Category Archives: National Church

Making an American Settlement

Trenton New Jersey State Building, c. 1800

Episcopalians are generally raised on the myth the original Protestant Episcopal Church (PECUSA or PEC) never formally adopted the Articles of Religion as a standard for doctrine. More critical observers may qualify this claim by mentioning the later adoption of the 39-Articles, amended to American circumstances, at the General Convention of 1801 and their ultimate insertion into the American Prayer Book. More skeptical persons insist the Articles never made their way into PECUSA’s subscription formula when compared to the English. Indeed, if contrasting the terms of subscription between American and English forms, the matter evidently boils down to what early-PECUSA meant by its “doctrine and discipline”. However, the Articles were part of a larger theological settlement and had import for making a national church.

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Our Chapel’s Hermeneutic

de Bibliotheca de Annapolis

Perhaps it’s well-known that Anglicans suffer an acute identity crisis. Once modern higher criticism– with its advanced social agenda– is questioned, we’re often left to ponder the war-weary and topsy-turvy landscape left behind by Victorian Party strife. However inimical to one another these factions might have been, they seem to often mutual in their abuse or dismissal of the Georgian Church. Such joint-criticism usually amounts to the 18th-century Era being characteristically sluggish, superficial, worldly, and excessively whiggish. However, the 18th-century– called by some historians the peak of the Church of England’s “Long Reformation”– was likely ‘torpid’ for very good reasons; namely, it was a relatively stable and triumphant period for the Established Church. And, if the stagnant nature of the Georgian Church is true, why not ground one’s hermeneutic upon the Divinity which advanced this relative dominance? This post will briefly discuss something of the historical framework our blog, Anglican Rose, has been slowly moving toward as well as our other related projects.    Continue reading

Degrees of Benevolence

Samaritan

the Good Samaritan

Modern liberals have basically run amok with the Christian notion of Love, turning it into a radical leveling or egalitarian creed disconnected from other salutary virtues such as Duty or Justice. The older Protestant view better joined these categories. I’ve discussed this subject in relation to John Wesley’s recommended ‘circles of reproof‘ with the second-half of the same essay touching wider Anglican divinity. Not long thereafter I came across the same in Bishop Gilbert Burnet’s Exposition of the Church Catechism, and it appears to be quite a familiar notion in England’s Long Reformation as to what it means to ‘love thy neighbor’. Below are relevant extracts from Burnet’s Exposition coupled with his late-contemporary, the Rev. Dr. White Kennett, on Christian charity.  Continue reading

Alternative Phrase for Infants

I usually keep posts related to Liturgical matters confined to the River Thames Beach Party (RTBP) blog. However, since the following essay is basically a continuation of ‘Cummins’s Lost Evangelicals’, I felt it worthwhile to link the post here. This essay examines a third-point of relief wanted by mid-19th century Evangelicals, namely, amending the Baptismal Office for Children by either omitting or explaining the controverted term “regenerate”. Indeed, this is an old demand, and one considered nugatory by successive reviewers of the Prayer Book on the Anglican-side. Even for the 1689 Commission (which sought comprehension with moderate Dissent) this was true, and from that same sensibility the 1785 American Book was also based. Anyway, here is the post at the RTBP blog.

Cummins’ Lost Evangelicals

george cummins

Bp. George D. Cummins

The Rev. George D. Cummins (former assisting-bishop of Kentucky for the Protestant Episcopal Church [from 1866-73], then, first Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church in New York [until his death in 1876]) gives something of a retrospect of the Book of Common Prayer respecting the ‘germs of Romanism’ or sacerdotalism therein. In the midst of this letter, Cummins interestingly reflects upon those conditions that might have kept the Evangelical clergy in the Episcopal Church, at least prior to his own departure.

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London Tower’s Seven Bishops

seven bishopsBackground: In 1688 the growing crisis caused by James II, a Roman Catholic sovereign over the church of England, came to a head. James II, alongside his catholic clients, were using Indulgences granted to religious Dissent to divide Churchmen from their Presbyterian and Independent counterparts. Meanwhile, James was busy advancing the Papal Interest. However, seven Anglican bishops, galvanized by the political networks of London clergy, refused to read the King’s Declaration (an unusual request on the Crown. Normally, reading of injunctions were left to the lower clergy not Bishops). Instead, the Seven took opportunity to petition James II, explaining their intention to protect England’s constitution while uniting Protestant Dissent to the established Church. Of course, the Bishops were arrested, but their speedy trial ended with their declared innocence and subsequent release into jubilant crowds. The Petition became a high water mark for national Protestantism, resolved to halt the Romanist party and the Arbitrary Power of James II.
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UE General Convention

This year my family had opportunity to attend the UECNA’s 2014 General Convention. There was an anticipation this Convention would have a tremendous bearing upon the future of the continuing church. Anglican Rose has taken liberty to infer several ideas not neccesarily shared by Bp. Robinson. 

2013 Predictions. In an earlier essay called “Post-Brockton“, I offered a few predictions regarding the ultimate failure of the ACC’s staunch non-involvement policy, namely, forbidding unity with Anglican churches which are in communion with other churches that ordain women, or “double non-involvement”. Of course, the ACC was targeting ACNA and FACA-related bodies like the APA, DHC, and especially the REC(1). I also predicted the APA and UECNA would grow restless of any hard isolationist policy, sooner or later breaking from it in favor of a larger unity with North American churches besides ACC. While much remains to be seen, the UECNA has apparently left the ACC-orbit.  Continue reading