On Sophiology and Russian Intellectualism

imageSt. John of Shanghai and San Francisco 1896-1966

A consequence of the fall of the Russian State was the arising of the Russian Diaspora. More than a million people were forced to leave their homeland and be scattered about the whole face of the earth.

A significant part of the Russians who went abroad belonged to that intellectual class which in recent times has lived by the ideas of the West. While belonging to the Orthodox Church and confessing themselves to be Orthodox, the people of this class in their world outlook significantly departed from Orthodoxy. The chief sin of people of this class was that they did not build their convictions and way of life on the teaching of the Orthodox faith, but rather strove to make the rules and teaching of the Orthodox Church conform to their own habits and desires. Therefore, on the one hand they were but very little interested in the essence of Orthodox teaching, often even considering the dogmatic teaching of the Church as being completely unimportant; and on the other hand they fulfilled the demands and rites of the Orthodox Church, but only in so far as this did not interfere with their more European than Russian way of life. From this comes their disdainful attitude towards fasting, their visiting of churches only for a short time, and this rather more for the satisfaction of aesthetic than religious feeling, and their complete lack of understanding of religion as the chief foundation of the spiritual life of man.

In the public realm this class likewise lived by the ideas of the West. Without giving any place at all for the influence of the Church, it strove to reconstruct the whole life of Russia, especially in the realm of State government, according to Western models. For this reason, in recent times an especially fierce battle was waged against State authority, and at the same time the necessity for liberal reforms and a democratic organization of Russia became as it were a new faith, not to confess which signified that one was behind the times… the intellectual class led Imperial Russia to its fall and prepared the way for the Communist power.

After the coming to power of Communism, the intellectual class was partially annihilated, and partially it fled abroad, saving its own life… Finding themselves abroad, the Russian people suffered great spiritual shocks. In the souls of a majority there occurred a significant crisis which was marked by a mass return of the intellectual class to the Church.

However, this positive manifestation also had its negative side. By no means all of those who returned to faith accepted it in all the fullness of Orthodox teaching. The proud mind could not agree that up to now it had stood on a false path. There arose strivings to make Christian teaching agree with the previous views and ideas of the converts. Therefore there was a whole series of new religious-philosophical currents, often completely foreign to Church teaching. Of these currents, especially widespread was Sophiology, which is founded on the recognition of the value of man in himself and expresses the psychology of the intellectual class.

Sophiology as a doctrine is known to a comparatively small group of people, and very few actually subscribe to it openly. But a significant part of the Intellectual class of the emigration is spiritually akin to it, for the psychology of Sophiology is the worship of man, who is no longer the humble slave of God, but is himself a small god who has no need to be blindly submissive to the Lord God. A feeling of refined pride bound up with faith in the possibility for a man to live by his own wisdom, is very characteristic of many people who are “cultural” in the modern sense, who place above everything else the conclusions of their own minds and do not desire to be in everything submissive to the teaching of the Church, looking upon it favorably in a condescending way…

In the future life the judgment will be most severe for those Russians who, being educated in superb colleges, become the fiercest enemies of Russia. One is forced to foresee already that in the future the Diaspora will give many conscious workers against Orthodox Russia, who will strive to make it Catholic or spread various sects, and likewise those who, while remaining outwardly Orthodox and Russian, will secretly work against Russia.

But Russia was founded on and grew through Orthodoxy, and only Orthodoxy will save Russia. (The Meaning of the Russian Diaspora)

 

St. John Chrysostom on Abortion and Birth Control

“[I]n truth, all men know that they who are under the power of this disease [the sin of covetousness] are wearied even of their father’s old age [wishing him to die so they can inherit]; and that which is sweet, and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live” (Homilies on Matthew 28:5 [A.D. 391]). – John Chrysostom

The so-called “birth control” pill – shown above – is indeed an abortifacient. It actually performs an embryonic abortion. This has been proven by medical doctors across the world. Randy Alcorn has a short article on it here.

There is what some in the west call Natural Family Planing, which is perfectly ethical and godly. It has to do with identifying the signs of a woman’s fertility. Here is information on that.

Regarding how Chrysostom ties receiving inheritances to abortion, I would say that the same thing is happening in our day but from a different angle. Many couples now would rather NOT have children so that they can enjoy the inheritance of their culture – hobbies and luxury. There are legitimate reasons for not having children but I think that the “we cannot afford them” clause is grossly abused today. What I think many people mean to say when they refer to not affording children is that they cannot afford the lifestyle of their choice if they have children.

 

Joke of the Day

Why can’t an Anglican play Chess? He can’t tell the difference between a bishop and a queen!

Orthodox Screensaver

This is a great screensaver for you Orthodox folks…or inspiring Orthodox. Double click and then save.

My Conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy

In case you are new here or have not noticed the change in this site, I am converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. It was not the easiest jump but as the first month has passed I can say with confidence that it is awesome!

I first made the decision to be confirmed as an Anglican based on a number of things, but what I was most interested in was the fact that I could become closer to God through the very means that Christ had described in the Holy Scriptures. I felt like I would finally be able to worship within the thrust of reverence and rich theological content, to do what Christ said to the woman at the well in John 4, “to worship in spirit and truth.” But as I grew within the Anglican faith I began to realize that worshiping in spirit and truth involves much more than just reverence and rich theology. I found my soul begging for more of something, but was not sure what it was.

As I continued to worship and study within the church, the Holy Spirit began to show me just what it was that I was lacking – the very nature of the Church and the way that the Holy Spirit Himself operates. I began to see that the Spirit operates through unity and humility of the very body of Christ, the Church. But I have not seen this within the Anglican faith. As much as I have tried, through various Anglican jurisdictions, I cannot see the unity that Christ speaks of.

Christ says in John 17 that He desires that we be unified, and the early fathers say that without unity in the Church the spirit simply cannot operate properly. In the beginning of the Church as we see in the book of Acts and all the way through the first millennium, the Church was one. The churches varied a bit in their culture but they were unified under the bishopric through the Ecumenical Councils.

As I embrace the Orthodox faith I can see and feel how God is blessing me through this act of unity, a unity not only of those in the local church now but a unity of the Church, past, present and future. There is something very powerful about worshiping under the same liturgy that some of the most godly priests and bishops in all history worshiped with; direct successors of the Apostles. It really gives new meaning to be a disciple of Christ! The liturgy itself resonates with the early Christian within you, something that I think we all need to get in touch with while living in a very modernistic and secular society. Learning Orthodox theology and worshiping with them allows one to be enraptured with the great saints of the first millennium; the surrounding icons, the incense, the majestic vestments, the people relaxed within the congregation – but not so relaxed as to become irreverent – and the unaccompanied voices of the people of God chanting praise, brings one into the entire body of Christ – past, present and future. Orthodox worship also gives one a sense of belonging throughout the week…like no other manifestation of Christianity can give. We see that in Revelation the Church triumphant is constantly worshiping. Orthodoxy finds a place in this realm. Not only is there always – due to the parishes as well as the monastics – an Orthodox worship going on somewhere within the world, like the Church triumphant, but the worship itself is “open ended.” It does not have an entrance or closing of a precession. You walk into it as if it has always been going on, because it has been. This helps create a spiritual foundation within your soul that “extends” worship to every day past Sunday. Some Protestant churches teach a concept like this but they do not put it into practice within the worship service, the very manifestation (and cause) of our theology. The Orthodox Church puts wheels on the Western term Lex orandi, lex credendi (Latin for the law of prayer is the law of belief).     

And the fact that the Orthodox can worship so majestically and sacramentally while also under a bishopric that has proven itself up to our day and has not wavered gives much confidence in Christ!

Worshiping under a “blameless” bishopric (1 Timothy 3:2) is important not only for worshipful reasons but for evangelistic reasons. My view of evangelism is to teach about how one needs to be a part of the bishopric, and how the bishopric is the very founder and keeper of the Bible (Canon). But this seems difficult to do while in the Anglican faith because the history of the Anglican bishopric leads to the apostasy of the Episcopal Church and Church of England – quite the embarrassment.

After a considerable amount of study, conversations with a local Orthodox priest, prayer, and the chance to bring my son Steffen with me to see if this unity is at work within a local Orthodox church, I came to the realization that this is it! Steffen (my son) gave me his approval ;) I know that within the Orthodox Church I can receive spiritual support for my teaching. This means that I will no longer be that guy that just doesn’t seem to fit in, the guy that teaches that “Catholic” stuff. I willingly accept being tagged as an Anglo-catholic within the Anglican Church only because I am unable to say that I am Orthodox (there really is no “Anglo-Orthodox” camp within the Anglican Church).

The Eastern Orthodox is the Church that has not wavered since the faith was handed over from the Apostles. Not everyone in the Orthodox Church is perfect but the Orthodox Church is indeed the direct historical successor of what Christ first instituted in Matthew 16, and by the grace of God I have found myself being pulled right in to it.

The Eastern Orthodox Church contains what we believe to be the most beautiful worship known to all Christendom. It is indeed different from western worship. It is much more challenging to learn and it certainly does not set a tone of entertainment (although I must admit that the incense and other liturgical acts are quite mesmerizing). The worship is sacred and holy, set apart from modernity! It is not organized like western liturgy, to have that grand entrance and escalating tone (western worship seems to have a schizophrenic tone with the overwhelming theology of ‘depravity/penitential but accompanied with an overly victorious organ or band) with a certain sense of closer at the end. The Orthodox liturgy, again, is “open ended” to demonstrate that our weekly living is to blend right in to its timeless nature. It also contains more prayers and in general much more theology than western liturgy. It is said to take several Sundays for a soul to completely absorb what it both offers and demands.

There are many other theological positions that also drew me in to the Orthodox faith, one of which is the Orthodox teaching of atonement. I have wrestled with so many different views of Christ’s atonement over the past ten years and now I feel like I have come home to the truth of the matter. The Orthodox Church teaches an atonement of victory and love, an atonement that actually deals with good and evil, the devil included. You can see more about this theology under the Salvation tab on this site.

The Bible! Yes, the Orthodox Church has the complete Bible. That’s right! The Protestant faith has stripped God’s word of many Old Testament books. Take a look at the Sola Scriptura video on the right side of the website, and look at the Bible tab of the site. After I studied the canon in Anglican seminary (funny thing is that I previously studied it in an Evangelical seminary – shows how they hide things from us) I became convinced that the Protestants were lying to me and that a large piece of God’s grace was being withheld from me!

There is one more very important theological reason for converting to Orthodoxy that I must mention, and that is the anchor of monasticism that is given to the Orthodox Church. Neither the Anglican nor the Catholic churches have such a strong influence of monasticism. This is a good thing because it models the very law of Christ and prevents the Church from swaying to a rules-based ethic and culture. Some may think that it does just the opposite but it really does not.

The monastic way is a way of solitude and peace. It is a calling that is not after seeking crowns here on earth or even in heaven, but it is a calling that gives the church substance and vigor. From the time of Constantine to our modern day, the monks of the church have kept people sober, showing Christians that God does indeed call modern day John the Baptists and Paul the Apostles. God calls these monks to live a life of purity, not for themselves, but for the greater health of the entire church – men and women praying for the church and the world, serving the Church and the world, and sacrificing for the Church and the world.  Monasticism is not just a way of life, but it is a very theology – in particular, a theology of humility within the spiritual realm, and a theology of liturgy within the earthly realm. The monastic Christian lives a life of liturgy for the purpose of humility. Upon being cultivated to this humility, the Christian begins to serve his fellow man. When Christ says that in order to enter the Kingdom of heaven, one must become “like a child,” he means that one must be humbled. This, of course, is what the law does, in part; it humbles a man to repentance. But preaching the law in all its worth is simply not enough for the church to embrace. The church must embrace a lifestyle; a calling of humility; a calling that Christ partook of. Christ was not only a “man of sorrows acquainted with grief,” (Isaiah 53:3) but he was also a man that had nowhere to “lay his head” (Luke 9:58). He fellowshipped with the downcast, he owned nothing that we know of and he remained a celibate man all his life. This is a life of utter humility. To model a life after this lifestyle and create a calling/vocation and even a theology after it must certainly be the will of our Lord!

I feel that I have come home! I also feel that I can now “come home” to the Lord; not that I want to die, of course, but I now feel like I have left the ranting and raving for a faith of healing and solitude, a faith that prepares me for heaven. I know now that after I die my five children will be as safe and secure as they can possibly be within the One Holy and Apostolic Church. I now feel confident that they can live a life for Christ without struggling with their “denomination” or group. And they can hand that faith down to their children. There will be challenges for them (and I) within the Orthodox faith, I’m sure (we are all sinners) but the challenges will be worth any pain that may seem to be upon us.

I hope this article was a blessing to you. It was certainly a blessing to write. It has been a long journey for my family and I within the ministry and we are glad to have made it this far so that our children can still benefit from the conversion and worship with us in Spirit and Truth. Please let me know if you have any questions about Orthodoxy, and if I cannot answer them for you I will find someone that can.

With Love,

Mike

Patristic Quote of the Week

We all look toward the East when we pray; but few know that it is because we are looking for our own former country, Paradise, which God planted in Eden in the East. – ST. BASIL THE GREAT

Patristic Quote of the Week

“The goal of human freedom is not in freedom itself, not is it in man, but in God. By giving man freedom, God has yielded to man a pice of His divine authority, but with the intention that man himself would voluntarily bring it as a sacrifice to God, a most perfect offering.”

     –Saint Simeon, Bishop of Persia

Roman Catholics Believe Islam Worships the Same God???

ROMAN  CATHOLICISM  HAS  BEEN  CORNERED  BY  ISLAM

I’m going to get right to the point of this article and show you the current catechism of the Roman Catholic Church and how it views Islam. Here it is:

(841) “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” (Catholic Catechism, pgs. 242, 243)

If this is the first time you have read that, you are probably quite disgusted. Many Catholics, especially those that worship in Pius X congregations and other Latin Mass congregations completely reject this teaching. Many of them reject the entire modern Roman Catholic Catechism for the pre-Vatican II Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore shows no signs of liberalism like the modern Catechism.

This teaching found in the Catechism is quite grieving and also quite embarrassing. These Catholics literally think that Alah is the same God as our God simply because Islam claims the name of Abraham and other Bible figures within their heterodoxy book, the Koran. Seems pretty easy doesn’t it? A man goes insane in the 7th  century and puts together a book inspired by the devil himself, includes the names of Abraham, Mary and Jesus, but clearly rejects the entire teaching of the Gospel and the Gospel’s interpretation of the Old Testament, and suddenly in the 20th Century he is deemed as worshiping the same God as the Christians? Wow!

Some are saying that Muslims view Jesus and Abraham as “prophets.” But this is deceiving! They do NOT believe that they are prophets, otherwise they would believe in the Messiah as their Savior since that belief is part of the prophecies. What Muslims believe is that Abraham and Jesus are Islamic prophets. There is a huge difference.

How did all of this begin to happen within Catholicism? Well, Catholics began to sympathize with Islam! Many Catholics are saying that they must repair the relationship between the Church and Islam since the Church attacked them in their Crusades. My question is: why not just ask for forgiveness? Don’t make things worse by compromising the Gospel itself.

St. John Damascene: There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, [who] was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from Sarras kenoi, or destitute of Sara, because of what Agar said to the angel: ‘Sara hath sent me away destitute.’ These used to be idolaters and worshiped the morning star and Aphrodite, whom in their own language they called Khabár, which means great. And so down to the time of Heraclius they were very great idolaters. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.

St. Gregory Palamas: It is true that Muhammad started from the east and came to the west, as the sun travels from east to west. Nevertheless he came with war, knives, pillaging, forced enslavement, murders, and acts that are not from the good God but instigated by the chief manslayer, the devil.

St. John Chrysostom on Economics

john_chrysostom1“It is not for lack of miracles that the church is stagnant; it is because we have forsaken the angelic life of Pentecost, and fallen back on private property. If we lived as they did, with all things common, we should soon convert the whole world without any need of miracles at all.” – St. John Chrysostom

This may not be an easy task for today’s Church but if we could at least take the general philosophy of this proposal and apply it to our lives we could at least move forward with substantial stride. I think that we can preach and teach our brains out and still not reach people today. It will not be until we change the way that we live that true conversion will take place in our nations.

There is a lot to say about what St. Chrysostom says about sharing property, more than what I am willing to write about in this post. What I really feel passionate about, regarding personal property and the Church, is that there are few if any co-ops available for insurance and other financial institutions. My family and I belong to Samaritan Ministries International, a co-op for Christian health care. I think this is a small but good start towards Christian economics. Another good thing to consider would be various educational co-ops and even medical co-ops.

What St. Chysostom is teaching here is not that we should own nothing and throw it all in to a big pot but that we should be interdependent on one another, sharing our gifts, talents and resources with one another so that Christ may be glorified. All throughout the Scripture we can see that God commands us to give to his people and in turn God will give even more to us. This is in and of itself “economical.” As long as the Church maintains its authority with the resources then the kingdom will continue to grow. It was not until the Church began to lose control to the State that cruel and unusual economics and welfare institutes became the norm.

The Danger of False Humility

In Colossians Chapter 2, St. Paul warns us of those who demonstrate false humility. False humility is the subversive tactic of wolves as they display mere clothing of a shepherd or other type of honest and caring person. It’s not always easy to identify and can turn into an extremely arrogant accusation if not carefully sought. Judas, when he kissed Jesus, is an obvious example of false humility. But what about those that put the “kiss of Judas” into words and actions according to customs and tactics of today’s society? In other words, we are not looking for someone to literally kiss another person but we are looking for completely different things according to the psychology of our culture.  

The snare of false humility is its very outward proclamation of humility. I once visited a conference of a newly formed denomination that claimed to have Protestant Reformation essentials, where the leader of this organization continually (and I was told that this was a regular speech of his) claimed that he was an “arrogant man.”  My buddy and I saw this as a demonstration of false humility! Why? Well, this particular man proclaimed a number of accusations against the historic Church that he felt were just reasons for beginning his new venture, yet these accusations were autonomously founded. This leader wanted no accountability from any of the Reformed or other historic churches. He claimed that they had essentials in the faith so wrong, that it was necessary for him to begin his own venture completely apart from any of the historic positions. He began a new form of Church polity (with him as the head, of course) and a new form of doctrine that was inclusive to the more modern elements of the Church.

Not only was this man autonomous in his ecclesiology, he was autonomous in his family ethics. He continually preached a high standard of ethics for the family, yet he was not adhering to this same standard; flying from conference to conference to speak and counsel, while his teenage son spiraled into a form of depression. It seemed that in order to cover his guilt, he would come out and preach directly against it. In the subject of homiletics, we call this “preaching your own convictions.” This can happen to any pastor; he, being convicted of a certain sin, rather than repenting of the sin by changing his ways, vents his frustration over the pulpit. In judicial terms this can be called abuse of power under the color of authority. The leader, knowing that his flock will interpret his ethical speech as a command to them, turns his own convictions inside-out by using the pulpit as a scapegoat.

False humility is often used as a sort of partial repentance. It gives us the ability to feel like we have given up illegal weapons but within our basement is an entire arsenal of the latest terrorist paraphernalia with actual names of future victims written on them. When this individual confesses – especially publicly –  to a particular sliver of his problem or just denounces that particular type of ungodly behaviour, it becomes difficult to prosecute them when they become a complete and obvious danger to the Church or society. To obtain a warrant – to use the judicial language again –  can be almost impossible because, after all, we all know that this man is not like that. He publicly denounces this kind of behaviour constantly.

This is why St. Paul warns us about leaders who carry this tactic of false humility. It is deception and hypocrisy, and is clearly the ploy of the devil. May we all be aware of this sin in our own lives and may we be watchful of it in our leaders. And with that last sentence said, may we not be overzealous and arrogant when watching for false humility in leadership, lest we falsely accuse and become divisive ourselves.

America’s Anglican and English Roots

Rev. Richard W. Davies describes the founding of America:

In 1603, one of King James I interests was to colonize a new part of the world. The King was encouraged by the Rev. Richard Hakluyt, and priest of the Church of England, as an explorer and geographer. So the King issued letter patent to English businessmen to form a business venture called the Virginia Company (name for Elizabeth I, the “virgin queen.”) and to found a settlement and an English parish in the new world of America. The King named Hakluyt as the rector, and he named an English priest, Robert Hunt, to be his vicar and chaplain to the Virginia Company…

On April 19, 1607, the expedition touched American land and they erected a cross, prayed at a point they called Cape Henry. After exploring an river the named for King James, they selected a peninsula 45 miles inland and on May 13, 1607, they named it Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement, and initial Anglican congregation, in the new world.

Here are some interesting facts on King George; you know the guy that your American history teacher told you was a scoundrel and tyrant.

1. King George, a tyrant? He was a devout Christian man who loved his family and country. King George was not “insane” as many Americans claim he was. He became ill with porphyria, and lost much of his mental faculties later in life. He died of this disease on January 29, 1820.

2. King George simply wanted the colonies to help pay the expenses for the war against the French. England defended the colonies (America) against the French and was in need of financial help to pay for the expense. Much of England was living in poverty because of the war, while the Americans were living in luxury. America had been a very wealthy nation for quite some time, and had even built their Calvinistic theology around this desire for wealth (despite the fact that Calvin did not teach Christians to live in material wealth).

3. King George instituted the Stamp Act to help pay for the war. The Colonists complained and Parliament repealed the law, and later narrowed the taxes down to imported glass, paper, lead, and tea. This was called The Townsend Act of 1767. The colonists complained again, and the English gave in again, narrowing the tax to tea, only. This is when the Americans began to rebel, thus creating the “Boston Tea Party,” throwing (fits) the tea into the harbor. The King wrote to Lord North, “the truth is that the too great lenience of this country increased their pride and encouraged them to rebel.”

4. To influence the Americans against England, the Reformers published the Geneva Bible with the phrase “tyrant” in place of where “king” was supposed to be placed. Being the Reformed people that they were, the Americans began to call the King a tyrant.

5. Many Americans, such as Samuel Seabury, the first Bishop of the American Episcopal (Anglican) Church, refused to rebel against England and were thus marked as “Loyalists” (loyal to the crown). George Washington’s mother was a Loyalist and also a devout Anglican. Loyalists were treated very harshly during the Revolutionary times. Their homes were vandalized and many of them were tarred and feathered. Bishop Seabury said, “If I must be enslaved let it be by a King at least, and not by a parcel of upstart lawless Committeemen. If I must be devoured, let me be devoured by the jaws of a lion, and not gnawed to death by rats and vermin.” (Seabury, Letters of a Westchester Farmer, 1774–1775 (1970) p 61.).

Unity Within Christendom Hinges on the Bishopric!

 In Ephesians 4:10-13 we see that St. Paul the Apostle declares that a primary reason for the establishment of the clergy is for the eventual unity of the Church.  He says in verses 12 and 13 that the ministry is given for the “equipping of the saints…till we all come to the unity of the faith…” We also see in John 17:20-23 that Christ actually prays for unity of the Church. This is very serious! We cannot disregard what Christ is saying here in a very clear and concise manner.

Rev. Peter Toon on Unity:

The third approach is that episcopacy is of the plene esse (fullness of being) of the Church. This view affirms that it is God’s perfect will for the Church that it be led by bishops, and takes its inspiration from Ephesians 4:10–13. The historic episcopate has important pastoral functions (as the bene esse view allows) as well as theological importance (as the esseview overstates). It provides the full embodiment of the Gospel in church order. First of all the historic episcopate provides the effectual sign of unity and, therefore, it embodies in church order the Biblical proclamation that Christ’s Church is truly one. Secondly, it embodies in practical church order the principle of apostolicity. The episcopally ordained ministry is both sent by God to represent Christ to his Church and functions as representative of that Church. It acts as guardian of the Word and Sacraments, of the faith, and the flock of Christ. The historical order of bishops is, therefore, an effectual sign of the relation of Christ to his Church: for it manifests his authority within and care for the Church. As long as the one Church of God is divided on earth the historic Episcopate can never be a full expression and effective sign of the principles of unity and apostolicity. So the plene esse view points us to the future when, in the union of the present churches, the order of bishops will function as God wills that it should. Meanwhile Anglicans should highly value the historic episcopate without claiming too much or too little for it. And they should remember that to present the historic episcopate as belonging to the plene esse of the Church is the view to which the Anglican commitment to Scripture, tradition and reason points us.”