*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.
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.