Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 28 October 2017

Bosco Peters Liturgy Sex Obsessed

Ian Paul Psephizo What did large churches ever do for us?

Tony Clavier The Living Church Protestant or Catholic?

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Susannah Clark
3 years ago

Question: Is the Church of England Protestant or Catholic?

Answer: Yes.

Susannah Clark
3 years ago

I’m afraid so-called ‘obsession’ with sex remains valid in the same sort of way ‘obsession’ with race remained valid in the Civil Rights campaigns of 60’s USA. When a Church vilifies people’s tender, faithful, dedicated expressions of love – and as far as the present status quo goes, it does, theologically – and when a Church orders its priests to remain celibate if they are gay, and deprive partners of precious expressions of sexuality; and when whole Provinces are threatened with sanctions because they ‘dare’ to let people determine their own consciences about human sexuality; and – in the wide… Read more »

David Bunch
David Bunch
3 years ago

Bishop Tony’s reflections on Anglican’s Catholic and Protestant heritage are interesting, not least for highlighting evidential reasons for his approach. His concluding comments about the importance of place, (a concept itself rooted in context, history, and time), deserve to be unpacked more than the available space allows. Perhaps he can be encouraged to develop this theme further?

Philip Almond
3 years ago

The key truths about salvation are about Original Sin, Free Will, Predestination, Justification, Good Works, Sanctification and whether we look to the Bible alone for those truths or whether ‘Tradition and scripture together form a single sacred deposit of the word of God, entrusted to the church’ (Dogmatic constitution on divine revelation, Second Vatican Council), and who has authority to decide what is the truth about these vital matters. As I see it, the differences between the Reformed and Roman Catholic doctrines on these subjects are real and vital. That should not prevent Roman Catholics and Reformed Christians being on… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
3 years ago

Ian Paul writes a thoughtful apologia for large churches. I have worked in large churches, small churches and medium sized churches in various types of setting (rich, poor, median) and I agree with most of the points he makes about what large churches contribute. However, they are an urban phenomenon, as by definition there has to be a sizeable local population to provide a large congregation. And they tend not to be a part of the community in the same way that smaller churches on estates and in small towns and villages can be. The community work done by some… Read more »

Susannah Clark
3 years ago

Phil, You list a lot of abstract terms and theological theory, but personally I would phrase things thus: “The key truth about salvation” (to use your intro)… is about opening your heart to the love of God. I think you can do that in many ways, and in many traditions, including protestant, catholic and orthodox. Anglicanism is not a puritan or Calvinist sect. It embraces a wide range of religious expressions. And maybe that is what is special about it: because it throws us back on the need to love each other in our differences. It calls for growth and… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
3 years ago

The Clavier and Hauerwas articles are stimulating. But I wish we could move away from some of those western doctrines towards eastern, Orthodox, theology. The Orthodox, for instance, have never gone for original sin—they have a different take on such as Romans 5—and, if I understand correctly, sit very light to the (unscriptural) doctrine of the fall. This puts a life affirming take on their theology, one that is echoed in Charles Wesley’s hymns (good patristic scholar that he was) such as ‘made like him, like him we rise’ and ‘man shall all be lost in God’ (from ‘Let earth… Read more »

John Bunyan
John Bunyan
3 years ago

The term “Protestant Episcopal” is found in some of the official documents of the Church of England but is one disliked, for example, by Robert E.Shoemaker in his book, “The Origin and Meaning of the name ‘Protestant Episcopal'” (in reference in his case to the United States). Here in Australia, the term “Protestant” is now very rarely used although somewhat revived in the discussions this week of Luther’s theses posted to his bishop though probably not on a church door, the name of course originally associated with that particular “Reformation”. (In my hospital, only rarely do a few very old… Read more »

Anne
Anne
3 years ago

Well said, Janet Fife. My husband who is a priest, functions in 4 villages just outside Oxford. It is a tragedy to know that so many of the vibrant Christians resident in the villages go into Oxford rather than to their parish church. They would be able to do so much and be a real force for the gospel if they would only throw in their lot with their parish church. An elderly parishioner who goes into one of the large churches in Oxford broke her arm and was not able to drive, when I asked her if we would… Read more »

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

Ironic to have a non TEC Anglican Bishop living in the US speak of the charism of Anglicanism as ‘place’!

T Pott
T Pott
3 years ago

Her Majesty, in November 1952, made and signed the accession declaration: “I, Elizabeth, do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant”. At her Coronation in June 1953 she was asked: “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?”. To discuss whether, or to what extent, we may be Lutheran or Calvinist, is one thing; but anyone who suggests the Church of England is not Protestant is simply not speaking the Queen’s English. They are like physicists who… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
3 years ago

T Pott: At my ordination I swore to uphold the 39 articles. Anyone who thinks I believe in them doesn’t speak the Queen’s English.

Simon Sarmiento
3 years ago

CRS
Your assertion that Tony Clavier is not associated with TEC is incorrect. He has been working as a priest within TEC for a number of years now.

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

T Pott. I don’t disagree. The original Catholick Religion claim was very soon one of protestant claims about the errors of the mediaeval church (Lancelot Andrewes et al). Yet people throw the word ‘catholic’ around in anglican circles routinely in our period. And there is as well considerable deference to the See of Canterbury — a deference not turned back by the incumbent, nor as of yet not ceasing outwith the CofE re: Lambeth Conference, Primates etc. Given the protestant religion reality that in time became the nomenclature, to which you refer here (and to which Bishop Clavier refers in… Read more »

Philip Almond
3 years ago

Question to T Pott: What is your understanding of ‘upholding the 39 Articles’?
Phil Almond

Simon Kershaw
Admin
3 years ago

Clergy (and where relevant, laity) don’t swear “to uphold” the 39 Articles, not any more, anyway, and not since 1974. The bishop or other person reads the preface: “The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine… Read more »

Lavinia Nelder
Lavinia Nelder
3 years ago

To what extent has the portrayal of the Church of England in rural areas contributed to the decline in attendance of ‘small churches’? The ‘spin’ put on such churches is that they are inward looking, peopled by the very old and wedded to worship that looked anachronistic at the turn of the last century. Even if we are to take the Vicar of Dibley type portrayal out of the equation, the statistics we present to the rest of the country don’t make inspiring and inquiring reading. This is likely to be a challenge for our new Communications Director – how… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
3 years ago

Thank you Simon. It just shows how old I am.

Philip Almond
3 years ago

Reply to Simon Kershaw: But (obvious question)- what does affirming loyalty commit you to, bearing in mind that the Preface states that the Church has been led by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Christian truth in the Articles, Prayer Book and Ordinal. Also, what about Canon A5?

Stanley Monkhouse
3 years ago

Thank you, Lavinia Nelder. From the first episode of Dibley (I was not ordained then) I felt uncomfortable. Was this the ideal image of Christianity and of being a Vicar that some church PR Officers told us would revitalise the church? I was brought up in rural Cumberland and I have ministered to rural communities in England and Ireland. Dibley bore little or no relation to reality, and if my antennae are well tuned, a Dibley Vicar would have been regarded as a buffoon. I’m not sure that celebrity Vicars of today do much to dispel that image. But even… Read more »

jnwall
jnwall
3 years ago

The biggest problem with Tony Clavier’s essay is found in the title. As the old saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

SS–sorry, but he is indeed a “non TEC anglican Bishop.” Yes, latterly he is working in TEC.

Makes the appeal to ‘place’ even the more strange.

jnwall
jnwall
3 years ago

To amplify on my previous comment — one difficulty in using binary terms like “protestant” or “catholic” to categorize religious traditions is that the meaning of the terms has shifted over time. In institutional terms, anyone who is part of a religious community that acknowledges the Pope as the head of the church can claim, legitimately, to be Catholic. In pragmatic terms, today’s Roman Catholic Church is probably not “Catholic” in the terms in play in 1500 — ie there are no sales of indulgences or chantry clergy, altars are free-standing, worship is conducted in the vernacular, etc. At least… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
3 years ago

Philip Almond – did you mean to ask for my understanding of upholding the 39 articles? It was FrDavidH who used the phrase.

crs – I don’t think the Queens anointing was specifically Protestant, or even Christian, though certainly Biblical – as Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king.

I do agree about the AbC though, just as the Queen is above politics, the archbishop (based on his gay sex comments) seems to see his role as above religion, a mere focus of unity.

Lavinia Nelder
Lavinia Nelder
3 years ago

What people found in churches 50 years ago was a deeply incarnational form of Christianity essential for ministry even if the concept of mission in the UK wasn’t on the horizon. This incarnational mission is still very much to the fore in many rural communities, but this seems to have a lower priority in the eyes of a significant body of the Church. It makes me wonder how much do the commuting Christians want to be part of the larger (small)community or is it just easier to worship away and put your faith back in a box until next Sunday.

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

“today’s Roman Catholic Church is probably not “Catholic” in the terms in play in 1500″ But of course it is Catholic in that there is a universal teaching, a magisterium, a central See, Bishops in Communion, and a clear sense of eucharistic inclusion. Free standing altars etc did not define the Catholic Church. We could end up making words mean nothing if in the name of declaring anglicans “catholic” we reduced Catholic to selling indulgences. (The teaching itself can be defined as the reduction of temporal punishment after confession and absolution; the Catholic Church has not rejected that notion). TP:… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
3 years ago

Lavinia Nelder I am sure you are right that changing patterns of community and belonging are a factor in the struggle to build Christian communities today but patterns of decline in CofE churches go back a great deal further than 50 years.

Philip Almond
3 years ago

Reply to T Pott: Sorry – I didn’t read the post carefully. Perhaps FrDavidH could answer my question?

Phil Almond

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
3 years ago

I would give an an example of ‘upholding’ the 39 Articles as ministerial life as lived in the diocese of Sydney. So-called ‘Anglicans’in that part of Australia haven’t yet heard of the 21st century but choose to live as if nothing has happened in the Church since Cranmer. It makes them appear eccentric if not a little mad.

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

RG: If canadian catholic liberals or american ones do what they want vis-a-vis Catholic teaching, the latter remains what it is. The same is true when liberal anglicans confect a new meaning of small-c catholic (this coming in about fifteen varieties, including several you do not like). I live in the Catholic rectory of a 12th century Catholic church in France. The faithful do not believe the faith they live and confess is “national diversity depending upon where one lives.” That is now quasiment what anglicans here at TA think: national churches in honour of diversity. They may even call… Read more »

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

RG: yes, I have seen this press release. In it the word “Catholic” is used and it applies to the RCC. Your curious phrase “recovery of catholicity by protestants and RCs alike” is nowhere to be found. Unsurprisingly. I have an association with both Centre Sevres (Jesuit) and Institut Catholic in Paris and have supervised PhD work in the area of Vatican II. Lutherans have done important work on justification by faith in conjunction with Catholics and it is very gratifying to have pontifs speak positively about Martin Luther. But “recovery of catholicity” is a bit like canadian football as… Read more »

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

RG: You would appear to be someone who tries to keep up with theology and ecumenism. In Unitatis Reintegratio the term “catholicity” is used with reference to the now diverging arena represented by baptism and eucharist. That is, the fact that baptized Christians do not share eucharistic unity is an obvious impairment if the word “catholic” is defined as universal and existing *within Catholic Church,* where baptized non-Catholics do not/cannot take communion. It does not refer to the idea that the Catholic Church’s teaching, or its ministry, or sacramental truthfulness, is lacking and so it is in search of something.… Read more »

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

The document I referred to does just this: explain where Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church can agree. It is impressive in form alone. Of course Anglicans recite the Nicene Creed. The question remains how they understand the word catholic. If TA is any indication, there are about 6 different understandings, some mutually corrosive. The RCC does not labor under this same post-reformation burden. One has the distinct sense that when Lutherans and Catholics dialogue, they really know one another well, like estranged brethren. The former have all kinds of written formulation to refer to, akin to the latter. Anglicanism… Read more »

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

RG: you have been the one underscoring the catholicity of Anglicanism. I thought you had a view about how that is so. Now you have decided to ask me to answer the question/s you are yourself posing. My comments should make clear that I believe at present Anglicanism has no clear understanding, and that in comparison with the Catholic Church. Throwing the word “catholic” around in anglican circles points to at least 6 different understandings, some of them deeply contradictory. The Institute I have been in charge of has written amply on the general topic at the level of polity.… Read more »

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

RG: my comment to 1.50 seems to have got lost and I see now you have a second comment. In my remarks at the three Lutheran congregations sponsoring me for the Reformation anniversary,I imagined the effect of canonising Martin Luther. The last two popes have spoken enthusiastically about his contribution. “in part continue to exist” — yes, probably refers to apostolic succession; or Old Catholics. I do not believe that constant reference to the Anglican Communion as “not a church” and as a “loose association of independent national bodies that disagree” will be perceived as moving in the right direction.… Read more »

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

PS–UR was promulgated in 1964, in a very different ecumenical climate re: Anglicanism now 53 years later.

Exhibit A is the extremely vehement reaction in the most recent posting at TA. “We have no doctrine.” “We have no world-wide church.” “The CofE answers to no one but has its own national life.”

Who would UR imagine it is speaking to, or who might speak for Anglicanism in response, in such a context?

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

RG, you are welcome.

1953 and 2017, on this score, are as far apart as the east is from the west.

I suspect the shrillness of the push-back from within the CofE draws from an “attic against counter trends” that will widen the gap, if that is now possible. At best we will have “catholicity” of subjective insistence.

Grace and peace.

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

Tried to say “you are welcome” but my comments are not going through.

I don’t believe UR, or Lux Mundi for that matter, could have anticipated where the AC and the CofE now find themselves.

CRS
CRS
3 years ago

Yes, there was much hopefulness 51 years ago. Now we have politesse and sympathy. As you have noted, aggressive declarations about not being a world-wide church and having no doctrine will invariably make ecumenical relations chiefly about politesse. The Catholic Church, in the estimate of my Jesuit friends, looks on affairs in anglicanism in the west and sees it as a kind of warning, given such a rapid decline and consumed by controversy.

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