Friday, October 5, 2012

"Anglo-Reformed" Additional Thoughts

After several curious interactions with alleged leaders of the "Anglo-Reformed" movement in the US, I want to take this chance to further, publicly, distance the author, content, and readers of this blog from this dangerous movement.  I think the movement's supposed representation of Cranmer's theology and vision is dubious at best and downright deceptive in actuality.  Nothing in their platform represents the theology of Cranmer, or the English Reformation.  In addition to this, their "leaders" have a faulty and misinformed understanding of the history of Anglicanism and a poor understanding of the theological intricacies of Protestant High Churchmanship.

For this reason, I wish to clarify further some of my comments on this blog to insure a proper understanding by the readers of this blog and to insure that the author not be confused with sectarianism.

When I claim, as I still do wholeheartedly, that the Church of England is a Reformed Church, I mean that it is a Reformed Church.  That seems a silly statement but when you consider that both "sides", church papists and church puritans, both claim that it, in fact, isn't a Reformed Church.  Church papists or recusants, claim that the Church is, in essence, a continuation of medieval religion, with modest political reformation and restructuring to avoid late superstitions but with real little alteration of the substance of the faith.  This viewpoint disregards the real theological and liturgical changes that occurred, first in the publication of the Book of Homilies, in the reform of the liturgy, and in the publication of the Articles of Religion, all of which fundamentally and drastically altered the doctrine of the unreformed Church to that of a Reformed Church.  A serious student cannot truthfully examine the formularies of our Church and deny its Protestantism unless he enters with the specific purpose of disproving the Protestantism thereof, which, of course, isn't serious study.  The church papist also errs in viewing the reform of doctrine and liturgy as some negative.  Rather, the reform of doctrine and liturgy brought back to England (and subsequently her daughter churches) the true, Catholic faith of the early Church and Holy Bible.

Likewise, church puritans neither believe the Church to be a Reformed Church.  They err in similar ways to the church papist in that they fail to grasp the purity of our doctrine and liturgy.  The tragedy of the matter is that the church puritan claims to represent the "spirit" of Cranmer, yet, represents a figment of his imagination.  The formularies of our Church are sufficient in the manner in which they exist now and need no "tinkering" to be counted among the Reformed confessions.  Any alleged churchman who believes them insufficient is really no churchman at all.

Perhaps "Reformed" is a word that has been tainted by this brand of lunatic who sadly ruins a good word by his sectarianism.  I would say that orthodox churchmen should own this word, rather than letting it be ruined by a few madmen.  Charles Bartlett, at Anglican Rose, proposes to add a clarifying adjective, such as "early", which I view as a good alternative.  This opens the possibility if associating the English Church with the broad spirit of the early Reformed movement, which included the Genevans, but also reformers such as Bucer.  This also limits us from Dortian dogmatics, which were never adopted by the Church of England (although our formularies do not exclude such views -- they do not require them either).

I also wish to clarify that by "Anglo-Reformed", I mean a certain variety of American "churchmen" (who does not attend an Anglican parish) and wish not to include English Evangelicals, who are churchmen, in this remonstrance.

2 comments:

Jeremiah Caughran said...

Thanks for the clarification. I don't know if you are actually doing comments on this particular entry, since no one has shown up on it...

I figured who you were talking about, especially since I had run into some over the few years that I have been Anglican and that you weren't talking about Evangelical Anglicans who have a reformed/calvinist bent in their theology. Quite the heated discussion when you bring these things up, eh?

Daniel Sparks said...

Thanks for pointing out the errors of the Anglo-Reformed element (I daren't call them a movement). It seems they became dissatisfied with liberalism in the Anglican world and became determined to seek out an Anglicanism that never existed. Reminds me of the anti-prayer book movement in the early days of my own jurisdiction. It is very telling that these Anglican purists don't attend Anglican churches or even pretend to worship in the Anglican way.