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, January 31, 2014

Ugandan Anglicans Rebuke Canterbury & York

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali Comments on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the Church of England’s “Pilling Report,” and the Open Letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

January 30, 2014

by alison

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali Comments on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the Church of England’s “Pilling Report,” and the Open Letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

30th January 2014

The Church of Uganda is encouraged by the work of Uganda’s Parliament in amending the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to remove the death penalty, to reduce sentencing guidelines through a principle of proportionality, and to remove the clause on reporting homosexual behaviour, as we had recommended in our 2010 position statement on the Bill. This frees our clergy and church leaders to fulfill the 2008 resolution of our House of Bishops to “offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.”
Accordingly, we are grateful for the reminder of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to fulfill such commitments as stated in the 2005 Communique of the Primates Meeting held in Dromantine, Northern Ireland.
We would further like to remind them, as they lead their own church through the “facilitated conversations” recommended by the Pilling Report, that the teaching of the Anglican Communion from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, from Resolution 1.10, still stands. It states that “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture,” and the conference “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”
It was the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada’s violations of Lambeth 1.10 which caused the Church of Uganda to break communion with those Provinces more than ten years ago. We sincerely hope the Archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church.

Furthermore, as our new Archbishop of Canterbury looks toward future Primates Meetings and a possible 2018 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, we would also like to remind him of the 2007 Primates Communique from Dar es Salaam, which says that there are “consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion” for TEC and those Provinces which cannot
  1. “Make an unequivocal common covenant that the Bishops will not authorize any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through” their governing body;
  2. “Confirm…that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent.”
It is clear that the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada have not upheld these commitments, and so we do pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury as he considers whether or not to extend invitations to their Primates for the next Primates Meeting or to their Bishops for the 2018 Lambeth Conference. To withhold these invitations would be a clear signal of his intention to lead and uphold the fullness of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali


Mr. (Bp.) David Anderson: "Broadside from Canterbury and York"

Broadside from Canterbury and York
The English Archbishops of York and Canterbury have fired the equivalent of a broadside into the respective Anglican Provinces of Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, and naturally it has to do with the Western hot button issue of homosexuality. While this subject seems to be causing the implosion of Anglican Provinces in America, Canada, England, Wales, and Scotland, the English Archbishops, rather than stand their Biblical ground against unnatural acts between individuals, choose rather to lecture and caution the three largest Anglican Provinces on the laws their civil governments are enacting.
When the head, nominal though he be, of the Anglican Communion lectures and cautions any Province, the implications and threat cannot be missed. It is odd that this lecture and caution would be directed toward the orthodox Anglicans of the Communion and not against the heterodox Anglicans both in North America and indeed within the Church of England itself. It seems that the Pilling Report may define the path that the Church of England will actually take. The Anglican Communion will soon have to face the prospect of a Mother Church which is spiritually unable to lead the worldwide flock of Anglicans. Interestingly, both the Archbishop of Kenya and now Uganda have responded to this English broadside and, commendably, they understand exactly the kind of spiritual bullying that is being directed toward them.
Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda, reminds the English Archbishops that, “….as they lead their own church through the “facilitated conversations” recommended by the Pilling Report, that the teaching of the Anglican Communion from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, from Resolution 1.10, still stands. It states that “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture,” and the conference “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.” And then, in a direct and clear statement Ntagali says, “We sincerely hope the Archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church.”
I would not be surprised if the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, doesn’t respond as well. These three Anglican Provinces are the largest in the Anglican Communion, with a combined total of some 40 million, and these are people they can actually find on Sunday.  I think it is fair to note that no longer should the mice dictate to the elephants on matters ecclesial.
There you have it. The primus inter pares, the Archbishop of Canterbury can no longer convene a full Primates Meeting, or a successful Lambeth Conference, and the orthodox Anglican Primates of GAFCON can convene two Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans conferences, in 2008 and 2013, and see a huge turnout and success. As additional responses to Canterbury surface we will post them.
One final thought. To be clear, the American Anglican Council does not support any law that unjustly targets people based only on sexual orientation.  We agree with the 2008 resolution of the Ugandan House of Bishops to the effect that the church should offer “counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation” and that the church should be a safe place for anyone seeking help and healing.
Many westerners tend to use public pressure and media outlets to influence governments, churches and other groups. Those tactics don’t always work. If we have differences with our brothers and sisters in Christ, private, respectful but direct conversations are called for more often than not.
Bishop David C. Anderson is President and Chairman of the American Anglican Council.

What Can Evangelicals Learn from Fundamentalists?

What Can Evangelicals Learn from Fundamentalists?

Anglican Church in North America: Roll-out of New Catechism

Anglican Church in North America

Anglican Church in North America Develops New Catechism


The Anglican Church in North America is pleased to announce the release of To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism produced by the provincial Catechesis Task force.

Led by the Rev. Dr J.I. Packer, the Task Force has developed a unique and powerful resource for helping inquirers come to an understanding of the Christian faith, and for helping disciples deepen their relationship with God.  Written in a “Question and Answer” format, this Catechism, in the words of Packer, “is designed as a resource manual for the renewal of Anglican catechetical practice. It presents the essential building blocks of classic catechetical instruction: the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue). To these is added an initial section especially intended for those with no prior knowledge of the Gospel; as such, this catechism attempts to be a missional means by which God may bring about both conversion to Christ and formation in Christ.”

The Most Reverend Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, noted the global impact of this work: “This Catechism assumes a post-Christian world where the basic foundations of the faith cannot simply be assumed.  It begins by outlining the faith for those who have no Christian background, or were never fully discipled. This production is a landmark offering, both for North Americans and for the whole Anglican world. Our Christian brothers and sisters from other provinces who saw advanced copies have enthusiastically begun translating the Catechism into their native languages.  So far we know of translation work in Spanish, Mandarin, Farsi, and Urdu.  We are excited to see this work expand in the days ahead.”

The Catechism will be available for purchase from Anglican House Publishers in the second quarter of 2014.  It is now available here for non-commercial use in PDF and Microsoft Word format.

Kenyan Primate Wabukala Rocking Canterbury's Skiff

BREAKING NEWS...Kenya Primate Says COFE Archbishops are Fuelling Prejudice Against African Anglicans

Normalizing Homosexual lifestyles in Africa is a Non-Starter, Says GAFCON Chairman

By Archbishop Eliud Wabukala
January 31, 2014
This week, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York sought to remind the leadership of the Anglican Communion and the Presidents of Nigeria and Uganda of the importance of friendship and care for homosexual people.

Christians should always show particular care for those who are vulnerable, but this cannot be separated from the whole fabric of biblical moral teaching in which the nature of marriage and family occupy a central place.

The Dromantine Communiqué from which the Archbishops quote also affirmed (Clause 17) the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 which states that 'homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture' and that the conference 'cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions'.

Yet earlier this week, the English College of Bishops accepted the recommendation of the Pilling Report for two years of 'facilitated conversation' because at least some of the bishops could not accept the historic teaching of the Church as reaffirmed in the Lambeth resolution.

Indeed, in making the case for such a debate, the Pilling Report observes 'In the House of Lords debate on same sex marriage, the Archbishop of York commended that the Church needed to think about the anomalies in a situation where it is willing to bless a tree or a sheep, but not a faithful human relationship.' The anomaly only exists of course if it really is the case that a committed homosexual union can also be Christian.

The good advice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York would carry much more weight if they were able to affirm that they hold, personally, as well as in virtue of their office, to the collegial mind of the Anglican Communion. At the moment I fear that we cannot be sure.

Regrettably, their intervention has served to encourage those who want to normalize homosexual lifestyles in Africa and has fuelled prejudice against African Anglicans. We are committed to biblical sexual morality and to biblical pastoral care, so we wholeheartedly stand by the assurance given in the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution that those who experience same sex attraction are 'loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.'

May God in his mercy grant that we may hold to the fullness of his truth and the fullness of his grace.

The Most Rev'd Dr Eliud Wabukala is Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman, GAFCON Primates Council

Evangelical Textual Criticism: Codex Zacynthius

Evangelical Textual Criticism: Codex Zacynthius:

Codex Zacynthius

Codex Zacynthius is two Greek New Testament manuscripts in one.

 It is a palimpsest, with two levels of writing throughout.

The upper text is lectionary 299, a thirteenth-century gospel lectionary. And the underlying text is 040 a manuscript of Luke 1-11 with commentary (variously dated from the sixth to the eighth century). The codex is owned by the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS MS #213), and currently resides, like the rest of the BFBS books and manuscripts in the University Library in Cambridge (where they have been since 1985). I have seen it several times, it has always been perfectly accessible to scholars who want to study it.

So now the Bible Society wants to sell Codex Zacynthius to the University Library for 1.1 million pounds, so that it can build a
visitor centre in this rather pretty little abandoned church in Wales, to celebrate the role of the Bible in shaping Wales:

And the University Library wants to buy Codex Zacynthius for 1.1 million pounds (and would love to hear from any benefactor on the subject). There are probably good reasons to buy such a manuscript (and move it from one shelf in the UL to a different one somewhere else in the UL). Some of those which have been offered so far may not, however, be very persuasive:

a) "It is unique" (attributed
here to Ben Outhwaite). Hmmmm. Every manuscript is by definition "unique".

b) "It must be in the top 20 of New Testament manuscripts" (attributed
here to Ben Outhwaite) or "among the top flight of Biblical manuscripts" (attributed here to Rowan Williams). Hmmmm. Who would determine this? Since NA27 puts it among the 'consistently cited witnesses of the first order' for the Gospels (NA27 p. 58*) that puts it among the top one hundred and sixty-one Greek manuscripts of the Gospels. I could see it having a place in the top one hundred of New Testament manuscripts, but definitely not in the top twenty.

c) It is "critical to establishing the transmission of Luke's Gospel" (attributed
here to Rowan Williams). Hmmmm. No doubt it is interesting and helpful and contributes something to our understanding of the transmission of the text of Luke's Gospel, as of course does every manuscript. But "critical"? I am not familiar with any study of the last hundred years which would say such a thing about Zacynthius.

d) "It is the oldest extant New Testament manuscript with a commentary alongside the text" (attributed
here to Rowan Williams). Hmmmm. This one does look to me to be correct (even if one took an eighth century date, which is actually something that has been much disputed in the scholarly literature).

e) "Purchasing Codex Zacynthius would give us the opportunity to digitise the manuscript and share it on a global scale" (attributed
here to Anne Jarvis). Hmmmm. In one sense this is true, but in every other sense this is nonsense. The Bible Society could digitise it themselves, or give CSNTM permission to digitise it, and post the images on-line for next to nothing. A change of ownership may facilitate the production of new images, but can hardly be deemed necessary.
Purchasing Codex Zacynthius would give us the opportunity to digitise the manuscript and share it on a global scale - See more at:
it is the oldest extant New Testament manuscript with a commentary alongside the text - See more at:
critical to establishing the transmission of St Luke’s Gospel - See more at:
among the top flight of Biblical manuscripts
among the top flight of Biblical manuscripts
among the top flight of Biblical manuscripts
among the top flight of Biblical manuscripts

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

(Rev. Roger Salter, Reformed Anglican, CoE): What of Tracto-friendly Operatives?

What of Anglo-Catholicism? - A Personal Assessment
By Roger Salter
Special to Virtueonline
January 25, 2103

If the authentic Anglican Way is meant to be Cranmerian and Confessional according to our standards compiled in the Book of Common Prayer 1662 (Liturgy, Ordinal, Articles) what is to be the Evangelical assessment of the continuing Roman Way advocated by the Tractarians and their heirs? There has been much bitterness in the past and mutual scolding.

The Evangelical baulks at Catholic ecclesiology, sacramentalism, and a consequent soteriology that offends in terms of the way in which Christ is grasped and salvation gained. The more the rescue effected by our Lord is examined in its details the more the rift widens. Former Evangelicals were horrified at the features of Puseyism and strongly castigated its convictions. The battle was not only internal and within the Church of England. In the 19th century Scots, Americans, and Continentals also took up their cudgels in great alarm. William Cunningham, Merle D'Aubigne, Abraham Kuyper, and C.P. McIlvaine took a line similar to J.C. Ryle and Hugh McNeile in their response to the High Churchmen who were adversely influencing the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion.

Theologically the differences still prevail and the differences are beyond reconciliation. Evangelicals must contend for the Reformational character of the Anglican constitution. Anglo-Catholics will be vigorous in defending their point of view which is deeply valued by them. From the Reformed position there should be no compromise. The truths we hold dear tower above any other consideration. Christ in the revelation of his free grace towards us is exceedingly dear - and yet so is he to so many Roman and Anglo Catholics. There is a tension of faith and yet often the experience of fellowship.

Doctrine matters as an urgent priority, and yet there can be a meeting in a common piety in which Jesus enables us to transcend the boundaries ruled by the intellect. None of us is fully orthodox intellectually - sin and prejudice cramp our style. None of us are fully defined by our theological stance. Nor is our soul life completely in accord with our cerebral perceptions. We are a mess, unfathomable to ourselves, and only our Saviour has access to the chambers of the heart. We do not truly know ourselves, which is why we register shock when some convulsion or other in our lives brings some horrific reaction or trait to the surface (which we struggle to deny). Somewhere at our very core God creates a reliance solely upon his mercy and our tongues are not in touch, nor our minds keeping pace, with the mysterious operations of grace. Calvinists can be mean, selfish, and ruthlessly ambitious. Catholics can be mild, generous, and channels of divine love and peace. There is a sense in which our doctrinal militancy has also to be controlled by a charitable modesty. Adherence to the Confessions of the past should not necessarily mean the repetition of the vehement and violent conflicts of the past. Such a delicate balance in the human mind was maintained by some of the greatest advocates of Anglican Reformed Catholicism who were even counter cultural in eras of markedly hostile controversy e.g. Cranmer himself and those giants among Christian men such as Archbishop Ussher (of whom one keen opponent kept a portrait in his personal study), and Bishops Joseph Hall and John Davenant. In theological debate our brains must be acute, our hearts aflame, but may God prevent our blood from boiling.

Again, the personal inner collision is between Confessional conviction and Christian confraternity. The coupling of truth with love is not easily maintained and history shows how both sides have failed signally. To succeed is humanly impossible. We must be prayerful and penitent. This is not to minimize our outright detestation of vicious and aggressive heresy, and in that case, even in a climate where capital punishment was universally (Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed) recommended for or meted out to perpetrators of dangerous doctrinal error we have a precedent established by Jean Calvin to approach the heretic and strive for their conversion (as did Calvin in the case of Servetus - even the Catholic authorities and mild Melancthon believed that the Spaniard should die for his audacious mischief).

Somehow the Lord Jesus guides his chosen to faith through the maze of theological opinion whenever the heart sincerely thirsts for God and his righteousness. We are more confused than we are prepared to admit, and such are our limitations that the things we see with clarity can often blinker us to other facts evident on a broader panorama. Our doctrine is one examination of our position before God, but who can monitor the transactions between God and the soul at our profoundest level? This is why the prayers of a believer are sometimes a safer gauge to the health of the heart.

Our plea should be to see Christ in his majesty and mercy, his grace and glory, to the fullest extent possible. Our doctrine is the description of what we see. That is why it must be carefully framed. Our devotion derives its quality from the reality of Christ within. Sometimes we do not match the two too well.

With reluctance, in a first person fashion, which is best avoided, there follow some autobiographical points on the matter pertaining to persons of Catholic conviction.

My closest colleague in English parish ministry was an adorable Anglo-Catholic to whom I related in warmest friendship and upon whom I relied for spiritual counsel. We each respected the other and prayed and pastored together with never a rough word or any discourteousness. In a previous Ecumenical Project, in which Catholics did not formally participate, my closest companion was a Catholic priest who met to pray with us, and his letter was the kindest received when I was taking up a new appointment in another city. When I took compulsory annual retreats I did so in a Catholic convent and received much kind guidance from the Sister Superior, a German, who insisted we should meet together and recommended the Scripture passages for my meditation. When a person from my first parish as an incumbent married a member of the Catholic Church I was invited, to my amazement, to officiate over the central portion of the service. When I was in theological difficulty from time to time, dealing with the destructiveness of modernism/liberalism, I was greatly helped through reading Catholic and Anglo-Catholic authors such as Michael Ramsey, Michael Marshall, Eric Mascall, Dame Maria Boulding, Carlo Carretto, and Sister Ruth Burrows. I greatly love William Harmless on Augustine, Robert Faricy on prayer, and the works of Gerald O'Collins. Objections to Catholicism do not arise from personal animosity. I frequently use the Jerusalem Bible with much appreciation, having read the extensive notes of editor Alexander Jones whilst on retreat, and have also based private devotions on the text of Daily Prayer from The Divine Office (RCC). There have been many other pleasing and beneficial contacts with both varieties of Catholicism.

It is possible to cultivate warm relations with folk who are manifestly "in Christ" when there is disagreement as to how we "enter Christ". There can be Credal harmony where Confessional details vary, just as John Elliot the Puritan missionary, in his isolation from like-minded fellowship, found Christian solace and friendship in a Roman Catholic priest ministering in the same region. William Whitaker, the principal hand behind the composition of the decidedly Calvinistic Lambeth Articles, greatly admired Thomas Aquinas, and James Ussher who modeled the now replaced Irish Articles on the Lambeth Articles was hugely admired by his Continental Catholic opponents. Professor David Brown, the Free Church of Scotland scholar and biblical commentator, opened and maintained correspondence with Cardinal Newman (who had lost no respect for his Evangelical mentors John Newton and Thomas Scott) and frequently visited him at The Oratory, taking to heart Newman's observation that Evangelicals paid less attention to the Gospels than to the Epistles and rectified the matter by writing his own commentary encompassing Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Brown sent a copy of the Life of Dr. Duncan to Newman, and John "Rabbi" Duncan himself, a theologian and Hebraist of great expertise hailed Pusey as an Augustinian. Charles Spurgeon regarded Pusey on The Minor Prophets as "invaluable". The eminent Baptist felt it possible to turn to writers with whom he disagreed and "wash out the gold".

As Reformed Anglicans we must maintain a trenchant testimony toward what Alexander MacLaren called triumphant certainties, but recognize also with David Brown that, "Logic does not rule everything; that error is often self-inconsistent; and that some men are better than their creed, while other men are often worse than theirs. . . . He could make ample allowance for 'wood, hay, stubble,' on the true foundation, and believe that even good men may have helped to lay them there, whose work would certainly be burnt up in the end, though they themselves might be saved, yet so as by fire" (William Garden Blaikie).

Lively faith resides in every heart that humbly, earnestly, and with self-renunciation looks to and leans upon Jesus alone. Labels are indicative of the rational understanding and interpretation of the facts that furnish our faith in a conceptual sense. Trust and truth may not be equivalent in believing minds. The term "Anglican" is properly applicable to those standards formulated at the Reformation. Subscription is required of those in any ministerial or pastoral office. Membership is open to all sincere believers. The call of Evangelicals is to doctrinal clarity in adherence to Holy Scripture. It is a spiritual obligation incumbent upon clergy to pursue and uphold this clarity and to commend it to the people. Given that our Communion is now comprehensive of a variety of views the task is to urge all in pastoral office to return to Scriptural and Confessional roots and seek that unity, that one Gospel voice, that can, under God, achieve effective impact on a skeptical world. Let us honestly examine the propositions that we hold and band together in humble dependence upon the marvelous God of the Church and the Gospel.

The Rev. Roger Salter is an ordained Church of England minister where he had parishes in the dioceses of Bristol and Portsmouth before coming to Birmingham, Alabama to serve as Rector of St. Matthew's Anglican Church

(Virtue): Why I am Not Returning to the Episcopal Church

Why I am not returning to the Episcopal Church
By Chuck Collins
January 26, 2014

A priest-friend from my old days in the Episcopal Church (TEC) called last week. He called as a favor to his diocesan bishop to see if I would consider returning to the Episcopal Church (obviously another diocese from the one I left since I am still blamed for all unhappiness in West Texas). It was flattering. It felt good that the 30 years I served in the ordained ministry of TEC were not all forgotten. I thanked my friend for making the call and I later wrote the bishop a thank you note.

After we talked I took the opportunity to find my resignation letter from Christ Episcopal Church four years ago. It was a letter I wrote and rewrote for a year in my mind before finally sending it to "Dear Christ Church family." It was a carefully worded balance between stating the facts of my own indisposition and acknowledging that others will disagree with my decision. To make sure that it was truthful, graceful and wouldn't cause undue pain, I had several friends read it and I revised it with their suggestions. I ended it with a quote from John Piper that, for Christians, the best days are always ahead of us. Always. I still believe this.

The phone call took me back to all the emotions of those days when I was leaving TEC. Back then I had no idea that the coming four years would be among the most challenging of my life. To leave one of the country's great Episcopal Churches to be with a small band of wonderfully committed Anglicans, with all that that means, at the point in my life when I felt that I had the most to offer as a priest, was humbling and invigorating at the same time.

In my resignation letter I stated that "theology" was the reason why I left. Behind this was a conviction that what we believe and teach about God really matters because God matters. It matters more than anything else to me, and it matters that one day I will answer to God for how well I have hallowed his Name and stood up for the truth of his Word. When a church and its leaders openly oppose the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and ignores the authority of Holy Scripture, it is a church that I will fight for to reclaim for the ancient paths of traditional Christianity. I dug in and fought until TEC left permanently for the same path of most liberal mainline denominations. I credit Steve, a gay man, a friend who died of AIDS, for showing me the impossibility of being a priest in a church that hurt him permanently by its teaching. The pendulum that I kept talking about, hoping for and working for, doesn't exist and I found myself in a church that I didn't believe in any more.

I will not be returning to TEC for the same reasons that I left. Its commitment to the cruelty of heresy (Bishop FitzSimons Allison) has not changed a bit, even though there are still individuals and pockets of orthodoxy that remain in some dioceses. These past four years in TEC have proven in numerous ways that its trajectory is a direction that I cannot support. I have no regrets or second thoughts about my decision to leave TEC.

The Anglican Communion in North America (ACNA) is not perfect by any means. God knows. I don't agree with everything that goes on in ACNA and I don't have to agree with everything to be in substantial agreement about the essentials of the faith. ACNA's Constitution and Canons upholds as primary the authority of the Bible and subscribes to Christianity of the creeds and traditional Anglican formularies, including the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. We have a Presiding Bishop (Primate) who I know personally to be a man of sincere prayer and devotion. I have the highest respect for my bishop who loves me and my family, prays for me and our congregation, and carries the wounds for fighting for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. When I go to a diocesan event I know that I will hear the Bible read and explained, that those who are present all agree on biblical and historically consensual Christianity as normative, and that guest speakers, whether they speak on prayer, discipleship or evangelism, will speak from a foundation that honors our Anglican heritage. Last year we hosted our first Diocesan Synod at which we heard Professor Bill Witt speak about the distinctives of our Anglican heritage. It was fantastic. I recently returned from a clergy conference in which one of the best known Bible teachers in the world, David Jackman, came to show us how to teach and preach the Bible. It couldn't have been more encouraging.

I will not be returning to TEC even though I am grateful and flattered to be remembered. Between the lines you probably see that I still love the church that brought me to faith in Christ. Nothing can detract from the fact that it is the church that gave me the privilege to speak of Jesus Christ to many who were searching. I still pray for my old bishops and congregation. But with Christ, the best days are always in front of us. Always. And I look forward to what God will do with Holy Trinity Anglican Church and the other Anglican churches in San Antonio and around the country.

The Rev. Chuck Collins is a church planter at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, San Antonio, Texas. He was formerly rector of Christ Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas

NIGERIAN ANGLICANS: We'll Defy American Episcopalians & English Anglicans

NIGERIA: Anglican Primate & House of Bishops Will Defy Archbishop Welby Over Faith

Boundary crossings will continue. Nigerian Anglicans will maintain fellowship with churches like ACNA

By David W. Virtue
January 28, 2014

The Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria Nicholas Okoh and his House of Bishops have again warned the Anglican Communion's leader Archbishop Justin Welby that it will maintain fellowship with churches such as the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) who are not part of the communion but "whose faith and practice are agreeable to and based on scriptural foundations."

Meeting recently at the Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, the Nigerian Church's House of Bishops said the province (the largest body of practicing Anglicans in the communion) "is Bible-based, [and] will continue to maintain fellowship with Churches, but not necessarily on the basis of history."

"As bishops of the Anglican Communion we commend and applaud the work of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and especially the second Global Anglican Future Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya. As bishops of the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] we commit ourselves to the continuation of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. We uphold the Jerusalem Declaration which affirms 'the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation,' and call upon Christians everywhere to declare and defend the faith 'once for all entrusted to the saints'."

To date the Archbishop of Canterbury has not recognized the ACNA. Canadian Anglican Archbishop Fred Hiltz explicitly warned Welby not to do so soon after he became the new leader of the Anglican Communion.

At GAFCON II in Nairobi recently, some 330 bishops, including 30 archbishops, said they will recognize Anglicans in places where Biblical faith has been compromised. Boundary crossings begun several years ago will not only continue, but also step up apace. Nigerian Primate Nicholas Okoh will continue to visit his North American parishes without the slightest concern for what US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori or Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz think, do or who they complain to. They will defy any liberal or revisionist bishop or archbishop in the communion.

The bishops resolved to expand their leadership to support and recognize such Anglicans; they also voted without dissent to recognize and oversee theologically isolated Anglicans including the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) and similar bodies around the Communion including CANA, ANIC and the ACNA.

They made it clear that the future of the Anglican Communion is now in the hands of Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and that the AMIE is the life boat to rescue orthodox Anglicans in the UK.

The Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) did not lay the groundwork for a separate Communion and the reason is simple. "We are the Anglican Communion," they said. GAFCON will not break fellowship with Canterbury, but they won't take their orders from Lambeth Palace about how they do business, either. For many, the Archbishop of Canterbury is no longer the "symbol of unity". That also includes the Anglican Communion Office which is viewed by the Global South as a fifth column of duplicity.

The Nigerian House of Bishops berated themselves for their failure to provide good examples for leaders in government and society and advocated a recovery of the Biblical pattern, where leaders served selflessly with conviction and humility as true shepherds who protect, care and serve the sheep.

"In an age where corruption, violence, persecution, terrorism and political crisis are prevalent, bishops are enjoined to rekindle their God-ordained roles as evangelists, pastors, administrators and watchmen. Accepting the principle of the priesthood of all believers, the Church should, recover its heritage of providing leadership for society, thus impacting on all areas of national life as salt to the earth and light to the world."

Also present for the occasion was the Most Rev. Peter Jensen, General Secretary of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and former Archbishop of Sydney, Australia who called upon the bishops to preach the whole gospel from the whole Bible. In speaking about the bishop as shepherd, he reminded the bishops that Christ is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep "and we are to model our ministry upon Him."

Archbishop Jensen emphasized that the best administrators marshal the right resources at the right time in the right place for the right purpose. The bishops also urged the Federal Government to continue to contend with insurgency and terrorism so as to forestall further deterioration in the country's security situation.

"We condemn all expressions of on-going acts of violence and terror. We grieve with all those who lost loved ones and pray for those who have been injured or terrorized by these calculated acts of violence.

"We urge all sections of the Nigerian Society, especially the Federal Government, to do all in their power to reduce unemployment and lower the high level of poverty that continue to exist in Nigeria. The leaders of all areas of our national life are urged to concentrate on nation building and govern with due diligence. This will result in a positive change of circumstance, especially for the youth."

They said South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, is burning. "It is a very sad and embarrassing development that this African nation cannot agree to work together. With the current peace efforts started in Ethiopia, we urge South Sudan's leaders to agree, sheathe their swords and surrender the personal, segmental and primordial tribal concerns for the overall good of their nation. The alternative will be an inevitable descent into irretrievable anarchy and fratricidal war. The warring South Sudanese leaders and supporters are hereby called to rethink, agree and give peace a chance, so as not to harm their young nation."

The bishop also deplored the on-going carnage in the Central African Republic which has forced thousands of Christian to flee their homes. "The current conflict is heading toward a humanitarian disaster as desperate people flood into refugee camps. We call upon the people of the Central African Republic to show restraint and respect the right of each individual. They must do all in their power to avoid a religious war. Neither the Muslims nor the Christians will win such a war."


GAFCON: Mr. (Abp.) Wabukala: Word to Morally-Disoriented West

To the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council

29th January 2014

‘…by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God’ 2 Corinthians 4:2

My dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

I write this first message of 2014 with great hope and confidence for the year ahead. GAFCON 2013 renewed our vision for the Anglican Communion as a global fellowship faithful to the Scriptures and confirmed what many of us had already sensed, that our movement is emerging as the only real answer to the Communion’s problems of fragmentation and confusion.

In the year ahead we must resolve to devote ourselves to the great biblical mandate to make disciples of all nations which was the focus of our gathering in Nairobi. There is urgency about the gospel and it must be proclaimed in word and deed, in season and out of season and it is the same gospel, whether in strife torn nations such as South Sudan or in the affluent but morally disorientated nations of the developed world.

We cannot therefore allow our time and energy to be sapped by debating that which God has already clearly revealed in the Scriptures. Earlier this week, the English College of Bishops met to reflect upon the ‘Pilling Report’, commissioned to reflect on how the Church of England should respond to the question of same sex relationships. Its key recommendations were that informal blessings of such unions should be allowed in parish churches and that a two year process of ‘facilitated conversation’ should be set up to address strongly held differences within the Church on this issue.

While we should be thankful that the College of Bishops did not adopt the idea of services for blessing that which God calls sin, it did unanimously approve the conversation process and this is deeply troubling. There has been intensive debate within the Anglican Communion on the subject of homosexuality since at least the 1998 Lambeth Conference and it is difficult to believe that the bishop’s indecision at this stage is due to lack of information or biblical reflection. The underlying problem is whether or not there is a willingness to accept the bible for what it really is, the Word of God.

At Lambeth 1998, the bishops of the Anglican Communion, by an overwhelming majority, affirmed in Resolution 1.10 that homosexual relationships were not compatible with Scripture, in line with the Church’s universal teaching through the ages, but the Pilling Report effectively sets this aside. The conversations it proposes are not to commend biblical teaching on marriage and family, but are based on the assumption that we cannot be sure about what the bible says.

I cannot therefore commend the proposal by the College of Bishops that these ‘facilitated conversations ‘ should be introduced across the Communion. This is to project the particular problems of the Church of England onto the Communion as a whole. As with ‘Continuing Indaba’, without a clear understanding of biblical authority and interpretation, such dialogue only spreads confusion and opens the door to a false gospel because the Scriptures no longer function in any meaningful way as a test of what is true and false.

Faced with these challenges, I am reminded of the importance of the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. It places our fellowship under the written word of God, which ‘is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading’. Here we have a solid foundation for the responsible reading of the Bible which preserves its transformative power. As John the Evangelist writes ‘these things are written so that you may believe…..and that by believing you may have life’ (John 20:31).

Plans are already taking shape following GAFCON 2013 to provide our global fellowship with the organisation and communications it needs if the Anglican Communion is to recover its unity by listening to and obeying the Word of God. Using modern communications it is possible for us to experience the connectedness of being a global communion in a way that our predecessors could never have imagined. Each one of us can play a part and so may I conclude by inviting you, if you have not yet done so, to join the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans at My pastoral messages and other communications can then be sent direct to you by email and together we can serve the cause of the gospel at this critical time.

Prof. Bruce Metzger's "Text of the New Testament:" (1) Book Materials

Metzger, Bruce Manning. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, 2nd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968.

When catechetized, e.g. the Westminster Confession of Faith, learning is a corollary concern in life; it’s natural; additionally, this means the fear of the LORD and a three-fold call: humility, humility, humility.

















































I.                   UNINTENTIONAL CHANGES


















THE MAKING OF ANCIENT BOOKS.  Variously in history, clay, stone, bones, wood, leather, metals, pottery, potsherds, parchments (vellum) and papyri have been the substratum for human notations. It’s an ancient form of Facebook, as it were.  Human beings are writers and note-takers.


THE MATERIALS OF ANCIENT BOOKS. Papyrus arose in the marshlands of varied areas, notably, Egypt. The plant was 12 to 15 feet high with a triangular root the size of a man’s wrist.  It would be cut in 1 foot sections, sliced into strips, crisscrossed, and compressed into a few layers.


Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, 13.2ff., notes that King Euemenes (197-159 BC) in Mysia, Asia Minor sought to be build a library that rivalled the Alexandrian library of King Ptolemy (205-182 BC).  As a result, the Ptolemy placed an embargo on papryi to Asia Minor


A note on a definition.  Parchment = vellum.  These were made from the flayed skins of cattle, sheep, goats, antelopes, etc. They were de-haired, washed, and smoothed.  Some would be dyed with purple with gold or silver ink.


Jerome inveighs against unneeded extravagance in a letter to Eustochium (Epist. xxii.32ff.):


“Parchments are dyed purple, gold is melted into lettering, manuscripts are decked with jewels, while Christ lies at the door naked and dying.”


Or, again, Jerome responds to an inquirer named Laeta who has asked how to rear her young daughter (Epist. cvii.12):


“Let her treasures be not gems or silks [Ed., like TFOs], but manuscripts of the holy Scriptures; and in these let her think less of gilding and Babylonian parchment and arabesque patterns than of correctness and accurate punctuation.”


So much for the ruthless repression of English vernaculars advocated by Canterbury Arundel, Oxford, and Rome over the Wycliffite vernaculars or the Anglo-Italians a century later in England.  Jerome advocated for biblical literacy for a young girl from unadorned texts.


A normal Greek scroll was 35 feet long.  Sometimes, long volumes would have several scrolls. Luke was probably one scroll.  The same for Acts.  There would be 2 to 3 columns.  The height would be the length of the stick. Scrolls, however, were somewhat inconvenient.


Early in the 2nd century, the “codex” (leaf-form) came into extensive use in the church.  One could sew the leafs together.  All the Gospels and Acts could be put in one book or codex.


Constantine in 331 AD ordered 50 parchment (vellum or leather) manuscripts from Eusebius, the scholarly church historian of Caesarea.  These 50 volumes were anticipated for proposed church construction in Constantinople.  Cf. Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, iv.36. These were to be portable, convenient and legible.  They were to be produced by professional scribes.  Some have wondered if the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are two codices from this imperial order.  Metzger thinks that Vaticanus has an Egyptian rather than Palestinian provenance.


A formal style of writing emerged, called uncials.  This was a more deliberate or ornate form of writing.  By the ninth century, a scribal reform resulted in smaller letters writing more cursively, called miniscules. This became more popular. The volume would be smaller, more economical, and could be published more quickly.


A palimpsest was a recycled parchment (vellum/leather manuscript).  It would be cleaned, scraped, washed and reused.  For example, 83 sermons by Ephraem, a 4th century leader, were erased in the 12th century to produce a new New Testament.  It’s been called Codex Ephraemi.


In 692 AD, Canon 68 of the Council of Trullo, condemned using or converting Scripture-texts.  If guilty, one was to be excommunicated for 1 year.  Yet, of 250 uncial manuscripts, 52 are palimpsest manuscripts.


The early church was involved in manuscript production for churches, individuals and converts. Demand was high.


Once Constantine legalized Christianity, professional scriptoria (scriptoriums, if you will) arose.  A scriptorium would have several trained scribes equipped with parchment, pen and ink. They had a corrector called a διορθωτής.  They were paid according to the number of lines. Price fixing had been fixed earlier by Diocletian—25 denarii/100 lines for a first-rate copy and 20 denarii/100 lines for a second-rate work.  The Codex Sinaiticus, on this scale, would have cost 30,000 denarii.


In the Byzantine period, the Bible was prepared for monasteries as well as churches. It was an arduous, fatiguing, but an honored duty. 


A few quotes will give a sense of it:


1.      “He who does not know how to write supposes it to be no labour; but though only three fingers write, the whole body labours” (17).


2.      “Writing bows one’s back, thrusts the ribs into one’s stomach, and fosters general debility of the body” (18).


3.      “As travellers rejoice to see their home country, so also is the end of a bookd to those who toil [in writing]” (18).


4.      “The end of the book, thanks be to God!” (18)


5.      Cassiodorus, an Ostrogothic prince in Italy, later founder of a monastery at Vivarium, Italy, and scribe said: 


 “By reading the divine Scriptures [the scribe] wholesomely instructs his own mind, and by copying the precepts of the Lord he spreads them far and wide.  What happy application, what praiseworthy industry, to preach unto men by means of the hand, to untie the tongue by means of the fingers, to bring quiet salvation to mortals, and to fight the Devil’s invidious wiles with pen and ink! For every word of the Lord written by the scribe is a wound inflicted on Satan.  And so, though seated in one spot, the scribe traverses diverse lands and through the dissemination of what he has written…Man multiplies the heavenly words, and in a certain metaphorical sense, if I may dare say to speak, three fingers are made to express the utterances of the Holy Trinity.  O sight glorious to those who contemplate it carefully! The fast-travelling reed-poen writes down the holy words and thus avenges the malice of the Wicked One, who cause a reed to be used to smite the head of the Lord during his Passion” (18, citing Cassiodori Senatoris Institutiones,


A renown Studium existed at Constantinople under Abbot Theodore the Studite.  He had some severities for errant scribes.  (1) Bread and water only for that scribe becoming more interested in the subject-matter at the expense of copying, (2) 130 penances if the parchments were not neat and clean, (3) 50 penances for taking someone else’s parchment, and (4) 50 penances for making too much glue.