Lutherans and Anglicans together

Lutherans and Anglicans together February 24, 2016

While liberal Lutherans and liberal Episcopalians have gone the way of mainline Protestantism in its anything-goes ecumenism, it is a different story with church bodies that still hold to their historical doctrines.  The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has broken away from the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.), joining other global Anglicans in affirming a more conservative theology.

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Lutheran Church Canada has been in talks with the new American Anglican church, and the three church bodies have just released an Interim Report on their discussions.  The document is extremely interesting, especially in tracing the historical connections and parallels between Lutherans and Anglicans.  The report also details the doctrinal agreements (some of which you might find surprising), as well as the disagreements.

A sample and links to the report after the jump.

From On Closer Acquaintance: AN INTERIM REPORT on the ecumenical dialogue between the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), and Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), available here: LCMS, LCC and ACNA release interim report on ecumenical dialogue | LCMS News & Information:

Instead of renewing the one historic church of the west as Martin Luther had desired, the Reformation of the 16th century ended up producing several distinct church bodies severely at odds with each other. In this process many sharp words were spoken and negative judgments delivered, by Lutherans against Roman Catholics, Reformed, and Anabaptists; by Reformed against the other three groups just named; by the Church of England in her classic formularies against Roman Catholics and Anabaptists; and by Roman Catholics against all who had left their communion. Remarkably, Lutherans and the church body later called Anglican aimed few if any direct shots against each other.

While not of one heart and soul, neither were our forefathers at daggers drawn with each other. There is in fact enormous overlap between successive editions of the Book of Common Prayer and how it took shape in church life, on the one hand, and the way in which the Book of Concord was reflected in the teaching, worship, and ethos of the Lutheran churches of Germany and Scandinavia. Accordingly, we can ascertain much compatibility between historic Anglicanism and Lutheranism in fundamental doctrine, liturgy, hymnody, and devotion.

For a considerable portion of the 18th century the ruling kings of England (who remained electors of Hanover) were practicing Lutherans and Anglicans at the same time; the Lutheran George Frederick Handel composed his church music mainly in England; and there was much formal cooperation on the mission field between some German Lutherans and the Church of England.

We should not overstate the case, however. The Lutheran chaplain of Prince George of Denmark (1653-1708) refused to commune him after he decided, on certain state occasions, to receive the sacrament alongside his wife, Queen Anne.

Rather than describe ACNA and LCMS–LCC as sister churches, we should acknowledge each other as ecclesial first cousins, closely related indeed, but not yet partaking publicly of the same Lord’s Table. Our church bodies share a common foundation in the Holy Scriptures and in their confessions. The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion draw heavily on the Augsburg Confession and other Lutheran influences. Eight of the Thirty-Nine Articles are drawn directly from the Wittenberg Articles1 of 1536, a joint Lutheran–Anglican document.

[Keep reading. . . .The report can be downloaded at this link.]

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