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Anglican Apostolic Succession

Discussion in 'Scripture,Tradition,Reason-Anglican & Old Catholic' started by JasonV, Jun 28, 2008.

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  1. JasonV

    JasonV Guest

    I don't want Albion to think I've forgotten the thread over on the Apostolic forum.

    But since semantics seem to be getting in the way, I'd like to ask what exactly is the Anglican understanding of Apostolic Succession.

    :)
     
  2. CSMR

    CSMR Totally depraved

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    As usual there is a range. From low to high:
    -It doesn't exist, there is a priesthood of all believers, and who remembers what all the official anglican titles are anyway?
    -The church has an order whereby when someone is given a important position, the book of common prayer should be used and there should be other important people at the service.
    -It determines when mystical validity is posessed by a priest, this validity imparting validity to services he presides at, necessary for the offer of forgiveness received by the congregation to be valid.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2008
  3. Iosias

    Iosias Senior Contributor

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    It would depend upon who you are asking, Archbishop Cranmer would have argued, and most evangelical Anglicans argue, that the succession is doctrinal:

    2 Timothy 2:2 "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
     
  4. IowaLutheran

    IowaLutheran Veteran

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    I think this is where some fancy Latin words actually helped my understanding:

    It is my understanding that within Anglicanism there are three general opinions on the apostolic succession/historic episcopacy: Esse, bene esse, and plene esse.

    Those who believe it is of the esse (think essence) of the church believe, as CSMR said, that it is necessary for the existence of the church and for a valid ministry to exist.

    Those who believe that it is bene esse (for the good of the church) believe that apostolic succession is a good tradition, but not essential to the existence of the church.


    Those who believe that it is plene esse (for the fullness of being in the church) believe that the church can exist without apostolic succession, but the fullest expression of the church is found where there is apostolic succession.
     
  5. IowaLutheran

    IowaLutheran Veteran

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    I should add that I think that the plene esse view is the belief that served as the basis of the full communion agreement between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church. Previously ordained ELCA pastors who were not ordained by a bishop in succession were not re-ordained because it was acknowledged by the Episcopalians that such a pedigree is not absolutely essential to ministry. However, the Episcopalians required that future ELCA bishops receive the laying on of hands by a bishop in succession as that is the norm for the church to exist in its fullest state.
     
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  6. Iosias

    Iosias Senior Contributor

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    But what is it?

     
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  7. longhair75

    longhair75 mea culpa

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    a very concise definition from here

    Our Roman brothers and sisters have provided us with this excellent definition. They do claim that, due to a change in wording in the ceremony at one point, that the Apostolic Succession of the Anglican Communion is no longer valid. They also argue that "intent" plays a part in this lack of validity in that the Priests and Bishops of the Anglican Communion lack the proper intent to carry on The Apostolic Succession in a proper manner.

    I suspect that the real reason behind the condemnation of the validity of Apostolic Succession in the Anglican Communion from Rome is our stubborn propensity to refuse to acknowledge and submit to the Papal authority of the Church of Rome.

    Just as one Anglican speaking, I am really not interested in whether Rome finds our Apostolic Succession valid or not.
     
  8. Voice_of _reason

    Voice_of _reason Let us use reason

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    Bingo!
     
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  9. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    As VofR suggested, a very convincing case can be made that the Papal decree invalidating Anglican Orders was made because of political considerations of that time and place. We don't need to go further into this, however, since that wasn't Jason's question.

    As for the Anglican view itself, though, I have to disagree with a few things that have been said. First, there are almost no Anglicans who don't accept Apostolic Succession. Secondly, and although we all know that there is a wide and accepted range of opinion on lots of issues among Anglicans, there has never been any official, general statement made that supports the quasi-Roman Catholic view about validity, etc.

    In other words, and while recognizing the usual spectrum of opinion, I think a good answer to this question requires us to narrow the range of answers. Of course Anglo-Catholics will tend towards the Catholic/Orthodox view, but neither the Articles nor the Quadrilateral take that Anglo-Catholic view (esse). Meanwhile, and at the other end of things, not even the lowest of the Low Churchmen reject Apostolic Succession as it is described in the Articles and Quadrilateral--which come as close as anything we have to official Anglican position statements.

    P.S. Thanks, Jason, for your answer on that other thread!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
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  10. JasonV

    JasonV Guest

    Iowa, Thank you for the Latin terms. I myself seem to fall under the "plene esse" definition.

    Albion, you mentioned that there is some information that may be reason to reject the "esse" definition. Can you pass along one or two items for our study?
     
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  11. CSMR

    CSMR Totally depraved

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    It may be more exact to divide by separating fact and value:
    There (is)/(may or may not be) a line of bishops leading back via a line of ceremonies to the apostles, and this is (essential)/(advantageous)/(unimportant) for the ministry of the Anglican church.

    The 39 articles, which holds varying degrees of weight in different parts of the church, does not definitively rule out any of these positions, although its lack of any mention of apostolic lineage in its discussion of church order suggests a disinterest in the question.
     
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  12. Colabomb

    Colabomb I seek sin like a moth towards flame, save me God.

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    Succession is a succession of authority. Our leaders are to be trained and approved by the leaders that we have come to trust. Does it bear weight on the sacraments? I believe that to say it does is superstitious.

    I like the current, system, it works for us. The Trifold Ministry serves its purpose. But should the church need something better in the future we should not hang on to old ways just because they are old.

    I believe in succession, but i have come to believe that it has more to do with the authority to teach than "will the sacraments 'work'"
     
  13. Colabomb

    Colabomb I seek sin like a moth towards flame, save me God.

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    My version would be

    "There is a line of bishops leading back via a line of ceremonies to the apostles, and this is adventageous for the ministry of the Anglican Church."
     
  14. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Hello, Jason. I don't want this to sound flippant, but what I was saying was that there is no historic Anglican acceptance of the 'esse' POV, whereas the prayerbook, the Articles, and the Quadrilateral take the other position. This is worth looking into if anyone doubts it. Take a close look at the wording of all of these.

    Even as we respect those Anglicans who have advocated the "branch theory," who think the Reformation a meaningless blip in Church History or whatever, the fact is that the view of Apostolic Succession that could be called normative if any can be called that is the one that sees A.S. as important but only as a continuation of a good practice, not as something Christ intended or which makes ministries or sacraments valid that otherwise couldn't be so.

    If this isn't a satisfactory answer, please try me again.
     
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