Rev. Steve Breedlove on Anglican 1000

Steve Breedlove has a really excellent letter on the PEAR USA website outlining the relationship of PEAR USA churches to ACNA. It is a hopeful letter, with many salient points. One excerpt:

..many key leaders in the ACNA want us to come in as PEARUSA. The zeal for exploring our identity as an entity, for seeking to be formed as a jurisdiction, was shaped by conversations with ACNA leaders. Early on, rectors of large, mission‐minded ACNA congregations proposed: “Come in as a jurisdiction – as a unit. Bring your best to the table to help us do what we are all committed to do.” Archbishop Duncan himself spoke clearly. Sitting in a restaurant near the provincial office in Pittsburgh in early January, +Terrell Glenn asked, “How do we begin to move into a right relationship with the Anglican Church in North America?” ++Bob’s wisdom was, “Begin by being what you always thought that you were.”

Since that time, many conversations have revealed an eagerness to receive the body of churches that we currently refer to as PEARUSA into ACNA. This is not competition: it is the creative synergy that comes as like‐minded people with much in common help each other do the work of Christ. We are being invited to be a part of the big net.

7 thoughts on “Rev. Steve Breedlove on Anglican 1000”

  1. Joel,

    The letter has been removed from the website. I would have been interested in reading it. As you know. I am not convinced that the ACNA is really going to make room for the beliefs and practices of PEARUSA congregations and clergy that are Protestant, Reformed, and evangelical in their their theological outlook. The ACNA wants PERUSA congregations and clergy because they have church planting and evangelism in their DNA, two vital ingredients missing from the DNA of a substantial number of ACNA congregations and clergy. At the same time it shows no real evidence of a willingness to embrace a comprehensiveness that would not require PEARUSA congregations and clergy that are Protestant, Reformed, and evangelical in their their theological outlook to compromise their convictions. I believe that the passage of time will prove me right in my assessment.

    1. I think the link just changed Robin. I just updated it.
      I don’t think we can hold out for total purity in a denomination. Catholicity demands that we work with those who disagree with us. So long as we can maintain our convictions and perpetuate them, we should be fine. The answer cannot always be splitting off and forming yet another group. In the end, the answer is to outgrow and out teach those who disagree with us.

  2. Joel,

    My assessment of the ACNA makes me less optismistic. The ACNA does not offer the kind of environment that is conducive to the maintenance and perpetuation of Reformed-evangelical convictions. I recall a number of Reformed-evangelicals now in the ACNA expressing similar optimism back in 2009 but three years later they are no longer as optimistic as they were then. If PEARUSA actually becomes a part of the ACNA, its congregations and clergy will have “subscribe without reservation” to its Fundamental Declarations and accede to the doctrinal provisions of its canons. Once the ACNA adopts a Prayer Book, it will be required to use it. There is a movement afoot in the ACNA to reduce the autonomy of its judicatories and to force them into the same mold. The Bible teaches us that two cannot walk together unless they are agreed. It also teaches that we should not welcome false teachers. I am not talking divergent opinions on secondary matters but irreconcilable differences over primary matters–revelation, salvation, and the sacraments.

  3. I look to the example of men like Simeon and Ryle who existed in a Church that did not necessarily embrace their views. There is much to be said about working from within instead of always breaking off. It also needs to be said that GAFCON is explicitly in line with Classical Anglicanism via the Jerusalem Declaration. If ACNA swerves from this, it can be brought to task.
    The communique issued by PEAR USA says, “Vitally connected to the living biblical orthodoxy and missionary passion of the Anglican churches of the Global South by subscription to the Jerusalem Declaration issued by GAFCON in 2008.” To me, this is another assurance that the core theology of the Reformation will be maintained.
    My understanding on the Prayer Book is that any of the accepted books can be used (1662, 1928, etc.) and that no one will have to use the new one.
    Rev. Breedlove’s letter says: “We believe that the doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty‐nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.” PEAR USA is laying down a good marker for a starting point.

  4. Joel,

    J. C. Ryle was a leading figure in the Church Association, an organization formed to stop the spread of Anglo-Catholic movement, not cooperate with it. Charles Simeon lived in the eighteenth century before the Catholic revival.The ACNA has never conformed to the Jerusalem Declaration.

    Canon II.2.1 states, “Until such time as a Book of Common Prayer for use in this Province has been adopted, all authorized Books of Common Prayer of the originating jurisdictions shall be permitted for use in this Church.” This means that once an ACNA Prayer Book is adopted, all other Prayer Books will no longer be authorized..The PEARUSA sub-jurisdiction will be required to use the ACNA Prayer Book. Based upon the ACNA Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Taskforce reports to date and the ACNA Ordinal is highly likely to be Anglo-Catholic in tone, countenancing beliefs and practices that the English Reformers rejected on solid biblical grounds in the sixteenth century.

    Steven Breedlove is quoting Canon A5 of the Church of England Canons.

    The ACNA constitution and canons have a discernible Anglo-Catholic doctrinal bias. Rather than adopting a neutral or non-aligned positions on key issues over which Anglicans have historically been divided, thereby making room for a range of divergent opinions in the ACNA, the ACNA governing documents adopt Anglo-Catholic positions on these issues. The ACNA constitution and canons require conformity to these doctrinal positions. In joining the ACNA Reformed-Evangelicals are essentially giving up their convictions. I personally could not in good conscience join the ACNA.

  5. Hello Robin,

    I just picked up this thread tonight, and I commend you for your observations. You have an earnest concern. Nevertheless, after several months of conversation, I must say that Joel captures clearly, not just optimistically, our hopes and efforts.

    I have been more than encouraged by the bent of the discussion: PEARUSA is being welcomed to the table. There is always the possibility that one may be disappointed, but our calling at present is to “believe the best” in love and to engage in honest and frank conversation about substantial issues of theology and practice. We are not skirting issues. God has given us that opportunity and freedom and we have met with corresponding frankness and interest.

    I solicit your prayers for wisdom and success as we seek to bring a number of important elements into the mix of united, biblical Anglicanism in North America in an irenic, humble way. Check out my “Why PEARUSA #2” on the pearusa.org website for a more direct statement about what we can contribute — a paper to which there has been widespread affirmation in ACNA as well as PEARUSA — thank God.

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    Canon Steve Breedlove

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