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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

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Compromising the Gospel?

In a press release defining the view of Anglican faith and practice held in common by both the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America we're told:

  • Both the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America recognize the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion as one of their formularies. This was also true for both sides of the Evangelical/Catholic debate within nineteenth-century Anglicanism.

Apparently, from the outset the major differences between the two positions are glossed over by simply saying that both sides recognize the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as one of their formularies. However, the theological divide between the two positions is essentially insurmountable unless one side or the other recants or repents or changes its theology. The doctrines of the Protestant Reformation cannot be reconciled with Romish and Anglo-Catholic perversions of the Gospel, no matter how much either side may wish it. It would seem apparent to any truly Reformed and Protestant Anglican observer that the Reformed Episcopal Church has sold out its founding bishops to Anglo-Catholicism and Tractarianism. Bishop Cummins and Bishop Cheney would roll over in their graves. Here's what Bishop Cheney said about the two positions:

  • I answer, that reform in the Episcopal Church is the direct result in the first place of intellectual and spiritual growth. "Two nations are in thy womb---two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels," was God's declaration to Rebekah before the birth of Esau and Jacob. The same strange statement could have been made to the Episcopal Church from the very hour of the Reformation down to the present day. Two systems, the exact opposite of each other, have been struggling for supremacy within her. The Ptolemaic theory in regard to the movements of the planets around their centre, and that of Sir John Herschel, are not more utterly irreconcilable than these two systems of Theology. I stand here to-night, and I make the assertion without the fear of contradiction, that the gospel that my dear brother (who has said some hard things about me) preaches in Trinity Church, is as utterly irreconcilable with that which is preached in the cathedral on West Washington street, as these two systems of astronomy. They are utterly and wholly and radically different from each other. Now I can make discordant elements in chemistry blend together. I can take two substances that struggle in the crucible, and, by the mystic processes of the art I have learned, can make them combine in perfect peace. But here there is no possible accord. If the doctrine of justification by faith in the blood of Jesus, is the truth of God, then justification by sacraments is a lie, whose author is the Father of lies. There is no possible ground on which to stand between the two. If the one is true, the other is false. Like the Arve and the Rhone, like the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence, the same external boundaries may indeed contain them, but their waters refuse to mingle.

While Bishop Cheney does not explicitly say so, the doctrine of justification by faith and faith alone IS the Gospel he is referring to here. If justification is by faith and faith alone, then justification CANNOT be by both faith AND works, as Anglo-Catholics consistently teach. Therefore, the Reformed Episcopal Church is essentially forsaking the Gospel of Jesus Christ and betraying its founding bishops and church fathers by compromising with the Anglican Province of America, an overtly and openly semi-pelagian and Anglo-Catholic denomination which tolerates doctrines that are Romish and repugnant to the Holy Scriptures and in open violation of the original intent of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. While the Anglican Province of America gives lip service to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, it does not view the Articles as a "confessional" statement of faith. Mixing Anglo-Catholicism with the Reformed Anglican faith is like trying to mix oil with water.

Even more disturbing is the APA's claim to be an "Evangelical" church. This is like saying the Pope is a Protestant. It is an outright lie and a deception meant to deceive ignorant Evangelical parishioners into accepting Anglo-Catholicism. The idea that the Oxford martyrs would have accepted the Anglican Province of America's views on the Articles of Religion is just preposterous, ridiculous and fallacious.

Even more disturbing is the wholesale defection of the presiding bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church. Bishops who once proclaimed the Reformed and Protestant faith are now redefining the faith once delivered to the saints so that they are compromising with a gospel of works righteousness that is no Gospel at all. As the Apostle Paul put it:

  • "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." (Galatians 1:6-10, NKJV) [1]

There are those who would accuse me of being anti-ceremonial and low church. However, this is not true at all. I admire the high church worship that includes the vestments and a weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper. However, that does not entail that we must sell out to Anglo-Catholicism or another gospel. Anglo-Catholics tend to say that they are faithful to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, all the while using the Anglican Missal, which is simply the Roman Catholic liturgy put into an Anglican format. To offer prayers to Mary is not simply adiaphora, it is heresy that is repugnant to Holy Scripture. There can be no compromise with Romish and Eastern Orthodox doctrines that violate the very nature of sound doctrine and Sola Scriptura.

Perhaps I will come across as a radical. Perhaps I will be labelled a rabble rouser. Perhaps I will be called a troublemaker and a schismatic. But the English Reformers died for their faith. I can do no less than to stand firm as they did. Even Bishop Charles Cheney was willing to suffer being defrocked by the Protestant Episcopal Church because he refused to compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I find it amazing that more members of the Reformed Episcopal Church are not upset by this proposed merger. Maybe they are ignorant of the historical roots of the Reformed Episcopal Church? Maybe they are just willing to forget the past as if it never happened? I for one call for every true Christian in the Reformed Episcopal Church to stand up and be heard. Let your objections be known before this atrocious compromise with another gospel be made complete.

In Christ,

Charlie


[1] The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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