Anglican parishes to ordain own clergy. And on the flip side…

A couple of days ago I took the Anglo-Catholics to task for their ambiguous position relative to Roman Catholicism and how they needed to decide whether they are in or out of the "true church."

It works both ways.  Now we see that that magnificent island which filled two continents with those who wanted or had to leave has a group of Anglican parishes which may start to ordain own clergy.  In an Anglican church, this is a definite faux pas.

There are really two issues here.  The first is that these parishes are proposing ordaining their clergy without permission of their superiors.  I’m not one for slavish, Gothardian subordination, but if you’re in a church with a hierarchy, deferring to that hierarchy in the matter of ministerial credentialing is a must.  You signed up for this system, you need to either stick with it or get out.  (You also seriously increase the risk of seriously unsuitable people going into the ministry with a lack of any kind of oversight.)

The second is the issue of the apostolic succession, which Anglican churches claim.  This is transmitted, for better or worse, though the bishops.  Without the bishops, that ceases to exist, and with it one of the advantages of the Anglican system.

British Anglican evangelicals need to do one of three things:

  1. Stick with the system they’re in,
  2. Become "nonconformist" and tough it out with the rest of us, or
  3. Do what the Americans are doing (I know it hurts, but it’ll be okay after a while) and seek help from those of like mind in the Anglican Communion.  But remember: the Africans are certainly evangelical, but they will not put up with the kind of insubordination contemplated against the Church of England.

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