Todd Stepp

Author's details

Name: Todd Stepp
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Wesleyan/Anglican: The Commemoration for James Arminius — October 19, 2014
  2. Wesleyan/Anglican: The Feast of St. Luke — October 18, 2014
  3. Wesleyan/Anglican: I Want a Principle Within — October 17, 2014
  4. Wesleyan/Anglican: Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury — October 16, 2014
  5. Wesleyan/Anglican: Investiture Service for ACNA Archbishop — October 11, 2014

Most commented posts

  2. Wesleyan/Anglican: Wesleyan-Anglican Society/Fellowship In Formation — 1 comment
  3. Wesleyan/Anglican: No "Archbishop" for the UMC, and No more Guaranteed Appointments — 1 comment
  4. Wesleyan/Anglican: Does Numerical Growth Equal Spiritual Growth? — 1 comment
  5. Wesleyan/Anglican: Pan-Methodist Full Communion — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Oct 19 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: The Commemoration for James Arminius

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Today, being a Sunday, would move the commemoration for Arminius, since the Lord's Day trumps all other celebrations.  Nevertheless, October 19 is the day set aside for him in For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations (Second Edition).  I had the privilege of writing the entry for Arminius (as well as James Varick & Phineas Bresee).  Below is my article as it appears in the book:

Jacob (or James) Arminius, Dutch pastor and theologian, was born the son of Harmon and Elborch Jacobsz in Oudewater, Holland in 1559.  he received his early education at Utrecht.  In 1575, Arminius' mother and siblings were killed during the Spanish massacre of Oudewater.  Through the generosity of friends, Arminius was able to study at the University of Marburg and, from 1576 to 1581, at the University of Leyden.  Through the support of the Merchants' Guild of Amsterdam, Arminius went on to Geneva where he studied under Theodore Beza from 1582 to 1586, including a year at Basel.  Returning to the Netherlands in 1587, he began a fifteen-year pastorate in Amsterdam.  There he was ordained in 1588.  In 1603 he received his doctor's degree from Leyden and became the university's professor of theology.

When the United Netherlands (Dutch Republic) became independent, Calvinism became the official state religion.  However, Arminius could not accept the popular predestination position.  Instead, he attempted to modify Calvinism so that God could not be viewed as the author of sin and so that human choice might be safeguarded.  Arminius, facing much opposition, was reluctant to express anti-Calvinistic views, but, as time went on, he was accused for what he refused to say and write.

Arminius urged the government officials to call a national synod so that he might openly present his positions.  However, in 1609 he became ill and died, nine years before the synod was called.  The year following his death, Arminius' followers presented a Remonstrance over against the five points of Calvinism.  They "held that Christ died for all men [sic], that salvation is by faith alone, that those who believe are saved, that those who reject God's grace are lost, and that God does not elect particular individuals for either outcome.

Arminius taught that Christ is the object of God's decree.  The predestination of individuals is conditional, depending upon teir acceptance or rejection of Christ.  In other words, God, according to divine foreknowledge, has predetermined to save all who place their faith in Christ and continue in that faith.

Although condemned by those of a Calvinist persuasion at the Synod of Dort in 1618, Arminian teaching has, nevertheless, gained permanent standing in john Wesley and the Wesley[an]/Methodist tradition.
The following sources were referenced in the article in the book:
Carl Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation.
Williston Walter, et. al.  A History of the Christian Church 4th ed.
Elgin S. Moyer, Who Was Who in Church History.
Kenneth Scott LaTourette, A History of Christianity, vol. 2. "Reformation to the Present."

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Oct 18 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: The Feast of St. Luke

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Today, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist.  Luke was unique as a New Testament writer.  He was a Gentile and a physician.  He was also a fellow missionary with St. Paul.  St. Luke is the author of both the Gospel bearing his name, as well as the book of Acts.

Of the four Gospel accounts, Luke is the only one that tells us about the annunciation to Mary, her visit with Elizabeth, Jesus in the manger, the angels appearing to the shepherds, and the story of Simeon, the boy Jesus teaching in the Temple, the story of the Good Samaritan, the prodigal son, Lazarus and Dives, Zacchaeus (that wee little man!), and the Emmaus Road account of the resurrection (where Jesus is made known in the breaking of the bread).  There are in Luke's Gospel account six miracles and eighteen parables that are not found in the other three accounts.

In Acts, Luke tells us about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.  He also tells us about the spread of Christianity "around the world."

A Prayer for the Feast of St. Luke
O Shepherd of us all, who inspired your servant Saint Luke the Physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of Jesus:  Grant, we ask you, your Spirit to your whole Church that we might be rich toward you in worship and in service to the poor; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
(Information drawn from Lesser Feasts and Fasts 1997 and from For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations Second Edition.)

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Oct 17 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: I Want a Principle Within

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During Morning Prayer, as has been my custom, I sang some.  I have rotated between the Nazarene "Sing to the Lord" hymnal and various collections of Wesley hymns.  Currently, I am once again singing through the "Wesley Hymns" hymnal compiled by Ken Bible and published through Lillenas Publishing Co. (Nazarene).

Today's hymns included the following by Charles Wesley.  -  It is my prayer, and I hope that it will be yours, as well.

1. I want a principle within
Of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility of sin,
A pain to feel it near.
I want the first approach to feel
Of pride or wrong desire,
To catch the wand'ring of my will,
And quench the kindling fire.
2. That I from Thee no more may part,
No more Thy goodness grieve,
The filial* awe, the fleshly heart,
The tender conscience, give.
Quick* as the apple of an eye*,
O God, my conscience make;
Awake my soul when sin is nigh
And keep it still awake.
3. If to the right or left I stray,
That moment, Lord, reprove;
And let my spirit weep and pray
For having grieved Thy love.
O may the least omission pain
My well-instructed soul!
And drive me to the blood again,
Which makes the wounded whole.
2/3 "filial" - of a son or daughter; here the awe of a child for his/her parent.
2/4 "quick" - alert, perceptive, sensitive.
2/5 "the apple of an eye" - that which is highly prized or dear; see Prov. 7:2

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Oct 16 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

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Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

Today we celebrate Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury (1556).  One of my seminary professors once commented, as we look back to John Wesley as our spiritual father, we ought to look to Thomas Cranmer as a spiritual grandfather.

Cranmer was the major force in the English Reformation, and the person to whom thanks is due (in Christ!) for the Book of Common Prayer (in its variety of forms). Cranmer was primarily responsible for the very first Book of Common Prayer in 1549 and its first revision in 1552. In his development of the BCP, Cranmer followed closely the medieval forms of worship, especially the Old Sarum rites.

The 1662 BCP, which is still in use in the Church of England, as well as other Anglican provinces, and which is considered the standard by which all other Prayer Books are gaged, was a revision of Cranmer's previous work.

In the preface to his own edition of the (1662) BCP (viz., The Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America), John Wesley says, "I believe there is no liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern language, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational piety, than the Common Prayer of the Church of England. And though the main of it was compiled considerably more than two hundred years ago, yet is the language of it, not only pure, but strong and elegant in the highest degree."

Thomas Cranmer was born in Aslockton, Nottinghamshire on July 2, 1489. He earned his B.A., M.A. & a Fellowship from Jesus College, Cambridge, and became a Doctor of Divinity, a lecturer in the same school. Cranmer was highly influenced by the Lutheran reformers. King Henry the Eighth, with confirmation from the Pope, appointed Cranmer to the See of Canterbury, and he was consecrated Archbishop on March 30, 1533.

When Queen Mary the First took the throne, as a staunch Roman Catholic, she had Cranmer arrested due to the protestant reforms he had implemented in the English Church. On March 21, 1556, Thomas Cranmer, along with other church leaders, was burned at the stake.

Thomas Cranmer has and continues to influence countless Christians in their spiritual formation and lives through the Book of Common Prayer, and all who use a version of the Book of Common Prayer or a liturgy that has been influence by one of the Prayer Books owe an immeasurable debt to Thomas Cranmer.

Even non-liturgical Nazarenes owe an immense debt to Cranmer. Our own ritual for the Lord's Supper in our Manual (Book of Discipline) was an abbreviated form of the Methodist Episcopal ritual, which came from Wesley's Sunday Service, which was a version of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. Closer to home, Wesley's understanding of holiness was, in many ways, shaped and supported by the liturgy of the Anglican Church, and the Collect of Purity at the beginning of the Communion service has been said to encapsulate our understanding of holiness.

For more information on Thomas Cranmer, I commend to you the Episcopal Church's Lesser Feasts and Fasts - 1997, For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations Second Edition (OSL), and the "Introduction" to James' printing of The First English Prayer Book.

Let us give thanks to God for Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury!

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Oct 11 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: Investiture Service for ACNA Archbishop

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Well, I didn't make it!  -  I had strongly considered driving to Atlanta last week to attend the Investiture service of the Most Rev'd. Dr. Foley Beach as the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.  I was planning to register my attendance as president of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society.  (I sent a congratulatory letter on behalf of the WAS upon the Archbishop's election.) 

In fact, I wrote a letter to the Board of General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene requesting that the send a congratulatory letter and offering to deliver it to the Archbishop on their behalf.  It was my hope that this would be a step that could eventually lead to some kind of dialogue between our two churches.  -  Unfortunately, I think the NPH scandal (cf. articles below) has kept them preoccupied.  (Though I was told I would hear back from them, I have not.)  Perhaps they did send a letter or will yet send one.

In any case, I did not make the trip to Atlanta.  -  Watching the video of the service, I wish I had.  -  I am thankful that the ACNA has made the video available on their website and have allowed it to be shared.

I would encourage the friends and members of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society, as well as readers of this blog to pray for the new Archbishop and for our sisters and brothers in the Anglican Church in North America.

In addition to generally encouraging the watching of the video, below, I especially encourage those who wonder what "Wesleyan/Anglican" might look like to watch the video.  -  Obviously, it is a very special kind of service, and there could be certain changes that might make a particular "Wesleyan" emphasis.  However, in general, and especially the "spirit" of the service is reflective of the image I have of "Wesleyan/Anglican."

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Oct 03 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: New Logo for Nazarene Theological Seminary

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Nazarene Theological Seminary recently revealed their new logo (above).  You can read about it on the NTS website, here.

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