"Continuing Anglican" Churches - Arguably the most consistently traditional or "classical" Anglican churches.

Continuing Anglican Miscellany

"Anglican Realignment" Churches (ACNA, AMiA, and others) - Conservative but markedly less traditional.

Reformed Episcopal Church - Currently part of the Anglican Realignment but these days much more like the traditional Continuing Anglican bodies.


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The Anglophilic Anglican

A BCP Anglican

The Book of Common Prayer (Blog of Photos)

The Book of Common Prayer (Online Texts)

The Cathedral Close

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Classical Anglicanism:  Essays by Fr. Robert Hart

Cogito, Credo, Petam

Colorado Anglican Society

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O cuniculi! Ubi lexicon Latinum posui?

The Ohio Anglican Blog

The Old High Churchman


Prayer Book Anglican

The Prayer Book Society, USA

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Reformed Catholicism

Reformed Episcopal Church

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Stand Firm


The Theologian

The World's Ruined


To All The World

Trinity House Blog

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We See Through A Mirror Darkly



The Babylon Bee

Bad Vestments

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Lutheran Satire


Ponder Anew: Discussions about Worship for Thinking People


Black-Robed Regiment

Cardinal Charles Chaput Reviews "For Greater Glory" (Cristero War)

Cristero War

Benedict Option

Jim Kalb: How Bad Will Things Get?



Christians in the Roman Army: Countering the Pacifist Narrative

Bernard of Clairvaux and the Knights Templar

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Islamophobes (We're in good company)

Jihad Watch

Nineveh Plains Protection Units

Restore Nineveh Now - Nineveh Plains Protection Units

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The Muslim Issue



Abbeville Institute Blog

Art of the Rifle

The Art of Manliness

Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture

Church For Men

The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, (Leon Podles' online book)

Craft Beer


Eclectic Orthodoxy

First Things

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Joffre the Giant: Excursions in Christian Virility


Mercurius Pragmaticus Redivivus

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Tim Holcombe: Anti-State; Pro-Kingdom

Midwest Conservative Journal

Numavox Records (Music of Kerry Livgen & Co.)

The Pipe Smoker

Red River Orthodox

The Salisbury Review

Throne, Altar, Liberty

Project Appleseed (Basic Rifle Marksmanship)


What's Wrong With The World: Dispatches From The 10th Crusade



A Defense of the Doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son  (Yes, this is about women's ordination.)

An (Extended) Short History of the Diaconate

Essays on the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood from the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth

Father is Head at the Table: Male Eucharistic Headship and Primary Spiritual Leadership, Ray Sutton

Homo Hierarchicus and Ecclesial Order, Brian Horne

Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters, J.I. Packer

Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes, Peter J. Leithart

Ordaining Women as Deacons: A Reappraisal of the Anglican Mission in America's Policy

Priestesses in Plano, Robert Hart

Priestesses in the Church?, C.S. Lewis

Reasons for Questioning Women’s Ordination in the Light of Scripture, Rodney Whitacre

Streams of the River: Articles Outlining the Arguments Against the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood

Traditional Anglican Resources

William Witt's Articles on Women's Ordination (Old Jamestown Church archive)

Women Priests?, Eric Mascall

Women and the Priesthood, Catholic Answers

Women Priests: History & Theology, Patrick Reardon

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                                                      Photo courtesy of Smash the Iron Cage

                 Theme Music:  Healey Willan - Missa brevis No. 2 in F Minor


Those Catholic Men


Ordaining Women as Deacons: A Reappraisal of the Anglican Mission in America's Policy

Not sure how I missed this important essay from Bishop John Rodgers. But here it is.

When I sought to be ordained in the AMiA, I was told that opposition to the sign gifts would be a "deal breaker."  "I'm not a cessationist", I replied.  That response was in earnest, though in need of serious qualification, but it was enough for the gatekeeper at the time.

Now I have to say to AMiA that the practice of ordaining women as deacons, for me, is a "deal breaker."  That, and AMiA's neo-Anglicanism and its inordinate devotion to one "stream" over the other two. But I think the former concern somehow goes hand in hand with AMiA's ambiguity in practice wrt the ordination of women to the priesthood.  (See "Priestesses in Plano" (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3).  Also.)

The thorns being identified, please let me direct everyone's attention to the rose. Words can't describe the esteem in which I hold Apostolic Vicar Philip Jones, who ordained me, and Bishop Sandy Greene, who certified my chaplaincy ministry, and Bishop Gerry Schnackenberg, said gatekeeper who graciously forgave an online indiscretion of mine shortly after I was ordained, and the Rev. Bob Grant, who shephered us through the ordination process, and Canon Paul Jagoe, who oversees AMiA healthcare chaplains, and second cousin-in-law Fr. Gavin Pate, who helps to keep things running in AMiA, and my former priest Fr. Ralph Mollica and his wife Cindy, good friends whom we will love forever, and so many others in AMiA.   I harbor a hope that the few Anglo-Catholics in AMiA, such as Kevin Donlon, might be influential in pulling AMiA back in a Catholic direction wrt the office of deacon.  On the other side of the ledger, I harbor the hope that the Continuum will learn something from AMiA about church planting and evangelism.  But it is time for me to move on.  I will soon be incardinated into the Orthodox Anglican Church by Archbishop Thomas Gordon.  So looking forward to returning to the Anglican Continuum.


Vir Futurus

Patriarchy.  What was, once, in the natural order of things, what always should have been in the natural order of things, and what will be in the natural order of things, world without end.  Amen.


A Reader Asks an Important Question

My good friend Peter Yancy chimed in with a response to this 2014 article , entitled "ACC Archbishop Mark Haverland: "What Is Anglicanism?".  I reproduce his comment here with my reply:

Very well written, and a thoughtful article. I agree with your conclusions, Christopher, but I was wondering: Is it possible that a High Church Anglicanism could serve more to unify than a strictly Anglo-Catholic model? What I mean by that is the High Church model of the Caroline Divines, as opposed to many in the Anglo-Catholic community who seem to ape Rome. At times it amazes me to see certain Anglo-Catholics using missals, wearing Roman Catholic vestments of post-18th century design, and commemorating the feast days of post-Reformation Roman Catholic saints such as Bernadette of Lourdes. The use of the rosary and sacred heart images is another issue as well. The Laudians had no desire to replace the Prayer Book with a missal, or to pray the rosary, to wear chasubles and birettas, or decorate the churches with images. I am not trying to sound overly harsh towards those Anglo-Catholics who engage in such things, but do you see my point? A large number of Anglo-Catholics come across more like Old Catholics than Anglicans. Perhaps a more traditional High Church model such as that advocated by the High Churchmen of the 17th century would offer a better model of Classical Anglicanism than what many are offering now.

My reply:

I do indeed see your point, Peter. There is no need for Anglicans to ape Roman practices in order to be genuinely Catholic, though disagree on whether or not certain Anglo-Catholic practices, such as the use of a missal, is inherently Roman. But I do think that both Caroline and *Tractarian* divinity (as opposed to later Ritualist and Anglo-papalist movements) have things to teach us all about being genuinely Catholic. Canon Middleton argues, and I tend to agree with him, that all of orthodox Anglican divinity, from the Reformers to the Tractarians, have aspired to represent the Catholic faith in its purity, nothing more and nothing less. He cautions, however, that each of these strains of Anglican theology might have so aspired with certain Anglican "agendas" lying at the core, and that the best way to rid ourselves of these agendas is to seek to conform fully to the minds of the Fathers and Doctors of the undivided Church of the first milllennium. I believe we can do so, on the one hand ridding ourselves of those agendas but at the same time maintaining distinctive English Catholic contributions to both theology and spirituality. We're not Romans, and we're not Orthodox. But we are Catholic.


"The Risk Is Worth It", I'm Confidently Assured by a Young AMiA Priest


God. Bless. The.  Beer!

For my Finneyite Anglican clergy friends in a certain diocese and parish in the ACNA who objected to our Anglican Beer Club and to priests who sport their clergy collars in the pub.  (That is, all 5 of you, including the priest who blocked me at Facebook even after supposedly forgiving me for my strong reply to his broadside.)

Ale Mary: Croydon Minster to revive medieval tradition of blessing beer.


The Prayer Book as Regula: A Slideshow

Lengthy but valuable "Powerpoint" style presentation by Fr. Dcn. Matthew Dallman (Akenside Press) on the Benedictine backdrop of the Book of Common Prayer as it relates to English spirituality.  Where the Benedict Option begins for Anglicans.  Enjoy.


We Win. The Forces of Antichrist Lose

An absolutely superb review of Mary Eberstadt's recent book by Rachel Lu, writing at the Federalist: Why Are Progressives On An Anti-Christian Witch Hunt?  I want to focus on these salient words from the article:

Eberstadt presents the persecution of Christians as a kind of witch-hunt. Even though traditional religion is in fact culturally marginal, progressives view Christians as a monstrous threat, poised to subvert the whole nation with our anti-freedom theocratic agenda. We’re a kind of cultural boogeyman in an age of overwhelming anxiety.

On this reading, the impulse to persecute arises from a kind of mania. Deep cultural anxieties get transferred to Christian scapegoats. Progressive fear of Christians is like a Freudian psychoanalytic phobia.

David Goldman, in his review of Eberstadt’s book, points to another possible explanation. What if progressive fear of traditional religion isn’t based on a delusion? Perhaps liberals correctly perceive that their cultural dominance is fragile and already beginning to crumble. Perhaps they fear Christians because they accurately identify is as the most significant cultural force outside of liberal progressivism itself. Perhaps they sense that traditionalists, even when relegated to a counter-culture, have the cultural resources to challenge their hegemony. . . .

Over the last few decades, the progressive elite has enjoyed congratulating themselves for outgrowing traditional religion. Religious people have long been presented in the media as reactionaries and rubes, hopelessly blinded by hateful prejudice. A thousand elite autobiographies have begun with a smug recounting of the progressive “saving experience” wherein the child in church realizes that God is dead, and that the Sunday School teacher is just a pitiful functionary of a corrupt purveyor of fairy-stories. This condescension towards religion is an elemental component of progressive faith.

Now the liberal elite has a problem. Traditionalists aren’t nearly as extinct as we’re supposed to be. Actually, our beliefs and communities are looking surprisingly resilient. Committed Christians met a nice, gay couple (even several!) and still held to traditional sexual morals. The pro-life movement keeps hanging around like a bad cold. Liberal progressivism has not been the unqualified political and cultural success they expected it to be.

Things feel precarious. Liberals feel threatened. The psychic balance between progress and tradition is wildly disturbed. Panicking because a Christian friend offers to pray for you is in a way quite absurd, but to the insecure liberal, the offer to invoke divine influences may seem genuinely ominous. They don’t understand traditional religion, but it seems to have an eerie staying power. Some traditionalist spokesmen, if you listen to their siren song, actually seem fairly reasonable. They even have the audacity to bolster their self-image by doing good deeds!

Suddenly those reactionary rubes start seeming like a real threat. The hysteria begins to mount. . . .

Like Goldman, though, I’m mildly perturbed by the way Eberstadt presents Christians as culturally weak and helpless. To be sure, many elements of the present situation are beyond our control. Persuasion is very important at the present moment. In many respects, though, progressives are right to fear us. They have reason to shut down conversations before they can begin. We aren’t really looking to dominate them through theocratic tyranny, but we do have some very powerful critiques of their sex-obsessed “faith.” Also, our traditions have a depth and balance and reasonableness to them that progressives have barely begun to appreciate.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Christians will populate these American shores for a long time after our insecure degree-toting elites have been relegated to the pages of dusty books. That’s a good enough reason for progressive liberals to read Eberstadt’s book, and reflect on their manic animosity towards Christians. It’s also reason for Christians to persevere in hope.

Contrast this with the recent utterly defeatist tone of Rod Dreher's recent piece, The Coming Christian Collapse:

Spencer predicted that Catholicism and Orthodoxy would benefit from this collapse. Maybe so, but he must have had no idea how unprepared Catholicism and Orthodoxy are to react to these developments among Evangelicals. We can hardly keep our own young people, much less offer a safe, strong position for refugees from the Evangelical collapse to land. In theory, we have it. But we either don’t really believe what our own traditions teach about themselves, or we don’t care enough about it to teach it effectively to our own young.

Conclusion: Christianity in America is strong in pockets, but mostly its strength is only apparent. It is a façade that will come tumbling down when social conditions are right. This is something that most of us Christians will live to see. This is something that few of us Christians will have prepared for.

And when it happens, our bishops, leading pastors, and senior laymen will be like the GOP Establishment in the Age of Trump, left to wonder what in the hell happened.

Wrong, Rod.  As I wrote in the comments section under his article, "I beg to differ . . . . Ruin is coming to the West, and the Church will be the sole beneficiary", and in a friendly tweak to his despondent nose, I posted this video from Apollo 13:

"There’s no doubt in my mind that Christians will populate these American shores for a long time after our insecure degree-toting elites have been relegated to the pages of dusty books."  Lu is right and Dreher is wrong.  Lu is right because the Church is Christ's and Christ is the Dread Sovereign and Lord of History.  Ruin is coming to the West, which is to say, to the liberal elite who imagine that they run the West, but whose program has been an abject failure and whose states no longer enjoy political legitimacy, if they ever did.  They are going down, and they're going down hard.  They will go down because we will take them down one way or the other, either by our efforts alone (pass the ammunition), our efforts aided by  supernatural blessing (praise the Lord and pass the ammuntion), or by supernatural means alone (Praise the Lord, i.e., the Eschaton.)

Rod:  stop wringing your hands and cowboy the you-know-what up.  "¡Viva Cristo Rey!"


Messier Yet: The Case of the ACNA

Another hard-hitting critique from Touchstone's S.M. Hutchens, which follows an earlier one entitled The Conservative Episcopalian Mess.  Recent OJC comments on ACNA's mess can be read here, here, here and here.

It appears the fix is in.  One ACNA priest comments with reference to "Messier yet":

Well-written and well-reasoned, especially the part about churchmanship being a red herring.

A year ago, I'd have thought that the issue was probably going to fade away because of the lack of support for WO among the bishops as a whole. I.e., WO would die by attrition as the current female presbyters retire and few new ones are ordained.

Since then, I've heard an increasing reframing of the discussion (including by folks at the highest level of church authority) as to whether or not we'd continue in the "agreed" path of "dual-integrity," as if that was the plan in ACNA from the beginning rather than a temporary solution while the bishops did some theological work on the issue. That really smells like a bait-and-switch to me.

If it is still true that the vast majority of the bishops support the historic approach to Ordained Ministry, I wish they'd just be bishops in this matter rather than politicians. And if it's not true, I wish they'd stop stringing things along and just own up to WO being the law in ACNA so that folks for whom that is a deal breaker could move on.



East Meets West in C.S. Lewis

Great article from Eighth Day Institute.

NOT MANY readers of C. S. Lewis know that, despite his well-known sympathies with the major texts and theologians of the West, he embraced a radically Eastern vision of the Christian life as a pilgrimage toward total transformation called theosis. This is a Greek word that does not actually appear in the New Testament. Yet like Trinity and Atonement, as terms also absent from Scripture, it is crucial for comprehending the Gospel. Roughly translated, it means the “divinizing” or “deification” of human life. C. S. Lewis’s friend Charles Williams gave it an odd English translation: “in-Godding.” We are called not merely to be yanked back from the brink of Hell, so that we remain ransomed but still sodden sinners for the sake of the Kingdom. Nor are we meant to follow Jesus as our Exemplar, striving for moral improvement so as to become “good people.” Important though these things surely are, they don’t touch the depths of theosis, which calls us to participate in the very life of God. We are summoned to be nothing other than icons of Christ. . . .

As Lewis also argues in Mere Christianity, the whole purpose of the Gospel is to turn Christians into what he variously calls “new men [and women],” “little Christs,” “Sons [and Daughters] of God”—all of which may rightly be called true icons.


Martin Thornton on St. Augustine and Predestination

In his book English Spirituality : An Outline of Ascetical Theology according to the English Pastoral Tradition, Martin Thornton surveys the English Catholic ascetical tradition, which he sees rooted in both the theologies and spiritual traditions of Latin Fathers beginning with SS. Augustine and Benedict, and as given shape by medieval theologians such as SS. Bernard and Thomas Aquinas.  In the context of the English Church, that spirituality takes more specific form through the influences of the Celtic Church, St. Anselm of Canterbury, the great English mystics Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich, Richard Rolfe and Margery Kempe, and finally through the writings and practice of the Caroline Divines. 

As mentioned in a previous post, I found his comments on St. Augustine both informative and rewarding:

Experience insists on some kind of predestination: some are Christians, some are not, and no Christian can take credit for his own conversion.

Now, that is in a nutshell the argument I've made here at OJC about the Pauline-Augustinian doctrine of grace:  man is dead in sin and accordingly has no ability to understand the Gospel or to say "yes" to God's grace in his own power.  Grace must "prevent" ("precede") faith (Eph. 2:8-10; the Pauline-Augustinian doctrine of "prevenient grace"). 

Thornton is quick to add, however, that he has "tried to explain that Augustine's great importance is to lay the foundation of Christian spirituality, not to complete its superstructure", a comment that reminds me of what J.B. Mozley said of such "superstructures", whether Pelagian or Augustinian:  "All that we build upon either of (the root presuppositions of each system) must partake of the imperfect nature of the premise which supports it, and be held under a reserve of consistency with a counter conclusion from the opposite truth."

Indeed, Thornton,  in good Arminian fashion, speculates here whether or not "we may think of being 'elected', not to inevitable salvation, but to the Christian struggle on behalf of others."  Whatever the answer to that question may be, he concludes in good Augustinian fashion that the "Pelagian emphasis on austerity and rigour makes creative ascetical progress quite impossible", while "Augustine's doctrine of prevenient grace permits it."  Indeed, our ultimate sanctification is all of grace.


William Witt Responds

Here.  His comment is quoted here in full.  My reply follows:

Deacon Little,

I actually do visit your blog from time to time. It does seem that I am your favorite example of everything that is wrong with the ACNA, and that's fine with me. I do find myself frustrated with your tendency to pin me on a board like the proverbial butterfly to which you've nicely attached a "label."

I did write that I was a "Reformation Christian," but I would never have added the adjective "mere"or say that we are under no obligation to "prayerfully consider" the admonitions of Rome, Orthodoxy, and Anglicans who consider Anglicanism a branch of the Catholic Church -- although with Michael Ramsey I consider the "three branch theory" to be a kind of trumphalist apology for schism. (Ramsey also came to affirm women's ordination.)

My understanding of what it means for Anglicanism to be a "Reformation" Church can be found here:

"Reformation Anglicanism thus saw itself as in continuity with the Catholic Church, and a reforming movement in the Catholic Church, but certainly not as rejection of genuine Catholicism."

"If I were asked to identify my churchmanship, I would call myself a “catholic evangelical” or a “Reforming Catholic,” in the tradition of movements like the Mercersburg Theology, Jenson and Braaten’s Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology, or figures like Thomas F. Torrance. If I am an Evangelical, I am an ecumenical Evangelical, who understands the Reformation as a reforming movement in the Western Catholic Church. If am an Anglo-Catholic, I am a post-Vatican II Anglican catholic, who understands catholicism as ressourcement, not as retrenchment. If asked to choose between an evangelical and a catholic understanding of the Reformation, I would refuse that choice as a false dilemma."

And here:

"I would suggest that Anglican theology can be understood as “Reformed Catholicism” or “Catholic Evangelicalism.”

Even on the issue of women's ordination, where I know you find my views not simply mistaken, but heretical, I affirm my position because I I am convinced a case can be made on theological grounds that are not only Evangelical, but also Catholic.

Grace and Peace,
William G. Witt

Greetings, Dr. Witt, and thanks for the opportunity to address your points in this new post.

First, there is no need for you to take what I write so about your beliefs so seriously, for in fact I do not view you as the key “example of everything that is wrong with the ACNA.”  Yes, because of your visibility and influence in the ACNA I do highlight what I believe to be the error of your spirited and much-quoted defense of women’s ordination, but be assured that I am not singling you out personally.  You are but one of many voices clamoring for retention of the unfortunate innovation, and it is that phenomenon – the widespread support for this unbiblical and uncatholic practice found not only in the ACNA but the wider Anglican Communion – that continues to draw the ire of those of us on the side of apostolic and Catholic tradition. 

Moreover, I don’t believe that the practice of women’s ordination itself constitutes “everything that is wrong with the ACNA”.  There are other issues that stick in my craw about the Realignment and “orthodox” provinces in the Communion:  the inability of many of their clergy (especially millennials) to think systematically and historically about theology and politics; their influential “three-streams” orientation, which I have come to believe is both incoherent and un-Anglican; their willingness to abide un-Anglican practices in the Evangelical wing such as lay presidency at the Eucharist and the rejection of infant baptism; the rampant charismania/liturgical bacchanalia, and the unfortunate phenomenon, noted by such prominent Anglicans as Canon Arthur Middleton and Martin Thornton, of the “divorce between scholarship and pastoral practice from which Anglicanism still suffers” (Thornton, English Spirituality), that is, an inordinate emphasis on “Ph.D Anglicanism.”

It is true that you did not use the adjective “mere” when you spoke of “Reformation Christians,”, but let’s take a look at what you actually did say:

The long and short of it is, I am highly in favor of ecumenism (with Rome and Orthodoxy). At the same time, I think that the only proper way for ecumenical relations to move forward is that those of us who are Reformation Christians need to recognize that there are reasons that we are not Roman Catholics or Orthodox, and that progress can only take place if ecumenical discussion is a two-way street.

Now, when you say that being “Reformation Christians” means that” there are reasons “we are not Roman Catholics or Orthodox”, that is an implicit approval of not being in communion with them, notwithstanding your being “in favor of ecumenism”.  I think that is a very unfortunate, uncatholic, and let me add – dangerous – implication to make.  Anglican relations with the Orthodox were so good at the beginning of the 20th century that, had it not been for the Anglican Communion’s radical embrace of women’s ordination, which of course was rooted in deeper theological pathology, it may well have been in communion with the Orthodox by now.

What’s more, you Evangelical Anglicans aren’t the only “Reformation Christians” around.  Reformation principles, as variously understood and implemented by the “Reformation Christians” who embrace them, has led to all manner of deviation from Catholic faith and practice, both “conservative” and radical.  The problem with “Reformation Christianity”, as amply proved by its history, is that its principles provide no real anchor.  Throw Enlightenment ideologies into the mix and “Reformation Christianity” becomes even more unstable.  And that’s precisely what we have in Anglicanism, both in its liberal and “conservative” varieties.  At the end of the day, departure from Catholic faith and practice is the result of rebellion (the liberal variety) or rebellion masked as reform (the “conservative” variety).  In point of fact, while "Reformation Anglicanism (and later Anglican divinity – EP). . . saw itself as in continuity with the Catholic Church", its Reformational, and later, radical, principles put it on a trajectory away from continuity with the Catholic Church.  The embrace of women’s ordination in the Anglican Communion is a key example, but by no means the only one.  As I strenuously argue here at OJC and elsewhere, modern Anglicans need to come to grips with whether or not they truly do adhere to the classical Anglican belief that the Church of England and her progeny constitute nothing less than the Catholic Church and that what that communion of churches believes is the faith of the apostles and Church Fathers.  There is only one way to be "in continuity with the Catholic Church," and that is, in fact, to be in continuity with it, especially with respect to an issue that has such deep and profound triadological and christological connections.  And as Canon Middleton argues, we can't find continuity with it on our own terms.  We have to find it in terms with our proven conformity, in faith and practice, to the mind of the Fathers.

It’s clear that you are “convinced a case (for WO) can be made on theological grounds that are not only Evangelical, but also Catholic.”  But Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and traditional Anglicanism – in short, the vast majority of Catholic Christianity - is not convinced of your claim to catholicity, just as many Evangelical Protestants are not convinced by your case on biblical and Protestant theological grounds.  Your case has been examined and answered by both Evangelical and Catholic theologians.  There is really nothing to do now except go our respective ways, your side unwilling to let go of your innovation and my side defending apostolic and Catholic faith and practice, which is why I believe ACNA will eventually fracture over this issue.

Or if it doesn't, it should.


Embryo Parson


Martin Thornton on Anglicanism, Ecclesiology and the Benedictine Way

"If ascetical theology depends upon an accepted doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ, then Anglicanism fares no better than Protestantism. An equally varied body of opinion may be found in the ranks of the Church of England, but the significant difference is that, however abused, misused and misunderstood, Anglican ascetic is rooted in the Book of Common Prayer, which follows the universal pattern of Eucharist, Divine Office, personal devotion and habitual recollection, traceable through St Benedict to the New Testament. As an ascetical system the Book of Common Prayer presupposes the Catholic doctrine of the Church."

(The Rock and the River, Chap. 2)

H/T Matthew Dallman at Akenside Press.


Martin Thornton on Protestant Ecclesiology

"It would be untrue to say that Protestantism inevitably reduces the Church to a mere congregation of believers in this world, yet, in general, it remains suspicious of the full Catholic doctrine of the divine, ontological entity, eternally grounded in the permanence of the sacred humanity of Christ, embracing the saints in heaven and the departed in paradise; the Mystical Body of Christ in its fullness." - (The Rock and the River, chap. 2)

H/T Matthew Dallman at Akenside Press.


Geoffrey Kirk's Concluding Paragraphs

From his demolition job Without Precedent: Scripture, Tradition, and the Ordination of Women.  Speaking of the vote in the Church of England that allowed the ordination of women, he writes (bolded emphases mine):

A speech that passed almost unnoticed in the course of the debate was that of David Lunn, then Bishop of Sheffield.

The supporters of the legislation are divided on this issue of revelation, perhaps more than they realise. Some (the majority, I suspect, though we have not heard much from them on this matter today) . . . do not believe that there is a revelation with a given, known, tangible, authoritative content: the Holy Spirit leads us without embarrassing encumbrance from the past. Others, while believing in the reality of God's revealed truth, have convinced themselves that the revelation is silent on this "indifferent" matter of ministry. Oh, my deaf friends, hear me. If this legislation is approved this afternoon the authority of Scripture in the decision-making processes of the Church of England will have been inexorably and fatally weakened. Let me speak particularly to the House of Bishops.

The bishops are appointed to be the guardians of that faith once delivered to us.  To me it is both astonishing and distressing that the first fruits of the coming to prominence of so many Evangelicals among the bishops has been the steady carrying forward of this profoundly – at best – a-scriptural and probably unscriptural legislation. All of you, laywomen, laymen, deacons, presbyters, bishops, who believe that there is a concrete reality in God's revelation of himself, and that this is guarded, lived and handed on in Scripture and in the life of the Church, must hesitate for a very long time indeed before you vote for this legislation which, however its supporters may decorate it with quotations from Scripture, has its roots in a very different system of belief.

It was a speech that, in the eccentricity of its delivery, lost the impact it should have had. But it is packed with phrases prophetic of the future of the Church of England. "The Holy Spirit leads . . . without embarrassing encumbrance from the past." "The authority of scripture in the decision-making processes of the Church of England will have been inexorably weakened and fatally flawed!' "This legislation, however its supporters may decorate it with quotations from scripture, has its roots in a very different system of belief' Time has tested and proved the sagacity of those remarks. Though the Church of England continues, twenty years on, to celebrate the pain of those women who felt themselves denied their rights, the wisdom or otherwise of the innovation will be seen, not in its immediate fruits—the ministry of those women--but in the residual ability to deal with the social and ethical challenges which lie ahead. The immediate issue is that of homosexual marriage. No one in 1992, I suspect, envisaged a Conservative Party which would initiate changes in the understanding of marriage which would radically challenge the ipsissima verba of Jesus, the immemorial teaching of the Church, and the global cultural consensus of many millennia. But Vivienne Faull is right: "things are changing quickly in the country." And David Lunn was also right: the scriptural resources in the decision-making processes of the Church have been fatally weakened. (Michael Adie, you will recall, cited Jesus's own words about marriage, not to defend marital fidelity between a man and a woman—the burden of the texts—but to uphold a doctrine of sexual equality, which cannot be inferred from them.) It is not difficult to predict what the outcome will be. The real arguments in favor of women's ordination—anxiety about relevance and an un-nuanced attachment to human rights – makes the embrace of same-sex marriage only a matter of time.  The present Archbishop of Canterbury has said as much.  The church will be seen as “increasingly irrelevant”, Justin Welby told the General Synod, and as promoting attitudes “akin to racism.”  On another (and, some had maintained, unrelated) topic he has nothing better to say than George Carey.

David Lunn was also right about the origins of these ideas:  “legislation which, however its supporters may decorate it with quotations from Scripture, has its roots in a very different system of belief.” The language of inalienable and self-evident rights is very far from the unvarying vocabulary of the scriptures, which speak of divine will and gracious gift. It is the language of Jean-Jacques of Geneva, not of Jesus of Nazareth.

One is reminded here of the words of C.S. Lewis: "Now it is surely the case that if all these supposals were ever carried into effect we should be embarked on a different religion."  Indeed.  Sad that so many Evangelicals, all of whom believe themselves to be "biblical Christians" par excellence, have conspired to support such an unbiblical and uncatholic practice as women's ordination, so unbiblical and uncatholic in fact as to constitute a different religion, a difference in kind, not just degree.  We might be able to forgive Evangelicals who do not have a Catholic ecclesiology or a Catholic view of ordination.  Anglicans, however, cannot be forgiven.


Alice Linsley on the ACNA Task Force on Holy Orders

"The Task Force has started with the three stream error. It is faced with the impossible task of coming to a theological compromise that allows the 3 groups to stay in fellowship. Of the 3 streams, Evangelicals and Charismatics tend to be more comfortable with the notion that God is doing a "new thing" which runs against the very nature of catholicity which stresses the unity and consistency of doctrine and practice throughout Church history. The enemy often derails us by creating confusion. That is what we have in the ACNA today. My prediction is that the ACNA will hold together because of the great affection that its members hold for one another, and the desire to prolong its life. However, over time the ACNA will have fewer and fewer catholic minded members. It will end up being mainly a 2-stream body."

Word.  Indeed, as I noted here, "If (ACNA) agrees with ACNA theologian William Witt that Anglicans are mere "Reformation Christians" and accordingly that it is under no obligation to "prayerfully consider" the admonitions of Rome, Orthodoxy and Anglicans who still believe that their church is a branch of the Catholic Church, then let ACNA say so and go its merry Protestant way."

Stay tuned here for a quotation from the hard-hitting conclusion of Geoffrey Kirk's
Without Precedent: Scripture, Tradition, and the Ordination of Women, which among other things faults Evangelicals in the Church of England for the role they played in forcing this uncatholic innovation upon the church.


Update on the Post Below

Some new activity on ACNA Facebook page discussion referenced in the post below.

My friend Alice Linsley is a former Episcopalian priest who renounced her orders because, first of all, she is devoted to the Catholic Faith, and secondly because she became convicted that the ordination of women is a practice that stands in opposition to it.  She has been a vocal critic of the practice since then.  Like me, she sojourned briefly in the Orthodox Church, and also like me found a true home in orthodox Anglicanism.

Mrs. Linsley recently penned an article critical of ACNA's "dual integrity" policy, which was published at Virtue Online.  It is fittengly entitled, "The Mushy Thinking of Neo-Anglicans".  She posted a link to this article and other comments at the ACNA Facebook discussion, to which I responded by posting a link to the Touchstone/Mere Comments article also critical of ACNA from S.M. Hutchens, which, as I noted in the post below, the moderators at the Facebook page initially refused to accept.  As of this morning, to their credit, it's still there.

However, that hasn't stopped certain participants from kvetching about us.  One of them is my friend Chuck Collins, a priest in the ACNA and author of Reformation Anglicanism: Biblical - Generous - Beautiful.  Rev. Collins is a staunch advocate of the Edwardian/Genevan phase of the English Reformation and a critic of Anglicans who see both Caroline and Tractarian divinity as a needed corrective to it.  Unlike many Reformed Anglicans, however, he is an advocate of women's ordination.  He complained with what he deemed to be the proper sarcasm:

I think it's great if ACNA fixates on an issue of which equally committed, biblical Christians disagree while the world is dying to hear about Jesus Christ. Congratulations.

This prompted a response from Cindy Larsen, an ACNA priest:

Chuck, that is why many of us do not respond to such things. We are keeping the main thing the main thing. What matters is Jesus!

Which elicited this response from Rev. Collins: 

Thanks Cindy. In my advanced age, you would think that I would have learned by now. Sigh.

So you see, because "equally committed, biblical Christians disagree" on this issue, and because "the world is dying to hear about Jesus Christ", it isn't worth "responding to such things".  "What matters is Jesus!"  We sad traditionalists, in defending apostolic and Catholic faith and practice, are missing the big evangelistic picture doncha know.

Well, my response at the Facebook discussion to Revs. Collins and Larsen this morning is as follows: 

"What matters is Jesus."

A proposition that stands at the very heart of the argument against women's ordination. Luke 6:46-49.

- What matters is Jesus, who was incarnated in the form of a male as reflective of the masculinity of God everywhere revealed in Holy Scripture.

- What matters is Jesus, who Jesus picked 12 men as his successors.

- What matters is Jesus, who promised to send the Holy Spirit to his successors to lead them into all truth.

- What matters is Jesus, who continued to be Lord of the Church after the death of apostles, and made His will known though Tradition, the "life of the Holy Spirit in the Church" (Vladimir Lossky).

- What matters is Jesus, in whom a male priest stands in persona Christi and hence must be a male.

- What matters is Jesus, who warned about those who called him Lord but refused to do what he says.

Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

If there was ever a case in the history of the Church where churchmen and churchwomen refused to do the bidding of Christ, causing a great fall of their house, it is this the adoption of the uncatholic monstrosity known as women's ordination.  What's more "Reformation Anglicanism" may be largely to blame here.  If what I read on Facebook and elsewhere from ACNA clergymen on all manner of issues, the strain in ACNA is already beginning to be seen.

There is only one way to save the house, and that is to rebuild it on the Rock, which is precisely what traditional Anglicans are trying to do.  But this doesn't matter to the proponents of women's ordination in the Anglican Church of North America.  In this article, Fr. Robert Hart complained, "How can we talk about theology to people who answer with sociology, political theory and trendy psychology?"  To that we might add people who answer with glib statements about "biblical Christians" who disagree on the issue and the "untold millions" dying to hear the Gospel.


They're Not "Prayerfully Considering" Anything at the ACNA Facebook Page

In the combox dicussion under S.M. Hutchens' article, "The Conservative Episcopalian Mess", upon which I commented yesterday, an ACNA priest who happens to be a Facebook friend of mine objected to what he viewed as the article's unfairness: 

I wonder if the writer has spoken to other bishops? Well over 70-80% of ACNA bishop are against WO. Right now the College of Bishop are prayerfully seeking the Lord as how to deal with this matter. The author seems to show a level of ignorance of someone who is outside the fight, and complaining about how the boxer is swinging!

Now it is true that the majority of the ACNA's bishops are against WO, but as Hutchens said in his reply,

Alas, though, I have been around long enough not to be even slightly impressed with a bunch of bishops, or anyone else, “prayerfully considering things.” In fact, I am almost at the point where when I am told that things are being considered prayerfully by anybody, I may assume that they wouldn’t change their pre-formed opinion on the article under consideration even if one appeared from the dead. If they manage to do what they should, now that will be impressive. (Emphasis mine.)

Indeed.  The ACNA needs to decide whether or not it is truly a branch of the one, holy catholic and apostolic church, as Anglicans have long asserted about the Church of England and her progeny.  If it is, then it will end the uncatholic innovation of women's ordination forthwith.  If, rather, it agrees with ACNA theologian William Witt that Anglicans are mere "Reformation Christians" and accordingly that it is under no obligation to "prayerfully consider" the admonitions of Rome, Orthodoxy and Anglicans who still believe that their church is a branch of the Catholic Church, then let ACNA say so and go its merry Protestant way.

If the trend over at the ACNA Facebook page is any indication of just how prayerfully its managers are considering the question of women's ordination, well, it is clearly out of sync with the majority of the bishops.  Several days ago I posted a link there to an important new work by Geoffrey Kirk entitled Without Precedent: Scripture, Tradition and the Ordination of Women.  My post lingered on pending status for awhile and eventually disappeared.  Yesterday I posted a link to the Hutchens article along with the quotation I set forth in the blog entry below.  It went to pending status, and this morning I found that my post again had disappeared.  They clearly aren't having any.

All of which highlights why we can all appreciate the quandary in which the majority of bishops find themselves.  Should they "manage to do what they should", ACNA will rupture.   And that's precisely why they won't do what they should.  Unity trumps Catholic faith and practice.


A Challenge to the Anglican Church in North America from Steve Hutchens

The Conservative Episcopalian Mess.

Presiding Bishop Foley Beach, who is himself opposed to women’s ordination, notes in favor of the arrangement that “a lot of the women priests in ACNA have stood side-by-side with a number of our bishops and clergy who are against women’s ordination when they were in the Episcopal Church. These women argued for the right of these bishops to have the freedom to not ordain women. Women’s ordination is a very complicated issue, because we’ve got people who have given their heart and soul on each side. And, these people are sincere; they’re godly”

This is the center of the mess. The sort of people who should be in authority in the churches should evince the kindness, loyalty, and reasonableness seen in Bp. Beach. Here we have no evident crotchetiness, misogyny, queerness, vain ambition, pigheaded resistance to reasonable change, or simpering, lacy, power-addicted prelacies. The women priests are doubtless superior Christians of deep sincerity, and when considered functionally, pastoral competence.

But they are not men. As worthy as they may otherwise be, they cannot stand in the place of the man, with all the theological, sacramental, and symbolic significance of the male who is Christ, the head of the church, and in whose place the officiant at pulpit, altar, and the father of the congregation stands. The conservative priestess does not mean to, but she denies Christ by denying the testimony of his maleness as the incarnate Son, and stands where she does with and because of egalitarians who set the sex of the Lord at nought by teaching that the significance of his incarnation and Lordship lies only in his humanity and not in his sex. Translated into the convictions of the mediating churches this means that women priests, being fully human, are for that reason seen as just as qualified for the presbyterial office as men are—and in the case of the leaders of ACNA—that the denomination as a whole, in its generosity, good temper, reasonableness, and patience, is willing to give forth an uncertain sound on the “oughtness” of women’s ordination.

Who will deny that many women presbyters have the most pious intentions and aspirations?  But what does this matter when the question of whether they may hold this office is essentially theological, and calls for a yes or no conclusion?  I would ask ACNA in particular whether their toleration of women priests can stand up to serious examination in light of the doctrines to which they profess to hold, reflected in the symbolic life of their church, and whether a negative response to this question can sustain adequate ground for including in their communion those who answer it positively. The issue goes to the heart of the doctrine of Christ (that is why egalitarian theologians are so concerned with leveling the Trinity to comport with their views), and because of this it is a matter of “essentials” that cannot be treated as adiaphora or an article covered by exhortations to charity.

This confusion is of the least eradicable kind, for it is found where there is much solid thinking, good will, reason, courage, and integrity, so that addressing the problem properly looks like the pettiness and compulsiveness of inferior versions of continuing Anglicanism from which many of the member churches of the ACNA have made a long and painful escape, and in which this seemingly small measure of liberality is a valued–and necessary–part of a new identity.

The discussion in the combox section is also a must read, particularly the responses to one Karen, a supporter of WO plying her feminist theological wares.  The replies are classic.


Here's The Thing

With Augustine, Calvin, and the Reformed, I believe that no one becomes a Christian "unless the Father draw him."  Thus far my agreement with the Edwardian/Cranmerian phase of the English Reformation.

But I also understand why English Arminianism took issue with the Augustinian and Reformed doctrines of grace.  "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe." "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."  Thus my affirmation of Anglican Arminianism.

I am entertaining thoughts of ways these Scriptures can actually be harmonized without resorting either to Calvinism or Arminianism.  Stay tuned.

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