Question for Anglicans (Mercygate and Flameburns623)


I have an Anglican question.

I have a military friend/wanna-be preacher (not a chaplain) who was some kind of charismatic who didn’t like the “once saved always saved” and so he wrote a book which says that works matter to one’s salvation but yet still distances himself from RCC.

A couple of years ago, he wanted to become a navy chaplain but they wouldn’t have him unless he was ordained. He convinced an offshoot of the american epicopalians to ordain him and now he’s a priest. This group is called the EEC. I looked them up on the net and I found this site:

He says that this is not his group and that this group broke off from his because they didn’t want to make female bishops (and his did).

He says he now says “mass” (but I imagine that he grudgingly says it) since he’s ex-(but really not ex-)charismatic. My question is his view of the sacraments. He has a purely symbolic view. But I understand that of all the crazy beliefs of the Anglicans, they’ve pretty much kept the standard catholic view of the sacraments (even if there are only two), no matter how many offshoots there are.

And so I accused him of not following his own denomination: A sort of renegade preacher who has used the denomination to get an ordination to further his own career goals. Am I off the mark here? He started quoting the westminster confession and another confession which is closer to what he and (he admits) his bishop believes.



[quote=Imprimartin]I have an Anglican question.

I’m an ex-Anglican (ACC -> AEC), so I thought I might be able to help… but I didn’t understand exactly what question you are asking.



The Thirty-Nine Articles, which were the official statement of faith of sixteenth-century Anglicans, do endorse a view of the Eucharist that is quite close to that of the Westminster Confession of Faith (the Presbyterian statement of faith–though at the time it was drawn up the Presbyterians had temporarily taken over the Church of England).

Here is what Article 28 says:

" The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ. Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

       The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

       The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved,            carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."

Compare with WCF 29. The WCF is more explicit and more polemical, and the Articles are somewhat more susceptible of a Catholic reading. But you can certainly interpret the two statements (on this point) so as to harmonize them with each other.

However, neither document endorses the view that the sacraments are purely symbols of what is going on in the heart. Both of them speak of a real (though spiritual) feeding on the Body and Blood of Christ. (If you think the word “spiritual” is un-Catholic, think again–both St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas Bellarmine use it of the Eucharistic presence.) BTW, your friend is wrong that Wesley invented the term “Real Presence,” but he did believe in the “Real Presence” as taught in the ARticles.

It seems to me that a purely symbolic view cannot be reconciled with the Articles. But then some amazing feats of harmonization have been performed by Anglicans. Anglo-Catholics like Edmund Pusey held a view of the Real Presence that differs only in nuance from the Catholic view (I’m not sure it differs at all–but he had to claim that it didn’t involve that dread term “transubstantiation”), and managed to justify it in terms of the Articles–to their own satisfaction at least.

In my experience, it’s far more common for Anglicans to depart from (or interpret) the Articles in a more Catholic direction than in a purely symbolic direction (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met in person–as opposed to the Internet–any Anglican who held to a purely symbolic view). The rector of the Episcopal church where I was confirmed (and where I still remain nominally a member, even though I have not lived in the area for the past two years) actually told me that IV Lateran, as a Council of the Western Church, trumps the 39 Articles, so that the Articles’ rejection of transubstantiation cannot be used to refute the teachings of the Lateran Council! That’s an extreme position among Anglicans. But in my experience it’s far more common than your friend’s position. It’s noteworthy that he is not a member of the Anglican Communion or even of one of the larger split-off groups but of a splinter formed from a splinter!



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