Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Humility of an Un-magisterium

Article VI. Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
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.

In past discussions here, the question has been raised, how much authority do the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion possess? The answer is, certainly no more authority than the Articles themselves can allow. In 2008 the GAFCON people placed them as second to the Scriptures, certainly a new idea, since such a definition has never existed in Anglicanism. No comparative degrees of authority have been established except for primacy of Scripture, and their doctrine as expressed in the great Creeds. Certainly, the classic Anglican formularies are a supporting pillar for those of us who claim to have The Affirmation of St. Louis as part of our own foundation, and that includes the Articles, if only because the whole "spirit of St. Louis" was to continue, not to change. So, what if we allow the Articles to set their own terms for how we regard them?

What can we make of any body of doctrinal principles that contains something as direct and clear as Article VI? Were we to use our imaginations so as to personify the Articles with a kind of anthropomorphism, we could say that they refuse to be treated as the voice of God. They insist that we hold them to the same standard as any other extra Biblical doctrinal statement. The Articles, were they living, would demand to be judged by the authority of Scripture, saying, "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."

This brings us to yet another question that has been discussed recently. It has been suggested that Article XX is more useful than the Vincentian Canon. In practical terms, within the grasp of the average person who can pick up the Bible, that makes sense. However, let us compare these two statements.

First the Vincentian Canon places this measure on doctrine: "That [Faith] which has been believed everywhere, always and by all (Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est)." From this we derive easily a standard of Antiquity and Universal Consensus.

And, as for the other:

Article XX Of the Authority of the Church.
THE Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ: yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce anything to be believed for necessity of salvation.

The first question is, are these two standards in conflict? They can be in conflict depending on how they are used, that is, if someone elevates an amount or degree of apparent consensus from Antiquity to the level of authority, but that kind of effort always proves to be deceptive, generally giving undue weight to councils that never attained Ecumenical status, or giving over much weight to various opinions of sundry writers. The Affirmation of St. Louis affirms the Seven Ecumenical Councils as possessing authority, concerning which it may be argued that the first four Councils were formulative, defending doctrines against heresies in such a way as to clarify them for all generations; and the final three defended those clarifications, making them less significant though not less authoritative. Nonetheless, however we sort out the details, those seven Councils are the definitive example of Antiquity and Universal Consensus, and also the perfect example of the same principles we see in Article XX, in this case applied to the Church Universal rather than to a specific church within the Church.

The seven Ecumenical Councils agree with the revelation contained in Holy Scripture, and set it forth with fidelity and accuracy, fulfilling the words of Jesus Christ, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). For, the Apostolic Church can declare truth dogmatically and authoritatively, as St. John also wrote, "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (I John 4:6) This brings to mind the words of St. Paul, "But we have the mind of Christ," (I Cor. 2:16), and "the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (I Tim. 3:15)

We cannot accept, therefore, simply any measure of limited consensus; but, the Seven Ecumenical Councils defended clearly the same doctrine we profess in the Creeds, and that we see revealed in Scripture.

Ultimately, "Antiquity" speaks of the Scripture above all else.
The fans of Newman's theory of Doctrinal Development, the most vocal opponents of the Vincentian Canon, forget that the Councils, beginning with Nicea (325 AD), defended the Traditional teaching of the Church, and that the defenders of orthodoxy argued exclusively from Scripture. Nowhere else, but Scripture, was the Apostolic teaching actually documented in the Aposltes' own generation, and left behind for future generations. The authority of Scripture is unique, and in the Scriptures we hear the voice of God directly. For "the holy Fathers" of Nicea, the voice of Antiquity was Scripture. The witness of the Apostles was no longer in living memory, that is, but for a public record that had been left behind, received and recognized by the Church even before the formality of establishing the New Testament Canon (with those few questions, in a few places, about Jude, Revelation and, above all II Peter, effectively resolved long before Nicea I).

So, we have the Vincentian Canon as a guide, and also Articles VI and XX agree. Like the Articles, that guide takes us back to the Scriptures as received and understood within the Church, as taught and expressed in liturgy, as believed wherever the Church was established, as passed down from earlier generations, as coming from the Apostles, as verified in the public record of New Testament books. As guides, in fact, we can use these standards together. If a doctrine is professed and taught, we may ask, when did it first appear? Is it really from the Apostles' time, and does it come from their teaching? If so, where is the Scriptural witness? Regarding any dubious matter, when did anyone in the Church first begin to interpret the Scriptural witness in like manner? If from the beginning, then finding it relies on nothing more than exegesis, and requires no isogesis (or eisegesis, same word). By this standard doctrines may be weighed in the balance and found wanting. For example, the bloated claims of the papacy lack the witness of this standard.

Let me bring up another example, one that is absurd and obvious, but all the more useful for it. Around the end of the last century a new fad sprang up of "interpreting" the Old Testament by the numerology of the Hebrew alphabet making use of computer technology to find the hidden "Bible Code." No longer did the Tenach, the Old Testament, mean what it said, with its emphasis above all on the Messiah to come bringing God's salvation. That is, no longer did the Old Testament testify of Christ. (John 5:39) No. By a new Cabala that was computer dependent, the real and hitherto hidden meaning of Scripture (in clear contradiction to Ephesians 3:5) was worked out by those cunning and computer savy enough to play around with this new system. Did this new "Bible Code" have any roots in Antiquity or Universal Consensus? Obviously not. But, many modern so-called Evangelicals were fooled by it, at the very least wasting time "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (II Tim. 3:7)

Not a magisterium

Some people feel a need for more security than faith allows, requiring an infallible authority who answers every question, rather than reading, marking, learning and inwardly digesting Scripture. Some people need a thorough set of rules for every little detail in life. They fear to form their consciences according to God's word (as we are taught to do in The Affirmation of St. Louis). They need God's address here on earth, where they may knock on His door, where He speaks now as if he has not spoken already, as if he does not speak to everyone who will hear even now, through what He said already, long ago, recorded in Scripture.

The Anglican Formularies are a disappointment for those who need the security blanket of an infallible magisterium. But, in the Anglican mind, no council representing a mere portion of the Church (such as the Church of Rome, or, for that matter, our Church) can teach simply from its own authority, nor can its pastors and bishops require that what they teach be received as an article of faith based simply on their own consensus. So too, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion would be self-contradictory if used in such a manner; and by their nature they "refuse" to be granted infallible authority status. Rather, they compel us to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest Scripture. That is why they are worth more than all the local councils, including the Council of Trent and both the Vatican Councils put together.

The whole idea of Anglicanism always was, and for us still is, to live by the teaching of the ancient catholic doctors and bishops. Out of respect for what we know to have been revealed, and for the authority that ancient revelation possesses, our own relatively new (as in 500 years or less) statements are not thundered at us from a self-proclaimed magisterium, but spoken from a humble and reasonable form of pastoral teaching and guidance. We need add no dogma, and need seek no additional revelation. It remains sufficient to say, "whatsoever is not read [in Scripture], 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." Truth does not come any more catholic than that.

87 comments:

Paleologos said...

Archbishop Haverland has written an enlightening article on the formularies of the ACC. It's posted at the Retro-Church blog linked on the sidebar.

Anonymous said...

So we are agreeing that at the end of the day, only inspired Scripture meets the test implicit in celebrated formula "semper, ubique, et ab omnibus." Well and good. There was a time when there was no Chalcedonian formula, when there was no Homo-ousion. The Councils had to look into the Scriptures to find these things. And they had to look long and hard.

But what do we make of the fact that Christian history has largely been a history of departures from Scriptural teaching? The mainstream of Christian history has been more unfaithful than faithful to the Biblical revelation. Anyone who reads Jeremiah or Galatians should see that the Word of God is not some neat tidy monolith which the Church consistently obeys, but instead, the Biblical Word must confront, judge, rebuke and correct a faithless and disobedient people.

The 16th century Reformation was necessary because the Gospel was clearly NOT believed "semper, ubique, et ab omnibus." The Church has, in defiance of the Biblical Word, been mostly Pelagian or semi-Pelagian throughout its history. There has always been a tension between the Word of God written in the Scriptures and the actual life and teaching of the Church.

So impressive as it sounds, especially when we solemnly intone the Latin adverbs, the Vincentian Canon doesn't help much.

LKW

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

Article 21, whether ecumenical or provinicial, seems to sum the matter nicely.

Church order and peace was the justification for Articles not "infallibility". It is perfectly legitimate to use Articles as a test for orthodoxy-- to silence controversy, promote a qualified ministry, and provide common order.

My point regarding Articles is to have needed transparency and accountability amongst clergy. Otherwise, what the church professes is left to the wiles of individual rectors or bishops. When a church calls themselves 'catholic', as you point out, this can be murky. The Articles at least define how we receive catholicism vis-a-vis modern errors. The problems that Articles address remain pervasive.

If men disagree with the Articles, then at least be honest enough to delineate which ones and why. If the Articles are insufficient, then, like Whitgift's Lambeth Articles, attach extra ones. The number "39" is not a magical one. The Articles started as "10", grew to "42", were paired down to 38, and then 39. When Methodists left the church, they carried forward and confessed only 25 of 39. REC did the same with 35 of 39 articles. Why doesn't ACC to do something similar?

It would be good since it not only helps explains our relation to neo-Anglicans but also with Rome and other protestants. While the St. Louis Affirmation somewhat explains that relation, it is far from ending the 'fuzziness'. Fr. Hart admits the lack of clarity with "mere catholicism" when he says, " They can be in conflict depending on how they are used, that is, if someone elevates an amount or degree of apparent consensus from Antiquity to the level of authority, but that kind of effort always proves to be deceptive, generally giving undue weight to councils that never attained Ecumenical status, or giving over much weight to various opinions of sundry writers."

Where St. Louis says, "all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with them", the Articles are evidently subordinate to the Affirmation. This creates a major problem because it reopens the 'catholic question' which the articles (and Settlement) purport to solve, allowing doctrinally diverse parties, from ACA to UECNA, to mutually acclaim St. Louis. We exchange something relatively specific for something extremely general. This creates all kinds of problems, i.e., how do we interpret the prayer book? By Romanism? Modern Orthodoxy? etc. It depends on which 'catholic' tradition the individual rector selects from.

In the end questions of 'confessionalism' boil down to honesty. Churchmen have a right to know what is being taught, the future ecumenical direction of their church, and why they should remain Anglican vs. the larger Roman or Greek church(es)?

I do have a question. I love Fr. Hart's explanation for the last three councils, "the final three defended those clarifications, making them less significant though not less authoritative." Would it be correct to say this statement is identical to the REC/ACNA's constitution, "Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided church, it affirms the teaching of the first four Ecumenical Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Bible."?

This helps me understand St. Louis. But let's not equate the Articles to the Roman magisterium! All councils (even ecumenical ones) may error (like the seventh council partially has, and Anglicans accept only with qualification). Yet, the Articles, with the Creeds, are a legitimate test for Anglican Orders. They would solve many of our problems with 'mere catholicism'. ?

charles said...

I read last night the Church of Ireland, under Ussher, amended the Articles to include 104 points in 1615! So, there certainly is no need to declare all 39. But the point is for the church to clearly delineate its relation to other 'catholic' and protestant churches, enforce this standard, and promote accountability and transparency not only between clergy but also for lay people who are trying to discover "Anglicanism" or why to remain "Anglican"?.

Anonymous said...

Charles,

You wrote:

"If men disagree with the Articles, then at least be honest enough to delineate which ones and why. If the Articles are insufficient, then, like Whitgift's Lambeth Articles, attach extra ones. The number "39" is not a magical one. The Articles started as "10", grew to "42", were paired down to 38, and then 39. When Methodists left the church, they carried forward and confessed only 25 of 39. REC did the same with 35 of 39 articles. Why doesn't ACC to do something similar?"

Perhaps Archbishop Haverland's article on the Retro-church blog (mentioned by Paleologos above)might answer some of your questions regarding the status of the Articles in the ACC.


"Where St. Louis says, "all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with them", the Articles are evidently subordinate to the Affirmation. This creates a major problem because it reopens the 'catholic question' which the articles (and Settlement) purport to solve, allowing doctrinally diverse parties, from ACA to UECNA, to mutually acclaim St. Louis. We exchange something relatively specific for something extremely general. This creates all kinds of problems, i.e., how do we interpret the prayer book? By Romanism? Modern Orthodoxy? etc. It depends on which 'catholic' tradition the individual rector selects from."

I suppose the answer to 'how do we interpret the prayer book' would be 'in accordance with Scripture as interpreted by the consensus of the early undivided church' rather than by Romanism, Calvinism, or modern Orthodoxy, for example.


Doubting Thomas

veriword:
henatin

Fr. Robert Hart said...

LKW writes:

So impressive as it sounds, especially when we solemnly intone the Latin adverbs, the Vincentian Canon doesn't help much.

I believe it helps a lot, for the same reason it helps to have the Bible in one volume on people's shelves in their own homes, or to have such things as the Creeds. The average person, not a scholar and too busy to be one, can find a quick reference to the truth.

Even a child can look for the dogma of Vatican I about the papacy, searching through history from Antiquity on, and discover that the Church never taught any such thing, even though some theories were raised here and there, but never accepted by the consensus of the Universal Church. Therefore, it is obviously an innovation to interpret Matt. 16 in such a isogetical manner.

A reference at one's finger tips is quite a help.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Charles:

The Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicea II, 787 AD), as you may well know, is never mentioned at all in the HOMILY AGAINST PERIL OF IDOLATRY, recommended in Article XXXV.

You asked:

Would it be correct to say this statement is identical to the REC/ACNA's constitution, "Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided church, it affirms the teaching of the first four Ecumenical Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Bible."?

Yes and no. Yes, as far as they are agreeable to the Bible; but, that is now recognized as a foregone conclusion.

Even though St. Thomas Aquinas himself got it wrong on this point, Nicea II never taught that we give latrea, the worship reserved for God, to any images. The seventh Council defended the Incarnation, which was the real target of Iconoclasm (spiritually that is, rather than politically).

In fact, that helps explain my point. It defended what had been clarified and defended fully and sufficiently at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. Therefore, Nicea II is less important in theological history, just as it is much briefer. But, that does not diminish its authority.

About people who disagree with any of the Articles, experience teaches that they invariably fail to understand what they are reading. As I have said before, Article XXV is the perfect test for knowing if someone can follow a reasonable line of thought through the murky waters of confusing prose (in that particular Article). Most people get it wrong, hence my essays trying to explain what Anglicans really believed then, ans why it is not only acceptable, but very important in restoring Gospel truth.

Frankly, for me is still enough that the Affirmation of St. Louis specifically affirm editions of the Book of Common Prayer that contain the Articles. They need no further mention in our Constitution and Canons to retain their place.

The only question is, what was that place?

Anonymous said...

I like this article from Bishop Haverland... especially the part about the articles:

"The Articles of Religion, as I have said, are not an ACC formulary, though they are undoubtedly an historical Anglican formulary. From this I conclude that when the Articles are useful they may usefully be quoted. When they are understood so as to harmonize with the actual formularies of the ACC they may be very useful. There is great apologetical and historical value in careful reading of the Articles in the manner familiar to readers of The Continuum in the writings of E.J. Bicknell or Father Robert Hart. But the Articles themselves have no independent authority within the ACC: like it or not, there it is."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, didn't mean to post anonymously. I was the one quoting Bishop Haverland on the articles.

St. Worm

Fr. Robert Hart said...

By the way, I took a look at a link made to this post below, and I recommend it. Good stuff there.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

St. Worm:

Notice the careful selection of word, "no independent authority..."

The question of their authority seems relevant to the question of their place all along. Was it ever practical to make requirements of affirming them as a condition for membership? It would be counter productive to say the least. But, they ought to be used. Before they can be used, they must be explained to overcome the language barrier. But, it is in that explaining (done correctly) that we learn from the wisdom and orthodoxy they possess. In a sense, the language barrier between the centuries can add to their effectiveness, because the explanation is required (in spite of the old rule about interpreting them, for it is no longer possible to live with that rule), and this creates a forum for teaching good sound theology.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

My intentions in posting this was to highlight the responsible way Bishop Haverland framed the response to the question of how ought we view the Articles.

He didn't excise them from usage whenever they are useful. If I were a pastor, I'd definitely do a study through the Articles using Bicknell as a guide. This blog has given me tons of resources.

In short, I was simply agreeing with Paleologos's comment that Haverland wrote a wonderful and enlightening article. Plus I like how the Henrician Settlement is given priority over the Elizabethan Settlement.

Blessings all!

St. Worm

Fr. Robert Hart said...

He uses them himself. That is what they are for; to be used in teaching.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart: We will just have to agree to disagree about the value of the so-called Vincentian Canon (which, by the way, no Council ever affirmed and of which the Articles of Religion seem entirely innocent, as helpful as it might have been in the 26th century sitution.)

When you and I look back on 2,000 years of the history of doctrine, we may see, with less than perfect clarity, something that looks like an "Ecumenical Consensus."
That seems to emerge, but only in retrospect. It is hard to find a time and place where that "Ecumenical Consensus" was really operative throughout the whole Christian community.

I object to the iconic (sacred cow) status given tro the VC not only because it is a classic example of an argumentum in circulo and fails to convince anyone of anytbing, but moreover because of its triumphalistic tone. Speaking glibly of an "Ecumenical Consensus" leads us to forget the Church's habitual faithlessness and disobedience, our constant need for repentance and reformation.

"Semper, et ubique, et ab omnibus" is a marvellous doxological description of the Body of Divinity revealed in the Scriptures. But it is of little value in ascertaining the specific contents of that revelation.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

If a doctrine is new, or innovative, but comes with an appeal to Scripture (as most heretical doctrines always do), then we need the Vincentian Canon. We can say, that may be derived from an unstable an unbalanced reading of Scripture, but the Church has never seen it that way. "The Bible Code" I mentioned set forth a whole new way of "interpreting" Scripture. It claims the Bible as its authority; but, it was brand new, and it serves as (at best) a distraction from the message.

The real consensus is in the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Creeds.

This is the difference between reading the scripture with the Church and the mind of Christ in the Church, and reading it with nothing but ourselves as judges of doctrine, and with the carnal imagination subject to influence from various spirits.

Anonymous said...

"The real consensus is in the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Creeds."

But if C.B. Moss is correct, St Thomas Aquinas was unaware of Council VII.
Does that place him outside the "consensus"? Or does it raise questions about the Council itself?


As for the Creeds, the Eastern Churches know only one, that of Nicaea-Constantinople I. The Apostles Creed and tht "commonly called the Athanasian Creed" are only used in the West. And horror of horrors, the Athanasian Creed contains the Filioque!

So the "Consensus" always turns out to be soft around the edges.

As for "reading the Scriptures with the mind of the Church," how about the centuries when the RCC held the Vulgate to have more authority than the original Greek NT, just as many EO's maintain the LXX to have more authority than the original Hebrew OT?

The cure for bad exegesis is more exegesis. I am glad that Fr Fitzmyer exegeted Romans with the best scholarly tools and standards, rather than by subjecting Romans to "the mind of the Church," which for him would have meant the Council of Trent. "The mind of rhe Church" is too nebulous a concept to work with. It could be used to prove 6/24 creation, or Ptolomaic cosmology.

When a RC takes the participle "kecharitomene" in Lk 1:28 to prove IC, he sincerely feels that he is reading Scripture "with the mind of the Church."
Likewise when he finds papal infallibility in Lk 22:32, "I have prayed for youy that you faith may not fail, but when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren," This notion of "the mind of the Church" effectively erases the boundary between exegesis and eisegesis.

LKW

charles said...

Thank you Paleologos for the Retro-Church link. This article by AB Haverland has been written recently? AB Haverland sets straight the ACC C&C, and I am glad to know I wasn't reading them cross-eyed.

While the Affirmation makes clear moral questions, I tend to think the Affirmation opens the door to the relation of scripture and tradition, how sin is remitted, and the manner of salvation. When the Affirmation says the lesser with the greater sacraments are "efficacious" and "objective", means of grace, the distinction between church rites and dominical sacraments are fundamentally blurred. How this problem is addressed (other than ignoring it) is not answered. Haverland says, "When they [articles] are understood so as to harmonize with the actual formularies of the ACC [C&C, Affirmation] they may be very useful."

Why not be more specific? Why are Articles supplanted by the Affirmation, and which particular ones makes such necessary? Falling back on a situational or vague 'usefulenss' means we leave the matter "theological jello". Hence, the local priest ultimately determines which ones, according to how the relation between St. Louis v. Articles is perceived. Consequently, articles like 'justification by faith' (#12) are left the discretion of local rectors?

AB Haverland mentions the Henrician Settlement, but no where is Henrician views on other matters-- such as invocation of saints or certain medieval worship-- quoted. This is rather important given what the 1543 Catechism(s) had to say (e.g., the second commandment) or even the 1536 Ten Articles (on "laudable ceremonies"). If a standard, how does Henrician teachings pair up with certain Missal devotions? This is one of many theological questions which is not ironed out.

It would be a less a prickly matter if the ACC drew its cut-off line with the Supremacy Acts (cobbled together 1532-1534) rather than the relatively late date of 1543. By 1543 the seeds of Elizabethan settlement were well-laid. This in turn leads to rather theologically inconsistent positions, aggravating certain tensions in Anglicanism which Settlement and Restoration (for their sake) better solved.

While better men than I could poke-holes in +Haverland's essay, I will grant it a harmony with prior ACC statements. It is amazing the core theology of the ACC is found rather buried in her C&C and not more accessible/visible formularies. It took me two years to figure out what was authoritative in the ACC, puzzled by the Articles in the back of the 1928 vs. what I read or heard elsewhere. But here +Haverland nicely collates it.

charles said...

LKW is right about the Vincentian Canon. When there are competing claims to 'catholicity', how does one proceed? The Fathers can be just as much a quagmire as "sola scriptura". The purpose of Articles were to define catholic truth.

In my opinion, this is why the Articles are valuable. The accusation of an Anglican 'magisterium' is laughable. The Articles were never required for membership. That's a strawman. But they were a Test for orders and public ministry. Laud realized the necessity of discipline to canon, prayer book, and articles (sic., Whitgift's three articles).

The end of Anglicanism was turning the back on Laudian discipline with clergy. Why continue what puritans started and latitudinarians festered? AB Haverland's theory of 'usefulness' is a rejection of Laudian discipline, plain and simple, (and therefore, in most cases, Anglican doctrine).

Anglicanism can't help but become a 'local option' without a systematic articulation of what particular articles are contrary to catholic past. The assumption here was the 1563 and 1571 convocations failed to fully appropriate it. Henry was 'catholic', but his successors were not???

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Well, Fr., let's look at these points.

But if C.B. Moss is correct, St Thomas Aquinas was unaware of Council VII.

That could explain why he erred by saying we can rightly give latrea to images.

The filoque in the Creed called Nicene (really the Constantinople Creed of 381, for the reader's benefit) has been the subject of much ado. In reality, it was never the cause of serious division. I believe the Creed would be better without it, only because it was added without the authority of an Ecumenical Council.

This notion of "the mind of the Church" effectively erases the boundary between exegesis and eisegesis.

The examples you cite do not meet the test of the "mind of the Church" if we use the Vincentian Canon. The Consensus and Antiquity are both missing. I believe your examples strengthen a case for using the Vincentian Canon.

The cure for bad exegesis is more exegesis.

Ideally, and it is obvious from my sermons and other teaching that I practice that very thing. Nonetheless, not everyone, not even every priest, has the ability to teach and correct as he ought. If a modern Arian, a J.W. from the Watchtower, comes after someone in your flock who is not as learned as he ought to be, and tells him that the Creed is wrong when it says "begotten, not made," that Creed is still a shield and defense until he can come and ask you for help in knowing his Bible. He may not know the scripture as he should, but he knows that the Church knows the scripture, and that the Church says the Son is begotten not made. It gives him a quick defense, though, yes, he needs more exegesis in the long run.

Besides, the Vincentian Canon is not an authority, but a rule to keep our doctrine honest. It helps people ask the right questions about doctrine. Such as, "Is that really what the Bible means?" "Has the Church ever taught this?"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I do not believe the Constitution and Canons have some buried doctrinal formula. Nor do I think Archbishop Haverland's essay teaches that they do. If we took the 1543 year very literally, we could not even have married clergy or services in English, and we would support Thomas Cromwell's destruction of churches and monasteries. I think, rather, the issue in looking at Henry's secession is to avoid focusing on doctrinal extremes, that were avoided in his lifetime. The idea is to remember that the ancient Church is our foundation, and that the Church of England (and with it our Anglican heritage) was the same church after the Reformation that it had been before. Though this was not obscure in the minds of the Elizabethans, nor the Caroline Divines, it has been made obscure in modern times. It has been presented wrongly, as if we have a body of "Anglican doctrine" rather than simply the Catholic faith.

Personally, I have to stick with the Formularies I have always believed in. It is a "Here I Stand" issue. Archbishop Haverland knows this, and everyone who reads this blog knew it long before I entered the ACC. The ACC has room for men like Fr. Laurence Wells and me-"Protestant Catholiks" (even while he is giving me a good sparring over the Vincentian Canon). The real point in the Archbishop's essay seems to be that none of these things, such as the 39 Articles, has "independent authority." My point here is, actually, the same.

But, of course, my angle is different, as in, I am approaching it from a different direction. I was not writing to clear up some question about the C&C in the ACC. I was writing to strengthen people's appreciation for Classic Anglicanism. But, to say that we must draw from the most ancient catholic bishops and doctors, and see our own formularies as not having independent authority was my point also. Not being an Anglo-Catholic (in fact, simply not belonging to a party of churchmanship, able to go High or Low in liturgy-with no preference for either-to meet the needs of the people), I tend to express things more from a middle position, a via media, between the late Bp. Mote and the late Peter Toon.

Yet, we all seem to be able to work together. I believe the ACC has recovered the Anglican ethos. Frankly, if it looks sloppy sometimes, I am glad. If we had a neat tidy regiment where everyone was exactly the same, and some magisterium answered all the questions before we asked them, it would mean we are not doing any real work. Constriction sites are never very neat; that is because they are building.

Fr. John said...

And let's remember also that the final authority of the pronouncements of the Councils ultimately depended on their acceptance by the laity.

And: Fr. Hart wrote concerning the filoque:
"I believe the Creed would be better without it, only because it was added without the authority of an Ecumenical Council."

Right, and also without papal authority. The words were added by Charlemagne at the urging of his Spanish bishops to help fight a heresy in Spain. The Popes held out for a while, but finally caved and added the words.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart:

Baaah, you are an Anglo-Catholic (in my book), only the Papalists have ruined the name for you. :)

But as I said before, this site has been wonderful for resources.

I myself am glad our Metropolitan is a hardcore Anglo-Catholic, but it's good to see brothers in the faith like Fr. Wells and you, dear Father Hart, in our fold. It makes for a richer fellowship, that's for sure.

Blessings!
St. Worm

Canon Tallis said...

I personally found Archbishop Haverland's defense of the C&C something considerably less than a defense of historic Anglicanism and more of an assertion which rejected same while trying to confuse if not deceive the laity.

Indeed, on the basis of that alone I now considerably less sure that I can maintain my previously expressed view of the ACC as the future of classical Anglicanism. Frankly, I would like to know just who wrote and inserted same into the Constitution and Canons and what defense if not what rationalization they made of it at the time.

I am much aware that both Bishop Mote and Bishop Morse were very negative about the Elizabethan Settlement, but I am also aware from extended conversation with both of them that neither had the slightest idea of what it really was or was intended to be. The were both partisan Anglo-Catholics with a decided Anglo-papalist bias. I think in the long run that both of them did more harm than good to the cause of a real continuing Anglicanism based upon Holy Scripture, the prayer book tradition taken as a whole which includes the Articles and the Homilies in a proper balance such as Fathers Hart, Kirby and Well consistently have displayed on this blog and such as I find in what Canon Nalls and Canon Hollister have also written here. But I do think that it has to be recognized that there is an abyss as big as that expressed in our Lord's parable of Dives and Lazurus between the two positions. The one I feel absolutely comfortable with while the second almost literally turns my stomach.

I realize that Archbishop Haverland has a responsibility as Primate and Metropolitan to defend the Constitution and Canons as they exist. Discipline can not be maintained without it. But the more serious question from my point of view is whether the eventual unity of all parts of the Continuum beginning with the Denver succession can be achieved with it.

I will be the first to admit that the history of the Church is more than messy. We would not, for instance hold the present bishop of Rome responsible because one of his predecessors arranged for a couple of Italian politicians to be stabbed to death by the deacons when they presented themselves for communion. But the question of what constitutes classical Anglicanism should not be an issue and a matter of division among us and wouldn't be except that the partisan Anglo-papists who made up the majority of our first clergy all wanted to be their own version of "the one true church" with themselves as pope. Thankfully, over the last thirty years we have managed to put most of that behind us, but perhaps less than I thought or hoped.

"ztkfutta"
"lizestem"

Canon Tallis said...

On the question of St Thomas and his writings on the Seventh Council, he didn't read Greek and had an inaccurate translation of the text.

Anonymous said...

"Besides, the Vincentian Canon is not an authority, but a rule to keep our doctrine honest."

Now we are getting somewhere! But if it is not an authority, how can it be a canon? "Vincentian rubric" or "Vincentian principle," perhaps, might make more sense.

But no JW I have met would have the slightest interest in the Creed "commonly called Nicene." And if a parishioner were unsettled by the JW, the only effective solution would be turning to John 1:1--18 in my Greek Testament. Creeds, both JW and parishioner would tell me, are "man-made."

"but he knows that the Church knows the scripture,"

Does he indeed? Depends on whether you mean "the Church" in some mystical-eschatological sense, or "the Church"
its practical-everyday-empirical sense. He surely knows that the Church has tolerated pederasts, ordained women, and even at its level best different priests give different answers to questions of life and death. We all know, to our sorrow, how people shop around for the answer they choose to hear.

So when I read statements like "the Church knows the Scriptures," I must respond, "if only it were true."

Fr John is right in pointing out that
"the final authority of the pronouncements of the Councils ultimately depended on their acceptance by the laity." The sheep hear the Shepherd's voice and follow Him.

But if we blame the Pope for inserting the Filioque into the Nicene Creed, who gets the blame for placing it in the Athanasian Creed? And the Athanasian Creed is one of the Big Three, right?
LKW

Hawk Driver said...

Fr. Hart,

Can you write something on the Filioque? Being an Anglican Catholic stationed in Germany my only choices for liturgy are Orthodox and Roman Catholic. I choose Orthodox but this has constantly makeing excuses for the Filioque and since I cant seem to find any justification for Im lovingly harrassed every Sunday to convert to Orthodoxy.
Shouldnt we just get rid of it?
I know its kind of off topic to this post but kind of not.

Mike Otto

charles said...

After comparing AB Haverland's statement on GAFCON with this most recent declaration on ACC C&C's (read here: http://retro-church.blogspot.com/2010/02/archbishop-haverland-on-formularies-of.html), it is funny that +Haverland in on one-hand condemns the Settlement for ambiguity, or compromise, while in another praises Anglican thinking for resisting 'subscriptionism' or self-assertion.

Here is some food for thought-- How would have recusancy faired if Laud had said the following regarding 'standards', "From this I conclude that when the Articles are useful they may usefully be quoted". ?

Secondly, I didn't mean to say ACC standards are hidden inside the Canons. I meant there is a lack of transparency and clarity on how Anglicanism (historically defined) relates to the Affirmation. AB Haverland's statement does nothing to clarify this except scuttle the Elizabethan settlement and associated standards in exchange for Henry's reformation. As I mentioned earlier, this recalibration does nothing to clear the air since the Elizabetan Settlement is a continuation from the Henrician. Much better would be to identify which Articles fall short of the Affirmation, propose new ones, and explain the revision. Then, we would have something both "clear" and "definite". As it is, the ACC and AB Haverland both leave Articles a "local option", and their appropriation is entirely dependent upon how individual priests discern the relationship and interpret 'catholicism'. As Fr. Hart admits, "Personally, I have to stick with the Formularies I have always believed in. It is a "Here I Stand" issue. Archbishop Haverland knows this, and everyone who reads this blog knew it long before I entered the ACC. The ACC has room for men like Fr. Laurence Wells and me-"Protestant Catholiks" ". While I full-heartedly support what Fr. Hart and protestant minded catholics are tyring to accomplish is 'rebuilding an ethos', a local option with respect to the Settlement/Affirmation ultimately creates a very confusing situation, and I believe this is the root problem of Continuum's identity crisis. As said before, what the ACC authoritatively taught was a mystery to me until I read the canons. I've never been in a church where one had to read denomination C&C to know what it believed. This is what I meant by 'hidden' (in general way where all statements must be collated together, not the Canons per se where Faith and Worship is plainly stated in the first pages).

Articles and 'confessions' are fair to lay people who may wonder why we are not in Rome or with ACNA. Summary statements which explain ACC relation to Protestantism, classical Anglicanism, and RC are needed exactly for the reason which Fr. Hart gives, "The average person, not a scholar and too busy to be one, can find a quick reference to the truth." It's a matter of honesty. To allow Anglicanism to be defined in an otherwise arbitrary, local option is not really fair or honest for those who come reading the sign, "1928 Prayer Book".

It is a sad history of the Continuum that people who left TEC to preserve Anglicanism standards in the seventies, i.e., their prayer books, fell into the hands of clerics who wanted to give Missals instead, "If the main impetus for early lay membership in the ACC was Prayer Book loyalty, the main impetus for early clerical membership in the ACC was partisan Anglo-Catholicism." Now that it is apparent Rome will never grant uniate status, are we now trying to ape modern Orthodoxy? If not, then perhaps we are finally making an attempt to be "Anglican", and if this be true, then let's be true to the patrimony, sticking to classical formularies as Laud expected. How else to be Anglican?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells:

The Church, as in the Universal Church that gave us the Creed, did know the Scriptures, and that is why the Creed was established so perfectly. The theoretical parishioner I mentioned should have that confidence and have memorized it. This, in turn, leads him back to the Scriptures.

And "canon" simply means measure. However, I have often thought the word a bit strong for what we are considering.

Canon Tallis and Charles:

I will repeat what I said elsewhere about the same essay:

"That [a new Anglicanism] would, first of all, cause a rebellion from most of the laity. I find no defense or apologetic to have been written into what is an explanation of what has been generally assumed until now. What I find at the end is this:

"'We are a Catholic Church in which all opinions are subject to correction on the clear basis of our formularies.'

"That includes the Affirmation of St. Louis. Discussing its contents and meaning are the key to answering most, if not all, the questions."

I believe that an honest statement about the history of the C&C has been stated with no attempt at defense or apologetic, but rather clarification. I believe that the closing line provides the potential for any necessary course correction in thinking or even in canons, should it be found. I believe the details actually affirm the Elizabethan Settlement liturgically and theologically, but base everything where the Elizabethans themselves did, Anglicanism itself as the Continuing Church of the Fathers having been freed from Rome.

It is not simple or easy reading. I believe the way forward is stated at the end. But, considering what modern people have done to the Elizabethan Settlement, rooting Anglicanism earlier (as the Elizabethans did in their own time) removes certain options that led to the current crisis in the C of E and TEC without abandoning the Classic Formularies in substance.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Wells wrote:

But if we blame the Pope for inserting the Filioque into the Nicene Creed, who gets the blame for placing it in the Athanasian Creed? And the Athanasian Creed is one of the Big Three, right?

I would probably lay responsibility, such as it were, with St. Augustine, as the Athanasian Creed seems to rely on De Trinitate quite heavily. That, at least, makes dating the slippery thing somewhat easier.

Anonymous said...

FrHart wrote:

"It is not simple or easy reading. I believe the way forward is stated at the end. But, considering what modern people have done to the Elizabethan Settlement, rooting Anglicanism earlier (as the Elizabethans did in their own time) removes certain options that led to the current crisis in the C of E and TEC without abandoning the Classic Formularies in substance."

Good point and well said.

Doubting Thomas

Anonymous said...

FrWells wrote:

'So the "Consensus" always turns out to be soft around the edges.'

That depends on what doctrine one is specifically examining. Remember the boundaries of the canon of Scripture itself were "soft around the edges" for about 3-4 centuries. Seven NT books were disputed in some quarters for some time, while others that eventually didn't make the canon (like Clement, Barnabas, the Shepherd, Didache) had a measure of local canonicity for a while and were even included in some of the early Codices such as Codex Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus.

However during this same time period there was a broad consensus among the Apostolic Churches (those churches established by the Apostles and their coworkers/successors which were maintaining the "rule of faith")on the key doctrines regarding God, Christ and salvation, even if not yet strictly defined and clarified in the face of latter heresies at the Councils:
(1)God's Triunity, (2)Christ's Deity and humanity; (3)the Atonement and bodily Resurrection/Ascension; (4)the fact that Christ would come again (though the nature of Millenium was debated initially); (5)the sacramental nature of Baptism and Eucharist; (6)Salvation by grace through faith in Christ which works by love (along with the necessity to continue in the faith to the end for final salvation)
(7)the threefold male heirarchy of bishop, priest, deacon in the church.

These points can be shown historically and demonstrated Scripturally. The same Church that arrived at the consensus on the canon of Scripture shared the same consensus as far as we can tell on the points listed above. Thus the appeal of classical Anglicanism to the consensus of the doctors/fathers of the primitive church as a witness to the Apostolic teaching and Church's interpretation of Scripture is a valid one. Vincent's 'canon' was just an earlier way of expressing this same appeal.

charles said...

How are any of the formularies "clear" when the Settlement is a local option?

Fr. John said...

I am more than a little weary of these outside critiques and Monday morning quarterbacking from some of our posters.

Firstly, and most importantly, the ACC is big enough and broad enough to encompass a wide variety of churchmanship. A simple "straight 1928 Prayer Book service" is acceptable in every way if that is what the priest and parish desire. If the priest wanted to wear a cassock, surplice and purple stole to celebrate the Holy Communion, that would be fine. Two candles only on the altar, no problem. I would love for the ACC to have a hundred parishes like this. If not a single missal could be found within the walls of such a church, who cares? Gentlemen, come on in and form such parishes. You will be welcome. Preach and teach all you want about the 39 Articles, have fun with it!

We are well aware that some do not like the ACC Canons. Indeed some people left over the adoption of same thirty years ago. Too bad, because they will not be substantially changed, they are what has given the ACC the ability to endure two major schisms and remain intact and viable.

The ACC has never said, or written, to my knowledge that we are trying to recreate the Elizabethan Settlement,which historically speaking,was an unsuccessful attempt to keep Catholics and Puritans in the same church. Instead I have heard it said, only half jokingly,"We finally have the church we always wanted."

As I have written here before, my memory of the ACC goes back to the early eighties when there were still a fair number of what we called "evangelicals" in the ACC. They were in a decided minority, but were always treated with respect. Their churchmanship was not an issue, but apparently it bothered them that others had a different approach to the liturgy. They seemed to have an agenda to change the church and when they realized that the C & C would not be amended, and that missals would continued to be authorized for use, they left. Too bad.

We do have the church we always wanted, and I think we're doing great. Our Archbishop just announced that we have two new parishes in Florida, and a new bishop in Columbia.

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

What were these "certain options", or as +Haverland has called them, 'compromises', which corrupted the Articles and Settlement formularies?

All I've heard is the Settlement didn't work. Why?

"considering what modern people have done to the Elizabethan Settlement, rooting Anglicanism earlier (as the Elizabethans did in their own time) removes certain options that led to the current crisis in the C of E and TEC without abandoning the Classic Formularies in substance."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The settlement was torn down when Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans made war on the Church of England and the crown, and for a while were victorious. We keep using a political expression as if it were a theological school, and nothing more.

However, the time has come for a new essay which I am already forming in my head, even while trying to get other things done.

Anonymous said...

A truly learned Abnonymous writes:

"These points can be shown historically and demonstrated Scripturally. The same Church that arrived at the consensus on the canon of Scripture shared the same consensus as far as we can tell on the points listed above."

I could not agree more with the above statement, and in fact wth your entire post. But how to account for the fact that Roman Catholics also defend their positions by the same appeal? The First Vatican Council specifically quoted Vincent of Lerins in support of (horror of horrors!) the "development of doctrine theory.

If two opposing parties look to the same authority and get opposite results, they had better look a litle higher, right? My beef with the Vincentian rubric is that it sounds good, but does not settle anything. The Vincentian Canon is starting to remind me of the Delphic Oracle (which had its own Tripod, remember?).

And with Fr John, I am getting a little annoyed with the kibitzers who are trying very hard to discover some emerging controversy in the ACC. In case anyone hasn't noticed, we have been having an amicable discussion on an extremely academic (almost esoteric) point. These minute differences do not interfere with our doing the work of the miistry. When I get fighting mad and feel moved to hurl some anathems, you will not fail to notice, rest assured.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The First Vatican Council specifically quoted Vincent of Lerins in support of (horror of horrors!) the "development of doctrine theory.

Ah, but when they try to demonstrate it they fall flat on their face every time.

charles said...

Actually, I respect what Fr. John said, most of which is very true. Basically the ACC is "what it is", and nothing has changed since either Bp. Mote or Denver. The ACC is graciously open to Settlement Anglicanism on the parish level, and that openness can either be rejected or embraced. But, regardless of loyalties, the ACC will is broadly catholic and will move forward with Mission.

That said, if forced to choose between American Missal or Rite II, I'll choose the Missal any day of the week. The ACC is a thoroughly conservative church, and this is becoming increasingly rare amongst catholics.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Let's look at those three things that have been identified as the Formularies, and ask about them in light of what we have heard about the C&C of the ACC.

1.The Book of Common Prayer: Safe, in the Affirmation of St. Louis, and even the approved Missals are approved because they conform to it. However, this is flexible because we have more than one edition of the BCP. What sort of Formulary comes in many and various editions? Answer, a Formulary that is flexible within reasonable limits.

2. The Ordinal: Again, safely preserved. But, also flexible in that Anglicans have never believed that it is the only valid Form.

3. The Articles: There is a giant difference between saying they have no authority and saying no "independent authority."

Now, as much as they may be useful for a sound teacher to present true theology (like me), they have proved just as useful for a heretic who wants to use them to confuse people. Furthermore, if they had independent authority, how many times would we hear a functionally illiterate garden variety "theologian" tell us that "Article XXV teaches there are two sacraments only"? Or, that it forbids Eucahristsic devotions; or that Article XVII tecahes Hyper-Calvinism, i.e. Double Predestination?

Frankly, in the wrong hands they are dangerous, both for fooling people about doctrine and about the nature of Anglicanism. I am all for saying they have no independent authority. They are still preserved by what the Affirmation says about the BCP.

And that brings right back to what I wrote in the essay that heads this thread.

I do not see Abp. Haverland's essay as saying anything inconcsistent with what orthodox Episopalians believed in, say, 1950.

Fr. John said...

Since Bishop Mote's name has been invoked here in what I perceive to be a less than flattering way, I want to point out a few things about the man.

He was never archbishop.

The last 15 or so years of his ministry was spent as an assisting bishop in two dioceses.

To my knowledge he was never considered a power broker, or enforcer of any kind. In fact he was regarded by some as something of an eccentric, and so not taken seriously by them.

To cast him as some sort of "grey imminence" is truly a misrepresentation. Any authority he wielded was of the moral variety, and based on a most holy life apparent to all observers.

One thing else, Bishop Mote was aggressively pro-life, at one time taking an unprovoked severe beating by the police at a demonstration where he was arrested. To my knowledge no Roman Catholic bishop has ever been arrested at a pro-life event.

Bishop Mote puts most of us to shame. Everyone should offer up a thanksgiving to God that such men as Bishop Mote lived.

If the ACC has any of its dead deserving of beatification, Bishop Mote's name should head the list.

Anonymous said...

This is making my head hurt.

Is the ACC a classically Anglican Church or is it a denomination?
Does ++Haverland's take on any of the Articles in Consensus with Anglicanism since they became 39(antiquity) or has he come up with a personal interpretation?

Alan

Anonymous said...

LKW says he believes so much of the churches teaching is fuzzy and cannot be measured I have questions:
1) How can you be assured of the efficacy of your Orders going back to any particular old date?.

2) How can you determine if ++Haverland has not created a truly Catholic Church?

3) If you are correct in your assumption that their is no way to measure consensus and C&C claim to resolve issues that cannot be measured do the C&C have any real value or true Authority? In other words are they simply a provincial document?

4) is the ACC a Pelagian or semi-Pelagion church?

Alan

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

As you know, during the Settlement and Restoration periods the Articles were subscribed alongside the prayer book and canons. These were intended to always work together, with tertiary standards like homilies (two books) and less official yet important salient texts of divinity and/or larger catechisms. Articles were always interdependent. The question for me is if the Affirmation and C&C together rip them out of their historic context.

I have not been in the Continuum very long. My experience is slowly crossing over about three years ago from conservative Presbyterianism into Anglicanism. I was persuaded by the beautiful theology and language of the Book of Common Prayer. I arrived because of Anglicanism, not Anglo-Catholicism. It took me time before I realized these too often were two different things.

Where I first worshiped there was no attempt to define Anglicanism apart from modern catholicism, yet there was plenty of contempt toward Protestantism. I wanted to know what Anglicanism indeed was, got very little information there, so I started reading 'authoritative' documents, starting with those approved by crown, parliament, and convocation together. It seems pundits like to boast about an Anglicanism that 'escapes definition'. Maybe they are talking about late Anglicanism or what suffered under latitudinariansim, but I found there are indeed plenty of authoritative, interlocking documents that define Anglicanism most adequately.

Over time, I discovered the differences were not merely 'jurisdictional' or 'lingual', but, first and foremost, theological. The major argument against Rome has always been not 'aesthetic superiority' (i.e., Shakespeare tongue), but England's reformation representing the safest and surest way of salvation. Her beauty was theological, but this seems a point many dislike.

My cursory reading of Anglican history is simple-- the bishops caved in to dissent. To me, if a revival is to ever return and a 'new day arise', it will have to reverse what was previously neglected and unraveled. How else to do it except go back to the most authoritative standards of historic Anglicanism, but this time actually enforce them. The problem is not their lack of clarity but the permissive wish create ambiguity so men might dabble.

I know confessionalism works. I've seen its success in conservative presbyterian churches. It helps with accountability, retention and training. But people usually have strong misconceptions against it. What England practiced in the 16th and 17th centuries was essentially no different than what was going on in Germany or Switzerland. Basically, Articles of Faith have always been exclusive tests for clergy. Lay people were never involved unless they wanted to teach. ACC C&C operate by the same rule. So, the ACC is a confessional church just the same as OPC or PCA, but what you subscribe to is of course different.

Anyway, I came here because I wanted to be Anglican-- not Old Catholic, American broad-Catholic, Eastern orthodox, or Roman. Just Anglican. I like the Prayer Book. I love the Articles. The Settlement offers tons of catechizing and teaching resources. I don't know why people want to trade or equivocate. If you are Anglican, support the historical standards by church law. It's not like this stuff is being made up or without precedent. If this is not the case, then it is still a great goal.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr.John:

I think everyone who knew Bp. Mote would agree that he is a saint by any true standard.

Alan:

Your questions puzzle me. Let me deal with each one:

1) How can you be assured of the efficacy of your Orders going back to any particular old date?.

The Church has always maintained thorough records of Apostolic Succession, Anglicans no less diligently than the RCC and the EOC.

2) How can you determine if ++Haverland has not created a truly Catholic Church?

This question is out of step with reality, and technically cannot be answered, inasmuch as it rests on a wrong assumption. Archbishop Haverland has stepped into a role for which I believe God prepared him in a very special way, as everyone who knows him would agree. That role places him under, not over, the Canon Law of the ACC (which had several Metropolitans before him). He has not "created" any church at all.

3) If you are correct in your assumption that there is no way to measure consensus and C&C claim to resolve issues that cannot be measured do the C&C have any real value or true Authority? In other words are they simply a provincial document?

I have to leave that to Fr. Wells. But the ACC Canon Law is just that, Canon Law, a necessary function of the Church with her authority exercising Right Reason.

4) is the ACC a Pelagian or semi-Pelagian church?

I am sure Fr. Wells, to whom these questions have been addressed, would answer the same as I: By God's grace, neither.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Is the ACC a classically Anglican Church or is it a denomination?
Does ++Haverland's take on any of the Articles in Consensus with Anglicanism since they became 39(antiquity) or has he come up with a personal interpretation?


The Articles are, when properly understood, one good source among many for taking us back to the Church in Antiquity, but they do not come from a time we may consider to be Antiquity. They are relatively new in the broad scheme of things.

The essay in question does not interpret the Articles at all; it interprets the Constitution and Canons of the ACC. As far as I am concerned, everything in the C&C is safe because contained therein is the Affirmation of St. Louis which is not a partisan document, but a truly Anglican document. It is the way forward because it is the way backward.

Charles:

Let me set your mind at rest with one thought. There is a common element both here in my essay about the humility with which the Anglican mind has set forth teaching (an attitude that submits itself to the judgment ultimately of Scripture rather than lording it over God's people), and in Archbishop Haverland's recent essay; The appeal to Antiquity and the insistence that we base everything on authority older than Anglicanism, is the very essence of Anglicanism as the Elizabethan theologians taught it. Hooker himself would not have defended a rigid three-part Formulary canon, but only that same standard he himself put forth. That is Scripture under the guidance of the Church with her authority as expressed in the Right Reason passed on from ages past. Archbishop Haverland's essay is far more Anglican in substance than the mantra "BCP, Ordinal and Articles." Hooker, Andrewes and Laud would not recognize the latter due to its rigid and magisterial "attitude."

charles said...

Thank you Fr. Hart. It's just that I believe the classical formulas best appropriate the ancient Fathers and teachings of the primitive church. Why reinvent the wheel into something possibly more questionable?

In concurrence with both our remarks (the Vincentian Canon w/ Settlement standards), Mark Tally just wrote an excellent post at RTBP. A good example of the ethos Fr. Hart is building (not to put either at odds): http://rtbp.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/the-anglican-way-and-authority-in-the-catholic-church/#comments

I have to re-read everything written here and by ++Haverland. Perhaps he's giving the Settlement a higher place than superficially read.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

Since I was around in the 1950's, let me say that one would be very hard pressed indeed to find an orthodox Anglican who would have moved theological or canonical authority in Anglicanism back to 1543. The closest that you would have come to that would have been someone in the Anglican Society or the Alcuin Club who would have pointed out that in 1541 convocations and Parliament suppressed everything but the Sarum Rite and Usage in thw whole of England and Wales with the last remnant of that which would or should have carried over into Elizabeth's time by the Ornaments Rubric have been the English Colour Sequence and Sarum ceremonial. But then one has to realize that the very first prayer book to have reached into every English and Welsh diocese was that of 1559.

When you wrote "The settlement was torn down when Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans made war on the Church of England and the crown, and for a while were victorious. We keep using a political expression as if it were a theological school, and nothing more." I don't believe that Elizabeth would have accepted your descriptions of her church policy as a "political expression." As someone who spoke both Latin and Greek and read Hebrew and who had been educated in the fathers, she was quite clear in what she was doing and what she hoped to accomplish, i,e., a restoration of the Catholic faith and Orthodox worship in a manner as close as possible to that of the earliest Church. Actually even when the Church was outlawed and suppressed in England, its services continued both in England and abroad. Indeed those in various European capitals were frequently so high church with both vestments and incense that they amazed the French court which had quite a different idea of the English Church. Read Bosher.
Further, ordinations continued even in England.

(Cont'd)

Canon Tallis said...

Part II

With the Restoration of the monarchy, the Puritans and other intruded ministers asked that certain 'offensive' material and rubrics be removed from the prayer book, but it was largely restored as it was. The only major rubric that was lost was the one ordering that the lessons at Morning and Evening Prayer be sung and likewise the Epistle and Gospel.

The settlement was essentially a theological and liturgical one as evidenced by the publication of an official Latin version of the prayer book, the Liber Precum Publicarum, for use in colleges and the universities. Further the Queen defended it upon that basis, something to which in a lesser manner, James and Charles continued afterwards. As a consequence of their actions both Romanists and Roundheads conspired together against the Church, the bishops and the prayer book.

The success of the Settlement lies in the fact that the Churchmen of that period did exactly in their time what the Continuum has done in ours, continue largely the faith and practice of the Church as best they could under the heel of the first modern absolutist and totalitarian government. Indeed they did it so well and trained the clergy so throughly that they were able to with stand the threats against them made by James II and even when the completely Calvinist William came to the throne, they continued in that faith and practice to the point that the lower house in convocation rejected the political settlement of the Liturgy of Comprehension while the Church in Scotland saw the country turned Presbyterian at the point of an English bayonet. But neither the disestablished Church in Scotland nor the English non-jurors gave up the faith. Instead they renewed their commitment to the same while their learning and practice leaked back into the English establishment and set the stage for the Tractarian revival.

Canon Tallis said...

Part III

Let me attempt to make quite clear that I do not believe that Elizabeth's Church was a new creation. She was not in any sense a "Protestant' except the classical Anglican one. She was embarrassed by Archbishop Parker's wife, but learned enough to know that bishops and other clergy were married in the first five centuries. She would also have prefered her sister's bishops to those she was forced to choose and train as well as discipline when they got out of line. She also prefered the ancient vestments and would never give her approval to the use of anything else. Plus we have the evidence of Daniel Neale, the Puritan historian, and the pope's nephew whose visit to her court was the occasion of Shakespeare's writing of Twelfh Night that the liturgy performed in the chapels Royal, the cathedrals and elsewhere was more splendid than that of the pope. She maintained the crucifix on the altar in her own chapel and was buried with one in her hand. But from the rancor of the average partisan anglo-papist one would believe that she was something less than even a Virginia low churchman.

Now if the altars and the liturgical usage of the ACC reflected what you would have found in the chapels Royal, the cathedrals, collegiate chapels and the better quality of English parish churches in terms of the color sequence used, the ceremonial or the number of candles NOT on the altar I could be quite happy, but as we all should know that is most likely not the case. Instead it is the papal innovations which first made their appearance in the missal of Pius V who served the king of Spain so well by excommunicating Elizabeth which are all but the rule in the ACC. Irony, anyone?

However, if this blog keeps defending classical Anglican theology, which is to say the classical Catholic faith of the earliest Church throughly grounded in Holy Scripture as interpreted by the earliest bishops and Catholic fathers, the Creeds and the General Councils (all of which are words and phrases pulled directly from Elizabeth I's own writings) there may come a time when the ACC will be less ashamed of being merely Anglican.

Shaughn said...

Canon Tallis,

I (and I suspect many others) am more reluctant to equate all things Rome did after Trent as unequivocally Papalist and therefore to be condemned, just as I am equally reluctant to equate everything in the Elizabethan Settlement as unequivocally good.

If Trent is at fault, it's largely at fault where it more or less attempted to decide that there would be one, single, monolithic Mass everywhere, except for local rites older than 200 years (an arbitrary distinction). Most of those local rites died off, and we were left with the Tridentine Rite.

Now, particular liturgical acts and innovations may or may not be good or compatible with Anglicanism, but their virtue is based on their use and their compatibility with our Forumularies, Canons, &c.

The rubrics of the Prayer Book say precious little, for example, about how the altar is to be set up, or how the offertory is to proceed. It reads, "When the Priest, standing before the Table, hath so ordered the Bread and Wine, that he may with the more readiness and decency break the Bread before the People, and take the Cup into his hands..."

Cup? What cup? Bread? What bread? Where did those come from? Do they just miracle themselves onto the altar? No, of course not. They come from somewhere else not specified in the rubric. And so we have various ways of getting them in place, to include various customary prayers and ceremonials that do not contradict the rubrics. By the same token, the Prayer Book says very little about electric lights, and yet we're all in agreement that they are a useful innovation.

Do you dislike the Last Gospel? Don't use it; we don't have to. Contrary to your statement that innovations are "are all but the rule in the ACC," they are not, sir. To say otherwise is false and bordering on libelous. You can do a straight Prayer Book service if you like. You can even clumsily plod right into "Lift Up Your Hearts!" after the Comfortable Words without a preliminary Dominus Vobiscum / Et cum spiritu tuo if you so desire.

(1 of 2)

Shaughn said...

(2 of 2)

Do you dislike fiddleback chasubles? Don't wear them and sweat more, if you like. Do you dislike the Centurion's Prayer and accompanying beating of breasts? Don't do it. Again, you don't have to do so. Do you find the wine sticky and unsuitable for cleaning your fingers? Carry on without it.

In this manner, we are avoiding Trent's error of a monolothic mass in favor of local custom within certain bounds -- bounds established by the Formularies, the Prayer Books, and the Missal. It works rather well. Fr. Wells, for example, may go on liking blue in Advent, and I may go on cordially despising it.

A given act is not right because it's Tridentine, anymore than it is unequivocally wrong because it's Tridentine. Rather, it's wrong because it's wrong and right because it's right. A materialistic, corporeal view of the Eucharist, foe example, is troublesome regardless of who is peddling it. The Creeds are right regardless of who is saying them.

We agree on points of doctrine well enough. It would be, I think, far more catholic to allow for divergent liturgical custom within suitable boundaries. (Do let's not omit any words from the Prayerbook Liturgy, for example.)

That may not be the "Mere Anglicanism" you wish to protect but it would certainly reflect the church of the first milennium.

As lagniappe, let me offer you a particularly awful liturgical innovation I see occasionally at school: the priest does not communicate himself, but rather, has the deacon (or, gag, lay eucharistic minister) do so. It's wrong because it's objectively bad practice, not simply because silly Episcopalians do it to be cute.

Anonymous said...

To answer Alan's question as to whether the ACC is a Pelagian or semi-Pelagian Church, I would refer him to the following from the Affirmation of St Louis (a document to which the ACC has more than a legal attachment):



Man as Sinner

We recognize that man, as inheritor of original sin, is "very far gone from original righteousness," and as a rebel against God's authority is liable to His righteous judgment.

Man and God's Grace

We recognize, too, that God loves His children and particularly has shown it forth in the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that man cannot be saved by any effort of his own, but by the Grace of God, through repentance and acceptance of God's forgiveness.

(end of quote).

It is also important that the Affirmation is quite clear about the status of the Councils (all 7 of them). The third of these explicitly condemned Pelagianism.

Thank you for bringing this up. Any further questions?

LKW

Anonymous said...

FrWells:

Thanks you for your kind words regarding my post above:

'(Me:)'"These points can be shown historically and demonstrated Scripturally. The same Church that arrived at the consensus on the canon of Scripture shared the same consensus as far as we can tell on the points listed above."'

(You:) 'I could not agree more with the above statement, and in fact wth your entire post.'

I apologize for forgetting to identify myself as I did in the preceding post responding to FrHart. Regarding this question of yours:

'But how to account for the fact that Roman Catholics also defend their positions by the same appeal? The First Vatican Council specifically quoted Vincent of Lerins in support of (horror of horrors!) the "development of doctrine theory.'

I would answer that, as FrHart mentioned in his response to this same, question, that the modern papal claims actually fail the test of "universality, antiquity, and consent". About 8-9 years ago after I had begun to seriously question my long held beliefs as a Southern Baptist (eg, Zwinglian memorialism; 'OSAS' soteriology; pretrib/premill eschatology; etc), I began to investigate the claims of Rome vis-a-vis the claims of (Eastern)Orthodoxy as to which better represented the thought and practice of the early church. I read apologetic materials by both Roman and Eastern sources, and ultimately found that Rome's claims about the papacy were way overstated based on the actual biblical and early patristic evidence. I then seriously explored Eastern Orthodoxy for 2-3 years (and was even a catechumen for a few weeks) before concluding that the Holy Ghost didn't vanish from either side of the church in 1054. I landed in an ACC parish and was confirmed by Archbishop Haverland almost two years ago. I shared all that to say that I believe that when I was exploring the early church and its historical successors, I feel I gave the Roman claims a fair shake. (It certainly would have been easier going to a local RCC parish than driving an hour away to church on Sunday). In the end, I found based on the historical evidence--going back to the beginning (Scripture)--I could not accept the unique RCC dogmas regarding the papacy and Mary. Neither stand up to Vincent's criteria or the clear teaching of Scripture


Doubting Thomas

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I would answer that, as FrHart mentioned in his response to this same, question, that the modern papal claims actually fail the test of "universality, antiquity, and consent".

Also, even though the First Vatican Council gave the Vincentian Canon honorable mention, the fact is back then they had no choice. Besides, they had brainwashed themselves into thinking their views were ancient and the only possible interpretation of Scripture (not seeing the chasm between the words of Scripture and their view, and the need for isogesis of the most blatant kind).

When faced with the wider Church (or "ecclesial communities") critique, they had a problem.

When they heard Cardinal Newman, they realized that his theory of Doctrinal Development (at first rejecting it) was the answer. With a bit of tweaking, they adjusted his theory enough to rid themselves of that pestilent priest, Vincent.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Charles wrote:

I have to re-read everything written here and by ++Haverland. Perhaps he's giving the Settlement a higher place than superficially read.

He actually demonstrated the real thinking of the Elizabethan Reformers quite well. The essay does not make things more vague, but rather more fully defined. What we have named as the Anglican formularies is given a stronger and more secure, because more ancient, foundation in the ACC approach; that is because they don't seem to rest on their own authority-which could not have been a secure resting place in any storm.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Tallis:

I don't believe that Elizabeth would have accepted your descriptions of her church policy as a "political expression."

I meant only to add the harsh facts of politics into the picture, in fact politics and war. I would never take away the theological and ecclesiastical accomplishments of the English Church in Elizabeth's time. When people speak of the Settlement having "failed," I am forced to consider the brief failure of the English Civil War as the only period in history when it failed, as in, when the peace it had established was interrupted. The Settlement was also a matter of State, in that Church and State were not separated.

About 1543, that cannot be taken literally to the fullest extent, inasmuch as the ACC has married clergy (and always will), services in the vernacular (not all our people are English speaking, so I do not simply "English"), and no one who would attempt to justify the violence and vandalism of Thomas Cromwell. So what does invocation of that year really mean?

About that, I note that the Elizabethan giants (especially "the man with the plan" Richard Hooker) also hearkened back to the accomplishments of the first secession, and to Abp. Cranmer especially, whose main work was not published until six years later; but, it was underway then, the first BCP.

charles said...

Hello Canon Tallis and Fr. Hart,

Historians generally view the Restoration as the vindication of Anglicanism, providing the CofE settled form. Puritans got no meaningful concessions in Savoy, rather leaving with their tail between their legs. So, what defeat? Anglicans dominated the reforms during Elizabeth's reign.
Attempts to turn the Articles into calvinism were repeatedly beat back (at least twice). Prayer Book revisions continuously moved in a catholic direction between Elizabeth and Charles while Stewart canons advanced ritual. It would be interesting to read the alleged 'failed period' from the eyes of a Puritan. Time and time again the erastian system worked to fend off radicalism. Even during the Cromwell Anglicanism could not be crushed but returned with a vengeance in the restoration, and it seem so long as the Crown prevailed, so did the Church.

I believe this is an important point because the supremacy of Anglicanism after the restoration was tied to the Royalist party. When Tory fortunes ran dry, so did Anglicanism. Queen Anne and George III were perhaps the last 'defenders of the faith'.

What set establishment Anglicanism on retreat, signaling the beginning of the end, was not Cromwell (who inadverdently vindicated the Settlement) but the rise of popular, early-socialistic forces in the 1830's acting through Parliament. This was one thing Tractarianism was right about. Enfranchisement turned the tables against Royalists, and when this happened, our beloved Anglicanism at based faced rearguard actions. Once democratic forces weakened the monarchy, the erastian system just failed to work. This is where 'critique' should focus. Don't forget the epigram, "no bishop, no king".

Anglicanism, if anything, hardened its position on episcopacy, fighting puritans every step of the way, suppressing them, if not at times dashing their organizations, from 1559-1830's. We could list the bishops most successful at the above, and surely Laud received the title 'disciplinarian' for something unlikable?

We might talk about comprehension and tolerance, but even during that epoch, Anglicans proved their dominance. The end was when enfranchisement broadened to include dissent, giving anti-anglicans political muscle. That was suicide for the church. There are a lot of factors at play. But I reject any notion that the Settlement was inherently a failure, compromised, or unstable. It literally waged political and military war on a continual basis, and won, 1559-1830.

Anyway, I disagree with the civil war theory.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Anyway, I disagree with the civil war theory.

I was not aware that it was a theory. It happened, and for a few years the peace was gone.

Charles, your thesis confines Anglicanism to England. What about the United States, and several other countries where Anglicanism lives in democracies and republics?

Fr. John said...

Well in Scotland we could bring back the Stewarts.

Bonnie Charlie's noo awa
Safely o'er the friendly main
Mony a heart will break in twa
Should he ne'er come back again.

Chorus
Will ye no' come back again?
Will ye no' come back again?
Better lo'ed ye canna be
Will ye no' come back again?

Ye trusted in your Hielan' men
They trusted you, dear Charlie
They kent your hiding in the glen
Death or exile braving.

English bribes were a' in vain
Tho' puir, and puirer, we maurn be
Siller canna buy the heat
That beats aye for thine and thee.

We watch'd thee in the gloamin' hour
We watch'd thee in the mornin' grey
Tho' thirty thousand pound they gie
Oh, there is nane that wad betray!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

In the oft mentioned essay by Abp. Haverland, this part near the end needs to be repeated:

In brief, then the Affirmation of Saint Louis is the lens through which we view all Anglican authorities. This place for the Affirmation is established by material provisions of our Constitution and Canons. The particular Anglican authorities actually received in the ACC are not what they were in the Churches from which we came. Nor are specifically Anglican authorities a razor for trimming the basic affirmations of the ACC as found in our actual formularies.

First, it is self-evident that all Continuing Anglicans see the Affirmation of St. Louis as the proper lens for interpreting our own past and the larger context of The Holy Catholic Church. e.g. Whereas Mizz Jefferts-Schori tries to justify WO and SS blessing by abusing the Articles, our built-in protection via the Affirmaiton rules out everything vague and then everything heretical.

2. The Affirmation (and therefore the C&C of the ACC) have not limited the Formularies, but added to them the full weight that everyone back in the days of the Elizabethans also affirmed. We see 1662 BCP (with Ordinal), Homilies and 39 Articles as too short a list of Formularies, allowing too much wiggle room, resulting in the errors of the modern Anglican Communion. Rooting Anglicanism in the ancient Church via some of the older rules from Henry's day does nothing more than clarify the same principles that the greatest Anglican minds always taught and defended.

3. This is not, as someone charged elsewhere on another blog, like the Counter Reformation or Old Catholicism. It is a specifically Anglican root and foundation, and also it goes to the heart and the goal of Anglicanism: The teaching of the ancient catholic bishops and doctors, the true goal of the Elizabethan Church, far better than the shorter list of Formularies. Furthermore, to say that something does not "independent authority" is not the same as denying it. It places that same thing in the larger context, where it belongs.

I believe my Archbishop's essay has been read carelessly, and that in some ways the opposite meaning has been derived from what is actually stated. I believe Hooker, Andrewes and Laud would agree with its more fully developed list of Formularies over the shorter and easier one (or perhaps it is better to say, I think it is likely that they do).

Fr. John said...

And let us keep in mind the practical value of the Affirmation of St. Louis. Whereas the Articles are subject to misinterpretation, deliberate or otherwise, the Affirmation is pretty tight and does not contain much wiggle room doctrinally speaking

Charles, aren't you the one who wrote that there is a (potential future?) need for doctrinal discipline in the Continuum? The Affirmation is the ballast to our ship. Without it, Anglicanism is all sail and no ballast, at least that is what recent history seems to indicate.

It is still not too late to add your name to the Affirmation. Just go to: http://affirmationofstlouis.blogspot.com/

Also for a touch of irony see: http://users.eastlink.ca/~charleswarner/affirmation.html

charles said...

Hello Fr. Hart,

I think the American PEC realized her fortunes were tied to what happened in the CofE. When one reads history, it's amazing how developments parallel each other within the trans-atlantic. For example, the parallel movements for slave trade abolition, or even the parallel rise of Ritualism, concurrent in both America and England. Even America had its equivalent of a pre-Oxford, High Churchmen as Fr. Wells indicates in his biography of Bp. J.H. Hobart. So, this 'parallelism' is often the case in history. And what is even more amazing, is despite the 'disestablishment' prevailing in America, PEC proved just as susceptible to popular, democratic currents as England. So, I would say, very generally, the same forces were at work.

It is worth remarking American Episcopalians admitted a similar fate with the British, wishing to depart in minimal ways in so far as circumstances required. The fact the Articles were passed by synod, amended to account for the new political system, and bound to the prayer book shows they were meant to be authoritative, not just a historical footnote, apocrypha, or vague expression. They summed the theology behind the prayer book, and, when one is modified or ignored, it impacts their total. It is more than just a sum, or as you say, "they were never intended to be independent".

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

I have more to say, but #2) Too short a list? If the ACC wants a longer list, by all means do so! But don't take the three classical formularies off! When one omits them, or gives them 'optional status', you are basically saying these formularies failed or obscured (somewhere within their contents-- Haverland has not said exactly where) to receive Catholic truth. By drawing an artificial line at 15423, the ACC says simply the Settlement formularies have no canonical authority in the said Church.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Charles:

Abp. Haverland took nothing "off the table." He merely reminded us that the table has good sturdy legs holding it up. The Affirmation of St. Louis keeps every good thing in place by keeping the BCP, mentioning in its actual text (having been written in North America) editions that contain the 39 Articles, and the Ordinal with its Preface altered only enough to make it international rather than strictly English. The Articles cannot be removed from the BCP,and therefore the Homilies are also in place. But, we have it in a context that enforces right understanding, the understanding that had been intended from the first.

By insisting that the whole Anglican portion of Christianity is rooted in the older secession, with its direct route to "the most ancient catholic bishops and doctors" (the phrase Elizabeth later would coin), requiring fidelity to the same, the ACC C&C requires us not to delude ourselves, as modern Episcopalians and others have done, about some inherently vague infinitely flexible body of teaching in a doctrinally undefined church.

Frankly, what Abp. Haverland clarified is exactly what the Elizabethan theologians taught.So we end up with a stronger adherence to the Formularies, stronger because it is rooted and grounded.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy "Doubting Thomas" even when he forgets to sign a comment!

Let me try once again to make my point. I would agree with all the participants in this discussion that the Anglican theological heritage is the very best expression of the shared Faith of the early Church and the one most securely grounded in the Scriptures. Our precious faith can truly be described as the faith held "semper, ubique, et apud omnes." No argument from me there, and thanks for the opportunity of saying it once more.

BUT!

Roman Catholics make the identical claim. Just because we happen to feel, in our subjectivity, that they "fall on their faces" does not make them wrong. I am working away from my home office right now, thanks to computer problems, but I wish I could include a lengthy quotation from Vincent's Commonitorium which was used by Vatican I. It was more than "just a nod" (pace Fr Hart). In fact, if Vincent were arbitrating a debate between J.H.Newman and Fr Hart, I am not certain that Vincent would take our side, if indeed he even grasped the issue.

I will not point out that Luther and Calvin have been criticised, very fairly, for teaching things which fail Vincent's test. Instead, I will point out that St Athanasius was fiercely attacked by some Arians for introducing an innovation in the term "homo-ousion." From the 4th century perspective, that word (actually it had been bandied about by certain Gnostics!) failed the Vincentian test.

Several traditions, other than ours, make a "good faith" claim to hold the Faith as Vincent conceived it. I can therefore only conclude that the Vincentian Canon is no more than a nose of wax, which anyone can twist and mold to suit his pleasure.
LKW

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

"Abp. Haverland clarified is exactly what the Elizabethan theologians taught"

Are you serious? If we give the Henrician standards interpretative priority (essentially turning the reformation on its head), you have clerical celibacy, communion in one kind, transubstantiation...and this just skims the top without analyzing Henry's primer or the unreformed Sarum liturgy.

I will admit the value of finding continuity between Elizabeth and Henry,and have noted the importance of understanding the later Settlement with respect to the direction/basis of Henry. But, what Henry said was only a "seed" of what would come, i.e., the reform of worship. When this project was mostly finished by Cranmer, the Articles followed to sum the BCP's theological intent. They not only bracketed off Gardiner's interpretation but also Puritan and radical.

It's not like you can have one without the other. Furthermore, Elizabethan and Stewart divines were adamant in subscribing to formulas. It was the test of classical churchmanship, or at least public ministry. Of all people, Fr. Hart, you should be most conscious of this... Didn't ACA to form from the ribs of ACC?

Brian said...

I can't speak to Fr. Wells' personal preferences, but as a good vestryman I feel obligated to point out that St. Michael's does NOT use blue in Advent. (Thanks be to God!)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells:

I don't believe that our view of what was taught in Antiquity is subjective, but objective and well reasoned, allowing for evidence that Rome ignores, and refusing "evidence" that Rome invented (sometimes literally, like forged documents). A nose of wax that can be twisted? People do that to the Bible too. Nonetheless, there is an objective real doctrine of the ancient Apostolic Church. And, the issue was not a specific word Athanasius found convenient, but the doctrine that it summed up so well, which comes from the Bible.

Charles:

Regarding "clerical celibacy, communion in one kind, transubstantiation," let us look at the evidence, and also recognize that the C&C of the ACC sides completely with the teaching in the Articles in each of these matters. Nonetheless, your list is wrong.

The only thing you got right was clerical celibacy (based entirely on what Henry liked).

Communion in two kinds was the norm with Henry, to the point where the Bishop Salisbury, John Jewel, wrote a reply to a Roman apologist that he could keep his "half communion."

Transubstantiation (pre-Ratzinger definition) was soundly condemned and rejected, and the writings of Cranmer give us a better teaching by far, as later restated by Hooker.

Didn't ACA to form [sic] from the ribs of ACC?

Did you mean come from? I would not summarize the strife ridden story that way. Maybe, sometime in the future, we will tell the story.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart, you are not supposed to do this because I know that you know better. But having myself been in the same place when I was doing too much and was exhausted I understand. In the King's Book of 1543 communion was limited to one kind. Confession to a priest was still required. And the reformers who were to triumph afterwards called it "popery without the pope."

John Jewel only became Bishop of Salisbury after Elizabeth I became queen. During Mary's reign he had been abroad. So he could certainly and correctly in his controversial works have refered to the continuous Roman practice as "half Communion.

Also in the King's Book, use of Holy Scripture was limited to those of 'gentle birth.' As such it hardly meets the standard of the Elizabeth Settlement or, and more importantly, the practice of the ACC.

"veriz"

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

If you "use the Articles in so far as they are useful" to uphold what was dogmatically said by Henry up to the date of 1543, you have positive teaching about transubstantiation and communion in one-kind. Read the King's Book which was written for the instruction of Henrician clergy.

Please quote exactly where the ACC decisively sides with the Articles in these matters, i.e., would it forbid communion in one-kind? Could a priest be punished for teaching a physical presence, etc. in the parish? Certainly the Articles forbade these things. Does the ACC? Or is it left "optional".

Haverland stated what is authoritative. However, he evidently understands the situation of people who take the Settlement more enthusiastically, and did not specify exactly what/where the Settlement lies outside catholic truth. How the two relate has been left to a local option.

If the Settlement is completely within the parameters catholic truth, then why not add 39 Articles (as summing the official doctrine of the prayer book) to ACC canons??? He refuses to do this because he thinks 1543 adequately sums everything that the English reformation achieved. Later divines and standards may be employed but only in so far as "they are useful" to uphold what is officially held by ACC, and with respect to the Reformation it is Henry up to 1543.

You can't contradict the doctrine of the King's Book if you are to keep your vows. The King's book is great, but one thing it does not touch is the Mass. Hence, our Missals have both reformed and unreformed versions in them. If you went further with Reformation doctrine, say drawing a line in 1548 or 1563, you'd have to drop the Gregorian option, for example, plus all the inserted RC feasts and saints which carnalize/obliterate the sacrament. But that would be asking people to be consistent... As it stands such practices are tolerable with respect to ACC received and official doctrine.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Tallis and Charles:

It is obvious that what the ACC actually lives by is the Elizabethan Settlement, and it is obvious that the things described in your comments as having come from the King's Book are not. It is clear as well that the only part of 1543 that has been invoked as relevant, with which the Elizabethans agreed, was that the Church of England endeavor always to conform to the Traditions of the Church Catholic dating back to Antiquity.

The things you mention as coming from the King's Book would never be allowed by the ACC Constitution and Canons.

Death Bredon:

Rejection of the Elizabethan Settlement? Rather, it is about recognizing the same foundation the Elizabethans did.

But, since the Thirty-Nine Articles received much attention in comments, I must remind everyone that they are included in the specific editions of the Book of Common Prayer Affirmed at St. Louis, and therefore need no special mention to be what they always have been, with the same level of doctrinal definition. However, the C&C protects them, and every other Formulary, from the kind of spin that we see all the time, that distorts their meaning.

charles said...

PS>
Also, I understand AB Haverland's views are not absolute, and he did leave room to maneuver by not pin-pointing differences between Henry and Elizabeth. This is as much a green-light for Settlement Anglicanism as it is for a broad Catholicism. I guess I've said my peace to the point of beat a dead horse. There is work ahead in both ACNA#2, ACA, and ACC, and Fr. Hart is driving the theological basis of it. I don't me to be an total antagonist, Fr. Hart, and will continue supporting your work anywhere I can. What else can be done except this sort of teaching work? I've only started reading Henrician documents, and they offer real gold to prosper from, pointing the way to later Anglican thought.

Will said...

Fr. Hart,

I too would appreciate any further thoughts you may have (perhaps this will be another essay?) on what can be done to build classical Anglican thought and doctrine in our churches. Your writings have already helped clarify the situation we face; perhaps we can all work together to restore the true Elizabethan Settlement wherever we may find ourselves.

I confess I am really perplexed about how to get some of our clergy (I am not referring to anyone who comments here!) to move away from a form of "Old Catholicism" which you essentially sum up in your succeeding essay to this one, and towards a true Anglican orthodoxy and orthopraxy. The problem in the ACA with some of the clergy wanting to go Rome-ward (but perhaps not their people) may exist in a different form in some other circles with laity being more Prayer Book Anglican than their clergy.

It seems to me that our churches would be stronger and better able to evangelize if this divide could be bridged. But know you are very much appreciated by many of us!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

On another post I made a comment that I repeat here:

"It is simple really. The Affirmation of St. Louis affirms not merely the Book of Common Prayer, but two specific editions, both of which contain the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. Therefore, they remain just as authoritative as they always had been. They have however, no "independent authority"-then again, they never did; they were never meant to be independent,even though some among the 'Nouvea Reformed' treat them as some independent Confession (in the most Reformed sense). Furthermore, regarding the ACC, the Affirmation of St. Louis is the foundation of the Constitution and Canons. There it all is, fixed and remaining. So, when I insist on the Articles I have my argument ready, and our Chancellor agrees with me, and said so in a comment on some previous post."

By the way, I refer to Fr. John Hollister, who made that comment based on the C&C of the ACC, because it also fixes the year 1967 as concerning these matters (BCP, and contents including the Articles of Religion) the way they were officially stated by the Episcopal Church as it was then.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The ACC Canons have this provision:

CANON 2.2. 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.


What was the status of the Articles and of the whole Elizabethan Settlement before 1967?

All that was being stated was that we cannot begin with the Elizabethan Settlement; we have to include the foundation rather than beginning above ground. We must go further back. Can you tell me that, e.g. Richard Hooker would disagree?

The Thirty-Nine Articles remain a standard for determining true doctrine within the boundaries of Article VI itself (i.e. burden of proof would fall on anybody trying to refute anything in them, and then must be done only by Scripture). The fact is, they have not been denied, belittled, renounced or rescinded.

(However, can someone remind us what happened in 1967? Did it have something to do with abortion in English Law, in such a way that it affected the Church? I cannot recall.)

charles said...

Keep reading...

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.

This in turn takes you back to canon 2.1 where 'received doctrine' is discussed. I believe AB Haverland interpreted the canon correctly, 'in the plain, grammatical sense'.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Charles:

I am not debating Abp. Haverland, but rather some comments here and elsewhere that have changed his meaning. Canon 2.1 does not expressly alter or amend by any Synod or Synods of the ACC any part of the Anglican Patrimony. But, it does eliminate the whole idea of infinitely flexible "discipline" of the kind that gave us the modern Canterbury Communion mess. Like it or not, the worst of the worst apostates claim the same Elizabethan Settlement we believe in. Therefore, to secure its true meaning we have to root it where it was meant to be rooted. It cannot serve as the beginning (nor did the Elizabethan Anglicans want it to), but must serve as a point along the way in continuity.

That is what the Affirmation requires, and that is what the C&C gives some definition. Now we have not only the Formularies, but the context in which they cannot be misused so easily.

Canon Tallis said...

There is a great temptation to write "well, why didn't you quote that sooner?" But I won't. I still believe that the Henrician dates included in same are a mistake, but reading the whole of it I can quite understand what some one was attempting to do. Henry made several attempts to reform English canon law but nothing came of them. I think he had other, in his own mind, more pressing matters at hand such as preventing a resumption of the hundred plus years of civil war which England had suffered from the lack of an adequate monarch. My only regret is the date then excludes what was done with the revision of canon law in 1571 which includes that wonderful canon directing that nothing be taught from the pulpit but that doctrine that could be extracted from the Old Testament and the New in accordance the bishops and fathers of the earliest Church. Thee is no doubt in my mind that the whole purpose of this blog, its writers and the bishops of the ACC is to do just that to the very best of their ability and have attempted to do so from the beginning.

At the moment ACA/TAC has put all Anglicans in the Continuum in what is probably are most stressful situation since before the Congress of St Louis. With that and what has happened in Africa and Haiti the work load on Archbishop Haverland has probably increased immensely. And there are other developments, some which have not yet come to light, which have the potential to make things, if possible, worse. Consequently it is our duty to keep him, the other bishops and their advisers daily in our prayers until God in his grace brings us through these situations.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

My only regret is the date then excludes what was done with the revision of canon law in 1571...

It does not exclude it (for it was prior to 1967), but does exclude us from treating it as the starting point of our history. That is all.

Anonymous said...

"(However, can someone remind us what happened in 1967? Did it have something to do with abortion in English Law, in such a way that it affected the Church? I cannot recall.)"

I believe that 1967 was the year General Convention approved the "ordination" of female deacons.

LKW

William Tighe said...

The "canons of 1571" were ratified by only one house of the Convocation, and never received royal approval, so at best they can be described as "proposed canons." Put differently, they have as much force as the Lambeth Articles of 1595.

It was the 1970 GC that waved its magic wand and made "deaconesses" into "female deacons."

Shaughn said...

In 1967, (P)ECUSA changed its position on abortion from total condemnation to "except in cases of rape, incest, and the mother's life being in danger."

Anonymous said...

According to "Walking Apart"; In 1967, the 62nd General Convention of the Episcopal Church supported abortion law "reform," to permit the "termination of pregnancy" for reasons of life, rape, incest, fetal deformity, or physical or mental health of the mother.
I know of at least one priest who resigned his active ministry in the Episcopal Church because of this.

DJ+

Rev. Mike Spreng said...

I think there needs to be some distinction made between personal edification of the Holy Scriptures and Church dogma. Yes, Rome nuances their people to the point of wearing them out, but Anglicanism lacks the conciliar nature that it was founded on. While Rome continues to have counsels on various topics and heresies Anglicanism does next to nothing. What is the House of Bishops doing these days as far as dogma is concerned? What is it doing in regards to heresy? Do Anglicans even know what heresy is and is not? I think they might know what their priest says but I do not think they know what Anglicanism says as a whole. This is problematic. The bishops should not be afraid to gather together in council and decide on dogma (not by reclaiming a Medieval set of polemics but by using “modern” polemics/apologetics). Until this is done, Anglicanism will continue to be tossed by every wind of doctrine that comes by.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

to the Rev. Mike Spreng:

You seem blissfully unaware that the name of this blog is The Continuum, not the Anglican Commnunion. What you call Anglicanism is not the real thing, and, furthermore, is the reason we are not in the Anglican Communion.

Rev. Mike Spreng said...

So you are saying that Anglicans should not have councils?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

So you are saying that Anglicans should not have councils?

I do not understand the reason for this question. I attended the Provincial Synod of the ACC-OP last year as a clergy delegate. But, Ecumenical Councils are impossible for any single Branch. Therefore, we are guided by what has been understood since long ago, unlike Roman Catholics who believe their jurisdictional councils are of universal significance, and unlike the Lambeth Conference. The latter never held grand universal illusions before the great Apostasy in modern times; now they are cut off as a branch that has died and is withering, and yet now their member churches presume to have the authority of an Ecumenical Council. How else could TEC in 1976 and in 2003 (General Conventions) claim they were "guided by the Spirit of Truth" in establishing heresies? Rather ironic, wouldn't you say?