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Commentary: Primary Error

The Rev. Canon Christopher Seitz and attorney Mark McCall write for the Anglican Communion Institute:

In 2013 an “Ecclesiology Committee of the House of Bishops” produced something they called “A Primer on the Government of the Episcopal Church and its underlying theology.” We have evaluated the document in detail at the Anglican Communion Institute website. Recently the document appeared again, this time at a House of Bishops meeting in North Carolina (see the weblog of Bishop Dan Martins). What is the purpose of trying to secure a place for this understanding of TEC’s polity at this point in time?

… [The Book of Common Prayer] is itself a constitutional document. It does indeed declare via its Ordinal the responsibility of Bishops, but their responsibility is to “share with your fellow bishops in the government of the whole Church” (BCP, p. 518. The Ordinal never mentions General Convention, much less its supposed “supremacy.” …

With this as backdrop, we can now better understand why we are witnessing the emergence of a New Episcopal Church, which conforms neither to the historical TEC nor even the confused one set forth in the Primer. The New Episcopal Church (henceforth NEC) retains a Constitution, Bishops, a General Convention, and even Holy Scripture, but these take on an altogether different character than in the erstwhile TEC.

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