Thursday, July 03, 2008

Why Anglican Confessionalism will Undermine the Anglican Catholic Position

Spinning the 39 Articles to negate the Reformation doctrine behind them is not an honest interpretation. This was Newman’s folly in Tract 90, which even he in time came to understand. GAFCON and the Jerusalem Declaration will, in time, undermine the Anglo-Catholics who threw their lot in with the new Confessional Anglican Fellowship. Like the Reformed Episcopal Church, where some presbyters push the Protestant confessional envelope with smells and bells, debates over “catholicity” will be reduced in meaning to eccentric tastes in vestments and arguments over funny hats and sacred trinkets, which amounts to how “high church” one can be in worship and still remain a faithful Protestant!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

But the Articles are not, in substance, capital "R" Reformed in the sense of Calvinistic Scholasticism -- the they do seek small "r" reform of certain Medieval innovations such as Merits/Indulgences/Purgation. This is why the Puritans were so vehemently opposed to both the Articles and Prayerbook.

Browne, Bicknell and other expositors of the Articles have shown that, despite the use of Protestant vocabulary, they were never Reformed, as Griffith Thomas would have us believe, or Papal, as Newman wished. Still, this does not mean that they comprise a positive confessional standard, simply a repudiate of Calvinistic and Catholic (Latin-Germanic) Scholasticisms.

Third Mill Catholic said...

The problem is not with the Articles of Religion. They are fine when read, understood, and interpreted within their context. I have no issue with them, per se, nor do I have an issue honoring them as part of the Anglican heritage.

The problem is "confessionalism." What defines Lutheranism is fidelity to Lutheran confessional formularies as an apriori consideration to its very existence as a Christian tradition, because their confessions are constitutive. Not so with Anglicans.

In Anglicanism, if any local formulary is "constitutive" it is the liturgy, and even this is acknowledged to be subject to revision in changing contexts and times, which is why every Anglican province has its OWN Book of Common Prayer! (Which, BTW, is the reason I object to GafCon's statement regarding the 1662 BCP as the standard of Anglican worship and practice.)

Anglicanism was not founded upon the 39 Articles, though obviously the Articles have served, for a time, as a normative standard and boundary in steering a particular course for the CoE in a context shaped by her polemics with Rome and the political realities of the late Tudor and Stuart periods. In that sense, they should be honored, studied, and stand as a historic witness for today's Anglican tradition.

Death Bredon said...

Yes, the Confession of authentic Anglicanism is, and of contemporary Anglicans should be, simply the Confession of the ancient, undivided Church. I think Elizabeth I said something like that once upon a time, a long time ago.