Friday, February 20, 2009

Hooker's Eucharistic theology revisited

The previous post, Richard Hooker on the Communion of Christ's Body and Blood, requires a further analysis. First of all, we need to appreciate the main emphasis that his generation of English Churchmen were placing on the salvatory effect of two sacraments. This is necessary to reestablish in this day and age, particularly in light of the "Reasserter" version of Anglicanism, that does not deserve to be called "Anglicanism" at all. That two of the sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, are "generally necessary to salvation" is a part of Anglican theology that cannot be taken away without toppling the whole structure. Contrary to popular misinformation, Anglicanism has a distinctive theological system, even though that distinctive system is not its own, but only that of the Catholic Church as described in the Vincetian Canon ("That which has been believed everywhere, always and by all." Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est). That some modern people call themselves Anglican, and yet deny the effect of these two sacraments in their soteriology, favoring instead a religion more akin to ultra-Protestant Revivalism (Baptist, Pentecostal, etc.), demonstrates a kind of ignorance from which we must turn away and withdraw ourselves.

On the other hand, while appreciating the emphasis placed by Hooker and his fellow Church of England theologians, it is only to right to give critical analysis with all due respect. In our own time words like "Receptionism" are tossed about, particularly by polemicists, without any understanding of what such a word might indicate, or how it can represent more than one school of thought. To the extent that Hooker was willing to accept the theory that full consecration of the sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood might take place upon receiving the sacrament (which his writing indicates to be the theory he favored), one might call him a believer in Receptionism. I say, "might." The position he took was that we need not bother to argue about when the consecration happens, because the saving effect of the sacrament requires reception. On this point I disagree only with the idea that we cannot see a point in the Holy Communion service when the consecration takes place. More about that later.

Historical context

As I pointed out in the previous post, by the time of the Reformation people had become accustomed to attending church to hear Mass, and they did not receive the sacrament often, if at all. This, in spite of the Apostle's words, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (I Cor. 11:26) He did not say "seldom," but "often." The combined witness of scripture and of history tells us that the Eucharist was offered every Lord's Day, from the beginning of the Church's life, through the persecution by the empire of Rome, and throughout the entire period called "Patristic." This is not a debatable point, but solid fact. Now, inasmuch as St. Paul says "as often," we can take it that he did not mean for his readers to treat that as if he had written "as seldom." Frequent Communion of the laity was an idea first presented, or rather rediscovered, by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. By Hooker's time, during the reign of Elizabeth I, the people were being exhorted to receive the sacrament frequently, and a generation had been taught that they were not there simply to attend or "hear" Mass, but to receive the Holy Communion. To teach this very thing, the Church of England called the service by a Biblical name, "Holy Communion."

As I pointed out, this is why Article XXV says, "The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, have they a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith." You will notice, there is no mention in these words of idolatry. The Article was not directed at some notion that people were worshiping the elevated Host. Rather, the Article was written to teach the people that the main purpose for which the sacrament was established by Christ was that it be received, and that for the salvation of each individual. This is why the Article is not relevant to such things as Benediction services. The men of that day would have, no doubt, objected to such a service; but, again, for them it would have been stepping backwards merely into the High Middle Ages, rather than stepping all the way back to the beginning, and to Christ's purpose. The Article was teaching a positive thing; what the sacrament is for. In our own time, we may allow orderly and proper Eucharistic devotion that may indeed assist the soul of a believer; but in that time it was probably better not to do such things and cause confusion.

If the men of that time, Hooker included, were teaching what some might call "Receptionism," it was nothing like Zwinglianism. It was simply a question about when the elements are endowed with the Real Presence of Christ; also, the Real Presence is a charismatic means to impart to us eternal life. Let us look at the things Hooker affirmed in the context of the chapters we were looking at from Book V of his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.

He affirmed the Real Presence clearly, not vaguely.

He affirmed Eucharistic sacrifice.

He affirmed the charismatic and salvatory effect of the sacrament. This last part depended on a worthy reception, and about that all Catholic believers must agree.

He sent his word and healed them

So, what about Hooker's version of "Receptionism" so-called? On one hand, we may agree that what matters most is that the sacrament be received, and that for its saving effect. It really does not matter when the sacrament is consecrated, that is, at what exact moment in time, as long as we know that we have fed on the Living Christ by the communion of his Body and Blood. And, that at or by the point of reception this has happened, everyone with a Catholic mind must agree.

Nonetheless, we have to abide by a theological principle. The principle I refer to is the power of the word of God. This is a systematic theological principle. By that I mean, it is consistent throughout the whole of scripture.

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." Gen. 1:3

"By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. " Psalm 33: 6

"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Heb. 11:3

When Jesus called the young man back from the dead in Nain, he did so by speaking to him. The people of the town said, "a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people." That is because the word in the mouth of a prophet had the same power as if God spoke it from heaven, and the prophet is the mouth of God.

"If thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth." (Jer.15:19)

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

So too, the word of God in the mouth of a angel. This is why we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation as the feast of the Incarnation. "And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS." (Luke 1:30, 31) These words are not simply a foretelling or prediction, and neither were the words of the prophets; the scriptures had to be fulfilled because once the word had come from the mouth of God, nothing could stop the creative power of that word. When the young man sat up, the people knew that Jesus was at least a prophet, for his word healed the man from death itself, and was filled with the creative power by which heaven and earth were made. (Psalm 107:20)

For this reason, it is consistent with all of scripture, that is, by proper use of systematic theology, to see that when the words of Institution are spoken, the bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the wine becomes the Blood of Christ. How this charismatic wonder takes place we cannot know; but, how can the elements not become the Body and Blood of Christ once his word is spoken over them? For this reason I see the Words of Institution as a moment after which we may no longer doubt that Christ is really Present in the sacrament on the altar.

I acknowledge that Hooker placed the same confidence in the word of God and the creative power of that word; regarding this sacrament, however, he pointed out that the full Words of Institution include "Take, eat..." and "Drink, ye all, of this..." I cannot rule out that this might indicate that upon eating and drinking each Christian who receives finalizes the consecration. However, once "This is my Body...This is my Blood" have been uttered, the creative power of God's word has begun its work.

These matters are not a distinction between "Protestant" and "Catholic" (which is no distinction at all for those who say "Protestant" according to Anglican usage). These are matters of discussion among Catholics, as they were in Antiquity. What we have no room for is a Eucharistic theology that excludes Baptism and the Lord's Supper from the all important topic of salvation, or that makes them into bare signs, or that makes gazing equal to receiving. These sacraments are "generally necessary to salvation."

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am in agreement, total and enthusiastic, with everything you have said here. My favorite point is the one you have made about the moment of consecration at the Dominical words. That simple formula, "And God said" thunders from Genesis 1 right into the Upper Room and over our altars today and until the end of time.

For this reason I have never been wildly enthusiastic about the so-called epiclesis in our Prayer of Consecration. If I had my way, we would return to the form of epiclesis found in the 1549 BCP and repeated in the Scottish liturgy of 1637. An invocation of the Holy Ghost, to be sure, but placed discreetly BEFORE the Dominical Words, to lead into them. That is the holy moment when bells should be rung and all standing should fall down on their faces, the moment when eternity crashes into time and the Word still becomes flesh, when (as Richard Baxter wrote) Christ is willing to be frequently crucified before our own eyes. I have always believed that the EO's are simply out to lunch in their curious notion of consecration by epiclesis.
LKW

Shaughn said...

I've been taught in my current History and Theology of the Eucharist class that in the early church, before it held any status as a religio licitas, much less the official religion of the empire, folks would attend the Mass once a week, receive the sacrament, and take it home with them, enough so that it could be consumed gradually throughout the week. They did this, I gather, because it was dangerously suspicious to be gathering more often.

This practice, at first a pragmatic thing, where the point was to consume the Body of Christ over time, reached the point where it was carried about as a relic of sorts--the best sort of relic, since it wasn't a kerchief that had touched the saint or a bit of the cross, but something that had the value of the Body of Christ. I don't have my hefty course packet with me, but it has several quotes from Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, John Chrysostom, and Gregory the Great teaching that the Eucharist assuredly is the body and blood of Christ. They're not particularly worried about how Jesus gets into the bread and wine or whether He can get out. For them, it seems to me, the Eucharist confers invisible grace because it is really the Body and Blood. To be be blunt, Jesus is present in the bread and wine for them because He has to be. The sacrament is what it is because it logically has to be in order to work, and it's meant to be used. In that sense, I don't find Hooker terribly controversial.

This is all still worlds away from the High Medieval Period, where folks seemed to think it was good enough to look at the Eucharist being elevated above the screen and going about their business--either because they'd become scared of it, rather than empowered by it, or because they didn't much care.

Fr. Wells,

I'm right there with you (and St. Ambrose, for what it's worth) about the Epiclesis. For one, Jesus Himself apparently didn't need one. In my History of the BCP course taught by a certain Bishop in TEC, he's taken time out of the last two courses to remind us how "uneducated" people are who do the bowing and bells during the Words of Institution in the American prayerbook, arguing that the American BCP is designed so that the Invocation / Epiclesis consecrates rather than the Institution. I haven't an effective response beyond thinking to myself, "If it's good enough for Jesus and Ambrose, it's good enough for me." (A little help would be nice, though, if some wise continuing Anglican cleric has studied the matter. :>)

At any rate, this has been a great discussion. When I first read Lawes, Book 5 last summer, I was cheering Hooker on as he listed all the things we could focus on agreeing about the Eucharist. At the time, he lost me when he went on about how the change takes place in the congregant after it's consumed. I think I understand his point better, which might've been obfuscated by the technical language: the Eucharist is designed to be consumed, not simply (or only) fawned over.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...receive the sacrament, and take it home with them, enough so that it could be consumed gradually throughout the week.

Yes. This is clearly stated by Justin Martyr.

At the time, he lost me when he went on about how the change takes place in the congregant after it's consumed.

Not after, but when it is consumed- or that may be what he believed. What we know for sure is that he was certain that it was consecrated at that moment if not before, and that whether or not it was fully consecrated before reception is an academic question that makes no practical difference. This was written, also, in the 16th century when they were emphasizing the need to receive the sacrament as a new idea for many of the people. Indeed, this position (which Hooker really gets from Cranmer) may have seemed the only way to avoid a relapse.

...arguing that the American BCP is designed so that the Invocation / Epiclesis consecrates rather than the Institution...

This fellow needed to read other editions of the BCP, such as the 1549, the 1662, the Scottish BCP. The TEC bishop was just plain wrong.

Canon Tallis said...

There are very few times I find myself in disagreement with the venerable Father Wells, but this is one of them. Our Lord's words were those of His administration. In giving to his apostles and disciples, he told them what had been done by His words of benediction (not recorded) and what they were receiving and why. When we recite them we do so as justification for our action, the action of the Church, as a whole. Further we know that they were not included in every primitive Eucharistic prayer and therefore are not required.

If one reads the old Roman canon carefully it actually has two epiclesis, one before and one after our Lord's words. But one should also be aware that in the clause between our Lord's words (slightly embroidered) the oblation is still referred to as "bread."

I think there is a certain wisdom in Anglicanism not being entirely identified with Western and Latin Christianity and the see of Rome. After all even after the break between Rome and the Eastern Church, there was a Sarum rite church in Constantinople under the authority of the Patriarch for English sailors just as there was also a Benedictine monastery on Mount Athos until the fourteenth century or thereabouts.

It would be well for Anglicans to remember - or to learn if they do not know - that most of the elaborate ceremonial associated with the Dominical Words in the canon, the bells, the multiple genuflections, the censings, are not ancient but an invention of the Italian Renaissance. The older tradition was much more restrained and not at all theatrical. More 'high church' and less 'high camp!'

But the most important thing for all of us to realize is that the Elizabethan Church believed and taught the necessity of the Real Presence and the Eucharistic Sacrifice, but also that the Christian must worthily and devoutly receive the sacrament in order to participate in its benefits. It is these things which we must impress both upon ourselves but also upon all who call themselves "Anglicans."

And, of course, being me, I firmly believe that we have a duty to remind ourselves and others of exactly how the service of Holy Communion was celebrated in the days of Elizabeth I. All those who have read The Zurich Letters should be aware of the complaint of one of Elizabeth's bishops who found himself forced to act as bishop-deacon wearing what he described as "the golden vestments of the papacy" while standing near an altar with a crucifix at a service at which there was to be no sermon. And then there is the testimony of the Puritan historian, Daniel Neale, who asserted that such services were "spectacular and showy" that foreigners would have been unable to tell them from the Roman ones except for the language. Taken together, all of this expresses the very high doctrine of the Eucharist which the Elizabethan Church had and taught and which it is our obligation to imitate and hand over to future generations of English speaking Catholics.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

The remarkable thing is we went through all of those BCPs beforehand, Scottish wee bookies and all.

Canon Tallis said...

Should one remind Shaughn that St Ambrose was not even baptized when he was elected bishop of Milan, and that however clever he was in his later writings, the words of the most primitive liturgies and the earlier bishops and Catholic fathers are probably much closer to the "apostolic doctrine" than was he?

Again I believe it necessary to point to the sequence of words, the description of the oblation, in the earliest versions of what we have come to call the "Gregorian canon.

poetreader said...

The bread and the wine ARE His Body and Blood. They are so, that the Eucharist may be in truth one with the Sacrifice of Calvary and with the eschatalogical feast in Heaven. The Sacrifice which they embody in time is not complete unless eaten and drunk.

These I see as the central and salient points, and long have, but I become very weary (as apparently did Hooker) of interminable inquiries and arguments as to when and how. I think they demonstrate the problem Phillips put in the title of his book: "Your God Is Too Small." We live in a specific moment of time. God does not. He created time and set it in motion. He IS, was, and shall be. I'm conventional in my expression of devotion. I kneel, cross myself, and quietly cry, "My Lord and My God," at the Words. I reverence the Sacrament reserved. I act as though a moment in time really matters -- but I do not consider my temporal perception to define or limit the reality.

Is there any time when Christ is NOT present? Is there any moment when the reality of His Sacrifice is NOT an immediate reality? I think not. The Cross stands at the crux of time, in an eternal and infinite moment which all moments touch.

Has the Lord Himself not spoken His word over the bread and cup long before they were ever made? Is it our speaking that makes His word effectual? Or is it perhaps that by speaking with him and praying in accord with His intent, we enter into what he has already done?

A stufy if historical liturgies doesn't yield a certainty as to Catholic opinion on a moment of consecration, but rather a certainty that consecration actually has occured. Note the treatment in the East of the elements offered before the service, carried in as if already consecrated, but then submitted reverentlky to Our Lord's words, and then to prayer for the Spirit's action. These are things that must be done, and cannot be done all at once by creatures resident in time. The Eastern Liturgies (I'm not talking about controversialist theologizing), while strongly speaking of Presence and Sacrifice, do not specify any specific moment. There's a peculiar thought process in the West also, one rarely expressed, but usually embodied in practice. The wafers manufactured for Eucharist tend to be treated as if they are already something holy, and the historic rubrics called for a very different treatment for 'hosts' after the offertory and before the Canon, than for hosts that had not been offered. Again, historic perception has been less time-bound than that of controversialist theologians.

Thus I think it right to live always as though in the presence of the Sacrament, in church to reverence the unfolding in time of that sacrificial rite, and to receive that which is a revelation in time of Christ's constant feeding of His people.

In attempting to draw attention to the mystical dimesnions of something we often describe rather mechanically, I fear I may lack precision. I hope my words are not too confused.

ed

William Tighe said...

Two books, one theological, the other historical, would do a good deal to clear up some of the confusion and even "Elizabethan mythology" that has been apparent in some of the comments on this thread.

The first is E. L. Mascall's *Corpus Christi*, published originally in 1953 and than in an amplified second edition of 1965: Mascall makes clear his own view that if one is going to search for a "moment of consecration" in the Euchariastic Prayer, than the Words of Institution are as goos a place as any -- but he also admits that the WoI, absent as they were from some very early EPs and in their original context of the Last Supper, were originally "words of administration" rather than "of consecration" (although the added "do this in memory of me" were "instituting words" in the sense that, in the light of the Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection, they gave a wholly new meaning to the blessing of the bread and of the cup). You can find copies of Mascall's book here:

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=mascall&sts=t&tn=corpus+christi&x=44&y=9

The other book, new, frightfully expensive and with illustrative photographs and reproductions is *Altars Restored: the Changing Face of English Religious Worship, c. 1547 - c.1700* by Kenneth Fincham and Nicholas Tyacke (2007):

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=tyacke&bi=0&bx=off&ds=30&sortby=2&sts=t&tn=altars+restored&x=32&y=14

which shows that the ordinary worship practice in almost all English parish churches and even in most cathedrals between ca. 1560and ca. 1620 was far more "puritan" than almost anyone has realized -- the sole exceptions being the Chapel Royal and Westminster Abbey, and than even in the Chapel Royal all vestments save the cope and surplice had disappeared by the mid-60s, that the candles on the Communion Table had been permanently extinguished and removed by the late 60s, and that the crucifix that stood on it had, after various removals, restorations and acts of vandalizations, been removed for good by 1571 (and probably melted down for bullion around 1584).

It ill-becomes any historian to term a book "the last word" or even "the definitive word" on any subject, but "Altars Restored" is a work of such immense erudition and factual detail that it is difficult to imagine how its conclusions about the actual, practical consequences of the Elizabethan Settlement can ever be overthrown -- and it provides interesting, if inconclusive, evidence that what the Queen was after in 1559 was very much a "Lutheran-like" religious settlement, which failed to be achieved because the strength of Catholic opposition in Parliament in 1559 to any breach with Rome made her far more dependent than she had wished on those, both among her clerical supporters and among her close counsellors, whose ideal of "church reform" was exemplified by Zurich (not Geneva).

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Bill:

I am not sure what that is supposed to prove. The removal of many of these things in that period are well-known. But, it does not follow that it was anything more than a reaction. The Catholic Faith of the Church of England was defended by its most able writers, with or without candles, fancy vestments, etc.

Anonymous said...

I would not attempt to name a moment of clock time when the miracle occurs. Some Romans have tried to do, pointing to the split second between "Me + um." I would agree with Hooker that such a discussion is unprofitable.

But I would argue strongly that the Dominical words, which (pace the illustrious Canon Tallis) are more than a mere invitation to "Take, eat." Jesus interrupted the Seder rite in a shocking manner when He said something never said before, "This is my Body." No matter what the original Hebrew or Aramaic omitted, every NT account uses "estin," the verb of ontological reality, rather than the normal colloquial ginetai. Not fixing a clock moment, the Dominical words are the theological center of gravity.

I am familiar with the theory (contrived to placate EO cavils) that the Gregorian Canon has two epicleses. ("We can do you one better!") These being the Hanc oblationem before and the Supra quae after the Dominical words. But fatal to this theory is the fact that neither mentions the Holy Spirit, which the EO's strangely demand.

When Cranmer, in 1549, introduced a reference to the Spirit into his paraphrase of the Hanc oblationem, he cut a theological Gordian knot, blending Western and Eastern concerns. Whether he was aware of this I do not claim to know. But the 1764 innovation of an Eastern style Epiclesis was a bad move. This leads to an almost Pelagian attitude that the consecration is something "We" do, rather than something He did and does. The 1789 American version partly undid the damage by turning it into a "communion" epiclesis rather than a "consecration" eplclesis as the Scottish Nonjurors, in their Eastern fever, had designed.
LKW

Shaughn said...

Canon Tallis,

I've often wondered at St. Ambrose's election and consecration as bishop, but I have little double that he endeavored at filling the role of that office as sincerely and zealously as he could. That speaks more about the powers of the sacraments of baptism and holy orders than it draws into question his position as a bishop, I think.

Earlier liturgies, it seems to me, are fuzzy at best. I'm using Lucien Deiss' Springtime of the Liturgy for my text. The Didache has neither an epiclesis nor the words of institution where it describes the Eucharist. Justin Martyr's Apologia I sounds like the Thanksgiving is the key moment, but he goes on to describe the importance of Christ's Institution.

I'm lately a big fan of Hippolytus of Rome's Anaphora (ca. 215?). In my text, it looks like the earliest form which has the familiar Institution, Anamnesis, Epiclesis, Doxology structure.

All the same, from my point of view, anyway, the words of Christ seem as good a point as any because they're Christ's words, rather than the words of the presbyter.

Having said that, it's not a hill I'm willing to die on because most everyone agrees that at the beginning of the mass, it's bread and wine, and by the end of the mass, it's Body and Blood. That's enough for me, generally speaking, as it seems to have been enough for everyone, Ambrose included, unless they were prodded into a corner.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the fabric of churches in 16th/17th century England is not nearly as horrible as what happened in RC churches after Vatican II. And the post Vat II vandalization was the the expression of theological modernism, far worse than any errors emanating from Geneva or Zurich. Anglican churches enjoyed a restoration in the 19th century; RC churches still have their tacky banners and sound systems. But what does this have to do with the theology of Richard Hooker?
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It becomes easy to appreciate Hooker's position.
One thing I hope none of us will tolerate ever again, is for some Tiber swimmer to present a simplistic case that Anglicanism teaches something called "Receptionism," as if this charge amounts to a denial of the Real Presence. Without relenting my own position (that the word of God must have the power to at least begin the consecration) I guess this entire discussion shows why Hooker was content to stick to the one thing no one could deny. It is a perfectly acceptable Catholic position.

John A. Hollister said...

Shaun mentioned "a certain Bishop in TEC ... [who argues] that the American BCP is designed so that the Invocation / Epiclesis consecrates rather than the Institution."

From the first American BCP of 1789 to the present one (i.e., that of 1928), the American BCPs have actually taught that the consecration takes place somewhere between the commencement of the Words of Institution and the conclusion of the Epiklesis, but carefully does not specify at what moment that transformation takes place.

This teaching is embedded in the Rubric that is currently found on page 83 but which was essentially identical in 1789: "If the consecrated Bread or Wine be spent before all have communicated, the Priest is to consecrate more, according to the Form before prescribed; beginning at, All glory be to thee, Almighty God, and ending with these words, partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood."

While I wish the PECUSA had, in 1789, adopted Bishop Seabury's particular form of the Scottish Epiklesis rather than watering it down as it did, I heartily endorse its studied vagueness about the "magic moment".

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

I'm ready to explore another wrinkle in this essay (and try as I might, I cannot find anything to argue with).

I like this sentence:

"Contrary to popular misinformation, Anglicanism has a distinctive theological system, even though that distinctive system is not its own, but only that of the Catholic Church as described in the Vincetian Canon."

The first part of this needs to be underscored as true and important. We have given so much credence to the slogan "No faith of our own" that it has almost come true in the worst possible way. I have long believed that there is indeed a Body of Anglican Divinity, simply waiting for someone to write it up properly.
(Fr Hart, are you reading?)

No reader here will be surprised to hear that I spend a lot of time poring over heavy volumes of Dutch and German theology. Every page leaves me wondering, (1) why has yet no Anglican risen to the exalted heights of a Barth, Berkouwer, or Bavinck? and (2) how much better Barth, Berkouwer and Bavinck would have been, had they been steeped in the spirituality and thought-forms of the Book of Common Prayer?

I am particularly fascinated with the branch of Dogmatics known as the Ordo Salutis, how the work of Christ on our behalf actually impacts us objectively and subjectively here and now. The great Protestant dogmaticians can write with much learning and insight on Regeneration, Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, Glorification. Yet they are painfully silent about the role of even the two major sacraments in the whole process of salvation. "The Church and Sacraments" are carefully reserved for a special chapter, almost as an embarrassment. "Ecclesiology" is treated as the mad woman in the attic in Protestant theology, even at its best.

An Anglican Kirkliche Dogmatik (the one crying to be written) would and COULD balance and integrate the doctrine of salvation and the doctine of the Church. It would not only affirm Baptismal Regeneration but would carefully explore what Regeneration is. (Many stout defenders of BR are not prepared to say what regeneration is.)

In another recent comment I pointed out that every single party in the 16th century controversies claimed the support of the Church Fathers. A case can be made that Hooker, Jewel, Andrewes had the very best case for their claim. This was because they remained centered on the two poles of the Trinity and the Incarnation, but moreover, their theology was so largely expressed in the language of common prayer. They had in the Articles of Religion a "confession of faith" quite similar to the splendid confessions which the Continentals wrote with such gusto. But in the Book of Common Prayer they had a strong link with the ancient Church which the Continentals simply did not have. The liturgical theology contained in the BCP was then and still is the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price, which is both the glory and the burden of Anglicanism.
LKW

Brian Gold said...

I'm holding out hope that someday a classical Anglican equivalent of the RCC's excellent Catechism--which is both detailed and accessible--will emerge.

Anonymous said...

One criticism of the post. The Article about the purpose of the sacrament was surely aimed at the common Medieval practice of non-communicating masses and the general substitution of eucharistic adoration at the Elevations or in Benediction and Exposition or Eucharistic Processions. The Article also justified canons prohibiting (or not) the later as patient of error, depending on circumstances.

Thus, to the extent that certain Anglo-Catholic shrine churches attempt to copy the medieval error of substituting eucharistic adoration for communion, a Bishop would be justified by the Article in taking corrective action. Those parishes, however, that keep eucharistic adoration moderate, restrained, and as a supplement to frequent prepared communion, would not be in contravention of the Article.

The Articles, then, while definitely not are hardly Calvinist, now are they!