Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Book of Common Prayer by Josiah Henry Benton

The Book of Common Prayer by Josiah Henry Benton.

Lest we forget.

A few excerpt in quotation marks. Emphasis added in italics.

Not a book for the slothful, but the thoughtful.

"The history of the Book of Common Prayer has been the study of the most acute and vigorous minds, not only of ecclesiastics, but of lawyers, statesmen and scholars. A body of literature has been created as to its sources, meaning and purposes which for learning, reasoning and style is unsurpassed. Those who know it best love it most, and the very earnestness of their discussions as to its origin and meaning attests their devotion to it. It has profoundly influenced not only the moral, but also the intellectual and political life of England and of the world."

A vast prune-job was requested by Cranmer of King Henry VIII.

On February 21, 1543, Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, informed the Convocation that it was the wish of his majesty that all service-books in the Church of England should be "newly examined, corrected, reformed, and castigated, from all manner of mention of the Bishop of Rome's name, from all apocryphas, feigned legends, superstitions, orations, collects, versicles, and responses; that the names and memories of all saints which be not mentioned in the Scripture or authentic doctors should be abolished, and put out of the same books and calendars, and that the service should be made out of the Scripture and other authentic doctors."

Background and leadup to the 1552 Reformed--it was that--Book of Common Prayer.  The italicized section applies quite equally to our own times, especially in American with sectarianism, individualism, revivalism, interiorized and relativist thinking.

"It referred to the first Book of Common Prayer `as a very Godly order set forth by authority of Parliament for Common Prayer and administration of the Sacraments to be used in the mother tongue within this Church of England agreeable to the Word of God, and the primitive Church, very comfortable to all good people,' and declared that the revision was `because there hath risen in the use and exercise of the aforesaid Common Service in the Church, heretofore set forth, divers doubts for the fashion and manner of the ministration of the same, rather by the curiosity of the Minister and mistakers, than of any other worthy cause.' Wherefore the act declared that Parliament "hath caused the aforesaid order of Common Service, entitled 'the Book Of Common Prayer,' to be faithfully and godly perused, explained, and made fully perfect.' The act then declared that if after November 1,1552, any person should `willingly and wittingly hear and be present at any other manner or form of Common Prayer, or Administration of the Sacraments, of making of Ministers in the Churches, or of any other rites contained in the book' he should for the first offence be imprisoned for six months, for the second for one year, and for the third offence for life. In this revision the Ordinal or form for making bishops, priests and deacons was first made part of the Prayer-Book. This was prepared and published early in 1550 as a companion to the Book of Common Prayer of 1549, and is therefore sometimes spoken of as the `Ordinal of 1549.' "

The old "black rubric."  Put into the 1552 BCP, pulled in 1559, but re-asserted in 1662.  The Lutheran Churchmen took a hit with the black rubric, then, like now--our august Lutheran cousins and Catholic brethren.

"But on October 27, only four days before the Book was required to be generally used, an order was passed by the King in Council requiring the rubric to be added to the Communion Office. It was printed in black, and, after a preamble stating the propriety of kneeling in the Communion, declared that `it is not meant thereby that any adoration is done or ought to be done either unto the sacramental bread and wine there bodily received, or unto any real and essential presence there being of Christ's natural flesh and blood. For as concerning the sacramental bread and wine, they remain still in their very natural substances, and therefore may not be adored; for that were idolatry to be abhorred of all faithful Christians; and as concerning the natural body and blood of our Saviour Christ, they are in heaven and not here; for it is against the truth of Christ's true natural body to be in more places than in one at one time.' This rubric was omitted from the Prayer-Book as established by the Act of Uniformity of Elizabeth in 1559, because it was no part of the Prayer-Book of 1552 as enacted by Parliament. It was included in the present Prayer-Book as established by the Act of 1662."

Thank God for old Queen Bess 1 and the English steadfastness at the Channel.  Imagine, had the Spanish Papists won and imposed the false Gospel upon our ancestors.  We might have been in Papist Churches in North America, doing rosaries and novenas.

"Later another bull of excommunication of like effect was issued against the Queen, and finally, when the great Armada was about to be sent by Spain to conquer England, a final bull of excommunication was issued. This recited the previous bulls, stated that the Pope had `used great diligence with divers princes and especially with the mighty and Catholic King of Spain, to use force, that that woman may be deje6ied from her degree and that the evil men and hurtful to mankind which adhere to her may be punished, and that kingdom be reduced to certain reformation and quietness.' Then the bull set forth at great length the wicked conduct of Elizabeth in abolishing the true Catholic religion and introducing heretical forms of worship, and again declared Elizabeth illegitimate and a true usurper of the kingdom of England, and absolved all her subjects from all duty of fidelity and obedience to her, and threatened them with excommunication if they continued to obey her."

Has the Vatican ever retracted these bulls?  This is an important question warranting media-analysis?  Is there a record of retraction?  We do not think there has been a retraction.

"Bull of damnation and excommunication, promulgated by Pope Pius V against Queen Elizabeth and her followers, dated at Rome, February 25, 1569 [i.e. 1570]. An English translation of this is to be found in Camden's History, vol. 2, part 4, p. 427 (London, 1706). Latin text published in Bullarium privilegiorum ac diplomatum Romanorum pontificum, torn. iv. pars 3, pp. 98, 99 (Romae, 1746). This bull was renewed by Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585) in his general bull, In nomine santfac et individuae Trinitatis (In the name of the sacred and undivided Trinity), — a bull against heretics, dated Rome, March 19, 1572; and, again, in 1577. Pope Sixtus V renewed the same bull of excommunication in 1588. An English translation of this is to be found in Purchas His Pilgrimej, vol. iv. p. 1895 (London, 1625)."

No comments: