For a more historical presentation of Anglicanism, please read this article from Wikipedia.org first.
Anglicanism – Wikipedia.org
My opinion of Anglicanism is that it is more or less “warmed over Catholicism”. Much of the structure and practice of Anglicanism comes directly from Catholicism. Once you understand the origin of the Anglican church (a refusal of Catholics to submit to Rome), then you see their historical and philosophical framework, i.e. they are Catholics of a non-Rome sort. During the formation of Anglicanism in England, there were a group of Catholic priests that went into Anglicanism, and there was a group that refused and stayed loyal to the Roman Catholic church (even until today). In reference to this, please see the Oxford Movement, which is a movement of returning Anglican clergy back into the church of Roman. Bishop Newman was one that returned to Roman Catholicism from being an Anglican priest.
- 1 History of Anglicism
- 2 Anglican’s pro-Catholic points
- 3 Anglican’s anti-Catholic points
- 4 Fundamentalism and Anglican Non-Conformist
- 5 Anglican Church admits it was wrong and returns to Rome
- 6 Some comments on Anglicanism
- 7 Some interesting things about Anglicans
- 8 Why read Anglican authors?
- 9 Conclusion
History of Anglicism
Anglicanism grew out of the churches that grouped under the pope in the sixth century, after being separate churches before that time: in essence, this made them ‘Roman’. The Roman Catholic church did not really exist until about the third century, when churches in the known world decided it was apostate, casting it out from their midst. So, any influences from Rome came between about 300-700 AD, but in increasing strength. The sixth century was decisive because of different opinions on the actual date of Easter.
So, up until the sixth century Britain was independent and partly Celtic in its faith and practices. Sadly, from the sixth century most churches owed their allegiance to Rome. So, Romish beliefs and practices had a marked effect on all the churches in Britain from that time onwards.
The actual ‘birth’ of Anglicanism, though, was when Henry the Eighth broke away from Rome over his various marriage ‘problems’. At that time he took on the title of ‘Defender of the Faith’ (‘Faith’ referring to Christianity based on scripture), rejecting the authority of the pope. ‘Church of England’ and ‘Anglicanism’ are the same thing.
Henry passed several laws in 1534 that deprived Rome of any authority over Britain, and Parliament elected him to be “the supreme head of the church in England” (The Act of Supremacy’). He was thus a rival to the pope.
Yet, Anglicanism mixed Reformation and Roman Catholic teachings together, so it is true to say that even the fledgling Church of England was structurally Romish, with many Roman teachings still in its new regime.
Since that time, Anglicanism has steadily mixed Roman teachings with its own. It is my view that Anglicanism is heretical and is returning in phases to Rome and the pope; this is its own claim, too. Elizabeth 1st attempted to get rid of Catholicism and installed more Protestant doctrinal teachings. Anglican use of communion (Eucharist), centrally offered prayer, and recitation of the liturgy, was, and still is, very Catholic in presentation. So is praise and even worship of Mary. The Puritans left Anglicanism because of this Romanist leaning, becoming known as ‘Non-Conformists’, who were persecuted and imprisoned for their true form of faith. In many ways, Anglicans are modern Pharisees, because they prefer rites and traditions to personal faith given by grace. They even wear garments that portray their reliance on pomp and tradition. There are ‘priests’ and many layers of clerical offices, even though Christ demolished this kind of fake religion when He was on this earth: His death brought in the ‘New Testament’ that had no place for priests. (Quoted from http://christiandoctrine.com/christian-doctrine/heresy-and-error/1816-what-is-anglicanism-)
So in reality, Anglicanism is “warmed-over” Catholicism sort of. It has a lot of its foundations squarely in the same beliefs and practices of Catholicism (priests, mass, an exaltation of Mary, etc), yet it is distinctly different from Catholicism on some points (no allegiance to the Pope in Rome, etc). They mix heresy with some good beliefs (Trinity, the deity of Christ, etc). They have a hodge-podge of things that really is a mixture of some little truth and a lot of error. The Anglican church has internal confusion as the present leadership is moving to accept homosexuality among its members and clergy.
Having examined Anglicanism history a bit, I would like to clarify some points.
Anglican’s pro-Catholic points
- They have priests, mass, worship icons, Mary worship, infant baptism that saves, apostolic succession, etc.
- They have an archbishop structure parallel with Catholicism, where the archbishop of Canterbury is equivalent to the Pope.
Anglican’s anti-Catholic points
- They do have some excellent works against Catholicism.
- They were influential in various points in history (especially Protestant history), such as the translation/creation of the King James Version (all Anglican men).
Having put forth these clarifications, let me explain what I think has happened with them. When the Anglican (English Catholic Church) broke with world Catholicism, they wanted to distance themselves from universal (Roman) Catholicism. They looked for points in which to be different from Roman Catholicism, and that apparently was directly by many of them into studying Scripture to reveal the falseness of Roman Catholicism. My issues with Anglicans are seen in the above “Pro-Catholic Points” where they continued essential Catholicism and placing them into a highly doubtful position as far as if Anglicans are saved.
My most strongly felt opposition is on the issue of salvation. Anglicans that believe that baptizing their infants, or in good works to be saved are not saved. That is a false concept of salvation, and with that position, they cannot be considered brethren.
I have read many Anglican authors, and my own personal opinion is that some of these writers seem to have a very good grasp of Scripture on various subjects. Some probably better than any Protestant writers. I don’t understand how such men can hold to false concepts of salvation and yet write such good books on the exposition of Scripture, but it happens. My own personal view is that Anglicanism is probably as varied as any other group, and not everybody that is in the group holds to all of the false doctrines and practices in the group, but they don’t want to make an issue on those things so that goes along with the party line. This would make them people who would publicly hold to whatever the official party line is, but in private opinion, they would hedge on those doctrinal issues.
I would note that the KJV translators did not translate “bautizo” into immersion like a pure translation of the concept would be, but created a new English word, “baptize” so that they could leave the mode in doubt, protecting their infant baptism. (It is hard to push infant baptism if you hold to the only scriptural mode as immersion. You drown the baby, and most parents are not really for that. It’s a hard sell for the church. So sprinkling on their forehead is the way out of that problem for Anglicans and Presbyterians.)
Fundamentalism and Anglican Non-Conformist
Having said all of the above, let me also put forth a comment from my Fundamentalist viewpoint. I do not wish to validate in any way unbiblical beliefs and practices like works salvation nor baptismal regeneration. There is a lot in Anglicanism that is just unbiblical. However, as a Fundamentalist I have a great interest in church history and the “move” of groups and movements, especially in studying how error derails truth, and how God appears to work in men to bring back that truth, even if in part.
From the early beginnings of Anglicanism, there were people who “dissented” (called the dissenters) from which Quakers, non-conformist Anglicans, etc. evolved, united with, or identified with. See the Wikipedia article on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonconformism The interesting part of this is Anglicans recognized that Anglicanism as historically known was wrong. These writers and preachers would be the better quality material for reading and studying among general Anglican writers. Within the Anglican group, you can find extremes of people tilting back and falling into Roman Catholicism (Oxford movement) and those who would break away completely (Puritans and Presbyterians) or almost completely (Non-conformists, Scottish Free Church, etc). In 1851 a census was taken of Anglicans and the break down at that time was about even between non-conformists and traditional Anglican views (as per wikipedia.org article mentioned above).
I see some of these Anglican authors as having interesting and extremely good material in their works. Not everything they say may be accepted without checking back with Scripture, but that is the truth with any book you read except the Bible itself.
Anglican Church admits it was wrong and returns to Rome
LONDON, Mar. 31 – Ending a 440-year standoff, the Church of England admitted it was wrong and returned unharmed to the Catholic Church early yesterday morning. Henry VIII, deceased, created the Anglican Church 470 years ago in a fit of adulterous pique, and it has had no ecumenical contact with the Roman Catholic Church ever since, said Church spokesmen. But after eating a heavy supper and watching the popular Vatican cartoon, SuperPope, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey, was unable to sleep and found himself thinking about the church and why there were two.
In the morning he called Pope John Paul II and said he was sorry. After a brief negotiation the two pontiffs agreed to return the Anglican Church and all its members, liens, titles, chattel, and possessions, to the Mother Church in Rome and to never break up again. Vatican spokesmen claim that the Pope was so excited he almost let women into the priesthood. Arch Bishops close to the pope claim that he knew this would happen all along, he just was not sure when.
In Eingland the mood was somber as disappointed Anglicans destroyed their birth control devices and began purchasing religious icons. The episcopal sees were dissolved this morning, and a special committee of bishops was dispatched to Balmoral to explain transubstantiation to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. While there, they are also expected to install a small statue of the Virgin Mary on the front lawn, which will be lit with a soft blue light year round.
Some comments on Anglicanism
By David Cox
Let me explain that I disagree with Anglicanism. The very fact that they came from or were born in the Roman Catholic church means everything they do needs to be compared with Roman Catholic dogma and practice. What they follow from their former Catholicism, and where they did not break from those erroneous positions is a problem for them.
So they are just warmed over Catholics. Perhaps they have more spiritual discernment of the Bible that a typical Catholic, and I would grant them that in some cases, but I don’t think that is enough to say that they are saved, nor that they are biblical in general. They make good strong points of error in Catholicism when they want to fight Catholicism. But that in itself doesn’t make them saved, or make their position and practice what we should follow.
Some interesting things about Anglicans
Within Anglicanism, they are very confused. While they come from Catholicism, and that being the case, they also rejected Catholicism in breaking away, so they “want” to find errors of Catholicism to distinguish themselves from the Catholic Church.
But at the same time, they find a lot of Catholicism still deeply entrenched within their Anglican traditions (that itself being a Catholic hold over). In some cases, they make excellent points against Catholicism, but at the same, they practice the Catholicism “system” essentially.
See these articles:
In a perfect world, we should never have to read from authors in groups and movements that are different from our own. We don’t live in a perfect world. Unfortunately for me, being a Fundamental Independent Baptist, there are very few writers or works being produced by people in my own group. Baptists rarely seem to want to write thorough, well studied and documented works. Some Anglican authors do have well-studied material. For example, Bullinger’s Bible Companion contains a great deal of general information on the Bible. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, J.C. Ryles works, Westcott works, and many others are very helpful, inspiring, and classical works in Christianity. It would be a shame to exclude them by painting ALL Anglicans as being bad.
I would read some of these Anglican authors, but I would not recommend them to new believers. There are rock solid doctrinal works out there that you should be going through way before these works.
But there are some people that want to go deeper and read more broadly. For those people, read these Anglican works, but be careful not to fall for everything that they write.
I would not discard all Anglican writers and writing. There are some excellent works put out by some of them. I personally use the King James Version, so that is the product of an Anglican group of men. But at the same time, you need to be wary of certain issues when reading.
You should check and reflect on any mention of salvation in the context of baptism. The author might see the two as being the same thing. Likewise any mention of salvation by works. While Anglicans have held over many Roman Catholic beliefs and practices, it is a very different kind of belief and practice than straight Roman Catholicism. Most Roman Catholic theologians follow the officially given Roman line of doctrine. Anglicans don’t seem to be that strongly tied to “our doctrine is what the Pope says it is”. In reality, their reasoning is more from scriptural arguments which in the end, come in on what scripture says about scripture. Don’t get me wrong, Anglicans are not necessarily all “biblical” in their interpretations and practices. But from what I have seen they tend more towards that line of thinking that pure Roman Catholics. That being the case, they do have value in their writings, but only if you are aware of their issues and problems, and not accept these when they insert some of that into their teaching.
I would not direct new Christians into reading Anglican works in general. But I would recommend them to read the Anglican version, the King James Version. These works should be read by Christians that are well mature, and grounded in their own faith.
For more public errors of the Anglican Church see the Heresies of Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori derided individual salvation calling it ‘the great Western heresy: that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.’ … Jefferts Schori said it was a “heresy” to believe that an individual can be saved through personal faith and trust in Jesus Christ acknowledged in a prayer of repentance. source
More Articles on Anglicanism, Church of England
- Total Depravity: 5. Righteous men delivering their own souls
- Total Depravity: 6. Can a person please God?
- Bible Versions
- Verses that refute Limited Atonement
- FP: Identifying a False Prophet
- FP: Unshackled from God’s Will
- FP: False prophets worship other gods
- FP: Using Scripture or Following Scripture?
- FP: The Burden to Confront Sin
- Problems with Calvary Chapel Movement
- FP: More Characteristics of False Prophets
- FP: The Bad Fruit of a False Prophet part 2
- Emergent Church Errors part1
- Fruit of a False Prophet and the Bible
- FP: Overview of the False Prophet
- Emergent Church Marks pt 2
- FP: Fruit of a False Prophet Willfulness part 4
- FP: The Fruit of a False Prophet Obedience part 3
- Emergent Church Refutation
- FP: Fruit of a False Prophet other gods part 5
More on Anglican Errors
- The Anglican Church Exposed!
The 10 Most Deadly Heresies Affecting American Churches in These Last Days
See point 1. Salvation by faith plus works