Where Do We Go From Here?
Fr. Dale Matson
“For goodness sakes, what will it take all ranks of the clergy in the Anglican world with at least two brain cells to simply walk away and form another denomination?”
[This question was posed recently on a blog site thread discussing an article where The Archbishop of Canterbury said that plans to make the unemployed do unpaid work to stay in benefits was unfair. http://tinyurl.com/Rowan-Williams. He tends to be crystal clear and quick to offer opinions on social policy issues and less so with his statements about the state of the WWAC.]
While I believe I still have at least two brain cells, the thought of walking away once again is troubling indeed. I believe that those of us in ACNA are already considered schismatic since most came out of TEC rather than continue to fight the heresies. What do we do now? Do we advocate for an additional split in the WWAC too? My hope is that the Global South Primates, who recognize the ACNA, will understand more clearly the leadership role that God is calling them to take in the Communion. In the All Africa Bishops Conference held last August there was evidence of this awareness. “Four hundred bishops from Africa announced today that 'business as usual' was no longer an option for the Anglican Church there and that Africans should ‘take their destiny into their own hands’.” http://tinyurl.com/2a7cafl.
The ACNA has been recognized and included in this destiny. “We are committed to network with orthodox Anglicans around the world, including Communion Partners in the USA and the Anglican Church in North America, in holistic mission and evangelism. Our aim is to advance the Kingdom of God especially in unreached areas. ” http://tinyurl.com/Bishops-Communique.
In North America the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin has been a point of the spear and has suffered for this but willingly and with perseverance. TEC is now suing each incorporated parish in our Diocese in addition to the Diocese itself. I personally believe that there would be no ACNA had not John-David Schofield our Bishop taken the first step in being the initial Diocese separating from TEC. If you were to look at us you would wonder why this move came from such an unlikely place, the very ordinary Diocese of San Joaquin. This was truly a David vs. Goliath moment.
Anglicans constitute the 3rd largest Christian denomination. The vast majority of Anglicans are orthodox and hold to the historic faith once delivered. The Jerusalem Declaration http://tinyurl.com/Jerusalem-Declaration. describes where faithful Anglicans are today more clearly, not nuanced and with less appeasement than the Anglican Covenant which may never be adopted by either the liberals or the conservatives in the World Wide Anglican Communion. I believe that eventually a branch of Anglicanism centered in Jerusalem or Africa will become the answer to Canterbury centered Anglicanism which is the historic center but no longer the theological center. I see little difference in the quest for innovation and another gospel in the Church of England, Anglican Church of Canada and amongst those in authority in Canterbury and the other instruments of unity such as the Anglican Consultative Council than TEC. Archbishop Rowan Williams seems not to fully appreciate the depth of the division within the WWAC. Footnote #2. of the August CAPA Primates Communiqué states, “There remains a very real danger that we will not choose to walk together. Should the call to halt and find ways of continuing in our present communion not be heeded, then we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart.” This should not be considered a threat. These are leaders who say what they mean and mean what they say.
There was a time that I hoped that ACNA would be recognized by the See of Canterbury this is no longer the case. It is the Global South that I look to for clarity, orthodoxy, leadership and the future of Anglicanism. It is Christianity that has come full circle. Those we taught now teach us. It is time to turn the page. In the meantime we will be doing the work we were called to do in the great commission and the great commandment. I speak only for myself about these things. Thy will be done Lord Amen.