Tuesday, November 17, 2015

22 Reasons Why North American Confessing Anglicans Should Band Together


By Robin G. Jordan

As well as promoting and defending the centrality of the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage to authentic historic Anglicanism, I have identified twenty-two other reasons why Confessing Anglicans should band together in an organization of their own in North America.

Advocacy

1. Monitor the state of relations between Confessing Anglicans and the bishops and other clergy of their judicatory; uncover, investigate, and document discriminatory practices affecting Confessing Anglicans; maintain a file of specific cases of discrimination by bishops and other clergy against Confessing Anglicans; publish an annual report on the state of Confessing Anglican relations in the Anglican Church in North America, rating each judicatory on the basis of its treatment of Confessing Anglicans

2. Work to eliminate discriminatory practices against Confessing Anglicans in specific judicatories and in the Anglican Church in North America in general.

3. Intervene in specific cases of discrimination on the behalf of Confessing Anglicans.

5. Arrange for alternative oversight for Confessing Anglican congregations and clergy involved in theological disputes with their bishops particular over the use of the ACNA Catechism and the ACNA Prayer Book, the denial of ordination to Confessing Anglican candidates on the basis of their theological views, and the denial of appointment and/or licensure to Confessing Anglican members of the clergy on the same basis.

6. Work for the reform of the Anglican Church in North America particularly in the areas of its teaching and practices, its form of governance, the methods by which it selects bishops, the term of office of bishops, and its disciplinary canons.

Church Planting

7. Develop and publish practical guidelines for Confessing Anglican churches to help them in planting new churches.

8. Recruit, train, and deploy Confessing Anglican church planters who unreservedly subscribe to the teaching of the Bible and the principles of doctrine and worship laid out in the Anglican formularies and who genuinely stand in the Reformation heritage of the Anglican Church.

9. Provide grants-in-aid to new church plants.

10. Take what other steps may be needed to create a culture of multiplication in Confessing Anglican churches and to transform Confessing Anglican congregations and clergy into a church planting movement.

Clergy Deployment

11. Maintain a central register of Confessing Anglican clergy who unreservedly subscribe to the teaching of the Bible and the principles of doctrine and worship laid out in the Anglican formularies and who genuinely stand in the Reformation heritage of the Anglican Church.

12. Develop and publish practical guidelines to help Confessing Anglican congregations select a new pastor.

Ministry Development

13. Evaluate and recommend seminaries and theological colleges for the training of Confessing Anglicans preparing for gospel ministry

14. Provide supplemental courses on the Anglican formularies and the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage leading to a Certificate in Anglican Studies for clergy, candidates for ordination, and other gospel workers seeking to minister in Confessing Anglican churches.

15. Provide scholarships and other financial assistance to Confessing Anglicans preparing for gospel ministry

16. Sponsor internships for Confessing Anglicans preparing for gospel ministry.

Worship

17. Develop and publish forms of service consistent with the teaching of the Bible, the doctrinal and worship principles laid out in the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage for the use of Confessing Anglican clergy and congregations.

18. Develop and publish other worship resources for the use of Confessing Anglicans

19. Offer seminars and workshops on planning and leading worship.

20. Evaluate and recommend worship resources for the use of Confessing Anglicans.

Christian Education and Formation

21. Develop and publish a catechism consistent with the teaching of the Bible, the doctrinal and worship principles laid out in the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage for the use of Confessing Anglican clergy and congregations.

22. Evaluate and recommend Bible study, theological education, leadership development, and ministry training materials for the use of Confessing Anglicans, as well as develop and publish materials of its own.

This list is not exhaustive. It does, however, show how the formation of such an organization would meet a clear need.

3 comments:

STAAC APA said...

What about the APA?

Robin G. Jordan said...

If you are referring to the Anglican Province of America, it is not the American Episcopal Church of which it once was a part. Under the leadership of Bishop Walter Grundorf the APA has moved away from comprehensiveness that was a mark of the AEC. Most of its clergy are Catholic Revivalists.

One of the reasons the merger with the Reformed Episcopal Church failed is that, while the REC itself was experiencing a Catholic Revival of its own, the APA was far too Anglo-Catholic for the REC.

From what I gather, the APA is a ministry partner of the Anglican Church in North America. Only organizations that accept the ACNA fundamental declarations which water down the authority of the Anglican formularies and take a Roman Catholic position on the historic episcopate may become ministry partners with the ACNA.

The APA is also a jurisdiction in decline. Its clergy and congregations are aging.Its population base is shrinking. A number of churches have closed.

Among the factors contributing to its decline is a lack of leaders with the capacity to lead an ecclesial organization in the twenty-first century.

When Grundorf retires or dies, I am expecting the ACNA to absorb the remnants of the APA.

Robin G. Jordan said...

The challenges that the APA faces are not unique to that jurisdiction. They are common to a number of Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. The use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and in a number of churches the Anglican Missal limits their appeal to a relatively tiny segment of the population—a segment of the population that is disappearing. Young people who are attracted to their particular style of traditional worship are themselves a very small group.

Most Continuing Anglican churches have become inwardly-looking and highly-resistant to change. They may realize that they need more people in order to survive as a church but they do not want to make the necessary changes needed to attract these people.

They have lost their connection with their communities if they had a connection with their communities in the first place. Not only have their congregations shrunk but so have the relationship networks of the members of the congregation, depriving them of an important source of potential new members.

The form of Catholic Revivalism that flourished in the Continuing Anglican jurisdictions has contributed to their present state. It emphasized the sacraments and the sacramental ministry of a priest. As a result Continuing Anglican churches tended to become chaplaincies, a group of families with their own priest-chaplain, not too different from the household chaplaincies of the seventeenth century. The focus of their life together was the celebration of Mass and the reception of Holy Communion. In some Continuing Anglican churches it also included the adoration of the sacramental species.

This particular form of Catholic Revivalism deemphasized the central task of the Church—spreading the gospel and making disciples from all people groups. The idea that all Christians are missionaries and that every local church is a missionary outpost on the mission field received very little attention if it received any attention at all.

Jurisdictional leaders also contributed to the present state of the Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. As well not adequately emphasizing the importance of the Great Commission and missions, they also became fixated upon one ministry target group—dissaffected Episcopalians. This ministry target group, however, underwent a number of changes after the 1970s. Its Prayer Book became the 1979 Book of Common Prayer; its hymnal became The Hymnal 1982. It became accustomed to using contemporary worship songs as well as traditional hymns in its worship and to a more charismatic style of worship. A segment of this ministry target group would come to support women in ordained ministry. What had been the Continuing Anglican jurisdictions’ approach to reaching this ministry target group—emphasizing the use of the 1928 Prayer Book and the older hymnal and a 1950s style of traditional worship—did not work with it.

This development exposed the weaknesses of Continuing Anglican jurisdictional leaders in three important areas—church planting, church revitalization, and evangelism. They do not have the capacity (knowledge, skills, experiences, gift-mix, passion, etc.) to lead their jurisdictions in these three critical areas in the twenty-first century.