US Anglicans form new Church

Well, it has come to this. Longstanding theological disagreements, and an unwillingness of church leaders to decisively resolve them, have led to a complete church split.

Conservative Episcopalians - individuals, congregations, and dioceses, who have been leaving the Episcopal in recent years gathered this week to officially form a new Church - The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), an alternative Anglican Province to The Episcopal Church. The Church is said to represent some 700 parishes, 800 clergy, and 100,000 average worshipers. The Anglican Church in North America has adopted a provisional constitution and canons and will begin the process of seeking recognition by worldwide Anglican leaders as a legitimate province of the Anglican Communion.

Check here for more. Or here.

I hope that other historic ("mainline") Protestant Churches in the West will take note of what is happening, lest we fall into the same situation for the same reasons.

This new Anglican Province (potential province) will include a number of the existing 'spin-off' groups that have left The Episcopal Church over the years including The Anglican Mission in the Americas and the Reformed Episcopal Church. It will be led by a provincial assembly and an archbishop, according to the proposed constitution, available here (thanks for the link, Stephen!).

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Blogger Stephen said...

For better or worse, it is probably a good thing we have a Book of Discipline and our polity set up the way it is.

As I have argued before...Anglicans/Episcopals have NO authority and apparently don't want to have one. ACNA will argue for biblical authority (which I would say is probably not the best appeal -- I would be more apt to choose Creedal/Ecclesial authority and maybe the do on some levels). Episcopals will argue for pneumatical (I know not a real word) authority (or experience) which is the only way they can justify some of their positions as saying the movements of the Holy Spirit have expanded the church and to a lesser degree reason.

As much as Abraham doesn't like the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. I believe holding all these things in a good tension is probably one of Methodisms better contributions to the religious landscape.

Ouch found their website...finally.

Their provisional constitution only recognizes the 1662 BCP. Get ready for some King James! :)

10:48 AM, December 08, 2008  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

Hey Stephen,
I think you are exactly right. In order to have a community (especially a large one) in which everyone is going to share a common life, it is essential to have some very clearly spelled out standards and ways of enforcing them.

The appeal to Biblical authority is fundamental for doctrine and the pursuit of holiness but, of itself, it cannot guaruntee a coherent ecclesiology (as Protestantism has more than demonstrated for 5 centuries).

I think the citing of the 1662 prayerbook does not necessarily mean KJV-style language. The 1662 Book, along with the articles of religion, and other major benchmarks, is considered to be a doctrinal formulation. This means that the prayerbooks used in this new church has to conform to the DOCTRINE of the 1662 BCP. There are already modern-language versions of the 1662 BCP that address the concerns of traditionalists (many are dissatisfied for various reasons with the 1979 BCP, though the theological differences seem to be minute at most, and even then open to interpretation) - the Anglican Mission in the Americas has put one out that I have a copy of if you want to see it ever.

12:59 PM, December 08, 2008  
Blogger Stephen said...

What is the dissatisfaction with the 1979 BCP?

And the other question that I see as a potential for disagreement is ordination of women. Some of the diocese in this new communion are against it completely...see Fort Worth for one I believe.

As much as I complain at times about General Conference, I am glad that we do have polity and order.

Hope I didn't make the Bishop too mad last week :)

2:55 PM, December 08, 2008  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

The complaints I have heard about the 1979 BCP are several. Some complain that, because it has several different Great Thanksgivings AND has both traditional and contemporary settings of the mass - that it fails to truly be a COMMON prayer book, since not all of the people in the Church will pray the same prayers - even perhaps in their whole life in the Church. I should point out though that the Anglican Prayerbook, which has been prepared by and for traditionalists in the AMIA, also has 3 Great Thanksgiving prayers in the mass - though they are basically re-arrangements of the same language. I could see this since, historically, COMMON prayer has been a defining characteristic of Anglicanism.

Other complaints include the wording of various parts of the liturgy - in the Old versions the Nicene Creed begins with "I believe" the 79 version (like the UMH) begins with "We believe". I can't remember exactly why this made some of them mad, but they gave some reasons.

Also the opening acclaimation, blessed be God Father Son and Spirit and blessed by his Kingdom now and forever, has different punctuation in the 79 BCP which, detractors claim, promotes modalism in the new version. If find this highly debateable. I've got a whole book about this, but i didn't get very far before I decided they were being a little silly.

Did you do/say anything to make angry the bishop? If so, I didn't catch it...

4:08 PM, December 08, 2008  

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