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August 31, 2010


[Bumped For Obvious Reasons] Anglicanism Upside Down Down Under? Understanding Lay Administration

The question of Lay Presidency of the Lord’s Supper has been placed firmly on the global Anglican agenda by the recent motion by the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney. The motion read as follows:

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.

and was passed overwhelmingly. Subsequently the Archbishop made it clear that he would not consider licensing laity to administer communion, out of respect to those that objected. Thus we are now at the position where the Diocese of Sydney approves of Diaconal Administration.

Almost as soon as the news got out there were strong responses. Perhaps the most concerned were GAFCON partners who saw the move as a serious breach in Anglican order. A clear example would be the following from Peter Toon of the Prayer Book Society of the USA:

...what the Diocese of Sydney has recently re-affirmed and confirmed as its public doctrine stands in total opposition to the doctrinal and public stance of GAFCON.

This is, quite clearly, an issue where Anglicans are divided - and divided where, previously, they had stood together.

So what has moved the Synod of Sydney to take this decision, knowing that it would upset and even offend many of their global partners - partners that only months earlier they had work so hard to win over? How should orthodox Anglicans all over the Communion understand these actions? What are the convictions that drive the motion and how can it be that evangelicals at Sydney should, in good conscience, pass such a resolution without considering it to be in any way a contradiction of their dearly-held Anglican identity?

This piece is not an apologetic for that decision, although the reader should not be ignorant of the fact that I am broadly in favour of Synod’s position - which places me somewhat at odds with my blogging colleagues at Stand Firm. As things stand I am an ordained Deacon in the Diocese and I wait, after the Rector has canvassed the opinion of church members, for my Church Council’s approval for me to administer Communion. I am, myself, an object of the current controversy and I realise that even that simple fact causes distress to some of our readers.

Nevertheless, I wanted to spend the time working hard at helping our more “Catholic”-minded friends understand how Sydney had reached this point. I won’t pretend to be neutral, rather I intend to set out (to the best of my ability) how we have ended up in this place. Along the way we will tap into some of the deeper debates that have been had in this place and others about the nature of Anglican identity. That cannot be avoided. As John Richardson observed in his recent address to the Lincoln branch of Forward in Faith in the UK,

the ‘farmer’ of Anglo-Catholicism and the ‘cowman’ of Conservative Evangelicalism can, indeed, be friends

while, in the same speech laying out a great number of areas of challenge to his audience. I would suggest that our shared convictions (or, at least our claim to share convictions) should make us eager to listen to each other, particularly on areas of deeper disagreement.

Defining the Issue

What is indicated by the term “Lay Administration”? Are we talking about assistance at Communion, what others may call “distribution”? More than that is intended. When one reads over the legion documents produced in Sydney over this issue, it immediately becomes apparent that presidency at the Lord’s Supper is indicated. This terminology is consistent with the 1662 BCP so, for example, in the prayers at Communion you have this:

Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and Curates, that they may both by their life and doctrine set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments.

and in the next notice:

EARLY beloved, on——- day next I purpose, through God’s assistance, to administer to all such as shall be religiously and devoutly disposed the most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; to be by them received in remembrance of his meritorious Cross and Passion;

Presidency, including consecration, is obviously in view. Indeed, the service is properly titled “The Order of the Administration of the Lord’s Supper”.

Legal/Canonical Objections

The question of a legal or canonical objection is not something that can be simply ringfenced from other areas. For our Anglo-Catholic friends church order, including the matter of canons, overlaps heavily with theology. It is not simply a question of whether something is legally or canonically permitted that makes something be in good order. The endorsement of the election of Gene Robinson, for example, did not make the action any more valid.

With this in mind, we must still consider the question of legal objections. This issue was dealt with by the Standing Committe of Sydney’s synod back in 1993. The report can be found here. (A number of other relevant reports, going back over 20 years, may be found here. Such a provenance of this position should indicate to the reader a high degree of conservatism, rather than an impulsive rush, in the area of legislating for controversial changes). The report notes that the 1985 General Synod of the Church in Australia passed a canon on the ordination of Deacons. I will let the report make it’s own argument:

5.      Two notable changes occur in the service.  First, the restriction upon the deacon, who could previously only baptise infants in the absence of the priest,[6] is removed so that the deacon may baptise a candidate of any age and do so, if appropriate, in the presence of the priest. Second, the authority to preach, which was previously dependent upon the bishop’s permission is replaced with the bishop’s instruction: “to preach the word of God in the place to which you are licensed.”  In other words, the licence to preach, which was not inherent in the BCP service, is now constitutive of the order of deacon.[7]

6.      Under the 1985 canon, both of these changes are highlighted in the words of the bishop when he gives the deacon a copy of the New Testament: “Receive this sign of your authority to proclaim God’s word and to assist in the administration of the sacraments.”

7.      These changes have been universally recognised as an authorisation of the deacon to preach God’s word and to administer baptism to candidates of any age.  In many ways this represented a liturgical catch up as many deacons had baptised candidates other than infants, and the recognition that there are occasions when it is appropriate for a deacon to baptise, notwithstanding the presence of a priest. However, what is curious about the wording of the 1985 service is the explicit inclusion of the holy communion in the deacon’s responsibilities. On three occasions the term “administration” of the sacraments is used in the service, whereas the word “baptism” does not occur at all.

...

11.      What pertains to the authority to administer baptism pertains to the authority to administer holy communion.  There is no differentiation in the service between the deacon’s authority to administer either sacrament.  In both cases the deacon is assisting the priest, whether it be in administering baptism or in administering holy communion.

If Deacons are to assist the Priest in baptism by performing baptisms, argued the report, then surely the same should be accepted for communion - the ordination canon made no distinction between the too. (Remember, at this point we are speaking only to the legal objections). The legal position is founded upon the premise that the Deacon’s role has been raised in all areas to that of the Priest by leglislation.

Theological Objections

The Report cited above contains an Appendix, the contents of which are a report by the Doctrine Commission of the Diocese. Again, it would be best to allow them to speak for themselves:

2.    Theological Assumptions

2.1     The Doctrine Commission accepts the finding of the 1983 report that the arguments against lay presidency at the Lord’s Supper, such as those expressed in the General Synod Doctrine Commission Report Towards a Theology of Ordination, are incorrect, and that “there is no Scriptural or doctrinal barrier to lay presidency”.

2.2     Moreover there do exist positive reasons, theological, historical and practical, for allowing lay presidency at the Lord’s Supper.

(a)    The welcome development of lay preaching ministry over many years has resulted in a distortion of our Anglican order which has, in effect, elevated the Sacrament above the Word in that those authorised to preach are not necessarily authorised to preside (note the words “vice versa” in the 1985 report quoted above).  To preserve the balance of Anglican order there is a need for lay ministry of the Sacrament to develop in a way corresponding to lay ministry of the Word.

(b)    On the grounds that Jesus Christ alone was the proper sacramentum given us by God (1 Tim 2:3-7; 3: 14-1 6), the 16th century Reformers worked to heal the split between Word and Sacrament endemic to medieval theology and practice.  Anglican writers of the period when the formularies were being composed “regarded the ministry of the word and that of the two sacraments as closely bound up together, and were, generally speaking, entirely free from those sacerdotal conceptions which put the ministry of the eucharist in a class by itself” (i) While the question of lay presidency at the Lord’s Supper hardly arose in this period, this was because lay ministry was generally only envisaged in cases of necessity or “highly remote theory”.[ii]  Normally a layman could neither preach nor administer the sacraments.  Where opposition to lay presidency was expressed, it was in terms of the general argument propounded by Calvin, which was based on the concept of those “called and authorised” to each and administer the sacraments.”[iii]  The main stream of Anglican writers did not apply Calvin’s argument narrowly, as can be seen in their views of lay baptism, and, at least theoretically, of lay preaching.  The development of Anglican lay ministry generally in more recent times has likewise not accepted a restricted application of Calvin’s principles of order to modern church life.  We have recognised that lay people too may be “called and authorised” for various ministries.  However the separation we now see between preaching and sacraments was inconceivable to the Reformers.  This separation has developed in the climate created in Anglicanism by the theology of the 19th century Tractarian movement which reverted to pre-Reformation views of Church and ministry.[iv]

(c)    It follows that the role of presiding at the Lord’s Supper should not be elevated above the role of presiding when the congregation of God’s people gathers for prayer and the hearing of God’s Word.  This is not a diminution of the importance of the Lord’s Supper: it is, rather, a recognition of the importance of every gathering of God’s household.  At the centre of every such assembly must be the word of Christ, the gospel of Jesus Christ and him crucified.  We have rightly recognised that the headship of Christ over his household allows for any suitably mature and gifted member of the congregation to be authorised to preside at Morning and Evening Prayer (see the conclusion to the 1983 Doctrine Commission Report, 1.1 above).  It follows that the prohibition of lay presidency at the Lord’s Supper is today a serious inconsistency, which has distorted Anglican order as envisaged in our formularies (see (d) below).

(d)    The anomaly of churches, schools, colleges which have regular Anglican ministry, but must bring in an outside priest on certain occasions in order to conduct the Lord’s Supper suggests the “Mass priest” concept rightly rejected by our forebears.

(e)    When lay people are permitted to share in every form of ministry except one in the regular meetings of the congregation, except one, the impression can be given that the prohibited thing is the essence of ordained ministry.  A sacerdotal view of the priesthood is difficult to avoid.  Again this is a distortion of Anglican order due to the welcome developments in lay ministry which have not however been matched in the ministry of the Sacraments.

It has been suggested to me that it is worth considering the original intent of much of the order put in place durning the 16th Century Reformation. Why, for example, were only some Priests licensed to preach their own sermons whereas all were licensed to preside at Communion? The answer, of course, is that Cranmer had provided the words for Communion, whereas sermons came from the Priest’s own pen. Hence the need for homilies.
This action was not to raise the Sacrament over the Word and its preaching but, rather, to protect what Cranmer clearly saw as of first importance - the preaching of the word of God. He was obviously no sacerdotalist.

Of course, we now have (particularly in Sydney) a situation where not only the clergy but much of the laity are theologically literate and competent. We are, rightly, licensing many men to preach. We have ended up with a situation where what was previously prioritised and reserved (the preaching of the word) no longer needs to be whereas that which could not be so readily abused and was previously not so constrained (the sacrament) is now more restricted. This is, surely, contrary to Cranmer’s original intention. His original change was gospel-minded, prioritising and protecting the word of God. Perhaps, some in Sydney are suggesting, another like-minded change is required?

The current Dean of Sydney, Philip Jensen, puts it more simply in his recent piece “Traditions Old and New”:

There is no reason to retain or to dispense with some custom just because it is old - anymore than there is any reason to embrace something because it is new. What pleases God is that we put forward the Gospel of Jesus clearly so that His people can understand His ways and respond in obedient faith.

The move from Sydney must be recognised as coming from a sincere (although some may argue incorrectly focussed) gospel imperative.

Anglican Identity

The question of Cranmer’s original intent, outlined above, and his understanding of the gospel strike to the very heart of current discussions over the nature of Anglican Identity. Sydney Anglicans would see themselves firmly in the line of those Reformers of the 1500’s, who they understand to have be unfeignedly protestant.

This is, of course, where the real fault-line lies. Conservative evangelicals, such as those typically found in Sydney, do not see themselves as bound to tradition as their High Church friends. Indeed, they are more than happy to reject Tradition if they understand it to be contrary to the Scriptures, as they understand Cranmer and his peers felt impelled to do. It is no surprise that Sydney is a place that, while having a very low rate of usage of the Prayer Book, has a very high allegiance to the 39 Articles and the theology of the Prayer Book. It is a strange combination, but perhaps more understandable with reference to Article 34:

XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.
IT is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one or utterly alike; for at all times they have been diverse, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s word. Whosoever through his private judgement willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be not repugnant to the word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly that other may fear to do the like, as he that offendeth against common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the conscience of the weak brethren.
  Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

Many here would look to that Article and see in it a mandate to change traditions and ceremonies so that the gospel be most clearly communicated to the culture in which we find ourselves.

It is not a mystery that much of the opposition to Lay Presidency from those who would be more generally included in the “orthodox” camp comes from the “Higher” church Anglo-Catholics - those who look not to Cranmer but Laud, Pusey and, of course, Newman for their identity. This, of course, is an issue we have discussed in this place before. Readers will be under no illusions as to where I stand on the matter but perhaps I might quote again from Richardson. His words may be better received as “wounds from a friend”, or at least serve to outline the nature of the evangelical objection:

...the Anglo-Catholic must face the fact that many things precious to the tradition are, in fact, at odds with the formal position of the denomination. The onus is, therefore, on the innovator to justify their position.

Above all the Anglo-Catholic must, if progress is to be made, demonstrate the coherence of his own position within Anglicanism.

As I have stated, this is a place where the 39 Articles are taken seriously. The consitution of the Australian Church sets the Articles as the standard of doctrine and in Sydney oaths to uphold that doctrine are said and believed.

Drawing Lines?

I do not think it would be too much to state that a frank response from many in Sydney who accuse them of innovation with their move to Lay Presidency would include a challenge to consider who the real innovators were. That is not to say that in Sydney there is great antipathy amongst the leadership to Anglo-Catholicism. On the contrary. Peter Jensen worked hard at GAFCON to build as many bridges as possible. Back here in Australia he joined with Anglo-Catholics in forming the “Association for Apostolic Ministry” in response to the consecration of women bishops.

Nevertheless, the move to widen the administration of the Lord’s Supper is bound to increase, not decrease, pre-existing divisions in the Communion. What for Sydney is an imperative of the gospel is seen by others as close to a denial of it. Still, if we are to have this discussion it is better to have it as well-informed as possible as to what it is exactly that our opponent believes. I trust this article will work towards that end.


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374 comments

Dear David, someone stated that the Lay presidency violated the Anglican Ordinal and hence the Jerusalem Declaration which Sydney emphatically endorsed. Any comments?

[1] Posted by robroy on 11-19-2008 at 12:59 AM · [top]

good question rob.
Personally, I don’t think that it does. And I say this as a man who has been ordained according to that Ordinal. My job, as the Standing Committee argue above, is to assist my boss, the Priest, in everything. I think that includes Communion.
Those that I know here who produced such reports are men and women of integrity. They would not take a position they understood to be at odds with the Prayer Book.
That does not make them correct, of course.

[2] Posted by David Ould on 11-19-2008 at 01:02 AM · [top]

Sorry David, I guess I’m just to High Church to agree.  I wish you all the best, but I doubt this is going to be widely accepted in the Communion. I love tradition, and I just don’t see the rational for implementing this radical change.  What is gained, is minuscule to the sanctity of what is lost. IMHO

[3] Posted by Donal Clair on 11-19-2008 at 04:04 AM · [top]

Thanks Donal. Can you let us know what particular aspect of the argument it is that you don’t agree with?

[4] Posted by David Ould on 11-19-2008 at 04:19 AM · [top]

David,
As one deacon to another, I must disagree.  Presiding is not a diaconal charism.  That belongs to the presbyterial order.  Liturgically, deacons exist to assist the bishops (and presbyters as representatives of the bishop)celebrant in the administration of the Sacraments, not to administer the sacraments themselves.

There is some evidence that deacons did preside at Eucharistic services in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.  I don’t have the citation to hand as I gave my copy of Barnett’s book “A full and Equal Order” to a deacon in South America.  But one of the early councils of the Church passed a canon that said deacons were not to preside.  This is, by itself, prima facia evidence of diacons presiding. 

So, we have over 16 centuries of catholic (Roman, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran) tradition that only presbyters and bishops should preside at Holy Communion.  This shoul dnot be overturned lightly or quickly and it should not be overturned without consulting with the rest of the Communion.  Autnomous action that breaks with Holy Scripture or with the Tradition (capital T) is schismatic.  If diaconal administration (or lay administration) is something that God is changing in the Church, then let the whole communion make that decision.  Otherwise, I would have to say that Sydney is not too much different from TECUSA in its regard for the “bonds of affection.”

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[5] Posted by Philip Snyder on 11-19-2008 at 04:25 AM · [top]

Hi David,

Thanks for taking the time to unpack the argument so fully - I quite appreciated seeing it laid out like this.  I think my question is over what seems to me to be the starting point of the argument - that because the sacraments are more restricted than the ministry of the Word this elevates them above the Word.

I have heard this asserted several times, but I’ve never seen it explained or defended.

It seems to me that it is just part of the nature of the sacraments and the ministry of the Word that they have some basic differences.  A few that spring to mind are:

I am publicly called upon to prepare myself for the partaking of communion - but most of us think that one doesn’t so much prepare oneself for hearing the Word of God, as the Word of God itself prepares one for our hearing of it (and indeed, the Word of God prepares us for partaking of communion).

Only Christians are meant to partake of communion, whereas unbelievers are intended recipients of the Word of God.

Holy Communion is public, and only to be undertaken in a corporate context (again, rejecting reservation of the sacraments as an unanglican innovation).  The Word of God can be read and heard privately.

All of these place restrictions around the sacraments that are not present for the ministry of the Word.  I would suggest that this does not elevate one over the other, but rather points to the fact that they are different.  (One might even say, complementary rather than subordinate smile - I would suggest some unfortunate parallels between the ‘restrictions indicates superiority’ argument with respect to Holy Communion, and the ‘restrictions indicates inferiority’ argument with respect to women’s ordination).  The ministry of the Word and the sacraments are different, and restrictions reflect that difference. 

I haven’t read or heard anything that actually seeks to establish that this point of difference is actually a point of superiority.  Like arguments for women’s ordination, it appears to be an intuitive step that is entirely self-evident to the proponent but that I find hard to see, not least because it would seem to me to require eliminating every other restriction upon the partaking of the sacrament as ‘different’ = ‘superior’.

in Christ,
Mark Baddeley

[6] Posted by Levor on 11-19-2008 at 04:57 AM · [top]

I don’t have time to reply to this fully, and perhaps I ought not to do so until I have read the full arguments given in The Lord’s Supper in Human Hands but I will make comments on a couple of your points.


(a) The welcome development of lay preaching ministry over many years has resulted in a distortion of our Anglican order which has, in effect, elevated the Sacrament above the Word in that those authorised to preach are not necessarily authorised to preside (note the words “vice versa” in the 1985 report quoted above). To preserve the balance of Anglican order there is a need for lay ministry of the Sacrament to develop in a way corresponding to lay ministry of the Word.

This is a fallacy. It assumes
<ul>
<li> That lay preaching (in the main service, as opposed to, for example, catechism) is indeed welcome. (Personally I sympathise with this to an extent, but even so the point needs to be established by reasoned argument.)
<li> It does not follow that because laymen can preach that they can also preside over the sacrament. This would follow (for example) if one could demonstrate that the spiritual gift required for teaching is identical to the gift required for administration. This is not clear to me. In Ephesians 4 apostles and teachers are listed as separate gifts. From the letters of Ignatius, we know that the ability to preside over the Eucharist is limited to those with the apostolic charism (the Bishops), and those whom the Bishops license to represent them (more on this later). Both these gifts may be given to the same person, but it does not follow, and indeed is violent against the text, that it has to be so.
<li> If the link between preaching and administration is confirmed, then, given the testimony of the Church’s tradition, it is more an argument against lay preaching than for lay administration.
<li> It needs to be demonstrated that `the balance of Anglican order’ is something desirable (and the term should also be defined), and that restricting the administration to the presbytery destroys it.
<li> It is not clear that allowing only the presbytery to administer elevates the sacrament above the word. Both are sacrament and word are essential, as seen by that they each have a prominent place in the liturgy, but their relative importance cannot be determined by the form in which they take or who is authorised to preside. As an illustration, suppose that in a string quartet one member can play both the violin and the cello, while another member can only play the violin. Does this make the cello more important than the violin when they perform?
</ul>

(e) When lay people are permitted to share in every form of ministry except one in the regular meetings of the congregation, except one, the impression can be given that the prohibited thing is the essence of ordained ministry. A sacerdotal view of the priesthood is difficult to avoid. Again this is a distortion of Anglican order due to the welcome developments in lay ministry which have not however been matched in the ministry of the Sacraments.

Again, this point is full of logical fallacies.
<ul>
<li> It must be demonstrated that a sacerdotal view of the presbytery is undesirable beyond all doubt (I say `beyond all doubt’ because if it is true then the sacraments would be invalid if performed by a deacon; but if the administration is (incorrectly) restricted to the presbytery then there is no damage of that magnitude). (My own position is against the Roman view of the priesthood, but not with absolute certainty).
<li> It is not established that a sacerdotal view of the ministry automatically follows from restricting the administration to the presbytery; <li>While a sacerdotal theology leads to the restriction, it may not be the only theology that leads to it. Thus it is possible to reject the sacerdotal theology and still restrict the administration to the presbytery. In the absence of a valid positive argument, arguments must be presented to reject all those theologies before the restriction can be lifted, and I do not see that this has been done.
<li> It must be established that the essence of the presbytery is not directed towards the Eucharist. My understanding is that it is. There must be a certain group of people licensed by the Bishop who are allowed to represent him at the Eucharist (surely you would not allow just anyone off the street to preside? there must be some determination of who can and cannot preside, and thus a Bishop’s licence); and this group must be set apart and, for identification purposes, given its own name. We may as well call them `presbyters.’ In classical theology, it is precisely the relation to the Eucharist which distinguishes the presbyter from the `lower’ orders (Deacon and lay, and the others—by lower I do not mean that those orders are less essential or their spiritual gifts and contributions to the church less important; I am merely adopting a traditional terminology).  Aquinas is probably the wrong authority to quote in this company, but he is easily accessible and happens to be the person I first thought of. That the reformers emphasized the ministry of the word does not negate this distinction. In particular, the deacons and readers are not authorised at their ordination or licensing services to minister the sacrament; the presbyter is.
<li> Therefore an argument about whether the ministration of the sacrament is necessarily connected to authority in the church and the teaching of the word is irrelevant to the question of whether presbyters alone can administer. If that argument can be shown, then it would suggest that it is possible to remove those functions from the presbyter; not that other orders can preside. (In practice, I believe that that at least the functions of authority and discipline and the ability to preside both follow from the apostolic gift, so these are linked together and should be found in the same person; but that is a separate topic).
</ul>
A few more general comments
<ul>
<li> Evangelical Anglicanism to my mind is the perfect fusion of Protestant and Catholic. It removes those Catholic heresies (sorry folks) which were developed from the fourth and fifth centuries (as an example), while maintaining those matters of order and church practice which unquestionably date from the apostolic period. For example, we do not, unlike our radical brethren, discard the Apostolic order or infant baptism along with transubstantiation. That is why I like Anglicanism so much. The restriction of the administration, being testified by the apostle’s immediate successors, is one part of catholic tradition which clearly dates from the order established by the apostles; thus it is something which we should follow.
<li> It goes against the clear instructions of 1662 (and earlier) BCPs that only the Presbyter can preside or say absolution. If you feel so strongly that you have to proceed with this, then form your own new church rather than rewriting the rules of ours.
<li> We treat the order of deacons badly enough in the Anglican church as it is. They are a separate order with separate—and vital—gifts and functions. Allowing deacons to preside further erodes the distinction between deacon and priest, which is already (as far as I can see) eroded too far in the Church of England, and diminishes the importance of what they should be doing. 
</ul>

[7] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-19-2008 at 06:09 AM · [top]

I am not absolutely certain of the answer myself as to the position of deacons, but accept the position of the BCP 1662 and Articles, but this question goes back to whether in the Communion we do things together or just all do our own thing.

But keep digging diggers.

[8] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-19-2008 at 06:29 AM · [top]

Also, I think it best to let the arguments stand and fall on their own merits not on the number of scholars who side with one or the other argument…its a good thing Copernicus did not let the weight of professional opinion prevent him from noting the obvious.

[9] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 11-19-2008 at 06:36 AM · [top]

“there must be some determination of who can and cannot preside, and thus a Bishop’s licence); and this group must be set apart and, for identification purposes, given its own name.”

That they need to be approved is self evident, but why do they need to be named? We have a group of lay people who assist in communion without their being named differently.

[10] Posted by Steven Pascoe on 11-19-2008 at 06:41 AM · [top]

Dear David
You wrote

” This action was not to raise the Sacrament over the Word and its preaching but, rather, to protect what Cranmer clearly saw as of first importance - the preaching of the word of God. He was obviously no sacerdotalist.”

In all my studies of Cranmer, I have not come across this conclusion before. Do you have any sources for the assertion that Cranmer considered preaching more important than the Lord’s Supper administration? Did he ever say as much?
Thanks
Mark

[11] Posted by Mark Carroll on 11-19-2008 at 06:46 AM · [top]

I am not sure David that you have dealt with the rubric of the Order of the administration of The Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion from the BCP 1662 which clearly refers to administration by a Priest or with Articles XXIII ‘Of Ministering in the Congregation’ and XXXVI ‘Consecration of Bishops and Ministers’ which is carried through in the rest of the Articles XXX which make a clear distinction between administration by the priest and receipt by the laity.

Whatever the reasoning, I do not see that Sydney’s little number can be claimed to be consistent with the BCP or Articles so is it worth considering again your position David notwithstanding all the enthusiastic people of the church in Sydney?

[12] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-19-2008 at 06:50 AM · [top]

a few comments before I go to bed (and, no doubt, awake to find my inbox chokka block).
Phil Snyder, I think the argument with respect to Tradition (since I’m sure you agree that Scripture is not broken with the move) is that of Article 34 - there is a need to change traditions to meet local circumstances as long as Scripture is not broken. Do you think that’s a fair reading of Article 34?

Mark, thanks for the comments, I’ll take them on board. It does strike me, though, that to build in a difference between who may preside and who may preach is saying that there is a difference.

Boring Bloke, I’m intrigued by your suggestion of a spiritual gift of presiding. Where in the Scriptures do you gain such an understanding? Also, I’m familiar with what Ignatius said - but Ignatius isn’t Scripture, is it?

Pagaent - I think you strike at the heart of it. If there is any offence here, it is in the speed (relative!) of the move.

That’s it, I’ll try and make some response tomorrow morning or, alternatively, just watch the discussion flow. One last thought - please remember this is an opportunity to understand better. As one of the commenters on this very thread once taught me in seminary - there is great value is seeking to be as sympathetic as possible to the position of those we instinctively disagree with.

[13] Posted by David Ould on 11-19-2008 at 06:54 AM · [top]

#13 David
Sleep well, even if it is upside down.

[14] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-19-2008 at 07:17 AM · [top]

#10: In the very act of setting them apart we are giving them a name, even if that name is just `those authorised by the Bishop to preside at the Eucharist.’

#13 Sorry, I was a little hasty in writing that response. I probably used the wrong word, and should have written `grace’ or `character’ rather than `spiritual gift.’ Of course your question still stands, but I’ll need to wait until I have enough free time to reply in detail. One question, though: if the essence of order is not directed towards the Eucharist, as claimed in your post, then what is it directed towards? In other words, how do you distinguish the order of the presbyter from deacon, lay, Bishop (or anything else)?

[15] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-19-2008 at 07:44 AM · [top]

Please explain how this is any different than TEC consecrating a homosexual bishop.  They also believed that they were following a “gospel imperative.”  What is the point of having a communion if each part can go ahead and do its own thing?  Haven’t we just spent five years dealing with the consequences of TEC using that line of thinking?

[16] Posted by Ann Castro on 11-19-2008 at 08:23 AM · [top]

subscribe

[17] Posted by AndrewA on 11-19-2008 at 08:45 AM · [top]

David,
Scripture is indeed silent on deacons presiding at Holy Communion.  But the Tradition is not.  Can you show me where it is imperitive that deacons preside in Sydney?  How is that local adaptation different from TEC’s statement that blessing same sex unions is imperitive in the USA?  While I agree that TEC is violating scripture, you are violating tradition.  Can you show the reason that these persons should not be ordained to the prebyteriat instead of simply licensed?  It would accomplish the same end - providing enough people to preside at services of Holy Communion - and not violate the Tradition of the Church nor the character of the diaconate or laity.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[18] Posted by Philip Snyder on 11-19-2008 at 08:48 AM · [top]

I’m not certain of the word I want… Offense? Let’s go with that.

The offense is not so much that “action x” has been taken, but that it has been taken unilaterally and under full knowledge that it could be a communion breaker for some.

I can say the same thing about WO.

Perhaps it may be found that it’s just and right for women to be presbyters. This decision, as with lay presidency, should be should be taken in council with, at the very minimum, all Anglican provinces. Preferably with the RCC and EO churches, too.

It is fine for province Y to support decision X, but it is not fine for province Y to act on decision X until the rest of the communion is in agreement. Province Y’s job until the communion agrees is to lobby the other provinces and invite them into conversation. Province Y’s job is not to give the finger to its partners and do action X, anyway.

As it is, WO came about because one small group of Anglicans decided to go ahead and do it. Then a larger, yet still local group, decided to affirm it. Finally, here and there around the world, we have entire provinces doing it “because they’re doing it over in that other province, so why can’t we?”

Now it’s progressed to female bishops. And not only that, but female bishops forced upon everyone whether they like it or not, and objectors can just keep silent, thanks. Mark my words, lay presidency in 30 years’ time will be all over the Anglican world and in some places you’ll find it coming out of a vending machine.

What Sydney has done may be, in the end, correct. How Sydney went about it, “Mind your own bloody business,” is entirely wrong and cannot be justified one iota as a communion partner.

There’s an undercurrent of arrogance about acting on the decision, too. 2000 years of study, debate and agreement is being tossed to the wind like so much chaf. Apparently, those in Sydney are the only humans to have been blessed with a modicum of sense and can tell all the other Christians for the past 2 millenia how it’s supposed to be done.

Again, taking the decision is one thing. Change can’t ever happen unless somebody takes a point that change is needed. However, acting on that change without consensus is arrogance at best, certainly heresy in the eyes of the rest of the church catholic, and apostasy at worst.

Repent, Syndey, and hold off acting on this decision until the rest of the Communion agrees. Keep the decision. Delay action.

My last observation is this: This is what we (the entire Anglican world) get when we put theological issues under the control of any group other than bishops. Laity in synod should be voting on budgets, mission, building, etc. Theology belongs in the councils of bishops. At this point, however, the idea of catholicity is all but abandoned in this “one catholic and apostolic church.” I doubt if the multiple genies can ever be put back into their bottles.

[19] Posted by Antique on 11-19-2008 at 09:22 AM · [top]

I am totally against lay presidency of the Eucharist, and I believe that Sydney’s decision was made arrogantly, without regard or respect for the rest of the communion.  Their decision to go against church order is, to my mind, equally unorthodox as the decision to ordain practicing homosexuals.  I do hope that Sydney will quickly see its error and change course. 

Please note that it does not matter that the Bible says nothing about who should preside at Holy Communion—what matters is that the Bible does talk about maintaining good order and protecting the faith.  For that reason, we make sure that those who celebrate are called by God to that ministry, are well-trained and are approved by the Church for that role.  We have set clear standards, and those who meet them are ordained to the presbyterate.  Why would anyone short-circuit this centuries-old process?  I suspect that, in the end, they have such a terribly low view of the Eucharist that they really don’t care about maintaining high standards for who celebrates.  Sad that they also don’t seem to care about what everyone else in the Communion thinks.

[20] Posted by Hindustaaniwalla Hatterr on 11-19-2008 at 09:30 AM · [top]

I have nothing to add to what my brother Deacon Phil said other than my support for what he said.  In the Tradition of the Church, deacons should be deacons until the Communion discerns otherwise.  Thanks Phil for your thoughtful comments.

[21] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 11-19-2008 at 09:57 AM · [top]

David writes:

Boring Bloke, I’m intrigued by your suggestion of a spiritual gift of presiding. Where in the Scriptures do you gain such an understanding? Also, I’m familiar with what Ignatius said - but Ignatius isn’t Scripture, is it?

David, I am sorry to pile on in what must be a disconceting conversation here.  So you know where I am coming from, as a former Episcopalian now Eastern Orthodox, I am in essential agreement with Boring Bloke’s comments in #7.  I am in fundamental disagreement with both the action and the theology of diaconal presidency not to mention lay presidency.  That being said, to the point.  Granted Ignatius of Antioch’s writing is not within the canon of Scripture as his writing clearly comes as a second generation of writers.  Ignatius probably never met Jesus during his mortal life.  He knew the apostles.  He probably helped determine the Canon of Scripture.  While his writings are not Scripture, they help determine what is. His writing is not Scripture ... neither is this decision on the part of Sydney.  As your choices stand in opposition to those who defined the canon and in opposition to two thousand years of essential worship and teaching, the onus is on Sydney not only to show that such a choice is scriptural but why the worshipping Church for two thousand years has been wrong.  Perhaps outward unity with the Christians who have been the Church for two thousand years (such as the Eastern Orthodox and Rome) is undesirable in Sydney but I tell you my own opinion:  in this move to lay presidency, you set yourself apart from the Anglican Communion even as Plymouth Bretheren or Taize do.  Whether this is not formally recognized by various “instruments of unity” or provinces is irrelevant.  Equally importantly to driving the point home, IMHO you set yourself apart from those present here.  God and I love Southern Baptists but we don’t have much to discuss aside from “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”  That is a wonderful thing but said quite shortly.

[22] Posted by monologistos on 11-19-2008 at 10:23 AM · [top]

Hmmm . . . the word is “prophetic,” isn’t it? Honestly, I think Sydney should pull out of GAFCON leadership until you all rethink, stop posturing, and start acting with (a) responsibility, given the situation in the Communion, and (b) Christian charity (something about “causing people to stumble” and “weaker brethren”, maybe you can help me remember those passages—and those even if you’re right, which you’re not).

Aside from that, two critiques for David:

(a) The reasoning on diaconal “administration” (“celebration” or presidency” would be more accurate, since “administration” implies something different for those of us who reserve) seems hollow. Lay baptisms are valid—in emergency situations for instance. Normative, no; valid, yes. Nobody has ever claimed otherwise. Likewise, at least in the Western tradition, marriage is actually celebrated between the couple: if my true love (of opposite gender—thought I should specify that given the current clime of the church) and I ended up alone on a desert island, with the intent to form a lifelong union we could marry one another, and any sexual relations would not be considered fornication—again, not normative, but still valid. The same is not claimed of other sacraments. By the rationale you cite here, you should also be advocating for diaconal ordinations, etc. Because either ordination is a sacrament, and deacons are to “assist” by “doing,” and should therefore conduct ordinations, or else it is something less than a sacrament and there was no good reason for restricting that function to one order in the first place. Or to put it succinctly, “assisting in the administration of” and “administering” are two different things, and the argument presented here doesn’t successfully get around that.

(b) I find it ironic that you cite Cranmer, since that example is actually the exact opposite of your position. Yes, preaching is important (I would disagree that it’s more important than the Sacrament, but then I am unabashedly catholic—although I prefer to think of it as “correct” wink—and believe in a God who shows up and does things) but preaching does shape belief and is therefore important in guarding against heresy. Or, alternatively, it can lead people into heresy. One of the arguments I’ve heard several times for lay presidency is that the standards required for ordination are too high—but if people are well-trained enough to preach, why aren’t they well-trained enough to be ordained? By making this about “lay presidency” rather than ordination standards, it looks an awful lot like Sydney is just exercising itself in anti-catholicism (and fwiw—granted I wasn’t there—but the reports I heard sounded like Abp. Jensen was more interested in railroading GAFCON to hardline evangelical protestantism than in building bridges with catholics; or maybe, railroad bridges?).

(c) Finally, I think you all (in Sydney) are ignoring the reality of the role of the priesthood as a sacrament—or, if you’re going to insist on reading more into the 39 Articles than is actually there, at least as a “sacramental”: a sign of the Church, a sign of the people of God, and therefore a sign of God himself, in the midst of society. I would think that this is intrinsically connected to issues of headship—and thereby, to issues of headship at the table.

[23] Posted by tk+ on 11-19-2008 at 10:26 AM · [top]

Oh, and David—uncritical acceptance of Newman is hardly a universal characteristic of Anglo-catholicism. He did, after all, get rid of the Vincentian Canon. Are you sure you’re not just playing him as a “went-to-Rome” bogeyman?

[24] Posted by tk+ on 11-19-2008 at 10:28 AM · [top]

monologistos,
I think this Southern Baptist could share more with you than the simple love of Christ.  In the Baptist Churches I’ve been in and part of the idea of ‘any member’ being able to lead the service of the Lord’s Supper would be thought utter rubbish.  An ordained Preacher leads the Lord’s Supper.  Some of the congregations might find a Deacon doing so ‘acceptable’, but only if they had no Preacher.  The abscence of the Preacher would make preaching by the Deacon the ‘right thing’, but they’d just not hold the Lord’s Supper until they could ‘call’ another ‘preacher’.

(I know the ‘oders’ within the baptist’s churches isn’t considered valid by the folks here.  That’s not relevant to the Baptist’s own view of the limitions on who can preside.  Even those of use who consider ‘ordination’ to be the laying on of hands by the congregations don’t support the idea of those who haven’t been so ordained leading in the Lord’s Supper.)

[25] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 12:48 PM · [top]

Innovation is to Anglicans what crack is to addicts.

[26] Posted by Nikolaus on 11-19-2008 at 01:14 PM · [top]

‘any member’ being able to lead the service of the Lord’s Supper would be thought utter rubbish

My observation growing up as a Baptist was that only a pastor or minister would lead Lord’s Supper, though beats me if anyone ever took the time to explain why.  Most of the rare, once a quarter sermons involving the Lord’s Supper spent half the time denying any degree of sacramentalism. 

I’m curious as to whether Sydney has licensed female lay preachers or would be willing to license female lay presiders were they to actually implement these ideas.

Unfortunately one of the side effects of this thread has been to add to my suspicion that the only theologically coherent options available to me are Baptist on one end and Eastern Orthodox on the other end, and, liturgical preferences aside, giving up all together on Anglicanism.

[27] Posted by AndrewA on 11-19-2008 at 01:18 PM · [top]

Very funny, but not true, Niklaus #26.

[28] Posted by Theodora on 11-19-2008 at 01:24 PM · [top]

The Big Fella’s Supper - Sydney style
“Again after the Barbi he took the tinny and after saying good one mate he handed it round saying take a swig of this, this is good stuff and will do you good coz I made all the bad stuff go away.  Do this loads to remember what a bonza thing I’ve done for you….........”

[29] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-19-2008 at 01:51 PM · [top]

Bo #25, of course we do. But it is difficult to talk about things coherently because our vocabulary and contexts for theology and worship are quite different even though quite familiar in many instances. I may be wrong but it seems to me that if I have any purpose for seeking clarity here (in addition of course to being a witness in expressing my gratitude, praise and thanksgiving to our Lord), it is that I served about an Anglican altar for twenty five years before I became Orthodox over a decade ago.  You soak quite a bit of visceral stuff through daily liturgical worship in but the interested churchgoer is likely to reference as a common vocabulary the ideas of men such as Phillips Brooks who writes of the preacher,

“He come sout on to open ground.  His work grows freer, and bolder and broader.  He loves the simplest texts, and the great truths which run like rivers through all of life.  God’s sovereignty, Christ’s redemption, man’s hope in the Spirit, the privilege of duty, the love of man in the Saviour, make the strong music which his soul tries to catch.”

Men like F. P. Harton, Dean of Wells sharpen our understanding of ascetical theology.  Our understanding of priesthood is deepened by the words of W.C.E. Newbolt, canon and chancellor of St. Paul’s Cathedral at Oxford who writes:

S. Paul in this passage sets out with his own hand the distinguishing marks and characteristics of the priestly life.  “You suspect me; you would pierce and shatter the shell which masks my life?  Very well.  This is what I am; attack this; penetrate here.  It is the only defense I offer; what I strive to be in my ministrations, what by God’s grace I am.”  So that we may almost say that we have in these verses a portrait of himself, by himself - a true speculum sacerdotum, into which a priest may look for instruction, guidance, and rectification of life; an ideal portrait of what a priest ought to be; painted, it may be, in strong colours, with features which stand out in high relief; a portrait neither attractive to look at nor easy to copy; a portrait at once unexpected in its details and startling in its suggestions.  And yet, inasmuch as we believe, true; and further, deserveing of the most careful study in those who aspire to follow his footsteps, as the servants of God and instructors of men.”

Without effort, the poetry of George Herbert informs our use of words even as much as the thoughts of John Cassian inform our theology and combine by God’s grace in the formed personality such that we are surprised and awed but not unmade when the Spirit edifies each man according to his capacity, revealing in glimpses the truth of what we proclaim of the Eucharist and of the Ekkelesia so gathered ... so that we might know the Lord more dearly and serve Him in our neighbor.  I know there are holy men of wisdom in other traditions ... I’m speaking to something greater than a cultural affinity here; yet, it is not non-cultural either.  The lights of Anglicanism cannot be reduced to something English or Protestant or evangelical or Catholic.  They form an organic unity, miraculously uninterrupted by wars, death and all human failure ... not by leaping over intervening history but as pilgrims following Christ’s Way until God’s Kingdom comes.  I would not see that proud church enter into a dhimmitude to the Zeitgeist.

[30] Posted by monologistos on 11-19-2008 at 01:57 PM · [top]

David Ould, forgive me if I have read your summary incorrectly.  I think it says that the canon on deacon’s preaching was changed, so that the deacon no longer required the bishop’s authorization to preach.  This is then what has caused people to think that deacons should be able to consecrate the communion as well.  The one change justifies the other?

And as to lay preaching and presidency in general, why?  Does Sydney lack sufficient numbers of ordained men, so that the people are denied preaching and the sacraments?  Surely “good order” which has been an Anglican hallmark calls for properly called and trained men to lead the people in hearing God’s Word and to administer the Holy Communion.  I don’t see the need for these changes, barring emergency.

[31] Posted by Katherine on 11-19-2008 at 02:08 PM · [top]

Hello Rev. Ould.

Although limiting presidency to the Priest or Bishop is not explicitly taught in Scripture—I certainly believe that it is the implicit teaching of Scripture as I believe that infant Baptism is implicitly taught (although going into this is more than I have time to do at this point—for that matter responding to any further posts may take more time than I have at this point).

Further, the universal understanding of Scripture by the Church on this matter is authoritative for our understanding—as Cranmer likewise said regarding the definitive authority of the universal Church’s interpretation of Scripture (while speaking to the implicit Scriptural teaching of infant Baptism).

Confutation of Unwritten Verities:

Austen was more circumspect than to think, that any doctrine might be proved by use and custom without the Scripture. For baptism of infants he bringeth in this text, Except a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot be my disciple. And because the Donatists, like as the Anabaptists do now, wrest this to them that be of years of discretion ; against this exposition, he allegeth the manner of the Church in christening of infants. By the which he proveth that the Church hath alway taken this sentence, Except a man be born again, to be spoken also of infants. What manner of argument should this be of Austen ? The exposition of the
Scripture, and the use of the sacraments, may be judged by the custom used in the holy Church alway : Ergo, the
Church may make a new sacrament, and ordain any new
article of our faith, without the Scripture. By the sentences before cited of Austen himself, it may be easily judged. I also grant, that every exposition of the Scripture, whereinsoever the old, holy, and true Church did agrec, is necessary to be believed.

Blessings in Christ,
William Scott

p.s. Although I believe Scripture teaches that the Priest and Bishop are the proper administers of the Sacrament, I believe that the Holy Communion is not rendered empty or invalid simply because of a lack in the presider. I believe (as Luther and others have noted) that the Power of the Unfailing Word and Promise of God (particularly coupled with the prayers of His people) in the Celebration of Holy Communion overcomes any lack in the presider (as is the case in Baptism and the Reading of God’s Word, etc). And I certainly do not believe that the Lord fails to provide the Promised grace in Holy Communion (the grace of Holy Communion being “generally necessary for Salvation”) to the worthy recepient simply because of a lack in the presider.

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.

[32] Posted by William on 11-19-2008 at 02:21 PM · [top]

Bo, as an example of talking different theologies, I understand that the Baptists (some/all?) consider themselves the inheritors of the Donatist tradition.  I don’t want to make this into a tangent but the common criticism of Catholic “works righteousness” seems an oddly self-referential one in that context.  Point being, while I don’t want to only emphasize in what way we are different, it is worthy of our attention to note that both TEC and the Diocese of Sydney are inclined to use theological words very differently than other Anglicans might.  We will continue to talk past one another and to add to the chaos of the Tower of Babel if we fail to recognize this difficulty.  We may, however, pray that the Holy Spirit grant us both the tongue and the ears to understand one another, that we may be one.

[33] Posted by monologistos on 11-19-2008 at 02:22 PM · [top]

Note: “Austen” in the Confutation of Unwritten Verities is Augustine

[34] Posted by William on 11-19-2008 at 02:23 PM · [top]

The concept of lay presidency is part of the same revising trajectory of which the Filioque, women’s ordination, LGBT ordination and marriage, are a part. The distinguishing note is that it’s pretty much an evangelical Protestant revisionist heresy lurking within a Catholic Body.

[35] Posted by A Senior Priest on 11-19-2008 at 03:16 PM · [top]

monologistos
Yes, our vocabulary would initially be different, and there wouldn’t be a large number of Baptists that would be willing to spend the time to learn a common dialect.

However, some of us are willing to make the effort (well, at least I try to be). 

The seminarians might consider themselves in the Donatist tradition.  Those of us in the pews would only think that a ‘Preacher’ who lived contrary to the instruction of Scripture should be removed from the pulpit.
 
We’d not count his soul as lost, nor would his ordination be removed, he would however suffer the baptist version of ‘inhibition’ or perhaps ‘deposition’.

(I’m not 100% sure of the Donatist Tradition, perhaps I’ve made an icorrect correlation….)

I’ve been concerned myself about the apparent intermix of ‘lay’ and ‘deacon’ in this discussion.  Deacons in my ‘lexicon’ are ‘Ordained’, and hence not ‘Lay’.

My attraction to the Anglicans started with the theology expressed in the Service for HM Charles I, King and Martyr.  From that the expolation of the 39 Articles and the BCP 1662 followed.  I can affirm all 39, love the wording and prayers of the BCP 1662 (so refined and so true!), and find the idea of a married male episcopate to be in accordance with Scripture.

I now attend an Anglican (+Nzimbi) Wednesday service (when I can) in Glen St. Mary, Florida, though my Sunday Service is still with First Baptist, Macclenny Florida.

[36] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 03:17 PM · [top]

Hi David+,

I agree with others here that Lay Administration does not conflict with scripture—nor is it necessarily consistent with it I might add, scripture is silent—and for that reason I am not prepared to break communion with Sydney over what I believe to be a disputable matter.

I also agree that preaching is a means of grace to congregations. I do not say that preaching is more important than the eucharist but neither do I say it is less. I think they are vital for different purposes.

My objection is more to do with the timing…whether the rest of the communion or Sydney represents the “weaker brother” in this instance I do not know, but it certainly seems an issue over which perhaps the conscience of others ought to have been a more pressing concern.

[37] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 11-19-2008 at 03:26 PM · [top]

AA,
I’m blessed to be in a ‘high church baptist’ congregation (monologistos, I’ll try to explain the term in this context), the Preacher (dual PhDs) refers to the Lord’s Supper as a ‘mystery’ not a sacrement, and distances himself from ‘actual flesh’ being in the bread, and from ‘blood’ in the ‘cup’ (grape juice, not wine), but does say that nonetheless, in a mystery the Lord is present in the elements, as he is present in ourselves.  He also stresses the danger to those who might partake unworthily (this is the basis for his ‘mystery’ as it is certainly more than mere memorial if it can cause sickness and death).

monologistos
. Some features of High Church Baptists:
. Dedication of the Infants’ Parents.
. Stained Glass with the Life of Christ portrayed.
. Use of Advent Candles
. Reading of the Scripture distinct from and before the start of the ‘Sermon’ (which is always on the Scripture read, though other Scripture passages and verses are often cited as well).

. People stand for the Reading of the Scripture
. Prayer inventing the Holy Ghost to superintend the messagenger, message, and people.
. Deacons are not ordained until they have served a year in those duties as a ‘yolkfellow’ under the close supervision of the Pastor and an assigned Deacon.
. No women in places of public service or authority in the Church.

[38] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 03:33 PM · [top]

Could I rephrase my post #1? I don’t even know what the Anglican Ordinal is. It can’t be very important in that wikipedia doesn’t have an article about it. (That’s a joke.)  What does it say about the presidency of the Eucharist.

[39] Posted by robroy on 11-19-2008 at 03:54 PM · [top]

Half way through this argument, I was forcibly reminded of Bishop Michael Ingham. I think it’s around the “we’ve been discussing this for 40 years…long discussion, doctrinal justification…really we’re quite conservative” bit. Exactly what they say about same-sex blessing. No doubt Sydney thinks it is right, but then, so do New Westminster.

Catholic Christendom, of which Anglicanism is a part, rejects this innovation. The Church does not approve it as consonant with Scripture interpreted by the Fathers, and neither does the Anglican tradition. If someone want to do it, feel free—there’s a Baptist church down the road. But Anglicans have never done this—if I’m wrong on that, I’d love to be corrected, but our conception of what Jeremy Taylor calls “the office ministerial” has always held up to me, and I’d be deeply uncomfortable with Sydney striking out on its own, especially after telling TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada to pull their heads in and consider the wider Church.
I submit “Take the beam out of your own eye” applies.

[40] Posted by Andrewesman on 11-19-2008 at 04:11 PM · [top]

I find the attempts at theologizing a radically novel change in the way the Church from time immemorial administered the sacraments amusing, but ultimately unconvincing in the effort, but ultimately unconvincing. They remind me of something one of my heroes wrote, “I employed all the arguments of theology, which, when handled with a little judgement, are elastic to serve any purpose….” Charles Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand, twice a Bishop, Memoirs Vol 1, pg 41, Broglie ed. 1891

[41] Posted by A Senior Priest on 11-19-2008 at 04:13 PM · [top]

Thanks all of you. Perhaps a further note of clarification before I head out on my day off.

First, the question was raised over “arrogance”. I think that’s a big accusation to make and somewhat unnecessary. Sydney has been in large discussion with many African partners over this issue and has had a fair deal of success persuading them. I certainly sense a real concern here to do everything charitably and with the maximum partnership. To simply clal it “arrogant” is to be unaware of the dynamics.

Next, someone asked about necessity. Two things have pushed us to this moment. First, we have taken the decision that men will only be ordained as presbyters when they are ready to lead whole parishes, not simply because it’s 10 months after their ordination as deacons. That has somewhat restricted the numbers. Second, the church is growing rapidly in many areas with deacons leading church plants and individual congregations. They are not able to preside and so our people are left without the sacrament - a situation which we consider regretable.

Thus tyou have a push out of necessity, a clear evangelical conviction about the nature of ministry, and no obvious Scriptural impendiment.

[42] Posted by David Ould on 11-19-2008 at 04:28 PM · [top]

David,
Is this then really about letting Deacons lead, not the unordained laymen?

[43] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 04:31 PM · [top]

David, isn’t the necessity somewhat artificial if it’s been created by delaying ordination?

[44] Posted by oscewicee on 11-19-2008 at 04:45 PM · [top]

Next, someone asked about necessity. Two things have pushed us to this moment. First, we have taken the decision that men will only be ordained as presbyters when they are ready to lead whole parishes, not simply because it’s 10 months after their ordination as deacons. That has somewhat restricted the numbers.

So because of your voluntary self administered policy, you have a shortage, and now you are expecting the rest of the Communion to approve your innovations that are designed to address a self-created problem?  That is a bit like the Big 3 US automakers unionizing themselves to death and then expecting the US taxpayer to bail them out. 

Easy solution:  Curates. 

Second, the church is growing rapidly in many areas with deacons leading church plants and individual congregations. They are not able to preside and so our people are left without the sacrament - a situation which we consider regretable.

Thes historic solution, very much consistent with Evangelical Anglicanism, was to have non-Eucharistic services when a priest was not available. 

Thus tyou have a push out of necessity, a clear evangelical conviction about the nature of ministry, and no obvious Scriptural impendiment.

It is quite obvious to TEC that they have a Scriptural mandate for their innovations.  And again:  It is a self-created shortage, so pardon me if I’m not sympathetic.

[45] Posted by AndrewA on 11-19-2008 at 04:50 PM · [top]

Peter…thanks for a good essay.

[46] Posted by mark harris on 11-19-2008 at 04:53 PM · [top]

Bo, thanks for your info on “high church” Baptists - the largest Baptist church in my community would pretty much fit this description, but it’s something they’ve evolved to over the last 30 years or so. They recently took out their non-representational stained glass and put in, for instance, a Good Shepherd window.  In addition to using an Advent wreath, they hold an Ash Wednesday service. I have wondered how much theology underlies these changes and how much is just a change in worship style, as it were. Are some congregationalist, non-liturgical churches growing back toward the church catholic?

monologistos, thank you for your #30.

[47] Posted by oscewicee on 11-19-2008 at 05:07 PM · [top]

OK, having completely failed to do what I was meant to be doing today, I’ll add to my earlier comment and answer David’s question.

First of all, some methodology, and unfortunately I’ve decided to pretend to be Richard Swinburne and adopt a probabilistic argument. Suppose that we are trying to judge whether some proposition T is correct upon which assessment we will perform action A. P(T) is the probability that proposition T is correct, based on the evidence available to us and P(!T) is the probability that it is incorrect. This probability is made from two factors:
(1) There might be a specific and direct revelation concerning the matter at hand. the probability of this I label P(R); and it is related to the probability that the interpretation of the particular passage of scripture required to establish T is correct, or that the tradition of the church implies a uniform apostolic practice. P(R) does not mean that T is denied by scripture, only that there is no evidence. (2) there is background knowledge based on how likely T is given what else we know about theology (i.e. an argument applied from reason applied to other scripture). I label this P(I), and it is based on how firm the theological evidence for T is and how confidently we can apply it to the question of T.  Thus P(T) = P(R) + P(!R)P(I|!R) if T is a positive proposition and P(T) = 1-P(R) - P(I|!R)P(!R)=P(!I|!R)P(!R) if T is a negative proposition (i.e. denying that a positive argument !T is correct), where I and R are in this case the probabilities for arguments supporting !T.  If T is correct then pursuing A will lead to a series of benefits X_i, each with a probability of P(X_i) of occurring if we do a, and each giving a benefit B(x_i) (measured with respect to what would happen if we don’t do A). If T is incorrect, then a serious of (negative) consequences Y_i might entail, each with their own probability P(Y_i) and the weight given to each of these costs is C(y_i). For the purposes of simplicity I will assume that all the probabilities regarding the benefits and costs are statistically independent of P(T) and each other. Thus, to decide whether to proceed with A based on a negative proposition we need to evaluate the condition

C=(P(!I|!R)P(!R)\sum_i P(X_i)B(X_i) > (1-P(!I|!R)P(!R))\sum_i P(Y_i)R(Y_i))

(This is essentially the same argument as Pascal’s wager, and, I think though I don’t know much about the subject, one of the fundamentals on which game theory is based).

Now let’s apply this to the case of lay/diaconal presidency. This is a negative proposition since it denies the statement that only the Bishops and presbyters can preside that the Eucharist. Thus R and I are the probabilities given to the evidence supporting that only Bishops and Presbyters can preside, evaluated according to: scripture, right reason and tradition. I can see three benefits of the proposition: 1) it relieves pressure caused by a lack of presbyters (though this can be resolved by ordaining more people); 2) it removes doubt about certain matters of theology (though I am unclear that the theological concerns are correct); 3) it provides balance to the Anglican orders (though I’m not sure what this means). All of these benefits are small, for the reasons outlined in above posts.

Now let’s look at the risks. 1) Invalid Eucharists will be performed; thus members of your congregations will not `eat my flesh and drink my blood’ and therefore `have no life in you.’ This cost associated with this risk is clearly very large, since it is a matter of salvation (given what is at stake, one might say close to infinite). You might say that this large cost depends on a Catholic theology which (being evangelicals) has only a small probability, but a small number times a very large number is still a large number. 2) There is the damage this will cause to the Anglican communion. This is (in my view) less important than the question of sacramental validity, but it is nonetheless very important. And the probability of it occurring if you proceed with A is surely close to 1. Thus the risks if you proceed with lay presidency are clearly substantially larger than the benefits, and you have to be overwhelmingly sure of your ground to go ahead. There may be other benefits/risks that I haven’t considered, but I think that I have covered the main points well enough to establish what I am trying to say.

I’ll make a small digression by discussing the question of article 34 and whether the diocesan synod has the authority to make this judgment, which is an independent issue from whether the judgment is correct. The last paragraph states, Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying. I agree with this statement. However, the issue of Lay presidency concerns the doctrines of the Eucharist, which was established by the Lord, and the question of the threefold order of ministry, for which a strong argument can be made to say it was either established by the Lord or by the apostles. By this article, a diocesan synod does not authority to change the ceremonies and rites relating to these doctrines. In fact, I would argue against an ecumenical synod having this authority.

Now, back to my main argument, and an attempt to P(!I|!R), i.e. the probability that T is correct if there was no direct evidence; and this leads me into the doctrines of the Eucharist and spiritual gifts, since from Ephesians 4, Romans 12 etc we know that the various offices in the Church are associated with spiritual gifts, and I will here elaborate why I believe that the office of presiding at the Eucharist is associated with one of the gifts. I need to establish the probabilities of the various (popular) Eucharistic theologies.; and I will unashamedly base this on my own prejudices. I do not accept transubstantiation, partly because the articles tell me not to, but mostly because I do not believe that the Aristotelean metaphysics upon which it is built is correct (and the same goes for Wycliffe’s consubstantiation). I am also not a Zwinglian, because I cannot reconcile that doctrine with passages such as 1 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 10:17, John 6:53,55, neither with the universal tradition of the apostolic fathers. That leaves me stuck somewhere between Luther and Calvin. However, I do accept Justin Martyr’s statement

For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.

We do not permit just anybody to preside, so there must be something which sets apart those who are authorized to preside from those who are not. In other words, these people possess a power which those who cannot legally preside do not. Since the presider cannot change the bread and wine by his own power, and neither is it is an ability that we can in any way earn (Calvin forbid!), it must be given to the president by God through grace, and if given it follows by definition that it must be a spiritual gift or a imprinted character. This is what I meant when I used the term `spiritual gift’ which I mentioned in my post above. I have not yet argued whether this spiritual power is given at Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, or on another occasion. Another occasion seems quite unlikely, since I can’t think of any other possibilities; we do not let those newly baptized or confirmed preside, which implies that the power is given at ordination; and the ordination of the presbyter since only that service confers the right to minister the sacraments. In the next paragraph, I will discuss whether it is plausible that it is associated with the apostolic gift, which would mean that it is given at ordination. But first, we need to establish whether a gift is given. If Zwingli is correct, then there is no change in the bread and wine, and I do not believe that a gift is needed. If Zwingli is incorrect, and there is a change in the bread and wine, so that Christ is present in some way, whether substantial, spiritual or something else, then the probability that a spiritual gift or imprinted character is required to preside is very high for reasons I have given. Thus the probability that a spiritual gift is required for the ability to preside at the Eucharist is a little less than the probability that Zwingli is wrong, which I take to be very high.

[48] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-19-2008 at 05:10 PM · [top]

I associate this gift with the apostolic gift mentioned in (for example) Ephesians 4. I cannot prove this, because scripture is silent on the matter, however I think that it can demonstrate that the apostolic gift is associated with various pseudo-sacraments in scripture; increasing the plausibility that it is also associated with the true sacrament of the Eucharist. For example, the ability to administer the spirit through the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17) is apostolic, and this power is not given to all the Baptized (Acts 8:18, OK I know that Simon Magus is not the best example, but still it establishes my point). There is the ability to forgive sins (John 20:33), to anoint the sick (James 5:14) - where it is expressly said that this should be done by the presbyters, to appoint for ministry by the laying of hands (2 Timothy 1:6 etc.), and, of course, one interpretation of scripture (given, e.g., in Aquinas) is that only those with the same office as those to whom Jesus said `Do this in remembrance of me’ can actually do it. Thus I do not think it unreasonable from independent theology to say that there is a spiritual gift which enables one to preside over the Eucharist, specifically the apostolic gift. This is far from certain based on my argument so far, but the probability is still respectable.
I cannot prove it from scripture, but it is consistent with what scripture says on other matters.

Now I come to the question of the gift associated with the presbytery. First of all, we need to define what we mean when we refer to a presbyter. There seem to me to be four possible definitions:

1) We can say that the essence of the presbytery is directed towards the teaching ministry. 2) Directed towards the ability to preside at the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. 3) Directed towards the pastoral responsibilities. 4) Directed towards leadership in a local congregation. (There may, of course, be other possibilities which I haven’t thought of, but I won’t list them because I haven’t thought of them). We have to choose one of these definitions as our starting point.

Of course, if, for example, it can be shown that the teaching ministry is necessarily associated with the presiding ministry, and vice versa, then definitions (1) and (2) are equivalent, and either definition will lead to the same result. If they are not necessarily connected, then we cannot choose both definitions simultaneously, and this will mean that either some people can be (using the same example) teachers but not presiders, or some presiders but not teachers, or both. Your quest is therefore to pick one of these definitions, and demonstrate that it is not essentially linked with definition (2). In my earlier posts, I chose to define the presbytery in terms of option (2) (following Aquinas). Thus the question of lay presidency is for me a complete non-starter because I define the offices of laity and the deaconite as `those not able to preside at the Eucharist.’ This definition is a perfectly reasonable starting point, and, it seems to me, perfectly consistent with both Roman and Anglican dogma. But presumably you adopt a different definition. You have explicitly denied option (1) in your post. Option (3) seems less plausible, since the lay and deacons also pastor. That leaves option (4), which at least has the authority of Peter to back it up:

So I exhort the elders (πρεσβυτερους) among you, as a fellow elder (συμπρεσβυτερος) and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:
  shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;  not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
  3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
  4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

You might say that Peter trumps Aquinas (and, unfortunately, you’re right), although as a matter of definition it is not so important: ultimately it doesn’t matter how we define the terms as long as we are self consistent and properly `translate’ scripture into our own `notation.’ Note that Peter claims to be a presbyter himself; which implies that Peter possess the spiritual gift which enables one to be a presbyter. This suggests (but does not prove, but none the less has a high probability) that since Peter possessed the apostolic gift that the presbyter’s gift is precisely this one (and, I think, this is strengthened by other evidence; also I am ignoring here the possibility that the distinction between Bishop and presbyter didn’t become important until the second century; which were I competent enough to present this argument properly I would have to do). Thus, even with this definition of the presbytery ministry, the probability is significant that both the leadership and presiding ministries are given by the same spiritual gift, that of the apostle. Thus P(I) is substantial whether or not there is direct revelation to support T; and P(!I|!R) is small, though perhaps not very small.

As a digression, I note that if you adopt this definition of the presbytery, the question you should be arguing is whether (or not) the leadership within the congregation is equivalent to the ability to preside over the Eucharist; you spent your time addressing the issue of whether the teaching ministry is equivalent to the presiding ministry, which is utterly irrelevant to the question at hand.

Now I need to assess the probability for T from direct revelation (P(R)).  Scripture, as you well know, is silent on the matter of who can preside at the Eucharist. From this you might suppose that P(R) is 0. But there are other sources of revelation, even if they are not, as article VI and Luther’s principle insist, infallible. It is clear that the apostles would have given instructions based on Christ’s teaching to the churches they founded. Assuming that these instructions were consistent, and that they can be determined to at least a reasonable degree of confidence I hope that you agree that we should follow them because they come from Christ (or at worst the apostles). But no such instructions are recorded in scripture. The best we can do is attempt to work out what they were from the records of the post-apostolic churches. The practice of the early church seems to give clear and unanimous testimony: only those appointed to lead in the church can preside over the Eucharist. I cited Ignatius because he is one of the earliest examples, demonstrating that this teaching goes back to the time immediately following the apostles. But he is not the only example. The teaching is widespread, with notable dissenting voices. Can we be absolutely certain that this teaching is apostolic? No. Ignatius is, as you say, not infallible. It is possible that every church spontaneously decided at the close of the first century, despite having no apostolic precedent one way or the other (or a precedent to the contrary), to institute a rule that only the Bishops and presbyters could preside. It is, however, exceptionally unlikely. Thus the probability from revelation that the leadership office and the ability to preside at the Eucharist are equivalent, P(R), is very high, even though that revelation is recorded in the apostolic tradition rather than scripture. Thus P(!R) is exceptionally small, and P(T) = P(!R)P(!I|!R) is even smaller. Thus P(!T)= (1-P(T)) >> P(T).

To return to the beginning, we have
P(!T) >> P(T)
and
\sum_i P(Y_i) C(Y_i) >> \sum_i P(X_i) B(X_i).
Thus
P(T) \sum_i P(X_i) B(X_i) - P(!T) P(Y_i) C(Y_i) << 0,
and proceeding with lay presidency is a big mistake.

[49] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-19-2008 at 05:10 PM · [top]

[42] I appreciate the commitment to evangelism shown by the growth, but I can’t help but wonder if the whole controversy might have been avoided by the liberal procurement and distribution of tabernacles for storage, enabling continuation of the deacon’s mass.

wink

[50] Posted by tired on 11-19-2008 at 05:11 PM · [top]

David Ould,

The first point that strikes me is the presence in the sacraments of the epiklesis, which is not a component of the preaching. If the Eucharist were simply a memorial, I don’t think that lay presidency would constitute much of a problem. But, at least for those who can honestly be referred to as Anglo-Catholic, signifying belief in the True Presence of Christ, it is much more than a simple memorial.  It is the means whereby Christ enters us and through which our sinful lives are transformed. Somehow, for reasons I cannot fully explain in words, it seems to me that this alone places it on a different plane (not necessarily higher, but separate) from preaching.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[51] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 11-19-2008 at 05:37 PM · [top]

I am put in mind of a ship of the Royal Navy, which, having no chaplain, the Captain read the service.  He also pronounced Absolution.  The Commander (Exec to us Americans) whispered that as he was not a priest, he could not absolve.  On the Captain’s remarking, “oh, you’re right” the Chief Boatswain’s mate, in a focsle voice, announced to the crew,  “Sins not absolved!  Right turn!  Quick march!”*

Why would Sidney not just issue certificates to their deacons to the effect that they were to be considered as having been advanced to the priesthood?

If they really think they can’t do that, they need to think some more about the whole thing.

*from Fabulous Admirals, author on request

[52] Posted by Ed the Roman on 11-19-2008 at 05:56 PM · [top]

My questions in this are:
1.  Is this a “may” (permission) issue or a “can” (able to) issue? both issues?
2.  Would lay presidency bring into question apostolic succession?

[53] Posted by Fr. Dale on 11-19-2008 at 06:19 PM · [top]

Way to loose me after the first sentance, Boring Bloke.

Got a way to express the idea in terms a history student can understand?

[54] Posted by AndrewA on 11-19-2008 at 06:39 PM · [top]

David Ould, I know the responses here are not comfortable and the message is not appreciative.  Consider the distress caused by TEC’s unilateral innovations and ask yourself whether we should be acting likewise. Though I am persuaded otherwise, I do respectfully thank you for your conscientious work in laying out the Sydney argument.Regarding the Eucharist, for what it’s worth, the national canons of TEC still require a belief in the Real Presence in order for one to receive communion in the Episcopal Church.  Not that those canons are respected by those who have set their face against the Gospel.Boring Bloke, your dispatches have greatly entertained me!  My thanks.

[55] Posted by monologistos on 11-19-2008 at 06:44 PM · [top]

(e) When lay people are permitted to share in every form of ministry except one in the regular meetings of the congregation, except one, the impression can be given that the prohibited thing is the essence of ordained ministry. A sacerdotal view of the priesthood is difficult to avoid. Again this is a distortion of Anglican order due to the welcome developments in lay ministry which have not however been matched in the ministry of the Sacraments.

From the Orthodox PoV, “the prohibited thing” - i.e., celebrating the Eucharist - is indeed the essence of the priesthood, just as the Eucharist is the essence of the Church. This is the ancient tradition of the Undivided Church, of which Anglicanism is an heir. Sydney’s proposed move can only serve to confuse (if not undermine) both the ecclesiology and the theology of holy orders in Anglicanism.

Sydney wants to erase the traditional understanding of priesthood. But what do they propose to give us in its place? By taking away the defining characteristic of the presbyterate, they will make it redundant unless they give it a new definition. The resulting debate over 1) whether to abolish priesthood, and/or 2) how to redefine the priestly order could become the bloodiest battleground yet in Anglicanism.

[56] Posted by Roland on 11-19-2008 at 07:25 PM · [top]

oscewicee [47]

Some is likely to be just ‘what the people want’.  However, I’ve been blessed to be in such a church (though in different states, and counties) for all of the time I can remember, so I can’t directly speak to the ‘evolution’.

I do know that the answer my current pastor had to the objection to the candles (by a former RC member) was “Rejecting Tradition has become our Baptist Tradition.  We should be, rather than by our own habit and tradition rejecting ‘tradition’, instead looking to what the Traditional Aids to Worship sought to do, and if they sought proper ends, and did in fact help achieve them, and do not lead to conflict with the scriptures, embracing them.”

After that encounter our (former) RC fellow mentioned Christmas Eve Mass, and guess what, our Baptist Preacher said ‘The Anglicans will be holding one.  They’ll have a chamber group there to help celebrate, why not sit with me there?’

We don’t baptize babies (though my preacher sees it as ‘not harmful’), as baptism serves for us what confirmation does for most - the mark of entry into the local church communion.

[57] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 07:27 PM · [top]

Sorry,
I should mention that the Christmas Eve service at the Anglicans was among the last service the Anglicans held in the building which is now Episcopalian (DNF - Howard).  Not likely to be nearly so nice a service in the ‘rental place’ where we meet now.

[58] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 07:30 PM · [top]

Oh, yeah, one more thing (sorry)
We are part of the catholic church, and so we are taught.  By this I mean that in the lessons on how to spot a false “gospel”, the usefulness of the Nicene Creed as a ‘litmus test’ has been taught. 

We used a copy of it with the ‘Supporting Scriptures’ laid out, such that the charge of ‘creedalism’ could be countered.

[59] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 07:36 PM · [top]

#55—that’s one canon I have never heard of.  I thought the only rule for receiving in TEC was that you be elegible to receive in your own Church!  I admit I have never read the TEC canons in detail, but I have skimmed through them once in a while.  Maybe you could explain why TEC canons always trump both the Bible and church tradition.  The folks in Sydney need the same information.

[60] Posted by GB on 11-19-2008 at 07:37 PM · [top]

First, we have taken the decision that men will only be ordained as presbyters when they are ready to lead whole parishes, not simply because it’s 10 months after their ordination as deacons.

In Orthodoxy, we make a similar distinction in a different way. We have gradations within each of the three orders. Anglicanism has maintained a special status for archbishops within the episcopacy. In Orthodoxy we also have archpriests within the presbyterate. As I understand it, most priests are eventually elevated to archpriest, but only after they have demonstrated maturity and leadership.

[61] Posted by Roland on 11-19-2008 at 07:38 PM · [top]

When Jesus breathed the Spirit (John 20:21-23) onto the Apostles and then gave the Apostles the power to bind and loose (Matt 16:19/18:18) He did not breathe the Spirit or give powers to the 4000 or the 5000 and he had opportunity and obviously being God, the power to do so but he did not.  He gave the charism to the Apostles and they in turn laid hands on Timothy, by way of the power to bind.  This is the plain read of Scripture and it has no room for what has been twisted into the present suggestion.  God has chosen the few or one for specific purposes many, many times.  God chose the Jews not the Egyptians he chose prophets far and few in between, he choose Apostles not the entire town of Galilee. All the one Holy and Catholic Church has recognized and honored this from the Apostles forward except the extremists of the Reformation and now Sydney. Lay presidency overthrows Christ’s ordaining of his apostles and giving them the power to govern and guide the Church with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. 

WO led to VGR and broke the Communion what will the fallout be from this foolishness?  The whole idea behind WO is there is no difference between gender and gifts of the HG or roles in the Bible and this is the basis of the homosexual argument and it is dead wrong (pun intended).

Arrogance has been rightly discussed in other posts and I would like to flesh it out a bit and say that Sydney has chosen to not only to ignore the Patristic Fathers, all of the faithful for centuries, the Roman and Orthodox Communions, but in my view the Holy Ghost as well as defy Christ’s direct founding of his priesthood in Scripture.  Have we forgot the Epistle to the Hebrews with Paul speaking of our Great High Priest?  The Order of Mechelzidek? If there be A high priest it only follows there be a priesthood.  The denial of the work of the Holy Ghost in all the Church is what is spectacular about this claim.  Thank God for Sydney to finally get it right after 2000 years of failure.  I wish I could have been there to see the Holy Ghost finally descend after being 2000 years late.

The priesthood has been bound by the Church by the successors to the Apostles and has continued under the guidance of the Holy Ghost.  There can be no Communion with the unlawful.  It was unlawfulness that brought us to our present predicament and this innovation will lead to further chaos.  It demonstrates the weakness of the Gafcon coalition and it demonstrates the common cause partners may not have as much in common as was thought.

Someone mentioned the Baptist preoccupation with preaching against what they realized they had thrown out and now must twist and sway to justify.  When the Methodists figured out what they had done they wanted to make it right: “Wesley in his “Korah” sermon, scathingly censured those who would depart from the Apostolic Order, and Dr. Coke, one of the first Superintendents, as they were then called, of the Methodists in this country, made proposals to Bishops White and Seabury, that he and Mr. Ashbury (the resident Methodist Superintendent) should be consecrated Bishops, and proposed a reunion of Methodists and Churchman on a basis conceding a reordination of their ministers.” Grafton

Is this what lies in store for Sydney? Can we never learn but chase after every clanging cymbal?

Canst thou, O Sydney, bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Job 38.

[62] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-19-2008 at 07:43 PM · [top]

Meant to say “Laid hands on Timothy and others”  such as is my typing in a hurry.

[63] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-19-2008 at 07:58 PM · [top]

David,

I thank you for posting this piece on Sydney’s consideration of lay presidency, given the seriousness
of the issue as it pertains to the present and future unity of orthodox Anglicans, and I wish I had time to write a more comprehensive response.  But let me, at least, offer a few thoughts, beginning with the Articles of Religion and the 1662 and 1552 Ordinals.

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.

The article is wonderfully Elizabethan in its use of language, and perhaps not as direct (or circumspect with regard to the potential for misinterpretation) as one might be in writing a confessional statement, church canon, or policy today.  However, the article is saying that only those who are lawfully called and sent may engage in preaching or ministering the sacraments in a congregation, and that only those who have public authority to call and send <b><u>Ministers</u> into the Lord’s vineyard can do this calling and sending</b>.

In other words, this is talking about ordination.  How can we be sure it is talking about ordination?  Because of the way those who wrote the Articles applied them.  The uniform practice of the Church from that time to the present was that the Ministers (clergy) did the preaching and the administration of the sacraments.  (See “Article XXXVI Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers” where the context demonstrates that here and in every instance in which the term “Ministers” is used in the Articles, it means the clergy, functioning in such manner as pertains to their order.) 

Regarding the application of these Articles, we notice this language from the 1662 ordination service from the Deacon:

The Bishop says.
IT appertaineth to the Office of a Deacon, in the Church where he shall be appointed to serve, to assist the Priest in Divine Service, and specially when he [i.e., the Priest] ministereth the holy Communion, and to help him in the distribution thereof; and to read Holy Scriptures and Homilies in the Church; and to instruct the youth in the Catechism; in the absence of the Priest to baptize infants; and to preach, if he be admitted thereto by the Bishop. And furthermore, it is his Office, where provision is so made, to search for the sick, poor, and impotent people of the Parish, to intimate their estates, names, and places where they dwell, unto the Curate, that by his exhortation they may be relieved with the alms of the Parishioners, or others. Will you do this gladly and willingly?
  Answer. I will so do, by the help of God.

Further, note these differences in the services of ordination for a deacon and a priest:

(From the Ordination of a Deacon)
Then shall the Bishop deliver to every one of them the New Testament, saying,
TAKE thou Authority to read the Gospel in the Church of God, and to preach the same, if thou be thereto licensed by the Bishop himself.

(From the Ordination of a Priest)
Then the Bishop shall deliver to every one of them kneeling the Bible into his hand, saying,
TAKE thou Authority to preach the Word of God, and to minister the holy Sacraments in the Congregation, where thou shalt be lawfully appointed thereunto.

(These words are virtually unchanged from the earlier 1552 book, favored by many evangelicals.)

Most significantly, perhaps, in the Preface to the Ordinal we read:

IT is evident unto all men diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles’ time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church; Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. Which Offices were evermore had in such reverend Estimation, that no man might presume to execute any of them, except he were first called, tried, examined, and known to have such qualities as are requisite for the same; and also by publick Prayer, with Imposition of Hands, were approved and admitted thereunto by lawful Authority. And therefore, to the intent that these Orders may be continued, and reverently used and esteemed in the Church of England, no man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest, or Deacon, in the Church of England, or suffered to execute any of the said Functions, except he be called, tried, examined, and admitted thereunto, according to the Form hereafter following, or hath had Episcopal Consecration, or Ordination.

Finally,

XXVI. Of the unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.
ALTHOUGH in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometime the evil have chief authority in the ministration of the word and sacraments; yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by His commission and authority, we may use their ministry both in hearing the word of God and in the receiving of the sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the sacraments ministered unto them, which be effectual because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
  Nevertheless it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church that inquiry be made of evil ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty by just judgement, be deposed.

From this Article we see three things:
1. the Sacraments have an effect;
2. unworthiness of the ministers does not diminish or hinder that effect, and
3. the sacraments are administered by the ministers.

Another thread on Stand Firm dealing with this issue is entitled: Dan Martins on the Sydney Stance: Evangelicals to Liberals: “Psst! Meet Me in Back of the Barn”.  And there is one sense in which I fear this comparison of Sydney Evangelicals with western Liberals is apt:  Both seem to be saying (1.) “we know more about how the church should function than our Anglican forebears did” and (2.) “we believe that what we are doing (be it lay presidency or same sex blessings) is a ‘Gospel imperative’.”

While the Diocese of Sydney asserts that its position is based on a Gospel imperative,” it does not actually or convincingly demonstrate how that is so. There is also a tendency in the Sydney position to attribute too much to the bogeyman of Anglo-Catholicism and a supposed sacerdotal conception of the priesthood, when all we are really talking about is Church order as it has been traditionally understood by Anglicans and as reflected in the 1552 and 1662 Book of Common Prayer. 

If we wish to remain consistent with the 39 Articles as an expression of our Anglican identity, the burden of proof must fall on those who wish to implement lay presidency to show that laity or even deacons were ever authorized to administer the Lord’s Supper.  And, if the language I quoted from the Preface to the Ordinal is correct, it cannot be shown from the Scriptures or the whole history of the Christian Church that this was ever the case.

Robert S. Munday
Nashotah House
I also blog at To All the World and Anglican Revivalist

[64] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 11-19-2008 at 08:01 PM · [top]

Back when I was still an Anglo-Catholic (less than two years ago), one bit of my stock rhetoric was that Anglicanism, unlike Lutheranism and Calvinism, did not have an eponymous founder; we were not Cranmerians. It would appear that Sydney disagrees with me on this point. So, perhaps, when they are booted from the communion, they can style themselves after the pattern of the ELCA as the Evangelical Cranmerian Church in Australia!

But, seriously, Anglicanism as it is now constituted is not the church of Cranmer. That church came to an end with the accession of Queen Mary in 1553. Anglicanism as we know it was founded under Queen Elizabeth. The underlying principle of the Elizabethan Settlement was that Englishmen of both conservative (High Church) and reforming (Puritan) tendencies should find in Anglicanism what they deemed essential to Christianity, and that they should be able to worship as Anglicans in good conscience. The Puritans had to put up with a lot of stuff they would rather have jettisoned, and the High Churchmen were deprived of many things they would rather have retained. But most could live with the result, however grudgingly.

There have been recurring attempts by the Puritan faction to overthrow the Elizabethan Settlement. But their attempts to do away with the episcopate and the prayerbook have been consistently rejected. It appears to me that Sydney is trotting out the Puritan agenda for another go. This time, instead of attacking the episcopate directly, they are trying to undermine the lower orders by erasing the distinction between deacon and presbyter. But if they succeed you can be sure they will go for the episcopate next.

[65] Posted by Roland on 11-19-2008 at 08:16 PM · [top]

#64 Dean Munday - thank you for setting that out.

#65 Roland - I am not sure that you are right about the disjunct you see between the Church of Edward VI and Cranmer and the Church of Elizabeth I, James I and VI and Charles I.  There were certainly developments but I am very uncomfortable with the idea I hear from Americans that the Elizabethan Settlement was some sort of anything goes free for all.  If you actually read the Prayer book and Articles they are quite clear and rather strict.  You also have to remember that in England they had [and to some extent still do have] the force of law.

[66] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-19-2008 at 08:50 PM · [top]

There is an excellent online version of the BCP 1662 including the Articles here thanks to Lynda Howell in case it is helpful

[67] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-19-2008 at 08:55 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster [65],

I’m American and see a disconnect between the CoE pre and post Mary I, while not at all seeing the origin and current development of the Anglican Communion/Church as being a ‘lawless free-for-all’. 

HM Henry VIII was a Roman Catholic in Schism.  HM Edward VI (and/or his regents) were most certainly NOT Roman Catholics.  HM Mary I was a Roman Catholic.  HM Elizabeth I brought about the ‘find accommodation within the bounds of Scripture’ solution.  As some one else pointed out on this board, both of the ‘extreme edges’ of Religious thought of the time had to accept less than they wanted in the the newly re-established independent national Church.

HM Charles I, II and James II & VII wouldn’t have been at all comfortable with the Edward VI CoE.  (The later of course wasn’t ‘comfortable’ but was able - at first anyway, to ‘accept’ the Established Reformed Catholic Church)

Had the HM Edward VI version of the CoE been restored on the accession of HM Elizabeth I, the Sydney ‘Anglicans’ would likely have become the norm within the ‘Established Church’.

[68] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 10:25 PM · [top]

For those wishing to do the morning, evening prayers from the BCP 1662, and the night prayer in traditional language, the http://www.oremus.org/cofe.html website is great!

[69] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 10:30 PM · [top]

David+ (particularly in reference to 42, but also in general)
By what Scriptural imperative was it determined that all priests must be rectors?  This seems the heart of the issue.  Here in N. Michigan, we have priests underfoot all over the place, because the ordain almost anyone who volunteers.  I would stipulate that any of Sydney’s deacons, and quite probably many potential lay presiders would have better credentials than some of the priests here.
But, the logic of your argument seems to hinge on the “necessity” of lay presiders because only those who are prepared to lead entire congregations (ie- rectors) may be priests- which is certainly outside of all Tradition as I know it.  One would think that if it were good enough for Cranmer, it would be sufficiently Protestant for most Anglicans. 
It clearly writes off Anglo Catholics.  I do not see that any of us would ever knowingly receive Communion from a layman, and I am unclear as to what degree of even synodical relationship could be maintained, although, of course, I would cede the floor on that to Bishop Iker or Bishop Ackerman.

[70] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-19-2008 at 10:48 PM · [top]

Hi #68 Bo
It is quite helpful to read Queen Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity by which she restored the work of her brother including the Prayer book very deliberately here.

Thanks for your reference in #69.

[71] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-19-2008 at 10:49 PM · [top]

For many of us, the defence of diaconal and lay presidency or administration of Holy Communion comes out of left field. I think David Ould is warning us, especially those of us committed to the GAFCON movement,  not to jump to condemnation before we talk with brothers and sisters in Christ (see JD clause 12). Of course, the same could be said of the Anglicans in Sydney. They say that their decision is the fruit of a thirty-year argument and synods that predate GAFCON. I find that only partially satisfying, and it almost looks like they wanted to let the horse out of the barn before the issue could get to a wider forum. In any case, diaconal presidency is now a “fact on the ground” like women’s ordination.

I also think we need to beware jumping to draw a moral equivalence between the actions of Sydney synod and those of TEC. They are right to say that there is no clear command in Scripture as to who presides at the Communion, whereas the Bible is full of normative statements and commands on marriage and sexuality, which TEC has brazenly contravened. Having said that, their decision is a major breach of catholic order and the practice of the Church of England and Anglican Communion. The burden of defence is on them, in my opinion.

I have received the book The Lord’s Supper in Human Hands: Who Should Administer?, a series of essays by John Woodhouse, Mark Thompson, Peter Bolt, Bp. Glenn Davies, and Robert Tong (of these, Bp. Davies is not actually arguing for the change theologically but only legally in terms of an Appellate Tribunal decision in the Anglican Church of Australia).

I am working on a review of this book, but I do want here to note that it seems to put forth different and possibly contradictory arguments for the new practice. The first argument, forwarded primarily by Dr. Woodhouse, is that it is an evangelical mandate. He writes: “We cannot be content with practices which obscure or distort the gospel” (p. 7), and he then lists 5 distortions:

1.  That exclusive clergy presidency suggests a “power” which a lay person cannot have;
2.  That higher qualifications are required for presiding than preaching (the comparison with lay preaching is a recurrent theme);
3.  That the validity of the sacrament depends on the person presiding;
4.  That ordination has more to do with the Sacrament than preaching (see #2);
5.  That a priest is essential to the Lord’s Supper and no other practice.

This then leads him to identify the traditional practice with the BCP’s warning against “things that at first were of godly intent and purpose devised, and yet at length turned to vanity and superstition.”

So the argument would seem to go like this:
•  Evangelical Christians must uphold the gospel.
•  There is no basis in Scripture for priest-only administration of Communion
•  There are historical developments in the idea of priestly power that raise the Sacrament over the Word.
•  Therefore it is a gospel mandate to change the practice.

However, Sydney’s defenders also seem to argue that priestly presidency is an “indifferent” matter, not commanded in Scripture and therefore subject to local option. Hence the reference to Article XXXIV. Woodhouse himself seems to concede that the traditional practice is not essentially contrary to Scripture but only that it has been distorted. He argues that the Reformers’ insistence on priestly presidency was a pragmatic, “quality control” decision, due to the shortage of educated church leaders (p. 11).

Frankly, I think the Reformers, and not just the Anglican ones as Robert Munday points out, had stronger reasons for believing in “orders” and corresponding duties of those orders. Some of their stance may have reflected the hierarchical worldview of their day, but some of it is of permanent and biblical character.

This issue, like that of women’s ordination (which curiously is bound up with it, as female deacons in Sydney may now preside!), is a major challenge to ecumenical discussion within the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. It may be that certain convictions held by members of FCA are “incoherent” as Dr. Radner has recently asserted (though I think he might reflect on the coherence of his own church before he criticizes others).

But before we throw in the towel, let’s listen to what each other is saying. That is the freedom we have in Christ and cut loose from the byzantine politics of TEC. Even within Sydney, I think there are those who believe this decision is mistaken (the book refers to arguments made by Abp. Donald Robinson but unfortunately I could not get access to his articles), and others like Abp. Jensen are aware of its potential to distract from the wider Gospel mandate for a “Global Anglican Future.”

So as we used to say in TEC, let’s continue the dialogue.

[72] Posted by Stephen Noll on 11-19-2008 at 11:18 PM · [top]

I read the act a bit differently…

....Be it therefore Enacted by the Authority of this present Parliament, That the said Statute of Repeal and everything therein contained, only concerning the said Book and the Service, Administration of Sacraments, Rites, and Ceremonies contained or appointed in or by the said Book shall be void and of none effect, from and after the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John Baptist next coming.

And that the said Book with the Order of Service and of the Administration of Sacraments, Rites, and Ceremonies, with the Alterations and Additions, therein added and appointed by this Statute, shall stand and be from and after the said Feast of the Nativity of Saint John Baptist in full force and effect according to the tenor and effect of this Statute; Any thing in the aforesaid Statute of Repeal to the contrary notwithstanding….

....and the Form of the Litany altered and corrected, and two Sentences only added in the delivery of the Sacrament to the Communicants….

Changes to the Litnay and the Sacrament.  Not quite her brother’s book… (the
And the real “kicker”

...  Provided always, and be it Enacted, That such Ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers thereof, shall be retained, and be used, as was in this Church of England, by Authority of Parliament, in the second Year of the Reign of King Edward the Sixth, until other order shall be therein taken by the Authority of the Queen’s Majesty, with the Advice of her Commissioners appointed and authorized under the Great Seal of England for Causes Ecclesiastical, or of the Metropolitan of this Realm. And also, that if there shall happen any Contempt or Irreverence to be used in the Ceremonies or Rites of the Church, by the misusing of the Orders appointed in this Book, the Queen’s Majesty may, by the like advice of the said Commissioners or Metropolitan, ordain and publish such further Ceremonies or Rites as may be most for the advancement of God’s Glory, the edifying of his Church, and the due reverence of Christ’s holy Mysteries and Sacraments….

Whereby her Archbishops really brought the Church into her customary ‘Rule by halves’.

Of Course the most wonderful BCP had to wait for the Restoration….

[73] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 11:22 PM · [top]

I think Deacons doing the Lord’s Supper is OK in some of the other provinces already (++Nzimbi allows it I think….)

[74] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 11:28 PM · [top]

I’ve found it very interesting to follow this thread and the overwhelming number of responses opposed to “Lay Administration”. I think at best it shows many with a deep affection for the Anglican ethos, and a desire for there to be no further fracturing amongst those of us who call ourselves orthodox Anglicans. What I do find a little disturbing is the blurring of weight and authority, in regard to what is and what is not suitable justification for one’s position. One commentator spoke eloquently of Ignatius and many others concerning the differing versions of the BCP. Yet I’ll throw in Jerome and my favorite version of the BCP, that allows for expanded lay administration, (IMHO)and we’re back to square one. If we cannot arrive and agree upon what is and is not authoritative, then we are doomed to forever “box our own shadow”, as we slip further and further into irrelevance in the eyes of the world.
Another concern is that everyone is so interested in getting their point across, that no one is addressing the underlying issue… that in several places around the world, in addition to Australia, that there is a serious lack of trained or mature mentors to disciple and serve new converts to the faith. If we insist upon the “Anglican way” then some of you are going to have give up your six figure salaries , and go into the bush to serve these areas newly opened for the Gospel. I believe that an Equitable distribution of Priests and Bishops could put this issue to rest. Who wants to sign up first.

[75] Posted by Abishai on 11-19-2008 at 11:36 PM · [top]

Get me through the process, and I’ll take the Job. 

Mind the ‘discernment’ might be a hurdle (I may carry too much Baptist Baggage), and the ‘seminary’ I can’t afford, and I’m remarried (though my first divorce was ‘for cause’, and I the ‘innocent party’)....

[76] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 11:40 PM · [top]

OOPS,
I don’t have six-figure salary to give up.  (I don’t think that’ll hurt my chances though, I’m sure the poor can serve the poor….)

[77] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 11:41 PM · [top]

On a more ‘authoritative point’ isn’t the 1662 to BCP of GAFCON?

[78] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 11:42 PM · [top]

Robroy #39, the “Ordinal” is found in the Prayer Book, in the 1928, beginning at page 529. 

Reading through the services for ordaining deacons and priests in that Prayer Book makes the distinctions between the offices of Deacon and Priest very clear.  It seems to me that Sydney has created this dilemma for itself.  It has changed the priesthood to include only those who are capable of being Rectors, eliminating assistant priests, and it has changed the Deacons’ responsibilities, and, finding itself without sufficient qualified clergy under its new system, now needs to consider having men who are deacons or unordained do what priests have done before.

The simple solution would be to change back to the original system, making Deacons people who help the Priest and assist the poor and Priests be men fully authorized by ordination to preach on their own steam and to consecrate the Holy Communion.  These functions are very clear in the traditional Anglican Prayer Book.

[79] Posted by Katherine on 11-20-2008 at 02:05 AM · [top]

Prof. Noll (Steve - #72), I was not aware of the book The Lord’s Supper in Human Hands: Who Should Administer?, though I will make certain to obtain a copy.  But from your itemization of the points in the book, I would like to offer a response.

1.  That exclusive clergy presidency suggests a “power” which a lay person cannot have;

No, clergy presidency suggests a function to which a lay person is not called.

2.  That higher qualifications are required for presiding than preaching (the comparison with lay preaching is a recurrent theme);

In Acts, Stephen and Phillip (both deacons) were obviously preachers; and Phillip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch—whether it was a case of necessity, or whether deacons routinely baptized, we are not told.  However, there is no scriptural evidence for diaconal or lay presidency at the Lord’s Supper.  And the early Fathers, who were in the best position to observe how the Scriptures were applied in the matter of eucharistic presidency, always considered it reserved to the presbyterate.

3.  That the validity of the sacrament depends on the person presiding;

The validity of the sacrament depends on the authority of the person presiding, which is made clear in the Preface to the 1662 Ordinal (quoted in my post above [#64]).

4.  That ordination has more to do with the Sacrament than preaching (see #2);

Our Anglican forebears were almost equally restrictive regarding preaching as they were the sacraments.  Only clergy were to preach.  It was to be done primarily by presbyters and only secondarily by deacons who had been licensed by the bishop.  The fact that laypeople may be articulate teachers and speakers on many occasions and at many types of Christian gatherings does not mean that they should assume the function of the preacher in congregational worship.  If someone shows that kind of calling to the task of preaching, the Church should ordain him.  But (speaking hypothetically), if ordination did have more to do with the sacrament than with preaching, so what?  It would be a matter of a calling to a function rather than elevation to a position of power. 

In Article XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers, the writers seem to have anticipated the concern that ordination created a special priestly caste:

The Book of Consecration of Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons… doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing that, of itself, is superstitious and ungodly.

In other words, one need not worry that the making of bishops, priests, and deacons is, in and of itself, a cause of superstition or ungodliness—though it often seems to me that members of the Sydney diocese view it as precisely that.

5.  That a priest is essential to the Lord’s Supper and no other practice.

A physician is essential to the practice of medicine, and an electrician is essential to wiring a house.  But both are pretty much interchangeable with any other individual, other than when they are exercising their respective callings.  It is a matter of function.  But what if priests (due to their being set apart for a particular function in the church) were more essential to the sacraments than any other function?  So what?  This seems to spring more from a superstitious aversion to clergy and sacraments than anything that is grounded in Scripture, Anglican tradition, or even sound reason.

I agree that we need to dialogue very earnestly with our brothers and sisters in Sydney about this.  I merely pray that they do not do something unilaterally that jeopardizes the unity of an orthodox Anglican entity before it even gets off the ground.

[80] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 11-20-2008 at 02:31 AM · [top]

AndrewA, #54

On reflection, I made a few errors in my initial paragraph (treating various probabilities as statistically independent when they are not; not counting the cost to the communion if Sydney go ahead and are right in their theology). I could also have done (or more likely others who actually agree with the theology I was trying to justify could have done) a better job of trying to justify catholic theology from scripture in the middle section of my post. That’s what you get when you try to write something as lengthy as that at 10:00 at night without time to properly review it. The argument can probably be amended to correct these errors.

But my main point, which I think stands despite my numerous shortcomings, was that the costs if you have got your theology wrong (and the catholics right in their view of the sacraments) are too large and the benefits of proceeding (since you can just ordain lots more presbyters which also solves the problem, and nobody would have an issue with that) too small and the chance that this theology is right (i.e. in agreement with what Christ told his apostles to establish in the churches they founded) too low (seeing what is what is written in the church fathers - we are sola scripture not solo scripture, therefore we must give some weight to other sources of authority where they do not contradict scripture, including the fathers, and additionally that there is a small (we’re evangelicals, after all) but non-zero possibility that the catholics have correctly interpreted scripture in this matter) for this action to be worth taking.

Was that any easier to understand?

[81] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-20-2008 at 05:02 AM · [top]

Thank you Stephen, for your words. You’re right that we need to work harder to understand each other.

As for others - I’m tempted to try and answer observations but questions that I’ve raised so far don’t get much of an answer. I also get the feeling that making the post itself is controversial enough! I may just let you all run on some more while answering specific points of query. To that end:

tjmacmahon (#70):
You would have to ask the Archbishop! However, I think the intent was to put some more meaning into the term “presbyter” (elder).

Mark Harris (#46) - I think you have confused with the clone.

RobRoy (#39)- the ordinal is the ordination service

I’ll go on providing clarifying answers, if necessary.

[82] Posted by David Ould on 11-20-2008 at 06:00 AM · [top]

A lot of folks quoting the Articles for and against but unless one can prove that the authors of the Articles (which are not Scripture) would have approved of an ordinand being a woman or that a lay man could preside at the Eucharist your only superimposing your own agenda over what they have said.  In other words your putting words in the mouths of the dead who obviously cannot answer and that is an easy thing to do and will only convince those who are immature in the faith.

The Scripture is clear as that no one but the Apostles was given power to loose and bind to forgive or not forgive sins and to pass on this charism.
John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you”.
Mark 3:14 “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:...  and after the Apostles are named the passage goes on to say ... “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand”.

That an argument that Scripture is silent seems mightily strained and very dangerous to me.

[83] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-20-2008 at 09:06 AM · [top]

David,
“tjmacmahon (#70):
You would have to ask the Archbishop! However, I think the intent was to put some more meaning into the term “presbyter” (elder). “

If you are going to use an opinion (that presbyters MUST be rectors) as a linchpin of your case, you need to be able to support it on Scriptural grounds.  The Archbishop is not immediately available to me as a reference.  You might at least have been good enough to cite some available reference to support your argument.  Certainly, one cannot overthrow 2000 years of church tradition on the basis of a whim of an archbishop, a whim that apparently his deacons are not prepared to defend, or even define.

[84] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-20-2008 at 09:10 AM · [top]

#84 TJ Agreed
The whole point about having curates in training posts is to give ordinands on the job experience under more experienced priests.  If they are not unutterably hopeless they will likely move on to have their own parish.

The fact that Sydney have decided to hamstring themselves in this peculiar way and not give the newly ordained the opportunity to gain by working with more experienced priests before flying solo is hardly a persuasive argument, but what do I know?

[85] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-20-2008 at 09:20 AM · [top]

sorry that should read the newly ordained rather than ordinands.

[86] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-20-2008 at 09:23 AM · [top]

I’m starting to think that Anglicans need something like the Precautionary Principle of international law, so that an innovation like this would require consensus among the provinces.

[87] Posted by tired on 11-20-2008 at 11:28 AM · [top]

In very few words:
This Sydney innovation makes no sense whatsoever. It has no sufficient support from any Scriptural, theological, historical, traditional, communion, or reasonable perspective. The argument is far from convincing.

This continual piercing of the body of Christ with wounds from a thousand cuts is very painful, frustrating and heart breaking to me. I am sure I am not alone in this thought.
I have spent the better part of this morning reading this and the postings and the more I read the more I keep asking myself “what was/is Sydney thinking?”
This is sad, very sad indeed.

Fr. Kingsley Jon-Ubabuco

[88] Posted by Spiro on 11-20-2008 at 12:45 PM · [top]

#62
Best comment on this thread.  Well said.

[89] Posted by evan miller on 11-20-2008 at 01:34 PM · [top]

Boring Bloke, et al: Your mathematical (?) chain of reasoning left me with a swirling head. I’m not a math person.  After reading through most of the comments, my attention span was used up so I jumped down here to add my bit.
1) After witnessing Anglican highjinks for more than 30 years, I reached a “plague on all your houses” position. I decided for myself that my understanding of the Eucharist would be: the sacrament is effected entirely by God the Holy Spirit. No man (or woman) has any inherent or delegated spiritual power to effect it, ordination notwithstanding.
2)Ordination confers authority to celebrate the Eucharist within the jurisdiction of the ordaining authority.  It is a matter of permission or authorization, not of charism.
3)This point of view does not exclude lay-celebration, as distinct from lay administration of the Sacrament to communicants. Lay celebration (presidency) is a matter of consent by Authority and the congregation being served.
4)None of this is very Anglican, or Catholic, or Eastern.
It is basically a Protestant view which regards the grace of the Sacrament as given by God and the Presider merely ministers it to the people and himself.  They are all receivers, the Lord is the only giver.
5) After seeing the shenanigans of too many in Holy Orders, I have come to doubt that there is anything such as a charism of Orders. I see it as a matter of church order and administration, the Church human.
Burn me at the stake if you must, but I will remain always:
Dumb Sheep.

[90] Posted by dumb sheep on 11-20-2008 at 02:59 PM · [top]

dumb sheep

As you say, “None of this is very Anglican.”

[91] Posted by evan miller on 11-20-2008 at 03:22 PM · [top]

Dr. Noll,

So as we used to say in TEC, let’s continue the dialogue.

And in the meantime? The “and” is missing from your statement. Did you mean to say:

1. So as we used to say in TEC, let’s continue the dialogue and in the meantime, put a moritorium on this practice until it is settled.

2. So as we used to say in TEC, let’s continue the dialogue. and in the meantime, Syndey can do whatever Sydney decides is right and others can hop onto that wagon if they wish as we continue our dialog.

3. So as we used to say in TEC, let’s continue the dialogue and [something else].

Do you have an opinion as to what should be status of Sydney’s active practices during the dialog? I’d like to hear it. I’m on record as seeing it needs to cease immediately and not resume until there is consensus for it from the Primates or Lambeth (and preferably with the RCC and EO).

[92] Posted by Antique on 11-20-2008 at 04:01 PM · [top]

The “let’s dialog” remark sent the hair up on the back of my neck. 
Thanks Evan I am glad you got the point even with the grammatical errors! I was in a hurry.

I suppose that if our “Great High Priest” “ordaining” his Apostles giving them power and Spirit is not convincing enough as to who who preside at the His Eucharist than surely we can not condemn flying an airliner into a building because there is nothing in Scripture proscribing such an action.

[93] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-20-2008 at 10:32 PM · [top]

Dear Antique,

I was not being flippant in suggesting we continue the dialogue, though I was contrasting the true meaning of the phrase with the manipulative way it has been used in TEC.

I think diaconal presidency is a fait accompli for the moment in Sydney and maybe in some other places in the Anglican Communion. There is nothing “we” can do about it. There is not even anything the Archbishop of Sydney can do about it in the short run. In this regard it is a lot like women’s ordination elsewhere.

The difference is this. Those who have promoted this practice in Sydney believe it is in accordance with Scripture and not at odds with classic Reformed Anglican teaching, and they have now put forth their reasons in all seriousness (available so far as I can see only through the Anglican Church League). I think they are mistaken and that a large majority of Anglican Evangelicals (and others) would disagree with them. However, the issue has been localized in Sydney, and Sydney itself has seen itself on the periphery of the wider Communion, even among the churches of the Global South.

With the entry of Abp. Jensen and others into the GAFCON movement, that position on the fringe is changing, though some in that diocese are acting as if it weren’t. What Sydney does now matters to Uganda and Nigeria and many others in the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. The positive news is that the FCA has a substantive basis (the Jerusalem Declaration and the authorities it recognizes) and a body (the Primates Council) by which its members can deliberate on issues of importance to the wider church.

I hope and trust that biblically and historically informed arguments to the effect that this innovation is unwarranted may be presented to the promoters in Sydney. But to do this one needs to understand their position. I believe that in the long run they will conclude either that this is a misreading of God’s will in Scripture and history or at least that it is an indifferent matter whose time has NOT come. In the short term, I think the Archbishop will prevent the diocese from authorizing lay presidency and the practice by deacons will be limited. (David, any statistics on how many deacons there are, how many are leading congregations, and what the male/female breakdown is?)

So this is what I mean by continuing the dialogue. The appearance of this issue is not only a public relations problem for FCA (see Graham Kings), but an initial test as to whether the GAFCON movement is prepared to practice what it preaches (again I cite JD clause 12). Because the issue is inter-connected with other questions of ecclesiology, such as the ordination of women and the nature of the 3-fold order of ministry, I think it is an opportunity as well as a threat.

[94] Posted by Stephen Noll on 11-20-2008 at 10:33 PM · [top]

Dr Noll,

I was not being flippant in suggesting we continue the dialogue

I didn’t think you were and I meant not to covey such. It was a legitimate question. I agree, the dialog must be taken. But there remains the deed to be dealt with while dialoging. I simply wanted your view on that point.

Thank you for the further thoughts but I gather you decline to comment directly, otherwise I missed your pointed response. No reason you should have to give a direct reply to the likes of me, but I was rather hoping for some insight from a senior cleric elsewhere in the world. What ++Jensen may likely do, whether it’s a challenge to GAFCON, etc., is all good commentary and I find myself agreeing with most of it. But as to what you think Sydney should do while that dialog is continuing? Stop? Carry on?

It’s obvious Sydney will carry on. But like ordaining non-celibate gays to the episcopate, or WO, or easy divorce and remarriage, or supporting abortion on demand, or denying the Trinity, etc. ... while the talks are continuing, what is your opinion on a moritorium?

Or perhaps I’m putting you on the spot and you’d rather not answer. I can understand that. But I value input from senior clerics far more than my own input and most of the commenters here. I’d love to hear what PB Schori thinks. What the GS primates think. What Rowan thinks. What every bishop and dean thinks. You’ve volunteered some interest in this thread so I thought I might get you to weigh in on enforcement, the lack of which has permitted us to get to the stage we are in the AC.

Should Sydney police itself until the all-clear is given at a future date? Not “will,” as I think we can be assured they won’t, but “should?” And thank you so much for your time, futher response forthcoming or no.

[95] Posted by Antique on 11-21-2008 at 12:45 AM · [top]

Stephen (#94)
I can’t give overall statistics. My ordination grouop this year contained 49 deacons, of whom 5 were female. That was the largest ever in Sydney. I don’t think any of the women had anything other than a conservative stance on the WO question and I don’t think many of them will even want to preside.

the current policy of reassessing the presbyterate has only been in place for a few years so the number of deacons is low, relative to presbyters. This is bound to change in the future.
I, for instance, have every intention of remaining where I am for the foreseeable future (ie not seeking arectorship elsewhere) and so have little likelihood of being ordained to the prebyterate. It seems common sense to us that I should expand my role to mirror that of my senior minister.

That’s how it seen down here.

[96] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 03:13 AM · [top]

I suppose that if our “Great High Priest” “ordaining” his Apostles giving them power and Spirit is not convincing enough as to who who preside at the His Eucharist than surely we can not condemn flying an airliner into a building because there is nothing in Scripture proscribing such an action.

I don’t disagree with your point, but I also don’t think that this is the best example. Exodus 20:13 `Thou shalt not kill’ comes to mind. And, depending on the circumstances, Exodus 20:15 `Thou shalt not steal’ might be relevant as well. And if you are thinking of flying your own unmanned aircraft into your own unoccupied building, I’m sure there is something in scripture warning against excessive stupidity.

Sorry, this post doesn’t have a much of a link to the diocese of Sydney. (Unless there is something else we should be worrying about.)

[97] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-21-2008 at 04:16 AM · [top]

While perceived suitability for incumbency has been accentuated of late in Sydney as a leading criterion for presbyteral ordination, matters aren’t quite as hard and fast as some might infer from this.  Some lucky parishes here still enjoy the odd curate or two; also, there doesn’t seem to be anything which stops rectors from, say, moving back into chaplaincy when that is mutually deemed expedient.

[98] Posted by Michael Canaris on 11-21-2008 at 04:54 AM · [top]

David remarks:

It does strike me, though, that to build in a difference between who may preside and who may preach is saying that there is a difference.

Well, of course there is, and there always has been in Anglicanism.  Although Morning Prayer in the 1552 BCP assumes a priest will be present (though not necessarily presiding at the service), the 1662 book (and the US 1928 book) distinguish carefully between “minister” and “priest”, and indeed in the tradition of the Church a head of household may preside at a service of Morning or Evening Prayer for his family.  But he may not pronounce absolution; that is reserved for a priest, according to the rubrics—as is presiding at the Eucharist. 

The “sacerdotal priesthood” is part of what Anglicanism is.  If you want to be Presbyterians or Methodists, that’s fine and God bless you.  But please don’t try to pretend that Cranmer would approve; I at least am completely fed up with this sort of special pleading and spinning to justify doctrinal innovation.

[99] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 11-21-2008 at 05:43 AM · [top]

<blockquote> I suppose that if our “Great High Priest” “ordaining” his Apostles giving them power and Spirit is not convincing enough as to who who preside at the His Eucharist than surely we can not condemn flying an airliner into a building because there is nothing in Scripture proscribing such an action. 

I don’t disagree with your point, </blockquote>
I do! Where does one find Jesus “ordaining” his Apostles (and the word was used specifically so I am intrigued as to where it is derived from? Then, how does one go from there to establish that Jesus intended only Presbyters and not Deacons to administer communion? It seems a fair stretch to me.

[100] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 06:00 AM · [top]

The “sacerdotal priesthood” is part of what Anglicanism is.

On the contrary. Cranmer took an entirely Reformed position:

XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.
The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.

That’s a pretty obvious rejection of sacerdotalism. I really appreciate the discussion above on the distinction between Presbyter and Deacon, but let’s not pursue the old chestnut of how Cranmer was really a sacerdotalist. The evidence just won’t support it.

[101] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 06:11 AM · [top]

I have to say David that from what you say part of this has come about from problems caused by the growth of Sydney and a consequent shortage of the ordained [We should be so lucky!].  I have followed and been impressed by the Connect ‘09 aims and materials for spreading the Good News.

If the problems do result from this and the pressures then I would have thought the simple answer is to ordain the diaconate as appropriate rather than making it dependant on incumbancy which is a real novelty to me, when the rest of the church is moving towards seeing mission as not bound to parishes and traditional forms of geographical limitation.

I would have thought with your training you should finish the job and equip yourself as God has called you in all the fullness of the laying on of hands and commissioning to administer all the sacraments [as the Articles make clear they are].

I suppose Sydney is in the position of TEC when the rest of the Communion said “Please don’t do this”.  Well we know what the Americans did.  I would like to think that Australians were capable of better.

God bless in your calling to mission and thank you for this enlightening thread.

PM

[102] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-21-2008 at 06:18 AM · [top]

thanks PM. I can’t say, personally, that I’m massively happy with the new distinction here between deacon and presbyter, although I appreciate what they are trying to achieve.
However, I don’t think that the argument re Diaconal Administration hangs on it. Rather, it has precipitated it. I am satisfied that it would be right for a deacon to preside, even if we didn’t have the current issue here and questions of timing not withstanding.

[103] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 06:33 AM · [top]

OK, David #101, I’ll head in again, and try not to embarrass myself further.

When I wrote `I don’t disagree with your point’ I should have written I don’t challenge your point which is a closer representation of my view. I guess that your reply is still `I do.’

But in any case, I think that the link is derived from the theology of the absolution (and giving of the spirit by the laying on hands) and the Eucharist. In both the absolution and the Eucharist, the presbyter or Bishop is said to be speaking in persona Christ, as shown by the use of the first person in the words of institution ``This is my body.’’ In both the administration and the laying on hands the presbyter is asking for one of the persons of the Trinity to come onto a material object, either the spirit onto the believer or the son into the bread or wine (in a spiritual sense, of course, to be consistent with Cramner). Thus the same processes are involved, which means that it should be restricted to the same people.

Is this argument completely convincing? Not in my view; it contains a couple of assumptions and extrapolations which I have not been able to establish in my thoughts on the subject; and it also needs to be demonstrated that these gifts are given to the apostles alone (Acts 8 is a good place to start for the laying on hands). But it does seem to me to be very plausible; and I challenge you to disprove this theology (or better, the theology as described by somebody who actually understands the Catholic position rather than as described by a self-confessed theological ignoramus such as myself) from scripture.

[104] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-21-2008 at 06:51 AM · [top]

Though admittedly getting a Calvinist like David Ould to admit that there is a small possibility that one small part of Catholic doctrine that stands in his way may be correct is probably about as likely as getting the pope to say `That]http://www.zenit.org/article-24302?l=english”]That is why Luther’s expression “sola fide” is true.[/url]’

[105] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-21-2008 at 07:49 AM · [top]

I should of course preview my post before publishing a link.

[106] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-21-2008 at 07:51 AM · [top]

David,
We all have our theological outlook which shapes our reading of scripture.  And part of the beauty of Anglicanism is that it allows for Sydney type evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics to be part of the same Communion.  But the real issue in this debate isn’t whether you have biblical or missional warrant for your actions.  The issue is whether you are going to continue to submit to catholic order or break from it. 

If you refuse to turn back from the outcry of the majority within the Communion (i.e., place your theological outlook above the catholic order of the Communion), you had better be prepared to say that this is a defining issue of the faith, i.e., that the substance of Christianity is at issue.  (Which obviously places an incredible burden of proof on Sydney).  If not, you are acting in a schismatic fashion by turning your back on the rest of the Communion over a matter that is not essential to biblical faith. 

The real issue here is not biblical faith but catholic order.  Does Sydney respect catholic order or not?  Without catholic order, we cease to be Anglican in any meaningful sense, and the Anglican Communion is truly doomed…no effort to reform it is possible. 

My prayer is that GAFCON will move swiftly to overturn this threat to catholic order from the right with as much determination as it has done so to overturn the threat to both catholic order and biblical faith on the left.  Discipline is essential if we are to become a faithful witness to Christ as a Communion.  The left’s action may be more abhorent, but the right’s action may be even more destructive in that it divides us over matters that are not essential to the faith. Please do not go the way of sectarianism!  Uphold the Nicene Creed, and maintain your allegiance to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

[107] Posted by Rob Paris on 11-21-2008 at 10:09 AM · [top]

There is an ontological difference between a Deacon and a Priest.  The Bishop lays hands on a Deacon and recognizes that person’s calling to be a unique ministry of service to God and the Church.  A Bishop and other Priest’s assembled lays hands on a Priest creating a person whose unique calling is to serve God and His people through their leadership, pastoral ministry, teaching and preaching, and in the confecting of the Sacraments.  The three-fold order of clergy in the Church has been around for a very long time: please consult the Acts of the Apostles.  If a Deacon wishes to celebrate the Mass, then that Deacon should discern his calling to the priesthood according to the canons of his diocese and seek ordination from his Bishop.  Once again, it seems that the personal desires and wants of a few are dictating far reaching and massive changes in tradition and theology for the many.  The tail continues to wag the dog.

[108] Posted by Sacerdotal451 on 11-21-2008 at 01:10 PM · [top]

On “sacredotal priesthood” the Anglican Reformers certainly denied the “sacredotal priesthood” they saw in the “Romish Sacrifice of the Mass.”
But they also affirmed the “Eucharist Sacrifice” in the sense the Church Fathers laid out—citing the teaching of the Church Fathers as the true Scriptural teaching on the matter. As Bishop Jewel stated to the Roman Catholic Harding on the matter of “Eucharistic Sacrifice” in his Defense of the Apology:

We deny not but it may well be said, Christ at His last supper offered up Himself unto His Father; albeit, not really and indeed, but, according to M. Harding’s own distinction, in a figure or in a mystery; in such sort, as we say, CHRIST was offered in the sacrifices of the old law: and as St. John says, The Lamb was slain from the beginning of the world.

“As for our part,” St. Augustine saith, “Christ hath given us to celebrate in His Church, an image or token of that Sacrifice for the remembrance of His Passion.” Again he saith, “After CHRIST’S ascension into heaven, the Flesh and Blood of this Sacrifice is continued by a Sacrament of remembrance.” Eusebius saith, “We burn a Sacrifice unto GOD, the remembrance of that great Sacrifice upon the cross, and CHRIST commanded us to offer up a remembrance of His death, instead of a Sacrifice.” It were an infinite labour to report all that may be said. To be short, St. Hierome saith, turning himself unto CHRIST: “Then shalt Thou, O CHRIST, receive Sacrifice, either when Thou offerest up Thyself for us unto Thy Father,” (which was only upon the cross,) “or else, when Thou receivest of us praises and thanksgiving.”

St. Cyprian saith, “We offer the LORD’S cup,” meaning thereby, the wine contained in the cup. So likewise St. Augustine saith: “The Church offereth up the Sacrifice of bread and wine.” If there be any darkness in this manner of speech, both St. Cyprian and St. Augustine have plainly expounded their meaning. St. Cyprian, in the same Epistle before alleged, saith thus: “The cup is offered in remembrance of CHRIST: by the wine CHRIST’S Blood is shewed, or signified: therefore wine is used, that by wine we may understand the LORD’S Blood: water only without wine, cannot express the Blood of CHRIST: in the water we understand the people: in the wine CHRIST’S Blood is represented: in all our Sacrifices, we work the memory of CHRIST’S passion: the Sacrifice that we offer, is the Passion of our LORD.” Thus much St. Cyprian in the same epistle. St. Augustine saith, “In this Sacrifice is a Thanksgiving, and a remembrance of the Flesh of CHRIST, that He hath offered for us, and of the Blood of CHRIST that He shed for us.” Thus saith St. Cyprian: thus saith St. Augustine: thus say the old godly learned fathers of the Church of Christ.

[Of course someone can produce numerous quotes from the English Reformers strongly denouncing the “Romish Sacrifice of the Mass” (which, of course, is the case)—But this is beside the point. The point is that the English Reformers held the truth of the “Eucharistic Sacrifice” as laid out by the Church Fathers.]

Finally, there is the related issue (in regards to both the “Eucharistic Sacrifice” and the lay and diaconal celebration of the Eucharist), which I raised above. That is, the traditional Anglican position on submission to the real (though secondary) authority of “tradition.”

As Cranmer stated clearly in his Confutation of Unwritten Verities:

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.

And Canon 6 from the 1571 Bishop’s Convocation which ratified the 39 Articles (and this Canon affirm the truth of the 39 Articles and the 1559 Prayer Book and Ordinal immediately after this statement—thus showing that the Anglican Formularies are necessarily intended to be understood in accordance with the teaching of the “Catholic fathers and ancient bishops”):

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.

[Again, someone can produce plenty of quotes regarding the vastly superior authority of Scripture over any single Church Father, etc (which I certainly agree with, by the way) or condemnations of the “vain traditons of men”—But this is, again, beside the point, because:
1. The universal understanding or interpretation of Scripture by the “Catholic fathers and ancient bishops” is clearly not being counted here among the “vain traditions of men” by the English Reformers, and 2. The secondary authority of the Church Fathers or “tradition” in comparison to Sacred Scripture’s inerrant and infallible witness of the Apostolic faith is already understood.]

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.

[109] Posted by William on 11-21-2008 at 02:49 PM · [top]

p.s. Just to know where I’m coming from in the above comments—I’m not an “Anglo-Catholic” (although the term is used so elasticly that I don’t know if that actually matters)—although I certainly hold “catholic” doctrines such as the Creedal doctrine of Baptismal regeneration taught in the BCP—namely that “it is certain by God’s Word, that children being Baptized have all things necessary for Salvation and be undoubtedly saved”  1552/1559 BCP.

Simply put, I take seriously the Anglican principle of the “catholic faith” stated by Bishop Jewel in his Apology of the Church of England—regarding the central authority (though of course secondary to Sacred Scripture) of the patristic faith of the “old Catholic Fathers”:

“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.”

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.

[110] Posted by William on 11-21-2008 at 04:01 PM · [top]

During the first fifty to one hundred years, I imagine that there were a multitude of instances where ‘lay’/ordinary folk who ‘led’ groups in sharing the Lord’s Supper.

[111] Posted by Bill C on 11-21-2008 at 04:09 PM · [top]

Bill C.  “During the first fifty to one hundred years, I imagine that there were a multitude of instances where ‘lay’/ordinary folk who ‘led’ groups in sharing the Lord’s Supper.”  I think the operative word here is ‘imagine’.  That means that you are guessing that it happened but you have no evidence that it did happen.
I think this is a great discussion on the topic of Lay Presidency and only wish that it had taken place before the fact not after the fact. Those that have initiated lay presidency have failed to honor their brothers and sisters in the rest of the communion. They have failed to discern the body.

[112] Posted by Fr. Dale on 11-21-2008 at 05:37 PM · [top]

thanks all for the latest posts, received overnight. Let me just take up what BoringBloke had to say (#104)

But in any case, I think that the link is derived from the theology of the absolution (and giving of the spirit by the laying on hands) and the Eucharist. In both the absolution and the Eucharist, the presbyter or Bishop is said to be speaking in persona Christ, as shown by the use of the first person in the words of institution ``This is my body.’’

I think the counter would be to show that at the Supper the President speaks in the third person of Christ, as he clearly does.
Indeed, I would argue that the absolution is a higher moment in the service than the Supper. It is, pardon the term, a “raw” gospel moment. The promises of the gospel have been read, explained and affirmed, sin has been confessed and now forgiveness is announced. In a sense, the gospel is cystallised at that moment.
Whereas at the Supper we are remembering that gospel event. It is subtley different. No less important, of course, but one is dependent upon the other.
It’s also interesting to note that the absolution is the only part of the communion service that the rubrick requires the bishop, if present, to speak to (to be fair, he is also required to give the final benediction).

Again, that’s not an argument for Diaconal presidency, but it goes towards seeing what Cranmer prioritised in the service.

As for the matter you raise of Anglo-Catholics being welcome in the Communion - I wouldn’t want to add more than the piece from Richardson that I originally cited (all of it - I have only cited a couple of sentences directly pertinent to the point I was making at the time). That’s not meant to be confrontational, rather to express the honest tensions that many of us, on both sides of the discussion, feel.

[113] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 05:53 PM · [top]

David,
“Indeed, I would argue that the absolution is a higher moment in the service than the Supper”  Could you clarify what you mean by using the word “higher”?  Absolution deals with forgiveness of sins.  The Supper is communion with Christ Himself.

[114] Posted by Fr. Dale on 11-21-2008 at 06:38 PM · [top]

sure, my fellow Deacon…
I would question the way you phrase your question and the assumption within it.
“Communion” is not somehow placing us closer to Christ than a simple response to the gospel can. Indeed, it is interesting that the BCP consistently speaks of the Lord’s Supper, not “Communion”.
Here is my understanding (which I have set out elsewhere) of what is going on in that section of the service. The confession and absolution come prior to the supper and provide the grounding for it. If there is a highest “gospel moment” in teh service it is that point, for that is where we see the essence of the gospel - confession, trust in Christ and forgiveness. From there we move to a remembrance (so the continuous usage of the words in the prayer of consecration) of what Christ achieved for us on the cross. Having established our right status in front of God, we are strengthened by feeding upon Christ in our hearts.
Thus, the absolution is the high point - it is the raw gospel moment. The supper then looks back to that moment and reinforces it.
Does that help clarify where I’m coming from?

[115] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 06:49 PM · [top]

David,
I believe that the supper does look back but it also has a present and future dimension. For example, in the BCP Eucharistic Prayer “C” it is stated, “Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the world in his name.”
When I listen to your understanding of the Eucharist (what you prefer to call the Lord’s Supper) I think back to my Baptist roots at the carving on the church altar.  “Do this in remembrance of me”. I think there, we saw communion only as a remembrance. This distinction in our perspectives may have some bearing on the issue at hand.  Additionally, I do not believe as a deacon that I can (am able) to consecrate the bread and wine.

[116] Posted by Fr. Dale on 11-21-2008 at 07:25 PM · [top]

It’s ironic, this. I came to Anglicanism out of the Plymouth Brethren. The Brethren themselves separated from Anglicanism over some of the same theological convictions that are so prevalent in Sydney today.

I remember reading some of the debates between John Nelson Darby and various CofE ministers and Church of Ireland over these same issues… no one (including Darby) suggested that lay-presidency was in any way compatible with the Anglican formularies.

What Sydney is doing is not new and it is not Anglican. This is an old argument and one that had been answered fairly definitively back in the 19th century.

[117] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-21-2008 at 07:36 PM · [top]

That should read “Cof E and Church of Ireland ministers.”

[118] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-21-2008 at 07:36 PM · [top]

I believe that the supper does look back but it also has a present and future dimension. For example, in the BCP Eucharistic Prayer “C” it is stated, “Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the world in his name.”

Yes, perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. I meant to communicate that the Supper looks back in the service to the gospel set out and entered into in the confession and absolution.

[119] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 07:43 PM · [top]

FarStrider, do you have a link to Darby on this matter? I can only find records of his eschatological material - which seems to garner far more interest across the internet!

[120] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 07:47 PM · [top]

Farstrider,
“What Sydney is doing is not new and it is not Anglican”
As I begin to understand things better, I would agree with your summation.  Maybe the differences have been there all along and not visible b/c the focus was on the revisionists.

[121] Posted by Fr. Dale on 11-21-2008 at 07:53 PM · [top]

David,

Alas, no. My father had the “Collected Writings of John Nelson Darby”—all 34 volumes of them, but they have since been sold off. Within those volumes, however, there are a number of polemical pieces directed towards Anglican ecclesiology and Roman Catholicism. Much is on the nature of the Church itself, much is on the nature of the Lord’s Supper, which is interpreted in thoroughly Zwinglian terms.

Following their convictions on the essentially mystical nature of the Body of Christ, and the emphasis on the autonomy of the local assembly, the forerunners of the Brethren (many of whom were Anglican ministers and/or members of the Aristocracy) gathered around the Lord’s Table together with Baptists, Methodists, Quakers and more. In short order, non-Anglican clergy and then laity began to administer the elements of bread and wine. This led to the threat of discipline and the inevitable departure from Anglicanism.

As my own forbears left Anglicanism, it behooved me to understand the arguments involved and be able to give a reason for my “re-entry.”

I imagine Moore Theological College might have the aforementioned series… it seems like someone oer there has been influenced by certain of the early Brethren writers anyway.

[122] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-21-2008 at 08:07 PM · [top]

I might add, the biblical basis for “lay-presidency” (it wasn’t called this because the Brethren do not recognize any such thing as clergy/laity distinctions) was that of the priesthood of all believers. To acknowledge clergy was to acknowledge an underlying sacerdotalist mindset which was contrary to Scripture.

I’m hearing echoes of this too, here and from some of my Sydney friends. Where will it stop, I wonder?

[123] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-21-2008 at 08:23 PM · [top]

To acknowledge clergy was to acknowledge an underlying sacerdotalist mindset which was contrary to Scripture.

Yes, and this was an over-reaction. Scripture makes it clear that there are deacons, elders and overseers (are the latter much the same in Scripture?) that have specific functions.
Nevertheless, the same Scripture that sets out those functions does not include presidence at the Supper. And there lies the tension.

[124] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 08:27 PM · [top]

Just a quick question - David do you recognise as Anglican the sacramental theologies that appear from the early seventeenth century onwards (eg Andrewes) amongst Church of England theologians? I understand you disagree with such thinking but am unclear if you think those theologies should be part of the the ongoing life of the Anglican family of churches.

[125] Posted by driver8 on 11-21-2008 at 08:43 PM · [top]

driver8 - no, I would consider them a move away from the theology of the 16th C Anglican Reformation.
Again, this is the tension that Richardson has pointed to - that there are prevailing theologies in the Anglican Communion that are somewhat at odds with the Articles.

[126] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 08:49 PM · [top]

David,

They had deacons and elders (elder and overseer were considered the same office), but these positions were not distinguished as “clergy.” If you’re going for a purely New Testament pattern (acknowledging that this is speculation-bound to some extent) it would be hard to argue with the Brethren writings. If, however, you accept the idea that Tradition has anything to say to us at all (as per Hooker for example, this isn’t the way to go.

[127] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-21-2008 at 08:59 PM · [top]

Thanks David - I am always thankful your clarity - even when I disagree deeply with your conclusions.

Are there sixteenth century Anglican theologians who argue for diaconal or lay presidency at holy communion? Is it a view held by Cranmer himself? I recall that lay preaching was strongly disapproved in the reformation Church of England.

[128] Posted by driver8 on 11-21-2008 at 09:04 PM · [top]

Are there sixteenth century Anglican theologians who argue for diaconal or lay presidency at holy communion? Is it a view held by Cranmer himself?

No, I don’t think the position was held out specifically. But there are reasons for that. Your next question helps explain:

I recall that lay preaching was strongly disapproved in the reformation Church of England.

Yes, although initially not because of any clericalism but because everyone was so poorly biblically literate. As I suggest above, this was the reason for the homilies - so that even those who were not trained might be able to share a useful word.
Now, of course, the reverse is true (at least here in Sydney). We have a highly biblically literate clergy and laity and so the protections that Cranmer rightly put in place are no longer needed. I want to suggest that Cranmer would only approve of the broadening of this ministry now that the Bible was truly heard and understood.

[129] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 09:12 PM · [top]

Writing, admittedly, as an outsider but a long-ago Anglican, I can’t help being very puzzled by Mr. Ould’s discussion. He says:

It is no surprise that Sydney is a place that, while having a very low rate of usage of the Prayer Book, has a very high allegiance to the 39 Articles and the theology of the Prayer Book.

He also discounts completely the universal practice of the Anglican Church, enshrined clearly in its ordinal, of maintaining the three Apostolic orders of ministry with their appropriate functions.

Now, my question is: if you don’t use the BCP and don’t intend to follow the Anglican practice of the ministry, what makes you an Anglican Church, beyond, perhaps, the sign out front? If you deny the distinctives of Anglicanism, it would seem far more honest to join a free church where you would not be expected to use the BCP and where anyone who wanted to could preside at Communion. Rather than introducing more confusion and willful tampering with Anglican doctrine and practice, why not just go your own way and leave the Anglicans to continue to practice their faith as they always have?

[130] Posted by Fr. S. J. on 11-21-2008 at 09:27 PM · [top]

Thanks for a very fine article.  I think a separate article would be very helpful; one that specifically addresses (1) the difference between this and the ordination of women to the diaconal, priestly and episcopal office and (2) the difference between this and the ordination of LGBT people to diaconal, priestly and episcopal office.  Thank you in advance.

[131] Posted by THATKindofChristian on 11-21-2008 at 09:44 PM · [top]

The Homilies also initially served to control the preaching of clergy who were ordained before the various splits with Rome. Likewise the attempts to control seperatist anabaptist house churches speaks not only to a concern about biblical illiteracy but a focus on curbing what might be seen as subversive activity.

As I understand it, the reformation Church of England argued that it was the clergy who exercised spiritual authority over Word and Table, as an expression of the Royal Supremacy. In other words theirs was an authority derived from the Sovereign’s rule over the church.

So we see in the early reformation Church of England a kind of tactical clericalism. In principle churches might be rightly ordered in a variety of ways. In the Church of England the Magistrate (monarch) had decreed the fittingness of the three fold order of ministry.

I guess one question, on this kind of reformed understanding, is who is the appropriate authority to make such a decision now? I note the possibility that it may come, in the end, to the secular courts in Australia. Perhaps ironically this may be a setting most fitting for a church that looks so strongly to the 1560s and 1570s for its theology.

[132] Posted by driver8 on 11-21-2008 at 09:46 PM · [top]

#129 David

We have a highly biblically literate clergy and laity and so the protections that Cranmer rightly put in place are no longer needed. I want to suggest that Cranmer would only approve of the broadening of this ministry now that the Bible was truly heard and understood.

It is hard for us to catch up with that great seat of learning, Sydney and the highly educated young people of Australia who have brought us the linguistic development of the Australian rising interrogative inflection and are now fully trained to minister without training for ordination and are fully cognisant of the Articles and Book of Common Prayer without apparently the need to read them?

I am like in awe?

[133] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-21-2008 at 09:51 PM · [top]

oh Elizabeth! You know very well the differences. Homosexual practice is quite clearly proscribed in Scripture whereas administration of the Supper is not even mentioned.

Not, of course, that you stand much for the authority of Scripture. I do note that your last sermon published on your site managed to call both Matthew and Zephaniah “wretched”. There is a world of difference between your, frankly, disgraceful unwillingness to sit under Scripture and the discussions being had here. That you would even begin to equate the two indicates how little you understand or farily represent those you would criticise. But then you call yourself “evangelical” on your blog, so accurate use of words has never been a strong point.

[134] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 09:54 PM · [top]

It is hard for us to catch up with that great seat of learning, Sydney and the highly educated young people of Australia who have brought us the linguistic development of the Australian rising interrogative inflection and are now fully trained to minister without training for ordination and are fully cognisant of the Articles and Book of Common Prayer without apparently the need to read them?

I am like in awe?

Wot you is not realisin’, is that the English church has been full of geezers ‘oo’s grammar is all over thah shop.
it’s pukka.

I think you are overstating my position. I did not claim (nor require) that all those that minister do not read to read the BCP.

David “Diamond” Ould.

[135] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 09:59 PM · [top]

David, in TEC Liberal Land, “evangelical vs catholic” seems to be mostly about how much incense people use.  I’ve been told before by a TEC Liberal that Anglo-Catholic is merely a liturgical tradition, not a theology.  The same person said, in reference to the Bible, “We got rid of the Pope a long time ago and now we are finally getting rid of the Paper Pope”.

[136] Posted by AndrewA on 11-21-2008 at 10:01 PM · [top]

Yes - if we accept the premise that we’re working within a particular kind of reformed theology - a theology that predominated within the Church of England between say 1560 and 1620 - then churches can be rightly ordered in a variety of ways that are consonant with Scripture. However, homosexuality is clearly prohibited within Scripture.

The real debate to be had here is about:

1. The place of other theological starting points (premises) within the Anglican tradition.
2. Who has authority within Anglicanism to take such decisions about church order. That’s a good reformation question and I’d like to see David argue why an Archdiocese has such authority.

[137] Posted by driver8 on 11-21-2008 at 10:08 PM · [top]

#100
<I do! Where does one find Jesus “ordaining” his Apostles (and the word was used specifically so I am intrigued as to where it is derived from? >
Authorized Version:
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Acts 1:21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

Now we can say what we want but the KJV is a literal translation and not a dynamic equivalent like the NIV.  Perhaps the argument is framed here the way it is because one side is not reading a Bible but a facsimile.
Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

Here the Scripture interprets itself regarding the power to bind and loose:
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

1 Tim 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Explaining the difference between the Order of Aaron and Melchisedec:
Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins…. 6As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

[138] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-21-2008 at 10:10 PM · [top]

thanks Driver8:

I’d like to see David argue why an Archdiocese has such authority.

As I argued above, I think Article 34 provides the authority.
Of course, that also means that we are taking a different view as to what sort of (T/t)radition the question of administration is.

[139] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 10:10 PM · [top]

I’ve been told before by a TEC Liberal that Anglo-Catholic is merely a liturgical tradition, not a theology.

Which reflects more on the ignorance of the TEC liberal than it does of Anglo-Catholicism.

[140] Posted by oscewicee on 11-21-2008 at 10:11 PM · [top]

the difference between this and the ordination of women to the diaconal, priestly and episcopal office and

Actually in my mind it is exactly the same.  In both cases, a lay person is pretending to a function which is not theirs.  Unfortuanate, but it recently occured to me that if those that are really particular about such things are willing to put up with WO, then there is little reason they shouldn’t be willing to put up with lay presidency, as long as no one is forcing it on them.

(2) the difference between this and the ordination of LGBT people to diaconal, priestly and episcopal office.

When did GLBT become LGBT?  My concern on that matter is limited exclusivly to the behavoir and teachings of said individuals, not to any imagined categories that the activists have boxed them into based on their sexual desires.

[141] Posted by AndrewA on 11-21-2008 at 10:17 PM · [top]

David, are you arguing that the Archdiocese is a “particular” church under the terms of Article 34? If so, I think it’s a case to be made rather than asserted. It might help your case - at least in your own terms - if you could show that the Archdiocese of York was considered a “particular” church under the terms of this article.

[142] Posted by driver8 on 11-21-2008 at 10:23 PM · [top]

David,

In your post on #115 you state, “it is interesting that the BCP consistently speaks of the Lord’s Supper, not “Communion”.”  I think you are confusing the ‘Lord’s Supper’ in “A prayerbook for Australia” (1998) with “Holy Communion” in the BCP.  Also in the Australian Prayerbook, the rubrics specifically state that 1. the priest pronounces the absolution and 2. offers the “authorized prayer of Thanksgiving and Consecration”.  How can a diocese approve a deacon or lay person presiding if it would be against the rubrics of your prayerbook?

[143] Posted by Fr. Dale on 11-21-2008 at 10:24 PM · [top]

thanks just wondering, let me take your points in turn:

John 15:16 uses eklegw -a simple word of choice or selection,  Acts 1:22 simply states in greek that “one of these men must become a witness…” (ie there is no choice or ordination language), 14:23 has “xeirotonew” - “to choose by hand”, and 16:4 speaks of <u>decisions</u> “ordained” (better translated as “judged” (the greek being krinw). I’m not sure how you build this up to a sacerdotal doctrine of ordination. In fact I’m flummoxed as to how you get there.

Similarly 1Tim 2 7 has a form of “tithemi” - to be placed. Titus 1 5 has similar “katisthemis” - to put in place. Again, there is no sacerdotal indication in any of these words.

As for Romans 13, it speaks of how God has ordained (for want of a better word) the power of civic authorities. I’m not sure what you are arguing here - that the civic authorities have a similar status to clergy?

Finally with respect to the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods I am not clear what you are arguing. The book of Hebrews compares the two, pointing out that the Aaronis was insufficient and temporary and that Christ is of the greater and perfect order - Melchizedek.

from there I am not sure what you are arguing. The term “priest” (hiereus) is only ever used in the NT of Jesus, the OT priests who foreshadowed His work, and <u>all</u> believers (so 1Pet 2:5&9;). It is interesting that nowhere does the NT refer to church leaders specifically as priests.

[144] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 10:26 PM · [top]

Which reflects more on the ignorance of the TEC liberal than it does of Anglo-Catholicism.

Yes it does, which is why one recent liberal commentor can call themselves “evangelical, anglo-catholic and orthodox” with a straight face.

They’re either ignorant or willfully ignoring the facts.

[145] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 10:29 PM · [top]

#143 Dcn D,
I think I’ve already gone over the presentation of the argument in the OP. I’m not sure what I can add to it.

[146] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 10:30 PM · [top]

Holy Communion. 

So many as intend to be partakers of the holy Communion shall signify their names to the Curate at least some time the day before.

If a Minister be persuaded that any person who presents himself to be a partaker of the holy Communion ought not to be admitted thereunto by reason of malicious and open contention with his neighbours, or other grave and open sin without repentance, he shall give an account of the same to the Ordinary of the place, and therein obey his order and direction, but so as not to refuse the Sacrament to any person until in accordance with such order and direction he shall have called him and advertised him that in any wise he presume not to come to the Lord’s Table; Provided that in case of grave and immediate scandal to the Congregation the Minister shall not admit such person, but shall give an account of the same to the Ordinary within seven days after at the latest and therein obey the order and direction given to him by the Ordinary; Provided also that before issuing his order and direction in relation to any such person the Ordinary shall afford him an opportunity for interview.

The Table at the Communion time having a fair white linen cloth upon it, shall stand in the body of the Church, or in the Chancel, where Morning and Evening Prayer are appointed to be said. And the Priest standing at the north side of the Table shall say the Lord’s Prayer, with the Collect following, the people kneeling. BCP1662

[147] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-21-2008 at 10:34 PM · [top]

If one of you with a print copy would be good enough to check it against my 147 above….I seem to have some of my electronic copies mixed up, if I accidentally posted from the 1549 or 1552 I do apologize. The compilers of the various BCPs did not foresee the modern computer age- too many files on my computer named “Morning Prayer.rtf” etc.

[148] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-21-2008 at 10:47 PM · [top]

thanks tjm. you are right, I have overstated my case. Both sets of terms were used.

[149] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 10:47 PM · [top]

If one of you with a print copy would be good enough to check it against my 147 above….I seem to have some of my electronic copies mixed up, if I accidentally posted from the 1549 or 1552 I do apologize. The compilers of the various BCPs did not foresee the modern computer age- too many files on my computer named “Morning Prayer.rtf” etc.

No need, I have already checked both my 1662 AND 1552. wink
You are correct on both counts.

[150] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 10:49 PM · [top]

As I understand it David is not arguing that lay or diaconal presidency is to be found within the BCP, Ordinal, or heretofore within any Anglican church. What he is arguing is that the Anglican reformers accepted a diversity of church orderings as being consonant with Scripture. In addition he is arguing that Sydney is rightly to be understood as a separate church body and so has the right to order the church in a way consonant with Scripture even if it is novel in Anglicanism.

The questions remain:
1. Anglican theology didn’t stop in 1620. Many Anglicans have argued (against the Anglican reformers) that the three fold ministry is not an adiaphoron. In other words they accept as a premise a differing view of Tradition - or if you want the work of the Holy Trinity in time - than the Anglican reformers did. Is there place for their theology within Anglicanism? How will Sydney take into account the evident fact that some folks who see themselves as orthodox and wholly within Anglicanism argue what Sydney proposes to do is a communion breaking matter.

2. Even on their own reformed understanding - is the Archdiocese of Sydney a “particular” church? (It’s certainly not a “national” church). If they are not, even according to the Articles, they have no authority to change church order.

[151] Posted by driver8 on 11-21-2008 at 10:52 PM · [top]

The point is ‘justification by silence alone’ is not enough to overturn centuries of the churches practice guided by the Holy Ghost.

What I am saying is that the translators (70 of them to render the AV with no dissent on the selection of the word ‘ordain’) of the Anglican Bible choose to use ‘ordain’ as the best way to describe what was implied by the whole of Scripture.  Fact: the English Church saw fit to retained the ordained priesthood because the English Reformation restored catholicity. Call it what you will but no where is any presidency by those outside this order, this agency, implied or specified or ever mentioned prior to the reformation. 
Whether to be set aside, ordained how ever you want to frame it it is still what it is. 
Polycarp was ‘ordained’ by St John.
Irenaeus referred to “the succession from the apostles” 
Chrystostom wrote a great work on the subject.
Cyprian talks about the priesthood regularly “the office of our priesthood”; “the vigor of the priesthood”; “hands were placed upon the repentant by the bishops and clergy”; “the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers”;
Ignatius- “It is not right either to baptize or to celebrate the agape apart from the bishop; but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God—so that everything you do may be secure and valid.

Another Biblical example of ordained men ordaining others:
Acts 6:5-6: “And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.”

Your problem is you have the weight of centuries to overturn and all the holy people that continued in the faith so you could challenge them and that you know more than the translators of the KJV, the Anglican Divines, the early church, what was and is seen buy the vast majority of Christians living and asleep as God’s design.  Even second guessing the men who were ordained by Apostles or ordained by men ordained by Apostles .

You have questioned much but have proved nothing to support LP other than you have your heart set on your own personal interpretation (2 Pet 1:20)

I guess my big dig is that none of this is consistent with the Church as a whole and while different have errors when you superimpose them the errors become easily identifiable: in the same manner seeing what has been believed by the majority of those through out the history of the Church performs the same function.  Lay presidency simply does not meet the test of history or necessity.

The onus is not on me, I have claimed no man made innovation but you must make a case from Scripture for your lay presidency.  I have offered many passages you have not offered a single one proving that the average man of faith went out and celebrated a Eucharist on his own- zero- zip.  I am no expert but what I have read about the people of that time and their reaction to the gospel and the Apostles and those they ordained it is counter intuitive much less unscriptural to think they would assume responsibility for the Body and Blood of our Lord so cavalierly.

[152] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-21-2008 at 11:34 PM · [top]

Sorry I am not getting something right I mean to address Mr. Ould

[153] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-21-2008 at 11:37 PM · [top]

Just Wondering:

What I am saying is that the translators (70 of them to render the AV with no dissent on the selection of the word ‘ordain’) of the Anglican Bible choose to use ‘ordain’ as the best way to describe what was implied by the whole of Scripture. 


You misunderstand me, I am quite happy for each of those words to be translated as “ordain”, given that it has a wider semantic range.
What I am asking you to demonstrate is that any of those original words have the sacerdotal understanding of “ordain” that you keep insisting upon.

[154] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 11:38 PM · [top]

I wonder if my connection is a problem I included a quote with the verses you answered but it did not show???
ShouId read: ” guess my big dig is that none of this is consistent with the Church as a whole and while different bible translations have errors when you superimpose them the errors become easily identifiable”

[155] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-21-2008 at 11:41 PM · [top]

David,

“Communion” is not somehow placing us closer to Christ than a simple response to the gospel can.

And there, I think, is the crux of the matter, at least in terms of why so many look upon Sydney’s decision and resulting actions as non-catholic. You may as well have said baptism is not somehow placing us closer to Christ than a simple response to the gospel. Whether Sydney views baptism in this light is not the point. I am simply trying to help you understand how the majority of us receive this statement.

Indeed, it is interesting that the BCP consistently speaks of the Lord’s Supper, not “Communion”.

Here you are emphatically and demonstrably incorrect. From Sydney’s own web site, Form 1 of the service uses the word supper 1 time (in the service title only), and Communion 4 times. In Form 2 (A and B), supper is found 4 times (of which 2 times are in the A and B titles), and Communion is found 5 times.

In reference to the 1662 BCP, which is the standard to which GAFCON has ascribed, the word supper, counting both upper- and lower-case S, appears exactly 6 times in the service text; once in the title and these 5:

* “...I intend, by God’s grace, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper”

* “...withdrawing yourselves from this holy Supper…”

* “...Likewise after supper he (d) took the Cup…”

* “...shall be no celebration of the Lord’s Supper…”

* “...it is ordained in this Office for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper…”

The word Communion, with capital C, is mentioned in the service title and 27 other times:

* “So many as intend to be partakers of the holy Communion…”

* “...any person who presents himself to be a partaker of the holy Communion…”

* “The Table at the Communion time…”

* “...shall notice be given of the Communion…”

* “And when there is a Communion…”

* “...the celebration of the holy Communion…”

* “...otherwise the receiving of the holy Communion…”

* “...that no man should come to the holy Communion, but with a full trust in God’s mercy…”

* “...in case he shall see the people negligent to come to the holy Communion…”

* “...that ye will be partakers of this holy Communion.”

* “...so it is your duty to receive the Communion…”

* “At the time of the Celebration of the Communion…”

* “...ye that mind to come to the holy Communion…”

* “Then shall the Priest say to them that come to receive the holy Communion…”

* “...in the name of all those that are minded to receive the holy Communion…”

* “...in the name of all them that shall receive the Communion…”

* “Then shall the Minister first receive the Communion…”

* “...who are partakers of this holy Communion…”

* “...when there is no Communion…”

* “...the Collects either of Morning or Evening Prayer, Communion, or Litany…”

* “...(if there be no Communion)...”

* “...all that is appointed at the Communion…”

* “...to receive the Communion…”

* “...yet there shall be no Communion…”

* “...they shall all receive the Communion…”

* “The Bread and Wine for the Communion shall be provided by the Curate and the Church-wardens…”

* “...for the avoiding of such profanation and disorder in the holy Communion…”

This of course does not refute Sydney’s debating position, but it is incorrect of you to make such a claim as the neither the 1662 nor Sydney’s own text consistently speaks of the Lord’s Supper, not “Communion”. The fact is, exactly the opposite is true.

[156] Posted by Antique on 11-21-2008 at 11:44 PM · [top]

<You misunderstand me, I am quite happy for each of those words to be translated as “ordain”, given that it has a wider semantic range.
What I am asking you to demonstrate is that any of those original words have the sacerdotal understanding of “ordain” that you keep insisting upon.>

I do not remember using the word “sacerdotal”.  But since you bring it up and in light of the volume of verses I have offered including those of Hebrews I would ask you to use the Scripture alone and disprove it.

Can you do that?  After all it is your standard and I have the Fathers on my side.

[157] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-21-2008 at 11:46 PM · [top]

This of course does not refute Sydney’s debating position, but it is incorrect of you to make such a claim as the neither the 1662 nor Sydney’s own text consistently speaks of the Lord’s Supper, not “Communion”. The fact is, exactly the opposite is true.

Yes, I had already explicitly noted that in comments 149&150;above.

As for your points on the understanding of the sacraments, I wholly agree.

[158] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 11:48 PM · [top]

I do not remember using the word “sacerdotal”.  But since you bring it up and in light of the volume of verses I have offered including those of Hebrews I would ask you to use the Scripture alone and disprove it.

I have already noted that the NT Scriptures <u>never</u> use the “hierius” word group to describe “ordained” ministers. Rather the letter to the Hebrews itself states that Jesus is the inheritor of that priesthood. Even in Hebrews leaders are mentioned (ie 13:17), but not as “priests”.

Can you, in turn, show <u>anywhere</u> in the NT Scriptures where church leaders are described as “priests”?

Since there is not such place I am not clear as to why there is this insistence upon it. After all, as Anglicans (or at least as an Anglican Clergyman) we hold that:

VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

What cannot be read in Scripture cannot be required. That includes the naming and understanding of NT church leaders as “priest”.

Cyprian and others may have thought otherwise, but that does not change what Scripture says. And yes, that is me saying that, in this instance, they are wrong to insist upon that which Scripture does not insist upon. Let God be true and every man a liar.

[159] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 11:55 PM · [top]

Does every man include you?
I still read nothing about lay presidency in Scripture and you demand proof from scripture but only quote the Articles from your modern perspective.

[160] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-21-2008 at 11:59 PM · [top]

[152] Just Wondering wrote:

What I am saying is that the translators (70 of them to render the AV with no dissent on the selection of the word ‘ordain’) of the Anglican Bible choose to use ‘ordain’ as the best way to describe what was implied by the whole of Scripture.

It should be remembered that the AV was not translated in a vacuum.  The translators were given guidelines to constrain their efforts.  One of which was:

The old ecclesiastical words shall be kept, viz. The word ‘church’ not to be translated ‘congregation.’

In other words, the translation was a priori not allowed to threaten the established ecclesiastical order.  The modern translations (NASB, ESV) are therefore much better gauges of proper word choice in this regard.

carl

[161] Posted by carl on 11-21-2008 at 11:59 PM · [top]

Some new translations do the same thing and do not render Bishop but some other word knowing that Episcopoi undermines Calvin’s invention.

[162] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-22-2008 at 12:01 AM · [top]

“Cyprian and others may have thought otherwise, but that does not change what Scripture says. “

I live in the south and on a farm that saw action during the Civil War.  I know how many yankees trespassed here and when and what armies and commanders were nearby and that was 145 years ago.
You would have us believe that a man ordained by St John or the man ordained by him did not understand or remember what St John either said to them or what he practiced himself in less than a generation and that they were to feeble to be clear to their students. That people willing to die for their faith would either change the faith for some unknown reason or distort it.  Where is your proof? 
That is a lot to swallow Mr. Ould.
I think that the secrecy required to maintain the faith ought not be used as a vehicle to impose one’s prejudices on it.  My read is the literal read.  When Jesus says I am the way and the life I believe him.  When he says I am the bread of life I believe it.  What is more is I understand it somehow when I receive.  That alone speaks more than all the Continentals combined.

[163] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-22-2008 at 12:11 AM · [top]

[162] Just Wondering

Some new translations do the same thing and do not render Bishop but some other word knowing that Episcopoi undermines Calvin’s invention.

There is no concept of “Bishop” in Scripture.  There is simply no way to exegetically separate ‘presbyteros’ and ‘episkopos’ into separate categories.  They are interchangeable terms as far as Paul is concerned.  The office of Bishop is a tradition.  You may argue that it is a good and useful tradition, but it is a tradition none the less.

carl

[164] Posted by carl on 11-22-2008 at 12:16 AM · [top]

It does seem to me that Sydney’s proposal brings into question the extent to which the 1662 BCP and Ordinal can function as a standard of church order around which Anglicans can unite.

[165] Posted by driver8 on 11-22-2008 at 12:17 AM · [top]

“Cyprian and others may have thought otherwise, but that does not change what Scripture says. “
BTW you still have not met your own standard and proved your positions by “what Scripture says”

So Mr. Ould what does Scripture say about your positions?

[166] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-22-2008 at 12:20 AM · [top]

I would argue episkopos is bishop as bishop is episkopos.  Bishop as a word is a derivative… language changes but the underlying understanding is the same.
The reason it is left out is not because another word is more accurate it is because that word reflects that which the Contintental Reformers lost and cannot bring themselves to admit it.  Except of course the Methodists who did admit it if for a moment:
“Wesley in his “Korah” sermon, scathingly censured those who would depart from the Apostolic Order, and Dr. Coke, one of the first Superintendents, as they were then called, of the Methodists in this country, made proposals to Bishops White and Seabury, that he and Mr. Ashbury (the resident Methodist Superintendent) should be consecrated Bishops, and proposed a reunion of Methodists and Churchman on a basis conceding a reordination of their ministers.”

[167] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-22-2008 at 12:25 AM · [top]

#164 I think put crudely that the Anglican reformers view is that episcopacy is consonant with Scripture and thus the Magistrate (monarch) is quite within his or her rights to determine it as a fitting mode of ordering the church within England. Outside England other forms of church ordering (eg presbyterian) might be equally consonant with Scripture and legitimately authorised by the relevant authority.

Of course, relatively quickly (within two or three generations) Anglicans began to argue that episcopacy was divinely mandated. (Such was broadly the view taken at the Restoration in 1660. Thus the demand that presbyterian ministers be episcopally reordained)

[168] Posted by driver8 on 11-22-2008 at 12:26 AM · [top]

Carl,
I have no problem with right Tradition it is the work of the Holy Ghost.  Unless of course you can prove by Scripture that the Holy Ghost did not come to the early Church and guide it.

[169] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-22-2008 at 12:30 AM · [top]

only quote the Articles from your modern perspective

Yes, this is your claim - but you have not demonstrated it. What do you think Article VI means when it states:

VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

?
I think it means that nothing should be required to be believed by us, except that which can be read in or proved by Scripture. What do you think it means?

[170] Posted by David Ould on 11-22-2008 at 12:58 AM · [top]

[169] Just Wondering

I have no problem with right Tradition it is the work of the Holy Ghost.  Unless of course you can prove by Scripture that the Holy Ghost did not come to the early Church and guide it.

The burden of proof is upon you to show why your tradition is binding upon another if that tradition is not fundamentally rooted in Scripture.  Tradition is not ontologically equal with Scripture.  It is not theopneustos.  It is not and never has been a separate form of revelation to man.  How then is it binding? 

If the concept of ‘bishop’ cannot be exegetically derived from Scripture (and it cannot) that how is the conscience bound by that tradition?  You say the Holy Spirit guided the church.  But the means by which the Holy Spirit guides the church is Scripture.  That means traditions cannot stand Scripture on its head - like for example carving ‘presbyteros’ and ‘episkopos’ into separate categories where no such separation exists.  Does a man sin if he rejects the monarchial episcopate?

Here I think is the real crux of this argument on Lay Presidency.  There has been very little response to the central question in David Ould’s argument: “What does a presbyter contribute to Holy Communion that is essential?”  There has instead been much fulmination about the impact of Lay Presidency on Anglican ecclesiology.  But if that order is rooted only in tradition, why can you not let Sydney do what it likes?  Why do you insist on binding its conscience?

And that is what has happened on this thread.  Count how many times it has been stated that “It just isn’t Anglican.  Go be a Presbyterian or Baptist or (gasp!) a Darbyite if you like, but leave the Anglican Chruch alone!”  That isn’t much of an argument, and it is even less an argument if the tradition in question cannot be successfully rooted in Scripture.

carl

[171] Posted by carl on 11-22-2008 at 12:59 AM · [top]

I’ll just throw this out for general consumption of information. I know it won’t make a difference, but it is an interesting set of correlated statements.

According the Prayer Book Society of Australia:

“THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER (1662) which includes THE ORDINAL for the making, ordaining and consecrating the bishops, priests and deacons in the Anglican Church, together with THE THIRTY-NINE ARTICLES OF RELIGION, is declared by the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia to be ‘the authorised standard of worship and doctrine in this Church, and none of its principles may be contravened’

and, according to the 1662 BCP, The Form and Manner of Making of Deacons:

IT appertaineth to the Office of a Deacon, in the Church where he shall be appointed to serve, to assist the Priest in Divine Service, and specially when he ministereth the holy Communion, and to help him in the distribution thereof; and to read Holy Scriptures and Homilies in the Church; and to instruct the youth in the Catechism; in the absence of the Priest to baptize infants; and to preach, if he be admitted thereto by the Bishop. And furthermore, it is his Office, where provision is so made, to search for the sick, poor, and impotent people of the Parish, to intimate their estates, names, and places where they dwell, unto the Curate, that by his exhortation they may be relieved with the alms of the Parishioners, or others. Will you do this gladly and willingly?

[172] Posted by Antique on 11-22-2008 at 01:31 AM · [top]

#170 David, I think “proved” is the key word there. I don’t know the history of interpretation of the article but have a couple of thoughts:

1. Does “proved” here carry its now almost archaic meaning of “tested”? In other words doctrine must be tested against Scripture. As in the often misquoted proverb, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” which of course means that one tests the quality of a pudding by eating it.

2. Or perhaps some standard of logical or legal reasoning (proof) is indeed intended. Deductive necessity? Inductive? Abductive inference to the best explanation? Beyond reasonable doubt (according to whom)?

In other words, I agree that the Article is very significant but that it is capable of being genuinely affirmed as truthful by people with a wide variety of theologies and ecclesiologies.

[173] Posted by driver8 on 11-22-2008 at 02:38 AM · [top]

#171 You need to specify what you mean by “exegetically derived”. What patterns of reasoning are appropriate as the church seeks to understand Scripture?

For some of us tradition, in the sense I think you are using it, is nothing other than the church’s authoritative interpretation of Scripture. Jesus promised that the Spirit would lead the church into all truth. So:

1. Coming to an understanding of who is the church of which Jesus is speaking, is highly significant. (That looks to me to be, at least partially, an extra-Scriptural question).
2. How does one determine proper doctrinal development/clarification? That isn’t entirely separate from the first question but entails considering in addition what kinds of reasoning are appropriate to the church’s articulation of the deposit of faith.

[174] Posted by driver8 on 11-22-2008 at 02:51 AM · [top]

#171 Apologies - my first sentence sounds rude and was certainly not intended to - you don’t “need” to do anything! If you wanted to lay out the kinds of reasoning that allow one to say something is “exegetically derived” I would find it helpful.

[175] Posted by driver8 on 11-22-2008 at 02:56 AM · [top]

Rev. Ould,
I must respectfully disagree regarding your statements that the Prayer Book counts Holy Communion as an inferior source of grace to Absolution.

Ridley states that “we understand his [Christ’s] benefits to be greatest in the sacrament.”—that is, in comparison to the other means of grace (Absolution, etc).

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.

[176] Posted by William on 11-22-2008 at 05:30 AM · [top]

thanks William, that’s helpful. Where does Ridley say that?

[177] Posted by David Ould on 11-22-2008 at 06:05 AM · [top]

Rev Ould,
Per this discussion, this is where I see you and I in disagreement.
1.  We do not agree on the relative merit of Absolution and Communion.
2.  We do not agree on what constitutes reformed Catholicism.
3.  We do not agree on the relative contribution made by Tradition.
4.  We do not agree on how damaging Lay Presidency is to the rest of the Anglican Communion.
I appreciate the conversation but as I said on an earlier post, this conversation should have taken place before the fact not after the fact. I hope the practice will be revisited and reconsidered.  I would be interested to know if this thread has had any effect on your position.

[178] Posted by Fr. Dale on 11-22-2008 at 08:55 AM · [top]

“The burden of proof is upon you to show why your tradition is binding upon another if that tradition is not fundamentally rooted in Scripture.  Tradition is not ontologically equal with Scripture.  It is not theopneustos. It is not and never has been a separate form of revelation to man.  How then is it binding?

You can’t have it both ways!  You want to create a tradition out of thin air and deny that which was bound from the earliest time!  There simply is no record that supports the existence of an alternative tradition that supports your argument and or speaks with the same definitiveness you demand of the one recognized bythe Fathers!

No, the burden of proof is with the innovators. And as I have said, you have no equal tradition to site, only a man made idea based on a desire to interpret what you characterize as silence and then dismiss those who came before who had the power to bind and loose.

You ask for proof from Scripture for tradition but Scripture is undeniably a product of inspired tradition.  The same men operating under the guidance of the Holy Ghost who were ordained by Sts John and Paul and having the power to bind and loose are the same who mention the priesthood and passed down the Scriptures resulting in Athanasius’s pronouncement in his 39th festal letter to Alexandria. I remind you the power to bind and loose and to forgive sin’s or retain them was given in 33’ not 365’ or at the later councils that solidified the Canon or at the Reformation it was given By Christ not Calvin.  Mr. Ould admits the Fathers say what they say but he and those supporting his position have not offered any reason why the Fathers did not receive the power to bind or loose prior to the Canon.  Carl your argument on tradition requires a vacuum.

It was remarked that Princes, according to a Council can overturn the Order and that the AV is a product of James intent to ‘colour’ the translation.  James is a King preserving what was known to be God ordained.  If a Prince can opverride the Apostolic Order surely a King can continue it.  Mechelzidek was a King and a Priest.

I leave you with this advice From Hebrews 13
7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. 10We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.

We have an “altar” that the Aaronic Order may not eat from we have a Great High Priest in the Order of Mechelzidek, The Apostles received power and the Spirt the laid hands on those they raised up to start and govern churches
Not Aaronic but Mechelzidek.

[179] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-22-2008 at 09:29 AM · [top]

David,

Article 6 is referring to the fact that nothing can be construed as necessary for salvation that is contrary to scripture.  The ordering of the church is decidedly not bound by this stricture.  The church has the authority to ordain rites and ceremonies according to tradition and any who break with it by their private opinion are to be disciplined (I do not have my BCP handy, but it is Article 34, I believe).  Which is precisely what needs to happen to Sydney in this instance.

This again, is my problem with Sydney’s actions.  I agree that the three-fold order cannot be proven by scripture, and that the Articles hold out the possibility of a change in the structure and function of church government.  But, in a global communion (which did not exist at the time) Sydney’s actions are akin to a bishop of the Church of England in the 1600’s trying to establish a puritan vision of the church in his diocese…it was not tolerated then, and should not be tolerated now because it overturns catholic order. 

Again, as mentioned before (107 above), how do you justify your sectarianism???  Arguing from scripture is simply not enough.  Every evangelical sect does this…but unless you want to become another sect, you cannot argue this way.  We are reformed and catholic.  You can become a ‘bible’ church if you want.  Been there, done that, had enough of the individualistic heresy here in America.  You are making a big step away from the catholic order of the church and it is a big mistake. 

Also, I find it highly amusing that this argument is rooted in a concern to define the priesthood as relegated to those who would be rectors.  You strengthen the priesthood in one direction by confinung its authority to ‘eldership’ while failing to recognize that the scripture speaks of elders (plural) in the local church repeatedly.  Strikes me as patently unbiblical.

No one is telling Sydney they have to believe in a sacerdotal priesthood…but neither is it ok for Sydney to tell everyone else that such an understanding cannot be retained (i.e., that it is worth breaking the catholic order over).  Nothing in scripture requires it, but nothing in scripture forbids it either.

[180] Posted by Rob Paris on 11-22-2008 at 10:51 AM · [top]

It is from Ridley’s 1555 Disputation (which is a very detailed and informative read on this issue—of course, the same may be said of his other writings on the Sacrament).

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.

[181] Posted by William on 11-22-2008 at 11:56 AM · [top]

Sorry all—my last post is a response to Rev. Ould’s post #177

[182] Posted by William on 11-22-2008 at 11:58 AM · [top]

The Ordinal states that the Historic Episcopate is the teaching of Scripture.

IT is evident unto all men diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles’ time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church; Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. Which Offices were evermore had in such reverend Estimation, that no man might presume to execute any of them, except he were first called, tried, examined, and known to have such qualities as are requisite for the same; and also by publick Prayer, with Imposition of Hands, were approved and admitted thereunto by lawful Authority. And therefore, to the intent that these Orders may be continued, and reverently used and esteemed in the Church of England, no man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest, or Deacon, in the Church of England, or suffered to execute any of the said Functions, except he be called, tried, examined, and admitted thereunto, according to the Form hereafter following, or hath had Episcopal Consecration, or Ordination.

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.

[183] Posted by William on 11-22-2008 at 12:10 PM · [top]

p.s. Don’t know if I’ll be able to really resond to any further posts for the next while

[184] Posted by William on 11-22-2008 at 12:11 PM · [top]

Sorry, I expressed myself poorly in 180.  Of course, nothing is to be believed that is contrary to scripture at any time.  What I meant to say is that nothing is to be required for salvation that is not explicitly taught in scripture.  The order of the church cannot contradict scripture, but it does not have to be explicitly taught therein according to the Artiles. 

For Sydney’s actions to be right, they either need to wait for the rest of the Communion to agree to such order as they desire to set out or prove that the current system actually goes against scripture, which is certainly not the case.

[185] Posted by Rob Paris on 11-22-2008 at 01:43 PM · [top]

#185 Do you think homoousios is taught explicitly in Scripture?

[186] Posted by driver8 on 11-22-2008 at 01:51 PM · [top]

Driver8,
In the sense that the Articles meant it, yes I believe it is…I was using short-hand for the teaching in Article 6, which states,

...whatsoever is not read therein (Holy Scripture), nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

 
I believe homoousios is proved by scripture in that it is requisite to make sense of what scripture teaches. 

I recognize that ‘explicit’ was not the best word to use in this instance since for many it connotes the idea that an idea must be proven by chapter and verse.  But if an idea cannot be avoided in making sense of what scripture teaches repeatedly and consistently, it may also be called explicit.  In such a situation, it is not merely implied, but ‘read out’ from scripture’s testimony as a whole.  It is in this sense that I would say that homoousis is explicitly taught by scripture (and it is in this sense that I believe the Reformers also would have defended it as an Article of Faith necesssary to salvation).

My real point, however, was to call attention to the fact that the evangelical insistence on scriptural warrant is not enough in matters of church order.  There is no claim coming from me or any other Anglican evangelical that lay presidency hinders salvation.  I believe my Baptist brothers and sisters, to whom I once belonged, are truly saved (though even many of them would not go so far as endorse lay presidency). 

The issue is church order, where respect for the rest of the catholic community should hold our conscience captive.  Only practices which are clearly repugnant to the Word of God are to be rejected.  Priestly presidency over the Eucharist may not be explicitly warranted by scripture, but it certainly is not contrary to it, either.  All Sydney can do is present a case from silence, which they declare gives them license.  I am simply arguing that they are acting like a ‘Bible’ church, not an Anglican church.  We are a people who adhere to catholic order.  So, again, I cry out,  cease and desist.

[187] Posted by Rob Paris on 11-22-2008 at 05:07 PM · [top]

And therein lies the rub.

Homoousios is not explicitly contained within Scripture. One might argue that it can be deduced from what is explicitly contained within Scripture both about Jesus and about the being of God.

But if you permit such reasoning - and I take all orthodox are bound to do so - many other third, fourth and fifth century theological clarifications/developments (pick your favourite terminology) that are not explicit (remember homoousios is not once mentioned in Scripture) might at least claim, using just the same kind of reasoning, to be “proved” from Scripture.

So for me a high ecclesiology begins with Jesus founding the church as the New Temple with its unbloody sacrifice (the eucharist) - with a distinctive and particular role given to apostles (Rock, Pillar etc..), christians as living stones, Christ as Cornerstone.

[188] Posted by driver8 on 11-22-2008 at 05:57 PM · [top]

Driver8,
I think the issue lies in what ‘proven’ means. As one who leans more to the evangelical than the Anglo-Catholic side (though, I hope it is obvious that I have strong catholic concern as well), I am not ready to give the Church the ability to define what is necessary to salvation beyond scripture.  But, the Church does have the authority to declare what scripture proves in controversial matters (Article 20).  And this is precisely what the councils were doing.  They were not creating new doctrine, but clarifying what is taught in scripture.  So, I appreciate the position you seem to be laying out, but for a variety of reasons, cannot go there.  Scripture remains the source of all doctrine, including homoousios.  The Church merely ratifies what it finds explicitly (in the sense laid out in 187 above) taught there. 

But, matters of church order are not held to so strict a level of interpretation of scripture.  On matters of order the church can speak without the explicit teachings of scripture to back them.  In matters of church order, it is enough that nothing is ordained contrary, to scripture. 

Sydney will not allow itself to be bound by something it does not find explicitly taught in scripture.  I am trying to point out that it does not need to be explicitly taught for it is not a matter of salvation. 

You can disagree with me that homoousios is ‘explicitly’ taught in scripture, but I feel that if it is not, it was not right for the council to ratify it as necessary to salvation.  I believe homoousios is explicitly taught, not because the word is used, but because the New Testament makes no sense of God without it.  Are there other similar doctrines (such as Christ’s two natures)? Yes.  Does this in any way hinder my belief in scripture as the norm for doctrine rather than tradition?  Not in the least.

Thanks for the interesting discussion.

[189] Posted by Rob Paris on 11-22-2008 at 06:49 PM · [top]

My point is if we can count homoousios as appropriately derived from Scripture (ie if that kind of reasoning is what counts as “proof” in this circumstance) then we should, in principle, be able to look at other doctrines of the third, fourth and fifth century and see if they are “proved” from Scripture in a similar manner.

In other words - you define homoousios as Scripture rather than Tradition even though it is never mentioned in Scripture - because it is capable of being deduced from what is contained in Scripture. If you reason in this way - and I think all orthodox are obliged to do so - it’s worth thinking what other doctrines are similarly contained “within” Scripture even though not explicitly mentioned.

[190] Posted by driver8 on 11-22-2008 at 07:07 PM · [top]

Driver8,
No argument from me…I completely agree with the way you stated it.

[191] Posted by Rob Paris on 11-22-2008 at 08:27 PM · [top]

In other words - you define homoousios as Scripture rather than Tradition even though it is never mentioned in Scripture - because it is capable of being deduced from what is contained in Scripture. If you reason in this way - and I think all orthodox are obliged to do so - it’s worth thinking what other doctrines are similarly contained “within” Scripture even though not explicitly mentioned.

Yes, some things are clearly stated, even if the early church used other means of expression. So, for example, the term homoousious was necessary to distinguish from Arius’s “homoioisious”.
Nevertheless, the concept is almost explicit. For example, “the Word WAS God”. It just doesn’t get clearer than that.

[192] Posted by David Ould on 11-22-2008 at 09:44 PM · [top]

On the contrary - homoousios only makes sense in the context of a series of other, if you want, deductions from Scripture (e.g. divine simplicity). In other words, what it means to “be” God (or, if you want, what language we must use to talk about the being of God) needed itself to be “deduced” from Scripture.

Or, to put it exegetically, the move from John 1 to homoousios entails a view of the being of God that itself was not directly stated but “deduced” from the text of Scripture.

[193] Posted by driver8 on 11-22-2008 at 11:54 PM · [top]

The Baptist church of my youth has the pastor cite the words of institution and the deacons distribute. Doing something other than that, while I doubt it is in writing anywhere, would be unthinkable.

I find it quite odd that Anglicans would have so much difficulty with something that Baptists simply accept.

Siangombe
Bapto-Catholic

[194] Posted by Siangombe on 11-23-2008 at 08:27 AM · [top]

Siangombe,
    There is nothing odd about it at all.  If you knew as much about Anglicans and Catholics as you think you do, you would uinderstand that.  The odd thing is what Baptists do—your clergy are not ordained at all in the sense that Anglicans all over the world use the term ordination.  That is also the case with your deacons.  The problem is that Anglicans in Sydney are not fully Anglican in the sense that the word “anglican” is used all over the world.  The correct name for their religion is “Anti-Catholicism”—as your’s is also.  This is not what Christianity is all about, according to the beliefs of most of the world’s remaining Anglicans.  And that is why they want lay people to say Mass—anything that will be the opposite of “catholic” is what they want.  Does that help you to make better sense of it?

[195] Posted by GB on 11-23-2008 at 09:21 AM · [top]

[195]: The odd thing is what Baptists do—your clergy are not ordained at all in the sense that Anglicans all over the world use the term ordination.

It’s been a long thread, which I confess I had not thoroughly read myself before posting. I suggest you do a search of the thread on the word “Baptist”. You will note considerable variation on what the word means. That’s because “Baptist” is much more generic than “Anglican”; there are many different flavors and practices. For example, I have a friend who was ordained a deacon in a Baptist church (he now attends an Anglican church). Yet I never saw a deacon ordained growing up.

The correct name for their religion is “Anti-Catholicism”—as your’s is also.

That’s a misinterpretation of my post, confusing my history (inferred from my signature) with my standing. I am Anglican. As a matter of fact, you would find me falling right into the First Things mainstream of those seeking rapprochement of orthodox Christians everywhere, from flaming Pentecostal to Coptic Egyptian.

My point was that if even Baptists consider the Lord’s Supper something to be “done” by an ordained person who is not a deacon, but someone resembling a presbyter, how much more should that be the case in an Anglican setting?

Also note that my signature line was lighthearted. “Bapto-Catholics” are a very odd breed, indeed, if they exist, as are Anglo-Baptists, but maybe Pente-Baptists not so much. Apologies if my levity mislead.

And a more general question: I see that some referred to Baptists as Donatists. As far as this is not a category error (not sure that Donatism applies to an expression of Christianity that only weakly uses sacramental theology), I have never seen evidence for that. Most Baptists I run into feel free to accept communion anywhere and consider such to be a valid partaking of communion, though they would avoid attending the church of an avowed heretic in the first place. I think that donatism would be more an issue with those breaking off from TEC. Indeed, I have witnessed donatistic statements by those expressing discontent with TEC from within a TEC parish.

I say “weakly uses” sacramental theology, because I have often heard Baptist pastors refer to the ordinances as “sign, seal, and symbol”. What is that, if not sacrament?

It’s smoke and mirrors, in reality. Make the equation: Baptist infant dedication = Catholic baptism and Baptist baptism = Catholic confirmation, and from a secular anthropological standpoint at least, when you think in terms of rites of initiation and rites of passage, you’ve got pretty much the same stuff going on. And maybe refusal to give credit to the above equations is a sort of Donatism? Are we really ready to disparage Baptist rites because theirs are defined differently and have somewhat different theological content than Anglican ones, which in turn have different content than that of Roman Catholics? Ditto for Baptist (or Presbyterian) ordination?

Again I’m being general rather than specific to your post: I’ve seen far too much anti-Baptist sentiment in Anglican circles, much of it based upon ignorance.

Siangombe
Musing

[196] Posted by Siangombe on 11-23-2008 at 05:07 PM · [top]

Siangombe, we don’t go to church to have someone tell us what Baptists believe.  Many of us aleady know more than we want to about what Baptists believe.  We go to church to worship God, and to learn how to apply Christian beliefs to our daily live.  That’s why we go to the Anglican Church.

[197] Posted by GB on 11-23-2008 at 05:41 PM · [top]

This has been a long thread, and I must admit that I have not read every comment, so I apologize if my question seems redundant or overly simple.

Does the Diocese of Sydney advocate a belief in the Real Presence, or not?

If not, then might I suggest that the problem can be solved by the Diocese shift to using Morning Prayer.  Any lay person can officiate at the Daily Office, and the effect of this versus a lay lead “communion” would be exactly the same.

[198] Posted by Sacerdotal451 on 11-23-2008 at 06:28 PM · [top]

#198—a very good idea.  If they really are orthodox, that is exactly what they will do.

[199] Posted by GB on 11-23-2008 at 06:45 PM · [top]

GB: Siangombe, we don’t go to church to have someone tell us what Baptists believe.  Many of us aleady know more than we want to about what Baptists believe.  We go to church to worship God, and to learn how to apply Christian beliefs to our daily live.  That’s why we go to the Anglican Church.

True, but this is a discussion board, and as indicated previously, I was not just responding to you. As for me, I am curious about what other denominations and religions believe, and I don’t mind discussing it in church, because it tends to sharpen my own beliefs.

Worship is more than piety, than sitting in a pew and working one’s way through the BCP. It’s also about study and service. Today’s gospel reading, about the King being found through service to his subjects, is indicative of that.

[200] Posted by Siangombe on 11-23-2008 at 07:16 PM · [top]

#198 My understanding is that this is not being proposed because there are not enough presbyters to preside. It is being proposed because many folks in Sydney think it is theologically appropriate.

Sydney’s eucharistic theology seems closer to the, so called, real absence than real presence. (In this they stand nearer to the early Anglican reformers than most contemporary Anglican eucharistic theology).

There’s a new book on Cranmer’s eucharistic theology which may help in understanding the view of the eucharist that underlies Sydney’s discussions.

[201] Posted by driver8 on 11-23-2008 at 10:10 PM · [top]

GB,
I think the point Siangombe was trying to make in his first comment (#194) is that even Baptists look to their ordained ministers to preside over Communion services and the deacons to </em>assist in the distribution</em>.

The fact that even those who don’t believe in any concept of real presence, and who take a strictly memorialist view of the Lord’s Supper, have enough reverence for what is happening there to have ordained clergy preside over it is certainly an lesson from another tradition that Anglicans should find instructive.

[202] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 11-23-2008 at 10:56 PM · [top]

It may be just ‘bread’ and just ‘juice’, but it ain’t just ‘supper’.

I can not imagine a Baptist layman thinking to preside at a Lord’s Supper Service at Church.  And you folks are telling me that Anglicans are planning to do so (Inconceivable).

[203] Posted by Bo on 11-23-2008 at 11:26 PM · [top]

Sydney’s eucharistic theology seems closer to the, so called, real absence than real presence. (In this they stand nearer to the early Anglican reformers than most contemporary Anglican eucharistic theology).

Well no, not quite. For Christ is present by faith in the Supper.
You are quite right that we stand far nearer to the early Anglican reformers than most contemporary Anglican Communion theology. But is that really a bad place as an Anglican to stand (or sit, or kneel - however you receive the elements wink )? After all, our official doctrine is the doctrine of those reformers.

  The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith. (Article XXVIII)

The Prayer of Consecration functions in the same manner. We are reminded consistently that this is a memorial (both in the preamble and the words of institution) and that the elements are creatures (ie created).
In the administration, there is a clear distinction made between the true body and blood of Christ, on which we feed by faith in our hearts, and the elements given to us which prompt us to “Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee”. There is the notion of memorial once again.
It is not that there is no presence, but there is no presence in the elements. Rather they remind us of our Lord’s body and blood and so we feed on Him by once more placing our faith in Him and, in particular, His death on our behalf. He is, thus, very very really there - as real as any time anyone places their faith upon Him and all the more so (if it were possible) since this is a sincere deliberate act.

That is, it seems to me, the plain understanding of the doctrine of the Anglican Reformers, as set out in the Articles and Prayer Book. I am not sure why, then, it should be considered somehow wrong for an Anglican to hold such a position, let alone be described as “unAnglican”.

[204] Posted by David Ould on 11-24-2008 at 12:35 AM · [top]

Come on David give me at least a tiny space for humour - the “real absence” has always brought a smile to my face.  Once we begin to get into the ways in which Christ is present - sacramentally (as I would say) or by faith (as you say) - or the way in which the sacrament functions as a sign - we’d be nuancing our comments forever with little opportunity for cheap gags.

I think the issue is that the reformers theology is not one with which many Anglicans agree. Is there to be space for sacramental Anglicans (for want of a better phrase) in the Anglican family?

[205] Posted by driver8 on 11-24-2008 at 01:06 AM · [top]

Come on David give me at least a tiny space for humour - the “real absence” has always brought a smile to my face. 

Yes, forgive me. I had actually noticed it and appreciated it. I also just used it as an opportunity to set a few things out wink

Once we begin to get into the ways in which Christ is present - sacramentally (as I would say) or by faith (as you say) - or the way in which the sacrament functions as a sign - we’d be nuancing our comments forever with little opportunity for cheap gags.

of course, and don’t stop!

I think the issue is that the reformers theology is not one with which many Anglicans agree. Is there to be space for sacramental Anglicans (for want of a better phrase) in the Anglican family?

Yes, I’m sure there is a space, although (as Richardson is quoted in noting above) it strikes me as being a rather ill-fitting space.

I am merely objecting in the strongest possible terms to being told that my sacramental theology is somehow wrong as an Anglican, when it’s simply the theology of the Anglican Articles and Prayer Book!!!

[206] Posted by David Ould on 11-24-2008 at 01:15 AM · [top]

Yes, your sacramental theology is, given the little we’ve discussed, in broad continuity with the Anglican reformers. (Less so with Luther, perhaps but Luther and the Reformed folks never could quite come together on the sacraments).

It’s profoundly discontinuous with much Anglican theology that was thought to represent where the Communion stands now on matters sacrmental, e.g. ARCIC. What did Anglicans in Australia do with the various ARCIC reports - was there a response by the whole church?

[207] Posted by driver8 on 11-24-2008 at 01:30 AM · [top]

Sydney Diocese has repeatedly rejected those reports where they have contradicted the stated position of the Church, ie the Articles and PrayerBook wink

[208] Posted by David Ould on 11-24-2008 at 01:47 AM · [top]

I should also say that ISTM that the COE (my church or origin) is much more theologically diverse than big chunks of TEC. Evangelicals are threaded through most COE dioceses and are a very visible theological presence. In big chunks of TEC, at the clerical level, evangelicals are almost completely absent. Several times, I’ve heard TEC bishops and clergy refer to pretty standard evangelical theology as unanglican. (“Fundamentalist” is the preferred term of abuse).

Now you know I disagree with you but I’ve been friends with enough evangelical clergy in England to know that your (terribly wrong) views are very often squarely within the Anglican tradition. (Lay presidency being the glaring exception).

[209] Posted by driver8 on 11-24-2008 at 01:51 AM · [top]

Now you know I disagree with you but I’ve been friends with enough evangelical clergy in England to know that your (terribly wrong) views are very often squarely within the Anglican tradition…

Does that not strike you as a rather perculiar thing to state? My position is “within the Anglican tradition”, although terribly wrong. Yet that “terribly wrong position” is the same as the constitutionally defined position of vast portions of the Anglican Communion!

...Lay presidency being the glaring exception

Well, of course. :-D

[210] Posted by David Ould on 11-24-2008 at 02:35 AM · [top]

Well it’s strange if you expect Anglicanism to be church (or collection of churches) with a single predominant theology. It’s that, I’m denying.

Anglicanism has been a contested theological territory since at least the 1620s. I can recognize that you faithfully represent one major strain in that dialogue. It happens to be one with which I disagree in some significant ways but it would be untruthful and lacking in charity not to recognise that the folks I disagree with are not Anglicans too. (Oops double negative - I hope you get by gist).

Indeed one might say that Anglicans greatest achievement has been to hold in one Communion almost all the main strains of western theology. It is also Anglicanisms greatest weakness.

I

[211] Posted by driver8 on 11-24-2008 at 02:43 AM · [top]

it would be untruthful and lacking in charity not to recognise that the folks I disagree with are not Anglicans too. 

Yes, I entirely agree. Which is my point - that I am often incredulous to be accused of holding an unAnglican position. Those in my position have more right than many others to claim the label Anglican.

[212] Posted by David Ould on 11-24-2008 at 02:49 AM · [top]

Yes, I entirely agree. Which is my point - that I am often incredulous to be accused of holding an unAnglican position. Those in my position have more right than many others to claim the label Anglican.

I agree with you that we should look to the reformers to find “authentic Anglicanism” (sorry Anglo-Catholics). And I agree that you would fit with them better than many people posting here. But I don’t think that you would fit perfectly. Reading the Homilies, Cramner, Jewel, Hooker etc. it is clear that they placed a very high regard on the early Church fathers (though admittedly less of a regard than they placed on scripture). Jewel’s main point, from what I recall (with which I agree) was that the Church of England was more in line with that of the fathers than the Roman Catholicism of his day. In the homilies, they continually write things such as `Neither proved by warrant of scripture or in any of the ancient writers’ (not an exact quote, I’m working from my rather dodgy memory). Hooker wrote against the puritans who wanted to have the reformation move beyond merely stripping out the unscriptural practices of Popery. Yet you seem to hold no regard for their writings; none at all, not in the least, absolutely nothing - at least when they disagree with you on a matter about which you claim that scripture is silent. You might agree with the reformer’s theology (although I’ve always read the BCP and articles as following Calvin’s Eucharistic theology rather than Zwingli’s) in most matters, but not, I think, in their underlying methods which was to regard the fathers as well as the (more important) scripture (and that others make the more serious error of raising the fathers too high doesn’t negate my point); which is what has led you to propose this measure against the Anglican reformer’s BCP and ordinal.

But you still haven’t answered my main point. If you cannot disprove Ignatius, Clement etc. from scripture, then you have to admit what they wrote is possibly correct (i.e. in line with God’s intention for the Church, which is ultimately the question we must be trying to answer; my sola scriptura, your solo scriptura, the catholic magisterium of the church etc. only being methods to find the answer to that question), including the dire consequences of a layman administrating the Eucharist (e.g. Apostolic Constitutions III. X: he shall suffer the fate of Uzziah). Why undertake such a risky venture when you cannot be certain by the only means that you seem to accept (direct proof from scripture) that your theology is well founded?

[213] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-24-2008 at 06:04 AM · [top]

David,

Yes, your low view of the Church and Sacraments is within the pale. It is lay presidency that is unanglican, something no reformers or Anglicans held to.  Also, I must take exception to your effort to read Anglicanism through the lens of the Reformation as a whole.  The Reformation period holds no authority over the Anglican Church.  Only the Articles and the Ordinals do.  They may have been produced in this period, but you cannot jump from this to the views of Cranmer to say that you are ‘more Anglican.’  The simple fact is that the Articles were written to allow for flexibility rather than rigidity in doctrine. 

And this is why you can hold to a low or high view of the Church and the Sacraments and remain Anglican.  Lay presidency, however, has never been a part of the Anglican teaching or practice.  It is simply unanglican (it is also inconsistent with the practice of Christians throughout the world). 

You can utilize Article 34 to justify this change, but I would use the same Article to call you to wait for the rest of the Communion so as not to fall prey to the ‘private judgement’ of one part of the Body at the expense of the Communion as a whole. 

I am still waiting for you to respond to any of my posts regarding your (lack of) concern for catholic order.

[214] Posted by Rob Paris on 11-24-2008 at 08:56 AM · [top]

Thank you, driver8.  The doctrine of the real absence is one I will have to remember.

[215] Posted by GB on 11-24-2008 at 09:19 AM · [top]

The simple fact is that the Articles were written to allow for flexibility rather than rigidity in doctrine.

I’m not so sure how flexible the 39 articles are. They strike me as being much more Reformed than the everyday orthodox Anglican would be comfortable with. And as to AngloCatholics, I don’t think they would particularly like this part of Article XXV: The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them.

[216] Posted by Siangombe on 11-24-2008 at 09:37 AM · [top]

Siangombe, it isn’t the “gazing upon” or “carrying about” that is important to me so that part of Article XXV isn’t particularly worrisome. But I think “Anglo-Catholic” is a descriptor that is at times being packed with meanings that don’t exactly fit.

[217] Posted by oscewicee on 11-24-2008 at 09:52 AM · [top]

Siangombe, it isn’t the “gazing upon” or “carrying about” that is important to me so that part of Article XXV isn’t particularly worrisome.

What about the vigils or monstrances in the presence of the reserved host?

[218] Posted by Siangombe on 11-24-2008 at 10:25 AM · [top]

Davil Ould,
I disagree with all of your arguments in favor of lay and diaconal presidency, as well as much of what you apparantly believe about the nature of the church.  that said, I want to thank you for the calm, gracious, manner in which you have stated your position and answered your critics.  Your unfailing civility is an example to us all.

[219] Posted by evan miller on 11-24-2008 at 11:00 AM · [top]

Obviously, should have been “David”.  Need to get the heat fixed.  My fingers are cold.

[220] Posted by evan miller on 11-24-2008 at 11:02 AM · [top]

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them.

As an Anglo-catholic, I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. To take just the Eucharist (since I think we’d all agree that that is the sacrament in question here) I think we’d all agree that the purpose of the Eucharist is Communion with our Lord by receiving the Body and Blood. I.e., the Eucharist was “ordained of Christ” so that “we should duly use” it by receiving it. But I don’t see anything in the literal meaning of the article that prohibits additional devotions: it simply states that those devotions are not the purpose for which it was instituted; i.e., eucharistic devotions should not take the place of receiving the Holy Communion—which had in fact happened in the medieval church against which the reformers were protesting.

And, if one is able to accept the words of Christ, “this is my Body,” “This is my blood,” and “whosoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him” etc. without resorting to the contortionistic eisegesis necessary to maintain that He didn’t really mean what He said, the Eucharist is necessarily the center and focal point of the Christian life . . . and one might think that as such additional devotions surrounding it are a natural and even a healthy development, so long as they do not undermine the purpose of Christ in instituting the sacrament, which is what makes it so central to the Christian life in the first place.

[221] Posted by tk+ on 11-24-2008 at 11:59 AM · [top]

Ould quoted the following:
“The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith.”(Article XXVIII)

It should be noted Rev. (or, Deacon?) Ould, what Bishop Guest (who was a primary author of this particular portion of the 28th Article and who was also one of the Bishops who revised the 1552 BCP to the standard 1559 BCP) states regarding this Article:

“I told him plainly that this word only in the foresaid Article [Article 28] did not exclude ye presence of Christ’s Body from the Sacrament, but only ye grossness and sensibleness in ye receiving thereof: For I said unto him though he took Christ’s Body in his hand, received it with his mouth, and that corporally naturally really substantially and carnally as ye doctors do write, yet did he not for all that see it, feel it, smell it, nor taste it.”
“Then ye may saye it in ye Sacrament His very Body is present yea really that is to saye, in deede, substantially that is in substance, and corporally carnally and naturally, by ye wich words is ment that His verye Bodye His very flesh and His very humane nature is there not after corporall carnall or naturall wise, but invisibly unspeakeably supernaturally spiritually divinely and by waye unto Him onlye knowen.”

Continued on following post

[222] Posted by William on 11-24-2008 at 12:43 PM · [top]

Continued from above

Now, Bishop Guest initially objected to the later inclusion (almost 10 years later) in the 39 Articles of St. Augustine’s statement on the wicked not feeding on Christ in the Sacrament in the newly added Article 29—because of the concern of a possible denial therein of Christ’s “spiritual, heavenly” presence in the Consecrated Elements—but he withdrew this initial objection within a few days.

Of course, Article 29 does not deny the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Rather, it simply affirms with St. Augustine and others that regardless of whether the Sacramental presence of Christ may be said to come in judgment with the Sacrament into the wicked or not, yet His Sacramental presence is not truly feed upon, that is, in the soul/heart or “inwardly” (as St. Augustine says—on the authority of the Gospel of John iteself:
</blockquote> “He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.” This it is, therefore, for a man to eat that meat and to drink that drink, to dwell in Christ, and to have Christ dwelling in him. Consequently, he that dwells not in Christ, and in whom Christ dwells not, doubtless neither eats His flesh [spiritually] nor drinks His blood [although he may press the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ carnally and visibly with his teeth], but rather does he eat and drink the sacrament of so great a thing to his own judgment, because he, being unclean, has presumed to come to the sacraments of Christ, which no man takes worthily except he that is pure: of such it is said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8 </blockquote>

And St. Augustine states further (and the BCPs words “...feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving” seem to have likely been derived from the following statements of St. Augustine).

“This, then, is the bread that comes down from heaven, that if any man eat thereof, he shall not die.” But this is what belongs to the virtue of the sacrament, not to the visible sacrament; he that eats within, not without; who eats in his heart, not who presses with his teeth.)).

11…Moses ate manna, Aaron ate manna, Phinehas ate manna, and many ate manna, who were pleasing to the Lord, and they are not dead. Why? Because they understood the visible food spiritually, hungered spiritually, tasted spiritually, that they might be filled spiritually. For even we at this day receive visible food: but the sacrament is one thing, the virtue of the sacrament another. How many do receive at the altar and die, and die indeed by receiving? Whence the apostle says, “Eats and drinks judgment to himself.” 1 Corinthians 11:29

As for Cranmer it was the historic witness of the Monk/Priest Rathumnus in the 9th century (and apparently—in particular—the teaching of the Church Fathers which Rathumnus brought forward) that was foundational in his later understanding of Holy Communion (now one might validly question whether Cranmer always applied the Church Fathers accurately on the Eucharist—but he made it clear to the end of his life that his intention was to teach no other doctrine than the Church Fathers themselves had taught (explicitly submitting himself to the testimonty of the Church Fathers on the Eucharist to the end of his life), and that the Church Fathers—drawn to his attention most notably by Rathrumnus—were foundational in coming to his later views on the Eucharist).

Rathumnus’ excellent exposition on the Sacrament can be read here (though a number of Anglicans interpreted him in a more “receptionist” or “virtualist” sense in my opinion his views accord better with the presence of Christ (after a “heavenly or spiritual manner”) in the Consecrated Elements held by a number of the Anglican Divines):
http://books.google.com/books?id=we8CAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=bertram+“concerning+the+body+and+blood”#PPA1,M1

Blessings in Christ.
William Scott

p.s. The “receptionist”/”virtualist” position itself is actually similar to some of the views maintained among Eastern Orthodox on the presence of Christ in the Sacrament.

[223] Posted by William on 11-24-2008 at 12:44 PM · [top]

I realized after posting I should have been more clear…the ‘flexibility’of the Articles is in relation to the other Reformed confessions and articles that were being promulgated at the time.  They retain a decidedly Reformed leaning, but they stop far short of what was being promoted on the Continent, which helps to demonstrate that you cannot simply read the times into the Articles.  They were intentionally creating room for those who would not go so far as the Continental Reformers.  I did not mean that they are ‘loose’ as in ‘lacking conviction.’

[224] Posted by Rob Paris on 11-24-2008 at 03:09 PM · [top]

I want to thank you for the calm, gracious, manner in which you have stated your position and answered your critics.  Your unfailing civility is an example to us all.

You are, perhaps, a little too kind, Evan. I don’t think I’ve been unfailingly civil and for that I apologise.
Nevertheless, thanks for your kind words.

[225] Posted by David Ould on 11-24-2008 at 05:13 PM · [top]

But you still haven’t answered my main point. If you cannot disprove Ignatius, Clement etc. from scripture, then you have to admit what they wrote is possibly correct

I still have absolutely no idea why I need to disprove them! Ignatius, Clement and even Athanasius may all have written strongly on the subject and, indeed, have helpful things to say but derive our doctrine from Scripture. What cannot be established from Scripture cannot be demanded of anyone to believe or even disprove.

What is established in the New Testament is:
<ol><li>Leadership of congregations by the episkopos/presbyter. Their prime function was to teach the gospel in the word. No mention is ever made of their specific duties with respect to the Lord’s Supper</li>
<li>A fulfilment of the OT priestly functions in the high-priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ and the priesthood of all believers</li>
<li>The Lord’s Supper in remembrance of His death</li>
</ol>
Beyond that, Scripture has next to nothing to say about the current debate and so I will, with the greatest respect, not consider myself bound by extra-Scriptural sources, however helpful they may be. Nor should I, since in Scripture we have everything that is required. It would be wrong of me to be bound in doctrine to more than that, both as an Anglican (by virtue of our Articles) and (more importantly) as a Christian man by virtue of my allegiance to the One who gave us those sufficient Scriptures in the first place.

[226] Posted by David Ould on 11-24-2008 at 05:20 PM · [top]

Yes, David, we know you are a Christian.  And please remember that we are, also.  As such, a mutual respect for one anothers’ key theological beliefs would seem to be in order.  Surely, you should realize by now that your proposal for lay presidency crosses a line that is intolerable for most orthodox Anglicans—give it up, and let us have some peace, please!

[227] Posted by GB on 11-24-2008 at 07:18 PM · [top]

I have thought for a number of years that a deacon’s mass was permissible in the absence of a priest.  The host administered by the deacon would be previously consecrated and taken from the aumbrey.  Of course, lay administration is something altogether different.  James Kennish

[228] Posted by jaroke on 11-24-2008 at 09:05 PM · [top]

Matthew 26:
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Mark 22:
22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 22:
‘14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’

1 Corinthians 11:
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Folks,

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I find no warrant in scripture for anything other then for ‘lay presidency’. So in accordance with scripture I am under obligation to Christ to remind my family, or anyone else I’m with, at each and every meal of Christ’s sacrifice for us.

Unlike ‘the Passover meal, that occurred once a year, Christ instituted a replacement that covers each and every meal we partake of. In other words, remembrance and proclamation of Christ’s sacrifice is not limited to what we do in a formal ‘Church’ setting, and only if we have someone present with a dog collar!

Christ is Lord of all of Life, so his commands cover all of life, not just when we are in a ‘special building, on one day a week, and with ‘specially’ designated people there.

Your free to hold your own opinion, but I confident to stand before our Lord on the last day on this one.

[229] Posted by HughBP on 11-24-2008 at 09:17 PM · [top]

Yes, David, we know you are a Christian.  And please remember that we are, also.

I do not recall suggesting anywhere on this thread anything like that.

As such, a mutual respect for one anothers’ key theological beliefs would seem to be in order. 

Well of course, but respecting is not the same as agreeing.

Surely, you should realize by now that your proposal for lay presidency crosses a line that is intolerable for most orthodox Anglicans—give it up, and let us have some peace, please!

Well, a couple of things.
It’s not <u>my</u> proposal. I did, however, set out to explain to readers here is the reasoning behind the decision of Sydney’s synod to take this decision.
Now, there may have been a line crossed that is intolerable for others. What I have been pointing out, however, is that that line is not set by Scripture and so your (and others) demands that I give “peace” or whatever else it may be is not a demand that can be laid upon a Christian, let alone an Anglican, since it’s basis is not from Scripture.
Now, complain all you like about Sydney’s position - you are free to do so. But when you demand that people of such a mind adhere to an authority that is not that of Scripture, well then you cannot expect not to have others disagree with you.

[230] Posted by David Ould on 11-24-2008 at 11:01 PM · [top]

David, I can only say “no comment”.

[231] Posted by GB on 11-25-2008 at 02:52 AM · [top]

I still have absolutely no idea why I need to disprove them!

I explained in my post #48/#49 above. What I am discussing is prudence; weighing up the possibilities with the benefits and risks that ensue to ensure that the action we take is the one most likely to edify the church (Article XXXIV, and if we cannot be certain, which on this subject we both agree we cannot because scripture gives no completely compelling answer either way, `most likely’ is the best that we can do). If you cannot disprove them from scripture, you have to admit the possibility that they are right and that you are wrong with the devastating consequences that follow if you proceed.

You wrote at the top of this thread that Ignatius’s writings aren’t infallible. Fine. I fully agree. Neither am I (by a long distance); Neither are you (by a considerably shorter distance); neither are the Professors at Moore’s college, and neither (though it pains me to write this, and I can sense your incoming missiles of accusation) were the reformers who wrote article VI. So we have to in humility ask ourselves who is the less likely to have made a mistake in interpreting Christ’s teachings: Somebody who learned the gospel from the lips of the apostle John, or somebody sitting at a computer nearly 2000 years later trying to piece everything together as best he can.

And, turning from the Anglo-Catholic argument to the more familiar (to me) evangelical one, if you want a scriptural argument not mentioned so far (I think, I’m not going to reread this whole thread to check). As Paul wrote, even if something is permissible, that does not make it beneficial or, in the word of article XXXIV, edifying. Now turn to the first verses of Acts chapter 6. Deacons were appointed to `wait on tables’ to enable the apostles to concentrate on their duties. Now you, as a deacon, want to take over (against article XXIII) the presbyterial duties (as defined in article XXXVI via the BCP ordinal): leading the congregations, preaching, administrating the sacraments. So when you spend all your time doing that, who will be there to ensure that the Greek widows get their share? Or are you saying that you and all your fellow deacons in Sydney can do what was too much for the apostles? Or that tending to the needs of the Greek widows is unimportant and not something that the Church ought to worry about?

[232] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-25-2008 at 05:09 AM · [top]

As to whether the Sydney innovation has any claim to being “more” representative of being a scripturally led church, I probably should make no comment other than to throw up my hands.  The Sydney argument or at least what David has presented here in that regards seems to me to categorically ignore the the context of both Scripture and Article so that one’s own intentions might be followed.  The worshipping church wrote Holy Scripture and has things to say about what it is that they mean.  This is why we are accountable to men such as Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome and others here who knew the apostles.  For that matter, the logic of David’s argument places his reading of, for instance, the Gospel according to John above that of what the gospeller might say about this gospel. I read part of this as naivete and part as pure self-willed cussedness.  Post #229’s twist on the Eucharist can equally (poorly and wrongly) be drawn from scripture according to your standards ... that what we are talking about is simply that we are supposed to pray a little ditti every time we eat to remember what came before.By my lights, this argument does for the Bible what the Medieval Schoolmen (Scholasticism) did to the Sacraments ... carrying it about and adoring it without participating in it.  It is indeed a doctrine of Real Absence and a proclamation that Jesus is not present in the Sacraments.  I don’t know if David or the Diocese of Syndey accompanies this error with likewise a doctrine of Baptism that denies the gift of the Holy Spirit therein ... but if so, then in intent, though you use water and say the right words, you do not mean what the Church means and you are no Christian but have established your own religion which is worship of the Bible.  If the doctrine of Transubstantiation comes close to a magical understanding of physics and theology to make of the Eucharist something akin to cannibalism, Zwingeli makes of the Eucharist something so merely symbolic that it approaches a neo-Gnosticism.  This has been one of the shortcomings of theology often heard in TEC these days. I recall people arguing that the ELCA-ECUSA Concordat was going to make both more Christian!  The ELCA had belief in the Bible to bring whilest the ECUSA had the outward form of laying on of hands to offer.  This seems to be the ecumenicism of Anglicanism today which is to bring the crumbs under the table back together and declare it a loaf ... rather than breaking bread together. Throw an Eastern Orthodox icon (of Malcolm X) on the wall and call it ecumenicism. I am alternatively heartened and disheartened for the hope of the Anglican Communion becoming a church as I read through this thread.

[233] Posted by monologistos on 11-25-2008 at 06:37 AM · [top]

Recalling the story of the road to Emmaus:  it is Christ’s PRESENCE that brings Scripture to life. This is revealed in the breaking of the bread.  It is a mystery of our faith.  If Jesus is not present, His Body is not present.  It is time that Sydney grapples with theology of sacrament ... failure to do so will lead inevitably to departure from the Anglican Communion.  It may be that this is inevitable for they seem to have their own gospel apart from the gospel known to the Fathers (or Ecumenical Councils) who wrote, collected and canonized Scripture.  It should be added that by these standards that David puts forth, there should be no special pleading for the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed ... OR for the 39 Articles.

[234] Posted by monologistos on 11-25-2008 at 06:56 AM · [top]

Regarding worship of the dead letter, that’s like saying we know John the Baptist because we have his body.  Without the head attached, it is hard to know much about the man though you may rifle his pockets.

[235] Posted by monologistos on 11-25-2008 at 07:06 AM · [top]

Sydney’s action and the discussion in this thread is a replay of the controversies leading to the Elizabethan Settlement.  Sydney (and apparently Deacon Ould) seek to undo the Elizabethan Settlement in favor of the a more radical Protestant view.  The questions regarding the theology of the Church Fathers and the way the authority of Scripture are critical questions - the answers are significant in defining the differences between Protestant denominations.  I think for many on this forum a more profitable questions is: Does the Elizabethan Settlement define Anglicanism?  Does Anglican mean Apostolic, Catholic, and Reformed?  What is lost if means only one (Reformed) or a combination of just two?  Admittedly, there is some tension between these three perspectives, but it was has been that all three are necessary and essential to Anglicanism.  If Sydney wishes to undo the Elizabethan Settlement, then it is fair to question whether it should continue to be considered Anglican.  BTW, by placing the Elizabethan Settlement at the center of Anglican identity the work of the Caroline divines, who were responsible for making the Settlement work, becomes very significant.

 

 

 

 


sy

[236] Posted by Firm Tractarian on 11-25-2008 at 07:45 AM · [top]

David, several times you have said, “What cannot be established from Scripture cannot be demanded of anyone to believe or even disprove.”  However, the Church can demand things of you that are not established in Scripture in order to maintain order.  As Anglicans, we believe that tradition—especially Apostolic tradition—is important to consider, and it is largely on the basis of that tradition that we have established the church order we have.  If you don’t want to keep to that church order, then you may be Christian but you are certainly not being faithful to Anglicanism.  You remind me of a teenager who rebels against his parents, saying, “Why do we have these rules, and not others more to my liking?”  As my dad used to say to me when I was a teenager, “Son, you need to learn to act like you have a family!”

[237] Posted by Hindustaaniwalla Hatterr on 11-25-2008 at 08:30 AM · [top]

monologistos, I think you and Paulinus are both correct.  The Sydneyites are very close to establishing a new denomination (if not a new religion) which is focused on anti-Catholicism, and does worship the Bible more than the God who is in the Bible.  Undoing the Elizabethan Settlement is exactly what they are talking about.  So why do they continue to quote the Articles of Religion as if they are some type of authority on a par with Scripture?  Most of the commentators which I have read who go to this same extreme will also reject the Articles as being too catholic. (Believe it or not.)

[238] Posted by GB on 11-25-2008 at 08:31 AM · [top]

And BTW, very few people so far have had opportunity to examine the prayerbook edition published by the Anglican Catholic Church—the Articles of Religion are still there just as originally written.

[239] Posted by GB on 11-25-2008 at 08:50 AM · [top]

Amen to 236 and 237…the church has authority in matters of controversy (20) and private opinion shall be bound by church order (34).  Nothing is to be required for salvation that is not proved from scripture (6), but much may be required for church order so long as it is not contrary to scripture (34).  This is the point I keep putting before David, but he has, as yet, failed to acknowledge this as the clear teaching of the Articles, which he has upbraided others for not upholding.  Lay presidency is not a matter of doctrine, but of order.

Also, church leadership is often in the plural in the New Testament, not the singular.  So, if you want to make the case that you are being ‘more biblical’ rather than following tradition, in your understanding of the church government, you need to abandon the claim that priesthood is tied to rectorship.  This appears to be driving the need for lay presidency and is a bizarre and local tradition of Sydney that has no basis in scripture whatsoever.

[240] Posted by Rob Paris on 11-25-2008 at 10:20 AM · [top]

GB, when I was an Episcopalian, daily faced with the slide into apostasy everywhere rampant, I tended to argue against setting up the Articles as a kind of Anglican Confessional regardless of their historical significance in keeping the peace at a very difficult time in English history.  I argued against them on two grounds in particular despite the many really wonderful things to be found therein.  First, I said, we ought to be a creedal church rather than a confessional church.  I still think in that distinction, Anglicanism might find great profit.  Second, I find them overly Calvinist.  smileStill, while arguing for membership in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, I would often cite the articles as a moderating authority.  I would cite the language of metaphysics in claiming an ontological change takes place during ordinations/consecrations against a merely functional view of orders as found within Methodism, for example.  Much of this dialog has been formed within the tension between Catholicism and Protestantism and our understanding of the issues themselves begins with this period.  However, it was not so from the beginning.  All these issues are taken up by the early church but within a different context.  Read the ecumenical councils.  For that matter, read the writing of Ignatius of Antioch.  Read the writing of Clement of Rome.  But even more than these, look at their manner of living and dying and ask if it bears testimony to the Good News and to the Holy Spirit.  The self-emptying of Christ is the divine humility.  The self-emptying (kenosis) of the Holy Spirit is that the Spirit bears witness to the Second Person and not to Himself.  Christ bears witness to the Father.  Who then bears witness to the Holy Spirit?  I would argue that it is the lives of the saints.  Look then to the testimony of the lives of the saints throughout the past two thousand years of the church.  You cannot participate fully without discerning the Body.  The Body of Christ isn’t only Reformed churchmen of the past half millenium.  The attempt to leap over Tradition, which I would cite as the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, back to the writers of the Canon over a millenium and a half is the leap of a New Age Religion.  Mohammed did it.  Joseph Smith did it.  I would have the Diocese of Sydney not follow that mistake, even in part.  To be part of the organic worship of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church gives us the same spiritual resources and hearkens to the one dispensation of the Holy Spirit.I have a question that might address the question of orders.  How do you understand the gift of the Holy Spirit given by the Risen Lord to the disciples as he breathed upon them versus the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  Might the first be the general gift and the second a specific empowering?  Seems counterintuitive at first but I would encourage you to prayerfully take a look at this idea.

[241] Posted by monologistos on 11-25-2008 at 10:43 AM · [top]

Monologistos,

Look then to the testimony of the lives of the saints throughout the past two thousand years of the church.  You cannot participate fully without discerning the Body.  The Body of Christ isn’t only Reformed churchmen of the past half millenium.  The attempt to leap over Tradition, which I would cite as the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, back to the writers of the Canon over a millenium and a half is the leap of a New Age Religion.  Mohammed did it.  Joseph Smith did it.  I would have the Diocese of Sydney not follow that mistake, even in part.  To be part of the organic worship of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church gives us the same spiritual resources and hearkens to the one dispensation of the Holy Spirit.

[241] Well stated.

[242] Posted by Firm Tractarian on 11-25-2008 at 10:49 AM · [top]

The attempt to leap over Tradition, which I would cite as the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, back to the writers of the Canon over a millenium and a half is the leap of a New Age Religion.  Mohammed did it.  Joseph Smith did it.

So did the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and how many others?

[243] Posted by oscewicee on 11-25-2008 at 10:57 AM · [top]

Oscewicee, so did the Campbellites.  In their proper appreciation for the early church, they attempted to begin again with the apostles and made it about as far back as the Nineteenth Century ... their own day.  There is a mistaken notion that the disciples were primatives who invented liturgy, scorned architecture, and had “house church” which was invented afresh by every father of the house.  The disciples in Jerusalem continued to worship in the Temple until it’s destruction. We are the inheritors of Jewish worship traditions and all of the apostles were worshipping Jews.  The prototypes of the sacraments are also present in Judaism of that time.  Granted, we do not make it dogma in the sense of necessary for belief that one might be an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven that one believe in three seperate but equal orders or especially in pietistic traditions (small t) such as the assumption of Mary’s body or papal infallibility.  But the Church may establish house rules for the ordering of the Body. The Church may authorize the use of it’s power as granted to the Church by Christ and the Spirit…not simply as it sees fit but according to “Lex orandi, lex credendi”.  I would argue that the Church does not say where the Holy Spirit cannot act but it does say where it does.  We worship what we know.  We know that we receive our Lord in Eucharist. The Eucharist is the central and formative act of Christian worship as the Church.  The Ekklesia, those called apart by God, gather to be the Church ... for Eucharist.  Attempts to make that into a legalistic formula may fall short on a variety of grounds.  Rubrics do not themselves guarantee the Real Presence and yet the Church is obliged to define rubrics.  If they do not, pretty soon someone will be substituting Chicken ala King for bread, milk for wine, and preaching on Jesus our Mother Hen.  The preface to the Ordinal clearly defines apostolic succession by laying on of hands.  This house rule defines for us where we know the Church is. Even as church doctrine was often defined in reaction to error the early community defined leadership in reaction to false teachers, false prophets.  By the time of Ignatius around 110, the two emergent systems of communities led by presbyters and communities led by bishops with deacons was combined into the monarchical episcopate with assisting presbyters ... and deacons assigned by the bishop with that important element of the kerygma of the Gospel that involves feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc.  No doubt there were variations in places but the exception does not make the rule.  Many exceptions were rank heresies.  It would be something of a category mistake to say we don’t believe in a monarchical episcopate because we believe in the Bible. Similarly, I think it is a mistake to take the scriptural use of heiros (applied to Christ, to the Aaronic priesthood and to the priesthood of all believers) and then say that the priesthood of all believers is the same thing as every believer is a priest.  Every believer is not Christ.  Only as the Body of Christ are we the Church.  The Church has authorized some men, acting with the authority of the Church, to speak on behalf of the Church which speaks the words of Christ Himself and speak the words of institution ... not as Christ but for Christ.  These men do not have the power of Christ and they do not become Christ. If it is not too much to try to say, I would venture to say that Christ is in heaven and thus while we liturgically live out a linear worship with moments such as the anemnesis and epiklesis, it is not a new sacrifice but a participation in the once for all actual event of the Incarnate Lord which stands at the center of time in eternity.

[244] Posted by monologistos on 11-25-2008 at 12:26 PM · [top]

ah, that was “hiereus” or sacerdos.  My spelling is wack.

[245] Posted by monologistos on 11-25-2008 at 12:43 PM · [top]

#244
AMEN!

[246] Posted by evan miller on 11-25-2008 at 01:11 PM · [top]

I finally found the other reference I was looking for, translated from “The Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils” and being a canon from the 1st such council which took place in Nicaea in 325.

Canon 18 (emphasis mine) :
“It has come to the attention of this holy and great synod that in some places and cities deacons give communion to presbyters, although neither canon nor custom allows this, namely that those who have no authority to offer should give the body of Christ to those who do offer. Moreover it has become known that some of the deacons now receive the eucharist even before the bishops. All these practices must be suppressed. Deacons must remain within their own limits, knowing that they are the ministers of the bishop and subordinate to the presbyters. Let them receive the eucharist according to their order after the presbyters from the hands of the bishop or the presbyter. Nor shall permission be given for the deacons to sit among the presbyters, for such an arrangement is contrary to the canon and to rank. If anyone refuses to comply even after these decrees, he is to be suspended from the diaconate.”

It begs the question—If GAFCON and FCA adhere to the first 7 Ecumenical Councils’s rulings, how then can Sydney be in compliance, or if somehow Sydney is in compliance, how then can FCA be said to adhere to the first 7 councils and at the same not do so?

If Sydney’s position is that Sydney has, by whatever means, superceded or nullified this canon, then let Sydney clearly say this in so many words to the other members of the FCA. If the FCA’s position is that Sydney is in compliance, then let the FCA say to the world, “we deem canon 18 of the First Council of Nicaea to be nullified.” Then let the chips fall where they may.

[247] Posted by Antique on 11-25-2008 at 01:51 PM · [top]

monologistos, Paulinus, Boring Bloke and William - I just wanted to thank you all for your excellent posts on this thread. I appreciate your taking time to post in depth and so insightfully.

[248] Posted by oscewicee on 11-25-2008 at 02:05 PM · [top]

#248
I heartily concur.  and oscewicee, your own contributions have been outstanding as well. Thank you all.

[249] Posted by evan miller on 11-25-2008 at 02:30 PM · [top]

232: The Seven in Acts 6 were not called “Deacons.” Rather, they did diakonia, or “waited on tables” as part of their ministry.

Granted, tradition grounds the diaconate in Acts 6. However, if you look at the ministry of the Seven, in Acts 7-8, their work is more apostolic than diaconal. Space does not permit a full exposition, but to summarize my own thinking:

At the book-level discourse level, note this schema:

(Acts 1: Choosing of Mattias through lots to round out the number of the Twelve.)
Acts 6: Choosing of the Seven.
Acts 7: The Passion of Stephen (greatly resembling Christ’s crucifixion) and his beatific vision in Paul’s presence.
Acts 8: The Acts of Philip, carrying out the Acts 1 commission to “the ends of the Earth,” in the form of the Ethiopian, whom he baptizes.
Acts 9: Paul’s (not so) beatific vision…

...and I claim that, in Luke’s editorial judgment, Paul replaces Stephen as one of the Seven!

Note also the numerological parallel in the gospel of Luke, with the sending of the 12 (Matthew: exclusively to the Jews) and the sending of the 70, probably to Samaria and possibly to Idumea as well. Note also how the Lukan model for house to house mission in pairs is maintained by both Peter (and John) and Paul (and Barnabas, Silas) in Acts.

If you want a model deacon (in fact the only deacon in the NT), I would suggest Phoebe in Romans 16. She was likely the leader of a house church who provided hospitality to the apostles, she was called a deacon, and she was also sent on mission to Rome representing Paul.

[250] Posted by Siangombe on 11-25-2008 at 03:24 PM · [top]

You’re claiming the apostles appointed other apostles to wait table for them?

And that Paul was one of these waiters?

[251] Posted by Bo on 11-25-2008 at 04:07 PM · [top]

#250

...and I claim that, in Luke’s editorial judgment, Paul replaces Stephen as one of the Seven!

Funny. That’s not the claim Paul made for himself over and over and over again.

[252] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-25-2008 at 04:33 PM · [top]

And why do you think Phoebe was “likely the leader of a house church”? Eisogete much?

[253] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-25-2008 at 04:35 PM · [top]

The Sydneyites are very close to establishing a new denomination (if not a new religion) which is focused on anti-Catholicism, and does worship the Bible more than the God who is in the Bible

This sort of accusation is entirely unnecessary and quite without foundation. If anti-Catholicism and Bibliolatry are the foundation of Sydney Anglicanism then it must be a different Sydney to the one I have spent 5 years in. It is, in fact, a slur on a great number of very godly men and women.

[254] Posted by David Ould on 11-25-2008 at 04:37 PM · [top]

David,
The folks in Sydney seem determined to define a new order for the Church (well, it would be a new order for the Anglicans), an ‘authorized leader for the public celebration Lord’s Supper’ who is not ordained. 


Am I missing something?

[255] Posted by Bo on 11-25-2008 at 09:41 PM · [top]

251: You’re claiming the apostles appointed other apostles to wait table for them?

No. The Seven served Greek speakers. And they served them the same way the Twelve did for the Aramaic speakers. There is no indication that the Twelve stopped serving entirely. (That would have violated the Lord’s commands regarding serving, wouldn’t it?) The form that table service took could well have included presiding over worship.

252: I don’t see the conflict you are asserting. To Luke, he was an apostle. He saw the risen Christ. So did Stephen. Both could therefore be called apostles. Paul himself used “apostle” to describe people other than the Twelve.

252 (second post): You are mixing accusation with question. I would remind you of the “Before you post” rule on this website. The language about Phoebe indicates that she gave hospitality to Paul, as a householder. She had sufficient status and means in ministry that Paul made her an envoy to Rome. If she didn’t lead the church that met in her home, she certainly had a major say in who did.

I refer you to House Church and Mission: The Importance of Household Structures in Early Christianity at http://tinyurl.com/64yj5o regarding the significance of the house church in the NT.

[256] Posted by Siangombe on 11-25-2008 at 10:26 PM · [top]

#256 There is nothing within the text to suggest that Phoebe was the leader of a house church. Yes, she was (as a widow) the mater familias of her household; she was a business owner she was wealthy and she had a home large enough to both offer hospitality and serve as a gathering place for the Church. But on what Scriptural basis do you say that she had a huge say in who led the church that met in her house? If it is because she is wealthy, how well would that gel with commands (such as that in James) to show no partiality within the Church to those who are wealthy?

Yes, it was an accusation mixed with a question. Your comment requires a huge leap from what Scripture actually says about Phoebe to what you (and many feminist theologians) seem to want it to say.

[257] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-25-2008 at 10:49 PM · [top]

I think Scripture suggests a connection between priesthood and Eucharist.  In Genesis 14:18 we read

And Melchizadek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High…

Psalm 110:4 connects this to the Messiah:

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

Hebrews 7:3-5 connects the Melchizedek incident to Jesus, noting that: 

[Melchizedek] is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest for ever.

And finally, we have the institution of the Eucharist itself, in which, reminiscent of Melchizedek, the Lord utilizes bread and wine, and adminishes the apostles to “Do this in remembrance of me.”  It seems to me that the Melchizedech account in Genesis finds its fulfillment in both the institution of the Eucharist and in its continued celebration througout history.  And, according to Psalm 110 and Hebrews, Melchizedech’s role as priest is not merely incidental.

[258] Posted by slcath on 11-26-2008 at 01:09 AM · [top]

There is nothing within the text to suggest that Phoebe was the leader of a house church.

There is. Here’s the NIV text:

1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant[footnote: or deacon] of the church in Cenchrea. 2I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.

And the CEV:

1I have good things to say about Phoebe, who is a leader in the church at Cenchreae. 2Welcome her in a way that is proper for someone who has faith in the Lord and is one of God’s own people. Help her in any way you can. After all, she has proved to be a respected leader for many others, including me.

When you were wealthy in the Greek world, you were expected to become a benefactor or patron of the community, even to the point of sponsoring public works. Furthermore, you were expected to host visitors. All this required management expertise, and Paul respected this to the point that he made her an envoy to a very significant community. Why didn’t he choose a man for such an important mission?

Paul looked to wealthy people for hospitality, for their management acumen, for their natural leadership talents. Wealth was a secondary consideration for picking leaders, but it was an indicator of talent, and such people would have naturally risen to leadership. Furthermore, Paul frequently sought hospitality and patronage from such people. Acts has a number of examples of this.

People who know me will know that I am far from being a feminist, that I am skeptical about WO, and far from wealthy. But the sociological and linguistic facts underlying the passage lead me to my conclusion. Your mileage may vary, of course.

[259] Posted by Siangombe on 11-26-2008 at 09:49 AM · [top]

ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.

And only deacons are servants of the Lord, lead in the church and help other people?

[260] Posted by oscewicee on 11-26-2008 at 09:53 AM · [top]

#259, Siangombe.

Sorry if I was a bit sharp, but I have to say I still don’t agree with the final conclusions that you’ve drawn from the above passage. Everything you’ve said about the social context is correct… her being a Patron (even Paul’s patron) says nothing about her role in the Church.

About the CEV (which translation I have suddenly lost a
great deal of respect for) quotation above… here’s the passage in its original.

1συνιστημι δε υμιν φοιβην την αδελφην ημων ουσαν [και] διακονον της εκκλησιας της εν κεγχρεαις  2ινα προσδεξησθε αυτην εν κυριω αξιως των αγιων και παραστητε αυτη εν ω αν υμων χρηζη πραγματι και γαρ αυτη προστατις πολλων εγενηθη και εμου αυτου

I can understand how one might argue from the language of verse 1 that she was a deacon. Not sure I agree, but the Greek could be translated as either “servant” or “deacon”. In verse 2 we have the word “προστατις,” which can be translated as “patron”.

Paul’s main point is that Phoebe is well-connected and she is wealthy, but she is also truly humble (and so an example to the Roman elite). They are to receive her as generously as she has received Paul and others. This says

nothing</i> about her being in church leadership. Note as well that the CEV translation of this passage has chosen to go well beyond the actual meaning of this passage… I wouldn’t base my understanding on it if I were you.

<blockquote>You write: Paul respected this to the point that he made her an envoy to a very significant community. Why didn’t he choose a man for such an important mission?

Again, this is eisogesis. Phoebe was a businesswoman and she was traveling to Rome. We don’t know why she was traveling to Rome, because Paul doesn’t tell us. There’s a good chance that it was to do business, I would think. What better opportunity for Paul to send a letter to the Roman Christians? But we don’t know.

Sorry for accusing you of being a feminist… its just that that is normally the context in which I have seen this point of view argued.

[261] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-26-2008 at 11:51 AM · [top]

Note the block quotes above are wonky. The actual quotation is the bit after “You write…” and ends with “... importtant mission?”

[262] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-26-2008 at 11:52 AM · [top]

Siangombe. Just one last quick note. I am not saying that I do not believe Phoebe was influential in the Church at Cenchrea; I am sure she was. My main objection was to your arguing that she was likely “the leader of a house church.” It is this latter point which I am contending has no biblical basis.

[263] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-26-2008 at 11:57 AM · [top]

I looked up the reference to Phoebe in three translations and two commentaries.  The original Greek text describes her as a deacon, but in the “servant” sense rather than in the sense of a ministerial order.  The RC version translates this as “deaconess” (which they do not actually have at this time, though Anglicans do).  To translate the term as “leader” is a very loose rather than literal translation.  It is an interesting Scriptural reference, though I am not sure how it relates to the topic of discussion.  The above references to the Melchizedechian Priesthood and the Eucharist are less “off topic”.

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

BTW, what does CEV stand for?  Anybody.

[265] Posted by GB on 11-26-2008 at 12:18 PM · [top]

Hi GB,

I agree that it is likely in the “servant” sense, although I don’t think it’s possible to be sure from the Greek alone.

It is an interesting Scriptural reference, though I am not sure how it relates to the topic of discussion.

It would be interesting to know if any of the Sydney documents do use this passage as an argument for deacons leading churches.

If they are: 1)it’s a weak argument… a non-argument, even; 2) its interesting that they are using the same arguments as one finds in feminist works and 3) what difference do they really see between a presbyter and a deacon? If a deacon can preach, preside at the Lord’s Table and lead a church… it would almost seem that the only real difference would be pay-grade.

That is how I understand this to be relevant to the discussion at hand.

[266] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-26-2008 at 12:22 PM · [top]

Contemporary English Version - I gather that it’s meant to be in very plain, contemporary English, with a loss of subtlety.

[267] Posted by oscewicee on 11-26-2008 at 12:23 PM · [top]

#265. Contemporary English Version.

[268] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-26-2008 at 12:23 PM · [top]

Let’s just stick with the KJV and have done with it.

[269] Posted by evan miller on 11-26-2008 at 12:25 PM · [top]

Contemporary English Version.  A dreadful translation, but at least it’s a translation.  So it’s not ‘The Message’ kind of dreadful.  Example:

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. 5God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children. God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God. Ephesians 1

carl

[270] Posted by carl on 11-26-2008 at 12:27 PM · [top]

Ow, Carl. As written, it sounds like God is just to the God of Jesus. For instance.

[271] Posted by oscewicee on 11-26-2008 at 12:43 PM · [top]

I looked up the reference to Phoebe in three translations and two commentaries.  The original Greek text describes her as a deacon, but in the “servant” sense rather than in the sense of a ministerial order.  The RC version translates this as “deaconess” (which they do not actually have at this time, though Anglicans do).  To translate the term as “leader” is a very loose rather than literal translation.  It is an interesting Scriptural reference, though I am not sure how it relates to the topic of discussion.  The above references to the Melchizedechian Priesthood and the Eucharist are less “off topic”.

I would say the argument for Phoebe being a deacon in the ministerial sense is stronger than that of the Seven being deacons, given that the word diakonos is not even applied to the Seven. There is no question that Phoebe was a leader, especially given the fact that she was sent by Paul on an important mission, but also given the historical backdrop, that householders were expected by society to serve the polis and to provide hospitality, and that the household became an important metaphor for the church in the NT.

Oh, and Jesus had lots to say about service being a requisite of leadership.

My original point in this sub-thread was to respond to the claim that the Seven were deacons. I believe that the case for Phoebe is better than the case for the Seven.

I’m not sure what you mean by “literal translation.” An interlinear Greek-English perhaps? Even that has translation choices that the reader might disagree with. The range of meaning of a word in one language just does not necessarily cross exactly to that of a word in another language. Fortunately, to quote one NT professor I had (Gordon Fee, IIRC), our task in 99% of the text is to obey. The other 1% is for interesting but non-vital discussions like this.

[272] Posted by Siangombe on 11-27-2008 at 09:51 AM · [top]

#272 writes in part: “I would say the argument for Phoebe being a deacon in the ministerial sense…”
That’s the problem.  It is what you would say and not what happened.  You are using language in Scripture as if it is some sort of inkblot test.  Biblical scholarship is a very complicated field. There are tools these days that allow those who lack even knowledge of the language involved to pull up word meanings here and there but what you are left with is a very personalistic reading of Scripture.We actually know how deaconesses were used in the early church.  When we aren’t talking about some act of Jesus, most of the time, one example of some happening is not necessarily going to be exemplary for all of Christianity. I suppose we could make those named with Dorcus have a special ministry in rising from the dead but that would be silly.  We simply don’t know much about Phoebe’s particular role but we know that the church used women as deaconnesses in a non-ordained, functional status to assist women with baptism and so forth.  Perhaps there is some felt need here to change the story to give women a more dramatic role ... such as in the Lord of the Ring movie where they replaced Glorfindal with Arwen in carrying Frodo across the river while chased by the nine riders.  Didn’t happen but it gave her a dramatic scene.One of the things that makes the conversation difficult here is that we do not have the same theology or the same words for things.  As it turns out, we have people arguing vehemently for what is Anglicanism who have never even been Anglicans.  As much as I love Carl for his wit, his usually acute reasoning, and even his gentleness, I’ve never understood how he could be Anglican ... and lo and behold, he’s some sort of evangelical like free church.  Now that makes sense ... but frankly, it makes no sense to put forth such a position as Anglican.  And by my lights, much of the liberal babble from TEC makes no more sense.  Add to the hubub, ringers coming in pretending to be something other than they are ... fomenting trouble here with the Sydney matter ... you know who you are and I would note that a jury found a woman guilty of crimes for pretending to be someone in order to sow chaos in another’s life that ended in suicide.  Criminal?  Certainly dishonest and fitting with what we know of the betrayal of Christianity from the left wing wackos of TEC. Of course, it is always possible that a few are so clueless they don’t realize they are trolls.

[273] Posted by monologistos on 11-27-2008 at 11:07 AM · [top]

#272—Siangombe, come on, now.  Here is what “literal translation” means.  In Spanish, the word for “yes” is “si”.  If you are translating Spanish into English and you translate “si” as “yes” that is a literal translation.  If you translate “si” as “yeah”, that is a loose translation.  If you translate “si” as “okay”, that is a paraphrase.  Translating New Testament Greek into modern English presents all sorts of dfficulties because the language was not that sophisticated to begin with, and there are so many denominational points of view which has not always been the case.  In the matter of Phoebe, the KJV translates “diaconos” as “servant”, and the official RC version translates it as “deaconess”.  Some commentators here have already said that we cannot be sure the term does not describe the ministrial order of deacons.  One of the commentaries that I checked has an answer for this.  I’ll tell you what it is if you want to know, but it will show why the KJV translated “diaconos” as “servant” rather than “deacon” even though “deacon” would be a more literal translation, and “deaconess” would be somewhat loose.  (This is why the evangelical notion of sola scriptura is non-Anglican, and the Anglican way is much better.)

[274] Posted by GB on 11-27-2008 at 12:26 PM · [top]

273: We actually know how deaconesses were used in the early church.

With respect to “deaconesses”, the Greek diaconissa only comes into play in the 4th century, as a separate female order. And I don’t believe any of them would have been sent on an important mission like Phoebe was.

[275] Posted by Siangombe on 11-27-2008 at 01:56 PM · [top]

Siangombe,

Everything you have said with regard to Patrons is true insofar as it goes. To move from there to where you have gone, (therefore she was a leader) is nothing more than an argument from silence.

1) Scripture says she was diakonon. This might mean “deacon” but it might also mean “servant.” There is no getting around this unless you want to argue that Christ was also a deacon (c.f. Romans 15:8, in which servant translates diakonon) or that we are all actually deacons because we are each told to be a diakonos to our fellow believers.

2) Even if she was a deacon it wouldn’t mean she was the leader of a house church. Scripture says nothing that would lead us to believe this.

3) Wealth and home ownership were not the basis on which one was made a leader in the early church—such a basis would be worldly and almost certainly destructive. There were other prerequisites, as seen in 1 Timothy and Titus… being a wealthy patron isn’t one of them. The wealthy were encouraged to serve the body in humility and they were encouraged to show hospitality—both to wandering preachers and to the church in their city. This does not mean they were church leaders.

[276] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-27-2008 at 05:12 PM · [top]

This is the same sort of nonsense that has been trotted out by the puritan party since the English Reformation. But the English reformers (including Cranmer) always took great pains to show that they were following in the tradition of the Fathers—that it was Rome who had strayed from them. And the tradition of the Fathers is quite clearly and obviously against lay presidency. If we do not anchor our interpretation of Scripture in the holy tradition of God’s Spirit-led Church, then we are just reading our own biases into it.

Lay administration is at least equally heretical as elevating Vicki Gene to the episcopate, probably more so. Giving him a mitre did not directly blaspheme Christ’s Body and Blood as this does.

[277] Posted by scribbler on 11-30-2008 at 05:28 PM · [top]

Of course, and that is why the Continuing Church is being stand-offish about the GAFCON movement.  They are already waffling on the WO issue, and now this horror story is injected into the process.  We didn’t get away from one set of heresies just to get on board with another set.

[278] Posted by GB on 11-30-2008 at 06:27 PM · [top]

Lay administration is at least equally heretical as elevating Vicki Gene to the episcopate, probably more so.

What a quite astounding thing to claim! Scripture speaks clearly and forcefully against the lifestyle of Gene Robinson, whereas it is absolutely silent on the matter of how the Lord’s Supper should be administered.

I think, with the greatest respect, your reasoning is slightly skewed if you are claiming that the latter is a worse offense than the former. There is no denial of the gospel whatsoever occurring.

[279] Posted by David Ould on 11-30-2008 at 07:04 PM · [top]

To scribbler (#277):  I find the conclusion that lay administration of the Eucharist is just as heretical as the episcopal ordination of Gene Robinson to be curious. If lay administration is, as you say, a blaspheming of the Body and Blood of the Lord, don’t you necessarily concede that lay administration is valid albeit illicit? And can it be doubted that those Anglicans who advocate lay administration are acting in the sort of good faith that cannot be attributed to those who argue that homosexual conduct does not violate the God of the Old and New Testaments, to say nothing of the law of nature?

[280] Posted by slcath on 11-30-2008 at 07:16 PM · [top]

Should be “violate the law of the God of the Old and New Testaments…”  Sorry for the typo.

[281] Posted by slcath on 11-30-2008 at 07:24 PM · [top]

You folks never quite get the message, do you?  Heresy is heresy.  There are not small heresies and big heresies.  The people who believe in gay ordination are acting in good faith (even though they are wrong), just the way the people who believe in lay presidency are acting in good faith (even though they are wrong).  Is that what your problem is?  You think that YOU are acting in good faith, but your opponent isn’t?

[282] Posted by GB on 11-30-2008 at 08:42 PM · [top]

You folks never quite get the message, do you?  Heresy is heresy.  There are not small heresies and big heresies. 

FWIW, I do agree. All outright denial of the gospel is heretical and must be opposed.

Here’s the thing though - the charge of heresy against Lay or Diaconal Presidency falls since there is nothing even remotely against it in the Scriptures. Since the Scriptures do not speak against it, it is incredibly difficult to prove a charge of heresy against the action. Unless, of course, someone can demonstrate how the Scriptures speak against it.

Now, of course, there is a good argument that it is against good order, and that promoting this action offends our brothers and sisters. I hear that argument and have some sympathy with it. But it’s nowhere near the same as heresy.

[283] Posted by David Ould on 11-30-2008 at 08:55 PM · [top]

David, I would not argue with you about the defintion of heresy.  However, your repeated assertion that anything not expressly forbidden by Scripture is permissible,  would not be considered orthodox by very many people, and is probably a heretical idea in and of itself.

[284] Posted by GB on 11-30-2008 at 09:06 PM · [top]

To GB (#282):  There is material heresy and formal heresy.  The former implies good faith.

It is simply not the case that all truths are equally obvious.  It’s not realistic to say that a person can as easily believe that genocide is morally acceptable as to err with respect to the Son’s consubstantiality with the Father.  There is such a thing as erring in good faith.

As far as I know, there are no 100% on-point, unambiguous Scripture passages that address the question of lay administration.  There are such passages addressing the question of homosexual conduct.  As far as I know, lay administration doesn’t violate the natural law.  Homoxesual conduct does.

[285] Posted by slcath on 11-30-2008 at 09:12 PM · [top]

However, your repeated assertion that anything not expressly forbidden by Scripture is permissible, would not be considered orthodox by very many people, and is probably a heretical idea in and of itself.

No, I maintain the position of the Articles which I swore I believed when I was ordained - nothing is to required of me to be believed except that which can be proven from the Scriptures.
If you want to declare that position as heretical then go ahead. Declaring the 39 Articles as heretical is, I would suggest, not really a classic Anglican position…

[286] Posted by David Ould on 11-30-2008 at 09:23 PM · [top]

I know,
Fools rush in where brave men fear to tread.
A simple layman should never challenge a deacon of the diocese of Sydney.
However, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
The definition of “heresy” per the Oxford Universal Dictionary (1964 edition):

Theological opinion or doctrine held in opposition to the ‘catholic’ or orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church.

Perhaps even more germane, from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (1966 edition):

The formal denial or doubt of any defined doctrine of thee Catholic faith.

Note that the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church is edited by F.L. Cross, who I believe held the chair in Divinity at Oxford when some of our recent (perhaps some of our current) archbishops studied there, as well as being Canon of Christ Church.  I believe it is not too much of a stretch, therefore, to say that is the Anglican definition of “heresy.”  Note that in both definition cited, it is doctrine, and not scripture per se, that defines heresy.
This would put the onus on the Diocese of Sydney to demonstrate that its innovation is not in opposition to the doctrine of the Church as held over the last 2000 years.  What Mr. Ould is defending may or may not be anti-Scriptural, but many of us would hold that it is anti-doctrinal, and therefore rises to the level of heresy.  Certainly, what he proposes would have been unacceptable to the Church Fathers, and would be unacceptable today in the Roman or Eastern Churches, as well as in any Anglo Catholic jurisdiction, including the Continuing Churches, the ex-TEC dioceses, any FiF parish or diocese, and my living room.

[287] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-30-2008 at 10:52 PM · [top]

Oops, that should be “the”, not “thee” in the second quote above.

[288] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-30-2008 at 11:04 PM · [top]

David Ould wrote:

Now, of course, there is a good argument that it is against good order, and that promoting this action offends our brothers and sisters. I hear that argument and have some sympathy with it. But it’s nowhere near the same as heresy.

David, insofar as you, (i.e. the Diocese of Sydney) are choosing to do what you believe is right without regard to the division it might cause within the Communion and even within the newborn GAFCON movement, it could reasonably be described as heresy in New Testament terms (thinking of the etymology of αἵρεσις). You are creating a faction over and against others based on you particularized (and novel) view of the three-fold ministry. That is what stings for so many of us. It seems that you’re saying you’ll do what you think is right and if we don’t follow your reasoning, then the rest of us be damned. Is this new move so important to Sydney that they’re ready to see the movement consolidating around the Jerusalem Declaration collapse?

[289] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-30-2008 at 11:19 PM · [top]

[287] tjmcmahon wrote:

What Mr. Ould is defending may or may not be anti-Scriptural, but many of us would hold that it is anti-doctrinal, and therefore rises to the level of heresy.

Doctrine that does not find its basis in Scripture is by definition a tradition of men, and so can never be the basis of a charge of heresy.  Scripture is always logically prior to doctrine.  Always.

carl

[290] Posted by carl on 11-30-2008 at 11:33 PM · [top]

A “tradition of men” like the one that tells you which books belong to the canon of Holy Scripture?

[291] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 11-30-2008 at 11:43 PM · [top]

I guess what I understand David to be talking about regarding beliefs confirmed by Scripture is *dogma*.  If he wants to narrowly define heresy as denial of the basic dogmas of the faith and that any belief not addressed by those dogmas is permissible, I think that’s far fetched but that’s his definition.  I would suggest that *schism* has often been viewed as a kind of heresy and that while TEC is not only schismatic but increasingly *apostate*, the actions regarding lay and deaconal presidency are merely schismatic.  Fortunately, the days of Innocent III are long over and we are unlikely to see the authorizing of a crusade against either TEC or Sydney.  Without any plenary indulgences for killing Saracens, Albigensians, TECites or Sydneyites, I suggest we here will have to get busy with our daily prayers and acts of mercy.

[292] Posted by monologistos on 12-1-2008 at 12:32 AM · [top]

tjmcmahon…

Note that the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church is edited by F.L. Cross, who I believe held the chair in Divinity at Oxford when some of our recent (perhaps some of our current) archbishops studied there, as well as being Canon of Christ Church.  I believe it is not too much of a stretch, therefore, to say that is the Anglican definition of “heresy.” Note that in both definition cited, it is doctrine, and not scripture per se, that defines heresy.

Yes, granted. The question then arises how each individual denomination derives its’ doctrines.
In respect to the Anglican Church of Australia, this is what the constitution says:

  ... the above-named Book of Common Prayer, together with the Thirty-nine Articles, be regarded as the authorised standard of worship and doctrine in this Church

which is a pretty typical position for most national Anglican bodies.
Thus orthodoxy, at least in the Australian Anglican Church - and this is a position replicated numerous times in other Provinces, is defined by the Articles.

[293] Posted by David Ould on 12-1-2008 at 02:54 AM · [top]

David, insofar as you, (i.e. the Diocese of Sydney) are choosing to do what you believe is right without regard to the division it might cause within the Communion and even within the newborn GAFCON movement, it could reasonably be described as heresy in New Testament terms (thinking of the etymology of αἵρεσις). 

Thanks for that. A number of points should probably made. I don’t think it is correct to state that this decision is taken without regard to division. Sydney Diocese has, as well as I understand it, worked very hard to pursue good relationships with partners and to explain much of what they do. I would imagine that long hard conversations were had with many of the key partners before this year’s synod.

As for the etymology of αἵρεσις, I think you are correct. A better translation of that word might be “sect” (although Peter appears to use it much more directly to speak of what we understand as heresy in 2Pet 2:1. Nevertheless it still appears to carry with it the import of false teaching. It is that charge that I would want to deny. If anything, this is more in the field, at least in my understanding, of a legal action that nevertheless causes a weaker brother to stumble (although I think there are significant divergences even from that state of affairs).

[294] Posted by David Ould on 12-1-2008 at 03:09 AM · [top]

A “tradition of men” like the one that tells you which books belong to the canon of Holy Scripture?

And the statement that scripture containeth all things necessary for salvation.

<blockquote>
... the above-named Book of Common Prayer, together with the Thirty-nine Articles, be regarded as the authorised standard of worship and doctrine in this Church

which is a pretty typical position for most national Anglican bodies.
Thus orthodoxy, at least in the Australian Anglican Church - and this is a position replicated numerous times in other Provinces, is defined by the Articles.
</blockquote>
And the Book of Common Prayer, as you stated above. What does that say about lay administration? For that matter, what do the 39 articles say about it when they directly address the topic (Articles XXIII and XXXVI)? You seem to be expounding one
article in a way that is repugnant to others.

[295] Posted by Boring Bloke on 12-1-2008 at 05:06 AM · [top]

And the Book of Common Prayer, as you stated above. What does that say about lay administration?

It has nothing to say about the subject.

For that matter, what do the 39 articles say about it when they directly address the topic (Articles XXIII and XXXVI)? You seem to be expounding one article in a way that is repugnant to others.

Well, let me cite the Articles:

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.

I’m not sure what you’re trying to argue with this one. The Sydney position is that only licensed laity should preside - they would be people who are already recognised as leaders in the church. So, for example, when I preached in church prior to ordination I did so under a license granted for that very reason.

XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers.
The Book of Consecration of Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, as set forth by the General Convention of this Church in 1792, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing that, of itself, is superstitious and ungodly. And, therefore, whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to said Form, we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.

Again, I’m not so sure what the problem is here, or at least what is not covered in the original article. There I pointed quite clearly to the legal argument that the status of Deacons has been changed by the wider church in Australia itself. The church holds the right to do that (as do other national churches) in its constitution, which is an outworking of Article XXXIV. What the Sydney diocese has done, therefore, is to acknowledge and recognise a change in the role of the deacon that has already been canonised for many years by the national church .

[296] Posted by David Ould on 12-1-2008 at 06:05 AM · [top]

And the statement that scripture containeth all things necessary for salvation.

That’s not a tradition of man, that’s from the Scriptures themselves. 2Tim 3:14-17.

[297] Posted by David Ould on 12-1-2008 at 06:10 AM · [top]

  It has nothing to say about the subject.

Except here (for example):

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;

Compare with this statement which clearly distinguishes between the priests and deacons

Whilst these Sentences are in reading, the Deacons, Church-wardens, or other fit person appointed for that purpose, shall receive the Alms for the Poor, and other devotions of the people, in a decent basin to be provided by the Parish for that purpose; and reverently bring it to the Priest, who shall humbly present and place it upon the holy Table.
And when there is a Communion, the Priest shall then place upon the Table so much Bread and Wine, as he shall think sufficient. After which done, the Priest shall say,

And this statement from the morning prayer, which, of course can be led by a layman,

The Absolution, or Remission of sins, to be pronounced by the Priest alone, standing; the people still kneeling.

ALMIGHTY God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins : He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him, which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure, and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The people shall answer here, and at the end of all other prayers, Amen.

If no priest be present the person saying the service shall read the Collect for the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity, that person and the people still kneeling.

And in particular the absence of a similar statement from the communion service.

  I’m not sure what you’re trying to argue with this one. The Sydney position is that only licensed laity should preside - they would be people who are already recognised as leaders in the church. So, for example, when I preached in church prior to ordination I did so under a license granted for that very reason.

Assuming that you were ordained a deacon under the BCP ordinal, you were licensed to

IT appertaineth to the Office of a Deacon, in the Church where he shall be appointed to serve, to assist the Priest in Divine Service, and specially when he ministereth the holy Communion, and to help him in the distribution thereof; and to read Holy Scriptures and Homilies in the Church; and to instruct the youth in the Catechism; in the absence of the Priest to baptize infants; and to preach, if he be admitted thereto by the Bishop. And furthermore, it is his Office, where provision is so made, to search for the sick, poor, and impotent people of the Parish, to intimate their estates, names, and places where they dwell, unto the Curate, that by his exhortation they may be relieved with the alms of the Parishioners, or others. Will you do this gladly and willingly?

Assist, not minister. Compare with the order for priests

WILL you then give your faithful diligence always so to minister the Doctrine and Sacraments, and the Discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded, and as this Church hath received the same, according to the Commandments of God; so that you may teach the people committed to your Cure and Charge with all diligence to keep and observe the same?

If you were permitted at your ordination to minister the sacraments, I would not have this objection. But then, of course, you would have been ordained priest rather than deacon (whatever name you want to call yourself by).

[298] Posted by Boring Bloke on 12-1-2008 at 06:37 AM · [top]

What the Sydney diocese has done, therefore, is to acknowledge and recognise a change in the role of the deacon that has already been canonised for many years by the national church .

If so, then the national church was acting against article XXXVI and was wrong to do so. You have no need to follow it in error.

[299] Posted by Boring Bloke on 12-1-2008 at 06:56 AM · [top]

If you were permitted at your ordination to minister the sacraments, I would not have this objection. But then, of course, you would have been ordained priest rather than deacon (whatever name you want to call yourself by).

Again, let me repeat what is already stated.
At my ordination I was permitted. That is now the legal position of the Anglican Church of Australia, which the Sydney Synod has now recognised and affirmed.

[300] Posted by David Ould on 12-1-2008 at 06:59 AM · [top]

<blockquote> What the Sydney diocese has done, therefore, is to acknowledge and recognise a change in the role of the deacon that has already been canonised fo many years by the national church .

If so, then the national church was acting against article XXXVI and was wrong to do so. You have no need to follow it in error. </blockquote>
No, that is not quite true. Article XXXVI prescribes that one should be ordained according to the ordinal. The Church in Australia has changed that ordinal slightly, in a way that is in no means repugnant to Scripture.

[301] Posted by David Ould on 12-1-2008 at 07:02 AM · [top]

  Again, let me repeat what is already stated.
At my ordination I was permitted. That is now the legal position of the Anglican Church of Australia, which the Sydney Synod has now recognised and affirmed.

If this is true, you seem to be saying that I handed you complete victory with my last post. That’s annoying.

Though having reread your `legal objections’ above, I’m not convinced that you were so ordained; although not having read the service I can’t be sure. Partly because I don’t like this distinction between legal and theological distinction. Mostly because the reasoning presented seems faulty. The Church of England has always (or at least Hooker), rightly or wrongly, said that even laymen and women can baptise, though only in emergency situations, so there has always been a distinction in our church between presiding at baptism and presiding the Eucharist. The document linked to in your initial post above seems to assume that there is none, and what applies to baptism also applies to the Eucharist; without any discussion that I noticed to establish this point. I don’t see that it follows, and points 20-22 aren’t convincing, more an argument from silence than anything else. And if there is a link between presiding at baptism and the Eucharist, it is just as much an argument that only presbyters should baptise as deacons allowed to preside at the Eucharist.  Your link above notes three changes to the ordinal; in two cases the phrasing “assist the priest” is retained from the 1662 ordinal, which suggests that you can assist, but not administer (or preside); these changes do not support your case, because nothing essential has been changed. Most significantly, the authorisations adopt this wording. The third change troubles me, and might support your conclusion: `Will you take your part in reading the holy scriptures in the church, in teaching the doctrine of Christ, and in administering the sacraments?’ There is no mention of assisting here (though `your part’ might be seen to limit the scope of `administering the sacraments.’). But again, you also have to demonstrate that the National church was correct when making this change. I would also feel more comfortable it if it were made explicit in the authorisations, as it is in the case of the ordination of the priest.

[302] Posted by Boring Bloke on 12-1-2008 at 08:13 AM · [top]

Lay - Administration?

Who has a valid “Holy Spirit Real Presence” in their offered up bread, cracker, wine, or grape juice?

Wow, this is an interesting thread.  Folks passionately believe and defend their positions. 

I knew a man, who went away to study to be a RC priest.  One of his old friends from years earlier, an orthodox Episcopal Priest saw him and told him something like “ Looking forward to your ordination, and our being brothers (brother priests)”  The RC’s response was something like “You and I will never be brothers!”.  So, here you have once again another hurtful claim that another Christian’s ministry is totally invalid, useless, and probably leading the sheep to hell.  So, some RC’s and Orthodox’s have used it from time to time on each other over the centuries.  Some male Christian Priests have used it on female Christian Priests and proclaimed that as being a salvation issue.  Some Baptists have said that if you are not baptized by immersion, then you are going to hell.  Some evangelicals over the years have made similar claims about the RC’s.  Some high Anglo-Catholic Episcopal/Anglican/Continuing Priests will not allow one of their own Deacons to administer pre - consecrated bread/wine to the sheep if the Priest is not present.  So, are the sheep not to be fed?

Some church leaders are “out of communion” with others due to obviously clearly defined Biblical sin issues and that is understandable.  The clearly defined Holy Scriptural truths are not to be compromised.  We are called to spiritual purity and not to be part of this world’s carnal spirituality.  Boundaries must be set up to protect the pure from the evil.

  But when the issue is a style issue, that is not clearly prohibited or warned against in the Bible, then I still celebrate seeing the name of Jesus Christ lifted up even if it is done in a different style than my personal prideful preferences.

If you support a Priest only administration for the bread and the wine,
Are you saying that any Priestly duty done by a non-priest ministry is invalid?

Are you saying that Salvation experiences, Marriages, Baptisms, and Lord’s Supper ministries performed in another’s Christian Church are invalid because the minister does not meet “your” definition of being a valid “priest” in whatever denomination / province you happen to belong to this year?

Where does Biblical / Holy Spirit discernment become second place to my own human spiritual pride?  Never I pray!  My job description does not include being God and making salvation determinations on other human beings.

This, have I pondered, for about 37 years as an Anglican Christian and about 51 years as a Christian total. In my humble opinion, I think Dumb Sheep #90 nailed it (excluding the plague comment) with his posting:
(If you have to burn me at the stake with him, then have at it)

...
1) After witnessing Anglican highjinks for more than 30 years, I reached a “plague on all your houses” position. I decided for myself that my understanding of the Eucharist would be: the sacrament is effected entirely by God the Holy Spirit. No man (or woman) has any inherent or delegated spiritual power to effect it, ordination notwithstanding.
2)Ordination confers authority to celebrate the Eucharist within the jurisdiction of the ordaining authority.  It is a matter of permission or authorization, not of charism.
3)This point of view does not exclude lay-celebration, as distinct from lay administration of the Sacrament to communicants. Lay celebration (presidency) is a matter of consent by Authority and the congregation being served.
4)None of this is very Anglican, or Catholic, or Eastern.
It is basically a Protestant view which regards the grace of the Sacrament as given by God and the Presider merely ministers it to the people and himself.  They are all receivers, the Lord is the only giver.
5) After seeing the shenanigans of too many in Holy Orders, I have come to doubt that there is anything such as a charism of Orders. I see it as a matter of church order and administration, the Church human.
Burn me at the stake if you must, but I will remain always:
Dumb Sheep. 

[303] Posted by Truthseeker on 12-1-2008 at 09:57 AM · [top]

Again, no one has answered these questions in re: Councils and Tradition.

The first question was asked by Antique earlier on with regard to the Jerusalem Declaration which says: “We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” The First of the great Ecumenical Councils (at Nicea) states (again):

“It has come to the attention of this holy and great synod that in some places and cities deacons give communion to presbyters, although neither canon nor custom allows this, namely that those who have no authority to offer should give the body of Christ to those who do offer. Moreover it has become known that some of the deacons now receive the eucharist even before the bishops. All these practices must be suppressed. Deacons must remain within their own limits, knowing that they are the ministers of the bishop and subordinate to the presbyters. Let them receive the eucharist according to their order after the presbyters from the hands of the bishop or the presbyter. Nor shall permission be given for the deacons to sit among the presbyters, for such an arrangement is contrary to the canon and to rank. If anyone refuses to comply even after these decrees, he is to be suspended from the diaconate.”

In signing the Jerusalem Declaration Sydney agreed to abide by the ruling of this Council for the sake of Anglican unity. Why is this acceptable? If TEC and the ACoC end up signing the anticipated Covenant (as some fear they will) all the while intending to do what they want, will Sydney have any moral authority to challenge them?

The second question is to do with Tradition. Scripture and Tradition have constantly been played off against one another in this thread, yet we only know what books belong in the canon because Tradition tells us which books the Church recognized as Scripture. How can you reject the Great Tradition while, at the same time, appealing to those books which that Tradition has placed in your hands?

[304] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 12-1-2008 at 12:57 PM · [top]

Scripture and Tradition have constantly been played off against one another in this thread, yet we only know what books belong in the canon because Tradition tells us which books the Church recognized as Scripture. How can you reject the Great Tradition while, at the same time, appealing to those books which that Tradition has placed in your hands?

I don’t think this “little” detail can be hammered enough.

[305] Posted by oscewicee on 12-1-2008 at 01:31 PM · [top]

It seems to me that the good purpose in arguing against what has been construed here as the position of the Diocese of Sydney is precisely for the hope of maintaining communion with Sydney or perhaps maintaining the hope of growing into it.  If the Diocese of Sydney continues in its path of schism, it separates itself yet further from the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church and the hope of restoration grows yet dimmer while in this world.  Hope for restoration to the churches who gave birth to Anglicanism is all but dead forever.  Sydney’s hope for restoration to a meaningful and real communion with the Anglican Communion is fading.  It hardly matters if TEC has argued strenuously for what it desires contrary to all Christians in all times except their own.  Likewise, it hardly matters that Sydney (apparently) has been arguing its case for twenty years.  For about thirty years, TEC has likewise demanded its right to go its separate way and has moved from schism to apostasy, leaving stranded pockets of believers.  We have a pretty clear example for Sydney in the undoing of TEC.  Do your own thing apart from all Christians throughout time except in your pocket of humanity for two decades out of two millenium and you go alone.  I suppose the next thing down the road will be the necessity of declaring Sydney a mission territory and setting up a parallel province that excludes David Ould who fails to see that the Church AND her Canon is something in particular.  As to the fear that Sydney’s departure will cause the Anglican Communion to founder, it is God that maintains the Church.  If this were not so, the Church would long ago have ceased to continue in time.  It may be that the Anglican Communion will founder but the Church will not.  But this continuing scatter pattern is not necessary.  Even now, Sydney can choose to simply harken to the voices calling them back into unity.  At some point, fellow Anglicans must grant them their status as adults and if they stop coming to church, so be it. What Anglicanism cannot do, as TEC has tried, is to declare that “the world” is the same as the Church.  If you withdraw from eucharistic fellowship with the Church, you simply don’t realize Church when you gather…or perhaps you have a dim remaining picture of eucharistic unity such that the medicine lacks the strength to heal and innoculates against the metanoia necessary to accept Grace and turn to follow His Way apart from our way.  Sure, God will be with you as He is with all peoples including those who worship Kali or their ancestors or nature. This adulteration of the faith has happened and is happening with TEC.  Don’t think that whatever one might do is God’s will.  That way lies spiritual delusion, self-worship and death.The three-fold orders have been given for the building up of the Church. The differing orders have evolved according to the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church for so building up and naming the differing gifts of the laity according to what Christ has shown us.  When deaconal (servant) ministry becomes presidency, it diminishes that which is highest and best in the iconic teaching of the diaconate and instead merges into the icon of priesthood.  If you want to be all things to all people, be a layman or an apostle.  If you want to redefine the Church, go and start your own.  A purely functional understanding of the Church will inevitably begin to follow these reductions.  Throw out the bread and wine and substitute something more handy ... a soup kitchen for the poor ... and pretty soon, you have TEC which no longer serves the Great Commission but is morphing into a social service/social justice advocacy group ... on the world’s terms.

[306] Posted by monologistos on 12-1-2008 at 01:48 PM · [top]

To put it another way, the same authority upon which the canonizing of Scripture stands, has given us the three-fold order of ministry.  If you deny the latter, you undercut the former.

[307] Posted by monologistos on 12-1-2008 at 01:53 PM · [top]

It looks like I deleted a part of the first question in #304 before I posted it… sorry about that. It should read:

In signing the Jerusalem Declaration Sydney agreed to abide by the ruling of this Council for the sake of Anglican unity. Yet now it is breaking faith with its co-signers by passing resolutions which abrogate its commitment to uphold both the Jerusalem Declaration and the Council of Nicea. Why is this acceptable?

The restored text is in italics.

[308] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 12-1-2008 at 02:02 PM · [top]

Monologistos,

I am in complete agreement with #307.

In re: #306, I am not sure Sydeny runs the risk of becoming like TEC in terms of liberalism (if I understand you correctly); I see them as moving more towards a Brethren (perhaps) or similar non-conformist ecclesiology—conservative and devout, but not very Anglican.

[309] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 12-1-2008 at 02:09 PM · [top]

#304
Amen on both points!

[310] Posted by evan miller on 12-1-2008 at 02:35 PM · [top]

How different from the Southern Baptist Convention would the new rules make the Diocese of Sydney?

[311] Posted by Bo on 12-1-2008 at 03:04 PM · [top]

Way to go Sydney!

[312] Posted by Wright Wall on 12-3-2008 at 09:36 AM · [top]

The Free Church of England has always (since its inception) allowed deacons to preside at the Lord’s Supper if the Bishops gives his permission and there is no presbyter.

In the Evangelical Connexion of the FCE we remain faithful to that, feeling that it is better that individuals should be able to celebrate the memorial of the Last Supper than that some man-made law should hold sway.

And, what is a ‘lay’ person? What is a bona fide ‘presider’? The Church of Rome would say many who do preside but are not of ‘their ilk’ are not fit to do so, etcetera.

[313] Posted by Luthergibt on 12-29-2008 at 12:25 PM · [top]

#313
Fine and good, if all it is is a memorial, but I think most of us believe it to be something rather more - a great deal more, actually.

[314] Posted by evan miller on 12-29-2008 at 12:33 PM · [top]

Jesus tells us in His own words that it is a memorial, so I’ll go with Him if you don’t mind.

[315] Posted by Luthergibt on 12-30-2008 at 04:55 AM · [top]

Bishop,
A Memorial it is, but a memorial meal with deadly consequences isn’t just a remembrance supper.  Christians get sick and die when they partake unworthily. 

Is it meet and proper to give administration of such a meal to those not ordained to that service?

[316] Posted by Bo on 12-30-2008 at 05:25 AM · [top]

#315
He also tells us in His own words that, “This is My Body.”  It is both a partaking of Christ’s real body and blood, in a manner that is frankly a holy mystery, AND a memorial. Jesus said it is both.

[317] Posted by evan miller on 12-30-2008 at 08:08 AM · [top]

Bo, as the Prayer Book makes quite clear (quoting from Paul) it is up to the individual receiving it to receive worthily, not up to the minister to have control over that matter - we cannot be judge and jury over fitness to partake in the bread and wine.

Evan, as the Prayer Book points out we receive Christ ‘in faith’, and this is not unconnected with Bo’s point - that is, if we have faith then the remembrance feeds our faith, if we do not then it condemns.

[318] Posted by Luthergibt on 12-30-2008 at 08:31 AM · [top]

Sorry, Bishop, but we’ll just have to disagree.  Participating in a memorial without faith, can’t harm one.  Recieving the body and blood of our Lord unworthily, however, condemns.

[319] Posted by evan miller on 12-30-2008 at 08:38 AM · [top]

Bishop,
If we warn someone and then continue in sin, we are free of their blood.  If we see them in error and do not warn them, they die for their error, and the their blood is on own hands. 

The fact that the receiver should know enough to reverence the supper is not enough to remove the responsibility for presenting it.  this is not a responsibility that can be passed off by a ‘he should have known’ dodge.  St. Paul’s letter wasn’t to the faithless, it was to the faithful, some of whom were sick, and some who slept because they ate unworthily. 

It ain’t the lost souls whose bodies die from eating unworthily.  The care of the faithful (including warning them not to partake) is not something one gives lightly.

[320] Posted by Bo on 12-30-2008 at 09:03 AM · [top]

Those who use the Prayer Book Lord’s Supper faithfully, including the warning passage, and who exercise pastoral sensitivity outside the Lord’s Supper service itself (challenging and encouraging Christians to live in a worthy manner), cannot be held responsible for those who continue to partake of the bread and wine.

But what am I to do when an individual whom I have never met before and whose life and lifestyle I do not know presents themselves at the table - am I guilty?

It reminds me of the comment from Spurgeon - ‘If you truly knew the state of my heart you wouldn’t sit here listening to me, and if I knew the state of yours I wouldn’t be preaching to you.’ Following your dictum, if I understand you correctly, I would be loath to share communion with anyone - “for all are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God” - and I would be judged for that?

[321] Posted by Luthergibt on 12-30-2008 at 09:16 AM · [top]

I haven’t done an in depth study of the developments of doctrine that occur at the Reformation within Anglicanism.  What I would note is that the Church in England was Roman Catholic.  The theology of the Church in England was Roman Catholic.  During the Reformation, a new theology was forged. Apparently, some believe that they are capable of doing so apart from the historic Church of the first millenium.  The early church, prior to the selection an authorization by the Church of the body of the Canon, were not simply adrift until the magical moment when “Holy Scripture” comes to be.  The worshipping Church existed and flourished and this is the immediate source of Holy Scripture though the ultimate source is of course God.  I’m sure that the writers here are holy men and women ... it would be wrong of me to question either their intent or their sanctification.  I will presume that none here knew the apostles personally.  If not, I would suggest that those who did might have a better notion of what Scripture means than those of us who literally are unable to read Holy Scripture without using the TULIP lens or whatever.  Fact is, Holy Scripture is not dependent upon Calvinists or Lutherans or Anglicans even for its meaning.  The meaning of Holy Scripture is not a Rorshak ink blot test whereby we apply “magic” or “psychology” to get out what God wants.  That simply gets at what we want.As an Eastern Orthodox, I listen to the various discussions here that seem to assume that the early church, which, as the immediate source and authorizer of Holy Scripture, is perhaps clueless compared to ourselves when defining what Jesus said and I just have to shake my head.  Certainly, Rome went off the deep end following the logic (and errors) of Augustine’s notion of Original Sin ... which lead logically to the very Marian dogmas that Protestantism universally rejects as not necessary to salvation and thus not appropriately dogma (such as the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the Assumption of Mary) ... yet I don’t find Reformed churches rejecting Augustine’s notions of Original Sin that lead to the same.  The rest of the historical churchs do not jump on Augustine’s bandwagon on this ... but the western church takes a sharp turn here and Protestantism is mired in the same legalistic formulations of sin and redemption that beset Rome.  Granted, for those who like to believe they *CAN* lay everything out nice and logically, whether Thomists or “ultra-conservatives”, and make lists of fundamentals that must be believed for salvation, perhaps this appeals to a particular personality type.  I don’t agree that matching theology to personality type is helpful for salvation.  The Protestant enterprise of defining which fundamentals are necessary and then battling over the definitions of the same apparently continues in Anglicanism today and like a Tower of Babel that keeps on giving, the ongoing schism has seeded the world with sects of Christianity who have self-defined vital differences that prevent them from true koinonia.I know quite a few Anglicans that have joined Eastern Orthodox parishes and many are flourishing.  But the gig is up.  All your useless value to the great enterprise of Protestantism becomes irrelevant.  All your kibbitzing needs to stop so that you can get along with learning to be quiet and honor the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification.  In fact, a great deal of your scholarship is pointless because in Orthodoxy, nobody really cares about TULIP or the Pope or YOUR interpretation of Scripture except insofar as they care about you.  Of course, we all come with our expectations.  Most of us come with our insistance that the Church ought to resemble something we have known in our life but lost.  Not all congregations are healthy places where edification happens.  Having the fullness of the Christian faith does not mean we know how to appreciate that ... but appreciation begins with gratitude and gratitude is expressed by thanksgiving in earnest prayer with God.  If we spent a bit more time going into our rooms, closing the door, and giving thanks to God and most important *listening* to Him, we would have less time for the politics that goes by the name of theology in so many places.

[322] Posted by monologistos on 12-30-2008 at 09:25 AM · [top]

monologistos,I would like to know more about the Orthodox view that precedes Augustinian “original sin.” This thread is probably not the place for it. Perhaps you would send me a private message?

[323] Posted by oscewicee on 12-30-2008 at 09:35 AM · [top]

Bishop Said Those who use the Prayer Book Lord’s Supper faithfully, including the warning passage, and who exercise pastoral sensitivity outside the Lord’s Supper service itself (challenging and encouraging Christians to live in a worthy manner), cannot be held responsible for those who continue to partake of the bread and wine. , and I agree with him!

He then asks But what am I to do when an individual whom I have never met before and whose life and lifestyle I do not know presents themselves at the table - am I guilty? .  And it is a very good question.  One the presenter would need to know how to answer (such that resonated with the Scripture, and the safety of the souls involved).  This brings the point about being ordained to this ministry into focus.  If the path to ordination is followed, discernment and training are both used to make sure the one presiding can answer well and faithfully the question.  That is part of what should distinguish the difference in the training and spirit of a deacon from a priest.  Deacons aren’t supposed to find themselves in that circumstance. 

(If you didn’t take the time to find out before you administered the poison, I think you’d be guilty)

We are all sinners, but not all are unworthy of the Lord’s Supper (or we all would sleep).  If you truly think that being a sinner would keep one from the Lord’s Supper, then you should by all means avoid it.

Mind, I’m not saying that the meal is ‘invalid’ if presented by laymen.  I have done so in my own home. 

I am saying it is unwise to put such a responsibility on those not specifically called and ordained to the role in public, where they have to face the very hard question you asked. 

If Sydney needs more priests for the service of the Lord’s Supper, they should license them (God will provide for our needs), not impose this dangerous duty on those who aren’t ordained (properly prepared and bathed in prayer and anointed) to it.

It also gives offense to those who hold a more ‘mystery’ view, is not commanded of scripture, and seems even more ‘congregational’ than the Baptist churches.  Why do all that when those who qualify for deacon willing to risk it would also qualify as priest?

[324] Posted by Bo on 12-30-2008 at 09:46 AM · [top]

#323, I would like to know more about the Orthodox view that precedes Augustinian “original sin.” Precedes and follows.  Augustine is not particularly *central* with us.  We honor the saints but do not take the entire corpus of their teachings as canon, holding that even the Fathers can and do err from time to time.  Very shortly, Augustine’s theology of Original Sin is based on a mistranslation made by Jerome (eph ho versus in quo).  We all are affected by the consequences of the Fall.  However, we are not personally culpable for it ... thus infants are not damned if not baptized.  This may look Arminian to TULIP people but we do not understand it so.  God’s freedom we place higher than the determinism insisted by some.  But this thread runs throughout Protestantism’s understanding of salvation and atonement forcing the development of endless orbital epicycles to buttress the notion of the perfect circle of “justification by faith alone”.  I wonder what they will do with it with Rome beginning to recognize the problem and doing away with the “pastoral” fudge factor of Limbo.  Over-explanations tend, like the concept of Karma, to define what God is capable of according to the measure of man’s understanding.  I grant you the liberals in TEC may misuse such reasoning for their libertine attempts to declare the church an antinomian affair but misuse is not the sole territory of any party.

[325] Posted by monologistos on 12-30-2008 at 10:08 AM · [top]

As a thought experiment, what if Augustine had never lived ... would the Church be maimed?  What if Protestantism had never happened?  Would the Church have ceased to be?  I often marvel at those Episcopalians who claim they would never belong to a church that doesn’t have “open communion” and yet it wasn’t “open” until a few short years ago.  If we would only belong to a church that has achieved acceptability to us in the past thirty years perhaps, or 500 years even, does this make our modern choice a “New Age” church?  smile  I don’t mean these as fighting words but it is an interesting experiement.

[326] Posted by monologistos on 12-30-2008 at 10:16 AM · [top]

Thank you, monologistos.

We all are affected by the consequences of the Fall.  However, we are not personally culpable for it ... thus infants are not damned if not baptized.  This may look Arminian to TULIP people but we do not understand it so.  God’s freedom we place higher than the determinism insisted by some.  But this thread runs throughout Protestantism’s understanding of salvation and atonement forcing the development of endless orbital epicycles to buttress the notion of the perfect circle of “justification by faith alone”.

How does the Orthodox church view justification? I confess to not knowing what TULIP stands for. Your point about when does innovation stop being “new” (500 years, 30, yesterday?) is a good one.

Bo, you have the simple answer in #324, and I wonder why Sydney does not choose it? If Sydney needs more priests for the service of the Lord’s Supper, they should license them

[327] Posted by oscewicee on 12-30-2008 at 10:28 AM · [top]

Bo, the Church has often been given priests who were unready for the job, who were theologically untrained.  “Sometimes” they fall short of what God desires for each but we trust that if the Church authorizes that person to act on it’s behalf according to Christ’s own words, what we ask in His name is done for us.  Truly, it would be ludicrous to assume that it is a three year seminary course that makes for “valid” Eucharists.  Sydney is under no constraints but those of their own making.  They can ordain men to the priesthood for a time who are perhaps not well trained ... as an acceptable exception.  I note that much of priestly formation happens *after* ordination. smile I think I may have to disagree with the thrust of Bishop’s comments regarding responsibility for communicants.  This is an important consideration in raising men up for positions of responsibility.  We have an obligation to the priests also in this for the priest’s salvation may be lost if he through refusal to accept responsibility brings about the damnation of a member of his flock.  This does not make the priest *fully* responsible of course ... it makes him responsible for what he has been given.  If he marries a couple who have no business marrying and the marriage fails, he has a measure of responsibility. If priests don’t like this, they ought not to become priests…or bishops.  It is an aspect of fatherhood and of headship.  So also was Eli responsible for not having reigned in his sons.  Though he performed the priestly role of introducing Samuel to the Lord, a good thing, this did not undo his other failure.  It would be wrong of me to speculate on Eli’s ultimate salvation in heaven but he died because his irresponsibility for his children was reckoned as sin before God.

[328] Posted by monologistos on 12-30-2008 at 10:34 AM · [top]

Salvation is more a matter of our relationship with God in Christ and less about whether we can determine by some definition and calculation whether we are “saved”.  Justification *tends* to be a legal calculation.  Legal language certainly has a place in Scripture and is loved by those who believe they are justified while retaining grave doubts about their neighbor.  I would say that I have been saved, that I am being saved, and that I hope to be saved.  Keeping those things in tension can be difficult.  There are those whose personality does not lend itself to ambiguity and so resort to manipulation (magic) or calculation (bargaining) but salvation depends on a relationship with God that is summed up by the first and greatest commandment and the second which is like unto it.  We can safely assume that God is there for us and that He loves us.  We cannot assume upon that relationship without losing the gift of humility. The process of perfection (sanctification) by the Holy Spirit requires our cooperation in response to God’s initiative, as mouse poor and tiny as that may be next to Grace.  This really isn’t anything strange or foreign to any of us here but we often get caught up defining ourselves in reaction to error such that we end up overstating the case to the point that we are equally offbase.  That we have a very logical formulation and many clever definitions of Justification means very little as justification is not an IQ test.  If it were, then the Kingdom of Heaven would hardly be catholic ... being only for scribes and lawyers who like logical systems.  We should not suppose that God’s Truth lies along a simple single dimension such that at one polar end, you have, for instance, communism and at the other end fascism and that sums these up as opposites.  Our calculation of what it means to be a middle needs a lot more refinement which of course complicates things until perhaps we see the model is not that helpful…it is perfectly possible to achieve simplemindedness with great complexity and thus become publishable ... but that is a different enterprise. But with God, we cannot adequately force our relationship with Him into such schemes. I would sum up by saying that it is not helpful to view salvation as entirely linear even though that may be one aspect of reality ... that at one end of the line is damnation, that we move like a vector as a point on that line towards or away from God at the other end ... and that there is some point on the line that marks “justification” and if we are past that, we are justified.  Repentance is a struggle which continues until the moment we die.  And no, we are not saved BY struggle but without struggle and without suffering, we cannot be Christians in this world.  My advice would be to pay less attention to justification, especially various doctrines of Justification, and more to praise and thanksgiving to the living God, trusting in Him.  The publican who prayed, “Have mercy on me a sinner” left his prayer justified.  Should we make acknowledgement of sin and also humility the measure of Justification?  It’s a good start - prayer, that is.  What is lacking for so many, is that they do this on their own ... that they no longer have corporate disciplines or even corporate worship.

[329] Posted by monologistos on 12-30-2008 at 11:42 AM · [top]

monologistos,
Thanks for your #329.  One of the most sensible comments on this or any other thread I’ve read in quite a while.

[330] Posted by evan miller on 12-30-2008 at 12:06 PM · [top]

but salvation depends on a relationship with God that is summed up by the first and greatest commandment and the second which is like unto it.  We can safely assume that God is there for us and that He loves us.  We cannot assume upon that relationship without losing the gift of humility. The process of perfection (sanctification) by the Holy Spirit requires our cooperation in response to God’s initiative, as mouse poor and tiny as that may be next to Grace.

monologistos, thank you so much for this post. Especially for the above and this:

My advice would be to pay less attention to justification, especially various doctrines of Justification, and more to praise and thanksgiving to the living God, trusting in Him.  The publican who prayed, “Have mercy on me a sinner” left his prayer justified.

[331] Posted by oscewicee on 12-30-2008 at 12:22 PM · [top]

Hello monologistos,

I agree with many of your statements but I believe that it is important to note that according to Sacred Scripture, we should never pay “less attention” to our justification, for our justification is the central cause for our praise and thanksgiving to the Living God. (And yes, I mean our “forensic” justification in the purging of all our guilt (both in omission and commission) before the Throne of God through the Blood of Christ—so that we stand (despite the continual great imperfections of our heart in this life) perfectly righteous or “whiter than snow” before our Heavenly Father in Christ Jesus (with Whom we are “clothed” before the Father), as both the Scriptures and Church Fathers teach).

The knowledge that we are washed from all stain of sin and made whiter than snow before our Heavenly Father through the Blood of Christ in our Baptism, and that we are continually renewed in this perfect washing through a living faith, although we are still imperfect and sinful in all our works during this life, is something we should always keep before our eyes (that we may always be humble as the Publican, and always recognizing and rejoicing in the greatness of the debt which Christ forgives in our life—as the man who was forgiven the larger debt in Christ’s Parable and therefore had greater love towards His Lord). 

And although we are being transformed more and more into the image of our Lord in this life—yet sin is ever present with us—For we always stand, according to our works (in thought, word, and deed) condemned as the Publican before the Awesome Holiness of our God (Whose Holy Law requires the absolute sinlessness of perfect love toward God and neighbor at every moment) and therefore we must rely wholly on the Perfect righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Incarnate Life in this world—wherein He perfectly fulfilled the Law (both in His life and death) for our full and complete justification before Almighty God.

The Heavenly Father declared Christ fully justified in resurrecting Him from the dead—and Christ was justified on the basis of His sinless or perfectly righteous life and death. And through our spiritual union with Christ we are likewise declared fully justified with Christ in His resurrection by the Heavenly Father—not on the basis of any of our imperfect good works but on the basis of Christ’s perfect life and obedience alone (for, again, the Heavenly Father declared Christ (and we in Him) justified in raising Him from the dead—not on the basis of any righteousness we have done but on the basis of the righteousness of our Incarnate Lord and Savior life in this world).

St. Bernard of Clairvaux stated these points well:

What can all our righteousness be before God? Shall it not, according to the prophet, be viewed as “a filthy rag;” and if it is strictly judged, shall not all our righteousness turn out to be mere unrighteousness and deficiency? What, then, shall it be concerning our sins, when not even our righteousness can answer for itself? Wherefore, exclaiming vehemently with the Prophet, “Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, O Lord!” let us flee, with all humility, to Mercy, which alone can save our souls. . . . Whosoever, feeling compunction for his sins, hungers and thirsts after righteousness, let him believe in Thee, who “justifiest the ungodly;” and thus, being justified by faith alone, he shall have peace with God. . . . Thy Passion is the last refuge, the alone remedy. When wisdom fails, when righteousness is insufficient, when the merits of holiness succumb, it succours us. For who, either from his own wisdom, or from his own righteousness, or from his own holiness, shall presume on a sufficiency for salvation?’

Blessings in Christ,
William Scott

[332] Posted by William on 12-31-2008 at 01:15 AM · [top]

Just noticed a glaring typo (left out the ‘s on Savior):
“...(for, again, the Heavenly Father declared Christ (and we in Him) justified in raising Him from the dead—not on the basis of any righteousness we have done but on the basis of the righteousness of our Incarnate Lord and Savior’s life in this world).”

[333] Posted by William on 12-31-2008 at 01:31 AM · [top]

I should note regarding Baptism in the above post that I am not intending to contradict what St. Aquinas taught regarding the Baptism of desire—namely that an unbaptized adult through a living faith or the “desire of Baptism” (a living faith always containing, according to St. Aquinas, either an explicit or implicit desire of Baptism) begins to partake in the blessed washing of Baptism even before receiving the Sacramental consummation of that washing (which vital “consummation” occurs through the inward washing with the Spirit and the Blood of Christ which occurs when the worthy recepient enters the Sacramental waters of Baptism).

Blessings in Christ,
William Scott

[334] Posted by William on 12-31-2008 at 02:06 AM · [top]

Another quick correction—this time for misspelling, etc:
“...(which vital “consummation” occurs through the inward washing with the Spirit and the Blood of Christ which the worthy recipient receives when he enters the Sacramental waters of Baptism).”

[335] Posted by William on 12-31-2008 at 02:16 AM · [top]

David,
Actions have consequences, everywhere.
If Sydney does this,. or carries this through without consultation with GAFCON Partners and the wider Communion, then it makes GAFCON as complicit as TEC in violation of both Scripture and tradition.
If therefore GAFCON (Sydney)becomes a bedfellow with TEC, I am afraid I must withdraw from FCA and GAFCON, which displeases me immensely, simply because pig headed Sydney Synod wanted their way without reference to brothers and sisters elsewhere.

ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES indeed.
Brian+

[336] Posted by Brian on 8-31-2010 at 07:57 PM · [top]

If Sydney does this,. or carries this through without consultation with GAFCON Partners and the wider Communion, then it makes GAFCON as complicit as TEC in violation of both Scripture and tradition.

Well hang on. Having review the thread let me make a point that was already argued earlier up.

You accuse those who support diaconal administration as violating Scripture. As above, I would ask where does the Scripture actually proscribe such a course of actions?

You accuse those who support diaconal administration as violating Tradition. As above, I would ask why are we bound to Tradition where it places a burden on us not actually found in Scripture?

Now, as I have repeatedly conceded, I am more than happy to listen to the argument on wounding our partners feelings and, perhaps, raise the issue of the weaker brother. But the kind of strident claims being made here should, I feel, be responded too. Are these really the lines we are going to draw and break fellowship over?

[337] Posted by David Ould on 8-31-2010 at 08:29 PM · [top]

[336] Brian

Actions have consequences, everywhere.

OK, but in this case the consequences are punitive, and one wonders why punitive consequences should attach to the action.  What is Sydney doing that is so terrible?  It is talking about overturning tradition.  So what?  Do you defend tradition simply for the sake of defending it?  What is the rationale behind the tradition?  What do you lose by forsaking it?  What do you gain by forsaking it?  Why was this tradition established in the first place?  This should be the ground of the argument.  Instead what I see is this:

Anti-Sydney:  “Thou shalt not forsake tradition!”

Sydney:  “Why?  What does a priest add that is essential?”

Anti-Sydney:  “You are an anti-Anglican heretic for even asking that question!  [Removes shoe and pounds it on the table.]  THOU SHALT NOT FORSAKE TRADITION, or thou shalt be CAST OUT!” 

Sydney:  Where stands it written?

Anti-Sydney:  [Throws shoe] IT IS WRITTEN IN THE TRADITION OF THE CHURCH!

This kind of argumentation is not intended to persuade.  It is intended to intimidate.  And the vehemence of the attempted intimidation only reveals the lack of true authority in the tradition.

carl

[338] Posted by carl on 8-31-2010 at 08:54 PM · [top]

David,

There is a two-fold problem for evangelical Anglicans in the way Sydney Synod is going about this issue:

1. The Anglican reformers (and indeed the continental reformers at the same period, such as Calvin) were clear on the essentials of church government: The celebration of Holy Communion is one of the essential functions of Presbyters (or elders/pastors/priests, whichever term you like to use). By contrast, the functions of deacons are to ASSIST the Presbyter in celebrating Holy Communion, to preach (but under the bishop’s authority), to baptise (but under the presbyter’s authority) etc.

In other words, Sydney appears to be changing fundamental Anglican polity laid down since the Reformation. 

If you are going to change something that has been at the very foundation of Anglican church government since Thomas Cranmer, its not enough to say: “The Bible permits this”. The question is, “Why do it at all?”

There are real concerns among orthodox Anglicans that Sydney is not being honest with itself, that it is in fact being suborned by the spirit of the age. It can happen to the best of us.

And it is no answer to say: “Deaconesses working in all-female institutions need to be able to celebrate communion”, because the Sydney measures (now that I have looked at them) go much further than that. They permit communion to be led by a deaconess even when there are men present.

2. This leads on to the second problem: Why isn’t this just “WO by stealth”? If a deaconess can function effectively as a rector (which is where we seem to be headed), then isn’t she really just a presbyter?

I am a long-time Sydney lay person, I well remember the debating tactics used by Patricia Brennan (who went to school with my Mum) Keith Mason et al during the attempts to get Sydney to adopt WO in the 1980s. Some of the arguments used by proponents of diaconal administration at recent Synods sound very similar, in tone and content.

[339] Posted by MichaelA on 8-31-2010 at 09:37 PM · [top]

Mr. Ould, to the degree that the three fold order exits in Scripture, Deacons are not ones in authority.

Authority is required to deny the communion. 
The communion is to be denied to those unrepentant.

It follows to this simple mind that deacons do not biblically lead communion (except perhaps in their own household where the authority is that of husband and father?).

Where is the biblical basis for a deacon to have the authority to deny communion?  Without authority to deny, there is no regulation of the Lord’s Supper. Communion of the unbaptised anyone?

[340] Posted by Bo on 8-31-2010 at 10:58 PM · [top]

#338 I don’t think that is quite right. The sixteenth century reformation in the COE enforced (occasionally severely) all sorts of things that aren’t demanded by Scripture but were deemed to be fitting, consonant with Scripture and within the lawful jurisdiction of the authorities to decide. I think for example, of wearing vestments or making the sign of the cross at baptism.

So the theological question is not tradition vs Scripture, but the right of the appropriate authority to order the church, consonant with Scripture, in whatever way seems fitting. Sydney seem to be claiming this authority for themselves and it’s not obvious to me that they have the right to do so. Doubtless the authority structures of the Communion are desperately lacking in clarity nevertheless I see the Communion as a whole as in genetic continuity with the church of a single “realm” out of which it grew. Within the “realm” or “realms” of an appropriate authority the Reformers expected and enforced uniformity of church order - both in Calvin’s Geneva and Cranmer’s England.

Of course if one were to claim that the three fold ordering, rightly interpreted, is itself not consonant with Scripture, there one would depart from the mainstream COE Reformers.

[341] Posted by driver8 on 9-1-2010 at 12:02 AM · [top]

RE: “Are these really the lines we are going to draw and break fellowship over?”

That’s been made very clear for years now—it is of sufficient seriousness that Anglicans will not be in the same organization with those who practice it.

As to whether that unwillingness to be in the same organization with practitioners of lay administration is the same as “breaking fellowship” that could be debated either way.  In one sense, all denominations are a “broken fellowship” in that numerous Christians have made the decision to be a part of one organization while rejecting the others.  I am “in fellowship” with Baptists—but I certainly do not wish to be a Baptist or a part of the Southern Baptist Convention.  So I’m not certain that Anglicans not being in the same organization together *always* has to mean “we’ve broken fellowship with one another.”

RE: “Ok, but in this case the consequences are punitive, and one wonders why punitive consequences should attach to the action.”

Actually, *painful* or *serious* consequences for actions are not necessarily “punitive” at all.  Punitive implies the intention to punish, and I don’t think that the acknowledgement that one will not be willing to be a part of an organization whose members practice certain things unacceptable to others is “punitive.”  Indeed, Brian merely points out—as so many others have—that *he himself* will experience the consequences by having to depart the organization that has a diocese enact lay administration.

RE: “What is Sydney doing that is so terrible?”

Of course, you already know the answer to this question, and repeating it over and over doesn’t make it any more compelling or relevant.  What Sydney is doing is “so terrible” not to Carl—who is not an Anglican—but to many many Anglicans within the Anglican Communion.  There is no need to explain why it is so terrible, since Anglicans and Carl don’t share the same foundational values or principles in a number of areas, and so no explanation will suffice.  Obviously, we’ve learned the same thing for those pushing this practice and those resisting it.  No explanation will suffice for either side, since the two groups’ conception of ordination, the clergy, the sacraments, etc, etc, are intrinsically contradictory in many aspects important to both sides.

RE: “This kind of argumentation is not intended to persuade.”

Indeed—not only is it not intended to persuade, it’s not even an argument.  Nor does it intend to be an “argument.”  It merely points out what will happen—reality.

RE: “It is intended to intimidate.  And the vehemence of the attempted intimidation only reveals the lack of true authority in the tradition.”

Spoken like a True Schori-ite.

People pointing out the consequences of one diocese taking an action that others find profoundly heretical is not “intimidation”—it is factual.  That allows the potential actor to make some decisions about his behavior with clear knowledge of the consequences.

We know how TEC made those decisions.  They were warned very clearly and all pretenses of shock or confusion simply makes them even less admirable in their character.

[342] Posted by Sarah on 9-1-2010 at 12:05 AM · [top]

I want to add a slight irony that brings a smile to my face about some of this. For TEC is already in full communion with a church that permits under some circumstances not diaconal but lay presidency at the eucharist: namely, the ELCA.

So I think we have to take the hands thrown up in horror by the TEC progressives with a knowing smile and a big pinch of salt.

Of course it’s not the TEC progressives with whom Sydney ought to be concerned but the many orthodox Anglicans who disagree profoundly that Sydney has the authority to enact any such proposal.

[343] Posted by driver8 on 9-1-2010 at 12:28 AM · [top]

You accuse those who support diaconal administration as violating Tradition. As above, I would ask why are we bound to Tradition where it places a burden on us not actually found in Scripture?

Scripture may not be specific (although I think what inferences that can be made are against diaconal administration, e.g. the only examples in scripture we have of the breaking of bread one of the apostles presided, and we know none where a deacon or member of the laity presided), but we can be certain that the apostles and Christ himself held one view (that administration was reserved for presbyter/bishops, or that it was a matter indifferent). Do you want to risk practising something that the apostles condemned even if that condemnation is not recorded in scripture? This matter may not be necessary for salvation—obviously, since baptism, communion and the Church itself are not necessary for salvation (the thief on the cross), but that doesn’t mean that this is not an essential matter for the right ordering of the Church. The only inference we have to find the apostle’s and Christ’s commands on this matter is the tradition of the primitive church—which is both early and unanimous. Secondly all the magisterial reformers, but with Anglicanism as the clearest example, adopted the policy that where scripture is silent and there is an early and unanimous tradition, we should follow that tradition. The argument against the Romans was and remains that they had added to the polity of the Church in opposition to what was practised in the earliest days. With this, Sydney is doing the same. Even if what you are doing is permitted, it is not in accordance with the polity of the Anglican Church (just as the issues of polity where differ from ourselves may not exclude them from being Christian, but it certainly excludes them from being Anglican). Thirdly, a diocesan synod does not have the authority to overturn a matter of Church polity that originates with the apostles. Taking on a local synod this kind of authority which it does not have is one of the mistakes made by those who speak in favour of women’s ordination.

Early and universal tradition matters because part of the polity of the Anglican Church and the wishes of the reformers is to follow it where it does not clearly contradict with scripture.

[344] Posted by Boring Bloke on 9-1-2010 at 12:42 AM · [top]

Dean Munday posts an excellent, extraordinarily well-supported and researched summation here: http://toalltheworld.blogspot.com/2010/08/what-should-we-think-of-lay-presidency.html .

[345] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 9-1-2010 at 02:15 AM · [top]

David,
I refer you to Matt No 37
I refer you to Fastracker No 289
You make dispersions that “I accuse” X 2
nothing of the sort..
It is obvious you overlooked my first word “IF”, making it hypothetical, so please don’t make me something I’m not.
I repeat, IF Sydney goes ahead with this without reference to Gafcon and the wider Communion, then they are no better than TEC and its blatant hypocricy.
Brian

[346] Posted by Brian on 9-1-2010 at 02:48 AM · [top]

subscribe

[347] Posted by merlenacushing on 9-1-2010 at 08:00 AM · [top]

[342] Sarah

Of course, you already know the answer to this question, and repeating it over and over doesn’t make it any more compelling or relevant.

Oh, I understand quite well the non-answers you are giving over and over and over again.  But those answers don’t address the questions I keep posing.  They serve only to avoid the issue.  The irony of your post is how clearly it demonstrates the template of conversation I provided.  You have misunderstood my part in this argument from the beginning.  I am not advocating for or against Lay Presidency.  I am attempting to push the argument away from a mindless assertion of tradition.  If you have an actual case to make against Lay Presidency, then make it.  Typically, that involves argument.

Carl—who is not an Anglican

Is David Ould an Anglican?  Does he share the “same foundational values or principles” of other Anglicans?  Should I go back through all the threads on SFIF and pull up those places where you have called him an Anglican?  But he asks the same questions, and you won’t answer him either.  So of what relevance is this statement?  Or should I understand that you have indirectly charged David Ould with ‘Anti-Anglican heresy’ by pointing out that I am not an Anglican?

There is no need to explain why it is so terrible, since Anglicans and Carl don’t share the same foundational values or principles in a number of areas, and so no explanation will suffice.

Of course.  If I disagree with a Baptist on baptism, it must be the result of differing “foundational values or principles.”  Argument is therefore impossible, and reasoning together from Scripture is excluded.  If I disagree with a Dispensationalist on Eschatology it must be the result of differing “foundational values or principles.”  Argument is therefore impossible, and reasoning together from Scripture is excluded.  If I disagree with a Lutheran on the nature of Communion, it must be the result of differing “foundational values or principles.”  Argument is therefore impossible, and reasoning together from Scripture is excluded.  Each collection of the Church becomes by definition its own hermetically-sealed unit incapable of communicating beyond its own presuppositions. 

Do we not share a common Lord?  Do we not share a common faith, and a Gospel, and a common Spirit, and a common Scripture to which we are all in submission and to which we can all appeal?  This is why we limited finite creatures can reason together about our disagreements - because we do share the same “foundational values or principles.”  It is true that I am not an Anglican.  But I am a Christian, and I do share the foundational values and principles of the Christian faith with those who run this blog.  If it were not so, I would not be here.  I would not have invested some portion of the last four years of my life commenting here.  It is in fact beyond dispute that you, Protestant Sarah, share foundational values and principles with me far more tightly that you do with your Roman Catholic allies on this thread.  And yet you blithely dismiss me as ‘non-Anglican.’ 

Not all disagreements are presuppositional, Sarah.  People who share presuppositions can still disagree.  When they disagree, they can lean upon those common presuppositions and reason together.  If you do not believe these things, then I wonder why you even write on these subjects.  Do you write to edify me?  No, for you assert you cannot convince by argument.  Do you write to teach me?  No, for you assert you cannot convince by reason. Do you write to help me, or assist me, or aid me in any way?  You have precluded all these things by your blanket assertion of differing “foundational values and principles.”  Do you then write to proclaim judgment on those with whom you disagree?  Is that the sum total of your involvement?  Do you speak the truth only so that the hearer will be condemned by what he hears?  What are you doing on this thread?

carl

[348] Posted by carl on 9-1-2010 at 08:18 AM · [top]

RE: “I am attempting to push the argument away from a mindless assertion of tradition.  If you have an actual case to make against Lay Presidency, then make it.”

I understand that you are attempting to do that.  But Anglicans don’t believe that tradition is “mindless.”

I have no need to make an “actual case” against Lay Presidency—those cases have been made for years and years and years—and Sydney has made the opposite case for years and years and years.  At the end of the day it comes down to . . . Sydney does not share the same theology about clergy, sacraments, tradition and much more than the rest of the Anglican Communion.

The fact that you wish to sidetrack the discussion into “let’s run down the same rabbit trails again and demonstrate again to the world that “lookie, the two groups are unalterably opposed” may satisfy Carl’s idea of entertainment but in the end it’s merely the distraction that Carl seems to pursue whenever he’s actually merely angry over the consequences of difference among Christians.

RE: “Argument is therefore impossible, and reasoning together from Scripture is excluded.”

Argument is certainly possible.  ; > )

RE: “If you do not believe these things, then I wonder why you even write on these subjects.”

I adore communicating ideas with clarity and passion and I shall continue to do so.  And just because I do not wish to satisfy your need for distraction by arguing with you pointlessly does not mean that I do not get to communicate.  The issues would be clear even after many many many many more hundreds of hours of pointless Buddhist prayer wheel argument.

The issues are 1) one rather large group of Anglicans holds at the least a lowest common denominator belief about the clergy, ordination, laity, sacraments and church tradition and 2) another much smaller group of Anglicans does not hold those beliefs but wishes to institute practices that stand as an icon of confirmation for them that there is no significant difference between the laity and the clergy and 3) those actions are not adiaphora for the first group. 

RE: “Do you write to edify me?”

No, not at all.  Though I sometimes have been privileged to edify others.

RE: “Do you write to teach me?”

No.  Nor to persuade either.  I am utterly disinterested in teaching or persuading you and consider those usually to be side benefits of writing, not the main point.

RE: “Do you write to help me, or assist me, or aid me in any way?”

No I do not.  I would never presume to assume that I am “helping you” since I do not know you nor have you asked me to help you or assist you. 

Often writers write with someone in mind—and I do do that.  But those people—those faces—are usually people whom I know personally so that I can write with their thoughts and needs and feelings in mind.  This serves to make my writing, I hope, personal and meaningful to some—an audience out there that is kind and thankful for things I’ve written that have—happily—helped them.  But certainly my writing is not personal and meaningful and helpful to all.  That’s okay with me—writers aren’t for everyone.

RE: “Do you then write to proclaim judgment on those with whom you disagree?”

I do often write to help others see the inconsistency of certain views or assertions.  It is helpful for others to be able to articulate those inconsistencies and thus navigate their way to unified, coherent arguments for themselves.

Nevertheless, this thread is not about me and your frustration with my refusal to engage in your preferred mode of communication.  If you have issues with me feel free to email me—although it will not, ultimately, provide you any satisfaction, I suspect, since I’ll continue communicating about these issues in a way that you do not like.

[349] Posted by Sarah on 9-1-2010 at 09:34 AM · [top]

Rev Mr. Ould
  You have rightly brought up the question of Art VI of the 39 articles and it is on this ground that I want to meet you head on. Art VI reads, “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”
  It is precisely this that seems to me to forbid, lay presidency at the Eucharist. For the scriptures tell us explicitly in 2 Thess 2:15 and by implication in other places that we are to hold to the oral teachings of the apostles. Thus if for example St. Ignatius was to say, “St John told me X” or “St John told Y who told me X” then X would have to be received as true, unless Y or St. Ignatius were shown to be liars. Further, since ours is a faith of actions not word only, James 1:22-25. The acts of the apostles observed and followed by the church fathers are thus by implication to be treated in a like manor. The witness of the undivided church (and also of the Monophisite and Arian heretics) is for the threefold ministry and the restriction of the Presidency of the Eucharist to the Priests and Bishops. Now granted this is not the same as having a passage of the scriptures that says “no lay presidency” and it is therefor not “read therein,” but it is a teaching that “may be proved thereby.”
  Further, I dispute that you need lay presidency because you don’t have enough priests. If your missions and parishes have both morning and evening services on the Lord’s Day, as they should, then one priest is enough to celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday once a fortnight at each of four missions. This would also allow the same priest to supervise the deacons running the four missions who after all are not being ordained priest because they are not judged yet ready to be Rectors.
  Further, I do not understand the reasoning that says “we won’t have assisting priests because that offends our reformed sensibilities,” but then decides to turn deacons into assisting priests by allowing them to preside at the Eucharist. How is this reasonable?
  Further, Sydney is breaking Catholic order, by its “prophetic” act of authorizing lay presidency. How this is different from WO or unrepentant GLBT ordination escapes me.
    Thus I call upon Sydney and you my brother to repent.
  Yours in Christ, Cuthbert Stephenson

[350] Posted by CuthbertStephenson on 9-1-2010 at 11:04 AM · [top]

Well, all I can say to this development is that if my parishioners, or anyone else for that matter, travelling to that diocese should ask me what they ought to do, I would tell them that having a lay person merely licensed by a bishop purport to administer Holy Communion would produce a completely invalid result, ecclesiastically. The same as any sacramental services conducted by Carolyn Tanner-Irish, who was baptized a Mormon but never subsequently baptized a Christian before her various purported ordinations. However, in Mrs Irish’s case, her sacramental ministrations are not only invalid but also null.

[351] Posted by A Senior Priest on 9-1-2010 at 01:45 PM · [top]

David Ould,

On Stand Firm you will find people from a wide variety of backgrounds. You will indeed find some who argue from an “apostolic tradition” or “sacerdotal” background - such is the nature of the beast. Their arguments are poorly formulated and I would not expect you or anyone else in Dio. Sydney to take any notice of them.

But I hope that those in Sydney who support diaconal administration will read carefully and take to heart the many admonitions by those who write from a classical Anglican reformation perspective. For example:

* My post at #339,
* Bo at #340,
* Driver8 at #341 and #343,
* Boring Bloke at #344,
* Athanasius Returns at #345,
* Brian at #346.

Each of these members (none of whom I know, and being a Sydney-ite myself I doubt that I even share a continent with them) writes more in sorrow than anything else.

The thrust of their message is that, in permitting diaconal administration Sydney is doing great damage to the fabric of true orthodoxy in the Anglican Communion, because it is departing from fundamental tenets of Anglican polity, firmly and clearly laid down by the Anglican reformers (and indeed also by the continental reformers).

I hope that this message will be taken to heart by many in Sydney. If you believe that these brethren are incorrect in what they write, then by all means lets discuss it. But their concerns cannot be simply dismissed as being based on “sacerdotal” assumptions - rather, they are concerned that fundamental doctrine held by Cranmer, Bucer, Calvin et al. are being tossed in the bin by Sydney, for no clear or justifiable reason.

[352] Posted by MichaelA on 9-1-2010 at 05:58 PM · [top]

Carl #348

I am attempting to push the argument away from a mindless assertion of tradition.  If you have an actual case to make against Lay Presidency, then make it.  Typically, that involves argument.

Carl, I love the fact that you are here on Stand Firm. But the above excerpt demonstrates why you cannot moderate (in the broadest sense of the term) this kind of discussion. It’s like a liberal stepping in and denouncing an evangelical’s arguing from Scripture because he/she sees it as extraneous to the real work to be done.

For Anglicans, Scripture and Tradition both have an authoritative voice, even granting that some give Tradition more mileage than others. You’ve been around here long enough to know this, but you can’t seem to help from chastising those who won’t look at the matter through your particular Baptist (or whatever denomination’s) lenses. Sometimes I think you get us. Other times I realize we still speak different languages.

[353] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 9-2-2010 at 01:17 AM · [top]

Carl,
I have argued against it from scripture (where has the deacon the ‘authority’ to properly regulate the Lord’s Supper)?  Will Sydney make it up of whole cloth, as those who support open WO do?

[354] Posted by Bo on 9-2-2010 at 02:53 AM · [top]

[353] farstrider

I wasn’t terribly clear in that sentence.  When I wrote ‘mindless assertion of tradition’ I would analogize the concept I had in mind to me simply asserting the authority of Scripture without ever actually quoting any Scripture. It was this particular set of questions from [338] that I had in mind.

Do you defend tradition simply for the sake of defending it?  What is the rationale behind the tradition?  What do you lose by forsaking it?  What do you gain by forsaking it?  Why was this tradition established in the first place?  This should be the ground of the argument.

There are to my mind two coherent arguments that have been raised against Syndey’s proposal. 

1.  It will threaten church unity by repudiating the sacramental priesthood.

2.  It will threaten church order by undermining the authority of the clergy.

It is the later contention to which Sarah has alluded by saying that Sydney wants to eliminate the distinction between clergy and laity.  She has justified this assertion by appeal to tradition, but she has never provided any actual substance to her argument.  That is what I was talking about.

The greater argument that should be addressed, but will not be addressed would involve answering David’s two questions from [337]:

You accuse those who support diaconal administration as violating Scripture. As above, I would ask where does the Scripture actually proscribe such a course of actions?

You accuse those who support diaconal administration as violating Tradition. As above, I would ask why are we bound to Tradition where it places a burden on us not actually found in Scripture?

When those questions are asked (especially the second), the response is fulminating rage.  One suspects the rage is meant to cover the weakness of the authority.  Anglicans may have a concept of Tradition, but it is certainly not the Sacred Tradition that is found in Rome.

Anyway, It’s nice to know I am at least a little appreciated.  smile

carl

[355] Posted by carl on 9-2-2010 at 08:11 AM · [top]

[354] Bo

I have argued against it from scripture (where has the deacon the ‘authority’ to properly regulate the Lord’s Supper)?

That is not an argument from Scripture.  That is an argument from silence.  Where does the Scripture assert that only Elders may administer Communion?  It simply doesn’t.

carl

[356] Posted by carl on 9-2-2010 at 08:17 AM · [top]

It does assert that elders have authority, and are to watch over our souls, and that communion taken unworthily is deadly.

Hebrews 13:17
1 Peter 5:1-5
1 Timothy 5:17

1 Corinthians 11:29-30

My Argument, as with all novelties, is ‘show me the text’.  We know to whom authority is given (elders/presbyters/pastors/shepherds/bishops) from scripture.  Show me text before you add deacons to the list of those who are to shepherd my soul.

[357] Posted by Bo on 9-2-2010 at 10:20 AM · [top]

Carl,

Why do you want the Anglican church to abandon the doctrinal understanding of Thomas Cranmer, and of continental reformers with whom Cranmer corresponded, notably John Calvin?

That is a major issue here which you just seem to be ignoring. Cranmer and Calvin (following scripture) laid down a polity whereby presbyters preside over Holy Communion and deacons assist in that function (and of course many others as well).

If a whole church is organised on that form of church government, why on earth should one diocese change it, for no apparent reason? It is the lack of apparent reason which leads many of us to be concerned that it is really Women’s Ordination “by stealth”.

What is your problem with Cranmer and Calvin? I don’t understand.

[358] Posted by MichaelA on 9-2-2010 at 04:38 PM · [top]

[358] MichaelA

Why do you want the Anglican church to abandon the doctrinal understanding of Thomas Cranmer, and of continental reformers with whom Cranmer corresponded, notably John Calvin?

I don’t necessarily want the Anglican church to abandon anything.  It isn’t my purpose to say that Sydney is right or wrong.  In fact, I have never advocated for Sydney’s position in any of the threads on this subject.  So then what am I doing?

1.  You might have noticed the long list of allies that David Ould has on these threads, which besides me ... is ... well ... no one.  At least I can’t think of another.  David (and by extension Sydney) is making an argument to which I am theologically sympathetic.  It’s a serious argument, and it deserves both a hearing and a defense.  I simply can’t let him stand alone on this matter.  In some sense, I hesitate to say this because I can just hear people saying “See, David? See?  The only ally you can find isn’t even Anglican!”  But since Sarah has already played that card, I guess it doesn’t matter.

2.  It’s important to establish the difference between Scripture and Tradition.  Only Scripture binds the conscience.  If Scripture says “Thou shalt not ...” there is no option to say “Maybe we should reconsider this idea.”  Whether we like it or not, we are bound to submit to its imperatives.  Tradition on the other hand applies probative weight.  Tradition is not a source of theology.  It does not provide us knowledge of God.  It gives us knowledge of the ideas and practices of past generations.  This means that tradition (unlike Scripture) does not foreclose an argument.  We are free to challenge and ultimately overturn a tradition.  This means engaging in an argument to uncover the purpose and benefit and cost of the tradition.  In effect, the tradition becomes the voice of the dead in a conversation that spans time.  Such a voice is important to reveal the unobserved biases that we the living bring to the conversation, but it is not a voice of ultimate authority.  Too much of the case against Sydney is presented from a presumed authority of Tradition that does not exist and should not be acknowledged.  You can’t just claim that tradition closes the case.  You have to justify that the tradition is still worthy of being upheld.  That means respecting those who are questioning the tradition, and doing them the honor of examining the tradition from first principles.  It does not mean saying “How dare you question these thing!  We are Anglicans, and that means we have our traditions, and if you don’t like it then you should just go find another church!”

3.  Much has been made of the impact that would be inflicted on the rest of the Anglican world if Sydney enacts this proposal.  I wonder what this impact would be, and how it could possibly be greater than the impact of allowing both Catholic and Protestant concepts of priesthood in the same church.  This makes me suspect the true fear is not theological in nature, but in fact clerical in nature.  The people who run the church are worried that this act will undermine the authority of clergy.  As in “Why, if you do this, then the masses will think they are as good as us, and then they will end up full of themselves, and get uppity, and start thinking they can act above their station.  That way is chaos and ruin!”  Deep down, I believe that is the actual pulsating fear-driven response to Sydney’s action, and the explanation for why it produces such a vehement reaction. 

I hope this clarifies my participation.  I am honestly not pulling for Sydney to either enact or not enact this proposal.  I am defending the right of Sydney to bring this proposal to light, and receive a respectful hearing.  I am defending the right of Sydney to act in Christian freedom if it so sees fit.  They may be cast out for doing so, but it will be a hypocritical act by a church that otherwise manages to fudge the difference between Catholic and Protestant concepts of priesthood.  If it can tolerate that glaring inconsistency, then certainly it should be able to find a place for Sydney. 

carl

[359] Posted by carl on 9-2-2010 at 06:57 PM · [top]

Only Scripture binds the conscience.

Including obeying the lawful authority? The Anglican view (as against the anabaptists) is firstly that the lawful authority may order the church in any way consonant with Scripture and enforce uniformity in accordance with such lawful authority. Secondly that the three fold ordering of ministers is, rightly interpreted, consonant with Scripture.

Denying either of these truth claims is viewed as heretical by the mainstream Reformation in England.

[360] Posted by driver8 on 9-2-2010 at 07:15 PM · [top]

[360] driver8

[L]awful authority may order the church in any way consonant with Scripture and enforce uniformity

Has Sydney been accused of acting unlawfully, or is it now a violation of lawful authority to question a tradition?

[T]he three fold ordering of ministers is, rightly interpreted, consonant with Scripture.

That’s a nice assertion, but it is exegetically false.  There are two offices presented in Scripture, and not three.  I have seen some arguments by inference that attempt to justify the office of bishop, but said office does not exist in the Pastoral Epistles.  This is simply not debatable. 

Denying either of these truth claims is viewed as heretical

The second being an excellent example of why tradition cannot be binding and cannot be used to define heresy. 

carl

[361] Posted by carl on 9-2-2010 at 07:40 PM · [top]

Carl and those supporting this ‘Sydney Plan’,

Do you disagree with the statement that the presbyter/pastor/priest/shepherd/bishop is the office with authority in the local church, and the deacon is an office under that authority?

Do you disagree with the idea that authority is to be exercised by the church with regard who may or may not communion?

[362] Posted by Bo on 9-2-2010 at 08:34 PM · [top]

[362] Bo

... and those supporting this ‘Sydney Plan’

...

[looking around]

...

[chirping crickets]

...

You mean me, right?  smile

Do you disagree with the statement that the presbyter/pastor/priest/shepherd/bishop is the office with authority in the local church, and the deacon is an office under that authority?

No.  Bishop is a traditional office, of course. 

Do you disagree with the idea that authority is to be exercised by the church with regard who may or may not [take?] communion? 

Given my assumption about the missing word, no.

carl

[363] Posted by carl on 9-2-2010 at 08:50 PM · [top]

#361 I haven’t argued that tradition has any authority. I have argued :
1. that Scripture teaches Christians to obey lawful authority (eg Homily X in the First Book of Homilies)
2. that the mainstream COE Reformers viewed seveal patterns of church ordering, including the three fold ordering, as consonant with Scripture.
2. that within these limits, church ordering falls within the legitimate jurisdiction of the relevant lawful authority. (Art. XXXIV and XXXVII)

Thus having made that argument, I have several times in this thread suggested that Sydney does not in fact possess the relevant jurisdiction.

I see, you disagree with 2. In so doing you disagree with every mainstream English COE reformer. It’s no surprise then that you’re not Anglican. It would be more surprising if such a view were to be held by folks asserting the general truthfulness of the COE reformers’ views.

[364] Posted by driver8 on 9-2-2010 at 09:08 PM · [top]

Carl,
I’m sure there are more than you supporting the ‘new thang’ in Sydney, whatever reason they have being quite (One is internet deprived at the time, I think…)

Where is my logic flawed? (real question, I did OK in boolean logic for programming, but ‘formal logic’ is another beastie!)

You agree with point one (Deacons haven’t authority in the church).
You agree with point two (Authority must be exercised by the church when the Lord’s Supper is taken).

Yet you don’t agree with the conclusion that deacons can’t be ‘in charge’ when the Lord’s Supper is taken.

Too me it seems to flow from scripture that this innovation is ‘counter to the text’, not because their is nothing saying ‘deacons can’t lead the Lord’s Supper’, but because there is text that defines authority in the Church, and requires exercise of that authority when the Lord’s Supper is taken. 

Obviously I’m not getting that across well…

[365] Posted by Bo on 9-2-2010 at 09:10 PM · [top]

Carl,

1. You seem to answer every question except the one I asked. Please stop dodging the issue – several (at least a dozen) members have asked searching questions about Sydney’s actions from an evangelical or Anglican reformation perspective, and you don’t appear to be prepared to respond to them.

2. You wrote:

“You might have noticed the long list of allies that David Ould has on these threads, which besides me ... is ... well ... no one.”

That is not correct at all. Firstly, the tone of most of the posts has been that of querying a brother, not confronting an adversary. David Ould is of course held in very high regard personally, but most of the posts also demonstrate deep respect for Sydney Diocese as well. Several posts say so explicitly – how often do they have to write this before the message sinks in?

Secondly, there have actually been at least three other members from Sydney Diocese (apart from David and myself) contributing to these threads, including a lecturer from Moore College, and they have defended Sydney’s position.

3. You also wrote:

“It’s important to establish the difference between Scripture and Tradition…”

Of course. So why are you denigrating those of us who firmly hold to the solas of the reformation, and yet still have serious problem with Sydney’s actions? You cannot have failed to read post after post written from an evangelical/reformed perspective and which query Sydney’s decision. So stop pretending that those people are all closet disciples of Tomas de Torquemada.

4. You also wrote:

“Too much of the case against Sydney is presented from a presumed authority of Tradition that does not exist and should not be acknowledged”.

Actually, very little of it has been presented from that perspective. Most of the posts on the Stand Firm threads seem to have been written from an evangelical or Anglican reformed perspective. Rather, it appears that you only want to debate those who believe in Apostolic Tradition and you refuse to acknowledge that there are plenty of evangelicals with real concerns about Sydney’s actions.

5. Now I will ask the questions again:

(a)  Thomas Cranmer and the other Anglican reformers laid down a system of church government wherein Presbyters administer Holy Communion, and Deacons *assist* the Presbyter to administer Holy Communion. Why does Sydney want to change that?

(b)  John Calvin in Geneva followed the same system: Presbyters administer Holy Communion; Deacons assist the Presbyter but do not themselves do the administering. Again, why would Sydney want to depart from a system endorsed by Calvin?

(c)  Both Cranmer and Calvin didn’t just adopt this polity by accident – Calvin in particular gives detailed reasoning from scripture and from church history why this is the correct way to do it. Have you read Calvin’s reasoning on this (its all in Book IV chapter 3 of the Institutes)?

(d)  The fact that Dio. Sydney doesn’t seem to be able to come up with convincing reasons as to why it needs to change the Anglican system of church government (i.e. its own system of church government for the past 200+ years) raises real concerns that there is some other motivation driving this. I, in particular, as a Sydney Anglican, am concerned that what is really happening is “Women’s Ordination by stealth”.

[366] Posted by MichaelA on 9-2-2010 at 10:26 PM · [top]

[366] MichaelA

Please stop dodging the issue

I never intentionally dodge the issue.  I spent a good amount of time on that post with the intent of fairly addressing your questions.  I obviously failed.  I have also made you angry for which I apologize.  It was never my intent to denigrate ether you or your concerns.  Let me try again.

First I will address your four questions.  Please accept that there is no flippancy intended in these answers.

Thomas Cranmer and the other Anglican reformers laid down a system of church government wherein Presbyters administer Holy Communion, and Deacons *assist* the Presbyter to administer Holy Communion. Why does Sydney want to change that?

Ask Sydney.  I am not advocating for their position.  You will search in vain through my comments to find a statement like “Sydney should approve lay presidency.”

John Calvin in Geneva followed the same system: Presbyters administer Holy Communion; Deacons assist the Presbyter but do not themselves do the administering. Again, why would Sydney want to depart from a system endorsed by Calvin?

Ask Sydney.  I am not advocating for their position.  You will search in vain through my comments to find a statement like “Sydney should approve lay presidency.”

Both Cranmer and Calvin didn’t just adopt this polity by accident – Calvin in particular gives detailed reasoning from scripture and from church history why this is the correct way to do it. Have you read Calvin’s reasoning on this (its all in Book IV chapter 3 of the Institutes)?

Ask Sydney.  I am not advocating for their position.  You will search in vain through my comments to find a statement like “Sydney should approve lay presidency.”

The fact that Dio. Sydney doesn’t seem to be able to come up with convincing reasons as to why it needs to change the Anglican system of church government (i.e. its own system of church government for the past 200+ years) raises real concerns that there is some other motivation driving this. I, in particular, as a Sydney Anglican, am concerned that what is really happening is “Women’s Ordination by stealth”.

Ask Sydney.  I am not advocating for their position.  You will search in vain through my comments to find a statement like “Sydney should approve lay presidency.” 

I had hoped to communicate this in my first response.  As I have said repeatedly, I am not trying to convince anyone that Sydney is correct.  I am instead saying the following:

1.  There is no Scriptural impediment to this proposal.  I am not unique on these threads by saying so.

2.  The lack of Scriptural impediment means that the proposal is properly classified as a matter of Christian freedom.  I am not unique on these threads by saying so.

3.  Opposition to this proposal be it ever so well-reasoned does not and can not originate from a source of authority that compels Sydney to withdraw this proposal. 

4.  There is no basis therefore to impose sanction on Sydney should this proposal be enacted - and certainly not given the fact that a sacramental priesthood is accepted without troubled conscience.

Now let me address a few other matters. 

That is not correct at all. Firstly, the tone of most of the posts has been that of querying a brother, not confronting an adversary. David Ould is of course held in very high regard personally, but most of the posts also demonstrate deep respect for Sydney Diocese as well. Several posts say so explicitly – how often do they have to write this before the message sinks in?

When I wrote ‘ally’ I meant someone who was saying something besides “Sydney shouldn’t do this.”  Before I wrote that line I scanned my memory and couldn’t come up with anyone else.  Memories are fallible, of course, and the perception of feeling alone can certainly distort one’s perspective.  That’s why I added

At least I can’t think of another.

If I was wrong, I will certainly admit it.  But I am not too far wrong. There are very few people on SFIF who do not oppose Sydney on this matter.

So why are you denigrating those of us who firmly hold to the solas of the reformation, and yet still have serious problem with Sydney’s actions?

Point out where I have denigrated you, and I will withdraw it.  Such was never my intent.  It makes perfect sense to me that many people will have serious problems with Sydney’s actions, and therefore oppose it.  What makes no sense to me at all is that people would threaten to break communion over this subject.  It is patently ridiculous to suggest that Sydney is just like TEC in this matter - going its own way.  Upon what grounds are they being condemned in such a manner?  It is certainly not Scripture that Sydney seeks to overturn.  What then does it seek to overturn?  You say the conflict is not about the authority of tradition…

Actually, very little of it has been presented from that perspective. Most of the posts on the Stand Firm threads seem to have been written from an evangelical or Anglican reformed perspective. Rather, it appears that you only want to debate those who believe in Apostolic Tradition and you refuse to acknowledge that there are plenty of evangelicals with real concerns about Sydney’s actions.

... and yet I see no other authority in play.  Criticizing this proposal from a Reformed Evangelical Anglican perspective does not change the fact that no Scriptural imperative binds Sydney to stop.  It simply means you are criticizing this idea from an implicit Reformed Evangelical Anglican tradition.  You are not wrong as a result, but you also cannot assert “It is written!”  This is why David asked these two questions that have never been answered directly:

You accuse those who support diaconal administration as violating Scripture. As above, I would ask where does the Scripture actually proscribe such a course of actions?

You accuse those who support diaconal administration as violating Tradition. As above, I would ask why are we bound to Tradition where it places a burden on us not actually found in Scripture?

Those questions are the issue to me.  Those questions are why I have participated in this thread, and others like it. 

carl

[367] Posted by carl on 9-3-2010 at 12:15 AM · [top]

Again—understanding that there is no persuading of Carl—to respond yet once more to his assertions for the sake of clarity:

RE: “There is no Scriptural impediment to this proposal.”

Irrelevant even if granted.

RE: “The lack of Scriptural impediment means that the proposal is properly classified as a matter of Christian freedom.”

Irrelevant even if granted.

RE: “Opposition to this proposal be it ever so well-reasoned does not and can not originate from a source of authority that compels Sydney to withdraw this proposal.”

Well, the only thing that could compel Sydney to withdraw the proposal—unlikely but still maybe—would be the authority of the Anglican Communion.  “Compel” is a strong word—“persuade” might be a better word.

But if one insists on using the word “compel” than yes—*nothing* can “compel” Sydney to do anything.  Therefore irrelevant, even if granted.

RE: “There is no basis therefore to impose sanction on Sydney should this proposal be enacted - and certainly not given the fact that a sacramental priesthood is accepted without troubled conscience.”

An interesting use of the word “therefore” since the first three points have absolutely nothing to do with whether there is a “basis” to impose sanction.  Sydney is a part of the Anglican Communion.  The Anglican Communion has determined a number of matters that are intrinsic to being in the Anglican Communion, among them a baseline reegarding the clergy, ordination, laity, sacraments, and the place of Church tradition.  [The acceptance of a sacramental priesthood, or goat sacrifice, or Incan virgin sacrifice, or TEC gay-all-the-time has nothing whatsoever to do with anything.]

If Sydney desires to be a part of an organization that has made the place and identity of the clergy/sacraments/etc crystal clear, time after time after time, then it will need to adhere to accepted and long-spelled-out practices.

That is not a denial of Sydney’s “Christian freedom”—it is free to be Christian within any organization that will accept it and its practices.  There are plenty of Christian organizations that have various rules for belonging that may also demand or reject practices that “have no Christian impediment.”  In fact, I would venture to suppose that every single Christian denomination has requirements against practices for which there is “no Scriptural impediment.”  If Christians wish to practice certain things that those organizations do not allow—for example, if I wish to follow David’s time-honored act of worship by dancing half-naked in front of the people—then those Christians will need to move to another organization that allows those practices.  In the case of lay administration one is hard-pressed to come up with such a Christian organization—perhaps we can recommend the Plymouth Brethren, as that is the only one that springs to mind.

[368] Posted by Sarah on 9-3-2010 at 12:36 AM · [top]

Carl,

You wrote (several times):

Ask Sydney.  I am not advocating for their position.  You will search in vain through my comments to find a statement like “Sydney should approve lay presidency.”

This is not correct. You have continually asserted that Sydney is entitled to approve lay presidency. At least have the decency, integrity and honour to admit the position that you have advocated throughout.

“The lack of Scriptural impediment means that the proposal is properly classified as a matter of Christian freedom.”

This is not a scriptural teaching. “Christian freedom” may be limited by many things. For one thing, we are specifically forbidden to exercise any christian freedom if it may cause a brother to stumble [e.g. Romans 14:19-21]. For another, the Apostle Paul in several places emphasises that the affairs of churches should be conducted decently and in order [e.g. 1 Cor 14:26-39].

It is therefore perfectly legitimate for other Anglicans to ask advocates of diaconal administration why they are departing from the clear teaching of the Anglican and continental reformers. If Sydney did not claim to be Anglican, this question would not matter. But in fact Sydney is proudly Anglican, and I have asked this question because I know that it is one that will trouble many Sydney Anglicans. It is a question that the advocates of diaconal administration have been avoiding.

[369] Posted by MichaelA on 9-3-2010 at 01:18 AM · [top]

[369] MichaelA

This is not correct. You have continually asserted that Sydney is entitled to approve lay presidency. At least have the decency, integrity and honour to admit the position that you have advocated throughout.

Yes, I have continually asserted that Sydney is entitled to approve lay presidency.  That is not the same as saying it should approve lay presidency.  And, actually, I believe I have conducted myself with decency, integrity and honor on this thread.

carl

[370] Posted by carl on 9-3-2010 at 07:22 AM · [top]

Carl,
You can PM the answer to my question in 365…. I really do wish to know….

[371] Posted by Bo on 9-3-2010 at 10:49 AM · [top]

[365] Bo

I don’t accept the idea that one in authority must be present to exercise that authority.  As it is written:

[Jesus] was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”  Luke 7:6-8 NASB

In otherwords, I allow for the possibility that good order can be maintained in the stead of the priest.

I have more to say, but at this point I do not want to put the rest of my reasoning on this or any other thread on this subject.  So look for a PM.

carl

[372] Posted by carl on 9-3-2010 at 12:19 PM · [top]

My question remains to the proponents of Diaconal Administration in the Diocese of Sydney: What is the reason for changing a principle of church order and government which Sydney has adhered to for over two centuries, and which was established by the Anglican and continental reformers?

What is the real reason for changing the order established by Cranmer and Calvin?

[373] Posted by MichaelA on 9-3-2010 at 06:59 PM · [top]

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