A PLACE WHERE THOSE WHO LIVE IN THE ANGLICAN CONTINUUM, OR WHO ARE THINKING OF MOVING THERE, MIGHT SHARE IN ROBUST, IF POLITE, DISCUSSION OF MATTERS THEOLOGICAL AND ECCLESIOLOGICAL. QUOD UBIQUE, QUOD SEMPER, QUOD AB OMNIBUS CREDITUM EST
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Why was Cranmer Burnt?
Writing an article about Thomas Cranmer when many cities are having their St Patrick's Day parades will confirm my reputation for being 'the so-and-so that wears orange on the 17th of Old Ireland' but that's the way it goes. March 21st, which is coming up in a few days, is the 457th anniversary of Cranmer's execution in Oxford in 1556. Now, one thing I think Anglicans today are very unclear about is why Cranmer was burnt. I would not be surprised if some folks think he was burnt for wearing a Gothic Chasuble in a Fiddleback parish - which seems to be the only heresy left for some of my Affirming Catholic friends - but no, he was burnt for professing the Reformed faith.
Cranmer was very much a slow developer as a theologian, but as MacCulloch's biography shows, Cranmer actually underwent only two serious changes in his point of view. The first occurs somewhere around 1530, when Cranmer moves away from the humanist Catholicism of Erasmus towards Lutheranism. This committed Cranmer to the 'Five Solas' and the sort of mildly Predestinarian position that you see expressed in Articles 6-17 of the 39. Given Henry VIII's stated theological opinions, it must have been a relief to him to be sent as England's ambassador to Nuremberg, a thoroughly Lutheran City-State. Whilst there he married a niece of Johannes Osiander, the principal Luther minister and reformer there, so when he was brought back to England to become Henry's Archbishop, he was not exactly enthusiastic. However, he saw it as an opportunity to push for reform, but he also knew Henry VIII well enough not to push the pace. Small reforming measures came out one by one in the 1530s, suffering only a temporary check from the "whip with six strings" - the Six Articles Act of 1539 - which halted Cranmer's reforms for some years.
However, whilst Cranmer was surviving the vicious court politics of Henry's Court, and also administering his diocese, he found time to read and to write. It is evident that he managed to keep up an extensive correspondance with the best reformed minds on the continent, including Bullinger in Zurich, and Bucer in Strassburg. However, it was a local influence - Nicolas Ridley - that finally moved Cranmer from the Lutheran to the Reformed position. He did so by lending Cranmer a tract by an eighth century theologian Ratramnus of Corbie, who argued that Christ was present spiritually, not corporally, in the Eucharist. In his controversy with Gardiner (1549-1551,) Cranmer came to articulate his position as 'the True Presence' which to me reads an awful lot like the Receptionism of the next generation. Cranmer argues that Christ is present in the celebration, not the elements specifically, and that we receive the spiritual benefit, not the actual, Body and Blood of Christ when we receive Communion.
This theology of the Eucharist animated his reforms to the liturgy in both 1549 and 1552, though it has to be said that Cranmer was more subtle in expressing his Reformed theology in the former than the latter. One suspects that 1549 was very much a committee production, with a range of reforming opinions from the mild to the Reformed having to be accomodated, whilst the 1552 reflects the temporary victory of the Reformed wing under Edward VI's second Lord Protector.
The high watermark of Cranmer's programme of reform comes in 1552/3 when a new BCP and the Forty-two Articles are published. Both reflect a Reformed position not a million miles from that of Bucer and the Second Helvetian Confession. The Articles are less sharply Predestinarian than the writings of Calvin's followers a generation later, but their Biblical basis and Augustinian emphasis is clear. Like Bucer, he seems to have been essentially Lutheran on issues such as Baptismal Regeneration and Predestination, but on the Eucharist he joins Bucer, Bullinger, etc., as an advocate of the True Presence. The 1552 BCP's Order of the Lord's Supper gives liturgical voice to Cranmer's convictions on both the nature of the Eucharist and the nature of Justification and Sanctification by putting Communion into the middle of the Eucharist Canon. All of this, along with his complicity in Henry's annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, made him a marked man in Mary I's book.
Cranmer was fairly swiftly arrested after the accession of Mary, though there is some evidence to suggest that Mary did hesitate long enough to allow him to escape to Germany had he really wanted. Instead, he remained in England, and was arrested and imprisoned first in London, then in Oxford where he heard of the trial of his friends Latimer and Ridley, and witnessed their execution by fire on 16th October 1555. By this point, Cranmer's captors had decided that he had been left to stew long enough, and he was worked on to produce an abject recantation of his Reformed opinions. However, Mary had one last trick up her sleeve. Rather than remit Cranmer's sentence as was the custom in the case of a heretic who had recanted, she decided that Cranmer must be burnt anyway. This stiffened Cranmer's resolve, and he recanted his recantation, thrusting his unworthy right hand into the fire first.
Although Cranmer was not a simple, heroic martyr, he did, in the end, die professing the Reformed Faith. Historically speaking, it was Cranmer's moderate Reformed theology that dominated the Church of England in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries as much as Calvin's. His opinions were also received favourably by eighteenth century Evangelicals in England, by the Virginia Churchmen of the nineteenth century, and by folks like J I Packer today. To say that Reformed Theology has no place in Anglicanism is a gross misreading of history, and a disservice to the English Reformers who died professing the Reformed Faith, and left us the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles. Personally I believe that Anglicanism is a broad tradition that can emcompass both Reformed Anglicans and Prayer Book Catholics. To try and remove either position from the Anglican Church in this country would be a grave mistake, as much of the genius of Anglicanism comes from the interplay between the Reformed and the Catholic elements within it. Above all things, though, we need to avoid unneccessary strife and remember that we are 'all one in Christ Jesus.'
Posted by + Peter at Saturday, March 16, 2013
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Thank you for this excellent and very interesting post! Can you site some sources for those of us who wish to read more about this?
Bishop Peter, thank you for another interesting and valuable post. Although your post is more detailed and has a somewhat different perspective, it is similar in some ways to a post on Cranmer I did three years ago (http://bcpanglican.blogspot.com/2010/03/on-thomas-cranmer.html). Your points about the traditional breadth of Anglicanism are important. Although my Eucharistic views are closer to Luther's, it seems that historic Anglicanism allows several views, and Cranmer's importance goes beyond his work on the Prayer Book.
Thanks for this!
Learning about the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us is both an encouragement and an exhortation.
Thank you for this bold reminder regarding our Reformed faith on, no less, St. Patrick's Day! Just a quick remark... From the 1530's to 1550's, the "Lutheran" v. Reformed position were not distinct since both camps thought the Augsburg confession their own.
Cranmer's moderate views on predestination and 'receptionism' therefore would have been typical of his time. Where on the continent, these positions later became polarized, England managed to preserve the older position respecting the Augustana.
Peter Heylyn's _Declaration of the Judgement of the Western Churches_(in his _The Historical and Miscellaneous Tracts_) would be a good start for laying out some differences between 'moderate' v. 'rigid' Lutherans, and how such related to Dortian Calvinists in 1610.
Interestingly, Heylyn describes the Elizabethan-Anglican position as "Old Protestant", and I suspect this has to do with the confessional position of Cranmer plus contemporaries prior to the later polarization stoked by Bullinger and one side (in the second Helvetic), and then Facius on the other (against the Sacramentarians in Germany).
Luther's acrimonious personality succeeded in holding together disparate parties, but the real genius of the "old protestant" position, at least on the German side, would have been Melanchthon-- a figure occasionally appealed to not only by interregnum divinity (like Heylyn), but also Pusey in his_Real and Objective Presence.
I don't not commend Pusey's entire book, but he does a fair job of reviewing the sacramentarian controversies as well as basically siding with the Melanchthonians against 'consubstantiation'. Pusey rejects any coexistance of divine substance between the bread and the heavenly body of Christ, so he places himself squarely against Chemnitz (and the Concordia) in this respect, yet consistent with Anglican divinity since Edward's reign.
Anyway, Cranmer represents the consensus or "early-Lutheran" view of the time which was both, naturally, pre-Dortian and sacramentarian. In that context, there's nothing really odd or eclectic about Cranmer, or the related Tudor Settlement.. which is indeed "old Protestant", firmly in the center of views salient at the time, etc..
To chip in on sources: H.C.G. Moule's 1895 edition of Nicholas Ridley's A brief declaration of the Lord's Supper, with a detailed biographical sketch and an appendix about Retramnus and another giving sn abridged translation of his work, looks well worth consulting and reading through (so far, I have only done the former): it is available in the Internet Archive (where searching for the title under 'Texts' finds it at once).
But what transcriptions of the trials of Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer - assuming there are such - might be recommended(preferably, online)?
I am grateful for the comment by Charles/Anglican Rose, but also have the impression that things were already a lot hotter during the reign of Edward - at least on the Continent - when I read the Consensus Tigurinus (1549) - for example, the beginning of article 22 in Beveridge's translation (apparently from a 1554 ed.): "Those who insist that the formal words of the Supper, 'This is my body; this is my blood,' are to be taken in what they call the precisely literal sense, we repudiate as preposterous interpreters. For we hold it out of controversy that they are to be taken figuratively"(!). Discussion supplanted by petitio...
Hirofumi Horie's 2007 article, "Consensus Tigurinus or Dissensus Tigurinus?", which I ran into online and have only begun reading, looks interesting in this context, with, for example, Bucer complaining to Calvin in August 1549 about how John Hooper grossly misrepresented him (Bucer) on one point, and Bullinger nearly credited this.
To the question, "Why was Cranmer burnt?" we might add the question, 'Why was Joan of Kent burnt?' Moule notes that Ridley was associated with Cranmer (and others) who examined and judged her in 1549, and, in 1550, when they could not persuade or entreat her to change her mind, "concurred, alas, in the doom which consigned her [...] to the terrible death which was to be their own."
With respect, I don’t see how both understandings can co-exist in one church and create a religion that is consistent and comprehensible. One says, for example, that Apostolic Succession is necessary, one that AS is unnecessary. One says that the sacrament of confession & absolution is necessary, one that it is unnecessary. Etc.
Because our understanding is specifically ours, Anglican. The example you gave is Apostolic Succession, something Anglicanism has always insisted on and practiced.
Martin Brecht describes the confessional isolation of Zurich and Geneva during the period of "Protestant consensus" (1530's and 1540's) in his book on_Martin Luther and the Preservation of the Church (1987).
Brecht explains Zurich had been marginalized by the Wittenberg Concord of 1536 and was really a confessional backwater until Luther's death in 1546. The 1549 Consensus Tigurinus represented an attempt by the Zwinglians to gain regroup and gain ground against the relative hegemony of the Augsburg Churches, taking opportunity of Luther's passing and the consequent vacuum it left among Lutheran leadership. At this point (post-1546), we can discuss the steady rise of a Genevan-Zurich influence, ultimately breaking Heylyn's "Old Protestantism" alliance as it early wed Germany and most of Switzerland. In other words, the Tigurinus (especially its views on sacrament)really had nothing to do with the Augsburg except as an inimical document.
Perhaps the problem remains of language apparently shared between the 42 articles and Tigurinus? First, "the Body" taken figuratively was peculiar to Edward's confession, yet absent in both Elizabeth and Henry's articles. So, it is something odd. Secondly, related to the immediate point above, I believe Cranmer's view on sacrament is debatable and is closer to the theology which shaped the 1549 BCP than most pundits care to admit. Unfortunately, our views of Cranmer have been shaped by the histories of McCulloch and Duffy, both of whom have strong anglo-catholic biases.
An antidote to this low-view of Cranmer might be Basil Hall's two essays, "Cranmer, the Eucharist and the Foreign Divines" and "Cranmer's Relations with Erasmianism and Lutheranism" (both found in_Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar etd. Paul Ayris (1993)). Here, Hall distances Cranmer from popular Zwinglian accusations, explaining the influence of Sommerset as well as Hooper on the Edwardian book and articles.
I tend to prefer Hall's account since it assigns greater coherency and intentionality to the Tudor Settlement, vindicating the 'Old Protestant' theology which Heylyn ascribes to Cranmer and later English divines.
"To say that Reformed Theology has no place in Anglicanism is a gross misreading of history, and a disservice to the English Reformers who died professing the Reformed Faith, and left us the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles. Personally I believe that Anglicanism is a broad tradition that can emcompass both Reformed Anglicans and Prayer Book Catholics. "
The problem with this claim is that it relies on both ambivalent language and a straw-man fallacy. Nobody says that Reformed theology has no place in Anglicanism in the phenomenological and historical sense anyway. Catholics in the Anglican Churches have always accepted the brute fact that Calvinist and Zwinglian theology was common in the C of E from the mid-16th Century onwards, and that many of the key contributors to and authorizers of the BCP, Articles and other elements of the Elizabethan Settlement were of such opinions. This is not in dispute.
The Anglican Catholic argument instead makes these points: The BCP and Articles had both Catholic and Calvinist/Zwinglian input and influences. Neither of these primary formularies, however, asserted unambiguously any heresy, any proposition or denial contrary to orthodox, consensual Catholicism. They and other elements of the Elizabethan Settlement were clearly designed to exclude as few as possible, and manifestly allowed for a variety of interpretations in many areas of controversy. However, it is also true that the same complex of formularies, and the explicit statements of Cranmer and other English martyrs and authorities, appealed to the principle of the Vincetian Canon and acknowledged the necessity of following the Patristic and ongoing ecclesial consensus in interpreting Scripture and in determining doctrine. This is the Anglican Catholic factual claim.
This, however. leads us to the logically connected theological and normative position: The Anglican Formularies can be interpreted in a wholly Catholic way that, for example, eliminates any dogmatic irreconcilability between us and the Eastern Orthodox, and there is a clear and primal Anglican commitment to Holy Tradition, to the Catholic consensus. Therefore, the only truly authoritative, doctrinally valid and coherent Anglicanism possible is one which requires that its interpretation of Scripture and of its formularies as a whole conform to the Catholic consensus. So, while non-Catholic theological positions may have been commonly held by Anglicans at various times, since these oppose the Catholic consensus, they have no authority whatever in Anglicanism, no matter who held them. In other words, finding examples of Anglican hierarchs who held certain positions does nothing whatever to prove that these positions can or should be held legitimately.
Leaving aside debates about what Cranmer's position on particular issues was or wasn't, we can say that, in practice, the principle enunciated above means that many common Protestant opinions in historical Anglicanism, such as receptionism, rejection of the liceity of prayer for the dead or the invocation of saints, and the demotion of Apostolic Succession to a merely venerable and edifying custom, are excluded as heterodox.
Finally, the ACC's own formularies make this even more inescapable. Its criticism of doctrinal comprehensiveness in the Athens Statement of 1995, and rejection of "cafeteria Catholicism" in Archbishop John-Charles' open letter of 2007, both of which received the approval of the College of Bishops, prove that, for the ACC, the only licit and orthodox Anglicanism is one that is submissive to Holy Tradition and affirms unhesitatingly the Real Presence, Eucharistic Adoration, and other teachings common to East and West but rejected by many or most Protestants.
I'd like to thank Fr. Kirby for his comment, as it merely confirms the conclusion at which a number of Continuing Anglican bloggers and commentators (including me) have arrived, which is that the late movement known as "Anglican Catholicism" is desperately hoping to read the Reformation out of Anglicanism. Your first response to Abp. Robinson was telling in this regard. You fault him for his criticism of those who say that Reformed Theology has no place in Anglicanism, countering that "nobody says that Reformed theology has no place in Anglicanism in **the phenomenological and historical sense anyway"** (emphasis mine). But what you give here with the right hand you deftly take away with the left. We classical Anglicans are not criticizing Anglican Catholics for denying that Reformed theology has a place in Anglicanism in a mere phenomenological and historical sense, but for denying that it is essential to Anglicanism. It is not merely "that many of the key contributors to and authorizers of the BCP, Articles and other elements of the Elizabethan Settlement were of such opinions." It is, rather, that the BCP, Articles and said elements are *essentially* Reformed. We would argue that *this* is not in dispute, and it is this that divides classical Anglicans from Anglican Catholics. You argue that the Anglican formularies can and should be "interpreted in a wholly Catholic way that . . . eliminates any dogmatic irreconcilability between us and the Eastern Orthodox." I can assure you, however, that when Metropolitan Jonah tell us Anglicans that we must jettison our "Calvinism", he has precisely the patently Augustinian theology of various Articles in mind. The Orthodox will accordingly require us to toss aside the Articles with no looking back, not simply to "interpret them in a wholly Catholic way." That didn't work for Newman, and it won't work for the Orthodox.
As to the appeal made to the Vincentian Canon made by certain English Reformers, I take about as much stock in that argument as I take in Luther's argument that his beliefs differed not one whit from that of the Orthodox. Turns out that claim had no basis, as the discussion between the Tubingen theologians and the Patriarch of Constantinople made clear. Moreover, there is an Augustinian/Pelagianizing divide in the Catholic faith that renders St. Vincent's canon somewhat useless on matters pertaining to soteriology. There was never a consensus on this matter, and it simmered in the church until it boiled over during the Reformation. The key question became, and it remains so for Anglicans today: did the Reformers or Rome (and the Orthodox) get it right on the matter of what eternally saves a man?
If it is the case, and I agree with you that it is, that "the ACC's own formularies" (etc.) make "inescapable" your argument that Western Orthodox Anglicanism is in and the Reformation is out, then I simply add my voice to those of countless classical Anglicans who say, "So much the worse for the ACC."
I would hasten to point out that two of us on the Continuum, both ACC priests, find ourselves in disagreement with Fr. Kirby on the matter of jettisoning the Reformation. We do not jettison it, and cannot.
Brutally honest, Fr. Kirby, "So, while non-Catholic theological positions may have been commonly held by Anglicans at various times...they have no authority whatever in Anglicanism, no matter who held them."
I'd like to clarify a couple things that were poorly said by myself (so typical). Rather than saying the Tigurinus was 'inimical' to the Augsburg (while that might be ultimately true in retrospect.. it is strong language), I think the Swiss did keep some aspects of the early period, indeed breaking from the middle ground theology of Bucer-Melanchthon, yet retaining enough commonality to the Augsburg that a shared context (at least, in potential) remained.
This 'context' allows Settlement Anglicans to dialogue with both schools, more or less. However, among these confessional groupings, I believe Anglicans were the only church to preserve the early-consensus period, adapting such to royal Supremacy...thus 'old protestant' as Heylyn calls it.
Where I said Dr. Pusey was consistent with Edward, I meant that Pusey's insistence about the bodily presence as strictly spiritual rather than carnally real easily rings true with both Cranmer and Parker. That said, I think Pusey's greater argument for a local presence is less typical of Settlement theology, though the Articles can be generous to both receptionist and virtualist opinions. Hence, Cranmer's assent to the 1552 reforms.
And it wasn't just a few reformed voices here and there. The Church of England in 1618 sent delegates to the Synod of Dort (which became part of the Reformed churches confessional standards). Led by theologian Davenant they contributed to and signed, representing England's Church, what is one of the most "Calvinist" or reformed standards.
Dort certainly doesn't encompass all that it means to be Reformed or Calvinist, but England's participation certainly gives clear evidence that the C of E saw herself as a reformed catholic church. And this also sheds light on how the Church interpreted its Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as at least moderately Calvinist or Reformed.
Reformed and catholic are not mutually exclusive. And I would submit that only a reformed church can be truly a catholic church, as did argue the English reformers and those who followed in the subsequent generation.
The problem is with the language. Too often theological terminology is thrown about, but not properly defined from the outset. This is the case with "reformed theology." Thus, Fr. Kirby's assertion that Bp. Robinson's position relies on ambiguity and the straw man fallacy is, in my opinion, justified and correct.
What IS reformed theology and why? "Reformed theology" means too many things to too many people to be spoken of without any sort of qualification or explanation. John Calvin is reformed. The "five points" are reformed. Karl Barth is reformed. Luther is reformed, & etc. But these are all very different from each other!
What school of reformed theology does Bp. Robinson subscribe to? Is it compatible with the Prayer Book and formularies? Is that school the only school of reformed theology that Anglicanism admits? If so, why?
These are just a few important questions that come to mind. So until these questions get discussed (or preferably answered) then I think any sort of discussion about Anglicanism being reformed or catholic or both is a moot point.
"What school of reformed theology does Bp. Robinson subscribe to? Is it compatible with the Prayer Book and formularies? Is that school the only school of reformed theology that Anglicanism admits? If so, why?"
The English reformers. There was a Church of England that had its own reformation and reformers.
I can't help but taking a contrary position to Heylyn's regarding Cranmer's position on the Sacrament being "old Protestant". This is simply not correct. Those sources, while they might read pleasantly, do not in fact reflect the true history of the Reformation on the Continent. Between the time of the Augsburg Confession of 1530 and the 1550's the Reformed definitely did not accept the Augsburg Confession as their own. The Marburg Colloquy in 1529 already saw the Continental Reformation as permanently split and the subsequent Augsburg Confession of 1530 was not presented on behalf of the Swiss Reformers, who clearly had already rejected the Real Presence which is Confessed in Art X. In other words, if the Reformed thought that the Augsburg Confession was their own (and I don't accept that notion at all) then they were clearly deluded. This is made even clearer in Melancthon's Apology to the Augustana in 1531, where he strongly asserts the Lutheran position as the Catholic one and defends any accusation that might associate the Lutheran position as anything else. Obviously he is distancing his reform movement from that of the "Reformed".
There is of course a difference in what constitutes unity and fellowship between the Reformed and the Lutherans, and this may have a place here. Perhaps it could possibly be argued that the Reformed accepted the spirit of the Augustana but not every word of it, whereas Luther and his colleagues would have insisted on agreement on every word as a symbol of Confessional unity. Again, this is clear if you read Melancthons Loci Communes as well as the Apology.
So, no, there is little Continental unity between 1530-50 and no, Luther did not hold differing doctrines in tension to preserve unity. Later Melancthon tried, but it merely split his own party.
Cranmer's position on the Lord's Supper is more more akin to Calvin than to Luther or Melancthon, yet neither or is he like Zwingli. His doctrine on those points alone could hardly be called "Old Protestant".
England did not in fact preserve the "older position" regarding the Augustana at all. From the start Luther and Melancthon were crystal clear that their position rejected receptionism. Melancthon much later proposed a position that might be called receptionist but that is hardly "old Protestant" at that point.
It's pretty clear to me that Cranmer's position on many doctrines is via media with a strong Calvinist influence on many points. While many Anglican scholars (esp in our time) are tempted to re-define Cranmer and his theology he really needs to be interpreted by his own words. Simply reading his own works, which are not difficult to understand, will lead one to see his unique ability to construct a complementary via media on many points of doctrine.
Lastly, never mention the word "consubstantiation" to an educated Lutheran as a description of his (or her) position. It will be utterly rejected.
My two cents.
JGA's point is that the label "reformed" is a big umbrella. Richard Baxter was Reformed, but rejected Limited Atonement. Jacob Arminius was most definitely Reformed. The Remostrants of Holland were down the line in agreement with Calvin with the exception of the question of the grounds of predestination. Yet, you'll have (and had historically) some Calvinists who would decry Arminianism as a back-door to Popery, and hence unreformed (see Jerome Zanchius, Jonathan Warne, Augustus Toplady in this regard).
There were times in Anglican history that a greater part of the divines landed squarely on Calvin's theology of predestination, even subscribing to limited atonement. All historically honest persons have to admit this was characteristic of "Golden Age" Anglicanism (Davenant's journey to Dort was well noted).
What is undeniable, though, is that the pendulum of opinion in Anglicanism swung more freely toward Arminian opinion, or at least more popularly subscribed, in the 17th and 18th centuries. Post-Tractarian Anglicanism had nothing but distaste for all things Calvinistic as well as Augustinian (I distinguish those two because Calvinism is a particular way of applying Augustinian theology, even if incorrectly).
So, the truth is the English Reformers were largely Calvinistic as touching soteriology, but clearly the Articles did not elucidate the way Helvetic and Scots confession, or Heidelberg catechism, dared to do. This "wideness" forces us to ask properly, "Reformed in what way?" Collectively, Anglicanism offers no one answer. If we focus on a particular era, then we might get a sense of this, but then we'll be talking about whether we are Reformed by examining, among other things, whether we believe in Predestination or not.
Steven Augustine Badal
What is 'reformed theology'? I think you have a point about the difficulty of pinning it down. Dort was an attempt to unite and cohere the Reformed churches. By 1570 the Lutherans (rigid) had finally distinguished themselves from the Swiss, rallying around the Formula of Concordia, but at the cost of running out the German Melanchthonians. So, at least, with rigid-Lutherans there is a single confession (or book) to point to and say "this is Lutheranism".
Among 'Reformed' it's certainly more complex... The 'Reformed' response to both rigid- and moderate-Lutheranism arrived after some failed colloquies, etc., and was collected together under the Harmony of Confessions, indexing about a dozen period documents that compare selected articles of faith on otherwise contested points like sacrament, predestination, etc.. Of these dozen documents, the 2nd Helvetic along with the Three forms of unity, et al., are likely the most prominent. That might be your best route for defining "Reformed", or what I think is better qualified as "late" Reformed.
However, I don't think Robinson is "late" Reformed. I believe he identifies with the older version of Protestant moderation. That would have been those confessions grouped around the Augsburg, but, after 1560 or so, preserved neither by Lutherans or Calvinians. Ironically, the only 'living'/surviving confession from that earlier theology are the 39 articles. Indeed, the 39 articles are the oldest Protestant confession today, and I think this is what Robinson assents and professes.
You are right, though. A battle remains over language, and just as 'catholic' needs explanation, sadly, so do the other terms. We can either let popular convention determine things or take the time to explain some history. I'm sure many of Anglo-catholics already do this when questions about Roman Catholicism arise... you go back to the Great schism and then return to catholic revival of the 19th century..hmm.. a long story, huh?
Anyway, if it's important to us, we take the time...
Steven Augustine Badal wrote:
"If we focus on a particular era, then we might get a sense of this, but then we'll be talking about whether we are Reformed by examining, among other things, whether we believe in Predestination or not."
The strongest adherence to the kind of Predestination echoed so clearly by Calvin (and wrongly attributed to him) is among the thoroughly Thomist Dominicans.
We rightly define how reformed we are by belief in Justification, i.e. how one is justified.
Thank you, Father Hart. I am aware that there was an English Reformation complete with English reformers... but it would really be nice to have Bishop Robinson speak for himself, and also site some sources for his post for those of us who are genuinely interested in exploring his point of view to study.
"We rightly define how reformed we are by belief in Justification, i.e. how one is justified."
IMO, there's the nub of it, right there. And hence a key reason why both Anglo-Catholics and Orthodox wooing Anglicans desire to see the Articles consigned to the dustbin of history.
I would say some of a new version, late model people who call themselves Anglo-Catholics. The real Anglo-Catholics are another matter.
RE: Embryo Parson @ 6:41PM-
I think your comment is right on.
One thing I would add is that the reformed view of justification touches and influences every other aspect of faith, belief, and practice.
Re: jettisoning the Reformation.
The inference drawn that I was jettisoning the Reformation is more than absurd. As my interlocutors, especially Fr Hart, should be well aware, I accept and follow and defend the following English Reforms in my faith, practice and apologetics published here:
1. The liturgy should be in the vernacular.
2. The laity should receive the Chalice.
3. Papal attempts in the past to claim a kind of Absolute Monarchy in the Church, and a right to command and thus to wield (by proxy) the civil sword, were and are rightly resisted.
4. Gospel-focussed, Christ-centred faith and love takes priority over the details of ceremonies and secondary devotions.
5. The Sacrifice of the Cross can never be repeated.
6. The forgiveness of sins (and consequent "not-guilty" verdict for believers) are received solely by living faith and not at all earned by works.
And so on.
And all these can be derived from the BCP and Articles. What is more, all of them can be defended from RC and EO authoritative sources as well.
However, these opinions below, found among certain significant English divines of the Reformation and Elizabethan period (and beyond) I reject heartily because they are manifestly contrary to the Catholic consensus and cannot be proven from either the BCP or the Articles, often being opposed to them:
1. The Pope is the Anti-Christ.
2. The RCC as such is soteriologically heretical.
3. The word "justification", and the associated words in the NT, always have solely imputational meanings, and never any impartational or transformational connotations.
4. All use of sacred imagery by Christians is forbidden, heretical and sinful.
5. All prayer for the dead is pointless and based on theological error or ignorance.
6. All forms of the invocation of Saints are forbidden, heretical and sinful.
7. The Bread and Wine in the Eucharist do not become, according to a spiritual mode, the true (crucified and arisen) Body and Blood of Christ, but only symbols of them.
8. The Eucharist is not a sacrifice that can be offered as intercession for the benefit of the quick and the dead.
And so on.
So, my acceptance of the English Reformation is limited to the binding, ecclesially authorised words themselves of the BCP and Articles, as interpreted by Holy Tradition, and to those teachings of individuals which pass the test of Holy Tradition.
And, as I noted before, the English Reformers not only appealed to the Patristic and Ecclesial Consensus, they accepted this Consensus as arbiter, claiming they were willing to be corrected by it in the cases of Cranmer and Jewel.
Fascinatingly, Embryo Parson admits this appeal of the English Refomers (though he underestimates its scope, as this kind of appeal was the norm among them), but then effectively says, "They were not really in conformity with the rest of the Catholic Church, East or West, despite their claims, hence, so much the worse for the consensus." This is precisely contrary to their own position, so EP tacitly admits that the Anglo-Catholic is more faithful to the Reformers than he, for Anglo-Catholics agree with the Reformers that even their own theological opinions must conform to the Vincentian Canon.
It's true that EP also claims there was no soteriological consensus against the conventional Reformed position, but this is nonsense. While variety of opinion in and between E and W was permitted on many issues, the most fundamental beliefs were a common heritage, and these beliefs contradicted some elements of strict TULIP Calvinism and did not accept that "justification" could only mean imputation of innocence. Contrary to what some here appear to want to keep believing, both the RCC and EOC agree with the "Reformed" that forgiveness is a free, unearned gift received by penitent, living faith.
The Synod of Dort never had any authority in or over members of the C of E, so is irrelevant to consideration of the dogmatic position of the Church itself. And you can hardly fail to be aware that it was the reaction of people like Blessed Lancelot Andrewes that ensured such TULIP-Calvinism never received that authority.
It is easy, if one sticks to the official formularies, especially the BCP and Articles, with their real authority at that time, to show an essential soteriological compatibility between the C of E and the RCC and EOC. The incompatibility, which some here assume, I note is almost never proven with actual quotations. Indeed, the attempt is not even made. And where I have pointed out in the past, including the recent past, how apparent difficulties can in fact be overcome with careful examination of the precise wording of the respective formularies, the response has been silence.
Unfortunately for those who make justification the purported barrier between us and the rest of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Homilies explicitly use the word in both a broader sense with impartational connotations, and a narrower imputational sense. And the same Homilies contain a definition of the narrower sense that makes it equivalent to forgiveness of sins, the transition from guilty to innocent. It is this very forgiveness that the Council of Trent said was entirely gratuitous, unearned. These facts alone are enough to make Trent and Anglicanism compatible in this area. This is only strengthened when we look at the prayer in the BCP baptismal office that explicitly makes remission of sins the effect of spiritual regeneration, perfectly conforming to the Tridentine identification of sanctifying grace as the formal cause (that is, the change in our nature that constitutes the ontological character) of Justification.
As for what Metropolitan Jonah meant, there are two reasons why Embryo Parson's inferences are unlikely to be sound. First, we can assume this hierarch is not an ignoramus, and knows the difference between Augustinianism (which the Articles certainly do express) and TULIP-Calvinism (which they do not). If he wanted to say say that both the Augustinian-Thomism of many Anglo-Catholics and the Calvinism of many Anglican Evangelicals had to be abandoned, he was more than capable of saying this. Second, the audience he was speaking to was largely made up, as I understand it, of modern Evangelical and Charismatic Anglicans, a significant proportion of whom hold lightly if at all to Calvinist soteriology, but virtually all of whom would ascribe to at least the last 4 in the list of 8 I gave above. And these positions are ones they share with conventional Calvinism, but divide them sharply from the EOC. So, it makes more sense to see the Metropolitan's call to abandon Calvinism as a call to abandon both hyperaugustinian soteriology (e.g., Christ did not die for all; unbelievers are not only fallen in every aspect of their being, but "wholly inclined to all evil"; God positively and actively predestines some to eternal damnation) and non-soteriological denials of Orthodoxy by mainstream Calvinism (e.g., denial of the Real Presence, Apostolic Succession, Invocation of Saints, honouring of icons).
In any case, one of the main points I am trying to make is that whether Cranmer et al. were old Protestants, SemiLutherans, Calvinists, Zwinglians or small r reformed Catholics, or a mixture of all of these is completely irrelevant. What matters is that they affirmed and formally submitted to Catholic consent and continuity even while attacking mediaeval abuses, expressed this fundamental respect for the authority of the Church in various of the formularies, but did not dogmatically impose any heresy on the C of E by those formularies. This was the case even though some of them held what were materially heretical positions in certain areas.
The other point I am making is that while variation in theological opinions is accepted and normal within the Catholic Church, *doctrinal* comprehensiveness properly speaking is not. There is much that is not up for grabs, subject to debate or permitted to be denied in orthodox Catholicism. And this mandatory area includes the rejection of certain beliefs once common or widely tolerated in Anglicanism (see 1 to 8 above). Therefore, precisely insofar as so-called "Reformed Anglicans" might want to affirm those heterodox beliefs, they cannot be considered orthodox Catholics and so cannot be considered faithful to one of the founding principles of the "reformed" C of E. More to the point in the here and now, they cannot then be in agreement with the formularies of the ACC and so members of it in good conscience once they recognise this. And none of that reflects badly on the ACC at all. It is just a matter of honesty, consistency and sound teaching.
Getting down to brass tacks, what I am saying is that a person affirming any or all of propositions 5 to 8 in the list of 8 above, for example, is certainly within the range of what has been believed and taught by Anglicans outwardly in good standing, and may thus be termed a "classical Anglican". At the same time, such a person is not a Catholic, has implicitly rejected a basic epistemological premise of Anglican doctrine and of the ACC's Formularies, and so cannot and should not be a member of the ACC unless he or she rejects these doctrinal errors.
To conclude, the ACC is liturgically comprehensive and allows, like all branches of the Catholic Church, considerable freedom for theological speculation and debate, and a variety of spiritualities and emphases. But, the ACC is not doctrinally comprehensive, in the sense of considering any of the Catholic doctrinal consensus optional or debatable or deniable.
You are arguing against straw men. The fact that Dort had no official authority in the C of E in no way undermines the obvious point I make.
I wrote concerning the Church of England and Dort: ... England's participation certainly gives clear evidence that the C of E saw herself as a reformed catholic church. And this also sheds light on how the Church interpreted its Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as at least moderately Calvinist or Reformed.
Secondly, raising Andrews' opposition to Calvinism as evidence of the Church's doctrinal stance only shows that the very debate going on in this thread existed back then. There was (and is) a debate over and struggle for the true heritage of Anglicanism.
As for the soteriology of the Articles being compatible with or the same as Trent and the EO is more a wish that a conclusion upon evidence. And there is evidence aplenty. If you're not aware of it, it may be that you are not looking for it or you dismiss any evidence because of who may be offering it. I would recommend to you the book by John Fesko, Justification: Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine.
to be continued...
In fact, I find your claim that Trent and the English formularies are compatible to be astonishing. Cranmer in his Justfication homily on the Salvation of Man:
But this saying, That we be justified by faith only, freely and without works, is spoken for to take away clearly all merit of our works, as being unable to deserve our justification at GODS hands, and thereby most plainly to express the weakness of man, and the goodness of GOD, the great infirmity of our selves, and the might and power of GOD, the imperfectness of our own works, and the most abundant grace of our Savior Christ, and therefore wholly to ascribe the merit and deserving of our justification unto Christ only, and his most precious blood shedding.
And Article 11: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
Trent: CANON 9: "If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."
It was for this doctrine of justification through faith alone in Christ alone by God's grace alone that scores of thousands of reformed believers were martyred by the Roman Catholic Church via the various Catholic monarchs in the 16th century throughout France, England, and the areas comprising Belgium and Holland. Certainly Rome did not consider the two doctrines of soteriology were compatible.
Jack Miller you might find the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" by the Lutheran Federation and the Roman Catholic Church to be interesting reading.
I'm familiar with the "JDDJ." The document is an unfortunate concession on the part of the Lutherans to Rome on the issue of justification, specifically regarding the imputation of Christ righteousness to the believer by faith alone. In his book, Fesko interacts comprehensively with both Rome's and the EO's understanding of justification vis-a-vis the Reformers (Lutheran, Continental, and English).
From his book on the Declaration:
For example, it is true that Lutherans, Reformed, and Roman Catholics all believe that justification involves the forgiveness of sin. That aspect of the doctrine of justification has never been an issue of contention. What has been a subject of debate is the nature of the forgiveness. Is the forgiveness only the nonimputation of sin, or is there the positive imputation of righteousness? Therein lies the debate... (p. 365)
And also this:
Furthermore, that the Declaration does not fall under the condemnations of Trent is nothing all that significant, as the Declaration echoes Trent regarding the nature of faith and especially the place of the sacraments in justification. That the Declaration does not come under the condemnation of the Lutheran confessions is highly dubious, especially in the darkness of ill-defined terms. It's probably safer to say that the Lutheran World Federation has abandoned its theological heritage and no longer is concerned with the theology of its historic confessions and catechisms. The words of Luther appear to echo no longer in the ears of the Lutheran World Federation, which has signed a document on justification where not one syllable regarding imputed righteousness [of Christ] appears:
"Nothing in this article can be conceded or given up, even if heaven and earth or whatever is transitory passed away." [Luther, Smalcald Articles] (p. 367)
The Lutherans correcting their false ideas is not unfortunate.
Bruce - Well, one is free to argue that the Lutheran teaching on justification is false. But in embracing Rome's teaching one isn't free to then call it Lutheran.
If the Lutheran confessional understanding of justification is false, then it follows so is that of the Church of England/Anglicanism as taught in Article 11 and Cranmer's homily "Of The Salvation of Man," as well as numerous places throughout the Book of Common Prayer.
The Lutheran, Continental, and English reformers were all on the the same page when it came to justification, as are their respective church confessions.
I'm sorry, Jack, are you *sure* the English were all on the same page regarding the active obedience of Christ in justification?
Please find me this unity in the light of statements like this:
"To begin with, even though this denial was condemned by the French Reformed Churches (though this view was later tolerated even there), a great part of the Reformed Churches did not reject as ministers those who denied active obedience, let alone count them as heretics. For example, clearly Gataker, Twisse, and Vines denied the imputation of the active obedience of Christ, but they and their views were tolerated by the Westminster Assembly. Second, there were various ministers throughout the Reformed Churches who held this viewpoint, such as John Jacob Alting who taught at Groningen in the Netherlands.3 Third, the theologians of Saumur also denied the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. Of course, the Swiss Reformed Churches condemned this viewpoint and other Salmurian views in the Formula Consensus Helvetica, but other Churches did not. Fourth, this denial was extremely common amongst the German Reformed Churches including theologians such as Piscator, Ursinus, Pareus, Crocius, Marinius, Wendelin, and Scultetus..."
Steven Augustine Badal
Mr. Miller, they should rename their church anyway. A church shouldn’t be named after a particular man. Certainly not one who said we can fornicate and murder a thousand times a day and still have Christ in us.
I don’t think the BCP or the articles are infallible documents and if they are in conflict with the reality of analytical justification, then I think they are wrong.
I suspect I am much more aligned with Fr. Kirby in this debate.
Thank you, Steven.
But I think the question is not what was tolerated, but what was accepted as the official church confessions and catchisms taught as what the respective Church confessed as the true teaching of Scripture. There's always been debate and nuance. The Westminster Assembly allowed much debate from vaious viewpoints on a number of doctrines. My point is that the Lutheran, Continental, and English, and I'll add Scottish, official confessions in the final analysis all agread on imputation.
Regarding Twisse, he along with a minority of Divines had wanted a less clear teaching on imputation than is in the WCF. Yet in the end he accepted the confession which teaches imputation:
Chapter 11 on Justification notes in section 1 : ...but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them... or from section 3 : Christ, by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real and full satisfaction to His Father's justice in their behalf .
Steve, I should add, yes "all the reformers" is technically inaccurate. I should have been more precise.
Yet, as I mentioned, Twisse and the others did accept the Westminster standards' teaching on justification as it touches on the imputation of Christ's perfect obedience to the believer.
As for Gataker, he even declined to publish his work on justification because he knew it was out of accord with his brethren's views. This shows the godly nature of these men in not wanting to create division. Certainly a case can be made that the differences were not that substantial.
"Certainly not one who said we can fornicate and murder a thousand times a day and still have Christ in us."
NONE of the Reformers anywhere taught that. What distortion.
Analytical justification was rejected by the magisterial reformers, including Hooker. It's basically Osiander's doctrine (and close to Rome's) and was thoroughly refuted by Calvin in his Institutes. But, I'll give you this - it's closer to Trent's teachings than Article 11. And it's unsupported by Scripture. One of many references:
Rom. 4:5 -
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness.
If one holds to Rome's doctrines why not swim the Tiber?
Fr. Hart, Luther is supposed to have written that. If he didn’t I’ll accept correction. If he did and I don’t understand what he meant, then I would like to understand what he did mean. He wrote a lot of things that didn’t make it into their confession but I still think what he wrote matters.
Thanks for your irenic response. I understand what you are saying, I don't mean to state that the minority report opinion among Protestants was simply accepted as a live alternative (like modes of Baptism or something), only to demonstrate no "False Gospel" invectives had to be hurled, or fear that the TRVTH of the Gospel would come crashing down if imputationism is not upheld. It seems a tad inconsistent to give the Protestant (yes, genuine Protestant) dissenters on this a pass while Rome gets charged with heresy (not necessarily by you or anyone here on this forum, just by certain virulent AND popular strands of Protestantism). And then when somebody asserts the true Gospel is only equatable to sola fide + imputationism while the rest are anathematized, I have to wonder how the Church got on preaching "another Gospel" for 1500 years without it. Indeed some would say it has languished in darkness until, you know, post tenebrae lux.
Steven Augustine Badal
Find it and its context. I surely don't recognize it. It certainly contradicts the first of his 95 Theses.
Bruce is referring to a statement in Luther's "sin boldly" letter to Melanchthon (Letter 99, 1521). Luther made some intentionally extreme statements to point out in the most radical terms possible the mercy of Christ and the power of His Sacrifice to cover all sin. To my knowledge, most or all the statements of this type come from prior to the antinomian heresy that Luther dealt with in 1525. I could be wrong, but it seems that after dealing with that heresy, Luther was more guarded in his statements. The following is typical of how Luther addresses the serious issue of sin in relation to the believer:
The apostle refers to this subject in Romans 7: 5, 8, 23, and elsewhere, frequently explaining how, in the saints, there continue to remain various lusts of original sin, which constantly rise in the effort to break out, even gross external vices. These have to be resisted. They are strong enough utterly to enslave a man, to subject him to the deepest guilt, as Paul complains (Rom 7, 23); and they will surely do it unless the individual, by faith and the aid of the Holy Spirit, oppose and conquer them.
29. Therefore, saints must, by a vigorous and unceasing warfare, subdue their sinful lusts if they would not lose God’s grace and their faith. Paul says in Romans 8, 13: “If ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” In order, then, to retain the Spirit and the incipient divine life, the Christian must contend against himself.
Not much different from how the Anglican Reformers taught on the serious dangers of sin. [THE SIXTH SERMON, PREACHED ON THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT, 1552, BY MASTER HUGH LATIMER]
I put the case, Joseph had not resisted the temptations of his master’s wife, but had followed her, and fulfilled the act of lechery with her ; had weighed the matter after a worldly fashion, thinking, “I have my mistress’s favour already, and so by that mean I shall have my master’s favour too ; nobody knowing of it.” Now if he had done so, this act had been a deadly sin ; for any act that is done against the law of God willingly and if sin have wittingly, is a deadly sin. And that man or woman that committeth such an act, loseth the Holy Ghost and the remission of sins ; and so becometh the child of the devil, being before the child of God. For a regenerate man or woman, that believeth, ought to have dominion over sin ; but as soon as sin hath rule over him, he is gone: for she leadeth him to delectation of it, and from delectation to consenting, and so from consenting to the act itself. Now he that is led so with sin, he is in the state of damnation, and sinneth damnably. And so ye may perceive which be they that sin deadly, and what is the deadly sin; namely, that he sinneth deadly that wittingly falleth in sin: therefore it is a perilous thing to be in such an estate, to be in the state of damnation and everlasting perdition.”
The entire Sermon can be read here:
Or, as the Anglican Homily against Fornication (Book of Homilies) notes on the damnable consequences of serious sin in the believer's life:
He declares also that our bodies are the members of Christ. How unseemly a thing is it then to cease to be incorporated or embodied and made one with Christ, and through whoredom to be enjoined and made all one with a
[Side note--of course the reformers would agree that frequently the most serious sins are those which we keep in our heart: spiritual adultery, covetousness, bitterness, etc.]
A couple things in response... Regarding the minority report, no accusations of false gospel were thrown because those in the minority, though short of the full doctrinal understanding, were not rejecting imputation nor justification by faith alone in Christ alone. The debate was over whether imputation was both the passive and active obedience of Christ to the believer through faith. Justification was understood by all to be a forensic declaration of a new righteous status for the sinner received, not by any works, but by faith. You seem to be equating "active obedience" with imputation.
As to Rome re: justification, they rejected imputation of righteousness through faith in favor of "infusion" of righteousness through baptism. Therein was the argument. From Robert Letham's book on the Westminster Assembly:
"What was clear is that the Assembly outlawed three unacceptable views of justification. Whatever the differences between the Gataker-Vines group and the majority, they were at one in rejecting the Roman Church's doctrine of justification, as expressed at the Council of Trent in cannons 9 and 11. There was no place for any element in the believer contributing even in an instrumental sense to his justification...."
to be continued...
rest of quote from Letham:
"... All positions that included inherent righteousness in this sense were excluded. Hence, "faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification"" (WCF 11.2). As Jue observes, "Whatever theological disagreements emerged during the Assembly's debates on justification, no one wanted to return to Rome.""
Me: So both the majority and minority were committed to the imputation of Christ's righteousness through faith alone. Both rejected Rome's teaching of justification through infusion or inherent righteousness. The only debate was whether imputation was only via Christ's passive (sacrificial) obedience or both His passive and active (perfect righteousness lived under the law) obedience. The WCF ascribes to the latter.
Thank you for correcting my sloppy usage of "imputationism" -- which I normally apply to those who insist the Active Obedience of Christ is also the ground of God's reckoning us forgiven and righteous. You are correct that both parties did not disagree about the external nature of imputation. But it should still be noted that Osiander and his (admittedly short-lived) movement in Lutheranism took justification in the direction of union with Christ -- there were heated exchanges (Calvin especially in his Institutes), but I don't recall Osiander's view as ever being raised to the level of "anathema" within the Lutheran fold.
While my own view of Justification is decidedly "protestant" in character, I also recognize there is much to be gained by continual dialogue with Rome and the East on this matter. I can't simply be dismissive of efforts like that of the JDDJ as if everything important that needs to be said about Justification has already happened in the 16th century. The "extra nos" version of justification can (and has) lead wrongheaded folk down the wrong path as much as the "gratia infusa" position. The whole thing is a balancing act. But isn't that Christian theology?
Steven Augustine Badal
Dialogue, fellowship, and continued learning of the truth is very much what it is all about. And one needs to keep their balance. By the way, I don't dismiss efforts like JDDJ. Neither does Fesko. The only point is to keep in view the historical and confessional context. Otherwise, we are just redefining as we go along, which can only muddy the truth. In other words let's not over-sell what has been accomplished in this document. But let's not discourage dialogue.
Thanks for the good back and forth. Blessings to in Christ Jesus...
I read Fr. Kirby’s response to me and the replies thereto with much interest. I knew my own reply would be lengthy, so I decided to wait until after Lent and Holy Week to post it. Here it is, but before I launch into it I’d like to thank both Jack Miller and W.A. Scott for their valuable responses. I’ve linked Mr. Miller’s excellent blog The World’s Ruined on my own blog, and I continue to be instructed by his great learning in the area of Anglican studies.
Fr. Kirby writes, “The inference drawn that I was jettisoning the Reformation is more than absurd. As my interlocutors, especially Fr Hart, should be well aware, I accept and follow and defend the following English Reforms in my faith, practice and apologetics published here”, followed by 6 propositions (liturgy in the vernacular, etc.) that, while I agree were “Reformational”, do not actually stem from what I (following Luther) to be the *heart* of the Reformation, to wit, how a man is “justified.”
With respect to the 6th proposition, “The forgiveness of sins (and consequent ‘not-guilty’ verdict for believers) are received solely by living faith and not at all earned by works”, Fr. Kirby rightly states that it “can be derived from the BCP and Articles.” He says in the same breath however, “What is more, all of them can be defended from RC and EO authoritative sources as well.” I’m not sure what he means by this. I’m guessing he means that some who are considered “authoritative sources” in those two communions might be cited, here and there, as supporting the proposition. However, the *authoritative teaching* - the "consensus" as it were - of both communions expressly rejects sola fide as one the “heresies” of the Reformation. I don’t know how many times I heard from “authoritative sources” in the Orthodox Church during my 13-year sojourn there that “we are saved by faith AND works.” This is in keeping with the incisive analysis of a commenter here at The Continuum, which appeared in a combox discussion a few years ago and which I have used frequently because it is so spot on:
“The genius of the Protestant Reformation is the recognition that, during the Middle Ages, "ecclesial creep" in both the Western and Eastern portions of the Church had for all practical intents and purposes replaced Old-Law works righteousness with a new works righteousness based on the respective "New Law" of the West (the Penance-Merits-Purgation-Indulgences doctrinal phalanx) and of the East (the imposition of the Monastic Typicon upon the laity).”
“Furthermore, . . . the formularies of classical Anglicanism did a better job of retaining the wheat of the orthodox catholicism of the ancient Church while jettisoning the chaff of innovative medieval accretion than did any other segment of the Reformation. This is why Anglicanism can, perhaps uniquely, lay equal claim to the appellations Protestant and Catholic and affirm both without any sense of inconsistency or incoherence. Indeed, strictly speaking, in proper understanding of each term, to truly be one, you must be both.”
Can the ACC say that? Is this mot why the ACC removed from its web site a statement to the effect that the ACC is "both Catholic and Protestant", replacing it with a series of articles that would expressly deny that very proposition? Fr. Kirby’s problem – and by extension the ACC’s problem –is that any church which does not recognize that a radical distinction between justification and sanctification needs to be made will slide quite naturally into a soteriology that consists of such a “new law”, and thereby will be found at odds with the Gospel per the “least” of the apostles. This is precisely why Luther argued, and I would say convincingly, that justification by faith alone is the article on which the church stands or falls. This does not mean that justification and sanctification are not conferred together: Calvin himself was quite clear about this. To him, union with Christ meant that both had to be conferred. There is no danger of antinomianism here. But as Alister McGrath notes in his magisterial work on justification (in which he destroys Newman's view) “Iustitia Dei”:
“The essential feature of the Reformation doctrine of justification is that a deliberate and systematic distinction is made between justification and regeneration (EP – the word McGrath uses for sanctification). Although it must be emphasized that the distinction is purely notional, in that it is impossible to separate the two with the context of the ordo salutis, the essential point is that a notional distinction is made where none had been acknowledged before in the history of Christian doctrine. A fundamental discontinuity was introduced into the western theological tradition where none had ever existed, or ever been contemplated, before.”
And because it had not been contemplated in either the East or the West (except, arguably, seminally in the works of Augustine), the Church, until the Reformation, was not clear on the matter on how a man is saved, something that had deleterious effects in those communions then and continues to do so today. (Roman and Orthodox laity are, generally speaking, notoriously amiss on the issue of how and why they are “Christians”. Nominal Christianity abounds in their cultures. This is a *serious* pastoral issue that Fr. Kirby nowhere addresses in his response.)
Fr. Kirby again exhibits a laudable honesty when he rejects, as “manifestly contrary to the Catholic consensus and (allegedly not proven) from either the BCP or the Articles”, that “the word justification, and the associated words in the NT, always have solely imputational meanings, and never any impartational or transformational connotations.” Well, he is right about Catholic consensus. McGrath agrees, calling the Reformation doctrine a “theological novum” (but as an Anglican, he accepts that “novum” wholeheartedly). As to Fr. Kirby’s second assertion about the BCP, Articles and the meaning of justification, well, he clearly begs the key questions, both as to what the Anglican formularies teach and what Reformational Anglicans have always believed.
Once more, with praiseworthy honesty: “So, my acceptance of the English Reformation is limited to the binding, ecclesially authorised words themselves of the BCP and Articles, as interpreted by Holy Tradition, and to those teachings of individuals which pass the test of Holy Tradition.” What this means, in essence, is that he desires to read the *Reformation* out of Anglicanism, meaning it’s essence, i.e., the doctrine of sola fide. A “new law” of salvation by sacramental mechanics is snuck back into the church, aping the soteriology of Rome and Orthodoxy. That may be what the ACC leadership wants, but most Anglicans (including some if not many who still belong to the ACC) will have none of it.
“Fascinatingly, Embryo Parson admits this appeal of the English Reformers (though he underestimates its scope, as this kind of appeal was the norm among them), but then effectively says, "They were not really in conformity with the rest of the Catholic Church, East or West, despite their claims, hence, so much the worse for the consensus." This is precisely contrary to their own position, so EP tacitly admits that the Anglo-Catholic is more faithful to the Reformers than he, for Anglo-Catholics agree with the Reformers that even their own theological opinions must conform to the Vincentian Canon.”
I admit no such thing, tacitly or otherwise. I simply bear back my former response to Fr. Kirby, which is that while the English Reformers were desirous of showing substantial continuity with the ECF, their clear adherence to sola fide meant that they had embraced a “theological novum”, per McGrath’s assessment. If there is anything that is “more than absurd”, it is the proposition that “the Anglo-Catholic is more faithful to the Reformers than (the classical Anglican).” The Tractarian and Ritualist movements, on which the brand of Fr. Kirby’s and the ACC leadership’s Anglo-Catholicism is founded, were expressly anti-Protestant. That is precisely why the hackles of the Evangelicals in the Anglican Communion were raised. Just who were these new medieval usurpers, anyway?)
Equally absurd is the assertion, “Contrary to what some here appear to want to keep believing, both the RCC and EOC agree with the ‘Reformed’ that forgiveness is a free, unearned gift received by penitent, living faith.” Certain of their “authoritative sources” may say something along those lines here and there, but what they give with the right hand they inevitably take away with the left. Any such “agreement” always dies the death of a thousand qualifications. At the end of the day, as I was always told by such “sources” in the Orthodox Church, “we are saved by faith and works.” They were simply speaking out of the reality of their Tradition.
“As for what Metropolitan Jonah meant, there are two reasons why Embryo Parson's inferences are unlikely to be sound. First, we can assume this hierarch is not an ignoramus, and knows the difference between Augustinianism (which the Articles certainly do express) and TULIP-Calvinism (which they do not). If he wanted to say say that both the Augustinian-Thomism of many Anglo-Catholics and the Calvinism of many Anglican Evangelicals had to be abandoned, he was more than capable of saying this.”
Whether Jonah’s an ignoramus or not, I cannot say for sure. What I can say is that St. Augustine ranks second to Calvin as a special object of Orthodoxy’s theological polemics. Why? For his “Neoplatonism” (a rich charge, given their own), but as well for his Pauline predestinarianism, which was tied inextricably to his doctrines of grace. Luther, Calvin and other Augustinian Reformers (including English ones) followed Augustine here, and not the East, though admittedly some of them applied that predestinarianism – unnecessarily in my estimation – in an anti-sacramental way. So, when Jonah means that Anglican should jettison their Calvinism, I’m quite sure he implicitly means (because the Orthodox are so explicit elsewhere) that Augustine is to be cast off as well. If, by Fr. Kirby’s own admission, the Articles “do express” that Augustinianism, then by strict logical necessity the Articles need to go as well. That’s not only a “sound inference”, but it is consistent with numerous online debates I’ve had with Orthodox folks: they are no friend of the Articles. Does it really come as any surprise that Anglo-Catholics who hanker after Orthodoxy would likewise eschew them? (I am reminded of the anecdote I heard from a trustworthy source about an ACC priest who says he wipes his hindquarters with them.)
“Second, the audience he was speaking to was largely made up, as I understand it, of modern Evangelical and Charismatic Anglicans, a significant proportion of whom hold lightly if at all to Calvinist soteriology, but virtually all of whom would ascribe to at least the last 4 in the list of 8 I gave above. And these positions are ones they share with conventional Calvinism, but divide them sharply from the EOC. So, it makes more sense to see the Metropolitan's call to abandon Calvinism as a call to abandon both hyperaugustinian soteriology (e.g., Christ did not die for all; unbelievers are not only fallen in every aspect of their being, but "wholly inclined to all evil"; God positively and actively predestines some to eternal damnation). . . .”
Oh, I am quite sure that this is what they mean. I just don’t believe all of that can be considered “hyperaugustinian.” St. Augustine was quite clear about these things, which is precisely why the Orthodox target him. Whether many Evangelicals and Charismatics lean heavily Arminian is irrelevant. Their Anglican formularies are anything but, and Jonah knows this (probably because he is not an ignoramus).
“In any case, one of the main points I am trying to make is that whether Cranmer et al. were old Protestants, SemiLutherans, Calvinists, Zwinglians or small r reformed Catholics, or a mixture of all of these is completely irrelevant. What matters is that they affirmed and formally submitted to Catholic consent and continuity even while attacking mediaeval abuses, expressed this fundamental respect for the authority of the Church in various of the formularies, but did not dogmatically impose any heresy on the C of E by those formularies. This was the case even though some of them held what were materially heretical positions in certain areas.”
However, they were not representatives of the kind of “Anglo-Catholicism” that the ACC leadership and Fr. Kirby advocate. This is precisely why there has been so much controversy between Reformed and Anglo-Catholic wings of the Anglican Church since the 19th century, as the latter represented a reversion to the kind of liturgical AND soteriological errors of the medieval church that the English Reformation rejected.
“The other point I am making is that while variation in theological opinions is accepted and normal within the Catholic Church, *doctrinal* comprehensiveness properly speaking is not. There is much that is not up for grabs, subject to debate or permitted to be denied in orthodox Catholicism. And this mandatory area includes the rejection of certain beliefs once common or widely tolerated in Anglicanism (see 1 to 8 above). Therefore, precisely insofar as so-called "Reformed Anglicans" might want to affirm those heterodox beliefs, they cannot be considered orthodox Catholics and so cannot be considered faithful to one of the founding principles of the "reformed" C of E. More to the point in the here and now, they cannot then be in agreement with the formularies of the ACC and so members of it in good conscience once they recognise this. And none of that reflects badly on the ACC at all. It is just a matter of honesty, consistency and sound teaching.”
Yes, “is just a matter of honesty, consistency and sound teaching”, but only from the ACC leadership’s perspective. And that’s why I wrote, “so much the worse for the ACC”, because it isn’t the perspective of the English Reform or of those who embrace it, Fr. Kirby’s and the ACC leadership’s historical/theological revisionism notwithstanding. It is “beyond absurd” to argue, as Fr. Kirby and the ACC leadership do, that it is “mandatory” to reject “certain beliefs *once* common or widely tolerated in Anglicanism”, when those beliefs are still today commonly and widely *held* (not merely “tolerated”). Who died and made the ACC Continuing Anglicanism’s Magisterium?
“Getting down to brass tacks, what I am saying is that a person affirming any or all of propositions 5 to 8 in the list of 8 above, for example, is certainly within the range of what has been believed and taught by Anglicans outwardly in good standing, and may thus be termed a "classical Anglican". At the same time, such a person is not a Catholic, has implicitly rejected a basic epistemological premise of Anglican doctrine and of the ACC's Formularies, and so cannot and should not be a member of the ACC unless he or she rejects these doctrinal errors.”
Well, there we have it. I for one have found it necessary to depart from the ACC for the very reasons Fr. Kirby sets forth here. As I’ve argued at my blog and to certain friends who are still in the ACC, this is where the ACC’s leadership wants to take the ACC, if not the entire Anglican Continuum. But I’m quite sure the majority of the Continuum churches will not follow them, as evidenced in part by Archbishop Robinson’s recent writings at his blog and his blog entry here.
My observations tell me as well that not everyone in the *ACC* will follow Fr. Kirby and the ACC leadership. If the ACC PTB intend to proceed in this direction regardless, well, my prediction is that ACC/ACPK will end up as a “little flock” indeed, with their die-hard Anglo-Catholic constituency continually drifting away to Rome or Orthodoxy, as they have been since the 19th century. I believe “classical” Continuers have another vision altogether, one more in keeping with both the preservation of Settlement Anglicanism and continued obedience to the Great Commission.
Why does it seem so odd that ancient communions like Rome and especially the East would reject sola fide? Given the theological atmosphere in which faith and practice are breathed, is it at all shocking that the Reformers were rejected by the likes of the Eastern Church? I had a book some years ago called Augsburg and Constantinople in which was published fascinating letters exchanged between the 16th century Lutheran divines and Eastern theologians. The Lutherans supposed the East would rally to their side once they heard the cause of the Reformation (after all, both parties detested the papacy). After the salient points of reform were detailed and defended by the Lutherans, the answer ultimately came back from Constantinople, essentially saying: “Sorry, never heard of this theology. We can’t join your cause.” What should we make of this scenario? Is it really the case that the Eastern Church was/is simply overrun with the damning theology of Judaizer heresy under a different cloak? If so, in what sense are they really Christian? If not, then perhaps it might be more reasonable to ask if there are conceptual/linguistic barriers? And would you blame them for feeling the Scripture clearly defends justification not by faith alone, but by faith and works, especially in the light of the epistle of James?
I am so glad you brought up McGrath’s observation that the Reformers were taking soteriology into practically unfamiliar, and basically new, territory. But this fact alone should account for the resistance from Rome and the East. We can ask legitimately if Scripture makes a “radical distinction” between verdict and transformation on this side of the Reformation, but the fact that no such a distinction was en vogue for 1400 years should make us suspect something else was afoot rather than only believing rank heresy was unleashed on the unwashed masses of whom can be described as nothing other than apostate Judaizers.
If nominalism and pharisaism are your concerns, you are not alone. It seems to me every communion faces this reality that the majority will not enter into a living relationship with Christ, and those who do still have a great deal to understand. Even Ratzinger, in his Introduction to Christianity, laments this fact that for all her glories and gifts, Medieval Europe was by and large nominally Christian, and relatively few *got it*. For what it’s worth, I live here in the great state of Texas and find Baptist nominalism to be a plague to this great land. What? Shall I therefore fault Baptists with being a bunch of damned (literally) antinomians? Given their stalwart origins (1689 London Baptist Confession anyone?) is this really the right way to describe them theologically? I can’t tell you how often I’ve interviewed fellow evangelicals who themselves muddy the justification/sanctification waters (the White Horse Inn did this quite often years ago and aired amusing clips). Material versus formal heresy has to be considered at some point.
Back to my opening point: the condemnations from Rome (and the East) on the doctrine of sola fide does not have to be interpreted as rejecting the free grace of God in Christ. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard Baptists (among others) denounce Luther’s doctrine of Baptismal regeneration as works-righteousness, or it militates against faith alone, or some such non-sense. Is that a theologically fair caricature of Luther’s theology? Is Luther really re-introducing another Law in place of circumcision? Having been both a Lutheran and a Calvinist, I can tell you there are some pretty significant differences in the way either camp approaches theology. The Lutheran and Calvinist camps were quite fond of hurling insults at each other’s theology during the 16th century and well into their Silver Age of Orthodoxy. Oh, of course the Lutherans were closeted Monophysites, and the Calvinists crypto-Nestorians (the ancient anathemas rested on both these parties by ecumenical decree as you well know). But what is the reality? Should we settle on these old inflamed prejudices to inform how we proceed? Or do we welcome advances like we find in the 19th century Mercersburg movement that highlights the commonalities and builds bridges between the two Christian communions? Likewise with Rome and the East: by my Anglican lights, they are venerable institutions worthy of interacting with to build understanding and appreciation. Not as foreigners to our faith, but as fellow-sojourners whom we need because they too are catholics. And they need us, even if they deny they need us. Event Ratzinger seems to think Rome needs the witness of Protestantism, and it has a divine economy in the plan of God.
As to what you feel is an outright rejection of Anglicanism by the ACC leadership, I cannot for a moment believe Archbishop Haverland is indifferent to Reformation-era English religion – it would make no sense on any level. At best this would be a grave misinterpretation of His Grace’s sentiments; at worst, some kind of deliberate distortion (which I daren’t level against you). Sixteenth century religion and practice is not muted, but gladly expanded upon and eagerly engaged with Medieval Christianity in ways that I agree would make certain Anglican quarters break out into hives. At some point we have to simply stop blaming the theology of the Middle Ages for the Reformation. Other forces were at work besides indulgences. Superstition and abuse was identified by all parties involved, both Roman and Reformation – so how does that invalidate the heart of Medieval theology? If we choose to be blind to the continuity between Augustine, Anselm, Lombard, Aquinas, and Hooker, we might be tempted to throw in our lot with the party that decries the Evil Middle Ages. I think the ACC is far more accepting of her Medieval origins than those who feel the Golden Age dawned in the 16th century and the naughty, messy parts for 1000 years prior are pretty much a work of the devil.
As for the term “Protestant” – I welcome it in a very restrained context. Unfortunately it has the nasty capacity of selling a point about Anglicanism that isn’t really a selling point: we’re not Roman. This is truly unhelpful. The Eastern Christians could be called Protestants on some technical level, but they don’t define themselves against Rome. The Anabaptists for all intents and purposes were (are) Protestants. Their brand of Protestantism has a slew of differing opinions from those of England, Geneva, and Augsburg – but they had cause for resisting Rome too. Saying I’m not Roman has little meaning in a highly fragmentary western Christendom. I could be wrong here, but it seems the ACC sees the opportunity to advance some very important Medieval catholic theology in the face of a corrupt Roman self-understanding of supremacy and rule by not giving them an inch. The term Protestant is no sacred cow ultimately: however, catholic is the lifeblood of the faith. No universal creeds are framed around Protestantism.
This does not mean Anglo-Catholics should just turn their noses up at Calvin and Luther, as if they said nothing helpful or enlightening. I have happily quoted Luther and Calvin in sermons when appropriate. Their insights are meaningful and applicable. The Reformation is a socio-religious historical fact that will not go away by ignoring it. We must engage and respect the questions of their day. What we should not do, however, is apotheosize their opinions beyond Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. The beauty of Anglicanism, when working right, assimilates these sources in the light of Scripture and constant testimony of the Fathers. Where they err, we happily reject them; where they are right, we happily laud their teachings.
In the end the ACC has never struck me as ashamed of her past – as if 19th century Tractarianism was the real deal while England sat in darkness. The truth of the matter is there are deep tensions within this beautiful thing called Anglicanism. The 19th century bombshell was a natural eruption in the light of these innate tensions. It was bound to happen, and it ticked off loyalists from different quarters. It still does to this day. But that’s what I love about the ACC: she’s gambling on antiquity, Scripture, and consensus to move forward. Consistent Anglicanism is what Anglo-Catholicism is all about.
I think EP is missing an essential point, The Reformers did not believe they had affirmed any doctrinal novum. They denied this, and explicitly declared, in the case of Cranmer and Jewel, that they were willing to submit their theologies to the test of the Patristic and Catholic consensus. Therefore, if we are to take the English Reformers at their own word, we must treat all their opinions as corrigible and subject to Holy Tradition.
Amazingly, the attempts to show an irreconcilable difference between Trent and the Anglican formularies contain their own refutation. The doctrine that Trent rejects is not sola fide simpliciter, but sola fide "in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification". But the Anglican Homily on Salvation that "this faith is not without hope ... nor without the love of God and of our neighbours". This is the very point made at Trent, Sixth Session, Chapter VII. In other words, what Trent condemns, Anglicanism does not affirm.
The Tridentine condemnation is in fact aimed at the (supposedly?) Lutheran rejection of the idea that it is faith informed by charity that saves.
Do the Anglican Formularies define Justification? Yes, in the Homilies. E.g., "the forgiveness of man's sins and trespasses in such things as he hath offended" in the Homily of Salvation. But there is also this from the later Homily for Rogation Week:
"To justify a sinner, to new create him from a wicked person to a righteous man, is a greater act, saith St Augustine, than to make such a new heaven and earth as is already made." The use of the singular in the latter part of the sentence ("is a greater act") proves that "to new create him" is explanatory of "To justify a sinner". So, we have a narrower, imputational definition, and a broader impartational one. Call them justification sensu stricto and justification sensu lato, if you like. And the broader definition is also found in the Henrician formularies.
Therefore, given the above facts and the prayer in the baptismal service I alluded to earlier, it cannot be maintained that the Anglican Formularies ever committed Anglicans to a dogmatic rejection of impartational connotations of the word justification. Which, again, means there is no conflict with Trent, which condemns only those who claim that justification is "sole"-ly imputational "to the exclusion of" other aspects (Canon 11 concerning justification).
Finally, it is disappointing that my interlocutors have expressed amazement at my claim that "forgiveness by faith not works" is clearly taught by the RCC and EOC. After all, it is not hard to find both ancient and modern EO sources stating this (e.g., Chrysostom repeatedly; and the Orthodox Study Bible, e.g., commentary on Ephesians 2:8-10), and more to the point, I have laid out the evidence for the RCC's Tridentine acceptance of this principle through this blog more than once.
Fr. Kirby wrote:
"The doctrine that Trent rejects is not sola fide simpliciter, but sola fide "in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification". But the Anglican Homily on Salvation that "this faith is not without hope ... nor without the love of God and of our neighbours"."
Me: Your definition undermines your premise by conflating justification with sanctification. Justification is solely by faith alone as per Article 11. Evidences (love and hope) are defined in Art. 12 (good works) as the result of, or that which follows after, one's justification through faith only. If some measure of my works is necessary to secure justification then how can the hope be sure?
"Do the Anglican Formularies define Justification? Yes, in the Homilies. E.g., "the forgiveness of man's sins and trespasses in such things as he hath offended" in the Homily of Salvation."
Me: Why offer only part of the definition found in the Formularies? In order to make your case that they agree with Trent? Cranmer goes much further in the Homily on Salvation regarding the definition of justification:
to be continued...
Cranmer defines justification in the Homily on Salvation:
"Three things must go together in our justification. In these aforesaid places, the Apostle touches specially three things, which must go together in our justification. Upon GOD'S part, his great mercy and grace: upon Christ's part, justice, that is, the satisfaction of GOD'S justice, or the price of our redemption, by the offering of his body, and shedding of his blood, with fulfilling of the law perfectly & throughly; and upon our part true & lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, which yet is not ours, but by GOD'S working in us: so that in our justification, is not only God's mercy & grace, but also his justice, which the Apostle calls the justice of GOD, & it consists in paying our ransom, & fulfilling of the law: & so the grace of God doth not shut out the justice of God in our justification, but only shuts out the justice of, that is to say, the justice of our works, as to be merits of deserving our justification. And therefore S. Paul declares here nothing upon the behalf of man, concerning his justification, but only a true & lively faith, which nevertheless is the gift of GOD, and not man's only work, without GOD: And yet that faith doth not shut out repentance, hope, love, dread, & the fear of God, to be joined with faith in every man that is justified, but it shuts them out from the office of justifying...
... But this saying, That we be justified by faith only, freely and without works, is spoken for to take away clearly all merit of our works, as being unable to deserve our justification at GODS hands, and thereby most plainly to express the weakness of man, and the goodness of GOD, the great infirmity of our selves, and the might and power of GOD, the imperfectness of our own works, and the most abundant grace of our Savior Christ, and therefore wholly to ascribe the merit and deserving of our justification unto Christ only, and his most precious blood shedding."
Lastly I want to respond to Fr. Kirby's statement - "So, we have a narrower, imputational definition, and a broader impartational one. Call them justification sensu stricto and justification sensu lato, if you like. And the broader definition is also found in the Henrician formularies."
The reason it can be found in the Henrician is that the Henrician formularies were compromised documents, splitting the baby in half, as it were, between the old Roman bishops (and Henry) holding to tradition and those advocating reform according to the Word of God. That is clear from Cranmer's own notes. He would know. He was there.
My previous comment with Cranmer's Homily definition of justification supersedes Henry and any understanding that justification is both imputational and impartational.
Richard Hooker dispells any notion of an imputational and impartational conflation in justification in his discourse on Justification, in which he speaks of three different kinds of righteousness:
"There is a glorifying righteousness of men in the world to come (1); and there is a justifying (2) and a sanctifying righteousness (3) here. The righteousness wherewith we shall be clothed in the world to come is both perfect and inherent. That whereby we are justified is perfect, but not inherent. That whereby we are sanctified, inherent, but not perfect. This openeth a way to the plain understanding of that grand question, which hangeth yet in controversy between us and the Church of Rome, about the matter of justifying righteousness."
So Hooker is saying that the righteousness imparted in this life is an imperfect righteousness which is part of our sanctification not our justification. Justification has a perfect righteousness (Christ's) that is not inherent or imparted.
Hooker takes apart Fr. Kirby's position:
"You see therefore that the Church of Rome, in teaching justification by inherent grace, doth pervert the truth of Christ, and that by the hands of his Apostles we have received otherwise than she teacheth."
Hooker doesn’t “take apart” Fr. Kirby’s position just as Alastair McGrath doesn’t “destroy” Newman’s view (see above). In both cases, they make reasoned arguments. But it’s not as if the Catholic position doesn’t have reasoned arguments behind it as well.
In this layman’s view the scriptures teach both the imputed and infused/imparted/Catholic view. We are all familiar with the verses supporting the imputed view. But there are verses supporting the infused/imparted Catholic view as well.
Matthew 7:21, Matthew 19:16-19, John 15:6, John 5:28-29, Romans 2:6, Romans 2:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 9:27, I Corinthians 10:8-12, I Corinthians 13:21, Corinthians 13:13, Galatians 5:19-21, Phillipians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 1 Timothy 5:81, Timothy 6:17-19, Hebrews 10:26-29, James 1:21-27, James 2:14-26, James 5:20.
I assume that Luther realized that there are verses supporting the Catholic view and that this is why he gave some books of the NT more authority than others (although this didn’t make it into their confessions). I also assume that this is the reason for his strong emphasis on law-gospel distinctions even within the context of the NT. Am I misunderstanding Luther on the L-G distinction?
Hello Fr. Kirby,
I must respectfully say that to refer to Chrysostom as Eastern Orthodox or a representative of EO belief is the equivalent of saying Augustine is Roman Catholic. It's labeling this great father of the Universal Church, 1600 years after the fact, in a way that makes him sound like he was a card-carrying member or founder of the current exclusivist EO denomination. I realize this was not your intent...
However, you are completely correct that the Reformers held that they were being true to the patristic faith, and the only "theological novum" with regards to their teaching on justification was not one of substance, but one of bringing greater clarity and emphasis to this central tenant of the Scriptural and Ancient Catholic faith of the Church (as I'm sure EP and Miller would agree). My primary issue on this point, is that you seem to be referring to Rome and the EO as the modern day representatives of this Ancient Catholic faith. I see nothing further from the truth, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. [Continued]
Also, while I'm on the same page theologically with EP and Miller in the articulation of justification, I do think the conversation is getting overly side-tracked on terminology. In particular, usage of the term "justified." While the reformers were firm on applying the term justified/dikaioo ordinarily according to its normative forensic meaning in Scripture, they did not deny a broader usage of the term that encompassed both the forensic and transformative aspects of Salvation (e.g. Calvin on the use of dikaioo Romans 6:7; Cranmer on the use of the term in James [Notes on Justification]: "St. James meant of justification in another sense, when he said, 'A man is justified by works and not by faith only.' For he spake of such a justification which is a declaration, continuation, and increase of that justification which St. Paul spake of before.").
That said, (as everyone on this thread is no doubt aware) the reformers never budged on maintaining the vital distinction between:
1. The perfect righteousness which is ours through the covering of Christ's righteous Blood (i.e. our perfect forensic justification--as Augustine says: "All the commandments of God are fulfilled when that which is not done is forgiven." Retractions Book 1, 19:3).
2. The very imperfect nature of our infused intrinsic righteousness, which leaves us condemned rather than justified apart from the covering of Christ's Blood (i.e. our only hope is the mercy of Christ's alien/extrinsic righteousness, since our intrinsic righteousness is tainted). Bernard of Clairvaux notes how all the intrinsic righteousness of a believer is a "filthy rag" and "mere unrighteousness": "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. But what can all our righteousness be before God? Shall it not, according to the prophet, be viewed as a filthy rag: and, if it be strictly judged, shall not all our righteousness turn out to be mere unrighteousness and deficiency ? What, then, shall it be concerning sins, when not even our righteousness itself can answer for itself ? Wherefore, vehemently exclaiming with the prophet, Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, let us, with all humility, flee to mercy; which alone can save our souls" Feast of All Saints Sermon 1
Finally, while it's far from perfect/ending the divide between Trent and the Reformers on justification, as far as joint declarations go--the joint (liberal) Anglican and Roman declaration is far better in my opinion than the joint (liberal) Lutheran and Roman Declaration (namely, because Rome concedes a whole lot more in this declaration--e.g. that the forensic use of dikaioo is the predominant Scriptural use of the term (Paragraph 14.), and it even acknowledges "Instead of our own strivings to make ourselves acceptable to God, Christ's perfect righteousness is reckoned to our account." (Paragraph 18.).
God Bless, W.A. Scott
p.s. Because of schedule this will need to be my last post (except perhaps for a very brief interjection or two) at least until May.
One last follow up in reply to Bruce's post. Luther like all the other reformers affirmed the vital infused/transformative side of Salvation. For instance Luther notes:
"He has purchased redemption from sin and death so that the Holy Spirit might transform us out of the old Adam into new men . . . Christ did not earn only gratia, grace, for us, but also donum, “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” so that we might have not only forgiveness of, but also cessation of, sin. Now he who does not abstain from sin, but persists in his evil life, must have a different Christ, that of the Antinomians; the real Christ is not there, even if all the angels would cry, “Christ! Christ!” He must be damned with this, his new Christ" (On the Council and the Church, Luther’s Works, 41:113-114).
The difference between the typical Roman position and Luther, is that Luther (and the other reformers) affirmed the Scriptural and patristic teaching that our intrinsic righteousness from infusion is always tainted by sin in this life and therefore cannot "endure the severity of God's judgment" as Article 12 notes. Hence, we are constrained to seek a perfect righteousness outside of ourselves, namely that of Christ. God Bless, W.A.Scott
Of course OUR righteousness is like filthy rags. But it’s Christ’s righteousness that is in us.
Hey Bruce. I'm sure you're aware of much if not all of what I'll be saying below, so please bear with me.
The locality of righteousness (i.e. outward/extrensic or inward/intrinsic) is a figure of speech. When it is said that forgiveness/imputation is extrinsic it doesn't mean that it does not occur within the believer. When speaking of infused "inward" or "intrinsic" righteousness what is being referred to is the degree to which our heart--and thus our thoughts, words, and deeds--are conformed to the perfect righteousness of God.
Because the inward state of the regenerate continues to be tainted by indwelling sin our intrinsic righteousness (produced in us by God's grace) and the good works thereof are ever in this life a "filthy rag" and "mere unrighteousness" before the standard of God's Awesome Holiness (as St. Bernard of Clairvaux notes).
In other words, while the righteousness being infused into us is perfect, the resulting state of our heart/works is not yet perfect because it is always mixed with sin in this life. Therefore, we must at all times (as unworthy Publicans) seek to have our intrinsic unrighteousness covered with perfectly righteous Blood of Christ (i.e. His "extrinsic" righteousness covering our "intrinsic" unrighteousness).
God Bless, W.A.Scott
p.s. This will seriously have to be my last post this month, I'm sure the other gentlemen on this thread will be more than capable of picking up where I've left off...
I have dealt with Hooker's position in a recent essay linked to on this very blog. So, I will just refer our readers to it. It can be found at the Retro-Church blog. In any case, I disagree with Hooker, but agree with the relevant Anglican Formularies. None of Hooker's writings, of course have any doctrinal authority as authoritative sources for Anglicans, and never have.
As for Cranmer's statements regarding justification, they make perfect sense given his initial narrow definition. This definition equates justification and remission of sins, and once one is using that definition one has to assert that the only meritorious cause of such forgiveness is Christ's offering, and that human works contribute nothing to this, but that faith receives it. But, guess what, this is exactly what Trent says regarding the remission of sins anyway (Sixth Session, Chapters VIII and IX)!!! So, the substance of what Cranmer says is perfectly compatible with Tridentine doctrine, once one gets past the nominal difference. There is no Tridentine claim that the love which cooperates with and is infused along with our faith is what earns our forgiveness, only that such grace-given love is in fact active in living, penitent faith. There is also no Tridentine claim that human works or infused righteousness are sufficient of themselves to earn eternal life or deliver us from damnation, since Trent always assumes that such infusion and action follow after and depend upon prior and continuing forgiveness. This is taught in Chapters X and XI of the Sixth Session. So, the idea that the RCC teaches that our infused righteousness is sufficient, abstracted away from the imputed righteousness of innocence through forgiveness, is nonsense.
Since there is also a broader definition of justification used in the Anglican Formularies, which includes the renewal of infused righteousness, then even the nominal difference in the use of the word disappears when all the data is taken into account.
Regarding the EOC and Augustinianism, I would point out that EP fails to make 2 important distinctions and thus misses the point entirely.
First, online polemics by self-appointed EO apologists channeling the propaganda of Kalamiros and Romanides, for example, are quite different from the official ecumenical and authoritative statements of the EO bishops. Treating the former like they are the same as the latter, or have any standing like the latter, is not sensible.
Second, there is a difference between being critical of a certain theological school, and declaring that school outside of the permissible bounds of orthodox Catholicism, especially in Eastern Orthodoxy! I am well aware of the East's reservations regarding aspects of Augustinian teaching, but this does not mean that they declare (ecclesially and authoritatively) that Augustinian theologians are heretics because of this. In fact, in the long history of RC/EO magisterial dialogue since the schism, I know of no occasion ever when the presence of the Augustinian-Thomist soteriology in RCism was put forward as a rock of offense or stumbling block, nor any official Eastern statement that the RCC must condemn such soteriology as heretical before restored communion is possible. In fact, the presence of theological opinions in the West that do not find acceptance in the East is one of those facts they seem willing to accept, even on the Trinity, as long as they remain only permissible theological opinions.
So, I have little doubt that Metropolitan Jonah was not referring to the moderated Augustinianism of the Council of Orange and the Articles, where, in both places, some of the Saints excesses are rejected or not found: e.g., predestination to damnation. He was certainly referring to those distinctives of Calvinism which are not found in the Articles or the Council, but are found among some Anglicans. Some of those distinctives are soteriological, many are not. E.g., once saved, always saved, rejection of prayer for the dead and all forms of the invocation of saints.
Hey Bruce. I'm sure you're aware of much if not all of what I'll be saying below, so please bear with me.
The locality of righteousness (i.e. outward/extrensic or inward/intrinsic) is a figure of speech. When it is said that forgiveness/imputation is extrinsic it doesn't mean that it does not occur within the believer. When speaking of infused "inward" or "intrinsic" righteousness what is being referred to is the degree to which our heart--and thus our thoughts, words, and deeds--are conformed to the perfect righteousness of God.
Because the inward state of the regenerate continues to be tainted by indwelling sin our intrinsic righteousness (produced in us by God's grace) and the good works thereof are always in this life a "filthy rag" and "mere unrighteousness" before the standard of God's Awesome Holiness (as St. Bernard of Clairvaux notes).
In other words, while the righteousness being infused into us is perfect, the resulting state of our heart/works in this life are not yet perfect because they are always mixed with sin. Therefore, we must at all times (as unworthy Publicans) seek to have our intrinsic unrighteousness covered with perfectly righteous Blood of Christ (i.e. His "extrinsic" righteousness covering our "intrinsic" unrighteousness).
God Bless, W.A.Scott
p.s. This will seriously have to be my last post this month, I'm sure the other gentlemen on this thread will be more than capable of picking up where I've left off...
Re: Fr. Kirby's post @ 6:38 am, above:
First, I was not merely referring to "online polemics by self-appointed EO apologists channeling the propaganda of Kalamiros and Romanides". One can find the standard critique of St. Augustine in Lossky, Meyendorff, Ware, Sherrard, et al. To these theologians, St. Augustine is the "problem child" par excellence of the West. Even a few Orthodox theologians, those few who don't share the anti-Western bent pervading so much of Orthodox theological scholarship, have spoken about the phenomenon. Theologians such as Fr. Hart's own brother:
"The most damaging consequence . . . of Orthodoxy’s twentieth-century pilgrimage ad fontes—and this is no small irony, given the ecumenical possibilities that opened up all along the way—has been an increase in the intensity of Eastern theology’s anti-Western polemic. Or, rather, an increase in the confidence with which such polemic is uttered. Nor is this only a problem for ecumenism: the anti-Western passion (or, frankly, paranoia) of Lossky and his followers has on occasion led to rather severe distortions of Eastern theology. More to the point here, though, it has made intelligent interpretations of Western Christian theology (which are so very necessary) apparently almost impossible for Orthodox thinkers. Neo-patristic Orthodox scholarship has usually gone hand in hand with some of the most excruciatingly inaccurate treatments of Western theologians that one could imagine—which, quite apart form the harm they do to the collective acuity of Orthodox Christians, can become a source of considerable embarrassment when they fall into the hands of Western scholars who actually know something of the figures that Orthodox scholars choose to caluminiate. When one repairs to modern Orthodox texts, one is almost certain to encounter some wild mischaracterization of one or another Western author; and four figures enjoy a special eminence in Orthodox polemics: Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, and John of the Cross".
Second, Fr. Kirby will read my responses in vain for any assertion from me to the effect that Orthodox critics believe "Augustinian theologians are heretics." Nevertheless, the old tension in the church between predestinarian theology and the theologies that stress the centrality of human volition has never been resolved, and Orthodoxy, being in the latter camp, is natually critical of the former. So my suggestion would be that Fr. Kirby simply ask the Orthodox folks he knows, or Jonah himself for that matter, whether or not Article 17 (just to name the most relevant article to this debate) is acceptable to them or not. I can just about guarantee that these folks will have serious issues with the "moderated Augustinianism of the Council of Orange and the Articles" -- for the same reason our ACC priest who wipes his hindquarters with the Articles does.
Lastly, I think it's instructive to note that Fr. Kirby says in the prior comment at 6:10 am that he disagrees with Hooker on justification. Not surprising, of course, just instructive. Hooker is widely regarded in Anglican circles as the most magisterial of the Settlement divines, though we duly note Fr. Kirby's point about his doctrinal authority. By the same token, none of the theologians of the Anglo-Catholic UnSettlement and their progeny have any such authority, which, interestingly, does not stop modern Anglo-Catholics from reading things through THEIR lens. I would say that at least Hooker's temporal proximity to Settlement Anglicanism renders him a more reliable interpreter. If I juxtapose that fact with the fact that Newman and many subsequent Anglo-Catholics also came to view the Articles as little better than toilet paper, I wonder why Fr. Kirby and his camp are so enthusiastic about the prospect of keeping hope alive for the Articles in the new Catholic order they propose for the ACC.
I failed to see this reply by Fr. Kirby, or I would have included it in my last repy:
"I think EP is missing an essential point, The Reformers did not believe they had affirmed any doctrinal novum. They denied this, and explicitly declared, in the case of Cranmer and Jewel, that they were willing to submit their theologies to the test of the Patristic and Catholic consensus. Therefore, if we are to take the English Reformers at their own word, we must treat all their opinions as corrigible and subject to Holy Tradition."
No, Fr. Kirby, I didn't miss that point. If you'll simply re-read my responses carefully you'll see that I implicitly acknowledged the fact that the Reformers often appealed to the ECF. And in fact one can find a number of quotes in the ECF that suggest that some of the most preemient ones believed in some form of sola fide. However, the Latin and Greek communions to which they belonged, being swayed by their respective "New Laws", quite early developed soteriologies that set works alongside of faith as being necessary to justification, contra St. Paul. Thus, McGrath's point stands: even if the Reformers believed they were not introducing a "theological novum" with this notional (but clearly Pauline) distinction between justification and sanctification, they in fact did so, because neither Western nor Eastern soteriology had acknowledged such. "Catholic consensus" was that we are justified by faith and works.
Moreover, you seem to be missing an important point here, which is that the Reformers to a man always subjected Holy Tradition to the light of Holy Scripture, and were quite willing to jettison the former when it contravened the latter.
We don’t need to get into James contra Paul to prove the necessity of works. We can do it with Paul.
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
It seems to me that this is justification/salvation language and not mere sanctification language. Paul showed a consciousness of his works and the possibility of losing salvation as a result of them.
Am I misunderstanding the verse?
Hello EP, you've compelled me to make one final (final, final, final) follow up post. I would caution in relying to heavily on McGrath on the question of continuity between the reformers and catholic consensus. His analysis--like that of the typical Roman apologist--relies too heavily on distinctions in terminology (e.g. the common broader usage of the term "justification" in the fathers--as encompasing both sanctification and justification--and according to which "broader" usage the reformers would likewise say (and did say--as noted in the Cranmer quote above) that we are "justified"--i.e. "sanctified"--by good works).
On the other hand, the concept or substance of "justification by faith alone" is found consistently, albeit in less developed form, in the Church fathers(i.e. that through a true/living faith alone we have perfect righteousness forensically through the remission of sins in Christ's Blood and apart from the deserving of our always tainted/imperfect works). Again, Augustine sums up nicely the ancient catholic faith on perfect forensic righteousness apart from imperfect intrinsic righteousness: "All the commandments are fulfilled when that which is not kept is forgiven." God Bless and thanks everyone for the discussion.
Hey Bruce, I had more time than I expected this early afternoon--so I thought I'd get in one more quick response. Losing Salvation has nothing to do with the doctrine of justification by faith alone as originally articulated by Luther. Luther notes frequently that we can fall from Salvation through coming under the dominion of the sinful flesh (For just one of the innumerable examples see the quote I provided from Luther earlier in my "8:24 A.M" post (only way I could think of to identify the post ;-) ).
Luther affirmed with Augustine that whereas the non-elect may in a limited and temporary sense partake in Salvation they later fall away, whereas all those who are elect receive the gift of perseverance and thus infallibly persevere.
Of course, Scripture makes clear that every believer can and is in fact commanded to come to full and true assurance (or, absolute certainty) of their election to glory (i.e. that they are the elect vessels of mercy/Good ground) and thus that they will infallibly inherit eternal life--and therefore the doctrine of predestination should provide sweet assurance to the elect as noted in Article 17. God Bless, W.A.Scott
p.s. Sorry EP, the latest post to you (i.e. on issues with McGrath's analysis) was from me.
Augustine's doctrine of apostasy is that of Luther's (or vice versa). The non-elect do participate in salvation, they are cleansed, regenerated, justified, etc. The only differing grace is the gift of final perseverance given to the elect. This is what makes the mystery of apostasy so befuddling: brethren whom you knew to be in the fellowship at some point let their love and faith grow cold, and they succeed in resisting the Spirit to their own demise. It's a tragedy in the truest sense.
I only re-assert this because of this pernicious Calvinistic idea that the apostasy passages merely describe people who were "never of us" (poor use of 1 John 2:19) and hence never regenerate in the first place. Luther, when confronted with the concept of "once saved always saved" (not the true Calvinistic doctrine, but a ballpark accurate statement), he said no such theology was known the Church ever. It was a "novum" he squarely rejected.
Steven Augustine Badal
Yes, the Catholic consensus was that justification sensu lato was by faith and works. And, once one realises what is meant by justification in all these authors (including St Augustine for the most part, by the way!), such teaching is not only orthodox but unavoidable. It is equivalent to saying that our salvation-as-a-process is founded upon and initiated in living faith (itself a gift), but that our gradual transformation normally depends in part on our cooperation with grace by active love. St Paul teaches this, and so do Evangelicals. It's just that St Paul only sometimes refers to the process as a whole as justification, and Evangelicals never do.
But the Catholic consensus was never that forgiveness/imputed-innocence was based on our works or meritoriously caused by infused virtue. Trent doesn't teach that. The East doesn't teach that, now or then. However, since they don't normally restrict the connotation of the word justification to this forgiveness-aspect of salvation, their acceptance that we are forgiven by penitent, living faith, and not by works, is not obvious to Evangelicals, or is not believed by them. Your mistake is the same.
Finally, I should note that I do not claim the Articles have any canonical authority in the ACC, only that they have never committed Anglicans to any denial of the Catholic consensus. And my disagreement with Hooker is not so much about what he affirms to be true soteriologically, but what he asserts about Roman Catholic doctrine in disagreeing with it.
Fr Matthew Kirby
Note: I am submitting these comments under "Anonymous" rather than my Google identity due to restrictions on this computer network.
Catholic consensus was that justification sensu lato was by faith and works... It is equivalent to saying that our salvation-as-a-process is founded upon and initiated in living faith (itself a gift), but that our gradual transformation normally depends in part on our cooperation with grace by active love.
This is classic Roman Catholic teaching on justification which conflates justification and sanctification. It was this that the reformers rejected.
Now concerning the righteousness of sanctification, we deny it not to be inherent; we grant that, unless we work, we have it not; only we distinguish it as a thing in nature different from the righteousness of justification: we are righteous the one way by the faith of Abraham, the other way, except we do the works of Abraham, we are not righteous. Of the one, St. Paul, "To him that worketh not, but believeth, faith is counted for righteousness.[Rom 4:5] Of the other, St. John, "He is righteous who worketh righteousness.[1 Jn 3:7] Of the one, St. Paul doth prove by Abraham's example that we have it of faith without works.[Rom 4] Of the other, St. James by Abraham's example, that by works we have it, and not only by faith.[Jas 2:18ff] St. Paul doth plainly sever these two parts of Christian righteousness one from the other; for in the sixth to the Romans he writeth, "Being freed from sin and made servants of God, ye have your fruit in holiness, and the end everlasting life.[Rom 6:22] "Ye are made free from sin and made servants unto God"; this is the righteousness of justification; "Ye have your fruit in holiness": this is the righteousness of sanctification. By the one we are interested in the right of inheriting; by the other we are brought to the actual possessing of eternal bliss, and so the end is everlasting life.
Fr. Kirby wrote: But the Catholic consensus was never that forgiveness/imputed-innocence was based on our works or meritoriously caused by infused virtue. Trent doesn't teach that.
TRENT - CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.
Thanks, Jack, for succinctly addressing the very curious assertions Fr. Kirby makes in his 1:42 am post. Equally curious to me is the assertion that the East does not now teach and has never taught that forgiveness/imputed-innocence was based on our works or meritoriously caused by infused virtue. It appears to me that Fr. Kirby once again contradicts himself:
However, since they don't normally restrict the connotation of the word justification to this forgiveness-aspect of salvation, their acceptance that we are forgiven by penitent, living faith, and not by works, is not obvious to Evangelicals, or is not believed by them.
For the Orthodox, a "penitent, living faith" is a faith that entails works, per their reading of James 2:18 et. seq. And as I noted previously, to the Orthodox the most "penitent, living faith" is to be observed in the lives of the monastics, whose legalism (i.e., their form of the "New Law") is legendary.
As for the assertion that St. Paul sometimes uses the word "justification" with reference to the "whole process" of forgiveness and transformation, that is simply begging the exegetical question. Operating under the commonsense hermenuetical principle that shorter and less detailed passages are to be interpreted in the light of longer and more detailed ones dealing with the same subject, what St. Paul says in his Epistle to the Romans will be the controlling material. It is in this sustained and detailed argument of Paul, where the nature of the Gospel is set forth more clearly than in any other NT epistle, that we find the "notional distinction" between justification and sanctification that must me made if we are to understand the Gospel aright. Fail to make that distinction, and we find ourselves at odds with St. Paul in several of his epistles (e.g., Eph. 2:8).
And that is why I say that the very Gospel is at stake in this debate. Luther was right. So were the English Reformers who followed him.
From the learned EP:
And that is why I say that the very Gospel is at stake in this debate.
Yet again, both Jack and EP completely miss the point. Of course Trent teaches that justification (taken there as including both imputation and impartation) depends upon the infusion of sanctifying grace. What I said is that Trent also affirms, when referring strictly and only to the forgiveness aspect of our salvation, that the remission of sins (which Jack and EP effectively define as equivalent to "justification") is NOT merited by us in any way, but only by Christ: "it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted nor ever have been remitted except gratuitously by divine mercy for Christ's sake" [Sixth Session, Chapter IX].
Combined with these statements "faith is ... the foundation and root of all justification" and "none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification" [Sixth Session, Chapter VIII], we can see that the RCC teaches that our forgiveness depends solely upon Christ's merit (such that He with His sacrifice is called the meritorious cause of justification in Chapter VII), and not at all on what we do or are, but must be received by faith nonetheless. Remember, for Trent, justification includes the remission, but also the renewal, yet the two are clearly distinguished repeatedly.
Everything Jack and EP say about justification can be found in RC teaching about the remission of sins.
Another complete misunderstanding of my interlocutors is their belief the EO or RCs teach forgiveness by works because they believe saving faith "entails works". But the Anglican Homily on Salvation says the very same! There is a fundamental difference between saying that living faith will naturally produce works and saying that it is the works so produced that cause or receive the forgiveness. Anglican, Roman and Eastern teaching all affirm the former. None of them affirm the latter.
Finally, and since we are now going round in circles, really finally, the claim that justification or our "righteousness" are always conceived purely and strictly imputationally in the NT, or even in the book of Romans as a whole, is seen to be specious in the light of Romans 5:17-19 and other places. Note that chapters 5 and 6 of Romans talk of one gift of grace, always in the singular, and it is both the gift of righteousness (5:17) and the gift of eternal life (5:18, 6:23). Neither the remission nor the renewal can be excised from justification, the free gift, in this part of the Epistle, however dominant the imputational connotation in the earlier part.
Rome's teachings on justification can be summed up as what she gives with one hand she takes away with the other.
She teaches faith is "the foundation and root of justification" (which btw they do not define as imputed righteousness - Ch.IV) and that it is gratuitous. That sounds good except it leaves the door open to add on to their idea of the role of faith which is part of a process.
Chapter VI adds quite a bit to that foundation of faith that must precede justification, as do Canons 24 & 30. Then in Ch. VII Rome teaches that justification includes sanctification, thus defining Rome's justification as really only a beginning of a process of justification not an accomplished act of God in Christ received by sinners through faith alone. This clearly contradicts not only the teachings of the Reformers (including the homily Salvation of Man and Art. 11) but denies the explicit teaching found in numerous parts of Scripture such as Rom 4:5 - "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." No preparation. No process. Nothing but faith alone in Christ alone by God's grace alone.
I also find it odd that Fr. Kirby argues that Anglican (Church of England) and Roman teaching on justification are in agreement. Why is that? Because Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Jewell, Whitgift, Hooker, etc. did not understand them to be in agreement. And for that matter, neither did Rome as clearly taught in the anathemas of Canons IX and XI.
Were the Reformers confused about Rome? Was Rome misreading the Reformers? Was the Reformation and Counter-Reformation all just one big misunderstanding?
Interesting discussion(s) to date, to put it mildly...
At an earlier stage, I wrote, "To the question, 'Why was Cranmer burnt?' we might add the question, 'Why was Joan of Kent burnt?'" - something still deserving attention.
When Latimer, at his trial, said that, when he rehearsed his understanding of what "may be called real presence", he did so "lest some sycophant or scorner should suppose me, with the anabaptist, to make nothing else of the sacrament but a bare and naked sign."
In distinguishing his understanding from his judges', he yet seems to be placing them both on the same side of some 'line' or whatever, distinct from other claimants to being 'reformers/reformed' - claimants both the judges and the 'Oxford martyrs' would agree deserved the stake?
And when Jack Miller asks,
"Were the Reformers confused about Rome?", I think we might add, 'Where the Reformers confused about the Reformation?' That is, among other things, how did Hooker come - after some three decades at least - come to need to write the Laws? Why did he, in annotating page 13 of his copy of the Christian Letter, write, "Your godfathers and godmothers have much to answere unto God for not seeing you better catechised"?
McCullough, not McCullogh?
Thanks for this!
Post a Comment