Question about Article XXI, On Church Councils

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by Pog, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    There are two kinds of Councils. General and Ecumenical Councils. Ecumenical means, I'm assured ,"Belonging to the whole inhabited world." (Dictionary.com.) Talking of the world as it was then thought to be, i.e. The Roman Empire.
    Ecumenical Councils have to be accepted or affirmed by the whole of the Church.
    General Councils are the ones,mainly ,that didn't receive that united acceptance ,after the fact. Such as Arles 314 A.D..
     
  2. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    If you read Athanasius, On the Incarnation, the Cappadocian Fathers, that is precisely what happened. The Church Fathers appealed to scripture. They appealed to no magisterium or even tradition, because even tradition was uncertain at that point. If you study the 4th century debates closely you will find the Trinitarian position winning on the strength of its exegesis.

    But of course, that is the whole point. They don't on their own settle the issue. They summarize what we believe. If you a curious inquirer wants to know why we believe it, let him study scripture and the exegetical debates/history. This is how the Creeds have always functioned in the historic church.

    Yes of course, in that case we should all pick B.

    If we had this discussion in 326 A.D. just a year after Nicea, a contrary interpretation B was a real possibility. Thankfully for a lay sitter in the pews there is no chance of that happening, because we are discussing this 1,700 years later. Literally no stone has been left unturned in these debates. Every imaginable contest of exegesis has been had.


    Agreed with you there. And notice how much I accept your premises: although I resort all things to scripture, in my argument for Nicea I have also used the node of Antiquity, and just now, its 1,700 year stability, ie. Tradition.

    I don't have to dive into exegesis every time a person questions the trinity because Antiquity, Tradition, Theology are all there for me to appeal to in arguing the point. Scripture is the final arbiter, not a singular talking point. I haven't once presented you with an actual exegesis, as of yet.


    To be fair, the Anglican formularies are the most minimalist ones, of the whole Reformation. Never once have we tried to unravel the entirety of Christian doctrine and tie our Church to that, as say the Westminster Assembly did, tying their hapless followers to a 24-hour 6 day Creation, as one instance. In our church well-meaning people are free to disagree on Days of Creation, and it doesn't affect our salvation. Our formularies likewise never go to the extent of defining all aspects of Predestination, aside from the most basic part of it agreed by all. Our Catechism is also the shortest, so that only the fundamental Doctrine is bound upon the child, and he is not involved in lengthy contentious questions which have no salvific benefit. It's great.
     
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  3. Pog

    Pog Member

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    A) that the winning theologians appealed to only scripture doesn't suprise me :) whether or not there was other more material, political, factors at play I'll leave to historians. At this moment in time I'm open, but supcious. Little in my reading of church history leads me to assume that theology is own by strength of argument alone.

    B) I agree that compared to the rest of the Reformation the Anglican Church was pretty minimalist. But not minimalist enough for me :) and still I struggle with things like the 39 articles, and prefer the modern CofE approach of treating them as historical legacies rather than binding, wholly accurate systematic interpretations of scripture.

    C) differing churches accept differing collections of councils and creeds. Exactly how ecumenical are the ecumenical creeds and councils? After all, I already doubt the true catholicity of the Athansian creed.
     
  4. Pecanpie

    Pecanpie New Member

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    Even worse in my opinion is that they tied them to the teaching that Sunday is the Sabbath and that Christians must not work, play, or even be idle on it. In our Catechism the meaning of the fourth Commandment is "to serve him truly all the days of my life" and this squares with Hebrews 4:1–11.
     
  5. Elizabethan Churchman

    Elizabethan Churchman Active Member

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    How terrifying!!

    Calling those of us who believe that God created the world in six days "hapless" as your instance of the pedantry of the Westminster Standards is not very charitable or respectful.

    The main issue I have with the Westminster Standards doctrinally (there are also political and ecclesiastical problems with it) is not any particular doctrine contained therein, as I agree with it in the vast majority of details. It's the pedantry of the whole thing. It functions more as a summary of systematic theology than a statement of faith. Furthermore, if you do try to actually enforce the thing, you have to enforce every minor detail or otherwise start arbitrarily allowing exceptions, which limits its usefulness as a real organ of ecclesiastical law.
     
  6. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Sorry, didn't mean it in that way. I was thinking of a word closer to helpless. The point being, that those who subscribed to it were now locked into it, in all of its details. Now an Analogical Day Creation adherent could no longer subscribe to the WC. An Augustine for whom creation was instantaneous could no longer subscribe to the WC. By specifying all these details (which really have no salvific value as far as the anglican creedal mind is concerned) they locked themselves and all their posterity into one opinion fashionable at the time of the writing of the assembly. Arguably during Calvin's time other opinions had been more fashionable, so the Assembly elevated matters of fashion to a creedal dogma.
     
  7. Pog

    Pog Member

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    Indeed, narrow definitions and locking people into complex theological systems is just doomed to failure - hence the proliferation of Protestant denominations, and why I am strongly in favour of as much breadth and latitude in theological matters as possible (though there is always danger of going too far). This is why I sometimes seem to be pushing at the very edges of orthodoxy so as to see where the limits are.
     
  8. Pecanpie

    Pecanpie New Member

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    I think pushing at the very edges of orthodoxy for the sake of much breadth and latitude will lead to false ecumenism and eventually the "Free Christian" abomination. A healthy, full orthodoxy is rich and it gives stability, and in the case of Anglicanism it needn't be a complex theological system.
     
  9. Pog

    Pog Member

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    I like how Anglicanism is broad and doesn't tie itself into a systemic theological statement of great detail and complexity.

    I dislike how liberal and broad some modern Anglican groups got.

    I dislike how new Anglican bodies are trying to pin things down too narrowly to a particular interpretation of the 39 Articles and BCP in response.
     
  10. Pecanpie

    Pecanpie New Member

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    I understand where you are coming from, Pog. Now in my own experience I learned that disliking church bodies for their quirks, flaws, liberal churchmen, emphasis on unimportant points, and other imperfections was pushing me away from any church body and the outcome would have been me being a sect unto myself all because I thought myself genuine and genius. I knew I could not be a sect unto myself because the Body of Christ is made up of people who are members of one another. The sacraments are proof that church membership is vital. I am happy with the TEC because the Anglican tradition resonates with me and I do not intend to be under the laws of Rome, Constantinople, or Alexandria.
     
  11. Pog

    Pog Member

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    Yeah, I think I belong most in Anglicanism too (after many years in the church wilderness). But I'm wary of the two extremes at either end. I don't think I could with good conscience hold to everything in the 39 Articles if interpreted in the strict way some of the realignment groups seem to take it; neither would I be happy with gay clergy etc.

    It might be that I want Anglicanism but Anglicanism doesn't want me! If only I got here about fifty years ago ...
     
  12. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    I think its time we began to ask ourselves less what we want, but what it, the Church, ordained by God, wants. To our animal human selfish needs and wants there is no end or satisfying.
     
  13. Pog

    Pog Member

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    Human wants and God's desires don't have to conflict. If we want what's best for the church, and want it to reach all people, and glorify God in the way He intended, there's no conflict.
     
  14. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Agreed. So lets do that. Lets ask how God intended things to be, instead of what we feel comfortable with based on the exigencies of our upbringing or whatever.
     
  15. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    How would you suggest that these ideas ,'Human wants and God's desires,' are brought about?
     
  16. Pog

    Pog Member

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    I'm not suggesting anything, merely pointing out that the either of two extremes regarding doctrinal liberty or narrowness don't seem to be practically, or theologically appropriate (IMHO), and, going back to the OP, that there seems to be some internal confusion within historic Anglicanism concerning how/where to demarcate the theological boundaries of the faith - hence my preference for godly liberty in these matters contra the narrowing approach seemingly adopted by some Anglican bodies.
     
  17. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    There's confusion alright, but it is a question of misunderstanding the Anglican Faith, as far as I can see!
    The Anglican Faith is the Gospel of Christ, the New Gospel. It isn't a matter of people being coerced in to holding it. It is a matter of Anglicans believing in Christ's Revelation. It isn't a case of the Faith according to Tom, Dick or Harry . It's a matter of holding to the received teaching, the teaching was delivered by Christ and delivered to the apostolic college, who on Christ's Advice and with the aid of the Holy Ghost, passed it on to the First Bishops. Pauls Epistles are littered with injunctions about the faith, S.Peter also put's his pennyworth over. Are we to simply ignore Scripture especially Acts or the Pauline Epistles?
    They're being ignored already and have been since South India Debacle ,yet it doesn't appear to be filling the seats or bringing people out on the streets. Where I live only 8% of residents go to church on Sunday! Godly liberty I totally agree with, as far as I understand it! But I draw the line at the wrecking of a whole communion!
     
  18. Pog

    Pog Member

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    Are you saying that Anglicanism is the one true way established by Christ, and all other churches and denominations are faulty?
     
  19. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Members who have questions about the Athanasian Creed, or wonder why we subscribe to it, are recommended to take a look at Daniel Waterland's A Critical History of the Athanasian Creed (1727). It exhaustively treats of and answers questions on this topic.

    We don't currently have this book in the pipeline for transcription but the original can be found fully available on the web.
     
  20. Pog

    Pog Member

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    Cool Jonah, thanks :)