William Witt—The Anglican Reformers Were Not Zwinglians!

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The author also claims (incorrectly) that the Anglican Reformers were Zwinglian in their eucharistic theology. Once in awhile, one comes across these attempts to interpret the Anglican Reformers as Zwinglian in their eucharistic theology, whether by those of catholic leanings (who are attempting to do demolition work) or by low-church Evangelicals, hoping to score points against Rome.

It does not work. Neither Cranmer nor Jewel (and certainly not Hooker) were Zwinglians, and they repeatedly go out of their way to make this clear. What they rejected was transubstantiation, particularly the notion that the substance of bread and wine ceased to exist as bread and wine after consecration. It is not terribly clear what they meant by “spiritual presence,” whether a presence through the Holy Spirit (as in Calvin and Eastern Orthodoxy), or rather “something else.” Most commentators interpret them as “virtualists” or “receptionists,” who believed that Christ communicated himself really and truly in his full humanity and deity, in the very act of eating and drinking, when the communicant received the consecrated bread and wine, with faith.

What they clearly believed was: the risen Christ is really present, in his full humanity and deity, when the elements are received with faith, and, in participating in the Lord’s Supper, Christians genuinely participate in Christ’s risen life through the process of eating and drinking. Both Cranmer (against Gardiner) and Jewel (against Harding) were emphatic that they disagreed about the manner of Christ’s presence, not the reality of Christ’s presence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologySacramental TheologyEucharist

31 Comments
Posted January 29, 2011 at 10:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. nwlayman wrote:

I find Gregory Dix more convincing.  Alas, there are likely two dozen people in the Anglican Communion who worry about it anymore.

January 29, 3:47 pm | [comment link]
2. FrKimel wrote:

For those coming to the conversation late: Dr Witt is responding to a blog article, “Athanasius contra Ecclesiam Anglicanae,” written by Dr Gary W. Jenkins.  Dr Jenkins is Van Gorden Professor in History at Eastern University and author of John Jewel and the English National Church.  He is Eastern Orthodox, not Roman Catholic.  Also see this lengthy T19 comment by Jenkins in response to Witt.  Jenkins knows his Reformation history and cannot be easily dismissed.

Was Jewel or the other English Reformers Zwinglian?  I guess it all depends on how one defines “Zwinglian.”  Whatever word one wants to us, though, Jewel and the early English Reformers certainly cannot be described as “catholic” in their eucharistic views, at least not when compared to the common teaching of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.  In his essay “Signs and Things Signified” W. J. Torrance Kirby argues that Jewel advocated what he calls a “figurative presence.”  If you prefer to call this “virtualism” or “instrumentalism,” rather than “Zwinglianism,” that’s fine with me.  What is important is the divorce between sign and the signified reality.  It is precisely this divorce that allows the English and Continental Reformers (excluding the Lutherans) to insist that the ungodly do not receive the Body and Blood of Christ when they eat and drink the sacramental signs.  On this point, with specific reference to Calvin and Luther, see Phillip Cary, “Eucharistic Presence in Calvin.”  I do not know how Jewel compares to Calvin, but he certainly did not hold a higher view of the real presence than Calvin.

Seven years ago I proposed the following practical test to determine whether any given formulation of eucharistic real presence is “catholic”:  “May the Christian direct his adoration to the Blessed Sacrament?”  The English Reformers were emphatic:  all eucharistic adoration, whether expressed within the liturgy proper or outside the liturgy, is a form of idolatry and therefore to be proscribed.  Would John Jewel have genuflected before the Blessed Sacrament?

January 29, 5:03 pm | [comment link]
3. Ratramnus wrote:

What of the influence of Ratramnus on the English Reformers?

January 29, 5:40 pm | [comment link]
4. Iohannes wrote:

Fr. Kimel, When the Eastern Orthodox worship the consecrated elements, do they adore or venerate? Is there a clear teaching one way or the other, something comparable to Trent’s requiring adoration or the Black Rubric’s forbidding it?

January 29, 6:20 pm | [comment link]
5. FrKimel wrote:

Iohannes, the 1672 Synod of Jerusalem explicitly identifies the adoration given to the eucharistic Body and Blood as latria, the same honor given to God alone:  “Further, that the Body Itself of the Lord and the Blood That are in the Mystery of the Eucharist ought to be honoured in the highest manner, and adored with latria. For one is the adoration of the Holy Trinity, and of the Body and Blood of the Lord.” 

If you ever attend the Orthodox Liturgy of the Presanctified during Lent, you will quickly discern and experience the difference between the veneration (dulia) that is offered to icons and the adoration (latria) that is offered to the Body and Blood.  This difference is explicitly mentioned by St Nicolas Cabasilas in his Commentary on the Divine Liturgy.  Evidently it was the custom at the time for the laity of prostrate themselves at the Great Entrance, when the unconsecrated oblations are taken to the Holy Table.  Cabasilas writes: 

If any of those who prostrate themselves thus before the priest who is carrying the offerings adores them as if they were the Body and Blood of Christ, and prays to them as such, he is led into error; he is confusing this ceremony with that of ‘the entry of the presanctified,’ not recognizing the differences between them.  In this entry of the offerings, the gifts are not yet consecrated for the sacrifice; in the liturgy of the Presanctified they are consecrated and sanctified, the true Body and Blood of Christ.

The Eastern Orthodox do not practice eucharistic adoration outside of the liturgy, but within the liturgy the adoration of the Eucharistic Christ is profound and deeply moving.  If the consecrated elements were only sacramental signs, similar, perhaps, to the water blessed in the liturgy of Holy Baptism, then this adoration would be idolatrous and sinful.

January 29, 6:46 pm | [comment link]
6. Iohannes wrote:

Fr. Kimel, Thanks for your answer. To me, the argument from practice is the more persuasive of the two; I’ll have to think more about it. The trouble with citing the Synod of Jerusalem is that many Orthodox today are uneasy with it, seeing it as Latinizing. Whether its teaching is correct or not, it goes beyond the mainstream of the Eastern tradition. E.g. the decree that enjoins latria also relies on substance-accidents language in describing the sacrament, and even expressly says the elements are transubstantiated (μετουσιουσθαι).

January 29, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
7. FrKimel wrote:

Yes, the authority within Orthodoxy of the Synod of Jerusalem has diminished over the past few decades, precisely because of its employment of Latin vocabulary and categories; but I have not read any Orthodox theologian who has disagreed with the Decree’s statement on eucharistic adoration.  Dositheus may have appropriated Western categories to express the Orthodox belief in the transformation of the gifts and to distinguish the Orthodox belief from Protestant beliefs; but within the limits of these categories, the Orthodox faith is rightly stated.  I actually had a telephone conversation with Jaroslav Pelikan a couple of years before his death precisely on this question of Orthodoxy and eucharistic adoration.

January 29, 8:33 pm | [comment link]
8. Iohannes wrote:

Very interesting, thanks again for your comment.

January 29, 8:59 pm | [comment link]
9. Cyril wrote:

Iohannes, Cabasilas is 14th Century, and the practice during Lent is uniform across the Orthodox world (I have seen it in Russian, Greek and Syrian parishes). I know of no one who would not affirm its licitness. Many Orthodox also perform a prostration before the Chalice when it comes out of the Royal Doors for the communion. Fr. Al, if you could send me your memories of your conversation with Pr. Pelikan, perhaps there is a website that would post them.
Cyril

January 29, 10:39 pm | [comment link]
10. Iohannes wrote:

Thanks, Cyril. Could you recommend any reading on the topic? I’d be eager to learn more about how the East approaches the sacrament.

January 29, 11:19 pm | [comment link]
11. Iohannes wrote:

PS Does it matter that the verb translated above as adore is προσκυνεω in Cabasilas’ Greek? Here’s the passage:

Ει δε τινες των προσπιπτοντων εισιοντι μετα των δωρων τω ιερει, ως σωμα Χριστου και αιμα τα κομιζομενα δωρα προσκυνουσι και διαλεγονται, απο της εισοδου των προηγιασμενων δωρων ηπατηθησαν, αγνοησαντες τνη διαφοραν της ιερουργιας ταυτης κακεινης. Αυτη μεν γαρ εν ταυτη τη εισοδω αθυτα εχει τα δωρα, και ουπω τετελεσμενα· εκεινη δε τελεια, και ηγιασμενα, και σωμα και αιμα Χριστου. (Source)

January 30, 12:12 am | [comment link]
12. FrKimel wrote:

Books and articles I have found most helpful on the Eucharist by Eastern Orthodox theologians include:

Alexander Schmemann, The Eucharist

Nicholas Cabasilas, A Commentary on the Divine Liturgy

Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ

John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology, chap. 16

Sergius Bulgakov, “The Eucharistic Dogma,” in The Holy Grail & the Eucharist

Paul Evdokimov, “The Eucharist—Mystery of the Church,” in In the World, Of the Church

David B. Hart, “‘Thine Own of Thine Own’: Eucharistic Sacrifice in Orthodox Tradition,” in Rediscovering the Eucharist, ed. Roch A. Kereszty

January 30, 12:03 pm | [comment link]
13. Iohannes wrote:

Thanks for the list, Fr. Kimel. Last week I unexpectedly received an Amazon gift certificate; now I know what to order.

January 30, 1:48 pm | [comment link]
14. William Witt wrote:

I would suggest that readers will find a more detailed and satisfactory discussion of the questions raised by this rather short post in my much longer article “Real Presence or Substantial Transformation? An Anglican Reflection on Eucharistic Theology Or The Anglican Reformers on the Eucharist.”

I don’t think it too mysterious what Gregory Dix (and those who followed him in his interpretation of Cranmer) meant when he described Cranmer as “Zwinglian.”  Dix interpreted Cranmer to believe that the Eucharist was merely a symbol, and that, for Cranmer, eucharistic presence meant “no presence” or “memorial presence” or, what is sometimes called “real absence.”  My own reading of Zwingli convinces me that this is indeed what Zwingli meant.  However, it is not what Cranmer or Jewel or Hooker meant.

Fr. Kimel suggests one possible definition of what it means for a eucharistic theology to be catholic.  I would suggest an alternative: “What is the significance of the continuing existence of the risen humanity of Christ for our salvation? And what role does the Eucharist play in our participation in Christ’s humanity?”

Zwinglian theologies all hold that Christ’s risen humanity plays no significance for our salvation, and that any presence of Christ after the resurrection is an immediate presence in his divine nature only.  Accordingly, the Eucharist is a memorial for the dead Jesus, and any references to the Eucharist or the church as the body of Christ are strictly metaphorical.

In contrast, catholic theologies all hold that Christ’s risen humanity is crucial to human salvation, that the risen Christ is mediately present in his full deity and humanity through the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, and that the sacraments are, at the least, “instrumental causes” (Hooker’s words) in uniting those who have faith to Christ’s risen humanity.  Thus, application of the language of “body of Christ,” both to the consecrated elements, and to the church, is analogical (not metaphorical), and presumes a real participation in Christ’s resurrected (human) life that is mediated through the sacraments.

On the question of whether the unbelieving receive the body of Christ, George Hunsinger has a very good discussion in his book The Eucharist and Ecumenism (Cambridge U Press, 2008). By comparing Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin, Hunsinger shows that the differences are real, but not so significant as some would have us think.  Aquinas distinguished between a spiritual and un-spiritual reception by unbelievers (as did Luther and Calvin and the Anglican Reformers).  Aquinas affirmed that Christ’s body was received orally by unbelievers, but he denied that Christ’s body was received “spiritually.”  Luther was one with Aquinas; Calvin and the Anglican Reformers affirmed that Christ’s body was received neither orally nor “spiritually” by unbelievers.

The key difference here has to do not with whether Christ’s body is present, but with a theory about how Christ’s body is present, whether Christ’s body is present locally “in” the bread and wine or whether Christ’s body is made present by means of the bread and wine, but is not locally present “in” the bread and wine.  But, even here, things get fuzzy, because Aquinas insisted that Christ’s body was present, but not as if “in a place,”  while Calvin and the Anglicans rejected transubstantiation because they seemed to have understood it to have meant that Christ’s body was present “as if in a place.” 

Finally, I would agree with Al Kimel that the Anglican Reformers too radically distinguished between the sign and the thing signified.  I think “divorce” is too strong a word.  At the same time, we do not do justice to the Reformers if we ignore that their concern was with the denial expressed in the doctrine of transubstantiation that bread and wine did not cease to be bread and wine—a concern expressed by all the Reformers, including Luther.

One insight of Hunsinger’s book that I find most helpful is in his recognizing the Orthodox notion of transelementation as a possible way forward ecumenically, as well as his acknowledgment of affinities between the Reformers and the Orthodox.  I am happy to say that Hunsinger and I came to this conclusion independently of one another.

January 30, 2:49 pm | [comment link]
15. Ad Orientem wrote:

From the Orthodox Divine Liturgy:

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Moreover, I believe that this is truly Thy most pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood. Wherefore, I pray Thee: Have mercy on me and forgive me my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, whether in word or deed, in knowledge or in ignorance. And vouchsafe me to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries unto the remission of sins and life everlasting. Amen. →
 
Of thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, receive me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of the Mystery to Thine enemies, nor will I give Thee a kiss as did Judas, but like the Thief do I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord in Thy kingdom.

Fr. Kimel is correct.  While there may be some differences in nuance there is no substantive difference between the Roman Church and the Orthodox Church with respect to the nature of the Eucharist.

January 30, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
16. cseitz wrote:

#15—your entry is confusing given the thread. Is this prayer/confession something you believe distinguishes The Roman Church and The Orthodox Church from other Christians, including Anglican Christians? Thank you.

January 30, 5:10 pm | [comment link]
17. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re #16
cseitz
Yes.  The Orthodox Church along with the Roman Catholic Church and the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox expressly confess the Real Presence in the Eucharist.  We believe as stated in the confession above that it is really the Body & Blood. 

Although some Lutherans believe in a real “spiritual” presence, as far as I am aware no Protestant church believes in this as an article of Faith.

January 30, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
18. cseitz wrote:

I think, #17, that things are getting confused.
I am not in a position to say whether the Roman Church would be content with a ‘mystical supper’, but the idea that Anglican Christians do not believe in a ‘Real Presence in the Eucharist’ would come as a great surprise to many of us.

January 30, 9:08 pm | [comment link]
19. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re #18
William,
My point was not that there are no Anglicans who believe in the Real Presence.  My point was that it is not an article of faith binding on anyone.  As with most points of doctrine the Anglican Communion does not seem to have a definitive position.

As for the Mystical Supper, I assure you that Rome has no problems with Orthodox sacraments.  Indeed many of their Eastern Rite Catholics use a form of the liturgy that is nearly identical to ours.

January 30, 11:20 pm | [comment link]
20. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re my 19:
cseitz
Sorry about the name confusion.  I just got finished with a cross country trip and my brain hasn’t finished unpacking.

January 30, 11:22 pm | [comment link]
21. MichaelA wrote:

Fr Kimel wrote at #2,

“Whatever word one wants to us, though, Jewel and the early English Reformers certainly cannot be described as “catholic” in their eucharistic views, at least not when compared to the common teaching of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.”

So what? The only true test of catholicity is whether a doctrine is founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ, his prophets and apostles. Everything else is secondary to that. In particular, just because two particular modern churches (Fr Kimel posits the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches) agree on something is secondary to the real issue – what do Christ, his apostles and prophets teach.

I am not sure why Fr. Kimel adopts the exclusivist position of just those two churches, but it wouldn’t matter if he brought in the Old Catholics, the Oriental Orthodox, or anyone else; the position remains the same.

This is the lesson that the church fathers teach us – they point us back to the faith once delivered, not to what is currently agreed.

It is for this reason that Jewel and the early English Reformers are as catholic as it is possible to be in their Eucharistic views.

Fr. Kimel then proposes this remarkable touchstone for how one can recognise correct doctrine:

“Seven years ago I proposed the following practical test to determine whether any given formulation of eucharistic real presence is “catholic”:  “May the Christian direct his adoration to the Blessed Sacrament[sic]?””

I have no idea where this test comes from. If I want to find out whether a formulation of Eucharistic real presence is “catholic”, the first place I go is to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, his apostles and prophets. If I want to get further guidance, I might well look at the early church fathers. Nowhere in any of them do I find the emphasis that Fr Kimel lays on adoration (indeed, I find no mention at all in the primary sources – the teachings of Christ and his apostles, and I am hard pressed to find any reference even among the church fathers).

This is why the Anglican reformers and we Anglicans are true Catholics – and proud of it, I might add!

January 31, 3:39 am | [comment link]
22. MichaelA wrote:

Ad Orientem wrote:

My point was not that there are no Anglicans who believe in the Real Presence.  My point was that it is not an article of faith binding on anyone.  As with most points of doctrine the Anglican Communion does not seem to have a definitive position.

On the contrary, Article 28 sets out the protestant doctrine of the real presence. Whilst it does not use as much verbiage as e.g. the Westminster Confession to do so, it is quite clear:

Article XXVIII
Of the Lord’s Supper

The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

January 31, 3:44 am | [comment link]
23. cseitz wrote:

#19—my point was that the language ‘Mystical Supper’ is not what one finds the Roman Church using. Of course you are content with it—it is the language of Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy has never embraced the idea of transubstantiation and like many such matter has proudly declared them ‘western/latin’ metaphysical conceits. Hence, ‘mystical supper’ (but not after the manner of Zwingli…...).

January 31, 9:06 am | [comment link]
24. FrKimel wrote:

Re: #21

Michael, if you wish to believe that the eucharistic theologies of the English Reformers are truly catholic, then by all means continue to believe so; but I have no idea what “catholic” means in this context.  Apparently a theological assertion can be classified as catholic even if it contradicts the shared teaching of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.  This makes no sense to me.  Why even invoke catholicity at this point?

I understand, of course, that those who believe that the views of Cranmer and Jewel accurately reflect the teaching of Scripture will declare them to be biblical position.  I’ll even concede that you can find modest support for their views in some of the Church Fathers.  I’m thinking particularly here of St Augustine (see Phillip Cary, Outward Signs: The Powerlessness of External Things in Augustine’s Thought).  But neither the Latin nor Eastern Churches ended up following St Augustine’s understanding of the real presence—the latter because it did not know Augustine; the former because it found that it needed to correct Augustine on the relationship between sign and signified reality. 

As you have no doubt already figured out, I am invoking the shared teaching of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as an unofficial magisterium.  Years ago I formulated Pontificator’s First Law:  “When Orthodoxy and Catholicism agree, Protestantism loses.” Given the profound and extensive disagreements between the various Christian Churches, it makes sense to look to the shared teaching of the two oldest Christian communions as providing our best hope for understanding Scripture rightly.  A good Protestant will of course reject my informal “magisterium,” for the reasons you have advanced.  He will rely on his personal, perhaps even scholarly, exegesis of the Bible to figure out the biblical faith.  And so we are left with Luther, Zwingli, Cranmer, Calvin, Hooker, Chemnitz, and their heirs, for example, forever debating the nature of the Eucharist, each claiming Scripture as their own, each claiming to have rightly interpreted the Word of God.  But the curious common feature in all of this is that the “biblical” religion produced is always something less, often dramatically less, than the religion as practiced in either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.   

And that is precisely the reason I found I could not remain Protestant.  I came to the conclusion that Protestantism cannot hold onto the catholic substance of the faith as it has been lived out for 2,000 years.

January 31, 10:53 am | [comment link]
25. cseitz wrote:

Fr Kimel—is this a thead about why you do and believe what you do and believe, or is it a discussion about Anglicanism and Real Presence? Why is it so crucial to determine who is ruled out (does one venerate or not)? In a funny way, it sounds like protestant projection onto the Roman Church. Most Roman Catholics I know are not interesting in determining why they are not protestants.

January 31, 3:03 pm | [comment link]
26. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Apparently a theological assertion can be classified as catholic even if it contradicts the shared teaching of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.  This makes no sense to me.  Why even invoke catholicity at this point?”

There’s a fairly simple answer for that.  Protestants do not accept that Roman Catholicism is the repositer of “things catholic”—merely Roman Catholic—it is intrinsically self-referential, despite its claims to the contrary.

The rest of your comment is merely question begging.  For instance, it’s great that you have your own personal “Pontificator’s Law”—but since it merely asserts “we two are right, except when the EOs are wrong” it doesn’t do anything other than reassert the very aptly named *Pontificator’s* beliefs.

RE: “And so we are left with Luther, Zwingli, Cranmer, Calvin, Hooker, Chemnitz, and their heirs, for example, forever debating the nature of the Eucharist, each claiming Scripture as their own, each claiming to have rightly interpreted the Word of God.”

True—but with a little addition: “And so we are left with Luther, Zwingli, Cranmer, Calvin, Hooker, Chemnitz, [the RCs and the EOs] and their heirs, for example, forever debating the nature of the Eucharist, each claiming Scripture as their own, each claiming to have rightly interpreted the Word of God.”

As Protestants don’t accept the RC church’s delusory claims about itself and its leader, it gets thrown into the mix of debates among equals.  Cranmer “debates” with the RC notions, and Zwingli “debates” with Hooker, and RC notions “debate” with Calvin, despite other pretensions.

RE: “But the curious common feature in all of this is that the “biblical” religion produced is always something less, often dramatically less, than the religion as practiced in either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.”

Not really—although it’s only natural for RCs to believe so.

January 31, 3:08 pm | [comment link]
27. Ratramnus wrote:

I’ll say again that I’m not a theologian even though I use one as my name here.  I will make a few comments on the original theme as a historian, though.
I’m surprised no one has mentioned the real Ratramnus, since Cranmer said that after reading his De corpore et sanguine Domini ][, he could no longer believe in transubstatiation.  This 9thC work was not condemned as heresy until the 11thC and was printed as a book in 1532, so Cranmer could have read it quite early on (I’m convinced he was Protestant as we now understand it by the time he became ABC and Henry knew it).  Ratramnus said that Christ is really and fully present spiritually through the elements by virtue of prayer and faith, so that the communicant receives Christ’s very substance without physically eating His body and blood.  That is what I understand Article XXVIII to say.

So, why do the English Reformers have to be Zwinglian or Calvinist?  Coincidence is not causality.  Might there be an original—to the extent that anything is original—theology of the English Reformation?
Zurich and Geneva may have reinforced English Protestantism far more than they created it.

What Rome currently says about Catholicism is an evolutionary, temporal product.  It may or may not bear on the authenticity or diversity of Catholicism in earlier times.  When we use that standard, we have to ask ourselves, in what year and in whose tradition, and by what warrant?

January 31, 6:09 pm | [comment link]
28. MichaelA wrote:

Some very good posts aptly and wryly pointed out the weaknesses in Fr. Kimel’s argument, and the corresponding strength of Anglicanism.

I just want to take up one issue raised by Ratramnus:

So, why do the English Reformers have to be Zwinglian or Calvinist?  Coincidence is not causality.  Might there be an original—to the extent that anything is original—theology of the English Reformation?
Zurich and Geneva may have reinforced English Protestantism far more than they created it.

In my view, there is no doubt about this - Anglicanism is indeed original theology. Yet also, as Ratramnus correctly hints, it is not original because no true doctrine is original - rather, it points back to the faith once delivered by God 2,000 years ago (not the faith occasionally formulated by Fr. Kimel 7 years ago!), and it follows in the stream of God’s one holy catholic and apostolic church, from that time to this. Amen.

January 31, 6:38 pm | [comment link]
29. cseitz wrote:

I think the ‘originality’ of Elizabeth I admirable. Can someone remind us all of her (typically anglo-saxon) theological mind, when she said about Real Presence ‘He said it, at His word I receive it…’. If this is not closer to Orthodoxy than the aristotelian metaphysics of the Roman position, I am happy to receive instruction. Mystical Supper indeed…at least the East refuses to confuse doxology with explanation.

January 31, 10:06 pm | [comment link]
30. Hunsinger wrote:

Re:  “When Orthodoxy and Catholicism agree, Protestantism loses.”
1.  I would reformulate it: “When Orthodoxy and Catholicism agree, there is hope for Protestantism as well.”
2. Catholicism and Orthodoxy hold views of the Eucharist that are diverse in important ways.
3. Protestants could accept certain basic Orthodox views about the Eucharist without their engaging in theological compromise (or so I have argued in “The Eucharist and Ecumenism”).
4. The Orthodox are usually right in their criticisms of Catholicism.
5. The Catholics are often right in their criticisms of the Orthodox.
6. The Reformation was right, in important respects, in its criticisms of Catholicism and by extension of Orthodoxy.
7. There is more than enough defectus to go around.
8. It seems that Fr. Kimmel is very good at spotting the splinter in someone else’s eye.

February 2, 5:16 pm | [comment link]
31. FrKimel wrote:

George, I would very much like to continue a conversation on the points you have raised, but it would probably not be appropriate for two non-Anglicans (especially an ex-Anglican like myself) to do so on this particular forum.  I assure you, though, that I am also very good at spotting splinters in my own eyes, too.  smile

February 2, 7:46 pm | [comment link]
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