Exploring the notion that some Anglican parishes could soon return to full communion with Rome in protest of the Church of England allowing ordination of female bishops, Time magazine writers David Van Biema and Jeff Israely felt it necessary to throw in some loaded language about how English conservative Anglicans are different than their American Episcopal cousins:
Both the special nature of the English crisis and the Pope's possible involvement hinge on the fact that most of the English dissidents this week are not the evangelical, Bible-thumping members of the Communion whose fury at the American ordination of an openly gay bishop has led to talks of schism this summer. Rather they are members of a faction, heavy on liturgy and ritual, that abhors evangelicalism but considers itself very close to the Catholicism from which the Anglican Church originally sprang.
But wait, if conservative Anglicans across the Pond are about to bolt their church because the Bible forbids female bishops, how is that any less "Bible-thumping" than conservative Episcopals in the United States leaving the church because of openly homosexual bishops, a practice that also runs afoul of Scripture?
What's more, what's the basis for Van Biema and Israely insisting that members of a highly liturgical church tradition necessarily "abhors evangelicalism"? Are they forgetting Anglican evangelical theologian John Stott, profiled three years ago in their own magazine? Here's an excerpt from what Billy Graham wrote to honor the English cleric in a 2005 "Heroes & Icons" feature:
In the early '60s, John created the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion. From the outset, it offered training scholarships in the West to potential future leaders in Asia, Africa and South America-many of whom took up high positions when they returned to their own countries. Today they are in charge of church movements with millions of members; John's work is a significant factor in the explosive growth of Christianity in parts of the Third World.
I can't think of anyone who has been more effective in introducing so many people to a biblical world view. He represents a touchstone of authentic biblical scholarship that, in my opinion, has scarcely been paralleled since the days of the 16th century European Reformers.