Donlon’s Sacramental Confusion

While addressing Forward in Faith, North America, Canon Kevin Donlon said that the Church requires that “the historic sacraments must take place.” According to Donlon, “the question of the number of sacraments was not an issue, it was resolved long ago by the Church…” He then referred to an address given by Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan, Bishop Jonah to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in 2009, as if to say that Bishop Jonah had answered the question of the number of sacraments to his satisfaction. According to VirtueOnline:

What would it take for this reconciliation to occur? The Metropolitan was explicit:

Full affirmation of the orthodox Faith of the Apostles and Church Fathers, the seven Ecumenical Councils, the Nicene Creed in its original form (without the filioque clause inserted at the Council of Toledo, 589 A.D.), all seven Sacraments and a rejection of ‘the heresies of the Reformation.

I wouldn’t expect an Eastern Orthodox Bishop to think any differently, but I would expect an Anglican Canon to. Particularly since GAFCON issued the Jerusalem Declaration, saying in part:

4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.

Canon Donlon is free to disagree with this, but he should be honest about it and not try to change this position from within. The other five sacraments of Rome are respected by us as signs, ceremonies and covenants, but not God-ordained sacraments. The testimonies of our early divines are clear. For example:

Besides this, we acknowledge there be two sacraments, which, we judge, properly ought to be called by this name: that is to say, Baptism, and the Sacrament of thanksgiving [Eucharist]. John Jewel, The Apology for the Church of England, page 51.

Therefore the papists’ seven sacraments, or septenary distribution, is confused, partly redundant, partly defective, and unworthy to be made a part of their faith or religion, or the matter of their peevish and ignorant contendings. Richard Baxter, A Christian Directory, III. 690

The determinate number of seven sacraments is no doctrine of the scripture, nor of the old authors. Thomas Cranmer, Miscellaneous Writings and Letters of Thomas Cranmer, page 115

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