What is schism and who are the schismatics?
According to Dr James I Packer,“Schism means unwarrantable and unjustifiable dividing of organized church bodies, by the separating of one group within the structure from the rest of the membership. Schism, as such, is sin, for it is a needless and indefensible breach of visible unity. But withdrawal from a unitary set-up that has become unorthodox and distorts the gospel in a major way and will not put its house in order… should be called not schism but realignment, doubly so when the withdrawal leads to links with a set-up that is faithful to the truth…” Dr George Egerton adds that it is those who cause the “tear in the fabric” of the communion by introducing unbiblical teaching who are schismatic. In a 2009 lecture in England, Dr Packer addressed the broader topic of the Church and schism.
While the current view within the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) is that qualified persons, regardless of gender, may be ordained to any office, we have consented to the canons of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), which specifies that only males will be considered for the office of bishop within ACNA until such time as the Communion comes to consensus on this matter. See 29 February 2008 ANiC news release. See also the canons of the ACNA.
Christians and the secular courts
The Anglican Network in Canada is committed to seeking alternative dispute resolution solutions. In an effort to avoid litigation, we and our parishes have made repeated appeals to the Anglican Church of Canada and to its Dioceses, requesting negotiation and mediation – but have been rebuffed. It is important to note that in every instance where our parishes are involved in the litigation, they are in the courts unwillingly.
In the context of the Anglican Network in Canada’s current legal disputes with the Anglican Church of Canada, our theologian emeritus, Dr J I Packer has written some comments on 1 Corinthians 6, where St Paul urges Christians not to take fellow Christians to court.
Christians and sexual morality
In 2004, Canon David Short (St John’s Vancouver) addressed an Anglican Essentials Canada conference, with a study on sexual morality, Christians and Church discipline based on St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Canon Short concludes, “The principle is clear: it is not possible to have communion with those who call themselves Christian but who condone and practice sexual immorality… there is no room for self-righteousness or superiority on the part of any of us… The gospel of Christ crucified offers grace to all who fail, it does not matter how far we may have fallen it is not too late for us to turn to Christ for his forgiving grace. But grace without transformation is cheap grace…” Read the entire paper.