Saturday, January 13, 2007

Anglicanism 1

Recently on the Sydney Anglicans website a froum has been spiritually discussing NT Wright and the New Perspective. Following the suggestion of one fiery editor of a christian media company, debate has now turned to the question of whether or not Bishop Tom can be considered truly Anglican, what ever that means.

And that is precisely my question. What is Anglicanism? Classically it has defined by the The Paryer Book (Book of Common Paryer of Course), and the Ordinal (and the accompaning three orders of ministry), and the 39 Articles of Religion. Recently however, Anglicanism has come to be defined through one's relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury. This is based on a. invitation to the Lambeth Conference (held once every 10 years), and b. the Lambeth-Chicago Quadrilateral:

  1. The Holy Scriptures, as containing all things necessary to salvation;
  2. The Creeds (specifically, the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds), as the sufficient statement of Christian faith;
  3. The dominical sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion;
  4. The historic episcopate, locally adapted.
What is anglicansim? I'm going to do a couple of posts on this, so if you have any thoughts, please share them with me. But for now, here is a quote from Rowan Williams on Anglican identity that might stir brains/fists:

"The word 'Anglican' begs a question at once. I have simply taken it as referring to the sort of Reformed Christian thinking that was done by those (in Britain at first, then far more widely) who were content to settle with a church order grounded in the historic ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, and with the classical early Christian formulations of doctrine about God and Jesus Christ - the Nicene Creed and the Definition of Chalcedon. It is certainly Reformed thinking, and we should not let the deep and pervasive echoes of the Middle Ages mislead us: it assumes the governing authority of the Bible, made available in the vernacular, and repudiates the necessity of a central executive authority in the Church's hierarchy. It is committed to a radical criticism of any theology that sanctions the hope that human activity can contribute to the winning of God's favour, and so is suspicious of organized asceticism and of a theology of the sacraments which appears to bind God too closely to material transactions."

- Rowan Williams

10 poitns for naming who is in the picture and where one can find it.


cardboardsword said...

It seems that Williams' definition of Anglicanism only differs from my understanding of evangelicalism where it talks about the historic church order. That seems fine to me, since I've long been aware that evangelical Anglicans and other evangelicals only really have a few weird old traditions separating them, and that these traditions aren't even necessary or even practiced in all solid Anglican churches.

One thing I do notice though is that he notes the Anglican criticism of trying to gain God's favour by human activity, he says nothing about the Anglican stance on more liberal theologies, such as might be seen in Episcopalian churches in America, or even some Anglican churches in other regions of Australia. I find this interesting - I know that the Reformation and the formation of the Anglican church have at their roots the criticism of salvation by human activity since that was the predominant issue of the time. Is it within the scope of the term "Anglicanism" to imply a criticism of the theologies that sanction the hope of salvation aside from Reformed theology, or is that only within the scope of the term "evangelicalism"? Is it only when the two are mixed, as in "evangelical Anglicanism", where Anglicanism can counter liberal theologies?

Do you have any other quotes to inform this discussion? I feel pretty underqualified!

byron said...

Wow - I found it fascinating that RW was so willing to link Anglicanism directly to Reformed theology. Good on him - he is a historian at heart.

byron said...

Is it Cranmer?

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Aye, 'tis Cranmer. I'll give you ten points.

Any idea where it is?