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Nashotah Conference

Nashotah Conference

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Published by TheLivingChurchdocs
A report and a sermon from Nashotah House's “Justification in Anglican Life & Thought: Retrospect and Prospect.”
A report and a sermon from Nashotah House's “Justification in Anglican Life & Thought: Retrospect and Prospect.”

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Published by: TheLivingChurchdocs on May 11, 2012
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16
THE LIVING CHURCH • May 20, 2012
By Anthony Clavier
“Justification in Anglican Life &Thought: Retrospect and Prospect”began on April 19, Founder’s Day, atNashotah House Theological Semi-nary. After an afternoon devoted tohearing impressive young studentsoffering papers on the conferencetheme, all assembled in the chapelfor the Festival Eucharist. Seminar-ians, male and female, the faculty, presenters and participants filled thespace. The liturgy was celebratedwith that deceptively easy-lookingunderstated ceremonial that typifiesworship at its best.The broader theme of the two-partconference — the first half met inOctober was “justification.” Thatgreat central doctrine of the Refor-mation in all its complexities cameback to life, the controversies offor-mer times revived and revisited, atthis Anglo-Catholic seminary. Accom- panied by these theological and pas-toral issues were the people whoengaged them, not an inappropriateinvocation in a place devoted to theCommunion of Saints. The presen-ters summoned everyone from Augustine of Hippo to the World WarI chaplain Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy— “Woodbine Willie,” as troops onthe Western Front called him.In sequence we met Luther andCalvin and the assembled bishopsat the Council of Trent, JohnWycliffe, Thomas Cranmer andHugh Latimer, Richard Hookerand Lancelot Andrewes, CarolineDivinesand unlikely names such as John Locke, all in the shadow of  John Henry Newman and his lec-tures on justification. No one wasmentioned closer to us in time thanEric Mascall, with the remarkableexception of Bishop N.T.Wright, andthat, as Fr. Ephraim Radner sug-gested in his concluding paper,is no
The Rev. Ephraim Radner (left), the Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison and Prof. David Steinmetz at Nashotah House.
GabrielMorrow photo
Firmly I Believe
accident, living as we do in an age inwhich justification by faith gains lit-tle traction in a world losing its com-munal awareness and fear of death.It was left to Fr. Radner to thrustthe great teachers of the past intohistorical and social context,whichhe did with wit and clarity.It would be invidious to single out particular presenters, some of whom were from afar, for praise orcriticism. Yet I came away particu-larly impressed by the quality of scholarship exhibited by Nashotah’sfaculty, not least in biblical studiesand church history. It was thrilling tosee seminarians following the lec-tionary in their Greek New Testa-ments,and inspiring to experiencethe hopes and confidence of these young and not so young Christianssacrificing their times and means to prepare for ministry. Despite ourunhappy divisions, made manifestin the persons of faculty members
 
May 20, 2012 • THE LIVING CHURCH
17
(Continued on next page)
and students now divided by juris-dictional confusion, unity in faithand vocation shines through. Muchcredit for this restored morale lies atthe door of Nashotah’sdean, the Rt.Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., retiredBishop of South Carolina, whoseoptimism, humor, and energy is aconstant motivating and unifying presence.I drove away hearing in my mindthe Nashotah hymn, one I sang reg-ularly to another tune as a boy inEngland. “Firmly I believe and truly,God is Three and God is One.” Obey-ing Newman’s instruction to vener-ate Holy Church as God’s creationand her teaching as my own is noeasy task in contemporary Angli-canism. And yet that contentiousdoctrine,justification by faith, seem-ingly so dated and unfashionable,draws meback to considerations of God’s grace and his unmerited love.God remains sovereign and his will isto be done on earth as it is in heavenin our lives as families, nations andthe Church herself. I am grateful toNashotah House for hosting the con-ference and was even more gratefulto be present. Above everything Igain courage from meeting the younger participants, priests, semi-narians and laity who work daily tobe instruments of the Church’srevival in the midst of the years.
The Rev. Anthony Clavier recentlyaccepted a call to oversee two mis-sions in the Diocese of Springfield.
Shining with the Gospel
James Lloyd Breck’s Final Mission
By Ephraim Radner
 James Lloyd Breck spent the last years of his ministry in the littletown of Benicia, California, which is on the Carquinez Strait, wherethe Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers flow into the San FranciscoBay.In the 1850s, Benicia was briefly the capital of California, and itwas given the title “the Athens of California”because of all theschools that were founded there.Breck himself started a boys’school(St. Augustine’s College,1858) and a girls’school (St. Mary’s of thePacific,1870), neither of which lasted very long, and only one smallbuilding of which remains, as a private residence.Some people thinkhe died in part from the exhaustion of these labors, and the many that preceded them.I grew up in the area, and my mother would drag me to Benicia reg-ularly, as she plied the junk and antiques stores that had gathered inthe depressed little downtown.Just last year, I came across an oldstained-glass window.My mother had bought it in Benicia 40 yearsago or more, and it had been carefully packed up after her death, andlugged around the country and stored in garage after garage.So I tookit home with me to Toronto.It’s big, arched, with a simple floral pat-tern of blue and gold glass laid out in rows of small wood frames. Itcame from an old church in Benicia, probably from Breck’s day.I hada craftsman fix the frame, then carefully cleaned and painted it, andit now has been fitted into our main living-room window, where thesun comes in off the street and lays out dappled shadows on the car- pet and walls.That’s how I remember Breck. This is a rather sentimental
entrée
into the Prophet:“how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the
 
18
THE LIVING CHURCH • May 20, 2012
S
T
. W
ULFSTAN
S
B
OOKS
Selling rare books of interest to Christiansof the Anglican-Episcopal, Catholic, andReformed Traditions, and spreading theGospel (and other good books) to others.Known for our extensive inventory of liturgical texts (including the Bookof Common Prayer) and a thoroughcollectionof religious antiquarianvolumes from incunabula to the present.
Contact
Charles KesterPhone
:(479) 582-0249
Email
:cmkester@nwark.comWe also encourage you to viewa sampling of our offerings at:
www.biblio.com/bookstore/st-wulfstans-books-fayetteville
Shining with the Gospel
(Continued from previous page)
Gospel of peace.” “How beautifulupon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace and salvation”(Isa.52:7). “How beautiful!” It’s a word inHebrew, and in the Greek that Paulquotes for this text in Romans 10, itmeans just that:pleasing to the eye,comely, yes, “beautiful.”We need to bear this claim in mind— preaching the Gospel is some-thing beautiful. This, of course, iswhat Breck did, but he also died of exhaustion.He
worked
, and workedharder than most.It’s a great para-dox.Here we are, gathered to talkabout the doctrine of justificationby faith— but as a Church, all we dois work.We train ourselves forwork; we judge ourselves and eachother on the basis of our works; wecelebrate or denounce the works of others;and we organize ourselvesto plan our works as forcefully andeffectively as possible.Works, notgrace.The Anglican Communion, itcould be argued, is in the mess it isin largely because we have spentmore energy trying to save ourselvesthan preaching the Gospel, let alonethe Gospel of peace. As I said, there’s a paradox here.To preach the Gospel is not to slide intoquietism and passivity.How could itbe?And there have been variousways of trying to engage this paradoxtruthfully.Calvin spoke of works as aform of “thanksgiving.” Thomas Aquinas and Protestants too, likeTyndale, spoke of works as the out-flowing of “love.” And, of course,thanks and love both respond tograce; they do not engender it.But here Isaiah presents us withanother way of engaging the para-dox:beauty.To preach the Gospel issomething “beautiful”: beautiful inits depth.It is as beautiful, certainly,as the windows and the light of thisor any other glorious building, car-rying its colors even into distantrooms.And surely far
 more
beauti-ful than that!If you want to keep tothe triad of “the True, the Good, andthe Beautiful,”you could perhapsspeak of the Gospel’s truth, or theredeemed hearts goodness— but“works,”the works we so struggleover and trip over, often to ourdestruction, the works of the Gospelheart,are beautiful in themselves. And if their beauty is lost or forgot-ten or ignored, they are deadly inthemselves.So what “beauty,”exactly?Thewords used in Scripture range overlarge territories— so word studieshave only limited usefulness here.When God sees the works of hishands, in Creation, and calls them“good”(cf. Gen. 1:31), that is cer-tainly an aspect of this beauty,which is also applied to the visage of the beloved in the Song of Songs, in various ways, and more literally inthe Greek(6:4). The point is, what is“beautiful”joins together the “fair-nessof something well-made anddelightful and glorious to the excel-lence of its maker and the joy of itsmaking.Beauty is not an ideal or aspiritual quality.It is concrete, mate-rial, the actual palpable form thattruth and love take within the world.“This is what truth,”this is what“love” “looks like”; and by definitionit is beautiful.“Thou art beautiful, ohmy love” (6:4).When the unnamed woman at thehouse of Simon the leper in Bethanyanoints Jesuswith costly ointment,much to the indignation of his disci- ples, Jesus stops them:“she has donesomething beautiful to me,”he says(Matt. 26:10).Just as Solomon writesin the Song of Songs:the fragrance of  your beautiful ointments draw outthe love of all the maidens (1:3). Jesus himself is surely alluding tothis text.Literally, Matthew calls it an
ergon kalon
, a beautiful deed, or a“good work(cf. Mt. 5:16), as thesame phrase is usually translated inthe Sermon on the Mount:“Let yourlight so shine before men that theymay see your good works— yourbeautiful deeds— and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Yes,and Jesus goes on to say at Bethanythat wherever “this gospel is preached in the whole world, whatshe has done will be told in memoryof her” (26:13). Do you see?To preach the Gospel is to fill the worldwith beautiful things.Mother Teresarecognized this— it was one of herfavorite phrases, and became the titleof Malcolm Muggeridge’s famousdocumentary and book about her:
 Something Beautiful for God
.The issue here is, as the culture likesto put it, simply “being”; but it is “beingby doing.” And it is doing something particular:preaching the Gospel.To preach the gospel is to
be beautiful
; itis to engage in the “it is very good”of God’s created display of himself. AndI press this point only because, of course, we
have
exhausted ourselves,as well as perverted ourselves, in allour “doing”that is not simply display-ing God’s beauty in its very act, butrather “saving”and “fixing,”organizingand winning,and all the rest.None othat is beautiful.Useful;not beautiful.There’s no point to making a cult of 

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