A Pleasant Surprise from an old Anglican Commenter

In looking through the links on Anglican Curmudgeon (which have taken the place of StandFirm for an index of Anglican/Episcopal blogs) I noticed something I never thought I’d see: Robin Jordan’s Reshaping the 1928 Prayer Book Services for Mission, in four parts.  That’s because, for a long time, his position on the 1928 BCP ran like this:

From a Reformed perspective the 1928 Book of Common Prayer suffers from a number of serious theological defects. This rules out the use of the 1928 Prayer Book in public worship in an Anglican church that is Reformed in its doctrine. If prayers and liturgical material are used from the 1928 Prayer Book, great care should be taken to see that their doctrine conforms with the biblical-Reformation doctrine of the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1661 Ordinal.

Anglicans have long recognized how we pray reflects and shapes what we believe. What good does it do to preach one thing when the liturgy that we are using and the worship practices that we have adopted teach another? Both our preaching and our liturgy and worship practices need to convey the same message.

That Reformed stance of his doubtless detonated the long, acrimonious and unedifying exchange on this blog which we had several years back.

Some of the change, however, may be due to the following:

On November 1, 2017, on the Feast of All Saints, Bishop William Millsaps, licensed me as a lay reader in the Diocese of the South in the Episcopal Missionary Church (EMC) and placed me in temporary pastoral charge of St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Benton, Kentucky. I am pursuing a late life vocation in the EMC.

I have met Bishop Millsaps, know some of his congregation in Monteagle, and have stayed in contact with him over the years.  The Episcopal Missionary Church, although it doesn’t explicitly describe itself as Anglo-Catholic, states the following:

The Book of Common Prayer, 1928 Edition, is the basis for all of our worship. The Prayer Book is a document which is best described as being orthodox in its expressions of the Christian faith, using the liturgies which have been a part of catholic worship for centuries. There is no modern “innovation” in the Prayer Book; it calls upon us to conform ourselves to God’s word, rather than trying to change the church’s teachings to fit mankind’s “desires.

Given my own softening on the subject, I am sympathetic to Robin’s position.  And I am very heartened that the EMC has allowed him this opportunity for ministry.  It’s something that he’s obviously desired for many years, and we all know that “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalms 37:4-5 KJV)  I know the opportunity I had to serve 13 1/2 years in the Lay Ministries Department of the Church of God was a long-desired gift.  Given his long study and experience in church planting, he should do well, and my prayers are with him.

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