Pruning Roses

*Since this post, I was indeed confirmed in the Continuum but with the Western Missionary Diocese of the United Episcopal Church. My feelings on the old prayer book and 39 articles as definitively Anglican won out. In March 2010, Amanda and I were finally confirmed as ‘members-at-large’  in the UECNA and happily married that following August. 

Hello friends,

Things will be slowing down at Anglican Rose. I’ve tried to get an average of two posts a month, and that is not very frequent. I need to do less for a while. I will be getting married August 14th 2010 to Ms. Amanda Kruse, and money is a priority…! I’ ve been substitute teaching, and this has proven only a stop-gap. Expect more bunnies, less theology.

This blog began as a fairly private place to outline my position on public worship vis-a-vis Presbyterianism’s Regulative Principle. As I’ve made a transition from Presbyterianism to Anglicanism, I’ve discovered a different kind of ordering mechanism for Anglicans, namely the mutual submission between bishops in communion. This gets to St. Vincent’s principle, “in all places, all times” , since catholic truth is received and clarified by communion. Therefore Anglican formularies which have been produced by provincial synods deserve recognition, especially when they agree with Fathers and scripture. So, the majority of my views flow from this idea of ‘church order’ and Settlement ‘patrimony’.

That being said, there is still much worship that is plainly expressed and constrained by scripture, especially the sacraments instituted by Christ (e.g., their matter, intention, form).  A kind of RPW exists for dominical sacraments while those rites belonging to the church are mutable (to a degree) for the sake of order, catholicity, and edification (Hooker). The dominical sacraments– bracketed by normativism and outside the realm of adiaphora–give reason, for example, why the Bread is not “reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped…but we should duly use them”. We must do what Christ commands, “Take, eat”.

During 2009 Anglican Rose has become much more public. This is a concern because now I begin a path of examining Anglican worship (it’s canonical boundaries, upper limits, etc.), and this leads me to make conclusions on a half-baked understanding or antagonism toward Missal rites (for example, Corpus Christi). While this blog has a small audience, it does get forty to fifty hits per day and sometimes as many as one hundred. Strangely, this is almost twice the number of people at public worship at my parish. I find this kind of alarming. The internet certainly opens new and controversial doors for lay people within the Church. This can be good or bad. However, it is generally the case amongst Anglicans that blogging on questions of FWO (Faith, Order, Worship) is conducted by clergy. At least, this is something I’ve noticed. In the Continuum there certainly are active lay people, and, for example, the ACC and UEC has what might be called a ‘sub-deacon’, aka., lay workers– licencing laity to read and teach. In the end, there are indeed matters of good order especially for bloggers who scrutinize questions of worship?

After my struggle with Presbyterianism I am very cautious about public vows. In fact, I am still technically under a Presbyterian jurisdiction, my elders granting a temporary ‘dispensation’ to attend Anglican churches until I find one to settle in. Despite stereotypes of ‘calvinists’, in some ways Presbyterians are more ‘high church’ than Anglo-Catholics. Presbyterians often take discipline and catechism very seriously. Perhaps what I bring from Presbyterianism is a high regard for self-examination, exhortation, and penance as central to pastoral care. I wish I heard greater use of the Prayer book’s litany, general exhortations before communion, and penitential offices. Anyway, in two months I expect to be confirmed in the Continuum. More later…

As I slow down posting, there are some upcoming topics I believe are very important with respect to 1928 prayer book worship. One of these is Justification. “Justification” is often understood as how God reckons man’s righteousness. Too often it is wrongly understood apart from the sacraments. This is not an easy subject, but the 1543 Catechism (which the ACC acknowledges as authoritative) explains it as both ‘making’ and ‘declaring’. Thus,  there are two senses in which man is ‘justified’. Both require ‘abiding faith’.  Both kinds of salvation depend upon preventing grace. The Henrician rites are also divided two ways– those that stir faith vs. those that forgive sin.  The distinction throughout Henry’s standards, anticipating Article 25 and the Homily on Common Prayer, is distinguishing between sacraments or rites that  ‘justify’ vs. those that ‘edify’. This gets to the heart of adiaphora, and how Anglicans deal with Holy Tradition (what Christ institutes for remitting sins vs. what the Church provides for teaching). One is indelible, the other amendable.

However, the shortcoming of Henrician standards continue to be a Roman Catholic (RC) understanding of a carnal real presence, ie., the ‘physicality’ of Christ in the bread. According to Grafton, a change in ‘substance’ from bread to Christ’s flesh overthrows the meaning of a sacrament as an ‘outward sign signifying inward grace’. Other than an RC view of the Mass (one kind, ‘private’ eucharist, carnality), Henrician forumlas are the same mind as the 39 Articles– Augustinian or reformed to the point of being ‘systematic’.

Yet this brings up another question, “What is Transelementation”? By ‘trans-elementation’, the ACC claims it believes in the physicality of the bread at confection. Fr. Hart was kind enough to give me a kind of explanation:

…the idea of translementation is the opposite focus from the idea of Christ descending into the elements. It can be found today in what modern theologians of the RCC mean by Transubstantiation, thanks to the ecumenically helpful Ratzinger definition.

“Knowing about a transformation is part of the most basic Eucharistic faith. Therefore it cannot be the case that the Body of Christ comes to add itself to the bread, as if bread and Body were two similar things that could exist as two “substances”, in the same way, side by side. Whenever the Body of Christ, that is, the risen and bodily Christ, comes, he is greater than the bread, other, not of the same order. The transformation happens, which affects the gifts we bring by taking them up into a higher order and changes them, even if we cannot measure what happens…The Lord takes possession of the bread and the wine; he lifts them up, as it were, out of the setting of their normal existence into a new order; even if, from a purely physical point of view, they remain the same, they have become profoundly different.”

In those words Pope Benedict XVI, in good Anglican fashion, reverses the idea of Christ coming down into the sacrament, emphasizing an elevation of the reality of bread and wine into Heaven, that is, into His Person in a mysterious way.

After reading the link to Benedict’s explanation on confection, Benedict says nothing new. He insists the substance of the bread is overpowered by Christ’s presence. This sounds an awful lot like ‘transubstantiation’– the physical change of one substance to another? Is a physical change in the bread tolerated by the 1928 prayer book? I’d like to answer this with reference to the Articles and Black Rubric (1662) whose verdict would probably be ‘no’. Transelementation syncs well with Henrician documents which teach the corporeality of the body and blood in the sacrament. By cutting off the Reformation at Henry VIII, the ACC creates tensions with the 1928 Prayer Book which are not overcome without the assistance of the Missal. This is troublesome from a theological point of view but normally few pay attention.

Other future topics for this year 2010 will be Anglican reception of the Seventh Ecumenical council. I think, especially the prohibitions established by Henry on relics and saints, lends a hesitant acceptance of the seventh council. Furthermore, we tend to let Orthodoxy speak authoritatively on this, ignoring the heretical revision of the seventh council by Theodore of Studium. The St. Louis Affirmation pronounces the orthodoxy of all seven, and I think 1928 prayer book Anglicans can only assent the same by careful qualification, “Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures.” (ACNA Constitution).

Henry says in the same in the Preamble to the Ten Articles. I think we have to admit St. Louis churches come to the Affirmation with different assumptions. Sadly, the Anglo-Catholic supposition has prevailed, and this is partly the legacy of Mote and Morse contra Doren? However, Mote and Morse were children of the famous American Anglo-Catholic, Bp. Grafton, and perhaps it is really from his cup we drink.

Once I wade through these muddy theological questions, I will then get back to more plain matters on Ornaments– namely Percy Dearmer and Alciun Club tracts.  I recently read a terrific book named “Restoration of the Altars” which covered the history of the Altar placement from Edward to the William III. What was most striking was how high Ornamation was preserved by Royal Chapels and in some Cathedrals throughout the Settlement period. I recall Dearmer’ s plea for ‘scale’ and ‘proportion’ with respect to ceremony and ornaments. I think this is very true. In our age of fragmenting jurisdictions small congregations amongst conservatives are the norm. This should have a relation to decorum. I believe priests should be trained in solemn high mass and pontifical ceremony regardless, but thereafter they can always move ‘down’ the candlestick according to ‘scale’. I am always curious what worship might be like in the catacombs?

So,  I hope to write about the above this year. It will be slow in coming  (hopefully one post every three months) due to financial priorities. I expect to be taking night classes as well as earning and saving during the day. When worship questions begin to whine down (and I am convinced what the Settlement declares), perhaps then it is time to explore the idea of a ‘national church’ and historic examples of ‘toleration’ in England and her colonies. This will bleed into the realm of politics since Christendom or ‘establishment’ touch both.

I’ve met fantastic people through the net– Death Bredon, Bishop Poteet, Andrew Matthews, Peter Escalante, Mark W., CV, Rebekah S., Kevin, Nicholas, and many others. Thank you all for writing well-thought replies… I have probably been prideful, and often when you put a lot of work in a piece you are reluctant to retract. I think Rev. Mike recently brought up some important points which I kind of dismissed. They are making me rethink Tradition and Scripture.

I tend to approach doctrine in a very ‘dissecting’, Aristotelean way. Would Hooker support this? And, while there certainly is a place for Reason, I’ve been probably unnecessarily hostile to Orthodoxy. This is an ‘overreaction’ due to watching ‘Settlement Anglicanism’ disintegrate in the face of  ecumenicalism. That being said, like most high churchmen, I have a fondness of Orthodoxy– particular her aescetic and monastic theology. How can you understand the foundations of Glastonbury and Iona without knowing something about Monasticism? Although it belongs to the medieval period, Benedict’s Rule anticipates Protestant ethos by the ‘moral perfectionism’ of Puritans, William Law, and John Wesley.

My only wish is Anglicanism gets her own House in order (I mean theologically) before pursuing our natural and needed affinity with the East. If one checks out the links on the right side of the blog, you will find much on Orthodoxy– even links to the ROCOR Bishopric which the ACC is moving toward. I also frequent WRO retreats and have done volunteer construction work for the OCA.  Orthodox brothers shouldn’t feel I am hostile. Yet, I love Anglicana– not just her aesthetic, poetry, or ornament– but her theology, scholarly approach, and passion for the creed. How else to know her besides through the Settlement? As a lay person, I want to desperately hang on to gem which Cranmer, Hooker, Jewel, Laud, and Andrewes found. However, I cannot entirely dislike the ACC venture toward ROCOR. It’s something I’ve prayed for. Yet I wish it was occurring with a stronger Anglican identity, a system of theology, and a self-confidence in the English Reformation. Until then I can’t help feel Eastern reproachment is anything but premature. Should I just attend the nearby OCA? At least then I’ll be chrismated…

Meanwhile, as I prepare for Confirmation and Marriage, I would love to discuss the theology behind these rich and laudable rites.  Please keep marriage, parish stability, and finances in your prayers for me. I’ll be toning somethings down, posting less this year, but there is certainly enough theology to study for a lifetime. The year 2009 was a tectonic shift in many ways for both Anglicanism and the USA. I am sure 2010 will be no different, and I look forward to it. Let’s do our best to harvest the fruit of 2010, making our building and planting good for Christ’s sake.

21 responses to “Pruning Roses

  1. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! And, by all means, attend to your superior responsibilities. But, should you find some spare time, please don’t allow the rose to die on the vine.

    Thanks again for cluing me in on connections between the Henrican and Elizabethan religious formularies. I now see that they are much more closely tied than I had previously appreciated. Of course, I remain indissolubly bound to the Caroline Divines — those first called Anglicans — for clarifying and perfecting the theology of English Reformation.


    • Gentleman,

      I just wanted to express my appreciation for your dialog. Although not prepared to participate as an unconfirmed Anglican your historical arguments and charitable dialog is helpful in my journey.


  2. Hello Charles,

    Stumbled on your blog. Reformed Presbyterian of the last 15 years now exploring both the Lutheran and Anglican Faith. I’m finding myself leaning toward orthodox Anglicanism. I’m almost 40 years of age but feel I need to align with that Church which has less innovations and aligns itself with the Scripture, Church Fathers, and Reason. Just thought I’d say “hello” as I see you come from a similar background.


    • Hi Wayne! It took me some time to sew my catholic and presbyterian identities together. Just remember, as you study and learn more, Anglicanism is its own breed of cat. Don’t let either Eastern Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism define it. Same thing with Calvin and Arminius. Here are some great (contemporary) essays by Fr. Hart on Anglicanism–
      Anglican Patrimony I
      Anglican Patrimony II
      Unconfusing Anglicanism
      Unconfusing Anglicanism II
      Confident Anglicanism?

      And, by Fr. Hassert, a brief history of classical Anglicanism:
      History Defended

      I’ve tried to post primary documents which I believe authoratively define the Settlement, 1534-1700, under my ‘Anglicanism’ links (top-right). There are many great catechisms and expositions on the Articles of Religion, history, and liturgy of the CofE. After you get a strong introduction to Reformed Anglicanism (easy given your Presbyterian background), then check out some of the Western Rite Orthodoxy writings. They can help.

      The Church of England predates the Roman Catholic church by some thirty years, the CofE’s foundations laid in Glastonbury before St. Paul’s conversion and the consecration of Pope Linus (who was a son of the british general, Caradoc). The early Western Church received great impetus from the British presbyteryium. Many Anglicans have forgotten this, crawling to foreign jurisdictions as a consequence. This is lamentable.

      Despite Anglicana’s rich heritage and sure doctrine, we have sadly been scattered by overzealous partisanship and permissive liberalism. You will find many fragmented territories and parishes as a consequence. Today there are a couple ‘rallying-points’ for conservatives, but for the most part orthodoxy remains rare, found occasionally amongst various ‘flying bishops’. If orthodox bishops could come together around historical formularies and councils, then we might indeed regather and rebuild. Some of this is presently happening, and the liberals recently have been loosing influence in Lambeth, so there is hope.

      God Bless!


    • Wayne,

      As Charles implies, several varieties of “Anglicanism” — in the sense of the Church of England and progeny — exist in inconsistent theological, but parallel temporal planes. For instance, the ascendant Liberals party, the rival Evangelical party, the fleeing Anglo-Catholic party all tend claim the appellation. But for summations of the classical Anglicanism of the English Religious Settlement, please allow me to recommend Vernon Staley’s, “The Catholic Religion;” C.B. Moss’s, “The Christian Faith,” and E.J. Bicknell’s, “The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England.”


  3. Thank You both for the resources. Unfortunately my only choice of Anglicanism is a small Church which is part of CANA/ACNA as there are no other orthodox Anglican parishes in my city. It is the only one that I know if which opposed WO and has a semblance of Anglican rites from the 1662 BCP. There is another one but is part of the Holy Catholic Church Anglican rite but I consider them Anglo-papalist. What is a person to do?


    • Wayne,

      Welcome to the present Chaos surrounding the Church of England Communion–most of which is NOT within the ambit of classical Anglicanism.

      Also, welcome to the Anglican “alphabet soup.” First, any church within the ACNA is probably not, strictly speaking, Anglo-Papalist. Most of those creatures reside in England and are very likely to be taking Pope Benedict’s recent offer to join the Roman Communion. Instead, the church near you is probably “Anglo-Catholic,” which may have many Romish leanings in both doctrine and worship, but is nevertheless extremely unlikely to ever accept the “New Dogmas” of Papal Infallibility, Immaculate Conception, or Bodily Assumption. Moreover, very few churches within CANA/ANCA are even of the Anglo-Catholic ilk–most are generally on the popular pan-Evangelical side of things, often with praise bands and the like. This is not to say the ACNA church near you is not Anglo-Catholic though.

      As for me, given the highly irregular jurisdictional situation of those purporting to Anglican, I do not make personal decisions on the basis of formal affiliations. Rather, I look for fidelity to the historical formularies of the English Religious Settlement, most especially as explicated by the Caroline Divines of the 17th century. In short, I look for the closest thing to ‘classical Anglicanism’ based on “the local facts on the ground.”

      In practise, this can mean attending an Episcopal Church parish (not all have gone rotten yet), or an ACNA church, or one connecting to the broader and loosely defined Continuing Anglican bodies, such as the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC), the Anglican Province in America (APA), the Anglican Church in America (ACA), the Anglican Catholic Church (ACA), the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK), or the United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA). BUT, be cautious–while these jurisdictions contain many parishes that more or less approximate classical Anglicanism in local vernaculars, others could just as well be Methodists (the praise band and projection screen are usually dead give away), Presbyterian (a/k/a Prayerbook Presbydestinarians), or very Anglo-Catholic (sacred-heart statuary is the give away). Indeed, in some places, the closest thing the Anglicanism of Lancelot Andrewes can surprisingly be your local Greek Orthodox parish (as long as they don’t get too caught up in historically monastic spirituality).


  4. Let me clarify the Anglo-papalist Church is part of the Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite

    This group is actually experiencing some fallout over Marian devotion.

    I actually delved into Orthodoxy some time ago but coming from a Reformed background I found synergism to be an obstacle that I couldn’t overcome.

    Thanks again for your comments.


    • The HHC-AR is indeed Anglo-Papalist, whereas the HHC-WR is basically Wester-Rite Orthodox but not in communion with the Eastern Churches.

      As for synergism, it was the universal soteriological position until the Augustine synthesis began to form in the West after the Council of Orange (529).

      After Molina received papal imprimatur, Rome Catholicism has generally returned to a synergistic soteriology, as have the Reformed Arminians and Wesleyan Methodists, not to mention the classical Anglicanism of the 17th century. Indeed, to reject synergistic soteriology is to reject classical Anglicanism as well as the uniform and consistent witness of the Church for the first Five centuries.


  5. Hello Death,

    I read the Articles as being Augustinian.

    Article 10 says, “the condition of man after the fall is such, that the cannot turn or prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God”

    Article 13 then rejects the ‘grace of congruity’, “forasmuch as they spring not from faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace”

    Taken together, what can be said about faith? A preventing grace is required. In my mind, this seems to rule out semi-pelegianism.

    How does Augustine differ from Wesley/Calvin? Augustine gives the sacraments a realism that both Wesley and Calvin abstract. This allows Augustine, in my opinion, to point to the Church (the administration of word and sacrament) as the medium of grace rather than the inward ‘conversion experience’ of the individual (sic., the tent or ‘chapter’ meeting). From what I understand (insofar Henrician catechisms read) Arminianism and Calvinism are two-sides of the same coin. Traditional Augustinianism rejects both, and this is probably true of the Articles which originally separated from Reformed (Swiss and Dutch) opinion on the continent.

    While Augustine discusses election, he does so lightly, favoring sacramentology (what is visible) instead. This is the light which I view Anglican articles on grace, and at this point I am reluctant to hitch them to either Dutch controversies or Greek opinion. I think the Augustinian viewpoint is old enough to be considered both ‘western’ and ‘patristic’, preceding Augustine by the less systematic views of Jerome.

    Again, these are theological opinions, and as Henry reminds us, our emphasis should neither overthrow grace nor freewill but keep the two in tension, expounding respective realities according to pastoral need.

    Anyway, I have to say the Articles are firmly rooted in the Western patristic tradition which also partially explains why the CofE spoke rather ambiguously regarding later ecumenical councils. Anyway, that’s the sense I get from earlier Henrician catechisms.


  6. Charles,

    Indubitably the Articles are written on the backdrop of the Augustinian synthesis. Moreover, classical Anglicanism has always held to the doctrine of previent grace, as do the Greek Fathers–though they employ different terminology.

    But, one aspect of the Augustinian synthesis–unconditional predestination to life (but not reprobation)–is left entirely unaddressed by the Articles. Notice that Article XVII conspicuously does not say, though many have tried to read into it, that predestination to life is unconditional. The silence of the Articles on this point is one reason many commentators argue that they are not a sufficient confessional statement compared to Trent or Continental Protestant Confession issued at the time of the Reformation / Counter-Reformation struggles.

    Given the organic development of the C of E out of the Latin tradition and the silence of the Articles on the point, many if not most of the Elizabethan divines simply adhered to the doctrine to the status quo ante–the doctrine Council of Orange’s innovative and illogical teaching that God unconditionally predestines the Elect to Life but does not himself predestine the Reprobate to damnation.

    However, those English Divines properly called Anglican–the 17th Century or Caroline Divines–and who took to heart the patristic impetus and methodology of the Elizabethan Settlement–i.e., looking to the consistent witness of the first five centuries of the Church–soon returned to the fully synergistic soteriology that formed the only widely held view in the first five centuries. This doctrine of synergism, however, is “asymmetrical,” however, as God’s previent grace acts first and is infinitely more important than man’s positive response thereto. Thus, the Greek fathers have never taught semi-Pelagianism as some staunch Augustinians and Calvinists claim.

    Only after the Glorious Revolution–when Calvinists and Lutherans were openly and quasi-officially “comprehended” into the Established Church again–did the doctrines unconditional predestination regain English currency–a view wrongly attributed to Article XVII. But as these teachings were representative only of those who were loyal to the Continental Reformation and not that English Reformation.

    In sum, the C of E and progeny still contain (1) double-predestinarian monergists, who are often perjoratively called “Prayerbook Presbytarians;” (2) those who, like the Lutherans, and some Romans, still adhere to the muddled doctrine of unconditional predestination to life (but not reprobation); and (3) Anglicans proper who adhere, with the Greek Fathers, to the primitive and patristic doctrine of assymetrical syngery, wrongly called semi-Pelagian. More recently, the ascendency of the Liberal party within the Established Communion (e.g., Archbishopress Schori) has championed an abominable (4) Socinian view of soteriology, which is worse than Pelagianism!


  7. Hello Death,

    Yours is a very interesting quote:

    “This doctrine of synergism, however, is “asymmetrical,” however, as God’s previent grace acts first and is infinitely more important than man’s positive response thereto. Thus, the Greek fathers have never taught semi-Pelagianism as some staunch Augustinians and Calvinists claim”.

    If this is the case, then perhaps the difference between traditional Augustinianism and so-called semi-pelegianism is superficial? Both believe a previent grace is necessary for salvation. However, this begs the question-the efficacy or universalism of preventing grace continues to divide opinion. Also, I would hesitate to call the council of Orange “innovative” or “illogical”. Necessary deduction from Augustine might justify the same conclusion. Burnet makes a telling point regarding the controversy of preventing grace amongst Arminian v. Calvinists:

    “There do yet remain two points in which they do not agree; the one is efficacy of this preventing grace; some think that it is of its own nature so efficacious, that it never fails of converting those to whom it is given: others think that it only awakens and disposes, as well as it enables them to turn to God, but that they may resist it, and that the greater part of mankind do actually resist it.”

    If preventing grace does truly enlighten our nature, then how could a reasonable man not desire or turn faith from to Christ? I find it amazing, according to the Arminian position, that all men have been given this ‘first grace’, nonetheless the vast majority of mankind continue to reject what is obviously good, choosing death over life. This hardly exemplifies an ‘enlightened state’ since the cross but the same depravity before? How does a universal previent grace glorify the work of Christ? Rather, in my opinion, it risks glorifying man. For me, it is more incredible a proposition than God’s secret counsel in election.

    When reading the Articles, while the Caroline divines represent a tolerable opinion (not the sum of Settlement thought), I think understanding the theology which framed the Article’s composition is important, as Waterland contended against Blackbourne, “to regard their meaning and intention, either of persons who first complied them, or who impose them”. The thirty-nine articles, as you know, were largely taken from the forty-two, and this was principally the labor of Cranmer who drafted them as a ‘test’ for his Canterbury diocese. Both the 1563 and 1553 versions direct the reader to the book of Homilies. In the first book of Homilies Cranmer indeed says nothing on predestination (like the Henrician catechisms, predestination is toned down if not absent). However, his opinion is certainly toward the ‘augustine’ side, i.e., on the very strong side of preventing grace where even ‘faith’ is not our own. Cranmer says:

    “Three things must go together in our justification. In these aforesaid places, the Apostle touches specially three things, which must go together in our justification. Upon GODS part, his great mercy and grace: upon Christ’s part, justice, that is, the satisfaction of GODS justice, or the price of our redemption, by the offering of his body, and shedding of his blood, with fulfilling of the law perfectly & throughly; and upon our part true & lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, which yet is not ours, but by GODS working in us: so that in our justification, is not only Gods mercy & grace, but also his justice, which the Apostle calls the justice of GOD, & it consists in paying our ransom, & fulfilling of the law: & so the grace of God doth not shut out the justice of God in our justification, but only shuts out the justice of, that is to say, the justice of our works, as to be merits of deserving our justification. ”

    “How it is to be understood, justifies without works. So that although they be all present together in him that is justified, yet they justify not all together: Nor the faith also does not shut out the justice of our good works, necessarily to be done afterwards of duty towards GOD (for we are most bounden to serve GOD, in doing good deeds, commanded by him in his holy Scripture, all the days of our life:) But it excludes them, so that we may not do them to this intent, to be made good by doing of them“.

    “Justification is not the office of man, but of GOD, or man cannot make himself righteous by his own works, neither in part, nor in the whole, for that were the greatest arrogance and presumption of man, that Antichrist could set up against GOD, to affirm that a man might by his own works, take away and purge his own sins, and so justify himself.”

    “We be justified freely by faith without works, or that we be justified by faith in Christ only, is not, that this our own act, to believe in Christ, or this our faith in Christ, which is within us, doth justify us, and deserve our justification unto us (for that were to count our selves to be justified by some act or virtue that is within our selves) but the true understanding and meaning thereof is, that although we hear GODS word, and believe it, although we have faith, hope, charity, repentance, dread, and fear of GOD within us, and do never so many works thereunto: yet we must renounce the merit of all our said virtues, of faith, hope, charity, and all other virtues and good deeds, which we either have done, shall do, or can do, as things that be far too weak and insufficient, and imperfect, to deserve remission of our sins, and our justification..”

    “For our own imperfection is so great, through the corruption of original sin, that all is imperfect that is within us, faith, charity, hope, dread, thoughts, words, and works, and therefore not apt to merit and discern any part of our justification for us. And this form of speaking used we, in the humbling of our selves to GOD, and to give all the glory to our Savior Christ, which is best worthy to have it.” — 1547 Homily On Salvation

    It was in this respect Hooker could say the doctrine of the CofE was most sure and safe. According to Cranmer, if faith is God’s gift and not our own, then what are the implications of this ‘asymmetric’ or ‘high grace’ view? In my opinion it’s a freewill ‘irresistably’ (?) directed by a new heart, where the choice between God and Sin is kind of a ‘duh’. We come to Christ in a weak, not perfect faith, but it is a faith that is aware of the chasm between our fallen state vs. the holiness of God. Let’s at least say the Articles are open to some interpretation here.

    I think too often we credit early tradition for informing our Articles when other influences also deserve acknowledgement– namely, the humanism of Erasmus and even medieval thought. In considering the liberal catholic Bicknell, here is an interesting quote from the REC’s report on ACNA liturgy revision:

    “The assumption promoted here is that the ’16th century Reformers attempted to return to the pracitices of the Early Church in their liturgical revision, but were hindered by a lack of primary resources, whereas ‘scholars today have much more direct access to the primary sources of the liturgies of the Undivided Church, and are not hindered by the polemics of the 16th century; therefore they can provide us with more authentic resources from which to draw for our contemporary liturgies’. This assumption is only partly true. Cranmer, no mean patristic scholar, certainly had access to some primary sources. But this use of them was qualified, not only by the criterion of conformity to scripture [Erasmus humanism], but also by respect for what the Report calls the ‘evolutionary’ principle— that is, seeking to maintain the highest degree of continuity possible with post-patristic development. For the Reformers, the practice of the Early Church was never treated as antiqurian abstraction, but to be applied in the changed circumstances of the early modern church.”

    The principle that early Tradition trumps later developments is the one that underlies recent liturgical revision, and is used (since the 1958 Lambeth Conference) to justify the abandonment of the Prayer Book tradition as the starting point for liturgical revision. Thus in the name of antiquarian abstraction of ‘tradition’, the actual tradition of western Christianity and Anglicanism in particular is abandoned”.

    Important Western doctors like Augustine, Prosper, Bernardus, Anselm, Jerome, and Aquinas, of course, stand behind Cranmer. As a prayer book catholic, I think we can all appreciate this ‘post-patristic period’ and ‘continuity’ even to the relatively medieval (Sarum ornaments, etc.). This indeed complicates things, but also is necessary if we are to be truly ‘Anglican’ and catholic (in terms of succession of our fathers in the faith). I think a challenging polemic for Anglicanism is embracing not just the universal faith but also the Western and English one. Otherwise Anglicanism becomes a creature that is basically self-negating.

    Meanwhile, you admit the ‘asymmetric’ relation between grace and freewill, and I will readily agree with you on that. However, there is an Anglo development of doctrine which I wish we were more sensitive toward, and I believe Anglicanism should fearlessly embrace it– not reducing our theology to Greek thought. The East is important, especially polity-wise, but commonality is found by affirming our own development and tradition rather than justifying ourselves in a foreign patrimony. I think theological emphasis stemming from our own legitimate western and even medieval past ought to take a priority over Greek opinion?


  8. Charles,

    Historically, the 39 Articles have been construed from several points of view. The Puritans (Calvinists) read them through a pure Augustinian lens. The New-Learning Men (Lutherans) read them through the lens of the Augustinian Synthesis, which is the modified and mitigated Augustinianism exemplified by the Council of Orange. The Caroline Divines read them through the lens of Ancient Fathers (the Greeks, not Arminius!) And, the Anglo-Catholics read them through the lens of the Counter-Reformation or Trent (Romans).

    So, reliance on the Articles as a distinctive of classical Anglicanism begs the question: which lens is that intended and sanctioned by the formularies of the English Religious Settlement? And, the answer come from the lips of Elizabeth I hereself: “”We and our people — thanks be to God — follow no novel and strange religion, but that very religion which is ordained by Christ, sanctioned by the primitive and Catholic Church and approved by the consentient mind and voice of the most early Fathers.” (Queen Elizabeth I, r. 1558-1603). We also have the words of the Canon of 1571: “The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine.” And also, we have the aphorism of Lancelot Andrewes: “One Canon of Scripture which we refer to God, two Testaments, three Creeds, the first four Councils, five centuries and the succession of the Fathers in these centuries, three centuries before Constantine, two centuries after Constantine, draw the rule of our religion.” Indeed, all these quotes capture the rule or method for doing theology that is imbedded in the 1559 Act of Settlement.

    In sum, formulary Anglicanism points to the patristic methodology perfected by the Caroline Divines. The Puritan, Lutheran, or Anglo-Catholic approaches, though all giving lip service to the Fathers, and cherry-pick from them, but ultimately fail to come to terms the consistent consensus of the primitive and most ancient fathers as a whole. Thus, these approaches are attempts to highjack the English Reformation and its formularies and co-opt them into Continental Protestantism or Continental Catholicism and must be rejected as outside the bounds of classical Anglicanism, even if, at varying times, they were tolerated or even predominated the thought of the Church of England and its broader communion. Indeed, Anglicanism in the generic, institutional sense is quite different from Anglicanism proper, in the sense of a being the a discrete theological school within the later.

    * * * * *

    With regard to the Council of Orange, I stand by my opinion. The Council did avoid the error of Pelagius and the enormity of Augustine’s double-predestination monergism, but it failed to chart the via media to which the Church had uniformly adhered to before. For a more in depth explication, I highly recommend J.N.D. Kelly’s, “Early Christian Doctrines,” which should be a reference book in every Anglican library anyhow. And, for a more in depth analysis, that supports what I am saying, take a look at the first two volumes of Yaroslav Pelikan’s, “The Christian Tradition.” Its dense reading, but it was done when YP was a Lutheran and it is regarded as tops in its genre by the top scholars from every denomination.


    • Hello Death,

      Perhaps we need to clear some terms. First, does your list of books discuss the alleged misunderstanding of ‘semi-pelegianism’? You and I agree on a couple things– Arminianism is a corruption of Greek patristics, and grace is asymmetric with respect to freewill. I personally view Arminianism as a reaction to the extremes of Calvinism.

      That being said, ‘double-predestination’ is very much a minority viewpoint even among Calvinists. For instance, the Westminster Confession of Faith is specifically a sublapsarian document. Likewise, though the Council of Orange says nothing about many Calvinist points, it explicitly anathematizes double-predestination:

      “According to the catholic faith we also believe that after grace has been received through baptism, all baptized persons have the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labor faithfully, to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul. We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.”

      Double-predestination is a charge that many like to peg on Augustine and his Protestant interpretors. It surely is a damnable opinion which the Articles forbid. In the Preface of the 1540 Great Bible, Cranmer mentions men who “dispute great questions of divinity”, warning them, “we must know when, to whom, and how far we ought to enter into such matters”.

      While I accept the 1571 Canon, it is good to remember where Elizabeth repeats it from. The 1536 Ten Articles say,

      “That they ought and must utterly refuse and condemn all those opinions contrary to the said articles, which were of long time past condemned in the four holy councils, that is to say, in the council of Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, and all other since that time in any point consanant to the same. ”

      “…they ought and must most constantly believe and defend all those things to be true, which be comprehended in the whole body and canon of the Bible, and also in the three Creeds or symbols, whereof one was made by the apostles, and is the common creed which every man useth; the second was made in the holy council of Nice, and is said daily in the mass; and the third was made by Athnasius, and is comprehended in the Psalm Quicunque vult: and that they ought and must take and interpret all the same things according to the selfsame sentence and interpretation, which the words of the selfsame creeds or symbols do purport, and the holy approved doctors of the church do entreat and defend the same.

      When discussing doctrines of grace as found in the Thirty-Nine Articles, certainly the intent and original meaning of the author as well as those who impose their authority ought be considered? Cranmer was not only the architect of the Forty-Two but also the Henrician catechisms. In each document, grace is understood in a traditional Augustinian fashion. As I re-read the canons of Orange, Cranmer’s Homily on Salvation, and the two catechisms, not only is predestination somewhat dodged but so is irresistible grace. Pundits seem to impose these meanings in order to discredit? Curiously, Cranmer says in 1543,

      “man hath freewill also now after the fall of our first father Adam, as plainly appeareth in these places following: Be not overcome of evil. Neglect not the grace that is in thee. Love not the world, etc.. If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Which undoubtedly should be said in vain, unless there were some faculty or power left in man whereby he may, by the help and grace of God, (if he will receive it when it is offered unto him,) understand his commandments, and freely consent and obey unto them: which the catholic father is called freewill…” (p. 359, Lloyd)

      Evidently, Cranmer admits a man may reject the free offer of grace even in the ‘enlightened state’ of previent grace. The efficacious degree of preventing grace, in my mind, remains an open question which neither Cranmer nor the Articles care to address. Previent grace is not allowed to go so far as to extinguish freewill, and this is where we must end all vain talk. Henry’s Necessary Doctrine says,

      “All men be admonished and chiefly preachers, that this high matter they be looking on both sides, so attemper and moderate themselves, that neither they so preach the grace of God, that they take away thereby free will, nor on the other side so extol freewill, that injury be done to the grace of God” (p. 363, Lloyd)

      When opponents conclude the “inability of the natural will” (as found in Cranmerian documents) necessarily leads to ‘fatalism’, they are putting words in the mouth of the Archbishop which he never said. Saying the “natural will is unable” does not necessarily mean an “assisted freewill” must choose good. Neither reality can overthrow the other. Notice even the Council of Orange affirms freewill, though it is ‘asymmetric’ (like Cranmer describes) in so far as it is first prepared and healed by grace:

      CANON 23. Concerning the will of God and of man. Men do their own will and not the will of God when they do what displeases him; but when they follow their own will and comply with the will of God, however willingly they do so, yet it is his will by which what they will is both prepared and instructed.

      CANON 13. Concerning the restoration of free will. The freedom of will that was destroyed in the first man can be restored only by the grace of baptism, for what is lost can be returned only by the one who was able to give it.

      When Elizabeth references the Fathers, she surely is including Western patristics with the Greek. Elizabeth’s reign might be considered a ‘Restoration’ akin to 1662. Elizabeth restored the Anglicanism of Henry and Edward, and her Settlement might be thought more preoccupied with balancing royal precedent than protestant vs. catholic popular opinion. In my estimation, Elizabeth adds nothing new aside from reconciling what preceded her. In so far as this might be true, Henrician documents prove very Augustinian. Not only would Elizabeth desire continuity between her Father and herself (the prestige of royal title) but Cranmer would have been similarly sensitive in continuity between Edward and Henry in his own confessional work. When we say the Settlement was a resourcement of catholic Fathers, it does not exclude Western patristics which had a salient place. The nature of catholicity, along with royal prestige, is continuity along lines of doctrinal and patrimonal succession. This suggests, in my mind, a medieval as well as a Western gravity or lens (though also scrutinized by the rule of scripture and linguistic humanism)? I am hesitant to think tradition was revamped in any kind of abrupt or radical fashion as to reject Augustine or Western thought. Surely, ‘confessionalism’ itself is remnant of schoolmen, etc.


      • Charles,

        Because I materially agree with everything in your last comment, any perceived disagreements must be semantical.

        You remind me of John Wesley, who employed the vocabulary and categories of thought of the Magisterial Reformation to re-emphasize ancient truths from the Greek Fathers that were in danger of being forgotten by the extreme Calvinist element in the C of E. In contrast, I am more inclined to literally translate the Greek Fathers into English following the example of Lancelot Andrewes and John Mason Neale. Of course, Wesley, Andrewes, and Neale were all three sound, orthodox Anglicans!


  9. Hello Death,

    You are a gentleman…Wow! John Wesley! I’d be happy if I could teach my own family much less an entire nation. Yes, I agree. Much unnecessary disagreement is indeed semantical. We desperately need a broad church orthodox party, but, as you well know, such is predicated upon conformity to established standards as much as studied or irenic definitions. The more I read of Dearmer, the more I fall in love with Prayer Book catholicity. Dearmer’s Loyalty to the Prayer Book is a necessary and absolute supplement to Keble’s National Apostasy. Here is a great quote from the former tract regarding Anglicanism’s distinctive yet catholic composition. I thought it relevant to what we (and others) have tossed about:

    “The English Church happens to base herself in a special manner upon history–she appeals to the Scriptures and primitive antiquity for her theology, [* Articles VI., VIII., etc.] to the ancient Fathers for her ritual, [* The Preface Concerning the Service of the Church, Article XXIV., etc.] to Catholic tradition for her ceremonial; [* The Preface Of Ceremonies, Canon 30 (1603), Canon & (1640), etc.] she refers us to the second year of Edward VI for her ornaments, [* The Ornaments Rubric] and to the later middle ages for the arrangement of her chancels. [* “And the chancels shall remain as they have done in times past.” (First inserted in 1552.)] [24/25] Her formularies, therefore, cannot be understood without a good deal of historical knowledge. Some people may object to this, and may ask–Why should they be bound by documents that are two or three hundred years old? But the fact remains that they are so bound, whether they like it or not; and that the whole intention of the Reformers, as shown from end to end of the Prayer Book, Articles, and Canons, was to bind them to principles that are nearer two thousand than two hundred years of age. Nor will they be released from this bondage to historic continuity till the same authority that imposed it shall have removed it,–which will not be for a long time to come. The attempts that have been hitherto made at throwing off this light yoke have not been so conspicuously successful in their results as to encourage us to proceed. Therefore I ask Churchmen to renounce those futile experiments of private judgment, and to throw themselves into the task of realising in its entirety that sound Catholic ideal which the defenders of the English Church preserved for us through the most troublous period of her history. “– Dearmer, Loyalty to the Prayer Book


    • What I brilliant quote. It encapsulates precisely what the goal of the Anglican Preservation Society should be.

      How about posting the quote over at Thames River? It is so poignant. I love to hear the responses of Nicholas and the gang!


      • If you don’t beat me to it! I plan to list a number of great qoutes from Percy’s Loyalty tract at TRBP this coming Sunday evening. Next week I will be out of town, & with nothing to do in the evening I certainly have a number of threads I’d like to start.


  10. Death,

    In advising Wayne (and I hope he is still reading) I think you should have included Proctor and Frere’s A New History of the Book of Common Prayer. Likewise both of Kelly’s books are extremely important additions to that short list of what all classical Anglicans should know.



  11. What heretical revision of the seventh council?This is new for me.


    • Hello Rafael,

      See the sacramentology of Theodore the Studite. Theodore goes beyond the definition given by the seventh council for iconodulism, claiming icons have an objectivity and efficacy (realism) much like the supper. It is not simple reverence but a magical quality which icons have so they are not merely pictures of holy men but true ‘windows to heaven’. The council of Frankfurt was much more in keeping with the seventh, and Anglicans, if they receive it, it’s by way of the Franks not Rome or EO.

      An interesting side note, while explicit Anglican reverences are generally left to individual discretion, like the East, we have some curiously canonical ones. Cross-referencing 1604 canons w/ articles of Perth (where arguments for reverences are given), liturgically public honor to the (sign of the) holy cross, altar, and Sacred Name is commissioned in worship. Indeed, there are few reverences given such explicit status in the CofE, but these modest ones provide something unique vis-a-vis the Greeks and Latins. Also, in the 1662 kalendar, though many black letter saints were indeed removed from the Sarum breviary, Holy Cross Day and the Invention of the Cross are both recognized. Bishop Robinson still creeps the cross during holy week, and this leaves us something to think about regarding the beauty of English rood screens and garlanding thereof on Lady Day.


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