Monday, March 23, 2009

Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail

At Good Shepherd there are a growing number of new Anglicans...Anglicans from both Catholic and evangelical backgrounds. Good Shepherd is kind of a mix. We are theologically/doctrinally speaking, firmly evangelical (in the Reformed tradition) but liturgically we are "high". So it is easy for evangelicals to feel at home during the Christian ed class between services and during the sermon but feel completely lost during the rest of the service.

I've been looking for resources to help explain the Anglican way to evangelicals and all the while a really good resource has been sitting under my nose in the form of a book, Anne reminded me of it this morning, entitled "Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail". Here is a section of one of the reviews posted on Amazon:
My movement toward Anglicanism was prompted by the question of what St. Paul meant by "fear and trembling" and this book tells the stories of others who moved toward the liturgy, worship as defined by the Apostles who knew Christ personally and whose personal relationship with Christ was defined by the One Lord Himself. The authors also speak highly of their roots in Evangelicalism/Fundamentalism. Without rancor or bitterness they appreciate, as I do, the love and the truth of the Gospel expressed in those traditions. But they discovered something richer in the Liturgical Tradition of Anglicanism that didn't diminish what they believed before, but gave it context and depth. For fellow seekers from Evangelicalism I recommend this book.

And here's another
A line from Robert Webber's book that may startle both evangelicals and Anglicans alike reads, "As I meditate on my worship experience in the Episcopal tradition, I find I am drawn to it because it is so thoroughly evangelical." This book tells his story and the story of several others at Wheaton College who found themselves drawn to the Anglican tradition. For a time I lived in a foreign country and a city where the best choice for worship was the Anglican church; otherwise, as a good card-carrying evangelical, I may never have set foot in one. What I found was eye-opening to me, and I was thrilled to find that Robert Webber has written a book that puts this experience into words.

Liturgy is evangelical? Absolutely. As Webber points out, in the average Anglican service, more Scripture is read than at most community Bible churches. Responsive readings invite people to interact with the Word. The atmosphere of doctrinal litmus-testing that is so readily apparent in most evangelical churches takes a backseat, allowing honest study and inquiry-people can come to God first before they must seek approval from the congregation. The "point" of the service is worship and communion with God (not least because communion/Eucharist happens every week), and not entertainment by the worship team and pastor. The worship and activities of the church are tied to a rich historical tradition, thus freeing them from the mood of the moment, whatever the modern culture or a particular congregation feels comfortable with...

I think this book will be a great help those of you trying to figure out all what all this Anglican stuff means.


Anonymous said...

In the mid-1980's, I happened to come across this book; and what was in it totally up-ended my spiritual walk, as I had always wondered "why" I felt I was still feeling like I was missing something even after a 2-hour service with all the CCM & fiery preaching. I still recommend it to people I know that are in the same boat; but I now am sure to specify "Orthodox Anglican" instead of Episcopal (aka "Ichabod")


R said...


Miss you all!


PS. also interesting to note that the Lent book 'York Courses' the local is doing in groups mentions Lambeth 2008 controversy for today's discussion section. May scan in pages for interest.

Samantha Kubik said...

I'm anxiously awaiting my copy of this book.


Summersnow said...

I had the distinct pleasure of listening to Bob Webber discuss his book in my Philosophy class at Trinity (Deerfield, IL) during my college days. He was good friends with the Prof., and was absolutely delightful to us students. Between Dr. S and Bob many of us took a stroll down Canterbury Way.

While God has led us elsewhere now, I still miss the Liturgy and the Seasons of the Church year. I thank him for making the introduction. Although I have been saddened by many things in TEC, I do not regret walking the Anglican Way.

This book is a treasure.


GA/FL said...

Thanks, +Matt and +Anne!

I've also ordered the book. Hope it will answer some questions and ease my Anglican angst.

( has great bargains)