Charles Simeon (1759-1836) of Cambridge, the doyen of the evangelical movement, has often been portrayed as an ardent upholder of Anglican church order. His abhorrence of ecclesiastical irregularities is legendary. For two centuries Simeon’s defence of canon law and submission to episcopal authority has been presented as the standard of loyal Anglican churchmanship, a model for other evangelicals in the Church of England to follow.
This study puts Simeon’s attitude to church order under renewed scrutiny. It argues that his approach to Anglican regulations was far more subversive than has previously been assumed. It shows how he challenged the Anglican status quo by his involvement in irregular preaching, illegal meetings, voluntary associations and the quasi-episcopal deployment of clergy. It concludes that Simeon’s attitude to order was one of expediency and present needs. By his actions he demonstrated that gospel ministry always takes priority over the rules of the church.
ISBN: 978 0 946307 71 5