The Great Church Crisis

I learned about another Lutheran author! Bethany Kilcrease is Associate Professor of History at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. According to a biographical blurb, “She has written and spoken on late-Victorian Anglicanism and Parliamentary politics, Protestant responses to the Boer war, anti-Catholicism in popular literature, and the role of Victorian Catholic apologists in popularizing science.” Her book, The Great Church Crisis and the End of English Erastianism, 1898-1906will be published and presumably released next Monday, December 12, 2016.

From the Amazon Blurb:

This book traces the history of the “Church Crisis”, a conflict between the Protestant and Anglo-Catholic (Ritualist) parties within the Church of England between 1898 and 1906. During this period, increasing numbers of Britons embraced Anglo-Catholicism and even converted to Roman Catholicism. Consequent fears that Catholicism was undermining the “Protestant” heritage of the established church led to a moral panic.

The Crisis led to a temporary revival of Erastianism as protestant groups sought to stamp out Catholicism within the established church through legislation whilst Anglo-Catholics, who valued ecclesiastical autonomy, opposed any such attempts. The eventual victory of forces in favor of greater ecclesiastical autonomy ended parliamentary attempts to control church practice, sounding the death knell of Erastianism. Despite increased acknowledgment that religious concerns remained deep-seated around the turn of the century, historians have failed to recognize that this period witnessed a high point in Protestant-Catholic antagonism and a shift in the relationship between the established church and Parliament. Parliament’s increasing unwillingness to address ecclesiastical concerns in this period was not an example advancing political secularity. Rather, Parliament’s increased reluctance to engage with the Church of England illustrates the triumph of an anti-Erastian conception of church-state relations.

Obviously this is a more academic reading than the latest best seller, but yay! Yay to academic Lutherans and academic writing and academic pursuit of truth! And, may we learn much from history no matter what great church crises may unfold in our times and the times to come! (And maybe ask your local library or college to buy it!)

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