Skip to comments.Anglican Chruchmanship
Posted on 12/29/2007 6:09:15 AM PST by Huber
With some trepidation, I have decided to venture back into the game of classifying historic Anglican Churchmanships. My apologia for this exercise is that I believe that, due to years of study and keen observation, that I happen to have a superior understanding of this matter than many of today's popular religious web pundits. Here goes:
1. The High Church Wing
a) Novus-Ordo Anglo-Catholics
English ACs are Henrican National Catholics, which is virtually Roman Catholicism minus Papal Ordinary jursidiction, though the Pope is still recognized as the Western Patriatch as is the Vatican Magisterium. Thus, both Vatican Councils and the New Dogmas are generally accepted by Novus Ordo Catholics. Hence, their liturgy is either Novus Ordo or an analog from Common Worship. English ACs are more or less as obedient to Papal decrees as other RCs in England -- "yes" to the new Mass, "no" to Human Vitae.
Ethos: "Spirit of Vatican II"
Shrine Church: Your local Newman Center.
Sister Communion: Roman Catholic
b) Tridentine Anglo-Catholics.
Largely a Continuing Anglican Movement now, now almost an exclusively American-based phenomenon -- the English Victorian Anglo-Catholics, which were the American model, have almost entirely moved on to the Novus-Ordo Catholicism described immediately above. Generally, this party accepts the Western Schism up to and including Trent and the Counter-Reformation but rejects the Vatican Councils and New Dogmas (as dogmas). In short, they are the remnant of the old Conciliar Catholic Movement that was dealt a lethal blow at Florence and was largely buried by Vatican I. Liturgically, the "Mass" is Fortesque (through Ritual Notes) as choreographer and Cranmer (with substantial interpolations) as librettist. Some go so far as to use the Gregorian Canon or even the Latin Mass on occasion.
Ethos: Counter Reformation, Scholastic, Medievalist.
Shrine Church: S. Clement's (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Sister Communion: Polish National Catholic Church
c) Prayerbook Catholics & Old High Churchmen.
The Old High-Church Party and Prayerbook Catholics are best known for adherence to the BCP, the Ornaments Rubric, and otherwise English Ceremonial and Usage, as championed by Percy Dearmer and Dean Vernon Staley, for example. Theologically, PBCs reject Trent and Scholasticism with its attendant Counter-Reformation Piety. Instead, they and look to the consensus of the preSchism Fathers for theological guidance. Some are biased toward the Western, Augustinian Synthesis, while others are to varying degrees more Eastern or Phil-Orthodox in their theological outlook -- though these two positions are much closer than most think. C.B. Moss is perhaps the most accessible and popular champion of PBCism .
Ethos: Parry's Jerusalem, or "England is A Green and Pleasant Land."
Shrine Church: St. Thomas Fifth Avenue (New York, New York).
Sister Communion: Orthodox; Scandinavian High Lutherans; Traditional, 14-Theses, Old Catholics
2. The Low Wing
The Low-Church Party is typified by adherence to the Continental Protestant Reformation. Two broad theological poles exist: Calvinist on one one side and Arminian on the other. Of course, Calvin is moderated and delivered through the Puritan Divines (Baxter) and Arminianism is mediated through the Wesleys. Interestingly, either theological pole may be ascendant in the pulpit of any the three-worship styles (which seem to be the important thing for the laity) enumerated below:
a) High Church Evangelical
Typical of the traditional Evangelical Party, the preaching is the center piece and it is usually Calvinist. Worship is solemn and subdued, with circumscribed pomp and circumstance along with a traditional edition of the BCP -- either the 1662 or 1928. Old-Chestnut Hymns are provided by Hymns Ancient and Modern or the Hymnal 1940. In a country parish, the church may be a bit more "folksy" and open to Arminian hopefulness.
Ethos: Wholesome Living and Muscular Christianity.
Shrine Church: Anywhere Bishop Mulhenberg was once or Rev. Peter Toon is now.
Sister Communion: High-Church Presbyterians
b) Enthusiastic Evangelicals
The litmus test here is arms swaying in the air. The music is often provided by a live pop-rock band, which generally plays modern-radio love songs to Jesus. Typically, the simpleton lyrics are projected on the "East" wall of the "Apse" of the auditorium or gymnasium. The theology here is much more likely to be Wesleyan, and many of the clergy were probably trained at Asbury Seminary.
Ethos: U2charists, Alpha, and "Small Groups."
Shrine Church: Holy Trinity Brompton (London).
Sister Communion: Methodist
c) Charismatic Evangelicals
This is whole-hog neo-Pentecostalism, minus the snake handling. Enough said.
Ethos: Speaking in Tongues, etc.
Shrine Auditorium: Holy Spirit (Falls Church, Virginia)
Sister Communion: Church of God (Pentecostal)
3. The Liberal Wing
The most youthful Anglican party is premised on the reconciliation of Church with Secular Society or "Reason," with the Church compromising on every point of contention. Every sort of theological heterodoxy is to be found under the broad tent of the Liberal Wing -- from Agnosticism to Witchcraft (I am not making this up). But, the contemporary sine qua non for membership is condoning one or more sexual perversities or confusions that are condemned by both Scripture and Tradition: (1) female ordination; (2) homosexual sexual behavior; and/or (3) heterosexual promiscuity. Though most Liberal Parishes would more or less fit into the Affirming Catholic mold, using the American 1979 Prayerbook or the English Common Worship, some are decidedly Low-Church in style. Others use very radical, "experimental liturgies," even incorporating non-Christian clergy, prayers, or liturgies into their regimes.
Ethos: Mirfield, 815, Left-Wing of the U.S. Democratic or English Labour Parties
Shrine Church: St. John the Divine (New York) or National Cathedral (Washington, D.C.)
Sister Communion: Unitarian Universalism
Kindly correct the spelling in the header. Thanks..
Unfortunately, there is plenty of apostasy within the See of Rome as well. Apparently, (or so it has been explained to me) even BXVI has limits to his ability to discipline apostate bishops, which is why you still have Cardinal Mahoney and others.
“Separate from Peter and you have apostasy.”
Fresh from the Dictatus Papae! The other four ancient Patriarchates of course would put it otherwise, perhaps as:
“When he separated from The Church, Peter became an apostate”
Separate from God’s word, and you have Rome.
Every one of those divisions listed has its counterpart in ostensibly Roman Catholic churches (or those that, like John Kerry’s Paulist Center style themselves as “worship communities in the Roman Catholic tradition” — whatever they think that means!).
That’s the rub. Around the world have just as much, if not more, diversity in belief and practice among those who tacitly acknowledge the Bishop of Rome as their head, as among those Christians who do not.
I don’t mean to be rude, but I have a hard time when a Roman Catholic bigot jumps into another denomination’s thread to proclaim his own righteousness.
“It is Peter, acting in alter Christus and who is Christs ordained representative, who binds the Church together.”
Surely you don’t mean this. +Ignatius of Antioch’s definition of The Church coupled with his Eucharistic theology would say that the Eucharist, truly Christ, is what binds The Church together, not a man, however exalted. Isn’t better to say that the proper and highest role of the Pope of Rome is to be the first servant of the unity of The Church?
Why would one profess a faith s/he didn’t think possessed the fullness of revealed truth? I think your use of the word righteous is misplaced. If you’re protestant, you must beleive that your faith possesses the fullness of the truth. There can’t be multiple contradictory truths.
Yes, the Eucharist is what binds us together in one communion of faith but that binding authority was given to Peter by Christ.
“...but that binding authority was given to Peter by Christ.”
What binding authority was exclusively given to Peter?
Well, I’m Catholic myself and so I seldom post on non-Catholic religious threads — I don’t usually feel I have anything to the point to say (though I don’t think Catholics by any means have the monopoly on bigotry here!). I do find, though, that I can’t rejoice in or gloat over the difficulties of any other denomination — especially Anglican, where so many of their troubles mirror our own.
I have to say, the only people who seem to discuss and are even aware of the “high church/low church” division are those self-identified with high church Anglo-Catholicism.
No offense intended, but to me the term “high church” is a bit like “progressive;” that is overtly self-congratulatory—that is assuming what it purports to define.
Us “low church” types don’t refer to ourselves as that, we just see ourselves as Christ’ body...if that’s low, all well and good.
I have a different explanation. One cannot be high church without being highly conscious of traditional worship. Those without a background in the liturgy and ritual tend to find high church worship to be obscure and possibly confusing. One who is low church does not need to worry about when to kneel or genuflect, etc. To be low church requires less knowledge of tradition, history, symbolism and ritual. A low church person is simply less conscious of traditional worship, and so doesn’t notice its absence. Hence, high church people will write about it, while low church people believe that it is largely a bunch of distractions, and tend to ignore high church.
One more point. There are in my view, two primary reasons that a person prefers to be low church. The first is suggested in my previous post, and is simply a lack of familiarity or knowledge of tradition. The second is an informed, but highly protestant sensibility that is predispositioned against what it perceives as papist ritualism.
I’m sure what you are saying is quite true. Low church types (and although I am one of them...I’m not exactly lowest of the low, I do appreciate well done liturgy, kneeling, solid hymns, using the traditional prayer book etc.) however don’t even think about it. My main point though is the very term “high church” basically assumes “better (or best) church” in a comparative sense. Most evangelical types don’t even consider a comparison...
I do believe that the primary criteria for God glorifying worship is where God’s Word and Sacraments are faithfully administered. Such can be well done in high or low church environments. I sincerely doubt, for example, that any worship service administered by Saints Peter or Paul would have been recognizable as “high church.” That of course does not mean that we should not use a high church form today.
One of the things I think very significant in the more liturgical (higher) church forms found in Anglican (and Roman and Orthodox) circles is the reminder to all the senses of exactly WHERE we as God’s people are heading for in Eternity...
Sorry to bump an ancient thread, but it is an interesting thread. I believe there is also a Low Church Evangelical wing that is typified by:
1. Calvinist (4- or 5-point) theology
2. Minimal liturgy because most of these liturgies are unhelpful in believers growing in relationship in Christ. It is virtually identical to Reformed Baptist or modern Presbyterian service.
3. The clergy wears casual dress (not even suits)
4. They look to John Piper, John MacArthur in teachings.
5. The key to define being Anglican is the 39 Articles, which is decidedly Reformed in teachings.
6. Ethos: To Make Christ Known, Bible studies, Christianity Explored, Sovereign Grace Music, Stuart Townend and Kristyn Getty.
7. Shrine Church: Sydney Diocese, where Philip Jensen or John Stott or J.I. Packer, All Souls Church London, Oak Hill College, Reformed movement in the Church of England.
8. Non-charismatic and against the seeker sensitive/Purpose Driven/Emergent movements.
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