Comments: Mission and Ministry in Covenant - more opinions

as usual, MacCulloch hits the nail on the head - or, as in this particular case, shows us how many different serviceable nails there are, and just as many serviceable hammers can be used to drive them home--home being the Body of Christ. Thanks be to God for the witness of all our Christian brothers and sisters.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Wednesday, 7 February 2018 at 11:04am GMT

I agree with Ian Paul entirely that the Church of England is 'Reformed Catholic', and not 'Catholic and Reformed' as if these were two notions in tension. But that leads me in the opposite direction to his. If the Church of England's Catholicism is a matter not of flavour but of substance, this makes it substantially different from an ecclesial body which has not sought to retain Catholic order. Moreover, if the Church of England is Reformed, this makes union with an Arminian group doctrinally unstable. I agree with Dr Paul that high church Anglicans are wont to adopt ahistoric arguments when they defend their view of tactile succession; but I cannot agree that simply because I differ from them on this matter, the visible apostolicity of the Church's minstry, signified by the laying on of hands, should be set aside for a period so that Methodist presbyters can act as Catholic priests within the Church of England. In a Reformed Catholic church, doctrinal precision and sacramental assurance need not be the same thing, but they are inextricably connected; and yet the current proposal implies they are mere details. To put it more bluntly than is really comfortable, the Church of England is Reformed Catholic; but the Methodist Church, while we are right to rejoice in its witness to the gospel and its generous ministry among us, is neither.

Posted by Liam Beadle at Wednesday, 7 February 2018 at 12:24pm GMT

Unless, Liam, you accept broader view of those terms. 'Reformed' in its historical context could include Arminianism and indeed most evangelical Anglicans have, in recent decades, been Arminian. Arminianism emphasises the need to 'decide for Jesus' which is certainly the model through which I was converted.

Likewise, Methodism may be seen to have kept Catholic order in its oversight structures, where Conference and superintendents exercise episcope. Only if you go for a rather literal (and unhistorical) view of episcopal succession do you get into problems.

Posted by Charles Read at Wednesday, 7 February 2018 at 3:31pm GMT

At the risk of lowering the tone of this theological debate, may I link to this discussion of Arminianism, as I suspect many of our readers are not expert in this. Others may well wish to explain why this page is all wrong...

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Wednesday, 7 February 2018 at 3:44pm GMT

Dr Philip Murray writes persuasively about generosity, and particularly the need for us as Anglicans to share our gifts with our Methodist sisters and brothers. But it's just as important to receive gifts gratefully, and he says little about the gifts that we would receive from Methodism. The exchange should not be one way.

Posted by David Emmott at Wednesday, 7 February 2018 at 9:39pm GMT

Diarmaid MacCulloch is right. Though elsewhere he wrote of Elizabeth 1st "The church she produced had a Protestant theology which sat rather awkwardly like a cuckoo in the nest of a Catholic, almost unreformed structure. The contradictions between the two have gone on conspiring to create a Church of England which is never quite sure whether or not it belongs to the family of churches of the mainstream Reformation."

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 9 February 2018 at 10:03am GMT
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