Monday, May 31, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
By our Baptism, we are called to be men and women of the Gospel who are Christian disciples by conviction rather than mere Church members by convention. Being Evangelical Catholics requires that we know the Gospel, believe the Gospel, live the Gospel, and share the Gospel with others, and becoming Evangelical Catholics is a lifelong adventure of letting go of the various counterfeit catholicisms of our time (casual, cultural, cafeteria Catholicism) by accepting the liberating truth of the Word of God and living by grace through faith in the Son of God.
Evangelical Catholicism is not meant to be a movement within the Church, still less a sect or sub-set of Catholicism; it simply a way of understanding the vocation of every Christian to be a true disciple of and faithful witness to the Lord Jesus. I offer these principles as a catechetical tool…
The Principles of Evangelical Catholicism
1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the crucified and risen Savior of all mankind, and no human person can fully understand his life or find his dignity and destiny apart from a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. It is not enough to know who Jesus is; we must know Jesus.
2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is divine revelation, not human wisdom, and the Gospel is given to us in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition which together constitute a single divine deposit of faith transmitted authentically and authoritatively by the Bishops in full communion with the Bishop of
As an Anglo-Catholic I would reword this to say: by Bishops in full agreement with the teaching & practice of the undivided church).
We must surrender our private judgments in all matters of faith and morals to the sacred teaching authority of the Church’s Magisterium if we are to receive the whole Gospel.
(Again I would reword this to say: the dogma of the undivided church instead of magisterium)
3. The seven Sacraments of the New Covenant are divinely instituted instruments of grace given to the Church as the ordinary means of sanctification for believers. Receiving the Sacraments regularly and worthily is essential to the life of grace, and for this reason, faithful attendance at Sunday Mass every week (serious illness and necessary work aside) and regular Confession of sins are absolutely required for a life of authentic discipleship.
4. Through Word and Sacrament we are drawn by grace into a transforming union with the Lord Jesus, and having been justified by faith we are called to sanctification and equipped by the Holy Spirit for the good works of the new creation. We must, therefore, learn to live as faithful disciples and to reject whatever is contrary to the Gospel, which is the Good News of the Father’s mercy and love revealed in the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
5. The sacred liturgy, through which the seven Sacraments are celebrated and the Hours of praise are prayed, makes present to us the saving mysteries of the Lord Jesus. The liturgy must therefore be celebrated in such a way that the truth of the Gospel, the beauty of sacred music, the dignity of ritual form, the solemnity of divine worship, and the fellowship of the baptized assembled to pray are kept together in organic unity.
6. Receiving the Sacraments without receiving the Gospel leads to superstition rather than living faith, and the Church must therefore take great care to ensure that those who receive the Sacraments also receive the Gospel in its integrity and entirety. Consequently, before Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, and Marriage are administered, there must be in those who request these Sacraments clear evidence of knowledge of the Gospel and a serious intention to live the Christian life.
7. Being a follower of Christ requires moving from being a Church member by convention to a Christian disciple by conviction. This transformation demands that we consciously accept the Gospel as the measure of our entire lives, rather than attempting to measure the Gospel by our experience. Personal knowledge of and devotion to Sacred Scripture is necessary for this transformation to occur through the obedience of faith, and there is no substitute for personal knowledge of the Bible. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.
8. All the baptized are sent in the Great Commission to be witnesses of Christ to others and must be equipped by the Church to teach the Gospel in word and deed. An essential dimension of true discipleship is the willingness to invite others to follow the Lord Jesus and the readiness to explain His Gospel. (Jay Scott Newman, a priest of the Diocese of
For obvious reasons there is a great deal of movement out of Anglicanism and into other expressions of catholicity, & Fr. Newman is one example. He was raised in the Episcopal Church, & then converted into Roman Catholicism. What is most interesting to me about these converts is the contribution they bring to the church they enter. Because they have obviously have drank from other streams, when that other drinking blossoms we all benefit. One specific benefit that we all receive from these Anglicans is their evangelical kind of Catholicism.
There is a certain kind of fullness in these Evangelical Catholics that is not always visible in other expressions of Christianity.
Notice the motivation for presenting the gospel: no human person can fully understand his life or find his dignity and destiny apart from a personal relationship with the Lord.
Notice the basis doctrine: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition which together constitute a single divine deposit of faith.
Notice the methodology: Through Word and Sacrament we are drawn by grace into a transforming union with the Lord Jesus.
And finally notice the charge: Being a follower of Christ requires moving from being a Church member by convention to a Christian disciple by conviction.
May the Lord bless His church with many more evangelical Catholics!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Today, is Pentecost Sunday, & it is a day that belongs to another rhythm of time; a rhythm that can best be described as the by ebb & flow of God’s redemption. This feast day goes back to even before the birth of Christianity; it has its origins in the 15th century BC, when it was given the Hebrew name, the “festival of weeks.”
We are told about the institution of this feast in the book of Leviticus, 23: 9-16. This feast day had several redemptive events related to it:
1st, it marked the end of the gathering of the harvest season, thus this day was intended to be a the day of the in-gathering- symbolizing the ultimate harvest.
2nd, this feast day marked the day that the Israelites received the Ten Commandments from God. The table of commandments served as the constitution of
3rd, it also marked fifty days after the Passover, that day when the angel of death passed over all of the Israelite homes that were covered by the blood of a lamb, bringing life out of death.
So, as you can see, this day of Pentecost was filled with layers of meaning: understanding this, the Greek translators of the Old Testament emphasized the time of the event in their naming of the feast. Since it occurs 50 days after the Passover they called the feast “Pentecost,” which literally means ‘fiftieth”. Nevertheless, it was not until the event recorded in
Monday, May 17, 2010
Local meeting to be followed by national conference:
The dialogue committee for our diocese and the Orthodox Church in
It was agreed to hold a joint clergy conference sometime in the fall, focusing on theological developments in the
The first meeting of the national dialogue group between the ACNA and the OCA will be held in Dallas on April 22 and 23. Our diocese will be represented by Dean Ryan Reed of
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Have a blessed feast!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
For the early Christians, the mystery of Christ was not limited to the sacramental rituals. It touched also upon the morals and everyday life. It was “God’s plan for the fullness of time,” after all, “to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (
This idea is as old as the church. In the fourth century St Gregory of Nyssa preached a splendid homily about this sacramental principle. He began by praising God for the power he gave to ordinary things; water in baptism, bread and wine in the Eucharist, oil in anointing, and the press of a bishop’s hand in ordination. He noted the common items that God had invested with miraculous power: Moses' wooden staff, Elijah’s mantle, and even the bones of dead Elisha. St Gregory then noted that such a dispensation of power had not only continued in his own day, but increased many times over. (Scott Hahn, Signs of Life; 2009)
The concept of mystery has for some time now been seen a fierce enemy, as a race, we are driven to understand, explain, and to master all things. This however is quite counterproductive when it comes to understanding the mind of the early church. Theirs was a mindset not only comfortable with mystery, but one that was particularly comfortable with the significance of the mystery that Christ had changed everyday life forever. Consequently, their goal wats to excell in the use of this mystery in their lives. We may dismiss this comfort by telling ourselves that they were merely ignorant, lacking scientific knowledge. Yet, that one sided critique is totally blind to our own ignorance regarding the mysterious which they knew well. Why do we not have the same sense dedication to this mystery? Professor Hahn carefully points out that at the heart of the mysteries lies the fact that all things are presently being drawn together, & united to Christ our God. Perhaps it is that point that we have missed in our day, perhaps we think that we are bringing all things together by our own abibiltiies.
Hahn then points out that this understanding of the mysteries of God enables us to see the way that God employs & bestows power to ordinary objects; that is a radical thought! Moreover, this power is not something that merely existed in the days gone by, but rather still exists today, even in great abundance. What a blessing it would be to shed some of our present day ignorance regarding these mysteries, and learn that “in Christ all things become signposts pointing us to God.”
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
We acclaim you, holy Lord, glorious in power. Your mighty works reveal your wisdom and love. You formed us in your own image, giving the whole world into our care, so that, in obedience to you, our Creator, we might rule and serve all your creatures. When our disobedience took us far from you, you did not abandon us to the power of death. In your mercy you came to our help, so that in seeking you we might find you. Again and again you called us into covenant with you, and through the prophets you taught us to hope for salvation.
Father, you loved the world so much that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Incarnate by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, he lived as one of us, yet without sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation; to prisoners, freedom; to the sorrowful, joy. To fulfill your purpose he gave himself up to death; and, rising from the grave, destroyed death, and made the whole creation new.
And, that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died and rose for us, he sent the Holy Spirit, his own first gift for those who believe, to complete his work in the world, and to bring to fulfillment the sanctification of all. (1979 Eucharistic Prayer D, from the liturgy of St Basil)
Much of the instruction presented by the church to its members has to do with the gospel itself. Although for many it has become a lost practice, the historic churches have enshrined this pedagogy within its prayers. In the above Eucharistic prayer, which is drawn from the liturgy of St Basil, the church tries to teach what the gospel is, how it works, why it is given, & finally its goal. The prayer begins by placing words of praise in our mouths & having us call the gospel the disclosure of God’s wisdom and love.
The prayer first tells us the reason for the gospel:
You formed us in your own image, giving the whole world into our care, so that, in obedience to you, our Creator, we might rule and serve all your creatures.
The prayer quickly reminds us of the human crisis & God’s merciful intentions:
When our disobedience took us far from you, you did not abandon us to the power of death. In your mercy you came to our help, so that in seeking you we might find you. Again and again you called us into covenant with you, and through the prophets you taught us to hope for salvation.
We are then taken to how the gospel works, & all of our attention quickly turns to by Jesus:
Father, you loved the world so much that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior.
The exact means of the gospel’s power we are told is the incarnation of the sinless God, & his message of victory:
Incarnate by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, he lived as one of us, yet without sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation; to prisoners, freedom; to the sorrowful, joy.
The reason for this gospel is to remake all creation.
To fulfill your purpose he gave himself up to death; and, rising from the grave, destroyed death, and made the whole creation new.
The prayer closes with the goal of the gospel by describing salvation itself:
And, that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died and rose for us, he sent the Holy Spirit, his own first gift for those who believe, to complete his work in the world, and to bring to fulfillment the sanctification of all.
LEX ORANDI, LEX CREENDI – THE RULE OF PRAYER IS THE RULE OF FAITH