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Author Topic: Trans, Cons, Who Knows the Difference?  (Read 6323 times) Average Rating: 0
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Keble
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« Reply #45 on: April 27, 2003, 01:36:07 PM »

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It may be why it exists at all

Thank you.

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(and why Orthodoxy exists too)

Is this the western Catholic criticism that Eastern Orthodoxy was caesaropapist, (....)

No. It's the ordinary secular historical observation that orthodoxy isn't free of political consideration, and most particularly not in is adoption as the state religion of the Constantinian state. Appealing to secular historians to cynically dismantle Anglicanism will produce the same cynical deconstruction of Orthodoxy.

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Actually, while I support your rejection of Spong, I'm also pointing out that your position is only a jump or two removed from his, built on the creaky foundation of the Renaissance English monarchs' made-up church, and that your attitude to the Sacrament is the same as his to the Trinity.

Serge, everyone is, in this sense, only two jumps from Spong. All you have to do is pick up one of his sufficiently late books and read it, and then assent to it for whatever reason. Being baptized in Orthodoxy isn't itself protection from this. The only sure defense is either to either not know about him and his books (and never find out), or to be so stubborn and hard-headed by temprament that it realy doesn't matter what Spong says anyway. One cannot rely on the first, and not everyone is "blessed" with the second-- and in any case, both ignorance and pig-headedness have the same problem: you can form them around any position, as well as around Orthodoxy.

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But they aren't a party unto themselves, not in this country.


You may have a point there, but check out the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta. Before they left to get away from liberalism, they were an Episcopal congregation. (Now I think they're under the Anglican diocese of Sydney, Australia, where their Egyptian-born minister was ordained.) So Low they seen Baptist - just like some Church of England parishes. They're (Evangelicals) rarer in America than in England.
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Maybe it's because they are Baptists-- at least in polity. I can't find any good evidence about them; they aren't really attached to Sydney and the only evidence of any affiliation I could find at all was a reference in the Presbyterian Layman to an "Evangelical Anglican Church of Australia". I could find no other evidence that this body exists. I find no references to bishops or anything like that; everything points to a conventional pastor-planted evangelical megachurch with some Anglican coloring-- sort of a "pastores vagante", if you know what I mean. The pastor took a Masters at Fullers, after all.

I'm skipping over the homosexuality stuff-- you can read about the New Westminster mess at Virtuousity if you are so inclined, and see Williams's responses (which were not what the liberals expected or wanted).

(also skipping over more of the secular history stuff-- I'm sure that nobody else in an Orthodox board wants me to spell out in detail a cynically secular analysis of Nicea.)

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But in doing so they did not believe that they had to agree with Anglo-Catholicism as an indivisible system.

Which is what I mean by 'this was not really Anglo-Catholicism'.

But I don't think this explanation of what you've said thus far is accurate. What you've said is much stronger: that they didn't take any part of A-C into the rest of the church except for appearances. This is far too strong. Parts of A-C arguments made it into the Anglican mainstream, and parts did not.

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It's pretty clear that communion every Sunday is going to remain the established practice, not because the Catholics do it (and the reality of Catholic practice is infrequent communion-- or at least it used to be-- with church attendance being the important part)

OK, you partly misunderstood me but I see why - the use of the word 'communion'. What I meant by 'communion every Sunday' was 'having the communion service every Sunday' (which the ACs would ID as Mass), not how often people went to communion.

Oh, I understood that. The point is that the thinking that went on in establishing the Eucharist as the Sunday service contained within it the notion that main point the point of having the Eucharist every Sunday was that the congregation was to take communion every Sunday. The Catholic theory (left over from the Middle Ages) was that attendance was what was important and that one only needed to partake very infrequently. (Of late they've begun to adopt the Anglican view, but to do this they've had to make concessions to Anglican practice too.) Communion every Sunday came about because thinging about doing liturgy led to the conclusion that it was the best practice and that there were no particularly good reasons for substituting Morning Prayer if there was a choice to avoid doing so. Catholic "trappings" had nothing to do with this.

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I see two contradictory, simultaneous things going on among western Christian groups, one a move apostolicwards and the other away. Mainline Protestants are admitting that sola scriptura doesn't hold up, are reading the Fathers and in ways becoming high church - using an alb and stole (and sometimes even a chasuble), having communion every Sunday and, in the case of the mainline Lutheran church, having an anaphora/Canon of the Mass-like prayer (doctored, however, to exclude oblation) instead of just the words of institution.  But at the same time these same denominations are undermining the foundations of Christian faith with new theologies that deny Jesus was God, knew who He was or founded a church. So, because of that, at the end of the day all the new high-churchery is only theater, or some cruel attempt to deceive people by setting up a bogus, alternative 'catholic' church.
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But you are acting as if these things are part of the same whole, whereas the reality is that they are practically opposing forces. One one side is two somewhat different manifestations of The World. One of these is the Spongian theological crowd: academics (or pretenders to the same) picking at the scriptural story in a kind of world-weary and even cynical Franco-German scholasticism. My impression is that this is pretty much a "religion" of intellectuals, and that people who don't style themselves students of religion tend not to have much use for it per se. (Personally, it strikes me as a lot of academic mumbo-jumbo that doesn't have much to say to most people.) The other secularist element is the tendency to take social religion as a license to write into the church what the world wants it to say. I've gotten into a lot of very heated arguments with people about this on sexuality issues, because I find lots of people putting the Liberal Party Line in the mouth of the church when a cooler consideration would dissent on some or all points. These camps overlap a lot, but it seems to me that they represent different impulses.

The opposition, however, is quite different. Evangelicals, at least, are becoming more willing to admit that they do really have a tradition, and they therefore this tradition should extend into knowledge of the early church. Churchmanship is breaking down in the Episcopal Church precisely because people can even make the same sorts of arguments about how to do liturgy on both sides of the radical/traditional divide. Indeed, a lot of the most radical attempts to change the liturgy are precisely attempts at changing it to reflect a radicalist theology. That's where the line between evangelicals and A-Cs and high church types is being blurred; what they have in common-- defense of the creeds and of a scripturally-based rather than a scriptural-critical theology-- is obviously more crucial than matters of practice.

The rest of this will have to go. I can't spend anymore time on a reply. Have a glorious Easter.
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« Reply #46 on: April 27, 2003, 02:31:42 PM »

Thanks again, Keble, for your thoughtful reply, even though we don't agree.

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No. It's the ordinary secular historical observation that orthodoxy isn't free of political consideration, and most particularly not in is adoption as the state religion of the Constantinian state. Appealing to secular historians to cynically dismantle Anglicanism will produce the same cynical deconstruction of Orthodoxy.

OK, thanks, and I got your drift the first time, conceding you have a point that politics figure in the history of the orthodox Churches including the Orthodox Church.

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Serge, everyone is, in this sense, only two jumps from Spong.

Everyone? Not any Eastern Orthodox bishop I know of.

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All you have to do is pick up one of his sufficiently late books and read it, and then assent to it for whatever reason.


Depends on what you mean by 'assent'. If you mean what I do by 'a stopped clock is right twice a day' and rejecting the patethic fallacy, you're right. Spong may well say a thing or two that's true. But if by 'assent' you mean 'buy into his premise' then no, nobody orthodox is only two jumps removed from him.

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Being baptized in Orthodoxy isn't itself protection from this.


Of course. There are lots of ignorant, never catechized, nominal Eastern Orthodox.

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Maybe it's because they are Baptists-- at least in polity. I can't find any good evidence about them; they aren't really attached to Sydney and the only evidence of any affiliation I could find at all was a reference in the Presbyterian Layman to an "Evangelical Anglican Church of Australia". I could find no other evidence that this body exists. I find no references to bishops or anything like that; everything points to a conventional pastor-planted evangelical megachurch with some Anglican coloring-- sort of a "pastores vagante", if you know what I mean. The pastor took a Masters at Fullers, after all.

You have a point here, too. The Church of the Apostles isn't very forthcoming about which church it's affiliated with - I got their backstory from a site other than theirs. My guess from that source was that they were attached to the diocese of Sydney but I could have been wrong. They may be part of some breakaway, Low, ex-Anglican group in the Antipodes. Also, as when quondam Anglo-Catholic Bishop Graham Leonard of London (now a Roman Catholic monsignor) took charge of an ex-ECUSA church in Oklahoma back in the 1980s, I can't see Dr Jensen, the archbishop of Sydney, taking over a church in the States w/o ECUSA making a stink, and I never heard about any such. You may be right that Dr Michael Youssef is now a vagus pastor and that the church is functionally Baptist. His getting a master's from Fuller isn't ipso facto proof he's not Anglican - I wouldn't be surprised if a priest from the Sydney diocese went there. There is very little at that church that appears Anglican! But my observation stands - there are parishes in the Church of England (much less grandiose as they are smaller and poorer) a lot like it.

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I'm skipping over the homosexuality stuff-- you can read about the New Westminster mess at Virtuousity if you are so inclined, and see Williams's responses (which were not what the liberals expected or wanted).

I've met David Virtue and Virtuosity is a major source of content for my blog. He and I differ mainly over the war in Iraq (about which we are 180 degrees apart), but he is an orthodox Christian gentleman, apparently a classical Anglican.

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But I don't think this explanation of what you've said thus far is accurate. What you've said is much stronger: that they didn't take any part of A-C into the rest of the church except for appearances. This is far too strong. Parts of A-C arguments made it into the Anglican mainstream, and parts did not.

OK, I see what you're saying and I wasn't clear enough. Not only is adopting externals w/o any of the beliefs not really ACism, but taking on board certain ritual practices and picking and choosing some beliefs from ACism and not others =/= real ACism.

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The point is that the thinking that went on in establishing the Eucharist as the Sunday service contained within it the notion that main point the point of having the Eucharist every Sunday was that the congregation was to take communion every Sunday. The Catholic theory (left over from the Middle Ages) was that attendance was what was important and that one only needed to partake very infrequently.

Not necessarily. That might have been true of the Tractarians but the second generation of Anglo-Catholics (late 1800s) adopted Catholic practice lock, stock and barrel - the Solemn Mass on Sunday was noncommuning for the laity except maybe the old and infirm. People went to Low Mass early in the morning, if they wanted to make their Communion, and/or Mattins, then to the Solemn (High) Mass for the grace of being present again at the Holy Sacrifice and to hear the sermon, and went to church again for Evensong and, if the church was very, very high, Benediction.

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(Of late they've begun to adopt the Anglican view, but to do this they've had to make concessions to Anglican practice too.)


I see what you're saying but I don't see any inherent connection between frequent Communions and adopting Anglican practice or the Novus Ordo.

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Communion every Sunday came about because thinging about doing liturgy led to the conclusion that it was the best practice and that there were no particularly good reasons for substituting Morning Prayer if there was a choice to avoid doing so. Catholic "trappings" had nothing to do with this.

I think you're referring to the Parish Communion movement from the 1940s started by a priest called Hebert - described as a sort of 'semi-Catholicism' with communion services and weekly communions as the norm. I agree with you that it can be taken separately from Catholic trappings but maintain that taking this notion on board (weekly communion service as the main service and not Morning Prayer) =/= real Anglo-Catholicism.

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But you are acting as if these things are part of the same whole, whereas the reality is that they are practically opposing forces.


Fascinating idea and I agree that the forces are contradictory.

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One one side is two somewhat different manifestations of The World. One of these is the Spongian theological crowd: academics (or pretenders to the same) picking at the scriptural story in a kind of world-weary and even cynical Franco-German scholasticism. My impression is that this is pretty much a "religion" of intellectuals, and that people who don't style themselves students of religion tend not to have much use for it per se. (Personally, it strikes me as a lot of academic mumbo-jumbo that doesn't have much to say to most people.) The other secularist element is the tendency to take social religion as a license to write into the church what the world wants it to say. I've gotten into a lot of very heated arguments with people about this on sexuality issues, because I find lots of people putting the Liberal Party Line in the mouth of the church when a cooler consideration would dissent on some or all points. These camps overlap a lot, but it seems to me that they represent different impulses.

Sounds like a pretty accurate assessment of the liberal camp.

But my point is you see this AND the pseudo-High stuff not only in the same denomination, like the way ACism and snake-belly-Low have coexisted for a century in Anglicanism (the bishops in the Episcopal Church on each side had reached a gentlemen's agreement among themselves by the mid-1900s before all hell broke loose in the 1960s), but done by the same people! Which is why I wrote it seems like somebody setting up a counterfeit catholic church - liberalism with altars, albs and communion every week. Example: Mr Bennison's half-truth that 'the church wrote scripture' - the other shoe drops with 'and can change scripture'. The first clause is pseudo-High, the second pure liberalism.

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Have a glorious Easter.

Thank you.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2003, 02:37:18 PM by Serge » Logged

Keble
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« Reply #47 on: April 28, 2003, 08:30:03 AM »


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Serge, everyone is, in this sense, only two jumps from Spong.

Everyone? Not any Eastern Orthodox bishop I know of.

But I think that's a statement of likelihood, in that an Orthodox bishop, reading Spong, isn't likely to agree with him. But then, neither are a lot of people.

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All you have to do is pick up one of his sufficiently late books and read it, and then assent to it for whatever reason.


Depends on what you mean by 'assent'. If you mean what I do by 'a stopped clock is right twice a day' and rejecting the patethic fallacy, you're right. Spong may well say a thing or two that's true. But if by 'assent' you mean 'buy into his premise' then no, nobody orthodox is only two jumps removed from him.

Of course they are. The two jumps are knowledge (gotten by reading) and assent (gotten however).

The hitch of course is in assent. In the extreme, an Orthodox bishop might be unlikely to assent because he might be unwilling to read it properly (which is to say, evaluating it on its own merits) and therefore essentially rejects it before reading it. But then, so might a conservative of any denomination.

I've read a couple of his books, and it seems to me that, even by secular standards, his claims don't hold up. And he clearly doesn't take his detractors seriously. But I can see how some people find his talk attractive, and someone without the intellectual equipment or the advice of those who oppose Spong or without the sheer hardheadedness can be swayed by him.

The thing is that if you are a real Anglican, you don't go off after Spong just because he is a bishop. You're supposed to be looking at other tradition, good or bad, and referring back to scripture, and evaluating all of this in community (i.e. discussing it with others). So if all of these are "steps", then someone who is properly Anglican is not necessarily so close to Spong either.

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But I don't think this explanation of what you've said thus far is accurate. What you've said is much stronger: that they didn't take any part of A-C into the rest of the church except for appearances. This is far too strong. Parts of A-C arguments made it into the Anglican mainstream, and parts did not.

OK, I see what you're saying and I wasn't clear enough. Not only is adopting externals w/o any of the beliefs not really ACism, but taking on board certain ritual practices and picking and choosing some beliefs from ACism and not others =/= real ACism.

But it is surely Anglican.

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(Of late they've begun to adopt the Anglican view, but to do this they've had to make concessions to Anglican practice too.)


I see what you're saying but I don't see any inherent connection between frequent Communions and adopting Anglican practice or the Novus Ordo.

In the old days you had to do an auricular confession before partaking. Between the priest shortage and the demand that everyone partake every Sunday, actually accomplishing this has become less than possible. So they've gone to the established Anglican practice of embedding the confessional in the service.

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I think you're referring to the Parish Communion movement from the 1940s started by a priest called Hebert - described as a sort of 'semi-Catholicism' with communion services and weekly communions as the norm. I agree with you that it can be taken separately from Catholic trappings but maintain that taking this notion on board (weekly communion service as the main service and not Morning Prayer) =/= real Anglo-Catholicism.

Hebert's movement is what I was thinking of-- William Syndor, for one, cites him.

I'm not sure what the point is of distinguishing this from "real Anglo-Catholicism", especially since my point is that there are other ways of arriving at common practice besides either (a) being Anglo-Catholic or (b) aping it. It seems to me that communion every week has become the dominant practice for the best reason: that it is the best practice.

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But you are acting as if these things are part of the same whole, whereas the reality is that they are practically opposing forces.


Fascinating idea and I agree that the forces are contradictory.

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But my point is you see this AND the pseudo-High stuff not only in the same denomination, like the way ACism and snake-belly-Low have coexisted for a century in Anglicanism (the bishops in the Episcopal Church on each side had reached a gentlemen's agreement among themselves by the mid-1900s before all hell broke loose in the 1960s), but done by the same people! Which is why I wrote it seems like somebody setting up a counterfeit catholic church - liberalism with altars, albs and communion every week. Example: Mr Bennison's half-truth that 'the church wrote scripture' - the other shoe drops with 'and can change scripture'. The first clause is pseudo-High, the second pure liberalism.

But I think that the two strains of liberalism come out completely differently when you get to questions like communion theology. The Bultmannian scholastic strain is based in having a hard time taking talk of sacraments seriously, so it tends to not believe very strongly in the reality of the Eucharist and even falls into an entirely "metaphoric" interpretation. Anglican commentators of all stripes have tended to condemn this attitude.

The social liberals are a different story. Their distinctive chaacter doesn't have anything to do with theology per se, so they tend to fall into other theological camps somewhat willy-nilly. Some of the social liberals are also Bultmannian (or rather, being the latter almost guarantees being the fomer), but some are hard-headed "I believe every word of the creed" types. This camp is hard to identify because they aren't very vocal about anything but moral theology, but they are out there.
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« Reply #48 on: April 28, 2003, 11:21:03 AM »

I don't agree that knowing Spong, his writings and his views exist = being two jumps removed from him.

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The thing is that if you are a real Anglican, you don't go off after Spong just because he is a bishop. You're supposed to be looking at other tradition, good or bad, and referring back to scripture, and evaluating all of this in community (i.e. discussing it with others). So if all of these are "steps", then someone who is properly Anglican is not necessarily so close to Spong either.

While both positions are ultimately objectively wrong, I agree that Spong and classical Anglicanism are miles apart. But the fact that he remains a retired bishop in good standing while being very public about his unbelief does not speak well of ECUSA or the Anglican Communion.

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OK, I see what you're saying and I wasn't clear enough. Not only is adopting externals w/o any of the beliefs not really ACism, but taking on board certain ritual practices and picking and choosing some beliefs from ACism and not others =/= real ACism.

But it is surely Anglican.

Agreed. And as I've written before, I can concede that Anglo-Catholicism as a belief system isn't really Anglican.

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I see what you're saying but I don't see any inherent connection between frequent Communions and adopting Anglican practice or the Novus Ordo.
 
In the old days you had to do an auricular confession before partaking. Between the priest shortage and the demand that everyone partake every Sunday, actually accomplishing this has become less than possible. So they've gone to the established Anglican practice of embedding the confessional in the service.

I see what you mean but you have two misunderstandings. First, in the Catholic understanding, no mortal sin on your soul = no confession required. Now in practice, like in the medieval Catholic Church and in Orthodox cultures, where the people rarely receive, the people did/do confess before every Communion, which functionally could be construed as 'confession is required before every Communion'. But it's not the same. Secondly, Cranmer probably meant to undercut belief in the sacrament of confession by embedding a general confession and absolution in his service, but the Catholic confiteor and absolution traditionally are meant to be a sign of forgiveness of venial sin, not a substitute for sacramental absolution when it is required for Communion. (ACs interpreted the Cranmerian general confession that way, contra the intentions of its writer.)

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I'm not sure what the point is of distinguishing this from "real Anglo-Catholicism", especially since my point is that there are other ways of arriving at common practice besides either (a) being Anglo-Catholic or (b) aping it. It seems to me that communion every week has become the dominant practice for the best reason: that it is the best practice.

Simply that - that it's not Anglo-Catholicism. It's simply 'common practice' now.

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But I think that the two strains of liberalism come out completely differently when you get to questions like communion theology. The Bultmannian scholastic strain is based in having a hard time taking talk of sacraments seriously, so it tends to not believe very strongly in the reality of the Eucharist and even falls into an entirely "metaphoric" interpretation. Anglican commentators of all stripes have tended to condemn this attitude.

The social liberals are a different story. Their distinctive chaacter doesn't have anything to do with theology per se, so they tend to fall into other theological camps somewhat willy-nilly. Some of the social liberals are also Bultmannian (or rather, being the latter almost guarantees being the fomer), but some are hard-headed "I believe every word of the creed" types. This camp is hard to identify because they aren't very vocal about anything but moral theology, but they are out there.

Most interesting. I think I agree. 'Social liberals', meaning politically liberal, can be orthodox - 'I believe in every word of the creed'. Dorothy Day, for example, believed in every teaching of the Catholic magisterium. Such may be wrong in their prudential judgement, politically naive and/or ignorant of economics, but they are orthodox.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2003, 11:21:54 AM by Serge » Logged

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