The Day the Gloves Came Off: An End to Detente in the ACNA

It was a boneheaded move.

With one conversation at Mere Anglicanism in South Carolina, the debate over the ordination of women in the Anglican Church in North America has been reignited and forever changed, perhaps in ways that will prove historic. The proponents of the ordination of women had played all their cards, and what we saw, we can’t unsee. The Rev. Jeffrey Miller, director of the Mere Anglicanism Conference, and the Rt. Rev. Chip Edgar, his bishop, called Father Calvin Robinson into the green room and gave him a scolding. He was very right to ask “Why do I feel like I’m in the headmaster’s office.” And Jeffrey Miller was right to reply “Because, to some extent, you are.” The conference organizers had expected Father Robinson, a black priest from England, to speak to the question of critical race theory. It turns out, that wasn’t what they had asked for at all. In fact, in asking Father Robinson to speak at the conference, they had simply asked for a talk on “Critical Theory and its origins… as well as address why Critical Theory and the Gospel are irreconcilable meta narratives.”

Being an astute and bold speaker, Father Robinson did precisely that, relating to the audience not only the origins and pedigree of Critical Theory in the world of ideas, but also relaying how current challenges in the ecclesiastical landscape are included in that pedigree, most especially feminism. It was a full-throated appeal for the Church to return to the Gospel and the Faith once delivered to the saints, especially with regard to the Anglican Church in North America’s pet progressive project – the ordination of women. With no theological or historical response, the Rev. Miller accused Father Robinson of a personal betrayal, of going “off topic,” and of “rattling the cage.” Then, they took the bold move of disinviting him to be part of a panel at the end of the conference. It is fair to say that Father Robinson had been canceled, deplatformed (as the kids say), and I think – disciplined, for breaking the unwritten rules of civility. I should note that the rules of civility are often used as a cudgel against people of color in America. It’s a way to preserve the status quo, to keep people that do not know the ways of white society out of it. But Calvin Robinson has debated in the Oxford Union, he not only knows the rules of civility, he knows them better than those who are trying – with ridiculous obsequiousness – to police him.

Speaking of obsequiousness. Much has been written in the last week from all corners. Statements have been put out by two ACNA bishops, who wrote, not to apologize for the treatment of a man who gave a learned and fair talk, but to reassure the clergy of their dioceses, especially women, that they were valued and defended. I might point out that the two letters read as predictably cliched “apologies” on behalf of victims. First we have a response from Bishop Chip Edgar (of the host diocese), who wrote to the clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina:

The Anglican Church in North America, and the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, and I, as bishop, are deeply committed to the idea that both those who favor women’s ordination, and those who oppose it, do so in fidelity to scripture and are both welcomed and valued in our common life. We refer to this recognition of both positions throughout the ACNA with the unwieldy moniker, “dual integrities.” While that is a less than helpful designation, it points to the deep reality that both views ought to be held with integrity, are welcome, respected, and will be defended on either side.

Bishop Edgar went on to describe Father Robinson’s plenary talk as “demeaning.”

Then, we have a response from Bishop Todd Hunter (ordinary of Churches for the Sake of Others), which if I may be honest is a fine bit of virtue signaling.

It needs to be reinforced today because of derogatory comments toward women clergy made by a speaker at last week’s Mere Anglicanism, one of the most notable conferences within the ACNA. I did not attend the conference, and I did not hear the talk, but several C4SO leaders have brought the matter to my attention.

Today I saw a letter from Bishop Chip Edgar of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina to his clergy. I cite it here as an example of best practices within the challenge of “dual integrity.”

Our women pay a high price for being in ACNA. On the matter of Holy Orders, they are talked about but rarely listened to. For men in ACNA, dual integrities is a concept. For women, it can be a dehumanizing tool for rejection.

At this point, if it wasn’t clear already, the gloves are off.

Those who hold the traditional and catholic position on the matter no longer have any grounds to believe that we will be tolerated. We have no grounds to believe that we can speak the truth in mixed company without fear of reprisal and cancelation. When Bishop Edgar says that traditionalists oppose women’s ordination “in fidelity to scripture” and are “welcomed and valued in our common life” I don’t believe him. Why should I believe someone who says one thing and does another? Why should I believe someone who has shown that the only acceptable way to hold the traditional position is to not talk about it. After all, Father Robinson talked about it, in a way that was respectful, and in line with his conscience, and it was called “demeaning.”

What I think bishops Edgar and Hunter are saying is “We all know who the dehumanizing, demeaning, and derogatory people are in this room. And it’s not us.” All the while, they continue to talk of “dual integrities.” This shows that what they really believe is that only one position can be held with integrity – their own. Consequently, only one position can be publicly defended – their own. That they feel the need to offer solemn apologies and pledges of their loyalty to the cause projects an almost pathological need to salve the rage of the women they serve. Every Jezebel needs an Ahab, I suppose. (If you think I care about how that comment might be perceived, do read on.)

What this whole debacle has shown me is that so-called civility in this matter gains me nothing. Why should I bother to debate someone who believes my positions are misogynistic, demeaning, and dehumanizing? Why should I enter into dialogue only to realize that it’s a trap, that my opponent never had any intention of debating me, but instead wanted to hoist me up on a scaffold and point out the misogynist. “Look what we have here, a real, live, chauvinist pig.” Father Robinson’s talk, and I’m sure he didn’t intend this, being a very kind man, gave us license to cast off the restrictions of civility – because we know they’re just lies. Why should I play by the rules when my opponent has no intention of following them? More importantly, why should I play by the rules, when the rules aren’t real, and when following them merely discourages me from speaking the truth?

What I have meant to address in this essay is the reality that so-called dual integrities (never mind the logical impossibility of it) is a myth, and one meant to keep traditionalists in check while liberal Protestantism flourishes. No agreement detailing dual integrities has ever been in place, either in the Anglican Church in North America or in the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON). Today, I will walk you through the most recent communication from the College of Bishops on the issue of Women’s Ordination from 2017, which still stands in effect. And then, I will expose what I think are the reasons behind the lie.

In early September 2017, the College of Bishops met in Vancouver, British Columbia. One of their tasks that week was to consider the final report from the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders. That report had been made publicly available the previous May, and everyone waited to see what the Bishops would decide. The Bishop’s statement, issued on September 8th, contains a preamble, a basic statement, and a set of commitments. The bishops determine that:

each Diocese and Jurisdiction has the freedom, responsibility, and authority to study Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition of the Church, and to seek the mind of Christ in determining its own convictions and practices concerning the ordination of women to the diaconate and the priesthood

However, the Bishops also recognize that even amidst what they acknowledge are “differing principles of ecclesiology and hermeneutics” and “divergent conclusions,” they also acknowledge that the practice is “a recent innovation to Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order.” They state that there is insufficient Scriptural reason to impose a mandate for the ordination of women, but nevertheless state that, at least constitutionally and canonically, individual dioceses may continue the practice.

Even so, it must be said that this statement, in and of itself, does not constitute a commitment to “dual integrities.” In fact, if anything, this statement encourages further debate, study, and determination of possible outcomes. What it does not do is claim that each approach to the question is of equal value or validity. It does not even attempt to make the revisionist claim that women’s ordination is some long-buried ancient practice. Knowing a great many of the men who unanimously adopted the statement, they were not saying that their convictions in this matter were second order issues or adiaphora. Most bishops still hold that the conversation is not over among them – how could it be? If what is desired from the ACNA is that it become a coherent, unified witness, how can such practices continue at all?

It is a wonder that anyone talks of dual integrities at all. Traditionalists don’t believe in it, and therefore don’t use it. Those in favor of women’s ordination use it as a license to police language and halt any meaningful exchange on the basis of “civility,” even though they don’t really believe the traditionalist position has any merit. They say – oh, you can’t talk about it because we’ve agreed to disagree, and even though we both find each other’s position on the matter to be contemptuous, we hope that someday, someone might have the stomach for it. The innovators are the ones who use the phrase “dual integrities” because all they need is time. When you believe, as do all progressives, that history tends towards utopia, all you need is more time to get there. And this belief is confirmed, as every bit of meaningful opposition is wiped from the map. We have whole dioceses on hold. Why? Because the admission of another traditionalist diocese would upset the balance of power, and simply prolong the inevitable.

You see, the Anglican Church in North America is in crisis. As long as attempts to speak to this issue in public forums are shot down with impunity, and worse, written off as demeaning and divisive, it will be those who continue to hold the traditional position that move to the exits, knowing it to only be a matter of time before they are mocked. And – as long as the ideology that is enshrined in the ordination of women is given quarter, the ACNA will continue to slide into chaos – the chaos of liberal protestants jumping onto whatever secular bandwagon the critical theorists deem next. The longer we wait to decide, the longer people will assume that it simply doesn’t matter. There won’t be a generation with the stomach to tackle this conflict if we don’t tackle it now.


Fr. Lee M. Nelson, SSC

Father Lee Nelson is a priest of the Society of the Holy Cross and the Diocese of Fort Worth. For the last seven years, he has been engaged in planting Christ Church, Waco, a thriving and catholic parish that strives to excel in building up the Church. With his wife, Ela, they are raising seven children.


'The Day the Gloves Came Off: An End to Detente in the ACNA' have 37 comments

  1. February 2, 2024 @ 9:34 am Bart Wallace

    We need to get this problem fixed. I am anti WO. I don’t see it in Scripture or Tradition so I have to view it as an innovation

    Reply

    • February 2, 2024 @ 3:44 pm PWH

      Thank you for being forthright. This must be addressed, and, as you say, it can’t be ignored now.

      Reply

  2. February 2, 2024 @ 10:39 am Seth

    Fantastic article. Action must be taken now, this year, that leads to the settling of the matter, regardless of the consequences. No more dual integrities! No more compromise of the Gospel, the Holy Scriptures, and of Holy Tradition! No more progressive heresy in the ACNA! Send these bishops and their woke dioceses back to the TEC where they belong (and will naturally go to anyway within the next 5-10 years)!

    Reply

  3. February 2, 2024 @ 11:59 am Earl

    I firmly believe that there are equal number of male mothers as orthodox female priests. zero

    Reply

  4. February 2, 2024 @ 1:45 pm Sudduth Rea Cummings

    Many of us who left the Episcopal Church and entered ACNA did so not out of any hostility to women clergy but because of the strong arguments against it that are seen in the Scriptures, History, Tradition and Reason. In fact, my wife and I were involved in the early Equal Rights Amendment movement, but not the later developing extreme anti-male emphasis. I am saddened that the same kind of political pressure is being used now in ACNA that was used in TEC against traditionalists! While ACNA was intended to restore the former “big tent” heritage of Anglicanism, it also was a renewal of Biblical, traditional, historical and reasonable faith! What a tragedy if ACNA copied that road to ruin because of progressive/liberal/leftist/Marxist thinking and tactics being reproduced.

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    • February 6, 2024 @ 8:40 am Camilla Sims-Stambaugh

      Suddath, a perfect response. We were at the conference and relished Fr. Robinson’s speech; we wondered why he wasn’t on the panel, and were dismayed to learn the reason why. What occurred after was appalling. I marched in Tallahassee for the Equal Rights of Women, etc, but equal doesn’t always mean the same. The Church is a different realm compared to all other entities in our world. At least I hope it is.

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      • February 9, 2024 @ 2:55 pm Sudduth Rea Cummings

        Good to hear from you Camilla! We just returned this afternoon from a trip to Winter Park, FL and I’m going through all the accumulated emails. That’s good news you were at the Conference, and I’m in complete agreement with your comments. That conference must have been an interesting if not alarming event in its totality. Like you we were early supporters of the Equal Right Amendment. I even testified about it at our state legislature. However, current radical feminist politics and theology have become toxic. You are correct that church is a different realm from worldly institutions, but our spiritual enemy continually attempts to attack, distract, destroy. One of his main weapons is to tempt us to dilute doctrine and discipline–see C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, and his fantasy about heaven and hell. Hope you are well.

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  5. February 2, 2024 @ 2:23 pm Columba

    Put the Gloves Back On and don’t be Idiots.

    Ditch the concept of Dual Integrity and just straight up admit that the ACNA is an heir to the larger broken American Culture and can’t totally escape this fact except through further disintigration and schism. SO DON’T GO THAT ROUTE.

    Be HONEST and admit UP FRONT that the recent innovation of Women’s Ordination to the Priesthood is going to be TOLERATED in some quarters of the ACNA to MAINTAIN UNITY and prevent further SPLINTERING of the ANGLICAN TRADITION / ANGLICAN WORLD.

    Make provision for those who are against WO to have their SACRAMENTAL needs met. Specifically, in parishes with a head Male Priest and where any assistant Female Priests are resident, have the Male Priest Reserve some of the Eucharist for those who disagreee with WO and have it at the ready at EVERY EUCHARIST.

    I regularly attend an ACNA parish in the International Diocese where an Assistant Female Priest is resident. Although I fundamentaly DISAGREE with Women’s Ordination, I like her and honor her at EVERY Eucharist by crossing my arms and receiving her blessing while NOT taking the Eucharist. She preaches EXCELLENT SERMONS, BTW.

    We’ve had too many schisms and splits among what I call BCP Christians. We have the ACNA, the Anglican G3, The Western Rite Orthodox Saint Tikhon / BCP folks, and Ordainariate folks in the totally screwed up Roman Catholic Church. We can afford further splintering in this hostile culture we find ourselves in.

    I’m saying all of this, and I’m EASTERN ORTHODOX for crying out loud! Funny that I say “we”, but I still feel a part of all CONSERVATIVE BCP using Christians.

    Humble yourselves, and learn to GET ALONG!

    And please do a study on how to understand the validity of the Eucharist in Anglican Circles under these circumstances. Is this a variation of the Donatist Heresy resolution, where we conclude that even though Female Priests who administer the Eucharist (under Male covering in the ACNA) as a questionable practice, that these Eucharists are nevertheless valid solely due to God’s Mercy, even though He probably disapproves of this situation?

    It’s a DOUBTFUL SITUATION. Only by God’s Mercy can it be addressed. SPELL IT OUT. How is He applying MERCY here?

    What does that Mercy look like? What form will it take?

    Blessings in Christ, the Absolute God, whose Property always is to show Mercy.

    An ACNA Parish Regular Attender and
    Western Orthodox Christian at the same time.
    (ANTIOCHIAN ARCHDIOCESE)

    Reply

  6. February 2, 2024 @ 7:00 pm Alice

    Thank you, Fr. Nelson. The overthrow of catholic orders is a serious matter because it snips multiple threads in the weave of Scripture and Tradition.

    Reply

  7. February 2, 2024 @ 8:50 pm Andy

    “Father Robinson’s talk, and I’m sure he didn’t intend this, being a very kind man, gave us license to cast off the restrictions of civility – because we know they’re just lies. Why should I play by the rules when my opponent has no intention of following them? More importantly, *why should I play by the rules, when the rules aren’t real, and when following them merely discourages me from speaking the truth?*” —

    “Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. […] Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:25-31).

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”(Matthew 5:43-47).

    “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:7).

    “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9-21).

    Reply

    • February 3, 2024 @ 7:27 am J

      How are you suggesting these scriptures be applied to the current situation?

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    • February 5, 2024 @ 5:27 am Fr. Ricky McCarl

      “And Judas went and hung himself .”

      Reply

  8. February 3, 2024 @ 7:31 am Matthew J. Taylor

    What is meant by the reference to there being “whole dioceses on hold”?

    Reply

  9. February 3, 2024 @ 10:08 am Andy

    I guess I’m suggesting they give the reason for continuing to “play by the rules of civility,” even if one supposes it a disadvantage. I do not see such rules as “lies,” but as rooted in Scripture’s image of the new life in Christ: a life of humility and charity. These passages do not ask us to sacrifice our commitment to or passion for the truth–indeed, they ask that we uphold it–but they do exhort us, alongside cleaving to the truth, not to give in to the kind of anger that would lead us to speak with bitterness or seek vengeance against our “enemies,” especially when those enemies are fellow members of the Body of Christ, and indeed bishops given authority by God over us. Even if these should become our enemies, even if they should persecute or curse us, our Savior calls us to pray for them, not repay them, to bless them, not to curse them, to be tenderhearted towards each other and seek to live at peace with each other as far as we can. Otherwise we are overcome by evil, grieving the Spirit by reducing ourselves to no better than the invectives and infighting of “the Gentiles,” who would rather return a blow–especially a supposedly unjust blow, received in the defense of the truth–than turn the other cheek.

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    • February 3, 2024 @ 12:47 pm Andy

      Perhaps just to clarify a little bit further, re: J. I admit there\’s always a possibility I\’ve misread the article. I don\’t know the thoughts of any man, but just the way the text landed on me, it seemed that Fr. Nelson was writing out of a place of pain. I felt an anger in this text, anger seemingly borne out of the feelings of loneliness and exhaustion that come when one labors against, and feels betrayed by, the body that one loves; and perhaps also borne from a history of feeling personally attacked and misunderstood by others who should have extended a measure of charity. If this is true, then as a minority in my own denomination at times, I can sympathize with Fr. Nelson; though I would not presume to fully understand yet the weight that he, as a priest responsible for a cure of souls, carries. And yet, it seemed (to me) that an essential part of what this article advocates for, in that pain, is a conscious setting aside of the \”glove\” of \”civility\” in Church discourse, which he seems to present as a weapon of the enemies of orthodoxy and a restraint keeping orthodox advocates from saying and doing what is necessary to win the day. And I fear that that idea is deceptively un-Christian–\”deceptively\” not in the sense that Fr. Nelson is acting deceitfully, but in the sense that it reflects a kind of utilitarianism that the orthodox may be deceived into accepting by a very Christian love for the truth un-tempered by a living hope and faith-filled meekness.

      That is, I struggle to find in this article a position that is loving. It seems to say, \”If our charity must always be met with uncharity and aggression, then are we really obligated any longer not to respond in kind, especially when there is so much at stake?\” And I think the Biblical mandate is, yes: no matter the words or actions of our \”enemies,\” disciples of Christ must always choose charity, especially in the defense of the truth, especially when that decision is the hardest. For, \”“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven\” (Matthew 5:17-19). What are the commandments? \”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself\” (Matthew 22:34-35) And still the third: \” A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). Therefore \”every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire\” (Matthew 5:22). For \”we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places\” (Ephesians 612) and \”whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it\” (James 2:10). \”If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love\” (I Corinthians 13). What, in the end, does it profit for orthodoxy to gain the whole world, if it forfeits its soul? Would not its righteousness be as filthy rags? There will be times that limiting oneself to the rules of civility will cause the loss of a sparring match or force us to bear the full brunt of an ungloved punch to the face; but the \”gloves\” we wear reflect neither the no-stakes, injury-free, participation-trophy ideal uniting modern martial arts and modern progressivism, nor some feminized, dainty, aristocratic preference for tastefulness and decorum over and against a manful defense of the truth. Rather, \”Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God\” (cf. Matthew 5:1-12).

      Reply

  10. February 3, 2024 @ 10:16 am Doubting Thomas

    Heresy is worse than schism.

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    • February 6, 2024 @ 1:29 pm Mack

      Calvin said some true things against the ordination of women, but his talk also equated Martin Luther with Karl Marx and suggested that Protestantism and ‘wokeness’ go together. His attack against Luther is ironic since Robinson isn’t ACNA but actually a priest in the so-called ‘Nordic Catholic Church’ – a Lutheran-derived ‘Old Catholic’ sect formed in 1999. There’s also an inherent contradiction in Robinson’s denial of any racial identity yet such strong emphasis on recognizing gender roles (neither attribute is better or worse regarding our spiritual identity in Christ, however they both exist and must be recognized as who we naturally were created to be and function in the physical world, including in the visible church). It appears that Robinson is ready to announce his defection to Romanism any day now. Last year he tweeted “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. #PrayTheRosary” https://twitter.com/calvinrobinson/status/1657399119097339905.

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      • February 19, 2024 @ 7:41 am Rhonda C. Merrick

        Nah, lots of Anglicans pray the rosary or at least the Hail Mary.

        Also, the Scriptures don’t recognize any such thing as our modern racial identity, only tribal or ethnic. There were full-blooded Egyptians who left Egypt with the children of Israel in the Exodus, and were circumcised and received into Israel. One’s so-called race doesn’t matter except in the way that one’s hair is blond or eyes blue. It’s fine to dye your hair or wear colored contacts (although the results may be mediocre rather than beautiful). It’s not fine at all to try to be the other gender than what one is by birth.

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        • February 21, 2024 @ 5:59 pm Mack

          The Egyptian “mixed multitude” (Ex. 12:38) was actually excluded for three generations (Dt. 23:8) – and that was exceptional since other races were excluded to 10 generations or even forever (Dt. 23:2-3; Neh. 13:3).
          Denying race (Genesis 10) is as delusion and unscriptural as denying gender (Genesis 3). By the gospel all races may be saved by spiritual new birth in Christ, however the natural boundaries assigned to them in this present life don’t change (“…the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people….” Dt. 32:8; ” …all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined … the bounds of their habitation;” Acts 17:26). Race-mixing is the crossing of those set bounds and it’s on a par with a church run by female priests and bishops.
          The fact that “many Anglicans” do both, as well as pray the Rosary, doesn’t make wrong right. Overthrowing the natural social order is Marxism, not Christianity. (” Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.” 1 Corinthians 7:20)

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  11. February 3, 2024 @ 12:50 pm Andy

    The website is giving me trouble posting the comments in the right place. Perhaps just to clarify a little bit further, re: J. I admit there’s always a possibility I’ve misread the article. I don’t know the thoughts of any man, but just the way the text landed on me, it seemed that Fr. Nelson was writing out of a place of pain. I felt an anger in this text, anger seemingly borne out of the feelings of loneliness and exhaustion that come when one labors against, and feels betrayed by, the body that one loves; and perhaps also borne from a history of feeling personally attacked and misunderstood by others who should have extended a measure of charity. If this is true, then as a minority in my own denomination at times, I can sympathize with Fr. Nelson; though I would not presume to fully understand yet the weight that he, as a priest responsible for a cure of souls, carries. And yet, it seemed (to me) that an essential part of what this article advocates for, in that pain, is a conscious setting aside of the “glove” of “civility” in Church discourse, which he seems to present as a weapon of the enemies of orthodoxy and a restraint keeping orthodox advocates from saying and doing what is necessary to win the day. And I fear that that idea is deceptively un-Christian–“deceptively” not in the sense that Fr. Nelson is acting deceitfully, but in the sense that it reflects a kind of utilitarianism that the orthodox may be deceived into accepting by a very Christian love for the truth un-tempered by a living hope and faith-filled meekness.

    That is, I struggle to find in this article a position that is loving. It seems to say, “If our charity must always be met with uncharity and aggression, then are we really obligated any longer not to respond in kind, especially when there is so much at stake?” And I think the Biblical mandate is, yes: no matter the words or actions of our “enemies,” disciples of Christ must always choose charity, especially in the defense of the truth, especially when that decision is the hardest. For, ““Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19). What are the commandments? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:34-35) And still the third: ” A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). Therefore “every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire” (Matthew 5:22). For “we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 612) and “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” (James 2:10). “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13). What, in the end, does it profit for orthodoxy to gain the whole world, if it forfeits its soul? Would not its righteousness be as filthy rags? There will be times that limiting oneself to the rules of civility will cause the loss of a sparring match or force us to bear the full brunt of an ungloved punch to the face; but the “gloves” we wear reflect neither the no-stakes, injury-free, participation-trophy ideal uniting modern martial arts and modern progressivism, nor some feminized, dainty, aristocratic preference for tastefulness and decorum over and against a manful defense of the truth. Rather, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (cf. Matthew 5:1-12).

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  12. February 3, 2024 @ 11:15 pm Marissa Burt

    I’m wondering who has called you a “chauvinist pig” and what evidence you have for things like the “rage of the women they serve”? These unsubstantiated claims and others which seem (as best I can tell) to be assumptions you’ve made about the motivations of bishops – both those who issued statements after Mere Anglicanism conference & the entire COB in 2017 – make for an odd post. Civility in this matter may gain you nothing, but if you’re genuinely asking “why should I?” – as Christians we are instructed to be thoughtful about our words both because of the destructive potential of our tongues (James) and so that our speech may give grace to those who hear (Eph 4). I can see how it might be cathartic to vent some frustration, but a cleric calling unnamed women Jezebels and implying bishops in our denomination are “Ahabs” makes this piece difficult to take seriously. FWIW I have never heard anyone suggest no one should have the conversation about WO at all. The question to me really seems to be whether it was appropriate for Fr. Calvin to broach the issue when he did, where he did, and the way he did, including sweeping unsubstantiated claims and inflammatory language.

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  13. February 5, 2024 @ 1:51 pm Jeff Scott

    ACNA will keep to their own catachism, bishop statements, tradition, and Scripture. Or they will not.

    If they fail to do so, the church will die, and many will move on.

    There is no defense for 20th century innovations. They are judged by their fruits.

    Pray for the bishops and regular parishes to follow God.

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  14. February 6, 2024 @ 10:10 am Alain Rioux

    The question of women’s ministry must not be simplistically resolved. Certainly, the whole of Tradition, supported by Scripture, has never promoted such an innovation. But wouldn’t it be crypto-donatism to reject it too readily?

    Indeed, if we really want to root out the Gnostic avatars of feminism, theological liberalism and cultural Marxism from the Church, we would be well advised to go back further, to the Eucharistic debate about the Real Presence, between Lutherans and Sacramentarians. For it is here, in my opinion, that the crux of the debate lies: should the language of the Bible and the Creed be taken metaphorically or ontologically, should a functionalist interpretation be substituted for the substantialist understanding of the verb “to be” in the sacramental formula: “Hoc EST enim corpus meum”?

    The irresolution of this issue leads directly to the moral crisis facing the Church, for if the verb “to be” is restricted to signifying, then how can we prohibit women’s ministry, the blessing of homosexual unions or transgenderism?

    As such, is being a woman or a man, in this context, no more than a function, with no real scope? How can we defend a creative and moral order if we have emptied words of their ontological content? That’s why it’s a good idea to brush up on your classics, especially the sober way in which Article X of the Augsburg Confession states the subject, before fatuously throwing out anathemas…

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  15. February 6, 2024 @ 10:39 am Wiglaf

    As a traditionalist in TEC (yes, there are a few of us left), I have seen this as a problem with ACNA from the beginning. Something like “dual integrity” was promised in 1976, and we all saw how that turned out. For all that ACNA may have going for it, until this issue is resolved according to catholic principles, I do not see ACNA as a viable alternative to TEC.

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  16. February 6, 2024 @ 10:41 am T.C. Jones

    “Dual integrity” is a “cop out” Why can’t ACNA make a decision; YES or NO?

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  17. February 6, 2024 @ 3:38 pm Butch Shadwell

    GAFCON has given up on orthodoxy on the topic of female ordination. If only for this reason, GAFCON has already failed to meet its intended purpose. The ACNA is firmly on the trajectory that has taken the TEC to its present state. What incivility you see is not aimed at any one person, diocese, or Anglican organization, but rather at one’s own frustration with what seems to be a hopeless pursuit of true traditional orthodoxy. Is there no home for someone seeking simple biblical interpretation in the Anglican tradition? How can fundamental discussion of the Bible as it relates to women’s orders be considered inappropriate? I suspect that that discussion is not forthcoming in the ACNA. I am praying for a miracle in our church.

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    • February 10, 2024 @ 12:44 pm Jesse

      “GAFCON has given up on orthodoxy on the topic of female ordination.” What do you mean?

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      • February 13, 2024 @ 8:34 am Butch Shadwell

        GAFCON, even though it was meant to rescue Anglicanism from apostasy, has allowed feminism to provoke innovation without proper biblical foundation. There are now quite a few churches that are full participants in GAFCON that ordain women as priests and bishops. Maybe I misunderstand the purpose of the organization?
        1 Timothy 3:1-13

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        • February 13, 2024 @ 9:02 am Joshua M

          As best I can tell, GAFCON was formed primarily to give vent to the disgust most of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion have toward gay folks. While there have been weak attempts to focus and build consensus on Scripture, the Tradition, etc, nothing else has ever real “took” as the primary distinction between GAFCON and Lambeth. However, as the kerfuffle over celibate gay individuals proved, GAFCON isn’t interested in orthodoxy or good and vibrant theology/anthropology, but only as a tool to vent Disgust. It reminds me of the failed attempts to hold gay marriage at bay in the United States in the 90s. The realty is that Disgust is a hugely powerful and motivating tool (as it proved to be in the early 2000s), but it is also one that quickly fizzles out, and it doesn’t easily pass to the next generation. So of course the majority of Americans born after 1990 are in favor of gay marriage, even in conservative churches. When an group relies on Disgust as the primary method for tying themselves together or guiding their principles, their days are numbered.

          There were attempts to incorporate other areas of orthodoxy – like the GAFCON agreement by all Provinces to not seat female bishops. But Kenya flaunted that with absolutely zero repercussions – because, contrary to what leftist Feminists will say, the majority of folks opposed to WO aren’t motivated by Disgust (although a not insignificant number still are, to be sure) but by doctrine. The result is that Kenya can use GAFCON agreements as toilet paper and doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist while the Archbishop of Nigeria threatened excommunication with ACNA because Archbishop Foley wasn’t *hard enough on orthodox celibate gay Anglicans* when he functionally excommunicated us in 2021!

          Every sin is fine, except the sin of having an unwanted sexual attraction.

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          • February 13, 2024 @ 9:36 am Butch Shadwell

            Joshua M, thank you for the thoughtful and articulate reply. I pray you are wrong about disgust being the prime mover in the birth of GAFCON. I would hope it was based on a simple and truthful interpretation of scripture. As for same sex attraction, you bring up an interesting subject. One about which I have spent a good deal of time in contemplation. The Bible points out many behaviors that are to be considered sinful. It does not however offer much guidance as to which ones ought to be more disgusting, to us or to God. It does point out, logically, that leaders in the church should be visible examples of the best behavior possible. We want parishioners and children to be able to learn from these examples. We are all hypocrites. Is a sin that is not visible to the congregation more acceptable than one which is?
            Back to same sex attraction. I suspect that people are born with conditions of this sort, and to varying degrees. I see these congenital predilections to be a burden, like so many others, or crosses that every good Christian must bear. None of us knows if our sins are more or less egregious than any one else\’s. We continually pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to unlearn sinful feelings and empower us in life-long repentance and atonement, as we are joyful in Jesus promise of relief of the burden and eternal life.

  18. February 7, 2024 @ 4:25 pm Joshua M

    Reading the comments on this page… I have to copy a comment I made on Fr Jay Thomas’ article with some light editing:

    Welcome to the game, Father Lee. I think you’re missing the culture background, recent history, and core beliefs of what has happened to Anglicanism, especially in North American, but globally. You’re shocked, angry, and confused because you’ve missed the entire ethos of the current moment, and particularly your Church.

    Globally, Anglicanism has become a Communion first and foremost devoted to power and influence, and secondly, to scratching the backs of those who are already one’s friends (because this is seen as the best way to achieve power). This is PARTICULARLY true in the culture of ACNA.

    This is why bishops were willing to create the mess of ACNA even though everyone knows the “dual integrities” is an intellectual obscenity (from both sides). Those bishops have made it clear they value their communion with heterodox bishops MORE than the supposed Truth or Justice. Bishops who oppose WO openly acknowledge that they believe their rivals on the issue are in opposition to both Scriptures and Tradition, and that it probably invalidates the Sacraments. Likewise, those bishops who are in favour of WO openly state that one of the primary reasons for doing so is the injustice of denying women full participation in the life of the Church. Neither party, however, appears to see that by “agreeing to disagree,” they are stating that BOTH of these points are unimportant, or at least LESS important than Something Else. This is not now, nor has it ever been, simply a disagreement on church practice or even doctrine. To actually and truly believe EITHER side means that the other is not just wrong, but intolerably wrong: If you are for WO, then those who are anti are perpetuating the most heinous type of spiritual abuse on their victims (see the statements by the bishops above). If you are against WO, then those who are in favor have fallen away from the clear teaching of Scripture and Tradition.

    This has never been an issue we can agree on… UNLESS we all agree that there is Something Else which is more important than both Truth and Justice: Unity. This is what ACNA is founded on. Bishops brag about it. They see their coming together, even in disagreement on points of open departure from Scripture/Tradition AND spiritual abuse and maltreatment of half of the populace, as something to be applauded. There are myriad psychological reasons for this, but at least one point boils down to insecurity: “See, Episcopalians, we aren’t schismatics: We are perfectly willing to tolerate departures from Truth AND Justice.”

    Both Truth or Justice may be used as tools to bring about Unity and to hit our enemies, but they must never be seen as MORE important than the all consuming aspiration of Unity (which sometimes disguises itself under the word “love”).

    And why is Unity so important? Because we are formed in the context of a democratic nation, society, and civilization. Numbers are power, and so anything that decreases numbers is dangerous. I am convinced this has soaked deep into the subconscious of leading Anglicans in all camps and in all Provinces. Foley Beach’s public statements on multiple points has been to focus on what a controversy might, or might not, do to Unity, both domestic and foreign. His criticism and swift punishment of the Dear Gay Anglican letter 3 years ago wasn’t articulate or theologically motivated; it was because the letter upset the Nigerians and risked GAFCON unity.

    You heterosexual folk are torturously slow to open your eyes to the reality of what’s going on in ACNA and the broader Anglican Communion, particularly GAFCON. When ACNA bishops condemned and effectively kicked out faithful celibate gay Christians, some even in heterosexual marriages , they did it for two, and only two, reasons: they believe that hitting “the gays” is still a political win in the USA for folks who would be drawn to ACNA (and they want the approval of the SBC and the PCA), and the Archbishop desperately craves the approval of African, in particular Nigerian, Anglicans. Even the Statement itself, and the subsequent failure to reprimand Bishop Hunter, admitted that they cared first and foremost about Unity. Words and Documents are used not to communicate Truth or care for the souls of actual, real men and women, but to secure Unity. Unity at all costs. And what are a few gay men and women’s souls when global unity and, possibly, the respect of older churches, are within our grasp? We won’t get any of those things if we don’t have Unity.

    A parallel experience is happening in GAFCON… The only thing that they agree on is their hatred of gay people. This is why the Church of Kenyan can impudently install female bishops contrary to the founding documents of GAFCON without so much as a wrist slap. Even leaders who were shocked and betrayed went out of their way to highlight that their actions in no way risked any sort of reprisal or consequence. “We are saddened…” Which is the same as saying, “Go ahead.” At least Lambeth took voting rights away from the Episcopal Church for a time when IT violated an agreement. But for GAFCON to do so would risk our reputation, would challenge the narrative that “we are the future of global Anglicanism.” It might open us up to political and even actual physical attacks from Secularists and Muslims. No, no, it is important to follow the wise words of that greatest of Anglican theologians: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” THIS is the water and air and lifeforce of ACNA and GAFCON.

    When Fr Calvin hits at WO, or even the failures of the Reformation, the problem isn’t just that he is touching on a disagreement; we all KNOW there is a disagreement – it is that, in bringing it up at a supposedly “mere” conference, he’s implying that there is still Something Greater than Unity. This is dangerous. It will splinter ACNA. It will break apart parishes and dioceses. It will cut our denomination in half, and therefore render us politically impotent. If it’s taken too seriously, it could even break up GAFCON and lead to the global destruction of Anglicanism as a force in the Christian world… we will lose our influence. Father Calvin, like the Dear Gay Anglican letter, attempted to speak Truth and point out logical, real, and divisive realities. They MUST be silenced, or there will be no Unity.

    Read the honest criticisms of thoughtful people: They don’t even attempt to engage with Father Calvin core ideas; instead they say, “It was unkind” “it stirred up dissention” “It wasn’t loving.” Absolutely no one has actually interacted with his excellent points.

    Unity. Unity at all costs.

    And you’re right: The Progressives will always bide their time… until they don’t have to.

    Reply

    • February 19, 2024 @ 12:13 pm Rhonda C. Merrick

      I suspect you are pretty much right, although I pray otherwise. This is a very articulate mini-essay. Do you have a blog?

      Reply


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