Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, August 27th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, one would have to have a heart of stone to read a story like this one without laughing:
Charges the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has abandoned the historic episcopate by receiving a bishop from the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC) without re-consecrating him are unfounded, the traditionalist province-in-waiting tells The Church of England Newspaper.
On July 31, American church commentator Robin Jordan charged the ACNA with having abandoned the historic episcopate when its Provincial Council of Bishops voted on June 9 to receive the Rt. Rev. Derek Jones as a bishop in good standing. Formed in 1995, the CEEC is an American Protestant denomination that has found a niche blending charismatic worship with liturgies drawn from the Book of Common Prayer, and is not normally numbered among the Anglican breakaway churches in the United States.
However, a review of Bishop Jones’ episcopal antecedents by the CEN finds that while a number of his consecrating bishops would not be recognized by Anglicans, his descent from a Brazilian bishop whose episcopal orders were recognized by Pope John XXIII places him within the apostolic tradition.
Mr. Jordan charged that Bishop Jones “was irregularly if not invalidly consecrated,” adding that the CEEC’s “episcopal line of succession is derived from Eastern Orthodox and Old Catholic lines of questionable validity.”
The ACNA’s newest bishop was therefore an episcopi vaganti he said, adding that Bishop Jones’ reception violated traditional Anglican teaching on the episcopate as stated at the 1958 Lambeth Conference. Resolution 54 of Lambeth 58 stated the Anglican Communion “cannot recognize the Churches of such episcopi vagantes as properly constituted Churches or recognize the orders of their ministers’.”
A year and a half ago, I had at the whole “apostolic” question. And as most of you have probably figured out by now, that particular subject has never been something that has concerned me all that much.
Know how I evaluate churches? Is the Gospel being preached? Is the whole counsel of God being taught? Are disciples being made? Do those people truly love one another?
And that’s pretty much it. If you give me a choice between an “apostolic” church that isn’t doing any of that particularly well and a “non-apostolic” church that is, guess which of the two churches I’m going to select?
At the moment, there are two apostolic Christian churches in the world and only two. Rome and Constantinople. One way I know that is that neither one spends anywhere NEAR the time obsessing over the question that other churches who claim “apostolic” status do.
If you don’t have anything to prove, there’s no point in wasting a whole lot of your time trying to prove it.
This sort of thing is one of the reasons why you’re seeing more and more politics around here and less and less Anglicanism. Not that I’ll abandon the Anglicans completely; there’s way too much comedy gold there. But I just can’t get worked up about debates like this anymore.
UPDATE: Me and my pro-Western bias. Dave P. writes:
Actually, all the Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches (Armenian, Ethiopian, Coptic, Syrian, Chaldean) are apostolic as well…
So the number’s different. But my basic point’s the same.