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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Post Protestant?

I had a helpful moment of self-understanding this week when I came across the phrase "post-Protestant." "Ah ha! That's me!" thought I.

I have always self-identified as evangelical but that is a word with a wide range of meanings and in some contexts is perhaps misleading to use as a word to capture where I am at (even more so in North America).

Perhaps I am evangelical but not Evangelical (as I am catholic but not Catholic and orthodox but not Orthodox).

I am Protestant in so far as I have been spiritually formed within Protestant traditions and still find my ecclesial home there. I am an Anglican and I think that there is a wealth of riches in the spiritualities and theologies of the Reformation (as well as some things I do not like).

But I am not protesting Catholicism. Not at all. There are things within the Catholic tradition that I do not agree with but I don't see them as a major issue and have no particular interest in protesting against them. Indeed, I am increasingly finding much within Catholic theology and spirituality to inspire me. I am getting more and more Catholic as I get older.

I am not post-Protestant in the sense that I want to "get over" the reformation traditions, renounce them, or drop them like a hot rock. I wish to continue to draw on them as a resource.

Perhaps this is why I became an Anglican last year — because Anglicanism stresses the continuity between the church before and after the Reformation. It aspires to be a kind of reformed catholicism and not something other than catholic. (Of course, aspiration is one thing; reality quite another.)

So I think I now know what I am: an orthodox, catholic, evangelical Christian with post-Protestant inclinations.

That's a bit of a gob-full; perhaps I'll just stick with Anglican.

10 comments:

Dan Galbraith said...

I can relate, Robin! I don't believe there is a denomination or any kind of codified description of my understanding of the gospel. Perhaps "Restorationism", as described by Paul's evangel.. the Restoration of All Things.

jamesdowden said...

That's a wonderful definition of Anglicanism! :-)

James Goetz said...

I doubt that I will ever stop protesting :-)

Micah said...

Robin --

Does the Anglican church then at least tolerate its members holding a Christian Universalist outlook? The evangelical church I attend recently officially stated that universalism is a heresy, which I imagine would prevent me from becoming a member if I wanted to, or perhaps would mark me as a 'heretic' to be watched closely, if I ever mentioned my views on ultimate reconciliation.

Robin Parry said...

Micah

The good news is your evangelical church is not in a position to declare any new heresies (it does not have the ecclesial right to speak on behalf of the universal church). But that does not stop them thinking that they can so ...

The Anglican church is wide and can handle universalists.

Robin

Micah said...

That's good to hear.

It seems kind of ironic to me that in their booklet stating that they 'believe Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and that universalism is a heresy', this is followed shortly after by another point--that they 'believe in God there is always hope no matter what.' :)

It's largely because I very much embrace that latter point that I can't embrace the second part of the former point (although, of course, I hold to the first half, that Christ is the only way.)

I was perusing some Anglican websites last night, and liked much of what I saw. I was a bit concerned, though, when I read some comments where folks were calling those who believe that the laity can be involved in serving Communion 'heretics'. It seems that word is tossed around a little too aggressively by people, at least from my perspective.

Robin Parry said...

Micah

Anglicans are a mixed breed and there are issues. I've never come across that one before though. It is standard for lay people to help with communion (though they cannot consecrate the bread and wine).

Robin

Micah said...

Robin

I may not be fully understanding what they were commenting on -- something to do with the practices of Sydney Anglicans. Maybe it was more to do with the actual consecration. It just seemed like they were a bit quick to pull out the 'heresy' card in their discussion. Did Luther and Zwingli consider each other 'heretics' for their respective views on the Eucharist? 'Course, it was even more serious back then, when being labelled that could get you burned at the stake.

Micah said...

It's seems kind of similar to the way the word 'racist' is flippantly thrown around these days. Yes, there is real heresy and real racism, but the use of those terms often feels like someone is just reacting to an issue with an emotionally, politically-charged sledge-hammer approach, rather than graciously discussing the truth or error of a situation. Am I really going to persuade my brother or sister in Christ to correct an error, or be open to correcting my own error, if I am calling them a 'heretic'?

(Just to be clear, I wasn't meaning to cast aspersions on Anglicans in general -- just one particular blog I happened to read.)

Micah

Robin Parry said...

Micah

I agree. The word "heretic" is banded around far too easily.

Robin