Monday, March 14, 2011

Post-Liberal Catholic Anglicanism?

It's been said that Anglicanism has three major parties: the Evangelical, the Anglo-Catholic, and the Liberal. There have been overlaps among these parties. It is not uncommon to find an Anglican seminary devoted to liberal Catholicism, and it is becoming increasingly common at Evangelical seminaries to have Anglican ordinands genuflecting, crossing themselves, thinking more and more highly of the ever-Blessed Virgin Mary, and longing for the baptismal font to be filled with Holy Water.

Given our theological training, I think it would be wrong to call us "Evangelical Catholics," even though we are "evangelical" in the classical sense of the word: we're Protestants. But, we resemble in our worship, practice, and ethos Liberal Catholicism more than we do American Evangelicalism. Our Yale-school teachers are sometimes called "Post-liberals." Does that make us Post-Liberal Catholics? If so, what are the contours of Post-Liberal Catholicism? How does it interact with the Reformation? Who are its guiding lights? Where might it take us in the future?

The label of Post-Liberal Catholic just seems to fit me and others I know. Where do you fall?


Jody+ said...


The term "High-Church Evangelical" or "Evangelical High-Churchman" has been around a long time. I would suggest Nockles' "The Oxford Movement in Context." Most of the older High Church party (prior to the tractarians and ritualists) would fall into this camp, including Bishop Ravenscroft of NC who organized the Diocese of TN, as well as Bishop Otey (from what I've read) among others. These older high-churchmen were at times supportive, and at other times against the Oxford movement.

I do think that Post-liberal theology is an important factor here because its critique of protestant liberalism has proven attractive to many, including some "post-evangelicals" (using the American understanding of the term) who have found their way into the Episcopal Church. Personally I've described myself as a High-Church Evangelical in the past, harkening back to this pre-tractarian strand of Anglican churchmanship mentioned above (exemplified by folk like Jeremy Taylor, Lancelot Andrewes, William Law etc...). I'm not sure that throwing around any of these terms in conversation is all that helpful given the inner-speech that could be set off by them, and the different things people think of when they hear them used. Maybe they could be useful in places where one has the time and ability to unpack them a bit.

Jason said...

Jody, I think that's fair. Thanks for the historical perspective and the resources. What kind of "inner-speech" do you think this might set off?

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