Monday, December 14, 2009
Anglicanism - A Protestant and Reformed Confession
[Irish Church Missions] 14 Dec 2009--In his book, Richard Hooker and the Authority of Scripture, Tradition and Reason (Paternoster, 1997), Nigel Atkinson demonstrates that Richard Hooker (1554-1600), regarded by Anglicans as one of its foremost theologians, was not someone who believed that the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England was a via media between the teachings of Roman Catholicism and the Reformed teachings of Geneva. Indeed, Atkinson demonstrates that Hooker was as convinced of the Reformed doctrines of the Reformation as his Puritan opponents. This is important in that many today, following in the footsteps of John Henry Newman and John Keble, who represented the High Church Oxford Movement in the 19th century, still mistakenly believe that Anglican doctrine is a half-way house between Rome and Geneva. Though the views espoused by the Oxford Movement and kept alive in the High Church tradition are regarded by many as normative Anglicanism, the historical truth is that these views are alien intruders into the classical Anglicanism that arose in the sixteenth century. If we want to discover the definitive characteristic of Anglicanism in terms of its doctrine and teaching, then we must go back beyond the Oxford movement of the nineteenth century to the title deeds of Anglicanism that were written by the Reformers in the sixteenth century.
Commenting on this foundational period within Anglicanism, Canadian Anglican, Dyson Hague, in his book Through the Prayer Book (London, 1932) writes:
‘England’s church arose at the Reformation from the deadly sleep of mediaevalism with two books – the Bible and the Prayer Book…The Church of England was not born at the Reformation…but it was born again….It was the old church with new life. It stood then and it has stood ever since with two books: one, the secret of its transformation, the Bible; the other, the expression and exponent of its re-formation, the Prayer Book.’
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 10:05 AM