Friday, January 21, 2011

When is enough Enough

Michael Ovey, principal of Oak Hill College (Anglican Seminary) in London, responds to a question regarding error in the church:

Question: What are some of the consequences of a church, seminary or denomination tolerating false teachers?

Answer: This is a hard one to answer. Any church, seminary or denomination will have a range of views. Some of those views will be wrong. Nevertheless there are some views which are so wrong that tolerating them takes the church, seminary or denomination beyond a critical mass, so to speak. When that happens, I think it's clear that error multiplies and will not be confined simply to the original mistake, and at a more fundamental level the tendency is for the organization in question to stop seeking truth and answers but to rest content with the existence of conflicting opinions. In that way the search for truth is a casualty and I feel that that leads to an exponential growth in problems.

Question: Hilary of Poitiers said that 'Heresy lies in the sense assigned, not in the word written. The guilt is that of the expositor, not of the text.' What are the danger signs of this very thing happening in a minister's ministry?

Answer: I think the Hilary quote is brilliant. He also makes the point that a heretic uses the texts of Scripture but connects them in a way that the Scripture does not. Heretics do have an order, says Hilary (in respect of the Arian heresy), but the order is one that is imposed and is the heretic's own...."

p 180, 181 Risking the Truth by Martin Downes, 2009

Monday, January 17, 2011

What is the ACNA?

Reaching North America with the Transforming Love of Jesus Christ

Our Genesis

Globally, regionally and locally, Anglicanism is in the process of reformation. Within the last decades, the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada have increasingly accommodated and incorporated un-Biblical, un-Anglican practices and teaching.

In the context of this widening theological gap, the existing geography-based organizational model of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada became problematic for orthodox Anglicans. Orthodox parishes, clergy and dioceses that upheld Biblical authority and historic Anglican practice became isolated within their existing structures.

Distressed churches and entire dioceses began to disaffiliate from the established provinces in North America and seek episcopal oversight and spiritual care from Anglican Provinces and leaders in other parts of the world, including the primates and churches of Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South America and Uganda. Beginning in 2000 with the Church of Rwanda, these leaders have responded by accepting orthodox Anglican parishes and dioceses in North America into their care.

In February 2005, leading orthodox bishops and ministries representing a number of different Anglican jurisdictions in North America launched the Common Cause Partnership. In September 2007, the bishops of the partnership gathered to begin shaping a unified and orthodox Anglican church in Canada and the United States. The inaugural meeting of the governing council, held on 17 December 2007, elected the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan as the moderator of the Common Cause Partnership.

Then in June 2008, Anglican leaders from around the world gathered at the Global Anglican Future conference and, among other decisions, determined that the North American Anglican groups under their care and united in the Common Cause Partnership should form a united Anglican body and seek recognition as a province in the Anglican Communion.

Following significant formational work by the Common Cause Partners, these same Anglican leaders have now recognized the resulting ecclesial structure – the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) – as authentically Anglican and have commended formal recognition of ACNA to the other leaders in the Communion. During this period of transition, bishops within ACNA will retain membership in the House of Bishops of the province in which they were members prior to the formation of ACNA.

In bringing together so many faithful Anglicans and Anglican Churches, the ACNA has demonstrated its commitment to unity within the bounds of truth. It represents the reuniting of orthodox Anglicans who have been squeezed out of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada by successive changes to historic Christian teaching and Anglican practice. Unique among the members of ACNA, the Reformed Episcopal Church was founded in 1873. It has remained faithful to the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ for its 135 year history and is now reuniting with others who share the same commitment to the Word of God.

Founding members of the Common Cause Partnership

The ecclesial and non-ecclesial organizations which have worked together to form the 28 dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America are:

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone
Diocese of Fort Worth
Diocese of Pittsburgh

Diocese of Quincy

Diocese of San Joaquin

Anglican Network in Canada -
Various missionary initiatives in the United States

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Nigeria
Convocation of Anglicans in North America

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Rwanda
Anglican Mission in the Americas (including the Anglican Coalition in Canada)

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Kenya
Various missionary initiatives in the United States

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Uganda
Various missionary initiatives in the United States

Independent Anglican Church
Reformed Episcopal Church

Non-ecclesial founding members of the Common Cause Partnership
American Anglican Council
Forward in Faith North America
Anglican Communion Network

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Jerusalem Statement

The Jerusalem Declaration

In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:

We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.

1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.

We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.

We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.

We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Savior from sin, judgment and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.

We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.

We recognize that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.

We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.

We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptize, teach and bring new believers to maturity.

We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.

We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognize the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.

We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.

We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.

We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.