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Dan Martins on the Sydney Stance: Evangelicals to Liberals: “Psst! Meet Me in Back of the Barn”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 • 8:12 am


There are numerous flaws with the case that David laid out in his thread on lay presidency, and I see that commenters are pointing those out in spades over on the thread.  Among them are the notion that sermons are essentially the same sort of vehicle of the gospel as the sacraments—an excellent comment on why that’s not so is here—and that furthermore, the obvious answer to the supposed “disparity” between allowing laypeople to “preach” [which they don’t in TEC, anyway] but not preside over the Eucharist is to allow them then to preside over the Eucharist. 

Clearly, if Sydney Anglicans are concerned over the disparity, then I’m sure we would all be happy for them to no longer allow lay people to preach, thus setting the lines between the lay and the ordained more clearly [which would also point out another massive difference between Sydney Anglicans and most of the rest of the Anglican Communion world, since the whole notion of “differences between lay and ordained” is something they resist, not merely the idea of the sacramental].

David makes another serious assumption in his case, and that is this one: “It is not a mystery that much of the opposition to Lay Presidency from those who would be more generally included in the “orthodox” camp comes from the “Higher” church Anglo-Catholics - those who look not to Cranmer but Laud, Pusey and, of course, Newman for their identity.”

Actually . . . no.  The vast vast majority of Anglican evangelicals, myself included, who have not an ounce of Anglo-Catholicism in them, are irrevocably opposed to lay presidency and see it as entirely in violation of Anglican order in every respect.  So the fault line is not between “conservative evangelicals” and “High Church friends” but between Sydney evangelicals and the vast majority of evangelical Anglicans throughout the Communion.  In other words, they might as well be Plymouth Brethren or Pentecostal in their zeal for lay presidency—which is not a bad thing, it just ain’t Anglican.

So the effort to make the opposition to lay presidency some sort of “High Church” or “Anglo-Catholic” thing is wishful thinking.

Dan Martins writes about his objections in a post from which I’ve excerpted the below.  The only thing I disagree with him on is that a violation of scripture—as with New Hampshire and TEC’s support and blessing of immoral and scripturally-denounced behavior—is the same as being distinctly non-Anglican in a contempt for order and tradition.  Obviously, committing a clearly stated sin—or blessing such a sin—is of a different order than, say, deciding to serve koolaid and doughnuts as a “culturally relevant communication of the gospel in our day and age”.  But the latter is bad enough.  There would be no circumstances that I can imagine of joining a church [as opposed to worshiping in a church] that practiced lay presidency, since that would also mean taking on all the baggage and underlying beliefs that go along with such activities.  And I could, as I said, go join the Plymouth Brethren and do better.

This past weekend, Sydney finally stepped off the reservation. Its synod voted to authorize deacons to preside at the Eucharist. This isn’t the whole deal. This isn’t all they would want. But it steps over the line nonetheless, and “Lay Presidency” is only a matter of time, it would seem. From an Anglo-Catholic perspective, this is so unspeakable as to scarcely even merit refutation. But even from a classic Evangelical perspective, it is a serious breach of good order.

Of course, in the present climate of Anglicanland, it takes irony and raises it to an unprecedented level. Sydney Anglicans have been in the forefront of the chorus of voices critical of the “progressive” position of the North American provinces in the area of sexual morality. They have been members of the choir singing the repeated refrain, “You have not adequately consulted. Your actions have breached the bonds of affection. For the sake of the unity of the communion, please do not do this. Show appropriate restraint.”

I have also sung in the same chorus, and I continue to do so. This is precisely why I am horrified—not surprised, perhaps, but horrified—by what Sydney has done. The members of the synod cannot have been unaware how their action, as much as it may “make sense” for them, will be seen as an egregious breach of Anglican norms by the vast majority of other Anglicans, even Evangelicals. But they allowed their own local convictions to trump the universal discipline of all the churches that share in the gift of the historic episcopate.

Some might contend that Sydney should get a pass on this because they are “orthodox,” while the Americans and Canadians are “revisionists.” But in doing what it has done, the Diocese of Sydney has utterly forfeited any claim to orthodoxy. Its offense is every bit as serious, every bit as much an abrogation of Anglican orthodoxy, as anything the American or Canadian churches have done. Sydney is no less culpable than New Hampshire in rending the fabric of the Anglican Communion.

 


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Comments:

Its offense is every bit as serious, every bit as much an abrogation of Anglican orthodoxy, as anything the American or Canadian churches have done. Sydney is no less culpable than New Hampshire in rending the fabric of the Anglican Communion.

I am in full agreement with this statement. I don’t know the history of Anglicanism down under but I’ve seen the New Zealand BCP. What’s up with down under?  They seem to have taken clueless lessons from TEC.

[1] Posted by monologistos on 11-19-2008 at 09:37 AM • top

I’m a Baptist, and find ‘laymen serving the Lord’s Supper publicly’ to be unscripturial and dangerous (to the communicant as well as to the celebrant).

A layman can lead his own family in the communion, but some of the things we can do ‘privately’ are prohibited in the public service.  (Praying in Tongues and Speaking in them without an interrepture are two examples).

Within Anglicanism, isn’t to go against Scripture AND tradition is a double ‘no-no’?

[2] Posted by Bo on 11-19-2008 at 09:37 AM • top

Sarah,

We agree on something!  I thought “Anglican” was built around the BCP and theology could cover the spectrum of Biblical scholarship.  In other words, beleive what you want within the bounds of scripture, but this is how we worship and do “church”.  To accept this form of service- and the theology that goes with it- is to lose the last destinction that can be called uniquely Anglican and simply become generic Christianity.  At that point why bother?  Close the cathederals and open up community churches.  It would save a bundle of money and the end the controversy with Cantebury et al.  And maybe that is what ++Sidney has in mind?

[3] Posted by Elizabeth on 11-19-2008 at 09:43 AM • top

From a Catholic, and therefore, I would assume an Anglo-Catholic, view, what they have done is actually far far more serious than consecrating Gene Robinson.

Suppose all of this were translated to the Roman Catholic Church.  A sinful priest is consecrated to become a sinful bishop.  (Something tells me this may have happened a time or two in history. smile )  The sacramental actions of that priest/bishop would be in no way affected.  People would validly receive communion and absolution from that priest.  Priests would validly be ordained by that bishop.  In due time, the guy would die and the Church would survive.  But, for a lay person even to ATTEMPT to consecrate the sacraments is a grave sacriledge and sin and anyone who knowingly participates is themselves equally guilty—not to mention the fact that they have NOT, in fact, thereby validly received the sacrament. [I did myself once marry two mice, reading the appropriate words from the Missal, but I understand that any actions performed before the age of reason don’t count as sins. Also, from a legalistic perspective, I believe it is technically the marriage partners themselves who perform the sacrament. smile ]

A story is told about St. Francis that a bunch of villagers travelled a long distance to complain to him that their priest was living in open sin with a woman.  Francis said that he must go there immediately and speak to the priest.  He rushed to the town and as soon as he got there he sought out the priest, knelt down before him, and kissed his hands, saying that he “wanted to kiss the hands that have consecrated the blessed body and blood of Christ.”  Francis always understood the difference between the holiness of the Church (and its sacraments) and the sinfulness of the men (and women) who comprise its earthly manifestation.

[4] Posted by Catholic Mom on 11-19-2008 at 09:43 AM • top

If there can be lay presidency, then why not lay baptism, lay solemnization of marriage, and lay confirmation, and lay absolution of sin, or lay ordination of priests?

[5] Posted by Rick H. on 11-19-2008 at 09:45 AM • top

Rick O.P.,
It is already in place and has been for decades maybe even a century or two…it’s called Four Sq. Churches, Assembly of God Churches, Baptist Churches, etc… Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting them down they are all very bible based and centered. I should know having been raised in the one of these but, they do not practice confession and many of their pastors are licensed via a mail course study at home and send in your work for review, many do go to college and take some Theology classes but they do not go to seminary (unless they prefer to and can afford it). Not that the seminaries that are producing TEc priests are anymore effective as I would certainly question that…..but in essence the non liturgical protestants are more layperson geared than liturgical churches are. IMHO

[6] Posted by TLDillon on 11-19-2008 at 09:53 AM • top

Actually, lay Baptism (in extreme emergencies) is recognised by both the Roman and Anglican Churches (or at least by Aquinas and Hooker; I would have to check the catechism and BCP to see what the official view is). But that’s a separate (though no less important) issue.

[7] Posted by Boring Bloke on 11-19-2008 at 09:57 AM • top

The United Methodist Church has an interesting middle ground on this issue.  You can be assigned by the bishop to serve a church as a “licensed local pastor” without being an ordained elder.  You are allowed to consecrate the elements for Communion, but only at the church to which you are assigned or at an event like an Emmaus weekend (Cursillo to the TEC/Anglicans).

[8] Posted by Daniel on 11-19-2008 at 10:07 AM • top

In other words, they might as well be Plymouth Brethren or Pentecostal in their zeal for lay presidency—which is not a bad thing, it just ain’t Anglican.

I agree with Sarah and with Dan Martins above. But I have wondered how Sydney has evolved away from orthodoxy in this way? Even in the heart of congregationalism - we are surrounded and vastly outnumbered by Baptists and other congregational, non-denominational churches - we have never tilted this way in the southern U.S. I haven’t read David’s piece yet, but will look there now to see if he gives some background.

[9] Posted by oscewicee on 11-19-2008 at 10:18 AM • top

As Dan points out, we are inheritors of apostolic faith and order.  We need both to be fully in the apostolic stream.  I think it was Chesterton who said that being catholic (apostolic, if you please in this context) means that our ancestors get a vote.  Otherwise, we might just as well be in a free church denomination in which majority vote at the time carries the day.

[10] Posted by Neal in Dallas on 11-19-2008 at 10:38 AM • top

Amen to all above.  Sydney appears to be no longer Anglican in any recognizable sense.

[11] Posted by evan miller on 11-19-2008 at 11:01 AM • top

“The vast vast majority of Anglican evangelicals, myself included, who have not an ounce of Anglo-Catholicism in them, are irrevocably opposed to lay presidency…”

What evidence is there for this gross exaggeration?  “The vast vast majority…..are irreveocably opposed”??  ...opposed to something about which the Bible is silent!!  What? 
An evangelicalism that irrevocably opposed something about which the Bible is silent is a very strange form of evangelicalism!

This is like saying almost every evangelical is irrevocably opposed to pews in church buildings!

First, is it true?  How do you know?

Second, so what if it is?

Third, if it is true and it matters, it sure ain’t evangelical!

[12] Posted by naab00 on 11-19-2008 at 11:23 AM • top

naab00, your comment betrays a certain ignorance of and disdain for evangelicals, especially Anglican evangelicals.

The silence of scripture is not a carte blanch and no evangelical. not even a Sydney one,...would suggest otherwise.

I do not have stats, but I do know for a fact that there is NO constituency for lay-presidency among the evangelicals who will make up the new province.

[13] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 11-19-2008 at 11:28 AM • top

What exactly is going on when we ordain a priest?  Is it important to lay on hands during the ordination?  Is it important that the one doing the laying on of hands previously had hands laid on him, and that there is an unbroken chain of hands having done this going all the way back to the apostles?  Do we believe that the laying on of hands conveys any special authority from the Lord? 

For that matter—why ordain?  Why wear vestments?  Why have priests at all?  Why not just send whoever feels called to worship leader school?  We could close all our expensive seminaries that way.  And cut way back on the travel expenses for bishops.  Why would we need bishops to function in anything but an administrative capacity?

[14] Posted by Rick H. on 11-19-2008 at 11:29 AM • top

What it is, dude.

The Methodists have a functional view of ordination itself.  One ceases to be a “bishop” when one retires.  Similarly, in the Taize tradition, a lay monk may be selected to come out of the congregation to preside at eucharist and then afterwards returns to his place, still a layman.  I suppose this may be a collapsing of the theology of “priesthood of all believers” and the sacramental rite and understanding of ordination, which in recent terminology implies an ontological change.Catholic Mom has it right when she speaks of the distinction first clarified by Augustine (contra the Donatists) between the sanctity of the man who administers and the validity of the sacrament.  The holiness of the minister may be an additional channel of grace but it varies according to many things including the relationship one might have with that man.  The Church teaches that Eucharist is a guaranteed channel of grace for those who partake worthily. One can be made as worthy and as ready to receive by God as can be and not receive Eucharist from a Hindu gathering or by laying your hands on the TV prayerfully while a Eucharist is being celebrated somewhere else in the world.  This guarantee is based on both Christ’s teaching and upon the authority given to the apostles by Christ to be the Church.  It is not the celebrant who receives into himself the power to transform the elements into Body and Blood ... it is Christ Himself present in the Church who does so.  In the real absence of Christ, there is no Body of Christ.  No man becomes Jesus even in heaven.  We do not worship a God composed of a pantheon of transfigured saints ... we worship the Trinity.  The apostolic Church’s authority, understood sacramentally, is manifested by the orders of ministry according to a heavenly model.  The sacraments do not spring from the imagination of the early church but the Church’s understanding brings the primative Jewish liturgical understanding to maturity.  Thus, Christian Baptism is not simply the baptism of John.  Christian marriage is not simply that a man should leave his mother and a woman her home that the two should be as one in knowing one another.  They are blessed to participate in the mystery of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Christian mysteries are not simply unknowns but sacramental ... for they must point to the incarnate Christ of the Gospel if they are to be Christian. Regardless of contemporary uses, blessing and breaking are the unique ministry of bishops and their priests.  (Eastern Orthodoxy regards marriage as performed by the priest.) Eucharist is not simply a Passover meal or agape dinner.  When we step away from this mature understanding of the Church in a mistaken attempt to achieve a purer, earlier Christianity, I don’t think we manage to become 1st century Jews but we fail to participate in the fullness of the Christian faith.I do not say that I know that those who deny the Real Presence or practice lay presidency or have their marriages blessed by laity are outside of the Church.  Indeed, it isn’t my business to say where the Church isn’t.  I can only, given God’s grace, bear witness to where it is ... and what it is.Regarding baptism, we do not have a tradition that only priests can baptize although for Anglicans and others, that is normative.  The laity are also ordered.  When we collapse and confuse the iconic role of each order, we tear away at Christian understanding and we weaken our apostolic witness to the world.  This is not a good thing.

[15] Posted by monologistos on 11-19-2008 at 11:47 AM • top

Matt, I have no disdain for “evangelicals” be assured!  Far from it!  I am one!

My point is not whether the constituency you appeal to approve of lay presidency or not.

My point is that if they are really evangelicals, they cannot be “irrevocably opposed” to something which has nothing WHATSOEVER to do with the evangel.  Nothing!  You are right that of course I am not claiming carte blanche where Scripture is silent, of course not - who said I was?!  I think some of the reactions to Sydney though are coming over as totally disproportionate!

If you can prove the “irrevocable opposition” (which is not the same as whatever you are saying about CCP) - well I will be surprised!

I wouldn’t deny that some who happen to be evangelicals do not support lay presidency but I can’t see that the reason is because they are evangelicals.  It must be because they are Anglicans.

While I am happy to support presidency/administration by the ordained, I cannot see how someone who is an evangelical first can get uptight about something which is not primary, nor secondary but perhaps of tertiary importance! 

If we are going to elevate it to such importance, let’s be clear that we cannot be holding to our position from evangelical convictions but rather from Anglican ones.

[16] Posted by naab00 on 11-19-2008 at 11:48 AM • top

ok. I see your point naab00 sorry for the quick response

[17] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 11-19-2008 at 11:50 AM • top

Incidentally, while it might first appear that it is the prerogative of deacons to baptize, I ask whether this is based on the non-sacramental role of deaconesses whose job was to assist women in the days when Baptism was done naked.  I haven’t thought this through entirely but I wouldn’t want to say that a sensitivity to naked women is the authorizing theology behind deacons baptizing. smile  Perhaps there is more to the history of the diaconate regarding Baptism of which I am unaware.

[18] Posted by monologistos on 11-19-2008 at 11:56 AM • top

#16, is “evangelical” in your understanding identical with “Sola Scriptura”?

[19] Posted by monologistos on 11-19-2008 at 11:57 AM • top

While the United Methodist Church may allow “licensed local pastors” to preside at Communion, they are an exception among Protestant traditions.  Presbyterians, Baptists, and even most nondenominational charismatic and evangelical churches look to their ordained leadership to preside at Communion services. 

Only the Plymouth Brethren (who have no ordained leadership) practice what we would call “lay presidency.”  That is why this move by Sydney is not only very strange, it is, to use a technical term smile , just plain “nuts!”

[20] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 11-19-2008 at 02:02 PM • top

What I am curious about is how the Anglican church in Australia will deal with this when it finally takes place?  Will the Diocese of Sydney be excommunicated even though it is part of GAFCON orthodoxy?  Or will it simply be ignored?  How long before it spreads to North America?  Very shortly, in my opinion.

[21] Posted by GB on 11-19-2008 at 03:07 PM • top

BTW, that headline at the top of this article has a great deal more truth in it than most people realize. Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. were all the liberals of their day.  I’m not saying they were wrong about everything, that’s just what the history of the matter is.

[22] Posted by GB on 11-19-2008 at 03:12 PM • top

[7] Boring Bloke,

With respect to the Catholic Church’s position on who can baptize, ¶1256 of the CCC states, in part, “<font face=“Times New Roman” size=“3”>… In case of necessity, any person, even someone not baptized, can baptize, if he has the required intention. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes, and to apply the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.<sup>58</sup></font>” The footnote reference is to 1 Tim. 2:4.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[23] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 11-19-2008 at 03:14 PM • top

Dear M.Artist, apropos use of “Times New Roman”.  How goes it on the wet side of the Tiber? smile

[24] Posted by monologistos on 11-19-2008 at 06:11 PM • top

As usual, I can’t seem to resist offering my usual uninformed and emotional opinion.

I just cannot even imagine this taking place. I have been in a lot of churches of many different denominations. I have never questioned for a moment that an ordained minister of the church is the one who presides over the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper or whatever you want to call it because it simply was never done any other way. Even the progressive leaning Baptist church I once attended did not do this.*

Further, it is just inexplicable to me why anyone would want to do this to a communion which is just starting to sort out its latest existential crisis and which has barely survived the process so far. It is hardly certain that it will do so as it is.

This vote is just shocking in its disrespect for the rest of us.

Have the Sydney Anglicans learned nothing from the TEC/Canadian disaster????

*This is the same church that chased me away when they took the crackers and grape juice which had been just prayed over (of whatever it is that Baptists do in that case) during the service, and handed them out like an after worship snack as people left the building!

[25] Posted by StayinAnglican on 11-19-2008 at 09:37 PM • top

Here in Northern Michigan, they solved the issue by just ordaining volunteers in parishes, provided they were deemed sufficiently liberal.  Solves the clergy shortage part of the issue.  It does seem that Sydney (or a strong group within the diocese) feel they have an imperative to carry out lay presidency.
While I am not aware of such happening within Anglican churches (even TEC) in this country, it is becoming an issue in Britain.  I believe that this “puritan” (not sure if this is the proper term, but it seems appropriate) movement is setting up churches within existing Evangelical dioceses, and laying claim to orthodoxy through a rather tenuous connection to Gafcon.  This would explain some of the reluctance of English Evangelicals to support FCA, even when they are in agreement with the Jerusalem Declaration.
As an Anglo Catholic, I would agree with what Monologistos posted above and with most of what Catholic Mom had to say.  Where I would differ, but only in matter of degree with Catholic Mom would be over the matter of VGR.  I think his consecration is more egregious than she laid out, not because he is a partnered gay, but because the church, assembled in a synodic body, forbade his consecration, and then, as the assembled primates of the churches, both forbade the consecration, and predicted that it would lead to (from a catholic point of view) the excommunication of his consecrators (which is why many GS bishops refuse to take communion with the PB and some other bishops of TEC). I believe that you could also argue (again, from a catholic perspective) that a bishop who participates in or actively permits gay marriage would be in the same circumstance. So, while you could argue that receiving the sacrament from VGR would be legitimate if he were a “bad bishop”, receiving ordination or communion from a bishop you know to be excommunicated puts you in much greater peril. VGR’s personal circumstance does not excommunicate him per se, but his authorizing gay marriage (including his own) does.

[26] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-19-2008 at 10:15 PM • top

When I was still an Episcopalian (I am now a member of the Church of Rwanda), I was in the Diocese of New York. I was given a license to preach. I was termed a “Licensed Lay Preacher.”

I am still a bit baffled WHY Paul Moore granted me my license, as I was an outright and vocal opponent of almost everything that he stood for and did when he was the Bishop of New York. But, I suppose that he felt there was little of substance that he could use to oppose my application for this license, since I had studied at Union Seminary in NYC (one of the most liberal seminaries in North America) and had the support of a LOY of clergy in the diocese—but liberals and conservatives.

[27] Posted by bluenarrative on 11-20-2008 at 02:10 AM • top

As Dan points out, we are inheritors of apostolic faith and order.

Yes, I am in complete agreement. I would suggest, however, that to argue that the current understanding of clergy and their roles is Apostolic order cannot be sustained.
Can anyone provide the writings of an Apostle setting out our threefold order with it’s various distinct roles?
I am not arguing against it, but rather questioning the claim to it’s exact provenance.

[28] Posted by David Ould on 11-20-2008 at 06:03 AM • top

RE: ““The vast vast majority…..are irreveocably opposed”??  ...opposed to something about which the Bible is silent!!  What?”

This is like saying almost every evangelical is irrevocably opposed to pews in church buildings!”

Yes.

It’s quite easy to say, as I qualified the word “evangelical” with the word “Anglican.”

Please note that I didn’t say the vast majority of worldwide evangelicals, but merely “Anglican evangelicals.”

And I’m not certain where you get the idea that evangelicals can’t have a strong opinion about something “not mentioned in the Bible.”

After all, koolaid and doughnuts are not mentioned in the Bible, and I have a very strong opinion about making them the elements of a purported “eucharist” in order to be “culturally relevant for children.”

So yes—it’s fairly easy to have strong opinions as an Anglican evangelical—even irrevocable opinions—about stagecoach robbing, pews in churches, koolaid and doughnuts, Hammond organs, Bosendorfer pianos, cafe lattes, dark chocolate, seeker-sensitive music, Communism, Pol Pot, John McCain, Siberian Huskies, old wardrobes, pegged Jelly cupboards, Robert Harris novels . . .

[29] Posted by Sarah on 11-20-2008 at 08:34 AM • top

Where I would differ, but only in matter of degree with Catholic Mom would be over the matter of VGR.  I think his consecration is more egregious than she laid out, not because he is a partnered gay, but because the church, assembled in a synodic body, forbade his consecration, and then, as the assembled primates of the churches, both forbade the consecration, and predicted that it would lead to (from a catholic point of view) the excommunication of his consecrators (which is why many GS bishops refuse to take communion with the PB and some other bishops of TEC). I believe that you could also argue (again, from a catholic perspective) that a bishop who participates in or actively permits gay marriage would be in the same circumstance. So, while you could argue that receiving the sacrament from VGR would be legitimate if he were a “bad bishop”, receiving ordination or communion from a bishop you know to be excommunicated puts you in much greater peril. VGR’s personal circumstance does not excommunicate him per se, but his authorizing gay marriage (including his own) does.

Well, you’ll notice that I started my discussion by saying “if all this were translated to the Roman Catholic Church then…” because, when all this occurs in the Anglican Church, the resulting situation is almost incoherent.

First of all, let us be frank in recognizing that the Roman Catholic Church ALREADY considers VGR and every other member of the Anglican Clergy to be, effectively, “excommunicated” and to have invalid orders, because the people from whom they ultimately received their ordination/consecration were themselves once-upon-a-time excommunicated by the Catholic Church.  So, we are already dealing with folks who DON’T, in fact, lay awake at night agonizing over the fact that there was an excommunication that occured somewhere in the chain of their apostolic succession.

However, that’s really only a minor point.  The major point is that there really is no meaning to “excommunication” in the Anglican Church anyway.  Has VGR been “excommunicated”?  By whom?  Certainly not the people who ordained and consecrated him.  What has happened is that SOME members of the worldwide Anglican Church refuse to receive communion WITH him.  Nobody has actually denied HIM communion!  If an RC bishop refuses to receive communion at the same altar rail (metaphorically speaking, we don’t have altar rails anymore) with Joe Biden, does that make Joe Biden excommunicated?  Joe Biden is excommunicated when his bishop sends him a letter telling him he is no longer to receive the sacraments and when Joe appeals it to Rome (as he certainly would) and Rome confirms it.  Who does and doesn’t consider Joe a good Catholic and who is or isn’t willing to receive communion with him is beside the point.

Now, you could argue that the Anglican Church is governed (in as much as its “governed” at all) synodically, not hierarchically or magisterially.  Even so, has any “synod” formally excommunicated VGR or anybody else?

So I would ask—is VGR in any sense whatsoever “excommunicated” in the Anglican Church, and if he is, how would he or anyone else know it?

[30] Posted by Catholic Mom on 11-20-2008 at 09:25 AM • top

Sarah, basically you have provided no evidence for your assertion that the vast majority of evangelicals in the Anglican Church, of Anglican evangelicals or of worldwide evangelicals or even worldwide Anglicans feel as you do!

Even if you had evidence, I still would want to say “so what?”, even if the vast majority did feel “irrevocably opposed”...

It seems to me like there are a lot of people who are getting hot under the collar about something which is not actually an evangelical issue.  And are not acknowledging that.

I think there are some - not you I hope - who have an interest in trying to drive a wedge between conservatives or at least in getting them hot under the collar about something which Sydney (at least) evidently think is not significant - that is presumably why Fulcrum are shouting about Sydney breaching the Jerusalem Declaration.

People can of course have strong opinions about anything they want. 
They can make wild unsubstantiated assertions about the hordes who agree with them if they like.
But I believe they should also be honest that in this case the disagreement is not over an issue of the evangel.  And they should be wary of increasing the pressure on the conservative concensus through their strong opinions - and I readily acknowledge that, if Sydney were to proceed (which they haven’t so far) with putting their words into action, the greater plea should be made to Sydney.

[31] Posted by naab00 on 11-20-2008 at 09:41 AM • top

#25—Stayin’Anglican—You’ve got it straight, man.  Why do they bring this up now?  Because they have just been accepted as orthodox by the GAFCON group and they see an opportunity to spread this foolishness into the entire Anglican Communion.  The extreme Anglican evangelicals are not a bit different from the Southern Baptists that we know in the USA.  They have exactly the same beliefs, but are still in the CofE.  (You can take my word for it.  I know what I am talking about.)  There is nothing new about the idea of lay presidency.  They were talking about it openly 30 years ago when I was a student in England.  Why do they stay in the C of E when they believe this way?  If I could explain it, I would.

[32] Posted by GB on 11-20-2008 at 09:44 AM • top

Catholic Mom,
First, while I am not an expert on the Roman interpretation of things, I was raised in a tradition that was Catholic, Anglican, and Episcopalian, in that order.  By all training I have received and reading I have done, a state of excommunication is something one brings upon oneself by virtue of one’s actions or behavior. It is not something a bishop, magisterium, synod or the Church do to you.  Public excommunication is merely the recognition by the Church that the state of excommunication exists.  Witness the recent Vatican response to “ordination” of female “Catholic priests”. Both the bishop and the ordinand are excommunicated by virtue of initiating the rite.  The Vatican never has to hear about the ceremony or say a word, it is the activity itself that causes excommunication.
  Either the Church Catholic exists or it does not.  Being in an Anglican denomination does not give one a different set of legal protections when one comes before the Judge of the World.
  Indeed, the Pope and his prelates would not recognize the legitimacy of most of the priests and bishops I know.  Perhaps in some distant future, that will be put to rights.
  From the purely Roman Catholic point of view, I think we can all imagine the fate of the American bishops if they sent the Pope a message that next month they are planning to consecrate a partnered gay man as bishop, he sent back a message saying, “No, you may not do so,” and then they went ahead and did it anyway.

[33] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-20-2008 at 09:45 AM • top

tjmcmahon,
You are of course generally right; however, there is an important distinction between formal and informal excommunication with respect to church order.

Technically, ANYONE who is not in a “state of grace” and who has not repented and received absolution is “excommunicated”—they are not to receive the sacraments.  By this measure, virtually everybody who doesn’t go to weekly confession probably shouldn’t receive Communion, which means about 9/10 of all Catholics.  But the Church says this is a private matter between you, your conscience, and God. You are supposed to examine your conscience privately and determine if you are in a state of grace before receiving Communion.  But nobody is taking attendance at confession or asking people to run through a checklist of sins before they head up to the altar.

A second category would be in the area of ongoing, willful sins—the classic example being divorce and remarriage.  The Church says that if you leave a spouse to whom you are validly married and take on another partner and persist in having sex with that partner, you are in a state of, as it were, continuous adultery and unless you cease and desist (stop having sex with the second partner) you are to automatically consider yourself excommunicated and not approach the altar.  At this point a priest COULD (and in some cases, they do) take the person aside and counsel them not to receive Communion.  (Or publically, in the case, of say, Jaqueline Onassis, they could announce that the person was not to be given Communion.)

Finally, we have public situations that call for a formal response.  These mostly, but not always, relate to the actions of priests and bishops.  This would be the case of a bishop attempting to ordain a woman, or a bishop stating publically that he would ordained married men and then doing it (or that he would ordain non-celibate homosexuals and then doing it.)  In this case the Church does speak publically and says “if you do X, consider yourself automatically excommunicated” and if the priest/bishop does X then they DO get a letter saying “OK, now you’re excommunicated and further can no longer function as a priest/bishop.”

To put it another way, suppose a bishop commits adultery.  In the private sense, he’s “excommunicated” until he confesses and receives absolution.  But, in the public sense, he can, in fact, continue to act as a priest and bishop until/unless he is formally notified that he can’t.

Anybody remember Archbishop LeFebre?  He was running his own little anti-Vatican II shop and ordaining his own anti-Vatican II priests.  JPII gave him a lot of rope and let him get away with it, figuring the movement would die out when LeFebre did. When he got to be around 90 he decided he better consecrate some bishops to carry on his work after him.  JPII sent him a formal note saying “the day you consecrate a bishop is the day that you, the bishop, and all your priests and followers are ex-communicated.”  He did anyway, they all were, and most of them, at that point, repented and left the movement.  Now THAT’S formal, public excommunication.

There may be a whole PILE of Anglican (and Catholic, for that matter) priests and bishops who should be “excommunicated” by the fact that they are engaging in ongoing unrepentant sin (like VGR), but they are STILL priests and bishops until/unless somebody tells them they aren’t.  The people who ordained VGR a priest and consecrated him a bishop have never told him he isn’t one.  In fact, I would ask again, what “synodical” body has ever pronounced that he isn’t???

[34] Posted by Catholic Mom on 11-20-2008 at 10:17 AM • top

We have had this conversation before, but, once again, I will point out that Pope John Paul II, in fact, CONCELEBRATED a Mass with the Archbishop of Canturbury.

I understand that the term “excommunicate” has some very refined technical meanings in the Roman Catholic tradition, but allowing an Anglican bishop to celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s does not look much like “excommunication” to me.

I suspect that, if pressed, John Paul II would have employed the term “heterodox” (which means something different when used by Roman Catholics than it does when used by members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches) to describe Anglicans, at least in pre-WO and pre-VGR days.

Has the Roman Catholic Church traditionally taught that Anglican orders are “invalid?” Yes—in a very limited and almost meaninglessly narrow technical sense of the word.

But this idea of “invalid orders” is, in fact, of such little weight that for many years American Catholics were taught that if they genuinely NEED a priest to perform a sacramental function and a Catholic priest is not available, then they should first seek out an Eastern Orthodox priest. If an Orthodox priest in also not available, their fall-back position is to find an Anglican priest, who’s orders were traditionally considered sufficiently valid to minister to a good Catholic in a pinch.

Of course, all of this has changed since the advent of WO. And VGR has probably irrevocably shattered any hope of greater Anglican/Catholic unity.

[35] Posted by bluenarrative on 11-20-2008 at 12:00 PM • top

[24] monologistos,

As to my use of “Times New Roman” allow me to state that my initial impulse was for a sans serif font, and when the first such font that suggested itself was “Times New Roman” I noted the association and couldn’t resist. Thanks for remarking on it.

Things are going very well on my side of the Tiber. I will almost certainly finish my systematic reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on this evening’s bus ride home. All that remains is about two dozen pages, all of them concerning the Lord’s Prayer. I have found nothing in the CCC to which I am unwilling to give my wholehearted affirmation and assent. As a result, I am filling out the registration forms to join the Dominican parish I am attending, to which I was referred by three friends, each unknown to the others. It is a beautiful, active, vibrant and growing community of believers located in the University District of Seattle, Blessed Sacrament parish.

The RCIA<sup>1</sup> process at Blessed Sacrament is very flexible, such that at the end of the first session I attended the D.R.E. stated to me that I will be considered ready to be received when I believe that I am, which was something of a surprise to me. Because I am divorced and remarried it will be necessary for me to request an annulment, so I will have to gird myself for at least a year’s absence from the Eucharist, which will be the most difficult part of the process. But I have already been in the traditional choir for two weeks. It feels like I have “come home.”

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist
(Keith Toepfer)

———————-
<sup>1</sup>—The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, for those not familiar with the acronym.

[36] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 11-20-2008 at 12:09 PM • top

#36, Martial Artist, God prosper your journey.  I have previously noted my reservations regarding Rome but if they were to return our statue of the horsemen with which they absconded from Constantinople during a Crusade Gone Wild episode and carried off to Florence, I would be appreciative.  You can’t go too wrong with a parish name like “Blessed Sacrament”.  I will be out your way in March but I usually visit St. Paul’s Antiochian Orthodox parish (no pews!) up in Brier when in the neighborhood.  Fr. Bernstein there is an interesting fellow.  Here’s a link to a book about his conversion from Judaism:  Surprised by Christ

[37] Posted by monologistos on 11-20-2008 at 04:12 PM • top

[37] monologistos,

Brier is quite close (5 miles from my condo to St. Paul’s) to where I live (Bothell, WA—the part of the town in King County), being a few miles west, and a bit north, of Bothell. The Episcopal parish I left was in Kenmore, WA, which is just south of Brier, the latter being in Snohomish County.

Blessings, regards, and enjoy your visit,
Martial Artist (aka Keith Toepfer)

[38] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 11-20-2008 at 05:45 PM • top

#37 Monologistos and #38 MA
Not to mention the Lion of St Mark and sundry other booty liberated by the Venetians and installed in their Cathedral square.

Greetings to Byzantium and the Holy See.

[39] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 11-20-2008 at 06:50 PM • top

bluenarrative, Anglicans are not considered “excommunicated” in the sense of “thrown out of the Communion for cause” but “excommunicated” in the sense of “not in Communion with” (because, in the past, as in the present, choosing deliberately not to be in communion with the See of Rome.)  When Sarah Hey says she has “not an Anglo Catholic bone in her body” I think we can assume she is not a Catholic.  I’m not Matt Kennedy full qualifies either. smile (That “sola scriptura” thing he brings up from time to time.)

Re: the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury concelebrating a Mass together—can you give details?  I’m wondering if this would be defined by you in the same way it would be defined by me.

[40] Posted by Catholic Mom on 11-20-2008 at 08:04 PM • top

I meant to say “I’m not sure Matt Kennedy fully qualifies either.”  Hard to type when someone upstairs is screaming “MOOOOOMMMMM!  I need your heeeelp!!!!”  Gotta go.

[41] Posted by Catholic Mom on 11-20-2008 at 08:07 PM • top

RE: “Sarah, basically you have provided no evidence for your assertion that the vast majority of evangelicals in the Anglican Church, of Anglican evangelicals or of worldwide evangelicals or even worldwide Anglicans feel as you do!”

You are so right.  Nor do I intend to—I’ve no need to provide quantitative survey data in order to assert my informed opinion.  Neither do you.

RE: “Even if you had evidence, I still would want to say “so what?”, even if the vast majority did feel “irrevocably opposed”…

Well, because David clearly implied that the trouble with the Sydney stance on lay presidency was felt by “Anglo-Catholics” or “High Church” Anglicans, rather than the vast vast majority of members of the Anglican Communion worldwide.  But other than David’s implication that this is only an issue that concerns Anglo-Catholics, and other than the idea that it’s probably not a good idea to do something that the vast majority of members of the Anglican Communion believe is not at all Anglican or within the tradition of the Church, no, there is no relevance.

RE: “It seems to me like there are a lot of people who are getting hot under the collar about something which is not actually an evangelical issue.”

Not certain what you mean by “evangelical” issues, Naaboo.  It’s an *Anglican* issue, and it concerns not only Anglo-Catholic Anglicans but evangelical Anglicans.  But *you* don’t seem to wish to acknowledge that either.

You’re right—what the Baptists do, does not really concern Anglicanism.  What the Pentecostals do does not really concern Anglicanism.  But, you know . . . shocking as it may be . . . what people who are members of the Anglican Communion and who purport to be Anglicans believe is vaguely important to other members of the Anglican Communion.  Strange I know—but there you are.

RE: “I think there are some - not you I hope - who have an interest in trying to drive a wedge between conservatives or at least in getting them hot under the collar about something which Sydney (at least) evidently think is not significant - that is presumably why Fulcrum are shouting about Sydney breaching the Jerusalem Declaration.”

I’m interested in not living in denial—you know, the thing that seems to predominate in that organization called TEC which we all so strongly disagree with.  Pretending as if differences don’t exist is foolish, lacking in integrity, and further, impractical, as it means that ultimately the divisions which already exist will come out into the open.

And yes, it looks like Sydney does not believe a key tenet of the Jerusalem Declaration.  Don’t you think it’s good that other Gafcon members have found that out now, rather than later?

[42] Posted by Sarah on 11-20-2008 at 10:14 PM • top

And they should be wary of increasing the pressure on the conservative concensus through their strong opinions

Avoiding moves toward radical innovation would have been a nice way to do that at such a difficult time. Asking people to look theother way while you make them is not so likely to work.

[43] Posted by oscewicee on 11-20-2008 at 11:02 PM • top

NaaBoo wrongly asserts there is no proof and that the Bible is silent on the issue at hand and as such certain evangelicals feel that that is the last word.  The Bible is silent on ordaining homosexuals.  The word homosexual never appears.  That is the argument of and for the homosexual ordination.  Scripture is silent on women as bishops or presbyters or deacons and that is the argument of and for WO.  The bible is silent on the “Trinity” and that is the argument of the Arians and their heirs the Seventh day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses but most Christians easily see the implied truth. 

Perhaps it is simply that “evangelicals”  refuse to accept what is strongly implied.  Others seem to think that is OK but is it? 

When the woman with the blood issue received power by touching the hem of His garment the Orthodox Jews in ally were close at hand and yet none of them is recorded as having either noticed the woman whom they would have stoned for defiling them or that she received healing.  Christ throughout his ministry performs signs that many refused to see.  You see those signs and miracles did not fit their legalistic view of the books of the Torah and what we now have as the Old Testament.  What you refuse to see cannot be proved to be a view of the Fathers that assembled what we have as the New Testament and the list of the books as we have them not read in public until 365.  Yet you demand a specificity from that collection that is Pharisaical.

I have questions for the self described Evangelicals:  Did the Holy Ghost come when Jesus promised and has the Holy Ghost fulfilled the promise made by Christ?  Do you believe the Holy Spirit has been with the Church always and guiding it or do you believe only since the reformation or even later during the Great Awakening or other revival?  Does the Scripture say what the function of the Paraclete is in the Church 300 some years before the NT was assembled?  If not how do we know who is guided by Scripture and who is not?  And since Evangelicals often site the work of the Holy Ghost how can we prove those works by Scripture?

Aren’t you by habit denying a channel of Grace to others that is no more provable than the one you claim for yourselves?

[44] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-21-2008 at 08:38 AM • top

OK I’ll put it another way (Augustine’s I believe?):

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.”

It cannot be essential that someone who administers communion is ordained presbyter when the Scriptures don’t mention ordination!

No-one’s arguing for disorder, or immorality or heresy.  The Sydney Diocese is making the case for some flexibility on a rule that is a tradition of the Church, not a God-given command.  What about Article 21:

“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.”

The timing may be suspect.  But it seems there are some pragmatic and some principled reasons for there being some flexibility on this around the Communion. 

Of course we don’t all have to agree or jump at introducing it in our Provinces or Dioceses! 

I’m just struggling with this inconsistency:
The Communion or FCA can be broad enough to contain those in favour of women in formal positions of leadership and those opposed – when that issue is specifically addressed in Scripture.
Yet, when it comes to presiding at the Lord’s Supper or whatever you want to call it, it is impossible to accommodate non-presbyteral administration or presidency – an issue which Scripture is silent on?

Sorry not to see this.

[45] Posted by naab00 on 11-21-2008 at 03:17 PM • top

RE: “It cannot be essential that someone who administers communion is ordained presbyter when the Scriptures don’t mention ordination!”

Not sure I understand.  Sure it can be “essential” to belonging to the same organization, Naab00.  For example, it is “essential” for those who wish to join the PCA church to sign on to the Westminster Confession.  But it’s not “essential” to the Christian faith to sign on to the Confession—merely to be a member of a PCA church.

So it’s perfectly possible for something to be essential for members of organizations—and in fact, as we see by the Jerusalem Declaration, they have a number of “essential” beliefs for belonging in the FCA/Gafcon.

[46] Posted by Sarah on 11-21-2008 at 03:21 PM • top

Thanks Sarah

So, are we really saying here that the Jerusalem Declaration or the basis of Anglicanism means it is essential to be a member to be convinced that Communion must be administered by a presbyter.  You cannot be a member of the Anglican Communion or the FCA unless you are convinced of this?
But you can be of a member of the Anglican Communion or the FCA if you are opposed to women in leadership (call them ordained presbyter) and if you in favour - because that doesn’t matter?......

Really?

[47] Posted by naab00 on 11-21-2008 at 03:30 PM • top

Reading this discussion thread reminds me of the gulf between those who see value in the historic position of the church (reliance on scripture, tradition, and reason) and those who value only scripture.  This is a continuation of the 16th and 17th controversies in the Church of England; between the Loyalists and the Puritans.  Essentially the stronger claim to Anglicanism is found among those descending from the Loyalist camp.  As a self-defined “old fashion (17th-18th century) high churchman” I appreciate our Presbyterian, Congregational, and Baptist friends, but their not Anglicans. Sydney appears ready to embrace a hybrid stance bringing together Anglican liturgy with a Baptist theology.  Who will save us from your friends?

[48] Posted by Firm Tractarian on 11-21-2008 at 03:43 PM • top

RE: “So, are we really saying here that the Jerusalem Declaration or the basis of Anglicanism means it is essential to be a member to be convinced that Communion must be administered by a presbyter.  You cannot be a member of the Anglican Communion or the FCA unless you are convinced of this?”

Heh—obviously not, naab00—one could sacrifice goats on the altar and still remain a member of the Anglican Communion.  It remains to be seen if one could still remain a member of the FCA.

You keep asking questions, Naab00.  And when you don’t like the answers—you ask other even more irrelevant ones.

I know you don’t like it.  But most members of the Anglican Communion believe that it is essential to being an Anglican to believe in the various things that Sydney clearly does not believe in order for them to support lay presidency.

I understand that *you* don’t believe that it is essential.  But others do.

The repercussions of this fact will play themselves out over the coming years and not all the irrelevant questions that you ask—or the outrage that you express—will stop those repercussions.

[49] Posted by Sarah on 11-21-2008 at 05:37 PM • top

Oh Sarah, that’s not exactly fair is it.
Nowhere have I said no-one believes presbyteral presidency is important.
You accuse me of asking irrelevant questions.  Yet you won’t address the fundamental one which is around whether the supposed “furore” Sydney has provoked in some quarters is really justified or proportionate to the importance of the issue.  (I contend that it is not - and that SOME supposed evangelicals have an interest in stoking the flames of discontent because actually they’d quite like to see the FCA fall apart.)

I’m not outraged - I’m amazed…and disappointed.

I’m now wondering what you mean with what sounds like an awful threat: “the repercussions of this fact will play themselves out over the coming years….”?

You are right I do not believe presbyteral presidency is an essential of Anglicanism.  I’ve quoted one of the Articles to support that and since FCA is a confessional organisation I think the Articles are a good source of authority to which to defer. 

I don’t deny presbyteral presidency is quite standard in Anglicanism.  But is it essential?  I can’t see that - not when it is a tradition only (in FCA and in the Communion).

Yet in the same FCA and the same Communion, you seem to accept diversity of position on women’s ordination when that is not a matter of mere tradition but Scripture.

I think that question of consistency is HIGHLY relevant - and dismissing it as irrelevant contributes nothing to the discussion - it certainly fails to persuade me.

[50] Posted by naab00 on 11-21-2008 at 06:10 PM • top

naab00 - could you address why this matter has suddenly become so urgent in Sydney?

[51] Posted by oscewicee on 11-21-2008 at 06:21 PM • top

#51, oscewicee:
No I can’t I’m afraid, because I honestly don’t know.  (I’m not from Sydney.) 

I think earlier on I may have conceded that I wish they hadn’t said what they’ve said.  I can’t defend their timing at all.  I hope they will continue to show restraint and not push on this.
At the same time, I hope the rest of us might find the appropriate level of disapproval if that is how we feel.

[52] Posted by naab00 on 11-21-2008 at 06:27 PM • top

naab00 - could you address why this matter has suddenly become so urgent in Sydney?

I am not naab00, but let me remind you of a number of factors I mentioned in my original post:
1. Pragmatically, we are expanding rapidly and don’t have enough presbyters to go around, particularly given the change in ordination policy (so yes, this is partly self-inflicted).
2. Theologically - and this is the larger driver in Sydney, it is understood that reserving (pardon the pun, I’ve been hanging out to use that for a while) the administration to presbyters while deacons may only preach elevates the sacrament (bawahaha, two puns in one sentence!)above the word. To a bunch of evangelicals you can understand this causes some consternation.

Our evangelicalism has always produced a push against clericalism. this is another outworking of it.

Trust that helps.

[53] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 06:30 PM • top

I don’t deny presbyteral presidency is quite standard in Anglicanism.  But is it essential?  I can’t see that - not when it is a tradition only (in FCA and in the Communion).

The very reason for the decline of TEC over the last 40 years is that they don’t see whatever rubric, liturgy, canon, tradition, creed, or Sacrament they happen to be changing at the moment to be essential.  The 10% or 20% of the membership who do find it essential then leave.
  The issue on an international level is not that a particular diocese or national church wants to do something, but that they assume that because they have discussed it among themselves, and released a paper about their opinions, that they have consulted with the Communion.  Neither Sydney not TEC can determine what are and are not Communion “essentials.”  That must be done by the Communion as a whole.

[54] Posted by tjmcmahon on 11-21-2008 at 06:42 PM • top

Yes, it helps, David - thank you. Others have mentioned, I know, how shortages of priests may be handled without lay presidency, which leaves the theological issue, and there lies the division, I’m afraid. What is the position on the nature of the sacrament among Sydney evangelicals? If this has been addressed on the other thread, let me know and I will look it up. American evangelicals don’t appear to have the problem with this that you in Sydney do?

[55] Posted by oscewicee on 11-21-2008 at 06:45 PM • top

What is the position on the nature of the sacrament among Sydney evangelicals?

generally, we are memorialists, as we understood Cranmer to be. Perhaps I should repost my work on the Communion service. I was struck, two years ago, at how Zwinglian the whole service is.
That is not to say that we do not value the Supper, indeed we do. So I am utterly convinced that people feed on Christ in their hearts by faith and with thanksgiving at the Supper. Even when a Deacon like me presides wink

  American evangelicals don’t appear to have the problem with this that you in Sydney do?

No. But then American Anglican evangelicals are a slightly different breed. Many of you have absorbed more of the High Church theology than has been accepted here. Alternatively, it could be that we are simply far too puritanical. That’s just an observation.

[56] Posted by David Ould on 11-21-2008 at 06:52 PM • top

#45 That princes may suspend the Episcopacy would be for only extreme circumstances, likely political, leaving no other option for the faithful but I think you will have a hard time proving such a ruling by a Prince would find favor among those present at that Council as seen by them as anything but a temporary situation.  All that I get out of the constructed argument for LP is the innovation is for the opposite reason- one of convenience because of a human failure to raise up sufficient deacons and priests.

What has not been demonstrated is that another form of governance other then the all male ordained threefold ministry has come from God, is identifiable in Scripture, or that even a consensus of Anglican Divines agreed there is another form of ecclesial government that Scripture can support. One is left asking the question why so much effort was put into preserving the episcopate and suppressing Calvin’s discipline in England?  Calvin’s discipline was openly ridiculed by Anglicans such as Richard Hooker and only the Puritans- those people of whom much of the Articles is aimed at, made demand to end the episcopacy and the BCP. Can anyone point to a previous period in the history of the church where there is a form of church government that had lay presidency?

So the question still remains why import a foreign and man made concept into Anglicanism when what it suffers from the most is having swallowed foreign concepts.

What I have not seen in this thread is where lay presidency is supported in Scripture- not a single quote.  Only claims based on an assumed silence.

So is the latest anglican doctrine “if it the bible does not explicitly prohibit something then it is justifiable”?  Can we refer to this as “Justification by silence alone”!

[57] Posted by Just Wondering on 11-21-2008 at 07:10 PM • top

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