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09-08-2019, 10:15   #1
Fuaranach
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"Calvinistic-orientated" Church of Ireland

I know it's only a Wikipedia article that anybody can edit, but on the Robert Traill (Irish clergyman) article, the opening sentence is: 'Reverend Robert Traill or Trail FRSE (1793–1847) was a clergyman in the Calvinistic-oriented Established Church of Ireland (the influence of Calvin was rejected by the Church of England from the late 16th century).'

This is the first I've heard of the CoI being "Calvinistic-orientated". How accurate was, or is, this description? If it's accurate, has anybody examples of ways in which the CofI was more "Calvinist" than the CofE? For that matter, in what respects today could it be viewed as more "Calvinistic"?
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09-08-2019, 10:35   #2
Peregrinus
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Anglicanism is influenced by diverse Christian traditions - principally Catholicism, Lutheranism and Calvinism. At different times and in different places, these various traditions may be more or less strongly expressed in different branches of Anglicanism, and within an Anglican church it's often possible to identify different "wings" associated with different traditions.

The CofE has traditionally had (at least) two "wings", a high-church wing in which the Catholic tradition is fairly strongly expressed (more Catholic-like liturgical traditions, an emphasis on the CofE's theological inheritance from Catholicism, etc) a and a low-church wing which is more Calvinist.

In the 18th century, there were tiny numbers of actual Catholics in Great Britain and, while Catholic powers were seen as a foreign threat, there was no perception of a serious Catholic threat to the Protestant establishment from within Great Britain. However there was a strong Calvinist movement within Great Britain (most notably in the form of the Church of Scotland) and the CofE tended to distinguish itself from Calvinism by having a prominent high-church wing.

The position of the CofI was different. In the first place, although it was the established church, it was a minority church. There was a sense of a need to stick together, and of not having the luxury of tension between opposing wings. In the second place, the predominant need was to distinguish Anglicanism from the predominant Catholicism. Between these two factors, Irish Anglicans in the 19th century tended to be fairly closely grouped around a median position, which was (in Anglican terms) a relatively Calvinist one.

So, yeah, the CofI in the 18th century (and well beyond) tended, on average, to be a bit more Calvinist than the CofE. But not as Calvinist as the actual Calvinists, obviously.
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09-08-2019, 23:23   #3
pedroeibar1
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
So, yeah, the CofI in the 18th century (and well beyond) tended, on average, to be a bit more Calvinist than the CofE. But not as Calvinist as the actual Calvinists, obviously.
I see where you are coming from but….. I would regard it as a bit of a leap to position the ‘low church’ segment of the C of I with Calvinism. Surely that place in post-Reformation Christianity would be closer to that filled by the Presbyterians, never happy bedfellows of the C of I?

The C of I membership was outnumbered from the outset in Ireland and from +/- 1720 it was heavily threatened (physically in addition to doctrinally) from the RCC and its members. The CofI (hierarchy and members) were ‘on the back foot’, they would equate high church liturgical practices/vestments with the RCC and would prefer to be distanced from them, hence the popularity of Low Church display (or rather lack thereof). Appearances, la forme et pas le contenue.
Even if that was not a swing far enough away, there always was – for the more disgruntled - Methodism and the Plymouth Brethern, but they do not follow Calvin. The latter sect, which saw a big surge in the 1800’s – particularly as it was founded in Ireland – theologically is diametrically opposite to Calvinism. Followers of Wesley’s teachings also would have many serious doctrinal issues with Calvin’s ‘Five Points’. So no, I don’t accept that the C of I is more "Calvinistic-orientated" than its English counterpart.
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12-08-2019, 02:53   #4
Peregrinus
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I see where you are coming from but….. I would regard it as a bit of a leap to position the ‘low church’ segment of the C of I with Calvinism. Surely that place in post-Reformation Christianity would be closer to that filled by the Presbyterians, never happy bedfellows of the C of I?
Sure. When I said that the CofI was not as Calvinist as the actual Calvinists, it was Presbyterians that I was thinking of.

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The C of I membership was outnumbered from the outset in Ireland and from +/- 1720 it was heavily threatened (physically in addition to doctrinally) from the RCC and its members. The CofI (hierarchy and members) were ‘on the back foot’, they would equate high church liturgical practices/vestments with the RCC and would prefer to be distanced from them, hence the popularity of Low Church display (or rather lack thereof). Appearances, la forme et pas le contenue.
Even if that was not a swing far enough away, there always was – for the more disgruntled - Methodism and the Plymouth Brethern, but they do not follow Calvin. The latter sect, which saw a big surge in the 1800’s – particularly as it was founded in Ireland – theologically is diametrically opposite to Calvinism. Followers of Wesley’s teachings also would have many serious doctrinal issues with Calvin’s ‘Five Points’. So no, I don’t accept that the C of I is more "Calvinistic-orientated" than its English counterpart.
I think this way of putting it probably reflects an English perspective. At the risk of oversimplifying, in England the CofE was seen as steering a middle course between Catholicism on the one had, as exemplified in the Catholic Church, and Calvinism on the other, as exemplified in the Church of Scotland. And the Anglicans of the 18th century would have been conscious that the Church of Scotland used to be more Catholic (e.g. it had bishops) but became less so due to the influence of Calvnists. Plus in the 17th century, the CofE itself was "protestantised" by Calvinists during the Civil War/Commonwealth period. So they tended to see this as a simply bipolar system - Calvinism as one pole, Romishness at the other. Thus if a church is considered to be less Catholic than the CofE, it's automatically assumed to be more Calvinist. And vice versa.

I agree with you that there's more to low-church Anglicanims than a simple affinity with Calvinism. But to high-church Anglicans in England, low-church Anglicanism was often loosely characterised as Calvinism.
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