Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Impressions of North American Anglicanism

Alice C. Linsley

Fr. J. Scott Newman's insightful comments on this article which originally appeared on March 31, 2011, were deleted at Kendall Harmon's blog, as were mine. Neo-Anglicans like Sarah Hey, in the words of Archbishop Haverland, are "the slow lane to modernist mush." They refuse to entertain comments at Stand Firm that question the dangerous innovation of women priests. 

The Episcopal bishops are schismatic and the denomination remains unrepentant from its involvement in Spiritualism. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the confused Rowan Williams, is ineffectual in leading the worldwide Anglican Communion. Anglicans face a crisis of authority that will either burn them up or ignite a great renewal.

Female bishops in the Anglican circus

It is a historical and anthropological observation that no woman ever served in the office of priest until 1944, at which time Florence Li Tim-Oi was ordained by Ronald Hall, Bishop of Victoria, Hong Kong, in response to the crisis among Anglicans in Communist China. She later stepped down from serving as a priest. Her circumstances were unusual and though her ordination is often cited as precedent, she set aside holy orders when her service was no longer needed. Her case illustrates how well the all-male priesthood was grasped even by those who rejected and opposed Christianity.

In 1976 the Episcopal Church broke the age-old tradition of the all-male priesthood by vote of General Convention. At that time the "irregular" ordinations of the "Philadelphia Eleven" and the "Washington Four" were made regular. The first woman ordained to the priesthood in the United States was Ellen Marie Barrett (January 1977). She was ordained by the Rt. Rev. Paul Moore, Jr., Bishop of New York. Ellen Barrett, a lesbian, had served as Integrity's first co-president. Other lesbians had been among the Philadelphia Eleven. In the United States, the ordination of women and gay and lesbian "rights" were intertwined from the beginning, so that today it is difficult to treat these as separate issues. Both have been framed as "equal rights" issues, revealing a profound misunderstanding of the nature and origin of the priesthood.

This misunderstanding contributes to the Anglican identity crisis. Yet it is not the main factor. This crisis comes as a result of many years of unsound teaching in the Episcopal Church, weak lay and ordained leadership and worldly bishops.

Despite what feminists, politically-correct academics, and rights activists might say, the ministry of priests in the Church developed organically from the Horite Hebrew (Habiru) priesthood of Abraham's people and was exclusively the work of a select group of men (a ruler-priest caste) whose devotion to the worship of the Creator involved, by today's standards, extreme asceticism and purity of life. The objection that there were women priestess in the Greco-Roman world is irrelevant as this is not the origin of the priesthood know by Jesus Christ and his followers.

Contrary to the position of the Roman Church, Horite Hebrew priests were married and enjoyed sexual relations with their wives. However they abstained from sex, shaved their bodies, fasted, and entered periods of intense prayer in preparation for their time of service at the temple or shrine.

In the ancient world Horite Hebrew priests were known for their purity, sobriety and devotion to the High God whose emblem was the Sun. Plutarch wrote that the “priests of the Sun at Heliopolis never carry wine into their temples, for they regard it as indecent for those who are devoted to the service of any god to indulge in the drinking of wine whilst they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and King. The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect, for they use it, though sparingly.”

The Horite Hebrew priests worshiped the Creator (Ra or Ani) and the Creator's Son (Horus or Enki) when other peoples were worshiping lesser deities. They anticipated the coming of the Seed of God (Gen. 3:15) and believed that He would be born of their ruler-priest bloodlines. That is why the lines of priests intermarried exclusively (endogamy) and why unchaste daughters of priests were burned alive (Lev. 21:9). Sexual impurity was not tolerated.

In the ancient world, only men born into the priestly caste could serve a priests and many of those never did. Some instead served as warriors, scribes, rulers and metal workers. There was never a question about having a "right" to this work. It was appointed to those who were born into this order, and this is the order from which Jesus Christ descended.

The Horite Hebrew marriage and ascendancy pattern remained unchanged from the Neolithic period of Genesis 4 and 5 (the lines of Cain and Seth) to the time of Joseph and Mary. The pattern can be traced through the Bible using the anthropological tool of kinship analysis, and it is an impossibility that this pattern could have been written back into the text at a late date.

There were priests among Jesus' first followers. Nicodemus and Joseph of AriMathea were members of the Sanhedrin and of the Hebrew ruler-priest caste. This was Jesus' ancestry through both Mary and Joseph. Horite priests expected a Righteous Ruler to defeat death and lead his people to immortality. This is why Horite priests took great precautions in the preparation of the bodies of dead kings. It is likely that Joseph of Hari-Mathea and Joseph, the husband of Mary, were both of the Pharisee persuasion.

Priests were dispersed throughout Palestine. Settlements often took their names from the priestly division that resided there. For example, Nazareth was the home of the eighteenth priestly division, Hapitsets (a word of Nilotic origin), so Nazareth is Happizzez in 1 Chronicles 24:15. Nazareth was the home of Joseph who married Jesus' mother. Mary was from Bethlehem. Her full name would have been "Miriam Daughter of Joachim, Son of Pntjr, Priest of Nathan of Bethlehem." From predynastic times among the Egyptian Horites, ntjr designated God or the king. Pntjr is Pa-Netjer, the name of Joachim’s mother. The Horite priests traced descent through both the mother and the father. A limestone stela (1539-1291 B.C.) bearing the names of Pekhty-nisu and his wife Pa-netjer is on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The Ancient Egyptian word nisu (ruler) became nasi in Hebrew and applied to the High Priest who presided over the Sanhedrin.

Through Mary the promise of Genesis 3:15 came to be fulfilled. The Seed of the Woman crushed the serpent's head and death has been overcome. The ancient expectation of a divine royal son who would overcome death and lead his people to immortality was fulfilled.

The connection between Bethlehem and the Horites is alluded to in I Chronicles 4:4, which lists Hur/Hor as the "father of Bethlehem." To this day Jews call their ancestors Horim, which is Horite in English. The ancient Horite priests were devotees of Horus, the son of Ra, the creator. Horus' conception took place by divine overshadowing. He is the pattern by which Jesus would be recognized by Abraham's descendants as the Son of God. When the Virgin Mary asked how she was to have a child since she "knew" no man, "The angel answered her and said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the holy child will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)

Anglican Orders

Anglican holy orders include bishop, priest and deacons. Some priests may also be monks. In the Eastern churches these are called "hieromonks" and all bishops in the Eastern Orthodox churches are taken from the ranks of celibate monks. This is one of the differences between Anglican orders and Eastern Orthodox orders. Anglican and Eastern Orthodox orders differ also from Roman Catholic orders on the matter of celibacy.

Prior to the ordination of women priests, Anglican orders were more highly regarded by the hierarchs of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches. There is no doubt that this innovation devalued Anglican orders in the view of those churches and continues to be an obstacle to healthy intercourse within catholic Christendom. The innovation reveals a profound confusion among Anglicans about the nature and origin of the priesthood as a sign of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our great High Priest. The ordination of women priests also suggests infidelity to the received tradition of the Apostles and the early priests of the Church who understood the nature of the priesthood better than we do today.

Anglican Orders and the Horite Priesthood

None of the twelve Apostles served as ruler-priests, as far as we know. Originally only priests belonging to prominent families were members of the Sanhedrin (bet din). A "prominent" family was one whose lineages could be traced back to Horite ruler-priests of renown. These members of the Sanhedrin served under the presidency of the high priest much as priests today served under the presidency of their bishop. The high priest bore the title nasi (ruler, king, prince) and retained this even after the presidency was transferred to other hands. Similarly, in Anglican orders there is an understanding that a bishop remains a bishop even after he has stepped down from serving in that office.

The second in charge was a ruler-priest who was called ab bet din (father of the court). The role of the ab bet din appears to have been a combination of the roles of the Bishop's chaplain and the chancellor of the Diocese who serves as the chief legal consultant to the Bishop.

The third century Rabbi Johanan enumerates the qualifications of the members of the Sanhedrin as follows: they must be tall, of imposing appearance, of advanced age, and scholars. They were also required to be adept in the use of foreign languages.

The only followers of Jesus that are known to be members of the Sanhedrin were James the Just, Nicodemus, and Joseph (of Arimathea, sic.) According to Mark 15:43, Joseph was bouleutēs (honorable counselor), that is, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. He was "waiting for the kingdom of God." Joseph's correct designation is "Hari-Mathea" which means he was of the Horite line of Matthew. In other words, he was a Horite ruler-priest of a prominent lineage. Apparently, he had business and family connections in the British Isles. Eusebius of Caesarea (A.D. 260–340) may have been referring to this connection in Demonstratio Evangelica when he reports that some of Jesus' earliest disciples "have crossed the Ocean and reached the Isles of Britain." Since a qualification of membership in the Sanhedrin was facility of languages, Joseph would have been able to communicate with the people of Britain.

As a ruler-priest Joseph would have appointed men who were qualified to serve as priests in Britain. Being of advanced age, he would have been older than Jesus and the disciples. This suggests that the priesthood came to Britain very early and is older than generally supposed. It must be nearly as early as the episcopacy of Evodius of Antioch (53–69 A.D.) and the episcopacy of James the Just of Jerusalem (d. 69 A.D.), but would likely precede the episcopacy of Linus of Rome (67-79 A.D.). If Joseph is the ruler-priest who brought the Christian priesthood to England, as tradition holds, Anglicans should regard the ruler-priest pattern as an essential aspect of Anglicanism.

Further, the legend concerning Joseph of Ari-Mathea coming to Britain has basis in science. Horite priests were among the Ainu and genetic studies have confirmed that the Ainu dispersed widely across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. Some came to the British Isles and from there some migrated to Finland, Greenland, Labrador and Eastern Canada.

Anthropological studies have shown that the Ainu were among Abraham's Nilotic ancestors. Further, Genesis 41 confirms that Joseph, the son of Jacob, married the daughter of a priest of On (Heliopolis) and On has been identified as an Ainu shrine city.

If Joseph as ruler-priest, member of the Sanhedrin, and a kinsman of Jesus Christ brought the Christian priesthood to Britain, Anglicans should be especially careful to preserve the Horite pattern of the priesthood.

American Anglicanism: Another Form of Evangelicalism?

One impression is that considerable sections of the new American Anglicanism constitute another form of evangelicalism, which typically tilts toward cultural norms such as contemporary music, streamlined liturgies, leniency toward divorce and remarriage, and interpretation of Scripture through a mainly Protestant lens. For these people tradition is less important and therefore more easily set aside.

It must seem so to most African Anglicans, who like the Nigerians, tend to be evangelical and far more sacramental than is often realized. The Nigerian bishops are orthodox on questions of human sexuality. They are serious about being “Lambeth Quadralateral Evangelicals” and they hold to the mainstream catholic understanding of Church, sacraments, and the male priesthood. Now there’s a godly balance!

There is also an impression that this movement might be calcifying. This can happen when a group wraps itself in a protective cloak and breathes its own stale air. Might this be happening with Anglicanism in America?

Young clergy must be encouraged to pursue God's truth without agenda or ideological bias. Truth must always be pursued by Christ’s followers if we are to avoid becoming a stagnant community. Truth is embodied in the God-Man Jesus Christ, in the Holy Scripture, and in Church Tradition as that was delivered once and for all to the Apostles and to the Church.

Most women who are priests in ACNA serve honorably and with hearts for Christ and his people. However, having been one myself, and having looked into the question more deeply, I wonder if these women priests were even aware of the strength of the tradition which binds them from priestly ministry? I know I was not at the time of my ordination, nor for many years after. In those days I had no one to talk to about my doubts, least of all my bishop who already had suspicions about me being a "maverick priest" - as he put it - because I was not going along with his gay rights agenda.

Ignorance and Confusion about Church Tradition

Many of the new Anglican clergy are Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail and lack deep understanding of Anglicanism. Some have done all their formal training outside of the Anglican tradition. So it is that questions about the Virgin Mary as “the Woman” of Gen. 3:15 are sometimes dismissed as “Anglo-Catholic.” This actually happened at a conference! When did Anglican clergy become dismissive of the Incarnation and the Virgin Mary’s role in fulfilling God’s promise?

The new clergy of the Anglican realignment appear to have a shallow understanding of the relation of Scripture and Holy Tradition. This will pose an obstacle in conversation with Roman Catholics and Orthodox, Anglicanism two best friends in its continued struggle to uphold church discipline. A friend attended an 8-week seminar lead by a new Anglican priest who didn’t want to address questions. He only wanted to give the approved evangelical answers. My friend confided: “Holy Tradition and the Ancient Faith were summarily dismissed by an ad hominem. After years of listening to priests of varying quality, very few of them have as much to say as they think they do. I think they need to tread carefully and listen and learn, starting with the ancients, but they can't get their egos out of the way to recognize that.”

There is the problem of former Episcopalians who, like myself, never could find a high church orthodox parish. Here in Kentucky the choices are either the Episcopal churches (hopelessly revisionist) or “happy clappy” low church congregations. Bishop John Rodgers famously said "the real difference in the Church today isn't between those who are high-church and those who are low-church, but between those who believe Jesus' tomb is really empty and those who don't." That may be the most important difference, but it does not mean the difference between high church Anglican worship and evangelical Anglican worship does not matter. It matters because of the inextricable linkage of prayer and belief. It matters very much to me that there is not a single catholic Anglican parish in my state.

A friend expressed my sentiments well in these words: “What the Episcopal Church has become and what its replacement is just breaks my heart and challenges my soul.” He is a mature and intelligent person with a profound understanding of the nature of the priesthood. While exploring the priestly vocation, he looked into different divinity schools, but received a “severely negative reaction” when he expressed to his Anglican priest his preference for Harvard over Trinity School for Ministry. At Harvard the circle of discussion is wider, his career options less limited, and given the wide range of viewpoints, nobody thinks it strange that he should select Harvard over a seminary that trains women to be priests contrary to the tradition of the Church Fathers.

Another friend is helping her struggling AMIA parish through a clergy search process. She reports that the list of candidates is small and dismal. She wonders why her bishop won’t approve a retired ECUSA priest who already worships with them. He is theologically sound and experienced. Could it be that the ECUSA label is enough to block his approval? That happens when a church becomes so sensitive to past problems that it can’t embrace the newness of each day.

Anglicanism in America is at a critical place historically. It needs to find balance between Evangelicalism and Catholicism; and between Scripture and Holy Tradition. It needs to settle the issue of women’s ordination, which means struggling to understand the origins of the priesthood and to shape priestly ministry according to that divine ordinance. And it must restore the undivided Trinity as the central focus of worship.

Planting churches and inviting people to commit their lives to Jesus Christ is a very good thing, but a calcified church won’t hold people. They will want to move to a deeper understanding of the Son of God and the mystery of the Trinity. They will want to see Him in the sacraments and in the life of the Body. They will want clergy who aren’t afraid of Truth regardless of where it is found, and they will want to breathe fresh air.

Some Promising Signs

One promising sign is the cooperation between Trinity and Nashotah House. The Rev. Dr. Robert S. Munday in a VOL interview said: “One thing that gives our two schools a close affinity is that I was a faculty member and associate dean at Trinity for 15 years before coming to Nashotah House as Dean. Father Doug McGlynn, our Seminary Sub-Dean at Nashotah House, taught on Trinity's faculty as well. Fr. Arnold Klukas, our professor of Liturgy and Spirituality has taught at Trinity also. So we have lots of ties and friendships between the faculties of the two schools.

We have hosted Trinity's entire faculty for a visit at Nashotah House, and our faculty looks forward to reciprocating with a visit to Trinity in the future. There is a warm fellowship and collegiality between the members of both faculties, and we are often involved with the same mission agencies, speak at the same conferences, and cooperate in all sorts of ways.”

There are signs of sharing between evangelicals and the traditionally Anglo-Catholic dioceses of Fort Worth, San Joachin and Quincy, including a recent A.M.I.A. ordination by Bishop "Doc" Loomis in Peoria. When Bishop Alberto Morales of the Diocese of Quincy heard that AMIA wanted to start a church plant in his see city, he encouraged them. He recognizes that AMIA is culturally different to Anglo-Catholicism, and capable of reaching people for the Lord who might not be attracted to the more formal Anglican worship. Bishop Alberto generously offered St Andrew's Peoria, his largest Anglo-Catholic church for the ordination. Bishop "Doc" Loomis preached and presided at the ordination of his newest clergyman. Bishop Alberto celebrated a Pontifical Mass "the Quincy way" with smells and bells to delight the hearts of Anglo-Catholics. Bishop Alberto had intended simply to sit in quire, but his participation with Bishop Loomis set the tone for the kind of cooperation that will enable Anglicanism in America to further the cause of the Kingdom of God.

Related reading: Women Priests and the Anglican Church of North America; Consensus that Women Priests Must Be Addressed; Modernist-Traditionalist Divide in Anglicanism; God as Male Priest; What's Lost When Women Serve as Priests?; Why Women Were Never Priests; Ideologies Opposed to Holy Tradition


The Archer of the Forest said...

Your assessments of the ACNA seem to be mine as well. I don't understand how the ACNA will function long term. The majority seem to be of the Anglican Evangelical persuasion, which is understandable.

As someone from the Anglo-catholic wing of the church, I am at a loss as to why Forward in Faith North America seems to have put all its chips into the ACNA pot. They were the one hope I had that the high church wing of TEC might actually become Catholic, but instead they seem to just want to "play catholic" and really behave like Protestants when it suits them.

I think Orthodoxy might be my next stop.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Dear Archer,

It would be easier if I didn't care, but I do. And you care very much as well.

The Orthodox Church will welcome you, but it won't make your "coming home" easy. And nothing will erase the cadences of the great Anglican liturgy. Were you to become an Orthodox priest (God willing) you will still experience moments when the vibrant and sonorous language of the BCP stirs deep inside you and you feel sorrow and sweetness mingled.

Perhaps that why Satan was launched a legion of demons against this part of Christ's Body. But, as Luther reminds us:

And tho this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph thru us.
The prince of darkness grim --
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure --
One little word shall fell him.

James H said...

Great post. I intend to link it and give more thoughts.

I think you are hitting on an aspect of the current Anglican crisis that is not getting the attention it deserves

While I can not read the minds of the powers that be in the Catholic Church or of Pope Benedict I suspect the lifeline the Pope is attempting to throw to some Anglo Catholics is partly because of the reasons you cite.

It does seem to me that the people for instance leaving the TEC are at times well just hostile to Catholic thought and I think you hit it right that this goes beyond just one or other issues

Anonymous said...

If the BCP really and truly stirs the soul and there's not so much a draw to the Eastern rite, there's no reason not to go with the Western rite. I'd be perfectly happy in either context and its particularly encouraging to see ROCOR adding WR parishes at a good clip. Orthodox is Orthodox.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I don't favor the Western Rite. It lacks the rich symbolism and eastern "patterning" (as found in St. Ephrem's hymns) of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great.

Saying that "Orthodox is Orthodox" is problematic. Distinctions matter. In the article, I point out that this is true about low church vs high church Anglican worship.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Alice,

My impression of ACNA, an impression coming mainly from Rev. Matt Kennedy and Sarah Hey (even though she's a member of TEc), is that they are indifferent to the criticism about their indifference to WO.

ACNA is seemingly pleased with its declaration that there are not going to be any women bishops. Furthermore, Bishop Duncan affirms WO.

Alice, if you're going to have concerns or some slight misgivings about ACNA, you might as well extend them to GAFCON as well since there are some significant GAFCON primates who support WO as well.

Thanks for your post.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Matt Kennedy and Sarah Hey don't represent Anglicanism, though reading Stand Firm one might get the impression that they think they do. They don't seem to understand what is at stake.

Your assessment of the GAFCON primates is correct. Some allow for the ordination of women. These are the Primates whose Anglican perspective is in large part the product of the East African Revival. In other words, they are Evangelical Anglicans who view these women as presbyters, or church elders. If the women they ordained only taught, preached and provided pastoral ministry, there would be no concern among the rest of the Anglican Communion. The Bible is full of women who served as spiritual leaders, but not one woman served as a priest.

Kamilla said...

But that's the problem - these women aren't simply spiritual leaders, they are functioning as priests. In fact, when SE Asia pulled out of oversight of AMiA, AMiA's bishops were told in no uncertain terms by Abp Kolini (now retired) to find a way to make WO work - hence the confusing structure in which there appear to be two AMiAs and it is extraordinarily difficult to tell, from the church listings on the national website, which churches do and which do not practice WO.

In addition, I would caution against looking to Doc Loomis as a model of working together since he is a supporter of WO and has, if not officially presided, has been publicized as being present for at least one "ordination" of a woman to the priesthood.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Hello, Kamilla. You have a lovely blog, btw.

You are right about there being two minds in AMIA on WO. This contributes to the confusion in Anglicanism, but hopefully, Anglicans will one day address this reality.

The intention of the article is not to hold up any individual as a model of cooperation, but to focus on some of the concerns that have been expressed about Anglicanism's direction in North America.

Acolyte4236 said...


What you've written strikes me as an indication that the resulting body suffers from a kind of deprevation of depth that older generations of Anglicans possessed. The hard thing will be to recapture it if they do not presently have it. One of the benefits of times gone by was that both high and low forced each other to be on their toes.

I must say how suprised I was with the Hey/Kennedy crowd in how adamant they are concerning Reformation distinctives. They seem to take little notice of the deep problems that such a view generates, particularly with reference to Christology and divine goodness. I never experienced such a view among Anglicans until I left ECUSA for the REC. In any case, the Hey/ Kennedy crowd are only outwardly indifferent to the crtiticism concerning WO and for a simple reason-they have to be. They have no other seemingly coherent ground to occupy.

The ACNA has not and cannot resolve the WO issue. Their position is fundamentally incoherent. To deny ordination on a basis less than heterodoxy or serious moral defect is untenable. On the one hand they have to assert that WO is an error large enough to deny the sacrament of orders but not serious enough to deny the sacraments that depend on orders. The position is, ironically enough, political. Which is why the said entity isn't a church.

Kamilla said...

Thank you for the kind words about my blog.

I understand - I just keyed on the mention of Doc Loomis towards the end. I find AMiA tremendously frustrating - they are trying to hold too diverse a group together (imo) and exercise no discipline as to how far they are willing to stretch in certain directions, everything from teaching "The Shack" to prayer leaders praying in tongues (without interpretation), not to mention the issue of WO. In the end, the double-speak on WO was the last straw for me and I had to leave.

I would guess, however, that this is taking the discussion adrift of your intentions so I'll leave it at that.

Confessor said...

Theologies of the Church, the Eucharist and the Priesthood and what is called Holy Tradition are very highly evolved, self-proving, kind of... boat-shaped, beginning with a small narrow point at the bottom, building upon itself thought by thought, precept by precept, year by year. Each separate tradition - East, West, Protestant, Reformed, Evangelical, High style, Low style, Contemporary style, etc. - has its own raison d'etre, rubrics and dogmas.

One tradition uses leavened Agape feast bread, another unleavened Passover provender, one dips, one drinks and eats, one every Sunday, one not very often.

Each has like a boat a narrow bottom or foundation in Scripture and depends on an evolution and building-up of thought and tradition so that it becomes broader and wider as it goes on.

These traditions are only stable and balanced when and sustainable because they are floating in the living water of God's Sustaining Power, Mercy and Grace and can, by this same Grace and Mercy, transport people out of the danger and destruction of ignorance and self into the Beauty, Truth and Safe Harbor of God's Loving, Life-giving Presence, Will and Way and because they may, by His Grace and Power, produce fruit 'after their kind.'

When they depart to a certain extent from the Basis of Life, they will cease to bear fruit and 'calcify' and die.

To defend and deify one's preferred evolved tradition or form of ceremony is an exercise of pride and vanity and futility.

All glory and power and authority belongs to God, not to the hypothetical theoretical constructs of man's mind, belief and preference and tradition.

Confessor said...

Please read my previous comment to the music and words of 'Tradition' from Fiddle on the Roof.

Tradition has its value when coupled with humility before and obedience to God and the ability to admit and own one's sin and fallibility.

A tradition that claims to be without fault, foolishness and failure and claims to be the only true arbitor of theology and valid tradition is a cult and guilty of vanity and pride.

Step One: (paraphrase) 'Realize I am not God and I'm powerless to control myself, others and the world.'

Romans 7: (paraphrase) "Nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature..."

Confessor said...

That's Fiddler on the Roof' of course.

carl said...

Alice C. Linsley

Your argument basically amounts to "ACNA isn't Catholic enough" to which I can only say "Good." A Protestant rejects to sacramental priesthood. He rejects the equation of Sacred Tradition with Scripture. He rejects the eisegetical imposition of the Marian dogmas onto the text. Virtually everything you would call a bug, I would call a feature. There is no true middle ground between positions that are mutually exclusive.

But you are right about Women's Ordination. It was political expediency that led to the current compromise on WO. There would have been no ACNA without such a compromise. Yet it makes the leadership of ACNA incoherent. The organization rests atop a cracked foundation. It is analogous to the compromises on slavery that were necessary to get agreement on the American Constitution. Much as the US eventually had to deal with these compromises, so also will ACNA have to deal with this compromise. The resulting struggle will not be pretty.

who isn't Anglican either

Acolyte4236 said...


So just to clarify your thinking, the formal canon of scripture on your take would be revisable too since that is a merely human thing?

Acolyte4236 said...


So on your view even when the Scriptures describe the gospel in terms of "tradition" that leaves us free to alter it and to take it in a non-deified form? If not, then it seems clear that there is some tradition that is not merely human. If so, it seems your entire argument is, at best, question begging.

As for your two steps, there is no such thing as a sinful nature, since all natures are created by God and sin is not a nature. The pauline term is sarx, flesh. Besides, even the BCP speaks of about God hating nothing he has made, taken from the Apocrypha no less. Consequently your step two waxes Manichean and Step one is just plain old Stoicism.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I recommend that we read some of the related reading posted at the bottom of the article. This will clarify that Holy Tradition concerns the Son of God, who Abraham's ancestors expected, as evidenced by their unique kinship pattern. The Bible, and Genesis specifically, is about God's fulfillment of the Edenic Promise (Gen. 3:15) whereby the Promised Son would be born of "the Woman" (not eve since she isn't named until 5 verses later). Abraham's ancestors expected Him to come in the flesh and believed that He would crush the head of the evil one and restore Paradise.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Linsley, interesting article. "Fresh air": A term I wouldn't have initially thought applicable, but agree. Iguess I just need to stick with Terry Gross. Best, Brent

Anonymous said...

....mainstream Catholic understanding of church...." - no such animal as "catholic" without the papacy!

Alice C. Linsley said...

The Roman view of Papacy is a relatively new innovation. Historically, there were numerous popes: Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Constantiople. And they were to uphold the true Faith in a conciliar way. Even today the head of the Coptic Church is called "Pope."

A distinction should be made between Roman Catholicism and catholicism. The latter is a trait of the Body of Christ, as we attst in the Creed. We divide His Body by foolish and superficial arguments. On the Last Day none of us will be judged by how well we know the answers, but by the perfection of our charity toward all.

Charlie Sutton said...

I am a Thirty-Nine Articles Anglican, which makes me Reformed. The question of the first century of the Church of England (1549-1650) was the question of whether bishops fit into the Reformed Church, and it was answered that they did.

To me, ACNA has the danger of being way too "Catholic," taking on traditions that grew away from biblical teachings, and some traditions that seem to have come out of nowhere. That note about Joseph of Arimathea giving a decided perspective on what it means to be a presbyter (or "priest," which is "presbyter" shortened) is taking a lot of "maybes" and building them into a "must be."

The Reformed faith IS the Catholic faith, for it is what the Scripture teaches. Certainly the Church has learned a lot down through the centuries about helpful customs, disciplines, etc, and there are areas where variety may be tolerated - but on the core of who God is, the nature of the Trinity, who Jesus Christ is, and what he has done for us, we cannot go beyond or in opposition to what the Bible teaches.

The ordination of women is not condoned in Scripture - not that women cannot have a place in ministry and even to a degree in leadership - but ordination, with its responsibilities and privileges, in terms of worship, the Sacraments, and authority in the Church, is reserved for men. WO is going to be a thorn in the side of ACNA, and it may be what finally brings about the death of historic Anglicanism in North America.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Charlie, There is no doubt that the Latin Church needed reform. (No such reform was needed in the Eastern Church, btw.) That said, the reformers were much more liturgical and catholic than American Anglicans generally recognize. Read Luther's 95 Thesis, as an example:

All the old churches and cathedrals in England have Mary chapels. Listen to English Gregorian chants which venerate the Virgin Mother of Christ our God.

The reference to Joseph of Hari-Mathea is less speculative than you think. He is a direct descendant of Abraham, Noah, and Enoch, and this is demonstrable through analysis of the genealogical imformaton in the Bible. This information is available for all to read. See the INDEX.

It is curious that Protestants, Reformed and Evangelicals claim the Bible as their authority and then pick and choose what they will believe.

Acolyte4236 said...


The idea that the Reformed faith takes Nicene and Chalcedonian teaching and is distinguished from other traditions by soteriological and ecclesiastical distinctives just won't wash.

The Reformed reject a number of teachings from the Nicene Creed, such as the Father alone being autotheos, as well as baptismal regeneration and apostolic succession.

And the Reformed are not in line with Chalcedonian Christology as is even testified to by the likes of Richard Muller in his Christ and the Decree; predestination and Christology in Reformed Theology from Calvin to Perkins. They dissent from Chalcedon following the views of Theodoret of Cyrrus and Nestorius taking Christ to be a human and divnie person as the WCF puts it. That just isn't Chalcedonian.

So the Reformed Faith is not the Catholic Faith, but a new arrangement produced from strands of late medieval scholsticism and humanism.

Alice C. Linsley said...

My friend, Dr. William Tighe thinks that the Church Settlement of 1559 made Anglicanism a moderately eccentric form of Reformed Christianity (as opposed to Catholic or Lutheran or Orthodox) that subsequently (due to the labors of Hooker, Andrewes and "the Caroline Divines," and then the Tractarians and their various heirs) took on multiple identities and became a bit amnesiac about its own origins (thereby ignoring Socrates' adage of Gnothi seaoton/Know thyself). If one accepts this thesis, then the ACNA Anglicans could be seen as retrieving and applying to what they see as "the demands of the Gospel for today" an earlier, and more genuine, Anglican identity.

I appreciate Dr. Tighe's perspective.

Daniel Stoddart said...

Hi Alice, I'm still not clear on your response to the first comment posted by Ron. It seems that there are several "high" and even Anglo-Catholic parishes in your neck of the woods (ACC, APA, APCK). Your response was cryptic. What is the 'reality' you refer to?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Daniel, Welcome to Just Genesis!

I emailed Ron about that. I didn't mean to be cryptic. I was multi-tasking as the time!

The lists don't reflect reality. Most of those listed were not viable when they started and no longer exist. There may still be one called St. Mary's, but they had a retired priest whose health wasn't good and I'm not sure that group still meets. The one closest to me was St. Chad's in Lexington. It has closed.

Fr Chris Larimer said...


I'm sorry that personal contingencies presented you from attending my installation. I hope that in the future, we can meet. I feel I have much to learn from you. Please know that some of us newcomers are on the road to recovering the catholic faith that took root on English soil, and was planted here. We have loyalty to that branch because in God's providence, He sent Englishmen here...not Greeks or Russians or Italians.

I'm a former pentecostal who came to Anglicanism via Presbyterianism. I was received into a FiF-NA church, and brought into ACNA throughout the FiF-NA affiliated Missionary Diocese of All Saints (though I'm now in a different diocese, and it looks like we're soon to become part of the Diocese of the South).

Alice C. Linsley said...

Hi, Fr Chris. I too regret that I couldn't attend. My motehr's memorial service and family reunion was a huge undertaking. There were 68 family members from across the country. She was well honored as a woman who left us a heritage of faith.

I appreciate you comment about the English planting Christianity here. Some were Puritans (New England). Some were Roman Catholics (Maryland). Some were Quakers and Anabaptists (Pennsylvania and Ohio), and some were Anglicans (Virginia), but even those weren't high church, unless I'm mistaken.

Unknown said...

While being no longer loyal to Anglicanism does diminish her opinion considerably for those of us still in there battling, Alice does have some good discussion points, even if obviously prejudiced against the evangelical point of view. I suppose much depends on your definition of “evangelical”; to me is it an emphasis on evangelism, authority of scripture, and developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Protestant evangelicalism also includes a dislike for the external trappings of religion and a distrust of all human authority other than Christ and the Apostles (which of course, includes a distrust of all church traditions developed post 450 AD).

There, in a nutshell, you have the conflict within the Church universal. Some love tradition and authority structures, some don’t. As a person who is stuck smack in the middle of this conflict, with a foot on each side. I am tired of doing the splits. How about avoiding the “either-or” options and going with “both-and”? That is what reconciliation within the Church is all about. What would Jesus tell us to do? We should quit fighting our brothers and sisters and focus on our true enemies (world, flesh, Satan) and join together on promoting the gospel everywhere we can.

Alice’s critical generalizations (especially adopting cultural norms and leniency toward divorce and remarriage) are like criticizing AngloCatholics for some of the Roman errors that have yet to be corrected. True evangelicals like J.I. Packer and John Stott are so scriptural (a mark of true evangelicalism) that such criticisms are inappropriate. Many who call themselves evangelical (like some in the “emergent church” movement) are not in fact true evangelicals.

On priesthood in the Church: There is one main passage that deals with the priesthood of all believers. It is as follows: "You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ … But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:5-9). Old Testament priests were chosen by God, not self-appointed; and they were chosen for a purpose: to serve God with their lives by offering up sacrifices. The priesthood served as a picture or "type" of the coming ministry of Jesus Christ—a picture that was then no longer needed once His sacrifice on the cross was completed. When the thick temple veil that covered the doorway to the Holy of Holies was torn in two by God at the time of Christ's death (Matthew 27:51), God was indicating that the Old Testament priesthood was no longer necessary. Now people could come directly to God through the great High Priest, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16). There are now no earthly mediators between God and man as existed in the Old Testament priesthood (1Tim 2:5).

Alice C. Linsley said...

"God was indicating that the Old Testament priesthood was no longer necessary." - That is simply false. There is nothing in Scripture or Tradition to sustain this view. The Priesthood is patterned throughout the Bible, and is a central aspect of the Old Covenant and New Covenant. Consider what the author of Hebrews says. The symbol of the Priesthood is the Blood of the Lamb. Would you destroy a symbol of His Blood?

Chris Jones said...

Mrs Linsley,

You wrote:

I don't favor the Western Rite. It lacks the rich symbolism and eastern "patterning" (as found in St. Ephrem's hymns) of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great.

I disagree. The liturgical aesthetic of the Western Rite is quite different from that of the Eastern Rite, but that does not make it any less rich -- it just makes it different. When the Western Rite liturgy is done maximally -- the Mass with all of the propers and the Divine Office performed regularly according to its rubrics -- there is just as much "patterning" and just as much opportunity to experience the way the liturgy mediates to us the typological and metaphorical reality of the Scriptures, as there is in the Eastern Rite.

I love the Eastern Rite, and for me, it was worshiping according to the Eastern Rite that made me finally understand how the liturgy communicates the fulness of the faith to the faithful (in other words, what lex orandi lex est credendi means in real life). But once I "got it," I was also able to see exactly the same thing happening in the Orthodox Western Rite. The Western Rite is not simply ECUSA worship transferred to a different jurisdiction. It is the liturgy that formed saints like St Gregory the Great, St Leo, St Augustine, St David, and St Patrick.

Saying that "Orthodox is Orthodox" is problematic.

I don't think so. St Vincent of Lerins (WR) is as Orthodox as St Maximus Confessor (ER); St Leo the Great (WR) is as Orthodox as St Cyril of Alexandria (ER); and St Cyprian (WR) is as Orthodox as St Athanasius the Great(ER). These saints worshiped with, and were formed by, the Western Rite. Unless you are willing to call these great saints "half-Orthodox," you can't fundamentally object to the Western Rite.

Acolyte4236 said...


I am not clear on why you’d limit the distrust of all church traditions post 450. Surely saintly invocation, the perpetual virginity of Mary and lots of other things are all pre-450, which a good number of Protestants reject.

Classical Protestantism doesn’t take any tradition outside of the NT canon as ultimately normative and so doesn’t hit 450 A,D, as some arbitrary stopping point.
As for having a conflict with the church universal this seems to beg the question. If the Monophysites are part of the church, why not the Pneumatamochians? Why assume some kind of non-patristic ecclesiology that says that the anathemas against the Monophysites is out but those against the Nestorians are in? Why are the councils against the Nestorians ecumenical but Chalcedon and Constantinople 2-3 are not?
As the deployment of 1 Pet 2:5-9 won’t wash for a simple reason. When it was said truly of Israel, not every Israelite was a priest either. So it is not strictly true of believers either. No where in the NT is it taught that any believer can ordain and in fact just the opposite is demonstrated. More to the point, Paul wouldn’t refer to himself as a priest in his apostolic mission (Romans 15:16) if the priesthood ceased with Christ. Just as in the OT there was one high priest and many other lower priests, such is the case now. The fulllfillment of the OT type doesn’t establish the abolition of the priesthood anymore than the fulfillment of the law implies antinomianism.
And no one takes priests to be mediators per se. Certainly Christ has always been the mediator since no one in the OT saw the Father nor heard his voice. Current priest participate in the priesthood of the one priest, which is why they eat from an altar which Judaizers have no right to eat from. Heb 13:10

Alice C. Linsley said...

All priests are reflections of the true Form Priest, who is Jesus Christ. Therefore, priests are mediators, though only the True Form sits at the right hand of the Father making intercessions for us.

See this:

Chris Larimer said...

Since the American succession of the episcopate was through the high church non-jurors, and our first bishop was the first to don a mitre as an Anglican in nearly 200 years, I'm not sure it's fair to say that American catholicism (aka episcopalianism) was low church through and through.

Confessor said...


I was quoting Scripture.

Please look up Romans 7:18-25 and Galatians 5:13-24.

There is a theme of crucifying the flesh or fallen nature that runs through Scripture.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Confessor wrote: "To defend and deify one's preferred evolved tradition or form of ceremony is an exercise of pride and vanity and futility."

I agree. That's why we must understand what the Tradition is that Abraham, our Father in Faith, received from his ancestors in Eden. It concerns the first biblical promise in Genesis 3:15. The entire Bible is about how the Holy and Undivided Trinity fulfills that promise.

Anonymous said...

I Timothy 2:5 and Hebrews 7 and 8 make a case that we only have one mediator and one priest now, Jesus, the guarantor of the New Covenant.

I Peter 2:5,9 "You are raised up a spiritual house, an holy priestood...a chosen generation, a royal priesthood..."

Revelation 1:6, 5:10 and 20:6 state that believers are kings and priests but does not mention qualifications.

Very Interesting - Other than Hebrews, I Peter 2:5-9, and Revelation, there is no other mention of priests in the New Testament - and there is no mention of priests.

There are Shepherds, Overseers, Teachers, Apostles, Evangelists, Preachers, Administrators... but priests and their duties are not mentioned in the descriptions offices of the Church.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Indeed ruler-priests are mentioned in the NT. Jesus is THE ruler-priest, after the order of Melchizedek, an order that existed before Israel and the Jews.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were also ruler-priests who recognized that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise made to their forefathers. Joseph is mentioned in all 4 Gospels and was a kinsman of Joseph who married the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Then there is John the Baptist's father who was also a priest.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Chris Jones, I said I personally don't favor the Western Rite. That was not meant as a put down to Orthodox parishes who use it.

Here is my thinking and it is a personal opinion. Why use the Western Rite when it is not as theologically rich as the historic Anglican liturgy. The genius of Cranmer was that he resourced in the early Eastern liturgies, drawing phrases from the Liturgy of John Chrysostom, but he didn't try to improve upon them. The classical Anglican liturgy in the setting of Orthodox worship and sacred space would be my ideal, but again, this is a matter of personal preference. And in the end, my preference doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

Oh, re: priests - I meant priests in the Church.

I knew Zacharias was a priest, but Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea?
How do you knowthey were priests?
Were the Pharisees and Saducees priests?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Both were voting members of the Sanhedrin which means that they were of the ruler-priest lines.

Ahuehuete said...

If I am not mistaken, Pope Leo XIII declared that Anglican orders were "absolutely null and utterly void", so I don't see how the Catholic Church could view Anglican orders as "highly regarded". The fact that they ordain women and will inevitably consecrate them as Bishops proves that Leo was right.

Alice C. Linsley said...

The Anglicans who accept women priests have broken from Anglican practice and order. They are revisionists. You have revisionists in the Roman Catholic Church also, Frank.

Alice C. Linsley said...

FYI, I worship with Anglicans once again and have been doing so for the past decade. I was with the Antiochian Orthodox for only 6 years, and they were blessed years.