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September 1, 2010


Treating Friends like Enemies

I continue to be surprised that Sydney continues down the path toward diaconal and/or lay presidency. I’ve said before and I’ll reiterate it here, I see no clear biblical impediment to lay presidency. Nor do I see any biblical reason to deny the authority of any church to limit Eucharistic celebrations to the ordained presbyteriat. To my mind, the absence of clear biblical instruction one way or the other means that the matter must necessarily be considered adiaphora or non-essential.

As such, the two principles to be weighed are “liberty” on the one hand and “charity” on the other. Christians must not allow the liberty of the gospel won by the blood of Christ to die the death of a thousand traditions while at the same time we must not think of our freedom as a licence to trample on the consciences of fellow believers.

The problem from Sydney’s perspective (as I understand it) is that Anglo Catholics do not believe that the sacerdotal priesthood is adiaphora. Regular participation in a validly celebrated Eucharist with validly consecrated elements is necessary, Anglo Catholics believe, for the salvation of souls.

Those writing from the Sydney Anglican perspective on Stand Firm have suggested that the present Communion-wide standard in which only ordained presbyters may celebrate the Eucharist, if left unchallenged, implicitly supports an Anglo Catholic or sacerdotal understanding of the priesthood and thus directly undermines gospel liberty.

Article 20 of the 39 Articles reads:

The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

The Communion standard, from Sydney’s perspective (again, as I understand it), to the extent that it reflects an Anglo Catholic sacerdotal understanding of the priesthood forces a “thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation” that is contrary to God’s Word written.

The calculus, then, from Sydney’s perspective seems to be that the cause of gospel liberty in this case outweighs the call of charity.

I disagree for three reasons:

First: There are many Anglicans, and I am one of them, who reject the Anglo Catholic understanding of the priesthood while recognizing that presiding over the Eucharist is an act of headship and as such ought to be reserved for the ordained leadership of a local congregation. I will not argue that case here but I want simply to point out that the Communion standard is no more an implicit endorsement of the Anglo Catholic sacerdotal position than it is an endorsement of the evangelical headship argument. The reason the Communion standard has survived so long is precisely because it can be legitimately embraced by both evangelicals and Anglo Catholics in very good conscience.

Second: Because that is true, what Sydney may perceive to be a grand act against sacerdotalism also stands as a divisive act against fellow evangelicals.

Third: Sydney’s stance toward Anglo Catholicism as represented by the move toward lay or diaconal and lay presidency is the kind of stance generally taken toward an enemies rather than friends.

In the early 80’s Libyan dictator Mohamar Quadafi drew what he called the “Line of Death” across the Gulf of Sidra. The line cut directly through what the United States understood to be international waters. And so the US, correctly I think, instigated a conflict by floating some navy warships right over the “Line of Death” and in the ensuing conflict humbled Quadifi and reopened international sea routes. This was a very good thing. Quadafi was a hostile enemy. It was necessary to confront him and to assert international law. 

Anglo Catholics may be wrong, I think they are, but they are not hostile and they are not our enemies nor are they enemies of the gospel. They are friends.  And what is more, they are friends who do not insist that evangelicals accept their understanding of the priesthood. The very last thing evangelical Anglicans ought to do at this point is send our warships over their lines. But that is essentially what Sydney proposes to do.

I certainly agree that resolving question of the nature of salvation and the nature of the priesthood/presbyteriat is a vital and necessary task for orthodox Anglicans. And I pray that my Anglo Catholic brothers and sisters may one day be won over to the evangelical position. But since they are friends and not enemies we should not force this thing down their throats.

If I have misunderstood or misrepresented the Sydney position in any way, and I actually hope that I have, please, Sydney readers, correct me. But as it stands I see no reasonable basis for this action. It is not an assertion of Christian liberty over and against modern day Judiazers but an unnecessary and divisive act with the potential to turn friends into enemies.


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224 comments

While I do not agree entirely with you analysis Matt, it is another act of divisiveness that is simply not needed today along with the other acts that are on going..  Sydney has put itself squarely in the bulls eye as being as divisive as the EC and ACiC…I realize others with dismiss this point of view but it simply is the wrong thing to do at this time.

I agree with Dean Munday that it is anti-clericalism….

Deacons are deacons, priests are priest, and bishops are bishops.  There are three orders and not one.  By doing this we are confusing the order and the intent of the orders.

[1] Posted by Creighton+ on 9-1-2010 at 08:52 AM · [top]

The problem from Sydney’s perspective (as I understand it) is that Anglo Catholics do not believe that the sacerdotal priesthood is adiaphora. Regular participation in a validly celebrated Eucharist with validly consecrated elements is necessary, Anglo Catholics believe, for the salvation of souls.

Matt, to take it one step further, the Roman Catholics and Orthodox also believe in the necessity of the sacerdotal priesthood, and the other points you mentioned, so they aren’t just picking a fight with Anglo-Catholics, but with the overwhelming majority of Christendom on this issue.

[2] Posted by Anglican Presbyter on 9-1-2010 at 08:54 AM · [top]

Thanks, Fr. Matt.  As my sainted Southern uncle used to say, “You done good!”

Disorganized observations:

I take a dimmer view of lay presidency, and essentially see it as a key offshoot of the postmodern wave of anticlericalism. 

Call lay presidency (LP) as an attack against headship, because that is what it is.  LP is the point of the spear which is designed to gut ordained authority.  LP is literalistic sola scriptura gone awry.  LP is a hybrid hyper-memorialist symbological anomaly.

...back to my cell in the cloister…

AR+

[3] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 9-1-2010 at 09:08 AM · [top]

Good post, Matt+.
I, too, think Sydney should back off.

[4] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 9-1-2010 at 09:19 AM · [top]

Whilst I agree with you, Matt, that Sydney should not be allowing this innovation (I’m an Anglo-Catholic) I am a bit confused by your argument.
Do you mean Anglo-Catholics local to Sydney Diocese, in which case surely they could simply command their deacons not to preside at the Mass. Also (I don;t know a lot about Sydney), does Sydney ordain women? If it does then offense has already been caused.
If you mean in a communion-wide sense then might I say that if we Anglo-Catholics were offended every time some-one in the Communion spat on our theology we would spend all our time being angry and offended. (For example: “General Synod have decided to consecrate women as bishops, I’m so offended”, “Some people think we’re no better than racists, I’m so offended”, “Some diocese in American has consecrate a non-celibate Homosexual as a bishop, and worse she’s a woman, I’m so offended” ect ect ect).
I think, certainly in England, we’ve moved past being offended and just greet bad news with a shake of the head and a sigh, your concern is touching but don’t worry about little old us, I’m sure we’ll get over it.

[5] Posted by PaulStead on 9-1-2010 at 09:21 AM · [top]

Hi PaulStead, I’m thinking not primarily about ACs in Sydney, but ACs in the Communion (and evangelicals like me as well). I’m not worried about you PaulStead. It sounds like “little ole you” will be just fine. Judging by the responses of others, however, I think there is reason to be concerned about the unity of orthodox Anglicans in the Communion should this go forward.

[6] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 09:25 AM · [top]

Matt

I have to ask this.  You wrote:

Regular participation in a validly celebrated Eucharist with validly consecrated elements is necessary, Anglo Catholics believe, for the salvation of souls.

How is this not a works-based addition to the Gospel?  To make your argument work, you must assert that this is not a works-based addition to the Gospel.  If it is a works-based addition to the Gospel, then you are imposing on what you yourself admit is the Christian freedom of a brother for the sake of protecting the workings of a false gospel.  So how then do you fit this keystone into place so that it will hold the weight of your argument?

carl

[7] Posted by carl on 9-1-2010 at 09:38 AM · [top]

RE: “But as it stands I see no reasonable basis for this action.”

Back in 08 there was some discussion about this on various threads—the reasons for Sydney’s actions.  There were a few “pragmatic” reasons feebly offered.  But those pragmatic reasons had some pretty easy solutions, other than allowing lay administration of the Eucharist.

My postulation for a reason was this—and I was also predicting that Sydney would not be able to stop:

. . . I don’t think some have been listening thoroughly.  Not only do we have different assumptions about what it means to be Anglican, we also have different assumptions about what it means to be Christian.

The reason—stark, plain, and simple—as to why Sydney has chosen to embark on the path of lay presidency, despite all the division it has and will bring, is because if they did not, it would be antithetical to their gospel.

So—they must continue on down this path.  There will be no stopping it.  If they were to stop it would be in violation of their gospel.

I’ve said the same thing about TEC for years, on another matter that is near and dear to TEC’s heart.  Were they to cease “being divisive” with their practices and theology, they would disappear in a puff of smoke.

Were Sydney to cease moving down the path towards lay presidency, Sydney would no longer believe their gospel.

It would be a bit like a Christian believer being a part of, say, another sect that did not believe in praying, and their wondering why on earth that weird guy persists in praying all the time, as well as promoting it to others.  Can’t he just stop for the good of the fellowship?

Well, no.

So it’s not something that, if Sydney would just excercise a little discipline and self-control, it could stop and cease being divisive.  They can’t.  It’s a symptom of their basic foundational worldview—how they view clergy and lay, how they view the sacraments, how they view the essence of the church, how they view scripture, how they view tradition.

As nearly as I can see, lay administration of the Eucharist stands, for Sydney, as an icon of confirmation that there is no substantial difference between the laity and the clergy—and since that is an important part of their doctrine, in one sense this is not adiaphora for them. 

So I’m not confident that Sydney can simply “stop” pursuing the path of lay administration.

[8] Posted by Sarah on 9-1-2010 at 09:48 AM · [top]

Hi Carl,

The Anglo Catholic understanding of the priesthood is, I believe, in error because it is, as you say, “a works based gospel”. But the Communion standard does not impose the Anglo Catholic understanding on evangelicals any more than it imposes the evangelical understanding of headship on Anglo-Catholics. It is neutral. There is no pressing need to break it for liberty’s sake.

[9] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 09:50 AM · [top]

#6 Matt,

I think there is reason to be concerned about the unity of orthodox Anglicans in the Communion

Surely this supposes that orthodox Anglicans really are united in any meaningfull sense, afterall there are evangelicals who claim to be orthodox anglicans who do not believe in WO and there are orthodox evangelical Anglicans who do believe in WO, and then there are obviously Anglo-Catholics who don’t belive in WO. There are some Anglo-Catholics who believe in Purgatory ( I do), I would assume that this would be quite offensive to an evangelical. The main purpose of the Society of the Holy Cross is to bring about Christian unity under the See of Peter, which I assume evangelicals would be opposed to (please correct me if I am wrong). So are we to say that Anglo-Catholics are not orthodox?

Who decides that Sydney is no longer orthodox if it allows lay/diaconal presidency at the eucharist?

[10] Posted by PaulStead on 9-1-2010 at 10:11 AM · [top]

Hi PaulStead,

Yes there are many debates within Anglicanism and Anglicanism is quite comprehensive. And yet, as we have seen, even for Anglicans there are some debates that break fellowship.

[11] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 10:15 AM · [top]

I thought that regular participation in the Sacrament of the most precious Body and Blood of our Lord by a wasn’t just an Anglo-Catholic thing but a Christian thing.

[12] Posted by Thomistic on 9-1-2010 at 10:38 AM · [top]

Hi Thomistic,

Of course it is as a matter of obedience and a means of strength and grace…and in that way it is one way that God rescues us from the dominion of sin. But Anglo Catholics and Evangelicals differ with regard to whether or not it is part of the process through which we are ultimately justified.

[13] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 10:49 AM · [top]

Yes, but I believe that being obedient is a part of being an Anglo-Catholic.  As a presbyter I acknowledge that I must be obedient to Christ - both in the sacramental rites as well as loving God and Neighbor. I don’t think that the argument could be made that Anglo-Catholics are works oriented - unless following the commandment of Christ to “do in remembrance”, to love God, to love neighbor, to proclaim the Gospel, to make disciples - is considered works righteousness. 

This will always be a problem between Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals.  We follow, as we see it, the Gospel of Our Lord.

Sydney, like ECUSA, is showing symptoms of a greater illness. It isn’t about sexuality, it isn’t about lay presidency, it isn’t about bovine flatulence or even sporks.  It is about Jesus Christ.  The symptoms all point to a loss of our theology.  Say what you like against Rome or Constantinople - but they have at least held on to the fact that Christ is Lord.  The one thing Anglicanism has had going for it is we can’t point to any one person - no Luther, no Calvin, no Wesley, no Pope. But only Jesus. Now even Our Lord and his Sacraments have been let go.  That is the problem we face.

Call me works righteous, call me a closet Papist - but you can’t call me or most Anglo-Catholics disobedient to Our Lord.

Thomistic+

[14] Posted by Thomistic on 9-1-2010 at 11:09 AM · [top]

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[15] Posted by Carpe DCN on 9-1-2010 at 11:12 AM · [top]

Father,

I would question whether there is any general belief on the part of Anglo-Catholics as to the soteriological effects of not participating in Mass and Holy Communion, and I am one of the more extreme Anglo-Catholics. So, if a man were stranded on a desert island without access to the Mass his salvation would not thereby be imperiled. Of course Anglo-Catholics do teach that it is objectively gravely sinful to forsake the eucharistic assembly voluntarily, but this is a matter of—as you say—obedience, and not because missing Mass will result in your going to hell.

[16] Posted by Paul Goings on 9-1-2010 at 11:33 AM · [top]

I guess I don’t get it or am confused though I think Sarah has perhaps hit the nail on the head.  In my diocese, a lay person (or a deacon) can lead a public communion service using previously consecrated elements.  Its not “presidency” but it would solve your problem if you did not have enough priests. 

In addition (and maybe my understading of evangelical Anglicans is false), my parish does not do a eucharist or communion service every Sunday anyway.  We are still doing Morning Prayer exclusively at least two sundays a month.  Perhaps my understanding of evangelicals is wrong, but I had thought that it was the more evangelical parishes that might still be doing MP on Sunday anway, and the anglo-Catholic people who value eucharist every Sunday.  But, maybe there are evangelicals who would insist on eucharist every Sunday.  But even those congregations do MP or a lay led communion service when the priest is on vacation and there is no supply priest and this happens quite regularly in fact.

[17] Posted by Matthew on 9-1-2010 at 11:36 AM · [top]

PaulStead does have a point. Who decides who is orthodox? Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals disagree on a number of issues that are not secondary. They have different understandings of the gospel. The Church of England has defined orthodox in terms of subscription to the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles of Religion unfeignedly and from the heart. The Common Cause Partnership drew up its own definition of orthodoxy in its Theological Statement.  The Jerusalem Declaration attempted to define orthodoxy for Anglicans. Anglicans do not agree on these definitions of orthodoxy, which is why we have Anglo-Catholics, evangelicals, liberals, and various other shades of opinion. As a conservative evangelical I favor the older of the three definitions. Anglo-Catholic would naturally disagree with me and offer what they regard as the authoritative definition.

One thing is left out of the discussion of lay and diaconal administration is that the General Synod of Sydney is not proposing the authorization of any lay person to officiate at a service of Holy Communion and say the prayer of consecration but licensed lay readers. The reason for this is that they are ministers of the gospel and in Australia they may function as the pastor of a local congregation. In his Body of Divinity Archbishop of Amargh James Ussher takes the position that only a minister of the gospel should administer the sacrament of Baptism since it is a gospel sacrament. (This is the rationale for the 1662 BCP requiring a minister even for baptisms in private houses.) Sydney is following the same logic. Since deacons and lay readers preach the gospel and are gospel ministers, and may administer the sacrament of Baptism, why should they be disqualified from administering the sacrament of Holy Communion solely on the basis of a tradition for which there is no support in the Bible. Anglo-Catholics naturally will claim there is, pointing another difference between Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals, how they interpret scripture. Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals also differ on the place of the tradition, how much weight they give tradition and whether tradition is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Underlying the issue of lay and diaconal administration of Holy Communion is the issue of what place are Anglicans to give tradition, especially a tradition for which no direct support can be found in the Bible. The Bible is silent on the matter of who officiates at the Lord’s Supper. Those who are opposed to lay and diaconal administration of Holy Communion have no clear text upon which they can base their objection. They must resort to arguments of various kind which may sound scriptural but upon close analysis are not and involve passages of scripture that really are not germane to this issue. The apostle Paul more than anybody was entitled to claim headship over the churches that he helped establish but he made a point of drawing to our attention that he had baptized very few people. In the New Testament we see the early church in several different stages of development. It is only in a later stage that one of the elders comes to prominence as the leader of the local congregation. As Jews the early Christians likely followed the practice of letting the person who hosted the meeting of the church in his house to say the prayers over the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, as the host did at Passover seders and Jewish fellowship meals. We should be careful not to read back into the New Testament church later practices.

If one looks at the history of the early church there were instances of diaconal adminstration of Holy Communion. The bishop in question chose to entrust this task to the deacons of his church when he was not officiating himself. They were officiating on his behalf much in the same manner as a vicar officates on the behalf of a bishop. This practice was eventually suppressed after his presbyters protested it to the other bishops of the province as an infringement of what they had come to view as their prerogative. The theology for presbyterial administration of Holy Communion came later, as it often does with many customs and practices of the church. In the Middle Ages, in Northern Italy, a number of isolated monastic communities practiced lay administration of the Holy Communion because they lacked a priest. They consecrated the bread and wine by reciting certain psalms over it. There is some historical precedent for lay and diaconal administration of Holy Communion. 

Having said this, I also do not believe that most Anglicans are ready for lay and diaconal administration of Holy Communion. If you have been following the issue, Sydney’s General Synod is reacting to a decision of the appellate tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia. While lay and diaconal administration of Holy Communion does not have wide support in the Anglican Communion, it does have some support in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. It may be one of the issues that the GAFCON Theological Resource Group may have to address along with the ordination of women since it involves GAFCON supporters. It is not going to be an issue that goes away.

[18] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 9-1-2010 at 11:47 AM · [top]

Hi Matthew, lay presidency involves consecrating the elements not merely distributing them.

[19] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 11:51 AM · [top]

#17 Matthew
What you describe (laity handing out pre-consecrated wafers) is allowed, and even the Roman Church does it, because the lay person is not consecrating the wafers. Sydney proposes to allow Deacons and/or lay people to consecrate the communion offerings; something which the catholic Church says they do not have authority to do.

[20] Posted by PaulStead on 9-1-2010 at 11:56 AM · [top]

[9] Matt Kennedy

The Anglo Catholic understanding of the priesthood is, I believe, in error because it is, as you say, “a works based gospel”.

According to Paul, any such gospel is anathema.  It is a false gospel that does not save.  If you believe it to be a false gospel, then what fellowship have you with it?  Should you not instead seek to fight it just as you fight the false gospel of liberalism?

But the Communion standard does not impose the Anglo Catholic understanding on evangelicals any more than it imposes the evangelical understanding of headship on Anglo-Catholics. It is neutral.

Your argument seems to present the issue as the primacy of organization over theology.  The Communion standard may be neutral, but Paul is not.  Why do you impose on the liberty of your brother to facilitate the continued presence of a gospel that you admit is false?  Is the structural integrity of the Communion worth such a cost? 

carl

[21] Posted by carl on 9-1-2010 at 12:10 PM · [top]

I don’t really wish to start a theological argument about works and justification, except to say that the catholic understanding of an obligation to receive the Precious Body and Blood is based to some extent on John 6:53.

I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you

And I think we can all agree that in Biblical Top Trumps Jesus beats Paul.

Regardless of what theological point we’re arguing I do agree with Carl that we should not persue unity over truth because otherwise we’re no better than Abp Rowan in that respect.

[22] Posted by PaulStead on 9-1-2010 at 12:34 PM · [top]

[22] PaulStead

I don’t really wish to start a theological argument about works and justification

Neither do I.  Instead, I am examining the validity of Matt’s argument.  It must remain consistent with Matt’s understanding of sound doctrine to be valid.  It does not yet appear consistent to me. 

carl

[23] Posted by carl on 9-1-2010 at 12:41 PM · [top]

“And I think we can all agree that in Biblical Top Trumps Jesus beats Paul.”

Well, no, there is no difference. Christ speaks clearly, inerrantly and authoritatively through Paul and Christ speaks clearly, inerrantly and authoritatively through John and his gospel. Apostlic is apostolic. And they do not contradict.

Of course unity should be chosen over truth. I do think the genius of Anglicanism is that unity can be maintained between theological parties who disagree over key doctrines without compromising their integrity.

I do not have time to answer Carl’s question above right now, I am working on our weekly parish update, but I will say that there is a fundamental difference between Anglo Catholics/evangelicals on one side and liberals on the other. Anglo Catholics and evangelicals agree that whatever the bible says is true and authoritative. Liberals do not.

What that means is that there is room for fellowship and debate between Anglo Catholics and evangelicals and some hope for persuasion. I can assume that my Anglo Catholic brother holds Jesus to be Lord and wants to do whatever Jesus says—we just disagree about what that is—whereas I cannot make that assumption with a liberal.

[24] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 12:44 PM · [top]

heh, this:
“Of course unity should be chosen over truth”

should read:

“Of course unity should NOT be chosen over truth”

sorry

[25] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 01:03 PM · [top]

Although a Catholic, I certainly think Matt makes a valid point, and an important one, at least as I understand it. There is a big difference between opinions that are incorrect although reasonable, and opinions that are so incorrect that no reasonable person could accept them in good faith.  In the context of the Christian Faith, the former errors are generally tolerable, while the latter are not.  Given Matt’s sola scriptura starting point, I think he makes a good case that the Anglo-Catholic position is, if erroneous, at least tolerable, while revisionism is not.

[26] Posted by slcath on 9-1-2010 at 01:26 PM · [top]

Carl - following the commands of Jesus and putting ourselves under discipline to do so even when we don’t feel like it is <u>NOT</u> “works righteousness!!!”  We do not do these things in order to be saved.  We do them because we are saved.  It is not that Holy Communion saves us, but that it is a means of the grace that justifies and sanctifies us and it is a means that Jesus commanded us to do: “the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make.”

It seems that you think all you have to do is say the “magic words” and then no other works are necessary.  I urge you to read James chapter 2.  “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24). 

So, either you will violate the 39 Articles (saying it is not permitted to “expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant ot another.” (Article XX) or you simply ignore the words of Holy Scripture.

The question comes down to this.  What does it mean to be Justified?  In readin Paul, justification is an event that took place either at the cross or when a believer accepts what God has done for him through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  In reading James, justification seems to be more of an ongoing process whereby we are made righteous through faith - and our works are evidence of our saving faith.  James’s “Justification” is probably closer to what we would, today, call “santification.”

As an Anglican, I say that both are true.  Justification is an event and a process.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[27] Posted by Philip Snyder on 9-1-2010 at 02:35 PM · [top]

Back on the original topic, Matt I agree that Sydney should not move foward on this innovation without buy in from the rest of the Communion.  To do so would make them no better than TEC in that they believe their understanding of the Christian Faith is worth more than the understanding of the entire communion.  I agree that this is not an issue of salvation, but it is one of good church order and it introduces disharmony where it is not needed.  There are alternatives to lay presidency or diaconal presidency (whether you accept the Anglo-catholic idea of the priest as the alter-Chistus or the Evangelical idea of the presbyter as the head of the community - representing the headship of Christ within that community).  As an evanglical anglo-catholic (who can see both sides of the issue) I believe that we need more unity, not less and that we should follow the commands of St. Paul in I Corinthians - that we should not move forward with “freedom” if doing so harms our brothers and sisters and causes them to stumble.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[28] Posted by Philip Snyder on 9-1-2010 at 02:40 PM · [top]

So Carl there is more to being saved than having faith? We have to denounce false gospels. Is that not a work?
I know that sounds strange but your idea of God’s means of grace as works sounds strange to me.

[29] Posted by CuthbertStephenson on 9-1-2010 at 03:16 PM · [top]

Guys, let’s try to stay focused on the article and not re-fight the Reformation.

[30] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 03:26 PM · [top]

I concur with Matt and [28]. 

I would add, if Sydney chooses to adopt this unecessary change and proceeds, then: “...they believe their understanding of the Christian Faith is worth more than…” preserving communion with their fellow Anglicans.

ut unum sint

[31] Posted by tired on 9-1-2010 at 04:03 PM · [top]

Sarah wrote at #8:

The reason—stark, plain, and simple—as to why Sydney has chosen to embark on the path of lay presidency, despite all the division it has and will bring, is because if they did not, it would be antithetical to their gospel.
So—they must continue on down this path.  There will be no stopping it.  If they were to stop it would be in violation of their gospel.
I’ve said the same thing about TEC for years, on another matter that is near and dear to TEC’s heart.  Were they to cease “being divisive” with their practices and theology, they would disappear in a puff of smoke.
Were Sydney to cease moving down the path towards lay presidency, Sydney would no longer believe their gospel.

Allow me to introduce Sarah Hey, who holds a PhD in Sydney theology and is uniquely qualified to state what is “antithetical to their gospel” (despite living 10,000 miles away and never having set foot there, so far as I am aware).

I have been a member of the diocese of Sydney for almost 50 years now and I can say that there is nothing inevitable or necessary about diaconal administration in Sydney diocese. It is not consistent with classic Sydney theology, in my view.

Sydney theology has been remarkably stable for many decades, indeed the main theological text (“In understanding be men” by T C Hammond) was first published in 1936. Needless to say, if there had been any hint of diaconal administration there, it would have appeared long before the 1990s.

Ironically, Sarah’s comment seems designed to encourage Sydney in its current course (i.e. if she is correct and diaconal administration is consistent with Sydney’s theology, then of course Sydney should follow it – practice always flows from doctrine). However, the truth is that diaconal administration is not consistent with Sydney’s classic theology and it needs to be called back to that theology, not further divorced from it.

[32] Posted by MichaelA on 9-1-2010 at 07:14 PM · [top]

Matt+,

As a Sydney Anglican who does not agree with the current push for diaconal administration, I would go further than your article – I think this is more than just a matter of “freedom” vs “charity”: it is a matter of faithfulness to the doctrine and practice of the Anglican Reformation.

Someone seems to have claimed at Sydney Synod in 2008 that diaconal administration is consistent with the theology of Cranmer and Calvin. That is rubbish. Cranmer and Calvin were clear on this:

* Presbyters administer Holy Communion, preach the word and rule their parish;

* Deacons ASSIST the Presbyter in administering Holy Communion, baptism, preaching and many other things.

This arrangement didn’t just happen by accident or evolution – it was a deliberate and informed decision by the Reformers based on detailed study of the scriptures.

[33] Posted by MichaelA on 9-1-2010 at 07:15 PM · [top]

Matt Kennedy

You have made two statements that are mutually exclusive, and so cannot simultaneously be true.

Anglo Catholics may be wrong, I think they are, but they are not ... enemies of the gospel.

The Anglo Catholic understanding of the priesthood is, I believe, in error because it is, as you say, “a works based gospel”.

One who preaches a works-based Gospel is by definition an enemy of the True Gospel.  Since your argument hinges on the assertion that Anglo-Catholics are not enemies of the Gospel, you must re-rehabilitate them for this argument to work.  What you cannot assert what you have above asserted:  “Anglo-Catholics are not enemies of the Gospel, but Anglo-Catholics teach a false Gospel.”  That is an untenable position.

carl

[34] Posted by carl on 9-1-2010 at 07:21 PM · [top]

“One who preaches a works-based Gospel is by definition an enemy of the True Gospel.”

I disagree. One who preaches/believes a works based gospel may not fully grasp the gospel, may not understand the implications of the gospel, may be ignorant as to the effects of the gospel. This does not make him/her necessarily an “enemy” of the gospel.

[35] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 07:25 PM · [top]

Carl,

You are twisting words and nit-picking. Father Matt’s meaning was clear, at least to me. He was using “anglo-catholic” in a very broad sense, and making the point (paritcularly to Sydney readers) that he is approaching this debate from a reformed Anglican perspective, not from an anglo-catholic perspective. That is important when dealing with Sydney Anglicans - trust me on this.

[36] Posted by MichaelA on 9-1-2010 at 07:27 PM · [top]

In fact there are a myriad different various reasons that someone who believes in Jesus and knows him as Lord and Savior may also hold to an errant articulation of the gospel and not be an “enemy” of the real gospel.

[37] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 07:29 PM · [top]

subscribe

[38] Posted by MichaelA on 9-1-2010 at 07:30 PM · [top]

RE: “uniquely qualified to state what is “antithetical to their gospel” (despite living 10,000 miles away and never having set foot there, so far as I am aware). . . . “

Heh—were one to need a PhD in order to state one’s opinion about various and sundry topics, blog comments would cease the world over.  I will, of course, continue to express my opinion about any number of matters in which I do not have a PhD, as will MichaelA and all other commenters.  It is not necessary for a man to be a woman—as some feminists claim—in order to comment about abortion or offer opinions on any number of topics having to do with women.  Nor is it necessary for someone to be a Sydney Anglican to offer opinions about their doctrine.  All the commenters here are perfectly free to offer their opinions and further comments about people not being qualified to offer opinions will be deleted as they are simply distractions.

Moving on to the actual substance of the comment regarding the idea rather than the individual . . .

RE: “Ironically, Sarah’s comment seems designed to encourage Sydney in its current course (i.e. if she is correct and diaconal administration is consistent with Sydney’s theology, then of course Sydney should follow it – practice always flows from doctrine).”

I do believe that practice flows from doctrine.  My commenting about what I deem to be *reality* is rather strikingly similar to the same comments I’ve made about current TEC revisionist leaders.  It is not, for instance, possible for Bruno, Schori, et al to “cease doing what they do” precisely because of their gospel.  My pointing out that truth is in no way “designed to encourage” TEC leaders in pursuing the practice of their doctrine.  It is simply how things work. 

RE: “However, the truth is that diaconal administration is not consistent with Sydney’s classic theology and it needs to be called back to that theology, not further divorced from it.”

That is certainly an interesting thought.  It is probably true too—but entities and people change, sometimes evolving and sometimes devolving and it, again, appears that the current leaders of Sydney do not adhere to Sydney’s classic theology.  Philip Turner’s classic little essay about TEC’s pragmatic theology—what they actually do *in practice*—probably has some themes that apply to the postulate regarding Sydney.

The good news is that my original comment from 2008 applies not to Sydney’s classic or historic theology but to their current theology.

[39] Posted by Sarah on 9-1-2010 at 07:37 PM · [top]

I should add that I would love for this to be true: “it needs to be called back to that theology, not further divorced from it.”

But hasn’t the diocese of Sydney been urging this change since the 1970s, with a significant uptick of activity since the 90s?  That’s a long time for an entity to be divorced from its historic theology.  Not impossible to turn around—but mighty hard.

[40] Posted by Sarah on 9-1-2010 at 07:44 PM · [top]

    Regular participation in a validly celebrated Eucharist with validly consecrated elements is necessary, Anglo Catholics believe, for the salvation of souls.

How is this not a works-based addition to the Gospel?

“Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you.”

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works.”

[41] Posted by Ed the Roman on 9-1-2010 at 07:55 PM · [top]

[36] MichaelA

Father Matt’s meaning was clear, at least to me. He was using “anglo-catholic” in a very broad sense

Matt was very specific.  Here is the exact quote.

The problem from Sydney’s perspective (as I understand it) is that Anglo Catholics do not believe that the sacerdotal priesthood is adiaphora. Regular participation in a validly celebrated Eucharist with validly consecrated elements is necessary, Anglo Catholics believe, for the salvation of souls.

The phrase is unmistakable and very specific.  The use of that phrase drops the whole weight of the Book of Galatians into the argument.  I agree with Matt that there are those who:

may not fully grasp the gospel, may not understand the implications of the gospel, may be ignorant as to the effects of the gospel. This does not make him/her necessarily an “enemy” of the gospel.

Mostly I call them Arminians.  But he is wrong to say that any mixing of works into justification is an innocent mistake.  The believer will never say this.  No man stands before God in his own righteousness - not even with a little part of his own righteousness.  The believer knows this as surely as he knows Jesus is Lord.  Such is the whole lesson of the Book of Galatians. 

The Judaizers would have said that whatever the bible says is true and authoritative.  The Judaizers would have held that Jesus is Lord.  What difference did that make to Paul?  To him, the keeper of a false gospel is a false brother, from whose influence the True Gospel must be preserved.  Paul did not write the Galatians to warn them about those who denied the Lordship of Christ, or about those who denied the authority of Scripture.  He wrote to warn them about bringers of a false gospel - a gospel he called anathema.  And that gospel had just a little bit of work mixed into it.  Just circumcision.  But it was enough to cast the whole edifice into the pit.  What is the distinction between adding circumcision, and adding regular participation in a validly celebrated Eucharist?  I see none at all.

This is a deadly serious subject.  It has nothing to do with twisting of words, or nitpicking. 

carl

[42] Posted by carl on 9-1-2010 at 08:21 PM · [top]

Hi Carl,

Augustine was quite clear that his salvation was solely and completely the work of Christ and not his. And yet he suggested that the righteousness of Christ is imparted (rather than imputed) internally rather than externally through various means of grace

I think it beyond dispute that Augustine did not articulate the Reformed doctrine of imputation which, I think, is the correct understanding of how exactly, God justifies sinners. And yet his trust in the righteousness of Christ alone was obvious.

The same I think can be true of a Roman Catholic who believes in Sola Gratia but who may have an incomplete or insufficient understanding of the instrument and grounds upon which justification is conveyed.

One is, in other words, justified through grace alone by faith alone on the basis of the work of Christ alone…and yet one may be justified by faith alone without explicitly embracing the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

[43] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 08:31 PM · [top]

I agree with you that it is a very serious subject.

[44] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 08:32 PM · [top]

In response to Sarah at #40

I think Dean Munday’s description of this issue being a Sydney ‘obsession’ is not too far off the mark. To understand where it is coming from (and why this, and why now?), you need to know something of Sydney Diocese’s internal history over the past two decades.

Without a doubt, the two most influential voices within the Diocese, and the one’s responsible for this more than any other, are Dr John Woodhouse, Principal of Moore Theological College, and Phillip Jensen (Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral). While many others speak to this issue with great conviction, it is these two who have the capacity to turn this debate one way or the other.

While the issue has been debated for almost 40 years (a line of explanation and justification not unlike TEC’s…), the genesis for the current drive can be traced back to the early 1990’s, and the creation of a group called REPA (Reformed Evangelical Protestant Association), publicly launched on Good Friday, 1991. Still smarting at having lost in civil courts in attempting to restrain women’s ordination in other dioceses, this group were in a mood to push the reformist agenda (I know something of this because I happened to be staying at the same conference site at the time when they were meeting (literally) in back rooms and running to and fro from their closed door meetings).

REPA was made up of rectors of many of the largest parishes in Sydney – John Woodhouse then rector of St Ives, Phillip Jensen rector of St Matthias, David Gilmore at Pymble, Robert Forsyth at Broadway (now the longest serving regional bishop in Sydney), and Bruce Ballantine-Jones from Jannali. In the phrasing of one of this group, they were not the ‘Generals’ in the diocese, nor the Lieutenants, but the ‘Colonels’. Of this group (and for varying reasons), only Woodhouse and Phillip Jensen (not to be confused with his brother Peter, the present Archbishop, who was not as directly involved) have continued on to more significant leadership in their present posts.
REPA no-longer exists, but through Ballantine-Jones’ efforts, its agenda has largely been taken up by the most powerful positional group in the Diocese today, the Anglican Church League.

The 1990’s were a strongly reactive period in Sydney’s internal history. The mood was to demonstrate leadership within the diocese other than through the recognised leadership. I suspect in part it was a disillusionment with the wider drift of Anglicanism and the desire to reclaim the reformist focus, especially over and against the Anglo-Catholicism that prevailed more widely in the Anglican Church of Australia (markedly less so now).

A range of issues was identified in the spirit of ‘ecclesia semper reformanda est’, largely with an eye to releasing missional initiatives without the constraints of traditional Anglican practices in ministry, wherever such issues are considered adiaphora. Issues identified included the whole paradigm of parishes and parochial ministry, the threefold order of Anglican ministry – and lay administration of communion (my recollection of the key Synod debate is that it was more ‘lay’ than ‘diaconal’ at that stage, largely through equivalence with lay preaching).

My key point is that the initial momentum was in reaction to the perceived weakness of Archbishop Goodhew and the desire to take the leadership initiative through this issue in particular (see the interviews and quotes contained in Chris McGillion’s The Chosen Ones: The Politics of Salvation in the Anglican Church, Allen & Unwin 2005). Goodhew signaled his unwillingness to assent to any measure of this nature (despite resolutions in Synod), partly out of his own sense of Anglican order, and partly out of his relationships and respect for the emerging global south leadership (especially at Lambeth 98). Other questions regarding mission and ministry units, and rethinking diaconal and presbyteral responsibilities have since been resolved.

Thus the issue of lay and diaconal administration remained as the main piece of unfinished business going into the 2001 Archbishop’s election, as the ‘opposition’ group moved to take up the ‘government’ benches as the influence of ACL (and those formerly of REPA) reached its zenith. The sense was that their time had come, their key figures would move into strategic positions (Cathedral, MTC, assistant bishops), and ‘lay and diaconal administration’ would continue to feature high on the agenda for further reform.

There is obviously more to this issue than that, and I have no doubt many within Sydney who speak to this issue today do so out of personal conviction. But I also have no doubt that the issue has gained significant impetus and momentum from factors such as I have outlined above. I seriously doubt Sydney Anglicans have the capacity to step back from this issue and gain a more balanced perspective on where it rates as a ‘gospel imperative’ (as argued by Woodhouse and Phillip Jensen) or as something less than worthy of causing such collateral damage to Gafcon/FCA relationships and the like.

My prediction is that there will be no turning back. While many of the current advocates are not directly associated with the nascent phase in identifying this as a priority issue, it will certainly feature in the forthcoming Archbishop’s election process, and I would venture that in that election we will see a defining moment in the viability or demise of FCA. Sydney is about to see a significant generational change, as those ‘Colonels’ of the early 1990’s all move into retirement, and the next generation of protégée’s take the mantle of leadership. Sydney is likely to go one way or the other – go it alone, or intentionally seek to strengthen wider ties and partnerships.

[For the record, my view on this is pretty much the same as Matt Kennedy’s - I have no direct theological or Scriptural objection (save the ‘weaker brother’ and unnecessary division question); but I do think traditional Anglican order has something going for it in that presiding at the Lord’s Table is an expression of pastoral eldership best associated (exceptional circumstances aside) with the presbyterate].

[45] Posted by Tim Harris on 9-1-2010 at 08:48 PM · [top]

[43] Matt Kennedy

As I said, I was not intending to open up the subject of justification for debate, but only to force you to clarify the basis of your argument.  At this point, I think you have met that burden.  To go further at this point would necessitate opening the subject of justification.  So I shall lay down my sword.  smile

carl

[46] Posted by carl on 9-1-2010 at 08:56 PM · [top]

I suppose I will venture where angels fear to tread . . .
[43] Fr. Matt:  My understanding of modern Roman Catholic soteriology is that it is basically Thomistic, namely, that we are saved by grace (but not necessarily grace alone).  More particularly, God’s grace enables us to do good works, and as we do good works, we progressively become more righteous until at some point (which cannot be defined or known) we attain a righteousness which commends us to God and to Heaven.  I have spent hours discussing this topic with some sincere and well educated Roman Catholic friends, and to a man each admits that he cannot know with certainty that he is saved or that he will go to Heaven (and these are good and godly men who are sincere in their faith).  They do not believe we are entitled to assurance of salvation.  If I ask them to expound upon the meaning of scriptures like John 5:24, 1 John 5:13, etc., they glaze over.  I have never met a Roman Catholic who will admit that we may have as a present possession knowledge of the assurance of our salvation.  Although my RC friends do say we are saved by faith, they deny we are saved by faith alone.  I do not state that they are not saved, but it does appear to me that their soteriology is inconsistent with scripture and what we proclaim as the Gospel, because there is an element of works involved.  They would admit (and do admit to me) that some go to Heaven because they observe the 7 sacraments, while others do not go to Heaven because they do not observe the 7 sacraments.  But even if one were to attend Mass daily and faithly observe all the sacraments, he yet would not be entitled to know he is saved, because he could fall away after all.
How is that belief system Good News?  It seems pretty fearful to me.  One would have to live his entire life not knowing for sure whether he attained enough righteousness (enabled by grace, to be sure).  That hardly seems like Good News to me.
I hope you (and the others) receive this in the spirit of inquiry and good faith discussion.  I agree with you and Carl that this is indeed very serious.

[47] Posted by BAMAnglican on 9-1-2010 at 09:09 PM · [top]

As valid an argument as this is, this is also precisely the reason Anglicanism, as a whole, has gone down the U-bend already.  We’re too busy trying to rip out each other’s throats to fight the heretics.

[48] Posted by Dalton on 9-1-2010 at 09:14 PM · [top]

Hi BAMAnglican,

I do not dispute the soteriological process you describe above, but I do dispute the label. I think a Roman Catholic would understand the process of being ultimately justified by grace infused works as relying upon “grace alone” even though from a reformed perspective it seems to undercut the concept.

They would most likely say with Augustine that God crowns only Christ’s own work in the sinner with justification. So it is wholly and completely the grace of God working in the believer that saves him/her and the works the he/she does are part and parcel of that divine work. What is sinful is burned away in purgatory and what is righteous is wholly of Christ.

I don’t agree with that for a moment, but I can see how from a subjective perspective one could possibly embrace that view and in fact trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and his work.

[49] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-1-2010 at 09:19 PM · [top]

Thank you, Tim Harris at #45. I concur with Tim’s post and much of it I can corroborate from personal knowledge.

His point about the remarkable ability of Phil Jensen and John Woodhouse to almost single-handedly turn a Synod (or a roomful of students) is well made. I greatly respect both of them for their stand for orthodoxy, but that doesn’t mean they are right on everything. Nor does it mean that they have correctly represented the key factors concerning lay or diaconal administration to their fellows.

I am more hopeful than Tim that Sydney can change its direction. The Synod greatly respects Phil Jensen as a preacher and teacher, but it rejected him as a candidate for Archbishop in 1993 in favour of Harry Goodhew. Phil did not run again because he knew he would fail again. Peter Jensen is different to Harry Goodhew, but he is still to some extent a compromise candidate – he is clearly open to the broader Anglican issues, in a way that his brother is not.

Regardless of which way Sydney goes (which none except the infallible prophets among us can predict anyway), it is necessary for other Anglicans to give a strong witness to Sydney on the issue. The best placed to give that witness are fellow evangelicals.

The issue of the doctrine of the Anglican reformers must be strongly put to Sydney. The idea that diaconal administration is inconsistent with the doctrine of Cranmer et al. will be very disquieting to most Sydney Anglicans, even if it carries little weight with the small number of hard-line congregationalists. They must be forced to confront this issue.

[50] Posted by MichaelA on 9-1-2010 at 09:47 PM · [top]

In fact there are a myriad different various reasons that someone who believes in Jesus and knows him as Lord and Savior may also hold to an errant articulation of the gospel and not be an “enemy” of the real gospel.

While I endeavor to better undestand God, I take great comfort in the fact that my salvation is not based on perfect understanding.

[51] Posted by AndrewA on 9-1-2010 at 09:57 PM · [top]

My first comment is specific to the Sydney proposals.  As I understand it, in Sydney a “priest” has been declared to be only a man in charge of a congregation, a rector or vicar in charge.  If he’s the only one ordained “priest,” then when he’s not there for some reason, the congregation cannot have a celebration of the Holy Communion, leading Sydney to call for deacons to be able to do this in the absence of the priest.  The solution seems rather simple to me.  Rescind the decision that only senior pastors can be priests, and extend ordination to the priesthood to all such men as are suitable and trained to administer the Holy Communion, and there is no problem.  Anglicans around the world have had priests who are senior parish pastors and priests who assist or have special ministries.  I don’t understand the reason for the change, which is causing so much uproar in the wider Church beyond Sydney.  On this ground, the uproar, I agree with Matt+‘s comment that changes to the traditional orders of ministry should not be made for local reasons and the whole Church should always be in view.

On the other note, the nature of the Sacrament, I believe Matt+ is right to call for mutual charity.  I really don’t know if I am an “Anglo-Catholic,” although I think I’m not a hard-core “Evangelical.”  Let us go to the Articles.  XXV:

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

And XXVIII:

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.

I am instructed in Scripture to be steadfast in the fellowship of the Apostles, the breaking of the bread, and the prayers.  The fellowship of the Apostles is the Church; the bread, as the Articles say, is an effectual sign of the grace of God intended to strengthen and confirm my faith.  I don’t think I am punching a ticket to heaven when I receive, nor that the more punches, the surer my salvation.  But I do think that it is a great benefit to me to receive, and to receive within the fellowship of the Apostles.  The Church has deemed it appropriate, since the time of the Apostles as recorded in the New Testament, to call some men and to lay hands on them for this purpose, and to call other men (and women) for other purposes.  Whether we are Anglo-Catholic or Evangelical, we ought to have overwhelming and compelling Scriptural reasons for overturning the traditions of the Church as they came to us from the Apostles.  So I think Sydney is wrong, and can easily repair its problems, and while I don’t know if I agree with Matt+‘s summary of why Anglo-Catholics think this is important, I entirely agree with his argument that we ought not to take steps which cause distress.

[52] Posted by Katherine on 9-2-2010 at 09:14 AM · [top]

Thanks for this Matt. I’m encouraged that StandFirm can continue to be a place where friends speak clearly to one another.

With that in mind, and prompted by the title of your piece, might I also please that those who disagree on this issue also consider whether this is a matter on which to consider Sydney a “friend” or an “enemy”? Those who deny the gospel are rightly called “enemies” (or at least enemies of the gospel). Is that really language that people want to use of a place that in so many other respects commands warmth and affection for their position?

[53] Posted by David Ould on 9-2-2010 at 09:27 AM · [top]

Mr Ould,

I’d not a be bothered enough to post if I didn’t think Sydney Anglicans where my friends.  It is only ‘cause we are kin’ that I interject at all.

[54] Posted by Bo on 9-2-2010 at 10:29 AM · [top]

Katherine, I think you raise a very important point, perhaps the nub of the issue.  The “catholic” Anglican viewpoint (within the understanding of this Anglo Catholic layman, subject to correction if an Anglo Catholic bishop wants to jump into the conversation) would be that those who are called by God to administer the Sacraments and preach the Gospel are ordained upon the recognition by the Church of this calling.  The Sydney viewpoint appears to be that ordination to the presbytery is reserved to those who are called by God to administer the Sacraments, preach the gospel, AND lead a particular congregation of greater than a certain size as determined by the Sydney diocesan Synod.
I do think we have to distinguish between diaconal presidency of the Eucharist and lay presidency.  In the case of the deacon, we have someone who has indeed been called to ordained ministry.  In many ways, what Sydney has done in authorizing a deacon to preside is to create an office that is the functional equivalent of the missionary priest common throughout much of the rest of the Communion, or for that matter, the Roman church.  What they are saying (from the outside point of view) however, is that although this person is called, he is not called to be a presbyter, but will allowed the duties and privileges of a presbyter, for the convenience of the bishops and outlying congregations.
  The Anglo Catholic problem with this is that among other things, one distinction between a deacon and a priest is that the deacon has not been called by our Lord to administer the Sacrament of Holy Communion (or has not yet been called), and the priest has been called to do so.  From our point of view, if the bishop discerns in this person the calling to preside at the Lord’s Supper, then it is incumbent upon the bishop to recognize this through ordination to the priesthood (or presbytery, if you prefer).
  Lay presidency adds another layer.  If the Sacrament of Holy Communion can be administered (in the sense used by Sydney) by a trained layman who has no calling to ordained ministry, why ordain anyone at all?  Just create a “lay rector” CEO position for the big churches and a “missionary lay presider” for the small churches and be done with all the hand laying and whatnot?
  On the question of tradition (from the Anglo Catholic point of view), many here are really missing the point.  The “tradition” is not about doing things the way we do them because that’s the way we’ve always done it.  It is about maintaining a communion relationship across time as well as across space.  It is about being in Communion, not just with the Church of Nigeria or the Church of England or the diocese of Sydney, but also being in Communion with the bishops gathered at Nicea, with the Churches in Antioch and Jerusalem in the 1st century, with Athanasius and Ignatius and John Chrysostom.  If they did not practice lay presidency, who are we to determine, each in our little corners of the globe, 2000 years removed from the days when Christ walked the earth, that we know better than they did?  Do we, in our practices, maintain the faith that they passed down to us?  Does a new practice bring us into closer Communion with that ancient Church, or remove us farther from it?
  Does Scripture trump tradition?  Yes.  But in Anglican polity, when there is no Scriptural imperative that overturns the tradition of the Church, and especially the tradition of the Church prior to the schisms, that tradition holds authority higher than our opinion on more convenient ordering of the Church.  In presidency at the Eucharist, we are not discussing some 14th century papal indulgence, or vestments, or incense, or some invention or ceremony of the medieval church, but one of the two Sacraments instituted by our Lord himself.  If nothing else, it strikes me that if we are to err in this, we should err on the side of caution.  There is no necessity for Sydney to take the step that many within that diocese seem bent on.  And if they do proceed with this, they will indeed break communion with millions in the Anglican world, and start their own tear in the fabric of the Communion.

[55] Posted by tjmcmahon on 9-2-2010 at 11:16 AM · [top]

David (53),
I think the point of view that most of us have is not that anyone here is an enemy.  What most of us feel is the sorrow that a beloved member of the family appears about to leave home on an adventure that we cannot follow them on, and that it will be a long time before contact will be re-established, and that indeed we may never share the joys of communion with them again.

[56] Posted by tjmcmahon on 9-2-2010 at 11:20 AM · [top]

Hey thanks, Tim Harris, comment #45, for that interesting summary.

[57] Posted by Sarah on 9-2-2010 at 12:24 PM · [top]

one other comment,

[Anglo-Catholics] are friends who do not insist that evangelicals accept their understanding of the priesthood

You’re entirely right. All they insist is that their (to the mind of many) unBiblical position on the priesthood be accepted as valid.

Fair enough. We’ve had no end of discussions here about that wink

However, turn it around and write to the Anglo-Catholics…

[Sydney Evangelicals] are friends who do not insist that Anglo-Catholics accept their understanding of the diaconate and sacraments

and, of course, all this despite (at least to my mind) far weaker Scriptural arguments against the Sydney position.

Again, I simply find myself asking “so why the fight over this when far greater breaches of Scriptural norms are embraced in parts of the Communion and yet accepted by many?”

[58] Posted by David Ould on 9-3-2010 at 05:31 AM · [top]

David,

Once again you write about “anglo-catholics”, but you won’t respond to the numerous queries put to you by evangelicals. Why not?

You wrote:

Again, I simply find myself asking “so why the fight over this when far greater breaches of Scriptural norms are embraced in parts of the Communion and yet accepted by many?”

Yes, but they aren’t embraced by me, nor by many others who have queried why Sydney Diocese is doing this. So that is just a red herring.

Why is Sydney Diocese changing an important aspect of anglican church government that was laid down by the reformers? What is the great imperative to do this, to abandon reformation teaching?

Or, let me ask the same question in a different way: Two centuries of Sydney leaders saw no need for this recent innovation of diaconal administration. T. C. Hammond, Howard Mowll, David Broughton Knox - they all clearly believed in Cranmer’s concept that presbyters (only) should preside over Holy Communion. If they did not, they would have said so. What has caused Sydney now to abandon doctrine held by its great names of the past? 

John Calvin in his Institutes devotes several sections to explaining why presbyters or pastors should preside at Holy Communion, and deacons should assist them. Why is Sydney suddenly abandoning Calvin’s doctrine, after holding to it for so long?

The same question, asked three different ways. What is the answer?

[59] Posted by MichaelA on 9-3-2010 at 07:31 AM · [top]

I understand the phrase “like enemies” to modify the word “treating,” with the implication that the parties involved are both friends - but that the quality of the treatment is being questioned.

For the reverse scenario in [58], I would find it more apt if you added that church treaching and tradition had long held to the Sydney view, and that the Anglo-Catholics were introducing an innovation that would force a break in communion. 

(FWIW - I would not characterise myself as Anglo-Catholic.)

[60] Posted by tired on 9-3-2010 at 07:32 AM · [top]

I can say that I’m one low-church evangelical Anglican who will not accept lay-led communion.  Perhaps it is my conservative Presbyterian background—where in spite of lay leadership in the form of Elders controling each congregation, the Lord’s Supper is ALWAYS presided over by an ordained pastor.  Presbyterians have a 2-to-3 office system (Deacons - Elders, or, Deacons - Ruling(lay) Elders - Teaching (ordained pastors) Elders) and amidst my (old) denomination (EPC) at least, holy Communion is NEVER lay led.

It seems to me that the “new” liberalism which threatens orthodox-Anglican unity comes from the charismatic wing of evangelicals.

[61] Posted by banned4Life on 9-3-2010 at 12:47 PM · [top]

I find it fascinating that on this issue, and that other HUGE elephant-at-the-table, women’s ordination, very conservative Calvinists (like myself), and the Anglo-Catholics are allies.  Those who theoretically should be most dis-alike on issues of all kinds have unity on the major issue(s) which threaten to break orthodox Anglicans apart.

Of course I’m a bit of a Lutheran when it comes to holy Communion, so who’s to say just how “truly reformed” (TM) anyone is, eh?

[62] Posted by banned4Life on 9-3-2010 at 01:23 PM · [top]

LuxRex,

Ironically, my diocese (Sydney) is well-known as a staunch opponent of Women’s Ordination during the 1980s and 1990s. Yet now it appears to be trying to introduce “Women’s Ordination by stealth” through this innovation of diaconal administration.

[63] Posted by MichaelA on 9-3-2010 at 06:55 PM · [top]

Mr Ould,
Where is the deacon with authority in Scripture?

Titus is sent to make ‘elders’ and deacons, different roles, with (slightly) different requirements (M.ThD not among them BTW). 

Where is the text supporting women (who are silent in the churches, not teaching nor usurping authority over men) and the deaconess preaching and leading communion?

If y’all need pastors, ordain qualified men to the duty.  Yeah, some might not be from the fancy seminary, but is it not better to put aside men’s organizational desires and keep God’s written requirements and ‘job descriptions’?

[64] Posted by Bo on 9-3-2010 at 10:45 PM · [top]

I am an Anglican in Sydney but not a Sydney Anglican, being a parishioner of St James’ King Street, which is one of Sydney’s few Anglo-Catholic parishes.  Notwithstanding that I come from the minority tradition in the Diocese, I agree with the comments made by Tim Harris and MichaeA above, especially Tim Harris’ historical summary in post #45.  Chris McGillion’s book, The Chosen Ones, to which Tim Harris refers is an interesting book as it is a form of oral history, giving voice by way of lengthy quotes to a number of key players in the Diocese in the transition between Archbishops Goodhew and Jensen.  I think it lays out clearly why the judgment of history will be that Harry Goodhew was the last Anglican Archbishop of Sydney and that the trajectory of the REPA push has been to a new denomination - Presbyterianism with bishops (a comment meant to summarise rather than offend).  As to whether the push for lay or diaconal presidency (and it was only the latter that Bishop Davies argued to the Appellate Tribunal) my view is that Sarah Hey is on the money, despite not having visited our sunny shores.  It is possible that the Sydney Synod next month will shed some light one way or the other.  Of course, given my parish, it is unlikely to affect me personally, but if it does then I know that there is a welcome home on the other side of Hyde Park!

[65] Posted by Roland Cartwright on 9-13-2010 at 06:43 AM · [top]

[65] Roland Cartwright

I think it lays out clearly why the judgment of history will be that Harry Goodhew was the last Anglican Archbishop of Sydney and that the trajectory of the REPA push has been to a new denomination - Presbyterianism with bishops

And yet Anglo-Catholicism is not a new denomination?  It is not rightly described as Roman Catholicism without a Pope?  Must we describe the difference between Matt Kennedy and David Ould as essential even as we call the difference between Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic non-essential?  If a man must affirm each of the above propositions in order to be properly called an Anglican, then there is no doctrinal coherence at the Anglican center.  Anglican unity truly is built upon the external forms of government and prayer book, and not upon a foundation of spirit and truth.  And liberals rightly call hypocrites all those who would deny them their place in Anglicanism.  For liberals have the same government and the same liturgy, and what more is required of them?  Spirit and truth?  The same spirit and truth that does not protect David Ould from expulsion?  Tell me what coherent organizing principle can unite the doctrinal polar opposites of the Reformation even as it casts David Ould into the outer darkness?

carl

[66] Posted by carl on 9-13-2010 at 08:03 AM · [top]

Carl (@ #66),
If you knew the history of the Sydney Diocese and the fate of the Memorialists in the 1930s under Archbishop Mowll, then you’d appreciate the irony in your final question.  Fortunately eighty years on no-one in Australia is now being cast out, which may have more to do with the Australian Church being a group of Dioceses that occasionally act as a Church rather than being a National Church with Dioceses, but it is still a happier outcome.  As to what unifies Anglicanism, I don’t know and I think it is an open question as to whether it is actually coherent.  However, for the majority of Anglicans in Sydney it is no longer the prayer book.  Except for the first (usually 8am) service, in most parishes all other services are non-liturgical and/or use a form of service that has only a tenuous relationship with Anglican liturgy and this has been the case for well over 20 years. Given that there has been virtually a generation that doesn’t know Anglican worship (and even using the word worship causes consternation in some quarters) it is not surprising that it has morphed into something else.

[67] Posted by Roland Cartwright on 9-13-2010 at 04:38 PM · [top]

Hi Roland,

Except for the first (usually 8am) service, in most parishes all other services are non-liturgical and/or use a form of service that has only a tenuous relationship with Anglican liturgy and this has been the case for well over 20 years.

Ummm, the service I went to in a very typical Sutherland Shire parish last Sunday had every element of Cranmer’s Holy Communion service in it, as far as I could observe.

It was very low church, it was called a “contemporary worship” service (as opposed to the 7.30am “traditional service”), it was held in an auditorium and the priest wore an open neck shirt, but all the elements of the 1662 BCP service were there, as best I could tell (I wasn’t taking notes).

I can’t say if this applies to every service in every parish in Sydney, of course. But whilst I am quite happy to criticise Sydney, let’s not go overboard in our comments!

Whilst your points are generally well made, let’s also not forget that the anglo-catholic side in Sydney (and elsewhere in Australia) doesn’t exactly have clean hands, if you want to look at the historical deterioration of Anglicanism in Australia. Most of the deterioration (including Sydney’s trend away from Anglicanism) can be clearly dated to the push for female ordination which began in the 1970s and was most eagerly accepted in anglo-catholic dioceses.

[Written with very great respect for Roland, who probably hasn’t worked out who I am yet…!]

[68] Posted by MichaelA on 9-13-2010 at 05:40 PM · [top]

Carl,

You are overreacting in the extreme. You are also drawing a false analogy.

If for example, an Anglican group should want to adopt Baptist church government and doctrine, then other Anglicans would be right to question whether they should continue to be part of the Anglican Communion. It wouldn’t mean that they weren’t Christian, indeed they would probably continue to enjoy very close relations with Anglicans, just as do many Baptist and Presbyterian groups today.

The questions being asked now simply recognise that if someone doesn’t want to hold to Anglican polity, then they shouldn’t call themselves Anglican. In Sydney’s case, the attempts to adopt diaconal and lay administration raise a serious question as to whether the Diocese wants to be Anglican anymore. That doesn’t mean they (or rather, we) are bad people. Nor does it mean we are not Christian. But it does raise an issue as to whether we should be in the Anglican Communion.

Your position would essentially require that baptists accept me as a Baptist, on the basis that we both believe the same gospel, and that I must accept them as Anglican, on the same basis. That just doesn’t follow: I accept my Baptist friends as Christian, but I don’t accept them as Anglican, nor would they want me to.

[69] Posted by MichaelA on 9-13-2010 at 07:52 PM · [top]

Roland thanks for coming and commenting here. I always appreciate hearing different points of view and its good for our international readers to see the breadth of opinion here in Sydney.

Thanks for the clarification on a key issue. You wrote:

Fortunately eighty years on no-one in Australia is now being cast out, which may have more to do with the Australian Church being a group of Dioceses that occasionally act as a Church rather than being a National Church with Dioceses, but it is still a happier outcome.

Yes, this is true, not least in Sydney. I would observe, however, that Anglo-Catholics in Sydney have a better time of it than many Evangelicals in other dioceses.

Yet, as Carl notes, why is it that Anglo-Catholicism which all its understood deviances from the letter, let alone the spirit of the 39 Articles (which is still the official doctrine of the Australian Church) is somehow “Anglican” when classical protestantism isn’t? As Carl observes, it seems a very strange place from which to throw stones.

Nevertheless, I genuinely appreciate you being here. St James is a favourite of mine, both from visits and a dear friendship with a regular member who passed from cancer a few years back. She showed great kindness to my family when we first moved here and became our kids’ honorary grandmother in Oz.

[70] Posted by David Ould on 9-13-2010 at 07:55 PM · [top]

Yet, as Carl notes, why is it that Anglo-Catholicism which all its understood deviances from the letter, let alone the spirit of the 39 Articles (which is still the official doctrine of the Australian Church) is somehow “Anglican” when classical protestantism isn’t? As Carl observes, it seems a very strange place from which to throw stones.

David, when are you and Carl and others going to acknowledge that most of the stones (at least on Stand Firm) are not being thrown from the position of Anglo-Catholicism?

I am pretty disappointed with this inability to engage with others who hold genuine concerns. On all of these threads, there seems to be a determination by the proponents of diaconal administration that they will never acknowledge that ANY evangelical has a problem with diaconal administration. This is very surprising, given that most of the posts criticising Sydney’s push for diaconal administration have not come from Anglo-Catholics.

I am similarly surprised that you would suggest that Sydney stands with “classical protestantism”. The strongest criticism that has been levelled against Sydney on this issue is that it has departed from classical protestantism.

[71] Posted by MichaelA on 9-13-2010 at 08:05 PM · [top]

Michael, I don’t think I’ve ever failed to acknowledge it. I do think, however, that carl and I have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that evangelicals who criticise appear (I use the term deliberately) to tolerate far greater movements away from Anglican polity and doctrine on the part of the Anglo-Catholics.

As for your last sentence. Again, I understand what you’re saying. Personally, I take the position that protestantism is semper reformanda and that this is one such example.

[72] Posted by David Ould on 9-13-2010 at 08:08 PM · [top]

David,

“Michael, I don’t think I’ve ever failed to acknowledge it.”

Resectfully, I think that you fail to acknowledge it most of the time. However, I agree that you have given *more* acknowledgment of the existence of evangelical concerns than any other proponent of diaconal administration on these threads (a tiny fraction is, after all, more than none).

On your thread you promised a response to several people’s concerns almost two weeks ago (see #144 on your thread). We have never seen any response from you, yet you are very ready to jump into the lists now to joust with an anglo-catholic. That is all very well, but it just reinforces the impression that a certain group within Sydney are incapable of responding to evangelical concerns.

“I do think, however, that carl and I have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that evangelicals who criticise appear (I use the term deliberately) to tolerate far greater movements away from Anglican polity and doctrine on the part of the Anglo-Catholics.”

I don’t think you have. What I see is a repeated assertion that anyone who argues against diaconal administration from an evangelical perspective is not acknowledging the authority of scripture. Its pretty offensive, actually, as well as being untrue.

In any case, which of the many evangelicals on these threads who have questioned Sydney’s position do you accuse of “tolerating far greater movements away from Anglican polity and doctrine” – Matt Kennedy? Bo? LuxRex? Myself? On what basis? I doubt that you can point to any.

The real issue appears to be, once again, that a certain group in Sydney have a mental blind spot. They are simply unable to acknowledge that evangelicals exist outside of their own narrow clique.

“As for your last sentence. Again, I understand what you’re saying. Personally, I take the position that protestantism is semper reformanda and that this is one such example.”

I understand that you believe that, but then why add the word “classic” to your claim in #70?

[73] Posted by MichaelA on 9-13-2010 at 08:51 PM · [top]

On this point (refusal to acknowledge that evangelical concerns about lay and diaconal administration exist), the following link goes to a Sydney Diocese Standing Committee paper from 2004:
http://www.sds.asn.au/assets/Documents/synod/synod2004/layanddiaconaladministration.pdf

The problem in Sydney SC’s methodology is apparent in paragraph 12:

“12. A contrary view, however, is that no matter how long we delay authorising lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper, this will not prevent considerable opposition to the move on the grounds that it would be a break with Anglican tradition. The time will never be right, because there is a fundamental difference of opinion between an evangelical view of ordained ministry and the liberal-catholic view that has been so influential in the Anglican Communion in recent decades. Additionally, the patience of the Synod is not likely to be unlimited, since it began its consideration of the subject more than 25 years ago.”

Note the denial of the existence of any evangelical concern about lay administration. To the Sydney Standing Committee, there are only two opinions about lay/diaconal administration: “evangelicals” (who are assumed to agree with it) and “Liberal-Catholics” (assumed to be against it). This is truly living in a state of denial.

Quite how SC arrived at this conclusion is difficult to fathom: Not only is there a long list of historical Anglican leaders with impeccable evangelical credentials who saw no need for lay or diaconal administration, but there are also plenty of modern Evangelical Anglicans who have serious difficulties with the idea. Standing Committee does not appear willing to acknowledge that any of these people exist (or existed).

[74] Posted by MichaelA on 9-13-2010 at 08:56 PM · [top]

Michael,
I genuinely don’t know what can be added. The arguments have been made several times. What is to be gained from repeating them now?
you will have to raise with others why they, to your mind, don’t acknowledge other evangelicals. For my part, I fully understand what you’re saying - I just don’t agree. But the argument has been made.

I don’t think it’s the case that anyone is claiming that other evangelicals don’t take Scripture seriously. Rather (as with other issues too) we suggest to other evangelicals that they are not acting consistently with their high view of Scripture. That’s a difference I’m sure you understand.

As for the word “classic”, I’m not sure how you’re confused by my usage. I understand protestantism to hold to “semper reformanda”. By “classic” I simply mean “a long-held position”. If you’re not happy with that usage then I’m more than happy for you to choose another word.

[75] Posted by David Ould on 9-13-2010 at 09:38 PM · [top]

[69] MichaelA

You are overreacting in the extreme.

Am I?  Matt Kennedy began this thread by asserting this:

I see no clear biblical impediment to lay presidency. Nor do I see any biblical reason to deny the authority of any church to limit Eucharistic celebrations to the ordained presbyteriat. To my mind, the absence of clear biblical instruction one way or the other means that the matter must necessarily be considered adiaphora or non-essential

So I am immediately left wondering what distance actually exists between David Ould and Matt Kennedy.  Matt Kennedy is still considered a good Anglican, while David Ould is being instructed to go join the Presbyterians.  Evidently, a good Anglican can believe diaconal administration is adiaphora, so long as he thinks it should never actually be performed.  That’s why I referenced the difference between Matt and David.  Matt began his post by conceding David’s point, and then proceeded to argue for forbearance for the sake of others. 

Second, I am not making a false analogy, so your point about Baptist church gov’t is irrelevant.  I am asking a question.  I want to know what concept of doctrinal unity allows for cohabitation with a false gospel - remember Matt, good Anglican that he is, admitted that ACs teach a false Gospel - but does not allow for compromise on this issue?  How is it that Anglicanism can tolerate the former and not the later?  Is church order really more important than the definition of the Gospel?  It is impossible to come to any other conclusion since the Anglican Communion is ready to tar and feather Sydney even as it lives in peace with a truncated version of Rome.

Did you read what Roland Cartwright said? 

As to what unifies Anglicanism, I don’t know and I think it is an open question as to whether it is actually coherent.

So evidently he is unwilling to defend any defined doctrinal center to Anglicanism, but he is willing to say that Sydney is moving away from Anglicanism, and becoming “Presbyterian with Bishops.”  According to what?  He just refused to define the center that would allow him to make that assertion.  Unless of course he is referring purely to the external of church order.  Do you suppose that is the case?  Is Anglicanism defined purely by church order?  One thing is certain, that idea ties together all the threads of opposition that have been raised against Sydney.

Fourth, I never questioned your commitment to the authority of Scripture.  I said the case against Sydney is based upon tradition, because Scripture doesn’t speak to the issue.  I say this because it’s true.  Scripture doesn’t speak to the issue.  I asked you to make the Scriptural case.  You said it was a red herring.  You pointed me to Calvin and the Institutes.  I asked where Calvin made the case.  You said the question was a red herring.  But I already know there is no case.  I know this because there is no case to make.  It’s easy for you to prove me wrong, though.  All you have to do is make the case from Scripture.  And I don’t mean throwing out random verses about elders, and then demanding the conclusion under contention.  Prove the case.  The fact that neither you nor anyone else has made that case speaks volumes. 

carl
who is traveling and has extremely limited access to a computer

[76] Posted by carl on 9-13-2010 at 11:13 PM · [top]

RE: “I want to know what concept of doctrinal unity allows for cohabitation with a false gospel - remember Matt, good Anglican that he is, admitted that ACs teach a false Gospel - but does not allow for compromise on this issue?”

Easy really—as has been already pointed out, it’s not a concept of “doctrinal unity”—it’s a concept of organizational unity.

It’s the same “concept” that allows Baptists to delete Nice Baptists who happen to consecrate “bishops” while keeping within their midst works-salvation fundies who preach a “false gospel”.

A simple category error.  One can be a bad tennis player, a bad Baptist, a bad doctor but let Sarah claim to be a doctor or a Baptist and it is manifestly untrue.

[77] Posted by Sarah on 9-14-2010 at 12:03 AM · [top]

RE: “As for the word “classic”, I’m not sure how you’re confused by my usage. I understand protestantism to hold to “semper reformanda”. By “classic” I simply mean “a long-held position”. If you’re not happy with that usage then I’m more than happy for you to choose another word.”

Actually it was pretty simple for him to interpret David’s usage of the words “classical protestantism” as “referring to Sydney lay administration of the Eucharist” in comment 70 since David implied precisely that when he stated that “classical protestantatism” was wrongly not considered “Anglican” by Michael A and other evangelicals.

Thus MichaelA’s question is apt—why call Sydney lay administration “classical protestantism” when lay administration is not remotely “classical protestantism.”

[78] Posted by Sarah on 9-14-2010 at 12:36 AM · [top]

Sarah, I don’t recall saying that diaconal administration (or lay administration, for that matter) is “classical protestantism”. Rather, I said that the principle of “semper reformanda” is.

[79] Posted by David Ould on 9-14-2010 at 01:02 AM · [top]

David Ould at #79,

Actually, I think both Sarah and I were referring to the second last paragraph of your post at #70, wherein you clearly implied that Sydney’s position was “classical Protestantism”. It isn’t.

David Ould wrote at #75,

“I genuinely don’t know what can be added. The arguments have been made several times. What is to be gained from repeating them now?”

The arguments have indeed been made, by me and others, however I don’t recall you responding to them except in a very general way. If you don’t wish to respond to them, then that is fine. But I am just saying that you should not then ever imply that the only opposition to Sydney’s endorsement of lay and diaconal administration comes from the anglo-catholic position!

“Rather (as with other issues too) we suggest to other evangelicals that they are not acting consistently with their high view of Scripture. That’s a difference I’m sure you understand.”

Indeed. It should be equally clear that that is exactly what other evangelicals are suggesting about you!

Further, you wrote above that you hold to “semper reformanda”. But that phrase does not mean “reform for reform’s sake”. Rather, it means reform to bring the church back into line with the teaching and practice of the Apostles, whenever it departs from them. And that is where Sydney fails to make its case on this issue: How does diaconal administration bring church teaching into line with Apostolic teaching?

This is all the more marked when you consider the vast array of evangelical teachers that had no difficulty with presbyterial administration: Calvin, Cranmer, Whitefield, Wesley, Simeon, Ryle, Barker, Mowll, Hammond… I am not saying that those teachers are inerrant of course. But I am just intrigued as to why they all missed this great new epiphany discovered by Sydney in about 1977?

[80] Posted by MichaelA on 9-14-2010 at 01:13 AM · [top]

Carl at #76,

1. A few mistakes in your post:

* So far as I can see, Matt+ did not ever “admit that ACs teach a false gospel”. In fact, he was careful to explain his position, which is quite different to that.

* No-one has suggested that “church order is more important than the definition of the gospel”.

* The Anglican Communion is not “ready to tar and feather Sydney” as you assert, nor does it “live in peace with a truncated version of Rome”.

2. Your argument about adiaphora does not wash: Most things that define the differences between denominations are adiaphora, but that does not mean that a denomination is not entitled to define its own polity. Hence my example about Baptists or Presbyterians was right on the money: I cannot expect to be accepted as a Presbyterian unless I accept presbyterian church government (among other things). The same goes for being Anglican. Presbyterial administration of communion is a basic part of Anglican polity, so if a diocese won’t accept that, then it raises a legitimate question as to why that diocese should be part of the Anglican Communion. I haven’t arrived at a firm answer to that for myself yet, and I am not aware that the orthodox primates have either, but it’s a legitimate question to ask.

3. You seem to think that it’s a bad thing to be consigned to the Presbyterians! Why?

4. You ask:

“Is Anglicanism defined purely by church order?”

No, not purely. But it certainly is one of the things that defines it (as it defines every denomination). More to the point, church order is a scriptural principle. Its not just to be dismissed or disregarded – a measure or action that is contrary to the principle of church order is contrary to scripture.

5. You wrote:

“I said the case against Sydney is based upon tradition, because Scripture doesn’t speak to this issue”.

Scripture speaks a great deal to this issue. I will repeat the case yet again:

1. Firstly, Father Matt’s injunction to consider the needs of weaker brethren is a scriptural injunction. Its not to be lightly dismissed or scorned.

2. Secondly, the principle of church order is also a scriptural principle. It is also not be disregarded. It has direct application in this case in the following way:

The polity of the Anglican Communion is based on the system of church government laid down by the Anglican and Continental reformers. This includes the provision that administration of communion is to be done by the presbyter(s) of a congregation, whereas deacon(s) assist the presbyter(s). The Reformers considered that this was the system of church government that was consistent with the teachings and practices of the Apostles.

That being the case, two consequences follow:

(a) If any part of the Anglican Communion wishes to change the system, it behoves it to consult with the whole Communion, not act unilaterally;

(b) In circumstances where the reformers gave a scriptural justification for the practice of presbyterial administration, and where it has been accepted without question by generations of Anglicans (including some of the greatest evangelical leaders), then the onus lies on those who wish to change it to show a strong scriptural case.

This last point is enough to dispose of the rest of Carl’s arguments: The onus does not lie on me or anyone else to make the case for the existing Anglican order. The onus rather lies on those who advocate change.

So far, I don’t think anyone on the threads has come up with a positive reason as to why the change is necessary, and some of the reasons advanced in the past seem rather unlikely. In particular, the alleged shortage of presbyters seems to be illusory.

As I have written several times before, there may be other motivations behind Sydney’s move. In particular, it may well be a desire to conform to the spirit of the age by implementing a de facto ordination of women.

[81] Posted by MichaelA on 9-14-2010 at 01:21 AM · [top]

Mr.  Ould, where is the scripture for a deacon with authortiy.  I’m still waiting for that citation.  You’re tossing away a lot of history based on what, exactly?

[82] Posted by Bo on 9-14-2010 at 02:06 AM · [top]

it may well be a desire to conform to the spirit of the age by implementing a de facto ordination of women.

If Dean Munday’s observation about how they define ordination is correct, then I’m not sure if it’s possible for Sydney to be for or against (you-know-what). 

FWIW, I no longer look to Sydney as a bulwark in that debate.

[83] Posted by J Eppinga on 9-14-2010 at 11:59 AM · [top]

For some strange reason, the Sydney threads jogged this gem from the cobwebs, earlier today:

I remember that one fateful day when Coach took me aside. I knew what was coming. “You don’t have to tell me,” I said. “I’m off the team, aren’t I?” “Well,” said Coach, “you never were really ON the team. You made that uniform you’re wearing out of rags and towels, and your helmet is a toy space helmet. You show up at practice and then either steal the ball and make us chase you to get it back, or you try to tackle people at inappropriate times.” It was all true what he was saying. And yet, I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that’s when I felt the handcuffs go on. 

- Jack Handy

[84] Posted by J Eppinga on 9-14-2010 at 07:29 PM · [top]

Hi Michael,

You are correct that I was painting with far too broad a brush and that life in Sydney in more variegated that both its champions and detractors often depict.  That said, the happy circumstance of a communion service that follows Cranmer in outline, if not in phrasing, is not uniform and the celebration of Holy Communion (in whatever form) in the main morning service is typically a once a month event.  Most morning services have a different structure, or no structure at all, and where they have not been reduced to being a vehicle for the sermon, are just as likely to have been influenced by the choice of music (even Hillsong) as Cranmer.  Perhaps I am still generalising but if so I’m not saying anything different to what David Peterson of Moore College said in his piece “A Church without worship” that appeared on the Sydney Anglican website last year on the 23rd of February. If you accept lex orandi, lex credendi (and you may not) then it is not surprising that that Sydney’s theology is changing.  You’ve doubtless also seen the comments in both Southern Cross and in other exchanges on the Diocesan website, made almost exclusively by evangelicals, asking whether something has been lost where prayer book forms have been discarded.

Contrary to some of the comments/responses above, my intent is not criticise or to “throw stones” with these remarks but to simply give some additional context as to why the current trajectory towards lay/diaconal administration finds fertile ground.  I think it is also important to acknowledge that the driving motivations of proponents within Sydney for this development are a desire to give positive expression to a pre-eminence of preaching of the Word as much, or more, as the desire to bring down what is regarded as a wrong understanding of the priesthood (even if the actions here are two sides of one coin). I don’t agree with the theology that drives the proposed change, and for different reasons neither do you, but I don’t share your confidence that inconsistency with the doctrine of Cranmer et al will prove to be a challenge and possible bulwark, given the decline in prayer book use and influence, albeit it will be disconcerting to many. 

And yes, no party has clean hands and the Appellate Tribunal erred not in its decision requiring a General Synod canon for diaconal presidency but in its earlier judgement that women bishops did not.  But that is really another topic.

Cheers, Roland

BTW - I haven’t worked out who you are yet.  Can I have a hint?  Did you ever live in Craigholm Street?

[85] Posted by Roland Cartwright on 9-15-2010 at 01:05 AM · [top]

Personally, I don’t know what Australians believe, and am NOT interested in being told.  I have another point to make.  I have never heard any Anglo-Catholic say that regular participation in the Holy Eucharist is necessary for salvation.  That is not what I believe, and I am a founding member of the Anglican Catholic Church.  I believe that a valid priesthood is necessary for a valid Eucharist to take place, and a valid Eucharist is necessary in order to have a guaranteed channel of God’s grace.  This is not the same as saying the Eucharist is necessary for salvation.  If it were, then we could only conclude that Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, etc. do not have salvation.  Do you know anyone who makes that assertion?  I don’t.  So if you are going to argue with Anglo-Catholics,  at least let us speak for ourselves.  As for Sydney, tell those folks to Wake Up:{

[86] Posted by GB on 9-15-2010 at 08:53 AM · [top]

Hi GB, in my many discussions with Anglo Catholics you are the first to say “no” to the question of whether the reception of the Eucarist is necessary for salvation. Most everyone else I have spoken with takes the more common Roman position outlined here:

The doctrine of the Church is that Holy Communion is morally necessary for salvation, that is to say, without the graces of this sacrament it would be very difficult to resist grave temptations and avoid grievous sin. Moreover, there is according to theologians a Divine precept by which all are bound to receive communion at least some times during life. How often this precept urges outside the danger of death it is not easy to say, but many hold that the Church has practically determined the Divine precept by the law of the Fourth Council of Lateran (c.xxi) confirmed by Trent, which obliges the faithful to receive Communion once each year within Paschal Time.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07402a.htm

And explained here.
http://standrewparish.blogspot.com/2009/05/is-eucharist-necessary-for-salvation.html.

So while I am happy to hear that you do not believe the Eucharist is necessary, I would suggest that yours is not necessarily the majority report.

[87] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-15-2010 at 09:07 AM · [top]

Hey GB thanks for commenting.  It was my understanding also—from extensive conversations and reading—that the Eucharist was considered a salvific sacrament.

That is a bit different from saying “one must have the Eucharist in order to be justified and sanctified and arrive in heaven.”

But don’t AngloCatholics consider the Eucharist to be salvific?  Hence, that is why it is a communion-breaking offense when a Eucharist is purported to be delivered by a non-priest, since it then becomes no longer the Eucharist?  Hence the reason why WO is so catastrophic for ACs???

[88] Posted by Sarah on 9-15-2010 at 09:12 AM · [top]

I’ll follow up on those links listed above later on. but I will admit that mine may not be the majority report, as you say.  We may have some educating to do.  What I am more concerned about is the Anglo-Catholics who don’t really believe in the concept of salvation at all, but are really unitarian.

[89] Posted by GB on 9-15-2010 at 09:16 AM · [top]

So while I am happy to hear that you do not believe the Eucharist is necessary, I would suggest that yours is not necessarily the majority report.

Father,
I said pretty much the same thing in [16] above. I suggest that the Catholic Encyclopedia article that you quote from also pretty much says the same thing. The essential issue is whether Christians are bound to the Church’s interpretation of the divine mandate to receive the Eucharist contained in Holy Scripture, and not that the reception of the Eucharist is itself salvific. This also answers Sarah’s question; if we are commanded to receive the Eucharist, then it matters greatly if what we’re receiving is not the Eucharist.

[90] Posted by Paul Goings on 9-15-2010 at 09:21 AM · [top]

Thank you, Sarah.  I consider the Eucharist and all sacraments to be salvific.  Salvation is the purpose of the Church, in the first place.  Why would we have sacraments which are not salvific?

[91] Posted by GB on 9-15-2010 at 09:23 AM · [top]

I would certainly agree with Paul’s statement in #90 above, as well.

[92] Posted by GB on 9-15-2010 at 09:27 AM · [top]

RE: “I consider the Eucharist and all sacraments to be salvific.”

Hi GB, I don’t.

I do consider them to be *sanctifying* sacraments which as we all know highlights one of the big differences between ACs and Protestants.

Remember—Protestants don’t conflate justification with sanctification.  Sanctification occurs after justification in the Protestant ordo salutis.

Hence we are back to the issue for ACs.  *Since* the Eucharist is considered as salvific, it is of vital importance that the Eucharist be performed by a valid [as ACs define that word] priest [as the ACs define that word.]

So for a Protestant like me, for instance—I oppose WO and believe it to be in violation of Biblical commands.  But—though WO does violate scripture [as many many many most most most all all all churches do in some way, since none are perfect]—it does not jeopardize one’s salvation.

[93] Posted by Sarah on 9-15-2010 at 09:28 AM · [top]

On my way to the airport.  Just stopped in to say I am not ignoring this thread.  smile  Once more into the breach! For England, Harry and St George ... but after I get home.

carl

[94] Posted by carl on 9-15-2010 at 09:35 AM · [top]

Yes, I certainly agree that WO violates scripture, but it also jeopardizes a valid Eucharist, and a valid Eucharist is necessary…....!

[95] Posted by GB on 9-15-2010 at 09:35 AM · [top]

Necessary for . . . . ?  ; > )

[96] Posted by Sarah on 9-15-2010 at 09:50 AM · [top]

Matt Kennedy:

As an Anglo-Catholic, it is my understanding that the two Dominical sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion, are indeed generally necessary to salvation, insofar as we have been commanded by Our Lord Himself to receive them both. 

But, where the Sacrament of the Altar is concerned, it does not follow that Protestants are in spiritual jeopardy if they do not receive elements that, from a Catholic standpoint, have been properly consecrated.

I do not believe that a layperson, a deacon, or a Protestant minister can celebrate a fully valid Eucharist or confect the sacrament of Holy Communion, and I could not in good conscience receive communion at such a service. 

However, if the proper elements of bread and wine (or grape juice) are used, together with the words of institution (“This is my Body . . . This is my Blood”) from the New Testament, and it is indeed the intention of the celebrant and the congregation to “do this in remembrance of” the One who commanded that it be done, then I have no doubt that the participants are provided with the necessary means of grace associated with this sacrament, only in an extra-sacramental manner, based on their faith.

To me, any suggestion that a Protestant Christian who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who has been baptized with water in the name of the Trinity, might not be saved because he has not received what a Catholic Christian believes to be validly consecrated elements in his observance of the Lord’s Supper . . . well, that is just monstrous nonsense, in my opinion!  And I don’t know anyone who thinks otherwise.

So, I guess there is Anglo-Catholic - and then there is Anglo-Catholic!
wink

[97] Posted by episcopalienated on 9-15-2010 at 10:00 AM · [top]

As an Anglo-Catholic, it is my understanding that the two Dominical sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion, are indeed generally necessary to salvation, insofar as we have been commanded by Our Lord Himself to receive them both. 

Don’t forget the thief on the cross. He was not baptised in the name of the trinity (he may have received John’s baptism, or may not); he certainly never received communion. Yet he received salvation. Therefore Holy Communion and baptism in the name of the trinity are not universally necessary for salvation.

That is not to say, of course, that it is not of immense advantage. It does not have to be strictly necessary for salvation to be exceptionally advantageous towards salvation so that it is a rare individual indeed who is saved and does not receive its benefits. We (particularly the Church whose where the correct distribution of the sacraments is essential) tinker with it at our peril.

[98] Posted by Boring Bloke on 9-15-2010 at 10:13 AM · [top]

Boring Bloke:

Therefore Holy Communion and baptism in the name of the trinity are not universally necessary for salvation.

I certainly won’t forget the Good Thief and I have no doubts about his salvation, but neither will I forget that “generally” and “universally” are not equivalent terms.  My choice of the former was quite deliberate, as was my use of italics.

But thanks for the heads up.

[99] Posted by episcopalienated on 9-15-2010 at 10:27 AM · [top]

What I am more concerned about is the Anglo-Catholics who don’t really believe in the concept of salvation at all, but are really unitarian.

In some sense, you have answered your own concern.  Unitarians, and others who do not believe in the concept of Salvation, are NOT Anglo Catholics.  There is no such thing as a unitarian Anglo Catholics- the term is an oxymoron.  Rather like “she is an Anglo Catholic priest.”  Now, as to what so called “affirming catholics” believe or don’t believe, that is an open question.  But they are not catholic in any sense of the word, having turned their backs on the Vincentian canon, Sacrament of Matrimony and, often as not, handing out communion wafers to anyone who happens by.

Just because someone in a chasuble with a thurible claims to be Anglo Catholic doesn’t make it so.

[100] Posted by tjmcmahon on 9-15-2010 at 01:14 PM · [top]

#96- Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

#97- grape juice? that is improper matter and hence not   valid

[101] Posted by via orthodoxy on 9-15-2010 at 02:42 PM · [top]

via orthodoxy:

#97- grape juice? that is improper matter and hence not valid

No, it isn’t valid.  But then, I wasn’t making a case for the “validity” of the Protestant Communion service, no matter what they use.

Hence my use of the term “extra-sacramental” to describe the benefits they derive from their observance of it.

[102] Posted by episcopalienated on 9-15-2010 at 08:16 PM · [top]

Newman used the term “quasi-sacramental” in Difficulties of Anglicans. 
He didn’t address the situation of, say, Methodists, but it isn’t difficult to expand the use of his term. 
Susan Peterson

[103] Posted by eulogos on 9-15-2010 at 08:26 PM · [top]

eulogos:

Newman . . . Difficulties of Anglicans.

And the old boy turned out to be one of those himself.

Of course, there are some who think he always was. LOL

[104] Posted by episcopalienated on 9-15-2010 at 09:22 PM · [top]

1. GB and tjmcmahon remind us of an important point about the term “Anglo-Catholic”: it is appropriated by people of a wide range of belief, some of them mutually exclusive. The same could be said of terms like “Calvinist”, “Evangelical”, “Protestant” and of course “Christian”.

2. Episcopalienated wrote at #97:

I do not believe that a layperson, a deacon, or a Protestant minister can celebrate a fully valid Eucharist or confect the sacrament of Holy Communion, and I could not in good conscience receive communion at such a service.

Since Anglicans are protestant (just as they are catholic), then you may have a difficulty! Cranmer, Ridley, Jewel and Hooker were always clear that they were protestant, just as they were catholic.

3. Boring Bloke at #98 puts it very well. Jesus taught us that participating in Holy Communion is not *necessary* for salvation, but it is nevertheless something that all Christians will try to do and indeed will want to do, regularly.

4. In John 6:53 (as referred to by Via Orthodoxy), Jesus teaches us that eating his flesh and drinking his blood is necessary for salvation, but that is not the same thing as participating in the earthly service. The thief on the cross ate the flesh and drank the blood of the Son of Man, even though he did not once participate in an earthly sacrament.

5. To put it another way, Christ taught and we Anglicans believe that a person who participates in a service of Holy Communion without faith, even though they eat the bread and drink the wine, bring only condemnation on themselves. As it states in our Articles of Religion:

XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord’s Supper.
The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.

6. I think there may be some misunderstanding on the part of many readers as to what “Protestants” believe. The term of course has almost as wide a meaning as “Catholic”. But there are protestants and protestants, just as there are catholics and catholics. Here is an extract from the Westminster Larger Catechism. This was formulated by the English and Scottish puritans in 1647 and it is still a fundamental document of many modern Reformed Churches:

Question 168: What is the Lord’s Supper?

Answer: The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace; have their union and communion with him confirmed; testify and renew their thankfulness, and engagement to God, and their mutual love and fellowship each with other, as members of the same mystical body.

Question 169: How has Christ appointed bread and wine to be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper?

Answer: Christ has appointed the ministers of his Word, in the administration of this sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, to set apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving, and prayer; to take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the communicants: who are, by the same appointment, to take and eat the bread, and to drink the wine, in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was broken and given, and his blood shed, for them.

Question 170: How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord’s Supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?

Answer: As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses; so they that worthily communicate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a spiritual manner; yet truly and really, while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death.

Note the point that the puritans made: The body and blood of Christ are *just as much* present as is the physical bread and the physical wine, but only a person who eats with true faith will gain any benefit from this. In this respect, the Puritans did not materially differ from the Anglican Reformers.

[105] Posted by MichaelA on 9-15-2010 at 10:52 PM · [top]

Jesus chose the time of the Jewish Feast of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum – giving his disciples his body and his blood as the true bread of heaven.  Thou didst give them bread from heaven. Containing in itself all sweetness.

[106] Posted by via orthodoxy on 9-15-2010 at 11:16 PM · [top]

MichaelA:

Since Anglicans are protestant (just as they are catholic), then you may have a difficulty!

Oh, it’s much too late for me to worry about that now!

But it’s all good and there’s no difficulty anyway.

It should have been obvious, and probably was to most folks, that I was referring to a Protestant minister who is not also a Catholic priest.  (In the Prayer Book sense - just Catholic, not Roman Catholic.) 

A presbyter who presides at an Anglican Eucharist is both, and Anglo-Catholics are Protestants too.  That is not a novel concept for us.

We think that there are sound reasons for taking our stand with the English Reformation (you guys can’t have it all to yourselves) as opposed to . . . say . . . the Council of Trent. 

But thanks for keeping an eye on us, just in case.  We’re a slippery lot and we do bear watching. wink

[107] Posted by episcopalienated on 9-15-2010 at 11:34 PM · [top]

Episcopalienated,

I stand suitably and subtly chastised!

[108] Posted by MichaelA on 9-16-2010 at 12:08 AM · [top]

Roland,

Most morning services have a different structure, or no structure at all, and where they have not been reduced to being a vehicle for the sermon, are just as likely to have been influenced by the choice of music (even Hillsong) as Cranmer.

I have only visited perhaps 4 to 5 different Anglican churches in Sydney in recent years, so I can hardly claim comprehensive knowledge.

But, every one of the non-communion services that I can remember included recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed, plus general Confession and a declaration of Absolution by the service leader. I think I would remember if a service didn’t include those elements, because its what I expect as normal in a Sydney Anglican church.

But of course 4-5 churches is only a fraction of the whole diocese!

“If you accept lex orandi, lex credendi (and you may not)...”

Well, I see it a bit like the chicken and the egg, it could work either way. But I agree they are intimately related.

BTW - I haven’t worked out who you are yet.  Can I have a hint?  Did you ever live in Craigholm Street?

Yes I did. That only narrows it down to about 40 people (including every one of our rectors up to and including Tony Tress)!

[109] Posted by MichaelA on 9-16-2010 at 12:12 AM · [top]

Via,
How do you match that with John 6?

[110] Posted by Bo on 9-16-2010 at 12:27 AM · [top]

Bo,
What Via quoted is John 6:53 (ie- part of John 6).  What other part of John 6 do you find at odds with the passage?  How have you reconciled it?  MichaelA in his 105 paragraph 4 offers, in a charitable manner, an explanation from his perspective.

One of the givens on this thread (right off, in Matt’s+ first sentence “Anglo Catholics may be wrong, I think they are….”) is that there are disagreements over doctrine between Catholic and Reformed theologies in Anglicanism.  There is no need to antagonize one another over those doctrinal differences.  That we do so too often is the inspiration for the title of the thread.

[111] Posted by tjmcmahon on 9-16-2010 at 07:34 AM · [top]

I find nothing in John 6 ‘at odds’ with itself.

I find Via’s “Feast of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum – giving his disciples his body and his blood as the true bread of heaven.” to be at odds with John 6:63 part of the explanation given to the Disciples at Capernaum.  The words are life, the flesh profits nothing. 

His body, as the word made flesh is the Word, and it is Spirit.  He was feeding them His body way before the Last Supper.

[112] Posted by Bo on 9-16-2010 at 09:15 AM · [top]

True, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Now he also gives us His body and blood in the new passover of the Holy Eucharist.

[113] Posted by via orthodoxy on 9-16-2010 at 11:24 AM · [top]

Matt,

I am somewhat late (perhaps too late) in weighing in on this piece.  But thank you for making this contribution to the discussion of lay presidency.  Your three reasons are on target and well said.  But I would like to raise a few points concerning your characterization of Anglo-Catholics and Anglo-Catholic positions.

When you say, “There are many Anglicans, and I am one of them, who reject the Anglo Catholic understanding of the priesthood” you leave your readers to assume they know what you mean by an “Anglo Catholic understanding of the priesthood"or to deduce it as they continue reading.  Subsequently, you refer to “an Anglo Catholic sacerdotal understanding of the priesthood,” which elaborates but doesn’t clarify.

A sacerdotal priesthood can mean three things:
1.  A sacrificing priesthood, as in the Old Testament or in pagan religions that still sacrifice live animals.  Obviously this does not apply to the New Testament presbyterate.  A priest in the Eucharist re-presents the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ; he is not re-sacrificing Christ.
Or, to cite a dictionary definition, it can mean one of two other things:
2. Relating to priests or the priesthood; priestly.
3. Relating to a doctrine that ascribes spiritual or supernatural powers to ordained priests.

Well, #2 is a seems a bit redundant, but might, in fact, be apt:  Sydney evangelicals do seem to object to a priestly priesthood, and Anglo-Catholics favor a priesthood that looks like one.  But that seems to be bit trivial for such a profound difference of opinion. 

Which leaves us with #3, that there is a spiritual or supernatural power that pertains to the ordained priesthood.  i think (and I believe most Anglo-Catholics would agree) that spiritual authority is more accurate than “power.”  But is it not also true that the lowest low-churchman who sets apart a presbyter for ordained ministry believes that a spiritual authority has been conferred on that individual by virtue of ordination?

Another way to put it is to say that Anglo-Catholics believe that when we lay hands on something or someone and pray, God actually does something.  When we pray “that we receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood” (1662 BCP) we believe that “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.” (Article XXVIII.  And, no, I am not talking about Transubstantiation, which is spoken against in the same Article.)  We believe that that which was previously bread and wine is now, for us, the body and blood of Christ.  “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.”

Likewise, when the Bishop and assembled presbyters pray over a candidate for ordination, “RECEIVE the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful Dispenser of the Word of God, and of his holy Sacraments; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” we believe that the Holy Spirit actually empowers the individual for a new ministry of Word and Sacraments.  The Bishop then says, “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.”  (1662 BCP)

So the Church authorizes and the Holy Spirit empowers an individual to undertake the ministry of a priest in response to the Bishop’s laying on hands and the Church’s prayers.  Do Evangelicals not believe this as well?  Is the individual who has been prayed for effectually and set apart in this manner not spiritually changed?  I would submit that the reason the Communion standard has survived so long and can be legitimately embraced by both evangelicals and Anglo Catholics is because it embraces a difference in emphasis and not in substance. 

I am very concerned when you say that “Regular participation in a validly celebrated Eucharist with validly consecrated elements is necessary, Anglo Catholics believe, for the salvation of souls.”  Most Anglo-Catholics would not want to be perceived as belittling the Eucharist by taking issue with that statement.  But, as a theological proposition, it is not strictly true.  The thief on the Cross is an obvious biblical exception.  The Ethiopian eunuch was obviously saved, though there is no mention of his partaking of the Eucharist.  So, to be theologically accurate, no Anglo-Catholic I know would say that partaking of the Eucharist is essential to salvation.  But it is an essential part of the Christian life, in that no real Christian would choose to live a life that neglects the Eucharist.  After all, our Lord instituted it and commanded that we partake of it.  So Anglo-Catholics believe the Eucharist is an essential part of the Christian life and that the ordained elders (presbyters/priests) should preside.  Wouldn’t most Evangelicals agree with that? 

The matter gets complicated further when Carl says and you agree that “The Anglo Catholic understanding of the priesthood is, I believe, in error because it is, as you say, “a works based gospel”.  Whoa!  Hold on!  That’s a dangerous allegation.  But I am certain that that assumption underlies the problem that Sydney Evangelicals think they have with Anglo-Catholics.

The beautiful thing about the Prayer Book is that it sums up a theology that we all confess every time we celebrate the Eucharist.  We pray “that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion.”  Is that not the basis of salvation for all of us? 

Evangelicals tend to look at the disciplines that an Anglo-Catholic considers an important part of the Christian life and say, “they think they are earning their salvation.”  Anglo-Catholics look at an Evangelical and Reformed proclamation of sola fide and say that it is “cheap grace” or that it breeds a lax Christianity.  It is, once again, a difference in emphases (and the source of a great misunderstanding).  We do not have different Gospels! 

Matt, I do not know if you have ever read Archbishop Michael Ramsey’s The Gospel and the Catholic Church?  A new edition has been released recently.  I highly recommend it.  As I have said elsewhere, I wish Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics could come to a true understanding of each other’s positions, actually discuss their differences, and achieve a rapprochement.  The division has continued too long, and our witness is suffering because of it.  The Sydney move toward lay presidency is just the latest manifestation.

[114] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 9-22-2010 at 11:59 PM · [top]

Hi ToAllTheWorld

I do apologize if I have misstated or mis-characterized Anglo Catholic beliefs. That was not at all my intention. When I refer to “the sacerdotal” priesthood this is the understanding I have, please correct me if I am wrong:

1. The priesthood of the church is the counterpart of the OT priesthood—of course now there is only One sacrifice, that of Jesus Christ, which is substantially represented by the priest at the altar during the mass. T

2. The priest stands “in persona Christi” when he celebrates the mass, hears confession, joins a man and woman together in marriage (performs any of the seven sacraments?). The priest stands in the person of Christ. I had one priest say to me that during this time Catholics (and I assumed that included Anglo Catholics as well) Christ does the sacramental acts—not the priest…

3. In order for the sacrament of the eucharist to be valid, it must be performed by a validly ordained priest standing in apostolic succession. Only he can stand in persona Christi at the altar and only through him does Christ act to make the sacrament.

4. Since the sacrament is a moral necessity for salvation…the lack of valid orders is a terrible tragedy and, in fact, means that the “Church is not present”.

That is my understanding of the matter, please help me understand better. Thank you.

[115] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-23-2010 at 03:57 AM · [top]

ToAllTheWorld,

I forgot to add, I do understand your point with regard to the thief on the cross and the eunuch. Who would argue with Christ’s declaration to the thief or the Spirit’s command to Philip?

At the same time isn’t there a difference in Catholicism (and I think Anglo Catholicism as well) between a “moral necessity” for salvation and a necessity? If I understand things correctly…the barest necessity is baptism which conveys justification or, if someone dies on the way to be baptized, the desire to be baptized or, if someone does not know about baptism (ei. the thief), the presence of a love for Christ which would become a desire for baptism suffices.

And yet it suffices for the beginning of the Christian walk not the fullness of it. So if one were to begin well with baptism (and not die right off) and yet subsequently neglect and ignore/neglect the sacraments of the church (eucharist and confession) he would, bereft of sacramental grace, almost certainly fall deeper and deeper into sin and be in great danger of killing off the justifying grace of baptism?

And so because final justification is only given at the final judgment (not declared at the moment of faith through the imputed righteousness of Christ as protestants believe) a valid priesthood and the resulting valid eucharist is, as I understand it, a morally necessity for salvation.

Again, please correct my understanding if I am wrong here.

[116] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-23-2010 at 04:15 AM · [top]

In #115,

“substantially represented” should be “substantially RE-presented

[117] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-23-2010 at 07:38 AM · [top]

And so because final justification is only given at the final judgment (not declared at the moment of faith through the imputed righteousness of Christ as protestants believe)

And this is precisely where an eschatological understanding of justification - as indeed of baptism and the eucharist - could help us beyond the protestant/catholic impasse.

[118] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-23-2010 at 07:59 AM · [top]

Hi Todd Granger, I know that is the direction that +NT Wright would have us go on the basis of his re-articulation/examination of Pauline Justification. But having read his book, “Justification”, I do not agree and in fact I think he misstates the doctrine of imputation in order to refute it.

[119] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-23-2010 at 08:02 AM · [top]

Matt, it isn’t necessary to agree with Wright’s analysis of the Pauline doctrine of justification (though I admit that I do agree with him) to admit an eschatological understanding of justification as a proleptic declaration in Christ.

[120] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-23-2010 at 09:52 AM · [top]

(cont’d)

I will admit that the classic 16th century protestant formulation of justification (which is not the only reformed Anglican understanding of the doctrine) is not consistent with an eschatological understanding of justification as a proleptic declaration of the final justification of resurrection.  But Alister McGrath’s assertion (in Iustitia Dei that the 16th century protestant formulation is a theological novum, an innovation and not simply a reassertion of Augustinian (or earlier) theology, bears keeping in mind.

However, I’m hijacking the discussion away from its original theme.

[121] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-23-2010 at 09:59 AM · [top]

Hi Todd,

I’ll make more comment and I’ll let you respond on the McGrath/Wright/Justifiction issue and then back to the main topic:

“But Alister McGrath’s assertion (in Iustitia Dei that the 16th century protestant formulation is a theological novum, an innovation and not simply a reassertion of Augustinian (or earlier) theology, bears keeping in mind.”

I’ve read McGrath’s brilliant work and, not having the background to debate him, I am forced to agree with his argument that imputation etc was a new thing in the post apostolic church . That does not mean, however, that it does not represent a recovery of a core biblical principle…which I think it does.

[122] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-23-2010 at 10:08 AM · [top]

[116]Fr. Kennedy,

Could you please elaborate as to precisely what you intend by the use of the adverb “substantially” in your comment above?

Thank you and Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[123] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 9-23-2010 at 10:53 AM · [top]

So your model of Church history is that a “core biblical principle” set down in writing by the Apostles was immediately and totally lost, only to be reliably recovered by the Reformers 1500 years later.

Astounding.  If that is what Sola Scriptura means, then I will have none of it.  If a core principle was not effectively committed to the Church by the Apostles whether by word or our epistle, then we can have no reliable knowledge of what the Apostles actually taught.

My understanding of the Reformation is that [we] dissent in no article of the faith from the Church Catholic, but only omit some abuses which are new, and which have been erroneously accepted by the corruption of the times.  If, instead, the Reformation is the recovery of teachings that had been entirely lost for centuries, then our position differs only in degree, not in kind, from that of the Mormons.

[124] Posted by Chris Jones on 9-23-2010 at 10:55 AM · [top]

“So your model of Church history is that a “core biblical principle” set down in writing by the Apostles was immediately and totally lost, only to be reliably recovered by the Reformers 1500 years later.”

Lost? No. Obscured, yes.

It took 300 years to clearly define the dual natures of the Son…and only because heresy brought the necessity to the fore. That does not mean that the truth of the doctrine was absent but only that it was unarticulated, undefined, and in some cases obscured.

The same is true of the question of the nature of Justification.

Astounding.”

To you perhaps. But then the idea of purgatory, praying through saints, belief in the possibility of our works in any way having a baring on our final justification seems much more absurd and outlandish to me.

“If that is what Sola Scriptura means, then I will have none of it.”

If you wish. Sola Scriptura means that the Church stands under scripture not over it. She will always be measured by and reformed by the Word of God.

“If a core principle was not effectively committed to the Church by the Apostles whether by word or our epistle, then we can have no reliable knowledge of what the Apostles actually taught.”

Oh, I believe the doctrine of Sola Fide was effectively “communicated” by Christ through the apostles, but as the entire history of redemption makes quite clear, the people of God are quite prone to stop their ears.

“My understanding of the Reformation is that [we] dissent in no article of the faith from the Church Catholic, but only omit some abuses which are new, and which have been erroneously accepted by the corruption of the times.”

I agree. I suppose we would probably disagree, however, on the definition of the phrase “Church Catholic” : - )

“If, instead, the Reformation is the recovery of teachings that had been entirely lost for centuries, then our position differs only in degree, not in kind, from that of the Mormons.”

Hmmm….I don’t think I said “entirely lost.” You said that.

[125] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-23-2010 at 11:11 AM · [top]

substantially present:

I meant that, as I understand it, for Roman Catholics (and I understand many if not most Anglo Catholics as well) Jesus is not “resacrificed” at the mass, but his once and for all sacrifice is really made present and the bread and the wine remain visibly or accidentally present but they truly become, substantially, Christ’s body and blood.

[126] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-23-2010 at 11:29 AM · [top]

This is the reality of what we are talking about:

When the priest announces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim.

Indeed it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of mannot once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the priests command.
 
Of what sublime dignity is the office of the Christian priest who is thus privileged to act as the ambassador and the vice-gerent of Christ on earth! He continues the essential ministry of Christ: he teaches the faithful with the authority of Christ, he pardons the penitent sinner with the power of Christ, he offers up again the same sacrifice of adoration and atonement which Christ offered on Calvary. No wonder that the name which spiritual writers are especially fond of applying to the priest is that of alter Christus. For the priest is and should be another Christ.

Rev James O’Brien Faith of Millions

[127] Posted by carl on 9-23-2010 at 11:56 AM · [top]

Thank you Fr. Matt. To repeat it back to you in other terms, what I understand you to mean, is that “substantially” means that the body and blood are present in their substance, as opposed to in some symbolic representation. That is certainly what the Catholic Church means by “really and substantially present,” as you correctly state. And that is what I had come to accept, and wholeheartedly believe as an Anglo-Catholic, before I became a Latin Rite Catholic.

I asked only because the modern English usage of the word “substantially” has come to have as one of its connotations a substitute for predominantly, largely or for all practical purposes, and I wanted to ensure that my understanding that you were using it in its original and more literal sense was not mistaken.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[128] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 9-23-2010 at 11:59 AM · [top]

Re: # 126, You are right Matt.

[129] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 9-23-2010 at 12:00 PM · [top]

I don’t think I said “entirely lost.” You said that.

I think you did:

I am forced to agree with his argument that imputation etc was a new thing in the post apostolic church ... [I think it does] represent a recovery of a core biblical principle

If you assert that something was a core principle in the Apostolic period, but is “a new thing” in the entire post-Apostolic period up to the Reformation (which is McGrath’s contention), that is tantamount to saying that it was lost.  And it does not make sense to speak of the “recovery” of something that was never lost.

If “imputation, etc.” is the heart of the Gospel (which it is for the Reformed) then what you are claiming is that the Gospel was not handed down in the Church in a continuous Tradition, but was lost until it was recovered by the Reformers by reading it out of a book.  I remain astounded.

[130] Posted by Chris Jones on 9-23-2010 at 12:04 PM · [top]

Hi Chris Jones,

I clearly explained what I meant by “recovery” in my response to your post. I did not say that it was “utterly lost” nor were my words meant to convey that idea.

“If you assert that something was a core principle in the Apostolic period, but is “a new thing” in the entire post-Apostolic period up to the Reformation (which is McGrath’s contention), that is tantamount to saying that it was lost.”

Again, I explained my meaning clear enough in my response to you above. I wrote:

“Lost? No. Obscured, yes.

It took 300 years to clearly define the dual natures of the Son…and only because heresy brought the necessity to the fore. That does not mean that the truth of the doctrine was absent but only that it was unarticulated, undefined, and in some cases obscured.

The same is true of the question of the nature of Justification.”

“And it does not make sense to speak of the “recovery” of something that was never lost.”

Sure it does. If you use a computer you should know that well enough.

[131] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-23-2010 at 12:11 PM · [top]

Secondly,

while I agree that imputation is the formal cause of justification and therefore a core doctrine of the church, I do not think that belief in imputation is necessary for justification. It is, for example, possible to be justified by faith alone without believing in justification by faith alone. For that reason, that the truth of imputation was not clearly seen by the church—it does not mean that the gospel was lost or that people could not be justified.

[132] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-23-2010 at 12:25 PM · [top]

carl:

And, with reference to the “Sacrifice of the Mass,” this is what an Anglo-Catholic is talking about:

When we speak of the Holy Eucharist as a sacrifice, we do not understand any repetition of the sacrifice of the cross, or any renewal of Christ’s sufferings or death.  His sufferings and his death took place once for all, and can never be repeated.  Neither are we to suppose that anything is wanting in his sufferings or sacrifice, which the Eucharistic Sacrifice supplies.  But we mean that in the Holy Eucharist, we plead before God the One Sacrifice offered once upon the cross, even as Christ himself presents the same offering in heaven.  Thus, the fathers spoke of the Holy Eucharist as ‘the unbloody sacrifice.’  The Eucharistic Sacrifice is not so much on a line with the sacrifice on Calvary, as with the pleading of that sacrifice in heaven.

Our Lord’s sacrifice upon the cross is a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world - not only for birth-sin, but for all actual sin.

- - - - -

The Sacrifice of the Mass, or Eucharistic Sacrifice, understood in its ancient and Catholic sense as ’the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ,’ the English Church has never disowned.  In fact she could not disown it, without forfeiting her claim to be a portion of the Holy Catholic Church of Christ. 

Vernon Staley, The Catholic Religion: A Manual for Instruction for Members of the Anglican Communion


The language employed by Father O’Brien in the citation you provided from “The Faith of Millions” makes me shudder.  Quite frankly, I do not see how some of his remarks are anything short of blasphemous. 

I have read this book but did not know that it was still in print and being offered for sale.  It was originally published in the 1950s and therefore predates Vatican II.  But I doubt very much that the imprimatur and nihil obstat granted at the time of publication have ever been withdrawn. 

If the views expressed by Father O’Brien truly remain compatible with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass, I find that disturbing.

[133] Posted by episcopalienated on 9-23-2010 at 12:56 PM · [top]

[133] episcopalienated,

Based on my exploration of Catholic teaching (through both RCIA and a careful and thorough reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church), begun in Fall 2008 and leading to my reception into full communion with, and confirmation in, the Catholic Church on Pentecost 2010, I can assure you that the views expressed by Father O’Brien are not compatible with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass. It is, as Fr. Matt said, a re-presentation of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross for the salvation of the world.

Were it otherwise, I would not have made my profession of faith at confirmation. As to the nihil obstat and imprimatur, I am not ceratin how one would even go about determining whether or not they had been withdrawn.

The references in the Catechism of the Catholic Church can be found online at this page. In particular I would invite your attention to [bold emphases added, footnotes omitted]:

¶ 1356 We carry out this command of the Lord by celebrating the memorial of his sacrifice. In so doing, we offer to the Father what he has himself given us: the gifts of his creation, bread and wine which, by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, have become the body and blood of Christ. Christ is thus really and mysteriously made present.

¶ 1363 In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men. In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.

¶ 1364 In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present. “As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed’ is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out.”

¶ 1366 The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:

[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper “on the night when he was betrayed,” [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.

and,

¶ 1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory.”

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[134] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 9-23-2010 at 02:19 PM · [top]

I’ve read McGrath’s brilliant work and, not having the background to debate him, I am forced to agree with his argument that imputation etc was a new thing in the post apostolic church . That does not mean, however, that it does not represent a recovery of a core biblical principle…which I think it does.

Matt, if this be the case, what’s your answer to a Baptist who asserts the same thing about antipaedobaptism?

Not wanting the airplane to end up in Havana, with this I end my hijacking.

[135] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-23-2010 at 06:10 PM · [top]

The quote from Fr. O’Brien that Carl posted (#127) is very scary.  As H. Potter (#134) pointed out, Fr. O’Brien’s book it is not official Roman Catholic teaching, and yet it was given an imprimatur and a nihil obstat.  So, as far as many Roman Catholics are concerned, it might as well be official teaching.  Very scary indeed.  Episcopalienated’s quote from Vernon Staley (#133) is a marvelous example of Anglo-Catholic teaching and as far from Fr. O’Brien as can be.

One of the really frustrating errors I deal with all the time is that people confuse Roman Catholicism with Anglo-Catholicism.  Some of those who make that error are critics of Anglo-Catholicism.  But, unfortunately, some of those who make that error are Anglo-Catholics, who somehow missed the point that Anglo-Catholics are not identical with Roman Catholics except for looking to Canterbury for authority (a scary thought in itself) instead of Rome. 

Anglo-Catholicism has always been committed to essential catholicity—the recovery of the faith of the undivided Church.  You see it in Keble and Pusey, who did not go to Rome when Newman did.  You see it in Charles Gore’s book here] in which he clearly identifies Rome’s erroneous and un-catholic doctrines.  You see it in in the great American Anglo-Catholic, Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton, who, though he was the American founder of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, argued against Transubstantiation and spoke passionately against the Immaculate Conception and Bodily Assumption of Mary, which were enshrined as Roman Catholic dogmas during his lifetime.  And you see it in the teaching of Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey, whose book The Gospel and the Catholic Church I mentioned in my previous comment.

It would be far too long for me to reproduce here chapters two (“One Died for All”) and three (“Therefore All Died”) of Ramsey’s book.  And it is difficult to cherry-pick quotes: you have to read the whole to get the sense of it.  Though he does not use the word imputation, the whole gist of these two chapters is the application of Christ’s death to us, and he deals with all the classic Pauline passages on the subject.  He is not talking about an imparted righteousness; he is clear that there is no merit in us.  And, though he speaks of what the Body of Christ, the Church, will become at the Parousia, he is not referring to “final justification” (à la Wright).  In fact, were he still alive, I think he would disagree with disagree with McGrath’s assertion that the Reformation view of justification is an innovation. 

At the risk of digressing, I will say that, while there is an eschatological dimension to our salvation (both individually and for the Church as a whole) the realization of our justification isn’t relegated to that dimension.

[136] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 9-23-2010 at 10:01 PM · [top]

At the risk of digressing, I will say that, while there is an eschatological dimension to our salvation (both individually and for the Church as a whole) the realization of our justification isn’t relegated to that dimension.

True - but that’s the proleptic character of justification, yes?  that God declares us justified in Christ Jesus - here and now - in anticipation of that final justification in Christ (i.e., resurrection).

Thank you, Dean Munday, for keeping Ramsey’s book before us.  A more insightful and exegetical understanding of Anglicanism’s reformed catholicism is hard to imagine.  It would be interesting to know what he would have made of McGrath’s conclusion regarding the imputational Reformation view of justification.

[137] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-23-2010 at 10:31 PM · [top]

Todd (#137), I had written in my last comment (but deleted it for the sake of brevity) that I believe that, if Ramsey were still alive, he would not agree with McGrath on the Reformation idea of justification being an innovation.

I will risk one quote from Ramsey’s Gospel in the Catholic Church; though, as I say, you have to read Ramsey at length to get the sense of what he is saying.

If St. John claims immediate union with Christ who is the life, he makes this claim as one of many who have “fellowship with Christ and with the Father,” and he believes that the life of the Christian means “I am the vine, ye are the branches… abide in me and I in you… apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

But how did this relationship come about? and how was it sustained? St. Paul answers these questions in passages which describe the beginnings of a Christian’s life, and the struggles through which that life continues.  That life begins with an act of faith and initiation which verily means “death.”  There comes first the response of faith in Christ crucified, when the believer recognizes his impotence and failure and lays hold upon God’s love for him in the death of Christ.  Faith means owning that one is, of oneself and in oneself, nothing.  The phrase [Greek] “things that are nought” explains faith as St. Paul sees it; for the type of faith is Abraham who “considered his own body as good as dead” and who trusted in God “who quickeneth the dead and calleth the things that are not, as though they were.” (Romans 4:17)  And faith means also a deadness to the world’s ideas of worth and merit.  “God chose the foolish things of the world…  the weak things…  the base things…  things that are despised… yea, and things that are not.” (I Corinthians 1:27-28. Cf. Galatians 6:14, Colossians 2:20)

Would any Evangelical take issue with this passage?  It appears to me that Ramsey is teaching salvation by faith alone.

[138] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 9-23-2010 at 10:47 PM · [top]

Matt writes (#116) that from a Catholic standpoint “a valid priesthood and the resulting valid eucharist is, as I understand it, a morally necessity for salvation.”

If by a “morally necessity” is meant something that is necessary as a practical matter under existing conditions, Matt’s understanding is, if I may say so, not correct from a Catholic perspective.  It is simply not the case that the Catholic Church teaches that, as a practical matter, it is virtually impossible for a Protestant to be saved.  Quite the opposite.  From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 819:

Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church:  the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.  Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church.  All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to Catholic unity. [Quotation marks and footnotes citing documents omitted.]

[139] Posted by slcath on 9-23-2010 at 10:52 PM · [top]

Todd (#137)—One more quote from Ramsey’s Gospel in the Catholic Church, and a reason why I believe he would not have considered the themes of the Reformation to be an innovation:

And if Catholicism is thus closely related to the Gospel, the Catholic is again and again driven back to the Scriptures, and is compelled to face very seriously the questions raised by the Reformers of the sixteenth century and by the revived Reformation teaching on the Continent today [1936].  Formal Protestant systems he rejects, but the initial and creative impulses both of the Reformation and of the Barthian Revival—“the Word of God,” “sola fide,” “sola gratia,” “soli Deo Gloria”—he again and again pauses to ponder.  For these are Catholicism’s own themes, and out of them it was born.  But they are themes learnt and re-learnt in humiliation, and Catholicism always stands before the Church door at Wittenburg to read the truth by which she is created and by which also she is judged: “The true treasure of the Church is the Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.”

With these words, Ramsey closes the chapter, “Developments in Catholicism” and sets the stage for the next, very rich chapter, “The Reformers and the Church.”

[140] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 9-23-2010 at 11:12 PM · [top]

Matt (#115, 116), to answer your questions:

1. The Eucharist does indeed “re-present” the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.  In the sense that Christ is both the victim and priest in his sacrifice, the one who stands in Christ’s stead in presiding at the Eucharist is re-presenting Christ as priest, just as the elements re-present Christ as victim.  Whether this makes a New Testament priest anything more than analogous to an Old Testament priest is a subject about which I can only speculate.

2. Yes, the priest stands “in persona Christi” when he celebrates the Eucharist, hears confession, joins a man and woman together in marriage, etc.  Does not any representative of the Church who pronounces a blessing or an absolution, or who preaches or celebrates its ordinances do so as a representative of God?  I think we are talking about the seriousness with which we take the priest as a representative of Christ—a difference of degree, perhaps, but not in kind.

3. Our Sydney friends are right, strictly speaking, that the matter of apostolic succession is not necessarily taught in Scripture (although one perhaps sees the beginning of it in verses such as Acts 14:23 and Titus 1:5).  But a great many matters of Church order are not developed within the time frame of the Canon of the New Testament.  If we want to see how the Church understood and applied the apostolic teaching with regard to Church order, we need to look at the early Christian fathers.

There we see apostolic succession held in high regard and even viewed as essential.  The succession of those who followed the apostles and who were taught and ordained by them was considered a guarantee of the integrity of apostolic ministry and teaching until the Canon could be compiled (and even afterward).  The observance of the Sacraments was delegated by means of this same succession of headship, since the ministry of Word and sacrament have, throughout the history of the Church, been considered inseparable. 

4. In regard to the Sacrament being a moral necessity for salvation you ask:

So if one were to begin well with baptism (and not die right off) and yet subsequently neglect and ignore/neglect the sacraments of the church (eucharist and confession) he would, bereft of sacramental grace, almost certainly fall deeper and deeper into sin and be in great danger of killing off the justifying grace of baptism?

And so because final justification is only given at the final judgment (not declared at the moment of faith through the imputed righteousness of Christ as protestants believe) a valid priesthood and the resulting valid eucharist is, as I understand it, a morally necessity for salvation.

What would you say of such a person?  Would it not be accurate to say that it was not the case that such a person failed at the last to be justified, but failed at the last to demonstrate that he ever was justified?

I don’t believe that those who are in Christ—baptized into his Body and sealed by the Holy Spirit—ever fall out.  John 17:12 seems to support that Christ does not lose those the Father has given him.

For the record: Anglicans (including Anglo-Catholics), as part of a reformed Catholicism, do not necessarily fall on the Roman Catholic side of the imputation/impartation debate (that is, to the extent they have been taught to understand the issue correctly).

Also, I don’t believe in “final justification” and neither did a leading Anglo-Catholic like Michael Ramsey. 

As to whether the “Church is not present” without valid orders, there are historically three positions on this question:

1.  The esse position.  Bishops (in apostolic succession) are of the essence of the Church.  That is: No Bishop, no Church.  This position is held by many, but not all, Anglo-Catholics.

2.  The plene esse position.  Bishops are necessary for the Church to be present in its fullness, but are not of absolute necessity for it to exist.  This is the position I favor, believing that a Church that has been ordered with Bishops, Priests, and Deacons ought to have all three orders to be present in its fullness.  But that is not to say God could not or does not work in circumstances where these orders do not exist.

3.  The bene esse position.  Bishops exist for the well being of the Church, but are not strictly necessary.  This is obviously a low-church position.

Of late, I have been considering a fourth position: the mal esse position:  That bishops exist for the detriment of the Church.  But maybe that is because I have been to too many General Conventions.  smile

[141] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 9-24-2010 at 12:48 AM · [top]

Dean Munday,

I am glad you have posted here. I am a Sydney Anglican, although I would describe my position as being “classical protestant”, which when I was growing up seemed to be what most Sydney Anglicans were. These days a number of friends educated at Moore College seem to have a very limited knowledge of the doctrine of the Reformers … but I digress.

I am also glad to see everyone promoting greater understanding between “anglo-catholics” and “evangelicals” (two VERY broad tents)! We simply must learn to work together in order for the work of the gospel to go forward.

There is much that can be agreed upon, and I find most of your points fully in accord with the teachings of the Anglican and Continental reformers. BUT…. I do have a couple of difficulties with your last post.

[NB, in the following paragraphs I am going to use the word “presbytyer” at several points. This is not because I have a problem with the word “priest” (as some of my Sydney fellows do) but because I think at a couple of points in this thread, the scriptural concepts of “elder” (Gr. presbyter) and “sacrificing priest” (Gr. hierus) have been confused, in a way that the New Testament does not confuse them, and I want to keep the distinction clear].

1. You wrote:

“The Eucharist does indeed “re-present” the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.”

Why? Where do we get that from? I can see the scriptural warrant for teaching that:

•  all those present partake of Christ’s body and blood in a real sense
•  the priest as elder of the congregation (presbyter) presides over the service
•  that everyone present is connected in a real and original sense with Christ’s original sacrifice (which is not precisely the same thing as his body and his blood).

But where do we get the idea that the presbyter is re-presenting a sacrifice? Off-hand, I cannot think of a single scripture that supports that idea, and a few that specifically reject it (see below).

2. You write:

“Christ is both the victim and priest in his own sacrifice”

I think its important that we be specific here: Christ is *High* Priest at his own sacrifice (Hebrews 4:14). A High Priest offers sacrifice for the sin of the people (Hebrews 5:1).

Now before we go on, let’s consider what scripture teaches about us humans – we are *never* told that we are High Priests. Not you, not me, not the Apostles themselves, and not the bishops or elders of the congregations.

However, we are told that we are ALL members of a royal priesthood (Gr. “hierateuma” from “hierus”) in 1 Peter 2:9. That means every single christian, the babes in Christ that Peter is writing to, as well as the elders.

This is the fundamental teaching of scripture: Christ is a High Priest (archierus) who offers sacrifice for the sins of the people; All humans are priests (hierus). Elders (presbyteroi) are in charge of the congregation but they are no more or less “priests” (in the sense of a hierus) than the rest of us, and they (like the rest of us) are in no sense a High Priest.

3. You then write that the priest as elder of the congregation “stands in christ’s stead” when he presides at the Eucharist. I agree, there is a sense in which he does so. But there are many senses in which Christians stand in Christ’s stead at different times – when we preach to the unbelievers, when a husband acts as head of his household, and when an elder of the congregation exercises his normal authority in the congregation (i.e. not in the Eucharist particularly but just in everyday affairs). Each of these persons stand in the stead of Christ, but at no point does scripture allow us to believe that they thereby assume Christ’s HIGH-priestly power of offering sacrifice.

4. You then write

“[the presbyter] in presiding at the Eucharist is re-presenting Christ as priest”

This is a bit mixed up, with respect. Priests don’t get presented (or re-presented). If you meant to say that the presbyter “re-presents Christ as sacrifice”, then that is where I disagree with you. Scripture is very specific about who has the High Priestly role (Christ), who has the sacrificing role (Christ), and there is no indication that just because a person stands in the stead of Christ in a particular sense (presiding at the Eucharist), that they thereby are imbued with the quite different High Priestly function held by Christ alone.

To put it another way, Christ at the last supper did not sacrifice himself. He distributed elements that represented his sacrifice, but he did not do any sacrificing. That came later – when he hung on the cross, that is when he did his high priestly work of sacrifice.

The elder who presides at the Eucharist stands in Christ’s stead in the sense that Christ also presided at the first Eucharist. But he does not stand in Christ’s stead of presenting the sacrifice of himself to God – that was done by Christ on the cross and no human is granted the High Priestly power to do it (or re-do it).

5. You write:

“just as the elements re-present Christ as victim.”

Ummm, since when? The elements represent (not re-present) the body and blood of our Lord. That doesn’t mean that there is any re-presenting of a sacrifice going on in the Eucharist. Rather, all who partake are truly (or mystically, as the Puritans put it) linked to the ONE sacrifice and oblation of Christ.

6. You also wrote:

“Does not any representative of the Church who pronounces a blessing or an absolution, or who preaches or celebrates its ordinances do so as a representative of God? I think we are talking about the seriousness with which we take the priest as a representative of Christ—a difference of
degree, perhaps, but not in kind.”

This appears to be based on a misconception, that if a person is a representative of Christ in one capacity, that therefore they must be a representative of Christ in *every* capacity. That does not follow.

If I preach the gospel to a non-believer, there is a sense in which I represent Christ to them. If an ordained priest exercises authority and discipline within my congregation, there is a sense in which he represents Christ to me. If I act as head of my own household, there is a sense in which I represent Christ to my wife and family. But none of those in any way imply or require that I or the priest also represent Christ in his High Priestly capacity.

The same is true of the priest presiding over the service of Holy Communion. He presides because he is the elder of the congregation. Nowhere are we told that he adopts any of Christ’s high priestly function.

7. You also wrote:

blockquote

“Our Sydney friends are right, strictly speaking, that the matter of apostolic succession is not necessarily taught in Scripture (although one perhaps sees the beginning of it in verses such as Acts 14:23 and Titus 1:5).”

Your references to scripture are misconceived, with respect. We see in them the Apostles appointing elders for the churches, but what we do not do see is any transfer of apostolic authority to those elders, because the Apostles had no authority to make such a grant.

Only those who (a) experienced the ministry of Jesus in person, and (b) were *specifically* chosen by the Lord, could become Apostles (see Acts 1:21-26). When Saul and Barnabus choose elders, they are not passing on the apostolic ministry and authority, they are just choosing elders.

In other words, belief in apostolic succession is not something that “may be found” in the Fathers – rather, belief in apostolic succession is inconsistent with scripture, and therefore forbidden.

8. You also wrote:

“There we see apostolic succession held in high regard and even viewed as essential. The succession of those who followed the apostles and who were taught and ordained by them was considered a guarantee of the integrity of apostolic ministry and teaching until the Canon could be compiled (and even afterward).”

The concept of apostolic succession as a “guarantee of the integrity of apostolic ministry” is a late development. It is one of a number of unapostolic teachings that crept into the church. The Apostles themselves gave no such teaching, nor did the early Fathers (they did at times point out that the faith they taught was the same faith that had been taught by their predecessors all the way back to the Apostles, but that is not the same thing).

Further, the canon of the New Testmant was “compiled” as soon as the last book was written. By definition it was complete before the Apostles passed from this earth.

9. You also wrote:

“I don’t believe that those who are in Christ—baptized into his Body and sealed by the Holy Spirit—ever fall out. John 17:12 seems to support that Christ does not lose those the Father has given him.”

I agree. But then, I also think that Scripture teaches us that anyone who has saving faith has been baptised into Christ, even if they have not (yet) undergone the ceremony of baptism. A good example would be some of the Baptist churches, where they withhold baptism until the person has reached a certain age. I personally don’t believe that that is what scripture teaches, but regardless I am quite certain that a Baptist child who has put their trust in the Lord but dies before reaching the age where their church permits them to be baptised, goes to be with the Lord. I have absolutely no doubt about that. The incorrect practice of my dear Baptist brethren has no power to interfere with God’s saving work.

[142] Posted by MichaelA on 9-24-2010 at 03:16 AM · [top]

MichaelA,
May I have permission to quote the above?
I think it presents my understanding of the matters as well.

[143] Posted by Bo on 9-24-2010 at 08:45 AM · [top]

A friend pointed me to this interesting discussion, and in response to “H. Potter,” I wanted to note that Father O’Brien’s remark does not contradict the Catechism. What he means by “offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man” is what the Catechism explains—quoting the Council of Trent—as “offered in an unbloody manner.” The language may not be as cautious as his peer might use today, but then he was writing for Catholics.

I appreciate my old friend Robert Munday’s description of Anglo-Catholicism and his insistence on its unique character. Many people, including many Anglo-Catholics, present it as something almost the same as Roman Catholicism, divided only by a few questions of jurisdiction and authority.

This idea lay behind the once-popular idea that if the Episcopal Church did something unacceptable, one could just become a Roman Catholic, as if one were only threatening to move to the next town if the property taxes went up again. One of the beneficial effects of the Ordinariate has been to force some to look more closely at the Catholic Church, and a goodly number have said, “Oh, wait, no, don’t want that,” which should make them think more seriously about what that “Anglo” in “Anglo-Catholicism” means.

As someone who has been on both sides, Anglo-Catholicism really is something very different, and different almost from the ground up. It is, seen from this side, a deeply Protestant enterprise. A Catholic, for example, would not think Father O’Brien’s comments “scary.” Behind that reaction lies very deep differences.

[144] Posted by David Mills on 9-24-2010 at 08:50 AM · [top]

[144] David Mills

Many people, including many Anglo-Catholics, present it as something almost the same as Roman Catholicism, divided only by a few questions of jurisdiction and authority.

This idea lay behind the once-popular idea that if the Episcopal Church did something unacceptable, one could just become a Roman Catholic

I really appreciate this statement.  When people say ‘sacramental priesthood’ to me, what I hear is that quote from Fr O’Brien.  I am confident that Fr O’Brien’s quote accurately reflects Roman Catholic doctrine.  However, I tend to assume that Roman Catholic doctrine reflects Anglo-Catholic doctrine, and precisely because translation between the two organizations seems so effortless and fluid.  I was therefore pleasantly surprised to see episcopalianated immediately push back.

I would be lying if I said I understood the differences between Roman Catholicism and Anglo-Catholicism.  Your statement above fits me exactly.  Often times I wonder if I am really arguing with an Anglo-Catholic or with a Roman surrogate of my own making. 

carl

[145] Posted by carl on 9-24-2010 at 09:37 AM · [top]

[144] David Mills,

I stand corrected. I am not familiar with Fr. O’Brien’s work, and from the portion quoted I fear I jumped to a conclusion based on my ignorance of that work. If he meant what he was saying as “an unbloody sacrifice,” which phrase is also quoted in a paragraph of the CCC that I did not quote, then that ought to have been made more explicit by the author. Perhaps Fr. O’Brien did so in a portion of the book that was not quoted. Had I seen that phrase, I would not have come to the conclusion I did with regard to his quoted comment. Unfortunately, he didn’t, and I responded to the literal meaning of what was quoted. My apologies to all for any confusion that may have caused.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[146] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 9-24-2010 at 10:08 AM · [top]

I also agree with MichaelA’s post above and there is very little for me to add to it.

I will say that the most encouraging thing to me about Dean Munday’s response is his discussion of justification and imputation. I have one follow up question for him or for anyone else who will field it. Would it be true to say that there is a school within Anglo-Catholicism that accepts Sola Fide in the sense that the magisterial Reformers articulated it?

[147] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-24-2010 at 10:14 AM · [top]

Based on some of the stuff Fr. Robert Hart and friends have written over at anglicancontinuum, I would guess the Anglican Catholic Church would accept sola fide, but don’t quote me on that.

[148] Posted by timmysdaman on 9-24-2010 at 10:53 AM · [top]

David Mills,  Thanks.  I knew what Father O’Brian was trying to convey but had no idea how to present it.  I understood the subject of his article was the Priesthood and how Christ the unbloody victim is offered through the priesthood acting as Alter Christie.  Yet his language which would have been very comfortable and familiar to pre concillar Catholics is somewhat eyebrow raising today.  It also did not bother to remind the reader (I suppose since they knew already) that this sacrifice is the one and same as offered at Calvary. Not a new one but a perpetual offering made present to us.

I don’t think there is one all encompassing school of teaching and practice which can be called Anglo Catholic.  I have seen examples that embrace all the Catholic doctrines with the exception of the Primacy of Peter.  I have also seen examples where bells and smells is enough to earn the label.

As to just dropping the Anglo and becoming Catholic. I would say it is not always such a simple matter. For instance I would think that within Anglo Catholicism there are different views on the priesthood.  I honestly can not understand belieiving in the Reformed teaching on Justification while believing in the Catholic teaching on the priesthood.  The two seem contradictory to me, but I will gladly stand corrected.

[149] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 9-24-2010 at 11:24 AM · [top]

Matt Kennedy:

Would it be true to say that there is a school within Anglo-Catholicism that accepts Sola Fide in the sense that the magisterial Reformers articulated it?

My study of the “magisterial Reformers” has been less than exhaustive (and that’s putting it mildly) but there is Newman’s attempt to reconcile the doctrine of justification by faith with the concept of baptismal regeneration, e.g., Article XI with Article XXVII:

Here I draw an important conclusion; that the instrumental power of Faith cannot interfere with the {226} instrumental power of Baptism; because Faith is the sole justifier, not in contrast to all means and agencies whatever, (for it is not surely in contrast to our Lord’s merits, or God’s mercy), but to all other graces. When, then, Faith is called the sole instrument, this means the sole internal instrument, not the sole instrument of any kind.

There would be nothing inconsistent, then, in Faith being the sole instrument of justification, and yet Baptism also the sole instrument, and that at the same time, because in distinct senses; an inward instrument in no way interfering with an outward instrument. Baptism might be the hand of the giver, and Faith the hand of the receiver. However, this is not the exact relation of faith to baptism, as is plain, for this reason,—that Baptism occurs but once, whereas justification is a state, and faith “abides.” Justification, then, needs a perpetual instrument, such as faith can be, and Baptism cannot. Each, then, has its own office in the work of justification; Baptism at the time when it is administered, and faith ever after. Faith secures to the soul continually those gifts, which Baptism in the first instance conveys. The two Sacraments are the primary instruments of justification; faith is the secondary, subordinate, or representative instrument. Or we may say, varying our mode of expression, that the Sacraments are its instrumental, and Faith its sustaining cause [Note 2]. {227}

Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification

http://www.newmanreader.org/works/justification/lecture10.html

Those interested may wish to read at least Lecture 10 in its entirety.

What says the Reformed party to that?

[150] Posted by episcopalienated on 9-24-2010 at 11:25 AM · [top]

To Paula Laughlin: I didn’t mean to suggest that Anglo-Catholics drop the “Anglo,” but that they dive more deeply into it.

[151] Posted by David Mills on 9-24-2010 at 11:37 AM · [top]

David,  I did not think you had.  I was trying to convey that it may not be a simple of a transition as some present.  That it is more than just dropping the Anglo.  That there is a variety of beliefs within Anglo Catholicism and not all of them are compatible with Catholic dogma.

[152] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 9-24-2010 at 11:52 AM · [top]

Sola Fide in the sense that the magisterial Reformers articulated it

This is not a univalent phrase.  Lutherans do not articulate Sola Fide in the same manner that Reformed do, for example.  Justification by faith, for Lutherans, is closely bound up with the objective efficacy of the sacraments (along with, of course, the objective efficacy of the preached Word).  No confessional Lutheran could say (as Fr Kennedy did) that justification is ... declared at the moment of faith through the imputed righteousness of Christ; rather, we would say that both faith and its consequent justification are mediated to us through the Church’s public ministry of Word and Sacrament.  Note how Article IV (Justification) and Article V (The Ministry) of the Augsburg Confession work together:

(Article IV) Men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith ... This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight
...
(Article V) That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith.

I was put in mind of this by episcopalienated’s comments on how Newman tried to reconcile Sola Fide with baptismal regeneration; but Lutherans forthrightly confess both without any sense of contradiction.  It is a lot easier to reconcile the Anglo-Catholic view of the sacraments with the Lutheran version of Sola Fide than the Reformed version; especially that of Zwinglian Reformed like Cranmer.

[153] Posted by Chris Jones on 9-24-2010 at 01:09 PM · [top]

Hi Chris Jones,

Luther clearly taught instrument by which the sinner receives justifying righteousness is faith alone.

Faith being: 1. true knowledge of the person and work of Christ, 2. assent to that knowledge 3. Surrender to and trust in the work and person of Christ alone.

In that sense the Reformers were, I think, univocal.

Of course, as you say, the Reformers were not absolutely univocal with regard to what Sola Fide looks like. Luther stands apart from the Reformed vein especially with regard to the place of baptism and faith. Here’s Luther on the relationship between faith and Baptism from his larger catechism.

“Here you see again how highly and precious we should esteem Baptism, because in it we obtain such an unspeakable treasure, which also indicates sufficiently that it cannot be ordinary mere water. For mere water could not do such a thing, but the Word does it, and (as said above) the fact that the name of God is comprehended therein. But where the name of God is, there must be also life and salvation, that it may indeed be called a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water; for by the Word such power is imparted to Baptism that it is a laver of regeneration, as St. Paul also calls it, Titus 3, 5.

But as our would-be wise, new spirits assert that faith alone saves, and that works and external things avail nothing, we answer: It is true, indeed, that nothing in us is of any avail but faith, as we shall hear still further. But these blind guides are unwilling to see this, namely, that faith must have something which it believes, that is, of which it takes hold, and upon which it stands and rests. Thus faith clings to the water, and believes that it is Baptism, in which there is pure salvation and life; not through the water (as we have sufficiently stated), but through the fact that it is embodied in the Word and institution of God, and the name of God inheres in it. Now, if I believe this, what else is it than believing in God as in Him who has given and planted His Word into this ordinance, and proposes to us this external thing wherein we may apprehend such a treasure?

Now, they are so mad as to separate faith and that to which faith clings and is bound though it be something external. Yea, it shall and must be something external, that it may be apprehended by the senses, and understood and thereby be brought into the heart, as indeed the entire Gospel is an external, verbal preaching. In short, what God does and works in us He proposes to work through such external ordinances. Wherever, therefore, He speaks, yea, in whichever direction or by whatever means He speaks, thither faith must look, and to that it must hold. Now here we have the words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. To what else do they refer than to Baptism, that is, to the water comprehended in God’s ordinance? Hence it follows that whoever rejects Baptism rejects the Word of God, faith, and Christ, who directs us thither and binds us to Baptism.

In the third place since we have learned the great benefit and power of Baptism, let us see further who is the person that receives what Baptism gives and profits. This is again most beautifully and clearly expressed in the words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. That is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. For, since these blessings are here presented and promised in the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart. Without faith it profits nothing, notwithstanding it is in itself a divine superabundant treasure. Therefore this single word (He that believeth) effects this much that it excludes and repels all works which we can do, in the opinion that we obtain and merit salvation by them. For it is determined that whatever is not faith avails nothing nor receives anything.

But if they say, as they are accustomed: Still Baptism is itself a work, and you say works are of no avail for salvation; what then, becomes of faith? Answer: Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God’s (for, as was stated, you must put Christ-baptism far away from a bath-keeper’s baptism). God’s works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God’s command and ordinance, and besides in God’s name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; but the heart must believe it.”

[154] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-24-2010 at 02:30 PM · [top]

Luther clearly taught instrument by which the sinner receives justifying righteousness is faith alone.

If so then it is hard to see how he would have approved Melanchthon’s language that I quoted from the Augustana, which clearly states that the “instruments” are the Church’s means of grace.

As for the rest of your post (and the quote from the Large Catechism (with which, of course, I am quite familiar)), you make my point for me, that the Lutheran and Reformed “magisterial Reformers” articulate Sola Fide quite differently.  In the one presentation of Sola Fide, baptismal regeneration is affirmed and supported; in the other it is excluded.  This profound difference means that your question in #147 doesn’t make much sense.  There may be ACs who accept Sola Fide in the sense that the Lutheran magisterial Reformers understood it; but I doubt there are many who accept it in its Reformed articulation.

[155] Posted by Chris Jones on 9-24-2010 at 03:12 PM · [top]

I don’t think Luther would have approved all that Melanchthon wrote.

“As for the rest of your post (and the quote from the Large Catechism (with which, of course, I am quite familiar)),”

Good

“you make my point for me,”

no I don’t. I make my point that you have apparently misunderstood (which seems to have become something that happens quite often)

“that the Lutheran and Reformed “magisterial Reformers” articulate Sola Fide quite differently.”

Yes. And No.

As I wrote above:

““Luther clearly taught instrument by which the sinner receives justifying righteousness is faith alone.

Faith being: 1. true knowledge of the person and work of Christ, 2. assent to that knowledge 3. Surrender to and trust in the work and person of Christ alone.

In that sense the Reformers were, I think, univocal.”


“In the one presentation of Sola Fide, baptismal regeneration is affirmed and supported; in the other it is excluded.”

Regeneration is not Justification.

“This profound difference means”

nothing with regard to Justification by faith alone

“that your question in #147 doesn’t make much sense.”

Sure it does.

[156] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-24-2010 at 03:24 PM · [top]

MichaelA (#142)

You wrote:

But where do we get the idea that the presbyter is re-presenting a sacrifice?

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim (KJV=“show”) the Lord’s death until He comes.” (I Corinthians 11:26)

In response to my earlier statement “just as the elements re-present Christ as victim.” you wrote:

Ummm, since when? The elements represent (not re-present) the body and blood of our Lord. That doesn’t mean that there is any re-presenting of a sacrifice going on in the Eucharist. Rather, all who partake are truly (or mystically, as the Puritans put it) linked to the ONE sacrifice and oblation of Christ.


Re-presenting does not mean repeating or reenacting.  I think I have been clear that we are talking about the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.

If we were talking about the Eucharist as a present-day sacrifice for the sins of the people (as I have heard some Roman Catholics articulate it) then, indeed, it would take a High Priest in the sense of the Old Testament or Hebrews 4:14 or 5:1 to effect such a sacrifice.  But that is where the Roman Catholic understanding of the Mass as a sacrifice breaks down.  The Eucharist is not a new sacrifice, it is a re-presentation of the ONE sacrifice.  In that sense we are only talking about the celebrant symbolizing the One who made that sacrifice and the elements (bread and wine) representing the victim (Body and Blood) of that sacrifice.

In response to my statement: “[the presbyter] in presiding at the Eucharist is re-presenting Christ as priest”  you wrote:

This is a bit mixed up, with respect. Priests don’t get presented (or re-presented).

Well, that is precisely one of the facets of this discussion.  Anglo-Catholics (and even some high-Church Evangelicals) maintain that the One making the offering and the offering itself are both symbolized in the Eucharist.  Christ is both the Body and the Blood AND the one who says, “This is my body, given for you…”  “This is my blood, shed for you.”  Both are being represented symbolically.

You wrote:

The same is true of the priest presiding over the service of Holy Communion. He presides because he is the elder of the congregation. Nowhere are we told that he adopts any of Christ’s high priestly function.

Right, we are not told that we are high-priests—we are not.  In the sense of Hebrews, no Christian is a High Priest to another.  But when the celebrant says the words of institution (“This is my Body… This is my Blood”), he is a symbol of Christ in his High Priestly function. 

I suppose the low-Churchman says that, in the words of institution, the priest is merely a storyteller, telling what Christ said that night with his disciples.  This is perhaps the crux of the matter.  Anglo-Catholics treat these matters as having more literal (and at the same time more mystical) significance.  For others these things are mere memorials, bare signs.  In contrast, I would cite Article XXV,

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

[157] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 9-24-2010 at 04:50 PM · [top]

I don’t think Luther would have approved all that Melanchthon wrote.

Of course he didn’t approve everything that Melanchthon wrote; but he certainly approved what I quoted.  If you think that Dr Luther did not believe, teach, and confess everything in the Augsburg Confession, then you are dreaming.

[158] Posted by Chris Jones on 9-24-2010 at 05:00 PM · [top]

Would it be true to say that there is a school within Anglo-Catholicism that accepts Sola Fide in the sense that the magisterial Reformers articulated it?

Matt,
I would say that if you asked Anglo Catholics if they believe in Sola Fide, most would say they do not, largely because they have heard it said somewhere that Sola Fide comes from a Protestant theological system that they do not own.

But if you asked, “Do you think there is anything in you that merits salvation or anything you can do to earn it, apart from faith in Jesus Christ?” they would answer, of course not.  It is as you said in comment #40, they are “justified by faith alone without explicitly embracing the doctrine of justification by faith alone.”

However, if you look at the quote from Archbishop Michael Ramsey (who is probably the pre-eminent Anglo-Catholic of the 20th century) that I posted at comment #140, he embraces Sola Fide and says it is at the heart of Catholic teaching.  He also quotes Luther approvingly several times on the issue of faith and works in his chapter on the Reformers and the Church.  So, yes, I would say there is a school within Anglo-Catholicism that accepts Sola Fide in the sense that the magisterial Reformers articulated it.  Also, I would count myself as one of them.

[159] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 9-24-2010 at 05:54 PM · [top]

subscribe

[160] Posted by merlenacushing on 9-24-2010 at 06:17 PM · [top]

Fascinating Dean Munday, thank you…It sounds, to me anyway, like the Anglo Catholic (as you have articulated it) understanding of Justification is very close to Augustine.

[161] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-24-2010 at 07:55 PM · [top]

MichaelA, you wrote (#142):

But where do we get the idea that the presbyter is re-presenting a sacrifice? Off-hand, I cannot think of a single scripture that supports that idea, and a few that specifically reject it (see below).</i>

Dean Munday has briefly addressed where this idea comes from (viz., the passage in which the liturgical celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, is first written).  I would be interested to know which passages you think specifically reject the idea of the celebrant (presbyter or bishop) and people re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice (none of the passages you note in comment #142 seems to address the issue).

As Dean Munday notes, the re-presentation is not a repetition of the sacrifice of Christ.  Celebrant and people are not presenting a new propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, a repeated “bloodless sacrifice”, but are re-presenting Christ’s “one oblation of himself once offered”.  St John Chrysostom identifies the sacrifice offered on the altar in the Eucharist with the one which the Lord himself offered at the Last Supper and on Calvary.  But the Eucharist is not offered as a new sacrifice, or as a repetition of the sacrifice offered on Calvary:  “We do not offer a different sacrifice, but always the same one, or rather we accomplish the memorial of it,” Chrysostom writes.  This sense of re-presentation and eschatological participation in the unique, once for all sacrifice of Christ, “his oblation of himself once offered”, is profoundly expressed in Cranmer’s adaptation of the pascha nostrum in the 1549 Communion liturgy:

<blockquote>Christ our pascall lambe is offred up for us, once for al, when he bare our sinnes on hys body upon the crosse, for he is the very lambe of God, that taketh away the sinnes of the worlde:  wherfore let us kepe a ioyfull and holy fest with the Lorde.

You also wrote:

In other words, belief in apostolic succession is not something that “may be found” in the Fathers – rather, belief in apostolic succession is inconsistent with scripture, and therefore forbidden.

First of all, I think it is helpful to realize that most High Church Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics would not want to limit apostolic succession to tactile succession in the historic episcopate alone.  Apostolic succession is better and more fully understood as faithfulness to apostolic order, teaching, and practice (including liturgical practice), of which the visible and orderly succession of bishops is part.

How this is inconsistent with holy Scripture, and therefore forbidden, I do not understand.  Furthermore, to suggest that in appointing presbyter-bishops the apostles were not entrusting them with some part of the apostolic ministry; viz., the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, simply doesn’t agree with the witness of Scripture (cf. Acts 20 and 1 Peter 5).  We don’t know exactly how the mono-episcopate of the second century emerged from the plural presbyterate-episcopate of the first century, but there may have been some part played, at least locally or regionally, but “apostolic delegates” like Timothy and Titus.  Reading through 1 and 2 Timothy, it is clear that Paul is committing an apostolic ministry and authority to Timothy, particularly in perseverance in teaching right doctrine.  And of course, it is precisely this aspect of apostolic succession in the episcopate and the presbyterate that St Irenaeus of Lyons emphasizes against the Gnostics in his writings at the end of the second century.

Finally, you wrote:

Further, the canon of the New Testmant was “compiled” as soon as the last book was written. By definition it was complete before the Apostles passed from this earth.

No, it is incorrect to say that the canon was “compiled” as soon as the last book was written.  All of the authoritative books which comprise the canon had been written, but the canon itself was not compiled until it was literally compiled - perhaps at the earliest in the late second century, at least for a majority of the books of the New Testament.  That authoritative books (Epistles and Gospels) were appealed to in being quoted in letters, apologies, and treatises of the sub-apostolic and other early Fathers is certainly true, but we cannot point to any definitive New Testament canon until the late second century, by which time the Church was universally discerning which books were authoritative, because apostolic, and therefore canonical.  (Though David Troebisch’s theory of internal evidence within the New Testament for a quite early definition of the canon is very interesting.)  Hence Tertullian and St Irenaeus can point to a regula fidei, grounded in and expressing apostolic teaching, before there is a definite canon of New Testament Scripture (and this regula fidei, which is NOT a separate source of revelation but is at one with the Scriptures, provides the means by which the Church will read the canonical Scriptures and which will eventuate in the Creeds and the catholic liturgies of the Church).

[162] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-24-2010 at 10:14 PM · [top]

Bo,

No problem. I am glad it was helpful.

[163] Posted by MichaelA on 9-25-2010 at 01:42 AM · [top]

Dean Munday wrote:

1. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim (KJV=“show”) the Lord’s death until He comes.” (I Corinthians 11:26)

This is where I am continually frustrated trying to follow the anglo-catholic argument, because “Proclaim” is quite a different concept to “present” or “re-present”. They are unrelated concepts.

2. “In that sense we are only talking about the celebrant symbolizing the One who made that sacrifice and the elements (bread and wine) representing the victim (Body and Blood) of that sacrifice.”

Noted. But this still doesn’t help. Why does the celebrant “symbolize the one who made that sacrifice”? i.e. where in scripture does it even hint at that? This is a very important issue – ONLY Christ in all of creation could offer or present his atoning sacrifice to God. Many of us can represent Christ in different functions, e.g. as leader, mentor, light etc. But the idea that anyone can symbolize or represent Christ in his atoning function is a huge leap, and it runs directly counter to the teaching about the uniqueness of Christ’s High Priestly function.

3. “Christ is both the Body and the Blood AND the one who says, “This is my body, given for you…”  “This is my blood, shed for you.”  Both are being represented symbolically.”

This helps even less. Christ’s body and blood are represented by the elements. The person presiding over the Eucharist does what Christ did at the Last Supper, he distributes the bread and the wine and in that sense he stands in the place of Christ. How does that lead us to the conclusion that the person presiding also re-presents Christ’s sacrifice? It simply does not follow, particularly when the presenting of Christ’s sacrifice was part of his High Priestly role, which the book of Hebrews tells us specifically belongs ONLY to Christ (in the New Covenant).

Let me put the same thing in a different way: Christ at the Last Supper did not offer or present any sacrifice. He distributed elements or symbols of the sacrifice that he would accomplish later on the cross. The distribution of elements is not the same thing as the sacrifice itself, even though it mystically links one to the other.

So what reason do we have for thinking that the celebrant stands in the place of Christ in his work on the cross, simply because he stands in place of Christ distributing the elements at the Last Supper?

4. “But when the celebrant says the words of institution (“This is my Body… This is my Blood”), he is a symbol of Christ in his High Priestly function.”

But where do you get this idea from? Its not enough just to assert it.

When Christ distributed the bread and the wine to the disciples at the Last Supper, he did not exercise a High Priestly function, so why does the celebrant do so? Distributing bread and wine does not offer any relevant sacrifice to God. ONLY the shedding of blood does that, which Christ did on the cross.

5. “I suppose the low-Churchman says that, in the words of institution, the priest is merely a storyteller, telling what Christ said that night with his disciples.  This is perhaps the crux of the matter.  Anglo-Catholics treat these matters as having more literal (and at the same time more mystical) significance.  For others these things are mere memorials, bare signs.”

No, with respect, I am not going to let you get away with that! You are not debating memorialists. I (and several others on this thread) come from the classical protestant perspective. We do not restrict reading to the “literal” nor do we have any less a mystical understanding than anglo-catholics. The first priority for all of us must be to gain a TRUE understanding of what Christ taught about this – not engage in a discussion of “I am more mystical than you”!

That the celebrant (in a sense) stands in the place of Christ at the last supper, I have no problem with; nor do I have any difficulty with the teaching that all of us (celebrant and people alike) are mystically linked with Christ’s one eternal sacrifice and that we truly feed on his body and blood. But I have a real difficulty with the idea that the celebrant stands in the place of (or symbolizes) Christ in his High Priestly work, because I don’t see that as being what Christ and his Apostles truly taught.

6. I note you also cite Article XXV, with which I have no problem. As I stated in my first post, this is what all classical protestants believe, including even the Puritans. But the idea of the celebrant standing in place of Christ in the sense of presenting or re-presenting (or re-offering) the one atoning sacrifice, is no more present in Article XXV than it appears to be in scripture.

7. My fundamental difficulty is that I cannot see any basis on which to “present” or “re-present” a sacrifice has a different meaning to “offer” or “re-offer” a sacrifice. And it is this that the Apostles taught against. Note for example the following passage, which alludes to the Old Testament ceremony that occurred on Yom Kippur (see Leviticus 16:1-19):

“When Christ came as high priest of the good things that have now come, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. … For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as many is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will reappear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him”.
[Hebrews 9:11-12, 24-28]

Christ’s high priestly work consisted not only in making the sacrifice but in presenting it before God. This he did “once for all”. There is no room for his sacrifice to be “re-presented”, nor did this ever occur – a sacrifice was made, and it was presented. If you wanted to “re-present” a sacrifice, you had to kill a new victim.

Added to which, at no point anywhere in scripture are we told that a celebrant (or indeed anyone else) shares in Christ’s high priestly work, nor are we ever told that the celebrant “re-presents” or “re-offers” or does anything at all with Christ’s sacrifice. ALL of us who partake in the ceremony of the Lord’s Supper feed on his body and blood, but that is a different matter.

[164] Posted by MichaelA on 9-25-2010 at 01:48 AM · [top]

Todd Granger wrote:

1. “I would be interested to know which passages you think specifically reject the idea of the celebrant (presbyter or bishop) and people re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice (none of the passages you note in comment #142 seems to address the issue).”

Firstly, just to keep things clear, the position that was put by Dean Munday has been of the celebrant re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice, not the celebrant AND people re-presenting that sacrifice.

Nevertheless, I am happy to deal with it either way. I don’t have a problem with the celebrant and people participating in Christ’s sacrifice, nor in being mystically linked with it, nor in feeding on Christ’s body and blood which are truly present.

My difficulty is that I don’t see any basis for the assertion that the celebrant “re-presents” or “re-offers” the sacrifice of Christ. I think I would have that same difficulty even if it is asserted that the celebrant and the people together doing the re-presenting.

I did in fact refer to the teaching in scripture that there is only one High Priest in the new covenant, which is Christ. Dean Munday understood my reference immediately. Whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament, the concept is the same: Only a High Priest can offer the one atoning sacrifice that takes away all the sin of the people. The rest of us are Priests, and just like Old Testament priests we can be mediators between other people and God in a limited way, but only the High Priest can make atonement. Have a look at Hebrews 4:14 – 5:3, 8:1-6, 9:1-15, 10:1-6, 11-14, 19-22. It helps to have a grasp of the Old Testament teaching on sacrifice and priestly functions when reading this.

This is why Dean Munday and I are discussing the issue of Christ’s High Priestly function, which only He possesses. The essential thing about the High Priest was that only he could offer (or “present”) atonement for the sins of the whole people.

2. “We do not offer a different sacrifice, but always the same one, or rather we accomplish the memorial of it,” Chrysostom writes.

I doubt that I have a difficulty with Chrysostom when he is read in context, but I don’t want to be drawn into the Church Fathers at this stage. We have to sort out what Christ and his Apostles taught before moving onwards, and they actually wrote quite a bit about sacrifice and atonement.

3. You then quote from Cranmer’s 1549 service, and its such a good quote I will set it out again:

Christ our pascall lambe is offred up for us, once for al, when he bare our sinnes on hys body upon the crosse, for he is the very lambe of God, that taketh away the sinnes of the worlde:  wherfore let us kepe a ioyfull and holy fest with the Lorde.

I agree with this passage. Cranmer makes the point that Christ was offered up (by himself as High Priest) on the cross. He does not suggest that the celebrant does anything.

4. “Furthermore, to suggest that in appointing presbyter-bishops the apostles were not entrusting them with some part of the apostolic ministry; viz., the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, simply doesn’t agree with the witness of Scripture (cf. Acts 20 and 1 Peter 5).”

This misses the point – anyone can preach or teach the gospel. Whilst this was indeed one of the functions of an apostle, it was not peculiar to them.

The distinctive point about being an apostle was authority. Apostles held authority to speak with God’s authority to the church. As I wrote above, to be an apostle required certain qualifications, including (a) having been personally taught by Jesus; and (b) having been *specifically* chosen by the Lord for that ministry.

That is why the Apostles could not choose or commission anyone to replace them. They could indeed choose elders, just as we the church can do today. But neither they nor we can choose apostles.

5. “Reading through 1 and 2 Timothy, it is clear that Paul is committing an apostolic ministry and authority to Timothy, particularly in perseverance in teaching right doctrine.”

Only for those who do not understand what apostolic ministry and authority means! Perseverance in teaching right doctrine is not a mark peculiar to apostles – every Christian is obliged to do that. But Apostles had the authority to *declare* what right doctrine is. Paul never hands on that authority to Timothy (Nor could he have done so).

6. “And of course, it is precisely this aspect of apostolic succession in the episcopate and the presbyterate that St Irenaeus of Lyons emphasizes against the Gnostics in his writings at the end of the second century”.

To the extent that St Irenaeus made the point that consistency of teaching argued against Gnostic innovations, he is correct. But to the extent he suggested that “apostolic succession” is important, he was wrong. He was not an apostle and he had no power to declare doctrine.

7. “No, it is incorrect to say that the canon was “compiled” as soon as the last book was written.  All of the authoritative books which comprise the canon had been written, but the canon itself was not compiled until it was literally compiled - perhaps at the earliest in the late second century, at least for a majority of the books of the New Testament.”

This is incorrect on several grounds. Firstly, scripture is scripture as soon as it is written. It doesn’t wait for someone to declare it to be so, since the only persons with authority to make such a declaration (Apostles) have already done so when they wrote it.

Secondly, we have no reason to think that the early church did not know exactly what books were scripture – they knew that anything written by an apostle or under his direct authority was scripture, and they knew what those books were. Lets not confuse the situation in the 4th century with that in the 1st century.

8. “Hence Tertullian and St Irenaeus can point to a regula fidei, grounded in and expressing apostolic teaching, before there is a definite canon of New Testament Scripture”

That is precisely what Tertullian did NOT do. His point was that only the documents left by the apostles were scripture, that true doctrine is only what is found in those documents, and that the church had known from earliest times what those scriptures were. His complaint about the Marcionites was that they declared some books to be not scripture, even though the church had known since the apostles’ time that those books were scripture.

Irenaeus is more confused than Tertullian, but even he does not hold the position you attribute to him. Rather, he contended that the bishops’ interpretation of scripture was the correct one, rather than the twisted interpretations of scripture put forward by the Gnostics. But at the root of his doctrine was an assumption that the truth was written in scripture alone.

[165] Posted by MichaelA on 9-25-2010 at 01:53 AM · [top]

I have computer problems where I am. My last two posts could have expressed the same things in half the words if I had better connections - my apologies for taking up the space!

[166] Posted by MichaelA on 9-25-2010 at 01:55 AM · [top]

MichaelA, we could argue until we were both blue in the face about these positions, neither of us convincing the other.

First, in stating that the eucharistic assembly (celebrant and people together) re-present Christ’s one oblation of himself does NOT mean that we re-offer (you give the word as a synonym in your comment, supra) Christ’s sacrifice.  In catholic use it means that, by liturgically enacting the Sacrament of Christ’s one oblation once offered, we are being joined to Christ’s sacrifice, which he is “eternally pleading” (the language of the presbyterian Church of Scotland’s Book of Common Order) before the Father on our behalf.  Your use of “re-offer” suggests to me that you misunderstand this as recapitulating, in perhaps cryptic form, the medieval Roman error that we are literally re-offering Christ’s sacrifice.  I don’t know whether it helps to point out that the “catholic use” that I refer to includes not only Anglo-Catholics and High Church Anglicans, but also many Lutherans - and Reformed Christians.  (I could supply a number of (in context) quotations from 17th century French Reformed pastors and theologians to support this assertion; and I have already made note of the language of one of the eucharistic prayers in the Church of Scotland’s Book of Common Order.)

Is the doctrine biblical?  Insofar as it takes up themes from 1 Corinthians 11 and Hebrews, yes.  (True, you dispute Dean Munday’s citation of verse 26, but there is no unanimity among NT scholars that this only means “proclaim” in a manner analogous to preaching.)  Does it contradict anything in Scripture?  I wait for your citation of passages that clearly indicate that it does, because if not, and given that there are biblical themes that underlie the doctrine, then it cannot be dismissed as unbiblical.  (Anglicans are not regulative principle people, after all.)

The distinctive point about being an apostle was authority. Apostles held authority to speak with God’s authority to the church. As I wrote above, to be an apostle required certain qualifications, including (a) having been personally taught by Jesus; and (b) having been *specifically* chosen by the Lord for that ministry.

That is why the Apostles could not choose or commission anyone to replace them. They could indeed choose elders, just as we the church can do today. But neither they nor we can choose apostles

Actually, I think that, given that St Paul, St Barnabas and St James (of Jerusalem) are called apostles in Scripture, seemingly in that restricted Lucan sense of the Acts of the Apostles, that qualification (b) is the primary one (viz., call by Jesus not only in his “earthly” ministry but also after his resurrection).  Certainly the Twelve (including Matthias) were recognized as apostles on the basis of (a), but this isn’t the case for the aforementioned three.  Of course, there is the qualification of having been a witness of the resurrected Jesus - not sure when Barnabas experienced this, but the New Testament is clear that both Paul and James of Jerusalem were such witnesses.

Authority is certainly a hallmark of the ministry of the apostles, but it is not the only hallmark.  A ministry of oversight that links the particular (local) churches together is also part of their ministry, as well as providing an indispensable link - in themselves - with the Jesus in his life, death and resurrection.  The post-apostolic Church recognized the importance of this link in recognizing the authority within the Church of those who were taught by and appointed by the apostles to positions of leadership (viz., presbyter-bishops).  Continuance in right doctrine is required for all Christians, yes, but is particularly enjoined on apostle-appointed teachers so that the faithful may rightly be guided and instructed.

Are the early presbyter-bishops, and the later bishops, apostles?  No, not in the restricted Lucan sense that is rightly applied to the Twelve, to St Paul, to St James and to St Barnabas (and to St Silas?).  And not least in the sense that St Ignatius and St Polycarp, while likely auditors of an apostle (St John), are not witnesses to the resurrection and a direct link with Jesus in the flesh.  Can bishops authoritatively declare doctrine?  Not in the sense that the apostles could, no.  But to say that bishops can’t clarify, or can’t draw out the doctrinal implications of doctrine that we not originally explicit in the normative apostolic witness of the NT, would mean that the bishops of the fourth century would have been impotent in the face of the Arian heresy, and of the fifth century in the face of the “Nestorian” and Monophysite distortions as well.  And to admit or to suggest that would mean ceasing to be Anglican in any recognizable historical or classic sense.

Secondly, we have no reason to think that the early church did not know exactly what books were scripture – they knew that anything written by an apostle or under his direct authority was scripture, and they knew what those books were. Lets not confuse the situation in the 4th century with that in the 1st century.

Well, I’m not sure what evidence you can produce to demonstrate that the early Church (by which, given the next sentence, I presume you mean the Church in the first century) knew exactly what books were holy Scripture.  Even the recognition that anything written by an apostle or by someone under his direct authority is a tradition that developed in the Church over the course of the first century (and as an explicit statement about what writings are authoritative dates to the second, not the first, century - save for an allusive remark in the late-written 2 Peter).  I’m not denigrating the authority of Scripture by asserting this (which, I would point out, is the majority, if not nearly unanimous view of conservative NT scholars).  As the normative (written) witness of the apostles, the canon of the NT has primary authority for Christians for the establishment of doctrine and is the yardstick by which all subsequent tradition is to be measured.

As to the last sentence, I’m confused - are you suggesting that the Church had already defected in some way from apostolic teaching in that they couldn’t or didn’t understand what the canonical books of the NT were?  Or that there was some earlier, universally recognized canon (which is the same as ours) that was lost to the Church of the fourth century, hence the temporarily disputed status of Hebrews and the Revelation?  And if so, this would be the Church that you trust rightly to have “divided the word of truth” regarding trinitarian and incarnational theology?  (I’m not baiting you - I truly do not understand that sentence.)

As to Tertullian and St Irenaeus and their views of the regular fidei, I would have to say that your construction of their views is not that of most patristics scholars.  But in one particular you are correct - both of them consider apostolic truth to have been written in Scripture alone.  And the bishops’ interpretation of Scripture - what they mean by the regula fidei - was also true, came from the apostles, and was not written (it is not, however, a separate source of revelation).  This is the authoritative interpretive and exegetical tradition that will lead to the authoritative decrees of the first four Ecumenical Councils.

[167] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-25-2010 at 08:50 AM · [top]

Todd Granger wrote at #167:

1. “MichaelA, we could argue until we were both blue in the face about these positions, neither of us convincing the other.”

That is not how I see it. I think this discussion has been pretty civilised, all in all, and I think it is one (albeit small) part of producing greater dialogue and understanding between those from the anglo-catholic and evangelical streams. I believe that was Father Matt’s purpose in raising this thread, and Dean Munday’s purpose in taking some time out from his busy schedule to contribute.

Also, despite the depth with which we are currently exploring a few points of difference between us, there clearly is far, far more on which we are agreed, even in the relatively narrow topic of the Lord’s Supper.

2. I think the best way I can respond to your paragraph commencing “First” is to say that my concerns arise from the word “re-present”. I have taken that as being equivalent to “re-offer” (and I have been reinforced in drawing that connection by the suggestion that the celebrant is symbolising or enacting Christ’s high priestly work). If I have not understood Dean Munday correctly on that point, then much of my objection may fall away.

3. Thank you for citing from the Church of Scotland’s Book of Common Order. I think you make a useful point that, in relation to most doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, classical protestants of every stripe are in agreement. We all agree that the congregation joining in the service of the Lord’s Supper are truly linked to Christ’s eternal but once-only sacrifice, just as we truly feed upon his body and blood. I wouldn’t want my concerns about the concept of “re-presenting” to obscure those areas where we clearly are in substantial agreement.

4. Your next paragraph takes up the issue of “is the doctrine biblical?”, but you appear to be referring to doctrines that I have no disagreement with, so I really can’t respond, except to agree! Remember, my objection in relation to the Lord’s Supper is in relation to one particular aspect only: The suggestion that the celebrant “re-presents” Christ’s sacrifice (together with the related concept that the celebrant symbolises Christ in his high priestly role).

5. Re the qualifications of an Apostle, you state that an essential qualification for being an apostle was to be a witness to Christ’s resurrection. I agree. I think the way I stated it (having been taught by Christ) was inadequate. Mind you, being taught by the Lord also seems to be part of it, as Paul points out in Galatians 1:11-12.

6. Re Barnabas, I don’t believe that he was ever counted as an apostle in the strict sense, despite the use of the inclusive term “the apostles” in Acts 14:4. Nothing really turns on that.

7. In view of the rest of your post, I think it important to look first at what Christ and his apostles taught about the special nature of the apostolic ministry:

(a) Paul emphasises at the beginning of almost every one of his letters, that his status as an apostle was “chosen by God” and “not by the will of man”.

(b) The apostles in Acts 1:26 allowed God to make the final decision directly on who should replace Judas, i.e. they did not consider themselves (even as a body) to have authority to decide.

(c) Paul in Galatians 1:11-19 tells us that he was not taught the gospel by any man, but “received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” He then tells us that he did not need to be granted authority by any other apostle (as he had it direct from God), but after three years he went up to Jerusalem to consult with two apostles – Peter and James the Just.

(d) The Apostles, together with the Old Testament Prophets, are the foundation on which the church is built (with Christ himself as the chief cornerstone) – Ephesians 2:19-20

(e) The mystery of Christ is made by the Spirit to “God’s holy apostles and prophets”. Paul as an apostle received this revelation, which other men did not – Ephesians 3:2-5

(f) Jesus Christ himself is an apostle (presumably first of the order) as well as high priest (Hebrews 3:1)

(g) Peter reinforces the point that special revelation is given via prophets (in the Old Testament) and via apostles (in the New Testament):

“Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.”
[2 Peter 3:1-2]

(h) A further mark of an apostle was that he must perform signs, wonders and miracles (2 Corinthians 12:12).

Note that these are all exceptional qualifications and responsibilities. I will consider your comments about scripture and its relationship to the apostolic office in the next post.

[168] Posted by MichaelA on 9-25-2010 at 11:44 PM · [top]

Continuing in my response to Todd Granger’s post at #167:

8. You wrote:

“The post-apostolic Church recognized the importance of this link in recognizing the authority within the Church of those who were taught by and appointed by the apostles to positions of leadership (viz., presbyter-bishops).  Continuance in right doctrine is required for all Christians, yes, but is particularly enjoined on apostle-appointed teachers so that the faithful may rightly be guided and instructed.”

This is where we disagree. Nowhere do Christ or his apostles recognise any special authority in those “who were taught and appointed by the apostles”. I note you don’t cite any support for this particular assertion.

In the absence of such recognition, the fact that some later church fathers started to recognise such a concept cannot carry any authority for Christians.

9. You also wrote:

“But to say that bishops can’t clarify, or can’t draw out the doctrinal implications of doctrine that we not originally explicit in the normative apostolic witness of the NT, would mean that the bishops of the fourth century would have been impotent in the face of the Arian heresy, and of the fifth century in the face of the “Nestorian” and Monophysite distortions as well.”

Who has suggested this? Certainly not me.

Anyone can draw out the implications of apostolic doctrine. Its not restricted to bishops or elders, nor is there anything “apostolic” about doing so.

10. You also wrote:

“Well, I’m not sure what evidence you can produce to demonstrate that the early Church (by which, given the next sentence, I presume you mean the Church in the first century) knew exactly what books were holy Scripture.”

The evidence is right in front of you. Read the New Testament. The apostolic church was run by the apostles. It knew who they were and it knew what they wrote. It accepted their authority and the authority of their letters – this is all through the New Testament. Mind you, there is also historical evidence from Tertullian (see below).

11. I think there might be some words missing from the following paragraphs, as I am not entirely sure what you mean in much of them. However, in reference to the following:

“Or that there was some earlier, universally recognized canon (which is the same as ours) that was lost to the Church of the fourth century, hence the temporarily disputed status of Hebrews and the Revelation?”

The New Testament church knew what were the letters and documents written with apostolic authority. That is evident from the internal evidence of the New Testament itself, and from historical evidence (the church fathers).

In the second century, heretics made sustained attacks on the identity and authority of the apostolic writings. In broad terms, the Marcionites taught that some books of the New Testament were not authoritative (i.e. should be removed from the canon) whereas the Gnostics taught that new books should be added to the canon. Under these attacks, many in the church were led astray in the second, third and fourth centuries – they doubted the authenticity and authority of books which had been accepted by the early church, and they accepted books which had never been accepted by the early church.

Tertullian put it well at the beginning of the third century when he contended with the Marcionites who sought to remove books from the New Testament canon:

“On the whole, then, if that is evidently more true which is earlier, if that is earlier which is from the very beginning, if that is from the beginning which has the apostles for its authors, then it will certainly be quite as evident, that that comes down from the apostles, which has been kept as a sacred deposit in the churches of the apostles. Let us see what milk the Corinthians drank from Paul; to what rule of faith the Galatians were brought for correction; what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, the Ephesians read by it; what utterance also the Romans give, so very near (to the apostles), to whom Peter and Paul conjointly bequeathed the gospel even sealed with their own blood. We have also St. John’s foster churches. For although Marcion rejects his Apocalypse, the order of the bishops (thereof), when traced up to their origin, will yet rest on John as their author. In the same manner is recognised the excellent source of the other churches. I say, therefore, that in them (and not simply such of them as were founded by apostles, but in all those which are united with them in the fellowship of the mystery of the gospel of Christ) that Gospel of Luke which we are defending with all our might has stood its ground from its very first publication; whereas Marcion’s Gospel is not known to most people, and to none whatever is it known without being at the same time condemned.”

Note: (a) the “sacred deposit” is the scriptures, which have been kept by the churches since the time of the apostles; (b) the churches have known what the books of scripture are from the time of the apostles and through the 1st and 2nd centuries. (c) Tertullian is not giving an exhaustive list of books (although in fact he goes on to mention specifically just about every book in the NT).

12. Tertullian also writes:

“The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage—I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew—whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke’s form of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul. And it may well seem that the works which disciples publish belong to their masters. Well, then, Marcion ought to be called to a strict account concerning these (other Gospels) also, for having omitted them, and insisted in preference on Luke; as if they, too, had not had free course in the churches, as well as Luke’s Gospel, from the beginning. Nay, it is even more credible that they existed from the very beginning; for, being the work of apostles, they were prior, and coeval in origin with the churches themselves.”

Note the points: (i) All four gospels were known from the time of the apostles and derive directly from apostolic authority, and (ii) the scriptures, being the works of the apostles, existed prior to or at the same time as the churches.

[Both quotes are from Tertullian “Adversus Marcionem” Book IV, Chapter V]

13. You also wrote:

As to Tertullian and St Irenaeus and their views of the regular fidei, I would have to say that your construction of their views is not that of most patristics scholars.

Please. Comments like this are simply an expression of what a particular person regards as a “patristic scholar”. In other words, they are no more than circular reasoning. My “construction” of the writings of the church fathers arises from *reading* the church fathers. Unfortunately, all too often (and I don’t necessarily put you in this category) I find myself debating those who have read *about* the church fathers, but never actually read them.

The church fathers are accessible on line, for the most part, in good translations and anyone can read them. I would encourage everyone to do so. 

14. You also wrote:

And the bishops’ interpretation of Scripture - what they mean by the regula fidei - was also true, came from the apostles, and was not written (it is not, however, a separate source of revelation).  This is the authoritative interpretive and exegetical tradition that will lead to the authoritative decrees of the first four Ecumenical Councils.

That is a nice assertion. However, it is not what Christ and his apostles taught, it is not what many of the church fathers taught, nor is it necessarily what the members of the Ecumenical councils themselves believed.

There is no such thing as an “authoritative interpretation” of scripture, not even by a church council. This is fundamental to Anglicanism, as is expressed in our Articles of religion:

Article XXI Of the Authority of General Councils

General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of holy Scripture.

[169] Posted by MichaelA on 9-25-2010 at 11:50 PM · [top]

MichaelA, I am glad to see that we have discovered some areas wherein we are in substantial agreement.  But I think there is still, not a gulf perhaps, but a deep ravine, between us on substantive matters of ecclesiology and sources of authority.

As to the Fathers:  I’ve read them, not exhaustively, but I’ve read them.  Well, some of them.  I would not claim to have read them all.  And, I must confess, I’ve read about them as well.  The patristics scholars on whose work I’ve relied primarily have been J.N.D. Kelly (Anglican), James A. Kleist (Roman Catholic), and a few others.  To name but one, your views on Tertullian and Irenaeus do not accord with Kelly’s (see cited pages below).

I’ve not quoted either Tertullian or Irenaeus simply because in discussions like this it’s far too easy - and too tempting - to cherry-pick quotations and to produce decontextualized prooftexts.  Those interested in, for example, Kelly’s views may consult his Early Christian Doctrines, pp. 29-51, and read the primary texts he cites for themselves.  As you point out, most of the texts are readily found on the internet.

As to drawing out the implications of apostolic doctrine:  yes, anyone certainly can.  But not just anyone can do it authoritatively.  The Church Catholic has recognized that only bishops can do that, something seen in the New Testament itself in the Jerusalem council of the apostles and elders - viz., the elders of the church in Jerusalem joining with the apostles to make authoritative pronouncements regarding doctrine for the whole Church.  And we see it lived out in the history of the Church in the authoritative status of those councils recognized as ecumenical.  The question that naturally arises from this is:  if there is no sense in which bishops possess some apostolic authority (or any other authority in the Church rightly to establish or to clarify doctrine), then by what rights did the Church recognize the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils.  True, we could cite the sensus fidei, but the only instance of the sensus fidei determining Christian doctrine without the prior decrees of bishops is in the discernment of the canon of the New Testament.

But you reject the idea that the post-apostolic Church discerned the canon of the New Testament, since - unless I have completely misread you - you assert that the canon of the New Testament was formed during the lifetimes of the apostles.  I emphasize canon because my contention is that, while the books of the New Testament were written during the lifetime of the apostles or shortly thereafter, the canon of the holy Scriptures of the New Testament was not discerned as a whole to be such until the post-apostolic period.  Yes, Tertullian writes about the canonical Scriptures - and he emphasizes their primary authority in the establishment of doctrine, precisely because they are the written apostolic testimony to Jesus Christ; but he is after all writing in the latter half of the second century/early third century, not during the apostolic period.  By saying that the canon was discerned in the post-apostolic period I’m not suggesting that the writings themselves were not authoritative until they were discerned to be canonical (after all, the first Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople firmly established the orthodox catholic teaching that the Son, incarnate in Jesus, is coequal with the Father - they didn’t make him coequal).  Nor am I suggesting that the writings weren’t being read in the liturgical assembly in the churches, nor that their apostolic authority wasn’t recognized.  I’m asserting - with mainstream New Testament exegetes and dogmatic theologians and historians including Bruce Metzger, Kelly, and Brevard Childs (to name only three, and those Protestant) - that the apostolic Church had not discerned and did not possess a complete and whole canon of the New Testament.

That is a nice assertion. However, it is not what Christ and his apostles taught, it is not what many of the church fathers taught, nor is it necessarily what the members of the Ecumenical councils themselves believed.

???

I refer you again to Kelly.  My reading of other patristics scholars (and I rely on them because I do not presume to suggest that I possess the breadth of knowledge that a scholar in the field does), of later patristic and medieval writers, as well as of post-Reformation Anglican writers including the Caroline Divines, suggests that Kelly’s is by no means an eccentric or idiosyncratic interpretation.

I invite your referring me to patristics scholars on whose work you’ve relied.  I am always ready and willing to learn and - as you know - to be corrected.

[170] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-26-2010 at 06:25 PM · [top]

Todd Granger wrote at #170,

1. “I’ve not quoted either Tertullian or Irenaeus simply because in discussions like this it’s far too easy - and too tempting - to cherry-pick quotations and to produce decontextualized prooftexts.”

Exactly what I accuse a number of so-called “patristic scholars” of doing! They each have their own pet theories, and they often seem to take refuge in the hope that no-one will ever check their work. Anyway, not to worry. The texts are readily accessible, and if anyone were silly enough to do that, I am sure we will find them out very quickly.

2. “The Church Catholic has recognized that only bishops can do that [i.e. give authoritative interpretation of scripture]”

Well, that’s the point we are disputing isn’t it? I don’t think the Church Catholic has ever recognised any such thing. It’s a later concept that *some* of the church fathers held to, but not all. Its certainly not a concept that we see anywhere in the New Testament, so I don’t see how any of the church fathers (let alone only a few of them) have authority to impose a restriction on the rest of the church which was not recognised by the Apostles.

3. “something seen in the New Testament itself in the Jerusalem council of the apostles and elders - viz., the elders of the church in Jerusalem joining with the apostles to make authoritative pronouncements regarding doctrine for the whole Church.”

Yes, but the elders did not thereby become Apostles or speak with Apostolic authority. The New Testament is very clear on the distinction. There is no logical reason why two distinct category of persons joining in a declaration should somehow mean that the distinction between them is thereby removed. On the contrary, Acts 15 makes clear that the distinction was always maintained, even when they acted in concert.

To put it another way, the Jerusalem Council carried Apostolic authority. No other council did so, something our Anglican Articles of Religion recognise.

4. “And we see it lived out in the history of the Church in the authoritative status of those councils recognized as ecumenical.”

They are indeed recognised as authoritative, just as per Article XXI. But their authority is always subject to scripture.

5. “The question that naturally arises from this is:  if there is no sense in which bishops possess some apostolic authority (or any other authority in the Church rightly to establish or to clarify doctrine), then by what rights did the Church recognize the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils.”

You are going to have to give up your addiction to straw men – I contended that bishops do not possess apostolic authority, which is a fairly limited statement, and somehow that has been converted into “there is no authority in the church rightly to establish or to clarify doctrine”!

Take Article XXI as an example: It is inherent in it that General Councils possess high authority in the church; they just aren’t infallible.

6. “Yes, Tertullian writes about the canonical Scriptures - and he emphasizes their primary authority in the establishment of doctrine, precisely because they are the written apostolic testimony to Jesus Christ; but he is after all writing in the latter half of the second century/early third century, not during the apostolic period.”

As should be clear from the passages I cited, Tertullian’s point is that *all* the churches acknowledged the authority and identity of the scriptures from the time of the Apostles until the Marcionite heresy began to spread. Tertullian is the best historical evidence we have (although there are passages in other early Fathers that corroborate him), and the historical evidence supports the picture we read in the New Testament itself – that the authority of the Apostles and their writings was recognised as supreme throughout the New Testament church.

7. “Nor am I suggesting that the writings weren’t being read in the liturgical assembly in the churches, nor that their apostolic authority wasn’t recognized.  I’m asserting … that the apostolic Church had not discerned and did not possess a complete and whole canon of the New Testament.”

In practical terms, what’s the difference?

8. “I refer you again to Kelly.  My reading of other patristics scholars (and I rely on them because I do not presume to suggest that I possess the breadth of knowledge that a scholar in the field does), of later patristic and medieval writers, as well as of post-Reformation Anglican writers including the Caroline Divines, suggests that Kelly’s is by no means an eccentric or idiosyncratic interpretation.”

We were discussing the teaching of Christ and his Apostles, and to a limited extent the early church fathers. Why must we now deal with medieval writers and the Caroline Divines? What can they possibly add to what the Apostles taught and the early church believed?

9. “I invite your referring me to patristics scholars on whose work you’ve relied.  I am always ready and willing to learn and - as you know - to be corrected.”

When original documents are under discussion and readily accessible, I see no need to debate the views of people who have written *about* the documents, unless there is a very good reason to do so. If someone’s theory is that relevant to the point under discussion, it will be easy enough for you to summarise it in a few words.

[171] Posted by MichaelA on 9-26-2010 at 10:11 PM · [top]

Apologies for the OT, but I’d like to please request prayers for Sue Krentz. She and a friend were hit by a drunk driver today after leaving church http://www.kpho.com/news/25168584/detail.html?sms_ss=twitter. Mrs. Krentz is the widow of Arizona rancher, Robert Krentz who was murdered earlier this year by what is suspected to be an illegal alien. Mrs. Krentz is in critical condition in the hospital, is a mother and grandmother.

[172] Posted by mari on 9-26-2010 at 10:42 PM · [top]

MichaelA, you wrote:

You are going to have to give up your addiction to straw men – I contended that bishops do not possess apostolic authority, which is a fairly limited statement, and somehow that has been converted into “there is no authority in the church rightly to establish or to clarify doctrine”!

Cure my addiction, and answer the question:  wherein lies the authority in the Church rightly to establish and to clarify doctrine?  Tertullian writes that heretics twisted the meaning of Scripture, and the Arians were expert prooftexters.  For that matter, the “conservative” party at Nicaea I and in the decades leading up to Constantinople I required quite a lot of convincing to go beyond the words of Scripture and admit the rightness and necessity of having homoousion in the Creed.  While the Church certainly can’t establish doctrines that contradict Scripture, the Church is “a witness and keeper of Holy Writ” (Article XX), and has authority in “Controveries of Faith”.  How historically has that authority been exercised?

We were discussing the teaching of Christ and his Apostles, and to a limited extent the early church fathers. Why must we now deal with medieval writers and the Caroline Divines? What can they possibly add to what the Apostles taught and the early church believed?

We must deal with the medieval writers and the Caroline Divines for the same reason that we must deal with the Fathers:  because we’re Anglicans, not primitivist Protestants.  We must deal with them because we confess the “communion of saints” in the creeds.  What do they add?  No new doctrine, but - when they have written and taught in ways consonant with Scripture and the “catholic Fathers” (John Jewel, Apology of the Church of England) - they have often added clarification and have written to our edification.

But finally:

Exactly what I accuse a number of so-called “patristic scholars” of doing! They each have their own pet theories, and they often seem to take refuge in the hope that no-one will ever check their work.

and

When original documents are under discussion and readily accessible, I see no need to debate the views of people who have written *about* the documents, unless there is a very good reason to do so.

These are breath-taking claims.  Do I read them rightly, that you have summarily dismissed the entire field of patristic studies in favor of your own reading of the Fathers?

If that be the case, then further discussion is unlikely to be edifying.  I leave you to have the final word.

[173] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-26-2010 at 11:01 PM · [top]

Todd Granger wrote:

1. “Cure my addiction, and answer the question:  wherein lies the authority in the Church rightly to establish and to clarify doctrine?  ...  How historically has that authority been exercised?”

As I wrote above, your previous post responded to a position I do not hold. Now you are asking an open-ended question about the entire subject area of church authority! A response to the question you asked would take pages, and not accomplish anything.

I *thought* we were discussing church councils. I have referred you to Article XXI which sufficiently embodies Anglican doctrine (and my doctrine). In a nutshell, church councils are of high authority but they are subject to scripture. I do not understand what your objection is to this. You may wish to clarify.

2. “We must deal with the medieval writers and the Caroline Divines for the same reason that we must deal with the Fathers:  because we’re Anglicans, not primitivist Protestants.  We must deal with them because we confess the “communion of saints” in the creeds.  What do they add?  No new doctrine, but - when they have written and taught in ways consonant with Scripture and the “catholic Fathers” (John Jewel, Apology of the Church of England) - they have often added clarification and have written to our edification.”

As a general proposition, that is correct. However, we have not been discussing issues of “clarification and edification”, but fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith. Specifically, I responded to your claim that:

“the bishops’ interpretation of Scripture - what they mean by the regula fidei - was also true, came from the apostles, and was not written (it is not, however, a separate source of revelation).  This is the authoritative interpretive and exegetical tradition that will lead to the authoritative decrees of the first four Ecumenical Councils.”

And I pointed out that this is not the doctrine that the Apostles taught, and it is inconsistent with their teaching. Rather than raising medieval or Caroline divines (or Karl Barth or Heidegger for that matter) you should be focussing on the issue of what the Apostles taught and what the practice of the early Church illustrates about their teaching.

3. “These are breath-taking claims.  Do I read them rightly, that you have summarily dismissed the entire field of patristic studies in favor of your own reading of the Fathers?”

Your claims are not “the entire field of patristic studies” nor have you even attempted to cite same (you haven’t actually even cited Kelly, just made vague references to him).

Your claims are actually at a fairly simple level, and I would certainly debate issues arising from patristic studies if your claims warranted them. But they do not. They can be easily dealt with from the plain text of the relevant sources.

I don’t see any need to go discussing the historiography of patristic studies, unless there is some compelling reason for it.

I might feel differently if your posts had been more rigorous, but they lack rigour throughout – you essentially refer to ONE scholar on this issue, whose beliefs in this area were coloured by his churchmanship (i.e. he is hardly independent on this particular issue), yet even then, you don’t quote, you don’t summarise, you promise page numbers but never actually cite any. And then, you have the temerity to ask ME to start citing authors!

[174] Posted by MichaelA on 9-27-2010 at 02:59 AM · [top]

MichaelA,

When you say

Nowhere do Christ or his apostles recognise any special authority in those “who were taught and appointed by the apostles”.

it is evident that you have not read St Paul’s letters to Timothy, a man who was “taught and appointed” by St Paul.  The two letters to Timothy are predicated on the idea that Timothy had been appointed by St Paul and given “special authority”; the main content of the letters is St Paul’s advice as to how Timothy should go about exercising that special authority.  St Paul makes reference to that appointment and the special authority it confers when he write to Timothy I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the grace of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

In fact it is hard to choose verses from 1 and 2 Timothy to cite, because the whole of both letters are precisely the “recognition by the Apostle” of the authority which he had committed to Timothy.  Practically any verse chosen at random would do (e.g. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure (1 Tim 5.22)—guidance about ordination, a “special authority”).

Also, you denigrate the notion of a regula fidei handed down from the Apostles to guide our understanding of the Scriptures, even though it is well-attested in the earliest Fathers such as St Clement of Rome and (especially) St Irenaeus of Lyons.  But even St Paul makes reference to it when he tells Timothy:

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me[i.e. by oral tradition], in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus

The “form of sound words” is none other than the Church’s rule of faith, committed by the Apostles to their successors, and by which those successors “rightly divide the word of truth.”

[175] Posted by Chris Jones on 9-27-2010 at 08:29 AM · [top]

MichaelA, you wrote:

I might feel differently if your posts had been more rigorous, but they lack rigour throughout – you essentially refer to ONE scholar on this issue, whose beliefs in this area were coloured by his churchmanship (i.e. he is hardly independent on this particular issue), yet even then, you don’t quote, you don’t summarise, you promise page numbers but never actually cite any.

Well, actually I did at least provide you with page numbers, in # 170, supra:

Those interested in, for example, Kelly’s views may consult his Early Christian Doctrines, pp. 29-51, and read the primary texts he cites for themselves.  As you point out, most of the texts are readily found on the internet.

And, rather than quoting or summarizing, I direct the interested reader to Kelly himself, and thence to his primary source citations (in these pages, mostly of Tertullian and St Irenaeus). 

As to rigor, I don’t claim to have advanced a rigorous argument.  My comments weren’t meant to be those of a seminar discussion, but of a conversation - or a conversational argument.

But let’s now introduce a little rigor, and a quotation or two, fully within context.

In response to my assertion in #162:

Hence Tertullian and St Irenaeus can point to a regula fidei, grounded in and expressing apostolic teaching, before there is a definite canon of New Testament Scripture

you wrote:

That is precisely what Tertullian did NOT do. His point was that only the documents left by the apostles were scripture, that true doctrine is only what is found in those documents, and that the church had known from earliest times what those scriptures were.

What precisely did Tertullian have to say on the matter?

Regarding the regula fidei (or regula veritatis, which, according to Apologeticus. 47.10 “comes from Christ, transmitted through his companions” (cf. De praescriptione haereticorum 20), he writes (De praescr. 13):

Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend — it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

Concerning the appeal to this regula fidei against heretics, he writes (De praescr. 19):

Our appeal, therefore, must not be made to the Scriptures; nor must controversy be admitted on points in which victory will either be impossible, or uncertain, or not certain enough.  But even if a discussion from the Scriptures, or, “a polemical comparison of the Scriptures” should not turn out in such a way as to place both sides on a par, (yet) the natural order of things would require that this point should be first proposed, which is now the only one which we must discuss: “With whom lies that very faith to which the Scriptures belong.  From what and through whom, and when, and to whom, has been handed down that rule, by which men become Christians?” For wherever it shall be manifest that the true Christian rule and faith shall be, there will likewise be the true Scriptures and expositions thereof, and all the Christian traditions.

How the true doctrine came to be disseminated is noted in chapter 20 of the same work:

Christ Jesus our Lord (may He bear with me a moment in thus expressing myself!), whosoever He is, of what God soever He is the Son, of what substance soever He is man and God, of what faith soever He is the teacher, of what reward soever He is the Promiser, did, whilst He lived on earth, Himself declare what He was, what He had been, what the Father’s will was which He was administering, what the duty of man was which He was prescribing; (and this declaration He made,) either openly to the people, or privately to His disciples, of whom He had chosen the twelve chief ones to be at His side, and whom He destined to be the teachers of the nations. Accordingly, after one of these had been struck off, He commanded the eleven others, on His departure to the Father, to “go and teach all nations, who were to be baptized into the Father, and into the Son, and into the Holy Ghost.”  Immediately, therefore, so did the apostles, whom this designation indicates as “the sent.” Having, on the authority of a prophecy, which occurs in a psalm of David, chosen Matthias by lot as the twelfth, into the place of Judas, they obtained the promised power of the Holy Ghost for the gift of miracles and of utterance; and after first bearing witness to the faith in Jesus Christ throughout Judæa, and founding churches (there), they next went forth into the world and preached the same doctrine of the same faith to the nations. They then in like manner founded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches.  Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification.  Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive church, (founded) by the apostles, from which they all (spring).  In this way all are primitive, and all are apostolic, whilst they are all proved to be one, in (unbroken) unity, by their peaceful communion, and title of brotherhood, and bond of hospitality, — privileges which no other rule directs than the one tradition of the selfsame mystery.

Tertullian isn’t disparaging the Scriptures by saying that we should not appeal to them in controversies with heretics.  Appeal must be made to the true rule, the regula fidei, the indispensable key to understanding the Scriptures that had preserved the apostles’ testimony.

(cont’d)

[176] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-27-2010 at 10:39 PM · [top]

(cont’d)

St Irenaeus gives us similar teaching regarding Scripture and tradition (with Scripture always being the primary authority from which doctrine is derived) in Adversus haereses, Book 3, chapter 2 (note that Irenaeus distinguishes clearly between Scripture and tradition, the latter preserved by a succession of presbyters in the churches that derives from the apostles):

When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.”  And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or has even been indifferently in any other opponent, who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself.

2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

Regarding this succession of apostle-appointed teachers in the Church, he writes (Adv. haer., Book 3, chapter 3):

1. It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to “the perfect” apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves. For they were desirous that these men should be very perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men; which men, if they discharged their functions honestly, would be a great boon [to the Church], but if they should fall away, the direst calamity.

Note that in the quotation above he explicitly states that the apostles were leaving these men behind “as their successors, delivering up their own place of government [of the Church] to these men”.  (This is the trajectory of the Pastoral Epistles, as I previously perhaps only murkily suggested.  The clear significance of 1 and 2 Timothy to this discussion is, as Chris Jones states, St Paul’s own appointment of Timothy as his successor in at least local apostolic government and teaching authority.)

There you have it.  Quotations, in their context, without the interpretations of patristics scholars.

As to my having the temerity to ask you for names of patristics scholars to whom you looked for understanding, you seriously misread what was a genuine request for names so that I could compare those with the understanding of the teaching of the Fathers that I have gained from reading Kelly, Johannes Quaasten, James Kleist, Geoffrey Wainwright, David Hart, Lancelot Andrews, Alister McGrath, Brevard Childs and others (no, they aren’t all patristics scholars).  I sought understanding.  You responded with mockery.

I thought that the exchange might have proved interesting, perhaps even edifying.  You are clearly more interested in scoring points.

With this two-part comment I well and truly end my contribution to this discussion and to this thread.  Other readers should be able to tell from the quotations from Tertullian and Irenaeus (both available online at the CCEL website) whether the interpretation you give them is the clear meaning or not.  I am finished.

[177] Posted by Todd Granger on 9-27-2010 at 10:49 PM · [top]

Todd Granger at #176 wrote:

Hence Tertullian and St Irenaeus can point to a regula fidei, grounded in and expressing apostolic teaching, before there is a definite canon of New Testament Scripture

1. I earlier pointed out that Tertullian in “Against Marcion” states explicitly that: the early church accepted the authority of the apostles’ teaching; the apostolic writings (scripture) were known and accepted by the church before the apostles left this earth; and that the scriptures are “prior and coeval with the church itself”.

The works which Todd Granger cites do not contradict this. So we can take those propositions as established.

2. However, Todd Granger quotes extensively from Tertullian’s “Prescription against Heretics” and from Irenaeus’ “Against Heresies” as proof that at least those two patristic writers believed that apostolic authority (to authoritatively interpret the scriptures) was held by the bishops in their day.

3. I will deal with Irenaeus first, being the older work (mid-2nd century).

Todd Granger quotes from Chapter 2 of Book III, but his quote gives an erroneous impression of Irenaeus’ argument. Part of the problem here is that Todd Granger, like many others, reads the word “tradition” in Irenaeus without realising that it is not always used in the sense that certain groups use it today.

Irenaeus sets the scene in the first sentence of Book III:

“1. WE have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”
[Book III.1.1]

He then notes that the Gnostics claimed to have an oral tradition deriving from Jesus himself:

“When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.”” [Book III.2.1]

Note the point – it is the *Gnostics* who appeal to tradition as being necessary in order to authoritatively interpret scripture.

Irenaeus’ refutes this argument by pointing out that the teaching (“tradition”) in all the churches has been the same since the time of the Apostles. Irenaeus contends that the Apostles handed down NO oral teaching separate to the teachings of scripture and he specifically states that no such “hidden mystery” was handed down by the Apostles to the elders they commissioned to follow them. The last sentence is the clincher:

“1. It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to “the perfect” apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves.” [Book III.3.1]

Irenaeus is not supporting the later concept of “apostolic tradition”. He is pointing out that the teaching in the church from its first foundation to his own day had always been consistent with the Apostles’ original teaching. He thus refutes the claim of the Gnostics to possess an oral tradition which is necessary for the proper interpretation of scripture.

My concern with the way that Todd Granger has put his case, is that it strays perilously close to being a restatement of the very Gnosticism that Irenaeus contended against.

[178] Posted by MichaelA on 9-28-2010 at 04:40 AM · [top]

1. I now turn to Todd’s Granger’s citations from Tertullian’s “Prescription against Heresies”.

As Todd Granger correctly points out, it is directed at a particular reader who is disputing with Marcionite and Gnostic heretics. Tertullian indeed says (among many other things) that his reader should not appeal to the scriptures when disputing with these heretics because they do not accept their authority, i.e. they use different scriptures:

“Now this heresy of yours [i.e. that the reader is contending against] does not receive certain Scriptures; and whichever of them it does receive, it perverts by means of additions and diminutions, for the accomplishment of it own purpose; and such as it does receive, it receives not in their entirety; but even when it does receive any up to a certain point as entire, it nevertheless perverts even these by the contrivance of diverse interpretations. ... Though most skilled in the Scriptures, you will make no progress, when everything which you maintain is denied on the other side, and whatever you deny is (by them) maintained. As for yourself, indeed, you will lose nothing but your breath, and gain nothing but vexation from their blasphemy”. [chapter XVII]

Tertullian in effect says that his reader should not bother disputing scripture with men who have changed the scriptures, but instead confront them with the simple fact that the church from the time of the Apostles has held a belief contrary to theirs. 

To some extent I agree with Tertullian but this in any case is simply a matter of apologetic style.

What Tertullian does not do in this work is teach that Christians *among themselves* should rely on a “rule of faith” as higher than scripture. The premise of his work (as for Irenaeus’ earlier work) is that the Christian accepts the authority of scripture and the true pastor is one who is “most skilled in the Scriptures”.

2. Todd Granger wrote:

“As to my having the temerity to ask you for names of patristics scholars to whom you looked for understanding, you seriously misread what was a genuine request for names so that I could compare those with the understanding of the teaching of the Fathers that I have gained from reading Kelly, Johannes Quaasten, James Kleist, Geoffrey Wainwright, David Hart, Lancelot Andrews, Alister McGrath, Brevard Childs and others (no, they aren’t all patristics scholars).  I sought understanding.  You responded with mockery.”

Leaving aside your motive, I am still at a total loss as to how this was supposed to assist the discussion. I too could set out a long list of authors touching on this subject that I have read over many years. What is the point of such an exercise?

[179] Posted by MichaelA on 9-28-2010 at 04:46 AM · [top]

Chris Jones at #175,

1. Your reading of Timothy appears to be based on the assumption that “laying on of hands” signified the conferring of apostolic authority.

The problem is that there are no passages in the New Testament where laying on of hands signifies a transfer of authority, and there are several passages where it clearly does not:

(a) In Acts 6:6, the Apostle laid hands on the deacons. It was not so much authority that was passed on, but “responsibility” (as Peter puts it in an earlier verse). In any case, I don’t think anyone would suggest that apostolic authority was being passed on to the new deacons.

(b) In Acts 8 and Acts 19, Apostles lay their hands on new converts so that they receive the Holy Spirit.

(c) In Acts 13:3, the congregation in Antioch lay their hands on Saul and Barnabas before their missionary journey. Saul was an Apostle and Barnabas was an elder of the congregation, possibly the chief elder (if they had such a thing). There is certainly no conferring of authority here, since Saul and Barnabas already had it (in spades), but rather a special commissioning.

(d) In Hebrews 6:1-2, laying on of hands is described as “an elementary teaching about Christ”. It probably refers to laying on of hands in baptism. Nothing is said about transferring authority.

(e) There are numerous references in the New Testament to hands being laid on people to heal them.

2. If we then turn to the letters to Timothy, what do we find? In 2 Timothy 1:6, we are told that the laying on of hands passed on “a gift of God”. Why do we think this gift was “authority”? There is a long list of gifts of the spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, but authority is not one of them.

3. You refer to 2 Timothy 1:13-14:

“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

This is little more than a statement of the obvious. Paul’s teaching was the same, whether written or verbal. Timothy had been taught by Paul himself and was expected to be faithful to what he had heard. Timothy is a pastor, and all of Paul’s injunctions to him are what one would expect an Apostle to write to a pastor (albeit one with whom he has a long-standing familial relationship).

What we don’t see anywhere is a suggestion that Timothy has apostolic authority, i.e. to declare or interpret doctrine himself. Rather, Paul concludes his letter with this injunction to the young pastor:

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” [2 Timothy 3:14-17]

4. You write:

“Also, you denigrate the notion of a regula fidei handed down from the Apostles to guide our understanding of the Scriptures, even though it is well-attested in the earliest Fathers such as St Clement of Rome and (especially) St Irenaeus of Lyons.”

I would be interested to know where you find that idea in Clement of Rome – I would have said that his letter teaches to the contrary:

Clement writes in Chapter 44:

“Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry.”

Here, if anywhere, you would expect Clement to speak of this “regula fidei”, but there is no hint of it.

Clement commences the following chapter:

“Ye are fond of contention, brethren, and full of zeal about things which do not pertain to salvation. Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them.”

There is nothing there about a right interpretation or rule of faith handed down independently of scripture. Rather, the brethren are to carefully read the scriptures – exactly what an evangelical preacher would urge today.

And in chapter 53:

“Ye understand, beloved, ye understand well the Sacred Scriptures, and ye have looked very earnestly into the oracles of God. Call then these things to your remembrance.”

There is no mention of “be guided by the interpretation set out by the bishop who is in apostolic succession”. Rather Clement exhorts the church to read the scriptures and heed them. It is clear from the context that these are not presbyters that Clement is writing to.

As for Irenaeus, I refer to my response to Todd Granger in #178 above. Irenaeus teaches that the Apostles did not hand down any secret teaching to those who came after them.

[180] Posted by MichaelA on 9-28-2010 at 05:12 AM · [top]

MichaelA,

I shouldn’t write anything at all lest I be late for work; but a couple of quick points:

My argument is not based on the “assumption” that the laying-on of hands conferred apostolic authority.  It is based on the entire content of the two letters, which make it obvious that St Paul had made Timothy his successor and that he had conferred on him a considerable and wide-ranging authority.  We may quibble about whether it is proper to call that “apostolic authority”; no one claims that the authority of St Timothy and subsequent bishops is identical or equal to that of the Apostles themslves.  But we may certainly say that it is apostolic in origin.

In any case the notion that Timothy’s authority was conveyed by the laying-on of hands is no “assumption” on my part:  remember that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands

It would help if you would define what you mean by “apostolic authority.”  In your comment you describe it as being about “declaring and interpreting doctrine.”  It seems to me that St Paul explicitly includes this in the authority given to Timothy:  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

WRT St Clement, I may be misremembering that he treats explicitly of the rule of faith (as he certainly does of the apostolic succession); I don’t have his works to hand at the moment.  In any case, for my money the testimony of St Irenaeus is more than sufficient.

All I have time for, for now.

[181] Posted by Chris Jones on 9-28-2010 at 07:53 AM · [top]

Chris Jones in his post at #181 raises some good points, which serve to illustrate the evangelical position on the special nature of the apostolic office, as revealed in scripture:

“My argument is not based on the “assumption” that the laying-on of hands conferred apostolic authority.  It is based on the entire content of the two letters, which make it obvious that St Paul had made Timothy his successor and that he had conferred on him a considerable and wide-ranging authority.”

I wouldn’t have thought it was obvious at all. Timothy is an overseer and an elder and possesses the authority that any overseer or elder possesses; but there is no indication in the letter that he is Paul’s successor to the apostolic office or possesses apostolic authority.

“We may quibble about whether it is proper to call that “apostolic authority”; no one claims that the authority of St Timothy and subsequent bishops is identical or equal to that of the Apostles themslves.  But we may certainly say that it is apostolic in origin.”

As to your last sentence, I agree, but that doesn’t assist your case. The offices of overseer (episkopos), elder (presbyteros) and deacon (diakonos) are all “apostolic in origin”, in the sense that they were instituted by the Apostles. But that doesn’t mean that any of those offices carried apostolic authority. The New Testament teaches us that the apostolic office was different to that of deacons, overseers and elders.

“In any case the notion that Timothy’s authority was conveyed by the laying-on of hands is no “assumption” on my part: remember that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands”

Neither this passage nor the letters to Timothy say that *authority* was conferred on Timothy by the laying on of hands. Nor do they imply it. He received grace from God or a gift from God through the laying on of hands. As noted in my previous post, laying on of hands is not used in the New Testament to transfer authority.

“It would help if you would define what you mean by “apostolic authority.” 

Apostolic authority is that which pertains to the office of an apostle. It includes the right to give Jesus’ commands to the Church. Christ gave his commands to the Church through the apostles, and through no-one else (Ephesians 3:5, 2 Peter 3:2, Matthew 18:8, Acts 1:1-2). This is why the Church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:19-20).

“It seems to me that St Paul explicitly includes this in the authority given to Timothy:  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.””

This is the authority that any episkopos or presbyteros possesses. It is not special, in the sense of being peculiar to Timothy alone, nor peculiar to Apostles. Anyone can read scripture and interpret it according to its plain sense; and any elder can teach the whole congregation from scripture. The difference is that the Apostles WROTE scripture.

“WRT St Clement, I may be misremembering that he treats explicitly of the rule of faith (as he certainly does of the apostolic succession); I don’t have his works to hand at the moment.”

As I pointed out above, Clement doesn’t believe in either the rule of faith or the apostolic succession, at least in the sense that you meant.

“In any case, for my money the testimony of St Irenaeus is more than sufficient.”

I agree, since Irenaeus supports my position!

[182] Posted by MichaelA on 9-29-2010 at 01:57 AM · [top]

MichaelA,

Thanks for your response.

I’ll not, however, respond to it point-by-point, because like Dr Granger I have really done with this discussion.  I understand your position better, and it is a self-consistent one for an evangelical.  But it remains a position with which I profoundly disagree, and which I do not think is supported by the historical record or the patristic witness.

But neither of us is going to convince the other, so for now I take my leave of this discussion.  No doubt we shall cross swords on this or some other point in the future.

[183] Posted by Chris Jones on 9-29-2010 at 06:58 AM · [top]

Chris Jones,

Thanks and noted. That was essentially my intention, to show that evangelicals have reasons for the position they hold, and which are logical (to us, anyway).

I am guessing that this is consistent with the intention of Matt+ when he started the thread and Dean Munday when he took time out to contribute, i.e. not so much to solve all differences between faithful Anglicans, but to promote greater understanding, and working together.

One thing that you and I (and I believe Todd Granger) are agreed on, is that all of these documents - the scriptures, the works of the church fathers, the creeds, the formularies etc – all have objective meaning. We may disagree about how they are to be interpreted or how they interact, but we have this common ground.

That sets us profoundly apart from the liberals who dominate much of the hierarchy in western churches these days, who believe that there is no objective meaning to anything. The liberals will give assent to any creed, any passage of scripture, any canon from an ecumenical council, whilst at the same time holding beliefs and practices that are completely antithetical to what they profess.

[184] Posted by MichaelA on 9-29-2010 at 05:45 PM · [top]

This discussion has been fantastic…one of my favorite threads in the last year or so. Thank you to all participants.

[185] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 9-29-2010 at 05:49 PM · [top]

I would say that Evangelicals have no right to deny any teachings upheld by Anglo-Catholics. Anglo-Catholicism IS Anglicanism. It’s been “Catholic” from the very beginning, and to take away, or degrade its Catholicity is to take away an essence upon which it was founded. It’s not a coincidence that as Anglo-Catholic parishes have delined, so has the Communion!

[186] Posted by texaspiper on 11-8-2010 at 04:47 PM · [top]

Texaspiper,

I have great respect for some anglo-catholics, but not for your combination of jingoism and whistling in the dark. Evangelicals are just as “catholic” as anglo-catholics.

Nor is your last sentence remotely true. Most of the Anglican Communion tends to be evangelical in orientation rather than anglo-catholic. Whilst it is not easy to generalise, strong evangelical provinces and dioceses tend to be doing very well indeed.

That said, I am convinced that the future of the Anglican Communion lies in close co-operation and fellowship between evangelicals and anglo-catholics. This is what we have seen at Gafcon and in ACNA, and I trust we will yet see in places such as CofE.

[187] Posted by MichaelA on 11-8-2010 at 07:03 PM · [top]

Texaspiper,

I should just clarify that “jingoism” and “whistling in the dark” in my last post were written tongue-in-cheek. No personal disrespect was intended!

[188] Posted by MichaelA on 11-8-2010 at 07:17 PM · [top]

MichaelA-
Well the issue is that by claiming you are an Evangelical, you are claiming you are NOT a Catholic. When an Anglican refers to himself as being evangelical, he is doing his best to identify himself with protestant bodies to which he relates. The same applies with an Anglo-Catholic, who by describing himself as Catholic is identifying himself as favoring (Roman and/or Orthodox) traditions. You can NOT be both protestant and Catholic, because protestantism is nominally opposed to Catholicism.

I believe my statement to be absolutely true…because the first step in deliniating from the true of the church is denying a single part of its characteristics. Evangelicals, almost by nature, do not like the traditions of the church. That’s why they are evangelical…they favor a contemporary “worship style”. And because they deny that tradition of the church, they are automatically prone to heresy. The mainline protestant denominations almost all identify themselves in one way or another as being evangelical….and we all know how they’re doing.

I once had great faith in ACNA, but I have seen over the last year that ACNA has greatly favored evangelicals, and in a sense, many Anglo-Catholics feel alienated from the larger body. I don’t think co-operation will indeed work, because many Anglo-Catholics like myself are viewing the ordinariate as a way to maintain our Catholicism, and move on from the squabbles of modern Anglicanism.

[189] Posted by texaspiper on 11-8-2010 at 07:26 PM · [top]

Texaspiper wrote:

You can NOT be both protestant and Catholic, because protestantism is nominally opposed to Catholicism.

Yes I can, and I am.

Evangelicals, almost by nature, do not like the traditions of the church. That’s why they are evangelical…they favor a contemporary “worship style”.

Some do, some don’t. And if your concept of “traditions of the church” is focussed on worship style, you have missed the point of said traditions.

And because they deny that tradition of the church, they are automatically prone to heresy.

Wrong on every point. Evangelicals do not deny the tradition of the church, nor are they prone to heresy.

The mainline protestant denominations almost all identify themselves in one way or another as being evangelical….and we all know how they’re doing.

Very well in fact, particularly in the Anglican Communion, despite your factually incorrect assertion above.

I don’t think co-operation will indeed work, because many Anglo-Catholics like myself are viewing the ordinariate as a way to maintain our Catholicism, and move on from the squabbles of modern Anglicanism.

I agree. For you, it probably won’t work!

[190] Posted by MichaelA on 11-8-2010 at 07:35 PM · [top]

Reformed and Catholic? Here‘s what we wrote about it last year.

[191] Posted by David Ould on 11-8-2010 at 08:06 PM · [top]

I seem to recall that one of the reformers chief difficulties with the Roman Church was that it wasn’t catholic, in that it had added to the doctrines of the apostolic and early Church; and many of those doctrines and practices were contrary to the faith and practice of the primitive church. In this sense, one could say that it is impossible to be catholic unless one is also evangelical (and others could say unless one is reformed etc.), in that the reformation stripped away those unscriptural practices and returned to the original catholic faith (not, of course, that everyone who calls himself evangelical is also catholic).

Of course one could debate about whether the reformers stripped away not only the chaff but some of the wheat as well, and which of the various reformations (including the Roman reformation at Trent) got closest to the apostolic faith; and whether the Roman and Eastern innovations are legitimate developments or heresies of an anti-Christ. But to assert that catholicism and popery are one and the same is not to contribute to this debate, but to assume in advance one possible answer to it.

[192] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-8-2010 at 08:47 PM · [top]

[189] 

You can NOT be both protestant and Catholic, because protestantism is nominally opposed to Catholicism.

Huh?  What history of the Anglican church are you referring to?  The history that includes at its early years the drafting of the Articles of Religion, which still appear in the BCP today (although I grant that 1979 includes them in the “mere” Historical Documents section).

An Anglican cannot be Evangelical or Protestant?  Really?  What am I to do with Article 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. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church…

Or, Article XI, “Of the Justification of Man”:

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification

Or, Article XII, “Of Good Works”:

Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

An Anglican cannot be Evangelical or Protestant?  Hmmmm.  I suppose if we can ignore/re-write history to suit our individual preferences, let me declare once and for all time that a true Anglican is one who has always supported the Alabama Crimson Tide in good years and bad, without waivering and without buying in to the Cam Newton hype. (sorry Carl, you may be a good Protestant and a good Evangelical, but by my perfectly-acceptable definition, you cannot become a good Anglican until you don a Crimson Jersey and a Houndstooth hat).

[193] Posted by BAMAnglican on 11-8-2010 at 09:55 PM · [top]

[193] BAMAnglican

Strange are the fortunes of fate.  How do these things come to pass?  Auburn must lose at least once for my master plans to come to fruition.  This means I am in the unfortunate position of having to root for Alabama against Auburn.  Oregon must lose as well.  Then the nabobs at the BCS will be forced to figure out some way to weasel a major conference power into the championship game.  The BCS Cartel will demand its payment, and the credibility of the BCS will be destroyed.  [Insert evil laughter here.]  Remember that everything must be subordinated to the overarching goal of destroying the BCS!  Even to the point of committing an action so contemptible as rooting for the Crimson Tide.  We must all make sacrifices, I guess.

carl
BCS delenda est!

[194] Posted by carl on 11-8-2010 at 11:58 PM · [top]

[194] Carl,
There be many who enter the faith while pursuing their own goals.  We welcome you without judgment.  We are, after all, an inclusive lot.
Semper Rammer Jammer.
-BAMMERAnglican

[195] Posted by BAMAnglican on 11-9-2010 at 12:26 AM · [top]

MichaelA-
We can play word games all day long. And sure, go ahead calling yourself an Anglican, an Evangelical, a protestant, a Charismatic, AND a Catholic…but the fact of the matter is that you cannot be both Protestant and Catholic, no matter how hard Anglicans try to do it.

And really? You think the Anglican Communion is doing quite well? Hmmmm…..

[196] Posted by texaspiper on 11-9-2010 at 03:39 PM · [top]

And really? You think the Anglican Communion is doing quite well? Hmmmm…..

I should probably let Michael A answer for himself, but I would venture to say that the Anglican Communion is doing quite well.  The Gafcon provinces alone, in an average year, baptize more people than attend CoE and TEC put together (and I am pretty sure you could also throw in Canada, Mexico and most of the other Western churches).
The problem is not the Anglican Communion, but the hegemony of a few Western revisionist churches over the structures of the Communion.  However, at current rates of decline, those Western Churches will cease to exist for most intents and purposes, in 20-30 years, while the GS churches will continue to preach the Gospel and grow.

[197] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-9-2010 at 04:44 PM · [top]

Well I definately agree with you on that, except you can’t take one part of the communion and use its success to back up another part of the communion.

As a “communion”, we are all in the same boat. and right now that boat is lead by a liberal and indecisive phony, and is being torn apart at its middle. And then the remaining parts are also being torn in two. So I would not be hesitant to say that in fact the “communion” as a whole is doing nothing short of terribly, while some of its “parts” are seeing great success.

[198] Posted by texaspiper on 11-9-2010 at 06:06 PM · [top]

Texas Piper wrote,

but the fact of the matter is that you cannot be both Protestant and Catholic, no matter how hard Anglicans try to do it.

Yes we can, and we do!

“Well I definately agree with you on that, except you can’t take one part of the communion and use its success to back up another part of the communion.”

Why not? Every single other church on earth does it.

“As a “communion”, we are all in the same boat. and right now that boat is lead by a liberal and indecisive phony, and is being torn apart at its middle.”

So what? Mind you, its actually only a small piece being torn off the corner. As the scriptures teach us (remember them?) even the small piece torn off may in fact be the right one, but in this case it isn’t.

And a liberal and a phony? He’s no worse than at least half a dozen previous Popes who lived quite inconsistently with their profession, and the Anglican Communion will survive this just as well as the RCC has.

“So I would not be hesitant to say that in fact the “communion” as a whole is doing nothing short of terribly, while some of its “parts” are seeing great success.”

If that is your view, then why are you still in it? Surely good conscience demands that you leave?

The rest of us will be heartbroken but, somehow, we will manfully struggle on without you!

[199] Posted by MichaelA on 11-9-2010 at 10:18 PM · [top]

MichaelA-
I think it’s exactly YOUR attitude that is convincing so many traditionalist (and true) Anglicans to swim the Tiber…
You think everything is jolly good in the Anglican Communion…and yet its in dissolution.
You think you can just move on without us, and nothing will change? To be honest, without us, The Anglican Communion would be in even worse shape than it is now.
I suggest you reflect upon your attitude and change it…no one likes a stuck up phony.

[200] Posted by texaspiper on 11-10-2010 at 04:33 PM · [top]

Okay texaspiper, since you have entered this thread you have been insulting and rude. Your last comment especially was beyond the pale. MichaelA has engaged you firmly and competently and all you can do is return with insults.

Your comments do not speak well of the “Catholic” faith you confess nor do they speak well of your understanding of Anglicanism in which both evangelical and catholic traditions enjoy long heritage.

Moreover, we do not allow conversion trolls on SF…those who having left Anglicanism return to cajole everyone else on the board for not making the same decision. We have a number of very passionate and well spoken Catholics on SF who are the picture of respect and humility when making their arguments. You are not one of them.

If you are so happy in your chosen path, stick to it. Why on earth would you want to come back here and berate everyone else? That does not reflect joy as much as it does bitterness which, again, undercuts the professions you make.

My impression is that you are a conversion troll and not a very accomplished one.

As such you have the following choice:

1. Apologize publicly to MichaelA and the board and commit to commenting in a respectful manner.

or

2. I will ban you and delete all of your subsequent comments

Matt

[201] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 11-10-2010 at 04:45 PM · [top]

I am an Anglican. One that is very upset with the church.
I presented my views without insult of rudeness. If my views were seen as insulting or rude, I am sorry I presented them in such a manner. However, i stick to what I have said.

[202] Posted by texaspiper on 11-10-2010 at 10:44 PM · [top]

#202 texaspiper
These things are all beyond us; all we can do is place them in our Lord’s hands for He is much more powerful and able to deal with them than we are.

And having done that may He grant you His Peace.

[203] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-10-2010 at 10:56 PM · [top]

Texaspiper,

1. If someone is going to “swim the Tiber”, I would have thought that they will do it because they are convinced Roman Catholic dogma is correct, not bceause of comments by a member on Stand Firm!

2. I don’t “think everything is jolly good in the Anglican Communion”. On the other hand, I think your assertion that the AC is “in dissolution” is quite inconsistent with the facts. 

3. I can’t respond to your comment “You think you can just move on without us, and nothing will change?” because I don’t know who you mean by “us”:

If you mean “anglo catholics”, then there are plenty of ACs staying in the Communion, so I couldn’t “move on without them” even if I wanted to (which I don’t, by the way).

If you mean “Anglicans who are going to Rome”, then by definition we will be moving on without them; yes, we may miss them in a personal sense, but I doubt we will really be affected by their absence. There are something like 70 million Anglicans in the Communion - the loss of a few thousand to Rome (even if it is that many) will, in the end, hardly be noticed.

[204] Posted by MichaelA on 11-11-2010 at 12:01 AM · [top]

Well you say that MichaelA, but wasn’t the shepherd prepared to leave the flock to search after the single lost sheep?  Perhaps if we seek to follow Him, we should do the same?

[205] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-11-2010 at 12:07 AM · [top]

Sorry PM, I am not sure what analogy you are drawing.

I don’t think of Anglicans who go to Rome as “lost sheep”, any more than I think of Anglicans who become baptists as “lost sheep”. They are not with the Anglican part of the flock anymore, but they are still under the same shepherd.

I do think of someone who has rejected Christ, or who has never accepted him at all, as a “lost sheep”. Christ goes searching for them, and so should we.

Are we talking about the same thing?

[206] Posted by MichaelA on 11-11-2010 at 12:15 AM · [top]

Do you not think, that our shepherds, and indeed ourselves should look after the sheep in the charge of our flock rather than feel they have to go off to another flock?

[207] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-11-2010 at 12:18 AM · [top]

I’m disappointed that some of the shepards have departed.
Yet, I can’t help but think:  If the shepard is convinced that the fold and pasture are full of nettles and wolves, perhaps he should try to lead the flock in his care to a more secure location with better grazing.

I’m so very glad that this choice is not one I must make.
May God grant them wisdom and courage.

[208] Posted by Bo on 11-11-2010 at 12:28 AM · [top]

PM,

Could you be more specific?

I’ve already said that I don’t think that someone who leaves the Anglican Communion to join the RCC is a “lost sheep”, so I don’t see how your analogy applies.

[209] Posted by MichaelA on 11-11-2010 at 12:48 AM · [top]

I suppose I should clarify that I *am* concerned about everyone who leaves the Anglican Communion. But there have been an awful lot of them, and for many different reasons. There are many ex-Anglicans among the Presbyterians, the Lutherans, the Orthodox, the Baptists, Pentecostals, the Roman Catholics and the Methodists. At least they are all being ministered to by their new churches.

I am far more worried about those who have left Anglicanism for nowhere.

And, there are approximately 70 million Anglicans still in the Communion. They surely have to be my first priority, as a member of the Communion?

[210] Posted by MichaelA on 11-11-2010 at 12:53 AM · [top]

#209/210 Thanks MichaelA
I just happen to feel that these 5 bishops, along with all the others who have felt that their church has left them, are the lost sheep, and the fact that there is an alternative sheepfold [with some very different beliefs] available where they may shelter [if they know where to find it] does not change that one bit.  And of course the truth is that in the way of these things, for every one or two who publicly state they are departing for another sheepfold, there are probably a greater number who just quietly wander off having decided that they don’t think much of shepherds at all.

All of the above I believe is a failure of our church, and is not at all accceptable for a Christian body.  It is indicative that the sheep cannot hear our voice and the wolf has entered.  John 10

[211] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-11-2010 at 04:08 AM · [top]

Hi texaspiper,

“I presented my views without insult of rudeness. If my views were seen as insulting or rude, I am sorry I presented them in such a manner.”

That is not an apology.

Let me be more specific: you will apologize for your posts in which you declare that MichaelA is “not Anglican” and a “stuck up phony”.

Those sentiments were not simply not acceptable here.

[212] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 11-11-2010 at 04:43 AM · [top]

Pageantmaster,
At the risk of being too blunt, the beliefs of the Roman church are much more in line with those of Anglo Catholics than are the beliefs of much of the Anglican Communion.  Anglo Catholics are not accepting a lot of strange doctrine, or at least, not strange to them.  There is a tendency to associate certain regional irregularities in parts of the Roman church as though they were Catechism.  They are not. Which is the functional equivalent of saying that all of Anglicanism has rejected the Atonement because TEC’s PB does so on NPR.
What you are saying is similar to comments by some folks here when Jeffrey Steenson left TEC for the Catholic Church.  Sometimes, the only way to lead is by example.  Discussions between Rome and various Anglo Catholic representatives in the US and CoE have been going on for decades. 
The Affirming Catholics, organized by Rowan Williams and Frank Griswold, exist specifically to give a pro-WO, pro-gay pseudo catholic alternative to Anglo Catholicism.  In the US, they were entirely successful in the space of 15 years of eliminating Anglo Catholic diocceses and deposing all the Anglo Catholic bishops.  The Anglo Catholic bishops in CoE can read the writing on the wall.  If the CoE had wanted any Anglo Catholics to stay, they would have voted in one of the two acceptable resolutions, which were both voted down by huge majorities, and even Rowan’s half hearted measure that would have allowed for flying bishops to continue for the balance of his tenure failed.  The CoE made it clear it will have women bishops, and that is more important to them than the traditions of (what they hope are) only a few thousand Anglo Catholics.
  Anglo Catholics are faced with an eviction notice.  One group has chosen to find new housing, the other thinks that they can form some sort of tenant’s association and this will solve their problems.  I think the former may have found a better alternative.  The other alternative was to have Anglican Churches in England submitting to Primates outside of England, in open defiance of the Church of England, in order to have a succession of bishops.

[213] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-11-2010 at 07:55 AM · [top]

Meanwhile We are off to see the Wizard, apparently

[214] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-11-2010 at 08:04 AM · [top]

Cowardly lion or tin man do you think?

[215] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-11-2010 at 08:05 AM · [top]

214 and 215,
As I have often said before, I think the more apt metaphor is the Elves taking ship from the Grey Havens.  Let us pray for them, rather than castigate them.  As soon as the battle for Helm’s Deep is over, more of us may follow.

[216] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-11-2010 at 08:14 AM · [top]

Do you get all of your theology from the Lord of the Rings, TJ?

[217] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-11-2010 at 08:18 AM · [top]

Better that than from Frank Baum, unless your Oz references were to Australia.

[218] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-11-2010 at 08:19 AM · [top]

Mind you, I suppose a similar criticism might be levelled at me and the Yellow Brick Road.

I think the lesson of Helm’s deep is that sometimes, we are just required to stand, for we cannot see the ultimate picture, but have to remain faithful where we are.

[219] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-11-2010 at 08:21 AM · [top]

Matt-
1. I did not say that MichaelA was not an Anglican.
2. I apologize for using the words “stuck-up phony.”
3. However, my caustic attitude towards the afore-mentioned commenter is because of his comments towards me…
“The rest of us will be heartbroken but, somehow, we will manfully struggle on without you!”
“I have great respect for some anglo-catholics, but not for your combination of jingoism and whistling in the dark.”
4. I believe that you have singled me out unfairly; possibly because of my views. I have already apologized once, and I think it shows bias on the part of StandFirm, considering that i am the only one who is being made to apologize when (in my opinion), I was treated rudely by the person to which I have apologized.

[220] Posted by texaspiper on 11-11-2010 at 02:48 PM · [top]

Hi Texaspiper—thanks for the apology . . .your comments after the apology about StandFirm’s commenting protocol are taking the thread off-topic.  The thread is about the article.  Please comment on-topic—obviously we’re not going to take the thread into a discussion of “bias on the part of StandFirm.”


Thanks.

[221] Posted by Sarah on 11-11-2010 at 03:22 PM · [top]

Thank You smile

[222] Posted by texaspiper on 11-11-2010 at 03:43 PM · [top]

I am a Progressive Anglo-Catholic in the Affirming Catholicism tradition who DOES NOT AGREE AT ALL with the idea of diaconal presidency of lay presidency. That said, maybe the solution is to lower the barriers to ordination. If you can pass the General Ordination Exam, and pass a background check, you should have a right to ordination. At present, you seem to need a whole bunch of people to like you on a subjective basis to get ordained, which makes the process very political. The result is a critical shortage of clergy as evidenced by the fact that some parish must deign to Morning Prayer on Sunday because no priest is available.

[223] Posted by DesertDavid on 11-12-2010 at 11:30 PM · [top]

Affirming Catholicism tradition

A brief phrase, and yet laden with contradiction

[224] Posted by David Ould on 11-12-2010 at 11:48 PM · [top]

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