The Apology of the Church of England (TREDITION CLASSICS)

Church of England
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But there were other teachings of scripture that it was incumbent on the church to follow, such as the christological and trinitarian dogmas of the Early Church and aspects of the ministry, the sacraments and church government, that were not clear from Scripture alone. Here the English church appealed to the guidance of the consent of antiquity and the general councils of the undivided church.

The Authority of Scripture. The Reformation principle sola scriptura was interpreted in various ways. For Luther it was a critical principle to cut back radically the claims of the church to elaborate the conditions of salvation and to impose heavy burdens on the consciences of Christian folk. Scripture clearly taught the way of salvation; its central message of justification by faith alone without meritorious works was the criterion of all Christian doctrine. For Luther the gospel of justification was also the criterion of canonicity and led him to disqualify certain New Testament books especially James and Revelation as not sufficiently Christological and evangelical. Luther's emphasis was echoed by Hooker in his teaching that scripture is adequate to its divinely given purpose, namely to show the way of salvation, but not to prescribe for all aspects of life, as the puritans insisted. Here the puritans were the heirs of the Swiss Reformation which had tended to take the Bible both Testaments equally as a body of prescriptive truths legislating for every aspect of Christian worship and discipline.

Luther sat lightly to such matters, emphasising evangelical freedom and categorising large areas as things indifferent - provided always that conscience was not imposed upon. Some English Reformers seem to countenance the puritan approach. Whatever the sympathies of some individual English Reformers may have been, the official formularies of the English Reformation commit the Church of England only to the limited sense of sola scriptura advocated in their different ways by Luther and Hooker. The Anglican formularies do not contain any definition of the nature of biblical inspiration or of the extent of biblical authority - statements which would undoubtedly have embarrassed the church in a later, critical, age.

The sixteenth century formularies worked with a distinction between things necessary to salvation and things not necessary but nevertheless prudent and edifying to be followed,. The Anglican Reformers were not crass literalists. Like their continental counterparts, they had received a humanist training. They were not merely engaged in bandying proof-texts taken out of context. That is why Whitgift, reiterating the standard Anglican position on the authority of scripture says that nothing may be put forward as necessary to salvation or as an article of faith which it is incumbent on Christians to believe 'except it be expressly contained in the word of God, or may manifestly thereof be gathered'.

A similar nuance may be detected in the Thirty-nine Articles' reference to proving or testing claims by the scriptures:. Holy scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that 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 Article 6, my emphasis. Incidentally, the Articles also make the scriptures the rule whereby all other forms of authority in the church are themselves to be assessed.

The Authority of Tradition: Fathers and Councils. The arguments of the Reformation were fought out, not only on the battleground of the interpretation of scripture, but also on that of the authority of the early fathers of the church. Controversialists on both sides set about proving, with immense labour, the agreement of their respective churches' positions with the teaching of the primitive church. The Reformers were not content to appeal only to the authority of scripture, though scripture was indeed the paramount and ultimate arbiter.

Had they been setting out to create a church de novo rather than, as Calvin put it, to renew the face of the catholic church, they could have ignored tradition. Had they believed, with the radical spirits of the Reformation, that the church had apostatised from the truth after the death of the last apostle, the teaching of the fathers would have been irrelevant.

In fact the appeal to patristic tradition was not merely ad hominem, to counter such an appeal by Roman Catholics, nor merely tactical, to undermine such radical innovations as the rejection of infant baptism by the Anabaptists. The Reformers' appeal to patristic tradition was integral to their theological position.

It was an extension and practical application of the sola scriptura principle, for the fathers were revered as biblical theologians who themselves deferred to the paramount and ultimate authority of scripture. The Reformers acknowledged that the guidance of the fathers was needed, for while the message of salvation was clear to all on the surface of the biblical text, not all the teachings of scripture were equally perspicuous.

For Jewel, a consensus of antiquity was to be sought where the scriptures were obscure. The first six hundred years of Christian history were normative; they provided a safeguard against the accretions of tradition and untrammelled private judgement alike. But the fathers were not to be awarded greater authority than they sought for themselves; it was as faithful and privileged interpreters of scripture that their guidance was to be valued.

We may not build upon them; we may not make them the foundation and warrant of our conscience; we may not put our trust in them'. The reformed English church inherited the substance of the Christian faith in its integrity. It received, affirmed, preserved and defended the trinitarian and christological dogmas formulated by the early ecumenical councils and embodied in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed and the so-called Athanasian Creed Quicunque vult. Their writings were on the whole devoted to controversial matters arising from later, medieval, developments, which they maintained not to be of the catholic faith.

The Reformers were, however, over optimistic in supposing that aspects of medieval religion such as prayers for the faithful departed, veneration of saints, the monarchical episcopate, the religious life, the eucharistic sacrifice, and so on, could not be justified by appeal to primitive Christianity. When it became apparent through the post-Reformation resurgence of Roman Catholic patristic scholarship, that these tenets could be traced back to Early Church, Lutheran and Reformed use of the fathers became more critical and selective, while the Anglican response was to make a limited accommodation to such usages.

Church of England Facts

The Church of England did not set out to make new doctrines It did not claim to have its own version of the Christian faith. It held that the message of salvation and the form of Christian life that was its appropriate response were clearly revealed in scripture.

The formulation and defence of the catholic faith at the hands of the fathers and first four or six general councils was to be received as consonant with scripture. The Authority of the Church. Against both, the Church of England in its official formularies maintained the right and duty of a particular national church to govern itself. True, there must be uniformity within the realm, but a uniformity imposed from Rome or Geneva is rejected, 'It is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like, for at all times they have been diverse, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, [yet] so that nothing be ordained against God's word.

It was a fundamental plank of the English Reformation that, just as a particular, national church had the right and duty to undertake reformation without prejudicing its catholicity, so too a diversity of ceremonies and outward order between particular churches did not betoken a breach of unity. The Thirty-nine articles also maintained that, besides her power to decree rites or ceremonies, the church has 'authority in controversies of faith' - though she cannot ordain anything contrary to scripture or enforce any such decrees as necessary for salvation article The English Reformers in their writings support this claim.

The church not only has authority in rites, ceremonies and things indifferent, but also has authority in controversies of faith. But she has no authority to make new articles of faith and cannot bind things left free by the gospel.

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Nothing can be enforced that is not grounded in the word of God, and the church cannot forbid what the apostles permitted. To sum up, if there are liberties and privileges of the individual Christian, there are also liberties and privileges of the Christian church. It can regulate its life where the scriptures do not prescribe the pattern, and adjudicate in theological debate where the scriptures are unclear.

But this power is subject to two constraints: the individual conscience is answerable to its maker alone in Luther's phrase coram Deo ; and in all essential matters affecting salvation, the scriptures speak with a decisive voice. There is a principle of moderation at work here and a principle of reticence in the matter of Christian dogma. Hooker on Scripture, Reason and Tradition. Hooker set out to refute the puritan contention that scripture alone was the rule governing all the things that might be done by humankind I, p.

In doing this, Hooker clarifies the question of authority in matters of doctrine and practice. He shows the proper place of scripture, reason and tradition, that famous 'threefold cord not quickly broken' which was to become the hall mark of classical Anglicanism. But Hooker defines each of these discriminatingly and distinctively. Moreover, he sets them within a perspective created by aesthetic and moral judgement, a cultivated sense of what is fitting in particular circumstances.

Finally, he takes away all illusions of infallible certainty and stresses that probability is our guide. Hooker operates with the Thomistic and late medieval distinction between two sources of knowledge for the earthly life of humankind: the light of nature and the light of revelation, both interpreted by reason. Nature follows its ordered course according to natural laws ordained by its creator. When these natural laws are recognised, interpreted and followed by humanity we have the law of reason.

Though nature and reason cannot show us the way of salvation, they overlap with the revealed scriptures.

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Scripture and nature are neither mutually exclusive nor fundamentally opposed. But the proper office of scripture is to teach those things 'required as necessary unto salvation. In things necessary to salvation, Hooker affirms, following the Reformers, the scriptures possess a perspicuity that makes their message available even to simple folk I, p.

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While the radical protestants claimed that one required scriptural warrant for the meanest action, Hooker insisted that to consult the Bible about 'vain and childish trifles. Just as every book of the Bible was written for a particular purpose I, p. Its perfection is that it reaches that goal.

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Except in its fundamental gospel, scripture is not self-explanatory; it requires the application of reason. In defending himself against the charge of Walter Travers at the Temple Church that he had introduced scholastic distinctions and rational subtleties into the exposition of scripture, Hooker explained what he meant by reason. For Hooker, as for all the Reformers, scripture holds the place of paramount authority, but, interestingly, second place he gives not to tradition but to reason.

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After these, he adds, 'the voice of the church succeedeth' III, p. The sphere of reason is the world of law, that ordered world that derives from the God whose being is a law unto his working. The vocation of reason is to bring human existence into conformity with the order and harmony in the nature of things.

You are likely to be served either a buffet or a fancier version of a roast dinner. No, not Bucks Fizz the band a thoroughly British reference there. Bucks Fizz is essentially a British mimosa - an alcoholic drink made up of champagne and orange juice. They are regularly drunk at Christmas and on wedding days.

The Apology of the Church of England (TREDITION CLASSICS)

Perfect for when the bride is getting ready. Wedding cake in Britain is traditionally a fruit cake covered in white marzipan icing and topped with miniature figurines of the bride and groom, although in recent years people have started branching out. Regardless of the flavour, wedding cake has the unfortunate fate of often being the last item served up after a huge meal, meaning everyone is already full.

In that case everyone gets a slice of wedding cake to take away and some couples freeze some to save gross. Note, by this point everyone is normally very drunk.

Henry Fielding

The speeches can often be very, very long too. Thankfully this tradition is one that might be on the way out, but in generations gone past, the idea of a woman giving a speech at a wedding was unheard of. Even the bride herself. Normally you have the father of the bride go first, the groom and finally the best man. In the UK, bridesmaids can vary in age from young girls all the way up to adult women.

If you decide to go for a group of adults, then expect some inter-party relations.