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TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN CHURCHES

"Continuing Anglican" Churches - Arguably the most consistently traditional or "classical" Anglican churches.

Continuing Anglican Miscellany

"Anglican Realignment" Churches (ACNA, AMiA, and others) - Conservative but markedly less traditional.

Reformed Episcopal Church - Currently part of the Anglican Realignment but these days much more like the traditional Continuing Anglican bodies.

ANGLICAN BLOGS AND WEB SITES

1662 Book of Common Prayer Online

1928 Book of Common Prayer Online

A Living Text

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ἀναστόμωσις

Anglican Audio

Anglican Bible and Book Society

An Anglican Bookshelf (List of recommended Anglican books)

Anglican Catholic Church

Anglican Catholic Liturgy and Theology

Anglican Church in North America

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Anglican Mission in the Americas

Anglican Mom

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The Anglophilic Anglican

A BCP Anglican

The Book of Common Prayer (Blog of Photos)

The Book of Common Prayer (Online Texts)

The Cathedral Close

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Classical Anglicanism:  Essays by Fr. Robert Hart

Cogito, Credo, Petam

Colorado Anglican Society

CommonPrayer.org

(The Old) Continuing Anglican Churchman

(The New) Continuing Anglican Churchman

The Continuum

The Curate's Corner

The Cure of Souls

Drew's Views

The Evangelical Ascetic

Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen

Forward in Christ Magazine

Forward in Faith North America

Francis J. Hall's Theological Outlines

Free Range Anglican

The Hackney Hub

Gavin Ashenden

International Catholic Congress of Anglicans

Jesse Nigro's Thoughts

The Latimer Trust

Martin Thornton

Meditating on "Irvana"

New Goliards

New Scriptorium (Anglican Articles and Books Online)

The North American Anglican

O cuniculi! Ubi lexicon Latinum posui?

The Ohio Anglican Blog

The Old High Churchman

Philorthodox

Prayer Book Anglican

The Prayer Book Society, USA

Project Canterbury

Pusey House

Prydain

Reformed Catholicism

Reformed Episcopal Church

The Ridley Institute

River Thames Beach Party

The Secker Society

Society of Archbishops Cranmer and Laud

The Southern High Churchman

Stand Firm

Texanglican

The Theologian

The World's Ruined

TitusOneNine

To All The World

Trinity House Blog

United Episcopal Church of North America

Virtue Online

We See Through A Mirror Darkly

Wyclif

HUMOR 

The Babylon Bee

Bad Vestments

The Low Churchman's Guide to the Solemn High Mass

Lutheran Satire

"WORSHIP WARS"

Ponder Anew: Discussions about Worship for Thinking People

RESISTING LEFTIST ANTICHRISTIANITY

Black-Robed Regiment

Cardinal Charles Chaput Reviews "For Greater Glory" (Cristero War)

Cristero War

Benedict Option

Jim Kalb: How Bad Will Things Get?

Trouble

RESISTING ISLAMIC ANTICHRISTIANITY

Christians in the Roman Army: Countering the Pacifist Narrative

Bernard of Clairvaux and the Knights Templar

Gates of Nineveh

Gates of Vienna

Islamophobes (We're in good company)

Jihad Watch

Nineveh Plains Protection Units

Restore Nineveh Now - Nineveh Plains Protection Units

Sons of Liberty International (SOLI)

The Muslim Issue

Trouble

OTHER SITES AND BLOGS, MANLY, POLITICAL AND WHATNOT

Abbeville Institute Blog

Art of the Rifle

The Art of Manliness

Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture

Church For Men

The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, (Leon Podles' online book)

The Counter-Revolution

Craft Beer

Cranmer

Eclectic Orthodoxy

First Things

The Imaginative Conservative

Joffre the Giant: Excursions in Christian Virility

Katehon

Men of the West

Mercurius Pragmaticus Redivivus

Mere Comments

Mitre and Crown

Monomakhos (Eastern Orthodox; Paleocon)

Paterfamilias Daily

Tales of Chivalry

The Midland Agrarian

Those Catholic Men

Tim Holcombe: Anti-State; Pro-Kingdom

Midwest Conservative Journal

Numavox Records (Music of Kerry Livgen & Co.)

Pint, Pipe and Cross Club

The Pipe Smoker

Red River Orthodox

The Salisbury Review

Throne, Altar, Liberty

Project Appleseed (Basic Rifle Marksmanship)

Turnabout

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

Wovenhand

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

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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                  Theme Music:  Healey Willan - Missa brevis No. 2 in F Minor

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.

Friday
Sep072012

Iranian-American Songstress-Goddess Azam Ali: O Quanta Qualia - A Hymn of Peter Abelard, and An Anglican Commentary Thereon

O quanta, qualia sunt illa sabbata
quae semper celebrat superna curia.
quae fessis requies, quae merces fortibus,
cum erit omnia Deus in omnibus.

vere Ierusalem est illa civitas,
cuius pax iugis est, summa iucunditas,
ubi non praevenit rem desiderium,
nec desiderio minus est praemium.

quis rex, quae curia, quale palatium,
quae pax, quae requies, quod illud gaudium,
huius participes exponant gloriae,
si quantum sentiunt, possint exprimere.

nostrum est interim mentem erigere
et totis patriam votis appetere,
et ad Ierusalem a Babylonia
post longa regredi tandem exilia.

illic molestiis finitis omnibus
securi cantica Sion cantibimus,
et iuges gratias de donis gratiae
beata referet plebs tibi, Domine.

illic ex sabbato succedet sabbatum,
perpes laetitia sabbatizantium,
nec ineffabiles cessabunt iubili,
quos decantabimus et nos et angeli.

perenni Domino perpes sit gloria,
ex quo sunt, per quem sunt, in quo sunt omnia;
ex quo sunt, Pater est; per quem sunt, Filius;
in quo sunt, Patris et Filii Spiritus.

 

ON BABYLON'S STRAND

Margaret Laird claims Peter Abelard as a contemporary

THERE IS A HYMN, not perhaps sung as often as it once was, which expresses most aptly the situation in which so many faithful orthodox Anglicans find themselves at the beginning of this new millennium. The hymn dates from the Middle Ages and like most hymns of that period, contains purer expressions of doctrine than that of most contemporary hymnody. The fact that mediaeval hymns have been used throughout the ages in Christian liturgy adds to their attraction and this is particularly true of the subject of this article.

In order to appreciate any literature fully, it is essential to take some account of the context and age in which it was written. In this case, it was the twelfth century, the age of a great cultural movement, so rich in art, architecture, scholarship and literature, that it has often been described as the 'Twelfth Century Renaissance'. It was, of course, an age of faith and the key to the understanding of this period lies in theology - a theology which attracted and produced some of the greatest scholars and teachers, the most brilliant of whom was Peter Abelard.

And so, at last, the hymn can be identified. It is J M Neale's translation of:

'O quanta qualia sunt illa Sabbata'

or 'O what their joy and their glory must be,
Those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see!'

The original Latin version has been attributed to Peter Abelard.

There are many reasons why faithful Anglicans may benefit from a study of this hymn but extreme sabbatarian sympathy is not one of them. It is, however, mainly because of the way in which Peter Abelard uses the imagery of the Sabbath to illustrate the contrast between life now and life hereafter and at the same time, to demonstrate the tenuous link between heaven and earth.

Like so many of the faithful in the Church today, Abelard's experience of the mediaeval Church was by no means happy. His theological stance and superior intellect gave rise to opposition and even to hatred and envy amongst his contemporaries. His academic career suffered when his writings were publicly condemned and in his personal life, his romantic love affair with Heloise ended in tragedy and frustration. Is it any wonder that he longed for the life hereafter?

Where:
'Wish and fulfilment can severed be ne'er,
Nor the thing prayed for come short of the prayer.

Peter Abelard was born in Brittany of Breton parents and his independence of thought, his vivid poetic imagination and his keen awareness of the supernatural, doubtless flowed from his Celtic roots. These qualities are reflected in his description of the heavenly courts:

'What are the Monarch, his court, and his throne?
What are the peace and the joy that they own?
Tell us, ye blest ones, that in it have share,
If what ye feel ye can fully declare.'

Like all Celts, he could not envisage the heavenly Jerusalem without music:

'One and unending is that triumph-song
Which to the Angels and us shall belong.'

It is, however, in the penultimate verse of the hymn that Abelard expresses with deep emotion what he had discovered from his own experience - that during our earthly existence, we must accept the limitations of this life. Things here will never be perfect, even in the Church.

'Now in the meanwhile, with hearts raised on high,
We for that country must yearn and must sigh,
Seeking Jerusalem, dear native land,

Through our long exile on Babylon's strand.'

Although in this life, we are already members of that heavenly Jerusalem and subject to its Monarch, as yet, we are unable to enjoy all its privileges. We are, as Abelard expresses it 'exiles on Babylon's strand'. The Jews in exile in Babylon were deprived of their Temple and its worship and of their Priesthood. Similarly, many faithful orthodox Anglicans, who are isolated from those of like mind, are deprived of the opportunity to receive the sacrament of the altar in their own parish churches and are unable to accept the priestly ministry of their incumbents. The Act of Synod has been a life line to many and is still desperately needed, but the PEVs are only too well aware that there are still a large number of the faithful who are unable to benefit from the protection it offers.

During their long exile, many of the Jews remained loyal to the faith of their fathers and although deprived of the outward symbols of their religion, used this time in their history to deepen their theological knowledge and spiritual understanding. Likewise, orthodox or traditional Anglicans must not lose heart. During what might be described as their 'exile', they must continue to defend the doctrines and teaching which have been upheld by the universal Church for two thousand years. They must also resist resolutely the efforts of those who attempt to conform the Church to the standards of the world. It is well worth recalling some words of Bishop Graham Leonard that "though men reject the Church when she is true to herself, they despise her when she is conformed to the world."

All this will not be easy and the results of those efforts may not be seen in our lifetime. However, there is no room for despondency as long as we believe that orthodoxy will ultimately triumph as it has done in the past, often against the most tremendous odds.

Abelard's hymn ends on a note of hope. Although at present, we may be 'exiles on Babylon's strand', of one thing we can be certain and that is that for each of us, the exile will come to an end. Physical death is a necessity which is laid upon us but because of the Cross, because of the Resurrection, death holds no fear for members of the heavenly kingdom. Death simply means 'the end of the exile' and the opportunity to enjoy fully the privileges of the Kingdom:

'Crown for the valiant, to weary ones rest;
God shall be All and in all ever blest'.

and the chance to worship him:

'Low before him with our praises we fall,
of whom, and in whom, and through whom are all.'

Peter Abelard's hymn ends with a doxology which, in two brief lines, not only expresses the doctrine but leads us on to the worship of the Holy Trinity:

'Of whom, the Father; and through whom, the Son;
In whom, the Spirit, with these ever One. Amen.'

Margaret Laird

is a member of Forward in Faith in the diocese of St Alban's

Thursday
Sep062012

And Then There's This

Wednesday
Sep052012

Work, Fight, Pray

Thursday
Aug302012

Lewis vs. The Occupier

 

Saturday
Aug252012

Whole Lotta Hemming and Hawing Going On: USCCB on Anglican Orders

Friday
Aug242012

The Life and Times of the Embryo Parson

(Revised 8-21-2015)

I'm not actually going to bore you all with some detailed and narcissistic account of my "life and times", but I do want to give my readers a brief "spiritual autobiography" that will explain, at least in part, why I have come to the conclusions I have about the Anglican Way.

I come from a long line of Southerners who came from the British Isles and Northwestern Europe.  I grew up not in the Southern states of America, however, but in Southern California.  I grew up there because my father and mother, from Arkansas and Oklahoma respectively, moved there in 1940 as part of the great migration of Southerners looking for work. 

My father was Primitive Baptist (PB) and my mother a Missionary Baptist.  They did nevertheless get along theologically, my mother adopting the high predestinarianism of the PBs but never converting to the PB church.  (She took communion exactly once after she married my dad.  The PBs practice close communion, but during my brief sojourn in a Lutheran parish that had a rather "liberal" policy on communion, she and I took communion there together several years before she died.  It was the only time I ever took communion with either of my parents.) 

One problem with the PBs is that while they have a fairly strong presence in the South, there isn't much of one in SoCal, so I believe I attended a PB church only twice in my childhood days as the nearest one was 80 miles away.  My mom made a couple of half-hearted efforts to take me to local Southern Baptist Sunday schools, but that never really "took" due in no small part to the fact that my sectarian parents didn't like what the Southern Baptists taught.  So, I spent the bulk of my childhood years unchurched, though to their credit my parents did a fairly good job of teaching me about the Christian faith.  As a child, I really believed that faith.

But it was a Christian faith I deliberately tossed aside when I happened upon the seductions of the 1960s counterculture in my early teens.   In late 1973 and early 1974, however, things started happening to me psychologically and spiritually that drove me to the old King James Bible my mother gave me when I was a kid.  One day after I finshed reading the Gospel of John and then Paul's Epistle to the Romans, I said to myself, "that's IT", and I flushed $75 worth of hash oil down the toilet. 

Having had an Evangelical-style conversion experience and having been influenced throughout my teenage years by a number of Evangelical Christians, I naturally became an Evangelical myself.  After a bit of spiritual meandering, I ended up at an Evangelical college, where I obtained a degree in biblical studies, and later at an Evangelical seminary, where I pursued theological studies and graduated with a Master's degree. 

During my undergrad and graduate studies and through the influences of Anglican Catholic and Orthodox friends, I became an avid student of church history -- including the history before the Reformation -- and the Church Fathers.  Dovetailing with this was the fact that I had become very disenchanted with Evangelical worship forms.  To me, there was a huge disconnect between what I viewed as the depth and profundity (or gravitas, or kabod) of God and the message communicated by Evangelicalism's subculture, especially as it expressed itself in worship.  I had learned about something called "liturgy" and the "liturgical churches" where a different culture of worship existed, so I started trying them out:  Lutheran; Anglican Catholic; Episcopalian; Roman Catholic; Orthodox.   By the late 80s/early 90s I was well on my way to reading myself out of an "Evangelical mind" and into a "Catholic mind", and I had narrowed my choices down to two:  Anglican Catholic or Orthodox.  Just barely, Orthodoxy won out.  I was chrismated in 1992.

I stayed in the Orthodox Church  longer than I did in any other church during my Evangelical days, approximately 13 years.  But as the Spirit moved upon me in 1974, urging me to come to Christ, 30 or so years later when I was in the Orthodox Church, I began sensing an urge to come home to the biblical and apostolic faith of my fathers, the Catholic Church of England.

Like so many converts to Orthodoxy from Evangelicalism, I had become "true Orthodox"; a devotee of Orthodoxy as ideology.  I had not become quite as bad as "Vasili" in this article, but at points I was very close.  Thankfully, that mentality was temporary.  Several things occured:

1) Slowly but surely, after repressing a nagging issue for so long, I began asking myself why there is such a disconnect between what the Bible has to say about salvation and what the Orthodox Church says about it.  Not that the Orthodox Church is wrong in what it understands about theosis;  that can be found in Western Christian spirituality too.  Rather, I came to see that it's soteriology is somewhat stunted or incomplete.  It needs St. Paul, and it needs St. Augustine.  The apostle it largely ignores; the Catholic doctor of the Church it often excoriates.

2) I grew increasingly tired of the attacks on "the West" from the pulpits and publishing houses of the Orthodox Church, especially since, on certain issues anyway, the Western theological approach seemed more rational and/or biblical than the Orthodox theological approach.  I kept wondering why the Orthodox are so constitutionally anti-Western;

3) I began to ponder the question, if Evangelicals are truly the spiritually benighted folk Orthodox spokesmen and literature often said or at least implied they are, then how is it that so many of these Evangelicals live such spiritually exemplary lives -- much more exemplary than the life of the rank-and-file, nominal Orthodox Christian -- and whose holiness rivals if not exceeds the holiness of many of Orthodoxy's most revered saints and contemporary "holy elders"?;

4) I became annoyed by the negative attitude of many Eastern Orthodox concerning the Orthodox Western Rites, an attitude harbored by what appears to be the vast majority of Orthodox Christians.  I had come to love the Holy Communion service of the Book of Common Prayer.  The vast majority of Orthodox who know of the Liturgy of St. Tikhon have not been mollified by St. Tikhon's Orthodoxizing tweaks to the BCP.  Why?  Their parochial attitude began to get under my skin;

5) In 2003, all of this sort of came to ahead when my father passed away.   Having drifted from the PB churches for one reason or another, my mom and dad had no church community to bury him.  So my mom asked me to find someone there in the little town where they lived and where I had gone to college.  I knew that community in a way she did not.  The reaction of the Evangelical community there, expressed in the form of an outpouring of love for a man they didn't even know, was enough to drive home the point to me, once and for all, that these people have the life of God in them, the manifestation of which, as I said, is equal to if not exceeds that of Orthodoxy's holiest people.  They are certainly holier than the man who was my bishop at the time, a man who was notorious for both his ugly antics on various online Orthodox discussion boards and his support of people who were ultimately censured by the OCA for their role in the recent finanicial scandal.  When I posted something on one of those boards about how I believed the Lord had sent our family various little "signs" of His presence among us in the wake of the funeral, telling us that Dad was OK, said bishop responded by telling me that this is all so much hooey and "prelest", and that because my dad hadn't been baptized there was no eternal hope for him.

This was the straw that broke the camel's back, something for which I must grudgingly thank this bishop who is now, happily for the church, "out to pasture".  I thank him because a year or so after that I attended my last Divine Liturgy and then began a several-year process trying to figure out, exactly, where that "home" was to which the Spirit was calling me.   As for my father, as near as I can tell the real reason that he  (a *Baptist*, mind you) wasn't baptized was that he had a fear of water.  That became more or less confirmed to me over the years, though he really never wanted to talk about it.  I did pour some holy water on his grave, beseeching the Lord to count that as his baptism, but I wonder if that was even really necessary, as I can recount numerous times tears would well up in my father's eyes as he'd read a precious passage of Scripture.  I figure he was likely baptized by those tears, or more precisely, that they were a manifestation of an internal baptism of the Spirit that had aleady occurred.

6) This experience, plus my own *theological* reflection on the exclusivist ecclesiology of the Orthodox church, led me back to an ecclesiology that included Evangelicals in the church.  Read most any book or article on the subject in Orthodox sources and you will find an assertion to the effect that while Protestants may be godly people they are not, strictly speaking, members of the Church.  This, however, is a proposition that is patently absurd, as it enjoys neither empirical nor biblical support.   So absurd, in fact, that some Orthodox scholars are starting to backpedal on the issue, as are a number of Roman Catholic scholars, whose official ecclesiology calls forth the same absurd proposition.  For instance, Rome these days makes a distinction between "the Church", which she says subsists in the Roman communion, and "ecclesial communities", i.e., all those Protestant who aren't, strictly speaking, part of the Church.  Of course since "ecclesia" in Greek means "church", one wonders what Rome hopes to establish by such an argument.   Read this article for an example of Orthodox backpedaling, and these two for examples of Roman Catholic backpedaling.  Officially, however, for both communions Evangelicals cannot be in the Church.  I say hooey.  Clearly they are, though I will agree that their ecclesiologies are lacking, in that while they definitely participate in the "prophetic" mode of the church, they are lacking the "priestly" mode.

Back to the chronology.  I floated ecclesially for a few years, trying out both Roman Catholic and Evangelical churches, whose worship services only seemed to be proceeding apace from bad to worse.  What to do?  Well, eventually, as you may have guessed by now, I found a way to put both Evangelical and Catholic together: Anglicanism.  Though it has its own set of problems, the Anglican Way is, finally, a saddle that fits my butt.  It is BOTH Catholic and Augustinian.  It is the historic church of my Anglo-Saxon fathers.  It has a linguistically glorious and theologically profound cultus, more glorious and profound, I would argue, than Orthodoxy's opulent but soteriologically deficient "feast for the eyes", as Molly Sabourin calls it.  What's not to like?

So here I am, an orthodox Anglican deacon, a blogger, and a healthcare chaplain: the "Embryo Parson".  After having gone through a brief Anglo-Calvinist "cage stage" after my reception into Anglicanism in 2011,  I am settling in comforably to a form of high church, Augustinian Anglicanism that acknowledges the problematic aspects of the Reformation and accordingly looks to the Catholic past for its essential identity, something that has long been an emphasis in Anglican divinity.  (I have come to believe that when B.B. Warfield opined somewhat gleefully that the Protestant Reformation represented the triumph of Augustine's view of grace over his view of the Church,  his glee was misplaced.   Augustine would have never thought to separate them, and the corrosive effects of the more radical movements of the Reformation arguably demonstrate why he would have never separated them.)  I intend to live and die as a "Prayer Book Catholic" sort of Anglican who espouses the Pauline-Augustinian doctrines of grace, and I will try to convince some of you to join me.  Anglicanism isn't for everyone.  Nor would I begin to presume that my church is the "one true church".  But as for you disaffected Evangelicals who are looking for something more historic, more theologically balanced, and more liturgically fitting, I urge you to take a long, careful look before you move on. 

Thursday
Aug232012

Man-glicanism

On occasion here at OJC, I will blog on an issue that is of special importance to me.  It is the issue of what I've termed "Man-glicanism" (a contraction of "Manly Anglicanism"): the quest for a traditional Anglicanism that is thoroughly de-feminized and de-prissified, which is to say, totally shorn of an unfortunate legacy that Anglo-Catholicism/Ritualism bequeathed to the Anglican tradition.  I would love to see a revival of the "Muscular Christianty" project that began in the Church of England back in the 19th century in response to the creeping feminization of the day.  Of that movement, the Victorian Web states:

Beginning at mid-century, the broadchurch Anglican F.D. Maurice and his pupil, the Rev. Charles Kingsley, began espousing the virtues of muscular Christianity. Maurice and Kingsley, like many Englishmen, worried that the Anglican Church and Britain were suffering from the evils of industri alization: among others, growing slums, poverty, secularization, and urban decay. Life was a battle, Kingsley argued, and Christians should be at the center, actively employing their "manfulness" and "usefulness" against the evils of industrialization. Kingsley doubted that traditional morality would be able to cope with the effects of industrialization unless the Church reformed itself. He also deplored what many considered to be increasingly suffocating effeminacy within the Anglican Church, and believed that muscular Christian men equipped with a cohesive philosophy consisting equally of athleticism, patriotism, and religion could rescue Church and country from sloth.

Though they are related causally to those social ills referenced above, we have a somewhat different set of ills today that contribute to the diminution of manhood, feminism being one of the chief ills.  But we have forces in the Catholic Church that also contribute to it, which is the subject of Leon Podles' "must read", The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, which is available for reading on Podles' website.  I will deal with these and other modern ills in the forthcoming blog entries.

George Washington; Robert E. Lee; Leonidas Polk - exemplary specimens of Man-glicanism here in the States.  The are many others.  As orthodox Anglicans, let us work to re-enshrine the icons of the Fatherhood of God in our churches and in our culture:

                        

Saturday
Aug182012

Dr. Bradley Nassif on "Reclaiming the Gospel" in the Orthodox Church: A Lesson for Anglicans

I had a long and very illuminating telephone conversation with Dr. Nassif back in the early 90s, when I was in the throes of a conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy, and have followed his career off and on in the years since then.  I recently happened upon an essay of his that will be the subject of this blog entry.  More on that after a word of introduction.

Nassif is a cradle Orthodox Christian who had an Evangelical-style conversion experience in his mature years.  He is still a member of the Orthodox Church, but is one of the rarest of the rare in that communion, an Evangelical.  And as an Evangelical, he has written and said some pretty hard-hitting things about the need for Orthodox Christians to have a life-changing conversion experience and come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Like here, for example, in the powerful essay referenced above (and which proved to be quite controversial in Orthodox circles), "Reclaiming the Gospel."  Some salient excerpts:

A Lament Over Unchanged Lives

We all know that the Orthodox Church possesses a very rich and beautiful theological inheritance. Few would dispute the architectural wonder of our cathedrals, the artistic beauty of our iconography, or the inspirational impact of our ancient hymns and liturgical services. Our theological literature from the past continues to define the meaning of the word orthodoxy for those who have lost their way in the contemporary maze of theological liberalism, cultic religion, or postmodernism. We Orthodox have done better than all others at "not changing the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

Still, it is quite obvious from the weak participation in our liturgical services and in the personal lives of some members, that Orthodoxy is often failing to meet the spiritual needs of our people -- in America as well as the motherlands of Russia, Greece, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Parishioners are coming and going in and out of church with little visible change in their lives. In short, they do not know the core content of the gospel or how to integrate its meaning into their everyday lives. I realize these are sad things to say, but a correct diagnosis precedes the proper cure.

Are Our People Evangelized or Sacramentalized?

What I'm saying is that contemporary Orthodoxy possesses the gospel in a formal way but we are not translating it in a relevant, life-changing way. The clarity of the gospel is not intentionally made central to our liturgical services and everyday lives. Formally, in its liturgy, sacraments, iconography, hymnography, spirituality, and theological literature, the Orthodox Church is extremely Christ-centered; in practice, however, it is not. Just because the gospel is formally in the life of the Church does not mean that Orthodox parishioners have understood and appropriated its message! Our bishops and priests need to make the gospel crystal clear and absolutely central in our parishes.

This is not to say sermons are not preached. They are, and are often eloquent. But very often what priests preach are not the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and His call to total commitment and what that means to everyday life and liturgy. Our leaders wrongly assume everybody knows about that subject. Instead of Christ-centered messages, we hear sermons dealing with moral values, social issues, financial giving, the environment, or the need for more Church attendance -all inseparably related to the gospel, but not to be confused with the Good News itself. In effect, the authentic gospel is replaced with a social gospel or a liturgical gospel (as if simply "going to Church" is all that is needed). I often wonder, "Are our people really evangelized, or are they simply sacramentalized?"

True sacramental preaching makes the gospel central to every liturgical act and every liturgical season of fasting and prayer. Without the centrality of the gospel we end up imposing on our people the evil of religious formalism and barren ritualism. It is, in effect, not a true Orthodoxy but a false Orthodoxy. Bishops and priests must not take for granted that everyone in the Church is converted and has no need to hear the basic gospel message. The life-changing message of the forgiveness of sins and new life in Christ must be deliberately applied to the entire sacramental life of the Church. Christ-centered preaching and Christ-centered worship must be faithfully performed by our priests and bishops if they wish to worship God truly in "spirit and in truth" (John 4).

Focus on the Centrality of "Christ," not the Centrality of "Orthodoxy"

Outside of Orthodoxy, have you noticed how the healthiest Christian communities around today are the ones who preach Christ, not their own denomination? They speak of Jesus, not their "Baptist," "Methodist" or "Pentecostal" identities. Yet, all we seem to hear from our pulpits is "Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy!" We are obsessed with self-definition through negation. It is a sick religious addiction. We often shore up our identity as Orthodox by constantly contrasting ourselves with Evangelicals or Catholics. I wish we would talk more about Christian faith, and less about "Orthodoxy". . . .

So, in the end, if we Orthodox wish to possess a truly incarnational, trinitarian faith, we will constantly need to recover the personal and relational aspects of God in every life-giving action of the Church. Failure to keep the gospel central will constitute an experiential denial of our own faith. We must stop our religious addiction to "Orthodoxy" and its "differences" with the West. We need rather to recover the evangelical dimensions of our total Church life. The liturgy itself exhorts us to that end. The four Gospels are the only books that sit upon the very center of the altar because in them alone do we hear the Good News -- all else in the Church is commentary. It is the Bible which guides and judges the Church, not the other way around. Thus, in the words of St. John Chrysostom, whose name our liturgy bears, "The lack of Scriptural knowledge is the source of all evils in the Church." I fear that many converts are coming to the Church through a revolving door, quietly leaving because their lives and families are not being sufficiently fed. Only a gospel-transformation will make the Orthodox Church healthy enough to sustain the lives of parishioners who seek spiritual nourishment in our communities.

Now, Dr. Nassif is hopeful that things will change in the Orthodox Church, in accordance with his desire to see it become Evangelical.  But in an interview on Ancient Faith Radio, he expresses his fear that up to half or slightly more Evangelicals who convert to Orthodoxy end up leaving the communion precisely because at the end of the day it simply isn't Evangelical.  And if this is the case, cradle Orthodox are not going to hear the Gospel preached.  Here is a link to the podcast, entitled Is There A "Revolving Door" in the Orthodox Church?.  Please take the time to listen to this 30 minute podcast, in which Nassif repeats some of the themes of "Reclaiming the Gospel" and also acknowledges that there may be such a revolving door in Orthodoxy.

This "sacramentalized but not evangelized" concern was also expressed by Episcopalian priest Rob Smith in his book "Leading Christians to Christ."  Surely the same phenomenon exists in every sacramental church, where many church members have come to confuse the essence of Christianity with the performance of rites, and this mainly because the Gospel has not been preached.  Or as Nassif puts it, because "pulpit does not match altar."

Of all people, Anglicans should know better.  The revisionism coming from certain Anglo-Catholic quarters notwithstanding, Anglicanism is a reformed church, and its reformation centered around the rediscovery of the Gospel and the need not only to preach it, but to pray individually and corporately in accordance with it, which is why Cranmer's prayerbook came to be.  Alas, with the passage of time and the entrance of anti-Evangelical influences, many Anglicans became either nominal or ritualist/aestheticist, or both.  But at least Anglicanism, unlike Eastern Orthodoxy, has Evangelical origins it can reclaim.  Nassif demurs, and believes those Evangelical origins can be found in the writings of many of the Eastern Church Fathers.  I would agree with Dr. Nassif that if Evangelicalism can be found there, those writings need to be brought to the consciousness of the laity through preaching and other media.  But I would argue that we will never fully know what the Gospel *is* until we come to a proper understanding of grace and justification. 

Therein lies the rub, for I would argue that grace and justification cannot be properly understood if they are not viewed in accordance with a Pauline, Augustinian, and Reformational mindset.  Yes, I am saying that Eastern Orthodoxy stands in opposition not only to the Reformation and to St. Augustine, but to St. Paul.  As Alister McGrath argues, that opposition is rooted in an unbiblical understaning of human volition:

Part of the fascination of the patristic era to the scholar lies in the efforts of its theologians to express an essentially Hebraic gospel in a Hellenistic milieu: the delights of patristic scholarship must not, however, be permitted to divert our attention from the suspicion voiced by the Liberal school in the last century - that Christ's teaching was seriously compromised by the Hellenism of its earlier adherents. The history of the development of the Christian doctrine of justification lends support to such a suspicion. In particular, it can be shown that two major distortions were introduced into the corpus of traditional belief within the eastern church at a very early stage, and were subsequently transferred to the emerging western theological tradition. These are:

1. The introduction of the non-biblical, secular Stoic concept of autoexousia or liberum arbitrium in the articulation of the human response to the divine initiative in justification.

2. The implicit equation of tsedaqa, dikaiosune and iustitia, linked with the particular association of the Latin meritum noted earlier (p.15), inevitably suggested a correlation between human moral effort and justification within the western church.

The subsequent development of the western theological tradition, particularly since the time of Augustine, has shown a reaction against both these earlier distortions, and may be regarded as an attempt to recover a more biblically orientated approach to the question of justification. . . .

The emerging patristic understanding of such matters as predestination, grace and free will is somewhat confused, and would remain so until controversy forced full discussion of the issue upon the church. Indeed, by the end of the fourth century, the Greek fathers had formulated a teaching on human free will based upon philosophical rather than biblical foundations. Standing in the great Platonic tradition, heavily influenced by Philo, and reacting against the fatalisms of their day, they taught that man was utterly free in his choice of good or evil. . . . (Alister McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, Vol. I, pp.18-19. Emphases mine.)

When Dr. Nassif became converted to Christ as a result of the ministry of Evangelical Protestants, to which ministry he refers in the podcast, he was the beneficiary of the work of the Holy Spirit  in the New Testament's clearest explications of the Gospel, which are found in St. Paul's writings, and in the Protestant Reformation as Augustine's doctrines of grace (which are Pauline to the core) received new impetus.  I sincerely doubt the Orthodox Church will ever see it that way, given their dogged embrace of "free will" a la Hellenism and their vehement opposition to the Western Church in general and St. Augustine in particular.  I pray Anglicans who have strayed from their own formulae *will*  come to see it that way.  With Fr. Smith, I say it's all right there in the Book of Common Prayer, if Anglicans will just open their eyes.  Lex orandi lex credendi.