Only Traditionalist Archbishop of Canterbury Can Save Anglican Church, Warn Primates

The worldwide Anglican Church risks a permanent split unless someone committed to traditional values is chosen as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the leaders of 55 million churchgoers have warned.

The Telegraph:

In a major intervention in the selection process, an alliance of archbishops and bishops from four continents has written directly to the selection committee urging them to choose someone prepared to halt a drift towards liberal values on issues such as homosexuality.

The next Archbishop must be willing to “uphold the orthodoxy of the Christian faith” in order to secure the “future and unity” of the church “at a foundational level”, they say in a letter seen by The Daily Telegraph.

Only someone with an understanding of the more traditional views of Anglicans in Africa and elsewhere and the ability to gain their “respect” would be acceptable they add.

The warning comes in a letter to Lord Luce, the chairman of the Crown Nominations Commission, which is selecting the next Archbishop, by the leaders of the Church in the so-called “Global South”, who met earlier this week in Singapore.

Their intervention is likely to be viewed as a boost to the chances of the Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, being selected for Canterbury, as a figure well-regarded in Africa and elsewhere.

In addition to being the leader of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the titular head of the estimated 80-million strong Anglican Church worldwide.

Despite its historic ties to England, it is increasingly dominated by the fast-growing churches primarily in southern hemisphere.

Most southern provinces still hold firmly to more traditional doctrines but some branches of the Church elsewhere, particularly in North America, have steered a more liberal course in recent years.

The splits were laid bare four years ago when a third of the bishops boycotted the 10-yearly Lambeth Conference in London in protest at the American church’s decision to ordain its first openly homosexual bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Since then the split has only become more entrenched. Earlier this year an attempted unity pact on which Dr Rowan Williams staked his authority was rejected in the Church of England itself.

Following the announcement of Dr Williams’s retirement, leaders of African and Asian churches have privately voiced fears that their views are being ignored in a selection committee dominated by white, liberal-leaning Britons.

Earlier this month Bishop Mouneer Anis, the leader of the Church in the Middle East and North Africa, warned of a “colonial” approach to choosing the new Archbishop.

In the letter, signed by 17 primates, they make clear that, as leaders of what is now the majority of the Anglican church, they “expect to be consulted”.

“At a time when the Christian faith faces challenges from other religions as well as secular worldviews, the new Archbishop of Canterbury must be committed to uphold the orthodoxy of the Christian ‘faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints’,” they write, quoting a phrase from the New Testament.

In order to act as “Guardian of the faith” the new Archbishop must be able to enforce unity “especially on issues that have led to the present crisis in the Communion”, they add.

“The new Archbishop of Canterbury should have the experience and cross-cultural sensitivity to understand the concerns and conflicts in the worldwide Communion,” they add.

“He has to be able to communicate effectively and gain the respect and confidence of, his fellow primates in the Global South.”

But last night one senior figure in the Church of England warned that the global split could now be too deep for the new Archbishop to bridge.

“Whoever it is I don’t think one man can achieve it really because the splits are so deep,” he said.


17 thoughts on “Only Traditionalist Archbishop of Canterbury Can Save Anglican Church, Warn Primates

  1. Fathers, Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
    A fair comment I think.But as the appointment of an Archbishop of Canterbury has always been the subject of a recommendation by the British Government for the Queen to approve , it the appointment of a more Orthodox Bishop likely to happen? But even if I look at the Australian situation, what power has an Orthodox Archbishop of Canterbury have to make radical changes in this part of the world.
    Yours in Christ,
    Father Ed Bakker OPR
    Anglican Catholic Church

  2. Almost all of these “traditionalist archbishops” purport to ordain women, which makes the whole business a true “theatre of the absurd.”

  3. Wow. Hope springs eternal for Anglicans doesn’t it? What will it finally take? I’m betting that even a more liberal bishop will be selected and he will be the cause for the split. After that they will elect a female. It’s all down hill from here – right inro the pit.

    1. Yes down the hill, quite so. I think the defination of a traditional Anglican Abp is properly
      defined. It depends in which branch of the Church you are and what your expectations
      are. I was a TAC Priests, because of the AC I moved to ACC/OP so my expectations
      are different from those within the Anglican Church.
      Charles is absolutely correct in the end David Cameron recommends someone
      to the Queen and there wont be anyone, who can fix the mis and hold things together.
      Sad, but true.
      Father Ed Bakker OPR

  4. One can see that finding a man of such traditional spiritual, biblical & theological caliber, in the pool of at least English Anglicanism, is between slim and none, today! BUT, God is still GOD and the Sovereign of His Church, and World! And the historical Church needs an “Elijah” today, but the only “Elijah” it has and will see, is John the Baptist (Matt. 17: 9-13 / Mark 9:11-13). But certainly Elijah was a forerunner of the “Day of the Lord”, (see Malachi 3:1). And Jesus Christ is the lasting and only “messenger” of the New Covenant!

    1. Please. GOD seems to be out of touch with your ‘branch’ of the church. Like I said, what will it take for you folks to wake up and smell the spiked Kool Aid? No church that has fallen this far into Apostasy has ever recovered and restored its former position and glory. 1930 Lambeth started this and there is no going back. Fr. Robert I do feel sorry for you but when the church and state authorities come knocking on your door and tell you to ‘conform’ or lose your curate, your home, your pension and be thrown out on your bum, perhaps then you will open your eyes. Until then “have a nice day”!

      1. @Matthew: I can see you don’t know beans about Anglican Evangelical history, especially the Reformed people. And I am basically semi-retired, and the CoE, Scotland, Ireland and or ECusa can jam their pensions, I have never needed the money! And I have another anyway, from the RMC’s. So ya don’t have to feel sorry for me, but yourself…if you think ROME is PAPA? And I seek to “conform” to nothing but Holy Scripture, and something of both the Ecumenical Councils-creeds, and the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles! (I like too the Irish Articles 1615, Archbishop Ussher). As I keep saying I am soteriologically Reformed & reformational, ya that’s Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Bullinger, Cranmer, Vermigli, Bucer and Beza (to name just the well known). And as I have written also, see the English bishop of Salisbury, John Jewel’s “Apology”! Now, if ya have some biblical and theological substance, then bring it on, otherwise keep quiet and drink your own “Kool Aide” mate! And oh yeah, YOU have a nice day yourself! 😉

      2. Btw, here’s a nice piece ya might want to read!

        This is a quote from the Sermon by E.B. (Edward Bouverie) Pusey (1800-1882, English Anglican priest) entitled ‘False Peace’.

        1 Cor. iv. 4. “I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.”

        S. Paul had declined all judgements of men. One only can judge the heart, He Who made it, Who holds it in His hand, Who knows it. Man can judge from the surface only. Man judges man from the outward appearance only, from some outward acts. He sees not within. In the very plainest cases, he may be mistaken. Who would not have preferred the Pharisees, with their outward holiness and strictness, their zeal for the law, their long prayers, their alms to the poor, their punctual payment of their dues, before the publicans and harlots? The whole Jewish people did so. Yet what saith the Lord? “The publicans and harlots shall enter into the kingdom of heaven before you.” Outwardly they were worse: but their conscience was not blinded. They were nearer to repentance, and more open to it. They repented, and returned to their Father, and He received them as sons, and made them sons, and the Angels rejoiced over the lost and found.

        Human praise and human blame are mostly valueless, because men know not the whole which they praise or blame.” (E.B. Pusey, Sermon False Peace)

        May our “peace” with God be real, and even somewhat visible before men! “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Lk. 2:14) ~ Fr. R.

  5. Now, now, Father, whenever you’re feeling soteriological , just relax – it will pass, and there is a new drug for it on the market! Seriously though, at the end of the day David Cameron will decide who the next Archbishop will be, dependent upon whomever owns his attention in this matter. I highly doubt he will be able to appoint anyone capable of keeping the Communion together – and I highly doubt either side really wants that.

    Mutatis mutandis, there is all sorts of chatter over at the Commonwealth Secretariat that the next “Head of the Commonwealth” need not be King Charles. One almost hopes that comes to pass – the UK and the Commonwealth realms will be able to leave, and save a ton of money, and Zimbabwe (and Mugabe) can be happily re-admitted.

    It is odd, but the two legacies of the British Empire – temporal and spiritual – are in inverse situations to one another!

    1. @Charles: Indeed the whole visible church is in a mess! And I think GOD is behind or Sovereign anything that Cameron might decide! And yes, the British Empire, just like the USA, is also still in the hands of God Almighty, in both our so-called good and or evil! But as I have said, surely apostasy is the essence of the day, postmodernity, etc. And I don’t see humanity surviving the 21st century! Sadly it appears people like Matthew just don’t read what people or certainly ‘Anglican Evangelical’s’ like myself are saying/writing! The challenge is always to the Lordship of Christ, Himself: prophet, priest and king: the One and only Mediator! (1 Tim. 2: 5-6) Btw, here is St. Paul’s “faith and verity (truth)”, verse 7.

  6. Fr. Robert,

    Are you aware of this book?:

    The author is a friend of mine, and I was one of the examiners of his doctoral dissertation/thesis on which it is based. You may not like it, or agree with it, but I find it cogent and compelling. The author, who was once a “teaching elder” in the local Presbyterian Church of America congregation, converted to the (Eastern) Orthodox Church after finishing the work.

    Although he has devoted most of his scholarly time subsequently to his work as one of those engaged in translating the work of Peter Martyr Vermigli into English, he has also “decoded” some of the obscure classical references in Jewel’s correspondence with his Zurich friends in and after 1559, and particularly Vermigli (with whom he was on terms of close friendship), which seem to demonstrate that he privately had a strongly negative view of Elizabeth I’s character and religious committment, despite his constant public effusive praise of her.

    Jenkins’ book is particularly good, IMO, on Jewel’s use of the Church Fathers against Rome, and how low was his esteem of their theological authority. They were a convenient cudgel with which to “beat the popish dog,” but little more than that.

    1. @William: Thanks, I have actually seen this, and your right, I don’t think too much of its historical and theological opinion! I mean, we all know that we all bring our presuppositions along, this is always the problem too with the modern historical and bio. There are actually few scholars today who use both theology and historical method, or just history. I am not an “evidential” type myself!

      Btw, I like Richard Muller, see his fine book: The Unaccommodated Calvin, etc. (Oxford) Wish I had a case lot of them, I would send one to certain pastors and teachers, that I regard as seekers of truth!

      As you can see, I have been “done” with Anglo or English Catholicism, strictly speaking for some time, especially so-called todays version! Btw, have you dipped into old Austin Farrer yet? Now there is a challenge! Note, I am much more of a “biblical-theologian” type, than a historian, though I must always respect and use the historical method! (somewhat) 🙂

      1. Just to share a piece of nice history, but it is factual that the great Scots Reformed minister/pastor Alexander Whyte, D.D. was good friends with John Henry Newman. In fact Whyte wrote a book: Newman, an Appreciation in two Lectures: with the Choicest Passages of his Writings selected and arranged by.. I have a copy myself (Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, London, 1901). This kind of spirit was rare in those days! One a Calvinist, and the other a Roman Catholic! I believe they see the glory of Christ together now! 😉

  7. The Archbishop is no longer appointed by the Prime Minister: the responsibility was handed over to the Church by PM Gordon Brown. The choice is made by a committee of church members, bishops, clergy and laity.

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