Project Canterbury








"God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles."—I COR. xii. 28.



All rights reserved


Transcribed by the Right Reverend Terry Brown
Retired Bishop of Malaita, 2011

[3] Prefatory Letter to HIS GRACE THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, Primate of All England, and Metropolitan.

MY LORD ARCHBISHOP,—In accordance with your Grace's request I submit to you, unofficially, what may be called my case against the Conference held at Kikuyu in June of last year.

It is, I am sure, understood that in sending it to your Grace, at your request, for transmission by you to your advisers, I am in no way departing from the official attitude that I assumed in my reply to your Grace's Answer to my original appeal. It will always be to me a matter of deep regret that I can not see my way to accept your Grace's Opinion as authoritative. And it is my hope that I am proving the reality of my regret in drawing up for your Grace, in deference to your expressed wish, a document that otherwise I should have declined both to frame and to make public.

Before passing to the case itself, I beg your Grace's permission to express myself upon certain points.

1. Strongly as I feel about Episcopacy, and much as I regret the interpretation thereof so commonly held in the Church to-day, it had never been in my mind to complain of the differences of opinion that divide Churchmen, so long as those differences did not involve us in policies that include bodies outside our own boundaries.

To pretend that in the Church in England there have not been, for several generations, views of Episcopacy that are difficult of reconciliation would be madness. But to plead that the "modern" view should not be accepted as representative, or as a basis of reunion with non-episcopal Christians, is neither madness nor malice. And it seems to me that the burden [3/4] of responsibility for the present controversy rests upon those who deliberately issued forth from within the boundaries of our own disagreements, and offered to the outside world, as representative of the Church's mind, a scheme and teaching that the Church as a whole has never accepted, and can never approve.

2. Again, it has been urged that to question the validity of the ministry of another Christian society is at least in bad taste, and may partake of the nature of sin. But, surely, however silent we may normally be in the matter of non-episcopal ministries, silence is no longer possible when a Conference publicly proposes to recognize the sacraments of ministries that are not episcopal, and therefore not technically catholic.

Your Grace may have been moved by Dr. Sanday's [1] [(1) The Primitive Church and Reunion.] protest against judging one another's ministries, a protest that comes easily from an Oxford study. But I feel sure that you will also see that when the Kikuyu Conference deals with sacraments in episcopal and non-episcopal societies as if they were practically of one kind and validity, it challenges us, by its very proposals, to measure the claims it has advanced. A view possible in an Oxford study is not necessarily possible in the mission field. If we may be left, as in Oxford the Church is left, to minister to our own flocks, let us by all means restrain our judgement. But if our doors are to be forced open, if we ourselves are to be driven to "communicate" non-episcopal Christians, may we not raise our voices without consequent condemnation as intolerant bigots?

Questions that may be left open in academic circles require definite solution in the world's market-places.

3. Once more, I beg to call your Grace's attention to the very dangerous distinction now drawn in the minds of Englishmen between "principle" and the "application of principle."

It is commonly assumed that a principle can be [4/5] accepted in theory and contradicted in practice; the contradictions proving the principle, I suppose, as rare exceptions may be said to prove a rule. To illustrate this dangerous doctrine, may I refer to an Oxford student who has recently voiced it? He has within the last few months found himself able to maintain, as a principle, the Christ's victory over death, alongside with the contradictory view that the Christ's body was overcome by death. He now claims to shed like light over our darkness in the mission-field. His view is that, since the Anglican Communion contains men who can accept, and men who cannot accept, a proposal for "intercommunion," "both parties have a right to demand that the Church as a whole take no official action that is plainly incompatible with a reasonable interpretation of their respective principles." So far our author is on the high, safe ground of principle. But another person's principle being an awkward thing, he looks about him for a way of modifying the expression of that principle, and demands that we, whom he labels as "High Church" (whatever that may mean in Africa), should officially recognize the reception at our altars of all baptized, moral nonconformists, who are out of reach of the ministration of their own societies.

So clear is he that he has both safeguarded the principle and provided for a harmless expression of the same, that he proposes, I suppose to your Grace and other Bishops, that in the event of any men clinging to their principle and rejecting his suggested" expression" thereof, they must be driven out of the Anglican communion!

I do not mention this proposal for its own inherent weight. An author who can find an analogy with Communion in the Rite of Circumcision must not be taken too seriously. But as an example of a quite common confusion of thought, Mr. Streeter's essay [1] [(1) Restatement and Reunion.] is valuable and to the point.

[6] And I beg leave to emphasize the hopelessness of the task of reconciling the assertion of a principle with a policy that entirely contradicts what has been asserted.

If a man must be in loyal fellowship with the Episcopate before he may receive Holy Communion, it is of no avail to re-assert this truth hourly, and yet to invite to the reception of the Blessed Sacrament Christians who are in open rebellion to that Episcopate.

A clear thinker would concentrate attention upon the question of the necessity of fellowship with the Episcopate. If it be unnecessary, Kikuyu was indeed a council of Christian liberty; if it be necessary, the school of which Mr. Streeter is an able representative is entirely and dangerously wrong.

4. Lastly, it is commonly argued that the evident sanctity of many who reject Episcopacy, and the spiritual power manifested in their societies, are proofs of their catholicity.

Here, again, clear thinking requires that we define catholicity before we use it in this connection. For if catholicity be the attribute of an Episcopal Christian, the argument is fallacious.

In truth, the conclusion to be drawn from the observation of sanctity and spiritual power is, either that there are many souls outside the visible Church whose souls are richly blessed by God, or that ecclesiastical organization is a matter of no moment. The former conclusion commends itself to most men, and exactly meets the expectations that we have formed. Given the love of God for souls, and the human element in the Church, we deduce a search for souls that no fault of man can finally hinder; and an outpouring in life of any place, at any time, upon a heart opened to receive it.

But it is not reasonable to argue from this that the organization selected by Christ is of less than paramount importance.

It is perhaps permissible to suggest that among the [6/7] sacrifices God asks of missionaries is a generous submission to the Episcopate, for the sake of the Master and the souls He loves; and also to plead that the perpetuation of schism in the mission-field is to add to those hindrances, the overcoming of which is the accepted task of Divine Love. In fact, we arrive once more at the plain, simple question: Is the Episcopate the expression of the mind of Christ or is it merely of human invention?

If it be Christ's mind, we may be certain that no reunion is possible that is not based upon an acceptance of Episcopacy in its fulness. If it be man's invention, we may fairly argue that the Christ made no provision for ministry and organization, and that reunion is as impossible as any other scheme depending upon human agreement.

All that we know of the human mind warns us that any large measure of agreement in method and policy is impossible apart from supernatural motive and supernatural power. For myself I believe that Christ Jesus, our Lord, has given us as our motive fellowship with His Church through the Episcopate, and as our power the gift of faith in Himself and His mystic Bride. And believing this, I am forced to the conclusion that to conceal this motive, or to be silent as to this power, is to betray the souls whom my Master brings in my way.

If Episcopacy be of the mind of Christ, he who will have none of it may hardly claim that I adjudge him, in this particular, to be of one mind with Christ. Truly, and I thank God for it, I have no right or duty of judging him at all, so long as he seek not my ministry. And even in seeking it, he requires of me no judgement of his motives, which may be beyond words pure and simple; but he does force me to judge his mind by his actions. To that judgement I can bring no other measure than that which I have received as a Bishop of the Catholic Church; and by that [7/8] measure the man's position is found to be contrary to Christ's own institution.

I ask of him no explanation of his private views and interpretations: I desire to know but one thing: is he, or is he not, living in open fellowship with his bishop in faith and worship?

And if he answer me, "I know not that fellowship, neither will I share it," my only reply is this: "neither will I minister to you in sacramental rite His Body and Blood who deliberately chose and instituted the episcopate, and called you to abide in its fellowship."

To say more would be to anticipate matters that will be dealt with as my case against Kikuyu is developed and set out. So much I have felt bound to say if in any way I could help to clear the ground.

The situation is quite simple so far as its statement is concerned.

For three hundred years or so, English Churchmen have agreed to differ in details about Episcopacy, so long as the Episcopate was in practice maintained.

Last year two Bishops decided to take their own very modern views of Episcopacy, and move out towards reunion with non-episcopal bodies, involving in their action the other Bishops in their communion.

It remains to be settled, chiefly, whether life in fellowship with the Episcopate be, or be not, the evident condition of retaining a full membership in the Catholic Church, and, therefore, of approach to the altar of that Church.

All else is beside the point. Confirmation rubrics; sermons on brotherly love; warnings against intolerance; disquisitions on the Reformation; these and all else are beside the point. The issue is simple, plain, direct; and to my mind it involves a principle to which there can be no such authorized exception as will carry a new policy for the Church of a continent.

It is my own conviction that the first step towards the Reunion of Christendom is the discovery of the [8/9] divinely-ordered centre of union on earth for each individual soul. Until we are agreed that such a centre of union exists, we are as men moving in a fog, each ready to help a brother in distress, each ignorant alike of direction and of road.

We must then concentrate our power upon winning from all Christians, catholic and non-catholic, an acknowledgment that in the local Bishop is the Christ-given centre of union here on earth, and in the universal College of Bishops is the permanent bond of union between all members of the Church, of every nation and tongue, on earth and beyond the veil.

Such an acknowledgment must inevitably involve a restoration of the theory of the College of Bishops to its right place in men's minds; and therefore will carry with it a self-reformation, in various particulars, by every existing Church, or society, or communion, catholic and non-catholic.

And I would submit that in every conference of those eager for reunion, the postulate underlying all discussion must be the catholic theory of Episcopacy; and the first task of the conference, the setting forth in clear and catholic language of those particulars in which the Episcopate has, by adopting worldly methods and in part yielding to the world-spirit, hidden its heavenly origin and calling.

For any attempt to come closer to the original will of Jesus Christ, at whatever cost to prejudice, personal or national, and at whatever pain of forgiveness towards our ecclesiastical adversaries, must bring down upon us just that power of the Spirit for lack of which the present movement falters and fails to grip.

The principle involved in all such conference is, then, this: that on earth the local Bishop is our link with the Catholic Church; and the College of Bishops is the complete bond of union, of which the local Bishop is its point of contact with the individual soul.

And my opposition to the proposals of the Kikuyu [9/10] Conference was and is strong and determined, because they ignore this principle.

To this principle your Grace, and those who acted with you, pledged me at my consecration to the Episcopate by the use of an ordinal that definitely asserts our office to be apostolic both in age and character. To its defence you bound me by two oaths before you laid your hands on me, requiring of me that I should confess my call to this ministration to be according to the Lord's Will; and that I should promise both to drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine, and to call upon others to do the same. And, finally, by the laying on of your hands, as representing God and His Church, you communicated to me the promised gift: "Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Bishop in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands."

This principle it is that is now at stake in the mission-field, whether in such proposals as have come from Kikuyu, or in the narrower but no less dangerous form of the practice of offering communion to those who are not of our fellowship.

It was for the reaffirmation of this principle that I made my appeal to those to whom I owe my consecration; for reaffirmation, not for investigation. And, although no longer officially concerned with the Enquiry, or the opinion that is to follow thereon, it is with confidence in your Grace's sympathy with us, upon whom your hands have laid so heavy, though so glorious, a burden, that I await such a reaffirmation at the present time.—I am, my Lord Archbishop, your Grace's humble Servant and Brother,


BRIGHTON, June 15th, 1914.





THE Kikuyu Conference cannot be judged in its relation to Church order until we are clear as to our use of the phrase Church Membership.

It is a commonplace of theology that Baptism is the Sacrament of Initiation into the Church; and every baptized person, by whomsoever baptized, is, admittedly, a member.

But there is a distinction to be drawn between members who remain in full exercise of their privileges and duties, and members who to all intents and purposes cease to exercise membership, and finally lose for the time being their right of full spiritual fellowship in the Church.

It is therefore of first importance that we arrive at a clear and precise knowledge of any test of such living membership in the Church as carries with it a right to communicate at the Church's altars.


And in order to this, I will draw attention to the existence of such a test from the earliest days of Christianity; and I will try to state the evidence for it in such a way as will not offend the most cautious of historical critics.

[12] 1. In the days of the apostles the one unfailing test of full membership was that a man should continue in the apostles' fellowship in faith and worship. To separate himself from the apostles was to cease to exercise that vital membership which baptism had given him.

2. Fellowship with the apostles ultimately involved man in fellowship both with the apostolic representation, and with the local "elders" appointed under apostolic regulation.

3. Thus to a large extent while apostles yet remained, and universally after the apostolic representatives had disappeared, fellowship with the local ministry was sufficient to keep a man in full membership with the Catholic Church, and gave him all rights of the heavenly citizenship wherever he might move in his journeys.

4. The local ministry was primarily that of "elders" who combined the task of shepherding souls with that of administering the affairs of the local Church; but historians are more or less agreed that very early in the Church's life the senior "elder" was alone accorded this dual office, his fellow "elders" being confined to assisting him in spiritual functions, whilst government became his own duty and burden. That is to say, the senior "elder" took the place of the apostolic representative, or the apostle himself.

5. This senior "elder," this senior "presbyter," or "episcopus," was president of the council, or synod, or presbytery; he was the proper leader in worship, and the link between the local and the universal Church.

6. Very early in Church History we find a developed local ministry of Bishop, Priests, and Deacons; and fellowship with the Bishop was the visible sign of true, living membership in the Church of God.

7. And historically there is a continuity of ministry from the days of the apostles down to the age when Apostolic Succession received dogmatic statement, and was regarded by theologians as of vital importance to the Church.

[13] II

Thus stated, our position will not be seriously questioned by any well-equipped historian of the Church. In fact, for this position, in broad outline, we may claim a practical agreement. What then may we deduce from this position?

1. It is permissible to say that whatever may have been the nature of the change from apostolic to local ministry, there never was a time when an individual Christian had not a recognized living link through whom he was in fellowship with the Catholic Church. Whether that living link was a local minister appointed to fill the place of an apostolic minister, or was a local minister already in office to whom apostolic functions had been delegated, is a question of no vital importance in this connection.

2. The apostolic teaching was preserved by a succession of teachers: the apostolic men giving place either to an order of men appointed to succeed them, or to an already existent order that had existed under the Apostolate and later inherited its teaching offices.

3. The apostolic ministry and leadership in worship was similarly secured by an order that, in one way or another, succeeded to the place of honour.


But two main questions of great importance must now be faced, namely:

1. Did our Lord Himself institute the ministry when He gave authority and power to the Apostolate?

2. Does the Episcopal authority of the senior "elder" come from God or from his fellow-Christians?

 The second question may be answered first.

For it is now practically agreed among Christian theologians that it is not possible to distinguish in effect between an immediate act of God, and an act [13/14] performed by Him through the agency of the Christian Church. Granted the mystic union of Christ with His Church; granted the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church of Christ; no man can say a priori that the transition from the Apostolic Government to the Episcopal Government is not the will and the work of the Holy Spirit of God.

Every Church that has departed from the Catholic, or Episcopal, form, lays claim to the power and inspiration of the Holy Ghost; and it is therefore impossible for them to deny to the primitive Church the same guidance and authority in establishing, or accepting, the Monarchical Episcopate. Of course it remains open to them to deny the essential necessity of such an Episcopate to the Church, in spite of its sole continuance for nigh sixteen hundred years; it is not possible for them to escape the fact of its appearance in the spirit-bearing body, and its persistence in spite of rival organizations since the Reformation.

Granted, then, that the spirit-bearing Church was God's agent in organizing her ministry in the Episcopal form, are we to infer that the ministry may be altered by the same Spirit, acting through reformers? or did our Lord Himself institute this ministry, as an essential element in His Church?

To answer this question we must follow various lines of thought, for the evidence is accumulative.

(a)No theory of ministry that does not give precedence to the Catholic Episcopacy accounts for all the facts about Church organization that historians have laid open to our study,

(b)Whereas the universal Church held Episcopacy to be of divine institution from the first age of its self-explanation down to the Reformation, and whereas the overwhelming majority of Church teachers still maintains the same view, those who in the last three hundred years have departed from it have signally failed to provide any other theory of government [14/15] that is acceptable to themselves as a body. Non-episcopal Christians have split into many different societies, each of which claims to possess the ideal organization.

From which we conclude either that God has no particular mind about the Church's ministry, or that the Episcopal ministry is the form that He Himself desires us to accept.

(c)Too often the historical critic of the Church is not really scientific in his methods.

A scientific critic would first throw himself into the life of the Catholic Church; test by experience its reality as a teacher and agent of grace; live in fellowship with the Episcopate, and worship in communion with his own local Bishop, or his deputy; and seek that mystic union with the Christ which the Church has never failed to supply to those who desire it.

This done, he would be in a position to investigate the processes by which the Episcopate had reached its present position. And in this investigation he would arrive at the historical position set out above, in which practically all historians agree in broad outline.

Would he not find this position a sound enough basis for the present fact?

All that could possibly puzzle him would be the actual transference of the living link, the link between the individual and the whole Church, from the apostolic order to the local ministry. The principle of the living link he would find; and he would be indeed hard to satisfy were he not content to see in the doctrine and fellowship that was already his, the expression of God's Will.

But the historical critic of the Church is rarely scientific. He refuses all experience of that which he will investigate; he starts by rejecting, in his will, the historic idea of the Catholic Church. It is as if a student of Light were first to refuse to experiment with light before he had historically discovered not only its [15/16] existence but its nature; or without experiment, and in defiance of all authority, were to proceed to challenge its very nature and properties.

Thus the unscientific critic begins at the year A.D. 30 and interprets the early history of the Church, not in the light of the present Catholic Church, but in the light of his own practical repudiation of the Idea of the Church. And the little gap, which is supposed to mar the transition from apostolic to local ministry, is the joy of his heart, and the justification of his repudiation!

Yet how dangerous to build a house upon a gap! Magic alone could accomplish it. Are then these critics among the magicians?

Take, for example, the case of Antioch.

The Church of Antioch was founded by apostolic representatives, and was built up by the apostles St. Paul and St. Peter. St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, in his epistles written before A.D. 110, has no hesitation in ignoring the existence of this gap! Inheritor of apostolic traditions, born in the apostolic age, must he not have known the minds of St. Peter and St. Paul, whose mark was left upon the Church over which he presided? Would not his readers have known if he were merely an innovator?

Or again, take the case of Rome.

The Church of Rome is pre-eminently apostolic. St. Peter and St. Paul are its apostolic patrons. And the Roman Church has always handed on its tradition that Linus, its first "bishop," was appointed by the apostles themselves, a tradition to the underlying truth of which St. Clement's Epistle gives quite conclusive testimony.

Thus we see that the chief positive evidence that exists for the age of the "gap" is entirely in favour of the Catholic theory of Episcopacy as providing a God given link between the local and the universal Church. In fact the gap exists only in our libraries and museums!

[17] (d)So that we may plead that the Holy Spirit of Counsel enabled the young Church to survive the shock of the apostles' departure, and to overcome the difficulty of securing a ministry and teaching body that could, historically, preserve its fellowship with the original leaders.

(e) It still remains to determine the will of the Christ in this matter.

Normally we ascertain God's will in the past by watching it at work. But since we are not permitted to argue from the persistence of the Episcopate to its institution by the Christ, let us approach the question from another standpoint.

Let us take up the position that the Holy Spirit is the Author of Episcopacy, acting through the Church. Let us not assume a final purpose; let us admit a possibility of change later on.

But however limited our admission may be, once we have agreed to find the Holy Spirit in Church organization, we have found the Christ Himself.

For the Spirit is in the Church because He is in the Christ, glorified Son of Mary. And the Christ is the Ruler of the Church through the agency of the Spirit. So that what is done by the Spirit is done by the Christ Himself.

(f)It only remains to ask whether or no the Christ on earth purposed to accomplish the Episcopal organization of the Church through the Spirit.

To admit the joint working of the glorified Christ and the Spirit in the Church's organization is to confess that in that organization the ultimate divine will has been revealed. And inasmuch as the Christ on earth is one and the same person as the glorified Christ, and the Holy Spirit is one, and the divine will one, and inasmuch as the Holy Spirit dwelt in the Christ on earth without measure, there can be no justification for denying to the Christ, here on earth, the purpose of instituting an Episcopal Church.



[18] Unless, indeed, we are prepared to accept the modernist teaching that our Lord on earth had no knowledge that the Church would exist; in which case we are still faced by the fact of the glorified Christ's will, mediated by the Spirit, as the basis of the Episcopate.

We find that the divine will incarnate purposed to found an Episcopal Society through which He would unite mankind in Himself.

(g)So that ultimately we are compelled to admit Episcopacy to be the result of divine will and guidance, and, apart from modernist views, the purpose and wish of the Christ Himself.


To what then have we come? We have reached the conclusion that there is a divinely appointed visible test of true, permanent membership in the Church on earth, namely, real, living fellowship with the local Bishop, through whom we are linked with all other local Bishops, and through them with the Catholic Church.

We have considered no other claims of the Episcopate as yet. But this one claim, relevant to the case before us, we have dealt with at some length, that our position may be entirely clear. Let us now resume our study of Episcopacy.

(a)The primitive Bishop has certain definite marks in common with the Bishop of to-day. Primarily, he is the link between the Catholic Church and the individual soul. Secondarily, he is, historically, the inheritor of the apostolic office of Witness to the Christ and His teaching. Thirdly, he is the representative of the Christ in the task of shepherding the flock. Fourthly, he is the chief representative of the local Church in its offering of worship. And, fifthly, he is [18/19] the local Church's representative in all dealings with other local Churches.

(b)On the other hand, he is in many points very unlike the modern Bishop. The separation of the Church from the world that marked the earliest age of Christianity safeguarded the Bishop from worldly position, dignity, and honour. And the lack of organization left the local Bishop in his small and well-defined district, a very father of his small flock.

(c)The marks of the present-day Bishop that distinguish him from the primitive Bishop are not essential to his office; indeed they are probably largely to blame for the prejudice against Episcopacy that is so widespread and deep-rooted.

(d)Yet we cannot deny a priori divine guidance in the gradual organization of the Episcopate down the ages, nor refuse to admit the practical worth of the Metropolitical system, crowned as it is by the establishment of the five great Patriarchates, and the occasional assembly of General Councils. Ideally, apart from human sin, such a development exactly meets our need.


Finally, let us consider the fivefold office of the Bishop in primitive times, that it may be clear what the office implies in these days, after so long a period of use and therefore of development, amidst circumstances so complex as those that now obtain.

1. The Bishop is the link between the individual soul and the Catholic Church. [1] [(1) See Appendix I.]

The Church is the Mystic Body of the Christ. That is to say, she is the new, supernatural organism formed of the union in the Manhood of the Risen Christ of all men and women in whom the Blood of Jesus is the vital principle. This organism is both heavenly and human; the Head is the heavenly Man [19/20] Christ Jesus; the members are we, men and women; the Heart is the Holy Spirit whose eternal life vivifies the precious Blood of the Christ and pours it into us; and always this organism has a really human character. On earth then, the supernatural work not yet complete in all its members, it must have an expression in some human form. And since the organism is the true type and ideal, as it is the crown, of all societies and families, it is not at all surprising to find that the Master willed to give it on earth the form and expression of a society, whose chief officers are the living, visible links between its heavenly section and its earthly members. Nor are we astonished to find that in St. John's vision of this organism in its glory, human ranks and grades are in some real sense maintained.

It is, of course, impossible to conceive an expression on earth of a living, heavenly organism, that does not in some real way provide for an adequate witness to the essential oneness of the organism. And since the Saviour would redeem all nations and types of mind, what nobler conception can there be than that of a Society in which each local Bishop, chosen from the local nation or tribe, sharing the local mind and culture, is the God-appointed link between his own people and the heavenly invisible organism? So does the Christ lead the movement which shall finally bring to the Father's feet the honour and glory of the nations of the earth.

Whatever evils of nomination to Bishoprics may exist, whatever sins may mar Episcopacy, the divine Idea is plainly before us, reconciling national individuality with a true universalism; and providing men, isolated and world-fettered, with a new, supernatural union in the new, human organism that dwells in heaven, and is itself filled with all the fulness of God in Christ Jesus, who is the very life of the organism.

And it is not possible to urge the preaching of Christianity with a view to man's union with this [20/21] organism, and at the same time to make light of the duty of fellowship with the local Bishop. Yet at Kikuyu two Bishops did in fact connive at such a proposal!

2. The Bishop is, historically, the inheritor of the Apostolic Witness to the Christ and His teaching.

The Christ is the Word Incarnate, Eternal Truth. And the apostles were His chosen witnesses and disciples; and from them the earliest Christian teachers received a tradition only partially written down in the New Testament. The earliest Bishops in the power of this tradition, and with the help of their Book, faced the problems that arose, withstood heretics, and sought to find answers to men's questionings. Theology arose, with an ultimate appeal to the Episcopate as knowing what the Apostolic Doctrine had been.

Thus the Apostolic Sees rose in importance, and the order of Bishops came to take the foremost place in the Church's teaching faculty. Even those who deny that our Lord intended the Bishops to be His teachers, must admit that in fact the Episcopate has fulfilled that function as no other order ever claimed to do.

So that to-day it is certain that whatever faults and failures mark us Bishops, no scheme for reunion is possible that does not postulate agreement in fundamental dogma with the universal Episcopate.

For myself, I see in that Episcopate the very lips of the Mystic Bride, the Church, by which witness is borne to Him who is both the divine Truth and the perfect human Mirror of the Vision glorious.

But moving on the low ground of what can be accepted by practically all critics, I am content to plead that

(a)the primitive Bishop did inherit a teaching office from apostolic men;

(b)the primitive Episcopate was prominent as an informal Court of Appeal in matters of disputed dogma.

[22] Therefore, being the living link between the soul and the Catholic Church, the Bishop is ideally the Prophet who makes clear to the soul the fundamental truths revealed by Christ; and his own personal failure to do this, through sin or ignorance, is compensated for by his bringing the soul into fellowship with the universal Episcopate of all ages, in whose teaching and witness the Spirit has, down the ages, triumphed over human error and self-assertion.

In this sense the local Bishop is the link between the soul and the spirit-bearing Body of Christ, to which was given the Master's promise of inerrancy and final triumph. And no man may safely reject the Bishop's witness, unless the Bishop be false to the testimony of the Universal Episcopate; in which case we appeal from one of a body to the whole body, on earth and beyond the veil.

Had these elementary truths been observed, there would be few Christians outside the fellowship of the Bishops to-day.

In the Kikuyu Conference the Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda gave not the least hint that the Lord Christ had appointed a teaching order in His Church. Nor did they suggest a scheme for overcoming the present practice of spreading local and national systems of religion in the new land of Africa; a scheme ready to their hand in the divinely-ordered Episcopate.

Only in fellowship with the universal Episcopate, through the local Bishop, will East Africa escape from the peculiarities of Scottish, American, German, and English systems of religious thought, and ultimately assimilate something of the universal religion of the Son of Man.

3. The Bishop is the representative of Christ in shepherding the flock.
There is, historically, no doubt that to him belonged the duties of providing baptism and confirmation, ministering communion, anointing the sick, presiding over [22/23] public penance and absolution, and taking the chief place at ordinations.

That is to say, the Episcopate inherited from the Apostolate the ministry of grace in the sense that to it belonged the supreme superintendence of it, and the ordination of all who should share that ministry.

Leaving on one side all debates upon the nature and value of ordination, the exact significance of confirmation, and the like, it is historically clear that there has always existed in the Church a living link between the individual soul and the storehouse of grace, the Church; and that the Bishop was from the first the shepherd who fed the flock.

We do not inquire whether any other plan may be possible, or justifiable, or efficient. We merely emphasize the plain fact of history.

And during the growth of the Church down the centuries the task of the Episcopate was never disputed until the Reformation, at which time men formed new societies without Bishops.

It is beside the point to plead that in these new societies men have found grace: to doubt it would be to doubt the Fatherhood of our God and the Love of our Saviour.

Rather must we emphasize the plain duty of giving to Africa what the Saviour gave to a sin-bound world, namely, His heavenly Manhood as the fountain of Grace, the Episcopate as the certain ministry of that Grace, and the local Bishop as the living, human link between the heavenly organism, the fountain of grace, and the individual soul.

The sacramental system is the Episcopal ministry in working; it is the complete gift of the Redeemer's life.

And in the Kikuyu Conference the Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda entirely failed to bear their witness to what is, historically and theologically, their own bounden duty and service.

[24] A Bishop who allows it to be inferred that he regards another ministry to be in practice on the level of the Episcopal ministry, and is silent about the divine gift in the full sacramental system, has manifestly failed to give due weight to the historical fact that there exists a divinely-ordered human link between the soul and the Mystic Body of the Christ, which is the living and life-giving organism, the new centre of the redeemed race.

4. The Bishop is the chief representative of the local Church in its offering of worship.

The primitive Bishop was without doubt the High Priest of his own Church, offering the memorial of the Death of Christ until He should come.

The first evidence of worship with such accessories as now find almost universal place in Eucharistic worship date from the age of the later persecutions, before the first General Council; and in any case the externals of worship are not essential to the principle.

The necessary point to observe is that from the earliest times the Church on earth regarded as its chief act of worship the memorial of the Lord's Death that He had Himself given them, through which He made real in their midst, and before His Father, the obedient sacrifice consummated on Calvary.

That is to say, His glorious Manhood that lives for ever in heaven, in which He is perpetual Priest and perpetual Victim once offered and ever present, is on earth in sacramental forms the very centre and means of our human worship. Present sacramentally to our faith, by an act of His human will, His will is a magnet to our wills as it is their reparatory sacrifice; His Heart is a centre for our adoring hearts as it is the covering of their sin, and the means of their sanctification; and He Himself in glorified Manhood is High Priest to our faltering priesthood, and our Sacrifice that makes acceptable all that we can bring. And taking us into Himself in communion, He offers both [24/25] Himself and us in Him; whilst we, taking Him into ourselves, offer Him, and ourselves in Him. Thus laws of time and space are suspended, and we lay our hands by faith upon the very true Manhood in its heavenly glory, passing through sacramental doors; Calvary is represented at our altars; and for Calvary's sake we are made one with the glorious Manhood, once offered and ever present before the Father's Throne.

Such is the oneness of will and heart and mind required of the Church on earth that this spiritual Sacrifice may be acceptable, in the one Christ, to the Father that to the local Bishop is this ministry everywhere committed. One in fellowship with him, the faithful in every place find themselves one with the whole Episcopate, living on earth and departed into the world beyond; and in that one Episcopate all the redeemed race, of every nation and tongue, is really and essentially one.

So that, judged by primitive Church order, as by Catholic theology, the Bishop, the living link, is a divinely-ordered necessity for the offering of the ideal worship.

It must therefore follow that no approval can be given to those who seek to perpetuate in new lands, among new people, a worship that is in no sense connected with this High Priesthood of the Episcopate.

And I submit that, in the Kikuyu Conference, the Bishops missed their opportunity, and failed in their duty, when, in discussing a form of common worship for the federated Churches, they put their signatures to a suggestion that has no mention either of the necessity of fellowship with the local Bishop, or of Eucharistic worship as the Church's chief offering to God.

It is not our business to criticize the worship of Christians who refuse us their fellowship. But, when called by them into conference, it is our bounden duty to do all that is in our power to win for Almighty God the glory of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, however simple [25/26] and plain be its external setting, and, with a view thereto, to emphasize the essential need of the divinely-ordered living link between the individual soul on earth and the whole company of faithful worshippers on earth and in heaven.

5. The Bishop is the representative of the local Church in its dealings with other local Churches.

Historically, the local Bishop's relations with other Bishops alone stood between each Church and isolation; and the history of Church organization shows the gradual recognition of these relations in local assembly, Metropolitical Synod, and General Council. Only so was the fundamental unity of the Episcopate safe-guarded; and, humanly speaking, without some such organization papalism must have appeared in more quarters of the Church than one, and congregationalism have grown apace.

N ever was the need of this office of a local Bishop more evident than to-day. For as the schism that has occurred in the College of Bishops has thrown upon the local Bishop more responsibility than our Lord intended, the additional labour is practically all in this department of representation.

In worship and shepherding souls each Bishop can fulfil his duty in accordance with principles tested and fixed long before the College was divided. But in the department of teaching, the task is one of no little difficulty.

Truly the fundamental Creed can be promulgated in each diocese by the local Bishop, who knows well what the universal College in its several Councils has decreed and taught. But questions have been raised in the last thousand years, and are still raised from time to time, which no Council of the whole College has yet considered; although locally, in East and West, answers are from time to time found and given.

It is the fundamental duty of the Bishop to be aware of these answers, and to weigh their importance.

[27] Such as come as with one voice from East and West, in agreement with the mind of the universal College, he is surely bound to promulgate in his own diocese, and teach to his own faithful, as being true to the corporate experience of the one Church. But when East and West contradict one another, through mutual misunderstanding and the like, he cannot decide between them, except in so far as one part of the College or the other be clearly in harmony with the undivided College.

It is of course easy to darken counsel in so difficult a matter. But quite certainly the local Bishop has had, from earliest times, the duty of linking his Church to the universal Church; and as certainly no new decree of the universal Church has authority in a diocese until its own Bishop has received the same, and promulgated it to his faithful. It was indeed this reception and promulgation that gave evidence to the acceptance by the whole Church of the decisions of a Council, and raised them to the rank of oecumenical decrees.

At Kikuyu the two Bishops present betrayed no desire to make it clear to the other delegates that they were tied and bound by decrees of General Councils, and were further under obligation of living in harmony with the whole College of Bishops.

Rather they conducted the conference as if there existed an Episcopal Church apart from the Church of the Catholic Episcopate; a Church that could be and do practically all that the Presbyterian leaders of the conference were able to regard as satisfactory.

So far from testifying to the universal College of Bishops, divinely ordered though humanly developed, they did not record a single word of warning that, as Bishops, they must first bear witness to the Catholic Truth as received in East and West.

In reserving a final decision on matters before them to the Bishops in England they showed that the principle we are emphasizing was in their minds; but their expression of that principle was lamentably weak [27/28] and poor. Yet it is, and in the nature of things must be, of supreme importance to a young Christian community to know that there exists in the Catholic Church a revelation of Him who is the Truth, and an interpretation of man's relations to Him slowly developed in face of past questionings and doubts which one day will come upon it, and that in its own local Bishop it has a living link with the Catholic Episcopate, the Teaching Body, of all times and places.

The Mystic Body of the Christ is built upon the Apostolate and Episcopate as her authorized Teacher. The vast majority live within the veil, their witness abiding on earth in Creed, Decree, and Treatise; in Liturgy and countless forms of worship. And scattered over the world are those who hold the same office, here and now. In so wonderful a society any man may dwell, who loyally and whole-heartedly abides in fellowship with his own Bishop in faith and worship. To him the Bishop is the mouthpiece of the whole College, whose witness to the Person of the Truth is to every man the necessary authority that may guide him into the path that leads to God. Guidance is his, and light that calls out faith, to make it certainty; yet such authority knows neither compulsion nor dislike of reason. For it is of God, who gave free-will and created reason; God who calls though none listen, and waits patiently until men shall turn to Him.

May we then refuse this knowledge of Episcopacy to a new nation, a new Church, and remain without rebuke?


In bringing to an end this, the first, part of my case, it is necessary, in view of the wording of the Archbishop's questions to his advisers, to inquire whether this fundamental principle of Episcopacy is binding on men consecrated by English Bishops. Not [28/29] that His Grace himself could for a moment be supposed to have in mind any distinction between the Catholic and English views of the Episcopate; but because many in communion with His Grace do in fact believe that such a distinction has been, and should be, drawn; and may have misunderstood his words.

I. The identity of the English with the apostolic ministry is asserted without any sort of reservation in the Ordinal.

(1) The Preface, which sets out the Church's intention in ordaining and consecrating men to the ministry, asserts on scriptural, historical, and theological grounds that the Episcopate is to be received as apostolic, and to be held in reverend estimation.

(2) The Diaconate and Priesthood are declared to be necessary in the Church of Christ; and since neither can be received except from a Bishop, the Episcopate is a fortiori necessary in the Church of Christ.

This explains what is "of necessity requisite" to the due administration of the Sacraments according to Christ's ordinance, without which there is no visible Church of Christ. (Article XIX.)

(3) The Sacramental Prayer for the ordination of Priests asserts that the English Priesthood is the "same office and ministry" as that of "Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Doctors, and Pastors," whom our Lord Himself sent.

(4) No man is ordained who cannot say that his call to his new office is in "the will of our Lord Jesus."

There is then no permission left us by our ordinal for believing in the "gap" between Apostolic and Episcopal ministries; and we are committed irrevocably to the principle that the individual Christian is joined to the Catholic Church of Christ in and through the local Bishop, as in primitive times was universally held.

2. The office of Teaching is committed to the Bishop.

(1) He binds himself by oaths to follow in his [29/30] teaching the Church's Scriptures, and the Church's Doctrine, before he becomes a priest; and he is bound by straiter oaths before consecration, pledging himself to drive away erroneous doctrines and to move others to do the same. He is pledged to a certain standard of doctrine.

(2) The exhortation made to him immediately after Consecration is given as to one who is a responsible teacher, upon whose faithfulness the souls of the flock depend.

(3) He alone gives licences to men to preach in his diocese.

(4) No one can be ordained or consecrated who does not profess the Nicene Creed, thus assenting to the fundamental dogmas to which the Episcopate bears witness.

(5) Priests and Deacons are bound by an oath to obey his canonical admonitions.

3. The Bishop is the chief shepherd, and feeds the flock.

(I) To this he is exhorted at his Consecration, and to him the title of Pastor is given.

(2) He is required to provide for Baptism, and authorizes deacons to baptize when no priest may be had.

(3) He imparts to priests the power of absolution that he himself received at his ordination to priesthood.

(4) He ordains priests to celebrate Communion, and authorizes deacons to assist them in that work.

(5) He is required to confirm all who have learned the necessary truths of their holy religion.

(6) He is bound by an oath to minister ordination faithfully.

(7) He is bound by an oath to teach out of Scripture, and therefore to provide for the anointing of the sick, although in past days a small band of Bishops conspired to rob their flocks of this precious rite.

(8) He provides priests to bless the marriages of [30/31] his people, and when possible to offer them the Service of Holy Communion at the time of the marriage.

(9) Adults may not be baptized without his leave given in person or by deputy.

4. The Bishop is the chief representative of his local Church in worship.

The Prayer Book is so essentially a parochial "Rituale" that the Bishop is not often mentioned in the ordinary services. But we may note:

(1) His sermons, on which so much stress is laid in the Ordinal, are to be delivered after the Nicene Creed, in the service of the Holy Communion.

(2) When present at the Holy Communion he pronounces the Absolution in place of the priest who celebrates in his presence; and also gives the Blessing at the end. That is to say, he "presides pontifically" at the service if he be not the celebrant.

The real proof of the thesis stated above is that the priests and deacons can only officiate with the Bishop's licence. To him belongs all authority over worship; and he alone can authorize departure from the rubrics.

5. Lastly, the Bishop represents the local Church in all its dealing with other local Churches.

(1) He is consecrated Bishop of the "Church of God," not of a local Church only.

(2) He is at his Consecration normally taken into a provincial Synod, under an oath of canonical obedience to the Archbishop and the Metropolitical Church.

Thus the English Ordinal and Prayer Book leave no room for a distinction between Catholic and English Episcopacy; and entirely support my contention that a fundamental, and quite vital, principle of Church order is that every member of the Church who claims the rights of membership, must live in true fellowship, in faith and worship, with his local Bishop. That is to say, the local bishop is the divinely-ordered link between the individual soul and the Catholic Church of Christ.

[32] VII

Finally, it is well that we point out that the conclusion to which we have come is not urged by us primarily on those who have always refused to act upon it. We who abide in fellowship with our Bishops do not arrogate to ourselves the duty of judging our brethren who refuse that fellowship. God alone can know what various motives have contributed to bring them to their present position; He alone can measure guilt, or allow for guiltless mistakes. Nor do we at all minimize the wonderful gifts and blessings that our Father gives to all who earnestly seek Him, compensating as He alone can do for Churchmen's sins, and making a way for His children to return to Him where human pride may have created barriers and quenched light.

But when we are challenged to accept schemes for the erection of new local churches in the mission-field, in fresh areas where no man can be excused for perpetuating old feuds or emphasizing worn-out controversies, we are bound to speak plainly and to the point. And historically it is beyond reasonable doubt that God Himself wills that each soul shall be linked up into the one universal family in and by fellowship with the local Bishop of the Catholic Church. Here then we have a vital principle, the declaration and maintenance of which are laid upon our consciences by God Himself.

It is not enough that we baptize men into the Catholic Church, which is Christ's Body; our baptized people must continue in the fellowship of that Body, which necessitates a loyal union with the local Bishop in faith and worship. This is the ideal given us by God Himself, and to acquiesce in any other ideal to the extent of hiding from our converts that which God has given us, is to betray the cause of truth and unity.

In the Kikuyu Conference, therefore, the Christian teachers departed from a fundamental principle of [32/33] Church order, for they were able to contemplate a common membership in a Federation, and later on in a united Church, of Christians of several denominations, without any the least public reference to the Christ-given truth that real, permanent membership in Christ's Church implies living fellowship with the local Catholic Bishop.

And in inviting to communion at the Church's altars those who have not yet realized, or have already refused, full and complete membership in the Church, they committed an offence not only against the Church's order, but against the souls to whom the invitation is given. To give them communion is to condone their present position of separation from their local Bishop in faith and worship, of which position we are bound to say that it is contrary to the divine purpose and will.

So that it is with very great confidence that I claim that no general answer is possible to the first of the questions published by the Archbishop of Canterbury except in one sense, and that namely: in signing the proposals of the Kikuyu Conference, and expressing personal approval thereof, the Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda contravened the fundamental principle of Church order, which is, that every Christian depends for his full membership in the Catholic Church of Christ upon his loyal fellowship in faith and worship with his own local Bishop.

Several particulars in which this contravention is evident will appear later. It is enough at the moment to have made clear the general principle and the general contravention thereof.

I claim that, measured by the Catholic model of Episcopacy, the two Bishops have, in the goodness of their hearts, fallen short of their bounden duty and service.

[34] PART II


THE Archbishop's two questions refer to "principles, the observance of which is obligatory upon the Bishops . . . of the Church of England at home and abroad," and to "principles accepted by the Church of England." What does His Grace mean by the "Church of England"?

Personally I take him to use the words as the Prayer Book uses them, when it speaks of men as "secretly striking at some established doctrine, or laudable practice of the Church of England, or indeed of the whole Catholick Church of Christ"; thus conforming with the language of our Creed that bids us call ourselves the "one Catholick and Apostolick Church."

None the less it is most necessary to this Case to set forth the truth that the Church of England is in no sense a separate Church, but truly the one Church amongst Englishmen, the Church in England.

It becomes clearer if we think of the Bishops of the Church in England, who are all Catholic Bishops, as members of the one universal College of Bishops. But since the College is at present divided in counsel, we may more rightly speak of them as the English Section of the one College. For they, with the Roman Section and the Orthodox Eastern Section, make up the one College.

Let us then set out what exactly we mean by the Church of England, and in doing so we shall repeat on theological grounds something of what we have said on historical grounds.

(a)We mean the Church of God, founded by our Lord Jesus Christ here on earth, in so far as it is constituted in England among the English people. We mean the mystical Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which He dwells among the English people, uniting them to Himself through sacraments, and working [34/35] through them for the fulfilment of His purpose and the extension of His divine Kingdom. Therefore we mean that the English Church is, for England and the English people, the one Catholic Church, founded by our Lord to be His own Body. We mean the Church of St. Columba, St. Aidan, and St. Patrick; we mean the Church of St. Augustine, St. Hugh, and St. Osmund; we mean the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church confessed in the Creeds; the Church of St. Cyprian, St. Ignatius, and of the holy Apostles themselves.

(b)The government of this Church is fundamentally Episcopal, inasmuch as the Apostles' authority, government, and duty of witness were, in the divine providence, handed on to the College of Bishops of the universal Church; a College that receives its jurisdiction and authority from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, each individual member of the College sharing equally with all the rest in authority, responsibility, and spiritual power.

(c)This College is, on one side, of divine authority, since each member receives his spiritual authority and power from God Himself, through the Church which is the Body of His dear Son. On the other side, it is one with the whole Church, whose life each member shares; and the witness that the College gives is in fact that of the mind of the whole Church. And to the College, as to the Church of whose mind it is the interpreter and exponent, the promise of the Saviour holds good that His Spirit will guide it into all truth, and that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. To this College was the commission given to feed Christ's sheep, and through this College the Spirit of God provides a light to those who walk in darkness.

(d)Thus the College of Bishops, acting for the Church as also for the Lord Jesus Christ, is the divinely sent Teacher of the ages, bearing faithful witness to the revelation made by God in His Son, recorded for us in the Scriptures, Creeds, and Traditions of His mystical Body. To it belongs the task of rightly dividing [35/36] the word of truth, of supervising the restatement of unchangeable Truth in the changing language of human thought, and of providing to each generation the certain knowledge of what in fact Christianity is and always has been. It speaks with the divine authority of the Head of the Church, the Word incarnate, and with the whole weight of the self-consciousness of the mystic Body of Christ, of which it is the mouthpiece.

Again, it is the Guardian of the Church's Life and Grace, an office that it holds primarily from the Divine Life incarnate Himself, and, secondarily, as the essential ministry and priesthood of the mystic Body. To it belongs the ministry of sacrifice, and the duty of feeding the flock with sacramental gifts. It is at once representative of the Lord Christ, as He is the Saviour sent by God to men, and representative of the mystical Body of the Christ, as He is the Priest who in man's name approaches God.

(e)The organization of the Universal College, as history records it, proves that each Catholic Christian should find his union with his Saviour in communion with his Bishop, nor can there be any doubt that each diocese is meant to be a local representation of the Universal Church. It is also quite clear that in the divine providence, by development of Church order, the College of Bishops came to confess a certain allegiance to five great Patriarchs, of whom the Bishop of Rome received the first place and the highest honour. Not less clear is it that, while the College remained undivided, the orthodoxy of the Churchman was taken to depend upon his loyalty to his own Bishop, not to any Patriarch or Prelate outside his own diocese; for each Bishop possesses the fulness of the Episcopate.

Thus the modern development of Papalism is in most direct opposition to the rightful authority and prerogatives of the College of Bishops, and in fact has only reached its present position by the degradation of the Bishops from their Christ-given position.

[37] To-day the College is divided. Four Eastern Patriarchs, with their fellow-Bishops, have long lived apart from the Patriarch of the West; and the English Church became separated from him at the Reformation. That such a separation from the Pope involves separation from the Church is a modern doctrine, unknown to the Universal College. Rather, it is the fact that the personal disagreements between one group of Bishops and another has no such influence upon the inner life of the mystic Body as to kill this member or that. No matter how long the disagreements may last, nor how widely they may spread, the College of Bishops is not thereby rendered unable to proclaim its witness or to communicate grace. Loss of present influence, here and there, there will of course be; but the Church is greater than the part at any one time alive on earth, and beyond the grave there is no division of the Saints.

(f)Thus the English Church is Christ's mystic Body, His Witness, and His life-bearing Agent here in England. She is the one Church, whose members of all nations are mostly beyond the grave, and whose Bishops share, jointly and severally, the one Apostolate constituted by our Lord in St. Peter and the Eleven.

The English Bishops are the ministerial links between English Christians and the Ascended Christ, as they are both the heirs and the present representatives not only of the Apostles but of all the Bishops of the whole Church who have passed to their rest.

They are set to teach, not a system of doctrine peculiar to the English people, but the whole Catholic Faith as the Universal College of Bishops has received and taught it down the ages. They know no Anglican religion, no Anglican theology; but only the one Christian religion, the one catholic theology.

It is true that each nation has its own language and characteristic mode of thought, and to that extent we may rightly speak of an English theology; but the thing thought of and spoken of in English modes is the one, [37/38] universal Christian revelation, that is in its essential, central facts, for all times and all nations one and unchangeable. [1] [(1) See Appendix III.]

(g)Thus an English Bishop is set the task of witnessing to the one faith of Christendom which is common, generally speaking, to the whole College of which he is a member. He has at hand the Scriptures, with the Church's interpretation thereof during some two thousand years; he has the Creeds, with the undivided Church's witness to them; and he has the Church's worship, with her traditions of devotion, morality, and spiritual life. Behind him is the vast cloud of Bishops who are departed this life: whose corporate witness has fixed, with the authority of nearly two thousand years, the broad meaning of the Christian revelation. While at his side, ready to his need, is the living witness of the Episcopate of East and West to aid him in sifting truth and error in modern teachings and systems.

He shuts his ears, in allegiance to our Lord, to the plausible plea of Papalism; although he owes special deference to his own Patriarch, the Bishop of Rome, when he witnesses to what is clearly a universal teaching of the Church. For to every voice which comes with the universal consent of the College of Bishops he is all attention, and tuning his voice to theirs, he proclaims to his own diocese not only what the Christ revealed in His own Person, but what of modern meditation on that Person may be safely held, compatibly with His original unveiling of Himself.

(h)The Bishop claims no right to say or do what the whole College cannot do or say. Rejoicing in the large liberty of thought which in its best ages has always marked that College, he none the less recognizes its limits to speculation; and he is quick to acknowledge that he is at best a Messenger and Trustee. He can neither add to nor diminish revealed Truth; nor is it his to determine by himself terms of communion with the College.


[39] (i)As he looks out upon the world's movements and developments, he is never forgetful that the ultimate need of every man is a certain knowledge of the Christ, and of the way to His Heart. And, therefore, leaving to others the joys and risks of philosophical speculation, he sets himself to his supreme duty of enunciating, clearly and persuasively, the one message of the Gospel, ever new yet always the same. For he knows that he is set as Teacher of the flock and Minister of the Sacraments of Life; teaching what the Church has given him to teach, and ministering Life to those whom the Church has made her own.

(j)All who live within his jurisdiction he claims as his own, because they are Christ's, who sent him. He would have them accept the Truth that he teaches in his Lord's Name, and dispose themselves to receive the Sacraments at his hands. But seeing that they will not accept his credentials as a Teacher, nor acknowledge his ministry as God-ordained, he takes up a position of courteous and prayerful patience; neither yielding to Papal claims nor recognizing non-Episcopal bodies. The Papist he acknowledges, the non-Episcopal Christian he recognizes, for they are His Master's children: but it is in the nature of his office that he cannot acquiesce in the claims of another Bishop in his own jurisdiction, or of ministers who prefer to act therein without Episcopal ordination and authority. In his judgement, as in that of the whole College of Bishops, each local Church can have but one Bishop, nor can any Christian man lawfully claim to minister apart from his Bishop.

This, briefly and, I hope, clearly put, is the meaning of the English Church, or Church of England, and it follows that the action of the two Bishops at Kikuyu, if measured by principles obligatory on Bishops of this Church, will at the same time and in the same judgement be measured by principles that belong to the Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ.



WE pass now to a consideration of the meaning of the African Church, or the Church of Christ in Africa.


(a) From what has been said above it will be understood that a Bishop sent from England to Africa goes out not as a Bishop of the English Church, but simply as a Catholic Bishop, who owes his consecration to the universal Episcopate represented to him by prelates of the Church in England. Inasmuch as he owes his consecration immediately to the English section of the Episcopate, and is likely to be associated with other prelates from England with whom some common ground is necessary, he naturally promulgates in his jurisdiction the English Liturgy and tradition, with such small changes as seem right and necessary.

But he feels in no way bound to emphasize this or that "special mission" of the English Church, such as, in one age, to recall men to the appeal to Scripture, or in another, to assert a liberal catholicism, or to lay stress upon the duty of comprehensiveness; rather he is bound to present the Catholic religion as a nicely balanced system of personal union with the Christ in His Church, using his knowledge of European controversy as a warning against exaggeration, or under-statement, of anyone point of doctrine.

He is then Catholic rather than English, and aims at becoming an African Catholic, and the leader of [40/41] African Catholics. That is to say, he desires to present the one unchangeable truth to Africa in such a way as to make it hereafter easy of interpretation by African thought, in African language. So far from looking forward to the day when Africans will mould the Revelation to their own minds, he would bring their minds into captivity to Christ, and it is his duty to make clear to them, once and for all, the meaning and scope of the authority in virtue of which he demands the response of their minds and hearts to their Saviour and his.

Thus inevitably the nature and office of the College of Bishops must be made clear to Africans; and it is impossible to hide from them that certain Christian bodies have rejected this catholic authority, some in favour of European non-Episcopal ministries, some out of exaggerated loyalty to a European Papalism.

(b)Thus the catholic conception of the Church is made the foundation of the diocesan teaching and organization, a foundation upon the soundness of which the future life of the local church must ultimately depend.

Side by side with personal conversion to the Saviour Christ, goes the work of building the converted, upon the one foundation, into the edifice of the mystical Body, the Church, and the converted African leans for his final authority not upon England nor upon the English, but upon the Catholic Church of Christ, and the College of the Catholic Bishops, represented to him by his own Bishop, in communion with whom he finds himself one with the whole company of Catholic souls on earth and beyond the grave.

(c)Yet the freedom of the missionary Bishop from local influences must never develop into licence. For always he represents the Universal College, and in all matters on which they have expressed a corporate mind and conscience he must needs unite himself with them. It is not in his right to do or to forbid what the College neither forbids nor wills to have done. [41/42] He is a Witness, not a speculator; a Guardian, not an innovator. And his ultimate usefulness depends upon his capacity for making the most of the large liberty allowed him while scrupulously maintaining the limits set him by the Catholic Church.
(d)So that an African Church is ideally just what the English Church ideally is; namely, the universal Church, the mystic Body of the Christ, made visible in a certain country, amidst a certain people, and therefore exhibiting a local colouring in harmony with its local setting; yet none the less catholic and apostolic. For it is the local representative of the one Church, just as its Bishop is the local representative of the one Universal College of Bishops, whether they be on earth or beyond the grave.


It is altogether beside the point that the English Church is not of one mind and practice, and that in Africa the divergences tend to be intensified. Local dissensions, however serious, have no real bearing upon the ideal nature of the Church herself. Yet we cannot adequately state our case against the Kikuyu Conference without some notice of the differences that exist within the Church.

(a)It is certainly true that, men being what they are, temperamental differences must be reproduced in the devotional life, and a Church that is truly catholic will always have room for such. Again, different minds see Truth as from different angles, and the Catholic Church, having the witness to all Truth within herself, can contain all who are content humbly to follow her essential teaching and to refrain from cavilling at the brethren whose vision is wider than their own.

Again, it is equally true that, having regard to the peculiar experiences of English Christians in the period that opens with the Reformation, the Church must be content to endure no little internal dissension until such [42/43] time as certain natural reactions have exhausted themselves, and certain divine punishments been endured. No Christian community can bow down to such rulers as Henry VIII and his children without calling down God's purifying wrath, or without setting free forces that must in the end take vengeance on the community.

Yet when we have said all this, it remains true that the English Church has come to forget in part that in the West she has stood alone for the "active responsibility of the collective Episcopate"; and in her forgetfulness lies the cause of much of our recent trouble.

It has come to pass that the "Establishment" looms more largely in the vision of the average Englishman than the Catholic Church, which is in fact the thing established; and we have come to substitute for the universal Episcopate, represented to us by our Bishops, an authority rather civil than spiritual, rather worldly than divine. And to-day we are doing penance!

(b)Thus under the dominion of the State the Catholic Church has been forced to allow within her walls much that is a cause of real dissension and perplexity. Like Israel, whose chosen King proved a hard over-lord, the English Church has suffered many things at the hands of the State, the chief of her sufferings being the loss of her self-government. We may perhaps see in the avenging wrath of the Lamb, who is punishing us for our fathers' sins, something of mercy; for no doubt we have been preserved, in our common servitude, from turning upon one another to our mutual destruction.

(c)But in the mission-field the differences that our brethren in England have so far carried with more or less success, are proving beyond words intolerable. For we have the spectacle of Bishops sent from England whose conceptions of their office are so diverse as to make common action practically impossible.

In the diocese of Zanzibar the conception of the Church and Episcopate upon which all life and [43/44] organization is based, is that set out in the preceding pages. While the neighbouring dioceses of Mombasa and Uganda are built upon a conception of the Episcopate that is directly contrary thereto. So far as can be determined by one outside these two dioceses, the accepted view is that Episcopacy is the best of all known forms of Church government, whilst not in any sense essential to the Church's life. It has a certain historical authority in the work of witness and ministry, and a peculiar value as a unifying force, and cannot now in any way be surrendered. But for it no special claim of priestly authority and power can be made, such as would exalt its ministry or emphasize its prerogatives. Certainly it affords no link with the College of Bishops scattered over East and West, it does not involve any duty of unifying one's gospel with theirs, nor does it imply a vital share with them in the sacramental system of the universal Church. No! an English Bishop is, on this theory, a man apart. He is witness to a form of truth peculiar to the English Church, which has affinity with the religion of protestant Germany and Geneva in as far as it is not primitive and apostolic; he ministers some of the Catholic sacraments, with a certain amount of re-definition of their significance and scope, in certain cases under new names; he forbids customs, practices, and interpretations of the Creed and Scriptures for which the Catholic Church has no word of condemnation; and, in general, erects a standard of belief and practice for which he can quote no ultimate authority beyond that interpretation of Creed and Bible accepted, in opposition to the universal Episcopate, by his own party in the English Church.

How shall this new conception be handed on to Africa as a foundation of faith and practice? By what standard, external to herself, is the British East African Church to measure her progress in belief and worship? By what voice shall she be recalled from error? And in what wider unity must she seek to lose herself? [44/45] Clearly she will not be papal of her own choice. To accept the universal Episcopate is to condemn her own system. There remains nothing for her but a further diminution of what little authority the Episcopate still has for her; and into a newly conceived" Episcopal" Church, separate in idea and practice from the universal Episcopate, she must seek to unite with herself all non-episcopal bodies that will consent to her plan!


It is now clear that two entirely opposite views of Episcopacy exist side by side in Africa, under the auspices of the English Bishops who send to Africa missionary Bishops as the need arises.

The fundamental question, upon the answer to which so much depends for Africa, is this: on what authority are these two conceptions received and taught?

For the first, I do not hesitate to claim the whole Catholic Church of all ages and countries, unless we except the Ultramontane party in Europe, which set itself to erect the Papacy in the place of the universal Episcopate, a policy consummated in face of a large opposition by means incompatible with the Church's practice in her Councils.

For the second, the authority must be sought within the English Church alone, because only within her borders is any such conception of the Episcopate to be found. But does she in fact afford any authority for it? Certainly not in any formulary or book for which she admits responsibility. So true is this, that those who take a low view of the meaning of Episcopacy are often hard put to it to rob of their evident meaning formulas and prayers that were clearly intended to make articulate the mind of the universal Church.
And I do not see how the English Bishops can, for long, avoid the duty of deciding between these rival [45/46] conceptions. It is clearly their bounden service to the cause of truth either to justify to us the authority for this peculiarly English estimate of the Episcopal office and work so largely prevalent to-day, or to repudiate it. The one thing that in conscience before God we may not do is to perpetuate it in new lands unless it be God's own truth. It has been well said that Truth is that which all must believe; it is not a thing that we may refuse because we do not like it. And I would submit that before any judgement of the proposals made at Kikuyu can be possible to the prelates chosen for that purpose, we must first have clearly defined, in the minds both of the judges and of those who are to hear their judgement, the exact meaning and scope of Episcopacy itself.

[47] PART IV


FOLLOWING out the line of thought along which we have developed the Catholic conception of Episcopacy, we come upon certain general principles which the Kikuyu Conference has in fact, or in its proposals, violated.


First, the Catholic Church claims to be the mystical body of our Lord and Saviour, in which men find their union with Him. Her Sacraments are the channels of His Life. And in order to the existence of these Sacraments our Lord Himself ordained the priesthood of the Catholic Church, without which there exists no revealed guarantee of sacramental grace or Presence. To this principle the whole Church stands committed, and the English Ordinal and Articles have carefully re-asserted it.

The underlying principle of the Kikuyu Conference is that of a practical equality of all religious bodies and their ministries.

(a)It is proposed to recognize common membership between the federated Churches, episcopal and non-episcopal;

(b)It is proposed that each federated Church shall have its own sphere of work, so that some districts may be always episcopal and others always non-episcopal;

(c)It is proposed that baptized members shall be transferred from one federated Church to another;

(d)It is proposed that any communicant of one federated Church shall receive communion [47/48] in another Church, whether episcopal or non-episcopal; and this as a right, the only condition being that the applicant shall bring a card on which his communion shall be attested by the ministers who have given him communion.

All these proposals are framed in ignorance of, or in opposition to, the catholic doctrine of the Church; and the Bishops who endorsed them have assumed responsibility for a teaching of Episcopacy that cannot be accepted.

If the visible Church catholic be Christ's appointed expression of His Mystical Body, it cannot be possible for the members of it to recognize the equal membership of Christians who are active members of other bodies in opposition thereto. So to recognize them is to confess that the visible Catholic Church has no special relationship to our Lord which it is the duty of all men to study and accept. It is to deny that the claims of the Catholic Church are paramount. It is to advocate the view that what is true to one man need not be true to another man; or that truth may be recognized as not binding on the consciences of all. Either the Catholic Episcopate comes from God, or it is not a life-giving power. In the latter case the two Bishops are right in their policy. But if the conception of the Church and Episcopate that is set out above be true, then all these proposals are in effect disloyal to the Truth, whatever excellent motives may be found lying behind them.

Again, if the "thing signified" in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper be really and truly the Christ Himself, when the consecration is made by a Catholic priest, and therefore by the English priest or "minister," it follows that, apart from a revelation, no official recognition of the Sacrament consecrated by one not episcopally ordained can be possible to us.

We do not question the validity of the non-episcopal [48/49] ministries for their own purposes; we do entirely deny any man's right to force upon us a confession of their validity for the ministration of the Catholic Sacraments; and, in passing, we register our conviction that had they such a validity, the members of the bodies concerned would speedily separate themselves, and seek new bodies in which they could escape from the Catholic doctrine of the Sacraments as taught by the universal Episcopate. Again, it cannot be denied that a Catholic Christian is wrong in receiving communion from any minister who is not a priest of the Catholic Church. In doing so he is going beyond our Lord's revelation; and is himself condoning in those with whom he communicates a separation from the visible Church that is the cause of most serious weakness to His Master's work. It is not our desire or our business to judge the individual, whose spiritual life may have reached a high degree of development; but we are entirely responsible for our attitude to societies. And a Catholic Christian cannot confess the ministry of a non-episcopal Church as being, for him and for the sacraments that he seeks, on the same level as the ministry of the Catholic Church

Secondly, the Catholic Church has its own terms of communion. It does not presume to judge generally of the invisible relationship between the Mystic Body of Christ and the individual soul; but it has ever exercised authority over visible relations such as are implied in the act of Communion. And, as we have seen, the test of a man's right to receive communion is his readiness to be at one with his local Bishop in all that is truly catholic and apostolic.

And since each Bishop acts not for himself but. for the College, we may say that the right to receive communion at the Church's altars belongs to those who are, broadly and generally speaking, of one heart and [49/50] mind with the universal Church and Episcopate. So that it would be clear that no one whose conscience or training leads him to live outside his Bishop's ecclesiastical authority has any right at all to approach the Church's altars.

To this several answers are made:

1. The altar is not the Church's but our Lord's.

To which I reply that on the Catholic, and therefore on the English Church's, view, the Church is the Mystical Body of our Lord; what is the Lord's is the Church's, and what is the Church's is her Lord's. The distinction between our Lord's altar and the Church's altar is therefore invalid. Ex hypothesi,visible union with our Lord on earth is visible union with our Lord's Mystic Body, the Catholic Church.

2. The communion is not claimed as a RIGHT, but offered as HOSPITALITY to visitors.

This may be so, but the equalization of membership implies a right; and the present practice of the two dioceses has created what is practically a custom of right, which these proposals will merely make regular.

But assuming that communion is really given as a privilege, I submit:

(a)The refusal to be of one mind with the visible Mystical Body is a just cause for repelling the applicant, seeing that he has not yet made subject his whole mind to the Christ's revelation.

(b) The Act of Communion that joins us to Our Lord and to one another in Him, presupposes a conscious union in a common life in His Mystic Body, a union that our present religious dissensions have certainly made impossible between ourselves and our non-episcopal brethren. The Act itself is no charm, and cannot of itself take away the profoundly un-brotherly relations that at present actually exist. For the existence of non-episcopal Churches is either

(i) A righteous rebellion against a false ecclesiastical spirit hostile to true religion; or

[51] (ii) A refusal to make reparation for the separatism of forefathers, probably because long ago they suffered in controversy with the Church.

If the first be the case, their members cannot come to us without condoning our error; if the second, there is a lack of charity and readiness to forgive, the presence of which is a condition of our receiving communion together.

Further, I would point out that

(a)The situation in East African townships that is quoted as requiring this offer of communion has arisen because the bodies concerned have agreed to leave to the English Church the town areas. That is to say, the federation proposal of "comity" is here an established fact, and has brought with it this difficulty of communion.

(b)Communion for members of other bodies in a "Church area" can always be provided by a visiting minister, by arrangement with the authorities. And there is no doubt that some such plan could have been formulated had not the Bishops themselves come to feel that to give communion to non-episcopal Christians is in itself a most fitting and worthy act.

(c)In any case, the Catholic Church has its traditional rule that no individual Bishop has the power to alter. Namely, that while every communicant receives at his or her own risk, and no one may be driven from the altar rails who has not been excommunicated by name, or become so great a scandal that his reception would do positive harm to souls; the priest is bound to forbid, under episcopal sanction, those to approach the altar who to his knowledge are not well-disposed members of the Catholic Church, or who for any reason are by the Church's custom precluded from receiving.

So that a general offer of communion to non-episcopal Christians is entirely foreign to the Church's [51/52] mind and custom, and cannot be accepted by the Episcopate.

Further, it must be kept in mind that in taking the action they have, the two Bishops are in harmony with a growing number of missionary and colonial Bishops, who, for reasons such as the Bishop of Uganda has set out, now offer communion freely to non-episcopal visitors from a distance. So widespread is this movement that to acquiesce in it in East Africa is to commit the Church to a policy that may easily result in an established custom.

As a Catholic Bishop, owing allegiance to our Lord in the universal College of Bishops, I must personally refuse any the least acquiescence in such a practice. Not for one moment do I claim to judge the decision of a brother Bishop in anyone special case submitted to him by his priests; but I do entirely refuse to be committed by brother Bishops to a principle of admission to communion that is foreign to the Catholic Church, and to an ecclesiastical relationship with non-episcopal Christians, through communion, that they would themselves be the first to repudiate did they fully see its meaning. No man can be in communion with me, rightly and in good conscience, who does not, in general terms, accept fellowship with his local Bishop. Wide as differences of thought and emphasis may rightly be, yet there is a limit of disagreement; and that limit is passed when the anti-episcopal conscience is so strong as to lead a man to co-operate in establishing an anti-episcopal form of religion.


A third principle is that of Sacramental Grace, the communication of which is in the authority of the Catholic Episcopate.

This principle is most seriously violated by the proposals of the Kikuyu Conference.

(a)The Bishops signed proposals that contain not [52/53] one single hint that the Life which is in the Son of God is ideally made over to the world by the Church, acting through the Episcopal ministry. On this point, than which there can be none of greater moment to a new society of Christians, they have not only preserved a discreet silence, but have actually advertised to the world their desire for a new united Church, of whose Episcopal character they make no mention.

(b)The Bishop of Uganda has since made it known that for his part he has reason to believe that the new African Church will be Episcopal in character. But in all that he has written there is not a single word to show what meaning he attaches to that word. An Episcopal ministry may easily mean a protestant ministry ordained by one who is a Bishop, and nothing else at all that is ideally characteristic of the Catholic or Episcopal Church.

(c)And the present practice of the dioceses of Mombasa and Uganda is certain evidence that the two Bishops did not make it clear in the Conference that an Episcopal Church must, essentially, carry with it the power and the duty of administering the Catholic Rite of Absolution, as well as that of Confirmation. And I maintain that in keeping silence upon this point, the two Bishops have been guilty of a most grave irregularity; and have kept back from the Lord's children knowledge of one of His most precious gifts.

(d) Again, the equalization of the Sacraments of the Church and of the non-episcopal bodies is a direct denial of that special character and meaning which the Church has always claimed for her own ordinances; and is certain to be most misleading to all who read the proposals in ignorance of Catholic truth.


Once more the Church's principle is to preach her own full gospel to every creature.

[54] In the mission-field this is not yet possible, partly because of the very inadequate resources of the missions. Hence there has arisen a quite defensible practice of accepting temporary delimitations of spheres, either by written or verbal agreements.

The Kikuyu Conference proposes a final delimitation of areas, in the uncertain hope that some day or another a united Church may have swallowed up the various missionary bodies, always excepting the Roman Catholic missions, which are left out of account.

I submit that in so doing the Bishops have violated the principle enunciated above; and by ignoring the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have made it impossible for the English Bishops as a whole to countenance their plan.

Also I submit that no Bishop, however anxious he may be to show courtesy and affection to workers of non-episcopal missions, can ever rightly forget that he is a Bishop because the Saviour created the Catholic Church to be the home of all His children. However conscious we Bishops may be of our own sins and of those of the rulers of the Church in past ages; however sorry we may be for those whose separation from us must in some large measure be ascribed to our predecessors' fault in ages long past; however pleased we may be that in any way the Name of Salvation is preached, yet so long as we retain our bishoprics, we are surely bound to make known that whole and complete Gospel for which the catholic, episcopal Church has down the ages always stood.


So also the Church has ever maintained a principle of authority in virtue of which she claims to limit the bounds of interpretation of the Scriptures and Creeds. Her witness is of no uncertain sound.

Yet the Bishops at Kikuyu found it possible—

[55] (a)To suggest as a basis of federation each body's own interpretation both of Creed and Scripture, in virtue of which all the non-episcopal Churches have deliberately departed from the Church's Faith and Order; and

(b)To propose a scheme for common training of candidates for baptism and ministry, with special additions made in private by each denomination.

It is impossible to imagine clearer evidence of indifference to the principle of authority as the Church holds it.

And not only so; but in an age that has gone far to reject both Scripture and Creeds from the level of authoritative documents, the Bishops were surely most unwise to omit the one saving principle of the authoritative witness of the Catholic Church.


Another fundamental principle of Church order is that every public preacher and teacher be authorized by the Bishop, who is the teacher of the local Church.

Yet the Bishops at Kikuyu propose to give leave for the ministers of non-episcopal Churches, who in the measure of their sincerity are active opponents of the episcopal religion, to preach as laymen in our Churches. I submit that no individual Bishop has such power, and that he has no right to commit us, his brothers, to all that such an action implies.

Truth is truth, as we have said, to be believed by all the moment they see it. And if the Christ has chosen the Catholic Church to be His present mode of life and activity on earth, we cannot for a moment agree that those opposed to the Church's work and life, whether their opposition be active or only mental, shall be allowed to share in her work and duty of teaching.

[56] PART V


THE second question, addressed by the Archbishop to the Consultative Body, asks whether the Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda, in giving communion to the delegates at the Conference, did anything inconsistent with "principles accepted by the Church of England."

His Grace has framed his question with care. He suggests to his advisers that there are precedents for such a proceeding; he implies that an excuse may be found in the particular circumstances of the Conference, and among them we may safely count isolation, distance from other Europeans, the brotherly feeling that had been so evident, and the like.

Some ill-minded men have even dared to hint that His Grace would differentiate between "the Catholic principles of the Universal Church" and "principles accepted by the Church of England." But, as I have already said, I refuse to follow them in this view. None the less, I deplore some of His Grace's phrases. The Catholic Church does not accept fundamental principles: it expresses principles that belong to her life. The Church does not accept the Episcopate: she cannot exist without it.


Thus before we can plead in answer to His Grace's second question we must clear the ground. (a)And first we would point out that disorders can never be quoted as precedents for new methods, although they may be pleaded in extenuation of mistakes.

It may be possible to prove that the action of the [56/57] Bishops is not original; and that some who preceded them in mistaken ways went unrebuked. Yet we could not deduce from this that their action is justifiable in principle.

In fact we must minimize precedent, and attend to principles.

(b)Again, circumstances may be quoted in extenuation of a mistake, not in justification of departure from principle.

A man's power of clear judgement may be lessened by emotion; his strength of resistance may be weakened by appeals based on sentiment; but his duty of loyalty to principle remains.

We come back, then, to principle. Was there any principle, loyalty to which required the Bishops not to yield to emotion, or to sentimental claims, or to a warm-hearted yearning for visible fellowship with the delegates of other bodies?


What then is the principle involved, to which the Church of England is committed?

The principle is that no man can be said to have retained his full membership in the visible Church who is not in loyal fellowship with the Episcopate, and without such retention of full membership no one may rightly approach the Church's altar.

It follows then that the Bishops who invited such men to the altar were directly contravening a principle of Church order.

It must also be urged that their offence is the more serious in that those whom they thus welcomed to the altar were all of them persons whose work is to extend the influence of religious bodies in opposition to the Episcopate.
The Church, in England as elsewhere, has always required that no one shall receive communion who is [57/58] not, generally speaking, of one mind with the Episcopate in faith and worship. Nominally, in the west, the acceptance of confirmation serves as a test of this one-mindedness; but other tests exist. Here, however, were men and women whose lives and work are, in the measure of their holiness and power, intentionally contrary to the policy and work to which the Bishops had been sent by the Holy Ghost. Yet all were able to kneel together before the Christ, and by so kneeling, claimed to be of one heart and of one mind!

It follows either that the two Bishops have really not yet perceived the principle of Episcopacy, and are still of one mind with those who deny its necessity, or that a most unspeakable insult was offered to our Lord. This latter alternative is unthinkable, for of course all present at this Communion Service received the Sacrament in good faith. Hence we are compelled to argue not only that the two Bishops contravened a principle of Church order in doing as they did; but also that they themselves are so far from the true theory of the Catholic Church as not to perceive the full meaning and harm of their action.

Thus I plead that the only answer to the Primate's question is to the effect that precedents and circumstances may not be quoted in favour of, or in extenuation of, a breach of vital principle; that the Bishops contravened a vital principle of the Church by their action at Kikuyu; and, further, that they are themselves so little alive to the meaning of Episcopacy as to have done what they did in ignorance of its full meaning and wrongfulness. All which if they will admit, I will most gladly withdraw my charge of heresy, and apologize for my use of a word that befits those only who know the truth and reject it.


IT remains to sum up the case urged by me against the Kikuyu Conference. And it may make for simplicity if I do so in a set of questions, in answering which a man can easily discover the underlying principles involved in this grave issue.

1. Did our Lord Jesus Christ found a society called the Church?

2. Did our Lord institute the Apostolate, to be His Body of Witnesses?

3. Did our Lord will that the Apostolate should be continued after the death of the Twelve?

4. Is the Episcopate the legitimate continuation of the Apostolate, according to our Lord's will?

5. Is fellowship with the Episcopate rightly representative of fellowship with the Apostles?

6. Is fellowship with the Episcopate the evident condition of present full membership in the Visible Church?

7. Is a man to be invited to the Church's Altar who deliberately refuses to have fellowship with the Episcopate, and is therefore not maintaining his membership in the Visible Church?

8. Is such a man to be ranked as a teacher under episcopal sanction?

9. Is a society of such .men, as a society, to be regarded as a living, organic branch of the Catholic Church? [1] [(1) See Appendix II.]

10. Is such a society to receive the approval of the Episcopate in closing for ever to the Catholic Church the door into its present sphere?

11. Are the sacraments ministered in such a society, [59/60] by men who have no episcopal ordination, to be regarded by the Church as on the same level as the Catholic Sacraments?

I2. Is not a Catholic Bishop bound to preach faith in the Holy Catholic Church to all men, and to require of them that they both seek and exercise the same?

13. Is there any divine authority for any modified theory of Episcopacy other than that of the undivided Church?

14. May anyone Bishop, or group of Bishops, declare new terms of communion with the Catholic Church?

15. Is there any revealed basis of reunion other than the Episcopate?

Such are some of the questions that must be answered before we can rightly judge the Kikuyu Conference. And I venture to plead that the answers to them which can alone be given, after careful judgement by the standard of Catholic truth and in the light of the history of the Church, must involve the rejection by the English College of Bishops of the proposals made at the Kikuyu Conference.

Easier far were it to receive in brotherly love all who seek fellowship with us, honouring their principles as we honour their lives and labours. But He who came to send a sword upon the earth will not have it so. Rather must we drink of His cup, and, true to principle however unpopular and seemingly destined to bring failure in its train, we must be content to become the scorn of men and outcasts of the people.

For, whatever else may be said about Reunion and the methods of attaining it, one thing is above all else true: without principle we shall accomplish nothing. And since the movement that produced the Kikuyu Conference is evidently at fault in the matter of principles, it is necessary to move backward, and return to prayer and study.

[61] Such a step backward is no loss; as to move along a wrong road is no gain.

Let us refuse entirely to take any step forward that involves the slightest strain upon a God-given principle; and let us calmly and joyfully face the consequences.

And since the step forward proposed at Kikuyu violates a whole set of principles, God-given and catholic, I do most earnestly plead that the scheme of federation proposed to us by the Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda be rejected and set aside.




IT is almost certain that a question will be asked as to the manner in which an unworthy Bishop serves as a link between the individual soul and the College of Bishops.

The answer is that he so acts in virtue of his consecration and diocesan position, not in virtue of his morals and faith. If therefore he be left in his office, he is a sufficient link. And should he prove heretical in his teaching, his diocese is safe-guarded because through him it is one with the whole Church on earth and beyond the Veil. An appeal lies from him to the whole College. This is a commonplace, of course, but it needs to be reasserted.

No man is permitted to separate himself from communion with his Bishop until he has been officially deposed by his fellow Bishops. Otherwise the Church would have no order at all. The terms of communion cannot be altered by an individual Bishop, for the Creeds and fundamental formularies of the Church are to be interpreted in the sense in which the whole Episcopal College has received the same.

We can save ourselves from much difficulty in this respect by meditating upon the oneness of the earthly Episcopal College, divided as it is by disputes as to precedence and authority, with the whole College beyond the Veil.



The theory that Christian, non-Catholic, Churches are branches of the Catholic Church rests upon the same misunderstanding of language as the claim that the Ulster Volunteer Force is, as a Force, part of King George's Army.

It may be true that each member of the Force is a loyal subject of the King; that the Force as a body professes loyalty to the King while opposing the policy of the Government; that it wears a uniform and carries flags that are like those of His Majesty's [62/63] Forces; and that it has performed useful work in keeping the peace.

But it is emphatically not a part of, nor a branch of, His Majesty's Army. To become so, it must, as a Force, enlist itself under the authority of officers who bear the King's commission. Until it does that, no amount of moral virtue, zeal, loyalty, and the like, can make it a branch of the King's Army.

So with the non-episcopal Churches. Their members are Christian, by baptism members of the Kingdom, loyal to the King according to their present mind, zealous, moral, even holy and saintly; claiming to be branches of the Catholic Church of their King. But they have omitted to enlist themselves under the authority of the Bishops who hold the King's commission, and their claim fails.

A non-episcopal Christian and an Ulster Volunteer, as individuals, are, respectively, real members of the Kingdoms spiritual and earthly; but the non-episcopal Churches and the Ulster Volunteer Force, as bodies, have no such corporate relation to the Kingdoms that can justify the term "part" or "branch."



The claim made above that a Bishop is set to be a witness to the Catholic Faith requires a brief explanation:

(I) The Catholic Church imposes a Creed upon all who seek admission; and all who desire to share her worship are required to confess their faith in the words of the Creed commonly called Nicene.

She has from time to time issued Dogmatic Decrees; she has a common worship, expressed in various Liturgies based upon a common belief, and in other traditional forms.

There is then a certain authorized dogmatic interpretation of the Revelation of God in Christ which is, in historical fact, catholic Christianity. No doubt in various schools, in different lands, local interpretations are put forward over and above what is of catholic authority; but impatience with local claims does not justify us in neglecting what is really catholic and authoritative. Thus the Bishops are bound to bear witness to the original Revelation in the Christ, and to that developed dogmatic statement of its fundamental meaning to which the Catholic Church as a whole has set its seal. And, of course, no Bishop is right who, misled by local opinion, however widespread, raises an opinion into a dogma, or condemns an opinion that the Church generally has refused to condemn.

[64] As Mr. Lacey reminds us in Catholicity: "They are Catholic who consent to a formulary of faith. . . . You may deprecate fresh definitions, and the closing of open questions. But you cannot go back to the older conditions, nor finally stop the march of development. . . . We are perforce dogmatic, and Catholicity lies in the generous acceptance of that necessity."

(2) The Catholic Church is a life; and to her the Sacraments are God's Gift of Life. It is true that the number of the Sacraments has been variously estimated: and that to-day only seven are dignified by that supreme title. A catholic Bishop must then provide, at least, for these Seven, each in its proper place. Two are of course supreme, "Sacraments of the Gospel" as we call them; but to ignore any of the other five is impossible. That the list was once larger is no reason for diminishing it any further! It is, at least, necessary to provide the Seven; for Catholicity certainly implies a whole-hearted acceptance of the Sacramental System.

(3) The Catholic Church is a centre of worship. It is true that devotional practices have arisen locally, and do, from time to time, arise, that are in no sense catholic. But also it is true that there is a large tradition of Worship and Devotion that is truly catholic, within which a Bishop is bound to educate his people; and an English Bishop must be most cautious lest he forbid what Holy Church generally approves.

(4) So that under a true catholicism each member of the Church will receive an authoritative statement of the Revelation of the Historic Christ, and its generally accepted meaning in fundamental points. He will at the same time, by sacraments, personally experience union with the Christ Himself; and in the devotional life of the Catholic Church realize that union and enter into something of its mystic meaning.

He will find that the fundamental dogmas of the Faith can in no way kill thought or stifle study; while in living the catholic life he will find the only atmosphere in which really scientific investigation of their meaning is possible.

Should this atmosphere be lacking in anyone diocese, some blame surely lies with the Bishop, as its chief shepherd. But when the Bishop bears his witness to the Faith, and provides for his people the full catholic life and worship, the man who by speculation loses his hold of God must bear his own burden, his blood is on his own head.

at Paul's Work. Edinburgh

Project Canterbury