Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A "church" build on sand? The new anglician province in America

The Constitution of the Anglican Church in North America is being circulated and will be voted on at a gathering in Texas in about a week.  One of the ironies is that they are gathering in a place that is the rightful property of the Episcopal Church .  They are squatters on the property and hope to become squatters on the "franchise" of the Anglican church in America.  The preamble of the Constitution gives us peek at what this group is about.  


In the Name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

We are Anglicans in North America united by our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures and presently members of the Common Cause Partnership.

We know ourselves to be members of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

We are grieved by the current state of brokenness within the Anglican Communion prompted by those who have embraced erroneous teaching and who have rejected a repeated call to repentance.

We repent ourselves of things done and left undone that have contributed to or tolerated the rise of false teaching, and we humbly embrace the forgiveness that comes through Christ's atoning sacrifice.

We are grateful for the encouragement of Primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion who gathered at Jerusalem in June 2008 and called on us to establish a new Province in North America.

We affirm the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Statement and Jerusalem Declaration issued 29 June 2008.

We believe that this Constitution is faithful to that call and consistent with the Historic Faith and Order of the Church and we invite the prayers of all faithful Anglicans as we seek to be obedient disciples of Jesus Christ our One Lord and Savior.

As you can see the preamble is largely about who they are not and what they do not believe in.    Compare that to the preamble of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church.


The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America,

otherwise known as The Episcopal Church (which name is hereby

recognized as also designating the Church), is a constituent member

of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy,

Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses,

Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of

Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order

as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. This Constitution,

adopted in General Convention in Philadelphia in October, 1789, as

amended in subsequent General Conventions, sets forth the basic

Articles for the government of this Church, and of its overseas

missionary jurisdictions.

The preamble of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church is much less a statement of what we are against but is a statement of who we are and what we are about.  It also is fairly timeless.  This preamble could be read in 100 years and still have meaning.  The preamble of the breakaway group is very time bound.  In 100 years it is hard to imagine that much of it will be remembered or have much meaning to people who might read it.  This has been the problem with the dissidents all along.  They have been about power and grabbing it now.  They also largely inflate their personal importance and the importance of the moment they happen to live in.  

All in all a church build on what we disagree about does not have much of a footing.  And even in this they are not united.  In an attempt to gather everyone who is not in the Episcopal Church the group now includes many who have opposed views on things like the ordination of woman.  Once they are done focusing on their opposition to the Episcopal Church and have to look at governing themselves in will be interesting to see if they can hold together.  So far they are saying that they will deal with these issues down the road.  Remember that these are the people who refuse to live in tension about same sex blessings and the ordination of gay men and lesbians in committed long term relationships.  How long will they be able to live in tension about other issues is anybodies guess.  This is after all a church of purity as determine by______?  We will see.

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