November 24, 2014

December 17, 2012


New Wine’s Comment on the Women Bishops Synod Vote

A very depressing letter from evangelicals in the Church of England of the more charismatic side of the aisle—note that there is nary a mention of the needs of conservative evangelicals and AngloCatholics.  I’m amazed at the disinterest by people who, by all accounts, believe the Gospel. I’m not quoting the section that contains this line—“the world’s astonished and disbelieving reaction to this unfortunate decision”—but what a tellingly demonstrative one it is.  As if somehow the world’s astonishment is an indictment of the Church’s decisions.

Dear Friends
I would like to express my deep disappointment over the vote in General Synod this week, my belief in women Bishops, my empathy with ordained women in their pain, and my support for them in their current ministry.
At the beginning of the day of the debate at General Synod I tweeted: “Another big day for Anglicans -10 days ago a new Archbishop. Today women Bishops? In my view it’s time to say Yes! But love those who disagree.”
After the vote was announced I tweeted: “Really disappointed re Synod vote against women Bishops. Once again asking women clergy to forgive us & pledging to pray for change ASAP.”
My view and support of them is shared by others in the New Wine Leadership Team: ...


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34 comments

” In the end it is this continuing faithfulness in ministry of ordained women which will write a testimony that no-one will be able to refute and result not only in the passing of a motion in favour of women Bishops but in the welcoming of them to a position of God-given equality in the Church.” The “testimony” of the ministry of KJS speaks loudly also. I find the “equality” argument repugnant. What does that mean exactly? To say that women are equal to men in that sense means they are the same as men. It is not a justice issue. It is an identity issue. Making it a justice issue diminishes women and their role in the church. When feminists choose Eve as the model for women, it is as big an error as choosing Adam as a model for men. Mary is the model of women and choosing Eve obscures the identity and diminishes the glory of women.

[1] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-17-2012 at 08:31 AM · [top]

Yes - a depressing collection of truly irrelevant commentary.

I believe they’ll do their best to eradicate charity from the church, at which point they shall be very happy.  At least for a while.  Then the world will look at them, recognize itself, and look away.

rolleyes

[2] Posted by tired on 12-17-2012 at 08:38 AM · [top]

What is really so stunning about this can be summed up in comments from Gerald Bray here:

Alarmed by that, the conservatives got together and stood for election in 2010, believing that they could obtain a blocking minority (34%) in the house of laity, which they duly did. It has been clear since then that adequate provision for the minority would have to be made or else the legislation would fail. But instead of facing up to that reality and acting accordingly, the majority preferred just to push on regardless, believing that they could shout the minority down. About a month before the final vote, some of the majority people were urging members of the minority to abstain, so as to let the legislation go through. This really angered the minority because it was an open attempt to suppress their voice, and (to his credit) even Rowan Williams publicly repudiated it. The final result was totally predictable and could have been avoided if only the majority had been more considerate to the minority…

It seems to me that there was a very clear path which would have seen women bishops approved at the recent Synod, but the vast majority of the pro-women bishops faction (including many evangelicals so it seems) decided NOT to take this path.  Instead, they decided to pursue a “take no prisoners” approach and it backfired on them.

I was also somewhat shocked to see a supposed evangelical leader say

A NO decision will be a stench in the nostrils of the world. A YES decision will be a sweet aroma.

Okay, yes, I support women’s ordination to all levels (though I support protections for those who disagree, etc.)  I believe that Scripture calls for both male and female leaders in the Church.  But I would never describe a vote in which non-WO supporters won a “stench in the nostrils of the world”.  Supporting abortion - THAT’S a stench.  This sounds very much like the world’s cultural values are driving this person’s view of what God wants.

[3] Posted by jamesw on 12-17-2012 at 01:49 PM · [top]

The leader of New Wine, John Coles, writes in this letter: “We are aware there are some in New Wine who hold other views, but that is inevitable since New Wine is a network and not a denomination with a rigid statement of faith and practise”. 

By way of background, New Wine is a charismatic and evangelistic renewal group which does not only operate in Anglican churches.  However, it was started in 1997 by a retired Anglican bishop (David Pytches of Southern Cone, one of the consecrators of +Chuck Murphy in 2001), working from a CofE parish, and most of its members and leaders are Anglican.

However, a major factor in New Wine’s success in recruiting members has been the way in which it stayed aloof from doctrinal arguments in CofE.  Particularly under its earlier leader David Pytches, New Wine concentrated on spreading charismatic and evangelistic revival in congregations, without taking sides on issues like this.

But that diplomatic position has undergone a major change due to this letter, and the leadership of New Wine may find that they have not really considered the repercussions.

Evangelical groups which opposed the women bishops measure like Reform, Church Society and Church of England Evangelical Council will now be estranged from New Wine, and no longer view it as independent of the CofE liberals. 

As Jamesw points out, the words: “A NO decision will be a stench in the nostrils of the world. A YES decision will be a sweet aroma” are fightin’ words.  New Wine has decided to take sides in unmistakeable fashion.

[4] Posted by MichaelA on 12-17-2012 at 09:57 PM · [top]

The thing is that Charismatic Evangelicals do not really think that the distinction between male and female bishops is important, because they don’t think that bishops are important.  Their outlook even among the Anglican section is broadly Baptist/Pentecostal.  They are quite happy to have a tame bishop turn up now and again as something exotic, preferably if they turn up in an exotic colorful shirt.

They don’t think much of the sacerdotal priesthood either, except as a way of learning the trade of pastoring and biblical explication being mostly memorialists, and in doing so most see no distinction between male and female preaching as ‘elders’.  You see everything from preaching to leadership is a gift of the Spirit.

[5] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 12-18-2012 at 05:30 AM · [top]

Pageantmaster,
Excellent analysis! I understand +Justin Welby is a Charismatic Evangelical. Do you know if he is of like sentiment to those you describe? If so, this presents more concern for traditionalists about his leadership.

[6] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-18-2012 at 07:55 AM · [top]

#6 Fr Dale

Just to clarify, Charismatic Evangelicals emphasise a personal unmediated relationship with God, save for through Jesus Christ, with the aid of the Spirit.  It is not that they reject bishops, it is just that they do not elevate them to the place that others in the church do, and that also is reflected in their general disengagement from church politics and arguments. save where they look like directly impinging on their interests.

That has been one of the problems, that the large Charismatic Evangelical and growing constituency has just left the field, and nature abhoring a vacuum, liberals have filled the gap in almost all senior clergy, diocesan and Cathedral appointments.  The situation have never been worse than it is as Rowan Williams leaves office.  Moreover the Charismatic Evangelicals have been naive - they have been wooed and flattered by smiling faces from the establishment with little posts within the establishment structures, their own seminary [suitably liberal controlled of course], and an encouragement to be a ‘healer’ and force for ‘reconciliation’ in mission in church and Communion affairs.  They have been attacked in their vanity as they have been lauded as celebrity vicars and encouraged to ‘broaden’ their appeal within the church.

That has been one of developing problems in the last few years, and the lack of emphasis on close biblical scholarship has left some of them rudderless to withstand the winds and waves as they seek to sweep them out of the current.

As for Justin Welby, he certainly started life as a charismatic evangelical, perhaps he still is, but it is also clear that he has also been on a journey of his own, exploring Ignatian spirituality and collecting a Roman Catholic spiritual director on the way, and serving in the Liverpool diocese of that other wanderer [off track] James Jones.

Where has +Justin ended up?  No one really seems to know, not where he started, but where has his journed left him?    He moves without leaving much of a trail, so I guess we will have to wait to find out.  Trust, but verify should be the policy with regard to +Justin and Canterbury, as it should have been with Rowan.  Ambiguity, nuance and waffle need to be confronted and probed.

[7] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 12-18-2012 at 08:35 AM · [top]

RE: “that also is reflected in their general disengagement from church politics and arguments . . . “

Boy is that true over here.  The conservative charismatics in TEC would always trumpet about how they were going to “outgrow” the heretics and that they didn’t want to get involved in “politics.”  And then, beginning in 2000 and accelerating in 2003, many of them were the first to flounce away with nary—or barely—a finger lifted to engage politically.

It seems clear to me that the charismatic theology of no political engagement—particularly amongst laypeople and clergy—has been carried over into ACNA, which means that 10 years from now some of them will be coming out of their holes and sniffing the wind . . . and wondering what happened.

[8] Posted by Sarah on 12-18-2012 at 08:58 AM · [top]

Boy is that true over here.  The conservative charismatics in TEC would always trumpet about how they were going to “outgrow” the heretics and that they didn’t want to get involved in “politics.”  And then, beginning in 2000 and accelerating in 2003, many of them were the first to flounce away with nary—or barely—a finger lifted to engage politically.

It could go the other way too.  I know of a parish which in 2003 was a sizable evangelical charismatic parish and which was regarded as the most important conservative TEC parish in a large metro area.  Most observers expected the vast majority of the parish to bolt to the ACNA when its rector left in the late 2000’s.  But the diocese wooed the charismatics with recognition and fancy appointments and ensured a very liberal interim.  Then it also ensured a new liberal rector with charismatic window-dressing.  A few parishioners saw through this and and sought to challenge it.  But they were regarded as petty troublemakers by the parish power-brokers (note carefully, the power-brokers did not disagree with them theologically at this point, they simply thought that they were being divisive and political instead of trusting the nice diocese).  So they left to start an ACNA congregation, but were bitterly disappointed when the vast majority opted to stay in TEC, even as the new liberal rector repeatedly pushed the limits.  And now the liberal rector has plans to conduct same-sex unions and the erstwhile conservative parishioners would rather he not but are not overly concerned about it either.  What was 7 years ago an “evangelical charismatic” parish has been turned into a cardinal liberal parish with very few defections.

I have become more open in recent years to the charismatic part of the faith, but I will say that I have found a shocking lack of faith resilience on the part of a lot of “evangelical charismatics” and this letter from New Wine is only further evidence.

[9] Posted by jamesw on 12-18-2012 at 12:33 PM · [top]

RE: “It could go the other way too.”

I agree wholeheartedly.

One principle, though, that I’d point out is that 1) generally it’s extraordinarily difficult to start something from scratch [something that I’ve found most people don’t recognize] and 2) the brand is important and so far, no larger, overarching Anglican brand has demonstrated its functional, healthy, credibility to the people who stay, but rather the opposite.

So . . .

It’s tough for the conservatives wherever they are.

[10] Posted by Sarah on 12-18-2012 at 12:48 PM · [top]

jamesw and Sarah,
I went to a funeral Saturday for a friend in my former TEC parish. Here are the changes since I last attended about five years ago. Cross removed from front of church and put on back entrance of church. Large stained glass art object depicting various unidentifiable objects in place of cross. Seats arranged in staggered rows that won’t allow the use of the kneelers. Female priest. Open communion. What continues to amaze me are the friends I left behind who seem to have no line in the sand at all. Fellowship hall razed in preparation for a meditation maze. Attendance and offerings down by one third. They owe TEC tons of litigation money.

[11] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-18-2012 at 01:36 PM · [top]

#11 Fr Dale - “Cross removed from front of church”

Golly, doesn’t that just sum up how TEC has lost the plot?  They have toppled Christ from the head of His Church, find the Cross a source of embarrassment rather than a hope for salvation.  Christ says if we find him a source of embarrassment, he will also find us a source of embarrassment.  The light in the Sanctuary has been extinguished and the chill empty winds of devastation are blowing in.

[12] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 12-18-2012 at 02:50 PM · [top]

A very interesting discussion.

One thing that Christians involved in evangelism must consider is: what will happen to the people who are converted through our ministry?  If I lead someone to faith in Christ, and in the process lead them to a church that follows a different gospel to the Christian one, how am I fulfilling the Great Commission?  If evangelism is important to us, then we have to think about the health and viability of the churches into which we lead converts.

[13] Posted by MichaelA on 12-18-2012 at 04:34 PM · [top]

PM at #7, thank you for such a concise and pithy summation!  This rang true for so many things that I or friends have experienced in CofE, but couldn’t put in perspective.

Re my #4, would you see this letter as New Wine taking sides more overtly than it has before, or just more of the same, or something else?

[14] Posted by MichaelA on 12-18-2012 at 04:36 PM · [top]

#14 MichaelA
Regarding your question, I really don’t know.  Things have been a bit mad here since the women bishops vote, and people have been behaving and saying things in a way which does not reflect well on them.  I wonder if in a while people will think better of some of their first reactions.    I think overall that this is a church which has been rocked off its bearings and in some cases, for a moment, the mask has dropped.  It is also a church that has been publicly embarrassed for the third time in recent years [the Ordinariate, Occupy at St Paul’s and now the Synod Vote].  It has to be said that in each case the embarrassment was avoidable, and down to intransigence and lack of charity combined with in-fighting.

Not our best moment as a church, I would have to say.

[15] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 12-18-2012 at 06:21 PM · [top]

What a wonderful thing it can be when charismatic evangelicals show their naive childlike willingness to ignore factional party divisions and adapt from any faction of the church things which they believe aid in the worship of Christ.

What a monstrous thing it is when their naive childlikeness leaves them easy prey for manipulation by liberals.

[16] Posted by Real Toral on 12-18-2012 at 06:23 PM · [top]

With charismatics, I believe the Judy Tenuta moments (“It could happen”) need to be balanced. Not enough charismatics seem to have the gift of discerning of spirits. The childlike expectancy is too often childish naivete. I speak as an insider. The enthusiasm and zeal are great but I once attended a “workshop” on coughing up evil spirits into a paper bag.

[17] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-18-2012 at 06:51 PM · [top]

#17 - That’s awesome Fr Dale.  Did you learn how to do it?  What do you do with it once it’s in the paper bag?  Whack it with a spirit level?

[18] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 12-18-2012 at 07:30 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster,
Hey, wait a minute! I was a workshop observer not a participant! I think it helped the anxious folks since breathing into a paper bag is also good for an anxiety attack. This is the kind of thing that went on however at the annual Conference on the Holy Spirit in Minneapolis in the 1980’s. They had a store in the convention center and I said to the clerk, “You folks must not sell many cigarettes.” The clerk said, “Are you kidding, we’re selling more now than during an athletic event.” Overall, however, I looked forward to attending.

[19] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-18-2012 at 07:51 PM · [top]

RE: What a monstrous thing it is when their naive childlikeness leaves them easy prey for manipulation by liberals.

I disagree on three counts.

1) I don’t think it “monstrous.”  “Disturbing” yes.  “Incompetent” yes. “Deeply damaging” yes.

2) I think it’s very poor theology, not a personality type.

3) Further, I think the “naive childlikeness” actually is a lack of discernment—coupled with that poor theology.

[20] Posted by Sarah on 12-18-2012 at 07:52 PM · [top]

Some breaking news:  Apparently the CofE working group to draft new “compromise” legislation has been formed, and not a single conservative evangelical is on it!

Reform (one of three major evangelical which opposed the measure at the General Synod earlier this month) has issued a press release:

Reform ... says that the membership of the working group leaves it feeling ‘apprehensive’.

Prebendary Rod Thomas said he was ‘nonplussed as to why the membership of the working group does not contain anybody who shares our convictions about male headship - despite the fact that this was a key concern underlying the vote on 20th November. 

We very much wish to contribute to fresh proposals that will command broader agreement in the General Synod than was achieved last month. Achieving such an outcome depends on hearing clearly the needs of those who were both for and against the draft Measure. Our fear is that the constitution of the working group might make this more difficult. Nevertheless we will seek to contribute positively during the discussions that are planned for next February’.”

See: http://reform.org.uk/news/src/archive/12-2012/title/reform-media-statement-dec-20-2012

[21] Posted by MichaelA on 12-20-2012 at 06:12 PM · [top]

Here is a question that I would like help with.
I am familiar with article 26 and in agreement that a wicked priest would not invalidate the efficacy of the elements in the Eucharist. How would one address the efficacy of the elements in the case of a women priest IF the church cannot and may not ordain them?

[22] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-22-2012 at 08:10 PM · [top]

#22 Most certainly Fr Dale, very happy to help but first please let us know whether you are a transubstantiationist, consubstantiationist or a memorialist?

[23] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 12-23-2012 at 01:23 AM · [top]

#23, Pageantmaster,
I believe in the “real presence” and am not sure that any of the terms you offered would fit my understanding of this mystery. Hope this is enough for you to proceed.

[24] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-23-2012 at 08:43 AM · [top]

#24 Oh Fr Dale, you have ducked my question.  I am disappointed.  The thing is that I to believe in the “real presence”, but then I believe that Christ is really present at all times and in all places so I have no difficulty in believing that “this is the body of our Lord Jesus Christ” and that we do “feed on Him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving”.

The point of my question was to ask first what it is that you think is happening when the priest celebrates in the Eucharist?  This may or may not be the reason that you ask about “the efficacy of the elements in the case of a women priest IF the church cannot and may not ordain them”.

Still, to answer your question, consider that other sacrament ordained of Christ in the Gospel, Baptism [Article XXV].  We teach that although not desirable, anyone including a woman or a non-believer can if necessary baptise, provided it is with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, so reading Article XXV with Article XXVI you mention, the answer is that according to the Articles there is no reason to suppose that the Supper of the Lord is any less valid for the same reason than is Baptism according to who performs it.

Of course both Baptism and the Eucharist are associated with the action of the Spirit; the Spirit bloweth where it list, but just on basic principles I see no reason to suppose that the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper [Article XXVII] would be any less valid than Baptism [Article XXVIII] purely on the basis that it is celebrated by a woman than a man.

There is perhaps an argument that the Spirit need not turn up in either sacrament.  Certainly the spirit did not apparently come to the Samaritans until the Apostles came, even though they believed and had been baptised [Acts 8:12-17] but it is not suggested that this invalidated the act of Baptism.  grin

[25] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 12-23-2012 at 09:27 AM · [top]

Pageantmaster,
“We teach that although not desirable, anyone including a woman or a non-believer can if necessary baptise, provided it is with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, so reading Article XXV with Article XXVI you mention, the answer is that according to the Articles there is no reason to suppose that the Supper of the Lord is any less valid for the same reason than is Baptism according to who performs it.”
Does this mean that you don’t believe it matters who presides in the administration of the sacraments?

[26] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-23-2012 at 09:45 AM · [top]

#26 Fr Dale
It matters, as does baptism in respect of the the practice of the faith as the Church of England or ACNA or perhaps TEC has received it and practiced it according to its laws and canons, but does it affect its efficacy in either case?  I don’t know.

If two unbaptised but believing Christians were marooned on a desert island for 5 years with nothing but a box of bibles and prayer books, and an endless supply of barrels of communion biscuits and kegs of wine, and having baptised one another, then decided to share them according to the words of Christ, who am I to say that they would not be receiving the body of Christ and be feeding on Him in their hearts with thanksgiving?  And if they then did the same with the neighboring islanders who am I to say that that would not be efficacious although neither are in the holy orders of the Church of England?

[27] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 12-23-2012 at 10:03 AM · [top]

#27. Pageantmaster,
I don’t agree that desert island theology should define practice. It leads to Cranmer’s receptionist theology. I believe this is Calvinist theology also. There is efficacy in the elements based partly on the fact that unbelieving individuals can take it to their damnation. I suppose also that the entire idea of a sacerdotal priesthood is not a concept you embrace. That is essentially the issue I am after. A wicked priest is still a priest. IF a woman is not “ordainable” and served as a priest, it would work only if one was a memorialist because the elements would not be consecrated. I hope this is clearly stated.

[28] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-23-2012 at 11:07 AM · [top]

#28 Fr Dale - you extrapolate too far.  I do accept the sacerdotal priesthood, but if one day, all ordained persons were suddenly to be taken away by a spaceship or mystery virus I am not prepared to rule out a continuing role for the sacraments ordained by Christ.  Perhaps if desert island theology is too far for you, consider the two Christians sharing a little rice wine and a wafer surreptitiously in a North Korean prison camp; or members of an underground church in Iran or China.  This is not such a far fetched thing - in many countries and prisons this is how Christians live with no ordained priest in sight.  I am not prepared to rule out the efficacy of their acts taken in accordance with the instructions of Christ to ‘do this as oft as you drink it in remembrance of me’; that is even as I would not approve of it as in accordance with good order within the church which I attend.  Would you do any differently?

I note you have for a second time ducked another of my questions:
1. What is your understanding of what happens when a priest celebrates the Eucharist?
2. Why should what is efficacious in baptising a person be not efficacious when sharing communion, both being sacraments ordained of Christ in the Gospel?

I look forward to hearing your responses rather than a questioning of my understanding of the role of the priesthood or suggestion that I am a Calvinist, which I am not.

[29] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 12-23-2012 at 11:20 AM · [top]

In answer to your questions (I’m not ducking them….trying to formulate a response.
1. The Word of God spoken over the elements by the priest during the Anamnesis (specifically the Epiclesis) consecrates (transforms) the common elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Christ is truly present in the elements. Included in this is the fact (for traditional liturgical churches) that the priest is the “Alter Christus”
2. I agree with what you state in #2 but would include not just he domincal sacraments but the other five as well.
For example we are called to confess our sins to one another, however in reconciliation of a penitent, only a priest can offer absolution. I would say it is the authority given by Christ to the office (vocation). Do priest’s have supernatural power? I’m not certain.
I hope this addresses your questions. As far as the efficacy of the sacraments, eventually they are a reality but a mystery seen through a glass darkly.

[30] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-23-2012 at 11:59 AM · [top]

“I am familiar with article 26 and in agreement that a wicked priest would not invalidate the efficacy of the elements in the Eucharist. How would one address the efficacy of the elements in the case of a women priest IF the church cannot and may not ordain them?”

Hi Fr Dale – I am wondering why it should be any different?  Article XXVI refers to a specific situation where “evil (persons) have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments”.  It is based on and refers to 1 Corinthians 11:27-34, which (if I read it correctly) says nothing at all about the person presiding, but a great deal about the persons receiving.  Which is the point of Article XXVI – the sacrament is “effectual” to us because we receive it worthily, not because of the holiness of the celebrant.  This is quite different to a pagan sacerdotal priest (hierus) who had to be ritually cleansed before representing the people to the Gods.

In the case of a woman who purports to preside over a celebration of Holy Communion, she is being disobedient to the commands of God in the scriptures – how is that any different to a male priest who is disobedient to scripture in other ways? 

But it is the receptionism of the Apostle Paul and of Article XXVI that may create a problem for the recipient:  if that person takes Holy Communion from a female priest knowing such to be forbidden by scripture, is that “worthily” receiving?  I don’t know where that line is drawn, only God knows and he sees the hearts of each of us, in all ways. 

“I don’t agree that desert island theology should define practice. It leads to Cranmer’s receptionist theology.”

I agree with your first sentence – the thief on the cross was neither baptised nor communicate, but he was among the redeemed and was going straight to paradise.  Yet this is not seen as inconsistent with Christ’s general command to “repent and be baptised” nor His command passed to all Christians through His apostle Paul, “do this in remembrance of me”.

But your reference to “Cranmer’s receptionist theology” worries me – what is your basis for concluding that Cranmer’s theology was based on “desert island theology”?  Cranmer wrote or approved the Book of Common Prayer which is the foundation of being Anglican.

And what is the problem with being “receptionist”?  I suppose it depends on what you mean by the word, but all of the Anglican divines from Cranmer through Hooker and many others taught that the efficacy of the sacrament depends on the state of the heart of the person receiving it. 

“I suppose also that the entire idea of a sacerdotal priesthood is not a concept you embrace.”

What is your basis for believing that the priesthood is sacerdotal?

“Christ is truly present in the elements.”

I agree, that is basic Anglican teaching, held by Cranmer, Ridley, Hooker etc. It was also held by Calvin, since you brought him up, and by most of the puritans.

“The Word of God spoken over the elements by the priest during the Anamnesis (specifically the Epiclesis) consecrates (transforms) the common elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.”

I would be interested to know your authority for this? 

Firstly, the Anglican Formularies flatly deny that the bread and the wine are “transformed” – that may be good platonist philosophy, but it is not Anglican theology.  The bread and wine remain bread and wine at all times, even when they are also the body and blood of Christ.

Secondly, I think you will be hard pressed to find any authority that the “epiklesis” in the Anglican service of Holy Communion has any identifiable effect of itself on the bread and the wine.  Whether we are talking about the Book of Common Prayer (1549 or 1662) or the writings of Cranmer, Ridley, Hooker etc, they all stay right away from the issue of when the elements become the body and blood of Christ – to their way of thinking, this mistakes the nature of what is happening and follows the same fault committed by some medieval divines – following Platonist philosophy in preference to scripture. 

This shouldn’t surprise us, because I don’t recall the scriptures teaching anywhere about the bread and wine becoming the body and blood of Christ at a specified time, or because of anything said or done by the celebrant.  Nor do the early Church Fathers teach either concept, that I recall.

I think the nearest you would come to this idea is in the 1549 service, and objectively understood, it is a long way from a Roman epiklesis:

” Heare us O merciful father we besech thee; and with thy holy spirite and worde, vouchsafe to blesse and sanctifie these thy gyftes, and creatures of bread and wyne, that they maie be unto us the bodye and bloude of thy moste derely beloved sonne Jesus Christe.” [Emphasis added by me]

If we then look at the “epiklesis” in the 1662 service, the difference between it and the Roman version is also stark, because the Anglican service takes the priest and the congregation firmly back to the Last Supper:  The bread and wine become the body and blood of the Lord in the same sense that they were so in the upper room – not his physical body and blood, which were standing before the disciples as they ate:

“Hear us, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee; and grant that we receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood: who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took Bread; and, when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after supper he (d) took the Cup; and, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this (e) is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins: Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me.”

That is quite different in concept to the Roman epiklesis, as Rome rightly (according to its own terms) recognises when it refuses to accept Anglican services or orders as valid.

[31] Posted by MichaelA on 12-23-2012 at 05:56 PM · [top]

MichaelA,
Thanks for the fine contribution to the discussion. ” what is your basis for concluding that Cranmer’s theology was based on “desert island theology”?  I was responding to the example posed by Pageantmaster. In his example, it sounded to me like the receptionist theology idea of Communion would make the desert island example make sense by reducing (subtracting) most everything else we associate with communion.  It is my understanding that Cranmer believed that Christ was positionally in Heaven and thus could not be present in the elements and this is stated in of one of the early prayer books. I think William Witt has an interesting article on Cranmer and Jewel. in this regard. http://willgwitt.org/anglicanism/the-anglican-reformers-addendum/

“Firstly, the Anglican Formularies flatly deny that the bread and the wine are “transformed” – that may be good platonist philosophy, but it is not Anglican theology.” Actually, it is more than platonist philosophy. It is also a part of Roman and Orthodox Christianity.
 
“What is your basis for believing that the priesthood is sacerdotal?”
I do not come at this from the prospective of an Evangelical Anglican but an Anglo-Catholic Anglican.

“In the case of a woman who purports to preside over a celebration of Holy Communion, she is being disobedient to the commands of God in the scriptures – how is that any different to a male priest who is disobedient to scripture in other ways?
One is ordainable and sinful (male), the other is not ordainable and sinful. (female)

Michael,
perhaps this is too public a forum for this discussion which I began with a question. My question was in response to the original thread on women bishops. I have come to the conclusion that women should not be bishops or priests either. Pope John Paul II stated that the church was not authorized to allow it based on Scripture and Tradition. It concerns me that there is such debate at this time when there was so little debate before women priests were ordained? I’m sure my comments will be seen by many as misogynist and definitely against the grain of current culture.

I ask these questions as one wrestling with what the vocation of priest means. I ask these questions every day as I continue to plumb the depths of the vocation bestowed upon me by Christ and His church. In some sense I am actually comforted that while I feel convicted by Article 26, My actions do not and can not invalidate the Eucharist as a means of grace. I do not live a scandalous life but confess the evil in my heart. My point here was to better understand what it means to be a priest.

[32] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-23-2012 at 07:20 PM · [top]

“In his example, it sounded to me like the receptionist theology idea of Communion would make the desert island example make sense by reducing (subtracting) most everything else we associate with communion.”

I would make sure that you do understand what “the receptionist theology idea of Communion” is.  Note that I am not saying you don’t understand it (and in a sense, everyone of us never has a full undertstanding of any concept anyway).  But just be sure you do understand its essentials, otherwise assumptions built on a false premise will inevitably come up with the wrong answer.

But getting back to the point, I don’t see any need to go to the desert island when the Lord has already given us the example with the Thief on the Cross - anyone who thinks that the blessings of Holy Communion are dispensed in an entirely mechanistic sense is always going to have a problem with that passage.  Short answer: If you are on a desert island and you don’t have wine, then don’t use wine.

“It is my understanding that Cranmer believed that Christ was positionally in Heaven and thus could not be present in the elements and this is stated in of one of the early prayer books.”

That doesn’t sound to me like anything in any of the versions of the BCP.  As I understand it, Cranmer’s belief did not differ materially from the other reformers:  Christ’s natural or corporeal body is seated at the right hand of God the Father, but his body is present in a heavenly or spiritual or real sense in the elements to us when we feed on them. 

“I think William Witt has an interesting article on Cranmer and Jewel.”

I think its a very good article.  Among other things, it warns us against misunderstanding Cranmer!

“Actually, it is more than platonist philosophy. It is also a part of Roman and Orthodox Christianity.”

If you think that Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Roman Catholics hold to the same concept of transubstantiation, I would suggest doing further research. 

“I do not come at this from the prospective of an Evangelical Anglican but an Anglo-Catholic Anglican.”

Which doesn’t answer my question.  In any case, I find that there is a wide variation in Anglo-Catholic understandings of what “sacerdotal priesthood” means, hence why I asked the question.  But its not a big deal.

“One is ordainable and sinful (male), the other is not ordainable and sinful. (female)”

But what does “ordainable” mean?  We just seem to be going around in circles.  If you mean that Christ commanded that men lead his church, I agree.  Therefore a woman who purports to take up such leadership is being disobedient to God’s command, as are the men who let her do so, or encourage her to do so.

“Pope John Paul II stated that the church was not authorized to allow it based on Scripture and Tradition.”

I agree.  Studying JPII’s reasoning could be useful.

“I’m sure my comments will be seen by many as misogynist and definitely against the grain of current culture.”

Very likely, but then so will following many Christian beliefs.  I can’t offer you much comfort on that score I am afraid.

[33] Posted by MichaelA on 12-27-2012 at 07:07 AM · [top]

MichaelA,
Thanks for your thoughtful comments in your response. It seems to me that those in ACNA should weigh heavily this piece of evidence from the Roman church.http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/265/Ordinatio_Sacerdotalis__John_Paul_II__on_Male_Priesthood.html
While I do not believe in papal infalibility, I do believe his statements matter a great deal.

[34] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-27-2012 at 08:04 AM · [top]

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