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Theological Seminary Cranmer


A Research Report

Presented in Partial Fulfillment

Of the Requirement of the Course

Anglicanism 501


Jaaval Cato

May 6, 2018


Anglican Communion was first used in 1851, some years before the first Lambeth

Conference, if not before, to refer to the churches historically rooted in the Reformed Church of

England which is in communion both with that church and with each other.1 Anglican is of or

pertaining to Anglia, The Latin name for England. In the Middle Ages ecclesia Anglicana meant

the ‘English church.’ Until the nineteenth century, ‘the Anglican church’ was synonymous with

the Church of England; neither Scottish nor American Episcopalians would in any formal sense

have called themselves Anglicans. The word is now used with reference to the teaching and

practices of the church in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, some of which have

adopted it in their official names. 2 Anglicanism is a denomination within Christianity

comprising the Church of England and churches which historically tied to it or has similar

beliefs, worship practices, and church structures. Anglicans base their faith on the Bible,

traditions of the apostolic, the concept of apostolic succession, and writings of the Church

Fathers. Many people have the misconception that Anglicanism was formed by Henry VIII in

order to divorce and remarry so a male successor could be produced. Without a doubt,

Anglicanism was established and solidified during the reigns of King Henry VIII and Queen

Elizabeth I. Nonetheless, there were many who had a hand in Christendom reaching Britain and

the early formation of the Church of England. This paper will endeavor to define Anglicanism

and give a historical analysis of the difficulties of Anglicanism, Origins of the Church of

England, Rival Visions of the Church of England, Evangelicalism and Anglicanism, Anglo-

Catholicism, Anglicanism as a Global Communion, and Anglicanism Yet to Come. Assuredly,

Charles C Hefling and Cynthia L Shattuck, The Oxford Guide To The Book Of Common Prayer(New York: Oxford University
Press, 2008), 563.
Ibid., 563.

by the end of this paper one will be able to ascertain that the Church of England, being Anglican,

and Anglicanism was not created by only one man but many people both male and female who

can be accounted to its formation and development.

Anglicanism Defined

The word Anglican or in the Latin, ‘Anglicana Ecclesia’ refers to a spiritual heritage and

roots in the Church of England coined in the 1534 act of Supremacy describes the Church of

England.3 The Church of England can also be classified as the mother church of all Anglican

provinces.4 Anglicanism is not an appropriation of private or borrowed customs. II Timothy

3:16-17 states, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for

correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for

every good work.”5 Anglicanism is grounded in the Word of God. The Anglican Church has

drawn on the Word to articulate its beliefs which are rooted in the Bible both Old Testament and

New Testament, pointing the way to Jesus Christ. This expression is declared in the splendid

Creeds of the Church; The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed. Likewise,

the Anglican Church created the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the Catechism, and the

Quadrilateral.6 The via media is the peculiar invitation and call made by the Anglican branch of

Christ’s Church, by Christ’s Anglican deputies, for all mankind to do as Christ did, and to be

what Christ is. Thus, passing around the obstacles with Christ, rather than clinging to them, God

human creature can experience the negation of sin and the fulfillment of justification, living by

grace within the eternal life of God.7 Our faith is not a compromise among religious traditions.

Stephen Withefield Sykes and Jonathan Knight, The Study Of Anglicanism (London: SPCK, 2004), 498.
Thomas McKenzie, The Anglican Way (Nashville, TN: Colony Catherine, 2014), 262.
The Holy Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1999).
Stephen Withefield Sykes and Jonathan Knight, The Study Of Anglicanism (London: SPCK, 2004), 204.
Louis R Tarsitano, An Outline Of An Anglican Life (Charlottesville (Va.): Carillon Books, 1994), 137.

Our faith is the effort of the member of this branch of Jesus Christ's Church, by the power of the

Holy Ghost, to walk the path mapped-out in the Holy Scriptures that lead through and around the

obstacles of life to mankind’s full communion with God in his Christ. This is the original and

only true meaning of the Anglican via media.8

Difficulties of Anglicanism

The difficulties within Anglicanism have arisen by the flux of change that has occurred

throughout the centuries. These stages of the Anglican Church through its infancy, into a state

church, and worldwide communion can be observed by its growth in Europe, globally, and post-


Europe and Anglicanism

Europeanism is defined as attachments or allegiance to the traditions, interest, or ideas of

Europeans.9 European achievement and overseas expansion have given it the power to express

Jesus Christ in a white European context. These ethnocentricities propelled achievement into the

propagation of white myth or European superiority which created churches that primarily

supported English control and European concerns. The vacuum of no people of color as

leadership within the church as it spread throughout the world continued the cycle of European

myth. It would take many years for those under the control of the empire to recognize the truth

they were given and become more independent from English control. In spite of themselves,

Europeans were used by the Most High God to spread the divine message throughout the rest of

the world.

Global Anglican Development

Louis R Tarsitano, An Outline Of An Anglican Life (Charlottesville (Va.): Carillon Books, 1994), 1.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, Mass: Merriam-Webster, 2002), 400.

The sun never sets on the British Empire was an observable fact across the world. At one

time the British Empire covered over eleven million square miles being the largest kingdom the

world has ever known. The Church of England had spread throughout the colonies and other

territories under its dominion. The spread and growth of Anglicanism were symbiotic with the

growth and development of the new churches around the world. The expression of Anglicanism

developed in fresh and innovative ways within these new parts of the world. The template given

by the mother church from the mother nation and the controlling powers that be did not hinder

the expression of these new churches and they were able to mutually exist. Even so, the marvel

of Anglicanism remained subject to white male Europeans ethnocentric understanding of the

world and of understanding God. More or less all the upper clergymen within the Anglican

Church were European or American. The first bishop within America was Rev. Samuel

Seabury, who was sent to England to seek consecration. Though Seabury was courteously

received, the existing ecclesiastical laws prevented the English bishops from consecrating a man

who could not take the statutory oaths of allegiance and supremacy. As a result, Seabury went to

Scotland. There, on November 14, 1784, he was consecrated by three bishops of the little

independent Scottish Episcopal Church. 10 This clearly shows that Anglicanism through the

eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was predominantly a European affair. Twentieth-century

Anglicanism ushered in palpable staggering change and this attestation can be observed in the

shift of population size. Today, many churches found in England are not Anglican. The country

is filled with Catholics and Pentecostals, Presbyterians and Methodists, Muslims and Hindus.

On the other side of the coin, there are about 80 million people in the world who claim Anglican

as their religious tradition. These people live in approximately 165 countries. There are 44

Powel Mills Dawley, Chapters In Church History (Read Books Ltd., 2013), 220-221.

independent provinces within the Anglican Church, and the Church of England is only one of

those provinces. If you are an Anglican in the world today, you are most likely African and the

Anglican who is of European descent is the minority.11 One could make a case that Anglicanism

remains true to its origins, as the founding fathers, wanted autonomy from Rome the seeds of

having one’s own identity was planted throughout the world. Similar to Henry VIII need to be

independent, it was only a matter of time before the roots strengthened and independent

churches followed suit and wanted to be no longer dependent on those who originally did the

planting. To comprehend Anglicanism is to contend with globalization, as well as ecclesiastical

and governmental independence; including, postcolonialism.

Post Colonialism and Anglicanism

Independent thought is a prerequisite to self-contemplation. Once this occurred, it was

only a matter of time before colonial churches began to contemplate on their own situation in

relation to the colonizer while frequently both expressing point of views in open discourse

together. Contextualization is the act or process of putting information into context; making

sense of information from the situation or location in which the information was found.12

Kenyan Anglican John Mbiti noted that in Africa the search for the Supreme Being's attention is

utilitarian and not purely spiritual; it is practical and not mystical….Africans do not seem to

search for him as the final reward or satisfaction of the human spirit.13 Likewise, members of the

Church of England came to America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In many of the

originals colonies, the Church of England was the established or official Church. After the

Revolution, American Anglicans established an autonomous branch of the Church, which

Thomas McKenzie, The Anglican Way (Nashville, TN: Colony Catherine, 2014), 16.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, Mass: Merriam-Webster, 2002), 250.
James H Cone and Gayraud S Wilmore, Black Theology (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1993),395.

became known as the Episcopal Church. Many churches around the world can develop very

different ways of thinking about God and his relations with the world. With its history’s

autonomous action and its absence of central authority, except at a very rudimentary level,

Anglicanism has always been particularly prone to ever-increasing diversity.

Origins of the Church

Until recently, to walk into Anglican churches throughout the entire world was to enter a

Victorian vision of what the medieval world might have been like. The many changes to church

buildings seen in the 16th and 17th centuries were literally cleared away. At least architecturally,

it was as if the Reformation had not really happened. Many, including Theologians, Historians,

and Victorians of the time would have preferred it that way. Diarmaid MacCulloch has called

this the ‘Myth of the English Reformation’. For many nineteenth-century writers, he claimed,

the reformation ‘did not happen', or if it did, ‘happened by accident rather than design' or ‘was

half-hearted and sought a middle way between Catholicism and Protestantism’. 14 While this

might have been the founding myth of some expressions of Anglicanism, it could not be further

from the truth. Around the beginning of the 14th to the end of the century, virtually everything

about the Church of England changed. Its theology, its ritual, its relationship with the state and

with the people, only its parishes, and diocesan structures remained largely intact. Although

different aspects moved at varying speeds and is undeniable that in the 16th century England

experienced a through going reformation. Victorians influenced by the Anglo-Catholic revival

might have tried to rewrite history, but even they failed to remove the reformation from the

Church of England.

Ecclesia Anglicana

Mark D Chapman, Doing Theology (London: T & T Clark International, 2012),2.

It is said that among the soldiers living in Britain, some were of Christian faith. The first

mention of any Christians in Britain is in Tertullian’s tract against the Jews written about 200

CE.15 Origen, writing about forty years later, includes, Britain, among the places where

Christians are to be found. It seems clear, then, that about the year 200 CE. The Christian world

was becoming aware of the fact that there were believers in Britain, and it has been suggested

that, when savage persecutions broke out in Gaul in 177 CE, a number of Christians fled

northwards and that some may have found their way to these shores.16 Alban, the first English

martyr, was killed in 209 CE and therefore the Christianity was certainly present by 200 CE. In

400, when the Romans left Britain and many invaders arrived, in the West and North the Celtic

people maintained their faith and culture. A type of Christianity grew among these individuals

which still influences our spirituality to this date. Celtic Christianity dated between 400-1000

CE. These stories and legends of the Celtic Church are told by Saints such as St. Ninian, St.

Calumba and St. Brigit. Governed by chiefs or kings, Celtic society was organized on tribal

lines. The Celtic church was controlled around monasteries ruled by abbots who ordained as

priests celebrated the sacraments in the monasteries. The land for the monastery was often

provided by the tribe or family unit. 431CE marked the first Bishop consecrated in Ireland. The

government of the Irish church was controlled by the abbots however by the 1800’s the abbeys

promoted learning, taught the children, and fabricated great religious art, metalwork, and stone

carvings. The Anglican spirituality had a lot of influence from the Celtic spirituality. St.

Columba did a lot to build on the pure faith of Christ and the pagan clans gradually began to join

the folds of the Catholic Church. He died at Iona on June 597 CE at the age of seventy-six. By

Everett Ferguson, Church History (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2005), 126-129.
John Richard Humpidge Moorman, A History Of The Church In England (Harrisburg (Pa.): Morehouse publ., 1994), 4-5.

this time Augustine had landed in Kent and the conversion of England had begun.17 Gregory the

Great deep interest in missionary work caused him to commission the monk Augustine of

Canterbury to go to Britain and give the message of the Gospel to the British people. Augustine

landed in England in 597 CE and soon won the king of Kent to Christianity. But the Roman

missionaries quickly ran into competition from the Celtic church, which was slowly evangelizing

to the south. In 663 CE the Roman faith finally won. Thus Gregory may be considered the

instrument in bringing the English under the sway of the Church of Rome.18 Although Celtic

Christianity was slowly concealed by Roman practice, many customs and traditions were kept.

During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in Europe was an era of great change and

turmoil. There was dissatisfaction with papal government and abuses of the church traditions.

Furthermore, the availability of new translations of Scripture from Latin into other languages

fashioned a craving to look over the ancestry of the Christian faith and a desire to return to the

basics of Christian ideas. In Europe individuals, figures like Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, and

Martin Luther encouraged doctrinal and organizational reform. England knew little of the effort

of these reformers and had the Scriptures in English. However, the church was not extremely

affected by them. In reality, Henry VIII received from the Pope in 1521 CE the title “Defender

of the Faith” for his paper criticizing Martin Luther.19 However, the King was going through

some political difficulties. By the year 1527 CE Henry had been married for eighteen years, but

although Katherine had borne him at least three sons and two daughters, all except one of the

daughters (Mary) had died in infancy. Katherine is now forty years old, it was becoming

obvious that the chances of a male heir were slight. England had never been successfully ruled

Ibid., 10-11.
Earle E Cairns, Christianity Through The Centuries (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub., 1996), 162.
John Richard Humpidge Moorman, A History Of The Church In England (Harrisburg (Pa.): Morehouse publ., 1994),162-163

by a woman and the outlook was serious indeed.20 Henry became increasingly worried because

he needed a male heir to the throne. Although concern for religious reform and national interest

underlay the motivations for an independent English church, it was Henry’s desire to shed

Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Ann Boleyn that precipitated the break with Rome. The

Pope’s canonical doubts about a possible annulment were strengthened by the presence in Rome

of the soldiers of Catherine’s nephew, Charles V. The papal predicament, Henry’s infatuation

with Anne, his rationalized troubled conscience, and national concern for a male heir all

combined to motivate the King to press for an exclusively English solution.21 Henry decided

then to remove the church in England from the control of foreign powers. Acts of Parliament

were passed, Henry’s marriage was declared invalid and he married Anne Boleyn.22 Secular

historians give more attention to secondary factors in their interpretation of the Reformation.

Voltaire illustrated the rationalistic interpretation of the movement quite well. To him, the

Reformation was little more than the consequences of a monastic squabble in Saxony, and the

religious Reformation in England was an outcome of the love affairs of Henry VIII. It is true

that the Augustinian order of monks clashed with Dominicans on the issue of indulgences and

that the love of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn made the early stage of the Reformation in England

a matter of politics, but this type of interpretation ignores many other important factors, such as

the essentially religious Reformation in England in the reign of Edward VI, the son of Henry


Royal Supremacy Henry VIII

Stephen Withefield Sykes and Jonathan Knight, The Study Of Anglicanism (London: SPCK, 2004), 6-7
Ibid, 6.
Earle E Cairns, Christianity Through The Centuries (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub., 1996)., 270-271.

Thomas Wolsey had shown Henry how ecclesiastical and civil authority might be

effectively combined. From Wolsey’s protégé, Thomas Cromwell, Henry learned to manipulate

Parliament to achieve royal goals. A four year series of parliamentary Acts culminated in 1534

with the declaration that England's king is ‘the only supreme head in earth of the Church called

‘Anglicana Ecclesia’. The concurrent clerical convocations affirmed that, according to the

scriptures, the Bishop of Rome had no greater jurisdiction in England than any other foreign

bishop.24 Henry VIII took rising control of the Church suspending the monasteries and moving

their riches to the crown and declared himself the head of the Church of England. Henry ordered

the English Bible located in all churches but stayed very conservative in matters of spiritual

traditions. Henry VIII had to contend with his decision and the English people who did not

immediately understand his every whim and desire. Many people took his position on the

Catholic faith as a whole. Henry believed his subjects would ultimately understand and fall in

line with his position. Others believed the same ideas. In 1535, Stephen Gardiner defended the

principle of royal supremacy in his book De Vera Obedientia (On True Obedience). The

legislation of the Reformation Parliament declared the King’s Majesty to be “the only Supreme

Head in the earth of the Church of England." It recognized the right of the crown to visit,

reform, correct, and restrain all such errors, heresies, and abuses which by spiritual authority or

jurisdiction ought to be reformed and amended….No reformer thought this royal power to be

other than an ancient prerogative rightfully possessed by the Christian monarch. “The Kings of

Israel exercised it; so did the Roman emperors; so did the ancient Kings of England.25

Thomas Cranmer

Stephen Withefield Sykes and Jonathan Knight, The Study Of Anglicanism (London: SPCK, 2004), 6.
Powel Mills Dawley, Chapters In Church History (Read Books Ltd., 2013), 156-157.

Thomas Cromwell became Henry’s chief minister, and in 1532 Protestant Thomas

Cranmer (1489-1556) was made archbishop of Canterbury in 1533. Cranmer also engaged in the

drawing up of a creed with the advice of various theologians, such as John Knox. The resulting

Forty-two Articles (later reduced to Thirty-nine Articles) were made the creed of the Anglican

Church by royal assent in 1553.26 It became obviously apparent that the pope would not grant

Henry VIII a divorce, Henry decided to get it through the English clergy who could be coerced

into granting it by Parliament. The Tudor Parliament was representative of the people but was

responsible to the king rather than to the people because the Tudors ruled as dictators concealing

the iron fist in a velvet glove. Thus the Reformation was initiated in England by the lay

authority of the ruler and Parliament. The Reformation Parliament ended papal control and

monasticism…In this manner, the clergy accepted Henry as their head, and his marriage to

Catherine was declared invalid in 1533 by Cranmer in his church court. Cranmer was able to do

what the pope and scholars failed to do.27 Doctrinally it is quite clear that Cranmer's sympathies

at least from the mid-1530's were broadly Protestant….The case of Cranmer shows the inevitable

tension between the doctrine of Royal supremacy and a Protestant faith where authority is

established solely on the basis of Scripture. To recent or not to recant was Cranmer’s problem;

as is evident from the accounts of his inquisition in the University Church in Oxford, there was

ambivalence to the very end. When he finally recanted, he did so, not in a point of doctrine, but

in so far as he was content to submit himself to the laws of the King and Queen. However, in the

end, Cranmer withdrew his recantation and denounced the Pope as the antichrist, the chief enemy

Earle E Cairns, Christianity Through The Centuries (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub., 1996),324.
Earle E Cairns, Christianity Through The Centuries (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Pub., 1996), 322-323.

of Christ. Perhaps the inherent ambiguity of a reformed Church of England under the absolute

authority of the monarch had finally occurred to him.28

Edward VI, Mary Tudor, and Queen Elizabeth

When the nine-year-old Edward VI ascended the throne in 1547, the ruling Privy Council

designated by Henry included a majority who favored reformation.29 His mother’s brother, the

Duke of Somerset, was appointed the regent. He was succeeded by the Duke of Northumberland

some two and a half years later. Somerset had Protestant sympathies and helped the young king

to institute changes that would make the Reformation in England religious and theological. In

1547, Parliament granted the cup to the laity in the Communion service; repealed treason and

heresy lay and the Six Articles; legalized the marriage of priests in 1549; and in 1547 ordered the

dissolution of the chantries, which were endowed chapels for saying masses for the soul of the

one who made the endowment.30 Somerset did make positive steps to bring change. For

instance, church services were to be in the common tongue rather than in Latin. An Act of

Uniformity in 1549 provided for the use of a Book of Common Prayer, which was the work of

Cranmer. The book emphasized the use of English in the services, the reading of the Bible, and

the participation of the congregation in worship. The second and more Protestant edition, issued

in 1552, reflected Calvinistic influences because of Bucer. The churches were ordered to use it

by the second Act of Uniformity. This prayer book with a slight modification adopted in

Elizabeth's reign is the same one that the Anglican Church has used since that time.31 Edward VI

died on July 6, 1553, and was succeeded by his half-sister Mary a devout Roman Catholic.

Mark Chapman, Anglicanism A Very Short Introduction, 2018, 30.
Stephen Withefield Sykes and Jonathan Knight, The Study Of Anglicanism (London: SPCK, 2004), 7.
Earle E Cairns, Christianity Through The Centuries (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub., 1996), 324.
Ibid., 324.

Mary, who ruled from 1553 to 1558, was the daughter of Henry the VIII by Catherine of

Aragon. Her reign coincided with the development of the Counter-Reformation in the Roman

church on the Continent and may be thought of as the English parallel to the Counter-

Reformation on the Continent. Advised by Cardinal Reginald Pole, Mary, who was Roman

Catholic to the core, forced Parliament to restore religious practices in England to what they

were at the death of her father in 1547 and to repudiate the changes that had been made under

Edward. Parliament agreed to the necessary measures, but it would not restore the lands that had

been taken from the Roman church during the reign of Henry VIII.32 Mary married Phillip II of

Spain, and they jointly did their best to restore England to Roman Catholicism, including papal

allegiance. Many evangelicals’ activists fled to Protestant centers on the Continent gaining

firsthand experience of Reformed churches there. Nearly three hundred who stayed behind were

burned as heretics, Cranmer himself being the chief example. He was arrested in September

1553, soon after he denounced the return of the Latin mass as blasphemous. Two years later he

was tried and found guilty of heresy for denying papal authority and transubstantiation. On

October 16, he was forced to watch the burning of Hugh Latimer, the famous preacher, and

Nicholas Ridley, bishop of London… On March 21, 1556, the morning of his death, Cranmer

awoke to find that he had new found strength and assurance to renounce his recantation.33 Mary

left many bloody cruel deaths in her wake and has gone down in history to be known as “Bloody

Mary”. Mary’s died in 1558 at the age of 42 and in spite of all that she did to restore Catholics'

and the authority of the Pope had the opposite effect. It strengthened the cause of Protestantism

and gave credence to the cause of the truth of the Reformation. Mary did refuse to let any harm

Earle E Cairns, Christianity Through The Centuries (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub., 1996), 324.
Ashley Null and John Yates, Reformation Anglicanism, 1st ed. (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2017), 37.

come to her half-sister Elizabeth. Elizabeth succeeded Mary and sought to bring balance and

ushered in compromise with her accession.

When Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne at the age of twenty-five, she faced many

problems. Elizabeth’s desire was to establish one religion where the Protestant ethos initiated by

her father Henry VIII and established by Edward VI with some modification could ease the

tensions of two factions (Catholics and Protestants) dividing England. In 1559, Parliament

declared Elizabeth to be supreme governor and reissued both the 1547 Book of Homilies and a

slightly amended 1552 Book of Common Prayer. In 1563, the bishops also approved a new,

second Book of Homilies, and the revision of the Forth-Two Articles in Thirty-Nine was

concluded in 1571. Older Anglican scholarship has often described the minor changes between

the Edwardian and Elizabethan formularies as representing a middle way (via media) between

Rome and Geneva.34 Elizabeth abandoned the earlier bald and unqualified assertion of the

power of the crown over the Church. No longer did the statement read "The Supreme Head of

the Church of England in the earth, next under Christ, is the King of England." It was, claimed

Elizabeth, only that prerogative which we see to have been given always to godly Princes in

Holy Scripture by God Himself—that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed

to their charge, whether they are Ecclesiastical or Temporal.35 Elizabeth would not proceed with

the settlement without the assistance of a parliament. A completely free election was cast for the

creation of a new parliament. Elizabeth wanted to see how people felt about the religious

controversy in her alteration to religion. Royal supremacy was not parliamentary supremacy. In

principle, Elizabeth’s settlement remains the constitutional basis of the English Church and the

Ibid., 45.
Powel Mills Dawley, Chapters In Church History (Read Books Ltd., 2013). 172-173.

underlying constitutional foundation of the Church of England.36 Elizabeth had an enormous

amount of pressure set upon her immediately upon ascending to the throne. Catholics and

Protestants were both dissatisfied with the compromise and this brought on many dangers. The

threat of resistance from her people and foreign enemies constantly watching for an opening was

constantly lingering. Many believed that the Catholic faith and practices were now manipulated

by the reforming divines and the practice, were now manipulated by reforming divines and the

members of Council to the destruct of the ancient pattern of that religious framework itself.37

While Cranmer and the reformers may have been motivated by a sincere desire to establish the

true religion of Christ and His Gospel as they say it revealed in the Scripture, no such earnest

seeking for truth moved the Protectors and their friends who had seized the power of

government. Completely disregarding the ecclesiastical statues, they attacked and sought to

destroy the strength of the Church as a national institution, appropriating to their own purposes

its wealth and endowments.38 Nevertheless, Elizabeth proceeded to move ahead with the

settlement with the support of the country’s Parliament. Additionally, it was her religious

preference, and she wanted to establish a cohesive country. The Elizabethan settlement was

absolutely a turning point for the history of England; however, it would be short-lived because

forty years after her death in 1603 the strides she made with the Church of England were

temporarily suspended and England became religious free for all with many trying to create and

establish their own vision for the Church of England.

Rival Visions for the Church of England

Ibid., 173.
Powel Mills Dawley, John Whitgift And The Reformation (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1955), 31-32.
Powel Mills Dawley, John Whitgift And The Reformation (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1955), 32.

If the Queen in Parliament was sovereign over the Church, this gave little room to either

clergy or laity to exercise much authority. Yet many had experienced something quite different

in their sojourns in Europe. What was at issue was the question of how much the Church,

including its lay members, should be able to decide for itself.39 The apparently inoffensive

Articles twenty and thirty-four were highly continuous and the ramification was far reaching for

the relationship between Church and State. Article twenty " Of the authority of the church"

states, "The Church hath the power to decree rites or ceremonies, and authority in controversies

of faith: and yet is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word

written neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.

Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to

decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not enforce anything to be

believed for necessity of salvation.40 Article thirty-four " Of the tradition of the Church" states,

"It is necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one, and utterly like; for at all

times they have been diverse, and may be changed according to the diversities of countries,

times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever through

his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies

of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by

common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that

offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate,

and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren. Every particular or national Church hath

Mark Chapman, Anglicanism A Very Short Introduction, 2018, 38.
J. I Packer and Roger T Beckwith, The Thirty-Nine Articles (London: Latimer House, 2006), 12-13.

authority to ordain, change, and abolish, ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by

man's authority so that all things be done to edifying.41

Richard Hooker

The roots of English nonconformists sects and New England Congregationalism were in

the Puritan movement. The principle of denominationalism, which was to supersede the state

church of the Reformation, began with them. A few years before his death, Richard Hooker in

order to meet the Puritan threat to the state church, wrote the Treatise of the Laws of

Ecclesiastical Polity, a work primarily philosophical in nature.42 In it, Hooker maintained that

law, given by God and discovered by reason, is basic. Obedience to the ruler, who rules consent

of the people and according to law, is necessary because the ruler is the head of both state and

church. Members of the state are also members of the state church and in both areas are subject

to the divine law. Bishops, subordinate to the king, are to supervise the state church.43 Hooker

defends the right of the prince to legislate for the church, attacking the separation of the realms

of church and state: There is not any man of the Church of England but the same man is also a

member of the commonwealth, nor any man a member of the commonwealth which is not also

of the Church of England…Royal Supremacy over the church. The king, the ‘common parent',

has the lawful power ‘to order and dispose of spiritual affairs.’ Authority in both church and state

thus derives one source: the sovereign in parliament.44

John Whitgift

The story of John Whitgift, the English reformer, starts in the middle of the reign of

Henry VIII. Whitgift held office for twenty-one years and lived to crown James I in 1604.

Ibid., 17-18.
Everett Ferguson, Church History (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2005), 329.
Ibid., 329.
Mark Chapman, Anglicanism A Very Short Introduction, 2018, 44.

Whitgift who had been Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Bishop of Worcester, was, in

much of his doctrine, a Calvinist but a staunch supporter of episcopacy….He had a clear vision

of what he was working for and was fearless in carrying out his policy. Using the Court of High

Commission he insisted that law and order should be preserved and the Prayer Book obeyed. The

Puritans naturally thought him harsh and bigoted, but Whitgift regarded those who refused to

conform to the established Church as potential traitors; and, in this, he had the support of the

queen.45 Whitgift additionally held the view that Order, decency, and disciplines were crucial,

which meant that even in those things indifferent to salvation, it was still ‘the duty of a Christian

man without superstition willingly to obey such constitutions.’ The freedom of the Gospel did

not imply the freedom of the individual. He stated, "Thus God hath not in scripture particularly

determined anything, but left the same to his church, to make or abrogate… as shall be thought

from time to time most convenient for the present state of the Church."46 Puritans continue to

expand and gain the support of many lawyers, merchants, and country landowner. One of their

biggest proponents was Thomas Cartwright.

Thomas Cartwright

The appearance of Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) was perhaps the most outspoken

among the Puritan divines. He was deprived of his Cambridge Professorship in 1570, making

his way to Geneva. For Cartwright, virtually nothing could be regarded as indifferent, including

the ministry. The church was understood as a democracy based on the authority of elders by the

congregation (known as Presbyterianism).47 Cartwright shifted the emphasis in Puritan efforts

from reform of liturgy to reform in theology and church government. Insistence on the final

John Richard Humpidge Moorman, A History Of The Church In England (Harrisburg (Pa.): Morehouse publ., 1994), 214.
Mark Chapman, Anglicanism A Very Short Introduction, 2018, 39.
Mark Chapman, Anglicanism A Very Short Introduction, 2018, 38.

authority of Scripture led his followers to adopt a Calvinistic theology that would make the

Thirty-Nine Articles even more Calvinistic. Cartwright opposed government by bishops; the

government of the church he wrote, should be in control of a presbytery of bishops or elders who

had only spiritual functions. This system was essentially the Calvinistic system of church

government by elders who were elected by the congregation.48 The religious forces generated by

the exiles that had become acquainted with Calvinism in Europe resulted in the Puritanism that

caused Elizabeth no little difficulty. By the time James VI of Scotland became James I of

England the Puritans had hoped James as a Calvinistic king who liked Episcopacy, would set up

a Presbyterian government in the Anglican Church.49

James I

After Elizabeth died in 1603, the Crown passed to the Stuart Kings of Scotland. It might

have been expected that James would be keen on reforming the English Church along the

Scottish model. However, he had spent a significant period trying to reinvigorate the Scottish

episcopate and to counter the claims of the Kirk over the Scottish monarchy. He strongly upheld

the Divine Right of Kings: “Kings are called God’s by the prophetical King David because they

sit upon God his throne in the earth.50 Shortly after James accession, an effort was made at

Hampton court to reconcile the different ecclesiastical factions. The leading puritan spokesman

was John Reynolds (President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford) who insisted on purity of

doctrine and an able clergy accountable to the laity, as well as the correction of what he regarded

as the errors of the Prayer Book. The leading Episcopal spokesmen were Lancelot Andrews,

Bishop of Winchester, and Richard Bancroft, who succeeded Whitgift in 1604. In the end, the

Earle E Cairns, Christianity Through The Centuries (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub., 1996), 331.
Ibid., 331.
Mark Chapman, Anglicanism A Very Short Introduction, 2018, 45.

Puritans agreed to obey the King, who, while making virtually no concession, allowed for the

toleration of tender consciences for a while. The Conferences also set up a committee of

scholars of different theological persuasions to produce an authoritative translation of the English

Bible (the Authorized Version of 1611). The Puritans achieved very little and, instead of looking

to the King, many turned instead to the Parliament.51

Doctrinal Difference of Opinion

The theological dispute that shook the church is frequently summarized in terms of a

conflict between Calvinists and Arminians. The main doctrinal focus was over the related

doctrines of election and predestination, which go far further back into the Reformation and the

early church. Arminianism, which was named after Jacob Arminius, believed against the

Calvinist that the elect could fall from grace.52 Arminians emphasized human freedom;

believing God allows and expects humans to exercise the will. In particular, the “whosoever

will” passage in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will

give you rest.”53 The very offering of such invitation implies that the hearer has the genuine

possibility of either accepting or rejecting them. This, however, seems inconsistent with the

position that God’s decision has rendered the future certain.54 Calvinist, on the other hand,

accepts as true that God’s plan is logically prior and that human decisions and actions are a

consequence. With respect to the particular matter of the acceptance or rejection of salvation,

God in his plan has chosen that some shall believe and thus receive the offer of eternal life. He

foreknows what will happen because he has decided what is to happen. This is true with respect

to all other human decision and actions as well. God is not dependent on what humans decide.

Ibid., 45.
Mark D Chapman, Doing Theology (London: T & T Clark International, 2012), 139.
The Holy Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House,1999), 926.
Millard J Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 381.

It is not the case, then, that God determines that what humans will do will come to pass, nor does

he choose to eternal life those who he foresees will believe. Rather, God’s decision has rendered

it certain that every individual will act in a particular way.55 These controversies led to the

summoning of the Synod of Dordrecht (Dort) in 1618-1619 where Calvinists from Holland and

other parts of Europe debated the finer points of doctrine. James I choice emphasized the

Calvinist credentials of the English church, although he was keen to make sure that his

delegation urged the Synod to avoid too much harshness in its condemnation of the

Remonstrance… The Church of England adopted a Calvinist approach, although there were

other bishops who were far closer to the Remonstrants line. The Synod firmly upheld a strongly

Calvinist line, emphasizing that faith is a gift of God given to some but not to others, that God

had elected some before the foundation of the world and that atonement was made only for those

elect. The British delegates supported the Synod's canons, even if they refused to call them the

doctrines of the Reformed church.56 James I and his successors allowed for a degree of diversity,

which meant that even though Calvinism was the prevailing thought within the Church of

England, other dogma or theology such as Arminianism, Ludaianism, and Carolinism helped

Anglicanism develop and advance over the centuries into a self-conscious expression of


Evangelicalism and Anglicanism

Many people today have separated themselves from the notion of being connected to

ancient traditions or a denomination. Evangelicals are majoring on the peripherals rather than on

what is central to the Christian faith. The scandal of the evangelical mind may be addressed by

Millard J Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 381.
Mark D Chapman, Doing Theology (London: T & T Clark International, 2012), 141.

the scandal of the cross. The theological vacuity of the evangelical church is to be found in the

recovery of the truth of God's action in history, carried in the gospel concerning the life, death,

and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many Evangelicals' need is an adequate ecclesiology if they

are to discover resources to deal with the long-standing problems that the critics have identified

and quite ably analyzed. Attitudes can be reshaped only by a strong traditions community;

essentials are discovered in the Great Traditions of the Church. Now many evangelicals are

aware of their ecclesiological deficit. In fact, one of the recurring criticisms of evangelicalism is

that it has not adequate ecclesiology.57 The failure to embrace the historic ancient traditions,

roots, and continuity is the most obvious set back of the present day evangelical church. In order

to comprehend Evangelicalism and Anglicanism, one must understand and consider the distinct

facets it has taken over the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century’s.

Eighteenth Century

Throughout the eighteenth century, there was a struggle for identity within the Anglican

Communion. This struggle to seek out real Christianity over nominal Christianity became a

compulsion which included the realization that to be a part of the Church of England was

changing and budding beyond a commitment greater than just being English. The Church of

England slowly, over time, began to be seen as distinctive but greater in diversity. What

characterized the modern church party was its clamor for an authority and an identity that was

distinct from the wider church and nation, and where partisan identity was sometimes as

important, or even more important, than ecclesiastical identity. A longing for identity led to the

proliferation of party organizations and groups and a form of voluntarism quite distinct from the

compulsory church of earlier years.58 Thomas Arnold once said, “Remember always that

Simon Chan, Liturgical Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006),11.
Mark Chapman, Anglicanism A Very Short Introduction, 2018, 58.

although Evangelicals…be not the perfection of Christianity yet it is Christianity, vital and

essential.”59 The origins of Evangelism lay in the religious revival that occurred in Britain in the

middle of the eighteenth century. During the period between 1736 and 1760, a number of

Anglican clergymen went through parallel but apparently spontaneous conversion experiences

which involved an intense feeling of their sins being forgiven them and a personal assurance of

salvation and which led them to devote the rest of their lives to preaching the Christian Gospel to

masses in particularly powerful and compelling ways.60

Nineteenth Century

The nineteenth-century Anglican Evangelicals certainly inherited from Wesley what

Bradley terms ‘serious’ or ‘vital’ religion. This religion was personal and experiential, and,

following Wesley, it emphasized the inward work of the Holy Spirit in achieving new birth in the

believers’ life and giving assurance of salvation. This can be seen in the life of John Newton

(1725-1807) who was formerly a hardened sea captain in the slave trading business. He fell to

his knees and was converted during a storm at sea in 1748. He recalled, “I dreaded death now

and my heart foreboded the worst, if the scriptures, which I had long since opposed, were true.”

I waited with fear and impatience to receive my inevitable doom. It was then when he felt

himself to be on the very brink of eternity that the Holy Spirit first raised me to look up to the

crucified savior. He later expressed the change that had taken place in his life in the hymn,

‘Amazing Grace’, which depicts his own Evangelical conversion experience.61 With the rise of

the Tractarians in the 1830s, conflict over the understanding of Scripture hardened. Partly this

was due to Evangelical concern that the rising Oxford movement was asserting the equivalence

Meriol Trevor, The Arnolds – Thomas Arnold and His Family (London: Sydney, Toronto, The Bodley Head, 1973), 47.
Ian C Bradley, The Call To Seriousness (Oxford: Lion, 2006), 15.
D. Bruce Hindmarsh, John Newton, And The English Evangelical Tradition (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2001), 6.

of traditions alongside Scripture. The actual statements of the Tractarians were, of course,

carefully nuanced. In his, The Rule of Faith (1838), Henry Manning claimed that in matters of

interpretation, the reliable witness was the universal agreement of the early Church. The Divine

Rule of Faith and Practice maintained that the Scripture alone was canonical, the supreme and

sole Word of God, authoritative, sufficient and complete. Evangelicals denied revelation outside

of Holy Scripture…The Tractarians were perceived to be elevation of tradition as the final

interpreter as Scripture.62 By the end of the nineteenth century, the leader of the Evangelicals

was J.C. Ryle, the first Bishop of Liverpool. He was an implacable opponent to anything that

smacked of ritualism. As bishop, he took a strong stand against the real presence in the

Eucharist, a typical Evangelical emphasis which had provoked considerable controversy during

the 1850s. Ryle helped to establish Evangelical seminaries to counter the effect of the diocesan

colleges, most of which had fallen into the hands of the ritualistic.63 Evangelicals had moved

into a rigid position, departing from ritualism to a new identity as a pan Evangelical Holiness


Twentieth Century

In the twentieth century, hard stances that provoked discourse among Evangelicals and

Anglicans had been resolved, becoming common in the Church England. Nevertheless, there are

important key elements where Evangelicals and Anglicans agree and disagree. In some

instances, the disagreements lie over emphasis and method, especially when viewed in light of

the historic position of Anglicanism. In some cases, the differences are nuanced and in others

more clearly delineated. There may be a variety of opinion both within and between these

traditions. However; these key areas of agreement and disagreement provide both further

R. D Turnbull, Anglican, And Evangelical? (London: Continuum, 2007), 64.
Mark Chapman, Anglicanism A Very Short Introduction, 2018, 68.

understanding of Anglican Evangelicalism and also a basis for further conversation. The areas

for debate have been characterized as five statements.64 1. Anglicans and Evangelicals agree

over the place of the Bible but disagree over the range of authority and interpretation. 2.

Anglicans and Evangelicals agree over the missionary imperative but disagree over the method,

content, and priority of the missionary enterprise. 3. Anglicans and Evangelicals agree over

ecumenical and global commitment but disagree over content and method. 4. Anglicans and

Evangelicals agree on the importance of engaging society but disagree over where the priority of

transformation lies. 5. Anglicans and Evangelicals agree over the importance of the Church but

disagree over the priority of the visible Church.65

Anglicanism as a Global Communion

The Anglican Communion has spread around the world through the agency of several

factors. Initially, the Church of England extended itself beyond the British Isles to other parts of

the globe through immigrants who as members of the Church, settled in such places as North

America, the West Indies, and Australia and so on. Outposts continued to grow as fresh waves

of immigrants came from the mother country.66 Whether one marks the beginning of the

Anglican Communion with the first English chaplains serving abroad from the seventeenth

century, the consecration of Samuel Seabury in 1784 as the first Bishop for the United States, or

the first Lambeth Conference in 1867, it is clear that at end of the nineteenth century,

Anglicanism was still primarily an English phenomenon. Yet, in the last 50 years or so

Anglicanism has changed beyond recognition. At Lambeth in 1998, for the first time, the

Anglican Communion has had to face head on the radical multicultural reality of global Christian

R. D Turnbull, Anglican, and Evangelical? (London: Continuum, 2007), 104.
Ibid., 104-112.
Stephen Withefield Sykes and Jonathan Knight, The Study Of Anglicanism (London: SPCK, 2004), 406.

Community, having come with a vision of a global Communion Characterized by the affirmation

of cultural and experiential diversity.67 The Anglican Church boasts to having numbers in the

millions but the majority of those numbers no longer reside in the mother country. The last

vestige of European dominance resides in Australia which is still small in comparison to the

Anglican population which comes from Africa. When Africans' own vision of their churches

does not correspond with Northern conservative discourses, these discourses can constrain

mutual understanding. American and European conservatives have developed a view of African

Christians as fundamentally akin to them in faith perspective, despite the two groups' obvious

differences… These new positive views of Africa lead African Anglicans to a new view of

Africa’s role and power in the worldwide communion.68

Anglicanism Yet to Come

For the Anglican Communion to hold together and function as a Biblical Christ centered

body there must be the mutual understanding that Europe is no longer the center of all things.

We as a communion do not live in a post-racial society; racism is only a part of what must be

changed but it must be truly contended with honestly. A negative reality that was created by

slavery, colonizing, and all negative perceptions of peoples who are non-white; especially Black

Americans and Africans as uncivilized, must be corrected. The church must take the leadership

role and be the influencer and requisition the narrative from the media, schools, governing

systems, and literature. Race theories contradict the very essence of the Bible and of

Christianity. God did not create many races, but one race, the human race. All human beings are

created in God’s own image.69 All human beings are created in God’s own image (Gen. 1:27).

Miranda K Hassett, Anglican Communion In Crisis (United Kingdom: Princeton University Press, 2009), 288.
Ibid., 289.
Mukti Barton, Rejection, Resistance And Resurrection (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2005), 6.

Whether this is possible is an open question, cultural differences might be so extreme that

conversation will prove impossible and different provinces will go it alone. With this in mind,

there are several possible outcomes for the Anglican Communion. First, it is possible that there

will be a global realignment of Christians in which pan Evangelicalism or new progressive

alignments will be far more important than Anglicanism. Second, it may be that there will be a

far vaguer Anglican body loosely united around a shared history but not necessarily in

communion with the see of Canterbury—with setting up several global networks. Lastly,

diversity and comprehensiveness might be at the heart of Anglicanism that understands itself

more as a way of muddling through to the truth than a set of definitive judgments. The desire to

listen and to enter into conversation requires voluntary restraint and self-denial among the

different factions. The problem is that in a world which seeks clear decisions and absolute

certainties, such Christian humility might not any longer be considered a virtue.70


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