Often in the Psalter, as well as in the Prophets, the people of God are told not to put their trust for deliverance and help in princes, other human leaders, and human devices. They are to trust wholly in the LORD their God as his covenant people and to obey his commandments, statutes and laws, looking to him as the Deliverer.
Today Anglicans, who desire to be faithful and orthodox and are found in the ECUSA and at its perimeter, need to hear this word from above. The Primates as a body and as individuals are men, and only men, and they are not persons in whom the people of God should trust for deliverance and help. Of course, they may provide guidance and help on a small scale under God, but they are not saviors or deliverers. Further, even if they were truly saviors they have so little time and resources available to act as such and, further, they find (as they state) the many aspects and parts of the Anglican Way in the U.S.A. to be most confusing – who really speaks for Anglicans who desire to be faithful and orthodox and why are there so many bishops (100 plus on the fringes and outside ECUSA) & what is the relation of The Network to all the other Anglican groups and jurisdictions?
For the last five years and more, with Louis Tarsitano (now deceased) I called regularly in books, essays and talks/lectures for a genuine Anglican Congress for the whole of the Anglican movement in the U.S.A., which desired to form a united orthodox and dynamic witness to Anglican worship, doctrine and discipline. The point we often made was that under God and with his guidance and help, Americans should do what it takes to cleanse, reform and renew the Anglican Way in the U.S.A., create centripetal rather than centrifugal spiritual forces, work for reconciliation, unity and cooperation, so that a variety of jurisdictions becomes as one – unity without uniformity, unity in true comprehensiveness, unity based on the Scriptures and the Anglican Formularies, and unity in charity.
There have been several meetings called Congresses but these have not yet included all the claimants to the Anglican Way and thus they have not worked for the unity of all.
No Primates’ Meeting issuing a statement and no visits by Primates are truly necessary for American Anglicans to desire, to work for and to meet in Congress, and there to seek in a calm way to begin to heal their wounds, solve their problems, overcome their difficulties and resolve to work together for a united front and then move, if God wills, towards a new set of relations. A Unified Front would be a great achievement under God for in the USA supermarket of religions the different forms of Anglicanism on sale is embarrassing, to say the least.
In terms of the ECUSA, the lesson we learn from American religious history is that denominations which go down the liberal track rarely if ever do a U-turn. To expect ECUSA to reform itself and genuinely repent of its innovations since the 1960s is to expect a miracle which, while possible under God, is probably not on the list of approved miracles in the heavenly books. Perhaps The Network should look towards the Extra-Mural Anglicans for fellowship and for creating a common, united front! And vice versa!
March 3rd 2005
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.)