Thursday, April 16, 2009

Walker and Williams Suggest a Retrieval of 'Paradosis' and Rule of Faith

AWAF speakers Andrew Walker and Daniel Williams see the current state of evangelicalism as being as much a child of the enlightenment as it is a child of the Reformation. This leads to a built-in bias towards individualism rather than community and tradition. Both evangelical theologians are hoping to continue to churn evangelicalism towards a retrieval of the paradosis of the church—which in times past was believed to be the apostolic tradition of the New Testament and the “rule of faith” of the church Fathers and early church. This rule of faith can be the bridge leading to fuller unity and integrity in the Body of Christ as it continues to engage the culture with it unique message of eternal salvation. This is also a theme of the upcoming AWAF conference in June at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA. Both Walker and Williams are slated to be featured speakers at the conference.


Anglican Student US said...

As a result of posting this website to my Facebook, I got this interesting conversation with my friends. I re-post it here to see if it might "stir the pot" for others who might read this website/are coming to the conference. Here it is (feel free to comment further!):

Friend #1: Interesting, I wonder what they mean by "rule of faith"
Friend #2: Rule of faith: a communal and historic perimeter delimiting private interpretation of Scripture. But that's just my anglo-catholic self...
Friend #1: So, the Anglican church is going to form an evangelical teaching magesterium?
Me: Friend #1, I agree with Friend #2's definition. (I actually don't find it a very "anglo-catholic" statement.) As far as Anglican church "magisterium"... I'm not totally sure what you are asking, but here are couple of answers. (1) This movement toward a rule of faith is primarily an evangelical one. Anglicans already affirm this (ostensibly). (2) No one is talking about a "big M" magisterium (official doctrine of The Church). The point is that without even a "small m" magisterium (the agreed-upon doctrine of the early church) or rule of faith, then we are all subject to a magisterium of our culture/age/hermeneutical position in history with or without our realizing it. Good questions! Thanks! Feel free to ask more.
Friend #1: The biggest issue they face is the question of authority. They say faith alone, but that faith is not alone. Now they will say scripture alone, but that scripture is not alone? I don't argue against this personally, but think it is going to be a hard sell.
//Most evangelicals ignore Christian history to their own detriment or squabble over where ... Read Moreit went wrong. Calvin in his Institutes admitted that the historical evidence for the real presence was very strong, but rejected the doctrine. What doctrine will they agree upon, and who will they choose to decide which doctrines these are? Again it is an appeal to an authority... which our individualistic culture struggles with accepting.
Me: Yes, ultimately, Friend #1, it is a question of authority and who is the arbiter of that authority and on what basis. Anglicans claim (for better or worse) that that authority rests in the rule of faith as passed down by the apostles through the apostolic succession. This is why the "adherence to doctrine" is such an important part of the bishop's job ... Read Moreand why the Episcopal Church in America is such a mess (because bishops have not been executing this authority as they should).
There is also the problem of trying to identify the *right* doctrines to hold. Not too few and not too many, i.e. (from my view) not lax on homosexuality, but not policing transsubstantiation, either.
Stephen Sykes argues that what makes Anglicanism unique is it's ecclesiological stance-- to call the whole Anglican Church (this breadth is also critical as it needs to be in place to keep fellow bishops doing the job described above) to a "mere" ecclesiology/doctrines, i.e. the first four councils.

Brett said...

For the interest of Continuity I will cut and paste my reply here as well. I forgot you had this blog. I think I had the old address.

To take from your comment that the "adherance to docrtine is such an important part of the bishop's job." But where does that bishop get that authority from? What power does he have to reprove or chastise? Can he excommunicate for false teaching or practice? You can't have m without Magesterium. It makes essential doctrine into a suggestion rather than a command. With no official teaching, how can a bishop correct false teaching. Or even decide what that is?

By making doctrine only historical it takes away the churches ability to be reactionary. Every past council was not about creating new doctrines, but combatting new heresies. Therefore it has lost it's ability to say what is right and wrong in doctrine because it only looks to the past to see what has already been corrected. And among those to pick and choose what corrections and doctrines we NOW agree with...On what authority do we do that now? Are we wiser now than those made decrees back then?