Just a quick one. There’s a small service tucked away on pages 95-97 of the 1998 “A Prayer Book for Australia” (APBA) that shows very clearly the relationship between membership of the Anglican Church of Australia and adherence to its doctrine.
In the liturgy for “Reception into Communicant Membership” (a way of someone who is already baptised to enter into the Anglican church) the bishop asks the following question:
Do you desire to be admitted into communicant membership of the Anglican Church of Australia and accept her doctrine and order?
To which the answer is a clear “I do“.
Just a few observations:
- The liturgy prescribes that a bishop ought to ask the questions. This is akin to confirmation and requires the reocgnised protector of doctrine in the diocese to ask and then make the declaration of reception.
- The liturgy quite clearly ties together Anglican membership with acceptance of doctrine and order.
- The Reception Canon 1981 establishes that someone received in this way has the same status as a confirmed member. Thus, by implication, confirmation is also an acceptance of our doctrine and order.
- It stands to reason that if acceptance of our doctrine and order is expected of all full members, that our leaders (especially our bishops) have this expected of them all the more.
So what are we to do when we have a prospective bishop who is understood by many to have spoken against our doctrine? Would this not undermine our order? Can they be a bishop, let alone call others into communicant membership or confirm?