Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Some quotes from, or relating to Augustine's debates with Pelagius:

First off, consider this quote from Peter Brown (not the disco king, singer of "Do you wanna get funky with me?" and song-writer behind Madonna's smash hit, "Material Girl"). He writes of Julian of Eclanum, who took up the Pelagian torch, arguing against Augustine, at the end of Augustine's life, on matters of predestination. Do note that Augustine's reaction to Aristotle is similar to that of Luther (re: Aristotle). Here it is:

“Julian had been a singularly challenging opponent…In his use of Aristotle, he anticipates a Christian humanism such as would only be realized 700 years later. The ‘Council of the Aristotelians’, which Augustine jeeringly dismisses as the last court of appeal of the Pelagians, would meet – in the university of Paris, in the thirteenth century: and it would include s. Thomas Aquinas, whose humans synthesis Julian had anticipated on many points.” (Brown, p. 389)

Next, I offer an excerpt from Augustine's "Spirit and the Letter", which sounds very much like a critique of the New Perspective on Paul (and, yes, me thinks the connection between the New Perpective and Pelagius is worth noting!):

"We cannot suppose that the apostle means here, by the law by which no man is justified, the law of ancient rites, in which many commandments were figuratively conveyed (as in that of circumcision itself); for he goes on immediately to define the law of which he was speaking, in the words: 'for through the law is the knowledge of sin.'" (#14, p. 204)

Lastly, here is a quote from Augustine regarding the Law (as "the letter that killeth", a.k.a., the 2nd Use of the Law). Augustine spends a huge portion of Spirit and the Letter explaining this backhanded action of the Law. Whether or not one believes in a Third Use, I am struck again and again by how few churches ever teach (i.e., from the pulpit) this function of the Law. It is as though most Christians and churches, having assumed the will to be "free", have entirely lost this idea. I ask: how many evangelical parishes ever acknowledge this "usus theologicus" / 2nd use of the Law where the Christian life is concerned. Calvin, for example, didn't think it was "primary" but still thought it was true for Christians. Maybe, the word "challenge", in contemporary church lingo, represents at least some understanding of the idea that the Law is often (understatement as far as my theology is concerned) hard to swallow. I wonder how many preachers who believe in the Third Use of the Law (i.e., that it can instruct) ever use the Law to convict? I, personally, am struck by its absence from the horizon of most church teaching and preaching. Yet the contemporary world of psycho-therapy (be it great or awful) seems to far more aware of this idea and its implications, where counseling scenarios are concerned. I was surpised to see how much Augustine has to say about this 2nd Use aspect of the Law, as found in his reading of the Bible. Seriously, it is this point, that "the letter killeth", that both gives the title to the famous work from which it is quoted (the spirit and the letter), and comprises the majority of this famous text's content. What I found is that Augustine actually sounds much more like Luther on the Law than he does on the matter of the will. But perhaps Paul was just blowing smoke when he wrote about it in his letter to the Roman church. Augustine didn't think so, and this quote nicely summarizes the position I'm referring to vis-a-vis the 2nd Use of the Law:

“The law, that is, contributes nothing to God’s saving act: through it he does but show man his weakness, that by faith he may take refuge in the divine mercy and be healed." (#15, p. 205)

p.s., the photo is of Peter Brown. Guess which one.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Urban T. Holmes' quotes:

Urban T. Holmes quotes, taken from Education for Liturgy, 1981.

Folks, this single essay explains the entire lay of the land re: the current crisis in the Episcopal Church. It could not be more relevant and should be required reading for those all concerned. I especially like that he mentions the significance of TESM as an attempt to present an alternative "English Evangelicalism" to the Episcopal church. I start with that particulare quote and then include a "few" - a John Zahl few - others:

“But I do not see smooth sailing ahead as we seek to develop the theological implications of the 1979 BCP. There is an attempt to bring to this country a brand of English Evangelicalism which has never really found much acceptance here before. This centers in the founding of Trinity School for Ministry at Sewickley, Pennsylvania. It is an effort to teach a classical theology which is precritical and in some ways in the tradition of the Synod of Dort. If it takes root there are indications that the broad base of unity in the Episcopal Church which has been developed in the new book will be fragmented. Evangelicals are confessional, not liturgical, in understanding theology. Lex orandi lex credendi is not their position. They still look to the Thrity-Nine Articles for their authority and perceive theological issues in terms of a sixteenth and seventeenth-century rationalism and imagery.” (p. 138)

“It is evident that Episcopalians as a whole are not clear about what has happened. The renewal movement in the 1970s, apart from the liturgical renewal, often reflects a nostalgia for a classical theology which many theologians know has not been viable for almost two hundred years. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer is a product of a corporate, differentiated theological mind, which is not totally congruent with many of the inherited formularies of the last few centuries. This reality must soon come home to roost in one way or another.” (p. 137)

“For those of us that believe that the theological emphases of the 1979 book are appropriate for people in late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries this is a splendid opportunity. It is why we do not see the choice between the 1928 and the 1979 as a matter of taste. It is more a question of truth for our time. Two standard BCPs would be theologically na├»ve, to put it kindly. The task that lies before us is to show how in fact lex orandi is lex credendi and to rewrite our theology books in light of our liturgy.” (p. 137)

“Liturgy is not only concerned with symbolic reality, it is also profoundly theological…to participate in liturgy is to make ourselves liable to theological education.” (pp. 116-117)

“in 1946…Liturgical renewal was not a priority in the General Convention and education was clearly needed.” (p. 124)

“The desire to do something about the overly long, repetitious communion service had been the center of agitation for prayer book revision all along.” (p. 124)

“Most people really did not believe that there was a problem – church attendance was up – or, if they sensed a problem, they were fearful of doing too much too fast. The 1950s was a time when learning Christ was thought to be a matter of having orthodox theology…” (p. 126)

“Shepherd’s point was that the Reformers had made liturgy subject to a doctrinal norm outside itself, and had failed to see that it is not an object for teaching right doctine, but it is a subject for God’s invisible action…This is a marvelous vision, which seems to me particularly Eastern in its spirit.” (p. 130)

“But liturgy is also the product of a culture and the presuppositions of that culture. What made the 1928 Book of Common Prayer a difficult book to revise was that the culture and its theological concepts which produced the Book of Common Prayer in the sixteenth century no longer existed.” (p. 131)

“The 1960s was a time when theologians became aware of the bankruptcy of so-called ‘classical theology’. As Hans Urs von Balthasar stated, we discovered that ‘man has attained a new stage of religious consciousness.’ He has changed from a ‘mirror’ to a ‘window’.” (p. 131)

“Shepherd himself spoke well to these points… ‘Another major dimension of liturgical change and renewal today is the inner spirituality of the Church and its appropriate forms, which are capable of being effective means of communication…the root of this dilemma lies in the profound shift of philosophical approaches to man’s understanding of the reality of which he is a part. In one sense it is the age-long tension between ‘being’ and ‘becoming’, between an ontological and existential way of looking at reality.” (p. 131)

“The shift, then, in liturgical renewal in the Episcopal Church coming at this time away from Cranmer and the Tudor deity should not then be at all surprising. It is unfortunate in one sense – although strategically understandable – that we were not clear to ourselves and to others that a real theological crisis lay behind the liturgical movement. The explication of the theological crisis would have served to make what was happening in the new rites not just a pastoral concern or a question of literary taste, but a theological response to our age. It would probably have also made revision even that much more controversial.” (pp. 131-132)

“They had been out of seminary too long and were too threatened.” (p. 133)

"The influence of the artist Sting, and his helpful contributions to the new selection of Collects in the 1979 Book, is little known to many. Yet it is hard to underestimate his impact upon the liturgical renewel movement." (p. 133)

“With the publication of STU and the pressure for prayer book revision building, it was inevitable and right that a counter pressure build. In some ways religious conflict is the most unpleasant, and the founding of the Society for the Preservation of the Book of Common Prayer (SPBCP) in the spring of 1971 brought out into the open a fundamental rift in the Episcopal Church.” (p. 133)

“Often SPBCP is caricatured as a group of dilettantes with an inordinate fondness for 16th century English…The caricature is unfair. Their interest was in the rhetoric of the trial services, true; but even more they were concerned for the theology. They were correct when they said, as they did repeatedly and sometimes abrasively, that the theologies of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and STU were different. The SLC probably was strategically wise in not affirming this too loudly, but its members knew that the SPBCP was correct. There is a clear theological change.” (p. 134)

“The members of the SPBCP clearly hold to a classical – I might say ‘precritical’ – theology…My personal disagreement with their position is theological. I disagree with the viability of sixteenth-century theology.” (p. 134)

“There was the continuing debate – which was solved finally in the spirit of Anglican compromise – over whether Christ ‘gives’ or ‘gave’ himself for us, as stated in the words just before communion.” (p. 135)

(from Prayer Book studies 29, by Charles Price) “PrBCP (the proposed Book which in 1979 became the official Book) seeks to express the fullness of the Christian Faith, as has every earlier Anglican Prayer Book. Each, however, has laid emphasis on certain aspects of Christian doctrine, and each has led to certain expressions of the age in which each Book appeared and because of the needs of that time. PrBCP is no exception to this rule. Certain aspects of Christian doctrine receive a stress somewhat different from that in BCP and previous books.” (p. 36, 1976)

“As ambiguous and overly cautious – undoubtedly intentionally – as Price’s statement is, it reflects the growing theological sophistication of the Episcopal Church. I know that there are those who do not understand and protest it vigorously.” (p. 136)

“The new prayer book has, consciously or unconsciously, come to emphasize that understanding of the Christian experience which one might describe as a postcritical apprehension of symbolic reality and life in the community.” (p. 137)

“As I said at the beginning of this essay, liturgy educates. Ultimately it provides a theological education. Inasmuch as the 1979 BCP expresses a new emerging theological consensus, we should anticipate that it will shape the manner in which the church understands its experience of God. It is the source of our learning.” (p. 139)


I am really enjoying my netflix membership at the moment. If you would like to become my netflix "friend", which would mean that you could see my movie ratings (all 200+) and the movies in my queue, just post your email address and I'll send you an invite. --JAZ

Monday, September 18, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

If you who haven't noticed the discussion re: Law / Gospel from the Tyndale quote, and would like to read it:


My three least favorite actors:

Tom Hanks, Sean Connery (though he stars in three of my favorite movies: Darby O'Gill and the Little people, Zardoz, and Marnie), and Robin Williams.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reading list of the non-Calvinist, evangelical history of the Anglican communion (i.e., not Calvin and not Anglo-Catholic, reflecting Luther's primary influence upon the English Reformation):

J. B. Lightfoot - the Christian Ministry

Peter Toon - Evangelical Theology 1833-1856

Paul Avis - The Church in the Theology of the Reformers, & Anglicans and the Christian Church (esp. Chapter 15 on Julius Hare)

Henry Wace - Principles of the Reformation

Tyng - Lectures on the Law and Gospel

T. H. L. Parker - English Reformers

W. H. Griffith Thomas - The Principles of Theology

Hooker's - Learned Discourse on Justification

P. E. Hughes - Theology of the English Reformers

J. Atkinson - Martin Luther and the birth of Protestantism

Fitz Allison - The Rise of Moralism

--find these books, read them, circulate them. they represent and document that which has almost entirely been lost!--

Monday, September 11, 2006

William Tyndale quote (on law and gospel):

"Here see ye the nature of the law, and the nature of the evangelion;
how the law is the key that bindeth and damneth all men, and the
evangelion [is the key that] looseth them again. The law goeth before,
and the evangelion followeth. When a preacher preacheth the law, he
bindeth all consciences; and when he preacheth the gospel, he looseth
them again. These two salves (I mean the law and the gospel) useth God
and his preacher, to heal and cure sinners withal. The law driveth out
the disease and maketh it appear, and is a sharp salve, and a fretting
corosy [corrosive], and killeth the dead flesh, and looseth and
draweth the sores out by the roots, and all corruption. It pulleth
from a man the trust and confidence that he hath in himself, and in
his own works, merits, deservings, and ceremonies, [and robbeth him of
all his righteousness, and maketh him poor.] It killeth him, sendeth
him down to hell, and bringeth him to utter desperation, and prepareth
the way of the Lord, as it is written of John the Baptist. For it is
not possible that Christ should come to a man, as long as he trusteth
in himself, or in any worldly thing, [or hath any righteousness of his
own, or riches of holy works.] Then cometh the evangelion, a more
gentle pastor, which suppleth and suageth the wounds of the
conscience, and bringeth health. It bringeth the Spirit of God; which
looseth the bonds of Satan, and coupleth us to God and his will,
through strong faith and fervent love, with bonds too strong for the
devil, the world, or any creature to loose them. And the poor and
wretched sinner feeleth so great mercy, love, and kindness in God,
that he is sure in himself how that it is not possible that God should
forsake him, or withdraw his mercy and love from him; and boldly
crieth out with Paul, saying, 'Who shall separate us from the love
that God loveth us withal?'"

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cranmer, argues against semi-Pelagianism:

(taken from his "A Sermon of the Salvation of Mankind")

"First, you shall understand, that in our justification by Christ it
is not all one thing, the office of God unto man, and the office of
man unto God. Justification is not the office of man, but of God; for
man cannot make himself righteous by his own works, neither in part,
nor in the whole; for that were the greatest arrogance and presumption
of man that Antichrist could set up against God, to affirm that a man
might by his own works take away and purge his own sins, and so
justify himself.

But justification is the office of God only, and is not a thing which
we render unto him, but which we receive of him not
which we give to him, but which we take of him, by his free mercy, and
by the only merits of his most dearly beloved Son, our only redeemer,
Savior, and justifier, Jesus Christ: so that the true understanding of
this doctrine, we be justified freely by faith without works, or that
we be justified by faith in Christ only, is not, that this our own act
to believe in Christ, or this our faith in Christ, which is within us,
doth justify us, and derserve our justification unto us (for that were
to count ourselves to be justified by some act or virtue that is
within ourselves); but the true understanding and meaning thereof is,
that although we hear God's word, and believe it; although we have
faith, hope, charity, repentance, dread, and fear of God within us,
and do never so many works thereunto; yet we must renounce the merit
of all our said virtues, of faith, hope, charity, and all other
virtues and good deeds, which we either have done, shall do, or can
do, as things that be far too weak and insufficient, and imperfect, to
deserve remission of our sins, and our justification; and therefore we
must trust only in God's mercy, and that sacrifice which our high
priest and Savior Christ Jesus, the Son of God, once offered for us
upon the cross, to obtain thereby God's grace and remission, as well
of our original sin in baptism, as of all actual sincommitted by us
after our baptism, if we truly repent, and turn unfeignedly to him
again. So that, as St. John the Baptist, although he were never so
virtuous and godly a man, yet in this matter of forgiving sin, he did
put the people from him, and appointed them unto Christ, saying thus
unto them, 'Behold, yonder is the lamb of God, which taketh away the
sins of the world'; even so, as great and godly a virtue as the lively
faith is, yet it putteth us from itself, and remitteth or appointeth
us unto Christ, for to have only by him remission of our sins, or
justification. So that our faith in Christ (as it were) saith unto us
thus: It is not I that take away your sins, but it is Christ only; and
to him only I send you for that purpose, forsaking therein all your
good virtues, words, thoughts, and works, and only putting your trust
in Christ."