Discussion in 'Questions about Anglicanism' started by Jay83, Aug 5, 2013.
As the title says above are Anglicans Protestant? Or are we closer to the Catholic faith?
Yes and no
You know, I almost think that we're in our own category. We and the Lutherans are unlike the other Protestants, especially today. In our case, the name and the fame (or infamy? ) are from the Reformation. But our origins are found in the beginning of the Church.
I'd suppose I'd say that we're Catholic in origin (and in practice?), but influenced by the ideas of the Protestant Reformation.
We're Catholic. And we're Protestant only in that we don't recognize the superiority of the Bishop of Rome over other bishops.
Yes, by law established in England and by ecclesiastical law elsewhere.
From HM Elizabeth II's Coronation Oath:
We are thoroughly Catholic in that we possess all the marks of the ancient and universal apostolic church, but we are also protestant in that we protested against the Romanist accretion and deviations that plagued the medieval Western church, which I would consider much more simple assent to the papacy. If the English Reformation was weeding the garden, as a friend on this forum used to be fond of saying, then it was a thorough weeding, not just window dressing.
Heck, even all Anglicans are different. My friend who is a good Anglo-Catholic sees his Churchmanship as an integral part of his Anglicanism: he would rather be called a heretic than be called a 'dirty Protestant', lol.
In the CEC we are not Protestants. I agree with you friend
Yes and no.
For those of you saying "no" to the question, please provide historical reasoning and examples of anything that is indicative of an non-Protestant nature to Anglicanism.
I included a "no" in my answer because it is very difficult to define what Protestantism is, or who still falls under that umbrella today. Evangelicals have little in common with the views of the reformers, and I'd heard many conservative Protestants say that evangelicals and non-denoms are akin to Reformation-era Anabaptists, i.e. heretics. Evangelicals have low or nonexistent sacraments and believe in "me and my bible alone," which is identical to the Anabaptists whom the reformers rejected as heretics. Calvin for instance believed that out of the Church there was no salvation, and that the Church had the power to define the standards of Christian Orthodoxy. Is that what we think of when we say "Protestantism" today?
Protestants do not have the doctrine of Apostolic Succession. Anglicans do.
Most Protestants do not have Bishops, or pass down the keys of clergyhood via the laying of hands and Liturgy, but the Anglican Faith does.
Anglicans look towards Scripture, Tradition, and Reason as the three-legged stool of the Faith; Protestants look the other way of the Tradition of the Christian Church.
Anglicans constantly recite the Creeds of the ancient Church: Apostle's, Nicene, and Athanasian. Protestants do not follow those liturgical councils. We proclaim to be One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, just as the other Churches of old; Protestants do not.
Anglicans have always kept the Apocryphal Books in the Bible, and they have been part of the earlier Christian Churches. Protestants eschew them altogether.
The Ecclesia Anglicana was the same before the Reformation, and certainly was the same after the Reformation, and kept the essentials of the Faith. The only thing that really did cause a big change was the jurisdiction from the Bishop of Rome to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Many of the liturgical revisions of our time period shown in CW from Britain, the Canadian BAS, and the American BCP 1979, a more catholic understanding of the Anglican Church, from the increase of selection in the Eucharistic Prayers, to the recitation of the Office, to even the addition of the PHOS HILARON (a traditional hymn from Eastern Orthodoxy) as a Canticle used for Evening Prayer. The newer Lucenary Service is very much an Eastern Orthodox thing. All three of these Books do not indicate being solely Protestant, let alone mention the word.
The Oxford Movement itself revived the Catholic heritage of the Anglican Church. They had their faith and loyalty in Anglicanism, but revived that historical pre-Reformation part of Anglicanism with the importance of the Blessed Sacrament, of the order of the Church at large as the body of Christ, as well as the importance of the Divine Liturgy.
All these things and more are the reasons why I can say that we are both Protestant and Catholic, neither, and also merely 'Catholic'.
There are several inaccuracies in your post.
First, Anglicanism has historically eschewed the doctrine of tactile apostolic succession. It has officially taught doctrinal apostolic succession. The High Church party emphasizes the historical succession but it is not the sole representative of Anglicanism.
Second, all historical Protestants to believe in the power of the keys and have liturgy.
Third, the "three-legged stool" was mentioned by Richard Hooker once, it is "Scripture, Reason, and Tradition" in that order.
Fourth, all magisterial Protestants accept and weekly profess the creeds.
Fifth, are you seriously denying that the Reformation completely changed the English Church?
Sixth, there's nothing "catholic" about the Phos Hilaron. Chris Tomlin sings a metrical version of it.
Well said. Completely agree.
Hackney, maybe it would help if you told us how you define "catholic". it seemse as though we are arguing about two different undetstamdings of the term.
I've visited churches of Mormons (post-Protestant), Pentecostals, United Church, Baptists, Presbyterians, non-Denominational, Unity, Christian Science, Seventh-day Adventist, Iglesia ni Cristo, Evangelical, Community of Christ, and even the cultish Jehovah's Witnesses.
While yes, Catholics, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Christians profess the Creeds, practice the Divine Liturgy, have some form of the Divine Office, believe in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, perform the Sacraments with a traditional sacramental theology, have the Septuagint as a basis for the Christian Scriptures, etc. the denominations listed above do not have many of these things.
Which is why I prefer to call the Ecclesia Anglicana both Catholic and Reformed. We are both catholic and protestant (lower case), neither Roman Catholics nor Protestant (larger case, capital letters), and our own ecclesia descended from the spirit of the Apostles. It is the best of both worlds, and yet its own niche in the larger Church Universal.
Anglicanism in general is all about simplicity and order, rejoicing in the catholicity of the Christian Faith, and yet avoiding the extremes of theology (via media). It can be at times a vagary at best, but that can also show our attempts to the ancient Religion.
I think the biggest problem is figuring out what we mean as protestant. It has so many different flavors it is hard to figure out what is meant. Myself coming from a church that aligns more with protestantism. I would say a bit of both.
To my regret, I have to agree with Hackney. As much as I wish otherwise, Anglicanism is definitely more Protestant than Catholic. The more Catholic elements in recent prayer books and the rise of the Oxford Movement were historically innovations. The more I study Anglicanism, the more Protestant I see that it is. The Continuing groups (which I am much closer to theologically as an Orthodox Christian) are not representative of classical Anglicanism as it existed in England from Elizabeth's time to the 19th century. When High Church elements attempted to use incense, chasubles, etc. in the 19th century they were put in jail.
There were always High Church persons in the Church, but they were not representative of the majority. Looking at the evolution of the Ten Articles (1536) through the Thirty-Nine Articles (1563) is quite eye-opening. None of the other Apostolic Churches would be able to accept them, which is why the Anglo-Catholic party dismisses them for all practical purposes (and also often use the "Anglican Missal" since the BCP is heavily Protestant in orientation). I love the works of Dearmer and Staley (I have had a copy of his The Catholic Religion since the 80's), but most Anglicans historically have not been High Churchmen.
Besides Hackney's quote above regarding the Protestant nature of the Church of England (the Coronation Oath), there was a reason TEC was known for as the Protestant Episcopal Church from the American Revolution until 1964.
Funny though, while the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada did exist, the name changed to the Anglican Church of Canada. None of which has ever mentioned the word 'Protestant' as the Episcopal Church in Scotland and the US.I wouldn't even be surprised if, and this is absolutely presumptive and theoretical, at least half of the Anglicans in Canada have been historically Anglo-Catholic or High Church.
The Caroline Divines that were early Anglican theologians were arguably more catholic than anything, emphasising the Ecclesial Body as a vessel of sacramental life on Earth.
The Anglo-Catholic perception from what I have learned from others, is that the Ecclesia Anglicana existed pre-Reformation as well, still under the Bishop of Canterbury, and long before the establishment of the Papacy with the Bishop of Rome, and then latched onto the Papacy later, only to relink the Bishopric to Canterbury (which still explains today why the greatest authority for any Anglican lies in the Archbishop or Primate of one's own Ecclesial Province).
It was during the spirit of the Reformation that the Anglican Church also began taking up a Reformed culture rather than its original Catholic one. It was always a push-pull between the Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals in the Church throughout history (with the Catholic Anglicans influenced by their Roman Catholic brethren, and the Reformed/Protestant Anglicans influenced by the Puritans and Calvinists).
The Catholic nature was present in the Anglican Church pre-Reformation, Reformed in post-Reformation onward, and since the Oxford Movement, Broad Church and coming into more and more High Church culture. It is almost like a delicate dance between these two parties of Churchmanship, and I doubt that there will ever be any consensus between us all. The very delicate balance of the fragile Anglican Communion is certainly testimony of the miracle that any of us are really still in communion with one another!
The Articles in Anglicanism, having changed so much throughout the centuries, especially in the common believer, probably just highlights the fact that Anglicanism is essentially non-Confessional.
It really is a mess of things.. I still adhere to our Church as both catholic and reformed; I have yet to see the complete protestantisation of the Church in the modern age, especially in the way we perceive Protestantism today. Get rid of the Episcopacy (of Bishop, Priest and Deacon) and the Sacraments both, and then I would call it completely made Protestant.
I think Lux is right. ACs, which I include myself, recognize Anglicanism as having gone through a number of costume changes over the years but is more or less the same church that existed in England since prior to First Ecumenical Council. The pendulum swings back and forth over the generations from being more catholic or protestant, we are both and yet never completely either. I cam across this quote in an Australian (?) article that I think characterizes the Anglican mystique:
As much as the Romanists want us to be catholic in the Roman since of the word, we aren't. Nor are we neatly Orthodox in the eastern understanding of the word. We are the thrid stream, not som tributary shooting off from one or both of the other two. We are Anglican because we cannot fit in any other box