Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The KJV and the 1662 BCP

Hi, Robin...

You said:


Here in western Kentucky the use of the 1662 Prayer Book simply is not practicable. I am acquainted with university graduates who do not understand the language of the English Standard Version of the Bible (10th grade reading level), much less the King James Authorized Version and the 1662 Prayer Book. One would be seriously limiting who one could reach if one used the latter. Almost all of the unchurched with a church background come from a non-liturgical church background. For many of them even a few liturgical elements in the service is a hard sell.

Do not conclude from these and my previous comments that I am not fond of the 1662 Prayer Book. I was baptized according to its baptismal rites and it was the Prayer Book of my childhood. My school day began and ended with prayers from the 1662 Prayer Book.

But here in western Kentucky one finds a lot of people for whom its language is a mystery, a mystery that they do not want to penetrate. The kind of worship to which most of them is accustomed if they do attend a church is singing, a prayer, anouncements, more singing, a sermon, an invitation to discipleship, more singing with an offering, and then they go home.

Robin, I would beg to differ with you. First of all, the King James Version of the Bible is still the most widely read Bible among the lower classes and among African Americans. Visit any rural church of almost any denomination in Kentucky or in the South or the West or even the entire United States and see if you find any which uses another other translation of the Bible except the KJV. Even here in Charleston, SC, where I'm working out of town, the predominate translation of the Bible in use by African American churches is the King James Version, though some of the REC churches use the NKJV.

I think your prejudices are based more on your own preferences rather than reality. The fact is, even though people don't always understand every archaic term in the KJV, the vast majority of it is readable and quite understandable even for a small child. I have been reading the KJV since I was 8 years-old and it has served me quite well, thank-you. This is not to say that I am a King James only person. I use the ESV as my primary Bible translation these days for the simple reason that it is the preferred Bible at my church. That being said, however, I see absolutely nothing wrong with using the KJV as the preferred translation.

As for the 1662 BCP, it is my preferred Prayer Book which I now use every day for morning and evening prayers, though my church uses the 1979 book of alternative services because the Anglo-Catholics have already drilled it into the heads of the laity. I think my pastor would prefer to use the Australian revised prayer book.

My experience is that liturgical churches are not popular no matter which Bible or prayer book you choose because the Pentecostal/Charismatic and Arminian/Semi-Pelagian mode of pragmatism in worship predominates the American landscape. If you have any doubts about this approach, I would refer you to Dr. Michael Horton's critique in his book, Christless Christianity.

My personal opinion is that we ought to be as concerned about doctrinal purity and orthodoxy as we are about evangelism and the pragmatics of nurturing a reforming and growing church. Reform is always a difficult and narrow road to follow but it is a necessary one if we would avoid the kind of apostasy we observe in the mainline denominations like the United Christian Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, Episcopal Church USA, United Methodist Church, Disciples of Christ and in Pentecostal/Charismatic denominations like the Word of Faith churches, Assemblies of God, John Haggee, Crystal Cathedral, etc., et. al.

Evangelicalism is blighted by the pelagianism of Charles Finney's legacy and the only correction I can foresee for that is the sound exposition of the Scriptures, the right preaching of the Gospel, the right administration of liturgy and worship, and the right administration of the sacraments.

Call me a fundamentalist of sorts but the local churches fitting that description are few and far between. While some churches are more corrupt than others and some are more pure than others, it truly is discouraging to see the lack of faith on your part when you say that the 1662 BCP is unusable. What is necessary is sound teaching, not neglect thereof. If you are unhappy with the language of the 1662, then I would suggest that you work on updating the language and submit it to a committee of like-minded liturgists and reformers. The Australian book is less than satisfactory as well, but at least the attempt was made. My disappointment with it is that it cuts out too much of the original liturgy from the 1662 and some of the beauty of the language is lost.

Sincerely in Christ,


The Eighth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

O GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1 comment:

Far Talk said...

Since you are in Charleston, would you like to drive up to the pleasant, ancient village of Due West to visit Erskine Theological Seminary? I should love to give you a tour and take you to the local pork barbecue sandwich shop. Send me an email (it would be easy to id myself in it).

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