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Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi (Part 4)

By Fr. Robert Solon, Jr. What arguments have been advanced in support of this contention?  Are they valid? The plethora of authors above have argued over generations that Western Christians and especially Anglicans use lex orandi-lex credendi as an assumption when theologizing.  It can also be shown that the concept itself is deeply embedded in the culture and organization of Anglicanism. Three examples will be shown:  resolutions from the Lambeth Conferences, the canons of the Church of England, and the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. Although the Lambeth Conference was not intended nor does it to this day…

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Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi (Part 3)

By Fr. Robert Solon, Jr.

John Henry New­man. Dur­ing his Angli­can period, New­man wrote an exten­sive analy­sis of the Arian heresy titled The Ari­ans of the Fourth Cen­tury, in which he appended a Note titled “The Ortho­doxy of the Body of the Faith Dur­ing the Arian Supremacy.” He intro­duces an impres­sively long list of excerpts from Patris­tic authors describ­ing both the per­se­cu­tion of Ari­ans against the Catholics, as well as the Catholic resis­tance in return, as fol­lows: “The Catholic peo­ple, in the length and breadth of Chris­ten­dom, were the obsti­nate cham­pi­ons of Catholic truth, and the bish­ops were not….[b]ut on the whole, tak­ing a wide view of the his­tory, we are obliged to say that the gov­ern­ing body of the Church came short, and the gov­erned were pre-eminent in faith, zeal, courage and con­stancy.”

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Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi (Part 2)

The Patristic Period. As noted above, Prosper of Aquitaine is the first to have elucidated the lex orandi-lex credendi principle as a maxim. Wainwright notes that other Patristic writers used the idea extensively as well – he specifically mentions Augustine, Ambrose, Irenaeus, Tertullian and Cyprian. One author he oddly mentions only in passing is Cyril of Jerusalem, whose Mystagogical Catecheses were delivered as sermons to those newly baptized at the Easter Vigil during in Easter Week. It was the practice of the early Church to dismiss the catechumens from the Eucharistic assembly after the sermon and prior to the Intercessions, and so they did not know much, deliberately so, about what to expect at their Baptism.

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Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

It’s an axiom in Anglican circles to use the phrase lex orandi, lex credendi when expressing doctrinal beliefs by appealing to liturgical texts.  The question arises, however, whether this is a valid appeal and whether it actually happens.  I will explore the following questions in this post:   What does this phrase mean and from where does it come? Who are the theologians who have argued this? What arguments have been advanced in support of this contention?  Are they valid? Is it true that Anglicans are reticent about definitions of belief but spend a good deal of time in developing…