Traditions within the Church of England and Psychological Type: A Study among the Clergy

In: Journal of Empirical Theology

Abstract

This study examines the relationship of psychological type preferences to membership of three different traditions within the Church of England: Anglo-catholic, broad church and evangelical. A sample of 1047 clergy recently ordained in the Church of England completed the Francis Psychological Type Scales and self-assigned measures of church tradition, conservatism and charismaticism. The majority of clergy preferred introversion over extraversion, but this preference was more marked among Anglo-catholics than among evangelicals. Anglo-catholics showed preference for intuition over sensing, while the reverse was true for evangelicals. Clergy of both sexes showed an overall preference for feeling over thinking, but this was reversed among evangelical clergymen. The sensing-intuition difference between traditions persisted after controlling for conservatism and charismaticism, suggesting it was linked to preferences for different styles of religious expression in worship. Conservatism was related to preferences for sensing over intuition (which may promote preference for traditional worship and parochial practices) and thinking over feeling (which for evangelicals may promote adherence to traditional theological principles and moral behaviour). Charismaticism was associated with preferences for extraversion over introversion, intuition over sensing, and feeling over thinking. Reasons for these associations are discussed in the light of known patterns of belief and practice across the various traditions of the Church of England.

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