Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Unpopular Opinions

1.  There are gradations of sin, just as there are gradations of evil.

2.  There will be gradations of reward and punishment in the afterlife.

3.  Not all sin rises to a level demanding eternal punishment.

4.  The curse of death and the curse of the law are not the same thing.

5.  Justification at any one point does not include the forgiveness of future sins.

6.  Justification is contingent upon personal repentance.

7.  Justification can be lost. 

8.  Future salvation is attained through perseverance.

9.  All men will be judged by God on the basis of their works.

Look for an upcoming post, "On the Sinfulness of Sin."

10 comments:

charles said...

Hi Andrew,

It would be interesting to argue these points from #7 backwards. I think Anglican standards, at least the Henrician ones, argued justification in two-senses. Same with 'faith'. What is your opinion about universal atonement?t

A. M. said...

Great to hear from you, Charles. I was just catching up with your work on Anglican Rose over the weekend.

Justification, in my view, includes in the broadest sense adoption into the family of God by incorporation into Christ through Baptism. This beginning of justification is forensic, but it is also inherent (i.e., infused).

Justification also refers to the remission of sins through the application of the Atonement. The remission of sins is received through Baptism and subsequent acts of repentance culminating in Holy Communion.

Justification must also encompass sanctification, since it is through the works of the new covenant that Christians render acceptable service to the Lord. These works build upon the one foundation established by Christ. This is known in Catholic theology as the increase of justification.

Of these matters I am pretty well convinced.

What would be the two senses of justification you are speaking of?

I understand faith to refer to the reality of the new covenant and the exercise of personal belief. The latter presupposes the former and is ineffectual outside it.

What are the two senses of faith the Henrician articles put forward?

Universal atonement... I confess it. It is what the Catholic faith has always proclaimed. The real issue is how the atonement is applied in particular cases.

I'm pretty wary of splitting up these realities into covenantal/ spiritual justification; temporary/ persevering faith; and universal/ particular atonement. In the end I think such an approach leads to two justifications, two faiths, and two atonements.

There is one Lord, one faith, and one Baptism.

charles said...

Hi Andrew,

Let me retrieve the quotes from the 1547 Necessary Doctrine and post them. When I do, just delete this comment. I should reply by Friday at the latest.

sincerely, charles

charles said...

Hi Andrew,

The Henrician formularies are essential contexts for making sense of the 39 articles. Calvinists and Arminians both find the 39 articles somewhat frustrating and incomplete, but their difficulties exist because they do not apply what Elizabeth I plainly tried to continue-- namely, her father's relatively conservative reformation. I will email you I link on this very subject.

Also, in the person of Cranmer, there is some inherent continuity between Elizabeth and Henrician settlements, in otherwords between the doctrine found within the ten and forty-two articles. This is also true of the catechist material written by Cranmer of the period. For this reason Anglican students like myself are compelled to read the first book of Homilies (1547) to the earlier Necessary Doctrine and Erudition of Man (1543). Cranmer, in both instances writing under Henry, is careful to say nothing contrary between the two. The writings on Justification is pretty standard for the time (having not only Ratisbon 1541 to look at but also the pervasive influence of the Augsburg and especially a number of altered versions-- re: Melancthon), but most interesting is the Homily on the Declination of God. Here is key to connect distinctive Anglican doctrine between Tudor reigns. This is why I say "take #7 and work backwards". But working backwards also necessarily implies we build context only with those documents possessing royal seal, i.e,. definitive of Anglican doctrine. I just wanted to establish this methodology, since method is what modern Anglicanism suffers most from.
cont'd

charles said...

cont'd
In treating our possible falling away from God, Anglicanism uses old terminology in an evangelical way. This is often the case with England, for instance, calling the 1549 canon "the mass" or confirmation a "sacrament", using the term 'penance' in confession etc. We do this in many instances, and are not scared of using old ceremony nor language given the clarified content. In my estimation, this demonstrates a greater effort than other branches of the northern catholic church to identify not just with antiquity but the medieval past which the Crown had always been wary to break entirely from. So, it continued in externals while reforming faith.

Anyway, Necessary Doctrine does teach two senses for both justification and faith. These approximate what evangelicals call weak vs. mature faith, or justification vs. sanctification with respect to salvation. The point is men can be saved without perfection given they abide in living faith. Where the catechism speaks of predestination it admits its truth yet asks we put no trust in it but look to Christ in the church and fear God. So, predestination, unlike the Calvinist, is not denied but is certainly downplayed. The emphasis is rather than 'knowing' justification, to instead focus on the conservation and perfection it. Thus, it is really a pastoral treatise. That's the synopsis.

Article On Justification:
p. 364 "this word justification, as it is taken from scripture, signifieth the making of us righteous afore God...that finally we be reputed and taken as just and righteous in the day of judgment"
p. 366, "And this justification, whereof we have hitherto spoken, may be called the first justification, that is to say, our first coming into God's house...and if chance us after our baptism, to be overthrown, and cast into mortal sin, then is there no remedy, but for the recovering of our former estate of justification which we have lost, to arise by penance...he will yet forgive our sins, and receive us unto his favor again; and so being restored to our justification, we must go forward...and abstaining frm sni and all occasions thereof, being armed with faith, hope, an charity, to the intent we may attain our final justification"
"Wherefore it is necessary, for the keeping and holding o fthis justification, once conferred and given in baptism, or recovered again by penance, through the mercy of our Savior Christ, and also for the increasing of the same justification, and final consummation thereof"
p. 368, "And whereas in certain places of scripture our justification is ascribed to faith, without any further addition or mentio nof any other virtue or gift of God, it is to be understand of faith, in the second acception...wherein the fear of God, repentance, hope, and charity be included and comprised, all which must be joined together in our justification or salvation"
p. 368-369, "nevertheless we be justified gratis, that is to say, freely, forasmuch as all gifts or works, wherby our justification is wrought and accomplished, come of the free mercy and grace of God, and not of our deserving: so that our pride and glory in ourselves, and our own worthiness, is utterly excluded...but our ableness and our sufficiency is of God, which giveth us the said gifts of his own inestimable goodness, and doth also assist us with his Holy Spirit...And further, where our keeping of them is unperfect...yet Almight God of his mere mercy and goodness accepteth the same as a perfect fulfilling of them, for our Savior Christ's sake, which hath fulfilled the law for us, and is the end and perfection of the law to all that truly believe in him"
p. 369, "wherein if thou preserve, thou shalt be saved"

charles said...

cont'd
In treating our possible falling away from God, Anglicanism uses old terminology in an evangelical way. This is often the case with England, for instance, calling the 1549 canon "the mass" or confirmation a "sacrament", using the term 'penance' in confession etc. We do this in many instances, and are not scared of using old ceremony nor language given the clarified content. In my estimation, this demonstrates a greater effort than other branches of the northern catholic church to identify not just with antiquity but the medieval past which the Crown had always been wary to break entirely from. So, it continued in externals while reforming faith.

Anyway, Necessary Doctrine does teach two senses for both justification and faith. These approximate what evangelicals call weak vs. mature faith, or justification vs. sanctification with respect to salvation. The point is men can be saved without perfection given they abide in living faith. Where the catechism speaks of predestination it admits its truth yet asks we put no trust in it but look to Christ in the church and fear God. So, predestination, unlike the Calvinist, is not denied but is certainly downplayed. The emphasis is rather than 'knowing' justification, to instead focus on the conservation and perfection it. Thus, it is really a pastoral treatise. That's the synopsis. Now for the actual quotes promised:
cont'd

charles said...

Article On Justification:
p. 364 "this word justification, as it is taken from scripture, signifieth the making of us righteous afore God...that finally we be reputed and taken as just and righteous in the day of judgment"
p. 366, "And this justification, whereof we have hitherto spoken, may be called the first justification, that is to say, our first coming into God's house...and if chance us after our baptism, to be overthrown, and cast into mortal sin, then is there no remedy, but for the recovering of our former estate of justification which we have lost, to arise by penance...he will yet forgive our sins, and receive us unto his favor again; and so being restored to our justification, we must go forward...and abstaining frm sni and all occasions thereof, being armed with faith, hope, an charity, to the intent we may attain our final justification"
"Wherefore it is necessary, for the keeping and holding o fthis justification, once conferred and given in baptism, or recovered again by penance, through the mercy of our Savior Christ, and also for the increasing of the same justification, and final consummation thereof"
p. 368, "And whereas in certain places of scripture our justification is ascribed to faith, without any further addition or mentio nof any other virtue or gift of God, it is to be understand of faith, in the second acception...wherein the fear of God, repentance, hope, and charity be included and comprised, all which must be joined together in our justification or salvation"
p. 368-369, "nevertheless we be justified gratis, that is to say, freely, forasmuch as all gifts or works, wherby our justification is wrought and accomplished, come of the free mercy and grace of God, and not of our deserving: so that our pride and glory in ourselves, and our own worthiness, is utterly excluded...but our ableness and our sufficiency is of God, which giveth us the said gifts of his own inestimable goodness, and doth also assist us with his Holy Spirit...And further, where our keeping of them is unperfect...yet Almight God of his mere mercy and goodness accepteth the same as a perfect fulfilling of them, for our Savior Christ's sake, which hath fulfilled the law for us, and is the end and perfection of the law to all that truly believe in him"
p. 369, "wherein if thou preserve, thou shalt be saved"
cont'd

charles said...

Article on Faith:
p. 221, "And although faith be diversely taken in scripture, it shall be sufficient to entreat here of two kinds or acceptions of the same. Faith, in the first acception, is considered as it is a several gift of God by itself, distinct from hope and charity; and so taken, it signifieth a persuasion and belief wrought by God in man's heart, whereby he assenteth, granteth, and taketh for true, not only that God is, which knowledge is taught and declared [speaks here of special and general revelation]..And further also those things taught by the apostles, and have been by an whole universal church of christ ever sith that time taught continually, and taken always for true, ought to be received, accepted, and kept, as a perfect doctrine apostolic."
p. 222, "And this faith, although it be the necessary beginning of all righteousness, yet if it proceed not further to hope and charity, it is called in scripture a dead faith...Faith, in the second acception, is considered as it hath hope and charity annexed and joined unto it,: and faith so taken, signifieth not only the belief and persuasion before mentioned in the first acception, but also a sure confidence and hope to attain whatsoever God hath promised for Christ's sake, and hearty love to God, and obedience to his commandments"
p. 223, "And here is to be noted, that every man that doth offend God doth not lose his faith thereby. For they that sin by frailty and sudden motions, (which just men do not avoid,) and be taught therefore of Christ to say in their Pasternoster, Forgive us our trespass...yet these men do not be accounted to have lost faith...
p.224, "yea they also, who, after the knowledge of God, fall into deadly sin advisedly, as they that commit murder, adultery, and other abominations, and so fall from faith, as it is taken in the second acception, and be therefore out of the state of grace and favor of God for the time, yet do not those men fall from faith, as it is taken i the first acception, that is to say, from certain and assured knowledge of God and his doctrine...wherefore a trasngressor of the law of Almighty God, after baptism, keepeth still a remorse of conscience, and the light of knowledge by faith, whereby the seeth the remedies how to attain remission of sin, and by a special gift of further grace is moved to use the same remedies, and so by faith walketh the ways ordained to attain the remission of sins, as in the sacrament of penance [see article on penance]"
p. 224, "Thus we have shewed two acceptions of faith, and declared that the faith of knowledge may remain in him that hath fallen from faith after the second acception. But whether there be any special particular knowledge which man by faith hath certainly of himself, whereby he may testify to himself that he is of the predestinates, which shall to the end persevere in the calling, we have not spoken, ne cannot in scripture, ne doctors, find that any such faith can be taught or preached. Truth it is, that in the sacraments instituted by Christ we may constantly believe the works of God in them, to our present comfort, and application of his grace and favor, with assurance also he will not fail us, of we fall not from him"
cont'd

charles said...

Some final comments:
I think when you read the Homily on Declination, the connection between the 39 articles and Henrician reformation will click. A word of advice: though it is nearly impossible, stay clear of the continental arguments. When James I sent the british delegation to Dort, they were commissioned not to prove 5pt calvinism but to argue the validity of the 39 Articles against Swiss radicalism. James hoped to steer the synod of Dort toward the German (i.e., Augsburg) position by moderating some of the calvinist points. Even going back and reading the later 16th century documents, particularly Nowell's catechism, even the notorious Lambeth articles, you will see a surprising restraint. The Lambeth articles are not what calvinists make them to be, at least if you read the final version thereof. Note: calvinists purposely neglect the final version preferring the first draft which is far more systematic. Even Dean Nowell, though himself an early 5pt, makes no talk of predestination, instead, sticking to conventional protestant theses on justification. By this I mean the most early and representative discourse, belonging to that period 1530-55. Theological works belonging to that period say very little on predestination and are very cautious to define justification without reference to the grace administered by the church and good works which, though distinct, absolutely and necessarily follow. By 1560 or so, protestantism begins to fragment, confessions harden, and negotiations with RC are abandoned with the Pope Pius. Don't forget, we need to define protestantism on protestant terms, i.e., the Diet of Speyer 1527. To do otherwise plays into the hands of RC, EO, and anabaptists, all of whom have displaced us: the northern catholic. The language of this earlier protestantism was much like the english, where the Augsburg (apology) speaks of penance as a sacrament, the necessity of charity joined to faith, and the sacrament in very realist terms, "this IS my body", etc.. After 1555 or so, the terminology really widens, mutual talk ends, and words begin to take on their own accretions in meaning. Fortwith, the only remaining salient feature between churches in the late 17th and 18th centuries being the dynastic marriages of sovereigns, and even here, after 1642 or so, princes do not necessarily push further conformity or comprehension between state-churches. This is rather decided by ratios of power in parliaments. Hence, the Scottish Kirk is given full recognition by Mary II. But Frederick William asserts uniformity in Prussian that would make Henry proud, ie., a strong monarch.

charles said...

correction:
"But Frederick William asserts uniformity in Prussia that would make Henry proud, ie., a strong monarchy back stoutly by the nobility."

The nobility was the source of Frederick's strength. At the time of William and Mary, popular/bourgeois forces in were ascendency. Once the nobility melted away from the picture, however, the natural basis for monarchy waxed shaky.

It cannot stand the on the radicalism of social democracy nor the individualism of republicanism? Nobility or prelacy is thus a necessary precondition, not only for monarchy but also the northern catholic form of primacy/headship in the church which we acutely lack.

Feel free to make corrections in my above posts. I duplicated.