Anglican Church Belongs to Rome…

What is Anglicanism? Some say that it is distinguished by its tradition of ecclesiology and liturgy, that is based on the Bible – succession of the early church [emphasis mine]. This, I believe, is correct, but how shall God prevent this  tradition from being abused and split into thousands of pieces like that of Protestantism? How shall Anglicans guard themselves from becoming completely apostate? In order to answer this question one must dig into the very history of the Anglican Church.

 I once had an Anglican bishop test me on my knowledge of the Anglican Church. This man asked me when I thought the Anglican Church began. I said that it began in the 6thcentury. This man was practically irate about my answer! He said that the Anglican Church started in the second century. I should have been more clear stating that it officially began in the sixth/early seventh century. We were looking at the Anglican Church from two totally different perspectives. To me, the Anglican Church is a tradition. But it is a tradition under an authority. It is not just something great that was discovered and can be used by anyone that finds it interesting. No, this tradition is based on what God began with the early Church and carried on through the bishops to our day – apostolic succession.

There are two authorities that we can choose from when seeking to find the root of the Anglican Church. The first is the Roman Bishop Gregory the Great. He sent Augustine on a missionary journey to England in the year 597, to evangelize the Angles people, hence the name. Augustine and the Benedictine monks were successful in ministering to these people at Canterbury and began instituting a form of Benedictine liturgy. Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 601.

It would be foolish and outright arrogant to deny the proposition that the missionary work of Augustine sprouted the Anglican Church. The Church at Canterbury, today, is considered the mother church of all Anglicanism. It is the Cathedral of the Anglican Communion and it is considered the leading authority over all Anglican Churches (although this is beginning to change, due to its falling away to liberalism).

The questions arises as to whether Rome still has, or every truly had jurisdiction over the Church of England. But the name itself, “Church of England” is that of Roman decent. It is Roman theology that claimed a Church to its geography. We know that the liturgy, for the most part, is from Rome (it is the Celtic flavor, though, that gives Anglican liturgy its marvelous thrust), and that the doctrine of the Anglican Church was no different from Rome’s prior to the Reformation and the Reign of Henry VIII. Papal authority increased within the Anglican Church up until the Reign of Henry VIII when Henry declared The Act of Royal Supremacy (1534), where all authority was stripped from the Bishop of Roman and given to the King.

Henry the VIII demanded a divorce from his wife with the Church’s approval. The Pope would not grant that request and so Henry departed from the authority of the Pope creating, in essence, the Anglican Church. Henry attempted to justify his divorce by sighting a passage in Leviticus, but it can hardly be supported. The verse speaks of a man not marrying his brother’s wife. Henry did indeed marry his brother’s wife, but only after his brother had already died. The real reason why Henry wanted a divorce is so that he could have a male heir for the throne. He also ended up having a total of six wives after the divorce, which demonstrated his view of marriage in general (as well as his qualifications to be commanding chied over the Church). He ended up killing two of his six wives!

Let’s just say that the Bishop of Rome was wrong in what he did (or did not do), and Henry had to do what he did in order to escape his dilemma and save the people of England from catastrophe. Let’s say that all this has passed and the people of England are now truly free by this Act of Royal Supremacy. Does the authority of the Church return to the Roman Bishop?

Henry the VIII was a defender of Roman theology, once attacking Reformed theology by writing his Defence of the Seven Sacraments. The Bishop of Rome then gave him the title of “Defender of the Faith.” So it is relatively clear that Henry was not after a theological reformation which eventually happened within the Anglican Church.

Some Church records show that there were British bishops present in England as early as the second century. But there is little to no known record that the successors of these bishops were in any opposition to the Roman doctrines or authority that they were submitting under. In fact, the early British bishops initially submitted to Rome when the Bishop of Rome decreed through the Council of Aries that the date of Easter be changed.

Even if it can be shown that there was disagreement about changing the date of Easter and even some of the other doctrines proposed by Rome, one would be hard pressed to completely reject the authority that Rome was given over England; especially considering the work of Augustine and the Benedictine monks.

Now that Canterbury is fallen, which governing authority shall be in charge of the Anglican Church? Should Rome have jurisdiction over the Anglican Church?  Or was the missionary work of Rome simply a stepping stone to something greater?

I really do not see anything greater being done in the Anglican Church. I see more splits as a result of unionizing with semi-conservatives and even full blown liberals, all in the name of “we are against homosexuality.” But homosexuality is only a symptom of the problems within the Anglican Church (England and America). To join, for instance, with Anglicans that prescribe to ordination of women is to travel the same disastrous road again (I can argue this more ways than one)!

Some would say that we need no authority except that of medieval documents and the Canon of Scripture. But this would mean the complete dismantling of the Anglican faith as a Catholic and Creedal faith. This would mean that Anglicanism, because it is founded under apostolic succession, is finished, and that only an Anglican type of liturgy would remain…and eventually dissolve like every other Reformation liturgy has.

The Anglican Church is a Church that was stolen from Rome! That is the honest summary of the above. Rome commissioned Augustine to organize the Church in England and he was successful. How can Thomas Cranmer possibly be considered a legitimate successor when he helped commit schism, as well as radical change of doctrine away from the ancient Church? The Anglican Church was founded on fornication, divorce, murder and heterodoxy. It was bound to become what it is today: a heretical mess that actually promotes mortal sin! Look at the bishops and you will see that very thing.

Breaking succession and claiming that one is a “Continuing” or “ACNA” Anglican will not withstand judgment before God. If one is convinced that they must remain liturgically Anglican rather than Eastern Orthodox – the original successors of the Apostles – then let them return to Rome through the ordinariate that the pope is creating. Other than that, the Anglican Church is just another Protestant Church with no real authority and nothing but divisiveness and fabricated grace, the very thing that they had thought to put to rest in the Reformation. Such a sad case of irony!