Anglicanism and baptismal regeneration

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Michael Wrenn, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    I don't know of any denomination that is able to contain as many different -- and diametrically opposite -- points of view as Anglicanism can. Actually, that's one thing that drew me to it years ago since my own views are quite diverse.

    Consider the following excerpt form an article on baptismal regeneration:

    "Differing Anglican attitudes:

    In his summary of the situation from 1810 onwards, Nockles detects at least seven different strands of thought on the subject:

    1. The Extreme High church view: This insisted that the spiritual effects of baptism were inseparable from it even to the point of an opus operatum or purely mechanical understanding of the rite and this was the only acceptable doctrine of the Church of England.(pp. 230,232,233)
    2. The moderate HighChurch: While holding a high view of Baptismal Regeneration themselves, they recognised diversity of opinion must arise but held that the Liturgy provided a corrective.(p. 235)
    3. Calvinist Evangelicals: These accepted a rigorous doctrine of predestination, and with it that of antecedent grace, and therefore denied baptismal regeneration outright as unscriptural.(p. 229)
    4. The majority of Evangelicals: For them baptism was little more than initiation into the visible Church.(p. 229)
    5. Some of the former: The "little more" included the recognition of baptism at least as a sign of regeneration as stated by Article 27 of the Thirty-Nine Articles(p. 229)
    6. The moderate Evangelicals: These, and J.B. Sumner (Archb of Canterbury 1848-62) was one, accepted what was, from the High church perspective, a modified version of the doctrine in which the spiritual effects are not inseparably tied to the rite. While holding this position, Sumner was not prepared to label Gorham's Calvinistic arguments heretical and insisted that Elizabethan divines (theologians) had allowed that the grace of spiritual regeneration could be separated from the sacrament of Baptism.(p. 230)
    7. A Protestant position: Formulated in the first instance by James Mozley as he moved away from Tractarianism and investigated the opinions of early generations of highchurch theologians on baptismal regeneration as Sumner had done. He discovered "statements made sometimes, which, if put into easy English and placed before our [High church] friends, would be set down as heresy, but which occur in undoubtedly orthodox authorities"(quoted Nockles, p. 234)"
     
  2. Walter

    Walter
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    I must say, the 39 Articles seem to clearly state a position of Baptismal Regeneration but also would seem to leave little room for Anglo-Catholics. I am talking about articles 16 & 22 in particular. I don't understand how Anglicans can say they adhere to the 39 Articles and hold the very 'low' church evangelical positions in regards to Baptism and then the ultra-nose bleed 'high' church theology you find in most of the 'Forward in Faith' crowd. Confuses me!
     
  3. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Well, remember the history of Anglicanism. The Church of England became a church that tried to accommodate the religious opinions of the majority of British citizens, for the sake of trying to have peace among the various parties. The Elizabethan Settlement helped to make Anglicanism a unique expression of the faith -- different from any other denomination, actually.
     
  4. Doubting Thomas

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    I agree, particularly when combined with the teaching of the Baptismal Liturgies of the classical prayer books and the Catechism also contained therein. (Count me as a Catholic Anglican, but not necessarily of the 'ultra-nose bleed, high church' sort).
     
  5. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
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    As a baptist...

    Would High Church ones hold to baptismal regeneration than,while the "Evangelical" wing holds to more of a baptist view on it?

    Which "camp" were CS lewis/JI packer seen as being in?
     
  6. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
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    Yes, that's basically correct, or so it seems. But there are more shades of complexity to the issue as Michael Wrenn mentioned above.

    CS Lewis was more high church with more Anglo-Catholic tendancies (prayers for departed etc). He believed that Holy Communion and Baptism were not merely visible signs but actually communicated the life of Christ (this is evident in MERE CHRISTIANITY).

    Packer is more on the low side of things, and is definitely more Calvinistic in his beliefs. Not sure about his belief about Baptism--maybe somewhere in the middle.
     

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