Anglican worship wars

One of my former students, Bart Gingerich, who sometimes comments on this blog, has gotten a job writing for the Institute for Religion and Democracy.   He covered a recent meeting by the Prayer Book Society, a group of Anglicans who have been calling for the restoration of the 1926 edition of the Book of Common Prayer, the last modernization faithful to Cranmer’s Reformation-era version of the English liturgy (which has also shaped the language and the collects used in Lutheran worship).

Bart comments that  “During the split of the Episcopal Church in the 2000s, PBS [the Prayer Book Society] was strangely ostracized during the formation of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). It was a quiet scandal that the supposedly conservative ACNA spurned the stalwart organization from its proceedings.”

Here are some of the points made at the conference:

Executive director Rev. Patterson opened by observing that the Anglican way of being a Christian is governed not by a systematic theology but by a theology of worship. Unfortunately, since the 1960s at least, varied theologies have vied for control over the Book of Common Prayer to influence church stances on issues ranging from Christology to homosexuality. Ever since the Episcopal Church’s adoption of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer with its multiple rites to please everyone, rectors now “begin with an empty 3-ring binder” to choose and create their own liturgy for their parish. Patterson outlined 5 different approaches to focusing congregational worship. He first presented entertainment, where the congregation listens passively to what is on stage; second, education, where the pulpit and sermon dominate the service; third, encounter with God, which emphasizes a personal experience in music; fourth, evangelism, which avoids being too “churchy” and emphasizes the sinner’s prayer; fifth, Eucharist, which Patterson believed to be the traditional and proper heart of the church service. Many modern approaches “worship styles of worship” when in fact “we need to be taught how to worship God rightly.”

Patterson continued: “One grows into the Prayer Book. He never grows out of it.” A proper church service need not focus on “what comes out of the heart in the moment but to put in what needs to be there.” Praising the richness, truth, and beauty of the 1928 prayer book, he claimed, “It is never right to buy simplicity at the cost of shallowness.”

PBS president Rev. Dunbar pointed to the traditional prayer book as the “most effective tool for world evangelism in the English-speaking world.” He then commenced with an in-depth investigation of the 1928 service for Holy Communion. The service both uplifts the souls of congregants and focuses on the person of Christ, Who reconciles heaven and earth in His Incarnation. Dunbar pointed out that modern prayer books make self-conscious attempts to get away from sacrificial language, “but it is the only time…that we begin to speak of the atonement between man and God.” For centuries, Christian liturgy noted how Christ is a propitiating sacrifice for sin while the church offers up a sacrifice of praise. In the Eucharist, the participants are then caught up with Christ for fellowship with the Trinity. “We know we know we are Christians at that moment,” Dunbar stated. It is here that the Christian finds the endless end, where the restless heart finds rest, and the troubled spirit finds peace.

Dunbar outlined the 3-fold triad of the older Anglican services (before Dix’s “shape” theory and Hippolytus of Rome became the authoritative vogue for liturgists). The old services function according to “guilt, grace, and gratitude,” or rather repentance, faith, and good works. In the 1979 edition, much of the penitential elements were thrown out, allowing the service to be more celebratory. Dunbar condemned modern liturgists’ slavery to innovation

Pulling from the prayer book, Dunbar believed that “agreement of the truth in Thy Holy Word [Christ being the Word made flesh]” is the basis for Christian unity. In a communion suffering a crisis in sexual ethics and biblical faith, perhaps it would be best to return to a deeper liturgy in harmony with the past habits of prayer. Maybe it is time for Anglicans to turn to the insights and principles of this beleaguered but faithful fellowship.

via Prayer Book Society Meets at Truro – Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD).

I am astonished that the newly-formed conservative Anglican church body is not conservative when it comes to worship, though I assume that the congregations that do use the Book of Common Prayer (1926) are also joining ACNA.

I would venture to say that it is difficult to sustain a theology of worship without a systematic theology.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • trotk

    As an Anglican who is a part of the AMiA (which is affiliated with ACNA), I feel somewhat compelled to respond.

    The people who argue that the only true BCP is the 1928 remind me a great deal of the people that argue that the only true Bible is the original KJV. They make lots of sweeping arguments about how the new version distorts theology, etc, etc (they never seem to stop their crusade – cf. the denominations founded to preserve worship with either the KJV or the 1928 prayer book), but when asked to provide specific examples, they either can’t do it, or come up with ridiculously strange statements (I have a book on my shelf about the how the language of the older versions was closer to God, and as someone who studies languages, its so silly that I wonder how people believe it).
    I am saying this as someone who is usually suspicious of new translations and versions and someone who is committed to orthodox Anglicanism. I can’t find anything wrong in the 1979 BCP, and the charges against it seem really contentless. Just sweeping accusations.
    I don’t know why this society wasn’t included in the ACNA talks, but I can guess it is because of their commitment to the 1928 BCP. Why invite someone that you know only exists to argue one point that you think is completely besides the point? That is probably a terrible guess on my part, but if I were dealing with the Episcopal church’s departure from Scripture I wouldn’t want the talks muddled by someone who only wanted to argue that this wouldn’t have happened if we all still used the 1928 BCP.

    Dr. Veith, the conclusion that ACNA isn’t conservative in its worship isn’t even close to correct. Would you call a church not conservative in its worship because they didn’t use the KJV? Of course not, even though the proponents of the KJV think so.

    As for your final point, it is difficult to sustain a theology of worship WITH or without a systematic theology. It is always difficult to sustain both, because the world and the devil are fighting against them. But before you judge that the Anglican church is wrong in its approach to the issue, read the 39 Articles and the BCP and decide for yourself whether a church committed to either (or hopefully both, as most of ACNA is) would be off-track theologically. I would argue that focusing on a theology of worship rather than the systematic theology puts the focus on the Eucharist itself, rather than my understanding of it, which is where I, in my humble and small-minded state, would rather be (which answers the question why I am not a Lutheran). That was the only good point that Patterson made above – that the liturgy exists to lead us to the sacraments.

  • trotk

    As an Anglican who is a part of the AMiA (which is affiliated with ACNA), I feel somewhat compelled to respond.

    The people who argue that the only true BCP is the 1928 remind me a great deal of the people that argue that the only true Bible is the original KJV. They make lots of sweeping arguments about how the new version distorts theology, etc, etc (they never seem to stop their crusade – cf. the denominations founded to preserve worship with either the KJV or the 1928 prayer book), but when asked to provide specific examples, they either can’t do it, or come up with ridiculously strange statements (I have a book on my shelf about the how the language of the older versions was closer to God, and as someone who studies languages, its so silly that I wonder how people believe it).
    I am saying this as someone who is usually suspicious of new translations and versions and someone who is committed to orthodox Anglicanism. I can’t find anything wrong in the 1979 BCP, and the charges against it seem really contentless. Just sweeping accusations.
    I don’t know why this society wasn’t included in the ACNA talks, but I can guess it is because of their commitment to the 1928 BCP. Why invite someone that you know only exists to argue one point that you think is completely besides the point? That is probably a terrible guess on my part, but if I were dealing with the Episcopal church’s departure from Scripture I wouldn’t want the talks muddled by someone who only wanted to argue that this wouldn’t have happened if we all still used the 1928 BCP.

    Dr. Veith, the conclusion that ACNA isn’t conservative in its worship isn’t even close to correct. Would you call a church not conservative in its worship because they didn’t use the KJV? Of course not, even though the proponents of the KJV think so.

    As for your final point, it is difficult to sustain a theology of worship WITH or without a systematic theology. It is always difficult to sustain both, because the world and the devil are fighting against them. But before you judge that the Anglican church is wrong in its approach to the issue, read the 39 Articles and the BCP and decide for yourself whether a church committed to either (or hopefully both, as most of ACNA is) would be off-track theologically. I would argue that focusing on a theology of worship rather than the systematic theology puts the focus on the Eucharist itself, rather than my understanding of it, which is where I, in my humble and small-minded state, would rather be (which answers the question why I am not a Lutheran). That was the only good point that Patterson made above – that the liturgy exists to lead us to the sacraments.

  • Tony

    Perhaps this is a symptom of the wide-spread “missional-focus / cultural relevance” disease (thanks to “reformed” gurus like Tim Keller). According to the Anglican Mission in North America, a “ministry partner” of the ACNA, “Our liturgy (order and expression of worship) offers a unique blend of ancient and future that captures the imagination, and we actively draw from the best of our ancient faith in ways designed to reach today’s culture with the Gospel. You are just as likely to experience worship led by clergy and lay leaders in casual ‘Aloha’ shirts and tennis shoes as formal robes.” http://www.theamia.org/identity/

  • Tony

    Perhaps this is a symptom of the wide-spread “missional-focus / cultural relevance” disease (thanks to “reformed” gurus like Tim Keller). According to the Anglican Mission in North America, a “ministry partner” of the ACNA, “Our liturgy (order and expression of worship) offers a unique blend of ancient and future that captures the imagination, and we actively draw from the best of our ancient faith in ways designed to reach today’s culture with the Gospel. You are just as likely to experience worship led by clergy and lay leaders in casual ‘Aloha’ shirts and tennis shoes as formal robes.” http://www.theamia.org/identity/

  • Tony

    Perhaps this is a symptom of the wide-spread “missional-focus / cultural relevance” disease (thanks to the influence of “reformed” gurus like Tim Keller). According to the Anglican Mission in North America, a “ministry partner” of the ACNA, “Our liturgy (order and expression of worship) offers a unique blend of ancient and future that captures the imagination, and we actively draw from the best of our ancient faith in ways designed to reach today’s culture with the Gospel. You are just as likely to experience worship led by clergy and lay leaders in casual ‘Aloha’ shirts and tennis shoes as formal robes.” http://www.theamia.org/identity/

  • Tony

    Perhaps this is a symptom of the wide-spread “missional-focus / cultural relevance” disease (thanks to the influence of “reformed” gurus like Tim Keller). According to the Anglican Mission in North America, a “ministry partner” of the ACNA, “Our liturgy (order and expression of worship) offers a unique blend of ancient and future that captures the imagination, and we actively draw from the best of our ancient faith in ways designed to reach today’s culture with the Gospel. You are just as likely to experience worship led by clergy and lay leaders in casual ‘Aloha’ shirts and tennis shoes as formal robes.” http://www.theamia.org/identity/

  • Tony

    Perhaps this is a symptom of the wide-spread “missional-focus / cultural relevance” disease (thanks to the influence of “reformed” gurus like Tim Keller). According to the Anglican Mission in North America, a “ministry partner” of the ACNA, “Our liturgy (order and expression of worship) offers a unique blend of ancient and future that captures the imagination, and we actively draw from the best of our ancient faith in ways designed to reach today’s culture with the Gospel. You are just as likely to experience worship led by clergy and lay leaders in casual ‘Aloha’ shirts and tennis shoes as formal robes.” Check out http://www.theamia.org/identity/

  • Tony

    Perhaps this is a symptom of the wide-spread “missional-focus / cultural relevance” disease (thanks to the influence of “reformed” gurus like Tim Keller). According to the Anglican Mission in North America, a “ministry partner” of the ACNA, “Our liturgy (order and expression of worship) offers a unique blend of ancient and future that captures the imagination, and we actively draw from the best of our ancient faith in ways designed to reach today’s culture with the Gospel. You are just as likely to experience worship led by clergy and lay leaders in casual ‘Aloha’ shirts and tennis shoes as formal robes.” Check out http://www.theamia.org/identity/

  • Tony

    Doh. Sorry for the multiple posts.

  • Tony

    Doh. Sorry for the multiple posts.

  • Bart

    @trotk: You can find some excellent specifics here: http://www.amazon.com/Neither-Orthodoxy-Formulary-Content-Episcopal/dp/B001UYRGJ8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317304880&sr=8-1

    I think I agree with you on the systematic theology part. It does not mean that Anglicans don’t “do” systematics; it’s that they are not necessarily united by it like, say, Calvinism.

  • Bart

    @trotk: You can find some excellent specifics here: http://www.amazon.com/Neither-Orthodoxy-Formulary-Content-Episcopal/dp/B001UYRGJ8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317304880&sr=8-1

    I think I agree with you on the systematic theology part. It does not mean that Anglicans don’t “do” systematics; it’s that they are not necessarily united by it like, say, Calvinism.

  • Cincinnatus

    A few off-the-cuff comments, as a fellow Anglican (but one who is not so enamored of the 39 Articles as trotk):

    1. I don’t really buy the argument that the 1928 edition of the BCP is inherently superior, while all newer iterations are (it is implied) essentially heretical. Like trotk notes, this is rather like the KJV only argument, with a caveat: some of the new prayers (e.g., Eucharistic Prayer C *shudder*) are, at best, of questionable literary merit. Some of them depart from what some traditionalists would consider traditional Anglicanism, but this is only because there is substantial and irreconcilable disagreement about what constitutes traditional Anglicanism. Rite I is still in the BCP, and it is still employed weekly. Catholicism changed more than Anglicanism did during the 1970s, for what’s it’s worth.

    2. This is why I’m wary of ACNA, with whom I had a brief involvement. Some of their congregations are extraordinarily faithful to traditional forms of worship. But this isn’t the priority of ACNA. Some of its most prominent congregations are deeply (or shallowly?) evangelical in the worst sense, attempting to cover over or “neuter” the liturgical forms in favor of contemporary worship conventions. This is bad. While the disagreements between the ACNA and the ECA are deep, I’m not sure they were schism-worthy: the ECA wasn’t abandoning Anglican worship (i.e., the important Anglican distinctive) but certain socio-theological conventions (e.g., no homosexual priests, etc.). Given the rest of the Communion’s lack of “progressiveness” on these questions, I’m, again, not sure schism was necessary, and it’s obvious that ACNA’s priority is not faithfulness to the BCP. Not that the actual reasons for schism are trivial, but they do not involve liturgical forms. Their conservatism is of a very particular brand.

    3. Like trotk aptly observes, it is difficult to sustain a theology of worship with or without a systematic theology. But I would go one step further: I think rigid systematic theologies can, in fact, militate against the sort of participatory worship that Anglicanism cherishes. Note that the Eastern Orthodox Church–the most liturgical of them all–possesses no systematic theology whatsoever. And for what it’s worth, Anglicanism, with its lack of systematic theological statements (even the 39 articles, if one accepts them–they’re non-binding–aren’t terribly systematic), has done far better at maintaining a tradition of liturgical worship across the board than Lutheranism; you’ll be hard-pressed to find an Anglican church that has jettisoned the BCP rites altogether (I don’t even know if such a church exists). In fact, Rite I–again, still in the BCP and still used weekly in my own (otherwise liberal) congregation–is more faithful to the traditional Catholic mass than the one actually used in Catholic churches today.

    I realize this third point requires significant unpacking/defense, but I just wanted to throw a few thoughts out there. I’ll check back later…

  • Cincinnatus

    A few off-the-cuff comments, as a fellow Anglican (but one who is not so enamored of the 39 Articles as trotk):

    1. I don’t really buy the argument that the 1928 edition of the BCP is inherently superior, while all newer iterations are (it is implied) essentially heretical. Like trotk notes, this is rather like the KJV only argument, with a caveat: some of the new prayers (e.g., Eucharistic Prayer C *shudder*) are, at best, of questionable literary merit. Some of them depart from what some traditionalists would consider traditional Anglicanism, but this is only because there is substantial and irreconcilable disagreement about what constitutes traditional Anglicanism. Rite I is still in the BCP, and it is still employed weekly. Catholicism changed more than Anglicanism did during the 1970s, for what’s it’s worth.

    2. This is why I’m wary of ACNA, with whom I had a brief involvement. Some of their congregations are extraordinarily faithful to traditional forms of worship. But this isn’t the priority of ACNA. Some of its most prominent congregations are deeply (or shallowly?) evangelical in the worst sense, attempting to cover over or “neuter” the liturgical forms in favor of contemporary worship conventions. This is bad. While the disagreements between the ACNA and the ECA are deep, I’m not sure they were schism-worthy: the ECA wasn’t abandoning Anglican worship (i.e., the important Anglican distinctive) but certain socio-theological conventions (e.g., no homosexual priests, etc.). Given the rest of the Communion’s lack of “progressiveness” on these questions, I’m, again, not sure schism was necessary, and it’s obvious that ACNA’s priority is not faithfulness to the BCP. Not that the actual reasons for schism are trivial, but they do not involve liturgical forms. Their conservatism is of a very particular brand.

    3. Like trotk aptly observes, it is difficult to sustain a theology of worship with or without a systematic theology. But I would go one step further: I think rigid systematic theologies can, in fact, militate against the sort of participatory worship that Anglicanism cherishes. Note that the Eastern Orthodox Church–the most liturgical of them all–possesses no systematic theology whatsoever. And for what it’s worth, Anglicanism, with its lack of systematic theological statements (even the 39 articles, if one accepts them–they’re non-binding–aren’t terribly systematic), has done far better at maintaining a tradition of liturgical worship across the board than Lutheranism; you’ll be hard-pressed to find an Anglican church that has jettisoned the BCP rites altogether (I don’t even know if such a church exists). In fact, Rite I–again, still in the BCP and still used weekly in my own (otherwise liberal) congregation–is more faithful to the traditional Catholic mass than the one actually used in Catholic churches today.

    I realize this third point requires significant unpacking/defense, but I just wanted to throw a few thoughts out there. I’ll check back later…

  • Bart

    In the ’79, for just a few examples, you see a great increase in gender neutrality and allowance for women’s ordination. You also see a significant removal of penitence and humility before the throne of God. Again, the book I recommended has the many reasons for rejecting this edition.

    PBS is not like those who oppose anything but the KJV; it is like those who reject the novelty and outright error of the TNIV and the Message.

  • Bart

    In the ’79, for just a few examples, you see a great increase in gender neutrality and allowance for women’s ordination. You also see a significant removal of penitence and humility before the throne of God. Again, the book I recommended has the many reasons for rejecting this edition.

    PBS is not like those who oppose anything but the KJV; it is like those who reject the novelty and outright error of the TNIV and the Message.

  • SKPeterson

    Well, the conservative LCMS has many congregations that have a rather “loose” form of worship, as do many WELS congregations from what I understand. At the same time, many ELCA congregations have a “conservative” or traditional worship focus, but are fully on-board with a non-traditional, liberal theology.

    While I myself prefer a traditional worship liturgy as it seems more proper and reverent, I’m hard pressed to agree completely with those who state that a conservative theology necessitates a conservative liturgical style. I should qualify this further, though, that I’m framing this in a Lutheran context around the question of what advances or hinders Lutheran theology and worship.

  • SKPeterson

    Well, the conservative LCMS has many congregations that have a rather “loose” form of worship, as do many WELS congregations from what I understand. At the same time, many ELCA congregations have a “conservative” or traditional worship focus, but are fully on-board with a non-traditional, liberal theology.

    While I myself prefer a traditional worship liturgy as it seems more proper and reverent, I’m hard pressed to agree completely with those who state that a conservative theology necessitates a conservative liturgical style. I should qualify this further, though, that I’m framing this in a Lutheran context around the question of what advances or hinders Lutheran theology and worship.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bart@8: That’s only half-true. The ’79 BCP, used in essentially all Anglican churches in America (including conservative churches), didn’t discard the old penitential prayers, etc. It merely added some new ones. My church still uses the old ones. I have some problems with the new prayers, but it’s inaccurate to compare the 1979 BCP to an intentionally revisionist translation of Scripture. Again, the changes to the BCP in ’79 were far less radical than the changes Catholicism made to its liturgy in the same decade. And, since it’s used in basically all American Anglican churches, complaining about the ’79 edition is a bit like complaining that the KJV is no longer the only accepted translation.

    SKPeterson: Systematic theology is an annoying Western convention that is, in many cases, positively idolatrous. I’ll take conservative worship any day.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bart@8: That’s only half-true. The ’79 BCP, used in essentially all Anglican churches in America (including conservative churches), didn’t discard the old penitential prayers, etc. It merely added some new ones. My church still uses the old ones. I have some problems with the new prayers, but it’s inaccurate to compare the 1979 BCP to an intentionally revisionist translation of Scripture. Again, the changes to the BCP in ’79 were far less radical than the changes Catholicism made to its liturgy in the same decade. And, since it’s used in basically all American Anglican churches, complaining about the ’79 edition is a bit like complaining that the KJV is no longer the only accepted translation.

    SKPeterson: Systematic theology is an annoying Western convention that is, in many cases, positively idolatrous. I’ll take conservative worship any day.

  • kerner

    I’ve posted this elsewhere, but no discussion of the Book of common prayer would be complete without this:

    http://www.edgeofenclosure.org/humor/girlsbestfriend.html

    From Anglican priest Suzanne Guthrie.

  • kerner

    I’ve posted this elsewhere, but no discussion of the Book of common prayer would be complete without this:

    http://www.edgeofenclosure.org/humor/girlsbestfriend.html

    From Anglican priest Suzanne Guthrie.

  • Roberta

    Those who doubt that the compilers of the 1979 BCP did not intend to introduce a new theology should read Urban T. Holmes essay in Worship Points the Way — a celebration of the life and work of Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr. He is quite clear that the intention of the Standing Liturgical Committee, who produced the new BCP in 1979, was to replace classical Anglican theology with changed ideas about the relation of Man to God. He notes that in the confirmation service and the new ‘catechism’ this can be seen.

    There is a real need for the ACNA and TEC to confront the question of whether or not they want to replace classical Anglican theology, which is the theology of the historic catholic church, with particular emphasis on Patristic Theology, with a theology shaped by Heidegger and his theological followers.

  • Roberta

    Those who doubt that the compilers of the 1979 BCP did not intend to introduce a new theology should read Urban T. Holmes essay in Worship Points the Way — a celebration of the life and work of Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr. He is quite clear that the intention of the Standing Liturgical Committee, who produced the new BCP in 1979, was to replace classical Anglican theology with changed ideas about the relation of Man to God. He notes that in the confirmation service and the new ‘catechism’ this can be seen.

    There is a real need for the ACNA and TEC to confront the question of whether or not they want to replace classical Anglican theology, which is the theology of the historic catholic church, with particular emphasis on Patristic Theology, with a theology shaped by Heidegger and his theological followers.

  • Kirk

    @Cinn

    Point 2 is correct to an extent, but I think you’re really missing the point of the Anglican Realignment. True, the ACNA is not pursing the strict form of historic Anglican worship. It’s not the point. The ACNA, rather, is striving for the substance of historic Christianity, which extends far beyond socio-theology. If the issue of the schism was a gay bishop in Vermont then I’d agree with you, it wasn’t merited. However, Gene Robinson is the product of a deep rejection of orthodox Christianity by the Episcopal leadership, extending beyond its views on homosexuality. We’re talking the rejection of divine inspiration, the virgin birth, miracles, salvation through faith, and the deity of Christ. These are huge, huge issues that, in my mind, separate many ECA bishops from Christianity. I think that when you’re being lead by a group of people that is patently un-Christian in their belief, it’s wise to separate from them if efforts to reform them have failed (they have). Calling the realignment a socio-theological movement doesn’t really give credit to the blood, sweat and tears that many former Episcopals put into reforming the church and it makes their decision to leave seem light.

  • Kirk

    @Cinn

    Point 2 is correct to an extent, but I think you’re really missing the point of the Anglican Realignment. True, the ACNA is not pursing the strict form of historic Anglican worship. It’s not the point. The ACNA, rather, is striving for the substance of historic Christianity, which extends far beyond socio-theology. If the issue of the schism was a gay bishop in Vermont then I’d agree with you, it wasn’t merited. However, Gene Robinson is the product of a deep rejection of orthodox Christianity by the Episcopal leadership, extending beyond its views on homosexuality. We’re talking the rejection of divine inspiration, the virgin birth, miracles, salvation through faith, and the deity of Christ. These are huge, huge issues that, in my mind, separate many ECA bishops from Christianity. I think that when you’re being lead by a group of people that is patently un-Christian in their belief, it’s wise to separate from them if efforts to reform them have failed (they have). Calling the realignment a socio-theological movement doesn’t really give credit to the blood, sweat and tears that many former Episcopals put into reforming the church and it makes their decision to leave seem light.

  • Kirk

    Also, I’m impressed that no one has yet to reject Anglican worship because it is consubstantiative

  • Kirk

    Also, I’m impressed that no one has yet to reject Anglican worship because it is consubstantiative

  • Kirk

    @Tony

    I’m confused by your relevance/truth dichotomy. If truth is being sacrificed for relevance, then yes, something wrong is happening. However, truth can be presented in an appealing manner, and, yes, even by men in Hawaiian shirts.

    Couldn’t the story of Paul in Athens be viewed as an attempt at cultural relevance, or Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians that he has become all things to all people? I understand what you’re getting at, that the gospel has been watered down to appeal to the masses, and I agree. But the BCP is not the gospel.

  • Kirk

    @Tony

    I’m confused by your relevance/truth dichotomy. If truth is being sacrificed for relevance, then yes, something wrong is happening. However, truth can be presented in an appealing manner, and, yes, even by men in Hawaiian shirts.

    Couldn’t the story of Paul in Athens be viewed as an attempt at cultural relevance, or Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians that he has become all things to all people? I understand what you’re getting at, that the gospel has been watered down to appeal to the masses, and I agree. But the BCP is not the gospel.

  • Shane A

    I tend to agree with Cincinnatus here. However, though I attend a church which uses the 1979, I will concede to Mrs. Roberta’s and Bart’s assertion that there are some troubling innovations in the 1979. If one is going to protest against the innovations of the 1979 (that is, to protestant against a violation of previous Anglican dogma) then those churches which differ in theology (namely, evangelical Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics) must also be condemned. What unites these churches, though, is their identity in the liturgy of the BCP, not their reformation dogmas.

    However, the 1979 also works against Cincinnatus’ (and my own) sympathy that liturgy and not theology unites the Anglican church. It is entirely outside the spirit of Cranmer (who sought to translate, combine, condense, the prayers into a single book for liturgical and common use) to offer four different Eucharistic prayers, two different rites, etc. For this reason alone, I would that the 1979 BCP never have been. As Lewis noted, those churches which try to innovate their liturgies (either high or low) in order to attract more people will simply isolate those used to a common liturgy.

  • Shane A

    I tend to agree with Cincinnatus here. However, though I attend a church which uses the 1979, I will concede to Mrs. Roberta’s and Bart’s assertion that there are some troubling innovations in the 1979. If one is going to protest against the innovations of the 1979 (that is, to protestant against a violation of previous Anglican dogma) then those churches which differ in theology (namely, evangelical Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics) must also be condemned. What unites these churches, though, is their identity in the liturgy of the BCP, not their reformation dogmas.

    However, the 1979 also works against Cincinnatus’ (and my own) sympathy that liturgy and not theology unites the Anglican church. It is entirely outside the spirit of Cranmer (who sought to translate, combine, condense, the prayers into a single book for liturgical and common use) to offer four different Eucharistic prayers, two different rites, etc. For this reason alone, I would that the 1979 BCP never have been. As Lewis noted, those churches which try to innovate their liturgies (either high or low) in order to attract more people will simply isolate those used to a common liturgy.

  • Tony

    @ Kirk.
    I don’t think I presented a “truth / relevance” dichotomy, or necessarily assumed one. My gripe with the “missionals” is the assumption that worship forms have to be adjusted to conform to the culture in order to be “relevant,” rather than the worshipers being conformed to the traditional Christian cultus. In other words, the Western liturgy, with appropriate catechesis, has done the job trans-culturally for quite a while. What changed?

  • Tony

    @ Kirk.
    I don’t think I presented a “truth / relevance” dichotomy, or necessarily assumed one. My gripe with the “missionals” is the assumption that worship forms have to be adjusted to conform to the culture in order to be “relevant,” rather than the worshipers being conformed to the traditional Christian cultus. In other words, the Western liturgy, with appropriate catechesis, has done the job trans-culturally for quite a while. What changed?

  • Quinn M

    OK, then I have a few questions as a Confessional Lutheran with a long and English Anglican background:

    1. Would those that are against the newer, post 1928 BCP variata accept a new BCP that was boldy and strongly orthodox and Anglican in its construction? It seems to remind me of the TLH/LW/LBW controversy in the LCMS/LCC that seems to have all but disappeared now that our new LSB has come out. (It still exists to be sure, but only in tiny ways, and most of the harshest proponents seem to have accepted the new hymnal)

    The fact that many have dropped their concerns with the publication of the new hymnal suggests to me that in the Lutheran case the questions/concerns were actually theological in the main and not only a “KJV onlyist” type of adherence to an older liturgical form. Thus, if a new BCP was produced, strongly orthodox in nature and it was still rejected (thees and thous closer to God language arguments, etc.) this seems to me a slam dunk case of liturgical sectarianism. If not, then it truly suggests a theological issue at play.

    2. Is it not true that the more conservative (theoogically) types in Anglicanism tend more toward evangelical worship forms?

  • Quinn M

    OK, then I have a few questions as a Confessional Lutheran with a long and English Anglican background:

    1. Would those that are against the newer, post 1928 BCP variata accept a new BCP that was boldy and strongly orthodox and Anglican in its construction? It seems to remind me of the TLH/LW/LBW controversy in the LCMS/LCC that seems to have all but disappeared now that our new LSB has come out. (It still exists to be sure, but only in tiny ways, and most of the harshest proponents seem to have accepted the new hymnal)

    The fact that many have dropped their concerns with the publication of the new hymnal suggests to me that in the Lutheran case the questions/concerns were actually theological in the main and not only a “KJV onlyist” type of adherence to an older liturgical form. Thus, if a new BCP was produced, strongly orthodox in nature and it was still rejected (thees and thous closer to God language arguments, etc.) this seems to me a slam dunk case of liturgical sectarianism. If not, then it truly suggests a theological issue at play.

    2. Is it not true that the more conservative (theoogically) types in Anglicanism tend more toward evangelical worship forms?

  • trotk

    Bart at #8:

    Cincinnatus has obviously addressed the idea of a “removal of penitence and humility,” and thus I will leave it alone, other than to say he is correct.

    As for your other charge, the idea of gender neutrality and allowance for the ordination of women, could you provide me with an example? These are the sorts of charges that I end up hearing when I talk to someone from the Anglican Province in the Americas, who still use the 1928 book and are not in ACNA for this very reason. But when I ask them (and I have, because I have ordained friends in that province) for specifics, they don’t ever have one. The general tone feels innovative and liberal to them. But that is fundamentally an issue of what style of language they are comfortable with, and has little to do with the truth contained in the language. It is a thee verse you type issue.

    Can you provide me with an example of gender neutrality (where it ought not exist) in the 1979 BCP? Can you show me where the 1979 BCP allows for the ordination of women? All the pronouns in the ordination rites are male.

  • trotk

    Bart at #8:

    Cincinnatus has obviously addressed the idea of a “removal of penitence and humility,” and thus I will leave it alone, other than to say he is correct.

    As for your other charge, the idea of gender neutrality and allowance for the ordination of women, could you provide me with an example? These are the sorts of charges that I end up hearing when I talk to someone from the Anglican Province in the Americas, who still use the 1928 book and are not in ACNA for this very reason. But when I ask them (and I have, because I have ordained friends in that province) for specifics, they don’t ever have one. The general tone feels innovative and liberal to them. But that is fundamentally an issue of what style of language they are comfortable with, and has little to do with the truth contained in the language. It is a thee verse you type issue.

    Can you provide me with an example of gender neutrality (where it ought not exist) in the 1979 BCP? Can you show me where the 1979 BCP allows for the ordination of women? All the pronouns in the ordination rites are male.

  • Kirk

    @17 Oh, surely you see there’s more to it than a simple question of preference. What changed is freedom of religion. People are free not to be Anglicans or Lutherans or any other sort of Christian. You’re not required to be a member of your national church and a free to leave if you don’t like something.

    And, for the record, there hasn’t ever been a pure liturgical hegemony. Throughout history, there have been major and minor schisms in liturgical denominations which is why Catholics worship differently than Lutherans who worship differently than Anglicans who worship differently from Presbyterians. Not to mention the myriad of “reformed this” or “orthodox that” or various synods who have broken off along the way. Changes are affected by differences in belief, time and place and they’ve been constant throughout the history of the church.

  • Kirk

    @17 Oh, surely you see there’s more to it than a simple question of preference. What changed is freedom of religion. People are free not to be Anglicans or Lutherans or any other sort of Christian. You’re not required to be a member of your national church and a free to leave if you don’t like something.

    And, for the record, there hasn’t ever been a pure liturgical hegemony. Throughout history, there have been major and minor schisms in liturgical denominations which is why Catholics worship differently than Lutherans who worship differently than Anglicans who worship differently from Presbyterians. Not to mention the myriad of “reformed this” or “orthodox that” or various synods who have broken off along the way. Changes are affected by differences in belief, time and place and they’ve been constant throughout the history of the church.

  • Richard

    trotk is right. As a non-Anglican, I have dipped into the 1979 BCP from time to time, and wonder what all the fuss is about. You should give it a read, Dr. Veith.

  • Richard

    trotk is right. As a non-Anglican, I have dipped into the 1979 BCP from time to time, and wonder what all the fuss is about. You should give it a read, Dr. Veith.

  • trotk

    Roberta at 12:

    I read your essay from 2009 and the essay you referenced in it. These sweeping accusations (changing classical Anglican theology to a post-modernist theology influenced by ….) may be correct. They might also be totally incorrect. I don’t know. I can’t go talk to the group who wrote the 1979 BCP. I don’t know how much influence Holmes had. I don’t know if what he wrote was honest. I don’t know if he understood Heidegger. Etc.

    The only thing that I can do is take the 1979 and 1928 BCPs and compare them to the Bible. And I also throw in the 39 Articles, because it clarifies classical Anglicanism.

    Based on that, I don’t see these massive sweeping shifts in theology. I don’t even see a subtle shift. I see different language used (oftentimes weaker – I agree that I would prefer the 1928) and a different means of expressing the same thought.

    Can you show me (say in the confirmation rite) how the 1979 is either:
    less Biblical?
    less classically Anglican?

    Otherwise I am compelled to just consider it to be another generalization without evidence from the texts.

  • trotk

    Roberta at 12:

    I read your essay from 2009 and the essay you referenced in it. These sweeping accusations (changing classical Anglican theology to a post-modernist theology influenced by ….) may be correct. They might also be totally incorrect. I don’t know. I can’t go talk to the group who wrote the 1979 BCP. I don’t know how much influence Holmes had. I don’t know if what he wrote was honest. I don’t know if he understood Heidegger. Etc.

    The only thing that I can do is take the 1979 and 1928 BCPs and compare them to the Bible. And I also throw in the 39 Articles, because it clarifies classical Anglicanism.

    Based on that, I don’t see these massive sweeping shifts in theology. I don’t even see a subtle shift. I see different language used (oftentimes weaker – I agree that I would prefer the 1928) and a different means of expressing the same thought.

    Can you show me (say in the confirmation rite) how the 1979 is either:
    less Biblical?
    less classically Anglican?

    Otherwise I am compelled to just consider it to be another generalization without evidence from the texts.

  • Shane A

    @19 trokt: One of the worst innovations of the 1979 vs 1928 on this issue is found not in the prayers, but in the Psalter, where a Christological male singular is often replace with a more ambiguous plural neuter: for instance, Psalm 1:1:

    (1979) Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, *nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!

    I don’t know who “they” are; it’s rather a load of nonsense. The correct rendering is, of course, the singular masculine, referring to Christ:

    (1928) BLESSED is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, * and hath not sat in the seat of the scornful.

    Again, I’m not a die-hard 1928 BCP individual, but there are certainly some problems in the 1979.

  • Shane A

    @19 trokt: One of the worst innovations of the 1979 vs 1928 on this issue is found not in the prayers, but in the Psalter, where a Christological male singular is often replace with a more ambiguous plural neuter: for instance, Psalm 1:1:

    (1979) Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, *nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!

    I don’t know who “they” are; it’s rather a load of nonsense. The correct rendering is, of course, the singular masculine, referring to Christ:

    (1928) BLESSED is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, * and hath not sat in the seat of the scornful.

    Again, I’m not a die-hard 1928 BCP individual, but there are certainly some problems in the 1979.

  • Tony

    Kirk, how does freedom of religion explain or justify changes in liturgy? Of course Lutherans reformed the liturgy, in accord with the principle of adiaphora, i.e., those things that did not obscure or effectively deny the Gospel were retained for the sake of continuity with the Western catholic church. And then the Anglicans did their thing. When both found their way to the land of the free, they maintained their liturgies pretty consistently and uniformly, until… what? Why was there such remarkable liturgical uniformity, at least within these traditions, for so long? In fact, the Lutherans in particular dug in their heels and resisted the pressures of revivalistic worship, etc. OK, so they also only spoke German and loved their brats & beer, but surely there is more to this than mere sociology of religion. What they confessed and how they worshiped were obviously and intentionally linked.

  • Tony

    Kirk, how does freedom of religion explain or justify changes in liturgy? Of course Lutherans reformed the liturgy, in accord with the principle of adiaphora, i.e., those things that did not obscure or effectively deny the Gospel were retained for the sake of continuity with the Western catholic church. And then the Anglicans did their thing. When both found their way to the land of the free, they maintained their liturgies pretty consistently and uniformly, until… what? Why was there such remarkable liturgical uniformity, at least within these traditions, for so long? In fact, the Lutherans in particular dug in their heels and resisted the pressures of revivalistic worship, etc. OK, so they also only spoke German and loved their brats & beer, but surely there is more to this than mere sociology of religion. What they confessed and how they worshiped were obviously and intentionally linked.

  • trotk

    Shane at 23:

    You are correct, although in the example you give, I am not really bothered. The Hebrew (ish = man) is singular, and this is a Christological reference. But it is also a statement about every person. We all would be blessed if we did as that Psalm described. It is the Law as mirror (as well as the 3rd use) and applies to all of us. Your statement about not knowing who “they” refers to is a little overly dramatic. It applies to everyone.

    But only Christ has done it, and so yes, it is a reference to Him. But it is also a condemnation of us! And so it refers to Christ and all of man – not just Christ. And so the translators took a liberty and made the singular plural to make certain that we didn’t miss the point, and by so doing, they slightly obscured (perhaps) the Christological reference.

    I don’t like it, because I want my translations accurate, but perhaps it is prudent to be inclusive here in case someone doesn’t realize that this is the Law condemning him personally.

  • trotk

    Shane at 23:

    You are correct, although in the example you give, I am not really bothered. The Hebrew (ish = man) is singular, and this is a Christological reference. But it is also a statement about every person. We all would be blessed if we did as that Psalm described. It is the Law as mirror (as well as the 3rd use) and applies to all of us. Your statement about not knowing who “they” refers to is a little overly dramatic. It applies to everyone.

    But only Christ has done it, and so yes, it is a reference to Him. But it is also a condemnation of us! And so it refers to Christ and all of man – not just Christ. And so the translators took a liberty and made the singular plural to make certain that we didn’t miss the point, and by so doing, they slightly obscured (perhaps) the Christological reference.

    I don’t like it, because I want my translations accurate, but perhaps it is prudent to be inclusive here in case someone doesn’t realize that this is the Law condemning him personally.

  • Shane A

    @ trotk,

    The now habitual practice of interpreting the Psalms as a tit-for-tat sort of theology–an egocentric “If I’m good, I’ll be blessed!”, “God’s promises for you!” reading–disturbs me greatly. (I’m not accusing you of this; I’m only claiming that such innovations to the Psalter contribute to such an attitude.) I’m not sure how “slightly” obscured the Christological reference is in Psalms 1:1. Christ is the point of the Psalms. This is why the Christian Church has employed them so frequently in its worship and liturgy. This innovation ignores this. How does the word “they” reflect Christ? Sure, I suppose one might say it *could* be about us, but what good does that do? We have to insert Christ into the verse for it to have any real meaning other than a banal “be good” message or else condemn us (with the word “they,” we have to first interpret the Psalm as being about us before Christ can even be inserted into it). And, indeed, only theologically/liturgically astute individuals will attempt this. Common church-goers will inevitably interpret it just as I have said: egocentrically. Be good. God’s ways are nice. Sunshine on my soul today.

    Granted, I don’t expect the common church-goer to naturally understand “the blessed man” as being Christ, but a simple lesson on the Psalms is enough to make this apparent in the old Psalter; not so for the current one.

  • Shane A

    @ trotk,

    The now habitual practice of interpreting the Psalms as a tit-for-tat sort of theology–an egocentric “If I’m good, I’ll be blessed!”, “God’s promises for you!” reading–disturbs me greatly. (I’m not accusing you of this; I’m only claiming that such innovations to the Psalter contribute to such an attitude.) I’m not sure how “slightly” obscured the Christological reference is in Psalms 1:1. Christ is the point of the Psalms. This is why the Christian Church has employed them so frequently in its worship and liturgy. This innovation ignores this. How does the word “they” reflect Christ? Sure, I suppose one might say it *could* be about us, but what good does that do? We have to insert Christ into the verse for it to have any real meaning other than a banal “be good” message or else condemn us (with the word “they,” we have to first interpret the Psalm as being about us before Christ can even be inserted into it). And, indeed, only theologically/liturgically astute individuals will attempt this. Common church-goers will inevitably interpret it just as I have said: egocentrically. Be good. God’s ways are nice. Sunshine on my soul today.

    Granted, I don’t expect the common church-goer to naturally understand “the blessed man” as being Christ, but a simple lesson on the Psalms is enough to make this apparent in the old Psalter; not so for the current one.

  • Kirk

    @24

    What freedom of religion has to do with it is this:

    It created an environment for a pluralistic expression of worship. Under a state church, whatever the head of state saw as meaningful or proper worship was how worship was conducted. Parishioners had little recourse to express dissatisfaction of effect change because that wasn’t their roll within the church. They were coerced into attendance and were not free to form their own congregations based on their beliefs or social norms. Basically, state religion caused a relative uniformity in the practice of worship because change was not an option, not because everyone was enamored with traditional liturgy. And I would argue a general dissatisfaction with a rigid liturgical system is understandable. I’m an Anglican and I love the liturgy, but I know that some people don’t and find it more efficacious and practical to worship outside of the liturgy. It doesn’t make them poor Christians, it just means that their norms are different than mine.

    But more to the point, what’s wrong with mixing the historic and the modern if the Gospel is still proclaimed? Maybe it’s not your preference, and that’s fine, but to blast generally respected pastor like Tim Keller because he’s missional seems a bit like sticking your head in the sand.

  • Kirk

    @24

    What freedom of religion has to do with it is this:

    It created an environment for a pluralistic expression of worship. Under a state church, whatever the head of state saw as meaningful or proper worship was how worship was conducted. Parishioners had little recourse to express dissatisfaction of effect change because that wasn’t their roll within the church. They were coerced into attendance and were not free to form their own congregations based on their beliefs or social norms. Basically, state religion caused a relative uniformity in the practice of worship because change was not an option, not because everyone was enamored with traditional liturgy. And I would argue a general dissatisfaction with a rigid liturgical system is understandable. I’m an Anglican and I love the liturgy, but I know that some people don’t and find it more efficacious and practical to worship outside of the liturgy. It doesn’t make them poor Christians, it just means that their norms are different than mine.

    But more to the point, what’s wrong with mixing the historic and the modern if the Gospel is still proclaimed? Maybe it’s not your preference, and that’s fine, but to blast generally respected pastor like Tim Keller because he’s missional seems a bit like sticking your head in the sand.

  • Tony

    @ 27
    So the bottom line as far as you’re concerned appears to be personal preference (which I might unkindly label as consumerism). It is the American way, after all. And as far as Keller is concerned, I guess you can’t argue with success. Nickels & noses need no defense.

  • Tony

    @ 27
    So the bottom line as far as you’re concerned appears to be personal preference (which I might unkindly label as consumerism). It is the American way, after all. And as far as Keller is concerned, I guess you can’t argue with success. Nickels & noses need no defense.

  • Kirk

    The bottom line is that you worship in spirit and in truth. I see nothing wrong with conforming worship to societal norms when there is very little in scripture defining how one should worship. If you can find me the verse that says “And then shall ye say the collect and move to a time of introspect. Next shall ye recite the psalm…” I’ll change my mind.

    Believe me, I have deep respect and love for the liturgy, but it’s not the only thing that can define a service. And as for Tim Keller, his success lies in that he proclaims the gospel effectively. Have you read anything he’s written? Maybe listened to a sermon or two? The man is a gifted speaker and has a solid theologian. Do you hold his success against him?

  • Kirk

    The bottom line is that you worship in spirit and in truth. I see nothing wrong with conforming worship to societal norms when there is very little in scripture defining how one should worship. If you can find me the verse that says “And then shall ye say the collect and move to a time of introspect. Next shall ye recite the psalm…” I’ll change my mind.

    Believe me, I have deep respect and love for the liturgy, but it’s not the only thing that can define a service. And as for Tim Keller, his success lies in that he proclaims the gospel effectively. Have you read anything he’s written? Maybe listened to a sermon or two? The man is a gifted speaker and has a solid theologian. Do you hold his success against him?

  • Fr Gavin Dunbar

    I am puzzled by those who find no theological changes in the 1979 Prayer Book when compared with its predecessors. In Confirmation, for instance, the prayer which links Confirmation with Baptism and asks for the seven-fold gift of the Spirit, part of the rite for a good thousand years or more, has disappeared, along with the rubric requiring confirmation (or readiness to be confirmed) before admission to communion. Is this not a theological change? Certainly the liturgists who have advocated the 1979 Prayer Book think so, and have been fulsome in their dismissal of the developed western pattern of initiation maintained in the older Prayer Books. When baptism, confirmation, weddings, or funerals are combined with the eucharist, the confession and absolution is omitted, and on other occasions “may” be omitted – whereas the Peace, significantly, is never omitted. Is this not a theological change? Again, the proponents of the new Prayer Book, with their denunciation of the “morbidly” penitential devotion of its predecessors, think so. In the modern language Eucharistic prayers, and in Eucharistic Prayer B of Rite 1, there is no explicit affirmation of Christ’s death as a once-for-all sacrifice for sin. Is this not a theological change? Again, the promoters of the new Prayer Book have often denounced the western doctrine of the Atonement set forth in the Prayer Book. The examples could be multiplied: but the implications of the changes are more than “stylistic”, and often make a deliberate break with Anglican norms as set forth in the historic formularies.

  • Fr Gavin Dunbar

    I am puzzled by those who find no theological changes in the 1979 Prayer Book when compared with its predecessors. In Confirmation, for instance, the prayer which links Confirmation with Baptism and asks for the seven-fold gift of the Spirit, part of the rite for a good thousand years or more, has disappeared, along with the rubric requiring confirmation (or readiness to be confirmed) before admission to communion. Is this not a theological change? Certainly the liturgists who have advocated the 1979 Prayer Book think so, and have been fulsome in their dismissal of the developed western pattern of initiation maintained in the older Prayer Books. When baptism, confirmation, weddings, or funerals are combined with the eucharist, the confession and absolution is omitted, and on other occasions “may” be omitted – whereas the Peace, significantly, is never omitted. Is this not a theological change? Again, the proponents of the new Prayer Book, with their denunciation of the “morbidly” penitential devotion of its predecessors, think so. In the modern language Eucharistic prayers, and in Eucharistic Prayer B of Rite 1, there is no explicit affirmation of Christ’s death as a once-for-all sacrifice for sin. Is this not a theological change? Again, the promoters of the new Prayer Book have often denounced the western doctrine of the Atonement set forth in the Prayer Book. The examples could be multiplied: but the implications of the changes are more than “stylistic”, and often make a deliberate break with Anglican norms as set forth in the historic formularies.

  • trotk

    Thanks, Gavin. I will look all those sections up tonight.

  • trotk

    Thanks, Gavin. I will look all those sections up tonight.

  • Cincinnatus

    Gavin,

    No one has denied your charges. In fact, they have been explicitly affirmed both by Shane and myself. Eucharistic Prayer C is especially problematic.

    But the fact is that both Rite I and the “morbidly penitential” prayers still exist in the 1979 BCP and are still used, weekly in my congregation (that is otherwise conservative).

    Yeah, the 1979 BCP contains problematic aspects. But if one sticks to the old prayers (or even some of the new ones), the only change is stylistic: from Shakespearean pronouns to modern pronouns. I thus have no problem with attending a congregation that uses the most recent iteration. Besides, there is no consistent Anglican theology, so to claim that there have been “theological changes” between prayer books is an entirely relative statement. cf. Shane’s point about Anglo-Catholics vis-a-vis Reformed Anglicans.

  • Cincinnatus

    Gavin,

    No one has denied your charges. In fact, they have been explicitly affirmed both by Shane and myself. Eucharistic Prayer C is especially problematic.

    But the fact is that both Rite I and the “morbidly penitential” prayers still exist in the 1979 BCP and are still used, weekly in my congregation (that is otherwise conservative).

    Yeah, the 1979 BCP contains problematic aspects. But if one sticks to the old prayers (or even some of the new ones), the only change is stylistic: from Shakespearean pronouns to modern pronouns. I thus have no problem with attending a congregation that uses the most recent iteration. Besides, there is no consistent Anglican theology, so to claim that there have been “theological changes” between prayer books is an entirely relative statement. cf. Shane’s point about Anglo-Catholics vis-a-vis Reformed Anglicans.

  • Fr Gavin Dunbar

    Shane – I have to disagree that “no one” denied my charges. I think trotk did in fact deny such change, in his posting above. Nor is this denial, in my experience, unusual. Second, that some of the classic texts are available in the 79 book is a good thing, for which i do give the 79 book credit. It all depends, however, if they are used as they are in your parish. That they are in fact options in a smorgasbord of choices (now extended by the theologically troubling options of Enriching our Worship and such like) deprives them of any normative, community-forming function for the church that uses the 79 book. In most official contexts of the Episcopal Church, moreover, those Rite 1 options are treated as aberrant.

  • Fr Gavin Dunbar

    Shane – I have to disagree that “no one” denied my charges. I think trotk did in fact deny such change, in his posting above. Nor is this denial, in my experience, unusual. Second, that some of the classic texts are available in the 79 book is a good thing, for which i do give the 79 book credit. It all depends, however, if they are used as they are in your parish. That they are in fact options in a smorgasbord of choices (now extended by the theologically troubling options of Enriching our Worship and such like) deprives them of any normative, community-forming function for the church that uses the 79 book. In most official contexts of the Episcopal Church, moreover, those Rite 1 options are treated as aberrant.

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