Anglicans seem to be comfortable with the thought that being Anglican means having Scripture at the centre of our lives, most obviously expressed in liturgies requiring two or three readings from Scripture and the preaching of a sermon, at least for Sunday services. I have noticed in my years of engaging in Anglican conversations on the internet that some Anglicans are not so comfortable with the phrase 'Scripture alone.' As I understand this discomfort 'Scripture alone' may provoke the following (overlapping) concerns as to a not so hidden agenda being promoted:
(a) Puritan Anglicanism in which only what is (affirmed) in Scripture should be part of the church's life and what is not in Scripture should not be part. (Bishops might survive this form of 'Scripture alone' but candlesticks will not).
(b) Fundamentalist Anglicanism which has no appreciation or insufficient appreciation of the roles tradition and reason play (or ought to play) in true Anglicanism alongside Scripture. Thus in Fundamentalist Anglicanism, Scripture may be used in a blunt manner to suppress or avoid other considerations on a given matter, considerations which tradition and/or reason would helpfully bring to discussion. In my personal experience creationism has a presence in some Anglican contexts which are fairly described as Fundamentalist Anglican. (But, for the avoidance of unnecessary comment, I am not saying that all Fundamentalist Anglicans are creationists).
(c) Reformed Anglicanism which understands that 'Scripture alone' pertains first and foremost to understanding salvation: all we need to know to be saved is in Scripture. The discomfort here could range from mistrust ('Reformed Anglicanism? Huh, I bet it is really Fundamentalist or Puritan Anglicanism we are talking about') to a simple question, 'What about the Catholic part of Anglicanism (understood as 'reformed-and-catholic')?'
What I would like to explore in this little series are questions such as Is there more to Scripture Alone than the three options above? and Is there a future to Scripture Alone which we could embrace with affection rather than avoid with fear?