As a Catholic looking in, do you guys ever feel trapped in the middle?

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by NextElement, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Which creed?

    I would question how authoritative and dogmatic the creeds were to Anglicans, especially American Anglicans, when they were willing to drop one entirely from the Episcopal Church's Article 8 ratified in 1801. And yet this also leads me to believe they considered the Articles themselves as guides rather than sources of doctrine, since they changed the established Articles as received from the C of E in a number of ways to suit the needs of the new nation. They would not have done this unless they saw it merely as a church discipline, as opposed to doctrine. Consider the rule set out in the Ratification of the 1789 BCP for the PECUSA: "IT is a most invaluable part of that blessed liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, that in his worship, different forms and usages may without offence be allowed, provided the substance of the Faith be kept entire; and that, in every Church, what cannot be clearly determined to belong to Doctrine must be referred to Discipline: and therefore, by common consent and authority, may be altered, abridged, enlarged, amended, or otherwise disposed of, as may seem most convenient for the edification of the people, "according to the various exigencies of times and occasions.""
     
  2. NextElement

    NextElement New Member

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    What is the Anglican view on Protestant groups that are a little farther away from the early Church, such as Baptists and Pentecostals and "non-denominational" Christians?

    Coming from the RCC, it's a very hard concept for me to embrace that everyone is right/saved, especially when Jesus said that few would enter the gates of Heaven. Do Anglicans believe that only the catholic or at least liturgical Christian groups are correct (RCC, Anglican, Lutheran, Orthodox)? Or do they have the common Protestant belief that anyone who accepts Jesus as Savior is automatically saved?
     
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  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    What do the scriptures say?
    "He who believes and is baptized is saved"

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, to the end that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life"

    Man is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by membership in an institution. Echoing the thoughts of George Whitfield, God doesn't separate the world into Baptists and Catholics, but into sheep and goats. Believers and nonbelievers. If you repent and believe the Gospel of Christ's all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, you will be saved no matter your denomination.
     
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  4. NextElement

    NextElement New Member

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    Yes, but it also says in James 2:24 "you see that a person is righteous by works and not by faith alone." :thumbsup:
     
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  5. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    I've always understood this to mean that good works is a symptom of having Gods saving grace. If you have faith you automatically do good works. If you don't do good works then your faith was "dead" ie not genuine. In an analogous way of being an animal lover ,you just help animals without the aim of proving to anyone that you are one. If I accepted Jesus right now and received his saving grace and then immeadiately got run over by a bus without doing any good works in the intervening period do you think God would give me the "thumbs down"?
     
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  6. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    I see what you mean there. It sounds like a corruption of intent on their part. We mustn't forget that they were born in the fervor of revolution wherein any sign of subjection to prior established Authority from England seemed intolerable.

    Yet even though they established a new Prayerbook without consultation with the English bishops, they wouldn't even think (it seems to me) of altering, say, the Apostles Creed. The parts of the Articles they've altered were largely temporal language that referred to a Civil Magistrate than a Monarch (important politically but irrelevant theologically).
     
  7. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    In the RCC way of thinking salvation is largely by church membership, hence your question about those groups like the baptists who are outside the visible church. In the "Evangelical" way of thinking, salvation is done as you said though a simple one-time acceptance of Christ. Both of these are incorrect. Salvation does happen via faith, but only if accompanied by works, which means, at the end of a completed Christian life. Salvation also needs the visible Church to nourish the soul with sacraments and instruction in divinity, as well as confession of sins.

    Now to apply this paradigm to the two of your groups, not all Roman Catholics are saved, despite full membership, if they lack the living faith and if they pollute it with worshipping things other than God himself (you understand). Conversely the evangelical groups often lack a proper works theology, meaning that they do not live holy lives and end up being damned, despite outwardly professing the christian religion. They need (as we all do) the visible church to feed them with the nourishments and reinforcements, without which perseverance in the faith is extremely hard (but not impossible).

    So at the end of the day, in both groups there will be members who are damned, despite full adherence to that group's requirements. In the Anglican faith one finds the true patristic and apostolic balance of a necessary faith that then necessarily outflows in works, and relies upon the visible church.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
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  8. NextElement

    NextElement New Member

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    Awesome post! Thank you!
     
  9. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In a discussion this morning on the ACNA Facebook page, Father Bob Hackendorf made the following comment that I agree with strongly:

    "we read the Reformation era documents in light of the precedent of the Undivided Catholic Church. So, for instance, I would regard the receptionist tendencies of Cranmer as an aberration I can safely not embrace, because of the overwhelming testimony of the Church before the Reformation. Thankfully, in the main, the Anglican Reformation clearly articulates the Early Church's teaching while filtering out Medieval distortions. But there were some over-reactions along the way, and I think subsequent generations (The Carolines, the Tractarians, etc.) helped correct some of those over-reactions. No era of the Church gets it 100 percent right, and that is why the Church is semper reformanda."
     
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  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    "The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith"

    -article 20.
     
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  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Cranmer didn't teach receptionism. See this:
    -from the wiki page.

    Cranmer taught Spiritual Real Presence, as I have often argued on this board.

    There is a lot of confusion among people's minds about the eucharistic theology in the 16th century, but our Formularies are quite clear. The minister gives the Body and Blood of Christ, and the communicant receives it (rather than just has it, as pure receptionism would dictate).

    Here is an excellent article by the folks over at Continuum, who are generally Anglo-Catholics and yet say this:

    They then proceed to assign this label of 'receptionism' to Cranmer, using post-1867 categories, whereas in effect they define it in the terms that generally used to define Spiritual Real Presence.
    http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2008/11/what-is-receptionism.html
     
  12. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    " And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another."
    -also article 20
     
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Great points and great link Stalwart.
    thank you for sharing them.

    I am currently reading Cranmer's "True and Catholick" work on the Lord's Supper (slowly as it is nuanced). And I agree that his is something more than, or at least distinct from, receptionism. But I can't help feeling that his real presence is rather less than objective. I think he, and many other reformation figures were loathe to exalt any physical thing to such a high and sacred status as "the body and blood" or even integral tokens in effecting the same. Kind of a Roman Catholic hangover which pushed them a bridge too far for many in later generations and for me as well.
     
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  14. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    You're welcome :).


    Eh, yes and no. The Catholic Church (already divided before the Reformation) taught many wrong doctrines which required blood and sacrifice to reform. So what does he mean there? If he means that we go back to antiquity for a uniform standard, then that makes more Anglican sense, but I've a feeling he wants to take the Middle Ages for his authority, as John Henry Newman and others fell into the error.
     
  15. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

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    Another point:

    - @Spherelink

    This does not represent Catholic ecclesiology. The Church stipulates the need for the state of grace, in order for one to be in full communion. Technically speaking, it is even possible for a Protestant to be in full communion (and all Protestants are in at least partial communion, on account of their baptism), so long as they earnestly seek God and do not willfully (and with full knowledge) separate themselves from His Church.
     
  16. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Ok, so in the RCC view one is saved if he is in full communion. That is wrong. Faith (that outflows in works) is the narrow gate that leads to salvation.
     
  17. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

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    @Spherelink, to be in "full communion" is to be in a state of grace, as I said. I'm sure that you would accept that in general, though probably not in the particular. To simply say "[t]hat is wrong" seems a tad rash.
     
  18. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    That isn't correct even by roman standards. Full communion denotes visible church membership, while state of grace is internal justification. The RCC church doesn't excommunicate you (rescind full communion) every time you commit a mortal sin (fall from the state of grace).
     
  19. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

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    You're not as familiar as I am with my Church's theology, I assure you. What do you think "full communion" is in reference to? Full participation in Church life and in the Eucharist, its "summit" (to quote Benedict XVI), which is also known as "Holy Communion". Familiarize yourself with latae sententiae excommunication, for starters. To be in an unrepentant state of mortal sin is to separate yourself from God's grace.
     
  20. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Never claimed I was. I'm just going based off my days from the seminary, which isn't quite so little, I assure you.
    Full communion refers to the ability, and not the act of participation in (say) the Eucharist. Just because you are in full communion does not mean you are continually and automatically receiving the Eucharist. It is possible to be in Full Communion and yet not be eligible to receive the Eucharist, i.e., be in a state of Grace.

    "To be in an unrepentant state" -- you've added the word "unrepentant" to muddy the waters. It was not in the discussion.