So the Bishop came today

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by bwallac2335, Jan 10, 2021.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    and he gave communion to my son. Normally the priest just gives him a blessing. What does your church normally do for young children?
     
  2. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Interestingly, we had an episcopal visit too. Several years ago we had a lecture on children's communion at one of our diocesan function. The Canon theologian did not oppose the practice and the bishop's opinion is in line with that but he follows local custom when he visits. So, it all depends on which parish one is in. Not too long ago we went to a diocesan function where the Archdeacon emeritus ran the communion service and he asked if my kids received, to which I replied no. My older one has received a couple of times but I have determined to hold off until their confirmation to have the practice be normal.
     
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  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    In the Diocese of Newcastle we have separated admission to Holy Communion and Confirmation. My view is this may not be as meaningful as it should be. The argument was that Baptism incorporates us into Christ, and conformation is more of an intellectual matter (coming of age).
     
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  4. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    That was the first time Noah has received. I was kinda shocked and he did not know what to do. I had to tell him to eat it.
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    There is a new lack of clarity about what Confirmation is, that came out of the post-1979 Episcopalian implosion of catechesis and even basic doctrine. Don't mind it, the bishop was acting out of extremely charitable and good impulses, even if the theology of infant reception has become muddled (think of everything he's been through, the battles he's seen, the broken spiritual formation everyone was receiving at the seminaries; you wouldn't want to go through it yourself).
     
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  6. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    What should the doctrine be or was?
     
  7. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    After baptism the person is only regenerate and does not yet have the Holy Ghost dwell within them. The latter only happens after the profession of faith, ie. at the age of reason, and not before.

    Upon the age of reason, the person is capable of making the profession of faith. When they make that profession at Confirmation, the Holy Ghost comes to dwell within them, and they become a believer, capable of discerning the sacred Body and Blood when they receive the Sacrament. Thereupon it is very good for them to receive the sacrament and the accompanying body and blood.
     
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  8. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

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    Uhh, what? The language of Confirmation is that of strengthening, not receiving the Holy Spirit/Ghost. Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit, does he not?

    Confirmation is still an appropriate precursor to fellowship at the table/altar, but I'm not sure I can agree with your description of the distinction between baptism & confirmation.
     
  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Right of course, we are baptized with the water and the the Holy Ghost, but that's instrumental. The two are the instruments of the child's regeneration. Since the child is not yet at the age of reason, and is not a professing Christian but more like an animal than a human being, albeit with a human soul and the future capacities of becoming rational, one may say there is no point for the Holy Ghost to dwell in them, at this point. This is not a professing believer yet.

    I'm just following the treatises on Confirmation from Jeremy Taylor and Samuel Saywell. In the Rite of Confirmation, the bishop says,

    "We make our humble supplications unto thee for these thy servants, upon whom (after the example of thy holy Apostles) we have now laid our hands, to certify them (by this sign) of thy favour and gracious goodness towards them. Let thy fatherly hand, we beseech thee, ever be over them, let thy Holy Spirit ever be with them; and so lead them in the knowledge and obedience of thy Word, that in the end they may obtain everlasting life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen."

    Saywell takes these scripture verses as the foundational text for the basis of Confirmation:

    Acts 8:14-17
    "Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them;  only they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their Hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."

    In other words, the apostles were baptized, but had not yet received the holy ghost, until this moment.
     
  10. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    I partially agree with Fr. Brench. How is regeneration meaningful without some action of the Holy Spirit?
    5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3)

    38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2)

    5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, (Titus 3)
    It is a mistake to think that the Holy Spirit is only received at one particular time. Our first example of multiple outpourings would be the Apostles. In John 20 Jesus breathes on them and tells them to receive the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit is poured out again. And then we see St. John, in the prologue to his Apocalypse, writing "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day."
     
  11. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    And the bishop's prayers in the 1928 rite:
    ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by Water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins; Strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, and daily increase in them thy manifold gifts of grace: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength, the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill them, O Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear, now and for ever. Amen.

    DEFEND, O Lord, this thy Child with thy heavenly grace; that he may continue thine for ever; and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting kingdom. Amen.

    ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who makest us both to will and to do those things which are good, and accept-able unto thy Divine Majesty; We make our humble suppli-cations unto thee for these thy servants, upon whom, after the example of thy holy Apostles, we have now laid our hands, to certify them, by this sign, of thy favour and gracious goodness towards them. Let thy fatherly hand, we beseech thee, ever be over them; let thy Holy Spirit ever be with them; and so lead them in the knowledge and obedience of thy Word, that in the end they may obtain everlasting life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

    And, lastly, the Collect for Purity.​
     
  12. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    The Bishop said it was a further pouring of the Holy Spirit during confirmation. That is what he was doing yesterday was confirmation. I was confirmed yesterday at my parish along with my wife and four others.
     
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  13. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    How would you understand these words from the Acts:

    "(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them;  only they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus.)"

    Perhaps we can say when the Holy Ghost first begins to be poured out, before which it does not.

    So prior to the Confirmation, the child was instrumentally born again of the water and the spirit, but the spirit has not been poured out and dwelt within the child. But after Confirmation, the child has received essentially what the Apostles had received at Acts 8:14-17.
     
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    If your son is not yet considered by you and your rector as being ready to receive communion, did you instruct your son to cross his arms across his chest? As I understand it, this is the sign that would let anyone serving communion to only give your son a blessing. (But I suppose it could be overlooked by accident.)
     
  15. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Never thought about it really because our priest always blesses him. I would think you would be older to receive. My almost ten year old nephew yes but my 5 year old no
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I left out a word; I meant to type, "the sign that would let anyone serving communion know to only give a blessing." Just wanted to correct my post.

    The thing is, there is no 'set age' as far as I can tell (some kids can be spiritually precocious), and the bishop doesn't know the people and probably would not presume to withhold communion from anyone who might be regularly receiving it. If he'd not given communion to a child who's been receiving for some time, the parents might feel quite disappointed or even 'put out.' That's what the arm crossing is for, to try to avoid leaving things to chance.
     
  17. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    The witness of the Acts of the Apostles records a number of different sorts of outpourings of the Holy Spirit. In this particular instance, we are given a statement of fact with very little commentary. We must compare what happened here to like occurrences. I think the key is the act of laying on hands, which is generally associated with imparting a particular gift or charism elsewhere in Scripture. For example, in 1 Timothy 4:14 or Acts 19:6.

    The Acts 19 narrative is particularly interesting:
    “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
    So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
    And [Paul] said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
    So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
    Paul seems to be surprised that they had not received the Spirit. Thus he asks the follow on question.

    This fits with the idea I mentioned earlier that there are progressive outpourings of the Spirit. Maximus Confessor wrote a treatise advocating that nothing is empty of the Holy Spirit. What he meant is that the Spirit is working in some capacity in every living being. He goes on to clarify that the Spirit is working in different ways in various groups of people:
    Therefore, the Holy Spirit is in all universally, as holding all together and taking care of all and enlivening the natural sperms, but specifically He is also in all who obey the law, as revealing the transgression of the commands and illuminating the foretold promise according to Christ, and, besides these, He is in all who live according to Christ, as working the adoption. As generating wisdom, in none of the foresaid is universally, but only in those who have followed and understood and by living according to God have made themselves worthy of His divinising inhabitation. (https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/maximus-holy-spirit.asp)
    Some excerpts from the sermon my bishop preached at the confirmation service:
    In Confirmation we receive enabling gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are not merely making a profession of faith.

    One of the things that gets people confused is they limit the gift of the Holy Spirit to either having the Spirit or not having the Spirit, and this based on a single event. But the Holy Spirit is given in all sorts of ways, and for differing purposes.

    Also, when we talk about the receiving the Holy Spirit, we often talk about the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit. We speak of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, godliness... This is meant to convey the fulness of the gift of the Spirit.

    In simpler terms the Holy Spirit helps us to live the life of a Christian, both to withstand the attacks of the devil, and to learn and know what we need to, to truly love God and love our neighbor. So, the Holy Spirit is given at different times, for different reasons, and the ordinary way we receive the gift of the Spirit is at baptism, by the laying on of Hands with prayer at Confirmation, and Ordination.

    A study of the relevant passages of Scripture shows us that the Spirit is never given in vain. It may be to withstand persecution, or empowerment for ministry, but the Spirit is always given for a purpose. (Abp. Thomas E. Gordon)
     
  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I believe it would be imprecise to say that we receive the Holy Spirit more than once, or that we receive more of Him over time. Spiritual gifts are given to us by or through the Holy Spirit as God wills, for various tasks or purposes and possibly at specific times, but these enablements and enduements are not a reception of 'more of the Holy Spirit' or receiving Him again.

    I'm reminded of a visual aid that was used in the A/G church where I attended. The minister likened the Holy Spirit to the water he was pouring in a glass, and after filling the glass he jostled it so some of the water flew out. Then he filled it again, saying that people need to get filled back up again with more of the Spirit. This was visually memorable and meaningful, but not Scriptural. Instead, Christians should always strive to grow more sensitive and obedient to the Holy Spirit, who already indwells them; this is done by prayer and by reading and meditating upon God's written word.

    Recall the OT temple. A thick veil covered the entrance to the Most Holy Place (or Holy of Holies) where the Spirit of God 'resided' and separated this area from the (lesser) Holy Place (Exodus 26:33). Once per year the high priest would cleanse himself rigorously and would enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat. Only the high priest was allowed into the Presence of the Holy Spirit. If the high priest was not fully cleansed from sin, he would fall dead inside that chamber; that is why they tied a rope around him so they could drag out the body if God struck him dead. God's standard of perfection is very high!

    But on at least occasion (1 Kings 8), after the ark of the covenant was carried by the priests into that chamber, the Holy Spirit manifested Himself as a cloud of glory in the Holy Place, and the priests were unable to stand up in the powerful Presence of God. Our God is awesomely powerful.

    When Jesus died, this 4" thick veil which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was torn by God from top to bottom. This is understood to signify that the barrier between God and man was removed by Jesus' redemptive act. As a result, when a person is born again by God's grace through faith, the Holy Spirit comes to that person and resides within him. His body becomes the temple of the living God (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16). This can only happen because God has cleansed the person thoroughly; all sin has been removed and he is spiritually renewed and cleansed. (Thus we are counseled to abstain and flee from sin, which we should do out of love and respect for the awesome thing God has done for us; we present our bodies as "living sacrifices," Rom. 12:1.) The Holy Spirit dwells (lives and abides) within the believer.

    Just as we are never led to believe that the Holy Spirit ever "came and went" from the Most Holy Place, so we are never told that the Holy Spirit comes and goes from the believer. He does not 'pick up and leave,' to return later. He comes to abide with us forever (John 14:16). He is always present and constantly working on the Christian's behalf. He is our Comforter, our ever-present Helper, and our guide (John 14:26; 16:13). This tremendous privilege was made possible by the blood Jesus shed for us! Any failure to hear from God or failure to receive whatever enabling gift He might have for us is due to our own shortcomings, never the fault of the Holy Spirit. It behooves us to read our Bibles and pray often (both talking to God and listening, to see if He wants to tell us something, Rom. 8:16); frequent communication with God helps us to be sensitive to His quiet way of leading us, and we couple this with familiarity of His written word so we can better discern the identity of the spirit we are hearing from (seducing spirits would deceive us if they could, 1 Tim. 4:1). When we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit on the inside, it will never disagree with what the Bible tells us. And when we hear Him, we should always obey quickly!

    When a believer is confirmed with the laying on of hands, that person is already indwelt by the Holy Spirit so he isn't going to "get more" of the Spirit, but he may receive some enablement (a charism or 'spiritual gift'). That enablement, that anointing, could lead to an outward manifestation of God's power for the purpose of serving others, either right then or sometime later in life. The one being confirmed should be counseled to expect the possibility, and how to respond if he feels so led. Every confirmand needs to be taught about the gifts of the Spirit.

    I wish to mention that the Holy Spirit is a Person, a member of the Trinity, and not an object or thing. That is why I always strive to refer to "Him," and not "it," out of respect.

    Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
    Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
     
  19. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I would not know the current policy of my own church, the Church of England, on this matter. I became an altar server several months before I was confirmed. Now, I know there is no reason why an altar server should receive Holy Communion but the rector wanted me to. He applied to the bishop for permission, which was granted. This was because at the time only the confirmed were to receive Holy Communion in the Church of England.