13 Comments on “Ask Peter – March

  1. Good stuff, Peter. I really enjoyed your description of why you are a "convinced Anglican." I am also a "convinced Anglican." As your experience of being an Evangelical led you to what is Catholic, so my experience of being a Catholic has led me to what is Evangelical. And I love that Anglicanism is so rooted in the whole of the Christian life that we both find fullness there, not just some sort of wishy-washy "let's all get along" doctrinal soup, but actual orthodox comprehensiveness. What a blessing.

    • The Via Media is not an excuse for liberalism but rather a celebration of reformed catholicism. I can truly hand on my heart say that I affirm all 39 articles – to be honest I don't think many of my liberal or ordinariate bound colleagues can do the same.

  2. That's interesting, Peter. You mean to say that you believe every single one of the Articles in its entirety and "in the literal and grammatical sense"? I thought that hardly anyone did these days.

    • I guess the response to that would be to ask you which ones you think we should ignore "in the literal and grammatical sense"? For the sake of argument, we can take as read that we are using the 1801 version.

      • I’m afraid that I don’t know what the 1801 version is, Peter, but I take it that it’s the one that appears in all modern editions of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. I’m not saying what anyone else should or should not ignore, but if I were an Anglican I’d have considerable difficulty with Articles IV and XIII to start with. It’s also not entirely clear to me what Article XVII is and is not saying.

          • Well, I have two difficulties with Article IV. The first is that Christ’s resurrection is usually represented as the type or pattern of our own future resurrection. Indeed, that seems to be how St Paul pictures it. But there will be no empty tomb in our case: our bodies which have been buried in the grave or consumed in the crematorium will certainly not rise again.

            The second difficulty is with the statement, “… and took again his body, with flesh, bones … wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth…” The same difficulty pertains to the Black Rubric at the end of the Holy Communion service, which states that, “the natural Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ are in Heaven, and not here”. People just don’t think like that any more, do they?

            • I think like that – am I some kind of ignorant redneck? :-)

              The issue of bodily resurrection is an interesting one. I have absolutely no problem with the idea that God will restore my body on the day of judgement, re-constituting it by whatever means. It makes sense that for the elect the restoration of the broken body, reintegrated with the soul that has been present with the Lord since death is the final vindication of Christ's triumph over sin and death. The atoms from which it is constituted are not important, since we all renew our bodies several times during our lifetime as it is. It is the eternal union of body and soul, the spirituality and physicality of eternity that is the key here.

              Change and decay in all around I see

              I triumph still if thou abide with me

        • William

          You can see a comparison of the different versions at:

          The 1801 version leaves out the some of the stuff that refers to the power of the king and defence of the realm, I assume for the benefit of getting up-to-date and for those parts of the Communion where "the king of England hath no jurisdiction", where they no longer put criminals to death, have limited the powers of magistrates, and, except in the US under the fourth amendment, now limit the generalised wearing of weapons to military or police:

          e.g. under XXXVI

          "The King's Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction. Where we attribute to the King's Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not our Princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.

          The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.

          The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences.

          It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in the wars."

          Interesting that XV does not mention the Immaculate Conception given that XXII, XXV and XXVIII expressly condemn Roman Catholic doctrines. I known the Immaculate Conception was not declared an infallible dogma until 1854 but it has a much longer history. It seems the adjustments to the Articles down to 1801 are to restrict or update glaring anachronisms rather than extend their force, at least in doctrinal matters.

          • Thank you for that, Tom. Although the Articles do not specifically mention the Immaculate Conception, I think it can be reasonably maintained that Article XV, “Of Christ alone without Sin”, rules it out.

            • William

              You are right. Any further added would be not only tautologous but be seen as unnecessarily CathoIic-bashing in these ecumenical times.

              I remember that one pope, I think Pius XII, wanted to add a fifth Marian dogma, Maria Co-Redemptrix, but was dissuaded by the cardinals who realised it would send a lot of Ulster Protestants into a tail spin and would undoubtedly be an extra stumbling block to Anglicans who were contemplating becoming Catholics.

  3. Peter, thanks so much for your response, it was very helpful. Your comment about some viewing the Anglican church as a good pool to fish from was interesting. I've always had trouble understanding those who remain within a tradition even though they really have no affinity for it. Thanks for recommending Love's Redeeming Work. I'll be sure to look for it.

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