Friday, October 28, 2005

Anglo-Catholic: Does It Really Exist?

I used to think so. I've read about the Oxford Movement and it's effect on the Anglican Communion. I've always attended "high-church" Episcopal services and always believed in the catholic teaching from an Anglican perspective. But with all that is going on in the Episcopal Church and in the greater Anglican Communion, I am starting to realize that it's all an illusion. There is no Anglican perspective to Catholicity. After all, John Henry Newman saw the futility of the Oxford Movement that he was so much a part of that he eventually became Catholic. He was even one of the Catholic Church's best cardinals! There is such a wide variance of beliefs within ECUSA and the Anglican Communion that one can't even express what the church as a whole believes. There is no central authority to keep heretical provinces/bishops/priests in check. ECUSA has became a Unitarian mess with no stated theology that can be uniformly professed and greater Anglicanism is split by different provinces with beliefs completely opposite of one another.
Since the topic of Anglicanism's Catholicity has been a recent debate amongst the religious blog-o-sphere, I couldn't help thinking about "Jews for Jesus." Why not just be Christian? They want to remain Jewish and still proclaim Jesus Christ as their savior. It's impossible. You can't be Jewish and Christian at the same time. Just as in the same way you can't be Anglo-Catholic. If you want to be Catholic, be a Catholic! When I think about my reasons of not becoming a Catholic I am at a loss. I believe in all the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Why am I not Catholic? One might say, "It's because of the Pope." To which I would respond, what's wrong with the Pope?! Now, if I had asked the question in the middle ages or even in the 16th century I would be able to understand not being Catholic because of the Pope...Kind of.
Sure the Catholic Church has had corrupt popes, but there has always been someone to counter it and get them back on track. When looking at the history of the Catholic Church and all that it has gone through and realizing that it is still going strong, you can't help but to believe that the hand of God is at work there. And look at the beginnings of the Anglican Church. Why did it break away? Honestly! Because Henry VIII was so pompous and full of conceit that he didn't want to accept that the Pope wouldn't let him divorce his wife and get married again. Where is the validity in that? "Marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God." This applies to King's as well.
This is a confusing time in my life right now. The thought of leaving my church in one denomination for a different denomination is scary. But do I want to stay in a church that's validity is questionable because I am comfortable or do I want to be in a church that I am certain is upholding and teaching the One True Catholic and Apostolic Faith?
Maybe I will finally add Catholic to the "Irish and Dangerous" title....


geoffrobinson said...

2 things:

1) Why can't you believe in Jesus the Jewish Messiah and be Jewish at the same time? Why is that impossible? The Book of Acts would contradict you on that point.

2) The problem many have with the pope is that he has taken authority for himself (i.e., the head of the entire church) which belongs to Christ alone.

Danny Garland Jr. said...

Thanks for responding.

I agree that you can be Jewish and believe in Jesus. My point was why not call yourself a Christian then? The Jews of Acts were called Christians because they believe in Jesus Christ. Excuse my ignorance on the matter of Jews for Jesus, but that is something I have never understood. Sure, you can be part of the Jewish race and believe in Jesus, but as for as what you call your religion if you believe in Jesus would you call it Christianity or Judiasm. I would think Christianity. Please correct me if I am wrong and excuse my ignorance.

On the Second note, I would argue that Jesus bestowed the duty of being the head of the church on earth to Peter (Peter=Rock. Peter is the rock that the church is built on) and subsequent popes are the successor to Peter in leading the church. That is why there is so much attention shown to the conclave that elects the pope. Cardinals are called to choose a pope that is revealed to them through the Holy Spirit.

geoffrobinson said...

Being Jewish and being Christian are not in opposition to each other. Jesus is both fully God and fully man. Well, you can be fully Jewish and fully a believer in the Jewish Messiah. It would be Christianity. You have to divorce yourself of the notion that Christianity is not Jewish and I think all will become better understood in your head. Many years of sociology go into that, so I'm not picking on you.

In regards to the pope, I don't believe Jesus was establishing the papacy in that instance. Here is an article which goes over early patristic understandings of that passage:

The concept of the papacy took many years to develop and has evolved much over time.

DilexitPrior said...

I'm not going to step into the middle of this debate because it's late and I'm tired right now, but just in glancing over your blog Danny I thought you might be interested in a book called "St. Peter Lives in Rome: An Anglican Priest Discovers the Papacy."

It's written by a Catholic theologian who converted after spending over a dozen years as an Anglican priest. He did not become a Catholic priest, but rather went on to get his doctorate in theology at St. Thomas Pontifical University in Rome (he did his masters at Oxford while still an Anglican priest) and is now a theology professor at a Catholic college.

You can read a short article on the book at:

Another good book for anyone who's interested is Stephen Ray's book called "Upon This Rock."

DilexitPrior said...

ok, well the link didn't really work out, but if you go to and click on News & Events and scroll down almost to the bottom of the page you'll find the article on the book listed there.

I messed up on the subtitle too by accident ;-). Not that it matters, but the subtitle is actually "An Anglican Discovers the Ministry of the Pope."

Danny Garland Jr. said...

Thanks for the book suggestions. I will check them out!

Danny Garland Jr. said...

Geoff you said:

"Well, you can be fully Jewish and fully a believer in the Jewish Messiah. It would be Christianity."

That's exactly the point I was making!

geoffrobinson said...

I just haven't found the historical evidence for the papacy convincing at all. Given the catechism's new position on people outside of the faith being able to be saved, infallibility is out the window. And I'm not sure you can claim valid apostolic succession after the Babylonian captivity of the church. So it hasn't been a live issue with me for a long while.

Back to the other point, why do they still identify as Jews? Well, because they still are. And many Gentiles as well as pretty much every Jewish person tell them they aren't Jewish anymore.