The Anglican Church Has Lost Her Confession

The Church of England does not know the Reformation's confession of the Gospel anymore. It is the tragic fate of this church, which is not a "bridge church" but rather an island church, that it can no longer say what the Gospel is with any finality. The various reformations through which this church has passed have perpetuated themselves today in various parties, and each of these parties has in turn broken into still more factions. While the "Low Church" has guarded the Scripture principle, more or less (perhaps less!), the "High Church", especially since the Tractarian Movement of 1833 by which the spirit of Catholicism was revived, has injected the Catholic concept of tradition into the life of this church again. And it is not only the Anglo-Catholics who have given up the sola scriptura, but many in the broad middle church as well. Whenever Anglicanism, with its "High Church" ideas, has influenced Lutheranism there the inheritance of the Reformation has sooner or later been lost.

From Liturgy and Confession, A Brotherly Warning Against the "High Church" Danger. Originally published in the Lutherische Blaetter, Christmas, 1959 [trans mine].

Comment: Is this too harsh a judgment, both on the Church of England and on those Lutheran church bodies influenced by Anglicanism? In the decades since 1959 the accuracy of Sasse's view of the Church of England, and by extension surely Anglicanism in general wherever it is found, as an "island church" rather than a "bridge church" (as she views herself) has become more justifiable. However, more recently the tide of liberal Anglo-Catholicism has receded somewhat, while the influence of the Anglican evangelicals who consciously regard themselves as heirs of the English Reformation has grown. It remains to be seen whether this will result in a genuine renewal of the Reformation Gospel in Anglicanism.

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