Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nothing New under the Sun

With the heresies of the Episcopal Church (USA) still freshly assaulting my mind, I happened across this wisdom from 140 years ago:


When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages of its progress are always three. It begins with toleration. Its friends say to the majority: You need not be afraid of us; we are few, and weak; only let us alone; we shall not disturb the faith of others. The Church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we only ask for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions. 
Indulged in this for a time, error goes on to assert equal rights. Truth and error are two balancing forces. The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality. It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth. We agree to differ, and favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship. What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental. Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential. Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the church. Truth and error are two co-ordinate powers, and the great secret of church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them. 
From this point of view error soon goes on to to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy. Truth started with tolerating; it comes to be merely tolerated, and that only for a time. Error claims a preference for its judgments on all disputed points. It puts men into positions, not as at first in spite of their departures from the Church’s faith but in consequence of it. Their recommendation is that they repudiate the faith, and position is given them to teach others to repudiate it, and to make them skillful in combating it. 

Charles Porterfield Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1875), pp. 195-196.


  1. From the CyberHymnal,

    "Krauth grad­u­at­ed from the Get­tys­burg [Penn­syl­van­ia] The­o­log­ic­al Sem­in­ary in 1841, then pas­tored over 20 years in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions. In 1864, he be­came a pro­fess­or of dog­ma­tics at the Luth­er­an The­o­log­ic­al Sem­in­ary, Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia. In 1868, he be­came Pro­fess­or of Men­tal & Mor­al Phil­o­so­phy at the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­van­ia, and in 1873 be­came vice pro­vost of that school. He was the first pre­si­dent of the Gen­er­al Coun­cil, a fed­er­a­tion of Lu­the­ran sy­nods, and edited The Lu­ther­an and The Lu­ther­an Church Review. His daugh­ter was hymn trans­lat­or Harriet R Spaeth. His works in­clude:

    Fundamental Articles of Faith and Church Policy, 1866
    The Conservative Reforma­tion and Its The­ol­o­gy, 1872
    Theses on Pulpit- and Altar-fellowship, 1877
    Vocabulary of the Philosophical Sciences, 1877
    Constitution for Congrega­tions, 1880

    Anthem Translations include,

    Happy Christmas Comes Once More, and
    Wide Open Are Thy Hands

  2. Yes, Underground Pewster, but what are his qualifications? Does he recognize the need for healthy change? Does he understand that, at times, it is necessary to "shake out:" old established norms and welcome into the communion of Saints, different people, with different needs, and who recognized that God's generousity was meant to be divided equally?

    Our Rabbi has nailed has the Underground Pewster. And I shall remind....with the old book, the pews were full of young people. With the new book....and with the new imperatives....the pews are, at odd hours....almost empty.
    What, pray tell, is the biggest difference between an Holy Ghost and an Holy Spirit? If not one then why not the other....if both be good then why not both....? If the Ghost be good enough for various of hundreds of years...then why not now? Small points, I know....but there are thousands of small points that destroy the willingness to enter a chapel expecting to hear, "The Lord is in His Holy Temple. Let all the Earth keep silence before Him." instead of "oh s***, I forgot my marker."

    El Gringo Viejo

    1. Did you ever contemplate the change in THe General Thanksgiving, in ..."thine inestimable love" and "immeasurable"
      A subtle change, but doesn't really mean the same thing.

  3. Do you think Rachel Held Evans, who apparently joined the Episcopal church in recent time, will speak about Planned Parenthood and the selling of baby parts?