An Anglican Priest

"Protestant and Reformed according to the principles of the ancient Catholic Church." Bishop John Cosin (d. 1672)

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Yet Another Free Book!

Now available for download over at Cranmer and Laud. . .

http://cranmerandlaud.blogspot.com/2008/02/ministry-of-absolution.html

Happy reading!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Prayer Book Catholics. . .

(I've taken the following comment from a discussion group discourse. The original author will know who he is, and I hope he doesn't mind me reposting his thoughts here).

"Prayer-Book Catholics are truly Catholic in the ancient, authentic, nonsectarian sense of the word as it is used in the Creeds -- looking to the doctrine of pre-Great Schism and the mildly reformed liturgical trajectory of the Ancient British Church. Remnant Prayer-Book Catholics are found scattered about in various jurisdictions attempting to witness to the Anglican Formularies in an authentic, faithful manner."

Which is why we all need to try and foster such thinking in our own jurisdictions, wherever we find ourselves. At the roots, most Anglican jurisdictions (and even many diocese in ECUSA/TEC) affirm the ancient Faith, the doctrines set forth in the worship of the classical Prayer Books, and the Anglican Formularies. We need to unite around these common principles and start a grass roots effort to work together as Anglicans with a common purpose for the Gospel of Christ and His Church.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Do we need another Anglican blog?

The answer, of course, is yes.

I've set up the blog just for Cranmer and Laud. For those who would like to contribute to the blog please e-mail me via the link at the Cranmer and Laud web site (the link on the side-bar of this page). The blog link is below:

http://cranmerandlaud.blogspot.com/

Sunday, February 10, 2008




The Society of Archbishops Cranmer and Laud


The Society is established to be beneficial to members of the Anglican Church, particularly the clergy and especially those in the traditional Anglican community, who desire to see the Anglican Christianity of the Book of Common Prayer strengthened and preserved.

Why Archbishops Cranmer & Laud?
"We must honour Thomas Cranmer and be grateful to him, for in the English Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, the Book of Homilies, he helped translate and reform the faith and worship of the English speaking world, recalling it to a simpler more direct proclamation of Christ and the Gospel. His faith enriches ours day by day and week by week whenever we pick up the Scriptures, open the Prayer Book, and indeed, whenever we open our mouths, for along with Shakespeare, the English Bible (revised again in 1611, admittedly) and the Book of Common Prayer are as formative of our very language as they are of our faith."
The Rev'd David Garrett, the Prayer Book Society of Canada

"Gratefully remembered by scholars, Laud has found apologists among the clergy of the Church for which he died, but he is not generally loved. If his methods had been mistaken, his diagnosis of the ills of the Anglican Church has been right and his vision for its improvement had been lofty. . . .Had he succeeded in what he meant to do, he would be one of the great architects of the English Church. He failed, and sealed his failure with his blood. He stands with Archbishop Cranmer as an imperfect and much criticised man, but in the final record a faithful servant and martyr whose blood has been the seed of the Church."
Historian C.V. Wedgewood in The King's War

Principles of the Society:
1) The spread of the Christianity as enshrined in the faith of the historic Church of England, Reformed and Protestant according to the principles of the Ancient Catholic Church (after the teaching of Bp. Cosin), as taken from the One canon of Holy Scripture in the Two Testaments, as taught in the Three Creeds of Western Christendom, as clarified by the Four Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, as practiced during the first Five centuries of the ancient Church (after the teaching of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, Abp. Laud’s mentor).

2) Dedication to the prayerful study of the Holy Scriptures and ancient Fathers and Doctors of the Church, per the principles of Abp. Cranmer during the Reformation.

3) Holding to the doctrinal teachings of the Reformed Church of England as clarified in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and as understood in their historical context based on a patristic and reformed foundation.

4) Holding to the sacramental teachings of Anglicanism as espoused in the Church of England’s 39 Articles, the Catechism of the 1662 Prayer Book, the 1662-1928 Prayer Books, and the Ordinal, stressing the preeminence of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.

5) Dedication to the continued use of the classic English translation of Holy Scripture, the 1611 text dedicated to King James I or a close derivation or revision thereof (RSV, ESV, ASV, NKJV).

6) Perpetuation of the use of the classical and orthodox Church of England Prayer Books of 1549, 1662, and 1928, the 1928 American Prayer Book and the 2003 Prayer Book of the Reformed Episcopal Church (containing the 1662 English and 1928 American services), and the 1962 Canadian Book of Common Prayer.

7) Dedication to the study of the Anglican divines, particularly of the Reformation and Restoration periods.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

An invitation to like-minded Anglicans:
The Society of Archbishops Cranmer and Laud

Many have e-mailed me in the past and urged me to start something (anything) related to the grand notion of the Society of Archbishops Cranmer and Laud, which for too long has languished as an ideal unrealized. In the past I could only direct people to the discussion group at yahoo. However, I'd like to invite anyone interested, especially the clergy, to help me in utilzing this blog as a site for like-minded Anglicans, from any jurisdiction willing to share with others in a spirit of unity and concord, to foster spiritual and intellectual growth in the Anglican Way. The hope is that this site could be an "online journal" of sorts. What say ye? Any takers?

A word to the readers. . .

I'm very happy that this blog has been well received by Anglicans from a variety of jurisdictions (including orthodox priests within traditionalist dioceses in the once Episcopal Church in these United States, now THE Episcopal Church, soon to be Something Else Entirely). It has always been meant as a "clearing house," as it were, for good old fashioned High Church theology.`But as Canon Tallis pointed out in one of his replies, the need arises, from time to time, to dust off the old authors of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries and reply to the claims of the Church of Rome, who although a sister in Christ, is a sister that makes claims that we cannot abide by. Every Anglican blog I've read (and every traditionalist Anglican I know) will be, at one point or another, confronted with the Roman claims. Thus, the need for the old--and very good--replies to the old arguments. These are not meant to be anti-Rome for the sake of anti-Romanism. They are meant to honestly present our Anglican difficulties with the historical and theological claims of the Roman Church and to defend the traditional Anglican positions as they were solidified during the Reformation and Restoration periods. My reasoning for saying all of this to elaborate my original intent of this blog, which is a positive one and not a negative one.

(for those readers living in England, please imagine all posts being read with the high and proper British accent commonly heard in the old broadcasts from the BBC)

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Papal Claims Examined
from
Catholic Principles
by
The Revd Frank N. Westcott


It is a sad and most unfortunate fact, yet one which is easily capable of demonstration by any competent historian, that all along the ages, Rome’s interests have been advanced by forgeries and falsification of the Fathers; and that such interpolations are quoted with approval today, in Roman controversial books; and that it is not safe to accept patristic quotations in such books, without verifying them at first hand.

There are plenty of historic facts which are utterly inconsistent with the assumption that the supreme judicial and spiritual authority of the Church, has always been in the hands of the Bishops of Rome. For example: the first difficulty which required judicial action in the Apostolic Church, was settled by a council of the whole Church at Jerusalem, under the presidency, not of St. Peter, but of St. James, who pronounced sentence in his own name, without any regard to St. Peter.

When Victor, Bishop of Rome, AD 196, undertook to excommunicate the Asiatic Churches, because they disagreed with him about the time of the observance of Easter, he was rebuked by the other Bishops, including Irenaeus, and his excommunication was ignored, and had no effect whatever.

In the fourth century, the Council of Sardica allowed a condemned Bishop to appeal to Rome for a new trial, not as a recognized right, but as conferring a privilege. This canon of Sardica, was misquoted by the Bishops of Rome as being a canon of the Council of Nice in a controversy with the African Bishops. But the latter consulted the Eastern Patriarchs, and, so discovering the misquotation, replied to the Patriarch of Rome through his legates, “We find it enacted in no council of the Fathers, that any person may be sent as legates of your holiness . . . . Do not therefore at the request of any, send your clergy as agents for you, lest we seem to introduce into the Church of Christ, the ambitious pride of the world.”

The great Arian heresy which denied the divinity of our Lord, was settled by the Nicene Council, which was called, not by the Pope, but by the Emperor Constantine. Hosius presided, and the heresy was finally refuted, not through the pronouncement of the Pope, but through the argument of Athanasius; while Pope Liberius himself became a heretic.

Then the heresy denying the divinity of the Holy Ghost, was settled at the Council of Constantinople in 381, at which the Nicene Creed was reaffirmed, and the sentences defining doctrine concerning the Holy Ghost added, and the Roman Bishop was not present either in person or through his legates. Meletius of Antioch presided at the council, and was succeeded by Gregory Nazianzen, Patriarch of Constantinople; and so in the settlement of the two greatest heresies, the authority of the Bishop of Rome counted for little or nothing; and it is interesting to note that the Bishops assembled in council at Constantinople in 381, in their Epistle to the Western Bishops assembled at Rome, called the Church of Jerusalem the “Mother of all Churches.”

Of course the most complete refutation of the Roman claim of supremacy has been the historic position of the four patriarchates of the Eastern Church, which have never acknowledged the claims of such universal jurisdiction, and yet were in communion with the patriarch of Rome until the twelfth century.

The claims of supreme and spiritual jurisdiction over the whole Church, on the part of the Bishop of Rome, cannot stand the test of catholicity, and so become articles of faith, unless they have been acknowledged always, everywhere, and by all Catholics; and this we have shown to be historically incredible.

Roman Catholics are very fond of asserting that a visible Church must have a visible head; and that as there is no other Bishop who claims to be the head of the Church but the Pope of Rome, therefore he must be that head. We reply, that in the Holy Scriptures St. Paul asserts that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church; and he nowhere recognizes any other head; though he constantly insists on the visible, organic nature of the Church itself. St. Augustine asserts the same fact, thus: “Since the whole Christ is made up of the head and the body, the head is our Saviour Himself, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, who now, after He has risen from the dead, sits at the right hand of God; but His body is the Church; not this Church, or that, but the Church scattered over all the world . . . . For the whole Church, made up of all the faithful, because all the faithful are members of Christ, has its head situate in the heavens which governs this body: though it is separated from their sight, yet it is bound to them by love.” Then again, it must be remembered that the greater part of the Catholic Church is made up of souls in Paradise, and therefore is not visible to us; and Christ is the Head of the Church to them, as well as to us. To them He may be visible.

But supposing the visible Church must have a visible head: we reply, as a practical matter of fact, the universal episcopate assembled in general council was from the first regarded as the head of the Church; the ultimate source and seat of authority, to which the Bishop of Rome himself was always subject: as is proved by the fact, that the universal episcopate settled heresies, defined the Faith, and deposed Popes who were themselves heretics, and excommunicated them. Gregory the Great, as we have seen, expressly repudiated the title of "universal Bishop” which he most certainly would not have done, if he had considered himself the “head of the Church,” in the modern Roman sense.

It makes a neat turn of an argument to say that the visible Church must have a visible head; and then to set forth the Pope as that head; but after all, it is merely a question of historic fact, and history points to the universal Episcopate as the head, and not to the Pope of Rome. If the Pope of Rome is the head of the Church, then when the Pope dies, apparently the Church has no head, and remains a headless monster, perhaps for several months, until another Pope is elected and enthroned. Surely this is a curious condition of things, that the Church should be continually sloughing off its head, and growing another, every generation or so; so that every little while it has no head at all. The collective episcopate does not die; but lives on from age to age, and as the head of the Church, is abiding and permanent.

The whole growth of the papal claims may be summarized by four words: Primacy, Supremacy, Sovereignty, and Infallibility. The Primacy of Rome, Anglicans admit to be lawful; not as of divine appointment, but as a matter of precedence and executive convenience, originating from the prominence of the Imperial city. The Supremacy of Rome, Anglicans reject, as disturbing the original balance of power defined by the general councils and canon law of the Church. The Sovereignty of Rome, Anglicans repudiate, as mere secular Imperialism transferred to the Church, from the State. The Infallibility of the Roman pontiffs, the Anglican Church denies, as an assumption by one man in the Church of a power, or faculty, conferred by our Lord on the Church as a whole.

From what has been said, it seems evident that there is no scriptural evidence that St. Peter was appointed supreme head of the Church by our Lord, and that there is no historical evidence of any sort which proves that St. Peter ever attempted to transfer any authority, peculiar to himself to the Bishops of Rome; and that what the early Church conceded to the Patriarch of Rome, was a primacy of honor among equals, and not a supremacy of authority, by divine appointment.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Article XXII. Of Purgatory.The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory. . .is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

Often, when in debate or discussion with other Christians, it is posited that Anglicans believe in “Purgatory.” I often reply “Why do you think that?” The answer usually is “Because you pray for the dead.” Indeed, we do pray for the dead, and we believe the dead pray for and with us—but does this mean that we follow the peculiar teaching of the Church of Rome on this matter? The answer is, based on historical and dogmatic theology, an emphatic “no,” but one that often demands explanation to both Anglicans and those outside of the Anglican tradition.The equation of Purgatory with the Intermediate State (in the Anglican teaching, the state in which the souls of all of the faithful departed exist before the Resurrection of the dead) is an erroneous one, especially since the Roman Church elaborates upon both Purgatory and the Intermediate State (in this line of thinking, occupied when “the souls” pass out of Purgatory before the Resurrection, translating their status from that of mere “souls” into true “saints,” and thus necessitating the feast day of All Souls along with that of All Saints); to adopt the Roman terms while attempting an Anglican description usually results in linguistic confusion and theological consternation (See Bishop N.T. Wright’s For All the Saints ).

Indeed, in that the Roman teaching is clearly rejected in the East, such a teaching can in no wise be held as a “Catholic” doctrine proper. When we read Eastern Orthodox texts on such issues there are often narrow variances of opinion than those found in the West and far less elaboration. This from Father Pomazansky’s Orthodox Dogmatic Theology:

"Concerning the state of the soul after the Particular Judgment, the Orthodox Church teaches thus: “We believe that the souls of the dead are in a state of blessedness or torment according to their deeds. After being separated from the body, they immediately pass over either to joy or into sorrow and grief, however, they do not feel either complete blessedness or complete torment. For complete blessedness or complete torment each one receives after the General Resurrection, when the soul is reunited with the body in which it lived in virtue or in vice (The Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs on the Orthodox Faith, paragraph 18). Thus the Orthodox Church distinguishes two different conditions after the Particular Judgment: one for the righteous, another for sinners; in other words, paradise and hell. The Church does not recognize the Roman Catholic teaching of three conditions: 1) blessedness, 2) purgatory, and 3) gehenna (hell). The very name “gehenna” the Fathers of the Church usually refer to the condition after the Last judgment, when both death and hell will be cast into the “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15)."

Here it would seem difficult to apply the “Purgatory” label as many moderns wish to use it.

When we look at other Anglican dogmatic texts, such as Browne’s Exposition on the Thirty-Nine Articles, or The Christian Faith by C.B. Moss we are confronted with differing views on these issues within a narrow range of opinion, seeming closer to the Orthodox teaching than to the Roman. Few Anglican authors and even fewer Orthodox authors use the term or designation “Intermediate State” to denote a place of pain, suffering, or retribution for sin. However, the Roman Catholic tradition, and some Anglo-Catholics modeling their views after it, emphasizes the pain and satisfaction that are required of the sinner for the sins of his life. How are we to keep this line of thinking in concert with the Comfortable Words (all from the Holy Scriptures) of the Anglican Eucharist, in which we are assured from Scripture that Christ is the propitiation for our sins? Indeed, how are we to read such a view of purgation (in which a satisfaction of pain is required) in light of the Anglican Eucharist’s canon that states Christ is the “full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world”? N.T Wright summarizes the issue when he says in For All the Saints:

"I cannot stress sufficiently that if we raise the question of punishment for sin, this is something that has already been dealt with on the cross of Jesus. Of course, there have been crude and unbiblical versions of the doctrine of the atonement, and many have rightly reacted against the idea of a vengeful God determined to punish someone and being satisfied by taking it out on his own son. But this is to mistake caricature for biblical doctrine. Paul says, in his most central and careful statement, not that God punished Jesus, but that God 'condemned sin in the flesh' of Jesus (Romans 8.3). Here the instincts of the Reformers, if not always their exact expressions, were spot on. The idea that Christians need to suffer punishment for their sins in a post-mortem purgatory, or anywhere else, reveals a straightforward failure to grasp the very heart of what was achieved on the cross." p 30

We should view any period of “purgation” (if we are even to employ the term, perhaps “growth” or “purification” would be better terms) in the Intermediate State as the 1549 English and 1928 American Prayer Books put it; as simply a period of “continual growth” in God’s “love and service,” a view I have heard espoused by Lutherans, Anglicans, Orthodox, and Baptists alike (a Baptist New Testament professor of mine from Westminster Seminary described it in this manner). This way of thinking of the Intermediate State puts to rest notions of satisfaction for sin and places the emphasis on the inexhaustible nature and love of God; it also eliminates any notion of the ahistorical and theologically incoherent idea of an “Anglican doctrine of Purgatory.”I include the Eastern Orthodox position to show that the notion of Purgatory as found in Roman teachings is not found in the East, and therefore cannot as such be labeled as “Catholic,” unless we take the Roman doctrine to be the measure of the terminology. Indeed, the classical Anglican position on prayers for the departed bears a greater resemblance to Orthodoxy than it does to the medieval concepts of the Church of Rome. As Meyendorff (1979) recounts in Byzantine Theology:

"The debate between Greeks and Latins (on the question of Purgatory). . . showed a radical difference in perspective. While the Latins took for granted their legalistic approach to divine justice—which, according to them, requires a retribution for every sinful act—the Greeks interpreted sin less in terms of the acts committed than in terms of a moral and spiritual disease which was to be healed by divine forbearance and love. The Latins also emphasized the idea of an individual judgment by God of each soul, a judgment which distributes the souls in three categories: the just, the wicked, and those in a middle category—who need to be “purified” by fire. The Greeks, meanwhile, without denying a particular judgment after death or agreeing on the existence of the three categories, maintained that neither the just nor the wicked will attain their final state of either bliss or condemnation before the last day. Both sides agreed that prayers for the departed are necessary and helpful. . .even the just need them;. . .in particular. . .the Eucharistic canon of Chrysostom’s liturgy. . .offers the “bloodless sacrifice” for “patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and every righteous spirit made perfect in faith,” even for the Virgin Mary herself." p 220-221

So here even the state of the most blessed is to be viewed". . .not as a legal and static justification, but as a never-ending ascent, into which the entire communion of saints—the Church in heaven and the Church on earth—has been initiated in Christ. In the communion of the Body of Christ, all members of the Church, living or dead, are interdependent and united by ties of love and mutual concern; thus the prayers of the Church on earth and the intercession of the saints in heaven can effectively help all sinners, i.e., all men, to get closer to God." p 221This view of growth during the Intermediate State as a “never-ending ascent” is expressed, as was mentioned above, in the Anglican Eucharists of the 1549 English and 1928 American Prayer Books. The emphasis is not on penance, nor on pain, nor satisfaction for sins (which Christ has already paid) but on growth “in the knowledge and the love of God” of those who have “died in thy faith and fear.” This emphasis is the Body of Christ as the Communion of Saints, who all continue in their walk with God before the Resurrection, is taught in the American Prayer Book—but it goes no further than this measured theology and it is accepted by and differentiated from Purgatory by Reformed minded Anglicans. Litton’s Introduction to Dogmatic Theology, a text that places Anglican theology firmly in the Reformed and Protestant school of thought, summarizes the difference between the Roman concept of Purgatory and the traditional doctrine of the Intermediate State shared by most Christians not in the Roman Communion (notice the similarity to Meyendorff’s logic):

"The Romish doctrine of purgatory must not be confounded with the belief of spiritual progress in the intermediate state, against which no objection from reason or Scripture can be urged. . . .But the doctrine of the Roman schools is of a different character. It is forensic in nature, and implies the payment of debt not fully discharged in this life. "

As noted above, in Orthodox theology, the prayers for the faithful departed are even offered for the Virgin Mary (assuming that she too is increasing in grace and the knowledge and presence of God and being conformed to His image—theosis). Therefore, praying for the faithful departed—as expressed in the 1928 American Prayer Book—is a truly “Catholic” doctrine and can be held by Anglicans, as is praying with them in the worship of the Church: “Therefore with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name. . .” We pray for the faithful departed in their growth in love and knowledge of God’s love as well as with them in the thanksgiving of the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood.

Well, there you have it folks. . .no further need for this blog. So long, farewell, aufweidersehen, and goodbye.

A reader by the name of Christian submitted the following reply in response to my post "I am an Anglican." I've removed it from that space and reposted it below:

"Purgatory, Indulgences, and pious beliefs about the Blessed Virgin Mary can all be shown to have been believed by the earliest Christians though they where often expressed differently in the East. Viz the definition of these things as dogma - have courage! Be brave enough to accept the rulings of those who have the authority. Christ has given it to them and the definitions are final, those who disagree have lost the argument. I do not like the Assumption but I now accept it on faith as those with authority I do not have have decided I am wrong. It can take courage and faith to submit and over look one's own vanity. Luther failed in this. "Here I stand I can do no other" - Yes you can! you can submit."

Of course, I will renouce my Orders forthwith and submit to the Holy Roman Church.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

How can you call yourself an Anglican? Why you're not even in the Episcopal Church!

Perhaps you've heard this line of reasoning before. Of all the attempts to de-Anglicanize members of traditional (non-Canterbury linked) Anglican Churches, it is the most painful to hear. This stance is rooted in the belief that churches bearing the name Anglican must be in communion with the See of Canterbury. If this is true (which I do not believe it to be), I would gladly give up the name "Anglican" and urge the adoption of some modification thereof as the "official" name if we were to be sued by the Church of England or the Episcopal Church. However, historically there have been Anglicans who have been forced from the "official" Church from one reason or another, usually for the sake of conscience. Was the schismatic Scottish Episcopal Church less Anglican because it was not recognized by Canterbury? These godly folk worshipped in house churches and barns rather than in the few "official" Anglican chapels in Scotland. If it was not Anglican, what did it bequeath to the American Episcopal Church with its Prayer Book and Episcopate? Were the Nonjuring bishops less Anglican because they followed their consciences and refused to swear an oath to new royalty when the King they had sworn themselves to was still alive (keeping in mind that they had been imprisoned and persecuted by this same King)? If an essential aspect of a "truly Anglican identity" is being in the good graces of Canterbury (as the Rev'd Dr. Toon seems to believe, although I'm not sure about this), then obviously I disagree, as I have demonstrated in practice for the last decade or so.

Here is my quandary to those who believe that being in communion with Canterbury is a part of the essence of Anglicanism: You are in a town (it could be anywhere in the English-speaking world) with an option between two parish churches bearing the name "Anglican". One is offering a 10:30 Eucharist that is advertised to focus on "the feminist Christ" or perhaps it offers the "Stations of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals" (in place of the Stations of the Cross--I did not make this up). This is the "official" Anglican parish. The second is a parish that is offering a Eucharist celebrated from the 1662 English or 1928 American Prayer Books; the advertisement for the parish says simply that--1662 Eucharist, Biblical preaching. This parish is part of a group that broke with the "official" Anglican Communion some time back (could have been last week, could have been 30 years ago, could have been more than a hundred years ago). Which do you think is truly preserving the Anglican Way in worship, ideals, and heritage? Which is more "essentially" Anglican?

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