Sunday, August 27, 2006

In Defense of the Anglican Way, a last vestige of the British and English peoples

When one holds the classic Book of Common Prayer and prays from it, when one reads the Scriptures in the version commanded by King James and helmed in its translation by Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, one holds a culture (the cultus of the Anglo-Saxon Christian people). One prays the prayers penned by a martyred Archbishop, cribbed and molded from the older prayers of the British and English Churches, as well as from the ancient Eastern Churches and the contemporary German Church. One worships according to a rite that inspired a King and his Archbishop to succumb to the executioner’s blade, fidelity to which resulted in exile or clandestine and persecuted worship.

When one holds the Prayer Book one holds nearly half a millennium of religious and literary heritage that guided a nation and helped bring many nations to faith in Christ. When one holds a Book of Common Prayer, one holds a volume that united a nation in worship and inspired magnificent cathedrals and humble parish churches. We in the Continuum are now entrusted with this heritage of faith and the culture it produced in the British and English Churches; in this sense we are like the Christian peoples of Eastern Europe, whose faith and worship have been suppressed by Islam and Communism in turn and now by Islam again. Many of these people have immigrated to the West and preserve their faith and culture in the United States, sometimes outnumbering those they left behind in the Old World. Often this is the reason one will see in this country Armenian Churches (their people slaughtered by the Turks in the first genocide of the 20th century), Coptic Churches (now a minority in Muslim Egypt) and various other Orthodox Churches that suffered under Communism. I feel for these people and sympathize with their attempts to preserve what was in danger of being destroyed from without. Similarly, we now see "Anglican" parishes rather than simply Episcopal parishes. Sadly, the Anglican Church and its preservation is being done because the West has largely destroyed this tradition from within, perverting the ancient faith and defacing the traditional worship of the English Church and her sister Churches.

Know the history and faith of the Christian Church, especially the Church of the British and English peoples, know the devotions of the English divines, know the music of the English Church—know what it is you are “Continuing” in, so that you may faithfully preserve it for your children and your children’s children.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


"If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God's Word; and if we be uncertain of God's Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or a synagogue of Satan."

This is a bit of an "introduction" to the topic of the next Article of Religion, dealing with Holy Scripture. Hopefully I'll have that post ready sometime this week.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

C.B. Moss on the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Anglican tradition:

"[T]he Anglican [Church]. . .is unwilling to go beyond its knowledge in honoring our Lord’s Mother. We know nothing about her except what is told us in Holy Scripture or may be proved from the Bible. There are many legends about her but they have no historical value; even the oldest of these come from the Apocryphal Gospels, which are certainly fictitious. That she is “in glory” is more than we know. No doubt she is in the highest condition of honor possible for any human being who is not also Divine. Without claiming to be certain about things so far beyond our knowledge, we think that human beings will be given new bodies at the Last Judgment and that they will not be in glory until they are clothed with the resurrection body. Since there is no evidence for the legend of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, we have no reason to suppose that she differs in this respect from all other human beings. We have no doubt that she prays for us, but we do not know whether she can hear our requests to her to do so and we have no right to ask her for anything but her prayers. For this reason there are no direct addresses to the Blessed Virgin, or to any other saint, in Anglican public services. Those who do not feel certain that she can hear what we say ought to be free not to address her directly. Those who think she can hear our prayers may freely address her in private, but they have no right to compel others to do so."

See also the following post from "The Patristic Anglican"--

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Procession of the Holy Ghost. . .an ecumenical question

In previous posts and follow up responses I've made the assertion that the western Church had no right to alter the content of the Creed of the entire Church.

This 1913 essay from the Rev. F. W. Puller, of the Society of S. John the Evangelist, gives another perspective on this matter.

Germane to the topic at hand:

"Afterwards the question of the insertion of the Filioque clause into the Constantinopolitan creed by the English and other Western Churches was raised.

In regard to that matter I stated by way of preliminary that the Church of England makes no complaint against the Eastern Church for adhering strictly to the Creed as it was sanctioned by the Council of Chalcedon. The English Church accepts the Council of Chalcedon as an Ecumenical Council, and the Creed as sanctioned by that Council is therefore for us also an Ecumenical document of the highest authority. But the Council did not put forth the Creed as a formula to be used in the Liturgy of the Altar. At the time when the Council of Chalcedon was held, no Creed was said in the Liturgy. When we introduced the Creed into the Liturgy, we were not bound to introduce it in the exact form in which it was sanctioned by the Council. Moreover, both in the West and in the East it had been customary for local Churches to add clauses to Creeds of very high authority. In the West the Apostles' Creed is the Creed which is used at Baptisms and on most other occasions when a Creed is used; it is not, however, used at the service of the Altar. Now the Apostles' Creed is the Creed of the early Roman Church, and was probably composed not later than during the first half of the second century. Yet local Western Churches on their own authority added clauses to it. Thus in the fourth century or earlier the Church of Aquileia added to the Apostles' Creed the clause about the descent of our Lord into Hades. [Cf. Rufin., Commentar. in Symbol., §§ 14, 18; P.L., xxi. 352, 356. Whether the clause originated at Aquileia I do not know.] And in the fifth century or earlier the Gallican Churches, or some of them, added the clause about the Communion of Saints. [This clause did not get into the Roman Creed until later, but it is found in the Creeds of Niceta of Remesiana and of S. Jerome as early probably as the fourth century (compare Dr. A. E. Burn's text-book, The Apostles' Creed, pp. 41, 43).] Yet no complaints were raised by the Roman Church or by other Western Churches on account of these clauses having been added. On the contrary some centuries later these additions were accepted by the Roman Church herself and ultimately by all the Western Churches. Similarly in the East, the original Nicene Creed was put forth by the most venerable and most authoritative of all the Ecumenical Councils, namely the Council of Nicaea. [In putting on paper the statement which I made to the Conference about the interpolation of authoritative Creeds in the East, I have corrected an inaccuracy into which I fell, and have set forth the evidence somewhat more fully than I did at S. Petersburg.] For a time that was the only Creed which had received Ecumenical sanction; yet the local Churches of the East felt quite free to use their own traditional local Creeds, and to enlarge them by inserting clauses taken sometimes from the Nicene Creed and sometimes from other sources. There seems good reason to believe that the Constantinopolitan Creed is really the Creed of the Church of Jerusalem enlarged about the year 363 by S. Cyril of Jerusalem, and quoted eleven years later by S. Epiphanius in the H9th chapter of his Ancoratus. [See Dr. Hort's Two Dissertations, 1876, pp. 73-97, and Dr. A. E. Burn's text-book, The Nicene Creed, pp. 27-29. P. G., xliii. 232. The Ancoratus was published in 374, seven years before the Council of Constantinople, the second Ecumenical.] This enlarged Creed of Jerusalem is almost word for word the same as the Creed which we now commonly call the Constantinopolitan Creed. The original Nicene Creed had been interpolated at Constantinople and perhaps elsewhere, with additional clauses before the time of the Council of Chalcedon, [Compare Hort (Two Dissertations, pp. 112-115).] and it is recited in the Chalcedonian definition in an interpolated form. [For example, in the Nicene Creed as quoted by the Council of Chalcedon, the words "of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary" are interpolated after "was incarnate"; and the words "and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate" are interpolated after "and was made man "; and the words "of whose kingdom there shall be no end " are interpolated after "to judge both the quick and the dead." I give these merely as specimens, for there are several other interpolations beside some omissions. Compare Mansi ii. 668 with Mansi viii. 109, 112.]

All these facts make it quite clear that local Churches in the fourth and fifth centuries, that is to say in the age of the great Fathers of the Church, felt themselves at liberty to add clauses to the Creeds which they had inherited from earlier times, or which they had received from Ecumenical Councils. And if this is granted, why should it be regarded as ultra vires for the Churches of England, Spain, Gaul, and Germany, and finally for the Church of Rome, to add the Filioque clause to the Constantinopolitan Creed? Of course a local Church has no right to add a heretical clause to any Creed. But it has already been admitted that the Filioque clause, if it is regarded as equivalent to the formula, Per Filium, is not heretical, but is perfectly orthodox.

At the close of the Conference the presiding Bishop, the Bishop of Kholm, authorized me to tell my audience at my lecture in the evening that, though the Russians and the English differ in the wording of their respective formulas, yet the Conference had, after hearing explanations, concluded that the two Churches are agreed as to the substance of the teaching concerning the Eternal Procession of the Holy Ghost."
The glorious company of the Apostles : praise Thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets : praise Thee.
The noble army of Martyrs : praise Thee.

Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Houston Texas
A Reformed Episcopal Church in the Anglican Tradition

From the parish web page:

"St. Thomas is dedicated to the preservation of the traditional worship, music and conservative biblical theology of the Church of England, which was brought to these shores by the earliest settlers and perpetuated in the original Protestant Episcopal Church established by our nation's founding fathers."

"It is part of One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church established by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As such it upholds a tradition, which is timeless and unchanging. Episcopal worship and theology is at once both Catholic and Reformed. It is Catholic in that it upholds the beliefs of the primitive, undivided church: "That which has been believed by all men everywhere since the beginning" ~ St. Bonaventure. It is Reformed in that it embodies the great truths of the Reformation, chiefly that "Holy Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation.""

"Worship at St. Thomas of Canterbury is Christ centered and formal. It is firmly planted in biblical and historic Christianity as brought to these shores by the earliest English settlers.
All services at St. Thomas' Church are taken from the classic Book of Common Prayer (1549-1928), one of the monumental theological and literary works of the English speaking world."

"St. Thomas is neither "Anglo-Catholic" nor "Low Church", as emphasis is given to the Holy Scripture, Biblical preaching, holy worship, and congregational singing. The great hymns of the Church are sung, and a classical choir provides music suitable for the worship of a Holy God.
The worshipping Christian thus feels spiritually fulfilled and has an anchor in which a living faith for today is rooted in the teaching of the Church as it has been received, preserved and passed down to us through the ages. "

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Articles of Religion of the Church of England

Article V: THE Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

Similar to the manner in which the previous Articles defend the Trinity as well as co-substantiality of the Son with God and with man, this Article affirms the Godhead of the Holy Ghost, thereby combating the heresy of Macedonianism. Macedonious, the Patriarch of Constantinople, taught that the Holy Ghost was a creature and not equal with the Father (much in the same vein that Arius taught that the Son was created).

As Bishop Browne comments, “Those early heretics who denied the Divinity of the Son of God, seem generally to have disbelieved the Personality of the Holy Spirit, and to have looked on Him not as a Person, but as an efficacy, power, or emanation. . .” Hence the firm affirmation in the Articles concerning the Holy Ghost being of the same substance (ousia) with the Father and the Son, thereby reaffirming the full divinity of the Son as well.

Archdeacon Welchman (writing circa 1713) notes that “Since those operations are attributed to the Holy Ghost, which cannot be ascribed but to a person distinct from the Father and the Son, as such as “to make intercession for the saints,” (Rom 8:27) to “come as sent by the Father in the name of Christ,” (John 14:26) to “take what was Christ’s, and show it unto others,” (John 16:14) and since those things are attributed to Him, which cannot be ascribed to any other but God, such as, to have the bodes of the faithful for His temple and even to have the whole Church dedicated by baptism to Him, as well as to the Father, and the Son, it necessarily follows that He is “very and eternal God,” equal with the Father and the Son, and together with them to be adored and invoked.”

In order to combat Macedonianisn (or Pneumatomachi, those who Fight against the Spirit), the clause “And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord and giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spake by the Prophets” in the Nicene Creed clearly asserts the divinity of the Holy Ghost and His role in salvation.

As an aside on the western addition of the clause “and from the Son” in the description of the procession of the Holy Ghost, and its remaining unaltered at the time of the English Reformation, it must be noted in charity that many of the divines of that period were unaware that this addition was not part of the original composition of the Creed and further believed the phrase to have Scriptural warrant and in no way contrary to the text of the New Testament (for example, see 1 Peter 1:11: “. . .the Spirit of Christ who was in them had signified when He testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.”

Early in the last century, before her descent into heterodoxy, the Church of England’s doctrinal commission stated that if discussions of union with the Eastern Churches progressed to full unity, the western addition to the Creed could be properly redacted.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The oft forgotten Creed, the Creed of Saint Athanasius

The Athanasian Creed is one of the three ancient Creeds of the western tradition, dating back to the fourth or fifth century. While it was not written by St. Athanasius, it is thought to capture his expressions and ideas. It is listed in the English Prayer Books as a Creed to be accepted and believed as being in accord with Holy Scripture. However, it was left out of the American Prayer Books (perhaps due to its explicit Trinitarianism?), not to return until the 2003 edition of the Reformed Episcopal Church.

From the 1662 Book of Commmon Prayer:

WHOSOEVER will be saved : before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith. Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled : without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholick Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons : nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son : and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one : the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son : and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate : and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible : and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal : and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals : but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated : but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty : and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties : but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God : and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods : but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord : and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords : but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be both God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion : to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none : neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone : not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son : neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons : one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other : none is greater, or less than another; But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together : and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid : the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved : must think thus of the Trinity. Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation : that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess : that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds : and Man of the substance of his Mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man : of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead : and inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood; Who, although he be God and Man : yet he is not two, but one Christ; One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh : but by taking of the Manhood into God; One altogether; not by confusion of Substance : but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man : so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation : descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty : from whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies : and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting : and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholick Faith : which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

With Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name. . .

St. Gabriel's, A Traditional Episcopal Church family in the United Episcopal Church

From the parish web page:
"CELEBRATING 20 YEARS, Fostering Faith, Family and Tradition.

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s United Episcopal Church located in Springdale, Arkansas. St. Gabriel's is a Traditional Episcopal Church which worships according to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the 1940 Hymnal. We keep fully intact the theology, liturgy and rich heritage of the traditional Anglican catholic faith.

ST. GABRIEL'S is proudly affiliated with the United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA), which is guided in faith by the Sacred Scriptures, the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles of Religion. Backed by two millennia of church history and direct apostolic succession, the UECNA serves God’s kingdom humbly and faithfully.Looking for a church family to belong to? Come and be a part of the liturgical and sacramental worship that the early Christian communities experienced; where we allow His word change our lives rather than change His word to suit our lifestyle, being strengthened by His Word and Sacraments. A church that is faithful to His word in this age and time and serving Him until His Second Coming~Biblically Sound, Sacramentally Orthodox, Apostolically Valid, where God is the center of our life and worship.

St. Gabriel's is also the domicile of the Bishop Suffragan of the UECNA, the Rt.Rev. Leo J Michael whose jurisdiction covers west of Mississippi and the entire national church as well. In a very moving and impressive ceremony, Bishop Leo was consecrated in the line of apostolic line of succession dating back to the times of apostles themselves, through the laying on of hands."

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Book Recommendation: Something old made new.

Philip Secor has created a cottage industry in presenting a series of well-written books on that gifted defender of Anglicanism, Richard Hooker. Secor’s books include a fine biography of Hooker as well as a short compilation of his sermons in modern idiom. Perhaps his best work is really something that he didn’t write—Hooker’s fifth book in the Ecclesiastical Polity. The fifth book is presented as a stand alone volume and retitled Richard Hooker on Anglican Faith and Worship. Secor has done a wonderful service in rendering the entire text in contemporary phrasing without altering the meaning. This is a recommended read for all laity in classical Anglicanism and a must read for the clergy. It is an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse into the mind of one of the great thinkers of the Anglican tradition.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Articles of Religion of the Church of England

IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ.

"Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man's nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day."

Saint Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians highlights the necessity of the resurrection of Christ for the Christian Faith to have any meaning for believers. Many today would like to have bits and pieces of Christianity without some of the more “troubling” aspects—miracles, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, a supernatural God of a Triune nature, etc. Within modern liberal Christianity one of the most commonplace assertions is that the physical Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is not a central tenet or requirement of the Faith. Here I am not speaking of those who differ on the exact manner of the physicality of the Resurrection Christ (as Calvin and Luther debated the localized versus non-localized abilities of Christ’s Resurrected body). Rather I am referring to those who suppose and even teach in the name of the Church that the “Resurrection” was something that happened not to Christ, but to the Apostles when they realized, essentially, what a really good guy Jesus was: Jesus was alive in their hearts. This is not the teaching of the Church Catholic, nor was it the teaching of Saint Paul.

Paul asserts that without Christ being raised from the dead, our faith in Him is in vain. While it can be said that without the Incarnation, the death and Resurrection of Christ are without merit (if Christ was resurrected but was not the Mediator between God and man then this resurrection has no point to us), so it can be said that without Christ’s being raised to new life He has not conquered death and sin on our behalf. We cannot talk about the Christian Faith while removing elements from the essential teaching; the Resurrection of Jesus means that we have new life through Him. If He lies dead in a tomb then we too will remain dead. If He lives, our faith in Him and His work puts away our sins and opens up the door to life in His presence.

"And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15: 12-19, ESV). "

If Christ did not rise from the dead, then he did not ascend to the Father as fully God and fully human. If He does not sit in exaltation at God’s right hand as our great High Priest who offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin, then we have no mediator in Heaven. Baptism is pointless and the Eucharist gives thanks for nothing if Christ is not raised in the flesh of humanity. “What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (1 Corinthians 15:32, ESV). Some have said that Saint Paul suggests only a “spiritual resurrection,” not a general resurrection of the physical people. This is often argued by using mistranslations of terms used by Paul in Chapter 15. Paul says “For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish” (15: 39, ESV).” Here Paul is not saying that animals have flesh and humans have something completely different (if you cut a rabbit and a human, the physiological response is the same). Rather he is saying that humans and animals have different natures according to their respective “flesh” (the nature or soul we spoke of in earlier posts). Both animals and humans are physical beings, but both operate according to a set of characteristics proper to their nature. Paul later states the manner in how our bodies will be raised: “It is sown a natural body (soma psucikon); it is raised a spiritual body (soma pneumatikon)” (15:44, KJV). Here the rendering is fairly close to the Greek; the ESV maintains this continuity in using the proper translations. The term soma is used to describe both a body natural (psuchikon) and the body spiritual (pneumatikon). Saint Paul is not saying that one body will be physical and the other not; the use of the term soma infers that both bodies are physical. However, one is informed by human nature as it now stands (psuchikon), while the other will be informed by the spirit (pneumatikon).

Other translations have taken paraphrasic liberties with the language: The RSV uses the term “physical body” instead of “natural body,” thereby leading the reader to confusion as to what the phrase means--that there can be a "non-physical" body. Likewise, the NRSV and the Revised English Bible fall into this trap as well (The New English Bible uses the term “animal body,” keeping closer to the meaning of the Greek, but not as close as the KJV, the NKJV, and the ESV). These types of translations border on gnosticism, in that they assume that our new bodies will be devoid of physicality—the Christ raised according to such a “resurrection” would not necessarily leave an empty tomb behind, He would have simply to shuffle off His mortal coil. However, these translations fit into the framework of denying the reality of the resurrection of the dead that the Nicene Creed speaks of.

This whole pattern of mistranslation and argument from mistranslation distorts the teaching of the Church Catholic as to what Christ came to redeem—humanity in its totality. This humanity is not simply mental or spiritual, nor is it just flesh and bones. It is both. God made us as “psychosomatic” unities, and our natures cannot be derived from just the psychological/spiritual component nor from just the physical component. Christ redeemed this unity, that it might no longer be ruled by our minds as they now stand in the lineage of Adam, corrupt thought leading to corrupt deeds. He redeemed the complete human person, that our physical existence might be informed and led by the Spirit in the world to come.

For two excellent books related to this topic, see John Cooper's Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting and Bishop N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Articles of Religion of the Church of England:

Article III: Of the going down of Christ into Hell

"As Christ died for us, and was buried, so also is it to be believed, that he went down into Hell."

See the First Epistle of St. Peter, chapter 3, verses 18-20: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison, who one time were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared, wherein few, (that is, eight souls) were saved by water."

What the Article affirms is again quite minimalist. The reason for this simplicity was to affirm only that which could be shown from the Scriptures, without giving a definitive interpretation. Theological arguments raged between clergy in England at the time of the Reformation over this issue. There are several lines that this Article of belief could take, including 1) that it means that Christ battled Satan while in "Hades" (which could simply mean the place of the dead) and this was the beginning of His exaltation (the Lutheran scholastic view), or 2) that Christ felt the loss of the body in the same way other humans do, in essence continuing His humiliation (the Calvinist scholastic view). It could also be a combination of these views, for we do have biblical support for the view that while He was He dead preached to those who "were in prison."

What this Article affirms primarily is that as Christ died a human death, so was His soul (the noncorporeal component of His humanity; man during life being composed of both body—soma—and a nature which informs the body, that being the soul--psuche) was still joined with the Godhead in the grave—the Person of Christ underwent all that humans undergo at the time of death until the Resurrection. The Second Person of the Trinity continued His existence as the Christ between the Crucifixion and Easter Sunday. Those Christians who desire to deny the reality of the soul are left with the question of what became of Christ Jesus while He was dead; without His soul going into Hades we are left with an annihilation of the Person of Christ between His bodily death and Resurrection, or else for those three days the Logos was not in any way joined to human nature in the Person of the Messiah, creating the only break in the existence of the Person of Jesus between the virginal conception and the Ascension.

From Hippolytus (c. 205):
"The jailer of Hades trembled when they saw Him. And the gates of brass and the bolts of iron were broken. For, look! The Only Begotten, God the Word, had entered Hades with a soul--a soul among souls!"

Origen (c. 248):
"When Christ became a soul, without the covering of the body, He dwelled among those souls who were also without bodily covering. And He converted those of them who were willing."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A traditional Anglican rector leads the House in prayer

On July 26, Father Richard K. Barnard, Rector, The Chapel of the Cross (Reformed Episcopal), Dallas, Texas, offered the following prayer as guest chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives:

"Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, King of the Universe, who hast taught us through Thy servant David that those who rule must be just. Grant to the Members of this House, and to all those to whom we entrust the authority of government, the spirit of wisdom and truth. Direct and prosper all their consultations to the advancement of Thy glory and to the safety, honor and welfare of the people, that there may be peace at home and that we may show forth righteousness among the nations of the Earth. Give to the Members of this House courage, fearlessly to contend against evil and to give no place to oppression. And to the end that they, and all the people of this land, may properly use Thy gift of freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice, to the glory of Thy holy Name. Amen."