May 31, 2012 - General, Reflections    2 Comments

I have a problem with Anglicanism.

I preached on Christians and the law a few weeks ago. Based largely on Brian Rosner’s work in the AMCL last year, I suggested that Christians are in no way bound by the law as law (legal code). Rather, Christians live by the law of Christ, which is the work of the Spirit in us, propelling us to love God and one another.

In this context, I have two problems with Anglicanism. Firstly, Article VII: EVERY Christian is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

Secondly, those orders of service in which Christians are called to reflect on the 10 commandments, and then to confess their sin in light of not keeping the law: Christians are free from the law. It no longer condemns us!

Disclamer: I thing anglicanism is a great platform, especially in Sydney (the last 3 churches I’ve attended and been a part of the leadership at have been Anglican) – I just don’t agree with all it’s doctrinal points.

2 Comments

  • Hi Dave,
    BIG call to say that Every Christian is free from the obedience of the Commandments that are called moral!

    The Ten Commandements are Moral Laws that are eternal, timeless and true for all people. Jesus did not come to abolish the ethical principles of the Law, but to fulfill them. We are free from the Ceremonial and Civil Laws of the OT. But the Moral Laws and principles of the Old Testament have not changed; but are renewed and upheld in the New Testament. The exception being the law on the Sabbath, which we are to honour the spirit of – not the letter of.

    Jesus came to complete what the Law only started. . We have a covenant of grace now in Christ because he fulfilled the Law but that does not make the Moral Laws of God repeated in principle and example throughout the New Testament obsolete.

    The moral and ethical teachings of Jesus and His apostles call for moral accountability to the Moral Laws on a heart level. (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-42, 43-48, 7:1-5, 15:18-19, 25:37-40, Mark 7:21-23, 12:28-31, Luke 12:15, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Galatians 5:19-21, James 1:27, 2:15-16, 1 John 3:17-19).

    Therefore, it can be entirely appropriate to reflect on God’s commands prior to confession in an Anglican church service.

    My prelim thoughts.

    • Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for your thoughts! I must agree with you, it IS a big call…

      To be honest, my thinking has only changed on this very recently. Up until about a month ago I would have agreed in full with what you’ve suggested.

      There are a couple of question in particular that got me questioning this position.

      Firstly, the separation of the law into civil/ceremonial/moral (which is what Article 7 does). That separation seems to me to be entirely arbitrary. It’s not a distinction which the NT does, nor is there a clear pattern as to what is what. It seems to me that in the NT usage of the law it’s all or nothing. You are either under the ENTIRE law, or none of it. Can I ask how you defend this separation?

      Secondly, how can a Christian be called to be accountable to a law system that they have been removed from?

      I looked through the bible verses you quoted, and they cover a LOT of different ground… I don’t really feel like I can adequately comment on all the issues that they raise in regards to your argument. I’ll comment on just one (for now).

      Gal 5:19-21. Firstly, is there a reason to quoted from v.19 rather than earlier? I’d have started (at least) from verse 13. The point Paul is making is that we are FREE from the law! That freedom from the law has come about because Christ became, for us, the curse which the condemnation of the law required. Having done this, we are now people of the Spirit, not the law. The Spirit addresses the very issue you raised (that righteous life flows out from the heart). The fruits of the Spirit come about because of God’s work in us, not because of a legalistic requirement of the law. Living the life which flows from the Spirit (summarised in loving God and others) fulfills the law in it’s entirety, which is a totally different way of speaking than to say that we are required to obey the law.

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!