Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Revealing Statement on the Conclave from Forward in Faith N. A.

Overnight, Forward in Faith North America (FIFNA) released a statement on the ACNA Conclave and its decision on womens’ ordination.  This statement finally answers some questions I and others have raised.  The beginning should not be skimmed past:

Beloved in Christ,
As the Council of Forward in Faith, North America we have discussed with the six FiF NA bishops who have just returned from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where they met in Conclave, the implications of the Message from the College of Bishops. They have been very clear that the agreement of the College is that individual statements, and, in particular, attributing to individual bishops, their comments cannot occur. Moreover, any comments that would appear to suggest some form of “victory” would be highly inappropriate. 

Thus the quiet from anti-WO bishops is explained – the College of Bishops agreed that there would not be individual public statements afterward from bishops.  (That begs the question of why at least three bishops from dioceses that recognize the Holy Orders of women have made statements.  But I will just leave that question out there for now.)  But FIFNA has discussed matters with the six FIF bishops, who all oppose womens’ ordination of course.  So Forward in Faith’s statement should give some insight into what happened at Conclave and into the thinking of the six and likeminded bishops.

And these six may think that the result of the Conclave may not be as bad or as final as some think.  First, they are making a point to avoid and to urge others to avoid “any comments that would appear to suggest some form of ‘victory.’”  Second, “the College understands that the January meeting in Melbourne Florida will be the next opportunity for them to meet and prayerfully proceed.”  And later (Emphasis mine.): “This Conclave was designed and reported to be the very first time that serious theological conversation has occurred regarding the nature of Holy Orders as an innovation in the Episcopal Church in 1976.”  So it may not be as over as it seemed at first.

I had suggested that the Conclave was not all that unanimous.  I appear to be correct: “We also acknowledge that the Statement was unanimously endorsed, but that this endorsement does not imply that Traditionalist Bishops have reached any conclusion other than the one that has been articulated for 2000 years.”

FIFNA puts a positive face on the current situation and emphasizes conciliarity but then acknowledges, probably also reflecting the mind of the six FIF bishops:

…we are disappointed. We wonder if this would not have been an excellent opportunity for those Bishops who ordain women to recognize that this action continues to cause division. We wonder if it would not have been possible for those bishops to announce a moratorium on the ordination of women, rather than continuing to contribute to the potential of an Ecumenical crisis. We wonder if those bishops would recognize that female clergy cannot function in most of the Dioceses of the ACNA and in the vast majority of Christian churches throughout the world. In that regard they have intentionally or unintentionally effected a state of impaired Communion, whereby not all Clergy are in Communion with one another. We further recognize that many Forward in Faith Bishops are put in an awkward position regarding their ability to participate in the consecration of Bishops who fully intend to contribute to disunity by virtue of their willingness to ordain women.

It is hard for me to improve on that.  Thus Forward in Faith North America has issued a very helpful statement.  They have provided some clarity on what happened at Conclave and on the mind of traditionalist bishops.  Since the Conclave there has been not a little unhappiness among traditionalists, particularly clergy.  And the quiet from traditionalist bishops certainly taxed the patience of some.  Hopefully this statement and bishop-clergy meetings and communications in the dioceses will calm things down.

However, peace and unity are not one-way streets as the statement itself notes in its irenic way.  Pro-WO bishops and dioceses also need to make a point to calm matters, not inflame them with the usual baggage that so often accompanies WO in the West, such as using the auspices of ACNA to push a so-called “social justice” agenda.  Nor should there be a rush to ordain women as there was immediately after the formation of ACNA.


But I am nonetheless thankful for this statement from Forward in Faith North America.  While not telling everything, it provides some needful clarity and perspective.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Maria - Worst Name for a Hurricane Ever

Come on.  Whose idea was it to name a Hurricane after Mary?  And is the National Hurricane Center so clueless that no one said, “Hey guys, about that “M” name for 2017…”?

Well, I guess when people get visited by Mary lately, she does often seem a bit ticked.  So maybe naming a hurricane after her isn’t that off.


Now that I think about it, the Second Coming won’t be a picnic.  So how about Hurricane Jesus?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

AMEN Drags ACNA Further into Immigration Politics UPDATED

I’ve noted that some in ACNA are dragging us into divisive immigration politics.  The Anglican Multiethnic Network (AMEN) and Caminemos Juntos, self-described as “entities of the Anglican Church in North America dedicated to helping the province better reflect the diversity of North America in our local churches” are among the culprits.  The latest from them explicitly asks for citizenship for “dreamers”:

We therefore ask those entrusted with the role of governing and legislating to provide a comprehensive solution to the wider immigration issue that includes a path to citizenship for those children raised here who only know this place as their home.

Leaving aside the question of whether the federal government should do this (Except for those who serve in the military, I am adamantly opposed to citizenship for illegals.), this is not appropriate for a church organization to do.  If individuals in ACNA want to push for - or against -amnesty on their own time and without ACNA’s name being attached to it, fine.  But AMEN’s act is as inappropriate and divisive as, say, me and the likeminded in ACNA forming the REAL Anglican Massive Edifice Network (REAL AMEN), associating ourselves with ACNA as AMEN and Caminemos Juntos does, and agitating to Build the Wall.

I very much want to “build the wall” and secure our borders.  But I have enough discernment and concern for unity not to push for that under ACNA’s auspices.  I do that on my own time and without attaching ACNA’s name to it.

Should the church ever intervene in politics?  Yes, when there are biblical principles that clearly apply and when there is a church-wide consensus on how to apply them.  Such areas are freedom of religion, abortion, and the persecution of Christians. 


Whether illegals should have a path to citizenship is not such an area.  There is not a consensus in ACNA about that.  Therefore what AMEN and Caminemos Juntos just did puts secular political preferences above the unity of ACNA.  Sadly, this is not the exception but a pattern from some of ACNA’s leadership.


UPDATE: I may have been overly charitable in saying ACNA was dragged into this.  They have posted this statement on the church website itself. (You may have to scroll down.)


MORE: And on ACNA’s twitter feed, too:

Friday, September 08, 2017

Initial Observations on the Statement of the ACNA College of Bishops on the Ordination of Women

Their Conclave having concluded, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America have issued a statement setting forth their decisions.  In short, the status quo on women’s ordination in ACNA will continue.

Although disappointed with their decision, I do have to give them credit on one thing – they did not kick the can down the road, but went ahead and made their decision.  Whatever one feels about WO, it’s better to know where we stand now than later.  I, for one, am thankful that the option of stringing along the faithful, so often practiced in the Anglican Communion, was rejected.

However, I do not think the bishops realize, or at least are not admitting in this statement they realize, what danger ACNA is in.  Archbishop Beach’s statement that the bishops are “more unified than ever” seems wishful to me.  Maybe the bishops are very unified but many of the rest of us in ACNA are not. But I will have to put that subject aside for another post or two.

And perhaps the bishops are not all that unified.  I do not have privy information nor should I speculate.  But a close reading of the statement may reveal divisions.  Abp. Beach wrote that the College of Bishops unanimously agreed to the final statement.  And that statement documents that they unanimously agreed to continue with the policy of not having women bishops.  However, the other agreements noted in the statement are noted without indicating whether they were unanimous or not:

In an act of mutual submission at the foundation of the Anglican Church in North America, it was agreed that each Diocese and Jurisdiction has the freedom, responsibility, and authority to study Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition of the Church, and to seek the mind of Christ in determining its own convictions and practices concerning the ordination of women to the diaconate and the priesthood.

And this:
Having gratefully received and thoroughly considered the five-year study by the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders, we acknowledge that there are differing principles of ecclesiology and hermeneutics that are acceptable within Anglicanism that may lead to divergent conclusions regarding women’s ordination to the priesthood. However, we also acknowledge that this practice is a recent innovation to Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order. We agree that there is insufficient scriptural warrant to accept women’s ordination to the priesthood as standard practice throughout the Province. 

Now it could be that these agreements were unanimous also.  But since two important unanimous decisions are noted – on the statement as a whole and on women bishops – one would think if these other agreements were unanimous, that should and would be noted as well.  Perhaps statements in the coming days from various bishops will clarify how unanimous the Conclave was.


The College of Bishops’ statement, along with the Holy Orders Task Force, did not address the baggage that seems always to attach itself to women’s ordination in the West.  That is a serious omission though an understandable one since several bishops surely would not acknowledge WO has such a problem at all.  That, too, is part of the problem.  Many in ACNA, like me, can live with women’s ordination.  Fewer will put up with the baggage that so often comes with it.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Scottish Episcopal Church gets called out by … The Anglican Church of Australia??

I don’t expect much good news from the Anglican Communion or Australia anymore, and I certainly did not expect this.  The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia (ACA) just passed a resolution expressing “regret that the Scottish Episcopal Church has amended their Canon on Marriage to change the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman by adding a new section that allows clergy to solemnise marriage between same-sex couples….”

Further, the resolution expresses “support for those Anglicans who have left or will need to leave the Scottish Episcopal Church because of its redefinition of marriage and those who struggle and remain….”

Given that some in the ACA would rather denounce interventions of support, such as from ACNA and Bishop Andy Lines, this is remarkable.  Now this resolution does not overtly mention such interventions, but still….

I knew there would be such a resolution proposed at the ACA General Synod but I didn’t give it a snowball’s chance.  It seems the Diocese of Sydney’s influence and numbers are so increasing and the influence and numbers of the libchurchers are so declining that Australia is not firmly in the libchurch camp anymore.  If so, I gladly confess this good news snuck up on me.


David Ould is more on top of this and has the full text of the resolution here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Archbishop Foley Beach Writes on the Bishops’ Conclave

ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach has issued a call to prayer for the Bishop’s Conclave on Holy Orders which begins today.  It begins (Emphasis mine.):

As many of you may have heard, the College of Bishops is gathering this week (September 5-7) in conclave (a private assembly of the bishops) to discuss the report we have received from the Task Force on Holy Orders earlier this year, specifically women's orders. This is the beginning of our formal discussion as bishops, and I sincerely doubt it will be the end of our prayerful deliberation on this important issue. We are seeking to hear God's will for us as Biblically orthodox, and faithful North American Anglicans, who are part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

So it sounds like a decision on women’s ordination is unlikely at this meeting.


I do not feel comfortable commenting further before the Conclave concludes.  But, yes, I am indeed praying.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Pray for the ACNA College of Bishops in Conclave

In the midst of recovering from Harvey (My dwellings did okay; my state of mind is another matter, particularly after my house was broken into.), I let the ACNA College of Bishops Conclave sneak up on me.  It begins tomorrow in Vancouver and is scheduled to go into Friday.  The task will be acting upon or at least considering the issue of Holy Orders, namely women’s ordination.

Bishop Bill Ilgenfritz of the Diocese of All Saints wrote a letter about this last month.


I am praying for this Conclave and urge all readers to do likewise.  Personally, I doubt godly unity in the Anglican Church in North America can continue without some difficult and wise decisions from the College of Bishops.  This Conclave is that important.