The use of the crucifix

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by charles happold, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    It might be worth noting, too, that as events have unfolded throughout history our ability to understand some prophecies may increase. I would be curious to know, for example, whether those same early church writers interpreted the 'valley of dry bones' passage and other passages to mean that Israel would literally be restored to their homeland in this age, or whether they 'spiritualized it' into some other meaning? As another example, it would have been utterly impossible for the early church to understand the reference to wormwood causing deaths in Rev. 8:11, but today we can see a likely link to radiation poisoning because the name "Chernobyl" means "wormwood."

    Plus, it is possible that the Holy Spirit reveals more prophetic meaning as the time of the end grows nearer and the need to understand begins to arise.
     
  2. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The passage in St. Ezekiel even by the Jews (except the Sadducees, who are extinct, and what they thought of that verse has perished with them) has always been interpreted as referring to the Resurrection. There are verses one could hypothetically use to support a prophetic advisory of the reinstitution of a Judaic regime (not strictly speaking Israel entire, since at least five of the twelve tribes are completely unaccounted for, depending on whether or not we believe that some Ethiopians are descended from Dan, a similiar claim from the Bene Israel of India or a related group, or that the Samaritans are as they claim descended from Ephraim and Manasseh, the Jews of course insisting they are descended from Babylonian or Assyrian settlers in Judea during the Exile imposed under King Nebuchadnezzar, and then of course the Levitical remnant present among Judah and Benjamin, and then indeed also among the Samaritans). Indeed I consider the absence and probable extinction or ethnic dissolution of most of the Northern Tribes confirmation of the Pauline view concerning the Ecclesiastical identity of the New Israel).

    Nay, “chornobyl”, a vernacular Ukrainian word, refers to this nasty weed related to Woodworm but lacking its distinctive properties as a psychotropic intoxicant. Wormwood is artemisia absinthum, hence absinthe and until recently was highly illegal, as a drink, and in the US restrictions still exist on the hallucinogenic active ingredient. And wormwood is dangerous and causes many deaths; is is not without reason LSD has been likened to it in popular culture. Conversely, chornobyl refers to artemisia vulgaris, an ugly little weed also known to the Ukrainians as “polyn” and to us Anglophones as “mugwort”, properly, although some people do incorrectly call it “wormwood,” but this is either overgeneralization, a regional accent variation or frankly, incorrect usage. Because wormwood proper does in the mainstream context of the English tongue refer to the hallucinogen-producing artemisia absinthum from which the bitter green hallucinogenic liqeur beloved by some of the more outre artists and other Bohemians of the Salon one would likely encounter in Paris in the 1890s variously plotting anarchic revolutions or working in some of the rather, shall we say, original, styles of art common to Edwardian error, a substance which one might be attempted to accuse the Soviet nuclear industry of abusing gratuitously in the lead up to the Chernobyl accident,

    But at that, the most human tragedies of the town tended to involve Pripyat. Later today I might look into whether or not the Hebrew “la-anah” is even translated in any obscure Ukrainian Bible predating the 1980s, something which I should note would be a rarity since Ukrainians, Belarussians and Russians, as well as Serbs, Bulgarians, Rusyns, Lemkos and other Slavic Christians who are not Roman Catholic, predominantly use Church Slavonic translations and liturgy.

    Now, wormwood (absinthe) does kill, whereas chornobyl, while I wouldn’t eat it, (and let me stress here I would not eat wormwood either), is not a notorious, dangerous hallucinogen which remains illegal in its unadulterated form in the United States, but, la-anah can refer to any bitter root in that category, for example, Hemlock, which in the ancient world many notable persons were killed by forcing them to drink of it. This was especially possible in Greece, where both the esteemed Arcadian (Megalopolitan) general and statesman Philopoemen, and the even more esteemed philosopher Socrates, were put to death in this manner (by forcing them to drink Hemlock, or la-anah in Hebrew). So I am disinclined greatly to consider an obscure regional Ukrainian term for a harmless weed prevalent in the region of Pripyat, more commonly known even in Ukraine as “polyn” (especially since the nuclear disaster) was a prophecy thereof.

    Also, there seems little likelihood of Sacred and Inspired scripture alerting us to this one specific accident when we consider, in the grand scheme of thingsm the number and scale of disasters and terrible wars, and consider both nuclear incidents, including the use and testing of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons and the accidents at Chernobyl, Fukushima (which was in many respects worse than Chernobyl; after all, at Chenobyl only one nuclear reactor melted down and exploded, and it is basically contained, after much effort, whereas Fukushima is much worse in every respect except in terms of post-disaster incidents of radiation poisoning (which were incredibly, horrifically and unaccceptably high at Chernobyl due to inexperienced, ill-trained emergency responders executing what was initially, a spasmodic reaction, while Appartchiks raised in a culture highly averse to bad news and the dissemination thereof obstructed, for internal political reasons, sane measures of evacuation, before the scientists took over and, with Herculean assistance and later, Western intervention, brought the disaster under control). But Fukushima could well kill more people due to cancer over the long run.

    But, the Alexandrian exegete in me feels obliged to point out that both your interpretation of Ezekiel and of la-anah are possible (although in the case of Ezekiel, in light of both waht St. Paul and virtually every Church Father and Theologian before 1948 wrote, exceedingly unlikely, and in the case of la-anah, given that it refers to wormwood, a common cause of death in antiquity, in particular, of suicide and execution), but these represent very allegorical, rather than literal, Antiochene interpretations, and they are quite a stretch, owing to the manifold reasons I have outlined above, according to the two criteria in Anglicanism and the other ancient forms of Christianity by which the meaning of Scripture is exegetically interpreted, Tradition and Reason.

    I am inclined to doubt it because all the Scriptural text we have on the subject indicates that as the Eschaton approaches, numerous confusions and false interpretations will proliferate, with the devil seeking to “deceive, if possible, even the Elect,” until the point where our Lord expresses doubt that any of the faithful will still be alive when he returns.

    Conversely, the view you express happens to be a view advocated by liberal Episcopalians, other mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics, such as some of the Bishops of even our beloved Church of England, who at present seem to feel it more important to publically call for a ban on pointed kitchen knives rather than to call those in Britain inclined to use cutlery for violent acts to repentance, and the acceptance of homosexuality in the Episcopal Church USA, and other mainline Protestant churches, and something I view with even more trepidation, the Amazonian Synod of the Roman Catholic Church, which although we are not in communion with that Church (Deo gratias), could sow much confusion and accelerate a trajectory towards total apostasy, which is something I think we should pray does not happen any time soon; many people have rather too optimistic a view of the Day of Judgement and what it means for ourselves and our children, and everyone else, and the more time the Church has to complete its evangelical work, the better.

    This is one aspect by the way of Chiliasm in its modern, Premillenial Dispensationalist form, that we see in the productions of its vast, well-funded media, for example, the Omega Code, or Left Behind, is this desire for an imminent end to the world, which ignores the terrible suffering at that hour and strikes me as being a perspective rather without mercy. There are people, fortunately none of them present with us in this conversation, who we should pray for with particular urgency, for they have a horrifying predisposition to regard those who do not subscribe to their brand of apocalyptic evangelism as enemies and then ignore the commandment of our Lord to pray for our enemies and to love them. The producers of the Left Behind: Tribulation Force video game, which is disturbingly violent, in which you can shoot with a gun people who are spreading a false faith as a tactically viable means of stopping them, come to mind.

    But alas we seem to have drifted from the subject matter of the Crucifix. I myself do not oppose them, although I tend in the tradition of the Eastern churches to wear an empty cross in the traditional forms used by our churches. And within every altar there should be a prominent cross or crucifix, and these symbols I think we can agree are of great importance to the faith.
     
  3. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Oh by the way, in my early childhood I was once taken to what was allegedly a Methodist church but with no cross visible. I am certain it was a cult, as my mother was greatly displeased by the service and we never returned.
     
  4. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Hopefully they will sell their beautiful older churches to traditional Anglicans who can put them to better use.
     
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  5. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Some of the Methodist Chapels in my area have had their interiors reordered in recent years. The one in my village is a good example. It's a 19th century two storey building that originally had a massive central pulpit with twin stairway providing the backdrop for a small and insignificant Communion Table. The organ was housed in the gallery above the pulpit.

    After reordering, the ground floor now provides a hall, small function rooms and kitchen etc. The upper floor provides the church space. The massive pulpit has gone and a more substantial Communion Table with rails now has centre place and is the focal point. The Table has a plain Cross and pair of candlesticks. The organ has been moved to the back. It could quite easily pass as a Low Anglican worship space.

    Some of the reordered Methodist Chapels here can look more church-like and 'higher up the candle' than the RC buildings. The nearest RC Church is a rather stark concrete building both inside and out. It has a single central Altar (without rails) that looks rather like a concrete cattle trough. The smaller building that was replaced had a more pleasing interior. Definitely not a case of improvement or worshipping the Lord in beauty and holiness.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
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  6. Juliana

    Juliana Member Anglican

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    I completely agree that pre-millennialism is not a 'private interpretation', but at least as valid as other interpretations.
    Actually it makes a lot more sense than a-millennialism. At least it is 'taking the Bible literally wherever possible', which is a very good way of interpreting the Bible. Ususally the Bible itself tells us quite clearly when something is symbolic or a figure of speech.
    It also makes a lot more sense than the belief that we are now in those 1000 years when Satan has been bound (a belief quite widespread among Calvinists). I might accept that if I never heard any news and did not believe Peter when he says that Satan goes round like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
    But I always find it sad that for many years so much attention has been given to the 'when' and 'where' and 'how', when the message of the Bible is clearly that we should be watching and waiting and living holy lives, looking for Christ's return.
     
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  7. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    So some Bible verses are more important than others?

    Alas that is a Post Hoc fallacy. Subjective correlation is not causation. Remember, Anglicanism is Scripture, interpreted through Reason according to Tradition.

    That is not what I or St. Peter was saying; rather, it is the Church which can interpret prophecies, and only then to a very limited extent, because the true meaning is often clear only after the fact. And when it is known, it is often forgotten; recall how only St. Symeon and John the Baptist among the men of Judea realized on sight who our Lord was, but this had clearly been the ancient prophecy, but one obscured through the later disputations of the different sects, such as the Pharisees, Hellenes, Sadducees, Essenes and so on.

    This is a red herring because I did not mention the corporate agenda of the Roman Catholic Church; I am not a Roman Catholic and as much as the Roman Catholics would love to be able to lay exclusive claim on Catholicity, they are not the Church Catholic. Indeed at the rate they are going, I fear they could soon become completely schismatic and cut off.

    There is a sharp distinction between the Catholic Church, the doctrines of which are preserved in the Eastern churches, such as the Russian Orthodox, the Syriac Orthodox, the Coptic Orthodox, the Assyrians; collectively the most persecuted Christians on Earth, and the traditional Anglican churches, which one might as well call the Western Orthodox. The Roman Catholics and some other Protestants have parts of the Orthodox faith, in particular, the Lutherans, but there are also some errors in their teaching.

    Since St. Peter. There is a correct interpretation of Scripture, which is why the Anglican church has the Creeds and the Liturgy, and the Liturgy is arranged in part for catechtical purposes, in order to ensure the propagation of sound and godly doctrine. That is also why the Anglican church has bishops, priests and deacons, and traditionally requires them to take an Oath of Subscription, to teach the doctrine they had received without altering it.

    Nonsense; that is purely Antiochian hermeneutics. Alexandrian exegesis never worked that way. And also, with regards to prophecies regarding the Eschaton, our Lord specifically warns us that some of these are obscure and will not be known in advance, and St. Peter warns that prophecies are not of their own exposition. So even on Antiochian terms, the Chiliast interpretation was rejected by the likes of St. Chrysostom and Mar Theodore of Mopsuestia.


    You can assert that as much as you like, but the reality is that at present and throughout history, Chiliasm has never been anything close to “That which was believed always and everywhere, by everyone.” Indeed it has been rejected as Church doctrine since before even the Council of Nicea. Constantinople merely codified this through the expansion of the Nicene Creed to include the phrase “Whose Kingdom shall have no end” with regards to Jesus Christ.

    This statement is historically incongruous with the history of the early Church, where you always had two Catechtical Schools, that of Antioch, which favored a historical-literal exegesis, and that of Alexandria, which favored a typological-allegorical exegesis. But the prophecies of the New Testament were always treated differently, and for good reason; for example, despite there being much numerical information in Scripture concerning the dating of the Eschaton, our Lord warns that this information will not make sense before the fact. The eschatological prophecies have to be read allegorically because we lack a literal frame of reference with which to interpret them. And on this point, the two schools agreed, and ultimately, the interpretation of the New Testament, being a synthesis of Alexandrian and Antiochene exegesis, is a product of a “dual hermeneutic.”

    And it has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church, but the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church we confess in the Nicene Creed, and its councils and formulas.

    So would you excise from your Bible where our Lord says that we should forgive someone seven times seventy seven times, or do you accept that as literal?

    This by the way reminds me a bit of the Jefferson Bible; Thomas Jefferson, a Deist Unitarian, actually did take a pen knife to his Bible and deleted all of the supernatural and “priestcraft” from the Gospels, hoping to distill “the pure philosophy of Jesus Christ.” The Unitarians amuse me, because 175 years before they were the Puritans, landing in New England; the oldest church in America, the Old Ship Church, has been Unitarian since the nineteenth century. And the Puritans are a cautionary tale, because they disputed the Anglican adherence to tradition, for example, the Episcopate and the Liturgy, as “Popery.”

    But Popery has nothing to do with it; the Bishop of Rome was not even present at the Council of Constantinople, where the current form of the Nicene Creed with the anti-Chiliast clause was adopted. Nor was a Bishop of Rome present at any other; rather, they sent legates, but only at Chalcedon did Pontifex Maximus Leo I personally involve himself in the affairs of the council, albeit without leaving Rome for Asia Minor.
     

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