We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I don't want to start a fight, but I can't understand this at all:

Marriage is not a proper subject of dogmatic theology, but at most of moral or pastoral theology. There is no core doctrine concerning marriage, and it is doubtful that the subject warrants a doctrine at all, and at least some of the efforts to construct a theological defense of marriage do more harm to theology than help to marriage. The church did very well without much doctrinal reflection on marriage for centuries. The creeds and classical Anglican catechisms are silent on it. The Articles of Religion refer to it as an estate allowed, and available to clergy as they see fit. There is no settled doctrine of marriage, only changing rules, laws, rites and ceremonies — all of these, as the Articles also remind us, subject to amendment by the church [my emphases].

[I'm not going to link back to the source but you can simply 'google it', if curious. I don't want traffic noted in a web log to ignite another pointless flame war! I am reconciled to the fact that the author and I simply will never agree. Yet, the general topic remains: Is the Bible a Moral Standard?]

So I humbly return to the meagre subject of the last post: Article VII.

Although the law [lex] given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites [ceremonias et ritus], do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts [praecepta] thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth [republica]; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments [obendientia mandatorum] which are called moral.

I can resolutely reject homophobia and easily admit civil partnerships into our polity (just as I must allow divorce and contraception and circumscribed abortion). But I cannot nullify Jewish moral law. In particular, I cannot o'erleap the persistence in Jewish law and custom of carefully separating life from death. For although I (personally) may fail to keep apart flesh (death) and milk (life), I do not thereby reject the ideal principle behind such activity.

Christianity stems from a deeply Judaic background, not from an Egyptian, Canaanite or Indian religious context. There is nothing interesting to be said about homosexuality from a world-historical perspective: it, like many things, simply is. There is only something to say to those of us who see ourselves bound to a particular tradition of texts and practices.

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it ... I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

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