Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lutherans and the ACNA. . .

On June 23, 2016 the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America gave their consent to the election of the Reverend Jim Hobby as the next bishop of the ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh. Fr. Hobby will become yet another bishop of the ACNA married to a woman priest.  The truth is that this reflects the unsettled nature of the question of the ordination of women within the ACNA.  It left the question to the individual dioceses primarily because there was not a churchly consensus upon this within the ACNA. 
Such bishops are not only compromised on the question of women's ordination but seem intent upon continuing the tenuous relationship of dioceses which do and those which do not ordain women.. I suspect that the hope of many Anglicans for a catholic resolution of this issue within the ACNA will be further dashed by this election and consent. Perhaps those Anglicans who hold to catholicity on this issue will be disappointed but it may well be that they have hoped for the impossible.

The experience we have had with the Latvian Lutherans shows that progress is slow and that it takes close to a generation to turn back the tide and stand with the unbroken practice of the Church prior to modern times.  Still, though some may say it is time for Missouri to distance itself from the ACNA, if there is to be a change the ACNA needs the voice of Missouri now more than ever.  Since we are not yet in fellowship, we have nothing to lose by continuing the conversation and everything to gain.  Yet we can make a difference and help those within the ACNA to gain the courage and the wisdom to turn back the progress of modernity.  Let us not be too quick to discharge this ecumenical conversation because not enough progress has been made.  We talked with Lutherans who ordained women for years and years before finally slowing the dialogue due to lack of progress.  Yes, it is a disappointment but if we are serious about the mission and the faith, we will continue to stand for the truth while speaking it in love to all who will listen.


Kirk Skeptic said...

Unfortunately for Continuing Anglicanism ans a whole, the issue of women in office is pretty much settled. Just as with similar movements in the Lutheran and Reformed worlds, the fundamental problem is that those movements started as revolts against *too much* Liberalism as opposed to *any* Liberalism, thereby compromising them from the get-go.

This does not mean that we should break off the conversation, but such conversations require us to be firmly grounded in truth so as not to be lead into error. Such is the problem with apologetics and evangelism; ie the riksk of evangelized by your conversation partner is real. Remember Becker.

Carl Vehse said...

Holding ecumencial discussions with the ACNA is as useless as holding them with the United Methodists.

As for the Missouri Synod's A&P fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, it came about ONLY because Janis Vanags, who became the ELCL Archbishop in 1993, has refused to ordain women since then (there are still about a half-dozen ordained pastrixes in the ELCL).

In fact, until last month, the ELCL’s Constitution, Article 133, stated (in Latvian of course) that “anyone who according to the regulations set by the ELCL is called by God and trained for ministry can seek ordination.” This June, the ELCL's Constitution was finally changed to restricted ordination to only “any male candidate.”

How did the LCMS tapdance around this official heterodoxy? Easy. In Resolution 3-05A (LCMS 2001 Convention Proceedings, p. 136), the LCMS concocted this pharisaical level-of fellowship statement:

"Resolved, That this declaration of fellowship does not acknowledge that those women who have been ordained are recognized as ordained clergy who can serve in the capacity of ordained clergy in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod."

And since then (especially in the last six years) the Missouri Synod has been playing ecumenical spin-the-bottle games with assorted pastrix-ordaining non-Lutheran religious organizations, e.g., NALC, ACNA, EECMY, and the ECACS (Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia, with 43% (!) women pastrixes), none of whom have expressed even an iota of a hint of the slightest intention to become a real Lutheran church body.

A LCMS official even had the gall to proclaim: "The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia has been able to maintain its strong Lutheran identity in part due to the strength of their seminary."


Anonymous said...

The Kirk Skeptic, speaking of Continuing Anglicanism, said, " the fundamental problem is that those movements started as revolts against *too much* Liberalism as opposed to *any* Liberalism, thereby compromising them from the get-go."

This simply is not correct. I have been in the Continuing Anglican movement since 1989, and I know of no Continuing Anglican groups that ordain women or accept other "liberal" ideas. I am specifically familiar with the practices of the Anglican Catholic Church, the United Episcopal Church of North America, the Anglican Province of Christ the King, the Anglican Church in America, and the Diocese of the Holy Cross. None of these ordain women, accept abortion, or other liberal ideas.

The ACNA is not really a part of the Continuing Anglican movement that originated in the 1970s. The ACNA is a rather recent construct, primarily composed of dioceses that have left ECUSA recently. The ACNA is fairly large, around 100 000 members, if I am not mistaken, but it was on shaky ground from the beginning. Its members had remained in ECUSA far too long, and they were thoroughly infected. Most of its parishes use the BCP 1979 (no BCP at all!) and the Hymnal 1982, a pale imitation of the Hymnal 1940. I know several ACNA bishops, and they are not real conservatives at all, only superficially so.

It is an error to confuse the ACNA with Continuing Anglicanism. The real Continuing Church struggles on, an uphill fight but well worth the effort.

Fr. D+
Continuing Anglican Priest

Kirk Skeptic said...

@ Fr D: Pr P's article says nothing about timeframe, so excluding ACNA from Continuing Anglicanism is cherrypicking. My personal experience with CA is with CANA where I witnessed women assisting with communion & practicing intinction. As for PCK, I avoided them because of their failure to uphoild the historicity of Genesis 1-11 cum tolerance of Darwinism, as did a local AC parish - not my idea of a conservative at all.

This is not to say that there are not good bishops, preiests, and congregations in the CA movement, just as can be said of the other continuing church movements, but that doesn't change the fcat that said movements are founded upon quicksand. My critique stands.

Anonymous said...

Kirk Skeptic, you may call it cherry picking if you like; no one will stop you. But that does not make you correct.

ACNA came into being some 25 years after the original Continuing Anglican movement, and is a completely different group of people with a different mindset. CANA on the other hand was not, and is not, an indigenous Anglican movement in North America, but rather a missionary effort from the Church of Nigeria. In my use of the term "Continuing Anglican," I would exclude both ACNA and CANA; neither continues anything at all, but rather they are wild shoots in new directions. Both are shot through with revisionists. Would you perhaps like to include the Methodists as Anglicans because John Wesley was an Anglican Priest, or does the time gap make some difference after all?

Tomorrow, I will say Mass for a small but entirely traditional group of Anglicans; to my mind, this is the true Continuing Anglican movement. Enjoy your quicksand!

Continuing Anglican Priest

Kirk Skeptic said...

FR D, I also mentioned PCK, which meets your definition of Continuing Anglicanism, but you chose not to address their Darwinism; more cherrypicking perhaps?

Tomorrow I will attend liturgy with the LCMess which, for all its problems, still believes what God said and meant in Genesis and puts more stock in the objective content of the faith once delivered to the saints than merely following human traditions whilse beliving whatever one pleases. Enjoy your morass!

Anonymous said...

Kirk: Recall LCMS history and the demise of the Synodical Conference. WELS and the ELS saw the direction the LCMS was headed: The LCMS was supposed to become the original ELCA. Fortunately, Jack Preus was elected a few years later, the Seminexers left the LCMS, and the LCMS was saved. WELS and ELS remain stagnant, small, and irrelevant to this day. I would wager that the Anglican splinter groups (ACNA, CANA, etc) will share the same fate as the WELS and the ELS.

The Anglican Communion will also dissolve in the same manner. African church bodies will break with the Anglican Communion to form several independent denominations. Similarly, the UMC, although a single denomination and not a conference/association, will also split into two or three independent church bodies. Blame the Africans for rejecting homosexuality (and Historical/Higher Criticism, hopefully).

The above comparisons are a bit messy, but I hope you get my point about unified groups splitting over the promotion of Historical/Higher Criticism.

When will Anglican leaders finally admit that the Anglican Communion is dead:

I hope that the LCMS will learn from the Anglicans in South Sudan who want to become confessional Lutheran. Perhaps LCMS leaders could use the experience as a template for dealing with other Anglican bodies.