Forget New Calvinism

Next up New Anglicanism:

Editors’ note: At the 2015 National Conference, TGC will be hosting a workshop on Anglicanism, “The Anglican Book of Common Prayer: What Relevance Does It Have to Today’s Contemporary Worship?” and a focus gathering, “The Resurgence of Reformation Anglicanism.” Both sessions will be led by John Yates III and John Yates II.

And here is one thing (of NINE NINE NINE) that you REALLY need to know:

3. Anglicanism is Reformed. The theology of the founding documents of the Anglican church—the Book of Homilies, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion—expresses a theology in keeping with the Reformed theology of the Swiss and South German Reformation. It is neither Lutheran, nor simply Calvinist, though it resonates with many of Calvin’s thoughts.

Maybe George Whitefield will finally get his due, but what of Charles Spurgeon?

When oh when will the allies ever get around to the New Baptists?


19 thoughts on “Forget New Calvinism

  1. Interestingly, the XXXIX Articles aren’t the “founding documents” of the Anglican Church. The 10 Articles are; and then the Westminster Standards were its statement of faith for several years before 1563 when the XXIX Articles arrived.


  2. The Thirty-nine Articles are in fact a fairly Reformed statement of Christian dogma. That Anglicanism as it actually exists in the world is not Reformed should be obvious by the large number of Anglo-Catholics in both the mainline and continuing bodies of the Anglican communion.

    Given that one of the leading lights of the Gospel Coalition is a Baptist who has spent much of his scholarly career teaching at an Evangelical Free seminary, I’m not sure why including or highlighting Anglicanism would be seen as broadening their coalition. Surely, it would be easier to make the case that Reformed Christians can function with integrity in Anglicanism than that they could do so in the Evangelical Free Church.


  3. “new calvinists” is not a very useful term, except when used in the sense of “all the calvinists with whom I disagree”. It’s no more carefully defined than the category “new evangelicals” or the use of the word “hyper” in reference to those who don’t see what we see.

    That being said, I do like some “old school Anglicans”. Toplady as described by Lee Gatiss in the “True Profession of the Faith” (Latimer Trust) is something of a hero to me—died young, but still opposing the false gospel of the Wesleys.

    Gatiss– “as I show in my latest publication (fresh out from Latimer Trust this week and available for worldwide shipping immediately, at very reasonable rates), some of the money which Wesley may have earned from his publishing endeavours was at the expense of other writers whom he fraudulently copied, forged, and plagiarised…

    One such victim was Augustus Montague Toplady. My buddy Fred says that nasty Mr Toplady was full of spite against Wesley (who, as usual, gets away pretty lightly there it seems to me). But why would Toplady not feel anything but warm and fuzzy about the giant genius of evangelicalism?

    Might it have been because of the Zanchi Tract War, where Wesley re-published (in his own series) a bowdlerised abridgement of one of Toplady’s books, denuded of all its (350+) biblical references and pregnant with infamous Wesleyan additions designed to portray Toplady as narrow and bigoted? Possibly.

    It may also have been because of the rumours being spread about the much younger man as he lay breathless in bed dying an unhappily early death (aged 37). Sanctifying themselves by slander, Wesley and his friends tweeted that Toplady had renounced his faith. Not only that, but apparently he also wanted to recant his Calvinism and personally confess to John Wesley that he was wrong about the doctrines of grace. So they were saying on the circuit.

    Toplady somehow got himself out of bed (against doctor’s orders no doubt) and dragged himself to a pulpit to demonstrate publicly the falsehood of such calumny. Wheezing and emaciated he may have been, but he preached as he always had. He also assured his congregation that, on the edge of eternity as he was, he had no desire to delete so much as a single line from any of his published contributions to “the Arminian controversy.” I imagine you could have heard a pin drop that Sunday morning. Toplady’s heart was scarcely beating, the attending doctor said, anxiously; but its rhythm was still clearly Reformed, and was warmly longing for heaven and “sweet communion” with the Lord.

    A few days later, a friend wrote to him and said he’d been told by two separate people that Toplady had got up that Sunday and… recanted his Calvinism and opposition to Wesley! I’d be quite annoyed by that — wouldn’t you? So Toplady published his sermon, his “dying avowal”, in another attempt to stop such gossipy aspersions.

    Once he was actually dead, Wesley told people Toplady had passed away uttering foul blasphemies and died in black despair, banning his Christian friends from his bedside. These (entirely fabricated) stories rippled out across the country, and Wesley was at the epicentre.

    Toplady’s friends (at least 13 of whom certified that they had actually been with him when he died, including Dr Gifford and John Ryland Sr — Baptists! Wesley didn’t like those very much either…) attempted to challenge the senior pillar of Methodism to cease and desist. How could he vent such “gross, malicious falsehood against a dead man who cannot answer for himself, in order to support your own cause and party”?

    Sir Richard Hill, who sent a letter to Wesley on behalf of Toplady’s associates, records that Wesley never replied to this challenge. When approached by two of Toplady’s colleagues who wanted to talk to him about his accusations and behaviour, Wesley fobbed them off as he got into his limo, saying “Those that are for peace will let those things alone.”

    – See more at:…/wesley-and-the-death-of-topl…


  4. Well, we Anglicans do have quite a few of the Reformed side in our church, especially in the ACNA. But of course they aren’t the only side. Some (like myself) hold to a number of more Reformed ideas, but are higher church in liturgy and approach to some doctrines like tradition. From my perspective, we tend to eschew the confessional particularism found in the OPC or URCNA. The Articles are important, and must be subscribed to, but I don’t think any bishops are requiring adherence to quite the specificity that Reformed denominations tend to.

    On another note, I really don’t care for a close bond with TGC. The evangelicals in our communion will surely get on well with them, but as I have a very high sacramental theology and tend to think that low, low, low liturgy services are deeply flawed and theologically suspect, I suspect that I and others like me won’t connect with them in any meaningful theological way. But if they want to start letting the BCP draw them to historic Christian worship, I can’t complain!


  5. DGH, not at all! Returning to historic worship would be a step in the right direction, but of course a return to episcopacy and thus true catholicity would also be most welcome and, I think necessary. I know you would in no way agree, but I don’t think returning to liturgy is the only thing that would need to happen. Just one thing that needs to happen.


  6. Ashley Null and Paul Zahl have both written extensively on the truly Protestant and, in particular, Reformed nature of Anglicanism.


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