Guyer’s Weblog

April 16, 2013

Ask an Anglican: The Hail Mary and Corpus Christi

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 12:13 am

The following was originally posted at The Conciliar Anglican.

1.) I have been studying the articles, and have a question about the invocation of the Saints. Now, even as someone who identifies as “Anglo-Catholic”, who is closer to a “Prayerbook Catholick”, I have never, ever thought that St. Joseph will sell my house, St. Clare would cleanse my T.V., or St. Jude would find my missing keys. I have also never thought that “flying to the patronage” of the Blessed Mother would “save me”. But, what is doctrinally wrong with the Hail Mary in regards to asking for prayer? How is it different than me asking you for the same?

2.) Why is Eucharistic Adoration frowned upon? Is it true (as Fr. Benedict Grochel states) that the first Eucharistic procession and adoration was in Canterbury Cathedral?

Although they are not quite the same, I am going to answer these two questions together. Both deal with a popular medieval practice that was attacked and then marginalized within Anglicanism during the sixteenth century. Furthermore, each practice was revived in the nineteenth century, and it is not uncommon to find Anglicans today who are familiar with, or even incorporate, such devotional practices into their own lives. In what follows I want to first look at the historical roots of these changes before answering the questions themselves. Sometimes it is difficult to find grace in someone else’s devotional practice(s), but we must strive to overcome judgmentalism, which sustains and is sustained by the scandal of Christian division. (more…)


July 6, 2012

Pro Communione: Theological Essays on the Anglican Covenant is NOW AVAILABLE!!!

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 3:04 pm
Pro Communione

The front and back covers for Pro Communione: Theological Essays on the Anglican Covenant

I am very happy to write that Pro Communione: Theological Essays on the Anglican Covenant is now available! You may purchase it directly through Wipf & Stock (see their Pro Communione product page), which always offers a 20% discount on books through their website. Pro Communione is also available for Amazon Kindle (US version) and will soon be up at Here is the synopsis and the book endorsements from the back cover:

The proposed Anglican Covenant impinges not only upon the future of the Anglican Communion but upon global Christianity as well. Pro Communione: Theological Essays on the Anglican Covenant is the first volume that considers the completed text of the Covenant and its congruity with the Anglican tradition. Contributors across the Anglo-American world appraise the Covenant within a holistic framework defined by liturgical, historical, and ecumenical perspectives. These essays transcend current debates by illuminating abiding theological themes within Anglicanism. Creative and edifying, rigorous and hopeful, Pro Communione envisions a revival of the Anglican imagination within the context of a covenanted Anglican Communion.

“We need to get under the skin of the Anglican Covenant . . . and explore how it can help us learn [to have] relationships of mutuality and reciprocity within the body of Christ. This book challenges us to receive the Covenant as a gift to be lived into, through which we can grow in faithfulness to one another and the God whom we serve.”
—Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

“These essays are a splendid, varied, and important contribution to the discussion of the Anglican Covenant. They shed light on our Anglican past, point to the promise and richness of a covenanted way in the future, and contain insights for our ecumenical partners about the unity and identity of the Anglican Communion. They deserve to be widely read.”
—Dame Mary Tanner, President for Europe, World Council of Churches

“This volume of theological essays, drawn from a generation of young Anglican theologians, speaks of God’s gracious purposes for the Anglican family of churches in post-Christendom times. Their theological horizons merit our attention.”
—Michael Nai Chiu Poon, Trinity Theological College


Also available at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church: stop by The Living Church booth, buy a subscription, and receive a free copy of Pro Communione!

November 30, 2010

In Praise of Rhetoric? Anti-Covenantal Myths of Puritanism and Anglicanism (Part Two)

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Theologoumena — guyer @ 2:59 am

In part one of this essay, we noted the ways that the anti-Covenant lobby misconstrues Puritanism. In what follows, we turn to their abuse of Anglican orthodoxy, particularly the work of Richard Hooker. We conclude that adoption of the Anglican Covenant is wholly faithful to Hooker’s claim that even as the Church must remain faithful in doctrine, it is free to construct its polity as it sees fit.

Those unfamiliar with the broad outlines of Hooker’s theology may wish to peruse the article “Law, Liturgy, Wisdom: An Introduction to Richard Hooker (or here, with illustrations).

Myths of Anglicanism

No Anglican Covenant Coalition (hereafter, NACC) launched its website on November 3, 2010, stating the feast day of Richard Hooker was the “ideal” day for beginning their campaign.  However admirable this sentiment may be, their understanding of Hooker fails on three fronts.  First, they tell us that “Hooker argued that the Church should use the full range of reasoning faculties in matters of faith and should develop in light of changing circumstances.  New ideas and differences of opinion, therefore, have a proper place within the Church.”  It is worth noting that NACC offers us only one citation of Hooker on their website: “The Church hath authority to establish that for an order at one time, which at another time it may abolish, and in both do well.”  Regrettably, they do not offer the reference, thus disguising that they have, in the worse sense of the phrase, given us a mere “proof-text.”  Second, and like MCU/IC, NACC misunderstand what Hooker and the Puritans were arguing about, especially in terms of reason.  They claim that Puritans believed that the Bible “wholly transcends reason” and thus denied reason a place in the Christian life.  As Hooker himself notes, this is quite wrong.  Finally, they claim that Hooker “is best known for his appeal to three authorities—scripture, reason, and tradition—often described as his ‘three-legged stool.’”  Yet, this latter claim has been decisively rejected by current Hooker scholarship. (more…)

In Praise of Rhetoric? Anti-Covenantal Myths of Puritanism and Anglicanism (Part One)

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 2:57 am

“…this present age full of tongue and weake of braine…”

– Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie, I.8.2


Écrasez l’infâme! Such is the clarion call of a recent ad in the Church Times directed against the Anglican Covenant.  Jointly authored and sponsored by Inclusive Church and Modern Church, the ad proclaims that the Anglican Covenant would be “the biggest change to the Church since the Reformation.”  Without hesitation, the authors of the ad even claim that the Covenant is intended “to re-establish a Puritan dogmatism” within Anglicanism.  Similarly, on 3 November, the feast day of Richard Hooker, a group calling itself No Anglican Covenant Coalition offered to the wider Anglican Communion a second protest against the Covenant.  Like the Church Times ad, No Anglican Covenant Coalition claims to uphold a historic Anglican orthodoxy which they neither delineate nor define.  In what follows, we query the identification of the Covenant with Puritanism, just as we reject the forced union of Richard Hooker with anti-Covenant sentiment.  Rhetoric is no substitute for logic; logic has nothing to fear from historical study.  Our argument is simple: the Anglican Covenant is wholly un-Puritan, and instead maintains the rich liturgical legacy of historic Anglicanism.  Are the images of Hooker and Puritanism, used by the anti-Covenant lobby, accurate?  This question offers a corollary: if the anti-Covenant crowd is incapable of evincing even the slightest understanding of Hooker and Puritanism, why should we pay attention to their denigration of the Anglican Covenant?  We propose that a failure to understand the past yields an in ability to grasp the present.


October 29, 2010

Law, Liturgy, Wisdom: An Introduction to Richard Hooker

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 9:17 pm

The frontispiece of Hooker’s Laws

Richard Hooker is oftentimes described as the founding figure of the Anglican tradition. This is, however well intentioned, a half-truth. It is certainly true that Hooker’s great, unfinished theological work, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie (hereafter, Laws), was a key text in Anglican arguments against Puritanism. Indeed, the Laws remains the most thoughtful and detailed refutation of Puritanism ever written. It is also true that although Thomas Cranmer gave us The Book of Common Prayer, Richard Hooker is the one who most shaped our understanding of it. But it is unfair to see Hooker as the founder of Anglicanism. He was, instead, one of several key figures in the early history of our church, neither more nor less important than Cranmer, Lancelot Andrewes, and William Laud — not to mention Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, and King Charles the Martyr. Without Hooker, Anglicanism would not be what it is today, but this point also holds for each of these other foundational saints.

This essay introduces the theological vision of Richard Hooker by focusing on his highly influential Laws. The impetus behind this multi-volume treatise was twofold. First was Hooker’s opposition to the claim, made by Puritans, that they were free to disobey both civil and ecclesiastical law when these infringed upon the convictions of conscience. Second was Hooker’s rejection of the ardent Puritan belief that the Church of England’s retention of liturgical ceremonies made it a handmaiden of anti-Christ. Against the first argument Hooker offered a robust theology of law that was rooted in the work of Thomas Aquinas; against the second argument Hooker lovingly and painstakingly detailed the meaning and purpose of liturgy. As we will see, Hooker was a theologian of law and liturgy who first and foremost discerned the majesty of divine wisdom as the guiding principle of all theological orthodoxy.


June 25, 2010

King Charles the Martyr: Our Own, Royal, Forgotten Saint

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 10:51 pm

King Charles I in the National Portrait Gallery (Artist Unknown)

Do you know who the first Anglican saint was? Here’s a hint: it wasn’t Henry VIII. The title of this article says it all, but don’t feel embarrassed if you are unaware of King Charles the Martyr. Since the founding of the Episcopal Church (USA), Anglicanism’s first and longest-loved saint has been curiously absent from our province’s liturgical calendar — and this despite repeated and growing calls for his reinstatement.

Sadly, the American case is not unique. Anglicans today pay scandalously little attention to the saint whose cult fueled the Anglican imagination for centuries. Yet King Charles the Martyr witnesses to important facets of the Anglican heritage, especially the Anglican Counter-Reformation and the importance of martyrs, miracles, and relics. If it is true, as many now claim, that Anglicans are out of touch with their history and tradition, then the life and legacy of King Charles the Martyr are important for our reintegration.


May 8, 2009

Tract 3: Against Iconoclasm

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 4:29 am

“Nobody, after all, uses words except for the sake of signifying something.”
– St. Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana (I.2,2)


The Shield of the Episcopal Church (USA), which features both the Cross of St. George and the Cross of St. Andrew (displayed below).

Reconciliation in Communion: A Word to the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church begins with a series of prescriptive theological points about matters of faith and order in the Episcopal Church, each of which is made by way of affirmation.  The bulk of the document, which comes after these, consists of points that are concerned with the actions of the forthcoming General Convention.  Between these two thematic sections, however, is a single historically-oriented point that, although both affirmative and prescriptive, also considers the future.

[We] Affirm that the self-understanding and mission of the Episcopal Church have become inextricably anchored to its relationship of full communion with the See of Canterbury, its active participation in the Instruments of Communion, and its formal and informal partnerships throughout the Anglican Communion.  This is reflected in our liturgical patterns, and the continued allocation of funds for the Anglican Communion.

The operative words in this statement are that “the self-understanding and mission of the Episcopal Church have become inextricably anchored to … the See of Canterbury.”  This statement is not for us, the authors, merely a question of ecclesiological theory.  It is also a question of the concrete, material realities within the Episcopal Church that are given symbolic expression.  In other words, we are especially concerned about how the Episcopal Church communicates itself to those who are within and outside of its walls.  Thus, this tract will begin with a brief discussion of the nature of symbols, and then move on to consider some of the symbols of the Episcopal Church that witness to its historically rich identity.  I will conclude with a proposal that focuses on what a separation between our church and the wider Anglican Communion could look like – specifically, as a tragic and horrific expression of iconoclasm.


April 10, 2009

Reconciliation in Communion

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 6:52 pm

A Word to the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church

An initiative of Covenant

Holy Week 2009

We, the undersigned laity and clergy of the Episcopal Church, offer the following as a testament to our concern for the life and witness of our church and its membership in the Anglican Communion.  The God-given bonds of affection that unite us to one another are based in the prior unity of love that is God’s own Trinitarian life; for this reason, our corporate life should continually strive to be an icon of this same love.  At the present moment, we are particularly mindful that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself” (II Cor. 5:19), and that because of this we have been given a “ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18). It is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will give the Episcopal Church a renewed awareness that at the heart of our common mission lies the ministry of reconciliation, which endeavors “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ” (BCP Catechism, p. 855).

To that end, we


March 23, 2009

Theses on Anglicanism

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 10:17 pm

I. Anglican history comprises two distinct ecclesiological streams.  The first is that of monarchical Anglicanism, which began with Henry VIII; this was the dominant stream for more than 300 years.  The second is that of the Anglican Communion, which began with the first Lambeth Conference; this is now the dominant stream at both the international and national (i.e., provincial) levels.  The Anglican Communion is a non-monarchical church (ekklesia) that depends first and foremost upon the apostolic succession of bishops as a guarantee of its historic, catholic nature.

II. The Anglican reformation was not, as is commonly claimed, primarily political and only secondarily theological.  The enthronement of the monarch as the “supreme head” of the Church of England was as much a theological development as it was a political development.  Thus, Anglican history and theology cannot be understood without paying close attention to the history and theology of monarchy.

III. Anglicanism must re-conceive itself as a portion of the catholic Church that was once monarchical, but is now post-monarchical.  Anglicanism has yet to conceive of itself as post-monarchical, and it cannot do this until it understands what it meant for it to have once been monarchical.


December 11, 2008

One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: A Response to Alister McGrath’s “Anglicanism and Protestantism”

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 7:44 pm

In a recent op-ed published in the Church of Ireland Gazette, Alister McGrath asserts that Gregory Cameron, Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, has “publicly distanced Anglicanism from Protestantism.”[1] In an article pertaining to Anglican ecumenical relations with Protestants, Old Catholics, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and the Mar Thoma Church of India, Cameron had written that “episcopacy is the clearest outstanding issue in dialogue with the Protestant traditions.”[2] McGrath interprets this as a denial of Anglicanism as a protesting ecclesial body, and uses it as an opportunity to rehash some rather old and tiresome debates pertaining to 19th century Anglo-Catholic historiography. McGrath then writes that Cameron “appears to belong to the revisionist school of thought which is trying to airbrush out Anglicanism’s Protestant heritage and tradition.” The real irony of all of this is that despite McGrath’s own credentials, his accusations against Cameron have nothing to do with Cameron’s own words in the aforementioned article, but McGrath’s own inability – or, perhaps, refusal – to think beyond a rather simple definition of Protestantism that cannot countenance Anglican particularity.


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