6/08/2011

ACNA Brochure encourages a falsehood

The Anglican Church in North America has a new brochure, which it is touted, "explains the core beliefs of the Anglican Church and how we, as a body of believers in North America, fit into the worldwide Anglican Communion."

I was of course eager to see just how they,  "as a body of believers in North America fit into the worldwide Anglican Communion."

 Here is what the brochure says:

"Anglican Christians are part of a worldwide communion uniting millions of people in more than 160 countries."

One would assume this is the Anglican Communion, but the brochure does not say that. Later it tries again:

 "Anglican Christians are catholic Christians. We are part of a worldwide church of more than 80 million people that grew out of the Church of England. We are united to each other and to the broader Christian tradition by a shared way of worship, church order, and the celebration and sharing of the sacraments, especially Baptism and Holy Communion."

The "we" is the give away: the "we" is ACNA, for after all is is ACNA that produced the brochure. So "we" are "part of a worldwide church."

The 80 million number would seem to mean the brochure is talking about the Anglican Communion. But it does not say that.

The brochure does not anywhere say that there is a thing called the Anglican Communion. Only the press release about the brochure says that. The brochure speaks of ACNA being filled with Anglican Christians, and at the close of the text speaks specifically about ACNA's  "connection to tens of millions of Anglican Christians in Africa, Asia, South America and around the world." That would be the GAFCON churches. 

Here is what the brochure claims: 

ACNA people are "Anglican Christians." In some senses that is true, but it opens the way to other inferences that are not so clearly true.

Anglican Christians are "part of a worldwide communion."   That may be true, but there is no clear statement that ACNA is part of that worldwide communion. Nor should there be one. ACNA is not part of the world wide communion (assuming we are talking about the Anglican Communion.) 

But what about ACNA people? They are Anglican Christians (at least as this brochure claims). So perhaps they are  part of the world wide communion and ACNA not?  Well this is a bit muddled.  

The muddle continues throughout: It is Anglican Christians that are part of the communion, part of a world wide church. Never is it stated that ACNA is part of such communion or church.

The brochure even states that "church order" is part of what unites Anglicans to each other and a broader Christian tradition.  But no mention is made of a connection between the "church order" of ACNA and the Anglican Communion. The reality is there is a decided lack of church order in the very existence of ACNA.

But then again the brochure makes the claim that there is this "world wide church of  80 million people."  This has to be a reference to the Anglican Communion. But it is not a world wide church. Never has been, isn't now, and is not likely to be.  And even if it was, ACNA is not part of it.

So the brochure falsely implies that being part of ACNA is being a community of Anglican Christians, part of a world wide church, a communion, etc.  Well, that just is not true.

ACNA is a church, a real church. It has its own calling, failings, etc. It is what it is. But it is not what it claims to be in this brochure.  If the idea in this brochure was to explain "...how we, as a body of believers in North America, fit into the worldwide Anglican Communion," it either fails miserably or succeeds in making it clear that it is not part of the Anglican Communion by never stating that fact in the brochure. 

The brochure does indeed explain how "we as a body of believers in North America, fit into the Anglican Communion."  The brochure leads the reader to think that ACNA is full of people who ARE Anglican Christians, part of the world wide Anglican Communion, and part of a world wide church. Only once, in the "we" reference does it slip up and make a reference to this people as a "we," that is, ACNA.

The difference between a falsehood and a lie is as follows: A falsehood is a misleading statement. A lie is a deliberately misleading statement.  Charitably, ACNA has produced a brochure filled with misleading statements. But has ACNA lied?  Is the misleading deliberate?

13 comments:

  1. Mark,

    It really depends on how you define "Anglican".

    If ACNA believes they are Anglican and a part of the communion, who are you to say they are not Anglican and a part of the communion?

    Many people think that marriage is by definition between a man and a woman. You think marriage can be between two men or two women. Definitions change. Stuff happens. Live with it. Mind your own church, Mark.

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  2. Anonymous,
    When someone steals something that belongsto you it is our business. It appears you are part of the ACNA faux Anglican Communion which is to say that you are not recognized as part of the Anglican Communion, at least by the Titular head, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
    If ya'll would stir the stuff we would not have to drain the swamp. Live with it.

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  3. If ACNA believes they are Anglican and a part of the communion, who are you to say they are not Anglican and a part of the communion?

    Are they represented on the Anglican Consultative Council? Is their Primate invited to the Anglican Primates Mtg? No, they are not. Next!

    Many people think that marriage is by definition between a man and a woman. You think marriage can be between two men or two women.

    (I don't speak for Mark). Yes, I think "marriage can be between two men or two women"...and so do the LAWS of many localities and nations. More and more all the time. So do many religious judicatories. More and more all the time. Live with that...knowing that those who believe as you do (apparently), opposed to marriage equality, are dying out. Replaced by those who CELEBRATE marriage equality. I don't just live w/ that Truth---I LOVE it!

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  4. Fred, sure the Titular head of the Anglican Communion may not recognize ACNA as Anglican, but if a body such as ACNA feels Anglican they are Anglican. This doesn't make you less Anglican if ACNA feels they are Anglican.

    Just as, JCF, if two men or two women feel they are married, they are married, no matter what the local government believes. If two men or two women feel they are married, it doesn't make an opposite-sex couple less married.

    Definitions change. I know this instance of it makes you unhappy, and that is sad. This shouldn't make you unhappy. This is life in the post-modern world.

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  5. The fact that the ACNA would imply such a thing while knowing that it is not true just shows what kind of people they are.

    This should come as no surprise. After all, false and misleading brochures pale in comparison with the church property theft that some of their leaders are guilty of.

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  6. Given this discussion, I can not help but recall the argument but forth by the CANA Anglican District of VA attys in the Virginia cases. They argued that there were, in fact, two communions, one led out of Canterbury and one out of Nigeria. The churches in question belonged to the second... If there is or ever was "one" communion. It was never a church, and, I think, it could be argued, both of "communions" above were are/branches of it. But this anglican communion is more on the order of the church catholic, it is not and never has been The Anglican Communion anymore than membership in the CofE qualifies one as a member of The Catholic Church, the one understood as specifically Roman. CofE or TEC members who claim a catholic heritage certainly have a right to do so, but if they encourage would be converts by suggesting to them that membership in the CofE qualifies them as members in the world-wide "Catholic" church, commonly understood as Roman, they are intentionally deceitful. Bishop Schofield clearly guaranteed his flock, not once but twice, that their attachment to Canterbury was assured if they left TEC. CANA's website continues the ruse as does the ACNA's. It is certainly true that these folks are anglican. It is certainly true that they are attached to a communion (if GAFCON can be considered one, the successor of Nigeria), but, for me, to recruit members using the content of this brochure, is no different than my parish crossing the street to gain Hispanic converts from the Roman Catholic church by telling them we are the same and if they join us they will retain their Roman Catholic affiliation. Using deceptive marketing to evangelize may gain some converts who will try and maybe buy, but, in the long run, is this what ACNA really wants to do? EmilyH

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  7. My understanding is that admission of a new province into the Anglican Communion requires the vote of a majority of the primates (I'm not sure whether it's a simple majority or 2/3). In the case of the ACNA, the votes aren't there now, and it will be a long time (if ever) before they are. The ACNA is not a province of the Anglican Communion, nor should admission be one of its high priorities.

    To say that the ACNA is not a province of the Anglican Communion is accurate. But to say that a church that's not part of the AC is not really Anglican is like saying that a church that isn't Roman Catholic isn't really Catholic.

    Whatever the test for true Anglicanism is, surely it's not being invited to a meeting. +Gene Robinson was not invited to the last Lambeth Conference. Would anyone argue that this means that New Hampshire Episcopalians aren't part of the AC?

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  8. So, let's be Christian about this and leave the characterization as incomplete, and, perhaps unintentionally, misleading.

    Next!!

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  9. For Paul Powers... If memory serves membership in the Communion is the decision of the Anglican Consultative Council, not the primates. EmilyH

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  10. EmilyH,

    This question came up at the C of E's General Synod last February. After answering a question about the procedure for the ACNA to be in communion with the Church of England (which isn't the same as being part of the Anglican Communion), the Synod's secretary-general said:

    "The one legally constituted body for the Communion is the Anglican Consultative Council, membership of which is regulated by its Constitution. That provides that the addition of a church to its schedule of membership requires the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Communion."

    http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/cat_acna.html

    Regardless of whether it's decided by the ACC or the Primates, the votes aren't there.

    (wv: destina)

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  11. Anonymous,
    What the H*ll are you talking about? I feel rich, that doesn't make it so! I feel good, but I'm bi-polar.

    Mr. Schofield decided to get his diocese closer to the Archbishop of Canterbury so he tried to take his entire diocese with him to the Southern Cone. He has not been recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury and no amount of feeling good will change that. Sir, you need to begin to live in the same world as the rest of us.

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  12. Not to be sticky but because I am really unclear on Article 7.2 of the ACC constitution and how it plays out in practice. Although it is true that changes to the schedule of membership do require a 2/3 majority approval by the primates, how this process is initiated is not spelled out in the constitution (Maybe I need to check the by-laws but I would appreciate any comments by others who have already researched this) And, my understanding is that the schedule of membership in the Communion (i.e. by definition in communion with Canterbury as noted in the definitions) is fixed until the process is begun and concluded in the ACC. But corporations law, in particular British charities, is not my bailiwick and I would be happy to be enlightened. Cf: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/communion/acc/resources/downloads/The%20Constitution%20of%20the%20Anglican%20Consultative%20Council%2024-07-2010.pdf EmilyH

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  13. EmilyH, I don't claim any expertise in the inner workings of the Anglican Communion, still less in English corporations laws, but it looks like 7.2 of the ACC gives some idea of the procedure: "[W]ith the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion...the Standing Committee may alter or add to the Schedule." To me, the use of the word "assent" sounds like the ACC Standing Committee would have to propose the addition of a new province first and then least 2/3 of the primates would have to agree to it. Perhaps somebody else can verify whether this was the procedure used when Mexico and Central America became provinces.

    There aren't enough votes for the Standing Committee to propose the ACNA's admission, or for 2/3 of the Primates to assent to it. Nor, as far as I know, has the ACNA formally applied for admission. I really don't think admission into the AC is a high priority for the ACNA, nor should it be. It really seems like this is something that TEC is more concerned about than the ACNA is.

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