Monday, March 28, 2005

In Memory of Keeble

JOHN KEBLE 1792~1866
IN REMEMBRANCE OF (29 March 1866)
JOHN KEBLE, 1792~1866

The following was preached by Austin Farrer at Hursley Church in 1961. Can be found here.

John Keble appeared to his contemporaries to be a saint. Unlike, certain of his associates, he kept clear of Romish influences, and perhaps for this very reason came nearer to the traditional type of Catholic sanctity than those who were more flamboyantly Catholic and more assertively traditionalist. For sanctity of the Catholic sort flourishes in the setting of a Church whose authority is never questioned, but patiently obeyed. The saint is a man in whom a well-established Catholic life comes to perfect expression. He is too busy living his religion to question it or to change it; or (to put the same thing the other way round) his contentment with the Church in which he is, excuses him the painful disquiet of alteration, or the egoism of private choice; and so leaves him free to live out his faith in holy self-forgetfulness.

Keble is seen by us as a leader in new paths, the father of a movement. He saw himself in no such light. He was the defender of an established religion of true Anglicanism against dangerous innovation. He held the faith and followed the practices which Charles and Laud had maintained against Puritan enemies, and which High Church divines had subsequently clarified. Alas, government and prelates had gone far in laxity and Whiggism, but sound parish priests, like Keble' s own father, had kept the flame burning. Keble was the son of his father, never quite happy about any position unless he could persuade himself that it was what his father virtually or explicitly held. He was devoted to the old man, and until he was over forty, and his father died, he was virtually his father's curate. The positions he held from time to time in Oxford were episodes in the pursuit of the family business, if I may so call it, of pastoral duty in the Cotswolds.

Keble was the tutor, not the contemporary, of the restless spirits who pushed the Victorian movement forward. He was nine years older than Newman, and these nine years bring his youth back into the world of Jane Austen's novels. The gentleman-parson, who is her hero, pursues his holy calling with sober devotion in the family neighbourhood and without ever passing outside the family orbit. We are inclined to think of Keble as an academic theologian who got sidetracked into a country living. He was in fact an hereditary rural clergyman, unusually successful at the university, who lingered in academic positions longer than his education absolutely demanded. As the country gentleman of the old school took an intelligent and it might be a stubborn part in national politics, so the gentleman-incumbent of a country parish should keep abreast of the Church's affairs and declare himself inflexibly on all important issues, with a proper sense of responsibility.

Keble, then, accepted his tradition and struck his roots deep into the soil of family, country, and Church. The principle of his being was piety, as much in the old Roman as in the modern Christian sense. He was a lover and an acceptor, not a critic. The Church of Hooker and Laud was founded on scripture and the Fathers: and back, back into the Fathers, and into scripture, Keble pushed the fibres of his mind. The stuff of the good tradition was all splendour and divinity; the faces in his family background were all as bright as angels. This dear, and humble man saw Christ everywhere in his Christian relatives, his tutors, pupils, friends; only in his own heart he saw an unilluminated emptiness; and yet he knew, for all his ceaseless penitence, that he had the grace of God, and that he was forgiven.

He was, to start with, a kind son and brother, and a heavenly friend; and it was the supernatural overflow of such natural kindness onto all sorts of people, that made him the excellent pastor he was. He spent the last thirty years of his life in this parish, indefatigable in teaching the children, visiting the sick, recalling the impenitent, bearing all his parishioners in his heart, always interceding, supplying everyone's every need, answering with his own hand letters in request of religious direction, which flowed to him from every side. He was able to do all this work in company; he scarcely saw his study, except for solemn interviews. He could do his work with a pleasant smile, and many interventions in the conversation, sitting with his wife and her friends in the drawing room.

And, of course, he built his parishioners this church, with his own money —and he had no money. But there were the royalties of The Christian Year, that immensely successful and, in its time, sanctifying book of religious verse. He would sell the royalties out and build the church. His friends supplied an even better plan; they gave him the money for the church, and impounded the royalties from his book year by year until they were repaid. Still there was not enough: he wrote the Lyra lnnocentium and published that, to make up the difference.

He wrote The Christian Year anonymously, and he was always worried by its success. He could never understand how it was, that the pure and heavenly overflow of a Christian heart could be read in its pages. For he could see that his heart was hollow and full of cowardice. Surely, he thought, I must be the greatest hypocrite alive.

He died, still vicar of Hursley. God granted him the happiness to die suddenly in a full age when he was just waiting for his beloved Charlotte's death. She did not survive him many weeks. Husband and wife were buried here in one grave. We will not say, 'May they rest in peace'; but, 'Dear servants of God, pray for us'.

Taylor's keen eye

In the mid 17th century, Bishop Jeremy Taylor writes in his discourse on the Liberty of Prophesying some keen words on the nature of what is produced by those who suffer from the Pope in their belly! You can see that entry below. In the Church after the Reformation in England, and leading up to the Civil War, there were men, and still are today who as Taylor writes,

"make every opinion an article of faith, every article of faith a ground of quarrel and envy, which, in turn, led to faction; and every faction, pretending in its zeal for God, went its busy way convincing men that, except they hated their brothers and persecuted every religion but their own, they lacked the very virtue of religion."

Every time I read this or come across it in reading something else, such as Andrewes' view of the Supernatural, I cannot help but recognise this as something all too common. When the Church continues in our day to be splintering and creating more and more sects of what "true religion" supposedly is, when will the faithful stand up and take note of what we are doing to one another? The most difficult thing in correcting this schismatic error is getting men to recognise that their zeal for God, may not in actuality be directed down the right path and have rather chosen to make a brother an enemy. But to even write or suggest something like this is to "lack the virtue of religion." How does one get through to God's people who set themselves up in this way? It's almost as mysterious to me as the Resurrection itself. Maybe we would all do well to mediate on Paul's statement to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.

Sunday, March 27, 2005



George Herbert

RISE heart ; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise :
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long :
Or since all music is but three parts vied,
And multiplied ;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

I got me flowers to straw thy way ;
I got me boughs off many a tree :
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.

The Sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’ East perfume ;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour ?
We count three hundred, but we misse :
There is but one, and that one ever.

Herbert, George. The Poetical Works of George Herbert.
New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1857. 236-238.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday

Ah holy Jesus,
how hast thou offended...

Who was the guilty?
Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.
`Twas I, Lord Jesus,I it was denied thee:
I crucified thee.

Adoramus te, christe, et benedicimus tibi,
quia per crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee,
for by thy cross thou hast redeemed the world.

+ + +

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Eucharist & the Way of the Cross

Cardinal Ratzinger Readies a Eucharistic "Way of the Cross"

Inspired by the Grain-of-Wheat Metaphor

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The meditations for the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum this Good Friday will highlight the relationship between the Eucharist and Christ's passion.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is preparing the meditations. The prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that he found the theme "in the Lord's words in John's Gospel: 'Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.'"

"With these words the Lord gave a Eucharistic, sacramental interpretation of his passion, of the Way of the Cross," the cardinal explained today on Vatican Radio.

The Stations, which in years past have been presided over by John Paul II, have used meditations written by various authors, including bishops and theologians.

It is not yet known if the Pope, who is convalescing after his throat surgery, will participate in this year's event.

Cardinal Ratzinger told Vatican Radio that "the Way of the Cross is not simply a chain of suffering, terrible events, but a mystery, the process by which the grain of wheat falls into the earth and bears fruit."

"It shows us that the passion is an offering of [Christ] himself and that this sacrifice bears fruit and becomes, therefore, a gift for many, for all," he said.

"I thought that in this Eucharistic Year we must understand the Way of the Cross precisely in the context of the Eucharistic mystery. The Way of the Cross is present in the Eucharist; present above all is the fruit, the multiplication of the bread, heavenly manna that comes from the Lord's death," the cardinal continued.

"We realize that we can participate in the Lord's Way of the Cross because he has transformed this way of his into a way of life for us, saying: 'Whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, will save it.'"

To clarify this mystery, Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned the example of saints such as St. Francis of Assisi, who pronounced "his Canticle of the Creatures, one of the most beautiful and most joyful poems of the world, in an abyss of pain and suffering, but through this suffering he felt close to Christ, incarnate love.

"Thus St. Francis was able to transform his sufferings into an act of resurrection. To transform suffering in communion with Christ, in love with Christ, is an act of resurrection and, therefore, pre-announces the definitive resurrection."

Eucharistic Devotion

Taken From Addleshaw's The High Church Tradition

The act of Communion brings to the faithful through the Eucharistic sacrifice all the benefits of Christ’s death. Beveridge tells his people that at the administration of Communion they are to fix their faith on Christ Himself offering to them His Body and Blood and all the benefits of His passion. [Works, VI, p. 36.] Comber bids his readers consider that when the priest approaches them, ‘the sound of his Master’s feet is behind him’. They are to behave as if ‘Jesus were visibly present with a train of glorious angels’; they are advised to say with the primitive church ‘Lord, I am not worthy, etc.’ [op. cit., p. 546.] In devotional books of the period, communicants are advised to say this and the Agnus Dei before Communion. [Wickham Legg: English Church Life, pp. 58-60.] But the act of Communion not only brings the faithful all the benefits which Our Lord has won for them on Calvary; it is a true fruition of the Body of Christ, making the soul really and truly one with its Lord. The union is a foretaste, a preparation for the beatific vision; it is the ‘highest perfection we can in this life aspire unto’. [Andrewes, op. cit., I, pp. 152, 284.]

Holy Thursday Eucharist

God our Father,
we are gathered here to share in the supper
which your only Son left to his Church to reveal his love.
He gave it to us when he was about to die
and commanded us to celebrate it as the new and eternal sacrifice.
We pray that in this eucharist
we may find the fullness of love and life. +Amen

Find Midi Here.
"Glory be to Jesus"

Glory be to Jesus,
who in bitter pains
poured for me the life blood
from his sacred veins!

Grace and life eternal
in that blood I find,
blest be his compassion
infinitely kind!

Blest through endless ages
be the precious stream
which from endless torment
doth the world redeem!

There the fainting spirit
drinks of life her fill;
there, as in a fountain,
laves herself at will.

Abel's blood for vengeance
pleaded to the skies;
but the blood of Jesus
for our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled
on our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion
terror-struck departs;

oft as earth exulting
wafts its praise on high,
angel hosts, rejoicing,
make their glad reply.

Lift ye then your voices;
swell the mighty flood;
louder still and louder
praise the precious blood.

Words: Italian, ca. 1815;
trans. Edward Caswall (1814-1878), 1857

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A Pope in the Belly!

I found some time to read and study today in Andrewes' thought concerning the Church. Andrewes, says Reidy, complained that some are far from Rome yet with their new perspective they think they perceive all God's secret decrees, the number and order of them clearly....Luther said well that every one of us hath by nature a Pope in his belly, and thinks he perceives great matters. Even they that believe it not of Rome, are easily brought to believe it of themselves."

Andrewes was moved from Rome and this new Puritan position as well and was in complete agreement with John Selden, "who blamed the Puritan for saying he wanted to be judged by the word of God, but really meaning by himself--he would have me believe him before a whole church, that has read the word of God as well as he."

Interestingly, how many fit into this box! My poor Presbyterian friends in the States who are unjustly being singled out are having to deal with the likes of belly-filled popes just like this me thinks!

A Blessed Holy Week

I have not been able to blog most recently due to my being terribly busy but hopefully I will be able to get back to it soon. I have been preaching a series this Holy Week on the identity of the Servant, the mission of the Servant and the vindication of the Servant, to set within our hearts the reality of our sharing in all three of these by our union with Christ. Identifying the Servant within these three emphasis from the OT Readings from Isaiah has been quite profitable to me and has been received well by those who have heard them. Having been out of the regular pulpit ministry of teaching for 9 months, due to my postgrad work here in Durham, and now having this opportunity during Holy Week to preach three nights in a row, has made me miss the priestly ministry all the more. I especially miss all the preparations for Easter and the excitement of the week, though it was and still is always tiring, but always worth every ounce of preparation when we arrive at the first Eucharist on Easter morning.

I want to wish all of my readers a very blessed Holy Week and a glorious Triduum and a Blessed Easter Celebration!

"These "Three Days" are at the heart of the Paschal Mystery; they remind us of death and rebirth and are the most important days of celebration in the Catholic Church throughout the world. We walk in joyful celebration along the road from betrayal and suffering, to death and resurrection with Jesus Christ who walked that way first - for us.

Lent exists so that we can prepare ourselves for the Easter Triduum. In the afternoon of Holy Thursday, Lent quietly comes to an end, almost unnoticed.

The Triduum liturgies are rich with experiences that we have at no other time during the Church year: the washing of feet, the veneration of the cross, the service of light, the singing of the Exultet, the baptism of the elect, the reception of candidates into full membership in the Catholic Church. During these three days, we focus on one event - the Passover of the Lord, our Easter.

We come together with all Christians to pray and keep vigil. We gather as the people of God to remember the saving act of Jesus, the miracle of his resurrection and to celebrate our faith and identity as Christians. Because Christ was willing to die for our sins and was raised from the dead, death is no longer the end of life for us. It is the beginning of a new life in Him."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday)

Let us pray
[as we accompany our king to Jerusalem]
Almighty Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
you sent your Son
to be born of woman and to die on a cross,
so that through the obedience of one man,
estrangement might be dissolved for all men.

Guide our minds by his truth
and strengthen our lives by the example of his death,
that we may live in union with you
in the kingdom of your promise.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Divided We Fall

Divided we fall can be found here

Thank you to the Pontificator for pointing us to this article.

If you want to know what is in part driving me to study for a PhD on the Eucharist as the sacrifice of unity and the meal that is to show the world our oneness in Christ, it is for the cause that Robbie Low expresses in this article. One that we need to pause during Holy Week to consider as we approach Holy Thursday. One does not need to agree with his total assessments to pause to ask ourselves honest questions as we examine the truths that he has touched on. The result or conclusions may not be the same for us all, but the level of truthfulness that he has put his finger on the sickness of Protestantism as an 'ism', with all its divisions is all too clear to deny. I recall in the American film, The Patriot the line where Gibson is arguing against going to war with the King of England and he states as a reason for not doing so by asking the question, "Why should we trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away, for 3,000 tyrants one mile away?" Has Protestantism done something similar? The posting of this article is not an embrace of every sentence or conclusion but to put it out here for 'Food for thought' and open honest discussion! What do you think? What is valid and not valid in his assessments and why? How does the Windsor Report address or not address the crisis that this article claims to be addressing? These are important questions for our time no matter where one comes down on the particular "dividing" issues that the author mentions. That is my purpose for posting it.

Robbie Low on 'sola scriptura' and the privatization of the faith

The curse of Protestantism is division. The very nature of its origins, self-understanding and approach to the Word of God are inherently schismatic. That, to many of our readers and millions more worldwide, is fighting talk and the Editor is currently sewing mail bags to cope with the expected outraged response. But bear with me a moment or two. I do not write those inflammatory words lightly and, as some of our long-standing readers will know, I write as a former Baptist Sunday School boy for ever profoundly indebted to Evangelical friends who taught me to love the Word of God. Indeed, my first application for theological training was to Ridley Hall and in 25 years ministry I have never gone out without my Bible in my inside jacket pocket. Never a day has gone by without it being used severally and devotionally. My beloved spiritual director, who has known me throughout my ministry, is one of the most remarkable Evangelicals of his generation. And I have been privileged to sit on the editorial board of this magazine with vigorous, clear-minded and utterly committed Evangelicals whom I am proud to call friends.

So I write this not as a ‘party’ man signalling the parting of the ways, nor as a naive apologist for the unalloyed joys of Rome or Constantinople. I write because it seems to me, after 30 years in the Anglican orbit, that the crisis that has engulfed us is primarily the inevitable crisis of Protestantism and that it is as damaging to the Evangelical cause as to the Catholic, not least because they must, in a real church, be the same.

Christendom and the historic community of the Faith have found many reasons for falling out with one another down the centuries. Two particularly have marked and marred the common witness of the Church of Christ long after major heresies have run their familiar cycle of popularity, theological and moral bankruptcy and reinvention. The sundering of East and West in the eleventh century owed much to personalities and politics but it was grounded in a critique of the perceived imperialism of papal power and a concern at the apparent inventiveness of Western theologians. Time has done little to heal this desperate wound and the best efforts of the current Pontiff, for whom this reconciliation has been an overriding priority, have been met, at best, with guarded engagement and, at worst, with furious rejection.

The second great schism came, of course, at the Reformation. Whether Luther envisaged a Lutheran church any more than John Wesley sought a Wesleyan breakaway is history. The protesters, who sought a reform of papal power, a return to the imagined purity of the early Church and an end to corrupt practices, divided. Those who sought reform from within and those whom the disciplines of the Church could no longer contain were shortly to be found letting each other's blood in copious quantities across the continent of Europe. Princes of the realm were not slow to realize that here was an opportunity to neutralize the immense power of ‘a state within the state’ which the Church represented and to fill the Exchequer and private pockets with rapacious expropriations of church property. In our own land the religious life was nigh on exterminated. The monarch who had so lately been dubbed ‘defender of the faith’ became a mortal enemy of the Western Communion, and ‘Mary's dowry’, as England was once known, was subjected to a barrage of propaganda against Rome that haunts intelligent dialogue to this day. The English equation of Church and State has, at a political level, understood Catholicism as the option of disloyalty and, at a social level, as the equivalent of an unnatural vice, should such a thing be deemed to exist anymore in Anglican moral theology.

Undergirding the Protestant breakaway was the belief that the Bible, as the inherent word of God, should be the very foundation of the life of faith, that it should be in the hands of the people, understood by them and reign supreme over their lives and the governance of the Church. This begged a large number of questions which, perhaps, the reformers did not see. Mgr Ronald Knox’s taunt is beginning to sound like prophecy. ‘The Protestants broke for the Bible. God help them when they cease to believe it.’ Nearly half a millennium down the road, the cry 'sola scriptura' is not quite so convincing. Disbelief, up to the highest levels, is rampant and interpretation is a matter of personal, parochial or diocesan opinion.

Thomas More's hyperbole that he would ‘rather cut a man's throat than let him read Tyndale’s Bible’ may seem rather shocking to us coming from the lips of such a humane and intelligent saint but More goes to the heart of the dilemma. In producing a version which did not have the authority of the Church Catholic, Tyndale was on a dangerous journey. We may applaud his motive and his industry but we should also recognize that it is the beginning of a long road that will lead through versions as bizarre and inaccurate as the Jehovah's Witness translations to the feminized travesty that is decanted from Anglican lecterns courtesy of the Common Worship lectionary. Tyndale’s version was further inflamed by his marginal commentaries and interpretations. More was angered because he believed such proceedings could jeopardize the salvation of many. He recognized immediately that, although Rome needed reform, once protest magnified into schism there would be no end to the speculation, the special pleading, the splintering. So it has proved.

The translation and interpretation of Holy Scripture is the task of the Church brought into being by the same Holy Spirit who inspired the written Word. The protesters who broke with Rome cannot have foreseen the fissiparous nature of their enterprise. In rejecting the authority of the Pope the Western reformers did not abolish autocracy but rather set in train a process the logical end of which is that every man is a pope in his own parish or in his own front room. The ‘idolatry’ of Rome was replaced by the idolatry of self, social group and nation in swift order. Reformation hopes gave way to puritanism. Parts of Europe descended into the fierce joylessness of Calvinism, others to the excitements of Anabaptism, revivalists, iconoclasts, Pentecostalists etc, each seizing upon an aspect of the faith and overemphasizing it to the distortion of the whole. The upshot is hundreds of ‘churches’, most of them with their own bizarre subdivisions (low, strict and particular, Southern, open etc, etc). In addition, there are thousands upon thousands of one-man band conventicles brought about by the falling out of Brother Smith with Pastor Jones. Pastor Smith, as he has now appointed himself, has the ‘real’ truth and hopes shortly to be needing to rent a bigger Scout Hut than the gravely misled Pastor Jones, his former guru. While both (and millions like them) claim, sola scriptura, the authority of the Word, they are in fact claiming merely a personal authority to interpret God’s Word with no reference to the historic and living community of faith. It is little better than theological piracy and insupportable vanity. It is the rejection, all too often, of the teaching of the Church in favour of the cult of private opinion. In an age which has so comprehensively rejected traditional forms of authority and embraced the highest good as individual gratification, it is scarcely surprising that disintegration is gathering pace.

The Protestant is faced with a crisis – at least the genuine Protestant is. (The liberal Protestant like the liberal Catholic is flexible enough to conform his beliefs to social norms providing he can maintain his ‘style’ of worship unimpeded.) The real Protestant had as his aim the reform of the universal Church, not an endless fracturing of it. The real Protestant is seeking the Church that conforms itself to the Word of God. But he lives at the end of an historical process where the unhappy results of his chosen method confront him. Nowhere has this been more manifest than in the gymnastic contortions of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion of our time.

That the ordination of women should have become a touchstone of the inevitable division was unfortunate. It enabled proponents to simply brand orthodox believers as misogynist or antiquarian. In fact, this black propaganda simply masked the real, solid and scriptural divisions at the heart of the Anglican Church. The issue became a church-breaker because its triumph depended upon wholly novel interpretations of decontextualized verses of scripture (for example, Galatians 3.28), a profound misunderstanding of the Councils of the Church (Acts 15), an understanding of key doctrines of creation and incarnation which owed more to feminist critique than the Fathers and a critical demotion of Jesus Christ from Word incarnate to a good man with unfortunate cultural conditioning. Enthusiasts for the change did not ask whether a small declining province had the authority to overturn the 2,000 years teaching of the universal Church, East and West, but whether, by packing a synod with placemen and bullying the unconvinced, they could get a majority vote and establish temporary opinion as the final arbiter of divine truth.

An alarming number of Protestants did not recognize what had happened. Perhaps they were used to the process. When, as long predicted, the same hermeneutical principle was wheeled out by the homosexual lobby, Prots were shocked. As St Paul and Leviticus were alternately vilified or textually tortured to extract anything but the plain meaning of their words, the crisis of Anglicanism was becoming plainer by the week. It is the quintessential crisis of Protestantism. Small and unrepresentative groups claim the Holy Spirit as their inspiration for a particular enthusiasm and reinterpret the Word of God plain contrary to the historic Apostolic teaching of the Church. It is a crisis that sola scriptura cannot resolve.

The impotence of the sola scriptura claim was beautifully demonstrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech to an Evangelical conference last year. Dr Williams, to the shock and delight of many, declared himself to be a man of the Book. What he did not need or bother to say was that his interpretation of the Good Book in question could not have been more different than that of his naively gratified hearers. Had he pointed out this hermeneutical chasm, honest man that he is, he would no doubt have added humbly that this did not mean his opinion was any more valid than theirs, far less the fixed and authoritative teaching of the church he leads. And there is the rub. There is no teaching authority, no magisterium. There is no method or system or tradition or person(s) who can determine the teaching of the Anglican Church. This essentially Protestant fault line has been stamped on hard by the new wave of ‘reformers’ and it has cracked. The chasm that has opened cannot be spanned. As historic formularies have been ignored, defining common liturgy marginalized and ancient scriptural understandings rejected, the extraordinary coalition of unlikely bedfellows that has been Anglicanism has been successively undone.

Since its break with Rome the CofE has always claimed to be the Catholic Church in this land. It has always rejected attempts to portray it as Protestant, citing that it has no doctrines or orders of its own but only those known to the universal and undivided Church. It was on that basis that many of us joined. Though there have been grounds for debating both of these claims before our time, they have, in the last few years, been comprehensively undermined. The Porvoo agreement did for Apostolic succession and women's ordination destroyed the mutual recognition of holy orders and instituted doubt at the heart of the sacramental life. Dr Carey and his fellow sappers set the charges under Lambeth Palace and he now gazes in astonishment as his successor wanders among the ruins wondering what, if anything, can be rebuilt. In the wake of these disasters Anglicans have no common doctrine, no common liturgy and no common orders. In short, Anglicanism lacks the fundamental qualifications to make the bold claim that it is a Church.

Running alongside the internal crisis judicial rulings have decreed that the Church of England’s nature and beliefs can be altered by Parliament and bishops argue in the Lords for full and willing conformity to bad law, reducing the Church to a sort of quasi-mystical rubber stamp for the political ascendancy. Most galling of all for Anglican ‘Catholics’ and most surprising of all to Anglican Evangelicals (should they suspend prejudice and read it) is the last twenty five years of papal teaching. Take any text by the Holy Father and it is shot through with learned faithful exposition of Scripture. Pick up the overwhelming majority of Anglican episcopal or synodical outpourings over the same period and you will, with rare exception, know little about the Word of God but rather more about current required social attitudes.

This is all a long way from the intention of the original protesters, the reformers who sought to cleanse and purify the household of God. But the problem is an old one and inherent in the original breaking of the Western Communion. The question is, ‘By what authority…?' And here it is that sola scriptura breaks down. For the Bible left in the hands of every man can afford, as we have so often discovered in the history of Christendom, a tool to suit his every convenience. It is not only the devil who can quote scripture to his own ends. The Bible, inspired by the Holy Ghost, is the book of the Church brought into being by and equally inspired by that same Holy Ghost. The Word cannot be interpreted or taught outside that body of faithful believers that is the Church. To think that it can is to fail to understand that it is the living Word – ‘sharper than any two-edged sword piercing to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart’ (Hebrews 4.12). It is the Word that examines us, not the other way round. Apostolic succession was the guardianship of that traditio which is the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The Holy Spirit and the Word cannot be in contradiction lest we blaspheme and claim that God is in contradiction with himself. Without that authority we are simply a collection of ramshackle personal opinions. My opinion is no better than his or hers or theirs or yours. Consequently, when someone inquires about Anglican teaching these days, our reply is usually personal or parochial with several caveats.

It is the logical end of Protestantism and its inbuilt mechanism of division. It has rejected the Great Communions claiming divine inspiration. After 500 years what was advertised as divine inspiration has been persistently revealed as private judgement. For Anglicans this is moving to a crisis, a moment of critical decision. We still recite the Creed together but one clause seems increasingly detached from the reality we have created: ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’. Over the last twenty years our church has rejected the Catholic identity it claimed and opted for Protestant course. It has collaborated with an increasingly secular state in furnishing itself with an episcopate increasingly detached from apostolic understanding and commitment and, far from being ‘One’, it is fatally divided in its ministry, mission and morality. It is a church that cannot unite around its own altars.

We are, in short, dealing with the great unfinished business of the Reformation. Those who opt for further Protestantism can look forward to more of the same division, discord, disorder and disobedience to the Word. Evangelicals and Catholics who have endured the last twenty years and longed for that unity of purpose and ministry in a great realignment of Christendom will increasingly look to the Great Communions of East and West. Present realities mean that it is a question we can no longer avoid.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Comfort for the Penitent

Since we are heading into Holy Week, I thought I would link a sermon by E.B. Pusey on The Eucharist as a Comfort to the Penitent. Enjoy the sermon and many more if you wish that you can access through the site. There are many interesting and useful links on the Project Canterbury Site that you will find most edifying and informative concerning the English Catholic Church.

One of the things that made me look at this sermon is in my research on Andrewes' Eucharistic theology toda, I came to terms with the necessity of seeing how Andrewes has been used by others who have followed him. This will help me better develop an understanding of his thought and compare what Andrewes says concerning Eucharistic sacrifice with what others have said he says. If that makes any sense!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

St. Patrick: Apostle To Ireland

Born in Roman Britain around the end of the 4th century, St Patrick died in Ireland about the middle of the 5th century. As a missionary bishop, he faced hardship and opposition even from his friends and fellow Christians. Yet he worked to conciliate, to evangelise, and to educate local chieftains and their families. Patrick is remembered for his simplicity and pastoral care, for his humble trust in God, and for his fearless preaching of the gospel to those who had enslaved him in his youth.For a fuller treatment of S. Patrick go HERE and listen to the nice music while you read.

We have a few works attributed to St. Patrick, one being his autobiography called Confessions. It is a short summary of the events in his life, written in true humility. Below is a short excerpt:

I am greatly God's debtor, because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon after confirmed, and that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth, just as he once promised through his prophets: "To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited naught hut lies, worthless things in which there is no profit." And again: "I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth."

First reading: Peter 4:7b-11
Keep a calm and sober mind. Above all, never let your love for each other grow insincere, since love covers over many a sin. Welcome each other into your houses without grumbling. Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these different graces of God, put yourselves at the service of others. If you are a speaker, speak in words which seem to come from God; if you are a helper, help as though every action was done at God's orders; so that in everything God may receive the glory, through Jesus Christ, since to Him belong all glory and power for ever and ever. +Amen.

Gospel: Luke 5:1-11
While the people pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. And He saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, He asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when He had ceased speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men." And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

God our Father, you sent St. Patrick to preach your glory to the people of Ireland. By the help of Christ and his prayers, may all Christians proclaim your love to all men. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What Happens When the Church is Faithful?

Take a look at these PICTURES and then follow it up by reading the below article. What happens to the Church when She is faithful?

Ten new bishops consecrated for Church of Nigeria

Ninety-one dioceses and more are still coming

From Peter Onwubuariri in Abuja

The 3,500 capacity Cathedral Church of the Advent, Abuja, has a usual spectacle of being about half-full on an ordinary Sunday.

But on 13 March, 2005, an 'unusual' human presence filled the once idle pews and overflowed into white plastic seats stationed outside the periphery of the church. The reason? Ten new bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) were being consecrated. And they came with some of their parishioners from the length and breadth of the over 17-million Nigerian Anglican Congregation.

The new bishops and their dioceses are the Rt Revd Edafe Emamezi -Elected Bishop of Warri, the Rt Revd Ezekiel Awosoga - Bishop of Ijebu, the Rt Revd Matthew Osunade - Bishop of Ogbomosho and the Rt Revd Joseph Adeyemi - Bishop of Badagary.

Others are the Rt Revd Duke Akamisoko - Bishop of Zonkwa, the Rt Revd Samuel Chukuka - Bishop of Isikwuato, the Rt Revd Joseph Musa – Bishop of Idah, the Rt Revd Solomon Gberegbara - Bishop of Ogoni, the Rt Revd Johnson Onuoha - Bishop of Arochukwu/Ohafia and the Rt Revd Chigozirim Onyegbule - Bishop of Ikwuano.

Nigerian Primate, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, presided at the service that would be remembered for consecrating the largest number of bishops in one sitting (since his presentation in 2000).

Radio Nigeria, with more than 50 radio stations on its network around Nigeria ran a three-hour live broadcast of the event. Also Crowther Radio, the Abuja-based radio station funded by the Church of Nigeria, beamed the consecration service to listeners around Abuja, the Nigerian capital, Lagos, and other satellite towns within its coverage.

Long and Colourful Procession

A Radio Nigeria commentator described as colourful the procession into the Cathedral Church of the Advent, dedicated in 1999 by the former Nigeria Primate, the Most Revd Joseph Adetiloye.

A 30-minute procession comprised the choir clad in red; the clergy in white vestments, the legal luminaries and the grandeur of red cassocks nestled in white richly embroidered garments announcing the bishops.

Interestingly the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, the Most Revd John Olaiekan, processed into the Church with the bishops to the delight of most Anglican faithful who described it "as good for the universal church.'"

Three hymnals served their slow march to the altar including "Lift high the cross! The cross of Christ proclaim", "Ye Servants of God" and Psalm 122, which ushered in the primatial procession led by the crucifer and closely followed by the Bishops elect (attended by their chaplains). The Bishops elect looked solemn in their black cassocks.

Archbishop Joseph Akinfenwa of Ibadan Province celebrated the Holy Communion while Bishop Samuel Oke of Ekiti-West led the litany. The Bishop on the Niger, the Rt Revd Ken Okeke, preached the sermon. The presentation of the 10 bishops elect was done by 20 different bishops.

God's Hand

The homily entitled 'In God's hand', said by the Bishop on the Niger, the Rt Revd Ken Okeke, was to a large extent directed at the new bishops. Bishop Okeke focused his sermon on four pegs namely "Call, Concentration, Continuity and Consequences."

Describing the call of God, he said "God's call is always definite and many times when He calls someone He 'strips' the person bare. In the case of Moses, from whom we shall learn a lot today, He took away all the trappings and comforts of Egypt's one and only palace."

He used the analogy of Moses to explain the need for the new bishops to concentrate on their ministry. "Moses sought God and found Him. He desired an intimacy with God and God humored him. He spoke to God face to face. The good news is that whenever we seek God, we shall find Him. 2 Chron. 15: 2 - If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you."

On continuity, the preacher who spent one week with the bishops-elect as their retreatant, charged them to seek the Lord always. "Moses always sought the Lord's face in every situation. And the result was that he always sat back and saw God take full control. God said to him – The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace - Exodus 14. That was the experience of King Jehoshaphat many centuries later. It was also the experience of other men of faith like Gideon, David arid Paul."

The preacher also warned on the consequences of choosing to obey or disobey God. Using the experience of Saul he explained "Saul became yesterday's man and degenerated to consulting a medium - one in a group of people he zealously wiped out of Israel when his heart was in the right place and he was following God faithfully. Who do you consult in times of crisis or alienation?"

He warned the bishops elect: Beware that you do not return to unwholesome methods you have previously rejected! Beware of the tyranny of the urgent! Beware of the pomp and arrogance of office!

New missionary dioceses

The consecration ceremony in practice marked the beginning of nine new missionary dioceses in the 26 year-old Church of Nigeria, bringing the total number of dioceses to 91. On 12 March, the eve of the consecration service, the Most Revd Peter Akinola presided at inauguration of one of the missionary dioceses, Kubwa. Kubwa was carved out of the Diocese of Abuja, where Archbishop Akinola doubles as Bishop. The new Bishop of Kubwa is Simon Bala who was translated from the Diocese of Gusau. By 19 March 2005 the inauguration of other dioceses nationwide (involving a
road trip over 1500km) will have been completed.

Growing church

The creation of additional dioceses has been a major thrust of the leadership of the church under Primate Peter Akinola. At the occasion of his presentation in 2000, Archbishop Akinola described his tenure as a timely opportunity to chart a new future for the church.

Having inherited three provinces, 76 dioceses and 76 bishops from the former Primate, Archbishop Joseph Adetiloye in 2000, Archbishop Akinola has gone ahead to create an additional 14 dioceses, five years into his primacy.

The slogan "the Anglican Church shall be growing, spiritual, dynamic, responsible, united, disciplined, and self-supporting" has become a permanent emphasis on Bishops charge at synod meetings, church gatherings and even youth outings. The dragnet of evangelism for the bishops is the villages. The Primate has admitted that most of the churches are located in urban settings with thousands of villages yet to be reached by the gospel of salvation.

The juxtaposition justifies the creation of additional missionary dioceses, which are mostly located in rural areas. Taking the gospel to the villages will contend with raw paganism, Islamisation, syncretism and spiritual shallowness, which have continued to threaten the Church in Nigeria.

Missionary efforts have seen the planting of new dioceses in places considered hostile and insecure for evangelism particularly in the northern part of Nigeria. The present primate, at a recent public gathering, hinted that the possibility of the dioceses swelling to 100 before he retires cannot be ruled out. Whatever the motive, most Nigerians have welcomed the development as favourable to taking the gospel to the un-reached.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Augustine on Eucharistic Sacrifice

"Christ is both the Priest, OFFERING Himself, and Himself the Victim. He willed that the SACRAMENTAL SIGN of this should be the daily Sacrifice of the Church, who, since the Church is His body and He the Head, learns to OFFER herself through Him." (City of God 10:20)

"By those sacrifices of the Old Law, this one Sacrifice is signified, in which there is a true remission of sins; but not only is no one forbidden to take as food the Blood of this Sacrifice, rather, all who wish to possess life are exhorted to drink thereof." (Questions on the Heptateuch 3:57)

"Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator is OFFERED for them, or when alms are given in the church." (Ench Faith, Hope, Love 29:110)

What think YOU?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Eucharistic Presence

J.N.D. Kelly, the Protestant patristic scholar and church historian, in his book Early Christian Doctrines comes to the conclusion concerning the Eucharistic presence by saying:

"According to ancient modes of thought a mysterious relationship existed between the thing symbolized and its symbol, figure or type; the symbol in some sense was the thing symbolized" (p. 212).

Concerning Eucharistic Sacrifice Kelly writes of the Fathers:

"The writers of liturgies of the period are unanimous in recognizing it as such (Eucharist as sacrifice). Clement applies the term 'sacrifice' (prosphora) to it, citing Melchizadek's offering as its type. Tertullian defines the priestly function as one of 'offering' (offerre); the 'offering of the sacrifice' is as much a Christian occasion to him as the preaching of the Word....The priest, it would appear, sacramentally re-enacts the oblation of His passion which the Saviour originally presented to the Father." Not only is it a sacrifice, but it is offered for others who are in need, "and especially on behalf of the dead, that Cyprian conceived of the eucharistic sacrifice as possessing objective efficacy." (214, 216)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Passion Sunday: Passiontide

Quæsumus, omnípotens Deus, familiam tuam propitius réspice : ut, te largiente, regátur in corpore ; et, te servante, custodiátur in mente. Per Dóminum.

Let us pray.
We beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people : that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul. Through our Lord.

Let us pray for the courage to embrace the world in the name of Christ:
Father in heaven,
the love of your Son led him to accept the suffering of the cross
that his brothers might glory in new life.
Change our selfishness into self-giving.
Help us to embrace the world you have given us,
that we may transform the darkness of its pain
into the life and joy of Easter. +Amen.

Intent: Meditations on the Cross

Word of Life, now called the cross, thou ever upright, ever raised on high, eternally above! O Cross, most skillfully devised instrument of salvation, given to us by the Highest! O Cross, invincible trophy of Christ's conquest of his foes! O Cross, life-giving tree, with its roots planted in earth, and its fruits treasured up in heaven! O Cross, most venerable sweetness and sweet name! O Cross most worshipful, who, through Gnosis bringest the worthy to God! O Name of the cross, hidden mystery! O ineffable grace that is expressed in the nave of the cross! O nature of man that cannot be separated from God! O love ineffable, inseparable, that cannot be declared by unclean lips! We will declare Thee for what thou art; we will not keep silence on the mystery of the cross which was always in the world. And thou, O Cross, wilt be unto us no mere cross of wood to slay the body of earthly matter but the cross of light that lifts man from things of earth to the matchless wonders of eternity.

Friday, March 11, 2005

What Really Happened?

This story can be found HERE.


By Gregory Venables

THE ASSUMPTIONS of the natural evolution of society towards liberalism in the West have proceeded for decades relatively unchecked. From the rise of the Enlightenment, when values and beliefs began to be viewed with more skepticism, there have been few challenges to the slide. The strengths of enlightenment went awry, and were lost, as momentum gathered and influential social and religious philosophers assumed they knew better than previous generations. The result has been moral chaos, and a large portion of the Church that has nothing to offer.

By contrast, the gospel runs counter to the culture. It always has, but something more resonant with the values and assumptions of society has made its way into the walls of influence in Western Churches. The foundational Christian message - "This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be believed, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" - has been replaced by other messages of unchallenging acceptance and uncritical licence to pursue any lifestyle. Living (yet historic)faith has been on a collision course with the unbounded message of liberalism for more than a century.

Wonderfully, Evangelical and Catholic Christians in the Western industrial nations have been energized by the commitment, zeal and sacrifice of those from the Two-Thirds World, who come from cultures in which evangelism and mission are current passions rather than just historic ones.

So we arrived in Northern Ireland at the Dromantine, a Roman Catholic centre for African mission. The Archbishop of Canterbury set the stage for us to hear from God, instead of just each other, by beginning with spiritual retreat and Bible reflection. In the periods of silence, many of us were keenly aware of God's presence, as well as of the prayers of millions of people around the world.

Dr. Williams also set the stage for us to own and organise our agenda. The difference from previous meetings was profound. One seasoned non-Western Primate remarked how wonderful it was to meet without "being dominated by Western arrogance."

The atmosphere allowed for respectful forthright discussion, which led to the unmistakable realization by all of us that the Anglican Communion had reached the point of irreconcilable differences. While painful and terrifying, it was an important passage, without which we would probably not have had the will to address the crisis adequately.

Pivotal in the discussion was the fact that those who were pressing the same-sex agenda were willing to speak with a clarity that had not been present at any of our previous deliberations. North American confidence came across to many Primates as presumptuous, and even arrogant.

The dynamic was so powerful that it overcame the cultural reticence of some of the Two-Thirds World Primates to speak clearly.

IN A MOMENT of time, at a pause in the conversation, it became obvious that the overwhelming majority of the Primates (who represent the clear majority of Anglicans around the world) were not willing to assimilate the innovations pressed by the United States and Canada into the teaching of the Communion. On the contrary, historic biblical faith was clearly going to emerge from the meeting as the conviction of the vast majority. The question was whether the Communion would remain intact or shatter.

At that point, two critical pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

First, the suggestion was made for ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada to withdraw voluntarily, while considering formally whether or not to conform to agreed Anglican teaching, as expressed in the historic interpretation of the scriptures and the Lambeth Conference.

The second piece was the realization by the North Americans of the gravity of the situation. Having ignored every previous voice of disagreement, it was a great mercy that they were able to embrace the clarity of the situation.

One might ask what prompted the last shift. That it was a response to the Holy Spirit is clearly tempting to suggest, but far more so is the undeniable and inescapable reality that there was no other option open.

One indication of this was the refusal of a significant number of our colleagues even to attend the daily celebrations of the Eucharist, a decision that was implemented only after much prayer and pain.

As one brother Primate said to me: "Since we are not in communion as Anglicans, I cannot give those who do not believe the simple truth of the Bible as revealed the impression that all is well, and that it's just a matter of opinion."

THE CLARITY of the communiqué is undeniable, notwithstanding the graceful terminology and loving restraint evident throughout. Sadly, the revisionist agenda is sufficiently hard-faced to deny it and the atmosphere that accompanied its preparation.

So what will happen? ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada will have to repent and conform their teaching and practice to historic and biblical faith, in order to have the broken relationship restored. If they fail to do so, the separation that is gracefully modeled in the communiqué will become stark and formal.

Any thought that the passage of time will soften the resolve of the majority is unfounded. To do so would be a rejection of our core values. It would be a rejection of the gospel itself, and a denial of the price that Jesus paid on our behalf.

--The Most Revd Gregory Venables is Presiding Bishop (Primate) of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Thomas gemma Cantuarie

I am presently listening to the CD Medieval English Music and it is well worth the purchase at the low cost of $7.98 US. You Can Purchase it here. If you google the name of this piece, I am sure you can find a midi of it. Enjoy! It is a great CD.

The Text of Thomas gemma Cantuarie is as follows:

Thomas gemma Cantuarie primula fide pro tuenda cesus in ecclesia, a divina repentina mira caritate fulgens matutina vespertina lucis increate gratia late tibi nova reparte sublimaris curia regis pro fidelitate tua a ruina lete bina per te libertate sunt a fece et ab amaro malo frivolo a sentina serpentina gentes expiate et a viciis singularis nuncuparis gratia ditatus super hinc perfectos et electos tu es sublimatusrivulo madido pie sanans egros preciosis generosis gemmis tumulatus aureis modulo tumulo cum decore vel honore pie laureatus. In celis inter cives celicos digne veneratus Thoma nunc pro populo stimulo tempestatis caritate fervida rogatus.

Translation: Thomas, unequalled jewel of Canterbury, slain in church as defender of the faith, shining, through God’s wondrous immediate love, far and wide, morning and evening, with the new grace of pure light restored to thee, thou art elevated in the court of the heavenly king for thy fealty; through thee humanity is freed from the twofold affliction of death, from the cesspool of our sins, and from the bitter, wretched apple; it is cleansed of the serpent’s filth and of corruption; thou art called outstanding, rich in grace, and hence thou art exalted above the perfect and elect; with the moisture flowing from thy veins thou faithfully healest the sick; thou art buried with admirable, precious jewels wrought with gold in thy seemly shrine, meetly crowned in heaven with grace and honour and properly revered amongst the blessed in heaven, Thomas, who art now besought with burning love to help thy people in the suffering of their misery.

The Fathers and Eucharistic Sacrifice

I post a link to an article today that you may find of some interest in the question of whether or not the Eucharist is a sacrifice and in what sense is it one, if it is one? Go to this ARTICLE and read and reply your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

George Herbert (1593-1632)


by: George Herbert (1593-1632)

LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:'
Love said, 'You shall be he.'
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.'
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
'Who made the eyes but I?'

'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.'
'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?'
'My dear, then I will serve.'
'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.'
So I did sit and eat.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Books Recently Purchased

Through the Eyes of the Saints...David Brown
Newman and His Age...Sheridan Gilley
The Eucharistic Year...A.H. Baverstock
Eucharistic Theology...Joseph M. Powers
The Catholic Doctrine of Eucharistic Sacrifice: What is It?...J.T. Tomlinson
Ascension and Ecclesia...Douglas Farrow
The Unbloody Sacrifice...John Johnson Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology
The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics...Robert Gagnon
RSV Bible with Apocrypha...Oxford Press

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Lord Jesus,
you are the true light that enlightens all men.
By the Spirit of truth,
free all who struggle under the yoke of the father of lies.
Arouse the good will of these men and women
whom you have chosen for your sacraments.
Grant them to enjoy your light
like the man whose sight you once restored,
and inspire them to become fearless witnesses to the faith,
for you are Lord for ever and ever. AMEN.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Saints in our Lives

This morning I had to rise early to go and meet with one of my students. After a nice cafe latte at Cafe Neros, I headed up to the library to do some reading but the library was closed until 10 am. Since there was a bit of ice and rain falling and the wind was blowing quite hard, I needed to get somewhere dry and warm. I ventured through the cathderal and found myself in the SPCK Bookshop. I know better than that! With only 10 mintutes to spare until the library opened, I thought a quick look about wouldn't hurt. Well, long story short, I left with three new books (I haven't told Rhea yet, shhhhh!). One of the books that I left with was written by my supervisor The Rev'd Canon Professor David Brown. He has a new book out (I didn't know this until I naughtily went into SPCK) calledThrough the Eyes of the Saints: A Pilgrimage Through History. I picked it up to look at the preface and chapter divisions and found a wonderful preface that after reading it you stop and say to yourself, "yeah, that is so true." Here is a portion of what you will find in the preface:

Given the two Greek words from which it comes, 'hagiography' should mean simply writings about the saints, but, as we all know, it has become a term of abuse for cringingly deferential writing that offers nothing but unqualified praise for the individual concerned. It is not surprising, therefore, that, as contemporary scandals make us increasingly aware of the fallibility of the Church, there has been a corresponding decline in interest in conventional books about the saints. That seems to me a pity because the fault lies in how the saints have been approached, not in the lack of any intrinsic interest to their lives. Approaching them through their fallibility can in fact make them more engaging rather than less, as we discover them struggling with similar dilemmas to our own. One undoubted advantage that the 2000 years of Christian history has over the Scriptures is its ability often to provide much closer parallels to the issues raised by our own lives. This is in no way to imply that the life of Jesus is irrelevant, but it is to acknowledge that it is often easier to think how his example might be applied in quite different circumstances if others have gone before us in trying to work this out in practice.

That is why I have attempted in what follows to achieve two purposes at the same time: both to tell the story of the Church and to draw lessons from the lives of some of the major figures involved. Among professional teachers of theology spiritual issues are not uncommonly contrasted with academic, as though to write about the one is inevitably to abandon standards associated with the other. But there is no necessity that this should be so. Indeed, spiritual insights are likely to be much better grounded, the more thoroughly the lives from which they are derived have been properly investigated and placed in their historical context. That remark may make it sound as though a rather dry academic work now follows. This is not so. The underlying academic apparatus (roughly indicated in the Notes and Further Reading) is kept firmly beneath the surface. Instead, readers are encouraged to focus on the challenges raised by individual lives.

The question of what makes a saint, their present existence in heaven and how they might contribute to our own pursuit of holiness is pursued in the Introduction and Conclusion. However, the main body of the book in the intervening chapters is devoted to tracing major events in the history of the Church through a select number of lives. The choice not only reflects the span of the centuries but also the various branches of the Christian Church. The majority appear in either modern Roman Catholic or Anglican calendars of saints. Some, though, are also included who are listed nowhere. This is to remind the reader how arbitrary such lists can be, not least in respect of certain sorts of individuals. If rulers are one example, married women (seldom recognized) are another.

I have entitled this book Through the Eyes of the Saints: A Pilgrimage Through History because my aim throughout has been to present the issues these individuals faced as they themselves might have viewed them in their own particular historical context. This is important because we learn most from others when we do not come with predetermined ideas but rather first engage with the world as they saw it. The result, I hope, will be that, for example, there will no longer be a temptation to suppose that saints of the Reformation era (whether Catholic or Protestant) could not possibly transcend the divisions of their age (Cosin, Ferrar and Teresa of Avila all give the lie to any such view). Again, persecuters of heretics can be otherwise good men (Arundel), Cranmer can resist martyrdom for reasons other than cowardice, Wesley achieve great things for God despite and in part because of his poor relations with women, and so on. God continues to speak to us through such people not because they were perfect but precisely because they were so like us in being creatures of their time and circumstance. Where they differed was in trusting God to pull them through into a deeper commitment and holiness.

Addleshaw Again

When I posted the Addleshaw chapter below, I forgot to mention that the entire book is on line. So, Antonio, if you are reading from Argentina(!) much of this will answer the questions you raised in our discussion on Eucharist and what Anglicans believed about sacrifice in reference to the Roman church. Enjoy!

Addleshaw: The High Church Tradition

I have recently read the Addleshaw book and commend it for an in depth understanding of what the Anglican fathers of the early 17th century taught and believed about the Church that was being shaped in England a generation after the break with Rome. Here is a chapter in Addleshaw's book that you can click on here to read. The chapter is Liturgy and Community. There are often misunderstandings about what Anglican's believed about liturgy, ecclesiology, sacramentology, polity, etc. Addleshaw's book can provide the reader with a well-balanced and historically accurate approach to what was believed and taught in the English Catholic Church.

Any comments are welcome.

Andrewes in Ely

On the Diocesan website of Ely is this article on Lancelot Andrewes. You can find this article here.

The name of Andrewes has been immortalised by ecclesiastical outfitters through the floppy ancestor of the mortar-board which is called the Bishop Andrewes Cap, probably because of the portraits and engravings depicting him in that head-dress. (Interestingly, in the Ely portrait, he wears a skull cap.) It is true that he had precise views on how the liturgy should be celebrated, and the chapel at Ely House, London, was a byword for the ideals of the advanced school of Prayer Book worship at the time. But he is remembered for still more important things. The merchant seaman's son, born in 1555, with the natural gift of languages who was educated at Merchant Taylors' School and Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, was a gifted communicator of distilled knowledge and reflection on the human condition. That explains his distinguished ministry both as catechist at Pembroke, and as Vicar of St Giles', Cripplegate, back in London, before becoming Dean of Westminster in 1601 -- which threw him further into the limelight, for among the special services in which he took part were the funeral of Elizabeth I and the coronation of James I. The new monarch and Andrewes struck up an immediate friendship, which made it a matter of time before he was made a bishop; Chichester in 1605, Ely in 1609, and Winchester ten years later; and he died in 1626. There are three aspects of Andrewes' ministry which deserve to be highlighted -- as a preacher, as a man of prayer, and as a controversialist.

First, as preacher. At the beginning of the following reign, Charles I entrusted to William Laud, then bishop of London, and John Buckeridge, then bishop of Rochester, the task of editing a collection of his sermons, the majority of which had been preached at court before King James at the major festivals. Whatever the precise character of their editorial work (and Marianne Dorman's recent Bristol PhD suggests that there may have been some theological censorship in the process), the famous 96 Sermons first published in 1629 were reprinted several times, and were read and re-read as the century progressed. Sermons, however, do not usually bear imitation, and the diarist John Evelyn notes on 4th April 1679 that the Bishop of Gloucester, John Pritchett, preached Andrewes-style with many sub-divisions, and 'with much quickness', in a manner by then out of date. But they were used for other purposes. If you look closely at the 1619 Christmas sermon on Lk 2;14 and compare it with Hark. The herald angels sing, you will see that Charles Wesley must have had it open in front of him when he wrote the original version of that hymn.

The court sermons inevitably have something of the set piece aspect to them, unlike the collection of addresses dating from his time at St Giles', Cripplegate, which were published in 1657, called the Apospasmatia Sacra, which are less polished and may or may not represent what he actually delivered. They are in even greater contrast to the recently discovered sermons acquired by Lambeth Palace Library four years ago on which Dr Dorman is now working. As King James' favourite preacher, Andrewes held a position of pre-eminence. Perhaps Nicholas Lossky, the Russian Orthodox theologian, is correct to single out the Whitsun court sermons as the finest. Most of them were preached at Greenwich, but -- since Windsor Castle is in the news at the moment -- I want to look at the only one of the court sermons delivered there. For some reason, Whitsun was uniquely celebrated at Windsor in 1611; whether or not this was something to do with the publication of the Authorized Version of the Bible, in which And rewes had played a key part in the translation of the Old Testament (Genesis to 2 Kings), we do not know.

Andrewes chose as his text Jn 16:7, it is expedient for you that I go away, from the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday after Easter (he used the epistle for this day as his text at Whitsun in 1621). Immediately, he hurls himself into the task of applying the text in all manner of ways. At the start, he contrasts Ascension with Whitsun: 'there is that mutual reference and reciprocation, that is, between promissio missionis and missio promissionis.' And he unfolds the character of the liturgical year by the way in which Christ is manifested in different ways, at Christmas, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter Day, Ascension, and Whitsun. It is expedient -- which 'is the true Christian's reason. But there is what he calls 'inconvenience'. 'Stay his Ascension, we fear not Pentecost' -- the revelation of the Spirit brings a fuller and more challenging path of life, which is the Trinity; 'the main principal works of the deity all persons cooperate, and have their concurrence.' Whitsun celebrates the revelation of the Trinity, without which there can be no baptism, no preaching, no sacrament, no prayer, which are the means whereby Christ is made present not in one place, but all over the world, a clear message about worship and mission.

But the coming of the Spirit is personal and inward, so that the tongues of fire are 'for ceremony', whereas the invisible 'is the real matter.' And whereas human beings 'love to be left to ourselves', the work of the Spirit to guide us is not for emergency use, but for the whole Christian life. And he winds his text into the conclusion of the sermon by applying it, again, to preaching, prayer, baptism, and the eucharist. Here, he points out that 'there is spiritual meat, and a spiritual drink...in which kind, there is none so apt to procreate the Spirit in us, as that flesh and blood, which was itself conceived and procreate by the Spirit, and therefore full of spirit and life, to them that partake it.' And he ends -- as he often does -- in heaven: 'as we be his paracleti, his guests, so he will be ours, dwelling with us with his assistance, and being in us by his graces, to life eternal.'

In many ways a typical Andrewes sermon, we can see certain characteristics. He bounces the text through the doctrine of the Trinity, the Church Year, human experience (at one point he even says that Christ had to depart 'that we may grow humble', and so be ready for the Spirit), and the life and worship of the Church, including the sacraments; and he manages to throw in two quotations from Augustine, from whom he derives his own emphasis on the distinction between the outward and the inward. This is a style of preaching that is exegetical, doctrinal, devotional, and liturgical -- all at once. And there is an energy and freshness that carries the reader along, with those jerky contrasts and lilting sentences.

Opinions always vary about sermons! One Scottish laird, hearing Andrewes preach at Whitsun in Holyrood in 1617, complained to King James that Andrewes did not preach upon his text, but played with it, giving the impression of not sticking to the point. There is, however, a longer verdict which history has given both to the atmosphere and the theological method of these sermons. T.S. Eliot did much to draw attention to Andrewes in an essay published in 1928, in which he says that 'Andrewes' emotion is purely contemplative' -- indicating that the sermons are the result of deep and lengthy thought and prayer, in which the preacher is always in control of his material, but is at the same time ready to offer the entirety to God alone, confident that there will always be more to say next time, and even more to enjoy.

We turn, secondly, to Andrewes as man of prayer. During the last days of his life, the only book he looked at was his own collection of private prayers, composed by him from a multitude of sources -- as diverse as the Greek liturgies and John Knox's Book of Common Order of 1564 -- and written in Latin ,or where appropriate to the source in Greek or Hebrew. They were his own private prayers -- the Preces Privatae -- and were not intended for publication. But they were copiesd and have been translated into English several times, most notably by F.E.Brightman in 1903, an edition which is annotated with the suggested sources, and -- most important of all -- with numerous parallels from his sermons. This last point is worth pondering, for it suggests a man whose preaching and praying had reached an unusually high point of integration. Like the sermons, they are works of art which bear contemplation and re-translation as the years go by; and they bear witness, too, to a man who stands, astonishingly, as an ecumenical figure, who is indeed the possession of his own age, but also of every age. Here is part of the prayer he used immediately after the Consecration in the eucharist, in a translation recently made by David Scott:

We pray to you, Lord, with the witness of our conscience clean, we may receive our share of your holiness, and we may be united with the holy body and blood of your Christ, and receive them not unworthily; and that we may have Christ dwelling in our hearts; and let us become temples of your Holy Spirit, say YES, our God. And make none of us unworthy of these terrifying and heavenly mysteries, nor weaken our bodies and souls by receiving them unworthily.
In many respects such prayers typify Andrewes' piety. They breathe the scriptures ('our conscience clean'), the Greek liturgies ('our share of your holiness...'), and Andrewes' own sense of the realness of God's mercy and our own unworthiness to receive it. In the sermons, we observe him tackling tricky theological issues, and in the prayers, we glimpse his multi-sourced, quasi-ecumenical vision. We must now turn to an important aspect of his work, namely the controversialist.

In 1610, Andrewes published his Responsio ad Apologiam Cardinalis Bellarmine, largely at the King's suggestion. It was part of the monarch's defence of his position in the face of the Catholic royalty of Europe, and of the Church of England as then constituted. This particular work was aimed at Robert Bellarmine, the Jesuit theologian. It was written in Latin and it is interesting to note that the temperature of the two opponents is remarkably cool, that is, by the standards of the time. Of the eucharistic presence, Andrewes asserts:

We believe no less than you that the presence is real. Concerning the method of the presence, we define nothing rashly, and, I add, we do not anxiously enquire, any more than how the blood of Christ washes in our Baptism, any more than how the human and divine natures are united in one Person in the Incarnation of Christ.
And of the eucharistic sacrifice, he is even more direct:
Do you take away from the Mass your transubstantiation; and there will not long be any strife with us about the sacrifice. Willingly we allow that a memory of the sacrifice is made there. That your Christ made of bread is sacrificed there we will never allow.
The first quotation offers a rather high interpretation of Article XXVIII, whereas the second demonstrates a shrewd knowledge of the liturgical theology of Catholicism at the time; the words of Christ in the eucharistic prayer are taken to consecrate the bread and wine, and they are followed immediately by the offering of the sacrifice. His knowledge of the gentler approach to presence and sacrifice in the Eastern liturgies and theologians doubtless assisted him here, and confirmed him in a more nuanced approach than many Roman Catholics, or other Protestants were ready to accept.

Lancelot Andrewes is, arguably, one of the greatest of the seventeenth century divines. A few years ago, I came back from lecturing in Liverpool with a book token and discovered that Philip Lund, the Cambridge bookseller, was offering a battered copy of one of the early editions of the 96 Sermons -- without the title page -- for £35. I am proud to have it in my study, rebound by Guildford College in such a way that nothing seems able to destroy it. But alongside it is Nicholas Lossky's magisterial study of these sermons. I can hardly think of how Andrewes himself would have reacted to this simple fact, that nearly 370 years after his death, a Russian orthodox lay theologian would write a definitive work on the theology of his preaching, and so re-awaken Anglicans to their own tradition!


Thursday, March 03, 2005

AB of Uganda Press Release


Members of the Press, I welcome you to the Residence of the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda. The most important information I want to communicate to our people in Church of Uganda, all Christian bodies, citizens of Uganda and the rest of the world concerns our position on homosexuality.

Primates Meeting In Dromantine, Northern Ireland 21–25 February 2005

This meeting of the primates was specifically called to receive the “Windsor Report”. This is a document that came as a result of the threatened breakage of the Anglican Communion following the consecration of Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire in November 2003

Church of Uganda did not agree with the line of action taken by the Episcopal Church of America. We have disagreed with the consecration of a practicing homosexual as a leading Church leader in the Church of God. The scriptures require that anybody who takes to this office should be properly married - “A man married to one wife”.

Since September 2003, the House of Bishops took a strong stand to break our fellowship with the Episcopal Church and the Church of Canada. We refused any funding from these churches. The same decision was endorsed by the Provincial assembly in August 2004.

We see homosexual practices as unbiblical and against the teaching of the Church. Only Jesus who makes a difference to people can transform them not debates.

In our Ireland meeting the Primates suspended the Episcopal Church of America and the Canadian Church until they repent. We are committed to other members of the Episcopal Church who are orthodox in their interpretation of the scriptures and adore Jesus Christ as their savior and Lord. We continue to provide support for them because they share with us in the same mission.

I will state again our position in clear terms as follows;

· The Church of Uganda upholds the biblical position on sexuality, namely that sexual intimacy is reserved for a husband and wife in a lifelong, heterosexual, monogamous marriage. For us in Uganda we teach this without fear. For our own good the bible teaches abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage. And marriage is defined as between one man and one woman.

· The Church of Uganda also supports the “1998 Lambeth Resolution” which states that, “Homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture”.

· We continue in a state of broken Communion with EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF AMERICA and CANADA because they have not repented of their actions and decisions in approving and consecrating as Bishop a man actively involved in a same-sex relationship.

· The Church of Uganda is committed to offering the gospel to those struggling with homosexuality. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more”, not “go and sin some more”. For the North Americans Pastoral care means providing services for the blessing of same-sex unions. For us in Uganda pastoral care means leading people into the fully transformed life that Jesus promises to those who call upon his name.

· Contrary to reports coming out of North American that say, “we have more in common that we do than what divides us”, I am not convinced of that. We have a lot that divides us and we are praying that ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada will repent and rejoin Biblical Anglicanism.

We remain committed that Church of Uganda will continue to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ zealously. I am prepared to remain a preacher of this Gospel as the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda until we see Jesus changing the hearts of those who believe his word.

Thank you again for coming and may God bless you in your very important work to inform the nation and the world.

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

Archbishop of Church of Uganda

A Few Pics with the Sun Coming Out

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Waking up to This

Well, I woke up this morning at 4:00 am to get some work done only to find the day loolking like the pictures below. I looked at the BBC weather yesterday evening and I saw nothing that looked like multiple inches of snow coming nor did I see it in the forecast. It must have changed a second after I looked at it as that is usually the case.Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

Societas Sanctae Crucis

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