Theology Update for the Week of October 11

Dear friends in Christ,

It is not an easy thing to say what the authority of the church is. Article XIX (of the 39 Articles) distinguishes power and authority as it makes a distinction between rites and doctrine. The Anglican view is that the church can legislate regarding rites, but (only) act judicially when there are doctrinal disputes. This is connected with the view that the Word of God contains all things necessary to salvation: nothing else need be added. And it is somewhat against the view, often heard, that for Anglicans there are three authorities: not only Scripture, but also tradition and reason. We will return to these questions in Sunday’s class, and also take up the Article (XXI) on the authority of ecumenical councils (such as the council of Nicaea in A.D. 325). Visitors and newcomers are welcome to the class: in Andrew Hall at 10 o’clock.

I am delighted to report that this year Columbus Day falls on Columbus Day: the second Monday of October is October 12. (O the persistence of childhood education! “Columbus sailed the ocean blue / In fourteen hundred ninety-two.”) However, because of the holiday, there will be no repeat of the Sunday class on this coming Monday. Monday classes will resume on October 19 at the usual time, 12:40.

Tuesday (the 13th) the Faith Within Reason class will do Parts I-IV of chapter 6, on evil and God’s omnipotence. We are spreading this chapter out over two weeks. It is a very careful argument that Herbert McCabe makes, and we will try to work through it systematically on Tuesday evening. You’re welcome to join us, even if you aren’t able to read the text. This week only, we will meet on the 5th floor. The class runs from 6:30 to 7:30pm.

Looking Ahead

The Good Books & Good Talk seminar will conclude its tragic season with a discussion of Shakespeare’s King Lear on Monday, October 19. If you read the play, you’re welcome to the conversation: from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. in Andrew Hall.

The Faith Within Reason class will run through Tuesday, October 27. For the class on the 27th, we’ll read chapter 8, on what it means to say “God is good.”

Looking Around

A friend recently pointed out to me that the classic Alec McCowen performance of St. Mark’s Gospel is on YouTube. Here’s the beginning of it. He simply performs — recites — the Authorized (King James) Version. It is simple and moving. If you have only a couple of minutes, I still recommend this for the introduction. McCowen tells, for instance, that a number of people have come to him to ask where he got the text!

Father Austin