Monday, November 20, 2017

The Blessed Isles Declaration

A recent comment on ADU challenged me re what a Blessed Isles (NZ) version of the Jerusalem Declaration would look like, noting that I commented then that I do not think any licensed clergyperson of our church has implicitly signed up to it because the meaning and intent of our constitution including our fundamentals are equivalent to the JD.

I have not time to rewrite the thing in toto so here is an annotated critique of the original JD. There is much that is agreeable in the JD. In summary my critique is not that it is a poor document but that it is imprecise.

Compared to some valuable Anglican documents such as the 39A (revised downwards from 42A) and the BCP (the result of several revisions, from memory, at least 1549, 1552, 1559, 1662), the JD is a somewhat hasty document!

NOTE: there is no need to comment about the connection between the JD and That Topic, or on clause 8 below. The post before this has had ample debate on That Topic. Comment further there if you must. 

I will only accept comments here which comment on the viability or otherwise of the JD as a general statement of faith and practice for Anglicans in the 21st century; or related comments on (e.g.) the continuing validity of the 39A or the BCP. Comments on my annotations are welcome - of course! - but note that I have not annotated clause 8 below.

"The Jerusalem Declaration
In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.
  1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.
  2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual readingThere is no agreed or "consensual" "plain and canonical" sense of Scripture in the Anglican world, and certainly not in the world of Anglican conservatism where (e.g.) veneration of Mary can be supported in Anglo-Catholic churches and ignored if not dismissed in Reformed churches, or women can and cannot be ordained as presbyters and bishops, or speaking in tongues can or cannot be welcomed according to varied theological understandings. Most alarmingly, neither here nor elsewhere in the JD is there any attempt to set out how the Bible is to be interpreted correctly. What body of teachers (synod? house of bishops? doctrinal commission?) assists the church when the "plain and canonical sense" is breached? Who or what determines that this reading rather than that is "a" or even "the" consensual reading of Scripture?
  3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. Personally I am reasonably happy with this statement but it is a statement about how Anglicans understand "one holy catholic and apostolic church." The Orthodox, for instance, stand by Seven Ecumenical councils and the Roman Catholics understand the authoritative councils behind "the rule of faith" differently. Where this statement runs aground is on the Filioque clause in the Nicene Creed: is it part of the "historic Creeds" or not"? The Declaration does not say. If it is part of the historic creeds then that is in contradiction to the four Ecumencical Councils referred to here!
  4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today. I think this begs more than a few questions. Are each and every one of the Thirty-Nine Articles authoritative for Anglicans today? I note, for instance, two versions of the Thirty-Nine Articles, one for the USA which has no monarch and one for the Anglican churches still under the monarchy (see Article 37). I also see statements in the 39A about Rome and the papacy which not all Anglicans might like subscribing to in today's world where we have less antagonism towards Rome and seek rapprochement across our (continuing) disagreements - to say nothing of whether certain Articles are authoritative for Anglo-Catholics (noting Articles 19, 22, 31). I personally am largely happy with the theology of the 39A as they set out thinking on (e.g.) the sacraments, salvation and the church. But I am not perfectly happy with Article 19 which focuses ecclesiology on "congregation" and omits (as all other articles do) any helpful guidance on what it means to be an episcopal church with diocesan bishops. Further, I note that the 39A give absolutely no guidance as to the authoritative character of the "four Ecumenical Councils". What the 39A do talk about re councils is that they "may err" (Article 21). How do we know the "four Ecumenical Councils" have not erred? I also note that strictly speaking, according to Article 21 "General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes." It is my personal hope, perhaps yours too, that we might yet have another General Council (e.g. to sort out, once and for all, the Filioque clause) and I do not envisage "Princes" having any role in sending out the invitations! I would be a bit surprised if GAFCON envisaged that and thus I call them out on whether they really do mean "authoritative" in this part of the declaration. Better by far, in fact, is ACANZP's constitution which includes the 39A among formularies in which the Doctrine of Christ and his Sacraments are "explained."
  5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
  6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each cultureHere's the thing, there is a lot of liturgical stuff happening, even in conservative Anglican churches, which does not abide by this rubric. Three examples: (i) when we follow modern revised eucharistic services (e.g. A New Zealand Prayer Book) we are generally following a revision of the BCP's Communion service which goes beyond "local adaptation." Without worrying about whether the doctrine of communion has been revised or not, the modern revisions are significant revisions of the structure of the BCP Communion service, a structure that Cranmer pursued to make certain points in the midst of the English Reformation, but which now is discarded in order to bring Anglican eucharists more in line with the great liturgical tradition of Christianity; (ii) in my experience, conservative Anglican parishes in the Reformed (rather than Anglo-Catholic) tradition are pretty happy with services that have prayers, sermon and songs and have no particular adherence to the template of Mattins or Evensong: again, this form of service goes beyond "local adaptation" of the BCP; (ii) I also hear of Dedication services for infants being conducted in some Anglican ministry units Down Under. Such services, whatever their pastoral merits (e.g. to accommodate members of the congregation who are Believers' Baptist in outlook), go against the BCP and the 39A. In other words, this clause is not - as best I can tell - actually implemented in all ministry units sympathetic to GAFCON.
  7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.
  8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
  9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
  10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.
  11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration. Obviously this clause enables recognition of Anglicans who remove themselves from jurisdiction of an Anglican province but wish to continue being Anglican and the joining in making "this declaration" is potentially a way forward for determining who is truly Anglican and who is not. Indeed potentially this clause could result in (say) GAFCON provinces declaring other provinces, unwilling to sign to the JD, to be not truly Anglican. But there are many churches - notably in North America - claiming to be (a) Anglican (b) orthodox in faith and practice. Are they all to be recognised as Anglican? If I set myself up in my living room as a church and lay hands on myself, self-declare to be the Archbishop of My Suburb and sign the JD, will GAFCON recognise my orders and jurisdiction? I would hope not! But this clause does not set out any means for GAFCON Primates to distinguish between (say) ACNA and my little (and, by the way, perfect) church!
  12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us. Again, this clause is imprecise. What are "secondary" matters? Who determines them in distinction with "primary" matters? How much freedom is there on secondary matters, I ask, noting brewing controversy in ACNA over the ordination of women?
  13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord. Also "again", this is imprecise. Who or what determines that someone in authority as a bishop or seminary theologian has "denied" the orthodox faith in word and deed? Is there a court or tribunal to look into these matters? Or is it simply to be the "court of public opinion" in which various pundits and bloggers nail Bishop X for saying something ambiguous about the resurrection?
  14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives."

70 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, Peter, for this reminder that the 'Jerusalem Statement' is not necessarily a document that is acceptable to all Churches in the Anglican Communion. This is quite understandable when one considers that it arose out of a felt need for some conservative Provinces of the Communion to separate themselves out from the rest of us on account of our openness to a wider community of Sinners for whom Christ died.

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

Are you at last acknowledging that homosexuality is sin; or what are the sins of this wider community of sinners?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron and Glen
I share Glen's question because, independently, I have been thinking, Ron, that a comment or two from you lately confuses me (easily done!).

It seems to me - the way I am reading some comments - that you are not clarifying whether the church is/should be affirming homosexuals in faithful blessed partnerships as sinners or as virtuous saints.

The former means you agree with many commenters here about what Scripture says about what constitutes sin but take a more tolerant approach to sinners ... the latter means you do not agree with many commenters here about what Scripture says about sin ...

Father Ron Smith said...

What I AM confirming, Peter, is that homosexuals are Sinners, along with every one of US - no more, no less. I do, however, along with many modern Christians (among them Rowan Williams and Bishop Desmond Tutu), have doubts about the sinful nature of all homosexual relationships - which is at the core of the present stand-off in the ACC.

Father Ron Smith said...

Further to your question, Peter, of my reference to us all as sinners, is that epic reminder in the Book of Common Prayer's 'Prayer of Humble Access' - approach to the Eucharist: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" - Quite in accord with the well-known saying that: "God only has Sinners to preach the Gospel". I think it's called 'Reality Therapy'.

It certainly does accord with the Gspel call to humility - about our need for the acknowlegemrent of our own sins - before calling attention to the sins of other people. (See Jesus' story of the Phartisee and the Publican). - a Teaching!

There are far worse sins than sustainig a loving, committed partnership with someone of one's own gender. One of them might be to deny the possibility of God's blessing, and the Church's acknowledgment of such a non-promiscuous relationship.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it refreshing to get away from That Topic, Peter?

Your post is showing me that I have misremembered the JD. Close readers here will detect that, in my previous comments about it here, its catalogue of Christian and Anglican tradition is assumed to be both much richer and more decisive than the actual document is.

Bryden may like the JD-- I do not know-- but it does not pass the Black Test: universal adoption of the JD in all provinces of the Communion would not resolve the problem of recognising authority that Bryden keeps mentioning. Your comments on the clauses confirm my suspicion that a positive pneumatology of authority is required for a document to do what this one is meant to do.

More than I realised, my own position is a ten-fold counterplan: identify Anglicanism, not with a set of quasi-Reformed credenda or quasi-Roman institutions, but with a trajectory of tradition that--

(a1) WORSHIPS only the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit as one God

(a2a) READS the inspired and canonical scriptures

(a2b) as the seed of the traditions and institutions given to the whole Church of the ancient patriarchates of the 1M by the Holy Spirit,

(b) IS Western but open to retrieval from the East,

(c) TAKES northern rather than southern positions on Trent,

(d1) and in the North, REMAINS prior to the Lutheran/Reformed split over Chalcedon,

(d2) avoiding certain distinctives of each [eg Lutheran rejection of the third use of the law; Reformed infernalism and anti-sacramentalism]

(e) whilst TOLERATING BUT NOT ENFORCING new speculation within this tradition,

(f1) insofar as the Holy Spirit HAS CREATED a free consensus within and without the Communion's myriad authorities and deliberative bodies that these things seem good

(f2) which is DISCERNED by the bishops of the Anglican Communion in accord with the 1M practise.

This statement situates the English stream among the other major ones, and it articulates what the BCP and 39A were doing in the life given the Church by the Holy Spirit. In better showing the forest lost in the JD's trees, it comes nearer to passing the Black Test.

Although this statement only fits Anglicans, and can connect all the classic Anglican exemplars to each other, it never mentions England, the BCP, the 39A, or any particular Anglican doctrine. Rather it frustrates attempts to define a narrower "Anglicanism" over which rivals can fight for exclusive rights, and instead obliges them to learn the whole catholic tradition and submit to continuous fraternal and ecumenical correction.

The nearer we are to something that passes the Black Test, the nearer we are to authentic possibilities of retrieved affiliation with such separated brethren as the Roman Catholics and the Methodists, etc.

BW

Anonymous said...

Bryden, on the other thread, Peter mentioned Oystermouth's TBG and you mentioned the Ugley Vicar's fine critique of it. A narrow question for your leisure: how does the scope of TBG's validation of *you know what* change if its background universalism is qualified by Stott's annihilationism?

The Ugley Vicar objects that, because of the upstream universalism, anything at all goes. That may be intercepted by some glued on qualification-- mutual consent etc-- but unless that can be shown to be integral to Oystermouth's actual argument, such qualification is ornamental rather than helpful.

But the usual account of annihilationism (since Stott) is that if self-damage has so constrained God's regenerative work that salvation is impossible in fact (Plantinga on theodicy), then the soul is annihilated rather than permitted to suffer. That sounds somewhat like the view that *porneia* is especially bad because, as a sin of the body, it damages the one who practises it.

So: might qualifying TBG's upstream universalism with an upstream annihilationism bring the downstream argument closer to what the scriptures actually say without sacrificing Oystermouth's ingenious resort to soteriology, and without requiring a fig leaf for polite society?

BW

Anonymous said...

Point (e), which refers to the *common revisions* due to modernity, is both virtuous and problematic.

The virtue is that (e) exists: it is immediately easier to respect a theology that is explicitly not reliant on make-believe. In contrast, the JD, in failing to acknowledge that eg Anglicans do not know that heaven is several miles above the earth nor hell several miles below the surface, tacitly and unhelpfully situates *Anglicanism* in the premodern world that actual Anglicans do not inhabit. Lots of people have signed the JD but since we cannot know it meant to them, that fact cannot mean much to us.

The problems are that (e) does not identify those few modern findings that have warranted common revision, nor does it explicitly identify an ethic of virtuous revision. Many Anglican debates where science meets theology are sites of friction between those who posit a finding as a fact that persons must be permitted to accommodate in any way they choose, and those who deny the finding and insist that accommodation must be epistemically virtuous rather than merely socially convenient. Each trope is half right, half wrong. There are common revisions that have been made throughout the ecumene, so that if Anglicans had not made them, they would be obliged to consider them. But to mimic the secular understanding of the findings behind of those revisions is to be conformed to the world. It is possible that an adequate ethic of virtuous revision is implicit in the judgments itemised in the list as a whole.

BW

Anonymous said...

"(a2a) READS the inspired and canonical scriptures

(a2b) as the seed of the traditions and institutions given to the whole Church of the ancient patriarchates of the 1M by the Holy Spirit"

Items (a2a) and (a2b) are enumerated together, with the scriptures prior to the fathers as their "seed." This supposes annotation of Item (a1) that presents the creed as the gospel.

Anglicans have assumed an organic continuity from the scriptures to the fathers that many in some other traditions (eg nearly all Reformed; many Roman Catholics, especially neo-Thomists) have not assumed.

Item (a2a) gives equal weight to the Holy Spirit's work in the origination and in the identification of the scriptures. Good exegesis does not pit the two against each other.

Notes on (a2a) should account for the use of scripture by Jesus and the apostles, the fathers, and others in the *longue duree* of reading that is exemplary for Anglicans. So too recent scholarship on these readings (eg Henri de Lubac). Notes on modern and contemporary readings (eg historical Jesus, New Perspective on Paul), or revisions of ancient readings (eg Westcott, Torrance, Bauckham, Jenson on the episcopate), should normally be attached to (e).

Item (a2b) defines *episcopal practise*, the *dogmatic deposit*, and the *consensus patrum* for our purposes.

Item (a2b) refers to Rome and the patriarchs of the near East, but does not exclude the early Celtic church in the British Isles.

Item (a2b) draws a fuzzy line at the end of the 1M. The Great Schism is usually dated 1054. The papal and scholastic innovations against to which the reformers objected occurred after the turn of the millennium.

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
I like your list!
A challenge for Anglicanism - it seems to me - is to be both faithful to all that is good (whether Scripture, councils, scientific discoveries about God's world, Reformation insights, etc) while also offering a distinctive style and substance of church.

After all, there is not much point to (say) so Calvinising Anglicanism that we may as well rename ourselves Reformed, or so Catholicising Anglicanism that we may as well cross the Tiber and be done with it. And there are precedents for individuals doing just that! (Put in a slightly different way, I don't think the genius of Anglicanism is at work if we so shape ourselves that the only difference from the Reformed is that we have bishops or from (Western) Rome, that we have married clergy. There must be more to being Anglican than that ... surely!)

Thus I like your list because it sets out a distinctive church - worth belonging to because a better "synthesis" than other churches roundabouts; yet a church which happily holds to good things held in common with Christians past and present.

The critical matter is that of "authority". Who decides matters of difference and dispute? Your key steps are:

"(f1) insofar as the Holy Spirit HAS CREATED a free consensus within and without the Communion's myriad authorities and deliberative bodies that these things seem good

(f2) which is DISCERNED by the bishops of the Anglican Communion in accord with the 1M practise."

I understand that to be a mixture of consensus and conciliarity, with the consensus determined through time (we gradually or spontaneously agree) rather than through "meeting" (which might pressure participants to agree for the sake of catching the last train home) and the conciliarity focusing on discernment rather than (synodical) decision-making.

Anonymous said...

"I understand that [authority] to be a mixture of consensus and conciliarity, with the consensus determined through time (we gradually or spontaneously agree) rather than through "meeting" (which might pressure participants to agree for the sake of catching the last train home) and the conciliarity focusing on discernment rather than (synodical) decision-making."

Yes.

The Anglican Communion has a sound enough authority principle-- it has a discerning centre that is not itself a source of doctrine. In fact, the Orthodox are trying to build a pan-Orthodoxy that closely resembles it. And although the papacy is burdened with an infallibility claim that runs from St Thomas to Vatican I, the Roman magisterium has actually functioned as a corporation for discernment with a general manager and departments.

It is true that neither Anglicans nor Orthodox claim to be headed by an infallible pope. But because neither the ABC nor the EPoC claim a universal pastoral jurisdiction, neither of them needs infallibility anyway. Within the canons of the 1M, both wield adequate, although ever-contested, authority simply as patriarchs leading councils.

Because the Holy Spirit supports these officers in leading the petrine work of discernment, the actual magisterial energy of all three communions is widely and informally dispersed to various others also used by the Holy Spirit-- scholars, theological faculties, informal gatherings, debates in monastic orders, charismatic preachers, visionaries, saints, etc. The most consequential council in the history of the West was a relatively informal gathering of bishops to consecrate a new cathedral for Orange.

With respect to Anglican doctrine, the most authoritative individual in recent memory was a parish priest, John Stott. It may in future be a brilliant professor, Katherine Sonderegger. Or it could be a saintly grandmother in Egypt whose grace under persecution shows us how to live with Islam. Or it could be the lay preachers of a rural deanery someplace who show the way out of the maze. From the history of the Church, we know that we cannot predict the form that Spirit-given authority will take, and that is why all that we can organise is the patient and skillful discernment of it.

BW

Anonymous said...

"Who decides matters of difference and dispute?"

Postscript-- Roman Catholic friends have sometimes asked me this very question. They worry that churches other than their own are all fuzzy consensus-seeking meetings with vaporous communiques and no actual Decider to make people miserable with a necessary but unpopular decision. As one of them put it, "if your floor is not a puddle of blood, you have not made a real decision." My usual simple answer is to refer them to our Federal courts which have nothing like a pope, but do have a hierarchy of deciders-- usually an individual trial judge and panels at appellate levels-- who write opinions and issue orders in accord with recognised law. There is no reason why bishops cannot do the same.

BW

Bryden Black said...

Well lads; this JD initiated conversation is surely raising some good stuff! Whether I can contribute further good stuff, I do not know - yet! We shall see ...

First off, I agree wholeheartedly with BW’s first criterion - with the second thrown in - and for some key reasons. Principally, there are two: Anglicanism’s claim to have its doctrine enshrined in BCP type formats (notwithstanding some qualification which will be forthcoming); worship was the absolute motor of Trinitarian doctrine. To the first.

In my LDL I cite a host of NT scholars and the like who suggest the entire enterprise of the Christian Faith begins as and when good Jewish folk (and God fearers) start to worship this human being, Jesus, alongside YHWH, acknowledging thereby that ‘somehow’ this man is worthy of such worship. And this practice is VERY EARLY INDEED, within only a few years of his death. This worship furthermore is both specific, in acts of gathered communities’ praise and adoration, and in general, in lives laid down in active Christian discipleship of Jesus, in Jesus’ Way and Name. See chapters 3-5 especially.

Fast forward to 16th/17th Cs. The English Protestant revolution is centred in the nation being called to participate now in those communities exposed, not to the drama of the mass in an alien tongue, the reserved sacrament, and all that, but to Cranmer’s desire to have the Scriptures read and expounded publically and wholesomely via the services of the BCP. To that end, there are also the Homilies and the 39A. For even back then it was acknowledged that ‘reading scripture’ was a theological exercise!

In other words, if Anglicanism is ever to offer the global Church, and the nations of the world of the 21st C in mission, any good and wholesome Gospel fruit, we’d better return “ad fontes”. Now; what might that return to our roots actually look like after two key additional features of the 20th C? (1) We’ve the ecumenical liturgical renewal movement; and (2) we’ve alas the sheer destruction and evaporation of that Early Church tag lex orandi, lex credendi, so driven have we become by pluralism’s diversity of contexts around the world of the AC. The actual doctrines of those churches with the name Anglican, expressed by their various books and templates of ‘worship’, have become so diverse that to say we’ve something in common - theologically - is to actually miss the point entirely! The FORM(S) may appear similar, but the doctrinal substance of these various efforts is as variegated as snow-flakes. A common history of sorts may be traceable, yet our actual practices are as diverse as the species/genera of birds, all whom (apparently) derive from dinosaurs.

Just so, while (1) might enable us Anglicans to better align with BW’s a2b and b (some of these), in actual fact (2) is exerting not a centripetal force but a centrifugal one, and appears for all the world to trump the fruits of (1).

Next instalment will start again at a2b and b ... and also jump to later comments re authority.

Anonymous said...


"Who are you?"

"I am proud to be both Fred and Sally, and even the true Nigel!"

The JD does something worthwhile: it does not explain the identity of Anglicanism as a whole in terms of the multiple personality disorder of the Church of England. We may-- and Peter quite reasonably does-- criticise the JD's way of envisioning and articulating the underlying unity and wholeness, but it does at least try to do so.

Because my counter-plan reframes the Anglican tradition as a series of judgments and exemplars through time, one might wonder how we can apply that rather *etic* method to internal differences that have not as yet led to a division of the main body of Anglicans. Liberals in their classical mode, along with some manifestations of evangelicalism, are already acknowledged by (e). But what about the more obvious divide between those Anglicans who call themselves Catholic or Reformed? And, more subtly, how do we account for the many crossovers, eg low churchfolk who go on Jesuit retreats or thurible-swingers who read Tom Wright on the Resurrection? Finally, the late modern advent of gender as a site of spiritual identity and difference seems to present a second kind of polarity and appropriation within Anglican identity.

As a first response, a note to Item (b): "Some Anglican exemplars have emphasised a gospel found in Romans 1-4, whilst others have found one in Romans 5-8." No amount of comment here could exhaust that note, about which thousands of pages could be written, but readers who do not have the outline and interpretation history of Romans much in mind may see the difference most quickly by engaging the recent rethinking of this by Douglas Campbell--

http://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/doug-campell-do-you-read-romans-like-an-arian

https://youtu.be/wKJtwD8qCUA

Campbell is useful to us here as a contemporary Protestant scholar of the NT who, influenced by the House of Torrance, emphasises 5-8 and quite radically de-emphasises 1-4. When you have the gist of what Campbell is saying in mind, you can compare that to the Romans-Road as you have usually heard it by watching his debate with another fine exegete, Doug Moo--

https://youtu.be/KlujS-fH8R4

BW

Anonymous said...

http://archbishopcranmer.com/reformation-500-vatican-stamp-commemorate-luther-melanchthon/

BW

Bryden Black said...

Cont A: In the first place, the economy of the triune God declares “Pentecost is the peer of Easter” (Robert Louis Wilken). [The likes of Fred Sanders for example builds his entire study, The Triune God (Zondervan, 2016) on the twin “Communicative Missions” of “Incarnation and Pentecost”.] Yet more specifically, we need to say, the Father sends the Son in the power of the Holy Sprit, and the Father sends the Holy Spirit through the Son (LDL, ch.3). Thereafter, along with classic patristic theology and experience, we may declare: “all starts off from the Father, proceeds through the Son, and is completed by the Holy Spirit.” (Gregory of Nyssa) That is, in the Nicene Confession of Faith, everything in the economy post-Pentecost is subsumed under the Third Article of the Creed, with the Holy Spirit centre stage. Curiously, in the West, we are a little ambivalent about this, often having various ‘trinities’ in actual practice: Father, Son, & Church/Mary/Bible/whatever.

The point for me of BW’s a2b is Billy Abraham’s “canonical theism” thesis, which details the rise of the Early Church’s “grand medical chest”, those many charismata with which the Holy Spirit endowed the Church during its formative centuries. As Jason Vickers expresses it: “At the heart of this re-envisioning of theology and church, the careful reader [of the 2008 collection of essays, Canonical Theism] will discover a summons to retrieve the full contents, and even more important, the originating purpose of the canonical heritage of the church.” (emphases original)

A number of things arise from Vickers’ summary: both church and theology are inseparable; concrete life and thoughtful discernment go hand in hand; for at heart, these healing gifts of the Spirit, once so assumed, run counter to most modern ideas about both church life and theological thought. These canonical “materials, persons, and practices” are the fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit in the very community of the church. For as Abraham points out, the two, canon and community, are “logically and reciprocally related”. And what are these canonical features of the community of the Early Church, which we today so sorely need?

Combining the work of both Abraham and Gavrilyuk we may list them (Bowman too likes lists!): canons of faith/scripture/liturgy/bishops/saints/fathers & doctors/councils/iconography & architecture. These pertain (in order) to: confessional statements, rules of life & creeds; lists of sacred writings; guidelines for conducting services of worship; approved lists of episcopal authorities; lists of saints venerated locally/universally; lists of authoritative theologians; disciplinary & doctrinal guidelines; rules pertaining to depictions of God and saints, in art and architecture.

Bryden Black said...

Cont B: I have presented far more detail than either JD/Peter or Bowman to make clearly this comparative point: our sense of church and so ecclesiology has become emaciated; our practice of church, and our understanding of it, is frankly rather thin. Nor may a simple swim across the Tiber or Bosphorus quite remedy the situation for Anglicans (as Abraham et al show). And here it’s prudent to invoke also our particular problem, which I raised on That Other thread, voluntarism. As Alasdair MacIntyre puts it, emotivism and its consequent bureaucratic manipulation creates real problems around church order and so authority, let alone moral discernment. And so these dilemmas were clear before Kenneth Locke spelt out the ambiguities among our particular Anglican practice of authority.

Seemingly, our practice of authority follows those hallowed paths of “dispersed authority” outlined in the likes of Locke’s chapter 5, “The Anglican Approach to Ecclesial Authority”, in The Church in Anglican Theology (Routledge, 2016, 101-127), beloved of the WG. While this approach, which has evolved over many decades, even centuries, has much to commend it, there’s a basic difficulty, and for two reasons. (1) It is essential to see the various loci of this dispersion among the laos of the church deliberately eschews any ranking. The experiences and understandings of these experiences from the various quarters are allowed equal weight. Just so, Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience (to invoke the Wesleyan Quadrilateral so popular nowadays), as expressed through the “Creeds, the Ministry of Word and Sacraments, the witness of the saints, and the consensus fidelium”— all are deemed to be “the continuing experience of the Holy Spirit through his faithful people in the Church” (Lambeth 1948). While this may echo aspects of canonical theism, it is situated very differently. For (2) given our contemporary western cultural penchant for pluralism, our Anglican debates often seem almost endless. There’s no ultimate canon (norm!) for evaluating our understanding of our ecclesial experience - and this despite seeming structures and patterns of collegiality and conciliarity. The vox pop of synods is not formed by the patterns of catechetical teaching of the Early Church at all. This is why during the 2000s I advocated strongly for an AC Covenant, which seems to me more helpful than say 11-13 of JD (and see Peter above).

I concluded one of my submissions to WG’s Interim Report like this. Overall, the entire rationale of the Anglican practice of authority, as currently proffered, especially given its western cultural setting of pluralism, is both internally and externally suspect. It leads to consequences that are well nigh irretrievable (e.g. once women bishops ordain folk in blessed ss relationships, two seemingly settled public norms are now involved), which very irreversibility is symptomatic of the inherent incoherence of the entire procedure, both structurally and theologically (see esp Locke, pp.121-26). One is forced to conclude this inevitable outcome is due to the failure right from the start to grant due canonical weight to Holy Scripture. For this would invest it with due recognition that it is the divinely appointed servant and so unique instrument in the economy of the triune God. Only should there be this divine-human written testimony to the economy of salvation might the Church have the due means of evaluating both personal experience and any cultural context, let alone those inevitable changes ‘modern society’ throws up.

Anonymous said...

Peter and Bryden, your respective comments on the JD converge with Bosco's last OP at an interesting place.

Peter's OP: "conservative Anglican parishes in the Reformed (rather than Anglo-Catholic) tradition are pretty happy with services that have prayers, sermon and songs and have no particular adherence to the template of Mattins or Evensong."

Bryden's 1:50: "communities exposed, not to the drama of the mass in an alien tongue, the reserved sacrament, and all that, but to Cranmer’s desire to have the Scriptures read and expounded publically and wholesomely via the services of the BCP... For even back then it was acknowledged that ‘reading scripture’ was a theological exercise!"

Bosco's OP: http://liturgy.co.nz/simplify-daily-prayer

In my second year at university, I was assigned to prepare a report on the C19 Russian Orthodox lay theologian Aleksey Khomiakov, a proud Slavophile best known as the first to argue that Protestants and Catholics were simply low and high church versions of the same Latin errors. On a visit to England, however, he was astonished to see ordinary parish clergy leading congregations in Morning and Evening Prayer, and enthused that the Russian church should be doing the same thing rather than keeping the hours locked away in the monasteries-- one of the few occasions on which Orthodox have wanted to follow Anglican liturgical practise. I do not know whether those congregations were as enthusiastic about their practise as he was, but a century and a half later, it was exciting to me to read someone whose tradition had enabled him to recognise the magnitude of what Cranmer had done.

Bryden's last sentence above puts a finger on the problem: we are only beginning to retrieve the theological and spiritual rationale for the discipline that Cranmer transposed from the monastery to the parish. This is why Peter finds revival tent liturgics in parishes that think that they are being conservative when they are merely being Reformed. And it is why Bosco seeks a richer yet simpler office for individual use rather that a revival of the congregation that prays the psalter twice daily. It would be a delight to discuss the best way forward in office reform-- I agree that it is needed-- but for this thread it is important to note that an alternative to the JD should not just touch the mezuzah of the 1662 BCP and go on; it should actually make the Prayerbook practise intelligible again as spirituality, prayer and action. Otherwise, it cannot pass the Black Test.

BW

Anonymous said...

Stanley Hauerwas has this to say about religious tolerance.

https://youtu.be/sViQjvFITPc

BW

Father Ron Smith said...

"Christians don't need to be tolerant.. (Stanley Hauerwass)

Not an ecumenist, then, Bowman!

Certainly different from Pope John XXIII and Pope Francis, who opened up a dialogue with other Faiths! I wonder what God thinks?

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

Pope John XX111 and Pope Francis may have opened up dialogue with other Faiths but they still see themselves as being "INFALLIBLE". "I wonder what God Thinks"?-Ron. Perhaps that Popes are not "INFALLIBLE".

Father Ron Smith said...

Thought for today from the Loyola website:

Hebrews 10:12-15
"(Jesus) has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place for ever, on the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made a footstool for him. By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of ALL whom he is sanctifying. The Holy Spirit assures us of this."

"Jesus is the one whose sacrifice was the offering of his life for our sake. Until Jesus, the sacrifices offered by priests had no power to forgive sins. The sacrifice of Jesus freed us once and for all from the power of sin. Each celebration of the Eucharist makes present the passion, death, and Resurrection that brought redemption to the world. Through sharing in the Eucharist, we discover our way to God."

Each celebration of the Eucharist opens up for us the gateway to forgiveness of sins through the Presence of Christ. This is why we do it - to re-member the Body of Christ - a fresh start, every day.

Bryden Black said...

Had to smile Ron at this for a number of reasons:

1. It's a quote from Hebrews; and boy oh boy, what did those Refomers make of Hebrews versus the mass?! (This thread is re JD after all)
2. What is it therefore which avails re forgiveness?!
3. Back to that other thread - which you ducked: what IS the res of the Eucharist?!
4. Lastly, it is highly probable that the Lord's Supper should be celebrated neither daily nor quarterly, as in some traditions, but weekly: the "cup of blessing" invokes both Sabbath and Passover. And this seems to have been the Early Church's practice - The Lord's Day = first day of the week, resurrection day!
But then, rationalization is quirky!!

Unknown said...

Father Ron, if you think further about it, you will see that Stanley Hauerwas agrees with you and Francis, and probably even John XXIII. His point is that the rhetoric of "tolerance" masks a nostalgic assumption that we who tolerate are the ones in charge of the societies in which we live and will indefinitely remain so. Now that is plainly false-- especially where he lives: Christians are not in charge here, and those in charge are plainly not tolerant. But he goes on to point out that this idea of merely tolerating other faiths is a merely political idea that identifies us with crucifying Caesar rather than our crucified Lord. Our actual calling is to be in Christ among others of all sorts and conditions.

BW

Father Ron Smith said...

Spoken like a good protestant, Bryden! You can laugh niow, but there will come a time...

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Bowman.

I don't think either Pope John XXIII or Pope Francis were thinking of overlording their invited Heads of other religious traditions at the time. I think they were 'being persona Christi' in that situation - very like Jesus, say, with the Samaritan woman, and others who were yet to receive Him as Lord. Jesus was prepared to meet all sorts - especially 'known' sinners, with Love rather than judgement.

Anonymous said...

Notice:

On this thread, I am only discussing the OP.

BW

Bryden Black said...

You assume Ron that "I am a good Protestant" ...! Yet if you engaged with my actual words earlier, perhaps you'd discover it's not quite as it seems to you ... meanwhile, still smiling !!

Bryden Black said...

Bowman; re yours @ November 25, 2017 at 4:02 PM

What a fun assignment re that Slavophile! Yes; our dear Roger Beckwith hammered home/tried to hammer home many a point re BCP history, which I am quite sure I failed to get! But the fact that MP & EP were designed as “Shewcases for Scripture”, that I retained - somehow! With of course the amazing lectionary for the year also ... See http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/ And more specifically: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1549/Kalendar_1549.htm

But I don’t think this is the sort of thing Bosco has in mind!

Be all this as it may, what the 21st C does offer are a number of most helpful apps. I myself use two, both US, one RC and the other Episcopalian. An app surely assists with erecting one’s scaffolding for prayer that is the liturgy, for the Holy Spirit to come dwell with us, bringing the Father and the Son along too (Jn 14:15-24). How might we put all this into JD supplement #371,922, do you think?

Bryden Black said...

When back at that desk Bowman I shall send a link regarding Wheels within Wheels by Ephraim Radner. It naturally, in light of your comment, addresses the Conciliar Movement of the late Middle Ages.
Your comment also presupposes a strong sense of Collegiality among a robust House of Bishops. Alas! I sense these Isles are weak on both counts. We're far too keen on management and models akin to CEOs. On the other hand, when the Decade of Evangelism was called for between 1990-2000, the Diocesan of Lichfield took it all far too seriously: he resigned most of his chairmanships, and became an itinerant, apostolic preacher and teacher - i.e. a catechumenal bishop!! What might happen if the entire House behaved like that?!

Bryden Black said...

Herewith Bowman:
http://www.anglicancommunioninstitute.com/2007/10/ephraim-radner-lectures-on-conciliarism/
Enjoy!

Malcolm Falloon said...

Peter,

I think that most (if not all) of your objections to the Jerusalem Declaration are due to a misreading of the nature of the document and a misunderstanding of the purpose for which it was written.

The Declaration was produced to give expression to the unity expereienced by the delegates at GAFCON 2008. In that sense, some allowance needs to be made for its performative function. It was not intended to be forensically read as a stand-alone document, nor was it attempting to replace the statements to which the declaration referred, such as the 39 Articles, Creeds, etc.

It was also a statement that was framed within a global south context, largely free from western concerns to finesse a statement so as to eliminate/solve theological divisions and debates. Instead, it paints with a broad brush a picture of Anglican unity in response to the torned canvass of impaired communion.

In those terms I think the Declaration does very well.

Malcolm

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Malcolm
Among so many gathered Anglicans from around the globe there could not be more finesse? Please pull the other leg. There are theological howlers in the JD which do not bear scrutiny even as a "conference document."

Nevertheless, let us accept that it is rough and ready round the edges because of the provenance, my problem is that many years later, without it being revised, it continues to be touted as defining document for "true" or "genuine" Anglicans, with those unable to sign up under some kind of suspicion for being "liberal" or "progressive" and thus "not one of us."

I urge GAFCON to do better and if you have any say in the next conference (are you going?) please press for more finesse!

Malcolm Falloon said...

Peter,

I agree with you that the Jerusalem Declaration should not be asked to bear more weight than its intended purpose. But as to the theological howlers? Which ones are you thinking of in this regard? Whatever they might be, any statement that is able to bring North American Anglo-Catholics and Sydney Evangelicals together on the same page can't be doing too badly!

My impression was that the large majority of the delegates at Jerusalem 2008 were deeply suspicious of the way that the western church had been using words to subvert their plain meaning. From the recent history of Lambeth conferences and primates meetings, how can you blame them? That suspicion resulted in an unfortunate impatience with texts and the editing process—something that the Australian and New Zealand delegates (in particular) found quite frustrating.

It does highlight the fact that there is a hermeneutical problem in our communion as well as a theological divide.

Malcolm

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Malcolm
Theological howlers, see 2,3,4 and 6 above. Those clauses look good - speak plainly, sure, but they cannot bear the weight placed on them when scrutiny is brought to bear.
I think the Anglo-Catholics and Sydney are only on the same page if you do not think too hard about what is written on the page!

I take your point in your second paragraph, however, and agree that some other Communion statements are execrable or, if you prefer, not worth the parchment they were written on.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

Why not sign up to it? The ACANZP has a wonderfully crafted Constitution 1857,
a more wonderful Doctrine, as defined by that Constitution and explained in Her Formularies and Her Canons;but General Synod is prepared to ride roughshod over them on her steed," Emotional Subjectivism".What is the moral and legal value of the Submissions to General Synod, of those who do not accept and abide by Her legitimate Doctrine?

"Give not that which is Holy unto the dogs,neither cast ye your pearls before swine (horses),lest they trample them under their feet,and turn again and rend you". Matt 7:6.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
I am content with the 1992 constitution (which incorporates the core of 1857).
I do not see the JD as an improvement on that and I would not go back to 1857 because it does not reference NZPB.

Malcolm Falloon said...

Thanks for your response Peter,

Of course I read through your post, but I'm not convinced you have proved your case for "theological howlers". But maybe I'm setting the bar too high for what counts as a howler. In any case, the problem in the communion is not over the fine detail, but over broadly divergent theological perspectives.

Malcolm

Father Ron Smith said...

" any statement that is able to bring North American Anglo-Catholics and Sydney Evangelicals together on the same page can't be doing too badly!"

- Malcolm Falloon -

Malcolm, have you not realised that the ONLY common denominator between these (so diverse) entities is their common aversion to 'you-know-what -. This is hardly a theological convergence, merely a common aversion to adiaphora.

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

How do you know that this is not the Spirit speaking to the Church? Or Does the Spirit only speak to the Church when it promotes Libertinism? I though that the whole thrust of Peter's movement was towards the unity of the Church.
Or, is this only so,when we all agree with SSM?SSBN. Or put another way,with the social justice and integrity that the younger generation of the ACANZP DEMAND?

Bryden Black said...

The key issue Glen is that 'progressives' only know one criterion: their experience. Any more substantial hermeneutic requires forms of evaluating human understanding that clash with this most fluid of things. So please don't expect any great resolution any time soon. The chasm between us is as vast as that between Abraham and Divez in Luke 16.

Glen Young said...


Hi Bryden,

Thanks for the salient reminder that experience may be nothing more than ignorance ground in. So what does one do? Give up and let them promoted their experience as gospel or keep trying to counter balance their emotional subjectivism? Your sane response would be appreciated.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Thanks for the salient reminder that experience may be nothing more than ignorance ground in." - Glen Young -

This statement can only define a lack of Anglican exposure to the Hymn which states this fact:

"Experience will decide; how blest are they, and only they, who in His Truth confide".

Unless one experiences the impact of the Holy Spirit upon their lives there may have actually been no conversion - despite the ignorant protestations displayed by those who rely upon their own intellect for any understanding of the faith. Without actual experience of its outworking deep down in and through them, these aesthetes may be labouring under a (self-induced) delusion of what The Faith is all about - Kenosis and Redemption.

"Drop down you heavens from above and let the skies pour down righteousness"
(Advent Prose) - designed through the Liturgy to give us a sense of our own sinfulness, but under the provenance of a Just and Merciful Saviour God.

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

Your posts do certainly exhibit a penchant for taking other peoples posts "out
of context". If you get to understand the meaning of the word "MAY"; you may
just understand what my post to Bryden was stating.

Anonymous said...

The reverend fathers Peter, Malcolm, and Ron are all right about the JD. Yes Malcolm, the JD was obviously adequate to its ephemeral purpose, but yes Ron, that purpose was a very shallow one, and so no Peter, it has never been adequate to the deeper purpose of orienting Anglicans to a traditional identity that is internally coherent and externally evangelistic. It seems modeled on conventional lists of the denominational distinctives that set Anglicans apart from eg Presbyterians.

The question is: can even the shallow purpose be achieved without a document adequate to the deeper purpose? Where I live the answer is plainly no-- to their credit, my friends in the ACNA are trying to shoot deeper roots for better fruits-- but on the blessed isles where everything is better, the JD may suffice.

Anonymous said...

Cont'd

A few years ago, I was attending a weekly seminar to which I often carried some theological book or the other. The Hindu sitting next to me, having noticed the books between us and connected them to some things I said, asked to meet for lunch. When we had ordered, she explained that she was perplexed that we both knew the same sciences about the material basis of life and the mind, and yet she could not maintain her once passionate devotion to Krishna while I seemed to be ever more involved in Jesus.

For her, there was a stark choice between the traditional religion she practised in India and the contemporary neuroscience we were both investigating. But for me, she said, tradition and science seemed to be equal partners in some sort of harmony. And most perplexing to her, the other Christians she had observed were nothing like this-- they seemed to be moral people, but they feared science--especially her science-- and they did not read fat books about Jesus. That proved to her experimental mind that, although Christianity is about Jesus, my adherence to it was not the cause of my continuing devotion to him. So she wanted me to tell her what the real cause of my devotion was, whether what worked for me would work for her, and if so whether it could help her to get her Krishna back. Over lunch.

Now, as you can imagine, that was a real life situation in which Anglican identity really mattered. True, I had been personally blessed with a vivid illumination of the Resurrection that seems to be rare, but apart from the resources of our tradition I would not have known what to do with it. Even so, I could not answer her sensible questions with any of the usual definitions of the tradition that I had found so nourishing. Glance again at the JD and ask yourself how you would use it to answer her questions.

Conversely, the answer that I did give her was about Jesus-- he himself is the harmony in which all things hold together; the creation was made so that he might be born in it-- as I had learned to experience him in scripture, eucharist, prayer, and calling. If one wants to live out a life in that faith, one does not strictly have to be an Anglican or a scientist, of course. But, to be honest, my colleague was not mistaken in her observations of other Christians, and many have found it much harder to integrate all of this in other kinds of churches. And Anglican scientists have never been rare. A statement that explains our identity well will explain from first principles why this is so.

Ideally, it will also point to the strengths, limitations and vulnerabilities of our identity, and to the spiritual resources that help us to live with them. We do schools well, but at least in my country Quakers are better with childhood development, and Baptists better evangelise their children. I can think of several Anglican parishes with arts ministries-- poetry circles, concert series, art galleries, drama groups-- but very few with the clinics, soup kitchens, or homeless shelters more often supported by Catholics. It is an immaturity to think that one defines one's religion only as an ego defense (although a good definition may be strengthening), or as a club to clobber others (although a good definition may elicit some desire to improve).

Now I will admit that I am insisting that an identity document be a pastoral document, and indeed one of rare profundity. It sounds much more like the Decrees of the Council of Trent or the Vatican II Constitution on the Church in the Modern World than a pithy list of denominational distinctives. A authoritative document like that would require the input of Anglicans from all around the world. One would certainly want the review and approval of at least a representation of the world's bishops. But if they did convene someplace-- maybe Jerusalem?-- and produced a document that solves C21 problems in the global village, would they not be a new doctrinal centre in world Anglicanism?

BW

MichaelA said...

“Malcolm, have you not realised that the ONLY common denominator between these (so diverse) entities is their common aversion to 'you-know-what -. This is hardly a theological convergence, merely a common aversion to adiaphora.” [Referring to North American Anglo-Catholics and Sydney Evangelicals]

Such a statement Fr Ron, says far more about its author than about either group. There are actually many common denominators – hence why there is so much working together.

MichaelA said...

I am sorry Peter+, but I do not understand the basis of your critique of the Jerusalem Declaration, particularly when you compare it unfavourably with the 39 Articles and the BCP. It seems to me that virtually every critique you make would apply equally or even more to the Articles and the BCP, and many would apply to the Creeds and Councils as well.

“Theological howlers, see 2,3,4 and 6 above. Those clauses look good - speak plainly, sure, but they cannot bear the weight placed on them when scrutiny is brought to bear.”

Where is this “scrutiny”, Peter? I am not finding it in your post. For example, you write:

“There is no agreed or "consensual" "plain and canonical" sense of Scripture in the Anglican world” – So what? Neither the BCP nor Articles make allowance for those who adopt a different interpretation of scripture to their authors, nor do the Creeds or the Councils. How is the JD any different?

“neither here nor elsewhere in the JD is there any attempt to set out how the Bible is to be interpreted correctly” – Again, so what? Neither do the Articles or the BCP or the Creeds or the Councils.

“What body of teachers (synod? house of bishops? doctrinal commission?) assists the church when the "plain and canonical sense" is breached?” – Why are you assuming that there is any? And why take the JD to task when the Creeds, Councils, BCP and Articles say no more?

“Who or what determines that this reading rather than that is "a" or even "the" consensual reading of Scripture?” – Show me anywhere in the BCP or the Articles that answers this question, then I might be able to see why you think that they are in some way superior or different to the JD.

“Where this statement runs aground is on the Filioque clause in the Nicene Creed: is it part of the "historic Creeds" or not"? The Declaration does not say.” – Even if that were accurate Peter, how does this assist your contention that the BCP and/or the Articles are in some way superior to the JD? The BCP in several places directs that the Creeds as stated in our services are to include the filioque. In other words, the BCP concedes no ground whatsoever to the Eastern Orthodox view. You may or may not agree with that, but it gives no basis for critiquing the JD as compared to the BCP.

So no, the JD doesn’t “run aground on the Filioque clause” at all. It simply stands with the BCP, which turn stands on the western divines going back to St Hilary.

To be cont....

MichaelA said...

… cont. from previous

“If it is part of the historic creeds then that is in contradiction to the four Ecumencical Councils referred to here” – If you accept the Eastern Orthodox view, sure. But we aren’t Eastern Orthodox. What you are really pointing out is that the JD follows the BCP, which in turn follows a long western tradition in support of the filioque. You might think that contradicts the four ecumenical councils, but many great theologians over millenia would disagree with you. If you won’t listen to them, then you won’t listen to me so I will say no more.

“Are each and every one of the Thirty-Nine Articles authoritative for Anglicans today?” – Why wouldn’t they be? Millions of Anglicans all over the world don’t have an issue with anachronistic wording like “at the commandment of the Magistrate” – we can follow the principle readily enough. If you don’t like the theological content of the Articles then that is your right. I am just saying that its not a basis for suggesting that they or the JD contain “theological howlers”.

“I note, for instance, two versions of the Thirty-Nine Articles, one for the USA which has no monarch and one for the Anglican churches still under the monarchy” – Unless you are suggesting that there is any significant difference between them, why is this important?

“to say nothing of whether certain Articles are authoritative for Anglo-Catholics“ – Perhaps let them speak for themselves. Many of them have been happy to assent to the JD. And if you are holding out for universal popularity then no church anywhere will ever agree about anything, including Jesus.

“I would be a bit surprised if GAFCON envisaged that and thus I call them out on whether they really do mean "authoritative" in this part of the declaration.” – They’ve already said what they mean. So perhaps they don’t find your logical extrapolations about calling new councils compelling? You don’t have to agree with them, but that doesn’t prove that the JD contains “theological howlers”.

“Here's the thing, there is a lot of liturgical stuff happening, even in conservative Anglican churches, which does not abide by this rubric.” – Assuming you are correct that your examples don’t fit into “local adaptation”, how does this show a “theological howler”? After all, saying that some people who have signed this don’t abide by it does not in any way show that its theology is incorrect. It may even show the reverse!

Glen Young said...


Hi Michael,

Agree with all you say, with the proviso that it is the right of any layman,who is not under submission to General Synod;to disagree with all 39 Articles if they so wish. However,this not the case for all General Synod members,Bishops,Priests holding a Bishop's licence and laymen who sign a submission to G.S. They hold and maintain the Doctrine as defined in the Constitution.

Bryden Black said...

Dear Ron and Glen,

It's at this point we have to make a call: what might "experience" mean? What range of meanings are available?

Ron, you quote that venerable hymn which begins "Through all the changing scenes of life", written by Tate and Brady near the end of 17th C. There the point is to trust and see if God will deliver on his promises. And no surprise! During the course of our concrete lived lives - our experience - this will show that God shows up, again and again. For his constant love is faithful.

What I am addressing, followed by Glen, while using still that same word "experience", is both different yet somewhat the same: the range of this word's meaning allows for precisely this polyvalence. For human experience, what we naturally traverse in the course of our concrete lived lives, is necessarily, to be human, both experienced yet also processed for its meaning: it's understood as such and so. In the hymn's case: "make but trial of his love" = trust and see what results; and what will result - in our concrete experience - will demonstrate God's faithful love. Our experience is understood as an encounter with God's constancy. This is the meaning of our Christian experience.

Three hundred years later, the situation we in western culture face is a sheer preponderance of human subjectivity. That is, we are so very prone to generate our own meanings/understandings of what we are experiencing, out of ... these very experiences. "If it feels good, ..."

This runs exactly counter to what BW so naturally posted: "True, I had been personally blessed with a vivid illumination of the Resurrection that seems to be rare, but apart from the resources of our tradition I would not have known what to do with it." Here we've an experience precisely interpreted from an external frame of reference; the meaning of the experience is to be understood not from within, subjectively, but from an objective view point.

Just so, what I've banged on about so often on ADU is that a fully adequate hermeneutic will seek to evaluate all (previous?) understanding(s) of our experience(s) by means of objective, external frames of reference. And this runs so counter to our prevailing culture. For what also makes any human experience human is the way these experiences come inevitably wrapped up in human language forms. In fact, we've the tendency to preload our experiences with large doses of preunderstanding, simply because our culture soaks into us the language we use to understand stuff ahead of many an experience. What this means especially for Christians is the vital need to sift these preunderstandings, the forms of language we're given by the culture we 'naturally' swim in. For things might not in fact be what they appear to be.

Bryden Black said...

cont.
An example with which to close. For centuries we experienced the sun rising every day, going across the sky, and setting again. And from a geocentric frame of reference, that was understood in ways that allowed an Apollo to race his chariot across the sky. Fast forward to a set of further experiences and understandings governed by the likes of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo. That is to say, we evaluated our understanding of this common experience to come up with a very different frame of reference, which we now of course all take for granted—the solar system! Curiously, we still speak of sunrise and sunset! QED: what was so natural and obvious to our forefathers is not so natural and obvious after all!

In today's Church the crux of many a debate circles around precisely what will actually be the frame of reference we use, what we turn to, when seeking to evaluate any understanding of our experience(s). Will our subjectivity drive us? Or, will some external canon come to our aid?

Anonymous said...

"There is much that is agreeable in the JD. In summary my critique is not that it is a poor document but that it is imprecise." -- Peter

We all like our favourite ingredients-- chocolate, vanilla, butter, etc. We all use lists of them to remind us to buy them. But if a list is not for shopping but for baking-- a recipe-- then we have to further ask how the ingredients will combine in the mixing bowl, set in the dish, bake in the oven, and taste when they come out of it. Imprecision about quantities and qualities of the ingredients will matter when this baker turns them into a cake with a good rise, a fine crumb, and a tasty glaze, but that one produces a burnt waste of floury chocolate with a puddle of butter on top. Behind the success and failure is the chemistry of the way ingredients interact, and the wonderful thing about a real recipe is that it enables even non-chemists to be adequate bakers. If more depends on the baker than the recipe, then the latter is not enough of a guide.

In this thread, voices mainly disagree over their prior sense of how much Anglicans today need one or more new documents to identify and inform those exercising doctrinal authority among us. Those who see little need for that are content that the JD is a list of their favourite ingredients, and may even be a little upset that Peter avers that the list is too vague to be a well-composed recipe.

But those who see a continuing authority problem in one or more areas of Anglican life and mission naturally ask whether the JD, as the founding document of a movement widely taken to be a renewal of authority, can actually mix, set, bake, and serve its ingredients in a way that enables us to collaborate where we are presently stuck. If not, then the search for a list that truly is a time-tested recipe-- and perhaps for bakers who can use it with skill-- begins.

Now the latter voices have been discussing the state of Anglican identity and authority in ADU for at least two years. These critics do not deny that the JD is a list of tasty things; they do deny that it actually guides anyone to think or do anything missional about problems that Anglicans cannot or should not avoid. It is hard to see what more they can say to those who think that, except for That Topic which itself poses no problem of either identity or authority, God's in his heaven and all's right with the world. But it may be important to stress that we bake every day to eat every day, and the guests are coming at dinner time.

The former voices eat every day too. But it sounds as though they never noticed that the JD was not a recipe because they do not bake anything anyway-- they just nibble the ingredients raw with great gusto, If the ingredients never interact, then one can indeed be much less picky about them-- eg cacao content of the chocolate, whether the "vanilla" is just vanillin, how much water is in the butter, what proteins are in the flour, etc-- because they have no chemical interactions to go awry. You can't go wrong in something unless you are trying to get it right.

Now if those who love the JD want to advocate for more nibbling and less baking-- more candy bars, fewer croissants-- I am sure that patient Peter will give them abundant screenspace. And since even bakers nibble and tipple a bit, the critics of the JD will agree that some ingredients are tasty even raw. But readers will still be perplexed about the JD: if the list was never really a recipe, then what ever was the use of it, and why should anyone care about it now?

BW

Bryden Black said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Rowan Williams has a slightly more empirical way of making Bryden's point. When the most experiential adherents of the world's religions-- let's call them mystics-- have experiences of the transcendence in which they believe, they do not all have the same experiences. Rather, they have experiences that reflect their lifelong trajectories of devotion-and-development. So their experiences do not stand outside of their thinking as a criterion of it; the thinking enables the experience to happen as it does by shaping their lives.

Williams's point reminds me of the medieval English therapeia in which the mystic meditates on Christ's suffering on the cross in order to reproduce it in his own body so that his personality can be infused with Christ's own and his sinfulness healed. The practise clearly has its roots in the NT writings of SS Paul and John. Walter Hilton writes about it as theorist of the practise; Julian of Norwich is its best known examplar. She does not sound much like a Sufi experiencing illumination or a Buddhist approaching nirvana.

Does this mean then that all talk about *inauthentic belief* is mistaken? William James's lectures on the Varieties of Religious Experience methodologically bracketed judgments between rival beliefs so that he could make judgments about optimal experience as a psychologist. That has prompted many since to reject altogether what he bracketed and to try to make personal integration-- the sense that the self has been pulled together into a better whole-- criterial instead. However-- (a) in practise, a criterion of authenticity is not diagnostically helpful; (b) actual mystics describe transformative breakthroughs, not selves being incrementally ameliorated. It seems that the demanding aspiration to authenticity that James inspired remains dependent on the traditions he bracketed both for positive direction and for a deep rationale for disrupting the self.

BW

Bryden Black said...

Personally Bowman, I love my croissants fully rich and utterly decadent. Sorry folks; but just too much time spent in my youth ala France!
Analogously, I was always a real supporter of the RCD AC Covenant - until some hijacked the 8 May Session of the ACC ...
True; for some that's all 'history'; for myself, it was a litmus test about how serious we were as a Communion of churches within the Church. C'est vraiment la vie alors ...!

MichaelA said...

Hi Bryden,
What if some external canon comes to our aid, but our subjectivity still drives us? ;o)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi MichaelA
(i) See what Bowman says above!
(ii) I think the JD could learn from history and do better than the BCP/39A. That is, by not both saying that the first four councils are authoritative and sticking with the filoque clause.
(iii) Neither the BCP nor the 39A, as far as I know (not recently having read every word of the BCP), make a claim about a "plain and consensual" understanding of Scripture. The JD does and yet offers no sense of how we know we have either a plain or a consensual reading.
(iv) I suggest too much is claimed liturgically by the JD when it offers the BCP as some kind of Anglican gold standard. It is not just that some signers may have signed that which they knew not or even signed that which they did know they were not keeping. The Anglican world at large has embarked on considerable liturgical revision in the 20th century, much of it quite fair and reasonable, and not at all heretical, and it would not hurt the JD to acknowledge Anglican modern realities as well as ancient verities.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Bryden, for your several recent comments here and there. The tenor of your critique has shifted in the past few weeks in a way that piques my curiosity. Before, you seemed to be critical of a standard late modern anthropology; now, you seem to be critical of reliance on, oh, let's call it Sola Experientia. Your change of focus is no contradiction, but since it brings a question about St Paul within range, I shall try to review for Peter's busy readers, doubtless missing much of the nuance of your own words.

http://www.thh-friedensau.de/wp-content/uploads/Aufsatz13.pdf

http://www.princeton.edu/~fraassen/abstract/FEYERABEND-synopsis.pdf

Anonymous said...

Cont'd

The former critique was, basically, that high modernity wanted to envisage social man outside of his religion to see him as a proper citizen of Cosmopolis, and did so by hypothesising that his existence and consciousness is independent of God. We usually hear this model of the self attributed to Immanuel Kant, although his ethical writings seem at points to undercut that attribution. (As my 5:49 notes, we can see this happening in James's VRE where he posits that real religious experience is not of a tradition or institution, then turns to mystics as extreme examples of purely personal experience, and then reads out of their testimonies some criteria for optimal experience itself.) So when the naive cite experience to oppose religion, they are just treating a politics-driven hypothesis as a fact, and urging it on us as fellow citizens of Cosmopolis, and we in Christ should not be so naive as to be convinced by that. Indeed, we have prior convictions-- (a) that all humanity refers to Christ's humanity and (b) that our proper relations to each other are in the Body not in cosmopolitan citizenship.

Your more recent comments to Glen-- who sounds to me as though he is understandably insisting on (b)-- criticise arguments from experience as paradigm-dependent. That is, if we embrace ignorance as a starting point for investigating something, it is only as we come to entertain some hypothesis that we have a replicable recognition of a fact, for it is only a hypothesis of some kind that will enable us to show others how to find perceptions in the flux of consciousness. So since modern science is not an explanation of common sense (methodological ignorance), it really does not have the "brute facts" that ancient and medieval science did have. This, as you say, is why it does not explain how the sun goes around the earth every day.

And-- I think you will agree with this-- the whole procedure works well for phenomena far from consciousness but much less well for phenomena of consciousness itself. Can an investigating mind even have a *methodological ignorance* about its own operations prior to its adoption of a hypothesis? Is an investigator the same person before and after choosing a hypothesis about his own consciousness to investigate? And given that consciousness is somehow embedded in life, how can, say, a psychologist be as scrupulously non-teleological as a chemist? For that matter, given our reliable knowledge that much of our processing is unknown to consciousness, and that what is known is distorted by our physiology, what does it mean to seek a true account of consciousness? Might metaphysical hypotheses-- excluded from all physical science-- substitute for *methodological ignorance* in further investigations of consciousness? These are all non-theological problems for the project of constructing a science of the mind and self on the model of our sciences for matter and energy.

Simply stated, Sola Experientia is just the *logical empiricism* that probably died in its robust form 50-80 years ago. This is not at all to say that experimentation and observation show us nothing about the mind, etc. To the contrary, the spread of evidence-seeking inquiry into human phenomena has been very fruitful in several kinds of projects that Christians especially should care about. But even very sound findings in the human sciences remain provisional and philosophical, and some of them may be unassimilable to common sense, however reconstructed. Some professional scientists on the frontiers of this work have used Buddhism to make sense of it, and it is not unthinkable that others may turn to practises more familiar to us.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandre_Koyr%C3%A9

If that all sounds about right to you, Bryden, then I will move on to my question about St Paul. Believe it or not, this is all in response to Peter's OP.

BW

Bryden Black said...

Oh heck! Only six: "One can distinguish at least six different meanings of experience, which partly overlap but also differ markedly: ..."
One of my lecturers at undergrad, who was as he used to say a self-confessed failed seminarian, drilled it into the unsuspecting: "facts never speak for themselves!" My response (having met Polanyi as a schoolboy) was a wry, delicious smile -"this is going to be fun!"

Glen Young said...


Hi Bowman,

My foundational assumption about man is that he was created to carry the image and likeness of God;but due to the fall,we now carry the image and likeness of man (Adam),in our spirits.Having descended from Adam and Eve ,we all share with them, the vulnerability to be deceived about the true nature and value of all things, including our human nature. Our biggest struggle in life is to find "REALITY";those things which have real meaning and those that don't. Our chase of things to satisfy the Adamic Archetypes of our spirits is like yearning for the "love of the lady who does not exist". Thus Solomon was to lament:"Vanity,vanity,all is vanity". Christ alone brings the peace into our spirits, which allows us to determine and accept REALITY.

Glen Young said...


Cont.
Until we have a handle on reality,we tend to evaluate experience against flawed markers;which can lead to a false sense of well being or to depression.
Experience is also very much a time/situation bound beast;requiring the wisdom of Solomon to analyse the value of a previous experience in a new time/situation circumstance.Who was it that said:"it's futile to keep doing the same thing and expect different results"?

Father Ron Smith said...

"Do not think of things too high for you".

Sorry
nil comprendo.

Glen Young said...

Hi Ron,

If your post at 5.40 pm refers to our earlier posts concerning the relevance of experience in relation to gaining the "wisdom and understanding", by which we live our Christian lives;I am very sorry for you. This type of discussion took place at a very introductionary level of our Counselling studies.One needs to understand, as to whether they are being helped to be "set free" by the Holy Spirit; or just confirmed in their sinful ways.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glen,

Thank you again for an account of your *modus operandi*.

The scriptures seem to say that the *image of God* is impaired in the unrgenerate, not lost. For use of that and related phrases throughout the canon, you might see--

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_of_God

https://tinyurl.com/ybx8fn86

Some confusion, in discussion about That Topic and others, arises from the use by all parties of *experience* as a proxy for *person*. However vivid, a experience or body of experiences is just one more bucketful from the stream of life. But experiencing that is thought to be characteristic of a soul is sometimes claimed as integral to the personhood that bears God's image. This implies that the characteristic experience is like a tile in a mosaic of the face of God-- take it away and the face is still recognisably there, but also recognisably marred. An *image*, the old fathers might say after Genesis, but no longer a *likeness*.

I am not sure what you mean by *reality*. The collect for Easter IV has been with us for a long time, having traveled from the Gelasian Sacramentary to the Sarum Missal to the BCPs of 1549 and 1662 and thence to the pages of most contemporary recensions. I suspect that you would agree with what it says with a delightful precision--

"O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

But it is possible that you are agreeing with Isaac of Stella that the regenerate soul is a microcosm of *reality* because, in having potential knowledge of all things, it bears them in itself. Or even with St Maximus the Confessor's famous claim that Christ in each soul heals the five post-Fall fractures of the cosmos-- Creator/creatures, things invisible/things visible, heaven/earth, paradise/world, and man/woman.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_of_Stella

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximus_the_Confessor

BW

Glen Young said...


Hi Bowman,

Point taken re "impaired/lost". Thank you for reminding me of St.Maximus the Confessor's words: they are so sorely needed at this present time.Christ not only turning our eyes back to the woman he has given us; but saying that He has healed and blesses the relationship.Now, that is a relationship worth blessing.

Reality for me, is finding and accepting those things, which I can happily have in my life, knowing full well that Christ knows they are there.

Cheers, Glen

Bryden Black said...

Touché...!

Bryden Black said...

Dear Bowman; bit hectic these past days to adequately satisfy your "curiosity" but shall make amends this week.

Bryden Black said...

Bowman; your “curiosity”. All I have done, tried to do, is to situate human subjectivity. That is, if we locate our own subjectivity within itself, we finish up with a Kantian denial of the noumenal, reducing all things - including ourselves! - to the phenomenal. Or even the other way around: if all things are merely phenomenal, then even human subjectivity is removed from any due grounding, and we humans too are bricolage, as is only too evident - far too evident - nowadays ...

An antidote. Augustine’s Confessions were the first and perhaps still the greatest case study in situating the human psyche. Nor is it little wonder that thereafter he progressed to probing what is now called the psychological analogy of the Trinity in De Trinitate. Which makes Jean-Luc Marion’s Au Lieu de Soi/In the Self’s Place even more vital for our time.

As for dear William James: not only are all mystical traditions just that - traditions; there is no escaping the sharp chasm between monistic traditions versus theistic ones, the latter predicated upon there being a basic chasm between Creator and creature(s). And the vital clue to the Nicene Settlement (ref now Peter’s Incarnational thread) is that the triune God - who therefore is not merely ‘theistic’ - is precisely able to transcend his transcendence (as I put it in LDL, p.61).

QED: “My own gloss” on Aug’s De T on p.103: “That is, for humans to image God properly is to image God relating to God, whereby we discern the image’s opening up of itself to its source, to enable God to shine afresh into the human image and fully return to himself according to the triune God’s own trinitarian dynamic, which is one of mutual glorification among the three (at least, this is my own gloss on Augustine’s presentation!)” - with a note to Marion’s In The Self’s Place. All of which presupposes a due perichoretic dynamic: among the divine; among the Incarnate One and the Triune God [where the notion of ‘perichoresis’ was first used anyway]; among the Body of Christ + Head; among humans; among humans and the rest of the material world, including their own bodies. We are not “ghosts in a machine”; rather, psychosomatic wholes, who when duly interpenetrated by the Triune God - who is “closer/more interior to ourselves than we are to ourselves” (Conf 10) - partake of eternal life. THAT is the final upstream - and downstream - reality. But Jenson wrote quite a bit about all this in his On Thinking the Human ... Just so, due Confession and/or Worship of ‘that God’ is Life!