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Meade Has Arrived

I have received my copy of Reasons for Loving the Episcopal Church , by the Rt. Rev. William Meade, D.D., Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia, Pub'd by the PESPEK, (1858). The Table of Contents is as follows: I. Brief History of the P. E. Church II. Principle on Which the Reformation was Conducted III. Worship of the Church IV. Doctrine of the Church V. Discipline of the Church VI. The Church not Perfect APPENDIX. Showing that the English and Continental Reformers were perfectly agreed as to the principle on which the Reformation was conducted. The first chapter covers the history of the CofE from the New Testament era to the reign of EI, with brief mention of the CofE in America. I am skipping this chapter for now and have scanned the second. Right now I'm thinking I'll eventually scan the whole booklet (52pp) into a .pdf or some such and have a link on my blog so you can download it. Because of the holiday, I'm going to have to

Daily Blessings

Each day, Christ offers to us: A cross to bear, A cup of joy, A balm of peace, Light on our path, His promises to claim. Treasures untold, beside these things, In heavenly places, where sits the King. Soon Him we shall see, Who our victory has won. Oh! Glorious sublimity! Our story only begun.

Pray for Archbishop Williams

I hate to say this, but the last letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury re: the upcoming Primates' meeting in Tanzania was absurd in the light of current events. His statement that we need to keep listening and trying to understand one another, that we need to carefully consider this and that in a Christian spirit, working to hold together our bonds (viz., keep The Episcopal Church in the Communion) because of the onwatching of the Roman and Greek Churches, etc. - he's in the Twilight Zone! The die is cast, for crying out loud. He says TEC is not monochrome - well! it's sure getting that way fast! Just look at the most recent news regarding what is going on in the U.S. Sure it's ugly, but whose fault is that? He is concerned that we display a "Christian spirit." By that, he obviously means a spirit of understanding, patience, unity, etc. Fine. But that must be balanced with the Christian spirit which is zealous for truth, holiness, and gospel missio

Feast of the Holy Innocents Today

O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths: Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Feast of St. Stephen Today

G RANT, O Lord, that, in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those who suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

Archbishop of York's Christmas Message

An excerpt: Fourth, today, there is a great deal of talk about social inclusion and community cohesion. But surely we must go beyond inclusion and cohesion to a vision of true humanity as we see it in the face of Jesus Christ. We, as citizens of this nation, must agree to build our dwelling tent together. The history of this great nation and the experience of two World Wars teaches us that nationhood is made of contributions of all and not claims. Active participation and engagement, not rights. What we offer willingly and not what we demand. Together we can make a Britain in which many minority ethnic people will feel it is their dwelling tent too – without making the indigenous population feel that this is no longer the Britain of their fathers. I believe we should talk more about the common good and the values that have shaped this nation and less and less about multi-culturalism and cultural diversity. Let us resolve to love our neighbour as ourselves; and to do to others as we wou

Ember Days This Week

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who hast purchased to thyself an universal Church by the precious blood of thy dear Son; Mercifully look upon the same, and at this time so guide and govern the minds of thy servants the Bishops and Pastors of thy flock, that they may lay hands suddenly on no man, but faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons, to serve in the sacred Ministry of thy Church, And to those who shall be ordained to any holy function, give thy grace and heavenly benediction; that both by their life and doctrine they may show forth thy glory, and set forward the salvation of all men; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Judgementalism - I Cor. 4 - Advent III, 2006

Last year I was teaching a class on Medieval History and, while doing some reading, I ran across the news of someone who had become ill with the Black Plague . You will recall that, back in the 1300’s, an outbreak of bubonic plague, called the Black Plague or the Black Death, resulted in the death of one-third to one-half of the population of Europe. Well, we think of the Black Plague as something in the past, yet it isn’t. It is still with us and if the conditions of the 1300’s were to reoccur, so would the decimating power of this disease. It’s like that with many diseases. There are diseases that we here in America used to find quite common, like polio and tuberculosis. Modern medicine has just about eradicated them from our society, but not completely. They are always there. And if we do not continue to diligently inoculate people against these deadly diseases and do the other things that have to be done, they will be back. This matter of disease in our society reminds me

Advent Wreath Prayer

Our Prayer At the Lighting of the Advent Candles: Almighty Father, who alone art the Light of mankind, we rejoice in the increasing light of these candles as they remind us of thy merciful readiness to increase in us the light of the knowledge of thy Son, Jesus Christ. We ask thee to evermore give us this light, that living in its brightness, we may faithfully walk the path which leads to the ever shining glory of thy presence, for the sake of the same, thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

This Generation - Jesus & Luke 21:25f - Advent II, 2006

The Second Sunday in Advent is known in the Anglican Church as “Bible Sunday.” The reason is that the Collect for the day has to do with the Scriptures and the Epistle and Gospel, though both mentioning the coming of Christ in some fashion as befits the Advent season, also refer to the Word of God. Thus it is that, on this Sunday, we recognise the glorious role of the Holy Scriptures in the life of the Church. The Collect was written by Archbishop Cranmer in 1549 for the first English Prayer Book. It was in that year of its publication that the English Church heard for the first time one lesson from the Old Testament and one from the New in the Divine Service and both read in English. As one person has said, “The Collect was the Church’s burst of grateful joy at the recovery of a treasure she had lost so long”; viz: a firsthand knowledge of what was contained in the Scriptures. (Harper, Year with Christ ). The Collect for the day reads like a catec

Bishop Millsaps: Women Inferior?

Bishop Millsaps was sent a copy of the article by Peter Stanford entiled "More sex please, we're vicars ..." (The Observer, November 19, 2006), and replied with the following words (published here with the Bishop's permission): Dear D-, This is a very interesting article and I thank you for sending it out. However, Peter Sanford is mistaken if he thinks all who cannot go along with the "priesting " of women think that women are inferior. The opposite is more likely the case. A priest, like a deacon or even a bishop, is a servant. He is the one who washes feet and hauls off garbage. He is also the one who offers himself, if the barbarians are determined to behead somebody. Think of the recent martyrs in Iraq and even in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Most were men. This is right and proper. The women, like Mary, are to be protected and shielded so they may do their superior work of bearing and nurturing children. Men cannot give birth and cannot nurse(give suck)

Our Central Thought

From an Encyclical Letter, Bishops of the Anglican Communion, Lambeth Place, A.D. 1888. We ... most earnestly press upon the Clergy the importance of taking, as the central thought of their teaching, our L ORD J ESUS C HRIST , as the sacrifice for our sins, as the healer of our sinfulness, the source of all spiritual life, and the revelation to our consciences of the law and motive of all moral virtue. To Him and to His work all the teachings of the Old Testament converge, and from him all the teachings of the New Testament flow, in spirit, in force, and in form.

The Anglicanism of C. S. Lewis

Lyle Dorsett has a lot of insights into the Anglicanism of C. S. Lewis, of which he writes in his book Seeking the Secret Place - The Spiritual Formation of C. S. Lewis . He reminds us firstly of Lewis' statement in the Preface of Mere Christianity that he was neither high nor low Anglican, just an ordinary layman in the Church. He did have a high regard for the Anglican tradition. This is evident in his book Letters to Malcolm and personal letters. Dorsett says that the safest thing to call Lewis is a Protestant, since the Anglican Church was so diverse. He was not anti-Puritan but critical of Puritans. He especially did not like their delving into predestination. Lewis considered the topic a "meaningless question." In a margin note of his copy of the Book of Common Prayer, Lewis wrote beside Article XIII, "doctrine never to be discussed..." He also did not like the preoccupation many Puritans had with our sinfulness as Christians. He found it unhea

The Author Enters His Story - Trinity I, 2006 - John 1:1-18

One day in Oxford, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were lamenting together how few books there were of the kind that they liked. They concluded that the thing to do was to write some. They decided on stories of science fiction and time-travel. They flipped a coin and Lewis wrote his space trilogy. Tolkien began a time-travel story entitled The Lost Road. He never finished it. What he did write is worth reading – it is a good story – but it is especially interesting in that Tolkien wrote himself into the story. The qualities he gives to one of the main characters were from his own life. The story thus has something of an autobiographical aspect to it. I cannot help but reflect upon what it might be like for an author, who has created a world in story, to suddenly find himself actually in that story as one of the characters. What would Tolkien have thought and felt if he suddenly woke up, like a couple of the men in his story, as a living person in another world and time – one which he

Who is Jesus? - Trinity Sunday, 2006; St. John 3

If you are not familiar with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice , I will tell you that the main character is a young lady named Elizabeth Bennett, who meets two young men, for whom she has opposing opinions. One, named Wickham, she considers quite charming. The other, Mr. Darcy, is revolting to her because of his pride. However, as the story unfolds, Elizabeth finds that Wickham is, in fact, a dangerous man and Darcy turns out to be the most amiable and respectable man she has ever known. The happy ending of the story is a direct result of the changes in her understanding concerning these two men. I mention Austen’s story because it is a good example of the significant consequences that can attend the right or wrong understanding we may have of the important people in our lives and there is none more important in all of our lives than Jesus Christ. The colour of our lives on earth and the endings of our lives, whether they be happy or not, are dependent on who we think Jesus is. If I

Love and Obedience - Whitsunday - 2006 - John 14

Chapters 12-17 of the Gospel of St. John contain some of the most personal and intimate words that Jesus spoke to His disciples in all the gospel accounts. The setting of these words is deeply moving. The image of Jesus, in the upper room with his disciples, on the very night of his betrayal, evokes a strong impression of the emotions that must have filled the room: Jesus’ own emotions, knowing what was about to happen; the disciples emotions, hearing Him say that one of them would betray Him and that he was soon to leave them. These all add to the impact of the words which He spoke to them. What is more, because Jesus was trying to encourage His disciples, the chapters contain many famous deeds and sayings of Jesus that bring comfort to us today, such things as the foot-washing passage, the assurances of Jesus’ love, His promise of the Spirit, and, like a great crescendo in a musical piece, His priestly prayer in chapter 17. It is true that, some of the things Jesus said that night p

Good Quote Contra Dualism

I was recently asked what dualism is. I responded that it is a separating of the material world from the spiritual world in some fashion; the material is seen as unimportant or evil or detached from God, while the spiritual world has the opposite qualities. I just heard this quote while listening to a lecture from Regent College which I thought was very good. "Wherever there is creation, God is there, and so should be our minds". This has to be the case, because Scripture teaches that Christ upholds all things by the word of his power. He remains involved with that which his mind conceived and his providence has continued to guide. This concept blows away dualism and the crazy categorizing of our lives that we practice. How different our concept of Christian living would be if we could recognise the truth in this quote. As for the "so should be our minds" part, the speaker was addressing the issue of ongoing learning among the clergy. But we should all be constan

Jeremy Taylor on the Excellence of Anglicanism

From: A Copy of a Letter Written to a Gentlewoman Newly Seduced to the Church of Rome by the Reverend Jeremy Taylor D.D., late Bishop of Down and Connor. London: Printed for L. Meredith, 1687. anglicanhistory.org But I pray, give me leave to consider for you ... what defect, what amiss did you find in the Doctrine and Liturgy and Discipline of the Church of England? For its doctrine, It is certain it professes the belief of all that is written in the Old and New Testament, all that which is in the three Creeds, the Apostolical, the Nicene, and that of Athanasius, and whatsoever was decreed in the four General Councils, or in any other truly such, and whatsoever was condemned in these, our Church hath legally declared it to be Heresie. And upon these accounts above four whole ages of the Church went to Heaven; they baptized all their Catechumens into this faith, their hopes of Heaven was upon this and a good life, their Saints and Martyrs lived and died in this alone, they denied Comm

St. John 5 & Article XXXIV

When Jesus did things contrary to the customs of the Jews for the Sabbath, we must be clear that he was not indicating that there was anything wrong with the Sabbath itself. Nor was he being disrespectful to ecclesiastical authority. After all, the Sabbath was his idea in the first place. The law of Moses regulating the Sabbath for the Jews was his own law. The Old Testament Church was also his institution and he told people to respect those who were in "Moses' seat" (Matt. 23:2). What we have in these cases is the Head of the Church dealing with errors in his Church regarding ceremonies. Through their own traditions, the Jews had altered the Lord's identification of the Sabbath and his directions concerning its observance. In St. John 5, we have the example of the man healed at the pool of Bethesda and the Lord's instructions for him to rise, take up his bed, and walk. The Jews rebuked the man for carrying the bed based on Jer. 17:21. The verse should be underst

Fear of Man and Love for God - St. John 5

Excerpt from sermon, Trinity VI, 2006 Having commented on 5:31-37, where Jesus lists those who witness to his identity and mission, I said: Why did the Jews not believe? Why, in the face of these three mighty witnesses – none of which they could contradict – did they not believe? Jesus gives us the answer in the rest of the passage. It was for two reasons. One is in verses 43 and 44. Jesus says, “I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” They were more preoccupied with how they could impress their fellows with their own religious attainments than with knowing the Messiah when they saw him. They were men-pleasers and men-pleasers are idolators. They let someone else beside God be the main factor in what they decided to do with their lives; with what they did and said. They served men

Hooker: Natural Law and Church Practice

The last section of Book II, chapter 8, in Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Piety contains a very interesting progressive argument which leads to the conclusion that the Church may allow or direct things to be done that are not commanded in Scripture. He begins with that which cannot be denied: God approves that which is good and disapproves that which is evil. He then describes degrees of good and evil, noting that God allows and approves various deeds in His creation, but that there are things absolutely necessary for salvation only revealed in Scripture. He then proceeds to mention things that have been done in the Church which have been approved by God though they were not required for salvation, such as those voluntary acts of the early Church recorded in The Acts. The conclusion is that God can approve "more than He specifically commands". "Since, then, there can be no evil in those various actions whereof God approves, and He approves more than he specifically

John Knox and the Prayer Book

I've long been a big fan of John Knox. While he is so closely identified with Presbyterianism, it is intriguing to read about his connection with the Church of England. In the first place, he owed his release from the French galleys to the influence of Edward VI's court. In the early 1550's, while sojourning in England, Knox was a licensed minister of the crown and served briefly as a royal chaplain. He was offered a bishopric, but declined. He was even involved in the preparation of the second edition of The Book of Common Prayer and the 1551 revision of The Articles of Religion ! If you are unfamiliar with Knox, you may be interested in the webpage I have on him at my school website: http://knoxacademy.com/knox.html .

Hart's Recovering Mother Kirk

One of the books I read that helped me to move to the Anglican church was D. G. Hart's Recovering Mother Kirk . Of course, such a result was not the author's intention! If you've not read the book, read the article in Touchstone, Rediscovering Mother Kirk which covers the same basic material. My thoughts after reading the book were, "OK, I'd like to see Presbyterians renewing their liturgical heritage, but you're talking about nothing but a long, long uphill battle. And look what's happened to those who have tried!" Since I also had other matters that were leading me out of the PCA, I couldn't help but think how, if I wanted to be in a church with a beautiful and reverent liturgy, I didn't have to fight the rest of my life to have one; there was one waiting!

Garver on Bishop N. T. Wright

This is not new, but I didn't want to lose the link: Dr. Joel Garver has composed an excellent review of Bishop Wright's teaching. His purpose is to explain why people like or dislike his writings. Please read the article here . See also my comments.

Doctrinal and Mission Statements

This morning I received an e-mail from someone inquiring about our church. He asked for our doctrinal statement. Let me say from the outset that I commend this gentleman. It's an encouraging thing to find someone who wants to know up front what the church believes instead of how big our youth program is or the like. The theology of a church is much more indicative of the direction and ethos of the church than its building or programs or what have you. What we think about God determines what we think about everything else - that is, if our theology is also, as Tozer put it, our "practical, working theology." Simply having a creed or "doctrinal statement" is no guarantee that the church practices and experiences what it believes. Since the main goal of this blog is to celebrate the good things about being Anglican, I can't help but comment on how little we need American church ministry doctrinal statements. Now it would not surprise me that there are Anglican