Guyer’s Weblog

December 11, 2008

One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: A Response to Alister McGrath’s “Anglicanism and Protestantism”

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 7:44 pm

In a recent op-ed published in the Church of Ireland Gazette, Alister McGrath asserts that Gregory Cameron, Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, has “publicly distanced Anglicanism from Protestantism.”[1] In an article pertaining to Anglican ecumenical relations with Protestants, Old Catholics, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and the Mar Thoma Church of India, Cameron had written that “episcopacy is the clearest outstanding issue in dialogue with the Protestant traditions.”[2] McGrath interprets this as a denial of Anglicanism as a protesting ecclesial body, and uses it as an opportunity to rehash some rather old and tiresome debates pertaining to 19th century Anglo-Catholic historiography. McGrath then writes that Cameron “appears to belong to the revisionist school of thought which is trying to airbrush out Anglicanism’s Protestant heritage and tradition.” The real irony of all of this is that despite McGrath’s own credentials, his accusations against Cameron have nothing to do with Cameron’s own words in the aforementioned article, but McGrath’s own inability – or, perhaps, refusal – to think beyond a rather simple definition of Protestantism that cannot countenance Anglican particularity.

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