John Wesley's consecration by a Greek bishop

Discussion in 'Anglican History' started by anglican74, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The story goes that Wesley was secretly consecrated by a Greek bishop visiting London, eg. see the Wikipedia entry:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasmus_of_Arcadia

    Yet meticulous scholarship about the matter seems to have turned up something quite to the contrary:
    http://scholar.smu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=theology_research

    In short, it seems that Gerasimos, though in fact a real bishop, never consecrated anyone as a bishop, but did ordain a number of Methodist lay preachers as priests

    Yet even these ordinations were all - apart from one - actually disavowed by Wesley and the ordained men kicked out of the Society, partly on the basis that the ordinations had been conducted in Greek, not English (and apparently for a fee)
     
  2. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    This is the kicker. And even if he were, does it really matter if it was so renegade as to miss the point of succession in the first place?
     
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  3. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Member Anglican

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    Yeah given all the earlier controversy about the validity of Methodist orders, I think Wesley would've made this public as opposed to hiding it. Doesn't pass the muster.
     
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  4. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    In general, I don't even care about artificial notions of holy orders, so I don't even care whether or not the ordination even happened. But this Gerasimos fellow is a little suspect and I wouldn't trust his ordinations, irrespective of my opinions on the people ordained.
     
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  5. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    Definitely. This is very interesting. Are their orders valid? Wiki said in light of Wesley's episcopal consecration, the Methodist Church can lay a claim on apostolic succession, but it says most say apostolic succession is beyond high church. So skyscraper church.
     
  6. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    If we take a Tractarian view of holy orders, then no, their orders are not valid.
     
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  7. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Member Anglican

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    For me I take a a plene esse view and that the Methodists have abandoned the fullness of the church by engaging in this schism. Imho the UMC should seek intercommunion with ACNA.
     
  8. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    But they would want to accept their ministers as actual ministers of the church, when they aren't, because they haven't been ordained (because those who ordained them hadn't been ordained, etc etc, going back to Wesley, it seems like)
     
  9. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    I personally prefer a more primitive/reformed view of episcopacy, and so care very little for the pedigree of a minister compared to those signs of God's favor manifest in discerning and holiness. I see the historic episcopate as best, but not essential, to a denomination. If anything, I applaud Wesley's rejecting of Gerasimos, going off of what I know of the situation. Which reminds me, I've been meaning to read Ussher on the subject among others.
     
  10. DivineOfficeNerd

    DivineOfficeNerd Active Member Anglican

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    ACNA is not going to consider inter-communion with any province that does not have apostolic succession in the Tractarian sense.
     
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  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It's not a Tractarian position, since they originate in the 19th century, and this position is present in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal, which states that you are not considered ordained if it wasn't by a bishop. The Articles of Religion state that those who were not ordained lawfully are not considered to be ordained at all.
     
  12. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    We have had a similar discussion on this matter before now. I must have missed where the Ordinal holds an ontological view of ordination shared with the Tractarians, though I believe I know to what you might be referring to to make your point, and I certainly see nothing in the Articles to mandate such a theology either. Thus I have no reason to agree with the Tractarians on this issue, and instead identify with the Reformers in my understanding, as well as, of course, looking to the Scriptures and the Fathers to inform myself on the matter.
     
  13. DivineOfficeNerd

    DivineOfficeNerd Active Member Anglican

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    The Tractarian position, I believe, is the ancient and most Anglican belief, however it is distinctive from other doctrines espoused throughout the history of the church.
     
  14. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This isn't about the Tractarians. That is a red herring. This has nothing to do with what someone in the 19th century had said. We are talking about whether according to the Articles or to the BCP or to the Ordinal you are considered to be ordained if it wasn't by a bishop, and the answer is, you aren't. Apostolic Succession in the Anglican understanding of the term has nothing to do with the Roman theology on this, which muddled the issue. In our understanding, Apostolic Succession merely refers to the fact that you can be made a cleric only by someone who was already a cleric himself. There can never be a time in your past as a cleric where someone who ordained someone was just a layman. And this succession of ordinations, from valid to valid to valid goes back to the Apostles.

    We can talk about what the Roman church has added on top of this theology, and the issues with that, but the main principle as espoused above is essential to Anglicanism, and there has never been a layman in any history of Anglican holy orders.
     
  15. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    Define "considered to be ordained" and only then can this be worked out, because we seem to have differing opinions on this. I believe that the Formulaic understanding on ordination does not approximate a sacramental-ontological view, and that such a view is more a product of reading into history what is not there. When I hear you say "not considered to be ordained," I hear that you mean "ontologically incapable of performing the role of a minister of the sacraments," which I also identify as a view shared by the Tractarians. Perhaps I am wrong that that is what you believe.
     
  16. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    At the simplest level: "will be accepted into the Anglican church without re-ordination".

    There was literally a law passed in 1662 that anyone who was not ordained by a bishop (i.e. many of the Puritans and dissenters who were running wild during the Civil War) was going to be ejected from holy orders. And something like 2,000 or 2,500 people were instantly, overnight, on the feast of St. Bartholomew in January, disbarred from holy orders in one day. It was called The Great Ejection: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Ejection


    Identifying it as a Tractarian position is wrong. But it's also not 100% wrong. Tractarians confused everything in the 19th century, the evangelicals flipped out in return by throwing the baby out with the bathwater (eg. baptismal regeneration), and thus the insane internecine civil war between the two orthodox parties flared out for no good reason at all.

    "Ontological ordination" (another lost concept, like apostolic succession), in the historic understanding has been: can you be ordained more than once? And the answer is always emphatically no, never. I've covered this in an old thread, which you're welcome to read here: https://forums.anglican.net/threads/richard-hooker-on-church-orders-and-lay-presidency.672/

    Here is one snippet from that thread: a quote from the Rev. Richard Hooker.

    Ecclesiastical Polity, book V:

    "To whom Christ hath imparted power both over that mystical body which is the society of souls, and over that natural which is himself for the knitting of both in one; (a work which antiquity doth call the making of Christ’s body; ) the same power is in such not amiss both termed a kind of mark or character and acknowledged to be indelible."​

    "Ministerial power is a mark of separation, because it severeth them that have it from other men, and maketh them a special order consecrated unto the service of the Most High in things wherewith others may not meddle. Their difference therefore from other men is in that they are a distinct order. So Tertullian calleth them. And St. Paul himself dividing the body of the Church of Christ into two moieties nameth the one part ἰδιώτας, which is as much as to say the Order of the Laity, the opposite part whereunto we in like sort term the Order of God’s Clergy, and the spiritual power which he hath given them the power of their Order, so far forth as the same consisteth in the bare execution of holy things called properly the affairs of God.​

    "They which have once received this power may not think to put it off and on like a cloak as the weather serveth, to take it, reject and resume it as oft as themselves list, of which profane and impious contempt these later times have yielded as of all other kinds of iniquity and apostasy strange examples; but let them know which put their hands unto this plough, that once consecrated unto God they are made his peculiar inheritance for ever." [emphases mine]​
    BOOK V. Ch. lxxvii. 2-3.
     
  17. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Surely conditional ordination covers much ground?
     

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