WE ARE TRULY ANGLICAN!
By: Father Larry Winslow
In the current crisis within the Anglican Church of Canada along with similar profane directions in the Episcopal (Anglican) Church of the USA (ECUSA), it is often asked why those who area appalled by the heretical directions of the leadership of these two bodies do not simply “cut bait” and run (move on) to another denomination that truly upholds the Holy Scriptures and their simple understanding of the faith once delivered to be the veritable Divinely Inspired Holy Word of God.
The response is very simply that WE TRULY BELIEVE The Fundamental Faith of the Anglican Communion to be a true and powerful expression of the continuing Church Catholic since Apostolic Times. We believe Reformation Anglicanism to be a powerful vehicle through which the Will of God and the Power of God are truly transmitted via Word and Sacrament to His people who have accepted the Salvation He offers in His Son Jesus Christ! And, it is in this faith that we stand! Further, we truly believe that Almighty God has planted us in the Anglican Church of Canada at this time to stand for the Truth of His Gospel in this arm of His Church!
This whole issue that surrounds the question of the place the Divinely Inspired Word of God has in The Anglican Church is one that was also key to the entire Reformation process. At that time the Roman Catholic Church had deviated from that Holy Word by “following the guidance of a spirit” through the “Vicar of Christ” and other leadership in the fund raising means of Indulgences, and the “doctrines” of Purgatory, Salvation by Works, and the determination of other doctrine outside of Holy Scripture. This is not to mention the corruption that existed at the top leadership level. It was in bringing forth the primacy of the Holy Scriptures and having them made available in the language of the peoples that the Reformation was successful. God’s Word won out over corrupt rulers, rules and doctrines not supportable by that Divinely Inspired Word.
The English Reformation was very heavily concentrated upon the centrality of the Holy Word of God. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer once said, "If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God's Word; and if we be uncertain of God's Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or in the synagogue of Satan." And, of course, the Thirty-Nine Articles are emphatic in their presentation of such primacy of Holy Scripture as BEING the Word of God and CONTAINING all things necessary for Salvation. Further, the articles forbid the Church to use one portion of Scripture to override another portion of Scripture. Richard Hooker made it clear in his “Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity” that Holy Scripture always stands in judgment over Reason and Tradition (even Apostolic Tradition) while upholding the valid role the latter two hold in the understanding of God’s intended meaning in that Holy Word. The Canadian Anglican Ordinal requires those being ordained to vow and sign adherence to The Solemn Declaration of 1893 including the Thirty-nine Articles of Faith thus declaring adherence to the Holy Scriptures as BEING the Word of God, the Traditional Creeds (as they were intended to be understood by their authors) and the Thirty-nine Articles (as they were intended to be understood by their authors) as being sound interpretation of the Word of God and with the desire and intention that this Church be a functioning part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
To be truly Anglican, especially in the sense that has been posited by the Lambeth Conference and by the results of the meetings of the Worldwide Primates, requires adherence to these instruments of faith – all of which are founded upon the clear and simple understanding of the Divinely Inspired Holy Word of God. Any breaking away from such faith once delivered through the Living Lord Jesus Christ is separating from that for which the Anglican Communion stands. Any segment of the communion that would wish to deny any aspect of this Reformation Faith would be removing itself from that Worldwide Anglican Communion!
Thus, when the current debate within the Anglican Church of Canada is examined in the light of the Reformed Anglican Faith, it becomes clearly obvious that those who hold to that Faith ARE the True Anglican Church of Canada. It is those who remain within the Worldwide Communion through adherence to the truly Catholic Faith of the Anglican Communion, as understood in the parameters of the English Reformation, who comprise the True Anglican Church of Canada.
And, for this reason, it is most important for the truly faithful Orthodox Christian members of the Anglican Church of Canada to remain firm and resolute within the Federation of the Orthodox Conservative members of that Church. For it is in this Church (the community of those faithful to Jesus Christ in the faith He once delivered through His Life and through the Holy Scriptures) that the True Anglican Church will remain in Canada. And those who are faithful to Jesus and are willing to stand in His Faith must see themselves as being compelled by that faith to stand firm as far as possible within the Church to work for her renewed reformation by the elimination of those forces that would try to remove her from the Worldwide Anglican Communion!
Of course, there will be exceptions to this goal. There will be those who are so persecuted by the current revisionist liberal leadership that departing the formal organisation is seen to be the only route. But such departure should be to a Church organisation that is embraced by the Worldwide Anglican Communion and stands firm for the parameters of the Faith founded upon Jesus Christ and affirmed by the criteria of the English Reformation. And, the ultimate goal should be the eventual reunification with those who stand firm from within the current Anglican Church of Canada in ultimately maintaining her involvement in the pure faith upheld by the Worldwide Anglican Communion. How all this will actually play out is known only to Almighty God at this time.
In either case, the goal is the continuation of true Anglicanism by those who remain faithful to the parameters of the Worldwide Communion. It is in this determination that Anglicanism will continue in Canada in all its truth and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ under the guidance of the True Holy Spirit of Almighty God. It is the goal of those of us who are truly Anglican.
In short, we are Truly Anglican, and will remain faithful and determined to effect the continuation of Reformation Anglicanism in Canada.