Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Maranatha

First week in Advent. Thinking again about the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus. Preparation for that coming includes the church being prepared as a bride for her husband. Just as a bride is thoroughly looked at on her wedding day - the dress, the hair, the flowers ... so we will be judged. What will the Lord find?

An aspiration we can have as that well prepared bride is to be pure and spotless. To be the church God wants us to be, without addition or subtraction. A few weeks ago a memorable phrase was posted on The Conciliar Anglican with respect to Anglican attempts to be and to model for all churches that pure prepared bride:

"Anglicanism offers the pure Gospel, without anything being added or taken away"

In the context of the post the possible "added" things was a reference to Romanism and the possible "taken away" things was a reference to Puritanism. But today we can think of other matters which might constitute additions or subtractions from an Anglicanism which offers pure Gospel. As time permits through Advent I will offer a few thoughts on these matters.

In conclusion today I simply offer this: when the controversies of today's Communion are peeled back to find the core, it is about the gospel: what it is, and whether the Anglican church (here, over there, and everywhere present on the globe) offers that gospel and only that gospel. Being Anglican is only important if it is Christian discipleship faithful to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything we do is measurable according to that standard. Anything we do which fails that standard should be left behind, like the bride-to-be's everyday clothes when she steps down the aisle in her wedding gown.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"a bride for her husband"?

I am waiting for Ron to say: "What a harsh, exclusive thing to say to gay and lesbian Christians!"

But I mean that only half-jokingly. The biblical marriage of Christ and his Bride is the archetype for human marriage (see Geoffrey Bromiley's "God and Marriage"), and the deformation of marriage today is symptomatic of a wider spiritual infidelity.

Just as being a catholic is matter of faith, not haberdashery, Anglicanism is about fidelity to teaching, not an affection for chanting psalms.
Martin

Father Ron Smith said...

"a bride for her husband" - this quotation, and its application in the Gospel, indicates a problem for gender absolutists, does it not?

Perhaps God is a little less concerned for the traditional heterosexual understanding of what might constitute Christian Marriage!
Sex is not the determinant here

Anonymous said...

"a bride for her husband" - this quotation, and its application in the Gospel, indicates a problem for gender absolutists, does it not?"

- I don't know what "gender absolutists" are. "Please explain", as someone once said.

"Perhaps God is a little less concerned for the traditional heterosexual understanding of what might constitute Christian Marriage!"
'Perhaps'? Not exactly a robust basis for changing the character of a creation ordinance and sacrament! The idea of Almighty God being "concerned" is amusingly anthropocentric but more like the gods of Greece than the only Creator.

"Sex is not the determinant here"
You are mistaken. The Bible (read Ephesians 5.21-33 and countless other passages) and unanimous catholic tradition are against you. An eroticized same-sex friendship (of which there were plenty in antiquity, including among Roman emperors like Hadrian) is not and cannot be Christian marriage.
Martin

Father Ron Smith said...

Martin, you have announced your opinion. Please have the grace to accept that I have mine.

Father Ron Smith said...

Martin, you are studiously avoiding the point I was making. 'Marriage', in the instance quoted, has to do with bonded relationship - not a sexual union. So the word 'marriage' does not always connote a sexual union.

Shawn said...

Marriage in Scripture is a life-long union of one man and one woman. This is not a "reactionary" position. It is not a "conservative" opinion. It is not a "findamentalist" position. It is not a position of bigotry or intolerance. It IS the opinion of God clearly expressed in Scripture. Trying to claim that Christ's marriage to the Church might indictate that He is pro-homosexual is not theology, it is superficial nonsense to try and twist Scripture to suit a position tyhat Scripture condemns. The rediculous lengths that the anti-Biblical wing of the Anglican Church will go to in twisting the faith to suit theur latte liberal political fashions is impressive.

Father Ron Smith said...

I note, in you post above Shawn, that you really are a 'Fundamentalist'.

However, when you've got down off your very high horse, and looked very carefully on what I said in my first post on this thread, you will see that I was talking about another, completely different, understanding about the special relationship between a spouse and bride - that we term 'Marriage' - that between Jesus and those who are related to Him by filial devotion and incorporation by Holy Baptism - not by sexuality.

Another biblical reference on this subject is to the Marriage of the Lamb. Again, nothing to do with the subject you seem so fixed upon - Sexuality. You see, Shawn, there ARE other forms of Marriage than that of heterosexual relationship, and in the Bible, too. I would urge you, in your studies; to Read, Mark, Learn and inwardly Digest.

Shawn said...

"I note, in you post above Shawn, that you really are a 'Fundamentalist'."

Not really. I am Reformed-Evangelical-Charismatic. The term fundamentalist is just a meaningless slogan used by liberals to demonise their opponents.

"However, when you've got down off your very high horse,"

I'm not on a high horse. I am not the one claiming to have a special revelation from God about homosexuality that apparently the vast majority of the Church has not heard. I leave such high horse claims to liberals.

Paul Powers said...

I have neither a seminary degree nor any special gnosis, but I have studied literature, and the marriage of the lamb, as well as the marriage between Christ and His church, look like metaphors to me. They don't look like expanded definitions of marriage.

Father Ron Smith said...

So, Paul, do you think that metaphors are not in any way representative of reality? The basis of all aspects of 'marriage' is relationship. The union of two heterosexuals does not exhaust the definition.

Shawn said...

Ron,

"The basis of all aspects of 'marriage' is relationship. The union of two heterosexuals does not exhaust the definition."

According to Scripture it does, as marriage in Scripture is only ever between hetrosexuals.

Paul Powers said...

I absolutely believe that the metaphors found in scripture are representative of reality. I just don't think they should be taken literally. The Lord isn't really a shepherd. We aren't really sheep. However, the metaphor helps us understand the relationship between God and humanity (although anyone who spends much time with sheep realizes that the comparison isn't that flattering).

Father Ron Smith said...

The Lord is MY shepherd!

All, like Sheep, have gone astray!