Friday, June 13, 2008

The Counterfeit Claims of SPREAD: On The Present Purpose of the One Anglican Communion

For your careful consideration in preparation for GAFCON and LAMBETH -- P.T.

The Counterfeit Claims of SPREAD: On The Present Purpose of the One Anglican Communion

By Ephraim Radner | June 10, 2008
The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine (SPREAD) recently issued an appeal that the Anglican Communion be split. In particular, the appeal, entitled “Counterfeit Communion and the Truth that Sets Us Free”, has urged that all those committed to the “Anglican Faith” which is “defined by the Church of England’s Articles of Religion, 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1662 Ordinal” , “separate from” the Archbishop of Canterbury and form a new and properly orthodox Anglican Communion. This “urgent call to action”, the appeal says, will be presented to the assembled gathering at the upcoming meeting of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) to be held in and near Jerusalem.

The SPREAD website provides no names as to its board, members, and supporters. And although the appeal mentions a number of people positively in passing – Stephen Noll, Abp. Henry Orombi, Abp. Peter Jensen, and others – it is unclear as to whether any of these persons themselves are in favor of breaking up the Anglican Communion in the way the appeal urges. The only name listed, as SPREAD’s “convener” and the presenter at GAFCON of the call to break up the Communion, is that of John Rodgers, one of the leaders of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), former Dean and recently Acting Dean of Trinity School for Ministry, in Ambridge, PA. I shall assume, for lack of any other stated names, that Rodgers is the author of the appeal and respond on that basis. In many ways I regret having to make this response at all. Bishop Rodgers has served the Church of Christ with vigor, intelligence, and faith for many years; and although I have always disagreed with central strategic choices and behaviors pursued by the AMiA in their founding, I have continued to admire their evangelistic zeal and sacrifice. However, in this case, Rodgers has gone over the line with respect to charity, truthfulness, and wisdom. It is important that Anglicans be aware of the fact that there are many Scriptural Christians like myself, committed to the witness and struggles of the world-wide Church, who strongly resist and are indeed dismayed by the spirit and content of his proposals. It is not only a very serious charge indeed to associate the name of “anti-Christ” with the Archbishop of Canterbury, as Rodgers has done in his proposal (pp.6f.); it is also false, and because the charge derives from a conclusion to incomplete, unfair, and distorted interpretations of Rowan Williams’ own testimony, it is scurrilous.


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