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August 31, 2010


[Bumped For Obvious Reasons] Church Times: Sydney Votes for Diaconal and Lay Presidency

Why do this now?
from here

...The motion was passed un­amended, and, the Sydney diocesan website reported, “overwhelmingly”. It read:

Synod —

(a) accepts the report concerning legal barriers to lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper which was submitted to the 3rd session of the 47th Synod, and

(b) affirms again its conviction that lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper is consistent with the teaching of Scripture, and

(c) affirms that the Lord’s Supper in this diocese may be administered by persons other than presbyters, and requests the Diocesan Secretary to send a copy of The Lord’s Supper in Human Hands to all bishops who attended the GAFCON.

...more

Personally, while I understand the biblical arguments and grant that they have merit (though I do not entirely agree), I think this is a disastrous decision. How can we criticize TEC for taking steps beyond agreed upon standards when we turn and do the same?


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181 comments

This could really screw the pooch before it even gets off the ground. Disastrous.

[1] Posted by JerryKramer on 10-25-2008 at 01:40 PM · [top]

I expect what will be said is that Archbishop Jensen will not license lay people—even though the Synod has expressed its completely approval—and that will be what is supposed to appease those who are opposed . . . you know . . . sort of like how the bishops in Canada behaved about gay marriage.  The Conventions approve, and the bishop nobly refuses to allow it.

[2] Posted by Sarah on 10-25-2008 at 01:47 PM · [top]

Being neither Anglican, Orthodox, or RC, I’m going to be a good guest here and not make waves. I’ll just say the following, and let it go at that [then I’ll step back and let those in the aforementioned community have their say]: While I am in agreement with statement ‘b’, I can also fully understand Fr. Matts concerns as well. I’ve included a link here to Rev. Richardsons blog, “The Ugley Vicar” concerning this issue; perhaps it would provide some food for thought (and hopefully, not too much gasoline for the fire!)

http://ugleyvicar.blogspot.com/2008/06/come-on-and-lay-celebrate.html

[3] Posted by GSP98 on 10-25-2008 at 01:55 PM · [top]

I’m so glad this issue is coming up, as much as I love Anglicanism, there is way too much made of the “holy hands” of ordained ministry (this coming from a postulant).

[4] Posted by Zoomdaddy on 10-25-2008 at 02:16 PM · [top]

I am out of here.  Continuum here I come.  Sanity now.  Sanity now.

[5] Posted by Cradle on 10-25-2008 at 02:21 PM · [top]

Catholic Christians don’t do this. Is Sydney founding a new religion?

[6] Posted by Chazzy on 10-25-2008 at 02:49 PM · [top]

Did they not take account of the effect this would have on their various partnerships around the world?  Who else in GAFCON is like-minded on this issue?

[7] Posted by Raspberry Rabbit on 10-25-2008 at 03:39 PM · [top]

Several years ago, I asked a Sydney Bishop how exactly lay presidents for the Eucharist would be chosen?  Would they be identified by the congregation and diocese in advance?  Would they receive some sort of training to prepare them to do this?  Would they be set apart and commissioned as those who were licensed to preside at the Eucharist?  He answered yes to all three questions.  So, I asked, then what is ordination?  And how (apart from the length and depth of the training)  does it differ from what you have just said you are going to do with “lay presidents”?  He couldn’t answer.

The plain and simple fact is that this whole mess in Sydney stems from an anti-clericalism and a reaction against the idea of the ordained presbyterate (priesthood) that has grown to become an obsession. 

At this time in the Anglican Communion, when the unity of orthodox Anglicans should be a paramount concern, Sydney’s pressing forward with this aberration in ecclesiology is inexcusable. 

Although some of us who are conservatives will not draw a parallel, liberals in other provinces in Anglicanism will seize on this as being an even greater departure than their own aberrations in Anglican faith and order.

What a tragedy!

Robert S. Munday
Nashotah House

[8] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 10-25-2008 at 03:50 PM · [top]

For those of us wondering where to turn, this is another push toward Catholicism or Orthodoxy.

[9] Posted by oscewicee on 10-25-2008 at 04:01 PM · [top]

Jettison Jensen, the Ship is already too low in the too rough seas.

The Lord Supper shared by a husband with his family at home without an ordained priest is fine and dandy, but the public administration requires is not to entered into recklessly.

The Lord’s Supper taken unworthily is sickness and death.  No one not to the position ordained should pretend to preside. 

Would they have those not ordained to be priest or bishop?  The breaking of the bread is not less of a mystery than the preaching of the gospel.

This is an horror, and it MUST be rallied against.

[10] Posted by Bo on 10-25-2008 at 04:03 PM · [top]

[6] Chazzy

Is Sydney founding a new religion?

That’s a bit over the top.  Who administers communion is hardly an essential element of the Christian faith.  After all, if your opponent were to demand Scriptural confirmation that only ministers could lead Communion, you would not be able to put your finger on the page and irrefutably convince him.  The imperative you assume is simply not there.

[8] ToAllTheWorld

[L]iberals in other provinces in Anglicanism will seize on this as being an even greater departure than their own aberrations in Anglican faith and order.

If so, it simply further demonstrates the doctrinal bankruptcy of liberalism.  To compare a disagreement over ecclesiology with an outright rejection of orthodox Theology, Christology, Soteriology, and Anthropology - all of which are essential elements of the faith - is to demonstrate a profound lack of theological seriousness.

carl

[11] Posted by carl on 10-25-2008 at 04:11 PM · [top]

Does the word “administration” mean “preside” or “consecration”?  I just want to be sure I don’t overreact.  Certainly, it is commonplace in TEC for a layman to assist a priest by distributing Communion, or in some cases, taking Communion to the sick, etc.  (I realize what “lay presidency” is, but the resolution quoted refers to “administration”- I just want to be sure it means what I think it means before I go off on a rant).
  I am unclear as to why Sydney feels it must go this route when, essentially, a bishop can ordain anyone he or she wants to ordain.  Up here in N Michigan, many never attended a seminary.  In truth, it may be that some of the ordained priests up here received less training than the proposed lay presidents of Sydney.  So why not go that route- is there some law in Australia that requires that the diocese pay all ordained persons a stipend or some such? 
  Whatever the specifics, from the point of view of timing, this is a political disaster for the orthodox cause.  Bishops and priests around the world will be forced to, at best, “distance themselves” from the Sydney decision (as several already have in the posts above).  I cannot see how Anglo Catholics can maintain full Communion with a diocese that does not require ordination as a prerequisite to presiding at the Eucharist.  This is of the same cloth as communion of the non-baptized.

[12] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-25-2008 at 04:22 PM · [top]

“That’s a bit over the top.  Who administers communion is hardly an essential element of the Christian faith.  After all, if your opponent were to demand Scriptural confirmation that only ministers could lead Communion, you would not be able to put your finger on the page and irrefutably convince him.  The imperative you assume is simply not there.”

There are many essential and non-negotiable things in our tradition which are not found in scripture. We are not sola scriptura Calvinists—catholic tradition and the consensus of the Fathers also matter, subordinate only the scriptures themselves. Priests (“ministers,”  as you call them) duly ordained by bishops in apostolic succession, carrying out their unique sacerdotal functions, are an essential part of what the sacraments are all about. Sidney might just as well affiliate with the Baptists.

[13] Posted by Chazzy on 10-25-2008 at 04:37 PM · [top]

Commenting on my own blog articles and reactions on Stand Firm is becoming a habit! First, let me just emphasise that the arguments I have used are not necessarily the arguments by which Sydney has reached this decision.

Secondly, this whole subject has been under discussion in that diocese for perhaps two decades - it was already under consideration when I was studying there in 1993. It is not something they have rushed into, but it is part of the ‘fabric’ of Sydney theology.

Thirdly, we need to be aware that the Reformed Anglican position on sacramental administration and ordination (summarized in Article 23) is, arguably, more to do with flexible church order (as in Article 34) than to do with absolutes about either the church itself or the sacraments. Specifically, Article 23 allows for a ‘Lutheran’ understanding (where the congregation may set apart someone for sacramental ministry), rather than a ‘Roman’, top down, understanding.

Finally, Thomas Cranmer had some interesting things to say about the ministry and the sacraments which would raise a few Anglican eyebrows today, to the effect that in the absence of bishops, laypeople could (and in some circumstances should) designate, ordain and consecrate ministers themselves.

Having said all that - it is precisely this sort of thing which is bound to make cooperation difficult amongst Conservatives; difficult, but not necessarily impossible.

[14] Posted by John Richardson on 10-25-2008 at 04:38 PM · [top]

The headline on the Sydney Anglican website: “Sydney restates lord’s supper position” is worth paying attention to.
This is a statement of OPINION about lay presidency. Sydney is not about to license lay people to actually run a communion service. the legal advice mentioned in themotion says that this would be virtually impossible. archbishop jensen has made it clear that he will not license lay people to preside at holy communion.

Here is the report on Sydney Anhlicans.net by Jeremy halcrow of anglican Media Sydney,

Sydney Synod has overwhelmingly restated its principled support for lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper.

More significantly - in what supporters said is ‘a great outcome’ for women deacons - the motion also ‘accepts’ the argument that there is no longer any legal impediment to deacons officiating at Holy Communion given the wording of The Ordination Service for Deacons Canon 1985 and the repeal of the 1662 Act of Uniformity by a recent General Synod Canon.

However the motion itself does nothing to change the legal situation.

“We don’t make law or change law in a motion,” said the Bishop of North Sydney, Glenn Davies, in moving the motion “we merely express our view.”

Bishop Davies said he believes there is “nothing the Archbishop can do to prevent a deacon administering the Lord’s Supper”.

But added that via the motion Synod cannot approve lay people presiding at Holy Communion at Sunday services in Sydney Diocese.

“It would require a bishop’s licence,” Bishop Davies explained. “The Archbishop will not license a lay person at this time.”

Win for women deacons

Archdeacon for Women’s Ministry, Narrelle Jarrett, seconded the motion saying she wanted Synod to understand the way the ministry of deacons – male and female – is currently restrained.

Women can be deacons in Sydney Diocese but not presbyters (priests).

Archdeacon Jarrett said the current situation “seriously diminishes the ministry of women” explaining the right to administer the Lord’s Supper “is forbidden them for entirely unbiblical reasons”.

“Why can’t women deacons administer the Lord’s Supper in a girls’ school or a womens’ prison? Do we really think that a male priest can only administer this Sacrament?”

Archdeacon Jarrett also said the current situation also caused problems in multi-site parishes, when congregations are led by deacons.

A number of new church plants in Sydney Diocese, including some that are extra-parochial, are led by male deacons.

The current policy makes it difficult for these churches to regularly provide the Lord’s Supper to members.

Amendments lost

A string of amendments were suggested seeking to water down the motion.

All were overwhelmingly defeated on voices.

The Rev Andrew Katay from Ashfield sought to merely “receive” the report on the legal advice.

He said “it’s not honourable” to pursue a change by just doing “a clever thing with words”.

“The change needs to occur in the right way,” he said.

Judge Chris Armitage from Killara sought to remove the word “lay” from the motion.

He said any move to approve lay administration would breach Section 71 of the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia and he “guaranteed” it would “end up in the secular courts”.

The Rev Dr Tim Foster from Leichhardt sought to delete clause (c): “affirms that the Lord’s Supper in this diocese may be administered by persons other than presbyters”.

“It pretends to be innocuous but opens a Pandora’s box,” he said.

Bishop Peter Tasker supported Dr Foster’s amendment saying that he was concerned the motion would impact Sydney’s relationship with GAFCON bishops.

“I am not arguing that we ask GAFCON bishops for permission,” he said.

“I personally made a commitment… that we would seek to put on paper our reasons for moving in this direction. They simply ask to give them space to read and understand our position before we act.”

A key part of the motion includes sending a book published by the Anglican Church League in order to explain Sydney Diocese’s theological viewpoint to GAFCON bishops.

An amendment from Lis Boyce asking that this book also be sent to Australian bishops was withdrawn on advice that it had already been sent to them.

A real diaconate

The Dean of Sydney, Phillip Jensen, spoke against each amendment in turn and in support of the original motion.

The motion, he said “doesn’t say what we are going to do… just what we believe”.

More significantly he explained the rationale for Sydney’s ongoing plan to broaden the diaconate.

“We want to turn the diaconate into a real diaconate… We don’t want to specialise the presbyters in administering the Lord’s Supper… but we want them to specialise in their incumbency.”

In his concluding speech, Bishop Davies agreed: “It’s much better to make the diaconate a real diaconate… to allow women to have that fullness of ministry of Word and Sacrament.. that would be a great outcome.”

“We must remember that diaconal presidency occurred in Kenya for years and no one blinked an eye – I confirmed this with Archbishop Gitari [of Kenya].”

[15] Posted by obadiahslope on 10-25-2008 at 04:47 PM · [top]

You can find that Anglican Media Sydney report at http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/sydneystories/women_win_in_lords_supper_debate/

(Statement of dislosure: I am on the borad of Anglican Media Sydney)

[16] Posted by obadiahslope on 10-25-2008 at 04:50 PM · [top]

Looks like Gafcon will have to adopt another “Two integrities” with this.  What’s next on the agenda?

[17] Posted by Cradle on 10-25-2008 at 04:59 PM · [top]

Of course, this is a revisionist heresy as gross as that of KJS and GVR, completely contrary to the Sacred Tradition of the Church, and exceeding the authority of any local council to enact. All of the false Communion liturgies so enacted will be null ab initio. Simply a further pollution of the Church’s life which will place this group beyond the pale as much as is 815 Second Ave, NYC.

[18] Posted by A Senior Priest on 10-25-2008 at 05:19 PM · [top]

obadiahslope, I am relieved to see that Sydney won’t have laypeople presiding at the Eucharist in the immediate future. But am I right in reading this news story to say that deacons ARE going be presiding at the “Eurcharist” there now? As all readers of this blog surely know, from the perspective of Catholic-leaning Anglicans that would be utterly unacceptable. Deacons cannot confect the Sacrament of the Altar any more than laypeople can. Are deacons now going to purportedly “preside” at the Holy Eucharist in Sydney? Doesn’t this story say that there is nothing to stop that from happening there, as if there is a real possibility that it will be taking place? If this is so, it is a truly astonishing development. To (correctly) condemn TEC for going its own way in disregard to the rest of the Communion on human sexuality and then have a leading “orthodox” bastion thumb its nose at the rest of the Anglican world (indeed the entire Catholic Christian world) on diaconal and lay presidency would be mind-boggling. Please say it isn’t so.

[19] Posted by texanglican on 10-25-2008 at 05:21 PM · [top]

13] Chazzy wrote:

There are many essential and non-negotiable things in our tradition which are not found in scripture.

A fair point, but none of those things are definitional of the religion of Christianity.  They define a tradition.

We are not sola scriptura Calvinists

Yes, actually I am.  smile

catholic tradition and the consensus of the Fathers also matter


To the tradition, yes.  But not to the essential definition of Christianity.

subordinate only the scriptures themselves.


Yes, where subordinate means ‘without the power to bind the conscience.’

Priests (“ministers,” as you call them) ...

Paul refers to a priesthood of all believers, and he calls the Lord Jesus the great High Priest.  But he never refers to the men leading a congregation as priests.  The word implies the existence of a mediating function unique to the office that does not in fact exist. It smacks of Roman sacramentalism, and I will never use it in this context.

duly ordained by bishops in apostolic succession, carrying out their unique sacerdotal functions, are an essential part of what the sacraments are all about.

Which is I grant all very important to the Anglican tradition - subject to my abject rejection of any taint of Romanism in the doctrine.

Sidney might just as well affiliate with the Baptists.

Last I saw, Baptists were not part of a separate religion, but were in fact Christians of a competing tradition.  And that was my only point.

carl

[20] Posted by carl on 10-25-2008 at 05:30 PM · [top]

Carl, most Christians in the catholic tradition maintain that who consecrates and distributes Holy Communion matters very much.

Women priests is an innovation. Gay bishops, another.  I agree with Chazzy that this too represents innovation, but it isn’t a recent innovation. The Disciples of Christ and the Plymouth Brethren have held this view all along.

[21] Posted by Alice Linsley on 10-25-2008 at 05:35 PM · [top]

[21] Alice Linsley

[M]ost Christians in the catholic tradition maintain that who consecrates and distributes Holy Communion matters very much.

But does this disagreement define the boundary of a separate religion?  If you say ‘Yes,’ upon what authority are you standing?

Women priests is an innovation.

Clearly rejected in Scripture.

Gay bishops, another.

Also clearly rejected in Scripture.

I agree with Chazzy that this too represents innovation, but it isn’t a recent innovation.

It is also not a scriptural innovation.  There is no command in Scripture on the subject.  That makes the innovation an innovation of tradition.  It is therefore in an entirely different ontological category.

The Disciples of Christ and the Plymouth Brethren have held this view all along.

But neither group would be run the out of the Christian faith on that account. 

carl

[22] Posted by carl on 10-25-2008 at 06:15 PM · [top]

“And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That no person whatsoever shall thenceforth be capable to be admitted to any Parsonage, Vicarage, Benefice, or other Ecclesiastical Promotion or Dignity whatsoever, nor shall presume to Consecrate and Administer the holy Sacrament of the Lords Supper, before such time as he shall be Ordained Priest, according to the form, and manner in, and by the said Book prescribed, unless he have formerly been made Priest by Episcopal Ordination, upon pain to forfeit for every offence the sum of One hundred pounds; (one moiety thereof to the Kings Majesty, the other moiety thereof to be equally divided between the poor of the Parish where the offence shall be committed, and such person, or personas as shall sue for the same by Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint, or Information in any of his Majesties Courts of Record, wherein no Essoign, Protection, or Wager of Law shall be allowed) And to be disabled from taking, or being admitted into the Order of Priest, by the space of one whole year next following.” Act of Uniformity, 1662

This is Puritan anti-clericalism and the worst sort of egalitarianism, the same sort which the Elizabethan Settlement attempted to root out of Anglicanism forever.  Let alone the fact that, assuming this goes forward, many of us will have no choice but to be out of communion with Sydney “Anglicans.”  What a horrid misstep and lack of regard for the whole church.

[23] Posted by fatherlee on 10-25-2008 at 06:21 PM · [top]

It mirrors TEC in its complete lack of regard for the rest of the communion.

[24] Posted by oscewicee on 10-25-2008 at 06:32 PM · [top]

I object to this change in who may administer the Sacraments.  However, there is significant support for the idea that deacons presided at the Eucharist in pre-Nicean times.  In fact, the canon that forbids deacons from presiding at the Eucharist is prima facia evidence that they were trying to stop something that had occurred.

However, presiding is not a normal diaconal charism.  I have, with the permission of my bishop, presided at an administration from the Reserved Sacrament, but it is not something that is or should be normal for a deacon to do. 

Anglicanism is not a sola scriptura</a> Church.  It is a <i>prima scriptura Church where scripture is our primary source of authority.  Sydney forgot about the Tradition of the Church and its responsibility to maintain and pass it on.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[25] Posted by Philip Snyder on 10-25-2008 at 06:37 PM · [top]

When they say lay presidency at the Eucharist, do they simply mean the person who leads the service, or do they mean for the lay president to consecrate(sic) the elements of bread and wine?  This is never specified.  I can tell you that when I was a student at an evangelical Anglican seminary in England nearly thirty years ago, the very same people (I mean teachers) who were pushing for women’s ordination, were also advocates of gay sex, and lay presidency at the Eucharist.  These people are determined to wipe out Anglicanism as we have known it for the last 500 years.  Why?  I do not know.  If they are tolerated among us—even at GAFCON—we are wasting our time and money.  If Archbishop Jenson and the Diocese of Sydney do not like Anglicanism, let them leave?  Why must they be allowed to ruin t for the rest of us?

[26] Posted by GB on 10-25-2008 at 07:07 PM · [top]

GB - they mean that the lay person would have the power to do the whole Communion service - including the consecration of bread and wine.

[27] Posted by jamesw on 10-25-2008 at 07:11 PM · [top]

It just gets harder and harder to stay “Anglican” when the word has so many meanings it winds up meaning nothing.

I will stay in the continuum unless they go nuts, too.

[28] Posted by Elizabeth on 10-25-2008 at 08:14 PM · [top]

Good for you, Elizabeth.  Some people say we are too far to the right, but often change their minds when they understand why we act that way.

[29] Posted by GB on 10-25-2008 at 08:51 PM · [top]

I am afraid that if this ever becomes the law and practice in Sydney it will spell the end of “orthodox” Anglicanism. From my reading and studying of various other CHristian denominations, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant, the overwhelming majority of them have ordained clergy presiding at a communion service. They may well have lay preachers conducting Sunday services but at Baptism and the Lord’s Supper it is the ordained ministers that preside.

I am fast approaching the point where Rome or Constantinople seem to be the only choices. Lord, have mercy.

[30] Posted by FrRick on 10-25-2008 at 08:56 PM · [top]

FrRick, the Lord is merciful.  That is why He has provided us with the choice of Constantinople.  Well, Rome too I suppose.

[31] Posted by Nikolaus on 10-25-2008 at 09:50 PM · [top]

12, 13

I’ve attended services with Baptists since before I was born, and ‘lay leaders’ for the Lord’s Supper wouldn’t fly in any congregation I’ve ever been in.  Baptists don’t do the ‘top-down’ ordination thing (one of the reasons I’ve become interested in Anglicanism is the existance here of the Bishop, Priest, and Deacon) - but they do Ordain the ‘Bishop’ of the local church (Most, if pressed will admit they consider themselves to perform the function identified as ‘Bishop’ in the new testament, though rejecting the title.  I’m blessed to have one of the few that will answer to my calling him Bishop!).  They’d NEVER let anyone not ‘set aside’ and ‘instructed’ and having not ‘received the laying on of hands’ lead the Lord’s Supper.  These ‘Sydney Anglicans’ if truly they are advocating such wouldn’t even fit in with Baptists.

[32] Posted by Bo on 10-25-2008 at 10:23 PM · [top]

If you follow the link provided in [3] to the Ugley Vicar’s blog, you will find a second link in the blog post that is well worth reading.  It is a response by the Ugley Vicar to a report issued in 1994 by the CoE House of Bishops on Lay Presidency.  Within that response is a small paragraph that literally detonates on the page as you read it.

And is it so certain that an episcopally restricted Eucharistic presidency is a certain safeguard against evil? What if, as the Prayer Book acknowledges is possible, ‘the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments’?  Must the people of God, to whom belongs the priesthood of all believers, simply accept this state of affairs passively?

Prescient words, Ugley Vicar.  But I suspect they would not be considered hypothetical any more.

carl

[33] Posted by carl on 10-25-2008 at 10:30 PM · [top]

At my LCMS church the Deacon does from time to time preside over the Eucharist.  But this is widely accepted within LCMS as alluded to in #14 above.  Sydney do not need to be doing this at variation with the present Anglican norm as it is clearly divisive.

[34] Posted by physician without health on 10-25-2008 at 11:07 PM · [top]

Well, as this vote only reaffirms what Sydney has been affirming for many years, I don’t think this is really very big news, and I’m not as disturbed by it as some of the commenters above.  I trust Sarah and others are correct in saying that ++Peter Jensen will scuttle the idea of actually implementing the practice of lay presidency at the Eucharist.  I wholeheartedly agree with Dean Munday and others above that to actually start allowing laypeople to consecrate the bread and wine would be nothing short of disastrous.  It would be catastrophic in that it would indeed be a major violation of catholic order and it would doom all hopes that Anglo-Catholics could co-exist with Sydney and other hardcore ultra-Protestant types.

Alas, it just goes to show that there are indeed some very deep divisions within the orthodox camp within Anglicanism.  However, I do think it’s good for us to act in a clear, self-differentiating manner and not pretend that we are more united theologically than we are when such radical theological differences exist.

Lest I be misunderstood, let me clarify what I’m saying. I find the Reformed theology of holy orders and the sacraments that underlies the position endorsed by our brothers and sisters in Sydney utterly repellant.  I spurn it in disdain.  I choose to follow the lead of the patristic Church on both scores INSTEAD OF and RATHER THAN the English Reformers, and I am very clear and very emphatic about that.  And I hold to that viewpoint just as clearly and emphatically as Carl (for example) would stoutly uphold the opposing side.

But at the same time, I don’t regard it as a salvation issue.  And there is a lot that I admire about our fellow orthodox Christians in the Sydney archdiocese.  This voicing of theoretical support for the notion of lay presidency is not really anything new, so I don’t see that it makes fellowship within the FCA/GAFCON movement much harder than it already was.

But perhaps a little historical perspective would help.  Let me remind everyone that John Wesley came to believe that presbyters and bishops were really equivalent or synonymous (as the terms are used interchangeably in Titus 1:5,7).  Jerome (who had trouble getting along with bishops) held the same view back in the 4th century.  Yet even though he sincerely believed that he had as much right as any bishop to ordain people, John Wesley still had enough sense or restraint to resist appeals from his followers to start ordaining leaders for the Methodist movement for many years, in fact for decades.  But finally, in 1784 (about the same time Samuel Seabury was being ordained as the first Anglican bishop in America, Wesley at last gave in and ordained two men as missionaries to lead the Methodist mission in the US, one of them being the famous Francis Asbury.  At that point, the separation of the Methodists from the C of E was pretty official and formal, although it had really been unofficially true for many years.

Now I give John Wesley credit for not acting on his (erroneous) belief years earlier, when it was sorely tempting for him to take it upon himself to ordain badly needed ministers for his growing movement.  And I give ++Peter Jensen credit similarly for not acting on the equally erroneous belief of the Sydney archdiocese (in their anti-sacerdotal zeal), but it really was only a matter of time before Wesley finally acted in accordance with his beliefs.  And I think the same will be true (sad to say) in Sydney.

But that’s just reality, folks.  I don’t like it and it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but there’s no use pretending things aren’t the way they are.

The tragic part is that Sydney did play a key role in GAFCON this summer, and this stubborn championing of an ultra-Protestant, one-dimensional kind of Anglicanism will indeed make it hard for MANY of us to work closely with the Sydney gang, admirable Christians that they are in so many ways.  But let’s face it.  That was already true.  This is really nothing new.

David Handy+
Proudly 3-D and emphatically EX-Presbyterian

[35] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 10-25-2008 at 11:22 PM · [top]

Reading through the comments on this post first thing Sunday morning (in fact 6.30am UK time as the clocks went back last night), I have the growing suspicion that a lot of US Anglican orthodox don’t understand a lot of UK Anglican Evangelicals!

Many of us (and I use the term advisedly) stand within the Puritan tradition within the Church of England. It must be remembered that the Puritan separation was (arguably) engineered by the Anglican hierarchy and the State acting in collusion (the one to narrow the boundaries so as to exclude a disputed churchmanship, the other to create law - the ‘Clarendon Code’ - which not only forced ministers out of parishes but attempted to silence their ministry). It thus distorted the church’s life and, incidentally, set an Anglican precedent for dealing with dissent by encouraging departures.

Our view is that of William Fuller, that the church of England was ‘but halfly reformed’ at the Reformation, and that since then reform has proceeded ‘but halfly forward and more than halfly backward.’ I would highly commend Dr Peter Adam’s essay, A Church Halfly Reformed, delivered to an enthusiastic audience of Evangelical Anglicans at St Helen’s Bishopsgate a few years ago.

For me personally, reading Patrick Collinson’s The Elizabethan Puritan Movement back in the early 1990s was a revelatory moment, when I realized that what I believed about church, ministry, sacraments, Bible and so on had a home within Anglicanism. And the struggles with the institution’s resistance to change and to a wholehearted embrace of gospel principles was also ‘normal’ - or at least as old as Queen Elizabeth’s suppression of Puritanism.

I also suspect that US Anglicans may not realize with what suspicion some of their ‘orthodoxy’ would be regarded both currently and historically within traditional Anglican Evangelicalism. I am not picking on the person, but rather the comment, where Phil Snyder wrote, “I have, with the permission of my bishop, presided at an administration from the Reserved Sacrament, but it is not something that is or should be normal for a deacon to do.”

In nineteenth century England, the reservation of the sacrament in an Anglican church was not merely regarded as unorthodoxy, it was a criminal offence, and some of those clergy who supported these and other violations of Anglican order went to prison as a result. (The book to read is Glorious Battle by John Sheldon.) Thus to this day there are many Anglican Evangelicals for whom sacramental reservation is an anathema - and it is certainly contrary to the 39 Articles (Art 28).

What all this shows, I suspect, is that there is a much greater need to explore the position of others than many have suspected. There is an instinctive sense that we are ‘on the same side’, but that is not the same as having a coherent theological fit.

Two other comments. First, the Sydney Synod is, in my experience, highly trained and articulate theologically. This will be no ill considered rush into unthinking posturing. Secondly, I imagine the timing of this announcement will not have ignored the proximity to GAFCON, where (I gather) things were said and done liturgically which would have raised eyebrows in Sydney parishes. It may well be a way of saying to the parishes “We have not changed,” and to GAFCON, “You need to know where we stand.”

[36] Posted by John Richardson on 10-26-2008 at 02:08 AM · [top]

As a PS, folks must visit the (UK based) and ultra-Liberal Thinking Anglicans website and thread to see what is being said there - and then contemplate how the approbation there parallels the disapprovals here!

This fits, however, with my thesis that Liberalism is held together by a functional sacramentalism which is deeply threatened by the notion of lay empowerment. It is interesting that, according to latest figures, at a time when the Church of England is declining numerically and drifting into further Liberalism, the number of ordinations is going up!

[37] Posted by John Richardson on 10-26-2008 at 02:28 AM · [top]

Hello John, I found your reasoning made me smile!.

John, do you think readers of Stand Firm are aware that one of the signatories to the GAFCON statement is the Church of England in South Africa, which has had lay presidency since 1936?

[38] Posted by Martin Reynolds on 10-26-2008 at 03:14 AM · [top]

As usual, my opinion is a bit late again grin

I was not in the synod and I am not a clergy yet, but up to what I know about Syndey diocese, I don’t think there will be any change to the diocese after this motion.  First of all, this motion is about a view, nothing will change the legal situation (Please see the quote in #15).  This view has been popular within the diocese for years, but in the past no bishop has ever stepped over the line drawn from the tradition, and I don’t think Bishop Peter would.  However, I guess there may be some practical implications.  For example, as already quoted in #15, there is no way for layman to preside the Holy Communion, but there may be a chance for the deaconate.  Since the constitution in the Diocese has given the minister of a parish the final authority to adminster the parish, then under this motion, he may be able to appoint a deacon who is under his supervision to preside the Holy communion, and the bishop might have to agree with him.  It may help to unlock the demand of presbyter in a parish, especially those with a large number of congregations.

[39] Posted by mystrength on 10-26-2008 at 04:54 AM · [top]

John R., thanks so much for the perspective you provide.  Your last section about reaffirming where Sydney stands in light of GAFCON and raising this issue with GAFCON as something that needs to be discussed makes a lot of sense.  Until I’d read your comment and put this news in that possible context I couldn’t figure out “why now?”—which made this news seem much more provocative than perhaps it is.

You are definitely right about some of the differences between UK & US orthodox Anglicans.  There is virtually nothing in the US (at least within TEC, AMiA may be another matter) that truly parallels the CoE / Aussie / New Zealand low church tradition.  I’ve had lots of long talks about this with a dear friend from New Zealand who was shocked to discover how “high” even the Evangelical wing of US Anglicanism is.

[40] Posted by Karen B. on 10-26-2008 at 05:48 AM · [top]

Well, I too welcome the input of evangelicals from England such as the forthright Ugley Vicar, John Richardson, or from other places where the firmly low church and even Puritan-at-heart brand of Anglicanism lives on (like say, David Ould, in Australia).  I cannot speak for others, but I am very well aware of how “high church” many US evangelicals seem to many of our evangelical brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth.  For instance, when I was in seminary, I did my fieldwork at St. John’s on Orange Street in New Haven, which was then pastored by Peter Rodgers+, who had studied in Cambridge and who was strongly influenced by that bastion of ultra-Protestant Anglicanism, the Round Church in Cambridge.  He and I clashed frequently, though amicably, on liturgical and theological matters.  We actually got along quite well, though perhaps that was because he was firmly in charge as the rector, and I as the mere seminarian was no real threat to his leadership.

It’s no secret that the almost universally admired James Packer describes himself as a Puritan born out of season.  And I must admit that I think it would be a very good thing for more orthodox Anglicans to be aware of the strong Puritan strain in Anglicanism, and of such distinguished Puritan leaders as William Perkins, John Owen, or Richard Baxter.  They were great men of God, for whose faithful witness I give thanks.

But I am also firmly and resolutely opposed to Anglicanism moving in that direction.  So I will say again here what I’ve often said on other threads.  The genius of Anglicanism is to be a genuine and unique HYBRID that synthesizes the evangelical Protestant spirit with the rich substance of the Catholic heritage.  Or as I like to put it, classical Anglicanism (which I consider to be represented by the Caroline Divines and NOT by the documents of the English Reformation) is TWO-DIMENSIONAL; it is BOTH catholic and reformed, and not merely the English branch of the Protestant Reformation (i.e., one-sidedly Protestant alone).  And as I keep on asserting at every opportunity, part of this New Reformation is to help Anglicanism morph from being a 2-D form of religion into a truly 3-D kind (evangelical, catholic, and charismatic).  But the sort of Anglicanism represented by the Sydney tradition is merely one-dimensional, with some of its spokesmen (like John Richardson above) seeking to purge some of those remaining catholic elements that bug and annoy many ultra-low church Anglicans.

So if I may, let me restate and amplify what I tried to say above.  Personally, as an EX-Presbyterian and an EX-Calvinist, the LAST THING I want is for Anglicanism to move in the direction that Sydney wants to go.  I didn’t leave Calvinism behind in order to become a Puritan with vestments on.  There are some key theological issues where the English Reformers WERE WRONG, and over-reacted against some aspects of the Catholic tradition, throwing the baby out with the dirty bathwater.  That was perfectly understandable in their day, in the heat of battle with Rome when so much was at stake, and when the full implications of the Protestant position were still unclear because Protestantism hadn’t fully unfoled and developed yet.  But now, over four and a half centuries later, we have no such excuse today.

Now obviously, by styling myself “New Reformation Advocate,” I’m not one of those who regrets that the English Reformation took place.  I do believe that it was, in the famous and apt phrase of Jaroslav Pelikan, “a tragic necessity.”  It was far more necessary than many of my Anglo-Catholic colleagues think.  But it was also far more tragic and flawed than many of my evangelical colleagues think as well.

Perhaps it comes down to this.  Who are you going to trust and follow?  The early patristic leaders or the Reformation leaders?  Would you rather follow great early Fathers of the Church like Irenaeus, Cyprian, Augustine, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzua, and Leo the Great, or would you rather take your primary theological bearings from great Reformers of the 16th century like Luther and Melancthon, Zwingli and Calvin, Bucer and Bullinger?  Or do you sometimes chose one set, and sometimes the other?  (I choose the last of these options).

And here I think it must be frankly noted that the CLAIM of the English Reformers to represent not only the doctrine of the apostles enshrined in Holy Scripture but also the consensual teaching of the Fathers was sometimes justified, and sometimes NOT.  There are indeed important ways in which the Reformers betrayed and falsified the patristic heritage, and did so WITHOUT biblical justification.

At least that’s my view.  And I say that as a loyal son of Wheaton College and a loyal son of the Anglo-Catholic Diocese of Albany as well.

Bottom line: part of the glorious promise of this New Reformation is the chance for Anglicanism to become truly 3-D, adding the charismatic dimension to the evangelical and catholic dimensions (effectively replacing the broach church party as the third wing of Anglicanism).  But retreating to a merely one-dimensional, purely reformed, kind of Anglicanism is the LAST thing we need and too high a price to pay for regaining orthodoxy in Anglicanism.  For if the FATHERS are the general and primary standard for determining orthodoxy (as I think they should be, under the primacy of Scripture of course), then there is a lot about the Sydney/Puritan strand of Anglicanism that is, alas, not orthodox at all.

I know those could be seen as provocative, inflammatory, fighting words.  However, I don’t intend them in any such fashion.  But it’s good for us all to be clear on where we stand and why, even when it’s profoundly divisive.

In conclusion, I do earnestly and sincerely believe that the evangelical and catholic dimensions of Christianity are both valid and have a cherished and essential place within that unique hybrid kind of religion known as Anglicanism.  But if the evangelical and catholic wings of Anglicanism are going to continue to stay together and enrich each other, the place of convergence is going to be by recovering the fullness of our PATRISTIC heritage, and NOT our by making the Reformation heritage the measure of all things.  It’s the Bible that is the measuring stick.  And when it comes to biblical interpretation, sometimes the Fathers got it right, and sometimes the Reformers did.  But my fundamental allegiance is forever given to the Fathers.  And among the Reformers, whom I also value and honor, my loyalty is reserved for Luther FAR MORE than for Calvin.

David Handy+

[41] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 10-26-2008 at 07:12 AM · [top]

Sydney hasn’t created a new religion. The new religion was beginning to emerge with the Great Schism between the Greek East and the Latin West and further clarified with all the groups that departed from catholicity: Anabaptists, Quakers, Pentecostals, Plymouth Brethren, etc.

[42] Posted by Alice Linsley on 10-26-2008 at 07:30 AM · [top]

There are a number of comments that I want to interact with above.

RE: “I am unclear as to why Sydney feels it must go this route when, essentially, a bishop can ordain anyone he or she wants to ordain.”

But that’s just it, tjmcmahon.  It’s not about “convenience”—it’s about Sydney believing that the entire concept of “ordination/consecration/sacraments” as believed by most Anglicans around the world is WRONG and must be publicly repudiated.  The statement that “a bishop can ordain anyone he or she wants to ordain” misses what they believe about the sacraments and the priesthood, and bunches of other things too.

RE: “This is a statement of OPINION about lay presidency. Sydney is not about to license lay people to actually run a communion service. the legal advice mentioned in themotion says that this would be virtually impossible. archbishop jensen has made it clear that he will not license lay people to preside at holy communion.”

ObadiahSlope, I agree.  Exactly as, say, the COE took legal advice about their whole same sex blessing policy.  And just exactly how liberal dioceses put out their beliefs in resolutions—while at the same time pointing out that they cannot “at this time” enact them.

RE: “A key part of the motion includes sending a book published by the Anglican Church League in order to explain Sydney Diocese’s theological viewpoint to GAFCON bishops.”

You do realize that the book will serve to further highlight just how deep and broad the divisions are.  It won’t convince anyone any more than the essay “To Set Our Hope On Christ” convinced people that same gender sexual relationships are a-okay.  What it showed people—as will the book—were the roots of the surface beliefs—and it’s the roots and foundational beliefs from which spring lay presidency that will cause most Anglicans to say “wow—this is too much.”

RE: “To (correctly) condemn TEC for going its own way in disregard to the rest of the Communion on human sexuality and then have a leading “orthodox” bastion thumb its nose at the rest of the Anglican world (indeed the entire Catholic Christian world) on diaconal and lay presidency would be mind-boggling.”

TexAnglican, one of the sad things about the current unboundaried, and undisciplined state of the Anglican Communion is that basically in a time of chaos, anything will stand without discipline.  This is, in fact, the perfect time for Sidney to move forward with its plans, and it’s certainly not by accident that they support a “more Federalized” vision of the “Anglican Communion” than what Communion Conservatives wish for.  One of the dioceses that is less likely to sign on to the Covenant—no matter the increased stringency of the disciplinary section of that Covenant—is Sidney, and again, it’s not by accident that they want to speed along the dissolution of the current structure before the Covenant is enacted—because they wouldn’t be able to sign on to the Covenant.

RE: “I trust Sarah and others are correct in saying that ++Peter Jensen will scuttle the idea of actually implementing the practice of lay presidency at the Eucharist.”

NRA—I think he will, for now.  It’s really not the right time, and I’m sure he’ll need to get the legal situation in Australia sorted out first.

RE: “John, do you think readers of Stand Firm are aware that one of the signatories to the GAFCON statement is the Church of England in South Africa, which has had lay presidency since 1936?”

Martin, do you think readers of StandFirm are aware that there are plenty of “signatories” to the GAFCON statement and that we don’t really care who the “signatories” are?  Try really hard not to be a troll, no matter how challenging that may be.

RE: “Many of us (and I use the term advisedly) stand within the Puritan tradition within the Church of England.”

Yes—the liberals keep moaning that any enforcement of any standard at all [other than, you know, their standards of less pollution and banning ‘hate speech’ [sic]] is “Puritan” which merely shows how completely ignorant of church history they are.  This goes back to the threads on evangelicalism in the COE of the past week—there really is no place at all for a TEC conservative evangelical like me in the groups of evangelicals over in the COE.

RE: “I also suspect that US Anglicans may not realize with what suspicion some of their ‘orthodoxy’ would be regarded both currently and historically within traditional Anglican Evangelicalism.”

I certainly do—although certainly we need to be more aware over here of just how radically “other” groups like Reform AND Fulcrum are here.  Like I said on a previous thread, I’m a liberal flower child in comparison with Reform evangelicals—and not at all “orthodox” by their standards.  Of course . . . there are numerous free church folks over here who would say that Reform, Fulcrum, I and my friends, and all the rest in Anglicanism are not “orthodox” either, so the word as termed against my beliefs are like water off a duck’s back.  I couldn’t care less. 

[Interestingly, as a side rabbit trail, the revisionists care immensely about the word “orthodox” and “conservative” and spend lots of time over here still trying to claim that they are and confuse the laypeople about it.  Let a flaming progressive priest try to get a rectorship over here at a traditional parish and they will smile and lie like a rug, while of course shifting the definition of “orthodox” to whatever flavor of the day they wish.  But . . . let a Reform person try to gain a rectorship at a FIF parish and I doubt very much that he would lie like a rug to gain that rectorship.  He’d probably say “by your definitions I am not orthodox—let me explain our differences” and vice versa.  The progressives over here are, for some reason, insanely jealous over the words orthodox and conservative and catholic and I suspect it is because they understand that the populi value those things, even though progressives don’t, and recognize how valuable the words are because of the popularity of the concepts and beliefs.  Just a little side note there about truth in advertising . . . ]

RE: “There is an instinctive sense that we are ‘on the same side’, but that is not the same as having a coherent theological fit.”

I agree.  I’m willing to acknowledge that the Sidney diocese believes the rudiments of the gospel, which I certainly don’t think for most progressive activists in TEC.  But I don’t think—and I’ve said this for years now—that Anglicans can experience unity based solely on Confession, which is why I’ve always believed that Canterbury is necessary.  I do not believe that a new Province can hold together without a center, and a confession will not serve as that center for Anglicans.

RE: “Two other comments. First, the Sydney Synod is, in my experience, highly trained and articulate theologically. This will be no ill considered rush into unthinking posturing.”

I agree—but then, I’ve never agreed that TEC did some “ill considered rush into unthinking posturing.”  TEC merely begins with foundational viewpoints that are completely wrong, and then proceeds onward.  Given its foundational viewpoints, it was perfectly rational for them to proceed further into the whole same-sex thing, and from which they’ll proceed even further into whatever is sufficiently culturally popular and strikes their fancy.  But I do not agree with many commenters that this was a “rush into unthinking posturing.”

RE: “Secondly, I imagine the timing of this announcement will not have ignored the proximity to GAFCON, where (I gather) things were said and done liturgically which would have raised eyebrows in Sydney parishes. It may well be a way of saying to the parishes “We have not changed,” and to GAFCON, “You need to know where we stand.””

This is where I disagree with your comments.

I think this is all about politics and timing.  Politically speaking now is the perfect time to get this on the record, since the Communion is too divided too respond—and Gafcon certainly isn’t going to kick them out.

May as well press the advantage during this time of chaos.  Politically, if I were Sidney, I’d want to go ahead and put the facts on the ground with Gafcon—just precisely as did TEC in all of its innovations.

We’re all Anglicans after all—we all understand how the game is played.

[43] Posted by Sarah on 10-26-2008 at 08:05 AM · [top]

Re #35:
David, when you say

I find the Reformed theology of holy orders and the sacraments that underlies the position endorsed by our brothers and sisters in Sydney utterly repellant.  I spurn it in disdain.  I choose to follow the lead of the patristic Church on both scores INSTEAD OF and RATHER THAN the English Reformers, and I am very clear and very emphatic about that.  And I hold to that viewpoint just as clearly and emphatically as Carl (for example) would stoutly uphold the opposing side.

But at the same time, I don’t regard it as a salvation issue.

I’m confused.  I assume that we agree that a valid Eucharist is a salvation issue—as Jesus says in John 6:53-54,
</blockquote>So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will
raise him up at the last day.</blockquote>

I assume also that your distaste for lay consecration of the Eucharist is (like mine) grounded in the conviction that the authority to consecrate the elements vests in the Apostles and their successors, as was taught universally in the Church (until about Zwingli, I think).

The fact that the Church recognizes that even some people who have never been baptized will be saved does not, it seems to me, remove these ordinary requirements.  (People have survived falling out of airplanes with no parachute—that doesn’t mean that the parachute has no essential function.)

Yet you say that you don’t think it is a salvation issue.  Could you square that circle for me?

Thanks,

Phil Hobbs

[44] Posted by gone on 10-26-2008 at 08:41 AM · [top]

Why not SCAP (Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest).  This is a WHOLLY AUTHORIZED service in the RC church, can be presided over by just about anyone (male or female) after minimal Diocesan training, can be combined with the Liturgy of the Word (or MP or EP), provides for a sermon (called a talk/discussion/diologue) and helps a lot when there is a shortage of staff.  Is this what they are talking about ? ? ?

[45] Posted by star-ace on 10-26-2008 at 08:47 AM · [top]

Unless GAFCON disassociates from Syndey, this will be the beginning of the end for any conservative realignment in the Anglican Communion.

This is the best thing that ever could have happened for Schori and her minions.

Lord, have mercy.

[46] Posted by Regressive Neanderthal on 10-26-2008 at 09:10 AM · [top]

Yes Regressive, but not if it’s like SCAP.  The devil will be in the details.  Last Sunday, 2 Virignia RC Parished conducted SCAP.  Authorized by the BISHOP.  Look up SCAP in Google.

[47] Posted by star-ace on 10-26-2008 at 09:21 AM · [top]

Sarah, just FYI:  Sydney - not Sidney grin

[48] Posted by Karen B. on 10-26-2008 at 09:51 AM · [top]

Oh silly girl. Your speeches sound as if you see yourself as the Oracle - sadly such wise authority is completely missing wink!

How can I be trolling when I was adding information unknown to most here and in in general agreement with the tone of the original post? That is not being a troll.

If, as you claim, readers of SF who support the FoCAs are unperturbed by the theology of those accepted in that alliance then they are charlatans. However, I believe they are more discriminating than you claim.

[49] Posted by Martin Reynolds on 10-26-2008 at 12:20 PM · [top]

#38 Martin Reynolds
The Church of England in South Africa is a strange beast to be sure but not part of the Anglican Communion.  Surely equivalent to some of our peculiar friends in the Porvoo Agreement.  I don’t see which Gafcon or whatever other names they have should have a problem with their signing on to their aims.

I have never thought of you as a troll but I do not know what you have in the Welsh hills but would commend a post Canon Harmon had here

regards

PM

[50] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 10-26-2008 at 01:21 PM · [top]

RE: “How can I be trolling when I was adding information unknown to most here and in in general agreement with the tone of the original post?”

Not at all—the “unknown” information was discussed on this blog.  Further, you weren’t “adding information” but merely attempting to tweak folks as was obvious.

RE: “Your speeches sound as if you see yourself as the Oracle . . . “

Not particularly interested in what you see my speeches as.  But please comment on the post, and not the people—you’re more than welcome to email me if you wish to discuss what my comments sound like to you.

This is a warning.  You are well aware of what trolling is, you’ve done it before here, and now you’ve both behaved as a troll and made an off-topic comment.

No further warnings will be issued either on this thread or any other here.

[51] Posted by Sarah on 10-26-2008 at 01:47 PM · [top]

No I am not a Troll, Pageantmaster – we have particularly nasty varieties of these living under the bridges our conquerors built – they are (of course) not of Welsh descent!

CESA’s bishops were all at GAFCON, Pageantmaster and are included in the number of bishops advertised and as you probably already know these bishops are playing a key role in the Reform strategy to claim alternative Episcopal oversight and have been performing confirmations and some rather hasty ordinations in England.

I believe the Church of England in South Africa orders are recognised by the ACC. Sydney has taken this breakaway under its wing for some considerable time they helped draw up is Constitution and Prayer Book where the word Catholic has been eliminated in the creed, the John 20 passage on forgiving sins ripped out of the ordinal and the thanksgiving for the regeneration of a child removed from the baptismal rite. The Anglican Communion has bent over backwards to reintegrate this Church, and in 1984, the CESA presiding bishop was consecrated in an Anglican ceremony in Sydney. There are some interesting fact here http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2007/5/15/ACNS4284

[52] Posted by Martin Reynolds on 10-26-2008 at 01:49 PM · [top]

RE: “CESA’s bishops were all at GAFCON, Pageantmaster and are included in the number of bishops advertised . . . “

Rich with irony, as Roman Catholic and other ecumenical bishops were included in the bishop count advertised at Lambeth.

[53] Posted by Sarah on 10-26-2008 at 02:07 PM · [top]

Thanks all - peace be with you.

[54] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 10-26-2008 at 02:16 PM · [top]

I think Sarah hits this nail on the head: 

It’s not about “convenience”—it’s about Sydney believing that the entire concept of “ordination/consecration/sacraments” as believed by most Anglicans around the world is WRONG and must be publicly repudiated.  The statement that “a bishop can ordain anyone he or she wants to ordain” misses what they believe about the sacraments and the priesthood, and bunches of other things too.

I think that this puts pressure on what we must admit is either an Anglican strength (her “big tent”) or an inherent weakness (the sometimes self-contradictory ecclesiologies within said tent).

As a Patristic/Catholic sort of Anglican, I don’t agree with Sydney at all.  Yet, I admit that I gladly receive communion when visiting Presbyterian or other orthodox Prostestant Churches.  Further, I welcome their people to receive Communion at my parish.  Given that, can I say that Sydney’s position leads to invalid Sacraments?  Probably not.

But it seems to me there is another issue at state—that of order within our own household.  Are we one Church with Ignatius of Antioch, Cyprian of Carthage and Augustine of Hippo, or are we a group of latter day saints who smugly know that the True Church ceased to be after the Apostolic era, only to be Truly Restored in the Reformation? 

Forget GAFCON or Canterbury- how can we break with the consenus of the Undivided Church on such a fundamental issue?  While I admire Abp. Jensen, and I appreciate his zeal for the Gospel and I respect the Puritan wing of the Church he represents, I worry that this move pushes things too hard, too far.

This certainly tests the boundaries of Anglicanism once again.  But perhaps it forces us to consider, yet again, what it means to be Anglican.  And maybe that’s not so bad.

Bob Hackendorf
St. Andrew’s Church (AMiA)
Syracuse, NY

[55] Posted by Father Bob Hackendorf on 10-26-2008 at 02:48 PM · [top]

“Rich with irony, as Roman Catholic and other ecumenical bishops were included in the bishop count advertised at Lambeth.”

Indeed, indeed ........Once again the GAFCON leadership sets the moral standard others follow .......... (also attempting irony):-)

[56] Posted by Martin Reynolds on 10-26-2008 at 03:04 PM · [top]

I hope and pray this becomes the means by which GAFCON is actually strengthened…by discipling one of its own (i.e., telling Sydney this innovation will not be allowed for GAFCON members) GAFCON will demonstrate that it takes itself seriously, that it is not just a support group for disaffected conservatives, but truly a fellowship of confessing (and therefore, disciplining) Anglicans. 

The real problem with Anglicanism is not liberalism per se, but rather a failure to live apostolically (i.e., to uphold and protect the truth of the gospel).  Without right discipline, we fail to be the One, Holy, Catholic and apostolic Church of Christ. 

And why does this issue rise to the level of required discipline?  The argument against lay presidency may not be ‘proved by scripture,’ but we are not a one-dimensional ‘Bible church.’  We are Anglicans.  Only Scripture may be utilized to established doctrine, but tradition and reason play a vital role in forming the order of the church.  And we are an ordered church: ‘Reformed in faith’ and ‘catholic in order.’  Without this basic 2-Dimensional understanding (as David Handy+ puts it), we cease to be Anglican in any meaningful sense.  We become just another sect, as others have pointed out (and in the West, where individualism reigns, sectarianism is our cultural sin written into the very fabric of the Church).  All such actions must be strongly resisted.

[57] Posted by Rob Paris on 10-26-2008 at 04:02 PM · [top]

“But I don’t think ... that Anglicans can experience unity based solely on Confession, which is why I’ve always believed that Canterbury is necessary.  I do not believe that a new Province can hold together without a center, and a confession will not serve as that center for Anglicans.”
Sarah,
RE:  “I do not believe that a new Province can hold together without a center”

I’ve thought that a new province will hold together, and will do so through GAFCON, which itself seeks to maintain its coherence through and within the Communion.  Although GAFCON appears to look at the future as one where the center of the Communion will inevitably move southward, I suspect that it will likely only do so (if it does at all)  when an apostolic succession alternative to Canterbury is clearly determined as being sufficient to maintain an Anglican identity.  I don’t think I’m explaining myself very clearly ... but… I agree with you about a new province surviving only with a center, only down the road an alternative to Canterbury may be an inevitable one.

[58] Posted by Bill C on 10-26-2008 at 04:18 PM · [top]

“While I admire Abp. Jensen, and I appreciate his zeal for the Gospel and I respect the Puritan wing of the Church he represents, I worry that this move pushes things too hard, too far.”

Father Hackendorf:  but would you say he was wrong?

[59] Posted by Bill C on 10-26-2008 at 04:21 PM · [top]

You know this is a very confusing discussion.  It would be clearer if people would identify
a.) from which Tradition they hail and
b.) whether they are in agreement with their tradition
and then make their point or express their opinion. 

Many views exist throughout Christendom on this subject, but from what I know, which may not be right, the Anglican communion rubrics or general instructions still do not allow for this.  So it does seem to be another splintering. 

Also, if one IS a “by the book” Anglican (as much as that is still possible) one cannot be a Calvinist, and not completely sola scriptura either although Anglican doctrine leans heavily in that direction. 

I am looking through RC eyes and I see the continued drift toward Protestantism.

[60] Posted by CofS on 10-26-2008 at 05:15 PM · [top]

I would advise reading “The Lord’s Supper in Human Hands.”  It is available from The Anglican Church League.  Before lampooning Sydney, it might be good to read the reasons why such action is being taken.  Had we been able to have lay administration here in AK, we would have avoided the disaster of separating word from sacrament, notably in the ‘Deacon’s Mass’ and in the woefully trained but ‘ordained’ presbyters.  We have turned the sacrament into magic - it’s that simple.

Jim Basinger

[61] Posted by jbasinger on 10-26-2008 at 05:18 PM · [top]

There is much misunderstanding reflected in the comments above (except for John Richardson’s clarification, which are pretty much spot on). In particular,  I think Sarah’s take on the timing as being opportunistic with an eye to Gafcon is well wide of the mark (a rare occurrence in Sarah’s analysis wink ... ). The timing and significance of this is very much internal to Australia and the political cross-currents in the Anglican Church of Australia.

It undoubtedly relates essentially to a reaction within Sydney to the way in which women Bishop’s were introduced (for the record, although Sydney trained and nurtured in ministry, and now ministering further afield, I differ with Sydney strongly on their views on women;s ministry and their version of ‘headship’ as hierarchy).

For a number of years, Sydney led the opposition within General Synod against the proposal for women bishop’s, and given its numbers managed to block any prospect of it being accepted by General Synod. All that was swept aside by a deft legal maneuver on the part of the advocates for female bishops in the claim that there was nothing preventing such a move in the canons, and didn’t require the acceptance of General Synod anyway.

It should be noted in this, that despite its contentions against the legal arguments underlying this, Sydney worked with the Bishop’s Conference in developing and accepting a national protocol for pastoral measures that both ensured respect for women bishops while making provision for those who out of conscience of conviction had personal difficulties with this - as a result, Australia has addressed this very differently from the CoE and to this point without rancor. 

Having said this, the process by which General Synod was bypassed rankled with Sydney, especially knowing there was no way they could gain the numbers to support lay and diaconal administration through General Synod (please note, Sydney argues for ‘administration’ - which focuses on the ministry in view - rather than ‘presidency’ - which tends to highlight the primacy of the person). Sydney has indeed been arguing its case for decades, and I for one agree that it is theologically consistent with New Testament theology of ministry. It is a matter of due order, and specifically Anglican order as traditionally understood and practiced. On the one hand, Sydney has an exclusively ‘presbyteral’ view of priesthood (based on the Anglo-Saxon derivation of the term), and rejects any representative sense of the office, and certainly anything reflecting sacerdotalism. More positively (and it is one of their more compelling arguments), they argue that practice should reflect equal respect and standing for ministries of Word and Sacrament, both as equally responsible public ministries reflecting the authority of the gospel expressed through ministries of the church.

On the other hand, Sydney has a very specific view of priesthood/presbyteral ministry, and is looking to restrict those ordained presbyters to those who are essentially rectors/incumbents or ministers in charge (note Phillip Jensen’s comments), and thinks that lowering the standard of training and experience required of those being ordained as priests has diminished the more extensive range of responsibilities they think is inherent to this order of ministry (also influenced by their more idiosyncratic view of headship).

This move in Sydney Synod is simply making a point to the wider Anglican Church of Australia that they have received and noted legal advice that the same process is open to them as introduced women bishop’s, should they choose that path - it does not (according to this advice) require the consent or canonical changes through General Synod. The wording of the motion and the accompanying press release was very carefully worded to reflect the above, and nothing more.

How Sydney (and especially ++Jensen) chooses to act is another matter altogether. I am quite sure that given the priority given to supporting Gafcon they will be treading carefully here (not opportunistically, as suggested by Sarah), and will have been preparing the way by personal undertakings such as reflected by Bp Tasker.

What I find particularly interesting in the Sydney news release (omitted in Murial Porter’s Church Times version), and overlooked totally in the comments above, is the reference to established practices in Kenya. Bp Davies is quoted as saying “We must remember that diaconal presidency occurred in Kenya for years and no one blinked an eye – I confirmed this with Archbishop Gitari [of Kenya].”

In terms of Gafcon (remember Bp Davies was much involved in the drafting group of the Jerusalem Declaration), I wonder whether Sydney is moving towards a ‘principled compromise’ of diaconal administration, and is testing the waters here? In many ways I suspect the Sydney leadership wants to find a way to move on, rather than getting preoccupied with this particular issue.

[62] Posted by Tim Harris on 10-26-2008 at 05:20 PM · [top]

Bill C. asks
Father Hackendorf:  but would you say he was wrong?

Yes, I would say he is wrong.  Wrong not just for the timing, but for the substance of the action.  The Ancient Undivided Church would not allow this, nor should we.  For me, it is a Communion breaking issue, for the same reasons and in the same sense that we receive men ordained in other (non-episcopal) traditions as presbyters only after they have received episcopal ordination.  This is a matter of episcopal Sacramental order.

[63] Posted by Father Bob Hackendorf on 10-26-2008 at 06:05 PM · [top]

#62—It’s all very interesting, but irrelevant information.  The Anglican Communion is not that kind of Church, even if the Diocese of Sydney is.  If Kenya has been doing this for years without the wider Church knowing, then Kenya needs to be corrected immediately—not immitated.  If you find support for this in the New Testament, then you have found something that no one else has ever found in the 2000 year history of Chritianity.  What the Diocese of Sydney is doing is back-stabbing the entire movement for Anglican orthodoxy.  If they think the CofE in South Africa is a better deal than they have, then they should join that instead of undermining the rest of us.

[64] Posted by GB on 10-26-2008 at 06:20 PM · [top]

SYDNEY DIOCESAN SYNOD has affirmed that deacons — including women deacons — may preside at holy communion.

There seems to be a lot of comparison between this affirmation and Presbyterianism, yet this was not my experience as a Presbyterian.  The Teaching Elder (or pastor) was the only one at a parish allowed to administer the sacraments.  Ruling Elders, though theoretically equal to the Teaching Elders, have no such authority.  It is this way in the OPC (a more conservative Presby denom) and from what I have gathered, the PCA (the flower child of NAPARC) as well. 

I do not agree with giving that authority to the diaconette.  But I think that issue is moot, given the authority that is given to laity (parents), with Paedocommunion.  When a visiting priest asks me at the rail, “Does she partake?”  (referring to my daughter), he is assuming authority which I never had, subordinating the Church’s authority in the matter.

Every cloud has a dross lining.

[65] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-26-2008 at 06:37 PM · [top]

#65 Good point regarding Presbyterianism.  Is it true that the Cumberland Presbyterians split from the mainline Presby’s over the issue of Ruling Elders presiding over Holy Communion?

As for Paedocommunion, without going into the pros and cons of this issue, at least we can say that the Ancient and Undivided Church allowed for it (in the East), but due to the gradual delay in chrismation/confirmation in the West, the practice became to delay the communing of younger children.  In short, there is Ancient diversity in practice on this issue, whereas with lay presidency, there is no such diversity.

[66] Posted by Father Bob Hackendorf on 10-26-2008 at 07:13 PM · [top]

Hi Fr Bob,

I’m not well acquainted with the Cumberlands (they seem to have predated the OPC by a couple of schisms).  A perusal of wiki revealed that the Cumberland split had to do with the Old Side / New Side conflict, brought about from expansion into the American frontier and concurrent lack of pastors coming out of seminaries. 

RE:  Eastern practices.  I do understand that our Eastern and Coptic brothers practice Paedocommunion, which is why I am not criticizing their practice.  They may well have their own systems as they should be.  Though I do not agree with Paedocommunion practiced in a Western setting, I believe that if it is practiced, the parents shouldn’t be burdoned with whether or not communion is to be administered to their child.  Again, the problem (as I see it) is who has the authority to give or withhold. 

..It isn’t mine.  wink

[67] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-26-2008 at 07:33 PM · [top]

re:67

An interesting “angle” on how these issues relate.  The REC was formed (at least partly) in reaction to the old policy in the (P)ECUSA that required those receiving Holy Communion to be confirmed by a Bishop, thus excluding Presbyterians and Congregationalists (amongst others) from Table fellowship.  One benefit of requiring confirmation prior to communion was that it did clarify who could receive.  In opening communion to those who have not been confirmed, we solved one problem but (possibly) opened ourselves up to another issue (at what age children can rightly receive).

[68] Posted by Father Bob Hackendorf on 10-26-2008 at 07:53 PM · [top]

(#68)

That is a thorny one, I’ll warrant.  Fence the Table from those who haven’t been confirmed, and risk blowing off Christians outside of a denomination;  Open it to all baptized Christians, and risk not fencing where fencing is warranted.  Then again, confirmation doesn’t preclude instances where Communion ought to be withheld. 

I like how my OPC parish and the older CRC churches did it:  “All those who are members in good standing of Gospel-affirming evangelical churches are welcome,” though at times even that gets sticky.  What if (e.g.,) a visiter is Roman Catholic in good standing at their parish? 

Then there is the option to interview prospective participants.  Many Presbyterian churches require this of their visiters, even if they hail from denominations in ecumenical fellowship with their own.  The problem there, is that some Christians find this sort of like the third degree, and not a bit unnerving. 

I don’t have the answer.  I do think that at some point, the rector or assistent rector needs to sit down with the visiter (maybe after the third visit), and ask the difficult questions as gently as possible.  And, challenge them on wanting matters, where warranted. 

From my side, if indeed there is a dilemma between fencing too much or not at all, I’d have to insist on the former.  I suspect though that the dilemma is false;  at least, I hope so.

[69] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-26-2008 at 08:35 PM · [top]

I am surprised by the breadth of reactions to the Sydney synod motion in here.  Perhaps some may be interested in the viewpoint of a typical pewsitter in Sydney diocese:

http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/indepth/articles/synods_warm_inner_glow/

[70] Posted by mystrength on 10-27-2008 at 12:52 AM · [top]

I enter this discussion weighing in, I admit, on the side of pragmatism.  First, I believe that Sarah is right.  A confessional approach alone is not enough to hold the communion together.  Elizabeth’s “solution” was not common “confession” but common “practice”  The Prayer Book, the Liturgy, etc.  Eventually, we swapped Rome for Canterbury.  “Instruments of unity” if you will.  Sydney’s approach, even if emerging from its theology and ecclesiology spills way over into praxis, as did TEC’s ordination of +Robinson.  GAFCON’s approach, if you will,  clearly move the communion’s center of gravity from Canterbury to Uganda, Nigeria etc.  The attempt to make the primates the correct arbiters of all this, a new magesterium, and it as the center of gravity may or may not work, the “covenant” idea is another idea for an intrument of unity.  the heart of its debate will be is it a “confessing” one or one about emphasizing other centripetal forces.

In grad school I had a professor, (actually for Reformation studies) who once made the comment at a party.  “There are three factors that can destroy a marriage, money, fidelity and addiction.  A marriage can survive one of the three but not two.”  For the Communion, I ask, have we rightlyidentified the factors, and should we add the Dr. Phil marriage question:  Do you want to be right or be in a relationship?  If a the relationship itself is a value, what are you willing to sacrifice for it?

For those whose measure is right belief, I suspect that fraction and re-fraction is inevitable.

[71] Posted by EmilyH on 10-27-2008 at 07:36 AM · [top]

[71] EmilyH

Do you want to be right or be in a relationship?  If a the relationship itself is a value, what are you willing to sacrifice for it?

The question on the table is the nature of relationship.  If a wife is suddenly confronted by her husband’s newfound desire for an ‘open marriage’ the proper question to ask of her is not “Do you want to be right, or do you want a relationship?”  There is a moral neutrality implied in your phrasing that does not account for the spiritual adultery of TEC.  In a marriage, people must make compromises.  But the nature of marriage limits the range of allowable compromises.  One cannot compromise so much that he destroys exactly what he is attempting to save.  So also with TEC and its unremitting desire to worship at the Asherah poles.  If TEC decides to lay down in public with its temple prostitutes, then it really can’t complain when others decide to end the relationship.

carl

[72] Posted by carl on 10-27-2008 at 07:53 AM · [top]

EmilyH, there continues to be, as is obvious on this blog, a broad spectrum of belief among orthodox Episcopalians/Anglicans. Not wide enough to include every loony thing that can be dreamed up - which is why we are in this mess - but still, for now, wide enough to contain both AngloCatholic and Calvinist. Whether that will hold for long remains to be seen. “Right belief” is, IMO, no more dangerous than the “believe what you like” that TEC has already shipwrecked on. To that extent, I agree with you, more is needed.

[73] Posted by oscewicee on 10-27-2008 at 08:08 AM · [top]

I’d be interested to hear people’s comments about why they feel it is acceptable for a deacon, or even an authorised lay minister, to give a sermon, and yet not administer communion. It seems to me that Scripture requires at least as many safeguards about who teaches from God’s word as it does about who administers the Lord’s Supper (e.g. 2 Tim. 4, 1 Tim 5:17). So I think the argument from tradition stumbles against the issue of consistency - both the Lord’s Supper AND preaching together are acceptable for deacons, or both are unacceptable.

You might also be interested to know that Sydney is launching a major evangelism campaign next year called Connect09, which they’re putting far more resources and effort into than diaconal or lay administration. Of course, the latter gets all the media. See the link

Just to declare my interests…I’m from Melbourne, and from an evangelical Anglican tradition.

[74] Posted by spicksandspecks on 10-27-2008 at 08:13 AM · [top]

There have been lay preachers in the Church for millennia.  Lay celebration of the Eucharist is the innovation, and innovators (e.g. TEC) bear the burden of proof. 

Assuming you support lay presidency, can you articulate a theological argument powerful enough to bear that weight?  Valid sacraments are a salvation issue, as I pointed out in #44 above, so it’s people’s salvation that Sydney is messing about with—and for what? 

Cheers,

Phil Hobbs

[75] Posted by gone on 10-27-2008 at 08:34 AM · [top]

spicksandspans, to be honest, I’m not all that comfortable with lay sermons. grin

[76] Posted by oscewicee on 10-27-2008 at 08:35 AM · [top]

# 72 Carl.  If I understand things correctly, you are opting for “right belief”  In that case, the question will always be: What is right belief?  Core v adiaphora, heresy v. orthodoxy etc.  If your lens is this, I suggest faction is inevitable.  Given GAFCON’s emphasis on a confessing position, the creeds,  39 articles etc.,  what concessions will Sydney and the FiF have to make and what will be the glue that holds the FoCA together?  I think the “glue” at this point is anger with TEC, ACC and dissatisfaction with Canterbury.  What will be the “graviry” of the new GS communion?

[77] Posted by EmilyH on 10-27-2008 at 08:35 AM · [top]

Emily,

If people insist on having views, then disagreement is inevitable, you’re right.  However, unlike the traditional/revisionist split, everybody in the GAFCON coalition agrees that there’s a right answer—we may disagree about what that answer is, but we haven’t despaired of finding it.  That’s why theological discussion here is fruitful—even among people who think (as I do) that some others’ positions put people’s salvation at risk.  (Sydney’s p***ing in the soup like this makes me nuts.)

At bottom you too hold opinions that you’re willing to defend—all that means is that we both in fact possess real opininons, i.e. statements we believe to be true, and therefore believe contradictory statements to be false. 

Cheers,

Phil Hobbs

[78] Posted by gone on 10-27-2008 at 08:50 AM · [top]

[77] EmilyH

If I understand things correctly, you are opting for “right belief”

No, I am saying that unlimited compromise of right belief for the sake of relationship will eventually destroy the relationship.  You argue as if there are no boundaries.  But a relationship is defined by boundaries. 

You are posing a false dilemma: “Admit all differences, or end up in relationship only with those who agree with you jot and tittle.”  The first question to be asked is not whether we should tolerate difference for the sake of relationship.  Rather we must first define the boundary that if crossed destroys the relationship.  Then the second question will answer itself.

carl

[79] Posted by carl on 10-27-2008 at 08:51 AM · [top]

spicksandspecks - oops! I am so sorry I got your moniker wrong.

[80] Posted by oscewicee on 10-27-2008 at 09:00 AM · [top]

#79 Again, the question is: “What are you willing to give up for the sake of relationship?  Which of his “boundaries” are negotiable?  On what basis should he bother?  Only if he values something other than “right belief” and the level at which he values that will there be a force to maintain the communion.

[81] Posted by EmilyH on 10-27-2008 at 09:38 AM · [top]

Spicksandspecks, if we are a sacramental church and an apostolic church, the validity of any of our sacraments derives from the authority vested by Jesus in his apostles and passed down through generation after generation of priests in an unbroken chain by the physical laying on of hands.  If celebration of a sacrament in fact requires apostolic authority, then lay presidency of the Eucharist makes no more sense than laypeople baptizing, ordaining priests, or conducting confirmations. 

A sermon, on the other hand, is a message, not a sacrament.  Yes, we need to be careful that those who deliver messages from our pulpits do not deviate from the authentic gospel.  But it does not require apostolic authority to deliver a message.

[82] Posted by Rick H. on 10-27-2008 at 09:42 AM · [top]

EmilyH, what are your answers to those questions? Is relationship with each other all this is about?

[83] Posted by oscewicee on 10-27-2008 at 09:42 AM · [top]

If GAFCON or any sort of new Anglican structure is going to work, it cannot repeat the errors of the past.
When people and provinces step out of bounds they need to be called on it, and disciplined.
There needs to be immediate discipline for Syndey on this offense, otherwise GAFCON is simply round 2 of a failed bit.

[84] Posted by Tony Romo on 10-27-2008 at 10:38 AM · [top]

Why does the Ubermensch Anglican have to be a cross between an Anglo-Catholic and an Evangelical?  For that matter, why do they have to be an amalgam of Anglo-Cath, Evangelical, and Charismatic? 

It seems to me that the goal is to create good disciples.  Why wouldn’t each group be able to define how to do this for themselves, while affirming the other groups? 

Let me put it this way.  Suppose Jeff is a breeder of bulldogs, and Jenny is a breeder of Shitzus.  Jeff and Jenny fall in love, but stress about whether their dogs would get along within their prospective household.  Should they:
- create a hybrid breed (bulldog and shitzu) so that everyone can get along, or;
- maintain the integrity of both breeds, while encouraging their dogs to get along?

[85] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-27-2008 at 11:14 AM · [top]

#84 Tony Romo.

If, that is, Sydney’s offense is truly so.  there is mixed belief on this here.

[86] Posted by Bill C on 10-27-2008 at 11:38 AM · [top]

Sydney becomes less and less recognizably Anglican.  They are fast becoming just another protestant (uberprotestant!) denomination.  Perhaps they should more accurately describe themselves as Puritans rather than Anglicans.

[87] Posted by evan miller on 10-27-2008 at 11:52 AM · [top]

And this is something that I posted about in Titusonenine some months ago - [with apologies to the odd couple] can low and high church Anglicans live under the same roof without driving each other crazy?
As I had stated elsewhere, I am not an Anglican, so I dont post here as if I had a dog in the fight, though were I one, I would be considered pretty low church!
But this is something which, while amidst the battle to separate itself from the apopstacy of TEO, was lurking in the shadows; all the while that the good fight was going on, there was an elephant sitting in the room, but he was largely being ignored as the bigger cause was being dealt with.

With the lines between CCP/Gafcon & the leadership of TEO now sharply drawn, the formerly compliant elephant is starting to crave some attention - it was inevitable. Personally, I thought that WO was going to be the deal breaker for a united CCP. Now, this. And as many are asking, where does one “draw the line”? Or more properly, where will the TWO draw the line?

[88] Posted by GSP98 on 10-27-2008 at 12:12 PM · [top]

[81] EmilyH

Again, the question is: “What are you willing to give up for the sake of relationship?

Nothing that if sacrificed would fundamentally destroy the relationship.  In every relationship there are essential boundaries.  A marriage has an essential boundary of sexual fidelity.  Not uncoincidentally, it was exactly this relationship which God used to describe Israel’s idolatry.  He called it adultery.

So what is the essential boundary that defines a relationship among Christians?  It is not founded upon a common organization, or a common liturgy, or a common prayer book.  It is not founded upon bishops, or vestments, or sacraments, or elders, or church councils.  It is founded upon a common faith; a common faith with content.  Not the ambiguity with which liberals say the Nicene creed, but the certainty with which conservatives say it.  The relationship is established internally by creed and confession - not externally by symbol and ritual.

I know a Baptist minister who on Saturday night will debate a Presbyterian minister on baptism, and then on Sunday morning preach from his opponent’s pulpit.  That is the correct model, EmilyH.  They do not agree on everything.  But they recognize in each other the fellowship of faith which proceeds from allegience to a common Gospel.  They possess a common creed despite a different ecclesiology, and a different view of baptism. They are in different denominations, of course.  To maintain organizational fellowship, those differences would have to be resolved.  So also in the Anglican church.  But this effort at unity must begin with creed.  Organizational fellowship must presume a fellowship of faith, or the organization will be stillborn.

None of this applies to the relationship between conservatives and liberals, however.  Liberals find unity in the externals - the sacraments, and organizations, and buildings.  But they demand the essential boundaries of creed and confession be discarded.  If this is the sacrifice they demand, then it can never be.  There is no Christian fellowship absent the gospel.  Liberal churches teach a false gospel based upon a false Christ to a deceived flock who receive what they hear with itching ears.  Upon such a foundation, no fellowship can ever be constructed.  What part does light have with darkness?

carl

[89] Posted by carl on 10-27-2008 at 12:56 PM · [top]

#82—you have put the answer to spickandspans so articulately and beautifully that litle can be added except to point out that preachers (especially evangelical ones) are very given to preaching their own opnions or interpretations of the Bible.  You have to be a scholar yourself to be able to tell the difference. (I am not suggesting that catholics never do the same ).  The Holy Eucharist, however, in it’s traditional form presents the Gospel in a definite very simple way that requires much less academic background, and is easily understood internationally.  Jesus commanded us to “do this” in remembrance of Him, and the majority of the Christian world has always tended to place greater emphasis on this than on preaching.  We do not talk against preaching because Jesus also commanded us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel”.  Part of the Gospel we preach is the Holy Eucharist, correctly celebrated.  As traditional Anglicans we must remember that there are lines we cannot cross without irevocably offending other traditional Anglicans.

[90] Posted by GB on 10-27-2008 at 07:13 PM · [top]

#89 Carl You said:

Liberals find unity in the externals - the sacraments, and organizations, and buildings.  But they demand the essential boundaries of creed and confession be discarded.  If this is the sacrifice they demand, then it can never be.

  Do you, as a conservative really think that sacraments are “externals”?

[91] Posted by EmilyH on 10-27-2008 at 08:36 PM · [top]

[91] EmilyH

Do you, as a conservative really think that sacraments are “externals”?

When divorced from right doctrine, yes.  The Mormons baptize.  It means nothing.  Holy Communion in the absence of proclaiming the Lord’s death means nothing.  It is just a ritual.  Liberals seem to think that what counts is the external form, and not the internal content.  Perform the rituals correctly and unity is found in the words.  But I could never take communion with someone who denied the resurrection, or who called the cross ‘divine child abuse.’  The external form does not cover up the internal apostasy.

carl

[92] Posted by carl on 10-28-2008 at 12:07 AM · [top]

It may be a bit too luxurious for me to involve in this thread during exam time.  However, I think the different views of sacrament, as what J. I. Packer has said, derives from two different theological understandings that whether the nature of sacrament is ontological or pastoral.  Obviously the majority of Sydney siders take the later one.

[93] Posted by mystrength on 10-28-2008 at 01:27 AM · [top]

Carl, Holy Communion obviously means nothing to you.  But to us the proclamation of the Lord’s death and resurrection is clearly presented in the service I attend.  You need to do a great deal of Bible study—particularly the gospels, that would be Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  These are included in the scripture readings in the Communion service of most Anglican churches.  Meanwhile, we will be praying that you do well on your exams.

[94] Posted by GB on 10-28-2008 at 01:55 AM · [top]

P.S. And if you really are attending a church where you hear such expressions as “divine child abuse” you are only proving that we are correct in our estimation of what is going on in Sydney.  The solution is not more liberalism and destruction of church structures, but a return to the gospel of Jesus, and if they won’t do it, then GET OUT.

[95] Posted by GB on 10-28-2008 at 02:02 AM · [top]

Dear GB,
I presume you are talking to me rather than Carl, my apology if I were wrong.  In short, three things.  Firstly, seeing sacramental elements in a service as pastoral does not mean to see the biblical teachings in general, and the cross and resurrection events in particular as metaphorical.  Our Lord’s death and resurrection are all real to me, else our faith will be in vain (1 Cor 15:12-14).  Secondly, the idea of “divine child abuse”, originated from Nietzsche, is already over the top and should be seen as heretic.  Thirdly, seeing sacramental elements as effectual signs of grace (what I mean by pastoral) does not mean that it is unimportant.  The Article 25 says:

SACRAMENTS ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.

And this is what I, and most of the Sydney siders believe.

You don’t mean to disrupt my philosophy study in order that I might fail on Friday, do you?

Cheers,
Raymond

[96] Posted by mystrength on 10-28-2008 at 03:04 AM · [top]

GB said:
P.S. And if you really are attending a church where you hear such expressions as “divine child abuse” you are only proving that we are correct in our estimation of what is going on in Sydney.  The solution is not more liberalism and destruction of church structures, but a return to the gospel of Jesus, and if they won’t do it, then GET OUT.

The idea that Sydney, of all places, would countenance the idea that the atonement is divine child abuse demonstrates not only a complete ignorance of Sydney’s theology (and low Church evangelicalism in general), but also suggests that emotion is preventing basic reading skills because Carl’s comment hardly implied that he heard such ideas in church - such ideas in Australia are propounded by those Dioceses in opposition to Sydney, anyone holding them in Sydney keeps a very, very low profile. 

There is a low church tradition in reasserting Anglicanism that has far more claim to historic Anglicanism than post-Tractarian high-church Anglicanism.  Yes, lay-presidency is a departure from traditional practice.  But if sacramentalists want Sydney to be disciplined for such ideas, they should also be prepared to forego their nineteenth century innovations such as prayers for the dead and the reservation of the sacrament.  Goose and gander.  Just because the innovations are a century old does not make them anything other than departures from Anglican practice more at odds with Cranmer’s theology than lay administration (as has already been pointed out on this thread).

I am a Sydney sider who is opposed to lay presidency.  Not strongly, I’ll admit (as I agree that Scripture gives freedom on this point), but nonetheless categorically opposed.  Lay administration is not Anglican, in the sense that that it is a departure from traditional Anglican practice.  But it is hardly heretical according to the Lutheran theology that appears to underpin Cranmer’s understanding of the performance of the sacraments.  The tractarian movement was both unAnglican and heretical by this test.  Those making strong statements of horror about this vote should keep this in mind.  Your comments about this matter have implications for the innovations of your own tradition.

[97] Posted by Mark Baddeley on 10-28-2008 at 05:10 AM · [top]

I am sorry for confusing #92 and #93.  I realized my error after it was too late to do anything about it.(It was 2:15 a.m. where I live)  Obviously, I am not a low-church evangelical, but I am a Christian, a traditional Anglican, and an anglo-catholic—in that order of importance.  I am quite familiar with Anglican evangelical ways and certainly see some validity and importance in it.  That is why I hate to see you do something which will be interpreted in a drastically different way than you realize all over the world, and will bring to a halt any possibility of ever having a unified, orthodox Anglican witness.  Thanks for responding.

GB

[98] Posted by GB on 10-28-2008 at 06:36 AM · [top]

For what it’s worth GB, I am the same - although I would say I am a Christian, traditional orthodox (i.e. the Creeds), and Evangelical in that order - Anglican would be the ‘flavour’ of those three for me.  I too think this is the wrong hill for us in Sydney to take a stand on precisely due to the issue of miscommunication.  It feels to me like a rerun of the fight over vestments in the 16th Century and the heat it generates will overcome any light it might shed.

But I do think that equating this with reappraiser novelties is like equating ‘border crossing’ with approving of homosexuality.  Just because there are two departures from traditional practice does not mean that they have the same theological weight.

[99] Posted by Mark Baddeley on 10-28-2008 at 07:48 AM · [top]

Hi All
This is my first post here, so I hope you’ll go easy on this Colonial (and to make things worse, a Sydney Anglican!).  Funnily enough I was pointed to this site by a (formerly evangelical) Roman Catholic.  I’ve found some of the discussion quite interesting, especially the posts by John Richardson, whose analysis of what took place here last week is very sound, and David Handy, with whose position I disagree but who I thought also showed a good understanding of these events (and who also wrote with grace and calm).

Just to clarify some points:
1) Lay administration has been a matter of debate in the Sydney diocese for 41 years, and the Synod has for virtually the whole of that time upheld the view that lay administration is both permissible and desirable according to Scripture.  So I do hope that those who want to characterise this as some kind of precipitate action will reconsider at least that aspect of their thinking.
2) One writer here referred to the 1662 Act of Uniformity.  It should be noted, however, that this act does not have force in the Anglican Church of Australia as such (although it is a bit more complicated than that!) and that in any case, with regard to this particular matter, in 2003 the Diocese of Sydney specifically repealed that part of the Act which would prohibit “the administration of Holy Communion by deacons or lay persons that exists by virtue of Section 10 of the Act of Uniformity of 1662”.
3) As others have stated, the motion passed last week concerning Lay and Diaconal Administration was a statement of opinion and did not set any action in motion.  It did recognise that there was no impediment within the Anglican Church of Australia to diaconal administration; but in the case of lay administration the bishop of the diocese must licence the person to administer the sacrament.  There has been no indication whatsoever that the Archbishop of Sydney proposes to do so.

Bob

[100] Posted by bob cameron on 10-28-2008 at 09:38 AM · [top]

But if sacramentalists want Sydney to be disciplined for such ideas, they should also be prepared to forego their nineteenth century innovations such as prayers for the dead and the reservation of the sacrament.

Ah, but these practices are only innovations if you believe the History of the Church began with the Reformation!  Indeed, these were well-established in the English Church (and the Church Universal) for many centuries before the Reformation.  They are not innovations by any stretch of the imagination. I think the burden of proof must always fall on the innovator.

[101] Posted by Father Bob Hackendorf on 10-28-2008 at 11:32 AM · [top]

#101
Well said, Fr. Bob.  Anglicanism is reformed catholicism, not a rejection of catholicism like the continental reformation.  Thank goodness that through the efforts of such as the Caroline Divines and the Oxford Movement, some of the excesses of the English Reformers were corrected.

[102] Posted by evan miller on 10-28-2008 at 11:51 AM · [top]

Sacramental theology speaks directly to the fundamental understandings of the faith.  Lay presidency works along with Schori to advance the agenda of Cromwell.  This begins in heresy but ends in apostasy.  In the denial of the symbol, we will end with the denial of the Incarnation.  For now, we will question whether the fact Jesus was a man was important to him.  We will question whether Eucharistic bread might be replaced with Chicken ala King. Well, I guess I have made my opinion sufficiently clear.  smile

[103] Posted by monologistos on 10-28-2008 at 12:12 PM · [top]

As to whether “henotheists” like Schori who pray to Jesus our Mother chicken - are Christians of any sort, I’ll let you decide.

[104] Posted by monologistos on 10-28-2008 at 12:14 PM · [top]

I have written some brief thoughts at de cura animarum

[105] Posted by Fr Jeffrey on 10-28-2008 at 12:21 PM · [top]

bob cameron:
Ah, but these practices are only innovations if you believe the History of the Church began with the Reformation!  Indeed, these were well-established in the English Church (and the Church Universal) for many centuries before the Reformation.  They are not innovations by any stretch of the imagination. I think the burden of proof must always fall on the innovator.

The Anglican Church as a distinct Church that is not under the authority of the Church of Rome began with the Reformation.  It reformed the English church of various practices and doctrines that were judged to be in error.  Their reintroduction post the Reformation are innovations from the standpoint of ‘Anglicanism’ (Anglicanism being the Catholic church of England reformed in the sixteenth century). 

As such, I agree, the onus of proof lies with innovators to show that their innovations are consistent with the reforming of the Church that occurred in the sixteenth century.  And on this matter, I think it is fairly obvious that lay administration (as much as I disagree with it) can be shown to be far more consistent with reformational Anglicanism than sacramentalism can be.

evan miller:
Anglicanism is reformed catholicism, not a rejection of catholicism like the continental reformation.  Thank goodness that through the efforts of such as the Caroline Divines and the Oxford Movement, some of the excesses of the English Reformers were corrected.

Well, as a perk of my studies in patristics in Oxford here I had the privilege of attending McCulloch’s lectures on the English Reformation last academic year.  He would not be considered a fan of Evangelicalism, but would, I think, be fairly considered an authority on 16th Century Anglicanism.  He made it clear in his lectures that the Elizabethan settlement was rigorously and self-consciously Protestant and anti-Catholic at virtually every point of substance.  It seemed to me from his lectures that he was less than impressed with the way in which previous generations of anglo-catholic historians had obfuscated this to create a place for their own tradition in the sixteenth century which was not supported by the sources.

Yes, Anglicanism is reformed catholicism, but that is true of the whole magisterial reformation: Anglican, Lutheran, and Reformed.  Protestantism is reformed catholicism.  I think the only movement that self-consciously saw itself as restarting the Church that had ceased to exist was the Anabaptist movement.  The Reformers were just that, reformers of a Church that they considered to have continued to exist since the apostles.

[106] Posted by Levor on 10-28-2008 at 02:49 PM · [top]

This is just plain embarassing, but I suppose it’s to do with using this for the first time.  “Levor” and “Mark Baddeley” are the same entity - my computer’s automated thingie logged me on under a different name somehow.

And I’ve called “Father Bob Hackendorf” “bob cameron” for some bizzare reason.  My apologies to both gentlemen for being so careless with your nom de plume.

[107] Posted by Levor on 10-28-2008 at 03:45 PM · [top]

Levor,

No worries—I have been called far worse!

On a more serious note, it seems this discussion raises a serious issue—what is normative for Anglicanism?  I follow the line of the Oxford Movement—looking to the Patristic Era as the real norm, the Reformation being partially a course correction, partially an over-reaction—the “tragic necessity”.  Others celebrate it as the advent of normative Anglicanism. 

Now, I am happy to live in the same church with a wide range of views on matters adiaphora, but I guess that I have a hard time seeing lay presidency as an adiaphoron when it comes to the proper ordering of the Church as we have received it.

Part of this probably hinges on our personal testimonies and experiences.  I began my journey into Anglicanism because I read Ignatius of Antioch (!)  This probably makes what Sydney is doing very hard for me to embrace, even though I respect their staunch defense of the Gospel.  This is the same way I feel about, say, the Southern Baptists.

[108] Posted by Father Bob Hackendorf on 10-28-2008 at 05:57 PM · [top]

Fr. Bob,
One is left to wonder how the good fathers of the Oxford Movement would have viewed the celebration of the Eucharist in TEC churches by ELCA or Methodist ministers (I assume similar things also happen in other Anglican provinces).  Under any Catholic understanding of ordination, Apostolic succession of the episcopate is necessary (hence the participation of TEC bishops at ELCA consecrations of recent years- an attempt to re-establish an apostolic line).  By the standards of my Dad (Nashotah, 1941), who was an old school (Anglo) Catholic priest, an ELCA or Methodist celebration of the Eucharist is lay presidency.  One of his old friends refers to it as a “fantasy” (the same term he uses to refer to woman’s ordination).

[109] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-28-2008 at 06:19 PM · [top]

I have enjoyed and learned from most of the comments on this thread.  (I will not identify which were “enlightening”, “puzzling” or “what was that about”, although that mental process has occurred, for fear of justifiably being drummed out of the corps.)

My deal is simple.  I will not knowingly or voluntarily be at that altar, participating in a diaconal or lay presidency Mass.

God bless.

[110] Posted by Ol' Bob on 10-28-2008 at 06:44 PM · [top]

Question for Bob Hackendorf (in all sincerity): If you

follow the line of the Oxford Movement—looking to the Patristic Era as the real norm

then why be an Anglican at all?  Why not rejoin the Roman Catholic Church and work for ongoing reform from within?

Oh, and Mark, thanks for clarifying who said what!  No offence taken.

[111] Posted by bob cameron on 10-28-2008 at 08:52 PM · [top]

Question for Bob Hackendorf (in all sincerity): If you follow the line of the Oxford Movement—looking to the Patristic Era as the real norm then why be an Anglican at all?

Hello Bob Cameron, I am not an Anglo-Catholic—but I must say that the traditional Anglican approach is to look to the authority of the Apostolic Era AND the Patristic Era (as a further expounder and witness of the perfect truth revealed in the Apostolic Era and preserved infallibly and inerrantly for all generations in Sacred Scripture)  as the real norm for Anglicanism.

Bishop Jewel clearly stated this in his 1562 Apology for the Anglican Church:
“We have returned to the Apostles and the old Catholic Fathers. We have planted no new religion, but only preserved the old that was undoubtedly founded and used by the Apostles of Christ and other holy Fathers of the Primitive Church.”

And further on this point, the following was noted in a previous thread on Stand Firm regarding Article 6 on Scripture (The 3rd part of Rev. Kennedy’s series on Article 6):

The traditional Anglican approach to Sacred Scripture has always been in respect of and submission to the Providential guidance and authority of the Historic faith or Tradition of Christ’s Church—as Cranmer himself said:
“I also grant [with St. Augustine], that every exposition of the Scripture, whereinsoever the old, holy, and true Church did agree, is necessary to be believed.” (Confutation of Unwritten Verities)

And, of course, Canon 6 from the 1571 Bishop’s Convocation which ratified the 39 Articles:
“Preachers shall behave themselves modestly and soberly in every department of their life. But especially shall they see to it that they teach nothing in the way of a sermon, which they would have religiously held and believed by the people, save what is agreeable to the teaching of the Old or New Testament, and what the Catholic fathers and ancient bishops have collected from this selfsame doctrine.”

Blessings in Christ,
William Scott

Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

[112] Posted by William on 10-28-2008 at 11:44 PM · [top]

#106 Levor aka Mark Baddeley
“Well, as a perk of my studies in patristics in Oxford here I had the privilege of attending McCulloch’s lectures on the English Reformation last academic year…He made it clear in his lectures that the Elizabethan settlement was rigorously and self-consciously Protestant and anti-Catholic at virtually every point of substance. “

That’s very interesting - do you know of any links where he sets out his argument?

And welcome.

[113] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 10-29-2008 at 12:42 PM · [top]

Hi Pageantmaster,

I don’t off the top of my head - having not yet dipped into what he’s published on the topic (I want to, but haven’t had the time).  So take my oral testimony of what I remember with a grain of salt.  It’s a clear memory, but you don’t have anything more than my say-so.

And thanks for the welcome.  It may be a bit hackneyed, but, first time commentator, long time reader.

in Christ,
Mark Baddeley

[114] Posted by Levor on 10-29-2008 at 05:14 PM · [top]

RE:111 (Why not be Roman Catholic?)

I think it is a question that all those in the Reformed Churches should honestly ask themselves everyday.  After all, if there is no serious reason to be separate from our brothers in Rome (or elsewhere), we should seek to be united with them. 

In that regard, I have to answer that I reject Papal claims of universal jurisdiction.  Further, I reject the dogmatic claims of the Roman Church that are not in accord with those of the Ancient Undivided Church.  To me, this makes Anglicanism the perfect home!

[115] Posted by Father Bob Hackendorf on 10-29-2008 at 05:59 PM · [top]

Thanks Bob for clarifying that for me.

[116] Posted by bob cameron on 10-29-2008 at 06:26 PM · [top]

#114
Thanks Mark.

[117] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 10-29-2008 at 06:33 PM · [top]

bob cameron—a delayed response to #100 above.
I am glad to know that Sydney’s action was an expression of opinion only and has no weight legally.  What they are saying then is that they are depending on the judgment of the archbishop to stop them from becoming the laughing stock of all Christendom.  In that case, what are they depending on when one of their own becomes archbishop?  The American church—known as TEC—has gone down this primrose path—and look what is happening.

[118] Posted by GB on 10-29-2008 at 07:37 PM · [top]

hello Mark, thanks for joining us - good to see your phd got the go-ahead.

I’ve purposefully kept clear of this thread for a while. I was away from Sydney on holiday when the vote was taken and thought best to sit back and let readers make comments. Most of the regulars will already guess my position on this subject, and in a day or so I’ll write something more substantial on it. It will, at the least, provide some distraction from the election wink

[119] Posted by David Ould on 10-29-2008 at 08:54 PM · [top]

Re #118
Hi GB

Nice try!  The Archbishop of Sydney is “one of our own”.  That is to say, he supports lay administration on theological grounds.  But he is unlikely to licence lay people to do so at this stage on pastoral or political (in the best sense of that word) grounds.

As to being “the laughing stock of all Christendom”, how is that relevant to determining what is the right course of action?  Even if you had referred to the considered opinion of Christendom, that still doesn’t determine right from wrong, but it would be worthy of a more careful response than derision.

And it’s not even accurate anyway.  Perhaps you mean all episcopal churches within Christendom?

[120] Posted by bob cameron on 10-29-2008 at 09:19 PM · [top]

Father Bob Hackendorf:
On a more serious note, it seems this discussion raises a serious issue—what is normative for Anglicanism?  I follow the line of the Oxford Movement—looking to the Patristic Era as the real norm, the Reformation being partially a course correction, partially an over-reaction—the “tragic necessity”.  Others celebrate it as the advent of normative Anglicanism.

Yes, I quite concur.  There are two overlapping but still somewhat opposed views of normative Anglicanism among reasserters.  If we are to have a future together we have to find a way to come to terms with that without opening the door for another dose of the liberal plague. 

Now, I am happy to live in the same church with a wide range of views on matters adiaphora, but I guess that I have a hard time seeing lay presidency as an adiaphoron when it comes to the proper ordering of the Church as we have received it.

Sure, I’d hope most of us can cope with differences in adiaphora.  But a sacramental understanding of the nature of Anglicanism, reservation of the sacraments, prayers for the dead are not adiaphora for evangelicals.  At times it seems as though the non-Evangelical strands want a place for their non-adiaphora distinctives within Anglicanism, but want Evangelicalism kept only to those practices that are acceptable to the other traditions.  I don’t think that such an approach is going to be workable long term.

David Ould:
hello Mark, thanks for joining us - good to see your phd got the go-ahead.

Thank you, yes there was much rejoicing and giving thanks in Baddelim when it became apparent that my postgraduate patristics (has a nice ring to it I think) would continue at Oxford - packing up and moving would have been disruptive for the whole family.

I must say I have never been deluged with such, well niceness, upon entering a thread.  Turns out Stand Firm commentators are just a bunch of cuddly teddy bears.

bob cameron:
Nice try!  The Archbishop of Sydney is “one of our own”.  That is to say, he supports lay administration on theological grounds.  But he is unlikely to licence lay people to do so at this stage on pastoral or political (in the best sense of that word) grounds.

I think GB’s point is that Synod surely has in mind something more than just saying “By the way everyone, just a quick reminder that lay administration is theologically justifiable”.  This vote also indicates that Synod thinks it is desirable.  Inasmuch as the Archbishop is not going to exercise the freedom that this vote grants him he is not “one of our own” in the sense that he does not think that this is desirable.

At least part of people’s reaction, I would suggest, is that they see in this act a notification of a future act, not just a statement of theological views.  Given that Synod is in favour of lay administration, how likely is it that every Archbishop elected from now on will all be chosen because they disagree with Synod on a matter that Synod has gone out on a limb on (and so continue to not exercise a freedom that Synod has indicated it would like exercised)?  That, I would suggest, was the thrust of GB’s point - and I think it requires a more considered response by those wanting to defend the decision.  This vote is not isolated, it is a point on a trajectory.  And the complaint is about where that trajectory will end.

As to being “the laughing stock of all Christendom”, how is that relevant to determining what is the right course of action?

How about ‘very relevant’?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the argument for lay presidency is grounded on the view that Scripture gives the Church freedom to order itself with or without lay administration.  I have never seen or heard an argument that Scripture requires lay administration. 

If so, then what we are talking about here is the exercising or not exercising of a freedom.  And if that is so, then I would humbly suggest that a consideration of the impact that exercising that freedom would have on others is highly relevant. 

Even if you had referred to the considered opinion of Christendom, that still doesn’t determine right from wrong, but it would be worthy of a more careful response than derision.

I read what you’ve written here that the ‘it’ in ‘it would be worthy of a more careful response’ is referring to the vote for lay administration.

And I don’t think we can demand that people not react with derision but consider our view carefully.  If a Synod voted to have the people adminstering Holy Communion in clown’s costumes and with a laugh track, I would react with derision.  If I heard that they voted this way after forty years of consideration, I wouldn’t be any less derisive.  This vote appears similarly to others and we know that.  I don’t know anyone pushing for this who disagrees that it will be taken badly elsewhere.  If part of the intent is to make a statement of theology I think it is a bad strategy, because it will only be heard by people who agree with us anyway.  The rest will mishear it, and we’ll find it a bit harder to get a hearing with them on other matters as well.

Do we really think that this issue, which Scripture does not require of us, is worth that?

And it’s not even accurate anyway.  Perhaps you mean all episcopal churches within Christendom?

No.  This is not a sacerdotal versus evangelical debate.  As has already been observed, it is common practice in both Presbyterian and Baptist circles for only the ordained minister to administer the sacraments - and I’ve never met a High Church Baptist.  So the ‘derision’ will arise from within Evangelicalism as well.

Further, from my reading of Calvin’s Institutes it seems to me that there is little place for lay administration within Reformed theology.  Calvin (unlike Luther) does not ground the ministry of Word and Sacrament upon the priesthood of all believers, but upon the idea of Office.  Only the Office is authorised by God to exercise that public ministry in the Church, and only those called by God to that Office should discharge its functions.  So this vote by Synod is not just unAnglican (in practice) it is also unReformed (in theology).  Further, it takes the situation that Cranmer and Luther only allowed in crisis situations (e.g. a baby might die before the minister gets there, so the midwife can baptise, in situations where the Church has ceased to function properly, lay people could ordain someone from among them) when proper order had to give way to the needs of the moment to justify a practice as part of the normal life of the Church.  I don’t think either Luther or Cranmer would support this move, and suggesting it to Calvin would have resutled in a speedy expulsion from Geneva.

I don’t think I’ve seen this recognised anywhere near enough by those in favour of this move.

[121] Posted by Mark Baddeley on 10-30-2008 at 06:23 AM · [top]

#120—Bob, Lay administration is not what we are talking about.  Lay presidency means that a lay person leads the service, says the prayer of consecration, AND dstributes
the elements.  All these things are normally done by presbyters.  Anglican catholics think these things are important.  We also consider ourselves to be part of the universal Christian Church—meaning that what the other Christians think is important. If this action you support were right, it would not have taken the Church 2000 years to figure it out. (And if YOU were an Anglican you would know these things—or at least be willing to learn them.  We are not Southern Baptists.)

[122] Posted by GB on 10-30-2008 at 06:45 AM · [top]

Mark B

I think GB’s point is that Synod surely has in mind something more than just saying “By the way everyone, just a quick reminder that lay administration is theologically justifiable”.  This vote also indicates that Synod thinks it is desirable.

Agreed.

Inasmuch as the Archbishop is not going to exercise the freedom that this vote grants him he is not “one of our own” in the sense that he does not think that this is desirable.

Not quite.  I think that he does believe that it’s desirable, but not so necessary that it shouldn’t be delayed because of other considerations which he believes are of greater importance at the present time.

At least part of people’s reaction, I would suggest, is that they see in this act a notification of a future act, not just a statement of theological views.  Given that Synod is in favour of lay administration, how likely is it that every Archbishop elected from now on will all be chosen because they disagree with Synod on a matter that Synod has gone out on a limb on (and so continue to not exercise a freedom that Synod has indicated it would like exercised)?  That, I would suggest, was the thrust of GB’s point - and I think it requires a more considered response by those wanting to defend the decision.  This vote is not isolated, it is a point on a trajectory.  And the complaint is about where that trajectory will end.

Yep.  I take your point on this.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the argument for lay presidency is grounded on the view that Scripture gives the Church freedom to order itself with or without lay administration.  I have never seen or heard an argument that Scripture requires lay administration. 

If so, then what we are talking about here is the exercising or not exercising of a freedom.  And if that is so, then I would humbly suggest that a consideration of the impact that exercising that freedom would have on others is highly relevant.

Which I acknowledged in my very next sentence which you also quoted: “Even if you had referred to the considered opinion of Christendom, that still doesn’t determine right from wrong, but it would be worthy of a more careful response than derision.”
You then go on to say:

And I don’t think we can demand that people not react with derision but consider our view carefully.

Which is to miss my point.  I wasn’t telling anyone not to react with derision.  I was saying that such derision is not, nor should it be, the basis on which we determine a course of action.  You use the obviously silly example of people wearing clown costumes.  But people are also derided for very sensible and well-reasoned actions—praying to Jesus, reading the Bible, for example.  Whether we do those things or not is not determined by the derision of others.  And if people think we are making a serious mistake, then a serious critique (and I freely acknowledge that there’s plenty of that here also) has far more significance for our thinking through the issues.

No.  This is not a sacerdotal versus evangelical debate.

I don’t equate ‘episcopal’ with ‘sacerdotal’—do you?  My point was that it is only the Episcopal denominations—Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican—as far as I am aware that uniformly reject lay administration.  That is, I was querying GB’s use of the word “all”.

Further, from my reading of Calvin’s Institutes it seems to me that there is little place for lay administration within Reformed theology.

I’m not in a position to question this, so I’ll assume it’s correct.  Does this mean that we are therefore locked into Calvin’s understanding in every way.  I would have thought that Calvin himself would allow for the fact (at least in principle) that he may have got some things wrong, which later generations would need to correct.
Regards,
Bob

[123] Posted by bob cameron on 10-30-2008 at 07:52 AM · [top]

GB:

Lay administration is not what we are talking about.  Lay presidency means that a lay person leads the service, says the prayer of consecration, AND dstributes
the elements.

This is described in the Book of Common Prayer as ‘administration’.  I don’t think that the word ‘preside’ occurs anywhere in the service of Holy Communion (but I may be wrong there).  And the motion passed at the Sydney Synod that sparked this debate refers only to administration.

If this action you support were right, it would not have taken the Church 2000 years to figure it out.

I hear this argument often, but I really don’t get it.  In matters of order, why is it not possible that the church could have got some things wrong for 2000 years?

And if YOU were an Anglican you would know these things—or at least be willing to learn them.  We are not Southern Baptists.

Did you not read my first post, or was that a deliberate jibe?  Just for the record, I have been an Anglican my whole life (50 years next week), have lived and worshipped in three different dioceses (although I have to admit I didn’t last long in Chicago), and I am an ordained presbyter in the Anglican Church.
Bob

[124] Posted by bob cameron on 10-30-2008 at 08:02 AM · [top]

Southern Baptists don’t have all the show when they ordain ministers (but they do ordain them by the laying on of hands), and the ones I worship with would be highly upset if someone not ordained attempted to lead in a Lord’s Supper Service.

What Sydney seems to have done is even more ‘low church’ than the Southern Baptists…..

[125] Posted by Bo on 10-30-2008 at 08:46 AM · [top]

Sorry, Bob.  I’m off to work.  I meant what I said, and I’ll stand by it.

[126] Posted by GB on 10-30-2008 at 09:02 AM · [top]

Here’s what I wrote in my Ph.D. thesis about Sydney’s endorsement of lay presidency:

  “Evangelical arguments for lay presidency often take a form similar to that offered by David Day,  who begins his argument by noting that Scripture says nothing on the subject, indicating that it is not a particularly important subject.  Having said this, Day acknowledges that the rule that only bishops and presbyters may preside is extremely ancient and that there is not much support for his position from tradition.  Arguing that tradition is changeable, Day offers women’s ordination as an example, saying that “a Church which has seen the admission of women to the ordained priesthood can hardly treat traditions as unchangeable.”  Day concludes his argument by an appeal to pragmatism, complaining that the alternatives to lay presidency, such as denying weekly communion to congregations without a priest or importing a priest with no pastoral relationship to the congregation, solve nothing and do not honor the gospel. 

  Day’s Evangelical argument is an important model for possible Evangelical innovations.  Such an Evangelical argument begins with Scripture but interprets Scripture apart from tradition and even interprets against a clear and ancient tradition that opposes a particular innovation such as lay presidency.  In fact, the practice of lay presidency is not only contrary to 2000 years of catholic tradition but also involves an interpretation of Scripture that is contrary to the Prayer Book, which assumes the necessity of priests as presidents at the Holy Communion.  Day’s appeal for lay presidency on the basis of the prior innovation of women’s ordination is logical but demonstrates how in employing such a hermeneutic one innovation is likely to act as a precedent for others.  Although presently those in favor of lay presidency are a clear minority, some Sydney Anglicans are hoping to begin a larger movement by relying on the same principle of pioneering autonomous innovation that led to the ordination of women in the Anglican Communion.  Thus, by arguing from the silence of Scripture, against tradition, and from a pragmatic standpoint, a hermeneutic held by some orthodox Evangelicals is likely to continue to introduce innovations and greater diversity into orthodox Anglican identity.”

[127] Posted by Charles Erlandson on 10-30-2008 at 11:32 AM · [top]

Bob Cameron:
Which is to miss my point.  I wasn’t telling anyone not to react with derision.  I was saying that such derision is not, nor should it be, the basis on which we determine a course of action.  You use the obviously silly example of people wearing clown costumes.  But people are also derided for very sensible and well-reasoned actions—praying to Jesus, reading the Bible, for example.

My apologies for the misreading, Bob.  I don’t think I have any problems with the substance of your point as I now understand it.  I’m not entirely sure that my example was ‘silly’ though - I understand that it has been alleged that there has been at least one ‘clown communion’ in TEC, and I think a couple of commentators on this thread have indicated that they think that lay administration is ridiculous - which was the point of the analogy.

don’t equate ‘episcopal’ with ‘sacerdotal’—do you?  My point was that it is only the Episcopal denominations—Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican—as far as I am aware that uniformly reject lay administration.  That is, I was querying GB’s use of the word “all”.

Definitely guilty of a misreading here - my apologies again. 

However, I’ll go out on a limb and indicate that from my patchy knowledge (and that of other commentators) lay administration should probably be considered to be not a live option in Presbyterianism.  Baptist is a bit trickier, but Baptists don’t have the same mechanisms for a world-wide institutional connection as the episcopal churches do - so Baptists have to be looked at in their self-contained groupings.  Certainly it seems that there are entire sections of the Baptist denominations for whom it is a no go as well.  So perhaps GB’s ‘all’ can be understood in the sense of ‘ubiquitous’.

Does this mean that we are therefore locked into Calvin’s understanding in every way.

No, later Reformed tradition breaks with Calvin on several points - different points in different parts of the tradition.  My point is that it needs to be acknowledged that this is a move for which there is little support within the Reformers.  So, while it can be claimed to be biblical (in the sense that Scripture gives this freedom), evangelical Anglicans are generally happiest when their positions are Reformed as well - and I think that that is not true in this instance.

Reformed theology is an interconnected whole, changes in an area such as the sacraments are going to have a knock-on effect in other areas, such as ecclessiology, ministry, and even soteriology.  As much as I value Luther’s strong weighting of the priesthood of all believers (and tend to agree with it over Calvin on this point), I am uncomfortable with a move that locks Calvin’s understanding of these matters out - for overall the Sydney Diocese is far more Reformed than it is Lutheran.  That kind of change in practice runs the risk of shutting down theological options in future that we might wish we could return to.

GB:
Sorry, Bob.  I’m off to work.  I meant what I said, and I’ll stand by it.

GB, I hope you take this in the spirit of someone who has really appreciated everything you’ve said up to this point, and agreed with a lot of it.  That was just churlish.  You levelled a series of accusations against Bob Cameron, not least that he is ‘not an Anglican’ for disagreeing with you on his understanding of several points. He addressed each point, not least that his use of ‘administration’ is as dinky die Anglican as one could ask - it is the usage of the BCP.  I suggest that his comment requires a more considered response than just, “I’m sticking to my accusations.”

[128] Posted by Mark Baddeley on 10-30-2008 at 01:17 PM · [top]

“Administration” and “presidency” are words which carry entirely different meanings for different groups of Anglicans.  As an Anglican presbyter (priest), Bob knows this very well, and should not use one term when the discussion is about the other term.

[129] Posted by GB on 10-30-2008 at 02:57 PM · [top]

GB,
If they mean entirely different things to different groups of Anglicans, and you are aware of this, then there is no reason why either meaning should be the only legitimate term in the discussion.  Each side can use their preferred term for the same matter of substance, and the other side can translate accordingly.  Insisting on “presidency” seems like just another attempt to impose a set of ground rules for this discussion that favours one side a priori.

And to call Bob not Anglican over this seems like a bit of rhetorical overkill if you accept that it is Anglican practice to use the terminology in different ways.  I think it sheds more heat than light, and I don’t think that has been characteristic of your comments - and it is the latter reason why I am raising it.  It just seems at odds with your overall approach.  If I’ve misread you on this, just tell me to pull my head in and I’ll drop it.

[130] Posted by Mark Baddeley on 10-30-2008 at 03:37 PM · [top]

Mark
Thanks for your clarifying responses.  I’m pretty comfortable with most of what you’ve said.  Just to clear up one point, in calling the ‘clown costume’ illustration silly, I hope you didn’t think that I meant that you were being silly for using it—only that it was one which would self-evidently give rise to derision (though now that you’ve said that there may have been one instance in TEC . . . ) grin
Regards,
Bob

[131] Posted by bob cameron on 10-30-2008 at 03:48 PM · [top]

GB
I thought that this discussion was about the action of the Synod of Sydney in passing this motion:

7.2 Lay and diaconal administration

Synod –

(a) accepts the report concerning legal barriers to lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper which was submitted to the 3rd session of the 47th Synod, and

(b) affirms again its conviction that lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper is consistent with the teaching of Scripture, and

(c) affirms that the Lord’s Supper in this diocese may be administered by persons other than presbyters,

and requests the Diocesan Secretary to send a copy of The Lord’s Supper in Human Hands to all bishops who attended the GAFCON.

The motion doesn’t talk about presidency at all.  Not that I object to you and others using the language of presidency, but surely the language of the motion itself should also be permissible in the discussion?
Regards,
Bob

[132] Posted by bob cameron on 10-30-2008 at 03:54 PM · [top]

accepts the report concerning legal barriers to lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper which was submitted to the 3rd session of the 47th Synod…

The report referred to here can be found at http://www.sds.asn.au/Site/103911.asp?a=a&ph=sy#ApendA

It makes for interesting reading, but seems to regard “administration” and “presidency” as synonyms:

  This Synod believes, with deep conviction under Almighty God, that there is no prohibition or restriction in the holy Scriptures, or in Christian doctrine, on the administration (sometimes referred to as ‘presidency’) of the Lord’s Supper by a suitable person, but who is not a bishop or an episcopally ordained priest.

It seems to me that one side prefers one term, one side prefers the other.  The problem I have with “administration” is that it seems to be a broad term that could include both celebration (such as a Presbyter or Bishop might perform) and distribution (which in many jurisdictions a Deacon or Lay Minister might do, either in the Church or, in the process of taking the previously consecrated Sacrament to the ill or home bound.) But this could well be a lack of understanding from my end, or the context within which I function.

[133] Posted by Father Bob Hackendorf on 10-30-2008 at 05:03 PM · [top]

Well, ya’ll, my point is this—throughout most of the worldwide Anglican Communion and throughout its entire history, the man who presides at a service of Holy Communion is called a “celebrant”, and must be a priest(presbyter) who was ordained by a bishop (male) who is in the historic succession that can be traced back through history to the original Twelve Apostles.  When you deviate from this you are tinkering with something that you don’t believe in , in the first place.  The fact that you cannot find anything in Scripture to forbid it is a notion that has been used to justify many heresies.  It is no surprise to hear it used to justify this one.  (If a particular congregation wants someone who is not ordained to say Mass, then why don’t they just go ahead and do it?  You require a license from a bishop, but you do not require ordination from a bishop.  According to your way of thinking, what is the difference?)  There is nothing in the Bible about communion presidents needing a license.  All they need is a group of followers who will accept their leadership.

[134] Posted by GB on 10-30-2008 at 06:24 PM · [top]

bob cameron-
The motion does not need to talk about “presidency”.  I am not sure where everyone is from, or which prayerbook they happen to use.  Being in the US, if we examine page 320, we see “Holy Eucharist, Rite I”.  The person presiding at mass is referred to as the “celebrant” throughout.
  If, however, one examines one’s 1928 BCP (US), page 67, one finds “The Order for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.”  I do not have a copy of the 1662 on hand, but would be willing to risk that the wording is much closer to the ‘28 than the ‘79.  Administration of the Lord’s Supper IS presiding at the Lord’s Supper.  Throughout the ‘28, the presider is referred to as “priest.”
  I am obviously not an Australian, but I am led to believe that what they are proposing in Sydney is the consecration of bread and wine by laity and deacons.  If I understand correctly, in the current circumstances, deacons are occasionally performing this function in Sydney, Abp. Jenson is withholding this authority from the laity.  I would much appreciate it if a clergyman from Sydney could either comfirm or correct my assumptions here.
  I think there is great confusion here because many Americans (especially those brought up on the ‘79 BCP) are confusing “Administration of the Lord’s Supper” with “distribution of the Lord’s Supper.”  It is common for laity, and certainly deacons, in this country to assist with the distribution of the Sacrament- by following the priest with the chalice, or as lay visitors carrying the host to an infirm parish member.  And certainly, in my own upbringing, those things would have been rare or non permissible for laity (and no doubt varies today in different parishes or dioceses).  However, such “eucharistic ministry” specifically excludes the consecration of the Sacrament.  Judging from the apparent worry over administration vs presidency, which would appear from the traditional Prayer Books to be the same thing, one is left to conclude that there is confusion over what we are talking about.
  For any of my fellow Anglo Catholics, no, there is no one on earth who will ever convince to accept lay celebration of Holy Communion.  I just want to be sure I have the facts straight before pronouncing anathemas.  That’s a joke.  Laity can’t pronounce anathemas either.

[135] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-30-2008 at 09:13 PM · [top]

Hi tjm

Your summary is more or less on the money.  We are using the word administration in the BCP sense and equivalent to presidency.  Our preference for the older term is that its focus is on the function rather than on the person performing the function—but it’s not a hill I want to die on!  We would also use the language of celebration and celebrant here.  And, indeed, we would describe the kind of assistance with the distribution of the elements as you have: distribution, or assistance!  The people who do so are in fact called Lay Assistants in the Sydney diocese.  So we are affirming the very thing that Anglo-Catholics would reject, and we do understand that it is no small thing to do.

As to diaconal administration, I don’t know if it has started happening here yet, but if it hasn’t I can’t imagine that it will be long before it does.

Regards,
Bob

[136] Posted by bob cameron on 10-30-2008 at 09:45 PM · [top]

When Bob Cameron says BCP he means 1662, not the TEC BCP.

John Sandeman (for Sydney people) Obadiah Slope (for Standfirm people)

[137] Posted by obadiahslope on 10-30-2008 at 11:57 PM · [top]

Aah!  Thank you John/Obadiah.

[138] Posted by bob cameron on 10-31-2008 at 02:11 AM · [top]

BCP 1662 and Order of the administration of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion

When the Priest, standing before the Table, hath so ordered the Bread and Wine, that he may with the more readiness and decency break the Bread before the people, and take the Cup into his hands, he shall say the Prayer of Consecration, as followeth.
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death, until his coming again; Hear us, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee; and grant that we receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood: who, in the same night that he was betrayed, (a) took Bread; and, when he had given thanks, (b) he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, (c) this is my Body which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after supper he (d) took the Cup; and, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this (e) is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins: Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me. Amen.
(a) Here the Priest is to take the Paten unto his hands: (b) And here to break the Bread: (c) And here to lay his hand upon all the Bread. (d) Here he is to take the Cup into his hand: (e) And here to lay his hand upon every vessel (be it Chalice or Flagon) in which there is any Wine to be consecrated.

Then shall the Minister first receive the Communion in both kinds himself, and then proceed to deliver the same to the Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, in like manner, (if any be present,) and after that to the people also in order, into their hands, all meekly kneeling. And, when he delivereth the Bread to any one, he shall say,
THE Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.

And the Minister that delivereth the Cup to any one shall say,
THE Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for thee, and be thankful.

Articles of Religion

XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation.
IT is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching or ministering the sacraments in the congregation, before he be lawfully called and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the congregation to call and send ministers into the Lord’s vineyard

[BCP 1662 Courtesy of Lynda Howell at Eskimo.Com]

[139] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 10-31-2008 at 03:45 AM · [top]

Thank you Pageantmaster for these reminders.  Those trying to destroy the Church (while calling themselves orthodox) frequently cite the Articles as their authority.  Now someone will write in to say it is a matter of how you interpret the Articles.  I wonder how long it will be?

[140] Posted by GB on 10-31-2008 at 07:01 AM · [top]

I’ve stayed out of this ongoing discussion for a long time (since about #41 I think), but I’ll add a couple brief comments here that I hope will be irenic but helpful.

First, with regard to the 1662 BCP rubrics that Pageantmaster has conveniently posted above in his #139, it should be noted that the rubrics do speak explicitly of a “prayer of CONSECRATION” over the bread and wine.  That is a prime example of why the 1662 BCP is often described, fairly I think, as the old Elizabeth BCP of 1559 with Laudian or catholicizing rubrics.  Cranmer would NOT have approved, I’m pretty sure of that language of consecration.  In good Reformed fashion, he believed that only PEOPLE should be blessed, not inanimate things.

And what I’m getting at is the very significant fact that following the powerful influence of the Caroline Divines, starting in the 1620s, i.e., men like Lancelot Andrewes, John Bramhall, Jeremy Taylor, William Laud,  George Hergert, John Cosin and so on, Anglicanism began to recover some of the catholic dimension that had been jettisoned in the heat of battle in the Elizabethan era.  I celebrate that recovery of some vital catholic elements, as much as Sydney types would deplore it.

Second, as others have noted above, one of the key forks in the road for Anglicans is whether you consider the Fathers of the patristic era or the Reformers of the Reformation era as your PRIMARY guide.  Like some of the commenters above, I choose ordinarily to take the FATHERS as my fundamental guide, with the Reformers as a SECONDARY guide where I think the early fathers went astray (primarily on justification by faith apart from works), rather than vice versa.  Others choose differently.  How long we will be able to walk together remains to be seen.

Third, I think one of the key decisions that will have to be made among us all in the future has to do with whether we each choose to put more emphasis on the Lambeth Quadrilateral or on the 39 Articles in determining the shape of Anglican identity.  That is, I contend that the Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888, especially with its fourth point or side that insists firmly on maintaining the so-called “historic episcopate” is implicitly catholic (small c).  Whereas the grand old 39 Articles are explicitly reformed (again, small r) or highly Protestant, and in many ways quasi-Calvinist, leaning closer to Geneva than to Wittenberg, much less toward Rome.

The question I want to pose therefore is this:  Which will prevail in the end?  Will the orthodox Anglicanism of the future (as illusrated say by the new province already starting to emerge in North America) be shaped more by the catholic Quadrilateral or by the reformed 39 Articles?

I unhesitatingly choose the Quadrilateral over the Articles of Religion.  Sydney chooses the opposite.

In the past, we were all held together by the Erastian nature of Anglicanism as a state church kind of religion, where the supreme power of the State is what kept us together.  But the English monarch is no longer (for all practical purposes anyway) the “Supreme Governor” of the C of E, much less other national churches.  And the British Empire is no more.

In this new post-Constantinian, post-Christendom era, will we be able to walk together instead of choosing to “walk apart?”  Only time will tell.

David Handy+

[141] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 10-31-2008 at 08:43 AM · [top]

#Handy,

I’m afraid I don’t see much future for Catholic Anglicans in the emerging province, outside San Joaquin, Quincy or Ft. Worth.  From my experience, the African sponsored churches seem to me to be VERY protestant and evangelical.  When the featured speaker at the “Hope and a Future” conference was Rick Warren, I knew we were in trouble.  Don’t get me wrong, these “African” churches are good, solid, Biblical Christians, but I hardly think they represent the fullness of our Anglican tradition as we in the United States at least, have received it.  They tend to be Bible churches with a nod to the prayer book. The Church Fathers, Caroline Divines, and Oxford Movement have no traction with them.

[142] Posted by evan miller on 10-31-2008 at 09:54 AM · [top]

That should have been, “Father Handy”.  Forgive me.  I meant no disrespect.

[143] Posted by evan miller on 10-31-2008 at 10:08 AM · [top]

Evan, there will always be a place for us Anglo Catholics wherever we go.  We’re not going to die out nor go peacefully into the sunset.

[144] Posted by Cennydd on 10-31-2008 at 10:10 AM · [top]

I don’t intend to go peacefully into the sunset, but our prospects here on the ground in central Kentucky are pretty bleak.

[145] Posted by evan miller on 10-31-2008 at 10:24 AM · [top]

Evan (#142, 143),

Don’t worry.  I forgive you.  I don’t see it as a sign of disrespect when people don’t call me “Father” (or “Dr. Handy” either).  I’m not hung up on honorifics.

But as for the long-term prospects of Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals sticking togehter over the long haul, well only time will tell.  But actually, I’m optimisitc.  I know +John Guernsey pretty well, and he is no rabid low churchman.  The same can be said for +Bill Atwood.  I’m confident that the Ugandan and Kenyan jurisdictions, which played a huge role in GAFCON and are second only to Nigeria in the whole FCA movement, will continue to show respect for us more high church types.  And the REC and the APA have actually been getting along surprisingly well.  Plus, it shouldn’t be forgotten that although +Bob Duncan leads a very evangelical diocese, he himself is more of an Anglo-Catholic personally.

Bottom line: What other practical choice is there if you’re going to be an Anglican at all?

However, one reason why I can perhaps face this whole matter with as much peace and confidence as I do is because I’m so committed to what I call “3-D Christianity” (evangelical, catholic, and charismatic).  That is, as a charismatic, I share that extra third dimension (along with Fr. Alan Hansen of Acts 29, your former rector, whom we both admire) with a great many of the leaders in this emerging new Anglican province.  That helps diffuse the tensions a lot by creating more common ground that builds bridges across the catholic vs. evangelical divide.

David Handy+

[146] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 10-31-2008 at 10:57 AM · [top]

+Handy,

I have an aversion to calling people by their last names, particularly one’s superiors. As a priest, and one who I admire from reading your comments here and on T19, you certainly qualify.  Just good manners.
Your money quote is your next-to-last paragraph. Where indeed would we go? 
I’m all for your 3-D Anglicanism.  Trouble is, with the exception of the three Anglo-Catholic diocese that have either left TEC or are preparing to leave, I see only the evangelical and charismatic dimensions much in evidence in the realigned churches.  The GAFCON statement wasn’t very encouraging either, though I take heart that +Iker commended it.

[147] Posted by evan miller on 10-31-2008 at 11:52 AM · [top]

Sorry I got the “+” misplaced.  I’ll stick to “Father” or “Fr.” from now on!

[148] Posted by evan miller on 10-31-2008 at 01:34 PM · [top]

#146 Fr Handy
I have a question for you - I have been wondering - is there any way in which it would be possible for people to participate in a Eucharist over the internet, or do the people and priest have to be physically present for blessing of the elements?

Just something I was wondering.

[149] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 10-31-2008 at 03:26 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster (#149),

I guess that depends on what you mean by people “participating” in a eucharist via TV or over the internet.  That is, there are lots of places where eucharists are televised, and they can be edifying to those who watch the broadcast, but they are clearly no substitute for actually being pressent and able to join in the service and receive communion.

I know lots of hospitals where they have closed circuit TV services for people who can’t go to the chapel.  In such a case, the blessed bread and wine can then be taken from the chapel to the hospital room by a friend or family member and that way the patient can truly participate in the service.  But ordinarily, just watching a eucharist on TV or over the web is not a very satisfying experience.  Though for an invalid, it’[s sure better than nothing at all.

I’m not sure if I understood your question, but if not, feel free to ask me again.

David Handy+

[150] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 10-31-2008 at 08:00 PM · [top]

#148—Evan, we meet every Sunday at 4 p.m.  See our website at http://netministries.org/see/churches/ch32435.
All are welcome.

[151] Posted by GB on 11-1-2008 at 01:29 AM · [top]

#150 Fr Handy
Yes - thankyou that was a helpful reply and does rather answer my question, which was really thinking about the opportunities for worship and participation via the new media in ‘church’.  I have heard of congregations in Australia where two congregations, one small will join together in a service over an internet link.  I was wondering what the limits were for this form of media.  Perhaps the sacraments of baptism and holy communion represent the boundary of what is and will be possible.

I suppose participation in whatever way is possible is better than non-participation for those unable to get to church where they are.

Many thanks.

PM

[152] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 11-1-2008 at 03:56 AM · [top]

Honestly, to me this thread demonstrates the logical contradictions of folding most evangelicals into the historical Anglican Church.  Not that the CofE has always been high church but that its founding arguments for its existence depend upon the sacramental understanding that it shared with Rome.  If it is shriven of catholic and apostolic sacramental theology, it is not substantially different from the Presbyterians or Methodists.  There are important distinctions here which might be illuminated if we looked at the arguments pro and con at the time of the Methodists departing.  That today’s evangelicals do not value that theology or actively reject it speaks to the incoherence of the big umbrella.  We want to ask the liberal wacko TECians why they don’t just leave and join an organization like the Unitarian Universalist church?  We might also ask why some of our “evangelicals” don’t simply join the Orangemen and the Presbyterian church where they could have more social events to fit one’s prejudices like marching through Catholic neighorhoods to thumb their noses at the Blessed Virgin Mary, apostolic succession, Sacramental theology, Real Presence, common prayer, the Communion of the Saints, and the faith of the Church herself (which is ignored to oblivion when Sola Scriptura becomes the individualistic hermeneutics of choice).

[153] Posted by monologistos on 11-1-2008 at 02:59 PM · [top]

“why they don’t just leave and join an organization like the Unitarian Universalist church?”

That’s easy, monologistos… The UUC doesn’t have 600 (or more) billion to play with.  The more orthodox they run out of the game, the more of the pie they will control…and they want the property and bully pulpits too.

[154] Posted by Floridian on 11-1-2008 at 03:21 PM · [top]

GA/FL, I know.  The answer sticks in my craw.  Evangelicals, I believe, have their hearts in the right place even when I might disagree on theology.  So many of the liberals of TEO seem to be possessed by a disasterous hubris such that they are embittered against Christ Himself and wish only to destroy His church.

[155] Posted by monologistos on 11-1-2008 at 03:27 PM · [top]

I have just put up online my address to the Annual Meeting of the Lincoln (England) Diocesan branch of Forward in Faith, who invited me as a guest speaker. It is titled Harmony with Belial? Can Conservative Evangelicals and Traditional Anglo-Catholics really work together?.

For those who can’t be bothered to read the whole thing, the answer is “maybe”, but I’ve tried to raise what I think are some serious challenges to both camps.

[156] Posted by John Richardson on 11-2-2008 at 03:50 AM · [top]

#151
GB,
Thanks.  I’ll try to make it some Sunday before too long.

[157] Posted by evan miller on 11-3-2008 at 08:13 AM · [top]

John Richardson (156),

Thank you for posting that thoughtful and stimulating address you gave to the Lincoln chapter of FiF-UK.  I certainly apprecite its irenic tone, and your openness to exploring new ways to try to resolve the deep, long-standing disputes that have divided Conservative Evangelicals and Traditionalist Anglo-Catholics.

I was not present at GAFCON this summer, but reading the numerous testimonies to the profound sense of unity and fellowship so many experienced there has given me hope, and left me with the impression that the sort of koinonia that was so widely felt there was the real thing, authentic Christian fellowship.  One can only hope that this proves not to be a mere flash in the pan or illusion.  Time will tell, but I’m optimistic.

Let me respond to your generous and cordial address by raising a couple questions, not as protests but as food for thought.  That is, they aren’t hostile questions.

First, I want to raise again the issue of the relative importance to be placed by orthodox Anglicans in the future on two quite divergent documents from our past: i.e., the strongly reformed 39 Articles versus the significantly more catholic Lambeth Quadrilateral.  There can be no doubt that the grand old 39 Articles are thoroughly Protestant and emphatically so (openly disparaging “Romish” practices), and the Jerusalem Declaration from GAFCON affirms their continuing importance for the FCA movement.  However, I think many people, and perhaps especially Conservative Evangelicals, tend to overlook or downplay the significantly more catholic nature of the famous Lambeth Quadrilateral.  The four points or sides of the Quadrilateral have been repeatedly affirmed, again and again, by successive Lambeth Conferences since 1888, in a way that the 39 Articles have NOT.

Just to drive home my point, let me expand on the significant way that I think the Quadrilateral points in a quite different direction than the Articles of Religion from 1571 do.  I think it’s extremely important that ALL FOUR of the planks in the Quadrilateral essentially reflect the consesnsus of the early patristic period, i.e., around the end of the second century and the start of the third.  And the point is that all four are essentially POST-biblical developments, and yet they are BINDING and NORMATIVE in Anglicanism.  And rightly so, I’d add.

1.  The canon of Holy Scripture was largely determined by the end of the 2nd century (as seen in Irenaeus, Tertullian, and the Muratorian Fragment), though the final boundaries wouldn’t become settled until the 4th century.  My point, however, is that the Quadrilateral not only affirms the authority of Holy Scripture as “the rule and ultimate standard of faith,” but implicitly endorses the early patristic selection of some books and not others to be part of the biblical canon.  That is, the Quadrilateral depends on a POST-biblical development that is considered binding on Anglicans.

2.  The Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds are clearly POST-biblical developments too, though they in effect merely summarize the main teachings of the Bible, as the early Church had received them and reflected on them.  But the Creeds too are BINDING.

3.  The dominical sacraments that form the third side of the Quadrilateral imply acceptance of a different sort of post-biblical development, i.e., the normative status of the early patristic liturgies, at least in terms of what the late, great Gregory Dix called “the shape of the liturgy.”  Thus, for example, the 7-fold action apparent in the NT (where the bread and wine are blessed separately, at the start and at the end of the meal) became the four-fold action that been characteristic of the classic and enduring “shape” of the eucharist since early patristic times.

4.  Finally, of course, the Lambeth Quadrilateral’s firm insistence that the so-called “historic episcopate” is a non-negotiable part of our spiritual patrimony certainly strikes a very different note than the Articles do.  Once again, in so doing the Quadrilateal unmistakeably comes across as endorsing the classic consensual decisions of the early patristic era, and effectively ignoring the bitter disputes of the 16th century.

Let me speak quite frankly here, although it will perhaps be rather provocative.  Without intending any inflammatory criticism of the Conservative Evangelical wing of Anglicanism (with which, as a Wheaton grad I still identify in many ways), I must admit that I myself am FAR more comfortable with the Lambeth Quadrilateral than with the 39 Articles, which are simply WAY too one-sidedly or one-dimensionally Protestant for my liking.  I freely admit that I earnestly wish that GAFCON had chosen to place the emphasis on the Quadrilateral as the basis for unity and Anglican identity rather than on the Articles.  Whether Sydney likes it or not, or even whether Nigeria and Uganda likes it or not, Anglicanism today is MUCH better represented by the Quadrilateral of 1888 than by the Articles from way back in 1571.

Second, you point us to the necessity of systematic theology as a way of binding us together.  But frankly, I don’t see how that really helps us at all.  For the inevitable question then remains:  WHOSE systematic theology?  And in particular, will the theologians we looks to for that comprehensive guide to the interpretation of the Scriptures and the will of God be PRIMARILY from the patristic period or primarily from the Reformation period.  I would want to go with the former (Irenaeus, the Capadocians, Augustine, Leo the Great etc.), whereas you would clearly want to go with the latter (especially the great Reformed and even Puritan theologicans).  So how does turning to systematics really help us?

Which leaves us with this haunting question: Which document will the FCA movement chose to emphasize, and which to de-emphasize?  Will we focus on the Quadrialteral (which I think has been unduly neglected so far) or on the Articles? 

So there you have it, folks.  The Vicar of Ugley and I would almost certainly make opposite choices here.  We have both taken our stand personally.  But how will the orthodox majority of the AC choose as a whole?  Which way will we decide to go once it becomes clear to all that we do in fact face a momentous choice and stand at a major fork in the road here?  How do you faithful readers of SF choose?

Only time will tell if we can “walk together.”  But I sure hope so.

But in the meantime, I thank you again, John, for a calm, thoughtful, and even generous presentation.  The very fact that you were invited to give such a speech to a Forward in Faith group, and that you accepted the challenge, is in and of itself a very encouraging sign of hope.

Bottom line: as a firm advocate of “3-D Christianity” (evangelical, catholic, and charismatic), I sincerely and fervently believe that the evangelical and catholic dimensions of Christianity are not antithetical, as is so often wrongly assumed.  Rather it is the GLORY of Anglicanism to be two-dimensional, BOTH evangelical in spirit and catholic in substance.  The two don’t cancel each other out, but complement each other in crucial ways.  And the charismatic dimension further enriches that blend and completes or is a necessary counter-balance to the other two.

David Handy+

[158] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 11-4-2008 at 09:51 AM · [top]

For once I agree with you, David+. 

Every heresy ever invented is walking the earth in our day, and one of the reasons is that Protestants so often act as though the Resurrection happened in about 1920 and the NT was written down about 1945.  Doctrinal minimalists who want to be able to do anything Scripture doesn’t explicitly forbid are part of the trouble, and folks who are heirs to an interpretive tradition that they are unaware of and uncritical of are another part.  We need the whole Church to interpret Scripture—the Church of the ages, not just the one on the corner.

The Church spreads across all nations, but she also spreads out through all time, and it is wicked folly to squander the expensive lessons of the past.  As Bismarck famously said, “You are fools to say you learn from your mistakes. I learn from the mistakes of other men.”

Cheers,

Phil Hobbs

[159] Posted by gone on 11-4-2008 at 10:14 AM · [top]

Thanks, Phil (#159).

I suspect we agree a lot more than you might suppose.  But I appreciate your positive and cordial remarks.

Chesterton had a wonderful way of talking about the importance of paying heed to the consensus of the whole Church, i.e., of all times as well as places, including all those who’ve gone before us.  He called it, “the democracy of the dead.”  Good to remember on Election Day.

Amicably,
David Handy+

[160] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 11-4-2008 at 10:24 AM · [top]

David (Handy), thank you for your considered response (#158), which calls for some reply (necessarily truncated by pressure of work). As a preliminary, I would highly recommend to you and to others following this thread the lecture given by Edward Norman to the 1998 Lambeth Conference Authority in the Anglican Communion.

Norman had some very pertinent things to say back then about the issue of authority, and subsequent developments have, I think, borne him out.

Of particular relevance is his reference to the Lambeth Quadrilateral itself, which, he says, “demonstrated a reductionism which avoided the basic difficulty of defining an institutional source of authority”. In other words (I think), it appeared to create unity by failing to mention anything around which disunity might cohere and which might, therefore, call for the exercise of authority, for as he goes on to say, “Unity and authority are not quite the same thing”. But do read his whole essay (though it is quite long).

Interestingly, the first question put to me at Lincoln was precisely about the Lambeth Quadrilateral. My response (which the questioner described as Jesuitical - in a good way) was precisely that Lambeth statements and resolutions have no authority to bind anyone (as we have subsequently seen with Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10). Thus the Lambeth Quadrilateral could (and should) be evaluated in terms of the wisdom of those by whom it was proposed and the contribution it makes to our understanding, but it binds no one, since there is no authority by which it can bind.

Norman goes on to quote Bishop Stephen Bayne, sometime Executive Officer of the Anglican Communion, describing the Thirty-nine Articles as “a kind of monument to an attempt on our part, centuries ago, to show how far we could go in the direction of a confessional attitude without actually adopting one”, adding “In any case ... they are museum pieces now”.

That must be admitted as a real difficulty regarding the Communion as a whole. But Norman also observes that Bishop Bayne’s office “was itself unofficial, since there is, in Anglicanism, no mechanism for creating offices with pan-Anglican authority.”

If I have understood Norman correctly, he would suggest that there is not even an Anglican mechanism to create such an authority. Quite rightly, he observes that “the Reformation had cut the English Church off from the canonical authority (the See of Rome) which had before determined heresy, without plainly locating it anywhere.” Thus authority passed first to the Crown (under successive Acts of Supremacy) and then, finally, to the Privy Council, before being more or less dropped towards the end of the nineteenth century - about the time that the original Chicago Quadrilateral was being conceived.

Norman concludes with a question: “The basic division remains: do Christians have access to an infallible teaching office, as the historic Churches have always claimed, or are the Protestants right in supposing that only Scripture is indefectible?”

My own suggestion is that the antithesis need not be so absolute. Rather, the Church sits under only one authority - Scripture - but the interpretation and application of Scripture is a task of the Church. My difference (as I understand it) from the ‘Catholic’ take on this, however, is that the Church does not have any ‘infallibility’. Rather, proper interpretation is achieved by hard, human, work, empowered by the Holy Spirit. There is no ‘short cut’ in saying this Council or that Office has pronounced this or that and so it ‘must be true’ for that reason.

Systematic theology, moreover, is not about picking a system and sticking with it - whether from the Patristic or the Reformation period. Rather, theology is the constant task of the Church, and ‘systematics’ is the discipline whereby we attempt to ensure that a theology (an interpretation or an application of revelation) holds water.

A good systematic theology will thus commend itself by (a) its explanatory power when applied to revelation in one direction and life-application in the other and (b) by its not leaving too many inconsistencies around which would undermine it.

In this sense, doing systematic theology ought to be like doing ‘science’. Scientific certainty is achieved not so much by proof as by the resistance to disproof. We can only really be sure of theories which have been refuted (sure they are wrong, that is). But theories which resist disproof gradually gain the status of near certainty.

In the same way, doing systematic theology should mean exposing our theology to disproof - or to awkward questioning. The more a theology stands up to such questioning, the more secure it may claim to be.

The source of that theology is thus irrelevant (whether Pope, Council or pulpit). The validation of that theology is what should count in the end.

I hope this may help. I am conscious of time pressing on and must stop here.

[161] Posted by John Richardson on 11-4-2008 at 10:39 AM · [top]

#158, David, we are in full agreement.  From my side, I’d emphasize not only Patristics but the seven Ecumenical Councils.  There is much that is good in the 39 Articles, just as there is much that is good in the Presbyterian Church.  However, I am not a Presbyterian and I wouldn’t attempt to use a fundamentally Presbyterian document as the plumb bob for the faith.  That the Church of England in particular has been defined by the Articles of Religion for so long IMHO speaks to an essential incoherence.  A corner was turned politically but the hearts of the English people have not forgotten the light of the Pascal candle or the faith that was England’s faith as long before as it has been other after.  Cromwellians begin by tearing down “Romish” stained glass (and Sir Thomas More) but end with denying the Incarnation (and the church from which they received Christianity) ... all because in their poverty of spirit, they do not know the beauty of holiness.  They kill what they do not understand and so take the place of Cain, listening to the one who was a liar and a murderer from the beginning, the prince of this world.  Protestants would do well to sort out their affiliations between Cromwell and Cranmer.  Honestly, David, I began looking for the early church and found it still holding services in Eastern Orthodoxy.  There was a time when it wasn’t “cool” to be of Irish descent.  Now, I see all sorts of WASP American churches with celtic crosses everywhere.  Perhaps we can grow sufficiently, when we are past our fears, to likewise celebrate Christianity in the many ethnic faces of Eastern Orthodoxy ... certainly in the language of this nation. I never saw the overweaningly ethnic aspect of TEC until I walked a bit in the shoes of people from other places.  We have similar culture shock looking at African Anglicans.  There are certainly aspects of cultures emmeshed in poverty that are unattractive to us. Not all culture is good. At the same time, we need to distinguish between our American culture and our faith lest we begin to worship the Church of the New Thing, like TEO.  If I might be so bold, it would be instructive to look to the Eastern Orthodox churches ... both for their failures and for their successes…for they have endured in the patristic tradition, worship and theology for two thousand years.  Look through the eyes of Christ ... sometimes crucifixion is an apostolic success.

[162] Posted by monologistos on 11-4-2008 at 11:11 AM · [top]

David+,

Since we’re both charismatic evangelical catholics, our Venn diagrams should have a lot of overlap, it’s true.  We seem to differ mainly on what we consider to be evidence, and on how far one should try to move the Church based on more or less probable reasoning. 

My differences with others here, e.g. Bo and carl and Moot, are generally of the same sort, with the addition of the Catholic vs Reformed view (especially to the solas and the Sacraments) and certain differences of tone.  I’m with you on dinosaurs, Sacraments, and patristics, and differ with all those named on Scripture. 

Sydney I don’t see as recognizably Catholic at all.  They seem to have a virulent case of the 1945-NT disease, as well as no sense of the force of Paul’s idol meat principle.

Of the authors I know, my position is most like Lewis’s, though I think he’s up a pole on some things, e.g. the imprecatory Psalms.

Cheers,

Phil Hobbs

[163] Posted by gone on 11-4-2008 at 11:12 AM · [top]

#161, who is it that “does” systematic theology as you describe it? An individual theologian.  Everyone is doing their own theology and the result is “theology of feminism”, “theology of liberation”, etc… but seldom the Church’s theology.  I would contend that this process will inevitably confuse exegesis with eisogesis and produce the chaos of denominationalism that has ensued from Reformation times and now affects Roman Catholics almost as much, at least here in the USA.  There is a naivete in proposing that scientific rigor will produce good systematic theology or transcend hermeneutical problems.  The reductionism we see in the treatment of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral is often because we are misusing it as a sufficient statement for understanding one’s own identity rather than as a guideline for a starting place for ecumenical discussion.  Sadly, Anglicanism is so fractured that ecumenical discussion is where it is at.  I would worry that the idea that there is no authority within Anglicanism will lead you, however reluctantly, to the conclusion of the Righter Trial on nearly every issue.  Indeed, it appears to be the curse of the Reformation that churchs are defined by some list of fundamentals to which individual intellectual assent must be given.  Begin with right worship and right belief will follow, taking up the longer Tradition of the Church and not only the dialogue between Protestantism and Catholicism.  But do not be deceived that outward authority such as canon law or confessionals are sufficient.  Unity is a gift from God that comes only through transformation of the faith community by the Holy Spirit.  That being said, we will not find it if we are each off on our individual Gnostic knightly quests for self fulfillment(psychological night sea journeys) rather than serving at the Round Table, so to speak.May God bless Anglicans everywhere.  But if it is His will that Anglicanism splinter because there is, in its essence, something splintered away from Him already, nothing we can do will prevent it.

[164] Posted by monologistos on 11-4-2008 at 12:07 PM · [top]

#159—You are very correct about this, and have nailed a source of a great deal of controversy and misunderstanding.

[165] Posted by GB on 11-4-2008 at 12:26 PM · [top]

John, aka “Ugley Vicar” (#161),

Thank you for a very thoughtful and illuminating response.  It’s late here in Virginia, so I won’t attempt to say anything more now than that I appreciate the tip to check out Edward Norman’s perspective.  As much as anything, I’m grateful for the respectful tone of your reply.

And monologistos (#162 & 164),
Thanks for your kind words and support.  I certainly hope that you’re right about people someday soon becoming as open to the rich treasures of eastern Orthodox spirituality and the ethnic cultures where Orthodoxy is so deeply embedded as they have become in recent years to the Celtic heritage that is now so popular.

BTW, I have a particular fondness and admiration for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which to me is the other great bridge church in the Christian world.  That is, it plays the same key role as the natural bridge between Eastern and Western Christianity that Anglicanism plays as the bridge between Protestantism and Catholicism.  Not only is it by far the largest of the so-called Uniate or eastern rite churches in communion with the Pope, but the Ukrainian Catholics seem to have a real appreciation for Augustine, which regrettably doesn’t seem to be true of most of the eastern churches.  Cardinal Slipyi (Archbishop of L’viv and head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church during the horrendous Stalin years) is a hero figure to me, one of the great saints of he mid-20th century.  Those who aren’t familiar with his remarkable and inspiring life should take a look at Jaroslav Pelikan’s marvelous biography of the man, “Confessor between East and West.”

Thanks to both the Ugley Vicar and monologistos.  In a curious way you both epitomize one of my concerns as an advocate of “3-D Christianity” (evangelical, catholic, and charismatic).  That is, I wish to reach out my right hand to Conservative Evangelicals like you, John, and help build bridges of fellowship and understanding instead of walls between Reform-minded Anglicans like yourse and the staunch Anglo-Catholicism represented by my home diocese of Albany.  But I also wish to reach out my left hand to join hands with our Eastern (and Oriental) Orthodox brothers and sisters and to build bridges of mutual respect and understanding there too.

David Handy+

[166] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 11-4-2008 at 11:29 PM · [top]

David, we’ve spoken before about Augustine and my perception of the ills that come into the church through his slanted view of Original Sin and perhaps even of women.  I don’t know that it is an oversight that Augustine is not a pivotal figure in the theology of the Eastern Churches.  Likewise, the centrality of the so-called Athanasian Creed ... unknown to Athanasius and his disciples and indeed the Christian East for nearly a thousand years but relying heavily upon Augustinian theology ... it isn’t necessarily bad but we don’t build all upon individuals.  To elevate personalities like Augustine or Calvin or Luther (or Paul Tillich, in TEC) to being in Hegel’s terms, the world historical individual about whom history (and theology) pivots can be to lessen Christ’s centrality and that of the Church. Are we for Paul?  Are we for Barnabus?  Are we for Peter?  No, we worship with Christ and all the apostles.The so-called Athanasian Creed is a uselful example of this problem.  It isn’t a creed but a confession.  It was probably written by a monk at Arles.  Look at the relative dependencies between East and West regarding dependence upon the Nicene Creed, established by the whole church in ecumenical councils versus the various confessionals that spring up in the occidental churches.  Regardless of the content, the mode of acceptance is very different and the reaction to changes in that mode speak to a different understanding. The Nicene Creed has been received by the whole church (minus a very few who separated themselves from us).  The Augsburg Confession, for example, has been received only by Lutherans. The Nicene Creed is understood to be the mutual inheritance of the whole church, not unlike Holy Scripture.  Even as I wouldn’t take it upon myself to write a paraphrase of the Gospel (God bless Peterson and all his *other* works but The Message was a disaster if used as Scripture ... it should NEVER be used in common worship)so that I could emphasize things important to me, so I would not add a clause to the Nicene Creed with the notion of strenthening some principle important to me. The consequence of doing so in the west, according to my lights, has been to found new churches upon individual modifications of the received Tradition…and NOT upon the whole received Tradition.  An investigation of the difference between creed and confession might be helpful as the difficult questions of authority are taken up.

[167] Posted by monologistos on 11-6-2008 at 08:28 AM · [top]

In case you are wondering what I make of the “Apostles’ Creed”, I honor it as an example of the earliest worship within the Church.  It is primative Christianity at its best.  As for the full statement of the Church to be used in worship, Orthodoxy uses the Nicene Creed. I would say there is nothing WRONG with the Apostles’ Creed but that it leaves open certain interpretations that were in error.You might reasonably ask me then, if I will not modify the Nicene Creed a whit to clarify some possible error, why would I modify the Apostles’ Creed?  Most simply, I don’t.  Two Ecumenical Councils of the whole church did so.  It was not done off in Western Europe.  Even Rome refused the Filioque modification until around 900 when the papacy passed from Italians to Franks.  It was not received by all and never has been ... and frankly, so to speak, much of the acceptance had to do with local politics and trendiness rather than theology.Similarly, I have no doubt it is trendy to be an Obama supporter right now and forget his apalling record on abortion.

[168] Posted by monologistos on 11-6-2008 at 08:43 AM · [top]

monologistos (#167 & 168),

Hmmm.  That was a rather sharp reaction to what I intended as a friendly overture or respect for the eastern Christian tradition.  Not that I’m offended, I’m not, just a bit surprised.

As you probably know, but all readers of SF should and may not know, the 1988 Lambeth Conference explicitly gave permission for Anglicans to omit the controversial filioque clause (about the Spirit proceeding from the Father “and the Son”) when reciting the Nicene Creed.  And I sometimes do that myself, but not because I reject the doctrine itself.

As you may know, monologistos, the DOCTRINE of the Spirit proceeding from both the Father and the Son predates Augustine and is found already in Hilary of Poitier around AD 370.  Hilary is considered by Rome to be one of the 34 “Doctors” of the Church, largely on accont of his big book on “The Trinity.”  And like Irenaeus, he came from the East, although he was a bishop in the West.  Hilary was like Irenaeus in that he knew both Greek and Latin well and was acquainted with both developing theological traditions.  I was simply trying to say that I think Cardinal Yoseph Slipyi and the Ukrainian Catholic Church has a valuable role to play as a bridge between East and West, a key role similar to that played by Irenaeus and Hilary in the early “undivided” Church.

Alas, one of the problems with Augustine was that he knew only Latin.  Hence his misunderstanding of a key text like Romans 5:12, upon the misleading Latin translation of which Augustine based his incredibly influential (and fateful) doctrine of Original Sin.  But if the medieval Latin Church was prone to defer to Augustine too much and too uncritically in some ways, I’m afraid that the Byzantine Church had the opposite problem of being ignorant of, and unduly suspicious of, the great Doctor of Hippo.  Or so it seems to me.

My point was simply that I think that this is another area where we ought to be trying as best we can to build bridges instead of walls.  Just as John Richardson was doing when he spoke at the FiF-UK meeting in Lincoln.

David Handy+

[169] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 11-6-2008 at 10:31 AM · [top]

#169, David, it was not meant as a sharp response but a firm one.  I applaud your pacifist spirit.  Forgive me, I tend toward being a firebrand at times.  Anglicanism is in tatters and the incoherence of the big umbrella is a leading cause.  I’m less interested in being a bridge between one place or another than in standing firmly within the holy, catholic and apostolic church…which I don’t see as a bridge except insofar as it is a bridge between heaven and earth.  (Sadly, “Via Media” has been preempted by a group of radicals within TEO.)  What matters here is not that we support one another comfortably in our assertions but that we gain some perspective if there is to be any hope of holding the Anglican Communion together.  The examples of the isolation of the Continuers is the threat which looms.  I believe it is a serious threat.Theological questions about how we wish to look at the procession of the Holy Spirit may or may not directly speak to the use or misuse of the Creed. There are many theological questions that are good and interesting that should not be inserted in the Creed at my discretion. My chief point is not that all theologies of the double procession are wrong but that insertion of the same in the Creed by one party within the church was a failure of conciliarity that contributed to schism.I was not attributing that problem to Augustine.  I am confident, for all of Augustine’s remarkable personal gifts, that the Christian faith is essentially intact and whole without him.  For those who cannot conceive of Christianity without the Solas of Calvinism, I must point to history.  From whence came the faith to Calvin and his followers? From whence came Holy Scripture but from the worshipping Church which wrote, collected and no doubt redacted it?  This same worshipping church that canonized Scripture has also given us the Nicene Creed.  Sola Scriptura is incoherent and while I’m sympathetic of the motive of thereby grounding authority the hermeneutical question cannot be ignored. Similarly, to those who would reject any denomination that does not practice open communion (for baptized), where did today’s Episcopal Church come from? Open Communion is a few decades old. It didn’t just descend like Brigadoon from the Apostles. And if it did, it would not be Reformed.  When I read my fellows who have such excellent reasoning ability and with whom I am in such wide agreement and sympathy, such as Carl, reject elements of worship such as incense (or prayers to the saints or honoring the Theotokos or having a lacy bookmark in one’s bible) as “Roman”, I despair of us ever learning our own history and I despair of any hope of substantive ecumenicism.

[170] Posted by monologistos on 11-6-2008 at 11:58 AM · [top]

Peace be with your spirit.  My prayer here (to you saints and saints in the making)is that you consider the sources of authority in the first millenium of the Church and how they were regarded and what marked the failures to respect that authority that led to schism ... so that, God willing, we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes.  In this prayer, I do bend the knee of my heart to you, that through my words or even despite them, God might act within your hearts. And yes, of course, God is the source of all blessings and yet we bless one another.  I’m sure the Theotokos would like to see us acting like a family - so for the sake of Jesus’ mom and all our moms who love us, may we so seek to cooperate with God’s finding of us that we may be gathered by the Good Shepherd, Our Lord, in God’s own time, into the Communion of the Saints and full koinonia.  May the faith of the Church sustain us and Grace sanctify us unto this end. 

Come, Holy Spirit, and renew your Church!

[171] Posted by monologistos on 11-6-2008 at 12:25 PM · [top]

Looking particularly at the exchange between carl and Emily (although comments by some others reinforce the recollection), I am reminded of nothing quite so much as a quote from Newman’s 1845 An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, written about a year before he was received into the Catholic Church. The specific passage is as follows [emphases added]:

The most obvious answer, then, to the question, why we yield to the authority of the Church in the questions and developments of faith, is, that some authority there must be if there is a revelation given, and other authority there is none but she. A revelation is not given if there be no authority to decide what it is that is given. . . . If Christianity is both social and dogmatic, and intended for all ages, it must humanly speaking have an infallible expounder. Else you will secure unity of form at the loss of unity of doctrine, or unity of doctrine at the loss of unity of form; you will have to choose between a comprehension of opinions and a resolution into parties, between latitudinarian and sectarian error. You may be tolerant or intolerant of contrarieties of thought, but contrarieties you will have.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[172] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 8-31-2010 at 11:31 AM · [top]

#38
CESA canons permit lay administration of the Holy Communion only in exceptional cases and on a one time basis with the approval of the Presiding Bishop each time. This is not quite the same as a lay person regularly officiating at a celebration of Holy Communion and is similar to the practice of a number of Lutheran churches.

[173] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 8-31-2010 at 01:38 PM · [top]

From a Roman Catholic perspective Anglican orders are invalid and those who officiate at Anglican celebrations of Holy Communion are lay men. The Orthodox Churches, which are really Orthodox, also do not recognize Anglican orders. Anglican priests are viewed as heretics or schismatics.

[174] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 8-31-2010 at 01:42 PM · [top]

Could someone who follows this issue more closely than I’ve been able to please explain what the “obvious reasons” are that this is being bumped now?  Is some kind of decision imminent?  Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere.

Thanks,
Pigeon

[175] Posted by Pigeon on 8-31-2010 at 04:02 PM · [top]

Pigeon,

There is another thread called “Australian Church Tribunal Opinion on Diaconal Administration: An Inconsistent Ruling?” which has been stimulating some comment. I think its been bumped to put that one into context.

[176] Posted by MichaelA on 8-31-2010 at 05:08 PM · [top]

Hey Pigeon—the topic has been back in the news recently—here are the two SF posts on the topic:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/26474
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/26529

[177] Posted by Sarah on 8-31-2010 at 05:10 PM · [top]

As liberal as I am on many issues, including women’s ordination, same sex marriage, and abortion, this is too much even for me. That said, I think the a better solution is to lower the barriers to ordination. It is too political and subjective. When I became a lawyer, I a)got a degree in the subject b) passed a very extensive background check and c) passed a very difficult 3 day examination. Yet if I want to be ordained I have to be approved by this committee and that committee and can be derailed anywhere along the way for any reason or no reason. Let’s adopt a similar criteria to ordain clergy - get a M.Div. degree, pass the GOE, and pass a background check to be sure we’re not ordaining child molesters,  thieves, and nut cases.

[178] Posted by DesertDavid on 9-2-2010 at 11:51 PM · [top]

DesertDavid could you identify what it is about diaconal or lay presidency that “is too much for you”?

Let me offer an argument in the kinds of terms that might work:

1. The three fold ordering of ministry is a relic of an hierarchical society.
2. It is unmentioned by Jesus and contradicts the equality of which Paul wrote.
3. Including those who have been excluded is the work of the Spirit as we see evidenced in the church’s changing views on slavery and race.
4. Lay and deacons people have been excluded from presiding at the eucharist.
5. Therefore lay and diaconal presidency is a Gospel imperative.

[179] Posted by driver8 on 9-3-2010 at 12:52 AM · [top]

As liberal as I am on many issues, including women’s ordination, same sex marriage, and abortion, this is too much even for me.

You’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at this.

[180] Posted by Derek Smith on 9-3-2010 at 03:27 AM · [top]

Yes, liberals are always useful for some light relief, but not much more.

The more serious issue is that by practicing diaconal administration, Sydney appears to be abandoning its own long-held principles, and also abandoning the stream of reformed evangelicalism which it has championed for so long.

Proponents of diaconal administration are now using the argument: “We can do this because it is not expressly forbidden by scripture, therefore it is a matter of christian liberty”. However, this dodges the issue:

Sydney Diocese for two centuries has worked on the basis that if one abandons or changes a long-held ecclesiastical practice, then an explanation is required. If no positive justification can be provided for the change, then it should not be permitted because the motivation is suspect.

That is the principle that evangelicals in Sydney used to oppose the liturgical innovations of the ritualist Movement in the late 19th century - that such things as brass crosses, robed choirs, cathedral reredos etc were not simply a matter of christian freedom, but being innovations (at least in Sydney), they had to be positively justified. The great Sydney evangelicals Archbishop Barker (19th century) and T. C. Hammond (early 20th century) would now ask the same questions of proponents of diaconal administration:

“What is your justification for abandoning a principle of church government that has been practiced in Sydney diocese for two centuries, and before that for many centuries more going back to the reformers? Christian liberty is not a sufficient response - what is your positive reason for this innovation?”

It will be interesting to read the response.

[181] Posted by MichaelA on 9-3-2010 at 06:49 PM · [top]

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