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John Keble and the Oxford Movement - Essay Example

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John Keble and the Oxford Movement

These young men were educated in a university that is immersed with the ideals of the past. They had been educated under the care of a church that put premium on traditions which was considered to be the most precious part of the church's heritage. [2]
The movement also sought to express their belief that the Church of England was a direct descendant of the Christian church that was established by the original Apostles of Christ. Later on, the movement was also invariably called the Tractarian movement after its series of publications called the Tracts of the Times which ran from 1833 to 1841.[3]
The members of the movement were, in some way, can be branded as idealists. They came forward when they thought that the Church that they serve is veering away from the original teachings they were educated upon.
The Oxford members believed at that time that the ancient power and practices of the Church should be re-established. Because of their belief in the sacredness of the church based on its origin, they are convinced that the church is a divinely instituted and commissioned institution. Therefore, because of its sacredness, all of the church's teaching should be observed even down to the smallest of these teachings.[4] For the kingdom of God to descend upon the earth, these men believed that the Church must be made absolute in all its doctrines and practices. Harmony can only be achieved by submitting unconditionally to the wiser authority of the Church which had vigorously preserved the teachings of its leaders inspired with divinity.[5] Because of these beliefs, the movement was criticized by some as subscribing to Romanism. To this, the defenders of the movement argue that the greatest difference between the Oxford movement doctrine and the Romanists was that the Oxford members regarded the leaders of the Church to be divinely inspired as against the belief on an infallible human being which is personified by a pope.
To renew people's deep and personal devotion to the Bible, the Oxford members sought to establish religious community life. Consequently, sisterhoods were established in the name of the movement, the first of which was founded in 1845. Charity and social work became the primary works of these sisterhoods. Although among the men, communities were slow to expand and are fewer in number.[6]
The movement also stressed the importance of adhering to the high standards of worship which resulted in the many changes later on in church services. These changes involved the physical beautification of churches, the proper wearing of vestments, intonation of services and the emphasis on hymn singing. Not all these changes that were introduced resulted in favourable responses. There are times that these changes aroused strong opposition from fundamentalists that culminated in the riot of 1860 at St. George's in East London.[7]
Because the movement centred on the forms of expression in the churches, especially between the years 1857 and 1871, the followers of the movement were also labelled as ritualists. The ritualists' desired changes caused a public uproar which led to the passing in 1874 of the Public Worship Regulation Act by Parliament. The act is virtually a means of the State to put down Ritualism. The churchmen took this as an affront to their spiritual independence and the struggle between the ...Show more

Summary

The Oxford movement is a religious movement that started in 1833. It was launched by Anglican clergymen at Oxford University with the aim of renewing the Church of England by reviving certain Roman Catholic doctrines and rituals. "The prominent members of this movement were John Henry Newman, John Keble, Richard Hurrell Froude, and Charles Marriott…
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John Keble and the Oxford Movement essay example
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