Mark Rudolph on Anglican Identity

The Rev. Canon Mark Rudolph has written   this paper which shows his frustration with what passes for Anglicanism today. Rudolph provides a look at a dilemma that is very well known by those of us who have been in these circles for any amount of time:

  • A key leader in ACNA has publicly opined that the Thirty-nine Articles are not a sufficient statement of faith around which Anglican unity can be built.
  • It was explicitly stated by an Anglo-Catholic brother in a private conversation with me that any attempt at defining Anglicanism beyond the Nicene creed and whatever piety had occurred in Britain would be a recipe for division, if not dissolution.
  • Defining oneself as a child of the “English reformation” and its formularies (39 Articles, 1662 BCP, and the Elizabethan Homilies as commentaries thereon) sets some brothers’ and sisters’ teeth on edge as too “reformed” sounding and narrow.
  • Others argue that the Articles were never meant to be a confession or creed, just a statement of faith (the subtleties of this argument still escape me).

Rudolph’s point is that realignment structurally without realignment theologically is bound to fail. He is right, but there is also no way to reverse the trend towards a broad, mushy ACNA. It reflects descriptive Anglicanism and the many errors that have taken up home within it over the past three centuries. The best you can do is find a good local parish and try to live out your life in peace.

And as I never tire of pointing out, alignment with African churches that are complicit with tyrannical governments is an idea whose time has past.

1 thought on “Mark Rudolph on Anglican Identity”

  1. Hi Joel,
    It might be cathartic to admit a dead end. With Anglicanism I hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
    In the context of Lambeth, our present expectations are with GAFCON. But, within GAFCON, I think most Reformed types want a roll back on WO, probably starting inside ACNA. However, ACNA has constitutionally built itself around ‘two integrities’. Meanwhile, the ACNA’s office of primate is used to plant women priests across the nation. Nor will this trend change given the next election of ACNA Primate– most likely filled by Guersney.
    The best scenario is a long term campaign pressing the upcoming Report, new catechism, and rising seminaries like RES. Where does this leave the Reformation? No where… unless it be on a VERY LOCAL level. In other words, a moratorium on WO is more probable than a return to Settlement formularies.
    Moreover, I think the FiF-RE coalition’s recent talk about “ecclesiology”, or the episcopacy as the basis of unity, indicates an indefinite postponement of classical forumulary talk. Ecclesiology will take RE and FiF into the areas of Holy Orders and past ecumenical councils, and we’ll probably see discussions on 7/7 before any interest in 39 articles. Indeed, the former may prove the greatest obstacle to the latter.
    Nonetheless, I think ‘indaba’ has something to it. Unless you share a common structure– in this case a federation– the other side won’t acknowledge your existence, so structure is important but not an end-all. My greatest fear is premature union of parishes based on geography. The affinity principle needs to remain steadfast until theological problems are resolved, and this will be a long way off, if ever.
    My advice is if you can’t find a Reformation parish to join, then fall back on family and neighbors, and populate a mission. Both missions and Reformed parishes need to cleave to regular catechesis, helping RES, and pressing the Reports issued by the theological committee. Meanwhile, you might send your tithes, if a good Reformed parish is absent, to a worthy para-ministry.

    Sincerely, Charles

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