George Herbert on Understanding Scripture

Anglican priest and famed poet George Herbert wrote a book on pastoral ministry called The Country Parson. In the book he talks about what a priest – or any Christian for that matter – needs in order to understand the Scripture. He lists four things that are necessary; they are:

1. A holy life.

2. Prayer.

3. A diligent collation of Scripture with Scripture.

4. Reading commentaries and the fathers.

George Herbert on understanding Scripture

Anglican priest and famed poet George Herbert wrote a book on pastoral ministry called The Country Parson. In the book he talks about what a priest – or any Christian for that matter – needs in order to understand the Scripture. He lists four things that are necessary; they are:

1. A holy life.

2. Prayer.

3. A diligent collation of Scripture with Scripture.

4. Reading commentaries and the fathers.

Richard Baxter on Visiting Parishioners

Richard Baxter wrote a book that ought to be read by every minister in our own day. It was called The Reformed Pastor. Baxter’s own ministry involved teaching families in their homes for his entire life. He taught them the basics of the faith and questioned where they were at with God at the time. I think this ministry must be recovered, despite our geographical separation. Baxter, in recommending the method of in-home catechizing, says:

We spend Monday and Tuesday, from morning almost to night, in the work, taking about fifteen or sixteen families in a week, that we go through the parish, in which there are upwards of eight hundred families, in a year;

Suffocating Obama Adoration

Last week at a company lunch my highest local boss got up to make his usual announcements. He is a visionary who is well-respected within our company. So last week he chose to speak about what a great week it was, a week of hope for the entire world, a light at the end of a very long tunnel, and so forth.

I’m sure he violated all kinds of company rules about speech, but I’m not the litigious type who is going to run and report him for thought-crime. What bothers me is the appalling lack of etiquette and assumption that we all agree with him. Would I get to stand up and talk about how great a victory for the unborn it was had Senator McCain won? Of course not. And I wouldn’t anyway because in this society we’re not allowed to talk about abortion. 

I wouldn’t have done it anyhow though. I feel strongly about politics, but I keep it to myself at work. I’m not going to run around boasting about victories for our side or rubbing it in the face of others. Yet, the leftist masses feel free to rage at Bush and flaunt Obama and assume that you will agree or kindly shut up with your stone-age mentality. It is really hard to escape the gloating left right now, and it presages bad things for our nation. I can see how civil wars start.

Charismatic worship attracting Hispanics

So says this article. One of the thoughts with the large Hispanic influx into the USA was that it would produce a new Catholic and conservative majority due to Rome’s strong teachings on the culture of life. This has not materialized to date. From stories like this it seems that at least part of the incoming population is acculturating so quickly that they are abandoning centuries of their heritage and faith. Perhaps this would be good if they were becoming full-orbed Protestants, but if they are choosing churches due to worship style and not doctrine, then we are only perpetuating the problems of Protestant America.

What I’m sure you will see in the Catholic Church is an emphasis on just what they are looking for – upbeat music and more focus on a personal relationship with God. It’s not like Rome lacks resources in this area. My question is, are any of these new Pentecostal/Charismatic Hispanic churches teaching on monergism vs. synergism? Are they teaching on bowing to images and praying to saints? Do they even practice the Lord’s Table? If not, then this is yet another reason why we strongly need a full-orbed Anglican option. Protestantism in the USA needs a strong, historic, liturgical and sacramental option that does not abandon the 2,000 years of New Covenant worship history. ACNA will need a strong Hispanic outreach.

Book of Mormon – textual corruption

Let me assume for a minute that the Book of Mormon is true. A few questions:

Why was the BOM preserved intact when the Bible was corrupted? What was the difference?

How do you *know* that the BOM is any more uncorrupted than the Bible? What if the same processes that corrupted the Bible worked on the BOM? How do you prove or disprove this?

How do we know that the narrators of the BOM are honest? What if Nephi, Alma, Moroni, or anyone was dishonest and recorded legends and fables that never happened? How do you verify any of thi

I am asking a methodological question: why is one text “pure” and the other “tainted?”

What processes caused this to not happen to the BOM?

Nowell on Idolatry

Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shew mercy unto thousands in them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

M. What is the meaning of these words?

S. As in the first commandment he commandeth that himself alone be honoured and worshipped, so in this commandment he restraineth us from all superstition, and from all wrongful and bodily inventions, forasmuch as the worshipping of him ought to be spiritual and pure; and chiefly he frayeth us from the most gross fault of outward idolatry.

M. It may seem then that this law wholly condemneth the arts of painting and portraiture, so that it is not lawful to have any images made at all.

S. Not so. But he first forbiddeth us to make any images, to express or couterfeit God or to worship him withal; and secondly he chargeth us not to worship the images themselves.

M. Why is it not lawful to express God with a bodily and visible form?

S. Because there can be no likeness or agreeing between God, which is a Spirit eternal, unmeasurable, infinite, incomprehensible, severed from all mortal composition—and a frail, bodily, silly, spiritless, and vain shape. Therefore they do most injuriously abate the majesty of the most good and most great God, when they go about in such sort to make resemblance of him.

M. Have not they then said well, which affirm that images are unlearned men’s books?

S. I know not what manner of books they be; but surely, concerning God, they can teach us nothing but errors.

M. What manner of worshipping is that which is here condemned?

S. When we, intending to pray, do turn ourselves to portraitures or images; when we do fall down and kneel before them with uncovering our heads, or with other signs shewing any honour unto them, as if God were represented unto us by them; briefly, we are in this law forbidden, that we neither seek nor worship God in images, or, which is all one, that we worship not the images themselves in honour of God, nor in any wise by idolatry or superstition abuse them with injury to his majesty. Otherwise the lawful use of making portraitures and of painting is not forbidden.

M. By this that thou tellest me, it may easily be gathered, that it is very perilous to set any images or pictures in churches, which are properly appointed for the only worshipping of God.

S. That that is true we have had already too much experience, by the decay in a manner of whole religion.

From A Catechism Written in Latin by Alexander Nowell, Dean of St. Paul’s Translated into English by Thomas Norton

Martin Bucer on the Book of Common Prayer

The famous reformer, Martin Bucer, reviewed the Book of Common Prayer at the request of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. He provided what we would call “feedback” in our day. Some of his thoughts are summarized by Arthur Roberts as follows:

He then declares it as his opinion that so great a separation of the chancel (chori) from the rest of the church, as that that should be the place where the sacramental rites are to be exclusively performed, which belong nevertheless to all the laity as well as the clergy, is Antichristian. He states (what appears to be the fact) that the object intended to be answered by this separation of the chancel was the exaltation of the clergy, as if they were a class of men who, irrespective of their characters, and merely by reason of their order and place, were to be regarded as nearer to God than the laity, and able, by virtue of their opus operatum, to appease Him on their behalf….He asserts that, in the most ancient Churches, the clergy officiated in the centre of the building; (the churches being mostly circular,) inasmuch as that was the place where they would best be heard and understood.