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Anglican Communion is the Canary in the Coal Mine in the Body of Christ

Anglican Communion is the Canary in the Coal Mine in the Body of Christ

COMMENTARY

By Canon Brian Cox
www.virtueonline.org
November 17, 2020

The situation in the Anglican Church worldwide vis a vis the embrace of secular progressivism is quite different from the situation with the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglican Communion is the second largest Christian body in the world comprising 80-90 million members in 38 provinces. The largest number and center of gravity in the Anglican world is the Global South and particularly Africa. Ironically the average Anglican today is a 25-year-old Kenyan or Nigerian woman. Each province is led by an Archbishop or primate who is elected by all the bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury is a primer inter pares, a first among equals. In essence each province is independent but Canterbury serves as the basis of unity in the Anglican Communion. Hence, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not in any way like the RC Pope. The primates, the Anglican Consultative Council and the once a decade Lambeth Conference of all bishops provides oversight and collegial governance.

The Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer comprise the basic theological doctrines of the Anglican Communion. The Catechism or official doctrines are remarkably orthodox and could be enthusiastically embraced by Catholics, evangelicals, charismatics, and even Messianic Jews.

The Anglican embrace of secular progressivism is only partial, mostly Western and is opposed strongly by over 85-90 percent of the leadership of the Anglican Communion. It has actually caused a major split in the Anglican Communion between the Global South and the West led by the American Episcopal Church. It is Justin Welby's single biggest headache and his attempts at finding a path forward have largely failed.

The Progressives began their assault on the Church with the American Episcopal Church. What began there is now spreading to other parts of the Body of Christ

Since the embrace of secular progressivism began with the American Episcopal Church, it has now engulfed Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. In the 42 years I served as a pastor the Episcopal Church went from gay hostile to gay friendly to gay dominated. The progressives and the LGBTQ folks completely dominate all the levers of power and centers of influence and they tolerate no opposition. Conservatives or evangelicals like me are expected to change our position or get out. 200,000 people left.

The strategy of the progressives was to begin with calling for diversity and tolerance and by normalizing homosexual lifestyle not as a sinful choice by some of God's children but as an intrinsic part of how God created them. The second step was to focus on the goal of normalizing the idea of gay civil unions as an expression of diversity and tolerance. The third step was to shift the focus to gay marriage and changing the doctrinal teaching about marriage from man/woman to two persons. This was the beginning of so-called gay marriage in the Episcopal Church. The fourth step was to shift the focus from gay marriage as an expression of tolerance and diversity to being a civil right. Hence, to deny gays marriage is then a violation of their civil rights. The fifth stage was to change the definition of sexuality and bring in the whole concept of transgender. At the same time, they began to create pressure to classify any opposition to gay marriage or transgender as the norm as hate speech. This is where we are now.

In the first 20 years as a pastor I focused on trying to advocate in the church for traditional marriage. However, I came to realize that I wasn't convincing the Progressives and they hadn't changed my mind. So, I shifted gears and began to work on the national level for reconciliation in hopes that Conservatives and Progressives could live in the same institution without killing each other. Once Progressives achieved their victory, they were no longer interested in reconciliation but in supremacy of the Progressive worldview. All their talk about diversity and tolerance was a sham and a smokescreen.

Why am I sharing all of this? Because I believe that the Anglican Communion is the canary in the coal mine in the Body of Christ. It is a bellwether of what will spread to the rest of the Body of Christ and I believe it is now in a full-frontal assault on the Catholic Church. The warning is not about Pope Francis. It is a warning to us that the full force of the Progressive Movement is now being turned on the Catholic Church. They are now the front line of attack by Progressives and we must stand by our Catholic brothers and sisters because an attack on them is an attack in the whole Body of Christ. They have focused their attack on Pope Francis to neutralize him. This is the key to their strategy to penetrate the Catholic Church due to the unique role of the Pope. Poor Pope Francis appears to be in over his head and not really understanding the forces that are arrayed against him. They are hitting him on three fronts: pedophilia scandal, the LGBTQ agenda and universalism.

Canon Brian Cox is the retired rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California

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