Anglican Samizdat

May 8, 2009

Why I am an Anglican

Filed under: Anglican,Christianity — David Jenkins @ 9:47 pm
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In 1978 I became a Christian. A number of things conspired to push me over the edge: some who were close to me were healed after prayer; a nagging desire to make sense out of the universe refused to leave me alone; I had everything I needed or wanted, was not satisfied and yet the allure of more of the same held little promise. So after a week of wracking my brains on my place, if any, in the cosmos, I concluded that the question of whether Jesus is who he claims to be was somehow central to everything.

After another week of wracking my brains to decide if Jesus’ claims about himself held water, I decided to pray to a God whom I thought might not be listening to persuade me one way or the other. The next day I woke up convinced that Jesus is God and that he died for my sins; a conclusion based on the subjective, but I was as subjectively convinced of this reality as I was of the chair I was sitting on. I also woke up a non-smoker; I had smoked – anything that would ignite – for many years and had become an expert in quitting since I had tried so many times. This seemed to me to be an added seal of authenticity of the influence of someone outside myself; I awoke with no desire to smoke.

The closest church to my house was an Anglican church so I decided to talk to its rector. I was under few illusions about the Anglican church: in the light of my new-found fervour it seemed a tepid, pale imitation of what I was looking for. Nevertheless, St. Hilda’s was within walking distance, so I decided it was worth a look.

I made an appointment to see the rector and had decided that if he was too ecclesiastically sophisticated to be anything other than amused when I told him I had been born again, I would move on. He took me seriously, so I stayed.

Since then I have confirmed that much of the broader Anglican Church in the West espouses positions that I am diametrically opposed to. Social issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage; political views such as its anti-Israel stand and pro-left agenda; its pretence of inclusivity while excluding those with whom it disagrees; even its theological views on the resurrection, virgin birth, Christ’s atoning sacrifice and so on – in all these cases I have a differing view. In fact, we have reached the point where the Anglican Church has become a litmus test that assists me in coming to an opinion on current affairs: if the Anglican church agrees with something, I know I probably won’t.

I have been following the Anglican Consultative Council meetings taking place in Jamaica with some interest. Amongst the chaos, one thing is crystal clear: in spite of the pretensions of employing  consensus forming indaba groups, what is really going on are intense political machinations designed to impose a particular stamp on the Anglican future. Unsurprisingly, the TEC seems to be most adept at this; if they have their way, hyper-liberalism will dominate. As things stand now, I suspect the liberal juggernaut will thunder on in North America unimpeded, until it collapses in on itself and  disappears with a final whimper. Lawsuits, same-sex blessings, the ordination of gay clergy, the erosion of orthodox biblical Christianity will all continue for the moment.

When all is said and done, I have little interest in being Anglican. I have absolutely no interesting in church polity (a word that is now number 3 on my most detested words list), conversing with those who pervert the gospel to come to an agreed middle ground, diversity, inclusion, dialogue, discernment groups or indaba groups; all are vanity. I do have a great deal of interest in being Christian, even though I am a flawed and stumbling specimen. Nevertheless, the body of Christ I happen to find myself in is Anglican, I find the 39 articles are propositions I can, for the most part, go along with, I have come to appreciate the combination of structure and freedom to be found in the Anglican liturgy and finally, the Anglican Church of Canada has declared that ANiC is not Anglican.

Since I belong to an ANiC church, by the litmus test I mentioned above, I must be Anglican.



  1. Rather be seen as not Anglican than not Christian.

    Comment by Gawk — May 9, 2009 @ 8:32 am

  2. Well said.

    Comment by Ann — May 9, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

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