Monday, September 20, 2010

Down the Garden Path with Bishop Ray Sutton


By Robin G. Jordan

In reading Bishop Ray Sutton’s letter in response to Matt Kennedy’s Stand Firm article, “The ACNA and the Filioque: Decisions Matter,” I noted that Bishop Sutton frequently resorted to sophistry, or false argument, in his letter. A number of his arguments had no bearing upon the subject at hand, and gave the appearance of being designed to impress his readers with his erudition as well as to muddy the water and to obscure the truth. The views that he expressed were largely opinion, a particular interpretation of Church history. They were not fact. For example, Church historians disagree over whether the Forty-Two Articles were adopted. Charles Hardwick in A History of the Articles of Religion, pages 111-112, builds a well-reasoned case for their synodical approbation. In any event they were adopted by the Convocation of Canterbury and were promulgated at the order of King Edward VI.

Bishop Sutton displays great skill at misleading his readers and hoodwinking those who are not as well read as he is. Much of what he wrote was designed to sow doubts about the Protestant and Reformed character of historic Anglicanism in the minds of his readers and to lead them to draw the wrong conclusions. His letter was lengthy so its readers would become lost in the convolutions of his arguments.

Sutton is one of the bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church who led his own church away from its Protestant and Reformed heritage into Anglo-Catholicism and ritualism. Whatever he writes is therefore suspect and cannot be trusted. Like John Henry Newman he is quite capable of leading his readers down the garden path, to use an old expression.

Entering into a Eucharistic intercommunion agreement with a church on the fringe of Eastern Orthodoxy is not going to advance the cause of ecumenism. The Anglican Church in North America would not be breaking new ground. The churches in the Eastern Orthodoxy mainstream, especially the resurgent conservative Russian Orthodox Church, are not going to recognize such an agreement. From an Eastern Orthodox perspective Roman Catholics are schismatics but Anglicans are heretics. In Eastern Orthodox eyes Anglican and independent Catholic orders and sacraments are not valid. Bishop Sutton is no priest, much less a bishop. He is only a layman. The Filoque, the Augustian doctrine of original sin, original guilt, and the total depravity of humankind, and the validity of Anglican orders and sacraments are not the only things that divide the Anglican Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches. The Thirty-Nine Articles, the doctrine of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, and the doctrine of the sacraments in the Prayer Book Catechism are also among a host of things that seperate Anglicanism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

The history of Anglican-Eastern Orthodox relations from the time of the Non-Jurors has been marked by repeated Eastern Orthodox rebuffs of Anglican overtures. The Eastern Orthodox churches have no illusions about the character of the Anglican Church: It is Protestant and Reformed, and therefore heretical in their estimation as long as the Anglican Church does not fully embrace Eastern Orthodox doctrine and practice. Even if the Anglican Church were to do the latter, it would not gain the full acceptance of the Eastern Orthodox churches. What then does the pursuit of such an agreement with a marginal Eastern Orthodox church accomplish?

I suggest that it accomplishes four things. First, the pursuit of this agreement gives the appearance that the Ecumenical Relations Task Force is serving a useful purpose. It is actively seeking after harmonious relations with other denominations. Money that might have otherwise been used to plant new churches, to spread the gospel, and to reach the spiritually disconnected and the unchurched instead of maintaining a growing ACNA bureaucracy is ostensibly being put to good use. The existence of the ERTF is justified.

Second, it serves as a test of GAFCON Primates’ acceptance of ACNA leadership in doctrinal matters. The ACNA is an American church, and Americans see themselves as being indubitably foreordained or marked out beforehand to be world leaders in business, international affairs, religion, science and the like. The nineteenth century idea of manifest destiny is deeply ingrained in the American psyche. This perception of America’s place in the world is driving the leaders of The Episcopal Church as much as their liberalism to export their liberal ideology to other provinces of the Anglican Communion and to ally themselves with the liberal elements in these provinces. The leaders of the ACNA will not be content to play second fiddle to the Africans. They will over time seek to take a position of leadership in conservative alliance that comprises GAFCON. They are already showing indications of movement in that direction.

As one of his arguments in support of the proposed omission of the Filoque from the Nicene Creed, Bishop Sutton appeals to the recommendations of the 1988 Lambeth Conference on liturgical revision. Thirty years have passed since the 1988 Lambeth Conference. The 1988 Lambeth Conference was held only nine years after the adoption of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The ecumenical movement was at its height. One of the criticisms of the ecumenical movement in the Anglican Communion in the past thirty years has been that it was Anglo-Catholic and liberal-led, and glozed over a number of major theological differences between historic Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. The compilers of the 1979 Prayer Book also used ecumenism to justify a number of doctrinal changes that were incorporated into the new prayer book, moving it further away from the doctrine of the 1662 Prayer Book. The GAFCON Theological Resource Group recognizes this problem in Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today:

These developments have brought many benefits. However, sometimes the changes come with a theological agenda in which the focus on scripture, repentance, forgiveness, thanksgiving and praise is lost or subsumed. (p. 46)

If we were to look closely at the 1988 Lambeth Conference, I suspect that we will discover that the liturgical revision recommendations of that conference were the work of Anglo-Catholics and liberals, the two groups that has the greatest investment in the ecumenical movement and liturgical revision in the last century.

The ACNA leadership has not paid any attention to the Lambeth Conference in other areas. For example, the 1888 Lambeth Conference formulated the principle that new missionary churches should be recognized as Anglican only if “their Clergy subscribe Articles in accordance with the express statements of our standards of doctrine and worship.” The ACNA is certainly classifiable as a new missionary church. The ACNA constitution and canons make no provision for clerical subscription to such Articles. The 1958 Lambeth Conference adopted the following resolution:

Resolution 54
Church Unity and the Church Universal - Episcopi Vagantes


The Conference draws attention to the fact that there are "episcopi vagantes" who call themselves either "Old Catholic" or "Orthodox," in combination with other names. It warns its members of the danger of accepting such persons at their own valuation without making further inquiries. The Conference reiterates the principle contained in Resolution 27 of the 1920 Lambeth Conference, that it cannot recognise the Churches of such "episcopi vagantes" as properly constituted Churches, or recognise the orders of their ministers, and recommends that any such ministers desiring to join an Anglican Church, who are in other respects duly qualified, should be ordained "sub conditione" in accordance with the provisions suggested in the Report of the relevant Committee of the 1920 Lambeth Conference.

The ACNA College of Bishops has in the past twelve months recognized the orders of two bishops who fall within the purview of this resolution and received them as ACNA bishops.

If the ACNA leadership can overlook these resolutions, why is it insistence that the ACNA must abide by the resolutions of the 1988 Lambeth Conference? To my knowledge the ACNA leadership did not consult the GAFCON Primates before it disregarded the resolutions of the 1888 and 1958 Lambeth Conferences.

The next step in the appointment of CEEC Bishop Derek Jones as a suffragan bishop of CANA is to present his appointment to the Nigerian House of Bishops for their approval, if it has not already taken place. If the Nigerian bishops approve the appointment without requiring Bishop Jones’ “sub conditione” consecration, they will be following the ACNA College of Bishop’s lead in ignoring Resolution 54 of the 1958 Lambeth Conference and recognizing a church of “episcopi vagantes” and the orders of its ministers. This suggests that whoever championed going to the College of Bishops first may have wished Bishop Jones’ case to serve as a test case. Or the ACNA bishops in their reception of Jones may have decided to use his case to see how the Nigerians would react. The Anglican Mission discovered that when they tried something similar with the Rwandans, the Rwandans made it quite plain to the Anglican Mission that they were going to appoint as missionary bishops for the Anglican Mission those whom they thought were suited for the episcopate, not those whom the Anglican Mission wanted the Rwandans to appoint. Whoever championed this course of action or the College of Bishops may have thought that the Nigerians would be more amenable to accepting the ACNA bishops’ decision and would appoint Jones or that the Nigerians would have no other choice but accept the ACNA bishops’ decision and appoint him. Within the Provincial Council raising the prospect of an unraveling of the conservative alliance over a particular issue has been used on at least one occasion to force members of the Council to back down on a particular issue.

Third, The Episcopal Church has used ecumenism to divert the attention of members of the denomination away from the lack of growth of the denomination in new churches and new members. Seeking after more harmonious relations with denominations that have long histories of not recognizing the validity of Anglican orders and sacraments has been given priority over fulfilling the Great Commission. There has been sharp debate in the Church of England over whether it should in the face of declining attendance be pursuing better relations with other faiths or evangelizing the adherents of these faiths. The liberals, including Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, favour the first course of action; the evangelicals and the charismatics favour the second course of action.

Fourth, Bishop Sutton himself may have personal motives of his own for seeking the omission of the Filoque from the Nicene Creed that go beyond improved ecumenical relations. I am not going to speculate on what those motives are and will leave the reader to draw his own conclusions.

I am prompted to ask whether the ERTF have considered the ramifications of their pursuit of Eucharistic intercommunion with the Orthodox Church of America whose own standing with the churches in the Eastern Orthodox mainstream is at best shaky. If the OCA enters into a Eucharistic intercommunion agreement with the ACNA, it runs a very real risk of being excommunicated from the Eastern Orthodox community. Eastern Orthodoxy questions the validity of Anglican sacraments and certainly does not recognize their efficacy. The possibility of an organic union between the ACNA and the OCA is a pipe dream. It would require the ACNA to completely embrace Eastern Orthodoxy. Even if the ACNA adopted Eastern Orthodox doctrine and practice and merged with the OCA, it would not improve its standing with the Eastern orthodox community. Its standing would be as shaky as that of the OCA.

Article 5 of the Thirty-Nine Articles affirms the Filoque. If the GAFCON Primates support the omission of the Filoque from the Nicene Creed, they take the ACNA position on the Thirty-Nine Articles, that is, they are a relic of the past, and repudiate the Clause 4 of the Jerusalem Declaration. Clause 4 of the Jerusalem Declaration upholds the Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Anglican Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today. Clause 6 of the Jerusalem Declaration also upholds the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer. In the 1662 Communion Service the Filoque is used in the Nicene Creed recited after the Gospel.

In Being Faithful: Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today, the GAFCON Theological Resource Group point to our attention that the Articles have long been recognized as the doctrinal standard of Anglicanism, alongside the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. Acceptance of their authority is constitutive of Anglican identity (p. 35). The GAFCON Theological Resource Group further draws to our attention that the 1662 Prayer Book provided a standard by which other liturgies may be tested and measured. They emphasize:

On key principle of revision is that new liturgies must be seen in continuity with the Book of Common Prayer. (p. 47)

The GAFCON Theological Resource Group also stresses:

A second key principle of revision should be that of mutual accountability within the Anglican Communion. The further removed a proposed liturgy may be from the 1662 Prayer Book, the more important it is that it should be subject to widespread evaluation throughout the Communion.(p. 48)

If the ACNA presses the issue of omitting the Filoque from the Nicene Creed with the GAFCON Primates, it risks straining its relations with a number of GAFCON provinces, the FCA in the United Kingdom, and evangelicals outside of North America who support the ACNA. The Church of Nigeria and the Church of Uganda have provisions in their constitutions affirming the doctrine of the historic Anglican formularies. The Church of Uganda disclaims the right to alter these “standards of faith and doctrine”, as the fundamental provisions of its constitution describe them. The FCA in the United Kingdom has adopted Canon A5 as the doctrinal basis of that organization:

A 5 Of the doctrine of the Church of England

The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures.

In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.

Evangelicals outside of North America tend to be stronger in their support of the historic Anglican formularies than those in North America, in the ACNA. There are of course exceptions--the liberal Open Evangelicals in the Church of England in the first instant and the conservative Reformed-Evangelicals in the ACNA in the second instant. But these exceptions do not negate the validity of this observation.

If the GAFCON Primates changed their position on Clauses 4 and 6 of the Jerusalem Declaration, weakening their support of the historic Anglican formularies as the long recognized doctrinal standard of Anglicanism, it would strain its relations with evangelicals supporting GAFCON.

The developments that I have examined in this article strongly suggest that the ACNA membership need to break free from their accustomed passive acceptance of everything that their leaders are doing and to demand greater accountability and responsibility from their leaders. Bishop Sutton, the Ecumenical Relations Task Force, the Provincial Council, and the College of Bishops are by all indications playing a dangerous game, which could cost the ACNA goodwill and support and might prompt the rejection of the ACNA as an alternative province for orthodox Anglicans in North America. ACNA members need to phone, email, and write their bishops and Provincial Council members and to express their concerns. They need to urge their leaders to be less reckless and more measured in their dealings with GAFCON and supporters of the ACNA, and to take time to carefully weigh the possible consequences of any proposal before supporting it. They should not, any more than the members of the ACNA, leave major decisions to a small handful of leaders but should insist upon a more conciliar or synodical approach to decision-making that subjects all proposals to a thorough evaluation of their potential effects.

Recommended further reading:
An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles, pp. 119-127
A Faith for Today (1) Articles 1-5
Alcuin Club Tracts XII Russian Observations upon the American Prayer Book

30 comments:

RMBruton said...

There are Triffids along the path. How would Bp Sutton get around the very sticky wicket of Women's Ordination? No Orthodox Church, not even the OCA would go with that.

Reformation said...

When Ray writes, place hand firmly on the wallet. Ray has been all over the theological map for twenty years. What's Ray next waltz? Tango or Foxtrot? Swing or otherwise?

Again, place hand firmly on the wallet.

Reformation said...

Been watching Ray zigzag for years.

http://reformationanglicanism.blogspot.com/2010/09/stand-firm-bishop-ray-sutton-on.html

Just waiting for Ray's next turn.

Ray was a "boy" at Oxford and cowered before Anglo-Catholics who mocked the Reformation. Another Reformed Churchman, a DPhil (OXON), reported Ray's cowering.

He hasn't changed.

Joe Mahler said...

Ray Sutton's and his brother Leo's betrayal of the REC is perfect evidence that he/they cannot be trusted in anything. His allegiance to the Declaration of Principles of the REC did not prevent him from doing exactly what was prohibited by them. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Jim said...

Robin,

I rather suspect that the problem you and some of your commenters have with the letter is encapsulated in these sentences.

"I would also add that while I agree with and strongly support our own Anglican formularies, one is not saved by believing in a particular doctrine of salvation: he/she is saved by Jesus Christ." and "We’re not even saved by believing in the doctrine justification by faith only, as important and convinced of this doctrine as we may be. It is not faith in our faith that saves us; it is Jesus Christ!"

Isn't that what I keep preaching and doesn't it state the problem. Calvin, the articles, incense, baptism, 2 sacraments or more, it is all adeophora. Even the quadrilateral is somewhat in that category, but certainly anything beyond it is. We can disagree and not schism over everything else.

FWIW
jimB

Reformation said...

Ray went to Reformed Episcopal Semimnary in a leading capacity in 1991, still fresh from the right-wing, theonomic, Reconstructionistic, Federal Visionistic, Shepherdian, Theocratic, Erastian and Dominionist camp. These fellows were sheer brutes, including Ray, a Pastor and Leader in the movement at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Tyler, TX.

Very, very tragic decision. I was at sea and unable to monitor much. But whoever hired Ray needed to have their heads examined. Ray had NO BACKGROUND AT ALL IN ANGLICANISM, NONE! But the ever-shifting Ray was ever-shifting. Ray began the Dominionistic takeover alongside the malcontent Leo.

By 2006, one sees a rewrite of the REC "Declaration of Principles," eschewed by Leo and Ray.
www.rechurch.org/txtpdf/trueunity.pdf This careful piece offers a landbridge for inter-confessional unity with the Anglican Province of America (APA).

The sad thing was the back-door, covert, high-handed, ham-handed and dominionistic manner of proceeding...Ray knows how to smile, but as indicated..."keep the hand on the wallet."

As I said earlier, just waiting for the next "trade-off" or "trade-in" for "progress." Trust has been gone.

The REC has been "done in." It's over for them. Their schools together might have 10-12 students.

The days of the Protestant and Reformed Church of England are over.

Reformation said...

JimB:

You quote Ray, suggesting this to be problematic. Here's Ray. And a 1-and-a-2-and-a-3-anda...let the band play on as we watch Ray dance.

"I would also add that while I agree with and strongly support our own Anglican formularies, one is not saved by believing in a particular doctrine of salvation: he/she is saved by Jesus Christ." and "We’re not even saved by believing in the doctrine justification by faith only, as important and convinced of this doctrine as we may be. It is not faith in our faith that saves us; it is Jesus Christ!"

This is specious tap-dancing by Ray. Or, Foxtrot? Or the Waltz? Hmm, East Coast Swing?

It's a pathetic statement by Ray.

Reformation said...

Mr. Ray was in this movement in a major way. Thick, loud, public, and abrasive within the Presbyterian world. Many of us watched, listened and recoiled as these Dominionists sought power. The rancour and noise went far and wide. Ray was with the movement through the 80's until REC/RES picked him up. RES leaders must have had a screw loose. Roy Grote (an REC bishop)in Houston made Ray go back and clean up his internet messes re: Reconstructionism. Ray was forced to abjure it. No one, Virtue included, has assessed this background. Or even Ray's fundamentalist, dispensationalist days at Dallas Seminary.

A fair summary of Reconstruction at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Reconstructionist

Christian Reconstructionism is a religious and theological movement within Protestant Christianity that calls for Christians to put their faith into action in all areas of life, on public sphere as well. The beliefs characteristic of Christian Reconstructionism include:

Calvinism, for its description of individual spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit that is required to change people on a personal level before any positive cultural changes can occur,

Theonomy: applying the general principles of Old Testament and New Testament Law to the corresponding family, church and civil governments (compare with theocracy); opposed to church-state separation of any kind, believing the state is under God and is therefore commanded to enforce God's Law.

Postmillennialism, the Christian eschatological belief that God's kingdom began at the first coming of Jesus Christ, and will advance progressively throughout history until it fills the whole earth through conversion to the Christian faith and worldview,
The presuppositional apologetics of Cornelius Van Til which holds there is no neutrality between believers and nonbelievers, that the Bible reveals a self-authenticating worldview and system of truth, and that non-Christian, non-Reformed belief systems self-destruct when they become more consistent with their presuppositions, (Bahnsen, Van Til's Apologetic, pp. 145–6, 97, 315–6) or even the presuppositionalist approach of Gordon Clark, and

Decentralized political order resulting in minimal state power and laissez-faire economics.[1]

Reformation said...

A little more on theonomy. Again, Ray was not tangential but central to the movement. He was the Pastor and Leader of many of these Reconstructionists. The movement, full of writers and strong voices, imploded. This may have been Ray's cue to "jump ship." He was wise to do so, but his judgment was poor in the first place. The next thing we know is that Ray--from a rigorist Reconstructionist, Erastian, and Dominionist perspective--is teaching in an Episcopal School.

One doesn't just convert from a rigorist adherence to the Westminster Confession of Faith and then--over night, willy nilly--abandon it. We have a problem with Ray's ability in terms of judgement and deliberative moderation.

Having watched the zigzags for years now have not endeared the palaver to this scribe.

Additional info on Theonomy available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theonomy

"Various theonomic authors have stated such goals as "the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics",[7] exclusion of non-Christians from voting and citizenship,[8] and the application of Biblical law by the state.[9] Under such a system of Biblical law, homosexual acts,[10] adultery, witchcraft, and blasphemy[11] would be punishable by death. Propagation of idolatry or "false religions" would be illegal[12] and could also be punished by the death penalty.[13][14]

In Bahnsen's view he clarifies that the laws of God are not to be imposed by force upon society. Rather, they are the standard which Christian voters and officials ought to pursue. Nor are civil officials constrained to literally enforce every Biblical law, such as one-time localized imperatives, certain administrative details, typological foreshadows, or those against envy and unbelief. "Rulers should enforce only those laws for which God revealed social sanctions to be imposed"[15]

Reformation said...

I shall demur from further posting, lest an impression is offered of "dominionism."

Would rather see the thread return to the substance of Robin's inquiry.

Joe Mahler said...

Jim,
Are you saying it is all right to believe falsely on all things so long as you believe in Jesus Christ? After salvation what do you with with sanctification of the sinner? Is it all right for him to continue believing falsely in all things? It is all right for him to keep his old nature?
Joe

Jim said...

Joe I am saying that Jesus told the disciples that no one who preached in his name could harm him. Which view of atonement you hold is less important than that you hold one. Which view of sacramental regeneration is less important than that you care at all. We can argue (hey I actually enjoy doing that!) over which is better if we get past the anathemas and the idea that what we think somehow makes us more Christian than any other sinner.

FWIW
jimB

Reformation said...

Jim:

Let's try Galatians 1, the reading for Morning Prayer tomorrow, 22 September in the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

Jim, let's try a careful, exegetical, theological and doctrinal review of Romans 1-9.

Negotiable, on your view? Let St. Paul adjudicate the case.

As for Ray, he will bid to any auctioneering voice, provided that he, Ray, has a place at the table.

What say you?

(PS. Let's not even go near a debate about the penal, vicarious, and substitionary atonement, or r u going there? I hope not. If so, we have another issue at bar in this forum.)

Reformation said...

Jim:

Please tell me you are not arguing against the penal, vicarious and substitionary atonement of Christ?

Are u a moral exemplarist? Governmental theory? What?

Even old Ray, whatever else he might be--turncoat and auctioneer, I doubt would argue otherwise, although he has turned from his earlier tub-thumping Calvinism. As to Ray, one never knows.

As to you, Jim, what are your views on the atonement of His Majesty?

Reformation said...

As to the "atonement," its nature and design, it would be very instructive to investigate the commissioners from the court of James 1st to the Synod of Dordt. Ahem, they all, except for one, agreed with the conclusions. These were Elizabethans.

Will Ray Sutton talk of these things? Or the ACNA leadership? Can they? Would they? Better yet, are they "able" to discuss these things?

From the satellite centres of advertisement, e.g. Mr. Virtue, we doubt it.

Yet, we have our old books.

I hope Jim is not arguing the old liberal anti-penal ideas of the atonement. We are long past those arguments.

Jim, what say you?

Reformation said...

Jim raises an excellent point more largely, if not directly.

The "nature" of the atonement. This must figure into the equation in the discussions with the Orthodox. It is no small point, although it may appear that Jim thinks so.

The English Reformers addressed it.

Will Ray? Leo of the REC knows precisely that whereof we speak. I know. I sat for three years under Leo's rehash of Reformed thinkers--Leo was an unhelpful rehash, since better men had addressed the issues in previous centuries. We doubt this will be an issue with Leo or Ray.

Again, "acceptance and a place at the table" governs the discussions. Better observers than me have made those observations.

Jim, what say you of the nature of the atonement? It is no small thing.

Will Virtue address it? No. Will anyone from the ACNA address it? Will Ray? Hah!

Reformation said...

Thanks Jim for, perhaps, an inadvertent reference to the atonement.

Do we have a clear view of that with Bob of Pittsburg? All I hear Bob tell us is about "the transforming love of Jesus." A Romanist or Orthodox Churchman says that. Or, has the the Protestant and Reformed Church not addressed this issue?

I expect no answer from Bob in Pittsburg, Ray in Dallas, AMiA or ACNA, yet it is a very, very vital matter.

Jim, what do u offer on the question and "nature" of Christ's atonement, its design and effect?

These are very old and well-answered questions. Mr. Ray, erstwhile an REC Bishop, knows where this inquiry goes. So does the REC-malcontent Leo. Will we get answers?

Not holding my breath here.

Reformation said...

Are we going to get no respondents or is "the death of Christ," very God of very God, that insignificant?

Jim, where art thou?

Roy of Dallas, where art thou?

Bob of Pittsburg, where art thou?

David, the puffer of ACNA without substantive articles (www.virtueonline.org), where art thou...thou self-professed evangelical?

Glad to be retired and be owned by no one.

We have some catastrophic issues at bar...without answers.

Reformation said...

Can we not get a rebuttal of the foregoing? This is some weak stuff. Jim, please, offer something.

Reformation said...

Robin asserts:

"In reading Bishop Ray Sutton’s letter in response to Matt Kennedy’s Stand Firm article, “The ACNA and the Filioque: Decisions Matter,” I noted that Bishop Sutton frequently resorted to sophistry, or false argument, in his letter. A number of his arguments had no bearing upon the subject at hand, and gave the appearance of being designed to impress his readers with his erudition as well as to muddy the water and to obscure the truth. The views that he expressed were largely opinion, a particular interpretation of Church history. They were not fact. For example, Church historians disagree over whether the Forty-Two Articles were adopted. Charles Hardwick in A History of the Articles of Religion, pages 111-112, builds a well-reasoned case for their synodical approbation. In any event they were adopted by the Convocation of Canterbury and were promulgated at the order of King Edward VI."

Is there a rebuttal from the streets?

David.McMillan said...

Well. I think your insights are right on basically. I think we need to discuss these things . One should defend his position and there should be a mutual charitable discussion across the aisle. I do lament the loss of the church I knew when I was in it . I do not think joining with other groups in some collegial fashion should erase one's distinctives such as the 35 articles REC and the REC Prayer Book which was the Bishop White book of 1785 and had some meaningful reformed and True Anglican Protestant changes.

Joe Mahler said...

Jim,
I'm having a real difficult time understanding exactly what you are trying to say. Are you simply saying that SALVATION is dependent upon faith in Jesus Christ? If so, then we are in agreement. But that faith must be true, real. The Holy Ghost must in this process change the nature of the one who is saved (received SALVATION). He is no longer of the old nature; he is a new creation, born again; he has a new nature. He is no longer a slave to win, the world, and the devil. He is now a slave to God to do righteousness. The Law which cannot save anyone but only condemn is never the less the instructor in righteousness. Righteousness pleases God. The new nature of the SAVED desire now to please God, the have his mind changed, in all respects, he obeys the Law because it is righteousness and is pleasing to God. He believes what God has revealed because that also pleases HIM. This is SANCTIFICATION. Now, knowing all the doctrines does not save anyone, it does not change his nature. But by GRACE, God's GRACE all those who believe in Jesus Christ are SAVED. They are baptized by the Holy Ghost and are made anew. But where is the proof of rebirth. It is in what the SAVED does, what he says, what he thinks, and what he believes. The evil tree has been converted into a good tree, the thistle is made into a fig tree now producing figs. With man this is impossible, but with God nothing is impossible. So Ray and you are wrong if you think that godly doctrine is in any way unimportant.
Joe

Jim said...

Reformation & Joe,

I am engaged elsewhere at the moment and apologize for the perhaps excessive brevity. I also note that as a "progressive" or "liberal" voice I am here on sufferance.

That said (deep breath) my own thoughts on atonement are pretty much on the side of "Christus Victor" and not substitutionary atonement. I hope the reference is helpful. I shall attempt to spend more time later.

In general, no one can agree with everyone and I do not. I do not for instance agree with Robin. But I do not doubt his Christianity, I simply think he is wrong about some stuff. I am perfectly willing to discuss those with him.

Another thought, consider that Bene16 or as I prefer B16, prayed with Rowan. Do they agree? Yes on the basics of the faith as found in the Nicene creed they do. The details, not so much. But that is enough to get to at least vespers.

FWIW
jimB

Reformation said...

Thanks Jim, although the "either-or" won't fly. Advise otherwise.

Thanks for the response. Am rooted in the Leviticus-Hebrews connection as well as NT references to "uper." Whatever you are, at least you answer, liberal though you may be.

It ain't classical Anglicanism in the Reformed variety, however.

As to Robin's thread re: Mr. Sutton, we may well expect him to change lanes, back and forth, like a drunken driver.

As to Robin's thread, let it be noted that Mr. Sutton was a Westminsterian and 5-point Dordrechtian Calvinist. My issue is his maturity and stability of judgment--in the 80's and 90's.

Then, came the last ten years.

Regards.

Reformation said...

Jim:

No, B16 does not agree with the Catholic and Reformed tradition. In fact, while confessing the Nicene Creed and Trent, he is insulting, belittling, and diminishing Christ. B16's soteriology and sacramentology eviscerates his Christology. On that simple point, all the Reformers--German, Swiss, English, Scots, French, and English agreed.

B16's Christ is not the One I know or confess. That I expect from a sophisticated anti-christ like B16.

Reformation said...

Jim:

Dancing off on the atonement and justification will not help.

Suffrage? Over what?

Let's hear your views on these matters.

Will we hear from "Ray" on the atonement and justification...the hinge of the Reformation? The article on which the Church of Christ stands or falls? Or, with "the ever-shifting Ray," will we hear "another story?"

Sorry to sound cynical, but have been watching "both-lanes Ray" for 20 years now. As a Bishop, laughing here.

Acolyte4236 said...

The OCA is not on the “fringe” of Orthodoxy. It is a canonical jurisdiction without question. Perhaps you are thinking of ROCOR, but the ROCOR schism was healed just a few years ago with the Moscow Patriarchate. The OCA has no “shaky” standing in relation to other Orthodox Churches. Where I live, there is no hint of any divide between the local OCA, GOA, or ROCOR clergy or laity.

You are correct that there would be not inter-communion without full subscription to Orthodox teaching and practice. At best the ACNA would be allowed to retain in the main their liturgical heritage like the Western Rite Antiochians do with the 1928 BCP and Missal.

To be fair, the Orthodox view Rome heterodox or at least holding to heterodox doctrine, as articulated in the Patriachial encyclical of 1848. http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/encyc_1848.aspx
Consequently, we do not take Roman orders to be “valid” in terms of sacramental efficacy either.

As for some Augustinian doctrines, what you say is true, with one exception. Augustine didn’t hold to the doctrine of total depravity because Augustine didn’t think that righteousness was intrinsic to the imago dei, as the Pelagians did. Rather righteousness was part of the donum supperadditum given to Adam at his creation. Grace was added to nature, but not intrinsic to it. Hence it is not possible for Augustine to hold to the Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity, which took righteousness as a constituent of the imago dei.

And the Reformers rejected other parts of Augustinianism, such as inherited guilt favoring imputed guilt. The point being that non-allegiance to Augustine isn't a deal breaker.

As for the Articles, they are not to be confused with scripture on Anglican principles, whose every understanding of Anglicanism we may go with. They may be authoritative, but they are not ultimately so since they are fallible. If the Filioque is false or lacks scriptural support, then it matters not if the Articles teach it. The fact is that Anglican divines as well as their continental counterparts, all accepted the Filioque pretty much without examining it critically and accepted it on a dubious exegetical basis and on demonstrated misreading of patristic texts or texts now known to be interpolations.

Reformation said...

Acolyte 4236:

I never read "anonymous" posters. I find them cowardly. Ergo, you were not read.

That policy will be upheld at my blogsite.

Who are you?

Acolyte4236 said...

"Reformation",

It wasn't my intention to post as anonymous. I link directly to my email, blog, which has bio information about me, at my blogspot profile page.

I am Perry Robinson. I've taught philosophy for a living in the past and I run an Orthodox blog. I was raised in TEC and spent some time in the REC and the ACC. I am married (14yrs) and have three kids (all girls). I hope that is sufficient for posting purposes.

Reformation said...

More on the every-changing Ray Sutton. What's next in his gig?

http://reformationanglicanism.blogspot.com/2010/11/boultbee-i-pg12-thirty-nine-articles.html