[anglican media melbourne] May 6, 2006--Writing books about Sydney Anglicanism would appear to be a growth industry. Just a few years ago Peter Carnley produced his Reflections in Glass: Trends and Tensions in the Contemporary Anglican Church, published by HarperCollins (2003). Though its title masked the fact, the book is essentially an extended and highly critical engagement with a brand of Anglicanism he has long despised: evangelical Anglicanism, especially as it is expressed in the Diocese of Sydney. Last year Chris McGillion's The Chosen Ones: The Politics of Salvation in the Anglican Church appeared, published by Allen & Unwin and replete with authorised comment from prominent figures in the events of the eighties and nineties. Here was a treatment of Anglicanism in Sydney with a strong emphasis on the inevitable political dimension of denominational life. Most recently, Muriel Porter's book, The New Puritans: The Rise of Fundamentalism in the Anglican Church has appeared, published by Melbourne University Press, the same people who brought us The Latham Diaries.
Sydney Anglicans are somewhat bemused by all the attention. After all, we have not pursued theological novelty or even a distinctive kind of Anglicanism. We rejoice in the rich fellowship we enjoy with Anglican evangelicals around the world. We treasure our links to contemporary leaders like John Stott, Dick Lucas and Jim Packer. Without for a moment being merely antiquarian, we embrace the rich theological contribution of leaders from the past, such as Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, Charles Simeon, William Wilberforce and Bishop J. C. Ryle, amongst many others. Even a casual glance at the history of Anglicanism will render laughable any suggestion that a robust Anglican evangelicalism is simply a product of the last half a century in an isolated and eccentric part of the world. In fact this form of Anglicanism has a practically unassailable claim to be its classic form. This is no aberration, no product of personal belligerence or political manipulation, no 'fundamentalism' which can be justly equated with the religious fanaticism we all abhor; it is the Anglicanism of the Thirty-nine Articles, the Homilies and the Book of Common Prayer (including its prefaces!).