From The Living Church Foundation — Episcopal Church in the USA
“Contending for the faith once delivered” by Joseph Wolyniak
The 1611 Authorized Version beautifully rendered Jude’s exhortation to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). That remains our charge. Yet it is necessary to admit — indeed, confess — that we have largely failed in the task of transmission. We are perilously close to a faith that was simply once delivered, full stop.
The average Episcopalian [cf Anglican] is almost wholly biblically illiterate, lacking a general sense of Scripture’s narrative arc and knowing only enough historical criticism to dismiss scriptural integrity, authority, and relevance. Many among us would be hard-pressed to tell Malachi from Maccabees from Matthew; forget reading, marking, and inwardly digesting. And there is wide variance in our common prayer, with many opting to do what is right in their own eyes. When it comes to catechesis, we fall back on appeals to lex orandi, lex credendi, but we forget that such appeals presume, as St. Prosper of Aquitaine put it, “the sacraments of priestly supplication, handed down by the apostles, are celebrated uniformly throughout the whole world and in every catholic Church, so that the law of praying might establish the law of believing.”
The Rev. Joseph Wolyniak (2012 ECF Academic Fellow) is the Episcopal chaplain at Princeton University.
lex orandi, lex credendi – the teaching (law) that is prayed is what is believed
ecclesia semper reformanda est – the Church is always reforming itself