Response to Dr. Jared Henderson on Tract I

Thank you, Jared Henderson, for engaging with my definition of Anglicanism. I appreciate the points you make about the apparent lack of appropriate norms. It was impossible, without composing a Faulknerian definition which included many semicolons, to include everything I wanted into one sentence. This is one of the reasons that the one-sentence definition was given in the context of me defining the four kinds of definitions I attempted to synthesize.

My one-sentence definition includes the phrase “reshaped decisively by the English Reformation,” a phrase which is pregnant with the uniquely Anglican norms of the Prayer Book and Articles. As far as the ecclesial definition, I express that what binds us together is our continuity with the Catholic Church planted in England. However, the specific contemporary embodiment of this ecclesial identity is quite complicated and contested. It would, in fact, have been impossible to offer a one-sentence definition of Anglicanism’s contemporary ecclesial identity.

Although I don’t intend to extend my definition of Anglicanism in the immediate future (I’ll be addressing when Anglicanism actually began in the next 2 Tracts, for example), I’m sure I’ll return to definitional matters in the future. Also, my forthcoming book, “Orthodox Anglican Identity” (Wipf & Stock), will address the ecclesial definition of Anglicanism (and many other related things) in much greater detail.

Thanks again, Dr. Henderson, for continuing the dialogue about this crucial matter.

Charles Erlandson

Fr. Charles Erlandson served as rector of St. Chrysostom’s Reformed Episcopal Church in Hot Spring, Arkansas. In 2009, God called him back home to Tyler and Good Shepherd Church and School, to teach high school and serve as assistant rector. He teaches at Cranmer Theological House and is the Church History Department Head. Fr. Erlandson also writes a daily Bible devotional, available online or through e-mail subscription, called Give Us This Day. He has written several recent books: Orthodox Anglican Identity, Love Me, Love My Wife, and Take This Cup.

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