Anglicanism and the Theory of Sacramental Union

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Invictus, Apr 13, 2022.

  1. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,093
    Likes Received:
    1,072
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Has there been much Anglican interaction with the Lutheran theory of Sacramental Union (in the Eucharist), especially in the post-Tractarian era of Anglicanism? I have reading the Lutheran Confessions and the theory makes more sense, at least to me, than I had originally given it credit for, when I saw it presented in Reformed sources (no surprise there).
     
  2. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    1,053
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican
    It's certainly a view that Anglican clergy are engaging with right now. My jurisdiction held a clericus in TX in 2019 not far from the Episcopal seat of Bp. Heiser of the ELDoNA (a group primarily composed of LCMS and WELS dissenters who have a rather higher sacramental doctrine and some more classically Lutheran views of justification than most American synods). The focus of the event was the eucharist. We had several sessions on the Prayer Book rite, patristic understandings, and the proper ministers of the Holy Communion. During one session, Bp. Heiser was given time to present the Sacramental Union view and explain why Consubstantiation is not an apt description of the Lutheran view.

    ACNA has been in dialogue with both the North American Lutheran Church and the Missouri Synod. Keen observers get the sense that much of the discussion has been on smoothing over accusations that Anglicans are Reformed in soteriology and eucharistic theology. Here's a quite recent piece examining this dialogue: https://northamanglican.com/has-acna-gone-lutheran-on-the-supper/
     
    Invictus and Br. Thomas like this.
  3. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,093
    Likes Received:
    1,072
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Thank you! This is very helpful. I look forward to reading the piece you linked to, and hopefully adding further to the discussion soon.
    Thanks again. I’ve had a number of ‘Aha’ moments as I’ve been reading through the Confessions, and am glad to see others are asking similar questions.
     
    bwallac2335 likes this.
  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,093
    Likes Received:
    1,072
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    I finally had a chance to read the full article. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what the future holds there. It does raise some interesting confessional questions, though. If some Anglican bodies wish to dispense with Reformed formularies in favor of something more open, what becomes of properly ‘doctrinal’ Anglicanism? The LCMS doesn’t have episcopacy (and according to their own Confessions, don’t need it); what becomes of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral as a basis for intercommunion? I’m not one to needlessly throw cold water on ecumenical endeavors, and I’m sure all these things are being discussed in great detail behind closed doors. Nevertheless, it will be very interesting to see how this plays out, especially given that the LCMS is going through a bit of an identity crisis of its own.
     
  5. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    902
    Religion:
    ACNA
    I do think it is odd that people want to lock Anglicanism into some form of time lock that with better study and understand of the faith we can’t understand ourselves and our faith better
     
    Invictus likes this.
  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,093
    Likes Received:
    1,072
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Interesting. Can you elaborate further, or provide some examples of what you’ve seen in that regard?
     
  7. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    902
    Religion:
    ACNA
    It seems that with Anglicanism we were some form of reformed initially, not all of us but the majority were. They did allow some room for more Lutheran views of things. We had the liturgy but not a lot of ritual. The Caroline Divines moved us further along the way of ceremony and more and more people came to understand the formularies in a Lutheran or even ancient faith type way. The 1700's are a period that I don't know a lot about and then the tractarians came a long and we developed even more rituals and some even started interpreting the faith in some form of Catholic way but more became more and more ancient faith or Lutheran. Hence in the 1928 BCP we have a pretty clear cut prayer for the faith fully departed and we start having Chasubals. By ancient faith I mean more and more like the first 500 years. Some Eastern influence was even growing in there
     
    Invictus likes this.
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,093
    Likes Received:
    1,072
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    The 1700s were when the Age of Reason really took root, following the Restoration, and then you had the Evangelical Revival in reaction to that (Wesley, Whitefield, etc.). It was in the 1700s that the Athanasian Creed started to become really controversial among Broad Church members of the Church of England. It was DOA when the first American revision to the BCP began to be discussed, over the objection of Seabury.
     
  9. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    1,053
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I have found that ecumenism doesn't work if no personal relationships are being formed. It can't be a 2 day cycle of putting forth your group's best credentialed theologians to give 45 minute dissertations on some crusty topic. You have to have realistic goals going into the endeavor. I don't expect to achieve full communion with a confessional Lutheran body. We look for ways that we can work beside each other. They have a good publishing house, we have a good seminary. We've got a strange stock pile of electric organs that we're sitting on, they've got a women's guild who fabricate excellent paraments. Pragmatic cooperation.

    These things are workable without achieving full communion. But you have to be comfortable enough with each other to share these little bits of useful information. That happens after the day's didactic sessions are over. That happens when we sit down at a pub together over a bowl of cheese dip and a basket of pretzels, and the bishops or senior canons buy a round of beers. That happens when we book at the same hotel and meet without the collars on by the pool or on someone's balcony with a cooler sitting between us and a sleeve of plastic cups. And that happens when we walk across the street in the morning to get some omelets and hash browns. I typically book a suite when I travel on church business. For several years I was usually traveling with my daughters and this allowed me to put them to bed in the back and sit up and socialize a bit in the living room portion. I also noticed that a lot of guys were on shoestring budgets and couldn't necessarily afford the trip without a little help. So they could have the sofa sleeper thing - or if I didn't have the kids along, the second bed. In the early days I was on the shoestring budget myself and splitting a room with another guy was a real help to me. I've shared a room with several different clergy over the last 5 years and it has always been a rewarding experience. Perhaps it's a unique charism I discovered in my Navy days, when I slept in a bunkroom for anything between 15 and 82 men at various times.
     
    Invictus likes this.
  10. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,553
    Likes Received:
    2,352
    I would add to this excellent discussion that the idea of "sacramental union" was not alien to Anglicans nor incompatible with reformed theology.

    Chapter XXVII of the Westminter Confession, provides: "There is, in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other." (Emphasis added)

    It discusses this further in Chapter XXIX, stating "The outward elements in this sacrament, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation to Him crucified, as that, truly, yet sacramentally only, they are sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before."

    While, a full reading of the aforementioned chapters show a clear an unequivocal adherence to spiritual presence only, they at least were comfortable the Lutheran idea of sacramental union though differed in its mechanics.

    It also should be noted that Queen Elizabeth suppressed Article 29, which was offensive to the Lutheran understanding of the Real Presence, until political pressures forced her to relent. The Elizabethan BCP, therefore, appears much more inviting to Lutherans than either the 1552 or the 1662 versions, which were both more rigidly reformed, including as they do the Black Rubric.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2022