Validity of Anglican Holy Orders

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The notion that the Church cannot interpret Scripture where it is not completely explicit (the ordering of the Church, infant baptism, the real Presence) by referring to the consensus of the earliest Christians is;

    1. Not found in Scripture. Uh oh.
    2. Not Anglican.
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Infant Baptism is soundly based upon Scripture of both Old and New Testaments and is sufficiently 'explicit' to draw logical conclusions from. The ordering of the Church was sufficiently outlined in Scripture for the church of today to discern the will of Christ on the matter. The Real Presence is another matter, that is a question entirely of 'faith' and furthermore 'faith' of the individual, not to be imposed upon others by those who think they know, but obviously don't if they cannot offer Scripture to support their opinion.

    Anglican praxis is based upon the three principles of Scripture, (as revealed by The Holy Spirit and Church tradition), Tradition of the Church, (where it is in accord and agreement with Scripture interpreted according to revelation agreed by the Church), and Common Sense, (where it can be logically proven to be so.)

    It is the Church which decides what is doctrinally correct and the Church which corrects itself when non or extra Biblical doctrines are questionable, as happened during the Reformation and still happens today.

    The Church has all the knowledge of history and tradition, plus the revelation of the scriptures, which the Church itself selected and in the case of the New Testament, produced, with the presumed oversight of The Holy Spirit.

    It does not however know everything, in every age and is still developing according to the will of its Lord and Master Jesus Christ, to meet the salvivical needs of the present, in every age. Matt.16:18.
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    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The visible church cannot be simply self authenticating, because the visible church is full of sinners and saints, and throughout its history has wrestled with truth, with God, with itself, with kings and countries, and still wrestles with these things in our own age. Bishop Stephen Pickard recently referred to the Church as the household of disagreement which phrase I initially was troubled with, however on reflection given the importance we see in the matters we discuss the only other option would lack texture and mission.

    This is why the Church must be accountable to scripture as expressed in the canon (the rule or measure), whilst acknowledging in the same breath that Scripture itself and the canon as accepted is also the product of the Church.

    Richard Hooker approached this, and in a way we invoke his treasure often without attribution, that we rely on Scripture, Tradition and Reason (a more profound concept than common sense). The essence of this is always to have scripture as the primary frame of reference, for it is not enough to have applied tradition and reason and then simply find a verse to prop it up against. Scripture (which means the whole tenor of scripture) must be invested in the outcome.

    That is why the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral clearly saw four things in the essence of Church, Scripture, Sacraments, Creeds, and the Historic Episcopate. It is this essence of the Historic Episcopate that ensures that the arguments against the validity of Anglican Orders are flawed. The essence of the claim against the validity of orders essentially must rest on the necessity of the Bishop of Rome, and history does not bear that out.
     
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  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    This argument though is not quite as 'circular' as it may at first appear to be. When we use the word 'Church' to refer to that organisation ordained by God and gifted to Christ by The Father, we really mean the Invisible Church, not the visible church which contains both regenerate 'Saints' and as yet perhaps unregenerate 'sinners'. Throughout the ages it has been primarily the Invisible Church that the "Gates of Hell have not prevailed against", not the error prone and imperfect visible church which is itself a darnel sown field awaiting harvest, rather that a Bride without blemish ready to meet her Bridegroom.

    The Holy Spirit will always win through in the end, no matter how corrupt some within the visible church may be. When any major denomination quenches the Spirit, it is they that are eventually the losers, not God. There may be many 'churches' who have had their lampstand removed since the warning in Rev.2:5. Ichabod still applies. 1 Sam.4:21.
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    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The distinction between the visible and the invisible church is not of itself especially well attested in Scripture. The idea is however, I believe, inferred in Article 26 which commences:

    Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in the receiving of the Sacraments.

    That is not to suggest that is the first time the idea is attested. In Civitas Dei (City of God) Augustine observes 'There are wolves within, and there are sheep without', which I take it to suggest that there may be those accounted righteous of the Lord who for whatever reason are separated from the institutional expression of the Body of Christ, whilst acknowledging that not everyone attached to the institutional expression of the Body of Christ are indeed enemies of Christ.

    I think that the point I am making is that whilst at times we may well be disappointed in the machinations of the Church, either at a micro level or a macro level, we should not simply accept that that is only the visible Church so it does not really matter. The Nicene Creed calls us to believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, so it should be in the goals of every baptised christian to find the unity of the visible and the invisible church, especially when it gets hard.

    I remember sitting with a group of people assembling a parish publication and there was a level of angst about the way one person outside this group but still part of the parish had been behaving. One member of the group was 100% deaf, and used to lip read those leading the service. After about ten minutes of the general bitching, they chimed in and said 'sometimes it is a blessing to be deaf!'

    A friend of mine once declared 'I am really committed to the idea of the Episcopacy - but it would be better if we didn't have to have Bishops!' I get what he was saying, however we can't have Episcopacy without Bishops, and in the same way we can't have Church without the visible Church. That really is part of the challenge of the Church that takes incarnation seriously.
     
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  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    You make the point very well. It is within the visible church that the invisble Church of Christ is mostly, (but probably not exclusively), to be found. Some wolves within and some sheep outside. The fact that Bishops today are not what bishops were in the early Church does not negate the current episcopate, (in my opinion), hardly anything in the church is as it was in the early church, simply because time moves on and the church has no option to move on with it, along with everything else that is subject to relentless time. It is The Holy Spirit operational within the members of the invisible church which are the preservative 'salt' of the visible church and they are also the reformers of 'church' practices which oppose the principles of The Kingdom of God and the will of Christ.

    Reformation of His Church is not a thing of the past, it is a relentless and on going project of Christ to bring everything to eventual perfection. This process of sanctification applies as much to The Church, (even dare I say the Anglican part of it), as it does to the individual believer.
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  7. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    None of this actually refutes what I've written. The Word discusses "the Body and the Blood" in Holy Communion. The Word also discusses church offices and literally uses the word bishop. What the bishops were, vis a vis the Apostles, the priesthood and the diaconate, is less than explicit (much like an explicit presence or explicit command to baptize infants). We interpret Scripture in light of the consensus of the earliest Christians. The earliest Christians interpret these as three distinct offices, performed exclusively by men, with bishops over priests and deacons. Given that we do have images of this (Paul setting Titus and Timothy over the priests, Matthias being chosen as an overseer to replace Judas), in the Scriptures, this interpretation is eminently reasonable.
     
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  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    My reason for writing it was not to 'refute' you but merely to state facts regarding the Biblicism of Infant and other Baptism, the original 'scriptural' guidelines layed down by Christ for individual and church conduct, and the fact that the real presence is not a doctrine that can be imposed upon Anglican believers, because there is insufficient clarity in the scripture to fully and unequivocally support the notion. Pious though it may be.

    I think it would be less confusing for everybody if you were to use the word 'Scripture' instead of the word 'Word' (with a capital letter), when referring to the collection of written scriptures we now know as The Bible. The only scriptural references to the 'Word', (capital letter), are exclusively in reference to Christ Himself.

    John 1:1, John 1:14, 1 John 5:7 and Revelation 19:13.

    There are no other references in the scriptures to 'The Word' (capital letter). References to 'the word' when referring to the written word are mostly pertaining to The Gospel message specifically, not scripture itself. Scripture when using the word 'word', (lower case 'w'), is never referring to The Bible, the contents of which were not yet compiled and in many cases, apart from some of Paul's letters to the churches, not even yet written.

    As you will be only too much aware the subject of women in the priesthood is forbidden by the rules of this forum, so we are not permitted to examine the evidence for such a proposition regardless of its validity or not.

    As I said, although your assertions in support of an exclusively male priesthood and episcopate cannot be actually, specifically established by scripture, beyond any shadow of doubt, using 'proof texts', we are not permitted to discuss the subject, so it must remain a moot point.
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  9. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This is the only issue I actually care about in this post.

    Scripture does actually explicitly forbid female ordination, explicitly lays out the criteria for being a bishop or priest and does so in several places. You may wish for the Scriptures (in lower Protestant circles referring to it as the Word is quite common, there isn't really any confusion to which we are referring to, as in the word of God, anyways, a quibble) to say otherwise but they simply do not.
     
  10. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Just a note on this. The Forum terms state this:

    This means that while the promotion of women's ordination is not permitted, the discussion of reasons for and against women's ordination is very much allowed.

    We are dancing on a fine edge here, because it is impermissible to treat this (and other) modern errors as inherently compatible with historic Anglicanism. And yet, we very much want to open the discussion for why it was historically deemed as impermissible. Thus a blanket promotion cannot be permitted, but a discussion of the the claims for and against it is very much encouraged. We hope you understand our position on this. Thank you.
     
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  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    A 'fine line' indeed. It would be a difficult task, yea nigh impossible, to argue the case that scripture does not specifically preclude the ordination of women, if to do so might be considered promotion of the same. There are some that would consider even the mention of the subject, promotion of a heresy.

    That is why I steered clear of outlining the scriptural case for considering it a possibility, and shall continue to do so on this particular website.
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  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    What I 'wish' for the scriptures to say is whatever the Holy Spirit says they should mean. That has been a matter of revelation since the Apostles first began to interpret the meaning of the Old Testament in terms of The New. We have much to assist us in the quest for truth and much was found or rediscovered late on in the history of the Church. Our knowledge, even of scripture, is not yet perfect, 1 Cor.13:8-10, the perfect is yet to come, and it can only come through The Spirit.

    Shall we discuss these irrefutable proofs you claim, one at a time, so we may discern their context, full meaning and implication, down to semantic level, of the texts you cite, concerning the specific issue under consideration, (without actually mentioning it)?
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  13. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am more than amenable to defend the standard, face value meaning of the Scriptures on this. I do find it fascinating that apparently the entire Church for 2,000 years has not been able to tap into the hidden voice of the Holy Spirit ostensibly has on this subject (one that apparently contradicts the face value meaning of the Scriptures) but a small fringe, mainly in the developed Protestant world can.
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I don't. For 1,833 years or so the church didn't 'tap into the hidden voice of the Holy Spirit on the subject of slavery. The USA didn't hear the hidden voice of the Holy Spirit until 1865, and there are still some sections of the church that still have not yet decided to listen. Since the Reformation the 'Protestant' wing of the visible church has led in some spiritual matters, while the church of Rome has continued to drag behind. Be that as it may, this is not a Protestant or a Roman Catholic issue per se.

    Press on with the debate. Who knows, you may be able to convince me of the varacity of your, (face value), exegesis.
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  15. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That's an extremely Eurocentric (and America-centric) view of Christianity. A few problems.

    The Christian view of slavery is dramatically different from the start, whereas before 1,949 years later no one thought of ordaining women as bishopesses or priestesses.

    -The Armenian Church initially felt that calls for abolition were unbiblical, while Augustine writes of as against God's intent.
    -John Chrysostom writes of slavery as 'the fruit of covetousness, of degradation, of savagery ... the fruit of sin, [and] of [human] rebellion against ... our true Father."
    -By the 300s, Emperor Justinian in the East empowered bishops to free slaves, upon their urging.
    -The western church was later divided on this issue as St Patrick argued viciously against the slave trade whereas Aquinas called it a natural result of sin and thus may be justified as a part of a fallen economic order (it should be noted that slavery in antiquity and the medieval era was so dramatically different than racialized American chattel slavery, they are barely in the same category of each other)
    -In the Roman Church, the issue was finally settled in 1537 after the papacy issued Sublimis Deus, after being convinced by Fr de las Casas,


    The enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God's word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to publish abroad that the Indians of the West and the South, and other people of whom We have recent knowledge should be treated as dumb brutes created for our service, pretending that they are incapable of receiving the Catholic Faith.

    We, who, though unworthy, exercise on earth the power of our Lord and seek with all our might to bring those sheep of His flock who are outside into the fold committed to our charge, consider, however, that the Indians are truly men and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but, according to our information, they desire exceedingly to receive it. Desiring to provide ample remedy for these evils, We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.


    -It was only in the modern Anglophone Protestant world in which there was a temporary controversy over slavery. Most Protestants, represented by Anglican evangelicals like William Wilberforce and John Wesley, English dissenters like Charles Spurgeon were against slavery, whereas you had some Anglican evangelicals like Whitfield in favor of it. This was a temporary moment spanning less than 250 years in one part of the Protestant west, whereas the Catholic West and the Orthodox East had come to a conclusion much earlier.

    In reality, while the consensus of Christianity was against slavery, there was nothing like this debate back and forth when it came to who may and may not be ordained.
     
  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    It is hardly surprising though that slavery was more readily questionable down the ages than was male supremacy, surely. There has never been much call within the male population of hardly any country in the world, where they dominated politics, religion and social interaction, for the emancipation of women. Why would they? Slaves on the other hand were both male and female. Slave owners were almost exclusively male. Most women didn't own anything.

    The fact that Jesus broke the mould and based his ministry on the financial support of some women, affirming them and teaching them, even directing them to inform and instruct the male Apostles, concerning Christ's resurrection, but the men "would not believe them", sets an unusual example of ecclesiastical practice, not to be picked up on till the mid to late 20th century. One might still say that many male 'disciples' are extremely reluctant to believe anything a woman tells them, even if it may have come from the risen Christ himself.
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  17. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    1. You're switching up your points here.

    -Originally it was "Well the Church has been wrong before, look at their stance on slavery."
    -Now (once that stance is historically untenable) your claim has switched to "Well of course the Church wasn't willing to confront male supremacy."

    2. You're trying it again.

    -You're trying to say that Christian men were simply just sexist in the early Church and that's why they took their stance (which, beyond a massive assumption, does concede that the early Church did universally restrict the episcopacy and presbyterate from females)
    -However simultaneously you admit that God did did break the mold. So apparently we are supposed to believe that apparently the Holy Ghost was silent and refused to change minds until 1,944 years later and (in a massive coincidence) it happens to coincide with your own fringe opinion?

    3. The truth is in fact the opposite.

    The effect of Christianity on Roman society was a liberation of women, even while the Church, like the Old Testament Church (Israel) restricted some roles to males.

    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a125/0bab65fe10d55e4aecf5a71588caabf59cbb.pdf
     
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