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A brief note at the end of a difficult week in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

In the aftermath of GAFCON failing to discipline or even rebuke the Anglican Archbishop of Kenya for consecrating a woman bishop*, I heard a rousing exhortation in a private setting, which contained the following:

Keep being loud. Get the laity involved and call out the powers that be. At the end of the day many of us are constrained by our bishops about what we can say and how. But if the laity rise up and hold the bishops to account. Then that is a different story.

I heartily agree. One of the reasons the mainline denominations went to pot in the 20th Century is that the laity were passive in the face of progressing apostasy. Few said much. Most just kept sending in their offerings. Most of the laity were enablers of apostasy. Us laity in ACNA must not follow that too familiar easy path.

One of the points of the exhortation is something Anglican laity must also take to account. Clergy, by their vow of obedience to the bishop, are constrained in what they can say. That makes it that much more important for us laity to speak up when it is needful. And, in case you haven’t noticed, it is needful.

In ACNA, I have heard time and again of traditional clergy being in effect told to shut up by their bishop. (At the same time, there are bishops encouraging their traditional clergy to speak out as some of us here at Stand Firm know personally. We are thankful for these.) Meanwhile, there are bishops, few but dangerous, that allow, nay, encourage their dioceses to become playgrounds of wokeness and error. It has become a rigged game in much of ACNA.

Well, this layman is not going to play that game. Being a layman, I do not have to play that game. Bishops may get unhappy with me, and I’ve been rather clearly informed of that happening in the past. But, although I respect most of them, I swore no vow of obedience to any of them. I respect their role to hold me accountable, and traditional Anglicans place much weight on the scriptural authority and duties of bishops – which is why the Kenya consecration and the conduct of certain ACNA bishops is upsetting – but laity have a role to hold bishops accountable as well.

I intend to fulfill that role. Join me! If we do not wish to become TEC 2.0, ACNA laity must speak up. And the College of Bishops deserve to be informed, and informed clearly, that if they continue to lead us in the current direction, many of us traditional Anglican laity will not follow them.

*I should add that I respect and appreciate ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach’s pastoral statement afterward. It is hard to see how he could have said anything better in his difficult position. I will also add that us laity should pray for him and for the College of Bishops during this trying time.

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