Anglicans in Canada
Controversies and Identity in Historical Perspective
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Series: Studies in Anglican History
In the following pages I discuss six controversies that I think are central to the history of the Anglican Church in Canada. I have given one chapter to each controversy, and each chapter includes not only an historical essay but also a few essential historical documents so that readers can grasp the historical flavor of Anglican life and thought in Canada. ...
“Church membership means more to Canadians than nationality,” a University of Toronto historian said in 1976.1 While his statement would be harder to defend today than it was then, it does seem true that, historically, building Canadian churches was an important preliminary to building a Canadian nationality. ...
1. Questions about Missionary Work
From the first time a Book of Common Prayer was opened in what is now Canada, Anglicans identified their Church as a missionary organization. By this they meant that it was directed by God to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to new fields and to supply Christian ministry in situations where people lacked the means to finance it themselves. ...
2. Questions about the Church's Role in Society
Anglicans in British North America (BNA) and later Canada prayed for their government and their community and saw their Church as a vital instrument of God’s purposes for the world. But they had diverse and sometimes conflicting views about the social good, and they disagreed about the proper role of the Anglican Church in Canadian society. ...
3. Questions about Church Governance
Governance in the Anglican Church in Canada has always been diffuse and untidy. By “governance” is meant the constituted ways by which the Church makes institutional decisions and assigns authority. It includes structures of decision making, lines of accountability, job descriptions, and spheres of jurisdiction. ...
4. Questions about Anglican Church Style
Until the 1960s, Canadian Anglicans reserved their most impassioned theological disputes for ecclesiology, that is, the theology of the Church and its relation to Anglican life, doctrine, discipline, and worship. Even those not given to impassioned disputes recognized the point of asking what it meant to be the Church ...
5. Questions about the Church in the Modern World
When the bishop of Natal in 1862 claimed that the Old Testament contained errors of historical fact, his metropolitan excommunicated him, prominent evangelicals such as Lord Shaftesbury joined with prominent tractarians such as Edward Pusey to denounce him, and the whole Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops condemned him heartily. ...
6. Questions about Gender in Anglican Life
Throughout most of its history the Anglican Church in Canada in its public character was an overwhelmingly male institution, a point demonstrated by the dominance of men in the first five chapters of this book. With rare exceptions, those who had the authority to speak for the Church and make institutional decisions for it were men: ...
In many Christian churches, controversies are settled by some combination of power, authority, and schism. In Canadian Anglicanism, controversies have seldom been settled at all. The Anglican Church has made few decisions that it could not revisit. The most notable irreversible decisions it has made voluntarily have been granting independence to its mission fields ...