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What is the ACN Doing? - by Hugh McCann

WHAT IS THE ACN DOING?!

By Hugh McCann

Issues for AAC-ACN folk in ECUSA and elsewhere in the Anglican communion

The Anglican Communion Network says its core purpose is, “To be a missionary movement of Anglicans IN FELLOWSHIP WITH global Anglicanism, making disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ in North America and to the ends of the earth.”

The American Anglican Council claims that it “is a Network of individuals, parishes, specialized ministries and Episcopal Bishops who affirm Biblical authority and Anglican orthodoxy AS the Episcopal Church WITHIN the Anglican Communion.

In response to the Lord's calling and by His grace, we commit ourselves to proclaiming the Good News to every person and to working to reform and renew OUR CHURCH. We are gathering those of like mind in order to move ahead with the mission and ministry OF THE CHURCH.”

David Virtue wrote on May 9th, 2004, “The one unifying principle for both conservative and liberal Anglicans is that they REMAIN IN COMMUNION with the mother Church of England through the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Though many of their aims are lofty and often biblical, what is strikingly lacking in the AAC & ACN statements of “vision,” “values,” and “purpose,” is any indication of being willing (much less planning) to separate from the faithless, heretical bishops and priests in authority in both the ECUSA and the Church of England.

Sadly, those who stay united to heretics are untrue to Christ. The Episco-Anglicans who like to play dress up (and kiss up to the Archbishop), seem bent on rejecting Christ's word where his inspired apostle Paul commands separation from unbelievers in 1 Cor. 6:14-7:1. “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33, ESV).

Until the conservatives leave the ECUSA, the impotent AAC-ACN gang is just blowing smoke. They do not REBUKE the enemies of Christ, they do not DENOUNCE them, they do not CHARGE them with sin, they have not DISCIPLINED them, and they do not SEPARATE from them. Instead, they DIALOGUE with them, trying to NEGOTIATE alternative oversight! Imagine Jesus doing that with the devil in his temptation. Eve tried it with the serpent in the garden, and we know how successful that was.

But unless and until faithful ECUSA priests and bishops (1) recognize the illegitimacy of their communion with antichrist, and (2) are willing to lose all for Christ, there is no hope for them. But they are masters of compromise; they have been comfortably yoked together with the unfaithful in the ECUSA for decades.

Trying to operate as a faithful remnant within an apostate church, the AAC-ACN is calling on outside help in Africa and the UK to restore order and piety within the ECUSA. This is a fool's errand, as the liberal majority in the ECUSA is (1) unimpressed with the “Canterbury connection,” and (2) not even under the jurisdiction of Africa or the C of E! But when the Africans excommunicate the ECUSA, the conservatives will finally be forced to decide between their properties, and fellowship with African Anglicans.

Until the AAC-ACN repent of their lust for respectability in associating with the C of E, and their unbiblical ordination of women, they will continue to be out of communion with the more orthodox Africans, AMiA, REC, and others, and out of step with the holy Spirit, who is not bound to bless a church apart from its being faithful to the Scriptures he inspired.

The “Big Six” alliance[1] is hurriedly thrown together with at least two problems:

(1) Trying to impress the Archbishop of Canterbury. They think they need Rowan Williams’ imprimatur for validation. Wrong. But the fear of man is a strong snare, indeed.

(2) They haven't reached unanimity on women's ordination. As long as women are ordained, St. Paul (God's word) is being despised, and those biblically prohibited from office are in positions of authority and influence. But just as Eve was deceived (Gen 3:1-6; 1 Cor. 11:3; 2 Cor. 11:3-4; 1 Tim. 2:9-15), and misled her irresponsible hubby, so too do “female clergy” their neutered counterparts today.

This lack of unanimity will come back to haunt the now-roused troops[2] within ten or so years. The issue of accepting homosexuality is not unrelated to that of women in the pastorate. Both rely on revisionist interpretations of Scripture, sharing the same underlying hermeneutic: “The Bible may teach it (anti-sodomy or anti-feminism), but we reject it because of our enlightened ways today.”[3] Those holding this principle must repent and see the error of such thinking.

Finally, the “common cause” is all well and good, but Evangelicals, Calvinists, and Anglo-Catholics each have very different views on the work of Christ, the sacraments, and how grace is mediated. These too will need addressing. Simply being united against outrageous revisionists will not be enough to sustain the perceived “common cause.” The center may hold, but the bigger the center (the more that can be agreed upon), the stronger the bond, of course.

May God help those in leadership in the Anglican and Episcopalian churches today.

Notes:

[1] The American Anglican Council, the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in America, the Anglican Province of America, Forward in Faith (North America), and the Reformed Episcopal Church. Historically, the AMiA, APA, & REC have been united in their departure from the C of E, and to the scriptural order of male-only clergy. FiFNA, the ACN, & AAC are movements within the ECUSA pushing for reform. But while FiFNA rejects women priests, the ACN & AAC both support women clergy. Simple enough?

[2] That is, the AAC, ACN, AMiA, APA, FiFNA, and REC.

[3] Of course, many of the “enlightened majority” who teach this hermeneutic are women clergy. Surprise!

Hugh McCann (MA in biblical studies) taught New Testament at the APCK seminary in Berkeley, CA. Once confirmed in the Episcopal Church, USA, he is today a recovering ex-member, realizing that the ECUSA is irredeemable and irreformable.

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