That’s the problem right there

So, with Father Kirby and Father Hart I would agree that the Articles contain nothing heretical, but also that the central interpretative key for the ACC lies in the wider tradition. I see no reason to insist on positive approval of the Articles. It is sufficient to understand them in their context (a highly polemical and dangerous age), to appreciate their often winsome and succinct presentation of universally held beliefs, and to recognize that they for us are primarily of historical interest. I am glad for Father Hart to clarify the catholicity of the Articles where that may not be apparent to modern, casual readers. But the ACC doesn’t have to demand enthusiastic affirmation of the Articles. The tent is big enough to embrace all those who affirm what we affirmed at Saint Louis.(AB Mark Haverland ACC)

What is the “wider tradition” that makes the Articles theologically irrelevant by relegating them to being of mere “historical interest”?  Is the “wider tradition” a way of saying “I invent my own theology as I see fit”?  The answer is “yes, but ..”

The Central Tradition, aka the wider tradition, is the Anglo-catholic view that sees a line of continuity from the 1549 BCP, to the Scottish Episcopal Church BCP which had elements not found in the 1662 BCP, to the American BCP adopted after the American War, to the 1928 American BCP, the South African BCP from the mid 50s, and a few others.  What these books have in common, according to the AC view, is a wider theology than the narrow and incomplete 1662 BCP.

These elements are the real presence, aka transubstantiation, some kind of eucharistic sacrifice, prayer for the dead, prayer to and/or for the Saints, and Roman vestments and ornaments, including prayer to statues and icons, seven sacraments and seven ecumenical councils, and most importantly, free will in salvation.  This is the broader tradition, apparently.

What they view as the narrower BCP 1662, is, in fact, not a narrower version, but an entirely different religion.  The BCP 1662 is a fully comprehensive and complete religion with an integrity of its own.  It rejected eucharistic sacrifice while retaining sacramental efficacy; refused prayer for the dead,  including the saints; it outlawed Roman vestments because of their association with transubstantiation, while keeping a simple white surplice; forbade prayer to statues and icons; limited the sacraments to two, namely, Baptism and the Supper; retained episcopacy because there was insufficient reason the abandon it, while not accepting the so-called apostolic succession; and kept the three catholic Creeds; and denied any role to free will in salvation, ascribing it entirely to the sovereignty of God.

In short, it is the Reformed faith.

Is Anglo-catholicism therefore Anglican?  I don’t think so.  It is a different religion.

This point was made in the High Court in London, ruling between the BCP 1662 Church of England in South Africa, and the powerful Anglo-catholic Church of the Province of South Africa.  The High Court of Appeal found that the the CPSA has severed itself “root and branch” from the Church of England.  Is the CPSA Anglican?  Not according to the highest legal authority in England.  Does it call itself Anglican?  Yes it does.  Does Canterbury recognise it?  Yes it does.

Draw your own conclusions.


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