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.
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.
Bishop Alfred Lee
In an exchange of open letters regarding Bp. Cummin’s 1871 resignation from the Protestant Episcopal Church, Alfred Lee (then Presiding Bishop of PECUSA) admits the comprehensive nature of the American liturgy. Given Lee’s own “high church” credentials, this tacit endorsement is akin to the proverbial ‘horse’s mouth’, essentially agreeing with Dr. Smith that the American book owes a genius from the 1689 proposed revision. Lee’s apparent agreement with Smith lets the 1785 preface speak as a kind of commentary to the present-day American preface. The ecumenical goals of the 1689 revision has previously been written about here. Lee takes the case with Cummin’s that the American book is already inclusive of historical Dissent.
Background: 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.
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
A Prussian immigrae, Phillip Schaff (1819-1893) was committed to the idea of uniting Lutheran and Reformed churches which began in Germany under the aegis of Prince Frederick William IV. Dr. Schaff is perhaps better known for his voluminous writings on Church history and the ancient fathers. His contribution alongside John W. Nevin in making “Mercersburg Theology”(1) is also significant as a traditional Protestant answer to American revivalism. Initially scandalized by the proliferation of enthusiastic sects, Schaff gradually found a silver-lining in American disestablishment, concluding God’s Providence set aside the United States to play a crucial role in forging an Evangelical Christendom by voluntaristic means. His change of opinion on freedom of religion is worth study, answering questions perhaps vexing for Anglicans-abroad who normally are ambivalent about their Republican advantages and not-too-distant past with Royal Supremacy. Continue reading
Since 1977 personality conflict has stereotyped division in the continuing movement (1). Ironically, complicating ecclesiastical fragmentation in the Continuum has been the keeping of rigid geographic dioceses. Thankfully, this prejudice is beginning to erode as extra mural Anglicans are consciously redefining dioceses in ‘relational’ rather than geographic terms– allowing congregations to align themselves to like-minded Bishops . Last August, the APA–DMA standing committee voted to postpone reunion with ACA. Some worry the APA-ACA merger process might be derailed. But, we ask, “why not let DMA remain a relatively independent diocese while the rest of the APA/ACA press forward, permitting a non-geographic option?” This may be a last ditch solution, but it could also preserve a broad church identity while the rest of APA rushes toward a more rigid ‘anglo-catholic’ identity.