Saturday, 12 February 2011

Evangelical members of SSWSH

I would be interested to hear from any English Anglican Evangelicals (ie not Anglo-Catholics - no offence!) who have signed up to the Missionary Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda.

I already have and know of two others, but there may well be more.

Please e-mail me via the link at the bottom of the left column.

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  1. John:

    There may be a difference in definition about "Evangelical" between the British and American senses. Also, there may be a different ethos--sense, texture, flavour--between the two also.


  2. Rachel and John:

    My point to John, among many, was that there are American Anglo-Romewardizers, e.g. the APA, the Anglican Province in America, that freely, copiously--if not shamelessly (?)--uses the term "Evangelical" for themselves. There may be a different definition and ethos to the term "Anglo Catholic" and "Evangelical" in the UK and US.

    I also see that John has circumscribed his inquiries to English Anglo-Catholics vis a vis SSWSH. That appears to be a UK-issue.

    There are some definitional and connotational issues at bar.


  3. Rachel:

    1. Not sure of the point of the inquiry? I'll take a guess.

    2. For this scribe, a point of unity is the larger Reformed Confessional community, including a 1662 BCP with modifications. Also, several Reformed Confessions that went beyond--thoughtfully--the 39 Articles.\

    3. I existentially realize the utter loneliness of being an American Anglican in exile...exile.


  4. Rachel and Philip,

    Perhaps the first place to identify what unites Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals would be to read the Cost of Conscience Survey The Mind of Anglicans, carried out by Christian Research and published in 2002.

    To my knowledge, this is the only recent objective and comprehensive survey of beliefs amongst Anglican clergy. What it shows is a clear convergence amongst Anglo-Catholics and Conservative Evangelicals on many areas of doctrine and morality.

    (It also has to be admitted it shows that women clergy generally scored low on traditional attitudes in both these areas - and that is a matter which has to be taken seriously, whatever one's views on women's ordination.)

    The outcome regarding convergence doesn't particularly surprise me, not least because I was personally brought up in an Anglo-Catholic environment, including Walsingham and all that! My experience with Anglo-Catholics has been similar to my experience with Roman Catholics - there are undoubted 'true believers' amongst both, despite the differences on points of doctrine.

    But of course the difference are rather less amongst fellow Anglicans. Again, as a youngster, I was brought up on the Prayer Book - albeit the one from 1928 (which was legally allowed at that stage).

    There remain, of course, fundamental areas of disagreement, and serious departures from Anglican belief and practice in the Anglo-Catholic constituency (reservation of the sacrament, for example). However, the creation of the Ordinariate does, I think, present the opportunity for a re-evaluation of Anglo-Catholicism. A friend of mine of that persuasion has just written a booklet on 'moving to Rome' which, I told him, looks rather like an old-style Protestant Tract!

    Just on Philip's point, I remember one of our college lecturers in the '70s observing that there was no evangelical tradition as we would recognize it in what was then PECUSA (today, tellingly, TEC). From my reading, including material like Barna Research, I would say there are also major differences regarding evangelicalism there and here as a whole.

    Hope this helps! I've blogged on this topic here.

  5. John,

    Two points if I may, one ecclesiological, the other practical. (I'm spelling all party names without capital letters on principle, by the way!)

    (1) As you may be aware, the problem that so-called traditional anglo-catholics (if you wonder why I say "so-called", ask yourself what the "tradition" actually is!) have with women bishops is not so much that it is disobedient to have them but that it is impossible. If I mistake not, this means that, in their view, even if every male bishop in the C of E were to lay hands on a woman's head and the Archbishop were to pray "Send down the Holy Spirit on your servant N for the office and work of a bishop in your Church", God's answer would be "No"; any priests she would purport to ordain would not be priests, and therefore the bread and wine at their eucharists would not be consecrated; and so on. For traditional anglo-catholics this requires, for the sacramental assurance that is every bit as crucial for them as the authority of the Bible is for your good self, that they must be able to operate in a space formally constituted as one where neither women bishops nor those ordained by them can ever minister and over which no woman bishop can ever hold any episcopal (or archiepiscopal) authority. Such an area of the C of E, with no mutual recognition of the ordained ministry, teaching a different doctrine, using a different liturgy (see my second point), and unable in conscience to submit to the rulings of those outside (e.g. the General Synod?), would be, quite simply, a separate Church; and whatever the pros and cons of women bishops and of provision for those who cannot accept them may be, I cannot believe that this can possibly be right, and in any case, would anyone rationally expect the majority to tolerate the existence of a sizeable enclave within the C of E that holds, as a matter of unbreakable principle, that they are valid and the rest of the C of E is not? Pehaps you can see something here that I can't - I'd love to know if there is.

    (2) I strongly suspect that any requirement that, for conservative evangelicals to work with them, traditional anglo-catholics must use only the authorised liturgies of the Church of England and abandon the use of those from the other side of the Tiber, would be to set the bar too high! They won't use the BCP because it's too protestant, or CW because it's both too protestant and too liberal. (I'd love to be wrong on this....)

    Steve from Wolverhampton.