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anglican church in north americaOn October 9th, thousands gathered at the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta for the investiture of Foley Beach as Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA).

You would be forgiven for never having heard of Dr. Foley or his church body. The ACNA is the largest single umbrella organization within the Continuing Anglican Movement, a diverse and incongruous collection of churches who have broken from The Episcopal Church, USA. The Continuing Anglican Movement has its roots in the Reformed Episcopal Church 1873, when a number of Calvinist Episcopalians reacted to the increasing influence of the Oxford Movement (Anglo-Catholicism) in the Episcopal Church’s hierarchy. The Reformed Episcopal Church broke off in the hopes of preserving the strictly Protestant interpretation of Anglicanism (called Evangelicalism) that had been dominant before John Keble, Edward Pusey, John Henry Newman, and their fellows led a renaissance in Anglican Catholicism from Oxford University. Today, the Continuing Anglican Movement encompasses Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical bodies alike, the majority of whom split from The Episcopal Church over the issues of women’s ordination, same-sex marriage, and actively homosexual clergy.

The ACNA has emerged as the almost undisputed rival Anglican body in the United States, claiming more than 112,000 members. Being such a new organization, it can be rather safely said that the huge majority are active members—not ‘lapsed’, as is common in The Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church, for instance—as belonging to the ACNA is a decision one must make very wilfully at this stage.

The ACNA has also found tremendous favour with the very conservative (and very rebellious)  Evangelical provinces of the Anglican Communion, namely the Church of Nigeria, the Church of Uganda, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, and the Archdiocese of Sydney. All have called on the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Anglican Communion, to recognize the ACNA as the official communicant body in the United States and Canada, over the more liberal Episcopal Church USA and Anglican Church of Canada.

The investiture was filmed, and is available to view on the ACNA’s website.

It was a very telling ceremony, highlighting a number of the insecurities and dysfunctions at work both in the ACNA and in the Continuing Anglican Movement at large. There was a tremendous dissonance between some of the Anglo-Catholic elements (use of the thurible, organ music, relatively ‘high church’ vestments) and the profoundly modernist-Evangelical (guitar-led praise bands, Pentacostal-esque hand-waving). The former has to do with a timeless, particularly Anglican orthodoxy; the latter with a particularly twenty-first century, generically Protestant revivalism. Such an undesirable and unsustainable alliance can only exist in wartime, as twentieth-century history has proven. Should the day come when the ACNA replaces The Episcopal Church as the official Anglican body in the United States, without a common enemy the two factions will fracture the ACNA as surely as the liberal/conservative divide has torn apart The Episcopal Church. Such hasty and, frankly, weak repairs to American Anglicanism is not in the best interests of either Anglican or Christian unity.

Moreover, the African and Australian bishops have committed an offense more outrageous than any by the ‘liberal’ Episcopal Church, USA. The ACNA was, for quite some time, a number of ‘missionary convocations’ under the authority of those African primates. It is an appalling act of reverse imperialism to unilaterally dismiss unilaterally the authority of the American Church (The Episcopal Church), whose Presiding Bishop have no more or less power than the African Primates. To establish an Anglican mission within the jurisdiction of a pre-existing Anglican Church is to reject the legitimacy, not of a particular leader, but of the entire province. This is an unacceptable slap in the face of one’s fellow Anglicans, especially the conservative remnant within The Episcopal Church. The ACNA’s African and Australian patrons repeatedly accuse The Episcopal Church of threatening Anglican unity, but only the African and Australian provinces have attempted to interfere with, and undermine, the ‘offending’ parties’ authority. These are also, unsurprisingly, the same bishops who have threatened to withhold their support from the 2018 Lambeth Conference. There is no greater threat to Anglican orthodoxy, Anglican unity, or Apostolic Succession in the Anglican Communion than those rebellious primates and their conspirators in the ACNA.

As a traditional Episcopalian, I have suffered my share of grief in the midst of The Episcopal Church’s rampant progressivism. But as Roger Scruton points out in his elegy for the Church of England, Our Church, the single greatest threat to Anglicanism has always been schism and subdivision. The worldwide Anglican Church has weathered disagreements between Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals, conservatives and liberals, conformists and nonconformists, for centuries. By allowing these rival sentiments to work themselves out, by allowing different provinces and even different parishes to align with this or that camp, the Anglican Communion has grown to be the third largest Church body in the world. To pick the Communion apart now, either from the left or the right, is the only certain means of destroying Anglicanism entirely. Total uniformity is n0t only impossible—its expectation is un-Anglican. And history has proven (with the rise and fall of Puritanism, nontrinitarianism, and Quakerism, to name a few) that, rightly or wrongly, tremendous deviations from the Anglican centre never survive. As T.S. Eliot said, there are no lost causes, because there are no gained causes. Likewise, a restoration of orthodox Anglicanism is still possible—in fact, only possible—within the Anglican Communion’s apostolic hierarchy. We only need to abandon these shortsighted quick-fixes.

It took a Civil War and Cromwell’s Protectorate to purge radical Calvinism from the Church of England. As far as combatting heresies go, we have it pretty easy.

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21 replies to this post
  1. I’ve always considered Mr. Davis a conservative of the olde order, consequently it’s rather strange to read an essay where he opposes the efforts of those who seek to restore traditional and scriptural perspectives on marriage, ordination, etc?

    • Dear Mr Cheeks,

      You flatter me! And believe that I sympathize strongly with the desire to restore a traditional understanding of the Bible and liturgy in Anglicanism. But I’d hoped to approach the question of the ACNA a bit more objectively—more the structural weaknesses and contradictions that threaten their project—than my own thoughts. (Both, of course, are skeptical.)

      Personally, for what it’s worth, I believe the Archbishop of Canterbury is the source of Apostolic Succession for the Anglican ‘branch’ of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church—the other branches the Roman and Orthodox communions. And I believe that, if going around the ABC’s back about ordaining priests (as the ACNA and its patrons have done) doesn’t automatically invalidate the orders, it’s a dishonest, legalistic means of trying to restore the true doctrines of the Church.

      Having said that, if the ACNA was recognized tomorrow as the valid Anglican body in the U.S. by the Archbishop of Canterbury, I’d probably cross over. Though I’d still be opposed to the Pentecostal and Modernist inversions that have come over from Africa and Australia.

  2. The purging of radical Calvinism from the Anglican Church has been the cause for its greatest weakness. Any real study of the theology of Sovereign Grace (a more preferable term than Calvinism due to the use of the word reign in Roms.5:21 plus the fact that people were dying for the doctrines involved before Calvin was ever born much less converted).reveals that the doctrines of grace or the TULIP of the Synod of Dordt in which the pastor of the Pilgrims participated are really therapeutic paradoxes; they are invitations designed to move the sinner from his self-centered preoccupation with his own desires and arouse his uncertainties about the future. In fact, such dogmas are really the future principles which will win the whole earth for a thousand generations as well as the inhabitants of quadrillions of planets throughout the starry universe in the next 20,000-900,000 years. The opposition which has brought about the present imbroglio pursuant of expected dialectical conclusion might well find itself wanting at the speed with which things turn on a different tack than they had imagined. Any checking of the records will reveal that the theology in back of improvements and advancements of virtually all kinds in civilization is the theology which recognizes the Sovereignty of God. And no on controls the situation but God, when He exercises His prerogatives at the moment He determines to be propitious for His purposes.

    Consider how the doctrines are designed to make a believer balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic or, in short, God’s best subliminal and seductive advertisement, a mature person compellingly attractive to so many clueless and anxious human beings.

  3. I think this article is correct in every respect except one–a civil war proved not to be enough to purge radical Calvinism from the Church of England. There are still plenty of them, and they are flourishing, as the policy of ‘allowing these rival sentiments to work themselves out’ virtually guarantees they will. Evangelicals (Calvinist and Arminian alike) were flourishing in the Episcopal Church until most of them left for this hybrid. It will take at least a generation before we can get back where we were, but we’ll get there. I just hope we pay more attention to our own history as we recover. That would be the best guarantee against making the same mistake again.

  4. Mr. Davis, thank you. One question, your argument is not with the ACNA’s efforts to restore the church’s doctrine rather with the means employed to do so? If that’s true, and you see a need to engage in restoration, what means would you apply?

    • Dear Mr Cheeks,

      Yes, exactly—more ‘status quo ante’ than anything else. The Modernist-Progressivist inversions in TEC were a mistake… as was the Modernist-Fundamentalist response by the ACNA.

      What both these inversions have in common (amongst other things) is that they break from one of the oldest doctrines in the Anglican book: don’t schism. Anglo-Catholics believe that to be absolutely necessary because schism interrupts Apostolic Succession and threatens the validity of sacraments. But even traditional Evangelicals understand that, as a long-term arrangement, schism isn’t even on the table. J.I. Packer, the Evangelical Anglican theologian, called the Continuing/Realignment movement, ‘…an emergency response to an emergency situation. Separation on a permanent basis was never desired.’ He went on to say,

      ‘I hope the leaders of the [Continuing church] are clear that their existence is a tragic reality and that they hope for the day when the separate existence of the [Continuing church] is no longer necessary. I would like to hear them say that more emphatically than they have yet done.’

      As to what we should do instead: that’s a good question. If you Google ‘conservative episcopalian’, you won’t get anything helpful. I think that’s quite dangerous for traditional Anglicans in 2014. No one knows what we believe or why we’ve stuck around in TEC. All that they’ll be able to find is what journalists—most of whom are probably atheists and agnostics—have written *about* traditional Episcopalians. So I think step one is building some sort of visible identity. There’s a brilliant group called the Secker Society that I have high hopes for. They want to go back to the 1662 BCP, which effectively predates the liberal/conservative and evangelical/catholic divides.

      Liberal theologians and biblical scholars have also very probably earned their dominance in seminaries and universities. The likes of Tillich and Borg haven’t met their match tit-for-tat from the orthodox camp. As much as I love Chesterton, ‘Heresies’ may need a bit of an update! Once orthodox theology springs back, orthodox theologians will earn more places in seminaries and influence more priests (some of whom will go on to be bishops).

      I think there’s also got to be a grass-roots element. I got in trouble with my vestry when I was asked, ‘What do we do to attract young people?’ and I said, ‘Don’t use the church as a stump for progressive politics.’ It’s a weird case of the old-timers trying to accommodate their younger members… and getting it totally wrong. TEC has pumped itself full of lax morals and bad liturgy, and, in the words of Prof Barry Spurr, ‘For a generation now, we have witnessed the sheer absurdity of middle aged and elderly congregations being subjected to liturgies, obviously once designed to appeal to youth—complete with puerile music, infantile language and casual ritual.’ So there needs to be a combination of observant elders and enthusiastic upstarts telling their priests and bishops, ‘No, stop. This is moronic, and it’s not working.’

      There will also come a time when progressive Christians become *so* progressive they’ll gradually transcend the Church, and then those of us who remain will have the whole place to ourselves. (Though that could take a while, and I wouldn’t count on it, I think it’s probably inevitable.)

  5. Does the ABC actually have any authority to declare who is in or out? I’m not sure he (or she, as will inevitably be the case before too long) would even claim to have that kind of authority. The position is more akin to a committee chairman than an ecclesiastical authority, which is by design; Anglicans wish to avoid any top-down Roman-style authority. In any case, I thought that most Anglican parishes have open communion, so I’m not sure that formal communion with Canterbury is all that essential. I guess it provides a kind of seal of approval for those who want the “real thing,” not a knock-off (which I can certainly understand).

    The Reformed faction has one thing right: Anglicanism is, in its essence, wholly Protestant. Whether one considers that good or bad, it’s the unavoidable conclusion. In my opinion, one needs to embrace this fact and be content, or look elsewhere for a church home. Trying to incorporate and reconcile various bits of Catholicism and Protestantism (with a dash of Orthodoxy thrown in) just raises more issues than it solves. For those of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion (and I am very sympathetic to these brave folks and their beautiful worship), I would think the cognitive dissonance would quickly become intolerable.

    Anyway, this is always a fascinating topic. Could use a good dose of Evensong right about now. 🙂

    • Dear Stephen,

      Thank you for your comment. The ABC seems to vaguely trust his own powers to decide who’s an Anglican and who’s not—again, I think coming from the idea that all Anglicans have in common is the C of E. The groundwork for that authority isn’t even spelled out explicitly, but from either an Anglo-Catholic or a corporate-Evangelical interpretation, it works.

      You wrote, ‘I would think the cognitive dissonance would quickly become intolerable.’ That’s not a problem at all. What can be a head-kicker for some is seeing female priests facing the wall, blessing the Sacrament. If you don’t believe in women’s ordination (which isn’t an issue that weights heavily on me), I bet seeing someone trying to turn bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and clearly failing would be embarrassing.

      But I promise Anglo-Catholics don’t sit up at night, biting their nails and worrying that they’ve taken one part Proddy to four parts Papist instead of one-to-six. We’re not trying to consciously justify a sad, ill-fated, patchwork error. Anglo-Catholics believe Anglo-Catholicism is true, as difficult as that may be to believe.

      I’ve always wondered where that perception of Anglo-Catholics being insecure comes from. It’s so widespread, and yet I’ve never met an Anglo-Catholic that wasn’t pleased as punch to be Anglo-Catholic. (Anyway, if anyone should *stop* liking their Anglo-Catholicism, it’s not exactly Alcatraz—you can walk out whenever.) The closest I’ve come is the one or two friends I’ve had who’ve gone over to Rome and stayed there… but take the odd holiday back to their old A-C parish. I’ve had far more friends who’ve done the inverse: taken a holiday *to* Rome and come back. So it may be difficult for a non-Anglo-Catholic to see why Anglo-Catholics believe in Anglo-Catholicism, but I guess that’s true of anything.

  6. Mr. Davis, thank you again. I share your antipathy with the progressives, not so much with the evangelicals who, I believe, seek a more meaningful (real) metalepsis. Given that, I was struck by this statement:

    “What both these inversions have in common (amongst other things) is that they break from one of the oldest doctrines in the Anglican book: don’t schism.”

    Given the Anglican schism with the RCC, doesn’t that create a problem with establishing a doctrine opposing the very means that established the church?

    • Dear Mr Cheeks,

      All I can say to this is that, as with just about every Christian sect, Anglicans say, ‘WE’RE not the schismatics. THOSE guys—THEY’RE the schismatics.’ Naturally it’s a point of contention, and one I’m very proud to say Anglicans take with a grain of salt. We believe Anglicanism is the truest expression of the Christian faith out there. We recognize that others disagree, and that if their case had no weight everyone would be an Anglican! So we do believe Rome, not England, deviated from the One True Church. The declaration that the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England is, to us, a statement of fact, not an instigation of schism. We believe the Archbishop of Canterbury do hath jurisdiction, just as the Bishop of Rome hath jurisdiction in Rome. The fault for the two Communions being divided lies with the Pope for over-asserting his authority. Like the Orthodox Churches, we believe that refusing the Papacy doesn’t split the Church—declaring all non-Papal communions invalid (as Rome does) is the schismatic act. In the Anglican reading of Reformation history (and ours tends to run much longer than Rome’s), schism occurred in 1896 with the publication of Apostolicae Curae, whereby the Pope declared all Anglican orders invalid. Pre-1896, we were two branches of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church minding our own jurisdictions, as is proper. It was the Pope who fractured the church by telling Anglicans he doesn’t want to play with us anymore.

      Again, Anglicans don’t push this point relentlessly. To quote shamelessly from Wikipedia, the Anglican Church responded to Apostolicae Curae by saying ‘that the ordination ceremonies in question were biblically valid. They then provided pages of quotations, detailing Roman and Orthodox liturgies that they considered guilty of the same alleged offenses. According to the archbishops, if the ordinations of the bishops and priests in the Anglican churches were invalid then, by the same measure, so must be the ordinations of clergy in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.’ So it was, for us, never about telling Rome that they were wrong. We do, in fact, believe they’re quite right in their own realm. (Well, the radical Protestants don’t quite think so, but nevertheless.) Does that make sense? Thank you again for your comments.

  7. The Anglican communion, beginning, of course, with the Church of England, has ab initio had factions that were more Protestant or less Protestant, and has had high-church, low-church, and broad-church parties for centuries (as noted in the satirical song “the Vicar of Bray”). In the 19th century the high-church party flowered into Anglo-Catholicism, which was considerably more offensive to low-church people than previous high-church practice had been. The 20th century added a further opposition, that between modernists and traditionalists (openly lesbian bishops or not?). Old-line high- and low-church parties are equally opposed to the modernists, and have formed an alliance against them. For almost five centuries, the Anglican communion held together despite a lack of unity in doctrine and religious culture. This is quite an achievement, but it seems to be coming to an end under the additional pressure of a politically-correct modernism. Concern for apostolic succession is a good reason for holding together, but it is problematic in itself because the Anglican succession is not recognized by either Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches, and more traditionalist Anglicans may find it hard to regard women as authentic bearers of the succession.

    Modernism is not a problem exclusive to the Anglican communion, of course. Tension in the Roman Catholic Church between traditionalists and modernists has been around for a long time, but became more serious as a result of the Second Vatican Council and continues to the present in the current standoff between those who wish Pope Benedict had done more to restore traditional norms and those who hope that Pope Francis will do more to update the Church. There is some tension in Orthodoxy, but so far it has not reached the level of divisiveness found in the RC and Anglican churches, because the more liberal-leaning people are still more traditional by far than the Western modernists.

    A century ago, it was still possible for a reasonable person to think that there might be a reunion of the Anglican and Orthodox churches. This was probably always a pipe dream; low-church people would find idolatry, mariolatry, non-biblical theology, and a host of evils in Orthodoxy; broad churchman would have found it all a bit much (forty “Lord-have-mercies” in a row? Really?, Three-hour vigils?); Anglo-Catholics of the Roman-Use persuasion would have thought it going off on a non-Thomist tangent; and only English-Use Anglo-Catholics would have perhaps been happy campers. But it took the modernist ascendency in the Anglican communion to drive the stake through the heart of the illusion.

    In general, those churches that were obsessed with “relevance” in the mid-twentieth century are now suffering drastically declining membership. It would probably have been better for the Anglican communion to have adopted a more traditionalist stance in the last century. That would have brought a lot of opprobrium and some defection by people in search of more aggiornamento, no doubt, but the Anglicans might be a stronger, less fractured church in the third millennium. I wish the Anglicans well; I cannot suggest a program of recovery for them, and I do not see how an anti-modernist alliance of Calvinists and Anglo-Catholics can provide a solution.

  8. Mr. Davis, thank you for that excellent explanation. Alas, nowhere did I read of Henry, and I thought his desire for progeny had something to do with these contretemps?

    • Mr Cheeks:—Yes, certainly; to the same extent the Schmalkaldic League is related to Lutheranism. Henry gave political legitimacy to a theological movement that neither began nor ended with his reign. In fact, if Henry was the Allfather of Anglicanism he’s thought to be, the C of E’s liturgy would still be in Latin! Royal supremacy was a belief that dated back to the Early Insular Church in Britain, and was by no means confined to the Anglo-Celtic world. In fact, similar movements totally independent of Anglican influence emerged in 18th century German Roman Catholicism (called Febronianism). The strongest tradition of Royal-Supremacist thought was probably not even the English, but the French—called Gallicanism.

  9. There has been no legitimate Archbishop of Canterbury since Reginald Pole (d. 1559). His supposed ‘successor’, Matthew Parker, was ‘consecrated’ using the Prayer Book of Edward VI, abolished under Queen Mary and not restored by the Parliament of 1559. The only thing that has kept Anglicanism alive is the desire of Henry VIII’s henchmen and their descendants to keep the stolen loot of the monasteries, and the blind prejudice of the Anglo-Irish bent on holding to their ‘ascendancy’ in that country. C. S. Lewis would have become a Catholic but for his ingrained social prejudices from Ulster.

    (There is no such grammatical construction in English as ‘do hath’: it would be ‘doth have’.)

  10. The Evangelical wing of Anglicanism is best represented by Tom Wright (N.T. Wright in academic contexts), the former Bishop of Durham and present research professor of divinity in the University of St Andrews. Pope Benedict invited him to speak at a Synod of Bishops he convened in Rome in 2008 on the scriptures as the Word of God.

  11. You forget that the first Archbishop of Canterbury was sent by a Pope and he brought the Latin Rite to England. The Pope has no jurisdiction in the Celtic Church but he does in The English one.

  12. This article contains a number of factual errors. For example:

    1. Border crossings were started by ECUSA, not by the African “bogeymen”. In 1988, Bishop Jack Spong of Newark ordained a woman as priest to serve in the Anglican Church of Australia, knowing full well that the ACA constitution at that stage did not allow women priests. When asked why he was ordaining an Australian Anglican woman, Bishop Spong replied: “I am quite prepared to meddle in the affairs of another country if it is to break the yoke of oppression by which 50 per cent of the people in the world are not permitted participation in the church”. Similar statements and encouragement to dissident elements in ACA continued in subsequent years.

    I have never heard of any voices within ECUSA being raised in protest at this border-crossing. Ten years later, when a bishop (not the primate) in Rwanda answered the call of an independent Anglican mission in Arkansas for episcopal oversight, he was merely following in the path that ECUSA had already trod.

    2. “namely the Church of Nigeria, the Church of Uganda, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, and the Archdiocese of Sydney.”

    You seem to be getting a few different concepts mixed up. Firstly, it was the Global South which invited ++Duncan of ACNA to preside over communion in 2010 – the GS is more than half the 38 Provinces in the Anglican Communion, not just four. And the President of the Global South attended the investiture of ++Beach in October 2010 in his official capacity.

    Secondly, it is my understanding that seven Primates of the Anglican Communion were present at the investiture of Dr Beach, and they weren’t all the same as the ones you list. They were: Jerusalem & the Middle East, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Myanmar (Burma) and Southern Cone (South America). I believe other Primates sent official representatives.

    3. “All have called on the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Anglican Communion, to recognize the ACNA as the official communicant body in the United States and Canada, over the more liberal Episcopal Church USA and Anglican Church of Canada.”

    I don’t think any Primate has called for ACNA to be recognised *over* TEC. There are two separate issues that interact. (A) a majority of the Provinces in the AC have declared themselves in impaired communion with the leadership of TEC – they won’t take communion with its leaders, although they have taken communion with faithful bishops remaining in TEC, The process of dioceses and provinces around the world declaring themselves in impaired communion with ECUSA started in 2003, long before ACNA existed. (B) Many dioceses and provinces have called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to recognise ACNA,

    Personally, I hope he doesn’t, because ACNA seems to be doing just fine without him, and without people who are fixated on Canterbury.

    4. “There was a tremendous dissonance between some of the Anglo-Catholic elements (use of the thurible, organ music, relatively ‘high church’ vestments) and the profoundly modernist-Evangelical (guitar-led praise bands, Pentacostal-esque hand-waving).”

    As I understand it, such dissonance was present in many places in ECUSA, long before ACNA existed.

    5. “By allowing these rival sentiments to work themselves out, by allowing different provinces and even different parishes to align with this or that camp, the Anglican Communion has grown to be the third largest Church body in the world.”

    No, actually the other way around. The tremendous growth of the Anglican Communion has been primarily due to evangelicals being excluded or hindered from progressing in the Church of England in the 19th century. As a result, they tended to go out to the mission fields in the colonies. That is why most Anglicans in the world today are located in Africa, Asia and South America, not in the home countries.

    6. “There is no greater threat to Anglican orthodoxy, Anglican unity, or Apostolic Succession in the Anglican Communion than those rebellious primates and their conspirators in the ACNA.”

    I would prefer to follow the Church Fathers than your private doctrine. The Fathers make clear that apostolic succession is primarily a matter of faithfulness to apostolic doctrine, not tracing a pedigree.

  13. What about traditional Anglicans in ultra liberal dioceses that are hostile toward traditional Anglicans such as in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon? I am discerning a call to the priesthood and do not believe that the liberal Episcopal Bishop would consider me based on my traditional theological viewpoint. Same sex marriage is the elephant in the room for traditional Anglicans seeking ordination in liberal dioceses. Isn’t the church ultimately formed theologically by its clergy. How can the church move back to the theological center if its predominantly ordaining liberal clergy?

  14. I liked your article on monarchism, so I thought I would read more of your writings. This article, however, undermines all the credibility you had built up. TEC is in a death spiral. It is becoming ever smaller, and contrary to your superposition it will become more traditional, is accelerating in its postchristianity. The idea that there will be an Anglo-Catholic revival looks ridiculous to me, mainly because every Anglo-Catholic I knew has left, either for a continuing Anglican church body or the Ordinariate. Indeed, these people were hounded out. I am frankly surprised to hear there are still such people in TEC, and would strongly urge a similar exit. The new religion is firmly ensconced there, and every indication is that England will follow in the same course. I cannot imagine any clergy candidate opposed to the ordination of women ever being approved for ordination, to take but one issue, in the reconstructed TEC. There are still a few enclaves of congregational Anglo-Catholicism, but I doubt these can hold out long, and every past indication is that they will not.

  15. I can take many of the comments above with a measure of serousness and also a measure of grains of salt. Rather than indulge in a litany of legitimacies, after being a priest in ECUSA for thirty years and in a splinter Anglican group before that, I see the Evangelicals as exemplified in the ACNA as more in line with Jesus than most of the other expressions of Anglicanism today. I rarely if ever have heard the pure preachng of the gospel in the Episcopal Church. Baptismal regeneration with the aims of adult conversions seems lacking. Doctrines that do not change hearts and thus sacraments that do not minister to the converted soul are not authentic gospel. Because of humanity’s sin God has allowed schism to divide so that the gospel might be multiplied. This is how I see the Re-formation: a move to restore the church to apostolic teaching and practice. Authority can become a work of the flesh more than the Spirit and lauding apostolicity of succession means little if the Holy Scriptures are not preached toward life change. The “Evangelical Truth, and Apostolic Order” preached by Bishop John Henry Hobart has rarely been heard in my experience except from a few Evanglelicals and Anglo catholics who have broken from ECUSA without the Communion. I have been an Anglo catholic Evangelical for most if not all of my ministry for Christ but saving faith is absolutely necessary otherwise we are simply “playing church” rather than “being Church.”

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