Sunday, January 20, 2008

Anglicanism: the richest, truest, wisest heritage in Christendom?

[This is an introductory post to a series that can be read by clicking HERE.]

When I was maturing as a Christian in my 20s, we chose not to defend the denomination of our heritage. Of course! Instead we defended the Gospel (if indeed it can be defended). We were not into being 'Anglican', we were into Jesus. We believed that the Anglican church was a good place to preach the gospel, but that is as far as the denomination was useful. We talked about the Anglican Church as a 'real estate agent' - an owner of property - and that was it.

The reason, then, that I pursued faith within the Anglican denomination was simple: Absolutely everybody who was significant in my Christian faith was Anglican (or trained as Anglican). I figured that out pretty easily. And almost all of them had trained at an Anglican Seminary in the city in which I grew up. So I put 2 and 2 together: if they could give me Christ, then I could pass Him on.

So off I went to seminary.

Here in the United States, denominations (for better or worse) play a large part in people's lives. The heritage of many here in the US counts for something. Christ Church NYC has formed itself as a church in the "evangelical Anglican tradition." So I have had to think more about being 'Anglican' than ever before. And yet at the same time, we have wanted to (of course) remain dynamic, Spirit-filled, Bible-based, God-entranced, and Christ-focused.

On Monday, I want to begin presenting to you Dr. Paul Barnett's "Ten Elements of Historic Anglicanism". Dr. Barnett was the Anglican Bishop of North Sydney from 1990-2001. Dr. Barnett's Ten Elements were inspired by the comments of J.I. Packer in "Speculating in Anglican Futures" in New Directions (Sept 1995), 6.

I emailed Dr. Barnett and he has agreed to let me post his Ten Elements. Dr Barnett concludes the article thus:
I echo and endorse the sentiment of J.I.Packer that, "Anglicanism embodies the richest, truest, wisest heritage in Christendom."
Strong endorsement, yes?

Would you like to hear Dr Barnett's 10 reasons why being Anglican might be this significant? And my own thought processes along the way?

Yes or No?

_______________________
Pic on Flickr by petecarr.

13 comments:

Paul said...

yay

william said...

Don't most people believe, deep down, that their own traditions are the richest, truest, and wisest? That is, if you really knew another tradition that was “truer” than your own, wouldn't you just switch?

Regardless, I'm interested in hearing the reasons, even if I am just a Presbyterian.

Warren Dodson said...

Absolutely. God has blessed me in so many ways since joining an evangelical Anglican church. Yet I wonder why so much of what I love about this tradition seems to mean so little to many Anglicans and be actively opposed by many others. I wonder if I appreciate Anglicanism or just one stream thereof. And if the latter, in what sense do I or should I have any sense of denominational loyalty. So I am very much looking forward to your posts.

Justin said...

William, Thanks for your comment.

Don't most people believe, deep down, that their own traditions are the richest, truest, and wisest?

Maybe. Although I'm not sure that many people ever think about it.

But even so, what would your 10 reasons be that Presbyterianism is the 'richest, truest and wisest tradition in Christendom'. If you wrote about that, William, I would be the first to read it!

That is, if you really knew another tradition that was “truer” than your own, wouldn't you just switch?

Is it ever that simple?

Regardless, I'm interested in hearing the reasons, even if I am just a Presbyterian.

That exactly how I felt about the 10 reasons. How would one argue their case about this?

Stay tuned!

Louisa said...

I am very interested. Like you, I have always been less concerned about denomination and more concerned about Jesus, yet an Anglican because it's the church I've heard the gospel preached most clearly in. I have now worked in an Anglican church for about 5 years and while there is much I appreciate about the tradition I must say that I am far less convinced than when I started (about Anglicanism that is). Looking forward to the next few posts!

michael jensen said...

Yes. Just GET ON WITH IT.

Samuel Lago said...

Hello Justin!

I am currently writing from the cradle of Anglicanism -England (no longer in Chile).

I'd love to hear you talk about this, as I personally agree with Packer's assesment.

william said...

But even so, what would your 10 reasons be that Presbyterianism is the 'richest, truest and wisest tradition in Christendom'.

Well, my guess is that it's not the best in several categories. On the other hand, I think it might have gotten a few things right. I was trying to be a bit cheeky with my comment; I myself am evidence against it. But perhaps somewhere down the line I'll take up your challenge.

sam said...

Convince me!

Justin said...

Heya Sam.

Good to hear from you. It is a provocative claim, isn't it?

I'm posting these ten reasons that Paul Barnett gives. Tell me if they hold any power for you, mate.

But...no problemo if they don't.

mark said...

yes please do!

Murray said...

Of course it's true, but I wouldn't mind seeing it explained clearly why it's true.

Justin said...

Murray -- this is the introductory post at the beginning of the series.

Click here to see it explained. Read from the Bottom up.

Thanks.