You need to know this bit of history because of the important ecclesiological issues that were at stake. Thanks to Justin Taylor, you can.

[Stott’s and his allies’] arguments took three forms:

(1) Historically, they argued that the constitutional basis of the Church of England was Protestant and Reformed, seen in the Reformation formularies like the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer. So evangelicals held the legal “title deeds” to the Church of England, and the liberals and catholics should get out, not them.

(2) Biblically, they argued that many New Testament churches were doctrinally confused or morally compromised, like the church in Corinth which was muddled about the resurrection, or the church in Sardis which numbered only “a few” godly people (Revelation 3:4). But believers in those churches are told to hold fast to the gospel, and to fight against false teachers, not to leave the church and set up a new one.

(3) Pragmatically, Stott and his friends argued that the Church of England provided many gospel opportunities for evangelicals, and that it would be a dereliction of duty to hand over their pulpits to unbelieving clergy. What then would become of their congregations?