Friday, June 22, 2001

Letter from the Rev'd Dr Peter Toon to Archbishop Drexel Gomez

Reverend Father in God, Drexel,

May I share my thoughts with you arising out of the statement from S E Asia
about the consecrations on June 24 in Colorado. I know that you yourself
feel in a greater way than I do the pain of the body to which we belong, the
Anglican Family.

But to do so I must set a context which is that the Anglican Communion has
suffered several blows over the last few years,which may prove to be mortal

[I cannot see how it can survive as a unified body much longer unless (a)
the Primates’ Meeting is given greater authority to act for unity; (b) the
role of the See of Canterbury is more carefully delineated; (c) there is an
effective way of disciplining erring provinces/dioceses; (d) parallel
jurisdictions are allowed and even encouraged as a means of maintaining
unity in comprehensiveness.]


Of these, the first is the arrogant claim to autonomy made by the American
Province (ECUSA) in terms of innovations in doctrine, morality, worship and
discipline over the last decade or more. And ECUSA has persistently refused
to do a U-turn back to a semblance of orthodoxy, so that it goes ahead in
and is proud of its innovations [which to others are errors, immorality and
heresy] which it is exporting worldwide with its great wealth.

The second is the refusal or the inability of the Primates’ Meeting and
especially of the Archbishop of Canterbury to make clear, in the most
accessible form of words, that the membership of the ECUSA in the Anglican
Communion of Churches depends upon it repenting of its innovatory spirit and
actions. The way in which the See of Canterbury and most of the Primates
have in the main related to the ECUSA and its Primate in recent years has
been that mild rebukes and then of both “business as usual” and “all is
really OK”. A major cancer is in the Anglican body and no treatment is being
applied. And the cancer is spreading to other parts of the body from

The third is the action of the Archbishops of S E Asia and Rwanda in going
ahead to consecrate American presbyters for the new province in embryo,
Anglican Mission in America. These two godly men acted against not only the
advice of the See of Canterbury but also of that of their conservative
colleagues in 2000 in Singapore. Further, it has never been clear just how
much support they have had from their House of Bishops for their action,
that is until now (June 20, 2001 – see below). The planned new set of
consecrations in Denver on June 24 will further alienate these two Primates
from their brethren and at least in one case from their own House of
Bishops. Thus the Anglican Body suffers further harm and division.

Here is the announcement concerning the division between the Primate and
House of Bishops of S E Asia.

“South East Asia bishops refute Primate's intention

Lambeth Palace has received notice from the Church of the Province of South
East Asia's House of Bishops, that indicates that they do not support the
intention of their Primate, the Most Revd Yong Ping Chung, to participate
in a service as co-consecrator for bishops for the Anglican Mission in
America on 24 June 2001.

The South East Asia bishops have also informed their Primate, by letter,
that they believe his action is a violation of their Constitution.”

The Theological Implications of the refusal of support by S E Asia Bishops
for the June 24th Consecrations are grave if a little complex to unravel.

1. If the Archbishop Yong Ping Chung does take part on June 24 it will mean
that he is acting wholly and solely upon his own authority and against the
advice of his fellow bishops. This raises questions of the most serious
kind concerning not only the nature of the consecration but also the status
of the two men [Weiss and Green?] who are intended to be under his
protection as bishops. Does he have any authority to act in this way? Do
the two men have any basis for being candidates now that it is clear that S
E Asia does not support them at all?

2. Apparently the four candidates [two to be under protection of the
Archbishop of S E Asia and two under that of the Archbishop of Rwanda] were
chosen at Pawley’s Island by the inner councils of the AMiA. But is the
AMiA yet a diocese? If it is not yet a diocese then on what basis can it
choose bishops? The answer until the news from Singapore arrived on June 20
was that the AMiA leadership was acting on behalf of and for the Houses of
Bishops of S E Asia and Rwanda. Now it seems that the AMiA council was not
so acting. It was acting only on the word of the Archbishops themselves.
Thus there is a very serious question as to whether there has actually been
a valid election of candidates for consecration as bishops. Are the four
men – or at least two of them – actually truly candidates according to the
received doctrine of preliminaries necessary for consecration as set forth
in the Ordinal and as practiced in the Anglican Communion of Churches?

3. Even as there are legitimate questions arising out of the fact that the S
E Asia Bishops have separated their House from the planned consecrations on
June 24, so there are other questions arising from whether in fact there has
been anything like an ordered vote and commitment by the small [depleted]
House of Bishops of Rwanda. It may be that both Archbishops are acting upon
an authority which they believe belongs to their very office as archbishops
and primates --- and if this is so then it is new development in Anglican
polity. How can we find out the truth?

4. There is a solemn duty laid upon the AMiA leadership in S Carolina to
provide full explanations of the election process for these four candidates
and of how one can be a bishop in the Anglican Communion if one is elected
by a missionary society [AMiA] and ordained for a missionary society by
bishops who are not acting on behalf of a province but in their own right

There are many other questions and problems raised in my mind but I cease at
this point and look for answers. Meanwhile I feel the deep, lasting pain of
these seemingly mortal blows to the body of which I am one only member.

Yours ever,

The Rev’d Dr Peter Toon June 21 2001

Wednesday, June 20, 2001

[This seems to be a major spanner in the works for Sunday 24th for it means
that 2 of the four to be consecrated cannot be considered in any way as
members of the House of Bishops of S E Asia; they will simply be bishops of
the AMiA and the claims for a relation with S E Asia will be of no effect]

ACNS2508 - ACNS - 20 June 2001

South East Asia bishops refute Primate's intention

Lambeth Palace has received notice from the Church of the Province of South
East Asia's House of Bishops, that indicates that they do not support the
intention of their Primate, the Most Revd Yong Ping Chung, to participate
in a service as co-consecrator for bishops for the Anglican Mission in
America on 24 June 2001.

The South East Asia bishops have also informed their Primate, by letter,
that they believe his action is a violation of their Constitution.

The ACNSlist is published by the Anglican Communion Office, London.

You can join or leave the ACNSlist via our ACNS web page -
or, to unsubscribe via email, send a blank email to:
from the email address which has been subscribed.

Please send QUESTIONS or COMMENTS to

Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Comments upon the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Letter of June 19, 2001 to the
Primates of S E Asia and Rwanda

1. It is easy to understand why, from within the perspective of George
Carey, the proposed actions of the two Primates scheduled for June 24 are
seen as treachery, betrayal and schismatic and much else. I think I know
why he is upset and angry and distressed of soul.

2. For George Carey there can only be one jurisdiction/church in one
geographical area [that is one Anglican Church in one area] and no single
jurisdiction has the authority to act within or intervene in the territory
of another jurisdiction. Each province has its own territory and should
keep to it. Any action to cause division or a parallel jurisdiction in the
territory of another – for whatever reason -- is schismatic. The Anglican
Communion is made up of autonomous provinces, and autonomous means

3. However, within the communion of autonomous provinces, George Carey sees
a special historical role for the See of Canterbury and it seems that this
is modeled on the relation that the Queen once had to the British
Commonwealth rather than what she has now. The British Empire was replaced
by the Commonwealth of Nations, which itself has developed with a
diminishing role for the Queen in it. It would seem that George Carey hangs
on to a role for the See of Canterbury that is outdated -- note how he says
“I gave no authority to the Province of S E Asia in 1996…” as though that
Province could not develop its own internal forms of authority since then.
In fact it seems that within the Comprehensiveness of Anglicanism both S E
Asia and Rwanda have developed their own evangelical doctrines of authority
and priorities in the Church of God and these are different from that
espoused by George and his advisers.

4. What George Carey has signally failed to do – in a public manner – is to
make very clear to the Presiding Bishop and Bishops of the ECUSA that he
will break communion with them if they do not repent and re-establish
historic orthodoxy in worship, doctrine, morality and order. Does not the
Archbishop realize that there was a major exodus over doctrine from the
ECUSA in the 1970’s and from this came the Continuing Anglican Churches?
They left for good reasons! And since then there have been continual
departures of fine people because of the increasing apostasy of the
institution of ECUSA, and from these the creation of the AMiA was made
possible. Does not George Carey realize that there is a sizeable Anglican
presence outside the ECUSA and that it is there primarily because of a deep
belief by many that ECUSA is an apostate Church [at least in its central
leadership]? Has he no sense of sympathy for these faithful people? Has
he any plans for them at all, or are they simply to be called schismatics?

5. What the Primates as a body have signally failed to do – in a public
manner – is to call the ECUSA leadership to repentance. They have treated
Presiding Bishop Griswold, as they did Presiding Bishop Browning, as if they
were orthodox Christian pastors, and have thus given them the benefit of
any doubt. However, individual Primates, who knew what is really going on
within the ECUSA, have made attempts to create a way of discipline for
erring Provinces (see the book To Mend the Net) but they have not been given
sufficient encouragement by George Carey or the majority of Primates. Thus
their proposal is in limbo.

6. What George Carey does not seem to realize is that the Church of South
India has also invaded the territory of the ECUSA and set up congregations
which are not in the ECUSA and are visited by a Bishop from India. Here is
a parallel province in embryo on the same territory. [And of course (a) the
Evangelical Lutheran Church with which the ECUSA has shared communion is in
competition geographically for territory and members with the ECUSA; and (b)
the Roman Catholic Church has as many as ten different jurisdictions
overlapping one another in the big cities of America!]

7. The solution required by George Carey that Bishops Rodgers and Murphy are
reconciled to the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA and come under the control of
the American house of Bishops is unworkable. They were consecrated in
Singapore and sent to the USA because of the conviction that the ECUSA is
apostate and so there is a duty to offer another Anglican Way and Presence
in the great land of America.

8. The way to solve the problem is for George Carey to change his doctrine of
the church and definition of schism. The time has come for the Anglican
Communion to allow the existence of parallel Provinces in countries or areas
(as there is right now in Europe with the British and American dioceses).
In this way the Church of England in S Africa could return to the official
Anglican Family where it belongs; and there could be created – out of the
Continuing Churches and the AMiA and parishes from the present ECUSA – a new
Province in the USA. Competition is part of the American experience and it
would be good for both ECUSA and the new entity. Let there be parallel
provinces wherever they are needed and let them come very soon or else we
shall have three of more Anglican Communions competing worldwide – that
headed by Canterbury, that headed by S E Asia and Rwanda and other
like-mined provinces in the South, and that now called the Traditional
Anglican Communion of the Continuing Churches worldwide.

The Rev’d Dr Peter Toon June 19th 2001

Advancing true religion through the instruction of youth

One of the most important and basic explanations of the Christian Faith as
received and understood in the reformed Church of England was Alexander
Nowell’s The Large Catechism, written in Latin. This was translated into
English as, A Catechism or first Instruction and Learning of Religion, by
Thomas Norton and published in 1570. This book was approved and commended
for use in schools, colleges and parishes by the Archbishops and Bishops of
the C of E.

What follows is part of a paragraph from the Preface:

“Now surely there are no greater means of advancing true religion and
rooting out of errors than these two, that is to say, catechism or good
instruction of youth, and good information of ecclesiastical ministers in
sound truth, and the proofs thereof, howsoever perhaps they may lack some
full furniture of other learnings.”

Here Norton makes the following claims:

1. There are two principal means by which the Christian Faith is advanced
and errors are rooted out.
2. One of these means is the use of catechism, which is the instructing of
youth in the Faith.
3. The other is by the presence in the Church of clergy who have good
knowledge of Christian truth and the scriptural basis for it, even if they
are not highly educated in Latin & Greek & Philosophy and other subjects.

Norton proceeds in the same paragraph to write these words:

“I have long thought it a much better way towards removing of heresies and
superstitions (whereof Rome hath brought us and left us plenty) to deal
first with the plain setting out of truth as not in controversy, without
dealing at the beginning with the strife of confutation. For so both
discretion and charity in the teacher is easilier kept, and truth once being
settled, error will fall of itself, so that he which hath once with
conference of God’s word conceived a certain and stayed judgement of truth,
shall either wonder how absurd errors have been received, or shall with less
peril hear them talked of.”

Here Norton offers some observations on the best way to teach the Christian

1. It is better in the first place to present Christian truth objectively on
its own basic terms rather than as arising out of contemporary or recent
controversies in the Church.
2. The teacher is more likely to remain careful and charitable if he is
following this method and not emotionally moved by the heat of controversy.
3. Once the student has grasped the truth and is studying God’s word he will
see the errors and know they are wrong and to be avoided.

The Catechism, translated with great skill by Norton, was intended to do for
the Church of England what Luther’s and Calvin’s Catechisms had done and
were doing for the Evangelical [Lutheran] and Presbyterian/Reformed
[Calvinist] Churches of Europe. Like them it is an extended commentary upon
the Creed, the Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer, with instruction also in
the nature and meaning of the Sacraments.

To read it is a very satisfying experience, but only if one is patient and
truly keen to know what was taken as basic Christianity by the senior
pastors in the reformed Church of England in the Elizabethan age.

What seems clear to me is that there was a much, much greater expectation of
what those being prepared for Confirmation could, should and ought to know
and believe than there is today. In fact the contents of Nowell’s book
represent, I think, a far greater and deeper knowledge of the Christian
Faith than is present in many of those who have been through seminary and
are being ordained to the diaconate.

The Catechism in the classic Book of Common Prayer (1662 – see also the BCP
1928 in the USA) is very basic and short and its content may be seen as the
very minimum of what should be known by those who are confirmed as young
adults or adults. [In fact Nowell also wrote A Middle Catechism in Latin
which Norton also translated into English and this shorter Catechism was
very popular in England during the 17th Century, and like The Large
Catechism was reprinted of and on into the 19th century]

Since Luther’s Catechisms and also several from the Reformed Churches of the
16th Century are easily available today in modern English, it is a matter of
regret and of doctrinal/spiritual loss that this important approved Church
of England [Large] Catechism by Nowell is not also available in modern
English. It is printed in Latin and English as one of the volumes of the
Parker Society from the 19th Century. As a modern paperback in readable
format it would come out at about 140 or so pages.

With the help of Irene Teas and of John Graves I hope to put the Catechism
in its 16th century wording and layout on the website of the Prayer Book
Society soon --- But what I would also
like to do is to render the text into modern English and have it published
as a paperback . Then modern Episcopalians and Anglicans would be able to
ascertain, by following the questions and answers, what was considered
reformed Catholic or true Protestant & Anglican wholesome doctrine and
practical godliness by the pastors of the flock of Christ in England.

I think that if sincere Christian people were to read it today they would
really wonder why it is that so little exposition of sound doctrine and
exhortation to true godliness are being made in the modern Church. Perhaps
it is that we are in a high experientialist age in the West and we like to
feel the reality of divine things rather than to know them in the mind and
allow them as digested to enter the heart.

This project would cost approximately $6,000.00 [six thousand] for
typesetting and printing of 2,000 copies. Then there would be other
expenses involved in the arduous task of retyping it into modern English
prose. If anyone is interested in this project and of helping find the
finance or publisher for such a venture then please contact me at

Also, the text in modern English could be made available digitally as a disc
so that those who wish to teach Catechism using modern technology can do so.
I have little expertise here but I see great potential in a careful use of
modern technology.

The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon, President of the Prayer Book Society of the USA,
June 19, 2001
[the annoucement of the Consecrations of our USA men by two foreign primates
on USA territory has given me much food for thought...please read on.]

Anglican Corporate Identity

Although lip service may be rendered to the catholic doctrine of “the bishop
as the center of unity,” the dominant model in the Episcopal Church – as in
most of the Anglican Communion – seems to be that a diocese is an accredited
subsidiary or franchise of the Anglican/Episcopal Corporate Identity. It
has been said that “what the recent Lambeth Conference [1998] showed was
that all bishops are prepared to respect all other bishops as the chief
executives of the diocese in which they operate, and to acknowledge those
dioceses as accredited subsidiaries or franchises of the Anglican corporate
identity in the area in which they operate – irrespective of [holy] orders
and in some cases of doctrine.”

This approach allows for the possibility of “a flying bishop” from another
franchise to visit an unhappy congregation in a franchise only if the local
chief executive officer [bishop] agrees. A visit without permission is to
fly against the might of corporate Anglicanism.

And since the franchise is for a geographical area there can be no
possibility [in theory] of parallel jurisdictions or parallel franchises
[but there is in Europe with the British and the American dioceses not yet

As the ECUSA pursues the corporate franchise model it has to relate to an
ever more complex Anglican family and context. For example:

1. It chooses to ignore the presence of congregations of the Church of South
India (a province of the Anglican Communion) in its franchise area. These
congregations are technically intruders who are in competition with the
local franchise and who are visited by their own C E O from India.

2. It does now know yet how to handle the case of Fort Worth’s Bishop Jack
Iker’s spiritual adoption of a rebellious parish in the territory of Jane
Dixon, acting bishop of Washington DC.

3. It protests vehemently to corporate headquarters (Lambeth Palace & George
Carey) against the existence of the Anglican Mission in America, the
involvement of two Primates in it and the consecration of (in all) six
bishops, four actually ordained on American territory! To ordain two in
Singapore was bad but to ordain four on American territory is horrific!

4. It appears not to notice the existence of a variety of Continuing
Anglican Churches along with the Reformed Episcopal Church, which compete
for members from the same territory, and which already have over 50,000

5. It has a much stronger canonical [legal] relation to the Evangelical
Lutheran Church than it does to the member Churches of the Anglican
Communion. In fact it has no canonical relation to its neighboring
franchises – the West Indies and Canada

What all this means is that the expression, Anglican Communion of Churches,
has little solid meaning in the USA; and what usually is the case in the USA
becomes the case in the world a little later – as the franchise of McDonald’
s illustrates. Practically speaking there are in the USA three major and
different claims to being the true Anglican Way -- the ECUSA, the Anglican
Mission in America & the Continuing Churches. And the latter already have
their “Traditional Anglican Communion” an international fellowship of
jurisdictions which is growing. Though they have not used the name
“Communion” the AMiA also seems to have created an embryonic Communion
involving S E Asia, Rwanda & the USA (three Continents!).

Perhaps the unity of the Anglican Communion is now permanently fractured.
Even as the place of the British Monarch diminished as the Empire gave way
to the Commonwealth, so it seems the place of the Archbishop of Canterbury
has diminished and will continue to do so in the Anglican family[ies] as
impaired, broken and no communion strategies become more common. Ironically,
this all occurs as George of Canterbury presses the case of [institutional]
unity and sees schism as a major sin.

Maybe the failure of the Primates at Kanuga in 2001 to take heed to the
contents of the book, To Mend the Net, and begin to discipline erring
Provinces, particularly the ECUSA, will be remembered as the most important
[but not only] factor in the obvious and serious beginnings of the falling
apart of the Anglican Communion of Churches. It seems probable that what
has happened in the USA will be repeated in different ways and under
different conditions in other places as the disintegration of the Anglican
world proceeds.

I hope that I am wrong in this prediction. I hope that those whom God has
placed in positions of authority and influence will act in positive ways.
I shall do what I can do to preserve the Anglican Communion in truth and
charity and good order. But humanly speaking I am pessimistic about the
future of the Anglican Way as a united, international jurisdiction of the
one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

The Rev’d Dr Peter Toon June 18 2001

(thoughts to promote better thoughts from others)

Questions and Thoughts on the DENVER CONSECRATIONS
scheduled D.V. for June 24

1. Does the Anglican Way in the USA need more bishops?

Apparently so! For the AMiA [Anglican Mission in America] intends to make
four such on June 24 in Denver.

The American Episcopal Church has more bishops than any other Province in
the Anglican Communion and this is not because it has the most members. To
this number, we need to add those with the office of bishop in the
Continuing Anglican Jurisdictions and in the Reformed Episcopal Church –
around 100 in all.

The ratio of bishop to membership in the ECUSA is perhaps about 1:6000
whereas outside the ECUSA it is perhaps about 1:500 (here bishop includes
active and retired)

As of today the AMiA has 37 congregations, varying in size, with two
bishops, one of whom is semi-retired. After the 24th June it will have 37
congregations and six bishops. Then probably the ratio will be around 1:400
and will get larger as new congregations are added. But it will take a long
time to catch up with the ECUSA (even though by international comparison,
ECUSA has far too many bishops).

2. Are there similarities between the origins of the Continuing Anglican
Church [jurisdictions] and the origins of the Anglican Mission in America?

Yes. Each movement has gone out from the Episcopal Church USA to begin a
new Church/Province. Each began with the claim to be continuing the true
Episcopal or Anglican doctrine and ethos – but that of 1976 was primarily
anglo-catholic and focused on women priests as the presenting issue of
apostasy, while that of 2000 is primarily charismatic & evangelical and
focused on lack of true leadership by bishops causing apostasy as the
presenting issue.

Further, each movement seemed to be obsessed from the beginning with the
need for bishops in abundance (when it may be recalled that the Anglican
Church as such existed in the USA until the 1780s without bishops and only
had a few in its early years when it became independent from the C of E; in
fact the genius of the American Anglican Church has been – practically
speaking -- that it has been from parish to diocese rather from diocese to
parish and thus bishops have been the final layer on the cake not the
foundation of the cake).

3. Is there any major difference between the 1976 and the 2000 departures
from ECUSA?

Perhaps. The AMiA has had the support of two Primates and its 6 bishops
have the “protection” of these Primates [3 by each]--- but not full rights
as members of the House of Bishops of the two Provinces because they were
not elected in the canonical way of these Provinces. This connection of the
AMiA to two Primates provides it with the claim that it is within the
Anglican Communion of Churches -- a claim disputed by the Archbishop of
Canterbury and most Primates. In contrast, the Continuing Anglican Church
(which quickly subdivided after 1976 into various factions and remains so
divided in 2001) has never made a claim to be in the Communion even though
it has claimed always to be Anglican.

4. How good are the prospects for the creation of an orthodox Anglican
Province in the USA as an integral part of the Anglican Communion if
Churches and an alternative to the ECUSA?

Not very good. Certainly the AMiA sees itself as a Province in embryonic
form. However, to become a Province it will need not only acceptance by the
See of Canterbury but also [to have credibility in the USA] it will need to
draw to itself a major proportion of the membership of the Continuing
Anglican Jurisdictions and of the Reformed Episcopal church and of would-be
orthodox parishes within the present ECUSA. Now both of these are
problematic. The present Archbishop of Canterbury is unlikely to change his
mind and embrace the AMiA. Incorporating the Continuers will be extremely
difficult because the AMiA seems to be monochrome in churchmanship
(charismatically evangelical) and in doctrine (liberal evangelical allowing
women deacons and perhaps priests) and somewhat insensitive to both
traditional Evangelical Anglicanism ( JC Ryle etc.,) using the classic BCP
and [moreso] to anglo-catholics who dominate the membership of the
Continuing Churches and of the Forward in Faith movement.

5. Why did not the AMiA appoint and set apart four Evangelists to work to
make converts and establish societies/missions/ churches (with John Wesley
& George Whitefield as models)?

I can only guess. Lack of leadership by ECUSA bishops, not to mention
their false doctrines, has been a major word out of the AMiA and from Bishop
Chuck Murphy (its leader). This being so what had to be established to make
the AMiA not merely plausible but credible was real leaders, real bishops in
an Anglican polity. So whereas evangelists was the real need, bishops were
sought in the hope that the bishops as leaders would be evangelists as well,
for preaching the Gospel is certainly a priority for the AMiA.

[The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon, Sunday June 17th 2001]

(I write this as one who is committed to the Comprehensiveness of the
historic Anglican Way of Christianity, and who is always seeking to explain
to Anglo-Catholics the concerns of Evangelicals and to Evangelicals the
concerns of Anglo-Catholics! Please read on)

Anglican Comprehensiveness & Diversity in 2001. Are they the same?

I recall that during the 1970s when I was the Librarian of Latimer House,
Oxford, conservative Churchmen talked a lot about and published booklets and
essays on the general theme of Comprehensiveness – on Comprehensiveness both
in the Church of England and in the Anglican Communion of Churches.


What did we mean in 1975 by Comprehensiveness? We meant (to use the analogy
of the wheel) that there must be a common center or hub to which all hold
and which belongs to all, and then there can be, as the spokes of the wheel,
a variety of doctrinal. liturgical and ethical interpretation of that common
center. Therefore, there was a place in the Church for latitudinarians,
evangelicals, high churchmen and anglo-catholics, as long as they recognized
the authority of Holy Scripture, the truth of the Creed, and an obligation
to use only lawful rites at public worship. At the very center (hub) there
was virtually no place for speculation, but the more one followed the spokes
to the perimeter, the greater the possibility for speculation (e.g., with
respect to theories of the presence of Christ in the Sacrament, to cosmology
and creation, to ethical theory etc.) and the greater the diversity in Rites
and Ceremonial (e.g., with respect to the Lord’s Supper/Mass and to
additional devotions).

Of course it was possible in 1970 to advance such a view, appeal to Anglican
history with many examples, and then expect general agreement in a mixed
gathering. For we were all living in what has been called “modernity” and
thus true to certain emphases of the Enlightenment we believed in objective
truth and rational order and agreement. As yet the impact (or full impact)
of so-called inclusive language, subjectivism, individualism, feminism, gay
rights and modern “liturgical renewal” was not yet fully known. Most clergy
and laity considered it was right to live within the general circle
permitted by the Anglican Formularies as they had been understood in the
Church of England for the last few centuries.


Today in the Church of England – and much more so in the Episcopal Church of
the USA – there is little talk of comprehensiveness and much talk of
diversity. This parallels the talk in modern society of multi-culturalism
(and the host of other “multi’s”). The dominant model is no longer the wheel
but the round table (a much beloved analogy of Presiding Bishop Griswold of
the ECUSA). Here unity resides in the mutual recognition that each of us,
an autonomous being, has within his/her heart a truth, that this
individualistic truth is to be shared, and that in this sharing of personal
truth each participant will deepen and clarify his/her own sense of “truth
for me” and “truth as I see it.”

At this table there is only one universal truth -- that is that there is no
such thing as objective truth, something out there in the order of things to
attain to and reach for. Rather, truth here is subjective, something to feel
and cherish in the heart. Further, at this table there is one mutually
agreed supreme moral law -- the obligation at all times to tolerate all
others who are themselves also tolerant. Anyone who thinks that he has “THE
truth” or is even searching for “THE truth” cannot be allowed to sit at this
table. He is politely asked to leave and be seated at another table that has
a different philosophy of truth. True “community” is where each one present
affirms the autonomy and subjectivity of all others and looks to benefit
from them.

In a church where toleration is accepted as the primary virtue then those
who have had a tendency to be dogmatic or traditionalist or orthodox very
quickly learn that to survive well they must think the best and believe the
best of others, whom formerly they would have deemed to be heretical or
mistaken. So to toleration [permission] as a modern value/virtue is added
the further value/virtue of niceness. The tolerant and the nice learn to
smile and accept every person and viewpoint (as long of course as such
persons are not overly difficult and intolerant).

In this atmosphere of toleration and niceness, philosophers, sociologists,
psychologists, theologians, liturgiologists, and bishops [and gradually
everybody!] consciously seek to create forms of words for public use that
are open to a variety of meanings so that their use offends no one – except
that is those who believe that there are right forms of words and who are
outside their circle of toleration (but they deserve to be offended!).

The tolerant and nice also tend to provide ways of speaking to cover a
variety of “lifestyles” and ethical relations/relationships so as not to
appear to be condemning what was formerly known as sinful. Further, they
seek to create respect and understanding of different kinds and types of
persons as God is said to have made them (i.e., as they now are).

And not surprisingly while they still use the old word “God” it is for them
no longer a noun of masculine gender but rather of the neutral [or even
feminine] gender. And they hesitate or refuse to speak of this “God” as “the
Father” or “the LORD” and experiment with verbal nouns and new metaphors
(Sanctifier, Sophia, Mother etc.). Further, Deity virtually loses all of its
Transcendence and assumes primarily an immanence so that the it seems as if
we are describing Pantheism or Panentheism.

In this Diversity there is no center, except the individual self, looking
for affirmation in community, in relationships and partnerships. So the
theological content of Christian doctrine and festivals is adjusted and
changed in innovative ways to account for the massive shift from
transcendence to immanence and from God the Holy One to the human self.


There is no doubt but that the modern religion of diversity is attractive to
a growing minority of people, especially those who want the church to be
always relevant and who have intellectual and psychological reasons for
being angry with “a patriarchalist & sexist society.” As what is called
“post-modernism” (emphasizing personal autonomy and subjectivity with no
objective standards) becomes more dominant in the West, so the religion of
diversity, toleration ad niceness, which affirms the autonomy and
subjectivity of each participant will increase.

We need to recover for the Anglican Way in England and America (as elsewhere
in the Communion) a genuine comprehensiveness that is conscious of the
post-modern world in which it has to survive and prosper, but is more
conscious of the fullness of the Christian Tradition. In this
comprehensiveness, God will be known as the Transcendent Holy Lord who by
His Spirit is known in his creation and in His Church. At the hub of its
wheel will be an authoritative Scripture providing revealed truth and the
basic Trinitarian & Christological dogma of the Nicene Creed. Yet in its
spokes it will know, even rejoice in, a variety of ceremonial in the use of
approved Rites [classic BCP & recent Books of Alternative Services] in
public worship. And it will accept the Threefold Ministry of Bishop,
Presbyter & Deacon [as they are outlined in the classic Ordinal] as

In the USA there is an urgent necessity for genuinely traditional
Anglicans/Episcopalians, who are now found as a minority within the
Episcopal Church and in over thirty larger or small
jurisdictions/denominations of the Anglican Continuum, to draw closer
together. Maybe into a New Province via a national Congress.

Anglican Christians who are desirous to be orthodox in faith and morality
must not merely tolerate each other but forbear one another in love, be in
eucharistic communion, and stand together in essentials and against false
religion, in particular that post-modern form of diversity, toleration &

And in order to move forward to this goal it would seem that the best way is
for each major Anglican school of thought and practice to be true to its
best or highest tradition and thereby to practice the theological virtues of
faith, hope and charity. The danger right now is that each school [or
“party”] is making itself known not according to its highest and best
tradition but by way of majoring on minors, emphasizing secondary matters
and being over sensitive about its own vocabulary, terms and sentiments. And
the reason for this is that many people are not really familiar with their
own tradition, less still with that of other schools.

For example, the Anglo-Catholic movement at its best has a passion for the
pure worship of the Father through the Incarnate Son in and with the Holy
Spirit in the “Eucharistia,” as the early church called the one service of
the ministry of word and sacrament. Also it has a deep commitment to the
discipline of the daily offices and developing the habits of holiness.
However, if these activities are presented more in terms of specific ways of
celebrating the Eucharist or of vestments for the Eucharist or bodily
posture at the Eucharist and the like, then the secondary and the negative
can so easily be conveyed and the glorifying of God in spirit and in truth

Likewise, the Evangelical movement at its best has a passion for the
preaching of the Word both to edify the faithful and to convert sinners.
Also it has a deep commitment to family prayers and personal study of the
Bible as a means to a holy walk with the Lord Jesus. However, if these
activities are deeply affected by modern individualism and the consumerism
rampant in the USA, tend to proceed by modern so-called church growth
techniques, and do not originate from a great reverence for the Lord and a
sense of His Majesty, then they can so easily become counterfeits and
substitutes of the real thing.

In an orthodox Anglican Province characterized by genuine comprehensiveness
the Anglo-catholic will be true to the best in his tradition and so will the
Evangelical (and so also will the evangelical high-churchman and the
high-church evangelical and the charismatic high-churchman and the
high-church charismatic). The one will benefit from the strengths of the
other and the unavoidable mutual tension will be healthy in the long term
within genuine koinonia (fellowship) of the Holy Ghost. However, if either
of these two schools (likewise any other school) is functioning at less than
its best then any initial unity will be in danger of being but a veneer and
will be in danger of being destroyed, as the powerful centrifugal forces of
post-modern culture cause friction and division.

Only as each school, like the spokes of the wheel, is firmly attached to the
center (the worship and service of the Blessed and Holy Trinity in spirit
and in truth and the proclamation of His Word in spirit and in truth) can it
be true to the LORD, true to its own providentially-given distinctives, and
live in faith, hope and charity. The Holy Spirit exists to be the
centripetal LOVE and POWER bringing true believers together as they are
drawn nearer to the Father through the Son.
The Rev’d Dr Peter Toon June 15, 2001
Call me “Father”

The Episcopal Church USA is different from other Provinces in the Anglican
Communion in various ways and some of them have become notorious – e.g., its
adoption of a modern sexual agenda and innovations in liturgies for same-sex

It is also different from other Provinces in the use of the one word
“Father” with regard to addressing those males who are ordained as

In England, and other parts of the Anglican Family of Churches, the use of
the word “Father” to address a priest is generally but not absolutely
confined to those who are in what may be called the anglo-catholic, the
liberal catholic and the high church schools of churchmanship. It would be
rare indeed to hear an evangelical or latitudinarian priest being called
“Father” by his flock and friends, or using the term of himself.

Yet in the Episcopal Church of the USA, as also in the Continuing Anglican
Jurisdictions that have their origins in schism from it, the use of the word
“Father” to address a male priest is very generally used whatever be the
churchmanship or preference of the person concerned. The departments of the
central offices of the ECUSA (“the National Church”) tend to call all male
clergy “Father” in writing to them as do most diocesan bishops.

So it is very strange at first for clergy visitors to the ECUSA from say the
Diocese of Sydney in Australia or the Diocese of Singapore in S E Asia or
the diocese of Chester in England to hear their supposed fellow
evangelicals in the ECUSA both using the expression “Father” and being
called “Father” by their parishioners.

In my last parish in England in the Diocese of Durham, where the parish
church went back to the 9th century, the parishioners called me by my office
of “Rector” or by my earned title “Dr” or by the common title, “Mr.”, or if
they felt they knew me well and were older than am I they called me “Peter.”
This approach – with more emphasis on first names recently – is still common
throughout the Church of England. Only those of a Catholic tradition,
liberal or conservative, consistently call clergy “Father.”

So various questions arise such as – from where does the title “Father’ for
the priest come from? And, why is it used so universally in the ECUSA?

Where from?

I have not done any research on this question and so I rely upon

The title was applied to bishops not parish priests in medieval Europe and
this tradition continued in the reformed Church of England for in the
Ordinal (1550) the Bishop is addressed as “Reverend Father in God.”
Apparently also in the medieval Church confessors (those to whom one made
one’s confession) were called “ghostly fathers,” and Mendicant Friars (but
not monks and canons regular) were also called “Father.”

In the Church of England, while Bishops were infrequently called “Father in
God” through the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, some, but not all,
priests chose to be called “Father” in the late 19th century.

In using this title, Anglo-Catholics specifically imitated the custom of the
Roman Catholic Church which, from the second half of the 19th century, began
to call all clergy in Britain, whether regular or secular, “Father.” This
custom entered the Roman Church in England from Ireland and was probably a
way of distinguishing Roman clergy from the clergy of the established
[Protestant] Church of England. For Anglo-Catholics it became a way of
claiming that their clergy were truly priests of the one, holy, catholic
Church as were the R C priests.

From English Anglo-Catholicism the custom spread to other parts of the
Anglican Communion and thus entered into the Protestant Episcopal Church by
the beginning of the 20th century. In general this title was universally
resisted by Evangelicals who saw it as being a direct contradiction of the
clear command of Jesus – see Matthew 23:9.

Why used so universally in the ECUSA?

The reasons why the title “Father” is universal currency in the modern ECUSA
for male clergy and not simply the currency of Anglo-Catholicism belong to
the general influence of Anglo-Catholicism & Liberal [Anglo-] Catholicism
on the former Protestant Episcopal Church and now Episcopal Church of the

The adjective “Protestant” was dropped in the 1970s from the name of the
Church in order to distinguish the historic Anglican Church of the USA from
the many forms of Protestantism in the American supermarket of religions,
and also to make it easier in central and Latin America in mission work to
identify the nature of Anglicanism.

With the dropping of “Protestant” from the name of the Church came the
emphasis that its clergy were ordained into the historic ministry (like the
catholic priests) and so they should be called “Father” to indicate their
status and difference from protestant ministers.

So the word “Father” spread like wildfire (as the word “altar” for the
Communion Table had done) to help with an identity crisis for American
Anglicanism [which had lost a third of its membership between 1968 and 1975]
and it did so because by the 1970s there was no active and informed
evangelical school in the now ECUSA to resist its spread. Thus by 1980 to
hear a priest called “the Rev’d Mr.” was rare and by 1990 exceedingly rare.

However, the triumph of terminology did not in any way mean the triumph of
traditional Anglo-Catholicism; it meant rather the triumph of a liberal
Catholicism, which kept some of the ceremonial and trappings and names but
changed the basic doctrines of the (as the 1979 prayer book and subsequent
Rites from the Standing Liturgical Commission so clearly reveal).

Now while all male priests in the ECUSA are “Fathers” there is no clear
agreement as to what the growing number of female priests, much favored by
liberal Catholicism, are to be called? “Mother” or even “Father” or what?

In this general situation both inside and outside the ECUSA, male priests
who claim to be orthodox, but evangelical rather than anglo-catholic, have
to decide whether or not they want to be known as “Father” or whether they
will use other titles – “Pastor” or “Rector” for example. Male Evangelicals
who are bishops have no problem for by reason of their office they are
“Fathers in God” to their flock even as was Paul to his converts. But
evangelical lady bishops, if there are any, have yet to tell us how they
are to be addressed!

The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon June 14, 2001
Christendom and Post-Modernity – and asceticism

Why do we refer to a lengthy period of western European
life/history/society/culture as “Christendom” [ the word means “the
Christian jurisdiction” or “the place where Christianity prevails”]?

Not because we claim that each and every person or even the majority of
persons were living virtuous lives obeying the commandments of Christ Jesus
in that period. But certainly because,

1. Everyone was baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity.
2. History was seen as beginning with the Creation, involving the Fall,
centering upon the Incarnation, and ending with the Second Coming of Christ
Jesus and the Final Judgment.
3. The Christian Festivals, including the weekly Lord’s Day (Sunday) gave
meaning to the days and weeks and months of the year. Public worship was
central to life.
4. The laws of the nations upheld the truth and priority of the Christian
Faith and Church.
5. People lived with a sense that all life was watched by and guided by and
to be judged by God the Creator, Redeemer and Judge. All aspects of life
were related to God and preparation for death and entry into the next life
was very important.
6. Virtually all public education and charity was initiated by and
controlled by the Church.

Today we live in a very different situation. Today the key terms are
multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and so on. Though there is
belief in a deity or deities on an individual basis, a nation-state does not
publicly confess faith in and order its laws according to the will of a
Deity. Religion, worship and morality have been marginalized and privatized.
All this means that God is not the One to whom history and nature and
conscience and culture point. The once supreme transcendent God is at best
now the immanent God for the center of the universe for moderns is the human
being, the climax of biological evolution, who may look for deity in the
center of her/his being. And meaning is no longer sought in the confession
of God and a Christian universe but in personal autonomy. It is not merely
that “man is the measure of all things” but that human beings rejoice in and
see meaning in their subjectivism and permissiveness as autonomous inward
looking beings.

What have the Churches done as the West has moved from Christendom, into
modernity (the culture created by the Enlightenment) and now into
post-modernity (the rejection of many of the rational assumptions of
modernity)? Some have moved with the flow and accommodated their teaching
as to what is the Faith and how they worship to the dominant assumptions of
society – be it those of modernity in the 19th century or those of
post-modernity since the 1960s. Others have resisted on this or that front
and sought to preserve the Faith intact.

However, what seems to be true is that all of us, and all churches in the
West, have been more deeply affected by modernity and then post-modernity
than most of their members ever realize or could in fact realize. And this
most certainly includes those who believe themselves to be orthodox, whether
Catholic or Protestant.

This may be illustrated by reference to what is believed, taught and
confessed as the Christian Faith, or as Christian Morality or as Christian

If we take the latter, Christian Living, as an example, what seems to have
happened in the collapse of Christendom and the arrival or modernity and
then post-modernity is that the commitment to asceticism or to the
mortification of self/sin has reduced dramatically. And primarily because
the churches have called for much less then was the norm and expectation in
say the Middle Ages, when Christendom thrived, or even in the 17th century
when it was coming to an end. God, it seems, demands less of us as the
dominant culture has moved away from confessing Him as Lord.

In fact, it seems that the churches in the West have lost nerve and do not
want to ask too much of their modern members for fear of not holding them.
They each devise a story and form of Christian living that is designed to
give them an edge in the active competition of the supermarket of religions,
and for most of the time this means that the demands upon Christians are
less onerous and thus more in conformity to the world.

The rules for fasting in the Catholic Church are a simple example of
reduction in duty – now the period of fasting before taking Communion is
virtually no time at all. Lenten fasting has also been reduced to some
easily attainable rule. And contemporary Protestants seemingly pay only
lips service to fasting.

Likewise teaching the duty of self-examination daily so as to open up one’s
soul for God’s penetrating light and thus to confess sins and seek pardon
has diminished dramatically in all jurisdictions of the Church. Further,
spirituality is not seen as allowing the Holy Spirit to rule and guide one’s
heart, mind and will by the use of demanding Gospel disciplines, but rather
spirituality is seen as cultivating an inner journey into the depths of one’
s own soul to find one’s own spirit and feel its connection with universal
spirit. The latter journey is pleasant and soothing while the former is
demanding and painful as long as there is sin to be discovered and

Freedom was previously seen as liberation from one’s selfish and disordered
passions in order to love God and the neighbor, but now freedom is often
liberation from this worldly oppressors by using one’s (unsanctified)

What is demanded of the baptized in terms of their duties toward God, the
Church, their neighbors and society has dramatically decreased in recent
times as the practice of religion has become more privatized and unconnected
with the public square and sphere. There has been a leveling wherein God is
at the same level as everything else -- People wear jeans at home and to go
to the ball park and then they wear jeans to engage in worship (often
called celebration). Apparently now to be casual is to be spiritual.

The only people who dress up for worship are those in the choir who put on a
special uniform to present worship as a form of theater and a show – they
give a musical presentation to the congregation, which is casually dressed
for the performance. No one looks up or kneels for all look at each other –
God is in the round. Best clothing is saved for dinner parties and other
this-worldly activities.

Of course there are always notable exceptions, but in general religion
still thrives in the West (particularly in the competitive religious
supermarket of the USA) because it has accommodated to a large degree to the
individualism, subjectivity, personal autonomy, permission (permissiveness),
casuality, materialism, and pragmatism of what we call post-modernity. It
is very different from the religion that was found in the height of
modernity (mid-19th Century) that still looked up to Deity and forward with
Deity and had a sense of public duty and responsibility as well as personal
discipline. And it is very different indeed from the religion of the
Protestants and Catholics of the 17th century for whom God was the very
center and substance of all life and things and possibilities.

We cannot return to Christendom. We cannot return to modernity. We are in
post-modernity and there is no escape. But we can learn from earlier times
of what in fact is godliness and what is a God-fearing person for the Fear
of the Lord is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom.

A final word from one who is the President of the Prayer Book Society....One
advantage in using a classic or traditional Liturgy, which is also in a
classic form of the vernacular [such as the classic Book of Common Prayer
1662/1928], is that a people is faced in it with a content so different from
modern religion, for it is the substance of that which inspired people in
Christendom and caused them to lift up their eyes unto the Lord of all
being. Of course to use it means much more than merely admiring it – it
means adopting its doctrine and discipline and entering fully into its
presentation of worship of the Holy Trinity.

The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon June 14, 2001

Appreciating true Morality – based on God’s Law – requires a renewed mind.

Even though we live in an essentially post-modern culture, we are
nevertheless the inheritors of certain assumptions of modernity, itself the
result of the Enlightenment. One of these is that we can know the meaning
of the right and the good by the use of our minds and that our minds need no
special enlightenment or divine assistance to arrive at, and to know, this

Let us agree that unaided reason can recognize what is right and wrong in a
basic sense and furthermore can give reasons for this recognition. In such
things as driving a car while drunk, stealing goods from a house or money
from an employer, mercilessly beating a child, deliberately poisoning
someone, holding a person for ransom, planting a bomb in a crowded mall,
unfaithfulness to a spouse and so on,
reasonable people can agree that all this activity is wrong and say why it

But why is it that many reasonable people cannot see that abortion is
wrong and is no different in principle than the deliberate slaughter of a
child or an adult?

The short answer is that they see abortion within the context of what is
portrayed as “responsible liberation” from biological and social tyrannies
and that this is set within the general “values” of post-modernism.


In post-modernism abortion is specifically tied to the self-liberation of
persons from their biology. Thus it is seen as assisting in the exercise of
free choice and the pursuit of personally chosen goals and projects in
life – and all these are important “values”. An unwanted pregnancy is
obviously most inconvenient for career plans, for active and intimate sexual
activity, for securing financial security, and for planning (if desired) a
family at the right time. So abortion is necessary – even if messy and
inconvenient for the female – for securing these goals and this ambition
when contraception has failed.

Also, to be pregnant by choice and find that the “foetus” will become a
handicapped baby and to do nothing about it is seen as failing to be a
responsible parent. For responsible people, it is said, take care to ensure
that children they bring into the world are healthy, wanted and will not be
a burden on anyone’s freedom and autonomy.

Further, since abortion is very much related to personal autonomy and
freedom, self-realization and self-fulfillment, the non-availability of it
is usually portrayed as the result of pre-modern structures of
patriarchalism and biological dominance. Much support for the use of
abortion is gained by emphasizing the out-of-date and cruel positions of

So in this context all that is further required to justify the removal of
the “foetus” from the womb is an argument that makes the “foetus” to be
merely and only flesh and blood. So a moral difference between a “foetus”
and a baby is advanced. And that argument usually comes in the form of a
claim that before birth the “foetus” is human biological life but is not
human personal life. So abortion is the destruction not of a human person
but of human biological life.

And in the last 30 years there have been in the USA over 30 million
abortions. Has this been the destruction of mere flesh and blood or the
slaughter of persons made in the image of the Triune God?

In this same post-modern world, the practice of euthanasia or
physician-assisted suicide is also gaining ground and does so on similar
“values” to that which has supported the general acceptance and use of
abortion in western society. It is based on such values as the autonomy of
dying persons, dying with dignity, liberation from biological necessity and
the impersonal forces of nature, and that the good death is the death freely


Most people absorb the general “values” of their culture and thus receive
them as a foundation of their moral thinking, where they may compete with or
even mix with “virtues” received from partial Christian formation. In fact
most of us have a mindset which is inconsistent for it is fuelled and filled
with diverse moral/immoral principles and narratives.

The only way open to Christians to seek to purify their minds and allow them
to be open to the will of God in terms of morality is (a) the path of
mortification (dying to the world in union with Christ in his death) through
Gospel asceticism and (b) the path of vivification (rising with Christ to
newness of life) through faith and good works. In other words, union with
the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer, worship, repentance, faith and discipline
and through meditation upon His Word and contemplation of His glory is a
necessary preliminary to knowing Him and His will.

In order to form a Christian mind, the traditional wisdom of the Church has
been to teach converts to Christ the Creed (in whom to believe and what to
believe) the Lord’s Prayer (to whom to pray and what to pray) and the
Commandments ( whom to obey and the content of the obedience). Thus he who
believes and prays aright will be in the position to receive and understand
God’s commandments, His moral law.

As the influence of Christendom and modernity recede and decline, fewer
people will be able to see that such acts as abortion and euthanasia are
wrong unless their minds have been renewed through personal union &
asceticism with the Lord Jesus Christ in death, burial and resurrection.
And of course the renewal of the mind (Romans 12:1ff) has importance for the
whole of life and not only for the correct perception of what is right and

The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon Wednesday June 6, 2001

Saturday, June 02, 2001

Pure Doctrine in Sound Words

From the Adoremus Bulletin
with comment by The Rev. Dr. Peter Toon

All who love the classical Liturgy of the Anglican Way and who believe that there is great worth in the traditional English dialect of prayer will rejoice at the stand being taken by the Vatican. It confirms to a great extent what they have said and felt ever since the great assault on good English and good doctrine started in earnest in the 1970s. In the name of relevance excellence has been rejected and heresy has intruded. Let us hope that the liturgical commissions of Anglicanism will take note and also act to put right what is wrong...READ ON