Days of Orthodoxy

Bishop Mote

Has Anglicanism ever been a ‘confessional’ church? Confessional churches, like Rome, have the advantage of presenting a clear statement of belief to both clergy and laity that might assist both apologetics and catechism. Such confessions typically go beyond the universal creed, delineating how faith is received by a particular church. Even amongst Continuuing Anglicans, fairly distinct understandings based on derived patrimonies from Denver consecrations persist. Too often R. Rev. Chamber’s Bishops (with perhaps the exception of  Doren) took catholic necessity as licence to recast Anglican patrimony against the Settlement, leaving bystanding Continuuers to make enormous choices with respect churchmanship.

Confessional Basis:
Christianity itself is a confessional faith. In England, if one admits a theological basis to the national church (i.e., equality of bishops, faith of the prince, the ‘rock’ as the gospel, etc.), the Anglican reformation indeed began under a ‘test act’– e.g., the oath of Supremacy. Licencing of clergy was controlled by the King, and in 1537 and 1543 Henry published Catechisms expecting conformity not only to royal prerogatives but likewise ‘true doctrine’ expressed therein. England’s ‘confessional orthodoxy’ further developed during the period 1559-1689, whereupon a distinctly Anglican Settlement for religion emerges (i.e., the 39 Articles, Prayer Book, and Injunctions).

Protestant Settlement or Catholic Tradition:
While the Anglican Settlement ended by the 20th century, subscription as a practice was not abandoned. Anglo-Catholics continue to licence clergy conditioned upon a public vow or profession of faith. For example, the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) requires an oath from all clergy and lay workers, “I do solemnly engage to conform to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Anglican Catholic Church”. What is this ‘Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship’?  It is assumed clergy and lay workers know it. Regarding the 39 Articles, Arch-Bishop Haverland says,

“The Articles are not theologically detailed or systematic. Historically, the purpose of the Articles was to distinguish the CofE from certain beliefs of the late medieval Roman Catholic Church and other beliefs fround in the radical Reformaiton, particularly among Anabaptists. For this reason the Articles treat specific controversial issues rather than to present an elaborated theological system…therefore [they] have no normative authority in this Church” (p. 149-150, Anglican Faith)

Amongst Continuum Churches the main features of the Elizabethan settlement are understood through the St. Louis Affirmation, “In affirming these principles [essentials of Truth and Order], we recognize that all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with them” (Section 2). Therefore, the Continuers filter the Settlement through ‘catholic tradition’ where seven ecumenical councils are the starting point. Archbishop Haverland says, “Insofar as the Articles seem in tension with the central Tradition of the Undivided Church, it is not essential to attempt to reconcile them with that Tradition, for they have no independent authority in this Church. The Affirmation of St. Louis, to which the ACC officially subscribes, settles this issue” (Anglican Faith, p. 151)

But what is Catholic Tradition? The assumption behind ACC statements is that the Settlement did not adequately sum ‘catholic tradition’ as received by the divines and articles in the period, 1559-1689. Indeed, the 1995 Athen’s Statement (ACC) contends, “The fundamental cause has been a crisis of authority within Anglicanism, having its origins in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and the tensions of the Elizabethan ‘Church Settlement’….in the days of Elizabeth I the Church Settlement provoked deep crisis of conscience…It may therefore be said that the Church Settlement did not really work in England even under Elizabeth, and it certainly does not work in England or anywhere else today”. The result, according to the Athen’s Statement, was an ‘insidious Congregationalism’ which St. Louis corrects by proclaiming Catholic truth.

English Receptionism:
St. Louis says catholic tradition is “set forth by the ancient catholic bishops and doctors, and especially as defined by the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, to the exclusion of all errors, ancient and modern”. This is somewhat open-ended. The lines of succession from the Denver consecrations (Mote, Morse, Doren), for instance, disagreed upon content and reception (canon and doctrine) of catholic tradition. This led to separatism amongst St. Louis churches.  As the Athen’s Statment smartly points out, “Anglicans generally have forgotten that they sink or swim with their bishop”.

Thus, while St. Louis purports to clarify or, in some cases transcend, the Settlement, the Affirmation itself contains plenteous ambiguity to demand further articles and declarations. This ambiguity revolves around the question of ‘reception’. The claim of reception is mentioned in the Athen’s Statement,

“Therefore, when the Congress of St. Louis met in Sept. 1977, at stake was not merely the continuation of traditional Anglicanism in a cultural sense, but access to valid sacraments…It was most careful to proceed canonically– i.e., pursuant to the canons and precepts of the seven ecumenical councils of the undivided church and the canonical tradition derived there from– in taking those actions necessary to preserve the Catholic Faith and Apostolic Order as received by and from the Church of England in the days of its orthodoxy.” (section 4).

But to what extent did the English Church received or understood  ‘catholic truth’? The ACC seems to believe catholic truth was suppressed during the Settlement. Each St. Louis church in turn had to similarly gauge the extent of reception. ACC canons, for instance, provide a cut-off point for England’s ‘days of orthodoxy’. This is very significant because it more precisely defines the ACC’s official relation to the Settlement. Regarding doctrine and canon received, canon 2.1 says,

“This Church submits itself and subscribes to the Seven Holy Oecumenical Councils of the undivided Primitive Catholic Church and their Doctrine, Definitions, Letters, Epistles, Acts and Decrees, both doctrinal and synodal, and the Letters and Decrees of the Regional Councils or Synods and of the Fathers received, accepted, and affirmed by the same Oecumenical Councils, all as received in the Church of England through the year 1543, as well as the Canons, Canonical Acts and Decrees, and the Rulings Canonical thereof or made therein, and the Canonical principles expressed therein, as have been accustomed and used in the Church since their adoption and which have neither been expressly altered or amended by positive action of this Church or fallen into and remained desuetude, to wit.”

Comparing Canon 2.1 to the Athen’s statement, it is a reasonable that ‘catholic truth an order’ is understood in the ACC through the lens of Henrician reforms. Much has yet to be said about this period of reform but sufficient to say the Henrician church was not Roman or Greek.

Patrimonial Crisis:
Henry’s 1543 Catechism is commonly misunderstood as a retraction of the Ten Articles. There is something about royal prestige which prevents such a statement. Rather, Henrician doctrine forms a system of thought based on Augustinian justification and sacraments.  The 1543 Catechism says nothing contrary to the 1537 Instruction of Christian Man nor the Ten Articles. However, there is a refutation of both Romanism and Lutheranism in both, explaining why preparation for Mantua in 1537 commenced while talks with Lutherans in 1538 ceased. Nonetheless, Henrician documents provide a framework for later Settlement, and they cannot be divorced from later development any more than from ancient catholic precedent. Either Henrician articles are orthodox or not.  The ACC says they are, rather incoherently approving the Reformation while denouncing the Settlement?

The legacy (and confusion) of Mote, Morse, and Doren still reverberate within Continuuing churches, lending distinctive characters to each province by disagreement on canons. But liturgists should note– canons touch many parts ceremony and therefore also theology. The Vestment (1590’s) and Altar (1630’s) controversies are testiments to such. Each Bishop have left their mark, “Anglican sink or swim with their bishop”.

Behind Chamber’s Succession is forty-year debate on Patrimony. Too often what might otherwise be authentic Anglican patrimony is cast down from the heights of ‘theology’ to the low context of culture: e.g., language, poetry, or ornament.  This is one way to disarm a potentially legitimate claim. The ACC would likely have as little to do with the Settlement as possible, opting instead for the an imagined undercurrent of 17th century Roman recusancy or Bp. Gardiner’s mid-16th century catholic party. However, this sort of discrimination assumes Cranmer, Tudor, and Caroline divines sorely failed in their resourcement of Patristics, etc., thus creating an identity crisis that pretends resolution by  ‘foreign appeal’ (i.e., Rome or Constantinople).

Such ‘foreign appeal’ amounts to selecting another lineage of doctrinal development essentially alien to Anglican thought. More than ‘jurisdiction hopping’, Continuuers risk loosing the inheritance of theology most substantive of Patrimony. Presently, ACC is headed in a bull-rush towards Eastern Orthodoxy, leaving the Settlement behind as a ‘cultural’ or ‘historic’ accident. However, it can only coherently accomplish this by either:

  1. A theologically consistent renunciation of Henrician standards.
  2. Proceeding in ignorance or dishonesty toward same standards

Differences between churchmanship stemming from the Denver consecrations can be known by analyzing UECNA, ACC, and APCK constitutions/canons, revealing how each interpret St. Louis with respect to the Settlement and reception of pre-reformation Catholicism. With the ACC a somewhat “pained relation” toward Protestantism exists. Despite relative denial of Anglican formulas, the ACC admittedly has more comprehensive and finished set of canons than sister Continuuing churches.  Lastly, freed from the alleged troubles of Settlement, the ACC claims a ‘clarified’ theology, but this is very questionable when Henrician articles make up the core of Elizabethan doctrine? For the most part this technically is ignored. Divergences between Denver Bishops may soon close with the ‘rapid merger’ planned by UECNA.

Next posting will regard the central tenant of the 1543 Henrician confession. For now, the Henrician formularies may be read or downloaded at Formularies of Faith put forward during the Reign of King Henry VIII. Also, needed background on Tractarianism vs. Anglo-Catholicism.

9 responses to “Days of Orthodoxy

  1. Of course Anglicanism is a confessional Church. Read the baptismal and confirmation services. They require assent to a confession of certain precise articles and failure to respond properly would bring the service to a halt. Likewise, real participation in either the offices or the Eucharist require the reciting of the appropriate creed and these are and have been the standard professions of faith in the Church since the period of the Councils. What is at issue is the attempt to require or impose other confessions of faith than those of the primitive and undivided Church on those who claim to be Catholics and Christians. Rome has its own and those who do AC will only to soon become acquainted with them, as do the Lutherans, Presbyterians and others. Real Anglicans don’t.

    The Thirty Nine Articles were (and here I am reading Bicknell) required of the clergy at ordination and upon the acceptance of a new benefice. That requirement was to the Latin original of the Articles which Bicknell gives in his book and not to any English translation. What we find in the American Book of Common Prayer is not the original translation and has some differences due to our break with the English throne. They were intended to protect the laity from the eccentricities of some of the clergy, draw a line between the faith of the Church and certain errors to be found both in the foreign reformers, their followers in England, and certain popular teaching in among devotees of the papacy. As such, they are yet as valid today as when they were imposed and the attempt to escape them is a sop to the extreme wing of the Anglo-papalist party, or, at least, to those in the various Continuing jurisdictions who still believe themselves to be a part of it. They should know better and if they continue to read Father Hart on The Continuum, they eventually will.

    Since I am unfamiliar with “The Athens Statement.” I will have to look it up and read it before I comment. But there is one comment which presently requires to be made. The assertion that the Elizabethan Settlement “did not work” is patently false, for without its success against both those who would overthrow the Church from within or conquer it from without, there would be no Anglicanism. The 1543 date would imply and require a return to the full blown Sarum Rite and Use in Latin – and that among clerical fops incapable of surrendering their allegiance to the Roman liturgical colours or the ceremonial of Fortesque and O’Connell’s The Rites of Sung and High Mass as viewed through Lamburn’s Ritual Notes.

    More later!


  2. Thank you Bp. Lee. Here is a link to the 1995 Athen’s Statement. It’s the only one I could find. You will find many dubious statements therein. There is no attempt to distinguish between the Protestantism of England vs. the continent. Rather Puritanism and the Settlement are basically lumped together. Moreover, the document appeals to foreign jurisdictions, assuming a reliable catholicism can be found outside the English Reformation. It reminds me how the Affirmation (a perfectly fine statement of faith) can be interpreted various ways by Denver Bishops. How St. Louis and ‘catholic tradition’ is understood amongst Continuers is hard to catch unless canons are inspected. That being said, there is typically a gap between canons and practice, making ACC more broad than synodal statements suggest. There are many Prayer Book, pro-39 Article catholics in the ACC. I don’t want to overstate my case…

    The Doren-line adopted the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Definately not Anglo-Catholic vis-a-vis ACC discipline. Modifications can be read here:

    “The UECNA is dedicated as a true continuation of the Church that PECUSA was from its founding in 1789 until about 1960. To ensure belief in and allegiance to the precepts that PECUSA once embraced, the first General Convention of the UEC ratified and adopted the 1958 PECUSA Constitutions and Canons, with necessary minor revisions, thus continuing the validity and soundness of the Faith that true Episcopalians demand. The principally important revisions are as follows.

    The UECNA affirms that each independent parish is entitled to its own property and temporalities. Therefore, the UECNA revision of the 1958 PECUSA Constitution and Canons makes specific assertion of the independence of local congregations in matters pertaining to their real and temporal properties, as was clearly held in the early Church.

    In founding the Protestant Episcopal Church in the newly independent United States of America as an entity descended from, but independent of, the mother Church of England, our patriot churchmen in 1789 rejected the title” Archbishop” as being too British. The title, long established as part of that which was decent and orderly in the Church of England, was changed in the American Church to “Presiding Bishop”.

    The UEC, determined to reclaim and continue that which is good, proper and truly historic in the Church, has re-established the title “Archbishop” to distinguish its chosen senior shepherd, without vesting undue power in his office. The Constitution and Canons specifically define the duties and responsibilities of the Archbishop and other Church officials; and the checks and balances therein delineated assure that no Church official can make any unwarranted assumption of authority or prerogative. The UEC’s use of the title “Archbishop” is solely in the context of the simplest generic definition of the term (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary): “a chief Bishop”.


  3. The Anglican church is not a “confessional” church. The Anglican church is an episcopate church. Many times it operates more like a confessional church but from its inception it has been an Episcopal church. It is a direct formation from the ecumenical councils and continues to format beliefs based on the House of Bishops.

    Not all Anglican churches strictly use the 1928 BCP and many do not hold to the 39 Articles. But even those that do still have a House of Bishops that formulate doctrinal statements. And this is the snare: because the House of Bishops creates articles and other documents does not mean that it is “confessional.” The Reformed position is that a confessional church is one that strictly holds to a confession and not an ecclesiastical authority. Yes, they have a presbytery but the presbytery is based solely on the Westminster Confession. The entire ordination examination is based on how the confession interprets the Bible.

    Anglicans, on the other hand, do not examine their candidates based on the Articles. They may ask what you think of them, but their examinations are not based on the Articles like the Reformed people. In fact, as an Anglican, you do not have to believe in some of the articles. Take predestination, for example. That is clearly stated in the Articles but is not necessary to adhere to as a Deacon or Priest. There are some very popular Anglican jurisdictions that actually despise the Articles and have even ripped them out of their Prayer Books.


  4. Dear Rev. Mike,

    Coming from a conservative Presbyterian church and having read about Anglican subscription, I am not sure I agree with such stark contrasts. Also, I think if we wish to compare Anglican and, say, Presbyterian practices, it be done for the same time period, perhaps the 16th to 19th centuries when subscription was a policy. By the turn of the 20th century, as you know, both Presbyterian and Anglican churches had begun to abandon reformation standards, so there’s not much to conclude from recent times aside from the fact that liberalism has devastated the church.

    Regarding Presbyterian and Anglican similarities, it is worth noting both drew ‘articles of religion’ from synod/convocation. Like Anglicans, Presbyterians did not treat the deliberation of councils as infallible, correcting their ‘articles’ even after the Reformation (for example the american articles on Supremacy). Yet both based their Articles on scriptures and creed. Confessions were understood as ‘secondary standards’. I think it is somewhat exaggerated to suggest Presbyterians dismissed the Fathers. Their assessment of patristics were surely more critical, but this does not mean Calvin believed the past had been jettisoned. Reformers in England and on the continent generally agreed to the same formula, “four councils, five centuries”, and their works are filled with quotes from Fathers. I am not saying Presbyterians ‘resourced’ the Fathers the same way as Anglicans.

    Also, when discussing ‘confessionalism’, we can confuse the different kinds of catechisms. With respect to catechisms, there were two sorts, ‘short and long’. Shorter Catechisms were for lay people and used to prepare communicants. Reformation catechisms teach the same thing– Commandments, Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and Sacraments. What is interesting was the Reformation reduced the number of things required by medieval catechisms which included material like ‘seven deadly sins’, ‘seven virtues’, ‘eight beautitudes’, words of mercy, ave maria, etc.. So-called Reformed ‘confessionalism’ actually simplified criteria for partaking.

    But the shorter catechisms also represent a specific system of thought. For instance, the number of sacraments are narrowed from seven to two. The Creed is abbreviated from twelve to three articles. The second commandment is differentiated from the first. Sacrament is defined in the strict Protestant sense. Behind the revisions is a larger hermeneutic, namely sola scriptura and justification. These were not explicitly taught, but they are the framework which the catechism was rewritten.

    With respect to ‘longer catechisms’, these were produced for learned laity and clergy. Confessional churches did not require either ‘long catechisms’ or ‘articles’ for communion. Anglicans also had their longer catechisms which if the prefaces are read, are mainly intended for Orders. The longer catechisms were to be used for preaching, and the rules regarding assent to ‘articles’ or ‘confession’ were practiced the same on either side of the channel until recent times.

    Was the CofE a ‘confessional church’? I would say in terms of how it applied its articles and catechist materials, it was. that being said, “no protestant church in Europe expected the same standards for Orders as Lay participation in Communion”. This is often what people wrongly think when speaking of ‘confessionalism’. Generally speaking, confessional churches eased requirements for communion while becoming more attentive to lay instruction. But, in terms of content– what articles say– I would not flatten the CofE with any other church. Her doctrine did have a system of thought, however, but it was western patristic (Augustinian) not the later innovations on justification that occurred on the continent.

    I am game for any discussion on theological independence from Luther and Calvin (how Anglicans dealt with grace and freewill, or treated the office of bishopric, etc..). However, how catechisms and articles were enforced are very much the same. Communicants were to know the basics of faith while clergy subscribed to longer statements. This is in contrast to today where catechism for communicants is neglected if not thrown out the door, and there is no orthodox standard for ordinates.

    Laxity often hides the sad reality that churches, even when no apparent standards exist, still impose some kind of ‘comfessionalism’, even if heretical, unitarian, or some other monstrosity. The reality is churches have worldviews and are always confessional (confessionally heterodox or orthodox– take your pick), teaching more than a bare minimalism. If we admit this than we at least are being honest, pointing to a development of doctrine in our own church and others (even the East). At least a ‘consistent confessionalism’ has transparency and accountability. Let’s just hope it’s orthodox. Thus, I have no problem with the manner of confessionalism as historically practiced, but I do have a problem with its content when it departs from catholic and biblical truth. Calvinism is most liable in this regard, but at least it is upfront about its tenants, smuggling nothing under a facade or pretense.


  5. Charles,

    I think we are speaking of two completely different paradigms here. The continuing Reformed Church (PCA, OPC, RPCNA, etc.) which I came out of as an intern is certainly a confessional church. I base this on what I was taught in their seminary and the way that they ordain men. The continuing Anglican Church (APA, ACC, ACA, etc.) is not a confessional church and takes pride on that fact. This is what I was taught through an Anglican seminary as well as an Anglo catholic diaconal program. Now, this does not mean they do not act as one. When things boil down, the Church falls on to documents to resolve many issues, but it is certainly not the driving force of their ministry; the bishopric is the driving force. Like Roman doctrine, Anglican doctrine can and does evolve and this takes the bishopric to do such a thing. In confessional/reformed churches, little can change, even paradigms, because they have no one to make such a decision; therefore, man change things on their own and before you know it, the entire synod is off caliber and so a split occurs.

    To be completely fair I would say that the Anglican Church is both confessional as well as Episcopal. It depends on what sanction you are referring to.

    When I speak of Anglican, I speak of the Continuum. CofE is off the charts for me. Also, when I speak of Reformed I speak of their Continuum. The Anglo Catholics of the Continuum would not, as a whole consider themselves confessional.

    I think that because Anglicans do have some doctrine on paper does not make them confessional churches. I have been taught that confessional churches are churches that strictly subscribe to a confession. Anglicanism does not do this in my opinion, and I would say that it is a matter of fact within the Continuum.

    I think that you may be borrowing the term “confessional,” which is fine in some sense. This is a good thing to wrestle with and is not brought up often.

    Hope that helps clear things up.


  6. Dear Rev. Mike,

    I admit the articles today are no test for orthodoxy. But I do not think this is a consequence of ‘episcopacy’. Nonetheless, while I lament their present disregard, I find their history important as an example of clerical test and parameter for preaching. I do not expect any anglican body, with perhaps the exception of REC (?), to revive this kind of standard. In St. Louis Churches, with exception of the UECNA’s canons, there is a general rejection the Settlement. A friend recently wrote me observing how Anglicans refuse historic standards in preference for picking and choosing aspects of Protestantism and Catholicism, fusing them together in innovative ways. This seems to be the trend, and the motivation is a desire for autonomy rather than communion.

    Sadly, when ‘confessionalism’ is mentioned, panic ensues. Distasteful doctrines like ‘election’ and ‘reprobation’, fencing off tables, defrocking clergy, divisive opinions, and other memories of Puritanism come attached. Anglicans have found the best way to promote unity is to ignore heterodoxy. I am not sure if this works toward our advantage in the long run.

    Meanwhile, sister episcopate churches (Rome and Greek) have maintained catechisms and are ‘confessional’. Vatican II collated a number of catechisms together into a 72 Article confession which catechumens study. The origin of the Roman Catechism is Pope Pius V’s catechism in 1566. Even the Orthodox produced a ‘Trent-like’ catechism around 1640 in order to repel Protestantism, later superseded by a Longer and Shorter catechism in 1840 which they still use today.

    Ironically, it was this latter date (1840) when Anglicans began to abandon their own standards, eventually producing a rather scandalous predicament of diverse baptisms and professions of faith. This only inflamed partisanship. Today we are the only major catholic church which tolerates this sort of situation, and, unfortunately, when we engage in ‘ecumenicalism’ or ‘apologetics’, we are sorely disadvantaged. Where this is headed is slow fragmentation, and ultimately absorption by the East and RC churches.

    While I pray for the day the church be ‘one’, I believe it better to get our own house in order than ‘absorption’. Part of this involves confidence that the period 1559-1700 provides the surest and safest apprehension of catholic truth. When we jettison the Settlement, we end up looking to foreign jurisdictions for doctrine and discipline, more or less miming them minus the benefit of a ‘complete society’ (e.g., the mutual aid– schools, hospitals, and community– which East or Rome provides). Eventually, an anglican laity without self-identity will move to wherever the ‘goodies’ be had.

    Francis Hall, in his book on the Sacraments, stresses the importance of catechism for the same reason– namely retention of Anglicans. He also admits the benefit of a longer catechist. See his chapter on ‘confirmation’. All this reminds me of Bp. Grafton who flattered St. Tikhon in vain hopes of autocephalous recognition. Grafton was sorely disappointed when Tikhon held firm to Cyprian ecclesiology and Eastern distinctives, chrismating an Anglican priest against Grafton’s pleas. The whole affair proves deferential apologetics (even with the Saint of western orthodoxy!) solves nothing. If we follow this course rather than our own standards, we will admit ‘schism’ and invalid orders. This is where ‘loose play’ leads a person. That being said, what are our standards? We minimalize or jettison them while our sister bodies amp their own up. In my opinion, that’s asymmetric and foolish. Read about the small footnote of Tikhon and Grafton here

    Perhaps things have changed? Men like ++Hilarion are not like Tikhon? Anyway, the jettison of Settlement is not worth finding out. The way to unity, in my opinion, is through the Settlement, not against it. Restoring standards in an ‘upfront fashion’ while reviving a visible unity around an English throne is the principled way to go. Normativizing post-modern jelly or using Anglicanism as a ‘facade’ for something else is not a solution but will deepen our predicament. In my opinion catechism is the way out, and it can be done on a parish or even household level without the intervention of a ‘provincial convocation’ or ‘holy ecumenical council’.


  7. I understand what you are saying. I do think we were using the term “confessional” in different ways. I would in no way consider the East or Rome as confessional, yet I agree with the way you describe them. I say they are not confessional because, to me, that term is strictly Protestant. Their church is defined by precise doctrinal standards of the Reformation, whereas our church is defined by the Episcopacy. What Anglicans lack, though, is not a confession but a catechism. The catechism in the BCP is not sufficient and is almost laughable. We have Nowell’s catechism but it is not in print to my knowledge. It is a decent catechism, though. Do you have a link to the Eastern catechism you were referring to?


  8. Hello Rev. Mike,

    Yes, here is the 1823 Longer Russian Orthodox Catechism used in churches and schools. This kind of subscriptionism (in university, college, and ordination) is what England did once-upon-a-time.

    I agree, Rev. Mike, truth accompanies the historical episcopate. It has perhaps a charismatic quality.As you noted, Nowell’s catechism was a catechism commissioned by both parliament and convocation.

    Again, catechism can be done on the lowest level of church government. People can always download, print or copy the Settlement catechisms, and begin to teach at home or in Sunday school and revive this tradition. Perhaps more entrepreneurial individuals can afford to republish them through one of our many Anglican publishing houses?


  9. Excellent Post!

    I must say that I am with Bishop Poteet. Indeed, it seems to me that the “non-confessing” view of Anglicanism is a revisionist offshoot of the post-Glorious Revolution, Comprehension Movement. Indeed, only by fudging the boundaries and meaning of the English Religious Settlement was it possible to pitch a tent large enough to contain High Churchmen, Puritans, Broad Churchmen (or Liberals), and more laterly, Anglo-Catholics. Plainly, a single, coherent confession cannot possibly comprehend such widely and wildly divergent religious positions.

    Tragically, the Churchmen loyal to the principles of the English Religious Settlement, who seemed to have won the hearts and minds of Englishmen at the Restoration, have, since the Glorious Revolution, been thoroughly routed by the Evangelical successors of the Puritans and the now-ascendant Liberal Broad Churchmen. Indeed, the Calvinistic Evangelicals have more-or-less successfully sold a Continental Protestant re-interpretation of the Elizabethan Settlement, thereby co-opting the very ground of the Old High Churchmen out from under them and also fueling the desire of all non-Calvinist in the Established Communion to disavow formulary Anglicanism as much as possible — for example, by relativizing everything save the Episcopacy. And, as the already very small Anglo-Catholic movement in large part wades the Tiber, the arena of the Established Communion is now, and quite ironically, almost solely a struggle between the Liberal successors of the original Comprehension Movement against the Evangelical progeny of the Puritans that the Broad Churchmen so vehemently fought to include over the strong objections of the High Churchmen. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water!

    Thus, instead of accepting and acceding to the post-Glorious Revolution propaganda that the English Religious Settlement fell along Continental Protestant Lines, and therefore ought not be subscribe too by patristically informed Christians, it is high time for the old Churchmen–that is, Anglicans proper–to reclaim their patrimony, and again stand against Puritan, Papal and Puerile Liberal incursion alike. Now, more than ever, we need to renew a Confessing Anglican Churchmanship that is not influenced by Puritan propaganda.


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