Sometimes, as a blogger, you come up with what you think is a great idea only to have doubts about it later. Consider this posting:
One thing that the various groups, such as CANA, AMiA, and the like, could be working on is a new prayer book for themselves. We can hear the sigh of disgust from here: "Another new prayer book…" And, given our opinion of the 1979 production, we are sympathetic to this idea.
The "sigh of disgust" is now verbosely verbalised by Robin Jordan in his reaction to the 2008 project.
First revelation: we now know that people in Kentucky can write. Over the line here in Tennessee, we had our doubts. (Just kidding!)
Let me make a few comments about his article:
- I’ve followed some of Peter Toon’s writings on the subject of the Prayer book; I’m not sure all he ascribes to Dr. Toon is justified, although he’s probably has a more in-depth familarity with Toon’s stuff than I do.
- He’s right about the 1928 Prayer Book being more Anglo-Catholic than its predecessors, and that it does depart from the 1662 Reformed theology in significant ways. This illustrates one of the central dilemmas that reasserters face in putting orthodox Anglicanism back together again in North America and elsewhere: at this stage in history, it is impossible to completely dispense with Anglo-Catholicism and its influence. As much as one might want to (and in one very important respect need to,) it just isn’t going to happen. That’s not only reflected in this country, but everywhere else too. We see common cause, for example, between the Province of the West Indies (which is very Anglo-Catholic) and provinces like Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, which tend to be more Protestant. But they’re geographically separated, which means that they can gloss over the difference more easily than, say, Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals can in a single AMiA parish.
- When growing up at Bethesda, I was certainly taught that the Holy Spirit was received at Confirmation. As a Pentecostal, I certainly know better now! Seriously, though, the attempt by Anglo-Catholics to sacramentalise Acts 2 is a stretch in any kind of Biblical theology. Confirmation is definitely a good "step-up" recognition (a kind of rite of passage, perhaps?) in a Christian’s life but to hog-tie it to the reception of the Holy Spirit is too much.
- Advocates such as Robin Jordan of a "Reformed" theology in Anglican churches need to be aware that, although the 1662 BCP certainly is imbued with that, the expression of what constitutes "Reformed" (especially with regards to election) is undermined by Article XVI. Issues such as this underline one of the long-running dilemmas of Anglicanism: in it’s attempt to be comprehensive, it sometimes ends up ambiguous, and that has been used with deadly effect by reappraisers in TEC for a long time.
- Anyone who reads the Thirty-Nine Articles (and I even included them in my discipleship book for Pentecostal men) knows of the running horror they have for the transubstantiated Eucharist and any logical results therefrom (such as the reserved sacrament.) This is because, in late Medaeval Catholicsm (and afterwards) the Host was ascribed almost magical attributes. We all know, however, that, unless an individual is regenerate and in a right relationship with God, reception of the Eucharist is unworthy and will lead to one kicking the bucket in this life and the life to come. However, anyone who is honest about the Biblical evidence knows that the New Testament doesn’t teach a purely symbolic Eucharist either, and coming up with a reasonable via media between these two extremes has been one of the great "Gordian Knots" of Christian theology.
- Although only partially related to the last point, anyone who looks objectively at the 1662 BCP’s Holy Communion service has to admit that it is a liturgical mess. (I offered one solution here, a product of my work with my fiction. I think the magenta rubrics make it, but that’s just me.)
Robin Jordan’s article is a good one, I hope that those at the AMiA will take heed to his thoughts. Rest assured that I will continue offering the 1662 Book of Common Prayer for download, which remains an all-time popular standing resource of this website.