Rev. Jefferies Response Re: ACNA 2019 BCP & Prayer Book Society USA’s Updated 1662 BCP

Glad to see Rev. Jefferies respond and do so on the same outlet that has mainly hosted as the battlefield of opinion on the new ACNA 2019 BCP, The North American Anglican.

A few items worth noting:

Some priests and theologians might explain the prepositions in the sacramental rites as causative, some as promissory, but in either case, we can all pray the same prayers. This was the theological genius of 1662.

. . .

And, certainly, the 1662 has strengths that the 2019 does not have. Most definitely. In unity, simplicity, beauty, the 1662 easily beats 2019.

Agree on all counts, which is why I hate to see us lose common prayer with so many options and would have rather seen an updating of the 2003 REC BCP as the baseline instead of “Starting from what is known and nearly-ubiquitous (the 1979 structures etc) . . . .”

I agree that some things have been lost that were in the 1662, but I don’t think they are the core — which I would argue is theological — of the legacy of the 1662.

I would disagree here. Losing language like “miserable offenders” in the daily office confession is excising theological language while adding additional prayers for the faithful departed does reflect minimizing one aspect of Anglican theology (original sin) while emphasizing a theology of remembrance for the dead. Likewise, it is unfortunate that the classic, short prayer book catechism (the basic requirement for confirmation and admission to Holy Communion) is not retained while additional daily offices are included and the word “regeneration” is made optional.  Such losses do not render the ACNA 2019 BCP a deviation like the 1979, but I do lament not restoring what was loss in the 1979 BCP. This was a crucial opportunity to restore what American Anglicanism loss and while the end result is a solid step in the right direction, but not a full restoration.

This makes the Prayer Book Society – USA’s recent announcement in publishing a new edition of the 1662 BCP with minor alterations to make it more global in usage quite interesting. Additionally, the United Episcopal Church of North America recently voted at National Council to allow usage of the 1662 BCP and a deanery has been formed in CANA West that will solely use the 1662 BCP.  Although personally, I prefer retaining the American inheritance of our 1892/1928 BCP and adapting it to conform to the 1662 (Athanasian Creed restored, Luther’s Flood Prayer restored, etc.). Hence, I remain a broken record for the 2003 REC BCP and REC Modern Language BCP, which does this but could still have been improved upon slightly in the modern language aspect.

. . . the BCP 2019 is un-apologetically an inheritor of the 1979 BCP and the Liturgical Movement it participated in . . .

. . .

. . . in a world indelibly shaped by the Liturgical Movement, . . .

Which is quite a shame, considering the errors spurred by Dix and the resulting Liturgical Movement. (See pages 1-2 here for more.)

A point of clarification, before closing out, the letter states:

That it could be approved both by John Cosin AND Richard Baxter, even though these two men had very different theological convictions; Indeed, the 1662 is clearly what we might with hindsight call a via media between those who emphasized the reformed aspect of their reformed catholicity, and those who emphasized the catholic heritage within that same description.

However, Richard Baxter was a nonconformist in part due to the 1662 BCP being enforced in the Act of Uniformity (1662), so the 1662 BCP is not exactly the “via media” between Bishop Cosin and Baxter but I agree the 1662 prayer book is truly representative of “reformed catholicity.”

This is why I support the traditional language version that ACNA Liturgy Task Force member Jacob Hootman has drafted, namely due to the restoration of prayer book language previously disregarded, and not because it is in traditional language.  I continue to urge readers to write the ACNA Liturgy Task Force and show your support for this project. Perhaps the ACNA BCP will once again restore some of the loss language and we can catechize those raised on the 1979 BCP with the reformed catholicity our forefathers professed and passed onto us in the historic liturgies and in the Articles of Religion.

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For Anglicans in Search of Their Heritage

I strongly suggest reading Brandon Letourneau’s essay, Principles and Distinctives of Anglican Ceremonial, published by The North American Anglican.

Some nuggets:

So then, the first principle of Anglican Ritual is the conviction that all public worship, as an administration of the Church’s teaching authority, ought to convey biblical truth. This is precisely why aping other traditions, who do not share this conviction, results disastrously. If ceremonial communicates an underlying principle, then shouldn’t it be assumed that ceremonials not our own are communicating a different and at worst a damaging principle? The fact that a good many American priests have never read our formularies is evidence of this intellectual usurpation. And yet, there is perhaps nothing more “Anglican” in the American Church than the emulation of other jurisdictions.

Here’s another point where I had to resist the urge to grab a highlighter and go to work on my computer monitor, but instead I have bolded my personal emphasis:

This brings me to a second point of Anglican ceremonial, and it’s quite maddening that this point must be made at all, and yet here I am: Anglicanism is not Roman Catholicism, or Eastern Orthodoxy, or American Revivalism. Anglicanism is Anglicanism. Not only are we not these others, but these others have failed us. Bl. Percy Dearmer puts it best:

This Church was, in fact, in a mess. She had tried so many ways of escape! She had tried Geneva; she had tried Rome; she had essayed a mixture of the two in varying proportions, which was called Moderate; she had tried laissez faire, by which each man did what he found easy and thought nice; she had even tried (heroic and marvellous as it may seem) to establish a Cathedral type of Service in every village church. The one thing that she had never tried to do was to carry out her own laws, and to apply her own principles. (Loyalty to the Prayer Book)

I could go on and on about how inconsistent Anglican worship has become due to the ignorance or obstinacy of some (most?) clerics. But I will leave this for the reader to discover. One need only place himself within three Anglican parishes to experience three different liturgies and a thousand conflicting doctrines. This is all to say that our apparel matters. Our actions and words matter. There is no part of the liturgy that is flippant or irrelevant, and very few that one party or another hasn’t given a martyr or two for. This is because Anglican worship is permeated with a sense of its audience. It is for someone, or someones, and we care a great deal about its presentation.

I would hope every ACNA postulant and current clergy read, mark, and inwardly digest.

Uncommon Prayer Continues…

Moreover, although the 1662 did not please all sides in the Church of England, it reflected not a mix-and-match theology but a coherent and consistent one: the theology the Book of Common Prayer shares with the Articles and the Homilies. Listening to Jefferies discuss the ACNA 2019 prayer book leaves me only more confused regarding the relationship between this book and the 1662 prayer book.

(Emphasis mine). Read the whole article here from The North American Anglican and take a listen to the podcast episode in question here.

I am still digesting the ACNA Book of Common Prayer and gathering my thoughts. There are a few things I can say as of now: 1) common prayer remains dead in Anglicanism (the ACNA Diocese of Quincy, who former Bishop is on the ACNA Liturgy Task Force, will be using the the English Common Worship instead of the 2019 ACNA BCP);  2) the ACNA book is a step in the right direction away from the 1979 TEC BCP (the ACNA 2019 BCP is an evolution rather than a revolution as my friend Canon Isaac Rehberg has aptly noted); 3) there are aspects in this evolution that I love and aspects I absolutely hate; and 4) I remain convinced the REC Modern Language 2003 BCP should have been used as the base text with minimal alterations and the publication of a simultaneous Book of Occasional Services could address any optional offices.

Those interested in a good overview of the changes to the 2019 ACNA BCP should take a look at Drew Nathaniel Keane’s prior article on the topic and I recommend Canon Rehberg’s article expressing the concerns that the 1979 TEC BCP was used as the starting point for ACNA’s own BCP.

A must read for families

This article from The North American Anglican, a special from one of the contributors to The Homely Hours, is an absolute must-read for those interested in family devotions.

ACGS – Pelham 39 Articles Wrap-Up Episode

The Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd – Pelham, AL podcast wraps up its series on reading through the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion by concluding with Articles 35-39 and ending the series by reading the Preface attached by order of King Charles I.  Please remember to like and subscribe to the podcast to increase its exposure.

Articles 22-34 Episode – ACGS Pelham Podcast

We are approaching the end of our read-through of the 39 Articles of Religion.  Please remember to rate and subscribe to the podcast so others can find it better.

Remain within the bookends

It is good to see Archbishop Robinson, of the UECNA, blogging again in this latest installment from The North American Anglican. It is a great reflection on Anglican theology in a time in which many seem to pick and choose what their “Anglicanism” in a manner that reflects choosing your flavor of ice cream.

In the end, picking one’s own flavor has one end result: your faith turns out to be a mirror and you are worshiping yourself.

Fight for the formularies. Fight for the faith once delivered. Stay between the bookends.