Monday, April 19, 2010

Honor thy fathers

And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever. (Jer. 35:18,19)

Following my essay about both Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and Pope Benedict XVI on transubstantiation, I was surprised by how many comments made a point about Cranmer not being the sole representative of Anglicanism. I wonder why that seems necessary, inasmuch as everyone ought to know that no one individual is the spokesman for Anglicanism. A church tradition that states, as its self-understanding, the intention to conform to "the most ancient Catholic doctors and bishops" cannot have any one person, or any one generation, as its chief representative.

However, we do have fathers who are specific to our portion of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and we need not apologize for quoting them and learning their works. Did they always succeed at reaching their goal of espousing the best and most true Catholic faith? As individuals, not always; as a body, yes. If we did not believe that the united witness of Anglican orthodoxy is worth the effort and risk it takes to Continue, we would have scattered to the four winds long ago. Instead, we have been growing throughout several nations.

When it comes to the subject of English Reformers and early Anglican Divines, one of my main reasons for writing so much has been to assist modern Anglicans in our Continuing Church, especially Anglo-Catholics, in regaining appreciation for their own fathers and their own patrimony. I am tired of hearing Anglican clergy speak of their own patrimony as heretical, expressing embarrassment for what they identify as "Protestant," demonstrating vast ignorance, seeking the approval of Rome (which will not happen), and all the while defeating their own efforts to grow congregations of any size and stability. Enough already!

Of course we don't want to be stuck in the sixteenth century. But, we can't blot it out either; and, if we really understood it we would not feel the urge to do so. I am not ashamed of Thomas Cranmer, but my English blood is ashamed of Queen Mary for murdering him, and doing so in the most cruel fashion of burning him at the stake mainly for writing a "Defense of the True and Catholick Doctrine of the sacrament" in his book on the Lord's Supper (I would be ashamed of Bloody Mary, well named, even if I thought his book had been heresy, since such punishments cannot be practiced in the name of Christ without blasphemy added to cruelty and murder).

And, what was in the book? It was written to address the issues of his own day and age, not the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, not the best philosophical considerations of post Einstein physics, but the pastoral needs of the English people in that time. As I pointed out, his criticism of transubstantiation was the general teaching in that generation that the bread and wine cease to be present, and merely appear to be present; that this very kind of thinking creates a philosophical quandary that leads to a denial of the true doctrine of the Incarnation and undermines the Gospel eyewitnesses of the resurrection.

Efforts to make the book someone else's work through Cranmer seem endless. Some have insisted it was really the thinking of Calvin, others of Bucer, others even of Zwingli. I suggest we see the book as the work of the man who wrote it, and let him speak for himself as he bases his doctrine on the Bible and on the Fathers of the Church (which is what the Reformers generally did, being Catholic scholars). But, Zwingli? Cranmer writes so much against the kind of transubstantiation teaching that went on in his day that he gave little space for positive statements; but, when saying what the sacrament is, his words, in that same book, were that Christ Himself is "sacramentally present" in the bread and wine.

The Homily "Of worthy receiving of the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ" clearly denounces the doctrine of Zwingli (as it was and usually is understood), as do other important Anglican works throughout the early generations. Hooker also rules it out as error, rejecting Zwingli by name. Article XXVIII says "The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner." Heavenly and spiritual is not the same as Zwingli's "symbolism." It is meant to be distinct from the physical idea of eating and drinking Christ's flesh and blood according to what transubstantiation generally was understood to mean, saying that it is spiritual and heavenly rather than carnal.

In the time that he wrote, Cranmer was among the first to set the stage for the early Anglican emphasis on sacramental grace. I have addressed the historical reasons for this in many past essays, that the people generally did not receive the sacrament, but instead thought that their role was merely to gaze upon it. To understand all the early Anglican teaching on this subject, we must keep in mind that historical context, and therefore the need to correct the error of that time.

Therefore, whether in Cranmer's book, the Homily, the Thirty-Nine Articles or Hooker, we must think of Christ's Presence in terms of the grace of the sacrament, and how His Presence imparts that grace. Everything else to do with his Presence in the sacrament was either of much less importance in the early Anglican emphasis (as the times made necessary and pressing), or was corrected as the kind of transubstantiation that leads to horrifying stories about bloody body parts, or seeing people swallow Christ as an infant (quite distressing in terms of Christology as well as mental health concerns).

Until we understand the Presence of Christ in terms of the grace imparted by faithful receiving of the sacrament, in the early Anglican mind, nothing else about his Presence in the sacrament can be learned. May it be adored? May it enhance devotions? Frankly, they never actually addressed those questions in the terms that they present themselves to our generation, because they had to restore the idea of this sacrament as "generally necessary to salvation," and the Presence of Christ in terms of communion, partaking or fellowship.

This is where a new breed of Anglo-Catholics, especially, need to forget everything they ever heard or read about Anglicanism by Roman Catholic polemicists, and listen to me instead (doesn't that sound conceited? Listen anyway).

Everything you see in the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Homily, etc., that involves the idea of partaking of Christ or not partaking of Christ, is not about the objective Real Presence in the sacrament, and certainly not a rejection of the same. Even Cranmer's and Hooker's famous lines about seeking the presence of Christ in the worthy receiver of the sacrament, is not about the objective holiness of the sacramental matter, and Christ's Presence in it, and is not a rejection of His presence in "a heavenly and spiritual manner." It is about the effect of that presence as grace for the believer, or about the judgment on the unworthy receiver who is not a "partaker of Christ."

What does it mean to be or not be a "partaker of Christ"? Does this phrase overturn their frank rejection of Zwingli's Memorialism? Does it contradict this from the Homily (also quoted by Cranmer in his book)?

"Take then this lesson (O thou that art desirous of this Table) of Emissenus a godly Father, that when thou goest vp to the reuerend Communion, to be satisfied with spirituall meates, thou looke vp with fayth vpon the holy body and blood of thy GOD, thou maruayle with reuerence, thou touch it with the minde, thou receiue it with the hand of thy heart, and thou take it fully with thy inward man (Eusebius Emissenus, Serm. de Euchar.)."

No, it does not contradict it.

To be a partaker of Christ has everything to do with the words of St. Paul in I Corinthians 10:16:
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"

This has been stated here before in my essays, but I will state it again. The English Reformers and Anglican Divines were scholars of the Biblical languages, in fact as good as any if not the best. They used the word "partake" to mean the same thing as "communion" and as "fellowship." All three of these words were intended by them to serve as a translation of the same Greek word, for all three are used to translate it in English New Testaments, including the King James (Authorized) Version, and including the above quotation from St. Paul. That Greek word is κοινωνία (koinōnia).

Therefore, we may see Article XXIX for what it really means.

XXIX. Of the wicked which do not eat the body of Christ, in the use of the Lord's Supper.
THE wicked and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as S. Augustine saith) the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ, but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink the sign or sacrament of so great a thing.

"In no wise are they partakers of Christ" means, simply, they receive no saving effects by eating and drinking (the use of the word "sign" means that what they have eaten and drunk is visible to the eyes, but pointing to something greater than the eyes may see. It does not not imply that the "sign" is devoid of Christ's "sacramental presence," to use Cranmer's phrase). The wicked are not, by eating and drinking, partaking of, nor in communion with, nor having fellowship with, Jesus Christ our Lord. And, how could they be, having no faith? Furthermore, it has been the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church, in all of its generations, that we may perceive Christ for who He is, including who He is in the sacrament, only by faith. Why, when Anglicans say it, should this ancient Catholic doctrine be taken to mean something sinister?

Instead of hiding from what your fathers taught, consider its meaning in the language of their times and in light of their times. Go ahead and accept it, learn from it, and come forward within the outworking of Anglican history right through the best from the Oxford Movement. Take it all as of one piece. There is no need to fear the doctrines of your fathers, and no need to fear any alleged deficiency in their sacramental Intention.

And, of course, that is the real point.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I was surprised by how many comments made a point about Cranmer not being the sole representative of Anglicanism. I wonder why that seems necessary, inasmuch as everyone ought to know that no one individual is the spokesman for Anglicanism."

When this well known fact is so tediously dwelt on, usually the subtext is "This makes us different from the Calvinists and Lutherans." Actually, the non-Episcopal Reformation Churches are not nearly as enslaved to the Reformers as many Anglicans imagine.
The impact of Calvin on the Reformed Churches has been hardly any more intense than the impact of Cranmer on us After all, Calvin did not leave behind any special liturgical heritage as did Cranmer. "Calvinist" distinctives such as the Regulative Principle of Worship, Jure Divino Presbyterian church government, or the Puritan Sabbath are all post- Reformation inventions of the 17th century.

Luther is a special case, as he did become an iconic figure for Lutherans (featured in quite a few stained glass windows). But how accurate a picture exists in this icon is open to question. I suspect there is a gap between the Martin of faith and the Luther of history.

The difference could be summed up like this: whereas the Reformed tend to forget Calvin, replacing him with Hodge, Van Til or Bavinck, and the Lutherans make Luther into a myth rather different from the real man, Anglicans make Cranmer into a their favorite whipping boy (along with Luther and Calvin, of course).
LKW

Canon Tallis said...

What all of our detractors forget is that Anglicanism did not really begin with the Reformation or with Henry VIII or Archbishop Cranmer, but they instead were the flashpoint in which the protests of Robert Grossteste, the spiritual writings of Walter Hilton and the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing or Langland's The Vision of Piers the Plowman finally resulted in an open return to the best which they could fashion of "the doctrine, discipline and worship" of the Church from the demise of the apostles to the end of the fifth century. Of course, we have yet to reach the full standard of the Church of that time, but as long as we are consciously making the attempt we should be ahead of the game.

The problem is reaching that standard takes work, real work of scholarship, hard reading and a good deal of time spent both at your desk and on your knees either in your study or your stall in church. That hardly is the sort of thing generally counted as fun in this age, and so we have those who follow the path of least effort. Thank God we have you and the others who have done so much of the hard reading for them.

Until we both know and understand that the roots of traditional Anglicanism are not in the 16th century but in the first, the second, the third and the fourth, we will not understand what Cranmer and his suffragans were attempting to do in their reforms. So I don't care how conceited they make think you, Father Kirby, Canon Nalls or Bishop Robinson as long as they "hear . . ., read, mark, learn and inwardly digest" so that we can reconvert not only our own country nor merely the whole of the English speaking world, but absolutely everyone to that faith and practice once handed over by the apostles to the faithers.

P.S., I endorse all that Father Wells wrote in response to this as well.

Brian said...

A major difference between Bl. Cranmer and most other reformers was that Cranmer was a sacramentally ordained bishop in the Church and the rightful primate of England. Of course, history long before and since the Reformation has illustrated that that position and apostolic succession are no guarantee of apostolic teaching or behavior. But the fact remains that Cranmer had a real authority that Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Zwingli and the like never did or could.

Jack Miller said...

Excellent article Fr. Hart. Your point of "... regaining appreciation for their own fathers and their own patrimony" is a healthy challenge to all and, it seems, a necessity in order to better understand not only the early church writings, but the Scriptures themselves and thus the Faith. Cranmer, Jewel, Hooker, and the other English reformers (as someone else recently noted) were scholars when it came to the early fathers and ancient philosophers, as well as the Scriptures. Likewise to understand the reformers one must obviously interact with and study the Scripture, the early writings, and learn the church issues (doctrinally and historically) that led to the Reformation; all of that, and as Canon Tallis rightly points out, with much time spent "on your knees."

Anonymous said...

Canon T: Do not forget to include in your list of pre-Reformation worthies the name of "Doctor Profundus," Thomas Bradwardine, whom Geoffrey Chaucer ranked as the equal to Augustine and Boethius but is almost forgotten today. He vigorously asserted the doctrines of grace which many now despise and reject as "Calvinism."
LKW

David Gould said...

Let us not forget that Calvin, Zwingli, Bucer and even Luther abandoned the Apostolic succession, any notion of the sacred priesthood, except in the Scandinavian Lutheran Churches, at least prior to the ordination of women. Cranmer whatever his faults was validly ordained as a priest, consecrated as a bishop who believed in the Catholicity of the Church of England.

Anonymous said...

FrWells said:

'He vigorously asserted the doctrines of grace which many now despise and reject as "Calvinism."'

What exactly do you mean by "the doctrines of grace"? Do you suggest that Bradwardine asserted "TULIP" theology? If so such a system is rightly rejected as "Calvinism", since it is neither(in fact)clearly proven from Scripture nor is it found in the patristic consensus (ie West, East, or primitive pre-Nicene church).
Or by "doctrines of grace" do you simply mean that he asserted the necessity of grace preceding our 'free will' when writing against the Pelagians? If so, he's in good company as the early church did this as well. Even the articles of the Remonstrants, along with the personal views of Arminius and Wesley, fit well with the semi-Augustinian consensus that has prevailed in the West since the Synod of Orange in 529.

Doubting Thomas

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Doubting Thomas:

One way to distinguish a real Calvinist from a fake one is the TULIP test. If he describes himself as a "Five Point" Calvinist, he does not know what he is talking about.

Calvin is another subject altogether, of course, from the English.

But, I do wonder if Cranmer's desire for a Reformation Council was because he wanted to see if he could bring the Apostolic Succession of bishops to those who lacked it.

Anonymous said...

"One way to distinguish a real Calvinist from a fake one is the TULIP test. If he describes himself as a "Five Point" Calvinist, he does not know what he is talking about.

Calvin is another subject altogether, of course, from the English. "

Fr Hart, could you clarify (what I think you are saying)--are you saying that the five-pointers (ie, the TULIP folks) are or are not the 'real Calvinists'? Thanks.

Doubting Thomas

Jack Miller said...

Fr. Hart wrote:
One way to distinguish a real Calvinist from a fake one is the TULIP test. If he describes himself as a "Five Point" Calvinist, he does not know what he is talking about.

DT wrote:
"TULIP" theology? If so such a system is rightly rejected as "Calvinism", since it is neither(in fact)clearly proven from Scripture nor is it found in the patristic consensus (ie West, East, or primitive pre-Nicene church).

The Five Points were a response to the five points of the Arminian Remonstrance during the Calvinist-Arminian debate and served as a shorthand summation of the judgments rendered by the Synod of Dort in 1619. Calvin himself never used such a model.

Those that I know who would claim Calvin's theology would refer to themselves as "Reformed" not Five Point Calvinists in that they speak only to five limited doctrinal issues. That being said, just what about these five points is so clearly and emphatically not Scriptural? I wonder if such a statement is more based on dogma than exegesis.

Again, referring to "honoring our fathers", Henry Bullinger's major doctrinal work The Decades, was made compulsory reading for theological students by Archbishop Whitgift for a number of years. And such as Jewel, Grindal and Cox called Bullinger (to whom the Reformed churches are indebted for their doctrines of the Word of God, Justification, Sanctification, Christology, Ecclesiology, and the Covenant of Grace) the pillar of the Church of England! There is much of reformed theology in the 16th century English reformers and thus in the Anglican tradition.

Anonymous said...

This thread was meant to be about Anglicanism, not about Calvinism, and I did not mean to misdirect it.

I brought up the name of Thomas Bradwardine, 1290--1349, distinguished mathematician, philosopher, and theologian, briefly Archbishop of Canterbury, as another example of an Anglican before Henry VIII.

Bradwardine authored a work entitled "De Causa Dei contra Pelagium." According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, "Against the Pelagian ideas prevalent among some contemporary theologians, he insisted on the necessity of grace and the 'irrestible' efficacy of the Divine
Will, which is the cuse of all action, whether necessary or contingent. By this theological Determinism he paved the way for the predestinarian thought of John Wycliffe...."

Doubting Thomas has brought up the 2nd Council of Orange, which he rightly describes as the "semi-Augustinian consensus that has prevailed in the west." The Council taught "free will has been so distorted and weakened by the sin of the first parent that thereafter no one could love God as was required, or believe in God, or perform for the sake of God unless first reached by the grace of the Divine mercy."

That is what I have in mind when I use the expression "the doctrines of grace."

The Canons on grace of Orange II AD 529 are readily available for any who trouble themselves to peruse them. I have them before me as I write, the original Latin in Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum and in translation in the work of two Jesuits, Neuner and Dupuis, "The Christian Faith." The doctrines of Original Sin, Predestination, and Prevenient Grace found there are not very different from what we find in the Canons of thre Synod of Dordrecht or (gasp!) the Westminster Confession of Faith. But
they are quite distinct from the Reomnstrant notion of Election on the basis of a "Foreseen Faith" (fides praevisa).

But as I said, this thread is about Anglicanism, not Calvinism. My point is only to remind us of what Anglicanism might have been, but for Archbishop Laud's unwise importation of a Dutch Protestant heresy, a heresy not unrelated to Socinianism.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

A few points come to my mind, and they may clarify or confuse matters further.

1. The theological discussions before the Reformation[s] were continued during it. None of the topics were new, and some of the Reformed or Protestant views had been acceptable within the world of Catholic speculation and discourse for centuries.

2. The Continental Reformers weighed in during the long debate, as did the English Reformers as did the Council of Trent. Sadly, as we see in the death of Archbishop Cranmer, it was not a gentleman's disagreement that prevailed, nor even a lady's disagreement, nor even a royal lady's disagreement. Some of the Continental Reformers were invited to attend Trent, guaranteed safety just as Huss had been. The violent intolerance of the era ruled out the possibility of genuine discourse between the parties.

3. Among various kinds of Calvinists, the extreme Puritan party was actually in a state of enmity, leading to a state of war in the time of Oliver Cromwell, Abp. Laud and King Charles I. But, in the 16th century, from the Church of England side, the chief official spokesman was Richard Hooker, and his Laws of Ecclesiastical Purity drew a line in the sand.

4. A new school, whose adherents consider themselves to be "Reformed Anglicans", have joined forces with anti-Anglican Roman Catholic polemicists (unwittingly, or half-wittily) to rewrite the history and arguments of our Anglican fathers.

Last year I mentioned, in an essay about them, the foolish mantra they recite that "Hooker did not believe that the episcopate was of Divine origin." They say it constantly. Before I could look up what I wanted to find, Archbishop Haverland emailed me a string of quotations in a comment, with all the quotations needed. They were from Book VII, in which Hooker clearly says that it was of Divine origin, and pointed to the Scriptures that proved it (included in a separate comment below).

The question is, why is anyone so foolish as to believe that a book about Anglican polity written largely against Puritanism, would not state the same? How do they convince themselves of such non-sense?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Hooker on Divine Institution of episcopacy

Hooker doesn't say bishops were of divine Institution? That's insane.

'The first Bishops in the Church of Christ were his blessed Apostles, for the Office whereunto Matthias was chosen the sacred History doth term episkopen, an Episcopal Office.' (VII.4.1)

'And yet the Apostles have now their successors upon earth, their true successors, if not in the largeness, surely in the kind of that Episcopal function, whereby they had power to sit as spiritual ordinary Judges, both over Laity and over Clergy where Churches Christian were established.' (VII.4.3)

'...Presbyters must not grudge to continue subject unto their Bishops, unless they will proudly oppose themselves against that which God himself ordained by his Apostles, and the whole Church of Christ approveth and judgeth most convenient.' (VII.5.8)

'And what need we to seek far for proofs that the Apostles who began this order of Regiment by Bishops, did it not but by divine instinct, when without such direction things or far less weight and moment they attempted not?' (VII.5.10)

Etc., etc., etc.

Jack Miller said...

A church can be Reformed and Anglican. To be reformed is to be catholic. I state the obvious.

Church polity is not a test of Reformed doctrine and therefore the episcopacy is not inconsistent with Reformed theology as understood in the 16th century by the English or the Continental reformers and as understood and taught today by the likes of Dr. R.Scott Clark at WTS-CA. Indeed, there were a number of Anglican clergy that contributed to the Westminster Confession.

I bring this up only to clarify that Apostolic Succession, though it was understood differently by the Continental Reformers and the Anglican Church, is not a distinctive of Reformed theology.

Fr. Hart, from my reading I don't recall anything Cranmer wrote that would suggest his hopes for a Reformation council touching upon Apostolic Succession. If you have a source, I would love to see it.

Fr. Wells, I don't think you led this discussion off course. This is really in keeping with the idea of "honor thy fathers", the Anglican heritage including all those of the 16th century English reformers and thus what they contributed.

Again, thanks for bearing with my input...

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Hart, from my reading I don't recall anything Cranmer wrote that would suggest his hopes for a Reformation council touching upon Apostolic Succession. If you have a source, I would love to see it.

The reasons he may have thought along these lines seem easy to figure out, in light of what his Church taught and practiced. The Anglicans gave generous ground to the Continental Reformers along these lines: In such places as Scotland and Geneva, they did not choose to remove the episcopate; rather they were mostly abandoned. For this reason Anglicans were not willing to declare Continental Protestant sacraments as null and void (though neither were they willing to accept them in the Church of England). They hoped that the plight of the Continental Protestants might have been enough of an emergency to result in extraordinary grace. In those early days the loss of the episcopate may have seemed like the kind of problem the English alone could rectify, at a time when the idea might have seemed acceptable to Calvin. Lutherans still had some bishops.

Will said...

I have heard the same thing of which Fr. Hart writes: that Archbishop Cranmer had hoped to call an international convocation of Reformers. A.G. Dickens, in his text The English Reformation, says that in fact Cranmer had sounded out Calvin, Bullinger and Melanchthon in March 1552 on this idea but did not get an enthusiastic response, so to speak. (p. 236)

Anonymous said...

Doubting Thomas has brought up the 2nd Council of Orange, which he rightly describes as the "semi-Augustinian consensus that has prevailed in the west." The Council taught "free will has been so distorted and weakened by the sin of the first parent that thereafter no one could love God as was required, or believe in God, or perform for the sake of God unless first reached by the grace of the Divine mercy."

That is what I have in mind when I use the expression "the doctrines of grace."


FrWells, thank you for the clarification. If this is all you mean, then I see no disagreement among anyone who posts here. All too often, however, "the doctrines of grace" are used by the TULIP pickers to exclusively describe their system, which is why I asked for clarification.

The Canons on grace of Orange II AD 529 are readily available for any who trouble themselves to peruse them. I have them before me as I write, the original Latin in Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum and in translation in the work of two Jesuits, Neuner and Dupuis, "The Christian Faith." The doctrines of Original Sin, Predestination, and Prevenient Grace found there are not very different from what we find in the Canons of thre Synod of Dordrecht or (gasp!) the Westminster Confession of Faith. But
they are quite distinct from the Reomnstrant notion of Election on the basis of a "Foreseen Faith" (fides praevisa).


I find this perplexing, as I have re-read Canons of Orange and see nothing that specifically mentions predestination, irresistible grace or unconditional perseverance of the saints. (Nor for his matter do I see specific comment on election, let alone whether or not it may be in some sense conditional). Also I see nothing in the Five ARTICLES of the Remonstrance that contradicts Orange. (Whether certain folks who were labeled by the name 'Arminian' subsequently espoused or were associated with heretical doctrines is not my particular concern).

So if you may have unwittingly redirected the thread towards "Calvinism", perhaps it is a positive thing as it affords some clarification on certain terminology.

Doubting Thomas

Anonymous said...

The Five Points were a response to the five points of the Arminian Remonstrance during the Calvinist-Arminian debate and served as a shorthand summation of the judgments rendered by the Synod of Dort in 1619. Calvin himself never used such a model.

Hi, Jack. Yes I am aware of this--thanks.

That being said, just what about these five points is so clearly and emphatically not Scriptural?

The "L-I-P" points for starters. Also the "U" point is not clearly proven either. In fact I think the Scriptural doctrine of election is more complex and doesn't necessarily strictly fall into either "conditional" or "unconditional" categories.

I wonder if such a statement is more based on dogma than exegesis.
Exegesis. :-)

At any rate, I apologize for re-redirecting the thread towards Calvinism--I just wanted to address certain points and answer certain specific questions directed towards me. I do think it's important to keep in mind that the 39 Articles do not necessarily entail "Calvinism" or "TULIP", and are quite compatible with the ARTICLES of the Remonstrance as well, as the latter also strenuously affirms prevenient grace.

Doubting Thomas

Jack Miller said...

DT wrote:

I do think it's important to keep in mind that the 39 Articles do not necessarily entail "Calvinism" or "TULIP", and are quite compatible with the ARTICLES of the Remonstrance as well, as the latter also strenuously affirms prevenient grace.

Doubting Thomas, thank you for your gracious response; and forgive me for, upon rereading my comments, any lack of the same on my part.

I don't think of The Articles in terms of "Calvinism" or TULIP. And the term Calvinism, due to misconceptions, is often unhelpful when referring to Reformed theology. And as I said TULIP was aimed at a specific controversy. We could have quite a discussion, I am sure, about the Scriptural validity of those 5 points... but that would really send this thread off course. ;-)

That said, I do think The Articles on the whole is a reformed and catholic confession, and in large part consistent with that of the Continental reformers.

Thanks again...

Anonymous said...

Doubting Thomas, thank you for your gracious response; and forgive me for, upon rereading my comments, any lack of the same on my part.

No problem, Jack. I didn't detect any ungraciousness in your post at all.

I don't think of The Articles in terms of "Calvinism" or TULIP.

Me neither. :-)

We could have quite a discussion, I am sure, about the Scriptural validity of those 5 points... but that would really send this thread off course. ;-)

Indeed :-)

That said, I do think The Articles on the whole is a reformed and catholic confession, and in large part consistent with that of the Continental reformers

Can't really argue with that.

Doubting Thomas

Anonymous said...

Doubting Thomas: You seem eager to have a debate over TULIP, a topic which you yourself introduced. I am eminently qualified for that task, apart from the fact that I do not bother with prolonged or deep discussions with people who use pseudonyms. Why do you not cut to the chase and tell us whether or not you feel that Abp Bradwardine was a good and true Anglican?
LKW

Anonymous said...

Doubting Thomas: You seem eager to have a debate over TULIP, a topic which you yourself introduced.

FrWells, I only brought up "TULIP"
because you mentioned that Bradwardine was a vigorous defender of the "doctrines of grace" which many "despise and reject as 'Calvinism'". You introduced "doctrines of grace" and "Calvinism" into this thread (You said yourself, "This thread was meant to be about Anglicanism, not about Calvinism, and I did not mean to misdirect it"). I merely wanted clarification as to whether Bradwardine merely defended prevenient grace against the Pelagians or whether he could be considered an early proponent of TULIP (or something akin to it), which in my experience is what many 'Reformed' folks are thinking about when they say "doctrines of grace".

I am eminently qualified for that task, apart from the fact that I do not bother with prolonged or deep discussions with people who use pseudonyms.

I have no doubt you are so qualified, though I am sure both you and I will agree this particular thread is not an appropriate occasion for such a deep discussion. :-)
(BTW--my first name is Jay, and I'm a mere ACC layman in the Diocese the South for what it is worth--if you prefer not to address me by my pseudonym--my last name is indeed Thomas)

God Bless

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Let's be clear. Calvin, Luther and Zwingli are not among our fathers. Cranmer, Jewel, Hooker, Andrewes and Laud are.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart: Earlier in this thread you were reminding us of Cranmer's overtures to the Continental Reformers with the proposal of some sort of Synod at which they would all gather. I vaguely recall that episode but have not been successful in flipping to a page to document it, but this was probably the juncture in which Calvin wrote his letter to Cranmer saying he was willing to "cross seven seas" to achieve the unity of trhe Reformed Churches.

Now you are telling us that AB & C are not our "Fathers" but XY & Z are. Are you back-pedalling? How do you square that circle?


And i your list of "our fathers" please do not forget Archbishop Ussher. Or is he, like Abp Bradwardine, another red-headed step-child at ther Anglican family picnic?

LKW

Canon Tallis said...

Father Wells,

I seem to have mislaid a response to your post on Bradwardine. Since i first learned of him as an unwashed Sophomore at university when our professor of medieval philosophy made him the subject of my midterm paper I would quite agree in your assessment of his place in the Anglican patrimony. Of Archbishop Ussher, because of his extreme Calvinism and his connection with the regicide Cromwell. I do however admire his learning and that of his brother. But I am also sure that you probably have a better assessment of his place in the Anglican economy than I.

Anonymous said...

Ussher has suffered a bad press since he is commonly associated with the 4004 BC creation date so dear to fundamentalists.

Extreme Calvinism? I find it amazing that certain propositions which were widely held and taught before AD 1500 become theologically suspect after that date. It was not any continental Reformer who wrote:

"God does reprobate some...God loves all men and all creatures, inasmuch as He wishes them all some good; but He does not wish every good to them all. So far, therefore, as He does not wish this particular good--namely, eternal life--He is said to hate or reprobated them."

So if you call Ussher an "extreme Calvinist" (with the negative connotations and emotional baggage of that red herring), you could as properly call him an "extreme Thomist" (with the more positive overtones of another shibboleth). If I were to say "I hold a Calvinist view of predestination," everyone would go "eeek!" If I were to say "On predestination, I stand with Thomas Aquinas," everyone would smile and give me a pass.

Speaking airily of Semi-Pelagianism/Arminianism as "the ecumenical consensus" does not square with historical realities.

For Aquinas's position, see ST, Prima Pars, Quaestiones 23 and 24. For a thorough treatment of Aquinas's views, see Fr Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange's "Predestination."

LKW

Canon Tallis said...

Father Wells, I suspect that I bought the "extreme Calvinist" bit from the fact that Cromwell ordered a state funeral for Ussher while the English bishops were either in hiding or in exile. I am afraid that the bit about the beginning of the world had put me off from actually reading him. Mea culpa!

And thank you for correcting me on the point. I won't be able to check his entry in the British National Dictionary of Biography until late May, but believing you to most be right, my purpose will be to extend my knowledge of the man and with the other bishops of the post-Reformation Church of Ireland.

Jack Miller said...

So if you call Ussher an "extreme Calvinist" (with the negative connotations and emotional baggage of that red herring), you could as properly call him an "extreme Thomist" (with the more positive overtones of another shibboleth). If I were to say "I hold a Calvinist view of predestination," everyone would go "eeek!" If I were to say "On predestination, I stand with Thomas Aquinas," everyone would smile and give me a pass.

Speaking airily of Semi-Pelagianism/Arminianism as "the ecumenical consensus" does not square with historical realities.


Excellent... very succinctly said Fr. Wells!

cheers,
Jack

Anonymous said...

Speaking airily of Semi-Pelagianism/Arminianism as "the ecumenical consensus" does not square with historical realities.

Pardon me, Fr Wells, but who on this thread has spoken of "Semi-Pelagianism/Arminianism as the 'ecumenical consensus'"?

And does conflating Semi-Pelagianism with Arminianism really "square with historical realities" when the Five Articles of the Remonstrance affirmed (as did Arminius himself, John Wesley and as do other classical Arminians) the absolute necessity of prevenient grace?

Doubting Thomas

Anonymous said...

Mr Thomas: You wrote:
"Even the articles of the Remonstrants, along with the personal views of Arminius and Wesley, fit well with the semi-Augustinian consensus that has prevailed in the West since the Synod of Orange in 529."

If I have over-interpreted your comment or otherwise dealt with you unfairly or unkindly, I humbly apologize.

LKW

Anonymous said...

Canon Tallis: Now you can't fault a guy for who arranges his funeral, now can you? No telling who will be in charge of mine!

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (which has never been accused of evangelical leanings) writes concerning Archbishop Ussher:

"A scholar and historian of vast learning,he was intimate with most of the English writers and divines of the day... Although a Calvinist in theology, he was not unfriendly with W. Laud .... After the Irish rebellion in
1641, he remained in England, endeavoring to bring about a reconciliation between Churchmen and Dissenters. So great was his repute for scholarship, tolerance and sincerity that on his death he was given a state funeral in Westminster Abbey by O. Cromwell."

Without a doubt, this makes him a villain of the darkest hue. But did Laud ever say, "Some of my best friends are Calvinists?"

LKW

Anonymous said...

Mr Thomas: You wrote:
"Even the articles of the Remonstrants, along with the personal views of Arminius and Wesley, fit well with the semi-Augustinian consensus that has prevailed in the West since the Synod of Orange in 529."

If I have over-interpreted your comment or otherwise dealt with you unfairly or unkindly, I humbly apologize.


FrWells, I certainly appreciate the gracious gesture. I don't think you've dealt with me unfairly or unkindly at all, though I do think there was probably a miscommunication between us. I do value your contributions to this blog although we may have some disagreements at times. God bless you, sir. :-)

Doubting (Jay) Thomas