Seeking direction within Anglicanism

Discussion in 'Questions?' started by Reed, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. Reed

    Reed New Member

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    Hello,


    I’m becoming interested in Anglicanism, particularly the Continuing Anglican movement in North America. But as a newcomer, I’m having a hard time sorting through the various churches and finding one that would fit me and my views. My views are a weird mix of theological liberalism, social conservatism, appreciation for Catholic liturgy and mysticism while simultaneously rejecting what I perceive to be excessive Catholic dogmatism.

    I’m not trying to argue for my views or figure out which Anglican church is the “correct” one. I’m simply looking to see which one best matches my views as they currently are.

    I’m looking for an Anglican church, either within the Anglican Communion or outside of it, that...


    –is more on the High Church or Anglo-Catholic side of the churchmanship spectrum than the Low Church side

    –places at least some value on Tradition and private, mystical revelation, even if in a subordinate role to Scripture

    –encourages or at least allows devotion to the Virgin Mary

    –supports or at least tolerates theologically liberal interpretations of the Fall of Man (symbolic, ahistorical, ideal, existential, biological, etc.)

    -supports or at least tolerates theologically liberal theories on Atonement (Moral Influence/Example, Mystical, etc.)

    -but despite toleration of theological liberalism, is politically conservative with respect to issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, and the ordination of women (which is why I think the ideal church for me would likely lie outside the Anglican Communion...I definitely would not feel at home in a church with female priests)


    Are you aware of any churches that identify themselves as being in the Anglican tradition that have these views?


    Thank you and God Bless.
     
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  2. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This seems to be the only liberal viewpoint? Would you mind elaborating more on what you mean under this rubric
     
  3. Reed

    Reed New Member

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    Certainly. It might not be my only liberal viewpoint but it’s the most important one, as it has kept me away from Christianity for years at this point.

    While a literal, scientific understanding of Genesis can be discarded by most non-fundamentalist Christians without too much doctrinal trouble, it does seem to be crucial to orthodox Christian soteriology that the Fall was some kind of historical event.

    Maybe it didn’t involve literal Adam and Eve. But it at least had to be a temporal process that involved some early representatives of humanity—the “homo theologicus” idea written of by Denis Alexander and alluded to by C.S. Lewis before him—who were morally perfect. Not perfect in the sense that they had no capacity to sin, but that they didn’t sin for some considerable period of time and that they didn’t have the strong natural inclination to sin that we have now. The traditional view would at least say that the choice to sin by these people is the reason why we, their descendants, now have an inclination to sin, and might even go so far as to say that their choice is what first introduced death and decay into the natural world.

    The trouble is, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence in the fossil record to support this ever happening. Not only that, but it’s obvious that nonhuman animals have inclinations to do things that, if done by us, would be sinful. If humans evolved from nonhuman animals, and if the Fall was a temporal, historical event, that would mean some early human beings lost the biologically hard-wired tendencies to sin that their immediate ancestors had, and then immediately regained all those same tendencies after a choice to sin.

    This can’t be disproven, of course, but there’s no evidence for it either, and it seems to me much simpler to say that human tendency to sin is a direct, unbroken continuation of animal impulses to do sin-like actions. Add to that the fact that we know that death, decay, and violent competition existed in nature well before human beings, and the view that those things were caused by an historical Fall seems to me very unlikely.

    That said, I’m not a Pelagianist. I definitely think that people are naturally inclined to sin, and that God and religion are needed to rise above those impulses that you could call original sin. But rather than our sinful nature emerging from some event in human history, I see it existing in us for as long as we’ve been here, and that it generally becomes less influential (without ever completely going away) as we become more rational, more aware of God and his love, and more civilized.

    I don’t know exactly how I would interpret the Fall story in Genesis, but it would likely be a liberal interpretation. It seems to me to be symbolic of an atemporal reality, rather than a mythical retelling of a temporal event.

    None of this is to attack the orthodox view. It’s just to explain how I look at it, and have for years.
     
  4. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Fall needn't have been an historical event as much as an ontological one. Many of the world's religions have myths dealing with an original state where man was purer and closer to God, followed by a Fall of one sort or another. C.S. Lewis would have recognized the truths contained in other faiths, while seeing Christianity as the most complete expression of the Truth.
     
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  5. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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  6. Reed

    Reed New Member

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    >The Fall needn't have been an historical event as much as an ontological one...C.S. Lewis would have recognized the truths contained in other faiths, while seeing Christianity as the most complete expression of the Truth.

    I agree, but it seems to me that orthodox Christian soteriology requires it to be historical rather than otological.

    My view on this seems closely tied to my view on Christ’s Atonement. I prefer the theory that Christ’s death saves us in the sense that it confronts us with God’s total love and softens our hearts so that we are more likely to live according to his will (while also providing us with a perfect moral example). I know that isn’t a completely unprecedented theory, but it seems less common than the theory that Christ’s death was a literal penal substitution for a literal debt that was incurred at the moment of the literal, historical Fall.
     
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  7. Reed

    Reed New Member

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  8. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Penal Substitution view is extremely widespread today, particularly in evangelical circles, but I don't accept it, and it is not dogmatically required of Anglicans to my knowledge. It arose during the Reformation as a development of the Satisfaction theory of Atonement., especially among the Calvinists, but it was not the majority view of the early Church.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonement_in_Christianity
     
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  9. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    They do with me also. I have a large number of his works, and an article I wrote on his belief in a universal moral law in The abolition of Man, was printed in the New York C.S. Lewis Society newsletter a couple of years ago. I can't begin to state the enormous influence Lewis has had on me. I don't know if I would be a Christian if not for his writings.
     
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  10. Reed

    Reed New Member

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    The same for me. His understanding of Christianity has always made sense to me. And he was Anglican too, which is one more reason why I’m interested in Anglicanism. But I’m struggling to find a church within the tradition that is socially conservative but also accepting of the handful of theological liberalisms that stick in my brain and won’t come out.
     
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  11. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The tolerance and diversity that we find in Anglicanism is both a blessing and a curse, since finding a parish that you can truly feel at home in can be difficult. The CofE seems to make a greater effort to provide for the needs of its members, for example, the use of "flying bishops" for those who can't accept women's ordination. The TEC, on the other hand, seems to have adopted a more "my way or the highway" attitude. I consider myself a High-Church Laudian, but try finding a diocese or parish that is. Therefore, I gravitate towards the Anglo-Catholics by default.
     
  12. Reed

    Reed New Member

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    I think I would be more or less in line with your views. Are you in a doicese that is still within the Anglican Communion? I think that the ordination of women and the sanctification of same-sex partnerships are so dangerous that splinter churches are justified. But it’s hard to tell if the Continuing Anglican churches share the theological (but not the social) tolerance of the CofE (which I couldn’t attend anyway since I’m in the United States).
     
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  13. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Actually, there are no continuing Anglican parishes in my area accept one from the APCK, and I can't attend the service they hold on Sunday morning due to timing issues and distance. I did occasionally attend the local TEC Anglo-Catholic parish a long time ago, and I have attended the most Anglo-Catholic parish of the ACNA located here now and then. With my bishop's permission, I often attend the Roman Catholic parish near to where I live as well. So, for the time being, I am a member-at-large of the APA.

    My wife and I are contemplating moving to Utah in a few years, after my mother passes away, the reason being that my daughter and grandchildren reside there. Unfortunately, there are even less continuing parishes in the SLC area. I think one ACNA parish meets at a hospital; other than that, there are a couple of TEC parishes.

    Most of the continuing parishes seem to be in the south or the east. :(
     
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  14. Reed

    Reed New Member

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    I currently live in Oregon. I’ve mostly been looking at the churches themselves and their relation to one another, so I haven’t done much research into specific continuing parishes. But I think there are a handful of them here.
     
  15. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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  16. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Links to ACNA parishes:

    http://www.anglicanchurch.net/?/main/locator/us

    Most of the ACNA parishes I have seen are more Low-Church, often Calvinist, Evangelical, and even sometimes charismatic, but they are not all like that. If you can't find a continuing or ACNA parish you feel at home in, check out the Episcopal parishes in your area; you might find a good one.
     
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  17. Reed

    Reed New Member

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    Thank you! Using this and other resources I was able to put together a list of about ten continuing churches nearby. I use “nearby” very loosely, as the most appealing ones are all an hour to an hour and a half drive away :o The best is an APCK parish an hour and twenty minutes away.

    Do continuing churches usually require laity adherance to the 39 Articles? As a catholicly-minded person I disagree with some of them in part, one or two of them in whole. But I agree with the catechism found in the Book of Common Prayer, all three creeds, etc.
     
  18. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    A rule of thumb is: the more Anglo-Catholic the jurisdiction, the less adherence to the 39 Articles, at least from my experience. And the APCK is very Anglo-Catholic. You should, if you haven't already, check out their website. Their publishing operation offers theology books by Francis J. Hall. They are quite good, and I have a couple of the volumes, but again, very Anglo-Catholic. :)

    Here is the website of the APCK parish in my city. I have never been, since time and transportation issues prevent me from doing so.

    http://www.stmaryvirginanglicanchurch.com/
     
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  19. Reed

    Reed New Member

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    Thank you! I’ve looked around the websites and haven’t been able to find any verification about whether belief in the 39 Articles is required, either of lairy or clergy, in the APCK. The website for my “nearby” parish quotes if briefly.
     
  20. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I find that most Anglo-Catholic groups pay some lip service to the Articles, but if they mention them at all, it is with the understanding that Newman and Pusey had of them, e.g., "Tracts for the Times."
     

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