Maybe quite a few of you my readers, especially those who are not Anglicans, did not read through my rather long essay on the Church of England, despite my attempt to give it a catchy title. Perhaps rather more of you are interested in my various posts on Anabaptism. For your benefit, here is a summary of one of main points of my essay:
According to Rev John Richardson, who takes this idea Bishop Stephen Neill, there is no distinctively Anglican theology, and the only thing which distinguishes Anglican churches from others is their claim to be the catholic or universal church in certain countries, mostly those of the former British Empire. This claim can be traced back to Henry VIII’s presumption in setting himself up as the head of the Church of England. This is thus the very epitome of Christendom, the church being identified with the state. So I wondered how Tim Chesterton could claim that Anabaptism, which stresses the separation of church and state, could have anything to do with Anglicanism, especially in this area.
Tim responded in a comment that his idea of Anglicanism, from a Canadian perspective but also informed by his recent time in England, is fundamentally different from John’s very English viewpoint. For him, the Anglican church in Canada, and indeed anywhere apart from England, is a place for people who are “looking for something more sacramental without the hardline dogmatism of Rome, or something a bit less conservative than the evangelical churches.” So perhaps it is only in England where people are trying to be more reformed than Calvin or more catholic than the Pope while still calling themselves Anglican. This viewpoint is interesting, although I’m not sure it takes into account the position of the Global South group. But it is helpful for understanding the difficulties facing the Anglican Communion.
Meanwhile I am still waiting for the ninth part of Tim’s series ‘What does Anabaptism have to do with Anglicanism?’, in which he has promised in advance to outline “the church as a distinct community from the world” as an area of convergence between Anabaptism and Anglicanism. Perhaps the delay is because he is rethinking his position because of my comments – or perhaps just because he has been taking a weekend break.