American Orthodox

June 21, 2006

The Anglican Puzzle

Filed under: General Orthodoxy — americanorthodox @ 12:17 pm

Understand that I am not, and have never been an Anglican. I was a Roman Catholic before I became Orthodox. I have known many Anglicans, however, and have had at least as much exposure to them as other Protestant groups (most notably Campbellites of all three brands). Mine is an external perspective, though formed after a great deal of exposure.

I don’t want to seem like I’m picking on Anglicans, but of all the Protestant groups, they make the least sense to me. I’ve heard Anglicans say many times, “We’re more Catholic than the Pope!” meaning that they’re more liturgically conservative, yet Anglicanism is boiled down to the Lambeth Quadrilateral, a namby-pamby document that cut 95% of Christianity out of the equation in order to be more “inclusive” of the more Protestant factions.

Okay, so you prance around in church more than Catholics, but it’s perfectly okay to believe in the Mother Goddess instead of Jesus Christ? Explain how that makes you “more Catholic than the Pope,” please.

Anglican bishops don’t look like bishops; they look like Oxford professors. Anglicans don’t even address their bishops like bishops; they call them “Dr.” Yet, they’re “more Catholic than the Pope”? In whose little fantasy world?

At least Baptists are logically consistent. Anglicans like being “Catholic” when they’re at church, but not in faith, and nowhere else, not even when their bishop is present. Anglicanism has always made the least sense to me — I’m not picking on them because of the latest convention — and has always seemed superficial.

Only an Anglican could come up with the “branch theory,” which is their way of claiming Apostolic Succession, despite the fact that they excoummunicated themselves from Rome — and their Orders therefore become invalid — when they declared themselves a different church. In the “branch theory,” your Orders are valid if someone else whose Orders were valid consecrated you, and you’re valid even if you’re an atheist. Branch theory is the ultimate in Anglican superficiality: It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you had the right person consecrate you. Branch theory allows the Anglicans to see themselves as one branch of a tripartite Church, with Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy being the other two.

The Church is a community of shared faith. When you sever yourself from that faith, you sever yourself from the Church, no matter how many theories you come up with to validate yourself.

That does not mean that there are no orthodox Anglican Christians. But the solution is not to create another body, just as invalid as the Church of England has been since it first formed, but return to the Church. To Orthodoxy.

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