Sunday, Sep 17, 2006: “Anglicanism: Session 1”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary

Lecture Series Led By Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, September 17, 2006

Anglicanism, Session 1, notes


When did the Church in England begin?

· legend has beginnings in the first century

· Tertullian (c. 200): parts of Britain, inaccessible to the Romans, have been “conquered by Christ”

· 597 mission of Augustine of Canterbury


When did “Anglicanism” begin?

· first English chaplains serving abroad in the 17th century?

· consecration of Samuel Seabury in 1784?

· first Lambeth Conference in 1867?


To understand worldwide Anglicanism, one must begin with realization that the English Reformation was not about conversion but obedience. (p. 2) i.e. not about doctrine, but authority


Church in England evolved greatly, and in changing directions over the years and centuries since the Reformation. Much of that change was due to the need to adapt to different lands, cultures and was of governing. Church in America; severed ties with England at the time of the Revolution; the king was the focus of authority; now what? Churches in other nations developed with different forms of government, different views of authority, therefore with different forms of “Church”


pp. 6-7: ties to European culture — and arrogance

p. 5: “The idea of a national church acting independently of others has remained at the heart of Anglicanism” Challenge of independence, of autonomy, is still the great challenge of Anglicanism

setting of the Reformation:

· must take into account Europe’s history, economy, education, politics

· Rome and the Holy Roman Empire: provided unity of culture, religion, language, exercise of authority (both secular and religious) for centuries; now breaking down

· Church’s concern for unity and power


Henry VIII


· religiously conservative; Fidei Defensor (Leo X in 1521)

· marriage to Catherine of Aragon; Arthur’s wife; dispensation from Julius II

· perhaps saw lack of a son as God’s punishment for his marriage; also wanted a son because unity of England was still somewhat tenuous following the War of the Roses; sought annulment from Clement VII, who was then a virtual prisoner of Charles V, Catherine’s nephew; also, an annulment would have meant that the pope’s predecessor was wrong in granting the dispensation in the first place

· Thomas Wolsey: Lord Chancellor; bishop at 23; Archbishop of York; Cardinal at 28 (by Pope at Henry’s request); in 1529, was almost elected Pope; wielded great civil and religious power; unable to obtain annulment

· Thomas Cranmer: consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury in 1529 with Pope’s approval (even though he had associated with the so-called “heretics” and had married the niece of one of them)

· Henry declared to be “Singular Protector, only and supreme Lord, and, as far as the law of Christ allows, even Supreme Head” of the Church in England; as time went on, the phrase “as far as the law of Christ allows” was dropped

· led to a breach with Rome: the breach with Rome came first, the Reformation came later


“Act of Restraint of Appeals” enacted, forbidding any appeal to Rome in ecclesiastical cases.


Henry had been secretly married to Ann Boleyn in January 1533, when he was still married to Catherine, and Ann was pregnant. On May 23, Cranmer declared Henry’s marriage to Catherine null and void. On May 28, Henry’s marriage to Ann was announced. On June 1, she was crowned as queen. On July 11, Henry was excommunicated. On September 7, Elizabeth was born.


All power in the Church in England now resided in the King and in the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Some bishops began encouraging the reading of the Bible in English, the teaching of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, and more attention to preaching. (cf. Moorman, page 170, last 3 lines). During the 1530s, anti-papal feeling brought about the destruction of many shrines, including the one to Thomas Becket at Canterbury. Clergy began to marry. Masses were said in English (even though it was still illegal).


In 1538 the Great Bible, based on the work of William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, was published, and copies began to be found in all English churches.


Henry and the dissolution of the monasteries


In his later years, Henry began assuming more and more authority, including authority related to church doctrine. He issued a set of articles of faith, seeking to make it “an act abolishing diversity of opinion.” (6 topics: cf. Moorman, p. 178, top). His final book, A Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man (a.k.a. “The King’s Book) was a temporary triumph for the reactionaries.


Henry had asserted national autonomy for the Church in England. Because of Anglicanism’s roots in national autonomy, it has always been prone to ever-increasing diversity as its churches have spread across the globe.