Friday, September 22, 2017

Interview about the 2017 Anglican Joint Synods!

Please listen to today's special broadcast on Quad Cities Anglican Radio, Friday 22nd September 2017, regarding the 2017 Anglican Joint Synods here in Atlanta!


Monday, September 18, 2017

Seven Years

Today is the seventh anniversary of my episcopal consecration: please pray for me. God bless you!


Monday, September 11, 2017

Anglican Churches to Sign Statement of Full Communion at Historic Atlanta Joint Synod


Author: 

David Turney




This October the leaders of four Continuing Anglican Churches—The Anglican Church in America (ACA), the Anglican Catholic Church(ACC), the Anglican Province of America (APA), and the Diocese of the Holy Cross (DHC)—will gather in Atlanta for a series of joint synods to formally recognize their growing affinity and to sign an historic statement of full communion.
The four Churches represent 300 congregations in the United States as well as larger memberships in Africa, South America, Oceania, Asia, and England.  The groups have grown increasingly close over recent years, and look to the Congress of Saint Louis (1977) and the Affirmation of Saint Louis as common historical and theological touchstones.  The Churches are united by commitments to credal orthodoxy; to traditional Anglican worship; to the threefold Apostolic ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons; and to traditional morality in issues affecting the sanctity of life and human sexuality.
While all four Churches seek closer relations with other ecclesial bodies with Anglican backgrounds, they differ from most of them in a firm belief that innovations since the mid-1970s such as modernist liturgies and the purported ordination of women to Holy Orders constitute unacceptable developments that remove Anglicans from the central Tradition of the Undivided Church of the first millennium.  
The 2017 Anglican Joint Synods will meet over the week of October 2nd to 6th 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia Hotel on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.  At the conclusion the Bishops and Councils are expected to sign an agreement establishing full communion, known as “communio in sacris”, and formally pledge to pursue full unity.  These documents aim to reconcile several contentious issues and, more significantly, open up reciprocity of holy orders and sacramental life.
During the October meetings, the four Churches will discuss common plans for mission and evangelism, signaling a new chapter in their life and ministry together.  Each Church will hold its own mandatory business meetings and Synods, but the four will join together throughout the week for common worship and social occasions.
The four Churches and their episcopal leaders are the Anglican Church in America, led by Presiding Bishop Brian Marsh; the Anglican Catholic Church, led by Archbishop Mark Haverland; the Anglican Province of America, led by Presiding Bishop Walter Grundorf, and the Diocese of the Holy Cross, led by Bishop Paul Hewett.
The combined Synod Mass at the hotel on Friday morning at 11am, October 6th 2017, following the plenary session, will be a joint celebration expressing the sacramental communion of the four Churches. The public is invited to attend the Mass. All interested people are urged to make plans now to attend this unique history-making event.
* * *
Questions about this Press Release or about the Atlanta Joint Synods may be directed to the Rt. Rev. Chandler Holder Jones, Bishop Suffragan of the Anglican Province of America’s Diocese of the Eastern United States.  Bishop Jones serves as rector of St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Dunwoody Georgia and can be reached by contacting the church office.  See www.stbarnabasatl.org.
 

Friday, September 08, 2017

Dogma Not Discipline

This essay delineates what the authentic Anglican Church teaches about the nature of the Apostolic Ministry: any prospective communion between the orthodox catholic Continuing Churches and the ACNA is now unattainable.

The controversy regarding the male character of the sacred Ministry is an unfortunate one, but one which continues to gain momentum and intensity in many parts of the Christian and post-Christian world. Our position is controversial to those who embrace the new hermeneutic, or the novel interpretation of the Christian Faith which has been developed over the past forty years, and yet it is our position which has been held 'everywhere, always, and by all' (Saint Vincent of Lerins) throughout two-thousand years of orthodox Christian Tradition and teaching. The definition of the Catholic Faith is that it is the Faith which passes the threefold test of universality, antiquity, and consent. 

The ordination of women fails each of these tests. The male nature of the sacramental priesthood is a received part of the catholicity of the whole Church. The entire Holy Catholic Church, East and West, for two-thousand years has always held that the ministerial priesthood sacramentally represents Jesus Christ, and is therefore male in essence, for the catholic priesthood of the whole Church is the 'icon of the Incarnation.' Simply put in a deductive form: 1. Jesus Christ is true Man in a male human nature, 2. the ordained priest in Holy Orders personifies or 'incarnates' the incarnate human nature of Christ, 3. thus the priest must be true man in a male human nature. The Anglican Province of America officially accepts the teaching of the Affirmation of Saint Louis (1977):

Holy Orders
The Holy Orders of bishops, priests and deacons as the perpetuation of Christ's gift of apostolic ministry to His Church, asserting the necessity of a bishop of apostolic succession (or priest ordained by such) as the celebrant of the Eucharist -- these Orders consisting exclusively of men in accordance with Christ's Will and institution (as evidenced by the Scriptures), and the universal practice of the Catholic Church.

The priest stands in the place of Christ, to quote Saint Cyprian of Carthage, at the altar, imaging Our Lord, 'impersonating' Him. Theology describes the ordained priest as in persona Christi capitis, that is, in the Person of Christ the Head of the Church. Christ is the Head of the Church, the Bridegroom of the Bride (Ephesians 5.20ff). Therefore the priest, the alter Christus, 'another Christ,' is the living icon or image of Christ the Bridegroom to His Bride the Church. The priest is the sacramental identification or personification of the incarnate Christ, the representative of God to man and man to God. 


The catholic priest is the Bridegroom and Head of the Church, in the Person of Christ. A bishop or priest is not ordained per se to fulfil a function, but rather to be the icon or image of Christ: the Sacrament of Holy Orders is ontological, a matter of being, not functional, or simply to play a role. The priest is ordained to be the icon of Christ. Hence, a woman cannot be ordained because she cannot be an icon of the Bridegroom to the Bride. Biblical orthodox Christianity has always used the metaphors, images, and types found in Holy Scripture which reveal in nuptial terms that God is the Bridegroom and Head, and His People, the Church, is the Bride. The ordained man 'puts on Christ' in his priestly ordination; he possesses an ontological indelible sacramental character which configures him to Jesus Christ in a unique way. 

The priest in apostolic succession is the great sacrament of Christ, the sacramental man in the Sacramental Man Himself. The ordained sacramental priest has no priesthood of his own, but shares in, sacramentally manifests, and extends to the Church the One Eternal Priesthood of Jesus Christ. We believe the male character of the Sacrament of Holy Orders is a truth revealed by God, essential to the nature of the sacrament as instituted by Christ and the Apostles and fundamental to the purpose for which the gift of the Apostolic Ministry was conveyed by Christ to the Church (I Corinthians 14.34-40). The sacramental sacerdotal priesthood exists to image of our Lord Jesus Christ in time and space, to represent Our Lord sacramentally as a living instrument of Christ. Ordination is the sacrament of history, the conveyance of Christ's sacramental structure in the Church, and thus Christ's presence, throughout time. 

The ordained priesthood is the extension and continuation of the very Ministry of our Blessed Lord through the course of the ages. We believe that the Church does not have the authority or competence to alter what is believed to be an salvific institution of divine origin: 'Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.' (ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS of John Paul II). On this matter, both the Roman and Eastern Churches have been faithful guardians and custodians of the Apostolic Tradition. The Catholic Faith of the creeds and councils stipulates that to deny the male essence of the priesthood, the image of the Incarnation, is to deny the reality of the Incarnation of the Word made flesh.


Ironically, it is not that we do not believe that women cannot be priests, in negative terms: it is that we believe, positively, that Our Lord Jesus Christ definitively instituted a male Apostolic Ministry in a sacrament which requires as its outward and visible sign the male subject of ordination. We believe that the priesthood of Jesus Christ transmitted in Holy Orders is one of the most profound gifts of God to His Church, a divine mercy granted the Church for her edification and salvation. Therefore even the Pope or an Ecumenical Council does not possess the authority substantially to change what has been revealed directly by God to be an permanent component of the life and ministry of the Church. In this respect, the action of certain provinces of the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches to change the prerequisite of a divinely-ordained sacrament is a unilateral innovation of the most egregious kind. By doing so, such provinces have not only severed their communion with the larger Church Catholic of the ages, but have irrevocably changed the substance of the sacraments instituted by the Lord Jesus. 

The question of the ordination or non-ordination of women is not a political or social justice issue, although it is often confused by its politically-correct promoters as such. Rather, the nature of sacred ordination is an issue of divine revelation and authority, a theological concern only - and one upon which our salvation depends. In the teaching and theology of the Holy Catholic Church, the validity of the sacraments, particularly the Holy Eucharist, depends on the validity of the Christ-given priesthood which administers them. And the sacraments exist to guarantee the conferral of divine life; they are the divine assurances and covenanted means of grace without which we do not possess the certainty of grace. 'Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it. Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not permitted without authorization from the bishop either to baptize or to hold a Eucharist; but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God. Thus everything you do will be proof against danger and valid' (Saint Ignatius of Antioch, To the Smyrnaeans 8). 

Anglicans have always held in common with whole Undivided Church that true bishops and priests are required for the validity of a true Eucharistic celebration. The Holy Eucharist, in turn, is generally necessary for salvation (S. John 6.50-66, BCP 581). In blunt terms - 'No bishop, no Church. No priest, no Eucharist, no salvation.' All tie together in one tremendous economia of divine grace. We believe the male catholic priesthood was revealed by God for the salvation of man, and to tamper with it is to tamper with the divine gift of salvation. I do hope these thoughts will be of use to you and will be helpful in your consideration of the complex and vitally important subject of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

'Two Integrities'



Two Integrities: Can They Really Co-Exist? 

An editorial by the staff of the Anglo-Catholic Standard - April 2009

The Notion of “Two Integrities”: What Is It, and How Does it Apply to ACNA?

The notion of “two integrities” relating to women’s ordination, which currently exists in the
newly-formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), is not new. It is the same language that The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the larger Anglican Communion have used to talk about the ordination and marriage of practicing homosexuals. In the context of ACNA, the idea behind it is perhaps best expressed by Bishop Martyn Minns, who has stated,

There are...two integrities: those who believe that women should not be ordained at all and those who believe that women can serve in ordained ministry.... We will keep our promise to honor both integrities...and fulfill our commitment to the full participation of women, in the life and leadership of the church. We will do so in such a manner that both those who are unable to support the ordination of women and those who embrace it will know that their position has been honored. 

In short, the notion of two integrities relating to women’s ordination is simply that whether one takes the position that it is permitted to ordain women (one integrity), or whether one takes the position that such a practice is not permitted (another integrity), both integrities are to be honored and are to co-exist within the same jurisdiction.

How Does it Apply to ACNA? 

Although Bishop Minns defined the “two integrities” prior to the forming of ACNA, the new province is using the same language. It is employing this notion to defend the errors of the ordination of women to holy orders and lay celebration of the Holy Communion. Frankly “two” are not nearly enough to describe the integrities represented in ACNA. Within its numbers are groups such as the Anglican Mission in America (AMIA), which includes parishes that, having embraced “believer’s baptism,” refuse to baptize infants. Another integrity is represented by parishes that use no Book of Common Prayer in worship, but rather worship according to the spontaneous direction of a worship leader who may be lay or ordained, male or female. Another integrity teaches that laymen can celebrate the Holy Communion with or without a priest. Another integrity holds that women may be ordained to the priesthood, another asserts that women may be ordained only as deacons, while yet another proclaims that women may not be ordained to holy orders at all.

“‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’”



The Notion of Two (or More) Integrities is Linguistically, Ecclesiologically and 
Theologically Erroneous. 

1. It is Linguistically Erroneous, Resulting in Hypocrisy and Double-Mindedness.
An integrity has the notion of personal stake or identity, commitment, wholeness, accountability—a whole, complete position. Yet the use of the word “integrity” should be approached with caution because it is in itself a neutral word. It signifies only the consistent, heart-felt beliefs and
behaviors of a person or group. It does not mean “correct,” “right,” “orthodox,” or “true” (as will be discussed below when we examine it ecclesiologically and theologically). The opposite of “integrity” is “hypocrisy.” Hypocrisy occurs when one group holding a position and set of values comes into deep, essential conflict with another group holding a different position and set of values within the same system or organization. Yet the different groups agree to ignore their own integrities for the sake of the larger group. This is precisely what is happening within ACNA; it is hypocrisy.

Further, the notion of two integrities is oxymoronic. It is linguistic nonsense; “two integrities” that are diametric opposites are hopelessly irreconcilable. Bishop Minns has stated, “The integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be mutually recognized and respected.” Yet in reality the “two integrities” suggests psychosis, or split personality. As Saint James reminds us: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8). In short, it makes no linguistic sense to speak of two integrities co-existing when they are diametrically opposed to one another. It should be noted that the very concept of mutual integrities, all equally true and living, is itself a fallacy of basic logic. Mutual truth claims all contending to be true and yet contradicting each other fall under the judgment of the principle or law of non-contradiction, principium contradictionis. Two beliefs, each claiming to be true and yet opposed to each other, cannot both be correct. One of them, according to the rule of logic, must be wrong. As Plato writes in The Republic, “It is plain that the same thing will not be willing at the same time to do or suffer opposites with respect to the same part and in relation to the same thing.”

Contradictory statements cannot at the same time both be true. Therefore to say that women’s ordination is true for some and not true for others is indeed a nonsense, plainly absurd and illogical. To make such an assertion is to stumble into the trap of that post-modern relativism which so profoundly defines our modern culture, a culture utterly devoid of absolute truth and objective standards of right and wrong. Mutually-exclusive claims all lined-up alongside each other as being equally true is a symptom of the pluralistic and relativistic world in which we live—such a philosophical fallacy or mind-game, however, has no place in the Church of God and can have no legitimacy in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Truth as it is in Jesus is the truth, and there can be no other.

2. It is Ecclesiologically Erroneous, Departing from the Apostolic Church.
The notion of two integrities conveniently, yet ironically, departs from the Church of God as defined by the Apostles, the Church Fathers and the Creeds. It ignores the apostolic and orthodox attributes of the Church. The Church of God is our fundamental integrity. Within her bounds more than one integrity is impossible. The Church is not proclaimed to be “One, Holy, Catholic and Integral Church.” That would only mean that the Church is consistent and whole in her beliefs and behaviors. While this is certainly true, the Church is more—she is also apostolic and orthodox. The word “apostolic” means “from the Apostles.” The word “orthodox” means simply “right worship.” There is a right way to worship the Blessed Trinity, and there is a way that may seem right to men but that is wrong.

As discussed above, in reality there are at least six “integrities” at play. While to some degree internally consistent, they each represent radical departures from orthodox Christianity. One integrity believes that the Church has been mistaken for over 2000 years in not ordaining women. A second believes that the Church has been mistaken in not allowing laymen to celebrate Holy Communion. A third believes that the Church has been in error in baptizing infants. A fourth says that the Church has been mistaken in requiring the worship the Blessed Trinity to be offered according to an orthodox liturgy. A fifth believes that contemporary Christians are less prejudiced than the Apostles. A sixth holds that contemporary Christians are less culturally conditioned than Jesus Christ was (which is why He could not ordain women apostles).

On the other hand, orthodox Christianity believes that the Church got all these issues exactly right at the beginning. This integrity holds that we ought to remain faithful to the apostolic model. It believes that Our Lord revealed the true culture of Holy Mother Church to us for all time. In short, one integrity believes that the Church should be transformed by the prevailing culture, while the other believes that the Church’s mission is to transform the culture and to render it obedient to God Almighty. It is somewhat ironic that Bishop Minns has said regarding TEC’s celebrating same-sex unions, “These specific actions revealed that those in control of the Episcopal Church were ready to separate themselves from the ‘faith once and for all delivered to the saints’ and embrace innovations that were essentially a new religion.” Yet ACNA fails to realize that in its multiple integrities, this is the same error that it commits.

3. It is Theologically Erroneous, Treating These Integrities as Mere Preferences.
To have multiple integrities is theologically erroneous. ACNA, as does TEC with homosexual ordination, treats these two (or more) integrities as preferences, mere choices that ultimately make no difference within a jurisdiction. They are choices similar, for example, to whether or not one should speak or chant the Mass. To ACNA, these choices are not worth fighting—or remaining split—over.

Yet these integrities are not mere preferences. Instead, they deal with the essentials upon which the Church of God relies salvifically—particularly, the validity of the Holy Eucharist. There cannot
be two integrities when only one guarantees that the flock of Christ is feeding upon Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. In such a situation, one integrity—that which the Church has held always to be valid ordination—is righteous, good and faithful. The other—that which is a cultural innovation of no validity—is a sin. Therefore, one cannot “honor both integrities” as Bishop Minns exhorts us to do, when one integrity is a sin.1 The cultural innovation of the ordination of women blatantly defies 1 Corinthians 14:34-40.

This is the essential problem with women’s ordination and lay celebration of the Eucharist. Those who accept two (or more) integrities either do not understand sacramental theology, or they reject it. Valid feeding upon the True Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is essential to the Church’s salvation. Only the validly ordained priest, in persona Christi, can consecrate the elements of bread and wine. For the Church purportedly to do otherwise is to invite the flock of Christ to the altar rail and then provide them with nothing, while deceiving them into believing that they are feeding upon their salvation. Such is a serious sin. As Christ taught, “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Saint Matthew 18:6).

It is ironic that some of those within ACNA who support women’s ordination claim just the opposite. They assert that women’s ordination is a moral and theological good, that it is a biblical mandate that ACNA must fulfill. Dr. Ann Paton, a priest within Bishop Duncan’s jurisdiction and a member of ACNA, best exemplifies this position. She has recently preached that not only ordination to the priesthood, but also ordination to the episcopate, is the “whole gospel” of Jesus Christ. Admonishing ACNA for its prohibition forbidding the ordaining of women as bishops, she asks her congregation, “What are we going to tell the girls?” when they express a desire to be ordained. She suggests that the gospel of Christ is not “good news” if it excludes women from celebrating the Holy Eucharist. She insists that ACNA, as a jurisdiction, ordain women to all clerical levels. She proclaims that ensuring such ordination is being “bold for the Gospel, the whole Gospel.” One is reminded of the prophet Isaiah’s warning, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah5:20).

This level of theological blindness is sobering. Dr. Paton bears witness to the inevitable paradigm shift within ACNA, as she, from within this new province, proclaims the “gospel” mandate of ordaining women bishops. Several conservative jurisdictions have joined ACNA while claiming to remain opposed to women’s ordination. They fail to recognize that in aligning themselves with this province, they have de facto approved and accepted the innovation, even if it is not exhibited in their own parishes. By virtue of their action, such jurisdictions have stamped the practice in question a valid alternative preference, not a matter concerning the life and health of the Church, not a matter of righteousness versus sin. They have agreed by virtue of their membership in ACNA that Dr. Paton’s position is viable, at least regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate and to the priesthood. If these jurisdictions had a thorough theological and sacramental grasp on the issue, they would not remain within a province which, at best, openly treats the opposed positions as equally valid.

A Recent Lesson From the Church of England 

There is no need to conjecture about the end result of the multiple integrities model. In short, it is catastrophic for the apostolic and orthodox Faith. One only need observe what has developed in the Church of England over the past seventeen years.

When the vote for women priests passed in the General Synod of the Church of England on November 11, 1992, the model of dual integrities, for and against women’s ordination, was effectively born. A process of “reception” for the innovation was declared operative at that time, meaning that the Church must take time over the course of years and decades to deliberate and discern whether or not the innovation was of God. Theoretically, the proposed process of reception meant that it was possible that the Church of England could eventually revisit the decision and declare that women’s ordination is wrong. The very opposite, of course, has now happened.

The Act of Synod 1993 temporarily ensured the survival of a Catholic remnant within the canonical structure of the Church of England through the creation of “flying bishops,” provincial episcopal visitors, bishops under the jurisdiction of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, who would minister to parishes that could not accept the innovation. Parishes were given the right to refuse the ministrations of women priests. Bishops would be consecrated who would not ordain women. On paper at least, ordinands would not be discriminated against for holding to the Catholic tradition regarding ordination.

In July 2008, all of this was swept away with breathless ease by the General Synod. Legislation for the consecration of women bishops was approved with no provisions of any kind for those who hold to Apostolic Order. The process of reception, for all practical purposes, has been triumphantly declared complete. The Church of England has pronounced, not surprisingly, that women’s ordination is true, because it is socially and politically just. Anyone who opposes the juggernaut of political correctness and radical feminism and its new sacrament of women’s orders is labeled a sexist, a misogynist and a backward traditionalist.

Although the final legislation to be authorized by General Synod has not yet been fully shaped, the handwriting is unmistakably on the wall. It appears that very soon no Christians who profess the 2000 year old tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic Church will have any meaningful place in the Church of England. They may be reduced to a small ghetto, an ecclesiola in ecclesiae, a church within the church, to be marginalized and pushed to the very edge of the Establishment. A war waged for decades against Traditional Anglicans by the radical feminist left within the Church of England may have finally resulted in a victory for those who have sought to change the Church into a sphere of social and political engineering. Cultural Christianity has prevailed over orthodox Christianity in a decisive way. Should we fail to learn the lesson of the Church of England, it will be to our everlasting shame and regret. What began as two “integrities” is now only one, the “integrity” of heresy. The dual integrity model collapsed on itself, for it is inevitable that rival truth claims must struggle against each other – and always, one in the end prevails. The two integrities system turned out to be an illusion, and a deception. The overhaul of the entire sacramental structure of the Church of England began with the two integrity proposition. Are we willing to repeat history? Are we willing to gamble the Catholic Faith that comes to us from the Apostles? Are we willing to attempt what has been attempted before with the expectation of a different result? These serious questions are posed to us today. Let us not make the same mistake. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Conclusion 

The new Province endorses the ordination of women to the priesthood and diaconate by those who choose so to act, and its formal statements thus far clearly indicate a Protestant theological inclination. The Church of God does not worship at the altar of “unity.” She worships at the altar of Christ. Those entrusted to shepherd Christ’s flock must not present or offer a false Christ, nor may they enter into communion with those who do. No one glories in isolation. But we do not get to unity by chipping away at that which makes us the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. It is linguistically, ecclesiologically, and theologically impossible—as well as pastorally irresponsible—to wink at sin while proclaiming that a way exists to remain in a jurisdiction that condones sin through its departure from orthodoxy. To say that nothing need change for those who hold to the more orthodox integrity is to fail to acknowledge that, for those who have joined ACNA but do not themselves ordain women, all has already changed. The choices are clear: Will we remain orthodox and true to the faith once delivered to the saints, or will we bow to the whims of culture for the sake of a false “unity"?

Endnotes 
1. For further reflection on the sin of contravening the male character of Apostolic Order, refer to the excellent work Consecrated Women? edited by Father Jonathan Baker, Canterbury Press, 2004. 

PNCC-G4 Dialogue

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