You Might Be a Presbyterian with a Prayer Book

With Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy*

Thomas Cranmer

...if you sometimes slip up and say "debts."

...if your homilies are usually expository of a Biblical text.

...if you can't figure out why Anglicans would want to reset the clock to English catholicism before the Reformation.

...if incense makes you cough.

...if you say "Table" and not "Altar."

...if you have to think about the order in which to light and extinguish candles.

...if you think the Black Rubric is "right on."

...if you have ever prayed, "Oh that Edward might have lived before thee."

...if you think Cranmer did a pretty doggone good job of reforming and restoring the Church of England.

...if one of the hardest parts of early life an an Anglican was learning to get dressed (vested). 

... if it still takes forever for you to attach the back of your clerical collar to your shirt and that the words you say trying to get the thing on are not proper for an Anglican clergyman.

...if you've ever forgot to put on your surplice over your cassock or your stole or cross over your surplice.

...if you believe The Articles of Religion are not an unfortunate expression of Protestant scholasticism, nor an interesting theological statement for a particular church in a particular time and place, but a summary statement of Biblical truth written (as is the Bible itself) in an historical context which does not temporize its truth.

...if you think Calvin's doctrine of the presence of Christ in the Supper is higher than Cranmer's.

...if you agree with the "Homily on the Salvation of Mankind."

...if you sometimes forget to say "Saint" before referring to Paul or Peter. 

...if you wish Cranmer could have persuaded the guys from the Continent to have an ecumenical conference.

...if you think the Tractarians hijacked via media and that it does not refer to Anglicanism as a middle way between Romanism and Protestantism.

...if the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear "apostolic succession" is "apostolic doctrine and practise."

...if you think J.C. Ryle, if not exactly your cup of tea on experimental religion, was "a pretty good Bishop."

...if you think the English martyrs died for things worth dying for.

...if you think that ministers ordained by other churches are ordained ministers.

...if you can't figure out what the problems are with Articles II and IV of the Declaration of Principles of the Reformed Episcopal Church. 

...if you think that Leon Morris and John Stott are good theologians of the cross.

...if think think there are only two sacraments ordained by Christ and no "lesser sacraments."

...if you sometimes sneak a peek at Calvin when preparing an homily.

...if you believe that "seeing this child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ's Church" is to be understood in light of Article XXVII. 

...if you like Philip Hughes, John Stott, Alistair McGrath, and their ilk.

...if you think that Diarmaid MacCulloch's biography of Cranmer is essential reading.

...if you think J.I. Packer's Concise Theology is not only concise but true and that Gerald Bray's commentary on The Articles is a worthy guide.

...if you have made the mistake of saying "elements" as a generic term for "bread and wine."

...if your heart resonates with Archbishop Wabukala's The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion: The Church and Its Mission ("For many of us the writings of John Stott and J.I. Packer simply were normal Anglicanism and too many of us assumed that the rest of the Communion thought the same way!")

...if you can't figure out why anyone would think of someone as a Presbyterian if he makes the deliberate choice to leave Presbyterianism, if he fully believes The Articles of Religion, worships strictly according to The Book of Common Prayer, and vows obedience to his Bishop. Would Archbishop Cranmer require more? If you are an Anglican who has been called a Presbyterian with a Prayer Book, I offer you my sympathy.

A Presbyterian with a Prayer Book? OK, I know, it takes one to know one.

(The reader should know that, while what is above raises serious points, it is written with good humor and from a sincere heart.)

* Jeff Foxworthy is a a comedian who is known for his "You might be a redneck..." riffs, such as, "You might be a redneck if you've been married three times and still have the same in-laws."


  1. A REAL Presbyterian with a Prayer Book wouldn't be wearing a cross over his surplice...

  2. I am a Presbyterian with a prayer book—the 1946 Book of Common Worship (and occasionally the ‘93)—and I don’t see myself in many of these stipulations...except that I do think the Oxford Movement hijacked Anglicanism. But “not my poodles, not my dog show.” But I only wear white on communion Sunday’s, and never a cross. Thanks for the entertaining article.


Comments are welcome, but anonymous comments are not. You must register (simple process) to comment, and, other than your name, no personal information is ever revealed. The owner of this Blog does not remove comments, including those critical of him and what he writes, unless they show signs of serious mental disorder, violate accepted standards of Christian morality, or attack individuals rather than their views.