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William Reed Huntington (1838–1909) American priest and author – The Church-Idea (1870) Member House of Deputies Liturgical Scholar and Reformer – Collect.

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Presentation on theme: "William Reed Huntington (1838–1909) American priest and author – The Church-Idea (1870) Member House of Deputies Liturgical Scholar and Reformer – Collect."— Presentation transcript:

1 William Reed Huntington (1838–1909) American priest and author – The Church-Idea (1870) Member House of Deputies Liturgical Scholar and Reformer – Collect for Fridays (BCP p. 56, 99) – Book of Common Prayer (1892) Advocate for Ecumenism or “Reconciliation” – Chicago Quadrilateral (1886) Feast day July 27 (LFF)

2 The Church-Idea (pp. 12, 18, 30) The Gospel of the Kingdom – “that the Son of God came down from heaven to be the Saviour… not only of men but of man” not only to save the scattered sheep but to gather them The Kingdom = “the institution known in history as the Christian Church” “…because there has always been spiritual life in the world, therefore there has always been society.”

3 Two Objections (pp. 18, 19) Christ’s spiritual supremacy is “in the hearts of men not in a visible organization” – “The Kingdom has been already started in the world but is invisible.” Christ’s Kingdom will come down from heaven “when the present order of the world passes away” – “The Kingdom will be visible when it comes, but it has not yet come.” “The Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)

4 Gospel Response There is “no warrant” for “the Church Invisible in Holy Scripture.” (p. 34) – There is the “Church in heaven,” but it is precisely this that we are to make visible on earth. – The Heavenly Jerusalem is what is made visible in the liturgy. Jesus speaks of a present administration in which the wheat and the tares coexist together until the end of the age. (Matthew 13:23-30) “The larger doctrine that is to include both must set forth a Kingdom at once visible and invisible, present and future.” (p. 19)

5 Gospel Response cont. “The essence of a kingdom does not lie in thrones, and crowns, and scepters, and palaces, but in the king’s consciousness of rightful authority, and in the people’s consciousness of an obligation to obey. The true kingdom is ‘within’ the subjects’ hearts. And yet, for all this, kingdoms, as we know them, are very real and visible things.” (pp. 19, 20)

6 The “Marrow” of the Church-Idea (p. 30) “Because there has always been spiritual life in the world, therefore there has always been society. Because it is possible for the spirit of man to live either with God or apart from Him, therefore there has always been an inner or elect society, — the Church.”

7 The Practical Problem (pp. 10, 11) “There is a felt want and a felt inability to meet the want.” “Catholicity what we are reaching after.” Modern paraphrase ≈ “generic catholicism” i.e., Anglicanism

8 Four Notes of Catholicity (p. 47) 1.Visibility 2.The indwelling Spirit of the Lord 3.Unity 4.Capability of perpetual renewal

9 Three Classic Errors 1.Romanism — the Idea exaggerated 2.Puritanism — the Idea diminished 3.Liberalism — the Idea distorted

10 Romanism Positively — inclusive of wheat and tares Negatively — admits of new revelation

11 Romanism (p. 51) “In their view, the Papal Church is the Catholic Church; and if the Catholic Church, then the Church of the Apostles; and if the Church of the Apostles, then the Church of Christ; and if the Church of Christ, then the City of God, the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, the Mother of us all.”

12 Puritanism (≈ Protestantism) Positively — seeks to bring each individual member up to the standard of the Kingdom Negatively — exclusive of the tares in a way that is contrary to Scripture

13 Puritanism (p. 78) “The Puritan is undoubtedly right in demanding that the Church's standard of holiness shall be kept at the highest mark. He is undoubtedly wrong when he makes admission to the Fold, or continuance in it, dependent upon the individual’s near approach to this. The Church’s standard is one of aspiration, not attainment.” (Emphasis added.)

14 Liberalism No positive statement of Liberalism because it is not possible to state what Liberalism actually is. A caricature of the inclusive Church in that it includes all, but without standard or distinction. It is an inclusiveness without boundaries, which is another name for an illusion.

15 Liberalism cont. “Liberalism is not a system. Its very characteristic is its want of a system. Liberalism is a spirit, a tendency, a movement, a slippery something in striving to grasp which we seem to clutch the air.” (pp ) “Liberalism in religion is the spirit that is impatient of anything like authority, whether in the line of doctrine or discipline.” (p. 98, emphasis in original)

16 Liberalism cont. “The Holy Catholic Church is not a voluntary religious association formed by men for the purpose of freely handling the problems of human destiny. It is a family, a brotherhood, a household, to whose guardian care the archives of the faith have been intrusted. The members of this family have no authority to tamper with, to change or modify the sacred deposit given into their care. God’s oracles are a trust. The generations before us held it for our sake; we are to hold it for the sake of the generations yet to come.” (p. 113)

17 The Church-Idea in Context The uniquely American situation – Complete separation of Church and State “We have dissolved a partnership which for fifteen hundred years the world has held sacred.” (p. 119) “The ground is cleared.” (p. 133) – The government becomes “pure machine” to the Church supplies the “spirit” or meaning, values, morality, etc. Hence the need for American churches to reconcile. – Ecumenism makes possible a union of sufficient power to influence a secularized government and society. Visibility must become unity

18 The Church-Idea: Summary “Is the Christian religion, as we see it in America to- day [1870], able to take up, or able to carry the heavy weight of responsibility our national theory of civil government throws down at its feet? …We want a large-roofed, firmly founded, spiritual dwelling- place… something more than a ghostly presence in the land, if it is to do the work mapped out for it. It must have hands and arms and feet.” (p. 137, emphasis added)

19 Conclusion The solution: The Episcopal Church The Chicago Quadrilateral – Passed by House of Bishops in 1886 Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral passed by bishops at Third Lambeth Conference in 1888

20 Postscript: The Church-Idea 140 Years Later Naïve optimism – America would remain predominantly WASP culture and society for the indefinite future – American society without religion would have no basis for nonreligious “spiritual” values E.g., The Consumer Society (J. Baudrillard, 1970)


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