"Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen." (Prayer of confession from the Book of Common Prayer)I am not a Calvinist for many reasons, but then I don’t think even Calvin was a Calvinist by today’s understanding and even then that view is somewhat stereotyped. I believe that Calvinism is wrong, but then Calvinists will believe that I am wrong, so there is quite a reasonable reciprocity going on here. Are Calvinists Christian? Well, if they do truly worship Our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Man and seek to love both God and Man in their proper proportions, then the answer has to be a resounding “yes”. However, they are not Catholic or Orthodox in their beliefs. Perhaps they are proud of that. I wish them well anyway. In this post, I intend to address a more stereotypical Calvinism than is actually the case.
“Here I only want to suggest briefly that the whole man is overwhelmed–as by a deluge–from head to foot, so that no part is immune from sin and all that proceeds from him is to be imputed to sin (Institutes 2.1.9, Calvin 1960:253).”As an Orthodox Catholic, this is rather contrary to my understanding of the Creation of God. To say that “no part is immune from sin” misses a rather obvious problem when we know full well that God utterly hates sin. We know from Genesis that God created a world that was very good. The very state of being is a good, because we get that very state of existing directly from God. Just being we find a part of ourselves that is not infected by sin. God wanted to create us, therefore He created us, therefore we are inherently good in ourselves.
“I will give thanks unto thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made : marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. My bones are not hid from thee : though I be made secretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect : and in thy book were all my members written; Which day by day were fashioned : when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm cxxxix)
“For whom he did foreknow , he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate , them healso called : and whom he called , them he also justified : and whom he justified , them he also glorified .” (Romans viii.29-30)Yet to single some people out for Heaven and, thus by inference, others not contravenes the doctrine of God loving unconditionally since singling people out for Salvation is a condition by definition. This takes a slightly different meaning if we take into account God’s choice to create or not to create.
Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe to feed us, who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom, by the merits of the most precious death and passion of thy dear Son. And we most humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.we notice the phrase "spiritual food of the most precious body and blood".
Again, the text does shout Protestantism at first glance, even though a Catholic will readily affirm that receiving the Body and Blood of Christ does indeed nourish the soul and thus truly is "spiritual food". It would, of course, be much more correct for a Catholic to say instead:
"Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe to feed us, who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ."
The addition of "spiritual food" does indeed give that Calvinistic slant to the whole prayer.
For Anglican Catholics, our Anglicanism stems from the fact that we are using the English liturgy with its roots in both Sarum and Gregorian Rites, and not because we subscribe to the underlying Calvinist readings of the Book of Common Prayer. It does mean that we have to be very careful in how we use the BCP and why the 1549 version, which is reasonably untouched by the prevailing winds of Continental Protestantism, is the one of the standards for worship within the Anglican Catholic Church. Clarity of liturgy does make for better teaching and fewer heresies as the CofE has found out the hard way some 500 years later.