"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics in the Future of Anglicanism

The Ugley Vicar has "summary notes" posted from the All Souls' Church panel discussion in London yesterday. Among the all-star speakers where Archbishops Orombi, Venables, and Jensen and the Rev. Dr. J.I. Packer. These notes make for interesting reading. I commend them to you, Gentle Reader. I call your attention particularly to the following comments from two prominent leaders of the Anglican world's ultra-Reformed wing:

Q: Do you stand with Forward in Faith and Anglo-Catholicism? Can Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics be in one communion?

Peter Jensen [Archbishop of Sydney, NSW, Australia]: Yes, we have been in one communion. In 2003, one group in the Communion made a terrific blunder breaking through the boundaries. This freed up the rest of us. The Communion will never be the same again. We are one Communion but far looser, and this enables great spiritual movements like GAFCON to arise. The blunder is being turned to good. The Communion is going forward and those who can sign off on something like the Jerusalem statement can work together.

Jim Packer [Emeritus Prof. of Theology at Regent College, Vancouver, BC, Canada]: It is important to know who our friends are. Anglo-Catholics generally believe in Trinity, Scripture, atonement, resurrection, judgement, prayer, etc. A ‘higher’ view of sacraments and priesthood seems secondary in the light of those primary correspondences. I can be friends with Anglo-Catholics. Modern Anglo-Catholicism has a different agenda from in the past. I can, with qualifications, be friends with Anglo-Catholics. I have good will towards Forward in Faith. Liberals are different, denying many of the aforementioned. We have let Liberals get away with too much with regard to leadership in the past.

RWF resumes: On the whole, I am pleased. If these two men, who have a well-deserved reputation as neo-Puritans, can take this eirenic attitude toward Anglo-Catholics it bodes well for the future of orthodox Anglicanism in the post-GAFCON era. I think we can "reason together." (While I wish the account of Dr. Packer's remarks didn't have that "with qualifications" reservation, its tone toward Anglo-Catholicism is remarkably positive for a self-described Calvinist. Besides, the Ugley Vicar tells us these are "summary notes." Perhaps this account is not precisely what Dr. Packer said. I eagerly await video or audio of the actual event.)

I am encouraged. Summary notes of all the talks at All Souls' are available from the Ugley Vicar.

UPDATE: Newbie Anglican has called our attention to further positive remarks from ++Jensen:

The last two weeks have been two of the most extraordinary in my life. What we are dealing with here is not a split, but a movement possibly as significant as the Evangelical Revival, or even the Anglo-Catholic movement if you prefer, and it may bring Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics together [applause].

These statements come from the archbishop's remarks in his individual talk at All Souls' as reported by the Ugley Vicar.


Anonymous WannabeAnglican said...

I'm encouraged as well. Later on, ++Jensen said:

The last two weeks have been two of the most extraordinary in my life. What we are dealing with here is not a split, but a movement possibly as significant as the Evangelical Revival, or even the Anglo-Catholic movement if you prefer, and it may bring Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics together.

And, yes, coming from the Archbishop of Sydney, that is remarkable.

7:10 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Thanks, Newbie. I had missed the comment you point out. Cheers!

8:02 AM  
Blogger The young fogey said...

Thank you for this Father,

Of course they've got a point that Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals are both unequivocally Christian (as are Central Churchmen); with Broad Churchmen/liberals you never know. Some are.


I can be friends with modern centre-left Episcopalians but that doesn't mean we're in communion.

Some issues nothing to do with gayness are communion deal-breakers. Is the episcopate necessary? Holy Communion: the literal sacramental Body and Blood of Christ or mere symbol? The Sacrifice made present or mere commemoration? Objective Real Presence or receptionism? Are women priests actually priests? Non-negotiable for Catholics and Protestants.

Keeping all that under the umbrella of 'orthodox Anglicanism' is simply trying to rebuild the Elizabethan Settlement so it can fall apart again.

Catholicism reduced to an option is no longer Catholicism, something the Anglo-Catholics in the 1920s understood full well.

That said, ISTM the last two Catholic dioceses in TEC, yours and Quincy, could drop anchor in the Southern Cone as San Joaquin has done.

Bishop Iker's right: Anglo-Catholicism has no future in TEC.

Now that the sun has set on the British Empire this church is tipping into the sea under the weight of its contradictions.

3:33 PM  
Blogger The young fogey said...

Then there's the big issue underlying all the others: is the church infallible or not? Catholics say yes, Protestants right (Articles XIX and XXI) and left say no. As Cardinal Kasper said recently, you have to choose a side.

3:50 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

YF, I would agree that the Church Catholic is infallible. But it has been unable to speak with a clear voice in that capacity on new issues for a thousand years. Until it is able to convene another genuine Ecumenical Council (not just the regional councils the Bishop of Rome has convened since the Great Schism) it will not be able to do so again. Which camp does that put me in?

3:57 PM  
Blogger The young fogey said...

I'd say almost Orthodox, Father. Rather Vincentian-canon. I say 'almost' because the Orthodox believe they have still the power to speak thus (no branch theory).

Is a church that's gone mute for a millennium and believes something's keeping it from speaking infallibly for some reason really infallible?

6:30 PM  

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