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 Issues | Book of Common Prayer | 1928 Revision

Failed 1927/8 revision of The Prayer Book

This page refers to the 1928 revised prayer book of the Church of England which did not receive authorisation. This book is not the same as the 1928 Prayer Book of the US Episcopal Church.

The 1928 Prayer Book was produced, with strong opposition, by the Church Assembly and promoted by the House of BIshops. The revisions in the book reflected the growth of Anglo-Catholicism and theological liberalism (in particular scepticism of the Bible). The chief movers in the rejection of the book were evangelical laymen in Parliament in particular the Home Secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks (later the 1st Viscount Brentford) and the Attorney General, Sir Tomas Inskip.


"In 1919 the Enabling Act created the National Assembly of the Church of England. Once constituted, this body took up the Prayer Book question (which had already been debated in Convocation), and in 1927 it presented to Parliament a Prayer Book Measure with a suggested Revised Book. The Measure had had a stormy time in Convocation and Church Assembly, and it had already aroused considerable controversy in the country at large. The Revised Book was for the most part acceptable, but there was acute controversy over certain points of doctrine, and in particular with regard to changes in the office of Holy Communion, the introduction of prayers for the dead, and the addition of several so-called Lesser Feasts.

"Evangelicals were not all of one mind, but the vast majority were strongly opposed to these innovations, particularly the legalizing of Reservation and the attempt to remodel the Holy Communion upon the “canon” of 1549. The opposition was led by Bishops F. J. Chavasse, E. A. Knox and B. Pollock, and such well-known laymen as Sir William Joynson-Hicks, Sir Thomas Inskip and Mr. Albert Mitchell. The defence was organized by the Committee for the Maintenance of Truth and Faith. This Committee was representative of Evangelical opinion on the widest possible scale, and throughout the country there was determined and widespread opposition to the proposed doctrinal changes. The second and final rejection of the Deposited Book by Parliament in 1928 came as a great relief to Protestants throughout the country, and in particular to many Evangelicals in the Church of England.

"That the Evangelicals were justified in the stand they had taken, and that they saved the Church from most unfortunate liturgical and doctrinal developments, there cannot be the slightest doubt. Yet it is regrettable that their action had necessarily to be mainly negative, for many of the proposed amendments would have been beneficial and their rejection has resulted in an organized and officially sponsored lawlessness which has brought nothing but harm to the Church. Since 1928 many bishops have encouraged the use of the rejected Prayer Book, and various suggestions have been made for securing by other means authority for the changes expressly rejected under the 1919 agreement."

Rev Dr. G.W. Bromiley in Appendix 1 (1900-1950) of the 3rd edition (1951) of A History of the Evangelical Party of the Church of England by G.R. Balleine (Church Book Room Press 1908, 1933, 1951)

The 1928 Revision

Prayer Book Revision - Article by Rev Sydney Carter

Memorandum to the Ecclesiastical Committee from 1928 by Wiliam Joynson-Hicks.

See Also

Series 1 burial (the long lingering death of the 1928 burial service) - Cross†Way 2003 No 88 article by David Phillips

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