Are Anglicans Protestant?

The title says it all.

It depends on who you ask. Some will say yes. Others will say that Anglicanism represents a “middle way” between Catholicism and Protestantism.

It should be noted that the long, formal name of the Episcopal Church (the Anglican province in the United States) is the “Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.”

Yes and no.

They are ‘protestant’ in the sense that the Anglican denomination came about as a protest against the Catholic Church (not unlike any of the other protestant groups)…and that they have since taken on certain elements of protestant theology, even though at first they were basically ‘Catholic without the Pope.’

However, the Anglican split was distinct and separate from the Lutheran split (which led, directly or indirectly, to most of the rest of protestantism). So if you’re being real nit-picky you could argue that Anglicanism (and denominations, like Methodism, that sprang from it) are in one ‘group,’ while Lutheranism (and denominations that sprang from it) are in another.

To make it even more complex, some groups that we Catholics might identify as being protestant reject that label on some variation of the argument that they are the proper continuation of the original Christian Church (so they aren’t protesting Catholicism as much as they are rekindling some lost, original Church)…

In the end, the way I look at it is that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are the only ones with a plausible claim to being the ‘original’ Church, and all the other denominations were formed as a rejection (protest) against those claims, in way way or another. So I consider any Christian denomination other than Catholic and Orthodox to be ‘protestant.’

God bless!

uhhh! actualy the anglican church came about because a certain king wanted to divorce his wife and since the pope did not approve of this said king decided to usurp the pope’s authority. He confiscated all the churches properties and abbeys and wealth (shrewd move by the way) and proclaimed the “church of england”
So although they cannot not be lumped together with the reformation they were non the less influenced by them in the long run.

Yes, the Anglican Church was founded by Henry VIII initially because he wanted to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon and Rome wouldn’t allow it. However, one of the underlying reasons was that the Catholic Church in the Kingdom of England ( It wasn’t the British Empire or the United Kingdom yet) was enormously wealthy, not only in gold, but in real estate on which they were tax exempt.
Henry went after the Church hammer and tongs and destroyed most of the monestaries and cathedrals around the country and confiscated their wealth, not just for the Crown, but to give to his friends and political allies.
However, the majority of the English common people remained loyal to the Church during Henry’s lifetime. It wasn’t until Queen Elizabeth I that the Church was eradicated and outlawed in the British Isles. QE I forced the people into being Protestants, and martyred hundreds of Catholics and their clergy. It wasn’t until the Spanish declaired War against the English that the common people rallied totally behind QE I.
It wasn’t until the middle of Queen Victoria’s reign that Catholicism became legal again and Catholics could worship freely in the UK. However, it wasn’t until almost the 20th century that Catholics could vote and hold public office in the UK.

Said king wanted a decree of nullity with respect to his marriage, an event commonplace in his day; for dynastic and personal reasons. His case was about as good as these things were in the day, but his opposition was a little over his weight class.


The conflict, of which Henry’s Great Matter was the Perfect Storm, between the Crown and Rome, had deep roots in England, reflected in a variety of Royal decrees/Acts of PArliament, running at least back to the First Statute of Westminster, running through the Henrician Acts in 1533-34, that made the break. The Crown had been for centuries trying to both increase its power over the Church in England, and decrease the influence of any power outside England: that is, Rome.


LOL! I enjoy the delicate way you express yourself, GKC, esp. your reference to King Henry’s “opposition”. I’d say Henry was in way over his head! :smiley:

Ironically Henry VIII had no real doctrinal disputes with the Church. He believed in Transubstantiation, the community of saints, the eternal virginity of Our Lady, prayers for the dead, intercessory prayers, patron saints, the use of holy water, the Sign of the Cross–any Church of his would have seemed completely at one with any other English (Roman) Catholic Church. The only substantial difference had to do with the authority of the Pope. Henry had once, like all Christians, seen the Pope as the Earthly Head of the Church, St. Peter’s successor–Henry knew a great deal about theology and once wrote a book on the topic which so impressed the current Pope that that Pope gave Henry, in gratitude, a special title: “Defender of the Faith”. (Could some kind person please translate that into the original Latin? I would so appreciate it! :blushing:) What’s so funny is that to this day Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain still is called “Defender of the Faith”–any King or Queen Regnant is–and it came from the Pope when the English were still Catholic! Somehow that always cracks me up!! But when the Pope refused to nullify Henry’s marriage to his first wife, Katherine of Aragon (so that he could marry the Protestant-leaning Anne Boleyn), Henry had the mother of all tantrums. Still the Pope was immovable, insisting that Henry and Katherine’s marriage was legal and valid in the eyes of the Church. Finally in a raging temper Henry decided to cut off all ties to the Pope, make himself head of the Church in England, and of course was excommunicated for his pains. He (followed by his daughter the great Queen Elizabeth I) completed the severance from Rome, which remains to this day.

GASP Okay, overly long-winded history lesson over. If you attend Mass at an Anglican Church (esp. a “high” church), it will seem very very familiar. At the other extreme, “low” Anglicans are much more like Methodists, Lutherans, etc.

Sorry for the looooong reply :o but the short answer to your question is YES. While some High Church Anglicans share a lot with Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) believers, technically they are still Protestants.

I hope you are not now more confused than ever. I have a tendency to do that to ppl, lol. :thumbsup:

Ahhh! History such love! yes Elizabeth had a wicked way of punishing priests that where caught saying mass, uhm no wait any priest caught :eek:. They would be Hanged, Drawned and Quartered.
First hung untill almost choked to death then almost drawned to death and finally legs and arms attached to 4 horses and ripped apart!
In contrast Henry VIII’s prime minister was beheaded when he did not renounce his faith.
Did you know it was customary for the victim to bribe the executioner so that it would make a clean cut?
If the guy was not carefull and accurate the result could be very messy and painful.

Elizabeth’s method WAS messy AND painfull, Nasty litlle B… uhm forgive me father for I have sinned :gopray2:

Death is death, and it is always hideous.

I imagine these exotic medieval methods were more for the entertainment of the crowd than anything else. They were only a footnote to the Roman period, anyhow.

Martyrdom is never comfortable.

Shalom and ICXC NIKA

Anglicans are anything you want them to be. In my local Anglican church (which I have been to on a number of occasions) the pastor presents one image of Anglicanism to the 8 am “traditional” service and then a theologically and visually different image at the 10am “contemporary” service.

No, I’m not confused, but I appreciate your kind words there.

Let me fine-tune the lesson a little. Hank is a long term hobby of mine.

Henry’s role in the composition of of the Asssertio Septem Sacramentorum is murky. Likely the first chapter was from his pen, and bits and pieces of the rest, and he shaped it, overall. But who actually wrote the bulk of it is not known. More is known to have contributed, at least. And it played a role in his receiving the title of Defensor Fidei, but the story of that is more complex and interesting. I’ve posted it in various places here a few times, always happy to do it again, if requested.

It is not correct that the title of Defender of the Faith used by current monarchs is literally the same as the title awarded Henry by Leo. That was a personal title, not attached to the Throne. Parliament thought it looked nice, though, and did just that, in 1543. Mary later removed it, in her 2nd Act of Repeal, Elizabeth had it re-attached, and it’s there now by Parliamentary fiat, not courtesy of Leo.

It’s quite true that Henry was mostly orthodox, particularly at the point of the rupture. And the reasons for the all the unpleasantness] were slightly more complex than merely his hormones. He was playing the game by the rules established, within the system of decrees of nullity, impediments and dispensations, which were specifically designed to permit the making and breaking of dynastic marriages. His case was a good as many at the time and he fully expected to receive his decree, as did his sister, slightly before he submitted his causa. But, as I said, he was up against a strong combination of opponents. Clement was not particularity immovable; he was indecisive and wished dearly the whole issue would go away. It was Catherine’s nephew that made him look immovable.

Been a while since I’ve done much on Hank, here.


The use of drawing/quartering as a method of execution for high treason was commonplace in England since the 1300s. Every monarch used it, if circumstances seemed to warrant it.

Times were rough, in the day.


In another recent thread, David A. Barrett’s World Christian Encyclopedia was referenced. In that source, religions are divided into seven major ecclesiastical blocs: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Non-White Indigenous, Anglican, Marginal Protestant, and Non-Roman Catholic. So, at least by that author, Anglicans are separate from Protestants.

That’s pretty ridiculous and false. Shall we remind you of the inquisions and the three blind mice?:slight_smile:

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