Monday, January 18, 2016

Debating with a Continuing Anglican about the framers

We share a culture (including saying no to the Sixties, with our respective "symbolic" books with which to say that, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the Tridentine Mass) and most of our theology (bishops, Mass, sacraments, saints; definitely not the theology of the '28 BCP) but there's only one church, and to be a Continuer takes a misreading of history and an argument its originator, Newman, later disowned as intellectually dishonest: "we owe no allegiance to the intentions of Anglicanism's framers," which is like "I hate the Old Testament but I'm Jewish," "Muhammad's not the Prophet but I'm a Muslim" or "I'll always be a Catholic but the Pope's wrong on the faith" (I've met such a poor soul, the late Fr. Ray Jackson: raised in Cardinal Spellman's New York and ordained by that fine churchman, when the Sixties flipped him, he kept the teaching that there is only one church which he could never leave, but it was wrong about some essentials, so he and his friends must change it).

An Episcopalian:
For myself, I believe that the US and Canadian Anglicans are reflecting the best of the Church's baptismal theology.
A Continuer:
And of course reinterpreting the moral law, as rooted in the very nature of God, based on a completely de-contextualized use of a Galatians passage is not a deviation from the Faith? The Episcopal Church is guilty of apostasy by an serious evaluation of Christian truth based on the Scriptures, Ecumenical Creeds and Councils. The "re-imaging" God that is involved is idolatry. How this represents Anglo-Catholicism and not some form of New Age goofiness is beyond me.
Well and good; what we believe except the Episcopalians aren't apostate even though for centuries they have had many unbelievers. They still have the creeds (those, bishops, and a liturgy being the "Catholic" part of "Catholic and Reformed"). So why's he like what Pius IX said of Pusey, like the bell tower calling the people into the church but staying outside?

Episcopalian:
And from whose mind did your "moral law, as rooted in the very nature of God" (very presumptuous language!) did emerge in the first place?
The consensus of the Catholic Church, the estranged Eastern churches, and classical Protestants is nothing to sniff at, but what really matters is, is the church infallible (as the Bishop of Rome teaches) or are Articles XIX and XXI right so anything goes, as you, Continuer, believe as a good Anglican?
As an orthodox Anglo-Catholic in the Continuum I do not give any standing to the 39 Articles as any kind of catholic statement. The article on the non-communion of the wicked is patently false, and one has to do a "Cardinal Newman" — the dance of the seven veils, as it were — around the wording to make it possible to understand it in an orthodox way. It, frankly, isn't worth the time.
So Anglicanism's framers were wrong and thus God's plan for the church and for England was to have an Old Catholicism, a Catholicism without the Pope's jurisdiction? As my old Oxford tutor would say, prove it. Easier to take the framers at their word, and the liberals are taking that to a logical conclusion, even though the framers never envisaged these changes (women clergy and same-sex marriage). Start another church, but can one call that new church Anglican if it owes nothing doctrinally to the framers?
Aren't we getting rather off topic? And what do you want in this online forum, a dissertation? You know that that is the kind of detail required, of course. Shall I put all theology and history regarding questions of authority and jurisdiction into a thimble? Much depends on what one asserts to be the whole mindset of the Church in England throughout history in response to papal claims of universal jurisdiction, and who one wants to identify as the "framers" of Anglicanism (and the whole question, put that way, begs an important question about whether there WERE "framers" at all, or simply people who tried, with various degrees of success, to insist on various reforms and pruning away of errors. Those who did this best never regarded themselves as anything but catholic, in continuity with the Church throughout history, and not as radical revisionists or Puritans. To change the core is to invent some new abomination, which is not Christ's Bride. If one is a Protestant, one thinks of something very different than if one is catholic). Relations with Rome in the English Church were, throughout history, a very on and off again matter, influenced by numerous historical factors, as I am sure you know. Sometimes autocephalous authority was strongly asserted, and sometimes there was a very strong element of conformity with Roman demands. The same happened in many places in the West, not just in England. And this was a situation which continued right up to the tragedy of the Elizabethan Settlement. The test for orthodoxy and catholicity are no different for the Church in England, or her legitimate successors, than for the Church anywhere else, whether identified as Old Catholic, Orthodox, Roman, or Anglican (in England).
I'm only trying to be logical and fair. I don't agree with the liberals but they may well be right about their own church; I have no right to tell them what to do. Of course I think you're wrong about the relationship between medieval England and Rome and about the framers.

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