Monday, February 12, 2007

Anglicanism 5: Cranmer or Laud, or...part i

Well, having posted several quotes from the likes of Archbishop Williams and Bishop Ryle, and having re-read part of MacCulloch's work on Cranmer last night, I may have thought of a new way to look at the question of Anglican identity. It may just be that the answer lies, in part, in who we understand to be the true founders of "Anglicanism". From my own reflection, I think there are at least 3 possible sources for the legitimate Anglican identity.
Firstly, there is the 16th Century Anglicanism of Cranmer, Parker and Hooker. This is the Anglicanism of the Tudors, Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I (not so much Mary I, because she had a tendency to burn them). This source is most likely to be termed "Classical Anglicanism", associated as it is with the Book of Common Prayer, the Ordinal and three orders, and the Articles of Religion. And it has been this source that has until recently influenced the direction of Anglicanism most.
Secondly, there is the Anglicanism of the early Stuart period - the Carolinian Church. This is where Archbishop Laud and his descendants in the High Church and Oxford Movements would feel most at home.
And thirdly, there is the Anglicanism influenced not so much by an English theologian or Lord of Cantur, but the Anglicanism imitating Calvin, and even Richard Baxter. Although not mutually exclusive form the first source, if not used well, this third source may ride rough shot of the first source.
There is potentially a fourth source in the various incarnations of liberal protestantism. And although this may claim to large (cashed up) sections of the Anglican Communion, I don't think it can hold a legitimate stake in Anglican identity.
Now all that is left to do is describe the three sources and try and determine which source is bona fide.

13 comments:

Martin Kemp said...

You've got a fair bit of diversity in that "first source" of yours...seems a little too neat to sum up that period and all those identities under one heading.

My observation is that the current crop of "Sydney Anglican" leaders would identify most keenly with the Lutheran leanings of Cranmer and Edward VI, but Henry is seen to be too catholic, and Liz and Hooker have the reputation of being too willing to compromise.

If you want to talk prayer books, then 1552 is, according to some, the real deal. One MTC lecturer even called the 1662 BCP a "sell out" (albeit with his tongue firmly placed in his cheek).

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Yeah, compared with 1552, , the BCP of 1662 is a little disappointing. I also did feel that my first grouping of Cranmer, Parker and Hooker, was a little too "neat", especially as the three of them over a 70 year span were fighting different battles (Cranmer v. the strong transubstantiation party, Parker trying to re-establish the church in the Elizabethan settlement, and Hooker v. extreme puritanism).
But the majority of the 1552 BCP was continued on the Elizabethan period, as was most of the 42 articles, albeit reduced to 39. And I think all of the Ordinal was in use.

And I'm not sure how Lutheran Cranmer may have been. He married one, and spent time in Germany amongst the Lutheran community and supported them at court. But my reading is that he was far closer to the Swiss Reformers than the Germans. He didn't write consubstantiation into the prayer book, and his article on predestination, although written independently of other sources, was closer to home in Geneva rather than Wittenburg. Most of the Lutheran writing in the prayer book came from the 1563 settlement.

So, yes it is a bit too neat, but I think I'm comfortable with that. Although you might be able to persuade me...I'm waiting to read Tim Robertson's honours thesis o Peter Martyr.

AndrewE said...

I think there's a difficulty in that Cranmer and Parker were heavily influenced by Calvin. They are much closer to him in time as well. I think one of the glories of Cranmer's work (with Parker's revisions) is how reformed it is.

michael jensen said...

MacCullough says in his lectures that Anglicanism is reformed: ie, not exclusively calvinistic, but influenced by Bullinger and Bucer as well. But definitely not Lutheran. Of course, the Lord's Supper looms incredibily large as a marker in all of this...

He would see this Reformed theology and the worship of the Cathedrals as the ongoing and lasting legacy of Anglicanism. Interesting.

Frankly, Laud and his mob have no right even being in the discussion!

Michael Canaris said...

--Frankly, Laud and his mob have no right even being in the discussion!--

Even if one contends the Carolines are consonant with those you lauded?

Moffitt the Prophet said...

I'm quite of the same temperament as MPJ, but for the sake of diplomacy, and the many Anglicans of a different persuasion., I'd thought that I would include Laud in the discussion.

The letters between Cranmer and Calvin make fascinating reading. It is a shame Cranmer's planned great assembly of the reformers never eventuated.

Martin Kemp said...

I just seem to remember associating Cramner with Lutheranism at some point...wasn't Lutheranism his first influence? ie it was the Lutheran tracts and anti-papist sentiment which first got things rolling during Henry's reign. And Cranmer's focus on JBF was made into a big deal here during Reformation History 2...but I suspect there are other agendas at work there.

Martin Kemp said...

That's right...I now remember. PDJ was reading out to the third year candidates on "that" retreat from Cranmer's homilie on justification and made it into a big deal. Thus when I say "The current crop of sydney anglican leaders would associate most keenly with the Lutheran leanings of Cranmer", I mean that they cheer Cranmer's opinion (Like Luther's) that JBF is at the centre of Christian faith.

Martin Kemp said...

Sorry, that should be spelt "Homily". Damn these medieval words.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

We don't use the word homily enough these days. The most recent book I saw it in was Gospel and Kingdom, and I think that is round 25 years old.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Re. Cranmer and Calvin. I was reminded last night that Cranmer's son-in-law translated the I institutes into english, and his old printer printed the english version.

michael jensen said...

Well: would Cranmer have gone to his martyrdom had he held a Lutheran position on the Eucharist?

alix said...

christian nerds ;)