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Source: (consider it) Thread: Roman and Eastern Table Fellowship
Sola Scriptura
Shipmate
# 2229

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The use of ecclesiology to defend a closed table seems offensive. I suspect that the excuse of ecclesiology is just there to hide their overt or covert desire to exculde by the powerful of the weak and vulnerable. If we are to be more Christ-like it means being far more generous than we tend to be at the moment. By virtue of our baptism we are Christians and memebers of the church. To try and suggest that because the accident of history some are RC OC Anglicans and Protestants that some Christians are more superioir or have a fuller graps of the "truth" in my opinion stinks. What is being said by those who would like to ring fence the altar is that we are better than you. We say you can't come to the table because your are poor relations for whom we acknowlge to be family but wish they weren't. If they came into our home and eat from our table their church manners are deficient, they didn't attent the right place or live in the right neigbourhood.

Jesus fed the underserving, gave of himself, and said nothing that I can recall about who can and who can't come to the table. Perhaps views of ecclesiology are woefully wrong and we need to review thing seriously. If we can't what is being said is that unless your naughty folk return to the fold, wash yourselves clean from the heritage you have gained, recant you can't be full members of the christian family ane enjoy all the privialges of being a member.

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Used to be Gunner.

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hatless

Shipmate
# 3365

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quote:
Originally posted by Fr. Gregory:
Note that us closed table folks are not encouraging the rest to follow our policy .... but they are encouraging us to follow theirs.



Like you, Gregory, I am not very optimistic about this thread bearing good fruit, but I do feel the need to respond to your comment above. We open table folk are indeed encouraging the rest to follow our policy. You closed table folk don't use encouragement because you compel. Your table is closed. You don't encourage others not to come, you are prepared to refuse them. You do it by rule and command, not mere persuasion and encouragement.

However, you made an exception in one importunate man's case because you are not, you said, a bastard. A heartening and perhaps revealing inconsistency. I remember when I used to consider hard whether or not to agree to marry couples in the Baptist Chapel where I worked. Had they been married before? Was the failure of a previous marriage their fault or the other person's fault? (A truly vile question to entertain even privately, but I did entertain it.) Was this new relationship actually the cause of the previous marriage's failure?

I thought, as I had been taught, that I was trying to safeguard the sanctity of marriage, to prevent it becoming a debased institution, the vows cheapened not just for those getting married unworthily, but for us all, for society. Utter claptrap, like many of my thoughts.

I only ever turned one marriage down. Of those that I conducted there was just one that left a bad taste in my mouth. Ironically it was a couple neither of whom had ever been married before, all seemingly in order. But the groom and best man seemed to have been drinking before the service - or perhaps it was nerves - and they and some of their guests sniggered and pratted around in small but distracting ways throughout the service. They didn't take it seriously, they were clearly ill at ease in a church, and it would have been better for all concerned if their wedding had happened somewhere else.

Afterwards, though, I reflected that though the service had been unpleasant and a mistake, no damage had been done. Marriage was not cheapened. Subsequent weddings were not debased. My vows, often falsified by my own behaviour, are not in the least affected by other people's misunderstandings.

So, at the table, what does it matter if the wrong person partakes? What happens? What is lost? We know that the wrong people often do partake - in a large congregation, where a lax priest encourages flexibility, in a church full of visitors or tourists. So what?

What is so important that you, Gregory, defend a rule the enforcement of which would make you feel you were a bastard, and which in practice you therefore did not enforce?

--------------------
My crazy theology in novel form

Posts: 4531 | From: Stinkers | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by Gunner:
The use of ecclesiology to defend a closed table seems offensive. I suspect that the excuse of ecclesiology is just there to hide their overt or covert desire to exculde by the powerful of the weak and vulnerable

Gunner, have you actually been reading this thread? I just fail to see how you can read into what Fr Gregory and others have written a "desire to exclude the weak and vulnerable". And as for the "excuse of ecclesiology" [Roll Eyes] I've read this thread completely differently.

As I understand what has been written by our Roman Catholic and Orthodox friends, the closed table is a result of their ecclesiology not any sort of desire to exclude people from Christ. Just as our ecclesiology results in an open table.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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seasick

...over the edge
# 48

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Whatever one thinks of closed table approaches, I don't think they can be said to exclude people from Christ, as we presumably believe that Christ is (also) to be found in our own Churches. If one does not believe this the option of converting to Orthodoxy (following appropriate preparation and initiation etc. about which I know very little) is always there. If they said no-one who is not a current communicant of the Orthodox Church can ever become a communicant of the Orthodox Church then that would be different. But they don't.

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We believe there is, and always was, in every Christian Church, ... an outward priesthood, ordained by Jesus Christ, and an outward sacrifice offered therein. - John Wesley

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
# 3899

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quote:
Originally posted by Gunner:
The use of ecclesiology to defend a closed table seems offensive. I suspect that the excuse of ecclesiology is just there to hide their overt or covert desire to exculde by the powerful of the weak and vulnerable.

Let me make sure I understand you correctly. You are saying that, in spite of anything we might say to the contrary, you know what we *really* mean by what we say; you know our true motivations and the condition of our hearts.

You know, Gunner, I have tried to participate in this discussion, which *you* started, with humility and charity, but you're making it *really* difficult. If God has granted you the power to read the hearts and souls of other people, why did you bother to start this thread? If you already knew the answer, why did you ask the question?

quote:
If we are to be more Christ-like it means being far more generous than we tend to be at the moment.
I wouldn't disagree. Perhaps you've read Martin Luther's Small Catechism? On the commandment regarding bearing false witness, he said that we are to fear and love God so that, not only do we not lie about another person, but we construe their actions in the most generous possible way.

It's hard to do, I know. I've been practicing it for years, and I'm still not very good at it. But the alternative is not very attractive.

quote:
What is being said by those who would like to ring fence the altar is that we are better than you.
Sorry, Gunner, but I am quite sure I did not say that. I can deal with it if you have a problem with something I said, but it's rather difficult to defend myself against something I did not say, would not say, and do not believe.

There are many, many non-Orthodox Christians who are better Christians than I am. FWIW, there are non-Christians who are better Christians than I am! It's *not* about who is worthy, or none of us could come. Certainly not me.

quote:
We say you can't come to the table because your are poor relations for whom we acknowlge to be family but wish they weren't. If they came into our home and eat from our table their church manners are deficient, they didn't attent the right place or live in the right neigbourhood.
Who said that, Gunner?

quote:
Perhaps views of ecclesiology are woefully wrong and we need to review thing seriously. If we can't what is being said is that unless your naughty folk return to the fold, wash yourselves clean from the heritage you have gained, recant you can't be full members of the christian family ane enjoy all the privialges of being a member.
Again, who said that? It certainly wasn't me.

Oh, but that's right. It doesn't matter what I said. You know what I really meant.

Thanks for enlightening me.

[Mad]

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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Sine Nomine*

Ship's backstabbing bastard
# 3631

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This is a timely topic for me.

Tuesday, for the first time, I attended a Roman Catholic funeral Mass for a good friend of mine. His widow is an even closer friend. I kept wondering how I would feel about being excluded from communion.

The priest did not even address the issue, which surprised me, but because of the (endless) discussions on the ship, I did not go up. And I wasn't mad or hurt or anything like that, maybe because it was my choice. (I don't think the priest would have objected.) I felt a trifle sad, but when it came down to it, it just seemed a matter of good manners and respect for someone else's tradition and values. I guess there was a part of me that felt a bit sorry for the "Romans" but that's just my Episcopalian snobbery coming out.

I understand that some ECUSA churches now have such open communions that you don't even have to be a baptized Christian to partake. This is now the case at my church. My response is "Well, why the heck did I bother to be baptized and confirmed". So I think I can understand a bit of what Roman Catholics or the Orthodox would feel.

Are there to be no rules whatsoever?

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Ley Druid

Ship's chemist
# 3246

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quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I guess there was a part of me that felt a bit sorry for the "Romans" but that's just my Episcopalian snobbery coming out.

I find this delightfully, refreshingly honest. However, I'm not sure I fully understand it. I don't want to derail this thread, but perhaps Sine Nomine or anybody else that feels this way could expand upon this a bit further. How Episcopalians (Anglicans) feel about "Romans" might be useful in a discussion of what they think about "Roman" Eucharist.
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Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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I have only just discovered this thread (I had misunderstood the title), and at first my heart sank when I read it. This is a subject that has often been discussed before, and one where I have often felt great pain - partly at being excluded as an individual, and partly at the rift in the Church which is highlighted by this issue.

However, I would like to thank Josephine for the gracious, imaginative, and sensitive way in which she has explained the Orthdox position here. I don't agree with that position, but I feel I now understand it (in an emotional as well as an intellectual manner) and can honour the eclessiology that lies behind it. Thank you for showing me so clearly the love and faithfulness that was always there (but which I had failed to grasp before).

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

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hatless

Shipmate
# 3365

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
However, I would like to thank Josephine for the gracious, imaginative, and sensitive way in which she has explained the Orthdox position here. I don't agree with that position, but I feel I now understand it (in an emotional as well as an intellectual manner) and can honour the eclessiology that lies behind it. Thank you for showing me so clearly the love and faithfulness that was always there (but which I had failed to grasp before).

Well said. As someone who is aware of falling well short of Josephine's example I second this.

--------------------
My crazy theology in novel form

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Gracious rebel

Rainbow warrior
# 3523

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Going off at a bit of a tangent maybe, but I just wanted to remind people that it is not just the Orthodox and Catholics that practice the closed table.

In my own neck of evangelicalism this practice is alive and well in some churches/groups of churches. I currently belong to a Grace Baptist church, one of many that while not having a heirarchy like many other denominations, affiliate themselves together with like minded churches in 'Associations'. (Here is the website of my own association)

If you check out the Articles of faith on this site you will read 'The necessity of Baptism (by immersion) upon a profession of faith as a prerequisite to Church Membership and the Lord's supper'. Now this caused a lot of problems for some of our churches recently, including my own, and a few churches ended up resigning from the association. Because we may have people worshipping with us who due to their background do not see the need for believer's baptism. According to the rules we should not allow them to take communion. But in our church we do allow them (although they would not be allowed to become church members with voting rights). We have had discussions with the Association about this and have been told that as long as we are 'working towards' (wonderfully vague don't you think!!?) the position outlined in the articles of faith, that we can remain affiliated.

Another branch of Christianity I was involved in during my childhood/youth was the Open Brethren, who also operate what amounts to a closed table. Here thje rules are most probably not writtern down anywhere (its a bit like the British Constitution) but you would need to be in fellowship with a local group of believers, or to have with you a 'letter of commendation' from another Brethren Assembly (and if you are female, to be wearing a head covering) in order to be allowed to partake.

All these rules/customs operate to keep the table 'pure' I suppose, and to try to prevent 1 Cor 11:27. I guess the motivation is pretty much the same for these evangelical groups as for the Orthodox and RCs.

By the way, (and an even bigger tangent...)to Fr Gregory, Josephine and others, can I just say thanks for explaining so much about the Orthodox faith here on SOF. Before I came here I knew virtually nothing about your church (but had one visited the Orthodox church in Walsingham and had been quietly impressed), and it has been most interesting and illumination to discover this 'whole new world' of Christianity. Although I come from a very different tradition, I can learn much of God from the things that you say. Thankyou.

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Fancy a break beside the sea in Suffolk? Visit my website

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Erin
Meaner than Godzilla
# 2

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quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I understand that some ECUSA churches now have such open communions that you don't even have to be a baptized Christian to partake. This is now the case at my church. My response is "Well, why the heck did I bother to be baptized and confirmed". So I think I can understand a bit of what Roman Catholics or the Orthodox would feel.

Are there to be no rules whatsoever?

I have been following this thread, though not commenting on it, because I learned a long time ago why people have closed tables. I disagree with it.

At any rate, Sine Nomine's post brought me out into the open. The older I get, the more liberal I get, evidently, because IMO Communion tables should not have ANY restrictions placed on them, ever. I would be very happy if my church were to welcome even the *gasp* unbaptized to the table.

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Commandment number one: shut the hell up.

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hatless

Shipmate
# 3365

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quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
The older I get, the more liberal I get, evidently, because IMO Communion tables should not have ANY restrictions placed on them, ever. I would be very happy if my church were to welcome even the *gasp* unbaptized to the table.

Would you include chidren and infants? I would, though most Baptists, hooked on believing and personal decision as we are, wouldn't.

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My crazy theology in novel form

Posts: 4531 | From: Stinkers | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sine Nomine*

Ship's backstabbing bastard
# 3631

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Gee. I brought Erin out into the open.

Anyway...I really don't know how I feel about open communion. It seems to vary. I've read apologies for totally open tables that make sense while I'm reading them. (the St. Gregory of Nyssa web site has a good one, IMO.) Ditto for more restrictive rules. I guess it's because my thoughts on the meaning of the Eucharist are in flux. (That's what I hate about the ship. It makes me think.)

Anecdotally, I know of a woman who assumed she had been baptized as an infant who attended my church but found out her parents had omitted that little ceremony. At that time my church was still in "all baptized Christians" mode. She was embarrassed to be baptized as an adult and felt wrong about continuing to take communion. She stopped coming to church. Something wrong there. She certainly felt excluded from something that previously had meaning for her.

[tangent] Ley Druid, (some) Episcopalians among themselves are quite capable of looking down on and making fun of all other denominations. We mean it, but simultaneously don't mean it. And make fun of ourselves for doing it. OK, I'm digging myself a hole here. Somebody else who knows what I'm talking about help me out here! This is embarrassing. I guess what I meant about "the Romans" was "Poor dears, they're so afraid of being contaminated. Bless their hearts." -- Not nice, I know. But we frequently try to make up for our small numbers by our colossal arrogance. However don't judge by me. There are a lot of nice Episcopalians out there. [/tangent]

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Erin
Meaner than Godzilla
# 2

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Would you include chidren and infants? I would, though most Baptists, hooked on believing and personal decision as we are, wouldn't.

In a heartbeat.

--------------------
Commandment number one: shut the hell up.

Posts: 17140 | From: 330 miles north of paradise | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scot

Deck hand
# 2095

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quote:
Originally posted by Erin:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Would you include chidren and infants? I would, though most Baptists, hooked on believing and personal decision as we are, wouldn't.

In a heartbeat.
Me too.

Although I'm not at all sure it's necessary or even meaningful for them, I could not in good conscience bar anyone from that particular table, if they wanted to come. To do so would utterly undermine my own understanding of Christianity in general and communion in particular.

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Scot

quote:
Although I'm not at all sure it's necessary or even meaningful for them,
In the Orthodox Church we admit ALL ages from birth up to Communion as a matter of conviction. The Eucharist is necessary because it is a vitally important means of spiritual nourishment not imited to age and it is always meaningful to any age in a way appropriate for that age. Sacraments are gifts not payments for understanding.

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™

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Scot

Deck hand
# 2095

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Yes, Fr. Gregory, I understand the sacramentalist approach to the question. I'm sure you see that it is a different matter from a nonsacramentalist point of view.

Amusingly, I am not sure which I am anymore. If I aired my "more than just a memorial" views at my church, they would surely denounce me as a filthy traitor to protestantism. On the other hand, in this forum my views earn me the title of filthy Christ-denying nominalist. [Big Grin] Is there such a thing as a semi-sacramentalist? Since I am stuck in via media, maybe I am really an Anglican!

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Scot

Walking down the middle of the road is not advisable. You are more likely to be hit from both directions. Sod the "via media" .... Anglicanism should have more to say than "we are between these two."

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™

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Sine Nomine*

Ship's backstabbing bastard
# 3631

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quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Amusingly, I am not sure which I am anymore.

My problem exactly. Fortunately, I'm already Anglican. Born to waffle.
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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Fr. Gregory:
Sacraments are gifts not payments for understanding.

... he contradicts himself mightily.

You've been saying all along that the sacrament is only to be extended to those who share your understanding.

Now, all of a sudden, it is a gift.

Which?

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Scot

Deck hand
# 2095

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quote:
Originally posted by Fr. Gregory:
Walking down the middle of the road is not advisable. You are more likely to be hit from both directions. Sod the "via media" .... Anglicanism should have more to say than "we are between these two."

Hmmm. My last post was more or less tongue in cheek, but this raises an interesting point. Why are we so quick to assume that the truth must always be found on one extreme or the other? In my experience, those who insist on going all the way to one side of the road or another usually end up in a ditch. When I ask people why they don't get out of their ditch, the answer is usually that they are afraid of falling into the other one.

I admit that I'm torturing the analogy a little, but it does illustrate a real-world phenomenon.

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Erin
Meaner than Godzilla
# 2

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Fr. Gregory:
Sacraments are gifts not payments for understanding.

... he contradicts himself mightily.

You've been saying all along that the sacrament is only to be extended to those who share your understanding.

Now, all of a sudden, it is a gift.

Which?

I'm glad I'm not the only one who picked up on this.

--------------------
Commandment number one: shut the hell up.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Ken and Erin

Sorry! Read what I have been saying please! [brick wall]

quote:
You've been saying all along that the sacrament is only to be extended to those who share your understanding.

No ... communion is only to be extended to those who belong to the same church. There are plenty of folks around outside the Orthodox Church who believe the same things about the Sacraments and indeed the Church as Orthodox do ... but I do not give them Communion based on their "understanding." That is the Roman Catholic position, (somewhat modified of course).

Dear Scot

Extremes!???? There is NOTHING about doctrine or anything else Christian that can be typified "extreme" .... that is a relative judgement based on where I am standing right now. I suspect that everyone is considered extreme from the vantage point of indifferentism.

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™

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Scot

Deck hand
# 2095

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Fr. Gregory, I was reacting to your mini-rant (sod the via media), not to your own position. Just consider it an idle reflection by someone who sometimes feels like neither fish nor fowl.

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Sine Nomine*

Ship's backstabbing bastard
# 3631

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quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
indifferentism

"A wide & varied vocabulary is the hallmark of every truly cultivated person."
--Auntie Mame

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Scot

That's OK ... I am touchy about the "via media" because having subscribed to it once I then rejected it (whilst still an Anglican) on the grounds than Anglicanism stood for something better than "half-Protestant-half-Catholic."

BTW I do not think that you are an indifferent Christian at all ... I am sorry if that could be construed from my response ... it was not intended. I am quite happy to recognise you as "extreme" .... or rather ... definite about some things. That's good in my book.

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™

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Chapelhead*

Ship’s Photographer
# 1143

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quote:
Originally posted by Fr. Gregory:
I suspect that everyone is considered extreme from the vantage point of indifferentism.

I suspect that everyone is considered indifferent from the vantage point of extremism.

--------------------
Benedikt Gott Geschickt!

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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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The Orthodox and Roman Catholic contributors to this thread are absolutely spot on with their position that this is an issue of ecclessiology first. (Thank you, Josephine for your excellent posts). The phenomenon of "open table" arises, of course, in those parts of northern Europe (and their former colonies) where competing ecclesiologies were found to be so similar that "closed" tables were difficult to justify. When such a church culture comes up against another ecclesiology, it finds it hard to relate. To express a worked out ecclesiology, however, is not wrong, and is essential for any meaningful dialogue to occur.

However, Gunner is right in one thing, and this has not been addressed - namely, does our chosen ecclesiology actual reflect the approach to table fellowship that, according to the apostolic tradition, Jesus himself practiced........

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt

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Chapelhead*

Ship’s Photographer
# 1143

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I would also like to thank Josephine for the way she has helped explain the Orthodox position on this subject. It is ground that many of us will have been over before, but there are always new Shipmates and, as the Admins and Hosts must get tired of saying, no-one but them has to read everything here, much less post.

I think that the use of “open table” and “closed table”, whilst they are helpful in their simplicity, does tend to obscure the fact that there is a range of openness and closedness, with different churches and groups taken positions along that range (and the Orthodox are by no means at an extreme end).

In my experience those places that keep a more open table will often use an invitation along the lines of “we welcome all Christians to the Lord’s Supper” or “we welcome all those who Love the Lord to partake of Communion”. By these they define the level of openness and closedness. Now what, to me, is significant here is not just that these represent different levels of openness from the traditionally more closed tables (including the Roman Catholic an Eastern Orthodox). What seems of greater importance is the difference in who judges whether a table is open or closed to a particular person.

In the more closed tables it is usually the church that decides whether a person can be accepted at the table. For most people, the simple statement that you have to belong to a particular denomination is sufficient to guide them as to whether they are welcome at the table. A few, however, will claim to belong while the church does not agree with this view. If someone non-Orthodox (or non-Roman Catholic, or non-Strict and Particular Baptist) came each week for Communion at a church of that denomination, it would be the Church, presumably through its ministers, who would declare that this person could not take Communion.

With the more open tables it is more often left to the individual to discern whether they make take Communion. This is not because Communion is seen as an individualist action (as it has been caricatured) – the CofE and the church described in Jengie’s fascinating post above clearly have Communion very much as part of a community. It is simply seem as less appropriate for the church to judge a person’s suitability for partaking in Communion.

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Benedikt Gott Geschickt!

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Dyfrig

Yes, because the covenants were with Israel as a whole. The Church did not even start out as a sect of Judaism. Non-messianic Judaism made it that but effectively it rapidly became a "heresy" and was expelled. The original schism is here ... not 1054.

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Fr. Gregory
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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Chapelhead

quote:
it is usually the church that decides whether a person can be accepted at the table.
Not a person .... the church that the person belongs to. We make no judgement at all about the "state of grace," "understanding" etc. of the individual. For the Orthodox there is only one question. "Is this person's church / bishop / congregation etc in communion with us or not?"

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Fr. Gregory
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Chapelhead*

Ship’s Photographer
# 1143

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quote:
Originally posted by Gregory:
Dear Chapelhead

quote:
it is usually the church that decides whether a person can be accepted at the table.
Not a person .... the church that the person belongs to. We make no judgement at all about the "state of grace," "understanding" etc. of the individual. For the Orthodox there is only one question. "Is this person's church / bishop / congregation etc in communion with us or not?"
But the decision remains on whether the person belongs to the Orthodox Church.

quote:
Originally posted by Dyfrig:
However, Gunner is right in one thing, and this has not been addressed - namely, does our chosen ecclesiology actual reflect the approach to table fellowship that, according to the apostolic tradition, Jesus himself practiced........

Would Judas Iscariot have passed a test of Christian orthodoxy?

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Benedikt Gott Geschickt!

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Chapelhead

quote:
But the decision remains on whether the person belongs to the Orthodox Church.

Of course. But this has nothing to do with the persona of the said individual other than that he/she belongs to a particular church. It is an issue of corporate not individual relations.

As far as Judas Iscariot is concerned, he, with every other aspirant Christian then and since has to consider whether or not he is a child of the kingdom by virtue of his repentance and faith. However, this faith is not open ended ... it is the faith (and life in Communion) of the apostles, (Acts 2:41-42).

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
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Ley Druid

Ship's chemist
# 3246

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Did the Apostles share table with people with whom they were not in communion? Jews, Greeks etc. In what way would they have thought it to be a remembrance of Jesus to share table with those who didn't identify themselves as followers of Jesus?
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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Ley Druid

In those days of course there was only one one class of foloower of Jesus. The very idea that there could be communities of Jesus followers that were separate from each other would have been inconceivable. If there had been such separations the most pressing question would have been:- "Why aren't we one?" Why is this question not the most pressing one today? Instead some Christians say:- "Well we are one really but we belong to different churches." Now, there are bound to be different churches of course .... but they should be in full communion with each other with only one communal existence in each place.

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Fr. Gregory
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seasick

...over the edge
# 48

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Indeed, I often wonder why the issue of Christian Unity is not higher up the agenda. It seems to me that we need each both as Churches and as individual Christians to ask ourselves what we are doing to further the unity of Christ's Church, and what more we could do. For Methodism, I think that the position of conference with regard to the acceptance of Episcopacy in the cause of unity is a good one, and our liturgy is similar (and indeed uses ecumenical texts where possible) to that of many other western churches. I think we need to remember what makes us Methodist, but still look out to the richs of other traditions, and work to overcome obstacles at the very least to interchangeability of the clergy, and eventually, one Church. What do people think that their Churches are doing to further the cause of unity, and what more could they do?

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We believe there is, and always was, in every Christian Church, ... an outward priesthood, ordained by Jesus Christ, and an outward sacrifice offered therein. - John Wesley

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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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quote:
Originally posted by seasick:
what more could they do?

Well, for a start we could stop this nonsense about Methodists (or any other trinitarian denomination that practices the dominical sacraments, for that matter) having to be ordained "properly" by an Anglican (because, of course, our order are so regular and accepted by everybody in the whole world)

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Somebody recently suggested that all the Anglicans could (symbolically I suppose) "ordain" all the Methodists and all the Methodists could (symbolically I suppose) "ordain" all the Anglicans. Everyone would then be equally happy or unhappy.

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Fr. Gregory
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Ley Druid

Ship's chemist
# 3246

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Do the Apostle's really give us an example in striving towards unity? What does it mean to say "They recognized no Christian as being out of communion, therefore we will recognize no one as being out of communion." In their case, no one was out of communion, today there are people who are out of communion. Isn't it being anachronistic at best, not to recognize the differences between our situation and theirs? Isn't being one now different than trying to be what they were 2000 years ago?
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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Ley Druid

The situations are of course different but remember I was using this example as a foundational principle of corporate unity ... not individual affiliation to a doctrine (Real Presence) or right intention or anything else as the test of Communion. You are making my argument carry more than it originally intended. I just want to emphasise the unvarying principle that my Christian status does not just depend on my love for Christ but also on the body of Christ to which I belong. That then begs all the usual ecclesiological questions. I think it is this principle that "open table" policies significantly erode. It says .... "it doesn't really matter what church you belong to so long as you love Jesus." It does matter.

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Fr. Gregory
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Chesterbelloc

Tremendous trifler
# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by Dyfrig:
quote:
Originally posted by seasick:
what more could they do?

Well, for a start we could stop this nonsense about Methodists (or any other trinitarian denomination that practices the dominical sacraments, for that matter) having to be ordained "properly" by an Anglican (because, of course, our order are so regular and accepted by everybody in the whole world)
Sure, we could stop the "nonsense" of the validity of orders and just have one big "ministry". But, as you already know, Dyfrig, the issue is whether Apostolic Succession is dispensible or essential. Just stating that it isn't won't do. Then there's the fact that the vast majority of Anglicans don't accept the arguments to the contrary, despite most of those arguments having been around longer that Anglicanism itself. Anglican orders may be irregular, if you take the global perspective, but there are good arguments for holding that they are (in most cases) valid. Those who want to dispense with the notion of AS bear the burden of proof.

CB

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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Chapelhead*

Ship’s Photographer
# 1143

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There certainly seem to have been various groups in the early church,
quote:
One says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Peter"; and another, "I follow Christ".
but they all shared Communion - badly, perhaps, but they shared Communion.

quote:
Originally posted by Gregory:
Dear Dyfrig

Yes, because the covenants were with Israel as a whole. The Church did not even start out as a sect of Judaism. Non-messianic Judaism made it that but effectively it rapidly became a "heresy" and was expelled. The original schism is here ... not 1054.

I don't think that actually answers the question - at least, not for me.

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Benedikt Gott Geschickt!

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Chapelhead

1 Corinthians relates to events about 2 decades ahead of Acts 2. Some of the issues about open and closed Communion are now beginning to be faced.

quote:
I don't think that actually answers the question - at least, not for me.

Why not?

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Sorry ... that should of course have been 3 decades.

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Fr. Gregory
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Chapelhead*

Ship’s Photographer
# 1143

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quote:
Originally posted by Gregory:
Why not?

Perhaps because it sounds to me heavy on jargon but unrelated in a comprehendible way to the question.

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Benedikt Gott Geschickt!

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PaulTH*
Shipmate
# 320

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"But let no one eat or drink of this eucharistic thanksgiving, but those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord, for concerning this also the Lord has said: Do not give what is holy to the dogs."(From the Didache(Teachings))

Scholars are divided on the precise dating of the Didache. It's usually given a date of c100AD, but from what I've read about it and its own internal evidence, I would give a very early date of c48, or around the time of the Council of Jerusalem. It's obvious that even then there was the bottom line requirement of baptism in order to participate in the eucharist, so a fully open table has never existed.

Although elsewhere in the Didache there is a Trinitarian formula for baptism in running water, it appears that the oldest baptisms were done in the name of Jesus. Also the consecration of the cup preceeds that of the bread(1Cor10.16) which is the order of the Passover Seder.

As an Anglican, I favour open table communion, but only among Christians in good standing with their church. I don't think the open table advocated by some people on this thread has ever existed nor should it.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Elizabeth Anne

Altar Girl
# 3555

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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH:
As an Anglican, I favour open table communion, but only among Christians in good standing with their church.

What exactly do you mean by "good standing?" "Good" by what sort of standards?

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Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in my eyes...

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PaulTH*
Shipmate
# 320

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Elizabeth Anne
Perhaps a baptized and communicant member of a Christian church is the best guide. No priest in any church can ensure that each person coming to Communion is in the right state of grace with God. That has to be a matter for the conscience of the communicant.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Elizabeth Anne

Altar Girl
# 3555

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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH:
Elizabeth Anne
Perhaps a baptized and communicant member of a Christian church is the best guide. No priest in any church can ensure that each person coming to Communion is in the right state of grace with God. That has to be a matter for the conscience of the communicant.

Oh, all right. I only asked because in some churches "good standing" entails a lot more than that: can't be divorced, can't be married to a non-Christian, etc etc.

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Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in my eyes...

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Chapelhead

This was Dyfrig's question:-

quote:
does our chosen ecclesiology actual reflect the approach to table fellowship that, according to the apostolic tradition, Jesus himself practiced........

This was my answer:-

quote:
Yes, because the covenants were with Israel as a whole. The Church did not even start out as a sect of Judaism. Non-messianic Judaism made it that but effectively it rapidly became a "heresy" and was expelled. The original schism is here ... not 1054.

Your comment ...

quote:
Perhaps because it sounds to me heavy on jargon but unrelated in a comprehendible way to the question.

Jargon? The words used are commonly used on these boards and I think most people know what they mean. Let's turn to the answer itself and see whether it is "unrelated" as you suggest.

To paraphrase Dyfrig ... does any (given) ecclesiology (which informs eucharistic practice) reflect Jesus' own approach to table fellowship according to apostolic teaching?

I said that it did (in the case obviously of closed table) because Jesus' table was only open to Israel and Israel as a whole for that is the entity historically that is both beneficiary and responsible agent of the covenants.

My next reference was offered to explain why the separation of Christianity from the "Jewish table" ....taking it away from the "old Israel" was initiated by those Jews who had not accepted Christ. In other words the Christian covenant shifted from the Old Israel to the New Israel, leaving of course the Old Covenant in place. In other words, even when Christianity had separated from Judaism the communal aspect of the coveant (and the closed aspect of the table represented by, initially, baptism) remained in place. Paul has already referred to the Didache in this respect. When you asked the question about Judas Iscariot I judged that you were trying to suggest that the "Israel" definition of the Church was vitiated by his apostasy. I replied of course that repentance and faith were the qualifiers for the New Israel but that notwithstanding this it was the apostolic faith ... again a communal reference that mattered.

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
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