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What's Wrong With The World: Dispatches From The 10th Crusade

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WOMEN'S ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD

A Defense of the Doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son  (Yes, this is about women's ordination.)

An (Extended) Short History of the Diaconate

Essays on the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood from the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth

Father is Head at the Table: Male Eucharistic Headship and Primary Spiritual Leadership, Ray Sutton

God, Gender and the Pastoral Office, S.M. Hutchens

God, Sex and Gender, Gavin Ashenden

Homo Hierarchicus and Ecclesial Order, Brian Horne

How Ordaining Women Harms Ministry to Men, C.R. Wiley

Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters, J.I. Packer

Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes, Peter J. Leithart

Ordaining Women as Deacons: A Reappraisal of the Anglican Mission in America's Policy

Priestesses in Plano, Robert Hart

Priestesses in the Church?, C.S. Lewis

Priesthood and Masculinity, Stephen DeYoung

Reasons for Questioning Women’s Ordination in the Light of Scripture, Rodney Whitacre

Streams of the River: Articles Outlining the Arguments Against the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood

Traditional Anglican Resources

William Witt's Articles on Women's Ordination (Old Jamestown Church archive)

Women Priests?, Eric Mascall

Women and the Priesthood, Catholic Answers

Women Priests: History & Theology, Patrick Reardon

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Thursday
Oct112012

The Feminisation of the Church of England Rolls On Apace

From Virtue Online, on how liberals have turned the CofE into a Womanchurch.  A note to Anglican Ritualists, however:  clergy and acolytes in lace aren't likely to draw the men back.  Beware too of prissy Anglo-Catholic aestheticism:

By Roland W. Morant
Special to Virtueonline
www.virtueonline.org
October 8, 2012

In the current drawn out discussion on women priests and women bishops, one issue that has been largely overlooked has been the effect on men. If this issue is approached from a strict politically correct perspective, it can be argued that as the roles of leadership in churches pass from men to women, because such roles are accepted as equal and identical there ought to be no difference in the effect on men in the pews. But if in practice as others maintain, the engendered roles of leadership do not conform to a common outcome pattern, differences may well emerge in the way men respond to women exercising ordained leadership.

Before we can address this problem directly, it behoves us to remember some well established facts. These are facts which, it must be admitted, apply to nearly all the mainline churches of the West (taken here as Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed etc., but not Orthodox).

Men and women worshippers: In mainline churches the numbers of worshippers of both genders have been steadily falling, with some of the greatest falls occurring in recent years. In whatever way the figures are interpreted, almost all the churches have experienced similar falls. If we take figures from the Church of England's own statistical department, we find that during the last eleven years from 2000 there has been a steady drop in average attendance on Sundays from 1,058,000 to 924,000. Thus in this period 134,000 adults, young people and children ceased to attend church, i.e. a fall of 12.7% or, very roughly, 1% per year.

Is it possible to break down the above figures by gender? Not it seems by the C. of E statisticians. Nevertheless several pieces of research have been done in Great Britain, the U.S.A. and continental Europe, all of which confirm a general finding which is that year by year the loss of men from churches of every mainline denomination is not only greater than that of women, but that this loss is getting worse year after year.

To illustrate this, Peter Brierley found that attendance at church in 1980 was 57% for women and 43% for men. In the year 2000 the figures were 60% or women and 40% for men; while in 2010 attendance for women was 63% and 37% for men. Thus although there was a net loss of men and women from churches in the ten year period 2000 to 2010, the proportion of women still attending (albeit in an overall shrinking group) appeared to be steadily rising. This must have been because men were leaving churches at a much faster rate than the women.

The proportion of men worshippers relative to women worshippers has been in decline for a very long time, almost certainly from before the end of the medieval period. The Reformation, a male instigated and led activity, may have slowed down or even reversed temporarily in some of the new national churches a decline in men's attendance. Other factors since then which may have boosted men's presence at acts of worship were the Methodist revival in the eighteenth century, and several other revivals (e.gs. Tractarian, Evangelical) in the Nineteenth Century.

But when we come to recent times, i.e. the Twentieth Century and the present one, we can see quite clearly that the falling away of attendance at church, especially by men has become more pronounced and very visible, and deservedly should be called a haemorrhage of the lifeblood of the Church. That nearly all mainstream churches for a long time - and increasingly so in recent times - steadily and spectacularly have lost their men folk, ipso facto is turning Christianity into a female religion. And that is about as serious a criticism as can be made about the Christian religion today.

What effect has the ordination of women in the C. of E. (and soon to be, the consecration of women as bishops) had - or may have in the future - on this tendency? Obviously, as this general trend towards feminisation within churches has been going on for a long period, the recent advent and practice of ordained women's ministry cannot be held responsible for what has been happening in the more distant past.

In the C. of E. the first women were ordained as deacons in 1987 and the first women deacons as priests in 1994. Since then women have made rapid strides in entering the ministry. In 1994, 106 women and 273 were ordained. Sixteen years later (2010), more women (290) than men (273) were ordained. So the scales over this period have gradually but incessantly tipped towards the women.

To bring us up to date, in the latest figures which are available (compiled from official figures), in 2011 there were 1,763 full time women priests working in C. of E. parishes, a 50% increase from the year 2000. Approximately one in five paid priests (for such are all these full time women priests) now work in the Church.

It has therefore been argued that if this trend continues, it is inevitable that "women would comprise the majority of spiritual leaders in England". Moreover, David Martin, former Professor of Sociology, is on record as having said recently, "It's obvious that over time the priesthood will become increasingly a female profession. As far as the church has a future, it will include a predominant ministry of women and they will get to the top".

However, a degree of caution is needed before we can say without equivocation that the input of women priests into parish churches has led directly to many men abandoning going to church. What we can say is this: From before 1994 (halfway through the Decade of Evangelism in England) there has been a haemorrhage of people from attending church on Sundays, increasingly these being men. And since 1994 there has been a steady influx of ordained women into the churches, with no noticeable slowing down of the exit of men from the pews.

A cardinal rule in statistical analysis is not to base predictions on a single item of data. The following personal experience therefore should not be understood to infer what will happen in many churches through the placement of women into leadership roles in many churches. Some months ago I visited a church for a quite separate reason and purchased its parish magazine. It listed its incumbent, paid curate and non-stipendiary priest as women. Its two church wardens were women. In the list of services for the coming month giving details of lay people due to read portions of the scriptures and to lead the prayers, all but one person was a woman. It may well be an unpopular thing to say, but what religious incentive is there for any man to attend that church?

A lot of literature has been written and a substantial amount of research done on why men generally cease to attend church, a phenomenon not matched in the other great religions. One of the main reasons is that the type of religion presented via worship in church where women are normally in the great majority, is expressed in female-friendly terms (e.g. Jesus being often symbolised as the Lamb of God rather than as Lion of Judah).

The leadership of the Church of England has, quite clearly, in recent years encouraged women to explore and find their vocations as priests, and soon as bishops. Such encouragement may be well and good, and conform to the prevalent secular standards of equality. Yet from another standpoint it might invoke a law of unintended consequences in which the C. of E. fills its dioceses and parishes with women in leadership roles, but finds too late that it has no men in the pews (except a few feminised men). As David Murrow persuasively writes in his book, "Why Men Hate Going to Church", the "Church of England is quickly becoming a church of women, by women and for women".


Roland W. Morant is a cradle Anglican who has spent his professional life as a teacher, and latterly as a principal lecturer in education in a college of higher education, training students as teachers and running in-service degree courses

Thursday
Oct112012

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence - Bairstow 

Thursday
Oct112012

Why There's An Anglican Continuum and Realignment

Wednesday
Oct102012

Experiencing Christ through the Life of Prayer in Community 

 A video from St. Matthew's Church (ACC) in Newport Beach, CA:

Tuesday
Oct092012

What Is The Gospel?

The following is a statement from GAFCON.

What is the gospel?

A paper from members of the FCA Leaders’ Conference, London, April 2012
Seminar led by Drs Ngozi Okeke & Mark Thompson

(PDF version here)

The gospel is the life-­‐transforming message of salvation from sin and all its consequences through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is both a declaration and a summons: announcing what has been done for us in Christ and calling us to repentance, faith and submission to his lordship. ‘Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, was buried and was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures’.1

Jesus himself proclaimed ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel’.2 This gospel finds its ultimate ground in the character of the triune God, his perfect love and holiness. God will not ignore human sin. Sin leads to God’s just and holy wrath and the awful reality of hell. The grave consequences of sin — guilt before God and the judgment to come, enslavement to sin and Satan, corruption and death — all must be dealt with. We cannot deal with those consequences ourselves, in part or in whole. In this light, God’s determined love expressed itself most clearly when the Father sent his Son in the power of the Spirit to be the Savior of the world.3 ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’.4 ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’.5

The gospel announces the work of the triune God. The Son came to do the Father’s will in the power of the Spirit. By the Spirit he was incarnate in Mary’s womb in fulfillment of the OT Scriptures, becoming genuinely one of us while remaining truly God.6 He was made like us in every way, sin excepted.7 At the same time he is the unique Son of God, the only savior of the world. He lived the perfect life that none of us can live, always doing the will of the Father who sent him.8 He died for our sins and was raised for our justification, always in perfect unity with the Father and the Spirit. ‘For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit ...’9

The gospel, the proclamation of what God has done in Christ, is the powerful means by which God saves men and women today.10 As the gospel is proclaimed, the Holy Spirit enables us to trust in God’s promise of forgiveness and eternal life. Faith, genuine repentance and a transformed life are evidence that the gospel has been at work. Because Christ has died and been raised from the grave we cannot continue as before. In response to God’s mercy in saving us, we are called to be obedient, to stand as Christ’s faithful people in the world. We recognize that we now belong to the one who sanctified his people through his own blood.11 Having died to sin in Christ we cannot continue to live in it.12 As those rescued by Christ, our thinking and our behavior must be determined by his will expressed in his authoritative written word. Yet this new life of faith and obedience is never a human achievement. We are saved only through faith in Christ alone and even our faith is a gift of God.13 We have been brought from death to life by Jesus and the life he gives us is life as it was meant to be, life to the full.14 It is a life characterized by trust in God’s goodness, love of God and of our neighbor, and hope in the midst of suffering, looking forward to that day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.15 On that day, God’s redeemed people will enjoy his presence in a new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells.16 In the meantime, his service is perfect freedom.

The gospel announces God’s great victory and the fulfillment of his ancient promises in Christ.17 Sin and the powers that stand behind it are defeated.18 Judgment is exhausted so that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.19 Death has been overturned by the one who is the resurrection and the life.20 Exalted to the right hand of the Father, he pours out his Spirit on the church, equipping it powerfully to worship, to witness by word and deed to the gospel of God, which always remains the gospel concerning his Son.21 This same gospel, proclaimed by Jesus and his apostles, is our message in every age to a broken world of lost men and women who can be rescued only by Jesus, the crucified but risen Saviour and Lord of all. It is in the faithful proclamation of the gospel, and in the living of lives that have been transformed by it, that we give God the glory that is his due.

References:

1 1 Corinthians 15:3–4
2 Mark 1:14
3 1 John 4:14
4 John 3:16
5 Romans 5:8
6 Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:35
7 Hebrews 4:15
8 John 6:38; 8:28–29
9 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21
10 Romans 1:16–17
11 Hebrews 13:12
12 Romans 6:2
13 Ephesians 2:8–9
14 John 10:10
15 Philippians 2:9–10
16 2 Peter 3:13
17 Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 53:5–6
18 Colossians 2:13–15
19 Romans 8:1
20 John 11:25
20 Acts 2:33; Romans 1:1–3

Sunday
Oct072012

Article on Freewill and Justification from The Anglican Rose

An excellent and illuminating article from Charles Bartlett, whose work is becoming increasingly important to me in my own formation as an Anglican. Be sure to read the ensuing discussion.

Saturday
Oct062012

Goodenough: Psalm 150 (King's College Choir)

Friday
Sep282012

Byrd: Ave Verum Corpus

Friday
Sep282012

Good Queen Bess

Unlike John Knox, I'm not necessarily against The Monstrous Regiment of Women, especially if the regent can be as Man-glican as was our Good Queen Bess.  In her honor and the honor of that part of the English Reformation over which she presided:

Thursday
Sep272012

This Just In From From An Acquaintance. . .

who was a subdeacon in the Orthodox Western Rite, and who had at least a bit of influence in the Western Rite here in the states.   He has gone back to the Roman Catholic Church of his youth, and is a novice at a Benedictine monastery overseas.  I had asked him:

Do you think the Western Rite has a secured place in the Orthodox Church, or do you foresee eventual assimilation into the Eastern Rite?

His answer came tonight:

Frankly, I don't believe that WRO has much of a future at all. There is simply no common vision. I do foresee eventual ER assimilation, or mass defections to Rome or traditional Anglicanism (the latter, admittedly, has the advantage of a non-exceptional married clergy).

My feeling is that Orthodox ought to be Byzantine, Romans ought to be Roman, Anglicans ought to be Anglican. Uniate projects (and yes, I include here Greek Catholicism and Anglican Use Roman Catholicism) never seem to work out; they always produce a sort of bastardized "tertium quid".

There are no data on the future, of course, but I happen to share his opinon.  We may be wrong, but if I had to lay money on the prediction, I'd bet the days of the Western Rite are numbered.  As I've argued, potential converts to Orthodoxy hoping to remain "Western" will very likely be frustrated in that goal if they go WR. 

Thursday
Sep272012

Chant of the Templars - Salve Regina; Byzantine Chant, Anglican Churches and English Castles

Monday
Sep172012

Submit Yourselves One to Another (John Sheppard - c1515-1558)

The English Tudor era composer John Sheppard's setting of lines from Ephesians 5 (21, 19--20) is very typical of early Anglican anthems for lower voices in its use of the ABB pattern.

Monday
Sep172012

Not Anglican, But Beautiful

Eric Whitacre's Alleluia.  My brother is slipping away tonight and will soon be with God, leaving me as the last surviving member of our nuclear family.  I expect he'll hear sounds much like this when he gets there:

Sunday
Sep162012

Orthodox Reader Karen Comments on "For Evangelicals and Others Considering Eastern Orthodoxy"

Which blog entry and combox discussion can be read here.  Karen's comments are so thoughtful that I decided they deserved to be unburied from that discussion and posted here.  The text of her comments is as follows:

I think this is a good discussion. It highlights many of the salient points of disagreement and approach to interpretation of the Scriptures between the Orthodox and any stripe of Protestant. As for the reality of Orthodoxy or Anglicanism *on the ground,* there is room for nothing but humility for any of us. Any Christian in our culture who loves Christ and holds to the true Christian moral tradition on the sanctity of life, and the nature of our sexuality and marriage is under fire from the enemy, and I think that fire is only going to get hotter. That fire will blessedly draw all who love Christ nearer to Him and to each other.

As an Orthodox convert from a rather eclectic Evangelical background, I obviously relate to much of what Fr. Deacon was saying. I also find Fr. John (Morris) to be simplistic in the extreme. For me becoming Orthodox came out of the consistency of Orthodox soteriology with the patristic consensus of our salvation as union with Christ and the Cross as our ransom from Sin and Death vs. Reformed "Penal Substitution" which I believe is heresy, but is still the central paradigm of salvation for most Evangelical and conservative Protestants, Anglican or otherwise (despite my appreciation for the much more nuanced understanding represented by N.T. Wright). That along with the consistency of the Orthodox approach to Liturgy, Eucharist and the sacramental life of the Church with the patristic era, are what will keep me (and, I presume, even folks who appreciate and understand the West like David Bentley Hart and Bp. Kallistos Ware) in the Orthodox fold, despite its many problems which have been well outlined here.

I think the essay linked in brackets following reflects the bottom line of any Orthodox apologetic, and I'm pulling three of the most key paragraphs to quote below (http://glory2godforallthings.com/2009/05/26/the-church-and-the-cross/):

I do not think we give up conversation, but we have to be aware of the nature of our conversation. We utter “Pillar and Ground of Truth,” etc. “in a sacred mystery.” Pulled out of its context (that is the living Church) and placed in argument, the phrase becomes words weakened by every other word we have ever spoken, and particularly the actions we have performed or failed to perform. Such phrases are no less true, but they were never meant as offensive weapons (except perhaps in spiritual warfare).

I would start, as an Orthodox boy, with the fact that everyone who is Orthodox has agreed to “deny himself, take up his cross and follow Christ.” The ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church, the Pillar and Ground of Truth, is found precisely in its weakness and is found there because God wants it that way. If salvation means loving my enemies like God loves His enemies, then I am far better served by my weakness than my excellence. If humility draws the Holy Spirit, then my weakness is far more useful than any excellence I may possess.

The Orthodox Church has perhaps the weakest ecclesiology of all, because it depends, moment by moment, on the love and forgiveness of each by all and of all by each. Either the Bishops of the Church love and forgive each other or the whole thing falls apart. “Brethren, let us love one another, that with one mind we may confess: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” These are the words that introduce the Creed each Sunday, and they are the words that are the bedrock of our ecclesiology.

Thanks for the discussion.

Well, Karen, I too found Fr. John to be simplistic in the extreme, and somewhat annoying besides.  I finally grew tired of his polemic, marked as it was by a slavish adherence to talking points, an inability to focus on the substance of what was said during the exchanges (which led to mispresentations of what was said), and most annoyingly, a whiny quality that stemmed from his inability to distinguish between criticism of the Orthodox Church and hatred.   So, I finally had to ask Fr. John to quit posting comments.

I found Fr. Deacon's argument - and yours - much more focused, sincere and principled.  This is the kind of argumentation I welcome here at The Old Jamestown Church.

Your assessment of what divides Orthodoxy from the rest of the Christian world but also what unites us resonates with me.  I feel that in my attempt to argue why a Westerner should prefer Anglicanism to Orthodoxy, I have been a bit too strident at points in my criticisms of the latter and have not given full shrift to the reality that Anglican and Orthodox Christians have much in common.  And as you imply, the jihad doesn't care about our theological differences; it desires to exterminate us all because we confess Christ, which is to say that we utterly and totally abjure Mahound and his false religion.  In this day and age Westerners and Easterners need to stand together just to survive.

As you probably expected, my main point of disagreement with you here is over the question of the atonement.  You make much of Orthodoxy's supposed continuity with "the patristic consensus of our salvation" and "the consistency of the Orthodox approach to Liturgy, Eucharist and the sacramental life of the Church with the patristic era."  I would suggest that your statement regaring the consensus patrum on salvation rather begs the question, as it is clearly the case that there is no real consensus here, but (at least) two theologoumena, an Augustinian one and a principally Eastern one that largely centers around some human capacity, typically undefined, called "free will."  Not only does your assessment fail to take this reality of two theologoumena into account,  but in contrasting the non-Orthodox soteriologies of the West with this supposed PATRISTIC consensus, it ignores that there is in the LATIN Fathers (including noted Fathers who preceded St. Augustine) a soteriology whose trajectory inexorably led to the soteriology of Anselm, and then from him to the penal-substitionary view of the atonement held by many Protestants.   (Catholic theologian George Tavard argues that there is a similar trajectory seen in Latin views of justification and Luther's.)

Now, if the penal-substitutionary view of the atonement is a valid theologoumenon, none dare call it "heresy", as you do.  In fact, I don't believe the Church, Western or Eastern, has ever officially declared that view a heresy.  The Orthodox Church may complain long and loudly about "the West", Anselm, and their various baneful theological spawn, but just because the Orthodox generally don't like the penal-substitutionary view of the atonement doesn't mean it's actually heresy.  All it means is that Orthodoxy disagrees with it, prompting our response:  "So?"

For us, though the penal-substitutionay view may argubly need some modification from within or complement from without by other biblical motifs,  the Latin trajectory accounts for the greatest amount of biblical data with the fewest difficulties.  When Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was released in 2004, many Orthodox critics vehently denounced the movie as not in keeping what their theology required, complaining of a soteriological orientation in the movie that was overly Western and that did not do justice to the Eastern view.  Debates broke out everywhere in theological cyberspace, at Mere Comments, for instance.  I was more or less on my way out of the Orthodox Church at the time, and was part of a debate over the film on a certain theological discussion board.  I had been reading many of the Latin Fathers at the time, and I quoted them showing that Gibson's theology was more or less in keeping with theirs.  The Orthodox (save for a handful, which included Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon) would have none of it.  Some clergymen and bishops even enjoined their flocks not to see the movie.

But for me, this was a sign that the Orthodox weren't really interested in seeing the Fathers as a whole -- and accordingly the existence of differing theologumena in their thought -- but were only interested in the role the Cross played in theosis.   A role which, by the way, seems less important than the Incarnation.  We in the West will have none of that.  The Benedictine liturgical scholar Fr. Aidan Kavenagh's quote puts the matter succinctly:

To know Christ sacramentally only in terms of bread and wine is to know him only partially, in the dining room as host and guest. It is a valid enough knowledge, but its ultimate weakness when isolated is that it is perhaps too civil .... However elegant the knowledge of the dining room may be, it begins in the soil, in the barnyard, in the slaughterhouse; amid the quiet violence of the garden, strangled cries, and fat spitting in the pan. Table manners depend on something’s having been grabbed by the throat. A knowledge that ignores these dark and murderous human [actions] is losing its grip on the human condition.

Not to mention losing its grip on the entire scope of biblical teaching on atonement, something that hasn't even escaped the grasp of certain folks in the Orthodox Western Rite.  Read the rather tongue-in-check story on page 1 of the March 2004 issue of The Lion, the official newsletter of St. Mark Orthodox Church in Denver.   Over and over in the Bible we are told: 1) that God punishes sin; but 2) that He graciously provides substitutes to bear sin's punishment.  That such a view would be dismissed as "heresy" is troubling indeed.

Sunday
Sep162012

The Fighting Episcopalian Bishop

                                      

The descendant of Scots-Irish pioneers and the son of a Revolutionary War officer, Leonidas Polk was born in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1806. His grandfather had founded the University of North Carolina and his cousin, James, was destined to become President of the United States. In his teens, Leonidas received an appointment to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned a second lieutenant of cavalry upon graduation in 1827.

As a cadet, Polk was heavily influenced by the Episcopalian chaplain who baptized him and then convinced him to become a priest. The young lieutenant resigned from the army to enter the Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1831. A year earlier, in 1830, Polk had married Frances Devereux of North Carolina.

The Reverend Mr. Polk served churches in Virginia and Tennessee before being appointed Missionary Bishop of the Southeast in 1838. Three years later, he became the first Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana. Over the next two decades, Leonidas Polk established churches in Thibodaux, Napoleonville, Plaquemine, Donaldsonville, Opelousas, and elsewhere throughout the state. It has been documented that "during his episcopate at New Orleans he ordained sixteen deacons and nineteen priests; and the number of churches grew from three to thirty-three. "

Bishop Polk led the effort to establish the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and he laid the cornerstone there in 1860. He considered the Episcopal school to be "a home for all the arts and sciences and of literary culture in the Southern states. "

The Bishop, like most Southerners, feared that the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1860 represented a new era of Federal assaults on the rights of the states of the South. When Louisiana seceded from the Union in January, 1861, Polk put aside his robes and took up the sword to defend his adopted state. President Jefferson Davis appointed him a major general in the new Confederate army and, shortly thereafter, Polk inflicted a defeat upon Union troops under U. S. Grant at Belmont, Missouri. He soon became a corps commander in the legendary Confederate Army of Tennessee and fought in scores of major and minor battles. Always remembering his Christian duties and the demands of his faith, the "Fighting Bishop" was largely responsible for the great spiritual revival which swept the Confederate forces .

In the spring and summer of 1864, General Polk assisted in the defense of Atlanta against William T. Sherman's marauding Northern army . On June 14, at Pine Mountain, he was killed by Union artillery fire. According to Private Sam Watkins of the 1st Tennessee Infantry,

"hundreds of Confederate soldiers shed tears when told of the Bishop's death. "

Leonidas Polk of Louisiana would later be described as a man who "in pulpit and on battlefield, lived up to the tradition of a family that offered itself again and again upon the altar of freedom. It was his idea that a man should fight for what he believed...his was a fighting faith." 

(http://www.knowsouthernhistory.net/Biographies/Leonidas_Polk/)

 

 

Friday
Sep142012

Deus Vult

Wednesday
Sep122012

Lead Kindly Light (J.H. Newman)

Sunday
Sep092012

Ave Verum Corpus

Saturday
Sep082012

A Reader Sends This Article

Patristic Soteriology: Three Trajectories (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society)

I would urge my readers to take the time to read this 21-page article. The author is Donald Fairbairn, a professor of historical theology at Erskine Theological Seminary in South Carolina, who sets forth the argument that what we see in the soteriologies of Western and Eastern churches is not two, but three "trajectories." Based on the work of the noted Protestant historical theologian Adolf von Harnack and others, it is commonly held that there are two major soteriological patterns, "a juridical or legal pattern (strongly represented in the Western Church) that focused on forgiveness of sins, and a more Eastern pattern that saw salvation as participation in God or deification." Harnack argued, and I would largely agree with him, that: 

the Western pattern . . . followed the biblical depiction of salvation by focusing on the inspiring character of Christ’s human life, the need for atonement from sin, the fact of human justification, and the coming of God’s judgment. . . . In contrast (to the Eastern participatory and mystical trajectory), he writes that Western Christianity was from the start more biblical and practical, as well as more ecclesiastical, because of its less speculative bent. Harnack affirms: “To this is attributed the fact that the West did not fix its attention above all on deification nor, in consequence, on asceticism, but kept real life more distinctly in view.” (Emphasis mine.)

 Of the Eastern Church, Harnack writes: 

The salvation presented in (Eastern) Christianity consists in the redemption of the human race from the state of mortality and the sin involved in it, that men might attain divine life, i.e., the everlasting contemplation of God, this redemption having already been consummated in the incarnation of the Son of God and being conferred on men by their close union with him: Christianity is the religion which delivers from death and leads to the contemplation of God.

 It is, in fact, this trajectory which took hold in the East: 

If one turns to the East, it seems to me that what I am calling the mystical trajectory was the one that gained preeminence during the Byzantine period. The emphases of Origen and Gregory of Nyssa were echoed prominently in the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius early in the sixth century. Later, Maximus the Confessor (ca. 580–662) launched an extensive critique of Origen’s cosmology, allegedly solving once-for-all the problems inherent in it, but in my opinion he did not significantly depart from the overall vision of Origen and Gregory of Nyssa. This trajectory may be traced further through Gregory Palamas (ca. 1269–1359), who crystallized the distinction between God’s essence (in which we do not share) and his energies (in which we do share through salvation). With Palamas the Eastern Orthodox Church was locked onto a trajectory in which salvation consists more of participation in God’s qualities, his energies, rather than participation in a relationship. 

Read almost any standard Orthodox theology text today, and you will see that this is how the Orthodox view of soteriology is stated, its indebtedness to Origenist (and hence Neoplatonist) theologians such as Gregory, Maximus and Palamas frankly noted. 

However, Fairbairn argues there is a separate soteriological trajectory in Eastern Christian thought, one he describes as personalist and relational, which is rooted in the writings of Irenaeus and Cyril of Alexandria. That trajectory unfortunately did not triumph in the East, but it is arguably one that could harmonize well not only with the juridical trajectory of the West, but also with the personalist and relationalist theologies of Evangelicalism. 

It's an interesting thesis. Whether or not it stands a chance of bearing any ecumenical fruit is another question. From a Western "juridical" perspective, personalism and relationalism are theologies that are complementary to the juridical pattern.  But Orthodoxy is so locked into its theosis/works soteriology and so dead set against "the West" that any attempt on its part to find some common ground here seems unlikely.

Friday
Sep072012

Anglican Chant: O How Amiable are Thy Dwellings (Parry)

 

O how amiable are thy dwellings, Thou Lord of hosts.
My soul hath desired long to enter into the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.

Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house
And the swallow a nest where she may lay her young.
Even thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house;
They will be alway praising Thee.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee,
In whose heart are Thy ways.
Who, going through the vale of misery use it for a well
And the pools are filled with water.
They will go from strength to strength and unto the God of Gods appeareth every one of them in Sion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer. Hearken, O God of Jacob.
Behold our God, our defender and look upon the face of Thine anointed.

For one day in Thy courts is better than a thousand.
I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness.

For the Lord God is a light and defense.
The Lord will give praise and worship
And no good things shall be withhold from them that live a godly life.
O Lord God of hosts! Blessed is the man that putteth his trust in Thee!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be
World without end, Amen.