Differences between RCC and orthodox Anglican theology

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by With_the_scripture, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. Edmundia

    Edmundia Member

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    The prayer of Thanksgiving from the Prayerbook quoted above is splendid and could be said by Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anglo-Catholics.
     
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  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I don't know that I have seen too many polite questions prefaced with "Beware !"

    However thank you for highlighting the true and catholic nature of Anglicanism.

    The Anglican Communion, with its fellowship of Churches, has a special responsibility at this time in the world. We have no doctrine of our own—we only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic creeds, and those creeds we hold without addition or diminution. We stand firm on that rock. We know how to bring to bear on our Christian devotion and creed all the resources of charity and reason and human understanding submitted to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So we have a freedom and embrace a faith which, in my belief, represents the Christian faith in a purer form than can be found in any other Church in Christendom. That is not a boast. It is a reminder to us of the immense treasure that is committed to our charge — the immense responsibility on us in these days to maintain unshaken those common traditions that we have inherited from those who have gone before us.
    Geoffrey Fisher - 99th ArchBishop of Canterbury 1951
     
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  3. DJIndy

    DJIndy New Member

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    Alright, I took a bit of a break yesterday and have fallen further behind my earlier promise. I'll try to continue things and hopefully not go too far off the rails, as it's pretty important to the question of what the differences are to have a decent picture of what the two things are, and perhaps see how the disagreements fall between the two (if they are even real, and certainly there are some real disagreements). I'll try to use less full quotes but just indicate what's being responded to now (start of whatever point).

    I'll admit, I'm a bit confused as to how you think the Biblical quotes you provided contradict the statement. It seems like you interpreted my words to mean 'any seemingly good act wins you automatic salvation', which is not at all what I meant, and I'm not entirely sure why that would be the interpretation.

    There was a key word in your counterpoint, when you mentioned when a man does something which he 'deems' good. Certainly, not all things that a particular person thinks are good are indeed good, or which _appear_ to be good. But all acts which are good are certainly things which bring us into contact, to a greater or lesser degree, with the source of all goodness: God. You are pointing out, perhaps, the classical difference between the true good and the apparent good, but I was talking about a good act (morally good was my idea) which is more particular. That said, the Biblical quotes show that two things are not enough for salvation, 1) acts which are merely objectively good, rather than actually good (an objectively good action done with an evil intention is still an evil act, just as an evil action done with a good intention is an evil act) are not sufficient for salvation, 2) simply having done some good acts at some point in your life, or even many. Heaven is more difficult to enter than that, so, for instance, someone who does a bunch of good acts but also kills a bunch of children without repenting isn't on good terms.

    As for your example though, you are proposing a rubric impossible for a non-mystic / non-omniscient person to follow, and essentially proposing the rather modern idea of consequentialism as proposed by utilitarians. What I mean is this: you are saying the goodness of the act is determined either by direct connection with the guidance of the Holy Spirit that is imminently and clearly available to the person, or by the results of the act which the person would not have been able to perfectly predict outside of omniscience which includes perfect knowledge of the future (since even knowing all the present doesn't tell us with certainty how an agent with free will shall act). Certainly, there have been times when the Holy Spirit has directly intervened and communicated in one way or another with an particular person to guide their actions, such as instructing Peter to go to the house of the tanner and to remove the various dietary restrictions. Some would say this can even be done to act in such a way that would otherwise be immoral, such as Samson killing himself (though, that could also possibly be resolved by the principal of double effect). In any case, Christ's teachings seem to indicate that what we should do is simply what is right, seek first the Kingdom of God, and trust God will take care of the rest and that the evil response of others to our good deeds is all the worse for them. The Didiche indicates this as well pretty early on, when it speaks specifically of giving to those who ask (which Christ taught as well), but goes on to describe how bad it is for the one who asks when they did not have need or uses what they gain from begging for a bad purpose. The Didiche isn't scripture, though it's a first century Christian guide, but it's hard to find a scriptural passage which rebukes someone for giving money, but easy to find ones that say they should anyway.

    If someone actually knows what God wants them to do though, it's probably not a good idea to do otherwise. Certainly, it wouldn't be perfect to do otherwise. But that all goes back to the difference between apparent goods and actual goods, not a counterpoint to good acts (actual good) bringing contact with God.


    It was perhaps a bit of a strong way to make the point, but the point was that the way you were arguing your point against those parts of the CCC would indicate that the works of Christ and the Holy Spirit count for nothing, since you argued faith alone saves, and human acts (which would include the acts of Christ on the Cross, as He is both fully human and fully divine, as well as acts by humans guided by the Holy Spirit) are meaningless. This was perhaps taking your words to a similar extreme interpretation as you were taking the CCC, which was not at all claiming, as you seemed to take it, that anyone could merit salvation in any way separate from God's salvific work.


    To reiterate the above, this would make no sense to me either, which was the point. It doesn't make sense to consider faith alone, without the acts of Christ (who was crucially fully human and fully divine) as sufficient.


    It's certainly not clear that he thought he could do this by his own merits alone. But Christ's answer actually shows that his actions are indeed part of the story, hence he tells him what he should do, and the final step of it the man refuses to do. Notice the final step wasn't, 'oh, just believe in me, and go about your life as you would otherwise'. Likewise, your other quote about those who cry out "Lord Lord" not making it into heaven is testimony against that being all that is necessary (as the other scripture passage about how even the demons recognize the true God and tremble, and thus that is not sufficient).

    The thing is, as the letter of James says, faith without works is fruitless, and works without faith are dead. But, as St. Paul also points out, real good works are the acts of Christ working through us, which we cooperate with. Christ is the one that saves, and we certainly must have faith, but there's more to it.

    John 6 is a good one to look at, but also read John 15 to see the point the CCC was actually making.

    This was not the point the CCC was making, as I believe was pretty clearly made in the parts preceeding the bits you quoted, even in the very same sections, as mentioned before. No one does anything good on his own, but people do good. Christ is the one that makes it possible, and His works are true.

    I believe above though others have already indicated this isn't really a point of contention between Anglicans and Catholics. I was always under that impression, but am admittedly not familiar with the teachings of every branch of Anglicanism.

    You are confusing a division of categories for a division of hierarchical roles. If Scripture is part of Tradition, that doesn't mean Scripture is below Tradition, it means Scripture is Tradition. It means Tradition is larger (quantitatively), and it logically must be larger as it contains all of Scripture but is not exclusively Scripture. Tradition doesn't hold 'first place', as they are not separate things, one is just a term for a larger body. Like how humans are mammals.

    But, I do wonder, where exactly do you think knowledge of which books are part of Holy Scripture come from, and how do we come to know it? There's certainly no list in Scripture of which books should be included in scripture. Tradition, in it's root, means 'things handed down', and Scripture is a particular thing that has been written as a way of handing down. What is in scripture though is testimony that there is more that has not been written down, but a few things have been written down. Including that Christ would remain with us, and that He ask the Father to send the Advocate to be with us and continue to teach and remind us of things that have been taught.

    Oh, no, that wasn't my argument. My argument was that the prior points, including in the preceding sentence of the same part, show your interpetation of what even those parts you quoted mean to be erroneous.

    It's like if I say, "God, the Son, is God from eternity to eternity. He is fully divine, now and forever, and always has been. The Son took to Himself flesh and was born as Jesus. Jesus is fully human." Now, what you are doing is quoting the last sentence there and turning around and accusing me of denying the divinity of Christ, or saying I am claiming Jesus to be merely human.


    The Catholic Church deals with questions and problems as they arise, and tries to pass down the resolutions. There's been 2000 years of this, so there certainly is a lot. However, we actually aren't so concrete on how it is presented, and allow for changes in presentation as necessary for greater understanding and accomplishment of the mission Christ set before the Church. Seems more the case that restricting everything to the already written and set Scripture, as you seemed to propose, is trying to set things into hardened concrete. Granted, we believe the period of public revelation is over, but I didn't think that was much of a contention among Christians.
     
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  4. DJIndy

    DJIndy New Member

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    Now, here's a topic I've had some chance to consider and debate some aspects of before at least.

    The change in wording actually isn't a change in teaching, and is exactly what the last several Popes have taught on the matter for some time, but is trying to get around an internal problem where some Catholics have appealed to the specific letter of the law, as it were, in order to dismiss the decisions on the application.

    It's been taught that there are certain conditions required for capital punishment to be used. The taking of human life is serious, and can't be done on a personal whim or even, for instance, to silence those who oppose to governor, or whatever. The conditions which are required for capital punishment to be permissible do not currently exist in the world. Thus, as a matter of practice, it currently cannot be used.

    This teaching does not say that the proper conditions cannot exist, nor that they never existed, but says they do not currently exist anywhere.

    The controversy was that any time a Pope said that previously, or anyone else did, certain Catholic outlets (and I've seen this particularly in the U.S., but presumably elsewhere) would jump and rush to point out in a more frenzied way than they gave any attention to anything else the Pope said, "oh but Church teaching is clear that it can be permissible" in a way to dismiss the statements and ignore that there are any restrictions on it's use.

    A few people have since, on the other hand, gone a bit too far in interpreting the new words to mean "it was never permissible and can never be permissible". Just as the previous words didn't say, "and it can still be used now in known circumstances" the new one doesn't say "and it can never and has never been permissible".
     
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    I see this prayer saying that Eucharist reassures us of that which has been promised to us. I don't see this specific prayer stating that favor and goodness (or saving grace, for that matter) reside within the Eucharist or the partaking thereof.

    Regarding John 6, the Last Supper was still to come. Interpreting the words of Jesus as applicable to an event yet to occur is a non sequitur. Permit me to explain what I mean. In the account of John 6, Jesus was likening Himself to the manna when He called Himself "the true bread from heaven." Manna was a type and foreshadow of the Messiah to come, and Jesus is the antitype and prophetic fulfillment.
    Joh 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
    This is right after He told them in verse 29 that the work God requires of them is simply to believe in Him (the one the Father has sent).

    But they do doubt Jesus, so He carries the metaphor further. As He continues to liken Himself to the manna, which the Israelites ingested, Jesus essentially is telling them that they need to receive Him into themselves... ingest Him by faith, if you will. And then He says, this "bread from heaven" is the redemptive sacrifice He is going to make in letting them kill His flesh and spill His blood. It's so esoteric, nobody understands what He's talking about; He has to explain later to the disciples that He wasn't speaking literally about physically ingesting Him, but was speaking spiritually.
    Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    If that isn't enough, think about it another way. At the Last Supper, Jesus holds up baked bread and says "This [bread] is my body..." fermented wine and says the words we all know. But at the time of the conversation in John 6, prior to the Last Supper, Jesus basically says to them, this body of mine is bread. Do you see the difference? If one wishes to take John 6 literally rather than metaphorically, then one is obliged to conclude that Jesus had just turned His flesh into bread.... the exact opposite of what we see at the Last Supper.

    This is why I said that it sounds Roman to interpret John 6:53 (which you paraphrased) as a proof that "We must take his Body and Blood, or we won’t be saved." Jesus' meaning was, if we don't receive Him by faith into our inner being, we cannot be saved. Ever since Pentecost, when a person believes on Jesus, the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) comes to dwell within us.
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    For the most part I will simply let my comments stand. I don't agree with your interpretation of Matthew 19, but I understand why you feel the way you do about it. As far as the rest, let me post the following quotes from the 39 Articles:

    Article 6 - The sufficiency of the Holy Scripture for Salvation
    Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.
    Anglican doctrine does not support the need for any Tradition beyond the Holy Scripture, the inspired, canonical Word of God. The books sometimes called Apocrypha are not regarded as canonical. I personally find it somewhat distasteful to think of the inspired Word of God as a portion of something which, other than the Word, is non-canonical and less-inspired. The Bible is so head-and-shoulders above all the rest of what you call Tradition that IMO it resides in a category all its own, and a hierarchical view is (to me at least) therefore inescapable and overriding.

    Article 11 - The Justification of Man
    We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deserving. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

    Article 12 - Good Works
    Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.
    From these Articles, we can see what Anglican doctrine states about good works performed by the believer; good works are fruits which "spring out" of true, living faith in Christ. Feel free to explain if I'm wrong, but I think RC doctrine gives good works a much more substantive role in the salvation of the RC member. (By good works I mean to include acts of penance, BTW.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  7. DJIndy

    DJIndy New Member

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    If Holy Scripture is completely sufficient without the need of anything beyond it, why do you keep quoting the Articles you do?
    For that matter, how did you come up with which books are in the canon, and which ones aren't? That's not in the Bible.

    As for finding it distasteful to think of the inspired Word of God as a portion of something which, other than the word, is non-canonical and less-inspired, I think you really need to get beyond that, as it certainly is a portion of many larger things, and there's no getting around that. To name a few: It is a portion of all things that have been written in the world, which is a larger body of work than it (and your own statements are a portion of such a body of work, and mine, it keeps getting larger). It is a portion of all the things people have considered. It is a portion of all knowledge. It is a portion of all things that exist.

    That doesn't even indicate anything to do with dignity, it's simply a fact, an attribute of the context of existence. I don't think this even makes sense as a point of dispute, and I doubt it's a point of dispute between our communions on the whole.

    For that matter, we see this with much else. A king is only a portion of the members of a kingdom, but that doesn't lower his dignity at all (far from it, we often consider the King of a larger Kingdom to be greater than one of a smaller Kingdom, at least if only comparing those points). Likewise, Christ is a portion of all of humanity, though all of humanity only exists through Him and He is the Head of all, and holds greater dignity than all (unless we consider the Church [or even all of humanity] as the Body of Christ, but then Christ is usually spoken of as the Head still rather than the whole necessarily, but admittedly then it's getting into a bit more complicated nuances of meaning and distinctions). Granted, within the Trinity, this kind of distinction breaks down and becomes invalid, and perhaps among spiritual beings in general, but that's not quite what we are talking about here.

    As for your Article 11 and 12, while there may be some slight nuance of difference in there somewhere (and granting that being 1 degree off in a fundamental matter can make a huge difference later on), I'm not seeing a particularly strong difference between that and the Catholic doctrines on the matter. Very explicitly, Christ is the only one that merits our Salvation and removes our Sins through his acts. Even our good works flow from Christ (which it sounds like that agrees with). We just put a bit more emphasis on the fact that the Salvation Christ wins for us is serious and transformative, and as a continual act of Christ and the Holy Spirit we are able to be continually in touch with God, and as such we truly are able to do good works (by cooperating with God's grace, who is the source of all good works) which please God. Put another way, because Christ achieved salvation for us and made it possible for humans to be united to God, people are able to truly and freely choose to love God, not by force or something inescapable. Their merit is in being what God made them to be, which is an expression of His Glory. This merit is in no way independent from God.
     
  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The only thing Anglicans mean when we say that the Scriptures are sufficient is solely in the context of, can we name any other sources of divine revelation. It goes back to the medieval invention of 'sacred tradition' which is not merely an accumulation of Church wisdom, far from it. It is reckoned by the Roman church to be a source of divine revelation! And because no one knows the full contents of this 'sacred tradition', it is not written down anywhere and nobody knows what's in it, it is a concept that can be perpetually expanded and stretched to fit new meanings. In short it is fundamentally progressive, and can encompass more and more claims in time.

    The Reformers clearly saw the potential for crisis here, back in the 1500s. They knew it would only proceed and expand, and how much did it expand in the ensuing 500 years!

    No, we deny that there is any such thing as 'sacred tradition' which cannot be named or listed or counted. The only thing we can name definitively as having been authored by God is the Sacred Scripture.

    Scripture is thus objective revelation: it can be listed, named, and counted. Tradition is non-objective revelation: no one knows what's in it, and therefore it will keep changing (usually for the worse).

    This does not mean that Scripture is the only source for truth. There are natural truths out there. And the Church can most definitely author principles, and teachings, as long as they are founded on objective revelation: the Scriptures.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 9:49 PM
  9. DJIndy

    DJIndy New Member

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    On another note, without going back through every bit that was said at this point, there was a bit of an emphasis on something that does seem to be a doctrinal difference that I'll highlight and comment on having to do with Truth and Magisterial Authority.

    Catholics do believe that Christ vested those that fill the role of Bishop, as successors to the Apostles, with a specific duty and function, that being to teach and testify to the Truth (which isn't exclusive to them) and particularly to resolve conflicts that arise by holding to teaching the Truth definitively from what has been handed down to them and in accordance with the Holy Spirit.

    They do not make what is True. Jesus Christ is Truth, and as such Truth is what Truth is eternally. The Magisterium teaches and testifies to that Truth which already is. In fact, Vatican I makes explicit that they do not even reveal any new truths, but merely draw upon what has been handed down to resolve disputes.
    Why can't we be left to figure out our own truth? Well, for one, because Truth is not yours, it is Christ, and already we have the free self-revelation of Truth by Christ (which Scripture testifies to, for instance). Beyond that though, you indeed can study the sources of revelation to come to an understanding of Christ. However, there is one Christ, but as many interpretations of Scripture as there are interpreters. Some of these interpretations compliment or otherwise do not touch each other, but some contradict each other and cannot both be True of the same Truth. When this turns up, discord and division turns up within the Church, and logically someone must have come to the wrong idea. In general, the Church actually allows people to try to resolve that amongst themselves until it becomes a serious issue that requires a decision to preserve the Faith or for the betterment of the faithful. This we see at the Council of Jerusalem in the Acts, when the representatives and Apostles gather and decide that circumcision is not required of converts, and the dietary laws (most) are no longer required. There were two camps saying contradictory things on the matter before the Council, and one was determined. This happened throughout Church History though, not just then, and even happens today. Arius showed up and said 'there was a time the Son was not" and talked about how he was less than the Father and not fully God and such. St. Athenasius (and others) said this was wrong and that there was never a time the Son was not, and that the Son is fully God as well. They couldn't both be right. The Bishops and representatives met determined Arianism was not in accordance with the faith handed down from the Apostles, and was wrong, and went on to explain how it was wrong and what was the correct understanding. That's what the Magisterium does, and the Pope in particular: determine which between opposing and contradictory teachings that have arisen from the faithful is true, when it is necessary. The reason for a final head on the matter is so that, if nothing else could resolve a matter, there was someone with the final word to do so. On this though, it is understood that in virtue of Christ's assurances, the Holy Spirit preserves and guides the Pope (and by extension the magisterium, in the right circumstances) to fulfill this duty and avoid error.

    The best source I know of for this explicit understanding is Vatican I (which isn't terribly long), but it's largely stated here:
    "6. For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.

    Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren [60].

    7. This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole Church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell."


    A bit before that, also in Vatican I, is some explicit statements on a matter that at least at one time was certainly a point of contention between the Catholic Church and the Church of England: that it is lawful for the civil authorities to obstruct communication between the Pope and any of the people, or that matters of government of the Church are dependent on the approval of the civil authorities. I don't know whether that's much of a relevant disagreement anymore, but it was at one time.

    In all this, you find a major emphasis on unity of the faithful and avoiding divisions within the Body of Christ. That said, this power isn't actually all that frequently used, and typically the only reason it is used is because the faithful are permitted to try to dig deeper and understand the Truth. Sometimes they add to our understanding very well, sometimes two or more come up with contradictory ideas, and sometimes those contradictions are over matters of utmost importance to the whole faithful (like, is Christ really God? Is he really human? etc), if this can't be resolved well enough on it's own (often it can) the Church, particularly the Pope and by extension the Magisterium, steps in.

    On a few smaller matters the Magisterium in general can also be consulted by the faithful directly asking them about some matter that needs a practical decision, and they may or may not answer if it appears to be necessary, but depending on the question and the way it is answered it may not have authority to resolve a matter permanently or definitively, that's more usually on matters of discipline rather than doctrine though.

    On the other hand, as far as I understand from other sources (and obviously those that are Anglican here and now should know better than I), the Anglican Church doesn't quite have that kind of determining body in principal, though... perhaps sometimes does with certain synods? I don't know the history of it, but just know that some have taken issue over the last few decades with certain synods that gathered to decide on certain matters in general, rather than leaving everything up to just local Bishops for their area or local parishes to determine things. Somewhere in there is certainly a difference between our communions though.
     
  10. DJIndy

    DJIndy New Member

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    We actually know what's in Tradition pretty well, it's pretty well documented and open at this point, other than perhaps pieces that have been lost due to decay. Tradition does 'expand in that it is not dead, as the world hasn't ended. Public revelation is over, Tradition mostly deals with how Public Revelation applies to new circumstances that are otherwise unclear. (It's not like the Mormon Prophet that can reveal new things).

    Though, it's also able to deal with the quesiton of, "how do we know these specific books should be part of Scripture, and are authored or inspired by God?" Scripture can be named, listed and counted, but there's no where in Scripture where that naming, listing and counting is done.
     
  11. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    There is of course tradition, and Anglicans use it in many ways. Tradition helps us understand how to understand the text of the Holy Scriptures. The Nicene Creed in it's original form is a piece of the Tradition. It helps us understand how to understand scripture, and it is posited upon scripture completely.

    What we don't have is a nebulous body of information which from time to time the Church draws information and instructs the laity. This is in fact the role of the magisterium, a concept foreign to Anglicans, and much relied on in the rcc.

    We would argue that theology is based on Scripture, Tradition and Reason, and without doubt we would see the priority of Scripture, and if you have a look at some of Hooker's work of this you will be very much aware of what we are saying. The framers of the articles, and the writers of the Books of Homilies were well versed in the Schoolmen, people like (Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Abelard, Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas.)

    Whilst there is a great body of material from which the Holy Tradition is gleaned, I don't see why things are in our out. Is some of Origen in, or none of him. Do you value the teaching of Cyril of Alexandria or discard him. Do you count Erasmus in the Holy Tradition? Because you have declared a role for the Holy Tradition on a par, if not at times in precedence to Holy Scripture, and it is clearly undefined, it does not work without the Magisterium.

    Public revelation is over: I am not sure what this statement means, are we including Feuerbach in the Holy Tradition when he declared the demise of the divine. No! God is not dead, and it is in the nature of God to reveal himself, and we are called to attune ourselves to his word, and his church and his spirit that we might recognise God as he reveals himself in the poor, in creation, and in the face of friend and stranger.

    We are quite happy with the list of books provided in the Tradition of the Church, including various councils after the second and before the third Oecumenical Council. They are listed in the Articles. Now some of the works, the deuterocanonicals, we receive as part of scripture, but do not allow those works to be used to establish anything that must be believed. These books are clearly identified in the articles. We have never claimed that scripture tells us what is in or out of the first or second canon. The notion that Trent closed the canon is a procedural nicety - and quite possibly designed to establish clear lines while the reformers were preferring the masoretic canon. If you look at our lectionaries, you will find they include readings from the deuterocanonicals. Lets not fluff around with the canon, we are all but agreed on the canon, lets rejoice in the common ground.

    There is a very real sense in which we are again in agreement, however there is a question of scale involved here. History tells us, quite clearly in fact that not all your Popes have been saints, and they have certainly tried to take over England a couple of times. The reality of the reformation period is that if Popes had acted less like Princes, then Princes would have acted less like Popes. This was a period of enormous correction in the Church, and I am pleased to see that the rcc has responded to this, and I think that Erasmus Luther Henry VIII Calvin and Zwingli would have been much more content with a Vatican II Church.

    In the late 19th Century the Anglican Church expressed itself in terms of the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral.
    • Scripture
    • Creeds
    • Sacraments
    • Historic Episcopate
    The true great causes of schism in the Body of Christ is the concern of many for truth at the expense of unity, or indeed to concern for unity at the expense of truth. Indeed Anglicans are struggling internally with these issues in current days. Truth and unity are not polar opposites, there will always be issues about which we hold divergent views. Part of how we recover some of this is when we begin to acknowledge the common ground. If we start there we might progress more fruitfully, the alternative is fractious contention.
     
  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Right. We have Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and deem them foundational to the operation of the Church. But only one of these is a direct divine revelation. The others may be considered inspired by the Holy Ghost, for instance, but not a revelation. God revealed himself in only one place, and that place is definite and objective, which doesn’t grow or change.


    How would you deal with the objection that you guys have indeed added new things? We can look at all the things added since the 1500s when the Reformers put the kebosh on it from our end, which by today’s age has resulted in quite a distance between the two camps:
    —Mary as Mediatrix
    —Mary as Co-Redemptrix
    —Moral Probabilism
    —Death Penalty as immoral
    —etc
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 7:32 AM
  13. Edmundia

    Edmundia Member

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    The whole history of how the Canon of Sacred Scripture was settled by Pope and Church is fascinating. The fact that there were many doubts about certain books of the New Testament meant that the final fixing in the Fifth century A.D. was a very gradual process and the Catholic bishops in France were sent letters from France (Pope Innocent I in 405 A.D.) to assure them what it meant exactly to be Bible Christians. So we were for about four hundred years without a fixed Bible and,of course,many years before it was easily available by printing. This is why the oral and written Tradition was so important; i.e. the continuous teaching of the Popes,Councils and Bishops. St Paul put the two together when he wrote:

    "Therefore brethren stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word or our epistle." (II THES. ii:15 )

    and the gospel
    " And there are also many other things which Jesus did , the which, if they should be written ,every one, I suppose that even the world itself, could not be able to contain the books that should be written." (St John XXI: 25). The latter phrase is an obvious Hebrew use of hyperbole, but nonetheless must point t0 the non-Gospel teachings of Our Lord. RCCs would say that just as we need a Church to settle what is in the Bible, likewise we need a church to explain the meaning of much that is in it,after all ST Peter wrote

    "in which there are some things hard to be understood which they that are unlearned and the unstable wrest ,as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (II Peter iii;16)
    and our Lord never made a knowledge of books,let alone of New Testament Greek, to be a requirement for salvation.
     
  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    As I see it, if something has been inspired by the Holy Spirit, then it is a revelation of the divine, because as a trinitarian believer I affirm Article 1 - There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

    What I do understand most clearly is that any such claim for revelation must be tested against scripture to see it it passes or fails, because the canon or rule of scripture is the measuring stick by which we ascertain the measure of truth. That God continues to reveal himself is in fact part of the very nature of God that is understood and is revealed in scripture.

    One of the real challenges for us as Christians, and even as Anglicans, is that we have no universally agreed Biblical Hermeneutics. Now that is fine when we are looking at a passage like this morning's Gospel in Australia - The Good Samaritan Narrative from Luke, and regularly we will have all heard the passage as an encouragement to take a bigger view, to be more charitable, and to realise that our enemies may be our rescuers and helpers. This morning I heard an sermon asking the question about the people we manage not to see, the invisible people in our community. I was impressed by the expounding of the familiar story with fresh insight. It can be a lot more challenging when looking at some other passages I will not mention here as we will get this thread off topic too quickly.

    I like to ask people, Why do we read the Gospel in the Liturgy of the Holy Communion? And indeed in my parish, and no doubt in countless others, this is attended with some specific ritual actions, so we have a gospel procession where the Gospel book is carried aloft into the middle of the centre aisle and read from amongst the people in the nave. We read the Gospel in the Holy Communion as it is an opportunity to encounter Jesus. This of course is far more dynamic than learning the covenanted truth of God's dealing with his people in the ancient times, nor the encouragement to reach out in the life of faith, as when Paul writes to the infant churches, we are called to hear, with those beside Jesus all that time ago, what Jesus is saying, to know that our lowest point even when we do not recognise him, he will tend our wounds, and lift us and take us to safety.

    I really hate splitting hairs, but I think that the Bible is
    • the record of revelation,
    • the authoritative measure of all revelation
    • and many times a source of revelation
    and I can not find the capacity to say that the Bible is the only direct divine revelation, partly because that sounds too much like Law and not enough like grace, and I don't think that is what the Bible says about itself or about God. And indeed God is prisoner, not of tabernacle, nor of book, nor even of institution.

    The heavens declare the glory of God : and the firmament proclaims his handiwork;
    One day tells it to another : and night to night communicates knowledge.
    There is no speech or language : nor are their voices heard;
    Yet their sound has gone out through all the world : and their words to the ends of the earth.
    Psalm 19:1-4
     

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