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.]

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Calvinist and Anglican?

The majority of Calvinists appear to be either Presbyterians of different flavors or Reformed Baptists of one kind or another. It's rare to hear of an Episcopalian or an Anglican who is Calvinist, other than J.I. Packer maybe.

I've found only one explicitly Calvinist or Reformed expression of Anglicanism here in the US and that would be the Traditional Protestant Episcopal Church, which is itself a split from the Reformed Episcopal Church. I take it there is a similar church in England called the Church of England (Continuing). Both denominations reject apostolic succession but hold to a loose episcopal form of church polity and stick to a plain interpretation of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, which are clearly Protestant if not overtly Calvinistic. But I might add that the Articles do include a section outlining double predestination.

Anyway, I'm pleased to note that the blog readership is growing. May God grant the increase of His church through His many graces. Amen.

Addendum:  This was written several years ago.  Since that time I did more investigation.  Unfortunately my investigation produced evidence that the Traditional Protestant Episcopal Church is actually a hodge podge of Calvinism, high church Arminianism, and certain Anglo-Catholic emphases.   The use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer rather than the 1662 BCP is problematic precisely because of the Anglo-Catholic doctrines incorporated into the prayers and services.

Furthermore, since that time the TPEC has merged with the Anglican Orthodox Church headed by Bishop Jerry Ogles.  The AOC has no doctrinal statement that nails down any doctrinal position other than the the 39 Articles of Religion.  Of course, if we follow the 39 Articles as they are plainly and logically stated that is a sufficient doctrinal statement.  But when the 39 Articles become a wax nose that can be molded to justify high church Arminianism and Anglo-Catholicism then their logical propositions are flatly denied and the truth is obscured.  Ambiguity, equivocal theology, and heterodoxy seems to be the modus operandi of the Anglican Orthodox Church. 

Charlie J. Ray, August 17, 2013


Anonymous said...

don't leave out the Reformed Episcopal Church, they are thoroughly reformed/calvinist and anglican

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Reformed Episcopal Church is no longer Evangelical for the most part. There are pockets here and there and there is the Southeastern Diocese. For the most part, however, the REC has gone Anglo-Catholic. There are also Arminians in the REC. Arminians are Evangelical but not Reformed.

b. edge said...

I'm 56 years old. I grew up Presbyterian in the south. I attended an Arminian bible school, a Wesleyan college, and a Roman Catholic college. After spending many years in the charismatic movement, mainly in the Vineyard Church, I was just minding my own business, as one would say, when the notion of the centrality of the Eucharist began to work itself in me, and from where, I can only say it seemed divine, because when I participated in the liturgy, and then received communion at the altar for the first time, I was filled with inexpressible peace. I've been attending Episcopal services ever since - 20 years now, the experience remains sublime, and I'm a five-pointer - six, if you count the monergism separately.

b. edge said...

This is a really great blog you've got here. Looking forward to coming back.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hi, b. edge. Thanks for your kind remarks. However, I think Anglicanism in the US and in general is in need of a new Reformation. I would not go so far as to go too far in the Puritan direction but the truth is most Episcopal churches here are more Anglo-Catholic than Reformed.

The very Gospel is under attack in the Anglican Communion at large and here in the US in particular.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-8 ESV)

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4 ESV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16 ESV)

Sincerely yours in Christ,


b. edge said...

I would even say that for much of the Episcopal clergy, the way to renewal is the adoption of elements of Roman Catholic renewal (i.e. Taize).

The Episcopal church I attend is going in a completely different direction - that is, toward charismatic evangelicalism. We have a connection with IVP, we're exploring the gifts of the Spirit, experiencing short periods of free-form worship, and the rector presents his sermons as series-style teachings, emphasizing Christian growth.

I haven't been there long enough to get a grip on his view of the doctrines of grace. However, many parishioners are becoming interested in personal evangelism, and seem like the kind of people you'd find in a liberal Calvary Chapel (if there is such a thing), so it's an interesting situation.

I like the Episcopal church because there is so much freedom of diversity. Being Calvinist in the Episcopal church doesn't bring down the wrath of the elders like it did in many other churches I've attended. As the Communion has been in major transition for quite some time now, and I believe people are using this time to form communities of many different approaches.

I'm also seeing the growth of home church meetings within the Communion, generally run by the laity. In my opinion, there is great opportunity here for sharing Calvinist beliefs in a way that doesn't require explaining TULIP. It's fairly easy to bring up subjects like the assurance of salvation, as most people don't have it, but would love to.

Charlie J. Ray said...

b. edge,

I have to strongly disagree with you. If your church is charismatic and emphasizes "transformation" and "sanctification" and "spiritual growth" then it is not preaching the doctrines of grace but a synergistic/cooperation view of God's grace. That is essentially Arminianism. From my experience Episcopal churches do not preach justification by faith ALONE but rather the messages about what you should do to grow, change, etc. That is simply LAW. It's not GOSPEL.

The law/Gospel distinction is an essential one without which there is no preaching of the Gospel but simply law disguised as Gospel.

See: Law and Gospel

b. edge said...

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I don't believe they're necessarily headed toward Calvinism, but I do believe they're open. As I mentioned in part, since I've been there, I've heard folks mention doubt in their eternal security, and a lack of feeling worthy of God's blessings because of it. I see this as an opportunity to ask, "What if you could know for certain that your own salvation is without question, and that you'd never have to stress over that again?" Seems an easy segue, and I'm hoping to be able to talk with a few people during an upcoming retreat. There may be people with ears to hear the word of grace.

Charlie J. Ray said...

b. edge,

Amen. I pray that God will use you. However, there are many who are unconverted and have a false security in their own righteousness and good works.

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:1-4 ESV)

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1:1 KJV)

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Traditional Protestant Episcopal Church and the Church of England Continuing are not Calvinist as I previously thought. Instead they are a mix of both Arminians and Calvinists. In short the Calvinists there seem to think that Arminianism is not a compromise of the Gospel. I strongly disagree.


AspieChristian said...

Well, Charlie, no argument from me on that point. I'm a strict monergist myself. However, there are some great Anglican theologians embraced by Christendom at large, most don't think of them as Anglican, like J.I. Packer and John R. W. Stott. The Episcopal Church is a strange church indeed. Most strangely, we are not a confessional church, so theological diversity ranges from the more Catholic to evangelical, not only between diosceses, but between local parishes as well, and even between the congregants as well. That we worship together is what appeals to me, and there is a strong movement toward personal conversion experience in many emerging Anglican communities. Besides a growing interest in salvation and piety by grace alone, we also have a long tradition of social action - in helping "the least of these" with stark realism - something most evangelicals seem to flee from these days. Time was, the successful businessman was associated with Episcopalism. Not anymore. Their new dens are the evangelical mega- churches. I may not be in a perfect church, but in one I believe is headed in a good and godly direction. As for Arminianism, I see it clearly as heterodoxy.

Still love your site!

Charlie J. Ray said...

ASpie, the Episcopal Church is not confessional for good reason. It is an apostate church and a synagogue of satan.

The only local congregation I've encountered that might be an exception is Christ Church Longwood and there are many unsaved members in that tiny church.

Calvinism is Christianity. I might add that true Anglicanism is not some amorphous blend of heterodoxy, Anglo-Catholicism and Arminianism. It is rather Reformed and Protestant in the same theological tradition of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and the other magisterial Reformers.


cwillcuts05 said...

Charlie –
Thank you very much for at least bringing the awareness that Anglicanism has its roots in Reformation Theology – and that classical Anglican practices of worship and proclamation have been essentially ‘Reformed.’ I am actually aspiring to join the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, and of course I’m sure that you and I may find disagreements as to how far one should go in ‘abandoning’ a Church – after all, I’m not a schismatic, and I’m not a Donatist, but I do indeed applaud your efforts in bringing Anglicans, like myself, to a greater awareness of the Reformed character of Anglicanism. I also might add that I think one of the main reasons why the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) is embracing Anglo-Catholicism is its commitment to ecumenicalism. Our church celebrated Pentecost with the Lutherans this last Sunday, and the vestments and music, liturgy, etc. were the same ‘alb and stole’ costumes of ecumenicalism, which surprisingly resembles Romanism. The really ironic thing is that even though everyone participating in ecumenicalism wants to be more ‘Roman’, the ‘Romans’ themselves do not wish to participate in it!
One of the main appeals to Anglicanism of people my age (23) is the dignified approach to worship, with the full commitment to the proclamation of the scriptures. In no other church than the Church of England was the bible more frequently and comprehensively read and preached upon.
One area of caution that I have for you – there are some of the Reformation who, in my opinion, are too reactionary against ‘holiness.’ We have to remember that classical Calvinism indeed sets very high standards in regards to one’s behavior, habits, and life orientation. Let me clarify further. I don’t think we should ever divorce personal holiness from the sovereignty of God. Some of those in the perfectionist camp appeal quite wrongly to enlightenment notions of rationalism- the idea that all rational persons can participate in perfecting their minds, which in turn perfects the soul. I do believe original sin is transmitted, not just imitated, so I do believe only Christ can pull us out of the depths of sin. However, St. Paul did instruct the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 4:3-8) thus:
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.[b] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Again, I think we have very little (no) control over ourselves in a state of sin, which we inherit in the first Adam – and all have inherited sin likewise. And of course election entails good works – because faith without works is dead, as in James. However, the good works is impossible without election.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, Charlie!

Charlie J. Ray said...

b. edge: Just how many good works do I need to do in order to be justified? How sanctified do I need to be in order to be saved?

Is there some sort of human measuring rod I can apply to make sure I've done enough good works to prove to God I have real faith?

Hint: James is dealing NOT with our justification before God but our testimony before men and the church. The distinction seems to be one that has escaped you.

The Gospel is of free grace. Since even one sin would justify our eternal damnation no amount of penance, sanctification, or good works could ever pay off the debt of sin we owe or satisfy the penalty of God's moral law against us. This is why Christ died on the tree.

Your little post sounds wonderful. There's only one problem. It's total horse shit:)

The irony is you're joining up with a denomination that ordains practicing homosexuals. Isn't it odd that someone like myself is falsely accused of antinomianism by someone like yourself (in an indirect way) while at the same time you cannot see the telephone pole in your own eye and in the denomination with which you are planning to join?

Must be nice to hire yourself out to an apostate denomination. That's something I will never do. The temporal rewards of being a company man in an apostate denomination can never match the eternal rewards of staying faithful to the Gospel of grace.

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"-- (Galatians 3:10-13 ESV)


Charlie J. Ray said...

My observation is that TEC is not tolerant of conservative Calvinists like myself. The fact that you're a charismatic shows how naive you are, b. edge. The charismatic movement is itself heterodox and has no commitment to Scripture as THE final authority. Rather "experience" gets exalted to a higher place. Ecstasy isn't truth. Sorry.


Charlie J. Ray said...

Sorry. Those last two comments were directed to cwillcuts, not b. edge.

jaan said...

Interesting your view. Of God salvation and theology has to be read into the church fathers and early councils. I am glad that I converted to Rome and am tired of protestant disregard of the church of the previous 1400 yrs. Scriptures were never intended to be read as theology but understood in union with the mind of the church and early councils that put it together as we have it today

Charlie J. Ray said...

jaan, the Roman Catholic Church is a synagogue of satan and the pope is an antichrist. You follow men. I will follow God's infallible, inerrant, and inspired words in the Holy Scriptures. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Peter 3:15-16).

Hugh McCann said...

Today, Bishops Ogles and Morley are now the Anglican Orthodox Church, Int'l.

The Anglican Orthodox Church (AOC) is one of the older conservative Anglican denominations in the United States (founded in 1963).... Our founding bishop was James Parker Dees....

Charlie J. Ray said...

AOC or AOC Intl or whatever is not a Reformed or Protestant denomination. They are a mix of Arminians, moderate Calvinists, and high church Anglo-Catholics. In short, this is an old article and at the time I was unaware of just how far off Jerry Ogles really is. In addition to that, the AOC uses the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which is an Anglo-Catholic prayer book that includes prayers for the dead.

I really don't know why you bothered commenting, Hugh. You have made it perfectly clear that you reject the Westminster Standards, Dr. Clark's affirmation of that system of theology in the Westminster Standards and my views on Clark's writings. I rather think you're a follower of Robbins, not Clark.

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