Miniblog #95: What Sort of Anglican is N.T. Wright?
A semi-regular discussion I’ve been running across lately concerns what sub-tradition of Anglicanism N.T. Wright belongs to: evangelical or Anglo-Catholic? It seems to me that most of the confusion lies in the ol’ “lost in translation” problem. The twist is that both parties are English-speaking Anglicans. It’s just that their words convey alternate cultural meanings, or subtleties, on either side of the pond. Wright has often described himself as an evangelical. Yet he means something distinctly different by that than the (well-earned) caricature of American evangelicals.11.For example, he’s outspoken in his commitment to the Scripture’s authority yet is a supporter of women’s ordination; he’s more than open to theistic evolution yet is critical of right-wing American politics. Not to narrow in too specifically on the political realm, but I’m reminded of this quote of his: “From where many of us in the UK sit, American politics is hopelessly polarized. All kinds of issues get bundled up into two great heaps. The rest of the world, today and across the centuries, simply doesn’t see things in this horribly oversimplified way.” Yet he also seems to be the sort who prefers more aesthetically High Church worship practices while appreciating the doctrinal insights of such Anglo-Catholics as C.S. Lewis and John Henry Newman. In order words, he makes complete sense from an English vantage point but is rather hard for Americans to conceptually pin down. He messes with our schema(s). Like a lot of people over there, if you asked him what type of Anglican he is I suspect he’d chuckle and say something like, “The Church of England sort… What an oddly American question!”