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Protest, Providence, and Promise in Global Anglican Realignment
Edited by George Egerton, Kyle MacKenney, David Short and Trevor Walters.
Anglican House Publishers. 339pp, $24.95

Reviewed by David W. Virtue, DD
April 27, 2022

On June of 2002, a theological bombshell dropped in the Diocese of New Westminster, BC, Canada, when ultra-liberal bishop Michael Ingham in consort with his synod voted to authorize same-sex blessings.

It sent up a theological mushroom cloud that would soon cross the globe, enveloping and forever changing the Anglican Communion. The first result was clergy and delegates from eight parishes walked out to form the Anglican Communion in New Westminster. Later, it caused the formation of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), which, in turn, would become a diocese in the much larger body of the Anglican Church in North America. It would resound at the Lambeth Conference in 1998 with a resolution (1:10) declaring marriage only between a man and a woman. Finally, it caused the formation of GAFCON and inevitably, realignment in the Anglican Communion.

The twenty-year journey has been ably documented in this volume and dedicated to the late James I. Packer (1926-2020) teacher, author and friend, who on that fateful day in June walked out with his fellow Anglicans, never more to return. Packer was later deposed by the bishop. He responded to being told he had abandoned the ministry, retorting "poppycock", a bishop, he said, can revoke your license but he cannot negate your ministry.

In Dr. Packer's chapter, Church and Schism: Episcopacy in a Time of Heresy is worth the price of the book. "Realignment is the name of the game," he writes. "Is this schism? Short answer--no, it is not schism. Schism is a matter of brotherly love and cooperation, rather than of doctrine...you should talk about the sad duty of separation for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of truth... "Guard the gospel" is the word of wisdom which must ever be our mantra and set our course."

Bishop Ronald C. Ferris writes movingly in a memoir, retrospective of Lambeth 1998, detailing the background, the allegations of vote buying and what happened in plenary sessions, concluding that that Lambeth Resolution was a "watershed for the Anglican world."

Dr. Edith M. Humphrey writes on Scripture, Exegesis, and Christian Sexuality: Participation ABD Memoir in Disordered Times with extreme clarity and with no punches pulled, on her exegesis of Christian texts with regard to human sexuality.

She writes: "It seems to me that a major question is whether same sex erotic relations (with the entire LGBTQ+ complex) is only a cultural or indeed, a genuinely "doctrinal issue." How can it be other than theological? The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) considered debates about eating non-kosher food theological and called on the churches of God to act together. If food matters to catholicity, how much more does our sexuality! Sexuality has to do with our doctrine of humanity (anthropology). Anthropology is directly related to the doctrine of the Church.

The Rev. Robin Guinness dips back into history with the 1994 Anglican Essentials conference in Montreal, with the Solemn Declaration formulated by the first Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. That Synod was had a commitment to be orthodox in doctrine, biblical in faith, evangelical in mission, and global in identity by pledging to keep unbroken fellowship with the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Canon George Sinclair draws a straight line from the 1994 Anglican Essentials conference to the birth of the ANiC. "We were committed to staying in the ACC, but we got blindsided by orthodoxy," he writes. "We had hoped that the bishops or the primates or the Archbishop of Canterbury would bring a godly resolution. But it was not to be. God draws straight with crooked lines."

Bishop Donald Harvey draws on Memories and Engagements: People, Providence, and "Spots of Time" focusing on the cast of Global South leaders, ranging from South East Asia to Nigeria to South America in the fight for orthodoxy and protection as the ANiC moved forward. The realization finally dawned that despite all their best efforts to bring about reform from within the official structures of the ACC, it was back to "square one."

It was Bishop Charlie Masters in his chapter Led by the Spirit, who realized by the end of 2008, that they were now solidly part of ANiC and already in the midst of sad and serious litigation with their previous diocese.

In Part III, CRISIS, RESCUE, AND REALIGNMENT, historian Dr. George Egerton pulls it together. He notes the themes and patterns that were addressed in Essentials 2001 in New Westminster foreshadowing the later convergence of orthodox Anglican minorities in the First World with the surging forces of Anglicanism in the Global South in generating new effective and faithful ecclesial structures, with reconfigured provinces and episcopal authority.

In a chapter the CHURCH MEET LAW: LAW MEET CHURCH, David Avren and Joyce Lee conclude that the failure to act and extinguish a radical revisionist movement at its emergence fanned the flames in the Anglican Communion, encouraging like-minded revisionists elsewhere. In hindsight, one might conclude that the lack of courage to do the right thing...at the key and obvious moment by the then Archbishop of Canterbury clearly sowed the seeds of the dramatic decline of influence of the archbishop's office in global Anglicanism in the decades to come.

In 2007, an alternative structure, a landing place and safe harbor for all, was formed: the Anglican Network in Canada. Becky Pruitt MacKenney writing on the FRUITS OF REALIGNMENT says this; "One of the most remarkable fruits of the Anglican realignment is the deepened ties between Anglican churches in Canada, North America, and across the globe." This writer can attest to that.

We now have GAFCON GB and Europe- authorized ecclesial entity, the Anglican Network in Europe (ANiE) comprising the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) now formally set up as a convocation and the Anglican Convocation in Europe with its own Bishop Andy Lines.

For the majority of Anglicans across the world who are orthodox in faith and morals, this book is a must read; a vignette into the birth and life struggle of one province as a sign of hope for faithful Anglicans everywhere.

I urge readers to buy this book, to read, learn and inwardly digest with the knowledge that in the end, God wins.

You can buy the book here: https://anglicanhousepublishers.org/shop/the-anglican-network-in-canada-protest-providence-and-promise-in-global-anglican-realignment/" https://anglicanhousepublishers.org/shop/the-anglican-network-in-canada-protest-providence-and-promise-in-global-anglican-realignment/

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