Important Declaration by the Bishop of Zanzibar
From the London Church Times, April 1, 1915
Transcribed by the Revd Dr Peter Toon
The following important document from the Bishop of Zanzibar has been received by us from Zanzibar this week
Frank, by Divine permission Lord Bishop of Zanzibar, to the Faithful of the Diocese of Zanzibar: Greeting in the Lord.
Whereas in the year nineteen hundred and eight the Archbishops, Bishops Metropolitan, and Bishops of the Holy Catholic Church in communion with the See of Canterbury, assembled in Conference at Lambeth, did, in view of a tendency of modern ecclesiastics to alter the historic faith under the intention of restatement, put forth a Resolution in which they set out their conviction that "the historical facts stated in the Creeds are an essential part of the Faith of the Church";
And whereas not a few English priests did continue to publish opinions and teachings at variance with the Catholic Creeds, turning into licence their rightful liberty of thought and discussion, and defending them-selves by the novel plea that an English priest is free to correct the sense of the Creeds according to his own interpretation of his own text of the Scriptures, in spite of the contrary ruling of their Fathers in God;
And whereas in the year nineteen hundred and twelve the Reverend Burnett Hillman Streeter, Master of Arts, Fellow and Dean of Queen's College, Oxford, did publish a book entitled "Foundations," containing certain teachings and principles of criticism that are incompatible with the acceptance of the foundational truths of the Christian Creed, and after thirteen months did reaffirm the same in a book entitled "Restatement and Reunion";
And whereas last year, in answer to an appeal made by Churchmen who were grieved at teachings of such nature continuing to issue from the pens of English ecclesiastics, the Archbishops and Bishops of the Province of Canterbury in Convocation assembled, did put out a Declaration in which, while safeguarding a generous liberty of thought and discussion to students of theology, they pronounced generally against priests who openly deny fundamental dogmas which they are under an engagement to profess daily with their lips; by which Declaration the controversy was for the time brought to a close, inasmuch as it was assumed that the Bishops, acting together in the sense of their Declaration, would at least prevent any extension of authority as teachers or preachers to priests whose attitude to the Faith they had officially condemned;
And whereas the Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Hereford, has recently seen fit to re-open the controversy by his preferment to a Canonry in his Cathedral Church of the aforesaid Reverend Burnett Hillman Streeter, and by so doing has directly and deliberately challenged the Bishops in communion with him either to receive the doctrines of his newly appointed Canon and Preacher as compatible with the Creed of the Church, or to reject the Resolution and Declaration of the Bishops aforesaid;
And Whereas, according to a recent ruling of the Primate of All England, We have no right either of ap-peal to, or of joint action with, the Bishops of any Province of the Church;
And whereas by reason of the detention in the Enemy's hands of so many of our faithful priests We are unable to take counsel with Our Sacred Synod before proceeding to relieve Our conscience and to issue Our answer to the challenge of Our Brother of Hereford;
Therefore do We, Frank, Lord Bishop of Zanzibar, acting on Our behalf, hereby utter and place on record Our most emphatic protest against this action of the Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Hereford, on the ground of its evident opposition not only to the aforesaid declaration of the Archbishop and Bishops of the Province of Canterbury, and to the second resolution of the Lambeth Conference of 1908, but also to the faith and discipline of the Catholic Church upon which that declaration and that resolution are based;
And We do further put on record Our deep regret that, at a time when all men within both Church and State are bound so to act as to avoid unnecessary friction and discord, Our Brother of Hereford should have deliberately gone out of his way to reopen a most painful controversy, and in so doing should have selected as his weapon of offence the preferment to a high preaching office of one of those priests whose teaching concerning our Lord's Person and Resurrection was the immediate cause of the aforesaid appeal to the Archbishop and Bishops of the Province of Canterbury;
For it cannot have been hidden from our Right Reverend Brother that silent acquiescence in his choice of such a priest to fill one of the highest teaching offices within his diocese would, in the judgment of many of his fellow Christians, amount to treason, sinful beyond all earthly treason, against the King who is above all earthly kings;
Therefore do We, Frank, Lord Bishop of Zanzibar, hereby declare and pronounce that, so long as the ground of our complaint set forth above remains, there can be, and from this day forward there is, no Communion in Sacred Things between ourselves and the Right Reverend John, Lord Bishop of Hereford, nor between Ourselves and any priest within his jurisdiction who shall make known his approval of the false doctrines now officially authorized within the Diocese of Hereford;
And We do further warn and charge all Our faithful people that, pending the meeting of Our Sacred Synod, they duly observe this our Declaration and Sentence.
Given under Our Hand and Seal in our Cathedral City of Zanzibar this tenth day of February in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and fifteen, and of Our Consecration the seventh.
X Frank Zanzibar :