Archive for February, 2011

CANA is now ACNA

The Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion),  says the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), is no longer under the jurisdiction of Nigeria.

Speaking during his recent visit to London , Okoh said: “CANA is now part of the Anglican Province of North America (ACNA).

ACNA is a breakaway province from the Episcopal Church headed by Archbishop Robert Duncan.

“We are not interested in territorial ambition; our main reason for going to America was to provide for those who were no longer finding it possible to worship in the Episcopal church.

“A new structure has been put up in the U.S. which is ACNA.

“CANA now belongs to ACNA even though they still relate to us;but essentially it now belongs to Anglican province of North America,” he said.

Click here to read more.



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I was read A Protest against the New Primatial Standing Committee by Benjamin Guyer over at Covenant. I was struck by this paragraph:

I write these things as a young American and faithful Anglican. Because of this I cannot help but wonder: will I soon come to find that I have no Anglican parish in which to marry, and no such parish in which to baptize and raise my children? Truly, we live in an evil day when are forced to ask such questions! I do not offer this protest in a spirit of petulant demand; I am no child of the sixties. I simply ask – no, I plead – that a word be spoken which indicates that the Primates of the Anglican Communion understand the urgency of their pastoral role, particularly to those Anglicans who struggle and are indeed breaking under conditions for which there is no alleviation in sight. The Primates – all of them – need to reverse and revoke the appointment of the American Presiding Bishop to the Primates’ Standing Committee. Anything else is the height of pastoral irresponsibility.

Guyer is spot-on in this article in saying that the Archbishop of Canterbury is not to be held solely responsible for the state of affairs of the Anglican Communion and the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori to the Primatial Standing Committee. The primates who boycotted the most recent Primates meeting, abdicated an important responsibility to preserve the life and faithfulness of the Anglican Communion. What has happened is that the primates who attended have adopted an ecclesiology where “we are all friendly and we do good works, but we need not share commonly recognized forms of belief and practice.”


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My good friend David Jones, longtime ethics professor at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, sent me a small sack of grits for Christmas. These are the high quality kind — white speckled grits from a mill in Georgia that was established in 1876.

The gift was an expression of friendship, but also a reminder of our shared interest in the theological significance of grits. David has been encouraging me to write a book about “grits and grace.”

Our grits dialogue got going when David heard me tell a story that I had heard in a homily by a Catholic priest from New Jersey. The priest had flown across the Mason-Dixon line for the first time, and on his first morning in a southern city he went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. After perusing the menu, he called a waitress to his table. “Miss,” he said, “what’s a grit?” Her reply: “Honey, they don’t come by themselves!”  The priest used that as a metaphor for the Christian life.  As Christians, we don’t “come by ourselves” — by grace we are incorporated into a community, the Body of Christ.

A year or so after hearing me tell the story, David sent me another grits tale, this one a part of the lore among folks who work in the Waffle House chain. A guy goes into a Waffle House and orders a waffle accompanied by scrambled eggs and bacon. When the waitress brought the order to his table, there were also grits on the plate. “Miss, I did not order grits,” the man said. “Honey,” she replied, “you don’t order grits, it just comes!”

The theological lessons in those stories are clear to a couple of Calvinist theologians. It’s all about grace. There is nothing wrong about explicitly asking for grits when you order your food at a Waffle House. But whether you ask or not, “it just comes.”  God’s grace “just comes” to us — not because we order it, but because we can count on grace as a sign of the faithfulness of the provider.

And the grace that we receive is not intended for an isolated “me and God” spirituality. We are called to a community that is meant to show forth the rule of God — a peoplehood that serves as a sign of God’s larger purposes for the creation. “True grits”!

by Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

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Four Things

Four things we see St. Paul deemed necessary for the establishment of his churches, and only four:

1) A tradition or elementary Creed

2) Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion

3) Orders

4) Holy Scriptures

St. Paul trained converts in the simplest and most practical form. He delivered to these to them. He exercised them as a body in the understanding and practice of them, and he left them to work them out for themselves as a body whilst he himself went on with his own special work. He was ready at any moment to encourage or direct them by messengers, by letters, or by personal visits, as they needed direction or encouragement; but he neither desired, nor attempted, to stay with them, or to establish his ministers amongst them to do for them what he was determined that they must learn to do for themselves. He knew the essential elements, and he trained his converts in those and in those alone, and he trained them by teaching them to use what he gave them.

– taken from Roland Allen’s Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?

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I’ve been pondering recently the inevitability of change in this life. The old maxim holds true: “The only constant is change.” Historically, I have not always enjoyed seasons of transitions or change before entering into them. So, I see them coming and they make me anxious. What I’ve noticed consistently is that once I’m beyond that season, I am grateful for the change and the once again-ness of God’s faithfulness.

If it is true that change is inevitable in this life and if it is true that God is sovereign and faithful, then our response to change should be shaped by the reality that there is no metamorphosis we can undergo, no place we can enter, no risk we can take which will locate us where God is not. Our response to change then makes all the difference. Will we look expectantly at change as a chance to cooperate with the in-breaking kingdom? Will you see that change is a way to get out on the very front edge of what God is doing in your life?

Some people are able to limit the changes they experience by the radical ordering of their lives and a vigilance to preserve that order. Nevertheless, change is unavoidable. There is no cave deep enough, tower high enough, or army strong enough to protect you from that truth. However, because of our great God’s goodness and his changeless-ness we need not fear, only hope. Each transition, every risk, nay, all our steps, are opportunities for greater trust in our faithful God.

Almighty God, look upon those whose hearts fail them for fear, whose path is dark from overshadowing threats or strewn with obstacles, whose footsteps have well nigh slipped. Deliver them, O God, from every apprehension which is groundless; teach them to trust in the mercies you bestow through the changing course of things; let them not feed anxiety or terror with their life-blood, but let them walk in quiet confidence and fortitude, leaning on the staff of your assistance; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Dorsett’s Old Paths

The Anglican Mission’s Winter Conference was held last week at Greensboro. I confess, most of my productive time at Winter Conferences was spent in meetings with friends and peers to catch up or to discuss theology, liturgy, and church planting. However, I was greatly looking forward to getting to hear The Rev Lyle Dorsett speak. I’ve heard a great deal about Lyle from our many parishioners who knew him at Wheaton. I was disappointed when I learned he was speaking on Saturday because I had to return home on Friday.

Thankfully, David Virtue put together a nice write-up on Fr. Lyle’s talk here.

I was particularly attracted to this part:

Lyle contended that the secret of the power of the Wesleys and other evangelists is prayer.

  1. The preached everywhere and anywhere so women and young people could hear the Word of God not just men.
  2. They proclaimed with simplicity.
  3. They preached fervently and directly.
  4. They based their sermons on the “old paths” on Scripture.
  5. They taught the total corruption of human nature.
  6. They maintained that the death of Christ was the only satisfaction whereby we could be saved.
  7. They preached the universal necessity of heart conversion, the need to be born again.
  8. They preached that God hates sin but loves sinners.
  9. They proclaimed that prayer and Holy Spirit will empower people and He promises you will be persecuted for your efforts.

“The truth is we don’t do these things for two reasons. The first is we are afraid of men. Many love the praise of men more than the praise of God. The second reason is poor teaching. We have been told for too long that we need to come up with new models. Not true. Let’s excavate the old models. They are well preserved in the sands of time.”

As an Anglican priest, I’m obviously a proponent of the “old paths.” This is mostly because of years spent bushwhacking “new paths.” Briefly, Martha and I were involved in the non-denominational, mega church and parachurch youth ministries for the first several years of our marriage. Each year in our youth ministry, we were handed a new book, by a new guru, who finally figured it out. We were to sit at his (because it was almost never a her) feet, absorb the material, and duplicate their model.

It was an incredibly exhausting and unstable way to live and minister. Moreover, we saw the same tendencies active in the local church we were attending. That same exhaustion and instability became our experience of the Christian faith for a season. In God’s grace, in time, we were led to worship in the Anglican tradition. Its “old paths” of liturgy and prayer permitted us to exhale and then to notice a glorious panoramic view of the Christian life. We’ve never looked back. The Anglican tradition is not the only way but it is a good and faithful way to worship the Triune God.

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