Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Necessary Doctrine

The following is an extract from His Grace’s annotations to The King's Book, which was the popular title for ‘A Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for Any Christian Man; Set Forth by the King's Majesty of England’ (1538):

To know how we obtain our justification, it is expedient to consider, first, how naughty and sinful we are all, that be of Adam's kindred; and contrariwise, what mercifulness is in God, which to all faithful and penitent sinners pardoneth all their offences for Christ's sake. Of these two things no man is lightly ignorant that ever hath heard of the fall of Adam, which was to the infection of all his posterity; and again, of the inexplicable mercy of our heavenly Father, which sent his only begotten Son to suffer his most grievous passion for us, and shed his most precious blood, the price of our redemption. But it is greatly to be wished and desired, that as all Christian men do know the same, so that every man might acknowledge and undoubtedly believe the same to be true and verified, even upon himself; so that both he may humble himself to God and knowledge himself a miserable sinner not worthy to be called his son; and yet surely trust, that to him being repentant God's mercy is ready to forgive. And he that seeth not these two things verified in himself, can take no manner of emolument and profit by acknowledging and believing these things to be verified in others. But we cannot satisfy our minds or settle our conscience that these things are true, saving that we do evidently see that God's word so teacheth us.

The commandments of God lay our faults before our eyes, which putteth us in fear and dread, and maketh us see the wrath of God against our sins, as St. Paul saith, Per legem agnitio peccati, et, Lex iram operatur, and maketh us sorry and repentant, that ever we should come into the displeasure of God, and the captivity of the Devil. The gracious promises of God by the mediation of Christ showeth us, (and that to our great relief and comfort,) whensoever we be repentant...we have forgiveness of our sins, [are] reconciled to God, and accepted, and reputed just and righteous in his sight, only by his grace and mercy, which he doth grant and give unto us for his dearly beloved Son's sake, Jesus Christ; who paid a sufficient ransom for our sins; whose blood doth wash away the same; whose bitter and grievous passion is the only pacifying oblation, that putteth away from us the wrath of God his Father; whose sanctified body offered on the cross is the only sacrifice of sweet and pleasant savour, as St. Paul saith: that is to say, of such sweetness and pleasantness to the Father, that for the same he accepteth and reputeth of like sweetness all them that the same offering doth serve for.

These benefits of God with innumerable other, whosoever expendeth, and well pondereth in his heart, and thereby conceiveth a firm trust and feeling of God's mercy, whereof springeth in his heart a warm love and fervent heat of zeal towards God, it is not possible but that he shall fall to work, and be ready to the performance of all such works as he knoweth to be acceptable unto God. And these works only which follow our justification, do please God; for so much as they proceed from an heart endued with pure faith and love to God. But the works which we do before our justification, be not allowed and accepted before God, although they appear never so good and glorious in the sight of man. For after our justification only begin we to work as the law of God requireth. Then we shall do all good works willingly, although not so exactly as the law requireth by mean of infirmity of the flesh. Nevertheless, by the merit and benefit of Christ, we being sorry that we cannot do all things no more exquisitely and duly, all our works shall be accepted and taken of God, as most exquisite, pure, and perfect.

Now they that think they may come to justification by performance of the law, by their own deeds and merits, or by any other mean than is above rehearsed, they go from Christ, they renounce his grace: Evacuati estis a Christo, saith St. Paul, Gal. v., quicunque, in lege, judificamini, a gratia excidistis. They be not partakers of the justice, that he hath procured, or the merciful benefits that be given by him. For St. Paul saith a general rule for all them that will seek such by-paths to obtain justification; those, saith he, which will not knowledge the justness or righteousness which cometh by God, but go about to advance their own righteousness, shall never come to that righteousness which we have by God (Rom. 10:1-4); which is the righteousness of Christ: by whom only all the saints in heaven, and all other that have been saved, have been reputed righteous, and justified. So that to Christ our only Saviour and Redeemer, on whose righteousness both their and our justification doth depend, is to be transcribed all the glory thereof.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale (My Google blogger still does not recognise me. Don't know why)

This is a most erudite, exquisite and succinct explanation of salvation from our fallen state by the mercy of our almighty God. If the truths of this exposition were preached in pulpits throughout the land, the Lord would have reason to return the people to the pews.
As it is, we have an apostate clergy, amongst whom I include the present Archbishop of Canterbury, pointing the people of our nation in the direction of hell. "Be ye not many teachers, for theirs is the greater judgement."

18 November 2007 at 11:27  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Cranmer your grace, pleeeease tell me what you think of ecumenism. A hard line needs to be drawn against the likes of Rabbi Julia Neuberger seeking to slowly replace Christianity with the godless creed of humanism. By encouraging prayers from other religions in Parliament she is ignoring the first commandment in our Christian faith. Thus she seeks to shift our point of reference from the Christian god to the cult of man. Because what would she say if I told her that worship of other gods leads to hell? She would say that isn't true, thus she would deny Christ, the alpha and omega, thus attacking the Christian religion.

I think the point ecumenism is not the one true god at all, I think she's trying to promulgate the idea that it doesn't really matter who you worship, only that you observe other peoples worship without remark, without discriminating. Thus this shifts the point of reference from god to man.

(Please try to read that last sentence with intuition as I am a terrible writer)

18 November 2007 at 23:50  
Blogger Dr.D said...

HH, would you really expect a rabbi to support Christian principles? I think that is asking a bit too much. I would agree, however, that she should still want prayers directed towards the God that both Christians and Jews worship and no other.

19 November 2007 at 01:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,

I enjoyed this post--call this a Trackback on "Prydain."


19 November 2007 at 05:39  
Anonymous the recusant said...

No wonder Your Grace has had so few responses to this particular Blog. Soterology can be a real minefield. O course your view of justification on ‘Necessary Doctrine…’ as you say in 1538 was fully explored and explained in more depth in "Decretum de justificatione" of the Sixth Session (13 Jan., 1547) of the Council of Trent, which in sixteen chapters (cf. Denzinger-Bannwart, "Enchir.", nn.793-810) and thirty-three canons (l.c., 811-43) gave in a fuller and clearer manner all necessary information about the process, causes, effects, and qualities of justification.

I think we can agree Protestant and Catholic interpretations fall into either ‘We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, apart from good works’, or ‘we are saved by grace alone through faith infused works.’ Now for the Protestant to make to former true and reject the latter he has to show that the latter is either misunderstood or just plain lies and falsehood.

Luther knew this was the key to his novel version of justification which wasn’t really new at all, he adopted this particular dogma from Johannes Agricola and his secretaries who in turn subscribed to the ancient heresy of the Nominalists, the original proponents of Antinomianism or more commonly the doctrine of Sola-Fides.

So what did Luther do, he had to rationalise and explain away Galatians which he did in his lectures given in 1518-1519 (pub. 1519, 2nd ed. 1523). He ignored the obstacles Corinthians 13 threw up in his Sermon for the Sunday before Lent but the real killer was James 2:17, there really was no way round it, so he rejected the book, in total, Threw James right out and re-wrote his own version of the Bible, his Bible.

Luthers bible removed the deuterocanonicals from the Old Testament including Macabees for which he had a particular problem, not least was the authority from which he acted. The New Testament was not to be spared his editorship and he scrapped, along with the afore mentioned James, Hebrews, Jude and Revelation.

Well of course if you can alter scripture to suit your own need, you can make it say anything you like, which is what your Grace you did in 1538.

The offending passages:

Galatians 5:6
5:6. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing nor uncircumcision: but faith that worketh by Charity.

1 Corinthians Chapter 13
13:2. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

13:3. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

13:13. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

James Chapter 2
2:17. So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.

20 November 2007 at 00:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale

Jesus taught the disciples from the scriptures. Those scriptures were the Jewish scriptures and did not include Maccabees. If Jesus did not include Maccabees as a basis for doctrine, then by what wisdom would we do so.
That faith brings forth works, as Cranmer makes clear, is entirely consistent with what James say, but we cannot be saved by works, as Paul makes equally clear. My in-laws are Roman Catholics. They go to Mass every day in the belief that the more masses they attend, the shorter will be their time in purgatory. (Of which there is no mention in the scriptures, unless you refer to Maccabees or misinterpret, 'saved as if by fire'.) They also believe that their masses will reduce their children's time in purgatory, as per the 'indulgences'.
However, my in-laws lack everyday faith. They believe there is a God, but, for example, they do not trust him with their money. They had never read Malachi before I drew it to my Father-in-laws attention and believed that tithing was something done by religious fanatics.
They have lots of icons around the house, but you would be hard pushed to find a Bible. Indeed they know all about Padre Pio and the heresy known as the Scapula of Mary, but they do not know what God says. They study the words of the Pope, but not the words of Jesus.
As a consequence, in times of trial they put their trust in Mammon rather than in God. They know about the lilies of the field and understand what Jesus is saying, but that understanding does not get translated into faith in the way they conduct their lives. On the basis of their actions, James would question their faith, but Rome would count attendance at Mass as an example of faith.
For myself, the more I experienced the grace of God in my life, the clearer did the book of James become. There is no contradiction between Paul and James. We are saved through faith and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, the works of faith are seen in our lives.
Thankfully, the more my Father-in-law sees of the Bible, the clearer is his understanding of the mind of God. That is probably why Rome fears the Bible so much.

20 November 2007 at 10:48  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mr David Lonsdale

You make the point that Jesus only taught from the scriptures, which did not include Maccabees and indeed there is a debate to be had as to whether Jesus accepted the Septuagint as scripture. In the Gospels Jesus never quotes the Septuagint directly, however this does not condemn the Deuterocanonical books since there are many other Old Testament books Jesus did not quote either. No Christian Church accepts only those OT books quoted by Jesus. Old Testament books not quoted by Jesus are still considered scripture. So what did Jesus mean when he refers to scriptures, because apparently there was no closed canon of scripture in Jesus' time.

The conclusion that there was no rigidly closed canon in Judaism in the 1st or 2nd centuries AD means that when the church was in its formation period and was using the sacred books of the Jews, there was no closed canon for the church to adopt. Part of the evidence is the existence of Deuterocanonical books in the Qumran scrolls (Dead Sea scrolls). In these scrolls were found parts of three Deuterocanonical texts giving the impression that there was very little distinction between a closed canon and all other texts. Both "scriptural" texts and secular texts are included together, with no apparent distinction.

So we are left with the question did Jesus use the story of Macabees in his mission? From the points given above I hope you will agree that Jesus was not limited to scripture in what he taught, indeed to say so would be ridiculous. We know for example he used many other methods and forms to clarify his teaching, we are told in the gospels of the metaphor and parables he drew on which were also not in the Jewish scripture, but as the beatitudes confirm were present and already existed in other forms within the Jewish tradition of the time. We know many things he did were not written down but passed on by tradition John 21:25 'And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written'.

Now to believe Jesus did not speak about this famous family, of Judah Maccabee and his father Mattitias, who defended the temple just 150 years or so previously against the pagan Syrian dictator Anitochus is like asking us to believe that, for example Dr David Starkey has never mentioned Trafalgar or the Indian Mutiny. That the persecution of the occupation by the Syrians, that Jews were made to bow down and to offer sacrifices to another god, that they were forbidden to neither observe the Sabbath, nor study the Torah were not known or used by Jesus, so familiar with the history of the Jews is quite frankly inconceivable.

So to answer your question, the wisdom to teach from Maccabees is that of the disciples and the early Church Fathers who knew Jesus personally, the compilers of the NT Codex and the Oral tradition passed down and referred to in the gospels by the year 150 AD.

I hope I made it clear previously that it is not the Catholic Church that separates Faith and good works but the Protestant view of justification. If there is a problem it is that the premise 'by faith alone one is saved' or Sola fide, is simply not in, or supported by the (unedited) bible, it's a Lutheran invention and one has to rationalise and obfuscate to arrive at that conclusion (and you claim Catholics don't know their bibles). For that matter neither is Sola scriptura and paradoxically the acceptance of one by its own definition must negate the other. Simply put the catholic view is that one without the other is useless and not salvific.

To better make your points about Catholicism you deride, what I'm sure you consider superstitions by your in laws. I don't think they would be very pleased to know you set them up like Aunt Sally's even with the anonymity of the web for the purposes of parading their ignorance to the world. Of course I could be wrong.

20 November 2007 at 14:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale

I am not anonymous. I print my real name. It is not a pseudonym. My father-in-law is well aware of my views. I do not know too many Catholics, so I am restricted to observing the ones I know.

20 November 2007 at 19:08  
Anonymous the recusant said...

In which case I stand corrected, my impression that your inlaws were being lampooned without their consent was obviously mistaken, perhaps its none of my business anyway. Do you know if they have among their religious frippary a recent Catechism of the Catholic Church, (or the shorter compendium). This will give them, and yourself all the answers you need on what we believe and why we do what we do. Additionally it will allow you, and at least if you want to hold us to account, to check out your claims like the one 'Rome is afraid of the Bible'.

21 November 2007 at 10:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale

I do have a Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church. I use it for reference. It tells us what Rome believes, not what the Bible says.
Since the view of Rome has been amended with every new superstition it is not surprising that you suggest I have a recent one. The one I have is about five years old.

22 November 2007 at 05:16  
Blogger prziloczek said...

Back to basics:
I don;t think, myself that justification or atonement are the real problem.
The first paragraph about man being sinful is what holds me.
Do you know what?
I do not think most people actually believe it!
When I left the Anglican Clergy to become a Catholic layman, I had to do a bit of teaching.
It rapidly became obvious that the children (Secondary) were seen as sinless. The idea was that they were born free until we enslaved them......
So all the rest of the arguments fall flat when the initial premise is denied.
Once again, we have lost touch with ordinary people.....

22 November 2007 at 20:49  

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