How do Anglican's approach prayers of intercessions to saints?

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    AngloCatholics tend to selectively use the Articles as it suits them. I have a colleague who has a cassock with 39 buttons and he jokes that he leaves undone one button for each article he doesn't agree with. TEC only ever used 38 of the Articles in their older prayer books. I don't recall which was omitted by I suspect it was the one about the right of princes to convene general councils.
     
  2. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    In reading article 22 I can see where intercessory asking for prayers from the saints would be ok as long as they stay away from the Romanish innovations. It does not mention the Theotokos at all either. So I don't see why Anglo Catholics would have to be against that article.
     
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  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I would point out that at least this Anglo-Catholic accepts ALL the Articles of Religion as received by the American Church in 1801. I would, however, qualify that statement by asserting that neither I nor any other Anglican is compelled to accept the Calvinist/Evangelical interpretations that have glomed onto the Articles over the years since their ratification.

    Rather, I receive them in their most catholic sense, guided by the Tradition of the Church handed down to us from the time of the Apostles, which is really the only way the Articles can have any claim of authority on us. If they are mere 16th century innovations, then we are in a woeful state of heresy because nothing new is catholic, and to the degree which any innovation deviates from the deposit of the faith once delivered to the saints or constitutes a "different gospel" than that which was preached by Christ and his Apostles, it is anathema. But the Articles are not innovations, rather they are guideposts and clarifications which point us back to the"old paths" of the ancient church. They point always to scripture, the creeds, and the church fathers, which are our surest lights in these dark times.

    To the instant question, it must be conceded prayers to and invocations of the saints, has been practiced in the church since very early on in its history. The Articles do not say that ALL practices of invocation are wrong, only the "Romish" practices, which of course refers to the deviations push by thepapist party in the years prior to the Reformation. The Orthodox Church also invokes saints, but the Articles make no objection to that practice.

    My suggestion for understanding how best to thread the needle of invoking the saints in an Anglican context is to consult Tract 90, which addresses this very issue:
    http://anglicanhistory.org/tracts/tract90/section6.html
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Since RC doctrine (established at Nicea II in the 8th Century) affirms reverence to and prostration of honor before images & icons, and since Article 22 declares RC doctrine concerning such behavior to be repugnant to Scripture, what loophole do you find which will allow for bowing, kneeling, or paying reverence to images?

    Let's suppose that one might find reference to the practice during the 5th, 4th, or even the 3rd Century. Does that make it okay? We can find evidence of many heretical practices being introduced into churches during those centuries; does the fact that we find mention of those practices somehow make them into orthodox practices? In the final analysis, to gain the best understanding of orthodoxy, don't we have to go back further in time and examine both the Bible and the practices of the pre-Advent church?
     
  5. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    It is interesting to me that you keep referring to intercession of saints as an "RC" thing but that greatly misrepresents the ubiquitousness of praying to the saints in the historic church. Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox, etc. have many disagreements with each other, but intercession with saints is not among them. Considering that the Oriental Orthodox split away in the mid 400s over issues unrelated to intercession of the saints means it was considered an orthodox practice by the Church catholic prior to even that early date. More than that, the witness of Sts. Clement of Alexandria and Cyprian as well as Origen all attest to the belief that the saints made intercession for us in glory, which takes us back to at least 300 AD. That means the doctrine of intercession of the saints predates the Creeds and any of the 7 Ecumenical Councils!

    Given this practice was prevalent during the Conciliar Age is a very telling fact. The Ecumenical Councils were called to settle controversies. And yet, the Councils werr silent on the topic until the 7th Council, which means it was held universally and was uncontroversial until the 8th century, and then was reinforced by the Church's support at the 7th Council.

    But you make a great point regarding going back to the bible. Scripture teaches that the prayers of the righteous are very powerful. Jeremiah records the deceased Rachel weeping for her children Israel. 2 Macabees has the dead Onias praying for the jewish people and saying that the dead Jeremiah prayed also. There is definitely biblical precedent imho.
     
  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I think my take on this is perhaps less controversial. I believe we do not pay to the saints, but we pray with the saints. In intercession we lift someone we care for and hold them in the light of Christ. I might do this for one of my friends who is still paying taxes (or however you measure physical life), and in light of my conviction that in the death and resurrection of Jesus death has been vanquished or robbed of its power to destroy, to suggest that I cannot pray for someone who is dead (to this world) is the same as saying that the resurrection does not accomplish much.

    Whilst I don't as a matter of course pray to St Anthony to find me a space to park the car, I also have no difficulty in joining with Gabriel and all the angels in praying Hail Mary full of grace, or the whole church living and departed in Holy Holy Holy is the Lord who is and who was and who is to come.
     
  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, honestly, if you re-read my comment (#24) I think you'll find that I never even mentioned praying to saints (this time around). ;) I think you were just waiting to pounce on that point.... but I never brought it up! :laugh:

    My questions dealt with images and icons. Would you care to address those?
     
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  8. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Since you were responding to my post which was specifically about intercession of the saints....as is the topic if this thread, perhaps you can understand my confusion.

    But no, I do jot care to go off the topic of this thread
     
  9. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I have tried to find how the Assyrian Church of the East handles intercession of the Saints and have found very little on it. I only do that because they broke off even before the OO's.
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, you advocated reading Tract 90, and Tract 90 begins by citing and discussing Article 22 and quoting it as follows: "The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardons (de indulgentiis), worshipping (de veneratione) and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing (res est futilis) vainly (inaniter) invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant (contradicit) to the Word of GOD." The article speaks of "the Romish doctrine concerning" all those items as futile, so I guess I got off onto a different aspect of that Romish doctrine.

    That said, let's address the issue at hand.
    We must be careful to not re-characterize Article 22 as stating "Romish practices" when the Article specifically states "Romish doctrine".

    Clearly, Article 22 shows us that the invocation of saints is supported by a Romish doctrine which Anglicans repudiate. Just like purgatory, indulgences, and adoration of images and relics are Romish doctrines which Anglicans repudiate. If, as you postulate, prayer to saints was a valid Christian practice because there is some evidence of the practice prior to establishment of Romish doctrine, then there would have been no reason for the formulators of the Articles to have specifically included and repudiated the doctrine in Article 22. If the practice was appropriate, they would have simply let it ride; they would never have mentioned praying to saints as a bad doctrine.

    The alternative would be to say that it's perfectly fine to believe in purgatory, indulgences, prayer to deceased saints, etc. so long as we acknowledge that Rome was wrong to make doctrine saying it's fine to believe in them. Does that really make any sense at all?? Art. 22 would then be meaningless and superfluous.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Let's look at Tract 90 a little more closely. I'll quote the Tract, which in turn quotes from a Homily:
    "We have left Him neither heaven, nor earth, nor water, nor country, nor city, peace nor war to rule and govern, neither men, nor beasts, nor their diseases to cure; that a godly man might justly, for zealous indignation, cry out, O heaven, O earth, and seas, what madness and wickedness against GOD are men fallen into! What dishonour do the creatures to their CREATOR and MAKER! And if we remember GOD sometimes, yet, because we doubt of His ability or will to help, we join to Him another helper, as if He were a noun adjective, using these sayings: such as learn, GOD and St. Nicholas be my speed: such as neese, GOD help and St. John: to the horse, GOD and St. Loy save thee. Thus are we become like horses and mules, which have no understanding. For is there not one GOD only, who by His power and wisdom made all things, and by His providence governeth the same, and by His goodness maintaineth and saveth them? be not all things of Him, by Him and through Him? Why dost thou turn from the CREATOR to the creatures? This is the manner of the Gentiles idolaters: but thou art a Christian, and therefore by CHRIST alone hast access toGOD the FATHER, and help of Him only."—Homily on Peril of Idolatry, p. 189. (bold added by me for emphasis)​

    This Homily is saying that people pray to saints because they doubt His ability or will to help. This is patent unbelief, a lack of faith and a dearth of trust in our Provider. The Homily roundly criticizes prayer to saints as "turning from the Creator to the creatures" and likens such prayers to idolatry. I agree!
     
  12. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I have to ask how familiar the people who wrote the 39 Articles were of the EO's an OO's? Also when I read join to him another helper I read ask for someone else to assist God in performing this work not asking a saint in heaven to also pray for us.
     
  13. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    They have almost the same doctrine as the Anglican Church in that they don’t have a culture of praying to the saints. Many Eastern churches in fact don’t.


    I should remind us that the American Church as early as the 1780s was already prepared to sign off on a Unitarian definition of the Trinity, through the advocacy of Bishop White and his Unitarian Presbyterian buddies. He was also prepared to jettison the Prayerbook. It is only through the heroic advocacy of Bishop Seabury that the American Church was saved, the Prayerbook retained, and the catholic definition of the Trinity preserved. But still, after his death in 1796 they couldn’t resist some liberalism, and thus you get the “revised” Anglican doctrine after his death, most notably in the abandonment of the Athanasian Creed. So yes all this time, going two hundred years into the past to 1800, the American wing of Anglicanism did not know the Athanasian Creed. What follows out of that anyone today can see. This violation of catholicity was only corrected in 2019 with the new ACNA BCP which restored the Athanasian Creed to its rightful place.

    The American Church, even before today’s monstrosities, was never a bastion of any kind of orthodoxy.


    Need I remind you that Tract 90 is a document famous for a radical reconception of Anglicanism, and its author a few years left the church in shameful apostasy?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  14. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Duplicate, sorry.
     
  15. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I really don't see the need to ask the saints to pray for us. Maybe I am missing something but I through prayer I can petition Jesus on my own. I can ask friends to pray also so I am not sure why I need to ask for the saints to pray for me. I don't find it wrong as long as we stay away from the Roman doctrine of it and stick more clear to what was done in the East and Early Church. I view it the same way as I view Icons. They are ok, if done and viewed correctly, but can get carried away with if not careful.
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, the context of the quote shows examples of "God plus a helper" immediately following the text I bold-printed.
    The context was of prayer to saints.
    Me, either! :thumbsup: Our God is able and willing to provide all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and has blessed us with all spiritual blessings through Christ (Eph. 1:3).
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Ah. That would explain why the tract's author overlooked the plain meaning of the Homilies from which he quoted. :hmm:The Homilies didn't even support the author's ideas!
     
  18. Stephen22

    Stephen22 New Member

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    I think we can ask the saints to pray for us.
     
  19. Stephen22

    Stephen22 New Member

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    Thats correct
     
  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Stalwart wrote:
    The Athanasian Creed is a good statement of Trinitarian doctrine, but the end part of it causes me some hesitation. I'm inclined to believe that God can and does save people who have an imperfect understanding of theology. The Creed says in part, "Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man..."

    Jesus didn't place so high a bar of belief. For example, He was satisfied with Peter's statement, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. He didn't see fit to correct Peter's belief by saying, 'I'm not just the Son of God, I am God your Creator.'

    Likewise, Paul penned to the Romans, if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    If a person believes that Jesus is his Lord and Savior, but lacks the Trinitarian understanding of God, I don't think that shortfall precludes God from saving the person. The wording of the Creed seems to say otherwise, and I think this is unfortunate (though no doubt well-intended).
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
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