Anglican Identities

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by A Garden Gnome, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. A Garden Gnome

    A Garden Gnome Member

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    No, not the Rowan Williams book :)

    In the FIF/Society parishes of the CofE, the Roman rite for Mass seems almost universal. One could reasonably expect the odd use of it here and there, but from what I've seen it is the de facto norm. Combine this with the wearing of birettas, use of the Roman kalender, Eucharist adoration, &c, and, try as I might, I can't find any reason why these people (including myself) should remain Anglican, apart from convenience of course.

    So, my question is, I suppose, why should I be Anglican? I'm fascinated by the orthodox prayer book tradition, but my chances of finding a good church in this tradition, which also maintains the male-only nature of the priesthood seem very slim indeed (ignoring the much greater problem of the theology behind this, and if I could get behind it). I'm eager to be an authentic member of whatever church I'm apart of, and practicing such Roman things in the CofE just doesn't sit quite right with me.
     
  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This is the problem with the awful 1830s, when the Anglo-Catholics and the Evangelicals decided to declare schism (without telling anyone). At first there were just a few members in either party, but over the next 200 years they pulled adherents toward their respective ends, and left no one from the classical Anglican tradition in the Church of England. That's how you got two schismatic movements, each of which is jockeying to be considered "the" Anglican while neither is actually in conformity with our patrimony or tradition or theology or our views on all of those things. And of course "a house divided against itself cannot stand" -- once these two "orthodox" camps made disobedience to Anglican orthodoxy fashionable and habitual, the heretics found it effortless to get through the gates.

    I am thankful for the fact that despite the horrid throes in the Church of England right now, the Anglican Tradition worldwide has never been stronger or better. Many are gearing up to evangelize England right now, and convert the Church of England back (I am involved with some of those efforts myself). Thus while the situation with the CofE has never been worse, the situation for the Anglican tradition (the 3rd largest communion in the world) has never been stronger or better. The Evangelical Christianity will never graduate from congregationalism to an actual church. Rome is about to walk off the cliff (indeed already has), because its decisions, even the new heretical ones!, are infallible and irreversible. Whatever Rome is now, it will never be possible to walk back; whereas there's no such impediment for CofE's errors, even if our reconquest takes 100 years. Our faith, our orthodoxy, in the Prayer Book, in the Creeds, in our Divines, cannot be broken or made false or be erased. It stands there, unassailable, truly, for all time. The only thing it needs is ready hands, and a strong back.

    Why should you be an Anglican? It is simply The Truth. Not a flavor or an approach to Christianity, but the only modern communion which actually looks and feels and sounds like the church of the Fathers and the Apostles. It's the only fully true church tradition in the world right now. Everything else are approximations of it. The Eastern Orthodox movement emerges in the 7th century AD, the Roman Papacy emerges in the later 8th and 9th centuries AD, and Evangelicalism emerges through the pietist/puritan/methodist strand. All of these are late-comers, and have pieces of the truth, enmeshed with their levels of politics and complexity: you can't be Eastern Orthodox without having to love slavic food and fashion (for instance). You can't be Roman for so many obvious reasons. You can't be Evangelical for so many obvious reasons. The Anglican Way is the last shard of the One True Church.


    Bishop John Jewel's Apology for the Church of England is probably the closest book that I've found which states this manifesto. There is a full text on this site and all over the Internet.
    https://www.anglican.net/works/john-jewel-apology-answer-defence-church-of-england/
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
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  3. A Garden Gnome

    A Garden Gnome Member

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  4. A Garden Gnome

    A Garden Gnome Member

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    An interesting response, I must say. Firstly, Bishop John Jewel's Apology for the Church of England looks like some great reading, and Ill definitely get it printed off soon. Im always happily suprised at how relevant many of the religous writings of times gone by are today.

    So, if I understand correctly, you view the movements within Anglicanism, such as the Oxford Movement, which deviate from what could be called totally orthodox Anglicanism, as harmful to the church, rather than enriching? An interesting point, especially in this world of "Mutual flourishing" (I very much dislike that phrase). How much would you endorse the "big tent" argument? Of course the "tent" has been totally ripped apart anyway in the last 50 years or so, but do you see merit in the "broad" church of the Elizabethan settlement, one that allows for both high and low minded men to find comfort? I suppose that is what makes the BCP so brilliant.

    My biggest worry would certainly be the state of Anglicanism at the moment though. Why do you think the communion has "never been stronger" when we have female "bishops" becoming normal? When we have two competing sides withing the church that has left the orthodox camp utterly decimated? When we have liberalism that just knows no boundaries? I could theoretically get behind a movement which would bring this orthodoxy back, but I'm yet to see anyone, apart from on this site, who is likeminded.

    What a pickle we are in
     
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  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Oxford Movement yes, but especially the Ritualists which came in its train. On the other side you have the evangelical Clapham sect (Charles Simeon and the like). These are the two movements which started with the best intentions and led to the destruction of their beloved Church. If only they knew. We must avoid such recklessness in the future. Pusey is probably not as guilty of this as the later Ritualists, as keen as he was on embracing Richard Hooker and the historic divines. But I still think he didn't do enough to stop the Ritualists from emerging.


    Awful phrase, invented by feckless men.


    It's useful, but has to be deployed carefully. The obvious argument against it is, we cannot ever let it comprehend those who are unfaithful. The biggest argument in favor of it (showing how brilliant our divines were) is the Lutheran comparison: in America you have two 100% orthodox Lutheran bodies, which with their ultra-precise scholasticism are very bitter toward each other, and will probably never unite. By contrast with us you just have 'The Anglican Communion'; worldwide. That's the genius that our divines learned from the patristic creeds. You state the norms of faith in the shortest possible form, and leave people alone after that. It might be seductive to write a 1000-page catechism like Rome has done, but if you keep changing it, then the whole faith seems to change. That's why the Church Fathers never wrote a 1000-page manual of orthodoxy. Our Anglican 39 articles are still as true today as 500 years ago.


    Female bishops (or "wishops") are probably my biggest concern, from anything that's going on. Once you have women performing an ordination when they're still just lay people, then those they ordain were not actually ordained, which over time could decimate Anglican orders. Gafcon has recently made an edict against women bishops, so we are good on that account. In the future if a province decides to embrace it, the right move would be to cut off all ties and re-evangelize them, since their orders (over time) would become invalid. That's what will have to be done with the Church of England (by and large, except for a few safe spaces such as your bishop).


    In England that's the case.

    In America, that was the case, probably in the darkest days from 1980s to 2003, from women's ordination, to lgbt ministry, finally to gay activist Gene Robinson being made a bishop in 2003. That was 15 years ago. Since then you have seen the massive global Anglican realignment, in America and worldwide, which I talk about elsewhere. The new Anglican province that is emerging has nothing to do with the Episcopal Church. Indeed we don't even know or keep track of what's going on over there. They are losing an equivalent of a diocese, every single year. In 20-25 years they'll just vacate all their glorious historic churches, we'll buy them, and Anglicanism in America will be back to what it was before. In the UK you are now where we were then, in the early stages of recovery. You've got your orthodox floating bishop, and the early days of GafconUK, bishop Andy Lines, the FCE, and others.

    There are tons of people who are like-minded. You have to realize how big the worldwide Communion is that you're in. You've got the Diocese of Singapore exploding like crazy, converting people in Vietnam and Thailand to become Anglican, faster than your English blokes are becoming Anglican. You've got the Church of Nigeria which in 20-30 years will have more people than China. You've got us in the US. You've got Latin American Anglicans (believe it or not!) who are strong (Bishop Greg Venables and others). If you wonder why they're not where you are, you have to realize that you are in the middle, dead-center, of the storm engulfing the whole world. It is lonely, but the rest of us are coming to get you. Come to us, or hold the line (using local structures I mentioned) until we come to you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  6. Juliana

    Juliana Member Anglican

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    I wish there was a movement towards orthodoxy in the C of E! It seems to me that Anglo-Catholics do their best to preserve some of this orthodoxy, but even here female altar servers and deacons are allowed. The Anglo-Catholic church we often visit is all-male, but it is a private chapel, so they can do their own thing.
    Personally I think the Oxford Movement has enriched the church much more than the modern Evangelical 'ceiling-scratchers'. Not to speak of liberalism....
     
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  7. Juliana

    Juliana Member Anglican

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    It is definitely lonely in the UK....
     
  8. A Garden Gnome

    A Garden Gnome Member

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    How sad it is. The focal point of Anglicanism, the country that maintained the catholic faith more than any other in Europe, the very country that the communion is named after, has fallen asleep. I do hope your right, and that we are just in the very centre of the storm. We may see Canterbury caps in England once more :pray:
     
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  9. A Garden Gnome

    A Garden Gnome Member

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    Yes, I love my Anglo Catholic church. It is about as Roman as you can get though, which I do recognise is a limitation. Now if we can get something like Percy Dearmer envisaged, a distinctly English catholicism, that would be great.
     
  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    We've been here before. Would you have had any hope left in 1654? Just read the writings of the divines from that period. "The sighs for the Church of England" and other such writings.

    And yet... :)
     
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  11. A Garden Gnome

    A Garden Gnome Member

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    Great point. "Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave".
     
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  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Whatever the solution may be, it doesn't include jumping to the Roman church. There you will just get more of what doesn't sit well, along with their utter sureness that it's not merely good but, rather, totally necessary.

    I'm not sure if you will understand my analogy since you're from the other side of the pond, but it would be like me saying I object to all the progressivism on NBC and therefore I'm thinking of switching to CNN. :doh:
     
  13. A Garden Gnome

    A Garden Gnome Member

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    Haha, I get the gist of that analogy. I must say I'm pleased that our news at least attempts to maintain the appearance of neutrality. I don't think I could cope with having to choose between CNN and Fox.

    I think what I specifically mean is that I feel uncomfortable doing Roman practices specifically outside of the Roman church, the same way as I'd feel uncomfortable doing orthodox practices within the Roman church. I want to be a genuine member of whatever church I'm apart of. As to Roman practices and theology in general, I'm much more sympathetic to them than perhaps I should be as an Anglican. Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, prayers to the saints, purgatory, &c, don't immediately strike me as wrong. That's the reason why I feel that I should either reform my theology and get fully behind orthodox Anglicanism, or swim the Tiber.
     
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Ah, I see. Well, I was raised RC and stayed RC until late 20s, then spent 25+ years in protestant churches, now going Anglican (ACNA). Happy as a clam about my local church. But no way could I re-cross the Tiber.

    I think the highest duty of a church is to bring people to trust only in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. And second, to teach, train and encourage them in their walk with the Lord that they might persevere in faith to the end. And third, to teach, train and encourage them to help fulfill the Great Commission.

    Why I left the RCC had a lot to do with how well I see them fulfilling these duties. Consider duty #1... I feel that the RCC causes many of their members to trust only partially in Christ's redemptive work; they are taught to place part of their trust for eternal life in the RC Sacraments (which can only be dispensed by RC priests, according to their doctrines), in acts of penance, in living a 'good enough' life wherein one's good deeds outweigh the bad deeds on God's scales of justice, and in being lucky enough to not die with an unconfessed mortal sin on one's conscience. Whereas the Anglicans teach salvation by grace through faith, Romans seem to teach salvation by grace plus all those other necessary things. Despite religiously attending Mass and all the Catechism classes for all those years, I don't feel they ever equipped me with the correct understanding about this most basic and essential information. Nor did I understand after all those years that I could have a rich, intimate relationship with God the Holy Spirit; in fact, the RCC had me thinking of the Holy Spirit as impersonal and standoffish, and One whom I could not hear or sense in any way.

    That was my experience. I realize everyone's different, and maybe where you live the RC priests do a better job of equipping believers.
     
  15. Dave Kemp

    Dave Kemp Member Anglican

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    I’m worried for the CofE, I’m currently living in America and find it so sad to see my church decline. I pray for renewal and orthodoxy return.
     
  16. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Active Member

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    I've been told by RC converts that after they took catechism classes, they actually knew more than all the members, deacons, or even the priests who had been trained for years, and all of them were oblivious to certain errors they were committing despite being taught in RC doctrine and catechism. This is true in my experiences talking to them, with priests blatantly teaching blasphemous heresies like Jesus having venial sin. They'll say Mary had venial sin too, which is also condemned as a heresy in the teachings of the church, but a good Roman Catholic should know better.
     
  17. A Garden Gnome

    A Garden Gnome Member

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    I agree there does seem to be a disparity between what the RCC actually teaches and what the faithful (both laity and clergy) believe. I read something the other day that said that over half of US Catholics believe the Eucharist to be only symbolic! If people genuinely believed everything in the catechism, they'd be going to confession every day I reckon, just in case they'd commited a mortal sin. That's the trouble with RC for me, you can't really be Roman unless you believe literally everything in the catechism, even though a lot of Catholics seem to disregard this.
     
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