Saints
Church of England

Welby: "Christians are not saints"; Cranmer: "O yes we are"

 

“Christians are not saints,” tweeted Lambeth Palace, apparently quoting from a sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. “They are sinners calling other sinners to know and love Jesus Christ.”

Well, yes and no. Christians are indeed sinners, as is all mankind, which has been so since the Fall. And Christians do (or should) call other sinners to repentance and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, without whom there is no redemption, and by whose name we may find salvation. But “Christians are not saints”?

It depends, of course, on one’s ecclesial tradition. But biblical theology is quite clear on the matter: all believers are saints.

And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda (Acts 9:32).

Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests.. (Acts 26:10).

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Eph 4:12).

Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you (Phil 4:21).

And each All Saints’ Day we remember and honour all those Christians – known and unknown; visible and invisible – who have gone before us and now dwell in Glory in the presence of the Lord. It is a communion of the living with the dead; a day preserved in the Book of Common Prayer, now classed as a Principal Feast, along with Easter Day, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Christmas Day, and the Epiphany.

In the New Testament, the saints are all believers – the whole Church – past, present and future. The term has, however, through ecclesial history and man-made tradition, come to be applied to persons of heroic sanctity, especially those who have given their lives for the sake of the gospel – those who have been martyred for the Faith. The distinction is sustained in some churches in the remembrance of All Saints followed by All Souls.

The the Book of Common Prayer is as clear as Scripture on the matter. The Collect for All Saints’ Day reads:

O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Church of England has not traditionally declared unilaterally its own saints, though it does honour its own martyrs and heroes of the Faith. But now that the Roman Catholic Church has finally conceded that something good came out of Anglicanism – namely, (parts of) the Book of Common Prayer – is it not time for the beatification of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer? Or, at the very least, for him to be declared a Doctor of the Church?

Surely he can be forgiven his commitment to the doctrine of the Royal Supremacy, though he believes it to be a fundamental datum of biblical revelation. Surely he can be forgiven for his vacillations as royal policy veered from one side to another under the rule of King Henry VIII. Surely he can be forgiven for seeing in King Edward VI a second Josiah, anointed to cleanse and purify the Church of corruption. Surely he can be forgiven for presenting as both a papalist and a conciliarist, confusing if not compromising generations of Anglicans who were to follow.

The Church of England, since the Reformation, holds implicitly, in purpose of heart, all which the ancient Church ever held. The Reformation was the work of God, through which the Church in Europe was purified and by which the Church in England continued. Thomas Cranmer, though not remarkable for genius or fame, enjoyed the surpassing glory of martyrdom, in vindication of the truths of the gospel of salvation. His testimony brought fame; his genius is now acknowledged even by the Church of Rome in the Ordinariate Use. He stands with the congregation of the faithful; the sainthood of all believers.

If the father of Anglican spirituality and defender of the English Church may not be a saint, then who can be? Perhaps some kind ecumenically-minded soul in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham might plead his cause? Not that he needs that, of course – unless one inclines toward the Roman understanding of beatification.

  • The Explorer

    If All Saints’ Day is to commemorate those Christians who have gone before us, what’s All Souls’ Day for? Unbelievers?

    • IanCad

      As I understand it , All Souls Day is set aside to pray for the dead.
      Now, to ask Our Heavenly Father to be merciful to those dead when they come unto judgment is, as I understand, perfectly legitimate.
      However, if our prayers are directed toward the relief of those in some imagined nether world, then we are on the road to spiritualism.

      • The Explorer

        Exactly. Or it means that some have fast tracked it into Heaven (All Saints’ Day), and this is a day for second-tier Christians. It also raises problems for those who, as I do, think judgement happens at death. If yu believe in Hell, as I do, that makes t even worse. What is being sought: asking God to change His mind about who’s where? (I appreciate that these issues don’t apply for those who believe in soul sleep.)

        • IanCad

          That’s me!

  • Ektherio

    I think the intent of Welby’s commentary is using the ‘colloquial’ definition of saints; that is, ‘morally good people’. Which, by our own nature we are not (xref: pretty much the entire Bible)

  • Anton

    There is ambiguity in the phrase “Christians are sinners”, because “sinner” can refer to somebody’s core identity or merely refer to deeds, ie “somebody who commits sins”. When a man – or woman – becomes a Christian he changes his very identity from “sinner” to “saint”. (If we do not wish to divert into an argument about canonisation then replace “saint” here with “holy one”.) In Pauline language, he takes off the T-shirt emblazoned “sinner” and puts on the T-shirt emblazoned “saint”. And he still wears the T-shirt emblazoned “saint” even if he commits a sin – he is simply a holy one who has sinned. That is what justification means. Only if he loses his faith does he swap T-shirts again.

    • sarky

      Hmmmm I thought it was once saved always saved??

      • The Explorer

        Interesting point. The ‘I’ of the Calvinist TULIP is Irresistible Grace, but Arminianism holds to the Conditional Security View. At the end of th first part of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, Christian notices that, even in sight of the Celestial City’ here is a way down to Hell.

      • Anton

        There is disagreement among Christians about that. I don’t hold with it, and those who do have to infer it theologically, whereas Romans 11:22, 2 Peter 2:20-22, Hebrews 6:4-6 and Revelation 3:5 directly suggest otherwise.

        • sarky

          Must admit, it never made sense to me.

          • The Explorer

            If God chooses you, you must be saved. If you choose God, you could change your mind. That’s the issue, in very crude form.

          • sarky

            Not intolerable, just nonsensical. It doesn’t sit well with your idea of a loving god who welcomes all. Kind of makes all your evangelising nonsense a waste of time.

          • The Explorer

            Calvinism doesn’t make evangelism a waste of time. Some of the Elect need to hear the message. Calvinists don’t know who the Elect are; so they have to assume anybody might be. Even you. With non-Calvinists, the need for evangelism is straightforward.

          • sarky

            “If god chooses you, you must be
            saved”
            Doesn’t that remove the need for evangelism? Kind of like a free pass?
            As for the god of judgement, if someone has lived their life as a christian, but has not being chosen, then isn’t that judgement a bit harsh?

          • Phil R

            Judging God Sarky?

            How can you possibly decide if God, if he is who he says he is , is just?

          • sarky

            Of course I can, based on his actions.

          • carl jacobs

            You have to evaluate actions against a standard. Who gave you that standard? Who told you what “justice” is? Because you can’t just invent your own definition and call it authoritative.

          • sarky

            How about the generally accepted standard of behaviour/justice that has been defined by our culture, or is this the bit where you reply that you cant possibly do that because we can’t possibly understand god?

          • carl jacobs

            No, this is where I point out that you are begging the question. If neither Bob nor Bill can individually establish a standard, then Bob & Bill can’t mutually agree to establish a standard. “No authority” plus “No authority” does not “Authority.”

            More to say, but my meeting is restarting …

          • sarky

            Except we do have a standard that has evolved over many years from minds greater than ours. Yours is a non argument because you will never except the authority of man over god even though you rely on that authority to keep you and your family safe.

          • DanJ0

            Also, I contend that there are aspects of human nature, our self-awareness, gregariousness, and so forth, which tend to lead us towards standards and agreements between ourselves.

          • sarky

            Absolutely! !

          • Phil R

            Generally accepted standard of behavour / justice.

            Good idea. How can we define this?

            Take a vote on it perhaps?

            This works really well…….

            And if we cannot get 51% to agree with us we get a Judge to rule in our favour and force the majority to comply.

            Seems to be working for you so far, but hey it is early days yet. Manipulating opinion and removing long established freedoms has already had a downside, it is just that only a few so far realise this.

          • sarky

            It is a good idea. It’s pretty much existed as long as societies and civilisations have. As with any set of standards there are those who will feel hard done by when concensus goes against their beliefs, however, I think you will find that as long as you stick to these expected standards you can live a relatively free life, or would you rather live in the new caliphate?

          • Phil R

            It’s pretty much existed as long as societies and civilisations have

            Yeah right….. For many centuries in our part or Wales, the law was the Norman Lord, who had the castle, the land and the money. The moderating influence was the Church.

            Before that we had King and Princes. The moderating influence was again the Church.

            We now have Democracy. The will of the people you say. The will of 51% and the media I say. If by chance you fall into the 51% then it is good while it lasts. If not then it is legitimate to ignore you or even persecute you, because the will of the people is paramount. If you are in the 49% then you lose and there is no external standard to appeal to and in your world at least no Church either.

            Anyway, we will soon see what a fun place we will live in. Your “Brave New World” is fast becoming a reality.

            Yet again.

          • sarky

            So how are you personaly persecuted Phil?

          • Phil R

            Close to a couple of times.

            For no other reason than having large family and kids that generally behaved and did well at school.

            Long story but according to my spy in the SS dept, a traditional Christian family like ours is now a risk factor and should be monitored by various Agencies.

            To be honest a few years ago when the kids were younger. Knowing that the SS were ready to act if they had even a tiny piece of evidence was a huge stress.

            We were very greatful for our spy who would have lost her job if her boss had known that she was keeping us in the picture.

            Time to dismantle Big State before all of us have a file with the Stasi

          • sarky

            Im sorry but how did you draw yourself to the attention of ss in the first place??

          • Phil R

            Two reasons it seems.

            One was that we took out one of our children for a year ( aged 7) out of school to home school as he was not making progress. The next year he re entered a new primary school then on to boarding school. He is now a graduate engineer, with it seems a gift for making money.

            The other reason because my wife had two home births with private (highly qualified) midwives attending. Our doctor did not approve and in fact came around the house to shout at me to get my wife into hospital while my wife was on labour upstairs. She got into such a rage when i told her it was not mine or her decision, I thought I would have to call the police to have her removed.

            She eventually left and her final words were “this is not over”. According to our spy her comments on our medical records which we eventually got access to and removed, were quoted as “evidence”.

            Obviously just a kink on the road to a perfect world eh?

          • sarky

            Not really up there with being forced from your home, sold as a sex slave or beheaded on a beach is it? Think You might have had it easy in the persecution stakes.

          • Phil R

            Sarky

            I haven’t been a sex slave recently or indeed beheaded.

            Forced from my home a few times overseas

            Phil

          • Ivan M

            Is this the best you can do? It is persecution. The refined torture that useless bureaucrats inflict on those unfortunate enough to come to their attention. Long foreseen as the method of choice of the nanny state by authorities such as de Tocqueville and Orwell.

          • sarky

            I think a bit of perspective is needed. From what I can tell from Phils post, the persecution was percieved and there is no proof that it was due to his faith.

          • Dreadnaught

            Not wrong there Sarks, some of that OT stuff is really OTT. Look at the measures taken against those drowned in Noah’s Fludde or Sodom and Begorrah. How many babes in arms I wonder did he consider when disposing of their parents and siblings not to mention poor old granny and grandad; the blind and the crips. Murdering bastard I say if that’s what he is all about.
            All To be taken with a large pinch or pillar of salt I’d say – now where’s that Lot’s wife lady when you need her?

          • sarky

            Eve just ate an apple, and now we have cancer, rape, murder and Katie Hopkins!!

          • The Explorer

            Calvinists say the Elect must still find God, and for some of them (if they haven’t had a religious upbringing, say) that will be as a result of evangelism.

            Your other question is a good one, and multi-faceted. The ‘P’ of the Calvinist TULIP is “Perseverance of the Saints”: ie, you would not persist in the faith if you were not one of the Elect. As for living one’s life as a Christian, it’s the faith in Christ which justifies; not the good works that are simply an outcome of the saving faith

            If you mean by living life as a Christian trying to be as moral as possible then that’s a different matter. As a non-Calvinist myself (or Calvinist only in the partial sense of being a traditional Anglican) I’d say that’s an open question. It would depend on what was driving one’s motivation to lead a good life, and that would be the factor determining one’s salvation; not the quality of the life itself.

      • carl jacobs

        The actual phrase is “Perseverance of the Saints.” There is a big difference between the two.

      • Sir Walter Tyrell

        That could be disputed on the basis of Ezekiel 18:24: “But if the just man turneth away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? All his justices which he hath done shall not be remembered; in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die.”
        And see also Romans 11:22: “See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
        Both these verses and the surrounding passages do also have a rather Pelagian ring to them, as does Matthew 22:11-14, which, in addition, appears to cast doubt on the irresistibility of grace.

        • dannybhoy

          Of course one can lose their faith. But I think it takes a lot of doing, because God is life and God loves us and wants us all to be happy and fulfilled. He never gives up on us but He respects our choices and won’t force us into redemption.
          Irresistible grace or Election to salvation makes no sense to me.

    • Uncle Brian

      Anton, in this comment you are simply stating the definition that is attached to the word “saint” in your church. In other words, you are giving us information about an unusual, rather idiosyncratic, way the English language is used in a certain context and among certain people. But that is all. You are not really saying anything about religious belief at all. The rest of us are free to go on using the word “saint” in the way we have always used it. You haven’t given us any reason why we should change our minds about that.

      • Anton

        Cranmer did that in his original essay at top: showed that the New Testament takes the view that all committed believers in Jesus Christ are saints. By what authority did some denominations change God’s definition?

    • The Catholic Church teaches that we can loose justification through grave sin that kills sanctifying grace in the soul and ruptures our relationship with God.

      The process of being made right with God is the change from the condition when we are born as a child of the first Adam into a state of grace and adoption as a child of God through the Second Adam, Jesus Christ. Justification is the removal of sin, not having them ignored or covered, as some hold. It is the supernatural sanctification and renewal of a person who thus becomes holy and an heir of heaven.

      The Catholic Church teaches the efficient cause is the mercy of God; the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism. An infant is justified by baptism and the faith of the one who requests or confers the sacrament. Adults are justified for the first time either by personal faith, sorrow for sin and baptism, or by the perfect love of God. Adults who sin gravely after being justified loose sanctification but can be restored by sacramental absolution or perfect contrition for their sins.

      The first sanctification is at baptism when the love of God is infused by the Holy Spirit. Newly baptised persons are holy because the Holy Trinity dwells in their souls. However, sanctification is a lifelong process in which a person already in the state of grace grows in the possession of grace and in likeness to God by faithfulness. The final sanctification takes place when a person enters heaven and becomes totally and irrevocably united with God in the Beatific Vision, after being made perfect in this life or in the cleansing process of purgatory

      • Anton

        I agree with your 1st and 2nd paragraphs and that “sanctification is a lifelong process in which a person already in the state of grace grows in the possession of grace and in likeness to God by faithfulness. The final sanctification takes place when a person enters heaven and becomes totally and irrevocably united with God”, all of which I think you have put very well.

      • Anton

        PS Re Purgatory – I agree with Catholics who find inadequate the protestant dismissal of the notion via the phrase “we are forgiven our sins so we don’t have to work them through”. Being forgiven your sins does not make you holy enough not to do further sins, indeed. I disagree with Catholics, however, that being (re)made perfect after bodily death is experienced as a process. Paul explains that at the last trump(et), when we are resurrected “We shall be changed.” Read the passage (1 Corinthians 15) and it speaks of the changed body. I believe that our minds are remade perfect at that same instant. Why? Well, the Catholic view is no more or less guesswork than mine in view of the silence of scripture on the subject, and in my favour is that mind and body are ultimately one.

        • Albert

          It’s not guess work. There’s clearly something going on post-mortem in 1 Cor.3.

          • Anton

            Please deduce the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory from 1 Cor 3.

          • Albert

            I didn’t say it could be deduced – though it can be inferred, but I can see on re reading your post that I had misread it. I thought you’d said our minds are remade at death (which is a view I have heard before). Now I see you think our minds are remade at resurrection. I don’t think that works because of Heb.12.23. Now these spirits are clearly not yet bodily, but are already “made perfect”. Therefore, this perfecting happens (or can happen) prior to the resurrection. And since you seem to think this perfecting needs to happen, you seem committed to some kind of doctrine of purgatory, unless you say the perfecting takes place at death, but that is ruled out by 1 Cor.3. Thus, the Catholic doctrine, far from being guesswork, seems to follow logically from premises you already hold, when combined with scripture.

          • Anton

            The peek at the heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews 12 is a difficult passage but if you concatenate it with Rev 22 then it is clearly after the Resurrection. I disagree when you say “these spirits are clearly not yet bodily”. Recall St Paul – “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:44).

          • Albert

            The peek at the heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews 12 is a difficult passage but if you concatenate it with Rev 22 then it is clearly after the Resurrection.

            Please explain.

            I disagree when you say “these spirits are clearly not yet bodily”. Recall St Paul – “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:44).

            Two problems here, although the resurrected body may be called a spiritual body, it cannot be called a spirit, as in Hebrews:

            As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

            Secondly, we will have spiritual bodies after the resurrection, but Hebrews speaks of us coming to the spirits now – in fact it is in the past tense. Therefore, those spirits are not resurrected and therefore are not bodily. Now since these spirits are already perfect, and you have a biblical and not a Protestant sense of perfection as more than forgiven our sins so we don’t have to work them through, I cannot see how you aren’t committed to some kind of doctrine of purgatory. But I’ll wait to see what you mean by concatenating Heb 12 with Rev 22.

          • Anton

            Both refer to the heavenly Jerusalem.

            The scriptures are not clear about the precise sequence of events after death and where Rome declares it knows more than God tells us in the Bible I do not share your view that the matter is settled. I’m not going to waste my time discussing what is unknowable in advance.

          • Albert

            Both refer to the heavenly Jerusalem, but that does not establish that Hebrews refers to the period prior post the resurrection – that can be falsified by the text itself, and so the concatenation of the two passages needs to take that into account. The meaning of Rev.21 as it maps out onto time and resurrection is particularly unclear.

            The scriptures are not clear about the precise sequence of events after death and where Rome declares it knows more than God tells us in the Bible I do not share your view that the matter is settled. I’m not going to waste my time discussing what is unknowable in advance.

            On the contrary, I have given an argument from the evidence.

          • Anton

            There is a difference between quality and quantity of argumentation and in clarity of the source texts. Readers may decide for themselves.

          • Albert

            But you haven’t really explained how Revelation gives you the position you take. What you said is this:

            Both refer to the heavenly Jerusalem.

            Now if they are speaking of literally the same thing, then there is a flat contradiction between the passages. If they are not speaking of literally the same thing, then Revelation does not alter the view given in Hebrews. Now since Revelation is not clearly making the point you are making, but Hebrews is clearly and explicitly making the point I am making, it seems my position is established.

          • Anton

            I consider that the writer of Hebrews in that passage is speaking backward in time from the future. You are applying leaden logic to passages which are somewhat mystical.

          • Albert

            I think you are obscuring that which is clear, in order to maintain your human tradition against the word of God. Your position seems particularly implausible in the light of the context, which is precisely to contrast we who have already encountered the reality, in contrast to those of the OT who only had the Law.

          • Anton

            On the contrary. You have resorted to mysticism when I pressed you. It is a matter of hermeneutics when that is appropriate and when it is not, and let readers decide for themselves.

          • Albert

            You have resorted to mysticism when I pressed you.

            Would you care to explain this please? It seems to mean the opposite of what you accused me of before. Besides, am I not just taking the plain meaning of the passages? In the plain meaning of Hebrews, the spirits of the righteous are already perfect. The plain meaning of Revelation makes no reference to questions time and resurrection. That’s not mysticism. That’s just working with the evidence.

          • Anton

            It takes a better man than you or me to explain mysticism.

          • Albert

            I’m not asking you to explain mysticism, I am asking you to explain why you have claimed I am using mysticism. My reading of Hebrews is literal, yours is not. My reading of Revelation is literal, yours is not. How then can you call my interpretation mystical, while yours is not?

          • Anton

            Let me say more – but I am going to go backward rather than discuss minutiae. We have the New Testament in common, and we start in agreement that sanctification of believers is not complete at death but is complete in the New Jerusalem described at the end of the Book of Revelation. How then is that process completed in the interim? I assert that scripture does not give an unambiguous answer. I suggest it happens at the Resurrection of the body but am not totally committed to that view. I assert that the Catholic answer, the doctrine of Purgatory, is not unambiguously inferrable from scripture. If you believe it is, please provide such a derivation.

          • Albert

            I assert that the Catholic answer, the doctrine of Purgatory, is not unambiguously inferrable from scripture.

            I’m not making that claim. The Catholic Church teaches this: it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed.

            My claim is this: Hebrews says: “You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.”

            Now, it seems to me that therefore scripture clearly shows that some people are purified before the resurrection. How? The passage clearly shows we have “come” to them already, and it clearly shows they are spirits and not bodily. Therefore, they are not resurrected. Against this, you have raised two objections: that the resurrected body is a spiritual body and that Revelation 21 seems to speak of them as being bodily.

            In answer to the first, I cite Luke 24, and to the second I say “Where does Revelation 21 show them to be bodily”? And if it does, how does that fit with Hebrews? In saying this, I am not importing something Catholic. As the 39 Articles put it:

            it is not lawful for the Church to…expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.

            Therefore, pending some explanation of Revelation, I think it is evident that some kind of purification comes after death but before the resurrection.

          • Anton

            Maybe; maybe not. It is possible that the Hebrews passage is written from a vantage point of the end of time which the author had been granted, in view of his speaking of the heavenly Jerusalem – a description which matches the end of Revelation. If you find details discrepant then I think it is a matter for further pondering in view of that far greater accord.

          • Albert

            But reading suggests that even at the end of time there has been no resurrection – which case, surely your reading of Hebrews contradicts the end of Revelation.

            But I really cannot see any reason to read Hebrews 12 that way, and plenty against. So since it mangles the resurrection, seems to lack positive evidence (you haven’t given any, at least) and seems contrary to the meaning of the passage (as I have already given evidence) the reading should be rejected.

            But that leaves some kind of purification after death and before resurrection. Would I be fair in saying that avoiding that conclusion is the driver of your exegesis?

          • Anton

            No! Otherwise I would be totally committed to, rather than having preference for, the view that sanctification is complete at the resurrection.

            I have no confidence that your exegesis does not inadvertently bring in further assumptions and I am not strongly enough motivated to do an exhaustive analysis of the scriptures and check it out. I do have a motivation to deny that the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory can be unambiguously inferred from scripture, but you have accepted that.

          • Albert

            Okay, fair enough. Although in saying purgatory cannot be unambigiously inferred from scripture, I mean only in all its details. I think we can say the doctrine that there is no sanctification or purification after death is unambiguously unscriptural.

            For myself, I cannot see how my reading of Hebrews should be substituted for a more mystical one.

        • chiefofsinners

          Protestants dismiss purgatory not on the basis that our sins are forgiven, but on the basis that Christ has already suffered for them.

          • Anton

            Yes, but we still die imperfect, with sanctification not complete. What is at issue is how it is completed.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes – see what you mean.
            Protestants rely entirely on scripture for doctrine and you wouldn’t arrive at the concept of purgatory that way. 2 Corinthians 5 and Romans 7 point in another direction.

  • IanCad

    “is it not time for the beatification of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer? Or, at the very least, for him to be declared a Doctor of the Church?”
    Hehehe.

    • Uncle Brian

      Well, Ian, that could even be a logical next step, now that the Vatican is reportedly lending its official support to a move to name a new square in Rome after Martin Luther. And look whose idea it was in the first place, according to La Repubblica: the Seventh Day Adventists, no less!

      http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/08/27/vatican-backs-plan-for-martin-luther-square-in-rome/

      • IanCad

        Oh Dear!! Egg on my face to go with my breakfast!
        What next! – An Ellen White Room in the Vatican Library?
        This scoffer will be a little more prudent in the future.
        Thanks UB; you’ve not often been around as of late – good to hear from you.

  • sarky

    “Oh yes we are”???? Two words ‘Josh Dugger’.

  • preacher

    Dr Cranmer, if there was a vote, I would certainly support you in your quest, but I can’t think why you would want to be accepted by the very people who sent you to Glory.
    You must know by now that The Almighty has conferred on you the highest honour & that the plaudits & titles awarded by men amount to nothing in Paradise.
    Anyway the sterling work you are still doing as an Ambassador of Christ & a leader of the Church of Blogosphere is much appreciated by all of us Earth bound mortals who heap blessings (& a few Headaches) on you daily. On behalf of us all. Thank you ! & Bless you. P.

    • dannybhoy

      Yes, you certainly have excelled yourself recently, and given Christians of all traditions the opportunity to examine their own beliefs and learn from each other. Thank you.

  • dannybhoy

    The Church of England is a prodigal daughter of the Roman Catholic Church. The marks of Catholicism are plain to see. The robes, the ceremonies, the rituals, the hierarchy.
    But whereas the Catholic Church keeps a tight rein on its doctrines and policies, the Anglican Church is a broad church, allowing more divergence of opinion and practice.
    I appreciate that because it meant that an Anglican curate in a charismatic parish church led me to faith.
    That people who don’t really believe in the faith but presumably love dressing up or have a hidden or not so hidden agenda are also allowed in, is to be deeply regretted.
    I can’t accept the idea of the Roman Catholic Church being the guardian of the Christian faith, or that our Lord conferred upon the Apostle Peter headship of the Church. The evidence is to my mind flimsy.
    On the other hand I see no mileage in attacking people who love and serve the Lord according to their understanding of the faith. The reality is that from time to time Israel failed, and the Church has failed, and denominations have failed, and certainly those of us who own His grace and forgiveness have failed.
    Let’s love the good in each other, look for the Lord in each other, fellowship together as much as we can, and do all that in a spirit of humility and holy love.

    • David

      How exceptionally well put !

  • David

    What an excellent article, and thank you for it, Your Grace.

    I have enormous respect for the skills of Dr Cranmer and absolutely adore the language of the Prayer Book, sadly little used nowadays. It has a dignity and pace that is quite irreplaceable.

    But does any one denomination have a greater claim to Truth ? I’ve always liked C.S.Lewis’s phrase, which goes something like, “those things that all Christians have always believed”, expressing as it does the common ties of creed that all mainstream, orthodox Christian believers share across the denominations. The idea that any one denomination has a monopoly on wisdom is beyond credibility to me. I recognise wisdom in all the orthodox Churches, Orthodox, Catholic and mainstream Protestant, with the Anglican denomination being both reformed and catholic, as it sees itself.

  • Inspector General

    God’s providence (presumably) selected two apes (perhaps), and from them came humanity as we know it. From something that could just about peel a banana or poke a stick into a tree to obtain insects to feast on, to a marvel of nature that walked on the moon. And we call that ‘the fall’!

    Ho hum…Anyway, let us not forget where the Church of England is heading for. A feminist enclave of toleration and humanism, where anything goes so long as people are happy. One even predicts that within a few years, you are going to have parish churches with the gay paedo rainbow flag flying from the porch. (Rainbows are for children, deviant types that visit here, not to entice them into your adult world of disorder, despair, grief and misery)

    Roman Catholicism is going to become extremely attractive to decent spiritual Anglicans, especially to ladies who aren’t interested in furthering the sisterhood, and no amount of “The Pope is the anti Christ” desperation bullshit from protesting schismatics such as the likes of Len is going to stop them walking that way. And there’s enough saints there for one each (almost).

    • Dreadnaught

      God’s providence (presumably) selected two apes (perhaps), and from them came humanity as we know it.

      Come along now Iggy, you know all too well that is NOT how the evolutionary process works. We are not descended from apes; that has never ever been part of Darwin’s theory, rather the simplistic meme dreampt up by his opponents in 19th Century.
      But thanks for giving me a chuckle at the end of a rather fraught day, dropped me keys in the bally old drink dontcha know.

      • DanJ0

        other people here have claimed in all seriousness that the theory of evolution by natural selection says we’ve evolved from monkeys.

        • Dreadnaught

          I had noticed; thought I’d be a bit tactful rather than confrontational DJ.

          • Inspector General

            Back to logistics Dredders, and the search for a suitable raw material from which man can be fashioned. Rather the monkey than the rat, what!

            One will arrange for the East Lancs canal to be drained so you can retrieve said keys…

        • Ivan M

          Can you then explain how the humans developed they way they did and the apes stuck around in trees. Why were there not the same selection pressures operating on them? Why have we not got the intelligent simians last seen on the Planet of the Apes, around? Why is or was, Nim Chimpsky unable to go up even to the pre-pre-kindergarten level?

          • Phil R

            Evolutionists always get upset when I ask them if they consider that they were descended from apes on their mothers or their father’s side.

            Cannot think why. It is their theory after all not mine

          • Ivan M

            To begin with, they were the ones who introduced the descent from apes idea, as an aside in the Wilberforce-Huxley debate. The famous Huxley retort was “I would rather be descended from an ape than a bishop.” By some rationalisation of the type now revived on neo-Nazis sites, the image was congenial to the colonial era; ape -> African savage -> nomad -> white man -> Englishman.

          • DanJ0

            A bit thick, and unoriginal to boot.

          • DanJ0

            LolCan you then explain how the humans developed they way they did and the apes stuck around in trees”
            Lol

          • Inspector General

            Rather curious statement from you. One takes it you find it acceptable that the domestic cat and members of the Lion family share the same relationship as man and ape. Fortunately for us, aforementioned cat similarities does not extend to physical strength…

          • Ivan M

            My assertion is that there is no evolution of the type that can change a cat to a lion. They are special creations. I have no idea why the Creator chose it that way. The Darwinians on the other hand are always coming up with their descent with modifications diagram that are modified, or rubbished every couple of years. But they still claim they are doing science.It’s a paying job I guess. I just want the fellows to admit that while they are good at digging up bones like the Leakey fellow, they don’t know a hill of beans about the origins of a single species.

          • DanJ0

            “My assertion is that there is no evolution of the type that can change a cat to a lion.”

            Fantastic. Keep them coming please.

          • Ivan M

            Still too busy ROFL to come up with anything? Keep at it. The just so stories that your confreres dream up, are a dime a dozen.

          • DanJ0

            There’s nothing I need do other than watch the evidence for my original statement mount up. My statement wasn’t to argue for the theory, it was to point to the ignorance of it.

    • Maybe one day you too might find the teachings and doctrines of Catholicism attractive, Inspector.

  • Small steps, Archbishop, small steps.

    Next month, a square in Rome will be named Piazza Martin Lutero, in memory of Luther. It’s taken six years, following a request by the Seventh-day Adventists. Originally, they wanted the square named in time for the 500th anniversary of Luther’s trip to Rome i.e. 2010.

    The Vatican reacted positively to news of the square’s upcoming inauguration. “It’s a decision taken by Rome city hall which is favorable to Catholics in that it’s in line with the path of dialogue started with the ecumenical council,” said the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, deputy director of the Vatican press office. The move contrasts sharply from views held by Luther when he visited Rome. It was said he repeated the saying, “If there is a hell, Rome is built over it.”

    Piazza Tommaso Cranmero, perhaps.

    • David

      Given the importance of Martin Luther in achieving reform, which unfortunately resulted in the western schism, I view this as a positive example of one of your “small steps”.

  • Albert

    The distinction is sustained in some churches in the remembrance of All Saints followed by All Souls.

    Like the Church of England.

    is it not time for the beatification of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer?

    He’d need a miracle!

    • Sybaseguru

      He had one – writing BCP. It kept the church together for 400 yrs.

      • Albert

        That’s not a miracle, and it didn’t keep the CofE together for 400 years – e.g. it was the cause of the Great Ejection of 1662 and in modern times, it failed to prevent the splitting of different groups. Linguistically, it is certainly wonderful.

    • len

      Its a miracle His Grace puts up with us!…

  • len

    What is ‘the Church ?.’Is the Church a building a denomination an Institution?.
    What is ‘the True Church’ and what is ‘the false Church’ because both appear in scripture.There are warnings in scripture that a false Church will appear and deceive many…Jesus Christ Himself issues warnings to’ the churches’ in Revelation 2.
    If we are not extremely careful about following only the Word of God we may be lured into following false doctrines in the name of ‘unity and ‘love’ .
    Is it right for a Christian to exercise’ discernment’ even if he is accused of ‘Judging others( even secularists use this as an accusation against each other and Christians!)
    There is enormous pressure to conform a sort of ‘ Religious Correctness’ where to state where false doctrine differs from the Word of God will be seen not as preserving Truth but only as as ‘divisive’.

    • Dreadnaught

      What is ‘the Church ?
      A control tool for influencing the masses, enforced through psycological blackmail to conform or be damned.

  • chiefofsinners

    Give it up Cranmer. No beatification for you. As a defender of predestination you will know that if it was meant to be it would have happened.
    Set your sights a bit lower. I understand life peerages currently retail for about £9.99. Arise ‘Lord Cranmer of the interweb’.

  • Saint Sean

    This is not difficult. Martin Luther had it down some time ago: “Simul Justus et Peccator.”

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/simuliustus.html