Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Continuing heresies

Well, okay, that's nowhere close to any title I'd imagined for this blog entry. But on the way back from today's event Fr. McGrath suggested the title should contain the word "Continuing." And so it does...

But not for the reason suggested. The "event" was a "Church Leaders Forum" at Seattle Pacific University featuring the Rev. Dr. Michael Ward, an Anglican priest and C.S. Lewis scholar, speaking on "The Continuing Relevance of C. S. Lewis for the Church Today" -- and if he appears in a venue near you, do attend!

I have to confess there isn't a lot I can relate about his talk. As Deacon Ed noted, this was delivered at a pretty high intellectual level and as I wasn't taking notes (my fault, I'd come prepared to do so) and my brain just wasn't quite up to par thanks to illness, for all I followed him through I didn't retain enough even to summarize now. Maybe others can chime in through the comments.

But in any event, shortly before his talk and during the lunch, our St. Bartholomew's group was joined by a couple of young women who worked for the university's newspaper. They asked about our group and when we said we were from St. Bartholomew's Anglican one asked about "Episcopal" versus "Anglican", and so we educated them about "Continuing Anglican" churches, the history and convention of the names and so on. Thus the "Continuing" in the title.

Shortly before the Rev. Dr. Ward's talk a sheet was passed out, noting among other things the availability of a book titled "Heresies and How to Avoid Them", with the Rev. Dr. Ward as an editor. This caught my eye, based on a remark a few years ago from Jack, a Greek Orthodox friend, to wit: "There are no new heresies."

I'm not sure I am ready to buy into that, but his remark made me very aware that I know very little of the OLD heresies. Speaking as an engineer it's always a good idea to learn from others' mistakes -- so I bought the book. (And I have no doubt that at some point Fr. McGrath will probably ask me to lead a Wednesday evening series on this topic, especially since I have raised this issue before.)

I haven't read past the Foreword yet, but I'm already hooked:

"Given the diminished state of the Church some Christians might even believe that if we would gain more members by being heretical so much the worse for orthodoxy."

"The Church seldom knows what it believes until someone gets it wrong. Indeed, often it is not even clear at the beginning what has been got wrong. So those who get it wrong are blessed just to the extent that they help us discover what it is we must faithfully say, to be adequate witnesses to God."

I am looking forward to reading "Heresies and How to Avoid Them: Why it matters what Christians believe."


  • At 8:06 PM, Blogger Fr Odhran-Mary TFSC said…

    When I am asked about "Episcopal" as opposed to "Anglican" I begin with stating that we in the Continuum are Christians, rather than heretics.
    I point out that we adhere to a traditional male priesthood and assume that men ought to marry women.
    In all cases, there is an agreeable smile and no more questions.

  • At 6:17 PM, Blogger Continuing Home said…

    Direct and to the point -- very good!

  • At 9:16 PM, Blogger Anglican Parish Priest said…

    An interesting side note: the Rev'd Dr. Michael Ward has had something of a 'career' as a movie extra. For example, in the "007 The World is Not Enough" he appears briefly as one of Q's lab assistants, and hands a pair of X-ray sunglasses to James Bond (Pierce Brosnan).

    I'm not sure if this damages his qualifications as an orthodox Anglican theologian or not. (But I think not.)


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