Evangelical leaders are moving to the Anglican Church to gain a sense of tradition as well to gain cultural influence, reports Faith Today magazine (May/June).
The Canadian evangelical magazine notes that evangelicals are finding the symbolism, rich liturgy, and sacramentalism of Anglicanism what they have missed in their own low church backgrounds. While denominational switching is not new among evangelicals, “what is new, though, is the growing number of evangelical leaders who remain evangelical in their convictions while making the switch to mainline churches, and the ease with which their decisions are being accepted in the evangelical world,” writes Bob Harvey. While the move to liturgical Christianity is evident among American evangelicals, the Canadian phenomenon seems more class-driven.
“Those who move tend to be leaders: academics, journalists, politicians, civil servants, educators, those whose work brings them into contact with the idea class, or the cultural elite,” says church historian John Stackhouse. The transition to Anglicanism includes leaders from such influential evangelical groups as World Vision Canada and Campus Crusade for Christ. He adds that the “cosmopolitan nature” of Anglicanism in Canada carries appeal for evangelicals wanting a church “that engages culture, instead of separating from it.”
The movement to Anglicanism is suggested in the estimate that 35-50 percent of Anglican clergy in the diocese of Toronto were brought up in other denominations, many of them evangelical. There are contingents of new Anglicans at several Canadian evangelical colleges.
(Faith Today, MIP Box 3745, Markham, ON L3R 0Y4 Canada)