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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

What Is Sola Scriptura? Do We Reject All Tradition?

The doctrine we call "sola Scriptura" refers to one of the five solas of the Protestant Reformation. The term "sola" is Latin and means something that stands alone or is completely unique. What we mean by sola Scriptura is that Scripture alone is the final revelation from God and is the sole authority for the church and for the individual in doctrinal matters and in matters of morality and Christian living (See 39 Articles, Article VI) .

However, this does not mean that we throw out all church tradition and simply interpret the Bible any way we like (Article XX). May it never be. While Protestants reject the Roman Catholic position that Scripture is insufficient of itself and needs an infallible interpretation they call "Holy Tradition", that does not mean that all tradition is bad and rejected. The Roman Catholic error is that they have added Tradition as a revelation from God on equal standing with Holy Scripture. Unfortunately, this "Tradition" changes from one generation to the next and is essentially a form of ongoing revelation resident in the authority of popes and bishops and the magisterium.

The opposite extreme is the radical reformation whereby all tradition is thrown out altogether and a method of interpreting the Bible is so individualized that the collective understanding of Scripture as a communion of saints is rejected. We must remember that there is no private interpretation of Scripture (2 Peter 1:19-21). However, the Protestant Reformation principle of private interpretation has to do with the placing of the Bible in the hands of every Christian to read and learn for himself or herself what the Bible actually says. This in no way meant that Christians could re-invent Christianity as they saw fit. Rather it meant that Christians no longer needed a priest to mediate between them and the reading of the Bible. The Protestant understanding is that believers together came to a common understanding of Scripture and the church and church councils were secondary authorities which could and often did err.

In other words, the Protestant Reformation absolutely did not promote a congregationalist approach to ecclesiology or polity. While the focus is on the visible church as a local congregation where the Gospel is rightly preached, the sacraments are rightly administered, and church discipline is rightly administered (Article XIX), this does not automatically negate universal councils of regional churches or associations of church or of presbyteries of churches (Article XXI). The principle of sola Scriptura upholds a catholic or ecumenical dimension to Christian teaching and doctrine. In fact, this is absolutely essential to the doctrine of sola Scriptura because we would not be able to distinguish false doctrine from true doctrine without it. The corrective emphasized by the English Reformers was not individuals alone or local churches alone but rather all three together: individual believers, local churches, and church councils/confessions of faith (the 39 Articles very existence testifies to the catholic or ecumenical dimension of the English and Protestant Reformation!).

What makes Christianity true as opposed to Mormonism or Jehovah's Witnesses or other attacks against biblical Christianity? It is in fact a body of doctrinal beliefs which have been handed down to us in and through the canon of Scripture which contains the only authoritative and infallible record of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the original apostles (Jude 1:3-4). Church councils are held so that we can hash out what is heresy and what is true and biblical teaching. Thus, although church councils err, we cannot lightly throw out church tradition simply on the basis of one individual's opinion on a particular passage of Scripture.

In light of this, we cannot reject the doctrine of the trinity without placing ourselves outside the realm of orthodox Christianity. Protestants do not believe we should re-invent Christianity as we go along. To the contrary, what we must do is to read the Bible and interpret it properly (2 Timothy 2:15). A proper interpretation of Scripture is not a hyper or super individualistic reader response method. We do not ask, "What does this mean to me?" Rather, a true and accurate understanding of Scripture takes into account the historical and grammatical method of interpretation and not an allegorical method where meanings are changed without regard to the literary context of the verse within the passage, the chapter, the book, and the Bible as a whole. We must also take into account the historical and cultural setting of the Scripture passages in question. Furthermore, even though tradition could be wrong, we cannot lightly overturn tradition by individualistic interpretations of Scripture. This is how cults and heretical movements are started. Rather we must also consider church tradition in the church fathers, intervening times, the Reformation, and up until today.

Therefore, when the plain meaning of a passage upholds a view that all can see and such an interpretation is also held by most Christians universally in times past and up to today, the onus or burden of proof lies with the individual or group promoting the divisive interpretation to prove that the church and tradition is wrong. I would contend that this is the case with Michael Servetus who challenged the doctrine of the trinity. Even the Protestant Reformers saw that this was not the Biblical doctrine taught from the beginning.

Another example, though not as extreme as the case with Servetus, is David Broughton Knox's rejection of water baptism as a command of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:18-20 and other passages such as Acts 22:16. Knox's view spiritualizes the references to "baptism" taken universally by the majority of Christians to refer to water baptism. He does this by reading other texts referring to baptism with the Spirit (Mark 1:8-10) on the texts referring to water baptism. While it is admirable that Knox wished to refute the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, he went too far in the other direction and in fact adopts an heretical or divisive position which goes beyond what the English and Continental Reformers believed. Knox in fact rejects the sacraments altogether. This is odd, particularly since the 39 Articles of Religion clearly upholds the doctrine of water baptism and so did all of the English Reformers who gave their lives for the sake of the biblical understanding of the Gospel. While the 39 Articles are a secondary authority, they are indeed binding doctrine and are not optional for anyone who is a Protestant, low church, and Evangelical Anglican. Unless and until the Articles can be universally overturned on any point of doctrine by Scriptural proofs and an authoritative Protestant council, we are not free to re-invent the Anglican faith. This applies to the extremes imposed by Anglo-Catholic heresies read into the Bible and the Articles of Religion and it applies to individualistic extremes, on the other hand, of those who adopt a more Anabaptist or radical approach to the interpretation of Holy Scripture. (Some elements of the Sydney Diocese).

Thus, the doctrine of sola Scriptura rules out both the view of "Tradition" as a revelation from God equal to Scripture and it rules out the idea that we can interpret the Bible any way we like. No, the Protestant Reformers had it right. We accept both Scripture and tradition as authoritative sources of doctrine. The difference, however, is that the Protestant view is that tradition is subject to be corrected by Scripture since sinful humans both individually and collectively are subject to err. This is why the Protestant principle of sola Scriptura also includes the idea of ecclesia semper reformanda, which means "the church is always reforming" itself by the light of Holy Scripture.

So sola Scriptura upholds the traditional view of the sacraments as institutions made by Jesus Christ himself in the holy Scriptures and that view is confirmed by the universally held doctrines of water baptism and the Lord's supper in the church since the time of Christ. While we might disagree on the details of the two sacraments, the force of both Scripture and the catholic or universal Protestant position makes the two sacraments binding doctrine and not merely optional or up to individual choice. We are to follow the example of Jesus in being baptized in water himself (Matthew 3:13-17) and we must recognize that Jesus authorized his own disciples to do Christian baptism (John 4:1-2). The fact is that water baptism is emphasized over and over again in the New Testament as a sign of a true and lively faith, membership in the visible church, and regeneration. This does not mean that regeneration is connected to the water or in the power of the water but rather that the water represents what has happened through the ordo salutis principles of election, predestination, regeneration, repentance, conversion, justification, sanctification and glorification. Taking regeneration out of the context of Holy Scripture, the ordo salutis, or the sacramental sign is to depart from orthodox Christianity and to initiate a divisive and heretical movement away from the church and from the teaching of Scripture. The simple answer is that the sacraments are outward signs connected to the church while the inward grace is not connected to the sacrament itself but rather takes place in the souls and the hearts of true believers. This is the doctrine taught by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles of Religion. Thus, the sacraments are not absolutely necessary for justification, sanctification or salvation if access to them is denied. This does not mean, however, that the sacraments are optional or unnecessary when in fact they are commanded in Holy Scripture and upheld in our confessions of faith in apostolic times all the way up to the Protestant Reformation and even until this very day. It is on this latter point that David Broughton Knox has departed from the English Reformation.

Lord have mercy!

Christ have mercy!

Lord have mercy!

This article is also published at VirtueOnline.


Reformation said...

This article was posted on VOL this morning. It had three comments. This afternoon, those three comments were erased. VOL's moderators favour AC's. Good article.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Yes, David Virtue probably deleted the comments. Some Anglo-Catholic commented and I responded. I have a feeling it was William or "Billy" Jenkins, an Anglo-Catholic REC fellow in Pennsylvania.

David Virtue actually thinks Peter Toon is not Anglo-Catholic. Virtue says Toon is a Reformed Catholic. The problem is Toon is trying to be via media between Anglo-Catholic and Protestant and it isn't working.

I would agree that Cranmer said that the Protestant view of the sacraments is in fact the "catholic" one but Cranmer most certainly did not have Anglo-Catholicism, high church, Carolingian, or Roman Catholicism in mind when he said that. Anyone who has read Cranmer's writings on the Lord's supper could not possibly think the English Reformation was in any sense of the word a "via media." Even Mark Noll has made this blatant blunder.

In Christ,


Reformation said...

VOL has a reputation for cutting off/out/away English Reformed citations. This was reported in The English Churchman a few months back by an FCE-EC Bishop. I feel they trot out a few known defenders when difficult posts are made like your's. Too bad James Packer or Peter Toon don't write articles on sola scriptura. Especially the latter since he wrote a modest work entitled Evangelical Reponse to Tractarianism: 1833-1856. The AC-moderators at VOL have an agenda and they should be watched closely. You saw what happened this morning.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Just in case, I'm posting the following before it gets deleted from VOL:

e: What Is Sola Scriptura? Do We Reject All Tradition?
Whereas there are many true points made here, Charlie Ray needs to examine both Cranmer and Hooker a bit closer. The result of careful and thorough reading does not lead to the conclusion that the sacraments are, to use the words of those Reformers, "bare signs" or "empty of Christ." That the grace of these sacraments is indeed worked through them, and that they are not merely symbols, is very very clearly what the C of E Reformers taught. The summary has always been "The sacraments signify what they effect and effect what they signify." God does not promise to perform these acts apart from two sacraments that are "generally necessary to salvation."

Look at these quotations from Book V of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity by Richard Hooker:

"It greatly offendeth, that some, when they labour to shew the use of the holy Sacraments, assign unto them no end but only to teach the mind, by other senses, that which the Word doth teach by hearing." Book V.57.1

"This is therefore the necessity of sacraments. That saving grace which Christ originally is or hath for the general good of his whole Church, by sacraments he severally deriveth into every member thereof. Sacraments serve as the instruments of God to that end and purpose, moral instruments, the use whereof is in our hands, the effect in his; for the use we have his express commandment, for the effect his conditional promise: so that without our obedience to the one, there is of the other no apparent assurance, as contrariwise where the signs and sacraments of his grace are not either through contempt unreceived, or received with contempt, we are not to doubt but that they really give what they promise, and are what they signify. For we take not baptism nor the eucharist for bare resemblances or memorials of things absent, neither for naked signs and testimonies assuring us of grace received before, but (as they are indeed and in verity) for means effectual whereby God when we take the sacraments delivereth into our hands that grace available unto eternal life, which grace the sacraments represent or signify."
Book V.57.5

Please look at those words, "means effectual." This is not the same view as put forth by Ray. He may want to argue his case, but he cannot use the Church of England Reformers to make his case, as they would reject his view as Zwinglian (whose views, or reputed views via Luther, were clearly rejected by them).

Article XXXV places among the Formularies this homily: "HOMILY ON THE WORTHY RECEIVING OF THE SACRAMENT." That homily teaches a doctrine of Real Presence that clearly cannot be reconciled to (as then understood by all) Transubstantiation which "overthroweth the nature of a sacrament (XXV), but neither can be reconciled to (as perceived) Zwinglianism, a bare sign.

"But thus much we must be sure to hold, that in the Supper of the Lord, there is no vaine Ceremonie, no bare signe, no vntrue figure of a thing absent (Matthew 26.26): But (as the Scripture saith) the Table of the Lord, the Bread and Cup of the Lord, the memorie of Christ, the Annuntiation of his death, yea the Communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord, in a marueilous incorporation, which by the operation of the holy Ghost (the very bond of our coniunction with Christ) is through faith wrought in the soules of the faithfull, whereby not onely their soules liue to eternall life, but they surely trust to win their bodies a resurrection to immortalitie (1 Corinthians 10.16-17)."

The Anglican emphasis on frequent reception (Cranmer) was because they believed and taught clearly that these two sacraments were not merely symbols of grace, but the means whereby God imparts grace. If mere symbols, it would have been enough to gaze, or even to simply think about these sacraments. But, they emphasized receiving.

Also from the homily:
"To this, his commandement forceth vs, saying, Do ye this, drinke yee all of this (Luke 22.17). To this, his promise entiseth, This is my body which is giuen for you (1 Corinthians 11.24-25), this is my blood which is shed for you (Matthew 26.28). So then of necessity we must be our selues partakers of this table, and not beholders of other: So wee must addresse our selues to frequent the same in reuerent and comely maner, lest as Physicke prouided for the body, being misused, more hurteth then profiteth: so this comfortable medicine of the soule vndecently receiued, tendeth to our greater harme and sorrow...We must certainely know, that three things bee requisite in him which would seemely, as becommeth such high mysteries, resort to the Lordes table. That is: First, a right and worthy estimation and vnderstanding of this mysterie. Secondly, to come in a sure faith. And thirdly, to haue newnesse or purenesse of life to succeede the receiuing of the same."

Also, what does this mean? "While it is admirable that Knox wishes to refute the doctrine of baptismal regeneration..." What is admirable about missing the point of Romans 6:4,5? "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5: For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." St.Paul does not treat the baptism as incidental to or merely symbolic of this resurrection or regeneration.

Ray's treatment of the sacraments is too Low for the English Reformers, and comes from an alien source altogether, just as others are imbalanced and mimic Rome's transubstantiation.

On another note, as I have quoted before, it was St.Thomas Aquinas who introduced the phrase "sola scriptura." Nonetheless, I see too much of a wide gulf in the above essay between Scripture and Tradition. If it is not Scriptural it cannot be part of the Tradition, and if it is not Traditional and Scriptural, it cannot be Right Reason.
Posted: 2009/3/1 22:27 Updated: 2009/3/1 22:27
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Re: What Is Sola Scriptura? Do We Reject All Tradition?
Question for Fr Hart: When Aquinas used the expression "Scriptura sola," what did he mean by it? Was he for it or against it? (If I have overlooked something in your comment, please forgive.)
Posted: 2009/3/1 23:26 Updated: 2009/3/1 23:26
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Re: What Is Sola Scriptura? Do We Reject All Tradition?
I find it odd that you would quote the homily written by Cranmer to refute what Cranmer himself wrote in his theological works about the Lord's supper. In fact, Cranmer's view is somewhere between Calvin's view and Zwingli's view. There are places in his works where he emphasizes the sign and that only those who receive the sign with a true an lively faith are receiving the true body and blood of Christ. Those who are not true believers receive only the sign, which is called by the thing signified, that is the body and blood of Christ. But, according to Cranmer, they are not receiving the true body and blood of Christ but only the consecrated bread and wine called by the name of what they signify.

Perhaps our Anglo-Catholic friend should go to the primary sources instead of secondary sources? I would be more than happy to provide the quotes direcly from Cranmer if you wish. But your quote from the homily more than supports what I have just said. The "signs" are only "effectual" to those who receive them with "a true and lively faith." I.e. the effectual part is preceded by faith and grace through God's Spirit "in" the believer and not in the elements themselves. The elements are merely outward signs. Unless there is an inward grace in the soul of the believer through a true and lively faith, the sign is merely an empty sign and does nothing for the one receiving. This is precisely why the unbeliever is eating and drinking damnation to himself because he eats the elements in vain.

"..., yea the Communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord, in a marueilous incorporation, which by the operation of the holy Ghost (the very bond of our coniunction with Christ) is through faith wrought in the soules of the faithfull,..." This is Cranmer speaking, not Hooker. Let's not forget that Hooker is not one of the original Reformers but follows after them. Hooker didn't give his life for the Gospel.

Here is a quote from Cranmer on eating and drinking the body and blood:

"Thus on every side the Scripture condemneth the adversaries of God's word.

"And this wickedness of the papists is to be wondered at, that they affirm Christ's flesh, blood, soul, holy Spirit, and his Deity to be in a man that is subject to sin and a limb of the Devil. They be wonderful jugglers and conjurers, that with certain words can make God and the Devil to dwell together in one man, and make him both the temple of God and the temple of the Devil. It appeareth that they be so blind, that they cannot see the light from the darkness, Belial from Christ, nor the table of the Lord from the table of devils.

"Thus is confuted this third intolerable error and heresy of the papists, that they which be the limbs of the Devil do eat the very body of Christ and drink his blood, manifestly and directly contrary to the words of Christ himself, who saith, Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life.

"But lest they should seem to have nothing to say for themselves, they allege St. Paul, in the eleventh to the Corinthians, where he saith, He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh his own damnation, not discerning the Lord's body.

"But St. Paul in that place speaketh of the eating of the bread and drinking of the wine, and not of the corporal eating of Christ's flesh and blood, as it is manifest to every man that will read the text: for these be the words of St. Paul: Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread, and drink of the cup; for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh his own damnation, not discerning the Lord's body.

"In these words St. Paul's mind is, that forasmuch as the bread and the wine in the Lord's Supper do represent unto us the very body and blood of our Saviour Christ, by his own institution and ordinance; therefore, although he sit in heaven at his Father's right hand, yet should we come to this mystical bread and wine with faith, reverence, purity, and fear, as we would do, if we should come to see and receive Christ himself sensibly present. For unto the faithful, Christ is at his own holy table present with his mighty Spirit and grace, and is of them more fruitfully received, than if corporally they should receive him bodily present. And therefore they that shall worthily come to this God's board, must after due trial of themselves consider, first who ordained this table, also what meat and drink they shall have that come thereto, and how they ought to behave themselves thereat. He that prepared the table is Christ himself. The meat and drink wherewith he feedeth them that come thereto as they ought to do, is his own body, flesh, and blood. They that come thereto must occupy their minds in considering, how his body was broken for them, and his blood shed for their redemption. And so ought they to approach this heavenly table with all humbleness of heart, and godliness of mind, as to the table wherein Christ himself is given. And they that come otherwise to this holy table, they come unworthily, and do not eat and drink Christ's flesh and blood, but eat and drink their own damnation; because they do not duly consider Christ's very flesh and blood, which be offered there spiritually to be eaten and drunken, but despising Christ's most holy Supper, do come thereto as to other common meats and drinks, without regard of the Lord's body, which is the spiritual meat of that table."

[Cranmer's Works, Book IV, Chapter VI-VII].

In another place Cranmer says:

"By these words of Cyril appeareth his mind plainly, that we may not grossly and rudely think of the eating of Christ with our mouths, but with our faith, by which eating, although he be absent hence bodily, and be in the eternal life and glory with his Father, yet we be made partakers of his nature, to be immortal, and have eternal life and glory with him.

"And thus is declared the mind as well of Cyril as of Hilarius.

"And here may be well enough passed over Basilius, Gregorius Nyssenus, and Gregorius Nazianzenus, partly because they speak little of this matter, and because they may be easily answered unto by that which is before declared and often repeated, which is, that a figure hath the name of the thing whereof it is the figure, and therefore of the figure may be spoken the same thing that may be spoken of the thing itself.

"And as concerning the eating and drinking of Christ's flesh and drinking of his blood, they spake of the spiritual eating and drinking thereof by faith, and not of corporal eating and drinking with the mouth and teeth.

"Likewise Eusebius Emissenus is shortly answered unto; for he speaketh not of any real and corporal conversion of bread and wine into Christ's body and blood, nor of any corporal and real eating and drinking of the same, but he speaketh of a sacramental conversion of bread and wine, and of a spiritual eating and drinking of the body and blood. After which sort, Christ is as well present in baptism (as the same Eusebius plainly there declareth) as he is in the Lord's table: which is, not carnally and corporally, but by faith, and spiritually. But of this author is spoken before more at large in the matter of transubstantiation.

"And now I will come to the saying of St. Ambrose, which is always in their mouths. 'Before the consecration,' saith he, as they allege, 'it is bread; but after the words 'of consecration it is the body of Christ.'

"For answer hereunto, it must be first known what consecration is.

"Consecration is the separation of any thing from a profane and worldly use unto a spiritual and godly use.

"And therefore when usual and common water is taken from other uses, and put to the use of baptism, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, then it may rightly be called consecrated water, that is to say, water put to a holy use.

"Even so when common bread and wine be taken and severed from other bread and wine, to the use of the holy communion, that portion of bread and wine, although it be of the same substance that the other is from which it is severed, yet it is now called consecrated or holy bread and holy wine.

"Not that the bread and wine have or can have any holiness in them, but that they be used to an holy work, and represent holy and godly things. And therefore St. Dionyse calleth the bread holy bread, and the cup an holy cup, as soon as they be set upon the altar to the use of the holy communion.

"But specially they may be called holy and consecrated, when they be separated to that holy use by Christ's own words, which he spake for that purpose, saying of the bread, This is my body; and of the wine, This is my blood.

"So that commonly the authors, before those words be spoken, do take the bread and the wine but as other common bread and wine; but after those words be pronounced over them, then they take them for consecrated and holy bread and wine.

"Not that the bread and wine can be partakers of any holiness or godliness, or can be the body and blood of Christ; but that they represent the very body and blood of Christ, and the holy food and nourishment which we have by him. And so they be called by the names of the body and blood of Christ, as the sign, token, and figure is called by the name of the very thing which it showeth and signifieth."

[Works, Book III, Chapter XV].

For a fuller discussion of this see my article at: http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2009/02/cranmer-on-eating-and-drinking-body-and.html

I might also mention that I have noticed Hooker is often misquoted out of context as well. The truth is Archbishop Cranmer was the architect behind the 39 Articles and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Hooker didn't have a hand in it at all. So judging by that, my essay is on the mark and completely accurate in regards to Cranmer and those involved directly in the formularies. Hooker's writings are not that far removed and are in fact closer to Cranmer's views than Anglo-Catholics are willing to admit. Eisogeting Tractarianism back into Cranmer, Hooker and the formularies is tendentious at best.

Regeneration, according to Cranmer, is not in the power of the water, but a direct act of God preceding faith and conversion. Thus, baptism is merely the sign signifying what has already taken place through election, predestination and regeneration.


Posted: 2009/3/1 23:34 Updated: 2009/3/1 23:34
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Re: What Is Sola Scriptura? Do We Reject All Tradition?
I might add that my view is not Zwinglian. I would contend that Cranmer's view of the sacraments is closer to Calvin's view than to Zwingli's view, although others like David Broughton Knox argued strongly that Cranmer's view was Zwinglian. However, even if we go with the Zwinglian view, Zwingli himself did not see it as a "bare" memorial as some would contend. That is rather a more extreme view taken by his followers. Rather, Zwingli emphasized that the signs are effective only through faith. This is essentially Cranmer's view except Cranmer is closer to Calvin because Cranmer believes that receiving the elements called by the name of what they signify, i.e., the body and blood of Christ, when received by those who have a true and lively faith, then those who receive the elements are receiving the true body and blood of Christ which by faith nourishes the soul. Any idea of real presence in the elements themselves is absent from Calvin, Cranmer and Zwingli. For all three Reformers the emphasis is faith not real presence.

Sincerely in Christ,


Charlie J. Ray said...

Re: What Is Sola Scriptura? Do We Reject All Tradition?
Article XXVIII
Of the Lord's Supper
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves, one to another, but rather it is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ, and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.

Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith

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

Article XXIX
Of the wicked which do not eat the body of Christ, in the use of the Lord's Supper
The wicked and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as S. Augustine saith) the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ, but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink the sign or sacrament of so great a thing.

Articles XXIX clearly forbids the Lutheran view since it says that those with a false profession of faith are not partakers of Christ. Thus, in view of the quote above from Cranmer they merely partake of the bread and wine which are called by the name of what they signify after consecration but the wicked in no wise partake of the "true" body and blood of Christ because they have no true and lively faith.

Sincerely in Christ,


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Well, if you really want to post the comments, then post my reply, as follows:

Charlie Ray wrote:

"Perhaps our Anglo-Catholic friend should go to the primary sources instead of secondary sources? I would be more than happy to provide the quotes direcly from Cranmer if you wish. But your quote from the homily more than supports what I have just said. The 'signs' are only 'effectual' to those who receive them with "a true and lively faith.' I.e. the effectual part is preceded by faith and grace through God's Spirit 'in' the believer and not in the elements themselves."

First of all, I hope any Anglo-Catholic friends we have will quote the primary sources, as, in fact I also have done and do all the time. I, myself, never use secondary sources, and I quoted no secondary sources, but Cranmer and Hooker themselves, in case that obvious fact got past you. It is ironic that after quoting only primary sources, in accord with my consistent practice, I would be subjected such an obviously misdirected remark, or be identified as a spikey partisan. Anyone familiar with my writings, including the ones here on VOL, would know better. Please refrain from that sort of dismissive and condescending line ever again.

Your point about the grace of the sacrament is a statement of the obvious, is it not? Nonetheless, the quotations demonstrate that for Cranmer, and later for Hooker (speaking for the C of E, not merely within it), what some call "Receptionism" does not contradict "Real Presence" (whether RC apologists like that fact or not). The issue is a matter of when, not what. The quotations prove this, as we have seen. "The meat and drink wherewith he feedeth them that come thereto as they ought to do, is his own body, flesh, and blood." You quoted those words yourself, as I am wont to do frequently.

Your article indicated that they saw the sacramental elements as merely symbols, which is wrong. They rejected the idea of a "bare sign" in so many words, seeing the sacramental elements as means of grace, not merely signs in the modern sense, which has a more limited use of that word. That they are only the Real presence of Christ, therefore full of his saving power, to the one who comes with "hearty repentance and true faith" is never merely subjective, which is why the one who presumes adds to sin, eating and drinking damnation. This is simply what the Articles have taught in order to understand John 6 in light of I Cor. 11, and vice versa.

Also you wrote:

"I might also mention that I have noticed Hooker is often misquoted out of context as well. The truth is Archbishop Cranmer was the architect behind the 39 Articles and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Hooker didn't have a hand in it at all. So judging by that, my essay is on the mark and completely accurate in regards to Cranmer and those involved directly in the formularies. Hooker's writings are not that far removed and are in fact closer to Cranmer's views than Anglo-Catholics are willing to admit."

I think you are crediting to Cranmer a long life span indeed. He had been long ago burned at the stake while these things were being worked on. The many versions of the Articles were not completed until Hooker also had departed this life. The fact is, the process took a long time (in one sense Hooker is more significant, in that he represents the second secession in the reign of Elizabeth. The churchmen of this period established many things that remained part of the English Church, and to Anglicanism.)

Also, why would you quote passages against Transubstantiation in this discussion? What does that subject have to do with any of this? What we are discussing should come under a large heading such as Real Presence/ Receptionism, Means of Grace/Effectual Signs...etc.

"Regeneration, according to Cranmer, is not in the power of the water, but a direct act of God preceding faith and conversion. Thus, baptism is merely the sign signifying what has already taken place through election, predestination and regeneration."

No one in his right mind would suggest that anything is in the "power of the water." But, you are simply going to the opposite extreme, as if the baptism itself were merely incidental, in fact, not really necessary. That does not come from a thorough reading of any Anglican source (well, not until modern times). St. Paul says "by baptism" we have been buried with Christ, not that it merely represents (again, by modern usage) the same. "By baptism" or "through baptism" means the sign itself is effectual. Furthermore, St.Paul says in Romans 6 that through this baptism we enter into newness of life, somehow receiving even in this life grace from Christ's own resurrection: How can this "newness of life," passing from death to life with Christ in baptism, not teach you plainly that this is regeneration? How can you see every time they use words like "sign" or "signify," and yet miss the times they use words like "effectual," or that they reject a "bare sign" only doctrine?

Would they teach that the same grace may be assured of when the two sacraments generally necessary to salvation have never been received? This does not make God dependent on the sacraments, but it certainly teaches us not to presume and neglect the ministry that comes by way of the Church.

("However, even if we go with the Zwinglian view, Zwingli himself did not see it as a 'bare' memorial as some would contend. That is rather a more extreme view taken by his followers."

I made that point also, saying the perception came via Luther.)

That Hooker followed the thinking of Cranmer is downright obvious, but Cranmer has been misunderstood too. The emphasis on Receiving has been twisted by RCs into memorialism, or what Cranmer called a "bare sign." For Anglicans themselves to make the same blunder is intolerable. The emphasis was on reception, indeed, frequent reception, because it is effectual.

See this for clarification.


(Which was originally here: http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2009/02/richard-hooker-on-communion-of-christs.html )

I must give more weight than you to the charismatic reality of the sacraments, and credit Cranmer, Hooker, et al, with doing the same.

(By the way, I answered your comment on The Continuum. In all charity, I did not enjoy answering it, not at all.)

Charlie J. Ray said...

You are a dissimulator at best. I am currently reading Cranmer's writings on the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper and Cranmer over and over and over again denies real presence, bodily presence, consubstantiation, et. al.

However, you did not bother to read my response on VOL. I clearly said that I do not hold to the bare memorial view. I in fact hold to Calvin's view and I would contend that Cranmer's view is so close to Calvin's view as to be practically indistinguishable. Furthermore, Cranmer clearly says that only those who have a true and lively faith partake of the "true" body and blood of Christ. Those who eat unworthily do not eat the "true" body and blood of Christ but merely the elements which are called the body an blood and merely signify what they represent.

Cranmer makes this clear:

"And if they can show nothing for them of antiquity, but their own bare words, then it is reason that they give place to the truth confirmed by so many authorities, both of Scripture and of ancient writers, which is, that Christ called very material bread his body, and very wine made of grapes his blood."

"Now this being fully proved, it must needs follow consequently, that this manner of speaking is a figurative speech: for in plain and proper speech it is not true to say, that bread is Christ's body, or wine his blood. For Christ's body hath a soul, life, sense, and reason: but bread hath neither soul, life, sense, nor reason."

Likewise in plain speech it is not true, that we eat Christ's body, and drink his blood. For eating and drinking, in their proper and usual signification, is with the tongue, teeth, and lips to swallow, divide, and chaw in pieces: which thing to do to the flesh and blood of Christ, is horrible to be heard of any Christian."

"So that these speeches, 'To eat Christ's body, and drink "His blood,""To call the bread his body, or wine his blood," be speeches not taken in the proper signification of every word, but by translation of these words, 'eating' and 'drinking,' from the signification of a corporal thing to signify a spiritual thing; and by calling a thing that signifieth, by the name of the thing which is signified thereby: which is no rare nor strange thing, but an usual manner and phrase in common speech. And yet lest this fault should be imputed unto us, that we do feign things of our own heads without authority, (as the papists be accustomed to do,) here shall be cited sufficient authority, as well of Scripture as of old ancient authors, to approve the same." (page 145, Book III, The Presence of Christ. Parker Society, edition)

Your misquoting of Cranmer to prove "spiritual presence" is taken out of the context of the entire Work. Cranmer clearly says that the sacrament is a sign and is only effectual for those who are true believers and that Christ is present IN the believer and NOT in the sacrament.

If you really want to be honest, why not just admit your views are not Anglican but rather Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox???

Sola Scriptura!


Charlie J. Ray said...

The sacraments are NOT necessary for salvation. FAITH ALONE is necessary for salvation. That being said, the TWO sacraments are not optional because they are instituted alongside the Word of God as means of grace which nourish the soul, according to Cranmer.

Let me also point out that the 39 Articles teach that there are only TWO sacrament, not seven. The other 5 are in error. Article XXV.


Billy said...

Mark 16:16

Charlie J. Ray said...

"And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16, ESV) [1]

I see the emphasis here is the Gospel and believing. There is nothing said at all about baptismal regeneration. The text does not say, "Whoever is not baptized will be condemned." It says, "Whoever does not believe will be condemned." The short answer is baptism is the outward sign and the sacrament which Christ ordained as the mark of a Christian for entry into the visible church. However, what makes one just before God is believing the Gospel. Baptism does nothing without a true and lively faith in Jesus Christ and in His Gospel.

[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Reformation said...

On this subject and the blogs at VOL, not pleased. The bloggers didn't engage the subject.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hi, Phil....

Well I later learned that the AC guy who did comment over at VOL wasn't a genuine AC fellow anyway. He's a part of a very small AC continuing sect called Anglican Catholic Church. You might recognize that name. It's the same continuing church Charles Morley left when he started the TPEC.


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