Mission-minded Anglicanism

From the Bishop's Address, Journal of the Primary Convocation, 1875, pp. 6-7:

"Let us remember that it is our mission as brethren banded together for the work of the Lord
Jesus Christ, to maintain in all of its breath and fullness a true catholicity, at the same time as
descendants of our ancient and apostolic province of Christ's Kingdom, to repel as Anglicans
... any policy which would tend to compromise 'the freedom wherewith Christ has made us
free.' ... I mean by a true catholicity neither a narrow Protestant Episcopalianism -- nor a weak
imitation of the Papacy. Our heritage is Anglicanism; whatever we find there acknowledged
as a school of theology must be treated with respect and forbearance, whether their views be
taken from the publications of the Parker Society [1] or the Anglo Catholic Library [2].

Missionaries have, or ought to have, no time for hair-splitting; no time to tread 'the pathless
regions of intellectual failure;' their pathway is across forests, torrents, prairies, mountains,
preaching the plain truths lying upon the surface of the Gospel, and administering the
sacraments rather than trying to explain mysteries. ... The necessities of our position unite us
all upon the strictly practical platform of labour, rather than tempting us to waste our force in
endless discussion.

    Editor's Notes:  [1] The Parker Society: an Evangelical group devoted to reprinting the works of the
    16th century English Reformers.
    [2] The Anglo Catholic Library: an Anglo-Catholic group devoted to reprinting works of the Church
    Fathers and high church Laudian divines of the 17th century.
A Church with Something to Teach

Excerpt from the Bishop's Address to Convocation, 1878:

...there are also many evidences of the growth of a spirit that tolerates [the Church] not
because of her divine origin but as a good human institution. This spirit is found among her
actual members, I am ashamed to say, who too often shrink from a bold confession of the
truth they profess to believe. The time has not yet come, but it is even at the doors when it
may be said of our times as Bishop Butler one hundred forty years ago wrote of his age--

"It is come, I know not how, to be taken for granted by many persons that Christianity is not
so much as a subject for inquiry, but that it is now at length discovered to be fictitious, and
accordingly they treat it as if, in the present age this were an agreed point among all people of
discernment and nothing remained but to set it up as a principal subject of mirth and ridicule,
as it were by way of reprisals, for its having so long interrupted the pleasures of the world."

But even now you will find that as the doctrine of Jesus Christ is an exclusive doctrine; as his
Bride, the Church, is illiberal enough to pray for all Jews, Turks, infidels and heretics, thus
boldly affirming the blackness of darkness which envelopes those who deny that Jesus Christ
is the Lord God. As we have something in particular, something exclusive, something incisive
to teach, you will, I say, discover opposition upon every hand, from the open derision of the
so-called liberals, to the covert antagonism of the ready-to-halt-brother, who is afraid that you
will make the church unpopular.

As this is a sentimental, hysterical age, one quite ready to take its chances in that world which
is to come, if only you will not disturb its nerves in this by reasoning of righteousness,
temperance and judgment to come...we need not look, in establishing our missions, to drift
gently with the popular current, if we teach without blenching and without shame the Gospel
of the Lord Jesus. But still, I believe, you will find despite this, wherever you go, that the
Holy Ghost has certain ones set apart to aid you in your warfare against the principalities and
powers, and who will come to your assistance, whether it be popular or whether it be
Journal of the Fourth Convocation, 1878, pp. 29-30.
Participation in the National Church

From the Bishop's Address to the Sixth Annual Convocation, 1880:

...in relation to the proposed division of our branch of the Church into four or more provinces--
each province with council formed by delegates from its own dioceses, the whole body
represented in a decennial convention. The intention is to dispose of two difficulties:

1. The constantly increasing number of Bishops and delegates assembling in General
2. To further the formation of Courts of Appeal.

As to the first difficulty, a reduction of one-fourth of the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies
will take us back to the size of this house in 1868, a reduction of one-half to 1838.

... If the General Convention can cut up the Church into four provinces, by the same power it
can form four judicial districts without virtually disrupting the noble parliament that has for
nearly a century ruled the church.

I said virtually breaking up the General Convention. The greatest force in that body has ever
been the loving intercourse between the best men from all parts of the country. We may have
a grand council of all the provinces once in ten years, but the meeting once or twice in a
lifetime will never make a body of brethren. Soon one-half or three-fourths of them will meet
as strangers--provincially-minded strangers. The word itself expresses what the association will
be. The machinery of the lesser bodies, and their prejudices, softened by few friendships, will
insensibly be imported into the greater council, and clash and jar with ever-increasing friction.

The decennial convention will then soon either cease to exist or become a conference with
just such advisory power as our Pan-Anglican Council, and no more. For how shall you coerce
a province? It is the unit. It, unlike the diocese, can perpetuate itself regularly and validly,
holding intact its orders, sacraments, creeds, liturgy and articles, but simply dissenting from
some interpretation of another portion of the Church, it would be quite impossible to draw a
bill of indictment against it either for heresy or schism. Already we have seen two autonomous
bodies in our borders, caused by political differences [1], that God soon healed; let us
postpone as long as possible any action which will suggest, and doubtless accelerate, new

It may be said that this is only putting off the difficulty; true enough. But thirty or forty years
more of the conservatism of the General Convention is worth a great deal. ... If divisions must
come, at least do not let us anticipate them.
Journal of the Sixth Annual Convocation, 1880, pp. 18-19

    [1] The reference is to the formation of the General Council of the P.E. Church in the Confederate
    States during the Civil War.
Special thanks to The Archives of The Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas, (Mark J. Duffy, Director) for
their assistance with materials by and about Bishop R.W.B. Elliott.  Click
here to reference their website.
The Wisdom of Bishop Elliott