Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Who Are The Saints?

Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle,
by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.

I have been asked many times what Anglicans believe concerning the Saints. My answer has always been that there are two types of Saints.

First of all, the Saints are the People of God, those who serve the Lord with all their hearts, with all their soul, and with all their mind: the total man serving the total God through vows and Church membership. Therefore, we are all saints as long as we endeavor to be faithful to our baptismal vows. It must be said that the word "saint" comes from the Greek word hagios, which means "consecrated" to God, holy, sacred, and pious.

In the New Testament, it is often used in the plural, "saints". In Acts 9: 13, we read, "…Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem". In Acts 9: 32, we read, "Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda". And there are many other references in the Bible concerning the saints. We are all saints because we are a group of people set apart for the service of God and His kingdom.

To make it short, all Christians are saints because we are the body of Christ, the Church. St. Paul was clear about this when he wrote to the Corinthians: "To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…" (1 Corinthians 1:2).

The word "saint" also refers to those people who lived a godly life with goodness, steadfastness, and courage. They enriched the Christian Church by providing examples of service, devotion, and tenacity for all of us to admire and follow.

In times past, these men and women have been recognized officially by the Church by a process we call canonization. Going through Anglican formularies, I don’t see anywhere this process is explicitly exposed or even stated. But Anglican practice has always appeared to recognize and accept as Saints those great Christians so proclaimed by the Roman Church prior to the Reformation.

The Book of Common Prayer sets aside in its Calendar no less than Seventeen Days on which special services are held in commemoration of nineteen Saints.

When I first joined the Anglican Church, I learned that Anglicanism has not "officially" claimed any Saints since the Reformation. However, names such as Cranmer, Laud, Charles I, Wilberforce, Keble, Latimer and Ridley (burned by Queen Mary - see graphic) and John & Charles Wesley are certainly in the minds of many Anglicans. Likewise in America, Anglican Churches have permitted honor and recognition of such great Christians as Seabury, White, Kemper, and Brooks.

Many Anglican Churches have Icons or Statues of the Saints. These images serve only to remind us of the exemplary life these lovely souls led. We do not bow down or venerate these objects as many mistakenly believe. In my next post, I will talk more about "Christians-Saints-Prayer".

Peace and blessings!

Fr. Thierry

"For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay" (Habakkuk 2:3).

Sunday, October 18, 2015

BBQ Chicken Sale and More - Saturday Oct 24th!

Our Special Recipe!
Our mouth watering special Valley Recipe Jumbo Legs are on sale again this Saturday from 10am until 1pm or until sold out.
Jumbo Legs quarters $4ea. or 3 for $10!!!  

We will have a limited supply of breast quarters for $5 ea. First come, first served.

Also there will be a Blessing of the Animals in observation of St Francis day as well as free books offered and activities for children.  

If you have been wondering what we are about it is a good time to come and see.

Thank you for your past patronage!

10811 Staples Mill Rd. Glen Allen 23060  804-248-8940

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Session 4. Free Will and the Shocking Alternative: Discussing Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Our study of this perennial classic is going splendidly. Many of us have read this book at some time in our journey and revisiting it for our parish has been a worthwhile endeavor. The insights offered by Metaxas and other speakers is illuminating.

We offer some some notes on the Freedom of Will in Scripture and quotes from the sermons and writings of the Early Church for you to contemplate during the week.

We hope you will join us for this splendid presentation.

Freedom of Will
 The ability to make decisions without being coerced by external forces. Scripture stresses that people are confronted with free choices between good and evil and commands them to choose good. However, it also notes that limitations are placed upon human actions through the enslaving power of sin.

Freedom of the will to choose between good and evil: Dt 11:26-28  “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.  See also Dt 30:15, 16-19; Jos 24:15; 1Ch 28:9; Jer 26:3; Eze 18:21-23

Freedom of the will to seek and find God Isa 55:6: Seek the LORD while he may be found; “call upon him while he is near;  
AUGUSTINEHow then am I to seek for you, Lord? When I seek for you, my God, my quest is for the happy life. I will seek you that “my soul may live,”for my body derives life from my soul, and my soul derives life from you. . . . Is not the happy life that which all desire, which indeed no one fails to desire? CONFESSIONS 10.20.  See also Am 5:4; Ac 2:21; Ro 10:11; Isa 28:16; Rev 22:17

The effect of sin upon freedom of the will

Sin prevents human beings from breaking free from its bondage Ro 7:14-20  For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: The will of the Spirit is one thing, that of the flesh is another. These two wills fight against each other and can never reach agreement. Man is carnal, but the law is spiritual. How then can the law ever become tolerable to those who struggle so hard against the sickness of sin? There is wisdom here, for if a man is carnal he is in some sense captive and reduced to the condition of slavery. EXPLANATION OF THE LETTER TO THE ROMANS.10  See also Ro 6:16-22; 7:25 Paul stresses that it is only through Jesus Christ that human beings can be freed from servitude to sin.

Sin hardens human hearts Heb 3:13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
CHRYSOSTOM: He said “today,” that they might never be without hope. “Exhort one another daily,” he says. That is, even if persons have sinned, as long as it is “today,” they have hope; let them not then despair so long as they live. Above all things indeed, he says, “Let there not be an evil, unbelieving heart.” But even if there should be, let no one despair, but let that one recover; for as long as we are in this world, the “today” is in season. ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS 6.8.14    See also Da 5:20; Ro 1:21; Eph 4:17-19

God hardens human hearts Ex 9:12 But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses. See also Ex 4:21; 10:20; 14:4-8; Dt 2:30; Jos 11:19-20; Ro 1:22-24; 9:17-18

Human beings harden their own hearts 1Sa 6:6 Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, did they not send the people away, and they departed? See also Ex 8:15-32; Ps 95:8; Pr 28:14; Heb 3:8-15; 4:7

More on Free Will from the Early Church:

Tertullian 160-225 AD
Some people act as though God were under an obligation to bestow even on the unworthy His intended gift. They turn His liberality into slavery…. For do not many afterwards fall out of grace? Is not this gift taken away from many? (Tertullian On Repentance chap. 6.)

The Apostle John  had a disciple named Polycarp, and Polycarp had a disciple named Irenaeus.

Irenaeus of Lyons 120-202 AD
”But although we shall be understood, from our argument, to be only so affirming man’s unshackled power over his will, that what happens to him should be laid to his own charge, and not to God’s, yet that you may not object, even now, that he ought not to have been so constituted, since his liberty and power of will might turn out to be injurious…Therefore it was proper that (he who is) the image and likeness of God should be formed with a free will and a mastery of him self;… At present, let God’s goodness alone occupy our attention, that which gave so large a gift to man, even the liberty of his will.” /Chapter 6

Ignatius 35-107 AD Bishop of Antioch in Syria.
Do not err, my brothers. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If, then, those who do this in regard to the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with anyone who corrupts the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified, by wicked doctrine? Such a person, becoming defiled, shall go away into everlasting fire and so shall everyone that listens to him. (Letter to the Ephesians 16)

Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens) 150–215 AD A theologian who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Among his pupils were Origen and Alexander of Jerusalem.

We…have believed and are saved by voluntary choice (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 217)
To obey or not is in our own power, provided we do not have the excuse of ignorance (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 353)
Each one of us who sins with his own free will, chooses punishment. So the blame lies with him who chooses. God is without blame. (c.195, Vol. 2, p. 226)
Neither promises nor apprehensions, rewards, no punishments are just if the soul has not the power of choosing and abstaining; if evil is involuntary. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p.319)

Clement, 80-140 AD The first Apostolic Father of the Church.  According to Tertullian, Clement was consecrated by Saint Peter
Thus although we are born neither good nor bad, we become on or the other and having formed habits, we are with difficulty drawn from them. Pg 273 vol.8

Justin Martyr 110-165 AD

For He fore-knows that some are to be saved by repentance, some even that are perhaps not yet born. In the beginning He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative Chapter 28

Blog (news and archives)

(Check out our new site)