Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Anglican Mission in America's "new" old Prayer Book: a modern language version of the 1662:

(from the webpages of Anglicans at Prayer:

AMiA: The Green Book of Common Prayer (1662 but in contemporary English)

"By far and away the most used Prayer Book in the Anglican Communion, and notably in Africa, is The Book of Common Prayer (edition 1662) either in its classic English language of prayer or in translation. The doctrinal foundation of most Anglican Provinces are the three Formularies which we know as this Prayer Book of 1662, together with the Ordinal and Articles of Religion normally bound up with it in its pew editions.

The doctrinal foundation of the AMiA are these Formularies but there is, regrettably and amazingly, very little use of the two sets of Liturgy (BCP & Ordinal) in this Mission. The Liturgy of 1979 which replaced the classical in The Episcopal Church and which has aided and abetted its notorious innovations in the last thirty years is the one most used! When asked why the classic is not used (in 1662 or 1928 form), the answer from clergy usually is that modern Americans do not easily make use of the traditional language of prayer and they desire the equivalent in prayer language of that which they use on the street and in the home.

So to build a bridge to the biblically-based Formularies of the Anglican Way, it was resolved to make available a contemporary equivalent of the major texts in the classic BCP & Ordinal, addressing God as YOU and using the recent English Standard Version of the Bible for biblical citations.

The initial work was done by Peter Toon. This was reviewed by a panel and then Peter Toon saw the resulting text into print as a paperback book and with a green cover. The services in it have been authorized for trial use by the House of Bishops of Rwanda and the preface to the book is signed by Bishops Murphy and Rodgers. It contains all the major services from the BCP and Ordinal with all the Collects and Prefaces. It is not a finished product but a product in trial use and to be perfected. The last point is most important—it is a start not the end of the product line.

What is does do is to bring into AMiA worship the same doctrines that have been the mainstay and foundation of the Anglican Way since the sixteenth century.

Nothing can ever replace the classic English prayer language of the BCP & KJV and the writings of seventeenth and eighteenth century divines and hymn-writers in terms of quality, style and character. All we can do is to make available a form in modern English which is acceptably and which does the work of enabling us to approach the Throne of Grace in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness.

Copies of the book may be obtained from St John the Evangelist [AMiA] Church in Philadelphia (Phil Lyman rector) at 215 396 1970; or copies of the zipped file of all the services may be obtained from or downloaded here:

At the AMiA Conference on January 18 the green book was introduced by Phil Lyman and Peter Toon. The room was crowded and great interest shown. For a CD of this exciting session of 75 mins, contact Rhino Technologies and ask for T8 “Common Worship” – 270 753 0717. It is 7 dollars or less.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon MA., D.Phil (Oxford)"

To readers of this blog: please see the copy of the Eucharist pdf linked to below. Please read through it carefully--and prayerfully--and let your thoughts be known through your postings. I'm interested on the reaction to this.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Church of the Holy Communion

A cathedral parish of the Reformed Episcopal Church

From the parish web page:

The worship of CHC (Church of the Holy Communion) follows the historic 1928 Book of Common Prayer, produced originally in 1549 by the famous English Reformer and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. It is scriptural with approximately 85% of its content being taken directly from the Bible. It is also more than a sixteenth-century document.

To compile this liturgical masterpiece Cranmer edited the medieval mass, itself rooted in the ancient liturgies of the Church of Ephesus (1st Century) and the Sarum Rite (10th century). The 1928 BCP (Book of Common Prayer) more closely approximates the original 1549 version as well as the 1662 edition, still the official prayer book of the Church of England and used by the majority of the 80 million member worldwide Anglican Communion.

We worship in a truly common prayer tradition.The two central services of the prayer book offered weekly at CHC are founded upon the spiritual practices of the Early Church described as continuing steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42). The breaking of bread is the service of Holy Communion. Early Christians also worshipped with literally, the prayers, set prayers dating back to the Psalter and the synagogue. This service became the Daily Office, traditionally known as Morning and Evening Prayer in the prayer book. A sermon is given at both services: Holy Communion at 9:00am and Morning Prayer at 11:15am.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Anglicanism Part II: The Validity of the Anglican Episcopate

In his Preface to the Ordinal that was to be employed in the reformed Church of England, it is clearly stated clearly that:

It is evident to all men diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles’ time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church; Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. Which offices were evermore had in such reverend estimation, that no man might presume to execute any of them, except he were first called, tried, and examined, and known to have such qualities as are requisite for the same; and also by publick Prayer, with Imposition of Hands, were approved and admitted thereunto by lawful authority (The Book of Common Prayer 1662, 553).

Again, we see that the purposes of the Anglican Reformation were not innovation but a true Reformation of Catholicism. The ancient Orders are accepted as having been in existence from the time of the Apostles’ and hence part of the Apostolic Church’s practice. The Anglican Church saw no reason to do away with something that had been practiced by the Church in the most ancient part of her existence and that the Church of England held these offices in “reverend estimation,” whereas the bodies of the Continental Reformation either saw Orders as something superfluous or as a heretical development of the early Church that followed in absence of Apostolic oversight. Roman controversialists have sought to illegitimatize Anglican Orders on the ground that Cranmer’s revisions made them ineffectual in regards to their expressed intent (Clark 1897).

Cranmer’s revisions sought to return the rites for Holy Orders to a more primitive form, removing mediaeval accretions concerning both wording in ceremonial. A major objection made to the Anglican Ordinal was that the language used was insufficient in the consecration of bishops. The words employed in the Anglican Ordinal are: "Take ye the Holy Ghost, and remember that thou stir up the grace of God, which is in thee by imposition of hands" while the Roman Pontifical simply states "receive the Holy Ghost." If Anglican bishops are not to be accounted as properly raised to the episcopate, neither then are the Popes of Rome by the same standard so applied. Pope Leo XIII, in his 1896 Bull that declared Anglican Orders “null and void,” also objected that Anglican priests were not instructed by their Ordinal to offer the Mass for “the quick and the dead;” instead they are told to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments. As the instruction pertaining to the Sacrifice of the Mass was only added to the Roman Ordinal in the 11th Century, again it must be stated that if Anglican priests are not properly priests then neither were any of the presbyters of Western Christendom (Staley 1893; revised by Goodchild 1983). One further reason often given for the invalidity of the Anglican Orders for Priest is that a chalice and paten is no longer delivered to the man being ordained as it was in the pre-Reformation Roman ceremonial; however, this ceremony formed no portion of the ancient rite (Clark 1897, 274).

Since Cranmer’s alterations simply reformed the services to follow more ancient patterns, removing only those things, such as instructions for the offering of Masses and ceremonial for the reception of a chalice and paten, that were late additions, these objections pertaining to the validity of Anglican Holy Orders cannot be taken seriously. If they were to be taken seriously and if these additions were viewed as somehow essential to the bestowing of Holy Orders, then none of the men ordained as priest or bishop in Catholic Christianity—East nor West—would be considered validly ordained.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another beautiful new parish church in the classical Anglican tradition:

Saint Barnabas Anglican Church
Dunwoody, Georgia
A parish of the Anglican Province of America

Pictures courtesy of:

(from the parish web page)

In June 1979, a group of 13 traditional Episcopalians began meeting for Sunday morning worship services in the living room of the home of Doris and Oz Keller, near Piedmont Park in Atlanta. Gradually, they began meeting in each others’ homes on a rotating basis and a fellowship developed which formed the nucleus for a small parish, called St. Barnabas Anglican Church.

The name St. Barnabas was selected because the first meeting was held near the traditional St.
Barnabas Day, June 11th. Also, the qualities ascribed to Barnabas in the Bible were “an encourager, a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith; and a generous man both in heart and hand.” These qualities exemplified those they aspired to promote both individually and corporately.

It became evident that a priest was required to provide more fully for spiritual needs. In August 1979, the Rev. Robert C. Harvey, rector of St. Timothy’s Parish, Charleston, South Carolina, offered his services on a part-time basis. Arriving on Sunday afternoons, each month, Father Harvey preached and celebrated the Holy Eucharist. A lay reader, usually John Crown, conducted Morning Prayer and read a sermon the other Sundays.

The congregation began meeting in a community room of a local bank in Toco Hills. Because of the large Coke machine that spewed distracting noises, it was called the “Coca-Cola Church.” Either unplugging the machine or trying to ignore it, they met each week assembling and disassembling the altar, bringing in Prayer Books and hymnals, coffee pots, kneelers, vestments, and altar linens.

In the spring of 1980, Father Harvey was elected Bishop of the Diocese of the Southwest. The
congregation was at a loss on how to acquire another priest. At Bishop Harvey’s consecration service, Dr. Carroll E. Simcox, former editor of The Living Church was present and preached the sermon. He was approached by the group and asked if he would consider ministering to St. Barnabas. This request seemed reasonable to Fr. Simcox, who had retired from the Episcopal Church and was living in Hendersonville, North Carolina. For eleven years Dr. Simcox flew down twice a month to minister to us through our various moves from the bank, a hotel, the LaVista Womans Club, and finally to our present church in Dunwoody.

In January 1990, our then Presiding Bishop A. F. M. Clavier, ordained William R. Weston [a member of our parish] to the diaconate and to the priesthood in June 1990. He was named priest-in-charge until the permanent retirement of Dr. Simcox. In 1991, Father Weston was called as rector, the position he holds today. In the fall of 1993, the Rev. Robert E. Burgreen, became assistant rector. This provided the services of an additional priest to support growing parish activities and ministries. Father Burgreen still functions as assistant rector.

Bishop Harvey, who lost his lovely wife Suzanne in 1994, married Marguerite Pendleton in 1995.
He returned to Atlanta with Marguerite, joined the clergy staff and is active as a bishop within the diocese and the Church at large. The Rt. Rev. Peter Brewer was received into the Anglican Province of America in 1998 and became the fourth member of the clergy staff. He currently serves as suffragan bishop of the diocese and is rector of St. John’s Anglican Church, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Now, in its 27th year, St. Barnabas Church has grown from the original 13 believers to a congregation of over 325 and holds services in its current location acquired in 1991.

In 1996, a building committee, under the supervision of the vestry, developed a master plan for the property. The year 2001 saw Phase 1 of a planned expansion completed, which provided expanded parking areas, a new parish hall and kitchen, renovated class rooms, enlarged narthex, a new exterior and refinished nave and sanctuary. 2004 saw the acquisition of a temporary modular classroom building. This facility provided much needed space for the Children’s Chapel, Sunday School classrooms, and office space for our ever growing number of children. Future usage of our existing space is being planned by a Facilities Committee under the vestry’s over-sight.

Now, in 2006, we celebrate the completion of Phase 2 of the master plan, with the dedication of a 5600 square foot addition of new sacristies and nave and sanctuary. The new church’s architecture is Gothic Revival.

The vision of the founders, that St. Barnabas provide a faithful witness to the world continues. It is our prayer that the parish continues to grow both spiritually and in number for the greater glory of God.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Articles of Religion of the Church of England:

Article XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper.

"The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing."

Of all of the Articles, it seems that this is the one that many point to when attempting to demonstrate that Anglicans who hold to the Prayer Book and the Articles do not "really" believe in the Real Presence (a charge usually made by Lutheranism--who believe in a corporal presence, sometimes by Roman Catholics and Orthodox, and sometimes by a few Anglo-Catholics who are convicted that the Articles are not "Catholic," in that they do indeed reject several Roman doctrines), for does not the aforementioned Article say that only the faithful are given the Body and Blood of Christ? The answer to such a question so stated is "no."

In the preceding Article we are told that "The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner." The Body of Christ is indeed given in the Supper, thereby ruling out any manner of mere receptionism. It is done in an "heavenly and spiritual manner," ruling out a carnal and physical presence and siding with Aquinas, but against several versions of transubstantiation common in the Middle Ages. What then are we to make of the assertion that the wicked "eat not the Body of Christ" in the Supper?

Well, first and foremost we must read the content of the Article itself, and take note that the quote given to elucidate the meaning of the title is nearly verbatim from Saint Augustine of Hippo, and that this same quote and manner of speaking is used by Saint Thomas Aquinas, the great expounder of the doctrine of transubstantiation. If we are to use this Article to argue that the official and historic doctrine of the Church of England is somehow "receptionist," then we must also use this logic consistently and accuse both Augustine and Aquinas of this same belief. Let us examine the writings of Aquinas and determine how he can state that the wicked "eat the Sacrament" and yet "eat not."

First, in De Sacramento Altaris, cap. XVII., Aquinas writes that:

"The first mode of eating the Body of Christ is Sacramental only, which is the way wicked Christians eat it, because they, receiving (sumentes) the venerable Body into mouths polluted by mortal sin, close their hearts with their unclean and hard sins, as with mire and stone, against the effect which conies from the influence of His virtue and goodness. . . These eat, and yet they do not eat. They eat because they receive (sumunt) sacramentally the Body of the Lord, but, nevertheless, they eat not, because the spiritual virtue, that is, the salvation of the soul they do not partake (non percipiunt). . . .

"There is, says Gregory, in sinners and in those receiving unworthily the true Flesh and true Blood of Christ in efficacious essence, but not in wholesome efficiency. He who is at variance with Christ, says Augustine, 'neither eats His Flesh nor drinks His Blood,' and though he daily receives (sumat) the Sacrament of so great a thing, he receives it unto judgment. They are at variance with Christ who, averting the purposes of their heart from him, turn them to sin. And such may be said, to be truly wretched to whom so great a good oftentimes comes, and yet, who never receive or partake (accipit sive percipit) of any spiritual gain therefrom."

Father William McGarvey, in his excellent essay "The The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Real Presence Examined by the Writings of Thomas Aquinas" (Milwaukee, WI: The Young Churchman, 1900) summarizes the issue when he writes that:

"So anxious is St. Thomas to guard against the supposition that the reception of the Sacrament necessarily implies a participation in the Body and Blood of Christ, that he thinks it well to explain that when St. Paul says we are all partakers of that one Bread, it is meant that we are all partakers by a worthy reception that is, a spiritual and not a mere Sacramental reception (Exposition super I. ad Corinthios, cap. X. lec. 4). And it was, no doubt, with a desire to accentuate the same truth that he inserted in the office for Corpus Christi as the eighth lesson the passage from St. Augustine, referred to and partly quoted by our Article. It is as follows: He who abideth not in Christ, and hath not Christ abiding in him, doth not spiritually eat His Flesh nor drink His Blood, although he may carnally and with his teeth press the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, but rather eateth and drinketh the Sacrament of so great a thing to his own condemnation."

Father McGarvey further comments:

"Considering, then, all that St. Thomas says in the above quotations with regard to the reception of the Sacrament, can any words sum up his teaching more fully and accurately than those of our Articles? Such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking (communicatio) of the Body of Christ, and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking (communicatio) of the Blood of Christ; and those who receive otherwise do not eat the Body of Christ, and are in no wise partakers of Christ."

I will conclude by stressing that in the language of the Article (and Aquinas and Augustine), there is a difference in what it means to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and what it means to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. Indeed, Aquinas mentions two manners of "eating" as well, as do other sacramental theologians. Therefore, the Articles in this regard do no more than reiterate the writings of Saint Augustine (verbatim) and do not differ, in regards to the importance of the worthy reception of the sacrament, from the writings of Thomas Aquinas. Indeed, they use the very same language. By the standards of the ancient Church and even by the standards of the Angelic Doctor, the official position of the English Reformation in this regard is doctrinally sound.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Anglican Orders are Alive and Well!

An article from The Messenger of the Traditional Anglican Communion: Volume 8, Number 2- Ascensiontide 1999

[It is essentail for the existance and for the well-being of the Church to have an apostolic ministry in direct line with the apostles. Separation from the successors of the apostles results in a separation from the Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is an historical fact that the apostolic succession was continued without break in the English Church all through the Reformation period, by bishops of the old apostolic line. Matthew Parker's consecration was the connecting link by which apostolic succession was continued after the final break with Rome. The one thing that could have broken the link was retained. Fifty years after the event a trumped up charge known as the 'Nag's Head fable' was promoted by a papist in an attempt to disprove the consecration. Others were to support him although in varying and contradictory forms. As a result, the English Church made a very careful and searching examination of the consecration. All the records and evidence of the event were made public. The story was proved to be a falsehood. Archbishop Parker's consecration was indeed valid beyond all doubt. Scholars including Roman Catholics were ashamed of this baseless invention.]

Last year as the Lambeth Communion Bishops were preparing for their Conference at Canterbury, Cardinal Ratzinger issued a statement that re-affirmed the Roman contention that Anglican Orders are "Absolutely null and utterly void" - invalid in other words! Though not infallible, he did this after consultation with the Pope who left him to devise the article and asked him to be "generous".

The timing was obviously intended to make a great splash with the Lambeth Communion in disarray, and many Anglicans devastated by the trends pushing the feminist line and some considering a Roman solution. There was perhaps also a hint of finesse with 1896 just a century ago. The article caused a slight ruffling of feathers, but after a hundred years the topic was well-drained of discussion and this added nothing new. The papal bull "Apostolicae Curae" of 1896 was not composed by the Pope but by Canon James Moyes (with Cardinal Merry de Val ?) in cahoots with the rascally anti-Anglican putsch who hijacked the proposal of Lord Halifax for a joint-examination of Anglican Orders with Rome, and instead turned it into a one-sided kangaroo court with limited terms of reference and a loaded Committee including a Spaniard who had no English nor had read the relevant English documents. Even so, three of the eight members, notable scholars without guile, found in favour of Anglican validity. S

Script-writers for leading politicians frequently cause calamities by their failure to get the facts right: however the puppet reads what is placed before him and the world claims it as his policy. The present Pope, John Paul II, is not a vindictive Bishop; nor was Leo XIII. Both are known as men of good-will and a burning desire to promote the work of the Church productively. Regrettably, however, the Papacy is served by a beaurocracy that can be manipulated by politically - driven motives.

It is significant that the re-awakening of the English Church by the Oxford Movement placed great store on the Apostolic Succession which threatened the position of papal authority at the time. Opportunity to dash Anglican hopes clearly motivated Gasquet, Moyes and Co., to the hope of gathering a harvest of disillusioned souls into the Roman fold. The current situation would seem to have spurred on the good Cardinal in 1998 with so much in disorder in the Lambeth Communion on the feminist agenda. It is doubtful that the rush really worked in either case.

The Anglican position on the validity of any sacrament requires total vindication of the five main factors in administering it - Right Intention, correct minister, matter, form, and subject. On this fundamental basis, we of the Anglican Continuum reject the validity of "ordinations" administered to women since Intention means "to do what the Church does" while both etymologically and historically "Priest" means male and our Lord as sole Christian Priest chose men to the Apostolic Ministry. We can do no more than judge the validity of the Orders of any Communion by the same fundamental rule.

Nobody who reads the Preface to the Anglican ordinal or the content of rites (form, words) for administering the Sacrament for any of the three orders can justly deny that it intends "to do what the Church does". However, the Roman Committee of 1896 had to find a plausible fault to condemn Anglican orders and hit on the form (with confusion as to intention) and condemned as invalid the words used because after "Receive the Holy Ghost..." they failed to specify (for Priestly ordination) the current Roman interpretation of Priesthood, viz, "to offer sacrifice to God and celebrate Masses for the quick and the dead...") for brevity I skim over the full quotation. Further similar objections centre on the necessity set down by the Council of Trent for undeviating adherence to its definitions of Transubstantiation and the Mass as a propitiatory Sacrifice as in the 1546 Profession of Faith: while the addition of words after the ordinal of the 1549 Prayer Book specifying the Order being conferred on the subject was incorrectly interpreted as admitting a fault of intention. (In fact the revisers specified that the addition was in the face of Presbyterians who denied any difference between the Orders of Bishop and Priest.)

In reply to Apostolicae Curae the non-infallible Archbishops of Canterbury and York signed as Response the exquisite Latin document prepared by Bishop John Wordsworth of Salisbury, pointing out the incredible error of the Bull in that by specifying the need for inclusion of the contemporary form of Rome it negated the Orders of ALL in the Apostolic Ministry who had EVER been ordained or Consecrated. Those words were added much later and not as part of the actual bestowal of Ordination Grace but in the "porrectio instrumentorum" - the handing over of the symbols (chalice and paten) for the Eucharist.

A regrettable rejoinder from Rome took up the attack and insisted that no man could be Priest who did not accept the Trent definition of Transubstantiation: to which the Archbishops of York and Canterbury wrote, "It is, for us, simply impossible to believe it to be the will of our Lord that admission to the ministry of the Church should depend upon the acceptance of a metaphysical definition in terms of Medieval philosophy, of the mysterious gift bestowed in the Holy Eucharist, above all when we remember that such a definition was unknown in the Church in the early ages of its history, and only publicly affirmed by the Church of Rome in the thirteenth century."

Father J.J. Hughes is a Roman Priest, former Anglican (Society of the Sacred Mission trained) who was given permission to study the documents of the Roman Committee which sat on Anglican Orders, and wrote in detail of his research. An article in the erstwhile "Australian Church Quarterly" (February 1968) entitled "The Scandal of 1896" sets out a review of Hughes' work and shows the amazing underhand workings which were conceived by the group to ensure that neither Anglican imput would be permitted in reaching a conclusion and that indeed no other conclusion would be reached than condemnation of the Validity of Anglican Orders.

A further problem exists in that elements in the Roman Church, with which Cardinal Ratzinger appears to be identified, remain irrevocably bound to a doctrine of propitiatory sacrifice first enunciated in medieval times - that each Mass is a separate sacrifice (virtually distinct from Calvary) in which the priest somehow repeats the sacrifice of Calvary in an "unbloody" sacrifice. This called into question whether we would wish to qualify as "priests offering propitiatory Sacrifices". Once again the witness of the early Church (as also efforts reforming misguided belief from the medieval times) affirms and reaffirms that the Eucharistic Sacrifice is that of Calvary itself, and that our Lord, the sole Priest, shares His Priesthood with the Apostolic Ministry as He offers for ever in Heaven, and on earth we plead the same Sacrifice particularly in the final part of any Sacrifice, the Communion, whereby the offerers identify with the Victim, and Priest and people in sacred Unity with Him complete the sacrificial action each time we "do this in remembrance..."

No Anglican need be uneasy that men who have been trained and tested for the Sacred Ministry do nor, as Rome says, receive the fullness of Holy Order at the hands of any Anglican Bishop whose Orders follow rigid laws of the Anglican Prayer Book and Church. Rome may have a big role in Universal Christianity, but that does not include the right to be sole judge of all questions that arise. The Apostolic Succession was preserved by the Ordinal of 1549 and through all revisions since, and continue to be top priority in Church Order in the Traditional Anglican Communion.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Part I: The Foundations of Reformed Catholicsm

The Principles of the Anglican Reformation

The English Reformers did not seek to establish a new religion or sect within England. Rather, the Reformers sought to bring the Church that was extant within England back to the principles of the primitive and undivided Catholic Church (Atkinson 1993). To do this, recourse was made to the teachings of the ancient Fathers, especially those writings composed in the first five hundred years of the Christian Church (Middleton 2001). The teachings of the first four Ecumenical Councils were held to be definitive for the teachings of the Church of England, for it was these councils and their teachings that formulated the only authoritative statement of the Christian Faith for the Church Catholic, what is now commonly called the Nicene Creed (Moss 1944).

A good example of the appeal to ancient Catholicism made by the Church of England can be found in her traditional position on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which found solidification in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. The celebration of the Mass, overwhelmed as it was in the Middle Ages by erroneous teachings concerning new sacrifices of the physical flesh and blood of Christ, alleviation of the souls in purgatory by such sacrifices, and corrupted views on transubstantiation, was a flashpoint for controversy during the Reformation. Many on the continent, following the teachings of Zwingli rather than Calvin or Luther, wished to reduce the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to mere symbols (McGrath 1997, 514), visual sermons at best (the writings of Church Fathers contradicted this view; see Bercot 1998, 251-259).

Those defending the position of the Church of Rome at the time of the Reformation held to an extreme view of the scholastic theory of transubstantiation that called for the metaphysical annihilation of the elements of bread and wine (this view actually contradicts the original teaching of Aquinas as well as contradicting the ancient authors of the Church; see Macquarrie 1997, 128-129). However, those churchmen teaching in defense of Anglicanism continually rejected both approaches and sought the counsel of the Scriptures and the undivided Church. The first reformed Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, made clear in his treatise A Defense of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Our Savior Christ (1551; 1987) that it was not his intent to depart from the teachings of the Fathers in this matter. Cranmer did so by continually buttressing his arguments against transubstantiation and supporting his own views on the Holy Communion in particular with references to ancient teachers such as Chrysostom and Augustine. Whatever one may think about Archbishop Cranmer’s sacramental theories and theology, set forth primarily as a negation of one theory rather than as an establishment of a competing theory, it cannot be said that his views were uninformed by the teachings of the ancient ecclesiastical authors. Indeed, Cranmer’s entire approach to theology was defined as an appeal to primitive Catholicism.

Cranmer’s views on the Eucharist were elaborated by John Jewel, bishop of Salisbury (d. 1571) under Queen Elizabeth I. Roman Catholic controversialists held that since the Church of England had rejected views on the Eucharist held by the Roman Church (the real presence as defined by and equated with an acceptance of transubstantiation) Anglicanism was teaching an absence of Christ in the sacraments. Jewel, in his An Apology of the Church of England (1564; 2002), rejected the teachings of Rome but was very careful to make evident to the reader that Roman Catholic opinions regarding the Anglican position were misunderstandings or distortions of the facts.

"And in speaking thus we mean not to abase the Lord’s Supper, or to teach that it is a cold ceremony and nothing be wrought therein (as many falsely slander us we teach). For we affirm that Christ does truly and presently give himself wholly in his sacraments; in baptism, that we may put him on; and in his supper, that we may eat him by faith and spirit and may have life everlasting by his cross and blood. And we say not, this is done slightly and coldly, but effectually and truly. . . .For Christ himself altogether is so offered and given us in these mysteries that we may certainly know we be flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones; and that Christ continueth in us and we in him. And therefore in celebrating these mysteries, the people are to good purpose exhorted, before they come to receive Holy Communion, to lift up their hearts and to direct their minds heavenward; because he is there by whom we must be full fed and live. Cyril saith, when we come to receive these mysteries, all gross imaginations must quite be banished (Jewel 2002, 34)."

Here Jewel, much in manner and tradition of Cranmer before him, begins a defense of his stance on the Eucharist with the work of not only Cyril, but also the Council of Nicaea, John Chrysostom, and Augustine of Hippo.

In the same work, Jewel questions the rationale by which the Roman Church claims the Church of England to be schismatic by asking why the Roman Church has departed from the ways of the Greek Church, the Church that Jewel claims gave rise to the Roman Church (rather than the other way around, as the Roman Church would claim). We see here a great esteem for the principles of the Orthodox Churches of the East, even though most of the English Reformers and later Anglican divines held the Eastern (or Greek) Church to be corrupt in certain aspects of teaching and devotion (as Article XIX expresses) even though such condemnation is partially due to a misunderstanding of certain doctrines and practices.

"And if these men will needs condemn us for heretics because we do not in all things at their commandment, whom (in God’s name) or what kind of men ought they themselves to be taken for which despise the commandment of Christ and of the apostles? If we be schismatics because we have left them, by what name shall we call them which have forsaken the Greeks, from whom they first received their faith, forsaken the primitive Church, forsaken Christ himself and the apostles, even as children should forsake their parents? For though those Greeks who at this day profess religion and Christ’s name have many things corrupt amongst them, yet hold they still a great many number of those things which they have received from the apostles. They have neither private Masses, nor mangled sacraments (Here Jewel is referring to the Roman practice of withholding the cup in Holy Communion from the laity, a practice in effect in the Latin Rite of the Roman Church until the Second Vatican Council), nor purgatories, nor pardons. . . .Now then, since it is manifest that these men have fallen from the Greeks, of whom they received the Gospel, of whom they received the faith, the true religion, and the church; what is the matter why they will not now be called home again to the same men, as it were to their originals and first founders? (99-100)"

Here it is evident that Jewel sees the Greek Church as holding substantially to the Catholic faith as it was delivered from the apostles to the fathers, and he asks that the Roman Church return to the Greek Church and its principles, rather than forsaking them as “children forsake their parents.” We see in an appeal to the Orthodox East a defense of those things which all the Reformers held in common, namely a return to a common Eucharist, rather than multiple Masses celebrated by multiple priests within the same parish or cathedral, a restoration of the Cup to the laity, a service that was celebrated in the vernacular, and a repudiation of an eschatology that included additions that warranted a system of pardons and indulgences.

Jewel makes clear countless times in his Apology that the teachings he set forth had the backing of the Scriptures and the ancient Church. As the Church historian William Clark (1897) concludes:

"Jewel was. . .inclined to the Protestant side as opposed to the retention of images, vestments, and the like; but he had a clear conceptions of the historical continuity of the Church, and had no notion of the reformed Church being a new sect constructed in accordance with a certain interpretation of the New Testament. In a second sermon at Paul’s Cross, he repeated the statements of his first, maintaining the Catholic character of the English Church, and insisting that the characteristic difference between England and Rome was, that the former was primitive and the latter mediaeval (284)."

Monday, January 01, 2007

Question 13: What is CANA's position on Women's Ordination?

Since I agree substantially with the position espoused below, I've pasted the whole article for your consideration:


From the CANA website...

"Q13. What is CANA’s position on women’s ordination?

CANA recognizes that there are differing theological positions in the Anglican Communion about women in ordained ministry. CANA acknowledges the integrity of those who understand the Holy Scriptures to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood and those who believe the Scriptures prohibit women’s ordination. Archbishop Peter Akinola has stated that there needs to be freedom for CANA to include both perspectives because of its North American character. CANA believes that for the health and well being of the church the particular gifts of women must be freely expressed."

I could rant here about the Covenant between the REC, APA, and CofN and how this could potentially affect that relationship. This will certainly be a difficult hurdle. But instead I thought there are some in depth issues that may need to be called out and that no one seems to be talking about. There is an underlying problem at the heart of the problems that will be faced by these congregations leaving TEC and ultimately by everyone who considers Anglican unity something worth working for. (And before you guess "women's ordination" guess again.)

The underlying problem is that some (not all) of these congregations want to go back to "business as usual" as of June 2003 in TEC. One can't help but wonder if they have stopped to consider how they got to this point of splitting in the first place? I don't believe they have considered the facts that they are coming from a diseased institution and that they can't help but carry some of this disease with them as they leave. Working for realignment in America and establishing missions here are noble goals. But I keep seeing that in CANA, in The Network, and other institutional alignments they seem to always speak of alignment in their own terms and according to their own rules. The rest of us it seems may choose to get on board the bus or choose not to and get left behind. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't these leaders be seeking guidance from those who have gone before them and that are more further separated from the TEC disease? In the case of CANA, why is women's 'ordination' a cultural must have for the fleeing parishes?

To better understand where I am coming from about the disease a simple analysis of the FAQ on the CANA website will help explain. Let's take Question 3 in the FAQ:

What does CANA believe? CANA holds to the traditional formularies of Anglican Christianity. It adheres to “the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as the Lord has commanded in his holy word and as the same are received as taught in the Book of Common Prayer and the ordinal of 1662 and in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion” (quotation from the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria). The Articles of Religion are a statement of faith first adopted by the Church of England during the Reformation and containing strong affirmations of the authority of Scripture. You can find them at page 867 of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. (bold print is my emphasis)

How odd is this? They affirm the 1662 BCP, ordinal, and 39 Articles as the traditional formulary and then direct you to one part of it in the 1979 TEC Prayerbook! Surely they must know the doctrines contained in this prayerbook do not match the 1662 BCP or any of its successors? Do they know that the 1662 Ordinal does not allow for the ordination of women? Did they notice when turning to page 867 that this is a section called "historical documents" which is intended for historical curiosities of the Episcopal Church? Hardly a place to locate one of your formularies! This is the point I think. It is a formulary they don't practically use yet they claim to stand under it. This is evident by the statements they make in other areas. They refer to Scriptures as though they say something different and the unfortunate fact is that if they are using the 1979 Prayerbook, at best it is vaguely similar. This is part of the same disease of the revisionists in TEC prior to 2003: a formula is in writing, but practically they don't use it. Theologically the revisionists are very different but philosophically speaking they are exactly the same when reflecting on what is in this FAQ. (CANA does allow the 1662 and 1928 BCP's to be used but they don't appear to suggest their difference from the '79 book.)

Finally here is the last part of Question 13:
CANA will welcome applications from congregations and female clergy on the same basis as other applications with the expectation that women clergy will be licensed to continue their ministry. Because of the differing positions regarding the ordination of women to the priesthood CANA policies regarding the ordination of new female aspirants will be developed from a biblical and pastoral perspective. This is a matter that is being actively pursued by the CANA clergy and elected lay leadership.

The pastoral question I suppose is if you already have them what do you do with them? All in all though, I think we may be able to find some hope for a good resolve in what is said here. If they truly seek Scripture for guidance and truly want to abide in the Anglican Formularies they will ultimately find that they cannot ordain women to the priesthood.Setting aside for a moment the Tradition and the Holy Scriptures (these are proof enough against it for me), on a very practical level it just doesn't make sense to allow the practice to exist in CANA. Even if there are those who believe that WO is biblicaly acceptable and compatible, the fact still remains that TEC never permitted women's 'ordination' on this basis but instead on the basis of rights and social justice. In other words the intent was skewed from the beginning. Sound familiar?

My feeling is that all of the Common Cause partners need to get this issue behind them by agreeing to ban the practice of 'ordaining' any women in the future. More importantly, I hope and pray that CANA/CofN will recall their Covenant (this is more than just a common cause) with the REC and the APA and recognize that although they may need to respond in a pastoral way to some parochial issues, they cannot decide alone on an issue as big as this. WO began as an innovation without a defined theology. Following the logic of arguments put forth by many CANA congregations about homosexuality, a single institution of the Church cannot decide this for themselves. Covenant partners should and hopefully will weigh heavily in any decision.

Last of all I want to say that this is intended to spark healthy discussion and not to offend. My parish has many families of Nigerian nationality who come from the Church of Nigeria and I hold them up as wonderful examples of Christian men and women in our parish. I have learned much from them. This is partly why I find this so difficult to understand. I would love to expand on this post if I get the opportunity to ask for opinions from some of these Nigerian-born Continuing Anglicans at my parish (or if you are reading please comment!!). Their opinions would be interesting to hear for sure."