Protestant Episcopalians

16 August 2019

August 15th, 1919.

THE Living Church publishes a letter, addressed by Dr Kinsman, the Bishop of Delaware, to the presiding Bishop of the American Church. It is a long and reasoned statement of the grounds on which he tenders his resignation of the bishopric, and indeed his renunciation of the discipline and Orders of that communion. They are, briefly, as follows. Though he knows that the American Church’s position and that of its episcopate generally are that it appeals to antiquity and stands firmly for the doctrine of the Incarnation, he has ceased to believe that the actual facts bear out this contention. He has come to believe that “the interpretation of the Anglican position which connects it chiefly with the Protestant Reformation is the one more consistent with its history viewed as a whole; and that its dominant tendencies are increasingly identified with those currents of thought and development which are making away from the definiteness of the ancient Faith toward Unitarian vagueness.” He has found three difficulties insurmountable — tolerance of denials of the Faith which seem to indicate failure to defend the Church’s doctrine; tolerance of imperfect views of Sacraments, seeming to result in failure rightly to use them; and a theory of Orders which seems to nullify them, the theory that there is “no special theory ” attached to them. The Church, he maintains, ought to answer promptly and emphatically Yes to the questions “Is the Creed worth defending?” “Are the Sacraments Divine Mysteries?” “Is Holy Order a Sacrament?” But he has come to feel that the American Church’s non-committal attitude amounts to the answer No! He asks, therefore, that the Bishops proceed to his formal deposition.

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