Marion Hatchett on the American Episcopal Church (trumpeted with “TEC: The Flagship of Anglicanism”)

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here where it is trumpeted with the title "TEC: The Flagship of Anglicanism:"

The American Church jumped way out ahead of the Church of England and other sister churches in a number of respects. One was in giving voice to priests and deacons and to laity (as well as bishops and secular government officials) in the governance of the national church and of dioceses and of parishes. The early American Church revised the Prayer Book in a way that went far beyond revisions necessitated by the new independence of the states.

At its beginning the American Church legalized the use of hymnody along with metrical psalmody more than a generation before use of "hymns of human composure" became legal in the Church of England. At an early stage the American Church gave recognition to critical biblical scholarship.

The American Church eventually gave a place to women in various aspects of the life of the church including its ordained ministry. The American Church began to speak out against discrimination against those of same-sex orientation, and the American Church began to make moves in establishing full communion with other branches of Christendom.

Historically the American Church has been the flag-ship in the Anglican armada. It has been first among the provinces of the Anglican Communion to take forward steps on issue after issue, and on some of those issues other provinces of Anglicanism have eventually fallen in line behind the American Church. My prayer is that the American Church will be able to retain its self-esteem and to stand firm and resist some current movements which seem to me to be contrary to the principles of historic Anglicanism and to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.


Ah, would this be the same American Episcopal Church which had the widely used 1786 Prayer Book that the English Church rejected, for, among many other things, its Unitarianism and anti-Trinitarianism? Hmmmm--KSH.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Episcopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

24 Comments
Posted July 31, 2009 at 8:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Pb wrote:

The flag ship has become the Titanic. I can not see TEC standing firm or resisting current movements.

July 31, 9:45 am | [comment link]
2. Anglican Paplist wrote:

Precisely the same, Kendall.

July 31, 9:47 am | [comment link]
3. Dee in Iowa wrote:

Flagship? Could also be titled;  “First to throw baby out with bath water”.

July 31, 9:58 am | [comment link]
4. tjmcmahon wrote:

Sorry, but the flagship is the Church of England (the flagship may be old and its steering in need of repair, but still the ship that has the fleet admiral on board).  As a rule, the flagship is somewhere in the middle of the fleet, so the Admiral can direct from a central point in case of engagement, and where it has better defense against torpedo and air attack.  TEC is more like a destroyer escort with an eccentric captain who hopes to get his name in the papers and is willing to risk the lives and souls of his crew to do so.

July 31, 9:59 am | [comment link]
5. Lapinbizarre wrote:

The 1786 Prayer Book was a proposed text only Fr Harmon.  The first approved text, based on the 1662 BCP, the 1786 draft, and the eucharistic rite of The Scottish Episcopal rite, was ratified in 1789 by TEC’s first General Convention.  Specially bound copies of the 1786 text were sent to all Bishops of the C of E for their imput.  Far from being widely-used, it was never adopted for use and surviving copies are rare as hen’s teeth - guess the 1662 text continued to use, with appropriate revisions where prayers for the king and those in authority under him were concerned.  If you’re interested, sometime when you’re up there, there’s a copy of the 1786 Philadelphia, Hall & Sellers edition, in the red morocco presentation binding, in the Special Collections Department of USC Columbia.

July 31, 10:03 am | [comment link]
6. Randy Muller wrote:

My prayer is that the American Church will be able to retain its self-esteem…

This sounds ridiculous.  When did ECUSA ever have a problem with self-esteem?

July 31, 10:13 am | [comment link]
7. Grant LeMarquand wrote:

Can you spell ‘nationalistic enthocentricity’? I knew you could!

July 31, 10:14 am | [comment link]
8. Neal in Dallas wrote:

There are two ways of reading this final sentence. 

My prayer is that the American Church will be able to retain its self-esteem and to stand firm and resist some current movements which seem to me to be contrary to the principles of historic Anglicanism and to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

As a former student of Marion’s and one who holds him in both high regard and deep affection, I think I know him well enough to read his final sentence as encouraging TEC to continue on its agenda of changing the doctrine of marriage and to withstand pressure from the larger Communion to comply.

However, might he be saying that TEC has this wonderful history of leading the Anglican Communion—or should it be The Anglican Communion?—in these various issues but that now is the time to stand firm and reject the pressure from within TEC that would keep TEC out of step with the rest of the Communion.  And that by doing so, that is, by holding to the requested moratoria, TEC might be able to “retain its self-esteem” which it lost when it consecrated the bishop of New Hampshire and began permitting the blessing of same-0sex unions.

Although I suspect he meant the former interpretation, I would argue that the latter is closer to the truth and more in keeping with the “principles of historic Anglicanism and . . . the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.”

July 31, 10:37 am | [comment link]
9. seitz wrote:

I think the point Dr Harmon is making is that the first ratified book was also one that conformed with the CoE on key matters, the 1786 being shown deficient (‘descent clause’ etc). The idea of a special charism in TEC seems far-fetched, in the light of 1789 only going forward having passed muster.

July 31, 10:42 am | [comment link]
10. Dan Crawford wrote:

Anglicans, especially American Episcopalians, should be very cautious about using history to puff itself Anglicanism up.

July 31, 10:48 am | [comment link]
11. Kendall Harmon wrote:

Dr. Seitz in #9 is entirely correct about my point.  The 1786 proposed prayer book was used in many locales early on in this province, and it was put together by respected and highly influential leaders here.  Presumably this was because of concern about “context…” but other considerations also need to play a role and serve as a check and balance….

July 31, 10:58 am | [comment link]
12. Pelican Anglican wrote:

As another former Marion student, I am confident that Marion means that TEC should press forward along its current path.  My affection for him and my esteem for him as a liturgy scholar are also not diminished when I say that he is dead wrong about his view of where we should go and who we have in fact been.  The Unitarian trajectory of TEC is a catastrophe of Titanic proportions (as it were)

July 31, 11:15 am | [comment link]
13. robroy wrote:

Does anyone else have issues with holding this guy in high regard? There was a wonderful picture
of Georgette Forney graciously greeting Katherine Ragsdale at StandFirm. I have no doubt that Forney does NOT hold Ragsdale in “high regard.”

There are two types of people that have trashed the denomination: those who have done it intentionally and those who have been duped by deceptive words like “inclusive.” Neither should be held in high regard.

July 31, 12:17 pm | [comment link]
14. Gator wrote:

tjm—I like your correction of Hatchett’s naval inaccuracy, but I would just say TEo is a destroyer. Destroyer Escorts escorted commercial and transport convoys; they were slow and were not designed as fleet vessels. TEo is fast!

July 31, 12:24 pm | [comment link]
15. Larry Morse wrote:

Who’s Marion Hatchett?  Should we care for some reason? Is he important somehow?  The above gives quite a new definition for Hatchett job. Fulsome praise is almost invariably wrong. That’s why is has been made fulsome.  Larry

July 31, 12:31 pm | [comment link]
16. Jim Workman wrote:

Larry—I’ll answer yours and then you can answer mine about Prufrock (q.v.). Marion Hatchett is the dean of Episcopal liturgical historians. He wrote the massive Commentary on the [current] American Prayer Book.

July 31, 12:38 pm | [comment link]
17. Terry Tee wrote:

Umm ... I hate to rain on the parade, but as regards the progressiveness of TEC, my 1946 does not hesitate to identify certain parishes as ‘Colored’ (eg St Mark’s, Birmingham, Alabama;  St Ambrose’s, Raleigh, North Carolina).  Hmm ....

July 31, 12:43 pm | [comment link]
18. Terry Tee wrote:

Drat.  Why is it it that you miss your own mistakes?  That should read:  my 1948 Living Church Annual.

July 31, 12:44 pm | [comment link]
19. Islandbear wrote:

Since Dr. Hatchett has chosen to use a naval analogy, perhaps we should return to the days of sailing Navies.  My image would be that of a fire ship with a lit fuse—packed to the deckheads with incendiaries, and psoing a threat to all who navigate in the region.  Although intended as an offensive weapon against anchored ships, they were notoriouse for veering off course.
I also found this quote from wickipedia of interest:

” Analogies are sometimes used to persuade those that cannot detect ... flawed or non-existent arguments”

Islandbear+

July 31, 12:50 pm | [comment link]
20. Mark Johnson wrote:

Wonderful commentary by Dr. Hatchett.  He’s been very ill of late so my prayers are with him.  Clearly, he still has much to say and offer the church, may he be strengthened to continue doing so!

July 31, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
21. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Dr. Harmon and Dr. Seitz, great parry and counter-thrust.  Very apt.

Thanks to Canon Mitchell (#8) [and Pelican, #12], for the clarification.  The very fact that Dr. Hatchett’s terse tribute to TEC’s trend-setting history appears in the alumni magazine of General Seminary strongly supports the assumpion you make that the honorable professor was indeed supporting the all-gay, all-the-time agenda of TEC’s dominant leaders.  To use another naval analogy, he seems to be saying (was it the Battle of Mobile?), “Damn the [conservative] torpedoes.  Full speed ahead!”

The astonishing thing, however, is that Marion Hatchett could assert without seeming embarrassment and without even advanceing any arguments whatsoever the counter-intuitive claim that TEC’s grossly unbiblical and contrary-to-all-Christian-tradition advocacy of normalizing homosexual behavior is somehow in accord with “the historic principles of Anglicanism and… the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.”  Incredibly audacious.  And totally unconvincing.

Obviously, he thinks he’s preaching to the choir, and thus has no need to defend such a bold claim, not so say such a nonsensical and preposterous one.  A very revealing glimpse into how utterly self-deceived our “progressive” foes are.  Talk about “group think.”

David Handy+

July 31, 4:11 pm | [comment link]
22. Stuart Smith wrote:

Give me the late Dr. Peter Toon (on Anglican liturgical faithfulness to the Gospel) over Marion Hatchett any day!

July 31, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
23. Larry Morse wrote:

Thanks #16.Now see my response re Prufrock under THAT entry.  Larry

July 31, 5:33 pm | [comment link]
24. Spiro wrote:

Re: Who’s Marion Hatchett? (#15, 16)
Prof. Hatchett was one of my Professors at Sewanee. I think he is now retired, or retiring. He was my Hymody prof at one time.
He is a good man, but as liberal as they come.
The last time I heard of him was that he was not doing too well, health-wise.

I wish him the very best, physical health wise. But more than that, I pray for his spiritual health. Another good man with a false (wrong) sense of who GOD really is and what HE DEMANDS of us.

Fr. Kingsley Jon-Ubabuco
Arlington, Texas.

July 31, 10:58 pm | [comment link]
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