The Anglican Agenda

"Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and the trouble that goes with it", Prov.15:16

In the preface of the first Prayer Book of Edward VI, 1549, Cranmer laid down five principles for the Anglican church - the received English apostolic church reformed. They were:
      i] Preservation. The retention of English worship traditions.
      ii] Simplicity. Simple services that relied on the "often reading and meditation in God's Word."
      iii] Purity. The removal of anything that was contrary to scripture.
      iv] Common tongue. A worship form in the language of the people.
      v] Uniformity. A common use. "Now from henceforth all the whole realm shall have but one Use".

Cranmer's five points are what we would call today a "mission statement", a set of organization-specific aims that define and direct. Today, where little can be assumed, we would add a preamble that defined:
      i] the organization's field of operation - The Christian faith;
      ii] our understanding of the faith - The Creeds and the 39 Articles.

In an age dependent on management by objectives we would go on to outline objectives and short term goals on such matters as evangelism, church planting, Prayer Book revision, etc. that fulfill the organizations overall aims.

In the Anglican church today it is interesting to observe bishops and diocesan organizations creating new agendas with little or no reference to the existing aims of the church. Much of the present dislocation in the Anglican church is caused by the alienation of those who once committed themselves to an organization with a particular agenda and who now find everything changed, and without reference to them. They were never asked if they wanted it changed.

The diocese of Sydney is but one segment of the Anglican church intent on redesigning the wheel and so serves as a good example of the problem. In March 2002 the Archbishop, Peter Jensen, outlined his new mission statement for Sydney Anglicans.

"To glorify God by proclaiming our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ in prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, so that everyone will hear his call to repent, trust and serve Christ in love, and be established in the fellowship of his disciples while they await his return."

This is a sound Biblical aim for believers, but it avoids everything that is particularly Anglican. It is like McDonalds defining their mission statement as "efficiently providing fresh clean fast food." Joe's hamburger bar could claim the same agenda.

No individual, committee, even synod, has the right to redefine the Anglican church.

[Pumpkin Cottage]