Skip to content

Why I Am Becoming Anglican: a Brief Explanation for my Assemblies of God family

January 2, 2015

index  Disclaimer: This post was written for a specific audience (a group called AG Ministers Under 40) and might be difficult to understand outside of that context. It is sort of an explanation as to why I am leaving the group. This post does not attempt to explain what Anglicanism is. It also uses language that would probably not make much since for someone unfamiliar with AG theology and practice.

INTRO During this past year, I made a very difficult decision to leave the only church I have known. I grew up in an Assemblies of God (AG) church. My family has been AG since the 1930s and is one of the oldest Pentecostal families in New Orleans. My father is an AG pastor and I have two brothers who are ordained AG ministers. I have held AG ministerial for a couple of years, but with the recent transition of the New Year (2015), my AG ministerial credentials have lapsed. God willing, I will be confirmed on January 25th into the Anglican Church by Bishop Todd Hunter at Holy Trinity in Costa Mesa. I am not leaving with hurt, bitterness, or resentment. Quite the contrary, I maintain a deep love and respect for the church that taught me the name of Jesus. The last AG congregation I was a part of (in Pasadena, CA) was a wonderful group of people led by a theologically capable pastor that I appreciate greatly. I am excited about the direction of the AG (under George Wood) and I am confident that it will continue to thrive in the decades to come. Because of my positive wishes toward my friends and family in the AG, I was not planning on sharing publicly my reasons for leaving. That is, I am not trying to convince people to leave the AG or even that it was a good idea for me to leave the AG. I actually want people to stay and make the AG even better. (I tried myself really hard to stay, and finally had to acknowledge that God was calling to the Anglican Church—or perhaps more accurately, God was making me into an Anglican). However, my friend (and fellow AG minister) Dan suggested that I give a public explanation for why I am leaving. His reasoning was that if people continue to leave silently, how will the AG address those issues which led to their exit from the church? I think Dan is right and so I am taking some time to explain how I became Anglican. But before I do, I will explain exactly what I mean by “Anglican,” as there exists a wide range of theology and practice within the Anglican communion (ranging from liberal to fundamentalist, low church to high church, Calvinist to Arminian). I am joining the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) which considers itself to be evangelical (prima scriptura, Christo-centric), charismatic (Spirit-filled), and catholic (embracing the universal practices of the ancient church, especially regarding sacraments, liturgy, and the episcopate).

HOW I BECAME ANGLICAN I am not becoming Anglican in spite of my AG pastors and mentors, but rather it was (at least in part) because of their influence that I have continued on this journey. Here I will name some of the shifts that resulted in my theological transition.

1. Recognizing the importance of Discipleship While in Chi Alpha (XA) at UL Lafayette, my pastor Eric taught me about the importance of discipleship. It seemed that for Eric and a lot of XA folks, Christianity had to be caught as well as taught. This led to a lot of important questions, such as, from whom did the first Pentecostals catch it? Who discipled Eric? And who discipled the person who discipled Eric? And so on? Doesn’t that chain eventually lead back to Methodists, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics? If Christianity is something that is passed on by people, then who were the people who passed it on between the Apostles and Martin Luther (the first Protestant)? While in XA, I began to develop a more embodied view of the faith, one in which the Spirit works through people and practices (i.e. spiritual disciplines) to form people over time. I began to realize that the people between the Apostles (Early Church) and Martin Luther (Reformation) were critical to my relationship with Christ. Those Roman Catholic people were the ones who preserved the ‘Jesus way’ of living and who perpetuated the knowledge of Holy Scripture. I could no longer hate—I had to appreciate (the Church)!

2. Recognizing the Centrality of the Church There was another XA pastor at ULL named Charles who had a profound impact on my life. He taught me about discipleship by discipling me. He recommended that I read a David Watson’s book Called and Committed: World-Changing Discipleship. Watson indicated that evangelism was not just about making converts, nor was it only about making disciples. The ultimate goal of evangelism is to make people into family members of God’s family (i.e. the church). This confirmed what I had already been observing as non-believers were being incorporated into our XA group. Christian infants (i.e. new believers) needed the family to teach them what it means to be a family member. As Christians matured, they become more responsible family members. Over time, I began to recognize that what God wanted was a family, a people that he could call his own. This is the message of the Old Testament. And the good news of the New Testament is that even gentiles can be welcomed into God’s holy, set-apart family. Thus, I began to have a much higher view of the church. The church was not a means to end, but rather it was the end to which Jesus came. He wanted a people. Ecclesiology (the theology of the church) and Soteriology (the theology of salvation) are inseparable. To be saved, is to be saved into the church (the people that God is saving). Thus salvation is ‘personal’ in the sense that it involves my person, my desires, my will, my emotions, etc.—but it is not personal in any individualistic sense. That is, it is not just about “me and God,” but about how God is reconciling all of creation to Himself through the Head and Body of Christ.

3. Recognizing that Conversion is a Process, not just an Event When I was a missionary in Berlin, Germany (basically doing XA in Europe), an AG missionary named Johnny told me to read Beginning Well: Christian Conversion & Authentic by Gordon Smith. Smith helped me to recognize that conversion is a process—which includes several important steps and/or events—but should not be reduced to an event. Smith demonstrates how these important conversion steps do not happen in the same order for all Christians. One of the necessary steps that Smith names is baptism. Although Smith does not argue in favor of infant baptism, his book helped me to see it in a more favorable light and to recognize that rebaptizing someone is unnecessary.

4. Recognizing that Pentecostalism had been strongly influenced by anti-Pentecostal thinkers like Zwingli and John Nelson Darby

A) Zwingli I am a semi-Reformed thinker. I have always recognized that the medieval Roman Catholic Church had developed several unhelpful theologies and practices which were foreign to the ancient Catholic Church, and thus in need of reforming. That is why I have a good bit of sympathy and a lot of respect for reformers like Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, etc. However, in reading about the Reformers, I also recognized that on several points, Pentecostals have more in common with the Medieval Catholic Church than they do the Reformers. The Reformers were skeptical about the continuation of miracles and the gifts of the Spirit in the church after the apostolic age. Whereas, like Pentecostals, The Roman Church (as well as the Eastern Orthodox Churches) continued to believe in miracles, healing, and spiritual gifts (even if they had fallen out of practice in many areas). Even though the Reformers were skeptical about miracles, most them did recognize at least one miracle: Christ makes himself present to us at the eucharist. Most Reformers maintained the ancient tradition that Christ is really present in the Eucharist, whether bodily present (Luther) or merely spiritually present (Calvin). However, there was one skeptical Reformer named Zwingli who denied the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and considered it simply a memorial. Zwingli’s memorialist view of the Eucharist was perpetuated by many Protestants over time and was eventually adopted early Pentecostals. In reflecting on the Reformation, I began to see Zwingli’s rejection of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist as an extension of the cessationist Reformation program: God does not show up and do miracles. As a Pentecostal, I have always believed in miracles. I began to recognize that the early church believed in miracles, in the gifts of the Spirit, and in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. God is a miracle working God who continues “to show up” in the church through the power of the Spirit working in people and in the sacraments. Thus, I began to recognize the centrality of the Eucharist for Christian worship, the necessity of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, and the rejection of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist as a part of the Reformation cessationist project (which I have never bought into). I developed not only a high view of the church, but also a high view of the sacraments (seeing them as something that God is working through) and not merely powerless symbols.

B) John Nelson Darby Growing up AG, I thought all Christians believed in a secret rapture (where Christ suddenly steals all true, living Christians away to heaven). It turns out that idea of a secret rapture is a new doctrine that was invented as late as the 19th century and is only believed by a minority of Christians. The idea of a secret rapture seems to have its origins in the teachings of an English, Plymouth Brethren preacher named John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). Darby was the father of Dispensationalism—the “doctrine” which divides time into separate “dispensations” in which God deals differently with people in each dispensation. According to classical dispensationalism, miracles ceased with the apostles. Dispensationalism was made popular in America among fundamentalist through the Scofield Reference Bible. Because early Pentecostals were not educated theologically, they often turned to the Scofield Reference Bible as theological textbook of sorts (despite the fact that Scofield denied the contemporary use of spiritual gifts like tongues). Dispensational eschatology (secret rapture included) is inherently anti-Pentecostal and our best AG theologians have demonstrated this (see Frank Macchia, Baptized in the Spirit). God’s preferred future is not to destroy all of creation, but rather to renew it by baptizing all of creation in His Spirit. I embrace the gifts of the Spirit because church history demonstrates that they were not only at work in the Apostolic age, but that they were still in use during the Patristic Age (the age of the ancient church). The reason I embrace the Spiritual gifts is the same reason I reject dispensationalism and the secret rapture. I am only interested in practicing the faith that was passed down from Jesus by the Apostles. And that faith knew nothing of dispensations and a secret rapture. Sadly, the AG is committed to dispensationalist theology, as it has enshrined dispensationalism in its “Fundamental Truth #14 –The Millennial Reign of ChristThus over time, I have grown at odds with certain AG theological commitments (Zwinglian sacramental theology and Darby’s dispensational eschatology) not because I have become less Pentecostal, but because I have recognized these doctrines as inconsistent with the Pentecostal experience.

5. Recognizing the Pattern of the Early Church While in seminary I studied Early Church History and read primary sources from this time period. It became clear to me that the apostles (sent out by Christ) had appointed bishops in the cities where they ministered. We still have the writings of Bishop Ignatius of Antioch (discipled by John the Apostle) and Bishop Clement of Rome (discipled by Peter and Paul). If the Apostles left us bishops, why were we in the AG following a District Superintendent? If the early Church Fathers were baptizing infants, why were we denying them admission into the church? If the Fathers recognized the power of God working through the sacraments, why was I a part of church that trivialized the sacraments? Like many Pentecostals, I had always thought of myself as a theological primitivist. That is, I was under the impression that the early church had theology right and if we could just get back to the early church we would be okay. In time I discovered that my AG beliefs were far from ancient, primitive faith. AG “Fundamental Truths” numbers 7 (subsequence) and 14 (rapture/millennium) were invented in the 19th century and number 8 (initial physical evidence) was invented in the 20th century. “Fundamental Truth” number 6 (“the ordinances,” i.e. sacraments), as understood by the AG, has older origins, but still no older than the 15th century. These newer teachings are at odds with the ancient church mothers and fathers who were martyred as they  spread the gospel throughout the world. Today, I continue to see myself as a primitivist, and therefore I find certain AG theological particulars unhelpful because they fail to conform to the universal teachings of the ancient church.

6. Recognizing the Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit at work in other Churches I began to realize that there were churches where the spiritual gifts seemed more active than in AG churches. A closer look at the Vineyard churches should cause us in the AG to question the importance of Classical Pentecostal “distinctives.” Margaret Poloma demonstrates in her book, The Assemblies of God: Godly Love and the Revitalization of American Pentecostalism, that when compared with AG churches, Vineyard churches typically practice speaking in tongues and prophecies in greater frequency—despite the Vineyard’s rejection of classical Pentecostal formulations (i.e. “Fundamental Truths” 7 and 8). Many in the AG would argue that “Pentecostal theological distinctives” produce the “Pentecostal experience,” but Poloma’s studies use quantitative data to prove the opposite is true. Over time, I learned more about the charismatic renewal, and how millions of people from Mainline Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic Church experienced what Pentecostals call “Spirit-Baptism” and practiced speaking in tongues. I came to realize that I didn’t have to choose between Spirit-filled experience and historic orthodoxy. I could choose Spirit-filled, living orthodoxy: Anglicanism.

You can learn more about my church plant in Los Angeles at

43 Comments leave one →
  1. Matthew DeGier permalink
    January 3, 2015 11:23 am

    Thanks for sharing this Jon. I’m still saddened by your departure, but am grateful to better understand why you are moving on. How does your new fellowship feel about Anabaptist and openness leaning charismatics? 😉

    • January 3, 2015 12:23 pm

      Anabaptist – Janna and I (along with probably many other (especially younger) people in ACNA) are Anabaptist leaning in that we think non-violence is central to the cruciform way of following Christ. On of the reasons for our shift was encountering the thinking of Stanley Hauerwas (downstream from Yoder and Barth). Like Hauerwas, we are anabaptist in our thinking about peace and the importance of the Christian community for shaping people so that they develop the virtues of the Christian community. (i.e. we champion the necessity of the coommunity for building disciples). Like the anabapist, we recognize that the church must be holy and countercultural (at least in our times), but at the same time we must express the gospel in symbols that are recognizable for those outside of the church. HOWEVER, like Hauerwas, we do uphold the anabaptist ethics within the continuous, historic Church. We are unlike anabaptist in that we not sectarian, we are not protesting the Church, and we do not deny infants and children entrance into the church (i.e. through the rite of Baptism).

      Openess – I am assuming here you are referring to the theology of Boyd and Pinnock. The Anglican church is the church of both Wesley and Whitfield. That means you can have an Reformed (Augstinian-determinist) view of free will or you can have the more traditional and ancient Catholic view (sometimes called Arminian) of free will. Many Anglicans are quasi “Western Orthodox,”that is, they seem themselves as essentially Greek Orthodox, but in the West. I tend to fall in the later category. Which means I have a very high anthropology and like the Early Church Fathers, I have a high view of free will.

      Depending on how it is presented, I don’t think “open theism” would be a deal breaker for Anglicans. It is in some ways foreign to Anglican thinking because it is based solely on scripture (and does not seem to ask, How did the Church Fathers read scripture). Open thesim is hyper-evangelical. We are both evangelical and catholic (tradition based). I don’t hate on the Greek Fathers. They were discipled by the Apostles, they preserved the faith, and they spilled their blood. Now if you want to hate on the Latin fathers–well I’m cool with that. I’m not into forensic theology.

  2. Matthew DeGier permalink
    January 3, 2015 11:27 am

    Scratch that last comment. I see the ACNA rejects the full ordination of women and refuses them the office of Bishop. That would be a deal breaker for me. 🙂 Peace, bro.

    • January 3, 2015 12:22 pm

      Women -a major advantage of being Anglican is being “conciliar.” that is, the modification of doctrines and practices is not the task of individuals exercising their personal beliefs–but rather we consider what all Christians (or Anglicans) believe around the globe as well as what Christians have always believed. (fyi, Both Janna and I are in the process of becoming anglican priests). Right now, our province (ACNA) does not ordain Bishops, but other Anglican provinces do.

      While theologically, I think that women should be able to be ordained to the episcopate, it does create ecumenical problems, because many Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox are not ready to make that move. The question is, do you unilaterally make the decision to ordain women as bishops–or do you wait for your brothers and sisters to move with you for the sake of unity. This is a tough call (which is applied to several important theological issues). I take John 17 seriously. I think ecumenical, conciliar theology is what global Christianity needs. This is were I am not Anabaptistic (sectarian). The Anabaptist spirit (including AG, and baptist folks) tends to say, we have it right and we are going to do our thing with or without you. This is where I am not that protestant. But I recongize that many of my friends are. And that’s cool. (I’m not defending ACNA’s position or the Eastern Orthodox position. I’m just saying that I understand it and I’m not wanting to break communion).

  3. January 3, 2015 4:15 pm

    Came here to read this from u40 page. Great stuff to think about here! I have to wonder for myself, if I pretty much agree with what you are saying here am I becoming Anglican without even realizing it!? I do wonder if there is space within the AG to explore some of these things as the movement moves forward, or if those of us that lean in these directions will inevitably transition to the Anglican church too…

    • January 3, 2015 10:26 pm

      Hey Paul. Thanks for your comment. Those are good questions to wrestle with. I think each of us has to wrestle with her or his own convictions, experience, relationships, etc. There are many great AG folks who would agree with much of what I have written, and yet they continues stay AG and serve the movement. These are people I look up to and applaud. I was actually trying to stay and be an advocate for change from within. Over time, my wife (Janna) and I discerned that this was not God’s calling for us. Our fundamental convictions were really strong is ways that were hard to reconcile with certain AG doctrines (especially on the sacraments and the nature of the Church). But others might have the same convictions, but be more flexible, tolerant, irenic, and loving–and therefore continue to serve in the AG without problems. There are many wonderful AG theologians who continue in the fellowship knowing very well its difficulties. I would encourage you (if you have not done so) to read Mel Robeck, Frank Macchia, and Amos Yong. These are great AG theologians and historians that I greatly admire.
      If we had been senior pastors of an AG congregation–that might have been enough to keep us in. But, we were faced with the likelihood of planting a new a church and also have a new baby (our first child). The thing we would have given birth to would have been difficult to reconcile with AG culture. Not impossible, just difficult. We also wanted to raise our daughter to love the Church and we thought she deserved from us entrance into the church: baptism.
      I would encourage you to explore the depths of the Christian tradition from within the AG church. Work to enrich your own spiritual life and the lives of those within your congregation using every means of grace possible.

  4. January 3, 2015 8:38 pm

    Jon, I remember praying with you around the altar at Louisiana Boys and Girls camp many years ago. My mental picture is of a little blond haired boy with his arms raised and tears flowing down his cheeks, speaking in other tongues. I will continue to pray for you.

  5. Anthony permalink
    January 4, 2015 7:46 am

    Hello sir. I was a Pentecostal minister myself. I grew up feeling drawn to the sacramental/liturgical tradition and didn’t know why. I “sneaked” away to seminary and found myself in the Episcopal church. I have struggled with finding an articulate and pastoral response to my Pentecostal friends who do not understand my departure. This article sums it up nicely, and gives me the words to which I can start my own conversations. Thank you for your witness, and God’s Shalom on your journey.

    • January 4, 2015 8:14 pm

      Hey Anthony. Thanks so much for your comment. Makes me think it was worth the time it took to write it. God bless you.

  6. January 4, 2015 2:21 pm


    Grew up pentecostal, I now pastor a Liturgical church. We have not made a transition to Anglican or Episcopalian at this time as we enjoy being an independent church. But if God moves us in that direction we would certainly do that….

  7. Scott permalink
    January 4, 2015 3:29 pm

    You don’t know me, but I really appreciate what you have said here. Very well spoken. I was a XA pastor, fourth generation A/G, etc. My family and I joined the Anglican church through the Rwandan connected churches for many of the same theological reasons as well as for the sake of our children. The importance of having kids in service is all but lost in our most engaging A/G churches–and most evangelical churches. As a 10 year veteran of college ministry it became more and more painfully obvious that we were losing our kids long before they got to college. The connection of soteriology and ecclessiology are at the heart of that.
    Would love to connect on Facebook. I knew Charles (attended a Reach the U training with him) and Eric. Hosted Scott Martin and Stephanie and Dennis and Bob Marks before we left XA. Still have great love and respect for XA and the A/G, but God called us this direction as well.
    There seem to be quite a number of us. Don’t know if you Lanier Nail or Gregg Gobel

    • January 4, 2015 8:11 pm

      Hey Scott. Thank you so much for your comment. Great to meet you. I haven’t met Lanier in person, but we did become facebook friends. Please add me on Facebook. My name is Jon Ziegler. You could also email me at Would to love to stay in touch with you. What is your last name? What campus were you on?
      The bishop I am under (Todd Hunter) was with the Rwandans (AMiA) before switching to ACNA. Are you still apart of an Anglican congregation? If so, where? Are you still in ministry?

  8. Grant LeMarquand permalink
    January 5, 2015 5:52 am

    Dear Jon,

    Thank you very much for this thoughtful piece on becoming an Anglican. I myself was raised in a denomination in Canada (the United Church) which became extremely liberal. During my sunday school days the local United Church we attended had an evangelical pastor. When he died in an accident he was replaced by a liberal. Most of the congregation left – to the new Pentecostal church up the strew. I had ‘graduated’ from sunday school when all this happened, but a few years later was converted (a longer story) and started to attend that Pentecostal church. I learned a tremendous amount and am still very grateful for the place and for Pentecostalism as a movement.

    In college, however, I began to question some of the ‘distinctives’ and also began to realize that I needed more structure for my spiritual life. Through some Intervarsity friends I discovered the Book of Common Prayer and began to attend Anglican churches. I became an Anglican. I remain thankful for the worldwide Pentecostal witness and think that much of the global church (the parts that aren’t charismatic or Pentecostal) have much to learn from this move of the spirit.

    I am now (after spending most of my career teaching New Testament in seminaries in Kenya, Canada and the US) the Anglican bishop for the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia and countries to the east and north of it) where the church struggles in many ways – but now with numbers (two of my priests informed me today that their parishes now have new churches). One of the great joys of Anglicanism (in addition to the historical roots which you mention) is that it is a worldwide family. So is Pentecostalism, of course, although the Pentecostal family is much more loosely organized. So, in addition to sending my thanks for your apologia, I am sending out a prayer request from another part of the Anglican family. Please keep the Episcopal Area of the Horn of Africa (a part of the Anglican / Episcopal Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa) in your prayers. We are dealing with Muslim aggression in some places, with widespread poverty and with war on our border (the South Sudan border).

    many blessings,

    +Grant LeMarquand, the Horn of Africa

    • January 5, 2015 10:23 am

      Dear Bishop Grant,
      Thank you so much. It is an honor that you have read my post and that you would share your experience here. I will be praying for our brother and sisters in East Africa. Thanks for reminding us the realities facing the global church which are easy to forget about while living in Los Angeles.

  9. j-elizabeth permalink
    January 5, 2015 7:45 am

    Having attended John Wimber Vineyard from almost the beginning and been taught by Todd Hunter. Among other outstnding teachers. Unfortunately, trying to attend an Anglican church on the east coast. Was sad to experience ritual services with a congregation not interested and no knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
    I love them ..
    Unfortunately there is not a Todd Hunter understanding Anglican led church
    I tried to encourage our Priest to hear Todd..

    • January 5, 2015 9:31 am

      You raise a good point. I would guess there are many (if not most) places where it is difficult to find a good Anglican church. It is probably a lot easier to find a good AG or Vineyard church. But hopefully as most churches are planted, that will change. In Los Angeles County, I only know of two evangelical Anglican churches that are open the work of the Spirit. That is part of the reason why we are planting a new church here in L.A.
      Where are you on the East Coast?

      • Scott permalink
        January 28, 2015 10:41 am

        Great article. My name is Scott+ and I am the Rector of All Saints Long Beach and part of the Diocese of Western Anglicans, which is in ACNA, and your next door neighbors. I was ordained and worked under +Todd, and love and respect him much. Jon, if you only know of two Anglican spirit filled churches in Los Angeles, give me a call and I will introduce you to more Anglican churches in and around LA, your brothers and sisters in ACNA.

    • Scott permalink
      January 5, 2015 9:38 pm

      Just to clarify, “the East Coast” is a large area. It is not a spiritual wasteland in Anglicanism. I know many Anglicans and Anglican churches open to the move of the Spirit and the supernatural all throughout N and S Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, etc. They do not look like a Vineyard or A/G church. They are liturgical. But the presence of the Spirit is genuine and deep and God moves in the gifts. In my own church I have seen healings and amazing words of knowledge. It can be difficult to find an Anglican church anywhere, and certainly not all ACNA churches are as open to the gifts, but don’t be quick to lump the entire region together as a place without such churches.

  10. January 5, 2015 8:38 am

    Odd, interesting, peculiar and worth noting. Thank you.

  11. Johanna permalink
    January 5, 2015 9:18 am

    Well, Jon, it seems you’ve done some good thinking. I’m not a theologian but I have to differ on the women in the priesthood issue. Men and women have different callings innately built into our being and one is not better than the other, just different. Have you ever spent time really thinking about the issue? I know a book that, I think, has a very good explanation of the different callings of men and women. It’s called EQUAL BUT DIFFERENT. I know it’s a touchy issue with all the “women’s lib” proponents out there but think about the early church and Jesus himself. He could have called women into the priesthood but he chose men. True, the culture was “pro-men” in leadership but there is not one time in scripture when Jesus put a woman down, in fact, he raised women up and respected them. Wasn’t it a woman to whom He first appeared after He rose from the dead? Anyway, I don’t have enough seminary training to bat this back and forth, I just thought you should consider it.

  12. Gary permalink
    January 5, 2015 1:09 pm

    I was baptized Assembly of God. Two of my kids were baptized non-denominational in a church with Charismatic origins. Two of my kids were baptized Anglican. I’m familiar with some of these things as such. Your piece seems to actually emphasize not why you’re becoming Anglican distinctly but why you’re becoming “one of Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Anglican (or maybe Oriental Orthodox too…).” Your one comment hints a bit at being “Western Orthodox.” Why not be Western-Rite Eastern Orthodox, for instance then? I guess I kinda get why you’re no longer Protestant, but despite the title, I don’t really get why you’re going for ACNA, the Anglican Communion, (and the relationship between those two and their relationship(s) with Rome and the East) over either Rome or the East. Your point #2 emphasizes an ecclesiology (and perhaps an associated Christology and eschatology), but why go the ACNA route as a realization of the “centrality of the church,”–the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church? I ask because I wonder about myself. Creedally (and Christologically?), the the Church’s catholicity seems more centered in Communion than either Rite, culture, or comfort zone. Why the ACNA communion? My Assembly of God background still gives me an at-all-costs zeal.

    • January 5, 2015 1:43 pm

      hey Gary. thanks for your great questions. t(1) this blog post wasn’t intended to address those questions and (2) it would be good to create a few more posts to address those questions. the problem, the last time I blogged was 2012. At that rate, I’ll get around to posting again in 2018.
      But for a short and probably unsatisfactory answer–I am downstream from the Anglican church (Anglicans>Methodists>Wesleyan-Holines>First Pentecostals>AG). I swam upstream as far as I could go, and had to stop in Canterbury. I couldn’t make it to Rome or Constantinople for various reasons. I don’t aline well with the way they venerate the saints and Mary (although I have a lot of sympathy for their practices). I’m not good on transubstantiation or a pope that dominates other archbishops (so Roman Catholic doesn’t work). I also think there should be some flexibility in liturgical practice (which E. Orthodoxy and R. Catholicism does not allow). Anglicans have flexibility (allows for low church expression) and allows for women’s ordination. Basically, was already an Anglican theologically so I chose to join the church to which I already belonged to in my think. I was already there theologically. It was not like I just chose a church and then adopted their theology.
      Essentially many of the reasons for shifting to ACNA would also work for Orthodox and R. Catholic. I see the Anglican church, the Orthodox church and the R. Catholic church all as belonging to the One, Holy, and Apostolic Church. I would say that churches which don’t hold to the historic episcopate and recognize the real presence of Christ in the eurcharist are still, in some sense, churches but they are lacking the fullness of what Christ intended the church to be.

      • Gary permalink
        January 5, 2015 5:05 pm

        Thanks Jon. I think that’s about the best possible answer.

  13. January 5, 2015 2:28 pm

    Thanks for your thoughtful post. I was confirmed last year into the ACNA after many years in the Vineyard. Like you, discrepancies I was discovering between the beliefs and practices of the ancient undivided Church and modern American charismatic/Evangelical Christianity, especially around the Sacraments and ecclesiology, led me to into the Anglican fold. I’m now serving our diocese as a Lay Catechist and tent-making church planter. For me, becoming an Anglican has not meant leaving behind anything of theological or spiritual value from my previous walk with Christ, but rather gaining a spiritual home with a rich history, a deep and beautiful liturgical tradition, and a tangible connection with the early Catholic faith. I wish you and your family all the best as you journey closer to our Lord Jesus!
    Todd Durell

    • January 5, 2015 5:50 pm

      Thanks Todd. I feel very much the same way. Not so much leaving stuff behind, as I am embracing an even more fuller version of what I had always known (with a few important variations). Please tell me a little more. Where are you planting? Are you seeking Holy Orders? I am postulant at the moment. We are planting a church Los Angeles. ( – nothing really up there yet.

  14. Craig Canfield permalink
    January 5, 2015 7:42 pm

    This post needs to be deleted as it was somehow scrambled in the process. I am posting again but in two parts in hopes it will make sense. Thank you.

  15. Craig Canfield permalink
    January 5, 2015 9:10 pm

    My Response To Jon Ziegler (PART 1 of 2)

    The following is my response to Zon Ziegler’s blog, posted on <40 Facebook page and forwarded to me a few <40 Friends of mine.

    I am 60 years old, (not welcomed @ <40!), a 4th Generation Classical Pentecostal, with many ministry friends of various denominational persuasions. I have grown to love and appreciate very much our various expressions of the Same Faith in the Same Lord and Savior. I have been highly enriched and experienced personal growth in my faith, as a result of our discussions, and encouraged by those times when one of them have thanked me for how my input into their lives as been a blessing to them.

    I have come to see what I believe is a progression of growth, maturity and therefore needed change over the history of the Lord's Church, similar to what is found in an individuals salvation and sanctification. We are the Church, we are Becoming the Church, we Shall be the Church without spot or wrinkle. I appreciate where the church has been, where she is and where she is headed, recognizing that she has much that is beautiful and to be thankful for, but also ugly and to repented of and refrained from repeating.

    I love The Church very much, and find that through all our many, flawed, incomplete expression, a mosaic that when put together as a WHOLE, forms a pretty good reflection of Jesus to our dying planet!

    I write as a fellow truth seeker, and co-laborer in God's vineyard. I have lived a faith life that has continually sought to know and experience a more genuine and transparent expression of Christ's Church on Earth. As a Jesus person in the late 60's and early 70's I found that my friends and I were often rejected by the very church we loved so much. Our freshness of experience and persistent questioning about how certain conclusions were made from Scripture seems only to alienated us more from our church families, as leadership in particular was often threatened by our mere presence. Yet we nearly always found those, usually from first generation members of the A/G that were warm, inviting, accepting and encouraging to us and the work Holy Spirit was doing in our generation. I am so thankful they were there for us and that we were open to their wisdom and guidance, always offered in love. As a result, many of us were kept from the typical errors that always come with such spiritual movements, yet encouraged to move forward, our of and from the statuesque of those who felt they had arrived and so settled for something LESS than all that had been promised to God's Church!

    It is in this spirit that I now wish to respond to Jon, using the main points from his posting on "Why I Am Becoming Anglican", as my outline.

    This has been written late at night and far from my office, so there you will find missing credits and footnotes that should normally be given to those whose ideas I have gleaned and made mine over the years. For this I apologize, but seeing how some have responded in this blog, and heard from others on how it is affecting others, I feel I most respond now in timely fashion.

    1. Recognizing Discipleship

    No problem here – all should agree – but this is largely lost in most North American and Western European Churches regardless of Denomination or Independence. That is a FACT! But it is also true that in nearly all Denominations you will find Churches that are doing Discipleship Good or even Well. Neither are exclusive to any Denomination. There are good, bad and even ugly A/G and Anglican Churches.

    Christianity does have to be caught as well as taught – and we must recognize that we never stand taller than when we stand upon the shoulders of those who have gone before us.

    BUT – the chain of Discipleship does not always go way back! And if it does – it certainly does not end with Methodists, Anglicans or Roman Catholics – but further back to when the Church was Young and only slightly marred by Sectarianism (which there was from the very start – Jewish Christians and those unclean Gentile Believers).

    There are examples all over the world and scattered throughout history where someone gets their hand on a Bible or hears a minister of the Gospel, comes to faith in Christ, but is never afforded the benefit of coming into contact with another, more mature Believer who can Disciple them in the Faith. They simply fell in love with the Word of God and the life changing experiences of the People within it.

    Then following the example set forth by the Master Himself – and His disciples – they were Discipled by the Word and Spirit of God, into mature believers and followers of Jesus Christ. The likes of such, can truly say they “Caught It” directly from Christ and His disciples.

    As much as I am a proponent of remembering those who have gone before us, and holding them in high esteem, I also am a realist and recognize that they, though Saints, were all flawed, imperfect and incomplete in their understandings, yet vital parts in an ongoing Progressively Growing Understanding of Christ, His Church and His Mission. They are never to be settled upon as the “Prime Example” or “Pattern” for our faith, conduct or practice. This must be reserved exclusively for Christ Himself.

    Those people between the Apostles and Martin Luther, are to be appreciated for their contributions and strengths, while we also remember also their errors, failures and incomplete understandings. I was raised to appreciate what I have come to call all “Flavors” of Christianity. My home church was founded before the Assemblies of God ever existed. It grew to be quite large for a Pentecostal Church in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. While the large Denominational Churches had largely gone to only Sunday morning services, many from those Mainline Churches would attend their historic congregations on Sunday morning while attending our Sunday night services for the lively worship, encouraging testimony times and glorious altar services. They were never made to feel out of place or encouraged to leave their historic high church roots and exclusively attend ours. There was genuine appreciation and acceptance found from both sides. Yet I have a Grandfather who pastored in the Assemblies of God for more than 50 churches, pioneering several church, such as you Jon are presently going to do. But his experience with Mainline, Denominational Churches was not at all like what was found in my home church. He was raised Presbyterian but did not have a personal faith in Christ. A Pentecostal street evangelist (my grandmother) brought him to faith in Christ, married him a year or so later, and together they entered the ministry. There were very few Pentecostal churches at the time so their only option was to start a churches. Several times they were stonewalled, ridiculed, shot at with shotguns filled with rock salt, spat upon, and even run out of town by mainline churches, including Anglicans. Needless to say those numerous experiences made it very difficult for them be trusting of or accepting of these mainline churches and their leaders. I have found in our movement people of both persuasions, those who like myself and my home church have had very good experiences and relationships and those who like my grandparents has some of the worst. And so it is of no surprise that they lingers throughout our movement issues of the past, which because of our forever shortcomings, will haunt us till the time of Christ’s return. Yet I must say that I have never found anyone in my travels through our movement who hated those who had persecuted them. Their lack of Appreciation should in no way be taken as hatred.

    2. Recognizing Centrality of Church

    The spirit of the present age makes great inroads here in American and European Churches – reducing us all from a strong stable family mentality into an individualistic Designer Spirituality and Worship Experience. This adversely affects the ABILITY of nearly all Churches to instill a FAMILY mentality into its members, just as it is a struggle to get nearly all Extended Families to carry with them a keen sense of FAMILY! When everyone use to make it home to the parents and grandparents homes for holidays and special events, now it is EXPECTED that the parents and grandparents go out of THEIR WAY to seek out and visit the young ones. With this comes a heightened sense of Self Importants and Self Actualization – with little sense of Respect and Value places in those who have come before us. Loyalty, respect, obedience, pride in family name, etc etc, have all been replaced with a syrupy sweet Sentimentality that is superficial at best cynical at its worst.

    The Roman Church is suffering greatly in this matter. They have always been the best of any church movement at instilling an inseparable family bond – but loyalty to Self Fulfillment – has long ago out striped loyalty to the Whole – the Group – the Family – the Church.

    The Anglican Church is no more effective here as a whole, than any other group – we all suffer from the social ills of our time – though some individual, local, and often small community Church may be able to break the spell and create a true Family Atmosphere – of profound love and appreciation for those trailblazers and founders who have gone before us. Recognizing that none of us stands taller then when we stand upon the shoulders of those who have gone before us.

    Other than that, Jon, you’re correct about salvation being not only "personal" but "community". Several times in the Bible it mentions a man being save and with him all his house. Missionaries even in the A/G have written of a Tribal Chief getting saved and with him the entire village. In societies and cultures where family and local community are of highest value, this is nearly always the case – and I believe good and healthy. In our culture this is rare and usually only found in communities of immigrants or strong yet isolated rule communities.

    You were weaned on a low church, highly generationally influenced church system, with historical roots that are only a hundred years old. And while our churches are full of spunk, charisma and spontaneity, they lack the richness and beauty of some of the Traditions of more ancient fare. I understand your being attracted to these historical movements – but never forget that it was from such movements you and my ancestors fled and nearly always for good reasons. They had become old wine skins, established and settled in their ways, unyielding in their often ecclesiastical ways of mere men – void of fresh wisdom and understanding from the Holy Spirit. A bit like we are now becoming in the Assemblies of God. Fearing men more than we fear God – seeking to please men more than we please God.

    I am sorry but in hopes to burst all our bubbles – The Church – is far more than the Assemblies of God, the catholic church, the Anglican church, etc. etc. It is far more reaching, far more rich, far more satisfying than all of our petty little Denominations put together. These organizations are ALL made up of men and women who are ALL flawed, All lacking complete understanding, ALL at some level seeking to keep, protect and maintain their positions, followings, possessions, advancements, etc. more than that of Christ and His true universal Church. Leaving one to go Backwards to another, will never settle the issues and longings of one’s heart – it will only prolong the eventual arrival to greater truth, while wasting precious time, efforts, thought, reasoning powers and life on what will soon come to be understood as trivial and extremely finite maters.

    The eyes of our hearts and understanding must be open to the fact that time is running out, that what we have yet to do, must be done NOW, without hesitation, discussion, looking back or to the left or right, but putting our hands to the plow and with a laser like focus looking straight ahead into the greatest time of harvest the church has ever known.

    Jon, you were also born into our movement at a time when we have in many ways wandered away from the paths of our Fathers, and the richness of a newly discovered First Love for Christ Jesus, the founder of our Faith and Rock upon which His Church has been built. I regret how far we have moved from raw courage and faith and total reliance upon Holy Spirit – as often ignorant and unschooled men – led by Holy Spirit – made advancements for the Kingdom of God that were unbelievable to the rational reasoned mind. Of such were my Grandparents and after a life of incredibly hard work, sacrifice, persecution and having founded some amazing churches, they left this world with nearly nothing but the clothes on their backs.

    At some point our movement seems to have become embarrassed at our other side of the tracks appearance. Our lack of a highly educated seminary trained clergy behind every pulpit. Our low church, earthy forms and rituals that seemed only fit for well – I think you get my drift here. We began to idolize the types of clergy and ministries that once intimidated us – and set them up as our models for success and achievement – for they would lead us to a place of acceptability to at first the church world and later the world at large. So we thought! But our place in the Church World was to demonstrate to a settled church how God could take the weak and reveal His might and power, the uneducated and reveal His Wisdom from above, those with little understanding of structure and business sense and rise up great local churches with powerful impacts upon their communities. We were to be an example that SCREAMED – if God, by His Spirit can do this with such as we are, Imagine what He could do with you who have it all so seemingly together. This richness and power and miraculous of our past is all but lost to your generation in the Western Pentecostal Church – though very much a present reality in the rest of the wold.

    We are now so much more educated, cleaver, reasoned, traveled, well read, conventioned, seminared, peer-oriented, entertaining and worldly than they – yet lack so much the most important things they were and manifested. We have better by laws and constitutions perhaps to make up for a growing lack of trust in the character and good will of the breathern. For this I am grieved and apologize to you and your generation. That we like all other movements have gone the ways of the flesh and of men. Forsaking the power for the glitter of acceptability.

    Very likely you have stumbled upon a good local Anglican church, or Priest or both and have been highly impressed and warmed by the depths of genuine family that you found. Can't say I blame you to want to join up – SO DO I!? And I really don't care what flavor of Christianity it may be so long as you remember it is not the whole – only a small part of the Big Picture of the Church Of Jesus Christ!

    3. Recognizing Conversion Process

    Nothing new here – I have literally heard this ALL MY LIFE – starting at my home church and right to this present day. Sure some saw it as maybe only a two or three step process – (like second definite work of Grace – Holy Spirit Baptism, etc.) but nearly everyone I have known in the A/G circles have seen Salvation as a PROCESS – I am saved – I am being saved – I shall be saved, etc etc.

    BUT infant Baptism as early church practice – Really!? Show me in the Bible where this takes place and I will agree! And the Bible is our SOLE AUTHORITY not even early Church History! Without question – when a person comes to an awakening of personal sin and accountability (we know it as the Age of Accountability that does not have a chronological age attached to it but rather a required developmental mental state of self awareness) and then comes to faith in Christ alone as the source of ones Salvation from self-destruction – Water Baptism is not only appropriate – it is NECESSARY! It is always their first Faith-FILLED FaithFUL step of FAITH! Repent and be baptized Everyone of you for the remission of your sins! I have four children who all came to faith in Christ and different ages of childhood – but always after an inner awaking to "I am a sinner!" I have seen this awakening happen as late as 8 or 9 years of age – and witnessed it as early as 3 in my youngest child. His story is amazing. We were living in Moscow Russia at the time and his mother was walking him to preschool on a cold winter morning. Out of the blue he tugged on his mother's hand told her that he knew he needed Jesus and wanted to ask Him into his heart right there and than! Not long after he was Baptized – and when asked who Jesus was, where He lived and why he wanted Jesus in his life – he knew the answers – all from simple readings from a children's bible each night at home – without any input from an extended church family or children's ministry – as there was none available to us at that time. He spoke for himself, bore witness from his heart – and though a very young child – was fit and ready for baptism!

    To baptize an infant just does not fit the bill of Personal Faith and Accountability before God. To dedicate an infant to God, involving charges to the parents AND THE CHURCH THEY ATTEND, of their responsibility to raise the child in the Faith, and using powerful symbols such as the sprinkling of water, touching the forehead with a cross, etc. are all find and well – no problem – as long as no one is made to believe that such action, taken by parents on the part of an infant, is sufficient to make that child a Christian for life. He must of his own free will – at or following that awakening moment when the understanding comes, "I am a sinner" make that confession for himself – and water baptism is then not simply an option – but a real necessity and first step of Faith in Christ. It must never be replaced by a neat, emotional, clean and proper religious practice taken by loving and well meaning parents on his part. Never!

    Jon, I think there is a lack of Scriptural understanding and a full study of Scriptures, interpreted by scripture and not theology books or church dogma. The need to Rightly Divide the Word of Truth. I would attribute this to youthful zeal and ignorance fueled by infatuation with a new system and form that appeals to ones emotions and senses. I think that one day you will regret the statements you have made here and wish that you had better studied the Scriptures concerning Baptism and not influenced by church practice, history, dogma, etc.

    4. Zwingli and Darby Influence

    Pentecostals do have more in common with the Medieval Catholic Church than most of the Reformers when it comes to the mystical Presence of Holy Spirit.
    But we have a lot more in common with the Reformers when it comes to Justification, Sanctification, Jesus as sole redeemer and mediator (no Mary or Saints here) the Priest Hood of All Believers, and the universality of the church in that ALL BELIEVERS in Christ are THE CHURCH and not just those who follow ROME or ENGLAND or CONSTANTINOPLE, etc!

    That aside – there are serious problems in how we approach the Lord's Supper and Water Baptism. Christ IS present in the receiving of the Communion Emblems – not in the sense of literal flesh and blood – but in the sense of – Where two or three are gathered in my name!! We are way too flippant and irreverent in the presentation of Communion – but the Eucharist practice is not on the right path either.

    Communion was never meant to be separated from the Lord's Feast of Passover – never! Communion was always to be associated and practiced in the midst of a meal or FEAST – that recognizes to the fullest – Christ's First Advent as THE LAMB OF GOD – who if embraced – delivers us from the certainty of eternal death! The EUCHARIST is just as lacking as the common Communion service that you and I are accustom to. Both practices are disjointed from and lacking in any historical connection to the Old Testament Church – which is as real and vital as the New Testament one – though hidden and not nearly as clear – (pre Calvary) – as it is so gloriously Revealed and no longer mysterious – (post Calvary).

    Common, normative church practices deny the Mosaic, Jewish Roots – the command of God to celebrate His Feasts Now and Forever – for All Eternity! Such a practice is not easy, does not fit well into a compact 55 min. service agenda – requires just too much time being spent as A FAMILY around the LORD'S TABLE, and a lot of effort in preparation for larger extended Family Churches. In its truest form it is much more suitable to a small extended family setting – 3 or 4 to 25 or 30 individuals – not 60, 100, 1,000, etc. The family setting of celebrations nearly negates the need of priests and clergy – and places the weight of responsibility for its practice on the heads of families and small clans. Why we wouldn’t dare have that happening – it is too much like a threat to our status, jobs and profession. Which it really is not!

    TRUTH is the primitive early church was nothing like an A/G OR Anglican church. They were almost exclusively SMALL GROUPS – meeting house to house – with a once a week large gathering of SMALL GROUPS in the Temple, if in the Jerusalem areas, or in Synagogues outside of Jerusalem's influence.
    So Zwingli be damned – the damage was already done, way before Zwingi came on the stage of Church History. His was just the next logical step AWAY FROM the Actual Biblical Practice of "Passover/Lord's Supper / Communion" and what nearly all branches of the Church have and presently practice. We took the setting and background out of the Practice – removed the cultural and Jewish experience – refined and distilled it down to a couple of emblems that soon become relics – why not just do away with the Presence of Christ too? It is the logical conclusion, is it not?!

    PART 2 to follow

  16. Craig Canfield permalink
    January 5, 2015 9:22 pm

    DARBY and the secret rapture – ! Well there is a lot of truth here that is for sure.

    Dispensationalism as a means of identifying stages of God’s revelation and works in the affairs of men is fine – not a problem – a great tool for learning a Historical Chronological Time Line of the development of our Faith. But when taken as each age being the total beginning of something new that must mean the total end of something old – is – well – highly flawed. Just as Salvation is a PROCESS – God’s working out His revelation to individuals, families, communities, cultures, denominations, nations, races – is also PROGRESSIVE. He takes us where He finds us, or we find ourselves, and moves us along through His revelatory PROCESS – seeking to bring us to MATURITY in the FULNESS of Christ Jesus our LORD!

    The trouble is Anglican Eschatology is nearly as much at odds with the Bible as Darby’s Eschatology is. Both are in error because of what I see as some fundamental mistakes.

    First – the nearly full rejection of Old Testament and Jewish Teachings on the End Times.

    Second – the failure to BELIEVE that God meant what He said to Daniel and John the revelator, when He said that the meaning of end time prophecies were to be sealed and undiscovered or unknown until the last of the last days. In other words – the last 50, 60 or 70 years at the most. YET nearly all of our Eschatology is 100 to 400 years old. Well outside of what God said would be the AGE of understanding these things. This means our present Eschatology is based on human reason and deduction and wishful thinking (all highly prone to error) and not the Revelatory Power of Holy Spirit – who MUST open the eyes of the hearts so that we might Understand the Things of the SPIRIT! This must include ALL THINGS END TIME!

    Third – our rejection of and failure to both teach, practice and understand the Seven Feasts Of The Lord – which are the Seven Keys to Understanding nearly All Things Prophetic! Just as the Ten Commandments are the bullet points of all law – Divine and Human – so the Seven Feasts of the Lord are the Bullet Points of All Bible Prophecy concerning God’s Plan for Man!

    It seems that either you or the Anglican Church or both must be PRETERIST believing that nearly all of the prophecies of Daniel and John the Revelator, were fulfilled by the end of the first century or that Revelation in particular is just a good poetic story on how to suffer tribulation in any age. Not enough time or space to cover all of the logic here – but suffice to say, such teaching is based solely in reason and logic, void of the promised Last Days Revelatory Understanding promised Daniel and John (seal up – Daniel 8:26; 12:4, 9; Rev. 10:4; unseal – Rev. 22:10;) and not Holy Spirit End Time Revelation.

    Jesus has not yet fulfilled His Second Advent. He has not yet fulfilled the last three Feasts Of The Lord. (Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles). He has not yet appeared as the Lion of Judah to Israel or to All the World. So far He has only been seen as the Lamb of God. That will soon all change. Very soon.

    There are many problems and misunderstandings found in present Eschatology taught by nearly all branches of the Church but I believe that we are even now in the midst of a Great Revelatory Moment in History when Holy Spirit is opening hearts and minds to See and Understand – “What Meaneth This” of Last Time Events, written and spoken about by Daniel and John.

    5. Pattern of Early Church

    Bishops? – Again Church history is not to trump Bible Instruction.

    The Bible teaches no such hierarchy. In fact a simple study shows that all such “hierarchy” terms used in the New Testament refer in fact to One and the Same Position of PASTOR – TEACHER. Here is my study on this matter which will be absent some needed footnotes on a couple of sources I copied from:

    In Acts 20:28, Paul calls the elders at Ephesus to “take heed to…all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to shepherd the church of God…”

    a. Pastors fill a ministry roll, which in other places is referred to as the elders and bishops or overseers. 1 Peter 5:1-1; To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings & one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, ……

    b. A Shepherd!
    “pastor” means “shepherd” – local church is flock of God. Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2;

    c. An Overseer
    “bishop” from episkopos means an “overseer” or “guardian.” It refers to the pastor’s management, leadership & oversight of the local body.

    d. An Elder
    “elder” from presbuteros, which basically referred to someone who was “aged” or “gray-haired,” someone to be respected.
    These titles suggest someone who is tender & gentle, one who not only defends the sheep from predators but also lovingly care for them.

    e. This elder/pastor/bishop is called to be an “apt teacher” in 1 Tim. 3:2.

    Teaching is such an essential part of the pastor’s responsibilities this is why it is appropriate to join the two together as “Pastor-Teacher.”

    “Pastors” are to be “teachers” so that they may feed the people of God on the Word of God. 1 Tim. 5:17 says, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor [lit. “labor to the point of exhaustion”] in the word and doctrine.”

    There is nothing that will take the place of dedicated, labor-intensive teaching and preaching of the Word of God. Weak, top-water preaching makes for weak, top-water churches. 20-minute sermonettes result in Christianettes. Entertainment, frills, social standing or religious substitutes will never replace the work of feeding the flock.

    f. The Primary Equipper, the Teaching Pastor

    Because God has given each of us gifts doesn’t mean that we know how to use those gifts to His glory, we need a solid biblical foundation in order to use those gifts powerfully.
    Someone may come to Christ who exhibits amazing gifts of administration in the workplace, but they need to be discipled before they are given the responsibility of administering the church.

    Someone may be teaching at the University level and excelling at their profession, but they need to be discipled and drink in the Word of God before they begin to teach in the church.

    It is the responsibility of the Teaching Pastors – to equip these people.

    Yes the Apostles left us Bishops who were in fact Pastors of local congregations. Nothing more or less. IN fact the Apostles left us Apostles and Prophets as well – but not really – they are all Gifts, Given by Christ, to His Church, as He leads His Kingly triumphal parade, celebrating His victory over death, hell and the grave.

    And all these terms, guardians, shepherd, elders, bishop, overseer, are but secular terms, used to give powerful one word descriptions of the Job a Pastor is to undertake in Christ’s flock of sheep. They are words used to describe Christ’s ideal for the under-shepherds of His flock.

    Much like terms I would use to describe my life partner: wife, girlfriend, lover, mother of my children, grandmother, friend, companion, help mate, cook, confidant, co-pastor, etc. etc. Each are powerful one word PICTURES that quickly provide fullness of meaning and understanding to how I view my wife’s relationship to me. So Paul and Peter employ just such a use of secular terms to describe the spiritual oversight of the local church.

    And here is where the matter now truly hits the road. God’s plan and design is for the LOCAL CHURCH – not denominations, movements or para-church organizations. All of these systems, in time become quite silly and cumbersome, taking on a life of their own that more often than not serve to hinder rather then support the true work of God.

    You may see yourself as a Primitivist, but you have a long way to go, and several more Denominational Movements to join and then leave as you move back in time to seek a perceived ideal. It would be far quicker, less painful and much more exciting and enjoyable to look AHEAD – to the next First Love Movement toward Father God, a fresh new awakening that even now is according all over the Lord of the ever abiding Presence of Christ in our hear and now, the later day outpouring of Holy Spirit upon All Flesh bringing forth a harvest of souls into God’s kingdom that will more than equal all who have come to Christ in the past 2,000 years. Look ahead – see the future – see all the relics of the past for what they are – progressive stepping stones to be appreciated for the tools they were to bring us along the path of God’s revelation of Himself to us and nothing more – all of them pointing to that which is better, greater, better and more than the sum of all its parts!! A Glorious Church without spot or wrinkle – washed in the blood of the Lamb!!

    Unfortunately or Fortunately for us all, really, God is not into old wine skins, and to every Generation He offers New Wine Skins to carry the ever fresh and relevant and new Wine of His Spirit and Love to all mankind.

    Jon, I truly believe a sweeping change is coming to all the Church World. I believe you to be honestly mistaken in so many ways, yet driven by a hunger that many of us are feeling, for something more genuine, more real, more vital, more fulfilling than what we have grown accustom to. Something worth Dying For so that we have something really truly worth Living For. The FATHER is about to step on to the scene of His Church and when He does – nothing as we know it will remain the same – nothing and no one.

    The Reformation began the process of Restoring the Great Truths of the Kingdom back to the understanding of the Church – truths that were nearly totally lost during the DARK AGES of a corrupt and incompetent church system of mere men.
    + Blood Sacrifice – innocent for guilty resulting in Justification by Faith – Jesus the Lamb
    + Daily Cleansing Waters of the Word – Sanctificaiton – Jesus the Eternal Word in Flesh
    + Guiding Light – Golden Lampstand – Lordship & Leadership – Jesus standing in the midst of the seven Candle Sticks – Jesus Light of the Church and the World
    + Communion, Fellowship of Family of Believers – Table of Shewbread – Fellowship of Holy Spirit – seal of Spirit of Salvation – Sprit of Christ Jesus

    + Yet to be restored – Altar of Incense and Ark of the Covenant.
    o Altar represents Worship which only truly takes place when the worshiper understands that the King is Truly Present.
    o Ark represents the FATHER’S Presence – King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

    Both will be restored at nearly the same moment. The realized, terrifying, presence of the Father – will straighten us all out – and cause us to cover our mouths in shame – while the joy that He is present and yet we still LIVE, will result in spontaneous Worship pouring out from our once shame filled mouths!! GLORY!!

    In conclusion – your quest – though understandable and in many ways admirable – is misguided and directed – simply exchanging one man made, newer highly flawed system for yet another man made, much older, highly flawed system – and overlooking the fact that God is truly about to do a NEW THING in these wearisome LAST DAYS.

    Sometimes I do believe that “much learning has made us mad!” That advanced learning and book knowledge is not necessarily conducive to Spiritual Progression and Growth. That we simply need to find a quiet, alone place where we grow still and know that He is God and God alone. A place to hear His voice and shut up and out all the others that clamor for our attention and influence.

    To come to understand that we are utterly, fully, completely dependent upon Holy Spirit if there is to be any hope of our making a DIFFERENCE in our world and IMPACT upon our generations.

    Behold the Bride Groom is coming!
    Yours in Christ
    A fellow traveler and servant
    Craig Canfield

  17. Aaron Nutt permalink
    January 6, 2015 11:10 am

    I am glad I ran across this website. I am a born again Christian (going on five years now); I started out in a Vineyard Church and then the Spirit sent me to an Anglican Church. I attend an AG bible collage at a wonderful AG church but I am a member and a servant of the Body at my Anglican church.
    I would call myself a dispensationlist (before I even knew the word), but I didn’t know AG made this particular view an essential Christian doctrine. I just read a commentary on Revelation written from a post millennial point of view and it shed a lot of light on the Gospels as well as Revelation.
    Anyway, as I was saying, I am glad I found this site and I will follow it. God bless you, your family and your efforts in planting a church. I hope the Father will use you to call many to His Son through His Holy Spirit. Amen.

  18. January 7, 2015 12:26 pm

    Jon, Thank you very much for writing out your story. I’ve written my Anglican Journey at You may be interested in that, and would love to hear your thoughts. Blessings to you.

  19. January 7, 2015 12:27 pm

    Here is the direct link:

  20. January 7, 2015 12:36 pm

    sorry to post again, but wanted to share this “Are You Still Charismatic?”

  21. February 24, 2015 12:56 pm

    “Whereas, like Pentecostals, The Roman Church (as well as the Eastern Orthodox Churches) continued to believe in miracles, healing, and spiritual gifts (even if they had fallen out of practice in many areas).”

    This, this, a thousand times this. It is the primary reason why I, the son of an Assemblies of God minister, am working my way through RCIA to become a member of the Catholic church. Thank you for writing this 🙂

  22. April 25, 2015 6:32 am

    Are you aware of the outpouring of 1948 at Sharon Orphanage and Bible College at North Battleford, Saskatchewan? Although of AG and PAOC background they moved away from Darbyism (secret rapture) and believe in the real presence in the eucharist. Hundreds of local churches were spawned as a result of this revival, which some called Latter Rain, although that term was never employed by those at Sharon in North Battleford. They simply referred to it as the “move”, which by the way continues until now and had a great influence on the Charismatic movement, which is often referred to as an “offshoot” of the outpouring of 1948. Anyone with questions or wishing to know more can contact me at Greetings to all from Sharon Schools at North Battleford.

    • April 25, 2015 12:41 pm

      Thanks for sharing. I wasn’t aware of the 1948 outpouring, but I am vaguely familiar with the Latter Reign movement.

  23. August 29, 2015 12:35 am

    Hey Jon. I appreciate your honesty. I’m a classical Pentecostal who just graduated from a High Church seminary. I agree with you that Pentecostals have very much dropped the ball on understanding their own theology (on some points) and ignoring Church history altogether. A few things though: Like the Reformers, we should read the Fathers with reverence but not immediate adherence. Remember, though Luther and Calvin referenced the early Fathers, Biblical exegesis was the sun in their theological solar system. And, though many Reformers held to infant baptism, we should definitely scrutinize the practice via Biblical exegesis ( I believe we’ll find the theological grounds wanting). The Fathers and Reformers (who I love) provide us with a hermeneutical layer, an enriched lens for understanding scripture, not a concrete template. So, doctrines like transubstantiation (which Anglicans reject) shouldn’t be adopted for Aquinas’s sake.
    I really don’t believe that your association of cessationism with a rejection of transubstantiation/consubstantiation is tenable. Zwingli rejects transubstantiation on exegetical grounds, leaning heavily on John 6:33 (I’m referencing his argument in “ON True and False Religion.” That is, Zwingli isn’t arguing along cessationist lines (which would really be a bit anachronistic to argue in the first place), but instead argues that “body and spirit are such essentially different things that whichever one you take it cannot be the other”(214). This is an issue of the Spirit’s ontology, not some extension of cessationism. Moreover, Zwingli’s argument rejects the salvific efficacy of the Eucharist because a believer “feels faith within, in [their] heart” and “if your faith is not so perfect as not to need a ceremonial sign to confirm it, it is not faith.” This is actually much more Pentecostal view in that Zwingli claims that spiritual efficacy cannot come about through a physical ritual which may be done without faith at all. Zwingli is pointing to experimentally and internally known faith. Again, any attempt to tie Zwingli to cessationism falls short. Also, remember that Wycliffe took a view similar to that of Zwingli years before. With all that said, I do believe that Pentecostals have diminished the importance of the Eucharist. And, we soon need to recover what the early Fathers held in such high regard.
    I believe that Pentecostalism holds to much of the early Church’s model more so than most any other denomination. Classical Pentecostalism places a great emphasis upon prayer, fasting, reaching and caring for the poor, missions, the return of Christ, and living the crucified life. These are indispensable elements of orthodox Christian practice for anyone wishing to live after the first century pattern. These were the focus of Pentecostal patriarchs like Simpson and proto-Pentecostals like Murray. There is great work to do to fill in the empty places (ignorance of church history, for example). But I believe that the kernel (to use Harnack’s terminology) of the early Church is best preserved in the modern Pietists, the classically Pentecostal. I hope the best for you Jon. Blessings.

    • August 30, 2015 1:21 pm

      Hi Matthew. Thanks for your kind and well informed comment. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot a time these days to write out detailed replies (as I’m in the middle of planting a church), but I will try to sketch out an outline so that you might be able to fill in the gaps. Please forgive me if some of the comments seem terse or lacking in polite civility–it is simply for brevity sake.

      1. It looks like you went to Duke. My thinking is pretty Hauerwasian when it comes to reading scripture and theological reflection. (scripture should be read in communion and it is always read in a tradition–whether we recognize it or not).

      2. “Like the Reformers, we should read the Fathers with reverence but not immediate adherence. Remember, though Luther and Calvin referenced the early Fathers, Biblical exegesis was the sun in their theological solar system.” My thing is that Christianity is all about Jesus and it’s about discipleship. Christ discipled John, who discipled Polycarp, who discipled Irenaeus of Lyon. Why do the Reformers and I read the Bible like Irenaeus and not like the Gnostics? (Remember, the Gnostics claimed to be the ones who were doing ‘sound Biblical exegesis.) We read the Bible like Irenaeus because he was taught to think about scripture by someone who was taught by an apostle who was taught by Jesus. In I&II Corinthians Paul repeatedly talks about having received something (faith/belief/tradition) and having passed it on the Corinthians. He tells Timothy to entrust what he received to faithful men who will be able to teach others (2 Tim 2:2). Biblical exegesis isn’t down in a vacuum. We learn what the orthodox faith teaches and how to read the bible as orthodox believers in the community that founded by the Apostles and preserved by the faithful over centuries.

      3. “The Fathers and Reformers (who I love) provide us with a hermeneutical layer, an enriched lens for understanding scripture, not a concrete template.”
      This sentence seems to imply that you may be better a reading scripture than the very disciples of those who actually wrote scripture (i.e. the church fathers). Why are your modern exegetical principles superior the exegetical principles of the early church? This is why I don’t like much of Reformed thinking. They recognize Augustine thought radically different from the early (Greek) church fathers, but their claim is simply that Augustine understood Paul (and “the gospel”) better than the earliest disciples. And then often they think the Reformers understood scripture better than Augustine and pretty everyone that came since the last stroke of scripture was written.
      But I don’t concur. And I certainly don’t think that 20th century Pentecostals (following Charles Parham) read scripture better than the Church Fathers. They don’t even read better than the Reformers.

      4. The Reformers got a lot wrong because the represented one faction of Medieval Roman Catholicism—-which as a whole got a lot of things wrong. I think (Western) Latin Christianity took a big departure from the original Christianity: Eastern Orthodox. Eastern (Greek) Christianity maintain an emphasis on mystery (apophasis) and pneumatology. It was Wesley that greatly aided the West in recovering an emphasis on the Holy Spirit (through his reading of the Eastern Desert Fathers). Pentecostals, with there emphasis on mystery and the Holy Spirit–have in many ways (without knowing it) returning to Orthodox spirituality. My prayer is that their dogmatic formulations and liturgical practices will eventually catch up with their Orthodox spiritual instincts.
      See “Spiritualities Old and New: Similarities between Eastern Orthodoxy & Classical Pentecostalism” by Assemblies of God theologian Edmund J. Rybarczyk. email me if you want a copy of the article jonz123(at)

      4. “I really don’t believe that your association of cessationism with a rejection of transubstantiation/consubstantiation is tenable.”
      I’m not asserting that “cessationism” was Zwingli’s reasoning for his rejection of the traditional way of reading scripture regarding the eucharist. My point is that Zwingli had a “cessationist” imagination. I’m lumping in rejection of God’s miraculous, incarnational power in the eucharist with the rejection of God’s power at work in believers to empower them with spiritual gifts, make them holy, and change them ontologically into the image of Christ. Zwingli doesn’t make this connection, I do. You don’t have to believe it. I’m looking back and making connections that Zwingli might not have made for himself. (It’s like knowing that someone was a racist, and then going through their writings and showing how they were thoroughly racist even when they weren’t trying to discuss race).

      5. I probably don’t share your same level of appreciation for the Reformers. I would certainly think that guys like Gordon Fee and N.T. Wright are simply better at reading scripture than they were (and if we could resurrect Luther, we might be able to get him to agree). I appreciate what the Reformers were trying to do, but their project became a run-away train, much to their own lament (think about the anabapists–and how there innovative ideas about baptism have become so popular that so many people now think of them as orthodox. the reformers would have hated this). What the Reformation tried to accomplish was best accomplished through the Anglican church—especially the three-stream (evangelical, charismatic, catholic) version of Anglicanism.

      6. Zwingli’s view of the eucharist is the lowest of the major Reformation thinkers (i.e. Calvin, Luther, etc.). Howver, Zwingli’s view of the eucharist is much higher than most people I know within Pentecostal churches. (I was in a pentecostal church were the pastor invited people to “take communion at their own leisure.” Really? Leisurely? This is the kind of thing that Zwingli would never have tolerated.)

      7. Keep in mind that many of Zwingli’s arguments against the Medieval R.C. understanding of the Eucharist and transubstantiation I would agree with wholeheartedly. Luther and I both claim that salvation comes through faith by grace alone and we argue against transubstantiation while maintaining the Ancient Christian belief that Christ’s body is mystically present to us in the eucharist.

      8. Gnosticism loves to creep back in the church. Pagan Greek thought: matter/bodies = bad, mind/spirit = good. But in the Christian faith we believe that God created all things and called them Good, that God took on body (the purely spiriutal clothed himself in matter), and that Christ resurrected in physical body. Our God married himself to matter, making physical things spiritual. Thus the eucharist is not about a “physical ritual” but about how the “incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God (i.e. Christ) comes to our realm” and makes himself present to us in matter, in a body and how he unites our bodies with his spirit. Paul says that we will one day be clothed with “Heavenly dwellings.” By this, he means that we will have “physical bodies” that are spiritual (that is not prone to death and decay, but united with the immortal spirit of God). The Reformers would not have denied Irenaeus of Lyon or Athansius–I would encourage you to read them if you have not. As Athansius says, “God became man (or was “humanized” so that we could become god (or divinized). He took on our nature so that we could take on his. Christianity is all about the union of spiritual with physical, heavenly with the earthly. We aren’t Gnostics and we are Apollinarians (where the human part of Jesus becomes swallowed up). Our Christ is both completely divine and completely human. And so is our eucharist.

      9. I recommend reading the Pentecostal (COG Cleveland, TN) Daniela Augstine’s “Pentecost: Communal Economics and the Household of God” and also the AG theologian Frank Macchia’s “Tongues as a Sign: Towards a Sacramental Understanding of Pentecostal Experience.” Frank demonstrates how Pentecostals already think sacramentally (i.e. in outwards signs of invisible graces). Tongues as “physical evidence” means that Pentecostals hold ‘physical rituals’ as central in their theological imaginations. They also have a sacramental understanding of prayer cloths and worship music. It isn’t that Pentecostals aren’t already sacramentalists, it is that they do not recognize which sacraments have been central to Christian faith and practice.

      11. “I believe that Pentecostalism holds to much of the early Church’s model more so than most any other denomination.”
      You should study 1st century Judaism and then the New Testament and then how ancient Christian liturgy evolved out of 1st century Judaism. Then this belief will erode. The early church borrowed the liturgy of the synagogue. That is why Peter (in Acts) is on his way to the participate in the daily prayers at the Temple when he heals the lame guy. The apostles didn’t invent knew worship practices, they adapted the liturgy they grew up with (the same synagogue liturgy they participated as they traveled with Jesus). Pentecostals aren’t like the early church because their liturgy is so foreign to the early church. There philosophy is to Enlightenment to land the same biblical conclusions as the early church. Why don’t many Pentecostal churches have bishops or deacons, whereas all of the ancient churches had these ministries?
      You are right in demanding that the church should have a “great emphasis upon prayer, fasting, reaching and caring for the poor, missions, the return of Christ, and living the crucified life.” I wish Pentecostals would have maintained this emphases, and I hope they can recovered alongside the liturgical practices of the Ancient faith, within the ecclesial structures of the ancient faith, and with a better understanding of the essential nature of the church (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic).

      12. “And, though many Reformers held to infant baptism, we should definitely scrutinize the practice via Biblical exegesis ( I believe we’ll find the theological grounds wanting).”
      Not really. Calvin’s arguments for infant baptism work really well via Biblical exegesis. Cornelius’ entire household was baptized in Acts. What did a Roman household include? Children and infants and the children of slaves. The apostolic imagination was similar not our Western, modern, individualized way of thinking. The whole story of the Bible: God is saving a people. Salvation = belonging to the people that God is saving. In the Old Testament, those people were marked (in infancy) by circumcision. In the New Testament, those people are marked not by circumcision, but by baptism. If the Old Covenant included babies, then certainly the New Covenant (which is way more inclusive and comprehensive) includes babies. Because of the Enlightenment, and modern ways of thinking, many in our times have come to think of salvation in very individualistic and strictly “personal” terms. But this way of thinking was foreign to Israel, to the Apostles, to the Church Fathers, and to the Reformers. That is why anabapist theology of baptism was such a fringe and minority view that represented such a small portion of the Church until the last century. It is only because Baptists, Wesleyan-Holiness folks, and Pentecostals have been so determined in mission over the last 150 years that this view is widely known. It was the modern era that allowed it to be popularized. It was dispensationalism that helped it seem palatable to believers (how else would God act so widely different towards babies in era to the next?). But just because this idea has grown so popular in the last 150 years, doesn’t mean is true. Mormonism and Islam has grown exponentially over the same period–but I don’t think the productivity of their missionary results are proof of God’s favor on their doctrinal positions. True, God is working in amazing ways through Baptist and Pentecostal missionaries around the globe–but this is in spite of their doctrine, not because of it.

      13. The Corinthians were flowing the gifts of the Spirit, in amazing ways. But Paul needed to write to them and say “Yes, there really will be a bodily resurrection.” There gifts were on, but their theology was really off. This reminds us that God’s Spirit works and uses people who don’t have all their doctrine together. I believe with all my heart that Asuza Street was a genuine outpouring of God’s Spirit. But not because they were reading Acts correctly, God moved because He wanted to and because the hearts of women and men were open. I just hope my heart is open if the time comes for God to move in some special way (whether I have the story right, or not). I also hope your mind will be open to the teachings of the Apostles handed down over time and practice everywhere in all the churches. Be open not only to what the Spirit is doing, but to what the Spirit has established over time. He creates new life–but he also is into sustaining that which He has already created.

      14. May God continue to bless you and use you for the glory of His Kingdom, to build His church. I’m thankful that the Pentecostal churches have guys like you that are thinking hard about doctrine and scripture and what it means to follow Christ. May the Pentecostal church be more like Christ as a result of your ministry.

    • August 31, 2015 12:02 pm

      Also, here is a talk I recently gave for our church. It gives a basic line of our thinking on reading the bible in line with the Apostles and Church Fathers.

  24. August 29, 2015 8:46 am

    Much of what you deal with in this piece are what I too have been questioning for a long time now. I appreciate your insight!

    • August 30, 2015 11:22 am

      Thank you Shannon. Looks like you’re in a senior pastor role. The church needs more women who are willing to serve in that role. Thank you.

  25. peter permalink
    November 30, 2015 8:50 am

    I am also on the anglican path, coming from a wesleyan-holiness denomination. I share many similarities in terms of reasons of coming into anglicanism. One of the key reasons was coming to a point where I realized that 1500 hundred year of consensual christian belief and practice can not thrown out for later innovative interpretations of scripture. Where I diverge from you is that I believe that the basic principles of thus magisterial reformation where a return the pastristics and not a deviation from it. Both medieval Roman church as well as radical protestants (Anabaptist&anglican)both Had innovations. The English reformation while adopting those principles of Luther-Calvin, yet maintain the three fold ministry and flexibility in terms of broad protestant consensus. The anglican church is truly catholic and reformed. I respectively disagree with anassertion that the anglican church is more akin to eastern orthodoxy. The e.o. rejection of justification by faith alone is at odds with the gospel and article of the anglican church. I don’t agree with this assessment thAt the eastern fathers are to be taken over the western. The anglican church clearly followed the AugustiNian view of man and grace. The e.o. tends toward semi-pelagic view. Wesley was close to eastern vies when it comes to the doctrine of sanctification, but was clearly reformed (though arminian) in his view of justification. He was emphatic on mAking the distinction which the e.o. fails to do. Matter of fact thus e.o. rejects legal classifications and accepts only therepeutic in theology. AnglicAnism affirms both. I would ask you reconsider the issue of women ordination. I believed it for yeas, but when I saw that the church universally opposed for 1900 hundred years, then I began to at least question this novel interpretation. I was shocked when i actually read a letter from.john wesley condemning such a view. Yet modern day wesleyan continue to mislead many in their assertion thAt
    Ordination of women is a wesleyan position. Scripture is indeed the final authority, but I was misinterpreting that final authority. The weight of scripture is against it and the novel interpretation goes to great lengths to explain away the clear teaching by modernistic approaches to the bible. The is the approach that has led to apostasy of the national episcopal church. ACNA eventually will split over this.

    • November 30, 2015 12:27 pm

      Hey Peter. Thanks so much for your thoughtful response.There will probably some issues on which we will have to disagree on–and a few that we could simply clarify. I will respond briefly. Please excuse the terseness of my response as I will make it as too the point as possible. .
      1) You write, ” I believe that the basic principles of thus magisterial reformation where a return the pastristics and not a deviation from it. Both medieval Roman church as well as radical protestants (Anabaptist&anglican)both Had innovations. The English reformation while adopting those principles of Luther-Calvin, yet maintain the three fold ministry and flexibility in terms of broad protestant consensus.” I pretty much agree with what you write here. I’m not in favor of Medieval Roman Catholicism. As an Anglican, I am a protestant and thus I with the Reformation. What I was trying to convey is that on the topic of miracles and the power of God still at work—the Catholics seemed to maintain the Ancient tradition that God is still working and that many Protestants took a more cessationist approach. So, although I am decidedly prostestant, I recognize that there are some aspects of the Ancient Faith that the Reformers failed to recapture despite their best attempts. (This is certainly due to the fact that they inherited a convoluted Latin faith as opposed to the purer Greek faith that was handed down from the Apostles to the Greek speaking church).
      2) From your use of the words “gospel” and “semi-peligian” etc., it sounds like it is possible that you might not have studied E.O. on it’s on terms or even by Protestant theologians who have come to appreciate it. I’ve spent a little time in class with professors like Oliver Crisp (a Reformed Anglican theologian) and John Thompson (a reformed Presbyterian, Calvin-loving Calivin scholar) and though being very Reformed, they both have a strong appreciation for the Early (Greek) Fathers and recognize their faith as orthodox (without trying to label “semi” followed by a heresy). I haven’t read much Thomas F. Torrance, but if you are open, I think he is a reformed theologian that could possibly help you have a more rounded understanding of E.O.
      3) Augustine’s anthropology and understanding of freewill and God’s sovereignty was at great odds with the Martyr Church/Church Fathers/Greek Christianity that proceeded him. True Reformed protestants don’t disagree with this. I asked Tim Keller why he followed an Augustinian line of thinking (via his devotion to Calvin and Luther) as opposed to the older Church Fathers and he simply replied that he thought Augustine was smarter and read the Bible better than those other guys. This is the honest Reformed answer, that Augustine understood Paul better than the Ancient church that proceeded him.
      The Council of Orange – which really seemed to set the the theological tone for the Western Church post-Augstine – affirmed all of his teachings and then quietly (in the last article if I remember right) condemned the notion of double predestination. The Ancient Church, even the newly-Latinized West, was too grounded in the (Greek) Apostolic faith to embrace this doctrine. Unfortunately, because the writings of Augustine were preserved and praised, there developed a new tradition around his teachings–with people like Gottschalk of Orbais and eventually the Reformers who would “go all the way” in embracing Augustine’s theological innovations.
      4) What was missing in the Western Church (R.C. and Protestant) was thoroughly pneumatological faith. The E.O. church never lost its emphasis on the Holy Spirit and His role in the economy of salvation. (Think about Anselm’s satisfaction theory–there is no need for the H.S.). And it is here that Wesley did us all a great favor. In studying the Desert Fathers he was able to retrieve a more pneumatologically-robust faith. And you are right, like R.Cathoics, Wesley continued to have an Augstinian understanding of justification. (Actually, in this regard, I’m pretty Wesleyan and not thoroughly E.O. in my soteriology (at least in my preaching of the gospel). I just wouldn’t disagree with E.O. on the matter or pretend that their views aren’t “orthodox” or that somehow Calvin or Luther understood the gospel better than Athanasius or Irenaeus (because they didnt’)
      5) I appreciate your request for me to evaluate my position on women’s ordination. I acknowledge that my position isn’t a thoroughly informed one. However, most of the Anglicans that I know of (in North America) who don’t embrace women’s ordination argue on the grounds of tradition, the maleness of Jesus, and necessity of the priest to be the vicar of Christ (representing His maleness). If by modernistic interpretations of scripture, you are referring to “Paul not letting women speak, etc.,” I’ll just say that in my knowledge the R.C. Church doesn’t agree with John Piper (etc.) on these passages. That is, their argument isn’t from “scripture” but rather “tradition.” And it seems to be the case with Anglo-Catholics as well. It is a matter of the ontological nature of the priesthood and the ontological nature of Christ. It’s a sacramental issue and nothing to do with whether women should preach or teach men. (You might know this, but I’m just pointing it out because you mentioned “scripture” and the bible in relation to the subject).
      6) Of course, I might be wrong about about it all. May God has mercy on us all.

      Thanks again for taking time to dialogue. I am sure some people will find your response (and perhaps even my qualifications) helpful.

      Blessings to you and your journey. I hope you join the Anglican Church.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: