Ecclesiology of the Cross

I’ve sort of put this blog on hold, but I had to “break out” for once and post this link. Its Justin Moffatt at it again, with a great quote about Tim Chester and Steve Timmis about an “Ecclesiology of the Cross”.

Read it here.


Debt and Taxes

I must confess my love for the West Wing (though not the leftist ideoogy the show promotes). Here’s a clip from the last season, the 7th. Vinick is the “bad guy” republican candidate in this season, but I think most of his character’s answers, particularly in this debate episode are spot on. Case in point: this moment where he discusses Pharmaceutical Companies, African Debt and tax-cuts.

Tom Wright on Heaven

Signing the Cross

Michael Bird (a Reformed Baptist, by the way) on Signing the Cross. Is there good, evangelical rationale for why signing the cross is looked down on? If not, then why is it practically non-existent in evangelical/reformed circles? If so, what is the reason?

Was Calvin Wright?

Thanks to Matthew Mason for bringing up this quote in his discussion on Wright’s view of justification (bracketed comments his):

Calvin (Insts, III.xi.10):

“We do not, therefore, contemplate him outside ourselves from afar in order that his righteousness may be imputed to us but because we put on Christ and are engrafted into his body [NB this makes justification an ecclesial doctrine!] – in short, because he deigns to make us one with him.”


Here is a guest post by Dr. James Palmer, professor at CEP, the Anglican Seminary in Chile. He has a first class degree in Theology from Durham University and an MPhil and PhD from Cambridge. His interests include Biblical and Systematic Theology, Hermeneutics, Doctrinal Development and Roman Catholic Theology.

I hope you will find his thoughts as helpful and thought-provoking as I did. The emphases are his, and I’ve coloured the catechism citations brown, to distinguish from His own comments.


Protestants often have the same attitude to the Roman Catholic Church as the audience of a pantomime has towards the baddie: lots of booing and cries of “he’s behind you”. This is unfortunate. I´ve been reading the 1992 Catechism and am enjoying it a great deal, in fact the last thing I enjoyed this much was written by the Greek Orthodox priest John Behr (the three currently available volumes of his Formation of Christian Theology series). The majority of the objectionable parts of the catechism are unsurprisingly related to the doctrines of authority and salvation, but there is much which is really very good. Here are two interesting bits:

This on the meaning of the ascension

659 “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”531 Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.532 But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.533 Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand .534 Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.535

Sadly this is preceded by the horrible paragraph 645;

645 By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion.508 Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm.509 For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.510

This has the unspoken goal of allowing transubstantiation, but it seems a complete distortion of the biblical teaching to suggest that Jesus appeared “in the guise of a gardener”. It seems to fit better with the tenor of NT teaching that the resurrection body is somewhat different to the earthly body (1 Cor 15:35ff), but not unstable in the way the catechism suggests.

This on the life and work of Christ as being the work of the Spirit:

727 The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the fullness of time, is contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father’s Spirit since his Incarnation – Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.
Everything in the second chapter of the Creed is to be read in this light. Christ’s whole work is in fact a joint mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.


… and I love the idea of a new Anglican “See” in Jerusalem.


We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.

  1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.
  2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.
  3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
  4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.
  5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
  6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.
  7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.
  8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
  9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
  10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.
  11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.
  12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.
  13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
  14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.