Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Link restored

Several months ago we removed our link to the "Traditional Anglican Communion" (TAC) because the website had become an advertisement for the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) aimed at Anglicans. That is not what this blog is about. Specifically, the "Anglican Church in America" website (available then through the TAC link) was aimed at converting Anglicans to the RCC. Recent developments in the ACA, however, show that it is now in the hands of men who are committed to the Anglican way of being Christians. The Affirmation of St. Louis is once again given its prominent place on the ACA website.

We cannot endorse their official association with Archbishop Hepworth and the TAC (and we certainly do not accept the TAC claim to have something like half a million members - which is at best ten times the amount of people the TAC ever did have, even before it began to dissolve). Nonetheless, it is obvious that that association is strained, and that the ACA is acting independently of Abp. Hepworth and the whole TAC push to Rome.

This blog is still a voice, though unofficial, of the churches of the Concordat (ACC, ACPK, UECNA). However, based on the progress that has been made, especially in Victoria, B.C. just this past week, and to help the effort toward unity, as well as to support the brave and responsible stand of their current bishops, we are putting up a link, not to the TAC in general, but to the ACA. We believe that they are committed to Anglicanism and to achieving unity in the Continuing Church. We support the leadership of their Presiding Bishop, Brian Marsh.


charles said...

Where's APA in this equation? They have broke ties with REC, so that's not an issue?

Dr.D said...

Can you comment on why the UECNA link is consistently "greyed out" (at least on my Firefox browser)?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Can you comment on why the UECNA link is consistently "greyed out" (at least on my Firefox browser)?

It means you clicked the link recently. If you clear your browsing history and reopen it afterward, it will be red.

Where's APA in this equation? They have broke ties with REC, so that's not an issue?

That was because the REC is too much involved w/ the ACNA - which has priestesses.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,

The Christian Episcopal Church was also in attendance at the Victoria conference. I know they are very small and have a different origin that the other Continuing churches. Any thoughts about where they fit into Anglican unity?

Fr Theodore

AFS1970 said...

Based on the conference in BC, will you be adding a link to the Christian Episcopal Church? While their roots are quite a bit later than St. Louis and they are not even as old as some groups descended from the St. Louis churches, they were there and seem dedicated to better unity.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I do not feel qualified to answer much about the Christian Episcopal Church, nor about the current situation with the Anglican Province in America (APA). I see good things at work, and need both the information and the time to read up on it.

I do like what we have heard from Bishop Robert D. Redmile. I like also the public statements and steps taken by Bp. Grundorf in response both to Anglicanorum Coetibus, and to the ACNA (and the REC's compromise). To me things look more hopeful than ever before.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I met and chatted with Archbishop Hepworth when I was in Australia about 2 years ago for a Forward in Faith conference. At that time he was very excited about the possibilities of unity with Rome. He didn't say much about the TAC's membership and later I was informed by others who attended the conference that there wasn't as much enthusiasm among many of TACs clergy for this push to Rome.

Matthew M said...

Fr. Hart-
Based on the last 2 posts and remembering many of your statements about What 'true' Anglicanism is "Catholic" and not "Reformed" I wonder, what is the difference between UECNA 'Evangelical' and "Reformed Anglicanism" as in this:

It seems to me that never the twain shall meet. I have great respect for Catholic Anglicanism and virtually none for Reformed Anglicanism but it's not my bull being gored in this pen.

Sure wish you would write a book!

charles said...

Hello Fr. Hart and Wells,

It seems XnEC has adopted a form of the 1893 Solemn Declaration, aka. the "Forth Worth Declaration".

Consider how, in general, arguments to persuade a canonical basis for the Solemn Declaration might be strengthened by XnEC w/ APA at any future Congress? As mentioned before, APA wrote a modified Solemn Declaration into their C&C, upholding and maintaining, not only the 1801 Articles and 1928 BCP, but also the spirit of the 1977 St. Louis Affirmation. So, the idea of making an amended Declarations has some history amongst Continuing churches. It's certainly not a new idea? APA and XnEC's Declarations are certainly more strongly worded than ACNA#2's, btw.

Fr. Steve said...

I, too, would like to know where the APA fits into all of this. If we could get intercommunion between all of these groups (and with the Christian Episcopal Church if they want it), it would give our parishioners a lot more choice. I think I've counted over 20 churches between four of the five mentioned jurisdictions just here in North Carolina. If they were to coalesce, that could be a missionary diocese in and of itself. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Matthew M

Some people these days are calling themselves Reformed Anglicans, but just how much they have in common with the Reformers is questionable (I do not state an opinion on the link to SPREAD, because I have not had the time yet to research them). There was a blog called the Reformed Catholic - or something close to that - that epitomized a combination of willful ignorance and arrogance beyond anything I have ever encountered anywhere.

They would make generally inaccurate statements to the effect that the English Reformers did not believe any of the things they put into their own Canon Law. They were particularly certain that the English Reformers did not believe in such things as the Apostolic Succession, even though all of the evidence leads to the exact opposite conclusion.

I have posted about this kind of problem before.

Anyway, there are two types: the genuine reformed catholics, i.e. Anglicans, and the modern version who get it wrong.

charles said...

Hello Fr. Hart and Matthew,

I actually was drawn from OPC Presbyterianism to Anglicanism by Kevin Johnson's Reformed Catholicism website. From there I began to follow some CREC writers. My principle criticism is similar to Fr. Hart's, namely, the high church presbyterians are not especially consistent, and, if they were, they'd be Anglican.

As to "Reformed", I think this is one of those muddy terms not unlike "catholic", "evangelical", and "protestant". There are so many contenders for the title, that it has multiple and confused meanings, etc..

But "Reformed" is not a homogeneous body of writings penned by Zurich and Geneva theologians or necessarily synonymous with 'Calvinism'. In the 1540-60's, the Reformed movement really was centered around writers like Melanchthon and Bucer. Wittenberg-Strausburg marked the center while Zurich-Geneva were basically peripheral. If you consider the when the 'reformed' theology of England was cast with respect to events on the continent, the 39 Articles was not Calvinist but belonged to this (forgotten)'third movement'.

The great tragedy of the 1560's was after Luther's death and the disappointmen of Trent, the reformation began to unravel. Zurich-Geneva would compound this, and the consensus that almost emerged through Melanchthon-Bucer was polarized and hardened into confessional bodies that we today are familiar with. The good news was the 39 articles were perhaps the only 'confession' that passed through the later 16th century unscathed and unaltered. Lord knows, the Puritans wanted to bring English Reformed standards to the Genevan side, but our nursing parents, thankfully, stymied that.

Anyway, I know it a narrow point that few have interest or see any value. But I believe it's important to reclaim these terms by their actual etymology. The 39 articles belong to this early 'reformed' theology, and this is what is meant by the 'Reformed Church of England', not Calvin. Yes, reformed means resourcing patristics, but the shortcoming there is all the first generation protestants did that, albeit some more successful or optimistic than others. I'd also say Melanchthon is a strong argument for Greek resourcement, second to Erasmus.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Indeed "the modern version" do get it wrong. This is most evident in the way they accomodate contemporary culture, especially in the ordination of women to the priesthood.

I say that as a former ECUSA "priest" who has delved into the matter.

The Hackney Hub said...

Reformed Anglicans have always rejected the idea of a tactile apostolic succession. First, it implies having a sacerdotal priesthood which Anglicans do not. Secondly, Reformed Anglicans have always placed emphasis on the apostolic succession of doctrine being more important than having bishops. In fact, the English Reformers and Caroline Divines had no problem accepting the validity of non-episcopally ordained Reformed ministers.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Jordan's mistakes are as follows:

1) He presumes to define "Reformed" in terms of a very modern and contemporary movement, not in terms of the English Reformers nor of those who followed (especially not the Caroline Divines).

2) He mistakes the "Stranger's Churches" for what was permitted in services for people of the Church of England ("Stranger's Churches" were for those who resided in England for diplomatic or business reasons from, e.g. Germany).

3) He lays the behavior of an English government in Oliver Cromwell's brief usurpation at the doorstep of those who came just before and immediately after. In fact, some improperly "ordained" ministers were forced to leave their posts after the Restoration - because they lacked valid orders.

4) He ignores the evidence of Canon Law and of the writings of early Anglican luminaries and spokesmen.

I believe Jordan's first name is known to me. I have documented my position before and asked for refuting evidence that is not easily explained.

The Hackney Hub said...

“I never refused to join with the Protestants either here or anywhere else" - John Cosin

“If he [a churchman] were abroad, he would willingly communicate with the Protestant churches where he should happen to be.” - John Sharp

“which I do love and honour as true members of the Church Universal, I do profess that with like affection I should receive the Blessed Sacrament at the hands of the Dutch ministers if I were in Holland, as I should do at the hands of the French ministers if I were in Charenton.” - Archbishop Ussher

Alice C. Linsley said...

I know that my research is not accepted by everyone, but here is something to consider. The sacerdotal priesthood emerged out of the faith of Abraham's people. Abraham is called the "father of our Faith" in the epistles because the writers understood that he looked forward in faith to the appearing of the Son of God in the flesh. If Anglicans don't have the sacerdotal priesthood then they stand outside Holy Tradition. And what his Holy Tradition when boiled down? It is the message received by Abraham's people concerning the Seed of the Woman who would crush the serpent's head and to restore Paradise/communion with our Creator (Gen. 3:15).

In the New Testament the word "presbyter" is used to designate the one who presided when the body gathered for worship. This didn't designate a priest since only men born in the priestly lines would be considered priests, and among these only some would have been sacrificing priests. So the terms presbyter and priest don't represent the same concept.

Some of the Apostles were born of the priestly lines, and certainly Nicodemus and Joseph of Harimathea were, but that hardly matters since the Church's High Priest is Jesus and he was born of the priestly lines on his mother's side and Joseph's side. Mary and Joseph were of priestly lines and cousins. Mary's father was the shepherd priest Joachim, and Joseph was of the priestly line of Mattai.

If it is true that Joseph of Harimathea brought the Gospel to Britain, then he also brought apostolic succession by the laying on of hands with the anointing of oil, which is how he himself would have been anointed in order to serve as a voting member of the Sanhedrin. Anglicans most assuredly have apostolic succession and a sacerdotal priesthood.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


With all due respect for the men who made these famous quotations, the Canon Law of England stands as greater evidence than anything else. Finding a few isolated quotations about someone's personal opinion (and these we have seen many times before) does not add up to the weight of evidence in both the law and practice of the Church.

Hooker's Book VII, The Preface to the Ordinal, the writings of Lancelot Andrewes, Canon Law, recorded suspension of ministers who lacked episcopal ordination, the dividing line between "Stranger's Churches" and the Church of England (even when allowing use of their buildings)...The list goes on and on.

Unlike the Roman Church, however, it has never been the Anglican position to declare other churches "absolutely null and utterly void." That is, no sentence was ever pronounced to the effect that God's grace is limited to the orders we understand. But, neither did the Church of England compromise.

And, even those whose personal opinion it was that the sacraments of the Continental churches were efficacious, and who explained their reasoning, held to the view that God granted a special and irregular dispensation because these churches had been given no option. In fact, evidence shows that C of E bishops from the time of Cranmer thought it possible that they could rectify that problem. As years went by, they abandoned that whole idea.

Frankly, that does not amount to denial of the Apostolic Succession. It merely shows that some of the C of E bishops considered a concept of Divine Economy. The evidence actually proves that they considered Apostolic Succession to be God's appointed order, though they did not presume to draw boundary lines concerning His grace.

Furthermore, as any member of the REC would have to say, the Apostolic Succession does not have to lead to the idea of a sacerdotal priesthood. For they claim to have the former, but deny the latter.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

About the sacerdotal priesthood, the problem is not whether or not the Presbyter alone may celebrate. On that everyone was agreed including Cranmer. His writing was clear that no one else could celebrate (he avoided the question of Continental practice when mentioning this. he also had a run in with Henry VIII for insisting that only a bishop could ordain. Henry demanded to know why a king could not).

The problem with sacerdotal priesthood was not about the effectual sign of the sacrament, but about something else altogether:

"Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said that the priests did offer Christ for the quick and the dead to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits."

That is, the heresy that Christ could be offered again, or that further sacrifices for "expiation" could be either needed or made, must be refuted as strongly as possible. The Holy Communion service is set in strongly sacrificial language from the opening ("who made there" etc.) to be consistent with the ancient Church and the Scriptures that the Church has always believed.

The BCP line, "our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving" troubles some Anglo-Catholics. That the same phrase could be translated "our Eucharistic sacrifice" would not trouble them. this is very interesting. The Holy Communion, Eucharist or Masse, is a sacrifice, but not for the remission of our sins. That was done once for all.

In no way does the sacramental nature of the priestly sacrifice of the Church contradict that.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


When you bring up some of these things I must ask for the source of your historical facts. Are they established facts or conclusions based on indications plus logic? If the latter, they may seem convincing without being accurate.

For example, in light of the quotation of Africanus by Eusebius, can we know for sure that we know Mary's lineage? If so, since when does maternal; lineage count in the ancient mind about who inherited priesthood? Are you basing the idea of Joseph's "priestly lineage" on Psalm 110 (i.e as counted by the Jews and by Anglicans) and the concept that the king in Jerusalem succeeded Melchizedek?

Here I must stop, for I am saying a lot in too few words. However, we certainly agree when you say, "but that hardly matters since the Church's High Priest is Jesus." That is the real meaning of Psalm 110, i.e. the Holy Sprint's meaning.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Father, Here is not the place for a lenghty debate, especially since my research is available to read at Just Genesis (See the Index for topics arranged alphabetically).

The point is this: Abraham's ruler-priest ancestors and Abraham's priestly descendants (which later included Jews and Arabs) intermarried exclusively, which is a characteristic of castes. Within the Horite caste, priests married only the daughters of priests according to a unique kinship pattern which is consistent from the Genesis genealogies to the New Testment genealogies. In other words, Jesus was born of these priestly lines. That's what Joseph of Harimathea and Nicodemus understood and why they were willing to be His disciples and even to become "defiled" in burying His body at the Passover. Jesus' ancestry can be traced using the biblical data.

The Horite marriage pattern for ruler-priests never changed. Now the big question is why? I believe it is because they actually believed the promise made to their ancestors in Eden that the "Seed" of "the Woman" would be born of their lines. This is the origin of Messianic expectation.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


The archaeological and historical records seem to have received less attention than your point of view justifies. That seems a bit odd. However, the Biblical evidence that Mary was related to the Kohanim is really the fact that Elizabeth was her cousin. Legally, however, the Lord was counted as belonging to Judah. The Scriptures reveal only two significant lines of priesthood, namely Aaronic and that very mysterious order (or word-דִּבְרָה) of Melchizedek.

I think this wanders far from the argument that Jordan was making.

I should have added this to the list of mistakes in his first comment:

He confuses a theory of Divine Economy (to use a modern phrase) with rejection of the Biblical pattern of Apostolic Succession upheld in the authentic catholic Tradition.

Alice C. Linsley said...

The first priest was God Himself, who sacrificed animals in order to "clothe" Adam and Eve. So we who are "clothed in Christ" benefit from His sacrifice.

Anthropologically speaking the priesthood is one of the oldest offices known. It is as old as that of rulers and in the Nilotic tradition rulers were also priests.

Aaron had a brother who was a Horite priest. His name was Korah, which means shaved one. He was the firstborn son of Amram by his half-sister wife, Ishar. You may view Amram's family diagram here:

Father, I don't have your email address but would love to continue this discussion offline since it isn't perceived to pertain directly to Jordan's claims.