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TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN CHURCHES

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

Continuing Anglican Miscellany

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

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

ANGLICAN BLOGS AND WEB SITES

1662 Book of Common Prayer Online

1928 Book of Common Prayer Online

A Living Text

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 Church in North America

Anglican Church Planting

Anglican Eucharistic Theology

Anglican Expositor

Anglican Mainstream

Anglican Mission in the Americas

Anglican Mom

An Anglican Priest

Anglican.net

Anglican Radio

Anglican Rose

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

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

The Evangelical Ascetic

Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen

Forward in Christ Magazine

Forward in Faith North America

Francis J. Hall's Theological Outlines

Free Range Anglican

The Hackney Hub

International Catholic Congress of Anglicans

Jesse Nigro's Thoughts

The Latimer Trust

Martin Thornton

New Goliards

New Scriptorium (Anglican Articles and Books Online)

The North American Anglican

O cuniculi! Ubi lexicon Latinum posui?

The Ohio Anglican Blog

The Old High Churchman

Philorthodox

Prayer Book Anglican

The Prayer Book Society, USA

Project Canterbury

Pusey House

Prydain

Reformed Catholicism

Reformed Episcopal Church

The Ridley Institute

River Thames Beach Party

The Secker Society

Society of Archbishops Cranmer and Laud

The Southern High Churchman

Stand Firm

Texanglican

The Theologian

The World's Ruined

TitusOneNine

To All The World

Trinity House Blog

United Episcopal Church of North America

Virtue Online

We See Through A Mirror Darkly

Wyclif

HUMOR 

The Babylon Bee

Bad Vestments

The Low Churchman's Guide to the Solemn High Mass

Lutheran Satire

"WORSHIP WARS"

Ponder Anew: Discussions about Worship for Thinking People

RESISTING LEFTIST ANTICHRISTIANITY

Black-Robed Regiment

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

Cristero War

Benedict Option

Jim Kalb: How Bad Will Things Get?

Trouble

RESISTING ISLAMIC ANTICHRISTIANITY

Christians in the Roman Army: Countering the Pacifist Narrative

Bernard of Clairvaux and the Knights Templar

Gates of Nineveh

Gates of Vienna

Islamophobes (We're in good company)

Jihad Watch

Nineveh Plains Protection Units

Restore Nineveh Now - Nineveh Plains Protection Units

Sons of Liberty International (SOLI)

The Muslim Issue

Trouble

OTHER SITES AND BLOGS, MANLY, POLITICAL AND WHATNOT

Abbeville Institute Blog

Art of the Rifle

The Art of Manliness

Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture

Church For Men

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

Craft Beer

Cranmer

Eclectic Orthodoxy

First Things

The Imaginative Conservative

Joffre the Giant: Excursions in Christian Virility

Katehon

Mercurius Pragmaticus Redivivus

Mere Comments

Mitre and Crown

Monomakhos (Eastern Orthodox; Paleocon)

Tales of Chivalry

The Midland Agrarian

Those Catholic Men

Tim Holcombe: Anti-State; Pro-Kingdom

Midwest Conservative Journal

Numavox Records (Music of Kerry Livgen & Co.)

The Pipe Smoker

Red River Orthodox

The Salisbury Review

Throne, Altar, Liberty

Project Appleseed (Basic Rifle Marksmanship)

Turnabout

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

Wovenhand

WOMEN'S ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD

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

An (Extended) Short History of the Diaconate

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

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

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

Homo Hierarchicus and Ecclesial Order, Brian Horne

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

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

Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes, Peter J. Leithart

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

Priestesses in Plano, Robert Hart

Priestesses in the Church?, C.S. Lewis

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

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

Traditional Anglican Resources

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

Women Priests?, Eric Mascall

Women and the Priesthood, Catholic Answers

Women Priests: History & Theology, Patrick Reardon

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                                                      Photo courtesy of Smash the Iron Cage

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

Wednesday
Aug172016

Deus, Quis Similis?

"The discourse and behavior of the Left, says Haidt, is alienating millions of ordinary people all over the West. It’s not just America. We are sliding towards authoritarianism all over the West, and there’s really only one way to stop it."

As I argue below, there's more than one way to stop it, but stopped it will be, one way or the other.   Liberal-leftists and their "confederates" among the Jihadis think they represent the vanguard of history. But they will instead all be consigned to the dustbin of history.  And to the dustbin of eternity, if they do not repent, and finally "seek his Name".  Our God Reigns.

HOLD not thy tongue, O God, keep not still silence: * refrain not thyself, O God.
    2 For lo, thine enemies make a murmuring; * and they that hate thee have lift up their head.
    3 They have imagined craftily against thy people, * and taken counsel against thy secret ones.
    4 They have said, Come, and let us root them out, that they be no more a people, * and that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
    5 For they have cast their heads together with one consent, * and are confederate against thee. . . .
    12 Who say, Let us take to ourselves * the houses of God in possession.
    13 O my God, make them like unto the whirling dust, * and as the stubble before the wind;
    14 Like as the fire that burneth up the forest, * and as the flame that consumeth the mountains;
    15 Pursue them even so with thy tempest, * and make them afraid with thy storm.
    16 Make their faces ashamed, O LORD, * that they may seek thy Name.
    17 Let them be confounded and vexed ever more and more; * let them be put to shame, and perish.
    18 And they shall know that thou, whose Name is JEHOVAH, * art only the Most Highest over all the earth.

The People of God:  "Saying little prayers against them" since the 2nd millennium BC.  ;>)

The Imprecatory Psalms

                       

Saturday
Aug132016

Rod Dreher and Pat Buchanan on the Coming Fight

Two of my favorite columnists just penned what I believe to be earthshaking articles on the civil war that is about to break out in Europe and North America.

First, Rod Dreher writing at The American Conservative, Inside the Head of Trump Voters, on the keynote speech the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt at a recent meeting of the American Psychological Association:

Haidt devotes his address to the theme “The Centre Cannot Hold” — which is, of course, a line from the famous Yeats poem The Second Coming. Haidt’s point is that we are at a dangerous time in American public life, one in which everyone is “filled with passionate intensity,” to quote Yeats. And Haidt can back it up with data. . . .

Haidt says Stenner discerns three strands of contemporary political conservatism: 1) laissez-faire libertarians (typically, business Republicans); 2) Burkeans (e.g., social conservatives who value stability); and 3) authoritarians.

Haidt makes a point of saying that it’s simply wrong to call Trump a fascist. He’s too individualistic for that. He’s an authoritarian, but that is not a synonym for fascist, no matter how much the Left wants to say it is.

According to Haidt’s reading of Stenner, authoritarianism is not a stable personality trait. Most people are not naturally authoritarian. But the latent authoritarianism within them is triggered when they perceive a threat to the stable moral order.

It’s at this point in the talk when Haidt surely began to make his audience squirm. He says that in his work as an academic and social psychologist, he sees colleagues constantly demonizing and mocking conservatives. He warns them to knock it off. “We need political diversity,” he says. And: “They are members of our community.”

The discourse and behavior of the Left, says Haidt, is alienating millions of ordinary people all over the West. It’s not just America. We are sliding towards authoritarianism all over the West, and there’s really only one way to stop it.

At the 41:37 point in the talk, Haidt says that we can reduce intolerance and defuse the conflict by focusing on sameness. We need unifying rituals, beliefs, institutions, and practices, he says, drawing on Stenner’s research. The romance the Left has long had with multiculturalism and diversity (as the Left defines it) has to end, because it’s helping tear us apart. . . .

Here’s what I think about all of this.

I don’t think the center can hold anymore. It’s too late. The cultural left in this country is very authoritarian, at least as regards orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. On one of the Stenner slides, we see that she defines one characteristic of authoritarians as “punishing out groups.” Conservative Christians are the big out group for the cultural left, and have been for a long time.

We are the people who defile what they consider most sacred: sexual liberty, including abortion rights and gay rights. The liberals in control now (as distinct from all liberals, let me be clear) have made it clear that they will not compromise with what they consider to be evil. We are the Klan to them. Error has no rights in this world they’re building.

If you’ll recall my blogging about Hillary Clinton’s convention speech, I really liked it in theory — the unity business. The thing is, I don’t believe for one second that it is anything but election propaganda. I don’t believe that the Democratic Party today has any interest in making space for us. I wish I did believe that. I don’t see any evidence for it. They and their supporters will drive us out of certain professions, and do whatever they can to rub our noses in the dirt.

I know liberal readers of this blog will say, “But we don’t!” To which I say: you don’t, maybe, but you’re not running the show, alas.

The threat to the moral order is very real, and not really much of a threat anymore; it’s a reality. As I’ve written in this space many times, this is not something that was done to us; all of us, Republicans and Democrats, Christians and non-Christians, have done this to ourselves. At this point, all I want for my tribe is to be left alone. But the crusading Left won’t let that happen anymore. They don’t even want the Mormons to be allowed to play football foe the Big 12, for heaven’s sake. This assault is relentless. Far too many complacent Christians believe it will never hurt them, that it will never happen where they live. It can and it will.

There is no center anymore. Alasdair MacIntyre was right. I may not be able to vote in good conscience for Trump (and I certainly will not vote for Hillary Clinton), but I know exactly why a number of good people have convinced themselves that this is the right thing to do. Haidt says that the authoritarian impulse comes when people cease trusting in leaders. Yep, that’s where a lot of us are, and not by choice.

This week, I’ve been interviewing people for the Work chapter of my Benedict Option book. In all but one case, the interviewees — lawyers, law professors, a doctor, corporate types, academics — would only share their opinion if I promised that I wouldn’t use their name. They know what things are like where they work. They know that this is going to spread. That fear, that remaining inside the closet, tells you something about where you are. When professionals feel that to state their opinion would be to put their careers at risk, we are not in normal times.

The center has not held. I certainly wish Jon Haidt well. He’s a good man doing brave, important work. And I hope he proves me wrong on this. I honestly do. Because if I’m right, there goes America. On the other hand, reasoning that this must not be true therefore it is not true is a good way to get run over.

And from Pat Buchanan, also writing at TAC, Yes, the System is Rigged:

“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged,” Donald Trump told voters in Ohio and Sean Hannity on Fox News. And that hit a nerve.

“Dangerous,” “toxic,” came the recoil from the media.

Trump is threatening to “delegitimize” the election results of 2016.

Well, if that is what Trump is trying to do, he has no small point. For consider what 2016 promised and what it appears about to deliver. . . .

. . .(I)f it ends with a Clintonite restoration and a ratification of the same old Beltway policies, would that not suggest there is something fraudulent about American democracy, something rotten in the state?

If 2016 taught us anything, it is that if the establishment’s hegemony is imperiled, it will come together in ferocious solidarity — for the preservation of their perks, privileges and power.

All the elements of that establishment — corporate, cultural, political, media — are today issuing an ultimatum to Middle America:

Trump is unacceptable.

Instructions are going out to Republican leaders that either they dump Trump, or they will cease to be seen as morally fit partners in power.

It testifies to the character of Republican elites that some are seeking ways to carry out these instructions, though this would mean invalidating and aborting the democratic process that produced Trump.

But what is a repudiated establishment doing issuing orders to anyone?

Why is it not Middle America issuing the demands, rather than the other way around?

Specifically, the Republican electorate should tell its discredited and rejected ruling class: If we cannot get rid of you at the ballot box, then tell us how, peacefully and democratically, we can be rid of you?

You want Trump out? How do we get you out?

The Czechs had their Prague Spring. The Tunisians and Egyptians their Arab Spring. When do we have our American Spring? . . . .

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable,” said John F. Kennedy.

The 1960s and early 1970s were a time of social revolution in America, and President Nixon, by ending the draft and ending the Vietnam war, presided over what one columnist called the “cooling of America.”

But if Hillary Clinton takes power, and continues America on her present course, which a majority of Americans rejected in the primaries, there is going to be a bad moon rising.

And the new protesters in the streets will not be overprivileged children from Ivy League campuses.

"The Centre Cannot Hold."  "The discourse and behavior of the Left, says Haidt, is alienating millions of ordinary people all over the West. It’s not just America. We are sliding towards authoritarianism all over the West. . . ."  "If we cannot get rid of you at the ballot box, then tell us how, peacefully and democratically, we can be rid of you?" “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

What follows from all this, brothers, is that in likelihood civil war is coming.  We should be in fervent prayer all the time that God will divert us from this course, but if He does not, that we will be ready for it. 

And inasmuch as the Christian Church is not pacifist, that we will be ready with more than our prayers and our street marches.  We should not, and many of us will not, bow to these leftist tyrants.  Instead, we will either forcibly remove them from power, or die as martyrs and freedom fighters.  Either way, we win, for the Lord is King.

¡Viva Cristo Rey! ¡Que Viva!

Monday
Aug082016

From My Friend Stephen Alspach

I'm not sure that "ethnocentricity" is as big of a problem as "phylitism" (the idea that one culture is actually superior or normative in Christian Faith). If the church were not divided, the ethnocentrism of her jurisdictions would merely amount to Christianity being contextualized. But, because the church is divided, ethnocentrism becomes a much bigger problem because the assumption of doctrinal superiority quickly turns into the presumption of cultural superiority as well. If the church were united, each culture's jurisdiction would be respected. In the current climate both jurisdiction and culture are coming into conflict between the overlapping jurisdictions, and ethnocentrism becomes phylitism.

That said, I definitely believe that the Catholic Church of the American Colonies is, and always has been, the Anglican Church. This is our rightful jurisdiction. The culture is totally informed by English-speaking cultural, political, and theological heritage. The King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer is the formative principle of our culture and the "language" of our national religious life-- from evangelicals to Methodists to Presbyterians to faithful Anglicans. It makes sense, then, that even converts would feel the impulse towards "Anglo-philoism" (a fondness for all things English). I think the Gospel has the power to transfigure culture, not destroy it. Classical English culture was a culture that was fully transfigured, before the onset of Enlightenment and secularism, so it would make sense for English Christians to desire a revival of that culture which was informed by the Christianity they themselves are currently formed by. English culture divorced from English Christianity is like a glove without its hand. This is what the Orthodox Churches are experiencing as well. Our culture is so quickly abandoning its "English-ness" that Anglican Christianity is starting to feel increasingly like an "insular" church in a foreign land.

Monday
Aug082016

Orthodox Triumphalism, Again

Thankfully Dr. Englehardt finds his check in Orthodox scholars such as D.B. Hart, who eschew the old Orthodox anti-Western bent.   And yes, that bishop, whoever he may be, *is* a crazy man from Palestine.

In the eighth grade, in 1954, a Roman Catholic priest told me that a 'Uniate' bishop would be coming from Palestine and that he was to perform the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. I did not know it and had to read it to become the altar boy for the Liturgy. And I did this. But I did not know that there was a Matins before this, and for one and a half hours I could not understand what was happening. And then this old Bishop came to me and told me:

'Come here, this is for you. All true Christianity will disappear in the course of your life from the West. True Christianity will come from the East and this will be very important for you.'

I thought he was crazy. I told him: 'What?'

And he said: 'All Christianity will disappear from the West during your life. True Christianity will come as light from the East.'

I asked my father: 'What is he saying? Is he a crazy man from Palestine?'" -- Dr. Herman Tristam Englehardt (PHD, head of Philosophy at Rice University)

Monday
Aug082016

Imagine There's No Border

"Borders are to distinct countries what fences are to neighbors: means of demarcating that something on one side is different from what lies on the other side, a reflection of the singularity of one entity in comparison with another. Borders amplify the innate human desire to own and protect property and physical space, which is impossible to do unless it is seen—and can be so understood—as distinct and separate. Clearly delineated borders and their enforcement, either by walls and fences or by security patrols, won’t go away because they go to the heart of the human condition—what jurists from Rome to the Scottish Enlightenment called meum et tuum, mine and yours. Between friends, unfenced borders enhance friendship; among the unfriendly, when fortified, they help keep the peace."

Image There's No Border

Friday
Aug052016

Templar

Wednesday
Aug032016

Those Catholic Men

Wednesday
Aug032016

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

Not sure how I missed this important essay from Bishop John Rodgers. But here it is.

When I sought to be ordained in the AMiA, I was told that opposition to the sign gifts would be a "deal breaker."  "I'm not a cessationist", I replied.  That response was in earnest, though in need of serious qualification, but it was enough for the gatekeeper at the time.

Now I have to say to AMiA that the practice of ordaining women as deacons, for me, is a "deal breaker."  That, and AMiA's neo-Anglicanism and its inordinate devotion to one "stream" over the other two. But I think the former concern somehow goes hand in hand with AMiA's ambiguity in practice wrt the ordination of women to the priesthood.  (See "Priestesses in Plano" (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3).  Also.)

The thorns being identified, please let me direct everyone's attention to the rose. Words can't describe the esteem in which I hold Apostolic Vicar Philip Jones, who ordained me, and Bishop Sandy Greene, who certified my chaplaincy ministry, and Bishop Gerry Schnackenberg, said gatekeeper who graciously forgave an online indiscretion of mine shortly after I was ordained, and the Rev. Bob Grant, who shephered us through the ordination process, and Canon Paul Jagoe, who oversees AMiA healthcare chaplains, and second cousin-in-law Fr. Gavin Pate, who helps to keep things running in AMiA, and my former priest Fr. Ralph Mollica and his wife Cindy, good friends whom we will love forever, and so many others in AMiA.   I harbor a hope that the few Anglo-Catholics in AMiA, such as Kevin Donlon, might be influential in pulling AMiA back in a Catholic direction wrt the office of deacon.  On the other side of the ledger, I harbor the hope that the Continuum will learn something from AMiA about church planting and evangelism.  But it is time for me to move on.  I will soon be incardinated into the Orthodox Anglican Church by Archbishop Thomas Gordon.  So looking forward to returning to the Anglican Continuum.

Wednesday
Aug032016

Vir Futurus

Patriarchy.  What was, once, in the natural order of things, what always should have been in the natural order of things, and what will be in the natural order of things, world without end.  Amen.

Sunday
Jul312016

A Reader Asks an Important Question

My good friend Peter Yancy chimed in with a response to this 2014 article , entitled "ACC Archbishop Mark Haverland: "What Is Anglicanism?".  I reproduce his comment here with my reply:

Very well written, and a thoughtful article. I agree with your conclusions, Christopher, but I was wondering: Is it possible that a High Church Anglicanism could serve more to unify than a strictly Anglo-Catholic model? What I mean by that is the High Church model of the Caroline Divines, as opposed to many in the Anglo-Catholic community who seem to ape Rome. At times it amazes me to see certain Anglo-Catholics using missals, wearing Roman Catholic vestments of post-18th century design, and commemorating the feast days of post-Reformation Roman Catholic saints such as Bernadette of Lourdes. The use of the rosary and sacred heart images is another issue as well. The Laudians had no desire to replace the Prayer Book with a missal, or to pray the rosary, to wear chasubles and birettas, or decorate the churches with images. I am not trying to sound overly harsh towards those Anglo-Catholics who engage in such things, but do you see my point? A large number of Anglo-Catholics come across more like Old Catholics than Anglicans. Perhaps a more traditional High Church model such as that advocated by the High Churchmen of the 17th century would offer a better model of Classical Anglicanism than what many are offering now.

My reply:

I do indeed see your point, Peter. There is no need for Anglicans to ape Roman practices in order to be genuinely Catholic, though disagree on whether or not certain Anglo-Catholic practices, such as the use of a missal, is inherently Roman. But I do think that both Caroline and *Tractarian* divinity (as opposed to later Ritualist and Anglo-papalist movements) have things to teach us all about being genuinely Catholic. Canon Middleton argues, and I tend to agree with him, that all of orthodox Anglican divinity, from the Reformers to the Tractarians, have aspired to represent the Catholic faith in its purity, nothing more and nothing less. He cautions, however, that each of these strains of Anglican theology might have so aspired with certain Anglican "agendas" lying at the core, and that the best way to rid ourselves of these agendas is to seek to conform fully to the minds of the Fathers and Doctors of the undivided Church of the first milllennium. I believe we can do so, on the one hand ridding ourselves of those agendas but at the same time maintaining distinctive English Catholic contributions to both theology and spirituality. We're not Romans, and we're not Orthodox. But we are Catholic.

Friday
Jul292016

"The Risk Is Worth It", I'm Confidently Assured by a Young AMiA Priest

Wednesday
Jul272016

God. Bless. The.  Beer!

For my Finneyite Anglican clergy friends in a certain diocese and parish in the ACNA who objected to our Anglican Beer Club and to priests who sport their clergy collars in the pub.  (That is, all 5 of you, including the priest who blocked me at Facebook even after supposedly forgiving me for my strong reply to his broadside.)

Ale Mary: Croydon Minster to revive medieval tradition of blessing beer.

Tuesday
Jul192016

The Prayer Book as Regula: A Slideshow

Lengthy but valuable "Powerpoint" style presentation by Fr. Dcn. Matthew Dallman (Akenside Press) on the Benedictine backdrop of the Book of Common Prayer as it relates to English spirituality.  Where the Benedict Option begins for Anglicans.  Enjoy.

Tuesday
Jul192016

We Win. The Forces of Antichrist Lose

An absolutely superb review of Mary Eberstadt's recent book by Rachel Lu, writing at the Federalist: Why Are Progressives On An Anti-Christian Witch Hunt?  I want to focus on these salient words from the article:

Eberstadt presents the persecution of Christians as a kind of witch-hunt. Even though traditional religion is in fact culturally marginal, progressives view Christians as a monstrous threat, poised to subvert the whole nation with our anti-freedom theocratic agenda. We’re a kind of cultural boogeyman in an age of overwhelming anxiety.

On this reading, the impulse to persecute arises from a kind of mania. Deep cultural anxieties get transferred to Christian scapegoats. Progressive fear of Christians is like a Freudian psychoanalytic phobia.

David Goldman, in his review of Eberstadt’s book, points to another possible explanation. What if progressive fear of traditional religion isn’t based on a delusion? Perhaps liberals correctly perceive that their cultural dominance is fragile and already beginning to crumble. Perhaps they fear Christians because they accurately identify is as the most significant cultural force outside of liberal progressivism itself. Perhaps they sense that traditionalists, even when relegated to a counter-culture, have the cultural resources to challenge their hegemony. . . .

Over the last few decades, the progressive elite has enjoyed congratulating themselves for outgrowing traditional religion. Religious people have long been presented in the media as reactionaries and rubes, hopelessly blinded by hateful prejudice. A thousand elite autobiographies have begun with a smug recounting of the progressive “saving experience” wherein the child in church realizes that God is dead, and that the Sunday School teacher is just a pitiful functionary of a corrupt purveyor of fairy-stories. This condescension towards religion is an elemental component of progressive faith.

Now the liberal elite has a problem. Traditionalists aren’t nearly as extinct as we’re supposed to be. Actually, our beliefs and communities are looking surprisingly resilient. Committed Christians met a nice, gay couple (even several!) and still held to traditional sexual morals. The pro-life movement keeps hanging around like a bad cold. Liberal progressivism has not been the unqualified political and cultural success they expected it to be.

Things feel precarious. Liberals feel threatened. The psychic balance between progress and tradition is wildly disturbed. Panicking because a Christian friend offers to pray for you is in a way quite absurd, but to the insecure liberal, the offer to invoke divine influences may seem genuinely ominous. They don’t understand traditional religion, but it seems to have an eerie staying power. Some traditionalist spokesmen, if you listen to their siren song, actually seem fairly reasonable. They even have the audacity to bolster their self-image by doing good deeds!

Suddenly those reactionary rubes start seeming like a real threat. The hysteria begins to mount. . . .

Like Goldman, though, I’m mildly perturbed by the way Eberstadt presents Christians as culturally weak and helpless. To be sure, many elements of the present situation are beyond our control. Persuasion is very important at the present moment. In many respects, though, progressives are right to fear us. They have reason to shut down conversations before they can begin. We aren’t really looking to dominate them through theocratic tyranny, but we do have some very powerful critiques of their sex-obsessed “faith.” Also, our traditions have a depth and balance and reasonableness to them that progressives have barely begun to appreciate.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Christians will populate these American shores for a long time after our insecure degree-toting elites have been relegated to the pages of dusty books. That’s a good enough reason for progressive liberals to read Eberstadt’s book, and reflect on their manic animosity towards Christians. It’s also reason for Christians to persevere in hope.

Contrast this with the recent utterly defeatist tone of Rod Dreher's recent piece, The Coming Christian Collapse:

Spencer predicted that Catholicism and Orthodoxy would benefit from this collapse. Maybe so, but he must have had no idea how unprepared Catholicism and Orthodoxy are to react to these developments among Evangelicals. We can hardly keep our own young people, much less offer a safe, strong position for refugees from the Evangelical collapse to land. In theory, we have it. But we either don’t really believe what our own traditions teach about themselves, or we don’t care enough about it to teach it effectively to our own young.

Conclusion: Christianity in America is strong in pockets, but mostly its strength is only apparent. It is a façade that will come tumbling down when social conditions are right. This is something that most of us Christians will live to see. This is something that few of us Christians will have prepared for.

And when it happens, our bishops, leading pastors, and senior laymen will be like the GOP Establishment in the Age of Trump, left to wonder what in the hell happened.

Wrong, Rod.  As I wrote in the comments section under his article, "I beg to differ . . . . Ruin is coming to the West, and the Church will be the sole beneficiary", and in a friendly tweak to his despondent nose, I posted this video from Apollo 13:

"There’s no doubt in my mind that Christians will populate these American shores for a long time after our insecure degree-toting elites have been relegated to the pages of dusty books."  Lu is right and Dreher is wrong.  Lu is right because the Church is Christ's and Christ is the Dread Sovereign and Lord of History.  Ruin is coming to the West, which is to say, to the liberal elite who imagine that they run the West, but whose program has been an abject failure and whose states no longer enjoy political legitimacy, if they ever did.  They are going down, and they're going down hard.  They will go down because we will take them down one way or the other, either by our efforts alone (pass the ammunition), our efforts aided by  supernatural blessing (praise the Lord and pass the ammuntion), or by supernatural means alone (Praise the Lord, i.e., the Eschaton.)

Rod:  stop wringing your hands and cowboy the you-know-what up.  "¡Viva Cristo Rey!"

Tuesday
Jul122016

Messier Yet: The Case of the ACNA

Another hard-hitting critique from Touchstone's S.M. Hutchens, which follows an earlier one entitled The Conservative Episcopalian Mess.  Recent OJC comments on ACNA's mess can be read here, here, here and here.

It appears the fix is in.  One ACNA priest comments with reference to "Messier yet":


Well-written and well-reasoned, especially the part about churchmanship being a red herring.

A year ago, I'd have thought that the issue was probably going to fade away because of the lack of support for WO among the bishops as a whole. I.e., WO would die by attrition as the current female presbyters retire and few new ones are ordained.

Since then, I've heard an increasing reframing of the discussion (including by folks at the highest level of church authority) as to whether or not we'd continue in the "agreed" path of "dual-integrity," as if that was the plan in ACNA from the beginning rather than a temporary solution while the bishops did some theological work on the issue. That really smells like a bait-and-switch to me.

If it is still true that the vast majority of the bishops support the historic approach to Ordained Ministry, I wish they'd just be bishops in this matter rather than politicians. And if it's not true, I wish they'd stop stringing things along and just own up to WO being the law in ACNA so that folks for whom that is a deal breaker could move on.

Yep.

Monday
Jul112016

East Meets West in C.S. Lewis

Great article from Eighth Day Institute.

NOT MANY readers of C. S. Lewis know that, despite his well-known sympathies with the major texts and theologians of the West, he embraced a radically Eastern vision of the Christian life as a pilgrimage toward total transformation called theosis. This is a Greek word that does not actually appear in the New Testament. Yet like Trinity and Atonement, as terms also absent from Scripture, it is crucial for comprehending the Gospel. Roughly translated, it means the “divinizing” or “deification” of human life. C. S. Lewis’s friend Charles Williams gave it an odd English translation: “in-Godding.” We are called not merely to be yanked back from the brink of Hell, so that we remain ransomed but still sodden sinners for the sake of the Kingdom. Nor are we meant to follow Jesus as our Exemplar, striving for moral improvement so as to become “good people.” Important though these things surely are, they don’t touch the depths of theosis, which calls us to participate in the very life of God. We are summoned to be nothing other than icons of Christ. . . .

As Lewis also argues in Mere Christianity, the whole purpose of the Gospel is to turn Christians into what he variously calls “new men [and women],” “little Christs,” “Sons [and Daughters] of God”—all of which may rightly be called true icons.

Monday
Jul112016

Martin Thornton on St. Augustine and Predestination

In his book English Spirituality : An Outline of Ascetical Theology according to the English Pastoral Tradition, Martin Thornton surveys the English Catholic ascetical tradition, which he sees rooted in both the theologies and spiritual traditions of Latin Fathers beginning with SS. Augustine and Benedict, and as given shape by medieval theologians such as SS. Bernard and Thomas Aquinas.  In the context of the English Church, that spirituality takes more specific form through the influences of the Celtic Church, St. Anselm of Canterbury, the great English mystics Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich, Richard Rolfe and Margery Kempe, and finally through the writings and practice of the Caroline Divines. 

As mentioned in a previous post, I found his comments on St. Augustine both informative and rewarding:

Experience insists on some kind of predestination: some are Christians, some are not, and no Christian can take credit for his own conversion.

Now, that is in a nutshell the argument I've made here at OJC about the Pauline-Augustinian doctrine of grace:  man is dead in sin and accordingly has no ability to understand the Gospel or to say "yes" to God's grace in his own power.  Grace must "prevent" ("precede") faith (Eph. 2:8-10; the Pauline-Augustinian doctrine of "prevenient grace"). 

Thornton is quick to add, however, that he has "tried to explain that Augustine's great importance is to lay the foundation of Christian spirituality, not to complete its superstructure", a comment that reminds me of what J.B. Mozley said of such "superstructures", whether Pelagian or Augustinian:  "All that we build upon either of (the root presuppositions of each system) must partake of the imperfect nature of the premise which supports it, and be held under a reserve of consistency with a counter conclusion from the opposite truth."

Indeed, Thornton,  in good Arminian fashion, speculates here whether or not "we may think of being 'elected', not to inevitable salvation, but to the Christian struggle on behalf of others."  Whatever the answer to that question may be, he concludes in good Augustinian fashion that the "Pelagian emphasis on austerity and rigour makes creative ascetical progress quite impossible", while "Augustine's doctrine of prevenient grace permits it."  Indeed, our ultimate sanctification is all of grace.

Monday
Jul112016

William Witt Responds

Here.  His comment is quoted here in full.  My reply follows:

Deacon Little,

I actually do visit your blog from time to time. It does seem that I am your favorite example of everything that is wrong with the ACNA, and that's fine with me. I do find myself frustrated with your tendency to pin me on a board like the proverbial butterfly to which you've nicely attached a "label."

I did write that I was a "Reformation Christian," but I would never have added the adjective "mere"or say that we are under no obligation to "prayerfully consider" the admonitions of Rome, Orthodoxy, and Anglicans who consider Anglicanism a branch of the Catholic Church -- although with Michael Ramsey I consider the "three branch theory" to be a kind of trumphalist apology for schism. (Ramsey also came to affirm women's ordination.)

My understanding of what it means for Anglicanism to be a "Reformation" Church can be found here:

http://willgwitt.org/anglicanism/evangelical-or-catholic/

"Reformation Anglicanism thus saw itself as in continuity with the Catholic Church, and a reforming movement in the Catholic Church, but certainly not as rejection of genuine Catholicism."

"If I were asked to identify my churchmanship, I would call myself a “catholic evangelical” or a “Reforming Catholic,” in the tradition of movements like the Mercersburg Theology, Jenson and Braaten’s Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology, or figures like Thomas F. Torrance. If I am an Evangelical, I am an ecumenical Evangelical, who understands the Reformation as a reforming movement in the Western Catholic Church. If am an Anglo-Catholic, I am a post-Vatican II Anglican catholic, who understands catholicism as ressourcement, not as retrenchment. If asked to choose between an evangelical and a catholic understanding of the Reformation, I would refuse that choice as a false dilemma."

And here:

http://willgwitt.org/what_is_anglican_theology/

"I would suggest that Anglican theology can be understood as “Reformed Catholicism” or “Catholic Evangelicalism.”

Even on the issue of women's ordination, where I know you find my views not simply mistaken, but heretical, I affirm my position because I I am convinced a case can be made on theological grounds that are not only Evangelical, but also Catholic.

Grace and Peace,
William G. Witt

Greetings, Dr. Witt, and thanks for the opportunity to address your points in this new post.

First, there is no need for you to take what I write so about your beliefs so seriously, for in fact I do not view you as the key “example of everything that is wrong with the ACNA.”  Yes, because of your visibility and influence in the ACNA I do highlight what I believe to be the error of your spirited and much-quoted defense of women’s ordination, but be assured that I am not singling you out personally.  You are but one of many voices clamoring for retention of the unfortunate innovation, and it is that phenomenon – the widespread support for this unbiblical and uncatholic practice found not only in the ACNA but the wider Anglican Communion – that continues to draw the ire of those of us on the side of apostolic and Catholic tradition. 

Moreover, I don’t believe that the practice of women’s ordination itself constitutes “everything that is wrong with the ACNA”.  There are other issues that stick in my craw about the Realignment and “orthodox” provinces in the Communion:  the inability of many of their clergy (especially millennials) to think systematically and historically about theology and politics; their influential “three-streams” orientation, which I have come to believe is both incoherent and un-Anglican; their willingness to abide un-Anglican practices in the Evangelical wing such as lay presidency at the Eucharist and the rejection of infant baptism; the rampant charismania/liturgical bacchanalia, and the unfortunate phenomenon, noted by such prominent Anglicans as Canon Arthur Middleton and Martin Thornton, of the “divorce between scholarship and pastoral practice from which Anglicanism still suffers” (Thornton, English Spirituality), that is, an inordinate emphasis on “Ph.D Anglicanism.”

It is true that you did not use the adjective “mere” when you spoke of “Reformation Christians,”, but let’s take a look at what you actually did say:

The long and short of it is, I am highly in favor of ecumenism (with Rome and Orthodoxy). At the same time, I think that the only proper way for ecumenical relations to move forward is that those of us who are Reformation Christians need to recognize that there are reasons that we are not Roman Catholics or Orthodox, and that progress can only take place if ecumenical discussion is a two-way street.

Now, when you say that being “Reformation Christians” means that” there are reasons “we are not Roman Catholics or Orthodox”, that is an implicit approval of not being in communion with them, notwithstanding your being “in favor of ecumenism”.  I think that is a very unfortunate, uncatholic, and let me add – dangerous – implication to make.  Anglican relations with the Orthodox were so good at the beginning of the 20th century that, had it not been for the Anglican Communion’s radical embrace of women’s ordination, which of course was rooted in deeper theological pathology, it may well have been in communion with the Orthodox by now.

What’s more, you Evangelical Anglicans aren’t the only “Reformation Christians” around.  Reformation principles, as variously understood and implemented by the “Reformation Christians” who embrace them, has led to all manner of deviation from Catholic faith and practice, both “conservative” and radical.  The problem with “Reformation Christianity”, as amply proved by its history, is that its principles provide no real anchor.  Throw Enlightenment ideologies into the mix and “Reformation Christianity” becomes even more unstable.  And that’s precisely what we have in Anglicanism, both in its liberal and “conservative” varieties.  At the end of the day, departure from Catholic faith and practice is the result of rebellion (the liberal variety) or rebellion masked as reform (the “conservative” variety).  In point of fact, while "Reformation Anglicanism (and later Anglican divinity – EP). . . saw itself as in continuity with the Catholic Church", its Reformational, and later, radical, principles put it on a trajectory away from continuity with the Catholic Church.  The embrace of women’s ordination in the Anglican Communion is a key example, but by no means the only one.  As I strenuously argue here at OJC and elsewhere, modern Anglicans need to come to grips with whether or not they truly do adhere to the classical Anglican belief that the Church of England and her progeny constitute nothing less than the Catholic Church and that what that communion of churches believes is the faith of the apostles and Church Fathers.  There is only one way to be "in continuity with the Catholic Church," and that is, in fact, to be in continuity with it, especially with respect to an issue that has such deep and profound triadological and christological connections.  And as Canon Middleton argues, we can't find continuity with it on our own terms.  We have to find it in terms with our proven conformity, in faith and practice, to the mind of the Fathers.

It’s clear that you are “convinced a case (for WO) can be made on theological grounds that are not only Evangelical, but also Catholic.”  But Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and traditional Anglicanism – in short, the vast majority of Catholic Christianity - is not convinced of your claim to catholicity, just as many Evangelical Protestants are not convinced by your case on biblical and Protestant theological grounds.  Your case has been examined and answered by both Evangelical and Catholic theologians.  There is really nothing to do now except go our respective ways, your side unwilling to let go of your innovation and my side defending apostolic and Catholic faith and practice, which is why I believe ACNA will eventually fracture over this issue.

Or if it doesn't, it should.

Pax,

Embryo Parson

Wednesday
Jun292016

Martin Thornton on Anglicanism, Ecclesiology and the Benedictine Way

"If ascetical theology depends upon an accepted doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ, then Anglicanism fares no better than Protestantism. An equally varied body of opinion may be found in the ranks of the Church of England, but the significant difference is that, however abused, misused and misunderstood, Anglican ascetic is rooted in the Book of Common Prayer, which follows the universal pattern of Eucharist, Divine Office, personal devotion and habitual recollection, traceable through St Benedict to the New Testament. As an ascetical system the Book of Common Prayer presupposes the Catholic doctrine of the Church."

(The Rock and the River, Chap. 2)

H/T Matthew Dallman at Akenside Press.

Wednesday
Jun292016

Martin Thornton on Protestant Ecclesiology

"It would be untrue to say that Protestantism inevitably reduces the Church to a mere congregation of believers in this world, yet, in general, it remains suspicious of the full Catholic doctrine of the divine, ontological entity, eternally grounded in the permanence of the sacred humanity of Christ, embracing the saints in heaven and the departed in paradise; the Mystical Body of Christ in its fullness." - (The Rock and the River, chap. 2)

H/T Matthew Dallman at Akenside Press.

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