Eric Menees–Why I am an Anglican Part IX : Because We're International

In May of 2012, I was blessed to addend a FCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) meeting in London, where the international flavor of Anglicanism – which had always been theoretical to me – became real. How powerful it was for me to have dinner with the Archbishop of Chile, the Bishop of Iran, and a Bishop from Uganda. We shared a meal together, prayed together, and spoke of our faith in Christ. As we did, it became clear that while we came from very different cultures and backgrounds, we shared the same Christian Culture – based on a common understanding of Christ, the Church, and our Mission in the world.

We have the evangelical spirit of the English Reformers to thank for our international flavor and expression – for a truly catholic (universal) church. In short, where the English Navy and economic traders went, the Church of England went also. This missionary zeal took extra focus with the formation of the Church Mission Society in the eighteenth century, under the leadership of many evangelicals, not least of whom was William Wilberforce. In a short time, the CMS began to focus on Africa and India. They then focused on the South Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand. Today, millions of men and women have come to Christ through the efforts of those original missionaries and their successors.

However, the focus was not only calling individuals to conversion, but also engaging the culture, with the intention of transforming all of society.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ecclesiology, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates, Globalization, Theology

3 comments on “Eric Menees–Why I am an Anglican Part IX : Because We're International

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Thanks, Kendall, for posting this.

    I always love to read testimonies of the “Why I’m an Anglican” sort. It whetted my appetite to read the prior 8 installments, that included reasons like I’m an Anglican because it’s “Biblical, Liturgical, Sacramental,” etc. The order of mention of the various attractions is interesting, but I’ll focus here on this installment alone.

    I too love the international and multi-ethnic character of worldwide Anglicanism. However, I think that perhaps Bishop Menees has indulged in a bit of over-enthusiastic exaggeration in exulting about how international Anglicanism is. It’s simply not true that you can find Anglicans that speak “every” language on the planet, not even every major language (spoken by a million or more people). Above all, it remains unfortunately true that Anglicanism is basically confined to the nations that formerly belonged to the British Empire. Elsewhere, Anglicans may sometimes exist in small numbers (as say, in parts of Latin America or Asia), but Anglicanism has certainly not yet flourished there.

    However, I also found it a bit odd that when celebrating the faithful and extensive missionary work of Anglicans around the globe, +Menees only mentioned the low church, evangelical CMS (Church Missionary Society), and entirely avoided mention of the high church, Anglo-Catholic SPG (Soceity for the Propogation of the Gospel). Granted, the (U)SPG was never as large or vigorous as the more famous CMS, but it still produced some marvelous missionaries, like the great Roland Allen, who bore much fruit.

    But all that really means is that if I were to produce a similar series of blog posts on “Why I’m an Anglican,” it would look significantly different from the fine series that +Menees has given us. But that’s perfectly OK. We all have our own reasons for being Anglican. And mine have everything to do with Anglicanism at its best being a genuine Protestant-Catholic hybrid, or at least affording the most freedom and encouragement for the flourishing of “3-D Christianity”” evangelical, catholic, and charismatic.

    I wish more Anglican leaders would go on record as to why they prefer Anglicanism to all the alternative forms of Christianity out there.

    My final comment is this. “It is meet and right” to celebrate the international character of Anglicanism. It’s the welcome fact that Anglicanism is now dominated (demographically and spiritually) by Global South Anglicans that is saving Anglicanism in our day. It’s appropriate to celebrate the fact that we are the second-most universal body of Christians on the planet. The Lutheran and Presbyterians/Reformed traditions in particular are far more geographically and ethnically confined to certain pockets or regions around the globe. The same applies to the Eastern Orthodox churches, which are still very ethnically bound. Baptists and Pentecostals may be more numerous and more universally scattered around the world, but those traditions are so loosely organized that they can’t really be said to constitute coherent bodies that are at all comparable to the Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, or Methodist traditions.

    But when it comes to being international, Anglicanism still can’t begin to compare with the Roman Catholic Church, which is FAR more universal in scope. If someone were to prize being a part of a truly international fellowship of Christians as the most important single factor in their choice of denominational allegiance, then such a person would be almost bound to be a Catholic. After all, who has ever heard of Eastern Rite Anglican provinces similar to the Ukrainian, Ruthenian, or Byzantine Catholic Churches? Who has ever heard of Melkite or Maronite Anglicans??

    +Meness touching testimony seems to take Protestant assumptions for granted. But that’s OK, because it’s his personal testimony.

    David Handy+

  2. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Is this not a straw man argument? What major denomination could not be defined as international? There are Methodists and Lutherans and Orthodox all over the world.

  3. Pb says:

    Penecostals are the second biggest group and are found world wide. Just sayin.