Sunday, April 1, 2007

Father Jones Gives Us a History Lesson

Father Greg Jones at Anglican Centrist offers a fascinating history of schisms past in the Anglican Communion. Father Jones is truly a centrist when it comes to the current crisis in the Communion over sexuality, and anything he writes is well worth a close read. This is especially so here since the history was the topic of his dissertation.

One of the more fascinating features of this history is that while the first large schism was by early evangelicals leaving the church over the 1662 Prayer Book, the modern day Evangelicals within the Anglican Communion are listing that very prayer book as a foundational document for any confessional identity for the Communion:


"What is truly bizarre in all this is that the new-fangled conservative separatists are all confused in their heads. They are proposing a 'confessional identity' for Anglicans -- which is to say a minimum standard of faith which all must ascribe to to be included as 'Anglican.' The idea of a confessional identity is essentially a Calvinist idea. Yet, among the basic documents they are suggesting is the 1662 Prayer Book.

"As we have seen, the 1662 Prayer Book is itself the specific cause of a great deal of schism and controversy in Anglicanism for centuries. Notably, if evangelicals historically could not abide by the clear language of the prayer book, how on earth could today's so-called Anglican Evangelicals be able to do so now? Is it because they are not really reasserting timeless truths but reinterpreting them afresh to suit their current minds? Or is it because they don't really know what the 1662 book says? Or what?

"And what of the question of powerful bishops and romanizing germs? These were pre-schismatic obsessions in earlier times by protestant folks. But now they realignment party seems in favor of centralizing power in the Anglican tradition into the hands of prelates.

"We are now seeing a group of supposedly evangelical folks looking for two things that historically have caused evangelicals to leave Anglicanism."

Read it all: Anglican Centrist 20 -- History Lesson on Anglican Schisms Past

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