Ecumenical Councils

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, May 2, 2019.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 New Member

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    I read somewhere that the Anglican Church in North America accepts the first 4 Ecumenical Councils and the next three in so far as they agree with Scripture. Why is this?
     
  2. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    From what I understand, the seventh council mandated the worship of images, but that's just what I've been told, being no expert on councils
     
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The first four council is a fairly standard position for historic Anglicanism, and that certainly invokes the Nicene Creed from the 1st Council of Constantinople and the Chalcedonian Definition from the Council of Constantinople, which are core the historic position of the Anglican Church.

    The theological propositions dealt with at the next three councils were perhaps of a different order to the matters of Arianism and Nestorianism. The seventh ecumenical council Nicaea 2 essentially unwound some of the decisions that had suggested that any image was to be understood as an idol, so perhaps rather than 'mandated the worship of images' it might be more correct to say permitted the use of images in worship, the inference being that worship is always directed to God.
     
  4. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 New Member

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    Seems confusing. Got any good books to read on the issues?
     
  5. PDL

    PDL Member Anglican

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    The Catholic and Orthodox churches accept the first seven ecumenical councils as they all occurred prior to the schism between East and West. With respect to Anglicans it varies. All accept the first four. Some, especially Anglo-Catholics, accept all seven. For some Anglicans, especially Evangelicals, the seventh is problematic. The seven ecumenical councils are:

    1. Nicaea I (AD 325): Formulated the first part of the Nicene Creed - defining the full divinity of the Son of God.

    2. Constantinople I (AD 381): Formulated the second part of the Nicene Creed - defining the full divinity of the Holy Spirit.

    3. Ephesus (AD 431): Defined Christ as the Incarnate Word of God and Mary as Theotokos (God Bearer). It also repudiated the heresies called Nestorianism and Pelagianism.

    4. Chalcedon (AD 451): Affirmed Christ as perfect God and perfect Man. It defined the concept of 'Hypostatic Union', that Christ has two natures, human and divine, in One Person.

    5. Constantinople II (AD 553): Reconfirmed the doctrines of the Trinity and expanded the work of previous councils regarding the Person and Work of Christ.

    6. Constantinople II (AD 680): Affirmed the true humanity of Jesus by insisting upon the reality of His human will and action. It denounced the heresy of Monothelitism, which wrongly asserted that Christ had two natures but only one will.

    7. Nicaea II (AD 787): Affirmed the propriety of icons and genuine expressions of the Christian Faith and confirmed the relics of martyrs should be placed in churches. (Only those in heresy or schism at the time did not.)

    They were all basically called to deal with heresies facing the Church at the time.
     
  6. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 New Member

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    So what are the objections from some Anglicans to 5 and 6?
     
  7. PDL

    PDL Member Anglican

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    I'm an Anglo-Catholic and have no issues with any of those seven councils. I have read that some Anglicans only accept the first four. But, any details only ever seem to focus on why Anglicans may have an issue with the seventh. I cannot begin to imagine why councils 5 and 6 would be problematic to any Anglican.
     
  8. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    “One canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after, determine the boundary of our faith.”
    Lancelot Andrewes

    I suspect that it is not so much that they had a problem with those councils, but that they fell in love with the ideas expressed in the quote from Lancelot Andrewes, who was Bishop of Windsor and one of those who had a hand in the production of the KJV. Much of the mind of the English Church in this period was to re-capture some of the authenticity and integrity of the primitive church. I am not a follower of GAFCON however I seem to recall that something of this sentiment is expressed in some of their stuff, but I have had a quick look and can see it, but I think it may have been around the Jerusalem declaration. Forward in Faith have I gather at some stage rejected (or perhaps extended) the idea prefering to argue in line with the East for the seven councils and the first millennia of Christianity.

    The intent of the Anglican Divines was to rid the English Church of the unnecessary burdens that had been attached to the pure and primitive form of the Church by a corrupted Roman history.
     
  9. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Member Anglican

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    A more specific thing I've heard is that Anglicans typically hold to the first four councils and the Christological clarifications of the other three. This suggests that we affirm the "main things" but not all those fiddly details. I, too, am not well-versed in this question, though, but thought that phrase worth repeating here.
     
  10. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    I don't know how relevant to this thread this is, but what are the general councils mentioned in article XXI ? Have there ever been any of these councils. They would of course have to have been after 1563.
     
  11. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Based on Lancelot Andrews one would think the first 4. There has certainly not been a General (Oecumenical) Council since the great schism.
     
  12. PDL

    PDL Member Anglican

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    How strange, I read the same thing several days ago and was going to post. I didn't because I was dissatisfied with the lack of clarity on what is rejected from the last three of the first seven ecumenical councils.
     
  13. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Member Anglican

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    Those are Ecumenical Councils, just the 16th century wording, I believe.

    As for the "Christological clarifications" line, I half-cynically think that the vaguarity of the term is intentionally designed to sidestep the veneration of icons versus iconoclasm debacle involved in the 7th council. Some Anglicans, after all, are basically iconoclasts (cf. "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer) and would utterly reject council 7, while others would precisely consider such venerations a positive christological clarification!
     
    dariakus and Botolph like this.

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