Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Canterbury Head Will Attempt Reconciliation Upon Consecration

VirtueOnline - News

New Archbishop of Canterbury will attempt Anglican Reconciliation at Enthronement ServiceGlobal South Primates will not yield on fundamental theological principles

Special Report

By David W. Virtue
February 21, 2013

The Most Rev. Justin Welby, leader of 77 million Anglicans, will face the first test of his leadership following his enthronement next month in Canterbury, England. Global South Primates comprising more than 80% of the Anglican Communion's constituent members will tell the new Archbishop of Canterbury that he will be held accountable for how he deals with theologically renegade bishops like Episcopal Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and Canadian Anglican Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

Sources in Africa tell VOL that archbishops from provinces like Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya say that they will continue their policy of not appearing at future primatial meetings if Jefferts Schori is invited and that the Communion will devolve into two distinct Anglican bodies with leaders from the Global South drawing together orthodox Anglicans from across the globe.

Welby is trying hard to get all the Primates in the same room while they are in Canterbury to try and take advantage of their natural desire not to offend a new ABC, the source told VOL. "If he succeeds we can expect the liberally positioned Anglican Communion Office to spin it as the dawn of a new age of Indaba."

To stave off the possibility of open dissension Welby, in one of his first official acts as the new ABC, has appointed Canon David Porter who is said to be widely experienced in peace building, group facilitation, and training, to a newly created position as "Director of Reconciliation" to "enable the Church to make a powerful contribution to transforming the often violent conflicts which overshadow the lives of so many people in the world."

Canon Porter's "initial focus will be on supporting creative ways for renewing conversations and relationships around deeply held differences within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion," the Lambeth Palace statement said.

Canon Porter may have impressive credentials in the reconciliation business, but they are fundamentally irrelevant to the problems of the Anglican Communion, the African source told VOL. "This whole 'conversation ala' strategy depends on treating the divisions in the Anglican Communion as essentially the same as violent political, ethnic and sectarian conflicts. This is muddled thinking and an insult to those GAFCON and Global South Primates who patiently endured years of fruitless debate before finally taking action to disassociate themselves from false teaching.

"At the heart of our Anglican difficulties is not relationship breakdown, but the undisciplined descent into moral and doctrinal incoherence. It is nonsense for the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a 'Director of Reconciliation' while at the same time the House of Bishops of which he is chairman embraces a policy which allows de facto gay bishops thus further alienating those very Global South Primates he wants, presumably, to reconcile."

In fact, the title "Director of Reconciliation" gives the game away. Reconciliation is a central part of any Archbishop or Bishop's ministry as an extension of gospel ministry. The appointment of a "specialist" implies that reconciliation is now seen as a matter of technique and particular skills, rather than something that is essentially theological. Therefore it is not about gospel ministry at all.

Until the issue of false teaching is addressed, as identified by the Jerusalem Statement and the Declaration of 2008, there is no theological way to heal the tear in the fabric of the Communion. There must be a willingness to repent of false teaching and reconciliation strategies which avoid this question earn the scathing rebuke of Jeremiah, "they treated my people's wound superficially, telling them, 'Peace, peace,' but there is no peace'." Jeremiah 6:4).

Although there is a new Archbishop of Canterbury, the underlying strategy of Lambeth Palace remains exactly the same - to conflate doctrinal breakdown with relationship breakdown. Obviously the two are connected, but to see everything as soluble by technique is a recipe for short term thinking and theological superficiality.

The leader of the Anglican Church of Canada had a "just say no" message to new Archbishop of Canterbury-elect Justin Welby in discussions on the Anglican Church in North America when the two men met recently.

Archbishop Hiltz is petrified that the new evangelical archbishop will recognize Archbishop Robert Duncan and the Anglican Church in North America as an emerging province thus diluting the influence of both the ACoC and The Episcopal Church USA. He and Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori both maintain their jurisdictions are the sole legitimate expressions of Anglicanism in North America.

Following legal actions by the ultra-liberal Diocese of New Westminster on sexuality, two new Anglican groups formed in Canada. They are the Anglican Coalition in Canada (ACiC) and the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). The ANiC is a constituent member of the ACNA.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury will have a very short honeymoon. His predecessor Dr. Rowan Williams failed to reconcile the communion with a Covenant that he hoped would bring reconciliation. He chose not to engage the US Presiding Bishop over the deep wounds caused by her heretical theological and moral positions. Welby will be forced to confront them or face rebellion from his most populace provinces. There will be no more talk of "Indaba" or "listening" that day is done.


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