Lutheranism v Anglicanism

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by Aidan, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    What the both of you have said is true, and I do not plan on eliminating or compromising the episcopate for the sake of ecumenism. I should clarify that I do not mean that bishops are unimportant, but that Anglicans have never believed that episcopal ordination was required to have valid sacraments, at least not until the Oxford Movement. We do not personally allow any ministers who don't have episcopal ordination, but we recognize that other churches without it are still receiving forgiveness of their sins and the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. That is all I meant.
     
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  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I would like some clarity regarding this opinion. I accept that the Wesleys may well have seen the Episcopate unrequired in the matter of ordination, however I have never understood that as a normative position. In fact it goes the the very nature of the Episcopate that as overseers of the mission and ministry of the Church, the function of ordering and licensing is an episcopal function.

    The rubric

    First, the Archdeacon, or in his absence, one appointed in his stead,
    shall present unto the Bishop (sitting in his chair near the holy Table)
    all them that shall receive the order of priesthood that day
    (each of them being decently habited) and say

    and later following the prayer where the Bishop lays hands in ordination with the priests laying hands to receive the candidate into the priestly collegiate.

    Then the Bishop shall deliver to every one of them kneeling, the Bible into his hand saying,

    Take thou Authority to preach the Word of God,
    and to minister the holy sacraments in the congregation,
    where thou shalt be lawfully appointed thereunto.​

    The way I read it, this suggests that episcopal ordination is at the heart of this ministry within Anglicanism and the way Anglicans have understood it for a very long time.
     
  3. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    No. Okay, I'm not going to claim expertise on the REC canons, but the rule of thumb in the Continuum has been that sacraments administered by the Orthodox and Catholics -including Holy Orders- are recognized as valid. That is why there exists 'incardination.' We are not as rigid as Rome or Constantinople/Moscow in this matter. And even they are not so rigid as to claim holy orders from each other are invalid (maybe excluding ROCOR).
     
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  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Perhaps I should have clarified it better, that my point applied only to non-episcopal ordinations. I don't know the full extent of ACNA's acceptance of episcopal ordinations from other communions, but I wouldn't be surprised if some from the Lutheran episcopal line, the Roman Catholic and the Eastern lines, were accepted. The point is that the bishop is necessary, and if you come from an evangelical, baptist, presbyterian, or even some lutheran lines, then you have to start as a layman. This differs from the policy among (German-origin) Lutheran circles such as the Missouri Synod, which historically had tolerated ordination by priests, and even today continue to do so.
     
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  5. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    What I mean to say is not that it is not required in the disciplines of the Anglican Communion and its offshoots, but that it is not necessary for communion to be celebrated and the Presence of Christ be in it. While that distinction does not matter for us in terms of practice (only those ordained by a bishop to the presbytery can do it in an Anglican Church,) it matter when we consider whether Christians in non-episcopal denominations are receiving the Body and Blood. And the answer historically is that they have, because episcopacy, while an ancient order that should be preserved as being from the Apostles itself, is not strictly required to perform the eucharist. This is why Marian Exiles had no problem whatsoever receiving in Geneva from those not ordained. I don't plan on abolishing episcopacy in our churches, but I do plan on saying why it we keep it, and that is not because we would not be the Church without it, but because it is an ancient order that demands preservation.
     
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  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Thanks @PotterMcKinney

    I have some sympathy for the position you now explain. For a period in my life I communicated in a Lutheran Church, and there was no sense in which I understood the sacrament I received there to be deficient or some sort of 2nd class Jesus.

    In a sense Article 28 may have been a refuge, and Article 22 may be a check to that check. However in reality I would probably take my refuge in the words variously attributed to Elizabeth I and John Donne

    His was the word that spake it, and what his word doth make it, I do believe and take it. ​

    That having been said, I suspect you should look at some of the work of the fathers on the matter of the Episcopate, and certainly Ignatius Letter to the Smyrnaeans springs to mind. I do believe that the Historic Episcopate is part of the essential integrity of being part of one holy catholic and apostolic Church, not a luxury bolt on for 1st class passengers.

    Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid. — Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8, J.R. Willis translation. [Ignatius died 108 AD]​

    I certainly don't say that to denigrate those who have chosen to walk in traditions Episcopate-less, however I do think it is an important part of the Church. That does not mean to say that I am bound to understand each and every holder of the office to be perfect in every way, sometimes indeed I think that the idea of the Episcopate is often mucked up by having Bishops, but that may just be some of by cynical best. I am sure in North America your Bishops sometimes give you cause to wonder as well.
     
  7. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Citing the historical examples is unfortunately not helpful here, since as I have pointed out, the experience of the Marian exiles was nullified by the experience of the Puritan exiles; where the former allowed non-episcopal 'Church' because anyone non-Roman was assumed to be alright, the latter were much chastened by 100 extra years of experience; they would not consider non-episcopal churches to be The Church. Since the former did not have the latter experience, the latter experience is what is more inclusive and more binding, having the fullest understanding, namely that there are deviants from The Church on both the side of Rome and the side of Geneva, and the mission of Anglicanism is to not be infected by either but chart the course of the Apostles.

    That being said, modern ecumenical efforts (which I do not unreservedly approve) have blurred the lines of what I'd just outlined. Where the Divines would have clearly made clear statements and definitive pronouncements, the moderns prefer obscurity and ambiguity, especially in avoiding the offended feelings of other Christians (because feelings are considered more important than clarity and truth). You won't hear a denunciation of Presbyterianism or Evangelicalism from a bishop today like you once would. It will be just a soft reticence to accept fully. I want to suggest that we should not use the modern PC understandings of categories of church and sacraments in guiding our absolute understandings of those terms.
     
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  8. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    So, is your position that episcopal ordination is necessary for the celebration of sacraments, not only as a matter of church discipline and polity, but in an ontological sense, like the Roman Catholics (which I don't mean to be pejorative, just the first denomination to come to mind that holds to what I'm thinking of)?
     
  9. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I do not. Christ makes the sacrament, not a priest...or a bishop. Following the order of ancient times is certainly beneficial and we depart it at our peril...but I do not view ordination as absolutely necessary for the validity of the sacraments.
     
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  10. DivineOfficeNerd

    DivineOfficeNerd Active Member Anglican

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    The valid celebration of the Sacrament in the Anglican tradition has always required an ordained minister, as evidenced in the 23rd article -

    XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation.
    It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.
     
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  11. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    This is, likewise, my position.
    Note that that article is derived from the Augsburg Confession, and does not mean Apostolic Succession.
     
  12. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Some part of the understanding of the role and function of a Bishop may be deduced from the formal interrogation of the candidate which I think 1661/2 retained the essence of the Edwardian Prayer Books, and in one way or another continues to this day. I, for one, am not entirely convinced that every person who holds the office has entirely fulfilled all that is envisaged here faithfully, however it is my hope that at the time they were asked these questions they answered with all the integrity they could muster. I post it here, in part because it speaks of the role of the Bishop, and the sense in which this is something handed on.

    I think one of the reasons for the importance of the ordinal in the thinking of the Tudor/Elizabethan period has to do with the intention of the continuity of the Church rather than Church as a new body. The same can be said of the Act of Supremacy. Whilst the reformers wanted to move the theology of the Church in a new direction, there was a mind to preserve the institutional integrity of the Church and in some real way this was a significant difference between the approach of Henry VIII and Martin Luther, and why perhaps they did not see eye to eye.

    Then the Archbishop, sitting in his chair, shall say to him that is to be consecrated,

    BROTHER, forasmuch as the Holy Scripture and the ancient Canons command, that we should not be hasty in laying on hands, and admitting any person to Government in the Church of Christ, which he hath purchased with no less price than the effusion of his own blood; before we admit you to this Administration, we will examine you in certain Articles, to the end that the Congregation present may have a trial, and bear witness, how you are minded to behave yourself in the Church of God.​

    ARE you persuaded that you are truly called to this Ministration, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the order of this Church?​
    Answer. I am so persuaded.​

    ARE you persuaded that the Holy Scriptures contain all Doctrine required as necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined out of the same Holy Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge; and to teach or maintain nothing, as necessary to eternal salvation, but that which you shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the same?
    Answer. I am so persuaded, and determined, by God's grace.​

    WILL you then faithfully exercise yourself in the Holy Scriptures, and call upon God by prayer for the true understanding of the same; so that you may be able by them to teach and exhort with wholesome Doctrine, and to withstand and convince the gainsayers?
    Answer. I will so do, by the help of God.
    ARE you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to the same?
    Answer. I am ready, the Lord being my helper.​
    WILL
    you deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; that you may show yourself in all things an example of good works unto others, that the adversary may be ashamed, having nothing to say against you?
    Answer. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.​
    WILL you maintain and set forward, as much as shall lie in you, quietness, love, and peace among all men; and such as be unquiet, disobedient, and criminous, within your Diocese, correct and punish, according to such authority as you have by God's Word, and as to you shall be committed by the Ordinance of this Realm?
    Answer. I will so do, by the help of God.​
    WILL you be faithful in Ordaining, sending, or laying hands upon others?
    Answer. I will so be, by the help of God.​
    WILL you shew yourself gentle, and be merciful for Christ's sake to poor and needy people, and to all strangers destitute of help?
    Answer. I will so shew myself, by God's help.​
    ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who hath given you a good will to do all these things; Grant also unto you strength and power to perform the same; that, he accomplishing in you the good work which he hath begun, you may be found perfect and irreprehensible at the latter day; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.​
     
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  13. DivineOfficeNerd

    DivineOfficeNerd Active Member Anglican

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    It still states that ordination, within apostolic succession or not, is required.
     
  14. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    Okay? That's all I mean as well. So Lutherans can have valid sacraments without episcopal ordination, as can continental Reformed churches, and the like.
     
  15. DivineOfficeNerd

    DivineOfficeNerd Active Member Anglican

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    I was mainly replying to the statement "I do not view ordination as absolutely necessary for the validity of the sacraments."
     
  16. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    Ah, okay. Technically, I don't think that it is strictly necessary, so long as God has called it, but ordination is the prerequisite insofar as it is the normal means by which the Church designates its ministers. The question I am asking is, what is it about ordination that allows somebody to administer the sacraments? And my answer is, nothing really, for ordination is the recognition on the part of the Church of the call that a person has received from God, and a formal reception into that vocation. It is the Spirit of God that effects the sacraments alongside the unfailing use of the words of institution: "this is my body...do this in remembrance of me" and baptism "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." That can happen without ordination, in the same sense a person can be saved without baptism. It is not the normal way of doing it, but it is possible.
     
  17. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    One serious problem with ordination outside of the Apostolic Succession is that being "called" by God to serve in a pastoral position is quite subjective. I am sure that many women feel "called" as well. While ordination by a Bishop doesn't insure the orthodoxy of either the candidate or the Bishop, it serves as a safeguard of sorts when it comes to ordaining clergy for the Church.
     
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  18. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    Hence why we still do it. But that need not mean we take it to be anything it isn't.
     
  19. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Many more churches think this way than at first seems. Lutherans at the Wisconsin Synod don't partake of communion of even the Missouri Synod Lutherans; and they wouldn't even consider partaking of the Anglican communion. Do they think our communion is 'invalid'? Actually yes! Many would say so, because for them Spiritual Real Presence wouldn't be enough or whatever (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding). On the other hand there are evangelicals who would not partake of the Anglican communion because for them Spiritual Real Presence is too much (too Popish or whatever). They wouldn't consider it valid.

    Quite apart from the question of holy orders, the larger fact is that many Churches consider the other Churches' sacraments as such to be invalid. Baptism is the one exception where everyone who is baptized in the Trinitarian formula is more or less accepted throughout Christendom; but apart from that, it's anything goes and many times sacraments are not accepted as valid across denominational lines. When you add the ontology of holy orders in there, it becomes just one factor among many, and yes, it can disqualify some Churches' sacraments, but there are many things which disqualify other Churches' sacraments.

    So would I consider evangelicals' non-ordained sacraments to be valid? I wouldn't, as many of them wouldn't ours, and that's okay, divisions can exist in the body of Christ without us having to sacrifice our commitment to Anglican principles. I would never commune in an Evangelical church, because that worship 'service' is- 1) not a liturgy, 2) without a valid Eucharistic canon, 3) without a valid clergy, and 4) without a proper understanding of the Sacrament.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  20. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    Gotcha. But I feel like part of your premise here is the equivalence of Eucharistic theology and theology of ordination, which while they intersect a bit they aren't equivalent. WELS and LCMS, I believe, don't consider the actual stance on the sacrament to invalidate it, and therefore don't commune, but don't commune with other churches because they differ in doctrine. That is not the same as saying the Eucharist of other churches is invalid in their eyes. In other words, it is not a matter of whether Christ is present for conservative Lutherans; it is a matter of pretending their is confessional unity when there is not.

    On the higher end, Catholics consider the Orthodox to have valid sacraments, even though they do not believe in transubstantiation, so I highly doubt that erroneous sacramentology is considered to invalidate the sacraments either. They do have a notion of ontology and holy orders, and that is what defines validity of sacraments for them, yet they don't commune together for the same reason the Lutherans don't.

    In short, I don't think your premises here vibe at all with reality.

    So are we to say that the proper Anglican answer to this is somehow more stringent than any other denomination, Roman or Protestant, in that we require both episcopal ordination in the line of apostolic succession, as the Romans do, and require perfect conformity to the beliefs set out in our formularies in order for Christ's holy Body and Blood to be present in communion, as no other denomination does (besides some, not all, Orthodox)? I doubt it, as I see no evidence from the Scriptures or our formularies that it be so.

    I'm fairly confident the only strict necessity for the Eucharist is the unfailing use of Christ's words of institution. The rest is merely a catalyst for that.
     

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