Saturday, 14 June 2008

Plus ca change: A divided church under faithless bishops

"The body of Bishops failed in their confession of the faith. They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing ... of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony, for nearly sixty years. There were untrustworthy Councils, unfaithful Bishops; there was weakness, fear of consequences, misguidance, delusion, hallucination, endless, hopeless, extending itself into nearly every corner of the Catholic Church. The comparatively few who remained faithful were discredited and driven into exile; the rest were either deceivers or were deceived."

Cardinal John Henry Newman, writing about the period of the Arian controversy in On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine

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  1. (Chelmsford)

    All because they allowed the state and the Emperors to get involved in the church, allowed Constantine's Arian sons, not the Son of God, to tell them what to believe. When will the church learn its lesson and stop asking the state to legislate on its internal affairs? Well, at least the current House of Bishops has got the right idea by asking the state to do the minimum concerning female bishops and leaving the details to its own internal rule-making.

  2. Hi Peter. "All because they allowed the state and the Emperors to get involved in the church." You mean like the Crown Nominations Commission as well, I presume? ;-) Mind you, in America the state has little involvement in the Episcopal Church, and look at the mess they're in, and are causing. Can't be just the state's fault, surely?

  3. This is so snide. Just because people believe something different from you, you say they're faithless. It takes great faith, and not a little courage to face up to your sort of misogyny. The whole of this blog is full of self-righteous malice, and this particular item is a prime example.

  4. Yes, John, I had state controlled appointments of bishops in mind. Of course abolishing it is no panacea, but I note that in general terms the church in the USA is much stronger after 230 years of separation from the state than it is here in England with its established religion.

  5. Peter - you are joking right?

    Sure there are healthy Churches in the USA, but they are all independant/congregationalist or new Presbytarian denominations, e.g. PCA. The older denominations, e.g. PCUSA are in decline and will soon be where we're at. Not to mention the self-help/prosperity gospel that is more common there than here.

    But when it comes to the Anglican communion there, we certainly can't say it's healthier there than... well anywhere. Do we want to copy TEC for anything? OR are you saying we shouldn't just be disestablished, but we should be come Presbytarian, Congregationalist or Baptist?

    Darren Moore

  6. Peter, when you referred to “Constantine’s Arian sons” did you mean Constantius who was an Arian, or Constantine II and Constans who favoured Nicene orthodoxy. That’s only one Arian son. And would it have been OK to listen to the other two?

    Steve Walton