AM on Advent Letter - Intro
It is now almost a month since the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent Letter was published. Among many responses, one of the most recent is that of Anglican Mainstream which appeared earlier this week. It is important both because of the groups comprising AM (eg Reform, CEEC, New Wine and Crosslinks) and their significance among evangelical Anglicans in the Church of England and other Anglican churches in the British Isles and also because of the wider Communion influence of Chris Sugden, AM’s Executive Secretary.
Issued by Chris Sugden and Philip Giddings on behalf of Anglican Mainstream it opens with a self-identification (“We identify ourselves as those who, with orthodox Anglicans worldwide, are committed to the life-transforming call to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and therefore to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all he has commanded us”) which appears also to be offered as a means of discerning the true body of Christ within the Anglican Communion (“We understand ourselves to be brothers and sisters with them in the faith once delivered to the saints”).
Reaffirming they are ‘gladly members’ of the Communion, the authors highlight the primary issue as they see it – whether ‘the instruments of the Anglican Communion… would be able to affirm that this biblical faith is central to the Communion’s life, teaching and behaviour…affirming the biblical teaching and recommending protection for those who seek to proclaim and demonstrate the transforming power of the biblical gospel for all’.
While they believe earlier actions – Windsor Report and Primates’ Meetings – “pointed to this end” and “recognise with gratitude positive aspects of the Archbishop’s letter” (commending John Richardson’s discussion) they imply that the Advent Letter represents a failure to follow through these earlier successes and “respectfully seek to differ with the Archbishop on the following five points”
Each of these is worth stating, examining and evaluating.