Interesting post about where Anglicanism is growing

Norm sent me a link to this article and it is indeed interesting:

In the Anglican Communion, at the heart of the devastating conflicts is the demand by activists that their agenda be blessed by the institution. The core of the agenda is about the right to declare what is good and what is holy. Sadly, that prerogative rests with God alone. Anyone can claim it, but it does not make it so.

The basic rebellion of self-determination is writ large in many of the pursuits of revisionism: departures from the revealed nature of Christ, eschewing the path of redemption, and refusing the authority of Scripture. Not only are we asked to endorse changes to the faith, they demand that we bless that which God seeks to redeem and cannot be blessed.  While it is true that everyone should be treated with kindness, the understanding of what is kindness actually is at question. It is not kindness to let people perish.

Christ’s law of love is violated when we encourage behavior that shortens lives or leads them away from Christ. Thoughtlessly endorsing behaviors which are proscribed by Scripture is just another face of the same rebellion of doing what we want to do and asking (or in many cases demanding) that God bless it.

What God is clearly blessing in the Anglican Communion is Biblical fidelity, Gospel mission, and Kingdom transformation. The Provinces that are pursuing those priorities are growing, even in the midst of what are sometimes extremely challenging circumstances. The Provinces that are pursuing their own agenda and asking/expecting/demanding that God bless it are dying. They are not just stagnant, they are shriveling and dying. Even worse than that, they are plummeting headlong away from Christ and into Hell with their foot firmly on the accelerator.

While that is grievous and extremely unsettling, there is good news. The good news is that the Good News is still being proclaimed––most notably in the GAFCON/FCA Provinces. The decision to have a GAFCON-2 meeting in Nairobi is a huge encouragement. It is a demonstration that the center of gravity for the communion has moved from the North to Africa. As the Jerusalem Declaration makes clear, there is still great appreciation and affection for the Gospel coming to Africa from the North.

But I do have reservations about equating God’s blessing with growth and numbers.  That’s because some of the little ministry efforts I come across that seem to me to be most Holy Spirit-inspired are poor, never sure where their money is coming from except through divine providence, yet still doing amazing works of God in great worldly uncertainty.   They are certainly not dead by any means, but they are not popular either.   Augustine College comes to mind.  And so does our marvelous and mighty little Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa.  Oh, and Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy.  I’m sure I will think of more.

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5 Responses to Interesting post about where Anglicanism is growing

  1. Pingback: Interesting post about where Anglicanism is growing | Catholic Canada

  2. EPMS says:

    Well, Norm himself, generally an optimistic predictor of Ordinariate growth, seems to have accepted that there is no real basis for this expectation at least in the short run. The usual fallback when the mustard seed scenario does not apply is to emphasize that the important thing is quality rather than quantity. But there is no inherent contradiction between the two.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You said: Well, Norm himself, generally an optimistic predictor of Ordinariate growth, seems to have accepted that there is no real basis for this expectation at least in the short run.

      I don’t know where you are getting this. The comments at the end of the quotation are Deborah’s — not mine.

      But I never set a timetable on when growth of ordinariate congregations would occur. Rather, I simply said that there are several likely sources of growth in the near term, including (1) former Anglicans who have already come into the full communion of the Catholic Church but who prefer the Angican form of the liturgy, (2) current Anglicans who are becoming progressively more disenfranchised by “progressive” reforms within Anglican Communion, and (3) continuing Anglicans whose misgivings will be resolved when they see ordinariates with functioning parishes emerge from the process of reception and ordination of former Anglican clergy. All of this will unfold over time. The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is now receiving its second wave, but both the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross are still receiving their first waves.

      The bottom line, though, is that I have never put a timetable on any of this, and thus that your assertion of “no real basis for this expectation” is what really has no foundation in fact.

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        In April 2012 you predicted that Mrs Gyapong’s parish would experience “substantial growth” in the next year, and you used the phrase ” substantial growth” and ” rapid growth” around the same time in reference to Victoria and other Anglican Use parishes. We have already debated the so-called “second wave” in OOLW. Reception figures for this year were not even published, although they are available for the rest of the Catholic Church in the UK. What are we to make of this?

  3. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    You wrote: But I do have reservations about equating God’s blessing with growth and numbers.

    I’m with you on this. There are many instances in which faith within a community needs time to deepen so that the community has something — a deeper faith — to offer to prospective members before it can attract them. There’s no doubt that God truly blesses this deepening of faith.

    That said, there is a clear reality that God draws people to communities and institutions that can nurture their faith and away from communities and institutions that fail to do so. Thus, communities and institutions that live and proclaim the gospel faithfully tend to thrive, growing both in deepening faith and in numbers, while those that do not end to wither over time as their members depart or die off.

    Norm.

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