Protest Letter handed to the Archbishop of Canterbury in Toronto
[The following is the text of a letter of protest which was handed to the Archbishop of Canterbury on Monday, May 15, 2000, while he was attending the ARCIC negotiations in Mississauga, Toronto, Canada. – A.N.]
Free Presbyterian Church
We, the undersigned, representing various international and national constituencies, do vigorously and solemnly protest your presence, and that of other Anglican prelates, at the ARCIC negotiations, currently being held at the Queen of the Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
We consider your presence as a most serious betrayal of the historic Protestant faith, and call upon you, in your exalted position as Archbishop of Canterbury, to honour your Church’s doctrine and history and, above all, the Christian Church’s only Head, our Lord Jesus Christ, by withdrawing from these talks aimed at acknowledging a mere man, the Bishop of Rome, as universal primate of the whole church.
For the Anglican Church to pursue these negotiations to their ultimate conclusion of acceptance of the Roman Catholic pontiff will invite disaster, and will be viewed historically as a betrayal of the Protestant faith in the following areas:
1. A betrayal of Jesus Christ, the Great King and sole Head of the Church, Who Himself said that His church would not have an earthly head. (Luke 22.:26.)
- A betrayal of the Scriptures, the tenor of which is opposed to any system of hierarchical government that exalts a mere man to such a position of authority as claimed by the Bishop of Rome.
- A betrayal of the doctrinal base of the Anglican Church, as defined in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, at least seventeen of which are directly opposed to the erroneous Doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.
- A betrayal of the ordination vows taken by Anglican ministers who answer that "the holy Scriptures contain sufficiently all doctrine required of necessity for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ",whereas the Roman Catholic Church has obscured that truth under a mass of human traditions.
- A betrayal of Biblical authority by the Anglican leadership, which has enabled it to proceed in re-unification talks when there is no substantive change in any cardinal Roman Catholic doctrine and when such doctrinal change is impossible, being described by Pope John Paul II as ‘irreformable’ in ‘Ad Tuendam Fidem’ (1998, p. 15).
- A betrayal of the illustrious history of the Anglican Church, which produced many great men and women of God who, by their scholarly and spiritual insights, were totally opposed to any re-unification with the Roman Catholic Church.
- A betrayal of the Anglican martyrs, such as Archbishop Cranmer, and eminent bishops Latimer, Ridley, Hooper and Ferrar, who were burned at the stake for adherence to Christian truth and Anglican principles, and who sealed their testimony with their life’s blood for rejecting what present day Anglicans are now preparing to accept in these Mississauga negotiations.
- A betrayal of the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury who steadfastly maintained, in the hour of his martyrdom: "[…] and as for the Pope, I refuse him as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist, and all his false doctrine."
- A betrayal of the nature of true Anglicanism, which was defined and developed by its founding fathers. The modern leadership has dragged the vessel from its solid moorings into the stormy waters of an unscriptural ecumenism that heralds impending shipwreck.
- A betrayal for those Anglicans, who are loyal to the 'old paths' of true Anglicanism, but who are totally opposed to the pathway on which the modern Anglican leadership is leading them.
- The betrayal, by the British Anglican contingent, of the Monarch of the Realm, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who is at present the titular Head of the Anglican Church in England.
- A betrayal of the Coronation Oath of the British Sovereign, who must reply positively to the question: "Are you a faithful Protestant?" administered by the Archbishop of Canterbury who himself, by reason of his involvement in reunion talks with Rome, could not honestly answer that question.
Your Grace, the godly Bishop Latimer, when being burned at the stake, said: "We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out." We fear the candle is now almost extinguished. You and the other Anglican prelates will answer to God for your deliberations in Mississauga this week. Ponder well what you do. (Isaiah 2:22.)
Respectfully submitted by
Brian Green, General Secretary, the British Council of Protestant Christian Churches
Rod Bell, President of the Fundamental Baptist Association of North America
Jonas Shepherd, General Secretary, the Canadian Protestant League
John McKnight, Vice-President, the American Council of Christian Churches
William Beattie, for the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster
Alan Cairns, for the Free Presbyterian Church of North America
Frank McClelland, for the Free Presbyterian Church of Canada