Monday, 2 November 2009

A New Anglicanism

Just this past term I have had the great pleasure of co-teaching – with Professor Ashley Null, the renowned Cranmer scholar - a MA unit offered here at Moore College entitled ‘Anglican Identity’. In it we made careful study of the development of the English reformation and the works of leading figures like Fisher, Cranmer and Hooker.

A highlight was reading the moving testimony of Catherine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII, to her conversion to the gospel of justification by faith.

I was curious, however, as to why so few Sydney clergy thought this was a subject that might interest them, or that the study of the founding documents of our denomination might be well worth their while.

This was confirmed by casual conversations with Moore students. I asked them ‘how do you understand your identity as an Anglican?’ – and was met with baffled looks and shrugs. The denomination is a ‘good boat to fish from’, mostly, but there is (it seems to me) no great passion for Anglicanism itself and no great commitment to study its formularies and its history.

Perhaps it is because the international controversies have become wearisome and even a source of embarrassment. Perhaps it is because the denomination changes at glacial speed – and we in our time are addicted to change, even for its own sake. Perhaps we are also in the grip of the ‘lone ranger’ vision of the brave church planter, unencumbered by denominational vagaries. Perhaps the baby-boomer generation have so scrubbed away any outward signs of Anglican distinctiveness that it is hard to see what it is anymore.

But I was surprised that even the GAFCON movement, with its bold and remarkable vision for an global Anglican movement, has not caught the local imagination. It has been perceived as a political rather than a spiritual movement.

More than ever, we need to renew our vision of what it means to be an evangelical Anglican. My conviction is that not only is being evangelical the most authentic way of being Anglican – we’ve been saying that for years - but also that being Anglican is a great way of being evangelical. Read more
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1 comment:

Reformation said...

This is one of the stronger statements re: the English Reformation that I've seen in my blog-touring. Sounds quite odd though compared to what I've read.