Tag Archives: Anglicanism

Mark Galli on the recent troubles in AMIA (Anglican Mission in the Americas)


CT managing editor and AMIA minister Mark Galli on his denomination’s current troubles:

Some facts in the current crisis remain in dispute, and it will take months or years to sort them out. We need to understand what, in fact, was the relationship between Chuck Murphy and the Rwanda Province over the last few years. Continue reading

The making of the King James Bible, part I: Glimpses from Adam Nicolson


Cover of "God's Secretaries: The Making o...

Mr. Nicolson's fine book

These are the first of a few goodies I’ll be posting from Adam Nicolson’s book God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible, of which I posted a brief review (really just a few observations) here.

“James himself would be quite open to an examination of the theological basis of the Church of England. It was one of his areas of expertise and he was relaxed and even intrigued by the idea of discussing doctrine and the form of church ceremonial. He had been brawling with the Scottish Presbyterians on these subjects for years.” (38)

“But now in the summer and autumn of 1603, the existence of a Protestant state church made the Puritans’ task extremely tender. Precisely because the head of the church was also the head of state, it was critical for their cause to separate theological questions from political. They had to establish themselves as politically loyal even while asking for changes to the state religion and the form of the state church. . . . The Puritans were teetering along a narrow rock ledge and they wrapped their suggestions in swathes of submissive cotton wool.” (38 – 9) Continue reading

Anglican bishops operating as Catholic priests? What next, cats and dogs living together?


Benedict XVI with the Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey

Any headline involving the words “Oxford professor” (turns out it’s a church history professor, too!) and “hissy fit” has me intrigued, to say the least. Add the fact that I had no idea what an “Ordinariate” is, and I jumped right on this article from the London Telegraph’s blogsite. But first, to understand that oddball (to me) term, I had to read another article, about Church of England bishops jumping ship to become Roman Catholic:

The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to announce this week that two Church of England bishops are becoming Roman Catholics. Continue reading

Beyond C S Lewis: Glimpses of 20th-century British literary Christians from biographer Joseph Pearce


Cover of "Literary Converts: Spiritual In...

A Christian literary feast

One of the more fascinating books I’ve read in the last 10 years is a sort of group biography by the prolific Catholic writer Joseph Pearce. Called Literary Converts (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2000), this sprawling account leads us through a surprisingly large and varied network of 20th-century British literary Christians. Here are G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ronald Knox, T. S. Eliot, Dorothy L. Sayers, and many more. They all play their part in the spread of Christianity in English literary culture after the spiritual doldrums of the 1910s and 20s.

Pearce weaves themes and connections that will grip any fan of those writers who shares their faith. His keen eye for the telling detail, the revealing vignette, and the colorful anecdote make this book both a rich resource and a pleasure to read, if you can forgive the Roman Catholic triumphalism that emerges here and there along the way. Continue reading

C S Lewis’s spiritual formation: confession, purgatory, Mary, and other Catholic dimensions


Cover of

Cover via Amazon

I’ve long thought Protestantism has been hasty (as Luther himself was not) to eliminate the practice of confession to a priest–among other Roman Catholic (or the larger category: “catholic”) practices and beliefs. Once one clears away the typical Protestant misunderstandings (that the priest is a mediator who somehow offers absolution by his own authority, that he imposes penances as a way to “earn salvation,” etc.), this seems to me a healthy Christian discipline. Particularly it seems it would be helpful if the person to which one confessed were also one’s spiritual director, in the old tradition.

What follows are some notes taken at the Marion Wade Center, from a couple of sources by Lyle Dorsett. The first is an article peering into C S Lewis’s own practice of confession. The second is a group of excerpts from Dorsett’s book on Lewis’s spiritual development, and talks again about Lewis’s practice of confession, then also about his views on purgatory, Mary, and the Protestant-Roman Catholic divide.

Summarizing: Lewis shared some broadly “catholic” beliefs and practices with both the Roman Catholics and the Anglo-Catholics within his own Church. But he was far from teetering on the edge of conversion to Roman Catholicism, as Joseph Pearce has incorrectly (in my opinion) argued. Nonetheless, Lewis makes a good study in appropriating long-standing catholic practices while remaining Protestant in conviction and worship:

[Note: as you'll see, my inclusion of Mary in the title of this blog post is a bit of a red herring: Lewis was averse to Marian devotion.]

Dorsett, Lyle W. “C.S. Lewis and the Cowley Fathers.” Cowley 32 n.1 (Winter 2006): cover, 11-12.

In this article Dorsett writes especially about CSL’s Anglo-Catholic confessor and “director,” Father Walter Adams. Lewis began to see Adams in late October 1940, saying after his first confession to Father Adams “that the experience was like a tonic to his soul.” (11) Continue reading

How the Episcopalian and Eastern Orthodox Churches in America explored union–until a modern-day Orthodox saint did an about-face


Check out this Orthodox history Facebook site’s account of what happened when the Episcopalian and Eastern Orthodox Churches in America dialogued and neared union . . . until an orthodox saint named Raphael, who was the hinge of these talks, did an about-face . . .

Those odd, brilliant men and their scientific schemes: the religious back-story of the Royal Society


When I arrived at Christianity Today International back in 2002 as the fresh-faced managing editor of Christian History, I was told that our next issue was going to be on some aspect of science. Through our usual rollicking brainstorming process (how I miss those days), we narrowed the topic down to the scientific revolution–in particular, the faith of that revolution’s leaders. The result was Issue #76: The Christian Face of the Scientific Revolution.

Not only did I get to edit my very first issue of the magazine I had read and loved since the early ’80s, but I also got to write an article. I chose that fascinating cabal of brilliant and eccentric men: England’s Royal Society. And I soon discovered that those men, while sharing Christian faith, had to overcome ecclesiastical division: some were royalist Anglicans and some radical Puritans.

My research unearthed three “aha” moments: The first was how downright eccentric these people were: they collected bizarre oddments, proposed outlandish “silver-bullet” theories with the promise that they would change the world, and (many of them) continued to work the age-old magic of alchemy in the hope of forging gold from cheap materials.

The second surprise was that in the name of science, these religiously diverse people were able to work together in a time of significant national division across Anglican-Puritan lines. And the third was that in forging that unity, the members of the Royal Society quite unintentionally laid the groundwork for the deism that poisoned the well of 18th- and 19th-century Western faith. Here’s the story:

The Christian Virtuosi
The Royal Society defended religion but laid the groundwork for irreligion.
Chris Armstrong

November 28, 1660, a group of English thinkers gathered at Gresham College, London, to hear a lecture by the young astronomy professor and future architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Christopher Wren. As they talked among themselves after Wren’s lecture, they agreed to form a society dedicated, as their full, official name later stated, to “Improving Natural Knowledge.” Continue reading