Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by anglican74, Dec 18, 2021.
I don’t disagree with any of that.
Well therein lies the disagreement no doubt but Rev Wedgeworth is under no obligation to do so while being faithful to his vows and the Anglican formularies.
Objectively untrue. Feel free to cite which part of the 1662 BCP catechism does so but I assure you it doesn't exist.
Unsure why some Arminian Anglicans try to imitate the worse instincts of some Reformed folks in a desire to inaccurately declare all who disagree with their views on election (notably they rarely bring up Calvin's influence on our theology of sacraments or other influences in the English tradition) some form of Anglican apostates.
He can be reformed and Anglican for sure. He is probably a much better and faithful Christian than I am. I just am not reformed and find it wrong. I welcome them into the Anglican fold though as I know many reformed Anglicans had made many great contributions to the faith over the years. One such modern one is JI Packer.
is it this?
I’m no Arminian, and I’m certainly not condemning anyone as apostate. I do think the Prayer Book means what it says on the subject, and that it is incompatible with the doctrine of Limited Atonement:
Except it doesn't.
None of what you just cited (especially given that Nowell was Reformed) would necessarily contradict a Reformed understanding of atonement of election, namely that Christ's death can be for all and yet only the elect are saved.
the doctrine is entitled "limited atonement" not "limited salvation'... I agree that further discussion can be had on the Anglican doctrine of whether salvation is limited or not, but in this question of whether for Anglicans the atonement is limited, the answer to which seems to be "no" thereby refuting one of the 5 pillars of TULIP, the "L", which stands for "limited atonement"
That’s special pleading. If you have a positive argument that the Prayer Book teaches Limited Atonement, by all means present your evidence. As it stands, I don’t think there’s anything particularly obscure about the way the Prayer Book words what it says on this point. I don’t see in any point in engaging in idle speculation as to what else it might have meant other than what it plainly says. When such reasoning is applied to the Scriptures, it’s called eisegesis.
None of the early Fathers taught Limited Atonement. That alone makes the doctrine suspect. But more than that, I would also argue that Limited Atonement appears to deny the full reality of Christ’s Incarnation as defined by Chalcedon. If that’s the case, that would make it tantamount to heterodoxy.
So I wasn't aware of those passages in the Catechism. Will be quite interesting to drop them in my future conversations with the Reformed.
It seems the only position left open from the "predestinarian" side is hypothetical universalism. But the true "limited atonement" and "double predestination" are actually outright incompatible with the Anglican formularies. Wow, cool.
Is it a given? can anyone provide any evidence for this? There's some crazy claims people make out there.
I do not have a bone with our brothers who find valuable things in Reformed theology. But we need to recognize that 1.) there are some serious limitations to how much of it can be allowed given the Anglican formularies; 2.) we need reliable history, not revisionism, in our proper understanding of the Anglican Reformers.
I spend a lot of time with PCA people as it is the Bible study I attend in my town because my parish is 50 minutes away. There is a lot to commend there but there are some serious disagreements we have that are hard to bridge over.
(reposted in response to the above quote)
"That Nowell made use of Calvin's catechism for up to one-quarter of the text of his Latin catechism is certain; one does not need speculate further about Stephanus' catechism to see the sources of Nowell's 21"
I would also recommend "John Calvin and the Catechism of Alexander Nowell" if you can find it.
When it comes to the distinction between single-predestination vs double predestination and limited atonement, I believe some distinct need to be made. Firstly, I provided quotes from John Calvin and Zacharias Ursinus that said:
"Christ satisfied for all, as respects the sufficiency of the satisfaction he made, but not as it respects the application thereof;"-Ursinus
"It is also a fact, without controversy, that Christ came to atone for the sins 'of the whole world'" -John Calvin
Now, Stalwart may want to argue that John Calvin and Ursinus weren't Calvinists, but I want to make the point that the modern views of many (but not all) Reformed individuals are not in accordance with the views of many of the Calvinistic Reformers. (Ie) Christ only atoned for the Elect.
Furthermore, R.C. Sproul (one of the most famous Reformed thinkers of today) uses definite atonement rather than limited atonement for the reasons listed above.
When it comes to single-predestination vs double predestination there also is some conflict. There are Reformed theologians (like Sproul and others) who view positive predestination as God actively saving someone and negative predestination (reprobation) as God choosing not to dispense his salvific grace on the reprobate. Others and the "hyper-Calvinists" view negative reprobation in the sense that God actively causes people to be damned by increasing their evil so they will not accept Christ. Sprouls view is the most common in Reformed circles and could be described as single-predestination if single-predestination is defined as "choosing only those who will be saved."
Since you are choosing to go against the scholarly consensus (conspiracy?) on the fact that Nowell was a Calvinist (some even say proto-puritan, especially for his very iconoclastic views), maybe you should provide some quotes from Nowell that proves he was an Arminian/anti-Calvinist?
All these discussions are why I'd argue there was no Reformed tradition until the 17th century. Calvin said many things which would be repudiated by the tradition which would later become named "Reformed". Folks like Vermigli, Bucer, have nothing in common with the "Reformed tradition", they signed on to the Augsburg Confession and expressed doctrines which no Reformed believes today (such as an existence of 4 holy orders in the case of Bucer). Even today the word "Reformed" has no stable meaning.
And yes, we can let the folks in that camp debate amongst themselves what they actually believe in, by what words to to call things: definite, limited, or whatever. If they themselves 1.) don't believe what they used to, 2.) don't know what to believe; then it's a flaw in their whole tradition.
"This is a study of one of the factors which brought about the growth of Calvinism in Elizabethan England. When the Marian exiles returned to England at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, there existed vast differences in the theologies which vied for acceptance. Some looked for doctrine, discipline and worship as in the last year of the reign of Henry V III; others hoped Lutheran ideas would hold sway; others looked for a church of England informed by Calvinist ideas. By the end of Elizabeth's reign Calvinism had swept away all competitors."
This is just the first paragraph, which automatically indicates that the article is not worth reading. We all know how much prejudice and contention there's been in Anglican scholarship in the 20th century, trying to tear Anglican identity in various ideological camps with hack scholarship. This paragraph alone indicates a staggering amount of hack scholarship, for no other reason than that the influence Calvinism by all visible metrics was finished by the end of the Queen's reign -- as can be seen in the 1604 Hampton Conference, and a whole host of Elizabethan treatises which definitively broke with Calvinism: jure divino episcopacy; descensus clause in the Creed; rejection of divorce; universal atonement, baptismal regeneration, etc. If these are your sources, then I'd strongly encourage reading more of Alexander Nowell himself, and less of "David B. Lowry" from 1989.
Master. It may seem that this Law doth condemn the art of Painting and Graving ; so that it is not lawful to have any images at all.
Scholar. Not so: For in this first Table he speaketh not of any artificial thing civilly to be used, but only treateth of things which do appertain to the worshiping of God.
What has poor Nowell done to have his name so defiled?
You could just look at any of his works, and try to find if he quotes Calvin even once.
Or you can look at the things he says in his works, and ask how many Calvinists would affirm this:
Master. "What is the outward sign in Baptism?"
Scholar. "Water, wherein the person baptised is dipped, or sprinkled with it, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost."
Master. "What is the secret and spiritual grace?"
Scholar. "Forgiveness of sins and regeneration : both which we have by the death and resurrection of Christ ; and thereof we have this Sacrament as a Seal and Pledge."
Master: "If this be true what thou sayest, to what purpose then are so many things so oft in Councils and ecclesiastical assemblies decreed, and by learned men taught in preaching, or left in writing?"
Student: "All these things serve either to expounding of dark passages of the word of God, and to take away controversies that rise among men, or to the orderly establishing of the outward governance of the Church, and not to make new articles of Religion."
I can find a half-dozen other quotes where he rejects double predestination, promotes universal atonement, rejects total depravity of the intellect; etc etc.
One minor quibble: the Reformed Churches in Hungary and Poland retained episcopacy as well. Presbyterian polity may be the default position for Reformed communions, but it isn't an absolute requirement.
"Reformed" also need not mean Calvinist; Zwinglians and Arminians are "Reformed" as well. The Remonstrant Brotherhood is a charter member of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, for example.
It's fair to say that the Reformed branch of Protestantism went through several stages of development. The Church of England was part of - and considered itself to be part of - the first stage, but did not participate in subsequent stages, or if it did (e.g., Dort), did not give it any official endorsement. To speak of Anglicanism as "Reformed" today is anachronistic, but it was an accurate descriptor in the 16th century. In America at least, many of those hard edges of 16th-17th century Reformed thinking were smoothed over a long time ago (e.g., the 1928 Prayer Book's revision of the Rite of Baptism, the addition of non-penitential opening sentences to the Daily Office, etc.).
Right I mean specifically episcopacy by divine right. Which would be an anathema to the Reformed of any era.
And I would argue that that's further proof that the word Reformed is a non-concept which simply has no stable or definite meaning. See this Anglican podcast, where the word "Reformed" is exposed as being empty of meaning: https://anglican.audio/2019/04/15/fh32-on-being-reformed-debates-over-a-theological-identity/
But we don't really see that getting mainstreamed until after the Oxford Movement. Hooker, for example, taught no such thing. Even in the 19th century, plenty of Anglican bishops felt the need to distance themselves from Tractarian claims that they were successors of the apostles. I've posted links to such statements on other threads.
We have dozens of passages and whole books advocating for it in the reign of Elizabeth. We have dozens and dozens of texts in the reign of James I. Under King Charles I ... forget about it, you can imagine. Hooker was in the minority position already by the 1590s, given how many others spoke on the contrary side. And it became definitively enshrined as an Anglican doctrine in the 1662 Ordinal, which declared non-episcopal ordination to be invalid.
Tractarians earned such a bad name that the "camps" and ideological alliances got all messed up in the 1800s, which is why we are in the mess we're in today. For me, I like to go to the primary sources, and let them tell me what they actually believed. Look at how much incredible disinformation was presented in that 1989 article.
I don't think there was a first stage. The fact is, some anonymous scholar chose to label all non-Lutherans as Reformed, which is a ludicrous historical mistake, which worked its way into recent scholarship without any critical analysis. Again more evidence of the utter errors in recent scholars.
Look, the Anglican world recently has gotten wrecked with massive wars, defrockings, schisms, gay marriage, women's ordination, destruction and trauma. Can one expect to find any quaint impartial and patient scholars that wouldn't try to score points for some side? Almost every recent Anglican scholarly work is tainted, and untenable.
This is the relevant passage from the 1662 Ordinal:
There was never any declaration that non-episcopal Orders on the Continent were invalid; only that they were unlawful for the Church in England. They were perfectly lawful in Scotland.