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"Reformation Christians" and Anglicans

Piggybacking on this and this.

William Witt avers in the first discussion linked above,

The long and short of it is, I am highly in favor of ecumenism (with Rome and Orthodoxy). At the same time, I think that the only proper way for ecumenical relations to move forward is that those of us who are Reformation Christians need to recognize that there are reasons that we are not Roman Catholics or Orthodox, and that progress can only take place if ecumenical discussion is a two-way street.

Something else struck me this afternoon about Witt's use of the term "Reformation Christians" with reference to his pro-WO party.  Not only have I pointed out something of the irony of Witt & Company's claim to be "Reformation Christians", since all of the Reformers, English and Continental alike, would have viewed their innovation with horror and contempt, but Witt & Company's "Reformation Christian" theological methodology is wholly unAnglican.  Let me explain.

As almost any Anglican theologian or church historian worth his salt would tell you, the English Reformation was unlike the Continental Reformation both in terms of its conservatism and its stated appeal to the Church Fathers.  It was this very thing that was responsible for stopping the Calvinist trajectory in its tracks under Elizabeth.  The Calvinist trajectory being thus supplanted, Anglican divinity embarked on another trajectory which sought to flesh out what the English Reformers claimed about their ressourcement project.  Anglicanism took a decidedly Catholic turn under Elizabeth, and then Hooker.  The Caroline divines became the bridge between Hooker and the Tractarians, Old High Church complaints about the latter notwithstanding. 

As for the "Continuing Reformation Christians" in the Church of England and her offspring, well, they went in two directions.  One party became fellow travelers with the "Reformation Christians" on the Continent who morphed into to radical liberal Protestantism.  The other party became fellow travelers with the "Reformation Christians" on the Continent (and Scotland)  who morphed into radical conservative Protestantism. 

The kind of "Reformation Christian" with which Dr. Witt and his gang associate themselves seems to be a hybrid of the two.   On the one hand we see this commitment to egalitarianism and feminism that find roots in the radical liberal party, but we see as well a commitment to the radical conservative party that takes the sola scriptura and semper reformanda principles to the nth degree.  It's a real witches brew, one that is bubbling in "Evangelical" circles outside of Realignment Anglican ranks. Think of any number of today's Evangelical spokesmen (and, more importantly, its spokeswomen).

Classical Anglicanism, which sought to establish its place in the Great Tradition, has no place for this kind of "Reformation Christianity."  It took a completely different tack.  We will either affirm it, and behave accordingly, or we'll become something else.  Unless they humbly change their minds, Witt & Company have no part in Classical Anglicanism.  In that event, I guess we'll have to let them be "Reformation Christians."

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