Saturday, July 23, 2011

Self defeating

The question about why some Continuing Anglican churches seem doomed never to grow needs to be faced squarely. As I said in my recent post Three Assumptions, a significant proportion of the people, at least of the clergy, have allowed themselves to become "a very late model version of Anglo-Catholicism that has little in common with the real thing." Part of this inexplicable phenomenon is some crazy idea that Anglicans have no reason to be Anglicans at all (and yet they persist). After all, once they have dismissed their heritage with its formularies, presenting instead an open rejection of the very Anglicanism they claim to Continue, representing no conviction that endorses their own tradition, they are a pitiful sight. No wonder they cannot build anything, or attract a significant portion of new members.

The ignorance I have encountered from a frightening proportion of Anglican clergy (with frighteningly little to show for their efforts) concerning the writings of Anglican fathers and luminaries, is often compensated for by the propaganda they have swallowed from outspoken  proselytizers for one or the other of the Two One True Churches. In place of reading the English Reformers, they are very up to date on all the articles and blogs about English Reformers by those who treat all Anglicans as a mission field in need of conversion. Instead of knowing the works of genuine Anglican thinkers, they are very conversant on the works of open adversaries who labor tirelessly to distort, conceal, twist and otherwise deceive ignorant and gullible people to lead them away. 

One very liberating fact that such self-loathing Anglicans need to learn, and learn yesterday, is to stop swallowing everything dished up by the opposition. The Two One True Churches have their own Tokyo Roses broadcasting fear and defeatism over blogs, in books and in publications. Stop listening to it. If you want to know what Anglicanism is, learn it from Anglican sources - in fact, from primary sources. I do not care what some Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox blogger, author or editor has to say about the Anglican formularies, nor their own distorted version of history (besides, I have heard it all before). I have a really novel idea; why not study those formularies themselves? Why not read Anglican teaching from the great luminaries of our own tradition? 

Another liberating fact is that there is no such thing as a Roman-Orthodox consensus on Anglicanism. Not that I would care if both of the Two One True Churches did agree; but, their apparent agreement on anything, beyond a few basics, is mere fantasy. First of all, Rome and Orthodoxy have never agreed about Anglican orders. At one time, between 1922 and 1976, Orthodox bishops, with the full authority of their respective churches, allowed their people to receive the sacraments from Anglican clergy (i.e. until women's "ordination. "Yes, I know all about Kallistos Ware's endeavor to explain away the facts of history between 1922 and 1976. It was a noble effort, to the degree that denying facts can be noble. The simple reality is, his very, very scholastic and academic effort just does not hold water).

But, long before then and to this day, the Orthodox are forbidden to receive sacraments from Roman Catholic clergy. That is because any current denial of our orders, or argument against classic western theology, is simply an extension of their rejection of Roman Catholicism, and their tendency to condemn everything western. As such, it cannot amount to an agreement, unless someone says that the Orthodox rejection of Rome equals agreement with them about anything. It makes no sense.

If, however, you want to find the truth of genuine consensus that Continues the truth as received, believed and practiced by the Universal Church before the Great Schism, you need look no further than the Book of Common Prayer. There you have it. The Evangelical and Catholic Faith of the Universal Church has been preserved, including what few things Rome and Orthodoxy actually do agree about, namely ancient things we have never denied or rejected.

Or, if you prefer, you can tell everybody why you have no confidence in your own church's doctrine and practice. This method has been used for over thirty years, and it is obvious where it has been used consistently. It is obvious because nothing much remains to show for it. I prefer the contrast I see among churches where the people are happy to be Anglicans, and where they have made it clear that they are not a  mission field.

56 comments:

St. Nikao said...

"If, however, you want to find the truth of genuine consensus that Continues the truth as received, believed and practiced by the Universal Church before the Great Schism, you need look no further than the Book of Common Prayer."

Sir - To WHICH of the many versions of the Book of Common Prayer do you refer?

If Continuing clergy are lacking, the seminaries need to beef up their curriculum and possibly require 'continuing' education credits attending seminars on Anglicanism - and I can think of no better group of explicators and teachers than the blogger priests and bishop here at the Anglican Continuum.

Also, why don't you publish a bibliography of the books you recommend for a basic Anglican foundation?

Blessings to you all. Please keep writing and explaining Anglicanism or basic foundational catholic Christianity, as I much prefer to call it.

Ron said...

Also, why don't you publish a bibliography of the books you recommend for a basic Anglican foundation?

Please, do this.

Jack Miller said...

If Continuing clergy are lacking, the seminaries need to beef up their curriculum and possibly require 'continuing' education credits attending seminars on Anglicanism - and I can think of no better group of explicators and teachers than the blogger priests and bishop here at the Anglican Continuum.

Ditto...

Sadly this lack in being grounded in the heritage of reformed/catholic Anglicanism as understood by the English reformers is what ails at least one of the Continuing churches out this way. Too often Anglo-Catholic simply means Roman Catholic lite with the BCP thrown in for its beauty of service. When confronted with that hybrid, Protestants who are looking for a liturgical catholic church that holds to the Reformation doctrines, have little reason to attend or join. And there is little reason for someone from a RRC background to attend... why not just go with the real Roman McCoy...

Some say, well the gospel and the doctrines are in the liturgy. True. But if gospel doctrines are not taught and preached from the pulpit, the liturgical teachings simply become background noise/words in a beautiful ritual.

Keep up the good work H & W.

Canon Tallis said...

Brilliant and entirely to the point. Unfortunately, my greatest fear is that most of those bishops who call themselves Anglicans - a little verbiage caged from the liturgy - will have none of it. They will continue to dress up like Roman prelates, put the big six upon their altars any of the laity and even candidates for holy orders who want to be genuine Anglicans.

And the idea of a bibliography, a short list, of the books necessary for a basic Anglican foundation is still an even more brilliant idea - even if I also suggested it (and for the same reasons) quite some time back. After all, great minds occasionally run in the same rut and hopefully it is one that we can make just a little more crowded. In short, we need reasons and action on precisely why we should stop being ashamed of being Anglicans. But, then, reading this blog is has been one of the best first steps to that goal for quite some time now.

A great post and a great first comment. Many thanks all round.

Canon Tallis said...

A second idea that just came to me. Would it be possible to set up these post so that individuals could post them to their Facebook or like accounts so that they will get the maximum exposure which they so certainly deserve? There should be someone in this group who will know how to do it.

Anonymous said...

Like St Nikao, I would also appreciate a bibliography of books that I could refer to for a basic Anglican Catholic foundation. Hall's Theology is informative but rather dry reading in my opinion. Is there anything contemporary out there? The Roman Catholics seem to have a significant corner of the market... with some young evangelists leading their pack.

Thank you for your wonderful blog!

Susan

Fr. Wells said...

I am intrigued by the suggestion of a bibliography, but far be it from me to undertake the compilation thereof. But as a meager start I would name two books and a few authors.

First, a fat anthology (790 pages including detailed indices) entitled "Love's Redeeming Work" put together by three bishops, Geoffrey Rowell, Kenneth Stevenson and Rowan Williams. It includes short pieces gathered from a host of Anglican writers; the total list of whom fills 8 pages. Naturally the quality is uneven. They are arranged chronologically, the first being Latimer, Coverdale and Cranmer; the last being snippets from the Alternative Service Book of 1980. But even if it is a picture of theological decay, the majority of the contents serves to show that there is indeed a true Anglican Patrimony which the Anglo-Papalists have thrown overboard. The 19th century writers anthologized are mostly of a "high-church" or Tractarian sort.

My second nomination is Edward Arthur Litton's "Introduction to Dogmatic Theology," published in two parts, in 1882 and 1892, republished in 1960 with Philip Edgcumbe Hughes as editor.

Anglicans are not known for writing massive works of Systematic or Dogmatic Theology. Our charism lies in Biblical, Patristic or Liturgical studies. As someone has already remarked, Hall is extraordinarily dull. I have never been comfortable with his opinions nor with those of C. B. Moss. But Litton I can recommend without reservation. He is sound, thorough and readable.

As for authors: anything you can put your hands on by Geoffrey Bromiley, Philip E. Hughes, Alister MacGrath, Leon Morris, J. I. Packer, or John Stott. There is plenty of good stuff out there, and we do not need to borrow our theology from EO's, RC's, or "broad evangelical" Protestants. There is indeed an Anglican Patrimony and when we learn it, we will accept no substitutes.

Jack Miller said...

I'm familiar with Bromily, Packer, MacGrath, and Stott but not Hughes, Morris, or Litton. Thanks for the recommendations, Fr. Wells.

Litton's Dogmatic is available for free from Google Books HERE

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Fr Wells! Your help is much appreciated and I will investigate your suggestions.

Susan

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The bibliography suggestion comes up every few years. Maybe we can do that very thing. As always, I recommend reading the Primary Sources, such as The Homilies, The Lord's Supper, A Defence of the True and Catholick Doctrine of the Sacrament, etc,

I heartily recommend, again, E.J. Bicknell's book on The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. For an educated contemporary Anglo-Catholic perspective there is Archbishop Haverland's Anglican Faith and Practice, which is available again from APA, or soon will be.

As for Hall's Dogmatic Theology series, I agree with Fr. Wells; there are many caveats, but it is worth reading if you have the time.

For a contemporary High Church perspective that is not what I would call Anglo-Catholic, but simply catholic by virtue of being very Anglican through and through (in fact, just right from my point of view), I recommend the work of a late friend, Rev. Dr. Louis Tarsitano's An Outline of an Anglican Life. It may be hard to find in print. Frankly, it comes with my highest recommendation.

This is not an exhaustive list, but simply what comes to mind on a Saturday evening.

Anonymous said...

Before General Seminary was founded the Episcopal Church had the "Bishop's Course" of readings that had to be done by men wanting to be ordained. That is one thing that the continuing churches should or could do to ensure a good theological education for men pursuing Holy Orders. Maybe some jurisdictions have that, but mine doesn't. Anyway, it is a good idea. I have a list that I have been compiling to give to men/people interested in this. It includes (among older Anglican works/authors): Hall, K.E. Kirk, F.P. Harton, C.B. Moss, Bicknell, Mortimer, Newman (still worth reading), Hooker, E.L. Mascall (required), Austin Farrer, C.S. Lewis (definitely required) etc.

As for contemporary authors I think that NT Wright's work in biblical studies is good, John Macquarrie is excellent (his "Principles of Christian Theology" and his book on the sacraments are top notch), McGrath and Polkinghorne for philosophy of science and fundamental theology, and some others. I understand that Rowan Williams has some great stuff too, though I have not read any of it.

I am not a huge fan of Packer and have no idea why he is even an Anglican... I read tons of his books growing up and he never referenced the Prayer Book, the articles, etc. His extreme Calvinism and his high praise for the Puritans is as bad as the most obnoxious anglo-papalist, and in my opinion is just as bad (only in the opposite direction).

I'd be happy to send my full list to anyone who is interested. It has works in church history, patristics, philosophy, spirituality, and more.

JGA

Jack Miller said...

N.T. Wright? and McGrath... interesting combination.

One review of Wright's studies:
Consider the assessment of Alister McGrath, himself somewhat akin to an evangelical fire marshal. McGrath contends that Wright, his fellow Anglican churchman and former Oxford colleague, has “lobbed a hand grenade into the world of traditional evangelical theology”. In particular, when it comes to reading the Apostle Paul on justification, the works of the law and the nature of Christ’s death, “if Wright is correct, Martin Luther is wrong”


I think I'll wait for further recommendations from H & W.

Fr. Wells said...

JGA, re: JIPacker: If you criticized his doctrine of the church and sacraments (as set forth in his "Concise Theology"), I would grant you the point. Packer has an almost Congregationalist Ecclesiology which I do not subscribe to nor would defend.

But you over-reach when you say "he never referenced the Prayer Book, the articles, etc." The very opening page of his valuable book "God Has Spoken" mentions the Articles, Homilies and 1662 BCP. It would be tedious to list other references.

When you throw out the red herring "extreme Calvinism," you are referring to a theological tradition running from St Paul to Augustine to Anselm to Thomas Aquinas to the Dominican theologians of the 16th century and later.

In spite of his shakey ecclesiology, Packer's presentation of the Gospel is securely rooted in the great tradition of Western theology (as was that of John Calvin).

To answer the question "why Packer is an Anglican," I would suggest that he is an Anglican because he is English. He was educated at Oxford (D.Phil.) and has had an illustrious career in teaching and writing for an audience which is far larger than the Anglican ghetto.

It is much easier to disparage Packer than to refute him point for point. So he praises the Puritans? Well, they were not all alike. There were some who broke stained-glass and there were some who wrote first-class theology. Packer is scholar enough to sort them out.

Fr. John said...

I have to jump in here to defend Daddy Hall, as the late Bishop Wm. DeJ. Rutherfoord referred to him. I read all ten volumes of his theology series, as well as the digest, titled, "Theological Outlines." when prepping for the canonical examinations for ordination. I did not find it dry, but rather fascinating. I also found his 19th century morality on the sacrament of marriage, and other topics, very comforting. I would recommend starting with "Theological Outlines" before diving into the ten volume set. I think the set is available in paper back from the APCK. You will have to get "Outlines" from another source. It is out of print.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Wells,

Say what you will, but J.I. Packer's explicit approval of "Limited Atonement" in his intro to Owen's "Death of Death" is disastrous. This over-zealous love for Beza brand Calvinism in some quarters of Anglicanism would die a horrible death in the ACC, and your assessment that Calvin's later progeny's 5 point Calvinism is somehow a straight line from Paul through Augustine is just as fantastical now to hear as when I first read it in Warfield's "Calvin and Augustine". It's surely an over simplistic reading of history, akin to the time when RC Sproul looked me squarely in the eyes and claimed in so many words that Luther was a Calvinist.

RC Cola said...

Those who ask for a bibliography should consider requesting the extremely large bibliography that the ACC Diocese of the South uses to prepare men for the priesthood. It is much more extensive than an MDiv program. So those who disparage "reading for orders" need to get their hands on it and start reading. You will be impressed and, like me, overwhelmed by how demanding it is.

Fr. Wells said...

Anonymous Anonymous: You speak of "an over simplistic reading of history," in the same paragraph that you accuse Packer of an "over-zealous love for Beza brand Calvinism." Well, Beza was a supralapasarian. Do you have any evidence that Packer is a supralapsarian?
Packer's defense of LI (which I found quite well argued and convincing) defends a position ("sufficient for all, efficient for the elect") far older than Calvin, to which even the Remonstrants could subscribe.

If you feel that Packer, Warfield, or Sproul are guilty of over-simplifying history, you need to come up with some facts refuting them.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...your assessment that Calvin's later progeny's 5 point Calvinism is somehow a straight line from Paul through Augustine...

Fr. Wells never mentioned some animal called "5 point Calvinism." I know why he did not; the simple reason is that there is no such animal. Like the legendary Bigfoot, Loch Ness Beastie and the Boneless Chicken, it does not exist. Five Pointism and Calvinism are not the same.

Those who ask for a bibliography should consider requesting the extremely large bibliography that the ACC Diocese of the South uses to prepare men for the priesthood.

That's right. Our program is very demanding.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the DOS list if you can publish it.

Anonymous said...

I can attest Fr. Voris Brookshire's magnum opus bibliography for reading for the priesthood puts many a seminary curricula to shame. The ACC has here a fine tool that could help produce exceptionally priests if employed regularly.

Steven Augustine
ACC Layman

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart's assessment of Louis Tarsitano's An Outline of Anglican Life is correct. I can think of no other popular presentation of the Anglican Way that can compare with it. It hit's all the right notes.

Anglican churchman in the 21st-century simply have to acquaint themselves with the works of our 16th and 17th-century Anglican fathers. So any canon of Anglican theology must include Cranmer's Defense of the Catholic Doctrine of the Lord's Supper, Jewel's Apology, Hooker's Ecclesiatical Polity (of course), Richard Field's "Of the Church", Bp. Overall's remarkable "Convocation Book", and Bp. Pearson's magisterial "Exposition of the Creed. Then read the sermons, meditations and disputaions of giants like Andrewes, Laud, Cosin, Bramhall, Barlow Taylor, Beveridge, et al. If you want an an anthology that sums up the mind of 17th-century English divinity, there is no finer text than More and Cross's "Anglicanism". It belongs in every Anglican library.

St. Nikao said...

I have another suggestion - Why not (if you have time) develop online courses with scheduled open discussions (like those taking place at this bog) and take on students (who would subscribe) and work toward a certificate of Anglican Studies?

Still, which version of the BCP is the most 'kosher' and the one you gentlemen prefer/recommend?

St. Nikao said...

OK - Here's a rough draft Anglican Bibliography. Feel free to add, subtract, reformat:

PRIMARY SOURCES
A Defence of the True and Catholick Doctrine of the Sacrament
The Homilies
The Lord's Supper
--------------------
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Andrewes,
Barlow
Beveridge
E.J. Bicknell, The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England
Bramhall
Cosin
Coverdale
Cranmer, Defense of the Catholic Doctrine of the Lord's Supper
Austin Farrer
Field, Richard, Of the Church
Hall, Dogmatic Theology
Haverland, Anglican Faith and Practice
Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity
Philip E. Hughes
Jewel, Apology
C.S. Lewis
Latimer
Edward Arthur Litton, Introduction to Dogmatic Theology 1888, 1892, 1960 P.E.Hughes, editor
Laud
McGrath, Alister
More and Cross, Anglicanism
Leon Morris
Overall, Convocation Book
J.I. Packer, God Has Spoken, Concise Theology
Pearson, Bishop, Exposition of the Creed
Rowell, Stevenson, Williams, Love's Redeeming Work
John Stott,
Tarsitano, Louis, An Outline of Anglican Life
Taylor

-----------------------------
ACC - Fr. Voris Brookshire Bibliography for priesthood: http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2008/07/bibliography.html

ACC Diocese of the South bibliography (are these the same or different?)

St. Nikao said...

The draft bibiography was compiled from this thread.

Right now, though I may be cutting off my nose to spite my face, I'm boycotting Rowan Williams and N.T. Wright on general principles...and for good reason.

Fr. Wells said...

St Nikao: Let's not be too narrow concerning Rowan Williams and N.T. Wright.

Robert Letham is an OPC clergyman who has written a splendid book entitled "The Holy Trinity," (the best work on that topic I am aware of). Letham praises the patristic scholarship of RW and in his bibliography he lists seven titles (books and esssays) by RW. I have not read these, but Letham's recommndation is all I need.

I have the deepest reservations about the bizarre view of Justification set forth by N.T.Wright, and Wright's approval of WO is deplorable. But his defense of Biblical authority and of the Resurrection are excellent. Michael Horton (my very favorite theologian) has mounted a devastating critique of Wright on Justification but praises him for his work in other areas.

Let's not throw out the baby with the bath-water! On the other hand, I woukd be cautious in recommending John Macquarrie's writing. Macquarrie tried to get to orthodox conclusions by revisionist methods. That's a dangerous method; think of Paul Tillich.

To my "read everything you can put your hands on" list I would add the names of J. N. D. Kelly, Eric Mascall, and Kenneth E. Kirk, and F. F. Bruce.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

To answer the question about the Book of Common Prayer, the standard Anglican BCP is the English 1662. The Affirmation of St. Louis was composed by North Americans, Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans, and therefore named the 1928 American BCP and the Canadian 1962 BCP. In so doing it automatically includes a wider field. The American Book brings the older Scottish BCP into the picture, and the Canadian BCP is really an adaptation of the 1662 English BCP. Really, any of the BCPs from English 1549 up through the 1962 Canadian are acceptable as setting the high and true standard of doctrine.

AFS1970 said...

First of all Nessie is real. I am not so sure about Bigfoot or Calvinists, but Nessie is real.

I think one reason for the appearance of RCC Lite among Anglicans is simply because some of the things we are similar on are seen by the general public as being solely Roman. Vestments are an outward visible sign of this. The things we are different on are matters of theology which is usually only taught internally if at all. Because the differences between any two churches are secondary to preaching the word, the casual observer upon entering an Anglican church will see what they think of as something like the RCC but strangely different. When looking to see what those differences are, they will find the PR machine of the RCC and come away with a biased view at best.

Another reason has to do with our view on Holy Orders. We have allowed ourselves to become a home for ex-Roman refugees, largely based on our acceptance of married clergy. While they are the exception not the rule, these ex-Romans often become quite high profile within our circles. Sadly I think they brought far more of their theology with them that either they or we care to admit. However because we see Roman orders as valid but they do not see Anglican orders as valid, their PR machine has been able to brand us as some kind of lesser attempt at being Roman.

Anonymous said...

Some of my favorites:
--CS Lewis
--NT Wright
--John Wesley
--Vernon Staley's "The Catholic Religion"
--CB Moss
(All of the above would have some caveats)

Also, I really liked what I read of 'An Outline of an Anglican Life' by Tarsitano.

Doubting Thomas

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I left out Bicknell.

DT

Anonymous said...

My $0.02 about growing Continuing Anglicanism:

-- I agree wholeheartedly that our churches won't grow by simply marketing them as one of the Three One True Churches, Rome Lite, or a place where one can find wonderful, traditional liturgical worship. We are Continuing Anglicans, not Continuing Tractarians, as valuable as much of the Tractarian material may be. So we have to first of all get out of the mindset that what we're trying to perpetuate here is "non-union" English Catholicism.

-- "Gentlemen, this is a football." It's unfortunate that I have to belabor the obvious here, but preach the Gospel, in season and out of season. I know Frs. Hart and Wells are big on this, and they are right. Our pastors and lay preachers need to learn not only how to preach, but what to preach. "If you preach it, they will come." The Book of Acts tells reveals to us that this is how the early church grew by leaps and bounds. And be ready to accept and deal with the types of people who may come, because God is likely to surprise and challenge us with that.

-- Ad fontes. It goes without saying that liberal Protestants have lost touch with their "sources", but this is increasingly true with "conservative" Evangelicals as well. This is why the creation on a bibliography is such a good idea. Inquirers (inlcusing Evangelicals) need to be put back in touch not only with the Bible and the Augustinian roots of the Reformation, but with the Reformation itself. What theological and spiritual gravitas the Reformers had. And what a promising legacy the English Reformers left the church at large. Modern Evangelicals need to understand why so much of what they believe and do (especially when it comes to all this "emergent" nonsense) constitutes a departure from, not fidelity to, biblical faith. So they need to return to the sources: the Bible, the Fathers (but especially St. Augustine), and the Reformers (but especially the English Reformers and later divines). What's in those sources that isn't both attractive and transformational power?

-- A related point, the attraction of the Two One True Churches to Evangelicals who, observing the chaos and instability in much of the Evangelical church, are drawn thereto. We need to make it clearer to these people why joining Rome or Orthodoxy is not such a good idea. As a former Orthodox Christian who has returned to my Reformational roots, I've got quite the story to tell, and have told it in a couple of places. The nub of it is this: Rome and Orthodoxy lack something that is deeply apostolic, something that is at the center of it all, which the Reformation discovered, namely, the Gospel. It's not enough to carry the Gospel book in procession, cense it and kiss it within the context of a thrice-glorious liturgy. One must know - and believe - what is written in it. This of course relates to my second point above. At heart, it's all about the Gospel, nothing else.

Marketing -- I hate to turn to such a relatively crass concept, but it's simply a fact that no one will read our message if we're hard to see. While the presence of Continuing Anglicanism here isn the US and abroad seems to be growing, we're still a relatively invisible bunch, and I believe more thought needs to be given on how to be seen and heard.

Caedmon

Fr Tom said...

Here's a list that was sent to me by a fellow ACC priest.

A SUGGESTED READING LIST FOR ANGLICANS
The Catholic Religion:Vernon Staley
Faith and Practice:Frank E Wilson
Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice:Archbishop Mark Haverland
The Christian Faith:C B Moss
Ye Are The Body: Bonnell Spencer Answer Me This: C B Moss
The American Prayer Book:Parsons/Jones The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary: Massey H Shepherd
An Apology for the Church of England: John Jewell
Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity: Richard Hooker
The Early Church by Henry Chadwick
The Reformation by Owen Chadwick
Theological Outlines by Francis J Hall
A History of the Church in England by J R H Moorman
Early Christian Doctrines by J N D Kelly
Early Christian Creeds by J N D Kelly
Doctrines of the Creed by Oliver C Quick
An Introduction to the 39 Articles of the Church of England by E J Bicknell
Christian Proficiency by Martin Thornton
English Spirituality by Marin Thornton
The First Seven Ecumenical Councils by Leo Donald Davis
The Christian Priest Today by Michael Ramsey
Ministerial Priesthood by R C Moberly
Liturgy and Worship edited by W K Lowther Clarke and Charles Harris The Anglican Spiritual Tradition by J R H Moorman
Anglicanism edited by More and Cross
The Apostolic Ministry edited by K E Kirk
The King’s Highway by George D Carleton
Eucharist by Louis Bouyer
The Early Liturgy by Joseph Jungmann
The Elements of the Spiritual Life by F P Harton
Dogmatic Theology (in 10 volumes) by Francis J Hall
The Gospel and the Catholic Church by Michael Ramsey
The Vision Glorious by Geoffrey Rowell
The Faith of the Early Fathers (in 3 volumes) edited by William A Jurgens
The Study of Liturgy edited by C Jones, G Wainwright, and E Y Arnold
Corpus Christi by E L Mascall
Christ, the Christian, and the Church by E L Mascall

Jack Miller said...

N.T. Wright should really only be read by mature Christians already solidly grounded in the doctrines of salvation by God's grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. His teachings in this area truly qualify for the term "innovation" - foreign to any of the English Reformers. Yes, he has done excellent work on the historicity of Jesus and his resurrection. But I hesitate to recommend him even in those areas due to his charismatic yet dishonest method of redefining biblical words to create his own unique teachings on justification and in the process misrepresenting the positions of the Reformers as well as of Rome.

And Williams... to this day has not backed off his position from years ago to overcome Scripture's prohibition of same gender sexual relations and obtain the Church's approval of such conduct... indicating, in reference to gender/sexual issues, he "could no longer say that the Biblical account answers all of the questions we have or want to ask."

Only two examples of why, in part, I think Anglicanism has suffered over the years... its misguided, cultivated inclusiveness has led to moral and doctrinal confusion. If we are talking about a list that is a a ground of contending for the faith once delivered then it ought to have a high bar.

Anonymous said...

A related point, the attraction of the Two One True Churches to Evangelicals who, observing the chaos and instability in much of the Evangelical church, are drawn thereto. We need to make it clearer to these people why joining Rome or Orthodoxy is not such a good idea. As a former Orthodox Christian who has returned to my Reformational roots, I've got quite the story to tell, and have told it in a couple of places. The nub of it is this: Rome and Orthodoxy lack something that is deeply apostolic, something that is at the center of it all, which the Reformation discovered, namely, the Gospel. It's not enough to carry the Gospel book in procession, cense it and kiss it within the context of a thrice-glorious liturgy. One must know - and believe - what is written in it. This of course relates to my second point above. At heart, it's all about the Gospel, nothing else.

Well said. As someone who was an EO catechumen for a couple of months (after exploring Orthodoxy for a few years) before discovering (and ultimately landing in) classical Anglicanism, I can really appreciate what you wrote here. (And though Augustine is not my favorite church father, his importance should not at all be underemphasized, as tends to be the case in the East)

Doubting Thomas

Fr. Wells said...

Excerpted from Caedmon's comment:

"the attraction of the Two One True Churches to Evangelicals who, observing the chaos and instability in much of the Evangelical church, are drawn thereto. We need to make it clearer to these people why joining Rome or Orthodoxy is not such a good idea."

I suspect that this "attraction" is largely a media event, pumped up by EWTN and similar propaganda ministries in the EO churches. If we could get hard statistics on the number of Anglican or Evangelical Protestants swimming the Tiber or the Bosporus or the Dnieper, I suspect it would not begin to compare with the attrition of the two One-true-churches, as Rome suffers the fall-out of sex scandals and as the EO churches struggle to retain their Americanized younger generation in an old-world culture which seems, to be frank, rather creepy.

"Modern Evangelicals need to understand why so much of what they believe and do (especially when it comes to all this "emergent" nonsense) constitutes a departure from, not fidelity to, biblical faith."

Much of what goes under the name of "Evangelical" (particularly among Anglican Evo's) is simply a mess. The Evangelical tradition has largely been damaged by the Charismatic movement and by the Church Growth. Many of the younger clergy who style themselves "evangelical" have never dug much deeper than the pop religion of Rick Warren.

Fr. Wells said...

The list submitted by Fr Tom is very balanced and comprehensive. To it I would add Bp Stephen Neill's "Anglicanism."

Jack Miller said...

Excellent comments, Caedmon. Yes, it's the Gospel - taught, believed, and proclaimed. It is the Gospel that births, feeds and grows faith in Christ Jesus, and thus builds the Church.

Jack

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The list submitted by Fr Tom is very balanced and comprehensive. To it I would add Bp Stephen Neill's "Anglicanism."

And again, and of course, Rev. Dr. Louis Tarsitano's An Outline of an Anglican Life.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Recommending a book for general education purposes is not necessarily the same thing as endorsing every idea expressed by the author. For example, Francis Hall believed in Purgatory (as did A.C. Knowles and others), which is merely a doctrine invented by men, and should never be taught as doctrine by any Anglican teacher. And, his treatment both of Luther and Calvin was simplistic and very debatable. Nonetheless, Hall's ten part series overall is worth the effort, especially his revival of the fact that theology is science.

Fr. Wells said...

Fr Hart reminds me,

"And again, and of course, Rev. Dr. Louis Tarsitano's An Outline of an Anglican Life."

Indeed. That is a masterful book.

And not to be overlooked is the writing of Dr. Tarsitano's close associate Peter Toon. He wrote a number of fairly short books, all very helpful.

RC Cola said...

and should never be taught as doctrine by any Anglican teacher

This brings us to the greatest epistemological challenge for Anglicans: Who defines what is doctrine and what is not, as we have no Magisterium to set a definition. We have scripture, tradition, and reason; yet honest men can come to different conclusions by looking at the very same scripture, appealing to the very same tradition, and by using their own reason.
It seems that the 39 Articles take on all the characteristics of infallibility without any one admitting that we treat them (and by extension, Cranmer) as infallible?
How do we resolve this?
I think specifically of the Lambeth Conference that first allow artificial contraception. When I look at scripture and tradition, and I use my reason, I think that the bishops of the Anglican Communion were dead wrong, and that Popes Pius XI (Casti Conubii) and Paul VI (Humanae Vitae) were not only correct but incredibly prescient and insightful as to the destructive effects artificial contraception would have on the human race.
This troubles me. I do not appeal to Pius XI or Paul VI as magisterial authorities, but rather that their view of scripture and tradition, and their reasoned arguments are correct while the Lambeth Conference was wrong. I do this using my own reason.

I think the same could be said of all continuing Anglicans of the Anglican Communion. We look at Scripture and Tradition, we use our reason and we recognize that what the Anglican Communion teaches and practices is a rupture. And yet they would claim that using Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, they have come to their [false] conclusion?
Sorry to go on for so long. I suppose I could have just come out and asked, "How do we resolve this problem?" and left it at that.

RC Cola said...

For those who can't be bothered to search for the original post from July 2008, I re-post here.

Before I do, however, I must say that I did not know what I was getting myself into when I bought the bibliography. It is expensive, but it is no mere list of books. It is essentially an MDiv/MA/PhD reading list on steroids. The bibliography is probably a couple hundred pages long and in a binder. Reading the bibliography alone is an education. To read the books in the bibliography is a life-time achievement. The only thing preventing me from reading the books on the list is poverty and the lack of a nearby library from which I could borrow the books. (If I were impoverished in a metropolitan area or near a university, this would not be much of a problem).

I think a big help would be to scan the books that are in the public domain and put them on-line, or make them available on Google books (they may already be there, as Fr. Hall's ten-volumes are.)

Anyway, Albion Land's original bibliography post from July 2008.

The Bibliography
In light of such widespread interest expressed in reading material for the Anglican faithful, and for the merely curious, I pointed out in a comment a superb bibliography has been produced by the Anglican Catholic Church's Diocese of the South.

Those interested in details, or in acquiring a copy, should contact the Revd. Voris G. Brookshire. Here are his contact details:

St. John the Theologian Church
4213 N. Federal Highway
Pompano Beach, FL 33064
USA

Phone: + 001 (954) 781-8370
E-Mail: vorisbrookshire@aol.com
www.stjohntheologian.org

Fr. Wells said...

RC Cola writes:

"We have scripture, tradition, and reason; yet honest men can come to different conclusions by looking at the very same scripture, appealing to the very same tradition, and by using their own reason."

I would prefer to say that we look to tradition and appeal to Scripture. But RC's statement is true and important. It simply reminds us that we do not know everything and can never pretend that our apprehension of God's self-revelation is complete. This is why theology is a science, which is by definition an unfinished study or investigation.

RC writes further:

"It seems that the 39 Articles take on all the characteristics of infallibility without any one admitting that we treat them (and by extension, Cranmer) as infallible?"

I surely hope I have never written anything even remotely suggresting that the 39 Articles are "infallible." Even if they were correct in every jot and tittle (which they are not), the attributre of infallibility belongs to Scripture alone. Holy Scripture, being "the lively oracles of God, the most precious thing which this world affords," is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. Everything else, even the ancient Creeds, fall subject to its scrutiny. Authentic tradition (the ancient Creeds being the best example) is that which has stood up to the scrutiny of God's Word.

Fr. Steve said...

You know, it really irks me when people start bemoaning the Charismatic movement. Yeah, it has its drawbacks, but it also has a very real draw to people. I come from that background, and I still use a lot of the giftings I learned there. What irks me is that people want to talk down about these people, but don't realize how medicinal that form or belief is. Once you get past the "Praise and Worship" band, you get to the meat of the deal.

The major problem I have with the Charismatic movement is this whole idea of the cult of personality. People go to these churches because of the popularity of a pastor, and what he preaches. I went to a church where the guy is an ex-Methodist. This appealed to me because I grew up Methodist.

We're not going to draw these people in by telling them what they believed is wrong, or that the gifts of the spirit that they were taught in that setting are dead. They know better because they have seen the power of God with their own eyes.

Anglicanism can draw them in because it is just as Evangelical as it is Catholic. We don't have to teach against what they were. Instead, we can teach them the biblical truths through the lens of the Anglican Divines and the Early Church Fathers, something they will not get at a Charismatic church. If they still want their praise band, and their charismas, then we should be willing to step out of our comfort zones and learn about it (at the very least).

Too many people have this knee-jerk reaction to things they don't understand. Personally, I'm so anti-Calvinist that I've never so much as cracked open any of Calvin's works to see what he has to say.

My point is, instead of talking down about something we don't understand, we need to try to understand it so that we can make a more informed decision about it.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Steve,

I grew up in Charismatic/Pentecostal churches. I can assure you Fr. Wells wasn't merely being knee-jerk. Whatever good God is doing among our Charismatic friends is not a license for us to simply "be open" to their way or method of priming the Spirit and His gifts. I am not a cessationist, but we needn't be naive either about these things: the life of the Spirit is Christ-centered, not gift-centered. The power of the Spirit is linked with Word and Sacrament. My deep experience in these circles has been that the "showier" the worship the less attuned the people are to the objective verities.

I knew a charismatic Anglican vicar while I was in Europe (who was a Calvinist to boot!) who had a humble approach to these matters. He was a genuine Anglican whose mission wasn't to make the church "charismatic", but to make Christ Jesus known.

I can tell you this much, where Christ and Him crucified is plainly preached and Holy Scripture reverently believed and the fear of the Lord upheld, you can believe that there's fire in the hearts of the laity and the clergy. There the Spirit is not quenched.

For myself, I don't miss "Charismatic Church" services because I've not ceased believing the Sovereign Spirit can and does work mightily; the BCP service is a sufficient framework for the Spirit to move in our midst.

In Jesus,
Steven Augustine Badal
ACC Layman

Jack Miller said...

Excellent comments, Steven Augustine Badal. Allow me to highlight your essential point:

I can tell you this much, where Christ and Him crucified is plainly preached and Holy Scripture reverently believed and the fear of the Lord upheld, you can believe that there's fire in the hearts of the laity and the clergy. There the Spirit is not quenched.

Amen.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Steve wrote:

We're not going to draw these people in by telling them what they believed is wrong, or that the gifts of the spirit that they were taught in that setting are dead. They know better because they have seen the power of God with their own eyes.

I do not know what the Charismatic movement is like in 2011, but I know it very, very well as it was in the 1970s and 80s. Indeed, I "have seen the power of God with [my] own eyes." But, even having seen miracles that featured prominently in the very real conversion of certain individuals, I also agree with one of Archbishop Haverland's favorite lines: "Normally, God works normally." By that, he means the charismatic nature of the sacramental ministries spoken of in the Pastoral Epistles that are "normal" in the Church's operation. Also, we cannot affirm the Biblical sacrament of Confirmation and at the same time reject the one and only theological position that was essential to the Charismatic movement; namely, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given in every age (though we still have "the laying on of the Apostle's hands").

Also, I know that some of the reaction to charismatics is based on a stereotype.

My criticisms of various Charismatic churches (and there has never been one Charismatic Movement; in reality there have been several that have often converged), are

1. The lack of serious theology

This first is a shame, because real opportunities for healthy ecumenism degenerated into an unprincipled kind that, in the end, could not withstand moral compromise as well.

2. Unreasonable demands on individuals.

Despite St. Paul's series of hypothetical questions in the last few verses of I Cor 12, including "do all speak with tongues?" etc., some of the Charismatics treated people who cannot speak in tongues, or people who suffer illnesses and disabilities, or financial stress, as "lacking in faith." In fairness, the more responsible teachers (including Fr. Terry Fullam) spoke out against this tendency. But, it figured all too much.

3. Playing into enemy hands.

Just listen to the justification offered by people who supported women's ordination, the consecration of Gene Robinson (2003) and the Blessing of Same Sex Unions. They sound like Charismatics talking about "what God is doing now." They blame their heresies on the Holy Spirit, much the same way that Geraldine (you remember Flip Wilson) blamed the Devil. In short, they put themselves forward as prophets, and in doing so used trendy lingo supplied by the Charismatic Movement.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

RC Cola wrote:

It seems that the 39 Articles take on all the characteristics of infallibility without any one admitting that we treat them (and by extension, Cranmer) as infallible?

I disagree that they take on such characteristics. What about Article VI? That one Article says, in effect, "judge even our work by the Berean standard."

I have written about this before.

St. Nikao said...

Fr. Wells,

Rowan Williams has shown himself to be an untrustworthy individual infected with the idealogical sin that has overtaken the Western Anglican church. I wouldn't trust his instruction or opinion on anything.

Canon Tallis said...

St. Nikao,

In short, something like St. Leo, after what he did to St. Hilary?

I think we must read even our greatest enemies and shift the wheat from the rest of it. That is what the great Anglican theologians have done and we are quite capable of doing it as well. The comments on this post prove that - or at least to me.

Anonymous said...

Jack Miller, what NT Wright books have you read and why do you disagree with them?

Fr. Wells, what have you read by John Macquarrie? It is not enough to claim the "genetic fallacy" and say that someone (Macquarrie) is bad because he is/was associated with Bultmann/Tillich and others. E.L. Mascall praises Macquarrie and was close with him (see his book "Saraband"). If Mascall thought he was orthodox then that has got to count for something.

I wholeheartedly subscribe to reading Anglican "fathers" from bygone ages, but there are also good scholars from the 20th century that we should read, if, at the very least, to be familiar with them because the laity read them! (That doesn't mean we have to agree with them.)

Anonymous said...

Francis Hall gets (unfairly) written off by some for other reasons besides his "Roman"(?) proclivities: he subscribes to theistic evolution! (Horrors....)

Fr. Wells said...

To answer Mr Anonymous Anomymous:

I once started to read his "Principles of Christian Theology" but did not finish it. Recently, I did read with some pleasure his short work on sacramental theology. The reason I laid aside his "Principles" is that I have a congenital suspicion of philosophical theology. (For me, theology is what happens when one reads carefully the Bible and the Fathers and Doctors of the Church; I have no time for Martin Heiddeger.) His little book on the sacraments is helpful, but troubling in that he comes to corrects conclusions with a dubious method, like a math student who has all the steps of his equation wrong but gives the right answer by looking at the answer key.

Not that all philosophical theologican are bad; Mascall was surely philosophical, so was William Temple, so was Wm Porcher DuBose. That I would recommend them only to students who are already grounded in revealed truth (i. e., the Bible).

More seriously, would would me make of a theologian who wrote books with titles like,

"Mediators Between Human and Divine: From Moses to Muhammad (1996)",[2] in which he wrote:

"I believe that, however difficult it may be, we should hold to our own traditions and yet respect and even learn from the traditions of others. I drew the conclusion that there should be an end to proselytizing but that equally there should be no syncretism of the kind typified by the Bahá'í movement."

So much for Paul's claim that there is "one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus."

In plain language, he was disavowing "syncretism" but stil allowing that all religions lead to ther same place. The uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ are compromised, if not lost altogether, if He just stands in the middle of a series running from Moses to Mohammed.

Please leave your name (preferably) or at least some identifying mark, as a courtesy to your fellow readers.

Fr. Wells said...

Excuse me! The sentence

"More seriously, would would me make of a theologian who wrote books with titles like,"

should read

More seriously, would would ONE make of a theologian who wrote books with titles like,"

Fr. Wells said...

St Nikao asks,

"Sir - To WHICH of the many versions of the Book of Common Prayer do you refer?"

The remarkable consistency of All edditions of the BCP (with the exception of the never-adopted American book of 1786 and the REC book of 1932) is an impressive fact, a fact to which we need to give more thought. That makes the 1979 thing stand out like a sore thumb.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Anonymous:

Busy as you are, writing everything from music to graffiti, you forgot that Hall also believed in Universalism. It would not be so bad if it were in a series on theological theories; but, like his quasi-Romish doctrine of Purgatory, it does not belong in a series called "Dogmatic Theology."

Although, it must be near impossible to write ten volumes in a thirty year period on Dogmatic Theology. The temptation to toss in a private opinion or five has to be very difficult to resist.

Jack Miller said...

Anonymous asked why I disagree with N.T. Wright. To address that question as a comment here is nigh impossible due to constraints of space. In a nutshell, in his New Perspectives on Paul he distorts and undermines the 2000 year old understanding of justification. He states both Rome and the Reformers got it wrong, and that everyone has gotten it wrong from Augustine forward! His position is at odds with the likes of Augustine, Luther, Bucer, Cranmer, Calvin, Hooker, Stott, Hart, Wells... this list could go on and on. Why is this so important? It was Luther who rightly said that justification was the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls.

For some concise critiques of Wright by respected theologians such as Horton, Helm, Fesko, Sproul, and others you can go HERE