Friday, August 31, 2007

Bishops as the Sign 0f [Dis]Unity?

Reflections on the establishment of the American Episcopate in 1792 & the Secessions with new Episcopates of 1977 and 2004-2007—leading to a Lament!

Various thoughts and feelings have been evoked in many of us by the circulation of color photos on August 29 of many Bishops in a merry, even triumphal, mood in the Anglican Cathedral in Nairobi, Kenya. They were there for the consecration of two Americans as Bishops of the Kenyan Church to be sent forth for service as missionaries in their homeland, the U.S.A.

Here are some of those thoughts evoked by the pictures in terms of a reflection.

The American Episcopate 1792

Anyone familiar with the origins of The Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. in the 1780s knows that the foundation of the American Anglican Episcopate came only with pain, perseverance, negotiations, diplomacy and much—very much—patience by Episcopalians. The consecration on Monday, September 17, 1792, of Thomas John Clagett at Trinity Church New York City by the Bishops of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Virginia (all of whom had been consecrated in Britain) was truly a momentous occasion for The Anglican Way outside of the British Empire. It was a major triumph of human diplomacy and prevenient grace to have Samuel Seabury, Bishop of Connecticut, sharing in a Service with Bishop Samuel Provoost of New York, for they had been in bitter combat for a long time. The new Episcopate became a sign of the unity of the Episcopal Church in the new Republic.

Continuing Anglicans, 1977-2007

Anyone familiar with the origins of The Continuing Anglican Church of 1977 knows that it seceded from PECUSA with high principles and with a vision of reforming and renewing the Anglican Way. Regrettably, the one movement was soon divided and became several jurisdictions (which remain with offshoots to the present). A chief reason for the internal schism was differences over the establishing of the Episcopate for this Church. Patience and diplomacy were in short supply and before the Church had had time to know itself and its possibilities it had four different lines of Bishops. So instead of Bishops being the Sign of the Unity of the Church they have been in these continuing Anglican jurisdictions signs of the very opposite, disunity; and they remain so despite various attempts to reconcile.

Anglicans looking to the Global South, 2004-7

Anyone familiar with what has been happening to the congregations that have seceded from PECUSA (“The Episcopal Church”) in the last few years knows that they have sought validation and support from Archbishops and Bishops from Provinces of the Global South’ and that they have not sought in vain. Not only are many individual congregations supervised by an overseas bishop, but the Provinces of Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have set up missionary jurisdictions and networks inside what has always been seen as the “territory” of The Episcopal Church on the American “homeland.” For these they have consecrated and allocated Bishops.

So, at a time when The Episcopal Church is still a member of the Anglican Communion of Churches, the Global South is treating it as if it were no longer a member and never to return as a member! Of course, seemingly good (even compelling) reasons are offered for this strange and abnormal state of ecclesial affairs; but; an external observer could legitimately wonder why such a rush, why not more patience, and why so many different jurisdictions all doing their own thing—why can’t they all wait until the time—say after Lambeth 2008— is truly ripe and then act in concert! So, once again, Bishops in modern innovative American Anglicanism are not the sign of unity but of, if not dis-unity, of diversity held together only by minimal “bonds of affection,” and with no internal American means of order polity and discipline for this whole movement.

In the light of American Church History…

It is, as it were, part of the landscape and thus hardly noticed, but the phenomenon of the massive supermarket of religions is peculiar to America for all kinds of historical, cultural, social and religious reasons. This ever present reality means that to use a very simple example, it is nearly as easy to start a new denomination as it is to push a car over a cliff, and it is more difficult to unite existing denominations, even of one type, than it is to haul a car back to the road from the bottom of the cliff.

Right now the “orthodox” school or movement in American Anglicanism, loosely in touch with each other via Common Cause is composed of:

• Dioceses within PECUSA
• Anglican Mission in America (Rwanda)
• Convocation of Anglicans in North America (Nigeria)
• A Kenyan “Diocese”
• A Ugandan “Diocese”
• Anglican Province of America (from the Continuing Anglicanism)
• Reformed Episcopal Church (begun in 1873)
• Anglican Communion Network
• Various Canadian Groups.

Here is the potential—if miracles occur today in ecclesial relations—of a new Anglican Province for America either to replace or to exist alongside PECUSA. Here also—in terms of the way things usually happen by the providence of God in America—is the potential for a new divided Continuing of Networks and Dioceses with allegiances to foreign shores and bishops.

If this potential were realized for a New Province it would still leave outside the new Province the following:

• Many “continuing” churches and jurisdictions
• The networks of Indian congregations related to the Churches of North and South India (members of the Anglican Communion)

• Not to mention PECUSA itself.

What causes one to lament is manifold—the seemingly inevitable divided state of The Anglican Way in North America; the failure of the Global South to study the secession of 1977 and the nature of the American supermarket of religions to learn from them; the haste of the Global South in setting up different and potentially ecclesial rivals, ahead of the Primates September 30, 2007 deadline for PECUSA and of the 2008 Lambeth Conference; and the apparent triumphalism which is being displayed both in the U.S.A. and Canada (not to mention in Africa) over these recent developments.

Perhaps the outward vesture and attitude ought to be sackcloth and ashes rather than ornate Episcopal attire and vestments (as the photos of August 29 declare).

Let us pray:

Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, who cannot do anything that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon
President of the Prayer Book Society 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

BURIAL in God’s Acre or Cast into the Wind from the Hill Top.

The last half century has seen changing attitudes not only to the act of dying but also to how the human body after death is treated. For one thing, there has been a tremendous increase in the use of cremation in the West to dispose efficiently of the corpse or to reduce it to manageable size for being placed in a resting place. For another thing, the positive value placed on cemeteries and graveyards by society has been eroding.

One may claim that in American culture, religion and law from the colonial days to the decades immediately after World War II, there was a deeply ingrained respect for the dead and for the places set apart for the burial of dead bodies. And the underlying reason for this profound respect was the Judaeo-Christian heritage that (a) human beings are created as a unity of body-soul in the image and after the likeness of God; and (b) that the graveyard is a dormitory (=cemetery) where the bodies “sleep” until the resurrection of the dead at the end of the age. To this, for Christians especially, was the added dimension that the body had been made holy by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and is precious unto the Lord.

In the American courts a powerful metaphor (for a public that knew the content of the Bible) used by judges to emphasize the sacredness and uniqueness of land consecrated for burials was “God’s Acre.” It was based on Genesis 23, a chapter wholly given over to the purchase of a burial place, the Cave of Machpelah with the adjoining land, by Abraham for his wife Sarah. This burial place then became the resting place for all the patriarchs of Israel, together with their wives and families (see Genesis 25:9; 49:31 & 50:13) and is thus an important piece of hallowed ground for the Jewish Bible (= Christian OT). It is still hallowed ground for Jews, Christians and Muslims and is situated at modern Hebron.

As far as I can tell, the last use of this metaphor by the Courts to emphasize the unique nature of consecrated burial-land was in the mid 1960s. The dropping of this metaphor may be seen to reflect not only the decreased knowledge of the Bible by the general public, but also the changing perception of the social value of burial-lands, especially when they claim prime land in growing cities. (Apparently the modern city of San Francisco has no burial grounds at all within its boundaries.)

Sometimes cremation is the only possibility available in modern times to residents in a city or with very limited means. And a major problem here is that this can occur in such a way—and there exist societies to make this possible— that there is virtually no respect for the dead as the children of a loving Creator displayed at all in the very technological and mechanical processes.

It is well to recall that one consistent theme through human history until the latest phase of the western world has been the awesome respect for the dead and for ancestral graves. Indeed, what archaeologists find more than anything else as they unearth the remains of previous civilizations is that there is a preponderance of artifacts which relate to the care of the dead!

All this—and much more than can be told here—point in the direction that the only way in some cases to ensure a Christian burial for oneself and using a wholesome Rite is (a) to make this clear in one’s will and other papers, and (b) leave the money for it to be done. Alternatively, one needs to leave instruction that if cremation is used, it is used in such a way as to honor the basic doctrines of the human being in God’s image and the hope of the resurrection of the body—and this is easier said than done, as caring pastors know from experience.

Regrettably many modern funerals—even in church—have little to do with the proclamation of the Christian hope of the union of body-soul in a new resurrection body of glory for life in the communion of saints in glory, and much to do with “a celebration of a life”, the telling of the supposed good life and deeds of the deceased. That is they look backwards (not sure there is a future to look into) instead of forward in faith, HOPE and love.

Dr Peter Toon,
President of the Prayer Book Society 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Why using TEC Prayer Book of 1979 is spiritually dangerous!

Please read this short essay before you laugh or consign it to the garbage.

If there is one connection waiting to be made,
if there is one situation where the penny has not dropped,
if there is one possession ripe for rejection,
If there is one road ready to be traveled upon:
And if there is one group that has not yet seen the light, a people who need a disclosure from above to help them to see clearly, it is those present and former Episcopalians, who make a specific doctrinal claim and use liturgy of a specific kind, and are guided in one way or another by the leaders of the Global South.

First of all they claim to be “orthodox,” and not “revisionists” like the leaders of TEC. Secondly, like the “revisionists,” they use ardently the 1979 Prayer Book, the chief creation and symbol of TEC, even though they believe TEC is far away from the Way, Truth and Life as they are in Jesus, and has been so for a long time.

Apparently, few, if any of them, do not see, or at least do not admit, that their practice is not only illogical but also spiritually and morally harmful to them and to those whom they seek to influence and to evangelize. Further, they do not apparently realize that in recently adopting (as the Anglican Communion Network) the Formularies of 1662 as their standard of Faith, they have by public statement at least moved away from the chief creation and symbol of TEC, the 1979 Prayer Book & Formulary.

In other words, and being more specific, most members of the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in America and other recent seceders from TEC like many in CANA and other groupings do not seem to realize that their continued attachment to, and use of, that 1979 Book—which embodies in embryo and in principle the reasons for the serious departure of TEC in recent times from the received Anglican Faith and Way—is a most spiritually dangerous course. In fact, their love affair (for this is what it appears to be) with it may be the chief reason why their desire and plans to become the core people of a new Anglican Province may come to nothing and cause profound disappointment in the long term.

What I suggest that we need to ponder and take to heart is that as a symbol, the 1979 Prayer Book represents virtually all that is wrong with the modern American denomination, TEC. Here is some of the evidence for my suggestion in summary form:

1) The very existence of this 1979 Book presents the arrogance and pride of the former ECUSA (now TEC) in clarity. The General Convention then in 1976 & 1979 (as now in 2006) predominantly cares much for American rights and little for the common global good. The 1979 Book should have been “The Book of Alternative Services” and the classic Book of Common Prayer, Ordinal and Articles (the Formularies) in their 1928 edition should have been left in place—as they were in other provinces like Australia, Canada, England and Ireland when they introduced alternative liturgies. Thus the 1979 book is the symbol of the arrogance of TEC, the same spirit as in 2006-7 sees itself above and beyond the content and requirements of The Windsor Report and the common mind of The Primates’ Meeting. To use this Book in 2007—with whatever mindset—is publicly to identify with this arrogance and further it is to identify with the deliberate rejection of the classic Formularies which the 1979 Book was clearly designed and set forth as the replacement for. [To state this strong position is not to say that there are not some rites and services in the Book which can be used profitably, for such there are. But it is to state that as a symbol and as used as a formulary it represents the very arrogance which is a primary cause of the global crisis of Anglicanism.]

2) The Book was intended to deceive the faithful by giving them something which seemed sufficiently like the old and yet which seemed to be relevant to the young people of the 1970s. That is, it claimed to be presenting orthodoxy in an attractive way when in fact it was deliberately designed to undermine the received orthodoxy of the Anglican Way. It was designed as a new form of Episcopalianism for a new post-1960s world. What follow are some illustrations of this point:

3) Take the Preface. This was written for the first American edition of The BCP 1789 that had been approved by the English Bishops as being of the same doctrine as the classic edition of 1662 (which had been used in the 13 Colonies for a long time before Independence). It is wholly unsuitable for the innovative 1979 Book but it is placed in it without any explanation of this fact. This is deceit making it appear as if the 1979 is a classic edition of the BCP.

4) Take the Baptismal Service, the centre-piece of which is the so-called “Baptismal Covenant,” to which the leadership of TEC is deeply even fanatically committed. The amazing arrogance here is that a covenant is supposedly agreed with God by those to be baptized before God actually presents His own covenant of Grace in the words of Baptism—“I baptize you in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” In the Bible God creates the covenant and then calls human beings into it. In Baptism God offers the covenant of grace and gives it through the actually baptism itself (water and words); and then the duties of those baptized as covenant members are usually stated. The 1979 Covenant celebrates what are human rights and powers of negotiation and it has been called Pelagianism; furthermore, it presents a covenant to be presented to God that is moulded within the zeitgeist of the 1960s—peace and justice and dignity etc., leading to a wholly social gospel as we see now in TEC.

5) Take the Marriage Service, intended to follow on from the revision of canon law in 1973 and to accommodate to both the divorce culture and to the increasingly common idea that marriage is basically a loving relation of two persons for as long as they choose and in their own terms—not to mention the availability of artificial birth control. Thus 1979 has no clear teaching of the biblical institution of marriage as primarily for the procreation and raising of children in the love and fear of the Lord. This is merely an option. In fact this service with a few amendments is being used by same-sex couples who also want only a loving faithful partnership and perhaps the right to adopt children if they feel like it. The origins of the same-sex blessings can be traced to this service as one major source.

6) Take the persistent way that the (supposed) “Holy Trinity” as GOD is presented. Not as in the Bible or in previous well-known Liturgies of East and West, but in an innovative way such that it can be read either as orthodox (by the orthodox in heart) or as representing openness to various possibilities (by those who are exploring these). “God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” of 1979 is not the same as “God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” or “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God.” The 1979 expression can mean—as in Modalism, Unitarianism, Panentheism etc.—“God as One Person who self presents in three basic Modes—as Father, as Son and as Holy Spirit (or if you like, as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier).” The amazing thing is that this favored expression in 1979 claims to be based upon a well known blessing in the Orthodox Divine Liturgy: “Blessed be the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit, now and always even unto ages of ages.” In the context of the Divine Liturgy the Three Persons are the Three Persons who are One Deity for they all share the one and identical Godhead. Oh that this were also clearly the case in 1979.

7) Take the Shape or Structure of “The Holy Eucharist” which is clearly based upon the novel ideas of Gregory Dix, ideas which are now generally discredited (see The Oxford History of Christian Worship, 2006, chaps 1-3). Even the text taken over from the classic BCP 1928 Order for Holy Communion was divided and modified in order to fit into the Dix pattern.

8) Likewise take the heavy dependence of the texts for both Ordinations and the Eucharist in 1979 upon the supposed special value and content of the writings of Hippolytus of Rome because they were so early. Virtually all scholars now believe that the date for the “Works” of Hippolytus is much later than was presumed in the 1960s and thus the use of them on this basis in 1979 is deeply flawed. (See again the Oxford History.)

9) Then take the so-called inclusive language which made its way into the Psalter in a big way and into the Rites in a lesser but real way—language which has now become the norm for TEC in all liturgies. By this the biblical distinctions between male and female are hidden and further Christ is eliminated from his Prayer Book, the Psalter. See Psalm 1:1 where the Hebrew original speaks of the righteous godly man and the early Church spoke of Christ as The Man in Psalm 1 and as the content of the Psalter. For 1979 Christ is reduced to “Happy are they…”

10) A dominating idea of the creators of 1979 was that in the Early Church there was a Unitary Festival of 50 days from Passover to Pentecost (from Good Friday to the Descent of the Spirit). Thus they spoke enthusiastically of the great fifty days and they numbered the Sundays after Easter Day as Easter 2, Easter 3 etc, teaching that Easter lasted for fifty days. The effects of this were many—virtually no recognition of Ascension Day, the claim that there should be no public confession of sins and all should stand and not kneel on this 50 day Easter, and the keeping alight of the Pascal Candle until Pentecost (rather extinguishing at the reading of his Ascension on the 40th day). To be guided so much by what was only in place temporarily in the Early Church and which was replaced especially in the West by the 40 plus 10 arrangement was a major mistake.

Much more could be stated by way of illustration—e.g. relating to radical feminism and female ordinations— but this has been done in various works:—see e.g. Tarsitano & Toon in Neither Orthodoxy nor a Formulary, and Episcopal Innovations, 1960-2004, from or 1-800-727-1928.

One immediate way forward would be to use either the cast-into-the archives-in-1979 genuine American edition of the BCP and Ordinal (that of 1928 and still in print and use) or the global edition of the BCP & Ordinal (that of 1662 and available in many languages). And if there is a problem with the traditional language forms of these two editions then they can be rendered into contemporary English without changing their structure, doctrine or spirituality.

The identity of Anglicans is profound related to the Bible as the authority for faith and conduct and the Formularies as the sure guides for worship, doctrine and discipline. The Bible alone is the religion of Protestants but the Bible served by the Prayer Book, Ordinal and Articles is the religion of Anglicans.

Same-sex “Marriage,” Children and the Global South

A discussion and Prayer Starter

In this short piece, I want to put forward the argument that the Anglican Global South leadership has not yet in its public statements shown that it understands fully what has happened in The Episcopal Church (and Canadian Church) in terms of innovations in sexual morality and church rites. And what it is not saying is crucially important.

Please be patient with me as I try to explain.

Let us accept that we live in a world where to affirm human dignity and to accept that human beings have rights (natural, civil and human) is an essential part of moral and political discourse. Each and every human being has the right to be treated with dignity and this includes—in all western nations—human beings who identify themselves as homosexual persons. And, let us not forget. it also includes babies and children!

Let me now propose that what is ultimately at issue—but rarely recognized—in the very modern debate concerning giving the legal right to two homosexual persons to marry each other in a civil ceremony (or in the church equivalent of this to be blessed by a Minister in a public service) is the following—the clashing of two agreed human rights.

One is the recently accepted right of the homosexual person to be treated with dignity and justly, and the other (set forth in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and in further Declarations & Conventions) is the right of a child wherever possible to be raised in a stable family by his/her biological parents.

What we see happening before our eyes is this: that once a State, or once a Church, begins effectively to define marriage in terms of the voluntary association of two persons for purposes, which they define themselves, and for as long as they determine, and that these purposes do not necessarily—where biologically possible—include the procreation and care of children, then what we call the institution of marriage has been drastically revised from what it has been in western culture for as long as there has been western culture. Indeed, as an ancient institution, marriage has been dissolved and in its place is the permission of the state for any two persons legally to form a partnership where most of the rules are created by the participants and where the state provides various benefits.

Today we may say that in western nations there are two basic kinds of marriage. The traditional one in church and culture is that the institution based upon vow and promise exists on its own independent of the couple and of the state. A man and a woman enter into an already existing institution which has it own meaning and purposes. In contrast, the modern one in church and culture is that the couple (of opposite or same sex) exist before the vow and promise, and they create the institution for themselves on their own terms (creating their own vows). In both cases the State regulates; but, while the traditional form of marriage existed before the State (John Locke the philosopher calls it “the first Society”), the modern form is a creation of the State through such legislation as no-fault divorce and licensing of same-sex couples.

Turning now to The Episcopal Church, one can say that beginning in 1973 when it dramatically changed its canon law on marriage and divorce, continuing with creating the new marriage service in the new prayer book of 1976/79 (where procreation and the raising of children is no longer presented as a basic purpose of marriage) and ending with the growing number of blessings of same-sex partners, this Church has drifted with modern culture towards the abandonment of the received Institution of Marriage, as that has been understood in church and state until very recent times.

Of course, there are Episcopalians who read and use the marriage service in the 1979 prayer book in traditional terms and, further, they believe that in marriage that they enter into an institution that existed before they married. However, in terms of the practical evidence of the life of the Episcopal Church, what one sees is the gradual and sure erosion of the traditional Institution of Marriage as that to which the Church holds and fosters, and in its place the acceptance of the new kind of marriage which is dependent upon the definitions of the State for its authenticity and which is defined by those entering into it in terms of its purpose and their mutual benefits.

Back to children! One of the major purposes of marriage over the centuries has been to raise, protect and educate children for life in society. In the modern situation of the letting go of the traditional view of marriage as an institution, whether we think of the effects in terms of the harm caused to children by the impact of divorce and remarriage, or by their being conceived in order to be adopted and raised by a same-sex couple, what we are aiding and abetting is the denial of the rights of children—their rights to be raised wherever possible by their biological parents, by their father and mother, in a stable environment. The way we are treating children is extremely bad and we do it in order to exalt the rights of adults to personal satisfaction and happiness.

To see all this, one does not need to read or cite one word of the Bible for it is clear to sociological and anthropological research. However, the Bible itself puts forth a very powerful doctrine of the institution of marriage which most regrettably many modern churches in the West have seriously undermined. And this undermining of Holy Matrimony is as much found with the conservatives as with the liberal progressives, but each side uses different ways and means to do the undermining (e.g. see how the divorce culture is absorbed by traditionalist bishops in continuing Anglican churches by giving annulments left, right and center, and especially to clergy!).

Enter the Global South

As I indicated in The Mandate (July-August 2007—read at I really think that the Global South has not yet awakened to the full story of what has happened to sexual morality in Episcopalianism. At this late hour, I believe that they would be well advised to make their message a positive one to America and Canada – restore the biblical institution of marriage, Holy Matrimony, as not only the ideal but also as that which is taught as the will of God. Then they are addressing not only the supporters of same-sex marriage as now but also the many who oppose same-sex marriage, but who have adopted (by breathing in the American air) the new view that the institution of marriage is created by the personal vows and intentions of the persons married.

As they do this they need to speak up for CHILDREN and to state powerfully and clearly and often what are the rights of children required by man (in the various Charters and Laws) and moreso as required by God the LORD in terms of their being cared for from conception to adulthood. Then to link this to the Institution of Marriage.

At the same time, and in this context, they can accept that the modern State has given rights to homosexual persons and that these are to be accepted, but not to the extent of encouraging the blessing of same-sex couples as entering into a modern form of marriage and thereby undermining not only the biblical institution of Holy Matrimony but also the precious rights of babies and children to proper care.

Right now the negative side of the message about sexual morality is heard loudly and widely and so arises the charge of homophobia. Let us hear from the Archbishops of Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda more of the gracious provision of God of the institution of Holy Matrimony and of the rights of children to be raised in the fear and love of God by their biological parents.

I end on a positive note. Happily the Anglican Communion Network with Common Cause has accepted the BCP 1662 as its standard of doctrine and in this classic Prayer Book is the most widely accepted statement of the purpose of marriage in the Preface to the Service of Holy Matrimony. Here it is.

“Marriage is an ordered relation and honorable state instituted by God in the time before man and woman sinned. It signifies the mystical union between Christ and his
Church. Christ adorned and beautified this relation with both his presence and first miracle that he performed, at a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Further, it is
commended in Holy Scripture to be respected by all, and, therefore, it must not be entered upon, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, but reverently, discreetly,
advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the reasons for which marriage was ordained by God.

First, it was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

Secondly, it was ordained that the natural instincts and affections, implanted by God in man and woman, should be hallowed and directed aright.

Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual companionship, help, and comfort that husband and wife should provide for one another both in prosperity and adversity.

It is into this holy relation and state that these two persons come now to be joined. Therefore, if anyone can show any just cause why they may not be lawfully joined
together, let that person now speak….”

(For an excellent recent book on Marriage, read, David Blankenhorn, The Future of Marriage, Encounter Books, NY 2007, and also those commended on page 3 in The Mandate at )

Dr Peter Toon August 25 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

1662 HC, traditional form, for USA use

The Common Cause Theological Statement accepted by the Anglican Communion Network includes acceptance of the Formularies of 1662.

Here without its Collects, Epistles and Gospels, and without its optional Exhortations is the Holy Communion Service from BCP 1662 adapted for a Republic.

The text is in Word rich format and is sent only for the sake of making known the content of this Order for Holy Communion, which is Reformed Catholic in content. There may be a few typos or minor errors in it despite careful proofreading.

Cambridge University Press of the UK has a new edition of 1662 available in a new font which may appeal more than does the old traditional font. This edition prays of course for the Monarch and Royal Family.

The AMiA of America is in the process of improving its trial liturgies of most of the services of BCP 1662 in contemporary language and this form of BCP 1662 should be generally available late in the Fall of 2007.

Edifying reading!

The Revd Dr Peter Toon
President of the Prayer Book Society 2007

Henry VIII and his Primer for western Catholicism

The Primer authorized by Henry VIII in 1545 for England commends a reduced western Catholicism

In 1545 the religion of the Church of England was western Catholicism without the Papacy and in gradual movement towards the use of English in a limited way so that laity could understand profitably the Faith.

This movement is illustrated by the wording of the Injunction which accompanied the religious Primer (a basic introduction) authorized by Henry VIII towards the very end of his long reign.

Children are to learn off by heart in English the Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary so that they know their faith and duty and have piety.

Other Primers (Protestant and traditional Catholic) were forbidden so that there could be uniformity in basic Christianity in the land.

Eight years later the son of Henry VIII, Edward VI, also authorized a Primer but this one had no “Hail Mary” and it commended a reformed Catholicism rather than scaled-down western Catholicism without the Papacy. In it justification by faith alone leading to faith working by love is clearly presented.

Below is the Injunction which introduces Henry’s Primer.

An Injunction given by the King our Sovereign Lord's Most Excellent Majesty for the authorizing and establishing the use of this Primer.

HENRY the Vlllth, by the grace of God King of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England, and also of Ireland, in earth the Supreme Head ; to all and singular our subjects, as well archbishops, bishops, deans, archdeacons, provosts, parsons, vicars, curates, priests, and all other of the clergy; as also all estates and degrees of the lay fee, and teachers of youth within any our realms, dominions, and countries, greeting.

Among the manifold business, and most weighty affairs appertaining to our regal authority and office, we much tendering the youth of our realms, (whose good education and virtuous bringing up redoundeth most highly to the honour and praise of Almighty God,) for divers good considerations, and specially for that the youth by divers persons are taught the Pater Noster, the Ave Maria, Creed, and Ten Commandments, all in Latin, and not in English, by means whereof the same are not brought up in the knowledge of their faith, duty, and obedience, wherein no Christian person ought to be ignorant: and for that our people and subjects which have no understanding in the Latin tongue, and yet have the knowledge of reading, may pray in their vulgar tongue, which is to them best known; that by the mean thereof they should be the more provoked to true devotion, and the better set their hearts upon those things that they pray for: and finally, for the avoiding of the adversity of primer books that are now abroad, whereof are almost innumerable sorts, which minister occasion of contentions and vain disputations rather than edify; and to have one uniform order of all such books throughout all our dominions, both to be taught unto children, and also to be used for ordinary prayers of all our people not learned in the Latin tongue; have set forth this Primer, or book of prayers in English, to be frequented and used in and throughout all places of our said realms and dominions, as well of the elder people, as also of the youth, for their common and ordinary prayers; willing, commanding, and straightly charging, that for the better bringing up of youth in the knowledge of their duty towards God, their prince, and all other in their degree, every schoolmaster and bringer up of young beginners in learning, next after their A, B, C, now by us also set forth, do teach this Primer, or book of ordinary prayers unto them in English; and that the youth customably and ordinarily use the same until they be of competent understanding and knowledge to perceive it in Latin. At what time they may at their liberty either use this Primer in English, or that which is by our authority likewise made in the Latin tongue, in all points correspondent unto this in English.

And furthermore, we straightly charge and command as well all and singular our subjects and sellers of books, as also all schoolmasters and teachers of young children, within this our realm and other our dominions, as they intend to have our favour and avoid our displeasure by the contrary, that immediately after this our said Primer is published and imprinted, that they, nor any of them, buy, sell, occupy, use, nor teach privily or apertly any other primer, either in English or Latin, than this now by us published ; which with no small study, travail, and labour, we have purposely made to the high honour and glory of Almighty God, and to the commodity of our loving and obedient subjects, and edifying of the same in godly contemplation and virtuous exercise of prayer.

Given at our Palace of Westminster, the 6th day of May, in the 37th year of our reign.

Comment: Very few young people in Anglican churches today know off by heart all three basics: the Creed, the Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer.

Recalling St Bartholomew’s Day 1662: Whence the Anglican Communion?

A discussion starter from Peter Toon for St Bartholomew’s Day, 2007

August 24 is St Bartholomew’s Day and it was in 1662 the deadline for conforming to the discipline and practice of the Church of England under the restored Charles II by those who are often called Puritans. Nearly 2,000 Ministers did not conform and were deprived of their freehold livings in the Church of England. Their forced exit is often referred to as the Bartholomean Exodus and it gave rise to English Dissent or Nonconformity..

Thus it is an appropriate day to think of schism and division within the Ecclesia Anglicana in its twenty-first century form as the Global Anglican Family of Churches.

* * * * * *

I begin with a personal recollection. A few years ago I was deeply involved for a few months in writing parts of, and seeing through the press, TO MEND THE NET—in service of the two Primates (Gomex and Sinclair) and along with two or three other learned men, and for Bishop-to-be Bill Atwood of Ekklesia.

This involvement illustrates that I have long been pondering whether or not the Anglican Communion is really and truly a viable Reality—I mean truly a global Communion of autonomous but yet inter-dependent churches, confessing a genuine Christian orthodoxy and worshipping the LORD in spirit and in truth..

There is nothing I would like better than to see the Anglican Family as truly a Communion of Churches confessing the Reformed Catholic Faith of the Anglican Way. Regrettably it is not there right now by a long shot. It used to be somewhere near to this ideal but approximation to the ideal has diminished and hope has faded as differences have surfaced and deeply affected emotions and attitudes.

Whichever way one comes at the problem of Anglican Global Unity, one is faced with the fact that, for twenty or more years, unity has often been strained, that unity has been reduced practically speaking to baptismal rather than Eucharistic unity since the ordination of women, and that unity is now only an ideal and a hope rather than a practical experienced spiritual reality for most provinces.

However, no province has left the Family as yet and no province has been expelled by all the others as yet; but, what is in existence is more like an Association rather than a Communion. Further, it is at times and in some places a dysfunctional and disordered Association, with, however, wonderful memories and achievements by grace in many areas. It has an impaired Eucharistic communion and even broken Eucharistic communion within provinces and between provinces which is a shocking sign of shame to the world. To study the whole picture seriously can give one a severe headache and a grieving heart.

The so-called instruments of unity have been set on a pedestal in the last two decades or so in order to try to generate unity where it was looking like disappearing, but they have minimal influence in 2007 towards unity, and maybe even a negative influence.

The generous-hearted Archbishop of Canterbury has upset not a few bishops across the spectrum by his invitations to the Lambeth Conference of 2008—by those he has invited and those he has not invited.

The Anglican Consultative Council seems to be without audible voice or influence.

The Primates’ Meeting may issue strong statements as if it were a holy synod, but everything it says is in the last instance advisory and not binding. for it has no authority at all over individual Provinces—despite hopes and pretences by some Primates that it does.

And the Lambeth Conference can be cited through its reports and resolutions in favor of various principles that are being broken by one or another group right now (e.g., some bishops cross diocesan boundaries as invaders to steal sheep, and some bishops ordain homosexually-active persons as liberal progressive prophets). Further, taken as a whole over the years since 1867 the Lambeth Conference can be cited as the origin or the enabler of not a few liberal developments in Anglicanism in doctrine, morals, polity and liturgy. Thus citing it as the final authority, as some tend to do, is to appeal to shaky foundations.

All in all the Anglican Way in is one big mess especially but not only in North America —although in not a few provinces the ordinary laity would not know this to be the case for life goes on as normal. Happily in some cases this is an exciting normal of church growth in numbers and in holiness with joy. (But we know that Rome can burn while thousands attend a violin concerto ten miles outside of the city!)

To summarize, much like the British Commonwealth of Nations, the Anglican Family of Churches has worked best when there is minimal regulation and much trust and affection, with mutual help always on offer. But such an association of friends depends on everyone being friendly and this means giving and taking in charity and no-one stepping too far out of line—a state of affairs nearly impossible to maintain in a sinful world.

Perhaps, like the British Commonwealth, the Anglican Family of Churches will fade in importance as individual provinces have to look more to creating regional associations and “trade” partners for survival and prosperity. So there will be a Global Communion in Churches in name only, but in reality there will be a series of groupings which will stretch across oceans and continents and not be tidy in terms of shape and size. For example, “Anglicans” in America might belong to the North Africa with S E Asia association while “Episcopalians” in America (TEC) might belong to the Western association with Canada and Scotland, and so on. This is a viable possibility that reckons with original sin and the weakness of the human being as a moral creature!

A critical test will be how many bishops, and from where, attend the Lambeth Conference of 2008, and whether there is an alternative Conference somewhere outside Great Britain alongside the one at Canterbury! How the Archbishop of Canterbury performs before the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church in late September will also be a preliminary test.

Like the Commonwealth of Nations the Communion of Churches is probably moving into a new phase of existence, and members are finding the move very painful and divisive.

St Bartholomew’s Day, 2007


(from the Primer issued in 1553 by Edward VI for the laity of the Church of England, and in the original language. Notice that it was the norm to pray both before and after a meal or snack. In the Primer of Henry VIII of 1545 there are similar provisions for Graces)

Grace before dinner.

THE eyes of all things do look up and trust in thee, Lord; thou givest them meat in due season. Thou dost open thine hand, and fillest with thy blessing every living thing. Good Lord, bless us, and all thy gifts which we receive of thy bounteous liberality, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The King of eternal glory make us partakers of thy heavenly table. Amen.

God is charity, and he that dwelleth in charity dwelleth in God, and God in him. God grant us all to dwell in him. Amen.

Grace after dinner.

THE God of peace and love vouchsafe alway to dwell with us, and thou, Lord, have mercy upon us. Glory, honour and praise be to thee, God, which hast fed us from our tender age, and givest sustenance to every living thing: replenish our hearts with joy and gladness, that we, alway having sufficient, may be rich and plentiful in all good works,
through our Lord Jesu Christ. Amen.

Grace after supper.

BLESSED is God in all his gifts, and holy in all his works. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who hath made both heaven and earth. Blessed be the name of our Lord. From henceforth, world without end.

Most mighty Lord and merciful Father, we yield thee hearty thanks for our bodily sustenance, requiring also most entirely thy gracious goodness, so to feed us with the food of thy heavenly grace, that we may worthily glorify thy holy name in this life, and after be partakers of the life everlasting, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lord, save thy Church, our King and Realm, and send us peace in Christ. Amen.

Another Grace before meat.

AT the beginning of this refection, let us reverently and earnestly call to our remembrance the Holy Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:31) which saith: Whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do else, let us do it to the laud and praise of God.

Answer. Laud, praise, and glory be unto God, now and evermore. So be it.

Thanks after meat.

FORASMUCH as you have well refreshed your bodies, remember the lamentable afflictions and miseries of many thousands of your neighbours and brethren in Christ visited by the hand of God, some with mortal plagues and diseases, some with imprisonment, some with extreme poverty and necessity, that either they cannot, or they have not to feed on as you have done. Remember therefore how much and how deeply
ye are bound to the goodness of almighty God, for your health, wealth, liberty, and many other his benefits given unto you.

Answer. Praise and thanks be to God now and always, for these and all other his gracious gifts, of his goodness, so mercifully, lovingly and abundantly shewed unto us. Amen.

Grace before supper.

CHRIST, which at his last supper promised his body to be crucified, and his precious blood to be shed for our sins, bless us and our supper. Amen.

Thanks after dinner or supper.

ALL ye whom God hath here refreshed with his sufficient repast, remember your poor and needy brethren, of the which some lay in the streets sore sick, naked, and cold, some be hungry and so dry, that they would be glad of the least draught of your drink, and of the smallest paring of your bread: they be your own flesh and brethren in Christ, bought as dearly with his precious blood as ye were, but yet our Lord hath dealt more easily with you than with them, and more sharply with them than with you : relieve them therefore to your power, and give to God all glory, honor and praise for ever and ever. Amen.

Grace before dinner.

ALL that is and shall be set upon the board be that same sanctified, by the Lord’s word. Our Father, which art, &c.

Thanks after dinner.

WE give thee thanks, O Father almighty, for thy graces and benefits manifold, which thou hast poured on us abundantly: Of thy tender kindness that can not be told, grant us thy sons, that we may be bold
for Christ Jesus sake to come to the sweet dinner where none shall hunger, thirst nor cold, but all joy and mirth for ever and ever. Amen.

Grace before supper.

He that is King of glory, and Lord over all, bring us to the supper of the life eternal. Our Father, which art, &c.

Thanks after supper,

LAMB of God, Christ, which takest away the sins of the world, and cleansest all thing, we give thanks this day, that us sinners thou hast saved us, kept us, and given us feeding. Grant us, we beseech thee, at our ending clean remission, and that in perfect love we may depart hence, full of thy blessing, and rest in Abraham’s bosom above. Amen.

Grace before meat.

PRAY we to God the almighty Lord,
That sendeth food to beasts and men,
To send his blessing on this board,
To feed us now and ever. Amen.

Thanks after meat.

BLESSED be the Father celestial,
Who hath fed us with his material bread;
Beseeching him likewise to feed the soul,
And grant us his kingdom when we be dead.

Living in order to die well anytime. An occasional Prayer which merits being a regular Prayer

In the American edition of The Book of Common Prayer (1928) the Prayer below is found in the Service for the Visitation of the Sick. It is also found as an optional prayer in the Canadian edition of The Book of Common Prayer (1962). It was composed by Jeremy Taylor in the seventeenth century, and it is worth memorizing either as he wrote it or in a modern English equivalent (for which see below).

O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered; Make us, we beseech thee, deeply sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let thy Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness, all our days: that, when we shall have served thee in our generation, we may be gathered unto our fathers, having the testimony of a good conscience; in the communion of the Catholic Church; in the confidence of a certain faith, in the comfort of a reasonable, religious, and holy hope; in favor with thee our God, and in perfect charity with the world. All which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

While the content is perfectly appropriate for the chronically sick and for mourners at a funeral, it surely has a far wider relevance, and to this I now point.

Let us examine its content as if it were a prayer for regular use:

1) The prayer is addressed to God, the Father, to whom in the Name of Jesus Christ, Christian prayer is normally addressed. And with respect to the Father two important facts are recalled through the use of biblical phraseology (from KJV). God is without beginning and end, everlasting and eternal; further, God’s mercies are so many that it is impossible to put a number on them. And, of course, these mercies come to man by the saving and redeeming work of the Father, through the Incarnate Son and with the Holy Spirit.
2) The attitude towards God is that not of standing upon rights or relying on personal merits, but of being conscious of relying wholly on the grace of the Father through the Son. To beseech is not merely to ask but to ask out of profound humility and self-abasement—as when subjects prostrate themselves before the Emperor.
3) The first request is for a sense of the reality of human life as experienced and known—that it has a beginning in birth and has an ending in death, and that the circumstances and moment of death are never known in advance. Further, that human life as Christian on earth is preparation for life in the age to come, Thus we are to live every day as though it were our last for we know not when we shall be summoned by God.
4) To be sure that we live life as we ought, the second request is for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who comes in the Name of Christ, to make us to grow in holiness and righteousness day by day. Without being led by the Spirit we cannot truly serve God in our daily living in family and community.
5) On the basis of the presence of the indwelling Spirit, we express our desire that, when we are called by God to join the baptized faithful and saints who have gone before us, we shall possess a good conscience—knowing that we have used all the means of grace to serve God in faithfulness and good works for his glory.
6) But not only with a good conscience, also to be in good standing and fellowship in the Church of God, to possess a lively and sure trust in Christ as our Savior, to have a genuine hope of the resurrection of the body and life everlasting with Christ and the saints, to be accounted righteous by God and adopted as his child, and to be loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Such large requests the Father loves to hear and to answer but only through the mediation of his Son. So we end the prayer, “Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Only as we pray this prayer regularly will it gradually dawn upon us the rich meaning contained in all its words, phrases and clauses.

Finally, for those who have not been in the habit of praying in traditional English, here is the same prayer in a form of contemporary English.

Of God, the Father eternal, whose mercies are too many to be counted, make us, we pray, to be deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of our human life on earth. At the same time, let your Holy Spirit lead us day by day to become holy and righteous people, so that, when You summon us from our service in this world into the next to join those who have gone before us, we shall truly be prepared—possessing a clear and good conscience, being in full communion with the Catholic Church, having a sure and lively trust in You, strengthened by your promises of life everlasting life, granted favor in your sight as your adopted child, and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Conference or would-be-Synod—Lambeth 2008

Let us begin with two simple definitions.

A Conference is a meeting for formal discussion and exchange of opinions and normally has minimal entrance requirements and does not bind any one present to its “mind”, and certainly does not bind anyone not present to any majority opinion expressed in the meeting. In contrast, a Synod is a governing assembly composed of authorized persons who together make authoritative decisions for their constituency.

The Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops is called a Conference but it is not really a Conference, pure and simple, and never really has been since it first met in 1867. Why? Because it prepares Reports and passes Resolutions which it gives to the world and the Church as the mind of the Anglican Communion of Churches. Yet, though it does this, none of the Provinces of the Communion automatically accepts what the Conference sets forth and further none of the bishops present is obliged to go home to propagate what was accepted by majority vote at the Conference.

In the nineteenth century, Bishop J.C. Ryle of Liverpool—along with others—refused to attend because he saw that it had tendencies or pretensions to being a Synod, and, thereby, it challenged the autonomy of the Church of England, by law established. By vow and promise he was bound to this Church.

The fact that it is not a Conference at all, but a would-be Synod or a Conference-trying-to-be-a-Synod is one of the major reasons why there is such controversy over who should or should not attend the next one planned for July 2008.

Bishop Ryle refused to attend in 1897 because it was a would-be Synod and not simply a Conference; but, in 2007 Evangelical Bishops and Archbishops of the Global South, who admire Ryle as an evangelical theologian, are refusing to attend the 2008 gathering because it is not being treated as a would-be-Synod in the way that they understand such to work.

They want excluded those North American Bishops who have transgressed the majority mind of the Anglican Communion, as that mind was expressed at the last Lambeth Conference in a Resolution on Sexuality. They want included those bishops who have “invaded” the territory of The Episcopal Church in the name of the AMiA and the CANA (and who likewise have transgressed a Resolution of 1988).

The problem is that the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has always been seen as the one who calls the “Conference” and invites Bishops to it, agrees with them that it is a kind of would-be-Synod but disagrees with them as to who should be invited.

If the would-be-Synod of 2008 could be downgraded by the Archbishop of Canterbury to being merely an international Conference, then all the Bishops of the 38 Provinces and of the major Extra-Mural Anglican Churches could be invited. And there could be in-depth study, debate, fellowship and the like without creating Reports and without making Resolutions. And the benefits of such would be massive. There could be honest discussion between those with differing viewpoints over coffee or beer and all this without having to take a vote at the end. Imagine Akinola talking to Gene Robinson and Archbishop Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion talking to the Archbishop of York! Wow!

As long as the so-called Conference is not a Conference but a would-be-Synod, there will be massive problems and they will increase rather than decrease! Right now to call the Lambeth Conference the primary instrument of unity is to speak in a language that has no value.

Perhaps the current global crisis of Anglicanism requires a fresh start and to make the Lambeth Conference into a real Conference could well be a basic start! Then flowing from this the other so-called instruments of unity and the place of the classic Formularies could be evaluated calmly!

Dr Peter Toon August 21 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Seceding from The Episcopal Church—some further, tentative, practical advice based upon Hooker’s teaching

A dozen or so bishops, hundreds of clergy, and thousands of laity are seeking to decide whether they will leave The Episcopal Church if its House of Bishops in late September 07 decides not to follow the call of the Archbishop of Canterbury and of the Primates’ Meeting and become “Windsor-compliant.” The expectation is that the House will courteously say “No,” preferring to stay with its innovative and “prophetic” understanding of Christianity.

If those thinking of secession follow the advice of Richard Hooker, the distinguished Anglican theologian (for details of his teaching see my previous essay, That September Deadline for The Episcopal Church), they will follow these steps:

1) Answer the question: Does The Episcopal Church believe, teach and confess that Jesus Christ is the one and only Saviour and that through and in him alone is forgiveness of sins and eternal life? [Implied here of course is that Jesus is the Son of God Incarnate and that God is a Trinity of Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.]
2) Then, if the answer is positive (even in a weak form) answer this question: Do the recent innovations, heresies and errors of The Episcopal Church actually directly or indirectly overthrow the foundation that Jesus is the one and only Saviour? [It is critical that the distinction between directly and indirectly be accepted.]

In order to assist in reflection I offer the following thoughts.

One probably has to accept that at a public level TEC does answer positively to the first question. That is, the uniqueness of Christ as Saviour is the official position in constitution and prayer book, even if it is not personally held by many of the progressive clergy and laity.

So now the question becomes: Does this Church by one or more of its innovations in doctrine and morality of the last fifty years directly overthrow the foundation of Jesus Christ as the unique Saviour? By directly is meant that the holding of this novel doctrine or moral principle actually and straightforwardly in a clear and obvious way (to ordinary common sense logic) denies the confession of Jesus as the one and only Saviour.

One can surely say that the profession of Unitarianism (confession of One God but denial of the Tri-Unity of God as Three Persons, one Godhead), Deism (confession of one God who is not involved in the world), Islam (that Jesus is only a great prophet) and Mormonism (that God is a physical being) all deny directly the foundation.

One can surely also say that other things have the effect of indirectly denying the foundation—for example, ordaining women (indirectly sets aside the unique Headship of Christ and thus his role as Saviour); blessing both marriages within serial monogamy and of homosexual partnerships (indirectly sets aside the authority of Jesus as Lord through rejection of his clear teaching of the nature of marriage and thus rejects his unique role as Saviour); and composing and authorizing liturgies designed to minimize the biblical portrayal of Christ and to dumb-down the clarity of biblical language (indirectly proposes universalism and that all sincere religions lead to God and so denied the unique role of Jesus).

However, in dealing with TEC one has to recognize that much of its innovating and departures from orthodoxy belong to what Philip Turner has called its “practical theology.” This is widely dispersed and assumed but not specifically written into a creed that all recite. And the supreme example of this—which allows in by the front door many innovations—is the simple equation “God is Love = All love is God.” By this practical theology much that has traditionally been judged immoral becomes moral and much that has been deemed to be evil becomes holy. So when TEC responded via its Presiding Bishop and Executive Council to explain itself on sexuality to the Anglican Consultative Council, it produced a book, in which a major theme was that same-sex unions that are based on faithfulness are holy unto the Lord and honor and set forth the Gospel. Here is plainly, indirectly, an overthrowing of the foundation.

I think that anyone, who has a basic sense of what C.S. Lewis called “Mere Christianity,” will most probably decide that TEC indirectly overthrows the Foundation which is Jesus Christ, God incarnate.

I think also that the average type of Episcopalian or Anglican will hesitate to say that TEC actually directly denies the Foundation. (One can only claim direct denial, I think, if one makes one of the following to be wholly excluded clearly and unambiguously by the Foundation itself—(a) anglo-catholic ritual and ceremonial – as did the founders of the Reformed Episcopal Church in 1873; or (b) the ordination of women – as did the Seceders of 1977; or (c) the new sexual agenda -- as did the Seceders of 2004-2007.)

Important further questions to answer—I would think—if one is seriously considering secession and believes that TEC indirectly and practically overthrows the Foundation would be the following:

(1) Is there a sure and safe place to go where there is no immediate risk of denying the Foundation and where the unity of Anglicans in Christ and orthodoxy is a priority? Is the possibility of a new Province only a dream or is it a real, even a guaranteed, fact? Will we jump out of the frying pan into the fire?
(2) Is there a real possibility that it will be possible in safe dioceses or safe large and rich parishes of TEC to maintain the Foundation, despite what happens to TEC (which seems to be going only in one direction, that of liberal progressive practice) for the foreseeable future.
(3) Is the present disordered and dysfunctional state of Anglicanism with its many jurisdictions and groupings and competitiveness within the USA as much an embarrassment to the angels as is the internal state of TEC itself? Will our secession help to heal or to add to this regrettable state of affairs?
(4) How much weight should one put on the holiness of buildings and burial grounds? Is there any Gospel imperative involved in retaining them?

There is no doubt, as American religious history makes abundantly clear, that “the American Way” is to stand on what you believe and secede in order to do what you think is right. Consult yellow pages under “churches” for the results. But is this the way to handle the present crisis of Anglicanism?

I say: Pray, Ponder and be Patient; then make a decision, explain it carefully and humbly and stand by it, yet always being charitable to those who make different decisions and tolerant of those who hold the Foundation but are mistaken, in your view, in what they place upon it.

[Please note that the Preservation Press of the PBS of the USA will publish in September 07 the Tractate of Hooker’s where he discusses the status if the Church of Rome under the title On Salvation and the Church of Rome, and in a contemporary form of English, in order to help the reader quickly receive Hooker’s teaching, and not have to labor over his complex original style. Send $7.50 to The Prayer Book Society, P O Box 35220, Phildelphia, PA. 19128-0220.]

The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Sunday, August 19, 2007

That September Deadline for The Episcopal Church: And how “the judicious Mr. Hooker” from yesterday may help us today.

Peter Toon

The Anglican Primates’ Meeting set a deadline of September 30 for the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church [TEC] to respond in the affirmative or negative as to whether it will abide by the recommendations of The Windsor Report (2004) on sexuality. Before this deadline, there will be a meeting of the House of Bishops, which will be addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is desirous to bring the American Bishops into general conformity with the mind of the global Anglican Communion.

Obviously, if the House of Bishops decides by a majority vote to stay with the present position of TEC, then this will mean that TEC will probably walk apart from the global Anglican Communion in the immediate future. Already not a few provinces have declared themselves out of communion with TEC or with specific bishops and dioceses within it and so there is a division already.

If the TEC House of Bishops decides to maintain the status quo then their position will raise a matter of conscience for some members of that house, together with clergy and laity. They will have to decide whether to stay within TEC or secede from it, as have not a few of their friends done in the last few years.

What guidance can be offered to such people as they face this question of conscience?

One possible source of help is to go to the writings of Richard Hooker (d.1600), who addressed with care and erudition in 1586 a question not too different from that faced by Episcopalians today. So let us see what he had to say.

Enter Hooker

He lived at a time when the Church of England faced pressures from within and without to change radically—that is to abandon the Elizabethan Settlement of Religion of 1559. From within were the Puritans (or Anglican Presbyterians) pressing for reform of the Church of England towards the Genevan model of a Calvinistic Presbyterianism; and from without were the Pope and Spain seeking to restore Ecclesia Anglicana to the governance of the Papacy (and threatening force as came later in the Armada).

Both Hooker and the Puritans believed that the Church of Rome taught and confessed many heresies and errors, but they disagreed over whether or not this Church could be called a Church of God. This difference was the root cause of a controversy in which Hooker published a Tractate of some 20,000 words, with the title A Learned Discourse on Faith, and Works, and how the Foundation of Faith is overthrown. From the content of this Tractate we can discern what Hooker believed about the Church of Rome and whether or not it was right to secede from it. Here in summary form are the positions Hooker expounded and in them is the basis for guidance for present-day Episcopalians:

1) The Church of Rome publicly teaches many heresies and errors which do great harm to souls. These vary from extraordinary claims about the Pope and the Eucharist to false teaching about how a sinner is justified by God the Father through Jesus Christ.

2) However, the same Church does maintain the true foundation of the visible Church of God—i.e., that Jesus Christ is the one and only Saviour of mankind, and the one and only Mediator between God and man.

3) Some of the heresies and errors of Rome do by logical deduction and inference indirectly overthrow the foundation of this same Church. Yet they do not directly overthrow it. (The distinction between directly and indirectly is assumed by Hooker to be an important distinction.)

4)By the mercy and providence of God alone, it is possible to be saved everlastingly while a member of the Church of Rome, despite the presence of heresies and errors.

5) The safest and surest way to obtain salvation and be a faithful child of God is to depart from the Church of Rome and be a member of a Reformed Catholic Church where the pure Gospel is proclaimed and where heresies and errors of Rome do not exist.

Unlike the Puritans, Hooker was not prepared to say that the Church of Rome was totally engulfed in infidelity and fully gone into apostasy. But he did believe that the body of this Church hung on to Christ by a very thin and tiny thread! It was a visible Church of God that like Israel of old which often departed from the Lord its God.

So Hooker addresses Episcopalians today from across the centuries, but within the communion of the saints, with these questions as they ponder what they ought to do on or after September 30:

A. Is TEC still a visible Christian Church in the sense that the fact of Jesus Christ as the one and only Saviour is clearly and unambiguously affirmed by her?

B. Assuming that TEC is truly a visible Church of God (even if united to Christ the head by a thin thread) does She teach and propagate such heresies and errors as directly overthrow this foundation of Christ the only Saviour?

With respect to A, it can be claimed on the basis of her constitution that TEC is committed to the Creeds and thereby holds on to Christ the only Saviour. Yet on the basis of many weekly sermons this claim could be challenged.

With respect to B, it can be argued that despite the Creeds, there is also widespread acceptance of universalism (“all will be saved in the end and there is no hell”) by the leadership of the Church, as well as the claim that all religions sincerely practiced lead to God. But do they contradict the Foundation indirectly or directly? Then there is the acceptance of new sexual ethics and practice which again has to be evaluated as to whether it represents an indirect or a direct overthrowing of the foundation!

So Hooker would say, I think, that the first thing to get clear is whether or not TEC actually and really maintains the true and living Foundation. Then the second thing to work out—if indeed the Foundation is apparently maintained—whether any of the TEC heresies and errors in worship, doctrine, morality and discipline actually overthrow the Foundation directly? If the answer to the latter is yes then secession is morally required immediately! However, if any overthrowing is not direct but by implication and thus indirectly then secession becomes more a question of prudential judgment, than of a distinct moral duty.

[Please note that the Preservation Press of the PBS of the USA will publish in September 07 this Tractate of Hooker’s under the title On Salvation and the Church of Rome, and in a contemporary form of English, in order to help the reader quickly receive Hooker’s teaching and not have to labor over his complex original style. Send $7.50 to The Prayer Book Society, P O Box 35220, Phildelphia, PA. 19128-0220.]

Hooker’s Tractate in contemporary English: An opportunity to meet on your terms the Judicious Mr. Hooker!

Anglicans of all shapes and sizes seem to agree that Richard Hooker (d.1600) is a leading if not the leading Anglican theologian.

Many have attempted to read his massive Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity but few seem to get very far into it, before giving up because of the density of the prose and the complexity of the sentences. In 1950, John S. Marshall, professor of philosophy at The University of the South, published Hooker’s Polity in modern English…abridged and paraphrased, to try to build a literary bridge into Hooker’s profound thought. Then he did the same again in 1956 for Book Five of the Polity, the Book which is on the theme of Common Prayer. Both books were published by the University Press where he taught.

Before Hooker wrote the Polity he published other things, notable amongst which is that which he entitled, A Learned Discourse of Justification, Works, and how the Foundation of Faith is Overthrown. This is a Tractate of some 20,000 words or so and was written to set forth the Reformed Catholic position, as given legal status in the Elizabethan Settlement, over against both the Puritan (zealous Calvinist Protestant) and the Roman Catholic (via Council of Trent) positions. In other words, it is a classic Anglican exposition of Justification by Faith, of Works as the fruit of Faith, and of the place of this doctrine in the basis and foundation of the Church of God. And it has implications for the moral life, the devotional life and for the structure and content of Liturgy, not to mention dialogue with Rome and Calvinist Protestants.

Like both his earlier and later writings this Tractate does not make for easy reading today, because of the long and involved sentences and of the complexity of the thought contained in them.

So, since the relation of the Anglican Way to both popular Protestantism and to Roman Catholicism is still very much at the center of religious consciousness and expression in American Anglicanism, it seemed good to the Board of the Prayer Book Society to follow the example of Professor Marshall (whose relatives have long supported the Prayer Book Society) and render this important Tractate into contemporary English. The aim was to retain the teaching and the doctrine but to simplify and shorten the sentences.

It will be available by the middle of September 2007 or earlier under the title, On Salvation and the Church of Rome, from the Prayer Book Society as a 64 page booklet.

To order a copy (and to receive with it a free copy to pass on to a friend) send a check to the Prayer Book Society for $7.50. The Prayer Book Society, P. O. Box, 35220, Philadelphia, PA. 19128-0220.

The two copies will be posted to you as soon as stock arrives from the printer in early September. Orders from abroad will be sent by sea-mail.

This offer of 2 for 1 price is NOT and will NOT be available at the PBS website, and will last through September only.

So please do two things: with reference to On Salvation and the Church of Rome:

(1) acquaint yourself via this Tractate with “the judicious Mr. Hooker,” whom John Keble so admired that he edited and published his works in the nineteenth century.

(2) pass on this note to all your thinking Anglican friends so they too may spend $7.50 and read this learned divine.

Finally, kindly be aware that The Prayer Book Society has the whole of the Polity in the Keble edition together with the resource book, Anglicanism, edited by F.L.Cross et al, as one CD available on for a very reasonable price.

Happy and edifying reading.

Dr Peter Toon, President of The Prayer Book Society of the U.S.A.

Jim Packer on Anglicanism--a good and challenging read

Anglicanism: Protestant or Catholic

This post has been removed as it is not by Dr Packer (See below). Thank you to commenters who pointed this out.

Hello--just read this:

Dr. Packer has issued the following statement, which is also attached:


A Statement from the Rev. Dr. James I. Packer
Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
August 24, 2007

Regarding the article, “Anglicanism: Protestant and Catholic, August 15, 2007”

This piece is not by me. It contains information, which was new to me. Its source is identified as the Protestant Alliance, a body with which I have no links and of which I know nothing. It has apparently been on the Internet for a number of years anonymously and to have my name attached to it with the date, August 15, 2007, is, simply, a mistake.

The views expressed do not match my present attitude towards Anglo-Catholics in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

I ask that no one be misled into supposing that this piece, which clearly was written by someone in the Episcopal Church, is connected with me in any way.


God Bless,
William Scott

Thursday, August 09, 2007

How the first edition of The American BCP was commended in 1789 & How the same message may commend The BCP 1662 for Common Cause in 2007

Soon after Independence, the General Convention of the new denomination, The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America, sent forth the first American edition of that Book of Common Prayer, of which the English edition from the seventeenth century had been used in the thirteen colonies for many years. The new edition was dated 1789 and the one it replaced was dated 1662, but both had the same title, being [it is important to note] two related but different editions of One and the same Book, one for use in a Monarchy and one for use in a Republic.

The last paragraph of the 1789 Preface, written for the General Convention by the Rev. Dr. William Smith, expressed fine principles and sentiments, and it is worth quoting in full:

And now, this important work [of revision] being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped the whole will be received and examined by every true member of the Church, and every sincere Christian, with a meek, candid, and charitable frame of mind; without prejudice or prepossessions; seriously considering what Christianity is, and what the truths of the Gospel are; and earnestly beseeching Almighty God to accompany with his blessing every endeavour for promulgating them to mankind in the clearest, plainest, affecting and majestic manner, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour.

Let us analyze what the General Convention (by far and away the most democratic Anglican synod in the world at that time) is asking of the American public, both Episcopalians and other Christians. And as we do so, it is necessary to bear in mind that The BCP 1662 had been very widely used in the American colonies, not only in churches but for family prayers, and not only by Anglicans but also by other Protestant Christians. So, what was being introduced was not a major innovation but a familiar product in an updated version. Virtually all the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A. had been influenced, if only in language, by The BCP 1662.

Turning to the text, we see, first of all, that it is requested that the BCP be read and prayed with a meek, candid, and charitable frame of mind. A frame of mind refers to a state and attitude of mind, and here it is to be meek (quiet, gentle and submissive to the Lord), candid (truthful and straightforward). and charitable (generous and tolerant).

Further, it is requested that it be read without prejudice or prepossession. That is without irrational, preconceived opinion or without beliefs and impressions formed before seeing the text

And as Americans, belonging to the age of reason and Enlightenment, they are asked as readers to consider seriously the nature of Christianity and what it both proclaims as Good News and teaches as Truths. Yet they are asked not to engage in such considering without also fervently asking Almighty God for his blessing upon the propagation of the Gospel and its Truths to all people by the church, in the clearest, plainest, moving and dignified way possible, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour.


Whether many Americans took this advice at the end of the eighteenth century is difficult to estimate. Without a doubt some did.

However, what we may say is that the content of this paragraph can, does and will speak a timely word in 2007 to the members of the Common Cause Churches and Networks (including the Anglican Communion Network) on behalf of whom their representatives have committed them to The BCP 1662 as a formulary and standard of worship, doctrine and discipline. What was said about the replacement for The BCP 1789 may in changed circumstances serve to commend the right reception of The BCP 1662 in 2007! Let us hope that The BCP 1662 is received in the way that General Convention desired its own new edition of The BCP to be received in 1789-90. August 10, 2007

Not different but essentially the same---the English and American Prayer Books

BCP 1662 (C of E edition) and BCP 1789-1928 (PECUSA edition) are identical in doctrine, discipline and worship

If we are to take the words of the Founding Fathers of The Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. at their face value, then we can assert with confidence with them that there are no substantial differences of doctrine, discipline and worship between The BCP 1662 and The BCP 1789 (1892/1928). Further, we know that the English Archbishops also held this opinion. However, and importantly, this positive assertion cannot be made of the American 1979 Book which is an altogether different kind of collection of services and prayers.

The Preface to the 1789 (also in the 1892 & 1928 editions) states very clearly that there are differences between the English and American editions of The BCP but that they are not substantial. Below are reproduced the sentences which state this fact. However, it is necessary, first of all, to state that the reproduction of this 1789 Preface in the 1979 Prayer Book of The Episcopal Church is one of many deceitful aspects of this book, which bears the name of Common Prayer, and has the content and character of what elsewhere at that time was called "A Book of Alternative Services," alternative that is to the actual BCP itself (which in 1979 was the edition of 1928).

The Preface, written in excellent style by William Smith in 1789, states in brief the following:

(a) the general principles of the Church's worship as expressed in the Anglican tradition;
(b) the reasons for an American edition of the one Prayer Book, distinct from the English 1662 edition;
(c) the nature and character of the American revision for the 1789 Book; and
(d) a brief commendation of the 1789 Book to the membership of the Church and to every sincere Christian.

After stating the need to make alterations in terms of the identity of civil rulers, the Preface states that other alterations were made as were deemed expedient. Then of these changes it states:

They will appear, and it is to be hoped the reasons for them also, upon a comparison of this [Book] with The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. In which, it will also appear that this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship; or further than local circumstances require.

We must now reflect on what the implications of this sentence are.

Any competent person in 1789 who had been used to using The BCP 1662 all of his or her life (and most of the Founding Fathers of the Republic were familiar with The BCP 1662) would notice several differences right away. Here are three examples. First, the Venite (in 1662 = Psalm 95) had been changed although the old Venite was still allowed—this was done to remove the seemingly harsh last four verses of Psalm 95. Secondly, the Athanasian Creed had been removed—which an Enlightenment, Latitudinarian culture would understand right away, due to its opening statement concerning who shall be saved. Thirdly, the Order of Holy Communion had been changed, as it was commonly known, to accommodate the desires primarily of the delegates from Connecticut, and to provide for unity. (Few then as now knew the historical and religious reasons why Bishop Seabury and others pressed for the imitation of the Scottish 1764 service by the American 1789 service.)

The removal of the Athanasian Creed did not change the doctrine of the American Church but it did lessen its witness to the Trinitarian Faith. And the revision of the Communion Office—despite recent claims from Anglo-Catholic circles that it does—did not change the doctrine of Holy Communion, but simply attempted to make explicit what could be seen either as implicit in the Rite of the Church of England or as providing what belongs to adiaphora (that is, useful in the USA but not necessary worldwide). Certainly those who actually made the changes in the Communion Service in 1789 were those who agreed at the same time to these words: In which, it will also appear that this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship; or further than local circumstances require.

The mistake that the American Church made in 1789 was to make compulsory its revised Order for Holy Communion in its BCP edition for America (looking for unity in the newly independent denomination) and not to allow as an alternative the previously common usage in most of it not all of the thirteen colonies—the Order of The BCP 1662.

The advantage of the 1662 form, from a pragmatic and practical viewpoint, is that it can be supplemented if this is deemed appropriate in a local situation; however, the 1789 form can only be supplemented in a direction away from the basic norm of The BCP 1662 (as in the Anglican Missal towards Tridentine Catholicism). Thus it was wise for The Anglican Communion Network and Common Cause Movement to choose The BCP 1662 as formulary, which foundation then allows the use of the American BCP 1789-1928 and the Canadian BCP (1918-1962) as real alternatives for they supplement rather than take away from the original text.

So as long as there is an orthodox Anglican or Episcopal Church in the USA, the use of The BCP 1928 ought to be a Formulary, but not alone, but with The BCP 1662, so as to allow the comprehensiveness based upon orthodoxy that the post-Gene Robinson situation requires. August 9 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Why is The BCP 1662 so popular all of a sudden; and why is its American child, The BCP (1928), in continuing if slow demise?

Various questions have come my way during the last week since the adoption of The Common Cause Theological Statement by The Anglican Communion Network, and here is my summary of their content, and a tentative reply to them:

Why has the Common Cause Movement apparently by-passed the authentic Common Prayer Tradition of American Episcopalianism—i.e., from the end of the British colonial period to 1976/79, and expressed in three editions of The Common Prayer, 1789, 1982 & 1928?

Why has this Movement recovered as its Formulary the very Prayer Book that was in use in the thirteen colonies in America up to Independence from the British crown?

Why is this Movement seemingly prepared to ditch a peculiar but valid expression of the Common Prayer Tradition ( i.e., that of The Protestant Episcopal Church, USA) in order to recover the original one on which the 1789 was based?

In 2007, The BCP 1928 is still in print (luxury edition from OUP and pew edition and with KJV Bible from Anglican Parishes Association of Athens, GA.) and still in use (by at least fifty churches inside The Episcopal Church (TEC) and by several hundred, mostly small, churches in the various departments of Continuing Anglicanism). Inside TEC several large congregations use it, such as St Andrew's of Fort Worth and St John's of Savannah. It has an excellent Hymnal, the Episcopal of 1940, to go with it and this Hymnal is also still in print.

Within the Common Cause Movement, the 1928 BCP with the 1940 Hymnal, are used in most of the parishes of the APA and in some of the REC. However, in most of the parishes of the other partners the Canadian BAS 1985 and the American Prayer Book of 1979 are used—but happily there are a growing number which is using the contemporary form of The BCP 1662 on trial use in the AMiA and elsewhere (and available from St John the Evangelist AMIA church in Philadelphia).

After thinking about possible answers to the questions summarized above, I have come up with the following possible answers, which may or may not contain singly or together the truth.

1) The Common Cause movement has no real meaning or future without the active support of major players in the Global South of the international Anglican family. And the fact of the matter is that these players are from provinces, which like most in the global Anglican Family, have constitutions based on the Formularies of the Church of England (which means that BCP 1662 & Ordinal) and in some cases use The BCP 1662 all the time now. To walk with the Global South is thus made the easier if the same Formularies are in place.

2) The Common Cause movement has Canadian partners and the BCP 1928 has never been used in Canada , while the 1662 tradition is basic to the history of The Anglican Church of Canada.

3) The Common Cause movement wishes to recover the authentic Anglican Way in the context of the dysfunctionality of contemporary American Anglicanism and the international global crisis in the Anglican Communion. Thus it goes back to the roots of the massive world-wide extension of the Church of England through colonialism and missionary effort, an expansion that began in the seventeenth century and reached its heights in the nineteenth. And a movement that held the Bible in one hand and The BCP 1662 in the other.

4) The BCP 1662 is the kind of base line and standard that can serve everywhere, allowing local (but certainly not universal mandatory) additions in terms of hymns, canticles, ceremonial and the like. Thus a comprehensiveness can be attained based upon a common form—and this has been in place in the past before the arrival of the seemingly uncontrollable variety of modern liturgies since the 1960s. On this principle, the present Canadian 1962 and the American 1928 editions of the authentic Common Prayer Tradition could be used—but not to set doctrine, which remains inside The BCP 1662.

5) In the Church of England, alongside The BCP & Ordinal of 1662 (which remain the Formularies and in use) there existed Alternative Services 1980 and now there exists Common Worship. This model possibly allows for the use of the BAS, 1985 of Canada and the 1979 Prayer Book of the USA—even though, it may be recalled, these two books [and 1985 is based on 1979] were designed to undermine and remove The BCP 1662 tradition.

6) Within The Episcopal Church, there was from 1979 a purge to remove the use of The BCP (1928) and those who did not conform were subject in many dioceses to the displeasure of the Ordinary or even his persecution. Some of those in leadership in TEC dioceses within the Anglican Communion Network, the major Common Cause partner, have been zealous in the past in their seeking to remove the use of The BCP 1928 from their dioceses. It is therefore easier for such people, and those who thought like them and supported them, to go to The BCP 1662 and avoid talking about or contemplate using the whole classic Common Tradition of The Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A.

Now for use in the USA there will need to be a little editing of The BCP 1662 for the Monarch is very much part of this Prayer Book, but this can easily be achieved, and prayer for Presidents and Governors and the like introduced.

So what is going to happen to the specific American edition of authentic Common Prayer? That is, will The BCP 1928 survive?

What seems clear is that, if the forward movement of the Common Cause towards becoming eventually a new Province of the global Anglican Communion actually proceeds to its conclusion, then the use of BCP 1928 will become more and more a characteristic of those who stay outside the new Province. Here I have in mind the traditional Continuing Anglicans whose origins lie in the secession from the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1977 and who in general adopt the Affirmation of St Louis of 1977. In some cases these groups do not allow the use of The BCP 1662 because they deem it to be "Protestant;" but yet they do use The Anglican Missal , based on The BCP 1928, which makes The BCP 1928 effectively become the agent of certain Tridentine Roman Catholic doctrines (which are wholly excluded by The BCP 1662 tradition).

So it would seem that the possibility of a revival of The BCP 1928 for use in a new Anglican Province in America is virtually nil, and the possibility of its continued use in the U.S.A. very limited due to its eclipse in most of traditional Continuing Anglicanism by The Anglican Missal. (However, in these circles The BCP 1928 is needed for the Daily Office, Baptism, Funeral and Wedding etc but it is deemed insufficient and even treated as invalid as a stand-alone text for the "Mass".)

However, the use of The BCP 1662 as the standard text and base line seems to be a real possibility for a large sector of would-be orthodox American Anglicanism and through it may come the restoration of the authentic Anglican Way as Reformed Catholicism and part of a global Family. For parishes with a solid musical tradition, the use of The BCP 1662 opens up massive possibilities of classic and modern sung services and of course with this Prayer Book comes a tremendous devotional and theological literature, together with marvelous poetry and special services (Advent Carol Service etc.). Not least with this tradition comes the missionary zeal, exhibited in the past by the major evangelical missionary societies of England—e.g., Church Missionary Society.

Dr Peter Toon August 8, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

On the difference between BASICS and BASICS-WITH-ADORNMENT

The Order for Holy Communion of 1662 as the Basic TEXT

The Anglican Communion Network [ACN] made the momentous decision on July 31 to accept The Book of Common Prayer (1662) of The Church of England, the mother Church of the Global Anglican Family, as the basic Formulary of global Anglicanism and as its Formulary within the Common Cause alliance.

Amongst the reactions to the adoption by the Anglican C. Network posted on the web I have noticed various kinds of claims that The BCP 1662 Holy Communion Service is unacceptable and deficient to right-minded and mature Anglicans. Where does this notion come from?

In USA Episcopalianism, there is amongst a minority of those of an anglo-catholic persuasion, or who are influenced by anglo-catholic teaching, either a tendency to deny or a decision to make an out-right denial of “The Order of Holy Communion” in The BCP 1662 as a valid Rite in the Celebration of the Eucharist. This denial comes from three related but different mindsets—that which is based on The Anglican Missal (used in many small Continuing Anglican circles), that which is based on The Order for Holy Communion in The BCP 1928 of PECUSA, and that which is based on Rite One Eucharist, first Prayer, in the 1979 ECUSA Prayer Book. The charges against the Rite of The BCP of 1662 move along a spectrum of it being “Protestant” to it not having within its short Consecration Prayer an Epiclesis (Invocation for the descent of the Holy Ghost) or an Oblation (offering of the Gifts to the heavenly Father).

Having stated the objections, let me now offer a general reply to them.

We are all familiar with the difference between a basic model and a well-appointed model with respect to cars. The basic model is more than adequate to move people from point x to point y, but the well-appointed model can make that journey more comfortable and the driving a little easier. Also some of us may live in what may be called basic housing, where we have all that is necessary, and others of us may live in luxury housing, where we have what is necessary together with a variety of extra comforts and conveniences. Then we can all imagine, on the one hand, a basic tune or melody that we can easily hum and readily remember, and, on the other hand, an elaborate setting of that basic melody by a composer in a complex orchestral work.

The point I am moving towards making is this: That Anglican divines over the centuries from the reign of Elizabeth I (1559-1603) have overwhelmingly regarded what may be called the classic Anglican Order for Holy Communion—especially as found in its final form in The BCP 1662 and in over 150 translations of this globally—as in and of itself and by itself a basic and adequate Rite for the Celebration of the Dominical Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.

To say this is not to claim that a minority in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (the schismatic supporters of James II or Non-Jurors and Jacobites and some leaders in the tiny Episcopal Church in Scotland) expressed an interest in reforming this Rite by incorporating characteristics of the Eastern Rites used in the Eastern Patriarchates; or that a minority of anglo-catholics in the late nineteenth century created Missals in order to incorporate material from the traditional Roman Mass. However, it is to claim that there has been and remains only one basic and classic Anglican form of “The Order for Holy Communion” and that is the Rite found in The BCP 1559, The BCP 1604 and given final form in The BCP 1662. It is to be noted that the Formularies of the Church of England and many Provinces of the global Anglican Communion to this day include The BCP 1662 with its attached Ordinal and also, usually, The Articles of Religion.

The Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA modified “The Order for Holy Communion of 1662” in 1789 on the model of the Scottish Rite of 1764, but It was careful to get the approval of the English Bishops for this revision, which was considered by the latter as remaining within the basic doctrine of the 1662 text. So what can be said as a generally true fact is that before the liturgical revolution of the 1960s-1980s, the 1662 text was used everywhere either in its basic form, embellished only by hymnody, or in a luxury or elaborate form, embellished not only by hymns but also by extra ceremonial and words. As there are several forms of the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord on the road today, from the basic to the luxurious, so there were various expressions of the basic 1662 Rite in use around the world by the Anglican Family. In some cases where missionaries were relatively free of supervision from the home Church, they either provided what was below the basic or standard towards a generic Protestantism (as in some evangelical missionary work), or what was above the standard tending towards the texts of Rome or of the Eastern Patriarchates (as in some anglo-catholic missionary work) but these excesses were not the norm.

Tragically, ever since the go-ahead was given in 1968 by the Lambeth Conference to experiment with additional forms of liturgy to The BCP, the provinces— especially in the western or northern parts of the Anglican Communion— have not known where to stop once they got started on liturgical revision. Having opened the doors to new possibilities, the range of possibilities has been very wide and each Province, being autonomous, has done its own thing. Therefore, what was an essential component in the glue that held together the Provinces of the global Communion, the basic structure and content of BCP 1662, got lost (but happily not in the African Provinces). And a lot of people have got used to variety as the norm and personal opinion in liturgy as paramount.

Having let the water out of the reservoir and the kittens out of the bag, not a few sensitive Anglicans are realizing that the Anglican Way in the West, and not least in the U.S.A., needs to recover some basic rules on Formularies and Liturgy or else there will be no glue at all to hold together either Anglicans in North America or within even the global Communion. This is where Common Cause and the Anglican Communion Network seem to be now. They recognize the need for a standard, for a base line, for an agreed essential content of the Anglican Way as Reformed Catholicism.

To get in step with this new army and to walk together with this new movement is not going to be easy for those who have been raised to believe that the 1979 Prayer Book is the last word in modern Liturgy or those who have been raised to hold that only certain post-1662 Anglican Prayer Books are valid for “Catholic” Anglicans. But if there is to be any common glue that is used for binding together Anglicans in a comprehensiveness based upon a sound foundation, that glue will have to include the Formularies of 1662.

What I would say to those with lingering doubts about the validity of 1662 in brief are four things, and they all assume that in the editions of the BCP of 1559 and 1662 we have the basic content of Reformed Catholicism.

1. Be aware that the great Anglican divines of the late sixteenth century (e.g., Bishop Jewel and Richard Hooker) and of the seventeenth century and eighteenth century (see the collection of testimonies from Caroline divines in Anglicanism, edited by F.L. Cross & P.E. More, 1951 SPCK, and available as a CD from ) were perfectly satisfied with either the 1559 or 1662 editions of The BCP. Be aware also that the founding fathers of the Anglo-Catholic movement, Keble and Pusey for example, happily used the BCP1662, as did also the famous missionaries and preachers of the evangelical movement both of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. And do not forget that The BCP 1662 is widely used today in Africa, not least in Uganda, in both English and local languages. Also, it is in the Constitutions as a Formulary of all African Provinces.

2. Do not get taken in by the claims that unless a Eucharistic Prayer has an explicit Epiclesis (Invocation for descent of Holy Ghost upon gifts and people) or an explicit Oblation (Offering of gifts to the Father) that it is invalid. In the Bible it is said of the Word of God that it is powerful, energized by the Holy Spirit, and that it achieves the purpose for which it is spoken. The repeating of the words of Institution originally spoken by Christ, because of the presence of his Spirit, become in fact his words and as such they have authority and power. If the Presbyter of the church does in simple form what the Lord Christ did at the Last Supper and does so with the intention of obeying his command, then the Sacrament is real and the consecrated bread and wine become the sacramental body and blood of the Lord Jesus, food of eternal life. Thousands of the finest godly and learned persons of the Anglican Way have judged that the 1662 Rite is a valid Rite and is an appointed means by which the Dominical Sacrament may be celebrated for the glory of God and the salvation of man. Follow them rather than a disaffected minority opinion.

3. If you are put off by the traditional language of the 1662 Rite, there are versions of it in contemporary language available and in use. The AMiA has in use right now a version on trial use and the same text is in use in other jurisdictions as well. Copies are availabve from the AMiA church in Philadelphia. A copy of this Rite may also be obtained from

4. The Prayer Book Society of England has a Booklet “The Order for Holy Communion” in which on one side of the Page is the text with Annotations on the opposite side and these explanations may be helpful to enquirers. Go to Likewise the USA Prayer Book Society has a booklet doing the same for the 1928 edition of the BCP—go to or call 1-800-727-1928.

The Revd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil (Oxford)