Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lancelot Andrewes on Holy Communion and Theosis

This Christmas I began a tradition I plan to continue, posting the sermons for that blessed Holy Day that were written by Lancelot Andrewes, a father of Anglicanism. The one I started with was the one he preached before King James in 1605. Near the end, Andrewes wrote:


Farther, we are to understand this, "that to whom much is given, of them will much be required;" and as St. Gregory wells saith,
Cum crescunt dona, crescunt et rationes donorum, "As the gifts grow, so grow the accounts too;" therefore, that by this new dignity befallen us, Necessitas qu dam nobis imposita est, saith St. Augustine, "there is a certain necessity laid upon us" to become in some measure suitable unto it;
in that we are one--one flesh and one blood, with the Son of God. Being thus "in honour," we ought to understand our estate, and not fall into the Psalmist's reproof, that we, "become like the beasts that perish." For if we do indeed think our nature is ennobled by this so high a conjunction, we shall henceforth hold ourselves more dear, and at a higher rate, than to prostitute ourselves to sin, for every base, trifling, and transitory pleasure. For tell me, men that are taken to this degree, shall any of them prove a devil, as Christ said of Judas? or ever, as these with us of late, have to do with any devilish or Judasly fact?

Shall any man, after this "assumption, be as "horse or mule that have no understanding,' and in a Christian profession like a brutish life? Nay then, St. Paul tells us further, that if we henceforth "walk like men," like but even carnal or natural men, it is a fault in us. Somewhat must appear in us more than in ordinary men, who are vouchsafed so extraordinary a favour. Somewhat more than common would come from us, if it but for this day's sake.

To conclude; not only thus to frame meditations and resolutions, but even some practice too, out of this act of "apprehension." It is very agreeable to reason, saith the Apostle, that we endeavour and make a proffer, if we may by any means, to "apprehend" Him in His, by Whom we are thus in our nature "apprehended," or, as He termeth it, "comphrended," even Christ Jesus; and be united to Him this day, as He was to us this day, by a mutual and reciprocal "apprehension." We may so, and we are bound so; vere dignum et justum est. And we do so, so oft as we do with St. James lay hold of, "apprehend," or receive insitum verbum, the "word which is daily grafted into us." For "the Word" He is, and in the word He is received by us. But that is not the proper of this day, unless there be another joined unto it. This day Verbum caro factum est, and so must be "apprehended" in both. But specially in His flesh as this day giveth it, as this day would have us. Now "the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body, of the flesh, of Jesus Christ?" It is surely, and by it and by nothing more are we made partakers of this blessed union. A little before He said, "Because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, He also would take part with them--may not we say the same? Because He hath so done, taken ours of us, we also ensuing His steps will participate with Him and with His flesh which He hath taken of us. It is most kindly to take part with Him in that which He took part in with us, and that, to no other end, but that He might make the receiving of it by us a means whereby He might "dwell in us, and we in Him." He taking our flesh, and we receiving His Spirit; by His flesh which He took of us receiving His Spirit which He imparteth to us; that, as He by ours became consors humanae naturae, so we by His might become consortes Divinae naturae, "partakers of the Divine nature." Verily, it is the most straight and perfect "taking hold" that is. No union so knitteth as it. Not consanguinity; brethren fall out. Not marriage; man and wife are severed. But that which is nourished, and the nourishment wherewith they never are, never can be severed, but remain one for ever. With this act then of mutual "taking," taking of His flesh as He has taken ours, let us seal our duty to Him this day, for taking not "Angels," but "the seed of Abraham."

Following the lead of those who had come before, most notably Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and later, Richard Hooker, Andrewes placed before his hearers the importance of frequent Communion, and the salvatory effects of faithful reception. In this passage of his sermon, and not without influence from his well-known association with the Greek Orthodox of his day, he spoke of salvation in terms of theosis (Θέωσις), as expressed most simply and directly in the Second Epistle of St. Peter (part of which he has quoted in the above portion):

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 1

In quoting this phrase, Andrewes has tied it in with the theology so simply expressed by St. Athanasius: "God became man so that man might become divine." 2

This mystical theology of the sacrament of Holy Communion is rooted firmly in the Incarnation, and in God's eternal purpose of our salvation in Christ with its ultimate end, glorification of the elect ("elect" as a Biblical word, ἐκλεκτός- eklektos ). So writes St. Paul to the Church in Rome:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 3

To understand what is meant by saying that God makes all things work together for good, we need to consider the Greek word used, which is ἀγαθός (agathos), which indicates a thing that is good, laudable, useful or worthy. The promise is not that those who love God will have all things go their way, and certainly not in the context of a mortal life that must fall to a final illness or injury, or at last simply exhaust and so end. The promise is that those who love God, "called according to his purpose" are transformed into the very people who fulfill that purpose. This takes us back to that Second Epistle of Peter: "brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure." 4 What is that calling? It is a calling to holiness, or, to become saints. God's purpose in his saints, that is, all of us who are in Christ and called to become saints (or holy), requires transformation that comes only by his grace. The end is a share in immortality and glory as creatures whose love for God is perfected, and who cannot die. The elect are called to become holy, and then justified freely by God's grace, and their end is to be glorified (δοξάζω, doxazō).

This end begins with the Incarnation of the Word. The writer to the Hebrews tells us, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." 5 To say that he was a partaker of flesh and blood, is the same as saying, "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." 6 The writer to the Hebrews, where we see the word "partakers," uses a word that means "fellowship" (κοινωνέω, koinōneō from κοινωνία, koinōnia). Our flesh and blood nature is not ours alone, but shared with the whole human race; and so, the Word who is eternally one with the Father and Holy Spirit has entered that fellowship, our fellowship.

It is that same fellowship to which each of us are called, and in which we live out our life in the Church. So, St. John wrote:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship (κοινωνία) with us: and truly our fellowship (κοινωνία) is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 7

This fellowship between God and man is possible only because Christ has taken fellowship with us. Yes, taken, in keeping with Andrewes' emphasis of being "apprehended" of Christ, in his sermon drawn from the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. He took fellowship with man, for it was not his by Nature, that is his uncreated eternal nature as the only begotten of the Father, to have fellowship with man. As the Word who is God and equal to the Father, he mediated 8 for us by taking fellowship with us, taking our nature into his Person as the Word (λόγος). He took fellowship with our sins, not by staining himself with sin, but by dying. For, death is the fruit of sin, and so the Righteous and sinless Son of God bore our sins by taking our death, for death has come to man only by sin. 9

In return, the Risen Christ gives us the nature of God's own children.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 10

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. 11

So, Andrewes has reminded us, "in that we are one--one flesh and one blood, with the Son of God...Because He hath so done, taken ours of us, we also ensuing His steps will participate with Him and with His flesh which He hath taken of us. It is most kindly to take part with Him in that which He took part in with us, and that, to no other end, but that He might make the receiving of it by us a means whereby He might 'dwell in us, and we in Him.'"

When we say that two sacraments are "generally necessary to salvation." we need to understand salvation as both eternal and as current, a state into which we are called even now, in this life, to be the children of God, to have the new identity given us in our baptism paramount in our hearts and minds, and practical as lived in our daily lives. Our calling and election are to be made sure by living in this world as God's own children adopted in the Son. We need to see it as eternal, so that we never lose hope. The end of our salvation is that thing Paul called "glorification," and that Peter has held out to us in the words, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." When he says "partakers" he uses also that word (κοινωνός), meaning, therefore, that we have fellowship with the Divine Nature as our blessed hope, the promise set before us of eternal life in Christ. Fellowship with the very nature of God is the grace given to us in Christ, adopted as children. The nature that is planted in us, as we apprehend that for which Christ apprehended us, cannot die. It is inherently immortal; it cannot sin; it is inherently holy. This is the ultimate grace to be experienced in the resurrection of the dead, in the world to come.

When Andrewes says, "It is most kindly to take part with Him in that which He took part in with us, and that, to no other end, but that He might make the receiving of it by us a means whereby He might 'dwell in us, and we in Him,'" it is obvious that he means to draw our attention to the Prayer of Humble Access, and therefore to the Sacrament:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ. 12

What is "communion?" It is fellowship, for St. Paul uses that same word κοινωνία (koinōnia). Andrewes draws our attention to the communion, that is, the fellowship, that saves us, and gives us eternal life as we partake of the food and drink of eternal life, that is, as we have fellowship with Christ physically by eating and drinking, and through this means fellowship with the One who took fellowship with our nature, and through death restored us to fellowship with God when he rose again.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 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. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 13

So we pray before receiving the sacrament of this communion, that is to say, fellowship:

But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his Body, and our souls washed through his most precious Blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen. 14

The promise of Jesus speaks of his presence in this life, that is, fellowship (or communion) with him; and of his salvation in the life to come, by fellowship (or communion) with him: "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day...He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."

We know from the Law of Moses that death itself is unclean, and that leprosy was unclean as well, In the Gospels Jesus touched a leper and made him clean. Normally, by the Law only the reverse would have been true. Whatever comes into contact with uncleanness is made unclean.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 15

But, when Christ touched the leper, the leper was healed of his unclean disease. 16 When Christ took fellowship with our sin through death, and was himself dead for the space of three days, he reversed the uncleanness of our death, and of our sin. Our sinful bodies will be made clean by his resurrected body, cleansed from the unclean state of death on the Last Day; our souls are washed through his most precious blood from all guilt of sin.

By tying all of these things together; the Incarnation, Christ's partaking of our nature, our partaking of his body and blood, our partaking of his divine nature, with "the receiving of [the sacrament of communion with his Body and Blood] by us a means whereby He might 'dwell in us, and we in Him,'" Lancelot Andrewes unlocks the glorious mysteries of God's grace in the sacrament. He unlocks for modern readers, especially those who are not scholars, the deeper meaning of Cranmer and Hooker who were before him, who emphasized "the communion of the blood of Christ...the communion of the body of Christ."

Modern readers, especially those who have been unaware of the original Greek New Testament, have mistaken the word "communion" for something that places the Real Presence of Christ a step away from us, as it were. Instead, this same word that speaks of the fellowship of the Eternal Son with the flesh and blood he took into His own Person, brings us as close as possible; it puts us in Christ and Christ in us. We are joined to His Divine Nature as he joined His uncreated Person to our created nature. It cannot get closer than this. That is Real presence in the sacrament.

Communion, fellowship, with His Body and Blood is all about the glorious hope of our calling and election: He took our created nature, so that we may take his body and blood, and so we partake of his Divine Nature.

1. II Pet. 1:4

2. St. Athansius, On the Incarnation.

3. Romans 8:28-30

4. 1:10

5. Heb. 2:14

6. John 1:14

7. I John 1:1-4

8. I Tim. 2:5

9. Study Romans 5 and Isaiah 53

10. John 1:12-14

11. Romans 8:15,16

12 I Corinthians 10: 16

13. John 6:47-58

14. Prayer of Humble Access, Holy Communion, Book of Common Prayer

15 Haggai 2:11-13

16.Matt. 8:1-3

124 comments:

Anonymous said...

While many are anxious to mention that Andrewes was interested in Eastern Orthodox theology, it is not so commonly appreciated that he held and taught a distinctly Reformed view of Justification, arguing strenuously for the necessity of imputed righteousness and the inadequacy of inherent righteousness. See his biography by Arthur Tozer Russell and the magisterial study by Bishop Allison, The Rise of Moralism. Andrewes devoted an important sermon to Justification, and Bp Allison provides a wealth of quotations from other writings of Andrewes to prove this.
LKW

Anonymous said...

Whoah, that was a supremely edifying post. It's so good to see that high Eucharistic theology run through our tradition.

Thanks, Fr. Hart.

St. Worm

Anonymous said...

Going back to the Sermon itself, these words are notable:

"Verily, it is the most straight and perfect "taking hold" that is. No union so knitteth as it. Not consanguinity; brethren fall out. Not marriage; man and wife are severed. But that which is nourished, and the nourishment wherewith they never are, never can be severed, but remain one for ever."

Perhaps this has some slight degree of relevance to our recent discussion of whether eternal life given in regneration is only a temporary gift. When Andrewes wrote "never are, never can be, but remain one for ever," was he serious or just kidding?

It is remarkable that thee Sermon makes much use of Scripture but less of the Fathers. I did note one citation of Pope Gregory the Great, but I do not find him using the term "Theosis."
If I did not catch something, please point it out.
LKW

Joe Oliveri said...

Fr. Wells is of course absolutely correct. If there are any Anglicans out there who agree with Trent regarding justification and merit, that would be news to me.

Stephen Cooper actually referred to this very point of doctrine -- i.e., imputed righteousness -- as one of the "bulwarks of traditional Anglicanism" in an article he wrote for VirtueOnline last year.

Offhand I am not aware of the Orthodox view of this controversy. Wikipedia has this account; but as this is Wikipedia, one cannot vouch for the article's accuracy.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Wells,

Wow, had I known that about Andrewes I wouldn't have ever even picked up the heretic to read his stuff. Thanks for the warning!

LOL! Just kidding. Sola Fide along with the Imputed Righteousness of Christ is wholesome catholic teaching -- it should threaten no good Anglican. :)

Blessings.

St. Worm

Shaughn said...

Debates over the 39 Articles are, of course, much ado about nothing for us in the ACC. They're not in the Affirmation of St. Louis. They're not in the Canons or Constitution of the Church, that I'm aware. They have no binding authority or particular importance outside of historical curiosity for the more scholarly among us.

I don't see wriggling around with the 39 Articles as any more useful than wriggling around with the 42 Articles or the 6 Articles or the 10 Articles, to be perfectly honest, except that it has the dubious honor of being the last set of them. For what it's worth, I'll gladly reaffirm the Affirmation.

Peace.--S.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn:

I disagree completely.

The 39 Articles do not need specific mention in the Affirmation, because the Book of Common Prayer is affirmed. Your idea is like saying that our belief in the Bible says nothing about our belief in the Book of Ezekiel. Sorry, but it is included, and the 39 Articles are part of the Book of Common Prayer.

Personally, I am bound by the 39 Articles. I am an Anglican.

Shaughn, read E.J. Bicknell's book and learn from it. Read my essays on the Articles, especially the oft misunderstood Article XXV.

Fr. Wells:

Andrewes used II Pet. i:4, and in so doing not only made direct reference to Theosis, but gave it a good sound English Reformed, Catholic and Evangelical meaning consistent with sacramental theology.

As for people who want us to move either toward Rome or toward Constantinople, I prefer to move in no direction at all. Trying to open again the ecumenical discussions with both, however, as the proper representatives of Anglicanism is another matter. That I would like to see, with no sense of needing to "join" either one.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn:

I should have given a link to a specific essay. The most confusion out there about the Articles is confusion about the meaning of Article XXV, and if you read the essay at this link, it may help you begin a new and better study.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Hart,

The 39 Articles are in fact not considered part of the BCP properly speaking, as is made clear in references to both listing them separately in authoritative Anglican documents, such as the Solemn Declaration of 1896 in the Canadian 1962 BCP. Authorisation of the BCP is thus not automatically authorisation of the Articles. Archbishop Haverland's book makes their non-binding nature clear also.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kirby,

I was reviewing my OLD copy of Bishop Haverland's "Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice" -- and there he appeals to a few of the Articles to say what the Anglican position is on something. I don't doubt your words, but can you point me to the proper text on this? I too don't believe they are binding as say the Nicene Creed is, but aren't they "standard" guidelines for Anglican faith and practice too?


Your ACC brother,

St. Worm

Anonymous said...

Those who argue that the 39 Articles are "not really a part of the Prayer Book" have not come to grips with the Preface printed on pages v and vi, which make it clear that the American Church is "far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine." The Articles and indeed the Homilies are explicitly cited in this Preface. This Preface (which I read aloud from time to time) is a monument of English prose. Would that we could write in that grand style today!
LKW

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart: Sorry, but II Peter 1:4 does not contain "theosis" either. It says we will be partakers of the Divine nature.

As for the text in question, well, John Calvin used it twice in the Institutes, with no indication of discomfort or embarrassment. Would you conclude that he was trying to smuggle in EO soteriology? Obviously that would be ridiculous. So the use of this text does not prove much for anyone else.

The term theosis is not found in the New Testament or even in the Arndt & Gingrich Lexicon of NT and Early Christian Greek. I question its appropriateness in the title to your essay, as it insinuates a degree of EO influence which may not really be in Andrewe's Sermon.

I have no problem with the term theosis itself. Responsible theologians have discerned that the EO concept, rightly understood, is hardly distinguishable from the Reformed doctrine of progressive sanctification.

But when a theologian is clearly and explicitly committed to a Reformed view of Justification as God's forensic declaration that those united to Christ by faith are in fact righteousness, his view of salvation is light years away from EO or RC synergism. It is seriously mistaken to claim otherwise.
LKW

RC Cola said...

Frequent communion is the way to go. I prefer it daily, but unfortunately live in an area where I cannot enjoy such a privilege anymore.

So, as one who is suffering from the lack, I encourage those of you who are in prime locations, to make the most of receiving communion, take every opportunity to do so. You will quickly realize how precious the Eucharist is, and if you ever have to move away from an active parish, you will, like I do, the pain of separation from a loved one.

RC Cola
"conat"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Kirby:

I said they are binding on me, and I say that because I have studied them intently. Of course, they cannot be binding internationally everywhere, if only because they are not uniform in every country (the U.S. version omitted Article XXI for reasons stated in the empty void-giving it an interpretation); if only because the original English version is quite definitely British-English, politically, in terms of the State; if only because, by "binding" in the proper sense of the word when applied to them (involving an oath), there is a necessary mix of Church and State. In that legal sense they are not binding.

But, yes, they are part of the Book of Common Prayer, certainly the editions mentioned specifically in the Affirmation. They are not among mere appendages. And their doctrine most certainly amounts to a summary of early Formularies. That doctrine is a necessary guide to Anglican thought.

The problem is that no longer can they be read without commentary, using only the plain meaning of the words. That is because English has shifted (as languages do), and without the help of such guides as E.J. Bicknell, they are often hard to be understood, and easily twisted and distorted even by honest men. But, with guides such as Bicknell, their theology is most certainly binding if we call ourselves Anglicans.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells:

What exactly is the EO doctrine of salvation, and how does it differ? Must it differ? Is it really, as their worst thinkers insist, so different from "the West?" In my experience, if you want three Orthodox opinions on doctrine or practice, all you need is two, maybe even one, member of an Orthodox Church.

Fr Hart: Sorry, but II Peter 1:4 does not contain "theosis" either. It says we will be partakers of the Divine nature.

So, instead of the word we have the definition. I quoted the Pauline equivalent: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Romans 8:28-30

And, before you trash all things EO, read a bit of the works of my brother, David Bentley Hart, or the excellent Biblical scholarship of Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon. The EO have some bad theologians too, but so do Anglicans and Roman Catholics. I think you have come across the worst; so, now read some of the best. I know the kind you are critical of, and I criticize them for creating false distinctions between "east and west."

I stand by what I said before, however; I do not want to go in either direction. We don't need to.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart writes:

"In my experience, if you want three Orthodox opinions on doctrine or practice, all you need is two, maybe even one, member of an Orthodox Church."

Clearly there is something wrong in that picture.

"The EO have some bad theologians too, but so do Anglicans and Roman Catholics. I think you have come across the worst; so, now read some of the best."

It is of course obvious that my reading in EO literature is not extensive. My overall impression is formed from carefuly reading of two books by Kallistos Ware and the catechetical materials of Fr Thomas Hopko. I have read a few articles by Fr Reardon and by Franky Schaeffer (the latter of whom I do not respect at all). Bp Ware's presentation is the one I would consider (am I in error?) to be the most balanced and centrist. I have also read Demetrios J. Constantelos essay "The Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: An Orthodox View." (Can I respect a bunch of people who cannot even agree on the Canon of Scripture?)
I also happened upon a small book by a ROCOR priest (that's the jurisdiction that our recent banquet speaker belongs to--a group not exactly in communion with mainsream Orthodoxy) who said that all baptisms not done by immersion are invalid and charitably suggested that Protestants are devil-worshippers. That's about all I have read.

Why do you feel that your brother's view of Orthodoxy is the definitive one?
LKW

Anonymous said...

"The 39 Articles are in fact not considered part of the BCP properly speaking,"


As far as that is concerned, neither is the Ordinal nor The Psalter.
LKW

Paleologos said...

There is a difference between the idea of "forensic" declaration of righteousness and the doctrine of theosis. Theosis does indeed include the necessity of cooperation, of ascetic struggle, in order to make one more malleable and more open to the operation of the uncreated energy of God, which energy transforms the soul. It's not a legal fiction, but a true healing of the illness of sin. There's a good discussion of theosis in Fr. Michael Pomozansky's "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology", and especially in Lossky's "Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church".

Anonymous said...

Every person I've come across who is uncomfortable with "theosis" roots that discomfort in a misunderstanding that the creature/creator distinction is somehow obliterated. I too would reject such a doctrine if it meant something akin to Mormonism or Pantheism or Monism. But the glorious reality is that our transfiguration makes us by grace what God is by nature -- what else is it to participate in this?

Ludwig Ott does a splendid job on the Roman Catholic side explaining theosis from a Western POV. Sanctification, Glorification, Theosis: these are the same terms reaching to explain the same reality, IMHO.

Blessings!

St. Worm

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells

I never said David's work is the definitive work on Orthodox theology; I said you would do well to read some of the best of their theologians. He is one of the best contemporary Orthodox theologians, and mostly because he is rooted in the past. And, he is not taken with this silly new wave of anti-western non-sense.

David Gould said...

LKW you are incorrect in regard to ROCOR. ROCOR was instituted by the samed Patriarch St. Tikhon who saw the Catholicity of our Book of Common Prayer, and who but for the Russian Revolution and his own untimely death, may perhaps have advanced Orthdox-Anglican union even further. ROCOR was canonically conceived because of the inability of Russian bishops, priests and laity in the diaspora to have any confidence in dealings with a Church at home in Russia that was so controlled by the Bolsheviks.

ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate entered into reunion negotiations more than 10 years ago, and ROCOR is now an inseparable part of the Moscow Patriarchate, and is not as you imply some kind of schismatic sect.

Here in Australia in the 1920's and 30's and again in the 50's after the Russian emigration from Communist China, Anglicans gave shelter and provided altars to the ROCOR clergy until they established their own parishes.

In regard to Eastern theology, there is within Orthodoxy diversity amongst theologians, and Bishop Kallistos Ware whom LKW quotes is certainly on the far-left of modernist Orthodox bishops, and there are many wonderful Orthodox theologians.

I do not see any gulf between Orthodox views of salvation and Anglican views. I see differences of emphasis but no gulf that cannot be bridged by charity, good will and respectful dialogue.

Anonymous said...

"There is a difference between the idea of "forensic" declaration of righteousness and the doctrine of theosis."

I should certainly say so.

"Every person I've come across who is uncomfortable with "theosis" roots that discomfort in a misunderstanding that the creature/creator distinction is somehow obliterated."

I believe that is accurate. The people who helped me grasp "theosis" were a young Calvinist professor by the name of Byron Chapel ad a Baptist theologian by the name of Rakestraw. Byron explained on the Warfield Forum that the EO distinction between essence and energies dovetails with the Reformed distinction between the incommunicable and commnicable attriutes of God. Theosis therefore equals sanctification plus glorification. Rakestraw develops the idea of the restoration of the Image of God in Man as we are progressivley redeemed.

This is all very nice, but it does not come to grips with God's decisive pardon and categorical acceptance of sinners who look to Christ in faith.
Theosis not grounded on the bedrock of Justification is no Gospel at all, but merely a religion. It is like the Mona Lisa with the face ripped out. The publican does not go down to his house "justified" but only nagged with moral advice. If synergistic religion is right, then we are all lost and without hope.
LKW

Anonymous said...

"I see differences of emphasis but no gulf that cannot be bridged by charity, good will and respectful dialogue."

Like the kind they had during the Conciliar period? The homoiousians would surely have agreed.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells wrote:

Theosis not grounded on the bedrock of Justification is no Gospel at all, but merely a religion.

Amen: "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Rom. 8:30

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

First, I apologize for the delay in responding. Second, I apologize for posting this under the wrong thread, which explains why I didn't respond to this thread sooner. Mea Culpa.

Now! I've read Bicknell's book, and I've read your posts. They're quite good, and I appreciate the effort made to understand them. They are part of Anglican tradition, history, and identity, to be sure. They make the History major in me very happy. That does not make them especially binding on those of us in the ACC, unless somebody has graduated from Oxford or Cambridge recently, which, I think, still requires a pledge of obedience to them. There are even parishes which have removed that part from the BCP(!). If the Articles' role isn't an explicitly clear point in the ACC, it really needs to be.

Incidentally, folks are using some specious logic here.

Fr. Hart wrote,

"The 39 Articles do not need specific mention in the Affirmation, because the Book of Common Prayer is affirmed. Your idea is like saying that our belief in the Bible says nothing about our belief in the Book of Ezekiel. Sorry, but it is included, and the 39 Articles are part of the Book of Common Prayer."

Very simply, the New Testament makes direct reference to Ezekiel. It does not, so far as I'm told, directly reference, say, Bel and the Dragon, which is an apocryphal text. Accepting the Bible implicitly suggests affirming Ezekiel because it is a canonical book referenced in the New Testament. Otherwise, we're sporting a peculiar kind of Marcionism, which I naturally don't accept.

Likewise, the Psalter is utilized as part of the rubric of Morning and Evening Prayer found in the BCP proper. It is, therefore, a convenience,and its status is affirmed by its use, but it is not properly part of the BCP.

Now, some important points.

a) The 1549 BCP had neither a psalter, nor 39 Articles. Were the folks using it Anglican? You bet.

b) The 1552 BCP had neither a psalter nor 39 Articles. Were the folks using it Anglican? You bet.

c) The 1559 BCP had neither a psalter nor 39 Articles. Were the folks using it Anglican? You bet.

My word! Three editions of Prayerbooks, and no Articles and no Psalter. The Articles didn't come out until 1563. Horrors! They weren't printed in the BCP until 1571. Gads! The Psalter wasn't added until 1662! Whatever will we do?

We'll not do much of anything, I suspect, because while the Articles are important, my identity as an Anglican isn't based on a litmus test of my acceptance of the Articles. By the logic in play, Thomas Cranmer wasn't an Anglican. Poor fellow!

I have Scripture. I have the Fathers. I have the Affirmation. I have the Prayerbook. I do not need to writhe around with the archaisms in the Articles to be an Anglican, though I do appreciate them.

Two points of inquiry about the Canons and Constitution: 1) Is the BCP part of the Canons and Constitution in the ACC in the same way that it is in the Episcopal Church? I wouldn't think so, but I don't know. (They carefully exclude the Historical Documents from that binding authority, for what it's worth.) My copy of the Canons are some 8 hours' drive away at home, as I'm deep in Eastern North Carolina at the moment.

2) Do the Canons & Constitution directly reference the Ordinal? I wouldn't be surprised if they did in the juicy bits about ordinations.

3) Again, what do our brothers and sisters in the U.K. use for their BCP, since the 1662 isn't canonically allowed? I'd guess the Missal. But could they be using the 1549, which has no Articles, or even an Ordinal? Heaven forbid!

Veriword: "Subscrou."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

(1549 included this: "Then Psalmes in ordre as they bee appointed in the Table for Psalmes, except there be proper psalmes appointed for that daye.")

First of all, I believe that a rejection of the 1662 would have to be due to flawed thinking. If a blanket rejection of the book were really the case, I would gladly propose correction of that flaw from the correct floor. It represents the kind of Anglo-Catholicism I do not believe in. Of course, the 1662 is not a directly relevant issue outside of England (and maybe Australia?).

What had not been approved, however, is the Canon of consecration, and that merely in favor of using the 1549 instead. No question about it, the 1549 Holy Communion is better (and has no "Black Rubric"-although the "Black Rubric" is only a problem because a genuine understanding of it requires a very extensive education that only a small number have. It is perfectly in accord with Catholic doctrine, but the average Christian who engages in Common Prayer will glean a wrong message from it). For Morning and Evening Prayer, visitation of the sick, etc. I would use the 1662 BCP quite gladly, were I in England; especially the Confession and Absolution in the visitation of the sick.

But, the Book of Common Prayer Affirmed at St. Louis was two editions, the 1928 American and the 1962 Canadian. These contained everything. The logical extension is to make these two editions the international standard, with necessary adjustments for the other countries. What does that mean?

It means a Holy Communion service modeled more after the 1549 than the "stripped model" in the 1662 (as the Scots did), and everything else; Psalter, Ordinal, and Articles of Religion.

Shaughn, is there something in the Articles that you think we ought to object to, even after your reading of Bicknell? If so, what could it possibly be? If so, let's discuss whatever it is you find to be against Catholic faith. If nothing, then accept your Anglican heritage gladly, Articles and all.

Rejecting a classic BCP, relegating the Articles to a diminished status; these things are not in, if I may say it, the spirit of St. Louis.

David Gould said...

Fr.Hart in Australia the only normative BCP has been 1662. In my view the ACC should make the 1549 mass the definitive mass as it clearly is the best of the reformed masses with greater fidelity to the Fathers.

Anonymous said...

When people begin complaining about the status of the Articles, I figure that one of four considerations drives their argument. (1) They have a problem with the classical orthodoxy (the so-called "Ecumenical Consensus") of Articles I through VIII; or (2) they are uncomfortable with the robust Augustinian doctrines of Articles IX through XIX (the boundaries here are somewhat fluid); or (3) in a fashion reminiscent of Quakers and Baptists, they are allergic to Creedal statements of any sort, or (4) they are just repeating a threadbare cliche.

I once engaged a former CC priest now prominent in the Anglican Use Society who actually said "there is not a single statement in the Articles which is not subject to contradiction." I pointed out to him the opening salvo of Article I, "There is but living and true God."

Shaughn, my dear son in the faith and FB buddy, it will not do simply to treat the Articles as a whole in a cavalier and dismissive fashion. Let's deal with them seriatim and take one line at a time and then you tell us which ones you object to.

LKW

Admittedly, there are some blasts of 16th century polemic there. They did not have "tone police" in those days, laus Deo. But like the Imprecatory Psalms, strong men can take such things in stride.

Anonymous said...

Shaughn writes:

"a) The 1549 BCP had neither a psalter, nor 39 Articles. Were the folks using it Anglican? You bet.

b) The 1552 BCP had neither a psalter nor 39 Articles. Were the folks using it Anglican? You bet.

c) The 1559 BCP had neither a psalter nor 39 Articles. Were the folks using it Anglican? You bet."

And guess what is missing from all three! The Affirmation of St Louis.
Criticising three documents all published before the Articles existed on this basis aint exactly cricket.
LKW

Anonymous said...

David, from your Australian perspective you probably do not understand that for those attending the St Louis Church Congress, especially the laity, the most powerful emotion was loyalty to the 1928 American Prayer Book. Had your proposal been offered at St Louis, it would not have been welcome. Had the ACC gone that route 30 years ago, we would never have gotten off the ground.

There is nothing to be gained by pitting one edition of the BCP against another, 1549 to 1928. All have strengths, all have weaknesses. I have a fondness for "Laud's Liturgy," the Scottish book of 1637, since it kept the Epiclesis on the right (i. e., Western) place. But the unity of the whole dynasty, 1549, 1552, 1559, 1637, 1662, 1789/1892/1928 is impressive. There are many thing about 1662 I happen to like, such as the Absolution in the Office for the Sick, the statement that Matrimony was instituted by God "in the me of man's innocency," the language in Baptismal Office affirming Original Sin. Apart from the "Black Rubric" and (what is worse) the abrupt ending of the Prayer of Consecration, 1662 is a truly great book. I treasure my copy highly.
LKW

Anonymous said...

"If synergistic religion is right, then we are all lost and without hope."

FrWells:

How do you define "synergism"?

Fr. John said...

When I first arrived at my current parish in 1996, an innovative priest there before me (not the previous rector)had taken a razor blade and cut the Articles of Religion from every prayer book in the place. I had to laugh!

I replaced all of the prayer books with new ones, and also obtained the "People's Anglican Missal" in the pew edition so my people could see the priestly prayers and occasional offices as needed.

I hold the Articles in high regard. However, they are firstly part of the Elizabethan Settlement, a political attempt to keep Puritans and Catholics in the same church, and of necessity vague, and or ambiguous, we all have had a laugh or two at the condemnation of "the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation," which we all agree with, while heartily believing the Anglican doctrine of the same. Frankly, the Articles lean heavily to Calvinism.

If some one wants to use them to help define doctrine, or to defend some practice or belief, go right ahead. The canons however have the final word.

There is no need to add the 1662 Prayer Book to the list of authorized books. It serves no purpose, except to add a deficient canon as an option.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,
Whatever the cause of 1662 not being allowed, it is canonically not allowed. I suggest, then, that if one wants it changed, one might bring it up at the next Provincial Synod. It's how the South African and Indian BCPs were added, as the footnotes of the Constitution indicate. Otherwise, this is mere wriggling if speculation, or disobedience if one were to use it.

As for the Articles, I don't believe I based my initial response on the premise of them being flawed. I based it on the premise that they have zero outstanding authority whatsoever in the ACC. Again, I don't find them in the Canons. I don't find them in the Constitution. I don't find them on the ACC website. I don't find them on the APCK website. I do find them on the UECNA website, where they are described in the following fashion: "Actually, the Articles of Religion found in the Prayer Book were written not as a statement of faith, but to deal with the above mentioned distortions and corruptions of the medieval church." I do find them on the REC website, incidentally, where they say, "The Reformed Episcopal Church recognizes the 39 Articles as one of their formularies." Good for them for providing clarity.

To suggest, Fr. Hart, that the "Spirit of the Law" makes the articles authoritative in this case, I think, borders on textual or legal eisogesis. They were not accidentally left out as mere oversight, it seems to me, but intentionally absent. They are part of our heritage, to be sure, but not canonically, constitutionally, theologically, implicitly required to be a) an Anglican or b) a Continuing Anglican.

I don't have any particular problem with the Articles from an historical point of view. I don't have any particular problem with them from a theological point of view. But they simply are not a requirement for good standing in this church, in any binding place that I can find.

I did my homework, for what it's worth, and the Canons do explicitly mention the Ordinal in Canon §11.1.01, in a context where one would expect:

Valid Ministers.
The Anglican Catholic Church holds and teaches that from the Apostles’ times there have been these sacred Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church: Bishops, Priests, and Deacons; and no man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest, or Deacon in the Anglican Catholic Church, or suffered to execute any of the said Offices or Functions, except he be called, tried, examined, and admitted thereunto according to the
Ordinal, or has had formerly Episcopal Consecration or Ordination in some Church
whose Orders are recognised and accepted as undoubtedly valid by this Church.


So, we're covered canonically on the specific points of the Ordinal. I needn't defend the insertion of the Psalter. Respectfully, we're even covered on the Affirmation, Fr. Wells, because the Canons and Constitution explicitly references them:

"We, the Bishops of the continuing Anglican Catholic Church, together with the clerical and lay Delegates from the Diocesan Synods, answering the call of the Affirmation of St. Louis, now assembled in our First Synod, and intending, with God's blessing and under His guidance..." the Preamble begins.

This is ultimately why I asked whether the BCPs were considered part of the Canons & Constitution of the Church. At the end of the day, we base our identity on what is affirmed and denied via the interpretation of Canon Law.

So, if you please, legalese me. Why should I (or anyone else in this church) be required to put the Articles on some lofty pedestal? We might even have a vote on it one day, for all I know.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. John:

The Calvinists tried to prevent the publication of the Articles, especially upset by Article XVI. They were not Calvinist, and were far more influenced by Lutheranism, following a format in the Book of Concord. But, they are not Lutheran either. They are, first and last, uniquely English and well balanced. And, they only seem vague to us from centuries later. They were not the peaceful solution of empty phrases, but highly meaningful in their time, and provoking controversy.

And, I thought that I had covered the error of Transubstantiation as taught by Rome (as it was understood by everybody back then). I still reject what Rome taught, and consider it to be as innovative and heretical as Zwinglian Real Absence. Transubstantiation was certainly not a truly Catholic doctrine.

Fr. John said...

Don't get me wrong Father, I mean to say we agree with the condemnation of the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation, while recognizing the Anglican expression as "real presence." Puritans would draw little distinction between the two.

Fr. John said...

And may I add to my last post.

"Presbyter is but priest writ large."

John Milton

And allegedly quoted by Cromwell when the Presbyterians came for their share of the spoil at the end of the English Civil War.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn:

Unless you want to remove the word "Anglican" from our name, we cannot remove the Articles from our formularies.

The Constitution and Canons mention the Ordinal probably because that was a specific matter under attack. the Articles were not. Inasmuch as the Affirmation says the following, it Affirms the Articles:

"In affirming these principles, we recognize that all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with them."

All, not some.

" IV. PRINCIPLES OF WORSHIP

Prayer Book -- The Standard of Worship

In the continuing Anglican Church, the Book of Common Prayer is (and remains) one work in two editions: The Canadian Book of 1962 and the American Book of 1928. Each is fully and equally authoritative. No other standard for worship exists."

Those editions contained the Articles of Religion, so they need no separate mention. Arguments about earlier editions do not answer this.

Picking and choosing our way through Anglicanism can lead us right back to the very problems we were faced with in 1977. I, for one, will not pick and choose.

About the 1662 BCP, it is obvious that every portion of it is allowed except for the abbreviated Holy Communion. Frankly, I object to any assertion that it is invalid; and recognize that the only part of it not authorized is the Holy Communion, in favor of the 1549, or American 1928, or Scottish, etc. The rest of it is essentially repeated in the editions that are authorized in the Canons. Therefore, it is not a rejection of the 1662 BCP (which would cry out for immediate revision) but authorization of the older Holy Communion.

The rest can't be a problem, as the rest is in the other editions.

Fr. John:

Oh, well, yes, the Puritans. They got just about everything wrong.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

And may I add to my last post.

"Presbyter is but priest writ large."

John Milton

And allegedly quoted by Cromwell when the Presbyterians came for their share of the spoil at the end of the English Civil War.


You would think that Cromwell would stand that on its head: "Priest is but presbyter writ small."

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

Did you somehow miss how the UECNA describes the 39 Articles? I'll post them again.

"Actually, the Articles of Religion found in the Prayer Book were written not as a statement of faith, but to deal with the above mentioned distortions and corruptions of the medieval church."

With that understanding, found in a church with whom we are in complete communion, your quotation from the Affirmation doesn't apply on the grounds that the Articles are neither a statement of faith nor a liturgical formula. In any case, I think you've missed the point of that statement. Texts must be in accordance to the principles of the Affirmation in order to be valid, rather than the converse interpretation you're attempting to apply.

For perhaps the third time, I'm not picking and choosing. I simply don't think the accepting the 39 Articles (which, as I've said, I pretty much do) makes one an Anglican, and I don't think disagreeing with them (which I don't) makes someone not an Anglican. You've yet to present an argument for this necessarily being the case.

The REC refers to the Articles explicitly as a formulary. No where, anywhere, do we. Nor do we call them a statement of faith in any authoritative document. Indeed, the only articles of faith mentioned in the Affirmation are the Creeds. Calling the Articles a formulary and claiming breathlessly that our Anglican identity depends them doesn't establish that dependence. Why not just admit this ambiguity, propose an amendment at the next Pronvincial Synod, and be done with it? Why keep saying, "But it implies it!" when you haven't demonstrated it in any conclusive fashion?

I'm willing to wrestle with the Articles, as an historian. But the average Christian these days isn't risking extremes of Puritanism and Medieval Roman Catholicism. They're more likely bouncing between poorly thought out flavors of Modalism, Semi-Arianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Marcionism with a deluge of incorrect polity, confused sexual mores, and sentimental, nonsensical eschatology.

The Articles, while an historical treasure of a sort, are not an efficient means of dealing with those challenges precisely because people have to stand on their heads and squint at a copy of Bicknell to make sense of them.

But the only way to settle the issue definitively in your favor, I think, would be to make their importance more explicit in our Canons and Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart is doing well enough on the Arricles, but let me chime in with an analogy. Shaughn has made the point that we cannot find a specific statement in the C & C of the ACC giving legal status to the Articles and they have never, in this country, been used as Lutheans and Presbyterians use their Confessions, i. e., as theological tests or something which must be "subscribed" by all clergy and lay officers. True enough, as far as that goes.

Here's my analogy. The Federalist Papers have no legal status in the US Code. No Federal or State officer has to swear to uphold them. They are not even printed or bound up with our Constitution.

But scholars and judges have regularly consulted them to establish the intent of the framers. To disregard them in the interpretation of the Constitution would be folly (and I feel a digression coming on, which I will resist).

So it is with the Articles. Every clergyman of the ACC has taken a vow that he accepts the "Doctrine, Discipline and Worship" of ths Church.
The word "doctrine" in the Declaration of Conformity refers, at least generically, to the Articles.

Please read the Preface to the BCP, which makes the commitment of the Prayer Book itself (if not the Church using it) to the Articles and the Homilies rather clear.

In dealing with the hackneyed argument that the Articles are "not part of the Prayer Book," it needs to be recalled that they did not just slip by, under the radar, when the American Church adopted its BCP in 1789. The Articles were separately adopted in 1801, at which time a few alterations were made, such as the dropping of Art. XXI, and tweaking of others (such as removal of reference to the Athanasian Creed). By the principle "exclusio unius inclusio alterius," this adoption actually strengthened the authority of the Articles. Also, the Affirmation of St Louis (C & C p. 39) was explicit that a "constitutional revision must be undertaken." It was silent, deafeningly so, on a revision of doctrinal standards. So it can be argued that the Articles were silently affirmed.

As for those eccentric clergy who took it upon themselves to cut the Aricles out of the Prayer Book, here we have a wonderful example of pseudo-Catholicism turning into extreme congre-gationalism? The Book of Jeremiah was subjected to similar treatment by a certain king, but it did not have much effect. Those who disparage the Articles will continue to do so, but no one can change the facts of Anglican history any more than he can ignore the Federalist papers.
LKW

Anonymous said...

As for those who say the 1662 Communion Office is "invalid," I suppose their beef if its lack of an Epiclesis. If indeed that is their argument, then every Mass celebrated with the Gregorian Canon is equally invalid. Sometimes arguments prove too much.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn wrote:

Why keep saying, "But it implies it!" when you haven't demonstrated it in any conclusive fashion?

I said nothing as weak as "implies." I said something far stronger, and still I say it: I said the Affirmation affirms the Articles. To remove them from the 1928 American and 1962 Canadian editions requires a razor blade. It was not just anything called the BCP, but these Articles-bearing editions.

They're more likely bouncing between poorly thought out flavors of Modalism, Semi-Arianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Marcionism with a deluge of incorrect polity, confused sexual mores, and sentimental, nonsensical eschatology.

And the Articles are not relevant to these issues? I say have you read them recently?

Nathan said...

The Federalist Papers were a formulary or catalyst in the creation of the U.S. Constitution. Where as, the Articles are a result and/or overview of the Anglican formularies,(Scripture, Councils and Creeds). The Articles exist because of Anglican Catholic doctrine, not for the establishment of doctrine.

Nathan
(grabb)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I forgot to respond to this bit:

Texts must be in accordance to the principles of the Affirmation in order to be valid, rather than the converse interpretation you're attempting to apply.

That is not what it says. It says: "In affirming these principles, we recognize that all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with them." ("Them" meaning, "The received Tradition of the Church and its teachings as set forth by 'the ancient catholic bishops and doctors,' and especially as defined by the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, to the exclusion of all errors, ancient and modern.")

If it said, merely: "Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted..." But it throws in that little word "all." "...all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae..."

If all "must" be so interpreted, then all can be so interpreted. If all, then not some. This was not setting a standard for receiving or rejecting Anglican formularies, but rather telling us how to understand them (in accord with the intent of the Anglicans who produced them, which was to be in accord with Universal Consensus and Antiquity).

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

1) Please respond to the UECNA's description of the Articles, which is the only place where the ACC, the APCK, and the UECNA ever explicitly mentions them. It seems to me a very important point, and you're ignoring it for reasons I cannot divine. If the Articles are not a statement of faith, that smidgeon of the Affirmation cannot apply to the Articles. Get on with it.

2) For now the fourth time, I don't want them removed, and I don't find anything especially wrong with them. I simply don't define Anglican as "Believing the 39 Articles," which you clearly do. I certainly don't define "Being an Anglican Catholic" as "Believing the 39 Articles," and I don't believe the ACC does.

3) Yes, of course, I've read them recently. But I'm an historian who studies these things. From a pastoral standpoint, I'd much rather give a layperson any number of C.S. Lewis' books than inflict the Articles on them. There's too much wriggling and contextualizing involved (even more than St. Augustine's primary texts!) to make them an effective teaching tool. So, again, do I reject anything in the Articles? No. But do I think Anglican identity hinges on accepting them? No.

4) You write, "If all "must" be so interpreted, then all can be so interpreted." Yes, precisely. For the Articles to be at all useful, they must be in accordance to the Affirmation, and not in contradiction to those principles. This is to say that the Affirmation and the C&C authorize a particular edition of the BCP, rather than the other way around.

5) You also need a razor blade to cut out the concordance of a Bible. This does not make a Concordance part of the Bible. You need a razor blade to separate C.S. Lewis' essay on writing for children from the latest edition of the Chronicles of Narnia. This does not make his essay on writing for children part of the Chronicles of Narnia, , even if it's listed ever so helpfully in the table of contents, as in the BCP. The title of the 1928 BCP is:

"The Book of Common Prayer And the Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church According to the Use of the (PECUSA) in the USA - Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David."

We're covered in the proper title for the BCP proper, the Psalter, and the Ordinal. Not the Articles.
Now, the Canadian BCP helpfully makes an explicit mention of the Ordinal, too, but not the Articles.

To conclude, again, there is no explicit and special status afforded to the Articles. They are part of tradition, to be sure, but my identity as an Anglican doesn't hang on whether I do the wriggling on the context of the number of sacraments found in the Articles, for example. I'm not arguing with Calvinists and Papists. There are seven, and two are especially important. The end. Move along. Nothing to writhe about or explain or put into context. Nice, easy, straight forward -- just like the Affirmation. I can come to all of the conclusions of the Articles without ever laying eyes on them, and without standing on my head, squinting, and staring at Bicknell, and still be an Anglican. I suspect most laymen have done exactly that.

Veriword: "Munkine." Kine! Now, there's a fun archaism. I like it nearly as much as hoi polloi.

Fr. John said...

LKW wrote:
"As for those who say the 1662 Communion Office is "invalid," I suppose their beef if its lack of an Epiclesis."

I must have missed something, I never read a post where anyone asserted such a thing.

This matter of the 1662 BCP was raised at the Provincial Synod in New Orleans a few years back. Someone put forward a motion to amend the approved list of liturgical books to include the 1662 BCP. It was pretty thoroughly debated. Canon Hollister spoke in favor of the motion, I spoke against it.

It was defeated by a heavy margin. Some clerics have said from time to time that they would bring it up again. Good luck with that.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn:

The UECNA Statement: "Actually, the Articles of Religion found in the Prayer Book were written not as a statement of faith, but to deal with the above mentioned distortions and corruptions of the medieval church."

My response is that it states the obvious; of course, one can say that the original Nicene Creed was written to deal with the heresy of Arius, but that does not reduce its usefulness in helping our understanding.

Reducing the place of the Articles of Religion, as they are in the two editions mentioned in the Affirmation, to the status of a concordance in a Bible is simply not accurate. The American BCP itself makes that very clear:

"Articles of Religion

As established by the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the
United States of America, in Convention, on the twelfth day of September, in the Year of our Lord,
1801."

That hardly sounds like something placed in a book for mere historical importance, especially many years after, and an ocean apart from, "corruptions of the medieval church." Especially in light of the omission of Article XXI as having outlived its historical relevance. Obviously, the Articles were placed there to teach.

The Articles of Religion became part of the Book of Common Prayer, part of its contents. They are nothing less, whether you find them in the 1549-1552 English (as in British) editions or not (which would have been impossible for printers unless they had access to a TARDIS, to go forward in time). The Affirmation, therefore, needs make no specific mention of them. However you have decided they are no more important than Bible concordances or maps, it remains a purely subjective judgement inconsistent with the facts.

In the right hands, such as those of our Archbishop, the Articles prove useful for teaching modern people. Indeed they are, and we should avoid giving credence to any notion that they are some kind of extra textual "Calvinist" embarrassment.

Fr. John:

I would have taken Fr. Hollister's side in that debate. Frankly, if we reject a classic edition of the BCP, I must ask, just who do we think we are?

Nonetheless, it seems obvious that what we find in the Canons can only apply to the Holy Communion service, and appears to have been written to direct clergy to the 1549 as better. With that I agree.

But, the problem is, we have sat in judgment on our fathers and their wisdom. I believe we are wrong. The 1662 BCP was a triumph for the Catholic Anglicans of their time over the Puritans. Why people mistake it for the opposite is because we have the Scottish BCP and the American, against which it pales in comparison. But, to judge it, especially in countries where it was The BCP, hurts our whole message. It hardly seems consistent with the idea of Continuing.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Or, if this makes it easier; can we not have two levels? What is approved and what is recommended?

Anonymous said...

Fr John: I really do not know why anyone would consider the Eucharistic rite of 1662 "invalid." Someone alluded to such a hair-brained opinion and I can only speculate as to what its pretext might be.

I have heard one priest (not one of ours, but a TEC priest now in ACNA) state before a congregation that consecration cannot happen without an Epiclesis. And that opinion may well circulate in EO circles. If it is correct, there have been a lot of invalid Masses since the time of Pope Gregory the Great!
LKW

Anonymous said...

As to whether the Articles are truly part of the Prayer Book and what their status is in the ACC: I seem to recall that APA, our publishing organ, has published an edition of 1928 bcp replacing "Protestant Episcopal Church" with "Anglican Catholic Church and adding the original 1928 Daily Office lectionary (along with the lectionary of 1943). That edition contains the Articles. That settles the matter as far as I'm concerned. Perfect opportunity to delete them. But no, there they are. So until proper authorities take constitutional or canonical action, there they are.
LKW

Anonymous said...

Shaughn writes:

"For now the fourth time, I don't want them removed, and I don't find anything especially wrong with them."

May I ask delicately, Shaughn, what is your point?


"I simply don't define Anglican as "Believing the 39 Articles," which you clearly do."

No, no.

"I certainly don't define "Being an Anglican Catholic" as "Believing the 39 Articles," and I don't believe the ACC does."

Strawman here. You can do better.

Shaughn, the 1979 book includes the Articles in a special section entitled "Historical Documents of the Church." Their diminished status is emphasized by the use of very small print. Is that what you want? Every modernist I have known either ignored the Articles or spoke of them in demeaning terms. Is that what you urge upon us?
LKW

Fr. John said...

Fr. LKW,

I have never read any where, or even heard any of my clerical colleagues say that a Mass utilizing the 1662 BCP is invalid.

You write: "I really do not know why anyone would consider the Eucharistic rite of 1662 "invalid." Someone alluded to such a hair-brained opinion and I can only speculate as to what its pretext might be."

"Someone"? Who? Where? My experience informs me that if any cleric in the ACC holds such a "harbrained opinion" they are a small minority who also need a refresher course in Eucharistic theology.

What has been said is that the canon is deficient. I think that both you and Fr. Hart have also said as much, albeit with a different conclusion about the status of the 1662 BCP.

I do not believe anyone will be brought up on charges if they use prayers from the 1662 BCP. It is a perfectly good liturgical work aside from the truncated prayer of consecration. If we authorize the books use however, we have also authorized the canon. Why would we want to authorize the use of a deficient consecratory prayer, even if it is a valid one? The Roman Mass, Ambrosian Rite, Mozarabic Rite, even the liturgy of Addai and Mari are valid too, but those aren't going on the approved list anytime soon.

We don't need to confuse future priests and lay people by authorizing a prayer of consecration we would rather they not use.

In the meantime, feel free to use the 1662 BCP for any other thing that suits you, not that you need my permission, but I promise not to tell. I own several editions myself and have used them for communion of the sick and other actions.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I never said deficient. I have said that others are better. That is why we could afford to make a point about what is recommended without failing to allow a classic edition of the BCP.

I noticed earlier that some in the ACC in England use (I assume for Holy Communion) the American 1928. Well, I can't fault that preference.

Fr. John said...

This is getting crazy. I can't believe a single active priest in the ACC, or APCK or UECNA would want to delete the Articles of Religion from the BCP.

The priest I wrote about with the razor blade is no longer active.

I think we all agree that the Articles are integral to the Anglican patrimony, historically significant, and a statement of orthodox Christian belief.

We also have to acknowledge that they have been misinterpreted by some evangelical type Anglicans to distort catholic Christianity, think "Stand Firm". For that reason alone the Articles are to be interpreted in the light of the Constitution and Canons, however any language that might be attempted to be added in the future to the C&C would have to be rejected if it departed significantly from the faith as explicated by the Articles.

In effect the C&C and the Articles are interrelated far more closely than the Federalists Papers and the Constitution are. They depend on each other to maintain the faith once delivered.

Anonymous said...

""Someone"? Who? Where? My experience informs me that if any cleric in the ACC holds such a "harbrained opinion" they are a small minority who also need a refresher course in Eucharistic theology."

You will have to take my word for it. I recall a post in a recent thread where the writer alluded to such a notion. Whether it was his own conviction, I cannot swear. Whether it was an ACC clerk, I do not recall. And I have certainly encountered it elsewhere. Life is too short for me to dig through everything on this blog to document my statement. So either take my word or call me a liar.

In the past, certain EO spokesmen have criticized the Roman Mass for its lack of an Epiclesis. And I did attend a Service of a brand new AMIA congregation at which the visiting priest rather rudely belittled the Service leaflet because the typist had overlooked the Invocation, stating this oversight could "invalidate" the celebration.

Yes, anyone who harbors such ideas needs theological remediation. As we all know, bread and wine are the matter, the Dominical words are the form of the sacrament. The Epiclesis is liturgically helpful but not essential.

The 1662 is deficient liturgically but not sacramentally. It says everything necessary for sacramental validity in a minimalistic sort of way. Its most serious lack is the Anamnesis/Prayer of Oblation in its proper place after the Consecration. But that is not fatal, since the neceessary idea are presernt elsewhere in the rite
LKW

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

Your comparison of the 39 Articles to the Nicene Creed is a false once. See again the Affirmation, on the Creeds:

The Nicene Creed as the authoritative summary of the chief articles of the Christian Faith, together with the "Apostles' Creed, and that known as the Creed of St. Athanasius to be "thoroughly received and believed" in the sense they have had always in the Catholic Church.

The Creeds are explicitly described as articles of faith. The Articles of Religion are not. Our sister church explicitly indicates this very point. The nature of the Creed are, of course, plainly obvious in the very first word of the Nicene Creed, which is "Pisteuo...." The Articles are not held in this church as a statement of faith, as the Creeds are, but an argument against a particular problem in a particular time -- forging a middle way between extremes Calvinism and Roman Catholicism. They are useful. They are important. They are not, in of themselves, binding on anyone in this church.

I have not said they were "no more important than concordances or maps." Anywhere. Ever. I would say they are no more important than Hooker's Lawes, Mere Christianity, Augustine's letters on Free Will, De Trinitate, or numerous other parts of Tradition. I would say they are important, but they are not in the BCP in the same way that the Ordinal, the Rites and Ceremonies, and the other parts of it explicitly are affirmed in canonical places or rubrically within the BCP itself.

Veriword: Exubi. "Dulce dicere 'Exubi!' est." Or something.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Wells,

I would call the Articles but one part of our Tradition, with a T, along with Hooker, the Caroline Divines, C.S. Lewis, and others. They are useful. They reflect the Tradition that precedes them. They are not, however, the be-all of Anglican identity. I haven't used a straw man when Fr. Hart says, "Personally, I am bound by the 39 Articles. I am an Anglican," and "Unless you want to remove the word "Anglican" from our name, we cannot remove the Articles from our formularies." For Fr. Hart, by his very words, to be Anglican is by definition to submit to the Articles.

I wouldn't call them an Historical Document, as if it were a mere curiosity like the Articles of the Confederation. But neither would I base one's status as a faithful Anglican on whether they've made an explicit affirmation of the 39 Articles. Don't insinuate that I'm some sort of modernist about to inflict bad teaching or heresy on people. (That should be quite clear since I said the first word of the Creed was pisteuo and not pisteuomen,, yes?) If anything, I'm either pre-modern or post-modern: I recognize that Anglicans were Anglican before the 39 Articles, and Anglicans will be Anglicans without wriggling with the 39 Articles now.

One can be a faithful Anglican without ever looking at them. One can reach the conclusions of the Articles without ever studying them. Many folks are. Many folks have. Many folks will. It isn't a peculiar form of Pelagianism to think so. The Articles are not a unique source of revelation or grace, outside of which there is no hope. I'm not saying folks can earn grace. I'm saying a layperson (and probably even a cleric - gads!) can instead bypass the Articles (by, for example, consulting the actual sources for them instead--God forbid!), reach the same conclusions, and be a faithful Anglican without ever standing on a pedestal and saying, "World, I am bound by the 39 Articles," or without ever considering them beyond passing curiosity during a quiet moment in the liturgy. This shouldn't be a terribly controversial point.

I don't agree with the Articles because I read Bicknell's book or the Articles. I agree with them because I've studied Paul, Augustine, Medieval Theology, and the history of the Ecumenical Councils. I had the Articles' theology before I ever read them.

My point is a basic one. I don't disagree with the Articles. I disagree with insisting that explicit affirmation of them is what makes one an Anglican or a Continuing Anglican. I don't think the Affirmation intended it. I don't think the vast majority of our clergy would really insist on it for their congregants. I do think we have much more practical, pedagogically useful ways of teaching the theology in the Articles without the Articles themselves or writhing with their historical context. (A Sunday school crash course in Augustine's theology, followed by Thomas Aquinas', with excerpts of juicy primary texts would be how I accomplished most of it. Augustine's actual writings are more interesting and useful anyway.)

I would not even be against bringing forth a motion that gave the Articles more explicit authority and recognition in our Canons. It's certainly a legal proposal that folks would either approve or disapprove. I haven't a clue whether it would pass.

Shaughn said...

In summary, no one has demonstrated that Anglican identity is bound in explicit acceptance of the Articles, though some apparently believe this. No one has demonstrated that the Affirmation insists on such a belief. Certainly no one has proven that our C&C, as currently written, requires such.

I therefore find constant apology for and clarification of the Articles, which confuse many people, to be interesting, perhaps, but not how I intend to use my time. I'd rather teach the texts on which they were based. I'd rather teach the Prayer Book itself. I'd rather teach God in the Dock or any number of more accessible texts that do not contradict the Articles, that teach the same theology as the Articles, but are less likely to confuse people and, quite frankly, more interesting. Augustine's reading of Paul's interpretation of Jacob and Esau is fantabulous.

Such an approach is not modernism. (It's Modernism to teach the Articles' sources instead of the Articles? Say what?) It is not heresy. It is not cheapening our precious patrimony or wounding the Articles (as if they're a pearl of great price or some such). It is, however, quite possibly more sensible pedagogy, better pastoral care, and more useful in the process of sanctification to teach things other than the 39 Articles.

Maybe later I'll draw on Hooker, Book V, as a defense of not requiring people to wriggle laboriously with the Articles. For some, at least, forced study of the Articles might even be as painful and non-sanctifying as that Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory (!).

I have deeply enjoyed going back and forth on this subject, even if we ultimately don't quite see eye to eye on the subject. (Some, no doubt, are probably praying worriedly for my soul. Do continue; I pray for yours, too!)

Veriword: Nonsere -- Also known as "On time," which I'm decidedly not. Good night.

Anonymous said...

Here's a quote I like:

".... though some differences have been ill-raised, yet we take comfort in this, that all Clergymen within Our Realm have always most willingly subscribed to the Articles established; which is an argument to Us, that they all agree in the true, usual, literal meaning of the said Articles; and that even in those curious points, in which the present differences lie, men of all sorts take the Article of the Church of England to be for them; which is an argument again, that none of them intend any desertion of the Articles established.

That therefore in these both curious and unhappy differences, which have for so many hundred years, in different times and places, exercised the Church of Christ, We will, that all further curious search be laid aside, and these disputes shut up in God's promises, as they as they be generally set forth to us in the Holy Scriptures, and the general meaning of the Articles of the Church of England according to them. And that no man hereafter shall either print, or preach, to draw the Article aside in any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and full meaning thereof: and shall not put his own sense and comment to be the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense."

I will not identify the source, but respectfully invite the readers to discuss this statement on its own merits.
LKW

Anonymous said...

Shaughn, here's a paradox for you. Affirming the 39 Articles does not make anyone into an Anglican. But denying or disparaging the Articles surely keeps one from being an Anglican.

You wrote:
"I would call the Articles but one part of our Tradition, with a T, along with Hooker, the Caroline Divines, C.S. Lewis, and others. They are useful. They reflect the Tradition that precedes them. They are not, however, the be-all of Anglican identity."

One could say as much for the Chalcedonian Formula. Just one part of Catholic tradition, but not its be-all and end all. But watch out for the man who treats it dismissively!

"I haven't used a straw man when Fr. Hart says, "Personally, I am bound by the 39 Articles. I am an Anglican," and "Unless you want to remove the word "Anglican" from our name, we cannot remove the Articles from our formularies." For Fr. Hart, by his very words, to be Anglican is by definition to submit to the Articles."

No, no. See paradox above.

Now why do some of us make such a to-do over the places of the Articles? I am about to get down and dirty. We have a lot of people running loose these days calling themselves traditional Angicans who are anything but. They get their theology, such as it is, either from Rick Warren or from the little RC theological cram books called "manuals" which learned RC's find embarrassing.
There is a lot of Penny Catechism religion out there, calling itself Anglicanism. The Articles, for all their rough edges and angularites, are a highly effective tool for exposing frauds. You are too smart and too gifted to buy into that rubbish. Don't fall for it. Don't buy any wooden nutmegs.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Your comparison of the 39 Articles to the Nicene Creed is a false once. See again the Affirmation, on the Creeds

I said that one can say the same thing about both. That both the Nicene Creed and the Articles, and for that matter many books, essays and sermons, were created to address a specific problem in a specific time, does not mean their value for teaching is limited to their historical context. Shaughn's response takes the comparison to a level I never intended. The Creed is Universal in recognition; the Articles are simply one of our own Anglican statements of "amen" and credo to Catholic Tradition.

I would say they are no more important than Hooker's Lawes, Mere Christianity, Augustine's letters on Free Will, De Trinitate, or numerous other parts of Tradition. I would say they are important, but they are not in the BCP in the same way that the Ordinal, the Rites and Ceremonies, and the other parts of it explicitly are affirmed in canonical places or rubrically within the BCP itself.

Rubrically, liturgically, no, inasmuch as the Church never recites them in any sort of service, nor do families use them in Daily Prayer. But they are also not there merely in equal capacity to the table of contents. The 1928 (American) edition of the BCP gives them a very important place, as is evident in the title page to the Articles of Religion.

(It's Modernism to teach the Articles' sources instead of the Articles? Say what?)

Did I miss something? Who said that? I always teach straight from the Bible, bringing in the Fathers and Creeds, etc., as helps to guide us in interpreting the books that have God as their Author. The Articles become very useful in such teaching, expressing well the consensus of the Universal Church in Antiquity as that consensus is brought to bear on things that developed as issues of doctrine. I insist, those issues of doctrine from the 16th century remain relevant today, even where various corruptions have taken new forms.

They are important. They are not, in of themselves, binding on anyone in this church.

So, no clergyman takes a formal oath to the Crown to uphold them-that is what "binding" is all about. It never was relevant to Americans, and is not relevant to the ACC even in England.

I recognize that Anglicans were Anglican before the 39 Articles, and Anglicans will be Anglicans without wriggling with the 39 Articles now.

The first part is true, but the second cannot be. They have become part of the Anglican canon so to speak. That is, not as in Canon of Scripture, but canon (small "c") of our Formularies.

One can be a faithful Anglican without ever looking at them. One can reach the conclusions of the Articles without ever studying them. Many folks are. Many folks have. Many folks will.

Is that not what makes them authentic Catholic teaching?

But, it is a waste to ignore something so conveniently assembled for us by our fathers.

(to be continued below)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The Articles are not a unique source of revelation or grace, outside of which there is no hope...This shouldn't be a terribly controversial point.

So, why make it?

The value of what you are saying, however, is that the Articles are Catholic. Good point. That is what I have been writing about for a long time, refuting Stand-Firmers and Anglo-Papalists alike, who constantly repeat the same mistake with opposite agendas.

Frankly it sounds like you are saying "Holy Scriptures containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation." Where did I read that? It was in something I saw.

I disagree with insisting that explicit affirmation of them is what makes one an Anglican or a Continuing Anglican. I don't think the Affirmation intended it.

I believe I have my points about the 1928 and 1962 North American Prayer Book Affirmed at St. Louis. I understand your distinction between them and the rest of those BCP editions; but, really, I do find it unpersuasive. I mean, simply, there they are.

The points about the Articles having nothing in them not clearly set forth in more authoritative statements of Catholic doctrine is precisely right. It is why they are so good, and why I find it necessary to defend them.

Shaughn said...

Fr. John,

Please be assured that I am not advocating destroying or defacing printed volumes of the BCP, or even, particularly, changing their contents. If I had an 11th Commandment, it would be "Thou shalt not hurt books." I cringe whenever I read about that sort of thing.

Fr. Wells,

But I haven't denied or disparaged them. I simply don't think membership in the Anglican club requires paying direct homage to them, so much as agreeing with the theology behind them. I agree with them because, as Fr. Hart has argued, they are Catholic. The Chalcedonian Council, meanwhile, is directly affirmed by the Affirmation of St. Louis, along with six others. The 39 Articles are not given such special status.

I haven't a clue how intelligent or gifted I am, but you might at least trust me not to teach heresy or daftness in place of the Articles. I'm not suggesting replacing them with back issues of Spider Man, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or a paper mill pamphlet. I'm suggesting that there are equally sound, but pedagogically more useful, accessible approaches to teaching and defending the same theology to our congregations. I'm not even saying we especially need new Articles (like a new BCP or new Authorized Version). I would point instead, as I noted earlier, ad fontes: The Gospels, Paul, Augustine, the Councils, Thomas Aquinas, and so on.

If you want adherence to the Articles as a bit of assurance of a church leader's theology, I say, bring it up and have a vote. It's a fair concern and perhaps even a plausible solution. But why put our congregations through all that when we can teach the same theology without directly using them?

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

We're really reaching and impasse here, I think, because we're looking at the same documents and reaching different conclusions. I suppose, then, we can really narrow down where we disagree. I do not think the Articles are a statement of faith, nor that they are intended to be one. Incidentally, Bicknell agrees, if I remember correctly. They are, I would say, a pointed argument for a very contextualized, theologically sound understanding of scripture and tradition, and in particular, Anglican tradition.

Arguing for their Catholicity is quite important. In that sense, I applaud you for reminding us of it and defending them. I have not, however, questioned their Catholicity. Rather, I have questioned the necessity of one to wriggle with the Articles explicitly, to give explicit affirmation of the Articles, or to bind oneself to the Articles in particular, in order to be considered a faithful Anglican. (For example, if someone has never heard of that Romish concept of Purgatory, why put the idea in their head?)

I half-humoredly suggested that the Articles are not a unique means of grace because there is nothing particularly special about the Articles, in and of themselves. They are a distillment of proper Catholic theology from the 16th Century. It is, rather, the theology and the scripture that informs them to which we, as Anglicans, are bound. If they are canonically part of our formularies, why do you not push to have it explicitly stated somewhere, anywhere, that something apparently so foundational as the 39 Articles is a Formulary, if nothing else, than to avoid the interpretation I have made which you consider erroneous?

We might club some fool pretending to be Anglican over the head with the Articles for having bad theology. We do better to club him over the head with the sources that inform them - Scripture and the Fathers. Cut out the middle man. If we believe, for example, in two Dominical Sacraments and five other sacraments, let us immediately bust out the Gospel of St. John and talk for a while about being "born from above" and the business about eating flesh and drinking blood, then point out how the other five do, in fact, give grace, but aren't required for salvation and not explicitly established by Christ in his earthly ministry (mostly because they all have clear sacramental antecedents before it). The average congregants would probably even appreciate that very direct approach more and learn more than arguing the point from the Articles. A child's first question frequently is, "But where in the Bible does it say that?" And you'd quickly find yourself defending the Article, when you might have just read the juicy bits of scripture, exegeted, and directly interpreted them. And then you might say, I suppose, "And, by the way, this is the same theology of the Article XYZ of the 39 Articles."

Remember - Anglicans are Christians who are surprised at how often Scripture quotes the Prayer Book. As I've said earlier, why not teach the theology, about which we both agree, directly?

If we had done so all along, the Articles' Catholicity might never have come into question in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Shaughn, several times here you allude to the pedagogical awkwardness of the Articles. We need to understand that the Articles were not written for any pedagogical purpose. The Church Catechism, found on pages 577ff of the Prayer Book was written for that purpose. This is the catechism which was domesticated into the so-called "Offices of Instruction" added in 1928. (Btw, a close comparison of the historic Catechism with the Offices of Instruction shows the incipient virus of liberalism at work in 1928.)

The Articles were written "For the avoiding diversities of opinions and for the establishing of consent touching true religion." In other words, they were produced as a Confessional document, in which the Church of England established the boundaries of her shared faith. They are not a perfect document, which explains the eagerness of the more extreme Refomed party to revise or supplant them. But they have a craggy nobility of their own and are still useful in exposing deviations (from both extremes, happy-clappy and Penny Catechism) from authentic Anglicanism.

Because of their once official and still official status, they are useful in a way that the writings of particular individuals cannot be.

And since it has been pointed out ad taedium et ad nauseam that the Articles are "not really part of the Prayer Book," does anyone know how they got into it? Who inflicted this insufferable outrage upon us? Was it a gang of Puritan bullies? Was it Oliver Cromwell or William of Orange? Was it the principal author, the evil and unspeakable heresiarch Thomas Cranmer, whose vile and abominable doctrine reeks in every line of the detestable Calvinist diatribe which pollutes our pristinely Kartholic and beloved Prayer Book?

The perpetrator of this hideous deed was none other than the holy king and blissful martyr, Charles I. Those who dipped their handkerchiefs in his sacred blood and called them relics have long since forgotten and forgiven. But those razor-blades which modern iconoclasts have wielded against the Articles are made of the same base metal as Cromwell's axe.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

That is going to be quoted a few times at least, if I have to so myself.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

And since it has been pointed out ad taedium et ad nauseam that the Articles are "not really part of the Prayer Book," does anyone know how they got into it? Who inflicted this insufferable outrage upon us?

Fr Wells,

As humourous as this may be, it is still a straw man and misses the essential point: nobody denies the Articles are bound together in the same volume as the BCP and nobody here is calling them heretical, but it nevertheless remains an unavoidable fact that they are not part of the BCP properly speaking. Read the Solemn Declaration of 1893 (not 1896 as I incorrectly said before) in the Canadian 1962 BCP. It lists them conjointly but quite distinctly. Other historic Anglican formularies in other national Churches do the same.

Even more importantly, if you compare this Declaration with the Solemn Declaration of the ACC Constitution, two things become immediately apparent. First, our SD is largely a direct quotation from the 1893 one. Second, the 1893 one has been deliberately modified in certain significant ways. One example is replacement of reference to the "undisputed" Ecumenical Councils to the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Another is the deletion of the final section affirming the Articles.

Since, as all Catholic theologians acknowledge, a doctrinal statement is only binding on the faithful (i.e., must be affirmed and adhered to ex animo and unreservedly) if it is manifestly clear that the Church has imposed it as such, the Articles are not binding (in the theological sense rather than the civil or political sense referred to by Fr Hart) on members of the ACC. They are nowhere given that status explicitly and reference to the authoritative nature of the BCP cannot be said to certainly include reference to the Articles. This is Shaugn's argument, and he is correct canonically and theologically.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Hart,

Your reference to the Affirmation of St Louis would only give the 39 Articles the same (secondary, dependent, non-infallible) authority as "all" other Anglican formularies, including the 6 Articles, the 10 Articles, the "King's Book", etc., from the reign of Henry VIII. Elements of these were even cited as authoritative by the Caroline Divines.

So, go ahead and defend the conformity of the Articles carefully interpreted to Holy Tradition, and their significance as historic Anglican formulae and as part of the "small t" Anglican tradition. No objections here. But don't treat them as any more binding than the Henrician Articles or formularies. They are Anglican too, and the recognition of Henrician Anglicanism is officially certified by the ACC Canons (see 2.1 & 2.2). All Shaugn and I are saying is that, while defence of the 39 Articles' essential orthodoxy is good and can be quite useful in certain circumstances, they are no longer given the same status in the ACC that they had in the Church of England and its daughter churches, where they are made authoritative explicitly in the relevant Canons of those churches. The omission of such canonical and constitutional imprimatur in the ACC is manifest, deliberate and significant. Since we are obliged to interpret them only in accordance with the Catholic Faith as revealed in Scripture and consistently and consensually taught by the Church, Shaugn's point that it is more important to refer constantly back to the great Tradition than to exegete the 39 Articles (especially as if they were an independent authority) is a reasonable one.

Nevertheless, given that I think we all agree that the 39 Articles are within the bounds of Catholic orthodoxy, but non-binding for members of the ACC and non-infallible, our only differences may be in emphasis.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

..but it nevertheless remains an unavoidable fact that they are not part of the BCP properly speaking.

In the United States they are and always have been. The 1928 edition Affirmed was clear on that, making the point doubly clear on the title page.

Since, as all Catholic theologians acknowledge, a doctrinal statement is only binding on the faithful (i.e., must be affirmed and adhered to ex animo and unreservedly) if it is manifestly clear ...

Look, I don't speak Australian. Can you say this again in either English, German, Greek, Hebrew or Latin?

Your reference to the Affirmation of St Louis would only give the 39 Articles the same (secondary, dependent, non-infallible) authority as "all" other Anglican formularies, including the 6 Articles, the 10 Articles, the "King's Book", etc., ...No objections here. But don't treat them as any more binding than the Henrician Articles or formularies.

Oh? Are they in the 1928 and 1962 BCPs as well? I haven't noticed them.

...they are no longer given the same status in the ACC that they had in the Church of England and its daughter churches, where they are made authoritative explicitly in the relevant Canons of those churches.

I have argued to the contrary, and again, your assertion rests on no evidence.

The omission of such canonical and constitutional imprimatur in the ACC is manifest, deliberate and significant.

Really? How can you see so much in something that cannot be seen? I have not noticed any omission, nor can I see any strong point made where nothing at all is to be found.

...but non-binding for members of the ACC...

So, we take no oath to the Crown about them, like C of E clergy. I wasn't going to do that anyway.

Sorry Fr., you have not answered my points at all, except with nothing stronger than your opinion. You have made assertions with no evidence.

The Affirmaiton of St. Louis makes it clear that change and innovation is what we were rejecting. That does not give Anglo-Catholics license to do what we rejected from the "Liberals" and modern revisionists. The Affirmation is in the Constitution and Canons, therefore, on the basis of the Affirmation I reject your interpretation of certain other parts of the C and C.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart, Fr. Wells, et al.

It's getting to the point where I would really like an authority on the matter to clarify things, mostly because we're not debating anything esoteric here, but a very serious point on the role of the 39Articles.

(And, frankly, I would hate to see a question like "Explain the current role of the 39 Articles in the Anglican Catholic Church" on my exams, whenever they are, and give my grader a coronary.)

I usually don't like bothering bishops about what we debate here, but this is becoming, I think, a pretty important point. Who'd be a good person to shed some authoritative light on the issue?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

How about the Chancellor?

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

I don't have my handout from Diocesan Synod handy. Who is the Chancellor this go around?

I was remembering this little bit from the Ordinal for deacons:

Bishop. Will you reverently obey your Bishop, and other chief Ministers, who, according to the Canons of the Church, may have the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions?

Answer. I will endeavour so to do, the Lord being my helper.

It seems to me, therefore, that the Diocesan Bishop's the way to go to make sure everyone's on the same page, don't you think?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I should have responded to this from Fr. Kirby:

Second, the 1893 one has been deliberately modified in certain significant ways. One example is replacement of reference to the "undisputed" Ecumenical Councils to the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Another is the deletion of the final section affirming the Articles.

Silence, especially in anything that has to do with Law (such as Canon Law) always signifies consent, not dissent. The silence about the final section signifies consent. The other part had to be addressed specifically because a change was needed. The phrase "undisputed Councils" was not clear, whereas Seven Ecumenical Councils is clear. Also, the word "undisputed" is not really true. Ask any member of the Coptic Church, the original See of Alexandra, about Chalcedon. SO, we see why we cannot have silence there. About the final section, we have silence, and therefore consent.

Shaughn:

I was referring to our own Rev. Canon John Hollister. Fr. Hollister can explain these canonical things very well. As for why you have quoted from the Ordinal, I cannot see why it is relevant to this matter. No one is talking about a matter of obedience or disobedience, but of facts of history and questions of theology.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

Excellent. Carry on.

I mostly mentioned that section of the Ordinal because it's tempting for either side of an argument to seek answers until they find the one they like, or settle for their own answer (see Martin Luther).

But I shouldn't worry about that, because nobody here ever does anything drastic over this sort of thing. So, I would love to hear Canon Hollister's assessment of the role of the 39 Articles in the ACC. :)

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Hart,

It is not silence in this case, but specific alteration by way of omission. This is not the same as denial, of course, but in a list of authoritative faith-standards given in a Solemn Declaration, such selective and obviously deliberate omission cannot be presumed to signify the thing omitted maintains the same obligatory status. This is especially the case with the ACC, where the Constitution and Canons refer back not to the Constitutions and Canons of the immediately preceding institutions (the Anglican Church of Canada and ECUSA) but to the Church of England in the time of Henry VIII.

You claim I supply no evidence, yet I put 4 pieces forward.

1. It was normal practice, including in canonical contexts (e.g., 1893 Solemn Declaration), to clearly distinguish between the BCP and the Articles in the Anglican Communion before its defection.

2. It was normal or almost universal practice in the same contexts to explicitly and specifically list the Articles as authoritative.

3. The ACC Affirmation, Constitution and Canons, by inescapable contrast, never explicitly even mention the Articles.

4. Where the ACC did copy its preceding institutions' statements word for word, it deleted the very part of the final sentence in the original Solemn Declaration that mentions the Articles.

Here are two other pieces of evidence from within the covers of the 1662 BCP itself. First, in the contents page, each section is numbered, except for 2 sections, which are not numbered with the rest and separated out by a gap: the Articles and the Table of Affinity. Second, there is only one section in this volume with its own title page. The Articles.

There is, then, sufficient evidence that appeal to the BCPs as liturgical standards does not necessarily imply affirmation of the Articles as a dogmatic standard as a corollary, and that the Articles are not specifically affirmed in this way elsewhere and that this is a deliberate and significant omission.

Fr M. Kirby

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Regarding your other responses:

The fact that the Henrician-era formularies are not in the BCPs is irrelevant, since it was you who appealed to the Affirmation's reference to "all Anglican statements of faith" and emphasised it with the pithy addition: "All, not some." Well, consistency demands that if that statement in the Affirmation necessarily implies (according to you) inclusion of the 39 Articles as doctrinal standards (subordinate to the great Tradition) because they are "Anglican" and "statements of Faith", then we have to include all other Anglican statements of faith in this category, including and especially the earliest ones after absolute Roman Supremacy was rejected. So, you get the Henrician Articles etc. as much as the 39 Articles on that reading. In other words, this part of the Affirmation does not give the 39 Articles any special position.

As for your dissatisfaction with the clarity of one of my sentences, let me put the point this way: No church-member is ever obliged to affirm dogmatically or as "of the Faith" any statement UNLESS he can be morally certain the Church has actually demanded such unreserved assent. The ACC has clearly demanded such assent to the Scriptures, Creeds, genuine Ecumenical Councils and ecclesial consensus generally through the ages. It has not clearly required such assent to the 39 Articles.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Finally, I have looked at the Title page you referred to of the American 1928 BCP. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I see nothing on it that counts for or against either of our cases.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Sorry, one point I forgot to address. Your strongest argument, it seems to me, is the one based on the Affirmation's avowed and undeniable commitment not to innovate. My answer is that relativising the status of the 39 Articles was no new thing, but could be found in respected Anglican (and Scottish Episcopalian) divines from the 17th Century onwards AND in the gradual changes made in the nature of the oath subscribing to them in the Church of England. The oath went from a fulsome and rather absolute affirmation to a more general and subtly expressed one. What the ACC did simply continued this trajectory. Similarly, affirmation of all 7 Ecumenical Councils was common in Anglicanism before 1977 and arguably implied by certain statements and practices, but the Affirmation of St Louis was the first official Anglican ecclesial statement with authoritative force to do so, as far as I'm aware. Not at all new in one way, but ground-breaking in another.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

As a matter of fact, silence in a legal document does mean consent. There was nothing to alter or clarify in the fianl section.

1. It was normal practice, including in canonical contexts (e.g., 1893 Solemn Declaration), to clearly distinguish between the BCP and the Articles in the Anglican Communion before its defection.

Prove that-or that it even mmeans anything close to what you conclude. Then prove it proves your point.

2. It was normal or almost universal practice in the same contexts to explicitly and specifically list the Articles as authoritative.

3. The ACC Affirmation, Constitution and Canons, by inescapable contrast, never explicitly even mention the Articles.


Until you prove point 1, and furthermore apply that proof to the Episopal Church and the American BCP of 1928, your argument does not hold water.

4. Where the ACC did copy its preceding institutions' statements word for word, it deleted the very part of the final sentence in the original Solemn Declaration that mentions the Articles.

Again, silence. Again, that means consent. You have yet to give a reason for your disagreement.

Here are two other pieces of evidence...

Evidence only in your opnion, and to which you attach your own meaning.

Second, there is only one section in this volume with its own title page. The Articles.

The title page repeats what was on the title page of the original Articles, published a sa separate volume until King Charles I made it part of the BCP, with the advice of Abp. Wm. Laud-hardly a pair of "raving Prods." The only fact that we can glean from this is that it became part of the Book of Common Prayer. The Articles are listed in the contents of all the editions since Charles I. And, that fact is the fact that I am insisting on.

The main title page of the Book itslef says, "together with the Psalms of David." It does not say "and extraneous material to boot."

There is, then, sufficient evidence that appeal to the BCPs as liturgical standards does not necessarily imply affirmation of the Articles as a dogmatic standard...

The Articles are a classic Anglican Formulary; there is no "evidence" for any other point of view.

...a deliberate and significant omission.

You interpret the meaning of absence, and, furthermore, do so contrary to the only legal standard about silence.

So, you get the Henrician Articles etc. as much as the 39 Articles on that reading. In other words...

Wrong. The final version of the Articles is the Thirty-Nine we know, and that is what has been considered, from the date of their publication, to be a Formulary.

No church-member is ever obliged...

Is that what you mean by "binding" or "not binding"? I put this to you as an alternative: No Anglican clergyman or teacher may contradict the teaching of the Formularies.

Your last point would apply to the Articles if there were a new version with some weight to it. There is not.

If you had used this reasoning in St. Louis, you would have been looked on as almost the same kind of revisionist who was in favor of "ordaining" women and rewriting the BCP. You need to grasp just how conservative the Affirmation is. For that, you may need to visit here and drop in on old Episcopalian country. Most of the members are not Anglo-Catholics, by the way. They are quite patient, and they have put up with quite a lot for a long time.

Nathan said...

Fr. Hart said:
They are quite patient, and they have put up with quite a lot for a long time.


As have the Articles!

Nathan

Fr. Robert Hart said...

(I don't know who tried to post a comment in the name of one of our bloggers. But, it would not have come through for moderation if the author were who he claimed to be. It would have posted directly without need of moderation. But I will address one point: The Articles of Henry have never been among the Formularies. They were never more than a rough draft. They were never in the Book of Common Prayer either. It is not the same.)

We have learned too much from the modern Episcopalians. The Thirty Nine Articles are, indisputably, a Formulary of Anglicanism. How can we even fall into the trap of debating such a thing?

Let me express the heart and soul of the Affirmation of St. Louis very briefly, getting very personal about it:

No one is taking my church away from me.

Until you feel that, the Affirmation is a mysterious document to you, veiled and hidden, enigmatic and in a tongue needing interpretation.

I know the people for whom I speak. They are me, and I am them.

Anonymous said...

It was in fact me, myself and I, Fr Hart. I am on another person's PC and got sick of having to log them out of their Google account and log me in. I suppose that means they've been deleted, unfortunately. Never mind.

Fr M. Kirby

Anonymous said...

If the Articles were used among us as the Presbyterians and Lutherans use their Confessions, I would have been deposed and possibly excommunicated long ago. Almost every liturgical abomination named in the Articles can be laid at my doorstep.

But I am old enough to remember the St. Louis era vividly. Family responsi-bilities (a new baby in the small apartment) kept me from attending, but my wife and I signed the Affirmation within less than a week after it was promulgated. I distributed it in our Episcopal parish (where we were shortly thereafter invited to leave) and obtained a number of signatures.

At the time there was not much discussion about the Articles. Those who take Fr Kirby's line of argument were very quiet in their views. The faithful laity who attended St Louis at their own expense and went home to start organizing parishes in Lions Clubs and Masonic lodges would not have tolerated that position, but would have considered it youthful impudence.

No longer being a young man, certain attitudes exhibited here alert me that we may have a new Pharaoh in the land, one who does not remember Joseph.

There was a time when strict loyalty (as distinguished from strict subscription) to the Articles was the badge of the High Church Party. Carping at the Articles ("I accept all the Articles, but....") was the sign of an innovator. The Articles were slow to be adopted into the American Church. This happened only after some controversy. Feel free to prove me wrong, but I suspect it was not the Seabury High Church faction which demanded changes and held up the process. One of those changes tampered with the status of the Athanasian Creed.

At some point in our history, this shifted. It somehow became an Anglo-Catholic shibboleth to sneer at the Articles. One blogster who rarely comes into this venue has frequently said things like, "Just say no, and have nothing to do with the nasty little things." The REC originally had to re-write them in an Arminian(!) direction, but nowadays this body seems to be backing away from their "35 Aricles." But to say a kind word about the Articles in our circles opens one up to suspicions of Calvinism or something worse.

I wish someone with greater scholarly skill than mine would document this devolution. How did we get from the attitude of Charles I to that of the Reverend Father Matthew Kirby? Clearly they are not the same.

So far no one has responded to my citation of the Preface to the American BCP (most assuredly a part of the book itself!). This Preface was dated in 1789, before the Articles had even been finally adopted. In the third paragraph, on page v, the "Articles and Homilies" are explicitly cited with their authority assumed. The Preface goes on to affirm vigorously, "this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship."

This is a far cry indeed from the attitude shown in this thread toward the Articles. We may have a new Pharaoh indeed, one who does not remember Joseph.
LKW

John A. Hollister said...

Earlier on this thread, Fr. Hart implicitly asked me to weigh in about the status of the 39 Articles, so I shall, with the caveat that, throughout the 18 years in which I have been Chancellor of the ACC, no one has ever seemed to feel particularly obligated to give any particular weight to my opinions.

I believe the operative paragraph is Canon 2.2 of the ACC's Canons, "Matters not Expressly Legislated Herein":

"Any matters not expressly legislated by or provided for by the Constitution and
Canons of this Church or the Constitution and Canons of any Province or Diocese or
other Jurisdiction thereof shall be referred to and be subject to the General Canon Law and the Common Law of the Church as received by the Church of England in its estates in convocation assembled as specified by the Acts of Parliament of 1534 and 1543, or
any and all other Anglican Laws Ecclesiastical in effect in part or parts of North America or elsewhere prior to 1967, all of which bodies of Anglican Canon Law not expressly altered or amended by any Synod or Synods of this Church or rendered inapplicable in
the particular circumstances thereof, are incorporated by reference and are to be of
continued force and effect."

I read this to mean that, whatever the authority of the 39 Articles was in 1967 within either the Anglican Church of Canada or the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA, that is the authority they retain within the ACC at the present day.

I do not have access to my copy of White & Dykeman, so I am not in a position to opine as to what, precisely, that authority or position in PECUSA may have been but assume that one could work that out from the text of the General Convention's enactment of 1801 that adopted the amended text that is reprinted as "back matter" in US Prayer Books.

I have always found the Articles' status, even in the Church of England, to be rather ambiguous, inasmuch as (a) I have never seen an explanation of what effect the clergy's "subscribing" them is supposed to have had and (b) the laity of the C of E have never been required to pay a moment's attention to them.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

Thans you, Canon Hollister.

What is th significance of the year 1967? What happened that year?

LKW

Shaughn said...

Fr. Wells,

If I were to hazard a guess, it'd be the stance on abortion affirmed that year in General Convention.

I can't find the actual statement, but it was reaffirmed and expanded in 1976 here:

http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_resolution.pl?resolution=1976-D095

Bad stuff.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Wells asked, "What is the significance of the year 1967 [as cited in the ACC's Canon 2.2]? What happened that year?"

I wasn't present in Dallas in 1978when Canon 2.2 was adopted (I didn't join the ACC until 1983), but I have always assumed that this date was selected as "the last safe date" before PECUSA's General Convention began to adopt the series of changes that led up to the first-round approval, in 1976, of what would become the "1979" Prayer Book.

Thus, for example, unless I have my facts wrong, 1967 would have been just prior to the first -- and illegal, but later ratified sub silencio -- "ordinations" of women to the diaconate.

Perhaps some others who were, in fact, present in Dallas could weigh in here with their recollections.

John A. Hollister+
"arpyr"

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Wells,

The answer of "Pharoah" to your question would be this: Three things happened since the time of King Charles I to make Anglican Catholics put less stress on the Articles.

First, they were most commonly interpreted in a non-Catholic direction by bishops and others to attack the Tractarians, and there was no real doubt that such interpretation was, to say the least, not made impossible by the nature of the Articles themselves. For example, while Article XXXI can be interpreted in an orthodox way, there is no point pretending that having such an article with no corresponding article to put clearly the correct view of Eucharistic Sacrifice leads people to think the Church had simply rejected the Sacrifice of the Mass outright.

Second, historical research has shown that, whatever the words might say when carefully considered, and however much they avoid going beyond the point of no return, the Articles were in fact composed by men whose personal theological opinions were often (though not always) closer to those of the Tractarian-despisers than those of the Tractarians and Caroline Divines. To say, correctly, that this is not determinative of their interpretation, does not help make the Articles a beloved standard.

Third, the ACC has in fact copied but also "altered" and "amended", to quote Canon 2.2, the 1893 Solemn Declaration of one of its precursor Churches, the Anglican Church of Canada. It has done this by deleting reference to the Thirty Nine Articles, which were listed in 1893 as a distinct source additional to the BCP. (If you don't believe me, please check. Both Solemn Declarations are available online. BTW, the C of E's canons and the Anglican Church of Australia's Constitution also distinguish explicitly between the BCP and Articles as sources, but only the former are available online.) The ACC has also omitted all explicit reference whatever to the Articles everywhere else in its formularies, in clear contrast to the previous Canons of the North American Churches.

To pretend that such persistent and selective omission was not deliberate is absurd. To say that deliberate omission in church law when making a new version of the exactly the same legal entity is without consequences is less than tenable and opposed to what I have been told by two ACC Metropolitans of great intelligence.

PS: I am content to share the label of "Pharoah" sent in my direction with the present Metropolitan and Acting Primate of the ACC, Archbishop Mark Haverland. His views on the subject of the articles, given in Appendix B of the Second Edition of Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice, pp. 149-151, are those I share. Nevertheless, I am sure both of us will refrain from enslaving anyone or killing their babies in our Egyptian enthusiasm. So, those who think the Articles are "the bees knees" can relax.

:-)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

For example, while Article XXXI can be interpreted in an orthodox way, there is no point pretending that having such an article with no corresponding article to put clearly the correct view of Eucharistic Sacrifice leads people to think the Church had simply rejected the Sacrifice of the Mass outright.

They were giving credit to people as able to follow the Holy Communion service. Sadly, that gives too much credit, for many cannot see the obvious sacramental nature of it-or don't want to.

...the Articles were in fact composed by men whose personal theological opinions were often (though not always) closer to those of the Tractarian-despisers...

A few, not most. For the majority, Hooker and later Andrewes were the spokesman, and the Puritans were the enemy.

The ACC has also omitted all explicit reference whatever to the Articles everywhere else in its formularies, in clear contrast to the previous Canons of the North American Churches.

In clear contrast, silence (i.e. consent)? Well, Canon Hollister already quoted the relevant bit from the C&C: "Any matters not expressly legislated by or provided for by the Constitution and Canons of this Church or the Constitution and Canons of any Province or Diocese or
other Jurisdiction...etc."

To pretend that such persistent and selective omission was not deliberate is absurd.

Deliberate silence rendering deliberate consent, especially in light of Canon Hollister's quotation from the C&C, above. Oh, it was deliberate alright, and you don't get it.

So, those who think the Articles are "the bees knees" can relax.

The Bee's knees? Look, either we defend the meaning of the Articles, or we surrender our defense of everything Anglican. If our fathers were heretics, then we are a mere sect. And, the Metropolitan, whose name you almost drop, uses them to teach and to describe Anglican doctrine.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

By the way, Fr. Kirby, do you really want to win an argument that says, in effect, the C&C of the ACC departs from the standard orthodox and traditional understanding of Anglicanism? To some of us the C&C is a fairly recent work, as is the Affirmation itself. We were committed to Anglicanism before any of it, before the ACC was born. With all due respect for our C&C, I do not believe you appreciate just how conservative the Affirmation of St. Louis really is, and how closed we all are to any revision. That is, after all, why we are Continuing.

Be glad you have not persuaded us, because the consequences of your winning this debate would be devastating,something none of us would not want to live with.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

Here's what I don't get. If references existed before, they were explicitly affirmed before. Yet, somehow, by your logic, explicit removal means implied consent.

Say what now? Why would you remove something which was explicitly referenced unless you had changed your mind about its significance? You wouldn't. This in fact seems contrart to all logic. You don't make a point of cutting stuff out that you're happy with.


Fr. Hart, I read Canon Hollister's post and noted the following points:

I have always found the Articles' status, even in the Church of England, to be rather ambiguous, inasmuch as (a) I have never seen an explanation of what effect the clergy's "subscribing" them is supposed to have had and (b) the laity of the C of E have never been required to pay a moment's attention to them. Emphasis mine.

If anything, Canon Hollister suggests that they were ambiguous in their status, especially as regards the laity.

Your argument from silence isn't convincing, sir. This is, in fact, the exact same argument innovators use to suggest that Christ was hunky dory with homosexual sex or Halo or sports utility vehicles. "Well, Jesus was silent about that. He said way more about divorce." You've made all the wrong inferences about the silence.

In the New Testament, Christ is silent about homosexuality not because he silently affirms it, but because his target audience (largely Palestinian Jews) aren't screwing up homosexuality, bestiality, or pedophilia. They were having trouble with divorce and adultery. (I am NOT suggesting that you approve of such. I am merely pointing out a flaw in logic. Please don't do something rash like saying, "Shaughn equates loving the 39 Articles with Homo Sex." Thank you.)

Arguments from silence are not at all convincing, especially when what was explicitly affirmed was explicitly removed in the new documents.


As regards Hooker, Andrewes, and so forth -- these folks seem to me to be the minority with disproportionately high influence, rather than a majority fighting back a pesty minority. Papists to the right, Puritans to the left, and a few happy warriors holding the center. In the Oxford Movement, it shifted a bit, but the Tractarians were still the minority. Evangelicals to the left, Deists too the (ahem) further left, and a few happy warriors risking their livelihood to get their point across.

Peace!

--S.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

You write,

The Bee's knees? Look, either we defend the meaning of the Articles, or we surrender our defense of everything Anglican. If our fathers were heretics, then we are a mere sect.

Now, here you've gotten all dramatic. No one's dipsuting the Catholicity or the meaning of the Articles. They're disputing whether the Articles have any extra super duper canonical status apart from other Anglican formularies and other juicy bits of Tradition, and in particular, the theologians which inform them.

Fr. Kirby and I are merely arguing that a) they don't, and b) they don't have any special status in particular within the Canons and Constitutions of the ACC requiring assent to them -- not their meaning, but the very text vis-a-vis the text.

You might want to consider why the Church of England, which never explicitly abandoned them, has gone crazy, and why the Episcopal Church started going crazy long before it made them Historical Documents. This is to say that one can still hold the Articles in high regard and become a heretic, which is the polar opposite of what Fr. Kirby and I are arguing -- that the 39 Articles are Catholic, lovely, and wonderful, but not what makes you an Anglican, all fervor about taking your church away from you aside.

For what it's worth, since nobody has given any credence to the notion of a) putting it to a vote in Synod or b) asking a bishop, I would say nobody here has won any particular argument, so much as filibustered his or her own argument until folks have lost interest or exhausted themselves of writing about it. (A sensible person with my position would go on thinking it, cease humoring you, and stop posting, you know?)

Veriword: "theepu" -- Names for Droids rejected by George Lucas' writing team.

Nathan said...

Something which raises such controversy cannot be considered standard, which I think is the arguement here. No one here has condemned nor 'disparaged' the Articles. It has only been claimed that they are cumbersome and more difficult to navigate than the sources on which they are based.

Nathan
augation

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn

Nothing was removed; or do you charge that we revised the Book of Common Prayer? Nothing was removed, also, because the quoted portion Fr.Kirby keeps bringing up from 1893 was changed, as in altered or edited, in order to make a statement with more clarity. The argument about (not from) silence, that it indicates consent, is a standard point of law going back centuries.

You wrote:
As regards Hooker, Andrewes, and so forth -- these folks seem to me to be the minority with disproportionately high influence, rather than a majority fighting back a pesty minority.

Why? Because Cromwell and the Puritans had a brief victory when they murdered Charles I (in their role as, to quote Crowe, "being but the sons of bitches, must be rebels and regicides.")?

Hooker was an official spokesman for the C of E, Andrewes preached his sermons to King James, and Laud was Archbishop of Canterbury. Name anyone at all with more lasting influence in Anglicanism than these three men. name any of the contemporaries of either of these three whose works have lasted, or who spoke for the Church of England in his day with equal recognition.

I am shocked by the whole comment.

As for this second comment, suggesting we make a motion, there is nothing to vote on. If you and Fr. Kirby want to believe that the ACC considers itself, or ever has, as free to revise and change the Formularies as the Episcopalians claim to be, then know this: You don't speak for the rest of us.

And, what makes you think that the C of E and the Episcopalians have taken the Articles any more seriously than they have the Bible itself? If you want to be as free with our Formularies as the Episcopalians are, I suggest the Bible might be next on your list, and in time we will be told that the Book of Isaiah, or the Gospel of John is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution and Canons. Well, the Affirmation of St. Louis was written to reject that very kind of thinking, and we can't let it come in through the backdoor; not even in the name of our own Constitution and Canons.

Nathan wrote:

Something which raises such controversy cannot be considered standard...

Well then, so much for the Bible, the Creeds, and the Book of Common Prayer. These have all caused controversy.

Nathan said...

Fr. Hart, what is a Formulary?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

A formulary is a fixed statement. In Anglicanism, the ultimate formulary is the Bible. Formularies that are distinctly Anglican include the Book of Common Prayer (i.e. classic editions), and specifically within the Book of Common Prayer the Ordinal with its Preface, and the Thirty-Nine Articles. One could add, for us, the Affirmation of St. Louis, and I suppose the Constitution and Canons for ACC people. But, the classic formularies cannot become "unauthorized."

I am going to remind everyone of Canon Hollister's comment above, which included this:

I believe the operative paragraph is Canon 2.2 of the ACC's Canons, "Matters not Expressly Legislated Herein":

"Any matters not expressly legislated by or provided for by the Constitution and
Canons of this Church or the Constitution and Canons of any Province or Diocese or
other Jurisdiction thereof shall be referred to and be subject to the General Canon Law and the Common Law of the Church as received by the Church of England in its estates in convocation assembled as specified by the Acts of Parliament of 1534 and 1543, or
any and all other Anglican Laws Ecclesiastical in effect in part or parts of North America or elsewhere prior to 1967, all of which bodies of Anglican Canon Law not expressly altered or amended by any Synod or Synods of this Church or rendered inapplicable in
the particular circumstances thereof, are incorporated by reference and are to be of
continued force and effect."


All the formularies were, in that passage, reaffirmed.

Nathan said...

Fr. Hart said:

A formulary is a fixed statement.

Could you elaborate?

Nathan said...

Would you be so kind as to list ALL the formularies for us?

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Hart,

I have been informed there is a canonical principle that deliberate repetition of the same law but with deliberate omission is precisely sufficient to alter and amend the law, especially where the old laws are presented as being "filtered" through and trumped by the new laws, and that such omission is not tacit acceptance but constitutes a revision. That is, selective and complete omission IS alteration and amendment.

As for your effective claim that such revision of the status of the 39 Articles would be a kind of betrayal or innovation or denial of identity, you can only say this by completely ignoring what I have said above. I have constantly agreed there is no denial or condemnation of the Articles to be inferred. And I have reminded people that officially diminishing the degree of authority of the 39 Articles did not begin with the ACC anyway, but with the C of E long before its defection.

My reference to the Metropolitan was not about name-dropping, but reasonable appeal to authority plus evidence that my view was not some marginal eccentricity, as some wish to imply. Read the pages I cited. I'm sure you have access to the book.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Hollister commented on the portion he quoted, as you may recall:

I read this to mean that, whatever the authority of the 39 Articles was in 1967 within either the Anglican Church of Canada or the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA, that is the authority they retain within the ACC at the present day.

The issue about any formulary cannot be simply a matter of our own Constitution and Canons. To protect the ACC from making innovations we have The Affirmation of St. Louis and Canon 2.2 in the C&C.

Otherwise some would work to create an Anglo-Catholic paradise, others an Evangelical paradise, and in time we could have even the kind of "liberals" who made the whole Continuing effort necessary.

So, if you want to discuss the place of the Articles in Anglicanism, fine; and why we live with that, fine. But, we cannot discuss them merely in terms of our own fairly recently composed C&C. For once we start doing that we cease to be Continuing Anglicans. We become some new animal not in the spirit of St. Louis.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I have been informed there is a canonical principle that deliberate repetition of the same law but with deliberate omission is precisely sufficient to alter and amend the law...

Why would that apply to any portion not quoted? As you said, the whole section is not repeated. That is not an omission of any part within the original section.

Nathan:

Here is the list of the classic Formularies: BCP, Ordinal and 39 Articles.

I know I approved another comment last night that should be in this thread, but I can't find it. Either it was written on a different thread, or the internet burped or hiccupped-always best to retain a copy. I believe Shaughn was telling us that Hooker, Andrewes and Laud were outnumbered by their opponents. I don't know; the monarchs and the cursed Cromwell did not have Mr. Gallup or Mr. Rasmussen in their time. I do know whose works lasted as part of the canon of Anglican thinking, as expressing the Anglican mind and way.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

That was the basic gist of that part of my post, yes.

Their place in the canon of Anglican thought was, of course, hardly a given. Prior to about 1820, the High Church party was in pretty bad shape. If you look at publication data, editions of the Caroline Divines had slowed way down compared to the first 50 years (say, from 1675-1725). They received renewed interest in the Oxford Movement, where the Tractarians were (again) the minority, and often harassed to no end.

Now, you quote Canon Hollister's qualification about the status of the 39 Articles in 1967, but you haven't said what that position was. I suspect if you go back and look, you'll see what Fr. Kirby has repeatedly described: a trajectory of waning influence as a binding document. They have all of this information in Candler's library. (One of the advantages of being at this goofy place is access to the 3rd largest theological library in the country.) I'd be more than happy to go dig up primary documents, if you like.

Peace.

--S.

Shaughn said...

This didn't take long at all.

I give you juicy quotations from Recent Changes in Theology in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

Source: The American Journal of Theology, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Jul.,1907), pp. 384-406.

"The Anglican church also uses the Thirty-Nine Articles, which are subsequent to the second great schism; but those articles issued out of a certain necessity for the restatement of theology under the concept of a state church, and also out of a desire of the leaders of the church in England at the time of the Reformation to harmonize as far as possible the theology of the Anglican church with the theology of the Reformation, though great care was exercised neither to destroy the Catholic faith nor to add anything thereto. According, then, to a rigorous interpretation of her own fundamental principles, the Anglican church is in the last resort bound by, and only by, those doctrines which were formulated and officially accepted before the schism between the eastern and western churches."

"But that such influence was of great force in the formative processes of the Episcopal church is clearly evident both in the discussions and in the conclusions of the Convention of 1789. That con-vention, after long and exhaustive discussion, distinctly refused to be bound by the Thirty-Nine Article."

"A curious error is frequently made in the statement that the Thirty-Nine Articles constitute a part of the creed of the Protestant Episcopal church, because they are found bound within the covers of the Prayerbook. Such a step was never taken by the Episcopal church. The convention of 1801 simply ordered their printing and binding within the covers of the Prayer-book as an established statement of the Articles of Religion, but with no officiala action incorporating those articles into the liturgy, which, and which only, expresses the doctrinal requirements of the church."

"Of course, Protestantism has exercised, by reason of the Protestant element in both the Anglican and Episcopal churches, positive influence upon their thought, and there has been at certain times in their history a general consensus as to the more abstract doctrines of Christian theology, such as the fall, sin, atonement, predestination, inspira-tion, etc.; but, with the exception of that time and spirit in the history of the Anglican church out of which the Thirty-Nine Articles grew, it may be said that those churches have never had an official doctrine of sin, or of the atonement, or of predestination, other than that expressed in the Prayerbook; and that can be elicited only in the form of interpretation. The Episcopal church in particular has never had any official, other than Prayerbook, doctrine pertaining to those matters; though in sermons and theological essays by churchmen those matters have been treated as revealed theological propositions, or in the light of the evolution of the Christian consciousness."

I can go on and on, if you'd like more sources.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Of waning influence in the 2oth century-does that really make the Articles seem less weighty to you?

...but, with the exception of that time and spirit in the history of the Anglican church out of which the Thirty-Nine Articles grew, it may be said that those churches have never had an official doctrine of sin, or of the atonement, or of predestination, other than that expressed in the Prayerbook...

And, what, pray tell, is the evidence that 16th century doctrinal ideas were unique to that period? How are doctrinal statements in the 39 Articles about sin, the atonement or predestination, based on temporary human theories of that era rather than Scripture with Universal Consensus and Antiquity? The fact that the writer included "predestination" on the list indicates his own mistaken assumption, and in turn careless reading (Articles XVI and XVII were not approved by the Calvinists in England).

The convention of 1801 simply ordered their printing and binding within the covers of the Prayer-book as an established statement of the Articles of Religion, but with no officiala action...

This begs the question, why was Article XXI edited in the American BCP? If the Articles were not of any binding nature, why edit any part of their content rather than preserving a "historical document?" The article you quote from is, I am sure, interesting; but it raises this question rather than answering it.

Nonetheless, at least now you are trying to ascertain the place of the Articles in the larger history Anglicanism instead of treating our ACC C&C as deriving authority merely from a majority vote among our own people. You see, that is what the Episcopalians were doing in 1976 with their own Constitution and Canons. That is why remarks about our C&C, as if an appeal to the highest authority, seems smug and is dangerous. Our C&C rest on a foundation; take away the foundation and we have nothing but a majority opinion that can change tomorrow.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

You're missing the point that I am making in quoting the author. If we are to agree that the status of the Articles for us is the status of the Articles in 1967, then their status in 1907 speaks to that -- which is to say, not binding, in contradistinction to the Book of Common Prayer, which is, this author claims, the document to which the PECUSA was bound at its founding.

Or do you not agree with Canon Hollister after all?

If the characterization of the 39 Articles in this scholarly article is accurate, then you're risking a defense an Episcopal Church which never actually existed. In all seriousness, what do I have to do?How many primary documents and scholarly articles prior to 1967 will it take to convince you that the 39 Articles were not binding on PECUSA, even from its founding? I have a whole library to go digging and a light semester in which to do it. 10? 20? 30? Clearly 1907 wasn't good enough for you. How far back do you want me to go?

Contrast history's treatment of the Creeds vs. its treatment of the Articles. The Articles, if that characterization of PECUSA is accurate, have only waned. The creeds increased in importance from their founding, until very recently. (Bring me back my Athanasian Creed, S'il Vous Plaît!) Likewise, folks do not need a Bicknell to access the importance of the truth in the Creeds. They do for the Articles, which suggests that they are far from timeless.

So, again, how much evidence would you like?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn:

I am indeed challenging the conclusion of the writer; and my question about Article XXI proves that the Articles were put in the Episcopal Prayer Book as a statement of faith. Otherwise, tell me, why was Article XXI edited? If the whole section was merely for its historic interest why not leave it intact? Also, why change it as if it mattered for the present and the future? Unless it was seen as having ongoing relevance, why make any change?

Furthermore, as the importance of the Articles waned, so did the importance of the Creeds, and among the same people. Those were the ones we could not remain in communion with.

Shaughn said...

My research has taken me to the memoirs of Bp. William White concerning those early General Conventions. In the House of Bishops, there seems to have been division on the matter. Seabury, the Episcopal Church's first bishop, was apparently against their ratification, which did not happen until 6 years after his death. Writes White, "The author was surprised to find, that Bishop Seabury, the only bishop at the convention besides himself, doubted of the need of Articles; and was rather inclined to believe, that the object of them might be accomplished through the medium of the Liturgy. This was so wide of what might have been expected from his usual turn of sentiment, that, to the author, there seemed at the time no way of accounting for it, otherwise than by the supposition, that the bishop conceived the Articles to be nearer to the height of Calvinism, than they are found to be on due consideration of their history, and of contemporary controversies. But it has since appeared, that there had never been the Thirty-nine Articles or any such standard in the non-juring Church of Scotland, in which Bishop Seabury was consecrated, and to the ways of which he was very much attached." Likewise, Bps. Madison and Provoost were against their inclusion in the 1792 Convention, while Bps. Claggett and White favored their inclusion.

White describes the circumstances of their inclusion in the following way: "After repeated discussions and propositions, it had been found, that the doctrines of the Gospel, as they stand in the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, with the exception of such matters as are local *, were more likely to give general satisfaction than the same doctrines in any new form that might be devised."

To answer your question, Fr. Hart, the editor of the text provides, "Article XXI. was omitted, being partly local and civil, while it is also provided for in other Articles."

White continues, "It is further to be remembered, that, in regard to subscription to the articles, there is a considerable difference between the form required in the Church of England, as laid down in her thirty-sixth canon, and that prescribed in the constitution of the American Church."

In a later section of the memoirs White helpfully provides the two subscriptions:

Form in this Church—"I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation. And I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrines and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in these United States."

Form in the Church of England—The Thirty-sixth Canon requires the candidates, after reference, first, to the royal supremacy; second, to the Book of Common Prayer, with the Ordinal; and third, to the Thirty-nine Articles, to signify his assent as follows:—"I, N. N., do willingly and ex animo subscribe to those three articles above mentioned, and to all things that are contained in them."

Shaughn said...

(Part 2 of 2)

In describing his intent for the Articles' inclusion, he writes, "Therefore, the author wished for an adherence to the Thirty-nine Articles, not excepting the general principles maintained in the political parts of them; but with an exception, in the ratification, of the local application of the said parts, according to the letter of them. But he did not wish to have the Articles signed, as in England, according to the tenor of the thirty-sixth canon of that Church. He preferred the resting of the obligation of them on the promise made at ordination, as required by the seventh article of the constitution, considered as sufficient by the English bishops; which would render them articles of peace, as they are sometimes said to be in the Church of England; but not with such evident propriety, as they would then be in the American Church. As the author approves of the general tenor of the Thirty-nine Articles, he trusted, that however he might have supposed, in his private judgment, the possibility of omitting some of them and of altering others to advantage, yet not perceiving a probability, either that such a change, if made, would have been for the better, or, that if so, it would have found such general acceptance as to prove a sufficient bond of union, he thought he acted consistently, in endeavoring to obtain them on the terms stated."

Their status, therefore, seems to me fairly ambiguous.Bp. White wanted their inclusion, and he wanted adherence to them, but he did not expect an explicit signing of the Articles themselves. In other words, one did not have to endorse the Articles, as in the physical document we call The Thirty-Nine Articles, explicitly in order to be considered an Anglican or a candidate for ordination, in contradistinction to the Church of England. One merely needed to agree with their theology. They were not binding in the sense that the BCP or the C&C are. This has, essentially, been my point this whole time. Even Bp. White did not consider them infallible, but rather, by his own words most likely the best and most convenient series of articles available to the church at the time. The real question, I should think, is how much of a latitudinarian White was with regard to adhering to their theology.

Seabury himself, and in particular, his attitudes toward the BCP, are quite interesting, but a topic for another time.

In conclusion, the official status or binding nature of the 39 Articles has been unclear from the start. White never expected candidates for ordination to sign them in an explicit pledge of endorsement, unlike the C of E. The theology in them, it seems to me, is what he considered most important, and at the time, the merely best summation of that theology available.

If we are to reject that view of the Articles, then we are to reject the principles of PECUSA from its very foundation. There was not, however, a golden age of the Episcopal Church where the official policy of the church demanded explicit acceptance of the Articles (in distinction from their theology).

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn:

You have not answered my question in the place where you meant to, nor have you noticed how and where you did come upon the answer.

This time I will set it up, and place the answer in the question. To set it up, if the Articles had been merely preserved, that is, included for historical value, they would have been preserved exactly as they had been with no change. Merely historical documents are dead. Change to a document, even if for use on this shore distant from England, makes no sense unless the document is to be used as a guiding tool for the present and future. It is, therefore, alive and full of ongoing importance and meaning, else why change it? It would not matter for anything of value.

The question (which is hypothetical) was, if the Articles were placed in the American BCP for anything less than their value in teaching right doctrine, why was Article XXI edited? The answer, I say again, is in the question.

Making a distinction between the Articles as "binding" and their theology as true and right doctrine, amounts to a distinction without a difference. If anything, the latter is weightier. For the crown to have made them binding, in that the clergy took an oath, is to give them the protection and honor of a government among men. To keep them as teaching right doctrine or true theology brings a higher Authority into the matter, higher than the mere crown of an empire, even the Christian British empire. (John 18: 36-38a)

Shaughn said...

(1 of 2)

Fr. Hart,

It pains me to repeat, again, that I've never claimed they were merely historical documents, like they are in the 1979 Episcopal Prayer Book. If you'll scroll back, I said, "They have no binding authority or particular importance outside of historical curiosity for the more scholarly among us."

Now, if you'll refrain from moving your goal post again, let's review what was under discussion. As early as 1907, I demonstrated a trajectory of their waning importance in PECUSA. This evidence informed Canon Hollister's point, which was: The status of the Articles in the ACC now is their status in the PECUSA prior to 1967. In 1907, it was clearly viewed that a) the BCP was the only source of doctrine, and b) the 39 Articles were not part of it, properly speaking.

That may not be the church you like. That may not be the church you think should have been. That may not be what particular parties in the church felt. But these things are not our criteria. Our criteria was the church’s official policy as it was in 1967, which I adequately demonstrated.

Not satisfied with that, you wanted to ask about editions Article XXI during their ratification. Well and good. I therefore provided the background of that redaction and White's assessment of the Articles, which I consider to be less than a stellar endorsement. "Nothing they could write would be better or less divisive," he essentially said. Such suggests that they were inoffensive and capable of building consensus, not that they were the heart and soul of Anglican identity, as you repeatedly assert. He goes on for pages to defend the importance and truth of the Creeds. The Articles, on the other hand, are picked, as White himself describes them, mostly because nobody in post-Revolution America had the wherewithal to do better. While Seabury wanted no articles at all, White wanted articles, not because he strongly felt they were the core of Anglican identity, but to avoid a kind of congregationalism. He settled on the 39 Articles, not because there was anything remarkable about them, qua 39 Articles, but because nobody could agree on anything else, and nobody could produce anything which might also build a consensus.

Editing Article XXI doesn’t reveal the 39 Articles’ relevance to us today, but rather, the need to edit them in order to make them relevant to the American Church, which had no state church. This is clear also in Article VIII, which removed references to the Athanasian Creed, which wasn’t printed in the American Prayer Book. In other words, the Articles were made to look like the Prayer Book, rather than the reverse. (This point, I think, reflects Seabury’s view that the BCP’s liturgy informs doctrine, rather than the Articles.)

I furthermore demonstrated White’s belief in their role: one should agree with the theology that informs them, but one needn't sign the Articles, qua Articles. This is a distinction you seem utterly incapable of making: the difference between a document itself and the information in it.
You say, "To keep them as teaching right doctrine or true theology brings a higher Authority into the matter, higher than the mere crown of an empire, even the Christian British empire. (John 18: 36-38a)."
To which I say, "Yes, of course," but not in the sense that you would like. Their contents have a higher authority than their identity as a document which we call "The 39 Articles," just as De Trinitate or any number of texts do. The difference here is simple enough. You can distinguish between those texts and their theology, but for some reason, the 39 Articles' truth, for you, is inexplicably bound in the 39 Articles as the Articles.

Shaughn said...

(2 of 2)

I am not interested, as an historian, in what the Church should have been, or what the Church would have been. I am interested in the Church as it actually was, and the Church which Bishop White describes in his Memoirs, and the church which the article I cited from 1907 describes, are simply not the church you are describing.

The Articles are true and Catholic, but they do not require explicit signing. They in fact required tweaking to remain true, Catholic, and relevant to a church with separation of Church and State. Their inclusion and ratification does not make them required for identity as an Anglican; PECUSA got on just fine ordaining folks a good 12 years without any articles, and for quite a while, it wasn't at all obvious they would ever adopt any.

White never argued for their inclusion in the way that, respectfully, you and Fr. Wells are arguing. White never describes the Articles in the way that you describe them. White never gives them the exalted and at times almost sentimental status that you are giving them. White himself, who did not do these things, pushed for their ratification. White, who pushed for their ratification, did not think Seabury was doing ill to the ghost of King Charles or abandoning his Anglican status by thinking them unnecessary. Bishop White did not say to those who opposed him, “Hey, be glad you did not persuade us.” It was not a matter of great urgency or a crisis of Anglican identity. White wanted them; some did not. White carried the day, after 12 years of losing. Put another way, Bishop White demonstrated more charity to Seabury and other bishops in his memoirs than you are presently affording me and Fr. Kirby.

All of this historical evidence indicates that the 39 Articles, qua 39 Articles, did not have the exalted, reverent, integral status that you so clearly think they had during their process of ratification in the Episcopal Church. The very man who pushed for their inclusion did not give them the status that you are giving them.

I say again: you are risking a defense of an Episcopal church that never officially existed in this country. I would be interested in you researching evidence of a cleric in that church being disciplined on the grounds of his failed adherence to a particular Article.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn:

...inexplicably bound in the 39 Articles as the Articles.

Do not put words in my mouth. Your insistence on relegating the Articles as the Articles in favor of their theology leaves a hole in their place. It suggests also that we have abandoned the faith of the C of E Reformers, which would cause doubt about the validity of everything Anglican, including our sacraments. It is better to draw from them openly, and to do what I do; translate them and interpret (as in sticking to "composer's intention) for everyone's education and benefit.

You rely heavily on an essay in an unofficial publication written in 1907, which amounts to nothing more than one writer's opinion. It is not a document of the Episcopal Church. The position it sets forth marks an early stage of reasoning that led us to WO in 1976. (And what did they do between 1776 and 1801? They used the 1662 BCP without references to the crown as they prayed.)

The issue of Article XXI still seems to have escaped your attention, and your own faculties of critical thinking. Your assertion that the Articles "have no binding authority or particular importance outside of historical curiosity" contradicts the facts. Those facts are, in light of Canon Hollister's answer, the actual place they held (with or without 1907 opeds, written, by the way, before 1928 when the whole section was republished in the BCP), and the fact that the editing of Article XXI proves it was not as minor a place as you say, "mere historical curiosity." (Besides which, if they teach true theology-which they certainly do-how could you make such a statement?)

A mere historical curiosity would have been preserved whole and entire, not edited. The status of mere historical curiosity is the place they take only in the 1979 book. "...no binding authority or particular importance outside of historical curiosity," would get a hearty "amen" from Katherine Jefferts-Schori. That is what the modern Episcopal organization now says, and that opeds may be produced showing how this process came about (in contradistinction to official status, which is what Canon Hollister meant) is far from persuasive.

Frankly, the entire issue of Article XXI remains unanswered even with all of your words. It remains a powerful bit of evidence.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

I have put nothing in your mouth. You yourself said, "Personally, I am bound by the 39 Articles. I am an Anglican." I merely take you at your word.

You write,
"(And what did they do between 1776 and 1801? They used the 1662 BCP without references to the crown as they prayed.)"

This, quite simply, is factually incorrect. The American Prayer Book was in use, published, without the Articles, in 1790, having been approved in the 1789 General Convention. They didn't leave it sitting around until 1801, still using a cherry picked 1662.

When invited to celebrate at that Convention, Samuel Seabury actually refused to do so, saying in reference to the 1662 Prayerbook, "To confess the truth, I hardly consider the form to be used, as strictly amounting to a consecration."

Are you willing to say that the first bishop of the Episcopal Church, who didn't support the ratification of the 39 Articles, wasn't an Anglican?

As for the article I used, it was a peer-reviewed article in an academic journal, not some op-ed in the Sunday Paper. If you have an issue with academic research, that is a subject for another time, but don't reduce the arguments to the level of an Editorial in the New York Times simply because you disagree with the argument being offered.

If you'll re-read the quotations I provided, it very clearly states, "According, then, to a rigorous interpretation of her own fundamental principles, the Anglican church is in the last resort bound by, and only by, those doctrines which were formulated and officially accepted before the schism between the eastern and western churches."

It's rather peculiar logic to suggest that kind of sentiment "led us to WO in 1976." Strict adherence to pre-Great Schism theology leads to Women's Ordination?

As for Article XXI, I would suggest to you that, based on White's memoirs, the only way the convention would agree to ratify them in any form at all was with those redactions concerning local matters in place. That reveals more about the priorities of the convention than it says about the status of the Articles today. Now, 250 years after the fact, I doubt people would much care. (So, hey, why not vote on it and see?)

Keep in mind that most of the Episcopal clergy were newly minted oathbreakers and traitors to the crown following the Revolutionary War--Seabury being an odd exception, in that he was a Tory and yet not in favor of the Articles being ratified. It stands to reason that, regardless of the status of the Articles, many Americans wouldn't want that kind of talk about Princes in their Prayerbook, historical documents or otherwise. It was a point of political accomodation, more than one of theological significance.

As for making such a statement about true theology, that's quite easy to address. The truth of a text and its importance are not, precisely, the same thing, as you well know. Would you like the long list of ancient, medieval, reformation, and post-reformation theological treatises that are full of good, true, wise theology but relegated to the historian's bookshelf in alphabetical order or by topical index? (One of my favorites, Thomas Comber's Companion to the Temple, is just such a text. Highly recommended.)

Shaughn said...

Now we're getting somewhere, though, in that you're not satisfied with Bishop White's own attitudes toward the Articles and his reasoning for their conclusion. You're not satisfied with a peer-reviewed academic article explaining the theology of PECUSA in 1907. I'm more than happy to exploit inter-library loans at Sewanee or Virginia Theological Seminary if what you're saying is the only authority you'll accept is official documents from the church (excepting, of course, the 1979 Prayerbook, which I also reject, making your comparison of me to Ms. Schori a curious invective).

You yourself haven't provided any official documents explicitly affirming any kind of binding authority in the articles in the Episcopal Church prior to 1967 and in the ACC today. Your authorities so far are a) Bicknell and b) yourself.

Now, if we're going to disagree on how to interpret White's own memoirs, or reject the opinions of White, who wanted them included in the first place, that is a different sort of argument. I've been through piles of books on the ratification of the Articles, and so far Article XXI, wherever they bother to mention it, to include White's memoirs, have formed the following consensus: "It was political accomodation to get the things passed."

None of them (many written as early or earlier than 1850) write about the binding nature of the Articles in the American Church. Most of them go out of their way to point out that White wasn't interested in anyone signing them explicitly and contrast them with the required signature in the Church of England.

If the Episcopal Church was on a trajectory toward straying from the Articles, let alone women's ordination and heresy, its seeds arguably were sown at its founding by not requiring a signature for them. What a fun discussion that would be.

Nathan said...

I'm confused. Of the Articles adopted by the Church of England in 1563 and the edited Articles printed in the American BCP beginning in 1801, which is the 'fixed statement'?

Nathan
kraffess

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn:

I agree that the theology of the Articles may be taught without the Articles. But, that is more work with less secure results than simply explaining the confusing parts (as if we do not have to do that with the Bible and everything else old enough to have real value).

In the final analysis, for determining their weight, I am not interested in any individual's attitude toward the Articles, not even Bp. White's. Nor have I invoked Bicknell on the question of their status-his work was an explanation of their meaning and history. Nor have I set myself up as the judge; I have asked the Chancellor for an opinion inasmuch as you wanted to appeal to some authority. Faced with the answer that their status is whatever it was in the Episcopal Church before the great divide (per the affirmation of the 1928 BCP in the Affirmation of St. Louis), you have brought up an oped in an academic journal from 1907, and mentioned the personal opinion of Bp. White about details.

Regarding the fact that the question caused some debate, and resulted in publication of the Articles of Religion with modest change, you seem interested only in what was discussed before the matter was resolved, not in the meaning we may derive from how it was resolved in 1801. Your earlier argument that it was part of the Prayer Book, but not really (as if they published that section with their fingers crossed) has, I am glad, fallen from the discussion, since it was never more than an unsupportable opinion based on no fact. The presence of the Articles of Religion as part of the Episcopal Prayer Book cannot be explained away by inventing some superficial criteria centuries after the fact.

You are still missing the point about Article XXI. The issue of "local matters" would have been irrelevant if the Articles had been published for historical interest. If they had been included for historical interest, every word would have been preserved; but, they would never have put into the Book of Common Prayer a mere historical document of the Church, at least not before 1979.

Nathan:

Good question. Frankly, the American version is very helpful in establishing the fact that the councils referred to in Article XXI were not the Ecumenical Councils. Our detractors either pretend to believe they were, or out of sheer stupidity actually do believe it. That the Americans saw Article XXI as having to do with a time and place far away (when the world was bigger), there being no Council of Trent taking place ongoing in 1801, and no one around trying to sneak in local councils called by princes, is instructive to all. The American version provides an unassailable commentary on the original.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

(1 of 2)

I haven't abandoned belief that there are definite distinctions between the Articles and the American BCP proper. This distinction is demonstrated by clear examples of the American BCP's use prior to the ratification of the Articles and the BCP informing the language of the Articles, rather than the reverse. This distinction is crystal clear in both subscriptions. Note that the subscription for PECUSA requires obedience first to scripture and second to the doctrines and worship of the Church, i.e., the Prayer Book. The C of E meanwhile requires subscription first to the Crown, second to the BCP, and third to the Articles--suggesting, again, that the Articles are not part of the Prayer Book, properly speaking, or they would have been subsumed in the second part of the subscription. These are the plain, grammatical senses of the texts, which is what we're after, isn't it?

The actions of the Episcopal Church also demonstrate this understanding of the text. It's why TEC never bothered addressing the Articles directly during the rough period of the 70s. (Thank God I was not around then.) They knew that the chief source of doctrine in that church was the Prayer Book, especially in the minds of the laity. So, they changed the Prayer Book, and voila, changed doctrine, rather poorly, for reasons we on which mostly agree. The Eucharist gets the most attention, but dear Lord, they massacred all of the other sacraments worse, didn't they?

It's also part of why the C of E hasn't messed with the Articles or the Prayer Book, which would require (literally) an Act of Parliament. Instead they authorize and slop out Common Worship, because they know (for it is obvious) that the liturgy which people experience is the chief vehicle in which people receive doctrine, not the Articles. They can still smile and say "The 1662 BCP is our official Prayer Book," but good luck finding anyone who uses it (if you can find anyone there actually in church, if statistics are true).

I suspect we agree on the lamentable state of the C of E and TEC, but we probably disagree on the meaning of those subscriptions.

Shaughn said...

(2 of 2)

Ah. I see now that we're largely talking past each other about two separate issues. They are:

a) The role of the 39 Articles as they were ratified in the American Church at the time of its founding. Based on White's description of the events, I would say that they are i) a summary of the Prayer Book's doctrtine, on which they are dependent, ii) the summary of that doctrine on which the largest consensus could be built, iii) quite possibly not the final statement on that doctrine, but a pragmatic solution to a perceived need for articles. Finally, those who did not agree with White did not have their Anglican bona fides ever called into question, but it was largely a gentlemen's disagreement based on White's own response to Seabury, Provoost, and Madison, a disagreement which White did his level best to understand, especially in the case of Seabury. He also went out of his way to remove explicit reference to the articles from the subscriptions. He gives no indication whatsoever that this removal is because they're implied in the Prayer Book, but instead emphasizes the subscription's difference from the one found in the C of E.

In other words, White (and probably most everyone else in the House of Bishops at the time) would not be chiding me about not really being an Anglican or risking heresy and apostasy because we disagreed on this issue, especially since I am not being disobedient to the theology found in the doctrine and worship of the Prayer Book (or, in our case, the Missals).

The Articles, therefore, were i) a summary of doctrine presented in the Prayer Book, ii) edited in order to be a relevant and accurate summarization of that Prayer Book, and iii) not something which candidates for ordination explicitly had to sign or endorse.

This explains why various articles were edited: political wriggling and accurate reflection of the Prayer Book, on which the Articles were dependent. That is to say, the original Articles were not relevant, but were made relevant to PECUSA by conforming them to the 1789 BCP, on which they were dependent.


b) The role of the 39 Articles in the ACC today. This is, I think, informed by the first point, but not quite the same thing as the first point because it includes the whole history of PECUSA from its founding forward. Sources I have found (that article was just the first -- there are many more, if you want them) characterize the Episcopal Church in the way I have described. They were not disciplined for expressing those views (more on discipline later).

It may be that these views represent a part of a particular party within the Church. Certainly the REC was formed because of disagreement with the direction in which the church was moving, to include its treatment of the 39 Articles.

It may be that PECUSA was overly laditudinarian in its attitude toward the 39 Articles and the Prayer Book, and it may be that that latitudinarianism (what a mouthful, that word) led to the current divisions. That is a distinct and separate issue.

You and I disagree over what that official role of the Articles was in the American church. During the mid 1800s I read frequently about brave Episcopal priests being harassed by their bishops because they disobeyed the rubrics of the Prayer Book by having (gasp!) candles on the altar or (horrors!) wearing a chasuble during Communion. I do not see people being brought up on charges because they did not think the the Articles were necessary to be Anglican in America, anywhere, ever. If you do, please, by all means, show them. If you can find trials where the Articles were cited in the prosecution of a lapsed priest, please, by all means, bring them in. (I'm not being snarky here. I love this stuff.) As late as the 1860s, I found trials against a Bishop argued on those grounds in England -- fascinating document, really. That doesn't seem to be the case, however, in the American church.

Nathan said...

Fr. Hart said:

"That the Americans saw Article XXI as having to do with a time and place far away (when the world was bigger), there being no Council of Trent taking place ongoing in 1801, and no one around trying to sneak in local councils called by princes, is instructive to all."

Indeed!!!

So I take it, that the 1563
Articles are no longer the fixed statement and the 1801 version is the new fixed statement. Thanks.

Nathan

Shaughn said...

My research on the subject of the 39 Articles' status in the Episcopal Church continues.

More proof that the trend away from rigorous enforcement of the 39 Articles began long before the 1979 Prayerbook can be found in two surprising places: first, the person largely behind the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the 1892 BCP revision, William Reed Huntington, vigorously opposed them and tried on multiple occasions to have them removed (a position with which I do not, in any shape or form, agree). My evidence for his point of view can be found in Lesley A. Northup's The 1892 Book of Common Prayer. The author describes him as a "Yankee Evangelical" heavily influenced by the Oxford Movement; he also headed the House of Deputies for a great deal of time. He is not, therefore, some random sort of person, but a key player in the politics of the late 19th century Episcopal Church. For more on his views of the Articles, Tract 90: The Articles of Religion from an American Point of View can be found online easily enough. (I don't know the policy on posting external links, and so I haven't.)

Secondly, Percy Dearmor, another fellow recently praised here on multiple occasions, opposed strict subscription to them. He writes in Everyman's History of the Prayer Book, "We naturally turn to the Title-page and the Prefaces for our answer. Now the Title-page is a full and descriptive one; and at the very outset it removes a common mistake. It makes no mention of the Thirty-nine Articles; for they form no part of the Prayer Book. They are bound up with it, just as hymn-books often are; but it is a mistake of the printing authorities to compel us to buy the Articles whenever we buy the Prayer Book; and it gives Church folk the impression that the Articles are binding on them, which is not the case — for a layman is perfectly free to disagree with the Articles, if he chooses. They are admirable in many ways, comprehensive and moderate, though written in an age of bitter controversy; but it would be absurd to Suppose that they could not be improved after the discoveries and experience of three and a half centuries. Nothing has been done to improve them. The needs of modern thought have indeed been partly met by altering the terms in which the clergy (and they alone) have to give their assent; but this does not help the average Briton, who, moreover, is without the assistance of the learned commentaries which alone can prevent serious misunderstandings; while in other countries, both East and West, the presence of the Thirty-nine Articles in the Prayer Book continues to do grave harm, by giving to other Churches a false idea of the Anglican theology."

He goes on, "The Title-page, then, in the first place reminds us that certain familiar things are only appendixes added to the Prayer Book — the State Services, the Articles, the Table of Kindred and Affinity, not to mention the Canons of 1603, and the Metrical Psalms which used to be bound up with the Prayer Book until our modern hymn-books drove them out of use. The Prayer Book ends with the Form for the Consecration of Bishops; and nothing ought to be added to it but, the Accession Service, and any other services which may in the future have proper authority to be "printed and published and annexed to the Book of Common Prayer and Liturgy of the Church of England."

Rather bluntly, he states, "A truly admirable description! What a mass of ignorance would be removed if only people knew the Title-page of the Prayer Book!"

So, add two more voices whose theology we have praised here on multiple occasions to the list of those having a differing view on the Articles. A final note in Dearmer's text, by the way, indicates that a motion to remove the Articles was passed in the General Convention of 1925, but not passed in 1928. For non-Anglincans: it takes two successive General Conventions for that sort of amendment to take effect.

Meanwhile, I'll keep reading.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Nathan:

New fixed statement? That may be a bit strong. The real issue that the articles are among the formularies, and that the American version informs our understanding. Nothing really is fixed but the Bible and the Creeds (and even then, for our language we are faced with the need for accuracy of translation. But, we have them in the original tongues as absolutely fixed).

Shaughn:

The problem with your first point is that it applies equally to the Psalter and the Ordinal, and even (if we want to be very technical) to the Holy Communion service itself. The Book of Common Prayer, as a title, really only meant Evening and Morning Prayer, and then as now, required the additional presence of a Bible (The booke of the common prayer and administracion of the Sacramentes, and other rites and ceremonies of the Churche after the use of the Churche of England). The Book of Common Prayer was printed together with other things including the Holy Communion, in one handy volume. But, that is not what we mean today by saying "The Book of Common Prayer." Today we mean everything in the handy volume.

You wrote:
It's why TEC never bothered addressing the Articles directly during the rough period of the 70s. (Thank God I was not around then.) They knew that the chief source of doctrine in that church was the Prayer Book, especially in the minds of the laity.

Well, my young friend, I was around then. As far as we were concerned the Articles of Religion was part of the Book of Common Prayer, pure and simple.

...because they know (for it is obvious) that the liturgy which people experience is the chief vehicle in which people receive doctrine, not the Articles.

But, this demonstrates the necessity of the Articles and other educational material; for the liturgy alone was not getting the job done- as if it really could. Lex Orandi Lex Credendi does not work in real life, cute and cuddly as the theory may be. Teaching is required.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I do not see people being brought up on charges because they did not think the the Articles were necessary to be Anglican in America, anywhere, ever. If you do, please, by all means, show them. If you can find trials where the Articles were cited in the prosecution of a lapsed priest, please, by all means, bring them in. (I'm not being snarky here. I love this stuff.) As late as the 1860s, I found trials against a Bishop argued on those grounds in England -- fascinating document, really. That doesn't seem to be the case, however, in the American church.

Maybe because no such case arose.

The official position of the Articles in the ACC is a moot point. The Articles are among the Formularies, and the whole idea in St. Louis was to be faithful and conservative. Only a lawyer's mind could separate these issues; they should be inseparable unless you can disprove any of the Articles by Scripture, in which case you judge them by the very standard they endorse.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Meanwhile, I'll keep reading.

Yes. keep doing that.

For now, take it as a rule that no individual's opinion is the rule.

Notice also Dearmer's exact words: "for a layman is perfectly free to disagree with the Articles, if he chooses." What does that mean? It means the clergy who teach are not free. It means also, that a layman may take exception without penalty. What penalty? All we have to dish out is excommunication. And (I myself bear witness to the truth of it), without teaching to guide people, the Articles indeed do great harm. So does the Bible, without teaching to guide people; great harm indeed.

But, the rest is Dearmer's opinion, a man heavily opinionated. Among his opinions was the blunt statement that clergy should never wear lace because it looks like women's underwear. The Parson's Handbook is fun reading.

Nathan said...

"For now, take it as a rule that no individual's opinion is the rule."

Yes, let's ALL keep that in mind.

Nathan
annym