Thursday, April 21, 2011

Readings for Easter Weekend

A blogging holiday is about to begin, in keeping with the season of memorial, thanskgiving and celebration of Jesus Christ one oblation of himself once offered.

Here are my recommendations for some reading over and besides Scripture in the next few days:

Our Archbishops' Easter message.

A fine exposition of the case for maintaining the tradition that baptism precedes eucharist. (H/T Preludium).

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Ecumenical Easter Letter.

And, LATE GOOD NEWS, this re grace and the Diocese of Christchurch.

With all good wishes for readers through these days.


Fr. Bryan Owen said...

Easter blessings to you and yours, Peter!

Anonymous said...

This is also worth reading
it focuses on a report from a committee chaired by your bishop - a report you have already said here you disagree with.


Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Bryan!!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,
I think your bloggist misses a point about the Covenant. If the Standing Committee taking up a dispute about a Canadian decision (as outline in the post you refer to etc) determined that the decision was fine, compatible with general Anglican teaching, whatever, the disputing church might still be unhappy, but it would have to reckon with the fact that Canada was found by a third-party to be in a sound Anglican position.

That to me (whatever I might think about the Canadian decision//the response from the Standing Committee) would be an advantage of having the Covenant.

liturgy said...

Holy Week greetings, Peter,

I'm very interested in the discussion about baptism & communion. I'm less convinced than you that your link leads to a fine exposition.

I'm not at all sure of his solution of having "open baptism" on Pentecost, or every fourth Sundays of each month using the sermon for the "instruction" and inviting anyone who is not baptized to come to the font.

I am a strong advocate for the Daily Office, but am not as convinced as he is that it is not a prayer in Christ and the Eucharist is.

I'm also interested in your denigration of the non-Anglican bloke, and your recommendation of surely similar ideas in your late good news.



Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco,
So many challenges!!

I like Tobias Haller's exposition in his post. I had not been keeping up with his subsequent comments. The one you draw attention to would not quite excite my admiration.

I do not have the same expectations of reported remarks in a news report (journalists have been known, from time to time, not to report everything someone says) as of an exposition on a theme in a religious magazine.

But I do have hopes that you will have a great Easter!

Blessings, Peter

Fr. Bryan Owen said...

I'm curious, Peter, if you've read Tobias Haller's Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-Sexuality. Regardless of whether or not one agrees that Tobias makes the case, it's one of the best contributions to the debate from the "progressive" side of the issues from within The Episcopal Church.

Lucy said...

Re: communion/ baptism.
I wasn’t brought up as an Anglican so I’m probably a bit ignorant of some of the issues surrounding this discussion, and I certainly do have trouble understanding the angst.
I guess what I really don’t understand is why there is so much emphasis on baptism as the requirement for participating in communion when the key issue in many Western churches is not the absence of the outward sign but rather the absence of the inward and invisible reality that it is meant to indicate. On any Sunday morning in NZ Anglican churches, there are likely to be adults present at a communion service who were baptised as infants but have no belief in Jesus, no love for him and no intention of living a life of obedience to him; perhaps they’re there as a favour to someone they love, or they are there because they belong to the Anglican Club on Sundays ... in the same way that they belong to the Bowling Club on Tuesdays. Surely the pivotal issue is the inward and visible reality of lives dedicated to Christ and the secondary issue is the sacrament.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brian
No I have not read that book though know of its existence and have glanced at it.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lucy,
How do you know there are Anglicans such as you describe? (My own experience these days is that Anglicans bothering to be in church are faithful not faithless).

Yes, the inward counts. But so does the outward. Not because we (the church) insist this is so, but because Jesus did. So we take the outward seriously, as well as the order, baptism then eucharist, because the eucharist is the meal of Christ's body and baptism is the means of entry into Christ's body.

Lucy said...

Peter, I don't 'know' in the same way that I know Wellington is the capital of NZ; I made the comment based on my own experience of Anglican churches in different parts of NZ. Do you understand the idea of the wheat and the tares growing up together as having anything to say in this regard?

I'm not sure what you mean in the second part of your post: many Christians do not have the same emphasis on sacaraments as we do, are they following Christ less closely than we are? What do you mean when you say that baptism is the means of entry into Christ's body? is that the same as saying that baptism = salvation? or something different?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lucy
There will be tares and wheat in the Anglican church. I am not denying that, but we do live in an age when very few go to church without faith.

Any Christian at any time may be wrong in their understanding of the faith. Potentially we could underemphasise or overemphasies the sacraments. Rather than say who is doing which and whether they are following Christ appropriately, I would urge all Christians to study the Scriptures and to live in the light of them. In this particular context, what do the Scriptures say about the sacraments? Are we living by what Scripture says?

Baptism alone does not save us (that would deny what the NT says about the role of faith in receiving salvation through Christ). Neither does faith alone save us (except, say, on a deathbed) as the NT commands baptism for each believer. Baptism is the outward sign of our faith and accordingly is the external rite by which we join the body of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Alan Perry deals with your point, Peter, he writes,

"So, what happens if the Standing Committee declares, pursuant to section 4.2.6, that Resolution A186 is compatible with the Covenant? That would suggest that there is nothing in the core doctrine of the Anglican Communion, or at least in the Covenant, that conflicts with the blessing of same-sex unions. The Canadians, and perhaps some others, could carry on. Of course, you can imagine how well such a declaration would go over in some churches! It is not a significant stretch of the imagination to foresee that some churches would disagree, perhaps quite vehemently, with such a declaration. If the question came about as in the first scenario above, because another Church disagreed with the Canadian position, a positive answer would not settle the matter for that Church. We can talk about mediation, as in section 3.2.6 of the proposed Covenant, but really in this kind of matter there wouldn't be much to discuss, would there? Either the Canadian General Synod is correct or it isn't. So if there is an open dispute between the Anglican Church of Canada and another Church, a positive declaration isn't likely to end the matter. Nothing would be solved."

But it would be more fruitful if you had a discussion with him, rather than through me.


Peter Carrell said...

I do not think it deals with my point at all, Alison, but I take your point that if I wished to engage further with him, I could do so on his blog.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Peter, thanks for linking to my short comment on CWOB. Also, please know that my comment about Pentecost was not offered as a firm decision, but as a question or thesis for reflection: and I am grateful for Bosco's feedback on it. My point is that if an powerfully evangelical sermon (and I think most of my preaching is evangelical even if not necessarily powerful!) were to motivate an unbaptized person to come forward if baptism were offered at that point, that this makes more sense to me than administering Communion instead. In some ways, I am thinking of the old revival model -- and perhaps "revival" is just what we need. I'd be interested in your thoughts as an evangelical -- either here or at the link on my blog.

It seems to me that the "problem" of baptism is so complex, because there are so many threads in its historical tapestry; how it has been understood as initiation, cleansing from [original] sin, new birth, death to self, faith (personal or vicarious). The one thing that does seem clear is its temporal position in the sequence of the sacraments -- and it seems to me that is also a helpful way of actually understanding it.

Some commenters on my blog appear to see baptism as ineffectual -- which seems to me to rob it of its objective value as a sacrament in an almost Anabaptist way. (Of course, that is another strand in the Christian [though not Orthodox] tradition, and itself raises questions.

How this will all work out over the next decades remains to be seen, but it seems to me that we need to do more work and exploration of those various threads. Thanks for being part of the venture.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Tobias for commenting here.

As an evangelical I see a tension re the possibility of an immediate link between preaching the gospel and baptising respondents: at one end of the tension is the model of Acts where the first question after responding to the gospel was 'where is the water?'! At the other end is the seriousness the church has taken in regard to preparation for baptism, such as the ancient and sometimes revived catechumenate, or simply 'baptism classes' (often allied with making a special occasion of a baptism so that, e.g. sufficient warning of the date allows family and friends to be invited).

I guess too, in the West (at least) we have an aversion to emotionalism so we would worry that an Acts-style immediacy might result in insincere commitments being made, etc.

However I can imagine a context in which the gospel was preached to people who had some relationship with the church already and an immediate baptism following response to the preaching would be a good thing!

As for the efficacy of baptism: can one speak of that in a few words in a comment?!

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks, Peter. I was thinking primarily of someone who may have been "lurking" in church for a while.

On efficacy, I think Articles XXV and XXVII capture what I mean; that there is an objective transformation in the person baptized, not merely a sign, but an instrumentality for regeneration. Also a hot topic of division in the church, btw! Baptismal Regeneration was one of the reasons the "Reformed Episcopal Church" split from TEC back in the 19th c.