Dear friends,

Some who have read my recent blogs on the Bible may be thinking something like this – “George, I’m a bit confused. I thought Anglicans believe in the “three-legged-stool” when it comes to God making Himself and His ways known. How does what you say fit into this? It sounds as if you believe in “the Bible alone” as the way God makes Himself and His ways known. Isn’t this un-Anglican?”

First of all, when people refer to the “three-legged-stool”, what they mean is that God does not reveal Himself and His ways definitively through the Bible alone. Instead, the claim is that God uses a combination of the Bible and tradition and reason to reveal Himself and His ways.

It is true that many Canadian Anglicans believe in the three-legged-stool. It is also the case that the Anglican Church of Canada, in its official documents, writes as if the three-legged-stool is true. So, in this sense, it is the case that what I have said is not Anglican – or, better, not contemporary Canadian Anglican.

Having said this I would also say that we need to avoid ethnocentrism. Looked at from a global, doctrinal and historical sense, my blogs are, in fact, completely Anglican. First, think of doctrine. Most Anglican churches say that The Book of Common Prayer (with the Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith, the Ordinal and its Preface) is the key doctrinal document in Anglicanism. If you read these you will not see one mention of the three-legged-stool. In fact, you will see statements that only the Bible is God’s word written. Only the Bible contains all things necessary for salvation. The Book of Common Prayer (and the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Ordinal) date back to the mid-16th century. There have been some mild changes in this book over the last 450 years, but no changes to its doctrine of the Bible. This book is still the doctrinal standard of almost every Anglican church and this has been true for all 450+ years of the Anglican Way. So, at an historical and doctrinal level, the Anglican Way holds to “Sola Scriptura.”

“But, George,” some may say, “you are out of step with Anglicanism today!” First of all, my commitment is to the truth, not Anglicanism. Next week I will talk about the deep problems with the three-legged-stool. But secondly, I am not “out of step” with Anglicanism; only North American Anglicanism. The “official” Canadian and American Anglican churches are a tiny minority in Anglicanism. Today there will be more people worshiping in Anglican churches in Kenya than there will be in Canada, the US, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Europe, Australia and New Zealand COMBINED. This statement about Kenya is also true of Nigeria and Uganda. Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria are key churches in GAFCON. The GAFCON movement and its Jerusalem Declaration represents 80% of the world’s Anglicans. Amongst the other orthodox doctrines, the GAFCON movement and its Jerusalem Declaration upholds “Sola Scriptura”, that the Bible alone is God’s word written. The Bible alone is the definitive revelation of God Himself – God revealing Himself and His ways to human beings.

George +