Further Thoughts on the Elizabethan Settlement

Being a bishop and a parish clergyman, I basically do not have that much time for systematic research, so many of the things that I find out come to me accidentally. For example, earlier this week I was looking for something on the Württemberg Confession and Google produced an article entitled “Lutheran Influences on the…

Further Thoughts on the Elizabethan Settlement

It’s worth noting that one Catholic who have the settlement a reserved “thumbs up” was Bossuet, which he expressed in Variations of the Protestant Churches.

Leonidas Polk Memorial Carillon, and Some Thoughts on the Confederacy

RPC JZ-88441 (1967)

Few people think of a carillon as a music instrument, but it really is one. As the back cover attests, it’s played with a keyboard, in this case by William Lyon-Vaiden. Many of the details about the carillon can be found in the back cover, which you can see while playing Side Two of the album (the latter part of the video.)

A carillon can be used in a number of ways: as a prelude, as a postlude, or sometimes in the liturgy itself. It’s especially effective in a campus setting, in this case the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, where people are more or less a “captive audience.”

The selections are a mixture of hymns from the 1940 Hymnal, classical pieces and some folk pieces as well. An album made up of only carillon music can get tiring to hear; however, broken up the listening experience is quite pleasant, and one of the nicer parts of the Anglican/Episcopal heritage.

The songs:

SIDE ONE

  1. SEWANEE HYMN…Traditional
  2. ALMA MATER (Sewanee)… Newton Middleton ‘09
  3. CAMPANELLA (For Carillon)… Georges Clement
  4. FOUR SONGS FROM THE BRITISH ISLES: All Through The Night… Welsh, Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes… English, Loch Lomond… Scottish, Londonderry Air… Irish
  5. FISHER’S HORNPIPE (Irish Melody)… arr. Percival Price
  6. MUSS I DENN (Swabian Folksong)… arr. Milford Myhre
  7. PRELUDIUM IN G MINOR… Jef Denyn

SIDE TWO

  1. PRELUDIO #7… Matthias van den Gheyn (1721-1785)
  2. BELLSONG (Theme by Sibelius)… Edwin Nielsen
  3. JESU, JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING… Johann Sebastian Bach
  4. EIN’ FESTE BURG (Paraphrase)… Leen ‘t Hart
  5. YE HOLY ANGELS BRIGHT (Darwell, Hymn Tune)… arr. Marian Craighead
  6. SOFTLY NOW THE LIGHT OF DAY (Seymour, Hymn Tune)… arr. William Lyon-Vaiden

Some Thoughts on Leonidas Polk and the Confederacy

In recent times the University of the South has removed the designation of “Leonidas Polk” from the carillon, that in spite of the fact that his great-grandson William Dudley Gale financed its construction; it was dedicated in 1959. The reason for the removal was that Polk was not only an Episcopal bishop but a Confederate general. He was instrumental in starting the University, as noted on the album cover:

For an evaluation of his role in the founding of the University, his contemporaries on the Board of Trustees spoke in this manner in 1867: “If the great beneficial results which our University was founded to secure shall ever be accomplished, the praise, under God, will be mainly due to the wisdom and forethought, the hopeful confidence and indefatigable labors of its founder, the magnanimous, self-sacrificing Bishop Polk.”

Likewise noted on the album cover was an ebullient overview of his varied life:

The man destined to hold Episcopal jurisdiction over Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, the Indian Territory and Alabama was born April 10, 1806. He died, pierced by an artillery ball, on June 14, 1864. In those intervening 58 years there developed a career described as follows by Dr. A. Cabell Greet, who was orator at Sewanee’s 1959 Commencement: “After Alfred the Great, there has lived no one man who achieved such stature in the fields of religion, of the military, and of education as Leonidas Polk.” He was a bishop of the Episcopal Church, a lieutenant-general of the Confederacy, and the projector of the idea for a university of a comprehensiveness still unrealized anywhere in the world a hundred years after his death.

The subject of Leonidas Polk is a personal one: my great-great-grandfather Henry Winslow was his aide-de-camp, right up until the general was killed (his letters around that time are here.) A second cousin was a member of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, doing Civil War re-enactments in New Jersey, no less. Living in Southeast Tennessee and travelling in North Georgia frequently, I retrace Winslow’s and Polk’s steps on a daily basis. That all said, I think it’s time for a reality check, not only for those who are defending this heritage but for those who are trying to destroy it.

To start with, in spite of the glowing tribute to his prowess, Polk wasn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer when it came to leading a military force in the field. Bragg, his superior at Chattanooga, was even worse. Sometimes I think that the U.S. Army named its installations Fort Polk and Fort Bragg as an acknowledgement that, at the level they were operating, they had as much to do with the Union victory as Grant and Sherman. One myth I heard growing up was that the Confederacy had a better military and military leadership. That was certainly true in the early part of the war when the Union struggled with a deeply politicised process of promotion. As was the case with so many things, the Union learned from its mistakes; the Confederacy did not.

Today, of course, we have the Critical Race Theory types who are trying to erase this legacy. Or are they? Reading all of the complaints they have about “whiteness”–punctuality, industry, organisation, etc.–some of us come to realise that the very white society that produced the likes of Polk was lacking in all of these things. That’s why they were forced to import slaves to do the work; their idea of life was too genteel to do otherwise. It also means that a region which, with no interference from others, never built an industrial base suitable to fight a modern war was and is a testament to two facts: a) “white” is not a univocal term, and b) there is no such thing as “white supremacy” for a culture which not only did not build this industrial base (and the educational system to support it) when they badly needed it, but after the disaster the region slept in poverty for a century before the tax-hungry Northern states forced the first mass American industrial relocation. The South was the U.S.’s first “third world country” to relocate to.

But CRT types, in typically American style, don’t degrade their vision of “whiteness” because it produces an unproductive society, but an immoral one. They’d rather have their moral superiority (virtual signalling) than real superiority and prosperity. That’s a classically Southern way of doing it. CRT types decry the appeal of the “Lost Cause” without stopping to think why it was lost, the mirror image of their pro-Confederate opponents. After the ruin of the Civil War the South has risen again twice, first in the “Lost Cause” and second in those who want to drive it out of consciousness and create a nation where things are not said in fear of offending someone and everyone “goes along to get along” independent of merit, a Southern MO. The only difference is not the concept but the methodology and the beneficiaries. (A good example of this is Loudoun County’s proposal to eliminate advanced math, another Southern public school manoevre if there ever was one.)

But, like the Confederacy, we live in a world where those who oppose us have a higher view of productive work and the benefits that come from that work. If we persist in creating our moralistic bubble without doing that work, we will end up like the Confederacy, in ruins and broken.

A Thirteen Year-Old Opines on Christmas

The thirteen year-old was me, and I wrote this for the Palm Beach Day School’s student newspaper the Portfolio Flyer, Volume II Issue X dated 18 December 1968:

1,972 years in the past, in a little Israeli town called Bethlehem, probably one of the most important events in the history of the world occurred.  Mary and Joseph had inquired of the local innkeeper as to the number of rooms for rent.  Unfortunately, there were no rooms.  They went to the outskirts of the town and found a manger.  There, Mary had a baby whom she named Jesus.

Jesus grew up in Nazareth.  He preached his message of love and compassion to all his fellow men.  But the existing status quo disliked his preaching so they nailed him to the cross.

Today, many people disregard his teachings as obsolete and out of date.  This thesis is incorrect.  For the teachings of the Lord were not meant for about 1500 years, but for all eternity.

There’s a lot to unpack with this, but probably the biggest lacuna is the lack of any reference to the resurrection.  Some of that is due to space limitations: the Flyer was packed, that’s all the space I got, probably had to cut it down considerably.  But another reason was that, either in spite of the fact that I was raised at Bethesda or because of it, I was unclear as to the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  That would have to wait 3 1/2 years until I read Augustine’s City of God, and by then I was on my way to a Tiber swim.

Really, though, the fact that Our Lord bucked the “existing status quo” was a strong reason for me to follow him, and that’s something that hasn’t changed.

Nicene Theology and Patristic Exegesis Go Together

I never thought I’d live long enough to read this statement:

I realized that if classical theism was to be retrieved, it was necessary to defend the superiority of patristic exegesis, a project I undertook in Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis (2018). By the time I published my original project on the doctrine of God, Contemplating God with the Great Tradition (2021), I ­realized that a third volume would be needed, one that dealt with metaphysics. This work, ­Doing Metaphysics with the Great Tradition, is underway. The goal of this trilogy is to recover the exegetical, theological, and metaphysical resources that are necessary for practicing sound theology in and beyond modernity.

I’ve made my own contributions (or at least tried) to this debate, specifically My Lord and My God: A Layman Looks at the Deity of Christ and the Nature of the Godhead. Although my objective was to get past some of the limitations which Greek philosophy has (specifically regarding subordinationism) the idea was to set forth a God-honouring model which would expand on the use of Greek philosophy, not repudiate it altogether.

Unfortunately it’s true that large swaths of Christianity–including most Evangelical and Pentecostal churches–have jettisoned the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds as authoritative statements of faith, and the philosophical and logical underpinnings that go with them. The result of this has seeped even into parts of Christianity where these creeds are supposed to be normative, with sorry results, which I discuss in my piece Why Sydney Anglican Subordinationism is Lame.

But it takes a really bold person to call for the revival of Patristic Biblical exegesis. I agree that truly Nicene Christianity depends upon it, but the rest of Christianity has gone in one of two directions:

  • Uncritical (or semi-critical) acceptance of the German techniques developed in the nineteenth century, which led in part to the corrosion of the faith in places like Episcopal seminaries; or
  • Hyper-literalism, where the Old Testament and the New are set on the same level as each other, and no serious attempt is made to put the understanding Bible into any kind of reasonable order. This has resulted in an exegetical mess with things like synthetic Judaism and the running problems we have with the theodicy issue.

It’s going to be an uphill battle to unseat both of these creatures from their thrones, but if we don’t do it, we’re going to end up in a bigger mess than we have now. I’m not one to say that we should re-adopt the Patristic method without some thoughtful consideration, but given the alternatives we need to do something, and soon.

I Wonder…How Many of these ACNA Exvangelicals Still Believe in Eternal Security?

There’s no doubt that the “exvangelicals” that have populated places like C4SO have made a splash in the Anglican Church in North America. What kind of spash…that’s another story. When the ACNA started, some of us thought an influx of same would breathe some new life into North American Anglicanism. Now I think we’re having second thoughts. There are two problems: a) exvangelicals have migrated into Anglicanism to get away from the relentless push to be evangelists, and b) in spite of their idea to get away, evangelicals tend to be very “deep into their own stuff,” their culture, the way they were brought up, the things that were drilled into them from the nursery upwards.

Some people think that this is an ACNA novelty. It isn’t. Our society has changed greatly, but “exvangelicals” have been migrating upward (in a socio-economic sense) for many years. It could be argued that efforts like this (in this case from 1952) were early attempts by the Episcopal Church to “show the ropes” to the newbies. But for me this is personal: my mother came out of a Baptist background, and only formally converted in her 40’s, the year before I was confirmed. My mother was a very complicated person, but her Baptistic roots cam through in many ways.

One of those was an aversion to infant baptism. As noted here, I wasn’t baptised until I was 10, and that at my own initiative. She always told me that my health when I was born wasn’t very good, so she put it off. Ten years is a long time. Today I don’t believe that story.

But that’s a good introduction to another Evangelical belief she never shook off: eternal security. Some explanation of this is necessary.

The high view of predestination that Reformed people have has as its logical corollary the unconditional perseverance of the saints. In a truly Reformed frame of reference, that makes sense as it is coupled with the unconditional election of…well, the elect. The Baptists have not been univocal on the issue of predestination and election. The Southern Baptists (and their Missionary and Independent counterparts) have, as Bill Leonard pointed out many years ago, effectively combined an Arminian view of election (it’s a choice) with a Reformed view of perseverance. Hence the Baptistic view of “once saved/always saved.”

Doing this results in some interesting effects. One of those is the total lack of penitential life in Baptist churches. That throws people from Anglican and Catholic traditions, but thanks to their theology it’s a feature, not a bug. It even seeps into churches (such as those in the Wesleyan tradition like the Methodist, Holiness and Pentecostal churches) which do not share unconditional perseverance. Another thing is that it puts ethics in a new light, and I discuss this in my post The Baptists, Their Doctrine and Their Nasty Politics.

In the Anglican world, for those who believe that there is a difference in possible eternal destinations, this has never been the case. (Where do you think the Wesleyan churches got it from?) I discuss this from a liturgical standpoint in my post What I Learned About Approaching God From the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

But serious question: how many of these “exvangelicals,” fleeing the Baptistic (and Baptistic adjacent) world, still believe that, once you’ve made a profession of faith, you’re in for good? Given the rapid influx of these people, that’s not a stupid question. And, as we see, that can have some profound effects on people, up to and including changing their mind on serious issues and thinking they can get away with it based on a salvation experience long ago, in a youth camp far away…

In the later years of our time on earth together, I was shocked to discover that my mother had not only tenaciously held on to eternal security, but that she expected that, in spite of liturgical proclamations to the contrary, I would come around to it. I didn’t even come around it in my 2 1/2 years in the Baptist church: far from it, it made me want to flee it even more!

That’s just one of many strange things that exvangelicals bring to “the table” in the ACNA. The survivors of the war with the Episcopal Church need to wake up to things like this.

Anglican Tidbit: Bulletin for the Third Sunday in Advent

Another bulletin from Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, this time from 1965:

  • As usual, the 1928 BCP/1940 Hymnal was being used.
  • Holy Communion was at 0800 and 0900 but not at 1100. Generally for the latter two services it was done once a month.
  • The Rector was Robert Appleyard, who went on to be Bishop of Pittsburgh and performed the first two authorised ordinations of women in the Episcopal Church the following decade.
  • Question for long-term readers of this blog: note the baptismal announcement on the first page. There are several things that are “funny” about this, care to note them?
  • St. Mary’s Guild (also announced on the first page) was the guild my mother was a member of. In 1967 their confrontation with the Vestry led to starting the Church Mouse, Palm Beach’s premier resale shop.

Anglican Tidbit: Once in Royal David’s City (Cathedral of St. John the Divine)

Word WST-9021-LP (1964)

People who were brought up in the “Old High Church” (Episcopal) will find themselves flooded with memories of Christmas past with this classic from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, with their choir led by Alec Wyton, Organist and Master of Chorister. As was the case, the only instrument allowed was the pipe organ. Although this limited the accompaniment (and some of the pieces are a capella) in the hands of Wyton the organ’s considerable arsenal of resources were in full evidence.

This is a very nice rendition of a genre of Christmas music that, sadly, has fallen out of favour and our culture.

Note on the label: Although other sources reveal that the album was put out by Word, the famous gospel music label from Waco, Texas, which would spawn so many labels of the “Jesus Music” era, there is absolutely no reference to it on the cover (although it may be on the edge.) Evidently, as I say often on my blog, the Episcopal snobs didn’t want their masterwork associated with those impecunious rednecks after all!

The songs:

  1. The Prophecy-A Plainsong Hymn
  2. The Prophecy-A German Carol
  3. Organ Prelude
  4. The Annunciation-A Basque Carol
  5. The Nativity-Once in David’s Royal City
  6. An English Carol-Away in a Manger
  7. Fanfare and O Come All Ye Faithful
  8. The Epiphany Organ Prelude We Three Kings: Alec Wyton
  9. The Epiphany We Three Kings: Robert Martin, Charles Cole, George Brooker
  10. The First Nowell

1928 Book of Common Prayer with the Original Lectionary

The cover of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, as it’s been offered on Positive Infinity since it was uploaded in December 2003. The church, of course, is Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, the webmaster’s home church, and a suitable backdrop for this prayer book.

A little while back I posted The Episcopal Church My Mother Raised Me In Shorted The Scriptures, where I discussed the fact that the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (which has been available on this site for a long time) changed its lectionary for the worse in 1945.

Not one to simply complain about things, I found and am offering for download a scanned copy of the 1928 BCP with this original lectionary. It’s a little rough in spots but has the “book” feel with opposing pages on one spread. It comes from Charles Wohlers’ excellent prayer book site.

I know it’s better to use a real book, but if you have older copies you want to preserve, it’s a good way to do it. (In any case, 1928 BCP’s tend to be expensive, which should tell you something…)

I have a bulletin from the late 1930’s where this edition is used; the pagination is a little different in the later part of the book.

Download the 1928 Book of Common Prayer with the Original Lectionary

Anglicanism: Reformed Catholicism, Protestant and Catholic

The question that continues to vex Anglicanism (perhaps since the time of the Reformation but even more so over the last 200 years) is whether she is…

Anglicanism: Reformed Catholicism, Protestant and Catholic

This is one of the more intelligent treatments of this complicated subject. I think there are two core problems here.

On the Protestant side, I think the tendency now is to equate “Protestant” with “Reformed,” which is certainly not the case. It marginalises some post-Reformation theological threads such as the Wesleyan one, which has its roots in Anglicanism. (It even marginalises Lutheranism!) The episcopacy and Article XVI (if nothing else) put paid to Anglicanism being a truly “Reformed” church. If you want a Reformed church, the Church of Scotland and its progeny are the place for you. I tried to explain this to Robin Jordan but to no avail.

As far as the Catholics are concerned, most who veer in that direction believe that the ultimate goal is union with Rome. They haven’t figured out that churches which have valid apostolic succession but are not in union with Rome (and in no hurry to get there) are still valid. Some Anglo-Catholic people are aware of this but even the current Occupant of the See of St. Peter can’t dissuade them from their idea.

Anglican Tidbit: Music of the Episcopal Church

Word WST-9001-LP (1958)

There was a time when the “music of the Episcopal Church” was a very definite quantity with a very distinct sound. As the sleeve notes point out:

“The Anglican Communion (which includes the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America) draws its music from many sources including the great medieval plainsong hymns, the chorales of the Lutheran Church, and the hymns of Wesley and Methodism. This record, however, is concerned only with music which is peculiar to the Anglican Communion from the time of the English Reformation onwards. It represents an almost unbroken evolution in musical style from the Tudor composers to the present day and if the 18th and 19th centuries seem to be sparsely represented, it is because at the Cathedral the emphasis is upon 16th and 17th century music and 20th century music, with the occasional use of what is felt to be best in the centuries in between.”

So what we have here is a slice of that sound. It reminds one of the afternoon performances that high churches would put on outside of the liturgy, it’s almost more of a specialty classical music concert than a church event. Some of the music is performed a capella, others with the accompaniment of the organ. The Gloria Patri gets a workout in this production, although that’s true of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer worship in general. I would be less than honest to admit that it’s not my favourite, but in the genre it is very well done.

Note on the record label: it’s put out by Word, the Gospel music label from Waco, Texas, complete with the “Bible and sword” logo. I suppose that, once the Episcopal snobs figured out what that was all about, they made some changes, for although the Cathedral’s 1964 “Once in Royal David’s City” album was put out by Word, no evidence of that is on the cover!

The songs:

  1. O Lux Beata Trinitas Composed By – Robert Fayrfax
    1. Praise Ye The Lord Ye Children Composed By – Christopher Tye
    2. Nunc Dimittis From The ‘Short Service’ Composed By – William Byrd
    3. Fauxbourdons To The Magnificat Composed By – Thomas Morley
    4. Thou Knowest, Lord, The Secrets Of Our Hearts Composed By – Henry Purcell
    5. The Sacrifice Of God Is A Troubled Spirit Composed By – Maurice Greene
    6. (2) Psalm 23 Composed By – John Goss
    7. Nunc Dimittis From The Service In B Flat Composed By – Charles Villiers Stanford
    8. Oculi Omnium Composed By – Charles Wood
    9. (4) Oh How Amiable Are Thy Dwellings Composed By – Ralph Vaughan Williams
    10. Sanctus and Benedictus From The ‘Missa Cantauriensis’ Composed By – Edmund Rubbra
    11. The Nicene Creed Composed By – Alec Wyton
    12. Benedictus Es Domine In B Flat Composed By – Leo Sowerby

The sleeve notes describe the performers:

“Alec Wyton has been organist and master of the choristers at the Cathedral and headmaster of the Choir School since 1954. He studied in England at the Royal Academy of Music and at Exeter College, Oxford, and became organist of St. Matthew’s Church, Northampton, England after which he was appointed to Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis immediately preceding his appointment to New York. He is a member of the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York and the National Executive and Examination Committees of the American Guild of Organists.

The choir consist of 40 boys and 18 men. The boys live in the resident Cathedral Choir School on the Close of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine where they are educated on a scholarship basis in return for their singing. They sing the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, with a Eucharist on Saints’ Days and Sundays, on every day of the week excepting Monday. Their repertoire includes every school of composition used in the Church from plainsong to the music of contemporary composers.”

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