Reformed Churchmen

We are Protestant, Calvinistic and Reformed Prayer Book Churchmen and Churchwomen. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; in 2012, we also remembered the 450th anniversary of Mr. (Bp., Salisbury) John Jewel's sober, scholarly, Protestant, and Reformed defense An Apology of the Church of England. In 2013, we remember the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. You will not hear these things in modern outlets for Anglican advertisement. Confessional Churchmen keep the "lights burning in the darkness." Although Post-Anglicans with sorrow (and contempt for many, especially the leaders), we maintain learning, faith, hope and reading. Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) James Packer quipped and applied this specific song for muddler-Manglicans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGyPuey-1Jw. Our book of the month, July 2014 is the Rev. Dr. Wayne Pearce's "John Spottiswoode: Jacobean Archbishop and Statesman" at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/a-s-wayne-pearce/john-spottiswoode-jacobean-archbishop-and-statesman/paperback/product-21652023.html. Also, our book of the month for Aug 2014 is Mr. Underhile's "The Church's Favorite Flower: A Patristic Study of the Doctrines of Grace," a handy little volume at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Churchs-Favorite-Flower-Patristic-ebook/dp/B00KUCITIS/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403315865&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=andy+underhile. We've added Mr. Underhile's anti-Marcionite and Reformed "Comfort in Chaos: A Study in Nahum" as the book of the month for September 2014 at: http://www.amazon.com/Comfort-Chaos-Study-Preserves-People-ebook/dp/B00KQX8JBI/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407621661&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=andy+underhile+nahum. We're still Prayer Book Churchmen, but we have "articles of faith" paid for by blood.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Appalling | The Weekly Standard

Appalling | The Weekly Standard

20 August 1886 A.D. Paul Tillich Born—German Lutheran Theologian


20 August 1886 A.D.  Paul Tillich Born—German Lutheran Theologian

Unhjem, Arne. “Paul Tillich: American Theologian and Philosopher.” Encyclopedia Britannica.  17 Oct 2013.   http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/595850/Paul-Tillich. Accessed 11 May 2014.

Paul Tillich,  (born Aug. 20, 1886, Starzeddel, Brandenburg, Ger.—died Oct. 22, 1965, Chicago), German-born U.S. theologian and philosopher whose discussions of God and faith illuminated and bound together the realms of traditional Christianity and modern culture. Some of his books, notably The Courage to Be (1952) and Dynamics of Faith (1957), reached a large public audience not usually concerned with religious matters. The three-volume Systematic Theology (1951–63) was the culmination of his rigorous examination of faith.

Early life and education


Born in Starzeddel, a village in the province of Brandenburg, Paul Tillich spent his boyhood years in Schönfliess, a small community east of the Elbe, where his father served as minister and diocesan superintendent in the Prussian Territorial Church. Life in Schönfliess—a walled town founded in the Middle Ages and surrounded by fertile fields and dark forests—left indelible marks on the impressionable boy: a strong sense of historical continuity, a feeling of intimacy with nature and its processes, and a deep attachment to the church as the bearer of sacred meaning in the centre of community life.

This life-style, epitomized for Tillich in the person of his authoritarian and theologically conservative father, was challenged when Tillich first attended the humanistic secondary school in Königsberg-Neumark, where he was introduced to the classical ideal of free thought, untrammelled by anything except the rules of reason. He accepted that ideal enthusiastically. When his father was transferred to Berlin in 1900, he responded with the same enthusiasm to the kind of freedom that life in a thriving metropolis made possible.

Tillich’s love of freedom, however, did not make him forget his boyhood commitment to a rich and satisfying religious tradition; and how to enjoy the freedom to explore life without sacrificing the essentials of a meaningful tradition became his early and lifelong preoccupation. It appears as a major theme in his theological work: the relation of heteronomy to autonomy and their possible synthesis in theonomy. Heteronomy (alien rule) is the cultural and spiritual condition when traditional norms and values become rigid, external demands threatening to destroy individual freedom. Autonomy (self-rule) is the inevitable and justified revolt against such oppression, which nevertheless entails the temptation to reject all norms and values. Theonomy (divine rule) envisions a situation in which norms and values express the convictions and commitments of free individuals in a free society. These three conditions Tillich saw as the basic dynamisms of both personal and social life.

His early attempts to solve the problem took the form of working out an independent position in relation to his conservative father; in this context he learned to examine personal experiences in terms of philosophical categories, for the elder Tillich loved a good philosophical argument. But the decisive, seminal encounter with the problem came during his theological studies at the University of Halle (1905–12), where he was forced to match the doctrinal position of the Lutheran Church, based on the established confessional documents, against the theological liberalism and scientific empiricism that dominated the academic scene in Germany at that time.


Development of his philosophy


In his search for a solution Tillich found help in the writings of the German philosopher F.W.J. von Schelling (1775–1854) and the lectures of his theology teacher Martin Kähler. Schelling’s philosophy of nature, which appealed to Tillich’s own feeling for nature, offered a conceptual framework interpreting nature as the dynamic manifestation of God’s creative spirit, the aim of which is the realization of a freedom that transcends the dichotomy between individual life and universal necessity. Kähler directed his attention to the doctrine of justification through faith, laid down by St. Paul and reiterated by Martin Luther.

Tillich now concluded that this doctrine, which he called the “Protestant principle,” could be given a far wider scope than previously had been thought. Not limited to the classical religious question of how sinful man can be acceptable to a holy God, it could be understood to encompass man’s intellectual life as well, and thus all of man’s experiences. As the sinner is declared just in the sight of God, so the doubter is possessed of the truth even as he despairs of finding it, and so cultural life in general is subject both to critical negation and courageous affirmation. The rigid formulas of the Lutheran Church could thus be rejected while their essential content was affirmed.

Tillich’s first attempts to work out the details of this insight were in the form of Schelling studies, dissertations for a doctorate in philosophy (1911) and a licentiat in theology (1912). In the latter work especially, Mystik und Schuldbewusstsein in Schellings philosophischer Entwicklung (“Mysticism and Consciousness of Guilt in Schelling’s Philosophical Development”), one can discern a probing of the implications of the Protestant principle for the very nature and structure of reality, especially in his explication of Schelling’s view of sin and redemption as a cosmic event embracing all existence.

Ordained a Lutheran cleric on the conclusion of his university studies, Tillich served as a military chaplain during World War I. The war was a shattering experience to him, not only for its carnage and physical destruction but as evidence of the bankruptcy of 19th-century humanism and the questionableness of the adequacy of autonomy as sole guide. The chaotic situation in Germany after the armistice made him certain that Western civilization was indeed nearing the end of an era.

His practical response to this crisis was to join the Religious-Socialist movement, whose members believed that the impending cultural breakdown was a momentous opportunity for creative social reconstruction, a time that Tillich characterized by the New Testament term kairos, signifying a historical moment into which eternity erupts, transforming the world into a new state of being. But ideas, rather than political activity, were his main interest. At teaching posts in the universities of Berlin, Marburg, Dresden, Leipzig, and Frankfurt he participated eagerly in discussion groups searching for a new understanding of the human situation. He also wrote extensively, publishing more than 100 essays, articles, and reviews in the period 1919–33.

In most of these writings Tillich was using the insight he had gained at Halle as a norm in analyses of religion and culture, the meaning of history, and contemporary social problems. The remarkable work, Das System der Wissenschaften nach Gegenständen und Methoden (“The System of the Sciences According to Their Subjects and Methods,” 1923), was his first attempt to render a systematic account of man’s spiritual endeavours from this point of view. As early as 1925, in Marburg, he was also at work on what was to become his major opus, Systematic Theology, 3 vol. (1951–63).

Departure from Nazi Germany


Tillich’s passionate concern for freedom made him an early critic of Hitler and the Nazi movement, and in retaliation he was barred from German universities in 1933—the first non-Jewish academician “to be so honoured,” as he wryly put it. He then accepted an invitation to join the faculty at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and, despite initial difficulties with a new language and adapting his thought pattern to pragmatic American mental habits, he emerged as an “apostle to the skeptics” in his new homeland during the years following World War II. At Union Seminary (1933–55), Harvard University (1955–62), and the University of Chicago (1962–65), he engaged graduate and undergraduate students in searching dialogue concerning the meaning of human existence. His public lectures and books reached large audiences who did not usually show an interest in religious questions. In his most widely read books, The Courage to Be and Dynamics of Faith, he argued that the deepest concern of humans drives them into confrontation with a reality that transcends their own finite existence. Tillich’s discussion of the human situation in these books shows a profound grasp of the problems brought to light by modern psychoanalysis and existentialist philosophy.


Principal work


The publication of his Systematic Theology made available the results of a lifetime of thought. The most novel feature of this work is its “method of correlation,” which makes theology a dialogue relating questions asked by man’s probing reason to answers given in revelatory experience and received in faith—theonomy’s answers to autonomy’s questions. The dialogue of Systematic Theology is in five parts, each an intrinsic element in the system as a whole: questions about the powers and limits of man’s reason prepare him for answers given in revelation; questions about the nature of being lead to answers revealing God as the ground of being; questions about the meaning of existence are answered by the New Being made manifest in Jesus Christ; questions about the ambiguities of human experience point to answers revealing the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life process; and questions about human destiny and the meaning of history find their answers in the vision of the Kingdom of God. Readers of this and other works by Tillich have been impressed by the broad reach of his thought but also baffled by the philosophical terminology that he used in discussing God and faith. Those who see him as an advocate of agnosticism or atheism, however, may have misunderstood his intent. He rejected the anthropomorphic “personal God” of popular Christianity, but he did not deny the reality of God, as the conventional atheist has done. Modern “Christian atheists” who cite Tillich in support of their “God is dead” claim overlook the fact that for Tillich the disappearance of an inadequate concept of God was the beginning of a grander vision of God. Like Spinoza, he was a “God-intoxicated man” who wanted to help his fellow human beings recapture a relevant and dynamic religious faith.

In his last years Tillich expressed some doubts about the viability of any systematic account of the human spiritual quest. But he never abandoned the insight that came to him at the University of Halle—that all of man’s cultural and spiritual life could be illuminated by the “Protestant principle” of justification by faith; he was still working out its implications at his death in 1965.

Assessment


Tillich was a central figure in the intellectual life of his time both in Germany and the United States. It is generally held that the 20th century has been marked by a widespread breakdown of traditional Christian convictions about God, morality, and the meaning of human existence in general. In assessing Tillich’s role in relation to this development, some critics have regarded him as the last major spokesman for a vanishing Christian culture, a systematic thinker who sought to demonstrate the reasonableness of the Christian faith to modern skeptics. Others have viewed him as a forerunner of the contemporary cultural revolution, whose discussions of the meaning of God and faith served themselves to undermine traditional beliefs.

Tillich himself believed he was a “boundary man,” standing between the old and the new, between a heritage imbued with a sense of the sacred and the secular orientation of the new age. He asserted that his vocation was to mediate between the concerns voiced by faith and the imperatives of a questioning reason, thus helping to heal the ruptures threatening to destroy Western civilization. He believed that from the beginning life had prepared him for such a role, and his long career as a theologian, educator, and writer was devoted to this task with single-minded energy.

20 August 1700 A.D. Scots Covenanter: Lady Ann Lindsay Passes


20 August 1700 A.D. Scots Covenanter:  Lady Ann Lindsay Passes

Myers, David T.  “August 20: Lady Ann Lindsay.”  This Day in Presbyterian History.  20 Aug 2014. http://www.thisday.pcahistory.org/2014/08/august-20/.  Accessed 20 Aug 2014.

August 20: Lady Ann Lindsay


The Holy Example of a Godly Mother

August 20, 1700

The times of the seventeenth century in Scotland for Scottish Christians were enough to try one’s soul. Throw in a persecuting king and government against Presbyterians, and you have a trying time. Throw in ejected pastors from their pulpits and parishes, and you have  a trying time. Such was the period of our post today.

Our character today is Anne Lindsay. This Christian wife and mother was one of those few mighty and noble individuals whom God had chosen as His own. She had a position of wealth and influence, and so was known as Lady Anne Lindsay, the Duchess of Rothes. Born into this position, she would use it for God and His glory.

Her father and mother were godly in all aspects. Her father was a man of great position in Scotland’s government, namely, that of lord high treasurer. But he was also a man of sound religious principle and a steadfast supporter of the Reformation. Told to renounce the Covenants of Scotland, he refused by saying that he was taught not to do evil that good may come. He resigned his position over the matter and lived out his years at his home.

Anne Lindsay’s mother was eminent for her virtue and piety. Seeing what happened to her husband for righteousness sake, she responded that they would trust God that He would provide for them in dark days.

Into this family, Anne was born. She enjoyed the benefit of a Presbyterian education and conviction in her earlier years. She would continue to adhere to it in every circumstance, in adversity as well as in prosperity. Especially was this commitment difficult, given that her husband was an unbeliever, and a government official in the kingdom of King Charles II. She found herself in circles which hated the Covenanter cause. But she continued to both support those Presbyterians who were ejected for their faith as well as worship herself out in the fields of those ejected ministers when and where they preached the Gospel.

Both daughters of this  union, as well as a son, followed the faith of their mother.  They continued on the godly line of their mother.

Lady Anne Lindsay would enter into the joy of the Lord, dying on August 20, 1700.

Words to Live By:
The original author who wrote the book Ladies of the Covenant, closes out her story by applying it to godly mothers everywhere, in these Words: “From their offspring in infancy constantly under the care (of mothers), and afterward in childhood and youth more frequently in their society than in that of the other parent, mothers have a more powerful influence than fathers in forming their character, and how often, as must be known to all who are but slightly acquainted with Christian biography, have those who have been distinguished in their day for piety and extensive  usefulness in the church and in the world, had to trace their piety and their usefulness to the instructions, counsels, and admonitions they had received in their first and more tender years, from their God-fearing mothers.”  Our response? Solomon answers in Proverbs 31:28 – 30
“Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying ‘Many daughters have done nobly, But  you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Contra Mundum: If TBN Had Existed in the Time of Irenaeus

Contra Mundum: If TBN Had Existed in the Time of Irenaeus: 1.   But   there is another among these heretics, Marcus by name, who boasts himself as having improved upon his master.   He is a perf...

19 August 1643 A.D. Scottish Commissioners to Westminster Assembly—5 Ministers & 3 Ruling Elders


19 August 1643 A.D.  Scottish Commissioners to Westminster Assembly—5 Ministers & 3 Ruling Elders

Speaking of the Westminster Assembly and Confession, the Rev. Dr. Prof. James Innes Packer said this:

My frequent quoting of the Westminster Confession may raise some eyebrows, since I am an Anglican and not a Presbyterian. But since the Confession was intended to amplify the Thirty-nine Articles, and most of its framers were Anglican clergy, and since it is something of a masterpiece, “the ripest fruit of Reformation creed-making” as B. B. Warfield called it, I think I am entitled to value it as part of my Reformed Anglican heritage, and to use it as a major resource. I gratefully acknowledge the hidden hand of my much-admired friend R. C. Sproul, from whom came the germ idea for several of these outlines. Though our styles differ, we think very much alike, and have cooperated happily in a number of projects. I find that we are sometimes referred to as the Reformed Mafia, but hard words break no bones, and on we go.

Packer, J. I. (2008-07-31). Concise Theology . Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

We now return to the story.

Myers, David T. “August 19: Scottish Commissioners to the Assembly.”  This Day in Presbyterian History.  19 Aug 2014.  http://www.thisday.pcahistory.org/2014/08/august-19/.  Accessed 19 Aug 2014.

August 19: Scottish Commissioners to the Assembly


It was on this day, August 19, in 1643 that the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland nominated and elected five ministers and three ruling elders to serve as non-voting members of Westminster Assembly.

The Westminster Assembly had convened its historic meeting in July 1, 1643, for the initial purpose of revising the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. During the course of the first three months, two events stood out. First, the Solemn League and Covenant were adopted by the Assembly. Second, and this is the topic of this day’s post, the Scottish commissioners arrived to, “put the sickle into the great harvest” then coming into fruition.

Earlier, the Assembly of the Church of Scotland had responded to the call of the English church by nominating a number of commissioners to go to England, join the Westminster Assembly as non-voting members, and unify believers in both kingdoms in the common faith of the two churches. Those nominated included six ministers by the names of Robert Baillie, Robert Blair, Robert Douglas, George Gillespie, Alexander Henderson, and Samuel Rutherford.  Blair and Douglas never attended the meetings, for reasons unknown to us. The  ruling elders commissioned by the Church of Scotland were Archibald Campbell, John Campbell, John Elphinstone, Charles Erskine, Archibald Johnston, John Kennedy, John Maitland, Robert Meldrum, and George Winram. Of these elders, Kennedy and Meldrum never attended any sessions, again, for reasons unknown to us. Of the remaining elders, Archibald Campbell, and George Winram attended only one year of the sessions. The rest of them were actively involved and attended the sessions of the Assembly anywhere from three years to six years.

westminsterabbey1647

The purpose in so naming these men to this work was simple and direct. It was “to repair unto the Assembly of Divines and others of the Church of England now sitting at Westminster to propound, consult, treat, and conclude with them in all such things as may be conductive for the setting of the so much desired union of this whole island in one Form of Government, one Confession of Faith, and one Directory of the Worship of God.”

When the first three Scottish elders arrived on September 15, 1643, in the persons of Alexander Henderson, George Gillespie, and John Lord Maitland, they were welcomed with great kindness and courtesy. In fact, they were officially welcomed with three sermons by the English divines!  When did we who are elders ever show up at a Presbytery or General Assembly meeting, and find ourselves welcomed by the delivery of three addresses, presented for the occasion of our arrival?  But as some of our previous posts have shown, and as future posts will prove, the presence of these Scots did accomplish that putting of the spiritual sickle into the great spiritual harvest of souls in both kingdoms.

Words to Live By:
As we read of the Scottish delegates, we cannot help but praise God for the gifts of Alexander Henderson, Samuel Rutherford, and George Gillespie.  These men were spiritual giants in the faith and faithful pastors to the people of God.  We have treated of them and will again in these posts. But then again, when we read the name of another—that of John Lord Maitland, the first Duke of Lauderdale, our spirits are saddened, for we know the end of his story as well.  This elder who sat through years of Assembly speeches and conversations, nonetheless ended up a terrible persecutor of the Presbyterians in Scotland in later years.  He showed his true colors at the last. There may very well be a Judas Iscariot in many a visible church. How we need to pray for one another. How we need to encourage one another. How we need to teach one another. As John put it, “beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)