I am puzzled

Readers, can you help me? I present to you four statements. If you can reconcile them, I would be interested to see how. I am quite sincere.

From the GAFCON Final Statement (Jerusalem Declaration, #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.

From the 39 Articles (Article XVIII):

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

From a recent statement of the Bishop of Forth Worth:

It has been a joy to participate in the GAFCON experience in Jerusalem, and I welcome and endorse the proclamation that has been issued at the conclusion of our week of deliberation and prayer.

From the Customary of the Diocese of Forth Worth (Section III):

The Blessed Sacrament is to be reverently reserved (generally in one kind) in a tabernacle or aumbry in the church. This reservation is indicated by a Presence Lamp (or Sanctuary Lamp), which is kept burning at all times.

I just don’t see how Anglo-Catholic worship can be reconciled with GAFCON theology. I’m interested to know how it’s possible.

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11 Responses

  1. Fr. Alexander says:

    Well, of course, John Henry Newman explained it all for us in Tract 90. So, how about you and I organize a pilgrimage to Sydney next June, and see if Dr. Jensen will allow us to conduct a Corpus Christi Procession and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the cathedral? We’ll wear copes so as not to run afoul of the “no chasubles” rule.

    Up until recently, all clergy ordained in the C of E had to swear conformity to the 39 articles at their ordinations. The Anglo-Catholics then proceeded to engage with impunity in practices that seemed at face value to contradict Articles XXII, XXV, XXVIII and in some cases XXIV. There is a probably apocryphal story that some priests wore cassocks with 39 buttons, representing the 39 articles, leaving unbuttoned those buttons to which they did not subscribe.

  2. BillyDinPVD says:

    I’m too lazy to wade through Tract 90 right now, but the explanation I’ve always heard goes something like, “Well, of course the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped – who said that it was? And how does that prevent us from practicing reservation or showing due reverence for the Sacrament?” The article states a fact: Christ didn’t say to do any of these things. He didn’t say not to, either.

    Of course, I doubt that this would carry much weight with Sydney.

  3. MJ says:

    Yes, curious how those Anglo-Catholics who’ve hitched their wagon to GAFCON can happily sign up to the ‘plain’ reading of Scripture, yet when it comes to the Thirty-Nine Articles they are happy to twist them to fit their own beliefs and practices. Newman eventually saw this as dishonest. Evangelicals demand a reading of the Articles in their plain and literal sense based on the intentions of their framers. They will not, of course, demand such a reading from their Anglo-Catholic partners. The whole thing reeks of hypocrisy. Jensen has said he would rather die than attend Mass. Does that apply to those CCP parishes in the US which use e.g. the Anglican Missal? Or those FiF parishes which use the Roman Missal?

  4. MJ says:

    Here’s an even greater puzzle, as pointed out on Gentle Wisdom:

    The Donatists were a schismatic group in the early church, mainly in North Africa, who, to put things simply, broke away from the mainstream church because they rejected the authority of leaders, such as bishops, who had sinned. The specific problem was with Christian leaders who had compromised during a period of persecution:

    The Donatists refused to accept the sacraments and spiritual authority of the priests and bishops who had fallen away from the faith during the persecution.

    They refused to accept the repentance of these traditors and held that sacraments performed by them were invalid.

    This is known as: ex opere operantis — Latin for from the work of the one doing the working, that is, that the validity of the sacrament depends upon the worthiness and holiness of the minister confecting it. The Catholic position was (and is): ex opere operato — from the work having been worked, in other words, that the validity of the sacrament depends upon the holiness of God, the minister being a mere instrument of God’s work, so that any priest or bishop, even one in a state of mortal sin, who speaks the formula of the sacrament with valid matter and the intent of causing the sacrament to occur acts validly.

    At the Reformation, although some of the radicals may have taken the Donatist position, the majority continued to hold that it was wrong. Article XXVI of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England condemns Donatism, and extends the ex opere operato principle to preaching as well as sacraments:

    Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving of the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.

    Doug Chaplin calls this The least believed article, and he may be right. It certainly seems to be the least believed by the GAFCON participants, who in their Final Statement, the same one I reported and commented on here, write:

    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.

    How do they reconcile their affirmation of Article XXVI with the following part of their statement?:

    13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed.

    It seems that Donatism is still alive and well in Africa, and the other homes of the GAFCON participants.

    http://www.qaya.org/blog/?p=566

  5. Empy says:

    Hope that I may be included on the pilgrimage to Sydney. I’ll be sure to leave the appropriate buttons on my cassock unbuttoned!

  6. BillyDinPVD says:

    “Jensen has said he would rather die than attend Mass.”

    The irony, of course, is that Dr. Jensen attends Mass all the time; he just calls it “the Administration of the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion.”

  7. Mark Parker says:

    It’s quite interesting seeing these topics, and what your dealing with, I hope you don’t mind me commenting on this:

    ‘in other words, that the validity of the sacrament depends upon the holiness of God, the minister being a mere instrument of God’s work, so that any priest or bishop, even one in a state of mortal sin, who speaks the formula of the sacrament with valid matter and the intent of causing the sacrament to occur acts validly.’
    I’m guessing ‘mortal sin’ is something serious like dishonesty, sexual transgression or something, so what mechanism does your Church have to correct the above situation? Would the priest continue to both bless and partake of the sacrament unworthily? And what would church members think? It’s ok to approach God in their sins? Where is their good example?
    People need to be taught, without hypocrisy, to repent of all sin, so they can know God and be justified before him.
    It’s the last part of the following scripture that is the key; it’s the only way it works:

    Acts 5;32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

    And so with ‘mortal’ disobedience; would either the Holy Spirit or God’s authority remain with a sinful man?

    ’34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
    35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
    36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
    37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.’

  8. BillyDinPVD says:

    Mark Parker – Don’t look now, but that “scripture” you ended your post with is a quote from Doctrine and Covenants, a Mormon work.

  9. Peter says:

    My problem with the cassock issue is that I have an Anglican cassock and not a Roman one…so, I can’t unbutton any of the buttons or it would fall off…I think there are only three buttons (Scripture, Reason, Tradition?)…(Trinity)???

    Peter

  10. Jon says:

    Mark Parker, if we can’t approach God when we’re sinners how are we to be saved? By some human action? No, to teach such a thing looks like a denial that we are saved by God.

    Also, we have disciplinary canons to deal with misbehaving clergy, but if for some reason they aren’t invoked or if the clergy person gets off when they shouldn’t have, sacraments they perform are still valid.

    Jon

  11. Mark Parker says:

    ‘Mark Parker, if we can’t approach God when we’re sinners how are we to be saved? By some human action? No, to teach such a thing looks like a denial that we are saved by God.’
    Jon lets look at what a sinner is asked to do to gain salvation, a group of people asked the Apostles;
    Acts 2;
    36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
    37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
    38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    When we look at this concise statement in verse 38 the first thing they are asked to do is ‘repent’ this action means to recognize guilt, to have godly sorrow for such, and to forsake every sin, it may be that to completely achieve the perfection we are commanded may be a refining process, but not something to procrastinate and thus continue in major sin, nor having backslid a little not to promptly put right. This repentance is linked to integrity and complete honesty.
    Baptism is an action that represents entering into a covenant with God, signifying our acceptance of his terms for our salvation, in that if we remain faithful in strictly observing his commandments our sins will be remitted. This is done in consequence of the atonement of Christ, upon which we are totally dependant.
    8 For by grace (which is love) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    Qualification for that gift, and also the gift of the Holy Ghost, is totally dependant on the sincerity and completeness of the repentance that must come first.
    Mankind is not justified according to what they believe, but according to their works.
    Abraham was justified by his works, yet ‘Devils believe and tremble’ because their works follow them and condemn them, and they are not justified before God, having no part in salvation in Gods kingdom.
    How did John see that man should be judged?
    13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
    Jon, although we are dependant on the atonement there is a human action we are responsible for.

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