Burning issues

“I never would have guessed that I would end up as an adult convert to Lutheranism. And I further would not have imagined how central the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper would be to my conversion.”

As I mentioned in my previous post, those words from Rick Ritchie’s “Wittenberg Trail” article have a particular resonance for me. It is ironic that two of the doctrines that are now particularly precious to me – the Real Presence and baptismal regeneration – were not only doctrines I previously disbelieved, but ones to which I was actively and decidedly hostile.

I was something of a “JC Ryle Anglican”, regarding the Prayer Book and the Thirty-Nine Articles as the cornerstone of the Church of England’s true status as a Reformed Protestant church (notwithstanding the later encroachments of liberalism and Anglo-Catholicism). To Anglicans such as JC Ryle and his heirs in organisations such as Church Society, baptismal regeneration and the Real Presence were (and are) anathema.

On baptismal regeneration, for example, I was previously so firmly opposed to this that I persuaded the vicar at our Anglican church to change some of the wording at our elder son’s baptism, to remove some of the connotations of baptismal regeneration that I had sniffed out in the new Common Worship baptismal liturgy.

The Real Presence – or, to use the Pontificator’s very helpful phrase, “the Real Identification” – was, if anything, even more of a problem, because accepting this belief not only involved a change of opinion, but also felt like a betrayal of that Reformed Anglican heritage.

I had been deeply influenced by Bishop Ryle’s vividly-entitled essay, “Why Were Our Reformers Burned?” (the introductory essay in the book Five English Reformers), in which he argues quite persuasively that the reason the English Reformers were burned by Queen Mary (known to all fans of 1066 And All That as “Broody Mary”) was not their rejection of papal authority, not their proclamation of justification by faith, not their promotion of the English Bible and Prayer Book, but the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ’s body and blood in, with and under the forms of bread and wine.

Ryle opens his essay with some very contemporary-sounding complaints that:

It is fashionable in some quarters to deny that there is any such thing as certainty about religious truth, or any opinions for which it is worth while to be burned … [and] it is thought very bad taste in many quarters to say anything which throws discredit on the Church of Rome.

He then goes on to summarise “the broad facts” of Mary’s reign, in which at least 288 were burned. As Ryle points out:

Out of these 288 sufferers, be it remembered, one was an archbishop, four were bishops, twenty-one were clergymen, fifty-five were women, and four were children. It is a broad fact that these 288 sufferers were not put to death for any offence against property or person. They were not rebels against the Queen’s authority, caught red-handed in arms. They were not thieves, or murderers, or drunkards, or unbelievers, or men and women of immoral lives. On the contrary, they were, with barely an exception, some of the holiest, purest, and best Christians in England, and several of them the most learned men of their day.

He goes on to give brief sketches of “the leading English Reformers that were burned”. And what a list! It includes the likes of John Hooper, John “There but for the grace of God…” Bradford, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer and Thomas Cranmer. The accounts of their lives and martyrdoms reveal them to have been men of immense ability, spiritual integrity and personal courage. Not a group of men to dismiss lightly.

And why were these men burned? Ryle continues:

I pass on to a point which I hold to be one of cardinal importance in the present day. The point I refer to is the special reason why our Reformers were burned. Great indeed would be our mistake if we supposed that they suffered for the vague charge of refusing submission to the Pope, or desiring to maintain the in-dependence of the Church of England. Nothing of the kind!

The principal reason why they were burned was because they refused one of the peculiar doctrines of the Romish Church. On that doctrine, in almost every case, hinged their life or death. If they admitted it, they might live; if they refused it, they must die.

The doctrine in question was the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the consecrated elements of bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper. Did they, or did they not believe that the body and blood of Christ were really, that is, corporally, literally, locally, and materially, present under the forms of bread and wine after the words of consecration were pronounced? Did they or did they not believe that the real body of Christ, which was born of the Virgin Mary, was present on the so called altar so soon as the mystical words had passed the lips of the priest? Did they or did they not? That was the simple question. If they did not believe and admit it, they were burned.

While all the Reformers were accused of a variety of crimes – the marriage of priests, the authority of the church, and so on – Ryle argues that:

…all, without an exception, were called to special account about the real presence, and in every case their refusal to admit the doctrine formed one principal cause of their condemnation.

Ryle then goes on to demonstrate this from accounts of the martyrs’ trials. While his accounts show the reluctance or inability of Ryle and other Reformed Anglicans to distinguish between the Real Presence, transubstantiation, and the sacrifice of the Mass, in most cases the position is plain. Take Cranmer, for example, who was condemned for the following words from one of his books:

“They (the Papists) say that Christ is corporally under or in the forms of bread and wine. We say that Christ is not there, neither corporally nor spiritually; but in them that worthily eat and drink the bread and wine He is spiritually, and corporally in heaven.”

“And so,” Ryle continues dolorously, “he was burned”.

Ryle goes on to assert that “no well-instructed Bible reader can hesitate for a moment” before saying that “the Romish doctrine of the real presence strikes at the very root of the Gospel, and is the very citadel and keep of Popery“. After warning against the restoration of this doctrine by the “Ritualists” then active within the Church of England, he concludes:

There is a voice in the blood of the martyrs. What does that voice say? It cries aloud from Oxford, Smithfield, and Gloucester,- “Resist to the death the Popish doctrine of the Real Presence, under the forms of the consecrated bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper!”

Ringing stuff. You can see why to find myself apparently on the same side as Queen Mary and Cardinal Pole, against Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Bradford and the other 284 Protestant Martyrs – not to mention their Anglican heirs such as JC Ryle himself, and more recent figures such as John Stott, Dick Lucas and JI Packer – was a profoundly uncomfortable place to be. One that caused me more than a few second thoughts as I wandered cautiously along the trail to Wittenberg in the first half of last year.

Now isn’t the place to go into the details how I came to accept the Lutheran teaching that “the Sacrament of the Altar … is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink” (Luther’s Small Catechism), notwithstanding the breach this represented with my evangelical Anglican heritage.

But I wonder if there is another explanation as to why the doctrine of the Real Presence had such prominence in the burning of the Marian Martyrs. Simply this: on the issues of justification by faith, scriptural vs papal authority, and the vernacular Bible and Prayer Book, the English Reformers were spot on, and were areas in which their opponents knew the Reformers were sure of their ground and therefore difficult to overcome in debate. But on the Real Presence, the Reformers had made a ghastly error, and it was one on which their opponents could, and did, pounce.

Here was a teaching that is plainly taught in Scripture; one that had been accepted almost without question throughout the whole church for over 1,500 years; one whose rejection would strike most Catholics as sacrilegious. Perhaps the reason why this doctrine was cited so often on the Reformers’ charge-sheets was simply because their abandonment of that doctrine could be used by Mary and her bishops as the “smoking gun”, the plain evidence that the Reformers were in opposition to true Christianity.

The tragedy for Anglicanism is that the events of the 1550s on the one hand made it next-to impossible for Anglican evangelicals to countenance that doctrine for the next 500 years and beyond, and on the other hand fostered the impression among more catholic-minded Anglicans that evangelical doctrines such as justification by faith alone were incompatible with a catholic, sacramental approach to Christianity. This has hampered the ability of the Church of England to find the same synthesis of Word and Sacrament that is (or should be!) found in the Lutheran church.

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65 Responses to Burning issues

  1. Craig says:

    That is fascinating John, excellent post…

  2. Craig says:

    That is fascinating John, excellent post…

  3. Craig says:

    That is fascinating John, excellent post…

  4. Craig says:

    That is fascinating John, excellent post…

  5. greg bourke says:

    I seem to recall that there were some Catholic martyrs in merry ol’ England about that time period as well. Not within Ryle’s terms of reference I guess.
    Interesting reading what you got burned for “back in the day”. If we think our current politicians are slithery, imagine how much more obscure they would be if there was the threat of capital punishment a few years later for publishing incorrect opinions.
    With that jeopardy in mind, the clear speaking of the likes of Cranmer or Campion is that much more laudable.
    So I suppose Ryle is currently quite busy praying for his Anglican Episcopalian episcopus.

  6. greg bourke says:

    I seem to recall that there were some Catholic martyrs in merry ol’ England about that time period as well. Not within Ryle’s terms of reference I guess.
    Interesting reading what you got burned for “back in the day”. If we think our current politicians are slithery, imagine how much more obscure they would be if there was the threat of capital punishment a few years later for publishing incorrect opinions.
    With that jeopardy in mind, the clear speaking of the likes of Cranmer or Campion is that much more laudable.
    So I suppose Ryle is currently quite busy praying for his Anglican Episcopalian episcopus.

  7. greg bourke says:

    I seem to recall that there were some Catholic martyrs in merry ol’ England about that time period as well. Not within Ryle’s terms of reference I guess.
    Interesting reading what you got burned for “back in the day”. If we think our current politicians are slithery, imagine how much more obscure they would be if there was the threat of capital punishment a few years later for publishing incorrect opinions.
    With that jeopardy in mind, the clear speaking of the likes of Cranmer or Campion is that much more laudable.
    So I suppose Ryle is currently quite busy praying for his Anglican Episcopalian episcopus.

  8. greg bourke says:

    I seem to recall that there were some Catholic martyrs in merry ol’ England about that time period as well. Not within Ryle’s terms of reference I guess.
    Interesting reading what you got burned for “back in the day”. If we think our current politicians are slithery, imagine how much more obscure they would be if there was the threat of capital punishment a few years later for publishing incorrect opinions.
    With that jeopardy in mind, the clear speaking of the likes of Cranmer or Campion is that much more laudable.
    So I suppose Ryle is currently quite busy praying for his Anglican Episcopalian episcopus.

  9. John H says:

    I seem to recall that there were some Catholic martyrs in merry ol’ England about that time period as well. Not within Ryle’s terms of reference I guess.
    Nor, while we’re playing that game ;-), are the English & Scottish Lutheran martyrs – in particular Robert Barnes, Patrick Hamilton, William Tyndale and (arguably) Thomas Bilney.
    And I wonder if Ryle is just trying to cover off your point when he says that the 288 Marian Martyrs “were not rebels against the Queen’s authority, caught red-handed in arms” – since what tended to get Catholics martyred at that time was either rejection of the Act of Supremacy (under Henry) or the fallout from the papal bull against Elizabeth, which required Catholics to reject Elizabeth’s authority and thus turned them into apparent, or in many cases actual, rebels.
    Not that that remotely justifies the martyrdoms of Roman Catholics such as Thomas More, John Fisher etc. – just that I wonder if Ryle was trying to pre-empt the point. And, as you say, they fell outside his terms of reference: the brief he’d given himself was to extol the Protestant Martyrs as part of his campaign against 19th century Anglo-Catholicism, a campaign against which I’m now rather more ambivalent than I used to be (though not that much more, as it happens).

  10. John H says:

    I seem to recall that there were some Catholic martyrs in merry ol’ England about that time period as well. Not within Ryle’s terms of reference I guess.
    Nor, while we’re playing that game ;-), are the English & Scottish Lutheran martyrs – in particular Robert Barnes, Patrick Hamilton, William Tyndale and (arguably) Thomas Bilney.
    And I wonder if Ryle is just trying to cover off your point when he says that the 288 Marian Martyrs “were not rebels against the Queen’s authority, caught red-handed in arms” – since what tended to get Catholics martyred at that time was either rejection of the Act of Supremacy (under Henry) or the fallout from the papal bull against Elizabeth, which required Catholics to reject Elizabeth’s authority and thus turned them into apparent, or in many cases actual, rebels.
    Not that that remotely justifies the martyrdoms of Roman Catholics such as Thomas More, John Fisher etc. – just that I wonder if Ryle was trying to pre-empt the point. And, as you say, they fell outside his terms of reference: the brief he’d given himself was to extol the Protestant Martyrs as part of his campaign against 19th century Anglo-Catholicism, a campaign against which I’m now rather more ambivalent than I used to be (though not that much more, as it happens).

  11. John H says:

    I seem to recall that there were some Catholic martyrs in merry ol’ England about that time period as well. Not within Ryle’s terms of reference I guess.
    Nor, while we’re playing that game ;-), are the English & Scottish Lutheran martyrs – in particular Robert Barnes, Patrick Hamilton, William Tyndale and (arguably) Thomas Bilney.
    And I wonder if Ryle is just trying to cover off your point when he says that the 288 Marian Martyrs “were not rebels against the Queen’s authority, caught red-handed in arms” – since what tended to get Catholics martyred at that time was either rejection of the Act of Supremacy (under Henry) or the fallout from the papal bull against Elizabeth, which required Catholics to reject Elizabeth’s authority and thus turned them into apparent, or in many cases actual, rebels.
    Not that that remotely justifies the martyrdoms of Roman Catholics such as Thomas More, John Fisher etc. – just that I wonder if Ryle was trying to pre-empt the point. And, as you say, they fell outside his terms of reference: the brief he’d given himself was to extol the Protestant Martyrs as part of his campaign against 19th century Anglo-Catholicism, a campaign against which I’m now rather more ambivalent than I used to be (though not that much more, as it happens).

  12. John H says:

    I seem to recall that there were some Catholic martyrs in merry ol’ England about that time period as well. Not within Ryle’s terms of reference I guess.
    Nor, while we’re playing that game ;-), are the English & Scottish Lutheran martyrs – in particular Robert Barnes, Patrick Hamilton, William Tyndale and (arguably) Thomas Bilney.
    And I wonder if Ryle is just trying to cover off your point when he says that the 288 Marian Martyrs “were not rebels against the Queen’s authority, caught red-handed in arms” – since what tended to get Catholics martyred at that time was either rejection of the Act of Supremacy (under Henry) or the fallout from the papal bull against Elizabeth, which required Catholics to reject Elizabeth’s authority and thus turned them into apparent, or in many cases actual, rebels.
    Not that that remotely justifies the martyrdoms of Roman Catholics such as Thomas More, John Fisher etc. – just that I wonder if Ryle was trying to pre-empt the point. And, as you say, they fell outside his terms of reference: the brief he’d given himself was to extol the Protestant Martyrs as part of his campaign against 19th century Anglo-Catholicism, a campaign against which I’m now rather more ambivalent than I used to be (though not that much more, as it happens).

  13. Tom R says:

    “Laud-able”… Greg, that’s a brilliant pun, whether intentional or not.

  14. Tom R says:

    “Laud-able”… Greg, that’s a brilliant pun, whether intentional or not.

  15. Tom R says:

    “Laud-able”… Greg, that’s a brilliant pun, whether intentional or not.

  16. Tom R says:

    “Laud-able”… Greg, that’s a brilliant pun, whether intentional or not.

  17. Tom R says:

    Greg is right that Protestants/ Anglicans did their own share of head-lopping after the Reformation. Does anyone know if Ryle ever wrote anything about John Fisher or Thomas More? The problem with Protestants playing the “we were persecuted, ergo we were right” card is that Catholics can point to a larger head-count of Catholics who were martyred, by virtue of Catholicism having been around longer.
    Also, much as I enjoy the Ryle style, I found it odd that someone would go to the lengths of scanning one of his essays onto disk, converting it to HTML, finding a matching woodcut, setting up a MIDI file as background music… but not take the trouble to proof-read the scanned text! “Ronrish”, indeed…

  18. Tom R says:

    Greg is right that Protestants/ Anglicans did their own share of head-lopping after the Reformation. Does anyone know if Ryle ever wrote anything about John Fisher or Thomas More? The problem with Protestants playing the “we were persecuted, ergo we were right” card is that Catholics can point to a larger head-count of Catholics who were martyred, by virtue of Catholicism having been around longer.
    Also, much as I enjoy the Ryle style, I found it odd that someone would go to the lengths of scanning one of his essays onto disk, converting it to HTML, finding a matching woodcut, setting up a MIDI file as background music… but not take the trouble to proof-read the scanned text! “Ronrish”, indeed…

  19. Tom R says:

    Greg is right that Protestants/ Anglicans did their own share of head-lopping after the Reformation. Does anyone know if Ryle ever wrote anything about John Fisher or Thomas More? The problem with Protestants playing the “we were persecuted, ergo we were right” card is that Catholics can point to a larger head-count of Catholics who were martyred, by virtue of Catholicism having been around longer.
    Also, much as I enjoy the Ryle style, I found it odd that someone would go to the lengths of scanning one of his essays onto disk, converting it to HTML, finding a matching woodcut, setting up a MIDI file as background music… but not take the trouble to proof-read the scanned text! “Ronrish”, indeed…

  20. Tom R says:

    Greg is right that Protestants/ Anglicans did their own share of head-lopping after the Reformation. Does anyone know if Ryle ever wrote anything about John Fisher or Thomas More? The problem with Protestants playing the “we were persecuted, ergo we were right” card is that Catholics can point to a larger head-count of Catholics who were martyred, by virtue of Catholicism having been around longer.
    Also, much as I enjoy the Ryle style, I found it odd that someone would go to the lengths of scanning one of his essays onto disk, converting it to HTML, finding a matching woodcut, setting up a MIDI file as background music… but not take the trouble to proof-read the scanned text! “Ronrish”, indeed…

  21. John H says:

    Well, I think in the case of Thomas More and John Fisher, they were not so much victims of Protestant persecution, as of Henrician persecution, which claimed both Catholic and Protestant victims depending on which side of bed Henry had got out of that day.
    What distinguishes the Marian martyrdoms was that Mary was motivated by a specifically religious zeal to restore her vision of Catholicism to the country. The bottom line for Henry seems to have been obedience to his rule, and he spent as much energy in resisting Protestantism as he did in dismantling Papal power; and while Elizabeth may have killed more Catholics than Mary killed Protestants, that was more tied in with politics rather than being down to any crusading zeal on Elizabeth’s part.
    That’s one of the things that is interesting about Mary’s reign: the sheer un-Englishness of it. Henry and Elizabeth could be brutal but were so in a rather English way; Mary was different, and it’s particularly interesting to consider how her reign helped to paint Catholicism as being somehow “un-English” at a time when Protestantism was still far from commanding widespread popular support, and most people’s sympathies probably lay with some form of Catholicism. Quite an achievement, really.

  22. John H says:

    Well, I think in the case of Thomas More and John Fisher, they were not so much victims of Protestant persecution, as of Henrician persecution, which claimed both Catholic and Protestant victims depending on which side of bed Henry had got out of that day.
    What distinguishes the Marian martyrdoms was that Mary was motivated by a specifically religious zeal to restore her vision of Catholicism to the country. The bottom line for Henry seems to have been obedience to his rule, and he spent as much energy in resisting Protestantism as he did in dismantling Papal power; and while Elizabeth may have killed more Catholics than Mary killed Protestants, that was more tied in with politics rather than being down to any crusading zeal on Elizabeth’s part.
    That’s one of the things that is interesting about Mary’s reign: the sheer un-Englishness of it. Henry and Elizabeth could be brutal but were so in a rather English way; Mary was different, and it’s particularly interesting to consider how her reign helped to paint Catholicism as being somehow “un-English” at a time when Protestantism was still far from commanding widespread popular support, and most people’s sympathies probably lay with some form of Catholicism. Quite an achievement, really.

  23. John H says:

    Well, I think in the case of Thomas More and John Fisher, they were not so much victims of Protestant persecution, as of Henrician persecution, which claimed both Catholic and Protestant victims depending on which side of bed Henry had got out of that day.
    What distinguishes the Marian martyrdoms was that Mary was motivated by a specifically religious zeal to restore her vision of Catholicism to the country. The bottom line for Henry seems to have been obedience to his rule, and he spent as much energy in resisting Protestantism as he did in dismantling Papal power; and while Elizabeth may have killed more Catholics than Mary killed Protestants, that was more tied in with politics rather than being down to any crusading zeal on Elizabeth’s part.
    That’s one of the things that is interesting about Mary’s reign: the sheer un-Englishness of it. Henry and Elizabeth could be brutal but were so in a rather English way; Mary was different, and it’s particularly interesting to consider how her reign helped to paint Catholicism as being somehow “un-English” at a time when Protestantism was still far from commanding widespread popular support, and most people’s sympathies probably lay with some form of Catholicism. Quite an achievement, really.

  24. John H says:

    Well, I think in the case of Thomas More and John Fisher, they were not so much victims of Protestant persecution, as of Henrician persecution, which claimed both Catholic and Protestant victims depending on which side of bed Henry had got out of that day.
    What distinguishes the Marian martyrdoms was that Mary was motivated by a specifically religious zeal to restore her vision of Catholicism to the country. The bottom line for Henry seems to have been obedience to his rule, and he spent as much energy in resisting Protestantism as he did in dismantling Papal power; and while Elizabeth may have killed more Catholics than Mary killed Protestants, that was more tied in with politics rather than being down to any crusading zeal on Elizabeth’s part.
    That’s one of the things that is interesting about Mary’s reign: the sheer un-Englishness of it. Henry and Elizabeth could be brutal but were so in a rather English way; Mary was different, and it’s particularly interesting to consider how her reign helped to paint Catholicism as being somehow “un-English” at a time when Protestantism was still far from commanding widespread popular support, and most people’s sympathies probably lay with some form of Catholicism. Quite an achievement, really.

  25. Tom R says:

    John, I think you’re right about Henry (which is why I usually take care to say “Anglicans and/or Protestants” as the two but partly overlap). Certainly no Anglican today has a good word for him. One Sydney Anglican writer a few years ago described him as “that tyrannical pope of England”: CS Lewis had Screwtape licking his lips over the memory of festing on H8’s soul. I sometimes wonder whether, if the wheel of history had spun a little more to one side, he may have forged some alliance with Constantinople and made Anglicanism the accredited “Western Orthodox” church.
    Coincidentally, only a week ago I saw this parag in an old paperback I picked up in our church’s bookshelf:

    “It was the Bible which saved England from sinking into a tenth-rate power as a vassal of cruel, ignorant, superstitious Spain, whose Dominicans and tyrants would have turned her fields into slaughter-houses, as they turned those of the Netherlands, and would have made her cities reek as she made Seville reek with the bale-fires of the Inquisition!”

    — W Graham Scroggie, Is the Bible the Word of God? (Chicago: Moody Press, 1922), pp 119-20.
    This sort of “Wogs begin at Calais” flavour of Anglican theology/ ecclesiology seems to pop up frequently. It explains the frequent desire to paint Anglicanism is a peaceful via media between the sinister lurking Inquisitors of Rome and the Christmas-tree-banning theocrats of Geneva. It would also help explain the much more puzzling rejection by English Protestants of Lutheranism, which has an equal (or better) claim to be considered a via media between Rome and Geneva. Nothing against Lutheran doctrine as such, but Luther was so thoroughly German — a strength among Protestants in his homeland, a weakness among Prots in England.

  26. Tom R says:

    John, I think you’re right about Henry (which is why I usually take care to say “Anglicans and/or Protestants” as the two but partly overlap). Certainly no Anglican today has a good word for him. One Sydney Anglican writer a few years ago described him as “that tyrannical pope of England”: CS Lewis had Screwtape licking his lips over the memory of festing on H8’s soul. I sometimes wonder whether, if the wheel of history had spun a little more to one side, he may have forged some alliance with Constantinople and made Anglicanism the accredited “Western Orthodox” church.
    Coincidentally, only a week ago I saw this parag in an old paperback I picked up in our church’s bookshelf:

    “It was the Bible which saved England from sinking into a tenth-rate power as a vassal of cruel, ignorant, superstitious Spain, whose Dominicans and tyrants would have turned her fields into slaughter-houses, as they turned those of the Netherlands, and would have made her cities reek as she made Seville reek with the bale-fires of the Inquisition!”

    — W Graham Scroggie, Is the Bible the Word of God? (Chicago: Moody Press, 1922), pp 119-20.
    This sort of “Wogs begin at Calais” flavour of Anglican theology/ ecclesiology seems to pop up frequently. It explains the frequent desire to paint Anglicanism is a peaceful via media between the sinister lurking Inquisitors of Rome and the Christmas-tree-banning theocrats of Geneva. It would also help explain the much more puzzling rejection by English Protestants of Lutheranism, which has an equal (or better) claim to be considered a via media between Rome and Geneva. Nothing against Lutheran doctrine as such, but Luther was so thoroughly German — a strength among Protestants in his homeland, a weakness among Prots in England.

  27. Tom R says:

    John, I think you’re right about Henry (which is why I usually take care to say “Anglicans and/or Protestants” as the two but partly overlap). Certainly no Anglican today has a good word for him. One Sydney Anglican writer a few years ago described him as “that tyrannical pope of England”: CS Lewis had Screwtape licking his lips over the memory of festing on H8’s soul. I sometimes wonder whether, if the wheel of history had spun a little more to one side, he may have forged some alliance with Constantinople and made Anglicanism the accredited “Western Orthodox” church.
    Coincidentally, only a week ago I saw this parag in an old paperback I picked up in our church’s bookshelf:

    “It was the Bible which saved England from sinking into a tenth-rate power as a vassal of cruel, ignorant, superstitious Spain, whose Dominicans and tyrants would have turned her fields into slaughter-houses, as they turned those of the Netherlands, and would have made her cities reek as she made Seville reek with the bale-fires of the Inquisition!”

    — W Graham Scroggie, Is the Bible the Word of God? (Chicago: Moody Press, 1922), pp 119-20.
    This sort of “Wogs begin at Calais” flavour of Anglican theology/ ecclesiology seems to pop up frequently. It explains the frequent desire to paint Anglicanism is a peaceful via media between the sinister lurking Inquisitors of Rome and the Christmas-tree-banning theocrats of Geneva. It would also help explain the much more puzzling rejection by English Protestants of Lutheranism, which has an equal (or better) claim to be considered a via media between Rome and Geneva. Nothing against Lutheran doctrine as such, but Luther was so thoroughly German — a strength among Protestants in his homeland, a weakness among Prots in England.

  28. Tom R says:

    John, I think you’re right about Henry (which is why I usually take care to say “Anglicans and/or Protestants” as the two but partly overlap). Certainly no Anglican today has a good word for him. One Sydney Anglican writer a few years ago described him as “that tyrannical pope of England”: CS Lewis had Screwtape licking his lips over the memory of festing on H8’s soul. I sometimes wonder whether, if the wheel of history had spun a little more to one side, he may have forged some alliance with Constantinople and made Anglicanism the accredited “Western Orthodox” church.
    Coincidentally, only a week ago I saw this parag in an old paperback I picked up in our church’s bookshelf:

    “It was the Bible which saved England from sinking into a tenth-rate power as a vassal of cruel, ignorant, superstitious Spain, whose Dominicans and tyrants would have turned her fields into slaughter-houses, as they turned those of the Netherlands, and would have made her cities reek as she made Seville reek with the bale-fires of the Inquisition!”

    — W Graham Scroggie, Is the Bible the Word of God? (Chicago: Moody Press, 1922), pp 119-20.
    This sort of “Wogs begin at Calais” flavour of Anglican theology/ ecclesiology seems to pop up frequently. It explains the frequent desire to paint Anglicanism is a peaceful via media between the sinister lurking Inquisitors of Rome and the Christmas-tree-banning theocrats of Geneva. It would also help explain the much more puzzling rejection by English Protestants of Lutheranism, which has an equal (or better) claim to be considered a via media between Rome and Geneva. Nothing against Lutheran doctrine as such, but Luther was so thoroughly German — a strength among Protestants in his homeland, a weakness among Prots in England.

  29. Tom R says:

    And re the Ryle-Ridley axis: you could substitute “Servetus” for “the English Reformers” and “the Trinity” for “the Real Presence” and, using JCR’s logic, come up with an equally valid reason for all Bible-believing Prots to be [Unit]Arians. Ditto re “Albigensians”. Besides, central to the Catholic position on Real Presence is that it only happens when a priest in Apostolic Succession (and, normally, also in communion with the Pope) says the verba magica. A Prot who says “I believe this is truly Christ’s body and blood even though my pastor has been excommunicated by Rome” does not truly believe in RP in the fullest sense that RCs do, anyway.
    I was puzzled once to read in one of JRR Tolkien’s Letters (ed Humphrey Carpenter) that he claimed the real reason for the Reformation was not indulgences or “Scripture alone” but “hatred of the Mass”. Since my experience with Reformation-based churches at the time was either Lutherans or Australian Anglicans (most of whom are low-church as to sola scriptura and sola gratia, but very “Lutheran” on the sacraments), Tolkien seemed to me to have lost the plot. I scrawled in the margin “JRRT may know every detail about Lúthien but he knows nothing about Luther”.
    Now, having seen just how uncompromisingly Zwinglian the Ryle/ Hammond/ Broughton Knox school of Anglico-Calvinism are, I think I was too harsh on Tolkien.

  30. Tom R says:

    And re the Ryle-Ridley axis: you could substitute “Servetus” for “the English Reformers” and “the Trinity” for “the Real Presence” and, using JCR’s logic, come up with an equally valid reason for all Bible-believing Prots to be [Unit]Arians. Ditto re “Albigensians”. Besides, central to the Catholic position on Real Presence is that it only happens when a priest in Apostolic Succession (and, normally, also in communion with the Pope) says the verba magica. A Prot who says “I believe this is truly Christ’s body and blood even though my pastor has been excommunicated by Rome” does not truly believe in RP in the fullest sense that RCs do, anyway.
    I was puzzled once to read in one of JRR Tolkien’s Letters (ed Humphrey Carpenter) that he claimed the real reason for the Reformation was not indulgences or “Scripture alone” but “hatred of the Mass”. Since my experience with Reformation-based churches at the time was either Lutherans or Australian Anglicans (most of whom are low-church as to sola scriptura and sola gratia, but very “Lutheran” on the sacraments), Tolkien seemed to me to have lost the plot. I scrawled in the margin “JRRT may know every detail about Lúthien but he knows nothing about Luther”.
    Now, having seen just how uncompromisingly Zwinglian the Ryle/ Hammond/ Broughton Knox school of Anglico-Calvinism are, I think I was too harsh on Tolkien.

  31. Tom R says:

    And re the Ryle-Ridley axis: you could substitute “Servetus” for “the English Reformers” and “the Trinity” for “the Real Presence” and, using JCR’s logic, come up with an equally valid reason for all Bible-believing Prots to be [Unit]Arians. Ditto re “Albigensians”. Besides, central to the Catholic position on Real Presence is that it only happens when a priest in Apostolic Succession (and, normally, also in communion with the Pope) says the verba magica. A Prot who says “I believe this is truly Christ’s body and blood even though my pastor has been excommunicated by Rome” does not truly believe in RP in the fullest sense that RCs do, anyway.
    I was puzzled once to read in one of JRR Tolkien’s Letters (ed Humphrey Carpenter) that he claimed the real reason for the Reformation was not indulgences or “Scripture alone” but “hatred of the Mass”. Since my experience with Reformation-based churches at the time was either Lutherans or Australian Anglicans (most of whom are low-church as to sola scriptura and sola gratia, but very “Lutheran” on the sacraments), Tolkien seemed to me to have lost the plot. I scrawled in the margin “JRRT may know every detail about Lúthien but he knows nothing about Luther”.
    Now, having seen just how uncompromisingly Zwinglian the Ryle/ Hammond/ Broughton Knox school of Anglico-Calvinism are, I think I was too harsh on Tolkien.

  32. Tom R says:

    And re the Ryle-Ridley axis: you could substitute “Servetus” for “the English Reformers” and “the Trinity” for “the Real Presence” and, using JCR’s logic, come up with an equally valid reason for all Bible-believing Prots to be [Unit]Arians. Ditto re “Albigensians”. Besides, central to the Catholic position on Real Presence is that it only happens when a priest in Apostolic Succession (and, normally, also in communion with the Pope) says the verba magica. A Prot who says “I believe this is truly Christ’s body and blood even though my pastor has been excommunicated by Rome” does not truly believe in RP in the fullest sense that RCs do, anyway.
    I was puzzled once to read in one of JRR Tolkien’s Letters (ed Humphrey Carpenter) that he claimed the real reason for the Reformation was not indulgences or “Scripture alone” but “hatred of the Mass”. Since my experience with Reformation-based churches at the time was either Lutherans or Australian Anglicans (most of whom are low-church as to sola scriptura and sola gratia, but very “Lutheran” on the sacraments), Tolkien seemed to me to have lost the plot. I scrawled in the margin “JRRT may know every detail about Lúthien but he knows nothing about Luther”.
    Now, having seen just how uncompromisingly Zwinglian the Ryle/ Hammond/ Broughton Knox school of Anglico-Calvinism are, I think I was too harsh on Tolkien.

  33. John H says:

    Tom – the quote from JRRT perhaps illustrates how, when the English refer to “the Reformation”, what they mean is the English Reformation – Henry’s divorce, dissolution of monasteries, English Bible and Prayer Book, fires at Smithfield, Good Queen Bess. So the failure of other Reformations, particularly the Lutheran Reformation, to follow the same script (particularly when it came to iconoclasm and the Mass) “does not compute”.
    As for the possibility of Henry turning Anglicanism into “Western Orthodoxy”: the problem with that idea is that Henry, despite everything, remained (in his own mind) firmly a Western Catholic to the end of his days. Ditto the Lutheran thing: Henry refused to agree to the demands of German Lutherans that the English Church adopt the Augsburg Confession, because of the the implicit bowing of the national knee that would have been involved in this. See my two posts on this subject, “Whatever Happened to the English Lutherans?” (1) and (2).

  34. John H says:

    Tom – the quote from JRRT perhaps illustrates how, when the English refer to “the Reformation”, what they mean is the English Reformation – Henry’s divorce, dissolution of monasteries, English Bible and Prayer Book, fires at Smithfield, Good Queen Bess. So the failure of other Reformations, particularly the Lutheran Reformation, to follow the same script (particularly when it came to iconoclasm and the Mass) “does not compute”.
    As for the possibility of Henry turning Anglicanism into “Western Orthodoxy”: the problem with that idea is that Henry, despite everything, remained (in his own mind) firmly a Western Catholic to the end of his days. Ditto the Lutheran thing: Henry refused to agree to the demands of German Lutherans that the English Church adopt the Augsburg Confession, because of the the implicit bowing of the national knee that would have been involved in this. See my two posts on this subject, “Whatever Happened to the English Lutherans?” (1) and (2).

  35. John H says:

    Tom – the quote from JRRT perhaps illustrates how, when the English refer to “the Reformation”, what they mean is the English Reformation – Henry’s divorce, dissolution of monasteries, English Bible and Prayer Book, fires at Smithfield, Good Queen Bess. So the failure of other Reformations, particularly the Lutheran Reformation, to follow the same script (particularly when it came to iconoclasm and the Mass) “does not compute”.
    As for the possibility of Henry turning Anglicanism into “Western Orthodoxy”: the problem with that idea is that Henry, despite everything, remained (in his own mind) firmly a Western Catholic to the end of his days. Ditto the Lutheran thing: Henry refused to agree to the demands of German Lutherans that the English Church adopt the Augsburg Confession, because of the the implicit bowing of the national knee that would have been involved in this. See my two posts on this subject, “Whatever Happened to the English Lutherans?” (1) and (2).

  36. John H says:

    Tom – the quote from JRRT perhaps illustrates how, when the English refer to “the Reformation”, what they mean is the English Reformation – Henry’s divorce, dissolution of monasteries, English Bible and Prayer Book, fires at Smithfield, Good Queen Bess. So the failure of other Reformations, particularly the Lutheran Reformation, to follow the same script (particularly when it came to iconoclasm and the Mass) “does not compute”.
    As for the possibility of Henry turning Anglicanism into “Western Orthodoxy”: the problem with that idea is that Henry, despite everything, remained (in his own mind) firmly a Western Catholic to the end of his days. Ditto the Lutheran thing: Henry refused to agree to the demands of German Lutherans that the English Church adopt the Augsburg Confession, because of the the implicit bowing of the national knee that would have been involved in this. See my two posts on this subject, “Whatever Happened to the English Lutherans?” (1) and (2).

  37. Tom R says:

    1. I think you’re spot-on re “the script”. A lot of English-language Catholic polemics against protestantism warns darkly about absolutist monarchs and totalitarian states imposing Protestant uniformity (which is why A Man For All Seasons tries to turn Thomas More into Atticus Finch). Read the French-language stuff, by contrast, and it’s all about anarchist Prots disrupting the sacred unity of the Catholic nation because they won’t submit to the God-ordained authority of the King (“une Roi, une loi, une Foi”).
    2. Apparently when some 19th-century High Anglicans approach the Patriarch of Constantinople for possible unity talks, he sent them away saying “Go and be reconciled with your own Patriarch of the West first”. (Christos Ioannou, do you know names/ dates?)
    3. I should have said “Socinus” (or “Giordano Bruno”) instead of Servetus above: I’m sure the Catholics burned their own share of anti-Trinitarians but for some reason, Calvin’s failure to stop the Genevan council doing likewise unto Miguel Servedo is considered uniquely heinous.

  38. Tom R says:

    1. I think you’re spot-on re “the script”. A lot of English-language Catholic polemics against protestantism warns darkly about absolutist monarchs and totalitarian states imposing Protestant uniformity (which is why A Man For All Seasons tries to turn Thomas More into Atticus Finch). Read the French-language stuff, by contrast, and it’s all about anarchist Prots disrupting the sacred unity of the Catholic nation because they won’t submit to the God-ordained authority of the King (“une Roi, une loi, une Foi”).
    2. Apparently when some 19th-century High Anglicans approach the Patriarch of Constantinople for possible unity talks, he sent them away saying “Go and be reconciled with your own Patriarch of the West first”. (Christos Ioannou, do you know names/ dates?)
    3. I should have said “Socinus” (or “Giordano Bruno”) instead of Servetus above: I’m sure the Catholics burned their own share of anti-Trinitarians but for some reason, Calvin’s failure to stop the Genevan council doing likewise unto Miguel Servedo is considered uniquely heinous.

  39. Tom R says:

    1. I think you’re spot-on re “the script”. A lot of English-language Catholic polemics against protestantism warns darkly about absolutist monarchs and totalitarian states imposing Protestant uniformity (which is why A Man For All Seasons tries to turn Thomas More into Atticus Finch). Read the French-language stuff, by contrast, and it’s all about anarchist Prots disrupting the sacred unity of the Catholic nation because they won’t submit to the God-ordained authority of the King (“une Roi, une loi, une Foi”).
    2. Apparently when some 19th-century High Anglicans approach the Patriarch of Constantinople for possible unity talks, he sent them away saying “Go and be reconciled with your own Patriarch of the West first”. (Christos Ioannou, do you know names/ dates?)
    3. I should have said “Socinus” (or “Giordano Bruno”) instead of Servetus above: I’m sure the Catholics burned their own share of anti-Trinitarians but for some reason, Calvin’s failure to stop the Genevan council doing likewise unto Miguel Servedo is considered uniquely heinous.

  40. Tom R says:

    1. I think you’re spot-on re “the script”. A lot of English-language Catholic polemics against protestantism warns darkly about absolutist monarchs and totalitarian states imposing Protestant uniformity (which is why A Man For All Seasons tries to turn Thomas More into Atticus Finch). Read the French-language stuff, by contrast, and it’s all about anarchist Prots disrupting the sacred unity of the Catholic nation because they won’t submit to the God-ordained authority of the King (“une Roi, une loi, une Foi”).
    2. Apparently when some 19th-century High Anglicans approach the Patriarch of Constantinople for possible unity talks, he sent them away saying “Go and be reconciled with your own Patriarch of the West first”. (Christos Ioannou, do you know names/ dates?)
    3. I should have said “Socinus” (or “Giordano Bruno”) instead of Servetus above: I’m sure the Catholics burned their own share of anti-Trinitarians but for some reason, Calvin’s failure to stop the Genevan council doing likewise unto Miguel Servedo is considered uniquely heinous.

  41. Tom R says:

    4. The brief interregnum of Cromwellian Puritanism seems to have turned the English race-memory as deeply against anything smacking of “Geneva” as Mary’s reign turned it against “Rome”. Both were seen, as you say, as “un-English”.

  42. Tom R says:

    4. The brief interregnum of Cromwellian Puritanism seems to have turned the English race-memory as deeply against anything smacking of “Geneva” as Mary’s reign turned it against “Rome”. Both were seen, as you say, as “un-English”.

  43. Tom R says:

    4. The brief interregnum of Cromwellian Puritanism seems to have turned the English race-memory as deeply against anything smacking of “Geneva” as Mary’s reign turned it against “Rome”. Both were seen, as you say, as “un-English”.

  44. Tom R says:

    4. The brief interregnum of Cromwellian Puritanism seems to have turned the English race-memory as deeply against anything smacking of “Geneva” as Mary’s reign turned it against “Rome”. Both were seen, as you say, as “un-English”.

  45. Tom R says:

    5. Also, central to the English Catholics’ “script” for the English Reformation was that the Anglicans and/or Protestants mainly wanted an antinomian break from the strict moral constraints of Catholicism, so that theological disputes were merely a cloak for greed and lust. Exhibit A: H8 wanted to discard his first wife, for no reason (never mind that he’d needed a special papal dispensation to marry her in the first place) and marry his pregnant mistress; he also wanted to loot the abbeys’ wealth.
    With a slight stretch, this can cover Luther also (never mind that his marriage long postdated his break with Catholic doctrine; it was to a former nun, and that’s scandalous enough). The “Protestantism is a cloak for immoral vice” is, however, almost comically inapt as a “script” to explain the Scots and Swiss Reformations, or even the Lutheran Reformation in Scandinavia (at least before the 1960s).

  46. Tom R says:

    5. Also, central to the English Catholics’ “script” for the English Reformation was that the Anglicans and/or Protestants mainly wanted an antinomian break from the strict moral constraints of Catholicism, so that theological disputes were merely a cloak for greed and lust. Exhibit A: H8 wanted to discard his first wife, for no reason (never mind that he’d needed a special papal dispensation to marry her in the first place) and marry his pregnant mistress; he also wanted to loot the abbeys’ wealth.
    With a slight stretch, this can cover Luther also (never mind that his marriage long postdated his break with Catholic doctrine; it was to a former nun, and that’s scandalous enough). The “Protestantism is a cloak for immoral vice” is, however, almost comically inapt as a “script” to explain the Scots and Swiss Reformations, or even the Lutheran Reformation in Scandinavia (at least before the 1960s).

  47. Tom R says:

    5. Also, central to the English Catholics’ “script” for the English Reformation was that the Anglicans and/or Protestants mainly wanted an antinomian break from the strict moral constraints of Catholicism, so that theological disputes were merely a cloak for greed and lust. Exhibit A: H8 wanted to discard his first wife, for no reason (never mind that he’d needed a special papal dispensation to marry her in the first place) and marry his pregnant mistress; he also wanted to loot the abbeys’ wealth.
    With a slight stretch, this can cover Luther also (never mind that his marriage long postdated his break with Catholic doctrine; it was to a former nun, and that’s scandalous enough). The “Protestantism is a cloak for immoral vice” is, however, almost comically inapt as a “script” to explain the Scots and Swiss Reformations, or even the Lutheran Reformation in Scandinavia (at least before the 1960s).

  48. Tom R says:

    5. Also, central to the English Catholics’ “script” for the English Reformation was that the Anglicans and/or Protestants mainly wanted an antinomian break from the strict moral constraints of Catholicism, so that theological disputes were merely a cloak for greed and lust. Exhibit A: H8 wanted to discard his first wife, for no reason (never mind that he’d needed a special papal dispensation to marry her in the first place) and marry his pregnant mistress; he also wanted to loot the abbeys’ wealth.
    With a slight stretch, this can cover Luther also (never mind that his marriage long postdated his break with Catholic doctrine; it was to a former nun, and that’s scandalous enough). The “Protestantism is a cloak for immoral vice” is, however, almost comically inapt as a “script” to explain the Scots and Swiss Reformations, or even the Lutheran Reformation in Scandinavia (at least before the 1960s).

  49. William says:

    Hello, great article.
    Nicholas Ridley, who is thought to have had a real influence on the BCP, seems to maintain a clear spiritual presence of Christ “in” the consecrated elements.
    This is the view also of Bishop Overall who wrote the Last segment of the Anglican Catechism on the Sacraments.
    This also the apparent view of Bishop Guest who edited the wording of Cranmer’s 42 Articles on the Lord’s Table for the 39 Articles–in making clear that the body and blood of Christ are truly consumed in the elements (except in the case of the wicked, who Aquinas [and this is certainly not a plug for Transubstantiation] also noted as not receiving the life-giving Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament).
    The point is, unlike the doctrine of “Baptismal regeneration”* which is the undisputable doctrine of the Anglican formularies [no matter what rather unusual arguments Bishop Ryle in the 1800s puts up to the contrary (being unfortunately more [Low?] Presbyterian than Classic Anglican in his overall beliefs)] the doctrine of Holy Communion has some range of variance which is acceptable within the formularies–that is, ranging from Spiritual Presence in the consecrated elements, to a Spiritual Presence only in the eating of the consecrated elements.
    The firm doctrinal boundary set in the Anglican formularies is that Christ is not present after a corporal, fleshly manner in the elements–but rather in a Heavenly and Spiritual manner.
    But given that the Anglican Church bound itself in the affirming of the 39 Articles to submit to the Ancient faith of the Church, then the Spiritual Presence “in” the Consecrated elements is the only truly acceptable view which, I believe, can be honestly held if the officially proclaimed spirit of the 39 Articles is to be adhered to.
    God Bless.
    p.s.*Although I certainly can understand that this is not necessarily the favorite name of the definite grace-which we confess in the Nicene Creed-as being received in everyone who rightly receives Baptism

  50. William says:

    Hello, great article.
    Nicholas Ridley, who is thought to have had a real influence on the BCP, seems to maintain a clear spiritual presence of Christ “in” the consecrated elements.
    This is the view also of Bishop Overall who wrote the Last segment of the Anglican Catechism on the Sacraments.
    This also the apparent view of Bishop Guest who edited the wording of Cranmer’s 42 Articles on the Lord’s Table for the 39 Articles–in making clear that the body and blood of Christ are truly consumed in the elements (except in the case of the wicked, who Aquinas [and this is certainly not a plug for Transubstantiation] also noted as not receiving the life-giving Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament).
    The point is, unlike the doctrine of “Baptismal regeneration”* which is the undisputable doctrine of the Anglican formularies [no matter what rather unusual arguments Bishop Ryle in the 1800s puts up to the contrary (being unfortunately more [Low?] Presbyterian than Classic Anglican in his overall beliefs)] the doctrine of Holy Communion has some range of variance which is acceptable within the formularies–that is, ranging from Spiritual Presence in the consecrated elements, to a Spiritual Presence only in the eating of the consecrated elements.
    The firm doctrinal boundary set in the Anglican formularies is that Christ is not present after a corporal, fleshly manner in the elements–but rather in a Heavenly and Spiritual manner.
    But given that the Anglican Church bound itself in the affirming of the 39 Articles to submit to the Ancient faith of the Church, then the Spiritual Presence “in” the Consecrated elements is the only truly acceptable view which, I believe, can be honestly held if the officially proclaimed spirit of the 39 Articles is to be adhered to.
    God Bless.
    p.s.*Although I certainly can understand that this is not necessarily the favorite name of the definite grace-which we confess in the Nicene Creed-as being received in everyone who rightly receives Baptism

  51. William says:

    Hello, great article.
    Nicholas Ridley, who is thought to have had a real influence on the BCP, seems to maintain a clear spiritual presence of Christ “in” the consecrated elements.
    This is the view also of Bishop Overall who wrote the Last segment of the Anglican Catechism on the Sacraments.
    This also the apparent view of Bishop Guest who edited the wording of Cranmer’s 42 Articles on the Lord’s Table for the 39 Articles–in making clear that the body and blood of Christ are truly consumed in the elements (except in the case of the wicked, who Aquinas [and this is certainly not a plug for Transubstantiation] also noted as not receiving the life-giving Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament).
    The point is, unlike the doctrine of “Baptismal regeneration”* which is the undisputable doctrine of the Anglican formularies [no matter what rather unusual arguments Bishop Ryle in the 1800s puts up to the contrary (being unfortunately more [Low?] Presbyterian than Classic Anglican in his overall beliefs)] the doctrine of Holy Communion has some range of variance which is acceptable within the formularies–that is, ranging from Spiritual Presence in the consecrated elements, to a Spiritual Presence only in the eating of the consecrated elements.
    The firm doctrinal boundary set in the Anglican formularies is that Christ is not present after a corporal, fleshly manner in the elements–but rather in a Heavenly and Spiritual manner.
    But given that the Anglican Church bound itself in the affirming of the 39 Articles to submit to the Ancient faith of the Church, then the Spiritual Presence “in” the Consecrated elements is the only truly acceptable view which, I believe, can be honestly held if the officially proclaimed spirit of the 39 Articles is to be adhered to.
    God Bless.
    p.s.*Although I certainly can understand that this is not necessarily the favorite name of the definite grace-which we confess in the Nicene Creed-as being received in everyone who rightly receives Baptism

  52. William says:

    Hello, great article.
    Nicholas Ridley, who is thought to have had a real influence on the BCP, seems to maintain a clear spiritual presence of Christ “in” the consecrated elements.
    This is the view also of Bishop Overall who wrote the Last segment of the Anglican Catechism on the Sacraments.
    This also the apparent view of Bishop Guest who edited the wording of Cranmer’s 42 Articles on the Lord’s Table for the 39 Articles–in making clear that the body and blood of Christ are truly consumed in the elements (except in the case of the wicked, who Aquinas [and this is certainly not a plug for Transubstantiation] also noted as not receiving the life-giving Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament).
    The point is, unlike the doctrine of “Baptismal regeneration”* which is the undisputable doctrine of the Anglican formularies [no matter what rather unusual arguments Bishop Ryle in the 1800s puts up to the contrary (being unfortunately more [Low?] Presbyterian than Classic Anglican in his overall beliefs)] the doctrine of Holy Communion has some range of variance which is acceptable within the formularies–that is, ranging from Spiritual Presence in the consecrated elements, to a Spiritual Presence only in the eating of the consecrated elements.
    The firm doctrinal boundary set in the Anglican formularies is that Christ is not present after a corporal, fleshly manner in the elements–but rather in a Heavenly and Spiritual manner.
    But given that the Anglican Church bound itself in the affirming of the 39 Articles to submit to the Ancient faith of the Church, then the Spiritual Presence “in” the Consecrated elements is the only truly acceptable view which, I believe, can be honestly held if the officially proclaimed spirit of the 39 Articles is to be adhered to.
    God Bless.
    p.s.*Although I certainly can understand that this is not necessarily the favorite name of the definite grace-which we confess in the Nicene Creed-as being received in everyone who rightly receives Baptism

  53. William: thanks for your comment (your surname wouldn’t begin with a “T”, would it? Just wondering…)
    The concept of a “spiritual presence in the consecrated elements” still seems to fall a little short of the sort of robust affirmation found in Luther’s Small Catechism, that “the Sacrament of the Altar … is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink” – what the Pontificator has described as the “Real Identification”.
    The impression given is that the Anglican Reformers were tiptoeing round the issue a little, not able to join with Luther’s “hoc est corpus meum” table-pounding, but equally falling short of an explicitly Calvinistic approach (let alone a Zwinglian one).
    This is then reflected in the Book of Common Prayer, particularly the words used at the distribution, where there is a (deliberate?) ambiguity as to whether the words in bold (originally from the 1549 book, of course) are referring specifically to the elements, or to something happening in parallel with the receiving of the elements:
    The bodie of our lord Jesu Christ, which was geven for the, preserve thy body and soule into everlastinge life: and take and eate this in remembraunce that Christ died for thee, feede on him in thine heart by faith, with thankesgevynge.
    The bloude of our lorde Jesu Christ, which was shedd for the, preserve thy body and soule into everlasting life: and drinke this in remembraunce that Christes bloude was shedde for thee, and be thankeful.
    (1559 version)
    (A similar ambiguity applies to the form of absolution in the BCP: “He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel”. Is that absolution, or merely information about absolution?)

  54. William: thanks for your comment (your surname wouldn’t begin with a “T”, would it? Just wondering…)
    The concept of a “spiritual presence in the consecrated elements” still seems to fall a little short of the sort of robust affirmation found in Luther’s Small Catechism, that “the Sacrament of the Altar … is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink” – what the Pontificator has described as the “Real Identification”.
    The impression given is that the Anglican Reformers were tiptoeing round the issue a little, not able to join with Luther’s “hoc est corpus meum” table-pounding, but equally falling short of an explicitly Calvinistic approach (let alone a Zwinglian one).
    This is then reflected in the Book of Common Prayer, particularly the words used at the distribution, where there is a (deliberate?) ambiguity as to whether the words in bold (originally from the 1549 book, of course) are referring specifically to the elements, or to something happening in parallel with the receiving of the elements:
    The bodie of our lord Jesu Christ, which was geven for the, preserve thy body and soule into everlastinge life: and take and eate this in remembraunce that Christ died for thee, feede on him in thine heart by faith, with thankesgevynge.
    The bloude of our lorde Jesu Christ, which was shedd for the, preserve thy body and soule into everlasting life: and drinke this in remembraunce that Christes bloude was shedde for thee, and be thankeful.
    (1559 version)
    (A similar ambiguity applies to the form of absolution in the BCP: “He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel”. Is that absolution, or merely information about absolution?)

  55. William: thanks for your comment (your surname wouldn’t begin with a “T”, would it? Just wondering…)
    The concept of a “spiritual presence in the consecrated elements” still seems to fall a little short of the sort of robust affirmation found in Luther’s Small Catechism, that “the Sacrament of the Altar … is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink” – what the Pontificator has described as the “Real Identification”.
    The impression given is that the Anglican Reformers were tiptoeing round the issue a little, not able to join with Luther’s “hoc est corpus meum” table-pounding, but equally falling short of an explicitly Calvinistic approach (let alone a Zwinglian one).
    This is then reflected in the Book of Common Prayer, particularly the words used at the distribution, where there is a (deliberate?) ambiguity as to whether the words in bold (originally from the 1549 book, of course) are referring specifically to the elements, or to something happening in parallel with the receiving of the elements:
    The bodie of our lord Jesu Christ, which was geven for the, preserve thy body and soule into everlastinge life: and take and eate this in remembraunce that Christ died for thee, feede on him in thine heart by faith, with thankesgevynge.
    The bloude of our lorde Jesu Christ, which was shedd for the, preserve thy body and soule into everlasting life: and drinke this in remembraunce that Christes bloude was shedde for thee, and be thankeful.
    (1559 version)
    (A similar ambiguity applies to the form of absolution in the BCP: “He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel”. Is that absolution, or merely information about absolution?)

  56. William: thanks for your comment (your surname wouldn’t begin with a “T”, would it? Just wondering…)
    The concept of a “spiritual presence in the consecrated elements” still seems to fall a little short of the sort of robust affirmation found in Luther’s Small Catechism, that “the Sacrament of the Altar … is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink” – what the Pontificator has described as the “Real Identification”.
    The impression given is that the Anglican Reformers were tiptoeing round the issue a little, not able to join with Luther’s “hoc est corpus meum” table-pounding, but equally falling short of an explicitly Calvinistic approach (let alone a Zwinglian one).
    This is then reflected in the Book of Common Prayer, particularly the words used at the distribution, where there is a (deliberate?) ambiguity as to whether the words in bold (originally from the 1549 book, of course) are referring specifically to the elements, or to something happening in parallel with the receiving of the elements:
    The bodie of our lord Jesu Christ, which was geven for the, preserve thy body and soule into everlastinge life: and take and eate this in remembraunce that Christ died for thee, feede on him in thine heart by faith, with thankesgevynge.
    The bloude of our lorde Jesu Christ, which was shedd for the, preserve thy body and soule into everlasting life: and drinke this in remembraunce that Christes bloude was shedde for thee, and be thankeful.
    (1559 version)
    (A similar ambiguity applies to the form of absolution in the BCP: “He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel”. Is that absolution, or merely information about absolution?)

  57. William says:

    Hello John,
    Thank you for your comments.
    In response to the first question, I’m afraid my surname doesn’t begin with a “T”–try an “S” instead. ; )
    [Apologies beforehand for the repetitive and poorly organized nature of the following comments]
    The view of the “spiritual real presence” being “in” the elements, doesn’t deny Christ’s true* Body and Blood being in the elements, but it understands His Body and Blood being there after a spiritual versus a fleshly manner.
    In fact, Christ in His Humanity and Divinity from this standpoint can be understood to dwell in the Consecrated Elements but again after a spiritual manner versus a physical, fleshly manner.
    In this sense the “Spiritual Substance”* of the consecrated elements is Christ’s Body and Blood, while the
    “Physical Substance” remains fully bread and wine (thus, no physical transformation occurs in the elements, although a definite spiritual transformation occurs, as Ridley notes).
    This view is strongly in accord I believe with the historic view of the Church found in Augustine, and even to some extent with the “spiritual presence” which Aquinas taught in his version of Transubstantiation –see the following link: http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/mcgarvey/aquinas.pdf
    [This is clearly an Anglo-Catholic article and I believe it is certainly a stretch at times (especially as regards the Council of Trent), but it still provides some interesting parallels, particularly in light of the in depth commentaries by Ridley on this issue (again this is no endorsement for Transubstantiation, which doctrine was rightly condemned in the Articles)].
    And, as Augustine (and Aquinas) taught, the Physical Resurrected Body of Christ abides separate from the Elements in Heaven, as He abode separate from the Elements at the Last Supper. And yet, by the miraculous working of the Spirit He is made present in His Humanity and Divinity, after a spiritual manner, in the Elements so that we can truly say with Christ “this is My Body” (as Augustine affirmed)**.
    *(although the Anglican Divines such as Ridley wouldn’t generally refer to the presence in this manner because the idea of “true” and “substance” implied a fleshly presence)
    **And this is not to deny the fact that the bread and wine are also the symbols of Christ’s Body and Blood.
    The bread and wine are outward signs with an inward spiritual grace. The inward spiritual grace being the very Body and Blood of Christ.
    So, ironically in some sense both Luther and Zwingli could be considered correct. Zwingli was correct in asserting that the bread and wine are Christ’s Body and Blood in a symbolic manner, and Luther was correct that the bread “is” the Body of Christ and the wine “is” the Blood of Christ. The historic notion of what the Blessed sacrament is actually demands, I believe, that both be correct in this sense.
    And I definitely agree with your comments regarding the general ambiguity in the BCP (and in the Articles and Homilies for that matter) of whether there is an objective real presence “in” the elements. As I mentioned in my previous post, the formularies allow for some variation regarding the nature of the spiritual real presence, but , as mentioned previously, I believe firmly that the “spirit” of the 39 Articles, in the stated commitment, when it was affirmed, for the Anglican Church to adhere to the ancient faith of the Church, and Church Fathers demands that the presence be understood as being “in” the elements.
    As for the absolution for Morning and Evening Prayer, it is true that this particular absolution is rather ambiguous–although the absolution in the Visitation of the Sick is very clear in the doctrine of absolution [(and there is also the recommendation for private confession in the case of a troubled conscience). Also, the absolution of the Private Communion of the sick is very clear in the doctrine that it maintains.]
    1559 BCP
    ¶ Here shall the sicke persone make a speciall confession, if he feele hys conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After whiche confession the priest shall absolve him after this sorte.
    OUR Lorde Jesus Christ who hath left power to hys Churche to absolve all sinners, whiche truly repente, and beleve in him: of hys greate mercie forgeve thyne offences, and by his aucthoritie committed to me, I absolve the from al thy synnes. In the name of the father and of the sonne &c. Amen.
    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1559/Visitation_Sick_1559.htm

  58. William says:

    Hello John,
    Thank you for your comments.
    In response to the first question, I’m afraid my surname doesn’t begin with a “T”–try an “S” instead. ; )
    [Apologies beforehand for the repetitive and poorly organized nature of the following comments]
    The view of the “spiritual real presence” being “in” the elements, doesn’t deny Christ’s true* Body and Blood being in the elements, but it understands His Body and Blood being there after a spiritual versus a fleshly manner.
    In fact, Christ in His Humanity and Divinity from this standpoint can be understood to dwell in the Consecrated Elements but again after a spiritual manner versus a physical, fleshly manner.
    In this sense the “Spiritual Substance”* of the consecrated elements is Christ’s Body and Blood, while the
    “Physical Substance” remains fully bread and wine (thus, no physical transformation occurs in the elements, although a definite spiritual transformation occurs, as Ridley notes).
    This view is strongly in accord I believe with the historic view of the Church found in Augustine, and even to some extent with the “spiritual presence” which Aquinas taught in his version of Transubstantiation –see the following link: http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/mcgarvey/aquinas.pdf
    [This is clearly an Anglo-Catholic article and I believe it is certainly a stretch at times (especially as regards the Council of Trent), but it still provides some interesting parallels, particularly in light of the in depth commentaries by Ridley on this issue (again this is no endorsement for Transubstantiation, which doctrine was rightly condemned in the Articles)].
    And, as Augustine (and Aquinas) taught, the Physical Resurrected Body of Christ abides separate from the Elements in Heaven, as He abode separate from the Elements at the Last Supper. And yet, by the miraculous working of the Spirit He is made present in His Humanity and Divinity, after a spiritual manner, in the Elements so that we can truly say with Christ “this is My Body” (as Augustine affirmed)**.
    *(although the Anglican Divines such as Ridley wouldn’t generally refer to the presence in this manner because the idea of “true” and “substance” implied a fleshly presence)
    **And this is not to deny the fact that the bread and wine are also the symbols of Christ’s Body and Blood.
    The bread and wine are outward signs with an inward spiritual grace. The inward spiritual grace being the very Body and Blood of Christ.
    So, ironically in some sense both Luther and Zwingli could be considered correct. Zwingli was correct in asserting that the bread and wine are Christ’s Body and Blood in a symbolic manner, and Luther was correct that the bread “is” the Body of Christ and the wine “is” the Blood of Christ. The historic notion of what the Blessed sacrament is actually demands, I believe, that both be correct in this sense.
    And I definitely agree with your comments regarding the general ambiguity in the BCP (and in the Articles and Homilies for that matter) of whether there is an objective real presence “in” the elements. As I mentioned in my previous post, the formularies allow for some variation regarding the nature of the spiritual real presence, but , as mentioned previously, I believe firmly that the “spirit” of the 39 Articles, in the stated commitment, when it was affirmed, for the Anglican Church to adhere to the ancient faith of the Church, and Church Fathers demands that the presence be understood as being “in” the elements.
    As for the absolution for Morning and Evening Prayer, it is true that this particular absolution is rather ambiguous–although the absolution in the Visitation of the Sick is very clear in the doctrine of absolution [(and there is also the recommendation for private confession in the case of a troubled conscience). Also, the absolution of the Private Communion of the sick is very clear in the doctrine that it maintains.]
    1559 BCP
    ¶ Here shall the sicke persone make a speciall confession, if he feele hys conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After whiche confession the priest shall absolve him after this sorte.
    OUR Lorde Jesus Christ who hath left power to hys Churche to absolve all sinners, whiche truly repente, and beleve in him: of hys greate mercie forgeve thyne offences, and by his aucthoritie committed to me, I absolve the from al thy synnes. In the name of the father and of the sonne &c. Amen.
    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1559/Visitation_Sick_1559.htm

  59. William says:

    Hello John,
    Thank you for your comments.
    In response to the first question, I’m afraid my surname doesn’t begin with a “T”–try an “S” instead. ; )
    [Apologies beforehand for the repetitive and poorly organized nature of the following comments]
    The view of the “spiritual real presence” being “in” the elements, doesn’t deny Christ’s true* Body and Blood being in the elements, but it understands His Body and Blood being there after a spiritual versus a fleshly manner.
    In fact, Christ in His Humanity and Divinity from this standpoint can be understood to dwell in the Consecrated Elements but again after a spiritual manner versus a physical, fleshly manner.
    In this sense the “Spiritual Substance”* of the consecrated elements is Christ’s Body and Blood, while the
    “Physical Substance” remains fully bread and wine (thus, no physical transformation occurs in the elements, although a definite spiritual transformation occurs, as Ridley notes).
    This view is strongly in accord I believe with the historic view of the Church found in Augustine, and even to some extent with the “spiritual presence” which Aquinas taught in his version of Transubstantiation –see the following link: http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/mcgarvey/aquinas.pdf
    [This is clearly an Anglo-Catholic article and I believe it is certainly a stretch at times (especially as regards the Council of Trent), but it still provides some interesting parallels, particularly in light of the in depth commentaries by Ridley on this issue (again this is no endorsement for Transubstantiation, which doctrine was rightly condemned in the Articles)].
    And, as Augustine (and Aquinas) taught, the Physical Resurrected Body of Christ abides separate from the Elements in Heaven, as He abode separate from the Elements at the Last Supper. And yet, by the miraculous working of the Spirit He is made present in His Humanity and Divinity, after a spiritual manner, in the Elements so that we can truly say with Christ “this is My Body” (as Augustine affirmed)**.
    *(although the Anglican Divines such as Ridley wouldn’t generally refer to the presence in this manner because the idea of “true” and “substance” implied a fleshly presence)
    **And this is not to deny the fact that the bread and wine are also the symbols of Christ’s Body and Blood.
    The bread and wine are outward signs with an inward spiritual grace. The inward spiritual grace being the very Body and Blood of Christ.
    So, ironically in some sense both Luther and Zwingli could be considered correct. Zwingli was correct in asserting that the bread and wine are Christ’s Body and Blood in a symbolic manner, and Luther was correct that the bread “is” the Body of Christ and the wine “is” the Blood of Christ. The historic notion of what the Blessed sacrament is actually demands, I believe, that both be correct in this sense.
    And I definitely agree with your comments regarding the general ambiguity in the BCP (and in the Articles and Homilies for that matter) of whether there is an objective real presence “in” the elements. As I mentioned in my previous post, the formularies allow for some variation regarding the nature of the spiritual real presence, but , as mentioned previously, I believe firmly that the “spirit” of the 39 Articles, in the stated commitment, when it was affirmed, for the Anglican Church to adhere to the ancient faith of the Church, and Church Fathers demands that the presence be understood as being “in” the elements.
    As for the absolution for Morning and Evening Prayer, it is true that this particular absolution is rather ambiguous–although the absolution in the Visitation of the Sick is very clear in the doctrine of absolution [(and there is also the recommendation for private confession in the case of a troubled conscience). Also, the absolution of the Private Communion of the sick is very clear in the doctrine that it maintains.]
    1559 BCP
    ¶ Here shall the sicke persone make a speciall confession, if he feele hys conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After whiche confession the priest shall absolve him after this sorte.
    OUR Lorde Jesus Christ who hath left power to hys Churche to absolve all sinners, whiche truly repente, and beleve in him: of hys greate mercie forgeve thyne offences, and by his aucthoritie committed to me, I absolve the from al thy synnes. In the name of the father and of the sonne &c. Amen.
    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1559/Visitation_Sick_1559.htm

  60. William says:

    Hello John,
    Thank you for your comments.
    In response to the first question, I’m afraid my surname doesn’t begin with a “T”–try an “S” instead. ; )
    [Apologies beforehand for the repetitive and poorly organized nature of the following comments]
    The view of the “spiritual real presence” being “in” the elements, doesn’t deny Christ’s true* Body and Blood being in the elements, but it understands His Body and Blood being there after a spiritual versus a fleshly manner.
    In fact, Christ in His Humanity and Divinity from this standpoint can be understood to dwell in the Consecrated Elements but again after a spiritual manner versus a physical, fleshly manner.
    In this sense the “Spiritual Substance”* of the consecrated elements is Christ’s Body and Blood, while the
    “Physical Substance” remains fully bread and wine (thus, no physical transformation occurs in the elements, although a definite spiritual transformation occurs, as Ridley notes).
    This view is strongly in accord I believe with the historic view of the Church found in Augustine, and even to some extent with the “spiritual presence” which Aquinas taught in his version of Transubstantiation –see the following link: http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/mcgarvey/aquinas.pdf
    [This is clearly an Anglo-Catholic article and I believe it is certainly a stretch at times (especially as regards the Council of Trent), but it still provides some interesting parallels, particularly in light of the in depth commentaries by Ridley on this issue (again this is no endorsement for Transubstantiation, which doctrine was rightly condemned in the Articles)].
    And, as Augustine (and Aquinas) taught, the Physical Resurrected Body of Christ abides separate from the Elements in Heaven, as He abode separate from the Elements at the Last Supper. And yet, by the miraculous working of the Spirit He is made present in His Humanity and Divinity, after a spiritual manner, in the Elements so that we can truly say with Christ “this is My Body” (as Augustine affirmed)**.
    *(although the Anglican Divines such as Ridley wouldn’t generally refer to the presence in this manner because the idea of “true” and “substance” implied a fleshly presence)
    **And this is not to deny the fact that the bread and wine are also the symbols of Christ’s Body and Blood.
    The bread and wine are outward signs with an inward spiritual grace. The inward spiritual grace being the very Body and Blood of Christ.
    So, ironically in some sense both Luther and Zwingli could be considered correct. Zwingli was correct in asserting that the bread and wine are Christ’s Body and Blood in a symbolic manner, and Luther was correct that the bread “is” the Body of Christ and the wine “is” the Blood of Christ. The historic notion of what the Blessed sacrament is actually demands, I believe, that both be correct in this sense.
    And I definitely agree with your comments regarding the general ambiguity in the BCP (and in the Articles and Homilies for that matter) of whether there is an objective real presence “in” the elements. As I mentioned in my previous post, the formularies allow for some variation regarding the nature of the spiritual real presence, but , as mentioned previously, I believe firmly that the “spirit” of the 39 Articles, in the stated commitment, when it was affirmed, for the Anglican Church to adhere to the ancient faith of the Church, and Church Fathers demands that the presence be understood as being “in” the elements.
    As for the absolution for Morning and Evening Prayer, it is true that this particular absolution is rather ambiguous–although the absolution in the Visitation of the Sick is very clear in the doctrine of absolution [(and there is also the recommendation for private confession in the case of a troubled conscience). Also, the absolution of the Private Communion of the sick is very clear in the doctrine that it maintains.]
    1559 BCP
    ¶ Here shall the sicke persone make a speciall confession, if he feele hys conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After whiche confession the priest shall absolve him after this sorte.
    OUR Lorde Jesus Christ who hath left power to hys Churche to absolve all sinners, whiche truly repente, and beleve in him: of hys greate mercie forgeve thyne offences, and by his aucthoritie committed to me, I absolve the from al thy synnes. In the name of the father and of the sonne &c. Amen.
    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1559/Visitation_Sick_1559.htm

  61. William says:

    Sorry, my last paragraph was not edited and was rather jumbled up.
    Here is the edited version:
    “As for the absolution for Morning and Evening Prayer, it is true that this particular absolution is rather ambiguous–although the absolution in the Visitation of the Sick is very clear in the doctrine of absolution.”

  62. William says:

    Sorry, my last paragraph was not edited and was rather jumbled up.
    Here is the edited version:
    “As for the absolution for Morning and Evening Prayer, it is true that this particular absolution is rather ambiguous–although the absolution in the Visitation of the Sick is very clear in the doctrine of absolution.”

  63. William says:

    Sorry, my last paragraph was not edited and was rather jumbled up.
    Here is the edited version:
    “As for the absolution for Morning and Evening Prayer, it is true that this particular absolution is rather ambiguous–although the absolution in the Visitation of the Sick is very clear in the doctrine of absolution.”

  64. William says:

    Sorry, my last paragraph was not edited and was rather jumbled up.
    Here is the edited version:
    “As for the absolution for Morning and Evening Prayer, it is true that this particular absolution is rather ambiguous–although the absolution in the Visitation of the Sick is very clear in the doctrine of absolution.”

  65. John H says:

    Edited this post today to tone down the closing paragraphs, which were a bit too “cage-phase” for me to feel able to link to it these days…

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