"Question. How many Sacraments hath Christ ordained in his Church?
Answer. Two only, as generally necessary to salvation; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord."
-From the Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer
"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
-John 6: 53, 54
"There is, likewise, a reason there are no sites with comparable readership [to Stand Firm] that focus primarily on the matter of women's ordination: NOBODY GIVES A S..T "
-Greg Griffith of Stand Firm in Faith
Since Canon Law has ruled, and the formularies of Anglicanism have consistently taught, that two of the sacraments are "generally necessary for salvation," and that only a priest can validly consecrate the bread and wine on the altar to be Christ's Body and Blood, the position we have held to, as traditional Anglicans, requires Holy Orders (and we must consider the importance placed on this by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John). If we have women functioning outwardly in the place of priests and bishops, the sacrament of Holy Orders is not present anymore, and we have no basis for confidence in other sacraments that depend on apostolic validity. All Holy Orders depend on the Apostolic Succession 2, and so a man "ordained" by a woman "bishop" is no priest. Confirmation depends on the office of bishop also.3 Absolution and Holy Communion also depend on the validity of a priest, as does the full grace of anointing for healing.4 We may refer to these as dependent sacraments.
The urgency of this whole crisis has caused two major movements in Anglicanism, namely the Continuum and Forward in Faith. The numbers of both groups combined is counted by hundreds of thousands. It is true that the same people who care about the crisis of women's "ordination" hold to orthodox doctrine about sexual morality also, and therefore care very much about the attack on marriage in the heresy of "same sex blessings," as well as generally abominating the liberal stand on acceptance of homosexuality as a "lifestyle."
Unfortunately, a crop of modern Anglicans has emerged that has no understanding of their Anglican roots. One of our readers, Fr. Laurence Wells, put it this way: "These self styled 'Reassterters' ...know in their hearts they should not call themselves traditionalists or orthodox..." To this I replied, in full agreement:
"They are modern Fundamentalists, Charismatics and Evangelicals. Their ecclesiology and soteriology are completely in line with what the Baptists and Assemblies of God believe. I don't mind that from Baptists and AG people because it is to be expected. I do mind it from people who claim to be Anglicans, because I am tired of everybody who wants to call himself by my family name feeling free to disregard our Catechism, Offices of Instruction and the whole corpus of our formularies. As someone who can say, quite positively, from whence John received authority to baptize, I ask from where these neo-orths receive their authority."
Because they live with the minimal concept of salvation by faith alone, a Baptist and Pentecostal doctrine that is now a cornerstone of neo-Evangelicalism, they throw away the Anglican doctrine quoted above from our Catechism. And, it is only due to the confusion caused by the heresies they long have tolerated, that they can imagine themselves to be, in any way, standing firm in faith. Having lost their center, they have no sense of balance.
They have decided, arbitrarily, what issues are not "salvation issues," and in doing so have demonstrated a genius for protecting their own ignorance. Because they want to proclaim, according to their new version of orthodoxy, that the latest crisis is the only issue dividing Anglicans, one of their spokesmen, also quoted above, has dismissed all of the people of the Continuum and all of the people of Forward in Faith as "nobody." We who, to use his profane expression, "give a s..." do not count, if we exist at all. To defend this ignorance against all assaults of fact and reason, they have established on their own blog a censorship policy. Any comment that draws attention to women's "ordination" will be deleted as "off topic," and the commenter, should he persist in stating the truth, is banned.
Of course, people who are simply wrong find it easier to censor the truth than to refute it. The adolescent minds that excel in copying and pasting the work of genuine reporting, in order to produce their overblown "Stand Firm" blog, make Ezekiel Bulver look like an amatuer. In the process, they are liars.
The realignment movement going on between the Episcopal Church and the Province of the Southern Cone, for example, did not begin over homosexuality. The Forward in Faith bishops set it in motion over the issue of women's "ordination," and bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh only became involved later. The Diocese of San Joaquin realigned in part over the homosexuality crisis, but had begun the process due to the issue of women's "ordination." This is something I have reported, quoting large portions of a speech given by Bishop Jack Iker of Ft. Worth, both here on The Continuum, and in the latest isue of The Christian Challenge.
This is an inconvenient fact for those who want to believe that nobody cares about women's ordination; so don't look for this fact ever to be allowed on Stand Firm. It will not be reported there, and any comment about it will be censored.
Neo-orths believe they are orthodox only because they compare their views to the latest crisis instead of the Traditional doctrine of the Church that has rightly interpreted scripture from ancient times until now. They feel ever so orthodox only because someone else is even worse. In so doing, they may pray "I thank thee God I am not like other men." They reaasert only that portion of Christian doctrine that is easy.
1. We can and do hope that in the Economy of God's grace the grace of the sacrament is present in many places beyond the visible Catholic Church of which we are a part. Just as "baptism by desire" is an approved doctrine since early times, the same desire, that is the heart of faith itself, can be present for feeding on the Living Christ and drinking his blood.
2. This is not extra-biblical doctrine. The pattern is clearly stated in the pastoral Epistles to Timothy and Titus. This will be the subject of a future post.
3. As well as a rite that conforms to the scriptures, that is, laying on hands with prayer. This must state the sacramental Intention.
4. James 5:14. "Let him call for the πρεσβύτερος."