Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Orthodox Anglican Laity Standing Up in Britain

A significant factor in the apostasy and decline of most mainline denominations in the West is that the laity, even orthodox laity, put up with apostasy instead of putting their foot down.  Or when they finally did speak up in numbers, it was too late.

So it gladdens my heart to see British Anglican laity taking action in the aftermath of the recent and already infamous General Synod of the Church of England.

The lay led Parochial Church Counsel (PCC) of St. John, Newland in Hull has publicly called on the Archbishop of York to repent of his role at Synod and has cut off parish donations to the Diocese of York in the indefinite/eternal meantime.  Good!  A necessary first step in combating apostasy and error is to stop funding it.

Laity are also playing a significant role in alternative synods already meeting.  These meetings include Anglican clergy and laity both inside and outside the Church of England.  How churches get involved in these synods is interesting and instructive [Emphasis mine]:

Churches have joined the synod by means of PCCs passing a motion: ‘As a PCC that is determined to uphold the Jerusalem Statement we commit to an Anglican synod of churches whose PCCs have likewise resolved to uphold the Jerusalem Statement. As an Anglican synod we will send representatives to confer, pray and assist PCCs in said synod as needful. We will seek to ensure our mutual support is in deed as well as word, and therefore enthusiastic, missional, financial and prayerful.’

By having churches join the synod via PCC resolutions, we ensure that lay people are fully involved in decisions and leadership. Bitter experience has shown that organisations almost exclusively led by Anglican clergy become talking-shops! Our churches see the Jerusalem Declaration as a valuable rallying point. Some churches have additional doctrinal commitments. In addition to the main synod meetings – attended by all our PCCs, there are occasional Clergy Chapters. These offer fellowship and training to clergy who are happy to sign a statement similar to the PCC motion.

Indeed, laity must make a stand and get involved if denominations and churches are to avoid apostasy and error.  One practical reason is it is easier to a lay person to disobey an errant bishop than it is for clergy.  The pressure on clergy to go along to get along can be great.  One example is a Church of England cleric under pressure from Justin Welby himself had his name withdrawn from a recent letter as reported on Anglican Unscripted #310 (about 2 minutes in).  It is far easier for a layperson than for clergy to tell Justin Welby and his ilk where to go.

So good on the lay leadership of St. John, Newland and on other Anglican laity taking a stand in Britain.  Their efforts aided by the power and grace of God are needed if orthodox Anglicanism is to survive and thrive in the UK.

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