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Anglican Identity as Mestizaje Ecclesiology

  • Daniel Muñoz


This article offers a new narrative to reflect on Anglican ecclesiology through the lens of theological and cultural ‘mestizaje’. At a time of increasing signs of fragmentation in the world and the church (including the Anglican Communion), this study affirms elements that have been present in historic Anglicanism and contemporary Anglican praxis: the value of intercultural relations, dialogical processes and theological humility. While recognizing the challenges, complexity and limitations of the Anglican mestizo model, it asserts its intrinsic value as a source of ecclesial koinonia.


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3. The most extensive exposition on Anglican hybridity, explored in this article, is by Chinese-American theologian Kwok Pui Lan. Cf. Kwok, ‘The Legacy’, in I.T. Douglas and Kwok Pui-Lan (eds.), Beyond Colonial Anglicanism (New York: Church Publishing, 2001), pp. 47-70.

4. García Canclini, Nestor, ‘Culturas híbridas y estrategias comunicacionales’, Estudios sobre las Culturas Contemporáneas 2.3.5 (1997), p. 111 .

5. Martinez-Echazabal, Lourdes, ‘Mestizaje and the Discourse of National/Cultural Identity in Latin America, 1845–1959’, Latin American Perspectives 25.3 (1998), p. 21 .

6. Cf. Tuero, Róger (ed.), Mestizaje e Interculturalismo: Diálogos con William Ospina (Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Observatorio Político Nacional, 2009).

7. Cf. García Canclini, ‘Culturas híbridas’, pp. 109-28; Kraidy, Marwan M., Hybridity or the Cultural Logic of Globalization (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2005); and Kraidy, Marwan, ‘Hybridity in Cultural Globalization’, Communication Theory 12.3 (2002), pp. 316-339 .

8. Cf. Navarro, Consuelo, El mestizaje en la literatura latinoamericana del siglo XX (Madrid: Pliegos, 2003).

9. Cf. Dulitzky, Ariel E., ‘A Region in Denial: Racial Discrimination and Racism in Latin America’, Beyond Law 24 (2001), paper in the Canadian Afro-Latino Forum of Research Online: (accessed 29 September 2017).

10. Cf. Medina, Néstor, ‘The Religious Psychology of Mestizaje: Gómez Suárez de Figueroa or Garcilaso Inca de la Vega’, Pastoral Psychology 57 (2008), pp. 115124 .

11. Cf. Rossing, John P., ‘Mestizaje and Marginality: A Hispanic American Theology’, Theology Today 45.3 (1988), pp. 293-304 .

12. Cf. Elizondo, Virgilio, Galilean Journey: The Mexican-American Promise (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2000), and Elizondo, Virgilio, The Future Is Mestizo: Life Where Cultures Meet (Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, rev. edn, 2000).

13. Elizondo, Galilean Journey, pp. 9-13.

14. Elizondo, Galilean Journey, p. 10.

15. Elizondo, Galilean Journey, p. 11.

16. Elizondo, Galilean Journey, pp. 13-16.

17. Elizondo, Galilean Journey, p. 18.

18. ‘Chicano’ stands for the Mexican-American population of the southern states of the USA who predate the American colonization, as well as more recent Mexican migrants.

19. Elizondo, Galilean Journey, p. 18.

20. For a critique of mestizaje ideology see: Graham, Richard (ed.), The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870–1940 (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1990); Skidmore, Thomas, Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993); Wright, Winthrop, Café Con Leche: Race, Class and National Image in Venezuela (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1990); Mallon, Florencia E., ‘Constructing Mestizaje in Latin America: Authenticity, Marginality and Gender in the Claiming of Ethnic Identities’, Journal of Latin American Anthropology 2.1 (1996), p. 171 .

21. Wade, Peter, ‘Rethinking Mestizaje: Ideology and Lived Experience’, Journal of Latin American Studies 37 (2005), p. 241 .

22. Wade, ‘Rethinking Mestizaje’, p. 239.

23. Wade, ‘Rethinking Mestizaje’, pp. 239-40.

24. Wade, ‘Rethinking Mestizaje’, p. 240.

25. For examples of ecclesiological mestizaje in other traditions see: United Church of Canada, What Is the Intercultural Church? (Toronto: UCC, 2009); UCC, Defining Multicultural, Cross-cultural and Intercultural (Toronto: UCC, 2011); and Pernigotto, Giovanni, ‘The Church: A Place of Exclusion or an Intercultural Community?’, in D.M. Doyle, T.J. Furry and P.D. Bazzell (eds.), Ecclesiology and Exclusion: Boundaries of Being and Belonging in Postmodern Times (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012), p. 43 .

26. Elizondo, Galilean Journey, p. 107.

27. Wade, ‘Rethinking Mestizaje’, p. 257.

28. McMichael, Ralph (ed.), The Vocation of Anglican Theology: Sources and Essays (London: SCM Press, 2014), p. xi . Cf. Spellers, Stephanie, ‘Monocultural Church in a Hybrid World’, in Phil Snider, The Hyphenateds: How Emergence Christianity Is Re-traditioning Mainline Practices (Danvers, MA: Chalice Press, 2011), p. 17 .

29. Avis, Paul, Anglicanism and the Christian Church (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1989), p. 310 .

30. For Avis, sociologically, although identity is a dynamic and developing phenomenon, there are certain ‘recognisable characteristics that are common to all’ Anglicans; see Avis, Anglicanism, pp. 18-20 (18).

31. Percy, Martyn, The Thirty Nine New Articles: An Anglican Landscape of Faith (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2013), p. 176 .

32. Kwok, ‘The Legacy’, pp. 47-70.

33. Kwok, ‘The Legacy’, p. 53.

34. Kwok, ‘The Legacy’, pp. 53-54.

35. Kwok, ‘The Legacy’, p. 56.

36. Kwok, ‘The Legacy’, p. 57.

37. Cf. Sachs, William L., The Transformation of Anglicanism: From State Church to Global Communion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 283-293 . He refers to this as ‘the illusion of the Anglican consensus’.

38. Cf. Plowden, Alison, In a Free Republic: Life in Cromwell’s England (Stroud: Sutton, 2006); Worden, Blair, God’s Instruments: Political Conduct in the England of Oliver Cromwell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013); Bradstock, Andrew, Radical Religion in Cromwell’s England: A Concise History from the English Civil War to the End of the Commonwealth (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011).

39. John Lee, Peter, ‘Indaba as Obedience: A Post Lambeth 2008 Assessment “If Someone Offends You, Talk to Him”’, Journal of Anglican Studies 7.2 (2009), p. 161 . See also: Groves, Phil and Parry Jones, Angharad, Living Reconciliation (London: SPCK, 2014).

40. Cf. (accessed 1 October 2017).

41. Cf. Sheldrake, Philip, ‘A Spirituality of Reconciliation for the Anglican Communion’, in Martyn Percy and Robert B. Slocum (eds.), A Point of Balance: The Weight and Measure of Anglicanism (London: Canterbury Press, 2013), pp. 51-66 .

42. Cf. Rossing, ‘Mestizaje and Marginality’, p. 302.

43. Pope Leo XIII, ‘On the Nullity of Anglican Orders’, in Apostolicae Curae (15 September 1896), available at: (accessed 30 September 2017).

44. Cf. Saepius Officio, Answer of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Bull Apostolicae Curae of H.H. Leo XIII (19 February 1897); Balleine, G.R., A History of the Evangelical Party in the Church of England (London: Longman, 1909), pp. 314315 ; Bell, G.K.A., Randall Davidson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1935), I, p. 232 .

45. Cf. Cummings, Brian (ed.), The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, 1662 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), p. 642 .

46. Wade, ‘Rethinking Mestizaje’, p. 256.

47. Wade, ‘Rethinking Mestizaje’, p. 256.

48. Wade, ‘Rethinking Mestizaje’, p. 255.

49. These are highlighted by Mannion as the mindset underlining most forms of exclusivism. See Doyle, Ecclesiology and Exclusion, pp. 8-9.

50. Doyle, Ecclesiology and Exclusion, p. 10.

51. Cf. Pernigotto, ‘The Church’, p. 49. For further reading on this topic see: Albert Howard, Thomas (ed.), Imago Dei: Human Dignity in Ecumenical Perspective (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2013); and Robinson, Dominic, Understanding the ‘Imago Dei’: The Thought of Barth, Von Baltasar and Molmann (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011).

52. Wade, ‘Rethinking Mestizaje’, pp. 242-43.

53. Cameron, Euan, The European Reformation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 395 .

54. Cf. Hooker, Richard, Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Books I–IV (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1888), Book II, p. 142.

55. Cf. Hooker, Laws I–IV, p. 231.

56. Cf. Hooker, Richard, Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book V (London: Macmillan & Co., 1902), p. 396 .

57. Cf. Hooker, Laws I–IV, pp. 121, 209-10.

58. Kwok, ‘The Legacy’, p. 65.

59. Kwok, ‘The Legacy’, p. 54.

60. Kwok, ‘The Legacy’, p. 66.

61. Cf. Plane Te Paa, Jenny, ‘ “Fourth” Guessing the Spirit: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Global Anglicanism from an Indigenous Laywoman’, Anglican Theological Review 90.1 (2008), p. 128 .

62. Vidler, Alec R., The Theology of F.D. Maurice (London: SCM Press, 1948), p. 215 .

63. The Spectator, Letters to the Editor (2 April 1870), p. 14; in digital archive: (accessed 9 November 2017).

64. Elizondo, Galilean Journey, p. 23.

65. McMichael, The Vocation of Anglican Theology p. xi.

66. Cf. Josef Raab and Martin Butler (eds.), Hybrid Americas: Contacts, Contrasts, and Confluences in New World Literatures and Cultures (Inter-American Perspectives/ Perspectivas Interamericanas 2; Münster: LIT, and Tempe, AZ: Bilingual Press, 2008), p. 17.

1. From the Spanish for ‘mixed ethnicity’ or ‘mixed culture’, mestizaje, as a noun, and mestizo, as an adjective, are used by sociology and cultural studies as a synonym of hybridity and interculturality, with certain nuances.

2. Daniel Muñoz is Lecturer in Church History, Protestant Faculty of Theology (SEUT), Madrid, Spain.

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Journal of Anglican Studies
  • ISSN: 1740-3553
  • EISSN: 1745-5278
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