Thursday, 22 October 2015

'Restoring the Anglican Mind'

For those already familiar with his 2008 book of the same name, Canon Arthur Middleton's address, sent in July in to Fort Worth for the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans, may prove to be of interest in the light of subsequent developments in the Church of England and elsewhere.  
It can be read in full here, but a few excerpts and a video link follow: 
"...The process that has promoted women in the apostolic ministry is a management exercise determined by politically correct ideology and not theological principle and it reduces Holy Order to a functionalism, alters God's plan for Holy Order and ignores our paramount duty to the universal Church. In England the appointment of a Reconciler is part of the management method which according to the ACAS style of settling Trade Union disputes, is to reconcile differing views. But this issue is not about human relations. It is about deeply held theological convictions that are diametrically opposed to the politically correct ideology. There can be no reconciliation.
The vote signifies that the Church of England and where this has happened in elsewhere in other provinces of the Anglican Communion, Anglicanism is not being true to her Anglican mind. She has rejected the Judaeo-Christian Tradition, the historic episcopate, and in other matters of fundamental doctrine and morals this can happen again. She has ignored her own Formularies expressed in Canon A5 of the English Church, the BCP and the Ordinal where Apostolic Order is therein enshrined. She has ignored her membership of the universal Church and has been in a process of creeping schism from it for years. The ecumenical achievements of the past century, including ARCIC, have been destroyed for there has been a total disregard for Christian unity and an unwillingness to take seriously the warnings of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. So what is the point of the Archbishop of Canterbury's words to his ecumenical partners stressing the fact that we need each other and the importance of unity, after an action that has placed an insuperable obstacle in the way of full Communion. Actions speak louder than words...." 
"... It has always been the Anglican claim that in faith and order the Anglican Communion is continuous in identity with the Primitive Church. It is no new Church. Today's contest is between modern liberal ecclesiology and the Anglican mind in a time when the majority of people in the Church and the nation have been brainwashed by the secular mind, which they use to displace the claims of the Anglican mind. It is the presuppositions of this secular mind and its politically correct ideology that is determining the Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion that must be displaced. This is not a matter of politics but a matter of faith and theology. Like the divines of the seventeenth century the way forward is by pursuing the Anglican way back to prescriptive sources by upholding Canon A5 which states that the doctrine of the Anglicanism is grounded in the Holy Scripture and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal...." 
"...The Catholic appeal to authority is partly to the past. It looks back to Holy Scripture, to the doctrinal statements in which the Church has drawn out the meaning of Holy Scripture and which have been accepted as Creeds, to the conciliar decisions which have been authoritatively imposed as binding on the whole Church, to the common teaching of representative divines. The Catholic may not reject anything to which he believes that the Church as a whole is really committed, anything which the whole Church has made part of its permanent life. It may often be a difficult task to determine exactly how far the authority of the Church has gone, whether the decision of an accepted oecumenical council has been so completely a matter of principle that it may not be altered or has been so entirely a detail of only temporary importance that it may well be changed, whether, for instance, any utterance is to be ranked with the affirmation of our Lord's deity at the Council of Nicaea or with the prohibition of kneeling during Eastertide by the same council, whether the concurrent teaching of divines through a long period of time indicates an actual acceptance of the teaching by the Church itself. But, whenever it can be determined that there has been a decision to which the Church as a whole is permanently committed, the acceptance of that decision is obligatory..." 
"... But, besides the appeal to the past, there is also an appeal to the future. The Catholic of necessity looks back to the past; for in the past is the tradition which sustains his belief. But of necessity also he looks forward to the future, to the re-united Church which is to be, and he sees that the past will find its full significance in the development which yet has to come. For the Church's life is greater than that of any one century, or of any particular series of centuries; it is for all time.."
This is a YouTube video of Bishop Keith Ackerman at the Fort Worth Congress - he begins to read the address at 19 minutes 55 seconds :

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