Matthew 15:9

“They worship me in vain that teach doctrines and commandments of men: for you leave the commandments of God to keep your own traditions.” –Matt 15:9 (KJV 1769)

Matthew 15 has been a proof text used by iconoclasts to purge public worship of man-made ceremony and custom. Surprisingly, even Weslyan Methodists, who ought to known better by their 25 Articles, commended plain worship by this same verse, overturning ceremonies otherwise understood by Anglicans as  ‘laudable’ or ‘indifferent’. When iconoclasts believe ‘man-made worship’ is forbidden by the  second commandment rather than whether they server edification or “good order”, puritans loose touch with the older protestant idea of adiaphora, “It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word” (Article 34). Nor are puritans especially consistent when the prior biblical imperative is used .

In the Homily on Good Works (book 1, part 3), Cranmer clarifies the difference between men’s idolatrous ceremonies and those belonging to good order. The homily is worth reading for puritans who believe Matthew 15 necessitates the elimination of all human tradition.

“And though Christ said, They worship God in vain that teach doctrines of men; yet he meant not thereby to overthrow all men’s commandments;– for he himself was ever obedient to the Princes and their laws, made for good order and governance of the people;– but he reproved the laws and traditions made by the Scribes and Pharisees; which were not made only for good order of the people, as the civil laws were; but they were set up so high, that they were made to be a right and pure worshipping of God as they had been equal with God’s laws, or above them: for many of God’s laws could not be kept, but were fain to give place unto them. This arrogance God detested, that man should so advance his laws, to make them equal with God’s laws–  wherein the true honouring and right worshipping of God standeth– and to make his laws for them to be left off. God hath appointed his laws; whereby his pleasure is to be honored. His pleasure is also, that all man’s laws, not being contrary to his laws, shall be obeyed and kept, as good and necessary for every commonweal; but not as things wherein principally his honor resteth. And all civil and man’s laws either be, or should be made, to bring men the better to keep God’s laws; that consequently, or following, God should be the better honoured by them. Howbeit, the Scribes and Pharisees were not content that their laws should be no higher esteemed than other positive and civil laws; nor would they have them called by the name of other temporal laws; but called them holy an godly traditions, and would have them esteemed, not only for a right and true worshipping of God– as God’s laws be indeed– but also for the most high honouring of God, to which the commandments  of God should give place. And for this cause did Christ so vehemently speak against them; saying Your traditions which esteem so high, be abomination before God. For, commonly, of such traditions followeth the transgression or breaking of God’s commandments, and a more devotion in keeping of such things, and a greater conscience in breaking of them, than of the commandments of God. ” (Book of Homilies, 35-36)

Though Cranmer is speaking about civil law, the context of the 16th century was the secular power had vested rights in the church, and while the civil authority could neither alter doctrine or change sacraments, it did regulate church order which implicated adiaphora and external canon.  So when Cranmer speaks of Christ obeying the secular authority, in Cranmer’s Erastian context, both civil and ecclesiastical law are suggested.  Cranmer reminds us the problem with man-made worship is not the author, but its use. Customs and ceremonies become idolatrous when they are too highly regarded, i.e.,  supplanting, contradicting, or given greater authority than God’s holy commands. Cranmer goes on to say the error of the day (sic., Rome) was much like the Jews, where man-made rites were placed above or equal to those which the Lord instituted.

“and how they did set up their own traditions as high or above God’s commandments; which hath happened also in our times– the more to be lamented– no less than it did among the Jews; and that by the corruption, or at lest by the negligence, of them that chiefly ought to have preferred God’s commandments, and to have preserved the pure and heavenly doctrine left by Christ” (p. 37)

Perhaps merit theology naturally breeds a misuse of rites, creating a context where good works or ritual devotion justify grace? Nonetheless, by adding man-made rites for the remission of sin, Rome was peddling idolatry.  A multitude artifacts and ceremony had been added to those simple and few sacraments instituted by Christ, either obscuring if not replacing God’s glory. Cranmer described the problem:

“And briefly to pass over the ungodly an counterfeit religion, let us rehearse some other kinds of Papistical superstitions and abuses, as of Beads, of Lady Psalters, and Rosaries of fifteen Oes, of St. Bernard Verses, of St. Agathe’s Letters, of purgatory, of masses satisfactory; of stations and jubilees, of feigned relics, of hallowed beads bells, bread, water, poalms, candles, fire, and such other; of superstitious fastings, of fraternities or brotherhoods, of pardons, with such like merchandise; which were so esteemed and abused to the great prejudice of God’s glory and commandments, that they were made most high and most holy things, whereby to attain to the everlasting life, or remission of sin. Yea also vain inventions, unfruitful ceremonies, and ungodly laws, decrees, and councils of Rome were in such wise advanced, that nothing was thought comparable in authority, wisdom, learning, and godliness, unto them, so that the laws of Rome, as they said, were to be received of all men as the four Evangelists; to the which all laws of Princes must give place:  and the laws of God also partly were left off, and less esteemed, that the said laws, decrees, and councils, with their traditions and ceremonies, might be more duly kept, and had in greater reverence.”

Every once in a while Anglicans will ask what is the fundamental or driving idea behind the the English Reformation?  Some have said sola scriptura, others the king’s supremacy, and for some it’s five centuries of primitive doctrine. Surely all these are worthwhile candidates. But if distinguished from both Rome and Geneva, Anglicans differed by the manner they understood the ordering of public worship. Rome and Geneva had made their peculiar form of worship immutable by ‘divine right’ arguments. In the case of Geneva, worship was ordered by the necessary consequence of God’s Word (RPW). In the case of Rome, the forms of worship was commanded by Holy Tradition which was likewise equal to God’s Word. An equal insistence regarding the particular form of worship as divine was behind both, the transgression of which was morally offensive.

Anglicans have approached the question of worship from a more cautious angle, categorizing church rites into different sorts of laws– some admittedly mixed, others positive, and some indeed commanded by Christ. But pure Calvinism and Romanism make no such distinctions. It’s for this reason (in the author’s opinion) ecumenical talks with either RC’s or Reformed flop (be it Ratisbon 1541 or Savoy 1661). Neither side understood adiaphora, and, thus, when dealing with one error, a person really struggles with both, i.e.,”Romano-Puritanism”.  Cranmer nicely sums the predicament of Holy Tradition/Regulativism:

“futhermore, to take God’s commandments for men’s commandments, and men’s commandments for God’s commandments, yea, and for the highest and most perfect and holy of al God’s commandments. And so was all confused, that scant well-learned men– but a small number of them– knew, or at th eleast would know and durst affirm, the truth, to seperate or sever God’s commandments fromt he commandments of men” 39-40

Indeed, “scant well-learned men” today know how to sever God’s commands from those of men. Incredibly this is the tragedy of our time as original Protestant churches drift either toward Holy Tradition or Regulativism for the wellspring of their worship. The loss of adiaphora by magisterial Protestants not only endangers the rationale for Prayer Book, but it represents an overall weakening of principles behind 16th century reform, be it Germany or England (where adiaphora was confessional). Without adiaphora, justification-by-faith cannot be properly applied to worship (separating rites which remit sin from those that do not, perhaps exciting faith only). At root is the inability to distinguish kinds of laws, and this is a great offense. Hooker, like Cranmer before, comments about this confusion of law in Book V of Ecclesiastical Polity, poignantly saying,

“Now, to endeavour by any argument to make that seem divine, which is not so; or, vice versa, to make that not to seem so, which is, must be accounted a heinous sin.”

20 responses to “Matthew 15:9

  1. Benton H Marder

    I have never really understood why the old Puritans were less than enthusiastic about liturgical forms..After all, the Directory of Public Worship is the outline of a liturgical form.
    We note that the old Puritans disliked hymnody other than the Psalter itself. The dislike extended to the Gospel canticles themselves and may have included the Gloria Patri.

    Now, the old Puritans took sound preaching very seriously. Such sermons required careful construction. Anent the rest of the service, we must realise that ‘ex tempore’ did not mean ‘ad libitum’. A Pastoral Prayer required the same solid contruction as did the sermon. They didn’t just ‘wing it’ for the sermon or prayer.

    The old Puritans were insistent upon an educated clergy. They insisted upon continuing clerical education and formation. We owe them a lot for all this. If it were not for their insistence, most of our clergy then and now might continue as ‘reading parsons’, having not the ability or licence to preach sermons of their own composition. Even now, in many parts of Anglicanism, we fall short of their ideal.

    Benton

    • Is Half of The Story Sufficient For Salvation?

      How many sides are there to a story? If you say two, then you are wrong. If you had one side and I had one side that would make two sides. However, there is a third side, the side of truth.

      Rule # 1… One half of truth does not a truth make. Neither does one half of a story make the full story. No intelligent person can hear one side of a story and decide which side has the truth.

      Both sides have to be heard, then analysed, and then a decision has to be made as to which side (if either) has a valid story, and after that, the right side(s), or truth side, can be determined.

      This thinking holds true for discerning what Holy Scripture tells us.

      Throughout the Bible there are double standards, yet the fundamentalist thinking shows only one standard, or one side of the story, or only one half of the truth.

      Their thinking is in violation of rule # 1. With only one half of truth, you do not have truth. Anything less than the whole truth is error.

      In the following examples, side ‘A’ is the first side, side ‘B’ is the second, and side ‘C’ is the right, or truth side.

      Example # 1… Sola Scriptura…? Only the Bible. Fundamentalist thinking is that the Bible is sufficient and nothing else is needed for salvation.

      First of all, in order to believe in the ‘Bible Only’ philosophy, you have to show that Scripture says it. Is that not true? The doctrine of ‘Sola Scriptura’ is not to be found in Scripture.

      A. Tradition is condemned in many places in Scripture, such as Job 22:15, Matthew 15:6, Mark 7:3-13, Galatians 1:14, Colossians 2:8, 1Timothy 1:4, Titus 1:14, and 1Peter 1:18. Look at these verses and grasp their meaning.

      They all address ‘vain’ human traditions and are rightly condemned. This is one half of the truth.

      B. Tradition is supported in more places in Scripture than it is condemned. Study Isaiah 59:21, Luke 1:2, 2:19,51, Luke 10:16, 2Thessalonians 2:14-15 – “Stand firm and hold the traditions you have learned..”, 2Timothy 1:13,2:2, 1Peter 1:25, 1Jn 1:1,2:24, 2Jn 1:12, Revelation 12:17,19:10.

      These are different traditions than mentioned in ‘A’. These are the Traditions of GOD, or ‘Apostolic’ Tradition.’ Again, this is only half of the truth.

      C. The truth is, yes, we do condemn the vain tradition of men, as shown in ‘A’, and we must keep the Tradition of GOD, as shown in ‘B’.

      Thus we have half the truth in ‘A’, and the other half in ‘B’, and combined we have the full truth.

      The false doctrine of Sola Scriptura adds A and B together and puts the total in A, rejecting all of tradition. A+B=C.

      Continue>>

      • Hello Michael,

        Yes, you are right. This is why Article 20 says the church has authority in controversies of faith as well as being the keeper of holy writ. Anglicans, of course, assume the 39 articles, prayer book, homilies, canons, and various “authorized” catechisms correctly guides us through controverted matters as well as truthfully interpreting the catholic faith according to Andrewes formula of five centuries, four councils, plus whatever is consonant to the same. We do believe, however, the church of Rome has erred, “not only in living and manner of ceremony, but also in matters of faith” (article 19). Unless a vow be foolish, swornmen must uphold the standards and plain language of their provincial church until common order deems otherwise. Until then, it might be said we simply have a difference of lealty. Good link BTW.

      • Michael,

        I very much like the way that you have made your argument. I am copying it out for my common place book and will also do all of your quotations.

        Thank you very much for a fine piece of work.

  2. Benton, let us be content to say that the Puritans took preaching very seriously. The problem was that they were rarely sound. They were more interested in proof texts, short sentences from Scripture taken out of context, rather than able to fully understand and appreciate the overall thrust.

    I believe that they set themselves above both Scripture and the Church with their opinion mattering more than what the Scriptures really said. When we regard our Lord’s admonition in the parable of Dives and Lazarus, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” it meant as little to them as the fact that the only time our Lord was physically violent was when he cleansed the temple of the money changers so that it would not be defiled. And never did he criticize its worship. It was clearly Scriptural and of Moses and we are supposed to hear it as much as the brothers of Dives. But the Puritans did not and would not. Why?

    I think the real reason is that the Puritans were not of the Church. They thought themselves and their opinions above it. In this they were the equivalent of our present self styled intellectual elite who think themselves much better than the ordinary run of man. They were like the Pharisee, but God chose the Publican who cried “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner!”

    • Benton H Marder

      I don’t like to make invidious comparisons, but the word ‘Puritan’ is related to the word, ‘Cathar’, which brings us to the Albigensians.
      Back in the early days of the Continuing Church movement, there were those that desired to purge Anglicanism of anything other than their own beliefs. They worked through canon law and liturgy. I used to refer to this as ‘Catharism’. Never mind that these people were Anglo-Catholics. The mentality was the same; only the direction and the details differed.

      The sadness of Anglicanism is that the factions continually strive for supremacy. We saw this in the Episcopal Church and we see it in the Continuing Church. The one has fallen greatly in terms of membership and the other has failed to gain as it should have gained. The reason has to do with a refusal to co-exist, to co-operate for the greater good of the whole. We recall the Lord Christ saying something about seeking the chief seats, the high table.

      In Him,
      Benton

      • Benton,

        Your first paragraph was really “spot on!” It is a shame that this anti-sacramentalist heresy is still among us. I am glad that you have nailed it so clearly.

        Your second is almost as good. The problem that i see is that St Paul forbade the party spirit. It certainly is of the devil. It can only be conquered by the spirit of charity and a will to full obedience of the rite of the Church as we find it in the prayer book and in rubrics and directions of its predecessors. I remember a rector of a Kansas City parish who in doing confirmation lessons always offered to take folks down to see “James D. Wolfe’s monkey suits” but the tone in which he said it meant that no one ever dared to take him up on it.

        We will not grow the Continuum until we all decide that it is God’s Church and not ours. A spirit of quiet obedience is needed plus a real commitment to evangelism.

  3. What can one say, Benton? I think you are precisely right. What particularly bothers me is the way they ‘down’ the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, especially the canon. Yet without that prayer book and its catholicity, they would have neither the orders nor the Church which they are so misusing.

    As a person strongly appreciative of the historic sequence of the prayer books, I find it very difficult to face a situation where to attend synod or convention, I would have to endure a missal celebration knowing that there would never be an occasion where our American Book of Common Prayer would be used.

  4. Hi Benton and Lee,

    The Puritan’s opposition was based on their extreme biblicist reading of the second commandment and ‘regulativism’ in worship. This came by way of the Swiss, particularly Zwingli and the early alliance in Zurich between ‘reformed’ and ‘anabaptists’. In my opinion, Regulativism was an anabaptist disorder outside the main of the magisterial reformation which grew to contagion.

    Meanwhile, you are right about ‘ex tempore’ vs. ‘ad libitum’. Early Puritans used similar liturgical ‘compositions’ as other Anglicans for their sermons and even worship. The sermon was typically composed in three parts– biblical proof text, witness of church fathers, and then defense/rebuttal against rival interpretations. It is really a disputation, being popularized in the class meetings held in the 1580’s, later translated into worship directories.

    Puritans, like other calvinists, also had (barebone) liturgies. The Waldegrave and Middleburg ones come to mind as belonging to the same late 16th century period. The Middleburg was a truncated version of the prayer book, differing by using ‘scripture only’, therefore eliminating anything ‘churchy’– like the antiphons, kyrie, gloria, creed, and sursum. But it retained the eucharist canon structure and the confiteor. The Puritan liturgy even included a set ‘prayer for whole church’ (actually extremely long and prolix). But nothing was fixed, and the liturgy therein could be replaced with ex tempore prayer. The Puritan minister, unlike the Anglican, tended to monopolize the liturgics, the people participating silently w/ occasional ‘amens’. Nonetheless, Puritans continued liturgy in worship, and that’s a big difference from calvinists today who take their worship cues from modern revivalism (not even directories) rather the older protestant forms.

    Nevertheless, the shortcomings of Puritan prayer remains its fanatical biblicism, forbidding singing of scripture aside from psalms, recitation of creeds, banning the christian calendar, along with abolishing other rites. But this is English puritanism. I believe Calvin’s French liturgy was less caustic, including creeds and even a few canticles. The Genevan is much closer to other early protestant (northern catholic) variants. Calivin, unlike his proteges, at least had a sense of collegiality when dealing with other reformed cities and principalities. Today, this side of “calvinism” has been forgotten, and Presbyterians are unlikely willing to retrieve it, thereby making any reconciliation with the original magisterial project pretty much impossible. If it wasn’t for the (negative) importance of SLC with respect to larger Anglican history, I’d probably delete my whole column for Presbyterian links.

    Alas, I still have many good friends in Presbyterian churches, and admire their serious piety, mortification, and self-discipline which is less common amongst Anglicans. From my own experience, Presbyterian double-duty and sabbatarianism seems to explain the difference. But this is not uniquely Presbyterian. On Sundays Anglican parishes can have morning prayer, litany, communion, catechism, and evening prayer, along with optional fellowship meal(s). Then throw in catechism, morning and evening prayer on Wed/Fri, if not every weekday, and you have something that supersedes the most pious presbyterian conventicle.

  5. Charles,

    The Puritans and the Calvinists from whom they sprang failed to understand the Bible primarily because they were more interested in being anti-Roman and anti-Catholic than begin faithful Christians. This was largely the result of Islamic ideas which had infiltrated the European intellectual scene via the universities. This verse, which has absolutely nothing to do with worship, was picked up because they already knew what they wanted to impose upon the Scriptures rather than actually attempting to listen and obey them.

    What they were ignoring was both the whole of the Old Testament and the example of Jesus and his disciples. Jesus never criticized the worship of the temple or the synagogue, but only those such as the money changers who debased it. St Paul wanted things done “decently and in order” but gave no precise instructions because the example would be taken from the Old Testament, from Moses – if you will. After all, our Lord did say, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them,” and that would have included both Leviticus and Malachi.

    Calvin personally may have had a very high opinion of the Eucharist, but it was something that impressed his immediate followers. Consequently it disappeared or became so infrequent that it might as well have done so. And where it was used it became more play acting than worship with the participants sitting at table.

    Worship in the Continuum is frequently going to be plain, frequently lacking both music and a setting that inspires, but if we follow the rubrics as to how the altar should be dressed and the ministers it should never descend to the level which the English Puritans attempted to take it so that Laud was able to accuse them of treating going to services with the same disrespect as entering a bordello. In the meanest conditions we can do better than that – and should!

    Lee Poteet

    • You’re right, Bp. Lee, it was definitely a hermetical error, the vincentian canon not withstanding. The more anabaptist positions of the puritans don’t even jive with the whole counsel of scripture. Regulativism is a perfect example. I can see the influence of Islam probably going back to the very first iconoclastic struggles. Thank you.

  6. Dear Bp. Lee,

    An interesting footnote from Bard Thompson’s Liturgies of the Western Church is below. Early Puritans and Calvinists had liturgies. It wasn’t until quite late, around 1640, when stronger currents of separatism prevailed and worship directories arose, that liturgy became identified with ‘papism’. Also, amongst the royal churches, the epiclesis appeared in the scottish Book of Common Order before it did Caroline England. Furthermore, the first national covenant in 1557 resolved to adopt the common prayers of England, meaning the 1552 prayer book. The 1552 use continued even after Knox’s introduction of the Form of Prayer in 1564. Knox’s Form of Prayer also curiously retained elements with 1552, being considered an early compromise between the Genevan and late-Edwardian liturgies. The presbyterian notion of liturgy continued until the Directories in the 17th century. This is very fascinating because it indicates a time even when presbyterians and other iconclastic protestants participated in a larger identity as northern catholics with Lutheran and Anglicans. Unfortunately, the memory of this magisterial heritage is lost today amongst presbyterian and many reformed churches, but, evidently, they too were once “prayer book” christians in their own way. Thompson says,

    “The Waldegrave and Middleburg books were liturgies, while the Westminster Directory (1644) made provisions for both form and freedom. The Savoy Liturgy proves that as late as 1661 the conception of liturgical worship had not been rejected by all manner of Puritans. In controversy with the Anglicans, however, the Puritans as a whole were driven further away from the Reformed position on this issue. Davies argues that Puritan opinion was consolidated in the days of the Commonwealth by the preponderant influence of the Independents, who insisted (to quote John Owen), “that all liturgies, as such, are false worship.” The Middleburg text suggested a monthly communion, while the Westminster Directory, reiterated Calvin’s desire that it be celebrated ‘frequently’ but did not specify the times. According to Davies, a weekly Eucharist was common in the first half of the seventeenth century; but monthly communion eventually became the rule for most Puritans, and the Presbyterians communicated only four times a year” p. 319-321.

    I think this makes distinguishing between 17th and 16th century puritanism worthwhile? I am more inclined to draw lines before 1565. As always, my beef is ‘regulativism’, the decades between probably 1520-1560 representing a ‘golden era’. In addition to this are the reforming dates of 1616 and 1640 when the Crown tried to bring Scotland back to a more original kind of protestantism.

  7. Evangelicals trot out the “traditions of men” quote to criticize liturgy, and the “Queen of Heaven” bit from Jeremiah to criticize devotion to Our Lady; not realizing that the “traditions of men” Jesus criticizes are the additions and amendments to Mosaic Law that the Pharisees made. Evangelical liturgy (such as it is) is no less a tradition of men than the Mass, and as such is quite a bit less beautiful and contains quite a bit less of Holy Scripture. I am not aware of any Directorium in the New Testament which specifies how we are to “do church” for all time, but I’m open to correction.

    Likewise, Jeremiah’s “Queen of Heaven” is Ishtar, not the Virgin Mary. If it’s illegitimate to refer to the BVM as the Queen of Heaven because it once referred to a pagan goddess, then it’s illegitimate to call Jesus Lord as well; what, after all, do you think the translation of “Ba’al” is?

    • Thanks Matt,

      This point needs to be pressed more often: “Evangelical liturgy (such as it is) is no less a tradition of men than the Mass!

      Verily!!

      My feelings on the Blessed Ever Virgin are probably lower than yours, but I certainly feel Evangelicals tragically reacted against Rome, pretty much forgetting her honor. How we encounter the Virgin Mary seems a strong indicator of our relation to Holy Tradition, the Assumption being a kind of litmus test. Again, I am probably lower than you on Holy Tradition, but Hooker would not debunk it aside from assigning a certain mystery that prevents dogmatizing either way. Other than allowing wise silence, I’d use the 1538 and 1547 canons as a rule of thumb w/ respect to saint images.

  8. Charles, I don’t normally use the phrase “Queen of Heaven” because it’s just not my style. For me, it’s redolent of a lot of the sickly-sweet worst of RC devotion to the BVM–although my main objection is aesthetic, not theological.

    As I see it, veneration (though of course not worship) of Mary points toward the Incarnation. And not just Mary, but all the saints are valuable to us because their lives, work and intercession have their source in that great mystery.

    • Yes, I too think the idea of saintly patrons and memorials important, not to mention fleshing out the reality of the eschatological union of heaven and earth in divine worship.

      Here is a comment I made at RTBP under the heading of King Charles Martyr. It is from Marianne Dorman’s book on Lancelot Andrewes, quoting Andrewes in his letter to Bellarmine:

      “We differ over ‘worship of Martyrs and their Relics’…On prayers for the dead, he commented, ‘there is little to be said against it’…However on prayer to the saints he remarked that the English church had forbidden prayers to them, but he believed they should be venerated. He acknowledged that ‘the saints prayer for us, but that we were not warranted, by our prayers, to beg those prayers at their hands.’ Hence he advocated that prayer to the saints should not be taught as an essential doctrine, rather what should be taught was to honor the blessed Virgin and the saints as they had been in the primitive chruch. For example, ‘Basil, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Jerome and Augustine’ taught:

      ‘We celebrate the memories, we hold the feast of the blessed martyrs such as St. Stephen, adn the blessed innocents, adn hold them for ‘imitation’, and pray tha t’we may be partakers’ of their intercession and attain to the society of that which they have obtained’.

      Marianne says,

      When it came to venerate the relics of saints as practiced in the Mediaeval Church Andrewes insisted this was sinful, but ‘if we were sure they were true and uncounterfeit we would carry to them the regard that becomes us….and had [they] power of doing miracles, as those of St. Stephen had (reported by Augustine) and those of Felix (by Paulinus) we would esteem them so much the rather; but yet in their degree, and nothing so high as the cardinal would seem to set them (p. 193)

      What I find very interesting is Anglican openness to the extraordinary. There is not that strict cessationist view of Hodges and Presbyterians. That said, I believe the extraordinary is not expected to be ordinary as in the case of modern charismastics. God ordinarily is miraculous, those miracles occurring through the sacraments, preaching, prayer, and the Church?

  9. I wonder if Bishop Andrewes knew that in the cathedrals of Wales the relics of the great Celtic saints are still in a place of high honor. The line you quote from him was one that I could quite agree with. We worship neither the saints nor their relics, but we do have every right to hold both in highest honor. Reverence and veneration are not worship which may be given to God alone albeit in the English of the middle ages the term “earthly worship” was used for what we owe kings and government. See the English coronation oath.

    • Hello Bishop Lee,

      The 1662 BCP marriage rite says (to the bride), “with this ring I thee wed; with my body I thee worship; with all my worldly goods I thee endow”. I guess this might be ‘earthly worship’ as well. It was tragic the American 1928 revision did not make opportunity to restore the 1662 rite. Perhaps it might have occurred another another alignment. The other text I was trying to recall was from the 1549 BCP regarding ‘certain notes’ on reverences, “As touching kneeling, crossing, holding up of handes, knocking upon the brest, and other gestures: they may be used or left as every mans devocion serveth without blame.” We know this was certainly the case with respect to the trinity, name, et al. in the liturgy. Perhaps also the cross. But gestures toward saints seem more restrained, at least when looking at the 1536, 1538, and 1547 canons (which constitute the 1559 up to 1604)? Anyway, I prefer the ‘wise silent’ approach, and with the gradual restoration of certain black letter saints, see a place for certain legenda. And how can one be Anglican without Joseph of Arimathea? Or how about the visitation of St. Paul? This is as critical to Anglican identity as our sealed and most royal standards!

  10. A “mild form” of bullshit is still bullshit.

    The biblical view opposes all Arminianism for what it really is: heresy. Semi-pelagianism has more in common with Rome than anything else. That’s why Toplady opposed Wesley.

    The Bible is the final authority in these matters and it is Scripture that proves your bishop to be a false prophet.

    Charlie

  11. The Bible is indeed the final authority but one must be in the Church to understand it.

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