Disestablishmentarianism

I hereby advocate the Disestablishment of the Church of England, that is I support revoking the Church of England’s status as the official State Church in England. There are several reasons for this. First, the United States has enjoyed centuries of religious vibrancy as a result of its refusal to establish churches. Though radicals here and there have tried, the free market in religious ideals have kept faiths strong, vibrant, and focused on both God and their adherents.

England has not been so lucky. The State Church (COE) has not been so lucky. In England, not only are there more Catholics attending mass than Anglicans, but there are more Muslims attending Friday prayers than Anglicans attending Sunday service. The State Church has provoked a quasi-schismatic blacklash so bad, that the “loyal” Anglicans are outnumbered worldwide by the Copts!

The antidisestablishmentarians want to keep COE as the State Church, because it prevents the Anglican church in England from signing onto the Jerusalem Declaration (a theological matter). It is absurd for a modern democracy to interfere with a religion as much as the United Kingdom does through its COE.

The Church of England was founded on the state-oppression of religion. Disestablishing the Church of England would be as much of a victory for religious freedom as if Communist China disestablishments the COE’s twin across the centuries, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. While the CPCA prevents the free development of religion in China, the COE would do the same across the world.

Religious freedom is an important right. The greatest oppressor of religion in the world today is Communist China. The United Kingdom can set a good example by ending its own oppression, disestablishing the Church of England, and setting the Anglican Communion free.

14 thoughts on “Disestablishmentarianism”

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with your opinions expressed in this post. While the Jerusalem Declaration is the most intriguing, given the idea that they are disagreeing with the liberal interpretations of the bible but still staying members. The declaration could be seen more like “We are still all that is Anglicans, but we aren’t those GAY loving Anglicans.” Theological issues…quite fun stuff.

  2. “We are still all that is Anglicans, but we aren’t those GAY loving Anglicans.”

    I found the hate speech.

    http://www.gafcon.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79&Itemid=29
    The Jerusalem Declaration

    In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:

    We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.

    1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.
    2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.
    3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
    4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.
    5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
    6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.
    7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.
    8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
    9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
    10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.
    11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.
    12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.
    13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
    14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.

  3. If they dis-establish Anglicanism, will that make them move more quickly or more slowly with the ongoing establishment of Sharia?

    I think your suggestion that the disestablishment could somehow impact the Chinese is fanciful. The Chinese communist regime are not going to give up on any source of authority or concede any center of power not controlled by themselves. There is no tradition in China of any separation between spiritual and temporal authority, so far as I know.

  4. Thanks for the comments!

    Glenn,

    While the Jerusalem Declaration is the most intriguing, given the idea that they are disagreeing with the liberal interpretations of the bible but still staying members.

    What is happening appears to be analogous to a political revolution, where the rebels claim they are citizens of the ruling state, but which to take away the political privileges of the ruling offices.

    yar,

    Do you use the term hate speech for all theological opinions you disagree with?

    Lexington,

    If they dis-establish Anglicanism, will that make them move more quickly or more slowly with the ongoing establishment of Sharia?

    We can expect that a free market in Christianity would improve the market savy of Christian denominations.

    I think your suggestion that the disestablishment could somehow impact the Chinese is fanciful. The Chinese communist regime are not going to give up on any source of authority or concede any center of power not controlled by themselves. There is no tradition in China of any separation between spiritual and temporal authority, so far as I know.

    Neither is there in England.

  5. “If they dis-establish Anglicanism, will that make them move more quickly or more slowly with the ongoing establishment of Sharia?” (-LG)

    This is what I thought at first too. But lets face it, when the Muslims get enough numbers in Europe, its not going to matter what the “Law” says. You see, you’re thinking like a Westerner. The only thing that can keep the West from becoming part of the Caliphate, is by not allowing Muslims to be here in the first place. We can talk all day about 5GW and blah, blah, Closing the Gap, blah, blah but the bottom line is this; if they’re here in great numbers, they’re a threat.

  6. “Neither is there in England.”

    The “Establishment” of the Anglican Church has been a pretty minor thing for a long, long time now. Religious freedom in England is firmly established. The English experience, with its medieval inheritance of separated power, and its lived experience for centuries of a very light-handed established church, is nothing like the Chinese experience. The English Monarch may be the Fidei Defensor, but has never been the Son of Heaven. The Chinese monarch was a pre-Christian God-King, and that inseparability of spiritual and temporal authority still lives on in China in a way that it has not in England since Caesar was worshipped there as a deity.

  7. “Do you use the term hate speech for all theological opinions you disagree with?”

    I was being sarcastic. It’s a good statement.

  8. yar,

    LOL!

    It is hard to tell the difference between Canterburyists and people who parody them, isnt’ it! 🙂

    Lexington,

    The PRC prevents the aboveground churches from being self-governing in the same manner than the UK prevents the Church of England from being self-governing.

    There is no freedom for the Church of England, in the same way that there is no freedom for the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Both are in state-enforced schism and controlled by the national government of their countries.

  9. “There is no freedom for the Church of England”

    “…controlled by the national government…”

    1. Anyone can join it or leave it at will.

    2. So far as I can see, no one exercises any political discipline whatsoever over the Archbishop of Canterbury. It seems to be totally self-governing. And badly self-governing, at that.

  10. Lexington,

    The first point is true, but really not substantive. The second point:

    2. So far as I can see, no one exercises any political discipline whatsoever over the Archbishop of Canterbury. It seems to be totally self-governing. And badly self-governing, at that.

    Is not true. Archbishop Williams (a liberal) was appointed by Prime Minister Blair (a liberal). Before them, Archbishops Carey and Runcie were appointed by Prime Minister Thatcher. And so on.

    As high religious officers are naturally expected to opine on political matters (is a war just? is an economic policy sufficiently Christian? what is the role of women in society?), to expect a church to maintain its independence while its leadership is chosen by politicians who want to look good is wrong.

  11. Non-rhetorical questions: What difference, other than Church governance, exists between the conservative Anglicans and their Catholic (Orthodox, etc) counterparts? What differences likewise exist between the liberal Anglicans and their similar-minded counterparts in other denominations (again, other than Church governance)?

  12. Michael,

    Great question!

    Non-rhetorical questions: What difference, other than Church governance, exists between the conservative Anglicans and their Catholic (Orthodox, etc) counterparts? What differences likewise exist between the liberal Anglicans and their similar-minded counterparts in other denominations (again, other than Church governance)?

    The Anglicans consider themselves to be “catholic and reformed,” which mean they insist they are a historical catholic church but they also reject the sacrements, reject the apocraphy, reject the authority of the Pope, and reject all councils that took place after they left.

    Rome denies they are Catholic, in the sense that early in the church they ceased consecrating bishops in a way that any other of the apostolic churches recognized. They may or may not have solved this problem by having “Old Catholic” (some schismatic German) bishops consecreate them.

    The Anglicans have long been divided into “high church” (Anglo-Catholic) or “low-church” (Anglo-Protestant) wings. The high church is analogous to the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, in that it argues that the Anglicans are simply a catholic church that has a dispute over governance with the traditional patriarch of the west, but that these problems can be patched up. The low church is analogous to the continental Lutherans or even the Scottish presbytarians, in they see a radical break with the past and are suspicious of the church hierarchy in general.

    My family originally came to Massachusettes Bay Colony, because of their low-church extremism. Now I’m an apologist for the Pope. heh.

    Regardless, the high-water mark of the high church came a century ago, when the Anglo-Catholic “Oxford Movement” was very influential in Anglican circles. Ironically, this had the consequence of decapitating the high-church movement, as after arguing that the only true church was the Catholic one… many of the leaders went to Rome and were converted!

  13. Do you know of any correlation between high church/low church feelings and pro/anti female clergy feelings?

  14. Michael, Here’s my basic rule of thumb score card on female bishops

    Low Church doesn’t care. The more low you go the much closer to Baptist/Methodist still worship and they have long been open to new ideas.

    High Church spilt on how high you are. The archbishop is a leader of “Affirming Catholicism” which seeks to be catholic being pro-female bishop and gay friendly. The truly high church members (those with more rituals than your average Roman Catholic Church) are against female bishops. Some are threatening to leave for Rome while some break-away’s like all the Continuing Churches will grow from small to… well small plus a few members.

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