The Order for Visitation of the Sick

Discussion in 'Liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer' started by Peteprint, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The primary reason I cannot in good conscience sign the oath to receive the Anglican badge is that I disagree with the following portion of the 1662 Prayer Book in the Order of Visitation of the Sick.

    One of the moderators suggested I start a thread regarding it, and I would be interested in hearing what others have to say.

    This idea, that all sickness is visited on us by God only makes sense if one subscribes to a Calvinist view of providence, in which everything that occurs in the world is ordained by God. At least that is my opinion.

    This exhortation was written by Archbishop Cranmer and was not in the original Roman Catholic Sarum Rite. Of course similar writings can be found in both Orthodox and Roman sources, (St. John of Kronstadt having written something along the same lines), however those writings do not have the standing of dogma in either the Orthodox or Roman Catholic Churches.

    The proposed English Prayer Book of 1927/28 removed this writing (and the book was approved by the Church of England, only being voted down in the House of Commons) as did the 1928 American Prayer Book and the 1962 Canadian Prayer Book. I have no issue with any of these Prayer Books, the American one having been in use for almost 90 years by conservative Anglicans in the U.S.

    I believe we get sick because we live in a fallen world and our bodies are effected by sin. While I believe God can, and sometimes does, send illness for reasons of chastisement or edification, I do not believe that all sickness a person suffers is sent by God.

    How do others see this?


    "Dearely beloved, know this, that Allmighty God is the Lord of life and death, and of all things to them perteining, as youth, strength, health, Age, weakeness, and sickness. Wherefore, whatsoever your sickness is, know you certeinly, that it is Gods visitation. And for what cause soever this sickness is sent unto you, whether it be to try your patience, for the example of others, and that your faith may be found in the day of the Lord, laudable, glorious, and honourable, to the increase of glory, and endless felicity, or else it be sent unto you, to correct and amend in you whatsoever doth offend the eyes of your heavenly father: know you certeinly that if you truly repent you of your Sins, and bear your sickness patiently, trusting in Gods mercy for his dear son Jesus Christs sake, and render unto him humble thanks for his fatherly visitation submitting your selfe wholly unto his will, it shall turne to your profit, and help you forward in the right way that leadeth unto everlasting life."
     
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  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    What is Calvinist about it?
     
  3. Anne

    Anne Active Member Anglican

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    Peteprint, this is fascinating. Let me put it this way: I'm having trouble thinking of anything that happens to me that is not ordained by God, so I'll echo LL's comment: what is Calvinistic about believing that God ordains all things?
     
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  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    How can someone get sick if God doesn't allow it? Illness is ubiquitous. If God does not allow sickness, what other force or entity is so successful at defeating God's will if he doesn't allow it? It is a hard teaching, but I believe a biblical one.

    "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." Job 2:10
     
  5. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dear Lowly,

    I assume a Calvinist influence in the idea that everything that occurs in the world is ordained and directed by God, a theological determinism.

    As Calvin said in his Institutes, God not only foresaw the fall, he ordained it.

    This article offers what I feel is a good summation of the Calvinist and Arminian views of determinism:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2014/08/gods-will-in-calvinism-and-arminianism/

    I read once in a book I was citing for an essay that a Presbyterian minister during the American Civil War told his congregation that each bullet on the battle field was directed by God. In good conscience I have to reject such determinism.

    It seems to me that believing God sends all illness that a man receives is along the same lines of reasoning.
     
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  6. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dear Anne,

    I don't believe that God ordains who will be saved and who will not. As C.S. Lewis wrote, the doors of Hell are locked from the inside. We put ourselves there by our choices.
     
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  7. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dear Lowly.

    Allowing is not the same as inflicting. The verse you cite from Job does not necessarily show that God is responsible for all human illnesses.
     
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  8. Anne

    Anne Active Member Anglican

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    But the idea that things happen to me outside of God's will is a terrifying thought. And not a biblical one. Thanks for the link! I'll read it and think about it.

    Right, when this is applied to salvation it becomes a different discussion. I think we should focus simply on the questions: Does God ordain all things? If so, does He ordain sickness? We can apply it our salvation if you want to but I find that tends to go down a different path of discussion.
     
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  9. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Anne,

    Yes, but no more terrifying than believing that everything that happens is God's will. My eldest daughter is a drug addict and just lost her child (my grandson) to Child Protective Services. Was this God's will? Of course the issue of whether or not she is a Christian (she believes she is) raises the issue of whether God micromanages the lives of Christians or of both Christians and non-believers. Think of all the Christians who were martyred for the faith. Was that God's will that they die? I think he simply allows it. He has offered us a way of salvation through Christ, but as long as we are in this world we still suffer the effects of the fall. We get sick, we grow old and die, we can be robbed or murdered. We are not immune to these things any more than the unbelievers. Anyone who becomes a Christian expecting life will be rosy is in for a disappointment.
     
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  10. Anne

    Anne Active Member Anglican

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    Pp,

    My abusive father just recently revealed that he is an adulterer, so, yes, sadly, I understand exactly what you mean. And I ache for your daughter....and grandson! Yet I remain firm that such suffering, martydom, pain, etc. is part of the grand narrative ordained by God and not simply his allowing of senseless suffering.

    I promise I'll have a better answer for you when I think about it longer. What a great thread this is, btw!
     
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  11. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I appreciate your kind words Anne. Of course I believe that God can take such tragedies and use them to the good, but I don't believe He causes them to happen. If I accepted an extreme determinism, than I would have no reason to get upset about the Copts who were beheaded in Libya, or 911, or the brutal actions of a serial killer. I don't believe our loving God ordains these things. I do respect your opinion though. As an aside, why worry about what is transpiring in the Church these days if it is all part of God's plan for his glory? That is not a facetious question when looked at from a determinist position which excludes free will.
     
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  12. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    PP, I do not read the Visitation language as asserting that God inflicts all illness. I think this speaks to a larger question of whether God is the cause of evil. Long before John Calvin, St John of Damascus took up the charge of answering this. In chapter XIX of his Exposition, he wrote " His permission, therefore, is usually spoken of in the Holy Scripture as His energy and work. Nay, even when He says that God creates evil things, and that there is no evil in a city that the Lord hath not done, he does not mean by these words that the Lord is the cause of evil, but the word ‘evil’ is used in two ways, with two meanings. For sometimes it means what is evil by nature, and this is the opposite of virtue and the will of God: and sometimes it means that which is evil and oppressive to our sensation, that is to say, afflictions and calamities. Now these are seemingly evil because they are painful, but in reality are good. For to those who understand they became ambassadors of conversion."

    Job gives us a picture of God permitting great and terrible calamities to befall a pious man. And, just as St John of Damascus discussed, while it appeared and was painful, ultimately it was good and led to a deeper faith on Job's part.

    It is perhaps wrong to say God inflicts illness, it is clear he permits it.

    It should be noted, and was by St. John of Damascus, that God is not the sole operator in this. St John goes on to write, "It is, moreover, to be observed that of these, too, we are the cause: for involuntary evils are the offspring of voluntary ones"
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    PP, I am very sorry for the situation with your daughter and grandson. I will most certainly keep you and them in my prayers. I have family members who are mired in addiction. And I know the suffering it causes those who love or are dependent on them.

    Lord have mercy! Bring happy issue out of all our afflictions!
     
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  14. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Anne I will pray for you and your family as well.
     
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  15. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Thank you Lowly. I appreciate your prayers and sympathy.

    I certainly agree that God allows all that happens, but I don't believe He is always the effective cause of all that happens, in this case sickness.

    We read that God wills all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2: 3-4), yet we know that not all will be. Is His will not done? I think it is obvious that this is saying that some will reject Him, despite His desire that all should be saved. If He ordains who will be saved and who will not, this verse makes no sense. The Calvinist gets around this by creating two wills for God, which is not found in Holy Scripture, but is necessary for their system to work. Two wills, different types of decrees, etc. are necessary constructs for their system to stay cohesive, but I don't see these things in the Bible.
     
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  16. Classical Anglican

    Classical Anglican Active Member Anglican

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    The question seems to be: Is God the effectual cause of all things, and does the language of this article necessarily imply that He is?
     
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  17. brndurham

    brndurham New Member Anglican

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    I always found that passage to mean that God remains with us, even when ill. That God, who purifies our hearts by his daily visitation, does not leave us when ill or in suffering, but remains with us whether ill or dying, healthful or distressed.
     
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  18. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dear Classical Anglican, is God the effectual cause of sin? Of course I don't think so.
     
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  19. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dat brndurham,

    I must be reading this passage differently than others here. It says the sickness in question is God's visitation and is sent unto us. This seems to be the plain and grammatical way of reading it.
     
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  20. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dear brndurham,

    Pardon the typo above (don't know how I wrote "Dat"). Must be the brain fog from my ME/CFS.
     
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