Evangelical Anglican Catholics?

What happens when former Evangelicals find their way home to the Catholic Church through the Anglican Church? They bring with them into the Catholic Church a whole range of gifts from their former traditions. They bring the zeal and dedication of the Evangelical. They bring wide and deep knowledge of the Scriptures. They also bring the Anglican love of fine preaching, excellent hymns, reverent worship and beautiful language and liturgy.

The new Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans may attract far more than a few disgruntled Episcopalians. A whole range of Protestant Evangelical Christians are ‘out there’ searching for a church where they can exercise these great traditions from Evangelicalism and Anglicanism in faithful full communion with the Catholic Church.

The Anglo Catholic is a new blog dedicated to news on the development of the Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans. The blogger breaks the news today of an interesting development.

In Springfield, Missouri there are four Episcopal churches and two continuing Anglican congregations, but none have expressed interest so far in becoming part of the Anglican Ordinariate. However, a group has started by a man and wife who are former Evangelicals who became Episcopalians and then converted to the Catholic Church.

Shane Schaetzel put up a facebook page expressing interest in the Anglican Ordinariate and now has small and diverse group of people meeting for prayer to discern the way forward. They want to start an Anglican Use Congregation to eventually become part of the Ordinariate. I predicted this would happen. This new venture by the Holy Father may attract some Episcopal congregations, but I believe we are going to see a movement like this of other former Evangelicals.

I think there are quite a few out there who, like me, have been on the Canterbury Trail for some time. They are invisible because they are now in a whole range of different churches. They might be biding their time in their Evangelical church because they know how intolerable the Episcopal church would be and they don’t want to join an even smaller Anglican sect. They are drawn to the Catholic Church, but are put off by many of the problems within their local Catholic Church too.

I believe the Anglican Ordinariate will be a bridge for many of them. You can read more about Shane Schaetzel’s group here. Pray that more people will take this step and step out simply to respond to Pope Benedict’s appeal.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12858120820470784593 Anneg

    This is wonderful. Prayers are with them. On an evangelical blog somebody was talking about church-planting. The response from the Catholics was that every inch of the planet and probably other planets is already part of a diocese. I think this may be the Catholic version of church planting. Fr, You were right! Praise God. AnneG in NC

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10798650459454193768 Deborah Gyapong

    I agree with you. I belong to a Traditional Anglican Church parish in Ottawa and our bishop recently confirmed a former Baptist minister who sees a need for a church that is, as he described it: High Church; High Gospel; and High Holy Spirit, i.e. moving in supernatural gifts. Those leaving evangelical backgrounds for a liturgical and sacramental church do not want a Novus Ordo mass that too much resembles what they are leaving behind minus the Bible-based preaching. Thanks for getting the word out about The Anglo Catholic because it is one of the few reliable sources about the Personal Ordinariates out there.Deborah Gyapong

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12061818889296322158 john

    Can these "Evangelical Anglicans" who become Catholic retain, teach and preach the Saving Gospel of Grace Alone, Faith Alone, and Christ Alone. Can they believe, teach, and preach the Glorious Saving Gospel of Justification by Faith Alone. If not then they are no longer Evangelical let alone authentic Anglicans.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14526181484461535399 Brian

    John, I am an evangelical convert to Anglicanism, Anglo-Catholicism more particularly, and I would just like to clarify that your understanding of Roman Catholic doctrine may be a bit skewed by your history lessons. No good Roman Catholic who knows her catechism would deny that salvation is by grace alone or by Christ alone. And on faith alone and justification, cf. "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html) and also NT Wright on justification. The divide is not as wide as you suppose, my brother. Get to know them before you condemn them. So, the round about answer to your questions would be "yes." Even the reformers didn't say "sola fide" without qualifications (cf Art. XI & XII of XXXIX Art.).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06858481900525321535 RB

    Hell, I was born Catholic, an' I was raished Catholic, an' dad gum it, I am gonna die here an' no sidewindin bushwackin, hornswanglican, cracker croaker is gonna rouin me biscuit cutter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    John, I recommend my book More Christianity. This shows how becoming a Catholic does not mean denying the good things from the Evangelical experience, but adding to them the fullness of the faith.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09289169772469881170 Das Erlebnis

    Seriously. Your vanity is astounding. Everything I just read praised vanity as some kind of virtue, and gave all the wrong reasons to enter Communion. This was the whole problem with the Anglicans in the first place – it was vanity that separated them from Communion with Christ in the first place, and now, because of vanity, many of them are seeking to re – enter Communion again. And all you can say "I" predicted this! The fact is you don't know what you're saying.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17552414136133947686 craig

    Erlebnis, if this is your talent for dialogue in print I'd hate to see your dialogue in person. Your post is distinctly lacking in charity.I don't see any vanity at all in Fr. L's post or these comments, nor do I see it being praised as a virtue.Vanity has nothing to do with the separation of Anglicans from Holy Mother Church in 99% of cases (unless you're claiming that Anglicans are to blame for not choosing their parents more carefully). Anglicanism may have been founded as a vain thing, but it has brought the Gospel (with partial error) to many people. (If you want to argue that separated brethren are no part of the body of Christ, I have nothing more to say to you.) Those groups that seek union with Rome may constitute in all only one sickly organ in the Body of Christ, but our Holy Father believes that organ useful, and better healed with scars than amputated. I am inclined to agree with him.Anglican Christianity has become a distinct tradition with several laudable attributes that ought not be discarded (chief among them the Anglican daily office, hymnody, and the tradition of reverential genuine English in worship).To think vanity is to blame for Anglicans seeking full communion is pure madness. The ones who regularly issue public demands that Rome change her backward ways are not the same ones now seeking communion. The TAC is to be commended for petitioning Rome for entry without a list of pre-conditions, choosing instead to humbly trust that Peter will not leave them to rot. For this they have been blessed with the Pope's generosity, and one hopes that in time their faith will bless the whole Catholic Church as well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02327763839418228519 RC

    Do Evangelicals really have any problem with the idea of belonging to small sects? There are plenty of independent churches (denomination size = 1 congregation).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14835885031602933631 Annette M. Heidmann

    Thanks for the recommendation — I just bought your book!