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:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rev. Kennedy Calls for Bp. Chuck Murphy's Public Repentance over Schism

Rev. Matt Kennedy, an Anglican Rector and sponsor of Stand Firm, calls for "public repentence" for "schismatic" behaviours by the Rt. Rev. Chuck Murphy, AMiA.  Rev. Kennedy's response is found at comment #22.

As Mark Galli pointed out here, the only reasons cited by +Murphy for his break with Pear are “ecstatic” and personal. He has never indicated explicitly or implied that PEAR has deviated from orthodoxy in any way. In the absence of such a deviation, the most appropriate word for this sinful division is schism.

+Murphy is a bishop in the church. As such his public acts carry a great deal of weight and influence. It is vital for the health and wellbeing of his followers and the Church as a whole that before there is any coming together, he publicly and clearly repent of his schismatic behavior and there be a reconciliation between him and PEAR.

I am sure there are many things we do not know about the money and about the interpersonal relationships between bishops. I am sure that the various parties have all hurt each other in various ways. And yet, since there are no charges of heresy, these disputes do not provide a legitimate basis for breaking ecclesial bonds.

There was a couple in my church early in my ministry. They were not getting along and had both hurt each other in various ways…deeply. But there was no basis for divorce.
I had numerous counseling sessions with both. The wife wanted to work it out. The husband refused.

Ultimately, he filed for divorce without any legitimate biblical cause. He was removed, at that moment, from the communion of the church and we began a process of restorative discipline.

He wanted to continue to maintain his membership and status in the church while divorcing his wife without cause. We said no.

He ultimately and unfortunately decided to leave rather than to repent and reconcile.

So be it. Did I make pastoral mistakes? Sure. And yet there is no doubt in my mind that we as a church did what had to be done in order to remain faithful to scripture.

If we’d let him continue as part of our body without repentance, his actions would have served as a precedence for any couple in the future to do what God expressly hates—causing great harm both to themselves and to the church as a whole.

That may be a poor analogy, but I see the same principles in play here. It is crucial to the fledgling ACNA, especially since we have been formed by a broken relationship, to set very firm and strict behavioral guidlines about such things.

We let this pass without public repentance, we set a precedence for leaders to “feel led” to do just about anything they want in the face of conflict or frustrated vision.

It would be foolishness.

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