What happens when a Muslim visits an Anglican Chapel?

27 08 2013

The following post comes from Carl Trueman over at Ref21.  I hesitate to post things like this, because in my experience Anglicans with lifeless liturgy, poor preaching, gospel-less theology, and pathetic outreach view such articles as a validation of their ministries.  I have no desire to validate such ministries.  Rather, I’m posting this article because if the only kind of Anglicanism you’ve ever known was the type described above then you probably overlooked the pure gold to be found in the classical Anglicanism of Cranmer’s liturgy.  I’m posting this because outside eyes are sometimes the best way to reappraise the treasures in your own house.  

Do make sure to click through and read the whole thing.

Yet here is the irony: in this liberal Anglican chapel, the hijabi experienced an hour long service in which most of the time was spent occupied with words drawn directly from scripture. She heard more of the Bible read, said, sung and prayed than in any Protestant evangelical church of which I am aware – than any church, in other words, which actually claims to take the word of God seriously and place it at the centre of its life. Yes, it was probably a good thing that there was no sermon that day: I am confident that, as Carlyle once commented, what we might have witnessed then would have been a priest boring holes in the bottom of the Church of England.  But that aside, Cranmer’s liturgy meant that this girl was exposed to biblical Christianity in a remarkably beautiful, scriptural and reverent fashion. I was utterly convicted as a Protestant minister that evangelical Protestantism must do better on this score: for all of my instinctive sneering at Anglicanism and formalism, I had just been shown in a powerful way how far short of taking God’s word seriously in worship I fall.

Of course, there were things other than a sermon which the hijabi did not witness: she did not witness any adults behaving childishly; she did not witness anybody saying anything stupid; she did not witness any stand-up comedy routine or any casual cocksureness in the presence of God; she did not see any forty-something pretending to be cool; in short, she did not witness anything that made me, as a Christian, cringe with embarrassment for my faith, or for what my faith has too often become at the hands of the modern evangelical gospellers.




J.C. Ryle: Cranmer brought out “like Samson in the hands of the Philistines”

7 03 2012

Below is an excerpt from Bishop Ryle’s essay “Why were our Reformers Burned?” from a collection of essays in his famous Knots Untied.  You’ll notice that I’ve been trying to post at least one thing per week on Anglican history, because Anglican history is rich and inspiring.  Not only is it rich and inspiring, but sadly it is neglected.  Our Anglican Reformers were faithful, Gospel centered, Jesus loving pastors, many of whom gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel.  Below is Ryle’s account of Cranmer’s martyrdom.  If you are unfamiliar with Cranmer’s martyrdom, the language of “recantations” may be cause for confusion.  The short story is that Cranmer recanted his Gospel faith and was meant to re-join “Bloody Mary’s” church.  However at the last minute he “recanted his recantation.”  The account is below.  Click through the link to read the entire essay.  

I need hardly remind you how, on the 21st March, the unhappy Archbishop was brought out, like Samson in the hands of the Philistines, to make sport for his enemies, and to be a gazingstock to the world in St. Mary’s Church. I need hardly remind you how, after Dr. Cole’s sermon, he was invited to declare his faith, and was fully expected to publicly acknowledge his alteration of religion, and his adhesion to the Church of Rome. I need hardly remind you how, with intense mental suffering, the Archbishop addressed the assembly at length, and at the close suddenly astounded his enemies by renouncing all his recantations…Such a sight was certainly never seen by mortal eyes since the world began!

But then came the time of Cranmer’s triumph. Light of heart and clear in conscience, he allowed himself cheerfully to be hurried to the stake amidst the frenzied outcries of his disappointed enemies. Boldly and undauntedly he stood up at the stake while the flames curled around him, steadily holding out his right hand in the fire and saying, with reference to his having signed a recantation, “This unworthy right hand,” and steadily holding up his left hand towards heaven.(5) Of all the martyrs, strange to say, none at the last moment showed more physical courage than Cranmer did. Nothing, in short, in all his life became him so well as the manner of his leaving it. Greatly he had sinned, but greatly he had repented. Like Peter he fell, but like Peter he rose again. And so passed away the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury.

Click here to read the whole thing