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May 24, 2012


Navigating the Three Streams by Gillis Harp

Gillis Harp has written a masterful essay explaining the difficulties and contradictions inherent in the “Three Streams, One River” approach to Anglicanism that seems to have become embedded in the ACNA as an almost creedal doctrine. Be sure to read the entire thing:

But in looking at the new “three streams” typology, one meets with at least four difficulties.  First, it takes a possibly helpful (but over-simplified) descriptive model of the Western church during the middle part of the twentieth century and turns it into a prescriptive theological ideal.  Newbigin’s original description may be an easy way to conceptualize some of the different traditions within Christianity in the effort to facilitate ecumenical discussion, understanding and cooperation.  But using it to create a kind of doctrinal synthesis is, however, an entirely different matter.  The differences between the three streams (at least as commonly identified by champions of the model) are not all simple differences of emphasis; some actually constitute opposed positions based upon very different readings of the Bible.

Two of the three streams, for instance, reject the classical Pentecostal teaching about a post-conversion baptism of the Holy Spirit or the normative practice of Glossolalia and prophecy.  Two of the three have historically repudiated the Roman Catholic understanding of the ordained ministry as sacerdotal, and would have a very different view of the nature and number of the sacraments.  And, despite measured progress in ecumenical dialogue since the 1950s, one of the three does not understand justification as primarily the gracious imputation of Christ’s righteousness to individual believers received through faith alone.  These are not peripheral matters.  Wishful thinking about a tidy Hegelian historical synthesis of the three streams will not erase the contradictions.  As Philip E. Hughes once wrote about dialogue between Roman Catholics and Anglicans during the early 1970s, “to resort to fine-sounding but ambivalent terminology is to paper over the cracks and then to call attention to the attractiveness of the wallpaper.”...more


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48 comments

For what it’s worth, at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois, we have all three streams running together equally and peaceably as a single river.  Perhaps some of the differences Gillis Harp mentions depends on how you define the terms.  We have gone back to the witness of the early Church, which had all three “streams” (Scripture, Sacrament and Spirit) flowing together.  Irenaeus of Lyons was profoundly scriptural in his defense of the Faith against all heresies; yet, at the same time, he was also profoundly sacramental and bore witness to the continuing work of the Spirit in the Church. 

It may also be that we prefer to use a different definition of the “three streams, one river” concept, one which uses more Anglican terminology: “Word and Sacrament infused by the Holy Spirit.”  Professor Harp would likely say that we are a prime example of the difficulties he describes, but we’ve found that it has brought to us the fullness of Church, what Fr. David Handy calls “3-D Christianity.” 

Perhaps Resurrection is a bit like the bumblebee.  According to the laws of aerodynamics used for airplanes and birds, a bumblebee cannot fly.  But the bumblebee use a different aerodynamic approach altogether and depends on creating tiny aerial vortices instead of lift to fly.  According to Harp, the three streams approach shouldn’t work, but we’ve found that it works and it works quite well.

[1] Posted by Barbara Gauthier on 5-24-2012 at 09:08 PM · [top]

Dr. Harp’s piece is a well-written one coming from an Anglican evangelical who places a strong emphasis on the Reformation. It seems to me that there is a divide among Anglicans who appeal mostly to the Church Fathers and others who appeal primarily to the English Reformers. And, of course, even orthodox Anglicans disagree over how much value they give to the confessional elements of Anglicanism.

While the three streams analogy has been popular in America, a similar understanding of orthodox Anglicanism as consisting of orthodox Anglo-Catholics, evangelicals, charismatics, and, sometimes, liberals (intentionally defined not as revisionists, but as orthodox Anglicans who seek to relate the faith to modern living) I believe predates it in England. (I am not certain concerning the timing.) Lord Carey supported this view (as quoted on pages 24-25 of the Canterbury Press paperback edition of Robert Backhouse’s A Feast of Anglican Spirituality).

Personally, Anglicanism’s holding these groups in tension is the main reason why I am Anglican. I do think it’s the primary gift that Anglicanism has to offer the larger body of Christ, so the ACNA is right to place so much value on it. Despite all of the challenges and pitfalls that lie in wait, if orthodox Anglicanism can keep the three streams together, it will be an incredible event in church history, a helpful corrective to our lamentable Protestant tendency to split into ever more factions, and a great blessing to the entire body of Christ.

[2] Posted by Ralph Webb on 5-24-2012 at 10:25 PM · [top]

Hi Ralph,

I think the article laments not so much the fact that these three different ways of approaching the faith exist within contemporary Anglicanism…but the theology/ecclesiology that pretends there is no conflict between the three. There are core issues at stake - the question of whether there is a “second blessing” for example goes to the heart of Anglican soteriology. That evangelicals and charismatics have diametrically opposed views on the existence of such a blessing means that a “three streams” Anglicanism will never speak coherently about this vital issue.

[3] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-25-2012 at 03:38 AM · [top]

Anglicanism will never speak coherently about this issue because it will remain ignorant of the reality. As David DuPlessis used to say it is not whether you have the Holy Spirit but whether the Holy Spirit has you. We are not talking about salvation but ministry other than serving on committees.

[4] Posted by Pb on 5-25-2012 at 06:33 AM · [top]

Matt+
” There are core issues at stake - the question of whether there is a “second blessing” for example goes to the heart of Anglican soteriology.” I’m not sure how the second blessing is considered a soteriology issue. Anglicans I know don’t see it as necessary for salvation. Maybe this is the case for hard core Pentecostal folks.
The problem with the three streams approach is that an imbalance in favor of one of the streams leads to resentment by the other two.

[5] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-25-2012 at 06:42 AM · [top]

Ralph,
“It seems to me that there is a divide among Anglicans who appeal mostly to the Church Fathers and others who appeal primarily to the English Reformers. And, of course, even orthodox Anglicans disagree over how much value they give to the confessional elements of Anglicanism.” This bears repeating and it begs the question, “Where does Anglicanism begin?” If it begins with the reformation then lets throw out the lesser feasts and fasts book and the creeds. Ancient tradition provides the ballast in the ship.

[6] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-25-2012 at 06:46 AM · [top]

soteriology = the study of salvation - is not simply “justification” by which which saves us from eternal damnation it also includes sanctification, the work of the Spirit through which God saves us from the power of sin and empowers us to do his work.

Any suggestion that the fullness of the holy spirit is withheld to believers until some later second blessing goes to the heart of soteriology.

[7] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-25-2012 at 08:00 AM · [top]

Matt, I don’t think the ACNA is blind to, or self-deceiving regarding, the theological/ecclesiological differences at all; rather, it’s trying to traverse a narrow path with sheer dropoffs on both sides. Some issues will be resolved over time, and arguably the most important thing it can do now is strive for all of the unity that can be mustered now among its members. Sure, it’s messy now and contains unresolved tensions, but I’m betting that you’ve attended meetings (as I have) where voices from any one camp want to ensure that the ACNA becomes wholly (or nearly so) characterized by that stream—and not, at least in the main, characterized by one or both of the other two. It’s a very difficult path to tread, particularly when past similar movements made by any one stream have ended up shattered on the cliff rocks below (e.g., the continuing churches, evangelicals at various points throughout Anglicanism’s history, charismatic divisions).

We’ve seen how time has changed the different streams in the last few decades. Several-to-many of our North American leaders came out of the charismatic movement and became more evangelical over time, leading to a synthesis in which the evangelical is now predominant and the charismatic is more in the background, but still present. I’ll guess that some of them believed strongly in a second blessing and they now either don’t believe in it or it’s not something they believe is essential even on the soteriological level. And anecdotally, it seems to me that plenty of Anglicans are mixtures of the three streams and live with unresolved tensions in their theology/ecclesiology/spirituality. At least within orthodox Anglicanism, many of the “diametrically opposed views” held by evangelicals and charismatics appear to have ceased to be a concern due to the synthesis I mention.

This is not, of course, to say that the ACNA has done everything right, or that all of the issues should be left unaddressed for a long time to come. But the ACNA does need breathing room in order to just build a church and to retain (and, hopefully, solidify) what unity does exist among its members. Any body that holds these three Anglican groups together will probably end up carving out a theology/ecclesiology/spirituality that is different from, but contains elements of, all of these three groups, and some level of tension will perhaps always be present. Truly it is only by God’s grace that the ACNA, or any other body, will keep the three streams together! But it’s a goal worth striving for.

[8] Posted by Ralph Webb on 5-25-2012 at 08:11 AM · [top]

Many years ago the Cathedral in Atlanta dealt with this issue and tried to come up with a working definition of what here is being called a second blessing for fear of using the word baptism. They concluded that it was when you prayerfully ask for the Holy Spirit to be active in your life as He wills and that the prayer is answered in a way that you know to be true. I know this is controversial in Anglican circles.

[9] Posted by Pb on 5-25-2012 at 09:00 AM · [top]

As an outside observer in a sense . . . because basically arguing over the “three streams” in TEC is a bit of a laugher since the only “stream” available in predominance in leadership is another “stream” entirely which isn’t even vaguely connected to the Gospel . . .

I’d like to offer a few thoughts or presuppositions for folks to either shoot down, add to, or disagree with.

—I’m right there with Matt on the analysis of the current-day conception of the “three streams”—the positions are logically incoherent and internally contradictory.

—The current-day conception of the “three streams” includes *already within them* a “falling off the cliff” within the streams of at least one, and perhaps two of the streams.

—To expand on point #2, it’s *possible* to be Reformed, Catholic, and charismatic with NO internal inconsistencies as long as all three of those words are defined correctly and narrowly.  Leander Harding and I think William Witt has articulated well in some of their writings what that would mean [here I’m setting aside some debates and conflicts on Wellhausen, etc because I think that’s a part of another stream entirely than the three in question].

—But once you decide that “charismatic” means “and now we’re going to all be ecstatically appreciative of the Toronto blessing, Lakeland Revival and Todd Bentley” the word “charismatic” becomes irreconcilable with “Reformed Catholic.”

—Likewise, once you decide that the Roman Catholic church is really the One True Church and the Pope is the supreme pontiff, then the word “Catholic” becomes irreconcilable with the words “Reformed charismatic.”

—I suspect that Matt/David may not agree with me, but I’ll add that once you decide that the regulative principle means “anything not mentioned in Holy Scripture as good should therefore not be performed in worship” and move on from thence to notions about True Sabbath Keeping and eschewing Christmas and hymnody but only Psalms, the word “Reformed” becomes intrinsically irreconcilable with the words “charismatic Catholic.”

—I mentioned above that if the words are defined correctly [and I say that as an Anglican obviously] and narrowly that it’s possible to be Reformed, Catholic and charismatic.  But ironically and wonderfully, those nicely contained words and descriptors offer an unbelievably broad and gorgeous container for the Gospel.  As I’ve said before I think that Anglicanism is the most beautiful, expressive, and attracting communication of the Gospel ever, bar none.  I also think that different Anglicans can well and easily emphasize the charismatic, the Reformed, and the Catholic and that Anglicanism can—more than any other expression of the Gospel—be a “via media” in the sense in which it was used.

In other words, if someone or parish is emphasizing the Catholic over the Reformed, or the Reformed over the charismatic, it’s possible to live together in harmony in one denomination [although a portion of that possibility was in part due to the gravitational center of the See of Canterbury over against confessional doctrine.]

—That’s why I think that a very broad confession that can be held by those emphasizing the Catholic, the Reformed, or the charismatic would be a good and helpful—though not complete—tool for holding together the much broader boundaries of Anglicanism—but only as long as the words are defined far more narrowly than it seems that some are willing to do.

—I do think that going ahead and admitting that the various positions or streams as they are held today by some are logically and internally contradictory and antithetical in some instances would be a good and helpful thing—if only for the sake of clarity and useful rhetorical exchange.  I don’t hear Matt or Father Harp saying “and now, let’s kick out the folks who are well outside the boundaries of appropriate Anglican beliefs concerning the charismatic, the Reformed, or the Catholic.” I hear them pleading for clarity and honesty and not vague, grandiose hand-waving about how the “three streams” as currently configured are so wonderful and coherent and bringing fruit.

It’s one thing to glory in the via media. It’s another thing to expand the via media well beyond even remotely healthy boundaries and then chatter on about how that’s what makes Anglicanism so lovely and wonderful.

[10] Posted by Sarah on 5-25-2012 at 09:28 AM · [top]

I hope it did not convey the idea that I was talking about the Toronto revival. I have been there and do not advocate it for Anglicanism. However, if I see some of the things described in Acts, it strengthens my faith and I do not have to ascribe to Schofield notes. It is like the Lewis trilemma. Either the events in Acts were made up and never happened, they happened then but not now, or they happened then and they happen now. Here are three streams that seem even harder to reconcile.

[11] Posted by Pb on 5-25-2012 at 09:52 AM · [top]

Hi Ralph I think you are confusing a polity concern with a theological concern. I certainly believe, as Sarah mentioned above, that we should all try to remain in the same body.

What I strongly disagree with is the theological underpinnings of the three streams ideal because it glazes over the real substantive differences between the three theological outlooks. Gillis Harp helps us see that and while he writes from a Reformed Catholic perspective, I think his point with regard to the theological incoherence of the three streams theological ideal is unassailable.

By the way Sarah…most Anglican reformed types tend to back the “normative” principle not the “regulative” principle : - )

[12] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-25-2012 at 10:00 AM · [top]

I know, Matt—that’s one reason why I like Reformed Anglicans so much, though I’m always casting my beady eyes on some who seem to me to be rapidly veering off towards the Puritan strain or the reductionist gnostic strain.

If you’ll notice I said “includes *already within them* a “falling off the cliff” within the streams of at least one, and perhaps two of the streams.”

I don’t think that most Reformed Anglicans *have* fallen off the cliff yet—I think they’re remarkably healthy.  I suspect that one reason why they didn’t fall off the cliff is that they have no power.  : < (  When you think about it, the predominant leadership of the evangelicals in US Anglitania are either 1) the charismatic strain or 2) the contemporary/non-Prayer book strain. They’re the ones that have had the clout, numbers, and power to ride off wild-eyed into the sunrise waving flags and galloping ever-closer to the cliffs.  After them have come the Anglo-Catholic stream.

And then there’s the poor Reformed Anglicans who have simply not connected much, it seems, or risen through the ranks.  This may [ahem] also have something to do with certain deficiencies in personality and character that would be slightly crazed of me to talk about, since some of them may be found in me.  ; > )

[13] Posted by Sarah on 5-25-2012 at 11:51 AM · [top]

While I have seen the “Three Rivers-One Stream” analogy surface in Anglican thought from time to time, I wonder where it seems embedded in ACNA?  I mean that as an honest question.  As an example, I offer the statements of belief from the website of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese of which our parish is involved.  Nothing about that here: yet the various parishes in the diocese certainly span the spectrum of Anglican ecclesiology from charismatic/evangelical to staunch Anglo-Catholic.  Could it be that it resides in the rarefied area above the diocesan pay grade?

What We Believe
In the Name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

We are Anglicans in North America united by our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and thetrustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures and presently members of the Common Cause Partnership.

We know ourselves to be members of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

We are grieved by the current state of brokenness within the Anglican Communion prompted by those who have embraced erroneous teaching and who have rejected a repeated call to repentance.

We repent ourselves of things done and left undone that have contributed to or tolerated the rise of false teaching, and we humbly embrace the forgiveness that comes through Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

We are grateful for the encouragement of Primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion who gathered at Jerusalem in June 2008 and called on us to establish a new Province in North America. We affirm the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Statement and Jerusalem Declaration issued 29 June 2008.

We believe that this Constitution is faithful to that call and consistent with the Historic Faith and Order of the Church, and we invite the prayers of all faithful Anglicans as we seek to be obedient disciples of Jesus Christ our One Lord and Savior.

What We Stand For
Members of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) are in the mainstream, both globally and historically, of Christianity – the biblically-faithful way of following Jesus and being part of the “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”. As Anglicans, this orthodoxy is defined by and centered on our church’s classic formularies – the Book of Common Prayer, including the Ordinal, and the Thirty-nine Articles – which all point back to the authority of the Holy Bible and articulate foundational principles of the Anglican tradition throughout the world. We wholeheartedly embrace the Jerusalem Declaration, the founding declaration of the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, and the Theological Statement of the Common Cause Partnership – the precursor to the ACNA.

Theological Statement
As the Anglican Church in North America (the Province), being a part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ, we believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Him. Therefore, we identify the following seven elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way, and essential for membership:

1.We confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.

2.We confess Baptism and the Supper of the Lord to be Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself in the Gospel, and thus to be ministered with unfailing use of His words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.

3.We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.

4.We confess as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture the historic faith of the undivided church as declared in the three Catholic Creeds: the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian.

5.Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures.

6.We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.

7.We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.
In all these things, the Anglican Church in North America is determined by the help of God to hold and maintain, as the Anglican Way has received them, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to our posterity.

We seek to be and remain in full communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacraments and Discipline of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

[14] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 5-25-2012 at 12:22 PM · [top]

Sarah,
This may [ahem] also have something to do with certain deficiencies in personality and character that would be slightly crazed of me to talk about, since some of them may be found in me.  ; > )”
Actually, I find, and this is just personal observation, that there are personality “types” that are attracted to the different streams of Anglicanism. For example, many reformed types seem attracted to an unadorned precision in their theology.

[15] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-25-2012 at 02:28 PM · [top]

Capt. Father Warren, the May issue of The Apostle, an official ACNA publication, has an article by Les Fairfield on the “three streams” that could be said to represent a sort of “official” ACNA viewpoint on the topic…

[16] Posted by Nevin on 5-25-2012 at 04:21 PM · [top]

Nevin, many thanks!

[17] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 5-25-2012 at 04:50 PM · [top]

Nevin,
thanks for the resource. “The emergence and growth of two groups in the late 1800s changed this picture, however.  These were the Anglo-Catholics and theological modernists.  The latter transformed the restrained liberalism of the Broad Church, making it far more radical” Harp briefly mentions the Broad Church. What happened to that as a stream within Anglicanism?

[18] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-25-2012 at 05:49 PM · [top]

Matt, I realize that you weren’t arguing against the three streams coexisting within Anglicanism. And while Dr. Harp is not specifically arguing against that either, he nonetheless essentially proposes that Anglican Reformed evangelical theology (I’m avoiding the use of Reformed Catholic because other orthodox Anglican groups use that same term but invest different meanings into it than Harp and the Prayer Book Society) replace what he considers to be defective three streams theology. To cite two related examples, he calls for a return to the confessionalism of Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, and criticizes Anglo-Catholics for both leading high churchmen away from Reformation principles and stifiling low churchmanship.

Harp, then, argues for one stream’s theology to minimally become the guiding, dominant theological strand in orthodox Anglicanism; otherwise, he says, nothing less than evangelical truth is at stake. That’s certainly a valid position to take, but if you want to retain the three streams in one body, such an approach is prone to destroy unity rather than promote it, no matter which strand ends up being dominant. So rather than confusing polity and theology, the concern I have is with the intersection of theology/ecclesiology/spirituality and church polity. Push for a theology that well reflects one stream but not the other two and you’ll lose much, if not all, of the other two. (In my opinion, the GAFCON theological statement unnecessarily ran the risk of alienating Anglo-Catholics by rejecting Tractarian beliefs as too close to Roman Catholicism—a very debatable argument at best.)

And so far from making an unassailable argument, Harp constructs one that is thoroughly in the Anglican Reformed evangelical camp and so is unlikely to convince Anglo-Catholics and charismatics (as well as some evangelicals who are not as Reformed). It’s also possible to agree with some of Harp’s criticisms and still find his argument unconvincing for other reasons.

Regarding the second blessing, I’m hard-pressed to think of an orthodox Anglican leader who would consider it an essential belief. That’s even true among lay charismatics—in marked contrast to a few decades back, there are seemingly few left who see it as a requirement for the Christian life, even if they believe in its value. I suspect that’s partially because the charismatic has largely become a subset of the evangelical. smile

[19] Posted by Ralph Webb on 5-26-2012 at 03:07 AM · [top]

Re: “if you want to retain the three streams in one body . . . “

Again, [recognizing that I’m not an engaged participant in the polity of ACNA and that Matt’s the primary discusser on this thread] but offering a perspective of a TEC person—I don’t think what currently exists is validly “three streams” since one or two have fallen off the cliff anyway into something that’s not Anglicanism.  It’s not Anglican to say “oh yes, the RC church is the one true church and the Holy Father is our Pope.”  And there are *plenty* of “AngloCatholics” who assert that. Once you go there, then you have the ridiculous spectacle of folks trying to claim that one can go join Rome and still be “Anglican”—which is what some of the more incoherent and/or propagandistic Ordinariate people are proclaiming.

How is it a healthy demonstration of “Anglican three streams” when you’ve got one stream saying that and another one saying “no it’s not and no he’s not.”

RE: “Harp, then, argues for one stream’s theology to minimally become the guiding, dominant theological strand in orthodox Anglicanism . . . “

This has already happened.  Watch most official ACNA services and read their conference promo material and you can see which stream won and became dominant.  This is very well noted amongst conservatives in TEC.  ; > )

RE: “That’s certainly a valid position to take, but if you want to retain the three streams in one body, such an approach is prone to destroy unity rather than promote it, no matter which strand ends up being dominant.”

I don’t think this is necessarily true at all. Why would a particular stream arguing for its own beliefs mean the destruction of unity?  At least everybody knows what’s being discussed and promoted rather than some vague, blurry talk about the glories and wonders of “three streams Anglicanism.”  To say “oh yes, I believe in this strand and it runs counter to the *current* manifestations of “three streams Anglicanism” and I’m going to try to move that vision forward to a place of more prominence and influence within my church body” doesn’t seem like it would destroy unity at all—after all, people are already doing that quite naturally without saying it out loud.

[20] Posted by Sarah on 5-26-2012 at 06:49 AM · [top]

“while Dr. Harp is not specifically arguing against that either, he nonetheless essentially proposes that Anglican Reformed evangelical theology (I’m avoiding the use of Reformed Catholic because other orthodox Anglican groups use that same term but invest different meanings into it than Harp and the Prayer Book Society) replace what he considers to be defective three streams theology. To cite two related examples, he calls for a return to the confessionalism of Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, and criticizes Anglo-Catholics for both leading high churchmen away from Reformation principles and stifiling low churchmanship.”

Yes, and its a great argument. The present three streams theology “is” defective - the biblical justifications for it as Harp points out are foundationless isogetics - and it is incoherent since the three streams cannot “cohere” without dumping theological ideas central to their identity.

I used the “second blessing” theology as an example. To say that it is not central to charismatic theology is not to understand charismatic theology. The renewal movement was and remains grounded on the idea that one can and should receive the Holy Spirit as a second kind of infilling after believing in Christ and being baptized.

You state that you do not think many hold to that theology, I would challenge you to test that. I can name (but won’t) at least 5 bishops off the top of my head who have preached sermons in which the listeners - baptized believers - were encouraged to “be baptized in the Spirit” or pray to “receive the Spirit”.  It is very possible that these men would not identify these exhortations as embracing the “second blessing” theology but if so they would be confused because that is precisely what it is.

This ACNA conference:
http://www.americananglican.org/anglican-conference-focuses-on-the-holy-spirit

led by three ACNA bishops explicitly embraced the second blessing theology.

And this theology is in direct conflict with classic reformed Anglicanism (not to mention scripture)

Harp does argue for a return to the theological moorings of the English reformers - the 39 Articles etc - and I agree with his argument.

“Harp, then, argues for one stream’s theology to minimally become the guiding, dominant theological strand in orthodox Anglicanism; otherwise, he says, nothing less than evangelical truth is at stake.”

Right. And Anglo-catholics argue for their brand of Apostolic Succession which they believe to be central to the gospel…and charismatics push the second blessing theology…so what?

“That’s certainly a valid position to take, but if you want to retain the three streams in one body, such an approach is prone to destroy unity rather than promote it, no matter which strand ends up being dominant.”

No it it’s not “prone to destroy” anything…any more than a charismatic second blessing theology or Anglo Catholic apostolic succession ecclesiology or Reformed “confessionalism”

we can coexist honestly and openly with one another so long as we recognize that our differences are truly differences and let the arguments happen.

What will destroy unity is any attempt to compromise Anglo catholic teaching to get along with evangelicals, or compromise charismaticism to get along with Anglo catholics—etc. What happens in that case is that each “stream” loses its identity and those for whom that identity is key and core will leave.

“the concern I have is with the intersection of theology/ecclesiology/spirituality and church polity. Push for a theology that well reflects one stream but not the other two and you’ll lose much, if not all, of the other two.”

Nope. The problem is that in pushing for a theology that blends the three into one, you destroy all three on the foundation of a new theological construct that is, in fact, foundationless.

“(In my opinion, the GAFCON theological statement unnecessarily ran the risk of alienating Anglo-Catholics by rejecting Tractarian beliefs as too close to Roman Catholicism—a very debatable argument at best.)”

And it came very close to alienating evangelicals by, on the surface, embracing Apostolic Succession as essential to the church.

“And so far from making an unassailable argument, Harp constructs one that is thoroughly in the Anglican Reformed evangelical camp.”

I don’t think you read what I wrote very carefully. I used the word “unassailable” very specifically:

“his point with regard to the theological incoherence of the three streams theological ideal is unassailable…”

I was not referring to his arguments in favor of a return to Cranmer with which I agree with but which are certainly open to “assault”. I was referring to his argument that the three streams are theologically incompatible and that therefore the ideal is incoherent.

This paragraph, by way of illustration, is a factual one:

“Two of the three streams, for instance, reject the classical Pentecostal teaching about a post-conversion baptism of the Holy Spirit or the normative practice of Glossolalia and prophecy.  Two of the three have historically repudiated the Roman Catholic understanding of the ordained ministry as sacerdotal, and would have a very different view of the nature and number of the sacraments.  And, despite measured progress in ecumenical dialogue since the 1950s, one of the three does not understand justification as primarily the gracious imputation of Christ’s righteousness to individual believers received through faith alone.  These are not peripheral matters….”

“Regarding the second blessing, I’m hard-pressed to think of an orthodox Anglican leader who would consider it an essential belief.”

See my comments above.

“That’s even true among lay charismatics—in marked contrast to a few decades back, there are seemingly few left who see it as a requirement for the Christian
life…”

Right. Charismatics would not say that the second blessing is a ‘requirement’...you can be justified without it. It’s just that you don’t ‘have’ it. You are not “Spirit filled”.

And this idea is in direct conflict with classic Reformed soteriology (soteriology, remember, includes more than justification).

“even if they believe in its value. I suspect that’s partially because the charismatic has largely become a subset of the evangelical.”

Or rather evangelicals who assume second blessing theology become a subset of charismaticism…since the second blessing theology is incompatible with classic evangelicalism.

[21] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-26-2012 at 07:31 AM · [top]

I find Dr. Harp’s paper quite a useful addition to the discussion- and let’s note that it is dated September 2009.  So this was written not as a critique of ACNA as such (being written to coincide with ACNA’s initial organization), but perhaps as more of a warning.

It seems self evident that if you ask a group of people “how many Sacraments are there?” and they give different answers, any claim to their sharing a theology is incoherent at best, and quite probably an intentional fiction.

What I see in many people in ACNA is a sort of “cafeteria Anglicanism”- a group of churches and bishops have been identified (often self identified) as “conservative” and therefore our parish and I myself may pick and choose among the various beliefs and practices of the various “conservative” elements.  So, you end up with parish A over here, where they have opted for praise band music that has never been vetted for theological content (amusing how folks worry over what goes into the Hymnal, but have no concerns over what they sing on Sunday morning), the vestments worthy of a Sarum Missal high Mass, an “Evangelical” sermon laced with Biblical references, but preferably under 10 minutes in length, full immersion adult Baptism of new members to follow the sermon, belief in Real Presence, use the ‘79 TEC prayer book catechism, because it is what they used when they became Anglicans in 1985 after 20 years in a Baptist Church- regardless of its Pelagian elements and the horrid paraphrase of the 10 Commandments.  All the while thanking the Lord that they are no longer in TEC, where “theological drift is common.”

“Anglicanism” is not a theology, and never has been.  Cramner himself drifted between Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism- and we see elements of each in the 39 Articles (and lets not forget the “Articles” themselves went through several iterations).  Anglicanism is a form of polity and certain national and international councils with some theological limits, and those limits are recognizable in the 39 Articles, or more recently, the Jerusalem Declaration.  The problems of the Anglican Communion have been brought about by the leadership of several of the national churches stepping outside of those boundaries.  Within those national churches, local polity is held as more important than the polity or theological limits of the greater Communion or Anglican tradition, and has allowed individuals, parishes, and dioceses to move outside the bounds of Anglcan polity.  Anglicanism can encompass a great deal of variance in theological thinking and commitment, it cannot encompass ALL things.

The issue that I think Dr. Harp has recognized in this paper- and what I think Matt, Sarah and others are pointing out, is that to “synthesize” the so-called 3 streams (one might argue there are many more than 3) of the conservative movement is to destroy them, and create a stream of one’s own.  To “merge” them requires eliminating the mutually exclusive elements, or compromising them to such an extent that they loose their charism. 

Within greater Anglicanism, Anglo Catholicism has ceased to exist in many national Churches.  As I point out from time to time, the last 3 Anglo Catholic dioceses had no choice about leaving TEC, TEC had made it canonically illegal to be an Anglo Catholic.  Likewise, Canada, NZ, and from the look of things, soon the CoE.  This is not to say there are no remaining AC parishes surviving under the radar, but there certainly are no remaining Anglo Catholic dioceses- and under TEC polity and canons, there will be none in the future, nor will AC bishops be consecrated, and as Matt points out, we have our own take on the importance of Apostolic Succession.  However, even in those places where Anglo Catholicism is no longer an acceptable theology, much of the practice lives on, and certainly the rise of Anglo Catholicism in the 19th and 20th centuries strengthened understanding of the Real Presence to the point where even very “Protestant” members of the Anglican world hold it as a central tenet of their faith, even if they would be appalled by the praxis of the “Sacramentalists.” 

I think that ACNA, in the long run, will be more successful if it establishes theological boundaries and allows various “streams” to co-exist within those boundaries, than if it continues to create a “3 streams theology”.  If some sort of “broad church” emerges over the course of decades or centuries that adopts some theology from various existing “streams”- so be it.  But let’s not be in the business of “doing” theology in the sense of creating a contemporary “ideal” theology that randomly selects elements of “conservative” theology and tries to meld them into “unity” by erasing the very things that make them distinct.  If the Lord intends that to happen, it will happen on its own.  It cannot be engineered by a vote of Council or an HoB meeting or a church planting seminar.

All that said, it still amuses me that the variance in theology is seen as an “ACNA problem.”  Granted, some theological variance has been removed from the “official” Western Anglican churches by the elimination of Anglo Catholicism and more conservative Evangelical elements.  However, there is still substantial variance between “catholic”, “Evangelical” and “Charismatic” elements within even Western Anglicanism - and I would argue that the variance of theology within ACNA pales by comparison of the variance in TEC (say +Mark Lawrence to Kevin Thew Forrester) or CoE, where the multiple revisionist elements increase the number of “streams” exponentially.

[22] Posted by tjmcmahon on 5-26-2012 at 09:01 AM · [top]

RE: “All that said, it still amuses me that the variance in theology is seen as an “ACNA problem.”

Hasn’t been me that has said that. As I said at the outset of my comments, “basically arguing over the “three streams” in TEC is a bit of a laugher since the only “stream” available in predominance in leadership is another “stream” entirely which isn’t even vaguely connected to the Gospel . . .”

Sure there are some teensy [by percentage] outliers in TEC that may be vaguely Anglo-Cathoicky, charismatic or reformed.  But it’s practically ludicrous to debate “three streams” stuff in TEC because we’re over-run by people who don’t believe the Gospel.

It’s hard to compare “three streams” in TEC because you’ve got the massive majority of our leadership who are none of the Three Streams—they’re not even in the same faith.

[23] Posted by Sarah on 5-26-2012 at 11:20 AM · [top]

TJ and Matt,
I agree with both your comments and Matt, this statement in particular: “Nope. The problem is that in pushing for a theology that blends the three into one, you destroy all three on the foundation of a new theological construct that is, in fact, foundationless.” Maybe the three streams metaphor is misleading.  I would prefer to think of it as three strands that are interwoven but remain separate. All three however fashion a three strand rope that is stronger than the individual strands. I also hope for eventual altar and pulpit fellowship between ACNA and LCMS.

[24] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-26-2012 at 12:56 PM · [top]

Sarah (re: your number 23)- I certainly did not mean to imply that you (or Matt+) were suggesting that there was an “ACNA problem.”  My remark was not addressed to anyone in particular on this thread, but rather to common remarks made about ACNA, occasionally even by conservatives within TEC or elsewhere in the Communion. 

“But it’s practically ludicrous to debate “three streams” stuff in TEC because we’re over-run by people who don’t believe the Gospel.”  Amen to that. I remember my last days in TEC were spent arguing with the local diocese over the 3 streams in this diocese- Gnosticism, Islam and Buddhism.  They have 3 streams without bringing the Gospel into the conversation at all.

[25] Posted by tjmcmahon on 5-26-2012 at 03:05 PM · [top]

I’ll throw my tuppence in. I agree most of all with tjmcmahon’s post at #22. 

Its good to remind ourselves that ACNA is not unusual in the history of Anglicanism for containing doctrinal and liturgical tensions!

I also agree with most of Sarah’s posts, although I would caution that Canterbury is not nearly as important as a “gravitational centre” to many in the Global South, as it is to us in the West. Their first missionaries often had no interest in teaching about Canterbury, so they never learned to think of it as important.  The Anglican controversies of 18th and 19th century passed them by. Their gravitational centre was the prayerbook.

Re comments by others about doctrine and streams: I wasn’t at the Jerusalem Conference in 2008, but I expect that something like this excerpt from the Jerusalem Statement would have seemed just normal and uncontroversial to many third-world Anglicans:

“We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words:
The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.
We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it. ...”

Presbyterians and Roman Catholics alike are horrified that Anglicans could call our formularies a “doctrinal foundation”, an “identity” or a “standard”.  After all, they are nothing like the exhaustive statements in the Westminster Confession or the RC Catechism.

To which I respond: “Bite me”.  I have grown up Anglican, knowing what I believed.  I realised at a young age that what was in the service, what was in the bible and what came out of the pulpit were all consistent.  And when visitors came from other parts of the world, particularly from missionary-founded dioceses in Africa or Asia, what they said was consistent with this also.

I would say to non-Anglican Christians: If we express our doctrinal foundation in a different way to you; in a prayer book, an ordinal and a few short (but very pithy) articles, who is to say that it is WE that are doing it the wrong way?

[26] Posted by MichaelA on 5-27-2012 at 09:49 AM · [top]

“I would say to non-Anglican Christians: If we express our doctrinal foundation in a different way to you; in a prayer book….”

I daresay, if the BCP is a weak foundation, non-Anglicans should stop borrowing from it all the time.  Find me a celebration of Holy Communion (Lord’s Supper, Eucharist) in the English speaking world, that does not borrow from it.  And where do people go for translations of the Nicene Creed?  I doubt there is a serious Protestant theologian who doesn’t have a oft referenced BCP on the bookshelf.  Certainly there is more than one Roman liturgist who has purloined a line or two for purposes of English translation of the Latin rite.

Before someone contests the above, note that I said “serious Protestant theologian”- which leaves out a lot of people who commonly write on the subject, like the “former dean” of the “Good Shepard school of theology” (or whatever that was called).

[27] Posted by tjmcmahon on 5-27-2012 at 11:22 AM · [top]

Fr. Dale,

The three strands interwoven to form a rope which is stronger than the individual strands invokes the idea of synergy [the whole being stronger that the simple sum of the individual elements] without dispoiling any of the additive elements.  To the extent that a physical respresentation of Anglicanism is useful, I like your rope allusion over the 3 streams.

[28] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 5-27-2012 at 07:00 PM · [top]

Capt. Father Warren,
As I reflect on this thread, the commenters and Anglicanism in general I have a great hope for our future. there is a positive attitude in the posts and unity of spirit. There is no place I would rather be as a priest in the Church of Christ.

[29] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-27-2012 at 10:07 PM · [top]

I’m an evangelical Anglo-Catholic who also believes in the continued operation of all the gifts of the Spirit; so the “three streams” sort of language makes sense to me, to a certain extent.  But Fr. Dale’s comment [24] reveals some of the tensions between the various “streams.”  I’d be delighted to see ecumenical dialogue and collaboration develop between the ACNA and LCMS.  But—unlike Lutherans—I also believe that the Apostolic threefold order is much more than an incidental bit of adiaphora.  Therefore, I am absolutely opposed to a shared ministry of the altar, unless and until the LCMS enters into apostolic succession.  Since I respect the theological integrity of the Lutherans (although I disagree with them on some important points), I hope they will not seek out apostolic succession, unless and until they become convinced that it is a good and Godly and Biblical form of Church governance, to which our Lord calls them.  (I don’t mind so much where they fall in the esse/bene esse/plene esse debate, since we Anglicans can’t seem to agree on this either.)

This doesn’t mean I can’t pray with members of the LCMS, or enjoy a long theological discussion over a beer or two, or participate with them in caring for the poor and the sick and the homeless and the emotionally broken.  As baptized Christians, they are welcome to receive the Eucharist in my parish, if conscience and the discipline of their own church permits it.  And there are some areas—the theology of baptism and the fact of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist—on which I view Lutherans as blessed allies.  There is much we have in common.  But there is nothing to be gained by papering over the real, serious differences.  And—I am firmly convinced—at this point, those differences prevent full altar fellowship.

Likewise, although there is a great deal in each of the Anglican “streams” that I find myself embracing, we should be honest about the disagreements and divisions that continue to exist among us, as well as learning from and encouraging and challenging one another in our common pursuit of our one Lord.

Jonathan+

[30] Posted by Firinnteine on 5-30-2012 at 11:10 AM · [top]

I would imagine from God’s perspective the ACNA appears less like three strands or three streams and much more like three rings under one big tent.

[31] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-30-2012 at 11:15 AM · [top]

I think what is missing from this thread is the fact that a person can be sacrimental, evangelical and open to the gifts of the spirit. I note the lack of comment on Bp. Howe’s book. He is one such person.

[32] Posted by Pb on 5-30-2012 at 11:38 AM · [top]

Pb, at this point, I’m not certain what being “open to the gifts of the spirit” means.

I think I mentioned that people can be reformed, catholic, and charismatic with no internal inconsistencies as long as the three words are defined carefully and narrowly.

But regrettably, they’re not, these days, in Anglitania.

When you say “open to the gifts of the spirit” what does that mean to you?  I am “open to the gifts of the spirit” but I sure don’t fit with the current Anglican vision of “charismatic.”

[33] Posted by Sarah on 5-30-2012 at 12:04 PM · [top]

I have ordered John Howe’s book and will be back to you later. Many teach that the Book of Acts described a time which has been replaced by another era or dispensation. What happened then no longer happens now because we now have the bible and we do not need anything else.  The folks who have been touched by the Catholic charismatic renewal, and that is true for many Episcopalians, know this to be untrue. It is not so much of fine line definitions as it is eye witness testimony. It is like the story of the old timer who said he believed in infant baptism because he had seen it.  It is unfair to compare the renewal with classic pentecostalism and this makes for an easy put down. I recommend Vinson Synan’s The Century of the Holy Spirit There were no pentecostals or charismatics at the beginning of the 20th century and the number has now reached 500,000,000. There are more Christians today who have their spiritual roots in the Azusa Street revival than the protestant reformation. Just sayin’

[34] Posted by Pb on 5-30-2012 at 01:48 PM · [top]

Pb,

the presence of the charismatic gifts isn’t really the crux of the matter between charismatics and other Christians…though for cessationist evangelicals it is…rather it is the question of whether there is a second blessing or baptism one must seek before these gifts are given.

[35] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-30-2012 at 02:18 PM · [top]

Matt+ at #35, Amen.

Pb, I note you appear to have an issue with cessationalists. Fair enough, but there are plenty of evangelicals who are not cessationalists but still differ significantly from the pentecostals.

[36] Posted by MichaelA on 5-30-2012 at 05:43 PM · [top]

#31.Matt Kennedy,
Now that you have offered what you imagine God’s perspective to be on the ACNA, what would your perspective be? What do you think God had in mind with the metaphor?

[37] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-30-2012 at 06:13 PM · [top]

I would imagine from God’s perspective the ACNA appears less like three strands or three streams and much more like three rings under one big tent.

Be careful Matt+, or TEC lawyers will be after you for infringing on copyright.  There is only one “Anglican” denomination on this continent where 11 clowns getting out of a Volkswagen is called “the processional”.  And thankfully, it ain’t ACNA.

[38] Posted by tjmcmahon on 5-31-2012 at 09:07 AM · [top]

RE: “Many teach that the Book of Acts described a time which has been replaced by another era or dispensation. What happened then no longer happens now because we now have the bible and we do not need anything else.”

I am not a cessationist.

RE: “The folks who have been touched by the Catholic charismatic renewal, and that is true for many Episcopalians, know this to be untrue.”

I am not a cessationist.  I merely stated “I am “open to the gifts of the spirit” but I sure don’t fit with the current Anglican vision of “charismatic.”

RE: “It is not so much of fine line definitions as it is eye witness testimony.”

I don’t know what that means.  Though I have never witnessed a healing, I am perfectly happy to believe that it exists. I *have* witnessed something that some call “the gift of tongues” and I don’t grant that what I have witnessed is indeed the gift of tongues—it appears to be something else that may be quite nice for the user and that I certainly do not object to if practiced privately, but it bears no resemblance to what I think is the gift of tongues as outlined in Scripture.

RE: “It is unfair to compare the renewal with classic pentecostalism and this makes for an easy put down.”

I did not do this.  Regrettably, much that seems to make up “classic pentecostalism” *is* slipping into certain Anglicans’ definitions of “charismatic.” I think that’s regrettable and I don’t share that definition of the word “charismatic.”

What I said was:

I think I mentioned that people can be reformed, catholic, and charismatic with no internal inconsistencies as long as the three words are defined carefully and narrowly.

But regrettably, they’re not, these days, in Anglitania.

When you say “open to the gifts of the spirit” what does that mean to you?  I am “open to the gifts of the spirit” but I sure don’t fit with the current Anglican vision of “charismatic.”

RE: “There were no pentecostals or charismatics at the beginning of the 20th century and the number has now reached 500,000,000. There are more Christians today who have their spiritual roots in the Azusa Street revival than the protestant reformation.”

There are? I’m not certain I accept that assertion.

But regardless, do you think that the fact that there were no pentecostals/charismatics at the beginning of the 20th century [as others are defining the word “charismatic” which again is not my definition] and that now there are 500,000,000 might have something to do with the utterly disastrous century of Christendom in the US?

I’m afraid I don’t glory much at all that there are “more Christians today who have their spiritual roots in the Azusa Street revival than the protestant reformation” if indeed that is the case.  I find it quite an ominous thought, though it would go a long long way towards explaining why the orthodox in mainstream churches caved so spectacularly and utterly failed to adequately defend the faith, not to mention why Christians in general seem inept and unequipped to defend the faith in a larger cultural context.

We are “unarmed” so to speak, and surely if the greatest trend in US Christianity has been the Azusa Street revival [which I don’t, again, necessarily grant] than perhaps we have found one of the culprits for our being completely unarmed in the battles.

[39] Posted by Sarah on 5-31-2012 at 09:57 AM · [top]

Hi Fr. Dale,

“Now that you have offered what you imagine God’s perspective to be on the ACNA, what would your perspective be?”

It was a joke Fr. Dale. Lighten up. I have expressed my perspective plainly enough in my approval and agreement with Gillis Harp’s piece.


“What do you think God had in mind with the metaphor?”

I don’t see the metaphor anywhere in scripture. Three streams, one river is something people made up and blamed on the Holy Spirit and then tried to find biblical justification for post-fact.

[40] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-31-2012 at 10:04 AM · [top]

Hi Sarah,

“I’m afraid I don’t glory much at all that there are “more Christians today who have their spiritual roots in the Azusa Street revival than the protestant reformation” if indeed that is the case.  I find it quite an ominous thought, though it would go a long long way towards explaining why the orthodox in mainstream churches caved so spectacularly and utterly failed to adequately defend the faith, not to mention why Christians in general seem inept and unequipped to defend the faith in a larger cultural context.”

Amen!

[41] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-31-2012 at 10:07 AM · [top]

Cardinal Suenens was right. You cannot understand the renewal from the outside. Hey, he is just another reason or the decline of orthodoxy. I will not ready to write off such leaders as Bishop Frey, Bishop Cox, Terry Fullam, David Collins, Bishop Pytches, and Bishop Howe as not being orthodox or the reason TEC is in decline.

[42] Posted by Pb on 5-31-2012 at 10:31 AM · [top]

Right, because once you have the second blessing you join a special and specially blessed group of Christians filled to the brim with a gift that others do not have and do not know. But we, we are “in the know”.

There have been others who thought that way.

[43] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-31-2012 at 10:39 AM · [top]

I embrace the concepts of the three streams as a means to understanding the sacramental, biblical, and open to the person and work of God the Holy Spirit.  I am not a pentecostal.  I frequently correct the terms people us because they are not Biblical or theologically correct.  And yes, Matt, I have heard bishops use them too.  Nor does this make it correct.

For myself, I have a high view of the sacraments (Anglicans are sacramental in theology) and I am an evangelical and stand on God’s Word as the authority that guides my life and ministry.  I am also open to the person and work of God the Holy Spirit in my life.  This means I believe that God sanctifies, equips, and empowers us. 

I also reject the term a second blessing and or Baptism in the Spirit.  These terms are pentecostal terms and I cannot accept them as theological acceptable.

We receive God the Holy Spirit as we come to faith in Christ Jesus and receive Him as savior and Lord.  God begins to work in and through us to set us apart and sanctify us for His good works.  To do so, He equips His people and the Church with whatever gifts we may need to accomplish the work He has sent us to do.  There are natural gifts and supernatural ones.  It is God who decides distribute these Gifts (natural or supernatural) as He sees fit.  No one gift is required for anyone.  Nor is any gift required for salvation. 

I find that there are some Anglicans who have embraced a Pentecostal understanding of the Holy Spirit that is not biblically or theologically correct. 

Pentecostalism I reject.  I am comfortable with the three streams only in that it makes sense to me as an Anglican.  Is it required of all Anglicans?  No.  In Anglicanism, we have Anglo-catholics, Evangelicals, and charismatics.  Even in these sub-groups we have those who are more like Roman Catholics than not.  In the Evangelical vein we have those who are more reformed than others.  Personally, I am less reformed but still solidly evangelical.  Then there are those who are more Charismatic and in this group some embrace a Pentecostal understanding of God the Holy Spirit than I do.

Let me be clear, I do not believe in a Second blessing.  I do not believe that the reason I have a particular gift I am set apart.  If I have any gift at all, it is meant to be used to build up the Body of Christ and His Kingdom on earth.

[44] Posted by Creighton+ on 5-31-2012 at 11:33 AM · [top]

I have always admired these men and did not realize how mistaken I have been.  grin

[45] Posted by Pb on 5-31-2012 at 01:11 PM · [top]

Right, because you can’t have a strong disagreement with someone and admire him at the same time. Impossible.

[46] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-31-2012 at 01:45 PM · [top]

RE: “I will not ready to write off such leaders as Bishop Frey, Bishop Cox, Terry Fullam, David Collins, Bishop Pytches, and Bishop Howe . . . “

Hmmm.

Are you saying these guys are basically equivalent in their views on the “charismatic?”

[47] Posted by Sarah on 5-31-2012 at 04:05 PM · [top]

Yes. With regard to the worth of the charismatic renewal.  I know one well and have had the opportunity to hear all of them teach. I know what I know and am signing off on this topic.

[48] Posted by Pb on 5-31-2012 at 04:24 PM · [top]

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