Comments: opinion for Quadragesima

For anyone who might be hazy about why we no longer look to the 39 Articles as containing an adequate theology for Anglicans of our day and age, Scott Gunn's excellent commentary on the very first of the Articles - on the Holy Trinity -wil provide at least one good reason.

"There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts or passions"

As Scott reminds us, this might disqualify Jesus as the Third Person of the Trinity, when he assumed humanity from the flesh of the BVM at his Incarnation. And yet, as Saint Paul tells us in
1 Corinthians 15, that Jesus Christ is "The perfect image of the Invisible God". The question might be asked: Was this image without substance?
This was one of the early Church heresies, and not a belief generally current in the Church today.

Further, the Article speaks of God being 'without passions'. The Biblical record would have us think otherwise. And where Jesus was concerned, we are aware of his empathy, his anger at times, and of his all-pervading passion for justice.

In this Season of Lent, we shall be commemorating the Passion of Christ in the lead-up to Holy week and Easter. What does this say about a passionless God? And should we be bound to this particular understanding of God as an 'Article of Faith'?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 8:57am GMT

How refreshing to read former Chaplain (Canterbury, at Northern Arizona U.) Harkins list/summary of how to be church. It squares nicely still, with the parameters we learned/put into practice in a summer quarter of chaplaincy training (St. Luke's Hops Center, New York City), ever so long ago, summer, 1973. In the post reply thread, dissent as well as recognition began to emerge. Some posters worried that the loss of an objective truth in scripture would turn the whole business of following Jesus into mush. Others worried that Harkins was asking the wrong question, as in: Why don't the young folks come to our existing church, just as it is? Instead of: How can we grow/change in ways that don't bar or distance people from finding us?

I can't help thinking/feeling that I really would have enjoyed being part of Canterbury at NAU during Chaplain Harkins' tenure. Thanks lots.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 14 March 2011 at 8:19pm GMT

I look forward to Scott Gunn's commentary on the 39 Articles. They are printed with other historic documents at the back of the American BCP, and were a refuge from boring sermons when I was growing up. It was quite interesting to study them in church history class at seminary. If Gunn can make head or tails out of the one on predestination, he deserves a medal!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Tuesday, 15 March 2011 at 3:17pm GMT

'without passions': The new film, Limitless, starring Robert De Niro, explores the idea of a clear pill that imparts unlimited recall (with side effects).

It's often said that hindsight is 20/20. We can only imagine what it might be like to know and over-rule the past, present and future for every aspect of the universe. The difference: 'God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent'

In spite of this, the scripture still manages to ascribe a range of very human emotions, including love, spousal jealousy and regret. Of the ante-diluvean world, God declares, 'It repents me that I have made man'

We can only reconcile this paradox by qualifying the ascribed emotions as anthropomorphisms. Although the incarnation of Christ did intimately and irrevocably unite God with our human experience and ennoble us, it did not deify human nature itself. Indeed, through His brutal and hellish suffering, Christ 'judged sin in the flesh'.

It is He who knows and can impart the continuing moral strength of Pentecost's Mighty Spirit to overcome the susceptibilities of our nature with grace, including the vagaries of our unbridled emotionalism.

Posted by David Shepherd at Tuesday, 22 March 2011 at 8:24pm GMT

Sorry, the accurate term is anthropopathism.

Best and most comprehensive essay that I've come across on the web regarding the impassibility of God:

Great thought fodder!

Posted by David Shepherd at Wednesday, 23 March 2011 at 7:08am GMT
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