Sunday, August 26, 2001


(a small part of an address on "The Person of the Holy Spirit" given in Trinity College, University of Melbourne, August 24, at the Conference of the Prayer Book Society of Victoria, Australia)

Have you ever pondered why there are so few hymns and prayers addressed directly to the Holy Spirit in the Liturgy of the Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church?

Have you ever pondered why the normal way of prayer in all the major jurisdictions and branches of the Church of God is "To the Father, through the Incarnate Son and in the Holy Spirit" ?

We recall that the Holy Spirit has a Name that can also be used of the First Person, the Father, and of the Second Person, the Son, in the Holy and Undivided Trinity. For the Father and the Son being God are truly HOLY SPIRIT and HOLY BEING and HOLY ESSENCE. Thus it is that theologians and mystics have spoken of the anonymity of the Third Person for His Name is not a Name of the same kind as the Names of the First and Second Persons. Their names are Proper Names unique to each of these Persons.

If we ponder the Revelation of the Trinity recorded in the words of the Hebrew and Greek Testaments of the one Bible, we notice the divine Order of the Trinity's self-revelation. It is FROM the Father through the Son and in/by the Holy Spirit [in creation, revelation, reconciliation, redemption etc.] and it is TO the Father through/with the Son and in/by the Holy Spirit [in sanctification, service, worship, prayer etc.].

The Holy Spirit is the PERSONAL presence and sphere IN which we are reached by the Father through the Son in order to be saved and sanctified. He is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. And the same Spirit is also the PERSONAL presence IN whom we are united to the Incarnate Son as disciples for service and worship and final redemption. Thus we call upon the Father through the Son; and we call upon the Son and through him reach His Father; but we do not call upon the Holy Spirit (in the normal way of things) for He is the divine presence in which such relations with the Father and the Son are possible and real. Thus his anonymity is in the divine grace for us and for our salvation!

Let us ponder this anonymity further. With respect to the Person of the Holy Ghost, we note in the divine economy that his anonymity arises from the ordered relation (the taxis as the Greeks say) of the Three Persons within the Holy Trinity.

The Father, although totally unknowable to us by himself, is revealed to us by the Son, who is his perfect image and has assumed our human nature. "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him" (John 1:18). Further, we can only recognize the deity of Jesus Christ and confess him as the Lord through the Holy Spirit, says St Paul (1 Corinthians 12:3) -- economy within the Church of the Spirit is to be the Interpreter [as Paraclete] of the Son (see John 14:26).

To quote from Gregory of Nyssa, "One does not think of the Father without the Son and one does not conceive of the Son without the Holy Spirit. For it is impossible to attain to the Father except by being raised by the Son, and it is impossible to call Jesus Lord save in the Holy Spirit" (P.G. LXIV,1316).

But there is no Fourth Person in the one Godhead to reveal and to interpret the Spirit. Thus the Holy Spirit is necessarily the Interpreter rather than the interpreted. And this is why there are so few hymns and prayers in the worship and liturgy of the Church that are directly addressed to the Person of the Holy Ghost. The Father and the Son are worshipped IN the Holy Ghost!

V.Lossky writes: "The third Hypostasis of the Trinity is the only one not having his image in another Person. The Holy Spirit as Person remains unmanifested, hidden, concealing himself in his very appearing..The doctrine of the Holy Spirit (in contrast to the dazzling manifestation of the Son, which the Church proclaims to the farthest confines of the universe) has the character of a secret, a partially revealed tradition.. We confess the Holy Trinity. But the very Person of the Holy Spirit who reveals these truths to us and who renders them inwardly luminous, manifest, almost tangible to us, neverthless remains himself undisclosed and hidden, concealed by the deity which he reveals to us, by the gift he imparts" Mystical Theology, p.160-161.

Now to practical application.

What I note in much of the modern charismatic & evangelical movement is public discourse - both addressed to humankind and to the Deity - that has two distinct tendencies (a) to exaggerate what God the Holy Spirit has done and is doing in the church and the world through stories that intend to honor God, and (b) to break out of the sacred anonymity that belongs to the Holy Spirit and to name Him and seek to identity His work in a way that is not in harmony with the divine economy of the relational order - From the Father through the Son and IN the Holy Spirit; to the Father through the Son and IN the Holy Spirit. That is, to make more of the Holy Spirit (and thus less of the Father and the Son) than does the Revelation written in Holy Scripture.

The Rev'd Dr Peter Toon, August 27, 2001

Saturday, August 18, 2001

(see ECUSA Lectionary, the Gospel for August 19th, 2001, Luke 12:49ff.)

Jesus of Nazareth asked the following question of his disciples: Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth?

Today, if this question were asked of Episcopalians I believe that most would answer, “Yes of course!” And if pressed as to why they answered in the affirmative they would probably refer to that most holy of all ECUSA documents, the “Baptismal Covenant,” where a purpose of the baptized Christian is said to be “striving for justice and peace among all people.” (Most people are probably not aware that the origins of these words is in the social revolution of the 1960s rather than in the teaching of Jesus.)

In fact Jesus answered the question himself with a resounding NO. “No I tell you, but rather division.” Jesus did not come to bring give peace on earth in this evil age but rather he came to cause division. What he meant by division he then explained in terms of divided families and divided communities. Those who refused his Gospel would be set against those who accepted it. So hostility would exist on earth in many homes and families and tribes and communities, and the division would be in terms of acceptance or rejection of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God centered on Jesus himself.

Before he asked this question about peace on earth, Jesus made two extraordinary statements and they cast light upon the question he posed, and the answer he gave.

One was, “I have a Baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!” Obviously we know now that Jesus was referring to his death which loomed before him as the culmination of his work on earth; of his being immersed in suffering, pain, separation from his disciples and moreso separation from his Father in heaven. By this Baptism would come the salvation of the world, the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church.

The other was, “I came to cast fire on the earth and would that it were already kindled!” Here he refers to the coming of the refining fire of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, after his own ascension into heaven. Did not John the Baptist cry out: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire…”? The descent of the Holy Spirit from the Father through the Son, the Lord Jesus, is to burn up the dross of sin, to purify the souls of men, to convict people in the word of sin and righteousness and judgment, to inspire them to holiness and service for the kingdom, and to prepare the elect of God for their heavenly habitation. As a result of this work, there occurs hostility for the devil causes people to resist and to declare war upon the work of the kingdom of God. There will be no peace until after the Last Judgment!

Yet though Jesus did not come as the Incarnate Son to give peace to this earth, yet by the gift of the Holy Spirit, he does give that peace which passes understanding to the repentant, believing, and obedient soul! Let us receive that peace and with it face the hostility caused by the Gospel!

The Revd Dr Peter Toon
August 18,2001

Anglicans were used to speaking of the two dominical sacraments [Baptism & the Lord’s Supper] and five commonly called sacraments [Confirmation, Penance, Matrimony, Ordination, & Extreme Unction].

Modern Episcopalians in practice if not always with clarity in words seem to believe in three great sacraments and possibly five commonly called
sacraments [Confirmation etc]. The three great sacraments are Baptism,
Passing of the Peace, and Eucharist.

And belief in these Three is as strong with the charismatic-evangelicals as it is with the lesbigay activists. Naturally in a country where everyone has an opinion about everything there are different interpretations of the Three, but what unites the modern Episcopal Church is the commitment to the Three and the welcome to all members at the Three.

Since the 1970s, baptism has become for an increasing number an initiation into a “community” that works for “peace and justice” in this world. There is much talk of and frequent appeals to “the baptismal covenant” as the basis for social, political and economic action in the world. Also Baptism is seen as being the point of receiving in potential all the possible ministries that the Episcopal Church allows. Thus any baptized person is eligible to be everything from a church warden to the Presiding Bishop. This doctrine immediately opens the door of course to the ordination not only of women but also of lesbigay persons.

Since the 1970s, the Eucharist has become for an increasing number the badge and profession of loyalty to the local community (i.e., to the local Episcopal church or diocese). To be present and not receive the sacramental signs is seen as not only bad manners but also a rejection of community. Also the Eucharist is seen as a symbolic reference to “the pre-history and foundation of the Christian community.” There is little sense of transcendence in the modern service for the emphasis is upon the horizontal, the empirical and the present. Likewise there is little reference to the Atonement and bloody death of the Lord Jesus. God is present as the universal, affirming spirit and Jesus’ love is demonstrated in community care.

Seemingly and increasingly the [passing of ] the Peace has become the centerpiece of religious worship for ECUSA parishes of all kinds. Both charismatic and lesbigay people enjoy it immensely. It is the very long moment [from 5 – 15 mins] for affirming every person present and doing so through the use of human “flesh.” By hugs, kisses and handshakes and by walking about and often talking loudly, the community is affirmed and each person there present is made to feel that she or he belongs to this group of people, who have been baptized to work with God for peace and justice on earth. Regrettably the proximity of warm flesh also excites temptation and lust.

What has disappeared from Baptism and the Eucharist is the clear and unambiguous reference to the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven as the exalted Saviour who died for our sins and was raised for our justification and with whom we are united in the Holy Spirit. In Baptism we die, are buried and are raised with him in order to live in him and for him in this world in anticipation of the age to come. In the Lord’s Supper, as repentant, believing sinners, we are fed from the heavenly Banquet with the food of eternal life and energized by that food we are prepared for life of the age to come and for service in his kingdom in this world. And the food we receive is the Body of Blood of the crucified and now exalted Saviour. The primary reference of these dominical sacraments is not this world and its needs but the heavenly world and membership thereof through the merits of the one lord Jesus Christ.

The modern passing of the peace is as much like the “kiss of peace” in the early Church as a modern jetliner is like an ancient Roman chariot. In the ancient church men and women stood or sat at different sides of the church and the peace was part of the repentance for sins against the neighbor. It was a getting right with fellow believers before one dare approach the holy Table of the Lord.

Today the jolly, loud and busy passing of the peace at the middle of an Episcopal service speaks eloquently of the view people have of God. God is no longer – for many of us -- the One before whom we bow and prostrate ourselves in humble gratitude and penitence as The Holy Trinity who is glorious in holiness and mercy. Now Deity (he, she, it) has apparently become for many of us the embracing universal spirit or presence of warm affirmation and acceptance (a kind of panentheism).

In this world of sin, the purest of things can be made or become impure, and the holiest of things can be made or become unclean. It would appear that this common phenomenon can be observed in the sacramental life of the Episcopal Church USA. Not that all members are equally locked into the new uses and interpretations of the dominical sacraments but that a sufficient number are so that one can speak of this being a major denominational problem. It is difficult to envisage how there can be in the ECUSA a U-turn to something that is nearer to the Biblical and Patristic and Reformation norms for this Church has moved so far since the 1970s from its previous moorings.

The Rev’d Dr Peter Toon
August 17 2001

Thursday, August 16, 2001

Singing Unto the Lord as Anglicans

by The Rev'd Dr Peter Toon

When “The Book of Common Prayer” of 1552 was made the official Prayer Book of the reign of Elizabeth I (thus BCP, 1559) a Royal Injunction accompanying that re-enactment stated:

“That in the beginning or at the end of Common Prayers, either at morning or evening, there may be sung a hymn or such like-song…in the best sort of melody or music that may be conveniently devised, having regard that the sense of the hymn may be understood and perceived.”

Of course it was also possible for the priest and parish clerks to sing instead of say parts of the service as written but this Injunction made possible genuinely hearty congregational singing.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, August 14, 2001


August 15 is the Festival of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many Protestant-minded Anglicans on hearing this take a deep breath and change the subject. They have the sense that the honor of Mary has been more liable to exaggeration and deviation than any other doctrine or practice in the Church of God.

This admitted, let us also accept that she has never been added – officially – to the Blessed Three Persons of the Holy Trinity to make a foursome. And let us recall that she is specifically called by the Ecumenical Councils of Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451) the “Theotokos” (a word that has been usually translated into English as “Mother of God” [God the Son]).

Let us further agree that not only is Mary unique amongst women she is also, of all God’s creatures, angelic and human, the one with the greatest dignity and honor. She is above archangels, seraphim and cherubim, above the patriarchs and prophets of the old covenant and above the apostles of the new covenant in dignity and honor. And she is so because she was chosen by the LORD to be, and she readily accepted the vocation of, the Theotokos – the “birth giver of God”. She was the Temple of the Lord, the Son [see the Annunciation]. She carried in her womb for 9 months the Word of God incarnate, the eternal Son of God in human form, and then she gave birth to her son who is also the eternally begotten Son of the Father, whom she called “Jesus” [“the LORD is our salvation”].

Mary’s SON is her Savior and Lord but he is nevertheless her son, for his human nature was formed from her. Of course she did not give unto him his divine nature or his divine personhood for he is always the Second Person of the Blessed, Holy and Undivided Trinity from all eternity. Mary became the Temple in which the pre-existing divine Son received his human nature and began to live within his humanity. Mary’s conceiving him was His receiving [of human nature].

Jesus is thus God and Man, One Person made known in two natures, divine and human.

The original intent of the Mary Festival on August 15 in the fifth century in the eastern mediterranean was to celebrate her divine maternity, with no reference to the end of her life on earth. It may be regretted that it did not remain solely with this biblical and soteriological emphasis.

However, the emphasis later moved to what has been called her “Falling Asleep” or “Dormition” or “Koimesis” that is of her being exalted into heaven from the grave after her death in order to be with her Son – and not wait for the final resurrection of the body at the end of the age. Yet this emphasis – which some Protestants find difficult to accept since Scripture is silent on it – should not cause us to forget the original and basic theme of the Festival of August 15 -- her divine maternity, her being the “Theotokos.”

The Protestant Reformers of the 16th century accepted the title of “Theotokos” even if they rejected much of the late medieval devotion to “our Lady.” Hugh Latimer, who was burned at the stake in Oxford as a Protestant martyr, wanted his colleague, Archbishop Cranmer, to include in the BCP Gabriel’s acclamation to Mary, “Hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee…” but it never got in.

Let us as Protestants keep this Marian Festival in its original intent, let us admire the grace of God in Mary and her willing submission to the divine will, let us remember that without Mary's cooperation there would have been no Incarnate Word, no Saviour of mankind and no redemption of the world, and thus let us magnify and glorify the Father, through His Incarnate Son, with the Holy Ghost.

The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon
August 14 2001

Monday, August 13, 2001

Lay Administration of the Lord’s Supper; or
Lay Celebration of the Eucharist; or
Lay Presidency at the Lord’s Supper/Eucharist

Since a lot of publicity has been given recently to the proposal that in the Anglican Way provision should be made for a layperson be the celebrant at the Eucharist, I thought it may be useful - despite the rejection of the practice by the Archbishop of Canterbury and others – to set out the reasons given by those who energetically commend it.

As far as I can tell those who commend are learned and godly persons, who have a very high view of the Scriptures as the Word of God written, are enthusiastic about the great doctrines and principles of the Protestant Reformation, put great weight on the authority that belongs to the historic Formularies of the Anglican Way, have a sense of pastoral concern for parishes without a resident pastor and do not believe in the ordination of women as presbyters/priests.

In particular, emphasis is placed by them upon the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith together with the doctrine of the priesthood of baptized believers for these together speak eloquently of the equality of all baptized Christians before God the Father and of their common access to him through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ in/by the Holy Spirit.

But before I begin I must say two things.

A. As far as members of the Forward in Faith movement are concerned this
Proposal is already in place in many of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion and is so wherever women act as ordained ministers.

B. This Proposal is not commended as the universal norm but as appropriate
in certain circumstances where there is no available resident pastor [priest] in a congregation. Further, this proposal also normally includes a call for ordained deacons to be able in appropriate situations to be the celebrant at the Lord’s Supper/Eucharist.

Now to the reasons:

1. Both a layman and a deacon are allowed to preach if they have a license
from the bishop. Why not extend this provision of a license at least to some lay Readers and some deacons to celebrate when necessity arises (e.g., in a country area where there is no resident pastor or in a situation where the resident priest is sick)?

2. Further, both a layman and a deacon are allowed to baptize under certain
circumstances, usually in an emergency where the child or adult to be baptized is dying. If they can baptize in an emergency why are they not allowed to celebrate also when necessity requires it?

3. Reserving the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper to priests and bishops
alone can give the impression that they are a superior caste to other Christians and that they have an unique ability to dispense grace.

4. Since the ministry of the Word and the ministry of the Sacrament belong
together why should one but not the other be open to the licensed layman and the licensed deacon? As things now stand the impression is made that an improper or illogical distinction is being made between both the means of grace, by Word and Sacrament.

5. The restricting of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper to priests and
bishops only leads to wrong ideas about this Sacrament, especially that its value as a means of grace depends upon the status of the person who prays “the Eucharistic Prayer” [Prayer of Consecration].

6. Further, the absolute requirement that a priest or bishop is the
celebrant leads to the idea that Jesus Christ is not the unique High Priest in heaven and not the only Mediator between God and man for he [Christ] needs the help of an earthly mediator as well.

7. In the New Testament there is no specific instruction as to who may
celebrate the Lord’s Supper and in the writings of the early Fathers it appears that the bishop could and did delegate the “presidency” to others, including laymen, on occasion.

8. While it is true that the classic BCP (with Ordinal) of 1662 and the
Canon Law of 1604 make no provision for a licensed layman or deacon to celebrate, neither does it make provision for them to do many other things that they have been allowed to do in public worship by Acts of Convocation and Synod and the like since 1604.

9. Allowing certain licensed persons to celebrate when necessity arises in
no way takes away from the vocation and role of the parish pastor/priest, who is to be seen as the Head of the parish Family, which is a unique calling. It is very odd that a priest will often travel many miles to a congregation to say the Eucharistic Prayer when there are in the congregation godly persons who could be candidates for a bishop’s license to celebrate when the local pastor is sick or away.

10. Good order in the Church, diocese, province, will be preserved in
allowing this development if it is carefully planned, if persons are carefully chosen and if the Bishop only gives licenses to godly and responsible men.

Those Anglicans who oppose the Innovation of Lay Celebration simply argue that over the long history of the Church from the time of the Council of Nicea in 325 to the Religious Settlement of Queen Elizabeth I in 1559 the Celebration of the Eucharist was reserved to the Bishop, who could and did delegate it to the priest, but never to the deacon and never to the layman (even though lay brothers preached much in medieval Europe). Since the 16th Century the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox on one side and major Protestant traditions on the other have maintained the practice of only allowing the bishop, priest, pastor to be the Celebrant. So it is a matter of Order, of what is appropriate and of tradition. Innovation would not be generally helpful.

The Rev'd Dr Peter Toon August 13, 2001

Sunday, August 12, 2001

How frequently should I receive Holy Communion?

The wise St Augustine of Hippo wrote in one of his Epistles: “One person, honoring it [Holy Communion], dares not receive it daily, and the other person, honoring it, dares not forgo a single day.”

This statement presupposes that the Holy Communion is available daily in the place where one lives.

[We may note in passing that before the Middle Ages the normal practice, even in Benedictine monasticism, was to celebrate the Eucharist only on Sundays and feast days, with communion being made on other days from the reserved sacrament. And we recall that in Orthodoxy daily Celebration is rare and unusual. Thus Patristic Christianity did not require Daily Celebration of the Eucharist but only in the large city churches the availability daily of Holy Communion.]

But back to the frequency of celebration & reception. The words of the French Benedictine Adalbert de Vogue are worth pondering at length:

“In itself the daily repetition of an act enhances it no more than does its renewal once a week. Frequency is not without ambiguity. To introduce a Rite into the daily routine is both to pay homage to it and to make it commonplace (to mark its importance and to weaken its impact). Inversely, spacing out the sacred celebration may seem either a sign of less interest – it is not worth spending time on every day – or a token of high esteem: the action is too sublime to be regarded, it should be reserved for solemn occasions.”

The points made here apply not only to the question of the frequency of the Celebration of the Eucharist and the reception of Holy Communion, but also to the relation of the Daily Office to the Eucharist.

The Church of God is to offer both Daily Prayer (“pray without ceasing”) and the regular Eucharist (“do this in remembrance of me”) to the Father through the Son and with the Holy Spirit. Both are necessary but while one is absolutely necessary DAILY the other is not necessary but may be in some situations advisable daily. And one may rightly add that it is impossible for a local church to give full honor to the Eucharist unless there is committed involvement in Daily Prayer, Morning and Evening.

In recent decades a major loss in parish spirituality has been the demise of the daily offering of morning and evening prayer by a quorum of the people on behalf of the whole people. And in the same period the Eucharist, while it has been more frequently celebrated, that celebration has generally been with less spiritual preparation, solemnity and reverence.

St Augustine tells the Lord of his mother in the fourth century who omitted “on no day the oblation at Thy altar, coming to thy church twice a day, morning and evening, without any intermission, not for idle stories and useless chit-chat, but to hear Thee in Thy discourses, and that thou mightest hear her in her prayers.”

Not many parishes today can sustain a Daily Eucharist at which there is a reasonable attendance of people who are spiritually prepared, but all parishes should seek to make provision for Daily Prayer even if novel ways [e.g., a telephone hook up] have to be found to unite a quorum of parishioners daily in the prayer services, morning and evening.

The Rev’d Dr Peter Toon
August 9, 2001

Wednesday, August 08, 2001

Mutual Indwelling, Circuminsession [Circumincession] & Perichoresis
[a meditation for those who are of a serious and devout mind]

In the history of the Christian Church, there has been a constant temptation for baptized believers to err in two opposite directions in terms of their understanding of God as The Trinity, who is the Father & the Son & the Holy Ghost [Spirit]. So it is not surprising that one of the three great Creeds of the Western Church, the Athanasian Creed [= Quicumque Vult] actually proclaims the orthodox doctrine of The Trinity and distinguishes it from the errors of both directions.

The errors are (a) Tritheism, where The Trinity is seen as three intimately related “Gods” who work together and who may be equal or not in their divinity; and (b) Modalism, where the Trinity is seen as three expressions or modes of existence of the One God, a form of Unitarianism where God has three Faces and Names.

The amazing truth of The Trinity is that there is one God and one God only, but that this one God is also simultaneously and eternally Three intimately related but yet distinct Persons, so that he is both Three in One and One in Three. Each of the Persons possesses in totality the one and the one only divine nature, but yet the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, and the Holy Ghost is neither the Son nor the Father. As the Greeks put in --- Three Persons and one Godhead (Substance).

Within the One God and Deity, which is The Holy Trinity, the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father (as many texts from John’s Gospel proclaim – see e.g. 10:38 & 17:21) and the Holy Ghost is in the Father and in the Son. That is, there is a mutual indwelling of the Three Persons in each other and this indwelling is one of agape, the divine love.

“Because of the unity of nature, the Father is completely in the Son and completely in the Holy Ghost; the Son completely in the Father, completely in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Ghost completely in the Father, completely in the Son” – the Council of Florence.

The word used by St John of Damascus for this mutual indwelling of each other by the Persons of The Holy Trinity was PERICHORESIS and this was translated by St Bonaventure as CIRCUMINCESSIO but by St Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Florence as CIRCUMINSESSIO. In all these writers the use of these words points to what we may call the mystery of divine interpenetration, reciprocal immanence and intra-divine subjectivity within the One God, who is truly and really a Triad.

As human beings we can have some experience of an earthly and created form of mutual indwelling in two ways, and each by grace. (a) That form and depth of fellowship with God wherein he dwells in us and we in him; and (b) that form and depth of fellowship one with another in Jesus Christ through the presence of the Holy Ghost within the Body of Christ, the Household of God, the Church. (The First Epistle of John as well as Romans 8 and John 14-17 point to this indwelling on the human plane.) However, that which belongs to God internally and immanently as The Holy Trinity we can only imagine, worship and adore, even as we have fellowship one with another and with the Father through the Son and with the Holy Ghost.

If we rightly understand the nature of mutual indwelling of persons in koinonia [communion, fellowship] in the Body of Christ on earth in anticipation of the life of the age to come, then we can by divine illumination and help, contemplate the PERICHORESIS AND CIRCUMINSESSIO of the The Three Divine Persons who are One God.

And as we so contemplate and adore, we shall not only “know God” unto salvation, but we shall also by grace be saved from the two great errors in doctrine that persistently arise in the Church of God, tritheism and modalism. [An examination of many modern liturgies, hymns, choruses and sermons will reveal that they tend often to drift – because of the ignorance of their writers -- into one or other of these two errors.]

Let us all read again with care and devotion The Athanasian Creed (which is found in the BCP 1662 but not in the American BCP 1928. It is however found in the Appendix of the American ECUSA 1979 Prayer Book), and, “The Orthodox Faith”, by St John of Damascus and the precise doctrinal statements of the Council of Florence on this theme. But moreseo let us adore the Perichoresis of The Holy Triad.


1. Our normal existence in this world according to the Bible is that we are mutually indwelt by Satan and the world and it is only by grace that we are saved into the state of fellowship with The Holy Trinity and with one another in the Body of Christ.
2. Various Anglican and Ecumenical Commissions have used the theme of Circuminsessio as a kind of model for unity of churches on earth but in doing so they have usually politicized a very profound and holy concept that belongs to the realm of doxology rather than political ecumenism.

August 8, 2001

Monday, August 06, 2001

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto

On September 7, 374 St Basil “the Great”, Bishop of Caesarea, was praying
with his people and glorifying the Holy Trinity in two related but distinct

(1) “Glory to the Father together with the Son and together with the Holy
Ghost [Holy Spirit]; (compare “Glory to the Father and to the Son and to
the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit].”)

(2) “Glory to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit.”

Some people there accused him of being illogical and contradictory in his
speech by using the two doxologies.

After pondering what they said and their reasons Basil decided to write a
treatise to explain that both doxologies are scriptural and orthodox and
necessary. Thus we have his book, “Treatise on the Holy Spirit.”

We may say that (1) is a coordinating doxology and is intimately connected
to the Great Commission of Jesus [Matthew 28] where he teaches that we are
to be baptized in “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit.” The use of the conjunction “with” or “and” places the Three
together on the same divine plane as Three Equals, related in a distinct
order, with the Father first in order. And each of the Three receives the
same glory as the other Two for each of the Three possesses the one and the
same identical Godhead/divine nature.

We may say that (2) is a statement of the logic of Christian worship,
prayer, service and consecration, which we find stated in many ways in the
New Testament and expressed in the great Liturgies of the Church. All is
offered to the Father through the one mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ who is
the Son of the Father, and in the Holy Spirit [in his presence and by his
power]. All is so offered because all [creation, redemption etc] has
previously come from the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit

Further we may say that (1) points to God as God is in Himself and unto
Himself as a Trinity of Persons in His own infinity and eternity (what
theologians have called “the Immanent Trinity’) while (2) points to God as
He has made Himself known in the work of creation, salvation, reconciliation
and redemption (what theologians have called “the Economic Trinity”).

Now the two forms of the doxology are needed in the one Church to be used by
all in order to preserve orthodox Christian understanding of God as The Holy
Trinity. If (1) stands alone then the Trinity can seem to be a doctrine
that has no practical application to Christian life on earth for God in his
Trinitarian bliss is remote. In contrast, if (2) stands alone then it may be
interpreted (as did the ancient Arians and Semi-Arians) as meaning that the
divinity of the Holy Spirit is an inferior kind to that of the Son and the
divinity of the Son is of an inferior kind to that of the Father.

In terms of the history of salvation [heilsgeschichte] as we find it set
forth in the Canon of the Old and New Testaments, we may say with Bishop
Gregory of Nazianzus, a friend of Bishop Basil, that the divinity of the
Father is revealed and recognized by the Old Testament, that the divinity of
the Son is revealed and recognized by the New Testament, and the divinity of
the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] while revealed in the New Testament is only
fully recognized when the same Spirit is present and active in the Church of
God. Thus the full confession of the Holy Trinity and the conscious and
systematic giving of glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy
Ghost [Holy Spirit] occurs after the period of the New Testament.

Perhaps modern charismatic Christians who rejoice in the presence of the
Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) and in the gifts and assurance he brings to God’s
people would benefit from pondering, meditating, and contemplating the
relation of the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) to the Father and to the Son in
these two doxologies and the exposition of the same in “The Treatise on the
Holy Spirit” by St. Basil.

The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon August 6, 2001

Sunday, August 05, 2001

GEORGE of Canterbury, please take note

Orthodox leadership is painfully aware of overlapping jurisdictions in the USA

Recently I have written and sent out by e mail several pieces on what I have
called the cultural bishopric in contrast to the territorial bishopric. In
these I have argued that the political reality of the USA requires of
Churches that they make use of the ethnic and cultural bishopric alongside
the territorial bishopric.

The article below by the Greek Orthodox bishop in Detroit reveals that the
Orthodox leadership in the USA is very conscious that the Orthodox have
overlapping [ethnic] jurisdictions and that thereby they break their own
doctrine that there should be one and one only church with one bishop in
each city.

Yet the practice of cultural or ethnic dioceses is justified at least for
the time being by the practical reality of the United States with its
massive immigration.

What the Orthodox rarely concede is that alongside their overlapping
jurisdictions are those of the Roman Church, and then of course, the
Anglican, Lutheran and so on.

In the American competitive supermarket of religions it would seem that
overlapping dioceses and jurisdictions are with us until the end of time.
One day the Anglican family will recognize this fact and adjust to it!

Please read on.

Peter Toon
Phyletism Or Ministry?

According to the late Ecumenical Patriarch, Dimitrios, " It is truly a
scandal for the unity of the Church to maintain more than one bishop in any
given city; it contravenes the sacred canons and Orthodox ecclesiology. It
is a scandal that is exacerbated whenever PHYLETISTIC (ethnocentric) motives
play a part, a practice soundly condemned by the Orthodox Church in the last
(19th) century."

We saw this quotation on the front cover of "An Orthodox Christian Church in
the United States: Unified and Self Governed" (OCL, 2000, 30 N LaSalle St.,
Suite 4020, Chicago, Il, 60602-2507). It does not state the source of the
quote nor to which geographic area the patriarch is referring. He is,
however, quoting from a statement made in the late 19th Century by the Holy
Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It may be that the Synod was
then referring to the shaping of national political entities in the 19th
century and of the process of recognition of local (ethnic) autocephalous
churches entered into by the Patriarch of Constantinople.

The repetition by Patriarch Dimitrios of this quote in a more recent time,
brings to the foreground the reality of more than one bishop in a given
city, a phenomenon which does exist in many cities in the United States.
Because we do not know the context of Patriarch Dimitrios's statement, we
can only wonder if His Holiness was referring to an "Orthodox" country,
where there was more than one bishop in a city or to a number of countries.
It would be a strange situation, indeed, inasmuch as the Church is governed
in each country by a Holy Synod with a Patriarch as its head and by whose
affirmation all hierarchs are enthroned. How could such a situation come to
be? Where does it exist? In what "Orthodox" countries might one find "more
than one bishop in any given city"?

If we apply his statement to the situation in the United States, we know
that there is an over-lapping of jurisdictions and instances where there is
more than one Orthodox hierarch having the title of the same city. Europeans
are fond of stating that there is no such animal as "an American people,"
because it is a hodge-podge of peoples. We find it strange to identify the
reality in the United States of "poli episcopii " in one city as being based
on "phyletism." To accuse our Church of being "phyletistic" would be a
contradiction to the assumed statement that "there is no such 'people' as
'an American people'. " Perhaps Patriarch Dimitrios was aiming his statement
at those Mother Churches which maintain ethnic jurisdictions in the United
States? Is this the "Phyletism" to which Patriarch Dimitrios is referring?
Inasmuch as a Holy Synod of a "Church in the United States" does not yet
exist and therefore cannot be held responsible for this uncanonical
condition, it seems probable that he is referring to the Mother Churches.
But to what purpose? Was it not a clarion call from Constantinople to revise
this unusual ecclesiastical anomaly?

The hierarchy, clergy and laity of the Church in the United States would,
for the most part, state that the Church here is adequately serving the
Orthodox faithful of all ethnic origins, the "American people." In the last
decade, the Church in the United States has reviewed her ministry to serve a
new influx of immigrants and has grandly responded to Orthodox from Albania,
Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine. She cannot be accused of
phyletism but rather should be lauded for being true to her ministry to the
faithful born in North America and to those who have immigrated to the
United States. The Church in the United States is fulfilling the command
given her by her Savior to bring all nations to him.
No one should doubt that every jurisdiction in the United States is true to
its mission to serve all Orthodox, in addition to sustaining a particular
ministry to definable ethnic groups. This ministry to ethnic immigrants and
to their offspring will continue, probably without end. It is a part of the
fabric of the work of the Church in the United States. There will be a
strong and necessary mission ministry in the United States as long as there
is immigration. We do not mean by this to limit immigration nor mission to
those solely coming from "Orthodox" countries. There is nothing un-Christian
nor wayward in the Church ministering to particular groups, as long as she
does not neglect the wider field to be harvested around her. In this arena,
however, more cooperation is needed.

Those who insist that only English be used bear a burden of prejudice . The
Church cannot fulfill her mission unless she uses the forms of communication
necessary to her faithful; and, she is not obliged to "eradicate" the
various liturgical languages now in use to the exclusivity of English, just
because English is the language of the land. On the other hand, she must not
neglect any of her faithful by refusing to hold services in English when the
need is obvious. Children cannot learn a foreign language in the context of
participating in the Divine Liturgy. Church leaders and others who want
their offspring to learn an ethnic tongue need do so outside the context of
communal praise of the Lord. "Lord have mercy" and "Grant this, O Lord," are
not enough of a vocabulary by which children can learn the language of their
ethnic ancestors.
The Church in the United States is actively ministering to others, offering
them the gift of faith and salvation in Christ's holy Church just as the
nascent Church took the Gospel into all the lands of the Mediterranean and
Europe and offered it to those peoples. To bear Christian witness to
non-Orthodox is the fulfillment of the Great Command by our Lord to his
Church; it is her proper fabric; it is the "stuff" of which the Church is

In this manner, the warp of the Church can be likened to her infantile ties
to the Mother Churches. This 200 year-old tie remains and ever will remain
the basis of the founding sacramental life in North America. Ethnic Orthodox
traditions came with the faith and are cherished in the ghetto parishes
until this day. The weft can be seen as the local Church's response to being
planted in a novel society. The accommodation to the use of English,
reaching out to "non-Orthodox," bearing witness to a different society, the
Church's adaptation to the "agora of the New World," all of these things
represent the ability and maturity of the local Church to respond.

The warp continues as the authentic tie of "catholicity" with the rest of
the Church. This is the "Holy Orthodoxy" which has been deeply rooted over
the past two centuries. The weft is placed by the hierarchy, clergy and
faithful, day by day, year after year, across the warp, thus creating a
unique local witness as shaped by the Spirit of Truth who is present
everywhere and fulfilling all things.

For this witness to develop and grow, however, there must be a unification
of the hierarchs into one synod with a patriarch at its head. For the Church
here to continue her ministry to the ethnic immigration, to the
American-born, to those enlightened to Holy Orthodoxy, she must also reach
out to others such as to the Afro-American, Asian, African, Hispanic
peoples. To do this, to be true in the most profound sense of her mission,
the Church must be unified. Ministries to these groups must be established
by common consent and witness of a single unified Holy Synod.
The Church in the United States, her hierarchs, clergy and faithful, must
continue to reassure the Mother Churches that she is capable of serving all
peoples with her ministry as a unified Church with its own local Holy Synod
and Patriarch, by her strong witness of common effort and actions at this
time in her history.

On the other hand, it seems to us that the implementation of the canon
directing having one bishop in any given city must be worked out here,
locally by the Church, and in her own good time. Although the canons are
clear, they do refer to different times and other circumstances. To"undo"
episcopal sees at this time so that there would be only one hierarch in a
city as a "condition sine qua non" for autocephaly is not necessary. Nor can
a "fiat" from outside the United States enforce this canon before its time.

The Mother Churches are realistic and practical enough in facing the truth
that the situation in the United States was not foreseen in the canons, and
that the existence of more than one bishop in a given city can be phased out
in time. Those who live in the United States and are living the life of the
Church here know her history and her traditions. The Holy Synod of the
Church in the United States, together with the clergy and laity, will be
open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to regularize the traditional
ecclesiology of the Church when the time comes.
In the meanwhile, the Church in the United States continues her ministry and
like the apostles preaching to the "hodge-podge" of pilgrims on the great
day of Pentecost, ministering to everyone according to his own tongue and
custom, working hard to bring in a harvest to her Lord and God and Savior.
When should the blessing for this unified Holy Synod come? Without delay!
From whom ought it be given and to whom? From each Mother Church to her own
children! Who shall announce the formalization? Inasmuch as the
regularization came from a Patriarch of Constantinople, let it be announced
from his throne. When? Without delay!

+NATHANIEL, Archbishop of Detroit

Saturday, August 04, 2001

A Blatant Disregard of our Anglican Ecclesiology?

In June 2001, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Carey, told the Primates of
S. E. Asia and of Rwanda that their ordaining and consecrating four
missionary bishops for North America was “a blatant disregard of our
Anglican Ecclesiology.”

Now “blatant” is not a word in common use but its meaning points in the
direction of excessive --- “noisy especially in a vulgar or offensive
manner; vociferous; offensively or vulgarly clamorous.”

Thus the two Primates are charged with not only disregarding (a strong
enough accusation) Anglican ecclesiology but also with doing so in a vulgar
and offensive way (an extremely strong accusation)! Presumably this charge
is made because they did not consult the American hierarchy before
proceeding with the ordinations.


The crime of which the two Primates are accused relates to ecclesiology,
that is to the ecclesia, the Church of God. It is presumed that they as
Primates and Archbishops know the rules and content of Anglican
ecclesiology and that they flagrantly paid no attention to them with
reference to these consecrations in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Many books have been written by Anglicans on ecclesiology and they present
us with many theories and opinions. The doctrine of the Church presupposed
in the classic Formularies from the 16th century [BCP, Ordinal & Articles of
Religion] relates to the situation in England and to the national,
established Church of England. Once the Church of England engages in mission
and plants churches in other lands then there has to be an adaptation of the
Formularies to the political situation there (as happened for example in the
USA in the late 18th century). We are still as Anglicans working out this
ecclesiology for we live as an international family in a great variety of
contexts and situations.

But Dr Carey seems to be referring not to the whole of ecclesiology but only
to a certain understanding of the relation of provinces and dioceses to each
other within the Anglican Communion, an understanding that has been spelled
out at various Lambeth Conferences and that is found also in the
constitution and canons of the provinces. This understanding includes the
following principles -- that each Province is autonomous; that no Province
should meddle in the internal affairs of another Province; that no bishop
should enter the territory of another bishop except he/she is invited so to
do; and that no clergyperson should move from one diocese to another without
the permission of the two bishops concerned.

In terms of these rules, the two Primates certainly must be judged guilty.
Whether they are guilty in the court of heaven depends on whether these
rules are, in this instance, the law of God.

The Territorial Bishopric – Sacred?

Let us be honest and recall that there is a very long tradition of what we
may call the territorial bishopric in the Christian Church – one specific
geographical area, one bishop. This was the general rule in Europe right up
to the time of the Protestant Reformation. And in the Elizabethan
Settlement of Religion the Church of England retained the fact and the
practice of the territorial bishopric. In the Churches that have grown from
the Church of England, what we now call the Anglican Communion of Churches,
this tradition of the territorial bishopric has continued and is in place
now. (Yet it must be admitted that it has come to exist in a situation where
it overlaps often with Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran dioceses, not
to mention the geographical arrangements of other churches.)

Let us also be honest and note that the doctrine of the territorial
bishopric has been modified to some extent through the appointment of
suffragan, area, assistant and coadjutor bishops, making there to be several
bishops in one place. It has been further modified through the creation of
non-territorial (= ethnic or cultural dioceses) for native peoples (as in
the USA & New Zealand) and for the armed forces (as in England and the USA).
Then, also, it has been seriously questioned by the creation of an office of
a Presiding Bishop or Archbishop (e.g., in the USA and Canada) to which no
territorial or cultural or ethnic bishopric is attached. Further, in Europe
there are overlapping dioceses, one belonging to the Church of England and
one to the Episcopal Church, USA, and in the USA there is a Church of South
India jurisdiction which overlaps various Episcopal Church dioceses.

We rehearse these facts merely to point out that while the Lambeth
Conference may speak loudly about the commitment to the territorial
bishopric, in practice this commitment is modified or abandoned by
individual provinces and dioceses according to felt need in differing

And let us be realistic and recall that in the major cities of the West and
most particularly in North America the fact of overlapping jurisdictions
belonging to the various Orthodox Churches of the East and to the various
Eastern Rite and privileged jurisdictions of the Roman Catholic Church is a
fact of life and seems to be accepted without question by all concerned.

The Guilty Primates

Now back to the “guilty” Primates. It seems as if (from what they have said
as well as from what they have done) they came to the conclusion that there
was ample justification for the abandonment of commitment to the
territorial bishopric in the USA. They judged that the state of the
Episcopal Church, that claims territorial jurisdiction over the whole of the
USA, was at such a spiritual, moral and doctrinal low as to justify the
setting up of a mission led by bishops to evangelize and teach the Faith as
it is known in the Holy Scriptures and the classic Anglican Formularies.
Thus they judged their loyalty was to the Lord Jesus Christ and his Gospel
and to the orthodox Anglican Way before it was to the principle of
territorial bishoprics.

We recall that in the late 1970s a similar judgment had been made by many
priests and laity and this led through the Congress of St Louis to the
formation of the Continuing Anglican Church, which is very much still with
us but in several parts and jurisdictions. Thus we have up to 100,000
Anglicans outside the official Province of the Anglican Communion in the

It would seem that the Archbishop of Canterbury, for whom we have great
respect and affection, needs to re-examine his ecclesiology in the light of
the facts we have rehearsed. Further he perhaps need to ask whether it is
even working in England, in the Established Church, where there is a
prolonged and loud call for a Third Province for traditional believers, a
province that would overlap the present Provinces of York and Canterbury.

The time for the acceptance by the Anglican Communion of the principle of
cultural [and thus overlapping] jurisdictions seems to have arrived. They
are needed in the West/North and may soon also be needed in the South. And
they need to be implemented now, but with great care and patience and

The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon
August 4th 2001

Friday, August 03, 2001

Bishops yes, but only with sound doctrine

In the classic Rite for the ordination and consecration of a bishop, the
Archbishop or Presiding Bishop delivers a Bible to the new bishop and urges
him to pay very careful attention to its content.

"Give heed unto reading, exhortation and doctrine. Think upon the things
contained in this Book, be diligent in them, that the increase coming
thereby may be manifest unto all men. Take heed unto thyself, and to
doctrine, and be diligent in doing them; for by so doing thou shalt both
save thyself and them that hear thee. Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd,
not a wolf; feed them, devour them not…"[Ordinal in the BCP 1662 & 1928

Let us focus on the words: “ For by so doing thou shalt both save thyself
and them that hear thee.”

One obvious implication of these words is that a bishop who teaches error
or heresy imperils not only his own soul but the souls of his clergy and his

Another implication is that modern Anglicanism, which is tending to find its
unity in the person of the bishop, without regard to whether or not he is
teaching sound doctrine, is committing a grave mistake and putting thousands
of souls in possible peril.

Regrettably this mistake is apparently being made not only by all kinds of
clergy, theologians, liturgiologists and members of theological commissions
but also, it would appear, on recent very public evidence, by the Archbishop
of Canterbury.

The Message from Lambeth Palace

The message from Lambeth Palace in the new millennium seems to be either
“unity around the bishop first, and truth will follow after” or just “unity
and more institutional unity around the bishop for unity’s sake.” In his
public Letters concerning the ordination and consecration of bishops for the
Anglican Mission in America, Dr. Carey places great emphasis upon the duty
of the new [irregular] bishops to be reconciled to the Presiding Bishop of
the Episcopal Church. But, as far as we know, Dr. Carey has not also
required that the Presiding Bishop, along with other American bishops,
repent of their errors and heresies as their part of this reconciliation.

Dr Carey’s basis for actually accepting the bishops of the AMiA into the
Anglican episcopate seems to be very lopsided, heavily loaded in favor of
the ECUSA, which is by general consent an erring Church.

[It is well know that there have been several major secessions of clergy and
people from the Episcopal Church, USA, since 1975 because of their
conviction that this Church had departed in certain basic essentials from
the worship, doctrine and discipline of the historic Anglican Way.
Certainly, in the 1970s it is a matter of public record that this Church
actually changed its Formularies, rejecting the classic ones and imposing
new ones. Since then it has made the acceptance of women’s ordination
compulsory for all officers, clerical and lay, has publicly endorsed major
aspects of the lesbigay agenda, has introduced liturgies that deny orthodox
doctrine, and has persecuted those who hold to the traditional Anglican
worship, doctrine and discipline.]
The Formularies

Certainly the historic Anglican Way is committed to the threefold Ministry
as being the will of God and the basis of sound order and polity for the
Church of God. Yet a careful perusal of its Formularies [BCP, Ordinal &
Articles of Religion] reveals that the loyalty due to bishops, priests and
deacons who publicly teach error and heresy is very limited.

The Prayer for the Church in the Order for Holy Communion of the BCP has
this petition:

“…to inspire continually the universal Church with the spirit of truth,
unity and concord: And grant that all they that do confess thy holy Name may
agree in the truth of thy holy Word and live in unity, and godly
love….[thus] Give grace…to all Bishops and Curates that they may both by
their life and doctrine set forth thy true and lively Word.”

This leaves us in no doubt as to what is expected of Bishops and clergy.

Then also, in the Ordinal four of the eight Questions asked of the person
to be made Bishop by the Archbishop or Presiding Bishop pertain to his
maintaining wholesome and sound doctrine. Further, the candidate actually
promises to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine,
contrary to God’s Word.

This heavy and central emphasis upon the vocation of teaching sound and
wholesome doctrine is also found in the Articles of Religion.

“Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that
whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be
required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith,
or be thought requisite or necessary for salvation.” [Article VI]

Thus the comprehensiveness which has become a hallmark of the Anglican Way
is based on the foundation that nothing should be taught or done which is
contrary to the Word of God, and also that nothing be required as a
necessary belief which cannot be proved from Holy Scripture. At the same
time, however, “Traditions and Ceremonies” imposed by the local, national
Church, should be received and obeyed by all clergy and people as long as
they do not conflict with the clear teaching of Scripture. For anything
that is imposed that is repugnant to Holy Scripture is not to be obeyed.

There will be occasions when the laity and maybe clergy of necessity have to
receive the ministry of a bishop or priest who is in error and receive the
sacrament from his hand. In this case, according to Article XXVI, they are
not to allow his failure to stand in the way of his being, even in his
sinfulness, a minister of God to them. But the fact that an unworthy and
erring minister can be a vehicle of the grace of God in no way justifies his
error and sin, and it is the duty of those in authority to investigate and
if necessary to depose him.


So it would appear that what we are hearing from the Archbishop of
Canterbury and lesser mortals is a revisionist view of the nature of the
episcopate and the duties of bishops. The Anglican Communion of Churches is
not merely united through the College of Bishops but also through unity in
sound doctrine. Collegiality of bishops without a unity in truth is worth
little --, indeed it may be extremely injurious to the Church of God.

It is worth recalling that on the title page of “The Articles agreed upon
by the archbishops and bishops…” printed in the BCP (1662) we read that
their purpose is “the avoiding of diversities of opinions and for the
establishing of consent touching true religion.” Here church unity is
established doctrinally not institutionally. And such also is the message
of The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.

We do not necessarily endorse the way in which the AMiA has come into being
but in the providence of God it is now on the scene and it has provoked
reactions and these reactions have revealed a very unsatisfactory side to
modern Anglicanism.

We want to suggest that the reaction from the Archbishop of Canterbury is
not a healthy one and, worse still, it does not appear to be in accord with
the doctrine concerning bishops within Scripture or the historic
Formularies. He has apparently adopted a revisionist view of both
Anglicanism and bishops, making the latter, whatever their known views, to
be the center of unity, come what way. Thus he appears to favor an
institutional unity around the established, sitting episcopate and not, as
do the Holy Scriptures and the Formularies, a dynamic unity based upon
Truth with Bishops upholding that same truth in the Church of God.

Apostolic succession is not only a succession of persons but it is first of
all a succession of apostolic doctrine. We need godly and learned
archbishops and bishops who maintain and teach wholesome doctrine and who
drive away all teaching from the church that is repugnant to the Word of

(for a similar essay see “Carey on Denver” in New Directions, London, August
2001, by John Richardson.)

The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon, August 3rd 2001.