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Anglican Futures: Anglican Alphabet Spaghetti

Anglican Futures Anglican Alphabetti Spaghetti A dummies guide to the plethora of organisations and acronyms linked to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. I once spent some time around military personel.  Everything had its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym) right...

Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby The Good Samaritan A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway...

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) met in Synod on 18 June.  While there, they elected two suffragan bishops to aid Bishop Andy Lines in providing episcopal oversight for the overall work.  Bishop Lines also...

Pride Flags Causing Conflict at Christian School

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Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers The Prayer Book Society, which will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary, is raising funds to put a special edition BCP into the hands of junior choristers around the nation.   The idea came to...

Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope Justin Welby Bloomsbury, 2018, new edn. 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-4729-8497-5, 322pp, £12.99) The Archbishop of Canterbury has made several notable political interventions recently, including over ‘partygate’ and the Rwanda deportation...

Birthday of Anglicanism in America

Birthday of Anglicanism in America By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins June 16, 1607 was the birthday of Anglicanism in America. On this day Captain John Smith and 104 others celebrated the Lord’s Supper when they arrived safely in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown was the...

Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

Barnabas Fund Reports Two Chibok Girls Found After 8 Years 24 June 2022 Two women, who were among hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok eight years ago, have been found. Hauwa Joseph was discovered among a group of other...

New Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

Church of Ireland News New Bishop Elected for Cashel, Ferns & Ossory The Church of Ireland diocese of Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory now has a bishop-elect.  The Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was elected to succeed the Rt Revd Michael...

Editorial: Lessons to be Learned from the American Pro-Life Movement

Editorial Lessons to be Learned from American Pro-Life Movement Friday, 24 June 2022, the Feast of St John the Baptist, will be a date which will live in infamy amongst the supporters of abortion.  On that date, the US Supreme Court, overturned the precedent set by...

Pilgrim’s Process: Following the Science, by Peter Sanlon

Pilgrim’s Process

By Peter Sanlon

Following the Science

In recent days there has been much talk about ‘following the science’. People have realised that moving forward in days of a health emergency requires a precise understanding of the situation. We need accurate information to advance.

So it is in our pilgrimage to the celestial city – we need accurate knowledge to keep our steps secure. Some of the most profound words written by the reformer, John Calvin were those with which he opened his classic Christian book, the Institutes. Calvin wrote: ‘Wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.’

Calvin realised that it is of foundational import to see that knowing about God and knowing about ourselves are both distinct and interdependent. 

We need to see that the knowledge of God is radically different to knowledge of ourselves (and any human art or pursuit) because only when this is realised, can we exalt God as the Lord who is glorious, sovereign, transcendent and holy. We always have the temptation of wrongly thinking God is smaller than he is. We err in viewing God as one similar to us in the sense of being subject to unreliability, capriciousness or weakness. Merely pondering how different and other to us God is, can refresh us and give us more light for the path ahead. Calvin saw this with great clarity.

He also recognised that knowledge of ourselves is interdependent with knowledge of God. The difference and otherness between people and God is not absolute – we are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26). As creatures fashioned in the likeness of God, we only have right knowledge of ourselves when we see ourselves as dependent and related to our creator. This means that the partial knowledge our world proclaims to have about itself, is misleading insofar as it purports to be autonomous and impartial. The  so-called ‘assured facts’ loved by rebels cannot but be hostile to the Lord. Those who think they can understand people and families and relationships and societies apart from obedience to God’s Words mistake darkness for light.  People are known and understood when all relevant information is traced back to the light of all – Jesus Christ (Jn.1:9). 

As Calvin noted the fundamental distinction and interdependence between knowledge of God and people, he experienced the evidence of true knowledge – humility. He admitted that there is much he could not discern or know. ‘…it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.’ This is the kind of knowledge we need for our pilgrimage.

Rev. Dr. Peter Sanlon is rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells: www.emmanuelanglican.uk

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