If I Were Archbishop of Canterbury

This video came about as a response to a recent post by Peter Carrell called “If You Were the Next ABC, What Would You Do?” over on Anglican Down Under. Worth a look if you haven’t yet read it. My answer to Peter’s question is in the video. What’s yours? Feel free to comment and share.

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About Fr. Jonathan

Your average traditional crunchy Christ follower with a penchant for pop culture, politics, and puns.
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15 Responses to If I Were Archbishop of Canterbury

  1. Peter Carrell says:

    I’ll vote for you!

    • Fr. Jonathan says:

      Ha! Thanks, Peter. Actually, that’s an interesting question in and of itself. If ABC were an elected office and the whole Communion got a vote, who would win?

  2. Turnip Ghost says:

    Which ex-catholics would you get? The divorced and remarried; you already get lots of those. The gay who are tired of the closet-you have way too many of them, especially in the clergy. The ethnically and socio-economically upwardly mobile who want a Mary on the Half Shell on their front lawns?

    • Fr. Jonathan says:

      Interestingly enough, in some parts of the world we are receiving large numbers of Roman Catholic clergy because of the way that they’ve been treated by the Roman Church. I know that in Peru in particular this is the case. But that’s anecdotal and not entirely relevant to the point I was trying to make.

      I’m not really all that interested in why people choose to come, so much as how we respond when they do come. Those Anglicans who want to make the ordinariate their home are, in large part, already Roman Catholic but have not previously made the leap for whatever practical reason (pension, being married, etc.). So it’s not as if this is a theological move either way you look at it. It should be, but it’s not. None of these guys have been saying to themselves, “If only Rome would allow me to be in communion with the pope but still get to sing Choral Evensong, I’d totally go!” And that’s because the purpose of things like the ordinariate, by and large, is to accommodate the practical needs of Anglican clergy who are already effectively Roman Catholic in all but name. Let’s face it, if lay people want to become Roman Catholics, they just go do so, and vice versa. It’s only the clergy for whom the move back and forth is a stumbling block.

      I don’t mean to be overly judgmental. I’m sure that for some clergy the ordinariate seems like a blessing. But the people who make that move ought to face facts. If you’re willing to accept the Roman definition of grace, the marian dogmas as dogmas, papal infallibility and immediate jurisdiction, purgatory, and a whole host of other things, than you should be willing to own that you’re not Anglican anymore, if you ever were. Likewise, Roman clergy who make the reverse journey across the Tiber need to know that they’re not just switching teams to avoid some particular Roman discipline. They’re accepting an entirely different understanding of the Catholic faith.

  3. Father Thorpus says:

    I’d vote for you, too. Great list. The question then becomes, how many of these things can we lowly clergy accomplish without being ABC?

  4. Father Thorpus says:

    I agree that ecclesiology has to be task #1. It is already the point of the covenant. I like your approach better, though – start with the 1662 BCP, the basics, and other ‘ties that bind’. I’d include a lot of patristic study – I have it on good authority that there’s really not a lot of patristic study going on at Lambeth these days, and that’s disappointing because the Fathers are the foundation of our Reformation.

    I’d call a synod – a real synod, not just the Lambeth conference. though probably there’s a need to do some ecclesiological prep work before we’d all accept the authority of a synod. The difficulty is that the LambCon was not constituted as a synod but has, thanks to Oxford Mv’t creep, at times acted like a synod. Why could it do so? Because for about 50 years we generally believed that any such gathering of bishops could indeed act as a synod – a synod is indeed nothing other than a gathering of bishops for the government of the Church. During most of the 20th century Lambeth pretty much acted like a synod, even though its original purpose was not that. It filled a need – Anglicanism has a real need for synodical authority. The Church at large was never meant to function without the college of apostles/bishops acting together in council. What we have in the Covenant and in current structures of Anglican unity is a church without that part of the apostolic function. We don’t have any authority on par with a synod – but the church was designed to work only with such authority as part of the mix. We need synodical authority. Every now and then, we need that definition. We don’t need a Covenant or a Confession as much as we need a Council. That has always been the catholic church’s way.

    Amen on monasticism. That’d be fantastic. Luv the Anglican Study Bible. I don’t know about setting up an ex-Catholic ordinariate just out of spite – not sure good ecumenism is done that way. If the point is to make sure catholic clergy coming over are properly formed, I get it. Luv the global organization for life.

    • Fr. Jonathan says:

      Thanks, Father Thorpus. As I’m sure you’ll recall, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said at Mere Anglicanism two years ago, “The Anglican Communion has been dodging conciliarity for a century and a half.” I think that actively calling a gathering of our bishops a council is probably not wise since it might imply that we believe, as the Romans and Orthodox, that our bishops are the only bishops who matter. Still, we ought to embracing the principles of conciliarity in our governing bodies. I’d like to see Lambeth and the other so called “instruments of communion”–a very recent term–exercise conciliarity. It would certainly be a step in the right direction. I think the covenant could have helped with that. The fact that it was lobotomized by the ACC and then summarilly rejected by the C of E shows just how far down the rabbit hole of self-idolotry we have fallen.

      I admit that my call for a reverse ordinariate is a bit cheeky, but I do think that we ought to become better equipped at helping Roman Catholics make the transition since such an overwhelming number of our folks, at least in the west, are former Roman Catholics.

  5. Ann says:

    I was a religion major in college, and while this has made me very familiar with the text, I want something a little bit more “in depth”, and perhaps more Anglican. The Historical-Critical method is great, and I really love everything I have learned (and appreciate the familiarity it has given me with Scripture and the time period,) but it’s not particularly spiritual. What would you recommend?

    • Fr. Jonathan says:

      I definitely hear you about the historical-critical method, Ann, but I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking for. Are you looking for a primer in some other method of reading the Bible?

      • Ann says:

        I want something on how the church reads/has read the Bible, if that makes any sense at all.

      • Fr. Jonathan says:

        Sorry… I somehow lost track of this in the shuffle. I’m not sure I know of a good single volume like that, but I’ll keep my eyes open and keep thinking about it.

  6. Ed Weston says:

    Hello and thank goodness there is someone else out there who thinks as I do and I am not even an Anglican yet! But I am in the process of becoming one. I am not sure about all the points but points 1-6 are absolutely spot on and in the correct order, number 7 – hmmm! could be useful; definitely number 8 and I like the idea of of number 10. Social media could be interesting so why not! I think that coming from an atheistic background with a grounding years ago in divinity the Anglican Church for me declares a magnificent and glorious God who is Father, Creator , Almighty and to be worshipped in humility. The Book of Common Prayer 1662 is nothing short of magnificent and the 39 Articles just superb and I have done my theology trust me. Wish you were the next Archbishop! But God has His time – are not our times in His hands? De Notsew.

    • Fr. Jonathan says:

      Wonderful to hear from you, Ed. That sounds like a powerful story. What led you from atheism to Anglicanism? And whereabouts are you in the world?

  7. Joshua says:

    I totally agree that Sola Fide has been pushed to the wayside in parts of the Anglican communion. I look at some Church websites and it is not even mentioned.

    When Scripture says that God saves people who “do not work” (Romans 4:5), and that he saves us “not by works” (Ephesians 2:8-9), “apart from observing the law” (Romans 3:28), “no longer by works” (Romans 11:6), and “not because of righteous things we had done” (Titus 3:5), etc., the answer becomes clear. Our good works are not “necessary for salvation” in any way, shape, or form—directly or indirectly, wholly or in part, before or after we are saved, etc.
    But this doesn’t make good works “optional” for a Christian. One reason is that God still commands them. The Bible’s teaching of justification by faith alone does not turn the 10 Commandments into the 10 Suggestions. Through our good works, we worship and glorify our Savior God (Romans 12:1-3). We show that our faith is alive and well in front of others, who can’t see our faith but can see the actions that faith produces (Matthew 5:16). And through our good works we love and serve other people.

    God doesn’t need our works, but our neighbor does. “Good works are necessary for salvation” would be a false statement. “Good works are necessary” is true–not for salvation, but for plenty of other reasons.

    Roman Catholics (then and now) answer: No, we are saved by faith PLUS love and good works. Faith alone in Jesus Christ as Savior does NOT save! Unless faith is completed by love and good works it cannot save us.” Put another way, then, Roman Catholics say that faith in Jesus is INSUFFICIENT to save us. Faith alone is not enough. Our faith must be “formed by love,” which means that the burden of proof falls on our love. Only if we are loving enough, can our faith save us, say Roman Catholics. How much love is needed? How many good works? How much effort? Unfortunately the Roman Catholic Church cannot tell you this. It merely answers (then and now) “Do your best and hopefully that will be enough.” But how do we know when or if we’ve done our best? And what about the Biblical teaching that if we are trying to placate God with our love and good works, God demands perfection, not the best we can do?! (see Matthew 5:48; James 2:10; Lev. 19:2; Galatians 3:10-11)

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