Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

     It was encouraging to read the positive reviews of my book The Mountain Movers in the English Churchman. Mr. Wilson’s kind remarks were particularly impressive, though he disagrees with some of my conclusions. Nevertheless, I was surprised to find myself censured, in a magazine with Evangelical Anglican traditions on the subject of Evangelical Anglicans, for believing that certain Presbyterian views of church order are not above criticism. When I portrayed my non-Anglican mentors, I was also careful to defend them against unwarranted criticism from other churches, including the Church of England. In these matters we must remain balanced. Mr Wilson’s exaggerated statement, “The idea, too, that the Continental Reformed were yearning for Anglican type episcopacy (p 82) is astonishing,” astonished me as I did not claim this. I was soberly keeping to George Carleton’s report, not idea. Carleton was a delegate at the Synod of Dort and gave first-hand information of the curbs placed on Episcopacy by the political situation on the Continent at the time. There is an interpretative difference between the eye-witness, matter-of-fact account I gave and Mr Wilson’s emotive representation of it.

     Mr Wilson’s disagreement concerning the “rather simpler and more practical’ Anglican system, is out of context. He appears to be comparing his present views of the Church of England with Presbyterianism, whereas I referred to the 16th and early 17th century situation, comparing the orthodox Anglican position with the particular views of Anglican Thomas Cartwright and certain Presbyterians and Separatists.

     Concerning Mr Wilson’s strong criticism of King James, and the wish that he had been given more space in my book, I can only say that James was not one of my mentors and I only referred to him when he came into their stories and when he played a most positive role and certainly did not act the fool, as Mr. Wilson suggests. Mr Wilson, whom I believe is a Scotsman, will remember that when James visited Scotland with Andrewes, Hall and Abbot, he advised them to meddle with the Scottish Church as little as possible. Sadly, his ‘less wily son’ (so Wilson), did not follow his wiser father and introduced more complicated and less practical structures.

George Ella, Mülheim