Search

TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN CHURCHES

"Continuing Anglican" Churches - We would argue the most consistently traditional or "classical" Anglican churches.

Continuing Anglican Miscellany

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

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

Alastair's Adversaria

Akenside Press

American Anglican Council

American Anglican Council Videos on the 39 Articles

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

Anglican Church Planting

Anglican Eucharistic Theology

Anglican Expositor

Anglican Internet Church

Anglican Mainstream

Anglican Mission in the Americas

Anglican Mom

An Anglican Priest

Anglican.net

Anglican Radio

Anglican Rose

Anglican Way Magazine

Anglicanly Speaking

The Anglophilic Anglican

A BCP Anglican

The Book of Common Prayer (Blog of Photos)

The Book of Common Prayer (Online Texts)

The Cathedral Close

The Catholic Anglican

Chinese Orthodoxy

The Church Calendar

Church Society

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

Earth and Altar: Catholic Ressourecment for Anglicans

The Evangelical Ascetic

Faith and Gender: Five Aspects of Man

Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen

Forward in Christ Magazine

Forward in Faith North America

Francis J. Hall's Theological Outlines

Free Range Anglican

Full Homely Divinity

Gavin Ashenden

The Hackney Hub

The Homely Hours

International Catholic Congress of Anglicans

Jesse Nigro's Thoughts

The Latimer Trust

Laudable Practice

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

Ritual Notes

Pusey House

Prydain

Rebel Priest (Jules Gomes)

Reformed Catholicism

Reformed Episcopal Church

The Ridley Institute

Ritual Notes

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

When I Consider How My Light is Spent: The Crier in the Digital Wilderness Calls for a Second Catholic Revival

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?

The Once and Future Christendom

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

The Once and Future Christendom

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

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)

The Once and Future Christendom

The Orthosphere

Paterfamilias Daily

Tales of Chivalry

The Midland Agrarian

Those Catholic Men

Tim Holcombe: Anti-State; Pro-Kingdom

Midwest Conservative Journal

Pint, Pipe and Cross Club

The Pipe Smoker

Red River Orthodox

The Salisbury Review

Throne, Altar, Liberty

Throne and Altar

Project Appleseed (Basic Rifle Marksmanship)

Turnabout

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

CHRISTIAN MUSIC FOR CHRISTIAN MEN

Numavox Records (Music of Kerry Livgen & Co.)

Wovenhand

Jerycho

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

"Buckle Your Seabelts": Can a Woman Celebrate Holy Communion as a Priest? (Video), Fr. William Mouser

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

Faith and Gender: Five Aspects of Man, Fr. William Mouser

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

FIFNA Bishops Stand Firm Against Ordination of Women

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

Male-Only Ordination is Natural: Why the Church is a Model of Reality, Steven Wedgeworth

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

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

Powered by Squarespace
Categories and Monthly Archives
This area does not yet contain any content.

      

 

 

 

 

 

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

Saturday
Feb232013

Lent II

Friday
Feb222013

Thomas Tallis 9 Psalms, Stile Antico (Psalms for Archbishop Parker's Psalter)

Thursday
Feb142013

Sheppard: In Manus Tuas

Wednesday
Feb132013

Have Mercy Upon Me, O God. . . .

Wednesday
Feb132013

Lent

"Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
- A Collect for Ash Wednesday

(Courtesy of ACNA Facebook)

Sunday
Feb102013

J.B. Mozley on Tolerating Augustinian Predestinarianism in the Church as a Valid Catholic Theologoumenon

Mozley was Newman's brother-in-law, a Tractarian who later left the movement over the Gorham incident and  who in 1855 published a work entitled, A Treatise on the Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination.  I've quoted Mozley in this blog entry to the effect that if one has to err, it is better to err in the direction of the Augustinian predestinarianism, which he personally rejects (along with Pelgianism, of course).   While Mozley’s analysis of his subject is worth reading, his conclusions are less useful, as they are largely a recourse to mystery and the limits of the human intellect,  a long but erudite throwing up of the hands.   Nevertheless, in the book's conclusion, he makes a pitch for tolerance of Augustinian/Calvinist predestinarianism in the Church.  I would direct Anglo-Catholic anti-Calvinists to what he has to say.  This long quotation is taken from pages 332–342. (Note my emphases in underlined bold type and asterisks.)

In this state of the case the Church has made a wise and just distinction, in its treatment of the respective errors of the Pelagian and the predestinarian; and while it has cast Pelagianism out of its communion, as a system fundamentally opposed to Christian belief, it has tolerated predestinarianism; regarding it as a system which only carries some religious ideas to an excess, and does not err in principle, or offend against piety or morals.  The seventeenth article of our Church has accordingly allowed a place for a predestinarian school among ourselves; and such a school has long existed, and still exists among us.  This article indeed admits of two interpretations, and may be held and subscribed to in two ways, one suiting the believer in freewill, the other the predestinarian.  It may be held as containing one side of the whole truth respecting grace and freewill the side, viz.  of grace or the Divine Power; but not at all as interfering with any one's belief in a counter truth of man's freewill and originality as an agent.  And in this sense it only excludes a Pelagian, and not such as are content to hold a mystery on this subject, and maintain the Divine Power in conjunction with man's freewill.  Or, again, this article may be held as containing a complete and whole truth; i.e.  in a definitely predestinarian sense.  But as it would be unfair in the predestinarian to prohibit the qualified, so it would be unfair in the advocate of freewill not to allow the extreme mode of holding this article, or to disallow it as permitting and giving room for a pure predestinarian school within our Church.  This wise and just liberty has indeed at times offended those whom the excesses of this school have roused to hostility, or whom insufficient reflection and the philosophical bias of the day have made too exclusive and dogmatic in their opinions concerning freewill; and at the close of the last century a proposal was made by a Divine who became afterwards a distinguished prelate of our Church, to ecclesiastical authority, that the terms of the seventeenth article should be altered and so framed as to give no further licence to predestinarianism.    But a wise caution, if not a profound theology, in the rulers of the Church at that time rejected it.  And this liberty still remains a great advantage to the Church, and a signal proof at once of judgment and discretion, and of a correct and enlarged theology.   It would indeed have been a fatal mistake to have excluded from our pale an aspect of Christian truth,which simply erred in a pardonable obliquity, such as is incident to minds of the highest order, to the strongest intellect, to the deepest devotion.   Such an exclusion would have shown also great ignorance of antiquity and the history of Christian doctrine; for, without attaching more than undue importance to a single name, it will be allowed perhaps that what S.Augustine held is at any rate a tolerable opinion, and no sufficient ground for separation either from the communion or the ministry of the Church.  He is, however, only the first of a succession of authorities that from his own age to the present have maintained and taught predestinarianism within the Church.   Such a proposal with respect to the seventeenth article, from the person who made it, only shows how apt minds are to be confined to the prevailing notions of their day, and to suppose that there is no room for any other truth than what happens to have been familiar to themselves.  And it should operate as a warning against similar attempts, showing, as it does, what great mistakes may be made when we trust too confidently one apparent truth; forgetting how much it might be modified, were we in possession of the whole system to which it belongs; and how easily we may be ignorant and uninformed upon those further points upon which this modification would follow.   

The formularies of our own Church, **following Catholic precedent**, accordingly allow predestinarianism; and this is the decision of common sense and common reason on this subject.  For, so long as a man thinks nothing which is inconsistent with piety, what great difference can it make, provided his actions are good, on what particular rationale of causation he supposes them to be done? . . . . 

Such is the imperfection even of the human mind, that, under Providence, a certain narrowness of judgment often works for good, and seems to favour practical energy and zeal. . . . Nor is this propensity to over-estimate particular truths or supposed truths confined to any one communion: the Roman Catholic and the Protestant shows it alike; most sects and divisions of the Christian world have their favourite tenets, which individuals identify with religion as a whole, and associate intimately and fundamentally with their whole Christian prospects, as if their spiritual life and sanctification were essentially bound up with them.  They seem to see in such special tenets the source of all their strength, their stay, encouragement, and consolation. . . .

But whatever be the reasons for this disposition, all sects and communions more or less exhibit it; and men, and serious and earnest men, come forward and tell us, that they could not conduct their spiritual progress without the aid of one or other special tenet, which they assert, and really imagine to be, the spring of their energies, and the mainstay of their hopes.  And among the rest, the predestinarian comes forward and says this.  He says that he could not, as a spiritual being, go on without this doctrine; that he finds it essential to him; that without it the universe would be a chaos, and the Divine dispensations a delusion; that he reposes in it as the only true mode of asserting the Divine Love and Power; and, therefore, his only support in this life, his only security for a better life to come.  He says all this; he says it from his heart; he feels it; he believes it.  Then what are we to say? What, but that, however such a result may be owing to an imperfection in his mind, this doctrine is certainly to him, under this imperfection, a strength and a consolation; and that an error and an obliquity is overruled by Providence for good? 1

Whether the time, indeed, will ever come when men in general will see that on this and some other questions truth is twofold, and is not confined to either side singly, that our perceptions are indistinct and contradictory, and therefore, do not justify any one definite position, remains to be seen.  Philosophers have from time to time prophesied a day, when a better understanding would commence of man with himself, and of man with man.  They have risen up from the survey of the past with the idea that it is impossible that mankind can go on for ever repeating the same mistakes; that they must one day see the limits of human reason, distinguish what they know from what they do not know, and draw the necessary conclusion, that on some questions they cannot insist on any one absolute truth, and condemn each other accordingly.  But the vision does not approach at present any very clear fulfilment.  The limits of human reason are perhaps better understood in the world now than they ever were before; and such a knowledge has evidently an effect upon controversy, to a certain extent modifying and chastening it.  Those who remind men of their ignorance use an argument which, however it may fall short of striking its full philosophical strength, and producing its due effect, appeals to an undeniable truth, before which all human souls must bow.  And the most ardent minds, in the very heat of controversy, have an indistinct suspicion that a strong ground has been established in this quarter.  On the other hand, this knowledge of the limits of human reason is not, and perhaps never will be, for reasons which I- have given, very acute or accurate in the minds of the mass; while the tendency to one-sided views and to hasty assumption is strong, and is aided by passion and self-love, as well as by better feeling misapplied.  On the whole, therefore, while improved philosophy has perhaps entirely destroyed some great false assumptions which have reigned in the world, so that these will never rise up again, it cannot subdue the temper and spirit which makes such assumptions.  It is able occasionally to check and qualify, but it cannot be expected that it will ever habitually regulate, theological thought and controversy.  It will from time to time step in as a monitor, and take advantage of a pause and quiet interval to impress its lesson upon mankind, to bring them back to reflection when they have been carried too far, and convert for the time a sense of error into a more cautious view of truth; but it will never perhaps do more than this.  Unable to balance and settle, it will give a useful oscillation to the human mind, an alternation of enthusiasm and judgment, of excitement and repose. 

In the meantime it only remains that those who differ from each other on points which can never be settled absolutely, in the present state of our capacities, should remember that they may differ, not in holding truth and error, but only in holding different sides of the same truth.  And with this reflection I will conclude the present treatise.  After long consideration of the subject, I must profess myself unable to see on what strictly argumentative ground the two great parties in the English Church can, on the question which has occupied this treatise viz.  the operation of Divine grace, and on other questions connected with it imagine themselves to be so fundamentally opposed to each other.  All differences of opinion, indeed, even those which are obviously of a secondary and not a fundamental kind, tend to create division and separation; for all difference in its degree is apt to be a sign of some general difference of mental mould and religious temper, and men naturally consort together according to their general sympathies and turn of mind: and for men to consort with some as distinct from others, is in itself a sort of division in the body; a division, too, which, when once begun, is apt to deepen.  Such an existence of preference is suggestive of positive controversy; and men once brought together upon such an understanding, and formed into groups by special sympathies, are liable to become by this very position antagonistic parties, schools, and sides.  Yet the differences of opinion in our Church, on the question of grace, and on some further questions connected with it, do not appear to be sufficient to justify either party in supposing that if differs from the other fundamentally, or so as to interfere with Christian fellowship.  If the question of grace is one which, depending on irreconcilable but equally true tendencies of thought in man, cannot be settled absolutely either way, it seems to follow that a difference upon it should not occasion a distance or separation.  And this remark will apply to such further and more particular questions as are connected with this general question, and are necessarily affected by the view we take upon, and the mode in which we decide the general question.  Such, for example, is the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.  A slight consideration will be enough to show how intimately this doctrine is connected with the general doctrine of grace; and that one who holds an extreme, and one who holds a modified doctrine of grace in general, cannot hold the doctrine of baptismal regeneration in the same sense.  If a latitude of opinion, then, may be allowed on the general question, it seems to follow that an equal latitude may be allowed on this further and more particular one; and that if an extreme predestinarian, and a maintainer of freewill can maintain and teach their respective doctrines within the same communion, they need not exclude each other when they come to give to their respective doctrines their necessary and legitimate application in a particular case.  I cannot, therefore, but think, that further reflection will, on this and other questions, modify the opposition of the two parties in our Church to each other, and show that their disagreement is not so great as in the heat of controversy they supposed it to be.  Differences of opinion there will always be in every religious communion, so long as the human mind is as variously constituted as it is, and so long as proper liberty is allowed it to express and unfold this variety.  But it depends on the discretion and temper of religious men to what extent they will allow these differences to carry them; whether they will retain them upon a common basis of Christian communion and fellowship, or raise them into an occasion of separation and mutual exclusion. 

___________________________________________________________________ 

1 As the workings of the heart of I general the same in all who are the man, and of the Spirit of God, are in I subjects of grace, I hope most of these with hymns, being the fruit and expression of my own experience, will coincide with the views of real Christians of all denominations.  But I cannot expect that every sentiment I have advanced will be universally approved.  However, I am not conscious of having written a single line with an intention either to flatter or offend any party or person upon earth.  I have simply declared my own views and feelings.  .  .  .  I am a friend of peace; and being deeply convinced that no one can profitably understand the great truths and doctrines of the Gospel any further than he is taught by God, I have not a wish to obtrude my own tenets upon others in a way of controversy; yet I do not think myself bound to conceal them.  Many gracious persons (for many such I am persuaded there are) who differ from me more or less in those points which are called Calvinistic, appear desirous that the Calvinists should for their sakes, studiously avoid every expression which they cannot approve.  Yet few of them, I believe, impose a like restraint upon themselves, but think the importance of what they deem to be truth justifies them in speaking their sentiments plainly and strongly.  May I not plead for an equal liberty? The views I have received of the doctrines of grace are essential to my peace : I could not live comfortably a day or an hour without them.  I likewise believe, yea, as far as my poor attainments warrant me to speak, I know them to be friendly to holiness, and to have a direct influence in producing and maintaining a Gospel conversation; and therefore I must not be ashamed of them." (Newton's Preface to the Olney Hymns.)

Sage advice from James Mozley and John Newton, I would say, unless one is more concerned with keeping things tidy.

Sunday
Feb102013

Quinquagesima and Lent

Sermon from Fr. Hart on catching the true spirit of Lent.   Below, a video from St. Matthew's ACC, Newport Beach, CA, on its meaning. 

This Lent, expect a dearth of controversial posts here at OJC.  If they appear at all, they will be few and far between.   Instead, the plan is to focus on music videos, sermons, devotional materials, etc. that reflect the spirit of the season.

The Season of Lent from St. Matthew's Church on Vimeo.

Saturday
Feb092013

The Secker Society

Just got word of this organization today.  I believe I will join.

ABOUT THE SECKER SOCIETY 

The Secker Society exists to promote the use of the historic formularies of the Church of England in North America, including the Articles of Religion of 1571, the Authorized Version of 1611, the Prayer Book of 1662, the Psalter of 1539, the Ordinal of 1661, and the Books of Homilies of 1547 and 1571.

The Society's primary purpose is to encourage the inclusion of liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, first printed in 1662, in the life of the church in North America. It is the position of the Society that this inclusion does not necessitate the displacement or exclusion of any of the much beloved service books currently in common use among the heirs of the Church of England in North America. The Society hopes that all those who share in its cause will seek that the current Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England be officially authorized for special use within their own religious communities.

Towards these aims, the principal activities of the Society are the production, publication, and distribution of literature in both electronic and print form and the maintenance of a directory of services utilizing liturgy from the 1662 Book of Prayer in North America.

Be sure to check out their web site. To join.

Thursday
Feb072013

The Power of the Housegroup

From Dcn. Jonathan Munn.  Radical Anglicanism.  Charles Bartlett and his wife are doing a similar thing, and if it turns out that we stay here in Colorado after I finish my CPE program in August, I am seriously considering starting a housegroup here, perhaps with the assistance of the UECNA, which is currently focused on church planting.

Wednesday
Feb062013

Interesting Discussion on Augustine, Monergism, Synergism and Compatibilism Here

Augustine and Monergism

Despite the way the contributors to this discussion finesse the matter, which they appear to be doing in the interest of bringing clarity the terms "monergism" and "synergism", the fact remains that Augustine himself brought clarity to the matter in his later works.  A man feels after and finds God ONLY because God causes him to will so, and that's why, at a basic level, Augustine is a monergist.  Salvation, which involves man's "yes",  is all one "work" of God.  Man's "yes" is not a complementary "work" that emerges from some ontological sphere over which God, either by nature or by choice, is not sovereign.

Tuesday
Feb052013

Competing Narratives: Recent Historiography of the English Reformation under Henry VIII

When one, especially a "newbie", encounters the argument he sees between Classical Anglicans TM and Anglo-Catholics, it's important to understand how the "competing narratives", one reflecting a Protestant historiography and the other Catholic, come into play.  Revisionism is always titillating, heady stuff, because it is new and bold, but it often doesn't win the day, especially when it's driven, consciously or unconsciously, by a partisan or ideological reaction.  That's because "facts are stubborn things", to quote John Adams.  Surely presuppositions and perspective matter in the assessment of the evidence, but at the end of the day, the evidence is not malleable.

Monday
Feb042013

Classical Anglicanism, Anglo-Catholicism and "Free-Will" (or the Problem of Synergism)

Tonight, an entry related to the one immediately below:

X. Of Free-Will. 

The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith; and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

In Article X of the 39 Articles we see one of the key reasons, if not THE key reason, both Anglo-Catholics and liberal Anglicans seek to relegate the Articles from the status of formulary, or confession, to that of mere "historical documents".   If what is affirmed in Article X is true, then the soteriologies of the Anglo-Catholics and the liberals are substantially false.

The Rev. Roger Salter, a priest formerly in the Church of England and now here in the States, recently published a powerful yet succinct article on the matter.  It was originally posted over at Virtue Online.   I find it necessary once again to beg VOL's indulgence and post it here at OJC in its entirety.  It is entitled, "Who Makes You To Differ?":

The fundamental issue between monergism and synergism is as to why some persons are recipients of grace and others are not. This is the high mystery of divine election. The mystery as to what determines the divine preference (not due to human worth, merit or potential) cannot be penetrated by the human mind, but the fact can be stated. It is plain in Scripture.

Some individuals are brought into union with Christ and others, equally undeserving, with no claims on God and not desirous of fellowship with him, remain separated from him.

Monergism asserts that regeneration is a prerequisite to inclusion in Christ. Synergism avers a co-operative process whereby grace and human effort (or willing) jointly succeed in connecting the sinner to the Saviour. Monergism emphasizes the absolute and sole efficacy of the divine will in the exercise of divine power in bringing the soul to faith or divine favour.

Synergism attributes the attainment of or failure to gain salvation to the human will and its independent and crucial determination. We have only two options. Grace makes persons to differ, or man makes himself to differ i.e. the human will may endorse or frustrate the divine exertion of grace. Either grace or human choice differentiates between the redeemed and the lost. Synergism can only prevail as the true Christian answer if the two following considerations are viable.

a) That fallen man, spiritually dead, wholly opposed to God and righteousness, still retains the native capacity to overcome total spiritual inertia, successfully counter the natural tendency to be attracted by the allurements of sin that capture the affections, break the bonds of slavery to evil and Satan, and replace hatred for the Lord with fervent love and eager submission. Man has to crash through multiple barriers to return to God, and yet each one singly is an insuperable obstacle for a creature utterly helpless to muster up any strength to perform spiritual good: I am ruined (Isaiah), There is no health in us (BCP). Man cannot will his own salvation by a nature that is irreversibly biased to perpetual waywardness: The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time" Genesis 6:5, The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any that understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside , they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one Psalm 14:2, We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way Isaiah 53:6a. You cannot freely will what you despise and dislike. Aversion to God cannot be altered to affection for God by any human effort, strain as we might, we do not care to. It would mean a drastic denial of self, a voluntary death to self, that the sinful ego cannot for a moment entertain. We are compelled to preserve ourselves as we are and as we want to be. Only grace takes us out of ourselves and the illusory normality to which we are accustomed. We are stranded on the precipice of doom because of our ingrained bias to serve self, sin, and the devil. This unholy Trinity has us totally tied up, with the likeness of the devil stamped upon our souls, and his likes fuelling ours.

b) That the Lord restores a universal liberty of choice to man which some employ to their benefit and others to the baneful consequences of eternal alienation from the favorable presence of God. In other words, the will is thought to be in a state of equipoise between righteousness and wickedness and some incline freely to the former and some to the latter. But the puzzle persists: what makes them to differ? Manifestly this donation of prevenient grace as possibility of choosing Christ is not decisive. The difference has to be in men. Why do some, in that case, have the good sense to tilt in favor of fellowship with God (a choice impossible to nature), while some foolishly fall into perdition. From where does spiritual talent for the right choice ultimately come?

The Wesleyan and current Lutheran contention, in contradiction of Martin himself, that all have power to refuse and nullify the purpose of God does not resolve the mystery of election (which it attempts to explain - who is probing the divine motivation here?) and does not alleviate the supposed problem of election in any way. It only staves it off very temporarily and it makes a nonsense of the doctrine propounded in Scripture which teaches us that God elects unconditionally and not with reference to qualities in man. The schema in Romans 8:29 happens to be foreknowledge [prior personal love], predestination [marking out the beloved, Acts 13:48], and effectual calling [ laying claim to the beloved, cf Genesis 18:19, For I have known, or chosen, Abraham].

Of course, grace can be refused by all, and is, up to a point, but not by the elect ultimately. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me (John 6:44-45, human response to set purpose).

Monergism does not deny free will but fully accepts that before regeneration it will turn only in the direction of evil rebellion against the living God. Those taught by God are those caught by God and dragged (see G.C. Berkouwer, Divine Election, pages 47-8) into the kingdom by the gospel net, the sense of the quotation from John (cf James 2:6), a likely image from a fisherman who dragged and pulled many nets. Monergism accepts free will in conversion because the grace of the Lord Jesus liberates the sinner and imparts an appetite for God. Grace releases the will from bondage to sin and Satan and now, in its supernaturally conferred freedom of choice, the grace of disposition, it pivots and proceeds toward God. Unregenerate man freely sins by preference for evil. Newborn man freely consents to salvation in Christ because, equipped with a new inclination, he sees Christ arrayed in the irresistible beauty of holiness and mercy revealing himself before a sinner who is granted the wholesome desire for holiness. There is now health in the soul healed by the compassion of God. Freedom is restored by grace not restricted. Our freedom is actually infringed by the evil one who threatens, bullies and seduces us. Our liberty is generously donated to us by Christ (Ephesians 4:7-8) who, in the manner of his raising of Lazarus (incapable of choice, action, or initial co-operation until infused with new life), opened our tomb of spiritual death (complete deadness), removed the bands that held us (captivity even restraining the freedom of a living being let alone reinforcing the immobility of a cadaver), and bade us move in his direction with the gift of his own enabling power. God elicits our concurrence by the lovely and life-giving words of the gospel. His "come" is the sweetest and most compelling drawing of a soul now entranced by his winsomeness.

Who makes you to differ? The synergist honestly has to say, "Why, it is myself". The monergist delights to say, "It is God alone", and the essence of his creed is, "Salvation is of the Lord." John Donne would have to say this is the "super-sola" of the gospel, the best truth made known to men without hope. Here Calvin and Aquinas achieve a synthesis. Here Bernard and Luther agree. Here Augustine raised his banner and Calvinists, Bucerians, Zwinglians, Cranmerians, rally to it. And so, unwittingly, do those many believers who follow their heart's inclination to praise the Lord with gratitude and affection without recourse to ratiocination. In praise and prayer, as A.A. Hodge has opined, all believers are Calvinists. Heart and mind are not always in unison.

If Anglicanism is to come to its rights, and its resurgence, its renewal has to be radical. Its original theology has to be thoroughly restored and not tempered by hesitancy and loss of nerve. Abuse of a theological position does not warrant its absence or avoidance. The Spirit will bless the truth he has inspired and prevent bellicosity and belligerence in its well-intentioned and prayerful advocates. Past occasions of animosity and insult need not recur if we all simply want to know the mind of the Lord in order to know him better and acknowledge his worth - the weight of his glory.

Over at Retro-Church, I have after a brief hiatus re-engaged one its bloggers, Shaughn, on this question.  The exchange begins here, where I challenge Shaughn's conclusion, illogically derived from Acts 17:27, that because "all men, everywhere, not just pre-fallen Man -- are designed to seek after God," they must therefore be able to do so.  My latest comment has not yet been posted, so I'll reproduce it here so that you can see where the argument stands as of this writing:

Augustine surely was a *compatibilist*, but a *synergist* he surely was not. So argued, inter alios, Augustine scholar Gerald Bonner, no fan of the bishop's predestinarian he. In a concluding statement near the end of his book Freedom and Necessity: St. Augustine's Teaching on Divine Power and Human Freedom, he writes:

At all events, granted the premise of God's foreknowledge, as most Christians do, the question of human choice inevitably arises: can choice be free, in any real sense, if God already knows what we are going to do in our future? The notion of God seeing the created world as an eternal present seems to allow some element of free choice: if God sees us acting, He does not constrain us to act. However, for us the future is yet to be - it might be said that it is, as yet, non-existent for us, if not for God. To attempt to reconcile these two utterly different, some would say mutually exclusive, alternatives - God's foreknowledge and our present freedom to choose - would appear to most people futile; but they seem to present us with the choice of either being puppets in the hand of God or agents independent of Him. Pelagius would maintain that God has conceded us an element of free choice in this world. Augustine would deny that these alternatives are mutually exclusive, and it is easy to find quotations in his writings which declare both God's omnipotence and human freedom of choice. In the end, however, for Augustine divine omnipotence triumphed, and he declared in 427: 'In the solution of this question I indeed laboured in defense of free choice of the human will, but the grace of God conquered, and I was finally able to understand, with full clarity, the meaning of the Apostle: For who singles thee out? Or what has thou that thou hast not received? But if thou hast received it, why dost thou boast as if thou hadst not received it?' (I Cor. 4:7)

You're right about my response concerning the Ecclesiasticus text, but I don't believe you've fully anticipated the scope of my "protest": I don't believe it gets you where you need to go, not simply because it's a deuterocanonical book and thus, by long-standing principle (dating to Jerome if I'm not mistaken), cannot be used to establish theology or doctrine, but also because it doesn't really get you there logically speaking. You've committed a non sequitur, in other words. May I recommend D.A. Carson's splendid little book "Exegetical Fallacies" as a resource to help one avoid making common mistakes when reading Scripture?

Lastly, as to the text from Acts, you're still begging the theological question, though you've happily, as I suspected you would, distanced yourself from Pelagianism. The fact that Paul makes a comment in the context of an evangelistic speech to the pagans at Mars Hill to the effect that it's "conceivable for Gentiles to find God" has no bearing whatsoever on the question of why some (Jews and) Gentiles do find him and others don't. Paul answers that particular theological question quite clearly in Romans 9 - 11, all the exegetical legerdemain set forth throughout the centuries, from Chrysostom to Forester/Marston, notwithstanding. Surely you won't deny that Augustine says in his own treatment of those chapters essentially what the Calvinist says.

P.S.: Shaughn, I DO hope you will also address the question why, if prevenient grace is afforded to all men, some men "seek after and find" God while others do not. I addressed that issue in some length tonight at my blog.

Stay tuned for possible further developments there in that exchange.   Though Shaughn is an intelligent and well-read fellow, I don't believe he'll be able to prevail in his argument that Augustine was a synergist, and consequently that he "stands pretty squarely with" the greatest of the Western Fathers.  He actually stands more squarely with the synergistic theology of St. John Cassian and his fellow monks in Gaul, and with that of the Eastern Orthodox.  (Anyone seeing a pattern here?)  Shaughn will be forced to come to grips with the fact that, on this issue, the late Augustine is the definitive Augustine; that a "broad reading" of that Church Father yields a plethora of statements that are anathema to your basic Anglo-Catholic.

As I've argued here before, the Orthodox Church, after whose soteriology much of modern Anglo-Catholicism hankers, long ago embraced unbiblical and even pagan notions of the nature of the post-fall human will.  I quoted Alister McGrath's assessment in connection with it:

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. . . . (Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, Vol. I, pp.18-19. Emphases mine.)

Thus, at the heart of the Anglo-Catholic's desire to read the English Reformation and the Elizabethan Settlement out of Continuing Anglicanism lies this errant notion of the will, or at least somewhat less errant variants thereof.  But even if he cannot be convinced that his notion of the will is both unbiblical and pagan, he can't seem to come to grips with the demonstrable fact that the Catholic Faith has historically accommodated two theologoumena, one Augustinian and the other anti-Augustinian.  He is therefore not content to let historic Anglican comprehensivness be, and that means, most likely, a willingness to see the Continuum split once again. 

You heard it here first.

Monday
Feb042013

"Orthodoxy" This, and "Orthodoxy" That

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. (Orthodox theologian Bradley Nassif)

Reader CSL sends this article by Frederica Mathewes-Green entitled, "That's Not Orthodoxy".  A couple of salient quotations from the article on what Orthodoxy is:

Orthodoxy is a set of prescriptions that when we follow, we advance on the journey to theosis. That’s what Orthodoxy is. . . .

Orthodoxy is what lies within your own power to amend your own life and heal your own soul by the gift of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Well, does it lie within our own power or does this transformation come about because of the gift of God and the power of the Holy Spirit?  Hence "Orthodoxy's" fundamental confusion, aka the leaven of synergism.  The apostles say that it is wholly the gift of God.  But to the Orthodox believer, salvation is centered around theosis, and theosis is attained by "following a set of prescriptions."

Furthermore, note how Mrs. Mathewes-Green only illustrates the truth of Nassif's observation.   As CSL notes, there is but one mention of Jesus in the article.  It's all about "Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy", not the Gospel.

Monday
Jan282013

The English Reformation and the Early Church Fathers

“We and our people - thanks be to God - follow no novel and strange religions, but that very religion which is ordained by Christ, sanctioned by the primitive and Catholic Church and approved by the consentient mind and voice of the most early Fathers.” (Queen Elizabeth I)

I. Justification

Clement of Rome (30-100): “All these (saints of old), therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Source: Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 32.4. (Discussion of works follows.)

Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (c. 130): “He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!”

Source: The Epistle to Diognetus, 9.2-5. (Quote occurs in discussion about the atonement, God’s objective act of “taking on the burden of our iniquities.”)

Justin Martyr (100-165) speaks of “those who repented, and who no longer were purified by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of an heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour, but by faith through the blood of Christ, and through His death.”

Source: Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, 13.

St. Irenaeus: “Human beings can be saved from the ancient serpent in no other way than by believing in him who, when he was raised up from the earth on the tree of martyrdom in the likeness of sinful flesh, drew all things to himself and gave life to the dead.”

Source: (Against the Heresies, IV, 2, 7)

Origen (185-254): “For God is just, and therefore he could not justify the unjust. Therefore he required the intervention of a propitiator, so that by having faith in Him those who could not be justified by their own works might be justified.”

Source: Origen, Commentary on Romans, 2.112.

Origen: “A man is justified by faith. The works of the law can make no contribution to this. Where there is no faith which might justify the believer, even if there are works of the law these are not based on the foundation of faith. Even if they are good in themselves they cannot justify the one who does them, because faith is lacking, and faith is the mark of those who are justified by God.”

Source: Origen, Commentary on Romans, 2.136.

Hilary of Poitiers (300-368): “Wages cannot be considered as a gift, because they are due to work, but God has given free grace to all men by the justification of faith.”

Source: Hilary, Commentary on Matthew (on Matt. 20:7)

Hilary of Poitiers: “It disturbed the scribes that sin was forgiven by a man (for they considered that Jesus Christ was only a man) and that sin was forgiven by Him whereas the Law was not able to absolve it, since faith alone justifies.”

Source: Hilary, Commentary on Matthew (on Matt. 9:3)

Didymus the Blind (c. 313-398) A person is saved by grace, not by works but by faith. There should be no doubt but that faith saves and then lives by doing its own works, so that the works which are added to salvation by faith are not those of the law but a different kind of thing altogether.”[31]

Source: Didymus the Blind. Commentary on James, 2:26b.

Basil of Caesarea (329-379): “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord, that Christ has been made by God for us righteousness, wisdom, justification, redemption. This is perfect and pure boasting in God, when one is not proud on account of his own righteousness but knows that he is indeed unworthy of the true righteousness and is justified solely by faith in Christ.”

Source: Basil, Homily on Humility, 20.3.

Jerome (347–420): “We are saved by grace rather than works, for we can give God nothing in return for what he has bestowed on us.”

Source: Jerome, Epistle to the Ephesians, 1.2.1.

St. Jerome: “Paul shows clearly that righteousness depends not on the merit of man but on the grace of God, who accepts the faith of those who believe without the works of the law.”

Source: (Against the Pelagians)

Jerome: "[When Paul writes] by grace you have been saved through faith, he says this in case the secret thought should steal upon us that 'if we are not saved by our own works, at least we are saved by our own faith, and so in another way our salvation is of ourselves.; Thus he added the statement that faith too is not in our own will but in God's gift. Not that he means to take away free choice from humanity...but that even this very freedom of choice has God as its author, and all things are to be referred to his generosity, in that he has even allowed us to will the good."

Jerome (on Romans 10:3): “God justifies by faith alone.”

Cyril of Alexandria: "What can we say to those who insist that Abraham was justified by works because he was ready to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar? Abraham was already an old man when God promised him that he would have a son and that his descendants would be as countless as the stars of the sky. Abraham piously believed that all things are possible with God and so exercised this faith. God reckoned him to be righteous on this account and gave Abraham a reward worthy of such a godly mind, viz., the forgiveness of his previous sins...So even if Abraham was also justified by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, this must be regarded as an evident demonstration of a faith which was already very strong."

John Chrysostom (349-407): “For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Ephesians, 4.2.9.

John Chrysostom: “But what is the ‘law of faith?’ It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 7.27.

John Chrysostom: “God allowed his Son to suffer as if a condemned sinner, so that we might be delivered from the penalty of our sins. This is God’s righteousness, that we are not justified by works (for then they would have to be perfect, which is impossible), but by grace, in which case all our sin is removed.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians, 11.5.

John Chrysostom: "The purpose of the law was to make man righteous, but it had no power to do that. But when faith came it achieved what the law could not do, for once a man believes he is immediately justified."

John Chrysostom: “Everywhere he puts the Gentiles upon a thorough equality. ‘And put no difference between us and them, having purified their hearts by faith.’ (v. 9.) From faith alone, he says, they obtained the same gifts. This is also meant as a lesson to those (objectors); this is able to teach even them that faith only is needed, not works nor circumcision.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Acts, 32 (regarding Acts 15:1)

John Chrysostom: “What then was it that was thought incredible? That those who were enemies, and sinners, neither justified by the law, nor by works, should immediately through faith alone be advanced to the highest favor. Upon this head accordingly Paul has discoursed at length in his Epistle to the Romans, and here again at length. “This is a faithful saying,” he says, “and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Timothy, 4.1.

John Chrysostom: “”For it is most of all apparent among the Gentiles, as he also says elsewhere, ‘And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.’ (Romans 15:9.) For the great glory of this mystery is apparent among others also, but much more among these. For, on a sudden, to have brought men more senseless than stones to the dignity of Angels, simply through bare words, and faith alone, without any laboriousness, is indeed glory and riches of mystery: just as if one were to take a dog, quite consumed with hunger and the mange, foul, and loathsome to see, and not so much as able to move, but lying cast out, and make him all at once into a man, and to display him upon the royal throne.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Colossians, 5.2.

John Chrysostom: “Now since the Jews kept turning over and over the fact, that the Patriarch, and friend of God, was the first to receive circumcision, he wishes to show, that it was by faith that he too was justified. And this was quite a vantage ground to insist upon. For a person who had no works, to be justified by faith, was nothing unlikely. But for a person richly adorned with good deeds, not to be made just from hence, but from faith, this is the thing to cause wonder, and to set the power of faith in a strong light.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 8.1.

John Chrysostom: “They said that he who adhered to faith alone was cursed; but he, Paul, shows that he who adhered to faith alone is blessed.”

Source: St. John Chrysostom (First Corinthians, Homily 20)

John Chrysostom: “For you believe the faith; why then do you add other things, as if faith were not sufficient to justify? You make yourselves captive, and you subject yourself to the law.”

Source: - St. John Chrysostom (Epistle to Titus, Homily 3)

John Chrysostom: “To declare His righteousness.' What is declaring of righteousness? Like the declaring of His riches, not only for Him to be rich Himself, but also to make others rich, or of life, not only that He is Himself living, but also that He makes the dead to live; and of His power, not only that He is Himself powerful, but also that He makes the feeble powerful. So also is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself righteous, but that He doth also make them that are filled with the putrefying sores of sin suddenly righteous. And it is to explain this, viz. what is .declaring,' that he has added, .That He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus' [Rom. 3:26]. Doubt not then: for it is not of works, but of faith: and shun not the righteousness of God, for it is a blessing in two ways; because it is easy, and also open to al l men. And be not abashed and shamefaced. For if He Himself openly declareth Himself to do so, and He, so to say, findeth a delight and a pride therein, how comest thou to be dejected and to hide thy face at what thy Master glorieth in?”

Source:- St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on Romans 3)

John Chrysostom: “What is the principle of faith? This is salvation by grace. Here Paul shows God's power in that He has not only saved, He has also justified and led them to boast in a different way - not relying on works but glorying only in their faith.”

Source:- St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on Romans 7)

St. Ambrose of Milan: “We should believe both that we should be penitent and that we shall be pardoned, in such a way that we hope for pardon from faith just as faith obtains it from the written agreement.”

Source: (On Penitence Against the Novatians, II:9)

St. Ambrose of Milan: “But when the Lord Jesus came, He forgave all men that sin which none could escape, and blotted out the handwriting against us by the shedding of His own Blood. This then is the Apostle's meaning; sin abounded by the Law, but grace abounded by Jesus; for after that the whole world became guilty, He took away the sin of the whole world, as John bore witness, saying: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Wherefore let no man glory in works, for by his works no man shall be justified, for he that is just hath a free gift, for he is justified by the Bath [Baptism]. It is faith then which delivers by the blood of Christ, for Blessed is the man to whom sin is remitted, and, pardon granted.”

Source: (letter 73, to Irenaeus, a layman)

Augustine (354-430): “If Abraham was not justified by works, how was he justified? The apostle goes on to tell us how: What does scripture say? (that is, about how Abraham was justified). Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6). Abraham, then, was justified by faith. Paul and James do not contradict each other: good works follow justification.”

Fuller text: “Not so our father Abraham. This passage of scripture is meant to draw our attention to the difference. We confess that the holy patriarch was pleasing to God; this is what our faith affirms about him. So true is it that we can declare and be certain that he did have grounds for pride before God, and this is what the apostle tells us. It is quite certain, he says, and we know it for sure, that Abraham has grounds for pride before God. But if he had been justified by works, he would have had grounds for pride, but not before God. However, since we know he does have grounds for pride before God, it follows that he was not justified on the basis of works. So if Abraham was not justified by works, how was he justified?” The apostle goes on to tell us how: What does scripture say? (that is, about how Abraham was justified). Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6). Abraham, then, was justified by faith. Paul and James do not contradict each other: good works follow justification.

3. Now when you hear this statement, that justification comes not from works, but by faith, remember the abyss of which I spoke earlier. You see that Abraham was justified not by what he did, but by his faith: all right then, so I can do whatever I like, because even though I have no good works to show, but simply believe in God, that is reckoned to me as righteousness? Anyone who has said this and has decided on it as a policy has already fallen in and sunk; anyone who is still considering it and hesitating is in mortal danger. But God’s scripture, truly understood, not only safeguards an endangered person, but even hauls up a drowned one from the deep. My advice is, on the face of it, a contradiction of what the apostle says; what I have to say about Abraham is what we find in the letter of another apostle, who set out to correct people who had misunderstood Paul. James in his letter opposed those who would not act rightly but relied on faith alone; and so he reminded them of the good works of this same Abraham whose faith was commended by Paul. The two apostles are not contradicting each other. James dwells on an action performed by Abraham that we all know about: he offered his son to God as a sacrifice. That is a great work, but it proceeded from faith. I have nothing but praise for the superstructure of action, but I see the foundation of faith; I admire the good work as a fruit, but I recognize that it springs from the root of faith. If Abraham had done it without right faith it would have profited him nothing, however noble the work was. On the other hand, if Abraham had been so complacent in his faith that, on hearing God’s command to offer his son as a sacrificial victim, he had said to himself, “No, I won’t. But I believe that God will set me free, even if I ignore his orders,” his faith would have been a dead faith because it did not issue in right action, and it would have remained a barren, dried-up root that never produced fruit.” (John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., WSA, Part 3, Vol. 15, trans. Maria Boulding, O.S.B., Expositions of the Psalms 1-32, Exposition 2 of Psalm 31, 2-4 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2000), pp. 364-365._

Source: Augustine, Exposition 2 of Psalm 31, 2-4.

Augustine: “When someone believes in him who justifies the impious, that faith is reckoned as justice to the believer, as David too declares that person blessed whom God has accepted and endowed with righteousness, independently of any righteous actions (Rom 4:5-6). What righteousness is this? The righteousness of faith, preceded by no good works, but with good works as its consequence.”

Source: Augustine, Exposition 2 of Psalm 31, 6-7.

Augustine: “Justification is obtained by faith. ... By the law we fear God, by faith we hope in God. But to those who fear punishment grace is hidden; laboring under this fear, the soul by faith flees to the mercy of God, that He may give what He commands”

Source: St. Augustine of Hippo (The Spirit and the Letter)

Augustine: “How should the law be upheld if not by righteousness? By a righteousness, moreover, which is of faith, for what could not be fulfilled through the law is fulfilled through faith.”

Source: St. Augustine of Hippo (Augustine on Romans)

Ambrosiaster (fourth century): “God has decreed that a person who believes in Christ can be saved without works. By faith alone he receives the forgiveness of sins.”

Source: Ambrosiaster, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:4.

Ambrosiaster: “They are justified freely because they have not done anything nor given anything in return, but by faith alone they have been made holy by the gift of God.”

Source: Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Romans 3:24.

Ambrosiaster: “Paul tells those who live under the law that they have no reason to boast basing themselves on the law and claiming to be of the race of Abraham, seeing that no one is justified before God except by faith.”

Source: Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Romans 3:27.

Ambrosiaster: “God gave what he promised in order to be revealed as righteous. For he had promised that he would justify those who believe in Christ, as he says in Habakkuk: ‘The righteous will live by faith in me’ (Hab. 2:4). Whoever has faith in God and Christ is righteous.”

Source: Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Paul’s Epistles; CSEL 81 ad loc.

Ambrosiaster: "Paul revealed that Abraham had glory before God not because he was circumcised nor because he abstained from evil, but because he believed in God. For that reason he was justified, and he would receive the reward of praise in the future."

Marius Victorinus (fourth century): “The fact that you Ephesians are saved is not something that comes from yourselves. It is the gift of God. It is not from your works, but it is God’s grace and God’s gift, not from anything you have deserved. … We did not receive things by our own merit but by the grace and goodness of God.”

Source: Marius Victorinus, Epistle to the Ephesians, 1.2.9.

Prosper of Aquitaine (390–455): “And just as there are no crimes so detestable that they can prevent the gift of grace, so too there can be no works so eminent that they are owed in condign [deserved] judgment that which is given freely. Would it not be a debasement of redemption in Christ’s blood, and would not God’s mercy be made secondary to human works, if justification, which is through grace, were owed in view of preceding merits, so that it were not the gift of a Donor, but the wages of a laborer?”

Source: Prosper of Acquitaine, Call of All Nations, 1.17

Theodoret of Cyrus (393–457): “The Lord Christ is both God and the mercy seat, both the priest and the lamb, and he performed the work of our salvation by his blood, demanding only faith from us.”

Source: Theodoret of Cyrus, Interpretation of the Letter to the Romans; PG 82 ad loc.

Theodoret of Cyrus:All we bring to grace is our faith. But even in this faith, divine grace itself has become our enabler. For [Paul] adds, ‘And this is not of yourselves but it is a gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast’ (Eph. 2:8–9). It is not of our own accord that we have believed, but we have come to belief after having been called; and even when we had come to believe, He did not require of us purity of life, but approving mere faith, God bestowed on us forgiveness of sins”.

Source: Theodoret of Cyrus, Interpretation of the Fourteen Epistles of Paul; FEF 3:248–49, sec. 2163.

Cyril of Alexandria (412-444): “For we are justified by faith, not by works of the law, as Scripture says. By faith in whom, then, are we justified? Is it not in Him who suffered death according to the flesh for our sake? Is it not in one Lord Jesus Christ?”

Source: Cyril of Alexandria, Against Nestorius, 3.62

Fulgentius (462–533): “The blessed Paul argues that we are saved by faith, which he declares to be not from us but a gift from God. Thus there cannot possibly be true salvation where there is no true faith, and, since this faith is divinely enabled, it is without doubt bestowed by his free generosity. Where there is true belief through true faith, true salvation certainly accompanies it. Anyone who departs from true faith will not possess the grace of true salvation.”

Source: Fulgentius, On the Incarnation, 1; CCL 91:313.

Bede (673-735): “Although the apostle Paul preached that we are justified by faith without works, those who understand by this that it does not matter whether they live evil lives or do wicked and terrible things, as long as they believe in Christ, because salvation is through faith, have made a great mistake. James here expounds how Paul’s words ought to be understood. This is why he uses the example of Abraham, whom Paul also used as an example of faith, to show that the patriarch also performed good works in the light of his faith. It is therefore wrong to interpret Paul in such a way as to suggest that it did not matter whether Abraham put his faith into practice or not. What Paul meant was that no one obtains the gift of justification on the basis of merits derived from works performed beforehand, because the gift of justification comes only from faith.”

Source: Cited from the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ed. Gerald Bray), NT, vol. 11, p. 31.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux: “You must believe, first of all, that you cannot have the forgiveness of sins except by the forbearance of God; but add further that you also believe that through Him your sins are forgiven. This is the witness that the Holy Spirit brings in your heart, saying, .Your sins are forgiven you.' For thus the apostle [Paul] concludes, that a man is justified freely by faith.”

Source: (Sermon on the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

II. Grace Alone

“We have acquired the forgiveness of our sins and have been justified freely by the mercy and grace of Christ.”

- St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on Romans)

“We are righteous, therefore, when we confess that we are sinners; and our righteousness does not consist in our own merit, but in God's mercy.”

- St. Jerome (Dialogue Against the Pelagians)

“After speaking of the wages of sin, in the case of blessings, he has not kept to the same order: for he does not say, the wages of your good deeds, but the gift of God: to show, that it was not of themselves that they were freed, nor was it a due they received, neither yet a return, nor a recompense of labors, but by grace all these things came about. And so there was superiority for this cause also, in that He did not free them only, or change their condition for the better, but that He did it without any labor or trouble upon their part: and that He not only freed them, but also gave them more than before, and that through His Son.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Epistle to the Romans, Homily 12, Rom. 6:23)

“And he well said, .a righteousness of mine own,' not that which I gained by labor and toil, but that which I found from grace. If then he who was so excellent is saved by grace, much more are you. For since it was likely they would say that the righteousness which comes from toil is the greater, he shows that it is dung in comparison with the other. For otherwise I, who was so excellent in it, would not have cast it away, and run to the other. But what is that other? That which is from the faith of God, i.e. it too is given by God. This is the righteousness of God; this is altogether a gift. And the gifts of God far exceed those worthless good deeds, which are due to our own diligence.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Homily on Philippians 3)

“Suppose someone should be caught in the act of adultery and the foulest crimes and then be thrown into prison. Suppose, next, that judgment was going to be passed against him and that he would be condemned. Suppose that just at that moment a letter should come from the Emperor setting free from any accounting or examination all those detained in prison. If the prisoner should refuse to take advantage of the pardon, remain obstinate and choose to be brought to trial, to give an account, and to undergo punishment, he will not be able thereafter to avail himself of the Emperor's favor. For when he made himself accountable to the court, examination, and sentence, he chose of his own accord to deprive himself of the imperial gift. This is what happened in the case of the Jews. Look how it is. All human nature was taken in the foulest evils. All have sinned,' says Paul. They were locked, as it were, in a prison by the curse of their transgression of the Law. The sentence of the judge was going to be passed against them. A letter from the King came down from heaven. Rather, the King himself came. Without examination, without exacting an account, he set all men free from the chains of their sins. All, then, who run to Christ are saved by his grace and profit from his gift. But those who wish to find justification from the Law will also fall from grace. They will not be able to enjoy the King's lovingkindness because they are striving to gain salvation by their own efforts; they will draw down on themselves the curse of the Law because by the works of the Law no flesh will find justification.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Discourses Against Judaizing Christians. Discourse I:6-II:1)

“The righteousness of God is not that by which God is righteous but that with which he clothes man when He justifies the ungodly. To this the Law and the Prophets bear witness....It is a righteousness of God apart from the law, since in that case it could not have been witnessed to in the law. It is a righteousness of God apart from the law because God confers it on believers through the Spirit of grace without the help of the law.”

- St. Augustine of Hippo (The Spirit and the Letter)

“All the commandments of God are kept when what is not kept is forgiven.”

- St. Augustine of Hippo (Retractions)

“God leads us to eternal life, not by our merits, but according to His mercy.”

- St. Augustine of Hippo (Confessions, IX:13) “God crowns His gifts in us.” - St. Augustine of Hippo, (Grace and Free Will)

III. Christ Alone:

“Take therefore first, as an indestructible foundation, the Cross, and build upon it the other articles of the faith.”

- St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lecture 13:38)

“God is a great lover of man. He did not hesitate to surrender His Son as prey in order to spare His servant. He surrendered His only-begotten to purchase hard-hearted servants. He paid the blood of His Son as the price. O the philanthropy of the Master! And do not tell me again, .I sinned a lot; how can I be saved?' You cannot save yourself, but your Master can, and to such a great degree as to obliterate your sins. Pay attention very carefully to the discourse. He wipes out the sins so completely that not a single trace of them remains.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Homily 8 on Repentance and the Church)

“The fact that we who were such terrible sinners were saved is a very great sign, indicating how much we were loved by Him who saved us. For it was not by angels or archangels but by His only begotten Son that God saved us!”

- St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on Romans 9)

“Christ is Master by virtue of His own essence and Master by virtue of His incarnate life. For He creates man from nothing, and through His own blood redeems him when dead in sin; and to those who believe in Him He has given His grace. When Scripture says, .He will reward every man according to his works;' (Matt. 16:27), do not imagine that works in themselves merit either hell or the kingdom. On the contrary, Christ rewards each man according to whether his works are done with faith or without faith in Himself; and He is not a dealer bound by contract, but our Creator and Redeemer.”

- St. Mark the Ascetic (ca. 425, On those who think that they are made righteous by works - in the Philokalia)

IV. Primacy of Scripture:

“the established authority of Scripture must outweigh every other” (Reply to Faustus the Manichean 13, 5).

“The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.”

– St. Athanasius (Against the Heathen, 1:3)

“Regarding the things I say, I should supply even the proofs, so I will not seem to rely on my own opinions, but rather, prove them with Scripture, so that the matter will remain certain and steadfast.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Homily 8 On Repentance and the Church)

“Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.”

- St. Gregory of Nyssa (On the Holy Trinity)

"My single appeal will be to the Holy Scriptures. And yet, I am sure that it will be hard to gain entrance to ears and minds already filled, unfortunately, with a prejudiced opinion." –

-Niceta of Remesiana (335-415), a Serbian bishop of old

“We are not entitled to such license, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings.”

- St Gregory of Nyssa (On the Soul and the Resurrection)

“What is the mark of a faithful soul? To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words of Scripture, not venturing to reject anything nor making additions. For, if .all that is not of faith is sin' as the Apostle says, and .faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,' everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin.”

- St. Basil the Great (The Morals)

“We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.”

- St. Basil the Great (On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 7, par. 16)

“For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.”

- St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures)

“Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, but the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.”

- St. Augustine (De unitate ecclesiae, chp. 10) “The reason is that only canonical Scripture is a measure of faith.” - St. Thomas Aquinas (Commentary on the Gospel of John)

Monday
Jan282013

Constantinople's Moral Oversight

For OJC reader Scott, who protests my account of creeping liberalism in the Orthodox Church:

Touchstone: Constantinople's Moral Oversight

Sunday
Jan272013

Another Orthodox Commenter Heard From

Yesterday I received another comment from an Orthodox fellow who took me to task for what I had to say in the combox discussion under this blog entry.   As is my wont, I unbury such comments and bring them to light here in the journal.  Our Orthodox friend is named Scott, and he begins his comment with a quote from me.  I will address each of his responses, which I reproduce here in italics, in turn below:

(Embryo Parson): Right. Whether or not the Orthodox Church is the "pillar of truth" (a reference to I Tim. 3:15) is not so much a logical issue as it is a biblical, historical and empirical one.   I maintain on biblical, historical and empirical grounds that the "church of the living God" referenced in that verse does not subsist in the Eastern Orthodox Church. I say rather that the Eastern Orthodox Church, empirically and historically, is a "branch" or "province" of that church.

Why should anyone, including yourself, believe what "I maintain"? So what if "I maintain" that the Orthodox interpretation of the Scriptures is wrong. You are a Protestant, of course that's what you would maintain.

Except that I don’t “maintain” it only because I’m a Protestant.   As I said, I “maintain” it on biblical, historical and empirical grounds.   On biblical grounds, I argue that the Orthodox Church is not the “pillar of truth” because she teaches a number things that are untrue.  On historical grounds, I argue that the Orthodox Church alone is not the “pillar of truth”, that is, “the church of the living God”, because said church has never subsisted only in the Orthodox Church.   On empirical grounds, I argue that the Orthodox Church alone is not the “pillar of truth” because one cannot view what is taking place spiritually in both the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches and conclude that they do not also have some share in the “house of God, the church of the living God.”   Only Orthodox ideologues would conclude otherwise, and thankfully there are fair-minded Orthodox folks who have thus concluded.

The Orthodox Church "maintains" the opposite...The OC ‘maintains’ that it wrote/edited/compiled the Holy Scriptures and the only correct understanding of them can be found within that liturgical tradition.

The Orthodox Church may “maintain” whatever it wishes on this point.  The facts of the matter prove otherwise.

So what if "I maintain" that the Orthodox Church is a branch? You are after all a Protestant, of course that's what would maintain.

As an Anglican Protestant, yes.  Don’t know too many Lutherans or Baptists who espouse the Branch Theory per se.  But not just because I am an Anglican Protestant.  I believe in the Branch Theory – well, the Branch Fact actually – because, unlike you, I don't reject the clear historical evidence for it.

The Orthodox Church maintains that Jesus Christ is incarnate. Having a Body that is incarnate, means He is visible, as well as knowable to any human with any of the 5 senses. The Protestant "true church" on the other hand, is invisible and unknowable, which in reality is a denial of the incarnation of God.

Well, that’s not exactly what Anglicans believe.   I think maybe you should read up on that a bit more.

Your branch theory leads to many and wildly divergent understandings of the Holy Scriptures and of all things concerning Jesus Christ. These many and wildly divergent understandings lead some to handle snakes and others to become Anglican, and yet others, like yourself, to become snake handling Anglicans. There are as many interpretations as interpreters, and hence 20,000 some odd Protestant denominations, some handling snakes, others not.

“Many” and “wildly divergent” understandings?  Twenty-thousand some odd of them, you say?  Tell me, first of all, where you get that number.  Then please inform me how that number (whatever it actually turns out to be) is truly reflective of the “many” and “wildly divergent” understandings of the Holy Scriptures.  Try as I might, when I look at not only confessional Protestantism, but at the traditional free churches in addition, I see only a few, somewhat divergent understandings.  I want to make sure you protect yourself here against a certain and wildly exaggerated understanding.   Even when I was Orthodox, I refused to resort to this argument of yours in my apologetic endeavors, since I knew it was nonsense.

You would have the Orthodox Church, for some reason, treat the snake handling Protestants as illegitimate and some non snake handling Protestants as legitimate. But why?

For both Catholic and apostolic reasons.   Contrary to your insinuation, Protestantism does not turn either the Scriptures or Catholic tradition into wax noses.

From the Orthodox perspective, none are any more legitimate than the other, as none of them are the Church. It doesn't matter if some look and act more like the Church, if they aren't the Church then they do not possess the Holy Mysteries (sacraments)...they just aren't the Church....big deal...not hard to understand.

Yes, but you must understand that for biblical, historical and empirical reasons, we don’t accept your assessment that none of these others are the Church.  In fact, some of your own theologians are backing away from that parochial and manifestly errant position.  Accordingly, it’s not possible anymore to speak of “the” Orthodox perspective on the matter.  There are now two Orthodox perspectives.

The Orthodox (and Roman Catholic) position at least makes it possible for a true interpretation of the Holy Scriptures to actually be known, within the Holy Tradition that formed said Holy Scriptures.

Why then do the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches not agree, entirely, on this “true interpretation of the Holy Scriptures” you speak of?  Seems there are some "wildy divergent" understandings between them on certain issues.   Which of the Two One True Churches is the Truest?

EP: On biblical grounds, I say that the Eastern Orthodox Church will never be any kind of "pillar of truth" until it conforms itself, in terms of both its orthodoxy and orthopraxis, with the soteriology of Holy Scripture. Which is to say until it experiences its own Reformation.

’on biblical grounds’ what does that mean ‘on biblical grounds’?

It means that since one of the aforementioned untrue things that the Orthodox Church teaches centers around the absolutely vital matter of soteriology, on which the Bible is perfectly clear,  it cannot be the kind of “pillar of truth” it thinks it is. 

It sounds as if you are saying that you know what the bible means to say....like you know the true interpretation of the Holy Scriptures....like you know the real orthopraxis and soteriology....like you are a "pillar of truth".  It sounds as if you are judging the Orthodox Church, its orthopraxis and soteriology, according to your own tradition, according to your own ‘pillar of truth’. Well of course that is what you are doing, you are after all Protestant. As a Protestant, you are your own "pillar of truth".

No, I am not the “pillar of truth”, despite the Orthodox ideologue’s ridiculous caricature of the Reformation,  in which it is alleged that every Protestant “becomes his own pope” and all that tommyrot. Rather, as an Anglican, I rely on the primacy of Scripture viewed in the light of both Tradition and Reason.   Scripture is the final appeal (something that even the Church Fathers you falsely claim as solely your own taught), but we look to a certain, Athanasian “ecclesial scope of understanding”  as an interpretive guide, though we do not view it as in infallible one.   We look as well to Reason, which to the traditional Anglican does not mean Enlightenment rationalism, but to interpretive guides such as commonsense principles of hermeneutics (to which the Fathers, especially the Fathers of the Antiochene School, appealed).  We use this method because we are, in fact, no pillars of truth at all, and we want to know what that “pillar of truth” that St. Paul writes of teaches about matters relating to God, man and salvation.   We’re not interested in, say, what some 11th-century Neoplatonist Orthodox monks believed.  That is to say, we don’t need any “New Theologians” like Symeon, when the apostles and early Fathers will do.

You have a tradition and it forms and colors your view and understanding of everything. Your tradition is different than the Orthodox Tradition. Big deal. No surprise. You are Protestant, of course your tradition is different. And this proves what exactly?

I’m not sure I understand the question, since I never argued that our being Protestants “proves” anything.

Monday
Jan212013

JBU Cathedral Choir (Ahem, My Alma Mater) Recording in C.S. Lewis' Childhood Church

Eat your heart out, St. Olaf.

Monday
Jan212013

Well, It Is NOT the Feast of Christ the King

But any day is a good day to sing this hymn of praise to Christ the King:

Sunday
Jan202013

Fr. Victor Novak on Anglicanism, the Univeral Church, and the Octave of Christian Unity

Posted at Virtue Online and at his blog.

Now, I think rather highly of Fr. Novak's work in general, but not only does this article represent an exercise in ecumenical futility, it's riddled with inaccuracies and strained arguments (e.g., "'Anglo-Catholicism' and 'Anglo-Catholic' are terms that can be used to described all Anglicans, and should not be used to define a School of theology or church party. All Anglicans are Anglo-Catholics because the Anglican Church is the English (Anglo) Church, and Anglicans are Catholic Christians.").  I reproduce below two comments to Fr. Novak's article at Virtue Online, one by Roger Du Barry ("curate") and one by me.  There are likely to be strong reactions both from Anglo-Catholic and Orthodox commenters, so stay tuned:

Roger Du Barry: 

The Rev. Novak needs to explain why the official Augustinianism of the CoE has been airbrushed out of his account of history. It was Augustinian before the Reformation, and it was Augustinian afterwards. Would he please explain to us why an Augustinian church would want to unite with semi-Pelagians like the EO? The EO churches hate Augustinianism like stink, and vilify its followers, as Archpriest John Morris on this forum does, by calling their God and gospel hateful. Who would want to join with such people?

I understand that American Anglicanism has never been Augustinian or Reformed, but that is not the case here in England. Perhaps North American Anglicans should recognise that they have departed from the faith of the Mother Church, say so openly and plainly, and go their way.

The truth is that Anglicanism beyond England's shores is not the genuine article, and every overseas Province has been allowed and encouraged to invent its own religion, while being permitted to retain the branding. In England the CoE leadership has departed from the faith, but it is held in check with the iron chains of law, which do not permit it to officially repudiate its Augustinian and Reformed doctrines, enshrined in the unchangeable standards of the BCP 1662 and Articles of Religion. The so-called "Anglican" churches overseas have no such check upon their faith.

Why would Rome or the EO want to unite with this dog's breakfast? Every priest does as he sees fit, and there is no king in Israel since the Crown abdicated its power. These so-called priests do not acknowledge any authority other than their own, and it is hard to see why authoritarian bodies like Rome and the EO would admit such lawless men into their number.

_____________________________________

Embryo Parson: 

While I appreciate the orthodox ecumenism and irenic tone of Fr. Novak's work, your comment about airbrushing is spot on, Rev. Du Barry. His airbrushing here is similar to what he did in a previous article on Anglicanism and Calvinism awhile back, which several commenters, including me, called him on. I also found Fr. Novak's assessment of the English Reformation, well, quite novel:

"The English Reformation was carried out gradually and over a long period of time. Anglican theologian Vernon Staley writes, 'In speaking of the Reformation, we should remember that though this great movement began in the 16th century, it was not confined to that period. The Reformation was continued and brought more fully into shape by the Caroline Divines in the 17th century, whose spirit the leaders of the Catholic Revival in the 19th century so largely inherited. (The Catholic Religion, A Manual of Instruction for Members of the Anglican Communion, by Vernon Staley; A. R. Mowbray & Co., London & Morehouse-Barlow Co., New York; 1893; p. 83)."

While Staley's "The Catholic Religion" is a standard primer to popular Anglo-Catholic faith and practice, Staley himself was not, in my estimation, a theologian of any real distinction. Nor was he a historian. The very fact that he includes the "Catholic Revival in the 19th century" as part of the English Reformation shows that he is either a sloppy scholar or a shameless propagandist. All one need do is read Newman et al. on the English Reformation -- not to mention the Evangelical reaction of the day to them -- to see how *anti-Reformational* in temperment they were. Furthermore, many Anglican writers have shown that the Tractarians really did not "inherit" the spirit of the Caroline divines.

The Orthodox in fact do not want to join with anyone even remotely Augustinian, Novak's airbrushed account of Orthodox esteem for the Bishop of Hippo notwithstanding. Nor would any Anglican Christian who rightly understands the Gospel want to join with the Orthodox with their "gospel" of Neoplatonist mysticism and monk emulation. As you imply, Anglo-Catholics aren't clear about this matter, which is one important reason they are so sanguine about the prospect of union with the Orthodox. They and the Orthodox share the same basic pathology.

I for one will have none of it, and I join a chorus of classical Anglicans who think likewise. Fr. Novak, the inveterate ecumenist, ought to consider that any such move toward Orthodoxy -- such as the Anglican Catholic Church is apparently working on -- will send countless numbers of us in the other direction. Unity with the Orthodox means Anglican disunity. Which would he rather have?

Monday
Jan142013

The Late Peter Toon's Advice to the Continuum

Courtesty of Charles Bartlett ("anglicanrose"):

Dr. Peter Toon’s “what shall be done” advice for the Continuum:

“1. Pray the Lord to send a godly leader or a small group whom all or most of the Continuum can accept, and who can begin the task of uniting the divided.

2. Pray the Lord to use the current negotiations between overseas Primates of the Anglican Communion and conservative leaders within the ECUSA to lead to a new orthodox Province of the Communion in which a large space will be made for the Continuum.

3. Pray the Lord to impress on the minds of the present leaders of the Continuum (and on the minds of their parishioners) the need to be specifically committed to the primary Formulary of the Holy Scriptures as the foundation upon which have been built the secondary formulary of the dogma of the Ecumenical Councils and the historic and classic formularies of the Anglican Way (the BCP, the Ordinal, and the Articles—as adopted by the PECUSA, 1789-1801). Holding to the Anglican formularies will bring a sense of comprehensiveness and allow for a variety of churchmanship and ceremonial in any one diocese.

4. Suggest to any Anglican group that has, as a matter of deepest conscience, a greater sense of empathy with the Roman Catholic Church than with the Anglican Communion of Churches, especially if it is using a Liturgy that is more Roman than Anglican, that those who cannot follow them in that direction will honor and respect their decision to pursue a closer or explicit connection with the Roman Church. At some point, however, and with all due respect, it is fair to ask them as a matter of conscience whether or not they should continue to use the name “Anglican” (which is best reserved for those who live within the comprehensiveness of the historic Anglican Formularies). Such a question is asked, not to exclude, but to seek clarity in the lives and work of those who do embrace the Anglican Formularies wholeheartedly. Nor does it preclude the establishment of lawful alternative uses, under the authority of the Anglican Formularies, as is already the case in certain of the Continuing Churches.

5. Suggest to all in the Continuum that they seek to have fraternal relations with the conservative elements in the ECUSA, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the other Churches of the Anglican Communion that are fighting the same fight for the honor of Christ and the welfare of his Church.”