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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, November 17, 2011

VirtueOnline - News - Exclusives - UK Theologian Says God still has a Plan for CofE despite Theological Liberalism

The following is a brief comment on an interview of Richard Turnbull, principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University. The interview is conducted by the allegedly Evangelical David Virtue of VirtueOnline. I met Richard Turnbull at the Wycliffe Hall lectures in Orlando, Florida a couple of years back. He seems to be unaware that the Anglican Church in North America has the same oppression of Evangelicals by "conservative" Anglo-Catholics that occurs in The Episcopal Church by liberal Anglo-Catholics who approve of homosexuality, abortion, and open sexuality. Also, some of the Anglo-Catholics in the ACNA are quite liberal on the doctrine of inspiration and adherence to Scripture alone as the final authority. How Turnbull thinks Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics can cooperate is beyond me--especially when the two traditions are diametrically opposed to each other on the five solas of the English and Protestant Reformation. I found it particularly insightful when Turnbull compares and contrasts the authority of bishops in the Church of England versus their authority in The Episcopal Church. What he does not acknowledge is that the ACNA uses that same sort of oppression of Evangelicals in their new denomination:

VOL: What is the difference between a TEC bishops' authority versus a CofE bishops' authority?

TURNBULL: It is amazing to us that TEC bishops have that power and authority and can determine the employment and future of a local priest. In England a bishop does not necessarily have that same authority at all.

VOL: In TEC a bishop has rights of visitation to a parish and has significant control over the priest and acts really as a key central ecclesiastical authority. A priest is obliged to receive a bishop once every three years.

TURNBULL: The history of the Church of England is that authority is diffused and dispersed and bishops have no power to impose their will on local churches. The local church is not ecclesiastically required to invite a bishop to his/her parish. All financial assessments are voluntary and could/should be drastically reduced. A bishop does not have the power to visit at will or to fire a priest without a disciplinary process, for example involving adultery.

VOL: There are some very real fundamental differences then?

TURNBULL: Yes. The situation in England is different from that in TEC and it is possible for parishes to exist within the Church of England without the same degree of oppression and most evangelicals have no intention of leaving the Church of England - mainly because the foundation documents are clearly Protestant and Reformed. In England most evangelical priests have a low opinion of the theology of bishops and also most of the occupants on the current bench in the House of Lords.

The Lords Spiritual as they are called number 26 in the House of Lords, and they love it for the preferment it offers and they enjoy the status it gives them and they can lead prayers. I welcome the Christian voice in the public square. However, they are rarely united and most wouldn't know how to lead anyone to Christ.


The situation here in the US is egregiously oppressive for Evangelical Anglicans and even worse for those Anglicans like myself who advocate strict Calvinism as it is outlined in the Anglican Formularies, the Westminster Standards, and the Three Forms of Unity. I could also mention the Lambeth Articles of 1595 and the Irish Articles of Religion as foundational contributors to the Westminster Standards. The Anglican Formularies are entirely Protestant despite what Anglo-Catholics like the late Peter Toon would tell you. The Formularies are the 39 Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (not the 1928 BCP), the Ordinal and the Homilies.

The trouble with cooperating with semi-pelagians and papist-lite traditions like Anglo-Catholicism is that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. The fact of the matter is that the visible church is not a political organization. The 39 Articles of Religion identifies a true congregation as one where the Gospel is rightly preached and the sacraments (two only) are duly administered. (See Article 19 and Article 25). Anglo-Catholics fail on both counts, despite the sympathies of David Virtue and Richard Turnbull. Turnbull, in order to placate the Anglo-Catholics present at the Wycliffe Hall lectures, defined justification by faith in an ambiguous way and deliberately avoided using the Reformed definition of justification as an imputed and declared righteousness apart from good works or merits on the part of the believer. Of course, every truly Reformed believer knows that sola fide or justification by faith alone is an essential doctrine for true religion. It's odd that neither Turnbull nor Virtue mention that fact in this interview. Why am I not surprised?

It is just this sort of ambiguity and compromise with heretical doctrine that leads to the very liberalism against which Turnbull and Virtue protest. Methinks they dost protest too much since they are continually contradicting themselves and the Gospel itself. Regretfully, I would have to say that James I. Packer is likewise a compromiser rather than one who stands unequivocally for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To read David Virtue's interview with Richard Turnbull, principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, click here:
VirtueOnline - News - Exclusives - UK Theologian Says God still has a Plan for CofE despite Theological Liberalism

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