Like its predecessor, the Evangelical Movement, it was more a movement of the heart than of the head. Unlike the Clapham Sect, the Oxford men were deeply troubled by the direction of English society. They saw the reforms of the government as attacks upon the sanctity of the Church of England and they determined to resist the intrusions of the world. With the Reform Act of 1832 the balance of power in Parliament shifted away from the aristocracy and the Anglican Church into the hands of "profane politicians". The Oxford men felt that the Church of England needed to affirm that its authority did not rest on authority from the state, it came from God. Bishops of the Church were not empowered by social position but by an apostolic commission. Even if the Church were completely separated from the state, the Church of England could still claim the allegiance of Englishmen because it rested on divine authority.
To spread their views, in 1833 they launched a series of "Tracts for the Times", a move that gave rise to the label "Tractarians". In it they expressed their convictions on a single article of the creed: belief in "one holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church." They called themselves Catholics on the ground that they were in agreement with the early catholic Christianity of the first five centuries and shunned the name Protestant. Tractarian Christianity soon became a "High Church" movement and, step by step, the Oxfords began moving closer to the Roman Catholic Church. While many finally did step over to the Catholic Church, the majority stayed in the Church of England and saw an increasing number of clergy adopt their "High Church" views. Gradually "Oxford" and "Tractarian" gave way to "Anglo-Catholic", which meant Anglicans who valued their unity with the catholic tradition in Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, but who refused to accept the supremacy of patriarch or pope.
[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, Church-of-England, ChurchRodent, Clapham-Sect, Creed, Eastern-Orthodoxy, Evangelical, history, Oxford-Movement, Reform-Act[/tags]