Tuesday, 5 April 2022

How could Episcopal Christian churches (i.e. with Bishops and priests) be Romantic Christian?

The major Episcopal church in The West is the Roman Catholic Church; other Episcopal churches include the Anglican (such as the Church of England, or The Episcopal Church in the USA) - and there are branches of the Eastern Orthodox (divided into its national churches - Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian etc). 

RCC, Orthodox and Anglican are, in that order, the three largest Christian denominations in the world, and a substantial proportion of church-active Christians. 

What makes such churches 'Episcopal' is that they Must Have priests in order to function in accordance with their principles; and these priests must me 'made' (ordained) by Bishops (the word Episcopal means governed by Bishops). 


I have argued that the faith of Christianity can only survive in these times if it is a Romantic Christianity - which means explicitly and consciously rooted in the individual and intuitive discernment of each individual Christian. Our faith must be acknowledged as ultimately an internally-driven, not externally-imposed, Christianity - for which each individual Christian takes explicit responsibility. 

This would at first glance seem to rule-out the possibility of Romantic Christianity in an Episcopal church, since such churches operate on the basis of the spiritual authority and necessity of priests (therefore Bishops); so there must be some basis in the obedience of the laity to the priesthood... 

Yet in reality this is not the case; and one can be a Romantic Christians and a genuine Episcopal church member (including oneself a priest or Bishop). 

However, this entails making one's actual choices honestly conscious and explicit (rather than, as now, having those choices somewhat dishonestly, or unconsciously, denied).  


My conviction is that - in The West now - it is just a fact that all serious Christians are Romantic Christians in the sense that all major Christian churches are deeply corrupted, and particularly at their leadership levels - which are (where it matters) Not Christian but aligned with the literally-demonic agenda of the Global Leftist Establishment

Therefore, to be a real Christian - everyone - whether Bishop, priest or layman - must and does make personal discernments as to where truth and goodness is located - within institutional structures that are permeated with lies and evil. 

Thus all serious Christians who are in any kind of church, including the Episcopal churches, must have deployed discernment: they must have-chosen their church, and within their church. 


In the case of small and (so far) uncorrupt churches or groupings; the church must be found, evaluated and joined; and if the church stops being true and good - such an individual will leave and try to find another that is sufficiently helpful to his Christian life to be worth committing to (which finding, of course, may prove not be possible). 

But equally, even the cradle-born Episcopal Christian cannot avoid making discernments as to which Bishops and priests he will choose to accord spiritual authority - because all Western Episcopal churches are (more-or-less) led and dominated by evil-affiliated fake-Christians, and are getting more so with each passing year. 

Therefore, for example, even a 'cradle Roman Catholic' has (at some point in his life, like it or not) almost certainly made a positive choice to stay-with the church into which he was born - such is the nature of these skeptical and subversive times. 

Having made this choice of 'which church?'; he must discern where in his church true authority lies (in order to obey that authority) - which particular aspect of his church; since there are many disagreements that demand such choice, and many authorities are at odds or in conflict. 


And the same indeed applies to every priest and Bishop within the Roman Catholic Church - he must/ and already-has, choose/ have-chosen exactly where among the many factions he should place his loyalty and obedience. 

And this choice within an institution cannot be determined without making a choice of where true-and-real authority lies; e.g, the priest must answer the question of how authority is distributed between particular persons or groups, written scripture (and particular scriptures), theological authorities and interpretations past and present, and church tradition (which itself has varied) etc.. 

And the proper location/s of spiritual authority is itself a heavily-contested matter; and cannot simply be 'assumed' without begging the very question at issue.

Only then can the priest cease personally to discern - and then obey.  


My point here is therefore very simple. In a world where choice is unavoidable and the corruption of churches is to prevalent; every real Christian already-has-made personal discernments of a fundamental nature - and is therefore implicitly a sort-of Romantic Christian...

But; the very heart of Romantic Christianity is that such intuitive discernments leading to choices, absolutely-must, at this point in human history and development, be made explicitly and consciously - with every individual (whether layman, priest or Bishop) being and clear and honest with himself that this has-happened - and will (in a darkening world) probably need to continue-happening. 


What I see, by contrast, is too many real Christians (both priests and laity) in Episcopal churches who (currently) exist in a state of denial about the many personal discernments they themselves have made in arriving at their life of faith


They will claim that they follow 'the truth'. or that it is so obvious what is true, and where true-authority lies, that no discernment has been required... 

They will claim that they are in-effect 'merely-obedient' to their church; despite that they have picked-and-chosen their church in the first place, and then picked-and-chosen who is right and wrong within their church... 

It is as-if they wish to cover-their tracks, and pretend that their own obedience to the modern, 2022, church is exactly the same simple, natural, spontaneous, unconscious, and unthinking obedience that was possible (and usual - and probably desirable) in the Middle Ages.


But this is just false; and it places a lie at the heart of a Man's faith which cannot but tend to weaken and corrupt it - especially in these times; when challenges to discernment, and temptations to affiliate with a Satan-serving System, are coming at Christians with increasing frequency and severity. 

For Romantic Christianity; that discernment and personal responsibility which is unavoidable for a Christian in order for him to become and remain Good; needs to become acknowledged as a reality - and that reality itself, should be regarded as Good. 


12 comments:

Stephen Macdonald said...

The truth of Romantic Christianity becomes clearer with each passing month. I almost said passing year, but such is the acceleration of evil that our "historic" units of time are shrinking.

Never before has Truth been laid so bare, yet never before have so many (including Christians) been so blind.

Bruce Charlton said...

"Never before has Truth been laid so bare, yet never before have so many (including Christians) been so blind."

Very true.

One indirect sign of blindness is of people who continue collecting today's examples of the latest Politically Correct insanity or 'wokeness' - as if there was by-now any doubt At All as to the evil nature and intent of the entire leadership class.

I often feel like saying: "Yes Of Course. Why are you surprised? That is exactly the kind of thing that evil people do. What did you expect?"

Tolken Cimmerian said...

The Episcopal churches would be returning to the right way when they establish themselves as mediators of spiritual work, and not the ones who do spiritual work. Medieval Christian investiture has been boiled down until what we have today is the "anthropocentric spirituality" which is featured in the masses' obedience to a central figure, that taken together form a church that has inverted the primacy of the individual and one's determinations of truth. To say now, that truth is mine alone, is to declare obedience to the masses.

John Venlet said...

Your post, for myself at least, exhibits a certain synchronicity, which you recently wrote some thoughts on, as I have just completed reading Rev. Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons or The Papal Worship. Though in this work Hislop is adamantly against the Roman Catholic Church as a whole, in my opinion he desires that each individual would arrive at their own conclusion in regards to their belief, though he lobbies hard for his view regarding what he considers the evils of the Roman Catholic Church.

In regards to your views on being a "Romantic Christian," I agree that each individual must choose, guided by Scripture, how they best can implement the teachings found in Scripture and thus live their faith. Hopefully, this will allow the light of the Spirit to shine forth from themselves such that it may be a seed for other individuals which the Spirit then would have to nurture. I think this follows the teachings of Jesus Christ wherein he tells us, to go and make disciples of all the earth. I do not think, though, that this requires being designated as a "Romantic Christian," but simply a Christian, such as at Antioch.

I think, and believe, that Jesus Christ meant for the gospel to spread more organically, rather than through organized, bureaucratically mazed religions, whether Episcopal or otherwise. "For where two or three are gather in my name, there I am with them."

Bruce Charlton said...

@JV - Overall, all large churches are now 'evil' by alignment and convergence. But I think the point about the RCC is that it contains some of the best and bravest of Christians, and that is what matters most to me.

My point is not about the designation of Romantic Christian; but that it is time for Christians to be honest and upfront about the fact that their faith is *based upon* personal discernment - therefore (ultimately) not on obedience to external church authority.

John Venlet said...

My point is not about the designation of Romantic Christian; but that it is time for Christians to be honest and upfront about the fact that their faith is *based upon* personal discernment - therefore (ultimately) not on obedience to external church authority.

I fully agree, Dr. Charlton, and also think this Scripturally sound.

Lady Mermaid said...

While I come from a completely different background as a low church evangelical, the need for personal discernment weighs in quite heavily as well. We evangelicals tend to emphasize the authority of Scripture. Growing up, I viewed the Bible as a rulebook to simply follow and obey. Imagine my surprise when I learned about different denominations, all claiming to "Bible based". Discussions can quickly turn into who can throw around the most Bible verses. While Evangelicals may not be as wedded to church tradition as Episcopals, we tend to outsource responsibility for discernment by simply stating "The Bible says".

Don't get me wrong, the Scriptures are absolutely essential and should guide our lives. However, spiritual truth is not simply trying to interpret the Word of God as judges try to interpret the US Constitution. The devil is capable of quoting Scripture for his own purposes. I've seen Romans 13 being used to justify the Birdemic response. Both Evangelicals and Episcopals tend to forget that the Holy Spirit is supposed to be the ultimate guide to truth, not a subjective rendering of external sources whether they be Church Tradition or Scripture. Now, discerning the Holy Spirit from one's personal biases is quite difficult.

However, your previous posts about Jesus stating "By their fruits you shall know them" are a great starting point for discernment. Bad/false spirituality will produce rotten fruit. In addition, daily time spent in quiet prayer/meditation is important. Christians should study church tradition and Scripture, but the Holy Spirit must guide us in how we incorporate these external truths. We need to communicate w/ God if we are to learn about His purpose for our lives. Furthermore, there needs to be a strong sense of humility as making mistakes is inevitable. However, we need to repent when we fail.

RedSugarMuse said...

These are some of the exact things I wrestle with since not only converting to Christ, but became Catholic shortly afterwards. During my entire catechesis, I have been in ups and downs, in doubts and moments of peace. During my whole conversion process, I thought of leaving, sometimes the thought still comes to mind. But there is another voice that just says "Stay. Hold on. Keep going." I love the mass, I love confession. These have altered my life. And I still am in turmoil with the state of it, with the institution, the hierarchy, all of it.

Bruce Charlton said...

@LM - I agree with you, but we have now reached a civilizational point of conversion and value inversion when 'fruits' are interpreted oppositely by those on each side. The 'heroes' of our society, as celebrated and rewarded both officially and by arts and media, are a mixture of selfish and evil people and manufactured fakes.

Bruce Charlton said...

@RSM - The churches make it very difficult for converts nowadays (in contrast to the time of Jesus and the Apostles, when conversion, baptism and church membership could be almost immediate; as described in the Gospels and Acts) - indeed most churches demand far more, in terms of obedience to beliefs and rules, of their aspiring converts - than of cradle members and even clergy! Thus they exclude some of the best of people.

https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2015/05/nietzsche-becomes-christian-assumption.html

Nonetheless, it is worth some people working through this process, when their specific needs require it; but (of course) it needs to be done with inner honesty, and repentance for those sins that cannot be avoided in the process of overall doing the right thing.

Jack said...

"What I see, by contrast, is too many real Christians (both priests and laity) in Episcopal churches who (currently) exist in a state of denial about the many personal discernments they themselves have made in arriving at their life of faith.



They will claim that they follow 'the truth'. or that it is so obvious what is true, and where true-authority lies, that no discernment has been required...

They will claim that they are in-effect 'merely-obedient' to their church; despite that they have picked-and-chosen their church in the first place, and then picked-and-chosen who is right and wrong within their church... "

***

This is an extremely important point. My friend and I were Traditional Catholics for years having precisely this attitude, and have only recently woken up to the inherent dishonesty or cognitive dissonance in our position, to the fact that we absolutely did choose this church and not another, for private reasons.

I also think Romantic Christianity can flourish in an Episcopal context. One must simply distinguish the original, apostolic, and scriptural nature of Episcopacy (it basically just means "overseer" and describes someone with the responsibility of looking after the local community), from the cumbersome medieval institution that grew out of it and that in many ways is no longer needed. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, pointed out that according to the New Testament sense, he was certainly a Bishop (an overseer) despite never being ordained one in any of the medieval hierarchical systems (e.g. Church of England). Likewise, Billy Graham was de facto the most important Bishop of American Christianity, indeed the "Patriarch" of the American Church. The fact that he didn't have those ecclesiastical titles is just an accident of history and verbiage.

Romantic Christianity can flourish in an Episcopal Church, because these traditions have transmitted many helpful things. The liturgies, the sacraments, the Holy Icons, the sacred architecture, the classic devotional texts, the lives of saints — all of these can be helpful aids if properly used, without needing to subscribe wholesale to a medieval model. Indeed, besides Catholic Traditionalists, Eastern Ultra-Orthodox, and Fundamentalist Protestants, nobody (including bishops and priests) subscribes to such a model wholesale, and recognises that their traditions and theological inheritances are historically conditioned and can benefit from mutual dialogue and recognition.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jack - Yes.

The think is that Nobody is actually doing medieval, obedience-based, Christianity. It is not even a possibility as of now - it could, at most, only be an aspiration for the future.

Not to recognize this fact is living a lie - which is a source of fatal weakness, sooner or later, when Satan is dominating the world.