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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Traditional and Reformed Anglicanism

Is there any such thing as a traditional and reformed Anglican church anymore? Anyone reading the 39 Articles of Religion can see clearly that the Church of England of the 16th century was both Protestant and Reformed, that is, mildly Calvinistic without the Puritan overtones.

The trouble with today's Evangelical church is that it's so broad that it has no depth. I'm a bit frustrated with Evangelical churches in general because they are so into the church growth movement that most of them do a poor job of teaching the particulars of doctrine if there is any doctrine taught at all. The strategy for church growth is to hide the particulars of one's doctrine for as long as possible because "doctrine divides." What winds up happening is that only the most basic doctrinal statement is presented to potential new members and all the sermons are directed toward self help issues and relationships with no doctrinal preaching or teaching to ground people solidly in the Christian faith. People wind up with a nominal form of Christianity and a "positive" outlook on life.

Any church that is bold to preach the doctrines of the Holy Bible in detail is at risk of attrition and closing its doors. People in the pews today want to be entertained, to have their ears tickled, and their minds coddled. The rampant anti-intellectualism of the broader culture is a part of the Christian churches as well. The spread of modern theological liberalism on the far left and of charismatic/pentecostalism with Evangelicalism has contributed greatly to the erosion of a thinking Christianity that requires not just an experience or an emotional affiliation, but also the use of reason and the mind to critically examine the theology tossed at it from the pulpits.

If Christianity is to survive, it will need to revitalize itself with sound doctrine in the particulars and with the right use of reason and the intellect to ground itself within the divine revelation we call Holy Scripture. What we need is a reformation and not a pentecostal revival of naked emotionalism. What we need is conservative intellectuals willing to take on liberalism on the far left and in the experientialism of pentecostalism and the charismatic movement within broader Evangelicalism.

In particular, those of us who are part of the Anglican communion need to fight against the various factions and schools of theology within the communion that have undermined the Augustinian/Calvinistic theology of the 39 Articles of Religion and the 1662/1928 Book of Common Prayer. A good start would be to toss the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, which is really just a book of alternative services, and to require that all bishops, priests, deacons and church members adhere to the 39 Articles of Religion as a statement of binding faith along with the ecumenical creeds listed in the prayer book.

A church that is unwilling to stand for anything will fall for anything. While we do want to be broad enough for inclusiveness in the communion at large, such ecumenical tendencies must not and cannot undermine the biblical foundations for the existence of the church in general and the Anglican communion in particular. Calvinism in its moderate form is the theology of the 39 Articles of Religion and the Protestant Reformation is the only legitimate way to see Anglicanism. The Anglo-Catholic and Charismatic elements of Anglicanism must be subdued and defeated before the virus of heresy further destroys the foundations of the church and sound doctrine.

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