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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 Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sermon Excerpt: The Evangelical Ideal of the Visible Church, by Bishop Charles Cheney, Founding Minister of The Reformed Episcopal Church

It is sometimes urged that the Church of Christ existed before the Gospels, and that therefore the traditions of the Church are to be accepted as authoritative interpreters of the New Testament. So did the tradition to which St. John refers at the close of his Gospel, that Christ had declared that the beloved "disciple should not die," exist before the Gospel which corrected it. But for that very reason was that part of St. John's Evangel written, that it might contradict, upon the authority of inspiration, the errors of ecclesiastical tradition, and brand the previous belief of the Church as a lie that no Christian was to accept.

Equally opposed to the Evangelical ideal of the Church is the acceptance of either Church tradition or the decrees of ecclesiastical Councils as authoritative interpreters of the Word of God. It matters little whether I give my own ship over to a pilot's hands, resign to him the vessel's full control, and make his authority unlimited on board the bark to which my life has been entrusted, or whether I abandon my own ship to go on board the pilot's boat. In either case my fate depends on him. So little does it matter whether I give up the Bible for Tradition, or take Tradition to be the Scriptures' infallible interpreter.

The moment a Church accepts the authority of uninspired men [8/9] as infallible interpreters of God's Word, it becomes like the trees which Agassiz tells us abound on the tropic shores of the Amazon, whose life is smothered by the parasitic vines which cover them.


From the sermon, The Evangelical Ideal of the Visible Church, by Bishop Charles Cheney, The Reformed Episcopal Church.


--
Reasonable Christian Blog Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 1662 Book of Common Prayer

8 comments:

Zoomdaddy said...

My Anglo-Catholic friends argue that our looking to Confessions and formularies are no different than their looking to Councils and Traditions. Where is the line between accepting the testimony of any human witness and its overshadowing Scripture?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Oh, but it is way different. The Reformed Confessions and the Anglican Formularies claim the Scriptures as their authority. While the Confessions, Creeds, and Formularies are all fallible documents they have the infallible, inerrant and divinely inspired Holy Scriptures as their most certain warrant:

Article VIII
Of the Three Creeds

The three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius' Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed; for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.


The principle here is the same for the Formularies and the other Reformed Confessions. They are only authoritative as they draw their warrant from Scripture.

The Anglo-Papists and Tractarians of various sorts all draw their authority from a fallible church, fallible councils, and sinful men. They therefore do not accept the Scriptures as the rule of faith but rather they claim to rule Scripture as a "church." Trouble is therefore that they have nothing to keep them straight except their own vain imaginations of what they think Scripture, tradition, and creeds "ought" to say in their opinion. After all, they have had the right homosexual lay hands on them in apostolic succession!

Now if that is true of the "liberal" Anglo-Catholics, it is no less true of the allegedly "orthodox" and "conservative" Anglo-Papists. They all eventually wind up in liberalism because they have their own fake authority. It's rather like an illegal Mexican with a fake set of papers, green card, and social security number. It's genuine because they say so and not because they have any certain warrant in the only infallible and inerrant record of apostolic doctrine. Apostolic succession is a myth.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

But there's your problem, Zoomdaddy. You have Anglo-Catholic friends who are lost and on the way to hell. When have you shared the Gospel with them? They think good works are the way to be saved. The believe that righteousness is infused in the heart at baptism and they worship the bread and wine as idols. So how can you be friends with those involved in a false religion and not warn them of the fires of hell awaiting them?

I have no Anglo-Catholic friends nor do I wish to have any. They have hardened hearts so that they cannot hear and their only purpose is to deceive others into the error of their ways.

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Matthew 15:14 KJV)

Charlie

Philip Wainwright said...

I would agree that 'looking to Confessions and formularies is no different than looking to Councils and Traditions.' The Reformed confessions and the Ecumenical creeds are both alike the attempts of human beings to explain the Scriptures and have no divine sanction whatever. But I believe I'm following Scripture (I Thess 5.11-13, for example) when I give serious and respectful consideration to what they say, and not challenge them until someone has shown me how they depart from Scripture. I have more respect for the Thirty Nine Articles than any other formulary, because I find it closer to what I understand from Scripture than any other, but it isn't Scripture. It's Scripture first, last and always, and I can get along with just about anyone who has that principle, no matter how wacko some of his scriptural interpretations seem to be to me, because my interpretations aren't scripture either.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Philip, that's absolutely correct. Both the creeds and the formularies and confessions are all fallible and subject to correction by the principle of sola Scriptura. But that is not the position of your "conservative" Anglo-Catholic friends. Their view is essentially that of Rome and not Protestant at all.

I fail to see how an Anglo-Catholic can be saved when their doctrine is promoting idolatry and a false gospel of merits, works, and infused righteousness rather than an imputed or declared righteousness.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

I fully agree with the three creeds mentioned in Article 8 and with the Definition of Chalcedon 451, which is summarized in Article 2.

Now, clearly no Anglo-Catholic can believe those articles as they are plainly stated, which is the implication of your equivocation.

Hence, you're really talking out of both sides of your mouth. Either you agree 100% with the Articles or you don't.

Article 6 nails it down even tighter:

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

Either the Creeds and the Church are fallible or they are infallible. Which is it? Your remarks seem to indicate the former but then you said, "...'looking to Confessions and formularies is no different than looking to Councils and Traditions.'" If we are reading the Councils and Traditions as fallible documents then you are correct. But that is NOT what your Anglo-Catholic friends mean at all. So their cheap shot at the Reformed position is really meant to divert attention away from their own view. They in fact deny sola Scriptura while claiming their own view is infallible. In other words, they get to say which interpretation is correct and then to claim that view is infallible.

The Reformed view is that the church, councils and ordained ministers are all fallible. Only as we as a church study the Scriptures together can there be any agreed upon interpretation of Scripture. And that is precisely what the creeds do on the most basic doctrines of Scripture.

The confessions are basically detailed creeds that further put forth the agreed upon interpretation of Scripture on the doctrines of soteriology, ecclesiology, and dogmatic theology.

Since the Anglo-Catholics only accept the creeds and the church councils and reject the plain meaning of the 39 Articles and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, then it stands that they are not Anglican. Rather, they are papists pretending to be Anglican.

The 39 Articles are a Protestant document, not a Tractarian one.

Charlie

Philip Wainwright said...

'that is not the position of your "conservative" Anglo-Catholic friends'. No it's not, but they have to work out their own salvation, and fear and trembling is most appropriate for them. I just don't see how you get from there to the statement that 'there are no real “Evangelicals” left in The Episcopal Church'. The presence of false teaching in a church does not nullify the faith of those in it who stick to what Scripture says.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Philip, I get there from the fact that you think "conservative" and "orthodox" Anglo-Catholics and various other papists are "Christian." They are no more Christian than the homosexuals who have been ordained and consecrated as ministers.

I already heard that from David Knox. He thinks John Howe is a "good Christian man." Howe is an Anglo-Catholic and even refused to back the resolution passed by the Central Florida Diocese condemning the consecration of Glaspool as a lesbian bishop.

Anglo-Catholics want to lord it over those who are Evangelical and if you want to remain in the Episcopal Church you must agree with them. That's something I will never do. There is only one Gospel and the conservative Anglo-Catholics are preaching a false gospel of justification by works.

As Luther said, the doctrine by which a church stands or falls is justification by faith alone. The fact is you have more in common with the Anglo-Papists than with Evangelical Protestants.

Charlie

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