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Are Anglicans Protestants?

Discussion in 'Denomination-specific Theology' started by sago, Feb 10, 2008.

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  1. sago

    sago Member

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    Genuine question, not being flippant.

    The church of england was founded as a state religion (under Henry 8) that initially followed catholic practice, and was reformed later (under Elizabeth I).

    It was never a 'protesting' church like the other reformed churches.

    Are anglican's protestants in that sense. In the sense that baptists, puritains, etc are.
     
  2. Till

    Till Guest

    Sago,

    What is your understanding of a "protesting" church? A church that is turning against the state, one that demands separation of state and church? In that sense almost none of the churches of the Reformation are Protestant, neither Anglicans, nor Lutherans, nor Calvinist - including Puritan - churches. All of them established something like a state church, indeed they specifically replaced the authority of the Pope over church matters with the authority of the rulers of the state.

    Also note where the word Protestant comes from. Quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant

    "The word Protestant is derived from the Latin protestatio meaning declaration which refers to the letter of protestation by Lutheran princes against the decision of the Diet of Speyer in 1529, which reaffirmed the edict of the Diet of Worms against the Reformation."

    What I am trying to get at is: It was the PRINCES who protested. Not the church. No separation of state and church there.
     
  3. Peter

    Peter Veteran

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    True, one of the things that the Romans get blasted for, ultimate rule even in affairs of state, were clearly practiced by those who later seperated themselves from Rome, like the Puritans. This is clearly seen when the people of Geneva declared they replaced the Pope with a far greater tyrant.

    Peter
     
  4. Cjwinnit

    Cjwinnit Advocatus Diaboli (Retired)

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    True. As an example, 26 Church of England bishops sit in Parliament.
     
  5. williamcobbet

    williamcobbet Junior Member

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    If anyone would like to read a fascinating book about Britain during and after the Reformation, it's called "Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland" by William Cobbett. Cobbett was a Protestant and he wrote this book in 1824.

    That's where I picked my name;)
     
  6. david01

    david01 Senior Veteran

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    Until the nineteenth century those who dissented from state churches such as the Church of England were known as Dissenters or NonConformists. That included Puritans, Quakers, Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Jews, and any other faith that did not give allegiance to the state church. In England these people were generally persecuted in one form or another.
     
  7. Iosias

    Iosias Senior Contributor

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  8. timbo81

    timbo81 Newbie

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    originally I believe so.

    There's a number of present day anglican churches though that are very wrong in their theology
     
  9. cbreviews

    cbreviews Guest

    One of the big differences was that during the English Reformation, the hierarchy of the English Church joined the king in breaking with Rome. Thus there was no need to overthrow the episcopacy since it assented to the change. The other difference was that it was not founded upon the theology of one man or a few men (a la Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin) but went about at a more careful pace in tossing off what it considered abuses. At times, more Protestant beliefs and practices have had the upper hands and at others more Catholic ones. Assuming you have not entered a revisionist parish (like most in the Episcopal Church), you could enter one parish and get the impression that Anglicanism is Reformed with a classier liturgy and go a few miles down the road and think Anglicanism is Catholicism without a pope. It is this range that has at times been a strength and at others been a decided weakness.
     
  10. billwald

    billwald Contributor

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    Anglicans are not Protestant because they had their own Catholic bishop before King Henry existed. Maybe there was a British bishop before the Roman Catholic Church split from the Orthodox Catholic Church.
     
  11. calluna

    calluna Regular Member

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    One must define Protestantism, and examine history with that definition in mind.

    The word 'Protestantism' should not be confused with protest, even if the word was originally derived from the idea of protest. (It may actually be derived from positive affirmation of the gospel, Pro Testamentum.) It stands for two (or three) very positive theological positions that pertain whether or not any other sort of religious body exists. These positions are that a) the Bible (66 books) is the sole arbiter in matters of faith and behaviour, and b) mankind can be justified by faith in the perfect righteousness of Christ, which is imputed to the faithful. A third tenet sometimes added is that of the exclusive priesthood of all believers, though this is just a logical extension of b), because those who are justified need no human priest or intermediary, and indeed cannot have any.

    Now does the CoE meet that definition? The relevant Articles of Faith of that denomination do indeed support all three tenets. (The Articles also use the word 'repugnant' of Rome's practices, and Anabaptism is also rejected, so there is certainly objection to other views.) While Anglican clerics are often called 'priests', the word is alleged to derive from 'presbyter', and is unrelated to the word sacerdos meaning a person offering sacrifices on behalf of the people. This is an ambiguity of the English language that is far too often disregarded- or taken advantage of, by Anglican clerics particularly.

    Now if Protestantism is a necessary belief of those 'born again', it is possible to be born again and an Anglican; or it was, before the advent of homosexual and female clerics, which seems to have almost put an end to the presence of the converted in the CoE. Even before that, as late as the 1960s, many Baptists, Brethren and the like accepted Anglican 'born agains' as brothers, though they did not think that the CoE was a very good home for Christians, controlled as it was by absentee bishops appointed ultimately by a secular leader. But of course the CoE is quintessentially a national church, and is intended to cater for all sorts and conditions of men. Since the Oxford Movement, one could and can be 'higher' than a Catholic in the CoE simply by ignoring the Articles that make it Protestant. Then there are the liberals, who are not even sure that there is a God, some of them. The CoE is to an extent a reflection of English society (and in some views, is not actually a church).

    Now this present modern admixture is of course very far from Henry's church, but his church was in many ways not a bit like the older CoE either, because it represented, not society, but Henry's autocratic view! It is therefore incorrect to say that the CoE was founded by him. He merely exchanged monarch for pope, and made virtually no theological or practical changes that were not entailed by that purely political act. The body over which Henry ruled was Ecclesia Anglicana, as Catholic, as directed, as before, in practice. Henry, who once hanged a man for eating meat on a Friday, would have had a thousand fits at the thought of the many theological changes that began even as his own body cooled, as it must have been said at the time.

    Having said all that, many found that the CoE did not go nearly far enough, and the proliferation of dissenting sects in 17th century England, though many of them were plainly off-beat, is clear evidence of that. Methodism, which put more emphasis on preaching and living the gospel, and the Baptists, who also found infant baptism wanting, constitute two of the movements that have survived because founded on serious Protestant values more closely than others.

    Whether any official denomination has truly fulfilled the tenets of Protestantism even now is very open to doubt. The current trend towards independent and house churches reflects a view that even the most Bible-based of the denominations is hardly any different in practice from the organisation that Henry rebuffed.
     
  12. later nonjuror

    later nonjuror Newbie

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    First of all you should, as it has been suggested previously, define what you mean by protestant?
    Classically a protestant is a Lutheran. The Church has never claimed that stance, but interestingly in 1791 the Roman Church claimed, in a letter to the Parliament, to be Dissenting Catholic Protestants, what ever that meant.?

    The Church of England was not founded by Henry the 8th, it was according to Tradition first found in Britain only four years after the Crucifixion. " Christ the True Son afforded His light, the knowledge of His precepts, to our Island in the last year of Tiberius Caesar." (Gildas the Wise.)

    Polydore Vergil and Baronius both Roman Catholic scholars agreed that,"Britain partly through Joseph of Arimathea was of all Kingdoms the first to receive the Gospel."

    Whilst Elizabeth in a letter to the apostate Marian Bishops, wrote that Anglican orders came from Arimathea , as they all knew well enough.

    The C.of E was founded under Henry the 8th.

    This is rubbish! Just when was the deed done? Where are the foundation documents.
    We can see well enough that a schismatic church was erected in those dark days, but it was an effort by the followers of the papacy, leaving the ancient church at the behest of the Council of Trent,(1564) and Pope in 1570.
     
  13. BigNorsk

    BigNorsk Contributor

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    In 1529 at the Diet of Speyer the Roman Catholic majority rescinded the tolerance that had been given Lutherans.

    A formal protest, a petition, was lodged by six German princes, and fourteen free German cities. These Germans were the Protestants, the protesting estates of Germany.

    The term is usually used now in a broader of even much broader meaning, but that's the origin of the term.

    Marv
     
  14. calluna

    calluna Regular Member

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    Possibly.
     
  15. BigNorsk

    BigNorsk Contributor

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    href="http://books.google.com/books?id=am...=PA45&ci=484,387,398,136&source=bookclip">The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge Embracing Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology and Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Biography from the Earliest Times to the Present Day By Johann Jakob Herzog, Philip Schaff, Albert Hauck, Samuel Macauley Jackson, Charles Colebrook Sherman, George William Gilmore, Lefferts A. Loetscher</a>
     
  16. calluna

    calluna Regular Member

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    This poster did not address the post that he should have.
     
  17. BigNorsk

    BigNorsk Contributor

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    Sure it addresses the question of whether Anglicans are Protestants.

    The answer is it depends on how you define the word.

    As it is normally used, sure they are.

    As originally coined, no.

    There is no one answer to such a question as the original, because there is no one definition of the word.

    I supplied the original definition so it could be seen. It was effectively coined by Roman Catholics and they tend to see those outside of the RCC in terms of being Protestants because they think of themselves as the one true church. They do usually make an exception for the Orthodox, though if you go back to the Great Schism, the Orthodox certainly complained about the practices of the RCC so some even use the term for the Orthodox but usually it is not used that way.

    Some people, such as many Baptists insist they are not Protestants because they have never protested to Rome. Some Anglicans also feel that way.

    Just look up "Protestant" in the Dictionary, and you can see all the usages, some of which would have Anglican as Protestants and some of which won't.

    Marv
     
  18. calluna

    calluna Regular Member

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    More evasion.
     
  19. later nonjuror

    later nonjuror Newbie

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    More evasion.?

    I still say that Anglicanism is not protestant in a religious sense.


    Anglicanism is no more than the distillation of two thousand years of Catholicity stemming from within the British Isles. The term was used in Elizabethan and Stuart times to oppose the political moves of the papacy to interfere in English politics. I.E. The Bull against Elizabeth and the attempt to assassinate James the First. Both these incidents stemming from the policy of the Roman Church.
     
  20. calluna

    calluna Regular Member

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    That appears to be a rather evasive sentence. The issue is whether or not the CoE is Protestant, not 'protestant', which is not in the dictionary. But whether the question is of, 'Was the CoE theologically Protestant?' or, 'Did it protest against and condemn Rome on grounds of religion?' the answer is that it fills both criteria, particularly the second.

    Even though it acts, in part, like an outpost of the Vatican.

    It has already been stated that the CoE's Articles use the word 'repugnant' of Rome's practices, so the above comment is made either in ignorance or as propaganda. But it is certainly made without due reference to English history, which most Americans should keep well clear of, due to colossal ignorance that would be embarrassing if Americans had the mental apparatus necessary to be embarrassed. Beginning with Wyclif, religious matters both theological and practical were at the very start and centre of English dissatisfaction with Rome. Every Reformer, including Anglican bishops, some of whom were martyred on grounds of 'heresy', religious faith only, described the papacy as antichrist.

    It is very true that there are many Anglicans who have back-tracked with great energy since those days of fire and sword. But, despite appearances, it is that heritage of martyrdom, of applying Biblical principles in both theology and daily living, that still defines the Anglican communion, as the furore over homosexuality and women bishops shows. It is a heritage beloved of a minority, in the Western 'developed' nations, but that evangelical minority is and always was the raison d'ĂȘtre of the CoE.
     
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