What is in a label?

One of my Low-Church Facebook buddies in my diocese blogged today about our Diocese’s resolution to  begin to remove the term ” Protestant” from our Diocese’s name. Right now we are known as the Protestant  Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, but if passes, this resolution will  be the first step in  removing the ” P word” from the name of the body of the Church in which I live.

It is true that we Anglican Christians are not Catholic. Thanks be to God, we  are NOT under the authority of the Vatican See. Heck, we don’t even  have any true central authority figure in Anglicanism. The head of the Church of England, Rowan Williams, is only the ” spiritual figurehead” of the Communion. { again, thanks be to God!!}

Ok , so we are not Catholic. But neither are we truly Protestant. I live in the ” Baptist Bible Belt” of the United States, so I know a Protestant church when I walk into one. We Anglicans are not truly Protestants.

Our Clergy, though we do ordain men & women, are called priests.

We celebrate the Mass, or Eucharist, every Sunday.

Our Prayer book is based on the Catholic monastic’s rhythm of daily prayer.

We observe seven{ yes seven} Sacrements & sacremental rites. Prootestants only observe two, Baptism & Holy Communion.

In truly Proestant theology, the Communion is merely a memorial to Christ’s last supper. They don’t believe that Christ  is present in the  form of the Bread & Wine.

There is no episcopal authority.{ governing of the church by apostolic sucession of bishops} I am told that Lutheran s & Methodists do still use the office of bishop, but he or she really has no true authority over congregations as do bishops in the Anglican, Roman & Orthodox  traditions.

We don’t practice ” open” Communion in the same way that our Protestant sisters & brothers do. For example, in the Presbyterian tradition, a Buddist is welcome to recieve Communion if she or he so desires.  But in the Anglican tradition, Communion is open to all baptized Christians. This varies from priest to priest & I know of no clergy in my Diocese who would ask a newcomer if she or he has been baptized if said visitor comes to the altar rail. But we do, at least in teaching & theory, make that distinction.

Protestants only recognize two sacrements & they are not requited to observe them with any regularity. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know of Baptists are even required to  celebrate Holy Communion at all.

But, the important thing is that we are all Christ-followers. I wish there was more understanding  among we Christians of different  traditions, but sadly there is not. Wihile I am a proud high-Church Anglican, I respect those whose theology is a bit different from mine. Life in the Church would be boring if we all agreed on one style of worship or school of thought.

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  • George F. Tyson  On 03/08/2010 at 6:44 am

    Hello, it looks like your site is up and coming in the

  • David Justin Lynch  On 04/12/2010 at 2:32 am

    I am right now preparing an essay on this very subject. I shall provide the draft to you for your review and comment. I am going to attempt to get it published, somewhere.

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