The Bishop

Gathered around the bishop the presbyters are the image of the apostles, pointing us to Christ. The presbyters’ first task therefore was teaching, convening assemblies, preaching and catechizing. Saint John Chrysostom and Origen have left us the homilies they preached as presbyters. While bishops gave us our liturgies and in particular the anaphoras, the Eucharistic prayers of offering, presbyters taught, preached and looked after the administration of the Church, and together with the bishop, were members of the synod of the Church in that place.
However, this arrangement did not last long. By the third century the Church was beginning to take a different course, particularly in the West, as evidenced by Cyprian. The notion of the bishops as the image of Christ changed in favour of the idea that they were the image of the apostles. Nowadays a bishop is regarded as a successor to the apostles, so his primary responsibility is to teach. However, Saint Ignatius says that it is not the bishop who does the teaching and that we should respect the silence, which according to Ignatius’s understanding, the bishop maintains for everything apart from the anaphora of the divine Eucharist, which is his responsibility solely.
This contemporary view that the primary role of the bishop is teaching and only secondarily the Eucharist, is a clear divergence from the historic understanding of the Church. In the West in particular, teaching
became the bishop’s chief role, while the celebrating the liturgy was handed over to the presbyters. Thus in the West the priest performs the liturgy, while the bishop is primarily a manager, who exhausts himself in the administration of the Church. Here is a very significant divergence from the eschatological understanding of the bishop.

Labour and the Muslim vote

Labour’s appeasement of Islamism in the UK

1 Immediately after the 2005 election, which saw Labour share of the Muslim vote collapse – the government announced the incitement to religious hatred legislation. This was widely seen by Islamic organisations as the ‘Muslim blasphemy law’ they had campaigned 18 long years for since the Rushdie affair. Blasphemy against Muhammad is THE most serious offence in sharia – and carries the automatic death penalty in countries such as Pakistan.

2 August 2006 Ruth Kelly (Communities Secretary) and John Prescott (deputy Prime Minister) met Islamic leaders immediately after the Heathrow terrorist arrests. They were asked for a partial implementation of sharia for family law in the UK and Muslim festival to become bank holidays. Ruth Kelly then set up a commission to look into implementing the first.

3 June 2007 (Brown now Labour leader and as PM in waiting making joint decisions with Blair) – a government sponsored report on the teaching of Islam in British universities was published. One may well ask exactly what the Labour government was doing asking a senior member of the Islamic Foundation – the UK’s largest overtly Islamist group – to write this government sponsored report ON HIS OWN? The report recommended that non Muslims should be banned from teaching the main Islamic subjects in British universities! The PM publicly welcomed this report!

Cranmer

How to pray 5

Ye holy angels bright, Who wait at God’s right hand, Or through the realms of light Fly at your Lord’s command, Assist our song; For else the theme Too high doth seem For mortal tongue.

Ye blessed souls at rest, Who ran this earthly race, And now, from sin released, Behold the Saviour’s face, God’s praises sound, As in his sight, With sweet delight, Ye do abound.

Ye saints, who toil below, Adore your heavenly King. And onward as ye go Some joyful anthem sing; Take what he gives And praise him still, Through good or ill, Who ever lives!

My soul, bear thou thy part, Triumph in God above: And with a well-tuned heart Sing thou the songs of love! Let all thy days Till life shall end, Whate’er he send, Be filled with praise.

Richard Baxter Ye Holy Angels Bright

Two men

In The Eschatological Economy I compared two christologies. One is the Christian christology, in which Christ is the truth of man, and true man is in fellowship with God and with all men and creation. As Christ is the truth of man, so (Christian) christology is the truth of anthropology. I take this from Irenaeus.

But there is another ‘man’ and another, non-Christian, christology. This man is a titan. He is man without God, and without anything that is not himself. This is a christology of ascent, determined by man’s belief in his own autonomy. Man is ascending away from his fellowmen, away from bodies and earth. The great chariot of mankind roars down the track, gathering ever greater speed, zooms up the ramp, lifts off and soars into the air, leaving the earth and heading out – but then, looking around for some third party confirmation of its lift-off, the chariot hesitates, finds that it has peaked, and beginning to fall back towards earth, starts to fly apart. So it is that we find ourselves tumbling and twisting in ever smaller pieces, each making our re-entry alone. In this ‘christology’ without Christ, in which man decides to do without the confirmation of his fellows, man can have no idea whether he is in fact ascending or descending, gathering unity and permanence or breaking up and dissolving. I credit Kant with this anthropology.

So, just as there are two loves, that make two cities, so there are two men and two histories of man. One history crashes, the other is sustained by the call of God.

Remedial institutions

The human-rights tribunals are a censor’s dream. Under Canada’s human-rights act, commissioners can convict if they believe any published material is “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.â€? Since they are “remedialâ€? institutions and not real courts, they need not follow strict legal procedures or grant traditional rights of the accused. No one goes to prison, but the panels can fine and silence people at will — and run up the lawyer bills for years. Truth is no defense, and commissioners are authorized to confiscate a computer without a warrant.

John Leo Canadian Kangaroos

The Canadian Human Rights Commission, which enforces the act, has a record of conviction that recalls the awful efficiency of Soviet courts: In over three decades of existence, the commission has yet to find someone innocent.

Jacob Laksin Free Speech on trial

both from Melanie Phillips Jihad of the Word

Radner to bishops at Lambeth

You must pray, you must reflect, you must listen. You must also act. Let me suggest four central actions you must come to a common mind about. In all these cases I use the term “mustâ€?, not because I am absolutely certain of these matters, but because I believe that God is indeed calling you to act, and this belief is buttressed by the discernment of countless others around the Communion.

1. You must state clearly that the actions of TEC as an official body, and of certain Canadian dioceses, are unacceptable to you as bishops of the Communion. And you must decide, resolutely, that those bishops from these churches who are in agreement to press forward in ways the Communion has now clearly and consistently repudiated no longer partake in your common councils. I am not eager to state this; but I know of no other reasonable course to take at this point. This is not a matter of punishment, or even “disciplineâ€? in any technical form: it is a matter of common Christian sense. TEC (to use this example) has demonstrated clearly, and with increasing hard-heartedness, that it does not wish to respect the common recommendations and pleas and even hopes of the Communion as a whole.

2. You must call back into your midst those who have stayed away from this Conference, not simply as a sign of continued fellowship, but in order to meet face to face again to resolve and heal the breaches that are widening among you month by month. There is much speaking of the truth, repentance, and reconciliation that needs to be done among you and with them. But it is not right simply that declarations be made or statements offered or private counsel kept in the face of the present estrangements, irregular episcopal acts, and hostile words. There is scandal on every side: confront it and heal it among yourselves, armed with powers of Christ’s spirit.

Ephraim Radner Open Letter to the Bishops gathering for the Lambeth Conference

No more ordinary relationships

The dramatic escalation of child protection measures has succeeded in poisoning the relationship between the generations and creating an atmosphere of suspicion that actually increases the risks to children, according to a new study from the independent think-tank Civitas.

In Licensed to Hug Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, argues that children need to have contact with a range of adult members of the community for their education and socialisation, but ‘this form of collaboration, which has traditionally underpinned intergenerational relationships, is now threatened by a regime that insists that adult/child encounters must be mediated through a security check’ The scope of child protection has become immense. Since its formation in 2002 the Criminal Records Bureau has issued 15 million disclosures, but the whole operation has now been ratcheted up several notches by the passage of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. This has led to the creation of the Independent Safeguarding Authority which, when it is rolled out in October 2009, will require CRB checks of 11.3 million people – over one quarter of the adult population of England.

Whereas adults would once routinely have rebuked children who were misbehaving, or helped children in distress, they now think twice about the consequences of interacting with other people’s children. A culture of fear pervades what should be ordinary relationships.

Civitas Licensed to Hug: How child protection policies are poisoning the relationship between the generations and damaging the voluntary sector

Fear

All the books discussed in this piece are relevant to Great Britain and Europe. But very few of them are published here. Despite being one of our most significant historians, David Selbourne could not find a publisher for his latest book in the UK. Despite her highly acclaimed previous books, and a position as one of our foremost commentators, Melanie Phillips found it impossible for several years to find a British publisher willing to take her latest book, only finding a small new press after the book was scheduled in America. Oriana Fallaci has a distributor, but no UK notices, reviews or, visible distribution for this translation of her last but one book. Neither Bawer nor Berlinski’s books – about the urgent need for Europe to wake up to the threat within – have been published on the continent under discussion.
Which suggests that there are problems. The first is the now undeniable issue of pusillanimity in British publishing (Selbourne wrote an important article about this in the Sunday Times before his dense book came out in America). Of course there is some sense in the cowardice. Since the Rushdie affair, publishers have – like newspaper editors – made a not-too secret recognition. They know that publishing novels claiming that Christ was Mary Magdalene’s lover pull in “good-controversial” publicity. But they also realise that the “all publicity is good publicity” mantra doesn’t extend to the moment when you find the girl from the typing pool with an Allah-gram pinned into her chest because the messenger couldn’t reach the editors.

Douglas Murray reviews recent books on Islam in Europe

Eucharist

Benedict and Roman Catholic theology (and of course much more Protestant theology) play down the personhood of the eucharistic president, and so, paradoxically, play down the priest. Because the eucharist appears to be about the bread and wine, our attention is drawn away from the priesthood of the many gathered around the one. We are left to assume that the priest is the man whom we presume we already entirely know, while these eucharistic elements are wonderful and mysterious, not known, but their truth revealed here. It looks as though the bread and wine are Christ, but the priest is not Christ.

It is simply not sufficient to say that these elements of bread and wine are Christ, without integrating them into a theology of the Whole Christ (Christ together with his people) and into an account of the coming-into-being of that body, and thus an eschatology. But in fact we need to say that the priest is entirely mysterious, because he is Christ-and-his body, and it is as we, the people of this congregation, are sanctified and integrated into that whole Church that we come to recognise the whole Church in the person of the Christian stands before us, presiding at this eucharist.

Perhaps it would be better to put it this way around: it is the people who, gathered around these elements and this priest, are this mystery. They are the first instalment of the redemption and consummation of the whole world in Christ. What they are becoming is being revealed here. These eucharistic elements are the future of priest and people, redeemed and consummated. The priest, together with these people, and this people together with this priest, are our glimpse of the future glory of man with God. They are our first view of man brought into communion with God and with all creation, and so man glorified.

Between two thieves

Theological leadership is raised up in due season. We have no comparable tomes such as Jewel’s Defensio Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae or Hooker’s Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, but the Reformed English Church persists because there is no better expression of English identity: it is the Ecclesia Anglorum. If it is ‘crucified between two thieves’ – the Puritans and the papists – it is because it has tasted the unmerited grace of God in Jesus Christ and maintains continuity with the Church of the Middle Ages and the early Fathers. It is catholic and reformed; moderate and reasonable; rigorous yet pastoral. And these are held in tension, in the brokenness of the cross, and there are undoubted frequent imbalances, in the imperfection of our fallenness. The Ecclesia Angliae has endured through numerous threats – the Roman Catholic Church, the Puritans, the Enlightenment and science, and ecumenism. So Cranmer is sure that it can survive feminism and pluralism.

Cranmer
Knight is not quite so sure the Church of England can survive but, when in the dark, whistle.