When I visited Rome this summer, and as I ambled up and down its most touristy streets, I spotted a prominent Anglican church on Via del Babuino and told my wife, “That’s ironic for Rome. Let’s go in just for giggles.” As we looked around the walls of that sanctuary, I spied a 2 part banner that absolutely stunned me.
For anyone who has studied history, let alone theology, this banner set is nothing less than blatant unification propaganda, completely disregarding almost 500 years of theological, political and ecclesiastical difference. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am truly supportive of a loving, biblical unity among those who are genuinely “in Christ.” Yet, that kind of solidarity stands in contradistinction to the unification of ecclesiastical entities, which form at the expense of betraying essential biblical teachings and the innumerable historical, personal sacrifices made to uphold the integrity of said essentials.
Also, please do not think I view King Henry VIII as having been of completely pure motivation when he sought to split from the Roman Catholic Church. I do not agree with most of the theological tenets by which Henry VIII asserted independence from the Holy See. However, the Reformation which emboldened the Tudor family was no insignificant movement and included the brightest and clearest minds of its time. Their largest claims were Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Soli Deo Gloria… and Analogia Scriptura. Whatever may have been Henry’s sultry motivations, the King’s actions allowed the morning stars of the Reformation to have their place in England, and indeed some found refuge from Inquisition among the ranks of the Anglican Church.
So, I ask. Has all of that labor been in vain? Is there no longer any theological or ecclesiastical difference between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church? Is the Anglican Church now willing to say, “Ach, twas a mere whimsical mistake made by a pretender King”? Evidently, that is exactly what is being said, since King Richard III’s grave has been exhumed and since both churches wish to recognize and give him a proper burial with the honors due a majesty of the Church (i.e. one submissive to Rome and their doctrine of Divine Right to Rule… which incidentally is upon the very crest of England’s Royal Coat of Arms — Dieu et mon droit). Make no mistake, nothing could be more pre-enlightenment or pre-Reformation or even pre-revolution; nothing could be more grounded in Augustine’s City of God and the Roman Catholic doctrine of Covenant Replacement Theology… and I must add, the recent decision of Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom is no coincidence either. That decision from Scotland’s loyalists has a significant referent in James VI/I‘s volume, Basilikon Doron.
Yes, the Catholic & Anglican churches are melding due to ecclesiastical interests and (more than that) due to a renewed emphasis on Kingdom Theology and (in reasonable speculation) due to historic economic and land interests reminiscent of the Crusades. This is not just about religion; it is about kings and kingdoms. Please see the following resources:
- Anglican Communion’s Ecumenical Dialogues
- Roman Catholic-Anglican Union Talks by Religious Tolerance
- The Vatican’s Pontifical Councils, Anglican Communion Documents – “Growing Together in Unity and Mission”
As one who identifies himself with the Anabaptist faith tradition (neither Catholic nor conventionally Protestant historically, but nearest to Mennonite), I raise a warning flag for my nearest theological neighbors, the Baptist denominations and non-denominational Bible churches. Over the past few decades, these groups and their colleges and seminaries have become predominantly “Reformed” in theology… even bringing on Catholic staff in some cases and seemingly unwittingly assuming many theological blind spots regarding the ills of (reformed) Catholic doctrine and its historical outcomes. For example:
— Sam Kean (@snkean) September 26, 2014
Please, my brothers, beware an overemphasis on “Covenant Theology” which replaces Israel with the Christian Church. Though it is “Reformed” theology, it is (obviously) a theology still finding its source in Roman Catholic Theology; and there are many errors and evils which historically have come from that erroneous theology. For Baptists, I beg you to remember and honor your true roots.
Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches move towards unity | Christian News on Christian Today
|Religion NewsService (@RNS)|
Britain Still Deeply Divided Over Henry VIII Reformation, says Cambridge Professor Telegraph News https://twitter.com/telegraphnews/status/602117183481585665
The Anabaptists by Scot McKnight via Patheos
Covenant Theology is Not Replacement Theology — O, Really? Please see:
- Amillennialism (Replacement Theology) by Berean Internet Ministry
- Covenant Theology – Theopedia
- The Error of Replacement Theology by Clarence H. Wagner, Jr.
- Replacement Theology – Baptist Bulletin
Machetes, “Enough” and a Free Gospel | “Pacifist in the face of religious persecution; Proactive in averting the general suffering of others.”
The Hermeneutical Spiral by Grant Osborne
The History of Interpretation by F. W. Farrar
Thomas, Robert. Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2003. (chapters 1-8 and 12)