Nothing New Under the Sun?

In discussing some of my heretical positions with a(n at least equally heretical, but he wouldn’t say so) conservative “Anglican” (ACNA) priest recently, a point of discussion became hinged on whether or not the deposit of faith is essentially “fixed” or not. “There is nothing new under the sun,” he said. Also, “I tell my congregation, ‘If you ever hear me saying something new, call the Bishop.'”

The issue in particular was female ordination, which he objects to on theological grounds but also on simple tradition: If it has never been done before, it should not be done now. In particular, all theological truth has been revealed already.

I find this a particularly difficult idea. I understand the notion that new ideas should be tested against received tradition, as it truth cannot be in conflict with truth. I can even understand (though I disagree with) this as an argument specifically to women’s ordination, or something else which seems like an “innovation.”

But the central idea here is unfathomable: We currently know everything there is to know about God. There is nothing left to know about God.

How is that even possible?

One thought on “Nothing New Under the Sun?

  1. I think the idea that “all theological truth has been revealed already” — if it’s to be taken at all seriously — has to be understood in a fairly nuanced way. Also might be worth fleshing out what you mean by “new ideas should be tested against received tradition”. I believe Blessed John Henry Newman had a few words to say about this (written while still an Anglican, no less!). In particular:

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