Monday, January 21, 2008

#1: Historic Anglicanism is Biblical.

The following is an article by Dr. Paul Barnett called: "Ten Elements of Historic Anglicanism". Dr. Barnett was the Anglican Bishop of North Sydney from 1990-2001. Dr. Barnett's Ten Elements were inspired by the comments of J.I. Packer in "Speculating in Anglican Futures" in New Directions (Sept 1995), 6. Read the Introductory posts HERE.

Let's begin. The first is significant:
'First and foremost this Anglicanism (Historic Anglicanism) locates its final authority in matters pertaining to salvation in the Holy Scriptures (Article 6). The church, as "witness and keeper of the holy writ", has "power to decree rites and authority in matters of controversy." (Article 20) Nonetheless, churches may err and have erred within history.

Thus the church must defer to the Bible in all matters relating to salvation and, indeed, in all matters relating to rites, ceremonies and controversies.

Thus the Anglican Church is biblical as to the basis of its authority. At ordination the presbyter/minister is given a Bible as the instrument of ministry. The Bishop's charge in the Ordinal, along with the questions and answers, make it abundantly clear that Christian ministry has the Bible as the basis and means of ministry.'
The 39 Articles are clear: If it is not in the Bible, it is not required. The 6th Article says:
'...whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.'
This is liberating, for it means that no person, pastor or power may burden a believer with the imaginations of their own heart.

Pic on Flickr by diane leigh.


sam said...

Why does the Anglican church have 'priests' then? if it is not in the Bible it is not required. Is this a distortion of Anglican theology?

Sudsy said...

In Sydney we don't have 'priests'. They are now called 'presbyters'.


sam said...

that's a pretty recent thing though.

Justin said...

Sam -- here is my understanding:

The term ‘priest’ was a hangover to Roman Catholicism (we are not saying that it is historical neat – it most certainly isn’t). There were many who wanted the term to be removed in favor of minister (I think that Cramner was one) or even presbyter.

But here is the thing: there is room to disagree on this. That is the point. It is *not* required. The Article says: “No man shall be required” etc if it is not in the Bible. And its *not* in the Bible, so what does the Sydney Diocese do? It changes the name to presbyter. Simple.

So the point is in fact made even clearer by all this!

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Hey Justin,

from what I've read in this post, Article 6 supports the concept of 'Adiaphoria' (sorry for the spelling).

Looking forward to catching up with the other posts.