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:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

31 December 2014 A.D. The Ignorance of Episcopalians

31 December 2014 A.D. The Ignorance of Episcopalians

Shinogle, Sherry.  “The Ignorance of Episcopalians.”  30 Dec 2014.  Accessed 31 Dec 2014.

The Ignorance of Episcopalians

By Sherry Shinogle
Special to Virtueonline
December 30, 2014

It would seem that a great many Episcopalians are woefully ignorant about their church, not their individual churches, but about The Episcopal Church or TEC as it goes by. I make this statement based on years of sitting in pews in various Episcopal parishes and personal experiences. Let me give you some examples.

First, there is the lady who loudly and indignantly proclaims that she is an Episcopalian, not an Anglican. That had me in stitches.

Next is my friend whom I recently learned is an Episcopalian. In an effort to start a conversation on that topic, I told him that I am an Anglican. I may as well have told him I was from another planet. It meant zip, zero, zilch, nothing, to him at all.

Lastly, my parents' parish. As Episcopal parishes go, it is fairly prosperous, as well as having a nice mix, age wise. Of all the times I have attended, the only thing that raised my eyebrows was when the bishop visited. He spoke on "God's Agenda." That just about launched me out of my pew in the direction of the door. I managed to stay put, as my parents would never have understood. Like so many in "healthy" churches, they think all is well and good because it is so with their church.

The roots of the Episcopal Church lay with the Church of England, which was the predominant faith at the time of the Revolutionary War. The Church became The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States. Episcopal means: "of bishops". This is important in demonstrating that there was a continuance of the Apostolic Succession i.e. "the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession."

English Bishops are required to swear allegiance to the British monarch, an unpopular concept at the time. Samuel Seabury was the first elected bishop in the new republic. Since swearing allegiance to the British crown was repugnant, he sought consecration in Scotland. Scottish Bishops consecrated him securing the line of succession from the Apostles.

The American church never parted ways with the Church of England.

Although it is now known as the Worldwide Anglican Communion -- from whence as the British Empire the sun never sets -- it is still the Church of England. That being the case, I must inform the indignant lady that she is, indeed, an Anglican.

This brings me to my friend who, in his defense, is a recent convert. He started attending the local Episcopal Church when he and his wife moved here because his daughter attended an Episcopal Church. The problem here, as I see it, is that he obviously has not been educated on what the church is about. It is not really his fault, but it points out a glaring flaw of a lot of parishes. There isn't a whole lot of orientation for "newbees". The kids get a dose of something (I am hardly qualified to say what as we studied the Acts of the Apostles and memorized The Apostles' Creed for confirmation. No history of TEC or illustration of its place in the Anglican Communion -- I don't even recall the term even being used.) New hires at companies/corporations are given an orientation wherein they are presented, to some degree or another, with the history and organization of the entity for which they will be working. Seems a similar program would be presented to all new parish members even if they are already Episcopalians. As I said earlier, I have attended several Episcopal Churches. I have never seen anything remotely approaching something like that. There are churches, I am sure who may do something like that. I just haven't seen it.

Most Episcopal Churches, I am convinced, operate in vacuums with no idea what goes on outside the walls of their individual edifices. They function as separate entities having little or no relation with other Episcopal parishes or with what goes on at 815 the Church's national headquarters in New York City, nor for what passes as "God's mission" by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori.

This leads to the warm, smug conclusion that since all is right with our church, there is nothing to be concerned about. I know that is how my parents view their church. Can't even have a discussion about it.

I do not make my case as a universal state in the Episcopal Church, however it does seem to be prevalent. If Episcopalians were more knowledgeable about their church outside of their building walls, perhaps more of them would be looking for better leadership or, like me, becoming Anglican.

Sherry Shinogle lives in Littleton, CO. She is Virtueonline's Copy Editor

31 December 2014 A.D. Jonathan Edwards: Quotations on Islam from Notable Non-Muslims

31 December 2014 A.D.  Jonathan Edwards: Quotations on Islam from Notable Non-Muslims

Besides Jonathan Edwards, there are 88 additional quotes from other leaders regarding Jihadi-Reprobates, see:

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758) was a preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans. Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian," and one of America's greatest intellectuals. 

“By the false prophet [in Revelation 16:13], is sometimes meant the Pope and his clergy; but here an eye seems to be had to Mahomet, whom his followers call the great prophet of God.[74]

AND NOW, for illustrative quotes on Islam from the son and grandson of Kenyan born Muslims, a world class and credentialed historian, and a man notable for his robust and unimpeachable honesty and integrity, Imam Barack Hussein Obama, see: 

20 Quotes By Barack Obama About Islam and Mohammed

#1 “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam”

#2 “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer”

#3 “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”

#4 “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.”

#5 “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.

#6 “Islam has always been part of America”

#7 “we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities

#8 “These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.”

#9 “America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

#10 “I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.”

#11 “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.”

#12 “So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed”

#13 “In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.”

#14 “Throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”

#15 “Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality

#16 “The Holy Koran tells us, ‘O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.’”

#17 “I look forward to hosting an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan here at the White House later this week, and wish you a blessed month.”

#18 “We’ve seen those results in generations of Muslim immigrants – farmers and factory workers, helping to lay the railroads and build our cities, the Muslim innovators who helped build some of our highest skyscrapers and who helped unlock the secrets of our universe.”

#19 “That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

#20 “I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”

AND NOW, for more scholarly quotes from Imam Obama, see the URL.

OR, beside Imam Obama’s insights above, a few Quranic verses that have insired many Islamo-fascists.

Qur'an 3:32—Say: Obey Allah and the Apostle; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers.

Qur'an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of (their) prostration (during prayers). This is their description in the Taurat (Torah). But their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, it then becomes thick, and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allah has promised those among them who believe (i.e. all those who follow Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet Muhammad SAW till the Day of Resurrection) and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward (i.e. Paradise).

Qur'an 4:24—Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property—desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

Qur'an 5:33—The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.

Qur'an 9:5—Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Qur'an 9:29—Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day [notice it says "fight those who do not believe," not "fight people who are attacking you"], nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book [the people of the book are Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Qur'an 9:73—O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.

Qur'an 9:111—Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat and the Injeel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.

Qur'an 47:35—Be not weary and fainthearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost: for Allah is with you, and will never put you in loss for your (good) deeds. 

Qur'an 2:106—Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?

From the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the Collect for Good Friday:

O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Hereticks, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen. 

December 2014 A.D. Remembering Knox Seminary, D.Min. Program in English Reformation and the Rev. Dr. Prof. Gerald Bray

December 2014 A.D.  Remembering Knox Seminary, D.Min. Program in English Reformation and the Rev. Dr. Prof. Gerald Bray

New at Knox Seminary = Doctor of Ministry–Theology and Worship of the English Reformation Track

New at Knox Theological Seminary.

Doctor of Ministry–Theology and Worship of the English Reformation Track

*NEW FALL 2014*

The Theology and Worship of the English Reformation Track is designed to equip those in ministry to understand the doctrinal and liturgical reforms of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The received traditions of Catholic faith and practice were rethought in 16th century Britain along the “evangelical” lines of the Reformation, resulting in a consistent though broad Protestantism lived and expressed through the Book of Common Prayer. The early English evangelicals did find a middle-way of sorts, but not as is often imagined a via media between the Reformation and Rome. Rather, the English Reformation listened to and learned from both the Lutheran and Reformed traditions and attempted to express and embody a Protestantism that could include both (or at least not exclude either).

This track encourages an understanding of the mutuality of theology and worship and considers the complexity of contextualization, as well as the process of learning from the past for the sake of the present.

Learning Outcomes

A graduate of the Theology and Worship of the English Reformation Track will be capable of:

• Understanding the complex social, political, and theological conditions that lead to and shaped the English Reformation

• Understanding the social, political, and theological consequences of the English Reformation

• Seeing the interconnectedness of doctrinal and liturgical reform

• Learning from and thinking with the worship and theology of the English Reformation for contemporary ministry

Required Courses

Anglican Studies

• The English Reformation: 1519-1688

• The Theology of Cranmer and the Book of Common Prayer (1549 &1552)

The Theology of the English Reformers (choose one)

• Theology of Thomas Cranmer

• The Theology of the Elizabethan Divines

• The Theology of the Protestant Reformers in England

• The Shape and Theology of the Thirty-Nine Articles

Understanding the Present: Turning Points from a Protestant Perspective (choose one)

• Turning Points: Laudianism, Tractarianism, and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer

• Comparing the Prayer Books: From 1549-1979

• The Americanization of the English Reformation: The Great Awakening, the Revolution, and the Rest

4 elective courses 

Taught by Leading Scholars in the field of Anglican Studies and the English Reformation:

• Rev. Dr. Ashley Null (the world’s leading Cranmer scholar)

• Dr. Gerald Bray (editor of Documents of the English Reformation)

• Dr. Jonathan Linebaugh

• Rev. Dr. Justin Holcomb

Final Project

The final project will be an historical and theological study that looks back to the English Reformation as it looks forward to the contexts and conditions of contemporary ministry. The student will engage with an aspect of the liturgical, social, political, and theological transformations that occurred during and/or after the English Reformation. This research will facilitate an understanding of the complexities of contextualization, the deep mutuality of doctrinal and liturgical reform, and the process of listening to and learning from the past for the sake of the present. The project concludes with a consideration of the ways in which the materials studied can serve contemporary ministry.

The first course in this track is being offered in January 2015. To view all courses being offered, please see the DMin course schedule.

31 December 2014 A.D. “Prayer in the English Reformation” by Rev.Dr.Prof. Gerald Bray

31 December 2014 A.D.  “Prayer in the English Reformation” by Rev.Dr.Prof. Gerald Bray

Bray, Gerald. “Prayer in the English Reformation (Gerald Bray).”  Credo Magazine.  31 Dec 2014.  Accessed 31 Dec 2014.

Prayer in the English Reformation (Gerald Bray)


Prayer in the English Reformation  (Gerald Bray)

In the most recent issue of Credo Magazine, “How Then Shall We Pray? The Necessity of Prayer for the Christian Life,” Gerald Bray has contributed two excellent articles on “Prayer in the English Reformation.” Gerald Bray is research professor of divinity, history, and doctrine at Beeson Divinity School. He is the author of numerous books, including God Has Spoken: A History of Christian Theology and God is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology.

Credo Front October 2014 CoverHere is the start of Bray’s article:

It may seem strange to think that arguments about prayer played a central role in the Protestant Reformation. We know that people did not have the Bible in their own language and that the institutional church suffered from defects that had to be put right, and we think that was what the Reformation was mainly about. Prayer, on the other hand, strikes us as having been much the same after the great upheaval of the sixteenth century as it had been before. It is hard to believe that people did not cry out to God before the Reformation, and since human needs do not change, it is equally hard to believe that their prayers did either. But prayer is at the heart of our devotional life as Christians, and because that devotional life was deeply affected by the movement of reform, questions surrounding the nature and practice of prayer were bound to be raised sooner or later.

Will you pray for me?

To understand what happened and why, we must step back into the medieval world in which Martin Luther grew up. The French historian Georges Duby (1919-96) classified medieval society into three distinct orders – those who prayed, those who fought and those who worked. These orders, better known to us as the three estates of the realm, were clearly demarcated from each other by a series of laws, customs and taboos that extended even to what each of them was allowed to wear. The praying order was the first, or spiritual estate, consisting of priests, monks, friars and other people who were officially recognized as “religious.” It was their duty to connect society to God, a task which was thought to be aided by imposing a semi-heavenly lifestyle on them. Like the angels, they were required to be celibate and they spoke, wrote and prayed in a language that was not in common use. They lived by their own laws, in their own quarters, and were as cut off from the world as they could be.

This way of life seems strange to us now, but it had a logic of its own. …

Read the rest of Bray’s article today!