David Short, rector of St. John's, Shaughnessy, Vancouver, and a member of the Anglican Essentials Network Steering Committee, spoke with Sue Careless, news editor of The Anglican Planet.
Published in the the first issue, May 2005, of this excellent publication. Sign up!
AnglicanPlanet: What is the
main thrust of the Primates' Communiqué for Canadian Anglicans?
David Short: The Primates' Communiqué is both a gracious warning to the Canadian Church that they have torn the fabric of the Communion and a call to repent and turn back from this course of action. If the Canadian Church doesn't repent, then all biblical Anglicans will have to choose whether to belong either to the worldwide Anglican Communion or to a sect that calls itself Anglican in Canada.
AP: How long should orthodox Anglicans wait for ECUSA and ACC to repent?
DS: DS: Although it is difficult for many gospel Anglicans in Canada to wait, it's right that the Primates have given time for Canada and ECUSA to repent and appear before the Anglican Consultative Council and explain why they've done what they've done. It's the Christ-like thing to give as much space as possible. It's my understanding that both Canada and the United States are now basically suspended from the council. They've been called on the
carpet to explain why they've done what they've done. If their reasons are not convincing or adequate, especially in light of the Windsor Report, then I don't see any choice but for them to be excluded from Lambeth in 2008.
AP: For the Anglican in the pew who has not got very involved in this debate so far, will the Primates Communique be a wake-up call?
DS: Absolutely. There is far more faith in the pew than in the pulpit across Canada. Many godly, orthodox Anglicans are in parishes where the clergy have kept them in the dark about the issue. The majority of Anglican lay people are faithful in their belief, and orthodox on this issue, but have not been given access to information and have in fact been excluded from the process.
AP: Are you feeling hopeful?
DS: I sure am. The Communiqué is quite remarkable. It's a call to move forward together. It recognizes that we in Essentials are members of the Communion; that we are the authentic Anglicans. It provides episcopal oversight for us under the supervision of the Archbishop of
Canterbury. It tells us to get on with our mission that Christ has given us to do. It also suspends and calls upon the Canadian Anglican Church to turn away from its course. It makes a clear demarcation between a church that is overturning gospel teaching and those who maintain gospel teaching. Although it was written in anglo-speak, it could hardly be clearer.
AP: How long do you think it could be until there are two separate denominations in Canada?
DS: That depends on the official decision-making bodies in the Anglican Church of Canada. It could be a matter of months or a couple of years. The difficulty with putting a timeline on it is that it is unprecedented. Never before in the history of the Anglican Church have ecclesiastical provinces been called upon to be disciplined. It's always been just individuals and congregations - never a diocese or province. Untangling that is going to take time. While the Primates' Communiqué is a great blessing and a call to move forward, it still is a sad reality. It is a response to actions that are disobedient,
ungodly and unfaithful to Scripture, which has caused many people to stumble in their faith. It has divided congregations and dioceses across the country. Those who hold the orthodox faith stand right at the centre of biblical and Anglican tradition. We have not moved. What you are witnessing in this sad division is the flower of liberal theology.
AP: The North American Primates claim they have done nothing illegal or unconstitutional. Does this mean they will be able to claim all church property?
DS: The fact that they have acted constitutionally is not an unchallengeable comment. Many would disagree with it. It is not a secure legal judgement by any measure. We have not yet had a chance to demonstrate that to the Primates or the Anglican Consultative Council. The definition of the Anglican Church of Canada is in the Solemn Declaration of 1893, which reads in part that the ACC be "in full communion with the Church of England throughout the world..." (Book of Common Prayer, page viii). We have always taken the position on property that it has been paid for by congregational members over the generations and that it would be a wickedness to hand it over to those who have overturned the faith. The Primates' Communiqué and decisions may well strengthen our position rather than weaken it.
The Anglican Planet