Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ceremonial in the 18th Century

This post attempts to refute the Anglo-Catholic assertion that the 18th century was a period of bland worship in the Church of England. Tractarian authors seized an opportunity to discredit genuine High Churchmanship in the Church of England by appropriating to them the name “High and Dry.” However, I will show you that this is not an accurate picture of High Church worship, at least in certain places, during the 18th century. In fact, the 18th century High Churchmen were heirs to Caroline spirituality and ceremonial. While the focus of this research is to determine the worship practices of High Churchmen in the 18th century, there are a few references to ceremonial practice before and after that time.

Ceremonies in the Church of England have suffered continuously since the Reformation between those who view the Act of Supremacy as being sufficient (High Church) and those who believe that further reform is necessary (Low Church), that is churchmanship. While was not originally a term describing differences in practice it has come to describe that. After the turmoil of the years spanning from 1549 to 1559, the long reign of Elizabeth provided the English people with relative stability, both politically and religiously. During her reign, the differences between reformist clergy, called Puritans, and the traditionalist clergy in favor of the supremacy, being called “Anglican” ironically, crystallized. These internal conflicts continued to intensify throughout the reign of Elizabeth and into the next two monarchs’ reigns. Reforming clergy thought they had won the war when James I, a Presbyterian from Scotland, ascended the throne, but he proved to be useless to their cause and instead favored the Anglicans. During Charles’s reign, religious strife would merge with political chaos. Charles was not a moderate churchman like James, but, rather, an ardent High Churchman who appointed William Laud to the see of Canterbury. With royal assent, Laud began a High Church campaign to restore some things lost after the Reformation. For instance, the 1604 canons were enforced and Communion tables were returned to their former place at the east wall of the chancel, placed altar-wise. Communion rails were erected to separate the chancel from the nave. After various complex and interwoven events, the English Civil War began when Laud and Charles were executed. The monarchy was abolished and Parliament first ruled the land, then Oliver Cromwell ruled. After the Restoration of the monarchy and episcopacy, Anglicanism as we now know it finally came to be, for the 1662 Prayer Book was published with the 39 Articles and Ordinal, the formularies of Anglicanism. However, the Laudian bishops who fled the country before the rise of Cromwell, were the bishops who ruled the Church at the Restoration. Therefore, we see Laudian ceremonial in royal chapels, cathedrals, and collegiate chapels, as their distinctive ceremonial practices were required by the 1604 Canons.

Around 1695, a “puritan,” at this point, someone who still wishes for further reform in the Church of England but was able to conform to the Act of Supremacy. (The Evangelical movement had not really started so it is inaccurate to label them as “evangelicals” at this point in history). He lists the following things as contrary to the reformed faith: Bowing at the name of Jesus, bowing to the east or altar, kneeling for the Lord's Prayer, preaching in a surplice, only reading part of the service at the desk, communion rails, and candles on the communion table (although unlit for service except to provide light). A quick note on some of these “usages,” these are common accusations against Caroline and later clergy from reform-minded clergy and laity, although kneeling for the Lord’s Prayer is unique to this list. Strangely absent from this list is the use of a cope, which reformists disliked and especially ones embroidered with images.

It is important to note that bowing at the name of Jesus, the wearing of copes and surplices, and enforcing the use of the Prayer Book were not innovations from High Church “Romanizers,” but rather required by canon law, at least under the 1604 Canons of the Church of England. Canon 18, titled, “A reverence and attention to be used within the Church in time of Divine Service,” treats the subject in detail:

“IN the time of Divine Service, and of every part thereof, all due reverence is to be used; for it is according to the Apostle's rule, Let all things be done decently and according to order; answerable to which decency and order, we judge these our directions following: No man shall cover his head in the Church or Chapel in the time of Divine Service, except he have some infirmity; in which case let him wear a night-cap or coif. All manner of persons then present shall reverently kneel upon their knees, when the general Confession, Litany, and other prayers are read; and shall stand up at the saying of the Belief, according to the rules in that behalf prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer and likewise when in time of Divine Service the Lord Jesus shall be mentioned, due and lowly reverence shall be done by all persons present, as it hath been accustomed; testifying by these outward ceremonies and gestures, their inward humility, Christian resolution, and due acknowledgment that the Lord Jesus Christ, the true and eternal Son of God, is the only Saviour of the world, in whom alone all the mercies, graces, and promises of God to mankind, for this life, and the life to come, are fully and wholly comprised. None, either man, woman, or child, of what calling whosoever, shall be otherwise at such times busied in the church, than in quiet attendance to hear, mark, and understand that which is read, preached, or ministered; saying in their due places audibly with the Minister, the Confession, the Lord's Prayer, and the Creed; and making such other answers to the publick prayers, as are appointed in the Book of Common Prayer: neither shall they disturb the Service or Sermon, by walking or talking, or any other way; nor depart out of the Church during the time of Service and Sermon, without some urgent or reasonable cause.”

The Canons of 1604 were authorized the same year as the revision of the Prayer Book of 1604, Dearmer says of the canons, “These Canons pronounced excommunication upon those, whether Puritans or Romanists, who "impugned" the Prayer Book or refused to use it, and they asserted the historical claim of the English Church to be a part of the Church Catholic. They affected our ritual by enforcing once again the Bidding Prayer before Sermons, and our ceremonial by enforcing the reverence at the name of Jesus, and certain minimum requirements of the Ornaments Rubric — the altar frontal and fair linen, the cope, surplice, hood, tippet (or scarf), and the square cap with cassock and gown, and tippet or hood, out of doors” (Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book). This leads us to the first matter of gesture which we will discuss, that of the bowing at the name of Jesus. As seen above it was enforced by canon law and was a mark of Caroline and later Orthodox High Church spirituality and worship. After the Restoration, Puritan clergy complained of this practice and others, especially: Bowing to the east, standing at the Gloria Patri, and at the Gospel, cope and surplice or rochet, Communion-tables turned altar-wise, reading the lessons (office?) at one place and the second service (communion?) at another, setting up of tapers of wax, candlesticks, basins and ewers upon the high altar, and bowing towards it, bowing at the name of Jesus, "antiphons" and "responds", organs, minister and people reading alternate lines of the psalms, among many other things. Directions for church gestures in 1685 addresses the issue and directs for the bowing at the name of Jesus and towards the altar, "to stand at the lessons and Epistles as well as at the Gospel, and especially when a psalm is sung; to bow reverently at the name of Jesus whenever it is mentioned in any of the Church's offices; to turn towards the East when the Gloria Patri and the Creeds are rehearsing; and to make obeisance at coming into and going out of church, and at going up to and coming down from the altar." The practice continues well on into the 18th and 19th century, and really became a marker of High Churchmanship, because a High Churchman, “bows at going into the Chapell, and at the name of Jesus” (Every, 1). A few more references taken from the Hierurgia Anglicana will show that it was a widespread practice for High Churchmen before the Oxford Movement. For instance, the Knights of the Garter were making reverences towards the altar in 1730 at a royal service and it was documented as being practiced at Oxford at least up until 1795, but probably continued until well after that date.

Next, we move on to the actual ornaments of the church, meaning how they church was adorned. This was an important aspect of Caroline spirituality because the physical church was meant to reflect the heavenly courts (as it still is!), Laud’s famous phrase, “the beauty of holiness,” comes to mind here. However, the focus here will be the 18th century (in a later post, I will focus specifically on the Carolines, although similar a bit more pronounced than later divines). We find a number of adorned objects in use by High Churchmen such as silver communion plates, patens, chalices, flagons, candlesticks, basins, incense pots, altar frontals, embossed prayer books and Bibles and Gospel books, among many other things to create the atmosphere of the “beauty of holiness” in churches. You will note that most of the examples are taken from cathedral and collegiate chapels because the canons mention them specifically and they typically followed them. Parish churches were supposed to look to cathedrals as their model and adapt accordingly but we find that most parishes did not and therefore there was a huge disconnect between cathedral worship and parish worship. The Canons of 1604, however, require certain things to be in every parish church. Every church should have a Bible and Prayer Book (80), a font of stone for baptism, “to be set in the ancient usual places,” (81), every church must have a “decent” Communion table, “covered, in time of Divine Service, with a carpet of silk or other decent stuff, thought meet by the Ordinary of the place, if any question be made of it, and with a fair linen cloth at the time of the Ministration, as becometh that Table, and so stand, saving when the said holy Communion is to be administered: at which time the same shall be placed in so good sort within the Church or Chancel, as thereby the Minister may be more conveniently heard of the Communicant,” likewise, “the Ten Commandments be set upon the East end of every Church and Chapel where the people may best see and read the same, and other chosen sentences written upon the walls of the said Churches and Chapels, in places convenient; and likewise that a convenient seat be made for the Minister to read service in,” (82), a pulpit (83), and likewise a chest for alms (84). The church is to be repaired regularly when it needs repair (85).

"The table or altar should be spread over with a clean linen cloth, or other decent covering, upon which the Holy Bible, Common Prayer-book, the paten and chalice are to be placed: two wax candles are to be set on,” so directions give in 1711 for the adornment of the communion table. There was a controversy between Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholic writers about the legality of having candles on the altar for Communion. The Church Society released a tract in opposition to candles but it appears that many cathedrals did have two candles on them (which was required in an injunction from Edward VI to symbolize the light of Christ), however, it appears that they were rarely lit and usually only lit for their practical purpose (i.e. providing light) instead for their religious purpose (symbolizing Christ’s light). However, Cosin appears to have used them at Durham Cathedral for the religious purpose. Directions for Churchwardens, published in 1712, indicates that, “Common elements of church worship include: decent pulpit cloth, a pulpit cushion, a cloth for the reading-desk, organs, silver basins for the offertory, branches for lights, candlesticks, etc,” indicating perhaps that candles were lit for their religious purpose but it remains unclear from the context and quote. Other records show that churches were purchasing items for worship, such as St. Giles-in-the-Fields, which purchased, “A gold cup was purchased by the parish for 198 ₤,” in 1716. All Soul’s College’s chapel in Oxford had a, “massive altar piece and paneling of marble, with two large gilt candlesticks, a purple-velvet Communion cloth, fringed with gold,” in 1720. In 1736, York Cathedral had, “the Communion-plate, Bible, and Prayer Book, bound in crimson velvet, two large silver candlesticks, covering of crimson velvet for the Table, embroidered with gold and fringe, with velvet for the back of the altar, and altar Prayer Books and Bibles.” Continuing in this trend, the chapel at Caius Collge, in Cambridge, continued to have adorned objects halfway through the 18th century in 1750, it still had, “a communion table with altar rails, marble floor, velvet cloths, two candlesticks with two tapers, large silver dish, two Prayer Books, and two velvet cushions, all fringed with gold.” The trend continues throughout the 18th century and well into the 19th century, meaning that there is little justification for the claim that Caroline ceremonial had died out in that century, on the contrary, it seemed to have continued in cathedrals and collegiate chapels up to the Oxford Movement. Some examples from the early 19th century will show this point, for example, St. Paul’s in 1807 still possessed a silver chalice and paten, embossed with a saint and the Agnus Dei with inscriptions in Latin, embossed prayer book with images, silver plates, two silver candlesticks on the communion table, and two "other candles,” for use in divine services. St Peter’s Westminster reports from the same year having an oak communion table with purple cloth with tassels and two candlesticks. St. Benedict’s, Grace Church, had two large candlesticks with wax candles in them which stood on the altar. Perhaps one would think, “Well maybe the spirit of deism changed the churches in the years before the Oxford Movement,” I would have to disappoint you, for in 1828, All Hallow’s, Barking, still had altar rails and two candlesticks on the Table. The rule seemed to be to have decent chalices, patens, basins, altar linens, candlesticks with candles, decent Prayer Books and Bibles to use for the divine services and other objects which reflect the heavenly courts here on earth in the assembled church. There were even some other exceptions too which reflect the beauty of holiness, for instance, a report in 1712 shows that some churches had pulpits adorned with ivy, holly, and rosemary, and some churches, most notably, King's Cliff, Northamptonshire, reports in 1797, “It is yet the custom at King's Cliff, in Northamptonshire, to stick the church with palms on Passion Sunday.”

Back to the Canons of 1604, which regulate many aspects of common prayer and divine worship on Sundays and holy days. Primarily, the canons require worship from the Prayer Book on Sundays and Holy Days and frequent Communion (Canons 13 and 14), the Litany is to be read on Wednesdays and Fridays by the clergy at the parish and the bell to be rung to let the people know that the prayers have commenced (Canon 15), Communion is to be administered so often that the people may communicate at the minimum three times a year (Canon 21) and college students four times (23), college chapels are to use the Book of Common Prayer too and college students are to wear surplices during divine services (16, 17). The Canons also reveal the official interpretation of the Ornaments Rubric, which it declares to mean that surplice, hood, and cope are to be worn by the minister at Communion-time and surplice and hood when there is no Communion (24, 25) and declare Communion is to be celebrated on principal feast days in Canon 24:

“IN all Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, the holy Communion shall be administered upon principal feast-days, sometimes by the Bishop, if he be present, and sometimes by the Dean, and at sometimes by a Canon or Prebendary, the principal Minister using a decent Cope, and being assisted with the Gospeller and Epistler agreeably, according to the Advertisements published Anno 7 Eliz. The said Communion to be administered at such times, and with such limitation, as is specified in the Book of Common Prayer. Provided, That no such limitation by any construction shall be allowed of, but that all Deans, Wardens, Masters, or Heads of Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, Prebendaries, Canons, Vicars, Petty Canons, Singing Men, and all others of the foundation, shall receive the Communion four times yearly at the least.”

And when there is no Communion, Canon 25 declares,

“IN the time of Divine Service and Prayers in all Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, when there is no Communion, it shall be sufficient to wear Surplices; saving that all Deans, Masters, and Heads of Collegiate Churches, Canons, and Prebendaries, being Graduates, shall daily, at the times both of Prayer and Preaching, wear with their Surplices such Hoods as are agreeable to their degrees.”

In Canon 58, the use of copes at parish churches is not enforced,

“EVERY Minister saying the publick Prayers, or ministering the Sacraments, or other Rites of the Church, shall wear a decent and comely Surplice with sleeves, to be provided at the charge of the parish. And if any question arise touching the matter, decency, or comeliness thereof, the same shall be decided by the discretion of the Ordinary. Furthermore, such Ministers as are Graduates shall wear upon their Surplices, at such times, such Hoods as by the orders of the Universities are agreeable to their degrees, which no Minister shall wear (being no Graduate) under pain of suspension. Notwithstanding it shall be lawful for such Ministers as are not Graduates to wear upon their Surplices, instead of Hoods, some decent Tippet of black, so it be not silk”

Complying with the canon regarding surplices seems to have been universally observed (as far as I can tell) after the ejection of Puritan ministers. Some low churchmen did not like the idea of preaching in a surplice and preferred the gown, while High Churchmen continued to preach in surplice. Likewise, the surplice was to be worn at the desk for other liturgical functions. The canon requiring copes to be worn at cathedrals and collegiate churches seems to have been observed throughout the 18th century, for example, in 1738, a report was made, “Bishops, Deans, Canons, in Cathedral churches, wear a cope beside the surplice, and are to put it on at the Communion service, administration of the Sacraments, or any other religious function which is to be performed with solemnity.” Copes seem to have been worn at cathedrals throughout the 18th century for Communion, however, one author noted that they seem to have slipped into disuse towards the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th at Durham Cathedral at least.
I want to comment briefly on funerals and coronations as well as other special state services, which seem to have merited a further dose of ceremonial in the 18th century. Beginning with coronations, we have the coronation service, which can be read online, but it preserves things which are not part of the Book of Common Prayer, such as the oblation. In several instances, we will also see richly embroidered copes worn. For instance, at the coronation of King George I, in 1714, an observer reports that the dean wore a, “rich cope of purple velvet, embroidered with gold and silver.” Likewise at the coronation of King George III, in 1761, an observer reports seeing the Choir of Westminster in surplices, the Gentlemen of the royal chapel in scarlet mantles, the Subdean of chapel-royal in scarlet gown, the Prebendaries of Westminster in surplices and rich copes, and the Dean of Westminster in a surplice and rich cope. At the same coronation service, “The king's Groom of the Vestry, 'in a scarlet dress, holding a perfume pan, burning perfumes,” likewise, bishops vested in mitre and cope for his coronation. Copes were also worn at the coronations of George IV and William IV, in 1821 and 1831, respectively. A word about funerals, they appear to also have merited “extra” ceremonial, especially for royal and noble funerals. For example, bishops usually vest in rochet, chimere, and tippet, but at their funerals, they are often buried with mitre and staff. There are records in the Hierurgia Anglicana of several bishops buried in mitres and with their pastoral staff. Copes were usually worn at funerals, such as at the funeral of the Duke of Buckingham, 1721, the funeral of Marlborough, 1722, which the choir also vested in surplice, likewise at the funeral of King George’s Queen in 1737, the dean vested in cope, at the funeral of King George II in 1760, copes were worn and wax tapers were carried in procession into the church at Westminster Abbey.

I have two addendums, a brief note about processions. It appears they were not part of normal parish or cathedral worship (from what I have found) but did form a part of ceremonial for funerals and coronations and other state services. Special days did have procession such as Rogation Days and Michaelmas. There are records of Rogation processions around 1700 with the sacrist, resident prebendaries, and members of the choir gather for morning prayer and then march in procession through the streets singing. Likewise, Lincoln College reportedly had processions for Michaelmas and All Saint’s in 1749 and probably other years too with the rectors and fellows of the college marching through the streets on those days.

To wrap up, I have a quote from Bishop Tenison on images,

"For the images or pictures of saints, in their former estate here on earth, if they be made with discretion, if they be the representations of such whose saintship no wise man can call in question, if they be designed as their honourable memorials, they who are wise to sobriety do make use of them: and they are permitted in Geneva itself, where remain in the quire of S. peter the pictures of the twelve Prophets on one side, and on the other those of the twelve Apostles, all in wood; also the pictures of the Virgin and S. peter in one of the windows. And we give to such pictures that negative honour which they are worthy of; we value them beyond any images besides that of Christ, we help our memories by them, we forbear any signs of contempt towards them. But worship them we do not so much as with external positive signs; for if we uncover the head, we do it not to them, but at them, to the honour of God, who hath made them so great instruments in the Christian Church, and to the subordinate praise of the saints themselves" (213,214)

The lawful Use of the Cross in Baptism explained (From the 1604 Canons)

WE are sorry that his Majesty's most princely care and pains taken in the Conference at Hampton-Court, amongst many other points, touching this one of the Cross in Baptism, hath taken no better effect with many, but that still the use of it in Baptism is so greatly stuck at and impugned. For the further declaration therefore of the true use of this ceremony, and for the removing of all such scruple, as might any ways trouble the consciences of them who are indeed rightly religious, following the royal steps of our most worthy King, because he therein followeth the rules of the Scriptures, and the practice of the primitive Church; we do commend to all the true members of the Church of England these our directions and observations ensuing.

First, it is to be observed, that although the Jews and Ethnicks derided both the Apostles and the rest of the Christians, for preaching and believing in him who was crucified upon the Cross; yet all, both Apostles and Christians, were so far from being discouraged from their profession by the ignominy of the Cross, as they rather rejoiced and triumphed in it. Yea, the Holy Ghost by the mouths of the Apostles did honour the name of the Cross (being hateful among the Jews) so far, that under it he comprehended not only Christ crucified, but the force, effects, and merits of his Death and Passion, with all the comforts, fruits, and promises, which we receive or expect thereby.

Secondly, the honour and dignity of the name of the Cross begat a reverend estimation even in the Apostles' times (for ought that is known to the contrary) of the Sign of the Cross, which the Christians shortly after used in all their actions; thereby making an outward shew and profession, even to the astonishment of the Jews, that they were not ashamed to acknowledge him for their Lord and Saviour, who died for them upon the Cross. And this Sign they did not only use themselves with a kind of glory, when they met with any Jews, but signed therewith their children when they were christened, to dedicate them by that badge to his service, whose benefits bestowed upon them in Baptism the name of the Cross did represent. And this use of the Sign of the Cross in Baptism was held in the primitive Church, as well by the Greeks as the Latins, with one consent and great applause. At what time, if any had opposed themselves against it, they would certainly have been censured as enemies of the name of the Cross, and consequently of Christ's merits, the Sign whereof they could no better endure. This continual and general use of the Sign of the Cross is evident by many testimonies of the ancient Fathers.

Thirdly, it must be confessed, that in process of time the Sign of the Cross was greatly abused in the Church of Rome, especially after that corruption of Popery had once possessed it.

But the abuse of a thing doth not take away the lawful use of it. Nay, so far was it from the purpose of the Church of England to forsake and reject the Churches of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, or any such like Churches, in all things which they held and practised, that, as the Apology of the Church of England confesseth, it doth with reverence retain those ceremonies, which do neither endamage the Church of God, nor offend the minds of sober men; and only departed from them in those particular points, wherein they were fallen both from themselves in their ancient integrity, and from the Apostolical Churches, which were their first founders. In which respect, amongst some other very ancient ceremonies, the Sign of the Cross in Baptism hath been retained in this Church, both by the judgement and practice of those reverend Fathers and great Divines in the days of King Edward the Sixth,of whom some constantly suffered for the profession of the truth; and others being exiled in the time of Queen Mary, did after their return, in the beginning of the reign of our late dread Sovereign, continually defend and use the same. This resolution and practice of our Church hath been allowed and approved by the censure upon the Communion-book in King Edward the Sixth his days, and by the harmony of Confessions of later years: because indeed the use of this Sign in Baptism was ever accompanied here with such sufficient cautions and exceptions against all Popish superstition and error, as in the like cases are either fit or convenient.

First, the Church of England, since the abolishing of Popery, hath ever held and taught, and so doth hold and teach still, that the Sign of the Cross used in Baptism is no part of the substance of that Sacrament: for when the Minister, dipping the infant in water, or laying water upon the face of it, (as the manner also is,) hath pronounced these words, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, the infant is fully and perfectly baptized. So as the Sign of the Cross being afterwards used, doth neither add any thing to the virtue and perfection of Baptism, nor being omitted doth detract any thing from the effect and substance of it.

Secondly, it is apparent in the Communion-book, that the infant baptized is, by virtue of Baptism, before it be signed with the Sign of the Cross, received into the congregation of Christ's flock, as a perfect member thereof and not by any power ascribed unto the Sign of the Cross. So that for the very remembrance of the Cross, which is very precious to all them that rightly believe in Jesus Christ, and in the other respects mentioned, the Church of England hath retained still the Sign of it in Baptism: following therein the primitive and apostolical Churches, and accounting it a lawful outward ceremony and honourable badge, whereby the infant is dedicated to the service of him that died upon the Cross, as by the words used in the Book of Common Prayer it may appear.

Lastly, the use of the Sign of the Cross in Baptism, being thus purged from all. Popish superstition and error, and reduced in the Church of England to the primary institution of it, upon those true rules of doctrine concerning things indifferent, which are consonant to the Word of God, and the judgements of all the ancient Fathers, we hold it the part of every private man, both Minister and other, reverently to retain the true use of it prescribed by publick authority; considering that things of themselves indifferent do in some sort alter their natures, when they are either commanded or forbidden by a lawful magistrate; and may not be omitted at every man's pleasure, contrary to the law, when they be commanded, nor used when they are prohibited.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The REC Declaration of Principles

I've been involved in a discussion about the REC Declaration of Principles with some people online. I've been reading and reflecting on them for some time now due to personal ties with the REC (in case you didn't know, REC = Reformed Episcopal Church). The Declaration was written at a specific time and is very much tied to the controversies of the day but not irrelevant nor has it lost any truth.

A brief historical summary of the situation correlates directly with the subject of this blog. The Reformed Episcopal Church was formed in 1873 under the suffragan Bishop of Kentucky, George Cummins. However, before the actual split, Evangelicals in the PECUSA had been complaining of the "germs of popery" in the 1789 Book of Common Prayer. They specifically disliked the language of the Baptismal liturgy regarding "regeneration," some of the questions in the Catechism, the priestly power of absolution, and the titles given to clergy in the Ordination services. The Declaration of Principles reflects the polarization in churchmanship which happened with the rise of Anglo-Catholicism. Before the Oxford Movement, churchmanship was much more fluid but with the Movement came the polarization and crystalization of churchmanship beliefs and practices.

Specifically, the REC was formed when Bishop Cummins participated in an ecumenical gathering in New York City. At this meeting, he presided over a Communion service for non-Anglicans. He was criticized by Anglo-Catholic clergy. He defended his position in a letter but eventually resigned from his position. In a meeting with twenty-one other Episcopal ministers, the REC was formed. The clergy agreed on this Declaration and a revision of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, which was reduced to thirty-five in number.

I will go through each section of the Declaration examining its faithfulness to Anglican teaching.

The Reformed Episcopal Church, holding "the faith once delivered unto the saints," declares its belief in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God, as the sole rule of Faith and Practice; in the Creed "commonly called the Apostles' Creed;" in the Divine institution of the Sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper; and in the doctrines of grace substantially as they are set forth in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.”

This was probably written in “party strife” to clarify the uniqueness of the Word of God as the only infallible rule of faith. However, it does depart from classic Anglicanism in denying the three creeds, “The three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius' Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed; for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture” (Article 8). And likewise the Apocrypha, which is denied in the 35 Articles of Religion, “The Book commonly called "The Apocrypha" is not a portion of God's Word, and is not therefore to be read in churches, nor to be used in establishing any doctrine” (REC Article 5). While the authoritative Articles allow and encourage the Apocrypha to be read in church, but not for doctrine, “ And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.”

This Church recognizes and adheres to Episcopacy, not as of Divine right, but as a very ancient and desirable form of Church polity.

I have written about this elsewhere on my blog but the REC does not depart from historic, Anglican practice or thought with this statement. It does depart from Anglo-Catholicism, though, but Anglo-Catholicism parts ways with historic Anglicanism in many ways. The view maintained in the REC Declaration of Principles is that of the bene esse of the episcopacy, meaning it is good, ancient, and desirable but not necessary for the Church. This view allows the REC to recognize the orders of non-episcopally ordained ministers. Their old service books had a rite for the reception of presbyters into the REC. Historically, Anglican churches have required their ministers to be ordained by bishops and usually do not receive other ministers without episcopal ordination.

This Church, retaining a liturgy which shall not be imperative or repressive of freedom in prayer, accepts The Book of Common Prayer, as it was revised, proposed, and recommended for use by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, A.D. 1785, reserving full liberty to alter, abridge, enlarge, and amend the same, as may seem most conducive to the edification of the people, "provided that the substance of the faith be kept entire."

Here, it appears the REC is opposing rigidity in liturgical worship, meaning the exclusion of extemporaneous prayers. This reflects the nature of party strife in the Anglican Church at the time. However, part of the successive Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy do require use of authorized liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer. However, most modern Anglican service books allow a fair amount of extemporaneous prayers.

A note about the 1786 Proposed Book of Common Prayer for the PECUSA, it is revealing that the REC chose this as a model for their BCP. The 1786 BCP was modeled on the 1689 Liturgy of Comprehension and is notable for excluding the Creed from Holy Communion and the canticles from the Offices. The 1786 showed the influence of the 1662 in its Communion office, though, and did not have the Scottish prayer of consecration in it. This shows the early latitudinarian spirit in the REC.

This Church condemns and rejects the following erroneous and strange doctrines as contrary to God's Word:
First, that the Church of Christ exists only in one order or form of ecclesiastical polity:
Second, that Christian Ministers are "priests" in another sense than that in which all believers are a "royal priesthood:"
Third, that the Lord's Table is an altar on which the oblation of the Body and Blood of Christ is offered anew to the Father:
Fourth, that the Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper is a presence in the elements of Bread and Wine:
Fifth, that regeneration is inseparably connected with Baptism."

Even though this paragraph presents multiple points, I am going to address it as a whole because there are some common themes in the remonstrances listed above. The first assertion reiterates the point above about the episcopacy and also is intended to show the REC’s willingness to recognize the validity of other Protestant ministers, an important issue to Cummins and other early leaders of the REC. The second and third points are correlated even though they address different aspects of the same issue. The denial is that the Christian priesthood is sacerdotal, meaning that the priest offers a propitiatory sacrifice in Holy Communion. This was a smack in the face to Anglo-Catholicism, which affirms, contrary to historical Anglican thought, that the priest does offer a propitiatory sacrifice at the “Mass.” This theology is denied in the third point above. These beliefs are reflected in intentional changes to the REC liturgy. In their Prayer Book the word “priest” is replaced by the word “presbyter,” and like the 1662, the word “altar’ is not used to refer to the Lord’s Table. The fourth point reflects the common Evangelical concern with the wording in the Baptismal service in the 1662 BCP. While we can debate till kingdom comes about the exact meaning of the text, it have some apparent strong language about regeneration, which has caused High/Low debate in Anglican history since the publication of the 1662 BCP.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Morning Prayer and Church Planting

The normative service for Sunday liturgy in most of the history of the Anglican Church has been Morning Prayer or Mattins, followed by the Litany and Ante-Communion, or the parts of the liturgy before the Prayer of Consecration. Communion was only celebrated at the most monthly and usually quarterly (some parishes had weekly communion but that was a small number and more of an exception than the rule). This was universal, both for High and Low Churchmen and Evangelicals. I'm not arguing that this was good or bad, simply that it was what happened. There is ample evidence that Cranmer wanted weekly communion, but for whatever reason his dream never actualized. Things began to change at the Oxford Movement and throughout the latter half of the 19th century and into the 20th. With the advent of the Liturgical Movement, Holy Communion once again became the principal Sunday service.

I will argue in this post that the revival of Morning Prayer as the normative Sunday service is beneficial for North American Anglicans. This has nothing to do with the idea that multiple services of Holy Communion is bad, rather I believe Holy Communion to be tthe life of the Church and to be celebrated frequently. Instead, I will argue that Morning Prayer is a better service for evangelism and church planting.

My proposal is that Anglican church planters should not wait until they are ordained to plant churches. Archbishop Duncan has called for 1,000 Anglican parishes to be planted in five years. Realistically, this is not possible for priests to accomplish this goal. If this is to be the work of the Holy Spirit, we have to empower, allow, and encourage faithful laymen to plant churches. We can ordain hundreds of priests in a year but we can train thousands and tens of thousands of lay readers in a month. I encourage bishops and dioceses to develop thorough lay reader training programs which will enable a layman to conduct services reverently from the Book of Common Prayer, to preach sermons or to read already printed sermons for congregations, to be trained in theological education to a certain extent (I'm thinking of a year long "Anglican certificate" program or something of that nature). I believe that this is an accomplishable goal, especially if local priests are willing to sponsor and guide a young church planter. For instance, say there is a town that has an Anglican parish. Let's say this town has 300,000 people, this is too large for one Anglican parish to serve. So a young planter comes into town and starts a plant. He can meet weekly with the priest from the established Anglican parish to discuss his theological training, sermon help, and as a spiritual advisor. The priest at the Anglican parish can administer Communion once a month at the church plant and oversee its growth.

Another beneficial aspect to Morning Prayer services is that the emergent congregation is exposed to a large amount of Scripture. There are the psalms, readings, and the text of the liturgy itself. The liturgy of Morning Prayer presents the gospel of justification by faith alone (in the 1662 version) and invites a repentance of sins every service. I must discuss the nature of these services. We are accustomed to chanting and organs but if we are to plant 1,000 parishes, we have to realize that we have to part ways with our preconceived notions of what Anglican liturgy is supposed to look like. Anglican liturgy can be conducted with reverence with a guitar or keyboard. I am also a fan of metrical psalms, while they should not replace the psalms in the liturgy, they can be included as hymns as they were in the Elizabethan era and after. The Anglican tradition also has a wealth of simple hymns which can be learnt by an emergent congregation. I do not think that contemporary Christian music is really congregational song because it can be difficult for a congregation to learn and master. Hymns are very easy, however, especially hymn tunes, which can be used to introduce the congregation to even more lyrics which present the truth of the Gospel.

Of course, each congregation is different and the pastor should listen to his congregation because he knows what they can handle and what they are ready for. However, I strongly believe that we need an empowered and mission-driven laity to accomplish the goal that the Holy Spirit has given us.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Divers and Sundry announcements II

Good news, the Hackney Hub has reached over 1,000 page views since I unveiled it in June!

The most popular posts have been:

  1. The Destructive Influence of Tract 90
  2. A Comparison of the Daily Office in the 1662 and 1928 Prayer Books
  3. The Curious Case of the Old High Churchmen (Part I 1533-1833)
  4. Two Anglicanisms or the Problem of Anglicanism
  5. Nonjurors, Tractarian predecessors?

Looking to the future, I have a few blogs in the works:
  1. The American High Church Tradition - or Samuel Seabury, really in the research phase with this one.
  2. The Destructive Influence of Ritualism - a companion to the related post on Tract 90
  3. A collaborative blogging project - more about this later, but I think my readers will appreciate it.
  4. I realized I never really finished the "Curious Case" series... I'm thinking of a way to finish that.
  5. The "Practice of the Reformed Catholic Religion" series with posts on alms and oratories... see below for the latter term.


I am going to be advocating this idea in a future post. Check out Anglican Rose's post on "oratories," which Charles explains as, "religious houses of families, that might eventually be linked by confraternal agreements and mutual aid. Little Gidding is the neo-monastic model w/ reference to a distinctly Anglican rule of life revolving around catechism, psalter, primers, and the offices in the BCP." I encourage all my readers to go to the links above and read about this exciting way to engage in High Church principles on a local and missional level. I encourage all my readers to consider starting one of these oratories.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

An History of the Book of Common Prayer (1534-1660)

(I am relocating these series of posts from another one of my sites, which is not defunct but I think will be appropriate on this blog).

The Beginnings of the Reformation (1534-1549)

The reign of Henry VIII is everything but an eager campaign for reform. Henry VIII became convinced sometime in the 1520's that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was invalidated by braking the biblical mandate in Leviticus 20:21 condemning marriage with a brother's wife. Catherine had previously been married to Henry's brother, Arthur, however, papal dispensation was obtained to make the marriage valid between Henry and Catherine. After many failed pregnancies and only a surviving daughter, Henry became convinced that his lack of a male heir was God's curse upon his marriage. With this unease with his marriage and his infatuation with the lady Anne Boleyn, Henry began to seek an annulment from the Pope for his marriage with Catherine, in order to seek marriage with Anne. However, unexpectedly, the Pope declined Henry's request for annulment (probably resulting from several political factors rather than a genuine concern of the validity of Henry's marriage). After much deliberation between Henry and the Pope, Henry and his advisors and church leaders came to the conclusion that the Pope was a foreign power and had no jurisdiction in the realm of England. The Act of Supremacy was passed in 1534 and required of all clergy in the realm. This was not a victory for evangelical reformers for there was no doctrinal change with the break from Rome. However, the impetus for change had begun and could be seen as early as 1536, with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, pushed by Thomas Cromwell and one of the earliest attempts to reform the English Church. The Ten Articles were also published in 1536 which pushed the English Church in a Lutheran direction. This was followed by the Bishop's Book in 1537, which pushed the Church in a more Reformed direction. However, these reforms were later repealed by Henry in the Six Articles of 1539. Later in Henry's reign, the King's Book (1543) continued to defend transubstantiation but encouraged preaching and attacked images. Meanwhile, the Mass remained in Latin, that is, until 1544, when the first edition of the Great Litany was published by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The Litany was based upon the Latin texts found in the Sarum Missal but reformed in character when translated by Cranmer. In 1547, the Epistle and Gospel were to be read in English at Mass. In 1548, a beloved portion of our Prayer Book was published under the title "The Order for Communion." The brief service was inserted into the Canon of the Mass and entirely in English. It contained the Exhortation to Communion, the Invitation, the Confession, Absolution, Comfortable Words, and Prayer of Humble Access, right before the reception of Communion by the laity. The Litany was revised also in the final years of Henry's life. However, any major change would have to wait until the reign of his son, Edward VI, however, the it was worth the wait, for the world would completely change in 1549.

Reforms under the Reign of Edward VI (1547-1553)

While liturgical reform was simmering during Henry's reign, and began to show in its final years, it was during the reign of Edward that the Prayer Book was born. In 1549, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer published the first edition of the Book of Common Prayer. The 1549 BCP really was a landmark in itself. It was the first fully English service book ever produced in the history of the English Church. The 1549 BCP was the most conservative of any Reformation service book, for it retained much Medieval ceremonial and form, while maintaining reformed doctrine at its core. The 1549 BCP is shrouded in mystery as to its true purpose. There are two main theories about the intentions of Archbishop Cranmer. The first theory is that Archbishop Cranmer really intended the 1549 BCP to be the reformed liturgy of the English Church. This view would claim that Cranmer believed much of medieval ceremonial and custom could be preserved in a reformed framework so long as the doctrinal core remained firmly evangelical. Those who hold to this theory would point out that Martin Bucer critiqued Cranmer's rite and would hypothesize that Cranmer succumbed to pressure and further reformed the ceremonial of the 1549 rite to produce the 1552 rite. Another proof for this theory is the case of Bishop Gardiner, who argued that the 1549 BCP could be interpreted in an unreformed sense, i.e. as being compatible with transubstantiation and medieval notions of eucharistic sacrifice. This would have provoked Cranmer, fully devoted to reformed doctrine, to purge the rite of medieval symbolism. The other theory is that the 1549 BCP was intended solely as an interim rite to prepare the English people for the further reforms envisioned by Cranmer in the 1552 rite. The proximity between the publication of the 1549 and 1552 BCP seems to prove this theory, or at least offer those who believe it some credence. I think that the reality is probably a combination of the two. Cranmer most likely intended to retain as much medieval symbolism as possible in the reformed liturgy. However, after the publication of the 1549 liturgy he received Gardiner's defense of medieval theology under the 1549 rite and also saw Continental criticism of his work. Cranmer, ever ecumenical, sought unity amongst the reformed churches and began further work on the liturgy. Even after the release of the 1552 rite, many Reformed churchmen did not find it sufficiently "Reformed" enough for their tastes (and thus began Puritanism).

While an in-depth analysis of the 1549 BCP is beyond the scope of this simple introduction, some brief comments should be made about the Communion rite, which will be the focus of the analysis of the changes in the rite over the various editions. The title Communion rite inthe 1549 BCP reveals the overall character of the rite. "The Svpper of the Lorde, and the holy Communion, commonly called the Masse," terminology which would be abandoned in later editions of the BCP. This language recalls similar phrasing found in the Augsburg Confession, "Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence" (Article XXIV). It wasn't just the title that retained a medieval feel. The entirety of the rite preserved largely the structure of the medieval Mass while reforming the doctrine. The Mass opens with the Collect for Purity, then an Introit is sung, the Kyries follow, then the Gloria is sung, then follows the Collect of the Day and Collect for the King, the Epistle, Gospel, Creed, Sermon, Exhortation, Offertory, Sursum Corda, Preface, Sanctus and Benedictus, Canon (interestingly with an epiclesis), Our Father, Confession & Absolution, Comfortable Words, Prayer of Humble Access, Agnus Dei, a Communion antiphon, prayer of thanksgiving and blessing. The priest is ordered to vest in, "a white Albe plain, with a vestment or Cope." Other liturgical ministers ("clerks") have a prominent role in the liturgy, singing much of the people's parts and assisting the priest in the celebration of the liturgy. Accompanying the 1549 BCP was the Ordinal of 1550 which is subject to the same types of interpretation as the 1549 BCP. A brief analysis of the priest's ordination reveals a clinging to the ceremonial of the past while reforming the doctrine. For example, the priest is delivered a Bible and chalice with bread, vested in alb, in 1550, and only delivered a Bible, presumably vested in surplice in 1552. Likewise the bishop is vested in surplice and cope and is given his pastoral staff in 1550, while only given a Bible in 1552 and vested in rochet and chimere in 1552. Other notable ceremonies retained the 1549 include the exorcism and chrisom in Baptism, anointing of the sick, reservation of the sacrament, prayers for the dead, funeral masses, the sign of the cross in confirmation, and other ceremonies deemed not sufficiently reformed by other Reformed Christians. It is notable that Cranmer intended for the majority of the divine services to be sung for he commissioned, John Merbecke, published the Booke of Common Praire Noted in 1550, which provided simple settings of the 1549 liturgy for congregational singing. Merbecke's setting still remains in use today among Anglicans who use the traditional Prayer Book or Rite I services from the 1979 Episcopal book.

For whatever reason (according to how you interpret history), Cranmer decided to further reform the liturgy of the English Church. The result of these reforms was published together as the 1552 BCP. Where the former rite had been a very conservative reformation of the liturgy which sought to preserve the ritual heritage of the middle ages, the new rite was a radical departure from medieval ritual and ceremonial. Almost every aspect of the liturgy was changed with Cranmer's pen in the 1552 revision. Beginning with the daily services, they acquired their penitential introduction (all that precedes "O Lord, open thou..." in the 1662). Thus becoming a theological statement of justification by faith alone in liturgical form. However, it was the Communion liturgy that went through the most change. Anything that resembled the medieval Mass was stricken out or moved to disassociate the English Church from the errors of medieval theology associated with the Mass. Gone was the introit and the Kyrie was reshaped into the Decalogue, "Lord have mercy on us and incline our hearts to keep this law." The Gloria was moved to after the Canon. The intercessory prayer came right after the sermon, now called the, "Prayer for the whole state of Christes Church militant here in earth," thus eliminating any prayers for the dead and saintly intercessions. The Exhortation, Confession, Absolution, and Comfortable Words find their home after the Prayer for Christ's Church and before the canon and remain there throughout Anglican liturgy. The salutation, "The Lord be with you. R. And with thy spirit," is taken out of the Sursum Corda. The Prayer of Humble access now follows the Sanctus which has lost the Benedictus qui venit. The most notable change, however, is the Canon, which has been split in two. The institution narrative is said and then the reception of the elements follows immediately. The communicants are given the bread and the wine with these new words of administration. "Take and eate this, in remembraunce that Christ dyed for thee, and feede on him in thy hearte by faythe, with thankesgeving," for the bread, and, "Drinke this in remebraunce that Christ's bloude was shed for thee, and be thankefull." Gone are the clear expressions found in the 1549, "The body of our Lorde Jesus Christe whiche was geven for thee, preserve thy bodye and soule unto everlasting lyfe," and, "The bloud of our Lorde Jesus Christe which was shed for thee, preserve thy bodye and soule unto everlastyng lyfe." There is no Agnus Dei in the 1552 but the Our Father follows the receiving of the elements. Next there is a choice between the prayer of oblation and the prayer of thanksgiving. The Gloria in Excelsis follows this and ending with the blessing. In baptism, the anointing, exorcism, and chrisom are gone, however, the sign of the cross remains, a practice which will become a major issue with the Puritans later in Elizabeth's reign and especially under Charles I. As aforementioned, the Ordinal was also revised in 1552 with several major revisions. The life of the 1552 was short for in 1553, Edward VI died, and Mary Tudor ascended to the throne and brought England back under the submission of Rome. However, the 1552 BCP did not die then, for it shaped the core of all future English BCPs until today.

Under Mary I (1553-1558)

This section will obviously be rather short, for, no reform was made during her reign, but rather the opposite. All the reforms of Cranmer were eschewed for Rome. The Roman Mass was reintroduced in Latin and imposed on the people. Notable events during her reign are the execution of the Oxford Martyrs (Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer), and the fact that Cardinal Pole, later Archbishop of Canterbury, did not reordain Edwardine clergy.

The Birth of Anglicanism (1559-1603)

After the death of Mary I, her sister, Elizabeth I, ascended to the throne. Elizabeth I was no Romanist and began plans to remove the Church of England from Rome's grip. The Act of Supremacy and Uniformity of 1559 reestablished the Church of England as independent of Rome and as the Monarch as the Supreme Governor of her. The religious climate in 1559 was anything but settled, despite the act of Parliament. There were strict Calvinists who had been exiled to Geneva during Mary's reign and loyal Romanists who wanted to return to the ways of Mary I. Elizabeth, aware of political dangers, sought a middle way. She authorized a revision of the 1552 BCP, the use of surplice and rochet, and other practices which were meant to appease both extremists to remain loyal to the national church. Many changes were made to the 1552 rite which were meant to be moderate. First, the Ornament Rubric, was added to the beginning of the Mattins service. Initially it allowed the use of 1549 vestments to please Romanists, but later injunctions required the use of surplice, tippet, and hood, and cope on certain occasions. The "Black Rubric" was eliminated, thus allowing for a realist interpretation of the sacrament. The words of administration from the 1549 and 1552 BCPs were combined to produce a theologically ambiguous statement regarding the nature of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In 1562, Cranmer's 42 Articles of Religion were revised to 38 and appended to the Prayer Book. Notably excluded were any statements against Lutheran consubstantiation. In 1571, the Articles were revised to 39 including the article about the wicked who receive not the body of Christ. As mentioned, the Elizabethan book retained many ceremonies that the Puritans were not fond of and sought to further reform the Elizabethan church, although unsuccessfully. Elizabeth sought moderation in things ecclesiastical and tried to maintain the via media. However, the Puritans had no fondness for the Prayer book, calling it, "an unperfect book, culled and picked out of that popish dunghill, the Mass book full of all abominations." A list of ceremonies that they opposed which were contained in the Prayer book are: the sign of the cross at Baptism, the surplice, bowing at the name of Jesus (contained in the 1571 and 1604 Canons), the ring at marriage, readings from the Apocrypha, kneeling to receive Communion, holy days, and emergency baptism. Most of these were not removed from the Prayer Book.

Under James I (1604-1625)

All the issues which existed under Elizabeth's reign continued into James'. A new Prayer Book was issued in 1604 which altered little in the existing book. Although there was one major concession to the Puritans. Lay emergency baptism was prohibited as irregular, meaning that a minister of the Gospel had to perform a baptism. The Puritans didn't like the linking between baptism and salvation by making it an emergency. James I is also famous for his 1611 Authorized Version of the Bible. The project began in 1604 and was a unitive project designed to promote unity in the national church. A group of scholars was assembled to produce a version that was free of Popish and Puritan extremes and finished in 1611. The Bible was to be the only authorized translation for the Church of England. A major group of scholars began to emerge, beginning in Elizabeth's reign but flourishing throughout the 17th century. This group of scholars is known as the Caroline Divines and are part of a succession of scholars which began to give interpretation to the Elizabethan settlement and give theological shape to the emerging Anglican Church.

Charles I, Laudianism, The Civil War, and Abeyance of the BCP (1625-1660)

Charles ascended the throne in 1625 and inherited a disdain for Puritans and their theology. Charles was a proponent of High Church Anglicanism, or Laudianism, which references the leader of the High Church party at the time, Archbishop William Laud. This party stood in contrast to the Puritans and emphasized liturgy and ritual in addition to espousing Arminian theology in regards to predestination. The Caroline Divines shared in Laudian theology. Some of the more famous include men such as Lancelot Andrewes, John Cosin, Thomas Ken, Jeremy Taylor, and of course Laud himself. Charles began to get into political trouble when he refused to open Parliament and instead ruled by himself for eleven years, known as his "personal rule." To add fuel to the fire, Charles gave his stamp of approval to Laud's reform program for the Church of England. Laud planned to reintroduce some ceremonial that had fallen in disuse in the Church. He began to remove wooden communion tables and replace them with stone altars and to move them back to their position against the wall on the East side. Charles incidentally had also married a Catholic princess and many charges were brought against him saying that he was trying to restore Catholicism albeit in a stealthy manner. In 1637, William Laud implemented a new Prayer Book for the Church of Scotland, intending to bring it into fellowship with the Church of England and also share in Laudian High Churchmanship. This was the final straw for English Puritans. Beginning in 1642 and ending in 1649, a series of Civil Wars were fought. During the civil war, William Laud was beheaded in 1645 and Charles was eventually beheaded in 1649. Beginning that year, the monarchy was abolished and the Protectorate was established. Religious change came swiftly. The Church of England was disestablished, the Prayer Book abolished, and bishops exiled. In place of these a parliamentary system of government was founded, the Westminster Confession of Faith replaced the 39 Articles of Religion, the Directory for the Publick Worship of God replaced the Book of Common Prayer, and a presbyterian form of church government replaced the bishops. This was to remain until the restoration of the monarchy and the Church of England in 1660. However, many faithful churchmen refused to use the new liturgy and clung to the Prayer Book.

Friday, July 15, 2011

An Excellent Summary of High Church Principles

Somewhat ironic but one of the best summaries of Protestant High Churchmanship I've seen comes from Andrewes Hall, a seminary affiliated with the Reformed Episcopal Church. The REC was founded by Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church and became a rather low church body but nowadays, it is a safe-haven for Protestant High Churchmen (not without Anglo-Catholic influence though).


Perhaps the best shorthand statement of our doctrinal position as a seminary is the famous formula set forth by Lancelot Andrewes’ in defining the boundaries of faith and practice for the Church of England:

One canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after, determine the boundary of our faith.

“One Canon”
We affirm that the Canon of Holy Scripture is central to our Rule of Faith, standing as the ultimate norm of belief and practice. We affirm the Bible to be the infallible and revealed Word of God. Hence we test all things by God’s Word written.

"Two Testaments"
We affirm the 39 canonical books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament to be the limits of biblical inspiration. The received books of the Deuterocanon or “Apocrypha”, while being an important subdivision of the greater biblical corpus, are in no way afforded the same status as the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments. The Church may read them “for example of life and instruction of manners,” yet they are not used or applied to establish binding doctrine (cf. Article VI of the Articles of Religion of the Church of England).

We also affirm Two Sacraments as ordained by Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him (cf. Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886/1888).

“Three Creeds”
We affirm (1) the Apostles’ Creed, as our Baptismal symbol; (2) the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith; and (3) the creed known in the West as the “Creed of Saint Athanasius”, as affirming the mysteries of the Triune God and the Personal union of two Natures in our Divine Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Four Councils”
We affirm the dogmatic definitions of the first four ecumenical councils of the undivided Church – (1) Nicaea, A.D. 325, (2) Constantinople, A.D. 381, (3) Ephesus, A.D. 431, and (4) Chalcedon, A.D. 451 – as representing the true mind of the Church Catholic in the face of heresy and controversy, and the consensus of the faithful as led by the Spirit of God into all truth. The later ecumenical councils (i.e., the fifth, sixth, and seventh) are affirmed as orthodox to the degree that they are consistent with, while adding nothing to, the substance of dogma defined by the first four.

“Five Centuries”
We affirm the witness of the Spirit of God during the formative period of the Church, otherwise known as the Patristic era, contained primarily in the writings and testimonies of the great Fathers of the first five centuries (roughly from the Apostles to Gregory the Great). This witness continues to inform our faith and practice, especially in the areas of polity, worship, and evangelical mission.

One further note…
Andrewes Hall finds its identity in the Reformed character of the historic Protestant Church of England and the greater Anglican tradition. Thus we cherish and honor the heritage of the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles of Religion contained therein. Nevertheless, we also remain open to fellowship, dialogue and interaction with Christians of all branches of Christ’s Church in the spirit and heritage of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886/1888.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Practice of the Protestant Reformed Religion: Fasting

This is the second post in a series designed to introduce the reader to a Protestant High Church understanding of the religious life and godly piety. I want readers to know that the renewal of Protestant High Churchmanship is not simply an academic pursuit by the author out of an eclectic curiosity but, rather, a real opportunity to revive Anglicanism in North America.

Fasting is an essential part of Christian practice and especially within the context of Anglicanism. It is important to note the teaching of Jesus on the subject, "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18). We note that Jesus says, "When you fast," not "if." Our Lord expects that we will fast within our life as a Christian, meaning it is not an option for Christians. The Prayer Book realizes this call from our Lord and gives us some suggestions as to when to fast. Notably, the Prayer Book does not define fasting for us. We can look to certain sources to define fasting. Within the Bible there are three types of fasting: partial fast, full fast, and the absolute fast. Three biblical figures used these types of fasts to grow closer to God. Daniel fasted partially from meats and wine, "In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks" (Daniel 10:2-3). Jesus is most known for the full fast during his time in the wilderness. Paul used the absolute fast in the Damascus Road experience. The last fast is something supernatural that God must specifically call one to and must be maintained by the Holy Spirit. The Western tradition distinguishes between fasting and abstinence. Abstinence is simply the practice of not eating meat. Fasting is the practice of eating only one full meal and two smaller meals. The Roman Catholic Church today requires fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstinence on all Fridays of Lent. (Thanks to this site for an explanation of biblical fasting). The Prayer Book does not define fasting so I think it is something that the individual can decide on their own. I tend to follow the Roman Catholic practice of fasting (a partial fast) but adding the following observances from the Prayer Book.

The 1662 BCP calls for fasting or abstinence on the following days:

1. The Forty Days of Lent
2. The Ember Days
a. The Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the First Sunday in Lent
b. The Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of Pentecost
c. The Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after September 14 and December 13, respectively
3. The Three Rogation Days being the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Holy Thursday or Ascension Day
4. All Fridays throughout the year, except Christmas Day

The 1662 BCP also calls for fasts on the vigils of certain feasts:

1. The Nativity of Our Lord
2. Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
3. The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
4. Easter Day
5. Ascension Day
6. Pentecost
7. St. Matthias
8. St. John the Baptist
9. St. Peter
10. St. James
11. St. Bartholomew
12. St. Matthew
13. Ss. Simon & Jude
14. St. Andrew
15. St. Thomas
16. All Saints

Obviously, this is a rigorous fasting program. I would not advise anyone to start this program "cold turkey." It is crucial when fasting to start slow and work your way up. If you have never fasted or not done so in a long time, start with something very small. Try giving up coffee on Friday mornings or cutting out snacks. After you've mastered that small discipline, try to make it more difficult. Try cutting out a meal or making your meals smaller. Remember to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His lead.

Anglicans Ablaze: The Thirty-Nine Articles and Anglican Comprehensiveness (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this article I noted that GAFCON in the Jerusalem Statement calls the Anglican Church back to the Thirty-Nine Articles, which with the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and 1661 Ordinal form the long-recognized doctrinal standard of Anglicanism. I drew attention to the four main functions of the Articles, among which is to set bounds to Anglican comprehensiveness. I examined how the American Church’s tacit rejection of the authority of the Articles at a very early stage in its history would influence the direction that it has taken. I concluded that the present direction of the American Church, not only in the Episcopal Church but also in the self-identified Anglican bodies that have broken away from that denomination, greatly reduces the likelihood of a positive response to this call in the United States. In Part 2 of the article I examine the bounds that the Articles set to Anglican beliefs and practices .

Continue reading here

Two Anglicanisms or the Problem of Anglicanism

A lot of discussion has been circulating about the problems of modern Anglicanism. Everyone seems to have some solution, maybe you recognize some of the discussion. I have come to see the problem in a different light than many other contemporary Anglicans because I do not limit the problem to the liberal Episcopal Church but I see the same issues in our conservative Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Mission. Some may not agree and may criticize me for my assertation.

The problem with modern Anglicanism is that there is no such thing. There are two Anglicanisms. I am basing my conclusions on an article posted by Phillip Jensen on his blog, "From the Dean." He defines the two Anglicanisms as: Confessional Anglicanism and Sociological Anglicanism. These two systems are not really compatible with each other because they do not agree on the fundamental question... What is Anglicanism? Without an essential agreement on this question, Anglicanism cannot stand and will necessarily fall or be absorbed into something else. One of the other oddities in modern Anglicanism is that these two rivaling systems are often weaved together into the same national body, such as the ACNA.

Jensen defines sociological Anglicanism as, "the religion of the English people and their worldwide descendants... On this understanding, whatever the Church in England does or believes is Anglican. Similarly, the descendents of the English, scattered abroad as a result of Britain's erstwhile Empire, determine what is Anglican by whatever they do or believe. Sociological Anglicanism is about belonging not believing. You belong irrespective of what you believe or what you do." Jensen does not go into much detail but I have been thinking about this distinction between sociological and confessional Anglicanism. When one sees this, it is natural to think, "Oh, that's the Episcopal Church," considering they don't believe much of anything. This is true that often, sociological Anglicanism takes a liberal form. However, there are conservative forms of sociological Anglicans, meaning people who have conservative and generally orthodox views but are nonetheless sociological Anglicans because they depart from the teaching of the Prayer Book and the Articles. I will elaborate further below.

Jensen defines confessional Anglicanism simply as professing the, "beliefs of the Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles of Religion. These include the great creeds of the ancient worldwide church (the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds)." Quite simple, isn't it? But there has been at least 150 years of taking the clear meaning of the Articles and making it into something else, first pioneered by John Henry Newman. This is where conservative, sociological Anglicanism shows itself. Anglo-Catholicism, for example, can be very conservative (it can also be extremely liberal), taking conservative viewpoints on the ordination of women and Christian morality but it still departs from Anglican teaching. For example, the Articles clearly condemn purgatory, praying to saints (or with saints or whatever the current catchphrase is), benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, transubstantiation, consubstantiation, relics, the idea of seven sacraments, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and praying for the dead, all beloved practices of Anglo-Catholics and central to their theological system, yet contradictory to Anglican teaching. Likewise, many conservative Evangelicals follow Zwinglian beliefs about the Eucharist and eschew liturgy altogether, this is equally departing from Anglican teaching.

If Anglicanism is to solve its problems it needs to figure out what it is. Either we have to accept what our Church teaches and follow that. The other option is to not follow our church's teaching which would mean that we would be nothing and everything is acceptable belief as seems the policy in modern Anglicanism. Our Church needs to reaffirm its committment to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the teaching contained therein if we want to survive as a vital Church for the generations to come.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Practice of the Reformed Catholic Religion: The Daily Offices

With my call for a renewal of high chuchmanship in this blog, I felt it was necessary to include a brief tutorial on using the 1662 BCP in private worship, for I believe a renewal of the 1662 BCP is crucial to the renewal of vibrant, Protestant, High Churchmanship. In addition, this post will begin a series of articles on Protestant High Church spirituality beginning with daily prayer but other topics include: fasting, almsgiving, etc.

Where to Find a Copy?

The 1662 BCP is available in many formats. First, you can acquire it through, I have both an Everyman's and Oxford pew version which I bought online for under $20. You can also acquire it through the (English) Prayer Book Society for £8.30 or about $14. You can also access the 1662 BCP through the Church of England's website and through their Daily Prayer site. If you're tech savvy, you can also get it on your iPhone through the app, iPray BCP.

Here are some links to various editions on Amazon (the price has gone up but you can get it used for a pretty good price):

And from the PBS:

A version of the 1928 (English) BCP bound with Lessons (slightly different from the 1662):

Daily Prayer from the Church of England (select traditional):

Or the iPhone app:

The text of the 1662 BCP is also located here.

Practical Suggestions

It can be daunting to begin to pray the Office because it seems a monumental task. Calm down! The 1662 BCP was designed to be easy! Once you get the structure down, it becomes a bit of second nature to know how to pray the Office. The 1662 is largely invariable, meaning that many of the same things are said each day. Some practical suggestions will help you to enter into this time of prayer and to benefit spiritually from it.
  1. Try to say the Office around the same time everyday. This helps you to become accustomed to saying it daily. I say the Morning Office when I get up, around 9:00 AM (now that it's summer and I don't have to substitute teach!). I say the Evening Office around 4:00 PM, before I go to work for the evening. It only takes about twenty minutes per office.
  2. Try to say it at a desk or a table. Do not hunch over but sit up straight. Posture is important in prayer and a good posture helps the mind focus on the prayers.
  3. Reduce distractions - turn off the TV and music and focus on prayer.
  4. Reflect on the psalms and readings. Allow 2-5 minutes between each reading to meditate on the meaning of the Scripture for you.
  5. Don't worry! The Prayer Book is a guide to prayer not the only way to pray! If you mess up, so be it, you will learn, but the important thing is that you pray not how. Likewise, if you forget a day, it's okay, come back tomorrow.

Introduction - Sentences, Exhortation, Confession, and Absolution

The 1662 BCP only provides penitential sentences to be said before the Exhortation at the beginning of daily services. Some authors have attempted to divide these into seasonal sentences but this goes against the rationale behind their use, however, Dearmer's list is as follows:

  • Repent ye in Advent
  • Hide Thy Face in Lent
  • The Sacrifice in Passiontide
  • I acknowledge on ferias

A simple selection will suffice. Then the Exhortation is read and the Confession said. The Exhortation can be omitted on weekdays. A priest will read the absolution as it is printed while a layman will read the Collect for the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity, "Grant, we beseech Thee...," or skip the absolution and say the Lord's Prayer. The Our Father and Preces follow.

The Variations permitted by the Church of England to the 1662 BCP provide for seasonal sentences and a shorter Exhortation. I will not reproduce these here out of copyright violations (if there would be any). These can be found on the Church of England website and through Common Worship publications. Likewise, a shorter Exhortation is provided. Also, the introductory material can be ommitted on weekdays. I would encourage it to be used on Litany days, however.


The Venite is appointed to be said every day in the 1662 BCP, except on Easter Day when the Easter Anthems are appointed.

The Variations permit only saying verses 1-7, I cannot endorse this variation, for it severely diminishes the penitential aspect of the Office.


The Psalter is appointed to be read through each month in the 1662 BCP. Here is the monthly scheme provided:
  1. 1-5/6-8
  2. 9-11/12-14
  3. 15-17/18
  4. 19-21/22-23
  5. 24-26/27-29
  6. 30-31/32-34
  7. 35-36/37
  8. 38-40/41-43
  9. 44-46/47-49
  10. 50-52/53-55
  11. 56-58/59-61
  12. 62-64/65-67
  13. 68/69-70
  14. 71-72/73-74
  15. 75-77/78
  16. 79-81/82-85
  17. 86-88/89
  18. 90-92/93-94
  19. 95-97/98-101
  20. 102-103/104
  21. 105/106
  22. 107/108-109
  23. 110-113/114-115
  24. 116-118/119:1-32
  25. 119:33-72/119:73-104
  26. 119:105-144/119:145-176
  27. 120-125/126-131
  28. 132-135/136-138
  29. 139-141/142-143
  30. 144-146/147-150 (If a month has 31 days, repeat the psalms for Day 30)
If this scheme is too much, there is an alternative psalm schedule provided in the 1962 Canadian BCP and the 1928 American BCP.

The Gloria Patri is said after each Psalm and Canticle.


The First Lesson follows the reading of the Psalms. At this point, I will mention the issue of lectionary. There are two lectionaries provided in most versions of the 1662 BCP. The first is the 1871 Revised Lectionary. This follows the form of the original but has been slightly revised. It follows the calendrical year, therefore, for today you would look under the month of July to find the readings for the day. The other is the 1922 lectionary, which follows the church year, so you would look under "Third Sunday after Trinity" to find the reading for today. There are editions of the Book of Common Prayer bound with either lectionary and other publications which print the daily lessons.


The readings in the 1662 BCP are followed by the canticles. At Morning Prayer, the first reading is followed by the Te Deum Laudamus or the Benedicte, omnia opera. The 1549 BCP and Dearmer both recommend substituting the Benedicte for the Te Deum in Advent and Lent. At Evening Prayer, the first reading is followed by the Magnificat or Cantate Domino, it is not suitable to substitute the Magnificat unless it is included in the daily readings. The second lesson is followed by the Benedictus or Jubilate Deo at Morning Prayer and the Nunc Dimmittis orDeus Misereatur, likewise the Gospel Canticles should not be substituted unless they are included in the daily readings, however, the Jubilate Deo does replace the Benedictus on St. John the Baptist's Day.

To summarize the scheme it is as follows:

At Morning Prayer
  1. First Lesson
  2. Te Deum (or Benedicte in Advent/Lent)
  3. Second Lesson
  4. Benedictus (or Jubilate Deo when appropriate or St. John the Baptist's day)
At Evening Prayer
  1. First Lesson
  2. Magnificat (or Cantate Domino when appropriate)
  3. Second Lesson
  4. Nunc Dimmittis (or Deus misereatur when appropriate)


The Apostle's Creed, Lord's Prayer, and versicles follow. At this point, the American user must change the petition, "O Lord, save the Queen," for something else. I give two options below:

  1. O Lord, save the State.
  2. O Lord, defend our rulers.
One can write this in the Prayer Book or simply memorize it.

The Collect for the day and the two collects proper to Morning and Evening Prayer follow, they should not be omitted.

Final Prayers

Percy Dearmer spends some time in his famous book, The Parson's Handbook, discussing the end of the service. After the third collect, there is the rubric, "In quires and places where they sing, here followeth an Anthem," and then five prayers: A Prayer for the Queen's Majesty, A Prayer for the Royal Family, A Prayer for the Clergy and People, Prayer of St. Chrysostom, and the Grace. After some exploration of the rubrics, Dearmer concludes that the minimum to be said daily is as follows:

At Morning Prayer (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
1. Prayer for All Conditions
2. Prayer of St. Chrysostom
3. Grace

At Evening Prayer (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
1. General Thanksgiving
2. Prayer of St. Chrysostom
3. Grace

Dearmer concludes that the state prayers are only obligatory in "quires and places where they sing," i.e. cathedrals and collegiate churches. However, during Ember Weeks, the prayer provided for Ember Days is to be read every day. Likewise, those in the English political situation, during the session of Parliament, the prayer for Parliament should be read. Likewise, the other prayers provided may be used at any time in place of the others printed at the end of the daily services. Likewise, prayers proper to the American political situation should be used instead of the prayers provided. These can be found in any edition of the American BCP.

The Litany

The BCP directs that the Litany is to be read on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, after Morning Prayer. On Litany-days, the Office ends at the Third Collect and the Litany commences.

There have been many suggestions to Americans using the 1662 as to how to deal with the various petitions for the Queen in the Litany. Many have noted that the order of the petition in the 1928 Prayer Book equates a secular presidency with a Christian monarch. A laudable option is that of the 1892 BCP which prays for "all Christian Magistrates" then the Bishops and clergy. The Litany is not to be said at Evening Prayer.

Quicunque Vult

Another forgotten rubric is that of the Athanasian Creed which directs, "Upon these Feasts; Christmas Day, the Epiphany, Saint Matthias, Easter Day, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, Saint John Baptist, Saint James, Saint Bartholomew, Saint Matthew, Saint Simon and SaintJude, Saint Andrew, and upon Trinity Sunday, shall be sung or said at Morning Prayer, instead of the Apostles' Creed, this Confession of our Christian Faith, commonly called the Creed ofAthanasius, by the Minister and people standing."

Therefore, the Athanasian Creed is to be said on these days:
  1. Christmas Day
  2. The Epiphany
  3. St. Matthias
  4. Easter Day
  5. Ascension Day
  6. Whitsunday
  7. St. John the Baptist
  8. St. James
  9. St. Batholomew
  10. St. Matthew
  11. St. Simon & St. Jude
  12. St. Andrew
  13. Trinity Sunday
Why Use the 1662 BCP?

One may wonder... why use the 1662? Don't we already have a "classic" Prayer Book in America (the 1928)? While I don't condemn the use of the 1928, I feel it lacking in many ways. For one, it has been influenced significantly by the 1689 Liturgy of Comprehension which has influenced all American BCPs due to the 1786's reliance on it. (For reference check out the post: A Comparison of the Daily Office in the 1662 and 1928 Prayer Books). The 1928 also reduces the penitential aspect of the 1662 BCP due to Latitudinarian and Anglo-Catholic influence which diminishes the character of the Reformed rite.

The 1662 BCP is a great place to start praying the Office everyday. It is both a catholic and reformed rite which shows the ethos of Protestant High Churchmanship. I hope all my readers consider using the 1662 BCP in their daily prayers.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nonjurors, Tractarian Predecessors?

One of the common assertions one hears from Anglo-Catholics is that they are the descendants of the Nonjurors and saints such as Thomas Ken and William Law. However, in this post, I wish to show that the Nonjurors are not the spiritual predecessors of Anglo-Catholicism as a corporate body, mostly because they was not one unified body of Nonjurors, which is often overlooked when trying to construct a historical and spiritual lineage for Anglo-Catholicism (which I believe is an historical aberration from Anglicanism, however rooted in genuine High Churchmanship). Take the following quote to summarize some of the differences among the Nonjurors:

“Hickes, especially in his posthumous work, was certainly heading towards a strongly Catholic position on the ministerial priesthood. However, whilst he may have been the key figure in the movement, Hickes was not the only one. Nathaniel Spinckes opposed the ‘usages’ of the 1549 Prayer Book – which, most controversially, included prayer for the dead – on Protestant grounds. The Non-Jurors were no less Protestant as a body, and no more ‘Catholic’, than their brethren in the established church.”

Thus showing that individual and certain groups of Nonjurors may have shared some ideas with the later Tractarians but overall it is impossible for Anglo-Catholics to claim a direct descent from them. Rather, the Nonjurors were a microcosm of High Churchmanship at the time with a certain degree of flexibility within the movement which gave it a bit of comprehensiveness with most sitting in the middle but with a few veering off in a particular direction. Some Nonjurors notably depart from Anglican orthodoxy and are like the later Anglo-Catholics in this way.

The Nonjurors were a group of bishops, priests, and laity, who refused to swear allegiance to William and Mary when they ascended the throne in February of 1689, when James II had fled the country. This is obviously a very truncated and probably a little inaccurate description of the complexities of the Jacobite cause (the name of the political stance of the Nonjurors), however, I want to focus on the theological deviations of the Nonjurors rather than the political causes of the schism. However, the Nonjuror schism was not a small matter nor was it threatening to the stability of the Church. There were nine bishops who refused to make the oath to William and Mary: William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury; Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wales; John Lake, Bishop of Chichester; Francis Turner, Bishop of Ely; Thomas White, Bishop of Peterborough; Thomas Cartwright, Bishop of Chester; Robert Frampton, Bishop of Gloucester; William Lloyd, Bishop of Norwich; William Thomas, Bishop of Worcester. These nine bishops were joined by around four hundred clergy and numerous laity. In 1690, the Nonjuring bishops who were still alive, were deprived of their sees. There seems to have been conflict in allegiance between the Nonjuring bishops and the new bishops occupying their sees. The Nonjuring bishops did not recognize the new bishops and consecrated alternative Nonjuring bishops to occupy their sees, for example, George Hickes was consecrated as a Nonjuring bishop of Thetford, and Thomas Wagstaffe, bishop of Ipswich. Their protest developed into two points, one temporal and one ecclesiastical. The “State Point” was that William’s claim to the throne was not valid and the “Church point” was that the monarch did not have the right to deprive bishops without ecclesiastical approval. It appears that some Nonjuring laity worshiped in alternative Nonjuring parishes, where they were available. Others continued worshiping in their parish churches but not participating in the state prayers. Likewise, some Nonjuring clergy continued their positions in their parishes but not saying the State prayers for the new monarchs. “Practice as to public worship therefore inevitably varied. Some, like Law and Nelson, attended their parish churches, without protest against the "immoral prayers." Others went, but protested: Frampton, retaining a small living, read the service and preached, but omitted the names of the sovereigns. Others, again, attended only failing some convenient Nonjuring assembly. And others refused attendance altogether, holding, with Sancroft, that it would necessitate a second absolution after the service” (Gaskoin). It is also important to note that the majority of the Scottish bishops joined the Nonjuring cause. As the 18th century progressed, the Nonjuring schism healed itself as Jacobitism gradually became untenable. However, there were some Nonjurors who lasted into the 19th century, still clinging to the validity of the “Church point” and obviously displaying some (later) Tractarian concerns about the spiritual independence of the Church.

It is hard to discuss theological views held by the Nonjurors as a group because they were not a homogenous group. They represented a microcosm of High Church theology and practice in the 17th and 18th centuries.

One of the clearest marks of distinction between (some) Nonjurors and their Establishment brethren was their liturgy. Early on, the Nonjurors continued using the 1662 Prayer Book (while changing the State prayers). However, Bishop Hickes had begun using the 1549 Prayer Book and after his death in 1715, a group within the Nonjuror community led by Collier and Brett compiled a new service book, completed in 1718. This service book championed four “usages” which these Nonjurors believed necessary to the Eucharistic service, and in some cases, necessary to salvation, coincidentally, this group was called the “Usagers”. However, the other portion of Nonjurors did not agree with the idea that these “usages” were necessary for the proper celebration of Holy Communion and stuck with the 1662 liturgy, they were called Non-Usagers, accordingly. Both groups consecrated rival bishops to continue their viewpoint to the successive generations. The four “usages”, according to Jeremy Collier, were:

1. [P]utting a little Pure Water to the Wine in the Chalice.
2. In the first Reform'd Liturgy above-mention'd, the Priest says, Let us pray for the whole State of Christ's Church, without the addition of Militant here on Earth; which latter Words, in the Common-Prayer now used, seem inserted to exclude Prayer for the Dead. Whereas the first Book, in the Prayer for Christ's Church, has these Words;--We commend unto thy Mercy (O Lord) all other thy Servants, which are departed hence from us with the Sign of Faith, and now do rest in the [10/11] Sleep of Peace: Grant unto them, we beseech thee, thy Mercy and everlasting Peace, and that at the Day of the general Resurrection, we and all they which be of the Mystical Body of thy Son, may all together be set on his Right Hand, and hear that his most joyful Voice: Come unto me, &c.
3. The Third Passage to be Restor'd, is the Prayer for the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Sacramental Elements. The Words in our First Reform'd Liturgy stand thus in the Consecration Prayer: Hear us, (O Merciful Father) we beseech thee, and with thy Holy Spirit and Word vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these thy Gifts and Creatures of Bread and Wine, that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of thy most dearly Beloved Son Jesus Christ.
4. The Fourth Thing to be restor'd, is the Oblatory Prayer, which in the First Reform'd Liturgy at the End of the Consecration Prayer stands thus;
Wherefore, O Lord and Heavenly Father, according to the Institution of thy dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we thy humble Servants do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy Gifts, the Memorial which thy Son hath willed us to make; having in Remembrance his blessed Passion; mighty Resurrection; and glorious Ascension; rendering unto thee most hearty Thanks for the innumerable Benefits procured unto us by the same, entirely desiring thy Father Goodness, &c. As the Prayer foes on in the Post Communion of our present Liturgy.

In addition to these usages, the Nonjurors were also doing other things which would not have been common in the Established Church. For instance, the liturgy of 1718 included a table of psalms appointed for introits. In this regard, they stood with the earlier Caroline Divines who sung psalms and the liturgy. Cosin is noted to have allowed the singing of a psalm before and after his sermons. The Carolines and Nonjurors preferred chant over merical psalters, “I hope a prose Psalm
may be said to be taken out of the Bible, more properly than the wretched lines
of Hopkins and Sternhold” (Broxap, 13). The Nonjurors revived the use of copes for parish clergy and other vestments such as the alb and chasuble which had been abandoned at the Reformation. “[B]y consulting the Roman
Missal and perhaps discoursing with some Roman priests about their habits, he
learned from them that they used copes and vestments of different colours,
according to the different seasons of the year, which if I remember right are
green for Spring, white for Summer, scarlet for Autumn and purple for Winter;
whereupon he provided himself with a set of all these colours. Though I believe
the Church of England either before or since the Reformation never directed
these different colours” (Broxap, 14). Likewise, the Nonjurors continued in the tradition of the Laudians by having elaborate altar furnishings and candlesticks, alms basins, crosses, gold and silver patens and chalices, altar plates, flagons, credence tables, and other elaborate things which were advocated by the Caroline Divines but which would have been eschewed by puritan clergy. They seemed to advocate the eastward facing position of the priest at Communion rather than the north end as dictated in the Prayer Book rubrics.

However, the reasons behind these usages describe in detail the theological divergence between Establishment High Churchmen and the “Usager” camp of Nonjurors. Not all Nonjurors held to the extreme views of the Usagers, neither were all of the Non-usagers to be counted as moderate. The first usage is strictly a ceremonial aspect of the liturgy which appeals to antiquity. While not an essential aspect of the service, I find nothing objectionable to using a mixed chalice in divine service. I would stand with the Lincoln Judgment in the late 19th century and say that it is unlawful to liturgically mix the water with the wine within the service but a prepared flagon with water and wine is acceptable. However, when we investigate the other three usages, we find several theological problems with these usages based on the formularies of the Anglican Church. First, to begin our discussion, I post Article 22, “The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.” However, Collier says, “This Recommending the Dead to the Mercy of God, is nothing of the Remains of Popery, but a constant Usage of the Primitive Church: And for this Point we shall produce exceptionable Authority… This Custom neither supposes the Modern Purgatory, nor gives any Encouragement to Libertinism and Vice… The Custom seems to have gone upon this Principle, That supreme Happiness is not to be expected till the Resurrection: And that the Interval between Death and the End of the World, is a State of imperfect Bliss; the Church might therefore believe her Prayers for good People might improve their Condition, and raise the Satisfactions of this Period.” Collier then goes on to critique Bucer who he states is responsible for the deletion of the prayers for the deceased in the English liturgy. Overall, Collier implies that prayers for the Christian dead are not prohibited in Scripture and therefore are edifying for the Church today. However, the main body of Anglican Christians did not support the practice due to its association with the medieval doctrine of purgatory, whatever the thought about the nature of the immediate state. Bucer cites Romans 14:23, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin,” arguing that whatever done in prayer must be done with express warrant from Scripture. This line of argument sounds like the regulative principle of Scripture which has not been part of Anglicanism. Bucer also cites Revelation 14:13, “’Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’” Perhaps Hebrews 9:27 can shed some light, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” thus negating any need to pray for our deceased brothers and sisters. More enlightening is the fact that the only proof for prayers for the dead in the Jewish world come from the Apocryphal books, specifically 2 Maccabees,

“Then under the tunic of each one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was the reason these men had fallen. So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin-offering. In doing this he acted very well and honourably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin” (2 Maccabees 12:40-45).

Part of the problem with the doctrines concerning the immediate state is that it is mostly theological speculation. Again, the only proof is found in 2 Maccabees, which, “the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine” (Article 6). While the scope of this post is not to theologically critique the position of the Nonjurors, I feel that this idea is prominent in modern Anglicanism which has opened the door to prayers for the deceased and a moderate doctrine of the immediate state. Perhaps, Protestant High Churchmen and other churchmen should think twice before we authorize prayers for the faithful departed in worship or at least offer extensive catechism to insure a sound understanding of it.

The third usage calls for the epiclesis over the elements, which the 1549 had as follows,

“Hear us, (O Merciful Father) we beseech thee, and with thy Holy Spirit and Word vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these thy Gifts and Creatures of Bread and Wine, that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of thy most dearly Beloved Son Jesus Christ.”

The Usagers looked to the early Church to validate their belief in the epiclesis. This was necessitated by their understanding of the Eucharist. Collier says, “the Prayer for the Descent of the Holy-Ghost was made for transfusing the mystick Virtue upon the Elements, and giving them the Efficacy of the Institution… And tho' we are willing to believe, the Force of the Invocation may be contain'd by Implication in our present Office; yet since express Terms are more instructive and solemn, since this has been the Practice of the Antient Church, we can't help proffering the Form of the First Liturgy.” The Nonjurors differed from other High Churchmen in their understanding of Holy Communion because they adopted a doctrine called “virtualism” which was different from the majority opinion called “receptionism.” Bishop Deacon explains their understanding of the Eucharist, where the priest,

“does as Christ did...he next repeats our Saviour’s powerful words “This is my
Body,” “This is my Blood” over the Bread and Cup. The effect of the words is
that the Bread and Cup are made authoritative Representations or symbols of
Christ’s crucified Body and of His Blood shed; and in consequence they are in a
capacity of being offered to God as the great Christian Sacrifice....God accepts
the Sacrifice and returns it to us again to feast upon, in order that we may be
thereby partakers of all the benefits of our Saviour’s Death and Passion. The
Bread and Cup become capable of conferring these benefits on the priest praying
to God the Father to send the Holy’ Spirit upon them. The Bread and Cup are
thereby made the Spiritual, Life-giving Body and Blood of Christ, in Power and
Virtue” (Broxap, 1).

The virtualist understanding of the Eucharist differs from recpetionism in that it maintains that there is a change in the elements. There is not a substantial change as is understood by the doctrines of transubstantiation or consubstantiation. The majority of English High Churchmen within the Established Church of England held to receptionism, which denies any change in the elements but maintains that when the faithful communicant receives the consecrated bread and wine receives the body and blood of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in faith. Daniel Waterland, in his book, A Review of the Doctrine of the Eucharist, presents the classic High Church understanding of the Eucharist. He discusses the relation of consecration on the elements,

“the consecration of the elements makes them holy symbols, relatively holy, on account of their relation to what they represent, or point to, by Divine institution: and it is God that gives them this holiness by the ministry of the word. The sanctification of the communicants (which is God’s word also) is of distinct consideration from the former, though they are often confounded: and to this part belongs what has been improperly called making the symbols become our Lord’s body; and which really means making them his body to us; or more plainly still, making us partakers of our Lord’s broken body and blood shed at the same time that we receive the holy symbols.”

Thus the receptionist position favors the “instrumental” view of consecration, making the elements instruments of Christ’s presence but not a conversion into his body and blood literally or properly. It is important to note that receptionism does not deny the “real presence.” The issue at the time of the Reformation was not over whether or not Christ was present in the Eucharist but how. Receptionism claims that Christ is not eaten through the mouth but by faith, Waterland explains,

“the thing received is very distinct from the hand receiving; therefore faith is not the meat, but the mean. Belief in Christ is the condition required, the duty commanded: but the bread of life is the reward consequent. Believing is not eating or drinking the fruits of Christ’s passion, but it is preparatory to it, as the means to the end. In short, faith, ordinarily, is the qualification, or one qualification; but the body and blood is the gift itself, and the real inheritance. The doctrine of Christ, lodged in the soul, is what gives the soul its proper temperature and fitness to receive the heavenly food: but the heavenly food is Christ himself, as once crucified, who has since been glorified.”

Another key tenet of receptionism is that the unworthy or those who do not receive the sacrament in faith do not partake of Christ. This teaching is summed up in Article 29:

“The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.”

Waterland and other High Churchmen stand in this understanding of the Eucharist,

“The Eucharist in its primary intention, and in its effects to all worthy communicants, is a communion of Christ’s body broken and blood shed, that is to say, a present partaking of, or having a part in our Lord’s passion, and the reconcilement therein made, and the blessed fruits of it. This is plain good sense, and undeniable truth. ‘The body and blood of Christ are verily and indeed received of the faithful: that is, they have a real part and portion given them in the death and sufferings of the Lord Jesus, whose body was broken and blood shed for the remission of sins. They truly and indeed partake of the virtue of his bloody sacrifice, whereby he hath obtained eternal redemption for us’ [quoted from Simon Patrick’s workChristian Sacrifice, page 53]”

The virtualist understanding of the Eucharist is maintained by Nonjurors and their liturgies and also by John Johnson in his book, The Unbloody Sacrifice. Johnson expresses the view expounded by Deacon earlier,

“The Bread and Wine are not the Body and Blood, in themselves considered [i.e. actually], nor merely by their resembling or representing the Body and Blood, but by the inward invisible power of the Spirit; by which the Sacramental Body and Blood are made as powerful and effectual for the ends of religion, as the natural body Itself could be if It was present.”

And again,

“Though the Eucharistical elements are not the substantial Body and Blood; nay, they are the figurative and representative symbols of them; yet they are somewhat more too; they are the mysterious Body and Blood of our ever-blessed Redeemer. By the mysterious Body and Blood … I mean neither substantial nor yet merely figurative, but the middle between these extreme, viz. the Bread and Wine made the Body and Blood of Christ by the secret power of the Spirit; and apprehended to be so, not by our senses, but by our faith, directed and influenced by the same Holy Spirit; and made the Body and Blood in such a manner as human reason cannot perfectly comprehend.”

By this series of quotes, the reader can get a feel for the differences between these two views of the Eucharist. Essentially, these differences flesh out in the practice of the liturgy and theology of the ministry in addition to the relation of sacrifice to the Eucharist.

The last usage has to do with the relation between sacrifice and the celebration of the Holy Communion. Collier begins,

“The Oblatory Prayer goes upon this Ground, that the Holy Eucharist is a proper Sacrifice: And that our Blessed saviour at his last Supper, offered the Bread and Wine to God the Father, as the Symbols of his Body and Blood, and commanded his Apostles to do the same.”

Johnson explores the notion of sacrifice in Unbloody Sacrifice,

“That material bread and wine, as the sacramental body and blood of Christ, were by solemn act of oblation in the Eucharist offered to Almighty God in the primitive Church, and that they were so offered by Christ Himself in the institution… That the Eucharistical bread and wine, or body and blood, are to be offered for the acknowledgment of God’s dominion and other attributes, and for procuring divine blessing, especially remission of sins… That the Communion Table is a proper altar… this sacrifice is to procure divine blessings, and especially pardon of sin. In the first respect it is propitiatory, in the second expiatory, by virtue of its principle, the grand sacrifice.”

Waterland understands the relation differently,

“that it was true and evangelical service, as opposed to legal: in the sense, the eucharistical service was itself true sacrifice, and properly our sacrifice. And if, over and above, the elements themselves, unconsecrated, were ever called a sacrifice, or sacrifices, the meaning still was, that the service was the sacrifice: but when the consecrated elements had that name, it was only a metonymy of the sign for the thing signified, as they represent, and in effect exhibit, the grand sacrifice of the cross.”


“Christians cannot partake of a any sacrifice in a literal sense … we may indeed partake of Christ’s sacrifice, a proper sacrifice, but not in a literal sense; for the participation is spiritual: we may literally partake of the elements; but they are not a proper sacrifice, but symbolical, and commemorative, being that they are memorial signs of the sacrifice, not the sacrifice itself… As to the name memorial, it may be noted, that it is capable of a twofold meaning, according as it may be applied. Apply it to the elements, and so it means a memorial sign, no sacrifice at all; apply it to the prayers, praises, and eucharistical actions, and then it means a memorial service, and is a sacrifice, a spiritual sacrifice”

In addition to the usages above, the Nonjurors were noted for their maintenance of the episcopate in an environment where it was not necessary in relation to the state. The Nonjurors also stopped consecrating bishops to particular sees but rather “bishops at large,”

“After the ordination of Hickes as Suffragan Bishop of Thetford and Thomas Wagstaffe as Bishop of Ipswich, the second generation of Non-Juring bishops did not take territorial titles. They were ‘bishops at large’ rather like the Catholic Vicars Apostolic of the period. Hickes’ maintenance of the sacredness of the episcopal order had, ironically, resulted in a significant innovation to the episcopacy; not since the days of Celtic Christianity had Britain seen bishops without sees. It was Hickes’ profound conviction that the episcopal order had the authority of Scripture behind it – and the Bangorian Controversy began when Benjamin Hoadly challenged Hickes in the most radical way by denying that Scripture licensed any form of church government. For very different reasons, Hoadly was taking up the view of earlier Puritans who had advocated the abolition of episcopacy in the Church of England on the grounds that it was unscriptural. The difference now was that Hoadly – a territorial bishop – was maintaining the unscriptural character of the episcopacy against Non-Jurors without territorial bishops. The old Puritan objection to ‘prelacy,’ that the cathedral foundations simply perpetuated Popish practice, lost its force against the Non-Jurors, who no longer enjoyed the privileges of the established church that had always tempted insincerity for the sake of advancement. The Non-Jurors maintained episcopacy for its own sake as the apostolic form of church government.”

The above examples show where the Nonjurors departed from their High Church counterparts in the Established Church, however, they were similar in some ways. They both did not maintain that auricular confession was necessary in any sort of way as the later Tractarians would do, “the Non-Jurors practised Confession just so much
or little as their brethren of the Established Church” (Broxap, 5). The Nonjurors differed with the High Churchmen in regards to the spiritual independence of the Church which they maintained, while the High Churchmen maintained that the Church and state were inseparable. The Nonjurors did not depart from Anglican standards and history as later Tractarians would do but they were on the edge of conformity supported by Anglicanism. They did not eschew Protestantism, “I do believe the Holy Scriptures and the three Creeds as so many just summaries of the Credenda. I am in communion, as you lately was, with the primitive Fathers of the Catholic all which I observe so far as I am by God’s help able, the noble rule of the Church of England’s reformation from popery. I am in full communion with a whole National, Episcopal, Protestant Church” (Broxap, 6). However, there was so apprehension to the word,

“There is one thing more that I think proper to observe to you at this
time by way of caution that we ought to be very careful that we be not cheated
with the words “Protestant Religion,” which have been for some years past, very
rife in the mouths of a certain party, as if there were some one particular religion
to be called by that name, more than any other. The word protestant, indeed, is
known and understood by us to signify a protester against popery, and therefore,
all but papists may properly enough be called protestants; therefore, the
Lutherans, the Calvinists, the Anabaptists, Muggletonians, Socinians, Deists,
nay, Atheists, all come under the denomination as well as the Church of
England, but these are not one but several religions who differ from each other
in fundamental points, so that to say the Protestant Religion, as denoting a
particular church or sect, is absurd, because the word protestant, as it is vulgarly
understood, signifies not any one church or sect, but is merely negative, and
intimates that those so-called are not papists, but does not inform them what
they are....But if there be a religion which is to be called protestant by reason of
eminence as most remarkably so, as having in a particular manner publicly
exhibited their protest against the corruptions of the Church of Rome, in a more
solemn way than others have done, then only the Lutheran religion can be called
protestant in this sense....But if we will understand the word protestant in its full
latitude and as it commonly means, then we ought to say the protestant religions
in the plural number, for Protestant Religion in the singular number, is in that
sense absurd and nonsensical.”

As we have seen in this post, the Nonjurors were an interesting ecclesiastical group in Anglican history. They stood by their conviction that the oath they made at ordination was binding. Some of them went on a theological tangent that led them to the edges of Anglican conformity. They were not proto-Tractarians and the Anglo-Catholic movement cannot claim them as spiritual predecessors.