Beware of GAFCON - emerging from the Sydney diocese!
Traditional, faithful 'prayer book' Anglicanism is beautiful and magnificent. Catholic yet Reformed, it is Christianity at its best in my view. Sadly, though, much of modern Anglicanism has fallen prey to theological revisionism, moral relativism and spiritual lethargy. It sounds a little oxymoronic, but I'm a high-church evangelical Anglican myself (I suppose like John Wesley). Such churches are hard to come by in Australia though, were the evangelical ones tend to be decidedly very low-church while the high-church ones are typically non-evangelical. Are you familiar with any such churches in Melbourne or beyond?
I was brought up in the US CofE franchise currently known as The [one and only] Episcopal Church. As you know, brand control has escaped both TEC and the CofE, so I now have three flavors of Anglicanism within a few miles of my house: TEC, REC, and ACNA. It’s like trying to choose among Kentucky Fried Chicken, Church's, and Popeye's (all US purveyors of fried chicken.) Who’s got the original recipe?
After trying the Goldilocks method and finding it unsatisfactory (nothing was just right) I made the decision to completely alter my spiritual diet. After sampling the sparse fare of Evangelical Presbyterianism, (great for keeping lean and mean) I’m now a Missouri Synod Lutheran. It’s starchy and old fashioned, but so was the 1928 BCP era Episcopal church of my youth in many ways. Admittedly, sometimes a little hard to digest for someone not reared on such heavy provender, but it’s honest plain spiritual sustenance and I know they’ll serve me what’s on the menu, unlike TEC which promises a feast and delivers wax fruit.
I was raised Methodist, flittered with Presbyterianism as a young teen for a couple of years before I discovered patristics in my mid to late teens and became a strange hybrid of Methodist and Anglo-Catholic (with sympathetic leanings to Eastern Orthodoxy as well) due to attendance at an Anglican high school. 10 years later I then had a crisis of faith and realised I really couldn’t be a Protestant of any sort at all (after a trek through Confessional Lutheranism alongside my growing Anglo-Catholic leanings). The influence of one of my heroes, Cardinal Newman, was coming home to roost such that I ended up becoming Catholic via the Anglican Ordinariate after about a 8 year journey in the Protestant wilderness. And I still have my Eastern Catholic/Orthodox leanings as well after all these years. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
As a Baptist of sorts with Orthodox leanings I hear you on the deficiencies, but the sort of Anglicanism you’re espousing really isn’t an option here in Sydney. Not unless you’re prepared to travel long distance to the few that aren’t GAFCON style.
Fascinating article I started as an Anglican but I never found Jesus there it was through Pentecostal s that I met the zLord There is much that I like about Anglicans and I have attended many Anglican services but I find it too formal even the Contempary services and at times a little arrogant Pentecostal can be too One Anglican described being an Anglican alls lBlack CapNz cricket player AllBlack and Silver Fern. NZ netball player all rolled into one
Perhaps my biggest struggle is with Anglican way of doing Communion
I so appreciate that Communion is consistently available shame on the Pentecostal and Evangelicals
Dr Bird, what do suggest as guideposts to finding a church appropriate to doctrine and creed, and also to personal needs? I don’t want to become at home in a stuffy, exclusivist church environment.
This was helpful, thanks for sharing your journey. Do you feel that being "reformed" necessitates a 5-point Calvinist notion or as you moved away from Presbyterianism did you also move towards a less "pointed" stance on soteriology?
Someone asked me this question yesterday. If only my answer was as decent as yours...
I can appreciate a lot of what you are saying, but I could not be at home in any of our Episcopalian churches in America. They are much too liberal for my way of thinking and not at all evangelistic. I also am not at all Reformed in my doctrine, believing that God designed us to have Free Will.
I am really glad that you have found what works for you. Between my love for old hymns, egalitarianism and unborn babies, there seems to be no place for me. I hate dishonesty in the church, and there is too much of that for me. We have sadly come to the conclusion that church is just plain over for us. We do not like it, but find that attending a church is just too stressful. Between gay marriage, the deaths of the unborn, the lack of belief in Scripture, the stuck-up-ness of members, and in general, the alignment of most churches here with liberal causes, it just doesn't work anymore. I think it is horribly sad that most churches have the attitude that I should just sit down and shut up.