Déjà vu all Over Again with Ralph Martin

He’s done another video in the wake of the “unearthing” of Michael Scanlan’s prophecies:

Let’s be honest, Ralph: we’ve been here before.  And you dodged the serious question that never seems to change.

Back in 1982 you wrote a book entitled A Crisis of Truth, where you documented the drift from both Biblical truth that Roman Catholicism had experienced.  In a sense the video above is a quick summary of the idea of that book, forty years out.  (TBH Mother Angelica’s rant–and her response to a bishop that didn’t like it–was more to the point.)  So here we are again, you saying the same things and the rest of us trying to figure out a response.

The response many of us did at the time was to exit from the Catholic Church.  It wasn’t an easy decision and it’s one that some of our brothers and sisters didn’t follow us in, but we did it anyway.  But we felt that we could not live the life that Jesus Christ had intended to and stay in either the miserable pastoral system that was and is Catholic parishes in the US or in a church where what were then called “countercultural” (they’re mainstream now) elements were undermining the Church.

For me at least, your book was in part a justification of that decision.  I had seen what happened when the church I grew up in (Episcopal Church) underwent an assault like this, and I had no desire to go through this again.

Now you call us to follow Jesus in a serious way.  And that’s good.  But now we have an Occupant of the See of St. Peter who is basically dangerous, and dangerous people seem to lurk everywhere.  (I was always afraid this would happen sooner or later.)  Back in the day the accession of St. John Paul II put a stop to much of the mischief you documented in your book, or at least drove it underground.  You cast aside your guitar-strumming and prophecy-proclaiming form of Catholicism for #straightouttairondale, a volte face I still marvel at.   But that still leaves those who stay with the same hard choices–harder, really–that we had two score ago.

I’m not one of these people who say that “if you get saved, you must leave the Catholic Church.”  That’s basically conceding to the Church it’s own idea of what church is all about.  But once Jesus transforms our life we have to be somewhere until we ascend up to heaven.  Some have and will stick it out, but some will not, and what you say now–and what you have said in the past–will influence that decision in ways you may not find to your taste.

I would be the first to admit that life in the Pentecostal fast lane has its problems, from Bill Clinton’s Eucharistic Theology to its screwy racial idea.  But so far I’ve been able to leave many of the problems I would have had to deal with on an ongoing basis behind, and my church allowed me to work at a denominational level, something Roman Catholicism would never dream of.

At the end of his book The Power and the Wisdom, Fr. John McKenzie wrote the following:

There is another obscurity in one’s mind more difficult to express and not without some dangers.  Reflection on the New Testament gives one a keener sense of the differences between the Church which wrote the New Testament and the contemporary Church.  If one wanders down this path far enough, one will find oneself at its end in the company of the Reformers; and a Roman Catholic cannot join this company.

As a part of a Wesleyan tradition now, we’re way past Luther and Calvin.  Be careful of what you say, Ralph Martin; some of us may take it seriously.

Update: I posted a link to this piece on the video’s comments.  They responded by turning the comments off.

In the Footsteps of the Warden: Reflections on The Rev’d Septimus Harding — The North American Anglican

A few days ago I finished The Chronicles of Barsetshire, a six-book series by Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, for the second time in as many years. An immediate personal favorite, I was introduced to the series by Anne Kennedy’s blog and podcast, Preventing Grace. For those unfamiliar with the series, all six books take place in…

via In the Footsteps of the Warden: Reflections on The Rev’d Septimus Harding — The North American Anglican

The Virginia Bishops and Classical American Anglicanism — The North American Anglican

In January of 1800 Rev. Dr. James Madison, Bishop of Virginia, wrote his cousin, James Madison Jr. The former hailed the congressman and “Father of the Constitution” for his past work on the basic law of the still-new American republic. “You have really swept the Augean Stable; at least, you have cleansed the Constitution from…

via The Virginia Bishops and Classical American Anglicanism — The North American Anglican

The West’s monumental crisis — UnHerd

In 1998, the urban planning student Mohammed Atta handed in his masters thesis at Hamburg’s University of Technology. Examining in depth the architecture of Aleppo’s historic Bab al-Nasr district, Atta’s thesis presented a picture of the human-scale “Islamic-Oriental city,” whose winding cobbled streets, shaded souks and alleys carved from honey-coloured stone had been violated by…

via The West’s monumental crisis — UnHerd

There’s Still Time for Justin Welby to Hand the Anglican Communion to the Africans

He’s agonising over the statues:

Justin Welby said monuments would be looked at ‘very carefully’ to see if they all ‘should be there’.

In a wide-ranging interview, he also urged the West to reconsider its prevailing mindset that Jesus was white, and pointed to different portrayals of Christ as Black or Middle Eastern in different countries.

But why do something really stupid when you can do something really substantive? My advice in 2007:

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York participated in a much publicised “guilt march” across the UK about the evil of slavery.

But there’s an easier and more substantial way to even the score: just let the Africans and their allies, including the descendants of slaves in the West Indies, take the lead in the Communion.

We find, however, that, Western church leaders–liberal and conservative alike–are reluctant to bow to the obvious and allow the centre of power of Christianity to shift where its people are.  The liberals are especially adverse to this process, as they are further from the Africans’ idea than their conservative counterparts.

The desperation of conservative parishes in TEC, however, has them affiliating with provinces such as Uganda and Nigeria, along with others.  They have gone past guilt.  It is time that the rest of us follow suit.

It’s so bad that even Nelson Mandela’s widow objects to statue removal:

Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel has implored anti-racism campaigners not to topple statues because they serve as grave reminders of past atrocities.

The activist said: ‘I believe even it might be much more positive to keep them because you are going to tell generations to come “this is how it started and this is how it should never be.”‘

Her remarks put her at loggerheads with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who today revealed he would be reviewing statues at Canterbury Cathedral.

This is the core issue of the statue removal: it’s easy to tear down a bunch of statues and declare victory.  It’s a whole different ball game to actually recognise the shift of Christianity, especially to people you basically don’t like, as is the case with Justin Welby and the large provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and others.  And it’s really hard to act on that reality.

But it’s been time since 1998 Lambeth and it certainly is time now.

On Liturgies, Shapes and Texts — The Porcine

Recently I read both Samuel Bray’s piece over at Ad Fontes, and Rev. Ben Jefferies’s piece over at The North American Anglican. Both present different schools of thought regarding Anglican liturgy, and I recommend you read them both. I did notice, however, that several people interpreted Prof. Bray’s essay as arguing that a. no deviation…

via On Liturgies, Shapes and Texts — The Porcine

Tolkien’s mythic plan for England — UnHerd

On a family holiday in Yorkshire in 1925, J. R. R. Tolkien’s young son Michael lost a beloved toy on a large stony beach. A long search by Tolkien, and Michael’s older brother John, proved fruitless; to console the boy, Tolkien made up a story, Roverandom. It’s an odd tale, featuring a small dog, wizards,…

via Tolkien’s mythic plan for England — UnHerd

Another Scanlan Prophecy, and How Did Ralph Martin Get to #straightouttairondale?

Ralph Martin has posted a follow-up to his broadcast of Michael Scanlan’s prophecy:

There’s a lot to unpack here.

First, much of what he says is fine.  One of the things I’ve tried to do is to discourage people from leaning too hard on the benefits of the civilisation (such as it is.)  The call of Jesus Christ is too high to do so, either in times of prosperity or certainly in times of trouble like we’re in now.  In this country the worst thing we do is wrap our Christianity around “moving up,” and I’ve decried this for a long time.  It may produce big numbers but it isn’t prepared for what we’re facing now.

My real issue is his context, and that may seem abstract, but it’s not.  He’s come up with another prophecy from Fr. Scanlan and that brings up two important questions, one for the time it came out and one for now.

In the traditional Roman Catholicism Martin professes to live in, the prophetic gift didn’t (and doesn’t) work in the way that Scanlan exercised it.  The Church has generally taught that the Holy Spirit acts through the church as a whole.  The way he exercised it is more in line with what we’ve seen in modern Pentecost.  So how can he fit the two together?  Or better, how did Ralph Martin, like Scanlan, get to #straightouttairondale?

The fact is that many of us at the time, when confronted with this radical call, couldn’t figure out how to respond to that meaningfully in the parish system then and now.  So we left.  Given the current state of things, the only way to do this is to go for a “church within a church.”  That was what the Sword of the Spirit was all about, and it wasn’t all that Catholic.  (It had other problems, too.)  That’s also what SSPX is about, and they’re having problems.  The Trads are trying to do the same, and they’re not getting the cooperation from the Church they think they should.  It’s great to set forth a radical call to the Gospel, but how do we get there?  We couldn’t figure it out forty years ago, why should we think you can?

There’s no doubt that we’re facing bad times.  There’s also no doubt that the Catholic Church at large in this country is unprepared for them or unprepared to defend its flock.  Do we need two layers of problems when it’s hard enough to deal with one?

But I guess these are the problems that result when you’re better at making unlikely transitions within the Church rather than facing the problems the way they are.


The Story of Our Hymns: There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood — Anglican Compass

This is the third of a series on sacred hymns, the story behind them, their text, a recording, and a simple companion devotional. “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.” ~William Cowper Every Hymn Has a Story William Cowper was…

via The Story of Our Hymns: There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood — Anglican Compass

I was surprised to see this hymn featured.  Cowper was certainly an Anglican, but the Episcopalians saw fit to exclude this “great” hymn from both the 1916 and 1940 Hymnals.  I never heard it until I was among the Baptists.

Now St. John’s Episcopal Church Feels the Wrath of #BLM

From Twitter:


Evidently the protesters look at the Episcopal Church as it is and not as it would like itself to be.