Privatising Internal Matters

Discussion in 'Questions & Suggestions' started by Botolph, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    In recent weeks there has been the first 'Court of High Commision Thread' that I have seen in this Forum.

    Firstly let me say, so as to be quite clear, I do not have an Anglican Badge. For me the requirement to subscribe placed the bar to high for me to make it with sufficient integrity for myself. (the reasons being that a lack of clarity in the expression of double procession in Article 5, the filioque should not be part of the Nicene Creed, and I don't understand the omission of the 2nd Note of the Church from BCP, and whilst those matters may seem of little consequence to some, I value my integrity). I am neither advocating nor arguing my position, simply being entirely clear. None the less I identify myself as an Anglican through and through.

    What did concern me about the process was the level of angst the process caused, and the poor witness the matter generated. I know of at least four members of this forum who were quite discouraged by the process. The notion of magisterium is not so Anglican, and whilst the diversity of Anglican opinion is sometimes one of our greatest weaknesses, it is also at times one of our great strengths. I can understand why the word 'inquisition' was floating around, and I have no doubt that that was not the intent of the process.

    There was also a question about the place of theology in the Anglican world, and I for one would see that Theology is front and centre, the Queen of the Sciences, for Anglicans, and Anglican Theologians have made significant contributions way above our numbers. We speak of the principles of Scripture, Tradition and Reason as the undergirding of our life of faith.

    Let me be clear, I am in now way challenging the process that was undertaken, or the decisions made, but I am asking the question if the open public disputation was the best approach, given that there are clearly costs emotional and spiritual to be had in such a process.
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  2. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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    I welcome further discussion on this, including criticism of my behavior. No one is above the law. I don't participate in theological and doctrinal discussions, my forte being administrative and disciplinary topics, so this is right up my alley. I also wish to express my regret at the angst this the first Inquiry has caused, and I have shared my concerns privately with those people who expressed it. However, since the primary Anglican imperative revolves around truth and doctrine, rather than psychology and "therapeutic deism", let us put the last emphasis on the former, instead of the latter.

    I want to note that I was involved in the first round of disciplinary measures, which revolved around introducing the Anglican badge in 2014:

    If you were a member of this forum in 2013, or 2012, you would have been a witness to almost unimaginable internecine conflict, such that just about anyone who decided to label themselves "Anglican", was. 5-, 10-, 15-page threads of "Anglicans" ferociously and savagely tearing each other apart, not because they lacked civility, but because they had nothing in common with one another, doctrinally, spiritually, or historically. Whatever your beliefs, or affiliations, anyone could be an "Anglican". Our worldwide Communion no longer enforces church discipline, leaving thousands if not millions (who were previously excluded) to now self-identify and flood into the Anglican definition.

    In 2014, a lot of careful, objective, and charitable effort went into understanding how to formulate a doctrinal and historic foundation for the Anglican definition. But once it was established we too had an immense splash of angst and anger. "Who do you think you are?" People left in rage. Et cetera. However, in the wake of it was left a clear doctrinal standard, and now 4 years later we find the forums a remarkably peaceful and theologically coherent community, not at all representative of the war-torn battleground that Anglicanism has been in the last century.
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  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    That is as magnanimous as should be expected of any true Anglican. Indeed I honestly actually congratulate you on your fervent desire for good order in the church. 1 Cor.7:35; Col.2:5.

    May I assure you that I am sincere in saying that I am grateful for the opportunity allowed me to 'Put my Case', and 'Defend my Theological Position'. The Court of High Commission might not be a process of examination to everyone's liking, but at least it purports to be an instrument designed to 'get at the truth'. Better than summary and draconian dismissal on the whim of all powerful moderators, as so often happens on other forums. In that respect at least it is characteristically Anglican.

    The Anglican church from its inception was a mixed bunch of theologically disparate individuals, grouped together in two main parties, Roman Catholic and Puritan factions vied to determine the doctrines and worship of the church. This ended with the 1558 Elizabethan Settlement, which developed the understanding that the church was to be "both Catholic and Reformed". Reformed Catholics retained Catholic praxis but not some of the abhorrent Catholic practices, and Protesting Puritans wanted to reject all things 'Popish' and 'Purify' the church by radical means, including iconoclastic destruction. The two factions didn't even agree on which translation of the Bible to use for doctrinal guidance, the Reformed Catholic faction preferring the Bishop's Bible and the Puritan Reformists preferring the Geneva Bible. Thus a completely new translation, agreed by both factions as 'accurate' and thus suitable for the formulation of doctrine, was produced by authority of James the first of England. Now affectionately known as the KJV, (King James Version), which though considered the perfect and unadulterated Word Of God by many American fundamentalist sects, has undergone a number of substantial revisions, corrections and standardisations in its long history.

    The King James Bible.

    The church of England, (and its greater communion), has never, even from its inception been, "a remarkably peaceful and theologically coherent community", It has always been a remarkably 'lively theological debating society' wherein opposing views can be discussed openly without fear of reprisals or repression, but where certain basic theological principles are accepted as fundamental to the faith.

    Difficulties however arise when one man's 'fundamental, foundational principle' becomes another woman's or man's 'Theological Issue of Debate'.

    When we 'raise the drawbridge' of our supposed theological orthodoxy at what we perceive to be the 'undermining' operations of our opposition, we are emulating the Pharisees in their blinkered, hard of hearing, highly defensive attitude to 'the Way, the Life and the Truth', which so challenged their ingrained theological assumptions and caused them such discomfort, that they wickedly determined to rid themselves of Him.

    The Anglican church should reflect the nature of The Kingdom of God on earth, not merely by strict adherence to imagined 'laws', 'doctrine', 'formularies' etc. imposed by edicts and pronouncements from a self styled, 'Knowledgeable Ruling Elite', such as was the case with the Pharisees, Mark 7:6-9. but by serving one another in love, Gal.5:13-18. and strive to achieve like-mindedness, not to our own doctrinal ideas but to the mind of Our Lord himself. Phil.2:1-5.

    So I bear no animosity to you personally on account of your moderatorial decision to strip me of my Anglican 'website badge'. That is neither here nor there, my Anglican Identity remains intact and my credentials as a Licenced Reader in the actual Church of England are obviously unaffected by my perceived status or rank on a mere internet forum. I indeed would be a very sad kind of individual if, after 72 years of Anglican churchmanship, I allowed myself to be rankled by such trivialities. Heb.12:3-4.

    And consequently I sincerely congratulate you on your laudable efforts to establish order; however:

    "Peace, peace, when there is no peace!" Ezek.13:10-16 is a warning against imagining a false sense of peace, by surrounding ourselves with a 'fortress wall to keep out things we dislike or don't want to hear, and can't afford to allow ourselves to believe'. Matt.13:13-17.

    Such doctrinal policing measures can certainly bring 'Peace and apparent agreement on all things doctrinal', but there is the ever present danger that that 'Peace and doctrinal 'straightjacketing'', becomes like the 'doctrinaire' consensus of the Pharisees, rather than the 'fellowship of the Holy spirit' promoted by Christ's Apostle.

    The danger of erecting walls of doctrine, behind which to 'live peacefully', is that they can so easily become mausoleum walls, incarcerating those therein in a deathly tomb-like, Spirit bereft, self-satisfied silence. Matt.23:27.

    You noticed, (with satisfaction it would seem), a distinct drop in traffic on the site? It is possible to be too peaceful. We will all be a long time dead, plenty of time to 'rest in peace and imagined doctrinal perfection'.

    Regards Tiffy
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