Saturday, October 8, 2005
Zahl's Eucharistic Theology
Over the last year or so, I've attentively followed discussions here and there of the Very Rev Dr Paul Zahl's eucharistic theology:
- Fr Lee Nelson (1 and 2)
- Rev John Allen Bankson
- Fr Al Kimel (1, 2, 3)
- Rev Jeff Steel
For those who don't know, Dr Zahl is dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA, and former dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, AL.
While I don't necessarily agree with Zahl's eucharistic theology, I think Fr Kimel hits it on the head by saying that Zahl's theology is very much along the lines of the Swiss reformers. I think it's even fair to say that Dean Zahl's eucharistic theology is Calvinistic, even if it's not Calvinian. ("Calvinistic" refers to Calvin's followers and "Calvinian" refers to Calvin himself.) And yet he is dean of an official Episcopal seminary, which means that there must be some support for his eucharistic theology in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion - which means I am not alone among Anglicans in rejecting consecrationism.
Furthermore, true catholicity demands that Anglo-Catholics respectfully and charitably disagree with Zahl and others (like me), but unfortunately, despite themselves, Anglo-Catholics often forget the fuller sense of the word, "catholic." And so we read otherwise good and godly folks calling Zahl a heretic and saying things like, "Down with Zahl. It's a shame that ECUSA has become so bad that people look to Dean Zahl as an orthodox leader." The irony here is staggering. "The Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA) is falling apart. Let's have some infighting with other orthodox clergy! I know, we'll start by contesting one another's orthodoxy!" Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
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