Fight For Your Right to Parties

tumblr_lk31mstqtn1qb97mlo1_1280One of the developing facets of Anglicanism since the nineteenth century has been the introduction of church parties. Anglo-Catholicism, Evangelicalism and Liberalism all owe their existence as distinct positions on the Anglican landscape to late eighteenth and nineteenth century movements of reform within the Church of England. There is much that could be said about the strange set of historical phenomena that led to the establishment of these varied and often contradictory theological schools all under the Anglican banner, but for the moment what I am most concerned with is how a renaissance of classical Anglicanism might help to bring these movements closer together, celebrating their contributions to the Church while also moving away from their more unfortunate peculiarities.

Kicking it Old School

Anglo-Catholicism and Evangelicalism both began as reform movements aimed at bringing Anglicans back to their roots. This is easily forgotten today, as both movements have become more concerned with aping their corollaries in the wider Christian world than with celebrating Anglican distinctiveness. Nevertheless, the early Evangelical movement in Anglicanism was deeply concerned with communicating the Gospel by means of both impassioned preaching and liturgy. The great Evangelical Charles Simeon wrote gushingly of his love for the prayer book and his belief that “a congregation uniting fervently in the prayers of our Liturgy would afford as complete a picture of heaven as ever yet was beheld on earth.” He distrusted Evangelical efforts that were not grounded in the prayer book. He also joined his fellow Evangelical John Wesley in having a special devotion to Holy Communion, something that had fallen out of fashion in the latter half of the eighteenth century.

In the beginning, the Anglo-Catholic movement was equally imbued with the spirit of the Elizabethan Settlement. There is a fierce desire apparent in the early Tracts for the Times to associate the Church of England not only with its pre-Reformation past but also with the great lights of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Much of what is available from the reformers and divines today was re-published and circulated by early Anglo-Catholics, from the commentaries and sermons of William Beveridge to Richard Hooker’s Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. Moreover, the early movement was deeply concerned with maintaining the prayer book as the standard for doctrine and faith. Early Anglo-Catholics objected to schemes that would allow for non-subscription to the 39 Articles by those obtaining university posts. Even Tract 90, which was admittedly an effort to find ways around uncomfortable parts of the Articles, was nevertheless an indication of how committed the Oxford Fathers were to explicating the Catholic character that they believed Anglicanism has always had.

The point is, both Evangelicalism and Anglo-Catholicism can legitimately claim a stream of continuity with classical Anglicanism. Moreover, both parties, as reform movements, are able and fitted to make sure that modern Anglicans do not lose an important part of our theological heritage. Evangelicals are well poised to remind us of the ultimate authority of Scripture within the Church, the all sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and the need for personal conversion. Anglo-Catholics, on the other hand, remind us of the power and importance of the Sacraments, the nature of the Church as a divine institution, and the guiding principle of Anglicanism that we judge all of our doctrine and practice by how it relates to the early Church. A full and true Anglicanism has to have all of these things to function.

It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To

What prevents these movements from being reforming and uniting forces within modern Anglicanism? In the course of two centuries, both Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics have become increasingly wedded to their own causes, looking for input on how to behave and what to believe from outside of the Anglican tradition rather than from within it. In recent years, conservative Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals have had occasion to play nice for the sake of opposing the worst excesses of Liberalism. But playing nice is not the same as being united in one faith. In the past, Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics had fierce battles for the soul of Anglicanism because both sides believed that they represented the truth of Anglicanism. As unfortunate as that strife was, what we have now is considerably worse. Today the battle is not so much for what Anglicanism is as whether or not we will be left alone within it. Both sides have come to a tacit agreement that Anglicanism is nothing more than the field in which we happen to operate. As long as we keep our common statements to a vague minimum and do not get in each others’ way, we can pretend to be church together.

Who Invited Those Guys?

The addition of Liberalism to the mix further muddies the waters. Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals do not like to talk about Liberalism as a party within Anglicanism, and in some ways they are right not to. Liberals sometimes see in what they do a line back to Latitudinarianism, but it is a rough line at best. In point of fact, Liberalism is not concerned with history or doctrine but only with the way that the Church interacts with the wider world today. For that reason, Liberalism is only able to function as a piggy-back off of something else. There are Liberal Catholics and Liberal Evangelicals/Low Churchmen but no Liberals outright. That’s because Liberalism requires something to work with, some raw material to shape in one direction or another. Liberalism in the Church is therefore always reactionary in nature. Nevertheless, Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals need to come to terms with the fact that Liberalism exists as its own party stream in Anglicanism today, regardless of the historical merits of this position. To grant this reality is not the same as agreeing to Liberalism’s conclusions, but we must come to see that out of the Liberal party we have received our most challenging engagement with questions of culture, science, higher criticism, and the like, and these are questions that we have to be prepared to answer if we want to have any hope of reaching the modern world with the Gospel.

Party On

Despite the inherent challenges, it is possible to envision a future for Anglicanism in which the parties remain distinctive from one another in their emphases and yet united in common faith. As Catholicity and Covenant and others discussed some months back, we might learn to think of our parties in the way that Roman Catholics think about the differences between Dominicans, Jesuits, Franciscans, etc, not as completely independent movements but as paths that shed light on particular aspects of the whole. What Carmelite spirituality offers to the Catholic Church is different from what comes from Jesuit devotion and scholarship, but neither could survive in isolation from the other streams, which all freely acknowledge, because they share a common faith. It is this last piece that is missing from the debates between our church parties within Anglicanism, though much work has been done in recent years, in the covenant process in particular, to try to find that common ground. What has been missing from that effort, however, has been a genuine commitment from all sides that the basics of classical Anglicanism are where that common ground is to be found, not in appeal to the lowest common denominator of what we are able to say together currently. In practice, what that means is that we have to be prepared to be challenged by one another by means of the very same formularies. Evangelicals do not need to run out and start buying incense, but they ought to be able to receive the Anglo-Catholic emphasis on the sacraments and the orders of ministry not as quirky things that those people do but as a genuine expression of what Anglicans have believed since long before there was such a thing as Church parties. Equally, Anglo-Catholics must concede that the formularies are clear about things like the authority of Scripture and justification by faith, and they must genuinely find a way to make peace with our Reformation heritage. And Liberals must learn to cope with the absolute borders of creedal orthodoxy, even as the rest of us start to take more seriously the questions that they are posing.

In other words, we need to get back to basics, not so that we can recreate the Church of some better bygone era, but so that we can genuinely be the Church in this era. Seen in this light, the restoration of classical Anglicanism is not so much an historical project as it is a way of grounding ourselves for the ministry of the future. In a postmodern world in which everything is a la carte, we are called as Christians to share with the world a faith that is biblical and rooted, a faith that can weather the storms of our lives. The only way that happens is if we find ourselves in the midst of a common narrative about who we are, and since inventing such a narrative from scratch does not seem to be working, perhaps it is time to give the one we have already inherited a try instead.

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About Fr. Jonathan

Your average traditional crunchy Christ follower with a penchant for pop culture, politics, and puns.
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27 Responses to Fight For Your Right to Parties

  1. Brian Daniels says:

    Very well written – it communicates the spirit of the Church as I grew up in it. We were a “broad” parish (being the only one for miles), but we leaned High Church. Everyone knew that the A-Cs went to “Mass” at 8 am and were content with that. Everyone else went to the alternating MP/HC schedule at 10. And we were happy. It was when those “borders of creedal orthodoxy” were crossed that trouble began… Women priests and bishops, a spirit of aggression from the liberals, and draconian implementation of the new prayer book and women “clergy” – it just became too much. Hundreds of thousands of us have been left as spiritual foundlings because of it. I have learned that my heart may always pine for the Church as it was, but faith in God through Jesus Christ is where the rubber meets the road.

    Your blog and videos communicate so much in the spirt of the old Church. I am so glad I found it. Thank you.

  2. I often wonder how much of the yearning for classical Anglicanism is nostalgia, to be honest. I am committed to creedal orthodoxy, personally, but I am also open to discovery. Perhaps it was that we didn’t realize that women were able to serve as priests? Perhaps we discovered something new? We didn’t know in 1662 that it was possible to have computers, internet etc. Perhaps we have learned something about our bodies, about ourselves. Now before anyone starts calling me a liberal, I just want to explain that my own return to creedal orthodoxy was not due to my acceptance of tradition for traditions sake. It was my own discovery of the truth of the creeds – the truth in my own life and in the lives of others. The creeds point and lead us into a deep relationship to other human beings and a greater understanding of our humanness. This is what i find so exciting about classical Anglicanism, there is a spirit of humble searching and discovery. The discovery has to be a growth in love and humanity. The creeds lead us to this: born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, on the third day he rose again. The scriptures speak of the humanity of Christ and his disciples – especially the women disciples.
    My main issue with liberals is that they disregard the body, but in ways so do traditional anglo catholics and evangelicals. Sure, they may say the creed every day while praying the Office but how are the words present in their bodies?
    I support people with disabilites as my career, so I suppose that I always relate back to my experiences day to day. I go to Eucharist as frequently as possible (woman priest) to meet Jesus Christ, I discovered that He is there present in the bread and wine. Then I go to work to meet Him in my fellow human beings. I pray that in some way, in my daily life, I will be able to bring some of the peace of Jesus to others. The hope for people with disabilities is not in the idea of God, or what book we use to pray to Him, or whether the priest is a man or a woman or whatever. It is in the bodily Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. I may be way off base here, and please correct me, but the Prayer Book and vestments and incense and bells and icons and hymns lead us to God’s grace in the sacraments. The sacraments, those ordinary everyday things: water, bread and wine. Taken thankfully by ordinary broken human beings.
    Thank you Father Jonathan for a great post, and I apologize for my rambling comment!

    • The main problem with women priests is that they solidify the identity of the Church as Protestant. They are clearly out of Catholic order on every level (even the one with an office at 815) and are a significant departure from the faith as it was always taught (Catholicism). I don’t have a problem with Protestant female clergy, but being Protestant is different from being Catholic or Orthodox, especially when it comes to the Sacraments.

      However, as I mentioned to Fr. Jonathan in another post as well as above, the more important problem is the matter of ‘tone’. I remember attending diocesan conventions that were prayerful, reverent and dignified (Diocese of Ohio) and I remember the changes: agendas, political issues, etc. The gentle nature of being an Anglican was derailed by social activism, political correctness, etc.

      I’m not saying that the Church was quite as saccharin as The Bishop’s Wife or Life With Father portray it, at the same time there was something to be said for the serene piety of Anglicans at worship.

  3. No…sleep…till Lambeth!

  4. MichaelA says:

    “In other words, we need to get back to basics, not so that we can recreate the Church of some better bygone era, but so that we can genuinely be the Church in this era.”
    Amen!

  5. Grge says:

    Another great essay Fr J. God bless.

  6. Levi Nunnink says:

    Fr. Jonathan, what would you say should unite us as Anglicans? Would it be our commitment to the creeds, articles, and prayer book and then we have latitude within those bounds?

    Personally, I’m a high-church evangelical and I have a hard time seeing where the two parties conflict. Certainly they have different emphases, but they rarely contradict (except perhaps on the extreme fringes). Within our own town we have two conservative parishes: one High-Church and the other Evangelical and we get along great. There’s a lot of cooperation and shared ministry between the parishes and it’s growing.

    Now if only we knew what to do with the Liberal party…

    • Josh says:

      I agree with you Levi. I don’t think the AngloCatholics or Evangelical Anglicans are conflicting with each other. I attend an angloCatholic parish but would have no problem going to an Evangelical Anglican Church. as long as they both affirm the formularies and are within bounds I see no problem. In the Continuing Anglican bodies, we have inter communion agreements with the Reformed Episcopal Church (Who have reaffirmed baptismal regeneration and the real presence) and the Anglican Province of America who affirm Imputed righteousness. We also have the Anglican Catholic Church and the United Episcopal Church of North America that are in full communion.

  7. Joshua says:

    The way I have always understood it from my time as a Confessional Lutheran to my time as a Traditional Anglican is that true love is to help place our neighbor in a correct relationship with Christ Jesus. Love is not to be “accepting of everything” or “liking something a lot.” The postmodern understanding of love and the Biblical understanding of love are not the same thing. They actually contradict each other. To me liberals are way too into themselves and their false idea of love that has no basis in the scriptures or any of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The old saying that I think applies to Anglicans and really all Christians is “What would Jesus do?” Or better said, “What Jesus has done for me.”

    • Joshua says:

      I myself do not think Liberals should be partaking of the Eucharist. It is better for them to sit down until they are ready to take God at His word. I don’t understand why women cannot be Priests. I do not understand why so many people had to die in the food. I do not understand why God basically ordered the Israelite’s to kill women and children. These are things I do not understand and I struggle with, Here is the thing, we are supposed to be God’s children. It does not really matter if we understand these things or not. It is about God and not about me or my understanding. Read what St. Paul had to say on this topic. Read what the early Church fathers had to say. If Anglicans are missing anything it is because they have not fully looked back to the faith “once delivered unto the saints”. If no one in the Church practiced these things before 100 years ago then it is most probable that it was never practiced. If no one in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran,. and the vast majority of Protestants practiced something then I don’t know what more there is. What am I missing?

      • Aaron says:

        “Liberal” is a broad category, and it’s wise to be careful about making sweeping generalizations. Liberals point to deeper truths that have always been part of the Christian experience: God is not impressed by our religious beliefs or choices, our churchiness or piety, our smug certainties; it’s a mistake to think that any of us have a monopoly on truth. Indeed, I would suggest liberality is an aspect of living a holy life in the real world, not just being religious for its own sake, but engaging with the world as something to be reckoned with it itself with an open mind. In this way the “liberal” tradition has a legitimate place, as a reaction against puritan fundamentalism or wooden orthodoxy.

  8. Here are some comments from a self-avowed liberal- a firmly “creedaly orthodox” one. Your essay is as always quite well written, and it is IMHO entirely correct in how the three parties ought to work together for the good of the church. I do think that in this time of turmoil it takes grace, humility, and courage for a “conservative” churchman to admit that there is some good the presence of the broad church party within Anglicanism. So I thank you for that. That said, I think that the liberal party within Anglicanism does have a clearer origin then you think. Like the anglo-catholics we originated in the 19th century- the two original leading lights of our movement were Thomas Arnold and Charles Kingsley.

  9. Joshua says:

    @Aaron-I would say that Puritan fundamentalism has never been Anglican. However, no one in AngloCatholic or evangelical strains are giving people 50 lashes for cursing, Scripture makes it clear that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. This is not puritan fundamentalism and the defense against this is not liberalism. No one agree’s with the Puritans just like no one today agree’s with Westboro Baptist. This is not because we are liberal. It is because the stances of these groups run contrary to revealed truth. The stances of the Puritans run contrary to scripture and Classical Anglicanism just as the Liberal stances do. So I cannot agree that Liberals point to deeper truths or have a legitimate place. Anymore than I would agree that Puritans have a legitimate place. To me it’s not an point to say that Liberals defend us from going off the deep end into puritanism. None of the conservative Anglican parties agree with puritanism or are making any attempt to go in that direction and it has nothing to do with Liberals protecting us.

    • On the contrary, the Sydney evangelicals are quite literally neo-Puritains. They consider the Anglican church to be “half Reformed” and want to complete that reformation. They have quite a few followers in England as well. They don’t exist in the US (here that type joins the PCA), but that doesn’t mean much.

      • Joshua says:

        I know what your saying but it seems to me that the Sydney evangelicals are in disagreement with large portions of Classical Anglicanism. Do the Sydney Anglicans believe in the real presence? Do they believe that we can lose salvation? Do they believe in Baptismal regeneration or that a priest is a called servant of Christ that’s forgives sins by Christs authority? No they do not. So how can they call themselves Anglicans in the first place? They can’t. They may be Anglican by name but that’s as far as it goes. Our formularies affirm everything I have written here and more importantly the Scriptures as understood by the early Church fathers affirm these. Anglicanism is not just a name. Nor is it just Bishops and Priests with Apostolic succession. The point of Apostolic succession is more than who touched who. It is an agree in doctrine with early Church throughout the ages. the “faith was once delivered unto the saints.” It does not change with the times. What the Sydney Anglicans (loosely said) have done does not change anything. Christianity is not an evolving faith. It is complete in its fullest sense.

      • MichaelA says:

        “They consider the Anglican church to be “half Reformed” and want to complete that reformation.”

        Whit Johnstone, as a Sydney Anglican I can tell you that is not the case. There have always been people who hold to that belief in Sydney (and in every other church too, but more so here) and they have been stronger in the past 30 years or so in Sydney than ever before. But they do not represent all Sydney Anglicans nor even necessarily a majority.

        The almost total collapse of anglo-catholicism in Australia into “affirming catholicism” over the past 30 years, together with the extreme liberalism emanating from TEC in the USA (notably from bishop Jack Spong and PBs Frank Griswold and Katherine Schori) and from the CofE (starting with Robinson’s “Honest to God” and going on through the liberalism of Robert Runcie etc) pushed Sydney into isolation from much of the rest of the Anglican world during the 1980s and 1990s. Fortunately, in Sydney we are becoming increasingly aware of the worldwide nature of Anglicanism, in particular that only a small fraction of the world’s Anglicans are found in England, Canada, America and Australia. We are starting to develop our ties with other Anglicans, and I am hopeful that this will see a return to the classical evangelicalism that I grew up with.

        Of those who think the reformation did not go far enough, many eventually leave for independent churches once they realise that Sydney, despite being right over the evangelical side of the spectrum, is not going to stop being Anglican.

        “They don’t exist in the US …”

        You are joking, aren’t you? There are plenty of Anglicans in the US who don’t think the reformation went far enough. They can be found in TEC, ACNA and the Continuum Churches. Anglican churches contain every spectrum of belief in the pews, and often at a higher level too (just like every other church, I might add!)

      • MichaelA says:

        Joshua,

        I suspect from your description that most Anglicans in the world do not believe as you do, so don’t go talking as though it is just Sydney Anglicans.

        • Real presence? Sure, if it is understood in the sense that Ridley and Hooker understood it.

        • Lose salvation – not on your nellie.

        • Baptismal regeneration – sure, in the sense that Cranmer, Ridley etc understood it, i.e. as a sign or seal of regeneration that is ONLY effective when joined with saving faith.

        • That “a priest is a called servant of Christ that’s forgives sins by Christs authority?” – Nope, although a priest can sacramentally pronounce God’s forgiveness, sure.

        My point is not to highlight our disagreement (which is clear enough) but just to point out that your description of “Sydney Anglicans” would describe vast numbers of Anglicans in the world today (some of whom would strongly disagree with Sydney Anglicans)!

        “So how can they call themselves Anglicans in the first place? They can’t.”

        They might say the same about you, although I suspect they are more charitable than you are.

        “They may be Anglican by name but that’s as far as it goes.”

        Ditto.

        “Our formularies affirm everything I have written here and more importantly the Scriptures as understood by the early Church fathers affirm these.”

        “Our” formularies do indeed affirm the beliefs of evangelical Anglicans. As do the scriptures and the church fathers.

        “What the Sydney Anglicans (loosely said) have done does not change anything.”

        What do you think they have done?

  10. Joshua says:

    Liberals seem to cherry pick the bible in order to find anything that disagrees with the orthodox teaching. Baptists do this with the thief on the cross in relation to Baptism. Just because you provide one example of something does not make everything else scripture teaches on a subject wrong. Just because a women could get raped by her brother does not mean abortion should be legal for any reason. This is the kind of logic liberals are bringing to the table and its done nothing but hold us back and brought countless heretical teachings into the Church. When you look at “PrayingAnglicanLaymans” post he makes a valid point. Children with disabilities do not comprehend whether a priest or priestess (loosely said) is presiding over the Mass. However, this does does not nullify everything else the Bible as understood by the Fathers says about the nature of the Priesthood.

    • Joshua says:

      I would go a step further and say that every heretical doctrine or point of conflict between the parties has been because of people wanting to add or subtract from what the Anglican formularies have passed down too us. If you want to be a Calvinist then be a Calvinist. You want to be a Roman Catholic then be a Roman Catholic. But Anglicanism is neither of these.

  11. Father Thorpus says:

    For the liberal party to play nice with the others would mean undermining its core belief in the non-absolute nature of revealed truth (scripture, creeds, etc.). That space opened up by the absolute death of absolutes is where the party wants to party. For a liberal to begin to accept revealed absolutes is for that person to begin a journey away from liberal orthodoxy – it happens, and happens plenty often; but those folks are in transit and can’t constitute a party unto themselves. The wing of the tradition that can lay claim to that name stands firmly on the death of absolutes and will usually fight to maintain that stance, despite any incongruence with classical Anglicanism (or Christianity in general, for that matter). For them, It’s the revolution, right or wrong. Once you give up on that you’re “anti-“.

    You used to see the same mutually conflicting claims between Evangelicals and the Oxford Mv’t A-C’s over things like candles and processional crosses and the role of human choice in the economy of salvation. Between those two the A-C party is definitely the winner, because they still do what they do because they believe in it; whereas the Evangelical wing really isn’t still in touch with things like the Regulative Principle of Worship, or Wesleyan Arminianism (salvation is a choice), or even the Charismatic movement. All the Evangelicals are now is a worship style. There’s nothing they have to say about the Scripture or personal conversion or the cross that can’t be equally said by piety out of the A-C side. With their abandonment or neglect (I suspect the latter) of historically protestant theology, they’ve also abandoned anything significant they have to say in contrast to Anglo-Catholics. What others on this thread have noted as natural agreement between the A-C’s and the Evangelicals really shows how theologically bankrupt it would be for an Anglican Evangelical to suggest that the Anglo-Catholic way is not legitimate. Yet that used to be precisely what was argued.

    So the liberals live in their revolution and the Evangelicals are falling asleep, lulled by incense and vestments. But there’s a proven staying power among the Anglo-Catholics, and it’s not just skin-deep. You can’t participate in a service of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament without being smacked in the face with the theology that allows it, and noting how incredibly distinctive that is from what you’re used to (if you’re not used to it). You just don’t get that among Anglican Evangelicals. There’s no distinctive theology there anymore, hence no distinctive practice. There is among the liberals, but look at what it says and what they do! In the long run, the only sustainable synthesis is a cabal of various theologies under a magnanimous Anglo-Catholic leadership. It’s not as clean as your Classical Anglican renaissance, but it’s more likely.

    • Fr. Jonathan says:

      Hi Father Thorpe,

      I think that it is easy to conflate different types of Liberals together. There is a kind of Liberalism that is exactly what you’re saying it is, a complete anarchism. But there is also a kind of Liberalism, more characteristic of nineteenth century Broad Churchmanship, that sees its purpose as reconciling the historic faith with modern realities. Charles Gore and Lux Mundi would be representatives of this, along with F.D. Maurice, and in more recent times (relatively speaking), someone like William Temple. These folks asked some serious questions, but they did not abandon the core of the faith in the way that someone like a Spong or a Budde have. I think it’s safe to say that there’s no room in classical Anglicanism, or in any kind of orthodox Christianity, for what Spong does (and consequently, what a lot of TEC does), but I would hate to think that there’s no longer a place for a Temple or a Gore. There has to be room for exploration of these sorts of questions, even if what we arrive at ultimately is simply the restating of old answers in new language.

      In terms of your assertions about Evangelicals vs. Anglo-Catholics, I don’t think you give nearly enough credit to the Evangelicals and way too much credit to the Anglo-Catholics. And I say that as someone who generally finds more common ground with the latter than with the former. First of all, not all Anglican Evangelicals were Arminians, not even amongst the Wesleyans. Second, while I agree with the general critique that many Anglican Evangelicals today have lost what is distinctive about their position as Anglicans, that is not universally true. Evangelicalism is, by and large, the more dominant party within world Anglicanism today. However, it is a fractious movement with a lot of different subcultures (Charismatics, Calvinists, Pseudo-Lutherans, Arminians, etc.). But in this, it’s no different than Anglo-Catholicism, which contains those who simply yearn after Rome, those who wish they were Eastern Orthodox, those who accept women’s orders and those who don’t, all right alongside the prayer book Catholics who see in Anglicanism a better engagement with the historic faith than is found elsewhere.

      The argument about Benediction, moreover, is based on emotional appeal rather than concrete reality. What is it that makes Benediction better than, say, a sermon and a praise band on a Sunday morning? Moreover, as I’ve discussed on here before, there are significant problems with Benediction from a classical Anglican perspective, even for the Anglo-Catholic who believes whole heartedly in the Real Presence. How is it not simply a copy of what Rome is doing? What is distinctively Anglican about it? Are there fair grounds for other Anglicans to question it? In a legitimate synthesis, all of this would need to be addressed.

      Finally, the idea that Anglo-Catholics are going to lead the field is at least as unlikely as what I am calling for if not more so. Look around at the Communion today. Most of the staunch Anglo-Catholics have left or are in the process of leaving. Outside of a couple of American dioceses, a few remnants in the British aisles, and the churches in the Caribbean, where are the Anglo-Catholics that you’re talking about? How many leaders in the Global South are Anglo-Catholic? Are there any at this point?

      • Joshua says:

        When I read your posts it seems so much in line with how I understand Classical Anglicanism. I really do not understand how there can be so much disagreement. I don’t know if its because I am from another Tradition and am new to Anglicanism but to me it would be so much simpler if we all held to the formularies and moved from that point. If we just affirmed what has been passed down I do not think we would have nearly as much dissension. Coming from a Lutheran background when I see people under the same banner holding to different beliefs it makes me question whether we know what we are talking about or not. I was a WELS Lutheran but the differences between us and LCMS are small and almost insignificant. The differences in Anglicanism can be much wider. What do you think? How should i approach this differently?

      • Whit says:

        I would suggest Rowan Williams as a good present day example of the sort of liberal you’re talking about.

        I agree that Budde and Spong’s views have no place in orthodox Christianity.

  12. ianwetmore says:

    Very well written, Father. However, you start off implying that partisanship only began with the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic movements of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In reality, there have been deep divisions since the gloves came off during the reign of Edward VI. There was great dissatisfaction in some quarters with the 1549 BCP. And when those folks gained the upper hand they produced the much more Protestant BCP of 1552. Then there were the Puritans, members of the CofE who founded the Massachusetts and Connecticut colonies on principles of religious intolerance, and even legislated the death penalty in the former for those who converted away from Puritanism, which is why many in subsequent years fled to New York in order to be mainstream Anglicans (including my ancestor, the Rev’d James Wetmore, one of the four Yale Converts). Then there were +Thomas Ken, William Law+ and the other Non-Jurors of the late 17th – early 18th centuries. But on the whole, your piece is extremely good and helpful. Thanks. IW+

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