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A. Early History.

1. There may have been Christians in Brit. already in the 2d c. During the persecution of Diocletian,* most severe 303–305, also the Christians in Brit. suffered, Alban* reportedly among them. But persecution in Gaul and Brit. seems to have been less severe than elsewhere, perhaps because Constantius I (d. York, Eng., 306), father of Constantine* I, had some sympathy for Christians. Britons attended the Syn. of Arles 314.

2. When Gothic conquests in Gaul and It. led to release of Brit. from Roman control, Christianity was pushed N and W in Brit. It swung back in the work of Columba (see Celtic Church, 7), who sent missionaries from Iona into Scot. and N Brit. He came from Ireland, where Patrick* had worked earlier. Augustine* of Canterbury, sent by Gregory I (see Popes, 4), arrived in Eng. 597. Aidan* went from Iona to Northumbria and est. his see at Lindisfarne.* Strife bet. Celtic and RC factions led to the 664 Syn. of Whitby,* which decided in favor of Rome.

3. Papal control increased in Eng. under Theodore* of Tarsus and his successors, then declined in the wake of Danish invasions. After the Norman Conquest (1066), ties with the Continent, including Rome, were strengthened and episc. power increased, though William I (called William the Conqueror: 1027–87; king 1066–87) resisted the pretensions of Gregory VII (see Popes, 7). Lanfranc* was abp. Canterbury 1070–89; Anselm* succeeded him 1093. John (often called John Lackland; ca. 1167–1216; king 1199–1216) defied Innocent III (see Popes, 10) over the election of S. Langton* as abp. Canterbury, and Eng. was put under the interdict 1208. John surrendered his crown to the papal legate and received it back as a vassal of the pope.

4. The prestige of the popes suffered from their exile in Avignon,* their supposed subservience to the king of Fr., and strife bet. papal contenders. In the 14th c. parliament asserted Eng. indep. by curtailment of papal jurisdiction, appointments, and exactions.

B. Reformation Period.

1. These curtailing laws were appealed to as the spirit of nationalism grew and blossomed under the Tudors. When Clement* VII would not grant an annulment of Henry VIII's (1491–1547; king 1509–47) marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Henry succeeded in attaining qualified recognition as head of the Ch. of Eng. 1531. He could count on considerable national feeling and resentment against the exactions and interference of Rome. T. Wolsey* had been papal legate. See also Regalism.

2. The Lollards* had been forced underground but were receptive to the ev. doctrine that came down the Rhine and through the Low Countries to Eng. Men who became leaders in the Eng. Reformation gathered at the White Horse Inn, Cambridge, to study banned works of M. Luther.* Luths. of various strength may be found among the Eng. reformers. The most Luth. of them, R. Barnes,* was a friend of Luther and the Wittenberg reformers and represented Henry VIII in negotiations with the Schmalkaldic* League. Henry later had him burned at the stake, and Luther mourned “St. Robert.” Much of W. Tyndale's* theol. was akin to Luther's. T. Bilney* came to the Gospel much as did Luther. M. Coverdale* was a Luth. pastor in Bergzabern, Ger. T. Cranmer,* a priest, married a niece of A. Osiander* the Elder, but his theol. had only a Luth. phase (ca. 1532–48). Luth. influence is apparent in most of the Henrician formularies and can be seen also in the Thirty-nine Articles and the Book of Common Prayer.

3. Henry VIII did not want doctrinal renovation. For his writing against Luther, Leo X (see Popes, 20) gave him the title Defender* of the Faith. But he was for a time interested in assoc. with the Schmalkaldic* League against Charles* V, nephew of Catherine of Aragon. Anglo-Luth. doctrinal confs. were held 1536 and 1538; through them Lutheranism influenced Eng. religious formulas under Henry VIII and his successors. Henry VIII's later reaction is reflected in the Six Articles of 1539 and the King's Book of 1543 (see Anglican Confessions, 2–4). See also Lutheran Confessions. A 5.

4. Henry VIII had found a submissive servant in T. Cranmer,* whom he made abp. of Canterbury. Cranmer's most abiding work, the Book* of Common Prayer, was pub. 1549 under Edward VI (1537–53; king 1547–53), rev. in a Swiss direction 1552. The Forty-two Articles were drafted 1552, pub. 1553; on them were based the Thirty-nine Articles adopted 1562. rev. 1571 (see Anglican Confessions, 5, 6). They remain in effect but have long since lost confessional force except for the Ev. party. During Edward VI's reign the regency council under his uncle. Edward Seymour (ca. 1506–52), Duke of Somerset, moved the Eng. ch. to Protestantism, and this more radically under John Dudley (ca. 1502–53). Duke of Northumberland, who displaced Seymour.

5. With Mary Tudor (1516–58; queen 1553–58; see also Mary I) there came to the throne a zealous RC Some Prots. went into exile. T. Cranmer,* N. Ridley,* and H. Latimer* were burned at the stake. Mary's readiness to persecute on religious grounds, her restoration of papal obedience, and her unfortunate for. policy, motivated by religion, alienated her people with their growing relish for indep. and being Eng. They finally wanted no more of what Mary stood for and enthusiastically acclaimed Elizabeth* I.

6. Elizabeth I sought with great skill to arrange the ch. so that all her people would be in it. She was under strong pressure from the Marian exiles, to do away with what remained of “popery” from Cranmer's day. There was much opposition to altars, kneeling, and vestments, and considerable support for Presbyterianism. Elizabeth insisted on bps. R. Hooker* justified episcopacy as Scriptural and reasonable and gave later Angl. theol. a philos. slant with dominant interest in the Incarnation, in sharp contrast to the Reformers' concern with the cross. The Elizabethan Settlement of 1559 had the typical Angl. characteristics of comprehensiveness, acknowledgment of the role of reason, and insistence on bps.

7. The divine necessity of bps. was asserted by the High* Church party, which developed in opposition to Puritan* deprivations. The Stuart kings were sympathetic to RCs Charles* I and W. Laud* were beheaded under O. Cromwell.* Parliament est. Presbyterianism 1646 (see Presbyterian Churches, 2).

C. Restoration and Later History.

1. Anglicanism was vigorously restored with Charles II (1630–85; king 1660–85; see also Scotland, Reformation in, 3) but James II (1633–1701; king of Eng., Scot., and Ireland 1685–88) was turned out of the country for his unparliamentary notions and Romanism.

2. With the accession of William III (1650–1702) and Mary II (1662–94) in 1689 the Prot. succession was est. The Act* of Toleration (1689) granted freedom of worship to nonconformists* except RCs and Unitarians, though no nonconformists might hold pub. office. The SPCK was founded 1698, the SPG 1701 (see also Bible Societies, 3). See also Nonjurors.

3. When the Hanoverians came to the throne, beginning with George I (1660–1727; king 1714–27), the king was officially Luth. in Hanover, Angl. in Eng., and Presb. in Scot. The 18th c. was the heyday of rationalism*; theol. and ch. life reached an all-time low (see also Deism, III).

4. C. and J. Wesley* and G. Whitefield* brought new life into this wilderness of the Latitudinarians.* Their fervent Gospel preaching and call for personal religion evoked widespread response. Their influence among industrial masses helped spare Eng. a Fr. Revolution. The Wesleys wished to keep the movement in the Ch. of Eng., but establishment of separate places of worship and J. Wesley's ordination of presbyters and a supt. (bp.) for Methodists in Am. and Brit. led to formation of a separate denomination (see also Methodist Churches, 1).

5. Many within the Ch. of Eng. were affected by the Wesleyan movement. R. Raikes* popularized the S. S. in the 1780s. Ev. clergy founded the Church* Missionary Soc. 1799. The interdenominational BFBS was founded 1804 (see also Bible Societies, 3). W. Wilberforce* worked successfully for abolition of the slave trade.

6. The yr. 1828 saw the removal of restrictions from nonconformists, 1829 from RCs (diocesan hierarchy restored 1850), 1858 from Jews.

7. The vitality of the Ev. movement waned, and the privileged Ch. of Eng., weakened by internal divisions, latitudinarianism, ineffectual clergy, and parliamentary action, greatly needed reform. Ch. renewal by recovery of RC elements was the goal of the Oxford Movement begun by an 1833 sermon of J. Keble* protesting suppression of certain bishoprics. Publicists of the Oxford Movement produced 90 tracts, or pamphlets, urging doctrine and discipline according to the example of the ancient ch. In the last and most controversial J. H. Newman* interpreted the Thirty-nine Articles in a RC sense. Weary of the doctrinal chaos in the Ch. of Eng. he sought refuge with Rome 1845. Leadership passed to E. B. Pusey,* followed by C. Gore*; the latter formed a bridge with men of the High* Church who imported much liberal theol. to the great distress of those reared on the Bible. The second wave of the Oxford Movement was much engaged in ritualistic innovation. Lawcourts were invoked to suppress this, as they had been against George Cornelius Gorham's (1787–1857) denial of baptismal regeneration. When the courts proved ineffective, the chaos was almost complete.

8. With the decline of liberalism and the harvesting of the good fruits of both Ev. and Oxford movements, a good measure of common sense has resisted party strife and narrow labels. But wide divergences persist with the debilitating effect of compromise and the absence of any operative confession. While the Thirty-nine Articles are highly regarded only by the Low* Ch. (or Ev.) party (see High Church), episc. polity remains a common bond together with the Book* of Common Prayer, which gen. though variously provides the common form of worship.

9. The proposed revision of the Book of Common Prayer in 1927–28 failed due to Prot. opposition in Parliament, which is still the supreme authority in the affairs of the Ch. of Eng. The crown gives dean and chapter authority to elect a bp., nominates a candidate, and endorses the elected candidate. Each province has its own abp. and a Convocation made up of an Upper House (bps.). and a Lower House (representative clergy). Each bp. is supreme in his diocese. The curate of a parish is removed only by resignation, promotion to another benefice, or because of some disgraceful offense. Convocations deal with doctrine, liturgy, and canon law. In 1919 the Ch. Assem. was added, made up of a House of Bps. (combined Upper Houses of both Convocations), a House of Clergy (combined Lower Houses of both Convocations), and a House of Laity elected by diocesan confs. Its business is legal and administrative. It prepares measures for Parliament's approval and deals with financial matters, though much influence is also exercised by the variously appointed Church Commissioners, who are trustees of properties and funds.

10. Eng. Christianity has a noble miss. hist. Boniface* was apostle to N Eur., J. Eliot* to Am., W. Carey* and H. Martyn* to India, S. Marsden* to New Zealand, R. Moffat* and D. Livingstone* to Afr., and J. Chalmers* to the South Sea Islands.

11. The worldwide Angl. communion emerged from such miss. work and the formation of the Brit. Empire. Since 1867 the bps. have met ca. every decade at Lambeth* Palace, London residence of the abp. of Canterbury. These confs. have only deliberative and advisory function, but their findings enjoy considerable influence. In 1888 the Lambeth Quadrilateral (rev. ed. of the 4 Arts. agreed on at the Gen. Conv. of the [Angl.] Prot. Episc. Ch. held at Chicago 1886) stated the Angl. program for unifying Christendom: Bible, Apostles' and Nicene Creed, 2 Sacraments, and hist. episcopate. On this basis intercommunion has been est. with Old* Catholic and Eastern* Orthodox chs. Reciprocal arrangements have been made with Luth. chs. of Scand. in the Swed. episc. succession, though these arrangements have been strained by Scand. ordination of women.

12. Anglicans have played a leading role in the Ecumenical* Movement, commending to other chs. as the unifying way their comprehensive view of the ch., their doctrinal elasticity, and their episcopate. The last has been a roadblock to reunion with Methodists and Presbyterians in Brit. The Church* of South India, est. 1947 under a compromise formula, gained gen. approval 1948, but comparable union projects for N India/Pakistan and Ceylon were received with fewer reservations 1958. For N India/Pakistan a 4th rev. ed. of the 1951 Plan of Ch. Union was approved 1965 by the Negotiating Committee and submitted to the negotiating chs. with request for response by 1969. For Ceylon a 4th rev. ed. of Scheme of Church Union was pub. 1963 and presented for voting. For further developments see Church of North India. A program of larger mutual helpfulness among Angl. chs. was agreed on at Toronto 1963.

13. Ch. attendance is small on an average Sunday There is much soul-searching on the part of some with respect to ch. life. The current “new theol.” of the Broad Ch. holds little promise.

14. After Mary, Calvinism was dominant. Then the High Ch. harked back to the RC heritage. Its doctrinal theol. since that time has operated largely with RC and Ref. alternatives, with little understanding of the Luth. position.

15. Use of the Strangers' Ch. (Ecclesia peregrinorum) was given to Eur. Prots. in London under Edward VI and again from Elizabeth I on. The Lutherans' right to their own ch. was granted by the 1669 Latin Charter of Charles II, who was interested in helping trade. Trin. Luth. Ch., London, was dedicated 1673, the yr. of the Test* Act. After the Act* of Toleration (1689) the Luths. split into nat. groups. Most Eur. Luth. chs. now have outposts in Brit. serving Luths. in their own for. tongue. The Hanoverian kings had Luth. chaplains, but this practice declined and finally ended.

16. Eng.-speaking Lutheranism goes back to the beginning of the Ev. Luth. Ch. of Eng. 1896. Six Ger. bakers did not feel at home in the liberalism and nationalism of the Ger. Luth. Ch. of their day and called a pastor from the Missouri* Synod. This ch. became Eng.-speaking, and after WW II it began energetically to face its responsibilities among a largely unchurched people.

17. After WW II help was needed by Luth. refugees from Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Ger. The Luth. Council of Gt. Brit. was founded 1948 under leadership of E. G. Pearce* to sustain and draw these Luths. together. Funds were provided equally by the LCMS and the NLC Later the whole burden was assumed by the LWF and the Luth. Council became its nat. committee. Efforts continue to draw the various Luths. closer together. Pastors meet twice a yr. under auspices of the Luth. Free Conf. The Ev. Luth. Ch. of Eng. trains pastors at its Westfield* House, Cambridge; the Council has attached a theologian to Mansfield Coll., Oxford, for similar purposes.

18. The United Luth. Syn. is a product of the Council and cares for the Eng.-speaking children of refugees and for unchurched Brit. people. NEN

See also Anglican Catholic Church; Anglican Scandinavian Conferences.

J. R. H. Moorman, A History of the Church in England (London, 1953); An Ecclesiastical History of England, ed. J. C. Dickinson, 5 vols. (London. 1961– ); C. S. Meyer, Elizabeth I and the Religious Settlement of 1559 (St. Louis, 1960); E. G. Pearce, The Lutheran Church in Britain (London, 1953).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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