Low church


Low church

Low church is a term of distinction in the Church of England or other Anglican churches initially designed to be pejorative. During the series of doctrinal and ecclesiastic challenges to the established church in the 16th and 17th centuries, commentators and others began to refer to those groups favouring the theology, worship and authoritarian structure of Anglicanism (such as the episcopate) as the truest form of Christianity as 'high church'. In contrast, by the early 18th century those theologians and politicians who sought more reform in the English church and a greater liberalisation of church structure were called "low church".

Historical use

The term was used in the early part of the 18th century as the equivalent of "Latitudinarian", i.e. a person who was prepared to concede much latitude in matters of discipline and faith, in contradistinction to high churchmen, the term applied to those who took a high view of the exclusive authority of the Established Church, of episcopacy and of the sacramental system. These positions coincided with those of the Non-conformist Puritan and Independents in the Church of England. It subsequently fell into disuse, but was revived in the 19th century when the Tractarian movement had brought the term High Churchman into vogue again in a modified sense, i.e., for those who exalted the idea of the Church as a catholic entity as the body of Christ and the sacramental system as the divinely given means of grace. "Low Churchman" now became the equivalent of Evangelical, the designation of the movement, associated with the name of Charles Simeon, which laid the chief stress on the necessity of personal conversion. "Latitudinarian" gave way at the same time to "Broad Churchman", to designate those who lay stress on the ethical teaching of the Church and minimize the value of orthodoxy. The revival of pre-Reformation ritual by many of the High Church clergy led to the designation "Ritualist" being applied to them in a somewhat contemptuous sense; and High Churchman and Ritualist have often been wrongly treated as convertible terms. The High Churchman of the Catholic type is further differentiated from the old-fashioned High Churchman of what is sometimes described as the high and dry type of the period anterior to the Oxford Movement.

Modern use

In contemporary usage, "low churches" place more emphasis on the Protestant nature of Anglicanism than broad or high churches and are usually Evangelical in their belief and practice. They may tend to favour the Prayer Book services of Morning and Evening Prayer over the Eucharist, though the Diocese of Sydney has largely abandoned the Prayer Book and uses free-form evangelical services. Some contemporary low churches also incorporate elements of charismatic Christianity. Some low church Anglicans reject the doctrine that the sacraments confer grace "ex opere operato" (e.g. baptismal regeneration) and lay stress on the Bible as the sole source of authority in matters of faith. Fact|date=December 2007 They thus differ little from Protestants of other denominations and, in general, are prepared to co-operate with them on equal termsFact|date=November 2007.

See also

*Broad church
*High Church
*Anglicanism
*Anglican Orthodox Church
*Church of England
*Sydney Anglicans
*Anglo-Catholicism
*Ritualism

External links

* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09399a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: Low Church]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Low Church — • The name given to one of the three parties or doctrinal tendencies that prevail in the Established Church of England and its daughter Churches, the correlatives being High Church and Broad Church Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Low… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Low Church — ist im Anglikanismus der Gegenbegriff zu High Church. Es ist zunächst ein theologisch gemeinter Ausdruck, der dem hohen , d. h. sakramentalen und episkopalen Kirchenbegriff der katholisierenden High Church Richtung eine eher protestantisch… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Low Church — Low Low (l[=o]), a. [Compar. {Lower} (l[=o] [ e]r); superl. {Lowest}.] [OE. low, louh, lah, Icel. l[=a]gr; akin to Sw. l[*a]g, Dan. lav, D. laag, and E. lie. See {Lie} to be prostrate.] [1913 Webster] 1. Occupying an inferior position or place;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Low Church —   [ ləʊ tʃəːtʃ] die, , eine im 18. Jahrhundert in der Kirche von England entstandene und in der Anglikanischen Kirchengemeinschaft neben der Broad Church Party und der High Church verbreitete Richtung, die den reformierten Glauben mit sozialem… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Low-Church — «LOH CHURCH», adjective. of or having to do with a party in the Anglican Communion that lays little stress on the priestly character of the Church. Low Church, a party maintaining Low Church practices …   Useful english dictionary

  • Low Church — Low′ Church′ adj. rel pertaining to the view or practice in the Anglican Church that emphasizes evangelicalism over the sacraments, church rituals, and church authority Compare High Church Broad Church • Etymology: 1695–1705 Low′ Church′man, n …   From formal English to slang

  • Low-church — a. Not placing a high estimate on ecclesiastical organizations or forms; applied especially to Episcopalians, and opposed to {high church}. See {High Church}, under {High}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Low Church — n. a liberal, evangelical party of the Anglican Church that attaches relatively little importance to traditional rituals and doctrines: distinguished from HIGH CHURCH Low Church adj …   English World dictionary

  • Low Church — 〈[loʊ tʃœ:tʃ] f.; Gen.: ; Pl.: unz.〉 Glaubensgemeinschaft innerhalb der anglikan. Kirche, die vom Methodismus beeinflusst ist; →a. s. High Church [Etym.: <engl. low »niedrig« + church »Kirche«] …   Lexikalische Deutsches Wörterbuch

  • Low Church — [ lou tʃə:tʃ] die; <aus engl. Low Church, eigtl. »niedere Kirche«> vom ↑Methodismus beeinflusste Richtung in der ↑anglikanischen Kirche …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch


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