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Have we as Anglicans in the West lost confidence in The Anglican Way?
The Prayer Book Society [1928 BCP] ^ | 10/26/2005 | The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Posted on 10/27/2005 8:14:25 AM PDT by sionnsar

For reflection and discussion,

One way of assessing the way that Anglicans in the West, and in America in particular, present themselves to a bird’s eye view is to say that they have lost confidence in “things Anglican” and put their faith in “things non-Anglican”.

Whatever do I mean?

I mean that over the last forty or so years Anglicans/Episcopalians have looked around for things to adopt and to make their own; and many have done so in order to feel confident that they have a product that they can “sell” in the competitive supermarket of American religions, and in the secular markets of the West in general. Others want a product that they feel will meet their own internal longings and aspirations.

What do we see?

On the evangelical side, there is a sense that to be related to generic evangelicalism, and to imitate the “successful” forms of “church” and “church planting” and “church growth” and “music” and “books of how to do this and that” is the way to go. At the forthcoming meeting in Pittsburgh (Nov 10) of this group, The Network, the major speaker is a Baptist whose books are much studied and views adopted by evangelical Episcopalians. He is as far away from classic Anglicanism as the East is from the West. And the language used by the rectors and leaders in this constituency is much the same as in generic evangelicalism and many in their congregations have little or no knowledge of the historic Anglican Way or its vocabulary and ethos.

On the progressive liberal side, there is an admiration of some of the enlightened ideas and programs of secular society, a desire to interpret them as the revelation of God to this generation, and an intention to give them “God-names” and make them part of the program of the Episcopal Church. And to do so while preserving, as a kind of external garment, much of the musical and literary heritage of the historic Anglican Way (visit the Cathedrals of ECUSA on East and West Coasts).

On the Catholic – that is anglo-catholic side – there is a sense that the only way to go, as the Anglican Communion becomes more “liberal” in the West and ordains more “priestesses”, is towards Rome, to be accepted there in some special capacity as separated brethren. Led by Archbishop Hepworth, this is the way that the Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion [of continuing Anglican churches around the world] have decided to go (and they all are meeting in a synod in Rome in Feb 06 to move on with this agenda). In the UK the Forward in Faith is looking for either the establishment of a new Province in the Church of England or for acceptance by Rome as a group – or both.

In all three examples, there is evidence of a major or total loss of confidence in the Anglican Way as Reformed Catholicism with its own distinctive worship, doctrine and discipline, and with its tradition of religious culture around these of music, of poetry, of literature, of devotion and piety and of theology and ethics. That is, there is the intention to replace Anglican content with other content while retaining the name of Anglican, at least for the time being.

Both the evangelicals and the progressive liberals retain Common Prayer but on their own modern definitions. That is, it is not longer an inherited Common Text that all use and adapt to local circumstances and needs, adding hymns, music and ceremonial; but it is rather a shape or a structure of a service into which can be inserted varied material of local choice, be it from generic evangelicalism, generic charismaticism or liberal Protestantism, as local choice determines.

The anglo-catholics on their way to cross the Tiber either use the modern Roman Rite, as if they were already Roman Catholics; or they use the Text of Common Prayer and add to it at crucial points texts from the old Roman Texts in order to remove its Reformed Catholic character and make it Roman Catholic in character and doctrine.

The major liturgical developments and innovations of the 1960s and 1970s revealed a general lack of confidence in Anglican worship, style, devotion and ethos. It was not merely the change to addressing God as “You” , it was the desire to borrow from other sources (chiefly liberal R C and liberal ecumenical) shapes, structures, translations of ancient canticles & Creeds etc.) to create new texts for liturgies which had little in common with the classic, received Texts within Common Prayer. There was a sense that to be relevant and to keep and win youth everything had to be new from Bible translations to texts for services to ways of presenting doctrine and ethics. Strangely, there was no serious attempt made to put the classic BCP & Ordinal as a whole into a dignified contemporary English; and the primary reason why this was not done was that its doctrine was judged to be unattractive to the post World War II generations.

Confidence in the Anglican Way with its own distinctive forms of worship, doctrine and discipline went into major decline from the late 1960s and it has continued to go down in the West. So, if anyone suggests that Anglicans should consider returning to their own distinctives, style and commitments in a way appropriate for the 21st century, that person is often laughed out of court or treated as a non-person.

Regrettably and sadly, those evangelicals who look to African Archbishops for help do not seem as yet to realize that these men would be more than glad to see the evangelicals recapture their full Anglican identity, even as they retain a commitment to evangelization and church planting. Those who look to Rome for acceptance do not realize that many in Rome cannot understand why they are not seeking to be better Anglicans now and more proud of their inheritance as “separated brethren”. And those who look for enlightenment from the secular world do not realize that the world mocks them as fools because they are in the world, for the world and of the world (and their deity is the world).

A final comment. Those in the West, who claim to have kept faithful to Anglican identity in worship and doctrine, have a tremendous duty and opportunity to witness attractively to their Lord and this tradition of serving him. Let them not be distracted by majoring on minors, by tendencies to schism, by living in the past, by excessive churchmanship of one type, and by caring more for the form than the reality. Let them arise in unity of comprehensiveness and be faithful, joyful and gracious ambassadors of the historic, classic and more importantly biblical Anglican Way.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 10/27/2005 8:14:26 AM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 10/27/2005 8:14:57 AM PDT by sionnsar (†† || (To Libs:) You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
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To: sionnsar

There's a masonic wesite that states that every leader of the church of england since Henry the eighth has been affiliated with or controlled by the masons. Considering that a crucifex of Jesus will never be welcome in any masonic lodge the degeneration of the episcopal church is a slam dunk sure thing.

3 posted on 10/27/2005 8:21:08 AM PDT by i.l.e. (Tagline - this space for sale....)
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To: i.l.e.

Errr excuse me I'm a mason, my father was, my grandfather was and my great-granfather and you have no clue of what your talking about.

4 posted on 10/27/2005 8:51:09 AM PDT by whershey
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To: whershey

Errr excuse me I'm a mason, my father was, my grandfather was and my great-granfather. Ditto and the facts speak for themselves.

5 posted on 10/27/2005 9:45:49 AM PDT by i.l.e. (Tagline - this space for sale....)
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To: i.l.e.

Tell me the facts then.

6 posted on 10/27/2005 11:32:50 AM PDT by whershey
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To: whershey

There's a hundred dollar bill for anyone who posts of picture online of a crucifix in ANY masonic temple or place of meeting.

7 posted on 10/27/2005 11:38:31 AM PDT by i.l.e. (Tagline - this space for sale....)
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