it goes through, that still allows the autonomy of provinces to write and/ or apply their own rules will suffice to satisfy Global South evangelical Anglicans who make up the vast majority of the Anglican Communion.

The die has been cast. This is what emerged in Egypt among the Primates - the full and final recognition that there are two different religions at work, two different understandings of mission; two gospels are now being proclaimed in the Anglican Communion. They are completely irreconcilable.

Regardless, indeed despite the millions of dollars in litigation over properties, the inhibiting and deposing of priests and bishops, nothing, but nothing, can stop the ecclesiastical tsunami that is building in the Anglican Communion, and to a lesser degree in other mainline American denominations.

With the coming into being of a new North American Anglican Province, a signal will be sent around the world that a new day has dawned for North American Anglicanism. There is nothing the old and dying Episcopal Church order can do about it.

Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop can huff and puff about cross border violations. Liberal and revisionist Episcopal bishops can wail about who is and is not in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the die has been cast. A new Anglican order is coming. A new era is dawning for Anglicans on the North American continent and nothing can stop it. The Tsunami wave of a biblically faithful Anglicanism is sweeping over the land.

The old cisterns of North American Anglicanism have broken and shattered. New wine is being poured into new wineskins. It is impossible to pour it into the old wineskins.

END

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