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?