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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

++Sentamu, ++Armagh, Scholasticus and the Doctrine of the Church


I have great respect for my Archbishop but I tend to disagree with some recent comments. I also count John Scholasticus as a dear friend though we differ on the issues at hand--possibly more than I had imagined but maybe not. I pray that what is written below is true and accurate of my views and understanding of the current debates.
With the recent comments coming from the Abp of York and hence the comments on my entry below “The Looming of Daftness,” I thought I would make a few observations on the nature of ecclesiology that I find to be the underlying issue between Anglicans. In many ways, I sense that the comments made my ++Sentamu, ++Armagh and Scholasticus (see comment below in 'Looming of Daftness') show the foundational difference between a historical view of the Church and the post-modern analysis. Allow me to illustrate. The doctrine of the Church that I am espousing is a doctrine where the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is ONE house with many rooms. The Catholic Faith is the phrase given that separates schismatics and heretics as the Church founded upon the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. The Church was built upon the same Rock, all Apostles professed the same faith, all received the same Sacraments, all performed the same devotions, and thereby all were members of the One Holy House we call the Church. A house is built upon one foundation though it has many rooms with many stones, yet it is but one house. Though the Church contains many members they are one body because they all agree in one faith. There is one faith, one hope one baptism, one Lord which was delivered to the saints. Therefore the Church believes one truth coming from the Apostles’ doctrine, being delivered by all the Apostles, being professors of the same faith and being members of the same Church, built upon their authority. This is unity of faith. We are called by the Apostles to be of one mind, whatsoever the numbers of persons in the House, however different we may be, we continually grow into one body. Charity is of a uniting nature and we therefore endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The other view that I find problematic seems to consist of a neighbourhood of houses rather than one house. So, there are new foundations being built, with new “Apostolic” teaching being delivered that is contradictory to the faith once received. These many houses are being structured differently with different materials creating a neighbourhood where some houses do not even come close to convey what we understand a house to be. The existence of the Church in this view does not seem to rest on the one foundation from the first collection in the Apostles’ teaching where constant and perpetual accession, uninterrupted, continuing in an actual existence in the one object of faith, because it is no longer being built upon the one faith as delivered and received. This is why so many feel so strongly about changing the doctrine of the Church’s teaching on sexuality to be such an important issue. TEC is challenging the Bride and Groom metaphor that defines the nature of God’s redeeming love.

Marriage is a theological foundation of Church teaching because of what it sacramentally symbolizes concerning the nature of the relationship between God and his people. We find this metaphor of marriage to be the final consummation of God’s kingdom where we will find ourselves feasting at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Therefore, the existence of the Church—though some rooms in the one house may lose their lights and power—defines the one House built upon the foundation of the Apostles and it is this house that will remain. The Church of Christ is the House of Christ and this house has been built upon the Rock and what has been built will not fall. This has been propounded and upheld in every age of Christianity and shall be so unto the end of the world. It is this doctrine that I believe when I confess each week that I believe in the Church.

1 Comments:

Blogger Augustinian Successor said...

But there's one problem which is going to haunt Anglo-Catholics, ecumenicists, etc. over and over again ... the Roman Church sees the non-Roman as OUTSIDE the House = Visible Unity. A booth, maybe, why not? a stall, a temporary make-shift camp. A house, no. Heck, that's what Benedict 16 recently RE-affirmed, didn't he?

4:05 am  

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