NEW

Anglican Futures: Anglican Alphabet Spaghetti

Anglican Futures Anglican Alphabetti Spaghetti A dummies guide to the plethora of organisations and acronyms linked to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. I once spent some time around military personel.  Everything had its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym) right...

Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby The Good Samaritan A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway...

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) met in Synod on 18 June.  While there, they elected two suffragan bishops to aid Bishop Andy Lines in providing episcopal oversight for the overall work.  Bishop Lines also...

Pride Flags Causing Conflict at Christian School

Pride Flags Cause Conflict at Christian School Conflict has broken out in a Christian school in Oxfordshire over the display of “Pride” flags. The institution in question is Kingham Hill School.  The same Trust (Kingham Hill Trust) oversees Oak Hill College, an...

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers The Prayer Book Society, which will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary, is raising funds to put a special edition BCP into the hands of junior choristers around the nation.   The idea came to...

Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope Justin Welby Bloomsbury, 2018, new edn. 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-4729-8497-5, 322pp, £12.99) The Archbishop of Canterbury has made several notable political interventions recently, including over ‘partygate’ and the Rwanda deportation...

Birthday of Anglicanism in America

Birthday of Anglicanism in America By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins June 16, 1607 was the birthday of Anglicanism in America. On this day Captain John Smith and 104 others celebrated the Lord’s Supper when they arrived safely in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown was the...

Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

Barnabas Fund Reports Two Chibok Girls Found After 8 Years 24 June 2022 Two women, who were among hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok eight years ago, have been found. Hauwa Joseph was discovered among a group of other...

New Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

Church of Ireland News New Bishop Elected for Cashel, Ferns & Ossory The Church of Ireland diocese of Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory now has a bishop-elect.  The Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was elected to succeed the Rt Revd Michael...

Editorial: Lessons to be Learned from the American Pro-Life Movement

Editorial Lessons to be Learned from American Pro-Life Movement Friday, 24 June 2022, the Feast of St John the Baptist, will be a date which will live in infamy amongst the supporters of abortion.  On that date, the US Supreme Court, overturned the precedent set by...

The Mad Nun of Kent

The Mad Nun of Kent

By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins

“God Told Me …”

“God told me…” is a sure way to get what you want anyway and a tool for manipulating people from time immemorial. Who can argue against God? 

Elizabeth Barton, known as the “Mad Nun of Kent,” was executed on April 20, 1534 – the same year that the Church of England broke its connection with the pope and the Roman Catholic Church. She was a 16th century ecclesiastical rockstar and visionary. Barton was a servant girl in the small village of Aldington in Kent when, in 1525, she became ill and began to see visions. She was fanatical Roman Catholic who despised all things reformational, and especially Martin Luther. One unsympathetic observer at the time (Richard Morison) said that she eventually “confessed all, and uttered the very truth, which is this: that she never had visions in all her life, but all that ever she said was feigned of her imagination, only to satisfy the minds of them the which resorted unto her, and to obtain worldly praise” (see more in Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Thomas Cranmer).

At first Elizabeth was well received but she eventually ran into trouble with the highest authorities for her visions and sermons announcing that King Henry VIII would die soon if he divorced Katherine of Aragon (a Roman Catholic) and married Anne Boleyn (a convinced Protestant). In fact, Henry lived another fifteen years after his annulment and remarriage. Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell reportedly played the good-cop-bad-cop interrogating her, Cranmer the listener and Cromwell the “unsympathetic interrogator.” When Hugh Latimer joined in the interrogations it became clear that the Barton affair was intimately connected with the church’s breach with Rome and that her time on earth was short. Elizabeth Barton brought disgrace on the old Medieval Catholic establishment and helped paved the way for Archbishop Warham’s replacement (Thomas Cranmer), and eventually the English Reformation.

Protestants soon populated the Church of England, and in 1538 orders were given that an English Bible be placed “in some convenient place” in every church in England. God, of course, speaks in many ways and in any way he wishes, but the Bible is the means he chose to specially communicate with his people. In the Bible we hear more than the stinking puddles of people’s traditions (First Homily): we hear the path we will take that leads to embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life (Cranmer’s prayer for the 2nd Sunday of Advent). In it contains everything necessary for salvation and it’s message is abbreviated in the historic creeds (Thirty-nine Articles 6 and 8). The main theme of the Bible in both testaments is Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (Article 7). Holy Scripture (sola Scriptura) is the highest authority in the Anglican tradition over which all other authorities are judged – including “God told me.”

Phillip Cary was right, I believe: “I have good news for you: the voices in your heart are all your own. So you don’t have to get all anxious about figuring out which ones of your voices is God. None of them is. The revelation of God comes in another way, through the word of God in the Bible, and this is something you can find outside your heart” (Good News for Anxious Christians).

The Revd Chuck Collins is the Director of the Center for Reformation Anglicanism: www.anglicanism.info.

Previous

Next