Friday, January 15, 2016

The Dangers of Liturgical Revision

This article originally titled "The Major Shift: Doctrine in The Alternative Service Book 1980" and published in the Church Society's quarterly, The Churchman, draws attention to the dangers associated with liturgical revision. During the second half of the twentieth century the Church of England was engaged in the liturgical revision that produced The Alternative Service Book 1980 and Common Worship (2000). The observations Dennis Peterson makes in the article are applicable and pertinent today to the liturgical revision in which the Anglican Church in North America is engaging. Its revision of the American Prayer Book is moving that book even closer to unreformed Catholicism than any previous revision of the American Prayer Book.

The Archbishop of York said to the General Synod in November 1985,' ... we did not face openly enough the major shift in doctrinal emphasis in the new services'. The Alternative Service Book 1980 (ASB) is moving towards the end of its life and revision is now in hand. It is therefore even more appropriate now to 'face openly enough the major shift in doctrinal emphasis', to consider what it was and what is its significance.

During the last few decades what might be called the 'Old Anglican' position (analogous to Old Catholic), that of The Book of Common Prayer, seems to have been largely untaught and increasingly unknown. A young ordinand told me he had never taken part in a 1662 Communion Service. It would be a grave dereliction of responsibility to ignore this major element in our Anglican heritage when considering further revision. Read More

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