GLOBAL REALIGNMENT; WHO WE ARE AND WHERE WE STAND: J.I. Packer

24 November 2007 - Print Version

November 23rd, 2007

Presentation at Anglican Network in Canada Launch Conference


Do you remember Peter Sellers, creator of Dr. Strangelove and Inspector Clouseau, man of a thousand voices as they called him? He was once asked to record the whole Bible on disc, and he refused. “To do something like that,” he said, “you need to know exactly who you are. I don’t know who I am.”

Do we know who we are? I think we do, and I will state what I think straight away. We are sinners, miserable and hell-deserving, saved by the glorious grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are orthodox biblical Christians, members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, who value the Anglican heritage of wisdom and faithful devotion, and who cannot in good conscience go along with the increasing slippage from Anglican standards of the Anglican Church of Canada. We are in fact increasingly isolated in our church, much as Jeremiah long ago was isolated in Jerusalem - and if we do not feel something of Jeremiah’s distress at being so placed, I would say there is something wrong with us.

But we are so placed, and action is called for, and my aim in this talk is to ensure that we move ahead with clarity in our minds as to who we are, where we come from, what we are doing and why, and how to explain our action when we are challenged and criticized for it, as surely we shall be.

May I say: I tackle this talk with both a sense of compulsions and a heavy heart. When God called me from England to Canada three decades ago, I thought I was leaving behind the world of intra-church conflict in which I had been involved for twenty years, but no. In England, when Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones called on evangelicals ministering in doctrinally-mixed denominations to leave them, I resisted the idea. I did not expect that in Canada withdrawal from the diocese and province that had welcomed me would become an issue of conscience, but so it is. Like other Christians, I find peace in doing what I believe I have to do, but I cannot always find pleasure in it, and this for me is an instance of that. However, I move now to my argument.


The Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion is one expression of the church universal, militant here in earth, and this is where I start.

a. The Church of God

What is the church? I state what I believe to be the Bible’s teaching. In its visible aspect - that is, as we see it in this world - the church is the entire community of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This church is gathered in local assemblies, each of which, in the words of Anglican Article 19, is “a congregation” (that is, an association) of faithful men (that is, believing people). In its spiritual aspect, that is, in terms of its relationship to God, the church as a whole is three things together, corresponding to the three persons of the Holy Trinity. It is the family of the Father’s adopted children; it is the body of the ascended, glorified and enthroned Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord; and it is the community, or fellowship of mutual love and service that is created and sustained by the ongoing activity of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit draws us close to each other by drawing each of us close to Christ, and by so doing transforms God’s children in character, animates Christ’s body in ministry, and builds up each fellowship in love. Every congregation is called to live as an outcrop, microcosm, sample and specimen of the one holy universal fellowship.

b. The Church’s unity

Paul analyses the church’s given unity in terms of one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one family, and speaks of the resultant reality as “the unity of the Spirit,” which all Christians must work to preserve “in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4: 3-6). So the unity of God’s holy universal church is something to be recognized and expressed. Jesus’ prayer in John 17: 21-23 that all his disciples may be one as he and the Father are one shows us how this is to be done. The Father and the Son are one in thought, in love, in mutual honour and in disciple-making purpose (they were on mission together, we may truly say, at the time when Jesus prayed, just before his cross). So, too, the church, which is already one in Christ, must express its unity in all appropriate forms of communication, communion, and cooperation.

Togetherness with other congregations is integral to expressing Christian unity, and two principles of organized togetherness have emerged down the centuries: the geographical, which expresses the purpose of covering a particular area with functioning congregations, and the denominational, which expresses the sense that one is a trustee for some truth or practice that is not universally accepted, but that all need for biblical fullness of life together, so that as many churches as possible that have this distinctive feature should be founded. The two concerns, of course, regularly go together, distinct though they are. Thus, different patterns for connecting congregations have grown up, ranging from the pyramidal global structure of the Roman Catholic Church, with its Italian base, to the legally registered foundation deeds of each small addition to the 20,000 or so Protestant denominations that the statisticians tell us we can find if we look.

Now, it is in relation to these organizational structures, large or small, that the notion of schism should be defined. Schism means unwarrantable and unjustifiable dividing of organized church bodies, by the separating of one group within the structure from the rest of the membership. Schism, as such, is sin, for it is a needless and indefensible breach of visible unity. But withdrawal from a unitary set-up that has become unorthodox and distorts the gospel in a major way and will not put its house in order as for instance when the English church withdrew from the Church of Rome in the sixteenth century, should be called not schism but realignment, doubly so when the withdrawal leads to links with a set-up that is faithful to the truth, as in the sixteenth century the Church of England entered into fellowship with the Lutheran and Reformed churches of Europe, and as now we propose gratefully to accept the offer of full fellowship with the Province of the Southern Cone. Any who call such a move schism should be told that they do not know what schism is.

c. The Anglican Communion

Now, within this frame of reference, how are we to define the Anglican Communion? It is not, and never was, an integrated, pyramidal global organization with the Archbishop of Canterbury as its head. It is simply, as its name proclaims, a Communion - that is, a fellowship of independent provinces sharing ministry and sacraments on the basis of a shared faith, and bound together by a distinctive and very precious heritage - tradition, or style, as you might say - which all appreciate, and wish in some form to conserve. This heritage may be described as follows. (This is familiar ground, so I move over it quickly.)

First, Anglicanism is biblical. Anglicanism says to the world: “Show us anything in Scripture that should be taught and that we are not teaching, and we will teach it. Show us anything we are teaching that is contrary to Scripture, and we will stop teaching it.” The Bible, straightforwardly interpreted as revelation from God through human writers, is the Anglican rule of faith.

Second, Anglicanism is creedal, embracing and building on the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, which highlight the Trinity, the incarnation, Christ’s saving ministry and the reality of salvation itself. The 39 Articles dot i’s and cross t’s and fill gaps in the Creeds, clarifying in particular the doctrines of faith, of grace, of justification and of the sacraments.

Third, Anglicanism is liturgical, in continuity with the church of patristic and pre- Reformation days. Through Archbishop Cranmer we inherited a superlative Reformed Prayer Book, in which the thematic sequence, sin - grace - faith runs through the set services, so that it is a truly evangelical book, and should be appreciated as such.

Fourth, Anglicanism is pastoral, centred upon the making of disciples both domestically and through outreach. Bishops are ordained to give pastoral leadership, caring for both clergy and congregations, and their jurisdiction is to be exercised for the furtherance of pastoral goals.

Fifth, Anglicanism is missional in the sense of being committed to transformation through the gospel - transformation of individuals through teaching and nurture, transformation of congregations through preaching a renewal, transformation of culture through the wisdom and values of the gospel. The transformational purposes of the Reformers and Puritans, the eighteenth-century revival and later revivals, and the latter-day renewal movements, have permanently shaped authentic Anglicanism in a missional way.

Sixth, Anglicanism is not hierarchical nor maintenance-motivated, though it has sometimes appeared to be both; but in fact it is service-oriented. Dioceses exist to resource and help parishes, and provinces exist to coordinate both diocesan and local church ministry; Anglicanism is service-oriented at every level, and it is in loving practical service, shaped by the divine Word and empowered by the divine Spirit, that Anglican unity is finally expressed.

Lambeth Conferences, Primates’ meetings, the Anglican Consultative Council, and other national and international gatherings at leadership level, can only be called instruments of unity in a significant sense as they seek to further Anglicanism’s service in the gospel to a lost humanity. For the fundamental unity is unity in truth and in mission based on truth; nothing can ever change that.

Such, then, is Anglicanism; and if I may speak personally for a moment, one reason why siren songs urging me to abandon Anglicanism strike no chord in my heart is that I value his heritage so highly, and am so sure that if I walked away from it under any circumstances I should lose far more than I gained. The present project, however, is precisely not to abandon

Anglicanism but to realign within it, so as to be able to maintain it in its fullness and authenticity - and that, to me, is a horse of a very different colour. In this I recognize the calling of God.

Anglicans Adrift

For what should we think of global Anglicanism today? It has often been said during the past few years that the Anglican Communion is like a torn net, due to denials by some of things that the rest believe to be integral to the gospel and affirmation, mainly by the same people, of behaviour that the rest believe the gospel absolutely rules out. In certain cases communion with a small “c” - that is, full and free welcome and interchange of clergy and communicants at the Lord’s Table - has been suspended. How, we ask, has this come about? In brief, it is the bitter fruit of liberal theology, which has become increasingly dominant in seminaries and among leaders in what we may call the Anglican Old West - that is, North America in the lead, with Britain and Australasia coming along behind.

This has been the story over the past two generations, since Anglo-Catholic leadership began to flag. Let me explain. Liberal theology as such knows nothing about a God who uses written language to tell us things, or about the reality of sin in the human system, which makes redemption necessary and new birth urgent. Liberal theology posits, rather, a natural religiosity in man (reverance, that is, for a higher power) and a natural capacity for goodwill towards others, and sees Christianity as a force for cherishing and developing these qualities. They are to be fanned into flame and kept burning in the church, which in each generation must articulate itself by concessive dialogue with the cultural pressures, processes and prejudices that surround it. In other words, the church must ever play catch-up to the culture, taking on board whatever is the “in thing” at the moment; otherwise, so it is thought, Christianity will lose all relevance to life. The intrinsic goodness of each “in thing” is taken for granted. In following this agenda the church will inevitably leave the Bible behind at point after point, but since on this view the Bible is the word of fallible men rather than of the infallible God, leaving it behind is no great loss.

Well now; with liberal leaders thinking and teaching in these terms, a collision with conservatives - that is, with upholders of the historic biblical and Anglican faith - was bound to come. It came over gay unions, which liberals wish to bless as a form of holiness, a quasimarriage.

As part of its current agenda of affirming minority rights (that is the “in thing” these days), western culture has for the past generation accepted gay partnerships as a feature of normal life. Despite the pronouncement of the 1998 Lambeth Conference in favour of the old paths, New Westminster diocese began in 2002 to bless gay couples, and others followed suit.

The Windsor Report called for a moratorium on this, which was not forthcoming. The St. Michael’s report said that the issue, though theological, was not against Anglican core doctrine so was not a matter over which to divide the church. On a side wind and by a stopgap motion, the General Synod of 2004 declared gay unions to be marked by “integrity and sanctity”. The 2007 General Synod affirmed the St. Michael’s position. So here we are now, the Anglican Network in Canada, accepting the invitation to realign in order to uphold historic Anglican standards, not only regarding gay unions but across the board, as those standards were formulated in our church’s foundation documents and reformulated in the Montreal Declaration of 1994.

Anglicans Anchored

So, who are we today, and where do we stand at this moment in relation to all that is happening in the storm-tossed Anglican Communion? In light of what I have said so far, I put it to you that there are four things we can and must now say. They are as follows.

To start with, we are a community of conscience, - committed to the Anglican convictions - those defined, I mean, in our foundation documents and expressed in our Prayer Book. The historic Anglican conviction about the authority of the Bible matches that which Luther expressed at the Diet of Worms: “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe” - that is, it imperils the soul. As for the historic Anglican conviction about homosexual behaviour, it contains three points:

First, it violates the order of creation. God made the two sexes to mate and procreate, with pleasure and bonding; but homosexual intercourse, apart from being, at least among men, awkward and unhealthy, is barren.

Second, it defies the gospel call to repent of it and abstain from it, as from sin. This call is most clearly perhaps expressed in 1Cor. 6: 9-11, where the power of the Holy Spirit to keep believers clear of this and other lapses is celebrated.

Third, the heart of true pastoral care for homosexual persons is helping them in friendship not to yield to their besetting temptation. We are to love the sinner, though we do not love the sin.

We must hold to these positions, whatever the culture around us may say and do. So a biblically educated conscience requires.

Second, we are a community of church people, committed to the Anglican Communion.

We rejoice to know that the more than 90% of worshipping Anglicans worldwide outside the Old West are solidly loyal to the Christian heritage as Anglicanism has received it, and we see our realignment as among other things, an enhancing of our solidarity with them. As I said earlier, what we are doing is precisely not leaving Anglicanism behind.

Third, we are a community of consecration, committed to the Anglican calling of worship and mission, doxology and discipling. Right from the start church planting will be central to our vision of what we are being called to do.

Fourth, I think we may soberly say of ourselves that we are a community of courage, heading out into unknown waters but committed to the Anglican confidence that God is faithful to those who are faithful to him.


Posted at Anglican Mainstream

13 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Bryden Black Says:

    One of the four marks or notes of the Church depicts its catholicity.  This views “all things” as holistically embraced by the Gospel and so coming under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  The Windsor Report would see (§ 46) such catholicity - and the other three marks of unity, holiness and apostolicity - as both “God’s gift” and “God’s command” to the Church.  One of our chief contemporary tasks therefore is to seek a due catholicity among members of the Anglican Communion.

    But what of that little word “due”?  Many a westerner, and Fr Ron Smith is just such a one, I suspect, would quite simply consider “inclusivity” to be a synonym for “catholicity”.  For all that however, those of us with other cultural ‘eyes’ see the business of trying to be “inclusive” as having a quite specific historical trajectory, one that seems to suggest that all kinds of things may be embraced under the secular banner of “pluralism” - things that are not only complementary but are even contradictory.  Yet curiously too “pluralism” itself suffers from that illogical status akin to the statement that “all Cretans are liars” - on the lips of a Cretan, Epimenides!  For pluralism’s critique of any specific, given stance curves back upon itself (with apologies to Martin Luther ...) since it is ‘guilty’ - necessarily! - of being itself just that, the supposed ‘correct’ stance.  In other words, the very notions of “pluralism” and derivatively “inclusivity” are inherently flawed - if one cares to pause a moment and reflect upon certain cultural ‘root paradigms’.  Sadly however, “the last creature to ask questions of the water is the fish”, as I am fond of saying of humans and their respective cultural ponds.

    Yet “the first time a fish knows itself to be the creature it is is when it is caught and on dry ground”: that is, when the likes of Fr Ron (a westerner) encounter other very different cultures with different assumptions than their own, they have the opportunity to reflect afresh upon the ‘colour’ of their own ‘pond’s water’.  And one of the real difficulties that besets the global Anglican Communion at present, it seems to me at least, is that some do not like being told that their ‘pond water’ might be suspect or polluted.  Not surprising really that ...  But for us New Covenant types, who are called to not conform to this age/world but to be transformed in our minds (Rom 12:1-2, Eph 4:17-24), it should not come as a surprise that elements of our ‘world’ need adjusting/realigning - and more than mere readjustment in some cases!  The Gospel calls for profound ‘metanoia’, based on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus: only so may “all things” be embraced by the Holy God of the New Creation in Christ. In other words, all of our respective human cultures will be to a greater or lesser extent “suspect” in the light of the Gospel, requiring deep reflection upon what makes any of us ‘tick’ and consequent remedial transformation of our thoughts and practices under the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.  It has ever been so down through the ages in the mission of the Church.

    I have tried to address Fr Ron’s “one liners” and ‘13 second sound bytes’ with something more akin to (though less elaborate than) Dr Jim Packer’s “pulling down of false arguments/plausible fallacies and every proud obstacle/towering conceit set against the knowledge of God, [as an instance of] taking every design/thought into subjection to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5).  As I am sure both Fr Smith and Dr Packer would agree, human sexuality’s due expression on the one hand and the Gospel’s correct fulfilment on the other deserve nothing less.  The only question has to do with what “mirror” (2 Cor 3-4) any of us might be using to gauge the ‘duly correct’ form of “glory” as we perform upon God’s stage and in God’s drama.  At this point, I’ll be running with Dr Packer’s criteria - as outlined ...

  2. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Thankyou, Bryden for your response. What a lot of words, though, just to say, “I’m with the Global South and Dr. Packer”. Not surprising really, considering your distinguished evangelical (and academic) background.

    My degree, or quality, of ‘inclusivity’ is exactly that which is presumed by the Rt. Revd. Desmond Tutu when he refers to the “All, ALL”, whom Jesus calls to himself when he is ‘lifted up’ as the example of God’s Loving, Incarnate and Redeeming Word.
    (note ‘Word’ not mere ‘words’).

    Have you yet read the written presentation of the Royal Society of Psychiatrists to the Church of England on the phenomenon of homosexuality, or can I forward it on to you? I think you would find the material informative, to say the least.

  3. R Sorfleet Says:

    At the outset Dr Packer refers to the Montreal Declaration. I have yet to see which points Fr Ronnie disagrees with and why.
    Then again has he read the document itself, let alone the essays which accompanied it entitled Anglican Essentials?
    I have more time for someone who says up-front and in all sincerity that [s]he believes in inclusive catholicism, and says their church is that (and there is a webload of them out there), instead of someone who plays intellectual games with the idea, tries to impose it by sleath through the backdoor on people who don’t want it and then berates and belittles them as bold 4-yr olds that won’t get to see the Sunday circus if they don’t stop their misbehavior.
    How often do we need to see Michael Ingham’s mangy moth-eaten lions jumping thru the Book of Alternative Services anyway? That performance has been going on since 1985.

  4. Bryden Black Says:

    Apologies folks!  The attempted tacking manoeuvre (# 6 above) seems to have resulted in some sails getting caught in the rigging and possibly some sailors falling overboard.  My hope hereafter is for the original author’s intent to catch a fairer breeze!  For all that, despite the chance of exciting further swirling eddies to throw our “waka” [Maori for canoe, the means of transport across the wide world of the Pacific) yet further off course, I venture one responsive comment - well; one and half!

    “The phenomenon of homosexuality” (# 7 point 3).  In my experience and understanding there would seem to be many homosexualities and/or forms of homosexual expression.  One of the strengths of Michael Vasey’s brave attempt in “Strangers and Friends: a new exploration of homosexuality and the Bible” (Hodder, 1995) was to range across sundry cultural and historical phenomena.  To be sure, in the end, I would seriously disagree with his conclusions, due to a different theological evaluation and moral perception of his understanding of his experiences.  For one of the crucial points is that mere anthropological phenomenology customarily ASSUMES and/or IMPORTS whatever root paradigms it desires (and Vasey spends much time on his take on Augustinian “desire” too!), such desire being predicated upon OTHER grounds.  So; no Ron; I have not yet sighted the original document from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  Though I have encountered a considerable amount of literature offered by other groups of psychiatrists, psychologists, social anthropologists, historians, etc. etc. over the past 20 years when I have tried to address this now pressing issue of human sexuality.  For all that, one has ever to read between the lines with ANY document.  Much as I would love to pursue Paul Ricoeur’s search for a “second naïveté”, I am all to aware that our “masters of suspicion” have a very long reach in our western culture.  This is evidenced even in William Stacy Johnson’s “A Time to Embrace: Same-gender Relationships in Religion, Law and Politics” (Eerdmans, 2006).  For I do NOT so readily assume THEOLOGICALLY his modernist, liberal democratic paradigm.  Indeed, my life-long international experience has made me acutely sensitive to such forms of ‘reading’.

    More words I agree!  But then even the Word comes to us perforce via many words, and notably those Jesus “has from His Father”.  If John takes 21 chapters to deliver his “judgment” upon “the Word” and “the world”, in order to solicit our loving obedience and true worship, then who am I to demur ...?!

  5. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Bryden,

    Again, so many words! All that is required is to meet with The Word-made-flesh in Jesus Christ, who is the fulfilment of the Scriptures. One can meet up with the Word of God on any given day in the celebration of the Eucharist. This is a great privilege that Christ himself has given to, and through, his Church. Why neglect it?

    I guess Mr/Mrs Sorfeet and Gerry and Gary have not yet been introduced to Jesus in the Mass, or Eucharist. It might be a good time to investigate this God-given resource which is talked about in the New Testament as being the really recessary clue to eternal life as promised by Jesus, Messiah:

    The words of Jesus: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day”  Alleluia!

  6. Bryden Black Says:

    Some of my own assumptions re the above to better “exegete”:

    This is a public blog; this is a Christian public blog; this is an Anglican Christian public blog.

    Therefore, it may or may not please fellow bloggers to know: my personal diocesan ‘alma mater’ is/was the Diocese of Mashonaland/Harare in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe (there is of course more to the bio but I will not bore you!).  And the anachronisms are useful, if only to remind us of some Church history - to wit, that Southern Rhodesia was an offshoot of that eminently Tractarian (traditionally) Province of Southern Africa before it became amalgamated into Central Africa (and who knows what will eventuate now there, from within or without ...!).

    Therefore, my ordination as an Anglican into that order duly responsible for the ministry of word and sacrament is just that - for “word + sacrament”.  Furthermore, as many a commentator of the Fourth Gospel has been at pains to point out (and I select the FG only due to its initial prevalence here), there is ever a judicious balance between such a word and the sacramental dimension of the ministry of the Holy Spirit among us, bringing the glorified Jesus to God’s People - together with whatsoever “manifestations” the Spirit may also “distribute/assign” to “build us up into full maturity” enriched with all that “fruit”.  If it were not so, then, like those crypto/embryonic Gnostics of old, we might be tempted to “fill” the ‘Christ symbol’ with any kind of ‘content’.  We might seek to refer the sign of word-and-sacrament-and-manifestation to any signified of our own desire and making, rather than to the One who has come among us as a particular human being, a specifiable creature of space-time history, Jesus of Nazareth, the unique splendour of the Father (cf. only 1 John as well as the FG).

    Therefore, Ron, and any others who may be listening in: of course the glorified Word-made-flesh comes to me/us through the Eucharist/Mass/Lord’s Supper/Holy Communion/Divine Liturgy!  What nonsense to think otherwise!  But Who and What kind of Christ is thereby encountered?  Who and What God is duly and truly worshipped?  And worshipped in liturgy and in life as the singular source of all Life?  These are worthy questions, I suspect, in this postmodern age of western culture where deconstruction reigns - which is after all the context of Jim Packer’s Presentation.  For, as even Jacques Derrida (RIP) so eloquently taught us, the “medicine of immortality” may so easily become its flip-side, a “pharmacological” poison; and that too the Fourth Gospel spells out with audacious clarity, presenting its judgment, as I say, with detailed care and dramatic irony - and necessarily so given our customary “blindness”: sign + discourse, discourse + sign = the hermeneutics of glory.  And while it may not be my role to judge, it is most certainly mine/ours to bear witness: this too the FG exhorts ... QED.

  7. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Bryden, I do respect your scholarship, and am only too aware of all the scholars you have ‘sat under’ in your world travels. The fact remains that there is only one Master Theologian that one really needs to keep company with, and as you have so rightly intimated - there is no real substitute for sitting as a servant at the feet of Christ around His Table.

    No amount of academic learning in any sphere can take the place of prayer and the contemplation of the sacramental presence of Christ and His gathered body in the Eucharist. His presence helps us into the right perspective, and cautions us about purely human speculation based on that most perfidious of mentors: the ego. As a friar, I learned that kenosis is the only path to self-discovery, and the discovery of the Christ within.

    The daily discipline of prayer and sacrament has been at the root of the lives of the Saints, and their devotion to the person of Christ shows us so clearly what ought to be our prime activity - so that our actions can be informed by a real relationship with the Word-made-flesh, and not simply the product of a ‘religion of the Book’.

    As Archbishop Michael Ramsey so perceptively reminds us: Christianity if not simply a religion of the Book, but of a Person: Jesus Christ himself.

  8. Bryden Black Says:

    I sense, Ron, that at this stage of proceedings I have only one thing left to say - a question.

    If we indeed seemingly sit at the feet of the One and the same “Magister” and in a seemingly similar manner (“come and see ...”), then how come we so clearly arrive at such contrasting destinations?  How come our respective “witness” to that essential (and not only fundamental) dimension of humanity made in the divine image re sexuality could not be more different?

    In any posited answer, please do not try to invoke either the claim that the question is adiaphora or may be couched from within the world-view of western pluralism - or “difference”.  If you can show me (and possibly others) yet another form of satisfactory answer altogether, I am listening.

  9. Father Ron Smith Says:

    The answer, perhaps, to your query, Bryden, about our different perspectives, is “There are none so blind as will not see”, Perhaps God will judge us.

    In the meantime, enjoy your Advent and Christ-mass celebrations. I certainly will. May the peace of Christ rule in our hearts! Amen.

  10. Phil Veitch Says:

    [edited]

    Wasn’t Dr. James I. Packer’s article a breath of fresh air?  I couldn’t sleep tonight and have putzed around on various Anglican blogs, etc.

    Ron, when you’ve finished reading the 55-volume set, the Parker Society series…oh let’s say a few times. Maybe someone can check, but would appear that Wipf and Stock Publishers.  Ron, when you’ve done that, then you can come back to speak to the issues of Anglicanism.  Be a good student.  Buy the books and you will find out what historic Anglicanism has been, the Ecclesia Anglicana.

    Now, folks, do you see why I read St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans in Greek while routine droning occurs here in this town?

    Not being mean.  Just true.

    I can tell Dr. Packer has done the homework.

    Was his article not a breath of fresh air?

  11. Phil Veitch Says:

    Clarification.  Wipf and Stock Publishers are republishing the Parker Society series.

    I would also commend Martin Chemnitz’s three volume set on the Council of Trent…which I trust you, as a clergyman, have read. Especially, since it has been repeatedly reaffirmed. JP2 and B16 also.  Ron, volume one would really help square away—as a matter of historical fact—what the church has believed on Scriptures.

    The fathers abundantly attest to the sovereign rule of faith above the theologians, creeds, and private opinions of people. If you haven’t read Chemnitz yet, or the Parker Society series, it might be prudent for you to graciously bow out and go back to school…respecting the work of God’s saints and those who were fed by Christ.

    Look forward to your book reports here on these two recommended sets.

    Ron, you are the type of clergyman I have encountered.  Now you may understand why I do so infrequently pay them much mind.

    Not being mean here.  Just telling you the state of affairs and the impact of TEC pulpits.

  12. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Phil, you will never find Christ in a book - no matter how academic or philosophical its content might be. Having read all of your books - and I guess you buy them by the kilogram - you still have to be reconciled to The Word Made Flesh, who dwelt among us.

    A diet of Sacramental Grace might help!

  13. Bryden Black Says:

    Sorry folks, but it’s time to enter the fray just when I thought I might be allowed to enjoy a Christmas Sabbath!

    Ron, please refer to the above. The last two substantive paragraphs tried to show that we may never correctly separate words from signs; that’s the way things are canonically set up.  For without the Book, made up of all its words, we would never be able to identify Jesus authentically nor what constitutes due signs of the Spirit among us.  We need words to interpret matters to us humans; that’s all there is to it!  Yet, because the Reality towards which the words point is also always beyond words alone, such things as sacramental adoration are not merely warranted, they are not only useful, but part and parcel of Christian discipleship.  However, please stop trying to sever word-and-sacrament.  For without the due word of God, none of us would know whether it was actually the Word himself that we were encountering in our acts of worship.  What God has joined together, let no-one rend asunder!

    Now please go and enjoy Jesus’ Coming among us and not just some ‘Christ symbol’ of anyone’s choosing.