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.


Dave P.
August 27, 2010

Actually, all the Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches (Armenian, Ethiopian, Coptic, Syrian, Chaldean) are apostolic as well…

Truth Unites... and Divides
August 27, 2010

Christopher Johnson asks: “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?”

I’ll guess the non-apostolic church?

Don Janousek
August 27, 2010

I believe the Malabar Christians in India are also considered apostolic through St.Thomas. That being said, our host is correct is saying that if you don’t have anything to prove, there is no point in wasting time trying to prove it. Shakespeare’s phrase, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much,” comes to mind.

Take me – sure, I could spend an enormous amount of time trying to “prove” that all of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders secretly worship me as sort of a pagan stud-god, but I just accept it and go on. These Anglican and Episcopos should do the same.

Jim McNeely+
August 27, 2010

+Derek is my bishop. Trust me on this one: for an organization that has open communion with the ELCA’s clergy (who have absolutely no Apostolic Succession whatsoever to their orders) to criticize +Derek is only giving him a good belly laugh.


August 27, 2010

Orthodox Anglicans have as pure an apostolic succession and theology and as many or few errors as the rest.

Problem with reunion chats is that each thinks the others succession is suspect and each thinks their errors either don’t exist or don’t stink.

August 27, 2010

If it will save you time, the Orthodox figure the orders of Anglicans are pretty much not there. Anglicans pointing fingers at other Anglicans and snorting about their “Apostilicty”…What a joke. People seem to believe in magic. Anything apostolic presupposes apostolic faith. Lose the one, lose the other. Bishop Pike, Spong, Schori, the whole lot participate in each others heresy. You break that cycle by breaking out of communion with Anglicans, who by the way are in communion with Ann Redding, a Muslim.

Allen Lewis
August 27, 2010

I will agree with Chris that such arguments can sometimes get awfully silly.

August 28, 2010

If the question is whether a church actually teaches and practices what the apostles did in the Acts of the Apostles, you’d have to qualify the Southern Baptists.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

st. anonymous
August 28, 2010

“Bishop Jones’ reception violated traditional Anglican teaching on the episcopate as stated at the 1958 Lambeth Conference”

What! Violating Lambeth statements and historic church tradition? Well for goshsakes we can’t have any of that now can we??

August 28, 2010

The funny thing about this criticism by Robin Jordan is that I think this is the guy who comments and blogs as “Anglicans Ablaze,” a very, very Protestant form of Anglican. He complains about “catholic” tendencies because they’re a bad thing. He doesn’t like the ACNA because it’s too “catholic.”

August 28, 2010

Pure religion is defined quite succinctly in James.

See James 1:27

James is restating the principles in Isaiah 58, John 4 and Romans 2… God is telling us that true worship is of the heart that has been acted upon by God…not a function of tradition, ritual, law or the will of man.

The ability to worship God is a by-product of God’s work of God’s Word and Spirit…of God circumcising our hard hearts and defiled minds, of God working His Spirit and nature into us…revelation, faith, Godly sorrow unto repentance, spiritual eyes, ears, lips…all are gifts, works of Grace …miraculous, wonderful acts of God.

As Augustine wrote, ‘Thou didst strike on my heart with Thy word and I loved Thee.’

Anonymous Anglican
August 28, 2010

If given the choice between apostolic succession and adherence to God’s Word – I’ll pick God’s word.

Reminds me of the endless genealogies:

1 Timothy 1:3-4:
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.


Titus 3:9-11:
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Wonder how different TEC would be if this had been done with Pike, Spong, Righter, etc.

FW Ken
August 28, 2010

If given the choice between apostolic succession and adherence to God’s Word – I’ll pick God’s word.

Fortunately, that’s pretty much a fantasy choice. In fact, the word “if” often leads to “foolish controversies”. A friend used to say “there are no ‘ifs’ in God’s Providence”.

Which is not what I wanted to comment on: since TEC has accepted a body of Lutheran bishops and pastors admittedly not in apostolic succession, who cares about this guy?

August 28, 2010

That is the same person who writes the Anglicans Ablaze blog. There was from that pen a lengthy picking-apart of the Prayer Book Society version of the 1928/1662 in contemporary language (called An Anglican Prayer Book). That undertaking was not perfect, but it was certainly an impressive first start–and surely better than some of the nonsense in the 79 book. But the blogger spent a huge amount of time complaining about every jot and tittle, instead of contributing what are plainly his smarts and other gifts in constructive fashion. It seems the obsessing about apostolic succession in this case is more of the same. Yes, it’s good to get these things right. But it’s also good, if one is orthodox, to do it in a way that doesn’t seem aimed to inflate one’s own sense of rectitude at the expense of orthodox Anglican witness. All this did was help those who seek any reason to delegitimize ACNA. And it seems he wasn’t even right.

August 28, 2010

Robin Jordan just complains about ACNA from whatever direction he can find. First it is too “catholic,” then it doesn’t care enough about “magic hands apostolic succession.” I don’t get what his deal is. I guess until it is The Anglican Church of Robin Jordan (ACRJ) he won’t be happy.

As RomeAnglican said, he’s obviously a sharp guy and he brings a lot to the discussion, but for crying out loud. Maybe if we all agree that he is holier than the rest of us, he’ll cut us some slack?

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