Category : Ecclesiology

William Reed Huntington for his Feast Day-‘Catholicity is what we are reaching after’

Dissatisfaction is the one word that best expresses the state of mind in which Christendom finds itself today. There is a wide-spread misgiving that we are on the eve of momentous changes. Unrest is everywhere. We hear about Roman Councils, and Anglican Conferences, and Evangelical Alliances, about the question of the Temporal Power, the dissolution of Church and State, and many other such like things. They all have one meaning. The party of the Papacy and the party of the Reformation, the party of orthodoxy and the party of liberalism, are all alike agitated by the consciousness that a spirit of change is in the air. No wonder that many imagine themselves listening to the rumbling of the chariot- wheels of the Son of Man. He Himself predicted that ” perplexity” should be one of the signs of His coining, and it is certain that the threads of the social order have seldom been more seriously entangled than they now are.

A calmer and perhaps truer inference is that we are about entering upon a new reach of Church history, and that the dissatisfaction and perplexity are only transient. There is always a tumult of waves at the meeting of the waters; but when the streams have mingled, the flow is smooth and still again. The plash and gurgle that we hear may mean something like this.

At all events the time is opportune for a discussion of the Church-Idea; for it is with this, hidden under a hundred disguises, that the world’s thoughts are busy. Men have become possessed with an unwonted longing for unity, and yet they are aware that they do not grapple successfully with the practical problem. Somehow they are grown persuaded that union is God’s work, and separation devil’s work ; but the persuasion only breeds the greater discontent. That is what lies at the root of our unquietness. There is a felt want and a felt inability to meet the want; and where these two things coexist there must be heat of friction.

Catholicity is what we are reaching after….

–William Reed Huntington The Church Idea (1870)

Posted in Books, Church History, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations

(Deseret News) These churches are done with buildings. Here’s why

In September 2020, the Rev. Mike Whang and his wife, Lisa, sat in their home in Houston wrestling with one of the most important decisions of their lives. As she cradled their 1-month-old baby and their 3-year-old daughter slept in another room, they debated leaving the safety net of their large, wealthy church to strike out on their own.

At the time, the Rev. Whang led an ethnically and racially diverse small group ministry for the church. It was going well enough that other pastors wanted to absorb the group’s members into the main worship service.

The Rev. Whang, who is Korean American, felt torn about the consolidation plan. Part of the dilemma boiled down to a question of “Do we want to raise our two daughters in a community where they would be the only nonwhite (children) or do we want to create a new community?” he said.

The alternative — using the ministry group as the starting point for a new church — seemed crazy, especially with a baby, especially in the middle of a pandemic, especially when they had no church building to call their own.

But that’s what the Rev. Whang and his wife decided to do. With the blessing of the area bishop, Oikon United Methodist Church was born.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ecclesiology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

A look back to 2005–(CC) George Lindbeck: The unity we seek–Setting the agenda for ecumenism

Convergence ecumenism came to dominate the ecumenical establishment (by which I mean those who to one degree or another are professionally engaged in ecumenism, whether as students, teachers, bureaucrats or active participants in relevant meetings, commissions and assemblies). Three of the high-water marks of 20th-century ecumenism reflect this dominance: the WCC’s New Delhi statement on “the unity we seek” (1961), Vatican II’s Unitatis redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism, 1964) and the WCC’s Faith and Order document Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry, which, though not given its finishing touches until just before its publication in 1982, reflects in its substance agreements that had been reached a decade or more earlier. In short, it took only until around 1970 for convergence ecumenism to reach its apogee.

Since then, ecumenism has been in decline. Significant convergences on doctrinal issues have not ceased, as in, for example, the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (1999), but these convergences tend to be the outcome of discussions already well advanced in earlier decades and are to be attributed more to institutional inertia than to continuing enthusiasm.

Nonconvergence strategies for moving toward visible unity have also weakened. Beginning already at the WCC assembly in Uppsala in 1968, the emphasis started to shift from the concerns of Faith and Order toward those of what ecumenists called Life and Work. It is almost as if the social activism of the 1920s and 1930s, summed up in the 1925 Life and Work slogan “Doctrine divides but service unites,” were once again ecumenically triumphant.

A major change from 1925, however, is that since Uppsala it is the unity of the world, not that of the church in service to the world’s unity, that is more and more the direct goal. In the imagery employed by those in favor of the change, the paradigm is not the old “God-church-world” but rather “God-world-church.” According to this new paradigm, Christians should discern from what God is doing in the world what they themselves should do; or, in language that those hostile to the change often quote: “The world sets the agenda.” This type of Life and Work ecumenism had considerable momentum in the heyday of liberation theology, but since the end of the cold war, it has joined Faith and Order ecumenism in the doldrums. The survival of the ecumenism we have known seems doubtful.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Theology

CS Lewis on Friendship, Death and an insight it gives us into the real nature of the Church and of Heaven

[Essayist Charles] Lamb [1775-1834] says somewhere that if, of three friends (A, B, and C), A should die, then B loses not only A but “A’s part in C”, while C loses not only A but “A’s part in B”. In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles [Williams] is dead, I shall never again see Ronald [J R R Tolkien]’s reaction to a specifically Caroline joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald. Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can then say, as the blessed souls say in Dante, “Here comes one who will augment our loves.” For in this love “to divide is not to take away”. Of course the scarcity of kindred souls–not to mention practical considerations about the size of rooms and the audibility of voices–set limits to the enlargement of the circle; but within those limits we possess each friend not less but more as the number of those with whom we share him increases. In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah VI, 3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have.

–CS Lewis The Four Loves Chapter 4, cited by yours truly in the sermon yesterday

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Theology: Scripture

(Chr History) Nikolaus von Zinzendorf–“There can be no Christianity without community”

Nearly two centuries after Luther posted his 95 Theses, Protestantism had lost some of its soul. Institutions and dogma had, in many people’s minds, choked the life out of the Reformation.

Lutheran minister P.J. Spener hoped to revive the church by promoting the “practice of piety,” emphasizing prayer and Bible reading over dogma. It worked. Pietism spread quickly, reinvigorating Protestants throughout Europe””including underground Protestants in Moravia and Bohemia (modern Czechoslovakia)

The Catholic church cracked down on the dissidents, and many were forced to flee to Protestant areas of neighboring Germany. One group of families fled north to Saxony, where they settled on the lands belonging to a rich young ruler, Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology, Germany, Theology

John Stott–The Gospel is for Everyone

“It would be hard to imagine a more disparate group than the business woman, the slave girl and the [jailer]. Racially, socially and psychologically they were worlds apart. Yet all three were changed by the same gospel and were welcomed into the same church …It is wonderful to observe in Philippi both the universal appeal of the gospel (that it could reach such a wide diversity of people) and its unifying effect (that it could bind them together in God’s family) … The wealthy business woman, the exploited slave girl and the rough Roman [jailer] had been brought into a brotherly or sisterly relationship with each other and with the rest of the church … We too, who live in an era of social disintegration, need to exhibit the unifying power of the gospel.”

–John Stott, The Spirit the Church and the World: The Message of Acts (Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVaristy, 1990),p.270, quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in Books, Ecclesiology, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Tom Wright writes to the Spectator about Racism and the Gospel

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Stephen Spencer reviews Jesus and the Church, by Paul Avis, and asks whether missiology now trumps ecclesiology

Many in…[Paul Avis’s] position might now decide that this was enough and it was time to hang up his or her pen, as it were. Not Avis. This volume represents the first part of a multi-volume project on the theological foundations of the Christian Church.

With impressive ambition and energy, Avis is now embarking on a great undertaking and widening the scope of his scholarly investigations, from what has been mainly an exploration of the ecclesiology of the Reformation and modern eras, back to the sources and character of the Church as a whole, which in this instance means an engagement with the writings of the New Testament as well as some recent theology from Roman Catholic and Protestant sources. Using a phrase from F. D. Maurice, his concern is to dig for the foundations of the Church as a whole.

The purpose of this first volume is to explore in what ways the Church is rooted in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, undoubtedly a key question. As Avis puts it, when one looks at the history of the Church over 20 centuries, with “the emergence of its power structures, hierarchies and bureaucracies, the fact of its divisions and bloodshed, its sins, crimes and mundane human failings — we may well exclaim, ‘What has all that to do with Jesus of Nazareth?’”

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Ecclesiology, Missions

(CH) David Mills–The Ecumenical Dog That Doesn’t Bark

I’m all for praying for Christian unity and making a big deal of it for a week. But we should be clearer about what this means than the ecumenically-minded tend to be. They prefer the dog not to bark, but the barking dog warns us of something we need to remember.

Jim Packer remembered it. He wanted me to give in. I wanted him to give in. In our own circles, we both barked, and I think felt that a bond. We each knew what the other wanted and remained friends, with a deep respect for each other as well as affection. We enjoyed a great degree of unity despite our differences.

We should pray for Christian unity. But also offer the old-fashioned prayers that our Protestant friends would convert. And be the kinds of Catholics whose lives encourage people to join us.

Read it all.

Posted in Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Evangelicals, Roman Catholic, Soteriology

South Carolina Anglican Bishop Mark Lawrence–All Saints’ Day – A Team Photo

In an age of the celebrity, All Saints’ Day is a needed reminder that the Church, indeed the Christian life, is a team photo, not an action shot of a franchise player making a spectacular game-winning catch in the closing seconds of the game. Luminaries in the Church may dazzle us with their accomplishments and holiness. Reading the biographies of such men and women as Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, St. Teresa of Avila or Susannah Wesley, often inspire us with their brilliance, sacrifices or indefatigable labors. Even people in our day, such as Billy Graham or Mother Teresa can awe us with their accomplishments. Yet these distinguished Christians would be the first to acknowledge the network of “rank and file saints” who enabled their ministries to shine brightly, and without whom their labors would have faltered.

The Collect for All Saints’ Day (BCP2019 p. 622) refers to the “…one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of [Christ].” It alludes to this vast network of believers from every tribe, language, people and nation who have been and are part of the team. All are included in the 360-degree team photo that surrounds us as a great cloud of witnesses. In the Eucharist, we join our voices with their voices and celebrate the communion we share with them in the life and worship of our Lord.

When I wrestled at Bakersfield High School, I used to look at the photographs of wrestlers and teams of the past above the practice mats. Strategically placed to inspire us during 3-4 hour workouts, the wrestlers in these photos took on legendary qualities, inspiring us to work harder. They made us realize we had a noble tradition to live up to.

Read it all.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AH) Rodney Hacking–St. Ignatius of Antioch and the Renewal of the Anglican Episcopate

Ignatius offers a fascinating insight into the heart of a true man of God given over to His will. It is tempting to want to leap from his example and vision of episcopacy to its practice within our own Church at this time, but such a leap needs great care. A bishop in the first decade of the second century cannot fairly be compared even to one of 250 years later let alone in the Church of today. The three-fold ministry was still in an early stage of its development. Even though Lightfoot has cogently argued that a case can be made for regarding episcopacy as being of Apostolic direction, and therefore possessing Divine sanction, long years of evolution and growth lay before it. At this stage too the Church across the Roman Empire faced the daily possibility of considerable persecution and martyrdom. That demanded a particular kind of shepherding and witness.

On the other hand a bishop at the beginning of the third millennium might profitably and properly ask (or be asked) whether endless committees and synods are really the way in which their lives are to be laid down for their flock? An institution requires administration, but in the New Testament list of charisms, administrators are quite low in the order of priorities, and of its pastors at this time the Church has other, more pressing, needs. Rather than imposing upon an already disheartened clergy systems of appraisal (mostly copied from secular models of management) it would be good for parish priests to experience bishops as those who were around so much that they could afford regularly to ”˜drop in’ and just be with them. It is hard to expect the parish clergy to make visiting a priority if their fathers in God do not set an example.

In some dioceses the more obviously pastoral role has sometimes been exercised by a suffragan but as more and more diocesan bishops, at least within the Church of England, are being selected from the ranks of the suffragans the temptation is for those who are ambitious to prove their worth more as potential managers than those given to the ”˜Word of God and prayer’ (Acts 6.2). If the communities within which the bishops are to exercise their ministry of unity and care are too large for them to do their work has not the time come to press for smaller dioceses and for bishops to strip themselves of the remnants of the grandeur their office once held and be found, above all, with their clergy and amongst the people, drawing them together into the unity for which Christ gave himself?

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology

ACNA Provincial Council Council Votes To Accept Terms Of The Cairo Covenant

The Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) voted on its second day to accept full membership in the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches and to embrace a life of full communion as envisioned in the Cairo Covenant. The resolution, presented by Archbishop Bob Duncan and Bishop Bill Atwood, summarized the declarations of the Seventh Conference of Global South Anglicans, which met in Cairo, Egypt, on October 11, 2019. It also outlined the four objectives of the newly proposed covenantal structure: to guard the faith once delivered to the saints; to be effective in fulfilling God’s mission to the world; to strengthen the Global South’s identity, governance, relational life, and discipleship; and to work for the well-being of the global Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Duncan was honored to present this historical resolution on the anniversary of his consecration as the first archbishop of the ACNA. He commented: “As this Covenant becomes the basis of the accountability for orthodoxy, partnership, and mission in the Provinces of the Global South, it will be the most significant development in the history and ecclesiology of Anglicanism since the emergence of the Lambeth Conference in 1867.”

The ACNA has been a partner member of the Global South since 2015, and the fundamental declarations, mission objectives, relational commitments, and inter-provincial structures of the Global South are completely consistent with the provisions of the ACNA’s Constitution and Canons, Fundamental Declarations, and the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration. The ACNA continues to be committed to mutual accountability and biblical mission among Anglican provinces as remedies for both the ecclesial deficit and the gospel deficit plaguing the global Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ecclesiology, Global South Churches & Primates

(Unherd) Giles Fraser–Let priests pray in their churches

…[Today] the bishops of the Church of England will meet to consider the growing opposition to their policy of banning clergy from saying prayers in their churches.

To recap: on 24 March the Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote to the clergy of the Church of England with the following instruction: “Our church buildings must now be closed not only for public worship, but for private prayer as well and this includes the priest or lay person offering prayer in church on their own.”

The guidance of the government makes it specifically clear that clergy are allowed into their churches on their own to pray and to broadcast prayer. And the Roman Catholics and other churches continue to do so. But the C of E has banned its clergy from doing this, in some Dioceses with the threat of disciplinary action hanging over those who do.

The deep unhappiness about this continues to grow. Today a letter was sent to The Times signed by hundreds of clergy and lay people complaining about the current restrictions. And as the resistance grows so too does the counter-resistance — with arguments from those defending the official line appearing all over social media.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(Gafcon) Time for an Anglican Reality Check

What’s happened since Lambeth 1998?

The Anglican Reality Check takes a look at the recent history of the Anglican Communion. It reveals how predominantly Western church leaders have relentlessly sought to undermine Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference which reaffirmed the clear teaching of Scripture on marriage and specifically rejected homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.

In 1 Chronicles 12:32 certain men of Issachar are described as those ‘who had understanding of the times’. This quality is very much needed by faithful Anglicans today. In a global culture of instant communication and soundbites, there is a danger that we live in the moment and lose our capacity for godly discernment. The Bible continually warns of the danger of forgetfulness and the need to remember, both to recall the goodness and mercy of God and to learn the lessons of past failure and disobedience.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CC) Why Andover Newton requires seminarians to take a course from the Yale School of Management

Bill Goettler, associate dean at YDS, says that a quarter of YDS students indicate an interest in taking courses at the SOM, though only a small fraction of that number follow through. By making it a requirement, Andover Newton is nudging people toward a kind of learning that, on some level, they realize they need.

Perhaps most interesting is the way new theological questions can arise in business classes. Washington shared an example of how this happened in the course Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations. “I had to answer questions like whether or not nonprofits were supposed to work to no longer be needed, which led me to ask myself this same question as it relates to denominations and churches.”

As long as the world still needs churches, it needs a learned clergy, and the clergy need whatever education is called for by the times. Today congregations are calling out for multidimensional leaders, and business education is rounding out an increasingly important dimension of pastoral ministry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecclesiology, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Beeson Divinity School) Gerald McDermott interviews Stephen Gauthier on Anglican Basics: The Church

So, let me just get right down to it. What is the Church?

Gauthier:

Well, on a very simple level it’s easy to start out with, it’s those who have been called. The actual word in Greek for church, ecclesia, means the ones called out. The ones called. It’s the word they used, by the way, that word that we use for the Church in the New Testament, is the word that we used translated in the Old Testament, in the Septuagint version, for the Great Assembly.

It’s much more that it’s a spiritual reality. When Paul was asked, how do you describe the Church, he said this mystery is profound, I’m saying it refers to Christ in the Church. He’s referring to marriage. His idea was that Christ is … that the Church is Christ’s bride and because it’s His Bride, it’s his body. And not as a metaphor, saying it’s a reality.

We have, for example, that he’s telling a husband, why do you love your wife? When you love your wife, since you’re one body you’re loving yourself. Everyone loves his own body. This is how Christ feels about the Church.

So, the understanding is the Church is Christ’s Bride and body. And it’s also the sacramental reality. How do we become part of His actual body? We’re baptized into HIs body. Something that God does. We don’t join the Church. God brings us into His body. It says “for in one spirit we’re all baptized into one body.” It’s something the Spirit joins us to.

And then Eucharist, we’re told, that that bond is strengthened. It’s because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. So, the Church itself … Christ is the manifestation of God, the sacrament of God, the visible … something we can see of an invisible reality. The visible sign of an invisible reality.

The Church is the sacrament of Christ. Christ is the sacrament of the Father, and where do we see Christ? The Church is the sacrament of Christ. And it’s an effective sign because it not only is made holy, you know, it says “by the washing of water and the word,” but it makes holy through the sacraments.

Finally, I think an important thing to say is some people look upon the Church as, I love Jesus, it’s just the Church I have no use for. And actually what Paul says, he says of the Church, he describes the Church as the “fullness of Him who fills all in all.” It’s the place we find Jesus at work with all of His power, all of His authority, where Christ is at work in His Spirit.

After all, where do you look for … the Spirit means “breath.” In Hebrew and Greek it means breath or wind. So, where do you find the breath? You find it in the body. Where do we find God’s Spirit powerfully at work? We find it in His Church.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ecclesiology, Theology

Kendall Harmon’s All Saints Day 2019 Sermon–Do we share God’s Vision for the Church (Revelation 7:9-17)?

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

(Eleanor Parker) An Anglo-Saxon Sermon for All Saints’ Day

God’s saints are angels and human beings. Angels are spirits without body; the Almighty Ruler created them in great beauty, for his own praise and to the honour and glory of his majesty in eternity… Now this day is worthily consecrated to these angels, and also to the holy people who through great virtues have flourished for God from the beginning of the world. First of these were the patriarchs, righteous and glorious men in their lives, the fathers of the prophets, whose memory shall not be forgotten, and their names shall last for ever, because they were pleasing to God through faith, and righteousness, and obedience. These were followed by the chosen company of prophets: they spoke with God, and to them he made known his secrets, and enlightened them with the grace of the Holy Ghost, so that they knew the things to come and proclaimed them in prophetic song. Truly the chosen prophets by many signs and tokens shone forth in their lives. They healed the sick, and the bodies of the dead they raised to life…

After the company of the apostles we honour the steadfast band of God’s martyrs, who through various torments bravely imitated the passion of Christ, and through martyrdom passed to the kingdom on high. Some of them were slain with weapons, some burned by fire, others beaten with whips, others pierced with stakes, some slain on a cross, some sunk in the wide sea, others flayed alive, others torn with iron claws, some overwhelmed with stones, some afflicted by the winter’s cold, some slain by hunger, some with hands and feet cut off, as a spectacle to people, for their faith and the holy name of Jesus Christ. These are the victorious friends of God, who scorned the commands of wicked rulers, and are now crowned with glory by the triumph of their sufferings in eternal joy. They could be killed in body, but they could not by any torments be turned away from God. Their hope was filled with immortality, though before men they were tormented. They were afflicted for a short time, and comforted for a long time; because God tested them as gold in a furnace, and he found them worthy of him, and as holy offerings received them into his heavenly kingdom.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology, Preaching / Homiletics

A Prayer for All Saints Day from The Prayer Manual

O God, we give Thee most high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace and virtue declared in all Thy saints, who have been the choice vessels of Thy grace, and lights of the world in their several generations; most humbly beseeching Thee to give us grace so to follow the example of their steadfastness, that we, with all those who are of the mystical body of Thy Son, may be set on His right hand, Who reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecclesiology, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for All Saints Day (III)

We thank thee, O God, for the saints of all ages; for those who in times of darkness kept the lamp of faith burning; for the great souls who saw visions of larger truths and dared to declare them; for the multitude of quiet and gracious souls whose presence has purified and sanctified the world; and for those known and loved by us, who have passed from this earthly fellowship into the fuller life with thee. Accept this our thanksgiving through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer, to whom be praise and dominion for ever.We thank thee, O God, for the saints of all ages; for those who in times of darkness kept the lamp of faith burning; for the great souls who saw visions of larger truths and dared to declare them; for the multitude of quiet and gracious souls whose presence has purified and sanctified the world; and for those known and loved by us, who have passed from this earthly fellowship into the fuller life with thee. Accept this our thanksgiving through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer, to whom be praise and dominion for ever.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecclesiology, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for All Saints Day (II)

Almighty and Everlasting God,
who dost enkindle the flame of Thy love in the hearts of the saints,
grant unto us the same faith and power of love;
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs
we may profit by their examples, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecclesiology, Spirituality/Prayer

A Homily for All Saints Day from Pope Benedict XVI

Our Eucharistic celebration began with the exhortation: “Let us all rejoice in the Lord”. The liturgy invites us to share in the heavenly jubilation of the Saints, to taste their joy. The Saints are not a small caste of chosen souls but an innumerable crowd to which the liturgy urges us to raise our eyes. This multitude not only includes the officially recognized Saints, but the baptized of every epoch and nation who sought to carry out the divine will faithfully and lovingly. We are unacquainted with the faces and even the names of many of them, but with the eyes of faith we see them shine in God’s firmament like glorious stars.

Today, the Church is celebrating her dignity as “Mother of the Saints, an image of the Eternal City” (A. Manzoni), and displays her beauty as the immaculate Bride of Christ, source and model of all holiness. She certainly does not lack contentious or even rebellious children, but it is in the Saints that she recognizes her characteristic features and precisely in them savours her deepest joy.

In the first reading, the author of the Book of Revelation describes them as “a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues” (Rv 7: 9).

Read it all.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecclesiology, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic

(Church Times) Consecration of GAFCON bishop in new NZ Church is criticised

“Is this the moment . . . when the fracture in the Anglican Communion becomes irreversible?” Bishop Carrell asked the Archbishop of Canterbury in a message posted on Twitter on Saturday. “Australian bishops out of protocol control, two of their synods greeting a breakaway diocese. Archbishops from Rwanda, Australia and ACNA combine to inaugurate a new Anglican Church!”

On Monday, he said that there was a “range of reactions” to the consecration in his diocese. The failure of bishops in the Communion to inform the diocese of their intention to minister there was “bewildering to many here”.

“I fear that the significance of the weekend’s incursion goes beyond the inauguration of a new Church and is a sign that the slowly emerging schism in the Anglican Communion is speeding up,” he said. “When the two largest dioceses in Australia recognise a new Anglican Church in another Anglican jurisdiction, we have a straightforward confusion of the goal of the Anglican Communion that we seek to fulfil the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they may be one.”

In their joint statement on Tuesday, the Archbishops of ACNZP, the Most Revd Philip Richardson and the Most Revd Don Tamihere, wrote: “The disrespect for the normal protocols of the Anglican Communion and the lack of courtesy shown to our Church by these boundary-crossing bishops is disturbing, and we will be making an appropriate protest about their actions.

“We are especially concerned at the boundary crossing of bishops from the Anglican Church of Australia. We value our trans-Tasman relationship with our neighbouring Church and are disappointed to find a lack of respect for the jurisdiction of our Church….”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Marriage & Family, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AH) Rodney Hacking–St. Ignatius of Antioch and the Renewal of the Anglican Episcopate

Ignatius offers a fascinating insight into the heart of a true man of God given over to His will. It is tempting to want to leap from his example and vision of episcopacy to its practice within our own Church at this time, but such a leap needs great care. A bishop in the first decade of the second century cannot fairly be compared even to one of 250 years later let alone in the Church of today. The three-fold ministry was still in an early stage of its development. Even though Lightfoot has cogently argued that a case can be made for regarding episcopacy as being of Apostolic direction, and therefore possessing Divine sanction, long years of evolution and growth lay before it. At this stage too the Church across the Roman Empire faced the daily possibility of considerable persecution and martyrdom. That demanded a particular kind of shepherding and witness.

On the other hand a bishop at the beginning of the third millennium might profitably and properly ask (or be asked) whether endless committees and synods are really the way in which their lives are to be laid down for their flock? An institution requires administration, but in the New Testament list of charisms, administrators are quite low in the order of priorities, and of its pastors at this time the Church has other, more pressing, needs. Rather than imposing upon an already disheartened clergy systems of appraisal (mostly copied from secular models of management) it would be good for parish priests to experience bishops as those who were around so much that they could afford regularly to ”˜drop in’ and just be with them. It is hard to expect the parish clergy to make visiting a priority if their fathers in God do not set an example.

In some dioceses the more obviously pastoral role has sometimes been exercised by a suffragan but as more and more diocesan bishops, at least within the Church of England, are being selected from the ranks of the suffragans the temptation is for those who are ambitious to prove their worth more as potential managers than those given to the ”˜Word of God and prayer’ (Acts 6.2). If the communities within which the bishops are to exercise their ministry of unity and care are too large for them to do their work has not the time come to press for smaller dioceses and for bishops to strip themselves of the remnants of the grandeur their office once held and be found, above all, with their clergy and amongst the people, drawing them together into the unity for which Christ gave himself?

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Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology

(Economist) The root of all fun Cash–strapped English cathedrals become temples of enjoyment

Durham is not among the eight cathedrals that charge an entrance fee. But the 700,000 people who visit every year are urged, in multilingual signs, to make a contribution of at least £3 ($3.70). This year-old appeal has increased visitor offerings by a third. Well-informed and polyglot guides explain the cathedral’s history and drive home its need for money. But with a payroll of 131 full-time-equivalent staff, supported by 750 volunteers, and a creaking fabric to maintain, neither the contributions of visitors nor the amounts offered by worshippers are anything like enough to cover running costs. Nor can an exhibition of medieval treasures, costing £7.50 to view, or a shop or a café, fill the gap. Only by ever more ingenious devices, ranging from cultural and recreational events to corporate sponsorship and flashy appeals to fund specific repairs, are cathedrals managing to stay in business.

Andrew Tremlett, the dean of Durham cathedral, reckons his institution has kept the right balance between ancient dignity and 21st-century opportunism. When the “Avengers” film was being shot, the 350 people involved were required to fall silent several times a day when services were held. Whatever the disruption to worshippers, the filming enabled 150m people to enjoy footage of the ancient stonework.

Other cathedrals have dreamed up even more eccentric ways to make use of the vast, numinous spaces under their control. An injunction by Archbishop Justin Welby, the head of the Anglican church, to “have fun in cathedrals” is being taken very literally. As a summer attraction, Rochester cathedral tucked a miniature golf course inside its soaring Norman arches. In Norwich, a helter-skelter was installed. This supposedly allowed visitors a closer look at a cleverly sculpted roof, but it was mainly a bit of entertainment, for grown-ups as well as children. Lichfield cathedral won higher marks for a light show entitled “Space, God, the Universe and Everything”, which involved transforming the entire floor into a lunar landscape.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Entertainment, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Theology

GAFCON Tanzania Launches 7th Branch

WE, THEREFORE, HEREBY STATE AS FOLLOWS:
1. That today, we have inaugurated a Gafcon Branch and those who attended the meeting are hereby constituted as an Interim Branch Council.

2. That, we re-affirm the position of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, that marriage is between one man and one woman in a life-long commitment, in accordance with Scripture and as affirmed by the Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution I.10.

3. That, we re-affirm our subscription to the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. We further commit to uphold the orthodox view of Scripture as the inspired Word of God, fully and finally authoritative for all matters of faith and conduct, and to faithfully maintain biblical doctrine, particularly as found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer…

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Posted in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

William Reed Huntington for his Feast Day-‘Catholicity is what we are reaching after’

Dissatisfaction is the one word that best expresses the state of mind in which Christendom finds itself today. There is a wide-spread misgiving that we are on the eve of momentous changes. Unrest is everywhere. We hear about Roman Councils, and Anglican Conferences, and Evangelical Alliances, about the question of the Temporal Power, the dissolution of Church and State, and many other such like things. They all have one meaning. The party of the Papacy and the party of the Reformation, the party of orthodoxy and the party of liberalism, are all alike agitated by the consciousness that a spirit of change is in the air. No wonder that many imagine themselves listening to the rumbling of the chariot- wheels of the Son of Man. He Himself predicted that ” perplexity” should be one of the signs of His coining, and it is certain that the threads of the social order have seldom been more seriously entangled than they now are.

A calmer and perhaps truer inference is that we are about entering upon a new reach of Church history, and that the dissatisfaction and perplexity are only transient. There is always a tumult of waves at the meeting of the waters; but when the streams have mingled, the flow is smooth and still again. The plash and gurgle that we hear may mean something like this.

At all events the time is opportune for a discussion of the Church-Idea; for it is with this, hidden under a hundred disguises, that the world’s thoughts are busy. Men have become possessed with an unwonted longing for unity, and yet they are aware that they do not grapple successfully with the practical problem. Somehow they are grown persuaded that union is God’s work, and separation devil’s work ; but the persuasion only breeds the greater discontent. That is what lies at the root of our unquietness. There is a felt want and a felt inability to meet the want; and where these two things coexist there must be heat of friction.

Catholicity is what we are reaching after….

–William Reed Huntington The Church Idea (1870)

Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology

Phil Ashey–GAFCON Gathers Bishops In June 2020 To Guard And Proclaim The Faith

…there is one development I wish to comment on: the announcement of a GAFCON Bishops Conference June 8-14, 2020 in Kigali Rwanda (prior to the July 2020 Lambeth Conference).

Of the Lambeth 2020 Conference of Bishops, the GAFCON Primates wrote:

“We were reminded of the words of Jeremiah 6:14, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Last year in Jerusalem our delegates urged us not to attend Lambeth 2020 if godly order in the Communion had not been restored. They respectfully called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to effect the necessary changes that fell within his power and responsibility.

We have not yet received a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury. We note that, as it currently stands, the conference is to include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation.”

Let’s not forget the context. The 1998 Lambeth Conference of Bishops passed Resolution I.10 upholding faithfulness in marriage between one man and one woman for life, abstinence in all other cases, and rejected as incompatible with the Bible homosexual “practice,” the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions and the ordination to Holy Orders of those in same-gender unions. This Resolution was passed by a vote of the overwhelming majority of bishops of the Anglican Communion (526-70).

Ten years later at the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury decided to suspend the practice of Anglican bishops declaring the official teaching of the Church through resolutions. For the first time, the Lambeth Conference engaged in small group Indaba discussions that resolved nothing. The 2002 institution of rites for the blessing of same sex unions in the Diocese of New Westminster (Canada) and the 2003 consecration of a Bishop in a same gender union in New Hampshire USA (TEC), in defiance of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) were allowed to stand unchallenged by the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Over 300 bishops….[declined to compromise the gospel and declined the invitation to attend] in protest of that advance decision by Canterbury, published the Jerusalem Declaration and formed Gafcon instead.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(TLC Covenant) George Sumner–Anglicanism Defined: Three Crises

The place to begin is with ancient Christianity in Great Britain. There is evidence it goes as far back at the second century. It contained Celtic and Roman strains. It was an integral part of Western Christendom. It is of course also a history of conflict and fractiousness — no less a figure than Wycliffe reminds us of this. But it is a continuous history nonetheless. Part of Anglican identity is looking back and remembering this fact, for example among the early Anglo-Catholics of the 19th century. Let us relate this fact, now offered as a claim, to the mark of the Church of oneness in the Creeds.

At this point I want to introduce the epistemological crisis, a concept from the moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. It depends on the prior notion of a tradition, a stream of thought and practice that coheres around a shared narrative, pointed toward a shared telos and enacted by shared virtues. The idea is not necessarily religious, but works for a religious community too. Within the boundaries formed by these features a tradition is a continuing argument. Occasionally, however, a tradition runs into a major challenge to its very coherence, indeed to its existence, from without. Its truths are called into question in a basic way, and the tradition summons its collective resources to offer an answer. Christianity was such a challenge for ancient imperial pagan culture, and the latter was not up to the task.

The ancient church in the British Isles encountered three epistemological, spiritual, political, and social crises, and in response to each it had to give a continuous answer. The first was of course the Reformation, and the major artifact of the era for us as Anglicans is the Book of Common Prayer. In fact the most concise and compelling answer to the question What is an Anglican? is a prayer book Christian. Through it, British Christians heard and absorbed Reformation doctrine in a devotional mode.

In other words, using the prayer book in an ancient church is a factual, pragmatic way to say that we work out our identity between Protestant and Catholic. And of course the ensuing centuries, after the bloodletting of Henry, Mary, and Elizabeth in the 16th and Charles and the Puritans in the 17th, would reach back to retrieve or reject, to reconstrue and redefine: the great Anglo-Catholic and evangelical revivals of the 19th century are great examples. But one can still see the inheritance of this conflict amid agreement in Western Christianity in the styles of various parishes, however they recall the implications of their liturgical choices.

High and old may be the more venerable designators for Anglican churches, but the more prominent, and more conflictual, is what they make over the spiritual-epistemological crisis, since the 17th and 18th centuries, that is modernism.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Identity, Church History, Ecclesiology, Philosophy

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–What is the Connection Between Easter and the Church (Revelation 7:9-17)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there. Listen carefully for another Henry Allen “Harry” Ironside (1876-1951) story which took place at Christ Church, Indianapolis.

Posted in * By Kendall, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture