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Regular readers will know that this blog dislikes the efforts of leftists turning the Anglican Communion into a denomination that disregards the Bible and the Gospel.

On the other hand are the so-called ‘evangelicals’ and the quasi-Calvinists trying to make the ‘Protestant, Reformed and Catholic’ church into either some non-denom or Calvinist offshoot.  Why? 

When I was received into TEC (then known as the Protestant Episcopal Church) I went to a ‘low’ church.  There was never any attempt to transform the Episcopalian/Anglican identity into something it was never intended to be.  We had a bit of the Oxford Movement in the processions, a bit of Roman Catholicism (the altar was designed by a Roman Catholic and there is no room for a ‘table’ in that church), the vestments were a simple surplice and stole (see photo), and the hymns were clearly Protestant.  So, why would anyone want to mess with this formula which pretty much characterised the Episcopal churches I attended elsewhere on holiday?  (Admittedly, some of them had room for tables.)

For those who don’t like liturgy or the 39 Articles, please, there are loads of evangelical non-denominational churches full of ‘praise songs’ and emotional worship — so, join those.  For those who somehow became Episcopalians from fundamentalist denominations, please tell me how many solas the 39 Articles support?  Where are all five in the 39 Articles?  I don’t get it.  Why not become Presbyterian?  These two groups think they can ‘save’ the Anglican Communion with their misguided efforts. 

It would be such a pleasure to have the old PECUSA model of high churches and low churches back.  It worked.  Same here in England.  There are loads of Anglicans who don’t go to church because it’s not the church of their youth.  The C of E has lost its way by pandering to people who would be happier outside the Anglican Communion. But, equally, it’s also taken on a lot of trends that aren’t even Anglican. How did this stuff start in the first place?

The Anglican tenets of faith are a via media, ‘middle way’, a term which raises the hackles of these people immediately.   The 39 Articles borrow from the Augsburg Confession (Lutheran) and Calvinism.  Yet, there is no mandate to forsake hymns for psalms a capella the way orthodox Calvinists do.  Nor is one asked to believe in all five points of Calvinism.  If you would like to be a Calvinist, please do.  But please don’t bring this agenda to the Anglican Communion. 

Ditto these ‘evangelicals’ — a word that now raises my blood pressure whenever I see it in an Anglican context.   I remember going to a Sunday morning service at All Souls in Langham Place (London) 20 years ago.  I was shocked to see that the clergyman wore a tweed jacket and tie.  Yuck.  (Wear some vestments, please: a surplice and a stole.)  The service had some structure to it, but it certainly wasn’t Anglican.  I went again a few years later for a weekday afternoon service.  Yes, it was all about the Gospel, which was great, but in such a non-liturgical way, that I left stunned, vowing never to go there again.  It’s an Anglican church only in name, not in practice.

These developments are discomfiting, to say the least.  If either of these groups think these will improve attendance at Anglican services, they are sadly mistaken.  They are trying to make the Anglican Communion into something it isn’t and was never intended to be. 

Where’s the denomination I joined in the 1980s?  It doesn’t seem to exist anymore.


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