Posted by: stpowen | January 17, 2011

‘They went out from us…….

……But they were not of us………They went out that it might be made manifest that none of them were of us’ (1John 2:19).

As many readers will know, three former Anglican Bishops have defected to the Church of Rome.  Full details may be found here.  Martin Marprelate has only the haziest understanding of the intricacies of the Church of England, but he understands that these Bishops had not been ‘proper’ Diocesian Bishops, but rather of the Suffragen or ‘Flying’ persuasion.  His attempts to find a Suffragen Bishop, or indeed a flying one, anywhere in the Bible have proved fruitless.

A special ‘Ordinariate’ has been set up by the Church of Rome to accommodate these new arrivals.  Martin has learned from  Archbishop Cranmer (1), who doubtless understands these things much better than he, that  ‘The Decree of Erection specifies that the Ordinariate will be known as the ‘Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham’ and will be placed under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman.’  Super!  Where is all this mumbo-jumbo (not to say, ‘hocus pocus’) in the word of God?

These men served in the Church of England for many years and drew their stipends from that source.  They will have given some sort of  ‘assent’ to the XXXIX Articles of that body.  I wonder how they have digested the rather large number of words they must have eaten in order to join the Church of Rome?

Article XIV – Of Works of Supererogation.   Voluntary Works besides, over, and above, God’s Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.

How does that square with the making of saints like the ‘Blessed John Henry Newman’?

Article XV – Of Christ alone without Sin.     Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world, and sin, as St. John saith, was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

How does that square with the supposed ‘immaculate conception’ of the virgin Mary?  And when did Mary ever visit Walsingham?

Article XXII – Of Purgatory.   The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping, and Adoration, as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

Article XXV – Of the Sacraments.   …..There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to day, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.   Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.

Article XXVIII – Of the Lord’s Supper  The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Write; but it is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith.  The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

Article XXXI – Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.    The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.


Now the sad fact is that the departing Bishops. along with any number of ‘high church’ vicars in the Church of England have blithly ignored these articles for many years and have continued to promote pilgrimages and penances, ‘extreme unction,’ celebrated mass, offered prayers for the dead and so forth.  They may be leaving the Church of England, but they are not leaving Protestantism, for they were never Protestants.  They are merely going to their own place.

But at least these men have had the courage of their convictions.  They are leaving Anglicanism with its vicarages, relatively high stipends, pension schemes and elegant, if draughty, church buildings for something of an uncertain future.  When will the Evangelicals in Anglicanism have the same courage?  The fact is that the XXXIX Articles are broken by many more Anglicans than merely the High Church faction.  The Church of England is full of unbelievers, Socinians, homosexuals and others, and the evangelicals, however seperate they may like to think they keep themselves, must go along to Convocation or Diocesian meetings and work and pray with these people and call them ‘brother.’  They must know that the liberals within Anglicanism will never rest until the last vestige of true Christian orthodoxy is rooted out, as is happening in America.  Although there are faithful congregations here and there, and many hard-working clergy, the fact is that the Church of England is theologically rotten to the core, and it is the contributions of the evangelicals that keep the liberal churches going (cf. 2John 9-11).

Where would they go?  Well, as a convinced Free Church man, Martin Marprelate would bid them become independent congregational churches.  But if that is too much for them to contemplate, then there is the Free Church of England, the F.C.E. (Evangelical Connexion), and the Church of England Continuing (2) all of which are tiny organizations, but they could at least provide Episcopal oversight if that is felt to be important.  The main thing is to leave .  There is no future for true Christians within the Church of England any more than there is within the Church of Rome.  The future of God’s people is outside the camp.

“Come out of her my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.  For her sins have reached up to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Rev 18:4-5).  ‘Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach’  (Heb 13:13).






  1. Good Riddance!

    Dear Martin,

    Three pseudo-Bishops have left the Church of England a better place through their absence. What can we learn from this? We could call them the ‘Three Stooges’ as ‘stooge’ is the word for, to keep to the metaphor of your article, a person learning to fly or a puppet or a dummy. So, quoting one custodian of the Apostolic faith, you say the stooges have left us because ‘none of them were of us’. Surely such a deliverance is healthy for us and has left us echoing John’s, ‘Good shutness to bad rubbish’. Now we are left with a national church which, according to the claims of anti-Evangelicals in it, has a 30 per cent evangelical membership. Well, a little leaven can leaven the whole lump according to our Christian convictions. And here is my quarrel with the article. Again, we have an example of ‘Anglican bashing’ from a Dissenter (albeit a fellow-Dissenter of mine and brother in the faith) who passes the buck of scandal from the Congregationalists, Baptist, Presbyterians, Pentecostals etc., etc. ad infinitum, and picks the Church of England out to relieve his frustration over the fact that all denominations are in the same boat. What is even worse, revealing scandals in merely one institution to cover those in all others is just not cricket! When one studies the history of Dissent, one notices that scandals accompanied it from the start which merely showed they were bodies of men, like all other men, who were prone to temptations and seduction by evil. Looking back over the fifty-five years of my sojourn in this abode of fallen man, I cannot honestly see a difference in morals between the bulk practices of any denomination and the Church of England. The reasons for most of the splits in any denomination these days are because of some scandals or others and these denominational splits are multiplying at a terrible rate, especially amongst the Baptists. So, too, TV evangelism, which degrades the churches to show-bizz or the circus, is more a Dissenting culture that a Church of England affair. So let us be fair and play by the rules. We would all like to see the seventy per cent of dross purged from our churches but the thirty percent left ought to be spending their time recovering lost sheep rather than throwing bricks at the goats.

    Sadly, it has come to my ears that an old, much loved, mentor of mine, a Professor of New Testament Greek, a Non-Anglican of absolutely faultless character, a man of the Reformation and a great winner of souls has recently joined Rome. His lame excuse seems to be that Rome has not fallen as far as the evangelical churches. I will not comment on this personally as it shames us all. Our problem is not the bad men that we are losing. Good riddance! It is the good men that are leaving the sinking ship with our captains going first.

    With best Christian wishes for a New Year of successful evangelism, rescuing the perishing,


  2. Dear Martin,

    My reference to the number fifty-five refers to my sojourn as a Christian not as a mere man as I shall be 72 very shortly.


  3. “…it is the contributions of the evangelicals that keep the liberal churches going”.

    I am not sure I agree with your post entirely. I sympathise with many of your sentiments if not wholly the letter and manner in which you present them.

    Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly agree with the above quote and believe this is reason alone for Evangelicals to remove themselves from the CofE. Indeed, the oft quoted ‘church attendance is falling’ refers almost exclusively to liberal congregations, ignoring the growing numbers amongst Evangelical CofEs. Irrespective of whether the church is “theologically rotten to the core” or, whether Evangelical CofE churches can truly remain separate; the fact remains Evangelical CofE churches, with their larger congregations, maintain and fund dying, liberal CofE churches and help, indirectly, propagate their erroneous teaching. What sense is there in remaining part of a church in which you fund those who contradict your teaching and answer to one you believe errant? The mind boggles!

    I can only conclude, as you do, that the appropriate course of action is for Evangelicals to bite the bullet and withdraw from the CofE. In truth, many liberal CofE churches would fold without the backing of Evangelicals and one feels their decline would be no great loss to Christendom.

  4. Dear Martin,
    Brother Steve Kneale has a simple solution to the problem of Liberalism in the Anglican churches – we ought to leave them all. However, this is too simplistic and solves no problems whatsoever. First of all, where shall Steve go for fellowship? Remember the case of J. C. Philpot who left a congregation of devout Anglican believers to join a Baptist church riddled with internal quarrels and heresies and plunged head first into the Sonship Controversy. Or take the example of Richard Mather who left a believing Church of England congregation heart-broken and joined a far-off Independent denomination merely because he preferred black robes to white. Indeed, historically speaking most of those who have separated from the Church of England have not done so because of doctrinal reasons but because of a preferrence for other external trimmings, and so-called church orders and discipline – what euphenisms!

    Secondly, is this not been defeatist? If we run away from our responsibilities as Christians with a false Elijah complex, believing we are alone where we stand in whatever denomination we might be in, then we have failed miserable in our witness and are plainly and simply not behaving as Christians. Whether one is in one institution or another, a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Take the negative example of John Milton as a warning. He left the Church of England for Presbyterian ideas of order and discipline. He found out that they were ‘priests writ large’ and ‘worse than Trent’. So he departed from them and joined the Independents. He soon descovered that they were intolerant where he was tolerant and tolerant where he was intollerant, so he packed his bags again and trecked off. After trying one ‘club’ after another, he lost his trust in human nature and moped for years after his previous Carmel experiences, never hearing the ‘still small voice’ again. Indeed between 1655 and 1705 Anglicans, Presbyterians, Independents and Baptists had, on the whole, become stale bread with not even a smell of baking powder, never mind healthy yeast. Look how, at the Savoy Conference the Presbyterians and the Independents fell out with each other over far more outward points than those in which they differed from the Anglicans. Indeed, history shows that the only reason the Presbterians and the Independents would not unite with the Anglicans was because they hated each other more than the Anglicans and would not be seen dead in the same church together.

    So I foresee that Steve will land up like Arthur Pink. He condemned all and sat smoking in his brown study and strove to reform the world from his splendid isolation. Poor man! Yes, dear Brother Steve, what sense is there in being in a world which is ‘rotten to the core’ and one in which your teaching is contradicted? There is great sense in this indeed. Cromwell sent John Durie to pastor St Peter’s cathedral church at Winchester and told him to ‘reform that place’. God has sent you to wherever you are to reform that place. If you run away, you are not a Reformed believer but a castaway. It is as simple as that.

    Your in a world wide open for harvesting,

  5. Hello George,
    first of all, I apologize for not replying to your earlier missive. I was eager to complete an article and so put it to one side and then forgot all about it. Perhap I can now reply to both your posts.

    first of all, I wonder if living in Germany, you are fully aware of just how dire the Church of England has become. It is tainted with every heresy known to man and its congregations have shrunk to the point that the church of Rome has more people attending its services each Lord’s day. Its leader, the Archdruid of Canterbury, has not the faintest idea what the Gospel is and his public pronouncements are so pathetic that the BBC now goes to the Roman Catholic leaders for comments on the religious issues of the day. That there are a few excellent evangelical Cof E churches remaining I happily conceded in my article. With one, St. Leonards, Exeter, my church has the friendliest relations and one of the Curates has preached for us with much blessing, but I still say that they should come out and be separate for in the C of E they are unequally yoked with unbelievers.

    You say that

    ‘Denominational splits are multiplying at an horrific rate, especially among the Baptists.’

    Baptists should not be in denominations. Every Baptist church should be independent. I suppose that you could argue that the early 19th Century Strict Baptists were a quasi-denomination with Gadsby as a kind of Bishop, but it should not be so. I advise the local evangelical churches in the Baptist Union to come out of that also, not that they listen to me.

    But the point is that I am not responsible for what some church that describes itself as ‘Baptist’ does in America or elsewhere. I know they do all sorts of weird stuff, but I don’t have anything to do with them. However, those Anglican Bishops who attend the forthcoming synod in Dublin will have to hob-nob with the apostates and sodomites in the ECA and take communion with them and call the ‘brother’ (and ‘sister’). How nice for them!

    You mention Philpot (Mather I do not know about); yes, he had his problems in the Strict Baptists, but I am not aware that he ever spoke of any regret about leaving the C of E. He was a contemporary and acquaintance of Newman, Pusey and Darby. The Anglicans were a mixed bunch even in those days.

    I know several former Anglicans who are very happily settled in free churches. I think you may know Fred Sergeant? I am sure they have their problems. They are sinners ministering to other sinners, but none I know wish they were back under the Archdruid.

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