Thursday, August 29, 2013

On Anglicans and Puritans

I've been called many things in my life but a recent accusation made me chuckle quite a bit. A rather enthusiastic "classical Anglican" has decided that I am a Puritan. It truly was news to me. I thought it would be profitable to address the issue of Puritanism briefly again.

I think the problem that most modern people have (especially Americans) is understanding the underlying principles which make Puritanism an option within the Church. Puritanism is not based upon Presbyterianism or Calvinism or any other subset of a Christian tradition. Rather, it is based upon the establishment principle. This, properly defined, is the notion that all Christians in a particular nation should be bound together in one, national Church. This is the theology of the Reformation and the theology of our Anglican formularies. The vision of the Catholic Church is a family of national Churches, each with a Christian Prince heading it in godly virtue. This is what our English Reformers believed and what they established under Henry VIII, Edward VII, and following monarchs ("Bloody" Mary excepted). The Church of England shed itself from the bonds of Popery and re-established the biblical principle of the Christian Prince as head of the Church of England. This is what the English Reformation was all about.

As we all know, the settlement of religion was a crucial issue at the time of Elizabeth's reign. She continued in her predecessors' footsteps and re-established the Book of Common Prayer and the Act of Uniformity. The Elizabethan Settlement can be said to be fully complete in 1571, with the adoption of the finalized version of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (1571), the Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal (1559), and the Books of Homilies (1547 and 1571). This establishment was meant to "avoid the diversities of opinions", thus excluding Popery and Anabaptism, yet allowing some flexibility in Protestant opinion. During Elizabeth's reign two "parties" developed within the Church of England: churchmen and puritans. The former accepted the Settlement as theologically acceptable and not needing further reform because there was nothing contrary to God's Word written in the formularies of the Church. The latter felt that the Settlement was not thorough enough in reforming the Church and desired further reform.

The puritan "party" was not a homogenous group and contained everyone from militant Congregationalists to moderate Presbyterians. They were also divided between those who accepted the normative principle and those who accepted the regulative principle. The former group disliked some of the ceremonies allowed in the Prayer Book, but did not reject liturgical worship altogether. The latter group believed that the worship of the Church must be "regulated" by the direct command of God in Scripture. Now, the most important thing to remember is that puritans accepted the theological consensus of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. The main issue was of polity and ceremonies, both matters indifferent, to both parties, churchmen and puritans alike. The puritans believed also in the establishment principle and were happy to stay in the national Church.

All of this really goes to show that someone who accepts the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church of England cannot be a puritan.

Of course, times have changed and some might wish to re-appropriate the use of the term "puritan" to mean one who wishes to reform the Church back to her own standards. I am not of that opinion but if someone wishes to call me a Puritan, that is the manner in which I will interpret his statement.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blast from the Past: The Curious Case of the Old High Churchmen (Part Two)

Here's some more unedited stuff from 2010...

Evangelicals and Low Churchmen
One of the results of the Oxford Movement was the popular association of evangelicalism with low churchmanship. However, before that point, evangelicals and low churchmen were not mutually exclusive terms. I find it important to give more background on the evangelicals than in the last post, because they become very important in the years of the Oxford Movement.

First, evangelicals were a relatively new movement at the beginning of the Oxford Movement in the Church of England. The Evangelical Movement had begun earlier in t he 18th century with Wesley and others preaching the necessity of individual conversion and an evident change of life after conversion. Evangelicals shared with the later Tractarians, a concern with the inner, spiritual life of the average churchman. This was not found in low churchmanship or in old high churchmanship. This deficit has been one of the reasons why the Old High Churchmen are no longer an organized element of modern Anglicanism. “I venture to suggest one possible solution to this. In my younger days, the theological battle waxed sore over the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. The High Churchmen made it the basis of every sermon, just as the old Evangelicals did the atonement. With the High Churchmen baptismal regeneration was the core and apparent consummation of the Gospel system. It led many to this: that they practically omitted the need of conversion. They largely rejected the necessity of being convicted of sin, and the work of the Spirit, and of salvation by Christ's cross and passion, and of a conscious acceptance by Him. Indeed, in cases, they rejected it as Methodism. I remember being taken to task for preaching it. But baptism, without a vitalized union with Christ, could not save men. Consequently their own spiritual life and perceptions declined. In the developments that succeeded, they easily fell under the influence of the new rationalizing, easy-going, and popular Broad Church system.” The author presents a compelling argument for the downfall of the High Churchmen in my book.

Evangelicals loathed the “dryness” of the low churchmen. However, the term “evangelical” did not designate a separate church party as we think of it today, per se, but rather a designation of theological emphasis which could be adapted to either of the “established” church parties. “In the early part of the nineteenth century, some Evangelical clergy were high Churchmen and some even so proclaimed themselves. The terms ‘Evangelical’ and ‘high-Church’ were not mutually exclusive, as were ‘Evangelical’ and ‘low Church’.” In this aspect, the Evangelicals actually shared a core conviction with the nascent Tractarians, that being, the concern for the inner, spiritual life. At first, evangelicals and Tractarians were often allies such as their opposition to the non-orthodox Regius Professor at Oxford. One author argues that evangelicals and Tractarians were, at the beginning, only divided in emphasis. The evangelicals were focused on justification and the Tractarians on sanctification.

However, as history has proven, this alliance between Evangelicals and Tractarians did not last long. The Tractarians continued in their pursuit of catholicity by studying the patristic authors and eventually began to look to Rome. Evangelicals had already begun to suspect Romanizing tendencies in the nascent movement, but their suspicions were confirmed in 1840 with the publication of the infamous, Tract 90, by Newman, which sought to harmonize Tridentine teaching with the Articles of Religion. You can imagine the effect of Newman’s conversion to Rome in 1845 which formally connected Tractarianism with Romanizing tendencies in the minds of the common churchman.

The Hackney Phalanx and High Churchmanship in the early 19th Century
The Tractarians loved to characterize the “long eighteenth century” as a period of more than an hundred years of spiritual dryness with the Church plagued by deism and enlightenment philosophy. While every rumor has a nugget of truth to it, these claims were not entirely accurate in describing the spiritual life of the 18th century in the Church o f England. For one, there was the immensely spiritual, Evangelical Movement affecting both dissenters and churchmen. Beyond that, there were several high church movements which affected both the established Church and the disestablished Church in Scotland. The Non-jurors, for example, flourished during this time in Scotland. They were not well received by churchmen in the established Church but they found a home in the Episcopal Church of Scotland. The established Church was not without an high church influence during these years, however compelling the case for it is made by Tractarians.

There was a renaissance of high churchmanship during the latter part of the 18th century, due to the fact that the Non-juror schism was beginning to wane, as their causes for schism disappeared. Jacobitism (the political side of the Non-juror schism) largely ended in 1788 when Charles Edward Stuart died in exile. His brother was not recognized as a valid heir because he was a cardinal in the Roman Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church recognized the claims of the House of Hanover and George III as the rightful King of England. Most Non-jurors followed suit and many reconciled with the established Church of England. The healing of the Non-juror schism made it more fashionable to be an High Churchman again, as it had lost its association with Jacobitism, which was not popular with establishment churchmen. This influx of Non-juror doctrine, especially that of the Usagers, might have had an influence on the downfall of the High Churchmen, according to my hypothesis, which I will present in further detail later.

At this point, I want to explore an aspect of high churchmanship which I haven’t so far. For research in this post, I’ve been reading a book online, The development of English theology in the nineteenth century, 1800-1860, written by Vernon Faithfull Storr. As we have explored and confirmed, during this period of time in the Church of England, there was not the three-party system we have today of high, broad, and low, but rather, a two-party system of low and high, with evangelicals as a new movement which affected both parties. Storr describes a further division within the High Church party, which, in accordance with Nockles in The Oxford Movement in Context, the High Churchmen preferred to be titled “Orthodox,” and from this point, I will use that term to refer to them, partially to honor their desire to be called such, and partially to provide a distinction between later Tractarians, who call themselves high churchmen as well.

Within the Orthodox party, there two subdivisions which Storr describes (Nockles also follows this distinction). There were “Church and State” Orthodox churchmen who praised the Establishment and the Settlement. This group emphasized the good in the established Church and the benefits that flowed from it. The other group of churchmen did not despise the tie with the State but viewed the Church as an entirely spiritual organization, independent from the State in matters of doctrine or spiritual authority.  This again is a matter of emphasis, High Churchmen agreed on the essentials of the faith and their distinctive against Evangelicals and Latitutdinarians. These two groups stood in continuity with the Caroline Divines and the Non-jurors (to an extent) in that they were, “content with the Prayer Book as affording a middle position between Romanism on the one side and continental Protestantism on the other” (Storr, 80). Unlike the Caroline Divines, who had maintained a strong friendship with the Reformed churches of the Continent, the 18th century Orthodox emphasized the episcopacy more, essentially adopting the view that the episcopacy was of the esse of the Church rather than the bene esse. However, like earlier High Churchmen, they were not concerned with ritual as the later Ritualists would be and their sacramentalism was, “on the whole, sober and restrained” (Storr).

The Orthodox churchmen before the eve of the Oxford Movement were highly dependent on the State (which might have been another reason for their downfall). The separatist, Non-juror, movement is well documented in history, while the establishment Orthodox movements do not get much attention. There were two main movements before the Oxford Movement. The least known were the Hutchinsonians, who followed the anti-Newtonian scientific philosophy of John Hutchinson, thereby meriting their name. The other was an informal group of clergy and laity known as the Hackney Phalanx, geographically centered in the village of Hackney (now a suburb of London) and the larger metropolis of London. The most well known bishops who supported the cause were Van Mildert of Durham, Herbert Marsh of Peterborough, and the retired Horsley of Rochester, in addition to these bishops, there were many priests and laymen who were supportive of the aims of the Phalanx. The Phalanx was a group of churchmen who sought to promote a revival of Church discipline and the construction of new parish churches, in addition to promoting High Church values in Universities, the wider Church, and Parliament in England. They succeeded in getting the Million Act passed in Parliament. This act allotted one million pounds to the construction of new parish churches throughout the nation. The Hackney Phalanx was the last non-Tractarian manifestation of Orthodox churchmanship which blended well the two subdivisions of the party, that being “Church and State” enthusiasts and those who valued more the spiritual dimension of the Church. The Hackney Phalanx was unique in that it emphasized the spiritual dimension of the Church over the political aspects of the Church/State relationship. It was probably this emphasis which influenced the Oxford fathers most. In fact, one of the Hackney Phalanx, Charles Lloyd, was the Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford. Some of his most notable students included, John Henry Newman; Edward Pusey; and Hurrell Froude, which we know as the leaders of the Oxford Movement. After reading a post from The Continuum blog, Lloyd would be an important influence on the young Tractarians, teaching them things such as, “was but a reflection of mediaeval and primitive devotion, still embodied in its Latin form in the Roman service books,” he also held the position that prayers for the departed were not contrary to Scripture. Lloyd combined many ideas from the Non-jurors and Caroline Divines and acts as a direct link between the Phalanx and the Tractarians.

At this point, I am going to spend some time detailing the views of an important man in the transition from old High churchmanship to Tractarianism. He is important for his views on justification and the Eucharist as well as his self-designation as holding a different view from the “Tory churchmen.” Alexander Knox, an Irish cleric who lived from 1757-1831, is our primary link between the Orthodox and Oxford Movement. He is most notable for his views on justification and the Church of Rome; Knox was supportive of the emancipation of Catholics. Knox’s views on justification were not accepted by the Evangelicals at all, in fact, many Evangelical writes would equate Knox’s teaching with that of Trent. Later on, during the heat of the Oxford Movement, Evangelical writers would accuse the Oxford fathers of teaching Knox’s doctrine of justification, which would equate them with Tridentine Catholicism. Knox writes of justification, saying, “In St Paul’s sense, to be justified is not simply to be accounted righteous; but also and in the first instance to be made righteous by the implantation of a radical principle of righteousness” (Toon, 152). In addition to these controversial writings on justification, Knox also wrote on baptism, the Eucharist, and even a collection of letters, “Letters on the Re-Union of the Churches of England and Rome.” In addition to his attack on forensic justification, Alexander Knox also distinguished himself from “Tory churchmen,” saying, “I am a churchman in grain – not a Tory churchman, for that is a disease in the church, not its constitutional turn” (Nockles, 102). He also began to leave the earlier receptionist/virtualist views of the eucharist and espouse something between them and the later sacramental union theories of the Tractarians. He was willing to say that the elements are, “permanent representatives of His incarnate Person” (Storr, 89). Furthermore, Knox adds, “But the express designation of the Holy Eucharist by our Lord Himself as His own virtual body and blood, and St Paul’s appeal to the receive belief of the Church that the blessed cup was the communion of the blood of Christ, and that the broken bread was the communion of the body of Christ, established beyond question that the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is to serve as the external and visible medium through which the disciples of Christ in all ages are to expect, through the co-operation of the Eternal Spirit, the divinely vivifying influences of His incarnate Person, and the ineffable virtues of His crucifixion and death.” In addition to these unique views on justification and the eucharist, he also shared earlier Orthodox emphasis on apostolic succession, invalidity of the sacraments from non-episcopal ministers, the desire for Church unity, and the loathing of private interpretation. Knox really is the “missing link” between the Orthodox and Tractarians.

Historical Causes of the Oxford Movement
After that brief tangent on evangelicalism in the Church of England, it is now time to review the causes of the Oxford Movement and its course in English history.

For a long time the Church of England had enjoyed a special relationship with the Parliament, maybe even viewing it as a lay synod of the Church. However, in the early 19th century, Parliament passed and repealed some laws which jeopardized the Church of England’s monopoly on Parliament. In 1828, Parliament repealed the Test and Corporation Acts. The Corporation Act, “excluded from membership of town corporations all those who were not prepared to take the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England,” and the Test Act, “imposed the same test upon holders of civil or military office.” Therefore, with the repeal of these acts, Parliament was thus open to dissenters and not just churchmen. Likewise, the Catholic Relief Act of 1829, opened Parliament to Roman Catholics.

However, the final straw for the fathers of the Oxford Movement was the 1832 Reform Act, which sought to reduce the number of bishoprics in the Church of Ireland by ten. This prompted the infamous, John Keble’s Assize sermon, “National Apostasy,” in 1833. The Church Society summarizes the main points of the Movement as such: 1) Apostolic succession by the laying on of hands; 2) That it was sacrilege for non-Church bodies to lay hands on the Church; 3) The assertion that the Church of England is part of the Catholic Church and entirely separate from the state; 4) A strong opposition to the emerging liberalism; 5) A focus on personal holiness. As you can see, these are not new or original themes in the life of the Church of England but were specifically related to the controversies of the 19th century. The movement was centered at Oxford, giving it one of its more popular names. However, it came to be known as Tractarianism. In September of 1833, the Oxford divines began publishing a series of tracts to further their aims throughout the Church, which merited them the name “Tractarianism.”

During the early years of the movement, the Tractarians did not openly express any detachment from the Reformation. However, one of the “Oxford four,” Hurrell Froude died and his “theological remains” were published in 1838. These remains clearly showed his antipathy to the Reformers and his affinity for medieval Catholicism. This revelation triggered a rebuttal from Evangelicals which began a long (and present) conflict between Evangelicals and Tractarians. The tip of the iceberg was the publication of Tract 90 in 1841, which sought to reconcile the Articles of Religion with the teachings of the Council of Trent, simply anathema to Evangelicals. The response from Evangelicals is predictable and to be expected, however, the question we ask seeks to discover how the Orthodox responded. The Church Society article, “The Oxford Movement” provides a concise statement about the reaction of the Orthodox:

“At the time ‘High Church’ referred to those who had a high regard for the Church and its ways including establishment and its Protestantism. Thus High Churchmen were split in their response to the new movement. Some warmed to what was said about the nature and dignity of the Church whilst others saw that it would lead to disestablishment and indeed to some Roman practices at least. The impact of the movement was such that the old distinction of ‘high church’ was largely lost and the term came to be associated with the Tractarians. The authorities in Oxford also distanced themselves from the Tracts and from any association of the name with the university.”

Tractarian and Orthodox Views

At this point, it is important to accentuate the differences between Orthodox churchmen and the nascent Tractarians. We have already seen where they had essential agreement, that being in the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, apostolic succession and an esse view of the episcopacy, and their distrust of private interpretation. However, beyond this, the differences accumulate faster than any similarities. First, the Orthodox were firmly Protestant. The earlier churchmen identified even more with the Reformed churches in Europe, Richard Hooker offering a good summary of Anglican feeling towards non-episcopal churches:

“Although I see that certain reformed churches, the Scottish especially and French, have not that which best agreeth with the sacred Scripture, I mean government that is by Bishops, inasmuch as both those churches are fallen under a different kind of regiment; which to remedy it is for the one altogether too late, and too soon for the other during their present affliction and trouble: this their defect and imperfection I had rather lament in such case than exagitate,considering that men oftentimes without any fault of their own may be driven to want that kind of polity or regiment which is best, and to content themselves with that, which either the irremediable error of former times, or the necessity of the present hath cast upon them.”

The Caroline Divine, John Cosin, saying, ““I never refused to join with the Protestants either here or anywhere else, in all things wherein they join with the Church of England.” John Sharp, an 18th century High Churchman said of a churchman, ““if he were abroad, he would willingly communicate with the Protestant churches where he should happen to be.” Likewise Archbishop Ussher, “which I do love and honour as true members of the Church Universal, I do profess that with like affection I should receive the Blessed Sacrament at the hands of the Dutch ministers if I were in Holland, as I should do at the hands of the French ministers if I were in Charenton.” All of this to prove that all churchmen before the Oxford Movement viewed themselves as Protestants, whether they were High Churchmen, Low Churchmen or Evangelicals, they were Protestant. This is one of the key differences between the Orthodox and Tractarians. It is also important to note that the Orthodox saw no contradiction in terms when they referred to themselves as Protestants and catholics. At the time, they understood that the Roman Church did not have a valid claim to catholicity and that Protestantism was not opposite to catholicism. Nockles sums up the core tenets of Orthodox churchmanship, they, “upheld in some form the doctrine of apostolical succession as a manifestation of [their] strong attachment to the Church's catholicity and apostolicity as a branch of the universal church catholic, … . [They] believed in the supremacy of Holy Scripture and set varying degrees of value on the testimony of authorised standards such as the Creeds, the Prayer Book and the Catechism. [They] valued the writings of the early Fathers, but more especially as witnesses and expositors of scriptural truth when a 'catholic consent' of them could be established. [They] upheld in a qualified way the primacy of dogma and laid emphasis on the doctrine of sacramental grace, both in the eucharist and in baptism, … . [They] tended to cultivate a practical spirituality based on good works nourished by sacramental grace and exemplified in acts of self-denial and charity rather than on any subjective conversion experienced or unruly pretended manifestations of the Holy Spirit.” How did the Tractarians differ in substance from the Orthodox? “High Churchmen took as their standard of catholicity the Anglican formularies supported by scripture and antiquity; Tractarians used the appeal to antiquity to correct and supplement the Anglican formularies.”

One of the most important distinctions in theology from the Orthodox and the Tractarians is in the doctrine of the eucharist. The Orthodox held to one of two theories concerning Christ’s presence in the sacrament, either that of receptionism (Calvin’s doctrine) or virtualism (that of the Non-jurors, see The Unbloody Sacrifice). The key similarity in these two viewpoints and what clearly distinguishes them from Tractarian ideas is that both of these doctrines deny that Christ is present in the elements. Both follow a Reformed Christology saying that since Christ has ascended to heaven and that is where his natural body is. Both theories offer a solution to the problem of Christ being in heaven but present in the sacrament. Receptionism says that the Spirit ascends our hearts to heaven and feeds us with the body and blood of Christ through faith. Virtualism says the power and effect of Christ’s body and blood, but not the body and blood descend to the elements. The Tractarians take this another step and are willing to say that the spiritual body and blood of Christ are present in the elements. Pusey states, “In the communion there is a true, real, actual, though spiritual (or rather the more real because spiritual), communication of the body and blood of Christ to the believer through the holy elements; that there is a true, real, spiritual presence of Christ at the Holy Supper, more real than if we could with Thomas feel Him with our hands, or thrust our hands into His side; that this is bestowed upon faith, and received by faith, as is every other spiritual gift, but that our faith is but a receiver of God’s real, mysterious, precious gift; that faith opens our eyes to see what is really there, and our hearts to receive it; but that it is there independently of our faith.” (Pusey, 1839: 128, in Stone, 1909: II, 534). In contrast, William Goode provides a good summary of the dominant receptionist position, “The doctrine … maintained in the formularies of the Church of England and, speaking generally, by all her great divines … is that, though the act of consecration makes the bread and wine sacred symbols or Sacraments of the body and blood of Christ, in the participation of which by the faithful there is vouchsafed a real spiritual presence to the soul of the body and blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed received and spiritually eaten and drunk to the soul’s health, yet that the presence of the body and blood of Christ is not communicated to (though in the case of the faithful connected with the participation of) the bread and wine, and His body and blood are not given to, or partaken of by, the faithless. In short, it is a real presence to the receiver and not to the elements.” (Goode, 1856: I, 29-30). Willilam Beveridge, Bishop of St. Asaph agrees with Goode, ““Scripture and fathers holding forth so clearly that whosoever worthily receives the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper doth certainly partake of the body and blood of Christ.” (Beveridge, The Theological Works, edn. Bliss, 1843-1848: VII, 470). At the same time he denies that, “the bread and wine which is used in the Sacrament is the very body that was crucified on the cross and that the wine after consecration the very blood that gushed out of His pierced side.” (Beveridge, The Theological Works, edn. Bliss, 1843-1848: VII, 470). John Johnson, author of the Non-juror and virtualist work, The Unblood Sacrifice, states of the Eucharistic presence, “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.” (Johnson, The Unbloody Sacrifice, in The Theological Works, edn. Parker, 1847: I, 323).

However, the Tractarian movement was not the end of the upheaval of the 19th century in the Church of England, for in its earliest stage it was only a theological movement which did not affect the average churchman. However, the Church would soon face the destructive power of the Cambridge Camden Society (renamed the Ecclesiological Society in 1845) which was founded in 1839 and intended to revive medieval ceremonial and ritual in the Church of England.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blast from the Past: The Curious Case of the Old High Churchmen (1533-1833)

This was the piece that defined this blog for some time. I've been coming back to this piece, revising it, re-shaping it, etc. for some time.

The English High Church Tradition 

This reflection stems from a personal fascination with Anglican High Churchmanship, partially stemming from my own experience of the Anglican tradition in its High Church form. My own experience of Anglicanism was heavily influenced by a combination of Anglo-Catholicism and three-streams convergence theology. My own intellectual fascination with this topic began nearly a year ago when I read Peter Nockle’s, “The Oxford Movement in Context,” a truly fascinating read, obligatory for anyone who is interested in this subject. In my mind, I began to question the “trinity” of Anglican churchmanship (high, broad, low) discovering older paradigms which challenged our contemporary summation of the complex phenomenon known as Anglican churchmanship. Another influence on my thought and consequently the hypothesis presented in this work was the article, “High Church Varieties: Continuity and Discontinuity in Anglican Catholic Thought,” by Mattijs Ploeger. Ploeger’s work reinforced my previous suspicion of the homogeneity of the High Church tradition in Anglicanism. Through a variety of primary and secondary sources, I have come to the conclusion that the Anglican High Church tradition is not homogeneous and therefore the particular strand known as “Anglo-Catholicism” should not be the sole proprietor of the label. I propose that Anglo-Catholicism is only one facet of Anglican High Churchmanship which has come to dominate High Churchmanship but that does not encompass the whole of it.

The necessary question which arises in discussing churchmanship is a simple one, what is High Churchmanship? The question might seem simple but the proposed answer is anything but simple. Likewise, the modern association with ceremonial seems entirely inadequate and in disconnect with the original meaning of the terms. As it has already been mentioned, Anglo-Catholicism is often equated with High Churchmanship; however, I have come to question this assertion. I also propose a sharp historical contrast between pre-Tractarian High Churchmanship and post-Tractarian High Churchmanship, which primarily manifests itself with the appearance of Anglo-Catholicism and Ritualism. As I mentioned above, I believe the High Church strand of thought in the Anglican tradition is anything but homogenous and I propose temporal, geographic, and theological substrata within this type of Anglican churchmanship, which I intend to explore in this work.

Historical Summary 

The differences between “high” and “low” church were not necessarily evident in the time of the Reformation, but we can see a general trend of development beginning with the reforms under Henry VIII.

Most of us are familiar with Henry VIII and his dilemma with Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon, at least if you've seen the popular series, The Tudors. Henry's role in the English Reformation is extremely complex and subject to historical interpretation beyond the scope of this work, however, it seems that he was generally in favor of modest reform while maintaining traditional ceremonial. Many important things happened during his reign which set the stage for the further reforms under Edward VI and later monarchs. First, Henry appointed Thomas Cranmer to the archbishopric of Canterbury on October 1, 1532, who was quickly recruited to help determine the best way forward in regards to the King’s “great matter”. After just two years of legislation, the break with Rome was finalized in 1534 with the Act of Supremacy which declared Henry, "supreme head in earth of the Church of England." This act did not start a theological reformation but it did provide the base from which that would come. Later manifestations of early reform include the Dissolution of the Monasteries led by Cromwell. Henry issued several doctrinal statements beginning with the Ten Articles of 1536 and later the Six Articles of 1539. They were conservative documents but looked to German Lutherans for inspiration. There wasn’t a concept of “churchmanship” as we know it during Henry’s reign but there were divides between the clergy’s reaction to the reforms. Eamon Duffy mentions “traditionalists” and “reformists” in his book, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580. It is important to note that no modern church party has exclusive claim to the English Reformers, for example, it is erroneous to say that the Reformers were “Evangelicals” in the nineteenth century meaning of the term (they were “evangelical” in the sense that they loved the Gospel). Henry's reign produced the English Litany (1544), English Bible (1537), standardization of the Salisbury or Sarum Use as the national use, and the introduction of many of the cast of characters for Edward's Reform.

Liturgical reform commenced almost immediately after Henry's death with the first Prayer Book in 1549 and revised in 1552. Cranmer released his 42 Articles of Religion in 1553, only to be revoked by Queen Mary after ascending to the throne in the same year. Elizabeth followed her as queen and reinstated Protestantism with the Act of Uniformity and the 1559 Prayer Book. Cranmer's 42 Articles were revised to 38 in 1563 and then the current 39 Articles of Religion were agreed by Convocation in 1571. This was the beginning of Anglicanism as we know it. However, the Elizabethan church, at least in the beginning, can hardly be classified as “Anglican” especially before the finalization of the Articles of Religion in 1571. Hylson-Smith adds his reflection on this period of the Church, “The 'complex of ideas described by the word "Anglican" did not exist in the Elizabethan church, any more than the word did'. The early Elizabethan church was 'an enforced coalition of contrary religious traditions and tendencies, crudely distinguishable as very protestant, not-so-protestant and crypto-papist.” Tensions were building up during Elizabeth's reign but because of her policy of toleration, there was no conflict.

During James' reign, churchmanship differences became more pronounced and eventually full-blown conflict became apparent at the end of Charles I’s reign. Churchmanship at the time was beginning to develop, "On the right stood the recusants, those who still remained faithful to the Church of Rome. Next came ‘those who in a later age have been called high churchmen, but were then more generally known as Arminians’. Next came the episcopalian Calvinists, those who were content with the episcopal nature of the Church of the Elizabethan settlement. Next came the Calvinists who still looked for their model of a reformed Church to the European models of presbyterian and congregational churches. Still further to the left came the sectaries, separatists or independents: ‘whereas the upper-middle-class man tended to adopt an Erastian form of presbyterianism, the lower-middle-class man often became a separatist’. Finally came ‘the lunatic fringe – the Fifth Monarchy men, the Seekers, the Levellers, and so forth’"

The presbyterians won for a time under the leadership of Cromwell and the Protectorate. The prayer book was abolished and bishops replaced by presbyteries. This came to an end in 1661, when Charles II ascended the throne and reinstated the Prayer Book in 1662 and bishops. This narrowed the theological comprehensiveness of the Church to exclude presbyterians and congregationalists and those who were not in favor of the prescribed liturgy. This led to the expulsion of over 2,000 ministers from the Church. There was a debate at the time as to what to do with Puritans and Dissenting Christians. This debate led to the first codification of churchmanship terms. There was a group of churchmen who wanted to revise the prayer book to allow for more diversity of opinion and eventually graft these groups back into the national church. They presented a revised prayer book in 1689, called the Liturgy of Comprehension. Another group of churchmen were opposed to these efforts of comprehension and stated that the puritans and dissenting Christians must use the authorized liturgy of the Church (1662 BCP). Those who favored comprehension were called latitudinarians or "low churchmen" because they had a "low" view of the Established Church which allowed them to vision compromises to include more in the Church. Those who opposed were called "high churchmen" because they had a "high" view of the Established Church and would not tolerate deviations from the standard liturgy. Kenneth Hylson-Smith introduces the concept of High Churchmanship around this point in the history of the Church of England,

"Certainly, prior to the Restoration, 'High Churchmanship' was largely a response to Puritanism on the one hand and Roman Catholicism on the other. It was, to this extent, a defensive upholding of a via media, a sort of Church of England middle ground consensus, without having such a definite form and content as either Puritanism or Roman Catholicism. Puritanism to a certain extent, but more especially Roman Catholicism, had very clear beliefs, codes of practice, and systems of authority, structures and organisation. High Churchmanship lacked all of these marks of a fairly clearly defined tradition and school of thought, and was undoubtedly somewhat imprecise, unstructured and unselfconscious. It has in fact been asserted that the term 'High Church Party' 'was not used in an ecclesiastical sense until the last years of the seventeenth century, and the party so described was not sufficiently distinguished from the rest of the Church of England to require a name until that time'... Throughout the latter part of the seventeenth century and into the eighteenth century High Churchmen were characerised by their opposition to Latitudinarianism and by their alliance with Toryism against Whig and nonconformist assertions..."

The High Churchmen won and, weary from the Civil War and the Cromwellian period, there was no effort at comprehension.

The reigning monarch at that time was James II. A Dutch Prince, named William, invaded England and James II fled to France. (This is a very simplified explanation of the situation!). He was held captive by William but later released and fled. William convened a parliament and many Englishmen supported him as the new king because they believed that James had abdicated the throne by fleeing. William was eventually proclaimed king, however, many High Churchmen could not, in conscience, swear loyalty to him because they did not believe that their oath to James had expired. Thus a large number of high church bishops and priests seceded from the Church, they became known as the Non-Jurors. The Non-Jurors went on to have a life of their own as a sect, apart from the national church. While the national church fell into the power of the Latitudinarians, the High Church Non-Jurors were divided amongst themselves about the question of Prayer Book revision. The pro-revision group or Usagers, wanted to revise the English liturgy along the lines of the 1549 rite and introduce four alleged apostolic usages to the liturgy. The four usages included: he mixed chalice, the prayers of epiklesis and invocation and prayers for the dead. The opposing group, called the Non-usagers, wanted no change to the English liturgy.

Meanwhile, in the national church, the "long eighteenth century" began. This is a term used by historians to refer to the period of time from Toleration Act of 1689 until the 1833, or the beginning of the Oxford Movement. During this time the Church was battling Enlightenment issues of science and deism. This age was generally characterized by "cautious and

Latitudinarian Anglicanism,” although this characterization has been questioned by many historians and, for all intents and purposes, it is probably a false description of this rich period of Anglican history.  It was in this climate that the clergyman, John Wesley, lived and preached. Wesley was originally a high churchman, who started the society of Methodists who met for regular Bible study and encouraged fasting and regular Communion. After a conversion experience, Wesley became one of the forerunners of the Evangelical Movement which stressed individual conversion in response to the Holy Spirit. Wesley's Methodist Society was meant to be a renewal movement within the Church of England but after being denied a bishop for his American followers, Wesley provoked a schism by consecrating his own bishops. Some Evangelicals left the national church for other dissenting bodies or the new Methodists. It is important to remember that many of these evangelicals stayed within the Church of England because, "on the whole they rejected Wesley’s concept of a travelling ministry, regarding the parish as the place where the Lord’s work was primarily to be carried on." Another feature characteristic was that, "Anglican Evangelicals were generally Calvinists, whereas Methodists were generally Arminians."

Besides Wesley’s movement, there was a strong High Church tradition in the Church of England in the “long eighteenth century,” which grew and flourished during this period. 

Theological Portrait of the English Old High Churchmen 

In this section, I attempt to provide a brief sketch of High Church theology. This is a particularly difficult task because the High Church movement was not (nor is it now) a monolithic movement. In addition to actual theological differences in varying camps, the problem of terminology also causes issue in our post-Ritualistic world. I identify several camps within the old High Church school: a) centrists; b) Tory High Church (Nockles’ concept); c) advanced. The first group includes those who embraced a thoroughly Protestant (and Reformed) theology who placed greater emphasis on the visible church and the visible means of grace. Daniel Waterland is a good example of the centrist position. “Tory High Churchmen” were those who placed an emphasis on the Church of England as the Established Church of England and greatly valued the church-state relationship. Advanced churchmen were those who pushed the edge of the Reformed boundaries of the formularies or who went beyond them, this includes men such as John Johnson in the Established Church and Thomas Brett in the Non-Juring sect. Cornwall summarizes High Church diversity,

“High Church and Non-Juror divines did not present a monolithic theological face to the world. Their thought was characterized by different emphases and nuances. William Beveridge remained rooted in the Restoration Church, combining a Calvinist theology with an emphasis on the visible and apostolic church. Francis Atterbury and Henry Sacheverell continued to espouse the beneficial alliance that existed between church and state, whereas Henry Dodwell, George Hickes, and Thomas Brett defended the church’s subsistence as an autonomous society completely separate from the state….Still…[they] believed that there was any road to God except the one that led through the episcopal and apostolic church that had existed in that nation from before the Reformation.”

Within this theological heterogeneity, I maintain that there was substantial, Protestant consensus among old High Churchmen, with the exception of some extreme Non-Jurors. However, it is important to remember that they were outside the boundary of the Established Church and were not subject to the formularies. In seeking to provide a basic definition of just what a High Churchman was, Nockles provides this definition,

“A High Churchman in the Church of England tended to uphold in some form the doctrine of apostolical succession as a manifestation of his strong commitment to the Church’s catholicity and apostolicity as a branch of the universal church catholic, within which he did not include those reformed bodies which had abandoned episcopacy without any plea of necessity. He believed in the supremacy of Holy Scripture and set varying degrees of value on the testimony of authorised standards such as the Creeds, the Prayer Book and the Catechism. He valued t he writings of the early Fathers, but more especially as witnesses and expositors of scriptural truth when a “catholic consent” of them could be established. He upheld in a qualified way the primacy of dogma a nd laid emphasis on the doctrine of sacramental grace, both in the eucharist and in baptism, while normally eschewing the Roman Catholic principle of ex opere operato. He tended to cultivate a practical spirituality based on good works nourished by sacramental grace and exemplified in acts of self-denial and charity rather than on any subjective conversion experience or unruly pretended manifestations of the Holy Spirit. He stressed the divine rather than popular basis of political allegiance and obligation. His political principles might be classed as invariably Tory though by no means always in a narrowly political party sense, and were characterised by a high view of kingship and monarchical authority. He upheld the importance of a religious establishment but insisted also on the duty of the state as a divinely-ordained rather than merely secular entity, to protect and promote the interests of the church.” (Nockles, 25-26).


There has been much historical debate about where to “place” High Churchmen, such as the Laudians, and Anglicans in general, in the “Calvinist” vs. “Arminian” debate. My own reflection is that Anglicanism’s formularies predate both of these theological systems and it is rather difficult to neatly place Anglicanism fully within either. Another problem, in my own view, is the notion that “Calvinism” really reflects the theology of Calvin. It seems that there were several theological shifts within the corpus of Calvinist systematic theology after the death of Calvin, whereby Beza, Calvin’s successor, shifted the emphasis of predestination from soteriology to a matter of theology proper, dealing with God’s sovereignty, rather than as a demonstration of his grace. If I were to classify the Anglican formularies, I would say that they reflect the broad, Augustinian consensus of Reformation theology which broadly accepted a predestinarian scheme for salvation, stemming from the core doctrines of sola gratia and sola fide, but that is rather beyond the scope of this piece.

Within historical discussion, at least from an outside reader, it appears that there are a number of theses about this matter. One of them seems to indicate that a distinctive form of Arminianism developed in the British Isles, aptly styled “English Arminianism,” this system denied the doctrine of double predestination and the individualistic piety, characteristic of the more “godly” churchmen, meaning those who sought to further reform the English Church in the Genevan fashion. For example, Archbishop Peter Robinson of the United Episcopal Church in North America, explains further his take on this matter, following the “English Arminian” thesis,

“Theologians such as Lancelot Andrewes objected not to the idea of Predestination as such, but to the doctrine of double Predestination promoted by some Calvinists… they saw double predestination as inconsistent with a loving and merciful God. They also regarded Predestination as preached by some of the Puritans as being anti-sacramental, and the Caroline Divines seem to have held with the idea that Christians exist in a state where we are both saved and being saved. This notion also explains the strong sacramentalism of the Caroline High Churchmen, and of their modern successor of the Central stripe.”

Hylson-Smith discusses the latter notion that “English Arminianism” reflects an attitude towards individualism, rather than predestination per se. The idea is that the Laudians rejected the individualistic piety and, instead, focused on the communal and visible means of grace, essentially equating English Arminianism with anti-Calvinism. Hylson-Smith opines,

“The term Arminian has commonly been used to describe this body of anti-Calvinistic opinion, but it does not mean that the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius was normally the source of the ideas so labeled… In England, although the Arminians asserted the orthodoxy of free will and universal grace, they also stressed the hierarchical nature of both church and state against the incipient egalitarianism of Calvinism… ‘the English Arminian mode, as it emerged during the 1630’s, was that of communal and ritualized worship rather than an individual response to preaching or Bible reading.’”

There are also theories which deny any sort of “English Arminianism.” Guyer notes that the works of Arminius were not published widely in England during the seventeenth century (the “definitive” edition of Arminius in English was published in the 19th century). Also, according to Guyer, reducing Anglican theology to anti-Calvinism is contrary to historical fact.

A short word will be said on High Church beliefs regarding justification, which is the key dividing line between Romanism and true religion. Most Anglican divines starting with the Reformers themselves up to the Caroline Divines were strictly Protestant and Reformed in their understanding of the nature of justification. In the post-Restoration Church, later Caroline Divines, such as Taylor and others reacted against the Puritan theology of the Interregnum, or the “solafidianism” that they perceived of as denying the role of good works in salvation. As Jeremy Taylor said that faith without works was, “like a stomach poweder faith only works if it purges and purifies.” Ploeger describes the nuances of this new theology,

“they did not consider the first act of God as the input of a righteous qualitas inhaerens in the human being (which would be the Roman Catholic view), but as the external imputation of Christ’s righteousness unto the human being; however, after that they taught a continuation of the process of justification by means of good works which were provided by gratia infusa.Without the latter, the former had no value and could even be lost.”

Along with the strong link between baptism and regeneration and the new-found emphasis on good works in salvation, many later Evangelicals believed that the Church of England had lost its zeal for Reformed orthodoxy, which later sparked the Evangelical Revival. The emphasis on good works was perceived as moralism by Evangelicals and Dissenting Protestants. Yet, despite these differences, there was far more Protestant consensus among different church parties than differences. High Churchmen condemned Roman doctrines of good works and infused righteousness and affirmed, in general, justification by faith, but rejected what they perceived to be an under-emphasis of good works.


Following the theology of baptism presented in the Book of Common Prayer and Articles, High Churchmen linked the regeneration of the soul and forgiveness of sins with the sacrament of baptism. Two essentially questions usually follow this type of assertion, 1) who can be baptized; 2) what happens in baptism? To the first question, High Churchmen, as all Anglicans, agreed that unbaptized adults and the children of baptized adults are welcome to receive the sacrament. Without entering the paedobaptism debate, High Churchmen believed that infants were possible of being disciples because, although they could not make their own profession of faith, they were capable of receiving the “seeds of repentance and faith” which would grow in them and eventually they would claim this faith for their own in confirmation. In answer to the second question, High Churchmen affirmed a strong connection between the sign and thing signified, believing that the forgiveness of sins was attained in baptism, “which led to new birth in righteousness… [t]he waters of baptism symbolized the washing away of sins, freeing the recipient from the power of sin.” Here Charles Wheatly describes the relationship between the rite and the reception of the benefits,

“For as that is the first office done unto us after our natural births, in order to cleanse us from the pollution of the womb… so when we are admitted into the church, we are first baptized, (whereby the Holy Ghost cleanses from all the pollution of our sins, and renew us unto God, and so become, as it were spiritual infants, and enter into a new life and being; which before we had not).”

The relationship between sign and thing signified led to a variety of interpretations, as Toon explains here, giving the Evangelical interpretations,

“"First of all there were those who, following the Augustinian footsteps of Archbishop Ussher, affirmed that all who are regenerated are regenerated in or at baptism.38 Baptism was thus seen as the ‘instrument’ of regeneration, as taught in Article XXVII (‘.... as by an instrument, they that receive baptism are grafted into the Church’)... Regeneration is here understood in terms of the implantation by the Holy Spirit of the principle of new life in the soul. This approach, a modification of that found in the Lutheran formularies, connects regeneration with both divine election and with baptism so that all who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God are regenerated in baptism, being born ‘of water and of the Spirit’

“Secondly, there were those who, influenced by Henry Budd, and including Edward Bickersteth and Hugh McNeile, also closely connected baptism with both regeneration and eternal electíon.39 They claimed that on the analogy of the baptism of adult believers regeneration (again understood as the implantation of eternal life and incorporation into the mystical Body of Christ) occurred prior to baptism in response to the prayer of God’s people (the prayer beginning ‘Almighty, everliving God ... ) in order that baptism could be a full sign of an inward spiritual change and a seal of God’s gracious promises towards the child.

“Thirdly, there were those who understood regeneration as being synonymous with conversion and as being impossible without being accompanied by repentance towards God, saving faith in Jesus Christ and the visible fruit of the Spirit in the life. Biddulph, Wilson and M’Ilvaine, with perhaps the majority of Evangelicals held one or other form of this approach.40 They could not allow that divine life implanted in infancy at baptism could take ten, fifteen or twenty years to manifest itself in a conversion experience. For them regeneration had to be a visible change of character and attitude. The baptism of infants was approached through a simple covenant theology; the promises of salvation were declared and a sign and seal of them given because of the belief in the faithfulness of God to honour his covenant-promise which is ‘to you and to your children’ (Acts 2.39). Thus baptism involved no immediate, inward change but the confirmation of God’s covenant promise that he would, when the child reached an age of discretion, work salvation in the life.

“Fourthly, there were those who made a distinction between ecclesiastical (or sacramental) and spiritual regeneration. Henry Ryder, the first Evangelical bishop, felt obliged to do this and wrote of ecclesiastical regeneration: ‘I would… wish to generally restrict the temr to the baptismal privileges and considering them as comprehending, not only external admission into the visible church – not only a covenanted title to the pardon and peace of the Gospel but even a degree of spiritual aid vouchsafed and ready to offer itself to our acceptance or rejection, at the dawn of reason.’"

High Churchmen would stand in agreement with the first position outlined above as espoused by Archbishop Ussher. Likewise, Archbishop Robinson (UECNA) adds some clarity to misconceptions about the doctrine of baptismal regeneration,

“in the absence of any positive will to the contrary on the part of the minister or of the person being baptised, Baptism confers regeneration; the child or person receiving baptism is born again of water and the Holy Spirit, and is made a child of Christ. If they continue in the profession and practice of the Christian Faith they will be saved. It is the duty of parents and godparents (and by extension of the whole Church) to ensure that the child or person baptized is brought up in the Faith. The one thing we have to be quite clear about though, is that Baptismal Regeneration is not some “hocus-pocus” that works independently of the faith of the Church and the faith of the individual, but part of the economy of salvation left to us by Christ Himself.”

Waterland, representing a centrist-High Church position on matters such as sacramentology and other theological concerns, presents a centrist understanding of the relationship between the sign and the thing signified,

“Regeneration on the part of the grantor, God Almighty, means admission or adoption into sonship, or spiritual citizenship: and on the part of the grantee, viz. man, it means his birth, or entrance into that state of sonship or citizenship. It is God that adopts or regenerates, like as it is God that justifies. Man does not adopt, regenerate, or justify himself, whatever hand he may otherwise have (but still under grace) in preparing or qualifying himself for it. God makes the grant, and it is entirely his act: man receives only, and is acted upon; though sometimes active in qualifying himself, as in the case of adults, and sometimes entirely passive, as in the case of infants. The thing granted and received is a change from the state natural into the state spiritual; a translation from the curse of Adam into the grace of Christ. This change, translation or adoption carries in it many Christian blessings and privileges, but all reducible to two, viz. remission of sins, (absolute or conditional,) and a covenant-claim, for the time being, to eternal happiness. Those blessings may all be forfeited, or finally lost, if a person revolts from God...; and then such person is no longer in a regenerate state, or a state of sonship, with respect to any saving effects: but still God’s original grant of adoption or sonship in Baptism stands in full force, to take place as often as any such revolter shall return, and not otherwise: and if he desires to be as before, he will not want to be regenerated again, but renewed, or reformed. Regeneration complete stands in two things, which are, as it were, its two integral parts; the grant made over to the person, and the reception of that grant. The grant once made continues always the same; but the reception may vary, because it depends upon the condition of the recipient.”

Jones goes on to explain some of the nuances of Waterland’s distinction which help flesh out the intricacies of his system. Waterland distinguishes between “conversion” and “regeneration”. The former being the Evangelical new birth and the latter representing, “the ancient word which the Church had traditionally applied the act of sacramental Baptism itself.”


Like other Protestants, all juring High Churchmen, and most Non-Jurors affirmed two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These ordinances fulfilled the requirements for being a sacrament according to reformed theology. Confirmation, not being a sacrament, was an ancient and desirable custom, but was not a sacrament. High Churchmen still viewed it as a necessary rite, conferring upon the believer the Holy Ghost and a completion of baptism. It is notable that some Non-Jurors went beyond Protestant orthodoxy and included confirmation as a sacrament, most notably Thomas Deacon, who believed it should be administered to infants, as was the custom in the Eastern Churches. Wheatly explains the common understanding of the effects of confirmation, “baptism conveys the Holy Ghost only as the spirit or principle of life; it is by Confirmation that he becomes to us the Spirit of strength, and enables us to stir and move ourselves.” Confirmation was also strongly linked to the doctrines of apostolic succession and episcopal ministry, for confirmation could only be performed by bishops. Confirmation made one a member of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church and could only be conferred by a catholic bishop. The role of the bishops here served as a “confirmation” of the catholicity of the English Church.

Although confirmation was such an essential rite to the life of the believer, there were many hindrances to actually receiving it, hence the rubric in the Prayer Book, “And there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion, until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed.” In addition to having sometimes huge dioceses, English bishops had duties in Parliament, in the House of Lords, which slowed down their triennial parochial visits. In addition to this, many bishops lacked the enthusiasm to regularly offer confirmation in their dioceses. Although the prayer books from 1549 to 1662 required confirmation for the reception of Communion, most bishops, especially in the Elizabethan and Jacobean Churches, espoused a catechetically-driven membership, whereby communicants were prepared for the reception of the Sacrament by knowledge of the Church’s catechism rather than by receiving the rite of Confirmation. Although confirmation was neglected by Protestant bishops in this period, there were conformist apologies of the rite, most notably, Whitgift, who argued that confirmation was an ancient profession of faith after a period of catechism. Obviously, this picture would change in the Caroline reign, for in the Laudian program, the rubrics of the Prayer Book were taken seriously and strictly enforced, which contrasted with the laxity in rubrical enforcement from the Elizabethan and Jacobean bishops. A few theological changes began to surface during Charles’s reign. First, confirmation was given a sense of necessity by Anglican divines. Ambrose Fisher maintained that Confirmation was necessary for children, “if t hey come to years, both Confirmation and the Lord’s Supper may be necessary even as repentance and the hearing of Sermons may not by you be affirmed to be needless to the purchase of heaven.” Edward Boughen proposes a conditional necessity, “‘as a sign, or Ceremony, by which and prayer God conveys his holy Spirit upon those that heretofore were baptized.’ This gift of the Spirit was made in order ‘that we may receive strength and defence against all temptations to sin.’ The rite itself was ‘not of necessity to salvation, but of necessity for t he obtaining of certain gifts of the Spirit.’” John Cosin went beyond previous Anglican divines in describing Confirmation as a “holy Sacrament” and “a sacred and a solemn action of religion.” He agreed on its conditional necessity in the life of a Christian. “They that die presently after Baptism have all things needful to salvation; they need not fear it; but they that are to live and maintain a spiritual combat against sin and Satan, they have need of God’s further graces, which are communicated unto them by imposition of hands” Laud did not ascribe to confirmation the status of sacrament as did Cosin but he maintained its ancient status as a rite of initiation and benefit to the Christian. Yet, even with this sacramentalist tendency, the real gate to Communion remained catechism, instead of confirmation.

Holy Communion 

Scholars have interpreted the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper as contained in the formularies as dynamic receptionism, although some offer slightly different terms, the idea is the same, which amounts to a, “spiritual reception by faith of Christ's body and blood,” further implicated by this doctrine is that, “there is no change in the bread and wine except in the sacred use to which they are appointed; that the sacrifice in the Eucharist is a "sacramental representation, commemoration and application of "the real sacrifice on the cross; that it is the crucified body of Christ now in heaven which is spiritually partaken, and that the wicked do not eat the body of Christ in the sacrament.” This doctrine was held by a majority of Evangelicals and juring High Churchmen, although some Evangelicals espoused a form of Zwinglian memorialism and some High Churchmen adopted a more realistic virtualism. Griffin offers a fuller description of the totality of High Church eucharistic thought, and really that of most Anglicans in the eighteenth century,

1) Christ is really and truly present in the sacrament, objectively "set before us" and offered wholly and effectually- Jewel emphatically asserted the real presence of Christ in the Sacrament.

2) Transubstantiation is superstitious, heretical and evil, yet Jewel also denied that the elements are "bare signs only and as such inefficacious. Christ is really present in the Sacrament, nevertheless locally absent, for his body resides in Heaven. The bread and wine retain their own nature and substance.

3) The change in the elements of bread and wine consists in the having a "new dignity and pre-eminence which they had not before." They are no longer common bread and wine, but are the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, just as the water of baptism remains in all ways water, but not mere water, for it is the sacrament of our redemption and those washed with it are truly washed with Christ's blood.

4) Christ is truly received in the sacrament by the faithful recipient – As the physical elements of bread and wine are eaten by the physical body and nourish it, the truly present Body of Christ is eaten by "the mouth of faith" and nourishes the soul 'The presence of the Body of Christ in the sacrament is not dependent on the subjective condition of the recipient; it is objectively offered to all communicants, but since it is spiritual, it can only be received spiritually, that is, by faith Jewel asserted that the faithless and wicked, though they may receive the sacrament, do not receive Christ." Thus the benefits of Christ's death cannot be obtained by virtue of a massing priest, because the individual’s faith is the critical factor. Moreover Jewel asserted to Harding that "without faith sacraments be not only unprofitable to us but also hurtful.”

5) According to Jewel, there is a double movement in the sacrament; that of the heavenly Body of Christ being offered to all faithful recipients, but also of our lifting up our hearts beyond the sacrament to heaven itself to take hold of the Glorified Christ. Jewel often made use of a figure from Chrysostom of eagles flocking to the corpse; we are to be eagles ascending on high to feed on the real body of Christ." Christ is in heaven; the sacrament, because it is his body, lifts us there, and its purpose is to cause this flight,"

6) The sacrament is a real eucharistic sacrifice in that the faithful offer the unbloody sacrifice of prayer, praise and thanksgiving; and the sacrifice of Christ once offered is revived and represented to us in the holy mysteries."

He denies as blasphemy the sacrifice of Christ on the altar.

There were three generally recognized theories about the real presence: receptionism, virtualism, and memorialism (or Zwinglianism).

“The three terms which have been most often used to describe the various shades of Anglican interpretation are "memorialism," "receptionism," and "virtualism," the latter generally applied to the Non-Jurors' "higher" understanding of the eucharist. "Receptionism has been further qualified when describing the theology of the Caroline divines to become "dynamic receptionism." By this is meant that although the corporeal, bodily presence of Christ in the elements of the sacrament is denied, there is however something "more" attached to them," more than simply the belief that Christ is present in the hearts of the faithful receivers.”

Hylson-Smith offers his understanding of the two strands of thought regarding the presence of Christ in the Eucharist,

“Two principal schools of thought guided the understanding of the Eucharist for eighteenth century High Churchmen. The first derived from Andrewes, Overall, Heylyn, Thorndike, and Mede… found expression in works such as The Unbloody Sacrifice (1714) by John Johnson of Cranbrook. This tradition stressed the continuity of the Eucharist with the Old Testament sacrifices, and asserted that Christ was offered in every Eucharist, not hypostatically, as supposed by the Tridentine Church of Rome, but representatively and really, ‘in mystery and effect.’ … The second school of thought was derived from Cranmer, Laud, Taylor and Cudworth and was expounded in Waterland’s Review of the Doctrine of the Eucharist (1737).”

This position is that of Calvin and Bucer as well of the Caroline Divines and other juring High Churchmen and of Evangelicals. The position of the Non-Jurors and certain High Churchmen was more realistic in its conception of the real presence and was termed virtualism, for it held that the bread and the wine were not changed into the body and blood of Christ in substance but that the power or benefit of Christ is present, as if Christ were present. The presence of Christ was maintained in virtue and in power but not in his natural body. The essential difference between these two positions is that the Non-Juror position places more emphasis on the objectivity of Christ’s presence. “They remained close to Calvin’s position, [yet] moved beyond him by separating the Spirit’s mediation of Christ’s presence from the recipient’s faith by placing it in the words of institution and the prayer of invocation. Faith simply made one worthy to receive the elements.” The relationship of faith to the real presence is addressed by Johnson who describes, “eating orally (manducatio oralis) and eating spiritually, or from the heart (manducatio cordalis)… While recipients of the eucharist ate bread with their mouths, they apprehended the perfect representation of Christ’s natural body in the bread with their minds. Though their outward senses perceived only bread, by faith they received the bread as the body of Christ and ate it rationally” The question remains as to what exactly “worthy reception” is, since it is required to receive the presence of Christ. Beverdige defines it to mean to, “receive the outward signs of bread and wine, without discerning by faith the Lord’s body signified by them, and therefore without shewing any more regard and reverence to what they eat and drink there, than they do to any other meat and drink.” It is to be noted that all High Churchmen and Non-Jurors rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation and its sister, ex opera operato.

They also rejected the doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass, as per Article 31, yet they held to the idea that the eucharist is a commemorative sacrifice, that meaning that the rite is a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Yet, some Non-Jurors held to a propitiatory sacrifice, that going further than the commemorative sacrifice. Regardless of the persuasion in this matter, all High Churchmen affirmed that in the eucharist, the believer receives the benefits of Christ’s passion, most notably the remission of sins.  The difference between centrist and Tory High Churchmen and advanced Churchmen was that the former affirmed a spiritual sacrifice, while the latter affirmed a material sacrifice. In addition, they would have supported the notion that the Lord’s Supper was a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving as well as an oblation of the whole self to God with other Anglican divines and as the BCP expects an oblation of, “ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee” (BCP). Waterland explains the centrist understanding of the Eucharistic sacrifice, “The Eucharist was a commemorative and representative service, which possessed a sacrificial aspect from the remembrance of Christ’s death, and the sacramental Presence was to be understood as the virtue and grace of the Lord’s Body and Blood communicated to the worthy receiver,” Hylson-Smith further clarifies the nuances in old High Church sacrificial theology,

“Three Eucharistic theories… “The most extreme conceived of the Eucharist as a proper and propitiatory sacrifice, in which the bread and wine were themselves offered to God as symbols of Christ’s oblation, begun not on the cross but when the rite was instituted at the Last Supper… A broader band of High Church opinion affirmed that the Eucharist was a commemorative or memorial sacrifice: one by which, in the word of Prebendary George Berkeley, Christians do not ‘barely commemorate their Saviour’s death’, but also ‘powerfully plead in the court of heaven the merits of his vicarious sufferings’… Thirdly, there were many eighteenth century divines who were anxious to uphold the sacrificial character of the Lord’s Supper, but who took special pains to guard against any suggestion that the Holy Communion service possessed any virtue of its own distinct from the one, sufficient sacrifice once offered on Calvary. They regarded the Eucharist as a feast upon that sacrifice: a banquet in which the faithful communicant made a covenant with his God by doing symbolically what Jewish and pagan sacrificers had effected literally, namely consuming a portion of the victim slain.”

The signs of bread and wine were not just signs but effectual symbols that convey to the believer the body and blood of Christ and the benefits won by him in his death on the cross. Baptism washed one from all the sins committed before baptism and the Lord’s Supper renewed the covenant made with God in baptism by washing one from post-baptismal sin. The body and blood of Christ were received as spiritual nourishment and sanctifying grace.

Apostolic Succession and Catholicity 

There have been two approaches to the episcopacy in Anglican history; the first called the bene esse view has been the most held view by both High Churchmen and Evangelicals alike. The other view is the esse view which was held by the Non-jurors and some High Churchmen. The first view maintains with the Ordinal that, “it is evident unto all men diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church,” it holds that bishops are good, ancient, and desirable for the church but not essential for the existence of the Church.  Within the Church of England, ministers are required to be ordained by their diocesan bishop and bishops are to be consecrated by at least three other bishops, however, the bene esse view maintained that other reformed churches still held valid orders even though they had departed from the historic episcopacy; the fact that they held to the catholic faith was enough to make their church’s orders valid. The other view, the esse, view affirms that bishops are necessary for the existence of the Church, obviously looking to St. Ignatius as a guide here, “See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God” (Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyraeans). The esse view would look at reformed ministers with suspicion of their validity. Another important element in High Church rhetoric about orders was the distinction between national reformed churches and dissenting bodies. They were willing to grant validity to national reformed churches such as the Church in Geneva or Holland and the Lutheran churches but not to dissenting bodies in England such as English Presbyterians and Baptists. The thought was that the foreign reformed churches had to depart from the episcopacy to maintain the catholic faith and thus had just cause. The dissenting bodies had separated themselves from the reformed Church of England with no warrant. Laud even held that the superintendent in the Lutheran church was the bishopric in substance but not in name.

Obviously the Tractarians adopted the latter position; however, they did so with a twist which separated them from the earlier High Churchmen. First, they adopted essentially the Roman position which maintained that through the apostolic succession, priests who were ordained gained an ontological change within themselves to have the priestly power to consecrate the elements into the body and blood of Christ. This departed from High Church teaching in a number of ways, first, High Churchmen rejected the Sacrifice of the Mass and the local presence of Christ in the elements. They denied an ontological change of the priest at ordination but rather thought of apostolic succession as the link with the apostolic church. Secondly, Newman began to equate the problem with foreign churches not as the lack of episcopacy but as being Protestant, which he believed was opposed to the Church of England and catholicity. The High Churchmen rejected such claims and were very comfortable with being Protestant and accepted the general teachings of the Reformation. In 1841, there was a controversial idea presented to Parliament, involving a shared bishopric in Jerusalem. This controversy was a manifestation of the theological issues involved between Old High Churchmen and the Tractarians. The idea of the bishopric was that it was to be a shared see between the Church of England and the united Evangelical Church of Prussia which was Lutheran. The candidate for the bishopric was to alternate between the respective churches. In general, Old High Churchmen favored the scheme as an opportunity to provide the episcopate for the Lutheran churches. Tractarians opposed it on two grounds. First, it was an “unequal yoke” with Protestantism which Newman was denouncing as heretical now. Secondly, the Tractarians viewed the bishopric as an insult to the Eastern Orthodox Christians there.

Anglican High Churchmen differed with the Roman Catholic Church over the understanding of what the catholic church really is. The Roman Catholic Church necessitates a dogmatic center from which catholicity flows. High Churchmen, following the Caroline Divines, did not view catholicity in this manner; rather, they viewed the catholic church as a federation of separate, national churches each upholding the fundamentals of catholic faith and apostolic order. Therefore, the Anglican Church was not “The Catholic Church,” but rather a part of it. The High Church concept of catholicity did not imply a necessary intercommunion in between the separate national churches. Neither does one jurisdiction of the universal church have seniority over another.

Political Theory 

Many times, Old High Churchmen are described as “Erastians” in their political outlook. This is at best a gross oversimplification of their political views and at worst a blatant misrepresentation of their ideas of the relation between Church and State. Erastianism is named after Thomas Erastus, a Swiss theologian, who believed that the State was superior to the Church. While, it is true that the relation between the Church and the State in England could sometimes be characterized by Erastian principles. I cannot effectively summarize Old High Church principles here in any sense adequate that is deserved. I recommend heartily Peter Nockles’s book, “The Oxford Movement in Context,” which will give a rich and thorough study of the matter. In short, though, this quote from, “The Last of the Prince-Bishops,” gives a good summary of High Church attitude towards the Settlement,

"He [Van Mildert] dreamed the Church of England as the soul of the State, as the servant of every citizen, the custodian of true learning and wisdom, as an act of loving homage offered to God in the consciousness of unworthiness but with a confidence founded on Divine Grace. Never blind to the disparities between the Church as he dreamed and as he knew her, he spent his time, energy and (when he had any) money trying to bring her into closer comformity with his vision of her true nature and mission; but he never lost the passionate love for the Church of England, her liturgy, her history, her faithful membership both lay and clerical, which first drew him into her ordained ministry."

The Church as the “soul of the State,” is something entirely different from simple Erastianism. Likewise, High Churchmen viewed the monarchy as being a sacral, quasi-sacramental, office, provided by God to nurture the Church.

Ceremonial and Liturgy 

Before the Cambridge Camden Society, most Church of England parishes looked alike and used the same ceremonial, that provided specifically by the Prayer Book. The decorations and ritual were scant. The minister stood at the north end of the Table in surplice and scarf and read the Communion service from there, using only the manual acts in the Prayer of Consecration. Mattins and Evensong were read from the desk. There was an attempt in the later 18th century and early 19th to revive some aspects of Laudian ceremonial which had fallen into disuse likewise there was a resurgence of “Prayer Book loyalty” meaning the strict following of the rubrics and holy days. The Laudian idea of the “beauty of holiness” allowed some ceremonial which was not expressed in the Prayer Book. Old High Churchmen were keen to follow the 1604 canon which required reverence at the name of Jesus:

“[In the] 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” (Canon 18, Canons of the Church of England, 1604).

A High Churchman, “bows at going into the Chapell, and at the name of Jesus” (Every, 1). To an Old High Churchman a good church which represented the “beauty of holiness” contained, “a decent chancel, altar hangings, and communion rails,” (Nockles, 210). There was some escalation of this as the 1800’s approached where in Bath, a cross was put over the altar and pulpit in Daubeney’s church (Nockles), likewise, Old High Churchmen complained about the Evangelical attitude towards images and crosses. However, old High Churchmen did not support the aims of the Ritualists and viewed their suggestions as a breach of common prayer just as they had criticized Evangelicals earlier of departing common prayer. The Old High Church attitude to the Book of Common Prayer was generally positive, although privately some High Churchmen did express an affinity for the 1549. However, most High Churchmen viewed the 1662 as having sufficiently corrected abuses in the 1552 and a faithful witness to the catholic and apostolic faith of the Church of England.

It is also important to remember that the Tractarians were not concerned with ritual at first and generally did not follow the path of the Ritualists, at least first generation Tractarians. Pusey is known to have rejected the Ritualist movement and continued to minister in surplice and scarf during his ministry.


The Last of the Prince Bishops: William Van Mildert and the High Church Movement of the Early Nineteenth Century

Evangelical Theology, 1833-1856 : A Response to Tractarianism

The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship, 1760-1857

Saturday, August 3, 2013

On the Seventh Ecumenical Council

There seems to be quite a buzz going around about the recent editing of FIFNA’s statement of belief. This revision seems to require belief in certain doctrines that are outside the bounds of classical Anglicanism. First, to avoid speculation, the new declaration can be read here:

The problematic portions are obviously # 5 and 8.

Suffice it to say that I find these alterations problematic for rather obvious reasons. However, rather than offer a systematic deconstruction of the new declaration, I’d like to focus on one particular issue. This is equally relevant due to a certain Reformed Episcopal Bishop’s response to the whole matter (link: The issue is that of the Seventh “Ecumenical” Council and really the whole issue of “councils” altogether. There is this strange notion out there that we, as Anglicans, are obligated to adhere to a council because a bunch bishops get together and sign some sort of declaration of beliefs (interesting that the Reformed Episcopal Bishop doesn’t accept TEC’s declarations when its bishops get together…). Moreover, what relation do a set of Greek canons have to do with the English Church or any other Church for the matter?

I want to focus on the issue by looking at our formularies. The principal text from which I will draw my material is the Homily against the peril of Idolatry and superfluous decking of Churches, which is the longest of the homilies in the Books of Homilies. It is thought that Bishop Jewell wrote this particular homily. The nature of the authority of the Homilies is one that is essential to Anglican theology and identity. The Homilies were meant to accompany the Articles of Religion as they are referenced in that document in two particular places. First in Article XI on Justification and in Article XXXV, which establishes their general authority in the Church of England and her daughter churches.

The Homily against the Peril of Idolatry and the superfluous decking of Churches speaks against the use of images in Christian churches. It explains in great detail why this should not be practiced. We adhere to the Homilies because of their explanation of the truths of Scripture. Consequently, the homily also addresses the issue of superfluous decoration of Churches with all sorts of gold and precious medals, not to mention images as well. Firstly, the issue of the Second Council at Nicea is quickly resolved, if we consider the Homilies, especially this one in particular. The Council is denounced as heretical for its upholding of the worship of images:
And, if this be not sufficient to prove them image worshippers, that is to say, idolaters, lo, you shall hear their own open confession. I mean not only the decrees of the second Nicene Council under Hirene... in which, as they teach that images are to be honoured and worshipped (as is before declared), so yet bold blazing of manifest idolatry to be done to images set forth of late, even in these our days, the light of God's truth so shining that, above other their abominable doings and writings, a man would marvel most at their impudent, shameless, and most shameful blustering boldness, who would not at the least have chosen them a time of more darkness as meeter to utter their horrible blasphemies in, but have now taken an harlot's face, not purposed to blush, in setting abroad the furniture of their spiritual whoredom. (p. 237)

The condemnation of the Council is so blatantly obvious, no other words are necessary or could be added to further clarify its meaning. Some might try and say that other aspects of the Council are agreeable to Scripture, which might be true in some respects, but the issue at hand and the issue most associated with the Second Nicene Council is the issue of images. Some of the other decisions made at the council are good and should be upheld, especially those relating to Christ’s nature. Some are local canons that were meant to be upheld in that place.

The questions arises as to why the issue of images is such an important one, especially when we see the sort of language employed in the Homily. Obviously, Scripture condemns the worship of idols, being one of the Ten Commandments and all (Exodus xx, 4-6; Deuteronomy iv, 15-18). We know that Jesus upholds the law when he states, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill (Matthew v, 17). St. Paul condemns idolatry in various places in his letters (I Corinthians x, 14; II Corinthians vi, 16-17). St. John likewise condemns idols (I John v, 21). The Homily notes that idolatry is equivalent to marital infidelity, playing off the metaphors of the idolatry of Israel in the Old Testament:
Doth not the word of God call idolatry spiritual fornication? Doth it not call a gilt or painted idol or image a strumpet with a painted face? Be not the spiritual wickedness of an idol’s enticing like the flatteries of a wanton harlot? Be not men and women as prone to spiritual fornication, I mean idolatry, as to carnal fornication? (p. 248)
The Homily also rightly denounces the distinction made by the Second Council at Nicea between images and idols:
“But, lest any should take occasion by the way of doubting by words or names, it is thought good here to note first of all, that, although in common speech we use to call the likeness or similitudes of men or other things images, and not idols, yet the Scriptures use the said two words, idols and images, indifferently for one thing alway.” (p. 168)
… [W]herefore our images in temples and churches be indeed none other but idols, as unto the which idolatry hath been, is, and ever will be committed. (p. 169) 
Consequently, images are not to be used in the church, firstly, because the church is the “temple of God” a place of prayer and thanksgiving for the great benefits we have received of His mercy. Secondly, the church is the place where the Gospel is preached, God’s Word heard and studied, and the place where the Sacraments are rightly and duly administered. Having this in mind, the Homily rejects the use of images in the church, based on the authority of Scripture:
Which sentence, although it be chiefly referred to the temple of the mind of the godly, yet, seeing that the similitude and pith of the argument is taken from the material temple, it enforceth that no ungodliness, specially of images or idols, may be suffered in the temple of God, which is the place of worshipping God, and therefore can no more be suffered to stand there, than light can agree with darkness, or Christ with Belial; for that the true worshipping of God and the worshipping of images are most contrary, and the setting of them up in the place of worshipping may give great occasion to the worshipping of them. (p. 161)
Which place enforceth, both that we should not worship images, and that we should not have images in the temple, for fear and occasion of worshipping them, though they be of themselves things indifferent; for the Christian is the holym temple and lively image of God, as the place well declareth to such as will read and weigh it. (p. 178)
And first this is to be replied out of God’s word, that the images of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, either severally, or the images of the Trinity, which we had in every church, be by the Scriptures expressly and directly forbidden and condemned, as appeareth by these places. (p. 214)

Likewise, images are not to be considered as a matter adiaphora or “indifferent” in the life of church:
Where they say that images, so they be not worshipped, as things indifferent may be tolerated in temples and churches; we infer and say for the adversative, that all our images of God, our Saviour Christ, and his Saints, publicly set up in churches and temples, places peculiarly appointed to the true worshipping of God, be not things indifferent nor tolerable, but against God’s law and commandment, taking their own interpretation and exposition of it. (p. 222)
However, an important point must be made. Anglicanism is not historically “iconoclastic” in the Zwinglian sense. The Homily is not giving every Christian the right to march down to his parish church and smash the images and statues there. This is condemned by the Homily:
Here note, what the people of God ought to do to images, where they find them. But, lest any private persons, upon colour of destroying of images, should make any stir or disturbance in the commonwealth, it must always be remembered, that the redress of such public enormities appertainethb to the magistrates and such as be in authority only, and not to private persons (p. 175).
Note that the authority to remove images is denied to individuals but it is reserved for the civil magistrate. In another place this is referenced, making a reference to the Kings of the Old Testament:
And of this ground of man’s corrupt inclination, as well to spiritual fornication as to carnal, it must needs follow, that, as it is the duty of the godly magistrate, loving honesty and hating whoredom, to remove all strumpets and harlots, specially out of places notoriously suspected or resorted unto of naughty packs, for the avoiding of carnal fornication; so is itl the duty of the same godly magistrate, after the examples of the godly kings Ezechias and Josias, to drive away all spiritual harlots, I mean idols and images, specially out of suspected places, churches and temples, dangerous for idolatry to be committed to images placed there, as it were in the appointed place and height of honour and worship (as St. Augustine saith), where the living God only, and not dead stones nor stocks, is to be worshipped: it is, I say, the office of godly magistrates likewise to avoid images and idols out of churches and temples, (p. 249)
Two other quick things I should mention in relation to the Homily. The Homily gives, what I think, are another good line of reasoning against the use of images. Of course, the chief reason we oppose them is because of the teaching of Scripture. However, the Homily makes a good point by mentioning that we do not know what God looks like, he has not revealed his “face” to us in that sense. Neither do we truly know the image of Christ. Every one who makes an icon of Christ is inherently making an idol by offering his or her own “image” of Christ, which we are then commanded to “venerate”. The Homily notes this in two places:
For both they thought it to be no longer that which it was, a stock or a stone, and took it to be that which it was not, as God, or an image of God. Wherefore an image of God is not only a lie, but a double lie also. But the devil is a liar, and the father of lies [John 8:[44].]: wherefore the lying images which be made of God, to his great dishonour and horrible danger of his people, came from the devil. (p. 215)
 And yet it appeareth that no image can be made of Christ but a lying image, as the Scripture peculiarly calleth images lies. For Christ is God and man: seeing therefore that of the Godhead, which is the most excellent part, no imageq can be made, it is falsely called the image of Christ: wherefore images of Christ be not only defects, but also lies. Which reason serveth also for the images of Saints, whose souls, the more excellent parts of them, can by no images be represented and expressed: wherefore they be no images of Saints, whose souls reign in joy with God, but of the bodies of Saints, which as yet lie putrified in the graves. Furthermore, no true image can be made of Christ’s body, for it is unknown now of what form and countenance he was. (p. 217)
The recent buzz over the change of wording in FIFNA’s declaration really has little to o with FIFNA. It is a question of authority, where does authority lie? What sort of authority do our Formularies have? It is these sorts of questions which this sort of controversy causes. If we just took our own identity seriously, we wouldn’t have these sorts of problems in the first place.