Cranmer has received a missive from a group called ‘Anglican SPREAD’ – The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine - a Church of England group supporting the aims and intentions of GAFCON.
He has warned them that their choice of name will invite all manner of trivial and derisory comment (Anglican SPREAD – like Marmite, you either love it or hate it; Anglican SPREAD – like vermin/disease, etc., etc., etc.).
However, Cranmer is delighted to inform his readers and communicants that the Revd Charles Raven is the director of this group which is based in the United States under the Chairmanship of Bishop John Rodgers, formerly President and Dean of Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry and one of the founding bishops of the Anglican Mission in America.
It is dedicated ‘to the preservation and propagation of the reformed Christian faith as classically expressed by the English Reformers and definitively stated in the Anglican Formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal, it produced a number of carefully-researched papers with a particular concern to shed light on the widespread confusion surrounding the beliefs of the current Archbishop of Canterbury.
‘Events between the 1998 and 2008 Lambeth Conferences have demonstrated decisively that the Communion’s present ‘instruments of unity’, including the See of Canterbury itself, are no longer fit for purpose when confronted with deep theological confusion in which evil is held out as good and good as evil. A merely institutional unity not firmly rooted in the revealed truths of God’s Word written is not only counterfeit but also toxic, exposing the whole Communion to the false teaching and the immorality absorbed by the Western Churches.
‘Taking encouragement from the GAFCON movement’s Jerusalem Declaration of June 2008, which reaffirmed the authoritative role of the historic formularies for Anglicanism today, SPREAD seeks to guard against this danger and to encourage the emergence of new Anglican structures able to support a coherent and confident proclamation of the gospel around the globe.
‘With a new Anglican Province being declared in North America, we concluded that the Society would be best based in England as the focus of the struggle for a reformed Anglican Communion now shifts to the other side of the Atlantic. As Archbishop Greg Venables noted in May last year: "The central question of the attitude to gay partnerships is just as big and pressing a matter in England as in North America and the division of opinion runs as deep in North America and so all the factors that could bring internal division and a blow up are there.”
‘It is increasingly clear that the Church of England and the other Anglican Churches of the UK are following the same path to apostasy as their North American counterparts. SPREAD therefore supports wholeheartedly the commitment of the Jerusalem Declaration to a unity which is in the first place confessional rather than simply institutional and is committed to articulating this need and the implications for future leadership and governance.’
The SPREAD website is worth checking out, and the Revd Charles Raven will be sending out a brief weekly commentary to everyone on their mailing list, should you wish to register.
Cranmer shall be watching this group, not least because one of its published articles is entitled: ‘There is no via media between incompatible convictions’.
His Grace is steeped in the via media, and the Church of England has survived almost five centuries of apparent incompatibilities.