Sunday, July 19, 2015

Between superstition and gnosticism

Gnostic religious practices, at least in today's discourse as it is used as a swear word against those traditions which have a suspicion against materiality.   Superstition is for those who place greater efficacy on material objects than God does.

Of course, water and wine and bread are necessarily good.  But then I ask some people, "Well, what about anointing with oil?"   The answers are interesting.  It sounds papist or anchoretic. But St James says to anoint the sick with oil and pray over them.

 Oil is good because God in his word blessed it so.


  1. Annointing with oil was common in the Charismatic circles I grew up in. Then I became a Cessationist and came to the opinion that annointing with oil was purely medicinal, the equivalent of a pastor bringing a sick person a packet of painkillers. That opinion made me feel pretty smug.

  2. I've heard a lot of sermons where they explained oil is medicine, nothing more.

  3. That's why I've been more allured to Rome & Canterbury recently, they take the material seriously. No, kneeling or crossing yourself doesn't "do" anything but it maybe the physical posture might affect the posture of one's soul. Anyway, what ultimately from going to Rome is what you rightly point out: God promises to meet me in bread and wine, no vestments, elevation of the host, or Tridentine necessary. But we are so quick to call God's commandments insufficient so we go about offering up strange fire on the one hand, and committing the equivalent of picking up sticks on the sabbath on the other.

    Works of Superabrogation need to be reviewed by our modern Church. The 39 Articles condemned them, but we are pretty quick to bring them back in modern, industrialized garb.


  4. Embodiment is itself a pedagogical technique.