Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mainline Episcopal priest(ess) become Muslim, and stays in the Episcopal Church

A friend sent me this story, expecting outrage or a long commentary. My response: "Double yawn with a side of shrug."

In the past I've made it a principle not to dwell on the horrible plight of the mainline churches, only to promote faithful and classical Anglican Christianity. This story does deserve to be noticed, for the shear idiocy of it. That being said, nothing that the bishops and clergy of the mainline Episcopal Church do shocks me any longer. My emotions on that front have been burnt out--my tears are gone, my frustration long since spent. For those not aware of why so many Anglicans have left the mainline body, here's a shining example.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Anglican Shakespeare
by Daniel L. Wright

"Professor Wright's demonstration of the Anglican stance of the writer who called himself Shakespeare--a stance that made Shakespeare, through the history plays, an invaluable Reformation apologist and propagandist for the Crown."

I have to admit first off that I have not read this work--it was published more than a decade ago and I just happened upon it looking for another book on the internet. That being said, I was very happy just to see the title. From time to time I watch EWTN (the Roman Catholic Cable Network started by Mother Angelica), and for the last 10 years or so I've seen writer after writer coming on tauting a new book which declares that the Bard was (oh my goodness!) a closet member of the Church of Rome. What great evidence do these writers provide? I kid you not, but here were two that I recall: "Shakespeare has many of his characters kneeling to pray, and as you know, Protestants don't kneel," or "The very fact that they were praying suggests that they were (Roman) Catholic, because the doctrine of predestination in Calvinism would have made prayer superfluous." I sat with my jaw resting on the floor when I listened to these comments--these writers seemed to know near to nothing about Anglican theology, except that Anglicans were not Roman Catholic. Therefore, the Church of England and its theology was simplified exponentially and the result was (drum roll please) Shakespeare must have been a Roman. You may notice many writers from the Church of Rome doing the same thing now with C.S. Lewis. . .where will it end?

As a related aside, on EWTN years back I watched coverage of John Paul II's visit to predominantly Orthodox lands. Many of the Orthodox bishops and priests held up signs that said "Pope go home." The EWTN commentators and reporters were at a loss--they didn't understand it at all, because they saw Orthodoxy and Rome as nearly identical, except that the Orthodox didn't recognize the Pope as the head of the Church. Again, gross oversimplifications resulted in a complete misunderstanding of the actual situation. These commentators must have read (almost) nothing of the theological and historical differences between East and West from the Orthodox perspective. I wrote a letter to EWTN asking if they'd consider having a practicing Orthodox or Anglican theologian or cleric on to their station to address such oversimplified presentations of non-Roman Catholic Christian bodies. About a year later I received a short reply stating that my suggestion would be taken into consideration.
A tad more on the Article on Predestination and Election

from William Parker's (1913), The Anglican Reformation:

The seventeenth article is not even definitely Augustinian. It may be described as simply Pauline, for there is not a phrase or an expression which does not come, literally or in effect, from the writings of Saint Paul, If it is said that it is patient of an Augustinian or Calvinistic meaning, the simple answer must be that it is susceptible of such a meaning just as the writings of Saint Paul are susceptible, and in no other sense. It is quite clear that the compilers of the Article meant to leave its meaning so far open, neither excluding Calvinists from the ministry of the Church, nor compelling all to be of that way of thinking.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Article XVII

Of Predestination and Election

Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.

As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.

Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

Commentary from Archdeacon Edward Welchman's (1713) The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England:

The truth of this whole article will sufficiently appear to you from the texts of Scripture. . .

But I would desire the reader to observe, that only the grace of election is asserted in it, and that the severity of reprobation is left wholly untouched upon. And here I would advise him to stop, and to restrain his curiosity. For the doctrine of predestination is a profound abyss; in sounding of which, it is but to little purpose for young men to busy themselves. Much less does it become preachers to trouble their auditors about these deep mysteries: they should rather set forth God's promises in general terms, as they are proposed in the Holy Scriptures, and as it is out duty to embrace them.