Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wayfarers All


By Robin G. Jordan

Conservative North American Anglicans have reached another crossroads. The fingerpost points in a number of directions. They can join the exodus from the Anglican Church, abandon what small part of the Anglican heritage onto which they have hung, and become Roman Catholics. They can continue in their present direction away from authentic historic Anglicanism, pulled this way and that way by whatever ecclesiastic fad of the moment grips their imagination. Or they can turn back to the old paths of the Bible and the Reformation, of the Protestant faith of the reformed Church of England and her venerable formularies. They can once more set their feet upon the true Anglican Way.

Those who do will be pleasantly surprised to discover that the true Anglican Way in broad enough for High Churchmen in the Anglican Reformed tradition as well as classical Evangelicals. They will also find it broad enough for those who highly esteem the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, as a perusal of the Homily on the Holy Spirit for Whit-Sunday will reveal. While requiring uniformity on primary matters, the true Anglican Way permits liberty on secondary matters and encourages Christian charity in all things. The true Anglican Way has never sought to bind men’s consciences any tighter than the Scriptures bind them.

The true Anglican Way gives great weight to the teaching of the Bible. For those treading its path the Bible is the Word of God written, and the final and supreme authority in all matters of faith and life. The Holy Scriptures is the test by which the truth of every doctrine must be tried. What weight the true Anglican Way gives to the Creeds, the Councils of the Church, to early Church Fathers, and the historic Anglican formularies comes from their agreement with the teaching of the Bible. Where their teaching parts from that of the Holy Scriptures, farers on the true Anglican Way part from their teaching.

The true Anglican Way gives a place to the sacraments, to Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, in the spiritual journey of the Christian. Those who tread its path recognize these two ordinances of Christ as more than bare signs: they are means of grace. Through these two sacraments God shows his goodwill and favor to us. However, those to whom these sacraments are administered do not automatically or invariably benefit from them. Requisite conditions for them to possess the benefits of the sacraments are that they must also possess true repentance and a lively faith. They must turn from sin and to Christ. They must trust in Christ for their salvation. Repentance and faith are the fertile soil upon which the seeds of sacramental grace must fall in order to bear fruit.

Farers on the true Anglican Way do not count confirmation, penance, orders, matrimony, or extreme unction as sacraments. They understand that these five “commonly-called (i.e., mistakenly called) sacraments” have grown partly from the corrupt following of the apostles. They are partly states of life that the Scriptures allow. Unlike Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, they do not have the nature of sacraments: they do not have any visible sign or ceremony that God ordained.

Those who tread the true Anglican Way are very mindful of the vital role of the Holy Spirit in their spiritual lives. The Holy Spirit is the giver of life to those who are spiritually dead. Without the Spirit’s quickening we have no will to please God and without the Spirit’s working within us we have no power to do so. The Holy Spirit equips, empowers, guides, and sanctifies us, enabling us to bear much fruit to the glory of God.

Those who take the time to explore the true Anglican Way discover to their delight that the three elements of the Scriptures, the Sacraments, and the Spirit, three elements that the Ancient-Future or Convergence movement has appropriated, are very much a part of that path. At the same time the true Anglican Way does not depart from the Bible and the Reformation while the path of the Ancient-Future or Convergence movement leads those upon it into the howling wilderness of unreformed Catholicism and then disappears like a rabbit track in the woods, fading into nothing. The Bible and the Reformation are God’s gifts to his people—the first to keep them on the right path and the second to return them to the right path. They show us how to follow Jesus and to be a part of the true apostolic church.

14 comments:

Reformation said...

Robin:

57, but a lot of fight is left. Fed up, will tell ya' that much.

I posted a letter to Her Majesty, the Queen. I will post more largely after the Second Sunday in Advent.

However, as of 30 Nov, closing out Vets and Remembrance Day--English, Canadians and Americans. From one old, combat Vet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8gRx8tWJmI

These men knew and know what "courage" means, like the English Reformers.

From a combat-vet,
DPV

Derrick said...

Great post. Enjoyed this very much

Reformation said...

Robin:

1. Excellent article.

2. Evensong prescribes Psalm 6-8 for 1 Dec 2010.

3. I'm pretty tired and fed up, yet refreshed and "fed" by Psalm 6. We can start by cleaning out the barnyard of liberals adversely affected by 19th-20th century liberals. Working on Documentary Hypothesis this week, as well as Isaianic authorship--the rot, assumptions, and effects are very deep. Time for some heavy lifting, including a good look at the backgrounds of seminarians. I'm tired and fed up with the Psalmist. This is a very difficult Babylonian Captivity, but it is shaking things out and confirming many in sound, Protestant and Reformed doctrine. "My bones are vexed," as the Psalmist sings.

4. Psalm 6.

Psalm 6

1 LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?

4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.

8 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.

9 The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.

10 Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.

Reformation said...

Franz Delitzsch well captures one aspect from Ps.6 well:

"And in common with Hab.3 it gives expression to the joy which arises from zealous anger against the enemies of God and from the contemplation of their overthrow. Painful unrest, defiant self-confidence, triumphant ecstasy, calm trust, prophetic certainty--all these states of mind find expression in the irregular arrangement of the strophes of this Davidic dithyramb, the ancient customary Psalm for the feat of Purim."

Messing with anger is extremely dangerous, "conflicting," and mixed with our manifold wickednessnesses--which we, from time to time, have most grievously committed. 1 Pet.3.8ff offers balance. "Be angry and sin not" is the challenge.

OTOH, there is place for justifiable indignation--to get on with the clean-up and establishment of the true, Catholic, Protestant and Reformed faith.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Unfortunately, I cannot agree. The Bible is not an inkblot test. In fact, I would argue that the Bible nails down the doctrines of grace much tighter than Robin would like to admit. For example, Arminianism and the high church Laudians, like Tractarians, have more in common with Rome than with Scripture OR the 39 Articles of Religion. The so-called "charismatic" movement is nothing more than semi-pelagianism and hyper-Arminianism packaged in Wesleyan holiness clothing.

No, this sort of compromise is what got the Anglican Reformation into hot water in the first place. The English Reformation is not sympathetic to the Remonstrandts, the Amyraldians, or the Tractarians and it certainly had no inkling about the Wesleyan holiness departure or the Pentecostal Charismatic heresy.

All attempts to introduce experientialism over Scripture or pietism over Scripture is essentially a man-centered false gospel and is doomed to failure.

The 39 Articles, if not as explicit as the Westminster Standards or the Three Forms of Unity, is nevertheless overtly Calvinistic and explicitly Augustinian, NOT semi-pelagian.


Sincerely yours in Christ,

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

The attempt to build a false unity on a false foundation and a fake gospel of synergistic congruent merit is nothing more than watered down papist theology waiting to lead the sheep back to the wolves.

Charlie

Robin G. Jordan said...

Charlie,

You are reading more into my article than I wrote. Indeed you are attacking a strawman of your own imagining.

Everything to which I refer in my article falls well within the bounds set by the Articles of Religion and the two Books of Homilies--classical Anglicanism. I said nothing about Arminians or Laudians. I did refer to High Churchmen in the Reformed tradition, sometimes erroneously referred to as "High Church Calvinists." I made no mention of "charismatics."

Yes, historic Anglicanism is Reformed. However, the extent of influence of John Calvin upon the English Reformation is matter of debate. In its earliest stages Bucer, Bullinger, and Vermigli had a greater influence upon the English Reformation than Calvin. Who sat at Bucer and Bullinger's feet and learned from them--Calvin. Who borrowed many of Bullinger's concepts and illustrations--Calvin. Who shared the Reformed views of the English, French and Swiss Reformers--Calvin.

Thomas Cranmer may be viewed as a Reformed theologian in his own right.

Calvin certainly was a significant influence in the English Church but largely in the later stages of what is called the "long Reformation." He certainly influenced the later Evangelicals but even then we find Evangelicals like Charles Simeon and J. C. Ryle who described themselves as Bible Christians, as opposed to system men. The Bible was their ultimate authority in matters of faith and doctrine, not a particular theologian or theological system. They were mindful of doing the same thing with the leading figures of the Reformation that the Anglo-Catholics, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox did with the Patristic writers and later theologians.

I just finished reading an interesting paper that Roger Beckwith delivered to the 2009 conference of the Prayer Book Society in the UK. Here is an excerpt from the paper, titled "Prayer Book Eucharistic Theology."

"Bullinger, Zwingli’s successor, who had great influence in England, argued instead that Christ’s body is truly received, but that only faith can receive it. His body is represented by the bread but is not incorporated into it; rather, it is spiritually imparted to those who exercise faith, though not to others. Calvin, the other great Swiss Reformer, took a similar view, and so did Ridley and Cranmer in England (along with Bucer and Peter Martyr, who worked in England in Edward VI’s reign)."

Some adherents of Calvin would like to give him credit for ideas that really were not particular to him and which were common to the Reformed movement in England and Europe. Nineteenth century and even earlier writers compounded the problem by their use of the term "calvinistical," by which they were referring not to the particular teachings of Calvin or his disciple Theodore Beza but the whole body of common teaching of the Reformed movement.

Would Calvin deny a role to Scriptures, the Sacraments, and the Spirit in the spiritual life of the elect? I have not only read extensively about Calvin but also I have read his works. I believe that you would be hard put to argue that he does.

May I advise less unchecked impetuosity and more cautiousness in the future, being less eager to jump to conclusions especially the wrong ones. I speak as someone who has had to learn this lesson myself. I have lost count of the number of times that I have in the past gotten the wrong end of the stick and charged like a bull at a gate.

We all could learn a lesson from J. R. R. Tolkein's Ents who set great store in unhastiness.

May I also suggest not making assumptions about what I have written without checking out those assumptions first.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Robin,

I appreciate your sincerity, however, the fact is Samuel Leuenberger's book, Cranmer's Immortal Bequest, provides no information that would support the idea that Cranmer would have been open to any suggestion of Remonstrandt theology or Amyraldian theology. That is all of those influencing Cranmer were either Lutheran or Puritan. You mentioned the names of several who were involved in the Continental Reformation. Not ONE of them--Bullinger, Bucer, Hooper, Zwingli, et. al., was either Remonstrandt OR Amyraldian. It goes without saying that none of them were Wesleyan Arminians since that was a later development.

As for Charles Simeon, he did not speak for the English Reformation since that would be an anachronistic argument. Simeon was an Armyraldian and hence an Arminian sympathizer. Simeon's compromises are part of the reason for the further deterioration of the Evangelical movement in the Anglican Church.

Regarding J.C. Ryle, I've read enough to know that arguments that Ryle was an Amyraldian are bogus and ephemeral. There is no evidence to that effect. In fact, I would argue that Ryle was a five point Calvinist. Ryle was certainly no systematic theologian, which is a problem for those looking for doctrinal precision.

I have not read as much of Simeon's stuff but I have read enough to know that Simeon was about as solid as a jellyfish. I have no idea why Simeon is so revered when in fact Simeon is simply another compromiser with false doctrine.

Look hard when someone claims to be sympathetic to various parties. It usually means they are unwilling to rationally and logically stand with propositional truth.

Arminianism is essentially a Romeward heresy that moved away from the Reformed faith. Those who argue that the Anglicans were sympathetic to the Remonstrandts must have forgotten all the Puritan influences on Cranmer and the fact that there was an English Revolution!

No, I'm no fan of Charles Simeon OR the Sydney Anglicans. Those are the same idiots who agreed to full communion with ACNA. That's the sort of "Evangelicalism" that eventually deteriorates into the same liberalism we're allegedly fighting against.

Anglo-Catholicism and semi-pelagianism are man centered theologies that are at root just another idolatry on the same lines as liberal Anglo-Catholicism and apostasy.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

See R. Scott Clark's article:

Between Donatism and Liberalism.

Simply because the 39 Articles are shorter than the Westminster Confession and Standards or the Belgic Confession and the Three Forms of Unity, does not mean that Anglicans ought to turn the Anglican Formularies into a minimalist set of doctrines so everyone can continue on in their favorite heresies unchallenged.

I've examined the GAFCON members, including those in the Global South and from what I can see the Anglo-Catholic influence has eclipsed the Protestant Reformation and the Puritan side of Cranmer's theology.

Although Cranmer would not have agreed with getting rid of the Reformed prayer book or the Reformed vestments (Edward VI's 2nd year), he would not have agreed with Arminianism OR modern Amyraldianism like that of Charles Simeon or W.H. Griffith Thomas or even that of David Broughton Knox and various other neo-nomians in the Evangelical side of the Anglican Communion.

No, I stand with the English Calvinists and even the Puritans--but not to the rejection of the 1552 prayer book (1662) or the rejection of Reformed vestments.

Those vestments do not include the high church vestments like the cope, rochet, etc.

I might be dumb about all the details. But I'm not stupid. I'm not going to go any further than Scripture goes. Looking around at the current state of Anglicanism--including the compromisers like James Packer, the Sydney Anglicans, and the Global South--it seems to me that we ought to be calling for more reform, not further compromise with an ambiguous view of the Formularies that leaves room for everyone and nails down nothing.

That certainly was not Cranmer's view and it isn't mine either.

Sincerely yours,

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Robin,

I might add that you yourself are shooting at a straw man. You obviously think I reject sacramental theology. How wrong you are. The Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity are not Anabaptist. In fact, what is usually called "Zwinglian" is not Zwingli's view either. Zwingli's theology of the sacraments was clearly compatible with Calvin since the Consensus of Tigerinus was a joint statement between Bullinger, representing the Zwinglian side of the Swiss Reformers, and Calvin, representing the Swiss Reformation in Geneva.

I have no objection to the Reformed side of the sacramental theology in the 39 Articles and the 1662 Prayer Book. I do object to any hint of papist or tractarian interpretation of those Formularies.

What I am objecting to in your article is the suggestion that somehow Charles Simeon or the Sydney Anglicans are being faithful to the formularies by their ambiguous approach to theology. Such muddy thinking does not lead to clarity but to further confusion and even heresy.

Article 17, as Gerald Bray points out so clearly, is thoroughly Reformed and Calvinistic. I'm not as polite as Bray, however. I would say that Article 17 implies particular atonement, not universal atonement!

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

By the way, your reference to Calvin as my "hero" betrays your ignorance of the English Reformation and the Continental Reformation. Calvin was a leading figure but was by no means the ONLY figure teaching the SAME doctrines of grace from different perspectives. All of them were Augustinian. Not ONE was semi-pelagian OR Amyraldian. The only exception I can think of offhand would be Philip Melancthon, who most agree went back to the semi-pelagian position.

As I said, I'm not going to compromise what the Scriptures nail down, regardless of what you might thing the Articles do or do not nail down. The Scriptures plainly are THE final authority. If an Anglican departs from the Scriptures but you think they still stand within your minimalist view of the theology of the Anglican Formularies, they are still heretics and to be combated as enemies of the Gospel.

Unless Sydney gets back on track, I don't recommend them or their hero, Charles Simeon, as "bastions" of the Anglican faith.

Basically, Sydney is at the moment no better than the slippery snakes we call Anglo-Catholics. Why do I say that? Sydney claims to be against women's ordination YET we see them ordaining women to the office of the deacon. That makes them compromisers and liars. They do in fact ordain women and the next compromise will be women priests and bishops. It's just a matter of time.

I know. I'm not gracious. But I am correct on this. Call me a prophet.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Why Four Point Calvinism Is Suspect from a Reformed Anglican Perspective

Charlie J. Ray said...

Prying into the Mystery of Reprobation

Robin G. Jordan said...

You completely missed the whole point of my article. You have sought both in your initial post and in your subsequent posts to take my remarks and use them as pretext to start a discussion of topics of your own choosing and failing to do that, have gone on to use the comment thread as a platform or pulpit for expressing your own views on a range of subjects.

The article was quite straightforward and the point was quite obvious. I do not see how you missed it. I drew attention to my readers that the Ancient-Future or Convergence movement had appropriated three "elements" of classical Anglicanism--the Holy Scriptures, the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and the Holy Spirit, and that if these elements were what they were looking for, they could find them in classical Anglicanism. However, in classical Anglicanism they would not be departing from the Bible and the Reformation into unreformed Catholicism as they would be in the Ancient-Future or Convergence movement. The only way that you could have missed that was not to really have read what I wrote. What you were criticizing was not in the article and therefore the only possible conclusion is that it is "a strawman of your own imagining."

You can argue with that observation all you like but then is that not what you want--a loud, noisy argument in which you can express your own point of view and criticize your opponent's. Sorrie Charlie. I aint bitin'.