Saturday, May 20, 2017

Unpleasant History the ACNA Holy Orders Task Force Left Out

I have followed Archbishop Foley Beach’s admonition to read all of the Holy Orders Task Force report before commenting.  In full disclosure, I skimmed a bit, but I did work through the whole thing.  So now I have my Commenting License.

To me what most stands out about the report is that it contains one long history lesson.  But what stands out almost as much and is more important is what history is neglected in the report. 

Jesus taught you shall know a tree by its fruit.  A fair corollary is that a tree will grow and produce fruit in line with its roots.   By those standards, women’s ordination, at least in the West and U. S., is problematic.

The roots of women’s ordination in the United States for the most part implanted in mainline denominations now wracked by apostasy.  Perhaps the problem was more to do with the soil than with the roots, but continuing… The roots of women’s ordination in the Anglican Church in North America are, for the most part, in The Episcopal Church of the 1970’s – not the best background.  (Yes, not every ACNA diocese that ordains women has its roots in The Episcopal Church.  Hence I said “for the most part.”)  In large part, WO was baggage carried into ACNA from The Episcopal Church.

As for its fruit, women’s ordination in the West has gone hand in hand with apostasy and preaching “another gospel,” the social gospel.  Now I grant that the argument could be made that connecting WO with apostasy is a post hoc argument.  In the Global South and in ACNA, there are orthodox jurisdictions that ordain women.   But I do have to say that I have noticed, to my alarm, social gospel tendencies from ACNA dioceses that ordain women.

But accurate or mistaken, there is the perception among many Anglicans, including this one, that the fruit of women’s ordination has been tried and wanting.  The theologies of the first women bishops in the Church of England are examples of that.  The marginalization of those who oppose or do not fully recognize women’s orders in the Church of England (See the Philip North affair.) and in The Episcopal Church is another.

Yet the Task Force report barely addressed this concern about the roots and fruit of women’s ordination. I do not know why, do not have any privy information, and do not think speculating why would be edifying.  I do know and concede that addressing the recent roots and fruit of women’s ordination in the West is not at all easy to do in a tactful manner that does not inflame divisions.  Heck, I am trying hard here to be polite, but it would not surprise me if this post upsets some people.


Nonetheless, this concern should have been fully addressed in the report.  The report went through a lot of history.  But unpleasant aspects of the history of women’s ordination in the West were not sufficiently addressed.  If ACNA will continue ordaining women to the priesthood, then we should be told why that is not rooted in The Episcopal Church of the 1970’s, or that such roots are not a besetting problem.  And we should be told why ACNA will not go down the primrose path of apostasy and the social gospel as have other Western jurisdictions that ordain women.  Going down the path of women’s ordination while assuming it will have entirely different results would be a dangerous assumption indeed.

Monday, May 15, 2017

ACNA Holy Orders Task Force Report Released

The Holy Orders Task Force has released their report.  ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach has sent out a letter along with it with the following admonition:

Please note the following:
• The Task Force was not commissioned to resolve the issue, but was asked to develop resources to help the bishops in future conversation on this topic.
• Therefore the report does not answer the questions of what the College is to do, but it is a study presented to the College to help the College in our discussions.
• The report does not change our current practice regarding women’s orders as stated in our Constitution. Our current practice allows each diocese to determine whether it will ordain women as deacons or priests.
• The report will now be sent to the GAFCON Primates for their input and guidance for our discussions.
• The College of Bishops will now be studying the whole report, and we will meet in special session later in the year to discuss how we move forward together.

As your Archbishop, I ask the following from you:
1) Don’t comment on the report until you have read it all.
2) Don’t comment on the report until you can fairly articulate the opposite point of view.
3) Remember that no decisions have been made at this time to pursue changing our Constitution.
4) Remember that we are all followers of Jesus Christ on mission together, holding those with the opposite point of view in Christian love and charity.
5) Lastly, sincerely pray for your bishops as we seek to serve Jesus Christ in this matter.

That first request is a big ask.  The report is 318 pages.  But I intend to abide by my Archbishop’s request.  For all of ACNA so to do will take a miracle.

Both the report and the Archbishop’s letter may be found here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Battle of Truro Has Begun

The ACNA parish of Truro playing nice with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has long been an issue in the background.  Now it has become an issue front and center in ACNA with the formation of the Truro Institute, “A School of Peace and Reconciliation”.

Excuse me.  I had to go vomit there.  For we know what “peace and reconciliation” looks like in The Episcopal Church.  And look further at the mission of the Truro Institute -- to “work with seminarians and other young people to seed our respective denominations with a new generation of peace makers.”

Thanks, but no thanks.  The last thing the Anglican Church in North American needs is to be seeded with “peace makers” from The Episcopal Church.

ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach, to his credit, has wasted no time in issuing a frank statement about this school:

I have only recently been made aware of the “Truro Institute,” described as “A School of Peace and Reconciliation” which is proposed to be jointly led by Truro Anglican Church, Fairfax, VA, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

The idea of a School of Peace and Reconciliation is to be commended. I would welcome the opening of centers with this focus around the Anglican Church in North America if they promote Biblical reconciliation.  Unfortunately, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has not been reconciled with the revealed Word of God, and is therefore not an appropriate partner for such a project. Their leadership continues to promote teaching and practice that is contrary to Scripture —teaching that, if followed, would keep people from an eternal inheritance in the Kingdom of God, teaching that has torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion, and teaching that remains a scandal in the Anglican Communion to this day. Therefore, until there is repentance by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, there can be no true Gospel partnership with them.

Bishop Guernsey and I had both made this clear to the leadership of Truro. I have been amazed at the godly counsel, patience, and goodness of Bishop Guernsey in these discussions. I am disappointed that they have not just ignored, but defied our counsel. In doing so they have entered into a legal relationship with the Episcopal Church that makes them unequally yoked. It requires the permission of the Episcopal bishop for me to visit, and it creates an Episcopal Diocese of Virginia center of ministry with a required on-campus presence of one of their bishops. The decision to partner with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in this way is not in harmony with the Bible’s instruction in dealing with false teachers, and it denigrates the costly sacrifice of the many congregations who had their buildings and assets taken by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

It is ironic to begin a “Peace and Reconciliation” center when you are not at peace with your own bishop and archbishop. Truro has been a leader in the renewal of North American Anglicanism, giving a robust defense of the Gospel, and refusing to peddle any counterfeit. It is my hope that they will uphold that heritage, resist counterfeit versions of “reconciliation,” and fulfill their calling among the leading congregations of the Anglican Church in North America.


A good statement indeed that sets forth just how serious a situation this is.  But further measures will surely be necessary and that probably soon lest the Provincial Assembly this summer become that much more *interesting*.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Queen’s Maundy

Today, The Queen once again celebrated the wonderful English tradition of the Sovereign distributing the Maundy.  This year it occurred at Leicester Cathedral.  The Daily Mail has the usual abundance of photos and some interesting history.

The 90-year-old monarch traditionally hands two purses - one white and one red - to each person during the service. The red purse contains a £5 coin, commemorating the Centenary of the House of Windsor and a 50p coin commemorating Sir Isaac Newton. 

The white purse will contain uniquely minted Maundy coins, equating in pence to her age, as Her Majesty prepares to celebrate her 91st birthday on April 21. The coins, a ceremonial gift from the Sovereign, are legal tender but recipients normally prefer to retain them as a keepsake.

I imagine they do!  I’ve wondered what a special occasion it must be for those few who get to receive the Maundy.

The first monarch to take part in a Maundy Thursday service was King John, of Magna Carta and Robin Hood fame, who distributed gifts of clothes and money to the poor in Knaresborough in 1210. John was also the first to present the poor with silver coins and is recorded as having done so in Rochester in 1213. 


There’s much more interesting history at the link.  Do go read and gaze for yourself.  And have blessed Maundy Thursday.

Monday, April 10, 2017

When I First Knew Something Was Wrong With Pope Francis

By now traditional Catholics know too well that Pope Francis is dreadful in too many ways.  Not to brag – one would rather be wrong about such things – but I knew very early on there was something wrong with him.  How?

His first Easter Vigil was less than three weeks after he became Pope.  It would have been logical that he’d just go with Benedict’s excellent liturgy.  Instead, Francis shortened it.

Francis processed into a darkened and silent Saint Peter's Basilica at the start of the service, in which the faithful recall the period between Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Sunday.

One of the most dramatic moments of the Easter Vigil service that usually follows - when the pope would share the light of his candle with others until the entire basilica twinkled - was shortened this year as were some of the Old Testament readings.

The Vatican has said these provisions were in keeping with Francis' aim to not have his Masses go on too long.

Thus, early on, Francis showed his utter lack of sound priorities.  The Easter Vigil is not a service one cuts short.  For one thing, part of the drama of it is its deliberate pace.  In the primitive church, it could go all night.  And so early in his papacy didn’t he have better things to do than chop up the Easter Vigil?

But Francis rushes in and starts undoing the excellent liturgy of the best liturgical Pope of our lifetimes. 

Yes, it was then that I already knew something was wrong with Francis.


I pray my Roman Catholic friends have a blessed Holy Week and Easter anyway.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Why We Are So Divided

Daniel Greenfield has written one of the better explanations I’ve seen of why we are so divided as a country.  In short, the Left has taken over the Democrat Party and is refusing to submit to the Constitutional Rule of Law.  And that includes attacking the Constitutional freedoms of opponents, of which the violent attacks on Trump rallies and right-of-center speaking engagements are only the tip of the iceberg.  One can hardly be unified with those trying to attack and enslave you.

Some highlights of Greenfield’s piece:

Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control.

The left has rejected the outcome of the last two presidential elections won by Republicans. It has rejected the judicial authority of the Supreme Court when it decisions don’t accord with its agenda. It rejects the legislative authority of Congress when it is not dominated by the left.

It rejected the Constitution so long ago that it hardly bears mentioning….

There is no form of legal authority that the left accepts as a permanent institution. It only utilizes forms of authority selectively when it controls them. But when government officials refuse the orders of the duly elected government because their allegiance is to an ideology whose agenda is in conflict with the President and Congress, that’s not activism, protest, politics or civil disobedience; it’s treason.

Exactly.  Today’s Left only submits to Constitutional democracy when they win.  And when they win, they work to tear down Constitutional democracy.  

We can have a system of government based around the Constitution with democratically elected representatives. Or we can have one based on the ideological principles of the left in which all laws and processes, including elections and the Constitution, are fig leaves for enforcing social justice.

But we cannot have both.

Now I do not think we are headed towards a shooting civil war.  But I do think the only good way in front of us to deal with our current divisions is the complete and virtually permanent defeat of the Left. (Another tolerable possibility is a national divorce as Ace has advocated from time to time.  But that appears unlikely.) For it is not just policy differences at stake.  Our Constitutional freedoms are at stake.  We must defend them and defeat their enemies.  Yes, today’s Democrat Party is among the enemies.


The left is a treasonous movement. The Democrats became a treasonous organization when they fell under the sway of a movement that rejects our system of government, its laws and its elections.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Multiculturalism Kills

Multiculturalism, the delusion that all cultures are more or less morally equivalent and are to be welcomed, has once again been proven a deadly delusion.

My prayers are with the victims of the Westminster terrorist attack and with their friends and families.