Posted in Anglicanism, tagged Anglicanism on 19 October, 2011|
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The Episcopal Church of the USA versus the Anglican Church of North America as told by Mollie Hemingway of the Wall Street Journal (via Gene Veith).
When the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, N.Y., left the Episcopal Church over disagreements about what the Bible says about sexuality, the congregation offered to pay for the building in which it worshiped. In return the Episcopal Church sued to seize the building, then sold it for a fraction of the price to someone who turned it into a mosque.
The congregation is one of hundreds that split or altogether left the Episcopal Church—a member of the Anglican Communion found mostly in the United States—after a decades-long dispute over adherence to scripture erupted with the consecration of a partnered gay bishop in 2003. But negotiating who gets church buildings hasn’t been easy. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she’d rather have these properties become Baptist churches or even saloons than continue as sanctuaries for fellow Anglicans.
The Episcopalian congregations that want to break away are part of a larger movement of Anglicans world-wide who are concerned by the liberalism of the official New York-based Episcopal Church on sexuality and certain basic tenets such as Jesus’ resurrection. Of the 38 provinces in the global Anglican Communion, 22 have declared themselves in “broken” or “impaired” fellowship with the more liberal American church.
In 2009, breakaway Episcopalians in the U.S. and Canada formed the Anglican Church in North America, which now reports 100,000 members in nearly 1,000 congregations. This group has been formally recognized by some Anglican primates outside of the United States.
Bishop Jefferts Schori says this new Anglican group is encroaching on her church’s jurisdiction, and she has authorized dozens of lawsuits “to protect the assets of the Episcopal Church for the mission of the Episcopal Church.” The Episcopal Church has dedicated $22 million to legal actions against departing clergy, congregations and dioceses, according to Allan Haley, a canon lawyer who has represented a diocese in one such case.
Now the Episcopal Church has upped the ante: It has declared that if congregations break away and buy their sanctuaries, they must disaffiliate from any group that professes to be Anglican. . . .
“We can’t sell to an organization that wants to put us out of business,” said Bishop Jefferts Schori, who added that her job is to ensure that “no competing branch of the Anglican Communion impose on the mission strategy” of the Episcopal Church. Indeed she has no complaint with Muslims, Baptists or barkeepers buying Episcopal properties—only fellow Anglicans.
One wonders what exactly is the “mission strategy” of the ECUSA? Answers below…
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I was reminded by a friend that today the Church of England honours Richard Baxter, that tireless puritan of the 17th century. He’s mostly known for his book “The Reformed Pastor.”
But how reformational is The Reformed Pastor?
One of the ways of framing the reformation debate is this: the Roman Catholic church had essentially substituted the church for Christ. Against this the reformers trumpeted Christ alone, etc. But listen to this excerpt from The Reformed Pastor which my friend read out. How reformed do you think it is?
‘The ministerial work must be carried on diligently and laboriously, as being of such unspeakable consequence to ourselves and others. We are seeking to uphold the world, to save it from the curse of God, to perfect the creation, to attain the ends of Christ’s death, to save ourselves and others from damnation, to overcome the devil, and demolish his kingdom, to set up the kingdom of Christ, and to attain and help others to the kingdom of glory. And are these works to be done with a careless mind, or a lazy hand? O see, then, that this work be done with all your might!’ (p112)
Altogether now: AND THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE UPON OUR SHO-O-O-O-O-OULDERS…
Interestingly Baxter quotes Paul on the same page:
“Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
But it seems to me that Paul is speaking about something with a very different feel to Baxter. Paul’s talking about a completed salvation that has been accomplished upstream which then flows down of its own outgoing nature. Paul is simply caught up in it. Like Peter, he cannot help but speak of what he has seen and heard (Acts 3:20). But it’s not the MUST of one who really ought to speak. It’s the MUST of someone who can’t help but speak. And it’s not the saving of the world which Paul attempts. It’s simply the witness to it.
I know Baxter did a lot of good. Thank God for him. But The Reformed Pastor needs a bit more reformation methinks.
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Today was my last official 1662 Book of Common Prayer communion service as curate. Aside from the prayer of humble access, this is the prayer I really love from the service. It’s said after receiving communion and saying the Lord’s prayer:
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe to feed us, who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom, by the merits of the most precious death and passion of thy dear Son. And we most humbly beseech thee , O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen
What is communion according to this prayer?
1) The Father feeding us with Christ,
2) Assuring us of His favour and goodness towards us, namely…
3) That we are members of Christ, and…
4) We are heirs of the kingdom
5) All through the death of Christ
1) Please Father, helps us to continue in communion with Christ
3) And that we walk in the good works you’ve prepared for us.
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“You’re lucky I’m Church of England…”
ht Jon Sidnell
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From Stand Firm in Faith
Any number of things madden me about this:
1. If Jesus is a ‘mechanism’ for Schori – she ain’t a sister. She’s just not. If Jesus is incidental to the identity of ‘God’ she’s got the wrong god.
2. Apparently Schori looks to fruits of the Spirit in religious teachers to demonstrate their closeness to God. But then for ‘conservatives’ to insist on the confession of Christ as Lord amounts to works.
3. Her arguments are about the Abrahamic faiths – but just how does the Dali Lama fit into this? Is he an anonymous Abrahamite? Just who is the ‘God’ who’s in charge of this ‘salvation’? Apparently he’s not even as specific as the God of Abraham. Apparently His identity just isn’t important.
But one other thought:
4. I believe we Evangelicals are a bit hamstrung when it comes to answering Schori whileever we remain unclear that Jesus just is the God of Abraham. When our own reasoning also runs along the lines of “Jesus is essential for us, but not for them” our opposition to this teaching will not be as strong as it should be.
Just a thought.
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Given discussion about Lutheran influence on the UK, here’s a Thawsday repost…
John Richardson (whose excellent blog is here) adds his voice to this discussion on Stand Firm in Faith. He writes about the place of repentance in the communion service. It chimes with a lot of what I wrote here:
I have long felt Anglicanism (specifically Thomas Cranmer) to be good at driving us to our knees in repentance, but not so good at letting us get up again.
In regard to this, I would point out the contrast between what the Book of Common Prayer says about our preparation to receive Holy Communion and what Luther said. The Exhortation in the BCP says in effect that if we are to receive Communion worthily we must first put ourselves right with God.
Contrast this with Luther. First, he says, “There must be faith to make the reception worthy and acceptable before God, otherwise it is nothing but sham and a mere external show.”
And what is this faith? It is “a firm trust that Christ, the Son of God, stands in our place and has taken all our sins upon his shoulders and that he is the eternal satisfaction for our sin and reconciles us with God the Father.”
But what does this mean for our ‘worthiness’? “This food demands a hungering and longing man, for it delights to enter a hungry soul, which is constantly battling with its sins and eager to be rid of them.”
Therefore those with the right faith are those, “who suffer tribulation, physical or spiritual … spiritually through despair of conscience, outwardly or inwardly, when the devil causes your heart to be weak, timid, and discouraged, so that you do not know how you stand with God, and when he casts your sins into your face.” (emphasis added)
I don’t think the BCP reflects this. Rather, the BCP urges communicants first: “search and examine your own consciences … that ye may come holy and clean to such a heavenly Feast, in the marriage-garment required by God in holy Scripture, and be received as worthy partakers of that holy Table” and so, “examine your lives and conversations by the rule of God’s commandments; and whereinsoever ye shall perceive yourselves to have offended, either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life” (emphasis added).
The Anglican way is ‘be cleansed, then come’. The Lutheran way is ‘come and be cleansed’.
Here’s a ‘come and be cleansed’ type sermon I preached called Eating with Jesus (listen here).
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Dan’s worried about wearing Anglican garb.
Don’t worry Dan, there’s a lot of cool clerical wear out there. I think the guy at the back is Archdeacon or something.
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