A Brief Introduction and Background Survey to the Historical Basis of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of England (Continuing) 

The position and identity of this Church is set out in The Evangelical Succession, edited by the Rt. Rev. David N. Samuel and published by James Clarke, < xml="true" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" prefix="st1" namespace="">Cambridge (1979)< xml="true" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" prefix="o" namespace="">


                                                                  http://www.continuingcofe.org

Organs of the Church of England (Continuing):

 

Official:  The Journal

Unofficial: English Churchman

 

Other publications with links to the < xml="true" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" prefix="st1" namespace="">Continuing Church:

Gospel Magazine

Protestant Truth Society Magazine (formerly the Churchman's Magazine)

 

Other publications recommended by the Church:

Bible League Quarterly

Quarterly Record (publ. by the Trinitarian Bible Society)

Banner of Truth

 

Societies with links to the Church of England (Continuing):

Protestant Reformation Society

United Protestant Council

Protestant Truth Society

 

Others we recommend but are not included here. As for websites, please visit

http://www.freechurchcontinuing.co.uk (homepage of the Free Church of Scotland  (Continuing))

http://www.reformer.org (homepage of the Traditional Protestant Episcopal Church)

http://www.trinityfoundation.org (homepage of the Trinity Foundation)

http://www.prca.org (official homepage of the Protestant Reformed Churches of America, with links of interest to useful resources and Reformed seminary websites)

 

And other websites of interest through we do not fully endorse nor agree with everything in them:

http://www.churchsociety.org (homepage of Church Society, an evangelical campaigning body in the Church of England)

http://www.anglicansonline.org (unofficial website of the Anglican Communion, with links to Not in Communion “provinces” and containing a wealth of resources ranging from news to liturgy)

http://www.prayerbook.org.uk (homepage of the Prayer-Book Society of the United Kingdom)

 

For a perusal of the poseurs representative of the myriad of Continuing jurisdictions not in communion with the See of Canterbury, visit

 

http://www.recus.org (homepage of the apostate Reformed Episcopal Church - REC). The REC was formerly a Protestant jurisdiction organised under the leadership of assistant bishop of Kentucky, Rev. David G. Cummins on 10 November  1873. But the REC is presently moving towards an 'organic union' with the Anglican Province of America (APA) that will be formalised by the signing of a 'concordat'.1 (Both have already compacted a 'legal union' with each other, which allows for the exchange of ministers or 'pulpits', inter alia).  The APA (http://anglicanprovince.org) is a jurisdiction founded post-1978 as a haven for 'Anglo-Catholics' leaving ECUSA. These 'traditionalists' refused to accept the new Prayer-book of 1979 they regard as reflecting the further erosion of orthodoxy in ECUSA.

 

Anglicans travelling on a spiritual odyssey - in search for an ecclesiastical home - because they have become disillusioned with the Church of England (CoE) and the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA; now known as The Episcopal Church - TEC) must beware of the many independent jurisdictions claiming to offer traditional and conservative Anglicanism.   

 

One popular claim by the pseudos (e.g. the Traditional Church of England - TCE, a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion - TAC) is the accommodation of various churchmanships and liturgical styles (ranging from 'high' to 'low') but united under the umbrella of Anglicanism. This position is untenable and reflects only chaos and confusion. Another caveat is the popular misconception of the term, 'Reformed Catholic'.  

 

The term per se, properly understood is not in dispute. The danger is in stretching the term to mean not only evangelical Anglicans of all shades but also to comprehend the ritualists, i.e. 'Anglo-Catholics' (who necessarily deny the self-sufficiency of the preaching office as the vehicle of salvation and faith solely as the instrument thereof) under the same ecclesiastical roof.   

 

It is another one of the via media myths concocted by revisionists to present Anglicanism as a combination or synthesis of (a distorted construal of) 'Catholicism' and (more often than not either an equally deformed) 'Protestantism'; and that she is not distinctively Protestant although she repudiates the Roman obedience. Of course, the tendency is to 'give way' to the 'Catholic' side of the aisle so to speak with the term, 'Reformed' conveniently used as a cover for anti-Protestant beliefs and practices, and to confuse the uninformed.  The term, 'Reformed' is so abused to the extent that it is supposed to settle the issue and silence criticism from genuine Anglicans concern about the departure of professing evangelical Episcopalians from their founding principles. So, a 'Catholic' belief or practice is not deemed incompatible with Anglicanism simply because the 'Reformed' principle or aspect balances the excess or abuse, 'reducing' it to the level that sits comfortably, so it is said, within a tapestry of the Anglican landscape ('res Anglicana') - hence lies the abuse of the term.  

 

The history of the English Reformation debunks the extension of the adiaphora to include the retention or in our present times, the reintroduction of irreformable beliefs and practices.

 

The practice of 'reservation' is a case in point.  The wafer or host is 'reserved' in a container, e.g. a ciborium for display and communicants are invited to adore the exposed host, a practice condemned in Article XXV.  The Article on the Sacraments itself is enough to convince a dilettante of the illegality of 'reservation'.   Therefore, the suppression of eucharistic adoration presupposes the rejection of a 'perpetual reservation' in the ciborium. The underlying rejection of it all is the 'Real Presence' – understood in dimensional categories - of Christ in the wafer.     

 

'Reservation' in relation to Extreme Unction, one of the 'seven Sacraments' of the Roman and Byzantine Church (although the latter is not so rigid on the exact enumeration) is a redundancy. There is nothing 'moot' about this point of issue. Yet, a professing Reformed Episcopalian can promote the 'viaticum'! (Latin: 'provision for the journey') on the basis that 'God has bound salvation to the Sacraments'   

 

We take that to mean he holds to a seven Sacraments position, although he is bound to argue for a lesser status accorded to the non-Gospel sacraments. And of course, there is this deliberate ambiguity of the exact nature of the 'Real Presence' in the species of bread and wine.  After all, the viaticum is normally tied to the belief of a 'material' presence of Christ in the 'host'.    

 

In the United Kingdom, there have been calls as exemplified by the recent letter to Crossway (Winter issue) by the bishop of Chester to introduce communion by extension. It is a practice that although devoid of superstition and allegedly dates back to primitive times, is liable to misinterpretation by the average communicant, especially so in an age of weakness and compromise by so-called Church of England evangelicals.[2] It is precisely the risk of reversion to medieval errors, which no doubt is very real given the compromise of so-called evangelicals in appeasing and accommodating 'anglo-catholics', that any practice of extending communion previously consecrated is to be stamp out.  The root cause of later accretions is evident for here is a fertile ground for the overspreading of superstitions.   

 

We reject any ex opere operato notion in the Sacraments. Communion by extension gives the occasion for a belief in the Sacraments as necessary for salvation.[3] That the Sacraments are indispensably necessary for salvation, we deny.   

 

The Sacraments are indeed generally (i.e. customarily according to catholic practice and apostolic usage, grounded in institution of Christ) necessary unto salvation for they are the ordinary means of grace whereby the worthy recipient receives new birth or is confirmed in his regenerative condition and subsequently nourished in his spiritual growth.   But the Sacraments are the means of grace only in so far as they are 'bound' to the Word of God which 'contains' the dynamic and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit’s operations. Apart from the preaching of the Word of God, the Sacraments are of no profit and work nothing. A person in fear of imminent death and deprived of the sacraments is neither loses nor is in danger of losing his salvation or reprieve for cutting his stay in purgatory or provision for 'journey' in the 'progressive intermediate state'.[4] We answer emphatically in the negative.  It is only the preaching of the Word that is absolutely necessary for salvation; in the case of infants (albeit not all) they receive hearing through their parents, more specifically the believing mother. The principle or seed of regeneration is planted that way.

 

As reformed Anglicans, we have the doctrine of election and worthy reception that guards against the error of a mechanical operation of the sacraments and a belief in their necessity for salvation.   

 

Article XXVIII ought to remove any vestiges of doubt concerning the teaching of the Church of England on the Lord's Supper.  The Body of Christ 'is given, taken, and eaten,…only after an heavenly and spiritual manner'. Only those who 'rightly, worthily, and with faith' receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Lastly, the sacrament 'was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped'.  Such is the Protestant and Reformed mindset of the framers of this Article and Article XXV.    

 

The principle that guided the reformation of the English Church that a church can be reformed around the “Protestant” principles of sola Scriptura and sola fide without sloughing off fifteen centuries of church history is obscured and forgotten today. The peril is that the Protestant principles are 'suppressed' and pre-Reformation history (or they call it, Western Christian history) takes the captain's wheel on a direction that results only the shipwreck of faith.   

 

The destination is the 'eventual reunion of Western Christendom', with Rome once again re-established in the centre of the ecclesiastical axis. Many so-called evangelical Anglicans are blind (wilfully or otherwise) to the real objectives of (re)union schemes and 'inter-Anglican' ecumenism, (i.e. between jurisdictions from the same or different 'churchmanship').  Such 'legal' and 'organic' unions no doubt act as bridges between modern Protestantism and papal Rome.

 

Initially, these schemes take place at the local level. Gradually they move upward to embrace more groups or groupings, and so doing Rome’s bidding and fulfilling her vision until Anglicanism in the West already bereft of their Protestant identity finally 'reunites' with Rome (perhaps on a scheme envisaged along 'uniate' lines).

 

Clerical celibacy, communion in one kind only (communio sub utraque specie), Roman and Ambrosian liturgies and rites, etc. pose no obstruction to 'reunion'.   Uniate churches in Poland, Ukraine, Middle East etc. retained the right for their priests to marry, and to continue the usage of the 'Eastern' rite instead of 'Roman'.

 

Truth and error cannot co-exist side by side, such diversity amounting only to contradictions to the detriment of the people and their spiritual welfare. The claim e.g. by the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK -- a member of the TAC) that the 39 Articles was only a historic document drafted in the circumstances of the times falls flat to the ground. It creates a vacuum only to be filled by a 'churchmanship' alien to the nature and character of the Church of England, and by extension Anglicanism. Bishops sign concordats with other bishops often without the consent and ratification of the laity. The vast majority of the laity are ignorant as to the direction their jurisdictions under episcopal leadership - formerly faithful to the Protestantism of the 39 Articles and the Prayer-book - are taking them.   

 

A prime example is the Reformed Episcopal Church in the United States. Within her ranks are 'anglo-catholics', charismatics, theonomists, Arminians, promoters of paedo-communion et cetera. Priests wear eucharistic vestments and even chasubles and mitres in quite a few instances! A lecturer (also an ordained presbyter) at one of the Reformed Episcopalian seminaries[5] teaches baptismal regeneration although the denomination's Decl. Of Principles reject that teaching. Ministers in the REC are required to sign that document binding them to reject and by implication desist from promoting such an error. And yet, he is still allowed to keep his job and receives approbation for his promotion of heresy from other Reformed Episcopalians to which I am a witness!  Another lecturer is an open member of the Society of the Holy Cross![6]      

 

It is indeed common for many poseurs to claim Anglican ordinations and accepts “low church” worship, and yet belong to Roman and Anglo-Catholic brotherhoods. The Episcopal Missionary Church is another a prime example.    

 

The Anglican Episcopal Church under bishop Reg Hammond is another 'Continuing' jurisdiction that defies Scripture, Anglican tradition and reason.    She claims to be a “protestant” jurisdiction but in fact has relations with the extreme Anglo-Catholic grouping, the TAC.    

 

The Free Church of England (FCE) in this country is another example. The FCE is a member of the ecumenical and liberal Free Church Federal Council, now dissolved and absorbed by Churches Together (CT) to save costs, to avoid duplicating efforts made by CT and speed up the process of inter-church participation at the local level.   Within the ranks of FCE clergy can be found some who holds to pro-Ritualist views (a notorious example is St. Jude's, Balham), and one congregation in Leeds (Christ Church) uses the Alpha Course in her evangelism.  A former Primus, now deceased was a Freemason (the late Cyril Milner came from Methodist cum Salvation Army background). The compiler and author of the previous official history of the FCE, omitting the internal divisions that took place at the turn of the century, Frank Vaughn was also a Freemason, in fact openly so.  

 

The FCE was the result of the first 'free' Church of England founded in 1844 by the Rev. James Shore of Bridgetown, Devon who refused to accept the jurisdiction of Henry Philpotts, bishop of Exeter whose 'high-churchmanship' was a hatred of dissent and popery – these shaped by his peculiar and sometimes bizarre temperament.  Philpotts had the reputation of being a zealous persecutor of the Evangelical "party" and was to clash with George Cornelius Gorham of St. Just-in- Penwith, a parish in Cornwall on western the edge of the diocese of Exeter, over the issue of 'baptismal regeneration'.  Although not a Tractarian himself, Philpotts was sympathetic to many of their views, especially on baptism and the church. He was infuriated when Gorham, a staunch Evangelical of scholarly reputation advertised as a curate 'free from Tractarian error' in one of the parishes in Exeter.  

 

The ruling of the Judicial Committee made it quite clear that Gorham's views that worthy reception is required for efficacy in baptism is comprehended in the 'formularies' of the Church of England, and in the case of infants, the sponsors making a profession of faith on their behalf.[7]  Both did not dispute the 'ordinary' link between grace and the sacrament. Gorham was duly re-instituted to his living in Brampford Speke.     

 

From a Church that has its origins in the 'Evangelical party' of the Church of England (some like Noel Baptist became non-Anglican dissenters), the FCE has 'transmuted' into a Church that engages in ecumenical relations with extreme liberal 'churches' like the Quaker Society.  By the way, the past president of the Society was a woman who was also appointed the chair of the FC Federal Council.   She, on behalf of the Council, led a delegation at the installation of Murphy Cormack O’ Connor as the new Roman Catholic Archbishop at Westminster Cathedral.   Runcie was, as expected, present as was Charles Kennedy, Michael Ancram and Cherie Blair.  Yet, the FCE could 'without batting an eyelid' or better, 'a prick of conscience' advertise herself as a denomination that maintains the reformed protestant character of Anglicanism, and constantly on guard against innovations in worship.     

 

The FCE is also the denomination that has 'expunged' what her founding fathers (no doubt influenced by the Huntingdon Connexion who although maintained the 39 Articles and Prayer-book went into 'congregationalism' very quickly in its history) regarded as 'popish germs' like the terms, 'priest' and 'regenerate' (in the Office of Public Baptism of Infants).[8]   

 

We of the Church of England (Continuing) take our stand that nothing in the Prayer-book ought to be despised as “rags of popery”.   On the contrary, that the Book of Common Prayer contains everything that is either taken out of the Word of God (at least 70% of the texts are direct quotations from Scripture), or based upon it. Those two terms (among others) the “puritan-minded” usually find objectionable need not trouble the conscience of sincere and devoted men.     

 

They are primitive terms devoid or evacuated of their medieval meanings and abuses.  Of course, that which cannot be purged partially or restored its pristine purity or primitive simplicity without jeopardising the anti-sacerdotal edifice of the reformed Church of England are simply cast away or burned.

 

Monochrome or otherwise, Anglo-Catholic jurisdictions are not true and faithful Anglican bodies but the devices by which professing evangelical Anglicans are fooled into embracing Roman teachings such as

 

i.                     The elevation of Tradition as the indispensable rule of interpreting holy Scriptures (accusing classical Protestants who hold to the self-sufficiency of the Bible as 'fundamentalists' and of 'wooden literalism');

ii.                  The wearing of illegal vestments such as stoles, albs, chasubles, mitres et cetera, and crosses (e.g. Maltese);

iii.                  Belief in the sheer unqualified efficacy of the sacraments;

iv.                 Allowance - supposedly based on the wording of Article 25 - of Confirmation, Penance, holy Orders, Matrimony and Extreme Unction as so-called 'lesser' sacraments;

v.                   Acceptance of the Eucharist as the central act of corporate worship;

vi.                 The practice of illegal rituals such crossing the elements of bread and wine,

the placing of two candle-sticks on the communion table not for the purpose of lighting, but coming under the definition of a 'ceremony', referring to the Lord's table as an 'altar' et cetera;

 

And accepting Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox - generally and without qualification - as *genuine*, i.e. true and normative (in contradistinction to nominal) Christians, only that they belong to a different Christian traditions, thus legitimising the specious argument that the differences between a Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox are political and cultural, owing to historical accidents.  Is idolatry a cultural phenomenon of Christianity?  Is rejection of papal supremacy due to the politics of conciliarism and nationalism?  We think not. Our answer is that unless we are convinced by the Word of God and reason, we cannot do otherwise but protest against errors, even if a thousand general councils were to decree against us. For if God be for us, who can be against us?   

 

Liturgical renewal sprouted by Anglo-Catholic scholarship and given impetus especially in the publication of 'Parish Communion' contributed to greater emphasis on lay-participation in corporate worship. However, it ought not to deceive us as a revitalising of the inner dynamism of the Church of England’s worship life and ministry of healing and reconciliation (in a world fraught with sin and misery).  

 

The revival of congregational participation has meant the adoption of modern style of worship that disregards the principles that guided the structuring of the Prayer-book and by implication, the entire worship environment of the Church of England.  The nature of modern congregational participation is such that the emphasis is not on worshipping God, but on doing the worship, that is the activity of various types that are thought to be the contributing factor.   

 

'Activism' of course springs from an Arminian mindset that presumes efforts based on a sincere heart irrespective of God’s Word pleases Him. This Pelagian attitude towards worship is manifested in the introduction of bands with an array of musical instruments that do not promote the preaching and preaching of the Word, but is centred in an emotional experience.  Such an atmosphere generated by this worship style is conducive not to reverent worship but a sensual environment that suits the 'rock' or 'pop' culture best.   

 

And so, the 'doing' and 'experiencing' are the motivating factors in promoting modern congregational participation in total disregard of God's command not to 'syncretise' alien elements into His worship. Therefore, modern evangelicals err in adopting 'pop music' into their worship style or transform the worship service into an entertainment arena where the presence of God is gauged from the perspective of 'activism' and 'emotionalism'.  All these, we condemn and reject.

 

It means that modern-day evangelicals are no different from their 'anglo-catholic' counterparts. This is because in the final analysis, the worship culture in both 'wings' are a return to medievalism, the emphasis - in fact - the whole experience revolves around the senses -- the dramas, the plays, the dances, the processions et cetera. This is what modern evangelicals are guilty of, i.e. in de-emphasising the preaching of the Word and replacing it with innovations.

 

The real scenario too is that, there is no end to liturgical revision. This century alone has witness an enterprise of liturgical revision reaching radical propensity beginning with the so-called Prayer-book Revision in the 1900s. No other century has seen such 'upheaval' in the changes that took place in revising the Prayer-book. 'Anglo-catholic' liturgical scholarship has introduced only chaos and confusion into the scene so to speak. Of course, liturgical revision is just one characteristic.  

 

The Church of England (Continuing) is not against revision per se. But if the purpose and end result is a different species altogether from the Prayer-books of Cranmer, we cannot accept it.  Although the new liturgy may possess the stamp of approval of the Convocation, we cannot accept it. Even if it was drafted by a committee of liturgiologists, and historical experts all claiming to be Anglican and that the phrase, 'approved for use in the worship service of the Church of England', is printed in bold print on the first page of the manual, we demur. Liturgical renewal has not led to a greater appreciation of the themes, motifs, and emphases behind the construction of the Prayer-books (notably 1662) but only provided the impetus and incentive for the further drift into liberalism, paganism and other anti-Christian ideologies. Common Worship is the living proof of our contention.  We rest our case.

 

Such insights into the mystery and beauty of the liturgy ought not to detract from our concern.  And that is whether the beauty and glory of the Gospel animates throughout the liturgy or is obscured. The sufficiency of the Gospel should guide our thinking on liturgical matters so that statuaries, icons, incense and thuribles, banners and other decorations and elements of worship smacking of medievalism (i.e. unreformed Christianity), and therefore removed from their proper biblical context, are but erroneous expressions of an Incarnational theology.

 

The Word made flesh is now present or 'made' present by the Spirit in His Word. True Incarnational theology therefore seeks to exalt the Logos (Greek for 'word') or Reason, Logic, Mind, Wisdom, et cetera by the primary and fundamental means of the written Word, and not sensible objects.  He speaks and therefore communicates to us in His Word. Divine Revelation is God’s Person relating to a people, it is His attributes of love, mercy, long-suffering et cetera made incarnate for the mind or 'heart' of a person is the person as the concrete expression and unique identification of human nature which is why the triune God is three Persons, even before the Incarnation. Christ’s Incarnation or bodily assumption has as its goal (telos) the Crucifixion and bodily Resurrection (all past events) and future Communion with the Church in Heaven.   

 

Therefore, propositional revelation is the extension of Christ’s incarnation for His Church (militant) here on earth.[9] In the preaching, reading, singing and praying of the Word lies the intimacy and bond of fellowship between Christ and His Church. Christ and His Church share the same thoughts or mind through the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. These inspired words point to the Messiah and contain His very own words and personal testimony. Therefore, these reflect His mind and Incarnational experience.  In the preaching, Christ Himself speaks through the minister as he brings the Word in the way of exposition and the people respond in faith. There is thus a truly 'Incarnational movement' from the risen and glorified Christ to His people and back again from the people to Christ in their response by faith.  

 

In this connection, the liturgy of the Prayer-book provides such an experience between God and His people with the Word of God or Christ 'textualised' as the vehicle of communication. And so, the Head ('containing' the Mind of Christ) is primary, the Body is secondary just as the Word is primary and the Sacraments secondary (both blood and water flowing from the body of Christ broken for us at Calvary).  It is fitting therefore, that in the liturgical arrangement or setting of a church, the pulpit occupies the 'centre-stage'.   

 

In the Anglican context, the pulpit either keeps her prominent position albeit on one side near a transept, at a level higher than the table brought forward from the chancel on the east-side of the wall or the apse when there is communion. Or the table is 'annexed' (i.e. arranged) near the bottom of the pulpit. It is also to be noted that not only does the minister or celebrant faces the congregation throughout the administration of communion or at least never projects his back to the people, but that the distance between the table and congregation (in the 'nave') is very near, symbolising the “nearness” of Christ in communion with His people. Practically, the celebrant is thus able to perform the administration in a manner intelligible, audible and simple to the congregation.

 

This is fitting for it beautifully symbolises the actual relationship and physical make-up between the Head and Body, Mind and Flesh of our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Who was fully God and fully man.

 

The Reformed position on the place and function of the Sacraments hedges against the errors of Rome which so distorts and perverts the head-body relationship of the person by reversing the order of priority. Not only is she wrong on the nature of Christ's divinity, but she is also wrong on His humanity!   

 

For man (humanity) as the bearer of the imago Dei in the weakest sense with respect to the unregenerate and the reflection of the glory of Christ in the case of the regenerate both possess the rationality that characterises God Himself (divinity). (God Who is without body, parts or passion is the fountain and source of all knowledge and wisdom in the Word of His Son Who is infinite and self-contained (aseitas) and has no need of any creatures to add to His blessedness and pleasure).   

 

The Incarnation of Christ is the divine accommodation of God to man in his finitude.  It is God’s Mind (read: 'will', 'good pleasure' et allis) made known or revealed and manifested to humanity so that Christ’s emptying Himself of His heavenly glory and majesty to come down to this world is to 'enable' Him to 'conform' to human 'likeness' to make the way for the redemption of His creatures.[10] 

 

The body or flesh facilitates the identification of God with His people and vice-versa. Therefore, the body is the perfect 'instrument' or 'channel' of the greatest of all gifts, namely salvation in and through Jesus Christ for the goal of the Incarnation is union and eternal fellowship with the triune God and not the end in itself. Without the mind controlling and directing the body, the latter is dead or useless. Therefore, in worship what matters most is the focus on the mind of God in His Word contra pictorial depictions, ikon, or any representation of Christ, the apostles and saints for therein lies true and spiritual worship.   

 

Only the written Word gives us the information (truth) we need to know more about God and inspiring us to worship Him with greater devotion (spirit). Praying before a statue or lighting a candle and 'burning' an incense in front of a picture is idolatry and violation of the first two commandments in the Book of Exodus.   God did not rescind or abrogate His commandments but expressly forbids representations to be made about Him. Secondly, physical objects tells little or nothing about God.  In fact, in most cases invariably, it is what Romans 1 says as 'changing the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…' The Incarnation of Christ is God's 'workmanship' but an icon or picture is man's creativity. The incorruptible work of God in Incarnation is 'denigrated' by the corruptible work of man.

 

The only way we can glean information about the 'prototype' or 'model' of the representations is from the Word and His Word condemns idol-worship in any form, in effect debunking any impossible and dubious distinction between latria, hyper-dulia and dulia!!!

Prolegomenon

 

This jurisdiction was organised under the leadership and oversight of the Rt. Rev. Dr. David N. Samuel, an outspoken and courageous Evangelical churchman of the “old-school” (i.e. classical reformed) in 1994.    The idea of an alternative jurisdiction or ecclesiastical haven was inspired and conceived when Protestant churchmen in the Church of England could no longer, on grounds of conscience, subscribe to the Ordinal affected by the passing - in the General Synod (both House of Bishops plus House of Clergy and Laity) - of the Ordination of Priests (Women) Measure in the autumn of 1992 (October 10-11th) to allow the ordination of women into the priesthood contrary to Scripture and unbroken tradition.

 

The Measure was not the cause but the occasion for conscientious reformed churchmen to leave the established Church -- it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back -- and continue their struggle to maintain, by the grace of God, the Evangelical Succession of historic Anglicanism - that they have inherited - elsewhere.

 

We differ and distance ourselves from the neo-evangelicals (such as the evangelical campaigning movement Reform) in contemporary Church of England on grounds of principle (such as their abandonment of the Book of Common Prayer in favour of liturgically revised versions that are typically characterised by deliberate ambiguity and serious compromise). Thus, we hold the via media between the two interlopers into the pale of the Church of England, namely the ritualists (Anglo-Catholics, so-called 'high-church') and the neo-evangelicals (modern evangelicals, charismatics et cetera, so-called 'low-church').    

 

We anchor our position firmly to the 39 Articles of Religion as the historic and foundational document defining the nature and character of the Reformed Church of England.  And we endeavour to preserve the Protestant inheritance passed down from our founding fathers, many giving their lives as martyrs for the cause of the Gospel and the Catholic Faith.

 

We reject as a betrayal - of the church principles of the Reformation - the accommodating attitude and the compromising stance adopted by the Keele and Nottingham evangelicals of whom John Stott is a principal leader towards Anglo-Catholics.   

 

We denounce the appeasement policies of the 20th cent. Evangelicals to accommodate Anglo-Catholic demands backed-up by an episcopal bench staffed mainly by appointees sympathetic to the latter in the 1928 Revised Prayer-book which was providentially rejected due to the residual Protestantism of Parliament (and – at that time – the strongly anti-papal sentiments at the 'grass-roots' level) of whom a special tribute is paid to William Joynson-Hicks (later Lord Brentford).   

 

And we deplore the signing of the document in 1970 entitled Growing Into Union by J. I. Packer (theologian) and Colin Buchanan (liturgical scholar) 'representing' the evangelical camp together with E. L. Mascall (Anglo-Catholic priest and scientist) and Graham Leonard (later diocesan Bishop of London). We condemn that as a grievous departure from the Word of God and the 39 Articles, leading to the diluting of the truths of the Gospel; and the severe weakening and further eclipsing of the founding principles of the Church of England.   

 

Such acts of theological confusion on the part of professing evangelicals also serves to 'legitimise' the lawless behaviour of militant Ritualists (like the notorious and fanatical Alexander Herriot Mackonochie SSC[11] of St. Albans, Holborn) in the past. These men in defiance of the

 

a)      rubrics prescribed in the Prayer-book;                  

b)      canon law; 

c)      court rulings on matters ecclesiastical;

d)      Regulation of Public Worship Act (1874)

 

introduced into the liturgy and worship of the parishes of the Church of England rituals and ornaments alien to the character of the reformed protestant Church of England by law established.

 

We repudiate claims of schism, denouncing instead the schismatic action by the General Synod of the Church of England in voting for women presbyters; and formalising and legitimising invalid appointments of women as deacons and allowing them to preach the Word and administer the sacraments.  By doing so, it is the current Church of England that has severed her ties with the Church of the Apostles and the catholic tradition (believed and practised everywhere, by all and throughout history).

 

We invite and encourage like-minded clergy and laity to join us

 

i.                     In upholding the Word of God and the Gospel in all its purity and power;

ii.                  In preserving the Protestant Reformation spirit, ethos and character of the Church of England as expressed in the 39 Articles and contained in the Book of Common Prayer;

iii.                 In defending Anglicanism as a classical and genuine expression of the Reformed Faith and combating errors and heresies that arises from within and comes from without the Church;

 

over against

 

a)      the professing traditionalists and evangelicals in the Anglican Communion;

b)      and the Continuum (i.e. the myriads of jurisdictions not in communion with the See of Canterbury), the latest addition being the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) carved out of ECUSA by charismatic 'evangelicals' (but covering other 'traditionalists' as well, i.e. Anglo-Catholics) under the oversight of Bps. Rodgers and Murphy who were consecrated in Singapore by Abps. Moses Tay (now retired) of the Church of the Province of Southeast Asia and Emmanuel Kolini of the Church of Uganda.

 

and who are responsible for the re-fashioning of the Anglican way -- the syncretism of Anglicanism via the introduction of non-Protestant elements into her theology, liturgy and ministry.    

 

We are convinced that we are indeed witnessing, before our very eyes, the great apostasy foretold by our Lord and St. Paul taking place within the walls of the Church of England as one of the branches of Christian churches that is, amongst many, falling away from orthodoxy.   

 

The abomination of the desolation is occasioned by the introduction into the Church (that has in her history exorcised the demons of the papal Antichrist from out of her) of the medieval teaching concerning the Eucharist -- the carnal presence of Christ and His unbloody sacrifice in the Mass.  This is a fulfilment of the prophecy of Daniel who spoke of the last times (we believe he is referring to the New Testament era – 'latter days' preceding the Second Advent of Christ) as marked by the 'overspreading of the abomination'.

 

We believe that to be referring to the restoration of the daily sacrifices and oblations of Old Testament times that were taken away when the Messiah was 'cut off' for His people. The daily sacrifice and oblation is the Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. The Papacy is represented by the 'little horn' that arose out of the breaking up of the Roman Empire, 'subduing' kings, promulgating decrees and laws in usurpation of the authority of the Most High and claiming world spiritual and temporal jurisdiction.

 

Not only is the sanctuary of the Church of England overspread with the abomination of the Mass, but with outright pagan rituals and occult practices as well, in the name of inter-faithism.  The Antichrist is working in the Church of England to bring her closer to Rome, hoping to use her and Anglicanism as a bridge between Protestantism and Rome. Rome wishes to exploit the disillusionment of many professing evangelicals with their religious and ecclesiastical tradition. She does so by seeking to entice and lure these so-called evangelicals by the 'magnetising' effects of assurances of security and stability of an infallible and ancient Church. Other seductions include the attractions of a sensuously ordered liturgy, the artificial 'dynamism' of the rituals satisfying to those with mystical orientation and the veneer of moral conservatism.

 

Satan is also actively working to heighten the defilement in the sanctuaries of the Church of England throughout the realm in opposition to the worship of the only one, true and living triune God of great holiness and terrible majesty.

 

In some jurisdictions, this callous exercise of re-inventing Anglicanism (although so-called traditionalists refuse to admit it, nevertheless the assertion is true on theological and historical grounds as opposed to a sociological description of Anglicanism) has been executed to the point of monstrosity and beyond recognition. 

 

We in the Church of England (Continuing) do humbly confess to be the continuation - in doctrine, liturgy and polity - of the reformed, protestant and catholic Church of England -- the raison de'tre or justification for our separate existence.

 

We contend that the true and real 'model' of Anglicanism is to be found by following rigorously and faithfully in the footsteps of the English Reformers and their successors -- embodied in the Evangelical Succession of the Church of England.

 

We do hereby proclaim that we are continuing in the tradition of the Church of England in considering herself to be a part of the one, holy, catholic Church and the English branch of the Reformed churches.

 

We believe in church reformation, for all ages, according to the Word of God The organisation of the Church of England (Continuing) was indeed the 20th cent. Reformation of the Church of England. The 1994 Reformation did not end in the forming of a separate body, but continues in the life and ministry of the faithful for the reformed church is always reforming (ecclesia semper reformanda).       

 

The reforming Word of God is the power of the Spirit of Christ in leading the Church into all Truth always, throughout the ages and universally.  Therefore, the emergence of a Church out of another presupposes the calling of churchmen with principles and unwavering convictions to reformation, and if necessary, and it was so, separation by seceding from mother church in order to continue the task of restoring the original Church. Really, the Church of England (Continuing) is the restored Church of England of the 16th cent. English Reformation and the reformed Anglicanism of the Evangelical Succession.     

 

Our Church as a Protestant and Reformed Church is built upon the Word of God as the Regulae Fidei (rule of faith), the 39 Articles as the confessional articulation of our Faith and aid in reformation, and the Book of Common Prayer as the liturgical product of a reformed Church. Therefore, we uphold the 39 Articles as a truly reformed confession and tool in the reformation of a church in the Anglican tradition.

 

An Anglican church can only be restored of its inheritance and to its place in Evangelicalism by revolving its doctrine around the 39 Articles, for therein are the evangelical doctrines shaped by evangelical principles of justification by faith alone in light of Scripture alone. The 39 Articles encapsulates the twin issues of justification and authority which led to the birth of Protestantism as the ecclesiastical organ of preserving, carrying, and transmitting the evangelion in the catholic church. True evangelicals will strive to be confessional, in seeking to restore the old paths through the confession and calling others to do likewise.   

 

Our calling indeed is to reform the Church always according to the Word of God. We pray for reformation to deal with the crisis in Protestantism, plagued as she is with Arminianism, liberalism, ecumenism, Charismaticism et cetera. Now is the time for Protestantism to decide where she will stand, whether she will be true to her heritage and classical position or stay where she is now. The dreadful consequence is to suffer the judgment of God because apostasy is God's judgment on the Church that departs or falls away from her original (orthodox) position and into error.    

 

Therefore, for the love of Truth, we pray for revival in the way of reformation, that is, revival of true doctrine and worship in the Church over against

 

i.    Romanism, as the 'cure for the divisions of Protestantism';

ii.   Revivalism as 'the last hope for Evangelicalism's dead formalism, impotence and dwindling numbers';

iii.  Reconstructionism as the 'alternative for Christianity to fulfil her calling in the world'.

 

All Christians, irrespective of their eschatological views, will recognise that the hope of the Church is indeed the Coming of our blessed Lord and Saviour in the clouds of glory with the final trump of the Gospel (vocatio) and to judge the quick and the dead. The dead in Christ shall be resurrected and the Church Militant raptured to be with the Lord forever.  

 

Our hope is, as St. Paul the Apostle says in Titus 2:13:

 

'Looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ'.

  

a) Doctrinal identity in summary

'We are Protestant Reformed, Traditional Evangelical, Orthodox Calvinist, Scriptural Catholic, & Historic Anglican'

 

b) Historical roots in summary

 

This Church is Biblical, Apostolic, Catholic & Orthodox

'One Canon, two Testaments, three Creeds, four ecumenical Councils and five centuries of Patristic witness marks the essential boundary of our Faith'

 

WE STAND for the 'three-legged stool' of the English Reformation (the three marks of a true church):

 

  • the reformation of doctrine (the pure preaching of the Word of God & declaration of the whole counsel of God contained therein as the sole, sufficient and supreme authority in all matters of fide and praxis - the norma non normata);
  • the reformation of worship (the faithful administration of the Sacraments & decent ordering of the liturgy);
  • the reformation of polity (the reduction of a complex hierarchy to simply the rule by godly bishops & the proper execution of church discipline)

And confess that to be the historic foundation and genius of (classical) 'Anglicanism' -- contra the revisionist claims of a so-called 'three-legged stool' of Scripture (rule of faith), Tradition (rule of witness) & Reason (rule of interpretation) as 'co-ordinating authorities' and 'source' (axiom) of 'Anglican' theology, rejecting the latter as a typical Tractarian mentality in which a claim of the re-discovery of a via media between Rome and Geneva never existed except in Jesuitical-inspired and deceitfully crafted writings of the Oxford Movement, e.g. The Tracts for the Times.

 

 

Constitution

 

1. Doctrine: The 39 Articles of Religion (1571):                               

 

Contents - covering fundamental dogmatic features such as

 

                                                               i. creedal orthodoxy - the Catholic substance plus the Protestant principle e.g., the sufficiency of holy Scriptures as the Divine Rule of Faith;

                                                             ii. an Augustinian anthropology & soteriology;

                                                            iii.  an evangelical Christology vis-à-vis  justification by faith (per sola fidem propter solus Christus);

                                                           iv. a reformed catholic sacramentology and ministry;

                                                             v.  an ancient and desirable ecclesiology contra Anabaptism and Trent in the preservation

                                  of the historic episcopate, etc. 

 

Interpretation:

 

And as understood and thus interpreted in their original, intended and natural sense as the standard confession of faith and doctrinal formulary; and as supplemented and complemented by the two official Homilies, writings of the English Reformers (e.g. as published by Parker Society) and other formularies of Church of England, and the Articles of the Reformed Church of England in the Elizabethan Settlement (e.g. the Lambeth Articles of 1595 approved by the ecclesiastical authority of the two metropolitans viz. John Whitgift and Matthew Hutton representing the Predestinarian Consensus of the Church) Canons of 1603-04, Advertisements pertaining to the Rubrics and Ornaments for Use of Archbishop Parker etc. --- the rubrics presupposing a doctrinal emphasis or implying an established/received dogma in the context of justification through (by) (instrumental contra meritorious sine qua non) faith alone as the evangelical article by which a church stands or falls. Concretely, this is reflected in the use of the term, worthy reception contained in the language of the confession and liturgy].

 

As Reformed churchmen, we hold to the Five Points of Calvinism:

 

Total depravity

Unconditional predestination

Limited atonement

Irresistible & indefectible grace

Preservation and perseverance of the saints

 

Contra Romanism, Arminianism & Liberalism --- The theological system in which Man is sovereign and the measure of all things.

 

We hereby affirm that

 

·        Election is the heart of the Church (cor ekklesia);

·        Justification is the central feature of the Gospel;

·        The Covenant of Grace is the essence of true religion;

 

Therefore, salvation is all of grace alone in Christ alone as the Elect of God par excellence to the praise and glory of God alone

 

Underpinning the whole doctrines of grace, as these five points are also called, is the Sovereignty of God – the heart and core of Reformed Theology (theology begins, is about and ends with Theos = God) as the truest and most faithful expression of the Word of God = the Holy Scriptures.

 

We accept and embrace the doctrines  (the primacy of doctrine as the foundation of our faith as per e.g. the Consensus of Sandomierz [1570] of the Polish Lutherans & Calvinists) contained in the

 

Irish Articles of 1615

Westminister Confession of Faith (1647)

Three Forms of Unity – Heidelberg Catechism

                                       Belgic Confession (1619)

                                      Canons of Dordthrecht (1619)

Savoy Declaration of Faith (1658)

Scotch Confession of 1560

 

Plus the confessions and documents of the other Continental Reformed churches -- the Swiss, French, German et cetera as being in harmony with the confession of faith of the Church of England

 

We therefore stand squarely and unabashedly in the broad spectrum of classical Protestantism, holding the via media between Rome and Anabaptism – the two fronts of the Antichrist that deny

 

  • The sufficiency (the formal principle of the Reformation -- sola Scriptura!) of holy Scriptures. Its sufficiency is denied and undermined by 'living tradition', on one front and 'inner light', on the other. This - in effect - distorts the opera personalia of the Holy Spirit as the Guide, Inspirer & Interpreter of Truth 'annexed' inseparably to the Word of God; and the place and role of the Church as a witness and a keeper of the Deposited Faith (depositum fidei), once and for all delivered unto the saints;                                       
  • The justification (the material principle of the Reformation -- sola fide!) or declaring the sinner righteous (dikaiosune) on the basis of the Person and once-for-all (ephapax) hilasmokai (sacrifice of propitiation)[12] of our Kurios Iesus Xhristos hiou tou Theou kai Anthropou (vere Deus, vere Homo)[13] alone by the subtle teaching of a righteousness that is to be earned or merited through co-operation (synergism) with the sacraments of the church which are taught to be  vehicles of God’s grace (gratia) to redeem a fallen world on one front, which is the error of semi-Pelagianism. And by the teaching of the justification of a sinner on the account of the indwelling presence of Christ, on the other (sometimes called Osianderism). 

And practice ecclesiastical tyranny, sacramental imperialism and ceremonial exhibitionism, such features deriving their character from the false claims and teaching (de fide) of the Roman Church.  Namely, that the transmission of the charisma ('ministerial grace') and keys of the kingdom (binding & loosing authority) resides exclusively in the Bishop of Rome. And by extension all bishops in communion with him. This claim that it originates all the way back via unbroken tactual ordinations to the Apostles themselves, on one front, we condemn;

 

In situ, the gifts are directly given by the Holy Spirit Who imparts and distributes them to individual members of the Body according to His sovereign operation for the purpose of empowering and equipping the Church.  This exercise of the gifts is in ministry for the benefit of others in the church rather than personal.  The Church is also empowered and equipped to perform her task in this world in obedience to the Great Commission. The Spirit of the Lord also imparts the unction to the Church so that all believers can perform their roles as priests and prophets, and citizen-kings in the royal commonwealth of God.

 

And practice 'tongue-speaking', under the delusion that the gift is still available today post-completion of the Canon. Also in conjunction is the seeking after of 'fresh revelations' from the Holy Spirit in 'visions, voices & dreams'. And make allowance and recognition for a class of hyper or extra-ordinary prophets (virtually constituting a class within a class -- neo-Gnosticism).  These claim to possess direct access to God, thus acting as carriers of oracles and messages on par with Scripture, or at least in imitation of the prophets who brought the burden of Lord in Scripture. In fulfilment of Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 2 et cetera, many are going after so-called miracle-workers in their signs, and wonders et cetera, on the other (the modern descendants of the Montanists in the 3rd cent., and the Anabaptists in 16-17th cent. are the Irvingites, Pentecostals and Charismatics et alis).  All these Pentecostal and Charismatic phenomena, we condemn.   

 

Increasingly, the Charismatic movement which was originally was inspired by Pentecostalism is racing rapidly into the fold of Rome through ecumenism and joint-participation of ecumenical activities. These movements or 'waves' are Satan's 'crowned-stratagem' to weaken modern-day Protestantism's theological and confessional barriers against Rome in the way of dislodging her from the historical moorings and causing the jettisoning of her Reformation inheritance (whether inherited directly or as in the case of e.g. Arminian or fundamentalist churches, 'indirectly') so that the movements are all one-way only -- they lead to Rome, 'home sweet Rome'. Rome is the Mother of Harlots, the Babylon of Religions. That is why Pentecostalism is more at home in Rome, i.e. it is indigenous to Roman spirituality and of course is part of her dogma and tradition.

 

The symbol of both the Church of Rome in her usurping and arrogant pretensions to apostolic succession in the person of St. Peter the Apostle as the first bishop of the Church of Rome (so-called Apostolic See) AND the Charismatic movement is the '(cloven) tongue of fire' as a sign of the outpouring of the Spirit and the consequent anointing on the recipient. 

 

The Book of Revelation (e.g. consult chap. 13:13) warns us that in the last days, the Beast shall cause 'fire to fall down from heaven' in imitation of the true and genuine work of the Spirit of Jehovah-God.

 

 

2.a. Liturgy: The Book of Common Prayer (1662):

 

The liturgy and worship of the Church of England (Continuing) shall be ordered according to the Book of Common Prayer (1662) (which has its roots firmly in the first Prayer-book of 1549 of the Edwardian reformation under Edward the Sixth, prince Josiah = terminus a quo -- the first drafts and compilation of a single manual of worship.  Thus, the Prayer-book brought together the disparate sources for different aspects of worship life such as the breviaries into a single use throughout the realm.   Such a work also required the pruning & cleansing of the liturgy, root and branch).  Under Elizabeth II, little or no changes took place and most of the 1549 and the second liturgical project of 1552 assimilated into the 1559).

 

The ‘comprehensive’ 1689 prayer book was the last official attempt at revision (terminus ad quiem) that failed to receive the approval of Convocation, often dubbed the aborted attempt in the history of the liturgical revision.

 

Note is taken of the time-scale of historical progress in the reformation of worship, and Abp. Cranmer’s desire as chief architect of the Book of Common Prayer to restore true catholicity to the Church's liturgy in light of the recovery of iustifcatio per sola fidei. He sought to combine fresh insights from the study of God's Word and the fruits of scholarship on one hand, with the primitive liturgies, on the other as the source of background for re-patterning the liturgy.

 

Such restoration of the liturgy to her pristine purity took place at both textual as well ceremonial-ritual levels. The cobweb of medieval accretions and the superstitions that have crept into the Church and ignored in the past were purged thereto. The weed of heretical beliefs that have overgrown in the ecclesiastical backyard which obscured the light of the Gospel for a long period were pulled out, the ground re-dug and irrigated afresh by the preaching from an open Bible. 

 

The consequence of which is that the contents & structure of divine worship in the Church were made conformable to the pattern of holy Scripture, and restored unto primitive times.  

 

The contents of worship are contained in

 

a)   The Psalms in metre (to be sung from the metrical psalter);

b)   The Psalms from the Prayer-book (to be recited and or chanted);

c)     Ancient Canticles (e.g. the Magnificat) from the Prayer-book;

d)    Traditional Hymns (of a God- & Christ- centred nature to the exclusion of later innovations by contemporary song-writers such as choruses).

 

The liturgical principles are

 

a)     congregational participation (itself based on the reformational principle of the 'priesthood of all believers');

b)      edification (e.g. service or worship must be conducted in the vernacular or local tongue, Article XXIV);

c)      decency (conformity to the proper behaviour during worship);

d)     order (see the Pauline injunction in 1 Cor. 14:40) (Note: No man may presume to mount the pulpit who has not been lawfully called or licensed to preach. The presidency in the administration of the Eucharist and Baptism belongs exclusively to the bishop and presbyter. The deacon is called to be a helper in these instances, although he may in place of the presbyter administer the sacraments in exceptional circumstances);

e)      reverence (true spiritual attitude towards a thrice-holy God);

f)        simplicity (rites and ceremonies stripped of their paraphernalia, emblems and other elements associated with superstitious views and employed to signify certain erroneous beliefs are meet and good. The retention in their present form as contained in the Prayer-book promotes the harmony of outward gestures (e.g. kneeling to pray) and inward disposition. This in line with the perception of a sacramental (by Word and prayer) conjugation of the earthly elements and spiritual benefits in the sphere of the sacraments as verba visiblia.   

 

These principles are preserved and retained in the worship and liturgy of the Continuing Church.

 

Rites (sacramentals, NOT sacraments [of the Gospel]) and ceremonies (lesser rites) are not necessary for congregational worship. They are neither the central elements nor the core features in the two (dominical) (and the only ones entitled to the status of) sacraments.  But they are employed by the Church to solemnise the occasion and enhance certain aspects of the sacraments, that is to say, these are liturgical expressions springing from the nature of the sacraments themselves. For example, in the case of making the sign of the cross on the forehead of an infant as an outward gesture symbolic of Baptism as a badge of profession, inter alia).

 

Secondly, the power to decree rites and ceremonies derives from the same source within the Church - though not inherent in it - that admits of power and authority to determines controversies involving matters of the Faith. The prerogative and right of doctrinal control over the liturgy as well as hammering out a dogma in the clearest possible terms when heresy arise to destroy the Church from within resides in the bishops and councils.  

 

Of course, such authority is derived from the Kingship of Jesus Christ in His Word alone and no other source. This in no way detracts from the right of private judgment. Private judgment is admitted but cannot be considered as definitive when it cannot be proven that the Church authorities have erred in ordaining something contrary or repugnant to God's Word, contra the Anabaptists.

 

Scripture and patristic witness attest to provisions for ordinations or consecrations into holy Orders. The form of consecration is provided in the Ordinal by the exclusive episcopal prerogative of laying on of hand (the excitat or stirring up of the prior charismata tou Hagiou Pneumatikou, minor connotation of 'tactual succession', contra Rome). This is followed by the delivery of the Gospel Instrumenta to the ordinands symbolising the preaching and teaching office of the minister.

 

Thirdly, rites and ceremonies prepare believers to receive the sacraments and their fruits as e.g. Confirmation is a rite prelude to communion of the Lord's Supper.

 

Rites and ceremonies inherited from the medieval period were pruned and purged of their superstitions and later accretions. Secondly, they were restored to their proper place and functions in the life and ministry of a reformed Church by way of being restructured and crafted anew into the liturgy.  Therefore, they ought not to be despised and rejected because they contain nothing contrary to God's Word, are agreeable to ancient custom and done to the edifying of God's people.

 

We hereby REJECT the 'high' and 'low' church distinctions, holding that adherence to the Book of Common Prayer and subscription to the 39 Articles remedies both errors.   

 

We reject the ritualism of Anglo-Catholicism as a revival of medieval worship practices and beliefs which were swept away in the Reformation     

 

We deplore the introduction of 'ornate' worship by the Caroline high-churchmen as contrary to the Calvinistic consensus of the age. This had the effect of alienating hard-line Puritans further from the pale of the national Church. Such moves threatened to undermine and disrupt the political stability and ecclesiastical comprehensiveness of Elizabethan Settlement limited only by rejection of papal supremacy, transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the Mass. The Settlement was the  restructuring of the artifice designed and put up by the previous Tudorian reformation under the reign of Edward VI and direction of Abp. Cranmer and the reformers.   In other words, the Settlement was a continuation of the Protestant identity of the Church of England as defined in the Articles of Religion and contained in the Book of Common Prayer.   

 

The 'high church' movement that has its roots in the Caroline divines (early 17th cent.) under the auspices of Charles I served only to remould 'Anglicanism' in a fashion contrary to the desires and designs of its founding fathers, and only provided the lacuna (though unintentionally) that was to be exploited by the Oxford Movement.   

 

In the final analysis, the 'high church' movement of the Caroline school ('Laudians') went to the other extreme paralleled by the radical Puritans who insisted on rigid conformity to the Genevan model of churchmanship. Paradoxically, the elusive via media (sensible mediocrity or happy mean) that Abp. Laud sought with which to re-fashion the life and ministry of the Church of England and to give her a more distinct identity (by de-emphasising features that were common amongst all Reformed churches) resulted in the sowing of a seed-bed that would give rise to a movement violating that principle themselves.

 

1845[14]marks the discrediting of the principles as always understood by the Anglo-Catholics (mainly of a 'moderate' variety) and ironically, it also vindicates the protestant character of the English Church. For it demonstrates that Erastianism[15] is not the foundation of the Church so that in the last resort she has to turn upon the Acts of Parliament, the courts, the constitution etc. to decide her identity; but that as the State-Church, she acts as a bulwark against the ecclesiastico-political encroachment and instrusion of the Church of Rome.

 

Liturgical Canons

The climax and centre of the liturgy shall be the preaching of the Word of God as the focal point of worship.  The public reading of the Word of God shall be according to the Authorised Version (1611).

2.b.  Service ornaments:  i. Pulpit, for the  Preaching of the Word of God;

                                        ii. Lectern, for the Reading of the Old and New Testament

                                         lessons;

                                      iii. Table, for the administration of the Lord’s

                                          Supper, also known as 'Holy Communion' – ‘a white

                                          cloth, flagon (cup) and paten (platter)’;

                                      iv. Cushion, for kneeling as a posture of prayer;

                                       v. Desk, for the presiding minister

 

In the context of the Cranmerian liturgy, the emphasis is not on bodily expressions and gestures in rituals and ceremonies. But the salient threading feature running through the needle of the Book of Common Prayer as in all reformed liturgies is the dialogue that takes place in a corporate worship atmosphere as setting forth the Covenant fellowship of God in Christ through the Spirit with His Church. The point of contact therefore is the mind, and not the senses.  

 

As such, physical sensations and sensuous experiences are not to be attributed as being proper responses and attitudes to worshipping a transcendent God.   His immanence is present through the agency of the Holy Spirit acting in a Biblical framework. That is to say, a liturgical format that proclaims and set forth the words of Scripture (reflecting the truth of God speaking first or taking the initiative in the conversation), reminders, warnings, exhortations, call to repentance et cetera – the 'revelational' movement (downward) of God.   

 

Congregational responses (responsorial movement – upward) are accorded their proper loci in the liturgy with the view that it is God that takes the initiative in worship. Therefore, expressions of thanksgiving (sursum corda), joy and gladness of His people are manifestations of the manifold operation of the grace of God in them (the principle of salvation by grace alone ingrafted into the liturgy of the Prayer-book).

 

We therefore reject contemporary music in Christian worship as an unnecessary change and an innovation lacking warrant in Scripture, tradition and reason; hence an abuse of the principle that the Church has liberty to ordain and introduce ceremonies so long nothing is repugnant to or contradicts the Word of God. 

 

We hereby reject such innovations as extremes to be avoided by sound & faithful churches who hold fast to their heritage. Such innovations tend only to disrupt the traditional norms of decency and order in worship.   Once the godly standards are broken, the shift of focus from objective Truth towards inward preoccupation (subjectivism) comes naturally and like a flood in some situations.  It also introduces certain elements of mysticism, emphasises 'experience' as the mark of spirituality so that such innovations are also natural vehicles for ecumenism with churches that historically were outside sphere of classical Protestantism in confessional and doctrinal terms, and with Rome (especially post-Vatican II).   

 

In short, the truths of the Gospel are watered-down, distorted and truncated to the dishonour of God's glory and Name and danger to the welfare of His people and all who profess Christ as Lord and Saviour.

 

Additional rubrics

2.c.  Robes: 'The minister shall (if he wishes) put on the black or Geneva gown for preaching, reading of the Word of God [in lieu of the prescribed clerical robe usually referred to as the surplice]; and in the conducting of the Divine Service as contained in the official manual of worship of the Church of England for use in her Public Liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer (1662), he shall wear a surplice, cassock, clerical collar & tippet and for the Administration of Holy Communion, a cope (or hood) as is suitable to his university degree'. 

 

The Church of England (Continuing) rejects the use of any vestments that approximates and imitates the design and insignia of the Roman Catholic Church as popularised by the Ritualists (falsely called the ‘Catholic wing’ of the Church).  We, therefore hold that the missal or eucharistic vestments worn by some in the Anglican Communion and other Episcopalians and the so-called ‘Continuum’ jurisdictions are illegal and contrary to the rubric and canon law of the Church of England and customary usage. 

 

The plainness of the ministerial vestments of the Reformed Church of England expresses the truth of the doctrine of ‘justification by faith alone’ [iustificatio per fidei] which is at the heart of the message of the Gospel. The colour of black of the cassock emphasises the fact of human depravity, hence sin and unrighteousness. And the colour of white of the surplice symbolises the robe of Christ’s righteousness as a covering for sin and also points to the glory of Christ’s resurrection. Hence, the robe links Christ’s Work as Saviour of His people to the office of the preaching ministry in a marvellous way to the edification of the church and as an aid of commemoration of that Work to ingrafted members of the Body of Christ.  The black scarf or tippet is a reference to the yoke of Christ which is light and easy, a visual ‘call’ to all who labour and are heavy burden under the bondage and weight of sin to come to Christ.

 

3. Polity: Reformed (or Scriptural) episcopacy (‘paleo-ecclesiology’) to the exclusion of prelacy and its outgrowth thereof. The ‘three-fold’ order of bishop, presbyter and deacon is to be understood to mean that the original Scriptural, Apostolic and primitive two-fold ministry of ordinary (excluding extra-ordinary offices of the Apostles – the short-lived regimen apostolicum) church order was augmented in the course of history. This is allowed the Church to be better equipped to cope with the 'pressures' from within and without her ranks in the different ministeries and in combating heresies.   

 

A new 'office' now arose of presidents or superintendents drawn from the rank of presbyters and deemed as primus inter pares. This 'president' oversee and supervise fellow presbyters and deacons as well as congregations committed to their overall charge. Due to the internal growth of the churches and her expansion throughout the Roman empire, 'administrative adaptation' was necessary to adjust to the circumstances. The change could only be described as logical and natural, not involving the overthrowing of the divinely instituted government established in Holy Scripture as the sole Divine Rule of Faith and Practice  (in sola tota Scriptura).  Bishops are therefore, presiding or superintending presbyters.  

 

Thus the plurality of presbyters was unified under the single supervision of a leading presbyter in distinction from his fellow presbyters, of which distinction is not a separate but a derivative administrative order so that without presbyters, there would be no bishops to speak of in the first place. Apostolic succession in the sense of which the episcopate is said to have devolved from the apostolate is rejected as wholly erroneous and contrary to the ordinances of Christ and the Apostles, and the testimony and practice of the Primitive Churches (aliquo modo) -- consensus fidelium and auctoritatis catholicae.  

 

There are only two orders of the ministry with the presbyterate being the highest in rank. Yet the Church is not bound by repressive principles that does not allow her the freedom to 'split' the one order of the presbyterate into two distinct 'offices' (with the office of bishop later assuming a place of a distinct order) with the title, 'bishop' being now accorded a higher level of significance and role.  

 

The assumption and concentration of authority as well as prominence of (pastoral) oversight and leadership in a single person of the bishop in no wise runs counter to the spirit and letter of the New Testament as the ministerial order and functions are not distorted but preserved untainted – 'equality respecting the ministry but inequality as respects the government of the church (polity)'. We do hold that the presiding bishop is the visible expression and representation of unity within a jurisdiction or church.

 

Likewise, deacons are accorded a preaching function in the Anglican tradition, because the examples of Stephen and Philip recorded in the Book of Acts demonstrates to us the preaching nature of their evangelism which was not confined only to ministering in the house-hold of faith. Both men went outside amongst the unconverted to preach the Gospel and perform miracles. The latter has ceased to apply to the post-Canonical Church. But the preaching 'office' of the original deacons are retained as an ancient and desirable ministry. In preaching the Word and offering prayers, the deacons also serves as assistants to presbyters who in turn assist bishops in their liturgical functions.      

 

Such a mentality respecting church polity also reflects the teaching and testimony of archbishop Thomas Cranmer, and the divines of the 16th century Protestant Reformation as well the majority of the Elizabethan divines of the Predestinarian Consensus before the 'remoulding' of ‘Anglicanism’ under Charles 1 and William Laud. The repressive policies of that period led to a third reformation under the Puritans and the restoration of the Church of England in the aftermath of the Protectorate and the stabilisation and re-settlement of the Protestant constitution in the Glorious Revolution (1688).  

 

We hold to opus apostolicum, that the task of the Apostles commissioned by Our Lord before His ascension is to continue until His Second Advent, and doctrinal succession in the firm conviction that God preserves His Truth unbroken, although 'multitudes' in church history might have lost sight and vision of the pure doctrine of the Word of God which was later 're-discovered' at the 16th cent. Protestant Reformation.

 

The highest and broadest ecclesiastical convention shall be the 'General Assembly/Council' which also acts as the highest court of appeal as well as transacting the business of the jurisdiction/denomination. The binding nature of the General Assembly's authority does not detract from the principle of the autonomy of the local congregation. Nonetheless, once issues are decided at the assembly, all congregations are to regard them as settled and resolve to work accordingly for the sake of peace and harmony in the Church. The General Assembly shall meet once a year in the minimum.  Participation is by both clergy and laity, preserving intact the tradition of the decreeing authority of bishops and ratification by the faithful, thus reflecting the unity of the Church in accepting the witness of the Spirit.  In the present context, the decreeing power of bishops is embodied in their collective decisions through the Central Executive Committee as the authorised conciliar representatives and bearers of the will of the Council. 

 

Jesus Christ is and remains King in the General Assembly as well as in any convocations. The principle of the binding authority of the synod does not usurp the kingship of Jesus Christ, rather that through synods and assemblies, King Jesus reigns in the denominational church as well as in the local church.

 

 

4. Ministry: The ordination of ministers shall be according to the Ordinal of the Book of Common Prayer (1662). The Church of England (Continuing) believes in the ministry of women according to holy Scripture [as the only (divinely) inspired in the original autographs, infallible and inerrant rule-guide of faith and practice of which the proper interpretation is that of a grammatico-literal exercise, in effect interpreting Scripture with Scripture (self-sufficiency)] which does not permit them to exercise authority as bishops, presbyters and deacons.  

 

We reject the notion of the minister as a sacrificing priest and the abominable teaching that the Mass is a drama re-enacting the Sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross.  We extol instead, the Preaching of the Gospel and the Word of God as the chief ministry of the pastor-priest with the administration of the dominical or evangelical sacraments of Baptism and Lord’s Supper annexed or attached thereto. And as the primary means whereby grace is conveyed to the believer.  

 

Therefore, the Church of England (Cont.) believes in the primacy of preaching - from the pulpit and instruction in the catechisms - as the means ordained by God to gather the Church into the commonwealth of national, regional and parochial-local churches as well as the means of instruction and edification of believers and their children.  

 

We 'preach Christ crucified':  The only provision for sin and deliverance from the just punishment of Almighty God and whereby the sinner is translated from spiritual bondage into liberty through the perfect atoning sacrifice of Christ’s propitiation on the Cross two thousand years ago in Golgotha and the transfer of the righteousness and merits of and benefits purchased by Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God Who sharing in the Father’s essence and nature is Very God of Very God, to the believing sinner by the sovereign & gracious operation of the Holy Spirit Who proceedeth both from the Father and Son.

 

 

5. (Ecclesiastical position) Below are our causes for separating from the Established National Church of England and breaking communion with the See of Canterbury -- the justification for secession and independent existence as a self-governing and fully autonomous jurisdiction; and defence against the charge of schism – The Five Points of Anglican Apostasy:

 

  • Ritualism (or ‘Anglo-Catholicism’, more precisely Anglo-Medievalism or Anglo-Romanism), early in the 19th century known as the Oxford Movement and Tractarianism. Reversal and undermining of the Protestant Reformation principles of the Church of England in favour of a return to medieval and baptised pagan religion.
  • Liberalism (Higher Criticism, modernistic approach to theology in which the immanence of God is perverted to pantheism, outright and subtle denial of supernaturalism, situation ethics aka e.g. Joseph Fletcher, political and social agenda based on an utopian vision, Marxist analysis, Kantian transcendentalism or noumenalism, inter-faithism/pluralism, syncretism, occult et cetera
  • Neo-Evangelicalism (concession to arguments of Biblical criticism, a new or ‘fresh’ approach to hermeneutics, ecclectic sources of knowledge, an aversion to ‘fundamentalist’ or rather, the traditional interpretation of the creation account in favour of theistic evolutionism or progressive creationism, a theological latitudinarian and loose moral approach to worship and a crypto- or neo-antinominian life-style by appealing to ‘common grace’ with the effect of blurring the Christian’s spiritual separation from the world in its culture and dominion, openess to other non-Protestant traditions et cetera
  • Charismaticism (the heresy of Montanism, mysticism and Romish superstition has resurfaced in the guise of an ‘evangelical’ movement that promotes the continuation of Apostolic gifts or graces, signs and wonders all of which have ceased by the death of all the Apostles and their assistants, the denial of the completion of divine revelation now embodied in the canon of holy Scripture of the 66 Books, and the cessationism expressed and implied therein, an ecumenical vehicle leading back to Rome et cetera) Ecumenism (the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission -- ARCIC which is the ‘consultative’ body or vehicle for rapprochement between the two communions with the ultimate view of absorption of the Church of England into the See of Rome.   Such a process is 'executed' by a series of phases of discussions (expressed in 'agreed statements', 'joint declarations' et cetera.    The CofE knows full well they lead finally to submission to the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in honour and jurisdiction -- thus recognising the universal supremacy of the Pope over all Christendom).

6. (Ecclesiastical ethos) The Church of England (Continuing) is the only current existing communion or jurisdiction in the United Kingdom that continues in the inheritance and tradition of the reformed Church of England.  The Church in England was reformed under the instrumentality of Abp. Thomas Cranmer (founding father, reformer, archbishop, chaplain, theologian scholar, and liturgiologist cum architect of the Book of Common Prayer and martyr), and the English reformers.  

 

The Continuing Church is the only jurisdiction that

 

  • preserves the spirit and ethos of the Protestant Edwardian Tudor Church;
  • defends the Elizabethan Settlement (the Canons of 1604, Advertisements, Lambeth Articles etc.) and the Predestinarian Consensus of the Church of England;
  • communicates in unshakeable and unabashed conviction the writings and works of the English Reformers, the two official Homilies,  bishop John Jewel’s Apologia Pro Ecclesia Anglicana;
  • continues Richard Hooker’s commitment to Reformed orthodoxy (as expressed in e.g. his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity);
  • maintains the doctrines of the writings of the sixteenth-century Elizabethan divines;
  • continues in the tradition of high Calvinists (who were also "high" for the liturgy and episcopacy) like the author of the Irish Articles, archbishop James Ussher, and bishop Joseph Hall (author of Roma Irreconcibilis, inter alia);
  • continues in the theology of the Georgian Jurors like Augustus Montague Toplady, George Whitefield, James Hervey, Daniel Waterland, George Horne et cetera;
  • continues in the tradition and spirit of the scholarship of Victorian Evangelicals like William Goode D.D., George Cornelius Gorham D.D., John Harrison, Nathaniel Dimock, J.C. Ryle et cetera;
  • perpetuates the wealth of writings and gems of knowledge of the moderate Puritans like the theological giant William Perkins, renown for learning and piety, Laurence Chaderton, William Whitaker, John Rainolds, Edward Reynolds et cetera;
  • pursues and preserve the tradition of inter-Church relationship between the Church of England and Presbyterian Church of Scotland and her branches in the denominations, especially the Free Church of Scotland, now reformed and reconstituted as the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) and upholding the staunch Calvinism of the founding fathers of Presbyterianism and their successors. In addition, the Continuing Church seeks alignment and identification with confessional Lutherans for the sake of Reformation unity and its cause, in recognition of common origins and legacy.
  • pursues fraternal and irenical relations with the non-conformists (English Presbyterians, independent Puritans et allis) of which their modern heirs are the Calvinistic Baptists who subscribe to the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), and other bodies remaining faithful to their heritage and confession of faith (e.g. evangelical Congregationalists contra liberals and ecumenists) upholding their theology and writings;
  • pursues fraternal and irenical relations with Calvinistic churchmen on the continent and include the ocean of writings of these great theologians of the Calvinistic system of salvation, Covenant theology et cetera;
  • pursues fraternal ties with other Anglican jurisdictions that share a common spirit and vision with us to continue the Protestantism and Reformed catholicity of the Church of England and uphold the doctrines of her evangelical Gospel. We are pleased to introduce the Traditional Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America as the real inheritor of reformed Anglicanism in North America.

 

Note of qualification:  We deplore and abhor the seeds of 'Arminianism' sown by Laud during his archepiscopate and tenure as ecclesiastical administrator of the theologically disinclined Charles the First.    Nevertheless, we accept men like Taylor, Pearson, Waterland, Wordworth, Burgon, Browne, Meyrick et cetera inspite of their churchmanship and school of thought because of their godliness/piety and scholarship. In other words, by including the later Anglicans belonging to the Laudian school in our list of Church of England divines, we do not intend to endorse Arminianism (classical nor 'evangelical') but to underscore the essential nature and character of the Church of England and - by implication of - Anglicanism. We leave the final judgment of these churchmen to God alone.  In so far as their opposition to Rome is concerned, their defense of the Protestantism [16]of the Church of England, their godliness, their subscription to the 39 Articles and their faithfulness in other matters (contra Deism, rationalism et cetera), we accept them as within the pale of the Church of England.

 

The Church therefore seeks to continue in that blessed tradition of upholding the Protestant Reformation principles of sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria of the Church of England.    As a Church in the English Reformation tradition, we extol the doctrines of grace.  We preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all creatures, baptising those who believe and their seed and teaching them whatsoever Christ has commanded in holy Scriptures, neither subtracting from nor adding thereto, and keeping and witnessing for the Faith once and for all delivered unto the saints.

 

7. (Ecclesiastical relations) The peace and unity (irenicism) that the Church of England (Continuing) seeks to pursue shall be to continue the reformed tradition of the episcopal United Church of England and Ireland (pre-1662) in recognising the validity of non-episcopal orders and forms of church government.  We and our "non-conformist" brethren and Calvinists of other traditions belong to the umbrella of Protestantism and evangelical religion, thus relegating the issue of types of ecclesiastical polity to a secondary and non-divisive position.  

 

The Church of England (Continuing) strives to promote unity amongst like-minded Protestants. We agree on the 'what is the Gospel' i.e. the doctrines of grace, justification through faith alone by the imputed righteousness of Christ alone. We hold to the necessity of holding fast to the Protestant Reformed religion.   And maintaining a distinctive character of the same without compromise.  We endeavour to propagate the cause of the evangelical faith of the Reformed Churches of the British Isles and the Continent and organising meetings, conferences and preaching services and other activities in order to give practical expression to the unity of like-minded Christians.   

 

The Church of England (Continuing) will never tire of opposing the pernicious schemes of the Antichrist embodied in an individual Pope, both at home and abroad.[17] The spirit of the Antichrist was successively present in the Papacy from the medieval period onward coinciding with the demise of the Western Roman empire. And therefore we take the stand that the European Union of which the United Kingdom is a member-state is a project designed to dilute Protestantism’s residual and weakening presence & influence in Europe and is a modern-day drive towards the final push of the Counter-Reformation organised by the Jesuits.  (We stand opposed to all Roman societies whether in the CofE like the Order for Corporate Reunion, Society of the Holy Cross et allis and Rome's own Jesuits, Salesians, Opus Dei et cetera)

 

The Church of England (Continuing) thus combats and refuses to countenance whatsover Romanism’s advance on all levels, with the recognition that even the political machinations of the Vatican is spiritually manipulated and contrived. We will continue to speak up on national, moral and social issues and make our voice heard as the Established Church has failed in her duty to be the moral conscience of the nation.

 

We reject the notion of a physical world-flight as Anabaptistic, practising instead the antithesis, i.e. the spiritual separation of a Reformed believers amidst a wicked and unbelieving world -- to be IN the world, but not OF the world sums up the antithesis.

 

We believe that every Christian has the God-given gifts and calling to participate in the sphere of labour, and some in government.     It is the duty of Christians to pray for their rulers and to be involved in one way or another, directly or indirectly, in the institutions of society.     We are called to be light and salt in the world and resist evil influences and pray and labour for the maintenance of outward conformity to "good" laws.    We ought to oppose "bad" or evil laws that can only encourage the cesspool of immorality in this day and age and exacerbate the deteriorating condition of society's social fabric. 

 

 

 

 

 

   

The Declaration of Principles

    of the Church of England (Cont.)

 

 

                                                                        I

WHEREAS this Church retains the historic episcopate [in the sense] of the three-fold ministerial order; we REJECT as erroneous, on theological and historical grounds, the teaching that the Church of God exists only in one form of ecclesiastical polity.

 

Therefore, we do not unchurch non-episcopal ecclesiastical bodies from the Church of God.   On the contrary, our unity with them is the unity in the Truth and love for Jesus Christ.  We thereby also REJECT any union of 'Western Christianity' or "evangelical Christendom" that is ordered or revolved around a nucleus of bishops. Unity, and not union is our motto and watchword.         

 

We are of the opinion that the original Scriptural model (i.e. examples to emulate) provides the essence of church polity; and prescribes the qualifications (invariable) of a presbyter and deacon.  But that it is not a standard (nor an exhaustive blue-print or 'text-book') restricting bishops and deacons to performing their essential tasks only. Such an approach to the authority of Scripture - although commendable - has the effect of thereby inhibiting the promotion and delegation of authority and functions in the church amongst the office-bearers in response to situations that 'call' for a minor adjustment.   

 

In church history, we have the record that to meet the 'exigencies of the times' and prevent schism  'bishoprics' arose out of or evolve from the presbyterate (variable -- Lat. equiv.: adiaphora, things indifferent). Such a 'graduation' took place naturally and with the consent of the church. Therefore, antiquity and patristic witness speaks volumes of the venerable and desirable custom of choosing a presiding presbyter from amongst the rank. The bishop is the visible representation of unity in his particular church or diocese and also acts as the point of contacts with other churches.  The episcopate is also the organ for the transmission of apostolic tradition or doctrine (tas paradoseis, lit. 'things passed down').   

 

Bishops in one province may differ with those of a different geographical area, in e.g. the formulation of specific prayers to accompany the 'breaking of bread' in the Eucharist. However, in the diversity, all share the same 'shape' of the liturgy, i.e. the 'breaking of bread' itself is one of the main features of the 'shape' of the Eucharistic “liturgy”.

 

In the Anglican tradition, since the bishop prior to his ordination was invariably in deacon's orders, the episcopate could be said to comprehend all the functions of the three-fold order. Not only does he represent the Church, (narrower and wider sense), but he also represents the ministerial orders in its 'fulness'. That being said, the validity of the historic episcopate is not subject to moot since the presbyterate and diaconate are preserved intact in their respective places and functions in the Church.

 

The later 'additions' of a 'distinct' office do not alter or vary the essence of the original two-fold orders, although the episcopate very quickly had the effect of formalising the diakonia of the apostolic church into a ministry on par with the presbyterate in terms of bringing the Word but deprived of 'priestly' authority to celebrate the Eucharist.  Even then, there was laxity respecting the Sacrament of Baptism.    

 

The presbyterate's ruling function came to be concentrated in a single person.  Nevertheless, he still represents his class in the exercise of authority.  The issue that is before us therefore is whether or not the function of oversight and other pastoral duties ought to be concentrated in a single person or in a plurality of persons, i.e. the presbytery?   It is a different question ('the wood for trees' distinction) from the issue of whether there ought to be a presiding presbyter (or "moderator" in Presbyterian terms) in the first place.  

 

That there ought to be such is not in dispute, it is only natural for a leading presbyter to emerge who possesses the gifts of charisma and leadership such as courage, strong conviction as well knowledgeable and wise. The question therefore of 'how' and 'where' to find and choose a 'leader amongst leaders' is a foregone conclusion.   

 

But that the issue turns upon the authority originally vested in the presbyterate as an order, i.e. at the theoretical level (in distinction of the presbytery at the concrete level).  Is it Scriptural and desirable for a 'transfer' of power from one order to another, albeit the latter deriving its existence from the former? We answer in the affirmative.  In the first place, the episcopate does not have a separate origin from the presbyterate. Scriptures speak only of a two-fold order, and the both presbuteros and episkopos are used interchangeably throughout the Epistles.  So, historic episcopacy does not contradict but goes beyond Scripture.    

 

This later accretion could hardly be called 'Romish' because the historic episcopate pre-dates the rise of the papacy.  In addition, although bishops stay in office 'for life', the order itself is not indissoluble. Thus Scripture is not made to fit into the historic episcopate rather that the latter is recognised to be a historical development. The terminus ad quiem is therefore the rise of papacy.   

 

Then too, although the Book of Acts is the inspired -- inerrant and infaillible record of church history, it does not follow that subsequent church history must conform in every detail to the 'perfection' of the apostolic church.  Already before the completion of the last book of the Canon in circa 90 A.D., there arose heresies that were to threaten the survival of the Church (as a Christian Church) and 'reduced' her to a Jewish or Gnostic sect.  It would not be against Scripture to speculate that even before the close of inspired writings, there already arose a 'monarchical' presbyter.  

 

Ignatius Theophorus (died circa 110 A.D.) is one best witness to the rise of bishops as an 'order'. Ignatius, it must be remembered sat down at the feet of the Apostle John. In other words, the inerrancy of Acts and the Epistles as records must be distinguished from the exigencies of the times as such so that as was argued, the rise of episcopacy might well pre-date the completion of Scripture, the source and rule of faith.  

 

There are three major phases in the development of the historic episcopate:

 

  • The 'Clementine' presbyter-bishops (primus inter pares within the same order, i.e. the primitive model);
  • The 'Ignatian' monarchical presbyter-bishops (one order splitting into two 'offices');[18]
  • The 'Cyprianic' bishops (the episcopate possessing the keys of the kingdom of heaven and liturgical authority; and by now functioning as a distinct order, ranking first in the three-fold ministry).

If sacred Scripture contains 'everything' one needs to know about church polity or it can be ascertained by 'good and necessary consequence' (we agree entirely with the second limb), then with respect to the first limb, it follows modus ponens that church history post-Acts but pre-Canon must conform to Scripture.    There would have been consciousness of the apostolic tradition circulating around with the establishment of churches. But the existence of presbyteries (or college of presbyters) as an absolute norm in sacred Scripture is not conclusive. Therefore, it does not follow that Scripture is clear about 'presbyterianism' as the form of church polity.

 

So, our assertion of historic episcopacy as not contradicting Scripture is not made ipsi dixit, but based on Scripture and on the testimony of antiquity. We must take care not to misunderstand the appeal and recourse to antiquity and patristic witness as undermining sola Scriptura. The Word of God is not a product of 'unmediated transcendence' that is divorced from the continuous experience of the community of the faithful. God's revelation to His Church was not confined to a generation or the exclusive reception of an individual (as in the case of the Koran), but spanning many generations and thousands of years. The emergence of sacred Scripture assumes the relationship between God's revelation with His people. Therefore, sacred Scripture's record of the divine-miraculous acts in the past touches not only historical events, but the response to His revelation, as expressed in their continuous corporate life, by the people of God.   

 

It is not only the case that God calls His people 'into existence' and giving to them His revelation, but that that revelation is the basis and constitutive locus of the origins of God's people.  In other words, God's people derives their 'existence' from the sacred Scripture but sacred Scripture is mediated within the environment of human experience, in this case, the corporate experience of a community with respect to their identity as the chosen people of God. The experience of the recipients of revelation of course is their living faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So, God's revelation continually unfolds in time and history, even as God's providence with respect to His people is but the unfolding of His eternal and unchangeable decree to save a people for Himself in Christ Jesus.

 

The 'redemptive-historical' character of the Church's experience means that Scripture must not be so interpreted as to be divorced from that experience.  Because God's redemptive dealings with His people is historical (as it cannot be otherwise), one must take into consideration the application of sacred Scripture in the life of God's people.  Certain events or periods are recorded for us in sacred Scripture as God's 'suffering' or 'permitting' transitions of changes such as the setting up of a monarchy in Israel, thus changing her character as a commonwealth under God to a kingdom. Judges have been replaced by kings, yet God's dealings with His people continued and indeed His progressive revelation outlived the monarchy.   

 

Likewise, the issue of episcopacy must be seen light of the continuous life and ministry of the New Testament Church. Although God no longer mediates His Word supernaturally, and His Word is complete and self-sufficient, the Spirit continues to guide the dynamic and living faith of the community of the faithful throughout the ages.   

 

Episcopacy is therefore an 'extension' of the role and function of the presbyter.  The biblical presbyter was to germinate into the ancient bishop because subsequent church history was to - under the guidance of the Spirit - influence the shaping and opening up of the presbyterate to accommodate fresh circumstances. In other words, sacred Scriptures gives us the two 'classes' and lays down certain essential qualifications leaving the application to the collective wisdom of the Church, as continuously, guided by the Spirit in history. This sphere of history is important in assisting us in interpreting the rise of episcopacy as the application of Scripture in the life of the faithful as they respond to the providence of God.  Church history did not begin after the completion of the Canon, but pre-dates it.  Indeed, Church history or the continuous life and ministry of the Church does not end until the coming of our Lord.

 

One thing ought to be clear, independency is not 'sanctioned' (at least implicitly) in Scripture: The General Assembly in Acts 15, the manner in which the apostles addressed the churches in the same city or region, and the nature of the mystical body of Christ itself. The full and complete identity of a local church as the body of Christ is not denied but that in itself does not preclude the wider expression which presbyteries (classes), and general assemblies (synods) fulfil. Presbyterianism and historic episcopacy are not mutually exclusive indeed both features can be made to accommodate each other and fused into a single polity. This is not surprising since the historic episcopate is an organic development of presbyterate.  We are advancing these arguments not in anticipation of any 'union' but to demonstrate the compatibility of episcopacy, properly understood, with the life and ministry of the apostolic Church in Scripture.           

 

In the final analysis, our recourse in defence of episcopacy is to the history of the catholic Church overlapping the period in and outside Scripture.   Therefore, we do not resort to spurious arguments of the episcopate 'devolving from the apostolate or a permanent separate existence as an order'. The issue of individuality or plurality in polity resolves itself when we consider the above arguments because underpinning these arguments is that episcopacy is not of the esse but bene esse of the Church.

 

Hence ancient episcopacy is desirable and arose early in the church. The consequential imparity of ministers only impinges or touches the polity and administration of ecclesiastical discipline (e.g. ordination) but does not affect the ministry of the Word and sacraments which both bishop and presbyter share equally, and which the deacon is called to be a helper or assistant thereof.

 

 

                                                                        II

WHEREAS this Church in accordance with Anglican tradition does not reject the usage of the term, 'priest' (as an old but legitimate contraction of the term 'presbyter'), we REJECT as wholly erroneous the teaching that ministers are priests in another sense that all believers are a 'royal priesthood'. Therefore, the term, 'priest' is not inter-changeable with the term sacerdos, meaning a sacrificing priest after the manner of the Old Covenant dispensation of types and shadows, and ceremonialism.   (The proper role and function of the ministerial office is reflected in the Ordinal).

 

Christ alone is the hierus  (high-priest) of the everlasting Covenant after the order of Melchizedek.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

                                                                       III

WHEREAS this Church recognises the spectrum of differing standpoints concerning the teaching on the Lord’s Supper viz. the 'memorialist', the 'virtualist', 'receptionist' as the three main doctrinal themes within Anglicanism, we REJECT as abominable, strange and wholly contrary to the Word of God and the Institution of Christ at the Supper that He is substantially (acc. to the Thomists) (or locally acc. to the Scotists), corporeally and physically present in the species of bread and wine through the mode of 'transubstantiation' (a change in substance) effected by the words of consecration of a sacrificing priest acting as a secondary transubstantiator in persona Christi and that He is manducated orally or 'crushed' with our teeth.   

 

We also REJECT the notion of an 'eucharistic sacrifice' in which there is an actual immolation albeit bloodless in 'repetition' of the once-for-all Sacrifice of Christ at Calvary in the Mass. New Testament sacrifices consists of prayers, praise and holy living (haec munera).  

 

Therefore, the Eucharist is not a liturgical oblation from the Church as the Body of Christ here on earth (clergy and laity) in unison with Christ in Heaven by participating in His intercessory role of impetrating the Father to accept the sacrificial offering of the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei).     

 

We REJECT such a God-ward movement as pagan and smacks of Pelagianism.  ON THE CONTRARY, the eucharistic oblation is indeed a response to the perfect and all-sufficient oblation of the Saviour that hung on the Cross for the sins of the world of elect sinners.   It is a task accomplished in satisfaction to God the Father and therefore never to be repeated again.  

 

Hence, our response is to a past event, and NOT an initiative on our part jointly with Christ, or through Mary [so-called Blessed Virgin] as Co-Redemptrix to plead to God the Father to accept the Victim's sacrificial oblation. We no longer offer a sacrifice to God in the Person of His Son, but offer our sacrifice of thanksgiving in gratitude to His finished work. God did not require our participation in His Son's sacrifice nor does He require our offering up of the Victim (Hostia) repeatedly but our reception of His benefits in remembrance of Him.

 

We AFFIRM instead that the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour is to be sought in the worthy recipient (as per Hooker etc.).  We also ACCEPT the view that the Holy Spirit is the Agent mediating Christ's presence in the elements, applying the benefits (virtus) purchased by Christ at Calvary (veritas) to them that rightly partake thereof. "The veritas of the broken Body and shed Blood of Christ in propitiation of the sins of the world constitutes the virtus of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper" as per St. Augustine.    

 

The anamnesis or recollection is the subjective remembrance of the objective record of Christ's passion in the minds of the faithful. It is NOT a re-presentation of the Passion of Christ in a visual and mystical manner in the liturgy but nonetheless which is 'identical' (and hence 'the one & the same', Lat.: idem numero specie) with the bloody oblation of Christ in the presence of the community of the faithful.     

 

We REJECT the Sacrifice of the Mass as derogating from the Sacrifice of Calvary. We condemn it as a damnable and grievous departure from the Word of God on the part of the Roman Church.  We also equally denounce the ordinary clergy and laity for their so-called 'common errors' -- the popular misconceptions, abuses and excesses in the Middle Ages which do not invalidate the outright and unequivocal rejection of the eucharistic sacrifice by the Reformers.   

 

RATHER, the memory of Christ's death for us serves to strengthen and confirm our faith by reminding us of what He has done for us at the Cross. The Lord's Supper is an eschatological sign pointing to the great and glorious banquet of the general assembly of the citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and it also serves to bridge the gap between time and eternity, heaven and earth, the first and the second coming of Christ. In short, the Lord's Supper is a sign pointing to Christ's Return in the clouds of glory to receive His Church into heaven. Entrance into this blessed and privileged 'circle' is "qualified" by one's submission to the kingship of Christ -- response in faith to the preaching of the Word exhorting all men to escape the coming revelation of the wrath of God upon this world.

 

We REJECT the view that the Eucharist is the central act of corporate worship in the church.  First of all, it is a view popularised by the Liturgical Renewal Movement, an ecumenical movement. And we regard the purported objective of that diabolic movement as providing a smoke-screen under the guise of scholarship in furthering the goal of the Anglo-Catholics to push for their Eucharistic theology towards occupying a more pervasive presence in the Church of England in preparation of the eventual 'union' with Rome through a 'common' agreement on the sacrament of unity.

 

Secondly, the philosophy of the movement is inspired by liberal Catholicism with its agenda in promoting a social gospel. The old liberal theme of social redemption resurfaces as one principal insight into the "functions" of the Lord's Supper.  

 

The missiological role of the Lord's Supper in terms of alleviating social problems distracts from message of the Gospel, and yet is presented as part of the "presentation" of the sacrament itself. The widening of the 'parameters' of inquiry into the nature and implications of the Lord's Supper for the Church to include liberal theology has the effect of redefining the character of God and diluting the message of the Gospel.  So, its 'efficacy' lies towards motivating Christians to contribute in making the world a better place to live in, but at the expense of stripping the Gospel of her power to save sinners.

 

Liturgiologists like the American Episcopalians, Massey H. Sheppard and William Palmer Ladd (otherwise possessing the credentials of being 'conservative high-churchmen') have through their efforts in 'renewing' the liturgy of the Lord's Supper successfully 'smuggled' liberal catholic themes into contemporary sacramental theology. In this country, liberal Catholicism is represented by Lux Mundi of whom  Charles Gore (bishop of Birmingham) who was a leading theologian.

 

The effects emanating from the garbling of the Gospel's message is that liberal eschathology and 'Catholic' sacramentology are fused into a 'renewed' liturgy of the Lord's Supper. The 'sacramental' aspect of the Gospel is reduced to comprehending the 'social mission' of the Church as the vision projected and the spiritual need of humanity recedes into the background until finally the long-awaited denial of eternal punishment enters the scene. The Lord's Supper conceived as the focal point in worship in accordance with 'Catholic' thinking can only result in the diminishing of the importance of preaching.   And so, the liturgy controls the doctrine in the context of a tradition which exalts the sacraments above the preaching of the Word.

 

Instead of sound and faithful exegesis of the Word, sacramentalists prefer to 'exegete' the sacraments by looking for something that is not meant to be there in the first place.  All sorts of meanings tinged with notions of 'social responsibilities' of the Church in terms of ecology, sociology et cetera are attached to the Lord's Supper.   

 

Yet, one must not overlook the fact that a liberal conception of the Lord's Supper is just one side of the coin. The other side equally involves, as was mentioned at the beginning of this topic, the 'repackaging' of the Anglican Eucharist so as to shift her orbit to revolve around the sphere of the Roman Mass. Apostate church leaders take as their starting-point the nature of the Lord's Supper as the symbol of unity.  We agree but that there was a 'prior' supposition or pre-condition that brought professing believers to the table. It was the Gospel that brought people from diverse background to share in the feast.  Therefore, it was only the Gospel makes possible the Lord's Supper as the sacrament of unity, and in the case infants, by way proxy.

 

And finally,

 

                                                               i.      The Divine Rule of Faith;

                                                             ii.       Patristic witness in the first four centuries;

                                                            iii.      The testimony of the Anglican reformers & divines of the Church of England;

 

demonstrates conclusively that it is right and meet to

 

                                                                                                                                 i.      discard ceremonial vestments to be replaced by the plain outdoor garments of the clergy;

 ii.  the

stripping of altars or boards to be replaced by a table covered with a plain white cloth free of any "encumbrances" such as a golden cross supported by an ornate base;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           iii.      the removal of stain-glass windows and white-washing of frescoes depicting pictorially e.g. Christ hanging on the Cross to be replaced by passages or verses from Scripture in certain cases;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          iv.      the removal and destruction of rood screens including the crucifixes that surmounts them to be replaced by the displaying of the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer, et cetera.

 

 

 

We DEFEND the use of the sign of the cross on the forehead of baptised infants;

 

We DEFEND the recitation of the early creeds, the chanting of psalms ending with the gloria patri;

 

We DEFEND the act of kneeling or genuflection for the reception of communion (see "black rubric" at the end of the Order/Office of Holy Communion, BCP 1662 which was inserted to erase or purge any doubts of implying eucharistic adoration);

 

We DEFEND the retention of Confirmation purged of its faux (i.e. pseudo) status as a sacrament and given new emphasis as a post-catechetical (ecclesiastical) rite;

 

We DEFEND the continuation of the historic episcopate, i.e. the restoration of holy Orders to her primitive model to the exclusion of monastic and other religious orders;

 

We DEFEND them and others belonging to inheritance of the Church of England as ancient and desirable customs and on grounds of jus liturgicum. 

 

Jut liturgicum is the episcopate as the organ of authority for

 

  • doctrinal control over liturgy;
  • and decreeing rites & ceremonies in the Church (lex credendi, ex lex statuat orandi --- 'out of law of prayer, the law of belief is established'),

so that each autonomous or self-governing national or provincial church has the authority, power & liberty to order her worship in things indifferent (adiaphora) so long nothing is ordained against the pattern, precepts and principles set forth in holy Scripture.

 

                                                                       IV

 

WHEREAS this Church accepts the inseparability of the res ('thing') & signum (sign) realised through 'sacramental union', in other words, the sign and the thing signified together make up the Sacrament (in rerum sacramenti); in this case of Baptism, so that the sign is not an empty or bare (nuda) token but that the promise of grace (gratia) is attached to the outward symbol wherein Water is the substance in administering Baptism: we REJECT as wholly erroneous that the efficacy of Baptism is tied or bound 'to that moment of time wherein it is administered'.  That is we CONDEMN the teaching that Regeneration (by the Holy Spirit) is inseparable from water Baptism which is called "baptismal regeneration" ex opere operato.  We hereby hold that in ordinary circumstances a person can be regenerated before or after water Baptism.        

 

NONETHELESS, we also hold that the prevenient grace of regeneration is not only offered ( Lat. "offere" --- equiv.  exhibited or displayed) but really and truly conveyed or channelled to them that 'rightly receive' (the corresponding good movement of the heart or faith -- 'sine bono motu untentis') the sacrament of Baptism which are such that they and elect infants were effectually called through the gracious operation of Holy Spirit to partake of the grace communicated to them in God's appointed time and sovereign wise counsel.   

 

And so, we accept that 'grace' is 'ordinarily' given in Baptism though NOT invariably so. We are back to the 'right reception' requirement in order for the recipient to benefit from the sacrament. This is classic Anglicanism. Other views, we hold are 'bizarre' whether the 'high-church' of the establishment or the Non-jurors.

 

Although not all baptised are, or have been or will be regenerated yet ALL are ingrafted and admitted into the visible Church by virtue of the administration of that sacrament of Baptism. The language of the Prayer-book recognises this and provides for all baptised infants to be treated from that viewpoint. The interpretation, therefore, to be made in such a situation proceeds along the principle of charitable presumption since the spiritual regeneration (and hence final salvation, i.e. destiny viz. elect or reprobate) of an infant (or catechumen) is known only to God alone.  Nonetheless, one can still discern and know a person's state before God judging by his fruits based on the objective and infallible testimony of the Word of God, though not invariably so. Furthermore, we are commanded inter alia to be on guard for 'false prophets (teachers) which come in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves'. Therefore, we can know who are the false teachers professing to be Christians.   

 

Just as there are degrees of reward and punishment, there are degrees or subtleties of judgment. This is something we ought to take into account when judging others that stand outside our theological orbit.  St. James says it quite clearly that teachers face the prospect of greater punishment than the lay-person who is just an ordinary church member. Furthermore, there are circumstances (mitigating or otherwise) that shapes and influences the ethos and level of Christian understanding and maturity of individuals. These factors too must cause us to apply the principle of charity where possible.  For example, a professing believer who is creedally orthodox but Arminian in his soteriology must nevertheless be treated as regenerated or converted unless if it is indisputably demonstrated that he is familiar to the hilt with Calvinism as the doctrine of Scripture.  Even then one must proceed very cautiously.

 

One must bear in mind too the fact that in the visible church (that bears more or less the marks of a true church) are both tares and wheat. Only open sinners are to be treated like a pagan, and even then, we pray for their conversion or subsequent repentance and return to the Lord, unless of course if he is the pope himself, or some other religious leader!    All these do not detract from the truth that holiness of doctrine has as its goal practical holiness.

 

Our position in respect to Charismatics is the same as with fundamentalist Arminians, and like the above, we

for the sake of the Truth of the Word of God and the welfare of their souls, we pray for their conversion and we try to persuade them of the error of their beliefs and practices.  

 

Reason itself would dictate that if as cessationists, we and others cannot concede to the legitimacy of fresh revelations, then the vision that a Pentecostalist claimed to have experienced must come from another source, if we discount any psychological self-manipulation. Other examples could be multiplied but it suffices to show that if God is not working in the midst of an excitement, fervour and manifestations of wild and frenzied behaviour et cetera, then it must Satan. Our theology must control our evaluation.   

 

But the principle of degrees of judgment stands so that we recognise degrees of Charismatics within her ranks. Some may be converted and it is only a matter of time before they leave for an evangelical church, others will only stick to their experience no matter what the Word of God says.

 

In short, a person who has made a credible profession of faith and is baptised must be regarded as a Christian. This is the standard Christian judgment, although he has yet to be able to articulate the Five Points of Calvinism or differs in any degree from our understanding of e.g. limited atonement, unless there are clear external signs to suggest otherwise.

 

This is not to say that we do not pray for the conversion or illumination of Arminians and Charismatics. We do, and also evangelise amongst them.   We do hold that Arminians and Charismatics are proper subjects for evangelism although we do not lump them together with the Romanists and the Byzantines in the same “outer circle” of non-Reformed religions, i.e. Biblical Christianity.

 

We deny that liberals or modernists -- those who deny the supernatural, substitutionary atonement, inerrancy of Scripture et cetera are ever Christians at all but rank humanists dabbling in the Christian religion with the view of destroying her credibility. We reject neo-orthodoxy of Karl Barth and Emil Brunner as the re-modification of liberalism of the last century.    The existentialism and anti-rational streak are ever present in Barthianism and its views of Scripture. 

 

Lastly, true evangelicalism is neither fundamentalism nor Charismaticism but the Reformed Faith (whether high or moderate Calvinism, it does not matter to us).  That concerns the Gospel.    But we welcome the anti-Romanism and anti-Charismaticism of the fundamentalists whilst deploring their Arminianism which is the cornerstone of Rome's theological system and liberalism and alien to classical Protestantism. 

 

It is our prayer that here in the United Kingdom, God will continue to preserve the evangelical churches that broadly are Reformed although many are Baptistic in persuasion, and some susceptible to innovations in worship.  Amen.

 

Addendum:    We reject the idea (albeit 'ancient' and said to be held by Augustine, bishop of Hippo himself, the great defender of sovereign grace) that original sin and past sins committed up the point just prior to baptism are remitted. Water baptism does not destroy the sinful nature (concupisentia) but only removes original guilt (reatus), i.e. cover the sin and guilt of the infant via the infusion of grace.

  

In the schema of salvation (ordo salutis from God's eternal perspective), justification precedes regeneration and is not to be confused with the latter. If and when reformed Anglicans speak of 'baptismal regeneration', they are only employing the language of the Prayer-book and thereby reflecting its pastoral character.    Therefore, no doctrinal emphasis is implied therein that contradicts the evangelical feature of justification by faith alone which translates into worthy reception on the part of the believer.     

 

In the case of the application by the Holy Spirit of the benefits of salvation wrought by Jesus Christ at Calvary, the scheme of things are of a different order. Regeneration precedes the adult convert (neophutos) and causes him to (savingly) believe (note: faith as an instrument as per rectus) and hence be justifed coram Deo or appropriate the gift of justification.  

 

Justification, contra Tridentine and post-Vatican II Rome, is NOT infused but only and always imputed to the believer, i.e. he never has justifying grace changing his nature (organic) but only the effect on his legal status (forensic) before Almighty God.  Only sanctifying grace does that in regenerating/quickening & converting the soul.  Justifying grace, properly understood, is therefore an attitude or disposition of a favourable kind towards the ungodly. Hence, grace is unmerited favour from God towards the undeserved.   

 

Therefore, the 'hypostatising' of grace or the conception of grace as a 'substance' in Romish theology (including her off-shoot in the Church of England) is to be rejected as erroneous because the grace of God is not in 'things'.  But is the 'motive' behind the giving of them to the elect and reprobate (please consult Psalm 73 as for example).   

 

In this manner, the particularity of grace or grace as exclusively belonging to the realm of salvation (in accordance with orthodox Reformed thought) is preserved in contradistinction from common providence or bounty. Secondly, the Reformed does not fall into the error of Rome in fusing grace and nature whilst maintaining the operation of grace in the realm of nature.  The antithesis of grace is to be found opposite sin as also present in the realm of nature -- the effects of sin, i.e. the curse covering creation as a result of Adam's 'primal' sin.   

 

Regeneration (rebirth, quickening and illumination) or the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ in a believer as an instantaneous and definitive event. This event relates to the narrower sense of the work of Christ IN the believer.  It enables him to experience and appreciate the significance of justification (in foro conscientiae, Eng. equiv. - the declaration to the sinner in the tribunal of his conscience that all of his sins have been forgiven on the account of Christ as the perfect and blameless sin-bearer et vice-versa the reckoning to the believing sinner of Christ's merits constituting for him the robe of the righteousness of the God-Man).  

 

Before the subjective declaration in the believer's consciousness and of his knowledge that he is righteous in God's sight i.e. "declarative" or "distributive" justification (distinctive or individual), actual or administrative justification (nominative or titular as in a title deed) has already been accomplished at the Cross where reconciliation was effected in Christ i.e. the work of Christ FOR us considered from the viewpoint of the whole mystical Body of Christ -- the sum total of God's elect).  Therefore, 'justification' has two aspects with regards to the phases in its execution.

 

i. Considered from the historical viewpoint, Christ has already executed the Father's will in taking upon Himself the sins of all those whose names were written in the Book of the Lamb (the heavenly Will or Testament -- legal deed) from before the foundations of the world. He bore the punishment or curse on their behalf to the satisfaction of God the Father acting as Judge. The 'will' is administered or executed at the point of Christ's suffering and death on the Cross. At this point, all of the sins of all of God's elect are imputed or transferred to Christ, thus necessitating His suffering the wrath of God as the Administrator of Justice. A parallel transaction takes place, only that the movement is reversed where the merits and benefits of Christ -- blessings contained in the 'will' are transferred or reckoned to the elect.  Christ's death and hence the Father's justification of the elect is in this sense considered as an "aggregate". God's justification of the elect is His justification of them as the sum total of the mystical Body of Christ, the universal Church.   

 

ii. Considered from the present viewpoint, elect sinners need to appropriate by faith the righteousness of Christ as their robe of righteousness or covering as rightfully and legally belonging to them and is theirs alone. Faith, although is an act is nonetheless in itself a gift of God and secondly, is an instrument of reception of what is already the property of the elect.  (The relationship between the conception of the sacraments as like a legal deed and the recipients are beautifully enshrined and expressed in the Offices of Baptism and the Lord's Supper as contained in the Book of Common Prayer). Throughout history, the Church has exhorted and called all men indiscriminately to repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ and receive Him as their Lord and Saviour, thus receiving His covering for themselves.  The Spirit efficaciously and irresistibly calls the elect sinner to Christ. In His regenerating work, the Spirit implants a new 'principle' in the believer and distributes or applies the righteousness of Christ to him. The result is that the believer is enabled to exercise saving faith so as to understand, believe and thus place his trust wholly on Christ alone, resting on Him and trusting in His finished work as a result of the knowledge of being justified freely by grace alone. This knowledge in his mind and consciousness of course causes the believer to experience peace in his soul as a consequence of appreciating the significance of imputed righteousness. This is what we mean by 'justification by faith alone'.

 

Justification as considered from the viewpoint of the Trinity,

 

a)     The Father decreed the justification of all Whom He foreknew (i.e. loved eternally);

b)     The Son came into this world to be their Surety (the focal point of justification -- the "theodicy" of God was revealed and vindicated i.e. the justification of God in His work of saving sinners deserving only of His wrath and the justification of sinners in the sight of God); and

c)     The Spirit applies the finished work of Christ to the elect throughout history (He distributes or applies the justification of Christ to the elect)

 

We reject as erroneous and strange the teaching that Old Testament saints were saved in a manner different from the New Testament saints; affirming instead the oneness of the Old and New Covenants and therefore the oneness of the Church of God.

 

Therefore, justification vis-à-vis faith or belief by a sinner (anthropocentric view) is preceded by regeneration but justification vis-à-vis God's eternal decree (in foro Dei opera immanentia hoec exeunt - theocentric view) precedes regeneration, the latter is an act occuring only in time.           

 

In short, the justification of a sinner in NO wise depends upon his 'act' of 'free-will' or 'choice'. It is never and can never be so because he is dead in trespasses and sin (as per Ephesians 2:1) so that salvation is of God that sheweth mercy (as per Romans 9:16, confer with Ephesians 2:4 inter alia).  Ephesians 2: 8 expresses and sums up this truth beautifully:

 

"For it is by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God".

 

Article XI of the 39 Articles of Religion of the Church of England:

 

"We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and every full of comfort, as more largely expressed in the Homily of Justification".

 

'For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to Whom be glory for ever.  Amen'.

 

SOLI DEO GLORIA

 

   


1] For 'documentary proof' of the REC’s 'concordat' or 'joint-agreement on inter-church communion' with the APA, please see http://www.anglicanprovince.org. Please note the new website’s URL which is at http://anglicanprovince.org/apahomepage.html

[2] There is the issue of 'leaving enough room to wiggle about' for 'anglo-catholic' communicants to affirm a corporeal or ubiquitious presence of Christ in the 'host' (hostia), i.e. species of bread and wine.    Furthermore, given the tendency of so-called evangelicals, especially of a scholarly reputation  and expertise in church history and historical theology to reconcile evangelical emphases with classical medieval doctrine and in the context of the pervasive crypto-relativistic tendencies (influenced by the pluralism of the age!) even within the evangelical school, it is hardly surprising that 'communion by extension' will be open to differing theological interpretation (limited only by the – extent of the - proclivities of the ecclesiastical 'powers-that-be'. After all, the 'spirit of relativism' has infected many so-called evangelicals in the CoE. One could always circumvent the objection to that practice by insisting that it is merely pastoral.  Perhaps the silence and indifference of some so-called CoE evangelicals of 'anglo-catholic' idolatry is due to their (i.e, the evangelicals) 'pastoral approach' to that serious and deadly error.  Pastoral theology in Anglicanism has been so abused to the extent that soul-destroying errors are ignored and tolerated!

[3] As if one cannot have communion with Christ without the Eucharist.   If 'communion by extension' is not the re-introduction of sacramentalism by the back door, then the whole practice would be meaningless.    The Office of Visitation of the Sick is very clear:  The minister brings the Word into the house of the sick person by pronouncing a blessing (viz. the 'salutation of peace' and applying the promises of God to the needy soul ('exhortation', 'a prayer for mercy and renewed grace', etc.). Thus the Office comports with the rubric at the end of the Office of Communion for the Sick that the assurance and comfort of a believer depends on 'feeding on Christ by faith', 'earnestly remembering the benefits he hath procured thereby [of Christ’s suffering death upon the Cross for him]'. 

[4] The examples of purgatory and an 'intermediate state' given is not intended as an endorsemeNt of these beliefs unfounded in Scripture. For the elect, to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ.

[5]Cranmer Theological House, Shrevesport in Louisiana (http://www.cranmerhouse.edu).  The lecturer concerned is Daniel K. Dunlap, professor of dogmatic theology and liturgy.

[6] He is Scott deHart and teaches Church History. To view Mr. DeHart’s parish website, visit http://firstmartyr.org and look up on the 'Articles' section for a (self-indicting) position on the Society of the Holy Cross where he makes no bones about his membership in an avowed anti-Protestant and extreme Romanising organisation.

[7] The initial ruling of the Court of Arches of St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside was overturned.

[8] 'Seeing now…that this Child is regenerate…'.

[9] Indeed, propositional revelation embodies Christ’s Incarnation for therein is the Word or Wisdom of God revealed in grace and truth (apart from His bodily presence).  Therefore, we 'see' Christ in Scripture by faith.   He speaks to us in Scripture and we speak to him in prayer.   (Corporate prayer is a 'sacramental' expression of the Church’s response to the Word – an antwortto the Wort).

[10] God became man so that man could participate and share in the glory of God. This is not 'ontological consubstantiality' because man does not become God or is absorbed into His essence, rather he reflects God’s glory.

[11] Sociestas Sanctae Crucis or the Society of the Holy Cross  (An extreme Ritualist organisation founded by Charles Lowder, ostensibly to work among the poor but really to inculcate and promote devotion to the 'real presence' of Christ in the 'host' and other Romish superstitions like compulsory auricular confession).

[12] Hebrews 7:27: '…touto gar epoinsen ephapax eauton anenegkas'.

[13] Fully God and fully man.  The doctrine of justification by faith alone presupposes the full divinity and full humanity of Christ.  Protestants therefore stand at the forefront of Chalcedonian orthodoxy.

[14] It was the year that John Henry Newman finally perverted to Rome. Newman had attempted to place the CofE somewhere between papacy and what he was fond of describing as 'popular Protestantism'.

[15] Erastianism is a desirable constitutional and ecclesiastical arrangement – that was how the CofE came about, i.e. reformed and given an independent existence. However, it is different from saying that it is the State irrespective of Scripture, the creeds, the 39 Articles etc. which is the final arbiter of the Church’s doctrinal identity. Hence, a distinction must be made between the doctrinal identity of the Church and her status in relation to the State.

[16] It is not enough to, as in the case of high-church churchmanship to protest against the abuses of Rome, but also to present a positive alternative to Rome's scheme of salvation in which the idea of 'free-will' is the cornerstone. Only the doctrines of grace as contained in the 39 Articles fulfils that role. The reformed Anglican therefore is not only opposed to Rome in his polemics and controversy, but also contends for the sovereignty of God, sovereign, particular, free and irresistible grace, effectual calling et cetera.  In short, he is both negative and positive (reflecting the balance in his churchmanship) in his formulation of his ecclesiastical position, steadier in his control of the rudder and sail of the Protestant flag-ship of the Church of England and more firmly grounded in the soil of Protestantism. Thus he is secure in his claims of the Protestant face of Anglicanism unlike his high-church neighbour who is more liable to the charge of retaining elements of popery or still exhibiting germs or rags of popery especially from non-conformists quarters.       

[17] The Antichrist embodies both the papacy and an individual pope.  The Antichrist and the pope are 'identical' - Satan’s own masterly 'incarnation'. It must also be reminded that the Antichrist is the pseudo-Christ and not only opposes Christ but takes His place as well.

[18] The 'Clementine' and 'Ignatian' period overlaps so that there was indeed a diversity of polity shaped by the local condition and the Jewish and Gentile backgrounds of the congregations. The Jewish converts inherited a pattern of eldership from the synagogue model where the synaxis would be presided by or the function to celebrate and offer prayers of thanksgiving and the benediction is accorded to the leading elder. The Epistle to the Church(es) in Corinth would seem to suggest that prophets or those with 'supernatural gifts' were 'elevated' in their ministerial roles not in accordance with any fixed-form of ordering the worship, i.e. lack of a liturgy. The form of polity in these congregations too would seem to have been patterned after the civil magistrates of the day.