Saturday, March 1, 2008

On Anglicanism

I was reading from another web site how much of tradition is man's doing and not necessary for salvation.

"Cranmer and the other founding fathers of the Anglican tradition understood that the teaching of Scripture is the means by which God rules his church. Here is the authoritative perspective on life in the world in the wake of the resurrection. Here is the challenge we must receive and the comfort we so desperately need. Here we have access to the mind of God, As Luther had written so memorably, ‘the soul can do without anything except the word of God’4 .
A similar perspective can be found in the Book of Homilies. The very first of these model sermons contains one of the most memorable pieces of Anglican prose.
'Let us diligently search for the well of life in the books of the New and Old Testament, and not run to the stinking puddles of men’s traditions, devised by man’s imaginations, for our justification and salvation. For in holy Scripture is fully contained what we ought to do, and what to eschew, what to believe, what to love, and what to look for at God’s hand at length. '
This homily is in fact a celebration of Scripture as a ‘precious gift of our heavenly father’ ‘the heavenly meat of our souls’ and ‘the words of everlasting life’. But it goes on to answer the suggestion that the Bible is too difficult to understand and that our ignorant reading may lead us into error rather than truth. In this context Cranmer provides us with the closest thing to an official Anglican statement on how to read and understand the Bible.
'And if you be afraid to fall into error by reading of holy Scripture, I shall shew you how you may read it without danger of error. Read it humbly with a meek and lowly heart, to the intent that you may glorify God, and not yourself, with the knowledge of it: and read it not without daily praying to God, that he would direct your reading to good effect; and take upon you to expound it no further than you can plainly understand it […] Presumption and arrogance is the mother of all error; and humility needeth to fear no error. For humility will only search to know the truth: it will search, and will bring together one place with another; and where it cannot find out the meaning, it will pray, it will ask of other that know, and will not presumptuously and rashly define any thing which it knoweth not. Therefore the humble man may search any truth boldly in the Scripture, and without any danger of error. And if he be ignorant, he ought the more to read and search holy Scripture, to bring him out of ignorance. '"

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