Thursday, October 12, 2006

Food for thought: Anglicanism and missions

Just a quick food for thought...

Last month, I submitted a paper that compare and contrast the liturgical services of an Anglican church and a Roman Catholic Church. In order to do the paper, I had to visit St Andrew’s Cathedral and Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Those visits were quite an eye-opener. Well... I finally got my paper back today and thank God, I believe I did pretty well for someone whose academic background was in IT rather than the humanities. I am also reminded of a thought that I had after I handed in my paper last month.

Unlike today where the majority of the Anglican Church is literate, people back in the days of the Reformation were mostly illiterate. Through the lectures and my readings on Anglicanism, I learned that one of the reasons for its emphasis on liturgical ceremonies was to impart Bible teachings to the laity through the use of our three major senses: sight, sound and smell. The observance of the liturgical year is one such example.

For those of us who comes from non-episcopal denominations, perhaps this is one thing we could learn from the Anglican Church when we are exploring various ways to educate illiterate people in our missions programmes.

8 Comments:

Blogger ddd said...

'we are exploring various ways to educate illiterate people in our missions programmes'

Eh Beowulf,

just a question, by using 'various ways' to do that, aren't you denying the primacy of the written and spoken Word of God? Doesn't God educate us through His Word rather than through drama, plays, and whatever entertainment devices the world can think of? Just because the Anglican communion does it does not necessarily imply that is is biblical, after all.

I really pray to God that you will not turn Neo-Evangelical after going through Bible College.

Sola Scriptura, SDG,
Daniel Chew.

13/10/06 12:37 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi Daniel,

I do not deny the primacy of the written and spoken Word of God. Perhaps I should have made myself a little more clearer in my post. I am not proposing an either-or solution where a methodology is a substitute or replacement for the preaching of the Word. Definitely not at all.

What I am suggesting is akin to the singing of hymns and choruses in church services. While the primary purpose of hymns is to worship God, its secondary purpose is to teach church members doctrinal truths found in the Word. These hymns are not the Word of God and will not replace the Word of God, but they serve as mnemonics to remind people of what they have learnt from the sermons.

13/10/06 1:04 AM  
Blogger Jenson's Blog said...

"Through the lectures and my readings on Anglicanism, I learned that one of the reasons for its emphasis on liturgical ceremonies was to impart Bible teachings to the laity through the use of our three major senses: sight, sound and smell."

I hate to be the one to criticise the CofE. But what you have described is one of the failures of Anglicanism. I think it would be useful to recognise that the Anglican church is very mixed - Romish elements have crept back in a various points of history, to the point that today's Anglican church is mostly Anglo-Catholic.

The Non-Conformists who left the Anglican Communion and started chapels and churches taught the people the Scriptures. It is not unusual to read of boys and girls memorising entire books of the Bible. That, I believe, is a "much better way".

Sincerely
Jenson

13/10/06 7:45 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi Jenson,

Thanks for your insightful comments. Being denominationally Brethren and theologically Reformed, I don’t think I am going to hop over to Anglo-Catholicism in the future. If I were to decide to switch denomination, I would be heading towards Presbyterianism, Reformed Baptists or the Reformed Churches rather than Anglo-Catholicism.

But I think that perhaps there are some useful things we could learn from the Anglican Church without compromising our denominational distinctives. When we preached the gospel to the unreached people, say for example, illiterate tribal groups, it is likely that there will be some who would not have an aptitude for languages. I am specifically thinking of the elderly here.

14/10/06 9:52 AM  
Blogger Jenson's Blog said...

"When we preached the gospel to the unreached people, say for example, illiterate tribal groups, it is likely that there will be some who would not have an aptitude for languages. I am specifically thinking of the elderly here."

That is a good concern to have. Thankfully, the Bible has already addressed it for us.

"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? ... So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10

14/10/06 11:14 PM  
Blogger vincit omnia veritas said...

Greetings Beowulf (BTW, what's your name?)

I have two questions for you, and I hope you don't mind.

1) Where are you studying now? Singapore Bible College (looking at the subjects you are taking)?

I think SBC uses Mounce, at least many years ago. I may be wrong though.

2) How do you manage to study and work at the same time? Are you working full-time after classes? If so, I thought classes are from 8-5pm?

Kindly advise.

15/10/06 11:20 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Ha ha ha… please let me remain anonymous for now. I will neither confirm nor deny where I am studying. However, there are quite a number of Christian bloggers who knows which Bible college I am in as I know them personally and have met up with them.

Personally, I thought it is rather obvious. =)

So it is not really a big secret. However I wish to draw a clear line between my roles as a student and blogger so that I feel less restricted in whatever I write in my posts. And also I do not wish to have anything that I write be taken as representative of the school’s stand and theological position.

As for my work, I am currently working in a call-center environment. On days that I have classes, I would be driving from my college to my workplace, where I would normally work till 10pm. By the grace of God, I have a special arrangement with my manager to allow me to work after classes for six days a week.

16/10/06 12:16 AM  
Blogger vincit omnia veritas said...

Thanks for sharing a little about yourself. Well, you have every right to remain anonymous. I understand, especially when you are studying in a Bible College right now.

Indeed, thank God for His grace for enabling you to do two tasks at the same time! Not many college students have the time or the opportunity to work-cum-study. If the Lord wills, I sincerely pray that you will be able to serve the Lord in His Kingdom upon graduation. May you remain faithful to Him and His Word.

Sincerely,
Vincent Chia

16/10/06 7:02 AM  

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