Monday, January 26, 2015

More on Semi-Montanism

So what do I mean by semi-Montanism?

The Montanists in full accepted (according to OrthodoxWiki).
  • The belief that the prophecies of the Montanists superseded and fulfilled the doctrines proclaimed by the Apostles;
  • The encouragement of ecstatic prophesying, contrasting with the more sober and disciplined approach to theology dominant in Orthodox Christianity at the time and since.
  • The view that Christians who fell from grace could not be redeemed, in contrast to the Orthodox Christian view that contrition could lead to a sinner's restoration to the church.
  • The prophets of Montanism did not speak as messengers of God: "Thus saith the Lord," but rather described themselves as possessed by God, and spoke in his person. "I am the Father, the Word, and the Paraclete," said Montanus (Didymus, De Trinitate, III, xli); This possession by a spirit, which spoke while the prophet was incapable of resisting, is described by the spirit of Montanus: "Behold the man is like a lyre, and I art like the plectrum. The man sleeps, and I am awake" (Epiphanius, "Panarion", xlviii, 4).
  • A stronger emphasis on the avoidance of sin and on church discipline than in Orthodox Christianity. They emphasized chastity, including forbidding remarriage.
  • Some of the Montanists were also "Quartodeciman" ("fourteeners"), adhering to the celebration of Pascha on the Hebrew calendar date of 14 Nisan, regardless of what day of the week it landed on. The Orthodox held that Pascha should be commemorated on the Sunday following 14 Nisan. (Trevett 1996:202)
Now the key feature which govern Montanism is that there is some form of super-revelation which supersedes that which the Church has received from the Apostles. Though many people do not follow the full Montanist heresy, they still follow the generating thesis of Montanism in which spirits, powers or dominions exterior to the revelation of God claim the power to modify what the Church has received and thus countermand the traditional interpretation of the Faith by the Holy Fathers of the Church. St Vincent of Lerins gave the Canon by which the Catholic Faith can be discerned and this has been shown to be self-consistent as a general principle.

The Vincentian canon is a very good method by which we can weedle out the Semi-Montanists, i.e. those who believe that the revelation to the Church by Scripture and its Traditional reading by the Church can be subordinated to the Zeitgeist. We can apply that same Vincentian principle to each of the Montanist doctrines stated above which are largely reactions to the time, and have some correspondence with the Donatists given the third point.

I think it fair to say that the Continuing Anglican Churches would charge the Lambeth Communion with Semi-Montanism given that, somehow, a standard practice set up by Our Lord Himself has suddenly become sinful yet with no actual clear point where the sin has entered in. I could be wrong though.

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