Three Streams?

Below is a comment I left on Virtueonline’s website, but it was not approved by their “moderator” because it was negative about charismatics. I stand by what I wrote and reproduce it here for your reading and commenting.

I’m afraid using the “three streams” approach is both misleading and inaccurate. The historic three “streams” in Anglicanism was loosely labeled “high,” “low,” and “broad” church, terms that actually did not well describe the positions of each school. The old broad churchmen, or latitudinarians, have faded into the mainstream of today’s C of E, P/ECUSA/TEC (or whatever 815 calls itself this week), AC of Canada, etc., the folk for whom what one believes, teaches, or practices is not nearly so important as being seen to be in the mainstream of today’s western civilization’s decline. The graciousness and broad-mindedness of Anglicanism, once one of our hallmarks, morphed into a total abandonment of morality now capped by a viciousness enforcing their new standards. This decline is no secret or surprise to any reader here.

With the third school’s abandonment of the Catholic and Apostolic faith and discipline, and one could argue, a total abandonment of Christianity altogether, there was a gap in terminology that some thought needed filling. The Catholic and Evangelical schools of Anglicanism had found their natural affinity when the non-Christians began tinkering with the liturgy and discarding Apostolic order so that the revisionist agenda could be achieved in Anglicanism. The resultant two-sided coin is the natural state of Christianity, the mutual interdependence of Word and Sacrament that is Anglicanism at its best. I disapprove of using the labels “evangelical” and “catholic” as both apply to the Anglican way, each without diminution of the other. But what about that “third stream?”

When the enthusiast movement began at the turn of the twentieth century, it found a ready home among the protestant fringes, but Anglicanism withstood its attacks for decades, until the erosion of the practice of weighing faith and practice by the Vincentian Canon—that which has been found in the Church everywhere, always, and by all. As some Anglicans fell to the attacks of the enthusiast movement, they believed and taught, falsely, that they were exhibiting the gifts (charismata) of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the phenomena seen at Pentecost, thus they labelled their movement as “charismatic” or “pentecostal,”  even though the hallmark of their movement is glossolalia and ecstatic utterances, practices from paganism sometimes seen in mental illness but that have never been part of historic Christianity.

Anglicanism. The fullness of the Christian faith in Word and Sacrament.


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