Skip to comments.I believe...in the communion of saints
Posted on 03/09/2005 6:20:37 PM PST by sionnsar
There is a fallacy in the Church today (at least in part of it). It is the thought that we, as American Christians, can do whatever we want with the Faith just as long as we have enough people on our side. This is especially true in the Episcopal Church where every three years during the General Convention they use what is called a 'democratic process' to change the Faith where they view it as incompatible with modern society. But in so doing they have forgotten something of the utmost importance; they are not the only ones who get a vote in what goes on in the Church. In acting the way it does the Episcopal Church discounts a silent majority of literally millions of people who do not agree with the innovations that Episcopalians have introduced into the Faith. And who are these millions of people that are being ignored? They are the saints of the Church who have preceded us in death.
The following is what E.L. Mascall had to say about the subject in his book Corpus Christi.
"If, however, we are conscious of our solidarity with the Church beyond the grave we shall see that the appeal to tradition is not an appeal to our remote predecessors but to our contemporaries. It is a guarantee that the whole Church believes the same faith. No more than the ministry is the Church's tradition to be looked on simply in terms of succession, but in terms of organic development and identity. The appeal to tradition has been defined, in a fine phrase, as the 'democracy of the dead', and this is true. But, since God is the God not of the dead but of the living, and since those who die in Christ are alive in Him, the appeal to Christian tradition is the appeal from the part to the whole."
Therefore, the Faith of the Church does not belong exclusively to those of us who happen to be alive at this time and we need to take into account what has come before us, which we have received from the saints who have preceded us in death and yet are alive in the Lord, and treat it with the respect it deserves. Anything less is surely a sinful conceitedness that will lead us away from the blessedness the saints are enjoying and into Hell.
"Therefore, the Faith of the Church does not belong exclusively to those of us who happen to be alive at this time and we need to take into account what has come before us, which we have received from the saints who have preceded us in death and yet are alive in the Lord, and treat it with the respect it deserves."
I suppose it shows how detached I have been of late from the problems in the AC, but this never occured to me. And you would think that it would occur to me. Everytime Orthodox people are in church, or go to their icon corner or shelf to pray, we are very conscious of the presence of the saints, who praise God unceasingly, praying with us. Our icons which surround us in our homes and offices and churches are the representations of that "cloud of heavenly witnesses" to our prayers, devotions and Divine Liturgies." I appreciate the ping, because I think that we Orthodox tend to in a way take the saints a bit for granted, probably because we otherwise feel so completely with them when we pray, rather like we sometimes tend not to notice that our families are all around us.
This is a sad post, because, maybe better than I've ever seen it expressed, it shows just how lost ECUSA really is in its mundane self-centeredness.
I thought of you immediately. The Anglican church needs to recapture this.
I believe that there is on earth a little holy flock or community of pure saints under one head, Christ. It is called together by the Holy Spirit in one faith, mind, and understanding. It possesses a variety of gifts, yet is united in love without sect or schism. Of this community I am also a part and member,a co-partner and participant in all the blessings it possesses.
"If, however, we are conscious of our solidarity with the Church beyond the grave..."
Excellent commentary. The problem with the ECUSA leadership is that first they have denied Scripture, then they have denied tradition (especially as described by Chesterton in murphE's comment, and finally they have denied reason which, I believe, also argues against homosexual relations as a good for either individuals or society.
In our parish class which examined the Windsor Report we actually had a woman ask the question regarding the Anglican Communion's position, 'What do we care what they think?" Clearly this woman, a cradle-Episcoplian, has been betrayed by a clerical hierarchy which has failed to educate her on who and what the Body of Christ really is.
The ECUSA leadership appears to care less for the rest of its own communion, the rest of the Christian Church in the world and certainly for those who have gone before us.
I have personally stayed the course, but if the ECUSA (including my diocese and parish) does not properly respond to the Primates' Communique, I will have no choice but to leave. I am not looking forward to that day, but I will not be surprised if it does not become necessary.
Superb quote! Thanks murphE.
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