High Church vs. Low Church

Difference Between High Church And Low Church

High Church, a term applied to persons and practices of the Church of England and the Episcopal Church insofar as they seek to approximate the doctrinal position and liturgical practices of ancient Christianity, particularly of the church in Rome. The High Church view stresses the continuity of the episcopacy with the apostles; the authority of the church; and sacraments. It usually includes a concern for liturgical elaboration. Probably first used in the late 17th century, the term became more common in the 19th century with the Oxford Movement and the rise of Anglo-Catholic tendencies.

Low Church, a term applied to members of the Anglican Church who regard the episcopate, priesthood, and sacraments as relatively unimportant and stress a more evangelical, Protestant approach. Adherents of the Low Church position also oppose elaborate liturgy and ceremony and anything that is too close to the usage of the Roman Catholic Church.

The term “Low Church” came into use in the early 18th century to distinguish the more liberal, or Latitudinarian, group from the “High Church,” or conservative group. The term passed out of currency until the 19th century, when it was revived with its current meaning of “evangelical.””Broad Church” became the term attached to the liberal group. The term “Low Church” is also in use in other churches of the Anglican Communion

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