A few thoughts on revising The Book of Common Prayer and the ACNA “Theological Lens”

January 10, 2012

This post is a lot “thicker” than what you will generally read here, so if you are not interested in liturgy or worship, free free to ignore this discussion of something that has been a pending question for Anglicans more than 30 years. What should a modern American edition of the Book of Common Prayer look like?

This little essay does not propose to answer that question, but it is a begging – a discussion starter. As a Lay Catechist in the Anglican Mission, it is certainly not my intention to put my nose someplace it does not belong, but since the  the Anglican Church in North America has taken on the project, it is bound to effect Anglicans all over North America.

This started off as an exam question in my “Anglican Worship” class at the Anglican School of Ministry. What values would you represent if you were involved in producing a new edition? At the same time, I came across the “Theological Lens,” which is the guiding document of the ACNA revisers. Here is a link to that document. If my opinion matters, it appears that, with some reservations, they are headed in the right direction. Of course, your input is welcome. Remember, if you don’t want to read it, nobody is holding a gun to your head

A Consideration of Four Proposed Guiding Principles

For Revising The Book of Common Prayer,

And an Interaction with the ACNA “Theological Lens”

            The Anglican Church in North America, which sees itself as a “Province in-formation,” and includes 100,000 members and 1,000 congregations across the United States, is presently involved in a process of producing a new edition of the Prayer Book. According to Bishop Bill Thompson in the ACNA annual report, one section containing the Ordinal is already complete and two proposed forms of Holy Communion will be presented to the College of Bishops in June of 2012. Thompson notes that, “the orthodox content of our liturgy is crucial to having an orthodox church.” He also references the “Theological Lens,” a document described as “a guide to all the liturgies which we will write,” which is approved by the College of Bishops and the Provincial Council. This statement, according to Thompson, says that, “we want that the liturgies of the church be rooted in the tradition of our Anglican heritage while also being accessible to both long-time Anglicans and those new to the tradition.” Thompson asserts that the product will not be innovative, but “clearly founded in the historic Anglican Prayer Book tradition” (15). The “Theological Lens” includes a  “Summary of Guiding Principles” which proposes six unique values:

 Holy Scripture must be the foundation and essent6ial content of all Christian worship.

Tradition is to be carefully respected, especially if it is consonant with the worship practice of the Undivided Church.

Edification means that the language must be understandable by the congregation and that the ceremonies be correspondingly relevant to them.

Ceremonies do not have to be identical across nationalities and countries, but they must also not contradict Scripture or the Creeds.

The words and liturgical form of the liturgies of our Communion should seek ecumenical convergence  with one another and the Universal Church.

Words and liturgical forms should show a continuity with the church’s historic tradition; change and development should only take place in a way that creativity and innovation do not negate the orthodoxy of the liturgy or confuse the piety of the people (1).

As this ACNA initiative moves forward, we must all pray that the Holy Spirit will guide those assigned to such important work. Scholarly interaction with this “Theological Lens” must be put forward as a helpful contribution to informed discussion and articulated in the spirit of Christian brotherhood. This paper will defend the position that a contemporary American edition of the Book of Common Prayer must properly embody four specific over-arching characteristics. It is to be Christian, Scriptural, Catholic, and Anglican. The argument of this study will be agreeable to many aspects of the above noted ACNA summary of principles, therefore, areas of potential divergence will receive the most emphasis.

This work will consider the historic Anglican rites contained in the Church of England 1662 edition and the traditional American versions of 1789, 1892 and 1928 as coherent models for modern worship. The American 1979 edition, according to the ACNA guiding document, is “a deliberate departure from the prayer book tradition” (Lens, 8). It calls upon many diverse ancient liturgical sources, employs so many rites and forms of the same service as to sometimes confuse more than edify, and appears to frequently devalue the church doctrines concerning man’s sinful nature and need of a Savior. It must still be considered in light of many positive contributions. Among these is a seminal approach to modern liturgical language and an attempt to produce appropriate rites for the Triduum.

There may exist, even among high-ranking church officials and theologians, some confusion about the nature and purpose of the BCP. If one considers it to be a mere collection of church services to be read aloud, as one might perform a dramatic script or recite some compelling lecture, the prayer book tradition is drained of its spiritual value and Anglican centrality. “What we find in the Book of Common Prayer,” according to Louis Tarsitano, “is what we are committed before God to do and to be as his servants. The Prayer Book is our means for putting the faith of the Bible into practical operation in our lives” (68). The Daily Offices lead us through the Holy Scriptures and inculcate a discipline of regular prayer and personal availability to God’s revealed written word. The prayers, collects and thanksgivings systematically invoke the One Triune God, teach sound doctrine, and give us the right spiritual language in life’s messy situations. All of this points to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnate Word, who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

Any new version of the BCP must, first of all, be Christian in its doctrine. This is closely tied to the Scriptural mandate, which shall be addressed momentarily. Shortly after Pentecost, the temple authorities had Peter and John arrested for proclaiming the Lord’s resurrection. Peter’s resolute answer to these accusers stands as the centerpiece of Christian teaching; “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Article XVIII acknowledges the same. According to Article XI, “We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith.” The Articles, which are authoritative in the Anglican Mission, teach without exception a Christ-centered practice of belief and worship which runs throughout traditional editions of the BCP. In a section titled; “Jesus Christ, The way, the truth and the life,” the ACNA “Lens” declares a full-bodied theology of the Trinity, man’s fallen nature, the Incarnation, Christ fully human and fully divine, the atonement, and Christ as our Great High Priest (3). Since the BCP teaches theology by the use of ritual and constant repetition, this apparent theological clarity should greatly encourage North American Anglicans. In the Prayer Book tradition, these standards are most clearly developed through the traditional rites of Holy Baptism, in which we die to sin and are raised in Christ, and the Lord’s Supper, in which we are spiritually fed with His body and blood as a remembrance of His saving passion and anticipation of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

Secondly, The Prayer Book must be Scriptural in content and essence. The Bible, God’s written word, is bound tightly with the Incarnate Word and Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), He is the very living embodiment of truth. The liturgical reading of Scripture is a hallmark of the Anglican way. N. T. Wright stresses that, “in public worship, where the reading of scripture is given its proper place, the authority of God places a direct challenge to the authority of the powers that be, not least those who use the media in shaping the mind and life of the community” (131), Peter Toon notes the prominence accorded Scripture in the traditional Prayer Books.

Anglicans are not claiming that the way Scripture is used and interpreted in it is uniquely Anglican, and, somehow, superior to the use and interpretation in other branches of the Church.  Rather, the claim is that it is the Scripture, and the Gospel it contains, as interpreted by the early Church, and as that interpretation is proclaimed in the Nicene Creed and in the basic Dogmas from the Ecumenical Councils, that is foundational (Formularies, 26).

Those who are only familiar with the 1979 BCP may not recognize that one distinctive characteristic of the traditional Prayer Books is that the language and imagery of the Authorized Standard Version of the Bible is embedded in the text. This sense of biblical unity is less apparent in the 1979 revision partly because of the book’s structure and a multiplicity of popularly available biblical translations. The “Theological Lens” rightly finds that, “the words and concepts, metaphors and images used in common worship should be as close to direct quotations from Holy Scripture as is grammatically possible. One translation of the Bible should serve as the standard for all liturgical texts” (9). An Anglican Prayer Book, introduced by Peter Toon and Fitzsimons Allison in 2006, was specifically developed for use with the English Standard Version.

The third essential quality for a proposed Prayer Book is that it must be Catholic. In this connection, Griffith Thomas unfolds three associated ideas of geographic diffusion, doctrinal purity, and ecclesti8cal fellowship. “It is,” he says, a “false antithesis to speak of Christians as either “Protestant” or “Catholic.” A Protestant is not opposed to what is Catholic, but only that which is distinctly Roman Catholic (507-8). The Articles of Religion adequately outline these important theological distinctions. Tarsitano looks to the origins of the word, “catholic,” “(from the Greek for ’with, by, in, and through the whole’) because it holds the entire Faith, containing all things necessary for salvation as revealed in Holy Scripture, for all people at all times and in all places” (2). In this context, therefore, the BCP is best understood as a source of unity and cohesion among believers. In practice, its Catholicity is most vividly seen in the public recitation of the Creeds and in the traditional creed of the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharistic Prayer, in which worshipers join “angels, archangels and all the company of heaven.”

The Book of Common Prayer levels all human distinctions. Young and old, rich and poor, the brilliant and the dull participate in “common prayer” addressed to the Triune God. It is in this sense that Paul affirms, “you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22).

The ACNA “Lens” seems to suggest a somewhat different idea of what it is to be “Catholic.” It properly states, first of all, that, “words and liturgical forms should correspond to what the church has always taught and practiced (i e. Vincentian canon).” The guidance goes on to propose that the new Prayer Book should, “emphasize our closeness to other Christian Communions rather than our uniqueness (ecumenical convergence vs. ecclesial divergence)” (10). The ACNA statement points favorably to the work of post Vatican II liturgical scholars by reporting that they have “increasingly come to a consensus that there is a common ordo (common arrangement of parts) in the ancient liturgies more than any common text; therefore ecumenically-minded liturgists should look to the common ordo rather than seek identical wording.” The authors immediately pose the question that must arise from such a position,  “What does this do to our Anglican inheritance?” (10).

The matter of liturgical “form” has some bearing on the final proposed attribute for a new Prayer Book. The fourth aspect of this work’s argument is that new volume must be Anglican. Alster McGrath points out that Anglicanism is the result of a 16th century political compromise in which, “a harassed monarch looked for ways to achieve a workable middle way that would find acceptance among both traditional catholics and those who had been deeply influenced by the ideas of Luther and Calvin” (11). The “Elizabethan Settlement” produced a Catholic form of worship in the Book of Common Prayer and a moderate Protestant statement of belief in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. A passing inspection of the Articles will convince the reader that it is uncompromising on the essentials of our faith. According to McGrath, “Anglicanism sought to affirm the common faith of the Christian Church, grounded in the New Testament and given a particular focus during the first five centuries of Christian history” (88). The Articles, a doctrinal statement of belief, and the Prayer Book, an expression of orthodox Christian piety, stand at the center of Anglican identity. J. I. Packer comments on the relation of the Articles to liturgy.

Historically, it has long been understood that the Articles formulate the beliefs which the Prayer Book services express, and in terms of which those services ought now to be interpreted. By parity of reasoning, therefore, the Articles relate  in the same way to the various revised and/or newly devised worship forms (it is sometimes hard to know which description fits) that the Anglican Communion has produced in recent years. Or do they? It is plain that the framers of these forms rarely thought in these terms, if they indeed did at any point at all (27).

The stated intention of ACNA to seek a common “ordo” (10) is, at least, potentially distressing. This is a somewhat technical matter, but it is suggestive of deeper concerns about the revision process. To briefly state the background, an Anglican Benedictine, Gregory Dix, based on his studies of liturgical documents from the early church, thought he noticed that the rites used for the worship displayed a certain common order, or structure – an underlying “shape.” Based on this research, Dix authored an extremely influential book on Christian liturgical practices, The Shape of Liturgy (1945). It is important to recognize that Dix’s theory has merit and, based on the limited discussion in the “Theological Lens,” it is difficult to know how far the Task Force intends to push its quest for a “common ordo.”

Much of the case favoring a seven-part, or four-part “shape” of the early Eucharistic meals is based on a presumed continuity between Jewish and Christian practices and a number of texts, including the Apostolic Tradition, frequently attributed to Hippolytus a bishop of Rome (c. 215). Maxwell Johnson explains that the previously held presumptions concerning this document may be incorrect.

The influential document has long been thought to be, if not exactly what its title claims, an authentic, authoritative, and dependable witness to early third century Roman liturgical practice, composed by the famous traditionalist and anti-pope himself, and reflecting what the “tradition” of liturgy in Rome had been up to and including his own time. Today, however, the emerging scholarly view is that the Apostolic Tradition was probably not authored by Hippolytus, not even necessarily Roman in content, and probably not early third century in date, at least not as it exists in the various extant manuscripts in which it has come down to us … (32).

Johnson goes on to suggest that the latest scholarship inclines toward a view that worshiping practices in the early church were diverse, and locally dependent on cultural, linguistic, theological and geographic influences (32-3). Paul F. Bradshaw argues that the Apostolic Tradition is a compilation of documents from differing geographic regions, different sources, and different periods ranging from mid-second to mid-fourth century (1). So what? Bradshaw notes that many of the claims made by liturgical reformers concerning the entire “early church” rest completely, or in part, on this single document (2).

Concerning baptism, a rigorous examination of the evidence may bring into question Hipolytus’ supposed norm of Easter Eve baptisms, and propose that, before the fourth century, a three-year period of study for converts was unknown. Additionally, pre-baptism exorcism was not practiced prior to the fourth century (except in north Africa), even a single baptismal anointing was restricted to Rome and North Africa before the fourth century. This is significant because many churches, including the Episcopal Church, altered the rites for Holy Baptism and Communion based on a mistaken presumption of “what the early church did” (3). As to the Eucharist, Bradshaw finds that, if the Apostolic Tradition is excluded, “there is no firm evidence at all from other sources for the existence of Eucharistic Prayers of this type before at least the middle of the fourth century” (4). Examining the innovation introduced into modern Communion services known as “passing the peace,” Bradshaw points to evidence that the early church did in fact include a very similar practice in worship, but it was a kiss on the lips.

Not only was the sign different, but so too was the meaning. In the context of the ancient world, the strict social convention was that kisses were exchanged only between members of the family. For Christians to exchange kisses with people to whom they were not so related was a powerful counter-cultural symbol, indicating that they regarded their fellow believers as their true brothers and sisters, and the church as their true family …In modern practice, however, not only has a quite different ritual sign generally been adopted – most often a handshake, which at least in an English context, expresses distance rather than intimacy …(6).

Bradshaw does not propose that modern liturgies containing rites based on wrongly presumed liturgical practices of early Christians are illegitimate. He does suggest that we not attempt to settle disputes over how to order worship based exclusively on an appeal to history (7). For Anglicans, this means that our historic forms of liturgy contained in the Book of Common Prayer may not arbitrarily be excluded in favor of the supposedly superior “shape” of supposed primitive worship.

Another possible disappointment disclosed in the “Theological Lens” is the ACNA’s declared intention to pursue a “modern language adaptation of the Rite I liturgies of the 1979 BCP.” According to the “Lens” this should be “a major priority in ACNA’s immediate future.” Apparently, this is to be in addition to a modern language revision of the 1662/1928 rites for Eucharist, Baptism and Ordination (11). Peter Toon writes that, while Rite I uses traditional languages, “the 1928 BCP texts were made to conform as far as possible to the Shape (very important concept then), Theology and Relations that belonged to Rite Two (i.e. the contemporary language texts, already written and approved) texts containing the innovative theology” (Toon Why). Because it uses traditional language, Rite I gives the appearance of being orthodox, an idea resisted by Toon, who raises doctrinal and liturgical objections.

First the obsession with making “the baptismal covenant” of Rite II the very basis of the involvement of the Episcopal Church, and as if entirely connected, in the issues and politics of this world in the name of justice and peace. This tends to eclipse the classic message of personal salvation by the blood of Jesus and the dynamic doctrine of the Last Things. Second, there is a deceptive rendering of a Pauline text at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer in both Rites: the 1979 text has, “Christ our Passover IS sacrificed for us:” whereas all serious English Bibles translate the words of Paul as, “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us.” There is a world of difference between the two renderings in terms of the doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the first is an innovation in Anglican texts (Toon Why).

The “Lens” briefly approaches the matter of “Edification,” by which it means that “language must be understood by the congregation” (9) This is undoubtedly correct and accurately reflects the sentiment of Article XXIV, “On speaking in the Congregation in such a tongue as the people understandeth.” This is directed against the use of liturgical Latin, once the language of the educated. Griffin Thomas suggests an interesting historic possibility that a “Latin Service was less open to public criticism and judgment” (340). The ACNA determination against “archaic language” in this section is most agreeable. The “Lens” adds the requirement that, “the ceremonies be correspondingly relevant” (9). While this precept is doubtless well-intended, there is an accompanying issue as to the definition of “relevance,” and who decides what liturgical elements may be added or taken away based on “relevance,” A committed modern liturgist will ultimately have to consider whether dealing practically with issues of “relevance” might somehow disturb the “ordo.” McGrath contends that it is “potentially meaningless to talk about making Christianity ‘relevant’ to the modern world … The paradox underlying the entire liberal enterprise is that for whom the gospel is made ‘relevant’ there is someone else for whom it is made irrelevant” (103).

The ACNA guideline properly commends the memorization connected with the continual use of rites in the BCP and seems to state that many congregants have memorized BCP passages as an argument in favor of producing a “modern language adaptation of the Rite I liturgies of the 1979 BCP” (11), but the same standards also explicitly call for a single Bible version (RSV, NKJV, or ESV) to aid memorization (9). Since the language of the proposed BCP is to be “as close to direct quotations of Holy Scripture as grammatically possible” (9), does this not suggest that some of the familiar 1979 BCP language will change and people must begin memorizing new phrases in any event? Furthermore, since the BCP teaches the Christian faith, are the people supposed to continue memorizing questionable theology? Nonetheless, one must be cautious about criticism. The ACNA liturgists are still at work, and it may be that their intentions have been misunderstood.

The final consideration of this study will address the matter of the Book of Common Prayer in a “missional” contest. The “Lens” sees this movement as “primarily concerned with both proclaiming the Gospel and engaging the surrounding culture” (7). The missional impulse is probably a part of Anglican DNA that we see in its tolerance of intellectual and ritual diversity. Anglicanism must interact with modern culture. While Anglicanism is missional to its core, the Book of Common Prayer, especially in its treatment of the Dominical Sacraments and the Ordinal, is a theological and devotional work for the people of God. We should carefully consider the minimalist rubrics that attend the central services. It will be discovered that a great deal may be included or taken away without disobedience.

Some parishes have services in which there are no vestments, candles, liturgical colors, or any of a wide array of “extras.” Other congregations have elaborate vesture, chanting, processions with crosses, candles and incense. Within the reformed and Catholic tradition of the Church of England there is much room for diversity in ritual. It must also be understood that the Pastoral Offices are probably more subject to adaptation to particular circumstance. There is nothing whatsoever in our portion of the Household of God to prevent services that include healthy doses of contemporary music and other elements that might not be appropriate in a formal worship setting. It must also be remembered that nineteenth century Church of England missionaries carried the Christian religion around the world armed with the 1662 BCP. Anglicanism is known for a generous and outgoing spirit that lends itself well to mission and this endeavor is often a perfect setting for ecumenical cooperation that is both productive and mutually beneficial. McGrath understands that, “the identification of a common task, transcending denominational demarcations, seems far more likely to bring the churches closer together than the decisions of distant committees (63).

In conclusion, this work has defended the position that the process of Prayer Book modification should be regulated by four guiding principles. It is to be Christian as to doctrine, Scriptural in content, Catholic in its intention, and Anglican in ethos. While the standards of the ACNA “Theological Lens” are stated in somewhat different terms, there is wide agreement with the project’s orthodox direction. This paper has sought to give voice to a sincere concern for some aspects of the process now underway. This includes reasonable skepticism of any search for a “common ordo” based on supposed historical construct of the early church. While the development of the contemporary versions of 1928 and 1662 Communion rites is a pleasing development, the work will be thwarted if editors rely on the same scholarship used for the 1979 BCP It is a great puzzlement that a new version of Rite I liturgies would be considered under any circumstances. While acknowledging the contribution of Dix, Simon Chan approaches the “shape” of liturgy from the perspective of a “two-part shape, word and Sacrament (62-3). This old idea, once expressed by Justin the Martyr, is entirely harmonious with the traditional Anglican “shape” of liturgy.

Anglicans should continue to make ecumenical partnerships with other orthodox bodies for the purpose of spreading the Gospel and fostering a closer brotherly connection. Baptized believers are, or course, invited to the Lord’s Table. Nonetheless, Anglicanism will maintain its integrity as a moral force and a vibrant part of the Body of Christ only if it maintains the Prayer Book tradition and a doctrinal adherence to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. This expression of Christianity is, at its best, profoundly counter-cultural.

A sentimental attachment to familiar ritual is insufficient for Anglican survival and for taking the Christian religion to millions in North America who have heard and rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ. McGrath expresses a sentiment that should be taken to heart at this critical moment.

Anglicanism has developed a reputation for its coolness and detachment. Perhaps the time has come to rediscover the excitement and joy of the gospel, and allow this to filer down to our worship, praise and prayer. We hold the key to our future, which awaits our decision (144).

Works Cited

Anglican Church in North America. “The Apostle.” 2011. http://anglicanchurch.net/?/main/page/about-acna (Accessed Dec. 16, 2011).

Anglican Church in North America “Theological Lens.” 2011.

The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church According to the Use of the Church of England. Cambridge: University Press.

The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, According to the Use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David. New York: Church Pension Fund, 1945.

The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church: Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David : According to the Use of the Episcopal Church. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Bradshaw, Paul F. Liturgy in the Absence of Hippolytus, The Kavanaugh Lecture. Hartford: Yale Institute of Sacred Music. http://www.yale.edu/ism/colloq_journal/jpages/bradshaw1.html  (Accessed Dec. 22, 2011)

Chan, Simon. Liturgical Theology, the Church as Worshiping Community. Downers Grove, Il.: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

ESV Study Bible. Lane T. Dennis, Executive Editor. Wheaton, Ill.: Good News Publishers, 2008.

Johnson, Maxwell E. “The Apostolic Tradition.” The Oxford History of Christian Worship. Geoffrey Wainwright and Karen B. Westerfield-Tucker, Editors. New York: Oxford, 2006.

McGrath, Alister E. The Renewal of Anglicanism. Harrisburg, Pa.: Morehouse, 1993.

Packer, J. I. The Thirty-nine Articles, Their Place and Use Today. Vancouver: Regent, 200

Tarsitano, Louis R. An Outline of an Anglican Life. Houston: Episcopal Recorder, 1994

Thomas, W. H. Griffith. The Principles of Theology. Seventh Edition. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Theological Seminary, 1996.

Toon, Peter. The Anglican Formularies and Holy Scripture. Philadelphia: Preservation Press, 2006.

_________ . “Why Rite One May Be More Dangerous than Rite Two.” Prayer Book Society, USA, 2009. http://preview.tinyurl.com/7ozd4eo (Accessed Dec. 23, 2011).

Wright, N. T. The Last Word. Paperback Edition, New York: Harper, 2006.

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2 Responses to “A few thoughts on revising The Book of Common Prayer and the ACNA “Theological Lens””


  1. I posted my own eight-part analysis of the initial report of the Prayerbook and Common Liturgy Taskforce on my blog Anglicans Ablaze. On the basis of this analysis and my analysis of the ACNA Ordinal, and the taskforce’s interrim report, it is my well-considered opinion that the ACNA Prayer Book will be Anglo-Catholic in doctrine and liturgical usages, modeled primarily upon the semi-reformed 1549 Prayer Book and the retrograde 1928 Prayer Book. The rendering of the Rite I Eucharist into modern English enables the use of the so-called “ecumenical” pattern for the eucharist rite but also the wording from the 1549 Canon in place of that of the 1552 Prayer of Consecration–“be unto us the Body and Blood of thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ” instead of “may be partakers of his most blessed body and blood.” As Bishop Stephen Gardiner argued, the wording of the 1549 Canon is open to interpretation as teaching the doctrine of transubstantiation. The 1928 Prayer Book in its doctrine and liturgical usages is a repudiation of the Thirty-Nine Articles. In countenancing the optional use of medieval practices rejected by the English Reformers the ACNA Ordinal also gives countenance to the associated medieval doctrines–transubstantiation and the sacrifice of masses–and is likewise a repudiation of the Articles.

    • patlynch Says:

      Thanks for the well considered analysis. I hope you found my observations of some use. As noted in my paper, the 1928 is the work of human hands and I agree with you that the tenacity with which some embrace it is rather peculiar. It is, however, the closest thing to traditional liturgy that American have known and the Communion Service is inherited from the Scots – the non-jurors. The 1928 is susceptible to a reasonable interpretation in line with the Articles, but 1662 has merit. Please note that, in the ACNA Theological Lens, Scripture is a leading quality to be embraced by the revisers. My work also placed the Biblical aspect in high standing. The four guiding principles set forward in my paper are that an American BCP should be Christian, Scriptural, Catholic and Anglican. The reader must note my meaning of “Catholic,” that is, the faith of the Universal Church proceeding from the Apostles. Perhaps, Robin, we can interact on the topic sometime. Again, thanks.


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