They’re a large but neglected group of Christians. Some do not have their own denomination. They have no bishops or pastors. Others might be Baptists or Presbyterians or members of a nondenominational fellowship or a mega church. They are sincere evangelical Protestants who are disenchanted with evangelicalism and are searching for a church that is historical, traditional and liturgical.
Usually the first place they stop and shop is the Episcopal Church.
Before long they discover that Episcopalians are too liberal for their liking. Not only does the Episcopal Church ordain women priests and bishops, but it also permits bishops and priests to be “out and proud” homosexual activists.
The evangelical searchers move on. They read. They study. They pray. They explore Eastern Orthodoxy. But that’s not English, and they’re not Greek or Russian, and the culture shock is enormous.
Finally, they turn to the Catholic Church, and that’s a letdown, too. First of all, the same sorts of ethnic problems that turned them away from the Eastern Orthodox turn up among the Catholics. They’re bewildered by Catholic culture. Rosaries, novenas, Fatima, statues and candles, the Infant of Prague ”” all of it seems foreign. Plus a lot of Catholics seem just as liberal as the Episcopalians.
This is where the new Anglican ordinariate ”” established by Pope Benedict XVI last fall ”” may well prove a bridge to Rome not only for Anglo-Catholics but also a wide range of Protestants.