12 February 2007

Why AC VII Is Not Addressing "Transparochial Realities"

Okay, I was going to let go Fr. Gregory's comment on the other thread, but I can't. I may be completely wrong on this - I know he thinks I am - but I don't buy the reading he's giving to AC VII (see his comments under "You Do Not Have the Right To Exist" from yesterday). When it is maintained that for the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree about the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments, I do not think what is in view is anything less than this:

It is the Gospel and the Sacraments through which believers are formed, joined to the Son and the Father by the Spirit, and so joined to one another. "What we have heard and seen, we proclaim to you that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ." 1 John 1.

What AC VII rejects completely is that this fellowship with the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit wherein the unity of the Church consists are in any sense maintained by "human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies instituted by men." Thus the quote from Eph. 4: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all." (Among such human ceremonies is the distinction between presbyter and bishop - that's much of the point of the Tractatus)

The oneness comes from the one Lord and through His means. Through them God the Holy Spirit forms and joins believers to the one and only Church, which is described in the following article as "the congregation of saints and true believers" among whom hypocrites will always be mingled in this life, but those hypocrites in either the preaching office or the congregation do NOT make of no effect the means through which Christ gathers to His one Church.

Thus, I do not think that "transparochial reality" was even in view in discussing the Church in this passage (i.e., churches in particular), but what WAS in view was Rome's contention that the Lutherans were no longer church because they no longer said the Roman canon or followed Rome's dietary laws, etc. Their response is that the Gospel and the Sacraments keep them united to the true Church because they keep them united in faith to the One Lord. And the further implication is that in Rome (and in the East) it also only the Gospel and the Sacraments which keep folks united in faith to the One Lord and so part of the One Church.

Dr. Korby long ago said it was all about authority: does the Word of God, do the Sacraments of Christ, have the authority, the inherent power, to keep the Church the Church?

64 comments:

Fr Gregory Hogg said...

Pastor Weedon,

If you maintain that the transparochial reality was not in view in AC 7, that is only because it is assumed throughout the Augustana. In other words, even if the transparochial entity is not one of the topics under discussion, it *is* the subject of "our churchES." Because the plural is used, it cannot be the "una sancta." And because--as you know better than I--liturgical and disciplinary matters were administered territory by territory, it cannot be a mere collection of congregations. Very quickly, after the Lutherans' rejection of bishops, the prince or consistory assumed the powers formerly exercised by the bishops. As Maurer says in his commentary, "The foundation and starting point for CA 7 is Luther's Confession of 1528 as it was shortened and concentrated along the lines of Schwab. 12. Article 8 of the CA goes back to the key phrases of Torg. A 1, where *the electoral council defends the integrity of its visitation project*--again with ties to Luther's confession--by asserting that many ceremonies are superfluous and that *its own* reform of worship is within the law." Hist. Comm. AC, p. 380.

When the setting in which the jewel of the Gospel was placed (1 Jn 1:1-4) is rejected, the jewel itself will inevitably be lost. Those who sow the wind of rejecting bishops, and embracing "sola Scriptura," will reap the whirlwind of liturgical anarchy, moral antinomianism, and lay administration of Word and Sacrament. Sad. Very sad.

The unworthy priest,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Paul T. McCain said...

And they who lose the actual jewel of the Gospel, as is the case in Eastern Orthodoxy, have nowhere to turn for their comfort and confidence than in so-called "ancient" traditions, and the legalisms of men. That indeed is very sad.

William Weedon said...

I knew how you thought of it, Fr. Gregory, but I was curious if others (particularly Lutherans) would have any input on the way I took Article VII.

I will say that I do not agree with Pastor McCain that the Orthodox have lost the jewel of the Gospel. I think it's much rather the case that they're tempted to think their ancient and pretty settings for it are more attractive than the gem they were designed to hold - and don't see that the thing that is of ultimate and real value isn't all the pretty antiques, but the pearl beyond price of the Gospel itself. I look upon the Orthodox in the light of Ap VII/VIII:20,21. The foundation is still there and not overthrown: "You did not cease to do all things until you had led us up to heaven and bestowed upon the Kingdom which is to come." Yet there's stubble, to be sure.

Past Elder said...

Well, I'm another Lutheran and I take Article VII just the way you laid it out in your post.

Personally, I think there is something in us as humans that wants that comforting visible structure, and I'm not saying that is a bad thing. I said on the other thread, all of us confessional types would love to be in a synod where all is well. And I've experienced it myself, not as a Lutheran but an RC.

The loss of it, such as I believe happened in the wake of Vatican II, can be unvelievably painful. The absence of it, which I felt at times earlier on as a Lutheran, can lead to thoughts of maybe this is just putting on collars and vestments and services with more or less the same words but it doesn't make them priests or this a Mass.

But, bishops and a magisterium hasn't saved the RC church from liturgical anarchy, lay administration of Word and Sacrament, or for that matter a functional antinomianism. Nor from what I gather are the Eastern Rites without their challenges on these and other matters.

And I agree to I would not go so far as McCain. Some of the traditions are ancient, not so-called, and not every appeal to sources outside of Scripture is not recourse to man made legalism. The "true" church can be found in EO parishes too, though I'd disagree with Father Hogg as to why.

For that matter, I have seen on the Net Lutheran liturgies from Eastern European countries, using the liturgy of St John Chrysostom much as we use the traditional Western mass (that is, when we are not using the blasted parody of it newly minted at Vatican II and infecting even the otherwise excellent LSB)and, from my one experience in a Melkite Rite church in Miami some twenty years ago, would love to attend.

But if that bever happens, which it probably won't, and if I never hear a Common Service again now that I'm LCMS, and am consigned to a lifetime of Vatican II wannabeism, that isn't the basic issue or the basis of what I believe, and what I believe is stated in our Confessions, which in regard to AC VII Pastor Weedon has laid out quite well.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

"Verily, the Word, born of the Father before the ages, hath himself been incarnate in the last times by his own will, of one who knowest not wedlock. He did suffer crucifixion and death; and by his Resurrection he hath saved man dead of old.
Verse 6: If Thou, O Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? For with Thee there is forgiveness.
Let us glorify thy Resurrection from the dead, O Christ, by which thou didst free the race of Adam from the usurpation of hades. And since thou art God, thou hast granted the world eternal life and the Great Mercy."
--From a recent Matins service. And I could fill page upon page--Matins and Vespers alone, filled with this sort of message, take over 2 hours a week! :-) Let those who read, judge whether we have lost the jewel.

I note, Pastor Weedon, that you don't respond to the textual points I made wrt churchES--that it's not merely a collection of congregations, nor the una sancta, but the territorial bodies administered by princes and consistories. You talk theology, but your words are not connected to the flesh of the actual history involved in the documents. Logoi asarkoi are not faithful to the Logos ensarkos.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Fr. Hank said...

Past Elder in his paragraph beginning, But, bishops ,,,,,,,,,, antinomianism." (sorry I don't know how to copy and paste on this thing)
Sadly what he says is true,,,,, Rome in this area of appalachia is generic prot to say the least, therapeutic to say the worst,,,very, very sad. It sounds glib to observe how the mighty are fallen but it's all too real.
Ratzinger's essays on the topic are spot on in this regard,,, find them at ratzingerfanclub.com,,,,, the line about Rome's idea of archetecture being the UN meditation chapel really says it all.
I think what is going on is bigger than all of us, and we'd best hang together or we are going to hang separately.
Note: we are about to be hit by a major freezing rain/ice storm, so if I don't keep up here, please understand.

William Weedon said...

Fr. Gregory asks about the plural, "our churches." Obviously the territorial churches are speaking here, but are they conceived as what is meant by "the church" (singular) in AC VII? I don't think so. They know that the territorial arrangement is indeed a merely human arrangement - they'd just done it! It was a human arrangement of the divinely established and ordained congregations and the preaching office, and it was so arranged to serve the strengthening of both after their long neglect under the papacy. Though not by any stretch identical to the Synodical structure employed by us today, it does bear similarities.

Nathan said...

Father Gregory,

This is Nathan, one of your former students at Concordia Seminary in St. Catherines. You provided a bed for Sheila and I after we arrived at the seminary back in 99 before our furniture got there. Thanks again.

I have followed this conversation since it started on the other thread, and I appreciate the way you have been arguing your case, humbly laying it before us. I need to ask two questions.

First, I want to make sure I understand you correctly. You are saying that there is no "transparochial reality" as it exists in the Synod right now, because, as Peiper says, "If anyone should prove against us that even one pastor preached false doctrine, or even one periodical stood in the service of false doctrine, and we did not eliminate this false doctrine, we would therby have ceased to be an orthodox synod and would have become a unionistic fellowship. In short the mark of an orthodox church body is that throughtout that church the true doctrine alone prevails, not only officially and formally but also in actual reality". ("Die Missouri-Synode und das General Council, " Lehre und Wehre, Jahrgang 36, No. 8. (August 1989), p. 262.

I think what Peiper is stating makes sense (although really I wonder if there would be any "synods", any "visible churches", if his words were held to with absolute strictness) and it does indeed go to show how the doctrinal discipline process of the Synod no longer is functioning.

You brought up the communion cup issue, where the fact that the wine is often simply thrown away after the Sacrament is administered, is an indication that they are not being rightly administered in our churches.

In your opinion, are their any other "real big ones" where the Synod has shown by its actions that it is not orthodox? Would you be willing to list several of them for me, in order of seriousness?

Also - are there any things in the Church's official doctrinal stances that are at odds with your understanding of what it means to be orthodox.

Finally, here is my big question. In the last thread, the issue of one's assurance of salvation came up (and this is the issue that actually got that last long thread rolling as well). You said that we are to trust God's promises, but not ourselves. I too, know that I cannot trust myself, for I walk in danger all the way, and I must flee from the sinful patterns of faith-destroying and doubt-inducing sin that lure and tempt me and run to Christ again and again and again - so that by His grace and power I may persevere in this looking towards Him always. But of course I understand this to mean persevering in faith - in simple trust in my good shepherd.

May you, Father Gregory, as an Orthodox, have a sure and humble confidence right now (for now is what we are currently being given by our Lord) that you have a secure (saving) relationship with our Heavenly Father through His dear Son?

Again, I know that you do not trust yourself, and you do not want to speak about your final state (tomorrow), but I am asking you about this moment that God has given you - is God's promise reliable? Can you count on the promise in 1 John 5 that whoever believes HAS eternal life? Is this promise reliable for you right now, and if not, why not?

Love in Christ,
Nathan

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear Nathan,

How good to hear from you! I hope that you and your family are well.

Let me try to answer your questions as best as I'm able.

Some time ago I wrote a brief paper entitled, "There is no Lutheran Church." It is now available at http://orrologion.blogspot.com/2006/02/there-is-no-lutheran-church.html. There I list a number of things.

As to the issue of assurance: I understand that the Reformation formulated its doctrine over against the Roman _monstrum incertitudinem_. Lack of assurance was a big problem in the late mediaeval Roman church--that is why the nominalists formulated the whole scheme of congruent and condignant merit, for example, and the distinction between God's _potentia absoluta_ and his _potentia ordinata_. But the eastern church has never had a notion of merit, so it does not "map" onto the western discussion very well. (Indeed, the east rejected western innovations long before Luther was a twinkle in his father's eye.) I'm afraid, therefore, I must answer your question with a couple of questions--the answers to which will, I hope, clarify the situation and move the discussion forward.

1. When the Confessions say that the faith they speak of, exists only in the terrors of conscience, is that state of affairs consistent with assurance?
2. When the publican went down to his house justified, did he have the assurance you speak of?

If the answer to those questions is "yes," then of course every Christian has that assurance. God's promise is reliable. "If we deny him, he remains faithful; he cannot deny himself," as St. Paul said.

Now let me answer the same question in an eastern way, with stories from the fathers, and from the Scriptures:

'There was an elder who, after dwelling in the desert for many years, wished to know whether he was well-pleasing to God. An angel replied: "Not so much so as the vegetable-seller of this city," so the elder went to see the vegetable seller and was received as his guest. Reluctantly, he told the monk that he only ate at night and that he gave away everything he did not need. Morning and night he would say: "All this city, from the least to the great, will enter the kingdom on account of their good deeds, whilst I go to perdition for my sins." The monk was not very impressed with this, but then they heard singing outside the gardener's hut. "Does this not trouble you ?" he asked the man. "No," he replied; "I think of them as people entering the kingdom." "Forgive me, brother; I have not yet attained that degree of perfection," said the monk, and he returned to the desert without eating,'

and, from a modern saint, Silouan the Athonite,

"In this vein, he (Elder Sophrony) emphasized the life-giving potential of the word given by Christ to St. Silouan: "Keep your mind in hell and despair not." This paradoxical formulation at once teaches us to live with the awareness of the damnable nature of our sin and to hold fast to the saving power of Christ. A person who "keeps his mind in hell" is ever aware that only one fate is appropriate for his deeds, eternal damnation. This consideration sears humility into his soul, as he finds himself utterly unable to lift his eyes toward the face of God. Yet this very movement of "going down" is motivated by grace, and that same grace enables one to fend off temptations to despondency. One's wretchedness before God is excruciatingly and unremittingly apparent, and yet in that very moment joy is born into the soul as the supreme love of God is revealed as the vanquisher of sin, rescuing him from the abyss of despair."

and, from the holy Gospel:

"John 9:39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind." 40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains."

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Nathan said...

Father Gregory,

First of all, the first story troubles me - not because salvation by works is mentioned (for we know that this is a reality in some sense - Rom 2:13) - but only because Christ and His work does not seem to be in view at all, but rather simple "humility". In the story in Luke about the man who went home justified, we can at least surmise that this occured during the time sacrifices were offered, which as we know, point to outside ourselves and our humility to Christ. As you know, our humility stinks also, and we can peel off the layers of "sincerity" re: our "humble" repentence and it won't change anything. The aspect of the Gospel that we need to keep in mind at this moments is that it is outside of us (narrow aspect).

As for the second story, I believe that you are mistaken and that it was actually Martin Luther who said this. :) (again confirming the catholicity of the Lutheran Church as Pastor Weedon so wonderfully does!).

Re: this final Scriptural passage, I think that your using it in the context of the two stories above is not appropriate. I think that you realize that the reason the Pharisees were blind was not that they claimed to see per se, but rather because they had not seen their blindness through the light of Christ (see John 16 where it talks of the work of the Holy Spirit), the One to whom the Scriptures testify. For the man who claimed that he was blind and NOW he sees was not told that his sin remained. No, with Christ by His side, all was secure.

He who has the Son has life - the terrors are sure to come if we are honest with the Scriptures, but our ultimate identity is not with the flesh, but with the spirit. We are sinners always this side of heaven, but yet our true identity is saint.

Are you ready to take a stab at my very direct original question then - or is there still more we should talk about?

Love in Christ,
Nathan

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear Nathan,

1. The "extra nos" emphasis of the Reformation arose in reaction to the Roman notion that saving grace is a created, infused quality or substance. This, in turn, is founded on the western claim that there is no distinction between God's essence and his energies. Because the east correctly taught that there *is* such a distinction, it did not need to fall into either the error of Rome or that of the Reformation. Luther himself did not speak with the same "precision" as later Lutheran dogmatists did, no doubt under the pressure of attacks from the Jesuits.

2. The second story was in fact St. Silouan the Athonite. Google and you'll see. If you can document the exact story wrt Luther, it would be a great service.

3. We will have to disagree about the fittingness of John 9 to this discussion, I suppose.

4. You did not answer my first question, and (as noted in 1. above) your answer to my second question assumes the western notion that there is no distinction between God's essence and his energies/attributes. And this raises a broader point wrt discussions such as these, between the East and Lutheranism. The theology of the east arose in different circumstances than that of the west--certainly they diverged after the schism of 1054. Since that time, western theology has become a theology of the schools. The east's theology remained that of the liturgy.

A certain amount of "translation" work has to take place for one side to be intelligible to the other and, I must confess, after a year of being Orthodox I'm finding it harder and harder to understand the language I formerly spoke. (The article, "There is no Lutheran Church," and the arguments it contains, were all written before I was chrismated; I can speak to those points well, because they're fresher. But the broader context of Lutheranism is becoming increasingly cloudy to me. If you wish me to re-learn some of that linguistic map, I will try. But please be patient with me.)

Because of this linguistic problem, questions which seem very direct to you, appear very much more like a "complex question" (a logical fallacy) to me--along the lines of "Yes, or no--have you stopped beating your wife?"

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

PS I might also point out that the topic of this thread is "Why AC VII is not addressing 'transparochial realities,'" and not the question of assurance of salvation. Perhaps Pr. Weedon would like to begin a new thread. Or perhaps you'd like to correspond with me directly. In any case, I'll try to anwer as clearly and simply as I can--recognizing the linguistic proviso I made above.

Nathan said...

Father Gregory,

Hopefully, I can get back to you tomorrow morning.

Quickly though, I do agree with question 1 above...

And... I was joking about the second story being from Luther. :) (because it sounds just like something he'd say)

Also, I do not understand why the energies/essence distinction is a problem for us. Luther clearly taught theosis in fact, and I don't see what the BOC says that necessarily contradicts it.

So, I don't understand how:
"your answer to my second question assumes the western notion that there is no distinction between God's essence and his energies/attributes"

I agree about the "bunny trail" nature of this. But I think it is crucial to the discussion also. Luther said that when Cajetan denied his view of absolution, he called into question the very doctrine that had made Luther a Christian.

Nathan said...

Of course, it is for Pastor Weedon's to decide whether this should just get another thread. I think that would not be a bad idea...

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear Nathan,

Briefly, western Christianity following Augustine says that whatever is in God that is not Person, is God. So, for example, for God to be God and to be just is one and the same thing. Boethius' De trinitate follows Augustine and sets this idea forth succinctly.

The Cappadocians affirm a distinction between God's essence and energies (energies corresponding, roughly, to what the west calls 'attributes.'). God's energies are multiple, not single like his essence, and they are uncreated.

Because the West says that there is no distinction between God's essence and energies, God's uncreated grace (for example) is the same as the divine essence. If we are saved by *that* grace, then we literally share God's essence--which would confuse the creator/creation distinction, and hence be idolatrous. So Rome said that the grace by which we are saved is created. (They deny the genus maiestaticum for the same reason. The felicitous inconsistency is that Lutherans affirm the genus maiestaticum despite their adherence to the western refusal to distinguish the divine essence and energies.)

Lutherans reject that we are saved by created grace. But they preserve the western denial of an essence/energies distinction. That is why they must stress the "extra nos." For since they believe we are saved by uncreated grace (the favor Dei propter Christum), if this grace were communicated to us, then since it is not distinct from God's essence it would literally make us God.

But the east, maintaining the distinction between essence and energies, is not caught in the trap. God's grace is communicated to us, and it is uncreated, but it is not identical to God's essence; hence, we are not made essentially divine.

If you wish to see the sort of doublespeak the Lutheran position leads to, check out Preus' Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, II.56. Here's just one sample: "Hollaz is saying that the attributes can and must be distinguished by their effects, which are quite different. And he means to say that, although they are all one with the divine nature, there is a foundation within the divine nature for the distinctions we make on the basis of Scripture."

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Drew said...

Fr. Hogg,

Interesting. I think a light has just gone off in my head. Is this why Calvinists always accuse Lutherans of Monophysitism? In that while we affirm the genus maiestaticum, we do not make the eastern distinction between essence and energies, and therefore are left unprotected to the Reformed assertion that Christ's humanity is swallowed up in His divinity?

Or is this wrong?

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Drew,

I don't know. You may have something there.

The unworthy priest,
Fr Gregory

William Weedon said...

Drew,

Dr. Hogg in his pre Father Gregory days used to make the point - and I think it is exactly true - that you cannot teach the Genus Maiestaticum without a distinction between the essence and the attributes. For it is the ATTRIBUTES, not the essence, of the divine nature which are communicated in the personal union to the human nature.

Thus, there is in Lutheranism a bit of tension between the way we have traditionally expounded "de Deo" and "de Christo." I'd put my money on the "de Christo" rather than the "de Deo" which had a tendency to repeat Thomas et al. without a lot of examination.

Now, I may be wrong in all of this. My friend and colleague Heath Curtis is investigating this in detail because he - being a a not-so-closet Thomist - finds it to be more Plotinus than Scriptural to speak about a real distinction between the essence and energies (or attributes). He's all into the simplicity of the Godhead. I'm eager to see the outcome of his investigation, but I'm betting he'll end up affirming that Palamas was NOT Plotinian, but Scriptural after all.

Drew said...

Pr. Weedon,

'you cannot teach the Genus Maiestaticum without a distinction between the essence and the attributes'

Wasn't it Fr. Hogg's point that this distinction is foreign to the Western tradition, that instead God's essence and His attributes are in effect 'one and the same thing'? So for Lutherans to assert that God's attributes are communicated to the human nature of Christ is tantamount to saying that His essence is communicated. Hence the Reformed outrage.

Right?

Drew said...

I should clarify that this is precisely the 'felicitous inconsistency' that Fr. Hogg makes note of - my guess is that our Lutheran Fathers did indeed make a distinction between His essence and His attributes/energies. But it fell on deaf ears due to categories that the Reformers had inherited.

William Weedon said...

Drew,

They did so under the locus De Christo, but not De Deo. That is what was inconsistent. But Chemnitz' *The Two Natures in Christ* is utterly clear that it is the attributes of the divine nature, not the divine nature itself, which is communicated to the human nature. It makes this clear by asserting that the divine attributes never become essentially attributes of the human nature, but only of the human nature as it shares in the personal union.

Past Elder said...

Well brothers, it's too late to rev up on essences and attributes, but I do think this is another example (what it is that gives the church its nature the other) of what I read somewhere years ago, that the Reformation generally and Lutheranism in particular is simply an answer to a question that only arises from errors into which Rome fell.

But it also reminds me of something an Orthodox rabbi said to me during my twenty odd years of being a Righteous of the Nations, in between bailing on what became of the trans prochial entity called the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II and professing faith in the non trans parochial entitly called the "evangelical Lutheran church".

He said that Jesus is only possible to understand as Messiah once Hebrew Scripture becomes an event in Greek philosophy rather than Hebrew prophecy.

I wrote a bleeding dissertation on Boethius once upon a time and at an earlier hour might jump right into the ring about essence and attribute/energy and all that. Sounds like Heath Curtis is on the right track. Aquinas himself said at the outset of contra gentiles that our arguments are fine for the edification of believers if they help, but for spreading the Gospel one must stick to Scripture.

If they don't help in understanding what we already believe, then what good are they, other than proving nothing about God but only that language under certain conditions functions in a certain way. Which is not to proclaim Thomas a deconstructionist, but to say my experience is that such "terrified consciences" as there may be, or those who are not terrified at all but think we're all heading to the same good place anyway, are not pondering on their beds whether God's essence and attributes are the same or separate things, whether substance and accident are real or only linguistic contructs etc.

Maybe we'll have to start another thread on whether, similar to whether true orders creates the true church or the true church creates true orders, liturgy creates theology or is created by theology.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear Eldest (is that what being past elder would make one?) :-)

Whether or not we should make a distinction between God's essence and energies may indeed seem to be abstract and unrelated to the terrors of conscience; but if, as even Robert Preus acknowledges, these distinctions are made on the basis of Scripture, and if denying the distinction led to all the mediaeval mayhem in Rome, then maybe it has a lot to do with helping poor afflicted consciences. Men who deal with these issues are like plumbers. Plumbers do plenty of work underground, and in smelly places, but we all benefit in the end.

The issue of whether Lutheranism is Church matters too--maybe not to you, if you're like me on the far side of middle age, but surely for your kids and grandkids. For if it isn't, plenty of good men like Pastor Weedon are working in vain to save it. "Unless the Lord build the house, those who labor, labor in vain," and "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up." The promise that the gates of hell would not prevail, Christ gave to his Church--not to a corporation.

So forgive the smell of these conversations, please. And the dark. There's Gospel in Lutheranism, now. Listen to your pastor as he tells you of Jesus. Let us talk about whether the setting's been lost, and the jewel loose in the preacher's hand--whether this lay preaching and absolution, this loss of liturgy and tossing of reliquae into the trash is just an unfortunate accident, or evidence that Lutheranism isn't Church. In all these things, we deal with God, who is good and loves mankind.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

"Christ is risen from the dead, He who is the First fruits of them that slept, the First-born of creation, and the Creator of all things created. He hath renewed by Himself the nature of our corrupt race. Wherefore, thou shalt reign no more, O death; for the Lord of all hath nullified thy power and dissolved it."--from this coming Matins service

William Weedon said...

Fr. Gregory,

You write: "The issue of whether Lutheranism is Church matters too--maybe not to you, if you're like me on the far side of middle age, but surely for your kids and grandkids. For if it isn't, plenty of good men like Pastor Weedon are working in vain to save it. "Unless the Lord build the house, those who labor, labor in vain," and "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up." The promise that the gates of hell would not prevail, Christ gave to his Church--not to a corporation."

Don't you think that is a bit of a strawman? For no Lutheran claims that the Synod is the una sancta to whom the promise was given. Rather, the claim is that that our parishes and pastors *participate* in that una sancta and are part of it through God's gracious action in the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments by which saving faith is bestowed which joins them to the living Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. In just the same way, we regard you are part of the una sancta, that is through the same action of the same Spirit through the same means, and not merely by your outward fellowship with the Patriarch Ignatius. "One Lord, one faith, one baptism."

Anonymous said...

Father Gregory,

I should be able to get back to you a little bit later on today. I must say I am not nearly in tune with philosophy as you are.

~Nathan

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Pastor Weedon,

1. When pointing to the Sacred Scriptures, we do not say, "This book participates in God's word," but "This book is the word of God."
2. When pointing to the enfleshed word, we do not say, "This man participates in God," but "this man is God."
3. When pointing to the elements in the Eucharist, we do not say, "This bread and wine participate in Christ's body and blood," but "This is Christ's body and blood."
4. We must, therefore, be able to point to the Church and say, "This is the body of Christ."

Both sides agree that this can be said of the local assembly, gathered around word and sacrament.

Some Lutherans, following the receptionism they believe and teach about the Sacrament, would say that it can *only* be said in the act of preaching and administering the sacrament. These usually toss the reliquae in the trash, by using disposable cups.

Other Lutherans, like yourself (I assume), would say that it can also be said of the local assembly at times other than when the word is being preached and the sacrament administered. These usually don't toss the reliquae in the trash.

Here is one problem, for an Orthodox: Lutheranism is big enough to allow both ideas. So dialogue here is a little like--pardon the analogy--having a discussion with someone who has multiple personality disorder. If you are united in a communion fellowship with those who toss the reliquae in the trash (and you are), then it would seem that by tolerating such action, and the doctrine of receptionism that underlies it, you either agree with it, or hold that it is not so important as to separate from those who teach it.

Now, all Lutherans, yourself included, hold that it cannot be said of any bigger-than-parish, lesser-than-una-sancta body, "This is the Church." (Strictly speaking, the Synod is a not-for-profit religious corporation. Period. And yet it puts on the dress of a church, and does things that church does: training pastors, sending missionaries, opening conventions with word and sacrament, etc. The hands are Esau's, but the voice is Jacob's.)

According to Lutherans, bigger-than-parish, lesser-than-una-sancta bodies arise when like-minded parishes and pastors pull themselves together to form a corporation. Unity in communion fellowship happens from the bottom up, when parishes and pastors recognize themselves as having a common confession. Such gatherings are merely human arrangements.

But according to Holy Scripture, the Church is inherently also a bigger-than-parish, smaller-than-una-sancta body. For Paul, who had received his apostleship from Christ, commanded Titus to set up elders "in every city." Here the unity in communion fellowship happens from the top down, Christ-->apostle-->apostolic associate-->elder. The apostle has jurisdiction over the whole church; the associate (Titus) over an area comprised of multiple locations; and the elder over (to begin with) one parish. As the church grew in each city, and the one parish divided into more assemblies, it was natural that the "elder" Paul speaks of here would evolve into a bishop. Such is the case by the end of the first century, when St. Ignatios spoke of the threefold office and served as bishop himself in the same area as St. John, and (unless we presume he developed his teaching of bishop/elder/deacon after the apostle's demise, in the few years between that demise and his own martyrdom) without any negative comment by the apostle. The episcopal office is not an outgrowth of the parish priests', but parish priests' of the bishop.

The bishop has historically been the guardian and symbol of the Church's unity--unity not merely within a local parish, but in that bigger-than-parish entity called a "diocese". The miracle of Lutheranism is not that it's breaking apart; the miracle of Lutheranism is that, given its rejection of the trans-parish unity embodied in bishops, it's stayed together as long as it has. The claim that "to the unity of the Church, it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments" is true enough as far as it goes, but inadequate. For doctrine does not preach itself, nor the Sacraments administer themselves. Someone must preach and administer; not all who could do so, should do so (AC 14); someone must put preachers into office, and supervise their preaching and administering.

Before I left Lutheranism for the Orthodox Church, I noted that in Lutheranism, all pastors are brothers, but they have no father. Rather like the situation in "Lord of the Flies." And I left when I remembered the fate of the fat guy with glasses.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Nathan said...

Father Gregory:

Now, all Lutherans, yourself included, hold that it cannot be said of any bigger-than-parish, lesser-than-una-sancta body, "This is the Church."

Why is this so? I can look at an individual congregation, and say of it that it is Christ's body, the Church, in its fullness. Likewise, I can look at all the Church's that "agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments" and call note that they are Christ's body as well - again in all its fullness. The body is certainly visible insofar as we actually go to these places where the people gather around these things or notice others "who hear the shepherd's voice" in our daily lives. Ultimately, our knowledge of these things is not perfect however - it seems to me that we may know that the Church is fully unified in God's eyes without divide, but we ourselves cannot know this perfectly this side of heaven - ie, the Church is divine, his body, organic, etc (made up of called pastors and called believers), and yet, there is freedom as to how this we perceive this and hence arrange this, from culture to culture, time to time, place to place.

What is wrong with this thinking?

Nathan said...

Corrected (nuanced):

I can look at an individual congregation, and reasonably say of it that it is Christ's body, the Church, in its fullness. Likewise, I can hypothetically look at all the churches that agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments and can note that they corporately are Christ's body as well - again in all its fullness. The body is certainly visible insofar as we actually go to these places where the people gather around these things or notice members of them – those "who hear the shepherd's voice" - in our daily lives. Ultimately however, our knowledge of these things is not perfect - it seems clear to me that we may know that the Church is fully unified in God's eyes and without divide, but we ourselves cannot know all things about its workings perfectly this side of heaven. Therefore, the Church is divine, his body, organic, etc (made up of called pastors and called believers) - and yet, there simply needs to be freedom as to how this we perceive this and hence arrange this, from culture to culture, time to time, place to place. Otherwise, our perceptions of the Church become more important than the Words that actually create and sustain the Church.

William Weedon said...

Fr. Gregory,

It is true that my eyesight has worsened as I've grown older and grayer, but I've never SEEN the Orthodox Church. I have seen priests and parishes that are in communion with each other, including being in communion with Bishops who also serve in certain parishes and superintend those parishes and priests. But visible? The Eastern Churches are as visible as the Lutheran Churches: parishes and those who serve in the office of the ministry, gathered around very visible altars, where the unseen body and blood of Christ continue to nourish and sustain us in the one Church of Christ.

About receptionism, it is a teaching I protest against and actively seek to correct whereever I encounter it. Do you protest the toll houses?

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear Pastor Weedon,

If you've seen Orthodox priests and parishes that are in communion with each other, including being in communion with Bishops, and then can say that you haven't seen the Orthodox Church--then you can't see the forest for the trees. And that's a problem no eye doctor can fix, for seeing is partially dependent on our will--it requires that we open our eyes.

I take note of the _tu quoque_ wrt receptionism and toll houses. There is this difference between the issues, of course: receptionism is officially taught and sanctioned, whereas toll houses are a private opinion of a few theologians. According to the Onion Dome, the fares were recently raised on the toll houses, but I don't know about that. I just like their cookies.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Father Gregory Hogg

William Weedon said...

Those carbs are not good for you, and you know it. : )

So in your opinion what makes the church VISIBLE is the person of the bishop? That is clearly where we part company.

I admit to tu quoque - goose and gander business. But where is receptionism "officially sanctioned"? It is not taught in the Confessions, as you know, nor is it referenced in the Synodical Explanation of the Small Catechism. It is taught in Pieper's Dogmatics, but that is not the official teaching of the Synod. Our current and official hymnal instructs: "At the end of the distribution or during the Post-communion Canticle, the remaining consecrated elements are set in order on the altar and covered with a veil." A receptionist would hardly speak of "remaining consecrated elements," would he? I have never seen an official document of the Missouri Synod that sanctions throwing the consecrated elements into the trash. Have you?

Nathan said...

Pastor Weedon,

Good comments. Methinks this all comes down to a "burning in the bosom" kind of thing, I'm afraid. God forgive me for using my reason so much.

Father Gregory,

I appreciate your interaction again. Like I said, my philosophical knowledge is meager compared to yours, but let me tell you what I think. The first issue is that you seem to me that you are assuming a pretty tight unity between Augustine and Boethius and Luther on the one hand, and the Cappadocians on the other - let us not forget the differences between them (by the way, in a paper now called "Is Development of Doctrine a Valid Category for Orthodox Theology" and so far he says that "it would seem obvious to a historian that... the Palamite distinction between essence and energies can[not] relly be found in the fourth-century Fathers - especially... in Basil the Great", but I have to read the rest of the paper!), and the second issue has to do with the conclusions you draws based on your assumptions. My pastor says "Underlying both [of these issues] is the question: Is Christian theology dependent upon the distinctions of philosophy; or does it use them at its convenience? Add to it this question: In that there were a number of ancient philosophical systems that discussed essences and energies, which one ultimately is normative? And perhaps the most curious question: What then becomes Incarnate? The essence or energies? If the essence, why then mess with the concept of energies? If I remember my college philosophy correctly, the concept of energies was introduced so that somehow a god who was ultimate good, could work within creation which was ultimately bad. Obviously his essence could not come in contact with creation, so there had to be a buffer: that buffer was his 'energies.'

He goes on to say that what you say is the "more pristine philosophical solution for one theological dilemma, creates different theological dilemmas which [you] fails to mention."

Perhaps the following point of my pastor would be worth looking at more closely:

"Is Christian theology dependent upon the distinctions of philosophy; or does it use them at its convenience?"

I think that the latter is true, with the caveat that no system that is used for Christianity's purpose is going to be without flaws.

Dr. Hogg, I remember you talking about different computer languages in class. You mentioned something about how they might be written very differently, but address similar issues and goals, or something like that. You said this when you were sharing with us how you thought Orthodoxy also might be a true Church (or was one; I can't remember).

I do have a background in science and so am pretty empirical. And yet, I have read quite a bit of Polanyi as well, and so don't think I am too naive about all this. I recently wrote this in a paper on Polanyi's work: "Polanyi is unique as far as formal philosophers go because before becoming a philosopher he was a highly respected chemist (as well as being well-read in many other topics), said to be on the verge of the Nobel prize. Having turned to philosophy, then, he was able to begin a bridge – to address the concern of analytical philosophies which remain detached from utility. Polanyi was very much concerned with how philosophy should connects "real life" on the ground, inviting the importance of all or our sensory experiences and all that we partake in and observe as human beings."

At this point in my life I do not have a ton of respect for formal philosophy - seeing it as "detached from utility", though I would love to learn more some day.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Pastor Weedon, you wrote:

Those carbs are not good for you, and you know it. : )

Rx: Well, I just went upstairs and made a batch. So there!

WW:
So in your opinion what makes the church VISIBLE is the person of the bishop? That is clearly where we part company.

Rx: Funny you should put it that way--though I don't care much for the "visible/invisible" talk, and thought you didn't like it either. St. Ignatios of Antioch, to the Ephesians:

"I received, therefore, your whole multitude in the name of God, through Onesimus, a man of inexpressible love, and your bishop in the flesh, whom I pray you by Jesus Christ to love, and that you would all seek to be like him. And blessed be He who has granted unto you, being worthy, to obtain such an excellent bishop."

WW:
I admit to tu quoque - goose and gander business. But where is receptionism "officially sanctioned"? It is not taught in the Confessions, as you know, nor is it referenced in the Synodical Explanation of the Small Catechism. It is taught in Pieper's Dogmatics, but that is not the official teaching of the Synod. Our current and official hymnal instructs: "At the end of the distribution or during the Post-communion Canticle, the remaining consecrated elements are set in order on the altar and covered with a veil." A receptionist would hardly speak of "remaining consecrated elements," would he? I have never seen an official document of the Missouri Synod that sanctions throwing the consecrated elements into the trash. Have you?

Rx:
Receptionism is, as I said, "officially taught and sanctioned." It is officially taught, when Pieper's dogmatics is used as a text, and it is sanctioned, when the practice of tossing the reliquae in the trash continues on without abatement--as it does. (Can you show any pronouncement by the Synod that reproves those who do so?) Remember that Pieper's dictum is that not merely what is officially stated, but what actually happens, is the standard by which Missouri wishes to be judged. His words. Not mine.

A receptionist might well speak of "remaining consecrated elements," btw, just as one would speak of burying "President" Ford, though he was no longer president at his funeral.

Having eaten a toll house cookie, and enjoyed it, :-) I remain

The unworthy priest and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

William Weedon said...

Dear Priestly Fool or Foolish Priest,

(Foolish for eating the cookie!)

1. As you know, if you read the rest of St. Ignatius, his description of WHO is bishop is not the one you're operating with, but the head of local eucharistic assembly, who can hunt up all his people by name. For example, I believe, he bestows that title on Polycarp who simply refers to himself as "presbyter."

2. Pieper would only be "officially sanctioned" if it were taught that he had presented the doctrine infallibly. At least at the seminary I attended, his text was valued for a number of strengths and criticized for a number of weaknesses and it was especially volume 3 that was thought to be weak!

As for the reliquae ending up in the trash, I honestly suspect it was a totally unthinking habit that arose at the time when the church warehouses came up with plastic cups to replace the glass or metal ones that had been in place. It's the sort of thing that once you point it out to people, it corrects itself. At least that's what I've seen: just remind people that this is the wine over which our Lord made His promise that it was His blood shed for the sins of the world and which He told us to drink for the forgiveness of our sins. Then ask: should we be tossing this in the trash can? I've not had a single person respond to the argument with anything but a determination to FIX what was an unthinking act of irreverence and abuse.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Nathan, you wrote:

Father Gregory,

I appreciate your interaction again. Like I said, my philosophical knowledge is meager compared to yours, but let me tell you what I think. The first issue is that you seem to me that you are assuming a pretty tight unity between Augustine and Boethius and Luther on the one hand, and the Cappadocians on the other - let us not forget the differences between them (by the way, in a paper now called "Is Development of Doctrine a Valid Category for Orthodox Theology" and so far he says that "it would seem obvious to a historian that... the Palamite distinction between essence and energies can[not] relly be found in the fourth-century Fathers - especially... in Basil the Great", but I have to read the rest of the paper!),

Rx: Something seems to be missing in your words above, that make it hard to get exactly what you're saying. But let me try what I can. As to the tight unity between Augustine and Boethius, Boethius himself says at the outset of the De trinitate: "You must however examine whether the seeds of argument sown in my mind by St. Augustine's writings have borne fruit." Apparently the western writers after Boethius and through the Scholastics thought that Boethius had gotten Augustine right. Luther? I'm not so sure. But the Lutheran dogmaticians were certainly influenced powerfully by the scholastics--even Chemnitz has nice things to say about them in the De duabus, and it got deeper as it went along.

I don't know what author you're reading who claims to be unable to find the essence/energy distinction in St. Basil. Here's just one example: "“He is the source of sanctification, spiritual light, who gives illumination to everyone using His powers to search for the truth--and the illumination He gives is Himself. His nature is unapproachable; only through His goodness are we able to draw near it. He fills all things with His power, but only those who are worthy may share it. He distributes His energy in proportion to the faith of the recipient, not confining it to a single share. *He is simple in being; His powers are manifold: they are wholly present everywhere and in everything. He is distributed but does not change. He is shared, yet remains whole.* Consider the analogy of the sunbeam: each person upon whom its kindly light falls rejoices as if the sun existed for him alone, yet it illumines land and sea, and is master of the atmosphere. In the same way, the Spirit is given to each one who receives Him as if He were the possession of that person alone, yet He sends forth sufficient grace to fill all the universe. Everything that partakes of His grace is filled with joy according to its capacity--the capacity of its nature, not of His power."



Nathan:
and the second issue has to do with the conclusions you draws based on your assumptions. My pastor says "Underlying both [of these issues] is the question: Is Christian theology dependent upon the distinctions of philosophy; or does it use them at its convenience? Add to it this question: In that there were a number of ancient philosophical systems that discussed essences and energies, which one ultimately is normative? And perhaps the most curious question: What then becomes Incarnate? The essence or energies? If the essence, why then mess with the concept of energies? If I remember my college philosophy correctly, the concept of energies was introduced so that somehow a god who was ultimate good, could work within creation which was ultimately bad. Obviously his essence could not come in contact with creation, so there had to be a buffer: that buffer was his 'energies.'

Rx:
It's not "what" became incarnate, but "who" became incarnate: "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us." (When you speak of your pastor, and yet call yourself my student, I'm a bit confused. Is this Nathan Rinne writing? Weren't you an M.Div. student? What are you doing now?) No ancient philosophical system is normative in the Church. The notion of the essence/energies distinction is thoroughly biblical, and is not imported from philosophy.

Nathan:
He goes on to say that what you say is the "more pristine philosophical solution for one theological dilemma, creates different theological dilemmas which [you] fails to mention."

Rx:
The Church does not use theology to deal with theological dilemmas. She meets in council and concludes, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us," and "Following the holy fathers..."

Nathan:
Perhaps the following point of my pastor would be worth looking at more closely:

"Is Christian theology dependent upon the distinctions of philosophy; or does it use them at its convenience?"

I think that the latter is true, with the caveat that no system that is used for Christianity's purpose is going to be without flaws.

Rx:
I agree.

Nathan:
Dr. Hogg, I remember you talking about different computer languages in class. You mentioned something about how they might be written very differently, but address similar issues and goals, or something like that. You said this when you were sharing with us how you thought Orthodoxy also might be a true Church (or was one; I can't remember).

Rx:
I thought so at that time. But sad and subsequent experience and study showed me that Lutheranism is not Church. It's a school of thought, a theological system, an unenfleshed word.

Nathan:
I do have a background in science and so am pretty empirical. And yet, I have read quite a bit of Polanyi as well, and so don't think I am too naive about all this. I recently wrote this in a paper on Polanyi's work: "Polanyi is unique as far as formal philosophers go because before becoming a philosopher he was a highly respected chemist (as well as being well-read in many other topics), said to be on the verge of the Nobel prize. Having turned to philosophy, then, he was able to begin a bridge – to address the concern of analytical philosophies which remain detached from utility. Polanyi was very much concerned with how philosophy should connects "real life" on the ground, inviting the importance of all or our sensory experiences and all that we partake in and observe as human beings."

Rx:
Polanyi, along with Wittgenstein, are my two favorite modern philosophers. The rest are, by and large, worthless to me (though I do like Nietzsche's style).

Nathan:
At this point in my life I do not have a ton of respect for formal philosophy - seeing it as "detached from utility", though I would love to learn more some day.

Rx:
Philosophy is of great utility in one respect: it teaches the pretensions of human wisdom apart from the Cross, and if used rightly can lead one to a measure of humility.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

1:12 PM

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Pastor Weedon, you wrote:

Dear Priestly Fool or Foolish Priest,

(Foolish for eating the cookie!)

Rx: Well, you got me there. Still, it tasted good. And I receive it with thanks.

WW:
1. As you know, if you read the rest of St. Ignatius, his description of WHO is bishop is not the one you're operating with, but the head of local eucharistic assembly, who can hunt up all his people by name. For example, I believe, he bestows that title on Polycarp who simply refers to himself as "presbyter."

Rx:
As I pointed out earlier, the heads of local (i.e. town-by-town) assemblies were installed by the apostles and their associates, both of whom had jurisdiction over more-than-local assemblies; and as the church grew, those bishops became head over more-than-one-local assembly. You'll note that Ignatios always preserves the distinction between episcopos and presbyteros. There's one of the former, and many of the latter.

WW:
2. Pieper would only be "officially sanctioned" if it were taught that he had presented the doctrine infallibly. At least at the seminary I attended, his text was valued for a number of strengths and criticized for a number of weaknesses and it was especially volume 3 that was thought to be weak!

Rx:
Did I not make myself more explicit when I said "officially TAUGHT"? The first post may have been somewhat ambiguous, but the one just prior to this was more clear. I did not say, "officially sanctioned." I said, "Officially taught and sanctioned," and made my admittedly ambiguous expression to be unambiguous in my just-previous post.

And my words about sanctioning stand. It is sanctioned, in that it is practiced, without rebuke from synodical or district officials (who couldn't do anything about it if they wanted to, since they're only _de iure humano_ anyway).

WW:
As for the reliquae ending up in the trash, I honestly suspect it was a totally unthinking habit that arose at the time when the church warehouses came up with plastic cups to replace the glass or metal ones that had been in place. It's the sort of thing that once you point it out to people, it corrects itself. At least that's what I've seen: just remind people that this is the wine over which our Lord made His promise that it was His blood shed for the sins of the world and which He told us to drink for the forgiveness of our sins. Then ask: should we be tossing this in the trash can? I've not had a single person respond to the argument with anything but a determination to FIX what was an unthinking act of irreverence and abuse.

Rx:
Not always. I pointed it out in our circuit meeting some months before I left, in a presentation on Augustana 10. The head of my altar guild, a bright woman with her head on straight about this issue, later transferred to another parish in the circuit. After much discussion with the new pastor, she got him to "compromise"--he double-bags the plastic cups before he tosses them out. And his altar, is your altar.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Past Elder said...

Great Caesar's Ghost!

When I was an altar boy in the pre Vatican II Roman rite, we were told to carefully hold the paten under the chin of the communicant, to catch the host, which was the Body of Christ, should it fall off the communicant's tongue, and if that should fail and the host fall to the floor, do nothing but allow the priest to pick it up since only his consecrated fingers should touch it.

Did that make us the true church?

Consecrated elements were treated with such respect that they were reserved in the tabernacle on the altar for later use, and sometimes just placed out for the worshipper's prayerful gratitude for such a miracle.

Did that make us the true church?

Came the revolution, er, Vatican II, and communion was placed in the hand. This was to enact two points, we were told. One, to correct the mediaeval idea that only the priest could actually touch the host, and the other, to represent that faith is our action too, God meeting us and us meeting God, so we are active in faith too and show this by actively holding out our hand to be filled by the Lord.

Disposable cups? Yet nothing about a method of taking communion which is meant to directly contradict that faith and salvation are entirely the work of God?.

So far as any protocal for the reception of Communion goes, I suppose we could receive the host in our shirtpockets if we wanted to. As they say in Milwaukee, Christian Freedom, adiaphora! Yet the reception of the host on the tongue does represent the action on the part of God, not us, and the extending of the hand does represent the idea that I contribute something to my faith and salvation. So while everything is permissible not everything is a good idea.

Yet, in my parish it's disposable cups and host in the extended hand. When I was in WELS I was hard core and did not extend my hand, forcing the pastor or elder to place it on the tongue. I don't now in LCMS.

Is the Church formed or lost in this stuff? If so, I'd say be more concerned about communion in the hand than disposable cups. If not, I'd say preach and teach so without any rule from Rome or substitute hierarchy we will make better use of our Christian Freedom.

I love Nietzsche. If Lutheranism is wrong, then to me the a;ternative is not the EO but Nietzsche (who came from a long line of Lutheran pastors).

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Whether you take the sacrament in the hand, or in the mouth, are actions which can signify different things to different people. No big deal, necessarily.

But tossing what one says is Christ's blood into a trashcan means only one thing: disrespect and disdain for the price of our redemption. It's a big deal. A very big deal.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory

William Weedon said...

Fr. Gregory,

Although I disagree with those who hold the position, I think you are being unfair to the receptionists. They are thinking along the lines of Loehe's catechism, where at question 863 the querry is posed:

"Why is there no danger of spilling any of Christ's blood?"

The answer Loehe proposes: "Because the Almighty Lord unites His blood with the wine that is drunk, but not with the drops of wine which are spilled. The error of the Romanists is a consequence of their wrong teaching that there is only Blood, and merely the appearance of wine, in the Holy Supper."

You know as well as I do what Drs. Luther and Chemnitz would say to such a notion! But it is what drives the thought of many of those who toss the consecrated wine into the trash can. They do not believe that they are throwing out the Lord's blood; just wine. I believe that they're wrong and can be shown to be wrong by the very Words of Institution themselves, and by the fact that the Symbols do not equate "use" with "consumption." But let's be fair to them in their error: they are not *intending* either disrespect or disdain for the price of our redemption. It's still a big deal, but it's the result of poor teaching, rather than of deliberate irreverence.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Pastor Weedon,

As I mentioned earlier, I went through the issue with pastors at a circuit meeting. It is fair to say, once one's attention has been called to the matter, that continuing the same practice is a matter of disrespect. The same goes for the use of grape juice, another wide-spread practice, instituted in the face of being taught otherwise.

But you can call it as you like.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Past Elder said...

So then, how long do indeed the consecrated elements remain consecrated? Only during the usus? What is the usus, if not the same as consumption, then when does that end, or does it? My first pastor, in WELS, said these things are not anwered clearly in the NT so we dispose of unused elements respectfully on the one hand, but not by buying a monstrance and and holding Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the other.

I believe Pastor Weedon has consistently set out accurate Lutheran teaching on these matters. Regardless of that, I do not follow the progression of disposable cups in the trash > Lutheranism is wrong > EO.

If we get started on grape juice and/or children's sermons (which unlike most red hymnal types I am "fer" as options) this thread will be as long as the last!

Drew said...

Past Elder,

'Regardless of that, I do not follow the progression of disposable cups in the trash > Lutheranism is wrong > EO.'

Correct me if I'm wrong, Fr. Hogg, but I believe this was the 'icing on the cake' so to speak. The catholic principle (who coined that phrase?) has been all but lost in Missouri today. Instead of Evangelical Catholics, we seem to be Baptists/Fundamentalists who happen to strangely baptize our kids and believe in the real presence, even while we trash the reliquae. Faithful pastors like Pr. Weedon are few and far between, the liturgy is fought over instead of a given, private confession is practiced in very few parishes, etc., etc. It seems like all of these issues combined caused Fr. Hogg to question whether Lutheranism really was 'Church'.

Not to mention, reading Pieper's dogmatics and noting his ubiquitous influence would make any Evangelical Catholic question the state of Lutheranism today.

All this being said, I have it really good. I live in an Evangelical Catholic ghetto, so I have much to be thankful for.

Drew said...

Pr. Weedon,

I am especially thankful for this blog, and I hope to meet you face to face one day.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear Past Elder,

Your pilgrimage led you from Rome to Wittenberg. I am no defender of Rome. Things like private masses, purgatory, monstrances and perpetual adoration, and Corpus Christi were all made up in Rome. As I said in a much earlier post, the East rejected them before Luther was a twinkle in his father's eye. I know Lutherans came from Rome, and they define themselves a lot over against Rome--kind of like Canadians define themselves over against the US. But Constantinople isn't Rome speaking Greek. Just so we're clear on that. (Not that I don't have hope for Rome. I think the Lord's saying to Peter, "When you are converted, strengthen your brethren" has something of fulfillment left in it. But that's *really* another topic, for another time.)

I've not mentioned children's sermons. I've seen them done, both in Wittenberg and in Constantinople. Most of the time, it seems, they're ways for the pastor to say something to the grown-ups. But I agree with you, let's not get started on children's sermons.

Grape juice is another matter. It illustrates the continuing slide going on in Lutheranism--another one of many items that take it further and further away from its roots into the brave new world of American protestantism. It starts as a pastoral "emergency," and ends as a matter of preference. Adiaphora means, now, that pretty much everything's a matter of preference.

As Drew said in the above post, the plastic disposable cups were the icing on the cake. It was the sign, for me, that now was the time to go. It illustrated perfectly what my experience had taught me: that I could preach and teach and do everything right in my own place, but even the most faithful, most doctrinally sound layman could not be kept from such horrors when they transferred.

It was me, Drew, as far as I know, who coined the term "catholic principle," in my paper on "sola Scriptura." I got the idea from Peter Frankl's book "Testimonia Patrum," which showed me that the early Lutherans stressed "No new doctrine!" Fr. Fenton used it in his Chicago paper and took it a slightly different direction.

Ghettos work, I suppose--for a while, anyway. (Warsaw and Watts come to mind when I hear that word.) I am *very* grateful for what I received in Lutheranism. And I am grateful for having come to the Orthodox Church, where the only battle I must now fight is the only one that matters--the one against my sinful flesh, the devil, and the world. I have not succeeded in that fight. But it is the only one I need now attend to.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

"If I were to imagine all my sins deserving all punishment, I would despair of myself, O Lord Savior; for by them have I disobeyed thy noble commandment, wasting my life in extravagance. Wherefore, I beseech thee to purify me with thy showers of forgiveness, and lighten me with fasting and supplication; for thou alone art compassionate; and reject me not, O all-bountiful and of transcendent goodness."--from this week's Forgiveness Vespers

Nathan said...

Pastor Weedon,

You said:

They do not believe that they are throwing out the Lord's blood; just wine. I believe that they're wrong and can be shown to be wrong by the very Words of Institution themselves, and by the fact that the Symbols do not equate "use" with "consumption."

I must admit that I did not realize that this was such an important issues for us. I am wondering if you could expand on this some more, or point me in a direction for reading. I must admit, Past Elder's comments seem to be wise, but it seems that Father Gregory and you might find some fault in them.

Father Gregory,

Thank you for your words again. It is a delight to interact with you again.

Let me quickly address what I can this morning: I was studying to be a pastor, but due to a lack of certainty about an internal call (and desire to learn more about Lutheranism before actually being a pastor), I dropped out (got my MTS though). I now am finishing up my studies to be a librarian, and hope to work in one of the theological libs here in the Twin Cities soon.

The quote from my pastor was all him (he was talking about when he was a student).

You said: "The Church does not use theology to deal with theological dilemmas." Did you mean that the Church does not use *philosophy* to deal with theological dilemmas?

Re: the comment about councils, I simply point out this quote from a man named Joel on another blog discussion:

it is true that the church has authority in council to bind and to loose and this authority is recognized in heaven. However, does having such authority mean it will never be misused? In Matt 18:18, we see this authority used at the level of the local church (a parochial dispute between two brothers). But who is ready to say that local churches are always infallible in their use of the keys? The NT contains examples of misuse of the keys at the local level (1 Cor. 5 and 3 John 10). Where is the promise that this cannot happen at a diocesan or ecumenical level?

I think that this is no small point, even as I believe that the gates of hell will not overcome the Church and that Christ will lead his disciples, then and now, into all truth (exactly *how* that passage should be understood is what is at issue for me).

You say that the notion of essence/energies distictnions is thoroughly biblical and not imported from philosophy. Could you recommend to me the best book or article on this topic which attempts to demonstrate this?

I think you are wrong about Lutheranism being a "school of thought", "a theogical system", and an "unenfleshed word", as it seems to me that if Christ is the center, this simply can't be the case, but it sure makes for interesting discussion (and serious of course).

You coined "Catholic priniciple" - Scaer should have given you credit in his paper then!

I like Wittgenstein too. On the same page here, at least.

I will get back to you about the "what"/"who" thing after I run that by my pastor...

Nathan said...

Pastor Hogg,

I am not sure exactly what you are getting at with the importance of the "What" / "Who" distinction. Maybe the following applies:

Chemnitz, in the Two Natures (p. 29), goes with John of Damascus: “Damascenus tells us that according to the usage of the ancient church the terms essence or substance (ousia), nature (phusis), and form (mophn) are synonyms and designate the same thing. Of itself an ousia is something common to the many individual members of the same species. It includes the entire essential perfection of the individual members. Thus in the language of the church of our day….the terms subsistence (uphistamenon), hypostasis or substance (hupostasis), person (prosopon), and individual (atamon) are all synonynms, designating a singular thing which possesses the total and perfert substance of the same species; it subsists of itself and is determined or limited by certain characteristics or personal attributes…and thus it is numerically seperate but not essentially distinct from other individuals of the same nature. For the term “persons” as it is usually defined is an individual, intelligent, incommunicable substance which is not part of something else, is not sustained by something esle, and does not depend on something else.”

Does Chemnitz have John of Damascus wrong? If so, how exactly?

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear Nathan,

Yes, I meant "philosophy," not "theology." Thanks.

Christ promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, and St. Paul calls the Church the pillar and foundation of the truth. As I have studied the history of the Church, I have found those words to ring true. Now the West has tended to take a static approach to authority in the Church, boiling it down to Scripture and tradition as interpreted by a magesterium (Rome), or "sola Scriptura" (Protestants including Lutherans). Impressive arguments are marshalled on both sides, and the effect is to make each's notion of authority as impregnable as the Maginot Line.

The east's approach to canon and authority is more fluid: Scripture, unwritten tradition, councils, bishops, iconography, liturgical texts, fathers all alike bear witness to the one truth. The effect is to make the eastern notion of authority more living, less static--like an army. (You can read "Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology" by Wm. J. Abraham, a non-Orthodox theologian, on this topic. Good reading.)

The French spent a lot of money on the Maginot Line. They were afraid of the Germans. They wanted something that would keep them out. When WW2 came, the Germans simply went through Belgium, where the Maginot Line did not extend. It proved to be worthless as, in the end, all static defenses are.


On the essence/energies distinction: books on Gregory Palamas are helpful--e.g. "The Deification of Man," or "A study of Gregory Palamas." Anything by Lossky is good, though it's not easy reading.

On "catholic principle"--well, I owe Dr. Scaer a lot. If I coined it, and he didn't note that, no problem for me.

Wittgenstein has some good stuff, especially near the end--his work on doubt and certainty is very helpful.

On the "who/what" thing: you asked if God's essence or energies were incarnate. I answered "neither." The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity was incarnate. The divine essence remained distinct from the human essence, and the energies were communicated to the humanity. So we can say "God is man" and "man is God" but not "Deity is humanity" and "Humanity is deity." If you've read Chemnitz, you know how that works. He's most often quite good on Christology. One proviso--the word "substance" in the last line of your quote would be better expressed, "subsistence" or "subject," since God is three Persons but not three substances. He is three "whos" and only one "what".

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Nathan said...

Father Gregory,

I won't be able to check again until Tuesday morning.

You talk about how the Prot/RC views are static and create an impossible situation (by the way, I was referring to Scaer's excellent paper here when I talked of the "Catholic Principle", which, incidently seems to challenge your static idea: http://www.ctsfw.edu/library/files/pb/999 ) I submit that it is actually are the EO/RC views that creates an impossible situation.

I am making this case elsewhere. See 18, 24, and 36 here: http://catholica.pontifications.net/?p=2188

(also 34 if you want an excellent summary of Chemnitz on Scripture and tradition)

Key questions about our current discussion: If such distinctions are thoroughly biblical (essence and energies), where are they found, and on what basis does do you go with the distinction you favor? You contend that the exegesis of the Cappadocians is superior to Augustine's, I take it. Why, specifically?

Also, I am sure reading about Palamas would be beneficial and yet...

There are also the following issues, according to my pastor: In this conversation, we do not need to doubt that energies are spoken of in the Cappadocians or the other Eastern Fathers. What we should be talking about is "the equating of energies in the east with attributes in the west." My pastor says that "any one to one correspondence simply is untenable", because "the east also had a highly developed concept of attributes apart from energies."

Therefore (his, I think excellent, questions):
-What, in the east are energies?
-What are attributes?
-How are they related?
-And from what source does the relationship of attributes to energies stem? The New Testament?

By the way, I would prefer to leave him out of this too - he is a very busy guy. You too Father Hogg - I will fully understand if you have more pressing duties.

Again - Tuesday!

Fr. Gregory Hog said...

Dear Nathan,

Sounds like your pastor is a busy guy. I know a little about busy. Try teaching 5 classes in 4 different locations, starting a mission from scratch, serving as spiritual advisor to a midweek program and to a college fellowship group. Did I mention I have a wife and three daughters at home? And Lent is about to begin. It's a bit bigger deal in the east than in the west...more services etc. So I'm acquainted with busy. Problem is, I'm never too busy to sin.

I don't mind talking to you. I don't mind talking to him. But it doesn't work real well to talk to him through you. Things get lost in the process.

I'll be sure to try to read the stuff you wrote elsewhere. You were a good student. I'm sure it's well done.

If you want to know about essence/energy from the eastern point of view, do read about Palamas. Once you've done that, I'll be happy to try to help any questions you might have.

And if anybody wants to get back to the point of this thread, that'd be ok too.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Past Elder said...

I undertand that disposable cups did not sent Father Gregory running East. It's a figure of speech, using a part to represent the whole.

I rather imagine his experience is similar to mine coming to St Louis (via Milwaukee) from Rome (more figures of speech -- I was first WELS, that's where I was an elder, now I am LCMS). It seemed on discovering the faith laid out in the BOC I found something that could be described several ways: everything good from my previous experience along with what was missing; a clear statment of what was hemmed and hawed at in my former trans parochial entity; a true and accurate statement of the faith of the Bible.

I do not believe Jesus came teaching about essences and energies, but rather that these concepts may or may not be helpful in edifying our understanding of what he did teach. I'm still thoroughly Thomist -- a term which I use advisedly as much that has called itself Thomist seems to me to have little to do with Aquinas, much as one could say about Christian and Christ -- in thinking that theology and philosophy are find for the edification of believers, but belief itself has nothing to do with that, is not created by that, and far too often the two are confused as the same thing.

William Tighe said...

On the use, its duration and similar questions, together with ample and exhaustive discussion of Luther's own practice in the matter, do see:

E. F. Peters, "Origin and Meaning of the Axiom: Nothing Has The Character Of A Sacrament Outside Of The Use, in Sixteenth-Century and Seventeenth-Century Lutheran Theology. (Th.D. dissertation, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, 1968).

This massive, but delightful, two-volume study so enthralled me when I got it through interlibrary loan some five years ago that I read it through twice. It abounds in wonderful ironies (at least to a historian like me): for one, that the very axiom itself was coined by Zwingli and passed into Lutheranism through Bucer via Melanchthon; and, secondly, that classical "orthodoxist" Lutheran teaching that the "sacramental union" does not happen until the bread or wine enter the mouth of the recipient, and CONSEQUENTLY that the veneration of the Eucharist even within the liturgical action itself is nothing other than artolatry/oinolatry is the triumph of Melanchthon's later views over those that Luther held throughout his lifetime.

Alas, not all ironies remain in the scholar's study. In the 1960s and 70s there was an attempt by Lutheran Confessionalists to erect a credible, if small, alternative body to the Church of Sweden. One of its theological leading lights was the late Tom Hardt, whose *Venerabilis et Adorabilis Eucharistia: A Study of Lutheran Eucharistic Teaching in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries* (1988) is well worth reading (for those who can read German or Swedish). This endeavor received strong support from the WELS -- for a time; but it ended in tears and acrimony precisely over the question "adorabilis" vs "artolatry," for Tom Hardt rejected utterly the "orthodoxist" view as a "Philippist error" while the WELS and its champion Sigebert Becker rejected the "Lutherist" view as a return to the popish dregs from which Luther had not quite managed to free himself. The embers of this split are not quite cold in Sweden to this day.

William Weedon said...

Actually, Hardt's excellent study is available in English:

click here

It really is an outstanding study. The revival of a "consecrationist" (for lack of a better word) viewpoint in Missouri is due to largely to reading again Chemnitz, Sasse, and Hardt.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dr. Scaer's article using "catholic principle," cited by Nathan, is dated from a 2001 CTQ. He may well, therefore, have coined the term. But I don't know, since publication dates of the CTQ are notoriously off (I just recently received a July/Oct 2004 copy in the mail). FWIW.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Drew said...

'Wasn't it Fr. Hogg's point that this distinction is foreign to the Western tradition, that instead God's essence and His attributes are in effect 'one and the same thing'? So for Lutherans to assert that God's attributes are communicated to the human nature of Christ is tantamount to saying that His essence is communicated. Hence the Reformed outrage.'

It looks like I might have been on to something with this one. Take a look at comment #147 by Perry Robinson. Actually, the whole comment thread is worth reading, but it'll take some time. In fact, a lot of time. It starts getting really good at about comment #100, if you don't have the patience (or the time!) to handle it all.

But nonetheless, it's all there: absolute divine simplicity, essence/energies, Christology, eucharistic doctrine. And wow - these guys are some heavy hitters.

http://catholica.pontifications.net/?p=728

Past Elder said...

Hey Drew -- I tried your links and all I got was an Error in Establishing a Database Connection message from WordPress.

BTW, looked at your profile. Who's Copeland? Aaron?

William Tighe said...

The same server that handles "Pontifications" also handles "Titusonenine," a heavily-used Anglican news blog, and when T1:9 goes down (as it frequently does, especially in the present days of the Anglican Primates' meeting of 14-19 February), it takes all the other blogs using the same server with it, and than you get the "Error Establishing a Datebase Connection" response.

Drew said...

Past Elder,

I just tried the link, and it worked. Try it again. Believe me, it's worth it.

Copeland's a band out of Florida that I'm rather fond of. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the 'real' Copeland - Aaron, that is. Come to think of it, I can't think of any American composers that I care for.

Past Elder said...

My boys' basketball games are coming up this afternoon, so it will be later before I can check the links.

I have no idea about the bands I hear younger people talk about.

As to Copelands. the one I like best is Johnny, not Aaron. Texas bluesman. Nothing better than coming out of a full tilt boogie straight into a straight up 12 bar blues, intone the incipit, so to speak, feel the band slam into the four chord while your heart moves and your mind melts into the mind of God. Or so it feels. At least it purges all the inner clutter from getting a PhD in music theory God help us.

Past Elder said...

Young brother Drew, reverend fathers and learned academics, anyone still reading this thread, and where is Schuetz:

The links do work! And thank you Dr Tighe for explaining why they didn't. I guess I retain enough from my former academic self to not stop with the simple recognition that something doesn't work and try later, but want to know why this doesn't work when it should.

Interesting to find the blog owner is a former Anglican priest now RC priest. Anglicans I'm sure are keenly aware that Rome does not consider their orders valid, so I think such cases have a different aspect than when one of us (Lutherans) swims the Tiber or heads East, because here the question is not whether there is orders but whether you have them or not.

I'll admit to a rather extreme view of the Anglican Church and the Communion of its former colonial outposts. It is the one church for which I can find no respect at all. That anyone can find any validity in a state religion founded so its self proclaimed head can get a divorce is just incredible to me. That said, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church can be found within its visible boundaries as are many excellent Christians.

I think these guys are about philosophy, not theology or religion. Often theology is simply faith looking for ways to explain itself philosophically. There are two huge problems with that. One is, our faith is not to stand on human wisdom, as St Paul said, even when employed in trying to explain divine revelation. The other is, the explanations are often confused with the faith itself, with the result that attacks on explanations take on the heat of attacks on faith.

Aquinas said that even that which can be attained by human reason has been proposed to us by God to know by faith, because were it not so, only a few (those who don't have kids basketball games and such filling their lives) would attain it and even then after a long time. And I think God wants us at those basketball games, not renouncing them as lower things and going off to some place of retreat to think about stuff. What Luther wrote about literal pilgrimages applies to metaphorical ones too -- better to stay in your own parish, for there you find your Christian brother, Word, Sacrament and all that made the saints saints.

Pontifex is an interesting term. It's a pagan one, not Christian. A pontifex was a member of the top council of priests in ancient Rome, and the pontifex maximus was the top dog. Unfortunately the church at Rome took these terms over. I'm not going to go so far as to say the adoption of the title of the chief pagan priest of Rome by the "bishop" of Rome is a sign of anti-Christ, but perhaps it should introduce a note of caution. On the other hand, the current occupier of the "chair of Peter" seems to have a higher regard for our Confessions than some of our own leadership!

A pontifex is a bridge builder, literally. The builder of the bridge between man and God. Or, if pons is to be understood as having an earlier meaning of way or path, one who builds or shows the way. I have no doubt you get the picture.

The word pontoon has the same root. Perhaps the one solid reward of an academic career is you fill up your memory chips will all sorts of useless information and are able to produce blank looks from almost any gathering, except of other academics. So the next time you are at a party on a pontoon boat, ask someone Do you know the name of this type of boat shares the same root with the word "pope" and extends back even further to the state religion of ancient Rome, and see what happens!

William Tighe said...

Past Elder,

I have two general comments:

1. Re: Pontifex -- your analysis lacks nuance. Whatever the etymological origin of the word, in pre-imperial Rome the "Pontifex Maximus" was that state-appointed priest who served as "overseer" of the entire Roman cult, making sure that priests, priestesses, vestal virgins and the like were qualified for their positions and that the appointed rounds of sacrifices, rituals, feasts, fas and nefas days were observed, and the like. From Augustus onwards the position of Pontifiex Maximus was always joined with that of the Emperor, ensuring that he had command as well over the ritual, religious and priestly life of Rome, as over the army and the political process that he had as "Imperator." Constantine kept the title, as did his sons and successors, and it was only the pious Thedosius (emperor 378-395) who renounced it. I don't know when the popes took up the title subsequently -- it wasn't soon -- but it seems to me unexceptionable, and fully in accord with both the function of the pope within the Roman Church, and with that "Christianization" of rome that, for example, led Leo the Great repeatedly to contrast in his sermons (particularly on June 29th) the secular and pagan founders of Rome, Romulus & Remus, with the founders of Christian rome, Peter & Paul.

2. Re: Anglicanism. I generally agree with your comments. My dear late friend Prof. E. L. Mascall (1905-1993), an Anglican Thomist philosophical theologian (of a sort), who had also a great love of Orthodoxy, and an Anglo-Catholic priest, towards the end of his life came to believe, to his great distress, that the Church of England, and, mutatis mutandis, Anglicanism generally, was in practice three radically different, and irreconcilable, forms of Christianity, the Catholic, the Evangelical and the Liberal, "jostling along" beside one another in the same organization; and Mascall's distant kinsman, and another one of my friends, Fr. Aidan Nichols, OP, made of this the interpretive framework of his *The Panther and the Hind: A Theological history of Anglicanism* (1993). That said, however ...

William Tighe said...

... and so long as the Church of England remained "freeze-dried" in conventional generic Christian orthodoxy (rather like those woolly mammoths disinterred from time to time in the Siberian permafrost) by State Establishment (or by Anglophilia in places like Australia, Canada and New Zealand, or by its erstwhile status as, not the "Established Church" but the "Church of the Establishment" in the case of ECUSA), it was capable of, in my view, tolerating, if not exactly nourishing, a genuinely Catholic spiritual ethos and theological outlook, if only as the possession of one "party" among others in it. For more on this, see my article, "The Diaspora of Traditional Anglicans" in the January 2003 issue of *New Oxford Review* at http://www.newoxfordreview.org/article.jsp?did=0103-tighe
if you wish.

More generally, and for a more narrow analysis, you might see my two articles at "Pontifications:"

"The English Reformation as Crown Conquest"(July 11, 2005) at http://catholica.pontifications.net/?p=959#comments

and "Can the 39 Articles Serve as an Anglican Confessional Standard?" (February 1, 2007) at http://catholica.pontifications.net/?p=2177#comments

both of which might be of some interest (as well as, more recently , Fr. Kimel's "Parasitic Catholicism" in the comment thread of which Chris Jones strives to defend an "ecclesial" understanding of Lutheranism) at http://catholica.pontifications.net/?p=2188#comments

Past Elder said...

Dr Tighe (do I use the correct title?):

I've been out of academia since 1983/4 -- it's been a long time since someone said my analysis lacked nuance!

The additional information you supplied is of course entirely correct, and thank you for it. When I write these blog entries, it's generally from memory and I don't check primary and secondary sources as in the old days, except for quotations. I neglected to mention, for example, the eventual merging of pontifex maximus with imperator. And while I agree that it is as you say fully in accord with the function of the pope within the Roman Church and the supposed Christianisation of Rome, I would say the former illustrates the problem even more fully and the latter was no Christianisation at all.

Re Anglicanism, I really feel for the part of it that as you say has a genuinely Catholic ethos and theological outlook as against the other two broad wings of that church, evangelical and liberal.

It is a very painful thing when adhering to what a church has taught you places you at odds with that church. A few blocks East of my home is a traditional Episcopalian parish, and if I were Episcopalian I'd be right there with them. A few blocks Northwest of my home is a traditional Latin rite parish, doing and teaching nothing other than what I was taught in the pre Vatican II RC church (not SSPX but one of the others) or that would have been taught at one time in the RC parish two blocks away. The people in both parishes stand in an uneasy relationship at best with the current state of the church body where what they teach and practice was once the norm.

I can only express my gratitude again that God placed in my life an LCMS girl with whom to fall in love, herself a refugee from LCMS in the post Seminex mess -- call me when you figure out what you believe, as she put it. It provided an opportunity for us both to discover on my part and rediscover on hers the Scriptural faith accurately presented in the BOC -- or rather for the Holy Spirit to work faith in our hearts.

Point being, even though I would not agree with true Anglicanism, or now with true Roman Catholicism, I remain fully sympathetic toward those who do and fight the good fight -- even while wishing they'd get the real deal in the BOC too.

So I thank you for supplying the nuance I left out, and not only because to me it strengthens what I was trying to say. I don't get called Doctor much anymore either, except in mailings from the alumni association wanting money!

William Tighe said...

Hmm, on what basis do you deny the "Christianization" of Rome in the Fifth and Sixth centuries, when every indication is that the Church formed a web that embraced, increasingly, the whole religious and social life of Rome ("Rome the City" I mean, not the Roman Empire). The function of the stational churches and the papal stations, the role of the deacons and the like, all betoken a christianization as thorough as human frailty allows. A Lutheran might, I suppose, hold that Leo the Great, say, or Gelasius taught "false doctrine," but that would seem to put that Lutheran in the same boat as Adventists or Baptists who seem to think that the Church "fell" so early on that Fathers like, say, Ignatius or Polycarp were Catholics rather than Christians; and I don't think that many Lutherans would want to be in such a boat with such company.

Past Elder said...

Bless us and save us, Mrs O'Davis!

Every indication is indeed that the church formed a web that increasingly embraced the whole religious and social life of the city of Rome. Great Caesar's Ghost, remnants of that persisted (and may yet persist, if the Sacred Congregation for the Intergalactic Observance of the Spirit of Vatican II has not mandated automatic excomunication for it, I am a little out of the loop on recent developments) into my lifetime, when the missals in common use before the Revolution, er, Vatican II, all stated the stational church, where applicable, before the propers, and in one of the more curious absurdities of Roman observance, the processions still held though without the reason for them, the pope.

Back in the Revolutionary era, during and for some years after Vatican II, a common saying was "Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom of God, but all he got was the Church!" Well, he founded the Church and sent it out, but we may say all he got was Christendom! No he didn't, the church still is preserved in Word and Sacrament, I'm just making a point. As the church can be found (can, not necessarily is) in the Roman Catholic Church, so also can Christians be found in Christendom. A Lutheran need not say the church fell early on and the Fathers were Catholic or EO rather than Christian. A Lutheran might in fact post a quotation from a Father every bloody day, and another Lutheran might visit his site to read it.

The Great Commission did not send the church out to form webs that embraced the whole religious and social life of anywhere. One might understand a good bit of what motivated the Reformation to be a reform of the church to be what it is after the institution of Christ as opposed to what it vosobly morphed into when it became confused with such webs, with Christendom. One might understand a good bit of what happened at Vatican II to be an attempt by the Roman Church to revise itself for existence in a world where Christendom, even in Europe, has ceased to exist.

So when I say "supposed" Christianisation I am not saying the events to which you refer did not happen, but that they constitute an event in Christendom rather than any particular universal gathering of a place to Word and Sacrament, great Caesar's ghost indeed!

Nathan said...

Father Hogg,

I'm just popping in her to say thanks for the interacation. Good talking to you again.

In Christ,
Nathan