Father John Heidt: What really divides us

Whereas the Protestant Evangelical starts with sin and atonement, the Catholic builds his theology upon creation and grace. The Catholic believes that we are sinful but we are not depraved; we are sick human beings but we are still human; we have lost our likeness to God but we are still made in His image. We can never excuse our sinfulness by saying that we are only human, for, after all, what more do we want to be!

The Catholic recognizes the horror of sin because he first has some idea of what we are meant to be. It is his glimpse into the natural law of creation that also makes him want to obey the law of God. The doctrine of creation leads to repentance; without it man’s attempt to obey the moral law leads only to neuroses.

Grace restores the divine image in man. Salvation comes through growth in grace, not through some kind of substitution deal between Jesus and His Father. Because grace saves us from the effects of our sins, we are no longer slaves but friends of God. Though our sins make us unworthy to come into His presence, by divine grace we are made worthy to stand before him.

Through the re-presentation of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the sacraments rather than morality are the primary means of our salvation, “sure and certain means by which we receive grace.” That is why moral theologians such as Kenneth Kirk and Robert Mortimer insist that in the celebration of the sacraments the safest course must always be followed. And that is why Anglo-Catholics along with the rest of the Catholic world cannot accept any change in their administration that runs counter to the plain witnesss of scripture and the practice of the undivided church or casts doubt upon their reality in a period of reception ”“ not even for the sake of establishing some sort superficial political alliance with our fellow-Christians.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, Theology

49 comments on “Father John Heidt: What really divides us

  1. Christopher Hathaway says:

    This seems to me a bad characature of what Protestants belive. We do not belive that the cross cannot wipe away our sins. Where on earth has he ever gotten that idea? It would be nice if he supplied some quotes to back up his ridiculous assertion.

    I also have a real question about this:
    the sacraments rather than morality are the primary means of our salvation, “sure and certain means by which we receive grace.”
    Is he saying that one can grow in grace and thus in salvation merely by receiving the sacraments? This hardly accords with my experience of Catholics whose religion is limited to taking the sacraments.

    Truly a false dichotomy.

  2. William Witt says:

    Talk about false dichotomies. Since when are Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure not Catholic? Or were they really “Protestant Evangelicals”?

  3. Id rather not say says:

    I’m not sure why this has been posted again exactly one month later, but if readers are interested in what people said the last time, they can go here:


    I stand by what I wrote a month ago.

  4. Grandmother says:

    Somehow, I find this very sad….and VERY untimely. What thinks he now?

    Keep the wall up? I don’t understand very much of what he is talking about, but it does seem not to bode well for our new venture.

    Just so you know, I lean very far to the Anglo-Catholic, but apparently don’t know much about it..

  5. Terry Tee says:

    I note that Fr Heidt says that a Catholic theology of atonement is not, ie it does not focus on penal substitution. Fair enough. But he then does not go on to say what a Catholic theology of atonement would be.

  6. Terry Tee says:

    I pledge, never, never to submit an entry in future without review. Please read the first few words above as follows: I note that Fr Heidt says what a Catholic theology of atonement is not …’

  7. Id rather not say says:

    As I said when this same piece by Fr Heidt was linked here a month ago, Catholic theology is perfectly capable of accommodating penal substitution (as Will Witt makes abundantly clear). The problem is, certain strains of Reformed theology cannot accommodate anything else.

    Whether Bishop Duncan, whom I respect and admire, is really quite guilty of the charge being made here is another matter. Based on only what Fr Heidt quotes, I don’t think Bishop Duncan could be convicted. But I wasn’t at the meeting.

    I stress again, look at the comments from the last time this was posted.

  8. Terry Tee says:

    Well I did look at the comments and I feel that they still raise the question that I ask. What would a Catholic doctrine of the atonement be? The answer would hardly be in classic substitional terms. I doubt if the list of names William Witt gives above amounts to an answer I’d Rather Not Say seems to assume. Anselm, for example, is hardly a classic substitutionist, because he regards the atonement as an act of restoring honour to God – not receiving punishment on our behalf. He was directly countering the ransom theory. Aquinas, too, raises problems if we want to put him in a substitutionary light, because for Aquinas the objective element (ie Christ’s sacrifice on the cross) and the subjective element (each sinner’s openness to penance and sacramental grace through being moved by what Christ has done) come together.

  9. Id rather not say says:

    Well, Terry Tee and Grannie, I have my own convictions here, but you could do worse than to start here:


    Appealing to Wikipedia always carries risks, of course, but that’s in the nature of the internet.

    It is interesting to note the the author of Christus Victor was himself a Lutheran, so it is not a simple “catholic vs. protestant” question.

  10. Adam 12 says:

    Almost seems a parody of both evangelicalism and catholicism–in defense, perhaps, of a personal understanding that consequently seems to not quite be error-free

  11. Christopher Hathaway says:

    The problem is, certain strains of Reformed theology cannot accommodate anything else.

    Sadly, this is all too common. Although an unnecessary narrowness of theological understanding is not peculiar to Protestants. It is as foolish to tar all protestantism with the brush of the narrowest of its thinkers as it is to judge Catholicism by its worst.

    A constant emphasis on our sinful nature does not seem a bad thing to me, as long as it is properly put in the context of Christ’s death for that sin and our complete forgiveness and reconciliation to the Father. But if we say that becuase of the cross we know longer have to struggle with sin and confess them we would be foolish indeed. I honestly didn’t know that Catholicism was light on confessing our need to struggle against sin. Is it only Anglo-catholicism that does this, if at all? Perhaps I don’t know Anglo-catholicism that well. But, as a catholic evangelical I guess I get my catholicism not from anglo-catholism but directly from the same fount as it supposedly does.

    It does not seem logical that Fr. Heidt would be suggesting that we do not conitnue to sin daily and thus need to confess our sin and “work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling”. But I am a little mystified as to what exactly he is trying to say otherwise. I hope he is not identifying his brand of “catholic” views of Sin as being closer to ++Rowan than to +++Benedict.

  12. An Anxious Anglican says:

    The comments here (and elsewhere) are good evidence as to why the so-called “Common Cause” cannot ever be anything but a new (improved?) variation of the Reformed Episcopal Church. But at least no one called Father Heidt a “collaborator” or a “Vichy con” (yet).

  13. Christopher Hathaway says:

    Anxious, you are far too p[essimistic and cynical.

    Why not hope for better? My problem with Fr. Heidt’s article is that he doesn’t seem to understand what many Protestants actually believe. That could change if he was open to learning a bit more, which can come from having a common cause. I certainly grew in my understanding of what Catholic faith could be by rubbing up against catholics with an on-fire faith in Jesus and still praying the Rosary. It was in jail for Operation Rescue.

    Sometimes our doctrine keeps us apart, and i am not advocating overlooking actual serious theoligical disagreements. But sometimes our separateness creates its own doctrine, or we heighten theological differences in order to maintain separation. Coming together is the first step toward true dialogue and the discovery of what may actuall separate us and of what we just think separates us.

    Who knows? Maybe the desire for greater unity for the Gospel’s sake may get some of us to examine some of those things that have separated us. It’s possible, with God, of course.

  14. FrKimel says:

    What would a Catholic doctrine of the atonement be?

    Might it perhaps be accurate to say that there is no one Catholic construal of the atonement but rather there are many construals–each emphasized by different theologians and preachers in different times and cultures–and that together they constitute the catholic doctrine of the atonement?

    Hence I agree with IRNS’s judgment that “Catholic theology is perfectly capable of accommodating penal substitution. … The problem is, certain strains of Reformed theology cannot accommodate anything else.” But the real problem, IMHO, has been the dominance of the penal model in all forms of Western Christianity during the past 500(?) years. This penal model has deformed both Catholic and Protestant theology and penitential practice. I am more than a little sympathetic to the critique of Western Christianity offered by Eastern Orthodox apologists (see, e.g., “River of Fire“). However we construe the wrath and judgment of God, clearly it is contrary to the gospel to portray the Father of Jesus Christ as somehow needing to propitiate himself so that he might be merciful to his children. I am not saying that this is how the best theologians explain the substitutionary atonement, but I do think it is accurate to say that this is how it filters down through popular preaching.

    However, I acknowledge that the penal metaphor has its place and that it says something important about God and man; but it needs to be presented as but one element of a truly catholic vision of God’s reconciling work in Jesus Christ. It must not function as the central prism through which the cross of Christ is seen.

  15. Philip Snyder says:

    When I look at the different theories of the Atonement, I try to come from a catholic perspective and say “Yes.” They are all true to one degree or another and they all have scriptural support – even Peter Abelard’s subjective atonement (Christ is an example for us to follow). The problem comes in when you say “This one is the best” or “this one is better than all the others.” Different theories appeal to different people at different times and in different places. To those in prison find penal substitution to be very comforting. They can understand it in ways that I cannot. Right now, I am most comforted by [i]Christus Victor[/i] but I also find comfort in penal substitution, redemption from sin, and even the subjective atonement that urges me to undergo my own [i]kenosis[/i] so that I can be raised with Christ.

    Phil Snyder

  16. Terry Tee says:

    Good to hear from you again, Al, and given your long-standing interest in questions of justification I am not surprised that you waded in. In fact, it seems to me that the issue of justification explains why a Catholic doctrine of atonement is necessary (and why, pace eastern orthodoxy is lacking in this respect). Yes, divine forgiveness is complete. Yet inevitably we humans wonder about the justice of it all. If someone guilty of a heinous crime has genuinely repented and knows, as all we sinners know, the mercy of God, then it could seem as if no one has paid the price for hurt that was inflicted. Here, of course, we point to Christ on the cross. It seems to me that here atonement theory takes evil seriously. Here, also, there can be at least some healing for people who have been badly hurt by the actions of others who have then gone on to repent of their actions.

  17. William Witt says:

    I am currently teaching at TESM, the “Evangelical” seminary that is supposed to represent one extreme as opposed to Nashotah House’s other. Week before last our faculty were joined by faculty from Nashotah House to talk about mutual cooperation, and we will visit Nashotah House soon.

    Two days before his visit to the HOB, Archbishop Mouneer Anis visited TESM, where he gave us greetings from the Global South and presented an Icon to current Dean (and AMIA bishop) John Rodgers. It is now displayed proudly in the lobby of the Administration building–the first thing visitors see.

    I find myself among colleagues who, almost without exception, have icons on their office walls. One faculty member teaches contemplative prayer. Another faculty member just published a book on the atonement that interacts largely with Barth’s reformulation of a forensic view. (For those who haven’t read him, Barth leans heavily on Patristic models, and corrects flat-footed forensic readings.) The course on pastoral ministry uses a textbook by a third-world charismatic who insists that the proper model of the church is ontological, and is heavily critical of Protestant functionalist views. The course also uses texts by Lesslie Newbegin, Louis Bouyer, and Orthodox writers.

    In my church history course, we just covered Athanasius and the Cappadocians. During break time, half a dozen students preferred to ask me questions about the differences between hypostases and ousia and between Western and Eastern models of trinitarian procession rather than use the restroom or get coffee.

    Intense discussions about the role of bishops and apostolic succession took place on the days we discussed gnosticism and later Cyprian.

    In my ethics course, we were just discussing Paul, and students expressed emphatic agreement with Richard Hays’ and Richard Bauckham’s insistence that Paul’s understanding of salvation includes not only forgiveness, but also transformation and holiness.

    Friday I sat in on my colleague’s lecture on Richard Hooker, where he explored Hooker’s dependence on Aquinas, and the significance of natural law in Hooker’s ethics, and distinguished at length between Hooker’s understanding of a visible and mystical church over against the standard Protestant visible and invisible church distinction.

    This morning I heard a TESM faculty member begin a sermon on hell in which he quoted first from Anthony Bloom and then exposited Dante at length.

    In conversation, the same faculty member commented to me about the kind of Protestant who believes: “Those guys were wrong 400 years ago, and we’re not going to let them forget it.” Unfortunately, it seems to work both ways. I suppose we can continue to keep fighting the same old battles. I’m not sure how helpful it is. I have noticed that Anglo-Catholics and those leaving TEC for Rome or Orthodoxy seem to want to insist more loudly than their Evangelical counterparts that nothing has changed.

  18. Id rather not say says:

    [blockquote]Two days before his visit to the HOB, Archbishop Mouneer Anis visited TESM, where he gave us greetings from the Global South and presented an Icon to current Dean (and AMIA bishop) John Rodgers. It is now displayed proudly in the lobby of the Administration building–the first thing visitors see.[/blockquote]

    Ah, but does anyone venerate it?

  19. Grandmother says:

    I am aware that I have no business in this discussion, but T.T. just made a comment that makes me think. He said, “If someone guilty of a heinous crime has genuinely repented and knows, as all we sinners know, the mercy of God, then it could seem as if no one has paid the price for hurt that was inflicted.”

    That brings me back to Christ on the Cross between two sinners.
    He fully forgave the repentant one, and promised “with me in Paradise’, HOWEVER, he did NOT get him down from the Cross. The repentant thief still had to pay the “price” under the law of the times”.

    So, God’s forgiveness apparently does not negate civil price-paying?

    And one other thing, does repenting, confessing, and asking forgiveness at one particular time, provide “forgiveness” for sins AFTER that time?.. I don’t think so.

    Excuse me for chiming in, I know very little…

  20. Terry Tee says:

    W.W., TESM sure sounds like a stimulating and nourishing environment. As I stooge away here in the parish trenches I cannot help but feel a little envy. Although, be it said, that following the hard time you had with your father’s death (not to mention events in CT) no one would grudge you this blessing, in fact we rejoice that you are there. But still, still … all those interlocking theological perspectives are either a fuller and richer understanding of theology or manage to evade the necessity of choosing.

  21. Id rather not say says:

    I should add that it does sound as though TESM is being steadily corrupted by catholic doctrine. Keep up the good work! ;>)

  22. William Witt says:

    [blockquote]Aquinas, too, raises problems if we want to put him in a substitutionary light, because for Aquinas the objective element (ie Christ’s sacrifice on the cross) and the subjective element (each sinner’s openness to penance and sacramental grace through being moved by what Christ has done) come together.[/blockquote]

    As also in Luther . . . though Luther notes correctly that the correct translation is not the Vulgate “Do penance” but “repent.”

  23. Inglis says:

    The tone of the article shows that it belongs in many ways to polarities which are no loner relevant, thanks be to God. We may hope to be soon rid of that Anglo Catholicism which defines itself only in temrs of anti-evangelical prejudices and of that low Church Evangeliclism which hides in itself the worst kind of anti-roman religious prejudice.
    That does not mean that serious discussion of the theology of the atonement has no place but that it must be serious and not partisan drivel. The simplified caricature of some atonement “theories” and their dismissal is (as in Aulen) one cause of the real mess we’re in. One might be distressed to note that in the discussion of this matter on a primarily Anglican blog no reference has been made to the BCP (not the 1979 bastard child of course), the 39 Articles, the Homilies (especially on Justification) or the work of Richard Hooker. 🙂

  24. TonyinCNY says:

    Thanks for the TSM update, Bill, and I’m glad you’re teaching there.

    TESM ’88

  25. Christopher Hathaway says:

    I should add that it does sound as though TESM is being steadily corrupted by catholic doctrine. Keep up the good work! ;>)

    12 years ago, after a return from three years as a SAMS missionary in Honduras, I saw a course offered at TESM “Making and praying through icons”. It prompted me to write a somewhat lengthy tome in protest. Though my thoughts on icons and the 7th Council has evolved a bit since then I think one point I made I would still press: It is unwise for an evangelical seminary to abandon traditional evangelical teachings without properly examining them and justifying the change.

    I quoted C.S. Lewis who wrote that, while he approved of prayers for the dead, he disapproved of the way such changes have often been implemented in church, bypassing theological argument and/or pretending that no serious change had occured or was being attempted. It is often worse doing the right thing in the wrong manner than not to do it at all because it establishes a working principle that can easily be used later for the wrong thing.

    I approved my greater catholic ideas being taught at TESM, but not stealthily. That is the liberals’ tactic. We must not emulate them. We are people of light and honesty. If our ideas are true they will bear public exposure and testing. There is too much that divides evangelicals and catholics. If we are to come together we must do so openly acknowledging our differences and arguing them out publicly. Otherwise the union will fracture at the first instance one side feel snookered by the other.

    One problem I have with TESM has not been its dominant evangelicalism or its growing catholicism (I wish more of both), but a lazy renewal based “as long as we love Jesus we don’t have to worry abou theological clarity” attitude that has always hung around. It is too musc like ECUSA’s “we don’t need theology when we have the liturgy”.

    Let Evangelicals be Evangelical, and Catholics be Catholic. And when Evangelicals become more catholic, and vice versa, let it be done clearly articulating why and how.

    Yes, I know. That isn’t how we Anglicans do things.

  26. Christopher Hathaway says:

    I don’t know where that “my” in “greater catholic ideas” came ffom. They are certainly NOT my ideas. If they are worth anything they are Christ’s.

  27. William Witt says:

    [blockquote]It is unwise for an evangelical seminary to abandon traditional evangelical teachings without properly examining them and justifying the change.[/blockquote]


    I have found no indications that TESM is abandoning its Evangelical theology. The faculty signs the doctrinal statement every year, and as far as I can tell, all do so without reservation. I certainly did.

    Nor to the best of my knowledge has there been any stealth. I have studied and taught at numerous places. I have been surprised and pleased at the openness and frankness of discussion here–something I’ve rarely encountered elsewhere.

    [blockquote] One problem I have with TESM has not been its dominant evangelicalism or its growing catholicism (I wish more of both), but a lazy renewal based “as long as we love Jesus we don’t have to worry abou theological clarity” attitude that has always hung around. It is too musc like ECUSA’s “we don’t need theology when we have the liturgy”.[/blockquote]

    I find this observation to be puzzling. The faculty is currently having to confront the fear of some of its supporters that the focus of the seminary is considered to be too academic. I will say that I have encountered nothing of a “lazy renewal” here. The faculty are among the most thoughtful and informed I have encountered anywhere. I think every faculty member here believes firmly that ministerial formation is grounded in both sound theology and Anglican community and worship. I would recommend that visitors attend a few classes.

  28. Ed the Roman says:

    …the problem comes in when you say “This one is the best” or “this one is better than all the others.”

    Or, “this is the only one that’s any good at all.”

  29. Christopher Hathaway says:

    William, I said that the event I refered to was 12 years ago. My extensive knowledge of TESM’s culture is a little dated. And I did not mean that the laziness that I spoke was endemic at TESM, but that it was a trend within renewal circles that had some influence at the seminary while I was there. There doesn’t have to be much heresy or theological wobbliness for me to raise an alarm. 🙂

    If you have read the Second Book of Homilies, established Anglican doctrine if there is any, you will find a full rejection of the use of such images as icons represent. I brought this up as a relevant point to be addressed in a seminary offering a class which implicitly repudiates a clear Reformation idea which was put down in a book listed in the 39 Articles as containing sound doctrine.

    If the seminary thought that that homily advanced a bad argument I was certainly open to hearing that. I might well agree with it now. I was a little concerned that no one seemed aware that images were ever an issue for Evangelical Anglicanism. This kind of theological anmesia was not a good trait, especially in a seminary.

    That may have been an isolated issue. But my studies there and the issue of WO did not make me sanguine that theological clarity was always to be expected. Neutrality was proclaimed on WO, but Mary Hays was a faculty member and often celebrated at the eucharist. That hardly makes it neutral for those who couldn’t take communion from a woman. To proclaim neutrality on something while actively advancing it is intellectually and ethically compromised at best.

    It maybe that I see these things more readily, my senses are more accute, because I am so on the outside of most factions, too catholic for evangelicals and too evangelical for catholis, that I am little likely to be going with the stream. Sometimes we don’t notice omisions of things we don’t think much about ourselves. I have seen this work out in all kinds of polities, religious and secular. Everyone is in agreement about what should be done, so do we really have to continue with the whole voting on it thing? I’ve seen that happen.

    I hope things have changed at TESM. Maybe everyone woke up and smelled the coffee brewed by that kind of theological laziness and nipped it in the bud. None would be happier than I. We need a good Evangelical seminary and a good Anglocatholic one. But we must be ever vigilant. No place is immune from the soft gravitational pull of corruption. There are pieces of worm in every apple.

  30. Id rather not say says:


    [blockquote]If you have read the Second Book of Homilies, [bold]established Anglican doctrine if there is any,[/bold] you will find a full rejection of the use of such images as icons represent.[/blockquote]

    I can’t let this pass. Please see


  31. dpeirce says:

    I’m not a theologian, and am a relatively new Catholic (former Episcopalian), but the article’s statement that “Salvation comes through growth in grace, not through some kind of substitution deal between Jesus and His Father” bothered me greatly. That isn’t how *I* understand it at all. My understanding is that Christ’s death on the Cross is the means by which we receive Grace for salvation and substitutes for the death which we deserve in simple justice for our sins. That Grace is then reflected in our lives and actions.

    The Catechism isn’t too helpful as the answer seems to be spread over a number of sections. But the Wikipedia has an article on it, which is expanded here. The Catholic Encyclopedia is slow going, but its opening statement (second paragraph, inset) attributes “justice” for gentiles through Christ as propitiator. I *think* that means satisfaction for our sins through Christ’s death on the Cross. Beginning in the 5th paragraph, the article seems to say that salvation is attributed to the whole Incarnation/Crucifixion thing. Like I said, the Encyclopedia is slow going but worth a read even for non-Catholics.

    In faith, Dave
    Viva Texas

  32. dpeirce says:

    Hmmnnn…. I’ll try it this way:

    [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substitutionary_atonement]Wikipedia[/url], and [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonement_(Satisfaction_view)]here[/url].

    [url=http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02055a.htm]Catholic Encyclopedia[/url].

    Sheeesh! ^_^

    In faith, Dave
    Viva Texas

  33. Townsend Waddill+ says:

    I’m getting in on this a little late, since I took the weekend off to spend time with my family.

    I am reminded of what Canon Roseberry said when he came to Nashotah House last week. The Church has to be both catholic and evangelical. For me, that means catholic, so that it is universal and recognizable, and evangelical, so that it can actually grow and live out the Great Commission. I am thankful that TESM is engaging catholic doctrine, and I am also thankful that Nashotah House is re-engaging its missionary roots. I believe that the success of the church, literally, hangs in the balance.

  34. Christopher Hathaway says:

    IRNS, not Clintonesque but very Newmanesque.

    I’m afraid that is is likewise an argument that doesn’t bear close examination of the facts of the homily in question, which is too specific about the 7th council being in error to imagine that it can be reconciled to that Council. One must reject the central thrust of that homily, which really makes the claim then that the Book of homilies “contain godly doctrine” a pointless statement. The manner of containing is then one with little edification. One might as well then say that the Councils of Trent “contain” sound doctrine, as not everything affirmed there was repugnant to Anglicanism.

    If that is the meaning of “contain” that you are asserting it will not stand up. No one would have bothered to make such an assertion, let alone put it in the Articles. Furthermore, there is simply no evidence that early Anglicanism revered the last three Councils, unless you assume that that is what is meant whenever the judgment of the ancient church is referenced. But that is a circular argument.

    I am not arguing that all 7 Councils shouldn’t be revered, though I certainly have reservations about their usefulness. But I am arguing that one should not rewrite the history of Anglican thought about them to avoid makiing the argument. It is possible that Anglicanism made errors in its beginning. Its Erastian nature is certainly a whopper of an error. If you want to say that iconoclasm was also an error, by all means do so. But don’t try to say that you don’t have to argue against Anglican iconoclasm because it never was truly Anglican.

  35. Id rather not say says:

    [blockuote]IRNS, not Clintonesque but very Newmanesque.[/blockquote]

    Of course, there are some who would take that as a compliment . . . so I’ll leave it at that.

  36. FrKimel says:

    The Catechism isn’t too helpful as the answer seems to be spread over a number of sections.

    Dpierce, the reason the Catholic Catechism may not seem helpful on this question of the atonement is that it is seeking to move beyond the forensic-penal construals of the past few centuries and to present a more catholic vision of Christ’s atoning work. Specifically, it seeks to comprehend the atonement within the totality of Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return in glory. Note the frequency of the phrase “Paschal mystery” within the Catechism. Within this totality, the cross enjoys decisive significance, yet not apart from the self-offering that Jesus accomplished throughout his life and not apart from his destruction of death and recreation of life in the resurrection. The Catechism does indeed speak of the cross in sacrificial and substitutionary terms; e.g.:

    Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death. By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (602)

    After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover. Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (608)

    Christ’s death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the “blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”.

    This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices. First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience.

    “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who “makes himself an offering for sin”, when “he bore the sin of many”, and who “shall make many to be accounted righteous”, for “he shall bear their iniquities”. Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.

    It is love “to the end” that confers on Christ’s sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. Now “the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.” No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

    The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ’s sacrifice as “the source of eternal salvation” and teaches that “his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us.” And the Church venerates his cross as she sings: “Hail, O Cross, our only hope.” (613-617)

    But then note this important passage found in the section on the resurrection:

    The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace. It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: “Go and tell my brethren.” We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection. (654)

    The catechetical construal of the atonement eschews reductionist construals and moves us beyond forensic formulae. This, I think, is one of the Catechism’s great strengths.

  37. Stuart Smith says:

    I would agree with several commenters who have found the possibility of replicating old, destructive arguments about the atonement, rather than reveling in the sweet exchange of Christ’s Death for our Eternal Life, His stripes healing us, His willingly laid down life for our wilful insistence on our own way.
    Yes, the breadth of theologies necessary to plumb the depths of what Christ has done through His Death upon the Cross should chasten our attempts to narrow the meaning of the atonement to one particular “school”. Lest we plait another crown of thorns for Jesus in our intra-mural squabbles, may we not simply glory in the Cross, wherein is our salvation?

  38. William Witt says:

    [blockquote] If you have read the Second Book of Homilies, established Anglican doctrine if there is any, you will find a full rejection of the use of such images as icons represent.[/blockquote]

    Christopher, I would say that established Anglican doctrine is not one thing, but a host of things. I discuss this somewhat [url=http://www.willgwitt.org/blog/index.cfm/2007/7/24/Is-it-Necessary-to-be-in-Communion-With-Canterbury-to-be-Anglican]here[/url]. Much more important than the Homilies would be the methodological principles laid down in works like Jewel’s Apology and Hooker’s laws. Some of the more important methodological principles include the sufficiency of Scripture, the Rule of Faith as a guide in interpreting Scripture, limited endorsement of conciliarism, a confidence in the historical liturgical practices of the church. Jewel and Hooker are both clear that Anglicanism is a Reformed Catholicism, willing to embrace previous practices of the Church that are consistent with the sufficiency of Scripture, but rejecting any practices or doctrines that are not.

    Such methodological principles presume that the Church is not infallible, and that includes the Church of England. A truly Reformed church must be [i]semper reformanda [/i]. The Homilies are inerrant. They do not and should not have even the kind of authority in Anglicanism that the Book of Concord has for Lutherans.

    If there is going to be any rapprochement between those who have historically called themselves Catholics or Evangelicals, both sides have to admit that it was not only possible, but indeed quite likely that there were issues in the sixteenth century in which not only one or the other, but likely both sides (insofar as the shared many of the same faulty late Medieval assumptions) got it wrong.

    The theological arguments in the Homilies have exactly the same weight as any other theological arguments. They are examples of [i]fides quaerens intellectum[/i], not themselves revelation. To the extent that their conclusions are based on mistaken premises or misunderstandings (as seems clearly the case in the rejection of icons as image “worship”), they have no more validity than any other faulty argument.

  39. William Witt says:

    [blockquote] The Homilies are inerrant.[/blockquote]

    Whoops. NOT inerrant! NOT!

  40. libraryjim says:

    Is the author sure he is quoting CATHOLIC theology and not Greek Orthodox theology? I’m not quite sure he has a firm grasp on the CATHOLIC view.

  41. dpeirce says:

    Thank you Fr Kimel, #36, for your explanation of atonement through the entire life of Christ throughout eternity, including his death and everything subsequent. It helps emphasize that our salvations are a whole process rather than the one Cross event. I was able to follow most of your post, but could use some additional help on the very last paragraph.

    In faith, Dave
    Viva Texas

  42. libraryjim says:

    Yeah, is there a ‘…for Dummies’ version? 🙂

  43. FrKimel says:

    Yeah, is there a ‘…for Dummies’ version?

    Yes, it’s called the Compendium. As a dummy myself, I find it very helpful. 🙂

  44. Christopher Hathaway says:

    Much more important than the Homilies would be the methodological principles laid down in works like Jewel’s Apology and Hooker’s laws.

    I would say that if you want to clearly identify Anglican doctrine you must start with the Articles of Religion and what they list. Hooker and Jewel are all very fine but it is a somewhat subjective act distilling doctrine from them.

    Of course I agree that the Homilies aren’t inerrant. Nothing in Anglicanism claims that authority. I was simply arguing for what most clearly represented the official Anglican witness to a specific idea, icons and religious imagery. I don’t see how you can show Hooker and Jewel to be more clear on this than the Book of Homilies.

    Of course, neither Hooker now Jewel are really “authorities” in any definitive sense, so it seems hard to bring them up as witnesses over against anything in the 39 Articles.

    But let’s put aside the argument of what is an original Anglican position and instead focus on what is a traditional evangelical or Protestant Anglican position on images. Is there not a fairly clear position on such practices in the history of Anglican Evangelicalism? Should that history be ignored or glossed over in an Evangelical seminary? I thought it shouldn’t and that it set a bad theological principle that could easily be used for really dangerous ideas.

  45. young joe from old oc says:

    Well, who can disagree with what he has written? It is a very cogent and fairly elegant statement of the obvious. But honestly, what’s the point? Evangelically-minded Anglicans in our time are in many ways simply being faithful to the Anglican tradition as they have received it – no more, no less. If their soteriology is lacking, it is ultimately because Anglican theological discipline is lacking, and those of us who are very high Church Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics are part of sub-traditions within Anglicanism that have contributed to that lack of discipline. Why at this critical juncture should Canon Heidt go out of his way to critize Bishop Duncan, who has taken a number of significant steps recently to accomodate Anglo-Catholics and not simply tolerate them for the purposes of maintaining the strength of the alliance?

    For me, this represents more business as usual in the turf wars of episcopalianism. Canon Heidt is doing what he has always done so very well, but I would suggest almost certainly because of that reason alone. He’s got to make one last stand, and having become a good American theological lone ranger (and like so many others, battle hardened), Canon Heidt is shooting with very good ammunition, but sadly in the wrong direction. Doesn’t he realize that this constant warring and lack of bridge building is one of the reasons that progressivists have come to power? Remember, even though most of our semi-Christian progressivist/postmod episcopalians are essentially mainline Protestants (and come ultimately from a Reformational rather than an orthodox catholic position), they have been given the tool to take these final steps toward the abyss by a sacramental theology that originates with the errant baptismal theology of high ritual Anglo-Catholicism.

    Now, most Catholic Anglicans among us are right on this matter of moral theology and the very Life of the Blessed Trinity that dwells in the Church and is made available to us in the sacraments. I am certain of that. But what about those who are weak on it? Shouldn’t Canon Heidt be focusing on those of us who have lost or compromised their connection to the Great Tradition of the undivided Church, rather than picking on those who have only been in touch with fragments of it?

    God has placed us in the same body with conservative evangelically-minded Anglicans who are theologically-orthodox, but weak (even approaching heretical) on certain important, but subsidiary matters of soteriology and ecclesiology. However, many of them are becoming more and more committed to doing theology according to the mind of the Church Fathers, and even the thinking of a number of the great divines of the High Church Anglican tradition. So my question would be do we do our best to isolate ourselves from them and distinguish our “pure” doctrines from theirs, or do we see ourselves as being in the same damn sinking boat, and help them build a new one, even if it is just to weather the storm?

  46. young joe from old oc says:

    Just for clarification, I cut and paste the posting above in its entirety from its original place on Canon Heidt’s blog. Since I am an Anglo-Catholic, it reflects my identification with traditional catholic-minded Anglicanism, and I often use the word US with reference to my fellow Anglo-Catholics.

    Since I am so very at home on Canon Harmon’s blog, it didn’t even occur to me that I should make some minor edits to clarify parts of it for my evangelically-minded brethren. So much for feeling so comfortable with such a large percentage of my fellow traditionalist and conservative Anglican bloggers. I truly hope that continuing comfort is a sign of things to come, and I suppose that’s part of the reason that I was definitely disappointed with the timing and tone of Canon Heidt’s article.

  47. rob k says:

    However one might disagree with Canon Heidt’s tone or accuracy in his description of the Protestant view of the Atonement, he has put his finger on the greatest gulf within Anglicanism. Most telling is his ascription of instrumentality to the Protestant view of the Church. This gulf is right now obscured and sometimes papered over by the struggles over sexuality and controversy over theological “fuzzines” and perhaps heretical statments of people who should know better(?) that are consuming us now.

  48. young joe from old oc says:

    The view of the Church among evangelical and evangelically-oriented Anglicans (the Protestant view, for lack of a better term) is changing. In England, there is a serious divide between the more traditional Reformed Anglicans and the other conservative and traditional evangelically-oriented. The view of many Global South Anglican leaders is showing more catholicity all the time. There is no doubt that the Anglo-Catholic view has strong affinity with that of Eastern Orthodoxy, but there are major differences. So I would ask why we need to see this as simply a two-sided issue.

    I’m not suggesting that it may not be a good time for orthodox catholic Anglicans to stand-up for the patristic, traditional perspective, and especially what is found in the teachings of Sts. Ambrose, Irenaeus, and Augustine. In them, we see a certain connection to later views of the Atonement, but they are also very strong on the visible unity of the Church. There certainly cannot be an effective disciplinary structure for an orthodox province if there is not a commitment to the teaching that the Holy Spirit operates first and foremost within the visible structures of the Church of the orthodox apostolic succession. But from that perspective, if we see ourselves as being in that Church, then they (the “Protestant” Anglicans) are in that Church, and are not our opponents. As such, we have to believe (unless we see them as heretics) that most of them will ultimately come to accept the catholic doctrine (because it is the only real teaching of the New Testament on the question, though by implication), or we have to accept the very real possibility that we, Anglicanism, are not part of that Church at all. If that is the case, the Canon Heidt is simply spinning his wheels. But it can’t be that we’re in (the Church) because our doctrine is good, and they’re not. There is no room in the catholic doctrine for the notion that those orthodox catholic elements of churches that may be remnants of the one universal Church of our Lord have gotten lost in the shuffle for a mere 475 years.

    Finally, I just don’t see where Canon Heidt is trying to make a reasonable and respectful appeal to the evangelically-minded across these kinds of bridges that Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, and Irenaeus (as well as Sts. Cyprian and Clement provide). He is speaking from his particular sub-tradition within Anglicanism instead of taking us to the Fathers and the Church Councils. This is the same kind self-contradiction that Evangelical Anglicans are often guilty of when they refer us to Calvin or Cramner rather than Holy Scripture. It feels as if he is simply preaching to the choir to practice his preaching, and trying to play the tough guy in the process.

  49. rob k says:

    yjfoc – Good post. Yes, of course, the protestant-minded members are just as much members of the church as anyone else, by virtue of their baptism and confirmation. And in the Eucharist Christ is truly and objectively present regardless of their beliefs about it. I just fear that some of those who want to separate want to remake the church into a protestant one.