Episcopacy and the Church

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by The Hackney Hub, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    That's basing our understanding of ministry on the Roman concept of "valid orders". The Divines taught that bishops are not of the esse but of the bene esse.

    St. Paul speaks of temporal government, not bishops. The Articles explain that each national church orders itself accordingly. In England that was bishops, in Scotland presbyteries, in Germany superintendents (which were accepted as "bishops" by Laud, without succession).

    The Fathers are great, but they are not Scripture. We can't hold something that Scripture does not hold as necessary. You have a very Tractarian concept of authority and ministry.
     
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  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Who do you include in "The Divines"? Does it end with the Carolines? Cosin? Ussher? Can it extend into the 18th century? Many defenses of jus divinum appeared from those who were not non-Jurors.

    So, why is it that Protestant Episcopalians from England were never allowed to attend the Lord's Supper put on by Huguenots, Genevans, Dutch, or Germans? I see no evidence of it being allowed. It seems like all the English bishops of our history have allowed Christians to receive Communion only from a minister validly ordained by a bishop. Even Cosin - who was favourable toward the idea of communing in the Continental churches at first - changed his mind after the ravages of the Civil War.

    Anyway, is 1662 some sort of turning point in Episcopal - Presbyterian relations? I was under the impression that the dissenters were kicked out of their parishes after the Restoration because they refused to be episcopally (re)-ordained.

    And yet in the Holy Scriptures you never see a local church governed by anything other than an Overseer (in the Pastoral Epistles, or other places).

    I was a traditionalist Roman Catholic for years. They're the originals which the Tractarians sought to emulate. What do you expect? :p Mindsets change slowly. I'm not sure mine will ever change, due to the strong arguments of the Fathers and some of the Divines.
     
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  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    No they didn't, because the term bene esse wasn't even invented until the 19th century. For example when John Jewel was asked to describe the nature of the Christian Church, he said it was one of Deacons, Priests, and Bishops.

    After 1660 (to today) there was a law passed requiring all priests from outside churches to be reordained, if they were not ordained by a bishop.

    Before 1660, there is documented evidence of Laud, Abbot and other Archbishops reordaining continental Protestants if they wanted to join the Church of England.

    Any "superintendents" that would seek to be clergy in England were forthwith reordained.
     
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  4. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yes, and we often forget about Normative vs. Regulative principles. Anglicans have always followed the Normative, for example with the retention of the old Sarum services within the BCP. I doubt that the Lord Jesus instituted the form of Venite - Psalms - Two Lessons for Morning Prayer, and yet we use it & love it.
     
  5. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    How do you explain that Presbyterians were not re-ordained in the C of E in Elizabeth's reign?
     
  6. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    Stalwart, you also misunderstand what the requirement of episcopacy in England, means. The national Church has the right to order itself accordingly and as such, episcopacy is "required" for ministry, in England. Ministers in Scotland are valid, ministers in Germany are valid. However, if they transfer to England, they must conform to English standards, i.e. episcopacy. This does not imply an "esse' view of the episcopacy but rather reflects Reformed ecclesiology perfectly.

    I am not presenting the Regulative Principle. You need to read what I am saying. "Bene esse" is the Anglican position, as expressed in the Scipture, Prayer Book, and Articles.
     
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  7. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Stalwart cites the re-ordination of Lutheran "superintendents", of dissenters, of Protectorate-era clergy after the Restoration, and also Laud's commissioning of Hall to defend the Divine Right of Episcopacy. Surely the burden rests on you to show how this one example was not a hiccup or an oversight, since the clear majority of instances in history seem to be on Stalwart's side.

    Fascinating debate about the nature & possibly the future of the "Communion". :)
     
  8. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    The majority of cases post-1662 not before. Before, the norm was what the REC practiced, the acceptance of Protestant clergy without re-ordination.
     
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  9. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    A "bishop" in Ignatius' day was equivalent to a senior pastor. The monarchical bishop as a third order of ministry had not developed yet. The problem with regarding apostolic succession as the esse of the church is that monarchical, third-order-of-ministry bishops cannot be traced back to apostles or the NT, as he NT knows of only two orders -- pastor/elder/presbyter/bishop, and deacon.

    But I don't won't to get into that again. :)
     
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  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I'm glad you agree that 1662 onward, there is no question that reordinations were required of all ministers not episcopally ordained.

    Pre-1662 I know for a fact there were reordinations under Abbot and Laud. And even if you were granted the whole case, how it does make post-1662 policy non-definitive? That law came into effect and still remains in effect till today.

    I don't know what Reformed ecclesiology you mean. In the Reformed ecclesiology I know, the Puritans argued that presbyterianism was mandated by God to rule church polity for all time. If you want other Reformed denominations, the Huguenots reordained all minsters that came from England in the 16th century, because of a possible taint of Episcopacy.
     
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  11. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    What prohibits presbyters from ordaining presbyters, or laypeople from doing so? I believe any group of Christians has everything within itself to constitute a church. Why must the church be seen only as a top-down organization?
     
  12. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    1662-1840 is still a significant chunk of time, pre-Tractarianism. Was the whole Church of England, and all of its colonies, in a sort of spiritual dictatorship of error back then? Even now TEC, the most liberal church in the world, won't accept Presbyterian or Lutheran orders strictly!

    We should get into that again. This is about the nature of Christian Communion - not only of the Anglican one, but of the Greek & Roman ones!

    From what I've read in the Scriptures, sometimes there are presbyters and sometimes bishops. They're never hyphenated.

    Another reason for caution in approaching this is the varied use of words. Saint Paul the Apostle calls himself diakonos in 2 Corinthians 3:6, 6:4, 11:23, and Ephesians 3:7. KJV translated this as "minister" in every case - but we use "minister" to refer to a presbyter these days. Just so, we protestants often call choir-members "music ministers", and papists have "extraordinary ministers of holy communion", though none of these people are ordained. Language is fluid, especially in the confines of intimate letters. We should be careful before outright denying something so venerable as the three-fold ministry.

    Related to that, look at Ignatius in Magnesians 13, Long or Short recension.

    Remember that this good man died less than 20 or 30 years after the Apostle John. Should we really assume that the Order of the Church had been corrupted & mangled that quickly? I wouldn't say I had much confidence in the Holy Spirit were I to think that.

    Why would St. Paul tell Timothy & Titus to appoint elders in every town, if the early Church was not "top-down" (hierarchical)?
     
  13. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    First answer in red above.

    It is a fact that in the NT, the words bishop, elder, presbyter, and pastor were synonymous for one and the same office.

    Timothy and Titus were not monarchical bishops. Do you suppose that every little isolated Christian group of believers had elders appointed by some traveling presbyter?

    Here is what I believe, based on scripture; it is from the first English Baptist confession by Thomas Helwys:

    "11. That though in respect of CHRIST, the Church is one (Ephesians 4:4) yet it consists of diverse particular congregations, even so many as there will be in the World, every congregation, though they are but two or three, have CHRIST given them, with all the means of their salvation (Matthew 18:20 ; Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 3:22). They are the Body of CHRIST (1 Corinthians 12:27) and a whole Church (1 Corinthians 14:23). And therefore may, and should, when they come together, to Pray, Prophecy, break bread, and administer in all the holy ordinances, although as yet they have no Officers, or that their Officers should be in Prison, sick, or by any other means hindered from the Church (1 Peter 4:10 and 2:5)."
     
  14. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    We aren't trying to invent Christianity from the ground up here Celtic. We are trying to follow and obey the Church, and listen to its arguments for its institutions.

    If we disagree with those arguments then we should go to an ecclesiastical body where we do agree.

    It's a free country.
     
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  15. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    I have had a difficult time finding a body where my views fit. Ecclesiologically, I suppose I fit more with the Baptists; doctrinally, more with the EOC and Anglican Communion. Although I do agree with the Anglican doctrine that the historic episcopate is of the benefit of and not the essence of the church.
     
  16. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    It seems that presbyter ordination may have been permitted by Rome in extremis. There is a related thread on CAF regarding Lutheran Orders. A well known Lutheran poster there pointed to the fact that in the 15th century, a number of Popes including Boniface IX, Martin V, and Innocent VIII, acted in authorizing Cistercian abbots who were themselves only priests to ordain.

    See LCMS 'Christian Cyclopedia' article on Apostolic Succession:

    http://cyclopedia.lcms.org/display.asp?t1=a&word=APOSTOLICSUCCESSION
     
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  17. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    The normative principle states that "whatever is not specifically forbidden in the Bible is allowed in the church's practice, worship and organization" (Web dictionary) No-one is advocating the regulative principle here. However to argue that apostolic succession is necessary not just for Anglicanism but for the whole Christian church - this goes beyond it.
     
  18. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Active Member

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    Be careful with statements like that.
     
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  19. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Well, we certainly need to have bishops; the Holy Scriptures use the word Episcopos over & over again. In that sense, every Church has to be 'episcopal'. ;)

    Of course, I haven't yet seen any place in the Bible where a specific organization is mandated by God, Christ, or any human agency.
     
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  20. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    its won me over. Canon law would give the current official position of the church of England. Is it necessary for all Christians though? As in to constitute a true local church.

    I notice the marks of a true church according to the 39 articles are that the gospel be preached and the sacraments administered rightly. There's no mention of the necessity of apostolic succession. Is there anything in the official documents (rather than individual Anglicans) which state episcopacy is necessary not just for Anglicanism but for the whole Christian church?
     
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