Anglican Modernism?

Discussion in 'Questions?' started by Anglican04, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    Hello!

    So if you are familiar with Roman Catholicism, you know that there are the very traditional traditionalists who hold the beliefs that the following are wrong:

    A) Communion in hand
    B) Lay ministers
    C) Female Altar Servers
    D) Lay readers/lay preachers

    And a lot more I can't think of. My question is, do the Roman Catholics have a point? I agree, communion should be received on tongue kneeling out of reverence unless you are unable to, but when it comes to issues such as female altar servers, lay ministers, and lay readers/lay preachers, what is the traditional Anglican take on this? If one supports the above list, would they be called an Anglican modernist? My church, which is very modern, has all of the above which scares me a little.

    let me know your thoughts below.
     
  2. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Communion in the hand is correct Anglican practice; the 1662 BCP rubric directs that Holy Communion be delivered '...into their hands, all meekly kneeling.' I would look on communion on the tongue as a 'Romish' practice but Rome now permits communion in the hand or on the tongue.

    There is precedent for Lay Readers/Lay Ministers in the Church of England. When Queen Elizabeth I ascended the throne after the death of Mary Tudor there was a shortage of Priests. Lay Readers were introduced. ++Parker provided a set of injunctions which Readers were expected to subscribe to. Briefly, they were not permitted to minister the sacraments but were permitted to read the appointed service in church and to bury the dead and purify women following childbirth. They were not permitted to preach or interpret scripture but could read that which was appointed by public authority. Readers were only employed when absolutely necessary - usually this was in poorer rural parishes. As time went on, the number of Readers decreased but I believe in some areas of England they existed until the second half of the 18th century. The Office of Reader as we know it in the CofE today dates from the mid 19th century and involves 2 to 3 years of training. Readers are licensed to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work.

    I am a commissioned lay minister in the CofE. As such I'm only permitted to lead worship in the 4 parishes which make up our benefice. This usually means leading morning/evening prayer or other 'services of the word' on an occasional basis . I'm not permitted to preach but can fill the sermon slot with a reflection or read a sermon approved by the Rector. (With further training I could be granted a license to preach without going down the Reader route.) We also have commissioned lay ministers who carry out pastoral care including taking Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament to the sick and housebound. Increasingly now in rural areas the Rector/Vicar has charge over large benefices that include many parishes and it would be impossible for them to minister to their flock without the assistance of a dedicated team of lay ministers such as Readers and commissioned lay ministers.
     
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  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    What are you 'scared' of? Perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18. Something needs perfecting somewhere, somehow, it seems.
    .
     
  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Since I am in the RCC world a bit, I know what you're talking about with those 4 elements. However as important as they are, these are not the cardinal signs of a broken faith.

    1. In the RC Church, Communion in the Hand was perpetrated by modernists in the 1970s; however it was also the default posture in the Early Church. Only in the middle ages do we see moves to restrict it on the tongue only. Anglicans have oriented themselves along the theology of the Early Church, and saw no intrinsic objection to communion in the hand.

    It's like, the study of the Church Fathers itself; it too was introduced by the early RCC modernists into the RCC church in the early 20th century. They were able to build up authority for themselves, by studying actually respectable and proper subjects which the RC Church was not studying at that time. Studying the Church Fathers is not wrong, even if in the RCC history it was the modernists who have advocated it. Same for Communion in the Hand, which is not intrinsically wrong, even if in the RCC history it was the modernists who have advocated it. That being said, I personally ask my priest that for me it is administered on the Tongue, because my spiritual pathway involves growing to discern the Lord's Body more, and growing in my personal reverence more. So if you ask for that too, there's nothing wrong with it.


    2. Lay Ministers are not really an issue at all. It can be of great help for laity to help in the running of the Church. It does not affect the ordained/ministerial priesthood in any way. This is true moving forward, as the Church is going to get smaller, and more persecuted.


    3. Female Altar Servers in themselves aren't a violation, although they are connected with a catastrophic violation which would be Female Ordination. As long as your priest does not push for the latter, then you don't need to see this as a major crisis.


    4. Lay Readers is a serious violation of the Anglican tradition, as Symphorian has pointed out. Being allowed to preach God's Holy Word is unacceptable for laity, and has never been witnessed in the Anglican Church until recent decades, when the modernist violations entered the picture. It's probably the only serious issue of the 4 ones you've mentioned. If that's all there is, then I wouldn't have a major crisis, given larger considerations that you cannot be a lone ranger without a church.


    ---

    The signs of modernism in the Anglican Church are:

    1. promoting LGBT agenda
    2. promoting women's ordination
    3. denigrating historic Christianity
    4. teaching that truth 'evolves'
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
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  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Recent decades, (16 recent decades). Thus the dinosaur speaketh. :laugh: 1866 is a long time ago to be calling it "a sign of modernism", don't you think?

    Readers after 1866 were more than just men who read the service and the lessons, therefore, but men licensed to preach with the authority of the bishop.

    I should know. I have been a Licenced Reader for some of those decades in two separate diocese under three separate bishops. :gramps:
    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe we should have a big issue with lay persons fulfilling certain roles in the liturgy.

    The word liturgy is a compound greek word laos (the people) and ergon (work), so by it's derivation it means 'the people's work'.

    There are roles within the liturgy which are of course prescribed:
    • The Celebrant or President should be in orders and connect our local celebration to the universal offering of the Church in Christ Jesus
    • The Reading of the Gospel as that ministry is specifically understood to belong to the Deacon *
    • The Sermon #
    * I understand that in many places the Deacon's role is fulfilled by a lay person acting as the liturgical Deacon. I think we can live with that. The one thing that I find deeply concerning is that when there is a Deacon (in Holy Orders) in the sanctuary party they should real be the liturgical Deacon, and they should certainly read the Gospel.

    #Preaching again is a specific ministry of Holy Orders, and where there is someone in Holy Orders, in normal circumstances they should preach, however I understand that a lay person may give a talk, or a reflection, or read a sermon (written or approved).

    Properly lay ministry should underline the importance of Lay People, not diminish the significance of Holy Orders. We need to find a balanced place between rampant clericalism and liturgical anarchy. I think Anglicanism is struggling with that a bit at the moment.
     
  7. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    The Church of England has already found 'a balanced place' between rampant clericalism, (a product historically emanating more from Constantinianism, 400 odd years after the Day of Pentecost birthday of the NT church, than from the primitive Apostolic church itself), and a feared 'free for all' for ignorant lay individuals to teach their own unorthodox dogmas to the people in the pews.

    This balance is embodied in what was termed Reader Ministry and is now more often referred to as Licenced Lay Ministry, (the older term being confusing since it implied the ministry was essentially one of merely 'Reading').

    Any duly authorized layman or laywomen have always been permitted to lead prayer and public worship at non Eucharistic public services, such as Matins or Evening Prayer / Evensong / Compline, in the Church of England. Permission or appointment by the Priest in Charge would be the only requirement for each service under consideration. The only restriction being that laypersons are not permitted to give blessings or absolution except in general terms, using 'Us, our' wherever an ordained priest may use 'You, your etc.'.

    Old style Readers like myself were lay persons, and remained lay persons after training, licencing and anointing. I was asked if I wanted to go forward for ordination but declined. My wife and my son are both ordained and I did not see the necessity, neither did I feel 'called ' ontologically to that particular kind of 'service'. Few Readers do. That is why most of them were Readers. Readership was never a form of second class priesthood. It is a ministry in its own right, with a particular and specific role to play in the life of the church.

    Readers receive a three year training in theology, oratory, church history and pastoral issues. They swear an oath to uphold the teaching of the Church of England and the 39 articles, and own their allegiance to Christ and their overseeing bishop. I was also ceremonially anointed to preach and teach.

    Our vestments, cassock and surplice are similar to those of a priest except we wear no stole. We instead we wear a mid blue 'preaching scarf', slightly wider than a stole. Those who are qualified may also wear an academic scarf when engaged in public worship, the colour of which designates the type of academic degree one holds.

    Just as, often in the armed forces, NCOs are more experienced than many young commissioned officers, Readers are often more experienced than young priests. We occasionally therefore find ourselves in an uncomfortable advisory but subordinate position. However my relationship with the clergy has always been very amicable and mutually supportive.

    The Reader is in fact a representative of the lay congregation but also a minister on the Priests 'team'. The congregation itself must have known the reader for at least six months and accept them as a fitting person for that role, before they are permitted to preach in their official capacity as Licenced Reader. In this respect congregations 'own' their Reader in a way they do not even 'own' their priest.
    .
     
  8. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Excellent post, Tiffy.
     

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