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HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle. Please join us in prayer: O MERCIFUL God, the Father...

He Will Burn Up the Chaff with Unquenchable Fire

Bishop JC RyleHe Will Burn Up the Chaff with Unquenchable Fire In 1878, two years before he was made the first Bishop of Liverpool, The Revd JC Ryle delivered a sermon on the biblical teaching regarding the doctrine of hell. His words are as pertinent today as they...

Pilgrim’s Process

By The Revd Dr Peter Sanlon In our journey to heaven we are to be thankful for the world we pass through. One of the great prayers of the Book of Common Prayer (there are many!) is the General Thanksgiving. In it we pray, 'We bless thee for our creation, preservation...

Original Sin is the fundamental systematic cause of abuse

Original Sin is the Fundamental Systematic Cause of Abuse The Christian world has recently been shaken by revelations that two high-profile Evangelical leaders—the late Ravi Zacharias, founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; and, closer to home, the Revd...

Letters To The Editor – Graham

Dear Sir, The organisers of an evangelistic event in which Franklin Graham preached have won a legal dispute with Blackpool Council. The Lancashire Festival of Hope took place over three days at Blackpool's Winter Gardens in September 2018, which saw hundreds make...

Letter To the Editor – Government

Dear Editor, Readers may appreciate the relevance of the following comments by Bishop Ryle in his Expository Thoughts on John 18:36 (Volume 3 page 274): “No government can expect to prosper which refuses to recognise religion, which deals with its subjects as if they...

Lancashire Judge Rules in Favour of Franklin Graham

In a strong and clear rebuke of the cancel culture sweeping the UK, a court ruled that the 2018 Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham was discriminated against by the Blackpool Borough Council and Blackpool Transport Services Limited by taking down bus ads...

Spectator Cover Shows Empty Tomb for Easter Edition

Many of the readers of the English Churchman are also readers of The Spectator but the 3 April edition was a rather nice surprise. If you missed it, the cover featured an artist’s rendering of Jesus’ empty tomb. Bright morning sunlight showed the inside of a tomb,...

BCP Worship

The Second Sunday after Easter 11 April 2021 Psalm 81:1-4Ezekiel 37:1-101 John 5:4-12John 20:19-23 BCP Collect “Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification: Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice...

St George’s Church Crowhurst Promotes Wider Use of the BCP

A parish church in East Sussex – located next to the ruins of King Harold’s Saxon Manor, mentioned in the Domesday Book – has joined the Prayer Book Society in a bid to strengthen its campaign promoting wider use of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) by young people as...

Peter Hitchens on the Intelligibility of Worship with the BCP

 

Peter Hitchens on the Intelligibility of Worship with the BCP

 

In the last edition, we featured an interview with Peter Hitchens.  This is a follow-up. As always, Hitchens responds as an informed layman in a modern world all the while holding forth to an earlier view of the Church and its worship. 

EC:  What do you say to those who say the language of the BCP is unintelligible to modern readers and hearers?

PH:  “They should give examples of what they mean. I can discuss those. I have noticed that when Biblical passages are hard to fathom in the King James version, they are usually equally hard to fathom in more modern translations. 17th century English is admirably clear and robust, generally preferring short words.  Prayer Book language is very clear. I suspect that what they really don’t like is the rather tougher ideas about authority,  penitence and sin which the 1662 book conveys.”

EC:  Finally, would you as an informed layman care to comment on the growing attendance to choral BCP Evensong (pre-Covid)?  Is it due to the message of the BCP or the lack of a sermon that might contrary the liturgy?

PH:  “Most people don’t listen to sermons. But there are several reasons why these services are popular.  The abandoning of Prayer Book Matins in parish churches (once the main service of the Church of England, now vanishingly rare)  has meant the end of accessible broad-church worship.  

“Factionalism at either end has made churches into clubs for initiates, rather than places where anyone can go experimentally, without feeling subjected to pressure-selling, or excluded by not being an initiate. In some, you must take Communion when you don’t much wish to, or watch others do so without being able to; In others, you must be an enthusiast, happy to join in with the often noisy and declaratory approach to faith of the evangelicals.  Of course, Prayer Book worship supported by trained choirs is often beautiful whereas modern parish worship, in my experience is seldom beautiful.

“The real point is that a tentative person may attend such services and make a gradual approach to the Throne of the Heavenly Grace, which is how most people seeking Christ in this unchurched country prefer to do it.   I also think that there is something especially compelling about worship at the end of the day,  as the shadows lengthen, which has been almost entirely lost since so many parish churches more or less stopped doing it in the 1960s.”

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