Sunday, September 23, 2012

Worship Woes 1: "Into Their Hands"

In these "Worship Woes", I will be presenting short thoughts on things in modern, Anglican worship that trouble me.  This post is a bit different than what I plan the future posts in this series to be about but this one practice is probably one of the more frustrating things to me, as a blatant rejection of what Anglicanism plainly teaches.

Let me first describe a familiar situation.  You are seated in a lovely parish church, worshipping according to the Prayer Book, in any of its forms.  You come to the moment of the administration of the Lord's Supper.  You leave your pew and approach the table.  You kneel, in good fashion, at the Communion rail, waiting for the minister to deliver unto you the elements of bread and wine.  The priest comes by with a host or piece of bread and you receive the bread into your hands and consume it (ignoring "intinction" for now).  Then the chalice bearer or deacon comes by with the wine and "guides" the chalice to your lips and you take a sip of it but you're not "supposed" to take the chalice into your hands, only "guide" the bottom.

This practice of not letting go of the chalice is really irritating to me, for several reasons.  I'm not sure if it's done for practical purposes but if it is, there has to be a better way of doing it.

The practice raises superstitious thoughts about the nature of the sacrament.  First, it implies that something has happened to the wine, which is not true according to the Articles of Religion and Prayer Book.  There is no substantial change in the elements of bread and wine.  This is not to mean that they shouldn't be treated with respect as the holy signs that they are but they should not be given superstitious reverence which is denounced in the Black Rubric.

Secondly, handing the cup to the laity is a right of a Christian man and one that the Reformers died for. One of the main points of the Reformation universal was the restoration of the cup to the laity.  Even though technically the Reformation principle is being lived out by offering the wine to the laity in our Episcopal parishes, the spirit is not there.  In essence, we are implying that regular lay people are not "special" enough to actually hold the chalice.

Thirdly, this practice is in direct opposition to the rubrics of all classical prayer books, including the beloved 1928 BCP.  What follows is the rubric before delivering Communion:

Then shall the Minister first receive the Communion in both kinds himself, and then proceed to deliver the same to the Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, in like manner, (if any be present,) and after that to the people also in order, into their hands, all meekly kneeling... (1662)
Then shall the Priest first receive the Holy Communion in both kinds himself, and proceed to deliver the same to the Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, in iike manner, (if any be present,) and, after that, to the People also in order, into their hands, all devoutly kneeling... (1928)
 My point with this "woe" is that it subverts the true identity of Anglicanism by a simple action, one that most parishioners probably don't even think about on a regular basis but when the laity are "denied" the cup, in this sense meaning to hold it, this action promotes an unscriptural understanding of the real presence and also spits in the face of our Reformers and their martyr deaths.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Anglican Myths 9: "Anglo-Reformed"

This ninth post in the series "Anglican Myths" begins to expose myths on the "other side" of Anglicanism.  In former posts in this series, the thrust of energy has been directed at "Anglo- Catholicism" in its varying forms.  I do not think that Tractarians are the sole possessors of myths in contemporary Anglicanism.

The term "Anglo-Reformed" is a rather new term (from what I can tell).  It implies a conservative, "Evangelical" identity (depending on how you define that term) and what was known as "Low Churchmanship".  This group is generally set on the 1662 BCP or at least saying that publicly.  It is a small group in the American continent.  Obviously there are varying shades of this type of churchmanship, as there are on the "Catholic" side.  Generally speaking, and I might get this wrong, please correct if so, Anglo-Reformed are five-point Calvinists, Low Churchmen, in the sense of either adopting the classical Anglican ceremonial system and vesture (I would agree with them that this is right and proper) or ditching classical ceremonialism for "pop religion", which, granted, is more of an issue in Britain than the Americas.  There can be "conforming" Anglo-Reformed, meaning those who are communicants of one of the Churches of the Anglican Communion or "non-conforming" Anglo-Reformed who "sojourn" in Baptist or Presbyterian churches.  I don't intend to comment on the pros and cons of these ideas.

Now, I wish to present what I understand English Reformed Christianity to be.  English Reformed Christianity is, quite simply, the Church of England.  It is "Reformed" for two reasons.  First, it is a reformation of the late medieval Church in England, in this sense it did not begin a new church or sect, as later Dissenters did.  In the second sense, it generally followed the Swiss Reformation rather than the German (although with initial Lutheran influence).  This is mostly ascertained through the doctrines of the Church of England, as found in the Articles of Religion and Prayer Book, which generally follow Swiss patterns over German, especially in sacramental theology.  It is important to remember that "five-point Calvinism" is a 17th century development and not naturally descriptive of all Reformed Christianity.  Secondly, it is important to remember that genuine Reformed Christianity adopts a "bene esse" approach to church polity, meaning that each national Church has the right to order itself appropriately.  That is to say, neither the English Church, with bishops, or the Church of Geneva, with presbyters, "unchurched" each other for having the "wrong" government.  Divine Right Presbyterianism/Episcopalianism came much later.  It is also important to remember that the retention of bishops is not a solely English (or Reformed) practice.  The Churches in Hungary and Poland both retained bishops and are both Calvinistically Reformed.  The Church of Sweden also retained bishops as a Lutheran church.  This is not to de-value English episcopacy but to show that most Reformation Christians have viewed church polity as a matter of adiaphora.  To clear up matters, what I understand English Reformed Christianity or Anglicanism to be is this: the national, episcopal Church of England.  This Church is a non-ritualistic, liturgical Church of the Reformed tradition, adopting Reformed sacramentology, a normative approach to worship, retaining episcopacy, and generally predestinarian but not officially "five-point Calvinist".  To define further, much has been made of 'Anglican comprehensiveness" in the past century.  I agree that there is a certain degree of comprehensiveness to our formularies but this is not a universal comprehensiveness but a Protestant comprehensiveness, meaning it comprehends varying shades of Magisterial Protestant belief, excluding Anabaptists.

Anglo-Reformed types ironically err in similar ways to Anglo-Catholics, not by erring in doctrine but in agreeing with Anglo-Catholics that the English Church and her daughters is not a Protestant and Reformed Church.  How so?  Anglo-Reformed types harp on the fact that Anglicanism is Reformed but what they understand "Reformed" to mean and what English Reformed Christianity (=Anglicanism) is are two radically different things.  Because they do not actually accept English Reformed theology, they subscribe to the myth that Anglicanism is not Protestant and Reformed by passively agreeing with the Tractarian assertion.  Another way of viewing this problem is to say that Anglo-Reformed types do not necessarily (although sometimes) err doctrinally, meaning, they generally accept what the Articles of Religion teach, although going beyond what they teach in some respects.  However, I would say that Anglo-Reformed generally err prescriptively, meaning they admire and desire the forms of liturgy proposed by Geneva and consequently prescribe these forms on English Reformed Christianity as some "test" of genuine Reformed Christianity and consequently give strength to Tractarian criticisms of English Protestantism.

Essentially, both sides misunderstand respectively what "Reformed" is and what "Catholic" is and, consequently, gravely misunderstand what Anglicanism is.  Anglo-Catholics err in linking Catholicism with recusancy, Romanism, or Easternism, and not linking it to the primitive doctrine of the early Church as proclaimed by the Reformers and enshrined in our Formularies.  Anglo-Reformed err in limiting Reformed Christianity to only one shade, that of Geneva, and prescribing this form on Anglicanism.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Worship Woes: Introduction

This post is the launch of a new series on the Hackney Hub (yes -- I know there are already too many!).  I intend it to be a companion to the Anglican Myths series, in that it will address potential problems of Anglican worship, as I see it (again, I am not "authority", these are my opinions, which I try to base on solid, historical research, to my capability).  I won't attempt to just address problems in Anglican worships but also positive traits and trends I see, as well as thoughts on changes, etc.

The idea from this series stems from a trend I have noticed in attending Episcopal parishes, that being a very inconsistent approach to worship, especially the theology surrounding it.  I've noticed a mishmash of ritual and ceremonial that doesn't necessarily accompany the theology of the rector or parish.  It's a bit difficult to explain and I will lay out a foundation for my objections to some of these practices below.  However, for a brief example, how many Episcopalians know why acolytes carry torches?  I understand that this act is a way of encouraging laity participation, which is good thing, however, I hope this example will demonstrate that I think worship has become cluttered and inconsistent.

One accusation that I would like to answer first is that I want to return to the practices of X century.  This is not the point that I am after here.  I do not want to preserve some form of museum religion.  In fact, you will find in a few weeks that I will be talking about "non-liturgical services" and that I am in favor of them, in certain contexts.  This is not about preserving some form of ceremonial that I think is adequately Anglican.  I have explained some of my thoughts on ceremonial in the piece, Moderate Ceremonialism.  While personally I would like to see a certain "counter-ritualist" movement emerge, I think that the approach I have taken in "Moderate Ceremonialism" is the better way forward.  The point being that worship must have a purpose and the ceremonies therein must serve some Gospel purpose in teaching the Christian religion.

In the Anglican Myths series, I maintain that Anglicanism, or the Church of England rather, is a Protestant and Reformed Church, and it is.  Now (and I will be discussing this further in Myths #9), this does not mean that Anglicanism is a Dortian Calvinistic, regulative principle, presbyterian body.  The Church of England historically adopted the normative approach to worship, that being that things which were not contradictory to the Word of God are acceptable in worship, such as the sign of the cross in baptism.  However, this does not make the Church of England a "ritualistic" (read: "ceremonially rich") Church.  In liturgy there is ritual and ceremonial.  Ritual are the words that are spoken by the assembly, in this case contained in the Prayer Book, in this sense the C of E is very "ritualistic" in that it prescribes the exact words for service.  However, popularly speaking, "ritualism" means the actions of worship, which in technical jargon is the ceremonial of worship, or what we do in worship.  The Church of England is not a ceremonially rich Church.  There are few prescribed ceremonials or actions in the Liturgy, and at least classically speaking, it was not envisioned that ministers would go about adding ceremonial as they saw fit (which is sadly the case today, via the Ritualist Movement).  One could view this new series as the Worship Myths.  If the Anglican Myths series shows ways in which people try to weaken, avoid, or reinterpret the Protestant and Reformed Nature of our Church, the "Worship Woes" will show ways that people try to change the liturgical nature of our Church, that being non-ritualistic (=non-ceremonialistic) liturgy.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

1662 & 1962: IV. The Lord's Supper (Part One)

This is the fifth in a series by Consular on the 1662 BCP and the 1962 Canadian BCP. Read the first article here for an index.
I. Up to the Comfortable Words
RED denotes passages omitted from 1662.
BLUE denotes additions by 1962.
GREEN denotes large passages unchanged by 1962.

¶  denotes a rubric.

The 1662 BCP stipulates that: there shall be no Celebration of the Lord's Supper, except there be at least three persons resent to communicate with the Priest.

The 1962 BCP reduces the requirement to one person.

[The 1962 is here similar to the old Roman rite of 1570-1962, which stipulates that only a priest and server are necessary for the service.]


¶  The Table at the Communion-time having a fair white linen cloth upon it, shall stand in the body of the Church, or in the Chancel, where Morning and Evening Prayer are appointed to be said. And the Priest standing at the North-side of the Table, shall say the Lords Prayer, with the Collect following, the People kneeling.

[The location of the altar or holy table is not specified by 1962.]

[The famous North-end celebration rubric is removed in 1962, making it unclear whether there is an expected liturgical orientation.]

[An Introit may be sung or said as the Priest proceeds to the holy Table in 1962. The introit is a Psalm verse or verses proper to Sundays and festival days.]

                                                            (THE LORD'S PRAYER)

[The Lord's Prayer is changed in 1962 from "which art in Heaven" to "who art in Heaven"]

                                                       (THE COLLECT FOR PURITY)

¶ Then shall the Priest, turning to the People, shall rehearse distinctly all the TEN COMMANDMENTS; and the People still kneeling, shall after every commandment ask God mercy for their transgression thereof for the time past, and grace to keep the same for the time to come, as followeth.

["Turning to the people" becomes "facing the people" in 1962.]

[In 1962 it suffices for the second and fourth Commandments, to read only the first paragraph of each.]

[In 1962, this Preface precedes the first Commandment: "Hear the Law of God which was given to Israel in old time."]

                                                     (THE TEN COMMANDMENTS)

[The rehearsal of the Commandments is only obligatory once a month in 1962.  The Two Great Commandments of the Law, a much shorter declaration combining Mark 12:29-31 with Matthew 22:37-40, may be said in place of the Ten Commandments.]
[1962 adds an optional triple invocation after the Ten Commandments: "Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, Lord have mercy upon us", echoing the post-Gregorian reform of the Roman Eucharist from the A.D. 590s, used by Rome up to the present day.]

[1962 optionally allows "The Lord be with you; and with thy spirit." to be said here, as in the Roman liturgy and others.]

¶ Then shall [1962: may] follow one of these two Collects for the King/Queen, the Priest standing as before, and saying,

[Note that loyalty to the governing authorities by prayer for them is only optional in 1962.]

("Almighty God, whose kingdom is everlasting, and power infinite...")

[The second Collect for the Monarch is omitted in 1962, though it is moved, unchanged, to a section of general prayers outside the Communion service unchanged.]

¶ Then shall be said the Collect of the day. And immediately after the Collect, the Priest shall read the Epistle, saying "The Epistle [or, the portion of Scripture appointed for the Epistle] is written in the ____ Chapter of ____ beginning at ____ verse." And the Epistle being ended, he shall say "Here endeth the Epistle."

[1962 directs the priest to pray the Collect of the day, "together with any other Collects appointed to be said".]

[1962 specifies that the people shall be seated for the Epistle.]

Then shall he read the Gospel (the people all standing up), saying "The Holy Gospel is written in the ____ Chapter of ____ beginning at the ____ verse." And the Gospel ended, shall be sung or said the Creed following, the people still standing, as before.

[1962 allows a Psalm (for Sundays and Holy-days) or Hymn to be sung between Epistle and Gospel, much like the then-future reformed Roman rite, of 1969.]

[1962 directs the people to sing or say "Glory be to thee, O Lord" before the Gospel, and "Praise be to thee, O Christ" after the Gospel - mirroring the Roman rite, and similar to some other ancient rites.]

                                                           (THE NICENE CREED)

[1962 directs the minister to omit the Creed at his discretion on weekdays, unless they are "Holy-days".]

¶ Then the Curate shall declare unto the people what Holy-days, or Fasting-days, are in the week following to be observed. And then also (if occasion be) shall notice be given of the Communion; and Briefs, Citations, and Excommunications read. And nothing shall be proclaimed or published in the Church during the time of Divine Service, but by the Minister : nor by him any thing, but what is prescribed in the Rules of this Book, or enjoined by the Queen, or by the Ordinary of the place.
[1962 omits the announcement of excommunications, in light of which we can see the modern decline of that practice.]

Then shall follow the Sermon, or one of the Homilies already set forth, or hereafter to be set forth, by authority. *
[* 1962 merely says "THE SERMON", giving no mention of the Homilies.]

¶ Then shall the Priest return to the Lord’s Table, and begin the Offertory, saying one or more of these Sentences following, as he thinketh most convenient in his discretion.

[1962 does not direct the minister to say the Offertory sentences as he thinks most convenient, but rather assigns most sentences to certain liturgical seasons. Of the 20 original sentences present in 1662, 8 are present in 1962.]

                                                              THE OFFERTORY

"Let your light so shine before men..." [Matthew 5:16] is has the superscription "Epiphany" in 1962.

"Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon the earth..." [Matthew 6:20-21] has the superscription "Ascension Day" in 1962.

[This Sentence in 1962 does not include the negatives, but the positives: "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...", including "for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also",  shifting the Sentence from 20-21 to 21-22. This is characteristic of 1962, which consistently shifts emphasis away from negation and denial.]

"Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you..." [Matthew 7:12] has the superscription "Whitsunday" in 1962.

"Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord..." [Matthew 7:21] has the superscription "Trinity" in 1962.

"He that soweth little shall reap little..." [2 Corinthians 9:6-7] has the superscription "Rogation and Harvest" in 1962.

"While we have time, let us do good unto all men..." has the superscription "Advent" in 1962.

[This Sentence in 1962 changes "While we have time" to "As we have opportunity", moving away from the urgency and time-limit on our charity, toward a lackadaisical opportunism. 1962 here does not present the fact that Christ may come again at any moment and demand an account.]

"To do good and to distribute forget not..." is of general use in 1962, as in 1662.

"Blessed be the man that provideth for the sick and needy..." is of general use in 1962, as in 1662.

[This Sentence in 1962 changes "the man that provideth for the sick and the needy" to "he that considereth the poor and needy", moving away from the urgency of helping the sick (who may be in danger of death!) toward the general "poor". Also, 1962 swapping "provide" with "consider" may be interpreted as inviting mere prayer for the poor, rather than active provision.]

1962 adds these new verses:
General use ~ Psalm 50:14, Exodus 35:21, Psalm 96:8, Acts 20:35
Christmas ~ 2 Corinthians 8:9
Lent ~ Romans 12:1
Passiontide ~ Ephesians 5:2
Maundy Thursday ~ John 13:34
Easter and Festivals ~ Revelation 5:12

Whilst these Sentences are in reading, the Deacons, Church-wardens, or other fit person appointed for that purpose, shall receive the Alms for the Poor, and other devotions of the people, in a decent basin to be provided by the Parish for that purpose; and reverently bring it to the Priest, who shall humbly present and place it upon the holy Table.*

[1962 makes no mention of deacons here, which is actually a reversal of the ancient practice of Deacons taking in alms, faithfully continued by the 1662.]

[* 1962 adds that the Priest may have the bread and wine brought up to him by Churchwardens or other representatives of the people, if he so desires.

These instances of "may be" & "if so desired" are characteristic of 1962. There is clearly an effort to reconcile Ritualist and Evangelical factions with a very broad, loose commonality.]

¶ And when there is a Communion, the Priest shall then place upon the Table so much Bread and Wine, as he shall think sufficient. After which done, the Priest shall say, *

[* 1962 says:
¶ the Bread shall be the best and purest wheat bread, whether leavened or unleavened, and the Wine pure grape wine, with which a little water may be mingled. Then shall one of the Ministers ask the prayers of the people, using always either the first or the last of the following Biddings, together with one or more others if so desired; and he may provide short periods for silent prayer.]

[1962  allows the following to be said or sung before the Intercession: "Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel, for ever and ever. All that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine. All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." 1 Chronicles 29:10-11, 14

The first verse is used at this point in the 1969 reformed Roman Eucharist.]

1962: "Let us pray for Christ's holy Catholic Church."
1962: "Let us pray for peace on earth and for the unity of all Christian people."
1962: "Let us pray for our missionaries at home and abroad."
1962: "Let us remember before God those of our brethren who have departed this life and are at rest."

1662 & 1962: "Let us pray for the whole state of Christ's Church militant here in Earth."

[Note the clear encouragement in one of the options of 1962 to pray for the whole Church, militant and triumphant; also, note the ambiguity of the call to "remember" the dead.]

"ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men; We humbly beseech thee most mercifully [* to accept our alms and oblations, and *] to receive these our prayers, which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty; beseeching thee to inspire continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: And grant, that all they who do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity, and godly love.

[* 1662 here says: If there be no alms or oblations, then the words ["of accepting our alms and oblations"] be left out unsaid.

This caveat is not present in 1962; the phrase "alms and oblations" is part of every Communion service.]

We beseech thee also to save and defend all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governours [1962: to lead all nations in the way of righteousness; and so to guide and direct their governors and rulers, that thy people may enjoy the blessings of freedom and peace]; * and specially [1962: and grant unto] thy Servant N. our King/Queen; that under him we may be godly and quietly governed: And grant unto him whole Council, and to all that are put in authority under him, that they may truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue.

[1962 again removes most references to punishment, wickedness, and vice as regards both to prayer and civil government.]

Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and Curates [1962: All Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, and specially to thy servant N. our Bishop,] that they may both by their life and doctrine set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments. * And to all thy people give thy heavenly grace; and especially to this congregation here present; that, with meek heart and due reverence, they may hear, and receive thy holy Word; truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life. And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succour all those [1962: them] who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity +. ++ And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear [1962: for all, who in life and death have glorified thee]; beseeching thee to give us grace so to [1962: that, rejoicing in their fellowship, we may] follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate +++. Amen.

[* 1962 here interjects: "Prosper, we pray thee, all those who proclaim the Gospel of thy kingdom among the nations."]

[+ 1962 here adds "especially those for whom our prayers are desired", which is a curiously superfluous addition to a General Intercession.]

[++ 1962 prefaces this section with: "We remember before thee, O Lord, all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear: and we bless thy holy Name..."]

[+++ 1962 here appends a doxology: to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end.]

[Note: in 1962 the departed servants of God do not merely glorify God in life, but now in death also.]

[Note: we no longer merely ask to follow the good example of the saints, but ask that we may have fellowship with them. Everywhere in this book, we are edged closer to veneration of saints and prayer to the dead, but never pushed over the edge.]

                                                   EXHORTATION AND CONFESSION

[Note: The following exhortations, present here in 1662, are printed after the conclusion of the service, in 1962. The two exhortations to receive Communion are spliced together in 1962.]

¶ When the Minister giveth warning for the celebration of the holy Communion, (which he shall always do upon the Sunday, or some Holy-day, immediately preceding,) after the Sermon or Homily ended, he shall (1962: may) read this Exhortation following:

"DEARLY beloved, on ----- day next I purpose [1962: I intend], through God’s assistance, to administer to all such as shall be religiously and devoutly disposed the most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ [1962: to celebrate the Lord's Supper]..."

[Note: 1962 only requires the first paragraph of the four-paragraph exhortation to be read, at the Minister's discretion, so long as ¶ he read the whole Exhortation on some Sunday before Christmas Day, Easter Day, and Whitsunday, all the people all standing. This is a drastic reduction in usage.]

¶ At the time of the Celebration of the Communion, the Communicants being conveniently placed for the receiving of the holy Sacrament, the Priest shall say this Exhortation.*

[* 1962 specifies that this exhortation to repentance shall immediately precede the Sermon or come before the General Confession following. Its use is optional, except it must be said at least one Sunday in Advent, and one Sunday in Lent.]
"DEARLY beloved in the Lord, ye that mind to come to the holy Communion of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ, must consider how Saint Paul exhorteth all persons diligently to try and examine themselves, before they presume to eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. For as the benefit is great, if with a true penitent heart and lively faith we receive that holy Sacrament; (for then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood; then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us;) so is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily. For then we are guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour; we eat and drink our own damnation (1962: condemnation), not considering (1962: discerning) the Lord’s Body; we kindle God’s wrath against us; we provoke him to plague us with divers diseases, and sundry kinds of death. * Judge therefore yourselves, brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord... [etc.]"

[* Note the omission of the solemn warning to those who would receive unworthily, in 1962.]

¶ Then shall the Priest say to them that come to receive the holy Communion,*
[* 1962: ¶ Then shall the Priest or one of the Ministers say:]

EXHORTATION: ("YE that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins...")

¶ Then shall this general Confession be made, in the name of [1962: by] all those that are minded to receive the holy Communion, by one of the Ministers, both he and all the people
kneeling humbly upon their knees, and saying, [1962: both priest and people humbly kneeling.]

"ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us.* We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us,* Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

[* Note what is omitted. Shall the repentant sinner have no chance to learn the grievous nature of sin throughout the entirety of this service?]

¶ Then shall the Priest (or the Bishop, being present,) standing up, and turning himself to the people, pronounce this Absolution.

ABSOLUTION: ("ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father...")

¶ Then shall the Priest say,

"Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all that truly turn to him.

'COME unto me all that travail [1962: labour] and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.' (St. Matthew 11:28)

'So God (1962: God so) loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' (St. John 3:16)

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.

'This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' (1 Timothy 1:15)

Hear also what Saint John saith.

'If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins'." 1 St. John 2:1-2

                                                                  Here ends the first part.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Anglican Myths 8: Churchmanship?


Perhaps the title is a bit misleading – I am not implying that churchmanship in its entirety is unAnglican, but, rather, that a certain manifestation of it is wholly foreign to the nature of Anglicanism.  This aberration of true churchmanship is misleading because it misunderstands and perhaps willingly distorts the nature of the Church of England and her daughter Churches in the Anglican Communion.  

Before I begin, I must note that I will not be covering in much detail the modern liberal (often termed revisionist) “party” in mainstream Anglicanism.  First, I have doubts about the Christianity of said group and really couldn't comment on how (or if) such a theology could be construed of as Anglican in any sense, much less any successor to the Latitudinarian party.  Second, I will not be discussing the “charismatic' movement in Anglicanism.  I am not wholly sure of it myself and have done next to no research on it, meaning I have no real knowledge of it, not even enough to briefly summarize its origin or fundamental concepts.  

The concept of churchmanship has been misused and misunderstood in increasing years, yet beginning in the latter part of the 19th century, as a way of denying the Protestant and Reformed nature of the Church of England, of course, all in my own opinion.  This faulty notion of “churchmanship” (I will use this nomenclature hereafter), is a technique used by some in our Church to assuage the, rather plainly obvious, Protestantism of the formularies and in the writings of our divines, by claiming that there has always been a reformed party in the Church of England, equally as there has always been a “Catholic” party in her.  There are two fallacies in this argumentation that I will discuss below.  First, this notion of “churchmanship' misunderstands what a church party is, in its proper sense.  Second, it misunderstands what Catholicism is, as properly defined.  

First, the notion that there was a Reformed party and a Catholic party (note, by this is meant “Romanist” party or unReformed party, not a true Catholic party) in the Church of England is simply ludicrous.  The reforms of Henry VIII and especially Edward V and Elizabeth I severed the ties of the English Church to the tyranny of Rome, both in jurisdiction and doctrine.  The English Church was regarded by its members and by those in the Continent as a fully Reformed Church, in the Swiss meaning, and in a generally “Calvinist” bent (although, the English Church did not accept the Canons of Dort to their fullest extent, officially adopting Amyraldism, under the influence of Davenant and other English bishops in attendance at said Synod).  The Church of England was fully Protestant in that it accepted all of the solas, repudiated the doctrines of Rome, and broadly accepted Reformed Christianity, albeit in a more “suave” way than later Westminster divines.  (As in the former post in this series, there was a group in the Church that thought this reform only 'half-done” and wished for furhter reforms along the “regulative principle” or Genevan model).  To deny the Protestant and Reformed nature of the Church of England is simply historical revisionism and ludicrous.  

[An aside point, historically there were recusants, i.e. Romanists who “conformed” to the national church in Elizabeth's reign.  These recusants were regarded as outsiders, meaning that they were secret Papists, who didn't want to pay extra fines or be hanged for attending Mass, so they went to the Established Church, (usually for Mattins and slipping out at Communion) to maintain their heads and pocketbooks.]

Secondly, the notion that Rome has any claim to catholicity is simply false.  This is according to simple fact by examining the primitive Church and also in accordance with the plain and unified consensus of our Fathers in the Church of England.  The doctrinal accretions of the Middle Ages brought Rome further and further away from the pure truth of the Church Catholic.  The Protestant Reformation began in 1517, formally, to protest the accretions of the Middle Ages and to eschew such innovation and return the Church to her Catholic past.  It is important to remember that the Reformation beginning in 1517 was only one among many Reformations.  The reforming spirit can be seen as early as 1,000 AD, first in advocates for moral reform of the clergy and then, around 1300 AD in doctrinal reform in groups such as the Waldensians, Lollards, and Hussites.  The Reformation's only intent was to return the Church to the pure doctrine of Scripture, i.e. Catholicism.  The fault of “churchmanship” is in associating unReformed doctrines with Catholicism in such that by adopting these “Catholic” practices, these “churchmen” become unCatholic.  In simple terms, to be Catholic is to be Protestant and to be Protestant is to be Catholic.  To be Romanist or unReformed is to be in error by ignoring the plain teaching of Scripture.  

As you may (or may not) have gathered, the locus of errors in these “Anglican Myths” series rests in attempts to distort the history of the Church of England and her daughter Churches in such manner as to deny or weaken the Protestant and Reformed nature of our Church.  For this reason they are myths, they have no basis in reality, only in ignorance.  

The real basis of churchmanship is the Protestant and Reformed nature of the Church.  This is where real church parties come into play.  Starting with the Protestant identity, the historical parties differed (mostly) in emphases.  The historical Low Church party, which was originally Latitudinarian, emphasized the similarities with other Protestants, such as the supremacy of Scripture, etc. to forge relationships with them.  The historical High Church party emphasized the uniqueness of the Anglican Church among Protestants in her historic liturgy and episcopacy.  Another way of looking at is from the Evangelical-High Church vantage point with the the former emphasizing the invisible church and internal conversion.  The latter emphasized the visible church and means of grace, etc.  

The way I view Anglican history, defining the “classical period” from 1559, with the Elizabethan Act of Uniformity and Supremacy to the 1829 repeal of the Test Acts, thus allowing Dissenters and Romanists to sit in Parliament, thus destroying traditional (English) theories of church and state.  The period from 1829 to the present day has seen the gradual fall of classical churchmanship and the increasing polarization of new “church parties”.  Another important note that I would like to leave with folks as they read this piece is that in the classical period (as I understand it) church parties were much more flexible than they are now and also there was much more doctrinal consensus than now.  For instance, most churchmen would have understood the Eucharist in a high receptionist (i.e. Calvinist) sense (see Waterland's Review for a centrist position), the only way I can think of to accurately describe it is to say that what is now “Low Church Evangelicalism” was rather standard across the board, in most churchmen's minds and in most places, except Scotland, which has a unique history (and really wasn't regarded as “Anglican” by many churchmen, historically speaking).  There was increasing polarization just before the Oxford Movement but not in the sense that has developed sense then.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1662 & 1962: III. Confirmation

This is the fourth in a series by Consular on the 1662 BCP and the 1962 Canadian BCP. Read the first article here for an index.

The Order of Confirmation, or Laying on of hands with prayer upon those that are Baptized and come to years of discretion.

RED denotes omissions from 1662.
BLUE denotes additions by 1962.

[Note: Words in brackets are large sections of material unique to 1962]

PREFACE, 1962: This Service may be taken by itself, or in combination other Services in this Book, the arrangements for the Service, including the place of the Sermon, and the place and choice of Hymns, being subject to the discretion of the Bishop. The Apostles' Creed may be recited if the Bishop so determined, and Collects and other devotions from this Book may be used.

RUBRIC: Upon the day appointed, all that are to be then confirmed, being placed, and standing in order before the Bishop; he (or some other Minister appointed by him) shall read this preface following. (1962: the Minister shall present them unto the Bishop, and say:)

[1962: REVEREND Father in God, I present unto you these persons to receive the laying on of hands.

Bishop. Take heed that the persons whom ye present be duly prepared and meet to receive the laying on of hands.

Minister. I have instructed them and inquired of them and believe them so to be.]

Preface, 1662: To the end that Confirmation may be ministred to the more edifying of such as shall receive it, the Church hath thought good order, that none hereafter shall be confirmed, but such as can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments; and can also answer to such other questions, as in the short Catechism are contained: which order is very convenient to be observed, that children being now come to the years of discretion, and having learned that their Godfathers and Godmothers promised for them in Baptism, they may themselves with their own mouth and consent openly before the Church ratify and confirm the same; and also promise that by the grace of God, they will evermore endeavour themselves faithfully to observe such things as they by their own confession have assented unto.

Preface, 1962: Brethren, these are they to whom we purpose, God willing, to administer the Apostolic rite of the laying on of hands.

The Church has thought good order that none shall be confirmed, but such as can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and are further instructed in the Church Catechism, set forth for that purpose.

We are assured that these persons present, being by baptism members of Christ's Church, are prepared as aforesaid, and we are assembled here to bless them by laying on of hands with prayer.

This order is very convenient to be observed.

[First. Because it is evident from sundry places in holy Scripture that the Apostles prayed for and laid their hands upon those who were baptized; and the same is agreeable with the usage of the Church since the Apostles' time. This holy rite is reckoned in the Epistle to the Hebrews to be one of the first principles of Christ.

Secondly. In order that persons, having come to the years of discretion, may acknowledge openly the vows made at their Baptism and dedicate their lives to the will of God.

Thirdly. In order that by prayer and laying on of hands they may be strengthened by the Holy Spirit, manfully to fight under the banner of Christ crucified, against sin, the world, and the devil, and to continue Christ's faithful soldiers and servants unto their life's end.

RUBRIC, 1962: Then the Bishop, or some Minister appointed by him, shall read the following Lessons from holy Scripture.

Hear the words of holy Scripture written in the eighth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, beginning at the fourth verse.

(ACTS 8:4-15)

Hear also the words of holy Scripture written in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, beginning at the first verse.

(ACTS 19:1-7)

RUBRIC, 1962: The bishop shall then require THE RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL VOWS, saying:]

RUBRIC, 1662: Then shall the Bishop say,

"Do ye here in the presence of God and of this Congregation, renew the solemn promise and vow that was made in your name at Baptism (?"); ratifying and confirming the same in your own persons, and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe and do all those things which your Godfathers and Godmothers then undertook for you?"

And everyone shall audibly answer: "I do."

[RUBRIC, 1962: Or else the Bishop shall say:

"Do you here, in the presence of God and of this Congregation, renounce the devil and all his works, the pomp and vanity of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh?"

Answer. "I do."

Bishop. "Do you believe the Christian Faith as it is set forth in the Apostles' Creed?"

Answer. "I do."

Bishop. "Will you endeavour to keep God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of your life?"

Answer. "I will, God being my helper."

RUBRIC, 1962: Then shall the Bishop proceed with THE CONFIRMATION, commending those who are to be confirmed to the prayers of the Congregation, and saying:]

"Our help is in the name of the Lord;"

Answer. "Who hath made heaven and earth."

Bishop. "Blessed be the Name of the Lord;"

Answer. "Henceforth, world without end."

Bishop. "Lord, hear our prayers;"

Answer. "And let our cry come unto thee."

Bishop. "Let us pray.

Almighty and everliving God, who hath/hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by water/Water and the holy Ghost/Holy Spirit, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins; confirm and strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the holy Ghost/Spirit the comforter/Comforter, and daily increase in them the/thy manifold gifts of grace; the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength (1962: and might); the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill them, O Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear, now and for ever. Amen."

RUBRIC: Then all of them in order kneeling before the Bishop, he shall lay his hands on every one of them (1962: his hand upon the head of every one severally) saying:

"Defend, O Lord, this thy child [or this thy servant] (1962: this thy Servant) with thy heavenly grace, that he may continue thine for ever: and daily increase in thy holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting kingdom. Amen."

RUBRIC: Then shall the Bishop say,

"The Lord be with you."

Answer. "And with thy spirit."

RUBRIC, 1662: And, all kneeling down, the Bishop shall say:
RUBRIC, 1962: Then shall be said by all:

"Let us Pray"

ADDITIONAL RUBRIC, 1962: Then shall be said by all:


RUBRIC, 1662: And this Collect.
RUBRIC, 1962: Then the Bishop shall say:

"Almighty and everlasting (1962: everliving) God, who makest us both to will and to do those (1962: such) things that be good and acceptable unto thy divine Majesty; we make our humble supplications unto thee for these thy servants, upon whom (after the example of thy holy Apostles) we have now laid our hands, to certifie them (by this sign) of thy favour and gracious goodness towards them. Let thy fatherly hand, we beseech thee, ever be over them (1962: ever be with them); let thy holy Spirit ever be with them; and so lead them in the knowledge and obedience of thy word, that in the end they may obtain everlasting life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with thee and the holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen."

"O Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctifie/sanctify, and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments, that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."

Then the Bishop shall bless them, saying thus,

"The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be upon you, and remain with you forever. Amen."

RUBRIC, 1962: It is desirable that every one shall have a Godfather or Godmother as witness at the Confirmation.

RUBRIC, 1962: When the Confirmation follows immediately after holy Baptism, the shortened form on page 538 may be used.

RUBRIC, 1662 & 1962: And there shall none be admitted to the holy Communion, until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirious to be confirmed.

Here Endeth the CONFIRMATION