Henry’s Basilika

Henry VIII: Head of the Church Militant in England

This began as FB discussion on how Anglicans identify other standards that are not included in the Prayer Book proper. But soon the disagreement broaden into a defense of the Henrician settlement as a necessary contextual linchpin to the remainder of the English Reformation. While the dispute is very long, the ideas therein are thematic with respect to Anglican Rose. I hope to develop these concepts further, i.e, the English Church as the head of Northern Catholicism and how Henry is the key by which this is unlocked. I am increasingly convinced that Anglicana’s eventual restoration hinges not only upon a high view of polity but a vigorous defense of Henry’s Settlement.  My debate with Peter Smart begins with an explanation why royal injunctions or canon should be considered with 39 articles as formulae.

Of course, Peter Smart is a pseudo-name for an actual antagonist, but the historic Smart was actually a zealous Anglican prebend at Durham who attempted to dislodge John Cosin from the cathedral Deanery for illegal ritual. Upon the Presbyterian Long Parliament Smart signed the Solemn League and Covenant prior to testifying against his former Archbishop, William Laud, thus sealing Laud’s execution. I have taken liberty shortening portions of my debate with Mr. Smart for sake of reading. The case for what sections constitute the Prayer Book proper is found in Walter Frere’s Principles of Religious Ceremony, p. 308.

Charles Bartlett: Walter Frere was a turn-of-the-century liberal catholic Bishop in the CofE. His argument is academic, yet it goes to show why clarifications [with formulas] are sometimes useful. Because the Ordinal and Articles are not “in” the Prayer Book proper, it thus makes sense to specify.

I agree these documents basically define Anglicanism [BCP, 39 Articles, Ordinal]. The notion of subscribing to three standards was set by Whitgift’s three articles 1584, but these were BCP (Ordinal included), Supremacy, and Articles. Supremacy historically had two adjuncts– uniformity and clerical submission. Thus, implicit are the injunctions and visitation powers of the crown to determine ceremony as (re)stated in the 1559 act.

Lastly, canon is often a mixed sort of law as it applies doctrine to worship, aka. the ‘right use’ of ritual following the calculus, “the law of prayer is the law of faith”. So, canon is important and often proves a window to Anglican faith. Of course many disagreements arise even between the three standards you mention, and this is why we ought to first consider all texts that posses royal seal, aka. appointed or official texts given the churches before others.

There’s about a handful of appointed texts, and they include the Two Books of Homilies, Jewell’s Works, and Nowell’s Catechism to name a few. Another source of clarification is reference to earlier expressions of the same standards, and this is frequently the approach scholars use with the prayer books, considering continuity where possible.

In my opinion, our differences over Anglo-Reformed vs. -Papist would be solved if people took seriously the direction that royal seal conveniently gives in controverted points. This means treating the head of the church of england like a genuine Godparent and father of faith.

Mr. Peter Smart:Charles, you can argue the Anglo-Catholic side from here to eternity but it wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve not heard anything about Nowell. But have read extensively in the English Reformation and the continental Reformation. The idea of submitting Scripture to the opinions of the Archbishop would be ridiculous since the 39 Articles say that we are not bound to believe the Archbishop or even the church unless what is said can be proved by the “most certain warrant of Holy Scripture.” That’s Article 6.

The problem between the Anglo-Catholics and the Protestant and Reformed side of the Anglican communion will never be solved unless one side or the other wins the cultural and theological war against the other. The Protestants have the true and “catholic” faith handed down from the apostles in Holy Scripture and in fallible traditions. The Anglo-Catholics on the other hand are Papists who preach another gospel. If they were consistent they would all become Roman Catholics.

I do not consider Anglo-Catholics and liberals to be saved or Christians. They are lost and in need of conversion to Christ.

Charles Bartlett: You should read Nowell’s catechism. I assure you, it’s better than WSC. Meanwhile, what’s the use of subscription unless you recognize the implicit jurisdiction that accompanies it, namely,the bishop and crown as having expressed power to settle controversies? This is why men are required to subscribe, and in doing so they submit to the prelacy which enforces the same. However, if the 39 articles, BCP, and Supremacy Acts (as w/ other appointed standards) are against scripture, then you should avoid that jurisdiction entirely– perhaps finding home among the ranks of pseudo-protestant dissent.

Mr. Peter Smart: Pseudo Protestant? You betray yourself as a papist, Charles. The English Church is Protestant. If it isn’t you should defect to Rome:)

Furthermore, the English Reformation is part of the Reformation as a whole. Wittenberg, Geneva, Zurich and the whole of the civilized world of the time was revolutionized by the propagation of the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the magisterial Reformers by way of the printing press.

What you should do is read more of the articles in The Churchman and at Church Society. Try Samuel Leuenberger’s book, Archbishop Cranmer’s Immortal Bequest or Diarmaid McCullough’s biograph on Cranmer. Ashley Null’s book on Cranmer’s theology of repentance is another worthwhile read.

I subscribe to the plain meaning of the 39 Articles. Even a child can read them and plainly see that they do no support Anglo-Catholic doctrine. Rather the Articles refute their ideology. That’s why ACs and liberals are happy to relegate the Articles to the fine print in the very back of their revised and alternative services book.

I know. I know. You’ll never change. I don’t expect you to change. Your very dissimulation is evidence of God’s hardening of your heart.

I have been reading the Bible since I was 8 years old. Knowing the Bible is what keeps me rooted and grounded, not hearing some wolf in sheep’s clothing spout off his opinions. Sola Fide! Sola Gratia! Solus Christus! Sola Scriptura! Soli Deo Gloria!

Charles Bartlett: First, Protestantism is best defined by the Protestants themselves. I would start with the very event where the word’s etymology derives– the Protest at Spire. The Protest breaks down into four parts: 1. mutual suppression with catholics of anabaptists, 2. replacing the papist with evangelical mass, 3. the supremacy of the prince in matters of faith and order, and 4. the working toward a free general council. A strict interpretation would behoove you to these four points. I challenge you to study the Protest itself.

Secondly, if you further examine the textual genealogy of the 39 articles you’ll find their composition owes to the Wittenberg Articles 1536 via the Ten Articles of the same date. The Henrician period, 1534-47, is a formative time when the doctrine of the church of England is basically established. While Puritans would attempt further reformation, the Crown repeatedly intervened, blocking changes not only to doctrine (the nixing of Lambeth is an excellent example) but also changes in ceremony and liturgy, evident during the Parliamentary struggles in the 1580’s under Elizabeth as well as James I’s difficulties at Aberdeen and Perth with the Scottish Kirk, 1616-18. The differences between these parties (the royal vs. puritan) can be attributed to the legacy of the Henrician which is indeed protestant, a pedigree acquired by way of dialogue with the Augsburg under Henry, but not ‘Reformed’ in the strict sense.

Now, Mr. Smart, you can throw around palliative terms like anglo-papist, etc. but until you properly account for discontinuities which caused Puritans to reject the basics of the Elizabethan Settlement (BCP, Supremacy, and Articles), I’m not going to jump on board the pan-Reformed band wagon. That road has been trodden before, and it ended rather tragically. Moreover, it led to a rejection of not only prelacy in general (and crown) but fixed prayer as found in the BCP.
The opening shot, so to speak, of what would later become regicide was the controversy between Rev. Cox v. Knox in Frankfurt. The arguments of Knox against the fixed prayer of even the Zwinglian 1552 BCP went unchanged thereafter.

My concern is you (properly so) remind others of the 39 articles, but you don’t really treat the 39 in a confessional way. Rather, you mix confessions between different pedigrees of Reformation indiscriminately. This 1) shows you understand the differences between confessions very little, 2) have a weak grasp of history, 3) don’t really cling to those royal and approved standards that would otherwise authoritatively define Anglicanism. So, I see little consistency with you, Mr. Smart, as you tend to play fast and lose with what you believe, and, consequently, how you behave

Mr. Peter Smart: Charles, the last time I checked the Wittenberg Articles are Lutheran. The Lutherans stood on the doctrine of justification by faith alone as THE doctrine by which a true church stands or falls. By that judgment alone you and your Anglo-Catholic friends are all lost. The Bible teaches that our standing before God is by faith and faith alone, apart from works. Works evidence true conversion. Nothing more.

As for your rejection of the English Reformation, anyone reading the 1552 Book of Common Prayer and the Homilies can likewise conclude that the Tractarian revisionists are dissimulators who wish to hijack the English Reformation back in the Romeward direction.

I could also point you to McCollough’s biography of Cranmer. Clearly Cranmer was working closely with many Puritans, including John Hooper, and that Cranmer’s theology of the Lord’s Supper was a Reformed view, not Lutheran and most certainly not Anglo-Papist.

It does not take a genius to figure these things out. All it takes is an honest reading of the primary documents and the historical outworking of the Reformation itself. Up until the Tractarian controversy the English Church was never in doubt about its status as a Protestant church.

Your feeble attempt to misdirect the discussion by some Papist description of the Protest is a bit silly. The Reformation was not confined to England. It spread all over the world and the Reformers were all working together.

Mr. Peter Smart: It’s odd that you try to vilify the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity as “Anabaptist” documents. That false connection is so silly as to cause me to chuckle. No credible church historian I know of would dare to confuse the Radical Reformation with the Magisterial Reformation.

Zwingli himself was not an Anabaptist and wrote extensively against the “Catabaptists”. One has to wonder why Geneva would have tried and convicted the infamous Anabaptist, Michael Servetus, if in fact Geneva was “Anabaptist”.

Your position is untenable by even secular historical accounts of the Protestant Reformation. Simply because we live under a separation of church and state today does not mean that the Reformed view is no longer Reformed:) It’s simply a change of circumstances, not doctrinal content.

I guess you would rather go to hell with the Papists than to follow the Scriptures and the Reformed theology expressed in the 39 Articles and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The Westminster Standards are drawn from the Irish Articles and the Lambeth Articles and the 39 Articles. That in and of itself ought to say something. And let’s not forget the Puritans did control the church during the Revolution:)

Mr. Peter Smart: By the way, the word “Anabaptist” means “rebaptized”. The magisterial reformers and even the Puritans did not practice credobaptism but paedobaptism. You really should read more widely, Charles. It would behoove you to find out what the Radical Reformation was about rather than simply jumping off the deep end:)

I’m not an Anabaptist and neither is anyone else in the Reformed tradition. There is no such thing as a “Reformed” Baptist. There are “calvinistic” Baptists but that is all.

Charles Bartlett: Did I say anything about Tractarianism?  Have you read the Wittenberg? I doubt you would agree with their take on faith and works, especially since it argues a Philipist synergism with respect to Justification. If the High church Anglicans were papists, then I’d hate to know what you think of the Lutherans who confessed a corporeal presence under the bread and retained roman ceremony in various books of church order in Germany. Lutheranism in many ways were far more medieval in faith than royalist Anglicans. It was for this reason Reformed and Lutherans failed to make greater accord in areas like Saxony and the north. After the Peace of Augsburg the Lutherans generally treated cavlinists much the same as anabaptists, even executing those who denied a substantial presence, severing Chancellor Nicholas Crell’s head as a result.

That said, Anabaptism has more defining it than ‘rebaptism’. It had common positions on the role of the magistrate, church polity, and iconoclasm shared by the extreme wing of Puritanism. You miss this point, and the tragic thing was Puritanism hardened its positions against Anglican ecclesiology and ceremony by opposing prelacy in general as well as pushing RPW in every quarter.

The Puritans main grievance in the 16th century not primarily soteriology but ‘unreformed’ ceremonies found the book of common prayer. The 1662 BCP was written by high churchmen not Puritans who had very little say on its editing. The Puritans would have preferred the Geneva Order or, for those more moderate sorts, something akin to Baxter’s liturgy. But if you study these prayer books, they are very different from both the 1559 and 1662. To reduce Puritanism to soteriology misses the vast and consistent field of complaints lodged by radical protestants starting with Knox and ending with the Short Parliament. That’s an easy hundred years of vain clamor against crossing, kneeling, bowing, organs, marriage rings, vestments, and even fixed liturgy!

Furthermore, you can’t use sola scritpura or semper reformanda (article 6) against Supremacy (articles 20 and 35) without ceasing to be a magisterial Protestant. Where Puritanism departs from the magisterial project is with an incessant attack on prelatic authority and ceremonies that support such. Given genuine-Protestantism is defined by the faith of the Prince, this puts later Puritanism outside the realm of magisterialism proper since neither the army nor parliament constitute a crown.

Charles Bartlett: ‎”…supplemented by the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity, the Irish Articles and the Lambeth Articles.” The problem with this was the English 39 articles belong to another pedigree of Protestantism, namely, the Augsburg. Three forms and WCF don’t reconcile with Augsburg family texts since 39 are not RPW. Furthermore, the Augsburg are not inclined to calvinist soteriology. Thus, you have the problem of the British delegation at Dort who wrote their own somewhat confusing version of Amyraldism upon their return to England. You also have a problem with Article 16 and Cranmer’s Homily on Declining God that doesn’t jive well. These difficulties are not reconciled by going to foreign texts but actually studying the genesis of the 39. That ultimately means accounting for the Henrician which is what both the Elizabethan and Jacobean reigns kept as a touchstone, and this, in turn, reveals substantial dialogue with the Lutheran, enshrined confessionally.

Now, I will admit a similar dialogue with Swiss, but the Swiss missed the boat, so to speak, because before King Henry’s death the Anglican Settlement was already substantially laid by virtue of the Ten Articles, two catechisms, 1538 injunctions, various letters, and first book of homilies. Cramner in few instances would stray from this, and Elizabeth worked to return to it. Now if this is “papism” or “Anglo-catholic”, et al., all I have to say is you don’t understand Henry’s reforms very well and have likely swallowed that poison pill forged by Romans and Puritans alike against Anglican royalism. In each case the Crown is made to look tyrannical or scandalous. In each case the doctrine of that same period is made corrupt or partial. Rather, the truth is the Henrician proved the English church the only ‘third reformation’ in Europe– neither Calvinist nor Roman. Not even technically Lutheran (if we define Lutheranism by the Formula of Concord) but that ‘lost’ Philipist church. This is the only tolerable and way to place England in the larger context of Reformation, if we do so at all. Again, going you won’t catch this unless you read back through the genesis of the English articles.

Mr. Peter Smart: The problem you’re having is you’re insisting the English Church was Lutheran. I never was and never will be. If it were, then we would all be kissing up to Luther. Cranmer was Reformed in his view of the sacraments and many other issues. The Reformation is not necessarily based on one person, John Calvin. But that is not to say that Cranmer didn’t agree with Calvin. He most certainly did.  You need to go back and do your homework, junior:)

Mr. Peter Smart:The authority of Scripture trumps the church. It also trumps any secular ruler who interferes in ecclesiastical matters. We are no longer under any divine right of kings or any other such nonsense.

Mr. Peter Smart: You can’t make any direct connection to the Wittenberg Articles. They were essentially a political compromise and it didn’t work. See the Lutheran article I linked above.

Charles Bartlett I am not claiming it was Lutheran. I am claiming it was essentially Philipist, or it had its strongest relation to Philipist documents such as the Augsburg through the Henrician. The reason there is no “kissing” relationship with Lutherans is because after the 1550’s the Philipists were ejected from the Lutheran church. They constituted a third reformation that has sadly been forgotten. However, the documents which Melanchthon penned survive more than anywhere else in the English standards which are far from gnesio-Lutheran. A story most historians ignore. I suggest John Schofield’s book on the English Reformation and Philip Melancthon. But don’t read that; read the primary texts of the Henrician and Wittenberg, and then line them up to the 39.

The most significant ‘calvinist’ contribution came through Bucer, but Bucer’s position on the sacrament was already set before his emigration to England while in south germany with Melanchthon. Furthermore, it was moderated by Elizabeth and Parker on Articles 28 adn 29. The Crown also pushed back the Privy Council’s reforms (1552-1554) by removal of the black rubric, restoring the 1549 Word of Administration, etc. in the BCP. Some of this was inspired by Wurttemberg Articles which Parker was in possession, and these were rather conservative by Lutheran standards, prepared by Germans for Trent. So, Bucer’s contribution is really redundant, and it ignores the rather conservative modifications of Elizabeth. Bucer is overly identified with the Gallic when the life of his writings owes more to the Philipist-German colliqueies which he sided with repeatedly. I would not fret calling Bucer a Philipist, or Melanchthon a Bucerist. They wrote along the same ‘axis’ of reform.

Mr. Peter Smart: The 39 Articles are not as fully “reformed” as say the Westminster Confession. But the Lambeth Articles and the Irish Articles are clearly not Puritan documents. They were proposed for the Church of England. The Irish Articles are part of the Anglican tradition whether you want to admit it or not.

The Westminster Confession is simply a more fully developed version of the Irish Articles but with the Presbyterian spin on the polity issues. In other words, there is continuity. And as Richard Muller has argued, the term “Reformed” is not owned by Calvin. The Reformation had a consensus among many scholars of that era. Calvin was not the only Reformer who taught double predestination. The Swiss Reformers also taught that. And I would argue that Cranmer adopted that view in Article 18.

The idea that Amyraldianism is endorsed or allowed in the Articles is not acceptable either. Obviously simply because that issue is not spelled out does not mean that it is an allowable position. The Synod of Dort clearly refutes Amyraldianism along with Arminianism.

Charles Bartlett We are discussing so many issues and accusations at once, I find it very difficult to treat each one fully. I want to get back to the chase of the argument. But meanwhile I also want to say something about the Anglican standards as distinct from those normally considered ‘Reformed’.

Anglicanism cannot be understood without the seal of the Crown. That has to be your starting point. The fact is the Crown, be it Elizabeth or James, obstructed the ‘calvinizing’ of the church in England. While there were numerous reasons for such, one cause was a very conscious effort on the part of royals to be identified with the reforms of Henry VIII, maintaining not only a certain continuity with him but also the prestige invested by founding the Settlement itself. Roman and Genevan scholars will belittle not only Henry but Elizabeth and James by calling the Settlement ‘political’. When people go this route, they really debase the integrity of the standards. Either the standards are mistaken breeches from Romanism, or they are still-birth attempts at Calvinism. Either way, Anglicanism is treated as something incomplete or lacking.

For this reason I consider Anglo-Reformed and Anglo-catholic two sides of the same coin. In many ways they are simply reactionary to each other, and what is lost in the course of these inane disputes is the actual ‘center’ of protestantism– something I would expect an uber-protestant as yourself would cherish. When Luther died, a tectonic shift occurred in the protestant movement, and Cavlinism mostly filled the void. What was lost was a Protestant-center,yet Calvinism proved too volatile to grant this and the concilarism of the 1530-1550’s came to a grinding halt.

Meanwhile, the Lutherans reacted to the French-Swiss by hardening their confessional lines, at the same time ejecting the Philipists, and going to some extremes in ceremony. This occurred second half of the 16th century. It’s during this period of “gnesio-Lutheran formation” that Lutherans would actually approve the elevation of sacrament, wearing vestments, bells during the recital of the WofI, etc.– simply to distinguish and isolate themselves from joint Reformed and Philipist ‘errors’.

Concurrently, Puritans in England tried pushing the (mostly Philipist) standards received from the Henrician in the calvinist direction. However, this failed due to timely interventions of the Crown. Where the Germans confronted Calvinism with ramping up confessionalism, the English countered by stricter adhesion to canon. This proved the more cautious response of the two, allowing the core Henrician doctrine to basically pass through unaltered, escaping unnecessary elaborations on both sacrament and soteriology. Thus, the English represents the older and more center Protestantism before 1550’s, and the English end up basically inheriting the mantle which Bucer-Philip occupied, and therefore were most suited to fulfill the terms of the 1526 Protest. But then a little nasty thing happened in Scotland when the Kirk rejected something we know as the BCP…

We should keep in mind disagreements on ceremony– whether they be too puritan or catholic– in the Anglican system really are questions of canon, are subject to some change, controlled by the Crown as per Uniformity Acts, and not private opinion. Where rites seemingly do not violate canon or doctrine, and therefore appear to have a cause to ‘right use’, the Ordinary has final discretion. Therefore, Charlie, if you have something specific to accuse me other than blank palliatives, you ought to calm down and intelligently list them here. We can then actually discuss how these things line up by analogy to the three articles 1584 as well as 1604 canons, etc.

Look forward to your actual charges and, consequently, a more rigorous definition of Anglo-catholic.

Mr. Peter Smart:What you are ignoring is that the Anglo-Catholics are the real extremists. The Puritans separated from the C of E but only because they were persecuted and forced to leave.

The fact is the C of E was a Protestant Church and the Protestant faith shares certain common doctrines. There really is only four branches of the Reformation. Lutheran, English, Swiss, and Genevan. Of those the English, Swiss and Genevan branches are all within the “Reformed” camp and broadly speaking all of them shared a common view of predestination, election, reprobation and a common view of the sacraments which is exemplified in the Consensus of Tigerinus.

The Lutherans went off on their own but Lutherans would be offended at your insinuation that they are not a major part of the magisterial Reformation.

Your problem, as I pointed out earlier, is you want to be buddies with the papists. Obviously you didn’t read the article in the Concordia Journal. It was almost to the letter the same presentation given by Broughton Knox and others except the author was lamenting the fact that the English church is Reformed. Why would even the Lutherans recognize that fact and call the Anglo-Catholics mixed up if it were not true.

Furthermore the very existence of the Lambeth Articles 1595 and the Irish Articles of 1615 blows your spin on the issues out of the water. It is obvious to all that the Calvinist view did exist during the English Reformation and well after that point.

As for the Elizabethan settlement, that was not the settlement that counts. The form of the 39 Articles approved in 1571 is what counts not the 1562 edition since the 1571 version is what is approved by the Crown as you like to harp upon. So your own words convict you of grievous error. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer should be the standard prayer book but is it? That book isn’t even looked at despite the fact that it is mentioned in passing in the Theological Statement of the ACNA. It’s merely lip service.

As Dix said, Cranmer’s genius was in teaching the doctrine of justification by faith alone in the liturgy of his prayer book of 1552.

It would do you well to stop reading the disingenuous secondary materials of the Anglo-Papists and read some Lutheran and Reformed materials. The article I cited from Concordia said pretty much what I’ve been saying for several years: Hooker was a solid Reformed person on the sacraments. He most certainly did not teach any idea of real presence or virtual reception as the high churchmen contend.

Charles Bartlett Thank you Mr. Smart for a fairly succinct response. I’m sure the Lutherans would be incensed by my claim they ceased holding the Protestant center after the 1550’s. However, I never said they were not part of the magisterial Reformation. Indeed they were (and are) very important parts, and I recognize them as a true confessional-protestant churches in the best sense. I also esteem their foundational documents like the Augsburg as well as their history with the English Crown.

However,the Lutherans were not a homogeneous entity as their early church orders and the fate of the Philipists demonstrate prior to ‘confessional orthodoxy’ as spelled by the Formula of Concord. Hence, my thesis is that the Philipists basically articulated and shaped that old protestant center, and, while Lutherans later rejected Philipism, the English church preserved it by reason of royal intransigence. In fact, the Lutherans not only expelled the Philipists but (wrongly) lumped them together with the Reformed. This is why your Concordia authority would naturally view the English church being “Reformed”, especially since the Philipists generally agreed with the Genevans on sacrament.

That said, the Genevans and Swiss are also correct to view the CofE as only a “partially reformed” church. The reason being, if you study the geneaology of the English Articles (not cutting off Henrician standards as somehow irrelevant or abnormal to the Elizabethan and Jacobean Settlements), they were never intended to be fully “reformed”. And here is where you have the early influence of the Phillipist documents– namely, the Augsburg, Wittenberg, and Wurttemburg– during the formative period when English doctrine was actually being etched into something akin to standards, 1535-1548. The Edwardian would have definitely stretched and extended that time period, but Elizabeth significantly recast it back to her father rather than Edward’s Protectorate. This was not total, but enough to derail the Calvinist agenda.

Now your point that the Consensus of Tigerinus is the common root of all Protestantcy is a bit overstated, in my opinion. For one, the Lutherans, even the Philipists, never signed on for the very reason they disagreed on the WofI. So, that’s not really accurate. However, I will concede the importance of the Tigerinus, and therefore suggest magesterial Protestants fall into either one of two families– the Augsburg (and variatas) v. Tiguerinus (if not Gallic). I hope you can agree to that, noting the doctrinal differences which prevented Zwingli to agree with Luther at Marburg. This same impasse was later encountered with Bullinger, his successor. And it did not get better with time! Nonetheless, the question ought to be, or at at least the one I wish to find an answer, which ‘tree’ does the English belong? The Anglo-catholic will not admit either because they believe the English church was never protestant.

However, the answer is found, as I’ve repeatedly said, in the Henrician formulas because here you have a unique dialogue with the Germans that not only exchanged national delegations and letters between sovereigns, but a dialogue that actually made it to ‘press’ , so to speak, in the form of two catechisms and articles received by convocation and royal seal. So, while I can fairly say the English were part of the Augsburg, I also have to consider where the Augsburg is located in terms of Lutheran confessional development/episode, and this is where 39 articles will not stand with Formula of Concord. In other words, the 39 are basically a variata Augsburg, but Lutherans have rejected all variatas since 1580.

I doubt the Lutheran scholar was aware of these points, and this is one problem in referencing theologians unfamiliar with Anglican history. However, I have found some Lutherans who also correctly identify the genealogy of the 39 with German variatas, Schofield being one such author. So, you can’t just go by a few opinions, and there are even things Schofield says which I question. In the end the best way is to verify by reading the primary texts and chronoligically sorting through confessions and articles themselves.

But we are only talking about the CofE in a legal sense. On a popular level, or at least the university one, I do not disagree that full blown calvinist views, even RPW, were substantially present in the CofE from the 1540’s, lasting, to one degree or another, even until the mid-19th. However, the popular, diocesan, and university views of the Reformed, unfortunately, never made it to appointed text status. So, a situation emerges, and this is where you get into deeper questions of English polity. How are matters of faith and ceremony settled? Yes, by rule of scripture, but also by due order and convocation. Thus, we have various opinions on many matters, some more legit than others, but in the final analysis, if it does not have royal seal it’s basically non-binding. Thus, as laudable as you believe lambeth and irish articles, these either belong to non-English provinicial churches or, if Anglican, they simply lack royal seal. End of argument. And this is the same argument that should raised against Anglo-catholics.

Finally, you have accused me of trucking with Anglo-catholics. This has very little to do with what was discussed above and is entirely another matter. Anglicanism since the Oxford movement is now even worst than that. It is entrenched liberal catholic. This has been a huge disaster for Settlement Anglicans because it represents a shift away from subscriptionism toward this very diluted notion of ‘koinonia’ which means ‘eucharistic fellowship’. It is a watering down of provinicial specifics, melting the english church into an amorphous catholicism. There are some great insights liberal catholics provided, especially on the incarnation and creeds, but where they broke from the Articles and Protestantism (northern catholicism), it has been a disaster.

Now, there is no way out of this unless you are willing to ‘pass through it’. Passing through it means 1) understanding it theologically; 2) accepting and incorporating those parts that agree with the Settlement; 3) using more orthodox liberal catholics against modernist catholics. An example of the latter might be: Gore vs. Temple. or Alcuin Club vs. SSPeter and Paul; the classical high churchmen against the Anglo-catholics, etc.. Now that’s the constructive way, in my opinion. It’s also more charitable. The bottom line is Anglo-catholicism is not going to disappear. Consquently, Settlement Anglicans must find ways to engage it, persuade, and cooperate. Most ACNA are not ‘heretics’. But if they are going to subscribe to 1662 and 39 articles, they do need to be held accountable. And, if you leave them, then what cause do they have to listen or put up with you? In fact, you’ve made their day an easier one. But these are differences over strategy not doctrine I hope.

Charles Bartlett finally, there are still many areas where liberal catholics do recognize something resembling the settlement. I have found the Crown to be one such area. Even the 1928 is a starting point. But this is something that you have to work with to find those sorts of overlaps and nooks, and it takes a patient and constructive mindset. With anglo-reformed, I would have been more supportive but the mean-spiritedness of proponents turned me off– that’s the kind of craziness I left OPC over and not wanting to go back to it. Nor anything WCF friendly. It’s just crazy radicalism all over again.

I failed to finish a point above and that was the salience of the Wittenberg if not Augsburg. When all is said and done, the calvinist movement missed the boat in England. The Crown obstructed their attempts to establish calvin’s doctrine as a national standard. This is not true of the Philipist which was received at a formative point, through the Henrician church and then restored under Elizabeth and especially James and Charles. So, you’re barking up the ‘wrong tree’ so to speak. And, like the Anglo-catholic, I would say, yes, Laud was an arminian but where is arminianism in the Articles? For that matter where is 5pt calvinism? It isn’t, so either the Articles have to be accepted at face value or not. That’s Majesty’s Declaration 1628. But let’s not compound the problem by doing what the Tractarians did, doing a ‘tract 90’ and turning 39 into WCF like AC do w/ Trent. Or for that matter replacing appointed texts for less authoritative sermosn or pet divines. That’s just hermeneutically wrong. We’re going to have to live with Anglicanism as Anglicanism, staying within expressed boundaries and gravities, refraining from reaction along the way.

Mr. Peter Smart: Charles said, “I doubt the Lutheran scholar was aware of these points, and this is one problem in referencing theologians unfamiliar with Anglican history.”

Right. And you are familiar with Anglican history? Please. The author demonstrated a more than adequate knowledge of history. Simply because you’ve been reading the mixed up historical revisionism of the Anglo-Catholics does not mean everyone else has no knowledge of history.

The author states clearly a view that has been put forward by the Sydney Anglicans for some time now.

Also, why would you ignore that the author doesn’t trust the ACs despite their agreement on the doctrine of real presence? The end of the article clearly says that liberalism is a consideration as well.

I would point out that the issue of justification by faith alone and the bondage of the will enters the discussion as well. The Wittenberg Articles clearly uphold the doctrine of justification by faith alone, something Anglo-Papists vehemently dispute. If you doubt this, read Diarmaid McCullough’s biography of Cranmer.

The fact is the Anglo-Catholic theology is not only not compatible with the “Reformed” view it is incompatible with the Lutheran view. It is incompatible with the Protestant faith, which is the true “catholic” faith. The Puritans are in fact part of the “catholic” faith while your beloved ACs are out and out heretics.

The ACs reject outright the doctrine by which the Lutherans said that the church stands or falls: Justification by faith ALONE.

Your point about the division between the Reformed and the Lutherans over the Consensus of Tigerinus pales in comparison to the Anglo-Catholic emphasis on the five so-called sacraments, their rejection of Scripture as the final authority, their rejection of the soteriology of the Reformation including justification by faith “only”, and other departures that are devastating to their position.

The short answer is that the Lutherans believe in Sola Scriptura. Anglo-Papists do not. Lutherans believe in salvation by Christ alone. Anglo-Papists do not. Lutherans believe in salvation by grace alone. Anglo-Papists do not. I could go on. But the fact is you can argue from here to eternity about the Phillipists being cast out by the Lutherans but even the Phillipists did not reject Sola Fide or Sola Gratia.

No, your Papists friends should go back to Rome. They have no place in the Anglican church. None.

Mr. Peter Smart: It is really irrelevant whether or not the Reformed side is have been fully spelled out in the Formularies. The point is the Anglo-Catholics are heretics. The Puritans are not. The Puritans remain within the Protestant and “catholic” faith. The Church of England after Henry the VIII was never Papist. It was Protestant. Of that much we can be sure. Anglo-Papists are not Protestant and revel in that fact. They have no place in the C of E. What is more you forget that the Puritans were in control after the Revolution and were the official religion for at least a short time. The same cannot be said of the Anglo-Papists. Their agenda was and is to reverse the English Reformation. Combine that with the Anglo-Papist propensity to spin and you have the perfect formula for postmodernist revisionism. The logical conclusion of AC theology is pan sexuality, atheism, and liberalism. AC theology produced the current crisis in the Anglican Communion. It’s about time the Evangelicals rose up and took back what the devil has stolen.

Mr. Peter Smart: I missed this remark: “With anglo-reformed, I would have been more supportive but the mean-spiritedness of proponents turned me off– that’s the kind of craziness I left OPC over and not wanting to go back to it. Nor anything WCF friendly. It’s just crazy radicalism all over again.”

Well, the OPC is legalist precisely because of theonomy! They have sold out the Gospel to Law. Anglo-Catholics have done the same thing. In fact their view is pelagianism rehashed and is even more legalistic and problematic than the confused OPC. OPC and PCA are at the moment both going in the Federal Visionist direction in some quarters.

I might add that you seem to be ignorant of history youself. The Anglo-Catholics place all authority in their view of the historical episcopate. In other words, what is right because they say it is right and they get to tell you what Scripture says. This leads to the sort of thinking where social justice trumps Scripture. So if the liberal Anglo-Catholics decide to give the imprimatur to homosexuality and pansexuality then who can disagree? They have apostolic succession!

The silliness of it all is glaringly obvious to anyone willing to see it. You also seem to forget that the Anglo-Catholics forced Evangelicals out of The Protestant Episcopal Church in 1873. The same thing is going on today. Those who dare to question Anglo-Catholic theology are out on their ear. You complain about judgmentalism but the theonomic views of Anglo-Catholics is just as bad if not worse. I myself was forced to resign from the Reformed Episcopal Church because I’m Reformed in my theology while the REC has gone full blown Anglo-Catholic.

The ACNA seems conservative. But there are many liberals in that denomination. They are at present against homosexuality. But it is only a matter of time before their inherent liberalism and pelagianism comes full circle once again.

You think the answer to legalism is more legalism and Pharisaism. I think the answer is more grace, more Gospel!

I will admit that I’m often reactionary and argumentative. But that’s because I do not think playing nice gets the message across.

The Gospel is to be contended for. Salvation is all of grace and all of faith plus nothing. Your background in the OPC has in fact set you up for your current state of apostasy precisely because the OPC is itelf apostate in many cases. The idea that keeping the moral law is what makes us right with God leads straight back to Rome.

It truly is a pity that you have fallen victim to another group of Judaizers and Pharisees, Charles. Grace is free. Salvation is free. There is no need for all this superspirituality and mysticism. In the end it is an empty idol of man’s creation.

Mr. Peter Smart: Charles, you’re still not getting it. Whether you like it or not the WCF is a product of the English Reformation. While you might not like Presbyterians because of the legalism of the theonomy thing in the OPC, Presbyterians in general are Christians. The Anglo-Catholic and the Papist and Eastern Orthodoxy are condemned outright by the 39 Articles. You can continue to deny the obvious all you like but the bottomline is the Anglo-Papist is in need of conversion while the orthodox Presbyterian is not.

BTW, I’m the only one arguing for the inclusion of the other Reformed confessions as secondary documents and I do so for good reason. It is as I said before, the Reformed and “catholic” faith is not centered in one tradition but many. Simply because the English Articles do not deal with Arminianism or Amyraldianism does not mean that it follows that we ought to allow for such compromises in theology. The final authority is Scripture. As I recall that might mean revising the Articles. It seems to me that the Irish Articles stand as a good illustration of what that revision would look like.

As yourself admit, the tradition you’re clinging to in Lutheranism, i.e. Phillipist, doesn’t exist anymore. So what’s your point?

Charles Bartlett Mr. Smart, At this point you’re basically trying to convince me the anglo-catholic is worst than the anglo-reformed. I actually don’t care about either. What I do care about is if a church has expressed standards, that church indeed sticks and lives by those standards. It really irks me when these standards are ignored or abused. By ‘abused’ I mean interpreting them in ways that are dishonest–, doing a ‘tract 90’ for instance. I have no respect for that. Likewise, I also dislike Anglo-reformed who do pretty much the same by calling WCF a secondary standard that ‘explains’ 39. That’s like saying Solemn League ought to be a standard to explain the Prayer Book. I find that insane.

Now, I have tried to point out to you why this is damaging. Historically it is because the differences between Reformed and Phillipist led to civil war in England. It also ignores fairly serious differences that occured during the sorting out of orthodoxy in Germany. Confessionally it is damaging because the 39 belongs to another family tree, namely the Augsburg, contra from the Gallic or, if you will, Tiguerinus.

That said, I am willing to agree with the Anglo-Reformed on two conditions: 1. they admit the geneaology of the 39 is largely Philipist. 2. they drop the WSC and all Tiguerinus-RPW related props from their ‘resource’ page. Perhaps replacing such with Luther’s shorter catechism which is perfectly good, or, even better, resorting to English sources like Nowell’s catechism. You will find Nowell very satisfactory. Until this happens, all the anglo-reformed are doing, whether intentional or not, is making a few disgruntled and alienated Anglicans into good presbyterians… and not even presbyterians of the magisterial stripe but the R2K or, as my friend says, PC2K kind. yuck.

In sum, while I dislike Anglo-catholicism, and perhaps the Anglo-reformed are the lesser evil, I have a number of reasons not to get partisan. First, I have no reason to go back to either PCA or OPC. I left that because Presbyterians were simply wrong in Charles I’s Long Parliament. Secondly, it’s a dead end. It’s not authentic Anglcian confessionalism but another hybrid that will simply lead people out of ACNA. In that sense it differs very little from the anglo-catholics who are effectively bridge churches for Rome or EO. All are dead ends confessionally speaking from the strict view of Anglican formulas.

Last, you have accused me on relying on secondary sources, particularly AC ones. Not at all. I have actually read very little secondary sources, and the ones of late have been exclusively Lutheran. Rather, my views have been very much shaped by reading the primary texts. Let’s be honest. The Wittenberg and Wurttemburg articles are just not published or extremely difficult to find online. You won’t find them in the book of concord. They take some digging up, etc.. But reading and comparing them to the Henrician facsimiles is far better, far more rewarding, than any secondary text. I’ve learned way more and really have been able to trod fresh ground this way, feeling very solid on the primary texts above mentioned.

Why aren’t the above “lutheran” texts so scarce? Precisely because Lutherans don’t recognize them as “lutheran”. They are variatas texts, and, as I tried telling you before, the Philipist writings, aside from those directly pertaining to Formula of Concord, were basically burnt to a crisp during the sacramentarian controversy. So, just resuscitating these texts is a major achievement and why I started the archives. It also brings to light an area of history usually goes neglected, namely, the fate of the Philipist church. What happened to it? It’s almost like a missing airplane that flew over the Bermuda triangle. The amazing find is the Philipist church survived by way of the Ten Articles. If it’s ‘revisionist’ history, so be it. But it’s pretty much my own ‘revisionist’ history, and I got it from the primary texts– thank God for them! Primary texts, at least, freed me from the ‘historians’, and that’s why I don’t really care what various experts say so long as others sit down and take time to read the texts themselves. But first people need to easily access to them.

Secondly, the study of primary texts frees us from some enduring myths that have caused much damaged to the Anglican. This biggest myth being the character of Henry and his Reformation. You only hear negatives. Henry VIII was not a Roman catholic but a vera-Protestant. He also effected a successful Settlement of Religion, more so than Edward, that would prove long lasting and very foundational to the Elizabethan which was basically an extension of the former. Henry VIII is often disparaged for his divorces. While there is no excuse for his marital abuses, you can’t allow this to overshadow his achievement in the church which was not ‘half baked’ or merely ‘political’. All these are accusations which both Reformed and Romans hurl at the first Supreme head of the Anglican church, and when we buy into it, perpetuate and spread it, etc..,, we loose a critical link to the larger reformation and a vital contextual basis to understand our own. We indeed loose the ‘head’ of our church, so to speak, and our ‘head’.

And, this has been the problem. Anglicans don’t have a head. We don’t have an identity. We are constantly running to foreign jurisdictions, disparaging and negating our own history, etc.. And I cannot support these endeavors. I don’t care if it’s the Anglo-reformed or Anglo-catholic. They both need to be corrected. But I don’t find getting angry the answer either. Hopefully intelligence will win the day. I just wish I didn’t have writer’s block, but these ideas have to break through the revisionism on both the left and right of Anglicanism, and I’m convicted to try my best.

Finally, once we know who we are confessionally, then a drive against liberal catholicism needs to occur. But this is actually the easiest part. Liberal catholicism is simply creedalism. You can absorb that easy enough, and then argue the standards are extensions of the same creed. Basically ‘judo-move Lux Mundi’.

I hope you find some of this persuasive, and in time I hope to transcribe the Philipist documents above to the Archives. They are actually pretty long, and I only type a little every day. But soon.

Charles Bartlett no. charlie, the WCF is not a telos from the 39. It actually represents a break from the 39 and a foreign jurisdiction in the Church of England, namely, the Geneva rancor.

Look, I personally don’t understand why there’s a need to understand the 39 by adding the Irish Anglican church or Scottish kirk when there exists a plethora of English appointed texts to build the necessary context to clarify controversy. In fact, we have more official texts at our disposal than the Presbyterians. However, we don’t use them, and quickly go elsewhere. Is it the exotic that fascinates? I don’t know, but it’s unnecessary. The secondary texts should be Jewel’s works (includes apology), Nowell’s catechism, Supremacy acts, and 1604 canons. That’s the basis. The older standards that were eclipsed should then be used as cross reference where they don’t conflict with the revisions. So, why go hybrid?

Charles Bartlett Actually, the Philipist is not dead. It’s right in front of you– 39, bcp, canons, homilies, et al. That’s my point. It’s center-Protestantism. But when you ignore that we loose our privilege with respect to 1529 Protest, namely, the head of protestantcy itself.

Mr. Peter Smart: The extra documents you are fascinated with are not part of the Formularies. Tell me what the Homilies say or the Articles or the 1662 BCP. All other nonsense is just nonsense. What the English Reformers said is way more important than what some high church Laudian had to say. What the other Reformed confessions say is way more biblical than any political document you can pull up.

Charles Bartlett dude, I said secondary. they support and undergird the BCP, articles, and homilies. Look, you keep mentiong WSC, etc., and I’m saying use Nowell before you rush to the Kirk for help. Why would I even say this? Because the Anglican system works through the crown as well as the church. Nowell has the royal seal. WSC/WCF does not. In fact, they set the stage to cut the Anglican head off. Why repeat history?

Mr. Peter Smart:Nowell isn’t an authority. The church is an authority. Last I checked the Irish Church is a church and so are the Presbyterians. So you can quote an individual opinion. That does even rise to the level of a secondary authority.

Mr. Peter Smart: Let me see. Are you the author of the Anglican Rose site?

Charles Bartlett:Anglican rose, yep.

Mr. Peter Smart: The bottom line is belonging to a church only makes you a member of a secular organization. The question is have you been born again? Are you a member of the invisible communion of the saints and God’s elect? That’s the question.

Charles Bartlett The church administers sacraments and preaches the Word. It’s not merely secular. Do invisible people do this? Do sinners preach the Word and adminster sacraments or only holy, purely righteous men? Yes, I am saved by God’s grace and heartily thankful. Lord don’t leave me, don’t give up on me, a sinner!

Charles BartlettThere’s something I want to clear up about Philipism and the English Church. While I believe it accounts for a lot of the way the theology is conveyed and grounded, I think the English negotiated their relationship to it rather independently. In other words, despite the celebrity of Melanchthon in the Henrician court, it wasn’t a slavish reception. For instance, we know both Henry and Cromwell felt the Germans ought to make the greater concessions to English ritual. This demonstrates prior commitments particularly to Catholic tradition, examples, including a belief in confection, a higher view of authority, as well as kingship itself. Nonetheless, there were wide areas of agreement and even in Henry’s theology experienced a modest shift through Cranmer. I believe Henry was a monarch very similar to Charles V– an Erasmusian Catholic at heart– and while open to the New Learning was also cautious about radical breaks.

I might also add the slow realignment toward the Henrician that began in the mid-1580’s until it sort of combusted in 1640. Here, you have a stronger defense of the sacrament, episcopacy, and we mustn’t forget the monarchy. All these were distinctions from Phillipism in the main, and curiously we find a refutation of the King’s divine status as early as the Christmas Articles 1535. In the later portion of the Settlement, men like Andrewes, even Jewel toward the end of his life, could be attributed to this second Henrician revival (the first being in the opening years of Elizabeth)l. So, there was a predisposition to conservatism which seems an enduring mark of the King’s Protestantism, and I believe this lasted until the rise of parliament and republicanism which was the real ailment behind the break down of discipline in the church. In so many ways, the Anglican system was indeed based on divine right of Kings, and when the Tory party ebbed from dominance, so did the Church. Of course, this was also a reciprocating relation, and latitudinarianism might be considered concessions to republicanism from the side of the church. Very unfortunate.

Also, something more about the old ‘Protestant-center’ should be said or restated. From the beginning Melancthon was the chief intellectual architect of what might be called Germany’s ‘northern catholic’ concilarism. From 1526 to 1555 (or so) Philipism held the intellectual and theological center generally driving concilar talks in the north. However, when Philipism met its demise at the hands of Lutheran partisans, the center also melted, giving way to centrifugal forces typically blamed upon confessionalism. But Philipism’s real, or perhaps ‘secret’, legacy was its variatas, such as the Wittenberg and Ten Articles, of which England was benefited. Thus, Anglicana stood to inherit the German’s (i.e., very early reformation’s) charge. In other words, it was theologically conditioned to conclude what the Protest 1529 and Augsburg 1530 began. This really picked up momentum under James I, but English Philipism suffered set backs and numerous troubles while trying to strengthen ties with the Scottish kirk and presbyterian counterparts in England. This proved very disruptive, and Anglicans today should take to task the lesson those ties provide.

Nonetheless, center-Protestantism, even during its hard-pressed moments, was kept afire by the Crown. It was really the Crown’s policy with respect to the church, namely, steering the bulk of the Henrician settlement through the storms of recusancy/conventicles, foreign jurisdictions of Rome and Geneva. It is otherwise known as the King’s high church party. And, so this ‘catholic’ or ‘high-philipist-catholic’ party– true to 39 articles (plain reading), BCP, and Supremacy– has gone by several names. Namely it’s the old high churchmen, who I contend might sign on to the articles of Wittenberg, Wurtemburg, and Ratisbon as soon as the 39. We’ve also called them central churchmen, but they are also central Protestant or, what I call, vera-protestant. So long as this party existed, alongside a healthy tory party, the CofE was able to move Protestantism forward into a northern catholic direction. And, this came closest to accomplishing the goals stated in Spire in 1841 with the Prussian Union and Anglican Jerusalem Bishopric.What ended it? Pretty much the Tractarian movement which rolled back and split the original high church party.

I know this is quite a bit. There are areas that need refining. But it’s an outline of a very broad view of history, for the most part a history lost, he victim to unnecessary contention and antagonism within the protestant camp, compounded by Roman and Jacobinite pressures. etc. Nonetheless, it’s the thesis I hope to develop, and I pray others pick up. Again, what Anglicans must do is revive the center-protestant or old high church tradition. That’s the only way continuing Anglicanism is going to survive and glue together larger communions.

Thoughts? I probably should post this at Anglican Rose.

The Henrician Formularies, with the exception of the 1547 First Book of Homilies, can be read or downloaded here. They are a must read for all Settlement Anglicans.

14 responses to “Henry’s Basilika

  1. Charles, it may because I recognize that the original Peter Smart who was thoroughly condemned by the English Church for his dishonesty and disbelief that the idea of any English Churchman adopting his name for purposes of theological discussion or controversy is almost more than insane. And his idea that you are some sort of papist is even, well, crazier than that. It is apparent that he could read the Bible from here to doomsday and never understand it simply from the view that no one was capable of understanding what the apostles and evangelists actually intended until Luther and Calvin interpreted it for us.

    Frankly, I can only take so much of this nonsense at a time, but since the Book of Common Prayer and the ordinal make it clear that the Church of England and true Anglicans following them intended to adhere to the Apostolic canon as expressed in Acts 2:42, i.e., “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking bread, and in prayers.” This was made clear by the Elizabethan canon of 1571 and the requirements of the Book of Common Prayer, the Ordinal and the Thirty-Nine Articles. I, at my advanced age may have forgotten something, but I can think of no place in the official formularies of the period of the English Reformation that the Church is ever described in terms other than those of the three creeds included in the prayer and intended to be received and believed by “all who call themselves Christians.” It would seem to me that the largest part of Smart’s is that he believes only those of the Roman obedience to be truly and properly ‘Catholic’ while those of us who recite the Apostles’ Creed twice a day in the offices, the Nicene Creed at every celebration of Holy Communion and the Athanasian Creed at those times the Book of Common Prayer requires it are lying in our teeth when we affirm what those creeds teach.

    And, by the way, the Right Reverend Walter Howard Frere, C.R. was not a liberal as his correspondence and the changes he made to Procter’s A History of the Book of Common Prayer should make clear.


  2. Thank you Bp. Lee. I am corrected on the Rt. Rev. Frere. Perhaps I shall change it to “High Churchman”? I have a proclivity of late to use Anglo-catholic and liberal catholic interchangeably. This is probably too much a generalization.

    In an essay by N.P. Williams, DD, “The Theology of the Catholic Revival”, he categorizes phases of the movement, roughly:
    1. The Tractarian, from Keble’s Assize sermon to Newman’s secession (1833-45);
    2. The Ritualistic, from c. 1845 to the publication of Lux Mundi (1889);
    3. The Liberal Catholic, from 1889 to the present day.

    Of course, these are no clear lines. Older Tractarianism opposed early liberalism, continuing somewhat into the turn of the century. And, certainly many tractarians, Pusey for example, opposed the unwarranted licences of the Ritualists. There is also a late and early Newman, the position outlined in his Prophetical Office for the authority of doctrine being very different from his Romanizing Essay on Development.

    Williams contrasts the original Tractarianism to later Liberal Catholicism by how each engaged biblical criticism. Tractarianism remained trunctantly opposed to it, “The attitude of the intellectual leaders, such as Pusey and Liddon, towards the new knowledge (in as far as it affected the bible) was one of uncompromising hostility, such as would now be known as “Fudamentalism””. While Liberal Catholicism evidently was of a more compromising spirit, embracing aspects so long as areas of creed and miracles were left sacrosanct. Post-war Liberal catholics would be willing to spiritualize even these dogmas. So, there a a number of gradations of the above. Hence, I see your point about Frere v. Proctor– Frere perhaps belonging to the older school of thought while Proctor the more recent and progressive? I don’t know where to access the letters you mention to know if this is correct.

    That said, my observations on liberal catholicism are somewhat different from Williams. It seems liberal catholicism promised much, and in an ecumenical spirit offered a way around/out of the Settlement and related party division by refocusing if not renegotiating the Church of England upon a theological minimalism of creed and eucharist. To the degree aspects of the Catholic Revival movement were dismissive of ‘confessionalism’ is the same degree I tend to view today’s self-professed Catholics as swallowing Lux Mundi. So, it’s not just a matter of how they address scripture but also how they treat the Settlement. As we know the latter has been utterly disparaged.

    In my opinion, the greatest problem Anglicanism faces is how to reappropriate all these definitions of ‘catholicism’, ‘protestantism’, and even ‘confessionalism’. These terms have been defined by Rome and the Reformed to delegitimize Anglicana, and then we tragically propagate it on their behalf. This is symptomatic of both Anglo-catholic and Anglo-reformed, as Mr. Smart well illustrates. Catholicism was not only claimed in the documents you generously cite, but let’s not forget in the Ten Articles and throughout the Henrician standards as well. Nor did the Henrician church rest from defining what was meant by this same Catholicism. Consequently catechisms, homilies, injunctions, and articles followed.

    Confessionalism thus should be understood in this light. Confessionalism also has different phases to its development. But, that era between 1526 to 1560– even amongst Protestant circles– I assure you has much tenor with the English & deeply rooted in the western concilarism of the 15th century as well as the ancient church. We should not confuse this era of confessionalism with what followed.

    As for the ‘Reformed’, they have little claim to this same concilar legacy, having been most disruptive and ruinous of it. Often they have more in common with the Anabaptist sects which rampaged in Germany, as Mr. Smart kindly exemplifies by his own radicalism. I realize this sounds quite harsh, but it is based on my readings on the Aberdeen and Perth reforms as well as what precipitated the civil war itself. I can give more reasons for this conclusion, but basically the Geneva Order stands entirely apart from Anglican liturgical and ecclesiastical tradition as well as the Augsburg variatas which are very definitive to Protestant catholicisim. This puts the Reformed outside that sphere proper until they can better deal with RPW, the benefit and need for episcopacy, and curb some excesses in predestinarianism. Of course, Anglicans can agree with Reformed on many evangelical points and certainly owe Presbyterians encouragement in others.


  3. Charles, one of the problems of dealing with the posted set of period is that certain words have changed so much in both meaning, overtones and undertones that we can not read them in quite the sense in which they were written. For instance, neither Proctor nor Frere were progressives but knowledge of the history of the prayer book in certain details was constantly being recovered and expanded. That meant that you had one essentially fundamentalist prayer book man revising and updating the work of another. They believed in the Book of Common Prayer and expected it to be fully obeyed even if they also knew that because of the expanded knowledge of liturgical scholars and the historians of the early church it could be improved. Hence Frere’s work on the English book of 1929.

    Further, the Rt Rev’d Charles Gore, C.R., was the epitome of liberal Catholicism, but he, too, was also a prayer book fundamentalist who in his three bishoprics insisted that every priest in his dioceses provide the services in the prayer book as they were to be found there. He also would not tolerate any laxness nor moral looseness. Now just how liberal does that sound to you? He came from an aristocratic family, the great-grandson of an earl on his father’s side with his mother being the daughter of another. Both he and Bishop Frere were active in the Alcuin Club and practiced its principles. Of course, he was not perfect. He hated the poverty which so many of the English people found themselves, and worked to improve their condition. He founded the Christian Social Union but failed to understand the economic principles which would have improved their lot. If you Google his name you will find a marvelous little biography covering most of his life that will disabuse you of what liberal Catholicism meant in his time.

    More later.


  4. If you’re going to refer to me in your blog at least have the decency to give me credit:)

    It’s fairly obvious to me that you don’t have a clue to what the English Reformation stood for, namely five solas. You are indeed a “papist” because you do not put all the authority in God’s Word alone.



  5. Pico Ultraorientalis

    Again, thanks to Charles Bartlett for a great blog on ecclesiastical history.
    And a facinating fight with “Peter Smart”…
    I wish I could say that Mr. Smart was just a cad to anathematize the Anglo-Catholics…but he has a point…in fact the situation may be worse than he states…the search for an Anglican identity may be an entirely mistaken project.
    The point being that both Roman Catholocism and Evangelical Protestanism are plausable understandings of Christianity while the Anglican via media is in fact neither high nor low but broad…ie. Catholicism tends to ask “What would Jesus do”, and Protestants tend to ask “what did Jesus do”…while Anglicans tend to ask, what do we do, and glance from left to right in a spirit of inclusiveness, proceeding to spilt the difference. Thus the prime Anglican virtue is tolerance for difference over doctrine…which will only be a winning strategy if it manages to become the secular world’s “church of choice.” Not a wise goal by gospel standards!


    • Hello Pico,

      I see your point. It does feel like we are often pull asunder by confessions either belonging to Rome (Trent) or Geneva (WCF). My only advice against such constant onslaughts would be that Anglicans cleave to the 39 articles and refrain from interpreting them through the lens of foreign jurisdictions. This means in those parts seemingly ‘comprehensive’, like predestination or the eucharist, we give other English ‘royal’ text priority in adding context. That means either finding other supplementary standards or going back to earlier, superseded ones before heaping on later pet divines or borrowing from afar. I’ve found this a very adequate approach, and it seems an obvious solution for those who would want to define Anglicanism according to the 16th and 17th centuries. However, not only do modern Anglicans prefer to understand their brand of thinking as “tolerance”, but they too often indulge this very ‘tolerance’ so they can synthesize various ideologies and confessions together by a Postmodern play. The whole thing seems to spring from a perversion, and perhaps this problem existed from the beginning. The 1578 Primer contains a state prayer by John Foxe describing the english divinity at the time (mind you this would have been sectarian as well as rescusant) with a proclivity to the exotic,

      “So found are we Englishmen of strange and foreign things: so unnatural to ourselves, so greedy of newfangle novelties, never contented with any state long to continue, be it never so good; and, furthermore, so cruel to one another, that we think our life not quiet, unless it be seasoned with the blood of other.”

      But then Foxe’s prayer ends giving the Lord thanks for the order otherwise provided by the Queen, who we know would guide the church away from rocks of Puritanism and Romanism, establishing our peculiar Settlement,

      “For that is their hope [the enemies of England], that is all their gaping and looking, that is their golden day, their day of Jubilee, which they thirst for so much: not to have the Lord to come in the clouds, but to have our blood, and to spill our lives. That, that is it, which they would have, and long since would have had their wills upon us, had not thy gracious pity and mercy raised up to us this our merciful Queen, thy servant Elizabeth, somewhat to stay their fury: for whom as we most condignly give thee thanks, so likewise we beseech thy heavenly majesty, that, as thou hast given her unto us, and hast from so manifold dangers preserved her, before she was queen, so now, in her royal estate, she may continually be preserved not only from the hands, but from all malignant devices wrought, attempted, or conceived, of enemies, both ghostly and bodily, against her.”

      When B16 provisioned Anglicanorum Coetibus, its title is quite revealing. Rome is correct to describe us presently as a ‘mob’. Anglicanism is not a well-ordered society without a Crown settling disputes (neither is Rome for that matter, both are prelatic governments). It is far less so without the royal documents by which current regents of the church (the bishops) ought enforce given the absence of the Crown. How Anglicans have gotten to this desultory point in history might occupy a number of pages. Nonetheless, a vera-Anglicanism exists, but it must be taken seriously (see the homily on Obedience).

      Given our enemies [as Foxe indicated] indeed surround us, tearing us asunder, I think there’s a good argument to reverently and repentantly return to these same documents. It’s all there. It just needs Godly discipline behind it. What ‘vera-Anglicans’ keep saying is, ‘we need a bishop willing to teach and make diocesan clergy accountable to the same standards’. The hope is this will start a precedent that could then spread. It’s not impossible. Look what the Tractarians accomplished while in a largely Evangelical church.


  6. Hi Charles,

    from Pico: Thus the prime Anglican virtue is tolerance for difference over doctrine…etc., etc.

    I think he hits on it. Not that the Anglo-Catholic would own that view, but it becomes the effective policy as emphasis seems to fall mainly on distinctives of liturgical/worship practice. Doctrine is rarely taught from the pulpit.

    A reviving of “true” Anglicanism necessitates (IMHO) a return to the Protestant (i.e. Reformational) doctrinal positions of the 16th century… which is an accurate expression of the “catholic” faith once delivered. The desire to avoid that reformed Anglican heritage results in a via media that simply becomes a broad middle ground populated with all kinds of disparate theologies united only by the 1928 BCP, i.e. its liturgical practices and prayer offices.

    best regards,


  7. Hello Jack,

    I likewise feel there are a number of obstacles to overcome. Being able to call ourselves, re-appropriate from anabaptists, and actually accurately define the term “Protestant” is one such need. Unfortunately, Anglicanism has been deeply shaped by liberal catholicism which I believe, given the crisis wrecking the larger Anglican communion, has finally proven itself an abject failure. We are witnessing the throws of hitting rock bottom.

    As said before, liberal catholicism was designed to renegotiate the Church away from the contentions of Settlement toward minimal terms of fellowship, namely, creed and eucharist, driven through the medium of ‘incarnation theology’. While some very great and memorial writings have been created flushing out such themes, liberal catholicism is extremely naive about the questions the Reformation raised, and unfortunately its propagation created a void in doctrine that RC, EO, and neo-Marxism readily filled.

    However, I believe a constructive dogmatic realignment is possible. Liberal catholicism is just an exposition on creedalism, so its ‘benefit’ can be easily integrated. Anglo-catholicism would have to be redirected toward a Jacobean High Churchmanship rather than the recusant or Roman. I think some of the Alcuin tracts coupled with some sound writing would help much in that regard. These things need to be promoted in journals, websites, sermons, and republication of useful reference books like William Wilson’s Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England or Thomas H. Britton’s Horae Sacramentales. We should make ourselves advocates in these areas.

    What is needed is not the abolition of the above deviations from classical Anglicanism but a constructive incorporation, held together by an orthodox-middle, fixed on classical standards, and historically informed. Jurisdictions like UECNA and REC might potentially provide that intellectual cohesion, but they would have to advance a very aggressive teaching campaign, know themselves very well, and simultaneously direct a Protestant theology both outside and inside their dioceses. We have all the raw materials, they just need to be fasten together.


  8. Oh, my aching head! Papist, Protestant, Amyraldianism, Calvin, Henry, Elizabethan settlement..ohhhh. I haven’t thought that way for over twenty years, and now I see why!

    Frankly, what brought me to love the 1928 BCP (the real one, not the ’79 bastardization) was that it FELT catholic, to one who had lost his Church upon the reforms of Vatican II. Not the adiaphora, but the WORDS of the BCP. “Here is THE Church, it clearly said.” And thirty years of constant use, has not disabused me of that conviction. I could care less for either Anglo-Papist, or Low Church Evangelical. Neither can destroy this Liturgy, but both can sure obfuscate it, as has been done here.

    When I found that the Sarum liturgy (which predates all this gobbledygook) was the basis for Cranmer’s Anglicization of the ancient catholic (small ‘c’) forms, I knew I ‘had come home.’ That the Orthodox Church uses it for their Western Rite is only confirmation of what was readily apparent, when I first attended a PECUSA parish in the 1970’s and heard the words, “We do not presume to come to this, thy Table, o merciful Lord, etc.” I was ‘caught’ as a fish of the Fisher of Men, by those ‘comfortable words.’

    We may not, cannot, dare not go ‘back’ to some ‘golden age’ of liturgical piety, whether of the Westminster Puritans, or the ‘Anglo-Catholic’ Newmanites. They both had their errors, as do we. But the Church- THE church- has had a liturgy that was formed by the apostles, preached by St. Paul, corroborated by the Didache, and restored to the Queen’s English by Cranmer.

    I was saved by Grace, when I was a ‘works righteousness’ R.C. I was saved by Grace,when I was a rabid Presbyterian. I am still to be saved by Grace, now that I am a ‘symphonist’ and acknowledge that we are to be ‘partakers of the divine nature’ via synergy, as an Orthodox Christian. But it is still ALL God’s work. Why the fuss? You all sound like hens cackling in a barn yard, with all this filioquist/Western rationalist infighting… (whoo boy, that did it!)

    Frankly, all the rest, they say, is ‘commentary.’ Like Queen Elizabeth I said,
    “Twas God the word that spake it,
    He took the Bread and brake it;
    And what that word did make it,
    That I believe, and take it.”

    In short, to be as little children, loving God, and receiving from His Hands (or the sacrificial Priest’s hands – Heb. 13:10) the Bread of Life.
    Nothing else matters in the end, that we should trust in Him, so that ‘he may live in us, and we in him.’ All the days of our life. Amen.


  9. I hear you Fr. John. The only problem is we still have the fallout of the ‘Reformation/Counter-Reformation’ to deal with. Even the Orthodox have felt compelled to give answer. If Anglicans don’t come to grip with these differences, then they might as well pack their bags and head for churches that are more prepared to defend their respective stances, i.e., Rome or EO. So far, the trend is just that.


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  12. Somewhat vindicated in my definition of Protestantism:

    “I shall add but one thing more by way of caution, which is, that you would be particularly careful of being imposed upon by the words, Protestant Religion: An expression which has of late been very frequent in the mouths of a certain party. For if we confine that name to any one sect, as the word ‘religion’ in the singular number seems to do, then, in its proper genuine sense, it signifies the Lutheran religion, because the Lutherans were the first who publickly, in a particular solemn manner, entered their protest against the corruptions of the Church of Rome, which they did in the general Diet of the Empire at Spires, in Germany, in the year 1529 by which they obtained the name of Protestants, being so called from that particular solemn protestation, made before all the Estates of the Empire, in such a manner as was never done by any other Church or Sect. But if we take the word Protestant in another sense, and as it is commonly understood to denote any Church, sect, or person, who openly protests against the corruptions of the Church of Rome, then we cannot say the Protestant Religion in the singular number, but must say Protestant Religions in the plural number. For, in this sense, the word Protestant is only negative, and does not denote of what Religion the Church, Sect, of Party so called are, but only what they are not, viz. They are not Papists. And in this sense, not only the Lutherans and the Calvinists, but the Anabaptists, Quakers, Muggletonians, Socinians, Deists, nay, and Atheists, all may, and do come under the denomination of Protestants, as well as the Church of England. So that to say the Protestant Religion, in this sense, is nothing but Cant and Jargon, without any distinct proper meaning. And to say the Protestant Religion in a restrained sense, to denote any one sect of Christians, who may be called by that name in a super-eminent manner, as the first and most solemn Protesters against Popery, to whom the name was given, on account of that particular Protestation, signifies no other than the Lutheran religion. This I thought convenient to observe to you, that you may take heed, less you be imposed on by a name”. — p. 38-40. Thomas Brett, A Review of the Lutheran Principles (1714).


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