Plantinga is an Anglican

It was pointed out elsewhere that Theodore (not Cornelius as I mistakenly said earlier) Plantinga is now an Anglican. Witness:

The Canterbury Trail

Some of the reformationals, reacting against these developments began to cast a longing eye at the Canterbury Trail, as Robert Webber has called it. But when they departed for Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic or Anglican churches (called Episcopalian in the USA), they were not taking a step that can be hailed as reformational in the classic sense. Of course there are also reformationals who simply started out as Anglicans and were never enticed into joining a Reformed church, such as Craig Bartholomew.

Reformationals eyeing the Canterbury Trail could appeal to Abraham Kuyper for a degree of understanding, for in his book on worship Kuyper had written that the “English church” was much more developed in liturgical respects (liturgisch veel fijner ontwikkeld). And there was nothing particularly original about the decision of some of the reformationals to choose the Canterbury Trail; they could hardly congratulate themselves for being on the cutting edge. Rather, what they were doing was going back; in other words, they were embracing worship practices and sacramental emphases and forms of church governance which had been rejected by their ecclesiastical forefathers in centuries past.

It was as though the middle had fallen away. Many people had grown to love the “low-church” tendency that was more and more taking over the Reformed and Presbyterian churches. Gordon Spykman (1926-93) observed that while Lutherans were toning down their sacramental emphasis by thinking more like Calvinists, the Calvinists were moving away from their traditional position and beginning to sound more and more like the Zwinglians, who had advanced the “memorial feast” view of the eucharist during the early days of the Reformation. But a minority abhorred these developments and began to yearn for sacrament and liturgy and tradition. Some discovered the celebrated Anglican Book of Common Prayer and were drawn into the Anglican communion, while others remained closet Anglicans.

I was among those who were drawn to the Book of Common Prayer: early in the new millennium I turned Anglican. The aftermath of the worship wars within the Christian Reformed denomination were a major factor in my decision, as was the coldness toward the 1944 problem and toward the many Canadian Reformed people living among us that I had experienced especially during my days of ecumenical endeavor in the early 1990s (see my remarks above). There was, in addition, a third, very personal factor in my decision, which I will not discuss here.


6 thoughts on “Plantinga is an Anglican”

  1. The movement of Lutherans away from liturgical worship is something that occurred at two junctures. One was in the 19th century, when unionism was strong in the European state churches and in the General Synod (the ancestor of today’s ELCA). There was also, even in churches with strong liturgical traditions like LCMS, a fear of being “too Catholic.”

    The other was the baby-boom rebellion against anything traditional. Since there is nothing more traditional than the liturgy, my generation (I am 59) tried to cook up its own liturgies and introduce “contemporary worship.” Since Lutheran musicians are overwhelmingly classically-trained, there were not many Lutheran “contemporary praise songs,” which caused pastors and congregations who desired to move in that direction to look toward music of Baptist and Pentecostal provenance.

    The result was predictable. Lex orandi, lex credendi, has many corollaries. One of those is that churches who bring in Baptist music soon have entire service forms that look and sound like Baptist services. Those, in turn, have led to Lutheran pastors preaching in their shirt sleeves and conducting “consecrations” of children for families that intended to let the child decide later whether he or she wanted Baptism.

    There has been, however, a welcome and strong reaction in LCMS, at least. I can’t speak for ELCA, with its unionistic policies. We have a whole generation of young pastors now who are devoted to liturgical worship.

    1. Yes, I think things will swing back the other way Ken, at least to some extent. I just read Leithart’s *From Silence to Song* and his conclusions are encouraging.

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