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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...

Infant Baptism & Regeneration

The charitable language of Thomas Cranmer’s baptism service has been a problem in Church of England history. Some hear the seeing-now-that-this-child-is-regenerate language in the baptism liturgy and assume that Anglicans hold to the Roman Catholic understanding of baptismal regeneration. But the Church of England, and Thomas Cranmer in particular, did not have this in mind. In the 1530s the archbishop was convinced of the Lutheran teaching of justification by faith, and “the question that would occupy Cranmer for the remainder of his life was how exactly the sacraments of the church fit into this new narrative” (Ashley Null). For Cranmer, then seeing everything through the glasses of solifidism (faith alone), the key to understanding sacramental grace (baptism and holy communion) is faith — receiving the grace of the rite rightly — by faith — “they that receive baptism rightly” (Article 27 “Of Baptism”). 

Roman Catholics believe that the sacraments (ex opere operato) automatically and always effect what they signify – that the bread and wine of Communion is the actual, corporeal body and blood of Christ whether it is received by a faithful penitent or accidentally by a mouse under the communion table nibbling the crumbs. And everyone who is baptised, newborn or adult, is automatically born again. Anglicans, on the other hand, view the instrumentality of the sacraments connected to faith, which is necessary for the reception of God’s grace. Catholics say that a person is born again when they are baptised. Anglicans say that God’s grace is communicated in the sacrament, and when this is received by faith in the hearts of God’s elect, they are born again.

Whenever he speaks of someone’s faith, Cranmer charitably assumes they are believers. This is not just “English politeness,” but a humble acknowledgement that God is God and we are not. Cranmer assumes that an infant or child who is brought for baptism is a believer, just like he believes this for everyone who dies and is buried from the church. Everyone knows that this isn’t true of all infants who are baptised, and it’s certainly not true of everyone who dies. But who is to decide in each of these cases but God alone? In the case of baptism, who would otherwise then decide when someone is old enough for baptism – or mature enough – or faithful enough? Are adults who are baptised knowledgeable enough or faithful enough? Surely not! Should this be the minister’s discretion to determine what only God knows? The Anglican baptism service uses charitable assumption in its baptism language, and this, put along side of the Articles of Religion, declares the importance of a faithful response to the grace that God gives us in the sacraments for them to effect what they signify. Bishop J. C. Ryle said, “The person baptised is pronounced regenerate upon the broad principle of the Prayer-book, that, in the Church-services people are charitably supposed to be what they profess to be”.

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

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