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The Art of Manliness

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Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture

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Midwest Conservative Journal

Numavox Records (Music of Kerry Livgen & Co.)

The Pipe Smoker

Project Appleseed (Basic Rifle Marksmanship)

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Categories and Monthly Archives

       Death to the Beast

                           Click for music.  Player will open on separate page.              

                Celebrating 400 Years of Anglicanism in America at the Old Jamestown Church

Friday
Oct172014

ACC Archbishop Mark Haverland: "What Is Anglicanism?"

"A fair question and one that in recent weeks has been much on my mind."  (Monty Python's Flying Circus -- "Flying Sheep" skit)

In connection with recent posts here, here and here, which have largely to do with the vexing question of Anglican identity, I thought it would be helpful to note Archbishop Havlerland's take on it.  This is an article of his that dates back to 1995 but was reposted at the Continuum blog in 2007 shortly before it became a copyrighted article on the ACC's old web site.  (See the ACC's new and improved web site here.)

It is clear from Haverland's article that "Anglicanism" is pretty much whatever one says it is.  Referring to Fr. Aidan Nichols' book The Panther and the Hind: A Theological History of Anglicanism (see my recent post on that book here), Haverland argues essentially that since Anglicanism has been long plagued by doctrinal chaos, it's better to jettison the Anglican ideal of "comprehensiveness" and pick one of the strains.  As for him and his house, they will serve Anglo-Catholicism:

Soon, I am willing to prophesy confidently, the official Anglican Communion will consist of nothing but a liberal Protestant rump. Those who do not want to be liberal Protestants will become Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, stop going to church entirely, or (probably what will prove to be the smallest group) join the ACC (and similar bodies.)

Interesting that Haverland neglects to mention those Anglicans who are conservative Protestant Evangelical/Charismatics, arguably the fastest growing party in Anglicanism.  But I digress for the moment:

What The Panther and the Hind shows is something well known to those who have studied Anglicanism closely. That is, Anglican history shows several broad strains of tradition, all of which can plausibly claim to be classically Anglican in that they have a long pedigree within the Church of England and her daughter Churches. Yet no one of these strands can claim to be Anglicanism in an exclusive sense if that claim means to imply that most Anglicans in fact historically held to that particular strand. Furthermore, these strands were and are often mutually contradictory and hostile. . . .

So how are we to define Anglicanism in this situation? It seems to me that there are two live possibilities before us. One possibility is that we define Anglicanism precisely by reference to its multiplicity of traditions and lack of uniformity, by its "comprehensiveness". This definition, however, reduces Anglicanism to liberal Protestantism and to the current state of collapse. The irony of Anglicanism-as-comprehensiveness is that persons with theological integrity have no desire to be comprehended by such a communion.

Persons with theological integrity have no desire to be comprehended by such a communion.

I have to say that I agree with that statement, and have quoted other notable Anglican writers here -- Packer, Pascoe, Mascall, Henson -- to the effect that Anglican comprehensiveness, which on the surface seem like such a broad-minded and intuitively unifying ideal, has turned out rather to lead only to shoddy theology and no true unity.   It is truly either creed or chaos, "creed" meaning not just the Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, but the confession on which the "reformed and established church in England" was established.  It also means consistency in praxis, specifically in the area of holy orders. These dioceses and societies that practice an oxymoronic "dual integrity" need to repent, and stop ordaining women to the priesthood.  Period.

Haverland continues:

The other possible definition is in fact something of a redefinition: we may redefine Anglicanism by reference to one of its classical strands or parties and then assert that that single tradition should henceforth be normative to the exclusion of the other classical Anglican parties. If we take the first option, as the old Anglican Communion has done, we are doomed. The ACC, therefore, has adopted the second approach. This approach does not, of course, require us to reject everything ever thought or prayed or developed within the other classical traditions. However, it does establish a norm and it does reject the longstanding Anglican tendency towards "comprehensiveness" or, if you prefer, vagueness. We say, in effect, that what was once merely a minority party within Anglicanism is the sole legitimate form in which Anglicanism can continue.

Here Archbishop Haverland attempts to co-opt the title "Anglicanism" for his church "and similar bodies."  Not so fast, this Anglo-Protestant says.

Haverland may be correct in saying that the best way forward for Anglicans who desire theological integrity is to "redefine Anglicanism by reference to one of its classical strands or parties and then assert that that single tradition should henceforth be normative to the exclusion of the other classical Anglican parties", but it is by no means evident that the Anglican Catholic Church "and similar bodies" may lay claim to the term "Anglican", as the magisterial work of scholars such as Diarmaid MacCulloch and Peter Nockles shows.  One of Haverland's priests, Fr. Jonathan Munn, has recently taken a more intellectually honest approach to that question, arguing that Anglican Catholics aren't truly Anglicans, but rather English Catholics, a position I have set forth for some time.  A position I defend as a corollary to the former is that Anglicanism began with the English Reformation, and has a set of formularies established by Reformed divinity, monarchy and acts of Parliament.  The subsequest "theological history of Anglicanism" was one in which several successive parties who eschewed the Reformed theology of the English Reformation and its Articles moved, in stages, away from it, branching into Arminian High Church, Tractarian/Ritual/Anglo-Catholic and Liberal parties.

As I said, Haverland is likely correct that the only way to obtain theological integrity is to choose a strand and go with it.  If the ACC has determined that this is true for itself "and similar bodies", Evangelical Anglicans could theoretically come to the same decision, and it's not at all evident that even Evangelicals would hang together, divided as they are over the Articles, the charismata, and the ordination of women.

I'm not necessarily arguing against some kind of Anglican comprehensiveness, but I do believe that if it is to survive in the future it must be far less comprehensive than it has been in the past.  And that whatever that may look like, our historic formularies and specifically the 39 Articles need to be at the heart of it.  Bishop Henson was right:

The raison d’etre of subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles is the necessity, in a divided Christendom, of agreeing on a version of the Catholic Faith. In the Articles we have the Anglican version of the Catholic tradition of Faith and Discipline. It is not open to any loyal Anglican to form any other.

Alike for negotiations with other branches of the Church, and for the instruction of its own members, some authoritative statement of specifically Anglican teaching and practice is really indispensable. Such an authoritative statement is provided by the Thirty-nine Articles, and, if they were abandoned, it would be necessary to provide a substitute.

Which is to say that only confessional cats can be successfully herded.

Friday
Oct172014

"Christianity With an Anglican Accent"

That's how an Anglican priest I know describes the outreach efforts of the Anglican organization in which he is involved.

When I left the Orthodox Church, I did so with the intent to never again be an ecclesiastical ideologue.  Orthodox theologian Bradley Nassif apparently feels the same way, as he castigates Orthodoxy for its ideological and parochial bent:

Outside of Orthodoxy, have you noticed how the healthiest Christian communities around today are the ones who preach Christ, not their own denomination? They speak of Jesus, not their "Baptist," "Methodist" or "Pentecostal" identities. Yet, all we seem to hear from our pulpits is "Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy!" We are obsessed with self-definition through negation. It is a sick religious addiction. We often shore up our identity as Orthodox by constantly contrasting ourselves with Evangelicals or Catholics. I wish we would talk more about Christian faith, and less about "Orthodoxy."

Amen, amen, amen.  I think Anglicanism tends to suffer from the same pathology.  And that's why I welcome the idea of us Anglicans not being about an "ism", but about Christianity -- and the Gospel -- with a mere "Anglican accent."  It should not be about us: our Eeeeeeenglishness; our devotion to the Book of Common Prayer; our thrice-glorious liturgy and musical tradition; our pride in Oxbridge learning.  It should be all about Jesus, his person, his work, his word, his apostles' writings.  Our liturgy, along with our Anglicanness, should be a heartfelt response to those things.  Our "culture" and our "ism" be damned.

Friday
Oct172014

Christianae Apologetica

New to the blogroll.  Stay tuned for some stuff on the New Perspective, etc. from this site.

Friday
Oct172014

Peter Nockles on "Anglican" and "Anglo-Catholic"

Excerpted from his book The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship, 1760-1857, pp. 38-43. (Review here):

The labels 'Anglican' and 'Anglo-Catholic', so familiar in current theological discourse, also underwent a modification of their original weaning in the Tractarian era. The term 'Anglican' is of relatively modern origin. In the seventeenth century, it was mainly used in its Latin forms of `Anglicanus' or `Anglicanae' as a description of the reformed and established church in England. Early examples of its usage to denote individual membership of that church, i.e. an `Anglican', can be dated to Edmund Burke in 1797, and to George Stanley Faber in 1804. . . . 

'Anglican' took a long time to acquire an '-ism'. Its earliest modern use as denoting a particular theological tradition was by Newman in his formulation of the via media in 1837. Yet even as late as 1846, its use in this sense was of sufficiently recent date for Edward Churton to refer to 'what is now called Anglicanism' when describing the Orthodox tradition bequeathed by Hooker and the Caroline Divines. In the Tractarian controversies, 'Anglican' acquired party connotations. The term now denoted a particular understanding of the Church of England, rather than simple membership of that Church itself. Thus William Gresley applied the title as a substitute for a 'High Churchman' and in direct contradiction to 'Evangelical' which he used interchangeably with `Puritan'.  Certainly, the term 'Anglican' acquired sufficiently unacceptable 'High Church' resonances in Evangelical eyes for it to become suspect and almost synonymous with 'Puseyite'.

On the other hand for the Tractarians, the term 'Anglican' came to denote a 'High and Dry' form of attachment to the Church of England. Thus, Palmer, Hook and Edward Churton were dubbed `mere Anglicans',' 79 to distinguish them from those whom the Tractarian leaders regarded as unequivocal followers of 'apostolical' principles. Only old High Churchmen took pride in the 'Anglican' label and increasingly criticised the Tractarians for being 'essentially un-Anglican'.' Significantly, in his famous article on church parties in the Edinburgh Review in 1853, W. J. Conybeare distinguished an 'Anglican' or 'normal type' of High Churchman from the ‘High and Dry' as well as from a `Tractarian' or 'exaggerated type' of High Churchman.

The label 'Anglo-Catholic' also underwent transmutation.  The original meaning of Anglo-Catholic, like that of that of 'Anglican', had been a descriptive term for mere membership of the Church of England, and was of seventeenth-century lineage.  The term could be used interchangeably with ‘Anglican’.  The non-party meaning of the term endured well into the nineteenth century as was witnessed by Newman's use of the phrase 'Anglo-Catholic Church' in his Lectures the Prophetical Office of the Church.  The same usage was employed in the very title Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology by its Tractarian editors. Similarly, William Palmer of Worcester used the term interchangeably with the 'orthodox Church of England position' in his Treatise on the Church of Christ (1838), and William Gesley adopted the same meaning in his theological manual, Anglo-Catholicism (1844).

The addition of the '-ism' symbolised a new degree of theological 'vision in the title. For Gresley, 'Anglo-Catholicism', like Anglicanism', represented a distinctive theological tradition; a reinvigorated version of traditional High Churchmanship. Yet the label increasingly was appropriated by the Tractarian party. In short, 'Anglo-Catholic'_ceased to he a merely descriptive term for the Church of England as a whole and instead became a particular sub-division of the Church of England itself.

Later generations of the Movement's followers, including the `Ritualists', would claim the term 'Anglo-Catholic' exclusively for themselves. Old High Churchmen objected to this hijacking of a once neutral, unequivocal terminology. They strove to reclaim the term for supporters of what they deemed Orthodox Church of England principles. As a writer in the Church of England Quarterly Review put it in 1843, 'because the writers of the Tracts choose to call themselves Anglo-Catholics, surely we are not to give up our own claim to the title, nor yet to concede to those individuals, a designation which they have assumed, but which belongs to all sound members of the Anglican Church'.  G. S. Faber, who had proclaimed himself an 'Anglican' as early as 1804, maintained in 1842 that his opposition to `Tractarian principles' was based 'on the real principles of our Reformed Anglo-Catholic Church .186 Some old. High Churchmen even appropriated the term exclusively for themselves. George Ayliffe Poole, a 'Z', and friend and ally of W. F. Hook in Leeds, in 1842 distinguished three separate parties in the Church of England; the 'Evangelical or Low Church', the ‘moderate churchmen or Anglo-Catholics', and the 'ultra-churchmen of Oxford school'. Likewise, the elder Christopher Wordsworth in 1845 asked his son, Christopher junior, whether he might induce the editor of the English Churchman, an avowedly Tractarian publication, to make it 'a really Anglo-Catholic paper'.  It was a conscious throw-back to an older meaning, when Charles Wordsworth in his Annals (1891) made his indictment of the Oxford Movement that it had so soon ceased to be "bona fides" Anglo-Catholic'.  As late as 1877, Anglo-Catholic principles' were defended as synonymous with the 'old historic High Church school'.

The history of changing nomenclature points to that divergence of Tractarianism from old High Churchmanship which will be a theme this study. It illustrates a common perception among contemporaries of the divergence of a Tractarian minority from a High Church majority, in contrast to later historical assumptions that many distinctive features of the High Church tradition were attributable to the Oxford Movement alone. 

I believe the the terms "Anglican" and "Anglo-Catholic" have undergone additional transmutations since then.  Instead of "Anglican" meaning "the reformed and established church in England", whose Protestant faith was inherited by its daughter churches around the globe, it is to many today a reference to the English Church from its beginning until now, encompassing the whole range of theological beliefs (and unbelief) now held in tension: Reformed, Arminian, Wesleyan, Old High Church, Anglo-Catholic, Anglo-Papalist, Charismatic, and Liberal.

I sense as well that many today who refer to themselves as "Anglo-Catholics" are really just Old High Churchmen who, like their predecessors, believe in justification by faith alone and value the 39 Articles.  My sympathies to all you who are new to Anglicanism and trying to make sense of it all.

Thursday
Oct162014

And That Having Been My First Foray Into Intra-Anglican Realignment Politics. . .

I can say with certitude that it will be my last.  Oy.

Wednesday
Oct152014

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs

Regarding my recent posts, both now deleted, about a certain event:

Time to let it go.  Instead, I want to say a word about my bishop, the Right Reverend Philip H. Jones.

I don't know him all that well.  My only exposure to him thus far, other than what I've learned online and from others who know him, has been at the AMiA clergy/postulant retreat last June and at my ordination two and a half weeks ago.  What little exposure I had in those two events has nonetheless provided me of a clear example of what a godly man he is, and after observing his response to the matter on which I blogged about, I can say he's a class act as well.

Philip (he's the sort of man who is somewhat uncomfortable at being addressed as "Your Grace"), if you read this, don't let it go to your head. ;>)  I know you know what a sinner you are.  But it is the distinct honor of those of us who have been ordained by you, as well as of the laity who have found their home in this mission society of ours, to have you as our bishop.  I remember how in your sermon at the clergy/postulant retreat you mentioned a couple in your church who had a baby that had a genetic condition which resulted in her death shortly after she was born, and the tears you shed as you talked about your pastoral role in that awful situation and what you learned from it.  I remember also what you had to say to us back on September 27 at the ordination in Little Rock.  It was a wonderful sermon, and your words, indeed that whole ceremony, served as the capstone of confirmation to me that the Holy Spirit had indeed called me into ministry.  And I can't think of a more fitting place for me to fulfill that ministry to which God has called me than the Anglican Mission in the Americas. 

I am saddened that you had to experience what you did at that event.  It hurt my heart to watch it.  But let's just chalk it up to the growing pains Realignment Anglicanism in North America is having to experience as it finds its footing, which pains sometimes involve personal affronts.   In the end, all of us -- those who affront and those who are affronted -- are sinners saved by the grace of God.  (Gen. 50:20).

God bless you, Your Grace.

Tuesday
Oct142014

Deacons (Rise Up O Men of God)

Rise up O men of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings,
To serve the King of Kings.

Rise up O men of God,
His Kingdom tarries long,
Bring in the day of brotherhood,
And end the night of wrong,
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up O men of God,
The Church for you doth wait.
Send forth to serve the needs of men
In Christ our strength is great,
In Christ our strength is great.

Lift high the Cross of Christ,
Tread where His feet have trod,
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up O men of God,
Rise up O men of God.

Rise up O men of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings,
To serve the King of Kings.

Monday
Oct132014

Sidebar Augmentation

Readers might have noticed that I have been organizing and expanding my sidebar with new blogs and sites as well as additional articles regarding the confessional nature of Anglicanism.  I have added and will be adding Reformed and Lutheran blogs, as it was these two reform movements on the Continent from which the English Reformation drew, and whose theologies on various issues are reflected in our confession the 39 Articles.  In this regard, I am very happy to see Realignment Anglicanism's ecumenical overtures toward both the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the North American Lutheran Church, and in the future I hope to see greater efforts made toward ecumenical engagement with orthodox Reformed churches.  These are classical Anglicanism's natural allies, as Anglo-Catholicism's natural allies remain Rome and Orthodoxy.

Monday
Oct132014

John Henry Newman's 'Lectures on Justification': The High Church Misrepresentation of Luther (Updated)

One of the features of Alister McGrath's monumental work on the doctrine of justification, Iustitia Dei, is the demolition job he performs on Newman's Lectures on Justification.  I was happy to find the demolition job in essay form.

Update: Forgot to provide the link to the essay.

http://archive.churchsociety.org/churchman/documents/Cman_097_2_McGrath.pdf

Sunday
Oct122014

ISIL

Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris
Quia non est alius
Qui pugnet pro nobis
Nisi tu Deus noster.

1. Fiat pax in virtute tua: et abundantia in turribus tuis.

Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris
Quia non est alius
Qui pugnet pro nobis
Nisi tu Deus noster.

2. Propter fratres meos et proximos meos loquebar pacem de te:

Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris
Quia non est alius
Qui pugnet pro nobis
Nisi tu Deus noster.

3. Propter domum Domini Dei nostri quaesivi bona tibi.

Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris
Quia non est alius
Qui pugnet pro nobis
Nisi tu Deus noster.

4. Rogate quae ad pacem sunt Jerusalem:et abundantia diligentibus te.

Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris
Quia non est alius
Qui pugnet pro nobis
Nisi tu Deus noster.

5. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen

Give peace, O Lord, in our time
Because there is no-one else
Who will fight for us
If not you our God

(The following are from Psalm 122)
1. Let there be peace in your strength, and abundance in your towers
2. I wish you peace for the sake of my brothers and my family
3. I have sought good for you because of the house of the Lord God
4. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee
5. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

                              

Friday
Oct102014

A Priest of the Anglican Catholic Church Finally Admits That "Anglican Catholics" Aren't Anglicans (Updated 10/16)

Update: Fr. Munn and I had a pleasant discussion offline, and he's assured me that when he wrote of "Protestant heresies that came out of that turbulent time", he wasn't referring to classical Anglicanism.  He added that while he agrees the differences between us regarding soteriology are substantial, he is personally committed to the ideal of Anglican comprehensiveness, and believes that Archbishop Haverland is likewise committed to it.  I would argue that Archbishop Haverland seems to reject that ideal in certain of his published essays, but Fr. Munn knows him better than I do.   Time will tell on that particular question, I guess.

Our dispute, of course, largely revolves around what the term "Anglican" means.  I will be posting more on that question very shortly.
_____________________________
Fr. Jonathan Munn recently posted this article over at his blog.  Some highlights:

The original meaning of Anglican was simply as an adjective notably used in the 13th century to mean “English”. Of course, many Anglicans now disagree with that definition because it has come to acquire Reformation connotations. That is why Anglicanism is often seen to be defined by adherence to the 39 articles or to Protestant confessional formularies.

If that is what Anglicanism has come to mean, then the Anglican Catholic Church is not really Anglican.

Even then, I suspect there are many in the ACC who would disagree with me, such as the reverend Father Robert Hart. The way I see the Anglican Catholic Church is not a concerted attempt to forget the Reformation but to look further back beyond it, rather than as a defining mark of Anglicanism. Others find this a betrayal of the Reformation. Given that there are a lot of Protestant heresies that came out of that turbulent time, the ACC is rather justified in trying to continue Anglicanism across that era as well as the 20th Century. If a rejection of Protestant doctrine means that an Anglican Catholic is not Anglican then the answer should be that they never were Anglican, but rather that they have always been Anglican Catholic.

I would not describe the Anglican Catholic Church as being Anglican. I would describe it as being Anglican Catholic. I do not see the two adjectives which describe my Christianity as being separable, but unified in their intention. True Catholicism is rooted in the visibility of the Church as the distributor of God’s grace and proclaimer of His word. We Anglican Catholics strive to be visible in our Catholicism and do so in a characteristically English way. This does not mean dressing up in fancy robes, though our vestments are part of our expression. Our true visibility MUST be bound up with how we live our lives with other people.

Now, all this is very interesting for a couple of reasons.  The first one is that I have consistently maintained to anyone who would listen that the Anglican Catholic Church is really not an Anglican Church but rather an English Catholic Church.  I have argued similarly to Anglo-Catholics in the ACNA that when they argue that we should bracket the English Reformation and stress a continuity with the English Church of the 6th through 15th centuries, they have effectively renounced their claim to be "Anglicans" and are English Catholics instead.  Just the other day, in fact, an Anglo-Catholic form the ACNA proudly reported to me that he considers himself an "English Catholic".  These folks are nevertheless generally adamant in their counter-argument that they are just as "Anglican" as I am.  However, Fr. Munn implies the truth of the matter: Anglicanism is indeed a manifestation of Protestant Christianity, and therefore to extirpate Protestantism from Anglicanism is to fall back on its pre-Reformation state, and then see in the modern Oxford, Ritualist and Anglo-Catholic movements a continuation of the pre-Reformation status, kind of like a colectomy and resection.  If "Anglican" refers to any and all kind of churchmanship, it means nothing. 

The second reason for my interest is that despite this sudden appearance of intellectual honesty from Fr. Munn on this point, his archbishop Mark Haverland was an observer at the investiture of Archbishop Foley Beach last night in Atlanta.  What is the significance of that, I wonder, if the Anglican Catholic Church isn't an Anglican Church like the ACNA?  I suppose it might be answered that Haverland was there representing the ACC, as representatives of other non-Anglican churches -- Orthodox, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Methodist -- were there as well, so he wasn't observing as an "Anglican".  Or maybe he was there as a presence to ACNA Anglo-Catholics who choose to leave ACNA down the line.  Or maybe he was just providing a postive gesture to ACNA because of Beach's opposition to the ordination of women to the priesthood.   

Well, no matter.  The fact is that Fr. Munn has vindicated my argument, over which I have received much flak from ACs in the ACNA, and for that I thank him.

There is this one point at the end of Fr. Munn's recent article that warrants further commentary, however.  He writes,

Are Anglican Catholics actually Anglican? Not in my understanding. It is of no consequence: we should make sure we are Christians first!

That is very true, of course, but the question then becomes how we know we are Christians.  The answer to that question differs radically between those who embrace the doctrines of the Reformation and those who do not, opting instead for a soteriology centered around justification by faith + works + doled out sacraments.  If the Reformation represents nothing more than "a lot of Protestant heresies", as Fr. Munn seems to suggest, then we'd do well to listen more carefully to him as to how to make sure we are Christians (and hope it's nothing like this).  If, on the other hand, and as we hold, the Reformation was the recovery of something genuinely apostolic in the area of soteriology, and accordingly indispensible to the question of how to make sure we are Christians, then being an "Anglican" as opposed to an "English Catholic" might be just the ticket.

Thursday
Oct092014

I'd Add an AR-15

;)

Well, after all, Whitefield's preaching inspired the faith and spiritual lives of a whole generation of American Evangelicals who, shortly after the Great Awakening, put down the plow and picked up the musket in defense of liberty. 

Wednesday
Oct082014

The Panther and the Hind

I just finished re-reading Aidan Nichols' The Panther and the Hind: A Theological History of Anglicanism, and have ordered it from Amazon for my personal library.  I want to especially recommend this book up front for every reader of mine who is currently investigating Anglicanism, because it is written by a former Anglican, now a Roman Catholic living in the Blackfriars Dominican community at Cambridge, whose knowledge of our history and faith is magisterial.   Here is a brief bio.

Nichols wrote this book primarily for Roman Catholics seeking to understand Anglicanism, and also to highlight the fact that Roman Catholic ecumenical engagement with the Anglican Communion is bound to be futile, given the latter’s current trajectory.  Readers new to or investigating will find an excellent summary of Anglican theological history since the Reformation, despite the author's less-than-sanguine assessment of Anglicanism's future.

I've recently made my way through a number of books on the Articles and confessional Anglicanism, and interestingly I’m finding that one of the most compelling books, this one, isn't written by a confessional Anglican at all.  I believe Nichols has, somewhat inadvertently, made one of the clearest cases ever for the need to embrace The Thirty-Nine Articles as our church’s confession.  Though he doesn't say this outright, since he argues that Anglicanism's downfall began with the English Reformation and its subsequent failure to establish itself as a confessional church, he nonetheless implies that were it not for that failure, things might very well look far different in the Anglican Communion than they actually do today.  In so doing, he unintentionally buttiresses the argument that confessional Anglican writers such as Sam Pascoe, J.I. Packer, Roger Beckwith, Gillis Harp, Gerald Bray and recently the folks among the Sydney Anglicans have made, which is that if original Anglicanism is to survive, it must embrace its official formularies.  

The bulk of the book is concerned with his historical and theological analysis, which discerns 9 movements in Anglican history: 1) the English Reformation; 2) Hooker and the via media; 3) the Caroline Divines and their successors; 4) the Latitudinarian tradition; 5) the Evangelical revival; 6) the Oxford movement and its aftermath; 7) Liberal Catholicism; 8) Anglican modernism; and 9) contemporary Anglican theological radicalism. Nichols concludes this work by positing three disparate tendencies or parties within modern Anglicanism: Low Church, High Church and Broad Church.  Though there are some important nuances not to be overlooked, generally speaking in Nichols' schema 1 and 5 would today be grouped under the Low Church category; 2, 3 and 6 High Church; and 4, 7, 8 and 9 Broad Church.  (Nichols acknowledges that in reality it's somewhat more complicated than this. Consider, for example, the phenomenon of the High Church Evangelical, which is more or less how I’d classify myself.)

The Panther and the Hind is a compelling case for the belief that the Anglican Communion is likely doomed, but also in that connection why Anglo-Catholicism is fated to be a rump church existing in small pockets scattered throughout the Continuum and what's left of the Communion -- when it isn't morphing into Liberal Catholicism, a topic he takes up in Chapter 7 (the implication being that Roman Catholics shouldn't waste much time and energy on ecumenical endeavors with the Communion, but simply wait for the inevitable river crossings to Rome.)

The following are some salient excerpts from Chapter 7 on Liberal Catholicism (a successor to Tractarianism and the Yin to traditionalist Anglo-Catholicism’s Yang) and the Conclusion.  (Bolded emphases mine):

                                           From Chapter 7, “Liberal Catholicism”

Unfortunately, while one line of (Anglo-Catholic) development passes from Gore to the biblically and patristically controlled and credally obedient theology of the classical Anglo-Catholics of the mid-twentieth century, a second shoot of the genealogy-of-ideas tree points in the direction of a watery landscape, a more fluid world of theological discourse. It all depends whether greater stress is placed on the substantive, 'Catholicism', or the qualifier 'Liberal'.  Gore's confidence in the compatibility of credal orthodoxy and critical scholarship made the question of the relative priority of faith or reason, to his mind, entirely hypothetical. For a later generation of liberal Catholics, however, should inconsistency be detected between the 'assured results of modern criticism' and a somewhat minimised version of the essentials of the Catholic faith, it was faith which had to give way." On the other hand, those have never been lacking whose reaction was, rather, to wonder whether the critical methodologists might at times be using the 'wrong tool'. The Anglo-Catholic movement today is thus divided between its traditional or classical and 'affirming' or accommodationist wings.

 

In general, the twentieth century history of Anglo-Catholicism has been marked by early climax, a holding operation, and subsequently since the Second Vatican Council, steady decline. Anglo-Catholics enjoyed their greatest success in the Church of England around the time of the First World War. Though the Crown was on the whole suspicious of them and the bishops mainly cautious, Anglo-Catholics succeeded in taking over a considerable part of the parochial system, especially in London and south-east England, thanks to both lay patrons and the founding of missions later erected as parishes. Like the Evangelicals they also operated through Church societies, whether missionary, like the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, or for internal consolidation, like the Church Union. Since the 1960s however their confidence has been deeply sapped, partly through the confusion as to Catholic identity engendered by the Vatican II revolution in Roman Catholicism, partly through the continued and growing institutional domination of con temporary Anglicanism by the Broad Church wing." Now largely existing in embattled enclaves, they are faced with difficult questions about their future in a Church with an episcopate open to Latitudinarianism on such issues as the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, and his Virginal Conception, and proceeding towards the ordination of women priests, and, doubtless, bishops. Four groups can be discerned: those who look to salvation from Eastern Orthodoxy, and hope for a `Western Orthodox' Anglican mini-church;" those who look to Rome for a Uniate scheme of some kind; those who propose to fall back on a 'continuing' Anglican splinter-church (as already found in North America and elsewhere), and those who under the leadership of the bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, are now preparing to make their peace with the Broad Church tradition over a wide range of issues, in return for the preservation of their liturgical and spiritual particularities." So far as one can tell from the somewhat vague yet clamant style of theological utterance which seems to be a mark of 'Affirming Catholicism', its chief doctrinal characteristic is a denial of the historical boundedness of the apostolic revelation in favour of a theory of continuous revelation through discernment of the 'signs of the times':

Our God does new things, does them for the first time, reveals truths hidden from previous generations and made known only unto us in these last days.

Admitting that no 'criteriology' for reading the signs of the times is yet forthcoming, and that therefore what God is leading us towards, or saying to us, by these media is undetermined, it can only be concluded that

The Christian way is as wondrously and as adventurously inexact as life itself.

The drawbacks to an emancipation of theological culture from a clearly identified doctrinal authority, at once preservative yet homogenously developmental, are only too apparent in our next topic, Anglican Modernism.

                                              From the Conclusion

The notion that the three schools somehow complement one another in a richly 'comprehensive' Church requires a lot of swallowing. As Eric Mascall has written

The fundamental incoherence of the three school theory can be seen from the obvious fact that the existence of each one of the schools can be justified only on the assumption that its characteristic theological assertions are true. But in that case all the three schools must be mutually compatible. And in that case there is no reason why we should not accept them all and a great many reasons why we should. But then what will have happened to the three schools? It is quite ridiculous to envisage the Church as a tricorporate society, each of whose parts is committed to holding one third of the truth. Regrettable as this no doubt is, it is because each school has not been convinced that everything that the others were holding was part of the truth that the schools have remained recognisably distinct.

And Mascall accepts Stephen Sykes' suggestion that the `comprehensiveness' argument must be traced back to the (somewhat unplaceable) mid-Victorian divine F. D. Maurice whereupon it becomes explicable, for Maurice's commitment to a romantic idealist view of [English] national character and destiny' predisposed him to the key-notions of complementarily and compromise. As Sykes wrote:

Coined at a time when internal party strife was at its most acute, it apparently offered a non-partisan refuge for that large body of central Anglicans who properly speaking belonged to no party, either evangelical, nor high-church, nor yet in any committed sense to the more radical of the liberals. Theologically speaking, however, the effect of the proposal has been disastrous. It must be stated bluntly that it has served as an open invitation to intellectual laziness and self-deception. Maurice's opposition to system-building has proved a marvellous excuse to those who believe they can afford to be condescending about the outstanding theological contribution of theologians from other communions and smugly tolerant of second rate theological competence in our own; and the failure to be frank about the issues between the parties in the Church of England has led to an ultimately illusory self-projection as a Church without any specific doctrinal or confessional position.

Bishop Sykes' critic D. Wiebe, by countering that comprehensiveness is but an 'appropriate response to the recognition of the in tractable character of the issues involved', and stigmatising as immoral any requirement from the theologian of some 'absolute commitment to particular theological claims' simply on the basis of his or her membership of the Church as such, only confirmed the accuracy of the analysis.' As Dr Paul Avis has written:

The notion of a tacit consensus residing in a common ethos is a post factum accommodation to the demise of doctrinal accord within the Church. 

And so it is.  Said demise of doctrinal accord began in the early 17th century when Anglicans began to question, reinterpret, ignore and reject the Articles, which were drafted and established by ecclesial and state will "for avoiding of diversities of opinion, and for the establishment of consent touching true religion". As Charles I was to later declare, the Articles

do contain the true Doctrine of the Church of England agreeable to God's Word: which We do therefore ratify and confirm, requiring all Our loving Subjects to continue in the uniform Profession thereof, and prohibiting the least difference from the said Articles; which to that End We command to be new printed, and this Our Declaration to be published therewith. . . .

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

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

J.I. Packer has gone as far to say that the Articles are Anglicanism's creed, and therefore just as authoritative as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.  As Dorothy Sayers argued, it's either creed or chaos, and Nichols has drawn a clear line from the rejection of Anglo-Protestant confessionalism that began in the early 17th century to the chaos of the Anglican theological radicalism of the present day.  In between those two temporal points are movements that reflected gradations of Arminian, Romish, Pelagian, and Liberal theologies, all four being rejections not only of the Protestant Reformation but the Augustinianism of which it was the fruition.  H. Hensley Henson, Bishop of Durham from 1920-1939, put it thusly, and with this quotation I'll end my post:

The raison d’etre of subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles is the necessity, in a divided Christendom, of agreeing on a version of the Catholic Faith. In the Articles we have the Anglican version of the Catholic tradition of Faith and Discipline. It is not open to any loyal Anglican to form any other.

Alike for negotiations with other branches of the Church, and for the instruction of its own members, some authoritative statement of specifically Anglican teaching and practice is really indispensable. Such an authoritative statement is provided by the Thirty-nine Articles, and, if they were abandoned, it would be necessary to provide a substitute.

So long as the Christian society is divided on issues so fundamental as to transcend even the interest of visible unity, separate Churches must exist, and must show cause for doing so. It would be manifestly intolerable that men should be authorized to minister as officers and teachers who did not assent to the doctrine and discipline of the Church which commissioned them. It would be not less intolerable if the parishioners were to possess no security against mere individualism on the part of the clergy. Therefore it seems to follow that Subscription is really indispensable, as well for the protection of the people as for the security of the Church.

When, however, we pass from theoretical considerations to the actual situation in the Church of England at the present time, we are confronted by a strange spectacle of doctrinal confusion which demonstrates the failure of Subscription to secure either of the two objects for which presumably it was designed. It does not provide any effective guarantee of the doctrinal soundness of the subscribing clergy, and it does not protect the people from heretical parsons. The Church of England, at the present time, exhibits a doctrinal incoherence which has no parallel in any other church claiming to be traditionally orthodox.  (The Church of England, pp.107 ff.)

Thursday
Oct022014

Blood On My Hands: Being a Hunter and a Christian Clergyman 

From an Anglican priest.

It's been years since I've braved the bitter cold of Norteastern Colorado in Fall and Winter in pursuit of migratory waterfowl, but now that I'm on the road to a slimmer and more energetic physique (and newly-ordained too), I think the time has come for this clergyman to return to the field.

Monday
Sep292014

Michaelmas

              

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Saturday
Sep272014

What Muscular Christianity is Not

This.

Unfortunately, Mooneyham's antics have only provided ammo (no pun intended) for Christians who eschew the notion of muscular Christianity altogether.  Here's an example from First Things:

Ignite’s approach to mission is nothing new; it’s just the latest example in the Muscular Christianity movement which dates back to the nineteenth century. And the danger now, as then, is that some Christians are allowing cultural concepts of masculinity to dictate our theology, rather than letting our theology dictate our understanding of gender roles. So it is that we end up glorifying a “warrior” concept of the Christian man—be it as a knight in shining armor (à la Wild at Heart) or the more in-your-face, gun-toting, beer-swilling version of manhood we get from Ignite.

Fortunately, a number of commentators were quick to spot the flaw in the FT author's analysis.  "Ignite's" mindset isnt't an "example" of muscular Christianity but a caricature thereof.  Some excerpts from the combox:

The author has chosen targets that are easy to criticize but I wonder if he would recognize overly feminized Christianity if he saw it. . . .

"From my father: masculinity without ostentation." Marcus Aurelius. . . . 

God said that David was a man after his own heart. How could you have overlooked that in a column on masculine Christianity?

Being masculine doesn't mean being foul-mouthed, obscene, or drunk, but David is as masculine as you can get and a counterexample to your gardener. We live in David's world, not Adam's world before the fall.

Given that David is a man after God's own heart I expect heaven to be a dynamic -- even wild -- place. . . .

Regarding the overall thesis, there's a tension between the warrior and the gardener I think. A book called The Masculine Mandate touched on the garden element early on, as it criticized Eldredge. Both of them missed the point: God made man outside the Garden and placed us in it. And well before the 19th century we were oft-told that we should "manfully" struggle. War language, metaphors, images are in the New Testament just as actual war is in the Old. So there is some sense to be made of that. It could just be "sin" or something, but more likely there is something to make of gardening and guns together. . . .

I think it's worth pointing out that ancient Roman infantry were mostly farmers. The essence of masculinity is probably something like Farmer-who-will-be-a-Warrior-when-he-must.

Or, we might simpy say that God's man is both "meek in hall and useful in battle."

Wednesday
Sep242014

C.S. Lewis: The Necessity of Chivalry

From the book Present Concerns (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1986):

The word chivalry has meant at different times a good many different things - from heavy cavalry to giving a woman a seat in a train.  But if we want to understand chivalry as a distinct ideal from other ideals - if we want to isolate that particular conception of the man comme il fant  which was the special contribution of the Middle Ages to our culture - we cannot do better than turn to the words addressed to the greatest of all the imaginary knights in Mallory's Morte Darthur.   "Thou wert the meekest man, says Sir Ector to the dead Launcelot.  "Thou were the meekest man that ever ate in hall among ladies; and thou wert the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that ever put spear in the rest."

The important thing about this ideal is, of course, the double demand it makes on human nature.  The knight is a man of blood and iron, a man familiar with the sight of smashed faces and the ragged stumps of lopped-off limbs; he is also a demure, almost maidenlike, guest in a hall, a gentle, modest, unobtrusive man.  He is not compromise or happy mean between ferocity and meekness; he is fierce to the nth and meek to the nth.  When Launcelot heard himself pronounced the best knight in the world, "he wept as he had been a child that had been beaten."

What, you may ask, is the relevance of this ideal to the modern world.  It is terribly relevant.  It may or may not be practicable - the Middle Ages notoriously failed to obey it - but it is certainly practical; practical as the fact that men in a desert must find water or die. . . .  (Brute heroism without mercy and gentleness) is heroism by nature - heroism outside of the chivalrous tradition.

The medieval knight brought together two things which have no natural tendency to gravitate toward one another.  It brought them together for that very reason.  It taught humility and forbearance to the great warrior because everyone knew by experience how much he usually needed that lesson.  It demanded valour of the urbane and modest man because everyone knew that he was as likely as not to be a milksop. . . .

If we cannot produce Launcelots, humanity falls into two sections - those who can deal in blood and iron but cannot be "meek in hall", and those who are "meek in hall" but useless in battle - for the third class, who are both brutal in peace and cowardly in war, need not here be discussed.  When this dissociation of the two halves of Launcelot occurs, history becomes a horribly simple affair. . . .  The man who combines both characters - the knight - is not a work of nature but of art; of that art which has human beings, instead of canvas or marble, for its medium.

In the world today there is a "liberal" or "enlightened" tradition which regards the combative side of man's nature as a pure, atavistic evil, and scouts the chivalrous sentiment as part of the "false glamour" of war.  And there is also a neo-heroic tradition which scouts the chivalrous sentiment as a weak sentimentality, which would raise from its grave (its shallow and unquiet grave!) the pre-Christian ferocity of Achilles by a "modern invocation". . . .

(However), there is still life in the tradition which the Middle Ages inaugurated.  But the maintenance of that life depends, in part, on knowing that the knightly character is art not nature - something that needs to be achieved, not something that can be relied upon to happen.  And this knowledge is specially necessary as we grow more democratic.  In previous centuries the vestiges of chivalry were kept alive by a specialized class, from whom they spread to other classes partly by imitation and partly by coercion.  Now, it seems, the people must either be chivalrous on its own resources, or else choose between the two remaining alternatives of brutality and softness. . . . The ideal embodied in Launcelot is "escapism" is a sense never dreamed of by those who use that word; it offers the only possible escape from a world divided between wolves who do not understand, and sheep who cannot defend, the things which make life desirable. . . .

Lewis sees softness and "milksopiness" in an insufficiently chivalrous man,  but Leon Podles takes it a step further in his book The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, where he complains about the "bridal mysticism" that took hold in the Western Church during the Middle Ages, and how it contributed to a subculture of unmanliness in the Roman Catholic Church.  Podles also documents how the feminization of the church proceeds apace today, and infects nearly all Christian communions, including evangelical and liberal Protestantism

And, alas, the syndrome has infected Anglicanism as well.  It was so bad, apparently, in the Church of England of the 19th-century that F.D. Maurice and Charles Kingsley began the "muscular Christianity" movement in attempt to counter it.  From the Victorian Web (emphasis mine):

Beginning at mid-century, the broadchurch Anglican F.D. Maurice and his pupil, the Rev. Charles Kingsley, began espousing the virtues of muscular Christianity. Maurice and Kingsley, like many Englishmen, worried that the Anglican Church and Britain were suffering from the evils of industrialization: among others, growing slums, poverty, secularization, and urban decay. Life was a battle, Kingsley argued, and Christians should be at the center, actively employing their "manfulness" and "usefulness" against the evils of industrialization. Kingsley doubted that traditional morality would be able to cope with the effects of industrialization unless the Church reformed itself. He also deplored what many considered to be increasingly suffocating effeminacy within the Anglican Church, and believed that muscular Christian men equipped with a cohesive philosophy consisting equally of athleticism, patriotism, and religion could rescue Church and country from sloth.

I have recently been in an online debate with yet another Anglo-Catholic priest over the issue of muscular Christianity, this time about the right to keep and bear arms and the morality of self-defense.   In defense of his pacifism, be brings forth all manner of exceptions to the non-pacifist rule of Christianity, citing certain mystics and monks who went to their deaths willingly and citing the "other cheek" passages in the same way a liberal Protestant would, i.e., as pacifist proof texts.  He also berates the "macho" mentality of those Americans (he's a European) who defend the right to keep and bear arms and to use them in self-defense or the defense of another.  Of course, he's committing a whopping non-sequitur in arguing from the "other cheek" verses to pacifism, he fails to distinguish between acts of persectution on the one hand and acts of tyrants and criminals against states and persons on the other, and willfully ignores the demonstrable fact that the Christian church has long taken a non-pacifistic stance in the form of the Just War Doctrine.  (Though the Orthodox Churches reject that doctrine like they reject almost all of Augustine's views, their own position isn't significantly different.)  To their credit, there are many modern Anglo-Catholics (most of the American, it would seem) who are anything but "soft" or "milksops", and who would carry weapons and use them if necessary.  I know a few of them. 

Lewis himself was on or near the Anglo-Catholic end of the spectrum, but at least was a chivalrous man: meek in hall AND useful in battle.  (He fought in WWI.)  And his Narnia series defend chivalry to the uttermost, with boys (and girls!) carrying weapons and willing to use them.  Here's hoping that we'll start listening to Lewis and stop listening to the feminized bridal mystics in our midst, and that orthodox Anglicanism will accordingly be able to divest itself of every form of unmanliness. 

Tuesday
Sep232014

Chivalry

       

Tuesday
Sep232014

New To The Blogroll

The Midland Agrarian.  Politically, I lean paleoconservative, anarchomonarchist, minarchist, agrarian, distributist, or paleolibertarian, depending on my mood on any given day.  Henceforth, I will be saying more about political and cultural matters.  Richard at the Midland Agrarian blog is a kindred spirit.  Check out his blog.

Sunday
Sep212014

Psalm 121 - St. Paul Cathedral Choir