Tuesday, August 23, 2005

what is the unchanging principle? by j. barrington bates

Elsewhere in his text, Chauvet asserts a definition of another component of the eucharistie liturgy, Scripture. he proposes an innovative definition of Scripture, saying it includes "not only the Scriptures themselves, but . . . everything pertaining to the understanding of revelation: basic catechetical instruction and the present-day propositions concerning the on-going formation of Christians, as well as the corpus of patristic, medieval, and contemporary theologies."21 He goes so far as to claim texts which the Bible retains have survived because of their use in the liturgy,22 thus rejecting the notion that liturgy survives primarily as a means of proclaiming that same Scripture. The norm, he says, "is thus not the Book alone, but the Book in the hand of the community. The Church thus represents the impossibility of sola scriptura."23 In other words, Chauvet posits that Scripture is much more than words, that it cannot be understood, received, or apprehended as a text alone, and that the congregation serves in an integral way as the context for proclamation-without which Scripture simply would not be Scripture. Working from a framework of identity, Chauvet holds that the combination of gathered assembly and received tradition serves to endow the printed word with its particular character as the Word of God.

Read the whole thing here. Sola Scriptura is certainly problematical. And I think many of Anglicanism's current woes have their roots in a Communion-wide exegetical deficiency which, in turn, has its roots in a Communion-wide ecclesiological deficiency. Not that our Church is deficient, nor that our exegetical praxis is (necessarily) deficient, but rather that our Church has deficiently defined both; and the one
because of the other.

Moreover, I have sometimes said that one thing the Anglican Communion lacks -- and it in turn is a manifestation of the unity we lack -- is a panAnglican Eucharistic rite: a rite that is authorized for use anywhere in the Communion. I would propose that such a rite be the 1662 BCP rite. It is, after all, the sort of Mother Rite, the Rite from which all of the myriad Anglican and quasi-Anglican rites sprang. But what do I know?

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