views updated May 23 2018


ANGLICANISM . Anglicanism, also called the Anglican Communion, is a federation of autonomous national and regional churches that are in full intercommunion through the archbishop of Canterbury of the Church of England. Anglican churches share a tradition of doctrine, polity, and liturgy stemming from the English Reformation of the sixteenth century. Often classified as Protestant, they also claim a Catholic heritage of faith and order from the ancient, undivided church.

Early History

The endeavor to hold together in a comprehensive middle way (via media ) the tensions of its Protestant and Catholic elements is characteristic of Anglicanism. This tradition is a legacy of the English Reformation, which was essentially an act of state, not a popular movement. Without the coercive power of the state Anglicanism might have died aborning. The long reign of Queen Elizabeth I (r. 15581603) ensured its survival.

Like her father, Henry VIII (r. 15091547), Elizabeth was determined to rule both church and state. The Act of Supremacy of 1559 changed Henry's title of "supreme head in earth of the Church of England" (1534) to that of "supreme governor." Elizabeth had no intention of submitting England to papal authority, which her sister, Mary I (r. 15531558), had restored. She was equally adamant against agitation for a presbyterian form of church government that would dispense with the royal supremacy, the episcopacy, and the liturgy.

The two editions of The Book of Common Prayer authorized in 1549 and 1552 under Edward VI (r. 15471553) were chiefly the work of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury (15331556), whom Queen Mary had burned as a heretic. Both books were Protestant in doctrine, but many ceremonies and ornaments from the Latin rites that were retained in 1549 were eliminated in 1552. Elizabeth preferred the 1549 prayer book. Parliament would accept only that of 1552, but the queen succeeded in making a few substantial changes in it. Pejorative references to the bishop of Rome were omitted. The 1,549 words of administration at Communion were added. Those additions clearly identified the consecrated bread and wine with the body and blood of Christ. Elizabeth eliminated a rubric stating that kneeling to receive Communion did not imply adoration of "any real and essential presence there being of Christ's natural flesh and blood," but she was unable to enforce a new rubric restoring the ornaments of the church as they had been specified in the second year of Edward VI's reign.

Many episcopal sees, including Canterbury, were vacant at Elizabeth's accession. Most of Mary's bishops were deprived of their offices for refusing to accept the new settlement. Careful to maintain the episcopal succession, Elizabeth chose Matthew Parker, a moderate reformer and a friend and admirer of Cranmer, to be archbishop of Canterbury. He was consecrated on December 17, 1559, by two bishops from Henry's time and two from Edward's. Vacant sees were filled with the queen's supporters.

In 1571 Parliament approved the Thirty-nine Articles, the only official confessional statement of Anglicanism, which are still included in most editions of the prayer book. They are not a complete system of doctrine but point out differences from Roman Catholicism and Anabaptism and indicate nuanced agreement with Lutheran and Reformed positions. The queen added in Article 20 the statement "The Church hath power to decree Rites and Ceremonies."

Elizabeth's settlement remains the foundation of Anglicanism. It affirms the status of the canonical scriptures as the final arbiter in all matters of doctrine and as containing all matters necessary to salvation. Traditions of the ancient church and teachings of the early Church Fathers, unless contrary to scripture, are treasured. The dogmatic decisions of the first four ecumenical councils on the Trinity and the Incarnation are accepted. Anglican liturgies regularly use the Apostles' and Nicene creeds and in some places the Athanasian Creed (Quicunque vult ).

Theology and Church Government

Today most Anglicans accept modern methods of literary and historical criticism of the scriptures and other religious documents. Anglicanism has never had a dominant theologian such as Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, or John Calvin. The apologetic work of Richard Hooker (15541600), Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, is still influential with its appeal to scripture, church tradition, reason, and experience. Anglican theology tends to be biblical, pastoral, and apologetic rather than dogmatic or confessional.

The Anglican polity is episcopal and preserves the ordained orders of bishops, presbyter-priests, and deacons that go back to apostolic times. There is no official doctrine of episcopacy. Some Anglicans consider it essential; others feel it is needed for the proper ordering or fullness of a truly catholic church. In negotiations for unity or intercommunion with other churches Anglicans insist that an unbroken succession of bishops, together with the other two orders, be maintained.

All Anglican churches are constitutionally governed, with each church having its own canons for executive and legislative authorities. Bishops, the clergy, and the laity participate in all synodical decision making, but a consensus of these orders, voting separately, is necessary for decisions about major doctrinal, liturgical, or canonical matters. Outside England bishops generally are elected by a synod of the diocese in which they will serve, subject to confirmation by other bishops and representative clergy and laity from each diocese.

The Church of England is the only contemporary Anglican church that is state-established. The archbishop of Canterbury has a primacy of honor among all Anglican bishops but has no jurisdiction outside his own diocese and province. The British Crown, after appropriate consultations, nominates the English bishops, who then are elected by their respective cathedral chapters. Parliament retains final control over doctrine and liturgy, but the Synodical Government Measure of 1969 gave the English church the freedom to order its internal life through a general synod of bishops, clergy, and laity.

In addition to the episcopate, Anglicanism is bonded by a common liturgy that is contained in various recensions of The Book of Common Prayer and is based on either the Elizabethan version of 1559 or that of 1549. Use of the prayer book is prescribed in all Anglican churches. With the Bible and a hymnal, it provides everything needed for the churches' rites and ceremonies. The prayer book has been in continuous use since the sixteenth century except for the years of the English Commonwealth (16451660), when it was proscribed for public and private use. It is the only vernacular liturgy of the Reformation period still in use.

The prayer-book formularies, many of them derived from the ancient church, are a principal source of doctrine and a primary basis of the spirituality of both the clergy and the laity. The daily and Sunday liturgies are set within the framework of the traditional seasons of the Christian year and the fixed feasts of Christ and the saints. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper (also called Holy Communion or Eucharist) generally are considered necessary to salvation.

Valid baptism is by water "in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." When they reach a competent age, persons who were baptized in infancy are expected to reaffirm the baptismal promises made by their parents or sponsors, at which time they receive confirmation by a bishop. The Eucharist, with invariable elements of bread and wine, consecrated by a thanksgiving prayer that includes Christ's "words of institution" at the last supper, is a memorial of Christ's once-for-all redemptive acts in which Christ is objectively present and effectually received in faith.

Churches outside England

For almost three centuries the expansion of Anglicanism was hindered by the Church of England's lack of an overall missionary strategy and its concept of a church that must be established by the state and sufficiently endowed. Within the British Isles the Church in Wales, whose roots go back to the ancient church in Roman Britain, was part of the province of Canterbury from the Norman Conquest of 1066 until its disestablishment and disendowment (the political actions that made the church independent of the government, and self-supporting) in 1920. It now uses Welsh as well as English in its liturgy.

The English Reformation was rejected by 90 percent of the people in Ireland, yet not until 1870 was the (Anglican) Church of Ireland disestablished and largely disendowed. Four Anglican dioceses now straddle the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Old enmities between the Irish church and its predominant Roman Catholic neighbor have diminished.

The Reformation in Scotland was predominantly presbyterian. A precarious Anglican episcopate was maintained by the Stuart sovereigns. For its loyalty to James II and his male descendants after their deposition by Parliament, the Scottish Episcopal Church was disestablished in 1689 and subjected to penal laws between 1715 and 1792. Yet it maintained its episcopal succession, revised its liturgy, and in 1784 consecrated its first American bishop, Samuel Seabury of Connecticut (17291797).

Beginning in Virginia in 1607, the English church came to be established in the American colonies from Maryland southward and in New York City. Except in Virginia Anglicans were outnumbered in the colonies by religious dissidents and refugees. The bishop of London exercised general supervision, yet no bishop visited America during the colonial period.

After a brief visit to Maryland the Reverend Thomas Bray (16581730) founded in 1701 the voluntary Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG).

The Archbishops of Canterbury
NameMade a BishopYears as ArchbishopNameMade a BishopYears as Archbishop
Augustine597601-604Thomas Bradwardine1349
Laurentius604604-619Simon Islip1349-1366
Mellitus604619-624Simon Langham13621366-res. 1368
Justus604624-627William Whittlesey13621368-1374
Honorius627-653Simon Sudbury13621375-1381
Deusdedit655-664William Courtenay13701381-1396
Theodore of Tarsus668-690Thomas arundel13741396-trans. 1397
Beorhtweald693-731Roger Walden1398-depr. 1399;
Tatwine731-734d. 1406
Nothelm735-739Thomas Arundelrest. 1399-1414
Cuthbeorht736740-760Henry Chichele14081414-1443
Breguwine761-764John Stafford14251443-1452
Jænbeorht765-792John Kemp14191452-1454
Æthelheard793-805Thomas Bourchier14351454-1486
Wulfred805-832John Morton14791486-1500
Feologild805-832Henry Dean14961501-1503
Ceolnoth833-870William Warham15021503-1532
Æthelred870-889Thomas Cranmer1533-1556
Plegmund890-914Reginald Pole1556-1558
Æthelhelm909914-923Matthew Parker1559-1575
Wulfhelm914923-942Edmund Grindal15591576-1583
Oda923942-958John Whitgift15771583-1604
Ælfsige951942-959Richard Bancroft15971604-1610
Beorhthelm956959-dep. 959George Abbot16091611-1633
Dunstn957960-988William Laud16211633-1645
Æthelgar980988-990William Juxon16331660-1663
Sigeric985990-994Gilbert Sheldon16601663-1677
Ælfric990995-1005William Sancroft1678-depr. 1691;
Ælfheah (Alphege)9841005-1012d. 1693
[martyred]John Tillotson1691-1694
Lyfing9991013-1020Thomas Tenison16921695-1715
Æthelnoth1020-1038William Wake17051716-1737
Eadsige10351038-1050John Potter17151737-1747
Robert of Jumièges10441051-exp. 1052;Thomas Herring17381747-1757
d. 1070Matthew Hutton17431757-1758
Stigand10431052-dep. 1070;Thomas Secker7351758-1768
d. 1072Frederick Cornwallis17501768-1783
Lanfranc1070-1089John Moore17751783-1805
Anselm1093-1109Charles Manners Sutton17921805-1828
Ralph d'Escures11081114-1122William Howley18131828-1848
William de Corbeil1123-1136John Bird Sumner18281848-1862
Theobald1139-1161Charles Thomas Longley18361862-1868
Thomas Becket1162-1170Archibald Campbell Tait18561868-1882
Richard (of Dover)1174-1184Edward White Benson18771883-1896
Baldwin11801185-1190Frederick Temple18691896-1902
Hubert Walter11891193-1205Randall Thomas Davidson18911903-ret. 1928;
Stephen Langton1207-1228d. 1930
Richard le Grant1229-1231Cosmo Gordon Lang19011928-ret. 1942;d. 1944
Edmund Rich1234-1240William Temple19211942-1944
Boniface of Savoy1245-1270Geoffrey Francis Fisher19321945-ret. 1961;
Robert Kilwardby1273-1278d. 1972
John Pecham (Peckham)1279-1292Arthur Michael Ramsey19521961-ret. 1974
Robert Winchelsey1294-1313Frederick Donald Coggan19561974-ret. 1980
Walter Reynolds13081313-1327Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie19701980-1991
Simon Mepeham1328-1333George Carey19871991-2002
John Stratford13231333-1348Rowan Williams19922003-

Until the American Revolution the SPG sent more than three hundred missionaries into the colonies. The revolution undid those accomplishments, with the Anglican clergy and laity becoming divided between American patriots and loyalists to the British Crown.

With independence, all SPG support was withdrawn. A large proportion of the clergy and laity had left for England or Canada. There were no more establishments, and in Virginia disendowment followed. The remaining clergy and laity, both patriots and loyalists, began to organize in state conventions. The consecration of Bishop Seabury for Connecticut by Scottish bishops, who were considered schismatic by the Church of England, spurred the English bishops to obtain an act of Parliament in June 1786 that enabled them to consecrate American bishops without the customary oaths of obedience to the royal supremacy and the archbishop of Canterbury. Three Americans were so consecrated: for Pennsylvania and New York in 1787 and for Virginia in 1790.

Under the leadership of Bishop William White of Pennsylvania (17481836) and Bishop Seabury, a national church that was formed at a general convention in 1789 adopted a constitution, canons, and a revised prayer book. By the General Convention in 1835 the Episcopal Church was strong enough to establish a concerted missionary strategy, and it organized the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, which to this day includes all its baptized members. A bishop was chosen to organize dioceses on the western frontier, and a bishop was resident in China in 1844 and in Japan in 1874. Liberia received its first bishop in 1851.

In England evangelical Anglicans, influenced by the revival movement of the Wesleys, in the late eighteenth century formed the Church Missionary Society, whose aims were comparable to those of the SPG. Later other voluntary missionary societies with special areas of interest arose. The Church of England was slow, however, in providing bishops for its burgeoning missions overseas, and voluntary societies could not provide them legally since bishops can be appointed only by the church, not by voluntary societies, even if they are affiliated with the church. Canada received its first bishop in 1787, followed by India in 1814, the West Indies in 1824, Australia in 1836, New Zealand in 1841, and South Africa in 1847.

Conflicts, Congresses, and Interfaith Dialogue

By the 1860s two internal conflicts were disturbing many Anglican churches: the emergence in some churches of modern biblical criticism and the rise of ritual and ceremonial practices influenced by the Tractarian (or Oxford) Movement of the 1830s and 1840s, which emphasized the Catholic heritage of Anglicanism. At the request of the Canadian bishops and with the counsel of his own convocation, Archbishop Longley of Canterbury invited all Anglican bishops to meet at his palace at Lambeth in London in 1867 for common consultation and encouragement. Seventy-six bishops attended. The success of that meeting led to similar Lambeth Conferences at approximately ten-year intervals except when the two world wars intervened.

The encyclical letters, resolutions, and reports of these conferences have no legislative, but only advisory, authority. They deal with internal Anglican affairs, ecumenical relations, and important social and ethical issues. The 1958 conference was the first to invite representative observers from other churches, both eastern and western, to attend. Anglican congresses in Minneapolis (1954) and Toronto (1964) of bishops and clergy and lay delegates from most of the Anglican dioceses, along with congresses in Lambeth (1958 and 1968), opened the way to new structures of Anglican intercommunication.

In 1960 the first Anglican executive officer, serving under the archbishop of Canterbury, was chosen. His duties were to visit and assess the problems of the various Anglican churches and promote communication and common strategy for missionary work among them. In 1971 the Anglican Consultative Council came into being, and the Anglican executive officer became its secretary general. The council meets every two or three years in different parts of the Anglican world. The archbishop of Canterbury is its president, but the council elects its own chairperson; to date three of the chairs have been laypersons. Members consist of representative bishops, clergy, and laity of the several Anglican churches. Its concerns are much the same as those of the Lambeth Conferences, and like them it has no legislative authority.

Anglicanism is strongly involved in endeavors for Christian unity. The 1888 Lambeth Conference proposed a fourfold basis for negotiations: the scriptures as "the rule and ultimate standard of faith"; the Apostles' and Nicene creeds as "sufficient statement of the Christian faith"; the sacraments of baptism and the Supper of the Lord as instituted by Christ; and "the Historic Episcopate, locally adapted to the varying needs of nations and peoples." This "Lambeth Quadrilateral" has been constantly reaffirmed.

The Episcopal Church under the leadership of Bishop Charles Henry Brent (18621929) planned the first World Conference on Faith and Order at Lausanne in 1927, over which Brent presided. Delegates from more than a hundred Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches attended. This movement became part of the World Council of Churches, constituted in 1948.

At Bonn in 1931 the Anglican Communion entered into an agreement with the Old Catholic churches of the Union of Utrecht (1889) for full intercommunion, which stated that this does "not require from either Communion the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion, or liturgical practice characteristic of the other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the Christian Faith." This concordat has been the basis of all intercommunion with non-Anglican Episcopal episcopal churches, which Anglicans call the Wider Episcopal Fellowship.

A member of this fellowship is the Philippine Independent Catholic Church, which split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1902 and in 1948 requested and received from the Episcopal Church the historical episcopal succession. In 1961 full intercommunion was established, and in 1965 the Philippine church became a member of the confederation of Old Catholic churches. A unique development began when Anglican dioceses joined with other Protestant churches in forming the Church of South India in 1947, with Anglicans providing the historical episcopate. The churches of North India, Pakistan, and (after national independence) Bangladesh subsequently were formed on the same basis. Intercommunion also has been established with the ancient Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar in India.

Serious efforts to achieve the future reunion of Anglicanism with the Roman Catholic Church began with an official visit of Archbishop Ramsey of Canterbury with Pope Paul VI in March 1966. A joint preparatory commission in 1967 and 1968 sorted major theological issues for dialogue and made recommendations for areas of cooperation. Between 1970 and 1981 the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission published substantial agreements on eucharistic doctrine, ministry, and ordination and two agreements on authority in the church. Those agreements were gathered, with some elucidations, in the commission's Final Report (1982). When Pope John Paul II visited Britain in 1982, he and Archbishop Runcie signed the "Common Declaration" at Canterbury Cathedral on June 29 for a new commission to study further theological issues, pastoral problems, and practical steps for "the next stage" toward unity.

Anglican-Lutheran international dialogues took place between 1970 and 1972. The ensuing report has been influential in an official Lutheran-Episcopal dialogue in the United States. In September 1982 three Lutheran bodies, in the process of uniting, agreed with the Episcopal Church to celebrate an interim shared Eucharist on specified occasions as a step toward closer unity in doctrine, liturgy, and ministry. Moves toward ecumenism between the the Church of England and other European denominations and between the American Episcopal Church and other denominations continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Such dialogues recall expectations voiced in the encyclical letter of the 1948 Lambeth Conference that, no doubt, was influenced by the formation of the Church of South India the year before:

Reunion of any part of our Communion with other denominations in its own area must make the resulting Church no longer simply Anglican, but something more comprehensive. The Anglican Communion would be merged in a much larger Communion of National or Regional Churches, in full communion with one another, united in all the terms of what is known as the Lambeth Quadrilateral.

In addition to developments related to the ecumenical movement, a significant change in the Anglican Communion during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been its growth in African and Asian countries. Whereas there are currently about 26,000,000 Anglicans in England; 2,400,000 in the United States; about 4,000,000 in Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and Polynesia; and about 700,000 in Canada, the real growth of Anglican churches has occurred elsewhere. There are over 41,500,000 Anglicans in Africa, with Nigeria alone accounting for 17,500,000. Indeed, the independence of African countries that was won after World War II led to an increased rate of conversion to Anglican churches even in areas that had never been colonies of Britain. The leadership and clergy of African Anglican churches are also indigenous in a way they were not before the collapse of nineteenth- and twentieth-century colonialism. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference bishops from Africa and Asia (224 and 95, respectively) outnumbered those from Europe, the United States, and Canada combined (316). A resolution affirming traditional disapproval of homosexually active clergy passed largely because of support from African bishops.

Current differences of opinion on ethical issues in the Anglican Communion, especially those related to the ordination of women and the morality of homosexuality, often reflect geographical differences. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.) first allowed the ordination of women in 1976, an event that was prompted by two instances of retired bishops ordaining female deacons to the priesthood without official approval on July 29, 1974, in Philadelphia and on September 7, 1975, in Washington, D.C. The first female Episcopal bishop, Barbara Harris, was elected in 1989. The General Synod of the Church of England voted in favor of allowing the ordination of women on November 11, 1992; in 1975 it had narrowly voted that it had "no fundamental objections" to women's ordination.

However, these developments have not met with approval throughout the Anglican Communion, with the churches and bishops in Africa and Asia notably opposed to such changes. In 1998 the Eames Commission, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission on Communion and Women in the Episcopate, reported that no ordination of women to any clerical office was at that time allowed in the provinces of Central Africa, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Korea, Melanesia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, South East Asia, and Tanzania. Other provinces allow women's ordination to the deaconate but not to the priesthood. Only a few provinces allow women's ordination as both deacons and priests and allow the election of a woman as bishop.

Similarly, there has been disagreement about the morality of same-sex unions and the ordination of openly gay or lesbian Christians to the priesthood. When the Episcopal Church in the United States allowed the election of an openly gay man as bishop of Vermont in 2003, that event caused much controversy within and among Anglican communions, with the most vociferous disapproval being voiced by African bishops.

Since its beginning as a national, Protestant church in England in the sixteenth century, the Anglican communion has grown into a worldwide, diverse federation of churches bound together by a respect for a common tradition of doctrine, liturgy, and polity. The different churches draw on a past that includes both Protestant and Catholic elements. The loosely structured, federated nature of the communion may frustrate some attempts at greater unity and conformity, but it also may enable survival, and perhaps even flourishing, of the church in an increasingly international world.

See Also

Cranmer, Thomas; Hooker, Richard.


For official church documents and reports, see the Official Report of the Lambeth Conference for 1988 (London) and 1998 (Harrisburg, Pa.). See also the Official Year Book of the Church of England, published each year. For surveys of Anglicanism with a bibliography, see J. W. C. Wand, Anglicanism in History and Today (London, 1961); Stephen C. Neill, Anglicanism, 3d ed. (Baltimore, 1965). See also Hugh Gerard Gibson Herklots, Frontiers of the Church: The Making of the Anglican Communion (London, 1961); Paul D. L. Avis, Church, State, and Establishment (London, 2001); Paul D. L. Avis, Anglican Understanding of the Church: An Introduction (London, 2000); Christopher Webber, Welcome to the Episcopal Church: An Introduction to its History, Faith, and Worship (Harrisburg, Pa., 1999); Andrew Wingate, et al., eds., Anglicanism: A Global Communion (London, 1998).

On The Book of Common Prayer, including its texts and sources (15491662), see Frank E. Brightman, The English Rite, 2d ed., 2 vols. (London, 1921); Geoffrey J. Cuming, A History of Anglican Liturgy, 2d ed. (London, 1980). For Anglican worship from an ecumenical and artistic perspective, see Horton Davies, Worship and Theology in England, 5 vols. (Princeton, N.J., 19611975). For AnglicanRoman Catholic relations, see Bernard Pawley and Margaret Pawley, Rome and Canterbury through Four Centuries: A Study of the Relations between the Church of Rome and the Anglican Churches, 15301973, with a large bibliography and an American epilogue by Arthur A. Vogel (New York, 1975).

On recent developments regarding the ordination of women, see Pamela W. Darling, New Wine: The Story of Women Transforming Leadership and Power in the Episcopal Church (Cambridge, Mass., 1994); Susan Dowell and Jane Williams, Bread, Wine and Women: The Ordination Debate in the Church of England (London, 1994).

Massey H. Shepherd, Jr. (1987)

Dale B. Martin (2005)


views updated Jun 08 2018


This entry surveys the origin, establishment, and history of the Church of England.

Origins. The Church of England was established and given its powers by the English crown in Parliament in 1559. The first Parliament of Queen Elizabeth I during the Easter of that year promulgated two acts concerning religion: by the Act of Supremacy the Queen was declared to be "the only supreme governor of this realm as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes, as temporal," and the authority of the pope was wholly repudiated; by the Act of Uniformity, though all the bishops in the House of Lords voted against it, the book of common prayer was made the sole service book to be used in all English churches on and after the forthcoming feast day of St. John the Baptist. All existing service books, missals, pontificals, and the like, were henceforth forbidden to be used. Any priest, for example, who said Mass in England was to lose his income for one year and go to prison for six months. A second conviction was to bring one year's imprisonment and loss of his benefice and clerical dignities. A third conviction was to bring life imprisonment. An act passed later in Elizabeth's reign ordered all priests to leave the country within 40 days under pain of death for high treason.

The movement toward the establishment of a state church in England had been begun by Henry VIII, the father of Elizabeth I. It had been continued during the reign of his youthful successor, Edward VI, when Thomas cranmer, Archbishop of canterbury, had produced his first edition of the Book of Common Prayer in 1549. This book contained an outline of the Mass service in English with Communion under both kinds. In 1552 Cranmer's second edition, showing the significant influence of Continental Protestants. It was thoroughly Protestant in word and attitude. After Edward VI's death in 1553, his sister, Queen Mary, restored Catholicism; but her

death and the accession of her sister, Elizabeth, repudiated that whole process. Elizabeth herself, or her ministers, wished to impose the first Book of Common Prayer as the standard text for all church services. Parliament, however, was dominated by a group of erstwhile Marian exiles and their sympathizers who were pressing hard to impose Calvinistic views on the English Church. The upshot was a compromise on the second Book of Common Prayer. This was further than Elizabeth's government had wished to go, but it was not Protestant enough for the agitators in Parliament. This Elizabethan settlement of religion, therefore, had no body of supporters for at least a generation, until those who had been brought up under its aegis gradually worked out its defense. Among the most notable of these was Richard hooker.

A series of thirty-nine articles of religion, similar to those of Cranmer in Edward VI's reign, were promulgated in 1563. These articles, while not a complete statement of Anglican belief, have remained authoritative to such an extent that all ordinands were henceforward required to subscribe to them and likewise all oxford and Cambridge graduates until 1871. The articles contained many fundamental Christian teachings, an assertion of Elizabeth's power in Church and State, a statement that general councils of the Church were not necessarily infallible, a recognition of only two Sacraments, namely, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and a declaration that what Catholics believed about the Mass was "a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit." This last assertion was included in the 1571 edition of the Thirty-Nine Articles when it was clear that there could be no hope of reconciling convinced Catholics to the Elizabethan settlement of religion after the pope's excommunication of the queen (Regnans in Excelsis ) and his order to her subjects (1570) to cease to obey her government. This decree encouraged on the one hand a more thorough persecution of Catholics on the ground that they must be traitors, and on the other, renewed efforts of many Catholics to overthrow Elizabeth's government; a few preferred exile. In contrast, the puritans, as the more extreme Protestants of Elizabeth's reign were called, sought to overthrow the compromise in favor of presbyterianism. While the government steadily opposed both Catholic and Puritan efforts to change the religious settlement, it did little or nothing to help the archbishop of Canterbury to foster Anglicanism. A major problem was to find Anglican preachers; another was to ensure uniformity of ritual. Puritanism, however, continued to grow both in numbers and in political influence by uniting itself with the increasing numbers of opponents to royal policy in the Elizabethan and Stuart Parliaments.

Historical Development. In 1604 the Hampton Court Conference set up by King James I emphasized the irreconcilability of Anglicanism and Puritanism. Meanwhile, a number of vigorous and intellectually gifted churchmen, generally known as the Caroline divines, among them Lancelot andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, and William laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, were giving an example of churchmanship that would have more than ensured Anglicanism's supremacy over Puritanism if the monarchy had not become financially dependent on Parliament. The political consequences of the Civil War and the events culminating in the revolution of 1688 made it clear that Puritanism, once divested of its political supporters, could not supplant Anglicanism as the established religion; that uniformity of religious belief and practice could not be enforced by the State; and that, as a consequence, England must accept the presence of numerous religious sects. As a result of the refusal of many Anglicans to recognize the supersession of the Stuart dynasty by the Hanoverian, and partly because of the close, political control exercised by the Whigs over Anglican prelates, the Established Church came, in the 18th century, to take on the appearance of a major department of state. One important group in the Church adopted a religious outlook known as latitudinarianism. This group endeavored so to ally itself with what were thought to be the requirements of scientific thought as to accept beliefs that to many seemed non-Christian.

The general decline of the spiritual health of Anglicanism in the 18th century was partly halted by the rise of evangelicalism. This movement stressed the importance of personal religion and paid little heed to ritualism and church organization. Its greatest exponents were John wesley and George whitefield. Evangelicalism became a great influence for social reform, and one of its achievements was the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire in the first half of the 19th century. One group of Evangelicals, however, left the Church of England and formed the various sects of Methodism that became a powerful religious and social force in the industrial areas of 19th-century England to which the Church of England was slow to penetrate.

Benthamism, which exerted so much power over the political, legal, and social life of England, was not without effect on the religious life of the nation. This was seen in the demands for reform of the financial structure of the Established Church and, chiefly, for the reduction of the immense incomes of prelates and an increase in the small stipends of the lower clergy. There was also much dissatisfaction with the notorious pluralism and nepotism. In 1827, for example, three-fifths of all Anglican incumbents were nonresident.

Tractarians. Contemporary with this reforming spirit appeared the anglo-catholics, a group that sprang from the tractarian movement led by John keble, John Henry newman, and Edward pusey. These Tractarians, affected by the Romanticism of the time, with its idealization of the Gothic ages, took a growing interest in the Catholic, as distinguished from the Evangelical or Protestant, view of Anglicanism. That is, they stressed the Anglican links with the medieval Church in belief, ritual, and organization. Their ideas were spread in a long series of tracts published in the face of mounting opposition from Anglican Church leaders, who forbade the continuance of the tracts. One effect of this opposition was to cause many of the Tractarians, led by John Henry Newman, to enter the Catholic Church. The increasing campaign of the Anglican bishops against the ritualism of these high church clergy, as the Tractarians were called, culminated in the passage by Parliament with the encouragement of Archbishop Archibald Tait of Canterbury, of the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874, whereby those Anglican clergymen who in their services diverged too far from the prescriptions of the Book of Common Prayer could be more easily punished in the ecclesiastical courts. The High Church continued, however, its slow growth; and it now represents a major grouping in the Church of England, though the crown has shown a steady reluctance to advance its adherents to the episcopate. The other major group in the modern Church consists in the successors to the Evangelicals, the low church group, whose outlook has not changed much in the last century, though some of them have continued the Latitudinarian ideas of a past age and have become known as broad church group.

The Anglican Church has always taken pride in its comprehensiveness and has sought to make little inquiry into the beliefs of its members as long as they were prepared to worship publicly in the forms prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer. However, the growth of unauthorized ritualistic practices and the desire to reform the Prayer Book led to the production of a new Book after 20 years of effort and with the authority of the bishops. Parliament, however, rejected it in 1927. A somewhat revised Book was submitted to Parliament in the following year and again vetoed. Much chagrined by its evident subjection to Parliament, many members of the Church of England make use of the 1928 Book.

Two 19th-century events had important consequences for the Church of England. In 1853 John William Colenso became the first bishop of the See of Natal. Biblical studies in which he denied traditional Christian doctrines concerning hell, the Sacraments, and the Pentateuch appeared under his name; and he was, in consequence, deposed by his metropolitan, Robert Gray of Capetown. Colenso repudiated Capetown's jurisdiction and appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England, which declared in his favor. Though his metropolitan consecrated another bishop of Natal, Colenso refused to yield and by means of the civil courts kept possession of his cathedral and his episcopal income. Backed by members of his diocese, Colenso never gave way and the schism continued long after his death, despite the efforts of successive archbishops of Canterbury to end it.

As a result of the publication in 1860 of Essays and Reviews, advocating freedom of inquiry into religious beliefs, two of the seven authors were officially condemned by the archbishop and bishops of the Province of Canterbury. However, the two defendants had the judgment quashed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The opposition to the book was so strong, nevertheless, that 11,000 clergymen of the Church of England joined in a declaration of their belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible and in the existence of hell. As a result of these events in the English Church, a synod of the Anglican Church in Canada in 1865 appealed for the holding of a general council of the Anglican Churches to issue an official statement of belief. Though agreement on such a statement proved impossible, such a council did meet at Lambeth Palace, the official home in London of the archbishop of Canterbury, under the archbishop's presidency. Similar meetings have been held at more or less 10-year intervals ever since. At the first lambeth conference in 1867, there were 76 bishops present; in 1908, there were 242; in 1920 there were 252; and in 1958 there were 310 bishops in attendance. The conferences have no executive authority and their resolutions have no binding force on Anglicans, but they enjoy great moral prestige and are obvious expressions of some contemporary Anglican thought and teaching.

Anglican Doctrine. In 1888 a series of four propositions, originally adopted at a general convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Chicago in 1886, were promulgated by the Lambeth Conference of that year as a statement of basic Anglican beliefs. These propositions subsequently known as the lambeth quadrilateral, represented an official declaration of fundamental Anglicanism. They were as follows: The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain all things necessary to salvation and are the rule and ultimate standard of faith. The Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed are a sufficient statement of the Christian faith. The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself, namely, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord, ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him are a necessary part of the Christian life. The historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His church, is also a necessary part of Christian life.

This Lambeth Quadrilateral was issued primarily to provide a basis for discussion on reunion with the other Protestant Churches of England and elsewhere. In 1897 it was again declared to represent the mind of the Anglican Communion and to it was added the statement: "we believe that we have been Providentially entrusted with our part of the Catholic and Apostolic inheritance bequeathed by our Lord."

This Quadrilateral together with the report of the Archbishops' (of Canterbury and York) Committee on Doctrine in the Church of England, published in 1938, represent two major statements of Anglican belief in modern times.

The fact of establishment has come to mean less and less in the effective religious life of England. The sovereign, who must be a member of the Church of England and must swear at the coronation ceremony to uphold it, receives the title of defender of the faith, originally bestowed on Henry VIII by the pope but assumed by sub-sequent monarchs by parliamentary grant. The archbishop of Canterbury has the right of anointing and crowning the monarch. All diocesan bishops are appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the prime minister and all clergy take an oath of allegiance to the monarch. The bishops take precedence over the peerage and the 24 senior bishops and the two archbishops have a right to a seat in the House of Lords. (Anglican clergymen and Catholic priests are legally disqualified from sitting in the House of Commons.)

To many Anglicans the advantages of establishment are outweighed by the benefits that would follow a complete break with the State and it is likely that support for disestablishment will continue to grow. Many Anglicans regard their Church as continuing the ancient Catholic Church of England, differing only in a substitution of State authority for papal authority since the 16th century.

Ecclesiastical Organization. The Church of England is organized into 2 provinces, Canterbury and York, and their suffragan dioceses. Authority in matters of belief and practice is exercised, under the supreme jurisdiction of Parliament, by the Convocations of Canterbury and York. A convocation comprises the archbishop, an upper house of bishops, and a lower house of representatives of each cathedral chapter, archdeacons, and elected clergy. There is also the Church Assembly established in 1919 at the request of the two Convocations and composed of three houses of bishops, clergy, and laity to propose ecclesiastical legislation for parliamentary approval. The Church Assembly has a general supervisory authority over the bodies dealing with the Church's work in education, the training of ministers and general Church work in England and abroad. The costs and expenses are shared between the Church and the State.

The Church of England has a system of ecclesiastical courts chiefly concerned with maintaining discipline among its clergy. Until the second half of the 19th century, the Church so dominated the ancient Oxford and Cambridge Universities that they were, in effect, Anglican seminaries. This atmosphere has gone and only certain professorships are still reserved to Anglican clerics.

Anglican Societies. In 1698 a group of Anglicans set up The society for promoting christian knowledge, which has worked with much success to promote education and missionary work. It built many Church primary schools and teachers' training colleges both in England and in missionary lands. It is also widely known for its extensive publishing of religious literature. While the society for the propagation of the gospel was to share its work abroad, the National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church, founded in 1811, was a chief agent in the provision of primary schools in England and Wales before the State began its own national program in 1870. They received government grants from 1833 onward. The National Society also set up training colleges for teachers. After 1870 these Church schools remained independent, but they received State aid after 1902. As a consequence of the Act of 1944, the schools came increasingly under local government control though the teaching of Anglicanism was not interfered with.

The year 1701 saw the foundation of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. This Anglican organization sought not only to evangelize native peoples but also to minister to British people living abroad.

Bibliography: h. h. henson, The Church of England (Cam-bridge 1939). c. f. garbett, Church and State in England (London 1950). p. e. more and f. l. cross, eds. Anglicanism (Milwaukee 1935). s. neill, Anglicanism (New York 1977). a. m. stephenson, Anglicanism and the Lambeth Conferences (London 1978). g. ro-well, The Vision Glorious: Themes and Personalities of the Catholic revival in Anglicanism (Oxford 1983). j. whale, The Anglican Church Today: The Future of Anglicanism (London 1988). j. davies, The Caroline Captivity of the Church: Charles I and the Remoulding of Anglicanism, 16251641 (Oxford 1992). w.l. sachs, The Transformation of Anglicanism: From State Church to Global Communion (Cambridge 1993). a.e. mcgrath, The Renewal of Anglicanism (Harrisburg, Pa. 1993). v. strudwick, Is the Anglican Church Catholic?: The Catholicity of Anglicanism (London 1994). g. rowell, The English Religious Tradition and the Genius of Anglicanism (Nashville, Tenn. 1992). s. r. white, Authority and Anglicanism (London 1996). s. sykes and j. e. booty, eds., The Study of Anglicanism (London 1998). a. wingate, Anglicanism: A Global Communion (London 1998). i. t. douglas and p. l. kwok, Beyond Colonial Anglicanism: The Anglican Communion in the Twenty-first Century (New York 2001). d.w. hardy, Finding the Church: The Dynamic Truth of Anglicanism (London 2001).

[e. mcdermott/eds.]


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Anglicanism, from the Latin Anglicana ecclesia (lit., English Church), as found in clause 1 of Magna Carta, 1215, used to differentiate the ‘English Church’ from the Church elsewhere in Europe even if under the jurisdiction of the king of England: it was subsequently, in the Act of Supremacy in 1534, described as the Church of England, which Henry VIII also described as Anglicana Ecclesia to distinguish it as the Church over which he alone had the power of authority and reform. ‘Anglicanism’ is now used to describe the diverse character, practice, and faith of 37 autonomous Churches of the international Anglican Communion and its c.70 million members world-wide. It is held together by the Lambeth Conferences, Primates' meetings, and the Anglican Consultative Council. Structurally, therefore, it resembles the diffused but collegial responsibilities of the Orthodox Church much more than it does the centralizing control of the Vatican in Roman Catholicism. In different parts of the Anglican Communion it may carry a different name, as e.g. ECUSA (the Episcopal Church in the USA), the Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Holy Catholic Church of Japan). In addition to the Provinces of Canterbury and York, the main Churches and Provinces are in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia; Australia; Brazil; Burundi; Canada; Central Africa; Indian Ocean; Ireland; Japan; Jerusalem and the Middle East; Kenya; Korea; Melanesia; Mexico; Myanmar; Nigeria; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Rwanda; Scotland; SE Asia; S. Africa; S. Cone of America; Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda; USA; Wales; W. Africa; W. Indies; Zaire.

Anglicanism is an episcopal (with bishops) Church, in continuity with Catholicism, but also accepting much from the Reformation. It is thus described as ‘both Catholic and reformed’. The via media ‘Reformed Catholicism’ of the 17th cent. ‘Caroline Divines’ is deemed more in keeping with the spirit of Anglicanism today than the strong Protestantism of Bishop Jewel's earlier Apology of the Church of England (1562); and via media has often been used as a description of Anglicanism. This ‘comprehensiveness’ is the experience of shared and tolerating faith which characterizes such Anglicans as Richard Hooker, William Temple and Desmond Tutu.

There is nevertheless a common focus in that Anglican theology is based on an appeal to scripture, tradition, and reason, expanded in the dictum of Lancelot Andrewes: ‘One canon,… two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries and the series of fathers in that period … determine the boundary of our faith.’ Comprehensiveness involves a necessary agreement on certain ‘Fundamentals’ (as the 1968 Lambeth report stressed) and a containing of both Protestant and Catholic elements in a national Church. It may thus still be ‘the privilege of a particular vocation’, as the 1948 Lambeth Conference held, for the Anglican Communion to contain in microcosm the diversity elsewhere divided into disparate denominations.

Anglicanism's pioneering role in ecumenicism had an early start (e.g., individual explorations of reunion with the Orthodox), but takes its rise in modern times from the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (usually referred to simply as the Lambeth Quadrilateral) of 1888, prompted by W. R. Huntingdon's The Church Idea (1870). It identifies four elements ‘on which approach may be, by God's blessing, made toward Home Reunion’, namely, the holy scriptures as containing all things necessary for salvation, the Creeds as the sufficient statement of Christian faith, the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and ‘the Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations called of God into the Unity of His Church.’ There have been some practical results, as in the former Churches of N. and S. India: Methodists and Anglicans are close to recovering the unity from which they began; in 1993, conversations between British and Irish Anglican Churches and Nordic and Baltic Lutheran Churches produced the Porvoo Common Statement (the Porvoo Declaration, 1993), which called for a relationship of communion, with structures for collegial consultation and interchangeable ministries; this was approved by participating Churches in 1995. Otherwise, there have been continuing agreed statements and conversations, as with Lutherans, Reformed Churches, Orthodoxy and Roman Catholics (see ARCIC).

Underlying all of the foregoing has been a long and deep commitment to a practical spirituality.

It is a tradition in which a creationist poet like Thomas Traherne, an apologist like C. S. Lewis, or a writer like T. S. Eliot can equally explore God's truth in Christ in relation to the glory and misery and mystery of life; it is a tradition which turned Wilberforce to the abolition of slavery and Archbishop Trevor Huddleston to the abolition of apartheid. It is the theological and spiritual context in which an incarnational sacramentalism prevails.


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see Christianity, Anglicanism, Issues in Science and Religion


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Anglicanism. See Church of England.

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